Written By: Amar Sneh
Ghaseeta Ram had heard somewhere that when God is benevolent and munificent with his devotee the heaven does not rain but pours wealth though the torn roof; waiting in this hope, he has spent more than half his life. Suddenly he reflected and started chewing the cud upon from where the God would pour through the roof? For this to begin with, he at least must have a roof first.
Now he remained perturbed for the roof and more than this, he got disturbed with a thought that the poor god in waiting for his roof and the god must have turned hair by now and he must be completely exhausted. Anxiously he left with a thought upper most in his mind to ask for the forgiveness and absolution from the God. As he reached the cross roads he was puzzled. He did not know to which of the gods he must go. There are innumerous temples of varied gods in the nook and corner of every street; on the cross roads, on trisection roads and wherever you turn your eyes you find temples, so he held himself back in apprehension that if choose a wrong one amongst the god, then what?
After a great deliberation, an idea struck in his mind that he should revolve in all the directions and while rotating he should ask for the forgiveness by saying, “Hey! Whosoever the God might be, who is waiting anxiously for Ghaseeta to have the roof should pardon Ghaseeta for keeping the God waiting for the roof so long?” Again, he reflected that by praying for forgiveness like this; all the other gods might think Ghaseeta became arrogant to look down upon the entire population of Gods thinking it as an ordinary rabble. This thought made his blood creep and he was at his wits end; finally, his die was casted, “Without a guru, one cannot solve this riddle”.
Suddenly while he was standing on the cross road he sprang up to find a Matted haired ataractic sage. The sage was with his numerous disciples in a convoy of vehicles, which stopped near him, resulting in a traffic jam. Flock of Kawadis (men carrying two pitchers full of the Ganges water, hanging on the slings attached on both the ends of a long bamboo-stick held on the shoulder) were passing by; the traffic was disrupted for nearly an hour or two.
Gathering his courage, Ghaseeta went near the van of the Sage (Maharaj) but as he came near the sage, the bodyguards of Maharaj seized him, searched him through and through and interrogated him. When he expressed his desire of his sole submission to Maharaj’s as a disciple, the secretary of Maharaj asked him his qualifications….
“I am illiterate sir” saying so he fell on the feet of Maharaj; hearing this Maharaj was very happy and exuberated and said, “Very good! We want disciples with such qualifications. In fact, we even accept educated fools and erudite illiterates as our disciples. Ghaseeta was well obliged at his graciousness.
In the hermit Ghaseeta was christen and baptized with a new name, “Multipurpose Popat Das”. Many years have gone passed for his penniless labour and penance in the hermit. He was given various tasks like scraping hay, digging pits, hoisting flags and banners, erecting and dismantling tents, cleaning utensils etc. All through he was engaged in all these menial jobs there, listening and swallowing with pleasure, side by side, the high end preaching of heavenly knowledge was also mandatory for him in the hermit.
“Whatsoever he suffered until date is a reward, a recompense of all his deeds of his past incarnation. If you give up infatuation of this illusory world and submit yourself completely to guru, then there is an absolution from all your sins of past, present and future. To reach the God there is but one means that is total submission to Guru. Submission to Guru leads to emancipation from transmigration of births. Guru is Vishnu; guru is Bramha; guru is Mahesh; Guru is the ultimate…”
Sometimes there were whirlwind of thoughts surging in the mind of this illiterate Popat Das, “If Guru is the ultimate then why God? If I get freedom from, the transmigration of births, then where is the question of sins of next incarnation? His utter poverty is said to be the manifestation and result of his past incarnation.” However, the fact of the matter was that the moneylenders of his grandfather and big fishes of the society had snatched all his possessions, leaving him a pauper. All these thoughts used to crush in his mind and disturb him a lot, but the grandeur of the hermit, the magnificence of guru and veneration, reverential faith and devotion of thousands of devotees used to force him to sacrifice and burn all these thoughts in the holy pyre.
One day Popat Das was busy loading heavy sacks on the truck from the factory godown of the hermit. He was dead tiered; he turned hair carrying these heavy bags so he lay down in the truck on the sacks and fell fast asleep. In minutes of his sleep, he rolled into a dream sequence. He saw the roof top tour apart and suddenly gold, gems, diamonds and money started pouring through. All his family members were tiered of filling all that wealth in the sacks and carrying but the wealth kept raining in abundance. All of a sudden, there was a twist in his dream, he saw his wife; she first became a big wealthy woman and then became a queen and then his entire family was seen residing in the kingly palace; at this very moment, the driver of the truck blew horn and the poor soul reverted from king to Popat Das.
