I Went to Listen… to ‘Bhagwat Puran’! by Shubha Tiwari SignUp
I Went to Listen… to ‘Bhagwat Puran’!
Prof. Shubha Tiwari Bookmark and Share

The history of ‘Bhagwat Puran’ is that Raja Parikshit in his last days asked Ved Vyas to tell him things, listening to which he might acquire ‘moksha’; he might not have to come to earth again; he might be free of this cycle of births and rebirths.

I went to listen to ‘Bhagwat Puran’.  Recently I received an invitation card for a full ten day divine showering of nectar in the form of ‘Bhagwat Puran’. Receiving cards in bulk has become a habit with me, house warming, birthday, ‘Ramayana Paath’, ‘Bhagwat Paath’, and above everything else, marriage. We are no doubt a marriage loving country. Come the season and cards shower from all corners. Necessity, they say is the mother of invention. I have developed my own system of card gradation. Cards mandatory - that’s one category where I just cannot afford not to go. For me, most people in this category are ‘friends of parents’, who have the right to say, ‘Where were you? Why didn’t you come?’ The second category includes where I might go or I might send a message or gift saying that I’m going out of station etc. The third category is naturally not to be bothered about for the simple reason that one person cannot possibly go to so many places.

Well, this card for ‘Bhagwat’ was special. It was from my teacher Madam Dubey who had taught me Political Science in B.A. She also knows my parents and family. I had to go. But, ‘Bhagwat’ sounded deadly. I’d never gone to a ‘Bhagwat’ earlier. Some Maharaj ji was to shower nectar for full ten days and I was to take my share any day out of those ten days. I kept murmuring, ‘Today I’ll go; I’ll certainly go tomorrow; the day after tomorrow is a holiday; I’ll definitely go then’. Anyhow nine days had passed off and I had still not taken my share of nectar. It was an inevitable situation. I took my car out at four in the afternoon; kept the card beside me to reach the address and started.

Searching her home was not difficult at all. Her beautiful duplex was in the festive mode. We in India how houses behave when it’s  function time. Well dressed  relatives, smell of ‘bhandara’, the public kitchen, the puries, the kachories - it was all there. I met a young lady at the door. I asked if it was indeed Madam Dubey’s house, to which she answered positively. She warmly received me and took me in and asked me to join food. I was in no mood to eat food. I wanted to meet my teacher so that the fact might be registered that I had come and then slip out of the situation as early as I could.

The young lady was Madam Dubey’s daughter-in-law and she’d by no means let me go at least without a burfi. The coconut burfi was tasty. Then the young lady’s young daughter accompanied me to ‘Bhagwat’ site. It was in the park in front of the house. A huge pandal of fresh white and orange linen was set up. The ground was elegantly carpeted. I thought I had entered some film set. A huge stage, approximately fifty feet by fifty feet was set up. Very lovely Lord Krishan was beaming from various big photo frames. Radha, gopis, butter, earthen pots, Ma Yashoda and greenery were all in place. I must say that I felt happily surprised. On the stage, a podium was set up covered with peacock feathers. It looked gorgeous. A young man was seated in the podium. He was what in India we call ‘wheat complexioned’. It’s our polite way of saying that he was not very fair.  But he had large eyes, very expressive. The members of his group were sitting in corner of the stage with synthesizer, flutes, table, dholak etc.

Madam Dubey and her husband were sitting on sofa just in front of the stage as key listeners to the ‘Bhagwat’. Others were sitting in chairs behind them at some distance. As I went and paid my respect to Madam, she hugged me happily and asked me pick a chair and sit beside her, which I did. The Maharaj ji was singing and I must say that he was singing quite well. It was the last day of the tale-telling. The time I had gone was pre-story time when the atmosphere is created for submission on the part of the devotees or listeners. The man was doing a fine job. The video recording was on. The sound system was good. The voice was quite pleasant, ‘Dukh se mat ghabrana sathi; ye jag dukh ka mela hai. Chahe bheed rahe duniya me; jana tujhe akela hai.’ (The world is a fair of sorrows; don’t be afraid of them.  There may crowd all around you but finally you have to go all alone.)  went on to sing adhram madhuram… ( The lips of God are sweet; his sight, his gait, his clothes; everything associated with God is so sweet.)

