Srimannarayana and his family once enjoyed riches and luxuries. But by sheer ill luck they lost everything and had to leave the native place with empty hands and only with the clothes put on their bodies. They approached Sripada seeking mercy. He gave Narayana a fistful of black grams and asked to tie them in a corner of his upper garment (uttariyam) and to discard it when his desire gets fulfilled. He ordered them to proceed towards the West.
I think I’ve already asked you to visualise train-less, bus-less society and that people used to go in groups by walk encamping at different places on their way. Some times they used to cook seeking provisions from the villagers and sometimes they were fed by them. Unlike now, there was no running around in utter bewilderment, no knitting or raising eyebrows or no exchanging interrogative glances among family members as to ‘to be or not to be’, on the contrary it was considered as a normal routine and sacred duty of the householders to feed the guests. Strictly speaking now-a-days even if we want to, we cannot afford or are scared to entertain a stranger, leave alone groups. Are, kahee se chakoo vakoo yaa gun nikaalee, to ho jaayegee chutti,. In your words, Honaa kyaa?? Kallaas.
Coming back to our story, Narayana and his family did not remain hungry or thirsty on their way. The householders voluntarily offered food to them. They crossed Andhra, entered Karnataka and rested in a house. The owners of the house were old and in anguish. Their only son died of snake bite and the daughter-in-law was drifted away by the water currents while taking a holy dip in riverKrishnaand died. The so-called relatives were more interested in their money and their property. Thus they were left with none to take care of in the autumn of their lives. The old couple instantly liked and had developed parental love and attachment towards their guests. Meanwhile foul smell was emanating from the black grams tied in the cloth. Comprehending the sign from Sripada that they had reached their destination, they threw away the black grams and stayed back there.
The couple were planning to adopt them. The relatives, who were after their money, were totally against this proposal. But left with no alternative they made a truce among themselves regarding their share in property and ways and means to throw the strangers out of the house.
They bought (in the sense bribed) and brought an astrologer who prophesied that the guests were very inauspicious and unlucky persons. Their adoption might invoke the wrath of Goddess Lakshmi who would instantly leave their house. As to the old couple, they were adamant and asked for a remedy to escape from the inauspicious yoga and performed Yagna to appease the Gods and planets and then declared them as their heirs apparent. The relatives who disliked the entire course of action and its progress tried to steal the harvested crop. Narayana was all alone patrolling the crops and was wondering how to save the yield. Suddenly a bear jumped on to the ground from a palm tree and rushed towards the bullock carts and the panicked relatives– Nau do gyaarah ho gaye.
Frightened Narayana started chanting the name of Sripada. The aggressive bear became quite and started jumping and clapping the hands rhythmically. From that day onwards, bear became a member of their family. It guarded their farms, so they never faced a threat from the relatives. The bear enjoyed to participate in the Bhajans of Sripada and used to listen attentively the glory of Sripada.
The relatives approached an occultist. He with one of his powers merged his consciousness in that of the bear and with the other yogic act attracted its powers into himself. The bear weeping silently and helplessly remained more dead than alive. A strange thing happened on that day, during the Bhajans of Sripada. The bear regained its consciousness, strength and suddenly started behaving like a human being.
The occultist merged his consciousness into that of the bear to inflict pain by taking out its vital force; Sripada used the same technique to interchange their consciousness. Wav! Just imagine, he behaving like a bear and the Bear, talking in a human voice!!! Unable to bear the Bear-menace of the occultist his followers tied him with ropes and left him in the forest. This is how *‘Dharma, the law of Sripada works. Sripada let the powers of the occultist work just to teach him a lesson and to burn the remaining Karma of the bear.
And here, our bear narrated the details of its previous birth in a human voice, “Sirs, I was a money lender in my previous birth. I collected the interest mercilessly causing agony and ruing the families of many. Hence I was born as a bear in this birth. As luck would have it, I came in contact with these righteous and virtuous people and had developed devotion towards Lord Sripada. I am blessed with a virtuous life in my next birth. Jo jaisi sangat kare, So taisa phal Paaye
The occultist had not only involved in many sinful deeds but also tried to harm a devotee of Sripada and a dumb animal. So Sripada punished him.
The bear remained silent as if it were in a trance and breathed its last amidst the chants of Sripada. Three cobras from nowhere, circumambulated three times around the bear, and stayed in their house from then onwards. They regularly offered milk to them with reverence.