Retold Stories (From Memory): Ancient Wisdom – Story No. I

This is story which I learnt from our mother long ago…it was actually in the form of a poem which Ma was explaining us one day…its focus was – how apparently simple words and simple works at times do bear a deeper meaning and significance on persons’ lives…let me start with the story of that poem…it was based on two rival families of Vrindavan…both were very rich and quite powerful…heads of those two families always used to take great satisfaction in making fool of the other…among the two, the elder between the two clans one was affectionately referred as `Lala Babu’ in the locality…usually he was the person who used to win…at the fag end of his life, Lala Babu decided to take (`Deeksha’) `দীক্ষা’ from his Guruji…somehow his Guru had some other idea…though he was happy that Lala Babu has decided to forego all his petty thinking and ready to renounce everything in search for deeper meaning of life, yet he was not forthcoming with the actual `দীক্ষা’ part of it…instead he asked Lala Babu to go on doing (`Madhu-Kari’ in Bengali – ) i.e. `মাধুকরি’ – that is asking for alms from door to door in that area for the time being…he explained to Lala Babu that it would help him in uprooting his deep rooted `অহন্গ’ (`ahang’ or say, false vanity)…as directed, Lala Babu was going on doing so…the whole city was well aware of this new `Bhikhari’s past…so everyone was eager to offer him alms…which he thankfully accepted…many a people used to converse among themselves…`look, how much rich he has and yet, Lala Babu is going on asking for alms from us at the direction of his Guru…what a noble man indeed he is’!

One day, after a hard toil of seeking alms, he sat under a big tree and taking some break…he was lost in thought…he was going on doing as per his Guru’s bidding for some time and yet, Guru had not blessed him by giving that `দীক্ষা’…where was he lacking? All on a sudden, he realised where was he coming short…he have had begged from so many people in the city, but never he bothered to go to that household which was always his source of irritation, whose head was his rival and with whom he always used to compete – fairly or unfairly in dealings…Lala Babu got up and took a decided step towards that house…he got to win over that weakness of him right away…as soon as he arrived there, stood at the main gate and asked in audible voice for giving him `ভিক্ষা’, a big hue and cry ensued…darwan ran as fast as he could to inform the head of the household…he instantly recognised the person who had arrived at the door for alms….ladies of the house too came out…some were crying, some were holding garlands and flowers to greet to Lala Babu…children of the house got startled and some even started crying…servants and others all came out to watch this unthinkable – that Lala babu had himself come to ask for alms from this very house…last came the head of the house…he came with tearful eyes and hugged Lala Babu tight in his embrace and said – `ইহ লোকে পর লোকে জিতে গেলে বইরি’ (`both in this world and beyond, it is you who became the winner)…`bairi’ is a Sanskrit word which means `Shatru’…all along they were rivals to each other in business…but with this one gesture, Lala Babu got upper hand over his long term enemy once again…both shed tears…heaps of alms in the form of rice, sweets and other niceties were offered…flower petals were showered on him…as per custom, Lala Babu took handful from all those for him and distributed the rest among the gathered crowd and started his return journey towards his Guru’s ashram…on his reaching there, he found his Guru was sitting there, all smiles, with open arms for him…he blessed Lala Babu by uttering those very words for which Lala Babu was longing for so many months – `লগ্ন এসেছে লালা লও আজি দীক্ষা’ (`today is the day Lala, you have become fit for getting Diksha’)…as his would be disciple at last was able to win over his last bit of `aham’ and earned the distinction of being in Guru’s favour

Ma told me another interesting anecdote…one rich person once heard this and decided that it was meant for him to start for his sanyas…one little girl was asking her father – `বাবা, বেলা যে পড়ে এল, বাসনায় আগুন দেবে না?’ (`Baba, won’t you lit up “Basna”, already time is running out’)…actually that girl was asking to lit up dried banana stem (referred as `Basna’ and not `Basana’ (বাস্না), which at times are used as poor man’s’ soap for washing cloths…I have seen once at Agartala that Kamla, one hump backed lady, wife of a local called Dwarik in nearby vicinity, was lighting up dried banana stems, I asked Dida what for she was doing so…Dida explained to me that common people do not waste much money on buying soaps, instead they prefer to make soaps of their own, dried banana leaves (or `basna) is a good source of such form of simple housewash soaps….coming to our main topic, when that little girl asked – `বাস্না য় আগুন দেবে না?’ which is almost similar sounding word to the former line but in meaning they do have huge difference…that fellow in question somehow took that deeper meaning…he thought it was right time to forego all his desire for earthly things and opt for a life of a person who aspire for God…

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