This is the continuing serialization of 252 Vaishnavan ki varta, the lives of the saints following Vitthalnath, son of Vallabhacharya. It has been translated from the original Braj Bhasha by Krishnaa Kinkari Devi. This is the Third Varta, Parts 10-13. See previous.
One day Sri Gusainji happily addressed Sri Rukmini Bahuji, “You see all the Vaishnavas? They are all mine. They all represent parts of my very body. ”
Sri Rukminji then asked Sri Gusainji, “Which limb is Harivamsaji?”
Sri Gusainji replied, “Harivamsaji is the dark pupils of my eyes.”
A little while after this Chachaji stumbled on something and hurt himself. At that time Sri Gusainji’s eyes began to give him pain. Sri Rukminiji asked him, “Why are your eyes hurting like this?”
Sri Gusainji told her, “Harivamsaji suffered a blow and has pain; that’s why they my eyes are giving me pain. ”
When Chachajis pain subsided then Sri Gusainji’s eyes recovered. In this way Sri Gusainji revealed the true form of all his Vaishnavas.
Once Sri Gusainji went from Gokul to Sri Nathdwar [Jatipura] to deliver some supplies for Sri Nathaji. When he reached the banks of Sri Yamunaji it was evening time, and there was no boat available to cross over.
Chachaji thought to himself, “Tomorrow is the festival. These preparations must be ready two hours before dawn, and they can only be made ready during the night. Sri Nathdwar is twenty miles away, so how will we be able to reach there in time?”
He said to his accompanying Vaishnava, “Walk behind me and place your feet wherever I place mine.”
Chachaji walked ahead chanting the Lord’s name and stepped in to Sri Yamunaji. The Vaishnava carefully put his feet into the same place as Chachaji. He did this for some distance,but then he thought to himself, “Why do I really need to put my feet where he had placed his? I will also chant the Lord’s name and carry on in my own way.” He then carried on, placing his feet separately. He soon began to sink into Sri Yamunaji. He called out. Harivamsaji said to him, “I told you to put you feet where I had already stepped. Why did you put them somewhere else?”
The Vaishnava told Chachaji the reason, “Chachaji! I thought to myself that I would also proceed forward whilst chanting the name of the Lord and putting my feet in a different place. ”
Chachaji said, “I was chanting the name of the Lord and the Lord listened, but he did not hear your chanting today. ”
Chachaji held the hand of that Vaishnava and took him across to the other side. He thus demonstrated to the Vaishnava the glory of the Holy Name.
Harivamsaji arrived in Sri Nathadwar. He paid his humble respects to Sri Gusainji. Having deposited the supplies in the store he went home and slept. The Vaishnava who had accompanied him came to Sri Gusainji and told him the whole story. He said, “O Maharaj! Chachaji told me that when he took the Lord’s name then the Lord listened, but that when I did, he did not. Why is this?”
Sri Gusainji told him, “The Lord has to have accepted a soul’s remembrance and seva before they can become solid, but until they become fixed they will not render the perfect reward. Chachaji has attained this state in his remembrance of the Lord’s name and therefore the glory of the Eight-syllable Prayer (śrī-kṛṣṇaḥ śaraṇaṁ mama) reigns within him. Yours has not yet reached such maturity. Therefore one needs to keep the company of the Lord’s accomplished devotees.”
The Vaishnava then implored Sri Gusainji, “You say this eight-syllable mantra is solidly established in Chachaji’s heart. How can I recognize this?”
Sri Gusainji told him, “Go to Chachaji’s home. There you will see that Harivamsaji is sleeping,but that even while he does, the sound of the eight-syllable mantra is oozing out of his every hair follicle.” When he saw this, the Vaishnava’s doubts were all dissolved.
Bhavaprakasha: A doubt may arise in this story. On the Path of Grace it is said that when the Lord selects a soul then they come to His shelter. When the soul thus takes refuge in the Lord He accepts their remembrance and Seva [seva-sumiran]. So,why is it stated here, “When the Lord accepts you only then can your seva-sumiran be firm”?
The answer given here is that only when the Lord graces a soul will that soul surrender to the Lord. However, until the love in that embodied soul’s heart for the Lord does not become unshakable and permanent, their spiritual practices will not bear fruit. Therefore an embodied soul must constantly recall their love for the Lord and always recite the 8-syllable mantra. They should keep the company of great Vaishnavas and remain always ready to serve the Lord. In this way their heart’s love will become solidly fixed and when they take the Lord’s name or serve the Lord with such focused love, then these bring immediate rewards. This is the principle taught through this incident.
[Parts 13 and 14 have been composed by Sri Harirayji alone]
Once [after Gusainji had left the world ] some Vaishnavas from Gujarat approached Harivamsaji saying, “We are very wrapped up in our worldly activities . For this reason we are not able to go to Gokul. How may we have the Sight of Sri Gokulnathaji?”
Chachaji went to Rajnagar and from there wrote a letter to Sri Gokulnathaji and sent a messenger to deliver it to him at home. It read, “O Maharaj! If you do not go to Sri Dwarakaji then no one from Sri Vallabhacharyaji’s lineage will travel to Dwarakaji. Therefore please visit Sri Dwarakapuri at least once!”
The appointed man took this letter and left. He arrived in Gokul some days later and presented it to Sri Gokulnathaji. Champabhai the store manager read it out to Sri Gokulnathaji. Hearing the contents Sri Gokulnathaji said to Champabhai, “I really must go to Sri Dwarakaji.”
