Archive for the Stories Category

Bhagatji’s Stories by Deena Bandhu Das

Posted in Stories on May 13, 2011 by padmanabhdas

 Just a little ways behind our Krishna Balaram Guesthouse and down the lane to the right there lived a very good friend of Srila Prabhupada name Bhagatji. Bhagatji means devotee in the common language here. He was a retired fellow who was spending his last days in Vrindavan. Somehow he came in contact with Prabhupada and they became good friends. Because we were always getting cheated in the construction work, Prabhupada had him look over everything. He was very devoted to Srila Prabhupada. Sometimes he would amuse Srila Prabhupada with stories and they would both laugh and laugh!

On Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasa Puja, he used to come and relate to us the stories that delighted Srila Prabhupada so much. This one especially Srila Prabhupada relished and he would over and over ask Bhagaji to tell it.

Rama Dasa and Krishna Das

There was one retired Station Master of Mathura Junction who lived in Vrindavan named Ram Das. He was a very nice Vaisnava, but he was addicted to drinking tea! He had a very good friend named Krishna Das who was a very great devotee who lived in Govardhan. Sometimes Krishna Das would go to visit Rama Das and sometimes Ram Das would go to visit Krishna Das. One time when Ram Das went to Govardhan to see Krishna Das, he told him that verysoon I’m going to see Krishna! Ram Das said, “What do you say?” “Well now I’m quite old, so how much more time I will stay in this world?” Krishna Das nodded his head in assent.

After a couple of weeks later Krishna Das came to see Ram Das. They talked for some time and then Krishna Das suddenly told Ram Das, “Krishna is very worried!”

“Accha?!! Why is that??”

“Well last time you told me that very soon you’re going to see Krishna.”

“Yes, yes! So why He’s worried?”

“Because He’s not keeping any Brittania Tea Biscuits in His Goloka Dhama!”

Prabhupada would laugh and laugh!

A Funny Govardhan Lila

One Vyasa Puja, Bhagatji told us this story that he had related to Prabhupada and he liked it very much! This story is very instructive since many of the rules of Vaisnava etiquette in regards to honoring prasadam are found here.

One time Narada Muni came to Kailash when Lord Shiva was away meditating. He was chatting with Shiva’s wife Parvati. Suddenly he said, “Parvati Mataji, you never invite all us sages and rishis for prasadam!”

Parvati replied, “But you sages and rishis are always fasting and doing tapasya!”

“Yes, but if you invite us we will surely come!”

So then they agree on a date when all the sages and rishis of the universe would come and take prasadam. After some time, Lord Shiva returned from meditating and Parvati explained how she was talking to Narada Muni. Lord Shiva immediately became suspicious and asked what he wanted. She explained that he was complaining that we never invite all the rishis and munis for prasadam.

“What?? Don’t you know better than to listen to this fellow? Don’t tell me you invited all the munis and rishis for prasadam?”

“Well, yes. We even set the date. Why do you ask like this?”

“You should know better than to listen to this trouble maker! Because if you invited all the munis and rishis, that means Agastya Rishi will come! Even you, Mother Parvati, the Universal Mother, will not be able to satisfy him!” (Agastya Rishi is famous for having swallowed the entire ocean!)

“Anyway, what to do? You’ve already invited them! Let’s see what happens!”

So on the appointed day all the rishis and munis of the universe began to arrive. Agastya Rishi also arrived and began to sit everyone down, making sure that he was the very last one. Because only the very last person has the right to ask for more. If they are serving out 2 puris to everyone, no one can interrupt and say that I just one 1 or give me 4. Only the last person has the right to ask for more! Otherwise hundreds of Vaisnavas are sitting and the service gets disturbed!

All of a sudden, Krishna appeared disguised just like a rishi with matted locks and all and he sat down beyond Agastya Rishi. Agastya very crossly said, “Hey, what are you doing?! The last place is for me!” And the newly arrived rishi informed him that not to worry he could retain the right to ask for more. So then they began serving and whenever they came to Agastya, he told them to give him whatever was left in the pot or basket. “Just save some for him!” Indicating the rishi sitting next to him.

Now according to Vaisnava etiquette no one starts eating until everyone and every preparation has been served. A Vaisnavas heart is very soft, how can he start eating when someone in front of him has nothing on his plate! <I have seen this personally that there maybe many big sadhus sitting for prasad, but no one will take until the order is given to start. They sing very nice bhajans while service is going on.> So finally the order was given to start. Every time they came with seconds, Agastya would ask for everything left, just save some for the next rishi.

