This is the continuing serialization of 252 Vaishnavan ki varta, the lives of the saints following Vitthalnath, son of Vallabhacharya. It has been translated from the original Braj Bhasha by Krishnaa Kinkari Devi. This is the fifth varta, part 2. See previous.
Once Sri Gusainji together with Rukmini Bahuji, Shobha Betiji and Sri Giridharji traveled to Sri Jagannath Puri to have the Lord’s Holy Sight. They all stayed there for a whole month. When the time came for Sri Gusainji to leave Jagannath Puri, he offered everything that he had brought with him: the tent, vessels, horses, bullocks and camels. He kept the clothes he was wearing but gave up everything else. Then he left.
There is a serious doubt here: Sri Gusainji is the driving force behind the Path of Grace, and the main Sri Thakurji of the Path is Sri Govardhan Nath Ji, Who is his all-in-all. So why did he offer everything to Sri Jagannathji? The answer given is that Sri Jagannathji is connected to Sri Acharyaji. For this reason Sri Gusainji often went to have the Holy Sight of Sri Jagannathji. He also made many offerings there. Therefore one should have the Holy Sight of Sri Jagannathji with Sri Acharyaji in mind. This is the principle here. The other reason is that Sri Gusainji is an acharya of the Path of Devotion. Wherever the Lord manifests as a Deity according to the ways of the Devotional Path, acharyas should definitely go there. This is why Sri Gusainji used to go to Sri Jagannathji and make offerings there. In this way, Sri Gusainji protects the rules of the Path of Devotion, although this is the lesser consideration here.
*Part 2 continued*
The four of them left Sri Jagannathpuri on foot. Narayandas had already perceived all of this, the Lord’s wish, whilst sitting at home. For this reason, Narayandas had made ready all sorts of goods which were put in front of Sri Gusainji. He had already told the men who were attending to the goods to keep them at a distance of two miles from Jagannath Puri. He told them, “If you take it inside the town, Sri Gusainji will offer it all to Sri Jagannathji. These were the items: three special palanquins, two horses, one camel, one bullock cart, pavilions, tents and tent screens, vessels and pots, food supplies, jewelry, cloth of two varieties, a bed and whatever else that could be needed. Watching out for Sri Gusainji’s arrival, Narayandas’ men stood at the spot where they had been instructed to stay. When Sri Gusainji left Jagannathpuri and came there, Narayandas’ men conveyed his prostration to him and presented all these offerings to him, saying, “O Maharaj! Narayandas has sent all these offerings for you. Please accept them.” Sri Gusainji asked them why they had not brought all these things into Jagannathpuri. The men told him, “O Maharaj! This was how Narayandasji had instructed us, so we did not bring them inside the town.” In his heart, Sri Gusainji became very pleased with Narayandas. He sat down in one of the palanquins. Sri Rukminiji sat in the second and Shobha Betiji in the third. Sri Giridharji mounted the horse. They set off and traveled to a distance of twenty miles from that place and stopped in a village named Kokuva. There Narayandas came before Sri Gusainji and very devotedly requested him to come to his home. Sri Gusainji stayed there for twenty seven days. Narayandas kept presenting him with ever new supplies and new clothes. Narayandas’ heartfelt longing was for Sri Gusainji to remain there for a whole year, so that he would truly be able to enjoy serving him. But what to do? Sri Rukmini was pregnant and so Narayandas let his master go after a short period. As they left, Naryanadas made even more offerings to them. To Rukmini Bahuji he gave five necklaaces with the purest diamonds and highest quality pearls. He also gave a lot of jewelery to Shobha Betiji and Sri Giridhariji. Placing a lot of money in front of Sri Gusainji he said, “O Maharaj Ji! If I write you another invitation of this kind, please do fulfill my wish!” Seeing Narayandas’ intense longing, Sri Gusainji happily agreed that he would indeed do that.
Narayandas had also found one Deity. Whilst Sri Gusainji was there he had established His worship in Narayandas’ home. Narayandas began to serve Him according to Sri Gusainji’s instructions. Sri Gusainji then left Narayandas’ area and returned home to Adel. As they arrived, all their children came to greet them. All the brothers went first to greet Sri Gusainji but Sri Raghunathji went straight to Sri Rukminiji, took off one of the necklaces and put it round his neck. Raghunathji, wearing the necklace, went to Sri Gusainji. When he was sitting with Sri Gusainji the other children asked him where he had acquired the diamond necklace. He replied that his mother had given it to him. The three brothers then approached their mother and asked whether they could also have such necklaces. She gave them one each. Very happy to be wearing such necklaces the three brothers left their mother and came back to Sri Gusainji. They were Sri Govindarayji, Sri Balakrishnaji and Sri Gokulnathji. They were all so happy to each have the same diamond necklace.
[this story of the diamond necklaces comes from Krishna Bhat’s book]
Sri Gusainji then returend home. Narayandas and his wife began to engage in serving their Sri Thakurji very lovingly. Narayandas would wake Him up and offer him His breakfast, chant on his rosary until the correct amount of time had elapsed, accept the Prasad and perform the mangal aarti. After that he would bathe his Sri Thakurji, dress Him up, offer Him some snacks to accompany these services and then he would set off for his work at the court. This was Narayandas’ regular seva. Viram would then do the cooking and make the lunchtime offerings, clean the kitchen, accept back the Prasad, perform the rajbhog aarti, facilitate the Lord to take His nap, put the Prasad into separate vessels and cover it. When Narayandas returned home from the court, then the husband and wife would partake happily of the Prasad together. Narayandas had some rooms built in front of his home for Vaishanvas to stay in. Viram would prepare supplies for them by cleaning them to get them ready for offering. In the same way that she would clean and get ready supplies for offering to their Lord, in the very same way she would get them ready for Vaishanvas. She and her husband had the same loving regard for the Lord and Vaishanvas.
Narayandas spent all day in the Palace. At home it was Viram who offered hospitality to the Vaishanvas whenever they arrived. Narayandas would meet the Vaishanvas when he returned home. He would always ask them for news of Sri Gusainji. Before he left for work he would greet them with, “Jay Sri Krishna!” He felt very happy when he met Vaishanvas in this way. He would also give them their expenses, as much as he could. The Vaishnavas could leave whenever they wanted but he would never see them off [ask them to leave]. Viram made sure they always had enough supplies. She never veiled herself in front of Vaishanvas. Sri Gusainji and Sri Nathji will always bless those who kindle such pure feelings towards Vaishanva devotees.