Gospel of Holy Mother Sarada Devi
(RECORDED BY SMT. SUSHEELA MAZUMDAR)
From Bhowanipur, I went in the company of my husband and son to the Udbodhan House to pay our respects to the Holy Mother. I saw the Mother standing in front of the doorsill of the middle room on the first floor and talking with someone. As I saluted her, she asked, "Where do you come from, my daughter?" She behaved as if we had been acquainted with her for a long time. I replied, "Our home is in Dacca." Before this conversation could end, Golap-Ma summoned the Mother, saying that Ram Babu and Nitai Babu had come to see her. In the meantime, Kapil Maharaj told me, "Please wait a little. Balaram Babu's son and nephew have come. After they have finished talking with the Mother, you can speak to her." Nitai Babu came and stood in front of the Mother. After talking with him, the Mother gave me two Rasagollas and went to the adjoining shrine room to meet Ram Babu.
I remained waiting with two Rasagollas in my hand. After the Mother had spoken with Ram Babu, she called me to the shrine room and asked, "Why have you not eaten them? It is consecrated food. Please take them." At that moment a certain woman devotee entered and remarked, "The Mother fed those present with all the sweets. Now what shall we eat?" Abashed as I was at her remarks-for those two Rasagollas were stilI in my hand-I said, "You please take these two Rasagollas." She replied, "No, daughter, I didn't mean you; why should I take yours?" Then the Mother said to her, "O! Please don't say such things. It will hurt the devotees. As there are many persons, the Prasada was not sufficient, even though only two sweets were given to each. Ah, they have come from a very remote corner of the country with much difficulty." Then, as the Mother repeatedly requested me, I ate the sweets. The Mother herself brought water for me. Later she said, "The syrup from the sweets has made the floor dirty. Please wipe it with a wet cloth and wash your hands." After I had completed this task, the Mother sat down on the cot and began to enquire about me. Just as I was saying, "I have one son," Ni — came there to salute the Mother. I said, "Mother, he is my son." Ni - left after making Pranam to the Mother. Then she asked, "Have you not yet arranged for his marriage?"
Disciple: No, he hasn't married.
Mother: He is your only son. Why haven't you got him married?
Disciple: He doesn't want to marry.
Mother: Ah, these days this has become a fashion with young men! Why, can't a married man lead a virtuous life? It is through the mind that one achieves everything. Didn't the Master marry me? Has your son received initiation?
Disciple: Yes, he has been blessed by you.
Mother: Yes! Why should he not marry then? All right, I shall tell him. Perhaps he doesn't want to face hardship. He who holds on to the Lord, even when afflicted by sufferings, will certainly attain to Him. But tell me, what is your wish?
Disciple: Mother, I don't know what will be good for him. You know what is good and bad for him. Therefore it will be as you say. I don't have any other opinion.
Mother: You see, only those who belong to a high spiritual category can become monks and liberate themselves from all kinds of fetters. Some, again, are born just to enjoy the world. I say, it is good to finish in entirety' enjoyments and sufferings. But it was different in the case of the companions of the Master.
Disciple: Mother, he is but your child. His good and bad depend on you entirely. Do whatever you wish to do.
Mother: I say, let him marry. Let all his enjoyments and sufferings pass off completely. Otherwise, it is difficult to foretell what kind of experience will come to him. Know it for certain, however, that since the Master has caught hold of him, he will never fall. You wait quietly with a placid mind. I have initiated him with a Mantra given by the Master. Can ill fortune ever befall him?
Then she said, "Would you take Prasada here?" As I replied in the affirmative, the Mother went out to tell the store-keeper and returned.
Mother: From whom have you taken initiation? Who told you about the Master?
Disciple: When we went to meet Nag Mahasaya at Deobhog, we heard from him the glories of Sri Ramakrishna. Observing Nag Mahasaya's lofty mental condition, I always felt a strong desire to see Sri Ramakrishna and you. I was not fortunate enough to see Sri Ramakrishna, but through your grace I have seen your holy feet and thereby my desire to see Sri Ramakrishna also has been fulfilled. I have not had initiation directly yet.
Mother: Have you received it in a dream?
Disciple: Yes, Mother. I saw you in a dream and received initiation from you.
Mother: Well, do you remember the Mantra? You had better tell me.
No sooner did I utter the Bija than the Mother said, "Yes, you belong to this category. You are fortunate, indeed!"
Disciple: Mother, will you not tell me anything more?
Mother: No, perform Japa with this Bija. Know for certain that this will bring you good. With whom have you come?
Disciple: I have come with my husband.
Mother: Where does he stay? What does he do?
Disciple: He is the manager of Ram Babu's estate.
Mother: Oh dear! You are the manager's wife? Why didn't you disclose this earlier? O Radhu, O Maku, come and salute the manager's wife.
Quite amazed at the Mother's action, I said, "Mother, what are you saying? I am a Kayastha. They being members of a Brahmana family, how can they salute me?" But the Mother said, "Don't speak like this. You are a devotee. Devotees are casteless. They will reap good if they salute you." As soon as Radhu and Maku came, I caught hold of their feet. Then the Mother said to them, "Stop, stop, she won't allow you. They are devotees, therefore they see the Lord in all beings. Well, what have you heard at Deobhog from Durga (Nag Mahasaya alias Durgacharan Nag)? How did you happen to visit him and become acquainted with him?"
Disciple: Once my husband went there to see the saint Nag Mahasaya. On that occasion he won the heart of my husband by his unselfish affection and told him repeatedly about Sri Ramakrishna. He very kindly visited our house in order to see me. Being charmed by his attitude and love, we have been visiting him for a long time. And he has graciously made us his own and told us of the greatness of you and Sri Ramakrishna. As a result, we feel drawn towards you and the Master in our heart of hearts. He would only say, "I am nothing; Sri Ramakrishna is my every thing. If you desire good, take refuge in him heart and soul. There is no way out besides this. As luck would have it, I saw the holy feet of the Master and became blessed. I have seen Swamiji-Lord Siva Himself-and I have also seen the Divine Mother incarnate and received Her blessings. What more shall I tell you? With your whole body, mind, and soul take shelter at the holy feet of the Mother and the Master, and it will bring you good."
