English Translation of G T Sreedhara Sharma’s
Shridhara Smarane – Part 1
By Ms.Vijaya Bhatta & Adya Bhatta USA
Shri Shridhara Swamiji did not have much interest towards food; in fact, he had a divine neglect towards it. He used to dip even the rice he would get from madhukari 1 into the Sonale pond and hang it on the branch of an audumbara 2 tree after chanting God’s names. Then, after dividing this rice into three parts, He used to give two parts to the cows and the fishes. He used to partake the remaining food while chanting God’s names. Watching this, some people spread the rumor that Shri Shridhara Swamiji wasted the madhukari by putting it in water, and that people should not offer madhukari to Him. Believing that to be true, some people gave too little madhukari to Him.
Not caring for any of this, Shri Shridhara Swamiji never stopped doing hundreds of prostrations to God. In accordance to His youth, He used to get very hungry and tired. He stopped getting peanuts and rice for phalahar 3, and due to the reduction of the amount of madhukari, His scarcity of food became severe. So, He used to eat dry corn that was available in the surroundings. When they too got over in a few days, He used to eat lantana fruits, dried fruits under the audumbara and banyan trees, and fresh shoots of the audumbara tree. Either due to God’s Will or as though it was a test of Shri Shridhara Swamiji’s endurance, someone had sprayed some herbicide to the lantana plants and even those dried off. From then on, He used to gather the audumbara and banyan fruits and soak them in water. By the time He finished his chanting, prostrations, and other daily rituals, those fruits used to get soft, having soaked in water. Without any disgust, he spent days eating them.
Thus, in Sajjangadh, even though Shri Shridhara Swamiji’s diet was limited, His devotion to the Guru, His service to the Guru, and His daily rituals went on undeterred as usual.
- Madhukari is a practice of begging for food from many houses (similar to a bee that gathers honey from many flowers), just enough to sustain oneself while pursuing spiritual upliftment.
- Audumbara tree is an Indian variety of the fig tree which is worshipped as divine in India.
- Phalahar is light food in this context.
|| Jai Jai Shridharaya Namah ||
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