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Once upon a time there lived a pious Braahman called Raamdaas in a village near Krishnavenee River. He had a son called Bilvamangal. The father brought him up in the true orthodox way. He was trained in the Shaastra. His upbringing and the religious training molded him into a kind natured, soft-spoken, god-fearing man. But his good qualities were short lived.

His parents died at an early age. He was left with the lots of their property. There was no one to control him. Wealth brought him fame. Wealth and fame brought him too many friends, but all too bad. He fell into bad ways. One day he happened to see a dance program of a prostitute named Chintaamani. He was lured by her charm. The physical lust for her drove his reasoning power away. He became a slave of her. He gave up his body, heart, money, family prestige, his Dharm and the norms of his caste for her. All through his wakeful hours he thought of her and in his sleep he dreamt of her. Chintaamani was his constant 'Chintaa' (thought) as if she was a Mani (gem). He could not live one day without seeing her.

One day he was forced to stay back at home, since it was his father's death anniversary. He had to fulfill his duty as a son and he was going through the rituals with his body present, but his mind was absent. He was not at all interested in the rituals, but he could not say no to them. At last it was all over thankfully by the end of the day. Some wiseacres advised him not to go to the prostitute's house on that day as it was the day of his father's death anniversary and since he had performed the rites too, but 'Kaamaaturanam na bhayam na lajjaa' (a lustful man knows no fear or shame), he gave a deaf ear to them.

Bilvamangal rushed to the riverbank to reach his heartthrob on the other side of the river. God's Leelaa is indescribable. There was a sudden change in the weather. There was a storm accompanied by heavy down pour of rain with lightening and thunder. The fishermen and boats men ran ashore seeing the ghastly weather. It was pitch dark everywhere. No boatman agreed to take Bilvamangal across the river though he offered a huge amount. Who would risk his life for mere currency? But Bilvamangal was knee bent on reaching Chintaamani. He had lost his reasoning power long back. He immediately dived into the water without a second thought. A dead body was floating across the river. In the darkness around, he mistook it as a wooden plank and held it for his support. His clothes were torn but he was not aware of it.

Finally he reached Chintaamani's house. He told her the previous day that he would not be able to go to her house that day due to his father's ceremony, so Chintaamani had closed all the doors and dozed off to sleep happily. Due to the heavy down pour, his voice or the banging of the door did not reach her ears. In the lightening flash he saw a rope along the wall. He climbed the wall through the rope and entered Chintaamani's house and woke her up.

Chintaamani was shocked to see him. He was half naked, He was thoroughly drenched and he was emitting a foul smell. She wondered how he reached her in such a ghastly weather. He told her that he held a wooden plank and climbed up through a rope. Just then the rain stopped. She came out to see the scene outside with the lamp. The rope Bilvamangal mentioned was a poisonous snake and the plank was a decaying dead body. Bilvamangal was shocked and the lady was irritated at his indecent behavior - "Are you not ashamed of yourself? Are you a true Braahman? Are you not supposed to do the religious rites to your father? Can't you control your senses for one day? Are you so mad after a body, which has nothing but flesh and blood? Should you ignore your Dharm for this temporary pleasure and reach me in the dreadful night holding a dead body and a snake? Can't you understand the simple logic that this external beauty of mine is but a passing phase and that sooner or later I will be floating in water like that decaying dead body? Had you shown half the interest you show on my body on Lord Krishn he would have blessed you and you too would have enjoyed spiritual bliss as opposed to the physical happiness you derive from me."

These words were more powerful than a slap on his face. They struck him like a thunder. He analyzed himself. One never knows what thoughts or words or deeds bring about a drastic change in anybody. These words of admonition cleansed the perverted heart of Bilvamangal and brought him back to his original good self. Tears rolled down his cheeks. He fell prostrate before Chintaamani and said - "You are my Guru. you have opened my eyes. I am very grateful to you." Chanting the name of Krishn he left her house.

