By Shri Ramesh Bābājī Mahārāja
Story : Bhurid Bhaktas
There are the stories of the Bhurid bhaktas:
gungad vishay gopal ke ete jan bhaye bhurida
I already told you who the bhurid bhaktas are; those who give pure distribution of the harinama. This type of donation does not involve money and wealth like a business but with ‘nirpeksh bhāva’, meaning without expectations.
In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10th canto, Gopi Gita 9th śloka:
tav katha amrutam tapta jivanam
kave bhiriditam kalmashapaham
For those devotees, money, wealth, material goals, are insignificant things on the path back to God’s abode. We have talked about so many others in this category like Harinabh Mishra, Bachpaal, Mohitji, and Chhit Swamiji.
Biharin devji’s story begins today. He is called ‘gurudeva’ in Haridasji’s sampradāya. His teachings are called ‘guruvāṇī’, the customs and ways of doing things in this sampradāya were described through his bhajans. Just as in the Rādhā-Vallabha sampradāya, one who is called a ‘sevakji’, who teaches about the customs of the ‘sampradāya’, is known as Biharindeva in the Haridasji sampradāya, tatiya sthan guruji. His original name was Biharidas, but in his sampradāya, they added ‘dev’ at end and made it Biharindev. From the invocation of such prayers, great souls take birth, not like regular people, their parents have performed special supplications and a divine child takes birth. In ancient times, Kardama Ṛṣi and Devahuti were there, their family manifested after powerful prayers. In the modern world, people do not know anything about such procedures.
Before a wedding, certain mantras are sung and recited, now I have heard that in Delhi, some priests will charge high fees to have one’s chart done, if it take 3 hours then the price is this much, more or less according to the time spent. I asked one priest “Why is it like that?” He told me “Usually people want it to be done quickly, that is the demand, so, we put our price high or low accordingly. We have to finish the work of three hours in one hour, thus we have to charge more fees.” Now these affairs have become a business. In previous times times, the work was started and completed through spiritual penance. Like when a child starts to begin school, there was a puja performed of Lord Ganesh. All major activities of life used to start with some devotional puja, now the culture is gone.
Let me tell how Biharidasji was born. His father’s name was Mitrasena. He was a high-ranking officer for the king of Delhi. He was quite wealthy, but did not have any child. So even with all the wealth, he was not happy. He had a friend named Pandit Chaturbhujji Maharaj. He was also a wealthy person but in beginning he too didn’t have a child. Then he went to Swami Haridas, and by his blessings, they finally got a child. He told his friend Mitrasena to please go to Swamiji and get his blessings. He said, “This can happen only by the blessings of saints”. After contemplating this, they came to Vṛndāvana and had darshan of Swamiji. They said, “Mahārāja, we desire to have a devotee child.” Swamiji gave his ‘ashirwād’ (blessings), and a child was born, they named him Biharidas.
His friend Chaturbhujji also had a son whose name was Kṛṣṇa das. He was also a disciple of Swami Haridasji and he was a great devotee of Rādhā Kṛṣṇa. Day and night he was mediating on Their lilas. He had removed himself from all worldly affairs, and when his father passed away he got the service, ‘rāja seva’ to the deities along with Biharidas. Once he had to go to take part in a war with a person called Abdul Rahim Khan Khanaa at a place named Aasaam. This place and also Burma were under Indian rule and it was in 1937 the British had freed Burma. At that time I was born. Lots of commotion was there about that issue, Biharidas felt, feeding devotees is more important than any other service. In the Garuḍa Purāṇa it is stated:
It is more important to serve a devotee than My worship, more important to serve a devotee than to serve Me, even to sing for them is 100 times more important than to sing for Me.
Only in satsang, you can learn these things.
satan prasangam mam virya samvado
bhavanti hit ta karna rata rasayana katha
When you go to meet saints, what do you get? Not a mere feast, but a complete banquet. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 3rd Canto, chapter 25, it says, while meeting and discussing with saints, you get all the stories and knowledge of God.
