This is a true story about Lord Krishna, and this incident happened in India shortly before or after (1947). During that time in India, greedy moneylenders used to dupe poor villagers who borrowed money from them. Such financial transactions used to be very informal, with little or no documentation. The moneylenders seldom issued receipts for loan repayments, so the borrower had no proof and had to repay the loan many times over.
For those who are not familiar with Indian culture, Lord Krishna is India’s greatest Prophet who lived about 6000 years ago. Just as Jesus was the prophet of the West, Krishna was the prophet of the East. Krishna’s discourse known as the ‘Gita’ is of timeless value and is the most revered Hindu scripture. A brief life sketch of Krishna is available HERE.
A person who visited Vrindavan many years ago with his friends had narrated this story. After visiting many temples, they became tired and thirsty in the merciless afternoon summer sun. Suddenly they spotted a hut in which an old woman sat singing bhajans (holy songs). They approached the hut, and this woman lovingly welcomed them and offered them water and food. After having their lunch, the group wanted to leave but could not as the heat was still unbearable. They decide to stay in the hut, till it became cooler. One of the narrator’s friends became curious to know about the old woman and, upon some insistence, the woman spoke.
This is the story told by the old woman.
I am from Aligarh, where I was born and brought up. My father, Gopal Das, was an artless, honest and dedicated school teacher. He never desired great wealth and would be content with whatever destiny meted out to him. I had two younger brothers and both of them went to school. Although we were poor by any standards yet life passed on. I soon grew older and reached marriageable age. My father would often get disturbed about our financial condition. He would get worried about how he would finance my marriage, but somehow maintained courage. He made several friends, one of whom was one Mr Shastri, a gregarious fellow. My mother would often object to my father’s carefree way of living, often accusing him of not having saved any money for his daughter’s marriage and sons’ education. At this my father, with an artless confidence, would say when he would need money he would borrow it from his rich friends and would later return it. My mother always knew beyond doubt that none of my father’s friends would ever help him financially, and would often warn my father about this. But my father would casually dismiss my mother’s skepticism about his friends.
At last, the time for my marriage arrived. My father naturally went to Mr. Shastri to borrow some money. He was in for a rude shock as Mr Shastri dismissed him outright, saying how would my father ever return the money as he was an impecunious fellow. Not only that, the heartless Mr. Shastri also alerted my father’s other friends in the fraternity, advising them not to lend any money to my father. None of my father’s so-called friends came forward to help. This was not a surprise to my mother, as she knew all along this would happen. After being snubbed by his friends, my father’s anxiety grew day by day. The day of my marriage was fast approaching and there was no money to organise the wedding. There is always a need for money in marriages – for feasts, ceremonies, dowry and so on. My father became extremely tensed and disturbed. All throughout the day he would wander here and there trying to arrange funds for my marriage, but he did not meet any luck. He would often skip his dinner after returning home and would sulk and go straight to sleep. The behaviour of his friends deeply hurt him. Finally, only 5 days remained for my marriage. I saw my father coming home with lots of marriage items like bed, clothes, utensils, sweets, jewellery, and so on. It extremely surprised me and my mother how out of the blue my father could arrange all this when just a day before he had virtually no money at all. Upon asking, my father replied with quiet confidence that he had mortgaged the house and borrowed money from Lakshmi Chand, the moneylender.
