Nitya Upavasi at Jabalpur
An interesting news item caught the attention of our beloved master Sri Swamiji. It was about an old lady who was on a fast for the past about three decades with a prayer for the construction of the Sri Ram temple in Sri Ayodhya. Sri Swamiji was immensely touched and very moved to hear about this sacrifice and penance of this noble lady. Sri Swamiji wanted to convey his grateful and respectful regards to this saint and so ordained Sri Sanath kumar and Sri Bharath belonging to our satsang to immediately meet her and convey our Sri Swamiji’s respects to her.
Once Sri Swamiji heard that Shrimathi Urmila Chaturvediji – the fasting saint was somewhere in Jabalpur, he ordained the duo to also have darshan of Sri Omkareshwar, a holy place nearby – a jyothirlinga kshetram and more importantly the place where Sri Aadi Shankara Bhagavadpadar met his Acharya Sri Govinda Bhagavatpada for the first time.
On 25th November our satsang devotees reached Jabalpur after the darshan of the divine cave – which to this day, exudes the divinity of that momentous meeting of great Acharyas , a couple of millennias ago. The famous Shiva temple is just above the cave and it was crowded with about a thousand devotees as it was a weekend.
Now for the meeting of this fasting saint! There was just two small problems! They didn’t know where she was and most of the locals themselves didn’t know about her!! They tried all possible avenues till they got the break close to afternoon , when by Guru Krupa a local gentleman took the initiative to help them to trace her.
3pm! The street where she lives was found! The two rushed there. Not a soul on the road! One middle aged lady was closing the door of one house to possibly pick her child up from school. She could speak English! When the satsangis enquired about the fasting saint, the answer from that lady was a testimonial to the eternal truth of ‘Faith delivers, ever!’
That door was the very door they were seeking! That lady was her the fasting Saints own daughter in law! The house was the divine abode of this ardent devotee of Sri Ramachandra Prabhu!
(While reading this , when we ourselves feel the exhilaration, can we imagine the joy of the two present there?)
They were ushered into the house and, there she was, the 88 year old ardent devotee of Sri Ram- a simple divine soul , like how all true saints are. She smiled like a child seeing two ‘madarasis‘! They offered her garlands and prostrated to her feet. When she heard about Sri Swamiji she was very moved and touched. She conveyed her pranams and said she prays that Sri Ram arranges for her to have the darshan of Sri Swamiji soon.
She then shared little more details. 27 years back, during the time of Sri Ram temple debate, Jabalpur was also impacted with social disharmony. On that fateful day, Smt Urmila Chaturvediji entered into a fast, truly in the spirit of our beloved Sri Swamiji’s core value – Humanity and Divinity are inseparable. She prayed “Bhagavan Sri Ram , for re-establishment of Social harmony and for the decision of having a Sri Ram temple to be built in Janmabhoomi Ayodhya, I shall only partake milk and plantains alone from now on. Jai Sita ram!”
What a resolve! What a firm conviction! She did not violate her vow for the past 27 years for even a single day! The satsangis were awed by her firm penance. She leads a normal life with her family and we believe that even her neighbors do not fully understand her greatness.
Our satsang brothers had respectfully offered some plantains. When they insisted she partook some from their offering, She immediately placed a couple of Sri Tulsi leaves and shared it with all present there. The Hindi translation of our beloved master’s work was presented to her. She took that with utmost reverence and held on her head.
Though she was living on just milk and banana, she was very energetic healthy and never missed daily parayan of Sundar Kand part of Sri Tulasi Ramayan. She joined our brothers in the Mahamantra Keerthan and said, ‘if it is Sri Sitaram’s will, I shall come to Madhurapuri Ashram’.
The two with tremendous inspiration and divine joy in their heart, left Jabalpur; but that motherly saint found a permanent place in their hearts. Sri Swamiji was delighted to hear all the details and was very moved to hear the divine life of this saintly lady from Jabalpur!
It was another reiteration of the truth that, our Dharma is Sanatana (eternal) also because it is nourished by the prayers and sacrifices of such apparently ‘ordinary’ devotees leading an extra ordinary life of divinity.