The boat man was pulling the small boat along the banks of swollen
. Every time, after few days of constant down pour, Ganga ma breaks her banks in the plains of rural Bihar, to visit the poor villager’s home and enjoy the poor man’s hospitality and cleanse the household of their collective sins. This time, the boat man’s house was totally engulfed in Ganges River Ganga ma’s loving embrace and all his worldly possessions had shrunk in the holy deluge to fit into his last floating life line – into a small boat that he had inherited from his father ages ago.
As he kept on thinking about the last night, he still has not lost track of the 10 more miles that he has to walk along the flooded river banks, pulling the boat tied to a length of rope. His small rickety boat is creaking under the weight of his whole family possessions, as well as his forlorn wife, crying without a sound and a tear and his young son, oblivious to the pain his parents are going through. He was as happy as the river water between his fingers escape, laughing like the soft breeze that touches his curly locks. As the boatman pulled the boat along the submerged rice fields and patches of cucumbers, watermelons that has become routine offering to the fury of the flood, year on and one, some times he used to wonder why people even take the pain of planting them in the first place, when they know that in summers, it will all be washed out. Anyways, that was not his problem as he had more to think about and solve and he kept thinking about the past few days.
Interestingly, poor people usually don’t think beyond present but as the situation with Hariya, the boat man, was grim he was actually thinking of past and of future in his abysmal present. It was a welcome change in a poor man’s life but some how it seemed out of place for Hariya. But still, as he has started thinking about it, might as well as think it through.
A few days ago, Ganga Ma in its latest twist and turns, has altered her course drastically after many decades and came visiting his house in the middle of night while he was away ferrying few monks to their monastery upstream. When he came back in the morning, he saw his wife and his only son hanging on to the Bamboo pole carrying the flag of Hanuman Ji (the monkey king) which is the trade mark of many of the Hindu households in the villages in northern India. His mud and straw hut has become one with the river and the small cover over his family’s head has finally found its own resting place in the soil that river was carrying, in her roaring desire, to reach her final destination hundreds of miles away, into the bay of Bengal. First time he saw the fear in his wife eyes, the women who braved the lonely nights along the bank of mighty river Ganges, where many of the Aghories, who come to do their tantric pracitices on the burning pyres along the river bank. Where in the night, the river’s silent flow, grow into a big roar with the moon behind the cloud and the village witches come over to play with their hearts and their open hair locks and sit next to the newly burned Sati (A practice popular in India where the widow of the deseased used to offer herself willingly in the burning pyre of her husband). He was also surprised to see the fear in his son’s eyes, who has many times crossed the river in full spate. He finally knew that they can not live here ever again as the sound of river’s furious visit in the small house they have had, will forever haunt them, even if mixed in the soothing flow that will flow in times to come, when the river finally recedes. Now with this latest visit of
Ganga ma into his home, he had found enough desire to leave the one place which he thought, he never could. What his ancestors will think of him? What will happen to the memories that were plastered in the daily morning mud plastering of his house floor. Can he actually scratch then and take with him? What will he show for his childhood, when his grand children will come asking about where he has grown up and what kind of mischief he had done in his own childhood. How will he carry all his life long memories that now rest in the thatched walls, on the mud floor, cleansed with the cow dung every morning. How will he find his mother’s song, those lovely hymns of Krishna about his playing in the river. Where he will again find his grand mother earthen lamp and the the Tulsi plant to secure a great future of his grand son. Amid all this thought he now knew that the future has finally come knocking on his door, which has been actually washed away last night. So he had to take a decision before his wife and Krishna finds the same fear in his eyes too. So hastily he decided to go where he was before the flood hit his happy hut.
As he has heard those Bhikshu’s talking of a great sage that has been travelling all over India, son of a king, who welcomes every one into his arms, he also decided to leave whatever he had in the flood hit place that he called home and be with them, serving Him and those peaceful Bhikshu’s in his remaining life, and gather some good karma for his next birth. Now the realization he got after losing everything he owned that this birth is already over for him as long as householder’s life is concerned. Hopefully, Hariya thought, his son Krishna will become a great Bhikshu like them and carry him and his mother across the life’s final passing out on to the great life river Vaitarni(*). But only if they can make this journey before the night, if he has to survive the onslaught of the rains that the sky was pregnant with, the fear of the dacoits, who infest the forest few miles ahead and the another whim of the river Ganges.
What Hariya did not know at that time was the happenings at the monastery. The prince had called some of his close aides to his small hut and was meditating with his soul combined with the universal consciousness. His loving devotees were one with Him in his thought and they were smiling and watching in the collective vision of a boat man pulling his last worldly possessions, along with a light source in the lap of a very distraught woman. Prince finally moved away from his thoughts and asked his friends to help Hariya to reach this monastery along with his family. He requested his close friend, to take care of
Krishna personally as in the centuries to come, this one life that he will live in this monastery, will make him ready for the onslaught that is bound to corner him and the life around him, centuries later. He earnestly told His friend, that this is important that Krishna receives the best yogic practices and he imbibes them in himself; so that he is able to rekindle spirituality at its lowest ebb thousands of years later… Yogi Baba has to be what he has to be, even before he was born in the times to come….
…. To be continued
(*) Vaitarni is a river that one has to cross after one's death to reach Heaven.