People who cure others with remedies, they know, there are so many ways you can heal; some times you can give special medicines, or certain important chemicals. In the same way, by meeting or listening to saints, one receives the spiritual chemicals of satsaṅga. Gosvāmīji had the ability to distribute such cures in his association.
When Biharindevji came home, he saw the house was empty, but he found a way to serve. During the war, he didn’t like fighting with enemies, for he had become disgusted with this field of activity. He aspired for some works that were higher. Kṛṣṇa says in the Gita 18.68:
ya idaṁ paramaṁ guhyaṁ
bhaktiṁ mayi parāṁ kṛtvā
mām evaiṣyaty asaṁśayaḥ
For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me.
Now by going to saints, being with them, one gets stories, spiritual chemicals for the heart and ears, and by such constant exposure, the disease of the heart, kāma, is destroyed. So he had chosen to sing the glories of God, and he served the deities day and night. His bhajan, ‘meri ankhiyan ke bhushan hai giridhari,’ is famous.
Once when He was working for the king, he was sent to war in Aasam. The place was very far away, taking many days to reach there, and with no trains and cars in those days, the army had to use bullock carts. They had no tents or living facilities. Now these are the stories to tell, even when I came here, I saw so many bullocks working in farms, but presently you do not see many, now there are tractors.
He had to go there and fight, but he had to make a plan how to avoid the fight. A man named Abdul Rahim Khan Khana, who felt the same way, was with him. Both had decided in their minds to renounce this activity, and with the matchstick of desire, a flame of action followed. Detachment from worldly exploit is called ‘bairag’ or ‘vairagya’. Surdasji explains that bairag is hari ke jan ke sab adhikari.
When he reached the place of war, he saw the atrocities, so many wounded soldiers, one without a hand, and another without a leg, bodies without heads, and some with severe wounds on the stomach and chest. Repulsed he thought, “What am I doing, why should I hurt any one, and whom will I be giving pain to?
dino ke naath dayal re bhajo man Radhe Govinda
Radhe Govinda jaya jaya Radha Govinda
Swami bade dayal re bhaje man Rdahe Govinda
He immediately decided “From now on, I will no longer work for this Muslim King.” He saw so many Hindu ladies crying either for their sons, or husbands. He then just cut one of his hands with his sword, the army would have to let him go and he would not have to fight. When one feels such strong disinterest, then nothing in world, no person, relation, property, or any material thing, can impede ones resolve.
bichare piya ke jag suno bhayo ab ka kariye ab pekhiye ka
Just as Mahāprabhuji said;
yugayitam nimesena caksusa pravrsayatam
sunyayayitam jagat sarvam govinda virahena me
O Govinda! Feeling Your separation, I am considering a moment to be like twelve years or more. Tears are flowing from my eyes like torrents of rain, and I am feeling all vacant in this world in Your absence.
He was a brave officer. He thought, “I can either die or serve this king.”
bichare piya ke jag suno bhayo, ab ka kariya, ab pekiye ka suka chaad ke sangam ko tumre, tuchan ko kaha lekhiye ka, hari chand ko hiran ju byohar, kachan ko le parakhiye ka, jin nainan so va roop lakhyo, un nainan so ab dekhiye kaa
“What do I see in this world? Wherever I look, I see deceit, fraud, distrust, and selfishness. Now I can not work and the king won’t let me go.” It was not the time of democracy. So, what they say is with his own one hand, he cut the other one. “Now with my one hand like this, how can I fight? Now I’ll be eligible to leave.” He was then released from this predicament. He thought, “If I get the service of devotees, then I will be elevated”. After that, he did not return to work. He came directly to Vṛndāvana.
