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 entire eighth varta.
The story of Madhodas, a Kshatriya who lived in Kabul.
Madhodas is a devotee of tamasi disposition. In the Eternal Lila his name is Makarandini (a gopi). She manifests from Chitra sakhi and thus is a form of her divine loving sentiment. Her body flows with with sweet fragrance and delight. Sri Thakurji becomes a bee in the desire to taste the fragrant nectar of her form and runs behind her.
Madhodas was born to a Kshatriya who lived in Kabul [Afghanistan]. Even when a child, his heart was drawn to listening to religious discourses. He would go to wherever they were being held.
He did this until he was fifteen years old. Then both his parents died.
Madhodas did not get married. His father had been a cloth trader and had a cloth shop. Madhodas took over management of the shop and made a good living from it.
One day Madhodas traveled to Haridwar for some work. Sri Gusainji had also gone there. He was performing his prayers on the banks of the Sri Gangaji River. Madhodas had come there to bathe. As he did, he caught sight of Sri Gusainji and was stunned. Chachaji was with Sri Gusainji at that time.
Madhodas asked him who Sri Gusainji was, what was his name and where did he reside. Chachaji told him that he was the son of Sri Vallabhacaharyaji, that his name was Sri Vitthalnathaji and that he resided in Adel.
He explained how Sri Gusainji had firmly established the Vishnuswami Lineage and taught the essence of that Path, that is Seva – service to the Divine Beloved. He told him that his Path was called the Vallabh Sampradaya.
Hearing this, Madhodas requested Chachaji to let him become Sri Guainji’s disciple.
“I wish to take shelter in him. Please let me be blessed to become his disciple.” Chachaji relayed all of this to Sri Gusainji.
Sri Gusainji looked towards Madhodas, and at that moment Madhodas had the vision of Sri Gusainji as the Supreme Person, with a beauty exceeding that of a million Cupids.
Madhodas fainted as he beheld this vision. Then Sri Gusainji chanted some Vedic mantras over him and sprinkled him with water and he regained consciousness.
He said to Sri Gusainji, “Why did you bring me round? I was having a very happy experience. Why did you bring me out of that?”
Sri Gusainji laughingly replied, “O, Madhodas!, You still have some time to pass here!”
Madhodas again asked him to bless him and make him his disciple. Sri Gusainji told him to come back after bathing in Sri Gangaji. He did so and then Sri Gusainji initiated him with the Lord’s Name and Brahma Sambandha.
For as long as Sri Gusainji stayed in Haridwar, Madhodas stayed with him in his service. He regularly listened to Sri Gusainji’s divine discourses.
Sri Gusainji then returned to Gokul. Madhodas went there with him and stayed there for some time.
He had the Holy Sight of Sri Navanitpriyaji. Sri Gusainji then took Madhodas to Sri Nathdwara [Jatipura] with him. There they went up on the Sri Giriraji Mountain and had the Holy Sight of Sri Nathji.
As he caught Sight of Sri Nathji, Madhodas lost consciousness.
Respecting Sri Gusainji’s wish, Sri Nathji granted Madhodas His Holy Sight in such a way that his heart would be forever embedded in the Lord.
Madhodas continued to have His Holy Sight in this way for several days. Sri Gusainji then told him to go home, reassuring him that from now on, time and place would not hinder his devotion.
“You can now happily reside in Kabul. Sri Nathji will continue to grant you his Holy Sight even there.”
Madhodas departed, keeping Sri Nathji in his heart.
He reached his home after a few days. There he adhered to the eight periods of Seva in his heart of hearts.
Madhodas would meditate on the Lord and His Lilas just as Sri Gusainji had described to him, for example when the Lord went out to the forest to graze the cows. Through Sri Gusainji’s blessed wish, Sri Nathji gave His Holy Sight to Madhodas there and let him experience all His pastimes.
Madhodas lived in Kabul. He was the Recipient of Great Grace and an accomplished Vaishnava. With Sri Gusainji’s blessings, Sri Nathji would grace Madhodas with His Holy Sight.
Madhodas experienced the pastimes of the Lord at all the periods of the Daily Seva. Such a great Grace did Sri Nathji shower upon Madhodas.
Madhodas lived in Kabul and so was accustomed to wearing the same type of clothes as the inhabitants of that place. Any Vaishnava who happened to come there could not know that Madhodas was a Vaishnava.
He had a cloth shop. Many days later, sent by the Chief Minister for some work, Roop Murari Das came to Kabul. He went to the market to purchase some supplies.
