Dharma Bhakti Arrive on Earth
Having learnt that Dharma, Bhakti and the Rushis are going to be born on earth, the evil-minded souls also took birth at various places. Thousands of the evil souls who had a vengeance against God were born everywhere. At end of the Dvaapar Yug and the beginning of the Kali Yug, many evil souls were born as Kans, Jarasandh, Vrashabhaasur, Bakaasur, etc. They became spiteful of Brahmins, Vedas, etc because these are supportive of religion. At that time, God appeared as Shree Krishna and annihilated many of them, whilst others died in battle at the hands of Baldevji and Arjun. Those who died at the hands of Shree Krishna achieved redemption. However, those who died at the hands of others had retained their die-hard vengeance and having heard of Dharma and God’s imminent arrival on earth, they began taking birth in large numbers to avenge themselves. They took birth in all the four castes. In order to hide their evilness, they took Vaishnav and Shaiv initiation and set themselves up as gurus and began degrading religious moral conduct and devotion and began propagating the so-called values of meat-eating, alcohol-consumption, adultery, etc. They started to promote violent sacrificial rituals and committing great sins such as killing Brahmins.
Thousands of these evil people stayed at pilgrimages such as Jagannathji, temples, and good towns & cities and converted the people to the way of non-religious acts. Many took on the clothes of ascetics and started hoarding weapons. They started making their own ‘scriptures’ and encouraged their sinful ways and lives. Also, the evil-minded kings joined forces with these people and began hacking away at good morals. As the saying goes, “Like king, like subjects” so the values of religious morals dropped greatly. Non-violent sacrificial rites became less popular. The earth repeatedly trembled at the weight of sin, droughts, etc leading to the calamities on the public. Lightening bolted on temples. Great gusts of winds brought down trees and homes. In the midst of these many atrocities befalling the earth, Dharma, his wife and the Rushis were taking birth.”
In the region called Northern Koshal Desh, on the northern bank of the River Saryu there is a town called Itaar. Here there lived a Brahmin called Laxman Sharma. He was of Saamved, Kauthumi Shaakha, Bhargav, Vait-havya and Saavetas Pravahar and Chhaavani Gautra. He had a son called Bansidhar, who had one called Vedmaan, who in turn had one called Kanhiram. This Kanhiram had a son called Bal Sharma. Bal Sharma was very knowledgeable, of good qualities and pure conscience. His wife, Bhaagyavati was a very devout woman. To this very honest couple in the Vikram Year 1796, Kartik month, eleventh day of the bright half (Prabodhini Ekadashi), Wednesday at midday, Dharmadev was born. At the news of this birth, the demi-gods played musical instruments and showered flowers. The words ‘Jay Jay’ were also heard from the sky. There was a celebration at Bal Sharma’s residence also. At this time, the hearts of the saintly people became pure, the waters in lakes became clean, and lotus flowers opened out their petals. Bal Sharma conducted the birth rituals and gave many gifts to Brahmins. By observing the habits of the child, people said he looks like some demi-god. Then, on the twelfth day, Bal Sharma conducted the child’s naming ceremony and called him Dev Sharma. After giving him the sacred thread, Dev Sharma was enrolled in a gurukul to undertake Vedic studies and after completing the Samaavartan Sanskar, Dev Sharma was ready for marriage.
In the same area of Koshal Desh, near the city of Ayodhya there is the River Saryu. On the other side of this river, some distance away, there is another river called Manorama. On it’s banks there is a pilgrimage called Makhoda. North of this place there is the picturesque town of Chhapaiya. The town was inhabited by the four casts and dotted around it were many clean water lakes and beautiful trees. Here lived an honest Brahmin called Krishna Sharma with his devout wife, Bhavaani. This couple were god-loving. To them Bhaktidevi was born on Wednesday, the fifteenth day of the bright half of the month of Kartik in the Vikram Year 1798. At this moment, the minds of the god-searching souls became eager to perform devotion. In every house, festivals of god worship, etc were happening. Because of Bhaktidevi’s arrival on earth, the evil people felt as good as dead.”
When his daughter was born, Krishna Sharma performed the birth rituals and with great happiness named her Bala. After the birth of Bala, Krishna Sharma’s wealth and prosperity began to increase. Calamities such illnesses were extinguished. In terms of appearances, qualities & habits, Bala was comparable to Mata Devhutiji. Because of her love and devotion for God, people began calling her Bhakti.
Seeing that his daughter was now ready for marriage, Krishna Sharma arranged her marriage with Bal Sharma’s son Dev Sharma (Dharma Dev). In the wedding procession, Bal Sharma brought many friends and family with great pomp to Chhapaiya. Krishna Sharma welcomed the wedding party with food and accommodation. At an auspicious time, Krishna Sharma wedded Bhakti to Dev Sharma. Seeing the new couple, people began equating them to Shiv & Parvati.
After the wedding ceremony was completed, Krishna Sharma requested Bal Sharma that Dev Sharma (his son-in-law) should stay at Chhapaiya. With Bal Sharma’s agreement Dev Sharma stayed on in Chhapaiya. Bal Sharma stayed on at Chhapaiya for a number of days and before departing, he called his son and daughter-in-law to him. Addressing them he said firstly to his daughter-in-law, “O virtuous Bhakti, listen my words of advice. You should be chaste. The parents and husband of a truly chaste woman are most fortunate. Only those who have accumulated thousands of years of good deeds receive a chaste woman in their home. Even the demi-gods bow before a chaste woman. All the pilgrimages on earth are forever at the feet of a truly chaste woman. Even the earth is spiritually cleansed by the dirt of a chaste woman’s feet. O Devi! You shall also be equal to the likes of Arundhati, Saavitri, Ansuya, Sangna & Svaha.”
Seeing Bala’s love for her husband, Bal Sharma named her Premvati. After having addressed Premvati, Bal Sharma turned to his son and said, “O son! You have studied the scriptures. Nevertheless, in order fulfil my parental duty, I am instructing you. Always bathe while reciting the mantras, and perform the worship of Sandhya Devi, three times a day. Never scorn your virtuous wife. Never stay alone with unrelated women. Do not touch widows. Meat, liquor, adultery, theft, suicide, homicide, etc. should be shunned always. Always associate with saintly men. Follow the religion. Those married people who wish for wedded bliss should observe every Ekadashi. Ekadashi is the king of all observances. Those who observe Ekadashi receive prosperity and liberation. On the day of Ganesh Chaturthi, you should perform the worship of Ganpati and on the fourteenth day of the dark half of the month of Aaso, you should perform the worship of Hanumanji. He is our household deity and remember him, he will remove all your pains.”
Hearing Bal Sharma’s words of advice, Dharma and Bhakti bowed to him and promised to act as instructed. Then Bal Sharma blessed both of them and left for Itaar with his friends and family. After his father had left, Dev Sharma followed his father’s instructions to the letter and pleased his parents-in-law. Seeing Dev Sharma’s dutiful convictions, people began to call him Dharma Dev. Dharma Dev’s other twelve wives such as Shraddha were also serving him spiritually. As time went on, Dharma Dev & Bhakti Mata had a son, whom they named Rampratap. His qualities were similar to Sankarshan.