32. Sakhi Mohena–Sohena (Part-1)
sky is over-cast and a slight drizzle has begun to fall. A tentative breeze
shakes the bare branches of the trees. It is the height of winter season and
very, very cold. Now the clouds and rain have added that extra chill to the
air, making the people seek protection in the warmth of their homes.
In a quiet area of the town
there is a beautiful garden, imaginatively laid out with shrubs, flowering
plants and trees, and, in between, there are marble fountains and paved
pathways. But all is still and the vegetation seems to wait with bated
breath for that first touch of spring, to burst forth in all its colour and
beauty. In a far-off corner there is a simple mud hut. Its door is closed
and a dim light glows at its single window. A tall and graceful lady walks
up to the door and knocks on it with the handle of a 'kirpan' which she is
holding in her hand. It is indeed, a strange sight to see this regal figure
waiting at the door of this poor hovel. After a while the door opens and she
The interior of the hut is
spotlessly clean; the walls have been white-washed and the floor is covered
with handmade mats. The leaping flames of the fire burning brightly in a
corner offer a warm welcome. The young woman, who opened the door, greets
the lady respectfully and after spreading a clean cloth on a stool offers it
to her guest to sit on. She herself sits down on the floor near by and with
loving entreaty in her voice says, "Ammi ji, my dearest mother, how
wonderful you are! In spite of the cold and the rain you have taken the
trouble to come. Why didn't you send for me?"
"Because I had
promised that I would come."
"Yes, but it is so
cold. You only had to send a message, and I, your humble servant, would have
been too happy to obey."
"You must not
call yourself a servant. You are under my care, and as you know I too, am a
seeker of the Almighty's grace."
"My dear, dear
mother! You are so good to me. I have some fresh goat's milk, honey and
plain bread. Please say you will have some."
"My child, I have
already served Him the evening meal and eaten before coming. Now, you know
what draws me here and for which I am waiting so eagerly."
Mohena bowed her head and
going to a corner, took down the 'Sarod' which was hanging there. Quickly
she tuned it and played a few notes of Raag Malhar, which soon changed to
Raag Sarang. Ammi ji got up from the stool and sat down on the floor with
her eyes closed. Mohena began to sing
bin kiyu rahiye dukh biyapay,
saad na pheekee rus bin, bin prabh kaal santapay."
The sweetness of the
singing and the beauty of the words cast a magic spell and time passed
swiftly. Suddently, the distant clock-tower struck three. Ammi ji got up at
once to leave, but at Mohena's pleading, stayed to have a hot cup of salted
tea with some almonds and walnuts. As she reached the door, Mohena's eyes
filled with tears, she became very pale and losing her balance she sat down
abruptly. Ammi ji put her head in her lap and caressed her lovingly. But
Mohena's tears would not stop.
"Mohena, why do
you cry ? I have taken over your burden now. Everything will be fine.
Persevere on the path which you are following with such faith and devotion",
and reassuring her with these kind words Ammi ji departed.
Mohena got up and after
washing her face went to the rear of the hut where some vegetables were
growing. Picking some spinach leaves she put them in the pot for cooking and
sat down to recite 'Rehras Saheb' (Gurbani
recited daily after sunset). Shortly afterwards the door
opened and Mohena's husband, Sohenaji came in. He had been away for the past few days. After
asking about her welfare, he had a wash and they sat down to talk.
"Did you meet Ammi
ji while I was away?"
"Yes, twice. Once I
had gone there and today she came and spent some time here."
"We are so lucky!
And she is so generous, taking care of poor creatures like us."
"She doesn't like
us to call ourselves such names. When I say I am your servant, she scolds me gently with these words,
'I have adopted you and taken you under my wing. Why do you call yourself a servant?' When I
address her as 'Ammi ji' she looks happy, but if I try to praise her, frown lines appear on her serene
"The Lord has been
really good to the likes of us! We can feel the joy of His love in her hearts. But Mohena, have you
seen any signs of a change in our situation ?"
"Not yet. When I
asked her, Ammi ji said, 'It is not His wish !"
"Very well. But
tell me, dear, you are not feeling too unhappy, are you?"
"No, not in the way
I used to - so lonely and lost. But yes, the eager desire to have 'darshan' and the pain of
longing are still there."
"I too feel the
same. I didn't want to go away at all. If this job had not been for Ammi ji,
I would have come back from
"To live in
obedience to His will, is the only way for us. May the Lord guide us so that
we obey Him always, but the
love and longing must not lessen. Let us bear the pain of this as happily and for as long as we can
and leave the rest in the Lord's hands."
"Yes, we must do
what the Master says. He must remain dear to us; our love for Him ever increasing. Then.... may
be.... one day ....."
"Yes, my dear one,
'darshan' is a gift, a boon! Our actions have been lifeless because we are spiritually dead; like
the efforts of a cripple to reach the mountain - top! Only the Lord's grace can make him reach there.
Like a beggar, we can stretch our hands in supplication, for that is the limit of a beggar's action.
We must not be impatient, nor must we become arrogantly demanding. We must believe that the Lord
will hear our prayers one day, and so must remain ever hopeful.
"We have already seen the
result of our rigid and egoistic rituals. Now we must follow Ammi ji's advice, and be thankful for
the blessing of her care and interest. In spite of the cold and rain she
kept her promise and came all the
way to spend time with me, a person who is not worth the dust under her feet!"
To be Continued
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