Gospel of Holy Mother Sarada Devi

(RECORDED BY SWAMI ISHANANANDA)

It was the month of Jyeshtha of 1316 RE. (1909). One morning I heard that, on her way to Calcutta, the Holy Mother and her party would be reaching Koalpara that very evening at about four. Arrangements were already made for their reception. The Holy Mother was to be received in the shrine room of our teacher Sri Kedarnath Dutta (Swami Kesavananda), and the others, namely, Revered Sarat Maharaj (Swami Saradananda), Yogin-Ma, Golap-Ma and the rest, were to stay at our school. But even after dusk there was no trace of them. Later we got the news that their cart got stuck up near the river side. Immediately a few of the devotees set off in that direction, and, by and by, all of them arrived at about 10 p.m.

The Holy Mother, properly veiled, got down from the cart and went with Kedar Babu's mother to their shrine room, slightly dragging her feet. After she made Pranams to the Master and seated herself, all the assembled men and women bowed down to her. I also followed suit. Kedar Babu's mother was slightly deaf and so the Holy Mother was talking to the men devotees through me. In the meantime Revered Sarat Maharaj sent word that it was getting late and so the Holy Mother hurriedly finished her refreshment consisting of a piece of Sandesh and some water, and got up, ready for the journey. Along with the others in that crowd, I also hastily made Pranam to the Holy Mother and put my offering, which my father had given me for her, in her hand. The Mother affectionately fondled my chin and said, "My child, whatever is offered must be placed at the feet." She finally got into the cart.

Compared with the taste of her affection expressed through those few simple words, the love of my father and mother even seemed too paltry. I could feel it even at that age.

Once at the time of Jagaddhatri Puja, on her way to Jayrambati from Calcutta, the Holy Mother reached Koalpara Ashrama in the morning. Resuming her journey at noon, she said to the enthusiastic workers of the Ashrama, "Here, you alone are my relatives now. While I am in the village I depend only on you. I see, therefore, that the Master is residing here." One by one she blessed us all and said, "Come to Jayrambati now and then. Especially at the time of Jagaddhatri Puja, all of you must come."

And so, on the Jagaddhatri Puja day, the three of us went to Jayrambati, taking a load of vegetables and greens from our farm. The Holy Mother was much pleased to see us all and said, "Here vegetables are not always available. Now and then we are put to much difficulty. I see that the Master himself is arranging everything through you." From that time onwards whenever she stayed at the village, we used to finish our daily tasks at the Ashrama and go to her with vegetables twice or thrice a week either from our garden or purchased from the fair. On some days we reached the Holy Mother's place when she would be lying down and resting. On our making Pranam to her, after disposing of our offerings according to her directions, she would raise her head a little and bless us saying, "May your spiritual consciousness awaken, may you have faith and devotion!" and then ask us to take some puffed rice. We would take that and, munching it on the way, return to the Ashrama sometimes at midnight.

One winter day we took loads of vegetables and cow's ghee on our heads and reached Jayrambati by dusk, streaming with sweat. One of the ladies there who saw our state commented, "How much toil you are in for, as soon as you become a devotee! The poor boys' heads are worn off carrying loads." The Holy Mother heard this remark, and said, "Do they still have their heads? They have given them away to Him (the Master) to whom they belong.' After that she placed her hand on our heads most affectionately and blessed us. Later she sent word to the Ashrama that instead of sending such large quantities at a time, we should send them little by little. Otherwise the vegetables would dry up and get wasted. Thereafter we would take small loads and go to her presence much more frequently.

