English Translation of G T Sreedhara Sharma’s Shrīdhara Smarane – Part 1
By Ms.Vijaya Bhatta & Ms. Adya Bhatta, USA
Once, Shrī Shrīdhara Swāmīji was going from Satārā to Kōregāon. On the way, an elderly woman who used to eat non-vegetarian food approached Swāmīji and insisted that Swāmīji visit her house. Swāmīji said, “Child, I see everyone equally, regardless of whether I come to your house or not, but I cannot come to the house of someone who consumes non-vegetarian food. Only if you swear that you will never eat non-vegetarian food in the future, I can come to your house too.” Immediately, the elderly lady swore that she and her family would never eat non-vegetarian food again.
As promised, Shrī Shrīdhara Swāmīji went to her house. Being overjoyed, the elderly woman offered all of her life savings at the feet of Swāmīji, saying “This is my small service towards the temple that is being built.” Swāmīji responded, “Child, I am getting worried looking at the state of your own house. There are a lot of devotees who are donating for the construction of the temple. Take this money back as a guru prasād1. I will add some more money to it and give it to you. With all the money, build a beautiful, compact, and hygienic house for yourself and your family to live happily.” As soon as she heard this, the elderly woman was overcome with emotion and said pleadingly, “Swāmīji! Why do I need a house? Why do I need money? Both of my children are earning. Thanks to your grace, we have no problems with our food and clothing. Please accept this donation. How much longer will I live, anyway? So please, accept this money.”
Still, Shrī Shrīdhara Swāmīji told the leaders of the village to build a safe house for the elderly woman’s family and got ready to leave for the next house. Coming to know about Swāmīji’s leaving, the elderly lady reminded that Swāmīji was about to leave without drinking milk. When Swāmīji said, “I do not eat anything before taking a bath,” she made arrangements for Swāmīji to take a bath too. When Swāmīji drank milk after the bath, the old lady was overcome with joy. Trying to contain the flood of joy and emotions, she cried, “Swāmīji, what else do I need? Here I come, surrendering at your feet.” Pleased with her hospitality, purity of thought, and total surrender, Swāmīji sprinkled tīrtha2 from His kamandal3 on the lady and told her children, “You are fortunate. Your mother has been absolved. Worship your mother as a Goddess.”
- Prasād – Usually fruits, flowers or vegetarian food(in this case money) that is offered to deities or saints and then shared among the devotees after the worship as blessings.
- Tīrtha – Holy water given to the devotees as a blessing.
- Kamandal – A oblong pot made of special wood, metal or clay used by Hindu ascetics for carrying holy water.
|| Jaya Jaya Shrīdharāya Namaḥ ||
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