Sri Gokulnathaji had already made a vow that he would not travel abroad for the sake of collecting donations. However, as he contemplated the glory of Sri Dwarakaji and took into account that it had been Chacha Harivamaji who had written the letter, he set off for Sri Dwaraka. He first arrived in Rajnagar. He stayed a few days there before setting off again. He stayed for 13 days in Dwaraka before returning to Rajnagar where he stayed with Chacha Harivamsaji before returning to Gokul.
Sri Gokulnathaji left Chachaji there and came back to Gokul. After quite some days Chachaji also came back to Gokul. He gave the wealth he had gathered to Sri Giridharji and went to have the Holy Sight of Sri Nathaji . After having Sri Nathaji’s darshan up on Sri Giriraji, Chachaji asked the temple priest Ramdasji, “O Ramdasji, do you have any news?”
Ramdasji replied, “The only news that I could give you would be that which he gave us before leaving. However, we now have this one son, Sri Gokulnathaji. ”
This is all that Ramdasji said to Chachaji. But Ramdasji did then ask Chachaji, “What news do you have?”
Chachaji replied, “O Ramdasji! At the moment I am reading the Five Chapters [on the Raas Leela, Panchadhyayi]” He meant that when Sri Gusanji was present they would read one verse and Sri Gusainji would explain the meaning. They would remain fully engrossed in this way for days and days. Now the time had come when such reading was impossible. That time had disappeared along with Sri Gusainji.
[Vitthalnath Gusainji (1516-1586) had seven sons: (1) Sri Girdharji (whose svarupas are Shrinathji, Sri Navneet Priyaji, Sri Mathureshji), (2) Sri Govindraiji (Sri Vitthalnathji); (3) Sri Balkrishnaji (Sri Dwarkadishji); (4) Sri Gokulnathji (Sri Gokulnathji); (5) Sri Raghunathji (Sri Gokulchandramaji); (6) Sri Yadunathji (Sri Balkrishnalalji); (7) Sri Ghanshyamji (Sri Madanmohanji).]
Once Sri Gokulnathaji and his brother Sri Ghanashyamji were discussing texts between themselves. At that very time Harivamsaji came into the baithak in order to have the sight of Sri Gokulnathaji. Chachaji bowed low in respect to both of them and piped up, “What were you two reading about? Now please put the book away.”
Both the brothers respected Chachaji’s words as instructions. From the next day onwards, Sri Gokulnathaji and Sri Ghanashyamji only read Sri Acharyaji’s commentary on the Srimad Bhagavatam, the Sri Subodhiniji, along with Sri Gusainji’s Tippani. They would also sit with Harivamsaji to hear these. They were thus always immersed in the nectar of the Lord’s pastimes and constantly contemplated their inner meaning. If they did not understand a certain matter then Sri Ghanashyamji would go to Sri Giridharaji and ask him.
The first thing that Sri Ghanashyamji said to Sri Giridharaji was, “O Babaji [elder brother], he is looking at us and he is speaking to us.”
Sri Giridharji then burst into tears. Remembrance of his beloved grandfather filled his heart. He lost consciousness of his body for nearly two hours. Then he sat Sri Ghanashyamji down in his lap and began to kiss his face, saying, “Could you see him?”
Then Sri Ghanashyamji said to Sri Giridharji, “Our grandfather Sri Vallabha always sees.”
Hearing these words Sri Giridharji was very happy with Sri Ghanashyamji. After this whenever Sri Ghanashyamji had a question he would go to Sri Giridharji who would give him the answer. He would instruct, “Apart from Sri Vallabha who truly sees? Sri Gokulnathaji told all this to Harivamsaji when they were alone.
And again one time, Sri Balakrishnaji heard Sri Giridharjis words. One day when they were discussing the scriptures Sri Balakrishnaji came there to Sri Gokulnathaji. Sri Balakrishnaji said to Sri Gokulnathaji, “O Sri Vallabha! Please read the Sri Subodhiniji to me. Sri Gokulnathaji answered, “O Dada [elder brother] You are older than me! How can I teach my elder?”
Then Sri Balakrishnaji said to Sri Gokulnathaji, “This presents no obstacle! Please do read these teachings to me.”
After that Sri Shobhabetiji became the chief listener and Sri Balakrishnaji and Sri Ghanashyamji sat in a quiet place and listened to Sri Gokulnathaji as he read. Two Vaishnavas found out about that place, Chacha Harivamsaji and Nihalchand Bhai. Sri Gokulnathaji sat in his baithak and read and spoke to this whole group of people. Nihalchand Bhai was allowed to be there because he had previously listened to Krishna Bhat. Krishna Bhat, Harivamsaji and Nihalchand Bhai had all three listened to Sri Gusainji and therafter discussed between themselves. They were always full of the bliss of such readings and discussions and this is how Nihalchand was let in on the say so of Harivamsaji. Sri Gokulnathaji blessed all of these people with these spoken teachings.
After Sri Gusainji left the world, Harivamsaji took up permanent residence in Gokul. He would constantly hear the Sri Subodhiniji from Sri Gokulnathaji and was therefore totally blessed with the nectar of the accounts of the divine pastimes.
In this way Chacha Harivamsaji was a recipient of Sri Gusainji’s immense grace.
Thus concludes Varta 3, the story of Chacha Harivamsaji, although truly his story has no end.