Hari-katha Articles Set Fire to the House

Set Fire to the House

When Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī would speak, all the rasika-jana, the connoisseurs of the transcendental mellows of Vraja, would come to hear him speak. He was such an expert in reciting the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that he would recite each verse in three different melodious tunes.

Among all the householders who would come from all over Vraja to listen to him speak, there was the sarpanch, or leader of a village among them. Much to the chagrin of his wife, he would sincerely listen to Śrīla Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī everyday. Soon after, the village leader started applying tilaka on his forehead, and diligently began following the etiquette of Vaiṣṇavas. As a result, his wife became very disturbed.

She thought, “If I don’t intervene, then in a few more days he will leave home and become a renunciant.”

She tried very much to convince him to give up his ways. She even had others try at her behest. But he would not listen. Instead, he started bringing more and more people with him to listen to Śrīla Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī. Her efforts trying to change her husband were in vain.

Finally, she thought, “I must bring infamy to this bābājī.”

She called an attractive widow, paid her some money, and told her, “Go to the assembly where Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa is speaking. After he completes his lecture, begin to loudly wail. Get the attention of my husband. When he asks you what is wrong, tell him, ‘This bābājī has very bad character, and has assaulted me.’ If you can convince the people, and especially my husband, that the bābājī abused you, then I will handsomely reward you.”

When the widow thus began her drama, wailing and beating her chest immediately after the class, the sarpanch approached her and asked, “What has happened?”

The widow said, “This bābājī speaks nicely. But he is of wretched character. He has polluted me. I don’t wish to criticize him. But I must speak the truth or he may continue doing this to others. Just see my condition. I am distraught and cannot restrain myself.”

The sarpanch calmly escorted her to a solitary place, and then said, “I know that Śrīla Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī possesses immaculate character. He is situated on the platform of pure goodness (śuddha-sattva). You better speak the truth. Why are you trying to make this scandal? Has someone sent you to do this? Speak the truth or I will have you beaten.”

Terrified, the widow replied, “Your wife promised to reward me handsomely if I did this. She said, ‘My husband will not return to me unless we blemish the reputation of Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa.’ ”

Enraged and astonished that his wife would do such a thing, the sarpanch returned home and set fire to his house, while his wife ran out and looked on helplessly in horror. Without a word in parting, the sarpanch returned to Śrīla Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī and took complete shelter of his lotus feet, entering the renounced order of life. He resolved, “Why should I wait any longer? I will immediately adopt the path of true auspiciousness in life.”

Some people become very envious when they or their relatives visit and respect a sādhu. By listening to a sādhu, a person’s misgivings, which have accompanied him life after life, will be immediately rectified. But those who are envious of the sādhus and make grave offenses to them become fit candidates to be punished by the Supreme Lord. They pave their own way towards a hellish existence.

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