From On the Way to Vaikuntha

Bhrigu - June 28, 2008 6:09 pm

I am presently editing an English translation of Bon Maharaja's Baikunther Pathe, an extremely candid and interesting book of his pilgrimage to Badrinath in 1943, in the footsteps of Gopakumar. This book is fascinating! Here is an excerpt from the first chapter (the only one "finished" so far).


All these matters were on my mind. On the other hand, Hembabu’s thoughts were beyond my knowledge. From his expression, I could see him deeply absorbed in some thought. During our previous evening walks, he had often talked about trifling matters such as the crowd at the river bank or the procession of the country boats and barges. This time we reached Dasashvamedh Ghat with him hardly saying a word.

While ascending the steps towards the temple, Hembabu smilingly said, “Let us go to meet a person in Viswanath Galli.” Without a choice, we followed and reached an old house. After a little hesitation, Hembabu led us to the door of a room where we removed our shoes. Entering into the room, we sat down on a tattered carpet, where an old man was sitting with heaps of old books around him. He was the owner of the house. He appeared to be a humble and simple Brahmin with little education. The room had two windows. Next to the street there was another room full of many more old books, lit only by lamps. The room we had entered was more spacious, airy and light, but since it had not been kept up, heaps of dusty spiderwebs dangled from the cealing. I kept silent with the apprehension that some of it might fall on my head. By this time Hembabu had begun talking with him. – “Namaskar, Panditji! How do you do? It is a long time since I have seen you.”

The pandit replied, “Me be good. How you is?” Hearing his Bengali, I had to check myself from laughing. Hembabu remembered that we could not afford wasting time as we had to return to the ashram quickly, so he took out the piece of paper I had given him and handed it to Panditji. He said, “Please find out Panditji, if you have this horoscope with you.” The old man took the piece of paper and began to look at it. I was astonished. I wondered how my horoscope might be here, especially since Hembabu had not told me anything about this before. But I began to wait with wild curiosity. I saw the old man enter into the adjacent room and after a few moments he came out with an old hand-written book in his hand. With a face full of smile, he said, “Babuji, here be it”.

While the old man was busy inside the aforesaid room, Hembabu told me whisperingly, “This place is known as the Bhrigu office”. The great omniscient sage Bhrigu, calculating the position of the planets and stars of human beings at the time of their birth, had ascertained the past, presence and future of more than one hundred thousand people. He communicated all of this in the form of the Bhrigu Samhita to the mighty Shukracharya. In the course of time, most of the records had been spoiled and whatever remains has been scattered and disfigured. If one can find the original forecastings made by Bhrigu, they will certainly be true. The infallible sayings of Bhrigu Rishi can never be false. They are not only the false calculation of some branch of astrology. In this regard, Hembabu gave me so more information and said, “For a long time I had not thought about this. I recollected this matter only this noon and therefore brought you here”.

Before he finished, Panditji came forward and said in Hindi, “Babuji, I think I have found the correct statement of Bhrigu. I will read it out to you. If it does not correctly correspond to his life, please tell me, otherwise I shall have to look after it again”. “Well, go ahead reading it,” said Hembabu. Then the old man began to read with his failing eyesight supported by an ancient magnifying glass. Hembabu and Jogenbabu remained silent while we began to hear his narrative, with me sitting motionless as a painted picture. The text was in very simple Sanskrit. After he had finished reading, without asking whose horoscope it was, or where that person lived, Panditji only said, “This must be the horoscope of a great soul”. We remained silent because neither Jogenbabu nor Hembabu could know anything about the authenticity of the text as they knew nothing about my past life. We were all about to depart when I asked if it was possible to get a copy of the horoscope. With enthusiasm, the Brahmin said that one could get a true copy against the payment of ten rupees, but that one could not touch the original manuscript. Thinking that I could speak Hindi, he said, “Namaskar,” and asked to know my opinion. I told Hembabu and Jogenbabu that I would express my opinion when we returned to the ashram and said, “Let us now go to offer obeisance to Lord Vishvanath”.

It was afternoon, and there were almost no pilgrims at the Shri Vishvanath Temple. After offering flowers and Ganges water, one or two visitors to the temple were on their way out. We entered the temple, and I offered my solemn prayers to the image of Shri Ashutosh, washing his feet with my tears. “Oh Lord, how wonderful and unfathomable are your actions! Where are you leading me, holding my hand? Which future do you want to indicate for me at this juncture of my life? You gave me a divine dispensation, and now this strange calculation of Bhrigu Rishi. It comes as a brilliant star falling down into the dark and deep uncertainty of my life, but what course of my life did Bhrigu indicate with his prophesy? The autumn moon of hope is, as it were, illuminating my life with her full glory. Oh Lord of gods, will my life really be blessed? Will the forecastings of the divine utterances of Bhrigu act as a guide for me, with the brilliant light of a Pole star?”

Hari Bhakti - June 30, 2008 12:59 am

Thanks for sharing this Bhrigu! Hopefully you will share more as your editing continues.

Bhrigu - September 5, 2008 5:46 pm

Ok, Haribhakti, here comes the next excerpt. Bon Maharaj is on his way alone to Devprayag, and has just arranged for worship of Vyasadeva in a small temple on the way.


When the arati was over we all payed our obeisances to Shri Shri Vyasdev. I offered four annas and half of the sweets to the priest and the rest to the gentlemen present. At the end of the day I drank the little quantity of milk. Night setting in, the priest closed the temple gate and went away. I lay down amid the red ants in front of the gate, covering myself with my loin cloth and outer garments.

I did not feel like sleeping. I remembered the night that my preceptor was deeply absorbed in his internal worship in the new built house built under a huge Bakul tree at Alalnath. I lay on the veranda outside the door among swarms of red ants like these and happily recited Hari’s name on my beads throughout the night lest there would be any disturbance in his prayer and rest.

I remembered how overwhelmed with love and with a faltering voice he explained to this unworthy servant the profound mystery of how Sriman Mahaprabhu tasted the nectar of transcendental separation at Alalnath. I also recollected how he tried to swim in the pond at Alalnath although he had no practice of swimming and how childish and beautiful he was when he played in the water with Paramananda, Pyarimohan and this servant. Gradually many episodes related to my preceptor arose like waves of water in my heart. I do know when I feel asleep. I dreamt that as at the time of Srila Prabhupada's presence I had gone along with him in the company of Kunjada, Vasudev, Paramananda, Sundarananda and Sakhi Babu, we had now gone to a place named Sukartal near Mujaffarnagar and were seated around him when he read out the Srimad Bhagavat to us. The place is situated in a dense forest on a small island in the Ganges, and there the great preceptor Shukdev Goswami narrated the Shrimad Bhagavat to Shri Parikshit Maharaj, the grandson of the Pandavas. Within the forest is also the cottage of Vidura. I passed the night in happy dreams like this, and woke up at the dawn of day.