Krishna will take care of teaching you Braj Bhasha if he wishes to do so….
Living in a country thousands of miles away from India, I always thought of myself as an outsider to the scriptures of Braj Bhoomi. I grew up in a religious household, but I never thought I would be able to read Braj Bhasha. Honestly I had never even thought about it.
I had the privilege of growing up in India. I was fortunate to have learned Hindi during my schooling in India. I did not think much back then, other than it was a very important language. So little did I know back then that Hindi would lay the foundation of my love affair with Brij Bhasha later in life.
Accidental association with Braj Bhasha
On one of my visits to India, I accompanied my parents to Nathdwara, Krishna’s abode in Rajasthan, India. This town is all about Shrinathji (Krishna). It is the center of the Pushtimargiya Vallabh Sampraday of Vaishnavism. One afternoon I came across a book store outside Shri Vitthalnathji Haveli in Nathdwara. I had always heard about the 252 and 84 Vaishnav stories growing up. The 84 Vaishnavas were the ones initiated into the Pushtimargiya sect by Jagadguru Shri Vallabhacharya Ji and the 252 Vaishnavas being those initiated by Shri Vitthalnathji.
While looking at the various books on display, the 252 Vaishnav story book caught my eye. I skimmed through it. It looked like Hindi but it was not anything I had ever seen before. The text looked like some alien language. I thought it must be a local version of Hindi. I inquired to the shopkeeper if he had the 252 Vaishnav stories in Hindi, or even better English? He checked and told me he only had the original one in Brij Bhasha, i.e. the ones I was looking at.
So I took another look at the Braj Bhasa copy of the Tales of the 252 Vaishnavas. I was not very sure if I wanted to purchase it. Would I be able follow the alien sounding text? Would it be too heavy and add to the weight of my baggage on my flight back to the US? I don’t know why, but something in me made me buy the first volume of 252 Vaishnavan ki Vaarta.
The shopkeeper was quick to point out it was a three volume series and there were two more volumes. If I wanted all the 252 stories, I should buy all three. I shared my situation with him. He didn’t say anything. I assume he thought I was some traveler from abroad who knew nothing and was too concerned about exceeding the baggage weight limit. That description in fact fit me well.
Soon after this we left for the neighboring town of Khimnor to have darshan of Shri Harirayji Baithak Ji. All throughout our car journey I tried to read the Braj Bhasha book. It was
extremely tough for me back then. Firstly it had been almost a decade I had read a paragraph in Hindi and secondly it was not really Hindi that I was reading, rather Braj Bhasha. Something kept me going anyway. I will call it Krishna’s will.
Back in the US I kept being drawn towards the Braj Bhasha book. I1 would read it after dinner. I
would not understand many words. I would simply skip them or try to make sense of it by reading
the whole sentence. If the sentence did not make sense, I would read the sentences before and after to try to understand it from the context.
Somehow I always understood the theme of the paragraph I was reading. That kept me going.
Sometimes when the words I did not understand intrigued me a lot, I would ask my guru in India
via email, messenger and so on. As time passed, one thing I experienced without a shed of
doubt was that I was getting better at reading Braj Bhasha every passing week, after a few
months I could read an entire paragraph without stopping. This was Krishna’s will.
I do want to share that Braj Bhasha is the language of Krishna. Krishna knows all languages on
the face of this earth. One can communicate with him in any language. However, of all the
languages known, Braj Bhasha is the closest to Krishna’s heart. Krishna’s love for Braj Bhoomi
and Braj Bhasha are eternal.
I would highly recommend to those who want to lean Braj Bhasha try these three steps.
- Learn Hindi, if you already know Hindi then half the battle is won.
- Pick up a book in Braj Bhasha, stories or poetry and start reading. When I started there was not much help on line, now I have seen web sites like the one linked below that can provide one good material to read. Including a complete dictionary of meaning of Braj Bhasha words in Hindi. What else can one ask for?[Online resources available today]
- Do not stop even if you make mistakes or you do not understand, keep reading . Here is
where Krishna steps in. When he sees his devotees trying very hard he makes it his problem to make sure you get better at Braj Bhasha.
Finally I would like to tell everyone interested in learning Braj Bhasha that if I can do it anyone
can. I did not have access to any formal training or even adequate dictionaries or literature back
then. All I can share is that if you have the desire to lean Braj Bhasha and have no teacher or
resources around, then Krishna will become your teacher and make sure you learn.
I choose not to be identified as in my limited understanding of Bhakti marg I believe yash and
khyati breed ahankaar. The purpose of the above article is not to showcase my name and
achievement. Rather to let all Braj Bhasha learners know “it’s possible”…
Jai Shri Krishna
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