Upon hearing this, all hell broke loose on my mother, for she had heard several tales about Lakshmi Chand’s deceitful ways. Anyone who had taken a loan from Lakshmi Chand could be certain he would ultimately lose his property. Lakshmi Chand was a greedy cheat who was adept at juggling account records to dupe helpless and mostly illiterate villagers of their property. He would keep duplicate records, one real and the other fake. He was well versed in legal matters, had a good hold over hawkish lawyers and so would indulge in brazen manipulations to carry out his misdeeds. My mother rebuked my father sharply and tension prevailed in our home. She was certain of our impending doom, but my father tried his best to calm my mother, saying her fears were unfounded and after the marriage he would surely pay back the money to Lakshmi Chand and get the house released. My mother doubted father’s words, for she thought that after my marriage, father would become more carefree and would not take much care to repay the loan. However, my mother’s doubt turned out to be unfounded as after my marriage my father toiled day and night to earn money to repay the loan. After four months of very hard work that took its toll on his health, my father repaid the loan. In India, rural Hindus consider it a sacred duty to take a dip in the holy Ganges river after an auspicious family event such as marriage. Just a few days after my father had repaid the loan, my mother started insisting my father for the Ganges pilgrimage. My father did not have money then so he asked mother to wait a little. After long hours of hard work for several months, my father’s aged body was no longer in a condition to work so he tried to tarry the trip. But my mother was adamant. From God knows where, she arranged some money to finance the trip. My parents then went on the Ganges pilgrimage. The day they returned, a registered postal letter awaited my father.
When he read the letter, he collapsed in disbelief! The document was a court notice sent by none other than the wicked Lakshmi Chand. It stated that if by a certain date my father did not repay the loan with interest, Lakshmi Chand would confiscate my father’s ancestral house. Upon reading the notice, my father became numb. He had honestly repaid the loan with full interest, so why this notice? He was a simple man who had never been to the court. The court for him seemed to be a dreadful place where the rich and the powerful openly manipulated legalities to twist cases in their favour to cheat the poor and the helpless. The court was a place where truth was murdered every day and every minute and falsehood reigned supreme. Every brick of the court building was like a snake’s bloody fangs, ready to strike the helpless and the meek at the slightest chance. Nonetheless, my father gathered courage to seek the help of his friends. Once again they all cold shouldered him. Mr Shastri, despite several years of friendship, refused to testify for my father’s character. Lakshmi Chand was an influential man so nobody wanted enmity with him. Once again my father plunged in gloom. He despaired and seemed to lose his balance completely. He wondered at the ways of the world. How strange this world is. Even after honestly repaying a loan with interest, one is served a court notice. He shuddered to think what would happen to him if he did not vacate the house. He imagined being dragged to court, humiliated, made to beg and grovel before the judge, the lawyer and Lakshmi Chand; his family honour would bite dust and what not. My mother kept her hand over my father’s forehead; it was burning with a high fever.
The next morning my father woke up in the same condition. He decided to pay Lakshmi Chand a visit and ask him why he was doing all this. My mother, sensing an altercation, accompanied my father. When my father reached Lakshmi Chand’s house, the moneylender warmly greeted my parents and served them refreshments. Lakshmi Chand even touched my father’s feet (as a sign of respect) and enquired after his wellbeing. Upon being asked by my father, Lakshmi Chand admitted my father had repaid the loan in full, along with the interest. He said he was primarily interested in my father’s house and wanted that house at any cost. The crooked money dealer even offered my father all the money the latter had repaid him, as a price for the house. He said if my father did not accept the offer he would have to face harassment in the court. My father begged Lakshmi Chand not to do this and said that if he vacated the house, he would have no place to live with his wife and two sons. Besides, the house was his ancestral property and he could not abandon something so precious. This was of no use, as Lakshmi Chand refused to melt. He warned my father not to teach him what was right and what was wrong. He insisted he had kept a proposal before my father. If my father agreed, he would get the money from Lakshmi Chand for his house or else he would have to run from pillar to post to settle in court.