After the Jagaddhatri Puja the Holy Mother was to go to Calcutta. At that time, the Koalpara Ashrama was being stirred by a great wave of Swadeshi Movement and everyone's inclination was more towards handloom, spinning wheel etc. rather than towards worship and meditation, Japa and scriptural study. Hearing that the Holy Mother would be leaving, KedarBabu went to Jayrambati for her Darsan. The Mother said to him, "Look, my dear, you have built a room for the Master and provided a resting place for me on my way. Therefore on my way I shall install the Master there. You make all arrangements. Worship, food offering, Arati etc. must be done regularly. What will you gain by merely making so much of Swadeshi? Whatever we may be, we are rooted in the Master. He is our ideal. Whatever you do, if you keep a firm hold on the Master, nothing will go wrong." Kedar Babu replied, saying, "But Swamiji exhorted us so much to work for the nation. If he were alive today, how much would he have not done for the country!" Hearing this, the Mother said quickly, "Oh dear, if my Naren were here today, would the Company (meaning the British Government) leave him in peace? They would have locked him up in jail. I could not see it and live. Naren was an unsheathed sword. Returning from abroad, he said 'Mother by your grace this time, instead of leaping across, I went to their country in their own ship. Even there, the glory of the Master is evident in abundance! How many virtuous people came to me and listened enchanted to his teachings and accepted his ideas!'" Continuing, she said "They also are my children. What do you say?"

One or two incidents closely related to this come to my mind. Once at the time of Durga Puja, the Holy Mother gave me the responsibility of buying garments for her nephews and nieces. I bought for them all only Swadeshi (India-made) clothes. The girls did not like this at all and began to order as they pleased. I got irritated and said, "All that is foreign stuff. Do you think I will buy foreign goods?" The Holy Mother was sitting on one side. She said, smiling, "My dear, they too (foreigners) are my children. I have to run the house including everybody. Could I be one-sided? Please bring the things to suit their taste." Subsequently I observed that whenever any foreign articles had to be bought the Holy Mother would get them through others rather than tell me. It was not in her nature to hurt anyone's feelings.

But soon came news of Police high-handedness. Two pregnant ladies, wife and sister of Deven Babu of Yuthavihar village, were arrested in connection with the Swadeshi Movement and were made to walk miles to Bankura Police station. On hearing this, the Holy Mother's anger burst forth in blazing fury. At first she shuddered, saying, "What do you say!" Recovering from the shock she continued, "Is this the Company's order or is it the heroics of the Police? We never heard of such atrocities on innocent women under the rule bf Queen Victoria. If this act is indeed the order of the Company, their days are numbered. Were there no men there to slap those fellows and release the girls?" She was much pacified a little later by the news that the ladies were released and said, "If I did not hear this further news, I could not have slept at all tonight."

Another day when the Holy Mother was at Koalpara, Rashbehari Maharaj arrived there with some mangoes sent by Revered Sarat Maharaj. Just after his arrival Prabodh Babu also came to make Pranam to the Holy Mother. After enquiries about their welfare, the Holy Mother asked, "What is the war news? What a destruction of humanity has taken place! What all arts of killing men have been invented! Nowadays, there are so many kinds of machines telegraph etc. Just see, Rashbehari started from Calcutta yesterday and reached here today. In those days with how much difficulty and after how much walking did we reach Dakshineswar!" Prabodh Babu was a little enthused by this. Praising the Western science and education, he said, "Under British Government the country has advanced very much in many fields." The Holy Mother agreed with him, but added, "But my dear, with all those comforts, the scarcity of food and clothing too has increased enormously in our country. Earlier such scarcity of food was not felt."

On her way to Calcutta the Holy Mother enshrined the Master's picture at Koalpara. She herself placed the Master's and her own photos and performed special Puja. The Homa was performed by Kishor-dada. At noon the Holy Mother went walking to Kedar Babu's house with his mother. While she was returning from there, P- Maharaj requested her to enter the palanquin. A little displeased, she got in. Reaching the Ashrama, she spoke to him, expressing the cause of her displeasure: "This is my own village, and Koalpara is my drawing room. These children are my near and dear ones. I come here and move about freely. Returning from Calcutta, I heave a sigh of relief. There you keep me fenced in. All the time I have to stay there quite cramped. Here, too, am I to come and go at your beck and call? That cannot be. You write that to Sarat." Then in great humility P-Maharaj began to entreat her pardon and said, "Sarat Maharaj particularly enjoined us to take all care of you. I felt that perhaps it is due to our lapse that you had to walk. But then, Mother, you are free to do as you like."

