Vaisnava Saints

 

 

.from Srila Bhaktivinode’s auto-biography- selected portions-

back to part 1,2,3- click here.


Part #4-

 

 

His son, Parasurama Mushtophi, studied law. In the beginning

he had a little faith in Isvara. Later on he refuted the idea of

Isvara. While he believed in Isvara he had two disciples, Raghu

Mama and Nasu Mama. After he gave up his faith in Isvara, Raghu

Mama and Nasu Mama accepted Ramamohan Raya as guru. I was greatly

confused. I was innocent and had many questions. Seeing all this

difference of opinion my mind was not happy. Parasurama Mama said

to me, "O baba, everything comes from Nature. And that is Isvara

There is nothing separate from Nature." Hearing all this talk

I went to the schools of the Bhattacharyas to ask them but what

they said just confused me even more. Because all the conclusions

were uncertain, I never gave up the name of Rama which warded off

the fear of ghosts. 

 

I was eleven years old when my father passed away. I was

independant then. But what would become of me? I was struck by

this thought. I could see [only] darkness in all directions. I

had no blood relations who would look aftrer my welfare. At

school I merely studied whatever [they instructed me]. You

[Lalita] know what the limits of reading and writing are in a

village school. At this time Master Hemacandra Bandyopadhyaya

left Ula and Ramaachandra Dasa, the pride of the Kaivartta caste,

became the headmaster of the school. I studied with care, but

there was no one to help me study so my learning progressed very

little. Somehow I did reasonably well in literature. I studied

the fifth reader, grammar and geography. 

 

Only in maths did I do exceedingly poorly. Kanti Bhattacharya

and Lal Gopal Ghosh were good students compared to me. Even so

the teacher showed a lot of affection to me. But I was helpless

and gradually I was sinking lower. I was not able to say why, but

I was becoming very listless and from then on was  not able to go

here or there [as I had previously done]. In fear of going to

school, I would secretly take caster oil in order to make my

stomach upset. Again and again my old fever would come back. In

brief the only [good] thing I can say about this time was that I

did not fall into any bad association. I thought about many

things and tried to put my thoughts into poetry. At this time I

wrote the Ulachandi Mahatmya. That book can not be found now. 

 

After the death of my father, my grandfather, being very

aggrieved in mind, went and lived in Bhavanipur. Having closed

and bolted the door to the outer pooja building he opened a

passageway for going the between the outer  building and the

former building. I stayed in the parlour of Dasu Mama, and my

grandfather cleaned out the chamber [mahalati] room of the family

deities. Hanuman Sinha, Baladeb Sinha, Suba Sinha and Sital

Teoyari Daraoyan stayed there. 

 

Mother thought that my further advancement would be

difficult. She felt that her  husband and all her sons had gone.

No property [wealth] had been acquired from the home of her?]

father in law. Grandfather gave her the house at Nabala and gave

in writing a share on income from Dihi Dukhada that was lost by

the trickery of scheming persons. Except for some property at

Chotimangalpur she had no wealth. The two gentlemen, Yaduchandra

and Umacharan Visvas, made some effort to assist in the matter,

but in the end they were not able to help. 

 

Then I was the only son and Hemalata, a seven year old

girl, was the only daughter. My nursemaid was thinking many

things but was not able to ascertain any solution to our

plight]. Everyone in the house i.e. the servants] was

considering whether this boy [me] would live. The said to her,

"One after another so many of the other children who were like

Karttika [strong and handsome] have died, so what hope can there

be for this ugly boy [me] to continue to live? Therefore, if you

say that your wealth is in this boy you will not survive."

Hearing these talks, my mother sold me for 9 cowrie and my sister

Hemlata for 5 cowrie to Dhatri Mata. After a few months my mother

heard that my aunt Mej undertook a marriage for my cousin Mahesh

Dada. 

 

Then she thought, "A marriage for my son will bring a better

future." Having said this, marriage negotiations began. Some

negotiations were [already?] underway. Mahesh] Dada spoke to my

grandfather [along with?] Krishnamati, the brahmani daughter of

Krishna Mukhopadhyaya who always came to our house. At this time

Jagat Bhattacharya Mahasaya would assist our family in many ways.

He shopped for us. On ekadasi days the brahmana would prepare a

special vegetarian meal for us. 

 

Mother sent Krishnamati to Ranaghat to see the girl in

question]. The girl's name was Sayamani and she was the five year

old daughter of the first wife of Sriyukta Madhusudana Mitra. She

was the granddaughter of Simhadiga of Khismar. Mitra Mahasay was

very capable. He was the financial officer of the Palacothur

family and he came to see me riding on a elephant and then left.

After seeing the girl, Krishnamati came and spoke to mother

saying, “Oh, your future daughter law is so beautiful. Even

though she is a little dark in colour I do not see a better

beauty." It was the opinion of Krishnamati that there was nothing

in this girl that a man would find objectionable. Having

expressed this opinion to mother she would not consider any other

girls. Lala Gopal said that the colour of this girl was dark]

like a hookah. Mother said, "Her forehead is auspicious, that is

her beauty, what does [a dark] colour matter?"

 

The marriage was decided. Dasu Mama acted as the head of the

family. Nanda Kumar began to make the jewellery. Stealing a large

ammount of gold from mother, he made different kinds of ornaments

[for the girl]    enough to cover her entire body. Dasu Mama gave

the approval for everything. The expence was great. 

 

There was a pleasure boat, a wedding palanquin, decorations,

lights, English music etc. The marriage was between a twelve year

old boy and a five year old girl and was exactly like a child's

doll marriage. Drinking Ganges water and milk I arrived at the

house of my father in law with a great, pompous crowd. The

reception was very big. Many gentlemen of the Teli [oil] caste

dressed in bright and varied clothes and wearing jari outfits

came to the reception. Even though I was of such a tender age, I

was able to understand that except for the Kayasthas and the

Brahmanas who were dressed nicely] the good clothes and

ornaments did not look well on the others. I heard that the

children of the Panti family came. Hearing the name Panti my

panti doll comes to mind. Even though they were not exactly like

my doll, my eyes did not see the beauty of the panti children.

Two reciters of genealogies read out the family histories of the

Mitra and Datta families. 

 

 

more later....

back to part 1,2,3- click here.


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