When he landed back on the grounds of reality from those enchanting and alluring dreams, he was greatly agonized with memories of his wife and children. The truck was heading towards some other town and all the while, he kept thinking how much he was missing his family members and remembered them; as soon as the truck halted for signal, he got off the truck, he took flight and started running without thinking, and went away very far in the remote.
Number of days of long aimless walk without food and water drained out all his energy; his feet became heavy. Since he was from a discipline of the hermit, he had saffron clothing with long grown hair and beard like a sage. Tired and exhausted he sat under shelter of a dense tree and fell unconscientiously there. One passerby thinking the sage was dead started planning to make a capital out of this situation. He removed the saffron cloth from around Popat Das’s neck and covered his face and body like shroud and in pretence of mourning, he started wailing; he was crying, “My Guru Maharaj paid the debt of nature; he passed into the eternity just a while ago.”
This news spread like a wild fire all around in the towns and villages in the vicinity. People started thronging the place to pay their homage to departed divine soul. Blowing of conches, beating of big gongs and the atmosphere filled with religious fervor and the masses turning very sentimental and passionately the offerings started piling; lot of money got collected. The creator of this episode took advantage of the circumstances and further added grievousness to the state of the affairs. Sobbingly he began narrating, “Maharaj, my guruji was taking me to a pilgrimage with him. Right in the middle, he changed his path and said, “Son, some unseen power is willing to guide me”. He went into a deep trance and said, “Son! This is the place of Char Dham (the four abodes of god). We must search a banyan tree with four tangled roots. However, as we turned back, to our surprise we found ourselves standing underneath the same banyan tree. I never ever saw Guru Maharaj so happy and delighted….This is the Char Dham saying so he sat here in yogic mudra. After a while spoke with utter calmness, “I am laying the foundation of human welfare hermit here by renouncing my worldly mantel of my body; I only gave the dust from this pious land in his palm.” With this, he went into great penance and merged himself into the eternity.”
While the sorrowful narration was going on, a devout man got up and poured the holy foot-nectar of Ganges water made from washing Popat Das’s feet in the mouth of Popat Das. Slowly Popat Das began attaining consciousness. Popat Das heard the entire narration of fictitious fresh fabricated story. At the last note of the story, Popat Das uttered “Aum”, which heightened the story. He regained full consciousness. Sheer calmness in his voice spread a miraculous spell amongst the devotees, “Be not being frightened! God the almighty, father of Gods have sent me back on the earth among you. Twenty-one years of rigorous atoning, here at this Char Dham was God’s personal edict command. Now I should renounce this worldly mantel of my body here on the same day same time after twenty-one years.
In split of time hundreds, then thousands and then millions of people have started pouring there attempting desperately to witness and pay respect to the sage who returned from the heavenly abode of the God. Everyone is trying very hard to reach him to take his blessings. The whole place has become a very big assemblage of worshipers; songs in the praises of the guru, devotional hymn, chanting of mantras were going on all the time. Offerings, donations, grants and endowments were pouring in. Rich and poor, prestigious men, elites, government big officers, leaders, politicians all big personalities were bowing down on the feet of illiterate truant for his blessings.
The owner of this land, which was now proclaimed as Char Dham had already fallen flat on his back. He was left with no other alternative than to donate this piece of twenty-one bigha (a land measure) to the hermit and now he was seen standing in the queue for donating cash of rupees one lakh.
Material goods and wealth is pouring in from all quarters at Char Dham. People shouting and rejoicing in praises of guru, the atmosphere is very joyous but at the corner the passerby, the creator of all this who premeditated for his benefit was in real tears instead of crocodile tears, which he was shading in the beginning of this episode. Now faces of rogues and contract killers started dangling before his eyes, as he could not withstand defeat of his purpose. On the other hand, an illiterate multipurpose Popat Das now became crowned Popat Maharaj. There was a mysterious smile on the face of Maharaj. He was lost and was engrossed thinking, “Oh! God, I know you were weary waiting for the roof, but before the roof could come you toured and poured in abundance. Oh! Your ways are wondrous…”
First sodden, then spilled
Later pitcher with water filled
Innocents proved as true till
Literates’ wisdom inferred ill
Now shall blanket drizzle well
And water gets drenched hale