CHAPTER – 13
Namadharaka asked Siddha, “Holy Sir, tell me what the Lord did after arriving on the banks of river Bheema.”
Siddha replied: “The Lord stayed for a long time at Gandharvapura (Gangapur). The confluence (Sangama) of rivers Bheema and Amaraja near the place is as holy as that of the Krishna with the five other sacred rivers. For some time, Sree Guru lived there incognito, sustaining himself by holy alms (bhiksha) with the intention of uplifting the devout who offered it to him. As he was accepting bhiksha from the poor, the well to do of the place spoke light of him. As the sun continues to shine bright and cause day-light even when hidden behind the clouds, and as musk continues to give out its perfume even when it is concealed in a box, it was impossible for the Lord’s divine attributes to be hidden from the folk for long.
One day, the Lord went to the threshold of a poor Brahmin for alms. There he saw a very old barren she-buffalo and asked the lady of the house for its milk. The housewife said, ‘Sir, we have been using this buffalo to carry loads. For it’s barren and it does not yield milk.’ Sree Nrisimha Saraswathi laughed and said, ‘Mother, do not tell me lies!’ Finding no other way, she fetched a vessel and milked the buffalo, just to show the Master that her words were true. Lo, milk flowed plentifully from its udders! Amazed at the strange transformation in the creature, she boiled the milk and offered it to the Lord. The latter drank of it with gusto and left for his abode on the banks of the river. The Master of the house, having heard of the powers of the Lord’s words, at once proceeded to the Sangama along with his wife, worshipped him and received his blessings.
The servants in the Brahmin’s house came the next morning and were amazed to see the old barren buffalo yielding milk. The news flashed across the land and reached the ruler of that region. The latter ascertained it from the Brahmin and visited the hermitage of the Lord, along with his royal retinue. He then approached Sree Guru and prostrated to his feet. Even at the very sight of the Holy One’s divine form, the king’s heart was fired with devotion. As tears of joy and love trickled down his cheeks, he submitted in a quivering voice, ‘Sir, I am your humble slave. May you bless and protect me!’ The Lord said, “Oh Prince, I am a sannyasi; I live and move about in this wilderness and survive by begging food from others. Why have you, a wealthy and powerful Prince, come to me? What can I do for you?’ The chief said, ‘Sir, you are the Supreme Spirit, just sporting in a human form and not really a common mortal. I request you to grace my city and sanctify it’. Sree Guru acceded to the request, sat in the royal palanquin and set out. The chief personally served him, held the royal umbrella over Sree Guru’s head and fanned him, as the royal procession moved on. The royal attendants sounded drums and trumpets all along the way. The chief walked by the side of the palanquin as one among the royal attendants. Pious Brahmins chanted the Vedas, while the heralds loudly proclaimed the progress of the Lord of the Spiritual Wisdom to the town. People hailed the Lord all along the way. Thus the pageant reached the western gate of the chief township. As the palanquin passed a little inside the gate, Sree Guru noticed a cruel Brahma Rakshasa (a wicked and powerful spirit) on the top of a peepul tree. At the very sight of Sree Guru, the ferocious spirit was becalmed. At once, he got down from the tree, rendered homage to Sree Guru and submitted ‘Lord, pray uplift me from this abominable state of existence!’ The Lord of Divine Mercy put his right hand on the spirit’s head in blessing. At once the spirit attained a visible human form. Sree Guru said to him, ‘My son, if you take a dip at the Sangama, you will attain liberation at once.’ The spirit prostrated to Sree Guru and took the bath. He immediately left his physical form and attained liberation. The chieftain, amazed at the power of the Lord’s blessings, glorified him and led the palanquin into the town. He immediately raised a muth (monastery) and lodged Sree Guru in it. Later, the chief worshipped the Divine Master every day, served him and thereby he eventually transcended the terrible ocean of misery.