Mother: Ah, what shall I tell about him? He looked upon me as the Divine Mother Herself. When he came to see me for the first time I was observing the fast enjoined on the eleventh day of the lunar fortnight (Ekadasi). In those days no male devotee was allowed in my presence. Devotees used to salute me by touching the staircase with their heads. One maid servant used to announce the name of the visitor, saying, 'So and so (the person's name) is saluting you, Mother,' and I would send my blessings. On that day the maid said, 'Mother, who is this Nag Mahasaya? He is saluting you, but by striking his head so hard against the staircase that his head is likely to bleed. Maharaj (Swami Yogananda) is standing behind him trying to persuade him to stop, but he doesn't say a word. He seems to be unconscious. Is he a madman, Mother?' I said, 'Oh dear! Tell Yogen to send him here.' Holding him, Yogen himself brought him to me. I saw that his forehead was swollen, tears were rolling down his cheeks and his steps were unsteady. Blinded by tears, he couldn't see me. I made him sit. He was uttering only 'Mother! Mother!' as if insane, but otherwise he was quiet, calm and composed. I wiped away his tears. I had just sat down to eat my meal of luchi, sweets and fruit when he appeared. I partook of a little of the food and then tried to feed him with the Prasada. But he couldn't eat-he couldn't swallow the food; for he had no outward consciousness. He simply sat touching my feet and repeating 'Mother, Mother'. My women companions began to say, 'Mother your meal is spoiled. Let us tell Maharaj (Swami Yogananda) to remove him from here.' I said, 'Wait. Let him compose himself a little.' As I stroked his head and body and repeated the Master's name for sometime, he regained external consciousness. Then I began to take my meal and also to feed him. When he had finished taking food, he was taken downstairs. Before he left, he only said, 'Not I, but Thou! Not I, but Thou!' I told those who were near about, 'Look, how wise he is.' He would do anything for me. "Once he came wearing a dirty tattered cloth and carrying on his head a basket containing select mangoes from his own trees. He had in mind the desire to feed me while sitting by my side. But he wouldn't express this. He began to walk around with the basket on his head like a destitute. Yogen sent word, 'Tell Mother that Nag Mahasaya has brought mangoes. He doesn't speak a word and won't give the basket to anybody.' I said, 'Send him here.' When he was sent in, he came with the basket on his head. One Brahmacharin took the basket off his head. I had not yet finished my daily worship of the Master. After saluting me, he became unconscious, as on the previous occasion. He was repeating the name of the Master and saying 'Mother, Mother'. Tears were streaming down from His eyes. The mangoes were of a very good quality-some of them had been marked with spots of lime. Some were cut and offered to the Master. Daughter Yogin brought Prasada for me on a plate made of Sal leaves. I ate a little and told Golap, 'Give him a leaf-plate.' When the leaf-plate was brought I placed on it some pieces of mango from my plate and said, 'Please eat.' But who would eat? He had no body consciousness, and his hands were as if paralyzed. I took hold of his hand and tried to persuade him to eat, but he couldn't. Instead, he took a piece of mango and began to rub it on his head. I sent word downstairs and they had him brought down. By repeatedly making Pranam by touching the floor with his head, his forehead had got swollen. He didn't take his meal I heard that after sometime he regained normal consciousness and left."
After a while leaf-plates were arranged. Mother said, " Come, you will have Prasada." As I followed the Mother into the dining room, she said, "Come, sit facing me in the opposite row."
The Mother mixed her rice with butter, ate three morsels of it and said to me, "Take this Prasada, take it on your palm." When I stretched out my right hand, the Mother said, "Does anyone receive Prasada this way? Spread both your palms to receive it!' I spread both my palms and the Mother placed the entire quantity of rice in them, pressing it with her hand. Then she said, "Touch your head with it and then eat." Being surprised, I said, "Mother, I am a Kayastha; you touched me while taking your meal. How can you take food now?" The Mother said, "You are all my children; what caste discrimination can there be between you and me? You are but my children. Now take the Prasada." Then shyly I began to eat. Very cheerfully the Mother began to take her meal. She now and then asked what I wanted.
Mother: Well, dear, is there no place of pilgrimage in your part of the country (Dacca, Bangladesh)?
Disciple: No, Mother, I don't know of any holy place worth the name. But people take a holy dip on a certain day. It is called the Brahmaputra bath.
Mother: Yes, I have heard of it. All right, you take me there this time. I shall see your native place and make a pilgrimage too.
Disciple: Mother, will East Bengal (now Bangladesh) have this good fortune?
Mother: Why not? There are many devotees of the Master there. Naren went there, Sarat went there, and many others also. Why should I not go to a place where people adore the Master?
The Prasada contained pulse soup, two varieties of mixed curry and a sour soup. Now the Mother said, "Serve them fish."
Disciple: No, Mother, I am satisfied with the Prasada itself; I won't take fish.
Mother: How is that, dear? You are a woman whose husband is living, and you won't take fish!1 Why haven't you painted your soles with lac-dye?
1 According to the Hindu tradition in Bengal a widow is prohibited from taking fish or meat, but women in the married state are allowed to take them.
Disciple: In our part of the country painting of the soles with lac-dye is not in vogue. Conch-bangles on the hand and mark of vermillion on the forehead indicate that a woman's husband is living.
Mother: It may be, but in this part of the country women wear conch-bangles and vermillion as a fancy. Here iron wristlets and lac-dye are the signs of a woman whose husband is alive.
The Mother was served with milk, a mango and a sweet. She mixed them, ate a little and said, "I am leaving the remaining portion for your son." When the meal was over, I was about to remove the leaf-plate when Lakshmi- Didi hurriedly came and caught hold of it. I was not willing to part with the plate, but neither would Lakshmi-Didi leave it. At last the Mother stood up and said, "Allow Lakshmi to carry it. Among them you are the oldest; since they are here, why should you carry it?" Thus I was compelled to leave the plate. Then I accompanied the Mother to the washing place. The Mother filled a pot with water from the bucket and gave it to me, saying, "Wash your mouth and hands." I felt very awkward. I said, "Mother, I can't obey you." The Mother said, "Why not? It will bring you good if you do what I say. Come, hurry up and wash; there are others waiting behind you. Well, touch the water-pot with your forehead." Having no other course left open, I obeyed her command. After this, as I was moving away, the Mother said, "What's this? Why did you not wash your feet?" I said, "I shall wash them later." The Mother said, "No, no, come. I shall pour the water." Then I went up behind the Mother and said, "Mother, I can't do this." The Mother replied, "What's the matter? First sprinkle some water on your head. If you listen to my words, it will be for your good." And so with no other course open, I did as she told me, and at her directive I followed her to her room.
Entering the room, the Mother stood as if taken aback, and after a moment cried out, "O, what have you done? What will my son take?" I noticed that a certain woman devotee was saying to herself, "Everything will be eaten by her children, and we shall die of starvation!" and was merrily eating the Prasada the Mother had kept for Ni-. Seeing this, I laughed heartily. Lakshmi-Didi and the other woman present also finally began to laugh too. I could hardly control my laughter, but the Mother appeared very concerned and stood there quietly. Then the Mother sent some one to enquire whether the cook had closed the kitchen, and if not what food had been left behind. Learning that there were some rice, pulse and curry, the Mother said, "Well, ask the cook to bring a small quantity of each of them." When the cook brought them on a plate, the Mother mixed them together, ate a little from it and left the remaining portion covered, saying, "This is for my son." Standing behind her, I was wondering how the Mother could eat rice twice. I was also musing how I could offer a small personal service to the Mother. I had used water given by her for cleaning my mouth and washing my feet, but I could give no service to her. I was walking behind the Mother. When she had entered the shrine room she said to me, "My towel is hanging on the panel of the door; please bring it and wipe my feet." Hearing this, I was overwhelmed with joy. I brought the towel, and then the Mother said, "Well, let me sit on the cot. Please wipe the soles of my feet nicely." While I wiped her feet, I touched them with my head several times. Smiling a little, the Mother said, "All right, stop now."
Lakshmi-Didi brought a betel leaf and said, smiling, "Fortunate you are; the Mother showed a favour on you unasked for. Now take a betel roll." But blinded by tears, I couldn't see it. The Mother took the betel roll and gave it to me, saying, "Now spread that mat on the floor and cover it with that carpet, and place those three pillows." When the bed was prepared, the Mother lay down. Sitting close to her I began to massage her feet, when she said, "Now lie down by my side." Seeing my hesitation, the Mother said, "Lie down placing your head on my pillow." I said, "No, Mother, when I fall asleep my feet may touch your body, so I won't lie down." The Mother replied, "How is that, dear? I'm telling you, lie down." I was in a fix. I had to follow her order. The Mother said, "I found much joy in meeting you, just as a mother feels joy at the home-coming of her daughter from her father-in-Iaw's house after a long time. Well, when will you return home?" I said, "I shall leave this evening. Mother, kindly remember me, your beggar daughter." Saying this, I began to weep. The Mother said, "Oh, dear, dear! Why do you speak thus? You are my princess. I myself have initiated you. You have nothing to feel sad about. You needn't worry; I shall look after everything for you, in all conditions."