Bilvamangal Becomes Blind
Now Bilvamangal was making a frantic search for Lord Krishn. He was wandering all over the country. "Old habits die hard". One day he came across a very beautiful woman. He followed her up to her house. Poor woman, unaware of his admiration for her beauty walked in. Unable to forget her, he sat outside the front gate. Her husband happened to come out after a while. He was surprised to see a stranger at his doorstep and enquired his whereabouts. Bilvamangal frankly told him the truth and added - "I am enchanted by her beauty. If you don't mind, I would like to stare at her to my heart's content. Please call her out." The man was a Seth (rich man) and the woman was his wife, but unlike any other man he was touched by the stranger's frankness. He found no wrong in showing his wife for quite sometime. So he went into explain it to his wife.

He found no wrong but God found it wrong. So He made Bilvamangal realize his mistake. Bilvamangal cursed himself for such crazy behavior. When that woman came out to make a feast to his eyes, his mind had separated from his eyes. Instead of enjoying her beauty with the eyes, his mind cursed his lustful eyes, which brought shame upon him. So he hurriedly fetched two thorns from a nearby tree and poked his eyes with them. He felt that was the right punishment for his misguiding eyes. Blood rolled down his cheeks but he was dancing away happily, chanting the name of Krishn, which echoed to the sky. The Seth and his wife were shocked to see the situation but were helpless. But this situation cleansed him of the remnants of his immoral behavior.

In Search of Krishn
Now the sole intention was to seek God and have his Darshan. As Chintaamani advised, unknowingly, he was singing songs of God melodiously all the time. He was unmindful of physical comforts like food, comfortable bed and rest. With tears rolling down his cheeks, he was chanting the name of God moving from one village to another. Being blind he could not move easily but he never minded. But how will God say 'never mind' to the suffering of his devotees? He came down to him personally as a shepherd boy. With a sweet voice he said - "Dear Bilvamangal Jee, you seem to be very hungry. Please have this sweets and water." Bilvamangal was lured to the voice of the boy. He asked the boy his details. The boy replied - "I stay quite close by, I don't have any specific name. People call me with different names and I answer them all. I look after the sheep. I am kind to those who are kind to me. Don't worry. I will come to you every day and feed you with good food. 'So saying He left Bilvamangal, but took his heart with Him.

Bilvamangal was totally enchanted by the small boy. Little did he know that the boy was the Lord himself come down to bless him. So when he was falling a prey to the attractions of the boy, as days passed by, he began to curse himself - "I thought I had passed the stage of being lured by women. I thought I am interested only in God but I am mistaken. Still I am pulled down towards a human being, towards this boy. How is this attraction different from other attractions?" The boy read his mind and asked him with his sweet voice - "What are you thinking about? Shall we go to Vrindaa Van?" He was thrilled at the offer but came back to his senses. He expressed his inability. But the boy did not leave him. He said - "Come on, hold your stick, I'll lead you. God leads us all to the righteous path no doubt but here! God was literally leading the path of a blind devotee, blinded by his love for him, to eternal bliss." As they reached Vrindaa Van, the boy wanted to go away, but Bilvamangal held his hand tightly. The very next minute he felt that his body was electrified. He could feel the current waves passing from the boy's hand through his body. He had divine knowledge. He could guess at once that it was God Himself that took personal care of him. With tears of joy he held tightly the boy's hand and said - "Now I know who you are. It was very late but at least now I know you. I will not leave you any more. I will never leave you."

God touched his eyes with the other hand and at once he got back his eyesight. He had a feast to his eyes. He saw to his heart's content the magnificent, glorious God. He couldn't believe himself. He fell down to the feet of God and continued to wash his feet with his continuous flow of tears of joy. As long as he lived, he spent his life in spreading the powers of God through his songs and when his time had come to leave this physical body he joined Paramaatmaa. Thus like Bilva Patra (a leaf used in the prayer of Shiv) Bilvamangal proved himself worthy and remained as one of the special devotees of God, being blessed by God.

God is moved by the total faith of his devotees and the devotees are elevated by the blessings showered upon them by God's immense love.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 05/21/13