In sorrow, you are the sole source of support!

-SurekhaveeraDevagaonkar, Pune

Despite having lost her father unexpectedly, this lady stayed true to the principles taught by Bapu. As a result, she kept experiencing Bapu’s presence around her even as she performed the last rites of her father. Since she had internalized the importance of Udi, she used it while immersing her father’s remains. A sense of peace prevailed in her mind. It was this action that forever reminded her of her father’s perpetual habit of applying Udi. 

 My father left for the heavenly abode on December 17, 2011. I will never be able to forget that day. At around 11 in the morning that day, I had casually called my sister Sandhya, who lives in Akola. My father used to live with her. When I called her, she was at the dispensary with him. I asked my father, “How is your health now?” He replied, “I am alright. I have some cough, but your sister insisted I show it to the doctor.” On reaching home, my sister called to tell me that my father’s blood pressure was reading lower than average.  

I had gone to work. When I casually checked the wall clock, I realized it was 3:30 in the afternoon. For some reason, I felt like calling my father to check his health. I usually do not call at that time, but that day, I decided to do so. My sister picked up the phone. She said that his health was stable and that he was doing alright. She informed me that he had gone to the washroom. While she was talking to me, I could hear his voice in the background. My sister said hurriedly, ’Sandhya, let me hang up now.”  

However, she had just kept the phone on the adjacent sofa. Not only was the call still connected, but I could also hear the background conversation and noises. She had made my father sit on the couch and was asking him if he was doing alright. She gave him Udi and also some water. Also, I could hear my niece chanting Ramraksha over the phone. However, I could not understand anything. I was continuously saying, “Hello, hello.” I thought, Bapu, what can I do? I am not able to do anything from here.” And then suddenly, I could hear their loud crying “Dada s s s Dada s s Baba s s Baba.” 

 I understood the event that had just taken place. My father had passed away. I disconnected the phone. So, I performed my Namaskar to Bapu and then decided to proceed to Akola. It was 4:30 in the afternoon. I called my husband at work and asked him to come home. My husband and nephew Anup went looking for a taxi. However, they could not find any taxi, bus, Asiad or, for that matter, any other type of vehicle. I called all the people I knew to inquire about the fastest transportation mode, but it was in vain. In the night, at around 8, a private vehicle from Phursungi arrived, and we began our journey. I was chanting Ramraksha while my mind was flooded with my father’s memories. My mind was so full of memories that it caused a throbbing headache. Since we did not have a brother, I was going to light his pyre. It was my father’s wish. The total journey was of 12 hours. I was thinking about my father, and I wanted the time to pass by fast as I wanted to see him. I prayed to Bapu to let my health support me until I light his pyre.  

At midnight, we stopped at a Dhaba to drink some tea. Our driver and all of us had some snacks. I took some medication and sat back in the car. I asked Anup to sit at the back as he was tired. I thought that if he falls asleep, the driver will sleep as well. So, I sat in the passenger’s seat with my Ramnaam Book. The driver suddenly looked at me with utter shock written all over his face. I was also scared in my mind. I was continuously chanting Ramraksha. After I finished chanting it five times, I began chatting with the driver. I asked him which part of India was he from. He said that he hailed from Kurla. Then I asked him if he knew Bapu, and he told me that he was following Bapu since he was in 6th grade. I felt pretty good talking to him. Then he went on to narrate many of his experiences to me. I did not realize that my head had stopped aching a while ago while listening to his experiences. 

 I felt quite cared for upon thinking about how far Bapu had travelled for me. After taking darshan of my father’s mortal remains, we sat there chanting Ramraksha. Several Bapu devotees from Akola had come there. As a result, Ramraksha chanting was going on with great vigour. Bapu got everything done as he desired it to be done. 

  On the 10th day, we decided to immerse his remains in the Tapi River. We had to go to Bhusaval for this. It was going to take us three hours to cover the distance between Akola and Bhusaval. The train was to leave at 1:20 pm. I had desired to apply Udi on his remains before we left. Therefore, I quickly took some Udi in a small paper packet and tied it to my Dupatta. I had tied a nice garland to the container which contained my father’s remains and also carried some Tulsi leaves with me. On reaching the banks of the river, I released the remains from the container into the river. I was unsure about the container, though. I did not want to break the earthen pot, so I let the earthen pot float in the water. The pot was slightly diagonal, and therefore, it got filled half with water, but it was still floating. I kept looking at the earthen pot until I finished chanting Ramraksha. Despite being filled with water, the earthen pot was not sinking in. I invoked Bapu and said, “Bapu, I am not sure if any of my father’s wishes have remained unfulfilled. Please do look into it.” I put my hands together to do Namaskar. The train to return to Akola was to depart in a short while, and therefore, it was not possible for us to stay back. 

 I suddenly remembered that I had forgotten to apply Udi to the remains. I ran back, took out the Udi and applied some of it on my forehead. I invoked Bapu. I thanked Bapu, and I showered the Udi on the water portion where I could see the ashes floating. The earthen pot, by then, had washed ashore. So I applied Udi to the earthen pot as well. As soon as I applied Udi to the pot, it slowly sank into the water. My father had received Udi through Bapu. He used to apply Udi with immense love, and he took that Udi with him for his journey ahead. Of course, it ought to have been Bapu’s wish.  

Bapu, I bow at your lotus feet and pray that you remain with us till the last breath.    

|| Devayan Panthi Parthacha Sarathi 

Tocha Mazha Saathi Aakhericha ||