According to P - Maharaj's instruction, we were to make ready their food packets before six in the evening. But, however much we tried, we could not finish it in time. Seeing that, P-Maharaj began to get angry. Brother Rajen said, "All right, you start off with these people according to your schedule. We shall get the food ready and bring it to you on our heads, however far you may have gone." The Holy Mother heard everything and said to P-Maharaj" "Why do you lose your head and show so much temper? This is my village. Do you think everything will click with the needle of the clock here, as in Calcutta? You see how the boys are breaking their bones since morning! Whatever you say, I will not move from here without taking food." Finally at about eight at night, finishing their meal they started towards Vishnupur in eight bullock carts.

The Holy Mother had just returned to Calcutta from Rameswaram (1911) after her Pilgrimage. We three went to meet her at the Udbodhan house and went upstairs to have her Darsan. We sat down after bowing down to her. She enquired after everybody at Koalpara and Jayrambati and said to Kedar Babu, "Hearing that you are coming, I have kept two photos of Rameswaram for your Ashrama. Take them with you when you go. You may worship them there." Kedar Babu replied, "But there you have yourself established the Master and asked us to worship him as the embodiment of all the deities. Now you are giving all these deities. How many gods shall we worship? We shall not be able to worship other gods." The Holy Mother did not press the matter. ."All right," she said. "Have these pictures properly framed and keep them in the shrine room." Kedar Babu enquired about her impression of Rameswaram etc. "My dear, Rameswar is the same as when I kept Him," said the Holy Mother. Golap-Ma was passing that way just then. Hearing these words, she asked innocently, "What did you say, Mother?" The Holy Mother looked startled and said, "When? What did I say? I am saying that I was very happy to see just the same as I have heard from you all." "No, Mother," Golap-Ma continued, "I heard everything and it won't do to try to give the slip now. What do you say, Kedar?" Saying this, she went off from there and started telling Yogin-Ma and others about it.

The Holy Mother continued "Ah, Sasi had me perform the Puja of Rameswar with a hundred and eight golden Bel leaves. The Rajah of Ramnad, hearing that I was there, sent his minister with instructions to show me the temple treasury. If I had a fancy for any article, it was to be immediately presented to me. What could I say? Unable to decide what to say, I replied 'What do I need? Sasi is arranging for all our requirements.' Again, thinking that they would be hurt, I said, 'All right, if Radhu needs anything, she may take it.' I told Radhu that she could take anything she liked. Then seeing all those priceless rubies and diamonds, my heart went pit-a-pat. Anxiously I prayed to the Master, 'Oh Master, grant that no greed should arise in Radhu's mind.' And so Radhu replied, 'What of these shall I take? I do not need them. But I lost my pencil. Buy me a pencil.' Hearing these words, I heaved a sigh of relief and bought her a two pice pencil at the roadside shop."

Conversing in this manner she got up to make food offering to the Master. We too came downstairs.