Radhu returned from her school at four o'clock. After she had taken snacks, the Mother said to her, "Come, I shall braid your hair." Radhu replied, "No, I shall do it myself." As the Mother took a comb to braid her hair, Radhu began to hit the Mother with it. The Mother remarked, "Mad girl! What shall I do with her?" Then Yogin-Ma came and made Pranam to the Mother. Finding Radhu hitting the Mother, she said, "What is this! Why should Radhu hit our Mother? I'll punish her." But Radhu would not stop. Then the Mother said, "I shall call Sarat; I can't tolerate any more pain." Yogin-Ma told Revered Sarat Maharaj, who came out from his room on the ground floor and shouted, "Oh Radhu, don't hurt the Mother." On hearing his voice Radhu was quick to retreat. Kusum-Didi said, "Come, I shall braid your hair." Just like a well-behaved girl, Radhu quietly went up to her and sat very close. At that moment, Radhu's mother came to announce, "Just see, one of your disciples has come with something in hand. If it is a piece of cloth, I shall use it for the top of my mosquito net." Truly, Ni- had come with some fruits, sweets and a cloth. As soon as he saluted the Mother, the latter said, "Ah! The cloth is fine. And the sweets and fruits are very good too. O Golap, take them and keep them ready. When the shrine opens they should be offered to the Master. Ah! My son's face looks dry. Now wash your hands and face and then have some Prasad. May you live long, my son, and may you have devotion. But you shall have to marry." Ni-saluted the Mother and went downstairs. Golap-Ma followed him, carrying the dish containing the Prasad. Then Radhu's mother began to make an importunate demand, saying, "Give me those two Saris. I shall make the top of my mosquito net with them." The Mother said, "How can it be? My son will feel hurt." A little later the Mother said to Kusum- Didi, "Please bring a Sari for me." Yogin-Ma observed, "See how fortunate they are. Who are they, I wonder? In just one day they-have received so much of compassion from the Mother. Blessed girl you are! I feel like saluting you." Hearing this I shrank-what is she saying! Then the Mother remarked, "They belong to East Bengal. They have great faith. It is beneficial even to see such people."
Once again I wiped the Mother's feet with a towel. The Mother put on a fresh Sari, sat on the asana for the worship, and began to pray to the Master, "O Lord, look after their welfare. They love you even more than their own lives and so they have come to me from a far away land encountering many difficulties." Later, the Mother called me and asked, "Have you any questions to ask?"
Disciple: Mother, I have been surprised to find young widows here taking fish. In our part of the country it is prohibited by society.
Mother: Do you know what this is? This is but local and regional custom. In our part, young widows are allowed to take fish and wear bordered saris and jewellery. They naturally harbour these desires. If they are restricted from eating fish, they will take it stealthily. When they become convinced that they are doing something against social injunction, they will give it up.
Disciple: Mother, can the desire for enjoyment be given up?
Mother: No, dear, what you say is true. But when people grow up, they see the behaviour of others and feel ashamed of their own conduct. Besides at the time of quarrels, they have to suffer caustic comments, and so they restrain themselves of their own accord.
Disciple: Well, Mother, you being a Brahmana lady, how could you take rice twice?
Mother: What do you mean, dear? When did I eat rice twice?
Disciple: At the time when you gave Prasad to my son.
Mother: I can do everything for the welfare of my children. There is no harm in it. Besides, in the case of Prasad it is not objectionable to eat even five times! Consecrated food is not like ordinary food. Don't let your mind be disturbed over these trifles. It will make you forget the Lord. Whatever people may say, remember the Master and do what you consider to be correct. The Master used to say, "Look upon people as worms." By this he did not mean all kinds of men. He was referring only to fault-finders and people of mean tendencies.
It was now time for me to depart. A carriage was waiting for me. With tears in her eyes the Mother stroked my head and said, "Come again." I could not bear the idea of departing. I caught hold of Mother's feet and began to weep. The Mother said, "Don't weep, dear; I am already your own. Come again."
This was my first and the last meeting with the Holy Mother. Her blessings and loving words of consolation are the treasures of my life.
(RECORDED BY AN ANONYMOUS MALE DEVOTEE)
Some days after he had received initiation from the Holy Mother, there cropped up in Lalmohan's (Swami Kapileswarananda's) mind a doubt: "What have I done? Alas I took initiation from a woman." This gradually developed into a severe mental anguish. Finally he decided that he would abandon the Mantra unless the Master resolved his mental conflict in a day's time. The next day Lalmohan, under the instruction of Revered Baburam Maharaj, (Swami Premananda) carried cow's milk to the Holy Mother's house at Calcutta. As soon as he stood up after saluting the Holy Mother, she said to him, "Look, I didn't give you the Mantra it was the Master who gave it." A few days later, this doubt haunted his mind again. An idea struck him now: "I shall believe that the Master himself has given me initiation, only if Haren Babu comes to announce that he has received power from the Mother." Some days later, at the time of the Master's birthday festival, Haren Babu actually came and said, "Today I have been favoured with a special power from the Holy Mother." Then only did all his uncertainties vanish.
Once it was decided for some particular reason that the services of the Brahmana cook in the Udbodhan house should be dispensed with. But because this would cause inconvenience to the Holy Mother, the monastic Head of the Centre did not then carry out this decision. When the matter was reported to the Mother, she remarked, "After all, you are monks. Renunciation is your goal. Indeed, can't you renounce a cook?"
Once a monk of the Belur Math slapped a servant for insubordination. When this news reached the ears of the Mother, she said "They are monks; they are supposed to live under trees. But, now they are having monasteries, buildings and servants. What is more, one of them has gone even to the length of beating a servant!"
Swami Brajeswarananda had gone to ask for the Mother's permission to practise austerities in Uttarakhand. On hearing him, the Mother said. "This is the month of Kartika (October-November); all the four doors to the abode of Yama are open now. Being your mother, how can I grant you permission now?"
A certain person had committed a contemptible offence. Some people advised the Mother to inflict severe punishment on him. But the Mother said, "I am his mother. How can I do such a thing?'"
Once a devotee said to the Mother, "I am very poor, Mother. I wish to come and see you now and then, but as I am not able to bring the offerings I would like, I don't come regularly." On hearing this, the compassionate Mother said affectionately, "My child, don't worry about it. Whenever you desire to see me, bring simply one myrobalan fruit:'
A certain devotee had gone to see the Mother. She asked him, "Have you been initiated by me?" The devotee replied, "Yes, Mother. But I am very much tied down to worldly life, I am unmarried, and yet I have to remain busy with many family affairs. What will happen to me, Mother?"
Saying, "Let me see", the Mother stretched out her hand to touch the chest of the devotee, and the latter hurriedly began to unbutton his coat. After she had stretched out her hand to some extent she remarked, "You need not remove your coat. You will certainly achieve the goal, otherwise my hand would not have moved in that direction. I have given you nothing of my own, but only that which I received from the Master. If it doesn't prove efficacious, he himself will have to come to your help."
