Bhakta Narasi Mehta
Manushyanam Sahasreshu Kaschidyatati Siddaye
Yatatamapi Siddanaam Kaschinanam Vetti Tatvataha Bhagavadgita (7-3)
All of us have the same privilege of being born as human beings but our
life styles are different. Some think life is for pleasure and so they
enjoy. Some think life is for amassing wealth and so they slog for money
day in and day out. Such people are cut off from God. Some people think
of God only when they are in troubles. If they come out of them successfully,
they develop faith in God; otherwise they entertain their own doubts
Only a handful of people realize their life purpose and dedicate their
lives totally for God. God takes care of such devotees and protects them
always like a father. Bhaktas too found pleasure in their pain. They were
tortured in the materialistic world by the people around, but they were
unnerved. They were lost in their own sweet affinity with God. This is
one such story.
Bansidhar woke up suddenly from his sound sleep. A sweet music touched
his musical ears and woke him up. He stood at the threshold of his house
to see the person. It was the early hours of the day. The first rays of
sun were scattering the darkness spread around. In the morning sunlight
he saw a tall man with a wheatish complexion holding 'tambura' in one
hand and singing away in ecstasy a Keertana of God. He wore a garland
in his neck. The saintly look on his face, the simplicity in his garments
lured Bansidhar towards him. He wanted to prostrate before the holy man
to be rid of his sins.
Oh no! A closer look at the saint drove out his first thoughts of respect
since he was the one whom he drove out of the house a week ago. It was
his useless brother.
'You stupid! What happened to you all these days? Why are you dressed
like this? From whom did you rob this dress? Who provoked you thus? 'Showered
Bansidhar a number of questions on his younger brother.
Narasi Mehta spoke in a dignified manner. 'Nobody provoked me. Lord Krishna
ordained me to lead such a life. If I am standing like a saint before
you, the credit goes to Him.'
'Don't be silly! This is nothing but sheer escapism. Whoever wants to
shirk his responsibility turns himself into a sanyasi' spoke Bansidhar
'Oh my brother! Why should I try to shirk my responsibility? Am I new
to it? Every human being has to undergo the ordeal of 'Grihastu Dharma'
What's so special about it ? Even animals lead a family life. And if you
think I am lazy you are mistaken. A lazy man cannot chant the name of
God all the 24 hours. I want to be Lord Krishma’s devotee.'
This answer angered his brother all the more. 'You can't fool me easily!
If you just want to be a devotee why dress up like a saint? Will not your
change of heart suffice?’
Narasi Mehta let out a sigh! He realized that his brother would not trust
him until he told him the real story. So he began, 'Oh dear! In fact the
credit goes to you. This is not a hypocritical dress! Let me remind you
of what happened a week ago. That day I came home from Temple. My sister-in-law
had successfully poisoned your mind against me. You became a prey to her
and did not listen to my prayers. You scolded me, hit me and drove me
out of the house. I was left alone in the whole world. I wanted to see
my family at my in-law’s house but on second thoughts I changed
my opinion. I walked into the forest. There I came across a Siva Linga.
I hit my head against the Siva Linga and cried bitterly. Siva must have
melted. So he appeared before me and asked me to seek a boon. I was so
thrilled that I could not think of any boon. So I left the choice to God
himself. Lord Siva looked at me and smiled. Lo! We were in Gokulam in
a split second. 'Oh Narasi! I like the rasaleela of Lord Krishna with
his Gopikas. That's why I brought you here. It is a feast to the eyes’
said Sadasiva. My joy knew no bounds.
The surroundings wore such a wonderful sight that I can't explain to you
in words. The Gokulam turned out to be so colorful. It is filled with
the incense of flowers the melodious song of the Gandharvas in the pleasant
atmosphere stole our hearts.
First I saw Lord Krishna, the heart throb of Gopikas, playing on his flute
pleasantly. Then emerged Radha from Sri Krishna. From Radha emerged eight
Gopikas and from them 16,000 Gopikas. They were all dancing around Krishna
in ecstasy. The Rasaleela is really a feast to the eyes. Lord Siva was
playing on the Mridanga; Lord Krishna was playing on the flute in tune
with the Mridanga while the Gopikas danced rhythmically. I too was dancing
being engrossed in the scene till I felt a tender touch on my shoulder.
I opened my eyes to see eight Gopikas merge into Radha and Radha into
Krishna. With tears gushing out of my eyes, I fell to the feet of Lord
Krishna and prayed not to drive me away from him. Krishna lifted me up
and said "Narasi! You are a blessed soul! You are born with a purpose.
