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The woman who gave birth to two saints

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THE SOOTHING warm hands of Bhagavati Devi on my skin while she was stroking my tight tired shoulders instantly softened my tensed muscles. She said it is her way of paying back the free healing treatments I rendered to her and to some other Jain devotees in their community. Resisting to fall asleep, I asked this endearing woman how it feels to have two beautiful sons who both turned into saints. 

She proudly narrated that during her pregnancy with her first child Manish Kumar, she and her mother-in-law became so prayerful. Daily, from early morning, she would head to the temple to pray and continued their prayers at night in their puja room (altar) at home. She said she was never prayerful, even lazy to visit temples before. Everyone in the family thought that the child inside her was making her to do so, and that what she carried in her womb was someone special.

Bhagavati Devi with Sayam and Bhuvan.

On September 14, 1985, Rajasthan Manish was born in Ajmer. Bhagavati and their clan couldn’t believe their eyes on the sight of the newborn baby. He was too beautiful for a human being. His golden hair, golden eyes, and a golden shining skin made an incredible sight. The family was so proud to show him off to visitors and the neighborhood. 

Only after nine months passed, Bhagavati got pregnant again. This time nothing changed in her behavior. A normal good-looking child was born on July 27, 1987. He was named Arun. 

The author with Bhagavati.

As her sons were growing up, Bhagavati noticed Manish is different. He displayed an extraordinary intelligence that he always topped his class and exemplary kindness. He also liked solitude. He loved going to temples at an early age. And preferred meditating over playing with other children.

On the other hand, Arun did not like school. He would often be found in the woods wandering and just in quietude. He enjoyed the company of nature, magnetized with the soothing frequency it emits. 

The author with Sayamrathnaji and Bhuvanratnaji at Rajendra Suriji temple Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India in 2019. Contributed photos.

Though different in personality, the brothers exemplified calm nature and are the best of friends.

Bhagavati prayed so hard to God, she said – asking Him not to take Manish from her. She knew in her soul that her beloved son’s calling is to serve God. She feared that someday he will leave them for good. True enough, Manish received his diksha (initiation) on January 24, 2004 in Siyana, Rajasthan, and was given a new name – Sanyam Daneshvari, in memory of Acharya Jayantsen Suriji. After the ceremony, he left all his belongings and his family forever. After a few years, Arun, unexpectedly, followed the steps of his older brother. He received his diksha, given the name Bhuvan Daneshvari, at the same place where his brother Sayam was initiated. 

One of the rules to enter Sainthood in Jainism is to renounce your worldly attachment – material possessions, family, friends, desires. You walk your vocation almost bare. Equipped only with a white cloth to cover your body, a wooden stick to use when walking (they are not allowed to use any form of vehicle) and a book of Jain holy scriptures.

Sorrowful but happy has been Bhagavati for her sons following their calling. She praises God for choosing her to carry these two sacred beings in her womb, stating that the time her two saints spent with her was pure bliss. God gave her a glimpse of Paradise through the presence of her dear two chosen sons. It was like a dream, but it is real.

“With thousands of people from different places calling on them every day, I haven’t seen my sons get tired and complain at all. They have exceptional patience with a natural compassion. My wish is that they live long to carry on their mission,” Bhagavati says. 

“I am not worried anymore about them unlike before,” she said with beaming eyes. “For I know that with God in them, they have everything that they need.” 

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