The Jivamala
The Life of a Shiva Devotee

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Section XXXIV - The Married Priest

So I became a priest, and memorized the prayers and mantras. I knew how to make a statue, and how to call down a god into one. I knew how temples should be made, and diseases cured. I knew how to name a child, and build an ancestor [body]. I could keep myself pure.

My teacher gave me the proper dress, and declared me a priest. Now he said he would marry me to Amba.

I knew this had to happen, but I was unhappy. It was the last door to being a sadhu. Marriage shut the door to a sadhu life absolutely.

I went back to Nathdwar, and told him that I was to be married. I am not sure how long it took to train with him [to be a priest], perhaps somewhere between six months and a year. It was strange. If I could have had this training as a child, I might never have become a sadhu. Now I have the training that I had wanted but it brings no joy, for I must renounce the life of renunciation and live as those who I had despised live.

Nathdwar sent a message to Amba to come, and she did. She was thrilled. She had a set of clothes in red, with some gold threads at the edges. I found her desire for marriage pathetic. How could she desire such bondage and obligation? I married because I had to. It was Lord Shiva's will.

The priest made a sacred fire, and chanted prayers over the fire, and we walked around it. We were bound together in mutual obligation, for the sake of the ancestors and the gods. We must have children for the ancestors, and devotion for the gods. We must follow the rules of hospitality, and always feed the hungry, especially the holy men (I smiled at that one - it was not in the other marriage forms). We were blessed and shared food. We agreed to do everything we were commanded to do.

Amba begged me to allow a messenger to tell her parents that she was married, and that her husband was now a priest. She feared her parents might be worrying about her, even though they gave her away so easily. It would not have occurred to me, but I agreed, for it was important to her. I told her that Nathdwar would know where we were to settle, so her parents could contact him if they had any questions or concerns.

Actually I did not know where we would be going. Again, I had to wait for Shiva to reveal his will. Nathdwar had another wealthy disciple soon to go away on pilgrimage, and he said we would live there until we found out where we were to be sent. I told Amba of Shiva's revelation, and that we were not to have sex until it was time for us to have a son. "A son!" she said, and her eyes shone.

Section XXXV

Shiva was just the strangest god. You never get what you want from him until you don't want it anymore. I wanted to be a sadhu, so he makes me a householder. Instead of a contemplative consort and yogini, I get a girl who wants to be a wife and mother.

The messenger went off to her parents while we waited for the god to make his will known. As usual, he was in no hurry to do so. We stayed at the disciple's guesthouse (it seems I live in these things) but the lord did not appear. However, after about a month or so, the messenger reappeared, accompanied by many men. Amba's parents had apparently been feeling guilty for getting rid of her like that, and they were happy to know of her wedding. As seems typical for householders, they did not notice that I was disgraced - they wrote that I was fortunate. They sent along a small dowry with the men - some gold ornaments and a few saris, and some new kitchen utensils. Amba was excited - now all her relatives would know that she had married, and to a priest. Now she could hold up her head before her relatives.

Well, I must hide my head in shame before other sadhus, but such is my lord's will. We stayed together several months in a celibate marriage sleeping at opposite ends of the room. I finally had a vision from the lord as I was going to sleep one evening. I saw his devotee praying before a mountain asking for lord Shiva's will. Shiva said he would die and be reborn where he could be of most service. The devotee was pleased. Then Shiva came riding through the sky, on his blue bull (I always thought it was white) and I followed him through the mountains and valleys. We passed many small villages. In the midst of one valley, there were statues to goddesses and saints, but there were no lingas. The land around was rich and fertile, but there were no Shiva statues to bless it.

The Lord said,

This town will be your destination. It is called Vinayapur. It is near Mahaganaya. Your teacher will know where this is - he visited here in his travels. Get the directions from him, and inform Nathdwar of your plans. I have told farmers in the area of a blessed young couple that will be coming. You have your directions. You may have sex with your wife.

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Lives of Spiritual Awakening      [ NEXT ] Bhairavanath's Life Continued

Introduction | The Bhairava or Spiritual Guide | Lives of Spiritual Weakness | Lives of Spiritual Awakening | Conclusion


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