The Mother Divine
Change Font Size
Decrease Font - The Mother Divine
Increase Font - The Mother Divine
A Memorable Visit to the Land of the Brave-I
By B.N.Mullik (Kinkar Vishwananda)
Baba’s visit to Rajasthan will remain memorable in many ways for a long time to come. In a region, where the sword had always received the greatest honour, and which has produced some of the greatest heroes of India, a new warrior trod the soil with no arms in his hands but only Naam on his lips. Whereas the earlier heroes had conquered people physically and ruled over their territories, Baba conquered their minds and gave them a kingdom in his own heart. It was amazing to see whiskered Rajputs and Bhils, scions of great warrior families, with long traditions of heroism and fighting, trooping in and prostrating themselves at Baba’s feet. Only then one could fully realise the strength of the spiritual force which Baba spreads wherever he goes and the overpowering strength of Naam which goes with him. Baba has been a great admirer of Rajasthan womanhood and cites the example of the Johar Vrata observed by Rani Padmini of Chittor. When the citadel of Chittor was stormed by Alauddin’s troops, the entire womanhood of Chittor embraced death by jumping into blazing fire rather than fall in Muslim hands. One saw here hundreds of the same veiled Rajput women, wearing the same dresses, coming to him and surrendering to him their minds and hearts and beseeching his blessings with the fullest confidence that his ‘Ashirwad’ would take them across the biggest pitfalls in their lives.

When Baba’s plane arrived at Udaipur airport on the 27th November,’74 at 3.00 P.M. from Delhi, he was received by a large and enthusiastic gathering and taken to Govind Bhawan, the residence of Rao Manohar Singhji of Bedla. It was one of those sprawling old aristocratic houses where it is difficult to find one’s way from one end to the other, there being so many apartments, courts and outhouses. Incidentally, Major General Rao Manohar Singh was one of the nine most important nobles in the court of the Maharana of Udaipur and he is held in high esteem throughout Mewar and also beyond it. His family belongs to the Chouhan clan and had come from Mainpuri in U.P. to serve the Ranas and, by their loyalty and valour, had risen to such a high position. His knowledge of Rajasthan history is also profound. The entire area was full of people, anxiously waiting for the only person in India who, they believed, could bring succor and relief to them and save them from the manifold difficulties which were making their lives miserable. They knew that he was not an administrator, that he had no Government power under his control and that he did not command large finances; yet they hoped that by his very stay in Udaipur for a few days, a new era would be ushered in not only for Mewar but for the whole of Rajasthan. They had seen many administrators but none had been able to remove their difficulties. They knew that it required someone with much higher power in his command and Sri Sitaramdasji was the personification of that power. It was this belief that brought people flocking to his presence to do ‘Pranam’ to him and to receive blessings by a touch on their heads. The eagerness for taking ‘Diksha’ by old and young, by even very young children, was remarkable. This was something amazing and which has not been seen in other parts of Northern India.

It is true that a warriors’ blood is also a Bhakta’s blood and so, in this city of the braves, so many people have been attracted by Baba’s presence and they have taken ‘Diksha’ from him. Baba has not yet gone out anywhere and has not held any meetings. He has not gone out in a procession and has not advertised himself. God does not have to advertise himself. It is people who advertise him. So the people of Udaipur have advertised Baba and their faith in him have drawn them from Jaipur, Kota, Jodhpur and many other parts of the State as well as from the surrounding areas. They have all come to have his ‘Darshan’. All the trouble taken by them for coming over here was compensated many times over by simply seeing Baba once even though it might be from some distance. People go hundreds of miles to see God in a temple but here was God in person; hence it was no wonder that his sight alone was enough and all their desires were fulfilled.

There is no point in wasting time in describing all the arrangements that were made by Rao Manohar Singh to accommodate Baba and his party in Govind Bhavan. All that he had done was naturally expected from a person of his experience and standard. But what he himself had not catered for was that his house would suddenly become a focal point to which streams of people from all over Udaipur would come to pay homage to Baba. The whole place wore to gala appearance of a festival and so it was, −probably, the greatest festival in Rao Sahib’s life, to receive his beloved ‘Ishta’’ in his house. He and his sons and daughters and all his employees worked day and night to make not only Baba comfortable but every member of the party feel at home. People went on coming till mid-night and, though, Baba needed rest, he stood this strain admirably and did not disappoint any one.