In the Gopi Gita, sloka 15;
atati yad bhavan nahi kananna truti yugayate tvam vichinvitam
And as soon as he came for blessings from Swami Haridasji, after he touched his feet, miraculously, his hand completely healed. With strong devotion, even the result of karmas, which we have to bear, are eradicated, as devotion, knowledge, age, and prosperity grow, the karmas are minimized. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 4.11.21 declares;
āyuṣo ’pacayaṁ jantos
ubhābhyāṁ rahitaḥ sva-stho
duḥsthasya vidadhāty asau
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, is all-powerful, and He awards the results of one’s fruitive activities. Thus, although one living entity’s duration of life is very small whereas that of another is very great, He is always in His transcendental position, and there is no question of lessening or increasing His duration of life.
We think that we will die at a certain time and but it is not like that. It grows or reduces according to our karmas. God’s devotees are given a longer life for sure. After the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam kathā was over, then why was Mārkeṇḍeyaji’s story told? In 12th canto 6th chapter, Śukadevaji went away, and after he left, the kathā should be over. But after his ‘pujan’, the service and receiving blessings, the kathā of Mārkeṇḍeya Muni started. Why? To show, that even though Parīkṣit was supposed to get bitten by Takṣaka snake, he was to die but ‘ārādhana’, meaning steady devotion, helped him through all obstacles, that is the truth here, impossible things become possible. That is the reason, Mārkeṇḍeyaji’s story was told. Parīkṣit became protected and immortal through his devotion.
[Parīkṣit had already left his body in meditation; Takṣaka had bitten and burned a dead body.]
I am not able to devote so much time for bhajans, but when I see all devotees doing kirtan with so much devotion, I can see the result! Just yesterday, something happened here, two girls had disappeared for the last few days. Some one said, “Go to the police and make a complaint.” Already people are against us, if we go there and make up stories, instead of helping, they will blame us. So, we just left it to God and prayed, and as a miracle, we got news yesterday that those two girls were there in a particular village. The weather was very cold; even to go to Mathura would be difficult, so no one ventured to that distant place at this time.
Even those villagers were against releasing them. Still, some brave persons went from here in a car to get them, “What ever happens, we will bring them back.” I came to know this after they had gone. At night, after the evening bhajan, we got a call, one of the girls wanted to talk to me. She said, “Bābājī if you say that I should come, then I will return, otherwise I will not come, however I will come but not to live there.” I said, “Ok come here, you don’t have to live here, and you can go back.” Then they reached here in morning. So what had just happened? We did not have to complain to the police, we didn’t have to look for them and still they came back home.
This is because of the miracle of ārādhana, daily prayers with devotion. This special ārādhana makes impossible things possible. I have told this to show you that why Mārkeṇḍeyaji’s story was told, to show that through ārādhana, even you can come back from death. Even Brahmā cannot do anything to a sādhaka who is performing the sādhana of ārādhana.
na preto na pishachova rakshashova suropiva
bhakti yukta manaskanam sparshen prabhur bhavet
In the 1st canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in the part of the Māhātmya it says that even a ghost, or ghost like demons, demigods, or any person with such strength cannot cause any any harm to a devotee. Ārādhana is the highest power, and anyone who tries to injure a devotee will be destroyed.
I have described this because in Biharin deva’s story, he decided that ārādhana is the priority. So he thought that if my service goes away, that’s fine, he cut his hand with the following goal in mind, that there is no life without the ārādhana of God.
jivat shav samaan te praani jin hari bhakti hriday nahi aani
People, who are without strong devotion, are dead. He had such complete devotion. “That now, I just want to do this, what ever it takes,” so he cut his hand. This is called bairagya or vairāgya. “If I can do something, I will do ārādhana, otherwise, what is the use of this life?” People like us, live for food, wealth and other things, but what benefits do we get?
