Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj's Pastimes
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
What kind of character did Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj have? Many of you cook for Gurudev and then come to Gurudev and ask him for his prasad. This is what sahajiyas do. People do this in Midnapore and here in Siliguri also sometimes. They come to you and ask your for your prasad. If this is a real Guru, he will get irritated, he would never want to give his remnants to anyone. If you want to get prasad, you must do it secretly—if you get some prasad of your Guru, you should accept it and take it quickly, but never come in front of your Guru and ask him for it. Sometimes people bring also their Guru to their house and when they do not get any prasad leftovers, they start feeding him forcefully.
One time, one lady from Dhatrigram (a village near Kalna) wanted to invite Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj to her house. Babaji Maharaj had a servitor, Bihari Das. She told Bihari Das, "I am inviting you and your Master (your Gurudev). I want to cook for you and give you prasad at my house." Bihari Das said, "OK. I will ask Babaji Maharaj, if he agrees, I will tell you the date when he will come." Then, he went to Babaji Maharaj and said, "One elderly lady, a widow, has come and is asking you to come to her house. She wants to cook, offer the bhog and give you prasad." Babaji Maharaj told Bihari Das to settle the date. Bihari Das asked the lady about the date, then told Babaji Maharaj, and Babaji Maharaj agreed to come on that date.
When the day came, Babaji Maharaj set off to her house on foot (there were no trains in those days) and finally arrived at that house. The old lady said that she had already finished cooking and told Bihari Das to offer the bhog. Bihari Das offered the bhog. Then, the lady told Babaji Maharaj and Bihari Das, "You please sit down, I will serve you prasad." She placed two banana leaves on the ground and served them prasad. Babaji Maharaj ate whatever she had given him leaving not a trace of prasadam on his plate. The lady thought, "It was so hard to invite Babaji Maharaj, I wanted to take his prasadam, but now I see he has not left any remnants! Let me feed him something more." When she tried to give him more, Babaji Maharaj refused, "No, no, it is enough, not necessary! I have finished prasadam, not necessary to give anything more," but she insisted, "No, no, take a little more!" In the end, she forcefully gave him a few subjis and rice. Babaji Maharaj understood what was happening and was displeased at heart. He thought, "You are forcing me to eat, but I have understood what is on your mind." He did not say anything to anybody. Without saying a word he again ate whatever she gave him—along with the plate this time! Seeing that Babaji Maharaj had eaten the plate, Bihari Das told the old lady, "O God, so much austerity for Babaji Maharaj! I will never again accept such invitations!" But Babaji Maharaj did not say anything, he just quietly ate the plate...
Another time, Babaji Maharaj was walking down the street [Bihari Das was carrying him in a basket] when one rich man saw him and thought, "Oh, this sadhu is so poor, he is walking bare feet, his clothes are all torn. Let me give him some money, at least he can buy some clothes for himself." The man was so proud that he was rich. He gave Babaji Maharaj some money. Babaji Maharaj took it and continued his way (he was walking to that same house where he had been invited to take prasadam). A while later, having walked some three-four kilometres further, he ordered Bihari Das to turn back. Bihari Das asked,
"Why? Are you not going to that lady's house?
"No, I will go there, but first take me to the house of the man who has given this money."
"Go, go. Turn back."
Bihari Das brought Babaji Maharaj to the house of that man—a big three-storey house. They saw the man sitting on the roof of the house. Babaji Maharaj told Bihari Das to ask him to come downstairs (Babaji Maharaj was old at that time and spoke softly, he could not shout). So, Bihari Das shouted to the man,
"Could you please come down?"
"Why?" asked the man.
"Babaji Maharaj wants to talk to you," replied Bihari Das.
When the man came downstairs, Babaji Maharaj gave him his money back.
"Why are you giving it back? I have given it to you and you are returning it—why?" asked the man.
"My friend, look, I cannot tolerate the burden of this money. When I was walking down the road, I kept thinking what I will buy with this money, what I will do, what should be done with that money. I kept thinking about this and could not chant the Holy Name. You please take it back."
The man was surprised, "I have hundreds of thousands of rupees, but I do not think anything of it, it does not give me any headache."
"Well, you have a big head, but my head is small, I cannot take it. Please save me, take this money and let me go," Babaji Maharaj said handing the money back to the man and left.
That was Babaji Maharaj. You can see him in our Guru-parampara, his picture is the last on the right. Such is the quality of a Vaishnav. We must learn from this. Somebody thinks they are a big Guru, so they stretch their legs and tell others to wash their feet, etc. or they distribute their own prasad... The Lord possess six opulences in full—full strength, full fame, full wealth, full knowledge, full beauty and full renunciation. Who can give the Lord? Vaishnav Thakur. We pray, "O Vaishnav Thakur, please give me your mercy so I can serve you!"
"Sukhe duhkhe bhule nako vadane Harinam koro re: in happiness or sadness, never forget it, always chant the Holy Name." Always chant the Holy Name, always serve the Lord, take prasad. Leave your ego and serve the Lord.
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