One day the mother of a monk proposed to the Holy Mother that her son should go back to the worldly life, The Mother said to her, "It is a great fortune to be the mother of a monk, But people cannot give up attachment to even a brass pot; how could they then think of renouncing the world? You are his mother. Why should you worry? Though he has become a monk, he will serve you."
Once in the course of a conversation, the Mother told a certain devotee, "The Master is really God who assumed a human body to remove the sufferings of men. He moved about just as a king walks through his city in disguise, and he left the world as soon as his identity was discovered."
During the Mother's last stay at Jayrambati, one day the woman cook returned at about nine in the evening and announced, "I have touched a dog. I shall have to take a bath now." The Mother said, "Don't take a bath so late in the evening. Wash your hands and feet, and change your Sari." The cook asked, "Will it suffice?" The Mother replied, "Well, then sprinkle a little water of the Ganges on your body." But this suggestion could not satisfy her either. So finally the Mother said, "All right, then touch me."
Now and then Swami Jnanananda used to prepare various kinds of dishes at Nabasan and carry them to Jayrambati. On his way some people of a certain village were surprised at the frequent visits of the Swami, and one day one of them remarked, "Ah, into what delusion he has fallen!" When Swami Jnanananda reported this to the Mother, she animately said, "See, my child, they are very worldly-minded people. They belong to a different class. They will again and again come to the world and go rotting in their worldly life. If at any time they are blessed by God, only then can they be liberated."
A devotee named Rajendralal Dutta asked the Mother, "I am a Kayastha, Mother. Can I offer cooked rice to Sri Ramakrishna?" The Mother replied, "You are his child, my son. What harm can there be if you offer him cooked rice? You can do so without any hesitation."
One day Pitambar Nath, a devotee from Dacca, was talking with the Mother, sitting on the verandah of her house at Jayrambati. The Mother was in her room and said, "My son, come into the room and speak." The devotee said, "Mother, let me sit here in the verandah. I belong to a low caste."At this the Mother replied, "Who says you belong to a low caste? You are my child; enter the room and take your seat."
One day at the Udbodhan house the compassion of the Holy Mother was being discussed. Yogin-Ma, staring at the Mother, said smilingly, "The Mother, no doubt, loves us all very much, but it is not as intense as the Master's was. What concern and love he had towards his disciples! We saw it with our own eyes. Words cannot describe it." The Mother said, "Is it to be wondered at? He accepted only a few select disciples and that too after various kinds of testing. And towards me he has pushed a whole row of ants!"
One day while speaking about Sri Ramakrishna, the Mother said, "The Master, who was such a great renouncer, nonetheless worried about me. One day he asked me, 'How much do you need for your pocket expenses?' I said, 'Five or six rupees will be enough.' Next he asked, 'How many chapatis do you eat in the evening?' I felt very embarrassed and wondered how I could answer. But as he insisted on a reply, I said, 'I eat five or six.'" One day an enraged Radhu told the Mother slightingly, "What do you know? Can you comprehend the worth of a husband?" On hearing this, the Mother laughingly remarked, "That's true! My husband was but a naked Sadhu!"
Once in the course of a chat Swami Keshavananda said to the Mother, "After you, Mother, no one will revere goddesses like Sasthi and Sitala." "Why not?" said the Mother, "They are my parts."
Another day Swami Keshavananda said to her, "Either rectify the wrong attitudes of the people of our locality or relieve me of my urge for philanthropic work. None is there to build, they know only how to destroy." At this the Mother replied, "The Master used to say, 'The Malaya breeze transforms all trees with substance into sandal wood.' Since the breeze of divine grace has come, now all trees (meaning aspirants), excepting bamboo and banana, will turn into sandal wood."
Then someone asked her, "Mother, your relations have enjoyed so much of your holy company, still why do they not show the least glimmer of wisdom?" The Mother replied, "They are like bamboos and silk-cotton trees. Even if they grow close to a sandal wood tree, what will it profit them? The trees must have some essence."
Once a woman devotee asked her, "Mother, why can't we realize that you are the Divine Mother?" She replied, "How can everybody recognize divinity, daughter? There lay a diamond at a bathing place. Taking it as an ordinary stone, people rubbed the soles of their feet against it after their bath to remove the dry skin. One day a jeweller went there. Seeing the stone, he immediately recognized that it was a big precious diamond."
Once as the Mother was leaving Jayrambati for Calcutta, her aunt, the mother of Uncle Surya, came to her and said, "Dear Sarada, don't forget us, come back soon." The Mother touched the floor or her room with her forehead and quoting a Sanskrit proverb, said, "One's mother and motherland are superior to heaven itself."'
Once a young male disciple of the Holy Mother very unexpectedly received a marriage proposal from the family of a distinguished, wealthy man. He was offered a large sum of money which would remove his pecuniary difficulties for almost his entire life. The young man had secured an M.A. degree and was serving as the headmaster of a school. As his mind was not altogether free from desire for enjoyments, he wanted to learn the Holy Mother's view on the marriage proposal. So he raised the topic before her at Jayrambati. It was May 1915. Hearing everything, the Mother said, "My son, you are doing fine. Why do you want to get burnt in the fire of worldliness? You are doing a noble work; you are helping many boys to receive education. They will turn out good by their association with you, and that will bring good to you also." The young man said, "Mother, I do not feel quite confident, for my mind at times gets restless and rushes towards enjoyments." At this Mother said, "You need not entertain any fear. I say, in the Kali Yuga the mental commission of a sin is no sin at all. Free your mind from all such worries. You have nothing to fear." Ever since the devotee heard these words of assurance of the Holy Mother, he never thought of marriage, nor did he feel perturbed by monetary worries.
One morning a girl from the hostel of the Sister Nivedita Girls' School came to see the Mother, who was doing Japa at the time. After a while the Mother asked various questions concerning the girls of the hostel as well as about a boy named Kalu, about what sights the girl saw on her way, etc. When she failed to give satisfactory answers, the Mother said to her, "Look, my, daughter, take notice of your surroundings when you move through a place. And you must also keep yourself informed of everything that happens at the place where you live; but you should not gossip about it."
One afternoon the girls of that hostel visited the Mother. Golap-Ma approached the Mother and said, "Mother, please tell them a little about the Master." In response the Mother said, "What shall I say further about the Master? Many important pieces of information connected with him have come out in the Kathamrita written by Master Mahasaya. Ah! How many more teachings about the Master would have been published had Master Mahasaya maintained good health! How many people would have been benefited by them! What has already been published is a priceless treasure. Could I realize then that even the casual words of the Master would be comparable to the Vedas? Just see, how beautiful was the way in which the Master taught-see how, recalling his experiences at the Haldarpukur, he used them as illustrations in his teachings! It was his nature to explain his teachings through anecdotes from everyday life."
A devotee asked the Mother, "The Master said, 'Those who come here (meaning those who accept Sri Ramakrishna as the spiritual ideal) will not be born again.' Again, Swamiji said, 'None can have liberation without being initiated into Sannyasa.' Then what is the way for householders?" The Mother replied, "Yes, what the Master said is true, and what Swamiji said is also true. Householders need not have external renunciation. Internal renunciation will come to them of itself. But some people need external renunciation also. Why do you fear? Surrender yourself' to the Master and always remember that he is behind you."
