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 tenth varta, parts 1 and 2. See previous.
The Story of Bhaila Kothari who lived in Rajnagar Asaruva
Bhaila Kothri’s spiritual form has already been told in the story of his brother Harji. Bhaila Kothari was born into a merchant’s family in a village not far from Rajanagar. He was one of three brothers, Beni, Bhaila and Jaita. Their father lived in Rajnagar in the house of the local ruler. He worked in the state storeroom.
When their father died, the ruler gave his position to the three brothers. They all lived in Asaruva near Rajnagar.
Beni Kothari met Narahari Sanyasi and became Sri Acharyaji’s disciple. This has already been told in Narahari Sanyasi’s varta.
The first time that Sri Gusainji travelled to Dwarka, Bhaila and Jaita Kothari became his disciples in Rajnagar. They requested Sri Gusainji to bless their home in Asaruva with his presence. The whole family was initiated at that time.
Bhaila Kothari then enquired of Sri Gusainji, “What is our duty now?” He replied that they should serve the Lord.
Sri Gusainji brought one of his own Child Krishna deities for Bhaila. However, Bhaila implored him, “O, Maharaj! My heart’s desire is to serve you yourself.” Sri Gusainji gave him his sandals to serve.
Jaita Kothari was also known as Mathura Kothari. His mind was always absorbed in Sri Gusainji’s form. He wrote quite a number of songs about Sri Thakurji, Sri Acharyaji and Sri Gusainji. Sri Gusainji was always pleased with him.
Bhaila Kothari would write many letters to Sri Gusainji begging him to come to his home, “O, Maharaj! Please come here at least once!” Then one day Sri Gusainji, who was in Gokul, suddenly decided to go to Dwarka to have the Holy Sight of Sri Ranchorlalji, and also to fulfill Bhaila Kothari’s desire.
His first stop was Fatepur Sikri. Sri Gusainji left on this trip without informing Champabhai the manager, nor Sankarbhai the storekeeper. He just suddenly set off for Fatehpur Sikri.
Birbal was in Fatehpur and he heard that Sri Gusainji had arrived there. Birbal came before Sri Guasinji and bowed low to him. He got Sri Gusainji to shift his camp close to his own and set up some resting places for him there. Then Champabhai and Sankarbhai came there and, after prostrating to Sri Gusainji, asked him why he had so suddenly left.
Sri Gusainji replied to them, “I have not seen Bhaila for a long time. So I am going to Gujarat.” Hearing this response Champabhai and Sankarbhai kept quiet.
Later on, Birbal asked Champabhai why Sri Gusainji was in such a hurry. Champabhai felt it was because the store had run into debt. Birbal asked how much the debt was that it had caused Sri Gusainji to leave so quickly. “Please tell me how much it is and I shall settle the debt,” He said. “Then you can stop Sri Gusainji from travelling afar and take him home.”
Sri Gusainji is the inner witness to everyones’ hearts. He knew what they had been discussing and so he left Fatehpur suddenly in the middle of the night without telling anyone and carried on with his journey.
Why? Sri Gusainji had already stipulated that he would not travel far and wide for the sake of collecting funds. Therefore, he went to Gujarat for the sake of having the Holy Sight of Sri Dwarkapuriji and for the sake of accepting Divine Souls.
Champabhai, now the manager, had a worldly mindset, and therefore answered Birbal as he did.
Birbal, as well, although he was initiated by Si Gusainji, kept negative company and had therefore turned his heart away from the Lord. So he said he would be able to pay off the debt.
Displeased with their attitudes, Sri Gusainji suddenly got up to leave without informing anyone.
Therefore, a Vaishnava should know that they must never judge the Guru’s activities with a worldly mindset. This is an important principle. Even a great Vaishnava like Narayandas got separated because of his worldly thoughts. That story has just been related.
Vaishnavas must be very careful in their attitude, speech and behaviour.
*Part 1 continued*
It was very early morning when Birbal heard about Sri Gusainji setting off for Gujarat. Sri Gusainji traveled quickly to Rajnagar and reached Bhaila Kothari’s house.
Bhaila Kothari thought to himself that he would now be able to serve Sri Gusainji in all the ways he had been thinking of. Sri Gusainji remained in his house for a few days, had the Holy Sight of Sri Ranachodlalji in Dwarka and then returned on the same route and arrived back in Gokul after some more days.
When he reached home he wrote a letter to Birbal. Birbal was very surprised to see the letter.
Bhaila Kothari was thus a recipient of Sri Gusainji’s grace and an accomplished Vaishnava. Sri Gusainji remembered him and came to visit him and grant him his sight.
At one time Sri Gusainji was residing in Asaruva. Chachaji was with him.
One day Chachaji humbly requested Sri Gusainji, “O, Maharaj! Bhaila Kothari is in a lot of debt.”
He told him the same thing three times. Sri Gusainji said to Chachaji, “The money is not an issue, it will come from somewhere or other, but if Kothari were to come into money his heart would not be the same as it is now.”
Hearing this statement from Sri Gusainji, Chachaji kept quiet.
Afterwards, Bhaila Kothari heard about this from someone. He became very sad and said, “I don’t understand any of this. I just hope that Sri Gusainji did not think that I asked Chachji to make a plea on my behalf.”
Bhaila Kothari then approached Sri Gusainji full of fear and bowed low to him. He supplicated, “O, Maharaj! I really do not wish for anything other than your lotus feet. You said that in the future I will not be the same as I am now. Why is this? Please clarify this to me.”
Sri Gusainji then explained to Bhaila Kothari, “I did not say that you will not be the same, but that money is such a thing [that a person changes because of it]!”
Sri Gusainji consoled Kothari, “I know that you would never have moaned to me about the money. I also know that your heart and intelligence are with me and will never stray.”
In this way Sri Gusainji showered his great blessings on Bhaila Kothari who truly deserved them.
Here we are taught the principle that wealth always corrupts the intelligence. Humility is destroyed. This is why Sri Thakurji keeps his dear ones penniless.
Bhaila Kothari is a close and most dear disciple of Sri Gusainji. His mind would never become corrupted even if he did gain some wealth.
The story here is for the purpose of giving instruction to those whom Sri Gusainji considered his own – if one has a limited capacity [for devotional principle] then they will turn away from the Lord if they become wealthy.
Sri Gusainji used Kothari as an example to teach this lesson. The main intention of the lesson is that if one is financially challenged, then this should be recognized as Sri Thakurji’s special blessing. Only then every single Divine Sentiment will be perfected.