“ওম নমো ভগবতে বাসুদেবায়….. ওম নমো ভগবতে বাসুদেবায়……. ওম নমো ভগবতে বাসুদেবায়….”
A strange sound started filling my ears to the extent I woke up screaming anxiously, “Father!!!”
As I became conscious and started looking for him, I saw him laying, as usual on his Ananta Shesh, in Yog Nidra, as he has been, like this, sleeping for decades. I didn’t realize when I fell asleep and Dev Ananta created a seat for me so that I could sleep comfortably. This had become a daily routine for me. Every day I would come to him waiting, that this must be the time when he will open his eyes, hoping that he would call my name and I would feel the warmness of his hug. But this time, it was different. It was as if, someone was invoking me in some way that I could not refuse nor ignore. As if the sound that was emanating from the source unknown, stupefied me in some way. It was a kind of a strange feeling for me so I started looking for Maa. I looked for her everywhere but couldn’t find her. The anxiousness was growing inside me as if it wanted to carry me to the source.
I wasn’t able to think straight. The separation from my father had left me a hole that seemed impossible to fill but I had an uncanny feeling that this strange sound was related to me somehow. I took my Goumukhi conch and blew it. In a matter of seconds, Like a gust of wind, Shri Gaduda appeared.
“What did you summon me, Devi?” Shri Gaduda said offering his obeisances to me.
“Oh, Shri Gaduda…” I continued with folded hands “You are the one, who holds the weight of the one, who holds the weight of the entire universe upon his shoulders, on your back. No one is out of your gaze in the three worlds. Please help me in finding, the source of this strange sound that is reverberating in the entire Vaikuntha. With the help of my tapas, I have narrowed the source to 105 universes out of millions that are spread across. But I still don’t know which one and which timeline it is coming from. So, I request you to take me there. As I feel, it is imperative that I find the source.”
Shri Gaduda replied with folded hands,” Oh Devi, you are the reflection of Swami and Mata. Anything you speak is a command of theirs that I cannot refuse, but still, like them, you offer me such respect that it overwhelms me to the very core of my being. Please climb on my back and we will leave at once.”
A grin manifested on my face and I said,” So you know where the sound is coming from?”
“Yes, Devi” He continued, smiling” Every devotee of Swami and Mata is under the constant protection of mine. It is my duty and responsibility to keep a track of their whereabouts and well-being. So, yes, I know where the sound is coming from. Now climb up.”
I climbed on his back and he said,” Hold onto my feathers as it is going to be quite a flight.”
As I held onto his soft mushy golden feathers, he flapped his large humongous wings and we set off on an incredible journey. Faster than the horses that carried the chariot of Lord Adityanarayan, Shri Gaduda traveled. It was impossible for me to see anything as I could only see all around the journey, was a neon of white lights. Such intense it was that I lost my consciousness. When I regained it, I found myself lying under a peepal tree and Shri Garuda fanning me slowly with his wings.
“Are you alright, Devi?” He asked, anxious.
I got up and replied, smiling,” Yes, Dev. But is this normally the speed with which, you travel with father?”
“Yes, Devi. But sometimes it is more faster. Since it was your first time on my back, I was a bit slow.”
I had nothing more to ask. As I looked around, I noticed that we were inside a dense forest with all sorts of vegetation that are not found in Vaikuntha. Creepers growing around trees and all sorts of insects. It seemed mesmerizing. To my amazement, the sound that was intense there had subsided to a considerable amount here. All I could hear was a faint voice coming from behind the trees. I slowly stepped forward and got past the barricade to see a sweet little kid who was naked and was chanting something continuously. As I got near him, I saw a radiant glow had appeared all around his body. As I was going to touch him, someone stopped me by calling my name. As I turned around, it was none other than Devarshi Narada.
I went to him and touched his feet.
“Kalyan ho Devi but what brings you here?”
“Devarshi” I replied, hands folded,” As I was waiting for my father to open his eyes, I fell asleep and was in a way, jolted back, by the sound that he is generating through his mouth.I don’t know but why I feel a strange connection as if, this kid was, in some way, calling me, invoking me. I couldn’t hold myself any longer so I asked Shri Gaduda to bring me here. I don’t know what is happening, Devarshi. Maa used to say whenever you feel that you are uncertain about anything, you should take refuge in the knowledge of the sages. So, here I am , taking refuge in yours. Please enlighten me.”
Devarshi replied with a motherly tone,” Devi, what you are experiencing is what your parents experience when someone is doing their Tapasya. Since it is your first time, you didn’t realize it. This kid with his intense austerity and devotion has made you come to his aid.”
I was baffled. I had no words left to speak. After some moments passed, I gathered all the words that I could find and said,” But Devarshi, who is this kid and why is he doing such intense Tapasya at such a tender age? Please tell me all about him.”
