Devotion of the dobhi

by Raghuvir


In 1981 the dobhi ( washerman ) who was doing service in Herakhan from time to time was named Durga Prasaad. On the busy moments his whole family would come from Haldwani to assist him. It was like this in Autumn and his son Bihari Lal of about 14/15 years old who would pass by the rooms to pick up the laundry. Deviji who was staying on the first floor of the white building was one of the people who he would pass by daily. One day Deviji misses her golden chain and Babaji locket from her room. Considering the options the suspicion quickly fell on the Dobhi boy. Babaji was informed and the boy was called. Babaji asked him but he denied, never the less Babaji gave him a severe beating, a real stong beating ! It was terrible to see but we are in India and what to do in such a case ? Going to the police or having a deep meaningful talk are no real options in that environment. It somehow felt justified and Babaji was executing.

Several hours later the locket was found in Deviji’s room behind the mattress and some blankets………

On hearing this panic broke out in my head. How is this possible if Babaji knows everything ??? He did not know if He beats this poor kid so hard ! Babaji did not know that the locket was just misplaced in the room ??? All these thoughts spinning around in my head, I was puzzled and disappointed in justice and my beloved Lord.

The next day I see the dobhi boy and go to speak with him to show him my compassion for what happened. So sorry for you, Babaji & Deviji all mistaken, so much pain for you, how do you do….

He says ; no no you do not understand. This is a big blessing for me. Babaji, Lord Shiva has put His holy hands on me many times. This can normally never happen ! Of course He knows everything but because of all the circumstances has to act like this. It was a big blessing for me….

When I spoke to Deviji, she was completely ashamed and humbled by the whole experience, her own quick judgements and carelessness and gave the boy a considerable compensation for his hardship.

I was completely astonished and dumbfounded by the deep understanding and devotion from this simple young boy of poor back ground. The whole situation was a deep lesson in a completely different way then it appeared on the surface. For me just being a spectator it was a mind altering event to see how this poor simple skinny kid had such devotion and deep way of perceiving this rough moment. A dobhi is not the best profession neither very lucrative. Comfort and ease is not in their dictionary and an extra potato is luxury. Knowing that he was innocent and took it all in this way….was humbling experience for me …He is now a father & grandfather, this summer marrying of another daughter and still coming every Navaratri to Herakhan & Chiliyanoula to wash clothes for us.

There are beautiful examples of Devotion in India like Meerabhai or RamaKrishna. Meerabhai who composed the most beautiful bhajans to Lord Krishna still sung all over India today.  In her devotion she estranged from her surroundings and other people, totally absorbed in Lord Krishna, forgetting to eat and take care of herself until she physically merged with the Lord as the story goes.

Also Rama Krishna who was devoted to Mother Kali and lived most his life in the Kali Temple in Calcutta on the banks of the Ganges. He was also not the best in his social skills and completely lost in devotion for his Kali Ma and even performed miracles in his altered state. To most regular people they appeared to be mad but a true devotee can recognise such extreme devotion.

Studying the Ramayana & Maha Bharata we can also get a sense of deep devotion towards the Divine and to Dharma. For a western mind such devotion is hard to grasp. It takes years of practise and over coming the Me and Mine in ourselves and offering everything, everything at the Lotus feet of the Divine. I suppose there must be a good dose of Divine Grace involved as one person seems to experience it so different from the other.

Devotion is deeply imbedded in the Indian culture and an important ingredient in the old Vedic scriptures.  Devotion towards the Divine but also to parents, spouses, kings is reflected up to today in the Indian culture.  Of course the influences of modern times, from other cultures and Kali Yuga have left their mark in this wonderful virtue also there. It is less in the western culture however the black Cristian community really know how to celebrate their saviour with abundant joy. Also in the catholic branch of Christianity devotion was not uncommon but now not so vivid anymore . Devotion is a language of the heart and whatever our background and who experiences it, it must have been a spark of the Divine which has reawakened this feeling in us.

The saying ” one has to give to receive” is surely a great tool in practicing devotion. The Aarti we sing is an act of devotion and it is amazing how ever often we sing it, it is never boring to us. Karma yoga in His ashrams and/or spreading HIS messages another way to express your devotion and get closer to our Beloved Lord. When we for instance bring prasaad to Babaji in the evening aarti, you can pick a flower in the garden, buy a bag of toffees or some fruits in a plastic bag and while making pranaam hand it over with a beautiful smile, feeling good ! One can also wash fruits, cut them nicely while repeating prayers and decorate a plate beautifully and present them to Babaji like if He is sitting on His assan with your heart pouring out. It all depends on faith and devotion how you will experience this moment. What you put in…..will come out…..


Baba alex grey


I am personally still wondering in terms of devotion if sending beautiful pictures and inspiring quotes of Babaji to each other over the internet & Facebook is having an effect on our heart level ? It certainly feels nice and inspiring for a moment when something comes in while wading thru work or the dry facts which are mostly on our computer screen. Babaji did not like computers as He expressed on some occasions but with life at this pace it is difficult to live without unless we put on some robes and sit in a cave etc which is also not everybody’s destiny.

Let us anyway remember that it is by singing Divine praises, repeating the Holy Name’s and practicing karma yoga we build a strong foundation within ourselves on which devotion can build and increase, probably much deeper then the fleeting and fast changing world on the internet can offer.


Baba puja


However you celebrate your devotion dear brothers and sisters, leave no stone unturned and put your heart & soul, your hands and resources in it with vim and vigour and your connection to the Divine will surely blossom.


Bhole Baba ki Jai !!!

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