In 1910 at Jayrambati the Mother told a monk regarding spiritual practices, "Every morning and evening perform Japa and meditation with a cool brain. It is not an easy task. Compared to meditation, it is easier to till a plot of land." Pointing to a picture of Sri Ramakrishna,she further said, "Nothing can be attained without his grace." When the monk submitted that the work of the monastery kept one too busy to find time for regularly performing Japa and meditation, the Mother said, "Whose work are you doing? It is His work only." She continued, saying, "In time to come, your mind itself will turn into your Guru and advise you."
Once in the course of a conversation the Mother said, "I am the mother of the virtuous as well as the wicked." She used to tell her disciples, "Why should you worry?"
(RECORDED BY Dr. SURENDRANATH ROY)
One Sunday, out of a strong desire to see the Holy Mother, I started from my Calcutta residence at half-past two and arrived, profusely perspiring, at the Udbodhan house. On inquiry I learnt that the Mother had only just returned from some engagement outside, and that she would be meeting visitors only a little later. Feeling very impatient, I however, proceeded to go to her. Swami Saradananda, who was standing near the staircase, saw me going, and forbade me. Young as I then was, I immediately retorted, "Is she only your Mother?" and pushed him aside and went upstairs. I found the Mother fanning herself. After I bowed down at her feet she inquired about me and said, "How is it that you are perspiring?" I said, "I walked in the hot sun." Taking the fan from her, I began to fan her.
After a while I asked the Mother, "Where did you go today?" The Mother replied, "Kalighat." Then she said, "Take some Prasad, and then I shall talk with you." After taking the Prasad, I asked her, "Mother, what is the difference between man in his real nature and a god?"
Mother: It is man who becomes a god. Everything is possible if one does work properly.
Disciple: What kind of work?
Mother: Observing the rules and injunctions prescribed by the Master, if one calls upon one's Chosen Ideal with steadfastness, one achieves everything.
On this day I could not talk with the Mother any longer; for one or two women devotees came. I saluted the Mother. As I was taking leave of her, I said, "Mother, I have done a great wrong today. While climbing the stairs I pushed Sarat Maharaj aside. How shall I face him again? Kindly pardon me." The Mother said, "What wrong can children do? My sons are not such as to find fault with others. You need not worry about it." Coming to the ground floor, I came across Sarat Maharaj. I bowed down to him and asked his forgiveness for the offence. Sarat Maharaj embraced me and said, placing his hand on my head, "One should have such yearning, indeed!" Then he added, "None will obstruct you henceforth." I welcomed his blessings. But after this incident, whenever he saw me he used to laugh heartily.
On another Sunday when I went to see the Holy Mother, I found that some devotees had already arrived and that others were coming. As I made Pranam to the Mother, she said, "Sit for a while." She gave me some Prasad which I began to eat. Then I said to her, "Mother, I don't find a day when I can disclose to you everything that's in my mind."
Mother: I have to attend to the problems of all my children. But you may ask one or two questions. I shall answer them.
Disciple: Mother, there are very poor people who cannot afford to travel to Varanasi or any such holy place. How can they gain the merit which others visiting those places obtain?
Mother: Why, they can gain the same merit by visiting Dakshineswar or Belur Math, provided they have such genuine faith! He for whom one visits Varanasi is present at Dakshineswar and Belur Math.
Disciple: Mother, what is the way for us?
Mother: Why do you fear? The Master himself will do everything for those who have received his blessings or have somehow come in contact with him.
After this I made Pranam to Mother; for I had to take leave. I shall now give a brief account of a conversation I had with her on some later occasion
Disciple: Mother, what procedure should we adopt for doing Japa and meditation?
Mother: Do them as you like, provided you keep your mind steadfast in the Lord. You will attain to your goal in this way. Why do you worry?
Disciple: Mother, I'm not worried, but I want to hear the instructions from your lips.
Mother: Everybody is behind you. The Master is there. And besides, you can see me directly.
Disciple: Mother, I was not fortunate enough to see Swamiji or Sri Ramakrishna.
Mother: Call on Him devotedly; you will attain everything. I say, you are blessed; for you have been born in such an age. This is the time when you can see His divine sport. One can easily understand this divine play if he looks upon it with faith and devotion.
Disciple: Mother, does everything happen and are a man's aspirations fulfilled according to his own wish?
Mother: Only the noble desires are fulfilled.
(RECORDED BY SWAMI VISWESWARANANDA)
In the morning the Mother was making arrangements for worshipping in the shrine of the Udbodhan house. In the course of conversation I asked her, "Why do you have so much attachment? Day and night you talk of nothing but Radhu, just like people terribly entangled in the world. Many devotees come to you but you pay no heed to them. Is such deep attachment good for you?" I had spoken to her in this strain several times earlier also. At this, the Mother used to reply humbly, "I am a woman, and I follow my womanly nature." But today the Mother said rather animatedly, "Where will you find another like me? See if you can find my peer. Do you know, those who are much given to contemplation on God develop a subtle and pure mind. Whatever object such a mind takes hold of, it sticks to it tenaciously. That's why it appears like attachment. A flash of lightning is seen in the glass panes but not in the wooden shutters."
Once I said, "Mother, my mind is never disturbed by evil thoughts:' Mother immediately became startled and said, "Don't say like that. It is too presumptuous for one to speak in that strain."
Another day I told her, "Mother, you give initiation to so many people, but you never enquire about them. You don't even give a thought about what is happening to them. A Guru keeps a keen eye on his disciple, seeing whether he is developing spiritually. It would be better if you did not give initiation to so many people. You should initiate only as many as you can keep touch with." The Mother replied, "But the Master never forbade me to do so. He explained so many things to me. Could he not have told me something about this as well? I entrust the Master with their responsibility. I pray to him every day, 'Please look after them wherever they may be.' Besides, do you know that the Master himself taught me these Mantras? He gave me Mantras possessing great power."
One day while discussing about bija-mantra,1 the Mother disclosed to me many Mantras and remarked, "I have given you everything I had in my bag. Will you give spiritual initiation to others?"
1 Bija is the seed or essential part of a Mantra, consisting of a mystic syllable.
Disciple: No, Mother. I myself haven't achieved anything.
Mother: Well, what's the harm in giving initiation? You can give.
Disciple: Mother, please make me renounce everything so that I don't have attachment for anything.
Mother: You are an all-renouncer already. Will you grow two horns now?
Another day at Jayrambati I asked the Mother, "How can one realize God?-through worship, Japa or meditation?
Mother: By none of these.
Disciple: Then how?
Mother: God is realized only through His grace. Nonetheless, one must perform Japa and meditation, for they remove the impurities of one's mind. One must practise spiritual disciplines such as worship, Japa, and meditation. As one gets the fragrance of a flower by handling it or the scent of the sandalwood by rubbing it against a stone, similarly one becomes spiritually awakened by continuously contemplating on the Divine. But you can become illumined right now, if you become desireless.
One day at Jayrambati after my meal I was about to remove the used plate, when the Mother prevented me, catching hold of my hand, and taking the plate herself. I said, "Why should you do this, Mother? I shall remove it." At this she said, "What, after all, have I done for you? A child, as you know, soils the lap of its mother. And how much more besides! You are indeed a rare treasure even to the gods."
