All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga

The Story of the Tridandi-Bhikshu

(From Srimad-Bhagavatam)

By Anil Kanta Ganguli B.A.

Reprinted from THE HARMONIST 1935


In the following story is related the song sung by a Tridandi-Bhikshu while he was ill-treated by malicious persons.

In ancient times there lived in Avanti a brahmin who had amassed a vast amount of wealth by agriculture and commerce. He was greedy, passionate, quick tempered and never spoke a good word to any of the members of his family. He never received any guests. His passion for money had made him forget God, religion, duty, etc., and he had even forgotten to pay attention to ameliorate his bodily discomforts. His sons and friends did not like him, and even his wife and daughters would not do anything to please him.

Now ill-luck began to pour upon this Godless brahmin. Losses in trade, the intrigues of his relatives, robbers, accidents, etc., soon reduced him to the state of a pauper. Being deprived of his wealth and driven out of his home by his relatives -- finally a great calmness came over him and he began to meditate thus: "All my endeavours have been frustrated. I have given no pleasure to my body nor performed any religious acts. My wealth did not contribute any happiness to me. My greed has swallowed up all my good qualities. I have always suffered in acquiring wealth, in its preservation and now in its loss. Dishonesty, envy, falsehood, pride, passion, temper, suspicion, sensuousness, etc., all make their appearance where there is money. So money is the cause of all my misfortunes. Even my nearest relatives have now forsaken me because I have no money. I have indeed spent a useless life. Now that this calm desirelessness has come over me, it must be due to the causeless mercy of the Supreme Lord. Therefore the remaining part of my life, however small it may be, I will spend in devotion."

Having made this resolution, the brahmin renounced all his vanities and attachments. He brought his body, mind and speech into his control and accepting the discipline of Tridanda sannyasa, dedicated himself to the all-time service of God.

When he made his appearance in the public in his garb of sannyasa, malicious persons began to ridicule and insult him by abusive language, and even snatched away his triple-staff, his begging bowl, waterpot, and the little cloth he had on his body. They tried to tease him by a show of returning those things but taking them away when he was about to receive them. When this Tridandi sannyasi sat down by the riverside to partake of his scanty meal, those wicked persons threw all kinds of filth and even spat on his face. One of them struck him with his stick saying, "This man is a thief." Another brought a rope to bind him. Some of them brutally abused him saying that he was a hypocrite -- that having lost his money and having been driven out of his home by his relatives, he has assumed the dress of a sannyasi for filling his belly. In spite of all these endeavours of those wicked persons to draw him away from the path of service that he had chosen, the Tridandi sannyasi did not lose his patience. He sang a favourite song to this effect, "Neither these persons, nor the gods, nor the planets, nor time are the cause of my happiness or sorrow. Those who know the true nature of things, have said that the mind is the cause of our happiness and sorrow. From this mind arise three kinds of action -- sattvika, rajasika and tamasika. By the performance of these acts the jivas are eternally roaming over the three worlds -- heaven, hell and earth. The Supreme Lord -- Paramatma -- sees the actions of the jiva as the Onlooker. The duties which the shastras impose on mankind aim only at controlling the mind. So what is the use of performing religious rites for a person whose mind has become calm? One who has conquered his mind has conquered all his senses. Those persons who do not try to subjugate their minds but pass their lives as slaves of their senses, are nothing but fools. Men mistaking their bodies to be their real selves, suffer the pain of repeated birth and death. But the soul has no birth or death, no ill can touch him, so with whom will he be angry? Thus, being established in my real self, I have nothing to fear. I shall follow in the footsteps of all ancient sages and cross this dark ocean of the world by the service of the Lotus Feet of the Supreme Lord -- Sri Krishna."

This article was reprinted in the London Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math periodical 'Counterpoint,' Spring 92 edition.

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