181. The Bangles on the Hand

Uddalaka, a contemporary of Caitanya, chose to worship the Lord as the Manifested, as Prakriti. The Creator he chose to worship through his Creation. He adored the Container for the thing contained. In short, he adored Râdhâ, or Dhara in reverse, the Prakriti aspect, the feminine principle, as Krishna, the Purusha, the inseparable Other! His yearning was so moving, his tapas was so compelling that one day, while a bangle-seller was trudging along the bank of the Sarasvatî river by the side of the village, he found a damsel washing clothes in the bathing ghat. The Lord is as anxious to assuage your pain as you are anxious to secure His grace to get rid of it. You may not know this but I know, for I feel it. She called him near and selecting many pairs of bangles, she wore them all. At last, when he asked for the cash, she said: "Oh, I forgot all about the money that is due to you, please go to the house of Uddalaka in the village; anyone will point it out to you. Ask him, tell him that his daughter purchased them and he will surely pay. Or, wait, you may tell him that he will find the cash behind the picture of Râdhâ in his shrine room".

The man took her at her word and hurried to the village and the house of her parents. Uddalaka was amazed at the tale for he had no children. In fact, he had not even married. But the bangle seller insisted on his looking behind the picture of Râdhâ because he said the girl was incapable of deceit. Uddalaka denied having ever placed any cash there. How could he use that space of all places for keeping cash? But just to satisfy the bangle seller, he peeped there and, lo, he got a knotted piece of cloth containing just the cash needed to pay for the bangles. Then, in a flash, he realised that it must have been Râdhâ Herself who had sent the man and he fell at the feet of the pedlar and ran with him to the bathing ghat, overcome with joy and thankfulness. For an instant he saw a glorious vision above the waters; the right arm of Râdhâ, with the bangles scintillating in the morning sun. He knew the arm was raised to bless him. He felt it was calling him and flew out of the mortal coil into Her lap.