(RECORDED BY MAHENDRA NATH GUPTA)
Two or three days after the birth anniversary of Sri Ramakrishna in March 1914, I went one afternoon to the Udbodhan house with a letter of introduction from a certain devotee living at Barisal. Rashbehari Maharaj (Swami Arupananda) read the contents of the letter and then went to see the Mother. On returning, he conveyed to me the following message from her: "The purpose of taking initiation is to try to realize God through simple spiritual practices. It should not upset the livelihood of the family Guru. I may grant the boy's prayer if he will honour his family Guru as much as he will honour me in case I give him initiation, and if he agrees to enhance as much as he can his annual contribution to the family Guru." When I agreed to these proposals, Rashbehari Maharaj escorted me to the Holy Mother. Two days later I received initiation from her and my mind was absorbed in an indescribable mood for a week after this.
The Mother had asked me at the time of initiation,"Are you a Sakta1 or a Vaishnava?"2 On hearing my reply she gave me the Mantra. Seven or eight years later I learnt from my mother that it was the same Mantra as adopted by our family, and the Holy Mother had only added the Bija to it.
1 A worshipper of Sakti, the Divine Mother of the Universe.
2 A worshipper of Vishnu or God as the Preserver.
Two months after this, my wife became eager to receive initiation, and so I took her to the Holy Mother. The Mother said to her, "From your appearance it seems that you have a suckling baby. With whom have you left him?" My wife said, "I have not brought the infant for fear that he might dirty this holy place." Learning that the child was only three months old, the Mother said to my wife, "Why do you say so? Who told you that the excreta or urine of so small an infant can defile a place? Children are like Narayana and you should take care of them with that attitude. Go home just now; otherwise the baby may be deprived of its mother's milk. Come here after four days. The Master willing, you will have initiation. But don't forget to bring your baby."
As I was waiting downstairs, I thought: "I shall be convinced that the Mother loves me dearly if she shares with me some of the food she eats." Half an hour later I went to bow down to the Mother, when I found her eating a sweetmeat. As her glance fell on me, she said, "My child, eat this sweet first and then salute me." Being favoured with this unexpected Prasad, I forgot to salute the Mother altogether. After a while she herself reminded me, saying, "Now make salutation to me and then go home."
The Mother's instruction to come for initiation after four days made us sad and worried. But on returning home I understood from my wife's health the Mother's foresight in telling her to wait.
We went to salute the Mother before we left for Barisal. The Mother said, "Go carefully. The Master will protect you from dangers on your way." On our journey a severe storm overtook us and our lives were in danger. When we arrived at our destination, every one of us felt convinced that it was only the Mother's blessings which had protected us.
A year later, in the month of Vaisakh (April-May), I saw the Mother again at Jayrambati, and this time I got the opportunity of coming in very close contact with her. Sitting in front of me, the Mother would feed me affectionately, and I would become filled with joy.
Assuming that I would be benefited more if I practised Japa and meditation while living close to the Mother, one day at Jayrambati I performed Japa and meditation arduously. While I made Pranam to the Mother on that day, she said, 'You have come to your Mother; what's the need of so much spiritual practice now? I am doing everything for you. Now eat, drink and enjoy yourself, free from all anxiety."
The next day I desired to offer flowers and sandal paste at the Mother's feet. But how was I to procure them in such an unfamiliar place? While I was thinking in this strain, the Mother sent to me a young girl belonging to the family of the Mother's brothers. She was carrying flowers and sandal paste, and conveyed the Mother's message: "If my son desires to offer these, he may come now and offer them."
On the third day the Mother was suffering from pain in her leg. She had a mild fever too. At about ten o'clock another devotee came and, not being aware of the Mother's ill health, saluted her by touching her feet. The Mother said, "I have a severe pain in my leg. Don't salute me by touching my feet. The Master will certainly bless you." Bilash Maharaj, who was present, asked the Mother, "The scriptures, I am told, prohibit making Pranam to a person who is ill or lying down. What really happens if one does so?" Immediately, the Mother said, "Yes, my child, Pranam made in such circumstances fixes the disease in the person. Nobody should be saluted during his illness."
About three years later during the Christmas holidays I saw Mother for the last time. It was the occasion of her birthday celebration. In the morning that day the Mother told me and a certain monastic member of the Koalpara monastery, "Go to Sibu1 at Kamarpukur. He will purchase a pitcherful of milk and collect some flowers. Bring them here quickly." To this, Bilash Maharaj-added, "The Mother has difficulty if she takes her meal late. So you must return by nine o'clock, otherwise you may not get a chance to offer flowers to her." Nonetheless, it became half-past eleven when we returned. I felt very sorry thinking that we had missed the chance of making offerings to the Holy Mother. Bilash Maharaj rebuked me for being late and said, "The Mother is waiting for you." Just at that moment the Mother appeared from somewhere, took the basket of flowers from my hand, and said, "How beautiful the flowers are! You should first worship the Lord with them. Quickly take your bath and come." Bathing over, we came and found that some of the flowers were kept arranged for us to make offerings with. The Mother's incomprehensible affection captivated us.
1 Shortened form of Sivaram, the name of the youngest son of Rameswar and a nephew of Sri Ramakrishna.
(RECORDED BY SWAMI TANMAYANANDA)
Once I was suffering terribly from colic. One day I was feeling drowsy, and in that condition I seemed to hear someone telling me to take water sanctified by the feet of my Guru. The next day I went to Jayrambati and drank a little water sanctified by the feet of the Holy Mother. I said to her, "Mother, I had a desire to worship your feet, but now I have drunk water." The Mother said, "What's wrong in that? Come into the room."
After worshipping her feet, I placed them on my head. At this the Mother said, "Ah, foolish child, should you place a person's feet on your head! The Lord resides there."
Disciple: Mother, I have not seen the Master.
Mother: The Master is God Himself.
Disciple: If the Master is God, then who are you?
Mother: Who else am I?
Disciple: If you so wish, You can show me the Master.
Mother: When the Master touched Naren (Swami Vivekananda), the latter got alarmed. Practise spiritual disciplines and you shall see him.
Disciple: What's the need of spiritual disciplines for a person who has you as the Guru?
Mother: Yes, that's true. But the point is this: the house may have all kinds of food-stuff for cooking, but one must cook them and take his meal. He who cooks earlier gets his meal earlier too. Some eat in the morning, some in the evening, and there are yet others who starve because they are lazy and reluctant to cook.
Disciple: Mother, I don't understand what you mean.
Mother: The more arduously one practise spiritual disciplines, the more quickly one will attain to God. Even if he doesn't practise any spiritual disciplines he will attain to Him at the last moment of his life-he will certainly. But the person who spends his time raising a hue and cry without practising spiritual disciplines will take a long time. You have renounced the world for performing spiritual practices. But as you are not able to practise them always, you should do work, looking upon it as the Master's work. Since you suffer from colic, you should avoid too austere a life. Take care about your food. This disease is not fatal, but it is painful.
While living at the Koalpara monastery it was my duty to clean the kitchen and scour the brass pots two times daily. It was rainy season. As my hands got often wet by scouring the pots, they became sore. I was suffering. One day I went to Jayrambati. When I made Pranam to the Mother, she enquired, "Well, dear, are you keeping all right?"
Disciple: No, not quite.
Mother: Why? Are you having pain in your stomach again?
Disciple: No, Mother, I'm not suffering from colic now, but my hands have developed sores because of frequent contact with water. I have to scour and clean cooking pots two times a day.