Yielding to the persistent pleadings and devotion of the chief, the Lord stayed on at the place. Everyday, he used to perform his daily rituals at the muth, take his bath at the holy Sangama and, despite the entreaties of the chief to the contrary lived by begging in the outskirts of the town. At that time, there lived a learned Brahmin by name Trivikrama Bharati in the neighbouring village of Kumasi. He learned of the ways of Sree Guru from hearsay and criticized him as a sannyasi, fallen by transgressing the ideal standard of life of true renunciation. For, it is enjoined in the scriptures that a sannyasi should not live under the protection and patronage of a chief. The omniscient Guru knew the innermost thoughts of Trivikrama Bharati. One day, he said to the chief: At Kumasi there lives a sannyasi by name Trivikrama Bharati. He has been berating me for my ways. I have to go and set him right’. The chief was pleased at his words and begged his permission to accompany him. He then summoned all the pomp of procession for Sree Guru, seated him in the royal palanquin and proceeded to Kumasi.
Trivikrama Bharati was a learned sannyasi and an ardent devotee of Lord Nrisimha (the man-lion avatar). On that day, when he sat for his daily meditation, the Lord did not grant him his mystic vision, as he usually did. Trivikrama was deeply disappointed and, with a yearning heart, prayed, ‘Oh Thou ocean of Mercy, the Lord of Thy devotees, Lord Nrisimha! Why am I not able to enjoy Thy blessed presence today? Lord, bless me with it!’ After he meditated for a long while, he heard a voice from within, telling him that the Lord is on the banks of the holy river. He immediately proceeded there. Through the yogic power of Sree Guru who had already arrived and encamped at the place, he saw a large gathering of sannyasis. At the first he fainted. When he came to his senses, he again saw the same large congregation of sannyasis. Then Sree Guru addressed the dazed ascetic: ‘Trivikrama, I am the sannyasi whom you have been vilifying, in the pride of your spiritual accomplishments and learning, as a hypocrite and a fallen one. Just now I have tested you. It is evident that you are a devotee of Lord Nrisimha and you are well-versed in the Dharma Sastra (the code of holy life). Yet, if you are indeed a true renunciate, tell me what you have renounced. How can one whose soul is perturbed by attachments to fame and pride of learning and hatred, ever be a sannyasi? I have, indeed, come hear to learn of the attributes of a hypocrite of a sannyasi by seeing you. Oh learned one, reflect deeply upon this and you will know the truth, by the grace of Lord Nrisimha!’ Trivikrama Bharati was humbled. He said, ‘Oh Lord, overwhelmed by your yogic power, I am unable to find words for my profound experience. Oh Ocean of Mercy, Thou self-controlled one, may you protect me! I have realized that the religious merit of my life-long meditation has earned me this meeting with your holiness. You are indeed the Lord on whom I meditate! I seek your refuge. May you pardon my misdeeds.’
Pleased with the candour, new found humility and repentance of Trivikrama Bharati, Sree Guru granted him the sight of his real, divine form. Trivikrama was able to see the king and his retinue that accompanied him but could not stand the glory of the Lord’s presence. He saw the king fanning HIM like a humble servant. It was indeed the cosmic form of the Guru that he saw. Sree Nrisimha Saraswathi then said, “Trivikrama, I have granted you the blessed vision of my divine form which cannot be attained even through prolonged cultivation of mystic vision. For, I am pleased with your devout practice of dhyana.” The next moment, the humbled sannyasi once again saw the mortal form of Sree Guru in front of him. Emerging from the mystic vision, Trivikrama sang in praise of the Lord, ‘Oh Thou Spirit of the Universe! Indeed, I haven’t meditated on you with a heart, body or mind that are pure enough. I even vilified you. Yet you have graced me and I am blessed indeed. You have granted me the vision of your cosmic form (Viswarupa) which was vouched to Arjuna of yore. Oh Hari, I am drifting away in ocean of nescience. Pray, carry me in the bark of wisdom to the shore of True Being’. The Lord assured him, ‘Stay here and you shall transcend nescience through wisdom and attain the ultimate goal’.
Again the Lord returned to his monastery with all the retinue and there he expounded the path of Karma Yoga to his devotees.