[ultimate_heading main_heading=”A Spanish Pure Bhakt, short story by Shweta Chaudhary – Issue.XXVII : April 2017 ” main_heading_color=”#1e73be” sub_heading_color=”#8224e3″ spacer=”line_with_icon” spacer_position=”bottom” line_style=”dotted” line_height=”1″ line_color=”#1e73be” icon_type=”custom” icon_img=”id^48|url^http://ashvamegh.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Ashvamegh-ICO.jpg|caption^null|alt^Ashvamegh Journal Icon|title^Ashvamegh ICO|description^null” img_width=”48″ main_heading_style=”font-weight:bold;” main_heading_font_size=”desktop:34px;” line_width=”3″ margin_design_tab_text=””]something new…[/ultimate_heading]

Introduction to the Author:

Shweta Chaudhary is post-graduate in English literature. She is interested in writing since her graduation days and actively participates in poetry and other literary gatherings. She is currently indulged in some research work in the field of spiritualism and education. Shweta has qualified NET examination in July 2016.

A Spanish “pure bhakt”

It was a small town named Maligaon, in the northern part of India. The town was meticulously demarcated by two communities- Hindu and Muslim. The folk of each community were often seen mingling and having a heartily chat. Houses of the Hindu community faced Phoolbagh, a huge ground with dozens of temples contouring it. At the front-right side of the ground lived a Sadhu in his hut who has wittingly claimed autonomy over some few yards of the ground through support of local politicians and Baniyas. Though he had illegally grabbed the land, he kept it much cleaner than before through fencing and planting multi-flowering plants in rows neatly. Chrysanthemum, jasmine, marigold, lily, hibiscus, rose and palm trees; all went resplendent on the onset of spring. The sight rose to such aesthetic and auspicious beauty that it made people of the nearby villages throng in great numbers to the temples to bestow prayers to their deities.

The Sadhu was a blend of too many professions to suffice in one being. He was a palmist, ayurvedic doctor, astrologer, numerologist, yogi along with his mundane identity of a tapasvi. For some months he would be seen nowhere but enclosed in his hut with ash- smeared body. Sitting with his leg-crossed on his chatai he chanted mantras and shloks from Ved Purana days and nights. He would have only fruits and milk in between his long sessions of ruminations in those days.  Adjusant to the wall outside his hut sat a vegetable vendor, Amit who hardly earned anything and passed his day smoking weed taken from Sadhu. Out of pity for the poor vendor, Sadhu gave a portion of his land to the vendor for selling his vegetables. He procured few vegetables every day from the Mandi and sold them at a higher notch; reasoning aptly as to why his customers sank every day. But his days changed when Maria came.

Sadhu went to the Kumbh mela in Ujjjain for few days leaving his hut under the care of Amit. The latter came before the sunrise each day bringing his vegetables on his cart. He would then clean the hut and the ground everyday with a broomstick making the soil even; leaving no leaves or other garbage to litter around. Then he sprinkled water to make the clouds of dust settle firmly onto the ground. Amit was no less than a disciple of Sadhu. He held great awe for Sadhu in his heart and believed that Sadhu has gained some unnatural powers through his undeterred meditation practices. And subsequently he has worked hands in glove with Sadhu in popularizing and boasting his majesty in Maligaon as well as in the nearby villages to such extent that Sadhu has been felicitated by the name “International Baba” by the local folks. When baba returned after a fortnight his entry was no commonplace affair in the town. With him came Maria, a Spanish lass, who claimed to be a great devotee of Baba. In saffron kurta salwar she looked no less than a Sadhavi. With her arrival arrived the lost fortune of Baba. Garlands of marigold adorned them when they came. To steal a glimse of ‘phirangan” people hovered baba’s hut. Sometimes she rushed to felicitate; uttering “ram ram” or she would smile widest to her guest. She also offered her fruits to the poor. On one evening came a fellow begging her money, out of pity she offered him 2 thousand rupees and thereafter the number of poor that thronged to her had no limit. Baba had to harangue them for hovering too much around the hut. Getting to baba for ayurvedic, muhurat, palm reading, havan purposes became a mundane excuse for the town’s folk with an intention to get along with Maria.

