Of God’s footprint

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 26 Jun 2018 12:37:41


By Vijay Phanshikar,





Vaishnav jana to tene ...

- A Gujarati bhajan
by Narsinh Mehta

‘Vaishnav jana ...’!
Just two words -- at the start of a bhajan by Gujarati saint-poet Narsinh Mehta! They
conceal so much! They reveal so much!
Vaishnav jana -- God’s men! His
representatives on Earth! In human form! His messengers! Interpreters of His
omnipresence, His omnipotence!
Vaishnav jana ...!

These people come with a mandate -- Divine one, of course -- of expanding God’s eco-system on Earth. God expects them to descend to Earth, assume human form,
mingle with people, live like they do, and then spread God’s word -- of conscience, of character, of confidence in
goodness, of conviction that the Devil will perish in its contest with the Divine.

There is a physical condition with a spiritual meaning -- the Vaishnav Jana are expected to assume human form! Naturally, they are expected to live with human limitations, and also limitless human strength -- powered by Divine touch. And they -- the Vaishnav Jana -- are born in all places -- the palace of the monarch or the hut of the farmer. They are born in all social segments -- of the priests or of the poor. And from the confinement of those limitations -- of the rich or of the poor -- these Vaishnav Jana rise and work the mandate they come with -- to expand God’s eco-system.

The most critical part of their mandated task is to make common people believe in the power of the Divine. That’s, of course, no easy task. For when every good thing threatens to crumble with rigours of life, when every
person prophesying that good things do not last, these men and women of God work to alter that negative belief -- Vaishnav Jana! ‘No, friends, brothers, do not be fickle in belief. Don’t be negative in feeling. Don’t be so pessimistic that goodness has little value. Look at me. I have problems, too. I have not had my food for three days, and my little ones are hungry at home, crying. But, friends, brothers, I know, that the Divine is only testing me and my belief and my faith and my firmness. There will be a moment when I will get my feed and my kids and family will be satiated ...’

Common people still do not believe these Vaishnav Jana! They suspect their wisdom, and also their goodness and sense of restraint. But the Vaishnav Jana remain undaunted. They know, their mandate to spread the word of faith in the Divine. They know, they are expected to pass the test of life’s rigours. They know, unless they are drawn over the coals, unless they are
subjected to baptism by fire, their mandated task would not be complete.

And, as these Vaishnav Jana conduct themselves through life and all its vagaries, they show an unusual calmness, an unusual character, an unusual conviction of conscience -- that things will be all right for the Devil has never won a contest with the Divine.

Their words appear so distant and so much out of sync with the materialistic world that none believes them, the Vaishnav Jana! Yet, there does come a time when the Devil loses and the Divine wins, and the Vaishnav Jana stand vindicated.

But no, these men and women of God have not worked for their vindication. They have worked beyond any connect with self or selfish goals. They have only one task mandated -- spread the word of the Divine, so that God’s eco-system has a footprint on Earth.
In belief, thus, the Vaishnav Jana work -- to build belief in the Divine.