The early morning of the 28th (5 A.M.) saw a big congregation in the house completely filling the large central hall, all waiting to see the ‘Mangal Aarati’, take part in the prayer and receive blessings from Baba by the touch of ‘Paduka’ (sandals of his Gurudeva). Naturally when so many people were to be blessed, this proceeding went on till 8.00 A.M. and, before this ended, ‘Diksharthis’ had arrived and they were given the ‘Gurumantra’ and were made to sit down in a separate enclosed space for meditation.

Then at 10 A.M. Baba went to the house of Shri Chandra Singh Mehta. The Mehtas are the descendants of the famous Bhama Shah, who, when Maharana Pratap Singh was down and out and penniless and was contemplating surrender, came forward with all his life’s earnings and thus saved the situation. He later became one of Rana Pratap’s commanders in the field and ended as his Prime Minister. Bhama Shah was known as the ‘Kohinoor’ of Mewar. Baba stepped out of the car into the Satyanarayan Temple which Mehtaji had built in the memory of his wife. Baba was much impressed, touched the feet of Sri Narayan and Sri Lakshmi with his hands and then, in the small ‘Nat Mandir’, he saw on one side Shiva with Parwati, Ganesh and Kartikeya and on the other side the statue of late Shrimati Mehta with folded hands worshipping her ‘Ishta’. Then something inconceivable, and unbelievable, something which had never happened before, did happen. With slow but firm steps, Baba walked up to the statue of Shrimati Mehta, held her head with both his palms and whispered the same ‘Mantra’ in her ears which he had given to Mehtaji earlier. This noble lady was thus blessed in heaven and it was Shri Mehta’s love for his wife and devotion to Baba which made it possible for his dead wife to receive Baba’s blessings. But dead she was not, for we saw her spirit all over the place. Her spirit must have guided her husband to Baba’s feet so that he could in turn bring Baba himself to her. It was a great sight! Tears came in many eyes and there was a hush of silence when Baba was giving ‘Mantra’ in her ears and a great exclamation of joy when it ended. Reception at Shri Mehta’s place was noted by elegance and orderliness. Large crowds of men and women were present. None had to be pushed, none had to be obstructed. Everyone look his or her turn to come forward and pay his or her homage to Baba and then retire and sit quietly at his or her place in the hall. Baba had his “Phal-Prasad” here.

Thereafter he was taken round Pratap Samarak and was shown the statue of Rana Pratap on his famous mount Chetak as well as his old fort over-looking the lake which was built at the time of the late Maharana Fateh Singh. A great admirer of Rana Pratap, Baba was naturally impressed by what he saw and heard of this greatest hero of Indian history and he ordered Rana Pratap’s life to be serially published in magazines under his control both in English and in Hindi.

The party came back to Govind Bhavan at about 1.00 P.M. There was no other specific engagement but streams of men and women went on coming to see Baba all the time. The ‘Akhand Kirtan’, which had commenced the moment Baba had stepped at Govind Bhawan, had continued the whole night and would continue so long as he would stay here sending vibrations of ‘Naam’ across the hills to all parts of Rajasthan. Baba went to see the preparation of ‘Chapati’ of special Rajasthani variety each at least 18 inches in diameter and baked on the back of earthen vessels. He also saw the special ‘Puri’ and ‘Parantha’ done in Rajasthani style. Nearly four hundred people were feeding every day in Sri Manohar Singh’s place. Baba also visited all the apartments of Rao Sahib’s house and sanctified every room with the dust of his feet, He then attended to the ‘Diksharthis’ and it was not till 3 P.M. that he had his midday meal. After a short rest, he was up, receiving visitors of whom there was an unceasing stream, coming all the time. He received ‘Pranams’ from every one, talked to anyone who had problems and none was turned back disappointed. This went on till the evening when there was ‘Path’ and Prayer. Thereafter more visitors came till midnight.