Your duty is to enkindle the light of Bhakti in thousands of hearts, Go
back to your town! So saying he gave me these things - Tambura, Chirutalu,
Tulasimala and this saffron robe. Next second, I was before the Sivalinga.
I cannot dismiss the miraculous experience as a dream, since I have these
things with me. So I have decided to fulfill my goal, as ordained by God.'
Bansidhar's wife Duritha Gouri laughed it away as a cock and bull story.
Scornfully, she spoke to Narsi! ‘Oh what a concocted story! When
did you turn out to be, a poet? What a wonderful idea for a new business.’
'Yes sister! I've begun a new business. I am unmindful of profit or loss
in this business. All I know is only to do my duty.' He sang a song in
Santho Hamare Vevariya Sri Ram namna
Vesari Ave che Badhagama Gama Na
'Dear people! I have come to sell the name of God to you! It is open to
all castes of people. It is available at all times. It cannot be stolen.
It cannot be levied taxes. I spend my time in filling the name of the
Lord in balance sheet.'
His brother was irritated at his, words and imprisoned him in a room.
When God himself is imprisoned in his heart will he be scared of these
petty punishments? He prayed to his brother 'Oh leave me alone with my
Narasi Mehta, true to his words, was a blessed soul. He was born in Junagad
in Gujarat to Damodardas and Lakshmi Gouri.
When his parents expired in his childhood, his brother and his aunt took
care of him. He behaved strangely in childhood itself.
Once there was a 'Radhostav' in their town. His aunt Jayakuvari Devi took
him there. She met a Sadhu there and told him that Narasi doesn't speak.
The Sadhu looked at him and said, 'Come on! Why are you silent? Sing Radha
- Syam, Radha - Syam!' Accordingly he sang at once melodiously. As he
grew up he sang it as a Keertana.
'Dwara dayaka jab tu khole
Panchana swarame ginga bole'
'Oh God! The dumb speaks, the blind sees, the lame walks unto Kasi when
your door of kindness opens unto them!’
Narasi bore many problems in the hands of his cruel sister-in-law. He
was married to Manika Gouri when he was 15. He gave birth to two children
namely Kuvaribai and Syamaladas.
He took up the duty of a watchman as his livelihood. One day he was lost
in his prayer and ignored his duty. Lord Krishna took up his duty that
night. Narasi Mehta was touched by this kindness. He did not want to trouble
his Lord anymore. So he gave up the job.
The cruel sister-in-law had no heart to look after his family. She harassed
them in every possible way. His wife went to her mother's place with children.
The sister-in-law seized the opportunity and saw to it that her husband
bet his brother and drove him out of his house. The rest is known. He
came back, blessed by God, only to bear further atrocities. His family
came back only to be driven away cruelly.
Narasi Mehta set up his family in a small house. He was engrossed in his
mission. The people, who came to listen to his songs, offered him money
and fruits which helped him to get along.
Narasi performed his, daughter's marriage at an early age. She was in
her in-law's house. She matured one day. Narasi's wife said that they
had to perform the function. Narasi agreed and went there at once but
the relatives laughed and the son-in-law frowned at his Haridas' get up.
They sneered at his empty hands. His daughter's mother-in-law was so angry
that she wanted to kick her out of the house. His daughter wept bitterly
before her father.
Narasi was moved and challenged the crowd gathered there, 'Come on! Give
me the list of things I should buy for this function. I'll provide them
this very day.'
Pat came the list. Sarees, jewels, utensils, delicacies and what not!
Some mischievous person was jotting down the list. Narasi humbly asked
them to write down whatever they wanted. This mischief monger wanted to
pull his leg. So he added a big stone.
Narasi Mehta went with the list to Panduranga temple. He held it in his
hand and sang Keertanas in praise of God with tears in his eyes.
Tu tara virada samhamu jo
Je samala najo Eesa karani hamari re
Oh Krishna! You forgive our crimes and bless us. You have saved many people
like Pandavas, Jayadeva’s wife Padmavathi, Gajendra etc. I request
you to save me from humiliation.
Sincere prayers never go waste. Lord Panduranga himself took all the items
in the list in a cart. Of course nobody could guess it was the Lord himself.
He approached Narasi Mehta's daughter's father-in-law and said, 'I am
the assistant of Narasi Mehta. I brought what he sent with me. Please
Surprisingly every item mentioned in the list was there including the
big stone. Very fondly they asked for Narasi and the Lord couldn't control
his laughter at the hypocrisy of his own creation. Innocently he said,
'In Panduranga Temple'
The relatives hastened to the temple and were surprised to see Narasi
Mehta in a dazed state. He was shocked to see the relatives as a group
and pleaded with them to give him some time. They were perplexed and narrated
the incident. They added, 'Your assistant seems to be so good. He told
us your whereabouts. We are awfully sorry for our behaviour. You sent
every thing, to the last detail, including the big stone we asked.’