“Sure Devi. But let’s sit first. The story is going to be a long one..”
“As you say, Devarshi”
We found a spot under the shade of the peepal tree perfect for the narration. I cleaned the rock using my cloth and requested Devarshi to take his asana. As he sat, I sat by his feet on the ground, hands folded and Devarshi started narrating.
“Devi, the kid that you saw was Dhruva. He is born as the son to King Uttānapāda (the son of Svayambhuva Manu) and his wife Suniti. The king also has another son Uttama, born to his second queen Suruchi, who was the preferred object of his affection. Once, when Dhruva was sitting on his father’s lap at the King’s throne. Suruchi, who was jealous of Dhruva being the elder son and a rightful heir to the throne, forcefully removed Dhruva from his father’s lap. When Dhruva protested and asked why he was not allowed to sit on his father’s lap, Suruchi berated him saying, ‘only God can allow you that privilege. Go ask him’. Suniti – being of gentle nature and now the lesser favorite wife – tried to console the distraught child, but Dhruva was determined to hear of his fate from the Lord himself! Seeing his firm resolve, his mother bade him farewell as he set out on a lonely journey to this forest. Dhruva was determined to seek for himself his rightful place and noticing this resolve, I appeared before him and tried to desist him from assuming a severe austerity upon himself at such an early age. But, Dhruva’s fierce determination knew no bounds, and I was left with no other choice but to guide him towards his goal by teaching him the rituals and mantras to meditate on when seeking Shri Hari. I Initiated him by giving a mantra of your father containing 12 syllables and this was the mantra by whose sound, you were forced to appear before him.”
“But Devarshi,” I asked, confused. “Dhruva is doing tapas of my father. So my father should have appeared before him but instead, it forced me to appear before him, Why?”
Devarshi giggled for a moment and replied,” Devi. Why do you forget that you are an extension of your father, and your mother too? Since you are his image in a certain way. The mantra forced you to appear before him because if we see in a certain way, he is doing your Tapasya too.”
“But how?” I asked, more confused.
“Devi, the place for which Dhruva is doing Tapasya of your father is to be his son. And your father cannot accept him until you accept Dhruva as your smaller brother. So, it is taking Dhruva more time to please the Lord because the Lord cannot proceed without your permission. So, to make the prayer reach your ears, I requested Mata Gayatri to bypass the pathway from your father’s to yours. And as we all can see, you are here.”
I was surprised. I couldn’t comprehend what I just heard. I asked,” So if I would not have heard his prayers, father would have never appeared before him and he would have gone doing his Tapasya like this?”
“Unfortunately, yes,” Devarshi replied, serious.
“If that is the case” I stood up and said “I, as the daughter of Shri and Hari, accept Dhruva as my smaller brother. Not only him, from now on, I also declare that anyone who wants Shri Hari as their parents can progress without seeking my permission as I accept them too, as my siblings.”
As I said, Devarshi stood up and said, “Sadhu Sadhu. Devi, you are indeed free of any kuntha/frustration. You could have perceived Dhruva as a threat. Being the only child, you could have easily let Dhruva go on doing his Tapasya but instead, you accepted him wholeheartedly. Not only him, but you have also already accepted millions of yet to be devotees, who, in the future, will do sadhana to attain Shri Hari as their parents. Such selfless behavior has pleased me, Devi. And hence, I wish to offer you a boon. Ask anything and if I have worshipped your father causelessly, you shall get it.”
I fell on his feet and said, “Oh great sage. It is my fortune that you are pleased with me. I don’t know what to ask for as I am satisfied with everything that my parents have provided me. So, I request that you provide me with something that you see fit.”
“As you wish, Devi” Devarshi continued ” You have really shown your caliber. So, I am giving you what I hold the dearest, Shri Hari’s Ahaituki Bhakti/ causeless devotion. Till now, you have only experienced Narayan as a daughter but from now on you will also experience him as a devotee. Take it.”
I prostrated before him and he kept his hands on my head. Suddenly, I experienced a jolt and felt something fundamental has changed in me but what? I couldn’t identify. I got up and asked,”So Devarshi, when is the Lord going to appear before Dhruva and put an end to his severe austerity?”
“Soon, Devi, soon.”
As we were conversing, a huge roar shook us. I looked around to see a huge tiger approaching Dhruva. Dhruva was so engrossed in his Tapasya that he had no idea of the tiger. As the tiger got more close to him, I got up, and enraged, called my father’s discus, The Sudarshana Chakra. As I was just going to project it towards the tiger, Devarshi stopped me.
He said,”Calm down, Devi. There is no need to project the Sudarshana to kill the tiger.”