Two or three days before Janmashtami (Sri Krishna's birthday) I expressed to the Holy Mother my desire to be initiated by her on that day. Hearing this, Golap-Ma said in her usual loud tones, "Such a little fellow (a boy of thirteen), asking for initiation! He is likely to forget the Mantra in two days. How thoughtless of Kedar! The Holy Mother is from your own village. When she goes there after due deliberation, you can get initiated." Thus remarking, she went away. But the Holy Mother rejoined reassuringly, "Don't you take Golap's words to heart, my dear. If one of your age learns anything well, can he ever forget it? Let the boy do whatever he can from now on. As for the future, I am with you always." And so she initiated me on the day of Janmashtami after the Master's Puja. Demonstrating the manner of doing Japa according to her instructions, she said, "Can you not keep this much in mind? Certainly you can. Later, as and when necessary, I will show you everything." And then she blessed me, touching my head and chest affectionately. Getting up from her seat, she asked me to go with her. I made Pranam to her and followed her into the next room. She took two sweets out of a vessel, bit off a small part of one and gave me the remainder, saying "Eat" I received the sweets in my hand and out of shyness was hesitating to eat them in her presence. Noticing my hesitation, she said, "Don't be shy. After initiation one must take food," and then gave me a glass of water to drink.

Soon after that, we returned to Koalpara along with Kedar Babu's mother. (This old lady served the Holy Mother in various ways. At sixty years of age, she felt the desire to read and write and started with the first Reader, and towards the end she was able to read and understand the Ramayana, Mahabharata etc. Even when she accompanied the Mother to Rameswar, she went with her first Reader and a slate. She passed away six or seven years after the Holy Mother's demise). At the time of our departure, the Holy Mother gave some money to Kedar Babu asking him to buy some paddy and make some rice ready.

In the month of Phalgun, the Holy Mother returned to her village. From Koalpara three of us went far ahead early in the morning to receive her. Catching sight of her cart from a distance, the other two went back to inform the Ashrama. I remained to accompany the carts. The Holy Mother spotted me from a distance and was saying, "Who is that? B- is it not?" As I approached her and made Pranam, she enquired after every one's welfare. The carts were rolling on, while I walked alongside. The Holy Mother peeped out of the cart and was asking questions like, "What village is this? Whose pond is that? How far is Koalpara from here," etc. As we left Kotulpur the Holy Mother said, "Why don't you get into the cart? You have walked far enough." But Radhu was in the cart along with the Holy Mother. A little later, the cartman got down from the cart and said, "You please sit in front. I'll walk a little." I then got in front. Seeing me handling the oxen and driving them faster, the Holy Mother burst out laughing, "Ah, you are an expert cartman! It is good to know all trades." In due time, we reached the Ashrama. The Mother's was a rather delicate constitution. As she had sat for long cross-legged in the cart, her legs became numb. Kedar's mother helped her to get down from the cart and slowly led her to the shrine room verandah and seated her there. After a little rest, she bathed and said to me, "My dear, I cannot now exchange shouts with Kedar's mother (She was a little deaf). You change your dress and make arrangements for the Puja."

In my ignorance I put on one of the Mother's clothes and was going to pluck flowers. Noticing this, Kedar Babu's mother got quite upset and was saying, "You dunce! You are wearing the Mother's cloth! Leave them immediately. Leave!" But the Mother, said, "What does it matter? He is a young boy. What harm is there, if he wears my clothes? Go, go, bring flowers." Kedar Babu said in the course of conversation, "Mother, all your children are learned men. Only we few are ignoramuses. Sarat Maharaj wrote a book on the Master and spread his teaching everywhere. Other children are all giving lectures and touring. How much work is going on!" At this the Holy Mother said, "What do you say? The Master himself was not learned. He learned only to keep his mind on God. Through you a great deal of work will be done in these parts. This time the Master has come to liberate all-the rich and the poor, the wise and the foolish. Now there is a splendid Malaya breeze.1 Just set your sail a little, take refuge in him and immediately you will be blessed. This time anything other than grass and bamboo-whatever has a little core-will surely become sandalwood. What do you think? You are my own people. But do you know, a learned Sadhu is like an elephant with gold-sheathed tusks." Saying this, she got up for Puja. A little after dusk the Holy Mother left for Jayrambati in a palanquin.

