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Saturday, 11 January 2020

Margazhi Blogotsavam: Day 26: The Brother of Sita: Prayagdas

A poor widow lived in Janakpur with her only son Prayagdas. On the day of rakshabandhan, all the other lads in the village sported colorful raakhis. Prayagdas was sad. No one to tie a raakhi to him! Crying bitterly, he asked his mother why he didn’t have a sister too. Poor mother couldn’t bear to see her little one’s anguish.

“Who says you don’t have a sister? You do! Her name is Sita!” she said.

“Then why doesn’t she come and tie me a raakhi?” wailed Prayagdas.

“She lives in faraway Ayodhya with her husband Ram. She is busy taking care of her family there, how can she come here?” consoled the mother.

“If she can’t come here, I’ll go to see her then,” insisted Prayagdas.

The mother dissuaded him, saying Ayodhya was very far away, and that he could go there when he grew older. But Prayagdas now had a goal in mind and wouldn’t give in. At dawn the next day, he woke up early, got ready, and was about to leave, when he suddenly realized he must take a gift to give his sister after she tied him the raakhi.

There was nothing in that poor, dilapidated home. He remembered that his mother had 2 dhotis. He took one of them and washed it clean. It was torn in places – he tied tiny knots to hide the tears and folding it neatly, carried it away with him.

As he walked on and on, he felt tired and sat under a tree in the forest and fell fast asleep. When he woke up, he found himself in the town of Ayodhya! Now he had no address for his sister’s house. So, he began asking people there to guide him to the house of his sister Sita and brother-in-law Ram. People told him, “Here in Ayodhya, there is a temple of Ram and Sita. We don’t know of any house for them.” 

Shri Ram and Sita in Kanak Bhavan temple in Ayodhya
Image courtesy: Tripadvisor.com
Prayagdas insisted that his sister lived in a house and not a temple. Determined to find her, he searched high and low. Finally, tired beyond words, he sat under a tree on the outskirts of the town. “Perhaps they didn’t want to acknowledge me in broad daylight because I’m poor,” he thought, “Maybe now that it is dark, they will come in search of me,” he hoped.

After a while, a bright light woke Prayagdas from his slumber. He could see a decorated elephant coming his way. A man and woman got down from the elephant and rushed to him. The man said, “Prayagdas, this is your sister Sita.” Prayagdas was sceptical. “No, I don’t think so!” he declared. “Why do you say so?” the man asked.

“Is this the way sisters greet their brothers? If she was really my sister, she would hug me and cry her eyes out!”

No sooner had he said this, than the woman ran to Prayagdas and embraced him lovingly. With tears in her eyes, she asked how he was, and how their mother was in Janakpur. She tied a raakhi on the hand of Prayagdas, and stood smiling at him with a lot of love.

Seeing the opulence of the couple, Prayagdas was ashamed of his gift. But how could he not give anything? So, with tears in his eyes, he pushed the dhoti he had brought into the woman’s hands. In a soft voice, she said, “I know that mother has only 2 dhotis. You give this back to her as a gift from me.”

Just as miraculously as they had come, the divine couple disappeared, leaving Prayagdas below the tree, lost in a world of inner ecstasy.

The next morning, a saint passed that way, and recognized that this child was caught in the throes of a deep spiritual experience. He took Prayagdas with him to the nearby ashram. A little while later, two ladies came there with plates of food. “This is the prasad from the Satyanarayan pooja in our house. Please partake of it. We will come back later for the plates,” they said and went away.

Prayagdas and the saint ate the Prasad. When the plates were empty, they realized they were made of gold! Despite waiting for the whole day, no one came to claim the plates. The saint told Prayagdas, “Child, you take these plates with you. They will be of help to your family.” But the child had no desire for the gold. Neither did the saint. So, throwing the golden plates into the stream flowing nearby, the two devotees of Sita Mata made their respective ways home.

Can we aspire to the innocent bhakti of little Bhakt Prayagdas?

References
Bhakt Charitank. Bhaktamal by Nabhadasji. Gorakhpur Press


3 comments:

  1. Touched by the love of Prayagdas. Also amazed by the society where so much love existed between the siblings. Thanks for sharing. Hungry for more stories of bhaktas

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Those were amazing times! 🙏🏼

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  2. Pranams. You have a way with words! They go right to the heart. God bless! Hari om

    ReplyDelete

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