Sri Narsi Mehta (Part – 1)
Narasimha Mehta(or) Narsi, as he was dearly called by everybody, was born in Junaghat village , situated near Porbander, Gujarat. He was born in a family which was very pious and meticulous about Sadhu seva (joyous service to saints). Narsi, from his very young age was immersed in Krishna Bhakti and incessantly chanted the Lord’s Divine Name “Radhe Shyam, Radhe Shyam” – drinking this sweetest nectar all the time.
Narsi lost his parents at a very tender age and was brought up by his elder brother. His brother was particular that Narsi should, at no point of time, feel the loss of his parents and hence showered immense love and kindness upon Narsi. However, due to his tight business schedule he could not spend much time with Narsi. He, therefore, thought of the need of a woman who would look after his little brother as her own son and shower on him the love and affection of a mother, as no amount of love shown by others would equal a mother’s love. Hence, Narsi’s brother married a lady who showered great love and affection upon Narsi. Narsi was also greatly moved by his sister-in-law’s kindness. Though endowed with all great qualities, Narsi had his childhood pranks, too. Narsi used to be very irregular to his school; he would take a few of his friends to a near-by mango orchard to have their own session headed by him.
Though very mischievous and playful, Narsi’s play was not worldly. A Krishna Bhakta by nature, all his plays dwelled around Krishna Leelas. Looking upon the orchad as the Holy Vrindavan he would deem himself to be Krishna and his friends as the Gopas (the cowherd friends of Krishna). The group would enact all the leelas of Lord Krishna, such as Kaliya nardhan (Dance of the Lord on the serpent Kalinga), Govardhana leela, Vana bhojan, etc. as described in Srimad Bhagavatam.
Slowly this news spread among the villagers and they all were shocked to see their children attending Narsi’s orchard school instead of their regular school. The school head master complained about this to Narsi’s sister-in-law and asked her to pay attention towards this truant lad who slowly drew all the village children in to his orchard school.
Narsi’s brother had gone on a long business trip and hence Narsi was all alone in the house with his sister-in law. That day, after listening to all these complaints about Narsi, she became deeply concerned about Narsi’s welfare. This turned into anger and she scolded him for his mischief and also beat him. This deeply hurt his tender heart. He walked out of his house and slowly tread onwards without any particular destiny, all the while crying bitterly for all that had happened.
It was late evening and darkness had set in. Narsi walked a long distance without sensing that he had already lost his way to his home. He was now inside a dense forest. The roars of the wild beasts and the cry of other animals frightened him terribly. He started tiptoeing every footstep in fear and to his awe found a small dilapidated shrine in the midst of this dense forest. With a small sigh of relief, he entered the shrine and saw Lord Shiva in the form of Lingam in the sanctum sanctorum.
Lord Shankara’s presence in the shrine gave our tender Narsi a great sense of relief. He thought that the only place where he could seek refuge was the Holy feet of Lord Siva who was accustomed to offering solace and bliss to young boys such as Jnanasambanda, Upamanyu, Chandeeswara Nayanar.
Narsi, who was shivering in fear, rushed into the Sanctum Sanctorum and hugged the Lord. He started singing the glories of the Lord Siva and sought his blessings to escape not only from the deep woods but also from the ocean of samsara, which is more mysterious and complicated than the woods.
Tired due to his long walk Narsi fell asleep even as he sat hugging the Linga. Suddenly he felt that he was sleeping on somebody’s lap and also felt the smooth touch of a hand caressing his head. Raising his head, he saw Lord Siva clad in Tiger’s skin, a moon-digit adorning the head, bedecked with Kapala mala (garland of skulls), Nagabharana (snake ornaments) and Trishula (Trident). He was astounded seeing the wonderful countenance of the Lord. The Lord asked him to give up fear and cast his benign glance upon our Narsi.
Lord Siva then said to him, “I am going to give you something which is the sweetest of all sweet things, that which is considered the Supreme by Prema Bhaktas and which even the Jnanis crave for. The Lord then lifted Narsi with his hands and took him to Vrindaban through Akasha marga (space). Narsi was amazed to see the Holy Vrindavan, the place where his sweet Lord revels in his divine sports with the gopis of vraja. Lord Siva asked Narsi to remain quiet and just watch.
Suddenly Narsi heard a melodious music from a flute, which cast a magic spell not only upon mankind but even on all the creatures roaming about in Vrindaban. The entire Vrindaban stood still listening o this melodious music; soon after he saw his Beloved Lord Krishna entering Vrindaban along with the Gopis for the divine Rasa leela. Krishna was clad in an yellow silk robe and bedecked with wonderful Vaijayanthi mala, peacock feather, srivatsa, Kausthuba and hari chandan was applied all over his chest. The divine rasa began at once. Narsi was spell bound! Suddenly, he found that in the place of Lord Siva stood Lord Krishna holding his hand!
In a short while, Lord Krishna and the Gopis vanished and he found himself in the forest temple hugging Lord Siva. He noticed that the sun had already started rising in the eastern skies.
Lord Shankara by his benign grace had lit the lamp of Jnana in Narsi’s life through ‘Krishnanubhava’. No wonder Lord Siva is called ’Loka Guru’!