Panduranga - 17

Sunday, November 17, 2013

                      Thukkaram 1
                Chanting of bhagavannama is a sure way from the samsara - the sea of worldliness. Every jeeva is immersed in the sufferings of this world and wants to get out of the vicious cycle. An easy way tested and proved by great mahathmas of our country is namajapam. How the sweet names of the Lord should be chanted? Great bhakthas have shown us the way. Not only the sanyasins or the ascetics but the worldly people also can attain the Lord easily. In order to prove this many bhakthas have taken birth in this holy country. Thukkaram is such a great bhaktha who proved the power of chanting of the divine names of the Lord.
       Dehu is a beautiful village situated on the banks of river Indrayani. There was a merchant named Viswambharar. He did his business with honesty and sincerity. His business was doing very well. One day his mother called him aside and told him that he was alright in doing his business, looking after the family, loving his mother, giving alms etc. But she said that was not enough. He must do something for his athma also. Making money and running the family are for the body only. These are transient. The body might perish along with the wealth acquired. He must acquire a wealth which will never perish. It will support him not only in this birth but in all his births to be.  Viswambharar was surprised at her words and with folded hands asked her what it was.
       The great lady then instructed him to go to Pandharpur and take a bath in Chandrabhaga. She advised him to cry and pray to Pundalika for devotion. Then he should go to the temple. He must cry aloud 'Panduranga' and rush towards the Lord. He must take hold of the Lotus feet of Vittal who is standing on bricks. His blessings are the only unperishable wealth in this world, she said.Their ancestors did the same she said. It was because of their holy Pandhari yathra that he was doing fine now. Hearing this Viswambharar prostrated her and immediately started for Pandharpur singing bhajans from his heart.
        Viswambharar reached Pandharpur and went straight towards the river Chandrabhaga. He prayed to her sincerely to teach him devotion. Then he proceeded to the sanctum of Pundalika. He prayed to Pundalika to give him devotion to see Vittal. Then he went to the temple. He raised his hands over his head and cried aloud 'Panduranga'.  He rushed towards the deity and set his eyes for the first time on the Lord. The Lord standing with his hands on his hip, stood smiling at him. Viswambharar was simply captivated by the enchanting look. His eyes showered tears. He felt he had lost all these years without seeing Panduranga. Now he was happy that he had made it. He wished that he should stay back there seeing the beautiful form of the Lord daily. He prayed to the Lord that He should make him visit again for the divine darsan.
       At last he had to make up his mind to go back with a decision to visit Pandharpur frequently. Viswambharar came back home a changed man. He fell at his mother's feet and thanked her for the great gift she has given. He told her that he would like to go on Ekadasi days. The mother was overjoyed at this. She wanted her son to be devoted to the Lord. She said he was on the right path in his life now. Viswambharar was pained by the separation from the Lord. He cried and cried out his heart. He began to wait eagerly for Ekadasi days. He never missed a single Ekadasi day to visit Pandharpur. 
        It was during one Ekadasi he felt very sad to leave Pandharpur. He cried to the Lord and Bhagavan gave darsan to him. He consoled him saying He is present everywhere. Viswambharar pleaded the Lord to give a place at those lotus feet. Bhagavan promised to give him darsan when he wanted and instructed him to go back to his home. Viswambharar returned home reluctantly. His mother was pleased with his viraha bhava. That night bhagavan came in his dream. He called with great love "Viswambharaa! Dont cry! I will be with you always!" saying this the Lord began to run away. Viswambharar followed him running. Bhagavan reached inside a deep wood. Suddenly Bhagavan disappeared and Viswambharar opened his eyes. He kept thinking of the dream again and again. He remembered the wood was very familiar to him and then recognised it. It was on the border of Dehu. 
         Then he knew that the Lord had come in truth. He called everybody and said the Lord had come to Dehu. "Come! Come! Lets all go and receive the Lord" he cried. The people thought that he had gone out of his mind. Still they wanted to see what was happening. So everybody rushed towards the wood. They could't see anything first but there was fragrance of tulasi leaves in the atmosphere. Viswambharar felt the smell and searched frantically. He found some tulasi leaves lying on the ground. He followed the leaves and found a heap of tulasi leaves at a place. He shouted "the Lord is here! the Lord is here!". 
         Could Viswambharar find the Lord inside? Wait and see in the next issue. Radhkrishna! Radhekrishna!



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