Narasi Mehta could understand at once that it was the Leela of the Lord.
Oh God! How kind of you! Did you come down personally to help me, that
too as my assistant! How infinite is your love? How I wish I had your
Darsan!' He turned to the relatives and fell to their feet, 'How lucky
you are to be blessed with the Darsan of my Lord.' He sang a Keertana
in praise of God.
People realized his greatness but not all are good in the materialistic
world. One jealous man, in due course, complained against Narsi Mehta
to the ruler of Junagadh! His complaints were he was befooling people
that he had witnessed Krishna's Rasaleela and that God spoke to him. Accordingly
Narsi was called and questioned. Narasi accepted them. The king asked
him to prove them! How can one prove them! How can one prove his spiritual
bliss! It is purely a personal bliss. It is an experience of the heart,
not of the mind! The foolish king insisted on his order.
Oh! God's Leela is unimaginable. Suddenly there was a glow in their hearts.
The temple doors broke open on their own; from the temple a garland moved
on its own, in the air, towards Narsi and fell into his neck. One who
believes in God's Leela can guess God could have come personally to deck
his disciple with the garland. Yes very much true! Narsi alone could see
Him and others could only guess the love of God! That itself made them
accept him as a blessed soul.
There was a rich man called Madan Mehta in Boodhnagar. His daughter Jyothi
bai reached marriageable age. He sent his priest in search of a suitable
boy for his girl. The Brahmin reached Narsi’s village and contacted
Sarangadhar Mehta. The latter was waiting for a chance to ruin Narsi Mehta,
out of sheer jealousy. So he directed the priest to Narsi’s house.
Both the priest and Narsi had no objection to the alliance. The match
was fixed but Sarangadhar Mehta played a foul game. He wrote a letter
against Narsi to the girl's parents. He spoke about their poverty. The
angry father wrote back to Narsi to come to his house with all the pomp
and show if he wished for their alliance.
The news grieved Narsi’s wife but he was rest assured of God's help.
He proceeded the next morning just with his wife and son praying to God
all the while. They hardly reached the outskirts then relatives began
to swarm in. They were bringing with them all that he needed. Guess who
they were! They were the relatives of Rukmininadh ! When God joined them,
God's relatives joined him. Lord Krishna Radha, Rukmini, Satyabhama, Jambavati
and other wives; Uddava, Akrura, Kuchela, Gopikas, Prahlad, Narad and
other devotees Pundarika, Parasa, Ambarisha, Suka, Sounaka rishis; kubera,
Indra and other devatas; Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari and other river goddesses;
Senapaths, Purohits, Devarishis, Maharishis, Siddas, Gandharvas and saints
- all joined hands in the large procession.
Lord Krishna hastened himself to the girl's house and informed him of
their arrival. He asked for the arrangements on their side. The girl's
father bowed before Krishna and pleaded guilty. How lucky! Unknowingly
he bowed before the Lord himself! The Lord assured him of his help. He
sat between the two and performed the marriage on a grand gala scale.
The whole procession came back to Narsi's place and then disappeared!
That is the blessing of the Lord.
On a different occasion, some devotees were proceeding to Dwaraka. It
was customary those days to deposit their money with a rich man in their
town and to borrow that much amount from another rich man in the holy
place. Some mischievous people wanted to pull the leg of Narsi. So they
guided the pilgrims to Narsi. Narsi, without any second thoughts, wrote
a letter to Sri Sanvalsa in Dwaraka. Poor Pilgrims roamed all over the
town in search of this Sanvalsa in vain. As they were about to curse him,
somebody appeared before them, introduced himself as Sanvalsa and offered
the money they wanted. He disappeared the next minute and they could guess
at once that he was the God himself!
The news spread like wild fire and they all became Narsi's disciples.
Narsi served them with love since he could see God in them. He was serving
an untouchable when his wife was breathing her last. He thought he was
freed from family when his wife and son passed away. That was the height
of his Vairagya.
He composed books like 'Aaiswarya Leela' 'Rukmini Kalyanam' and 'Sudama
Charitra. 'His Krishna Vaishnava Janata' is full of principles for human
A true Vaisnavaite sees God in everyone. He doesn't criticize any one.
He has equanimity of mind. He has a motherly feeling towards other women.
He chants Ramanama incessantly. His body is as holy as all the holy rivers
Such saintly lives are sources of inspiration for us impure, unholy and
jealous human beings lost in the mundane world.