At this my mother lost control and warned Lakshmi Chand that it was not proper to harass someone like this, and God’s court was higher than all the courts in the world and He would surely judge Lakshmi Chand. Acutely disappointed, my parents returned home. My father was already disgusted at the indifference of his false and fair-weather friends, thus did not bother to consult anyone. My mother kept insisting my father to seek help. Finally, he got fed up and left home. Coincidentally that day was ‘Hariyali Teej (a festival of Hindus) and a bus of devotees was going to Vrindavan from Aligarh. My father, lost in thought, absentmindedly boarded the bus. He did not know where the bus was going, so mired he was in his mental agony. It so happened that the conductor of the bus turned out to be one of father’s old students. With due respect, he offered my father a seat beside his. During their talk, my father came to know that on special occasions the bus goes from Aligarh to Vrindavan with devotees of Lord Krishna—today was one such day. My father’s soul too now yearned for a darshan (devout glimpse) of Lord Krishna. The bus conductor had heard several miraculous incidents about Lord Krishna from the passengers and told many to my awe-struck father. Besides, Krishna had blessed his own life. He narrated his own story to my father – how many years ago he had arrived in Vrindavan as a penniless, hungry youth with no dwelling; how he had cried and prayed to Krishna and how miraculously his long distance aunt, a rich lady, spotted him, subsequently adopted him and employed him in her transport business. That bus was one of the many buses she owned. In the meantime, the bus arrived at Vrindavan and the passengers alighted. The bus was to stay in Vrindavan for two hours before returning to Aligarh, so the passengers had two hours to tour Vrindavan. The conductor took my father to the famous Krishna temple. My father devoutly offered his soul to Lord Krishna, and in a spirit of true devotion, surrendered completely to the Lord. The grace of Krishna was touching my father. My father’s mental agony seemed to flow down in the river of his true surrender. At midnight my father returned home – a different man. He walked with a confident and steady gait. It seemed now he had no worries, needed no one’s help, and had no fear. He had got assurance from Krishna, who was the greatest of all helpers. The very next day my father confidently sent a bold reply to Lakshmi Chand’s lawyer, stating clearly that as he had already repaid the loan with interest in full, he would not under any circumstances vacate the house. Infuriated at this, Lakshmi Chand sent a court summons to my father asking my father to appear at the court on a specified date. The court summon which would ordinarily terrify my father, was today received like a royal invitation by my father.
He did not feel the slightest fear upon receiving the court summons. How could he feel fear when the Lord was with him? On the specified day, my father went to the court. There the judge asked him about the whereabouts of the payment receipt, which Lakshmi Chand must have handed over to my father upon receiving the full payment. My father innocently replied that neither had Lakshmi Chand given him any receipt, nor had he insisted on the moneylender for any proof of payment. Their dealings were of mutual faith and trust, and receipts were unnecessary. The judge then asked my father the dates of the instalments and also the transaction amount of every instalment. My father looked up his diary and readily told everything. Lakshmi Chand kept duplicate records and presented the false records at the court. The false records obviously did not have any trace of the transactions. My father kept insisting that he had seen Lakshmi Chand enter the amounts in his records, but today there was no trace of the payments in Lakshmi Chand’s records. Lakshmi Chand’s lawyer started accusing my father of being a liar. Lakshmi Chand’s lawyer further asked my father to present any witness in whose presence my father had given the payment. My father kept quiet as he had no witness- there was in fact no witness. Hope seemed to dim. He could seek help from no one, but suddenly he remembered Krishna – the saviour of all saviours. The glorious form of the Lord stood there in my father’s vision, with his flute playfully at his beautiful lips, smiling a very knowing smile at my father. Father prayed deeply to Krishna – that ocean of mercy. My father blurted out to the judge, “Krishna is my witness. He was there with me every time I went to make a payment”. Nobody in the court suspected that my father was referring to Lord Krishna, the lord Himself. Everyone thought Krishna was actually some person, as many people in India have their first name as ‘Krishna’.
