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 fifteenth varta. See previous.
The story of Haridas Khavas, a Sanadya Brahmin from Mathura, who used to faint when he heard the Srimad Bhagavatam.
He is a devotee wih a rajasi disposition. In the Eternal Lila his name is Sarala (a gopi), who has a very innocent personality. She manifests from Ratikala and is thus a form of her divine loving sentiment.
Haridas was born in Mathura to a family of Sanadya Brahmins. From birth he was an innocent being. He had no involvement in any worldly wranglings.
His parents were very upset about this, wondering how they would ever be able to get him married off. They were always worrying. When he was eight they sent him to a learned man to study. He did study a bit. Then smallpox hit Mathura. Both his parents died. He wondered what he should now do. He was perplexed.
He went to Visram Ghat and sat on the banks of the Sri Yamunaji River. He cried bitterly. At that very time, Sri Gusainji was performing his daily prayers. He caught sight of Haridas and then sent his personal servant to go up to Haridas and call him to come over to where he was.
Haridas came there and Sri Gusainji addressed him, “O, Haridas! why are you crying?”
Haridas replied, “O, Maharaj. I have no-one in this world. I am also ignorant. So, I come to take shelter in you. Please keep me close to youself. I am poor and I am an orphan.”
Sri Gusainji instructed him not to worry, that he should go and have a bath in the Sri Yamunaji River, after which he would make him his disciple and keep him close. Haridas was pleased to take a bath and then Sri Gusainji initiated him with the Lord’s Name and Brahma Sambandha. He then instructed him to work as his personal servant. Haridas did exactly that.
Haridas began to serve as Sri Gusainji’s personal servant. One day Haridas asked him, “O, Maharaj! I would love to hear you read the Srimad Bhagavatam. Sri Gusainji instructed him to go instead to Ujjain where Krishna Bhatt would read the Srimad Bhagavatam to him. He explained that he would only be able to find a few free hours to read the Srimad Bhagavatam, but not enough to do a complete reading. He also said that if someone was only able to find three hours to read the Srimad Bhagavatam then it would take a whole five years to complete it. Therefore he again told Haridas to go to Krishna Bhatt in Ujjain.
“He will explain everything to you very nicely,” Sri Gusainji said.
Sri Gusainji gave Haridas a letter for Krishna Bhatt from himself. Haridas took his leave and set off for Ujjain. He reached there after a few days. Haridas went to meet Krishna Bhatt and gave him the letter from Sri Gusainji. He was very happy to receive it and put it on his head out of respect. Then he read it and felt great joy.
Haridas explained, “I requested Sri Gusainji to read the Srimad Bhagavatam for me, but he told me to come to Ujjain where you would read it to me. So, here I am! Therefore please read the Srimad Bhagavatam for me.” Krishna Bhatt said that the following day was auspicious and that they would start then.
The next day Krishna Bhatt began to read the ‘Bhramara Gita’ [Ode to a black bee]. He started to tell the story, but Haridas fainted. He stayed unconscious for three hours. He came round after being given some herbs. Krishna Bhatt closed the book.
Then Haridas exclaimed, “O, Bhattji! Please continue with the story.”
Krishna Bhatt said, “But what will I tell Sri Gusainji? Because if I start the next reading, you will not regain consciousness.”
Why? Because Haridas was still not developed spiritually. Therefore he was not able to grasp nor tolerate the subject matter.
*Part 1 continued*
Then Haridas took leave of Krishna Bhattaji and returned to Sri Gusainji in Gokul. He bowed to him and told him what had happened. Sri Gusainji kept quiet. Haridas began to serve Sri Gusainji as he had before.
Once, one Vaishnava placed a donation of one rupee before Sri Gusainji. The coin was in front of Sri Guainji’s couch.
Sri Gusainji had gone inside to partake of Prasad. When he re-emerged he asked Haridas, “Where is the coin that was here before?” Haridas replied that he had placed it in the shelf in the wall.
Sri Gusainji instructed him, “From today onwards leave any money you see alone. Do not pick it up.” Haridas took this teaching to heart.
Another time when Sri Gusainji was taking his meal he asked Haridas to hang his shawl up to dry. Whilst Haridas was adjusting the couch a Brahmani came there and began to speak with Haridas. He got involved in the conversation and forgot to hang up the shawl.
The two of them were still talking when Sri Gusainji returned. He saw that they were chatting away and stood still. When the Brahmani finally got up and left, Sri Gusainji entered the Baithak. He asked Haridas, “Are you not going to dry the shawl today?”
Haridas replied that he had been talking and forgotten his task. Sri Gusainji then forbade him to talk to anyone’s wife like that, and from that day on Haridas followed this teaching.
Thus concludes Varta 15, the story of Haridas Khavas who was graced to receive such teachings. He was the recipient of great grace and, in truth, there is no end to his story.