Yes, nobody can take Him away. Nobody.
“वो यहाँ से जाने वाले नहीं…हम उन्हें जाने ही नहीं देंगे…उन्हें यहाँ से कोई नहीं ले जा सकता है…” (He is not the one to go from here…we won’t let Him go. Nobody can take Him away.)
This was declared softly and simply by Maniram, the soft-spoken, pleasant, somewhat shy and gentle-mannered middle-aged taxi driver we had hired for the two days we spent in March of this year in Dwarka, Gujarat. In fact, as we found out later, Maniram was also the owner of this small taxi service that he had started after his early retirement from a government job. He had two grown sons, one of whom was also helping him in this fledgling enterprise of his. He was born and had lived all his life in Dwarka, the holy city of Lord Krishna, Dwarkadhish, Lord of Dwarka.
On the first day Maniram drove us to Okha (and back), from where we reached via ferry to Bet Dwarka (also known as Shankhodhar). This small island is part of the city of Dwarka. Enroute to Bet Dwarka we first stopped at Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, and on the way back he also drove us to the beautiful Rukmini Devi Temple by the sea.
Next day, Maniram was supposed to drive us in the same taxi to Somnath, a journey of about 250 kilometers during which we were planning to visit a few more places of interest on the route.
On the first evening when Maniram dropped us back to our hotel, standing just outside the hotel front door we discussed with him plans for the next day’s journey. And in the process of firming up the time of starting the trip and other such details we almost forgot to pay him. We were just about to enter the hotel premises when my husband recalled that he hadn’t paid for that day’s trip.
We immediately turned back and saw Maniram getting in his seat and almost ready to leave. Seeing us walking back, he got out of the car, perhaps thinking that we needed to ask him or tell him something about the next day’s plan. Handing out the money to Maniram, my husband warmly joked with him, saying:
“हम तो आपके पैसे देना भूल ही गये थे, पर आप पैसे लेना कैसे भूल गये ?”
(We almost forgot about the money, but how come you did too ?)
Maniram smiled his simple smile and replied:
“अरे कोई बात नहीं सर, पैसे कल दे देते। इसमें कौन सी बड़ी बात थी।”
(Not a big deal, Sir. You could have paid tomorrow.)
“और अगर कल हम यहाँ होते ही नहीं , होटल से चले गए होते तो? आपके पैसे तो रह ही जाते न !”
(And what if we were not here tomorrow, what if we would have checked out of the hotel, you would have also lost your money!)
“तो उसमें भी क्या है, सर। द्वारकाधीश है न।”
(So what, Sir? Dwarkadhish is here.)
“और अगर उन्हें भी अपने साथ ले जाते तो ?”
(And what if we were to take Him also with us?)
And that’s when he sweetly said, with a smile that almost reached his eyes:
“न! वो नहीं हो सकता…वो यहाँ से जाने वाले नहीं…उन्हें यहाँ से कोई नहीं ले जा सकता है…”
(Nope! That is not possible. He is not the one to go from here…Nobody can take Him away.)
In those smiling eyes I could just feel his love for the Lord as I just stood there for a few moments and simply looked at him. How simply Maniram had said something so profound. It was his complete faith and trust in the Lord Dwarkadhish, in whose town he had spent almost all his life (except for the few years when he was posted in another city), his love for the Divine, and his surrender to all the ways of working of the Divine that made him say such profound truth in such a simple and most beautiful way, in a way that went straight to the heart of the listener.
Yes indeed, nobody can take the Lord away. Not from the city of the Lord.
Not from the abode of the Lord in a devotee’s heart. That’s where He is always seated, hidden deep inside, whether or not we know of His presence.
This firm faith, this devotion, this trust that the Divine will provide for us, always and in all ways, is what makes all the difference. Difference in the way we go through our lives, in the way we go through all the works our lives present to us, in the way we walk through all the challenges, all the ups and downs that our lives give us.
This is the type of bhakti, the steadfast love and devotion for the Divine, that takes us on the path of surrender. Surrender to the Highest in us. Surrender of all parts of our being, all our movements, in all ways, slowly and progressively.
That one moment, that one small conversation, added a whole other dimension to our pilgrimage and made it so much richer. Only Lord Krishna, the Dwarkadhish could have arranged that moment, so beautifully, so perfectly.
Thank you, Sri Krishna!