As Rashmi opened the door and quietly stepped inside, she noticed her mother waiting. ‘Ma, I have told you not to wait for me’.
‘How do I sleep when you are out with hippies’, her mother said.
‘Ma, they are not hippies, they are devotees. And I had told you that there is a kirtan mela and the President had invited you too. You both could have come’, Rashmi said.
‘I don’t like to see people singing and dancing like mad’, her mother said.
‘Ma, it is not a mad dance, we dance in ecstasy’. Rashmi said.
‘Don’t tell me. I just hope we get a good groom for you and get you married off. What you do after that is not my botheration’, her mother said and left.
The next day when Rashmi sat down to chant after the Mangalaarti was over, her mother came and put five photographs in front of her.
‘These are eligible bachelors, select amongst them’, told her mother.
‘Are they devotees’, Rashmi asked.
‘I don’t know’, her mother said.
‘Do they eat non-veg’, she said
‘Yes’, her mother said
‘Then for me, none are eligible’, she replied.
‘See Rashmi, these boys belong to our community, they are well-educated, earn well, look good too. After marriage you can make them into a vegetarian, a devotee or whatever you want’, her mother said.
‘And what if he is not interested in spirituality, whole life I have to suffer just abiding to his wishes’, Rashmi asked.
‘Well in our culture, women have to abide by the decision of her husband’, her mother said.
‘And our culture allows a woman to choose her own husband. No, ma if I marry it will be to a man of my choice and preference’, she said
Her mother just kept quiet and brought her breakfast.
‘Bread and omelet?’, she remarked, You know I don’t eat egg.
‘See Rashmi don’t be fussy what will happen if your husband likes eating non-veg’, said her mother
‘Ma, I told you, I will marry a man of my choice’, she said and left for her room
‘And what happens if you don’t meet a person of your choice’, her mother said
‘It is not me who will meet Ma, Krishna will arrange’, she said.
As she sat in her room, Rashmi understood that in her life out of all the trapatreyas*-the three fold miseries, Adi bhautik was the worst.
As she sat dull and forlorn arranging books in the stall, Sharada mataji and stood beside her. Sharada mataji was the wife of the temple president and looked after the congregation as her own children.
‘Rashmi, whats the matter, nowadays you are not in the element’, she said.
‘Nothing mataji’, she said.
‘Rashmi, we belong to the same congregation and we all need to lean on each other’, mataji said.
Slowly Rashmi began to tell about her problems; about how her mother objected to her spiritual leanings, her father was ok. How she was being forced into marriage etc.
Mataji just said ‘Hmmm’.
A couple of weeks later her father called her. which was actually a surprise considering he never called her during office hours.
‘Rashmi come home on time, I want you to meet somebody’, he said.
Rashmi just hoped that her father hadn’t contracted the marriage bug from her mother.
When she reached home there was some conversation going on. She opened the door to find the temple president and his wife along with some other people.
Sharada came forward and said, ‘You wanted a devotee family isn’t it and see Balchandra prabhu were looking for a devotee girl. I was praying everyday for you and see….’, she said with a smile.
‘Sharada mataji has told us about you and then looking at your altar, I knew that you are the one for my son…’ the other lady said.
As she sat all dressed up for the call from the priest, her mother came and stood behind her and said with a smile, ‘You were right, Krishna arranges’.
‘Yes, but only if you have faith’, Rashmi added.
In the Bhagvad Gita Krishna says in the 9th chapter 22nd shloka
ananyas cintayanto mam
ye janah paryupasate
yoga-ksemam vahamy aham
But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form–to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have.
Shloka translation: asitis.com
*Trapatreya-threefold miseries-Adi daivik– miseries caused by the devas like flood, earthquakes etc
Adibhautik– miseries caused by the kith and kin
Adhyatmik– miseries caused by own self