Mother: 'A man eager to keep away from acid food builds a home under a tamarind tree'-so goes the proverb. Whereas you have renounced the world to repeat God's name, you are now entangled in activities. The Ashrama has become your second world. People come to a monastery renouncing their families, but they become so deluded that they don't want to leave the Ashrama. Since you are not keeping good health, you should go to Daharkund. There you should teach the boys as much as you can, and practise meditation and worship.
Disciple: Mother, I wish to go to a lonely place and perform austerities, but I'm not keeping good health.
Mother: Now, keep yourself engaged with some work, and when you feel a strong urge, you may go for practising austerities.
Disciple: I perform Japa but my mind doesn't become steady.
Mother: Whether the mind becomes steady or not, practise Japa. It will be nice if you can perform a certain number of Japa daily.
Disciple: Bless me so that I may have a vision of the Master.
Mother: You have seen him in dream; well, you will have his vision.
Another day on my way to Jayrambati I was thinking that I would be very glad if I could do some personal service to the Mother. On arriving at her house, I found her sitting with her legs stretched out. A cup containing massaging oil was kept by her side. I began to rub her leg with the oil. The Mother said, "See, I feel acute pain in this leg. Rub oil on this leg putting some pressure." I did it for about twenty-five minutes. Then the Mother said, "Are you satisfied, now? I shall go for my bath now, and then I shall have to perform the worship of the Master. Take your food here before you leave."
Disciple: No, Mother, I have to go right now. I shall come some other day.
Mother: No, no, I say. Kedar (Swami Kesavananda), I suppose, has forbidden you. Will you obey me or listen to him? Tell Kedar that the Mother did not permit you to go.
(RECORDED BY SWAMI PARAMESWARANANDA)
It was the birthday of the Holy Mother in the month of Pous (December-January). The Mother was sitting on a cot in her room at Jayrambati, keeping Radhu's child in her lap. Everybody was worshipping the Mother by offering flowers and sandal paste at her feet. I put a string of large marigold flowers round her neck and offered flowers at her feet. Then I said, "Mother, today is your birthday. Many devotees wish to see you and worship you, but they are not able to come to such an inaccessible place. On this auspicious day, I pray for your blessings on behalf of everybody. Kindly give your blessings, Mother, for the good of all." The Mother graciously said, "Yes, my son, I pray to the Master, for the welfare of all. May he bring good to all!"
As desired by the Mother, I was at this time staying with her. I was kept very busy with many duties like performing the worship of the Master. One day I heard that a few monks of the Belur Math were going out for practising austerities, and so I said to the Mother, "Perhaps it is not good for me to remain confined to all these duties. I want to go and practise austerities. Please give me your permission." The Mother said, "Why so, my child? You are doing my work. You are doing the Master's work. Are these in any way less worthy than austerities? It will be futile for you now to go out. When you feel a really strong urge to practise austerities, well, go for a month or two."
Jayrambati was infested with malaria. Intermittent fever had made the Mother's health very bad. So at the bidding of the revered Sarat Maharaj, no interview with the Mother was permitted for some time. During this period a certain devotee from Barisal came and expressed his great eagerness to see the Mother, but I refused to allow him. And so a heated argument ensued. The noise gradually reached the Mother's ears. She came to the door greatly excited and said, "Why do you prevent him from seeing me?" I said, "Sarat Maharaj has imposed this restriction. If you give initiation when you are ill, your health will deteriorate further." The Mother replied, "Who is Sarat to say that? I am born for this purpose. I shall initiate him." Then the Mother said to the devotee, "Come, my child. Take your meal today. You will have initiation tomorrow." The gentleman, however, had taken the resolve of taking his meal after he was initiated.
One evening the Mother was sitting quietly on the verandah of her new house, when we went to prostrate at her feet. Of her own, she began to say, "Just see. K- says, 'Out of greed for good dishes, the boys (monastic workers) are moving from one Ashrama to another.' Do you see how he speaks? Why should my children-the children of the Master-suffer for want of food? Certainly this will never be. I myself prayed to the Master, 'O Lord, please see that your children never suffer from want of food.' How can he say that the boys move about goaded by gluttony? Why should they not take good food? Only he who has attachment will suffer."
After finishing her worship of the Master, the Mother was sitting quietly in the shrine, when one of my fellow disciples suddenly asked, "Mother, how do you look upon the Master?" The Mother remained silent for a while, and then said solemnly, "I look upon him as my child."
One day the Mother said spontaneously, "Look, do not try to start a sensation by shouting vande mataram.1 Rather you should make looms and weave cloth. I wish to spin thread if I can get a spinning wheel. Do constructive work."
1 Literally, 'Hail to Mother'; i.e. Motherland. This slogan was used by India's freedom-fighters.
In the course of conversation I said to the Mother one day, "Mother, such is our mental condition that at times our mind becomes so distracted that we are seized with fear lest we should be drowned!" The Mother replied, "How's that, my child? Why should you be drowned? You are the children of the Master; why should you be drowned? No, never. The Master will protect you."
The Mother was then staying at the Jagadamba Ashrama at Koalpara. One day she said, "You see, I saw the Master here today after a pretty long time. He was taking rest after his meal."
One day I asked, "Mother, how does one attain to knowledge of Brahman? In the beginning does one have to practise Sadhana step by step? Or does it come spontaneously?" The Mother replied, "This is a very difficult path. Call upon the Master. He will make you understand this at the right time."
(RECORDED BY Dr. UMESH CHANDRA DATTA)
One day at Jayrambati the Mother said, "Look, my child, in my young days I would see a young girl who resembled me moving with me and helping me in all my work. She used to have fun and frolic with me. This continued till I was ten or eleven years old."
One day the Mother said, "Sometime after the passing away of the Master, I began to see the vision of a bearded Sannyasin who asked me to perform panchatapa. In the beginning I didn't pay much attention to it. I hardly knew what panchatapa was. But the Sannyasin gradually put pressure on me. So I asked Yogin about panchatapa, and she said, Very good, Mother, I shall also perform it.' Arrangements were made for panchatapa. I was then living in Nilambar Babu's house. Blazing fires of dried cow-dung were lighted on four sides, and there was the intense heat of the sun above. After my morning bath I approached the fires and saw them burning brightly. I was seized with much fear. I wondered how I would be able to enter the area and remain seated there until sunset. But repeating the name of the Master, I entered the area and the fires seemed to have lost their heat. I practised this discipline for seven days. But, my child, it made my complexion dark like black ash. After this I didn't see that figure of the Sannyasin again."
Once I asked, "Mother, the Master remarked that those who take refuge in him are living their last birth. Now, what will be the fate of those who take refuge in you?"
Mother: What else will happen, my child? The same is the case here too.
Disciple: Mother, what will happen to those who receive spiritual initiation from you but do not perform Japa and meditation at all?
Mother: What else will happen? Why do you worry so much? The desires in your mind-you must first fulfil them. Later on you will attain to eternal peace in the Ramakrishna Loka. The Master has created a new kingdom for all of you.
A certain devotee forgot the method of counting Japa on his fingers and so wrote me a letter asking me to get it clarified from the Holy Mother. On hearing this, the Mother remarked, "Is that of much consequence? Well, you can do it just as it suits you. All this is meant for gaining concentration of mind?"
One day I asked the Mother about liberation and devotion. In reply she said, "Liberation may be granted at any moment. But God is reluctant to bestow devotion." And she left the place immediately. She said these words in such a way that it appeared that to grant liberation was in her hand.
