Make Your Life into a Prayer

Beloved Guru Shri Sanatan Das Thakur Baul attained Mahasamadhi on 28th Feb 2016. His soul took the journey beyond time to the new rising sun at the early hours of morning 3 am, at the moment of time of truth, Bramhamuhurto. Baba would always get up early and chant his “Ishta Japa” and Vishnu Sahasranama every morning, he was used to this practice since his childhood as he grew up in a Vaishnav family, On the final day of his life he woke up to another consciousness where he became the light of that one light, he became the still water, like the quiet pond in the full moon night, as clear as the mirror which reflects only light.  Baba was the living tradition; his golden body held the knowledge of great wisdom passed down to him through the generations of Masters. During the last years of his life he observed silence. He would talk only to those who were close to him. In one of last meetings a group of Canadian devotees came to see Baba. The group was led by Lalitha Maa, a Baul practitioner of the west, she came with her disciples. The number of visitors completely filled the newly made closed veranda on Basuda’s (his younger son) side, where he was living in the last days of his life. Baba never lived inside the house, he made house for all others, ensured their safety and comfort, for himself he was the divine mad beggar who slept on a khot (small wooden bed) collected from the leftovers of a dead body in funeral ground, outside in the porch. He would tell that it was to experience the winter, spring, summer, Rain and autumn, to see the nature it was helpful to live in the open air, to observe everything changed outside whereas the truth inside remained the same, unchanged.  The disciples of Lalitha ma lived almost for five days, Baba would call only Jim , Lalitha maa’s spiritual companion, and smile at Lalitha Maa, he was silent mostly and ensured everyone was fed , given tea and were rested. Once Baba asked me “has your mother served them tea?” I replied to Baba they had tea outside, he said “outside tea is outside ask them to have tea inside”.

They Canadian practitioners were in complete bliss in his presence, no words were necessary; some of them came from time to time to veranda, sat close to him in silence, some of them meditated. Then the hour of separation arrived. Lalitha Maa asked me to say goodbye on behalf of them, if he would like to say something to her and her students, when I spoke this to Baba’s ear, he took a long pause, I wondered if he heard me, I waited patiently, finally his voice was heard, “Make your life into a prayer”.  The great teaching came from a great Guru, a wisdom that is he himself, yes ! his life is a prayer, he lived, ate, slept, danced, walked ,worked, rested prayer, for me his life is like a beautiful wise Mahajan Pad might take one’s whole life to discover its mystic meaning, hidden under so many layers of ‘ realities’.

Baba gifted the mankind his deathless life, he has become bigger than the limited human body, and he has become one with the almighty. So he can be experienced anywhere, everywhere. Meera Maa his life and Sadhana companion was the true source of ‘Shakti’ in his sadhana. After Baba’s physical departure observing Meera Maa I witness a mature acceptance of pain, which goes beyond pain and happiness. All her life she took care of Baba, like in the beginning Baba took care of her. She started as his travel companion in the path of Sadhana since the age of seven, when they first met he was thirty two. She rests there now in her room with lot more time at her hand, she said once she took the harmonium and began to sing, Baba said to her that her path was of Seva, she had to take care of every devotee visited the Ashram, he taught her how to attend the deities at the Ashram, to do puja every day and to meditate. She learnt everything from Baba even how to place a wick in an oil lamp.

Baba used to talk about his final departure since the time I met him. He always said he wants to leave his body during Uttarayan when the Sun moves towards north, he said this way the soul travels to the higher plane, he decided to leave his body during Uttarayana, and he did. Everyone who loved Baba was very attached to Baba; no one wanted him to part from them.  He sustained and prolonged his breath; he used to say “to live long and survive with good health is a sadhana” and he used to say the fine inner work of a Sadhaka manifests only at his death, the way he dies he shows his perfection in Sadhana”. Baba prolonged his breath as no one wanted to let him go. He made use of his body maximum, like the old cloth scraps he would stitch again and again into his Haal, the big patch worked costume he would wear when he sung. He waited till everyone was ready to let him go. In fact, as Basuda told me, the night before he came close to Baba and uttered into his ear, Baba why you take more physical suffering? Why don’t you let your body now embrace the mother earth? Basuda said to me that he looked up, and looked straight into his eyes, a day later Baba left his body. I was far away from my beloved master, I was suffering day and night, and I cried again and again I didn’t want to go. But I had committed to Eugenio to be present at the work at Odin. I arrived but my cry didn’t stop, three days I didn’t shower, I didn’t eat, as if I wasn’t there, I pushed myself into the work room I worked, came back and will be immediately inside the quilt, and start crying again, my door closed, I didn’t want to meet the world outside, it snowed outside the window plane, I used feel quiet and some relief looking at the white snow. Ram called me every day as he was aware of my state, trying to support me, being with me from a far distant land. I told Ram before I go to sleep that night that I had a dream that the great Master Yogi RamsuratKumar was sitting in a place between earth and sky , the place was fully bright , emerald green light, his green shawl was wrapped around his lower body, he was singing sankirtana with his two hands raised above wide open to the sky, he was calling me with his eyes and gesturing with his hands, I went near, he took me in his lap like a child in a mother’s lap, my dream was broken, after speaking so I kept the phone down and went to deep sleep. I felt a relief within, I woke up in the middle of the night with the blinking light in my phone , there were several messages from Arpita, Ram, and Soumya Da. I felt in the dream what I saw as I, it was not me, and it was Baba, he visited me in my dream consciousness to tell me that it was time to wake up!! As he always did in the early morning hours to chant Ishta mantra.  I never cried again, but there was tears of joy filling me from within, I could experience Baba everywhere, inside or outside.

