The Incredible Story of Vachaspati and Bhamati
The body is really a very fragile thing. But more delicate than that are the emotions. They take us to all sorts of rides. Sometimes pain, misery, suffering, anxiety, agony, panic, breakdown. And sometimes joy, happiness, ecstasy, love. There may be many things available in the market, but I guess there is just one prime solution to all the upheavals- finding something so big, so precious, that one just forgets oneself. It could be art, poetry, sports, dance, anything. Emily Dickinson used to say, “Poems are my eternity to the solace which surrounds us all.” She would get so immersed in her writings that everything around would just disappear. Like that, something bigger than life, bigger even than death.
In the same context, there’s a famous story of Vachaspati and Bhamati shared by Osho. It’s one of the most beautiful stories one can find. Vachaspati was a philosopher who wrote the commentary on Brahma Sutras. It’s an amazing story of dedication, losing one in his creation, and the highlight, of course, is ‘Bhamati’.
“Vachaspati was engrossed in the search for truth. He understood nothing else. If anyone talked about anything, he took it to be a topic of God. But his father urged him to marry. So when he asked Vachaspati, “Will you marry?”
He said, “Yes”. Perhaps he thought his father said, “Will you meet God?” and he said yes.
It never even occurred to him that he had brought a bride home!
How could he remember for it was not he who said yes to marriage, nor he who got married. He was engrossed in his own work. He was writing a commentary on BRAHMA-SUTRA. He finished this work after 12 years. For 12 years his wife would quietly light the lamp for him in the evening and place flowers at his place.
For 12 years Vachaspati had not the slightest awareness of his wife. The wife made no effort to let him know she was there. On the contrary, she took all possible care that he may not, even by mistake, come to know of her presence. She wanted to cause no disturbance in his work.
After 12 years on the night of a full-moon, when his work was completed and Vachaspati rose to go to bed, his wife picked up the lamp to show him the way. For the first time Vachaspati (so the story goes) saw his wife’s hand – Now after 12 years, when his work was over and his mind was disengaged from work. He saw the hands, the bangles and heard the tinkle of her bangles. He turned round and saw her and he exclaimed, “Woman! What are you doing, alone here at this time of night? Who are you? From where have you entered, the whole house is closed? Where have you to go, shall I reach you home?” His wife said, “For 12 years, you have been busy with your work.
Perhaps you have forgotten – you have been so busy! It is not possible that you should remember.
If you can think back, 12 years from now, perhaps you may be able to recollect – I am the woman you brought to this house as your wedded wife.”
Vachaspati wept for a long time knowing what he had done.
He said, “I remember. And I also remember that every day just show me your hand, because I can recognize your hand. You were the one who was putting the candle by my side every day as the sun was setting. I know this hand. But it is too late; I have decided that the day the commentary is complete I will leave the house. You should have reminded me. You should have at least given me a hint.”
Bhamati said, “It would have been very unloving to disturb you; I was waiting. And don’t be worried — if you have decided to leave, you leave without any worry. I will not come as a hindrance to your decision. It is enough that I can see that you are worried for me.
This will be enough for my whole life, that you had a certain love.”
Vachaspati said, “You are a great woman. It is very rare to find such a woman. It is easy to find many commentators of my quality, but to find a woman of your quality — such love, such trust, such waiting, such patience. And such greatness of heart — just your concern that it is getting late is enough for you — as if there is no expectation. I will call my commentary Bhamati, so that whoever reads this commentary is bound to be surprised by the name. But without you, and without your love, and without your patience, and without your silent waiting…”
But Bhamati said, “I have received more than I deserve. You should not wait in the house any longer. Let me have the pride of having a husband who followed his decision even though now I can see you are hesitating. Don’t hesitate. I will not allow you to remain in the house; you have to go to the Himalayas — because if you remain in the house, I will not be able to give you the same respect.”
Vachaspati has named his book Bhamati. This word has nothing to do with the book. It is his wife’s name. He said to her “I can do nothing for you but let the world forget me, let it not forget you. I shall name my book after you.”
It is a fact, no one remembers Vachaspati but Bhamati is remembered by many.
This is a tremendous, unbelievable story.
Vachaspati left for the Himalayas, but he could not forget Bhamati. Such a quality, such grace and such beauty something beyond human qualities. Only such people have given proof that there is something more than human qualities, something which can only be called divine. Vachaspati remains a great scholar, but Bhamiti proves to be a far more divine personality.
So once in a while there have been, in other relationships, people who have felt harmony with each other, but that is extremely rare — accidental and exceptional.”