CHAPTER – 12
As Siddha went on thus recounting the divine acts of Sree Guru, Namadharaka Sharma, who was listening attentively, asked: ‘Sir, you have said that Sree Guru left the banks of river Krishna for the banks of river Bheema. Yet you say that he abides on the banks of former river as invisible Spirit, answering the prayers of the devout! Has anyone experienced the truth of this claim? If so, I long to hear at least one instance of it’.
Siddha began: ‘Oh Namadharaka, the Supreme Spirit of Self does not have anything like movement from place to place, location or any particular state of existence. What seems so is but the divine play of the Lord. He will be experienced as per one’s own attitude to him. Now listen: In course of time, people came to know from Ganganuja how the Lord blessed the Yoginis and assured of his presence there in spirit. So they worshipped the padukas with due reverence. Indeed, all their wishes were fulfilled. I shall recount one incident.
There was a Brahmin lady living in that area. All her children died immediately after. In desperation, she revealed her plight to a pious and learned Brahmin priest. The latter was divinely inspired to tell her thus: ‘Madam, there can be several karmic causes, belonging to one’s previous lives, for the loss of one’s children in the present life. It can be the consequence of killing cows, Brahmins, dogs, snakes and children, or of stealing other’s wealth. In your previous life, you unfairly appropriated the wealth of a Brahmin of the Sounaka Gotra. He has become a vengeful spirit and has been killing all your children. One is obliged to reap the consequences of one’s misdeeds of a former life. There is no other way to workout one’s past karma. You too shall do so’.
The lady could not bear these words. She prostrated to his feet and begged him to teach her a way out of her pitiable plight. The latter replied, ‘Madam, perform the religious rites necessary for the elevation of the Brahmin’s soul to higher realms of existence, along with the special rites of absolution and repentance. Observe such religious vows for a full month. Then take a holy dip in the Ashtateertha and worship the sacred padukas and the fig tree. Then feed Brahmins and give away gifts of money plentifully to a pious Brahmin of Sounaka Gotra.’ The lady submitted, ‘I do not have a plentiful store of money. I shall certainly observe the monthly vows and worship the padukas’.
Subsequently, the Brahmin lady started observing the vow along with her husband. On the third night, the spirit that was killing her offspring appeared in her dream. She immediately ran to Sree Guru who was seated under the fig tree and sought his refuge. Sree Guru consoled her and sternly reprimanded the spirit, ‘You mean spirit! How dare you threaten a helpless woman?’ The latter replied, ‘Lord it is not proper for you to be partial to her. She misappropriated my money in her previous life. In order to win it back by tormenting her, I have assumed this form’. Sree Guru said, ‘By assuming this form and frightening her like this, you will not achieve your salvation. I shall teach you the means of attaining higher realms of being. Listen: it was in a previous life that she deprived you of your wealth. In this life she is poor and has no means of paying you back. I shall see that she scrupulously performs religious rites which will secure higher states of existence for you and I shall make her offer as much money as she can manage, to a man of your Gotra. Besides, I shall secure liberation for you. If this satisfies you, it is well. If it doesn’t, do what you can, but I shall certainly protect her!’ The spirit submitted, ‘Lord, at the very sight of you, I am freed from the thrall of my evil tendencies. You may do as you please and I shall be satisfied.’ Sree Guru turned to the lady and said, ‘My dear, did you hear what he said? You do accordingly that shall be liberated. Thereby, your offspring will prosper’. And the Lord disappeared.
The lady woke up and informed her husband about the dream and acted accordingly. Thereby, she was freed soon from the cursed torment and from the fruits of her former misdeed. Later, Sree Guru again appeared in her dream, gave her two fruits and said, ‘My dear, feed Brahmins and eat these fruits!’ When she woke up, she found the fruits by her side and did as she was told. Soon she conceived and, in course of time, she was blessed with handsome twins. The happy couple performed all the rites enjoined by the Sastras and brought up the children with love and tenderness. In their eight year, they made all the arrangements necessary to invest the first child with the sacred thread. To their amazement, the boy was laid up for few days with typhoid and died. The mother could not withstand the calamity. She beat her breast and lamented loudly saying, ‘My son! Where have you gone? How long will you sleep? Wake up! It’s time for lunch. Take your food and play in the front yard. Your playmates are awaiting you. I cannot live without you. Of the five children born to me, you are my very life. At your birth, all the grief caused by the loss of earlier children was wiped clean from my heart. Leaving me in the ocean of grief, where did you go? It’s cruel on your part to do so. Who will support us in our old age?’
The people who gathered there tried to console her saying, ‘Lady, your lamentation will not revive the child. Do not weep. Death does not spare even god, seers and demons. Think upon this truth: Even avatars like Rama and Krishna had to pass away’. She was disconsolate and said, ‘The fruit that was given to me by the Lord and which has saved me from the wrath of the spirit has now proved fruitless. Henceforth, who can trust His promises? I shall take this news with me to the worlds beyond death!’
Then a sage emerged from the crowd, approached her and said, ‘My child, why do you lament the death of a son? It does not deserve to be lamented. Think: Is he the body, or the soul? If he is the body, even now he is before your very eyes with all his flesh, bones and skin, as before. If he is the soul, then he is ever birth less and immortal. Whom do you lament then? This world which has originated from Time, karma and the three modes of manifestation (Gunas) is like a magic show. How can it be trusted as real? All relationships like mother and son are self conceived and transcient. It is coincidental as the coming together of two logs of wood, drifting down a flowing river. Who was your husband in your previous birth and who was your son? Can you tell me? Birth and death are subject to time. Like day and night, both these are inevitable. Just as youth succeeds boy-hood, death also confronts the embodied soul. This delusion can be overcome only through the grace of the guru. One who is born is bound to die. So, do not weep. The dead cannot be brought back to life by grief, lamentation or by any other means.’
The lady interrupted him saying, ‘Sir, your metaphysical teaching does not appeal to me at the moment. How can I ever trust the Lord who has given the fruits, but failed to keep his promise?’
The sage replied, ‘Then my child, go to him from whom you have received the blessing.’
The lady took up the corpse and quickly reached the hermitage of Sree Guru. There she furiously knocked her head against the holy padukas. Even at sunset, she refused to give away the dead body for the performance of the last rites. All the people went away, leaving the poor couple. That night, Sree Guru appeared in her dream and said, ‘My child! How have I wronged you? I have even blessed you! The vital force had already left the body of your son, but I have brought it back’. So saying, the Guru disappeared. When she woke up, she could not contain her joy at the sight of her son who was alive. She showed him to her husband. The blessed pair was immensely happy. With redoubled faith, they paced around the fig tree thrice and prostrated to the padukas. The Brahmins of the village cam to know of the miracle and glorified Sree Guru. The Brahmin pair had a dip at the confluence of the sacred rivers, worshipped Sree Guru, fed Brahmins and returned home. Their son grew up to be a youth of great learning and suave manners. He lived up to a ripe old age in wealth and prosperity. Similarly, many have achieved the objects of their wishes in that holy place. In this age of Kali, Sree Nrisimha Saraswathi is very much alive in spirit. He responds to every call of his devotees, ever ready to bless them. Whoever serves him with faith and devotion shall prosper, even like the Brahmin lady.”