Now the next rule of Vaisnava etiquette is that no will will rise from his seat until everyone is finished eating. But if someone does get up, then everyone stops eating whether he is finished or not, and they all go off to wash their hands.

Now everyone has finished a long time before, but Agastya Rishi still has a huge hill of prasad on his plate. Now if someone will get up, they can all go, but they know that Agastya has got a very bad temper, so no one wants to upset him. Finally Krishna disguised as a rishi stood up. Then everyone yelled Haribol! and ran to wash their hands. Now they have no fault as this other sadhu has stood up. He will get Agastya’s anger. Agastya became furious, “Hey what have you done?! I haven’t finished! Why did you get up!? And I ate so much and did not drink any water even!!” Krishna then revealed himself and told him not to worry, he would satisfy his great thirst. So when Krishna lifted Govardhan Hill, He called Agastya Rishi. Then he tilted the hill to one side, and all the water ran off into Agastya’s mouth!

Some interesting details. Bhagatji had always promised Srila Prabhupada, that he would give his house to ISKCON when he left this world. But a couple of devotees got anxious to get that house and to and he got anxious tp get a good price for it. So they bought it from him for a nice price. Bhagatji moved into his guru’s ashram on the other side of Vrindavan and gave all the money to his guru. Within a few days, Bhagatji died. Then his guru also did not get to enjoy that money, as very soon he also left this world. Even the one who came after him also was shot dead! The two devotees who had the house quarrelled with one another and there were some other problems. The one sold off his half to an Indian, so the one who was left had no real legal title to the house! So that person eventually drove him off! Even the one who remained, I don’t see so happily living there. I’m convinced that until that house comes to Srila Prabhupada, no will be happy there!

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a nice story – ન જાને સંસાર – વર્ષા અડાલજા from ReadGujarati.com

Posted in Stories on March 17, 2011 by padmanabhdas

સંસારના માણસો એક સવારે ઊંઘમાંથી ઊઠ્યાં, ત્યાં અચંબો પામી ગયાં. એક અભૂતપૂર્વ ઘોષણા આકાશમાંથી સંભળાઈ રહી હતી. કોઈ ડાહ્યા માણસને એમ લાગ્યું કે એ અવાજ કદાચ અંતરમાંથી પણ આવતો હોય ! ગમે તે હોય સ્વર સ્પષ્ટ અને મધુર હતો અને આખી પૃથ્વી પર બરાબર સંભળાતો હતો.

આકાશવાણી કહેતી હતી : સાંભળો ઓ સંસારવાસીઓ. ઈશ્વરે નક્કી કર્યું છે કે તેનાં સંતાનને સુખની અમૂલ્ય ભેટ આપવી. જે મનુષ્યોને પોતાનાં દુઃખમાંથી છૂટકારો મેળવવો હોય, તેઓ આજે મધ્યરાત્રિએ પોતાનાં બધાં દુઃખોને ગાંસડીમાં બાંધી ગામની બહાર ફેંકી દે અને પાછાં ફરતાં જે જે સુખની તેમની અંતરની ઈચ્છા હોય તેની ગાંસડી બાંધી લે. સૂર્યોદય પહેલાં સૌએ ઘરે આવી જવું. તમારા માગેલાં સુખ તમને અચૂક મળશે. પૃથ્વી પરથી તમામ દુઃખોનો નાશ કરી, મનુષ્યમાત્રને ઈશ્વર સુખનું વરદાન આપવા ઈચ્છે છે. એક રાત્રિ માટે જ પૃથ્વી પર કલ્પવૃક્ષ અવતરવાનું છે. એથી દુઃખનો સદાને માટે ત્યાગ કરી, તમારું મનગમતું સુખ માગી લેવાનો આ મહામૂલો અવસર છે. સાંભળો ઓ પૃથ્વીવાસીઓ હો !

