Bhakta Laadubava

India is a land of many bhaktas and saints who experienced many miraculous powers of God. If one follows total surrender to God (sarvasya saranagathi) God takes care of him. Come rain or shine, come praise or curse he will remain untouched. Bhakta Laadubava is one such bhakta who could dictate terms to Kalimata.

There was a famous bhakta called Laadubava in Jyothipuram. He was known for his bhakti and vairagya. He went on pilgrimage all over the country. He went to Gangothri in the Himalayas to Rameswaram in the South. Throughout his pilgrimage he was lost in prayer to Lord Krishna.

Once on his way to such holy places he halted at a place called Kaavuur. As usual he was praying to God. That place was inhabited by cruel people known for their violence and atrocities. They offered human sacrifices to the Goddess Kali. Poor Laadubava was unaware of this custom. The king’s soldiers could not find a single soul for sacrifice that day. When they saw him they were more than thrilled and so dragged him to the feet of Kalimata. Three of them held him tight, when one was getting ready to kill him.

Laadubava, a staunch devotee of Lord Krishna, stood undaunted. He did not think of any other means except praying to the Lord. If God wills to save him, He would save him.

Kalimata manifested Herself before them in an angry mood, and killed all the four soldiers. Then she cooled down and sought forgiveness from Laadubava for offending a bhakta like him. She also offered to sanction a boon. Laadubava said, ‘I don’t require any boon, but since you are offering on your own, please fulfil my wish. You have given place to violence in your jurisdiction. All the people here are behaving cruelly and are becoming sinners. So please entrust them to turn for the better and to become devotees of Lord Srihari’. Kalimata agreed to do so. Accordingly, she manifested herself before the king in her dreams and said,’ Oh king ! you pass an ordinance that from today onwards your people should give up violence and you become disciple of Sri Hari’s devotee, presently seen in my temple. If you don’t follow my order, I’ll see the end of your people, your family and you.’

The king woke up from his sleep, called the minister and told him to spread the news to the people thus,’You give up violence and seek the blessings of a Haridas in Kalimata’s temple.’ He personally went to the temple and was shocked to see his soldiers lying dead there. He prostrated himself before Laadubava and prayed to him in many ways.

Laadubava angrily admonished the king. ‘Oh king, why are you so cruel ? How did you take a liking to human sacrifices ? You could not realize the truth that God is Omnipresent. He manifests himself in all creatures. Your wealth, position, wife, children, you people are all temporary. They don’t come with you in your final journey. This body over which you are gloating over is but a water bubble which might evaporate any moment. It is high time you change for the better. If you continue thus you will be made to suffer in hell. Seek the company of Sadhus and refine yourself. They will teach you vairagya. You will learn to be detached from your kith and kin. When you get detached you attain atma gnana. If you attain atma jnana, you will attain moksha.’

The king felt insulted when he was chided by the saint. He said, ‘you are looking down upon me. Can you be called a sadhu, if you cannot control your anger. Let me test your bhakti.’ He ordered his people to throw him into a dilapidated well and to cover it with a big boulder.

Laadubave sat coolly on the grass growing at the lower part of the well as if it was a soft bed and continued his chanting of Lord Srihari. The honey bees there provided him honey. He satiated his hunger with that and carried on his prayer undisturbed.

The king was frightened by the mystic powers of Laadubava. He ordered his people to remove the boulder from the well. But lo ! They could not lift it. Then he sent for elephants but they too were unsuccessful. The king was at a loss to do anything. Having realized the greatness of the Sadhu, that very minute he gave up violence, he ordered his people also to give up unruly behaviour and to change for the better. He started praying on the boulder over the well. He constructed many Vishnu temples all over the villages, saw to it that prayers were conducted in the temples three times a day. He made them do bhajan to Sri Hari constantly and he too actively partook in the bhajans. He has been honouring sadhus and devotees of God. He has been ruling through dharma and has been regularly praying to Laadubava.

Twelve years passed thus. The Lord Vishnu was impressed by his bhakti, gnana and vairagya. So one day He manifested Himself before the king in his dream. The king was more than excited to see Lord Vishnu with His four arms, with sankhu, chakra and with diamond studded gold jewels ,with Goddess Lakshmi on His Garuda vahana. His glow was greater than the light emanated by crores of sun God. He prostrated himself before God and prayed to him in many ways. He added with tears of joy,’ I am an ordinary man. How can I praise you?’

Lord Vishnu said, ‘I am pleased by your jnana, bhakti ,vairagya. You will attain moksha, but to reach me you should seek a sadhguru’s blessings. You have thrown my devotee into a well to test him. You make him your guru. The king shuddered at the thought and said, ‘Oh my dear God! I am very sorry to tell you. I threw him into the well twelve years ago out of my foolishness. The very next day, I wanted to bring him out and seek his forgiveness, but I was helpless. However much we tried we could not remove the boulder over the well. Ever since then, I have been praying to the boulder itself, treating it as Laadubava. We have been giving him many offerings. As per his order, I saw to it that my people had been changed for the better. They too ve became Your devotees. Now You blessed me to seek his teachings, but I wonder how it is possible, I wonder how he would be after these 12 long years.’

God answered, ‘Why do you worry unnecessarily. Do as I tell you. Go there , do your pooja as usual and lift the boulder. It will move very easily. Then you seek forgiveness from Laadubava and get his blessings.’ So saying God vanished.

The king woke up from his sleep, narrated his dream to the minister and priests, went with them to the well, prayed there in the regular way and touched the boulder. How strange ! They could lift it very easily. They saw Laadubava there with a glowing face and prayed to him. ‘Why did you come to disturb my loneliness’ questioned Laadubava.

The king explained how God ordained him to become his disciple and requested him to forgive him. Laadubava let out a smile and said ‘You are not a sinner. In fact, you have done me a favour. You have provided me an opportunity to pray to God incessantly for 12 years. I am free from the shackles of the mundane life and I am far from the madding crowd. So how can I repay your kindness?’ He came out of the well. The king took him to his house with all the pomp and show and made him seated on an elevated seat. The king and his people prayed to Laadubava with folded hands.

Laadubava spoke to the king, ‘Oh king ! I could see in my mind’s eye the transformation in you, your good deeds and the blessings of God on you. You will one day be like God.’

He addressed the public, ‘Oh people! you wanted to test me and so pushed me into the dilapidated well. Whoever created the world, whoever controls the seas from occupying the land, whoever decides the cycle of sun, moon and other planets, whoever controls the Kaalachakra, whoever can bring the whole world to a standstill if He so desires, whoever’s atma is seen in you, me and others, that God, the Lord Vishnu, has been protecting me all along. Is it strange ? God in fact protects even those who are entangled in their family life. In such a case won’t He protect one who is devoted to him totally ? God wants to show you that he takes care of all those who surrender to him totally. Everything takes place as per His desire.

Who are we to act against his will ?’

The king surrendered to the Guru and the Guru initiated him Sri Krishna mantram and its impact. He said that the very name of God would drive out the sins, the desires, the worries and all materials bondages. The people also fell to his feet and were initiated into prayer. They continued to do henceforth bhajans and Ekadasi Vratam.

Laadubava stayed there for some time and continued his pilgrimage for quite some time and finally settled in his native place. He carried on his Hari bhajan till he breathed his last and became one with his lord. After some days the Lord appeared before him in his dream and blessed him. Finally he and his subjects attained moksha. This story tells us that a Sadguru can lead us to the righteous path.