CHAPTER – 7
Namadharaka Sharma asked Siddha, “Divine Master, please explain to me why the Lord who sported in a human form for the uplift of sadhus disappeared at Kuruvupura.”
Siddha replied, “The Guru wanted to assume another mortal form and hence had left the old one. Now listen to that story:
In a village on the banks of river Krishna, the wife of a Vedic Brahmin by name Ambika gave birth to a son. As ill-luck would have it, the boy happened to be a dullard and idiot. When he grew to the age of eight, his father performed his sacred thread ceremony and initiated him with the Gayathri mantra. As he was unable to utter the mantra properly, his father used to grow desperate and beat him. Then the Brahmin’s wife used to intercede on her son’s behalf, saying, ’Oh Sir! He is a congenital idiot. We have nothing to gain by punishing him except regrets. If you beat him again, I shall jump into a well and end my life’. The Brahmin realized his folly and kept quiet. In course of time, he passed away, leaving his wife and son to live by begging. All the villagers used to heckle the son saying, ‘Oh, son of a learned man, you live in vain. You are not fit to live by sacred alms. It is better that you drown yourself in the river’. Unable to stand the ridicule any longer, one day, he made for the river to commit suicide. And his mother followed him with same intent. Then Lord Sreepada who was, at the moment, bathing in the river, stopped him saying, ‘Oh Brahmin, do not be hasty; otherwise you would incur the sin of committing suicide, as well as the sin of killing a Brahmin. No once can help you out of it. It is better for you to live on, facing any amount of suffering.’ The Brahmin lady then said, ‘Oh holy one, people are humiliating me for being cursed with the birth of a stupid son. They consider it a sin even to see my face. What could I gain by continuing to live?’ The Lord was moved by compassion at her words and said, ‘Mother, by committing suicide, you only add to your former sins and you will have to suffer more in the next life’. She said, ‘Sir, I shall do as you say. But tell me whether anyone has really benefited in the past by doing so.’
Lord Sreepada said, ‘once a king by name Chandrasena ruled the country with Ujjain as his capital. His friend, one Manibhadra, obtained the Chintamani or the wish fulfilling gem by the grace of Lord Shiva. Knowing how invaluable the gem was, several kings planned to grab it and invaded the country. Then king Chandrasena and his friend Manibhadra meditated on Lord Shiva at the proper hour. Seeing their Saturday worship, several urchins of the village gathered in front of their housed and commenced worshipping the Shiva Lingas with Bel leaves and flowers that their mothers had to drag them into their houses for lunch. One such cowherd boy opened his eyes in the middle of the worship of Lord Shiva was interrupted by his mother. In order to expiate the sin of it, he was ready to commit suicide! Then the all-seeing Lord Shiva appeared in front of him and offered to grant him a boon as a reward for his intense devotion. But all that the boy asked for was that he should be pardoned for his sin. The Lord said, ‘My child, owing to your devotion, you shall attain my eternal proximity. Your mother, out of ignorance, has committed the folly. Still, as she had witnessed my worship, she shall have the good fortune of giving birth to the avatar of Lord Vishnu in her next life’. So saying, Lord Shiva disappeared. The Shiva Linga there was shining with a divine splendor. The kings who invaded the country saw that and realized what a pious soul the ruler of the country was. They realized how unholy it was to think of waging war against such a one. Completely converted, they paid a friendly visit to his palace and all of them together proceeded to have a look at that splendid Shiva Linga. They were happy at its sight and honored the cowherd boy with plenty of wealth. The mother of the cowherd boy was later reborn as Yeshoda of puranic fame came to be known as the mother of Lord Krishna, the avatar of Lord Vishnu. You too shall obtain like merit by worshipping Lord Shiva’.
Then she asked, ‘Lord! The fruits of worshipping Lord Shiva, you say, accrue to me in the next birth. But how shall I bear the remaining part of my present life? Oh merciful one, bless me to be a happy mother’. Melting with compassion at her petition, the Lord uttered the Pranava, ‘Om’, and placed his hand on the head of her son by way of blessing. Instantly, the boy became a wise one and an eloquent speaker. The Lord then commanded him to serve his mother and said to her, “Now, mother, you are free from care. Devote the rest of your life to the worship of Lord Shiva. In your next life, you shall have a son of my stature’. She happily returned to her village and dedicated her life to the worship of Lord Shiva.
Then the Supreme Lord, Sreepada reflected thus: ‘I have assured her, by way of blessing, that she shall have a son of my spiritual stature. But there can be no one like me! Therefore I shall keep my word by taking birth as her son’. Thus the unbounded-one willed his own birth once again. Even then, as there was much left to be accomplished for human weal in his present manifestation, he has not left off his identity as Sreepada. Though unseen, he has been granting the wishes of those who serve him”.
Having heard all this, Namadharaka asked, “Holy Sir, why did Lord Sreepada choose to manifest himself again before the mission of his manifestation was accomplished? How could he fulfill the wishes of his devotees while being invisible? Please substantiate this”.
Siddha replied, “Oh Namadharaka, the Lord is eternal. As He is the seed of the whole universe, his activities are infinite. So his purposes are infinite. In fact, he is ever front of his devotees, granting their prayers. Yet he is invisible to all those who are blinded by the spirit of Kali age which can be described as scum to time. Now I shall illustrate how he has been granting the wishes of his devotees, though he is invisible to them:
There was a Brahmin who lived as a businessman. Being a devotee of Sreepada Swami, he vowed to his Lord that he would feed several Brahmins if he prospered by the grace of the Lord. Accordingly, he earned a fortune. Promptly, he started for Kurupura to fulfill his vow. On the way, at sunset, a band of robbers joined him in the guise of pilgrims and at, night, killed him in a solitary place. Lord Sreepada appeared there and killed the robbers with his trident. One of the band of robbers humbly submitted to him and said, ‘As for myself, Oh Lord, I have not joined the Brahmin with any evil intent. Please consider this and do unto me what I deserve’. The Lord told him to keep a watch on the Brahmin’s body, joined the severed head to the trunk and sprinkled it with holy ash and water. Then the Brahmin revived, but by the time he sat up, like one awakened from deep sleep, the Lord disappeared! He was frightened at the sight of the dead bodies of the robbers and learned of all that happened from his lone companion. He was very sorry that he was not blessed with the sight of the Lord who saved his very life. “The Lord has taken so much trouble for my sake and granted his sight to the robbers, but not to me who has been serving him for long! How unlucky am I?’ However, he gathered his belongings, proceeded to Kurupura, fed 4000 Brahmins and profusely honored them with gifts of money. Lord Sreepada has performed many such divine acts in his subtle form. He can even be seen by those who are pure of heart. Even though he later manifested himself as Sree Nrisimha Saraswathi, he has been manifesting his divine powers in his subtle form at Kurupura too. That village has become so holy by his external presence that those who live there gain the merit of performing all holy rites like the recitation of Veda, religious sacrifice, spiritual discipline and charity. Even those who live elsewhere will win his grace by contemplating his divine name, “Digambara, digambara, Sreepada vallabha digambara, Digambara digambara, Avadhutachintana digambara”