Maria crowned in much talks of the town. Oldies sat circling the bonfire and they talked in length of Maria’s loving spirit, her affection for our land and our people. Criticizing their home ladies by juxtaposing them to Maria became a mundane babble for them. Some men were curious to know her food habits; other would peep into her canopy.  With each passing day shine brighter, baba’s English brightened as well. Village men were left spell bound with their mouth’s wide open when baba flung his tongue around in his mouth to utter “crooked English”. Their praise for baba and his invisible powers was seen to have no sooner end. And the crowds went crazier than ever to seek baba’s benedictions. Rich would supply him with jute bags of grains, rice and pulses and poor came to seek his blessings hand-foldingly. Plagued swarmed his ashram for ayurvedic herbs and medicines. While those dying to get their daughter’s married or couples ailing for years to bear a son came running with their palms spread wide waiting for baba to announce the auspicious occasion. In short, baba’s business flourished like never before.

In one house among the many homes facing Phoolbagh lived my grandparents. My grandma was quite old and having no company for jesting around went to baba frequently and sat there for hours returning only before the sun going down. My grandpa was a tough old man who nurtured himself along with values of hardship, chivalry, honor and self-esteem. After his retirement, he travelled daily to village which was 8 km far from my home in town on motorcycle; looking after his orchids and cattle there, he would return contentedly every evening. Driven by Maria’s love for homeless dogs dallying around on roads, he brought one puppy from village in side bag attached to his motorcycle. The puppy made him wrestle around in between his voyage as it jumped from the bag many times and grandpa had to run after him to catch hold of him. Maria was so overwhelmed with joy that she bent down in gratitude a notable times to grandpa and cuddled and kissed the puppy.

When the winds were chilling and the sun was barred by thick fog I arrived to my town for some days.  After dinner, grandpa lit some wooden pieces in a tin box to soak in some warmth. He told me about Maria and we visited her the next morning. Maria rose to welcome her guest. She showed her immense love for Shiva through a tattoo carved on her neck and narrated stories of how Shiva came into her dream some months before back at home in Spain and she was finally dragged by her spiritual thirst to visit India. She rummaged in her bag a photo of Jesus that her father had given him as she told. And went to tell me her love for holy book pronouncing erroneously “henesis” and I corrected her exclaiming “Genesis”. Then she switched the topic and came to talk in length of food problem she is facing due to low quality of vegetables and other edible oil and fruits. The dichotomy of food cultures in India and Europe spun the charm of her glossy skin in the air. Immense dirt and filth surrounding the country and noise pollution had her have many sleepless nights. Baba winked at her. Moving to me he muttered how good Maria feels talking in English to me as language stood a major bar in getting well along with folks that came to ashram. Baba told me how he met her at Ujjain kumbh mela and missing no moment thereby she fell to his toes begging to have her as his devotee. Then he went on to praise her Shiv love “ leaving behind her affluent family, beti she ran to our des, she wears simple kesariya coloured clothes like us, beti, a ‘pure  bhakt’.. beti… a ‘pure bhakt’… a little amateur but beta… from where she has got this ‘cacaine’ in her bag… spoilt by someone…I scolded her for sniffing her fragile health along with sniffing this ‘cacaine’ she has left it now thoroughly… cute Maria… she sits with us in hawan betaji… and smokes sulfa with other baba that flock to me but that too only thrice a day… dancing and cheering in Shiv pooja.. ‘pure Shiv bhakt’, betaji..” grinning from behind, Maria told me of her plan of celebrating baba’s birthday next month. She left no easy escape for the land though; throwing her remarks she added “India will see her end soon due to dirt and macabre that surrounds all over”.


Sadhu- In Hinduism, Sadhu is a common term for ascetic

Baniyas- a caste in Hindus known for its business mindedness

Tapasvi- another word for ascetic

Chatai- a kind of mat

Mantras and shloks-  a word or sound that has spiritual power

Ved Puran- A vast genre of Hindu literature consisting of myths, legends and lore

Kumbh Mela-  a hindu festival held once in every twelve years at four locations in India, where pilgrims bathe in the waters of the Ganges.

Phirangan- an Indian slang for Europeans

Muhurat- an auspicious time for a ceremony to take place

Havan- a Vedic ritual in which people put on a fire in the center and make offerings along with chantings of mantras.

Kesariya-  saffron

Beti- daughter

Bhakt-  a person who believe or faith in somebody he follows

Cocaine- cocaine


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