Not sending with empty hands anyone who approaches is Bharatiyata. That is the way of playing a perfect host! A man becomes human if his heart is home for such philanthropic feelings. When it is in excess he becomes a sage. When it is present in maximum he is indeed God!
What if he didn’t know the niceties of civilized world, Rushyashrunga had in abundance the knowledge of the way of a hermitage where any visitor is treated with respect. If the knowledge to fill the stomach of the visitor with food and heart of the visitor with affection is present, absence of any other knowledge is immaterial! What is the use of any other knowledge if that basic knowledge is absent in a person!? Without considering who was the visitor, Rishyashrunga provided respectable seat and requested her to sit down.
Tradition prescribes the approach ‘Guest is God’ in worshipping the visitor. Innocent sage proceeded to prostrate before the girl remembering his father’s words that ‘prostrating is part of hosting’! Not expecting it, she was immediately taken aback. Poor girl must have known only being rejected so far; she was never given such a respect from anyone so far, even once! That too, imagine her plight when the person who is proceeding to prostrate is a profound sage ever seen by the planet earth! She tried to block the prostration both with her words and actions. ‘I am supposed to prostrate before you, not other way round. Moreover the religious vow which I am pursuing presently prescribes embrace as greeting!’ cooed the smart girl. But the young sage failed to comprehend what she was saying!
Elaborate process of entertaining the guest by Rushyashrunga was not yet over. He placed before her variety of fruits available naturally in the forest. With the blink of an eyelid there was a plate containing a plethora of wild fruits descended before her. She did not accept any. She had come to Rushyashrunga anticipating a mighty fruit and she was least interested in anything less.
What if the guest who is supposed to get entertained starts entertaining….?
On the day when unusual was usual, the girl who came as guest started entertaining her host Rushyashrunga. She offered the aromatic and tasty dishes brought by her to the sage. It was all new experience for Rushyashrunga! “फलानीति स्म मन्यते” (Valmiki Ramayana) – innocent sage who had never tasted anything other than wild fruits took them for some different variety of fruits! She interspersed with fruits with nectar-like drinks. He took them for a variety of water which he had never seen.
After filling the inside, entertainment for the outside; having made the sage satisfied with the food and drinks, she offered clothing with superior designs and appearance. The flower-hearted sage was garlanded with flowers which looked like the smile of nature. She spoke to him with utmost affection. She made him laugh to his heart’s content. She sang melodious songs with her heart in her throat. She reminded Rushyashrunga of the dancing peacocks with her dance.
She played with a ball like a bubbly child in front of the sage who had never played any game and who did not have any friends.
Playing with a ball is a wonderful game. We throw the ball to the floor and hold it tightly when it bounces back towards us – doesn’t it remind us of the omnipotent God who throws lives to earth and when they travel with double velocity towards him after persistence he holds us with the secure fist called salvation?
Sage was curiosity personified when she played with the ball in front of his eyes, jumping and rolling along with the ball! Root of his curiosity was at the fruit (ball) which bounced back to her hands when she threw it on to the floor!
To sum up, she became Guru to a millennial scholar in mundane things. To the sage who being in this world never knew the world she became the window to the external world. She made the one who had tasted the entire essence of Godly love to taste the earthly love of human. She became so close to him in such a short time that she became his soul-mate.
When the inner being is without any blemish, it is very easy to win over saints, if there are no selfish motives then it is a done deal! They become soul mates of saints easily, like lifting of a rose. The girl’s heart was clean. Selfishness was thing of the past; her body and mind were filled only with the thought of welfare of the society. For these reasons she became close to Rushyshrunga no end.
First sign of being happy is being blissfully unaware of the passage of time. It happened here, happiness borne out of affectionate frolic and animated games ruled the roost pushing the passage of time aside for a while. But everything in this creation has an end; nothing can keep going on and on! End for the present chapter and beginning of the next chapter is imminent!
True, after the joyous time spent together fun and frolic has to give way to the fast approaching and tedious time to part.
Devotion of the poor girl towards Rushyashrunga was equal in proportion to her dread of his father Vibhandaka. She was clearly aware of the fact that if Vibhandaka were to return when she was still at the hermitage, her plight will be like a flower thrown at the blaze. With this background, while her love of Rishyashrunga asked her to linger on, her awe of Vibhandaka was ringing the alarm bells begging her to run! Rushyashrunga was not at all ready to see her off, but she had no option but to leave! She was on her heels faking the reason of ‘agnihotra’, the daily ritual with fire.
Just as the world glows when in the company of Sun and embraces darkness when he sets in the evening, the inner world of the young sage had a glow of happiness when the bubbly girl was around, but pall of gloom took over when she went away! He wept like a child who has lost his favorite toy! Agnihotra was just a reason for her! But Rushyashrunga who was actually supposed to do it could not do it that day! When the fire of separation was burning within devouring all his inner peace, where is the meaning for any other fire!? Forgetting everything he was used to do during that time of the day, Rushyahsrunga sat in a corner fixing his gaze at oblivion!
Translated blog of Sri Samsthana SriSri RaghaveshwaraBharati MahaSwamiji.