“Ma, please tell a story.” I requested in feeble voice as I saw her entering my room. I made such requests nearly 10-12 times a day sometimes even more.

She replied, “As soon as I am free, I will narrate you interesting story from the new book. It is about a bear that lived in the snow. The book is full of coloured pictures. But right now, I am busy with household chores and looking after your younger brother.”

“The bear lives in the forest not in the snow.”

“It is a different story.”

I lied down quietly on the bed eagerly waiting for the different story.

I was on bed at the age of four and a half years. My whole body was covered with different sizes and shapes of pustules. The pain was unbearable. But I did not cry. I did not shed tears. My only way to escape from reality of aches was into the world of imagination!

My father hardly got ant time to tell me a story but whenever he got some, he used to tell me the same story about the monkey and the crocodile from the Panchtantra.

One day, when I get bored of repeated narrations, I said, “Papa, why do you always tell me the same story? I do not want to listen it repeatedly. Please tell me some other story.”

“I tell you the truth. I do not know any story. I learnt this story only for you.” My father replied. “I am busy. Whatever time I get, I give it you instead of giving it to your infant bro.” As he stood up from the chair to go away, I asked him to repeat the same tale. It was better to hear the same story instead of none.

My naniji (maternal grandmother) knew many stories from Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas. She was an excellent narrator of folk tales and fairy tales. She was never short of stories. However, she occasionally visited us because of her household responsibilities and her health. She could tell stories for hours and hours without taking a break. Her visit was always a jackpot for me!

“Once, there was a school going boy named Chandan who used to live in a village with her mother. They were very poor as his father was no more and her mother earned little by selling cow’s milk.” My nanaji (my maternal grandfather and my mother’s uncle) narrated this to me. He came to know that my health was deteriorating fast and I would not be able to live for more days. All the doctors in the town were consulted but nobody knew what the disease was! Allopathic medicines were worsening my condition day by day. My parents were tensed. To relieve us, one day he came to our home after his office hours.

“He had to cross a dense forest to go to school which was situated in the nearby village. His classmates were rich who came to school on carts but Chandan was the only boy in the school who came on foot. One day, the teacher asked all students to bring milk from their home. All the students were rich who can easily spare milk. Chandan could not bring the milk as her mother sold the milk in lieu of wheat floor for the dinner. Next day, everybody brought milk except Chandan. The teacher scolded him. Without giving any ear to his story, he forced him to bring milk immediately. He disappointedly went to his home and told the whole story to his mother. Her mother said, “Why does the teacher need so much milk?”

“The teacher’s daughter marriage has been fixed day after tomorrow and the teacher has to give a good feast to the bharatis.”

“Go and ask Gopala (protector of cow and a name for Lord Krishna), He will arrange it for you.”

He started back for school. In the middle of the forest, he closed his eyes and cried “Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala,

Gopala, Gopala, Gopala,Gopala, Gopala, Gopala.”

“What happened next?” I asked.

“He is calling God for help. Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala. (One mala – 108 times)”

Lord Krishna manifested in front of him and asked politely, “My child, why are you calling me? What do you need?”

He shared his problem with God. He listened to him and gave him a lauta (small vessel). He took it and looked in it. It had very little milk.

He said, “The milk is not enough. The teacher wanted the full lauta, moreover this lauta is too small. Gopala, atleast fill it to the brim.”

Krishna said, “Give this lauta to your teacher.” And He disappeared.

Half-heartedly he took the path to the school. He gave lauta to the teacher. The teacher mocked at the size of the lauta. The teacher poured the milk in the bucket. The bucket got filled and some milk spitted on the floor. Surprisingly, the mini lauta still had milk in it. The teacher rushed to his house which was nearby and filled drums, kadhais, patilas, and all the big vessels he had. But lauta still had milk. The greedy teacher started filling all the small vessels like glass, katori (bowl) etc. with milk. The lauta still had milk. The teacher got tired of, realised his mistake, and asked for forgiveness.

That very day, my nani suggested the name of a vaidji (Ayurvedic doctor) to my father. Next day, in the morning we were in his clinics. The vaidji checked my eyes, tongue, nadi etc. and told that the medicines given to her reacted; the blood became impure which resulted in pustules. He suggested that every morning I should take fresh neem juice, mishri (sweet granules to beat bitterness) and roasted channa (helps in fresh blood formation) before eating anything. He also prescribed medicated oil for applying on my ruptured skin.

My father fed me bitter medicines and my nanaji (grandfather) told me stories of Chandan in which he was trapped in some trouble, called Gopala for help and then some magic happens for three-four months until I was cured. My nanaji gradually increased the number of malas in between the stories. One such story had 108 malas of Gopala which means 11664 times.

According to Swami Sivananda, “When Allopathy, Homeopathy, Chromopathy, Naturopathy, Ayurvedopathy and other ‘pathies’ fail to cure a disease, the Divine Namopathy alone can save you, The Name of the Lord is a sovereign specific, a sheet anchor, an infallible panacea and a cure all for diseases.

Gopala cured me! 🙂

P.S. – Photo clicked by me

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