Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The road to heaven - Bilvamangal

Ramdas was a devotee brahmin who had a son, Bilvamangal. Bilvamangal was a calm, sober and educated boy. However after the death of his father he fell into bad company and adopted bad practices. During this course he got attracted to a courtesan, Chintamani, and would spend most of his time with her. Once when it was the death anniversary of his father he could not meet her. So he decided to see her in the evening. His friends advised him not to due to the nature of the occasion but he wouldn't listen to anybody. Before he could leave the house, a storm broke out and it started to rain heavily. This too couldn't stop him. He approached the boatmen at the river and asked them to row him over to the other side but none was willing to put their life at stake in such a heavy storm. Not deterred by anything he decided to swim across the river. While swimming he came across a log of wood and decided to use it to float across. Finally he reached the house of Chintamani but the door was shut and it was dark. So he decided to climb over the boundary wall and enter the house. The wall was high so he looked around for some rope when his hands felt some rope hanging from the wall. He climbed using it and entered the house. On hearing the noise, Chintamani woke up and was surprised to see him in this bad weather. She asked him how he managed to reach her house and he told the story. Curious, Chintamani went out with a lamp and was shocked to see that what Bilvamangal used as a rope was a snake and the log of wood was the dead body of a woman. She reproached him for being so blind and selfish. She told him that if instead he had been so madly in love with Krishna he would've attained moksha. On hearing her words, he felt ashamed. From that moment onwards he decided to submit himself to the devotion of God. He would roam all over the jungles and villages singing His songs. One day he came across a beautiful woman. His dark side had not yet completely escaped him and he once more fell into the trap of temptation. He followed him to her house and sat outside. On seeing a brahmin, the house owner came out and asked him how he could help him. Bilvamangal mentioned that if only he could once see the woman who entered the house his heart would be at peace. The house owner being simple-hearted thought that there was no harm in it if just that could appease the brahmin. So he went inside to call his wife. Bilvamangal was God's devotee God couldn't let his devotee commit anything that would lead to his downfall. Soon He caused Bilvamangal to realize what a grave mistake he was doing; how could he stoop so low. As soon as it struck his mind, the owner's wife came outside. Ashamed at himself and cursing his eyes he picked two thorns from a nearby tree and poked his eyes. The owner and his wife felt sad for him but could do nothing for him. Once again Bilvamangal went around villages praising God. He was waiting for the day when he would be able to see God; for whom he was roaming all over the world; for whom he'd forgotten what was hunger or thirst and for whom he'd gone blind. Then one day he heard the sweet mesmerizing voice of a child. The child told him that he had got some water and food for him. Bilvamangal was completely fascinated by the child. He had the food and the water that was brought to him by the child and asked him what his name was. The boy said that irrespective of what people called him, he answered their call. He loved those who loved him. He came daily to offer victuals to Bilvamangal and soon Bilvamangal got attached to the boy. One day he cursed himself thinking that earlier he'd got entrapped in the attachment to a woman and now to this boy. That day the boy asked him if he wanted to go to Vrindavan. Bilvamangal's heart did a merry dance on hearing this but he then told the boy that it would be impossible for him as he was blind. Then the boy offered him a stick and to lead him. So they embarked on their journey. When they reached Vrindavan, the boy told Bilvamangal that he must leave now. Unknowingly Bilvamangal grasped his hand. As soon as he did that he felt some divine energy pass through him and realized that he had got back his sight! And he saw that the boy was none other than God himself!! He was thrilled and told God that he wouldn't let him leave since he's been searching for him all this while. The boy then forcefully took leave of him. At which Bilvamangal said that he may leave physically with force but he can't leave his heart.

Thus, we see that Bilvamangal who was under the claws of bad practices when he became a devotee, not only was he protected from any downfall but in the end he found God.

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