Among the pantheon of Indian deities, there is one who is particularly known for his simplicity and innocence and thus lovingly addressed as “Bhole Baba”.
His appeal knows no bar and devotees from all backgrounds and beliefs are attracted to him. His kripa (beatitude) can touch the soul of any human being, whatever be his caste or colour.
Such beneficence was felt by a woman of Hungarian descent nearly a century ago. An artist by profession, Elizabeth Sass, was compelled to come to India because of an invisible calling. Having heard of Rabindranath Tagore, she travelled from Europe to Shantiniketan and settled there for at least two years.
From her past life experience or simply the blessings of being a refined soul she received vibrations from the visible and invisible - some of these revelations she put on the canvas, so that these could be preserved for posterity.
Her meeting with Tagore itself was extraordinary. The moment the eyes of the sage from West Bengal fell on her for the first time at his Jarasanko home in Kolkata, he said without even being introduced, “So, you have come!” and they both embraced.
On her request, Elizabeth Saas was given a secluded residence on the Shantinektan campus, and all were ordered to leave her in isolation till such time that she wished otherwise. He daughter, also known as Elizabeth Brunner, lived in an adjoining room.
Brunner, whom I had the great fortune of meeting and interacting with, recalled how one day soon after the mother-daughter duo began living in India, one special night she saw a vast luminous light sparkling from Sass’ room.
Not daring to disturb her mother, she saw only the next morning the significance of the extraordinary experience. A canvass with an illustrious portrait of Lord Shiva in all his magnificence.
He had appeared before Sass in all his glory – a resplendent face with locks intertwined with the gushing Ganges, and meditative blue eyes, emanating an unparallel radiance.
She knew he had blessed her as her experience with the brush became more frequent and fine.
Interestingly enough, Nandalal Bose, who was assisting Gurudev Tagore in those days, walked into the apartment the same morning and headed straight to the backroom without an invitation or giving prior intimation. He went straight to the easel on which the canvas was placed! No one knows how he knew beforehand of this fascinating experience or its outcome in the form of the famous portrait: Shiva – God of the Himalayas.
Such remarkable experiences may not seem real, but there are some who are elevated enough to tune into and grasp waves from the ethereal world. Blessings of Lord Shiva, or in fact of any other form or deity that one has faith in, are for all to seek and enjoy.
It all depends on when the doors of their mercy open and we are granted a glimpse of the divine just like the Hungarian lady Elizabeth Saas.