At this, the lawyer again asked my father to tell the name of the witness. My father said that “Krishna” was the name of the witness. The lawyer growled at my father and asked him the witness’s address. My father replied “Vrindavan”. Upon being asked the name witness’s father, my father replied after some hesitation “Swami Haridas”. (Swami Haridas was a great saint and a great devotee of Lord Krishna, who lived in the sixteenth century. It was he who had discovered the idol of Lord Krishna, which devotees worship to this day in a famous temple). Anyway, the court attendant reached Vrindavan to present the court summons to the “witness” Krishna. On reaching there, a young, beautiful, dark-skinned lad appeared from nowhere and offered to take him to Krishna (Readers, no prizes for guessing who this mysterious dark, beautiful lad was!). Before the attendant could answer, the lad took him by his hand and brought him to the Krishna temple. It was afternoon, and the temple was closed. The lad requested the attendant to stick the summons document on the temple gate and said Krishna would read it when he returned. He assured the attendant that on the day of the court proceedings, Krishna would surely be present as a witness. Satisfied, the attendant returned to Aligarh. Some people told me later that Lakshmi Chand’s wicked lawyer had gleefully assured his client that they would win the case easily because how could Gopal Das produce a witness when there was none. Deep down the judge knew my father was innocent and Lakshmi Chand was lying through his teeth. However, he could do nothing to help the beleaguered defendant. Time went on and now just a few days remained for the court date. My father went to Vrindavan one more time. Everyone in the household made fun of my father and dissuaded him from going, but he did not listen and left for Lord Krishna’s childhood village, Vrindavan. On reaching the temple, he once more prayed fervently for the Lord’s help. His surrender was complete. In the afternoon, he sat outside the temple and dozed off. Lord Krishna appeared to him in a dream and promised to become his witness and protect him. In the evening, my father took a dip in the holy Yamuna river and returned home. Except for my father, everyone in the household felt sure that Lakshmi Chand would win the case. However, my father was supremely confident that the opposite would happen. Almost everyone dismissed my father’s faith as a bout of eccentricity.
On the day of the proceeding, the judge asked my father whether his witness was ready. My father said that the witness had indeed arrived. The court attendant shouted out, “Krishna be present”. There was no response. He called out again, “Krishna be present”. No response. He called out the third time, “Krishna be present”. This time a voice spoke from outside the room “I am here”. Just in that instant, a man wrapped in a dark blanket entered the courtroom. Everywhere there was an exclamation of utter surprise. “Who is this Krishna?” “Are you Gopal Das’s witness?”, the judge asked the mysterious stranger. The figure nodded. The stranger’s blanket covered face was irritating the judge. “Please show your face and reply clearly, what is your name?” asked the judge, now getting stern. The figure now revealed his face and replied to the judge, “Krishna”. The moment the judge looked at the stranger’s face, he was completely awe-struck at the divine lustre on the stranger’s face. This face was unlike that of any other human being the judge had ever seen! It was no human face, it was the face of God himself. The pen dropped out of the judge’s hand, his forehead sweat profusely and he forgot to ask anything else. The stranger continued, “Gopal Das has returned every pie with interest to Lakshmi Chand. If you want proof of this, then you can find it in a yellow file kept in the topmost partition of the almirah which lies at the right of Lakshmi Chand’s office seat. All of Gopal Das’s transactions appear under the name of “Das” and are fully recorded on page 2 of the file. I will tell you even the exact amount and the dates on which Gopal Das made the payments.” The witness narrated every detail about the transactions. Everyone in the court was dumbstruck. Lakshmi Chand stood there trembling. His lawyer stood there staring in blank space like an idiot. After some minutes, the judge regained his composure and asked the witness, “Can you recognise the file?”. “Absolutely”, replied the witness. The judge adjourned the court and went to Lakshmi Chand’s office (a part of his dwelling itself) along with the witness, Gopal Das, Lakshmi Chand, Lakshmi Chand’s lawyer and two court attendants. There it turned out to be exactly what the witness had told him in court. Lakshmi Chand’s dishonesty became glaringly clear-the court caught him red-handed. When the judge turned around, the witness had vanished! At that instant, the learned judge realised that the witness was none other than Krishna himself, who had come in answer to Gopal Das’s prayer! After that day, my father never returned home and lived like a sadhu (religious medicant) for his remaining life. He who gets the Lord’s grace in such a miraculous manner cannot remain the same person anymore; such an individual loses all fear and insecurity. Soon after, the judge also resigned from his job, became a monk and devoted his remaining life to Krishna. Not only this. everyone connected to this incident no longer saw the world as earlier. In some way or another, the grace of God touched their lives too. Story ends.
I hope you enjoyed reading this true story of Lord Krishna.