The morning of 29th November saw a bigger congregation from 5 A.M. to join the ‘Mangal Aarati’ and morning prayers and have ‘Paduka Sparsh’. This went on till 8 A.M. and, before Baba could snatch and rest, visitors started trooping in and Baba went on taking their ‘Pranam’ and answering their questions. Thakurs and farmers, high government officials and clerks and peons, Pandits and the illiterate, all had set out on their pilgrimage this morning and each had his eyeful of ‘Darshan’ and heart full of indescribable pleasure. One had only to look at the beaming faces of persons coming out after meeting their God to realise how much they had got from him. They went in with anxious and expectant faces and came out happy and contented and did ‘Pranam’ to all present as one does after a successful pilgrimage, yet he had given them no titles or honours nor any promises, he had given them no riches in the material sense. All these become insignificant when they have his ‘Darshan’, see his beautiful smiling face and feel the touch of his hand on their heads. Indeed they had not hoped for even so much. they had come with the hope that they might have his ‘Darshan’ even from a distance, but here they had gone very close to God in person, were able to talk to him and were touched by him. These were incidents which they had never imagined would happen to them. So they were happy beyond measure and everyone thanked Rao Manohar Singh for making it possible for them to have of their desires fulfilled.

After giving ‘Guru Mantra’ to the ‘Diksharthis’, Baba started on his morning visits. He first visited the house of Rao Sahib Khuman Singhji, the head Chundawat Rajputs. The chief’s wife was ill and Baba gave her ‘Diksha’ in his house in a brief ceremony. Much history is associated with the Chundawats. Chunda was the eldest son of Rana Lakha (1382-1419 AD) of Mewar and was the heir-apparent. His marriage had been fixed with Kumari Hansabai. When talk for the marriage was going on, the Rana uttered in jest that the bride-to be was so comely that if he were younger he himself would have married her. Chunda immediately called Hansabai, his mother and asked his father to keep his word and marry this lady. His father objected but Chunda would not allow his father to break his word. Rana Lakha ultimately agreed to marry Hansa bai but her father made it a condition that a son born of her would succeed to the Mewar Gaddi and not Chunda, the eldest son. Chunda took an oath that neither he nor his descendants would ever contend for the throne but they would ever remain loyal to Mewar. Rana Lanka married Hansabai and Mokul born of this wedlock, became the next Rana. Chunda remained loyal to his younger brother and his descendants were always the foremost commanders of the Mewar army and they came to be known as the Chundawats.

When Raj Singh was the Maharana (1652-1680). Aurangzeb intended to marry Charumati daughter of the Raja of Kishengarh. The young lady wrote to several Rajput Princes to protect her but none responded as thereby he would incur Aurangzeb’s enmity. At last she appealed to Rana Raj Singh to marry her and thus save a Rajput girl from the hands of the Muslims. Raj Singh called in all his Thakurs and they unanimously bade the Rana to marry Charumati and thus protect her honour. Then Raj Singh divided his army in two parts. The bigger army was given to the Chundawat Chief of Salumbar to stop Aurangzeb who was going towards Kishengarh to claim Charumati and, with the smaller army; Raj Singh himself proceeded to Kishengarh. This Chundawat Thakur was newly married and was reluctant to leave his young wife. Yet the call of duty had to be obeyed, so husband and wife made a pact between themselves that if he died in battle she would become a ‘Sati’. Yet the Chief returned twice to see his wife, who then realised that her husband could not fight bravely if he continued to be infatuated with her. So she called the household priest and asked him to bring a big plate and a sword. When these were brought to her, she told the priest that she was going to cut off her head and the priest should place it on the plate and cover it and present it to the Thakur Saheb saying that the Rani had gone ahead and was waiting for him to join her. Then with one stroke she cut off her head. The priest did as he was told. The Chundawat Thakur on seeing the head of his wife fastened it on his chest with its long tresses of hair and went forward to fight. He had no weakness left. So strongly did he attack Aurangzeb’s army, that the latter sought for peace saying that he had no evil intentions towards Mewar but was only going to Kishengarh to marry the Princess. But the Chundawat Thakur feigned not to believe him and went on fighting for ten days till he learnt that Raj Singh had returned safely to Udaipur with his bride. The Thakur, however, apprehended that having lost his desired bride, Aurangzeb was sure to wreak vengeance by attacking Mewar so he made it a condition of ‘cease battle’ that Aurangzeb did and so the fight ended. The Chundawat Chief was so badly wounded in the fight that he died, the day after the cease fire, with the head of his beloved wife still fastened on his chest. They were cremated together. Such is the illustrious history of this Chundawat family. The Chundawats, who had never bowed before any one now prostrated themselves before Baba. One felt the thrill of all the past history and all those events passed like a kaleidoscope before one’s mind seeing the beaming faces of the Chundawats surrounding their chief not to protect him against an enemy but to surrender their all to this votary of ‘Dharma’, ‘Ahimsa’, ‘Truth’ and ‘Sadachar’ and whose only weapon was ‘Naam’. Here was a case of complete surrender at Baba’s feet by the chief of a clan which had always produced the foremost fighters for defending Mewar’s honour and for upholding her independence and glory.