He looked for a Vaishnava shop, but everyone there looked the same. After that, on the road, Roop Murari Das saw Madhodas standing in his shop twirling the end of his uparna [scarf]. Roop Murari Das stopped and stood there. When Madhodas stopped twirling the uparna Roop Murari Das went into his shop and enquired, “Who are you?” He did not recognize Madhodas to be a Vaishnava.
Madhodas and Rupamuridas told each other their names. Roop Murari Das asked Madhodas whose disciple he was and he replied that he was a disciple of Sri Gusainji.
Rupamurari was delighted. In turn Madhodasasked Roop Murari Das the same question and he said, “I am a Kshatriya and also a disciple of Sri Gusainji.”
Madhodas was also overjoyed, and the two embraced each other.
Having greeted him with “Jay Sri Krishna”, Madhodas invited Roop Murari Das to sit in his shop. There he asked how Sri Gusainji was and Roop Murari Das told him all the news.
Roop Murari Das then asked Madhodas why he had been standing and twirling the end of his scarf.
Madhodas replied that, with Sri Gusainji’s grace, Sri Nathji came there every day and granted him His Holy Sight. Roop Murari Das again asked about the uparna. Madhodas explained that, at that particular moment, it had been the time for the evening lights ceremony (aarti), and he was celebrating this by twirling the end of his scarf.
“When the aarti was over I bowed down to Him and then sat down here.”
Hearing all this Roop Murari Das was astonished. He thought to himself, “This Madhodas is most fortunate. He lives here and Sri Nathji lives a thousand miles away, but He still grants His Holy Sight here itself! If this is true than there is no end to Madhodas’ great good fortune.”
Roop Murari Das, still pleasantly surprised, asked Madhodas, “What was Sri Nathji wearing today?”
Madhodas replied, “Today Sri Nathji’s dress was blue. Sri Balakrishnaji adorned Sri Nathji.”
Madhodas continued to describe all of Sri Nathji’s adornments. Roop Murari Das wrote down the date and the colour and the name of the son of Sri Gusainji who had performed that adornment Seva.
Madhodas then invited Roop Murari Das to grace his home by coming there. Roop Murari Das positioned one of his men to look after Madhodas’ shop and they both went back to Madhodas’ home.
Madhodas requested Roop Murari Das to do his cooking there itself. “I shall bring fresh pots and a fresh earthenware water pot. Roop Murari Das said that Madhodas’ pots and vessels would be perfectly acceptable to him and that Madhodas should not bother to get new ones.
Thereafter, Roop Murari Das bathed and cooked and made the offerings to the Lord. Then he called the other Vaishnava from Madhodas’ shop, accepted the offerings back as Prasad and the two of them enjoyed partaking of that Prasad.
Afterwards, when he returned to his camp, Roop Murari Das wrote a letter to Sri Nathji’s priest Ramdasji, telling him of all the happenings and sent it off with one of his men.
The letter reached Ramdasji. He proceeded to write down the details of that day’s Seva and the name of the son of Sri Gusainji who had performed it and sent it back to Roop Murari Das. The information tallied!
Roop Murari Das began to praise Madhodas saying, “Oh, this Vaishnava is most blessed. He lives in Kabul but his heart is in Vraj. He must be the luckiest man alive! Sri Gusainji has truly blessed him with such divine vision, and by the Grace of the Lord he has the joy of such vision every day.
“This Kabul is such a distant country and such a sinful country, but Sri Nathji still comes here and grants him His Holy Sight. There is no good enough way to describe his great fortune.”
This story explains the principle that country of residence, time and karma can not impede a Vaishnava’s devotion. Wherever a Vaishnava’s Sri Thakurji resides, that place is the best place for that Vaishnava to reside.
Why? Even in a country full of barbarians the Lord can give His experience to His own people. Therefore, Vaishnavas should take exclusive shelter in their Seva to the Lord.
*Part 1 continued*
Madhodas had taken the Name initiation from Sri Gusainji in Haridwar. Before that, Madhodas had never seen Sri Gokul and Sri Vrindavan. However, after being initiated by Sri Gusainji he was able to have the Sight of all these places. Then he returned to his place in Kabul.
Then it was that Sri Gusainji graced him and Sri Nathji began to grant him His Holy sight. Sri Gusainji used his power to establish all the Lord’s Divine pastimes in his heart. Madhodas began to see everything with this divine vision.
Thus concludes Varta 8, the story of Madhodas who was the recipient of Sri Gusainji’s great grace. There is really no end to his story.