THE BLIND BABA OF MADANA TERA
(OBL Kapoor – “Saints of Vraja”)
About eighty years ago there lived in Vrindavana in a kuti near Madanamohan’s temple a blind Baba Ji. No one knew his name. But people called him Madana-tera-vale Baba (Baba of Madana-tera), because he lived mostly in the seclusion of Madana-tera (the area surrounding Madanamohana’s temple). Early in the morning, after bathing in the Yamuna, he used to go and hide himself in the bowers of Madana-tera. He remained there till evening, all the time remembering Radha-Krishna and their Mg, and shedding tears in their remembrance. In the evening he went to the temple of Govinda Ji, spoke to him and wept. After returning from there he took madhukari from three or four houses, ate and slept. But his tears never stopped.
It was because of weeping continuously that he lost his eyesight. He was not sorry for it, because the eyes with which he could not see Krishna were of no use to him. But now Baba had been weeping for 40 years. Life was about to end and the utmost limits of his patience were crossed. The pain of separation became unbearable. Sometimes on account of that he fell unconscious and kept lying on the ground amidst the trees for hours. There was no one to attend to him, no one to express sympathy with him. The twittering of small birds and the calls of the cuckoos and peacocks tried to awaken him, but in vain.
When the pain of separation becomes unbearable to the bhakta, it also becomes unbearable to Bhagavan. Radha and Krishna could no more remain in separation from Baba. Once while taking a stroll, they came to Madana-tera, where Baba was weeping under a tree.
Radha said to Krishna, “Pyare (beloved), Baba is always weeping. Why not make him laugh a little?”
Krishna went to Baba and said, “Baba, why are you weeping? Has some one beaten you or deprived you of something?”
“Oh no! You go away.” said the blind Baba in rage.
“Baba, I shall bring you roti or chacha (butter-milk) or whatever you want. But you should not weep,” again said Krishna entreatingly.
“O cowherd! Go and tend your cows. Why have you come here to trouble me?” Baba turned his face from Krishna as he said this.
Krishna went back and said to Radha, “Baba does not listen. He only weeps and weeps.” Radha said, “Pyare, you couldn’t. See, how I make him laugh.”
She went to Baba and said, “Baba, why do you weep? Have you lost your wife?”
Baba laughed and said, “Lali, I never had a wife.”
“I see, So you weep because you have no one, whom you can regard as you owns”, said Radha in a tone of deep sympathy.
Baba said grievously, “No Lali, I do not weep for that. I weep because those who are mine have forgotten me.”
“Who are they Baba?”
“Lali you do not know. One of them is the heartless son of Nanda, who always tempts and tantalizes but never shows Himself; and the other, Oh! what shall I say about Her, Lali? The other is Radha, who has also become heartless in His company.”
Radha felt grievously hurt in the tendermost corner of her heart.
“Me, Me, heartless!” She burst out. Then trying to conceal Herself She said, “Baba, my name also is Radha. Tell me what you want.”
“What should I say, Lall? What can I want except their darsana.”
“Baba, you are very simple. You do not know that you cannot see them even if they give you darsana, because you have no eyes.”
“Lali, you are simple, not I. You do not know that I will get back my eye-sight as soon as they touch my eyes with their lotus hands.”
Radha could not restrain herself anymore. She touched one eye of Baba with her lotus hand, Krishna touched the other. Immediately Baba’s eye-sight was restored. He saw both, Radha and Krishna, the twin divinities of his heart, standing before him in all their resplendent beauty and looking at him lovingly and mercifully. He was so overwhelmed with joy and emotion that he fell unconscious.
The whole night he lay unconscious. Next morning some people, who were out on parikrama of Vrindavana recognized him. They took him in his, unconscious state to the temple of Madana-mohana. The Gosvami of the temple understood that it was some experience of the Divine that had made Baba unconscious. He asked everyone to surround him and perform kirtana. The sound of kirtana gradually brought him back to consciousness.
Gosvami Ji then took him aside. After rendering necessary service and making him feel at home, he asked him what had made him unconscious. He narrated the whole story in broken words with tears incessantly streaming out of his eyes.
Baba’s life-long desire was fulfilled. But even then his tears did not stop. He wept even more and more. Naturally so, because the separation after meeting is more painful than separation before meeting. Not being able to bear the separation after his meeting with Radha-Krishna for long, he left the physical body to meet them in his spiritual body in transcendental Vrindavana.
One might wonder why, if Radharani is really so kind, she kept Baba weeping for 40 years? Could she not appear before him earlier? She could. But could Baba really see Her then? She is not made of flesh and bones, which our eyes can see. She is made of love, She is Love personified. In order to see Her, one must have the eyes of love. Love does not develop in a heart, which is impure. The heart has to be purified by sadhana. The best sadhana is weeping in separation. The tears that flow in remembrance of Radha and Krishna wash away all sins and offences (aparadhas), and the fire of separation that burns in the heart consumes the wild growth of all sorts of worldly desires. It is then that the ground is prepared for the seed of love to sprout and grow. When the seed grows and blossoms. Radha and Krishna cannot remain indifferent. They are automatically drawn to it by its fragrance.