From there Baba went to three other houses and finally came to the house of Zorawar Singh Jhala- his beloved disciple, Jhala is a renowned name in Mewar. In the battle of Haldighati, when dame fortune, after smiling for some time in favour of Rana Pratap, turned against him and Pratap and his mount Chetak were both badly wounded, and the battle had been all but lost, Pratap’s Generals realised that he must be saved so that the fight against the Moghuls could continue even after Haldighati had been lost. Bida Jhala came forward and snatched away the umbrella from Pratap’s head and went forward to attack the Moghuls. The enemy, thinking that he was Rana Pratap, attacked him from all sides. After fighting for a considerable period, Bida Jhala fell down and was killed by Man Singh’s troops. Only then did Man Singh realise that it was not Pratap who had been killed but someone else. Search for Pratap ensued but he had in the meantime left the battle field and gone to Khammor. It may be recalled that it was during this battle that had been a contender for the throne of Mewar and had joined Akbar’s army against his elder brother. It was Bida Jhala’s sacrifice which made it possible for Pratap to live and continue the fight and he could recover the major part of Mewar from the grasp of the Moghuls before his death.

The reception at Jhala’s place was most cordial and intimate. Both he and his wife were overwhelmed with joy and everyone present there shared the joy with them. There were half a dozen ‘Dikshartis and Baba gave them ‘Mantra’. The ‘Phal-Prasad’ was sumptuous and the Jhalas gave handsome donations for the Pushkar Ashram and Ashram or Institute to be started at Udaipur. It was difficult to leave Jhala’s house, so strongly in bonds of love they had held Baba. But, there were ‘Dikshartis’ waiting for ‘Mantra’ at Baba's residence; so Baba left Jhala’s house at 1 P.M. to return to Sri Manohar Singh’s house. It was not till 2.30 P.M. that he could finish his work with the new disciples and, after his meal at 3 P.M., he lay down to rest. He was obviously tired.

At 5 P.M. there was a Satsang at Rao Sahib’s place. This is held on every Purnima day and this day was also Purnima. First there was reading from the Bhagawat Gita and the Ramayana. At this stage Baba came. Extracts from ‘Streams of Nectar’, ‘Abhai Vani’ and ‘Rajput Ramani’ were read out and these were rounded up with ‘prayer’ which impressed the audience. Amongst them was Dr. Kothari, Ex-Chairman of the University Grants Commission, who expressed much appreciation of the proceedings and was glad to accept books which were presented to him. The Satsang ended at 7.30 P.M. This was the night of lunar eclipse which lasted till 10.30 P.M. so there was no cooking in the night.