I replied, enraged” How could you say that Devarshi? I have accepted Dhruva as my smaller brother and being now his elder sister, it is my dharma to protect him from any forthcoming danger. This tiger is thinking to harm him and you are saying me to calm down. This is not possible. I will vanish its entire existence”
“Oh, Mahadevi,” said Devarshi, folding his hands.”By seeing your son in danger, you have invoked yourself in your daughter. Please calm down and let the Leela continue.”
As he said it, my anger subsided and I called off the Sudarshana chakra. But the danger didn’t recede. Dhruva was absorbed in his chanting and the tiger came at a distance from where it could pounce on him easily. I stared back at Devarshi and he smiled back seeming to give me assurance.
At last, the tiger jumped but to my amazement, was struck down by a yellow thunder that generated from Dhruva’s body. I didn’t understand what had happened. I looked at Devarshi but Devarshi indicated me to continue watching. The tiger got up somehow and was getting close to Dhruva. By this time, the yellow aura, from Dhruva’s body covered him completely in a cocoon of energy and started to strike lightning all around. This made the tiger run away in fear. As the tiger ran away, the lightning stopped and there was only the yellow ball of energy radiating light all around as the rising sun.
I got close to it and tried to touch it. As I touched, the ball started manifesting into a form. As it completed, I said, surprised,”Father?”
The form smiled and dissolved again into Dhruva’s body.
This bewildered me and I again came back to Devarshi and asked what was this phenomenon about. Devarshi replied back smiling,” Devi, the form that you just saw was none other than Shri Vishnu himself, appearing to protect his devotee Dhruva from danger.”
“But how is this possible, Devarshi? Father is in Yog Nidra. How can he be here at the same time.”
Devarshi replied,”Devi, your father is called Vishnu which means omnipresent. He is all-pervading, present everywhere. The one who is in Yog Nidra is his immediate manifestation but that doesn’t restrict him. He is here too. Do you want to experience him?”
“Yes,” I replied instantly.
He placed his mouth near my right ear and covering my left ear, he chanted a mantra three times. He then said,”Devi, what I have provided you with, is the most confidential mantra of Shri Vishnu. Chant it with utmost devotion and you will surely experience him.”
As per his instructions, I folded my hands, closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and chanted the mantra with utmost devotion as was possible for me.
“Open your eyes, daughter.” I opened my eyes to find my father standing in front of me.
I ran and hugged him tightly. He hugged me back. I said,”At last, you woke up from Yog Nidra.”
“I didn’t” He replied back smiling.
“If you didn’t wake up then how come are you here?”
“Because what you are experiencing as me is my mantra. My immediate form is still in Vaikuntha but my mantric form is here, with you.”
“How is this possible father. Please explain.”
He took me on his lap and said,” Daughter, in the physical realm, there is a difference between the source and its paraphernalia but in the spiritual realm, there is no such difference. Hence, there is no difference between me and my paraphernalia whether it be my name, my story, my image, or my Archavigraha/ consecrated idol.”
“So are you trying to declare that you reside in your paraphernalia?”
He chuckled and replied,” No daughter. I don’t reside in my paraphernalia. I am my paraphernalia. ”
“And to make me understand and experience it, you orchestrated the whole Leela, didn’t you, father?” I smirkingly replied.
He replied, amazed,” But how did you know, daughter?”
“It’s simple Bhagwan. Devarshi Narada doesn’t do anything without your command. If he has initiated Dhruva into your sadhana, it was only because you wanted him to. And you also wanted me to come to Dhruva’s aid and get boon from Devarshi so that I could meet with you, here. And people know you as the most patient one. What will people think of you, if they get to know that Shri Vishnu orchestrated an entire Leela so that he could meet with his daughter in another form, just because he was just being impatient.”
He smirkingly replied,” You are indeed my daughter. But didn’t you want to meet me?”
“Yes, Bhagwan. How can I not? And at last, you fulfilled my desire and I will always be grateful to you.”
“From now, whenever you want my presence, just chant the mantra, I will be available to you in my mantric form. No matter where I may be. You will always find me accessible.”
“Father, when will you appear before Dhruva? He is doing such an intense tapasya.”
“Very soon, daughter, very soon. The time has nearly come when I will wake up from my Yog Nidra and appear before Dhruva to offer him the fruit of his serious austerity.” He touched my head and continued,”The time has arrived for my departure but I will see you soon again in Vaikuntha, okay?”
I got up from his lap and touched his feet.
As I opened my eyes, I saw Devarshi smiling. I smiled back at him and approached Dhruva. He was still engrossed in his sadhana. I kissed his forehead and said, “We will meet soon, little brother.”
Meanwhile, Shri Gaduda asked me from the sky, flapping his wings,”Should we depart now Devi? ? Mata would be searching for you.”
I replied back, smiling “Shubhasya Shighram”