My beloved Baba, I am in union with you always
If I lose you outside, I find you inside me,
How can we be separated?
You have given your love to your Binadas, 
To chant the name of Guru,
To be the traveller in the path of her Guru.
 

After Baba’s Mahasamadhi, I stayed back for few days. One day an elderly man came on a bicycle- Sanatan Kha. He was a village school teacher, a close friend of Baba, Baba taught him how to compose songs, even giving him written certificate acknowledging him as a composer . Baba had given him a line to compose for him few years ago,’ Manusher Tore Ashe Bhogoban, Manusheri Rup Dhore’

‘The Supreme only incarnates in human form to love all’

Sanatan Kha had come back with the rest of the song, and handed me over the textbook paper he had written on, which he could compose only after Baba’s Mahasamadhi…

The Supreme only incarnates in human form to love all
In diversities he manifests his supreme truth, complete
Some realise, some do not see.
The Great Baul Sadhaka Guru Sanatan Das
You expressed your divinity in your songs and dance,
Who would make us listen to the ‘spoken wisdom’ with such higher state of inner seeing?
You were a composer and poet too
You were a perfectionist in melody, rhythm
Your Baul precision,
With your voice open and wide like the sky
You spread like the rain in your own land, and the lands beyond.
Your language so simple, through simple stories and legends
You conveyed the great truth.
When seekers came to you seeking for their answers
You closed your eyes as if you were conversing with someone we cannot see
You made us realise, by touching our hearts.
Finally you made your final journey to your true home in the land eternal.

Written By Sanatan Kha (village school teacher, Baba’s devotee)

 

 

The responsibility of large work he carried throughout his life on his tireless shoulders, he hands over his legacy to his disciples. It is not sure if the student can live exactly like the Guru, because the comparison never can happen, he is the one and unique. But definitely the essence of the teaching can be carried on without compromise. The tradition of Guru Shishya shows us this truth, the life experience and circumstances comes from Karma or actions taken, and the Sadhana is from Purba Bhava, remembering one’s own true essence.  The ancient wisdom says:

No prayers go in vein,
The river which stopped in the middle of the desert
Still gave water to the thirsty,
The lamp which went off in the wind
Gave light,
The bud that fell on the ground
Her beauty wasn’t lost.

The journey of a Sadhaka continues, it starts from the pause again. Baba has given the seed in his teachings, in his songs, and it is our responsibility to sprout the compassion within, sitting at the empty porch looking at the Baba’s tiny Samadhi Mandir I wonder,  will that ever be?  Jodi Gurukripa Hoy, only with his grace.

 

India 2009 784

Few days after Baba’s Mahasamadhi,  I spent time with Meera Ma. She spoke about Baba. Meera Maa looked after Baba till his last day. She would remain awake all night to check if Baba was doing ok, if anything needed, Baba used to call, “Bishur Maa”. Here is an excerpt of the conversation.

When I was seven your father came to my life, my mother died when I was six months old. I grew up with Bishokha Dashi a Vaishnav Baul practitioner in our village near Memari , Rasulpur. Your father came and told Bishokha Dashi that “I will be like your son, I will take care of both you, I will marry your daughter.” At that time, your father was thirty two years old. It was the talk of the village, some even disagreed, as we had a age gap of 25 years. But Bishokha Maa was stubborn with her decision, and told the villagers, “this boy is a good Baul Sadhaka, and he will take care of us. He will do great Seva to all”.  The villagers agreed, and our Baul union happened in the presence of your father’s Vairagya Diksha Guru, Shri Balak Chand Goshai. I used play in his lap.
Your Father made an Ashram in Rajpur, he started to do Baul Mocchab from there.
In early years, your father didn’t sing so much for people, he mostly did Madhukori in village. He looked after us so well. He used to take me with him to Baul Mocchab (Baul Festivals)  , we had to walk long hours through the village roads. As a child, I used to get tired quickly, and my legs used to hurt. Your father used to take me on his shoulders and keep on walking.

Once I went to Vrindavan with him. We made our food on the way, we mostly stayed in Smashan- in the funeral grounds. Once, we had no matchbox or fire-stone with us. Whenever we made food, your father would go and bring the fire from the nearby burning funeral pyre.
I was lost in the crowd of Vrindaban once. I fell on the ground, and the devotees did not see a child. Many walked over me and I was hurt. Your father pushed the crowd, came and lifted me on the shoulder, and took me out of the crowd. Then he said, ” It’s time. Let’s go back home”. Then we returned to our village.
He used to call me near when he used to read scriptures, he used to read them aloud so that I can learn from them.

I have lived seventy eight years with him now. He loved me so much. Whatever I have known about life and Seva is from him.

 

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Article and Translation by: Parvathy Baul

Experience sharing by: Meera Dashi

Parvathy Baul is a practitioner of the Baul path. She trained in music and dance as a child, and spent time learning painting at Shantiniketan. While at Shantiniketan, she came across Baul, and never looked back as she met her first Guru Sanatan Das Baul, and was then sent to her second Guru, Shashanko Goshai. She now spreads the message of her lineage across the world through Baul and theatre performances.

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