પૃથ્વીના ખૂણે ખૂણે આ ઉદ્દઘોષણાનો સ્વર ફેલાતો રહ્યો. સૌએ કાન માંડીને એ સ્વર સાંભળ્યો : અરે ! આ તો સ્વયં ઈશ્વરે આપેલું વરદાન ! કોણ મૂર્ખ હોય કે આવો અવસર ચૂકે ! આ તો પરમાત્માની અમૃતવાણી. ચાલો, દુઃખોને ફેંકી દઈ મનગમતાં સુખોનાં પોટલાં બાંધી લાવીએ, પછી જીવનમાં નકરું સુખ ને સુખ. આખી પૃથ્વી પછી તો આનંદમય ! રાત ઢળવા લાગી. સૌ દુઃખનાં પોટલાં બાંધવામાં મચી પડ્યાં. વીણી વીણીને દુઃખો લઈ લીધાં. ખૂબ વિચારતાં, પહેલાં જે દુઃખ નહોતું તેય હવે દુઃખ લાગવા માંડ્યું. એ દુઃખ પણ ગાંસડીમાં બાંધી દીધું. એક એક મનુષ્ય પાસે મોટી મોટી ગાંસડીઓ થઈ. મધરાત થતાં સૌ માથે પોટલાં મૂકી ગામબહાર ચાલ્યા. બધાં જ ઘરો ખાલી થઈ ગયાં. ગામબહાર જઈ સહુએ દુઃખોની ગાંસડીઓ ફેંકી દીધી. હાશ. કેટલી હળવાશ લાગતી હતી ! આ દુઃખોએ તો હેરાન-પરેશાન કરી મૂક્યાં હતાં. સૂર્યોદય પહેલાં ઘરે પાછાં ફરવાનું હતું એટલે વાતોનો વખત ન હતો. સૌ જલદીથી દિવસભર વિચારીને ગોખી રાખેલાં સુખોનાં ઝટપટ પોટલાં બાંધવા લાગ્યા. જે માગે તે મળવાનું નક્કી હતું. જે સુખનું સપનુંય પહેલાં જોઈ શકતા ન હતા એ સુખને આજે પરમાત્મા તથાસ્તુ કહેવાના હતા. પછી માગવામાં કૃપણતા કોણ કરે ?

બધા લોકોએ સુખોના વજનદાર પોટલાં બાંધ્યાં અને ઘર ભણી દોટ જ મૂકી. સૂર્યોદય પહેલાં પહોંચવાનું હતું અને ઝાઝાં સુખના લોભમાં પોટલાં બાંધતાં સૌને ખાસ્સી વાર થઈ હતી. ઘરે પહોંચતાં સૌ હાંફી ગયા, પણ ખૂબ જ પ્રસન્નતા હતી. હાશ. કાયમ માટે દુઃખની કાશ ગઈ, હવે આનંદ જ આનંદ. સૂર્યનું પહેલું કિરણ ફૂટતાં જ સૌનાં સપનાં સાકાર થઈ ગયાં.
પણ આશ્ચર્યનું આશ્ચર્ય !
આનંદને બદલે ચોતરફ રોક્કળ થઈ ગઈ. એક એક ઘરમાંથી છાતીફાટ આક્રંદનાં તીવ્ર સરો ઊઠ્યા. અરેરે ! પેલું સુખ માગવાનું કેમ રહી ગયું ? હવે તો એ સુખથી સદા માટે વંચિત જ રહેવાનું ને ! પાડોશીનું સુખ કેટલું સરસ હતું ? એવું માગવાનું મને કેમ ન સૂઝ્યું ? એના સોનાના મહેલ પાસે મારા ઈંટ-ચૂનાના મહેલની વળી શી કિંમત ? જૂનાં દુઃખ અને ચિંતાઓને ગામવટો દીધો ત્યાં અનેકગણાં દુઃખો ટોળે આવી મળ્યાં. જે દુઃખો હોઈ શકે એની કલ્પના સુદ્ધાં નહોતી એ દુઃખો સૌને પીડવાં લાગ્યાં. દુઃખનુંય દુઃખ તો એ હતું કે હવે આ દુઃખો સદા એમની સાથે જ રહેવાનાં હતાં. નક્કામાં ગણી જે દુઃખો ફેંકી દીધાં હતાં એ ખરેખર તો સુખ હતાં પણ હવે એ સદાને માટે ખોયાં હતાં.