As regards purity and impurity, the Mother one day said, "You see, my son, the Master had a weak stomach. When I lived in the Nahabat, I used to prepare for him bitter curry, soup, and other dishes, as he desired. When I could not cook for him during those three days a month1 when women are debarred from cooking, he would get consecrated food from the Kali temple. But that food would invariably upset his stomach. One day he told me, 'You see as you didn't cook for these three days my stomach trouble is aggravated. Why didn't you cook these days?' I said, 'Women are prohibited from cooking for others when they remain unclean for three days." Then he said, 'Who told you that? You will cook for me; there is nothing wrong in it. Please tell me what is impure in your body-the skin or flesh, or bones, or marrow? It is the mind that makes one pure or impure. There is nothing called impurity outside the mind.' Thenceforth I used to cook for him every day."
1 A Hindu woman is considered unclean for the three days of her monthly period.
During the Mother's illness at Koalpara I prepared Sherbet for her, and to be sure that the preparation was satisfactory, I tasted a little before I offered it to her. Although the Mother didn't know of this, a few days later she happened to remark, "Look, my son, it is very good to taste the food before it is given to some one you love." Then I said, "Mother, I also tasted the Sherbet I gave you." She said, "You did well, my son. This is how one should offer food to beloved ones. Haven't you heard that the cowherd boys used to taste the fruits before offering them to Sri Krishna?"
I asked her one day, "Mother, sometimes when I see certain persons on the road, I feel that they are well-known to me. Later, on enquiry, I learn that they are either devotees of the Master or of you. Why do they appear so familiar even when seen suddenly for the first time?" The Mother replied, "The Master used to say, 'Suppose there is a clump of weed; if one pulls at a weed, the whole clump is affected. The weeds are related to one another like the branches of a plant.'"
Another day I asked her, "Mother, all other Incarnations survived their spiritual consorts (Sakti), but why this time did the Master pass away leaving you behind?" The Mother said, "Do you know, my son, that the Master looked upon all in this world as Mother? He left me behind this time for demonstrating that Motherhood to the world."
(RECORDED BY NALINIBEHARI SARKAR)
When the topic of Japa and meditation came up, the Mother said, "There should be a regular time for the practice of Japa and meditation. For no one knows when the auspicious moment1 will come. It comes suddenly-one has no hint of it before hand. Therefore, regularity in spiritual practice should be observed, no matter how busy one may be with worldly matters."
1 One day the Mother told this proverb in connection with success in an endeavour. An auspicious moment can do that which cannot be achieved by money or men.
Disciple: The demands of work or illness prevent me from always being regular in my spiritual practice,
Mother: Illness is not within man's control. And if you are really tied down with work, then simply remember God and make salutation to Him.
Disciple: What time should one set aside for Japa and meditation?
Mother: To call upon Him at the conjunction of day and night is the most auspicious. Night disappears and day arrives, or day disappears and night arrives-this is the conjunction of day and night. The mind remains pure at these times.
When asked about the weaknesses of the mind, the Mother said, "Son, it is Nature's law, just as you find the full moon and the new moon. Similarly the mind is possessed of noble thoughts at times and haunted by evil thoughts at other moments."
When the Mother used to go to Baghbazar from Jayrambati, she would ask me to visit Jayrambati occasionally to keep myself abreast of the happenings there; I tried to obey this order as far as practicable. But because of the Mother's absence from Jayrambati I didn't enjoy my visits there and so wrote to the Mother to this effect. On her return to Jayrambati, in the course of a conversation she said. "Oh, No! Listen to what Ranni2 says," During her last visit to Calcutta, the Mother had retained the service of the female cook and engaged her to assist the eldest aunty Subashini, wife of Prasanna Kumar. It was summer and the female cook slept with the mosquito net fixed in front of the door of the Mother's old house. Now, she dreamt that the Mother approached her after her bath carrying a flower basket in one hand and a water pot in the other. "Get up, get up from here," she said, rebuking her for lying across the door. When the female cook finished recounting her dream, the Mother smiled and said, "Listen, my dear, who knows what she is talking about?"
2 Ranni or Radhuni, meaning 'female cook.'
One day in the course of a conversation I said, "Mother, nothing worthwhile can be achieved in worldly life." In reply she said, "Son, the world is a great mire. If one gets into it, he finds it difficult to get free. Even Brahma and Vishnu gasp in it, what to speak of man! Repeat His name. If you repeat His name, He will take you beyond worldliness. Son, can anyone attain liberation unless He helps? Have deep faith in Him. Know the Master to be your refuge, just as parents are to children in this world."
When one day the topic of faith in God was raised, the Mother observed, "Son, does one acquire faith by mere study of books? Too much study creates confusion. Suppose I write to you a letter asking you to bring such and such things for me. How long would you need this letter? As long as you don't know what it says. As soon as you have known the contents of the letter, what would be the need of it any longer? Then what is required of you is to bring me those things. Without doing so, what would be the good of reading the letter day and night?"
One day I told the Mother passionately, "Mother, I come to you so frequently, and I have received your grace, too. But then, why haven't I achieved anything? I feel that I am as I was before."
In reply the Mother said, "My son, suppose you are asleep on a cot and somebody removes you along with the cot to another place. Will you realize immediately on waking that you have been transferred to a new place? Not at all. Only when the drowsiness clears away completely will you realize that you have come to a new place."
Once I had left home to attend a festival at Belur Math, but en route I had got off at Midnapore to attend to some minor work. As I could not catch the evening train, I went back to Calcutta the next day. On reaching Calcutta in the evening, I went to see the Holy Mother. When she saw me, the Mother asked, "Didn't you attend the festival?" "No, Mother, I couldn't attend it," I said, and began narrating my experiences during my journey. On hearing of them, the Mother said, "One should attain his objective somehow or other. You see, my child, you missed seeing so many things. First do the work which you intended to do." Subsequently the Mother said, "Come here tomorrow and partake of the Master's Prasad."
As regards food, the Mother used to say, "First offer to God whatever you are going to eat and then take it as Prasad. This will purify your blood, and purified blood will make the mind pure."
One day, for some reason or other, the Mother became annoyed with her brothers. When I approached her at that time, she told us a few anecdotes regarding the reason for her annoyance. Then she remarked, "My child, they crave for money and money only. They simply keep on saying, 'Give us money; give us money.' Never have they prayed, even mistakenly, for knowledge or devotion. Well, let them have what they seek!"
Once when the Mother was suffering from a dangerous fever at Jayrambati, just prior to her last illness, I was massaging her feet, when she said, "Look, my child, I have been praying for the last few days, but there has been no response. How much I have wept! Even then, nothing happened. At last the Divine Mother Jagaddhatri came today. But Her face resembled my mother's face. Now I shall recover from my illness. Once when I was young, I was travelling to Dakshineswar. On the way I was seized with high fever. I was lying unconscious when I saw a girl with a very black complexion and feet covered with dust enter my room and sit by the bedside. She began to stroke my head. Noticing that the girl's feet were covered with dust, I asked, 'Mother, didn't anybody give you water to wash your feet?' She replied, 'No, Mother, I shall be leaving immediately. I have come to see you. Why do you fear? You will get well.' From the next day I gradually recovered. This time I have suffered very much, my child. Only after much prayer did I see Jagaddhatri today. I am going to be cured this time also. Why fear, my child? If you call upon Him earnestly, He will protect you in all situations."