When he came and offered his obeisances to his guruji, Swami Haridashji, who was his father’s guru also,condition changed. The associate of Swamiji, whose name was Vitthalji, gave him śikṣā. Since then he became Biharindeva instead of Biharidas. He had the greatest faith for his guru and Govinda. To have strong faith in Govinda is easier than in guru, because presently one can see guru but not Govinda, however Biharindev had such strong faith in guruji that even God came second to guru. Vyāsaji wrote himself that Biharindev had true unalloyed love.
sacchi preeti biharin dase, kahe karvaa kahe kunja kaamri
He only had a lota and a bed, very few things, nothing material.
kahe guru swami hari dase, prati vadhik sahi sakat na tinko, janat nahi ka trase
Pratibadhit means, the people who opposed him could not tolerate his glory. In this world, stealing or unfaithfulness is not at all sinful compared to ‘bhakta aparādhe’. People could not understand how brave he was, resilient to harmful ways. After all he was an officer, a soldier, who had cut his own hand, so how could he be afraid of anything?
maha madhuri mat mudit bhaye, gaavat rasa jas jagat udase, saschi preeti biharin dase. Chhinai chini chin parteeti badhat rasa, riti nirakh bin badan bilase anga sang nitya bihar bilokat, ihe aas nidhi ban aas nidhi ban bisi vyase, saachi preti biharin dase
When Swami Haridasji left his body, 7 days later, Vitthaldev also departed. After his guruji left, Vitthalji put a cloth around his eyes “What is there to see in this world now?” He didn’t want to see anybody or anything; such was his attachment to guru. Other devotees thought how could he survive like this? So they began a drama of rāsa-līlā, and the child who was Śrīji, was instructed to act in a particular way. During the play, the child Śrīji said to Vitthalji, “Bābā , don’t you want to see us?” Hesitatingly he said, “No” Śrīji said, “Look at Us”. In this way Śrīji and Śrī Kṛṣṇa unwrapped the cloth around his eyes, and as soon as the cloth was removed, he left his body. He had such strong trust in his guru, he didn’t want to see anyone else after him. Thus he kept his promise.
After Haridas Swamiji left, the puja to Their Lordships was passed down to Vitthalji, and then Biharindevji became the caretaker.
Once while going down to the Yamuna to bathe, he got so immersed in service that he was unaware of his surroundings or even his body. When he went near Yamunaji, he started to brush and clean his mouth and the whole day passed by well into the evening.
biharat laal biharini dou, shree Yamuna ke teere teere
One priest saw him and could perceive his level of absorption and transcendence. At that time, Sanātana ji was near Gosāiji who was serving Madan Mohan Thakurji, and this priest said, “Someone is there singing bhajan since morning, looks like he doesn’t know where he is or what time it is.” He was immersed in bhajan. Gosāiji said, “It can only be Biharindevji, I can not think of anyone else.” Sanātana told the priest to take the prasadam of Madan Mohanji and give some to him. He took prasadam to Biharindevji, and kept calling him, but there was no response. Then Gosāiji told him, “I have brought some prasadam from Swamiji.” As soon as he heard the name ‘Swamiji’, he realized where he was and what he was doing. After taking bath, he then served the deities, and sang this bhajan;
saras roop sukhme sanyo man atkyo gun gann, Biharidas jaane nahi, kit bhojan asnaan
This is what deep devotion is, in Gita 9.34;
man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī mānamaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi yuktvaivam ātmānaṁ mat-parāyaṇaḥ
Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisances to Me and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.
In the Srimad Bhagavatam 11.2.49
smṛtyā harer bhāgavata-pradhānaḥ
Within the material world, one’s material body is always subject to birth and decay. Similarly, the life air [prana] is harassed by hunger and thirst, the mind is always anxious, the intelligence hankers for that which cannot be obtained, and all of the senses are ultimately exhausted by constant struggle in the material nature. A person who is not bewildered by the inevitable miseries of material existence, and who remains aloof from them simply by remembering the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is to be considered bhagavata-pradhana, the foremost devotee of the Lord.
With regard to the nature of the body, life, mind, senses, birth, dying, fall down, hunger, thirst, and fearfulness, if they do not weaken our memory in devotion, then we are devotees.
We are constantly concerned with trivial matters like what is for prasadam today etc., so many distractions. Anyway, after this Biharindevji’s services were given to a person named Mulchand, he was a brahmin from a village named Maat. He took over the care of the deities and even till now; his heirs offer seva to these deities.
There is still more in his story, which we will continue tomorrow.