“A child is the father of the man” – William Wordsworth
How many eleven year old’s you know that love to cook, read
scriptures, hear Krishna katha from devotees, and also come first in
Meet Vaidhei – a beautiful soul, a lover of Krishna, and the older
daughter of my dear friend Gopal Leela Prabhu.
Her father was leaving for Mumbai in the evening. He told her, “Do you
want to give something to the brahmacharis? I will meet them tomorrow
morning.” The innocent girl’s eyes lit up. “How many hours do I have?”
she asked her father. He would leave in five hours. She hurriedly
arranged ingredients to cook Karanji- a Maharashtrian delight. For
those acquainted with cooking, you’d know that it’s not easy to cook
these fried pastries, stuffed with freshly grated coconut, infused
with cardamom, jiggery, and rasins. She took more than four hours of
dedicated and absorbed cooking, and beamingly she handed her father, a
bag full of these little, crispy, and crunchy irresistibles. And the
monks in our ashram are also quite choosy about what they eat; many
are connoisseurs of good sanctified food and carry a fine sense to
separate excellent sweets from ‘just a little bit to be added’ kinds.
When Gopal Leela carried the sweets to his friends in the ashram, they
relished it with great delight and offered her profuse blessings.
I was particularly keen to talk to her and express my love and
remembrance. I asked him to call her on the phone. But she was busy;
after all it’s a Tuesday morning- time for reading Sundar Kanda of
Ramayana. Her devotion is unparalleled and sincerity is contagious.
I know the power of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy when I see
Vaidhei. The Chaitanya Charitamrita describes, “I offer my obeisances
to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, by whose mercy even an ignorant child can
swim across the ocean of conclusions about the ultimate truth, which
is full of the crocodiles of various theories.” (CC.Adi.2.1).
When Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw the four-year-old Narayani, the niece of
Srivas Thakur, He was filled with love and gave her His own remnants
of food. He then asked her to chant Krishna’s Holy Names and
immediately, Narayani was filled with the Lord’s love, and she loudly
chanted and cried the Holy Names, all the while exhibiting ecstatic
symptoms of love of Krishna. Her body trembled and her eyes were
filled with profuse tears of love of Krishna. She then grew up to be a
great devotee of Krishna and gave birth to Vrindavan das Thakur, who
went on to become the legendary biographer of Sri Chaitanya
Mahaprabhu. His work ‘Chaitanya Bhagavata is a masterpiece and the
favorite of Lord’s devotees.
Once Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked Mukunda about his son Raghunandana:
“Are your Raghunandan’s father or is he your father?” Mukunda
understood the cryptic question; his son was precocious and also pure
in his devotion to Krishna. Mukunda smiled, “My dear Lord, he is
indeed my father.” The Lord approvingly embraced Mukunda and taught us
through this incident that regardless of age, whoever inspires us in
Krishna consciousness is our senior and worshippable to us. And that
person could be your own child!
I knew Vaidhei is also very dear to Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and I
hope I can imbibe some of her love and sincerity. I pray she grows up
to bring light and spread happiness in this dark material world.