Part – II

Ire of gods and sorrow of souls

Section 2: Gods admonish

Caring Vishnu

He prayed and he availed

I availed an afternoon flight from Kolkata to reach Bhubaneshwar on February 23,  ’87. Sun had not yet set when I reached my hotel. I asked the same taxi-driver for proceeding to Puri for a visit to the shrine of Vishnu in Jagannath Temple.  The taxi was back to the hotel by eight in the evening.

My grandpa made two promises during his prayer before the family deity: first, the child will be named after Jagannath; and, second, he shall pay his regards to the deity standing before him in his lifetime. He completed his first promise himself; and, let the second hang over my head for long 48 years.  Strangely, I visited Puri on February 23, 1987, just a few days after Malun made her first effort to possess me in Urvashi Hotel of Guwahati.

Face of a villager in late fifties at my village home was before my eyes as I sat all-alone in the hotel room of Bhubaneshwar, about sixty kilometers west of Puri. He was my grandpa, preparing for journey to Puri on foot; and, then, back home after begging a grandson from the Lord of the family. Rail journey could not have given the result was his conviction;  only an arduous penance of tracking would bring result.

 He imagined, after his prayer before the deity, a cute male child in the family to play with initially; and, offering him food every year in the month of dead after he died.

 Nothing of the kind happened after a grandson was born.  Grandpa died just six months after the birth of the grandson.  The child was out of his village home at the age of ten for his education, not to return and settle at home again. I offered my grandpa nothing as meals in the month of the dead after my father died. My brother followed these rituals at village home. 

My elderly ancestor got nothing from me in lieu of the penance of covering   900 miles on foot under the hot sun, rain and cold to reach Puri from Varanasi and back home. Only positive event for him was a satisfaction at the deathbed that he has a grandson.

But is it not enough?

Hindus know that death is unreal. Death is merely a goalpost for the new life; and, if the target of existing life is attained before death, one should consider himself as a lucky and fulfilled man. That is what my grandpa had achieved when he was at his deathbed.

 How many of us are as lucky as my grandfather to have a smile of a fulfilled life at death on account of his faith in his family deity? Vishnu proved as a very caring deity for the old man walking 900 miles for a grandson. He bestowed upon him what he wanted before the person embraced death.

I thanked god Vishnu profusely sitting lonely in the hotel room, unaware about a goddess volcano or Swati on my head and troubles due to her in the years to come. Fierce Fire God Vishnu of our family was aware of the future struggle in my life, however.  He did bestow his grace upon me as Sun-god in lieu of my visit. Hindus pray god Sun for inspiration and strength of righteousness. I availed both from Aditya Vishnu (Sun).