In my last post, I had taken you for a virtual tour to a Heritage Town #Hindol. Continuing with the series of #incredible tourist destination #incredible Hindol, today I share a very intriguing story spun around the passing of Maharaja’s father for the heavenly abode, in the words of Maharaja of Hindol, Shri Shailendra Narayan Singh Deo himself:
I have been meticulously jotting down the lores, legends and eeirie incidents which took place in my ancestral home eons ago as they were narrated to me 😊
Here is an happening which I myself have experienced alongwith my entire extended family which reinforced my belief in the Almighty to the core !!
It was in the year 1991, on the twelveth of July that my father passed away. That year it was the “NetraUtsav”, the day before the #RathaYatra of Lord Jagannath. According to the Hindu calander therefore the 11th day death rituals of my father, fell on the “BadaEkadashi” of the Lord and the time of occurance was when we had just finished the 11th day rituals and ceremony after his death.
It was actually in my Bhubaneswar home that my father left for his heavenly abode so that was where all the customs and traditions related to his death were observed and it has been long thirty years since but I vividly recall what all took place that night.
In our family it is a custom to call the spirit of the departed for a last time to the home before he is sent away on his eternal journey and this ritual takes place on the 11th day after all the guests have left being fed in the evening. Accordingly it was close to twelve o’clock when we all started to callout to each other to get together for it and just then in walks in a wizened old brahmin, short in stature with a whole lot of rudraksha mala’s around his chest, a large “sindoor tika” vermilion patch and a lot of “chandan” sandalwood paste smeared on his forehead !!
The household broke into a flurry of activities as the gentleman settled down on the floor on the verandah. Left over MahaPrasad was immediately served on a banana leaf and put in front of him which he immediately acknowledged and started eating. We all could see that he was a frugal eater as he merely tasted a bit of everything and then demanded for the kheer !!
When Lord Jagannath Ji’s “MahaPrasad” is served normally no other cooking is done in the house but since Papa (my father was very fond of rice kheer we had decided to cook his favourite dessert, the way he liked’ and served alongwith. The gentleman had two helping and then turned and asked for Rasagolla to be served !!
We all spectators couldnt but help look at each others faces as that familiar awed feeling started hitting us all in the pit of the stomach !!
Rasagolla was another favorite which used to be Papa’s favourite dessert and ofcourse it was very much there as it had been made at home for the occasion !!
Rasagolla over… hands were washed now it was time for the “Ashirbads”. My elder cousin brother who had conducted all the rituals and who had dutifully shaved his hair was the first to be given blessings after which the gentleman looked around asked that where is the son of the house. Let him come forward for the Ashirbad… this was astounding !!
Just four months earliar on the 26th of february my uncle had passed away and right then my father had told my cousin, his son, that he would have to do the last rites for my father too. Accordingly it was my cousin who did it all including shaving his hair while I did not. What surprised us was how this wizened old brahmin knew that I even existed !!
It was time for the dakshina now and lo behold the brahmin asked me for it. I immediately got up and went to inspect my father’s Godrej almirah, at my mothers suggestion. Right there, in front n neatly folded, I found a brand new Dhoti/Chaddar, some loose odd change and a packet of Wills Flake cigarette which he used to smoke. I picked up these stuff came back and handed him the change first which he accepted and then I offered the clothes which he happily accepted too.
The idea discussed between us family members privately before giving the “daan n dakshina” was that if it was my fathers spirit visiting then he would definately want to smoke too and as we are supposed to offer all that was favourite to him for the satisfaction of the soul I should give the cigarette too 🙄😅
I felt a bit embarrassed to offer the cigarette so left it quietly besides him on the floor where he was sitting.
Word spreads fast even in the middle of the night… at least within the household. There were at least 70 onlookers to the ongoing saga by now when I glanced around at this moment. Even the ones who were retired n fast asleep were now up n present… whispering in awe. The gathering included three generations of my family, the relatives and the workers and helps from Hindol who were putting up at my home.
Now it was the time for the gentleman to leave and he got up to do so… yes he not only picked up the cigarette but also turned around and asked Nilamani, my fathers cook for a box of matches and marched off as we all broke into excited chatter.
Hardly five minutes had lapsed when it was noticed that he was returning from the gate and again we all fell silent. He had forgotten to take his slippers and had returned for them.
It was at this point that I decided to follow him to see where he was going so off I went at a distance but keeping him in eyesight.
It was after following him for nearly two km on foot that i suddenly lost sight of him. I noticed that he opened the packet of cigarette and lighted up, happily puffing away as he walked down the road 😂
We had used a small makeshift ghat within the govt farms besides the aerodrome fields to do the daily rituals of my fathers last rites. It was at the turning from the main road to this place that he seemed to disappear. It was two o’clock by then and i decided not to venture further. Some thing are just meant to be let go off i felt !!
Coming back to the house and in the discussion that ensued with all we noted a number of things which appeared quite uncanny n strange.
First of all it was twelve in the night when he arrived and there is no public transport commonly available at that time 🤔
His manner of dressing indicated a pious and holy man. It was the “Bada Ekadasha” of the Lord Jagannath when all brahmans would prefer to be in Puri. What was he doing at Bbsr in our lane at this time 🤔
Alas in all the excitement we never thought of asking him when he was there or maybe we were dissuaded by his imperious attitude.
Yes… the manner of ordering and speaking to all of us and the old retainers present did indicate traces of my fathers ways 🙏
My mother to confirmed that she did feel an odd presence in the manner he looked at her and his behavior.
Ohh… How he enjoyed smoking the cigarette 😂
How did he know that there was me to bless too. He asked for the son of the house !! 🤔
He asked and enjoyed the kheer and rasogolla. How did he konw we had it cooked in the house when we first served him Mahaprasad which itself indicates the Supreme Meal !! 🙏
Lastly our own brahmin purohit who was present told us that the sanskrit slokas with which he blessed us were not an ashirbad of a brahmin but a “Pitru” Ashirbad !! 🙏😇
Each of us present saw, felt and remember this incident and I felt especially blessed and will do so till my dying day !! 🙏