જેને ખાવા અન્ન ન હતું એ ઓછા અન્નભંડાર માટે રડી રહ્યું હતું અને આ અન્નભંડાર ખૂટશે ત્યારે પોતાનું શું થશે એ ભયથી પણ ફફડી ઊઠ્યું હતું. જેને પહેરવા વસ્ત્રો નહોતાં એ બીજા પાસેનાં કીમતી રત્નો જોઈ માથા કૂટી રહ્યું હતું. સંસાર નવો નક્કોર થઈ ગયો હતો, પણ મનુષ્ય એનો એ જ હતો. સુખદુઃખને માપવાનો ગજ અને મન પણ એનાં એ જ. સૌનાં હતાં તેય સુખ ગયાં અને સૌ દુઃખી દુઃખી થઈ ગયાં. માત્ર એક નગ્ન ફકીર નીજી મસ્તીમાં સૌને રડતા જોતો હતો અને હસતો હતો. એક અત્યંત દુઃખી મનુષ્યે ચીડથી કહ્યું :
‘અરે ફકીર ! તેં કોઈ દુઃખનું સુખ સાથે સાટું નહોતું કર્યું ? તું આટલો આનંદમાં શાથી ?’
ફકીરે કહ્યું : ‘ભાઈ, આનંદ તો મારા મનમાં છે. એટલે એને બહારથી પોટલાં બાંધીને લાવવાની જરૂર ન પડી. જે મનમાં છે તે મારી પાસે જ છે, એટલે શોધવાની જરૂર ન પડી. હું એ સુખથી ખુશ છું એટલે મારે નવું સુખ માગવાની જરૂર ન પડી. તારું સુખ બાહ્ય વસ્તુઓ પર આધારિત છે. એટલે જ્યારે જ્યારે તારી દષ્ટિ બદલાય ત્યારે એ જ સુખ તને દુઃખ લાગે ને કદીક એ જ દુઃખ કીંમતી હીરા જેવું પ્રિય લાગે.’

આજદિન પર્યંત મનુષ્ય સુખદુઃખની વ્યાખ્યામાં ગૂંચવાયેલો રહ્યો છે.

Krsna is waiting for us

Posted in Stories on January 28, 2008 by padmanabhdas

A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, “Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.”

Very quietly, the doctor said, “I don’t know.”

“You don’t know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?”

The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room with his tail wagging and an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “Did you notice my dog? He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside… He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing. I know my Master is there and that is enough.”

Who wins the fight

Posted in Stories on January 28, 2008 by padmanabhdas

A native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt. He said “I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one.”

The grandson asked him, which wolf will win the fight in your heart?

The grandfather answered: “The one I feed.”

So we have spirituality and materialism sitting in our heart. whatever we feed will win. Be Krsna Concious all the time.

Looks are deceiving

Posted in Stories on January 28, 2008 by padmanabhdas

Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to out patients at the clinic.

One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man. “Why, he’s hardly taller than my eight-year-old,” I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body. But the appalling thing was his face, lopsided from swelling, red and raw.

Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, “Good evening. I’ve come to see if you’ve a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there’s no bus ’til morning.”

He told me he’d been hunting for a room since noon but with no success, no one seemed to have a room. “I guess it’s my face… I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments…”

For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me: “I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning.”

I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch. I went inside and finished getting supper. When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us. “No thank you. I have plenty.” And he held up a brown paper bag.

When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes. It didn’t take a long time to see that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body. He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her five children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury.

He didn’t tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other sentence was preface with a thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer. He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going.

At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children’s room for him. When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and the little man was out on the porch.

He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a treatment? I won’t put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a chair.” He paused a moment and then added, “Your children made me feel at home. Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don’t seem to mind.” I told him he was welcome to come again.

And on his next trip he arrived a little after seven in the morning.

As a gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen. He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they’d be nice and fresh. I knew his bus left at 4:00 a.m. and I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us.

In the years he came to stay overnight with us there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden.

Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed. Knowing that he must walk three miles to mail these, and knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly preciou s.

When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning.

“Did you keep that awful looking man last night? I turned him away! You can lose roomers by putting up such people!”

Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice. But oh! If only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear.

I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God.

Recently I was visiting a friend, who has a greenhouse, as she showed me her flowers, we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms. But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket. I thought to myself, “If this were my plant, I’d put it in the loveliest container I had!”

My friend changed my mind. “I ran short of pots,” she explained, and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn’t mind starting out in this old pail. It’s just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden.”

She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was imagining just such a scene in heaven. “Here’s an especially beautiful one,” God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman. “He won’t mind starting in this small body.”

All this happened long ago – and now, in God’s garden, how tall this lovely soul must stand.

Power of Prayer

Posted in Stories on January 28, 2008 by padmanabhdas

There once was a wise sage who wandered the countryside. One day, as he passed near a village, he was approached by a woman who told him of a sick child nearby. She beseeched him to help this child.

So the sage came to the village, and a crowd gathered around him, for such a man was a rare sight. One woman brought the sick child to him, and he said a prayer over her.

“Do you really think your prayer will help her, when medicine has failed?” yelled a man from the crowd.

“You know nothing of such things! You are a stupid fool!” said the sage to the man.

The man became very angry with these words and his face grew hot and red. He was about to say something, or perhaps strike out, when the sage walked over to him and said: “If one word has such power as to make you so angry and hot, may not another have the power to heal?”

And thus, the sage healed two people that day.