A tryst with a beggar and a failed dream I was living in Delhi then. I had a dream one night when God said that I would be seeing Him before the end of the week. It was a Wednesday night. I could not recollect the form of god but the message was clear that He would be revealing Himself to me. I was not a very religious or a spiritual type even though I said my prayers daily. It was part of my daily routine to light the lamp after my bath, offer flowers and utter a few slokas.I would remember god only the next morning. I was naturally surprised about the dream and tried to recollect whether I had read some stories of God the previous days. I could remember none. I brushed it aside like any other dream and went about my daily routine. I did not mention about my dream to my wife though I used to tell her all the happenings of the day. Still the dream kept coming to my memory frequently with no incident of such a nature happening
A friend had come from Bangalore who wished to visit Agra, Mathura and Brindavan that Sunday .Both of us went by car. My wife excused herself from making the trip. We finished the Taj and the Krishna temple at Mathura. We were tired when we came to Brindavan.There are innumerable temples in Bridavan.We chose to visit the most popular Banke Bihari temple which is located 100 m down a side street. The approach is very narrow. The curtains before the Deities are not left open like at other temples. Every few minutes the curtain is pulled shut and then opened again. It is said that the brilliant eyes of Banke Bihari will make you unconscious if seen for too long a stretch. It is said that Banke Bihari does not like the sound of bells or conch; therefore they are not sounded in this temple. The temple was jampacked.
After the darshan, we came out. I was wondering whether the god in the dream meant this darshan as his revealing himself. The narrow road was lined with beggars seeking alms. As we walked back towards our car one old man came behind me asking me for money. It was late and I was extremely tired and hungry. I ignored him and kept walking. The man would not let me go and came close behind me incessantly asking for some amount. His persistence made me annoyed. I told him that I would not pay even a paisa if he pestered me like that. He followed me all the 100metres.Just as we were nearing the final stretch of the narrow road, he tugged my shirt and said “You have come all the way to have the darshan of the lord but you would not even turn to look at me , let alone give me a small amount.” I got angry at his audacity in pulling my shirt and shouted at the top of my voice “Go away, I say”. The man stopped following me and after a few yards, I turned to see whether he was still there... No, he could not be seen. I stood there looking for him. He had just vanished in the crowd. I was struck with remorse whether I was unduly rude to an indigent beggar. I was now in a mind to give him even hundred rupees to atone for my boorish and bad-mannered behaviour. But he had melted in the thronging crowd. My appetite was lost and throughout the journey back I was mum and lost in thoughts about the incident. His bent figure with his cringing appeals haunted before my mind.
As I was narrating the incident while lying in bed that night to my wife and the failed dream of mine, she sat up immediately and said “What an unlucky man you are? Could you not realise that it was the lord himself who was pursuing you till the end of the road? Will any beggar chase a person for 100 m and waste his time? He would rather go and ask someone else. God has kept His word. You have failed to see Him in the form of a beggar. Your dream has come true and you had refused to see the dream that had come true. You could not perceive the presence of god immersed as you are with the thought of Him in his traditional form. Did it not strike you at all there is something more in his relentless following you?”
I felt there was a clear message for me from god that I should show compassion to the poor and be gentle to them. It is only in acts of such kindness that God is pleased. What a fool I had been to miss the significance of the dream and my failure to connect it with the beggar. In all my subsequent visits to Brindavan, I looked for the beggar. But he is not there. I am a changed man now.