Vrindavan, 2017.06.29 (VT): Today is the disappearance day of Sri Jagdish Das Babaji.
Jagdish Das Babaji lived at Kaliyadaha, not far from the temple of Shri Radha-Madanmohan Ju. He was born in a respected Brahmin family from Barddhaman in Bengal, and grew up to become a famous doctor. But he left all that behind to live in Vrindavan and dedicate his life to Radha and Krishna as a renounced monk.
His Gurudev was Siddha Bhagavan Das Babaji of Ambika Kalna. He also got the blessings of many great souls in Vrindavan. One of those great souls was Sri Premanand Goswami of Shringar Vat, a descendant of Shri Nityananda Prabhu.
The Magic of Braj Raj
One day Baba was feeling a heavy lack of inspiration in his bhajan. That day when he visited Shringar Vat, Premanand Goswami noticed Baba’s sadness. He told him to roll in the dust of Vrindavan, which he did immediately. At that moment the joy of Radha and Krishna’s love returned to his heart.
After Premanand Goswami passed away, Baba would roll in the dust of Vrindavan in front of Goswami ji’s samadhi (tomb) if he felt disturbed at heart.
Baba’s Brother Visits from Bengal
Once Baba’s brother came from Bengal to visit him. Upon hearing the news that his brother’s wife had died, Baba said, “Oh, that’s wonderful! Now the bondage of family life is broken for you! You can come to Vrindavan and do bhajan.”
After his brother left, Baba realized his mistake. “I must have hurt my brother very badly,” Baba thought. “I should have comforted him instead.”
Baba had no idea where his brother was staying in Vrindavan, and he did not have his address in Bengal either. So Baba made the journey to Hathras train station three days in a row, hoping to meet his brother there. But unfortunately his brother never came.
Baba then wrote a letter to a friend in Barddhaman, asking him to find his brother and ask forgiveness on his behalf.
At last Baba received a reply from his brother that he was not hurt, but that he would not be visiting anymore, because he felt he had distracted Baba from his bhajan. He did not wish to disturb him further.
An Unusual Feast
Every year on the disappearance day of his Gurudev, Baba used to make a mini festival by offering just a few malpowas (sweet pancakes) and distributing pieces of them as prasad.
Then one year, a devotee gave Baba forty rupees to hold a small feast on the occasion. Baba personally went to the market an bought 20 rupees worth of gur (jaggery) for making malpowas.
When Baba returned home, he left the bags of gur in his hut and went to wash his feet by the well. But he forgot to latch the door. When he came back, he found that a gang of monkeys had torn open the bags and were having a grand time feasting on the gur. Baba laughed began to recite the prem dhwani (prayers before a feast).
That evening the devotee who had sponsored the “feast” came to see Baba. Baba told him, “So many Vaishnavs were served today by your mercy!” But there was no sign that a feast had occurred.
When that devotee asked for prasad, Baba said, “I bought twenty rupees worth of gur and the sacred monkeys of Vrindavan blessed me with their presence. They had a grand festival in my hut and left. Their remnants are still there on the floor, you may take some prasad from there. And here is the rest of your money; please use it to serve the Vaishnavs once more.”
The Devotee who Ate Fish
If anyone ever criticized another person or talked about their faults, Baba used to stop them and tell this story.
“Once a devotee said to Shri Bhagavan Das Babaji Mahashay, ‘So-and-so comes here and he talks like some big devotee. But he has not even given up eating fish!’
“Babaji Mahashay asked him, ‘Have you ever eaten fish?’
“‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘But I don’t eat it anymore.’
“’Just like that, he will also quit eating fish one day,’ replied Babaji Mahashay.
“Shri Bhagavan Das Babaji Mahashay did not approve of this kind of talk. He taught that devotee, ‘It’s not ok to find fault with somebody for doing something you used to do yourself. The soul progresses little by little. Do not look upon anyone’s faults.’”
Baba’s Soft Heart
Baba was always careful to avoid offending anyone. He never used to attend any kirtans or spiritual discources, because he worried he might find fault with the kirtaniyas or the speakers.
Many sadhus prefer to remain absorbed in their own private worship and not to speak with anyone, but Jagdish Das Babaji was not like that. He felt that if someone came to him for advice, it was because Mahaprabhu had sent him, and it was his duty to answer their questions and offer advice. Baba also never hosted any discourses at his place, because he was concerned that if any visitors came during the program, they might not get a chance to meet him and ask their questions.
Whenever a group of devotees came to speak with Baba, Baba would usually ask the questions and answer them himself. He preferred to offer his answers first, and let others express their thoughts afterwards. Otherwise, Baba might have to contradict someone’s opinion, and he preferred not to do so, fearing someone might feel hurt.
Once someone asked Baba, “How can I attain prem? Please instruct me.”
“Would you be able to live here in Vrindavan?” asked Baba.
“No Baba, I wouldn’t be able to do it,” replied the devotee.
“Then take two rupees and buy Srila Narottam Das Thakur Mahashay’s Prarthana and Prem Bhakti Chandrika. Read them all the time and worship according to their teachings. Then you will attain prem.”
Baba used to say, “Shri Gauranga, who came to this world to distribute prem and the Holy Name, mercifully gave us this teaching:
তৃণাদপি সুনীচেন তরোরিব সহিষ্ণুনা
অমানিনা মানদেন কীর্তনিযঃ সদা হরিঃ
तृणादपि सुनीचेन तरोरिव सहिष्णुना
अमानिना मानदेन कीर्तनीयः सदा हरिः
trinadapi sunichena taroriva sahishnuna
amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih
One who is humbler than a blade of grass and as tolerant as a tree, who does not expect respect for himself or herself, but who always gives respect to others, can chant Harinaam endlessly.
“As long as you are unable to embody the heart of this verse, you will not attain prem. And however much you are able to follow it, that much closer you will get to prem. The day you perfect your following of this instruction, that day you will attain prem, and you receive the supreme blessing of Sri Krishna’s darshan.”
On June 30th, 1915 AD (ashadh shukla shashti of Bangabda 1322) Sri Jagadish Baba left this world at Kaliyadaha, at about 100 years of age.