Past Life of Bhakt Shabri
Shabri ji was a queen in her past life. She had all the luxury of being a queen but her strong dispassion attracted her towards leading a spiritual life rather than seeking the materialistic and worldly pleasure of a queen’s life. Shabri hated the worldly comforts of the castle. Being the queen, she had to remain behind her veil and could not move out of the castle. She was deprived of serving the saints and attending their spiritual discourses, which she had a great desire for.
Once Shabri went to the great secretly outside the Rishi’s ashram.fair of Kumbh where she received the Divine sight of some great saints. She longed to serve them, but could not as she was the queen. She was very depressed and wanted to end her life, so that in her next birth, she could get the Divine Company of the saints. Committing suicide is a sin, but she meditated in the water of the Ganges and left her physical body which was not considered as a sin.
Rebirth of Shabri
In her next life, Shabri took birth as a girl child in the family of a hunter. Since her childhood, she was very compassionate and loving.
As she entered her adolescent age, her father decided to get her married. When Shabri got to know that 300 goats would be slaughtered for her marriage celebrations, she was greatly disappointed. In the midst of the night, Shabri ran away from her house.
She reached the ashram of Matang Rishi near Pampa lake where many Saints and Rishi’s resided. Due to her past life impressions (sanskaras), she liked the place and desired to be in the service of the saints. She thought, “I belong to a low caste, Rishis would not accept my service. So, I would serve them secretly.” Shabri used to collect flowers, fruits and woods from the forest and keep them secretly outside the Rishi’s ashram.
Every morning the Rishis would go to Pampa Lake for bathing. In the early hours of the morning Shabri used to clean the pathway to the Pampa Lake. She used to remove the pebbles and thorns with the broom and chanted the holy name of God “Sita Ram Sita Ram” continuously.
Service of Saints and praying (remembrance of God) was her daily routine. The Rishis wondered from where these fresh fruits and garlands came at their doorstep every morning.
Lesson: – Guru Says, “Devotion (Bhakti) is not as easy as we imagine. Bhakti is renouncing the worldly pleasures from mind, being in continuous remembrance of God (name chanting) and selfless service of the spiritual masters and saints.
In order to find out the secret, Rishi Matang woke up in the early hours of the morning and saw Shabri keeping flowers, fruits and woods. Rishi asked, “Who are you? Why don’t you serve during the day time?”
With folded hands, Shabri said, “I am your servant, and because of my low caste no saint would accept my service. So I secretly serve at night. It is said that God’s service and devotion should not be revealed to the world. It must be done secretly. Good deeds are destroyed by revealing it to the world. Devotion is to please the Lord. Bhakti is our personal connection with God.”
Rishi Matang was surprised to hear such spiritual thoughts of Shabri. He sympathized with her and gave her a small hut within the ashram, to which other Rishis revolted. Rishi Matang used to narrate the Leela’s of Lord Ram. Shabri used to attend the Satsang with keen interest and chant the holy name of Lord “Shri Ram” given to her by her Guru Rishi Matang with utmost devotion, love and belief.
One day, in the early hours of the morning while Shabri was sweeping the pathway, a Rishi’s foot got touched with the broom. The Rishi got upset and insulted Shabri with hurting words. God cannot bear the insult of His loving devotee. As soon as the Rishi entered the Pampa Lake, the water turned blood red and infected with worms.
Many years passed by. Before leaving his physical body Rishi Matang said to Shabri, “All my life, I have been chanting the holy name of Shri Ram and narrating his stories but never got the sight of my Lord. My child, you are very fortunate as one day, Lord Ram will come to meet you.” Shabri felt overjoyed and said, “The one who is the maker and ruler of the universe would visit my small hut? I am illiterate, I have no possession, and I belong to a low caste.”
Rishi explained, “The Lord admires the love of his devotee and not his caste, possessions or intelligence.”
