Son of Ramdasji and Parvatiji - RaghuNathdasji
Story No.1 RaghuNathdasji was a very intelligent young man. After having finished his studies at Varanasi (also known as Banaras / Kashi), he came to Gokul to pay his respects to Shri Gosaiji and have darshan of the Lord. Knowing his potential as a great devotee, Shri Gosaiji used to request him to sit in the front row when he recited Shri Subodhiniji - Acharya Shri's own commentaries on Shrimad Bhagvatam.
One day, another devotee, Paramanda Soni requested RaghuNathdasji to help explain the sermon of Shri Gosaiji. RaghuNathdasji was honest enough to say, "To tell you the truth, though I am "learned", I don't understand anything of what Shri Acharyaji has written. I am sorry, but I am not sufficiently aware of his principles to be able to comment on his views, works or commentaries." Understanding is not something that can be achieved by reading alone. To truly "understand" someone's views or principles, one must first think / meditate on those principles. Having done this, one must truly live by them, than only can we hope to truly "understand" those principles. RaghuNathdasji was honest enough to admit that he had not done this yet. But, he was willing to learn.
At Parmanaddas Soni's behest, Shri Gosaiji decided to teach the principles of Pushti Marg to RaghuNathdas. He explained the four main works of Shri Vallabh, namely, Siddhant Rahasya, KrshnaShraya, NavaRatnam, and Sevafal. Having learned and "understood" these, RaghuNathdasji became a pundit in the truest sense of the word.
Story No.2 After sometime, he took leave of Shri Gosaiji and moved to Kanoj to live with his mother. He started to worship the family deity - MathuraNathji along with his mother. However, after a while, he wanted to worship the Lord in his own way and did not appreciate having to "share" the seva with his mother. Perhaps, his ego as a "great pundit, graduate from Kashi, personal disciple of Shri Vallabh and Shri Gosaiji," came in his way of sharing the worship of the Lord with anyone. However, love can not be apportioned as inheritance. It cannot be taken for granted and cannot be passed on like a family heirloom. Love for the Lord is even more precious, it is something that springs from the hidden depths of one's heart. No amount of money or "intelligence" can awaken that love. This love can only come with the grace (Pushti) of God.
Parvatiji was an understanding mother. She let RaghuNathdasji take her Lord's seva away from her. Like a true mother, though her son was being selfish, she decided to help him out by doing other tasks to aid in his seva. She would fetch water, clean the kitchen utensil etc. for the seva of the Lord. However, as she was no longer able to do the seva herself, she abandoned all the worldly pleasures in her life. She did not give them up as we give up food on ekadashi, rather, she did not even think of those "pleasures" as pleasures without her Lord. Just as we abandon a warm coat after having entered a (warmer) house - almost absent mindedly, she gave up eating good food etc almost without thinking about it. Without her seva, why would she cook the Mahaprasaad ? And if did not cook choice foods for the Lord, she had no desire to cook them for herself, so, she would come home from helping RaghuNathdasji in his seva and than cook a simple bread of wheat and chick peas (called liti). Pinning for her Lord, Shri MathuraNathji, she lived on this simple diet of bread and water for a few days.
The Lord is a boundless ocean of mercy and love. He cannot see the suffering of his devotees without being moved by it. One day, He came to Parvatiji in her dream and said, "Parvati, please do me a favour and cook some daal (lentil soup) tomorrow. Eating this dry liti for the past few days has chaffed my throat." How could Parvati refuse ? But she was surprised and asked, "My Lord, but RaghuNathdasji is feeding you all sorts of gourmet food, how comes you are eating my dry liti ?" The Lord smiled and said, "Though I have to eat all those things at RaghuNathdasji's house at the behest of Shri Gosaiji, I prefer to eat the food cooked by your hands." Parvatiji was overcome with emotion. Next day, she cooked proper food, least her Lord should chaff his delicate throat.
A few days later, inspired by Shri Gosaiji, RaghuNathdasji realised that by forcing his mother to hand over the entire seva to him, RaghuNathdas had made a great error. Seva is not a selfish affair. It is a joyous celebration of the union between God and His intimate Soul. By refusing to let his mother help, RaghuNathdasji had offended the Lord and in Pushti Marg, one is not suppose to offend the tiniest creature, let alone a fellow Vaishnav ! RaghuNathdasji is great in that he realised his mistake and immediately took measures to rectify it. He apologised to his mother and requested her to guide him in how to do the seva, as taught to her by Shri Vallabh. Parvatiji was pleased to have her seva back. She knew RaghuNathdasji uncanny ability to do shringar was far better than hers, so she opted to look after the kitchen duties for the Lord, whilst he was do the shringar. Together, they continued their progress on this Path of Divine Grace, as pointed out by Acharya Shri MahaPrabhuji.
Having thus read the great devotion of these Vaishnavs, let us too pray for the Lord's grace, so that we may be inspired by their stories and we too may get closer to God.
© Bhagwat Shah
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