Believe it or not, I really felt my tension veins easing out. Tears flowed. As it is, my children tell me, ‘Mamma, you always need an excuse to cry. You never miss an opportunity to start the tap’. I sat there. I didn’t want to come back soon. I asked Madam, ‘What’s the gist of ‘Bhagwat’? What have you learnt?’ Being her student was easy. I could ask as many questions as I wanted. She said, ‘It’s difficult to put it in some words. But I’ll try for you. The gist of ‘Bhagwat’ is that you love God without expecting anything from Him. Be pure in mind and heart’.  I said, ‘You’ve spent a lot in organizing such a big affair’.  She said,’ We (she and her husband) are living ‘bonus’ life. Our work is done. This is extra time that God has given us on earth. This might be the last celebration. Why not celebrate it in style?’

Hours and days after I had returned from ‘Bhagwat’, the thought kept coming to me, ‘Why did I enjoy the experience so much?’ I am usually very critical of all sorts of god men. I went with such a high degree of reluctance. I never expected it to be a pleasant experience and yet it turned out to be exactly that. The obvious answer is that the infrastructure created for the purpose was great; the Maharaj ji was a good singer and therefore it provided soothing impact on senses.

But I realized that at a deeper level, we are all in the doer-mode. ‘I do this; I do that’. Everyone has to perform duties in life but we take doer-ship. This gives us tension. Right from getting the plants watered to proper fencing of the land to getting clothes ironed to getting dog’s room cleaned to just everything -  I do; I do.  This is why we feel burdened. Submission to a higher authority is essential to remove that doer-ship. The ‘let go everything’ feeling is essential and welcome. ‘Forget everything; nothing is important’ - this experience is needed.  I’m thankful to my teacher to allow me to come back to my real self, if only for some time
. Next time, I receive a ‘Bhagwat’ invitation; I won’t curse the sender, that’s for sure. 

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Comments on this Blog

Comment Dear Kaunteya Dasa
Thank you so much for your appreciation. I agree that purity has force.
Shubha Tiwari

Shubha Tiwari
04/10/2019 19:41 PM

Comment Dear Professor,
I wish to inform you that I enjoy reading your blogs and other articles.
I usually do not comment on all but this one touched my heart.

No doubt that our previous acaryas/preceptors were so pure internally and externally that whatever they preached in those days are still around us nowadays irrespective of the evolution in our lifestyle.

I strongly believe in one thing and I think that this might be the reason why you got attracted or captivated. It's all based on the purity of the speaker. " Purity is the force".
One can best judge one's own experiences. You might have listened to so many lectures and discourses but not all might have had the same impact on you. Why?
Because it is based totally on the purity of the speaker.

Your well wisher,
Kaunteya dasa from Mauritius

Kaunteya dasa
04/10/2019 01:35 AM

Comment i was also of skeptical mind and have serious doubts on our vedic literature , once came in contact with a bhakt it changed all the false assumptions of life , i suggest self reading of geeta and bhagwat under supervision of bhakt for doubt clarifications Bhagwat puran is ultimate literature telling all the facts in plain and square language must read it leaving all other things at once before its too late

rajesh khatri
12/19/2013 03:18 AM

Comment There is no doubt that Bhagwat Puran is a wonderful religious scripture. If it is heard with concentration, it will leave its positive effect. It's listening is the task of patience. I think that Katha Vachak must have deep understanding of music. His singing with devotion left a lasting effect on the writer, whose has emotional temperament. Definitely his melodious throat and love for Krishna must have been super.

Shailbala Misra
03/20/2013 01:35 AM

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