Rishi Matang could not predict the time of arrival of Lord Ram but made her believe that the Lord would surely visit her. Each day Shabri waited for Lord Ram. She used to pluck flowers, sweets, juicy fruits of ber from the forest to serve her Lord. She used to wait the whole day and then eat her food in the evening. She spent her whole day in name chanting “Shri Ram, Shri Ram, Shri Ram”. Shabri’s life was full of discipline, devotion, deep faith and service.
Arrival of Lord Ram
As days, months, years passed by Shabri grew old, but her hope for the sight of the Lord never ended.
After a long waiting, Lord Ram and Lakshman reached near Pampa Lake. All the Rishis insisted Lord Ram to visit their ashram, but He refused every one.
The Lord says, “I search for my true devotees. My heart desires to meet the one who dedicates his whole life for me.”
Thus, Lord Ram and Lakshman first went to Shabri’s hut because of her sincere devotion.
The moment Shabri saw Lord Ram at her doorstep, she recalled the words of her Guru Rishi Matang and danced with joy. Shabri immersed in happiness, swayed and clapped her hands. Lord Ram also felt happy to see her loving devotee.
Shabri bowed down unto the lotus feet of her Lord again and again. The overwhelmed Shabri even forgot to offer a seat to her beloved Lord. On being reminded by Lakshman, she washed Their holy feet and offered them a beautiful sitting place.
Shabri said, “Oh Lord! Your divine sight has made my whole life worthwhile. I have nothing to offer you except my heart, but here are some freshly plucked berry fruits for you. Please accept these.” Saying so, Shabri tasted the sweetness of each fruit and offered them to her Lord.
The Lord praised and ate her fruits lovingly. But when offered to Lakshman, he considered them unworthy of eating as they were already tasted by Shabri. To this Ram said that of the many types of food he had tasted, nothing could equal these berry fruits, offered with such devotion.Shabri said, “Oh Lord! Your divine sight has made my whole life worthwhile. I have nothing to offer you except my heart, but here are some freshly plucked berry fruits for you. Please accept these.” Saying so, Shabri tasted the sweetness of each fruit and offered them to her Lord.
Shabri with clasped hands stood in front of Lord Ram with great humility. She said, “My Lord, I belong to a low caste, I know nothing, I just know one holy word ‘Shri Ram’ which I desire to chant continuously. I feel blessed in your divine presence. Lord, I have no other desire for worldly pleasures. All these years my only wish has been that Lord Ram will visit my hut. I will be able to see my Lord and my life will be successful.”
Shri Ram asked Shabri, “Do you desire anything?”
Shabri said, “Oh Lord, Please purify the water of the Pampa Lake”. Lord Ram said to all the Rishis that he didn’t have the capacity to purify this water. But one possible way is that if the holy feet of Shabri touches the water of Pampa Lake, the water will become pure.
Thus, Shabri was bathed in the Pampa Lake and the water became pure and crystal clear.
God’s will was followed and the water of Pampa Lake became pure and crystal clear.
Lord Ram could sense the pure heart and love of his devotee. The Lord said, “One does not need to be a learned or a Brahmin by caste nor one needs to be rich in order to be a devotee. Love for God is the most important factor for being my bhakt.”
Lord Ram told 9 ways to increase our love for God. This is called Navdha Bhakti.
- The company of saints and devotees.
- Love and interest in the stories and Leela’s of God.
- Humble Service in the holy feet of the spiritual master (Guru) without keeping any ego.
- Leave deceit and dishonesty and Sing the glory of God.
- Have firm Faith in God and chant His holy name.
- Control of the senses, dispassion, adopt the path of righteousness (Dharma), good character.
- See God everywhere and give due respect to the saints.
- Be satisfied with whatever you have and never find fault with others.
- Adopt simple and non-deceitful nature. Have firm faith in God. Be balanced (neither happy nor sad) in whatever situation that comes in life.
“The one who possesses any one form out of the nine is very dear to me.”
But Shabri possessed all the nine forms of Bhakti. Listening to the words of Lord Ram, Shabri was elated. She attained salvation and reached the abode of Lord Vishnu ‘Vaikunth Dham’.
Bolo Bhakt aur Bhagwan ki Jai.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare!!
Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare!!