Bhagavān and Bhakta – Reflections

“For the Universe is not bound by any religion or rituals, but by the depth and purity of one’s connection to that Divine power that has as many names as the number of people on this planet.”

~ From Bhagavān and Bhakta, by Sadhvi Vrinda Om

India’s great civilization, it’s ancient Vedic traditions and wisdom has been carried forward for thousands and thousands of years through the writings and discourses of the most learned sages. Their intense penance and deep love for the Supreme Soul has time and again saved us from falling into the dark abyss of Adharma (unrighteousness).

The lives of these holy saints are the nectar of Kalyuga. It’s the divine lamp that snuffs out all Avidya, (ignorance), filling our hearts with a joy not known to us. Bhagavān and Bhakta, is one such book. It’s a living testimony that the sacred presence of a Guru ushers in a transformation in a disciple that is only possible through lifetimes of japa, dhyana and bhakti, (chanting, meditation, and devotion).

‘This book shows in flesh and blood
how far a Guru will go to protect,
teach, and uplift his disciples. I am
glad that I came across Bhagavān and
Bhakta, which can be life changing for
each and every one.’

As Sri Hari Bhagavān continues to draw many to His entrancing shrine at Sri Badrika Ashram, located in the Himalayan foothills, His leela’s (divine play) continue to delight the devotees, through Sadhvi Vrinda’s devotional writings and mesmerizing shringār of Sri Hari in the temple every morning.

 

Late last year, the ashram was abuzz with the release of Sadhvi Vrinda Om’s latest book – Bhagavān and Bhakta.

While launching Sadhviji’s book at
the ashram, Swamiji surprised her
and, in his typical light-hearted,
witty manner, pretended to forget
the name of the book, “Bhagavān
and Bhatka, [one who is lost],” he
said laughingly. But, even the most
innocuous words of Siddhas have a
deeper and more profound
meaning even though said in jest.
Truly, this book is for those who
are lost!

Devotees old and new shared their views on the book.

‘Swamiji in His interaction with Sadhviji shows how Gurus, Yogis and Siddhas bless people with opportunities to work their karmas out as in the chapter ‘Finding Euro’. How karmas are worked on so many levels say through dreams, through acts of service (langar), through facing separation with loved ones, interacting with animals, as we are all alive to work them out, learn and accept willingly what has come our way for nature operates on a different scale than we humans would want. In the chapter Moksha, we see, its far more important that we use this body to cleanse ourselves, purify than wish death in face of adversity as it would be more difficult on the other side than in the physical body. I could connect to the author, in the wait of good times along with my mother, alas, she died without seeing the light at the end of her life.’ (Source: Goodreads)

The power of truth is such that both believers and skeptics found solace in hearing the tales of their revered Guru. His life is an example of how ordinary lives are made extraordinary by a compassionate glance, a kind word, a gentle nudge and above all a healing touch.

One of the things that was most
startling was the story of the
appearance of the Srivatsa mark on
a picture of Swamiji.

Are such happenings really possible
in this day and age?

Reading the book and reaching one’s
own conclusion is the only way to
discern it.

A skeptic’s review brings attention to a most sublime aspect of Swamiji’s divine persona – His care and concern.

‘I am not a devotional person and in fact, if anything a cynical one and skeptical. As Sadhviji spoke of Swamiji’s Siddhis and almost a complete command over the forces of nature I was quite amazed. It is something you read about saints who were alive 100 years ago. But the most beautiful thing that I found in the book was Om Swami’s love for everyone around him.

There is a small anecdote Sadhviji shares where Om Swami is unwell and absolutely exhausted with all the commitments and appointments but still goes to the temple for the discourse as many people expect to see him and have his Darshan. Sadhviji requests him to cancel and says people love him and would understand if he took rest as he really needed it. He says their love for me is great but my love for them is greater. He goes on to say that people have come to see him from a distance, and he wants to be there for them no matter what price he has to pay. Almost with complete disregard for his own self he gives all of himself and more to others. Kaisa Prem hai yeh Prabhu?’ (Oh, my Lord! What kind of love is this?) (Source: Amazon)

There were those in the ashram who were completely overwhelmed by Sadhviji’s vision of Swamiji as Bhagavān Vamana, a devotee at the ashram recalled numerous instances shared by devotees who had similarly envisioned Swamiji as Lord Narayana. They felt humbled and incredibly fortunate to exist in the same space and time as Swamiji, calling Him a ‘Yugpurusha’ (an epoch-making person).

 

A reader’s review from the United States sums up the book most beautifully:

‘What touched me deeply was the author laying bare all her struggles she has undergone as a renunciate (and a woman at that). I had this impression that she’d magically be in a perfect mental state all the time, but she reminded me it’s a struggle and hard work for everyone. In her work, her honesty is what shines through.

I’ve also learnt being under a Guru isn’t a guarantee of a problem free life. But grace aids in reducing the pain or nullifying negative effects from previous actions. My impression of Om Swamiji and God also has gone through a shift. From her writing, it seems like God/Divine is kind, helpful, approachable, and friendly. I hope me and everyone else improve our relationship with the divine, to feel the same closeness as the author someday.

This book also offers hope for people who struggle with suicidal thoughts and mental health in general as the author also writes that her devotion improved gradually through her daily practice of japa, aarti and her personal experiences, and this has saved her from taking drastic actions that are irreversible. I’m grateful for the author for penning such a beautiful book, and I hope many will be able to find peace through her inspiration.’

 

‘Holy are the feet of our divine Guru, whose heart is guileless like the summer sky, clear and beautiful. His truth, integrity and compassion are unmatched. Swamiji’s advent in life is a miracle in itself.

Just as a tremor originating from the epicentre of an earthquake travels for miles and miles, His gentle and loving energy like waves pass through time and space to protect and shield us through life and lifetimes,” says Sadhvi Vrinda Om with the deepest gratitude and tears in her eyes.

 

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