The morning of the 30th started as on the previous day. At 9 A.M.; Baba was taken to the palace to see “Meerabai’s Girdhari Gopal’. It is said that due to the tortures of her husband’s younger brother, who had ascended the throne after her husband’s death, Meera was forced to leave Chittor and roam about Rajasthan, visit Vrindaban and finally go to Dwarka. There she used to sing and sing her heavenly Bhajans and pine for final union with her ‘Girdhari Lal’. At this time, the Rana relented and sent a delegation to Dwarka to fetch Meera on the promise that she could behave in any way she liked and she would be free to continue her worship of Girdhari even though the ‘Kul Devata’ of the Ranas was Mother Durga. But Meera said that she had given herself up to Girdahri Lal and she could not leave Dwarka. But when the emissaries entreated her repeatedly she went to the temple and went on singing and crying till God could not bear any longer. He came out of the image and took Meera with Him and disappeared in the image again. This was Meera’s final union with Sri Krishna. The Rana’s emissary then collected Meera’s belongings including the miniature Girdhari which Meera used to carry with her and this image was then established at Chittore and then moved to Udaipur where it is daily worshipped in a temple of its own. Baba was also shown another temple which contained the images of many gods which different Ganas used to worship as their personal gods. There was a learned Pandit in-charge of the temple and he explained in detail who had installed which god and when and how the worship was done. From the window of the palace, one could have a beautiful view of the lake on the banks of which the palace was situated.

From the palace, Baba went to the house of Sri Inder Singh Mehta, a devoted disciple of his. It was a huge four-storied house with several courts in the heart of the town and there was a large gathering. Baba sat with ‘Kirtan’ going for nearly two hours at this place and all this time people went on coming for ‘Darshan’ and ‘Pranam’. After ‘Phal-Prasad’ which was sumptuous, Baba took leave of Sri Mehta, who was shedding tears of joy at Baba’s coming to his place mingled with tears of sadness on Baba’s departure. Indeed he was so overwhelmed that he could not speak at all.

Baba came back to Govind Bhawan at 1.30 P.M. He had to attend to a large number of ‘Dikshartis’ and he could not sit for his meal till 3.30 P.M. There were a large number of visitors waiting for him. At 4 P.M. the Rajmata of Udaipur and the Maharaja of Idar come and sat near Baba for a considerable period. Baba pleased everyone by his sweet words and advice but it was apparent that he was too tired and he must take some rest before the evening’s programme started. This he did, though reluctantly, as so many people were waiting.

At 6 P.M. Baba with his party went to Bhandari Auditorium. There was a large gathering which had collected on the invitation of the Reception Committee. The head of the Madhavacharya sect presided. After welcome and ‘Mangal-Aradhana’ the organisers wanted Baba to speak but, as he was too tired he asked Sri Dhruva Joyti, Vishwananda and Jayendu to read from ‘Abhai Vani’ and other writings of Baba. In the end the prayer was conducted by Sri Harisadhan. The entire audience was fascinated by the prayer at the end of which Sri Mahananda started ‘Naam-Kirtan’. The proceedings ended at 8 P.M. and Baba returned to Govind Bhawan. There were more people to be seen and talked to and Baba continued to do this till about 9 P.M.

That night Sri Chander Singh Mehta had requested Baba to have his night meal at his place. An advance party had already gone there to do the cooking. Baba, with the rest of party, went to Sri Mehta’s place at 9 P.M. Mehtaji had arranged for classical music by a party of local musicians. They gave a most delightful rendering and kept the audience spell-bound. Baba also enjoyed the music and asked several times whether it was a particular ‘Raga’ or ‘Ragini’ and he was invariably correct. The function had simple grandeur. After night meal, the party returned to Govind Bhawan. On the way Baba explained that when he heard any music or song other than ‘Hare Krishna’, ‘Hare Rama’ the words or music transformed in his ears to ‘Hare Krishna’, ‘Hare Rama’ though it retained its ‘Raga’ or ‘Ragini’. Hence though he could not tell the words of a song, the ‘Raga’ and ‘Ragini’ were easily discernible to him, (Baba has, as if, a natural sacrophone fitted in his ears, Any other music going though it is scrambled and comes out in the form of ‘Hare Krishna’ ‘Hare Rama’).

On the 1st December, ‘Dikshartis’ had been called early as Baba was going to Eklingaji at 11 A.M. The visitors were also in large numbers but after finishing all the work Baba left Govind Bhawan in time. The drive to Eklinga was beautiful passing through one of the passes which commanded Udaipur valley and Eklinga was reached by 11.40 A.M. (14 miles of hilly road.)
(to be continued in the next issue of The Mother)