It is the era of the 1700s and in the princely state of “Rajputana” or “Rajasthan” called now, there were two friends. One was about six years older than the other. The older one was named “Ramakrishna” (रामकृष्ण) and the younger was called “Bhikana” (भीखण). Bhikana is a derivative of the word Bhikhu/Bhikshu. Bhikhu means a monk in Rajasthani dialect.
‘Bhikhana‘ used to visit the house of his father’s sister. It was there that he met ‘Ramakrishna’. Even though they had the age difference, they became very good friends. Whenever Bhikahana used to visit his “bua’s” (aunt’s) place, he would spend a lot of time with Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna used to long for the times when Bhikhana would come again during his holidays.
They were at the age when they were supposed to be playing outdoors all the times. However, they would sit below a tree and would converse on topics beyond their ages. They would talk about the higher purpose of life and the true nature of the world. The topics that never interested other children of their age were their favorite talks.
They decided that if they renounce the worldly affairs and become monks at any point of time in their lives they will do it together. Their friendship continues for many years.
Over time, the Bhakti movement of those times influences Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna becomes a monk in the order of saint Kriparamji.
Some time later, Bhikana became a Jain monk in the order of Swetambara Sthanakvasi tradition under Acharya Rughnathji.
Ramakrishna becomes RamCharan. Bhikana becomes Bhikshu Swami.
In due course of time, both of them start new spiritual movements.
RamCharanji starts new order of formless bhakti called RamSnehi (राम स्नेही) movement. Bhikshu Swamiji starts Shwetambar Terapanth (तेरापंथ) order. Ramsnehi means loving Ram or God. Terapanth meant “your path” referring to God that we are following your path.
This post is not about discussing the two sects any further. Two friends, different journeys, different destiny in this life of theirs. Spiritually united over many lives. The outward expressions are different, but the internal desire for liberation is identical.
Their early friendship and mutual respect later really caught my attention and wanted to share. If you want to read more about the two spiritual sects, you can click below links.
Om Arham!! Om Sai Ram!!