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 fourteenth varta. See previous.
The story of Ganesh Vyas, a Srimali Brahmin who lived in the West.
Ganesh Vyas is a devotee of Satvik disposition. In the Eternal Lila his name is Pramodini (a gopi). She manifests from Ratikala and is thus a form of her Divine loving sentiment.
Ganesh Vyas was born into a family of Srimali Brahmins in the west. His parents died when he was only a few months old. One of his uncles took him into his home. He grew up there, and when he was about twenty he joined a group of people that was traveling to Mathura. They reached there after traveling for a few days.
At that time Sri Gusainji was residing in Mathura. He was performing his prayers on Visram Ghat. It was there that Ganesh Vyas had his sight.
He addressed him, “O, Maharaj! I am an orphan, having no parents. I take shelter in you. Please make me your disciple. Please give me some service.”
Sri Gusainji recognized him to be a Divine Soul and told him to take a bath in the Sri Yamunaji River. He bathed and came to Sri Gusainji. Sri Gusainji initiated him with the Name and Brahma Sambandha. He then employed him as a personal servant. Ganesh Vyas began to serve very lovingly.
Once Ganesh Vyas was traveling to Dwarka to deliver some supplies to the Lord. One evening he had just left one village and was traveling towards another when it began to rain really hard. He looked around but could not see anywhere to shelter. Then he saw a temple underneath a spire. He ran towards it.
He saw that there was a statue of a goddess inside. There was lots of worship paraphernalia there but nobody to be seen. Ganesh Vyas thought to himself, “There must be a priest in this temple. Perhaps he has gone into the village. He will be returning soon.” Thinking thus, he found some shelter outside, put his luggage there and sat down.
Night fell but no-one came there. That Devi was very powerful: she looked after all her things herself. Offerings came to her on a regular basis from one King. She would eat them and then just sit there. If any Pujari dared to come there she would devour him. Thus she was famous in all the local villages. Worship paraphernalia would be donated but she collected them all and put them to one side.
At that time, one lone man came there to have her sight. He said to Ganesh Vyas, “Do not sleep here. No priest ever sleeps here. No-one can stay here.” Ganesh Vyas asked him the reason for this. He told him, “No-one stays here or sleeps here because if they did, the Goddess would eat them.” That man had the sight of the Goddess, told all of this to Ganesh Vyas and then departed.
Fearlessly, Ganesh Vyas went inside and put all the donated items in one corner. He bathed the Goddess, sounded the Lords name in her ear and put a Prasadi tulsi mala around her neck. He made her into a Vaishnava. He looked around and found all sorts of items lying there. Using them he cleaned the temple. He stayed there that night. He ate whatever Prasad he had with him and he drank water from a nearby well. Then he went to sleep.
That night the Goddess spoke to the king in a dream and told him not to offer her the type of things he had been bringing. She told him that she had become a Vaishnava, and that she would not now eat [meat] as before. She told him to employ a priest there to cook for her, and that she would eat whatever he cooked. The king was very surprised.
The next morning, Ganesh Vyas picked up his supplies and carried on his journey. The king then came to have the sight of the Goddess. He noticed that someone had washed the temple and bathed her. He noticed the tulsi mala tied around her neck. He was very happy to see all this. He then employed a priest to serve her and provided him with supplies for the daily offerings. The priest would cook and make the offerings to her and then he would eat.
This is the true form of an accomplished Vaishnava: they purify the gods, godesses and pilgrimage spots. This Vaishnava was so kind that he stopped his journey to fulfill that goddess’ purpose.
Sri Gusainji would often be angry with Ganesh Vyas but he never let it bother him. He was a great Vaishnava. The more Sri Gusainji was angry with him the more pleased he became. He thought to himself, “I hope that Sri Gusainji will always be angry with me. He is only angry because he regards me as his close servant. Otherwise whom would he have to be angry with?”
This teaches that you should only be angry with those you know to be your own.
Ganesh Vyas thus felt that Sri Gusainji’s anger was one of his great qualities.
After some more time, Ganesh Vyas left his body. One Vaishnava came to know this and went to relay the news to Sri Gusainji. When he heard those words, that Ganesh Vyas had left his body, his hair stood on end. Seeing this horripillation of Sri Gusainji one Vaishnava asked, “O, Maharaj! You always used to be angry with Ganesh Vyas! So now, hearng this news, why are you getting goose bumps?”
Sri Gusainji replied, “It would be impossible to find another sevak like Ganesh Vyas. There is no-one like him, nor will there ever be. I was angry with him, but he always regarded that as a good lesson. He never felt bad about it. He was very very close to me.” Hearing these words of Sri Gusanji the Vaishnava kept silent.
Thus concludes Varta 14, the story of Ganesh Vyas who was a recipient of Sri Gusainji’s great grace and an accomplished Vaishanva, although his story really has no end.