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1 It is a tradition in India that the mythological breeze blowing from the Malaya mountains will turn all trees and plants that have a core, into sandalwood trees.
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The man who was to go from Koalpara as the storekeeper for Jagaddhatri Puja, fell ill. And so in his stead I went to Jayrambati. The Holy Mother said, "It is very good you have come. Today you observe everything. Tomorrow quite early in the morning take bath and come to the store. Attend to the work there, observing all ceremonial procedures. Keep a little distance and carry on the work. Everything will be all right." She said these last words, because in those regions caste restrictions were quite strict.

On the day of the Puja, she came early in the morning to the store and took her seat on a sack, with her feet dangling. When anyone came for anything from the store, I showed the required things to the Holy Mother and then handed it over to the person. At the end of the Puja, the Mother bathed and went to the Mandap, taking the aunts with her for the flower offering. She offered flowers thrice at the feet of the Devi, and with hands folded, and the end of her Sari wound around her neck in humility, she sat silently for some time. Puja concluded without a hitch. In the noon many men and women of the village were fed. As I had fever on the second day-for the image had to be kept for three days the Holy Mother herself looked after the store. After evening Arati, all the monks and devotees together started singing Bhajans. "Worry not to have the Mother's vision, she is not mere mother of yours or mine alone, She is the Mother of all, of the whole Universe" -thus they sang again and again. The Holy Mother was sitting in the next room with the other women and was listening with absorption. That night she remarked to me, "Ah! The singing was enthralling. What is caste to devotees? All children are one. I feel like feeding all of them from one plate. But in this wretched region they make much of caste.1 However, there is surely no objection to puffed rice. Tomorrow quite early in the morning you go to Kamarpukur and bring two seers of the Jilapis (a certain sweetmeat)." Next day I returned with the Jilapi by about 9 a.m. The Holy Mother offered them to the Master and arranged them in a big plate around the heap of puffed rice. This delicacy she sent to the devotees. In great joy all of us began to partake of it and the Holy Mother looked on us from the next room.

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1 Once when Sister Nivedita expressed her wish to go to Jayrambati, the Holy Mother said, "No, dear. While I am alive you should not go there. If you do, they will out-caste me."
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Once in the rainy season there was an epidemic of malaria and dysentery. The Holy Mother too suffered much for a few days from blood dysentery and recovered through Dr.Kanjilal's treatment Because of constant walking through mud and water in Koalpara, nearly all of us got fever. Noticing that from Koalpara none of us went to Jayrambati, the Holy Mother sent a maid to get news of us. She brought us a letter from the Mother to the following effect: "My dear Kedar, I have established the Master in that Ashrama. He used to take boiled rice and fish also. Therefore I say, you must offer boiled rice and fish to the Master, at least on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Do not offer fish on Sundays. By no means should you offer food to the Master without three curries. If you practise too much of austerity, how can you withstand the malaria of these parts?"

A few days after this, the Holy Mother was speaking to Kedar Babu about Radhu. She said, "She has grown to be such a big girl and yet she has so little sense. What bondage has the Master brought on me through her! After he passed away, when I came to the village, completely indifferent to the world, I used to see a small girl wrapped about in red clothes, moving about before me." Seeing that Kedar Babu had become absent-minded, she said, "Oh Kedar, are you listening? That was Yoga Maya." Kedar Baba replied, "No Mother, I did not hear everything - please tell me again." Then the Holy Mother resumed: "After the Master's passing away when nothing in the world had any meaning for me and I was panting for release, I used to think, 'What is the point of my living any more?' In that state suddenly I saw a young girl of ten or twelve years dressed in red clothes, moving about before me. The Master showed her to me and said, 'Take her for support and live. Numberless children will come to you.' Next moment he vanished and I could not see the girl also any more. Later on one day I was sitting just in this place. Radhu's mother; my younger sister-in-law, was then totally mad. She was going this way dragging some rags behind her. And Radhu, crying bitterly, was crawling behind her. My heart bled at the sight and I rushed to take her up in my arms. I felt that no one would care for her if I did not. Her father was dead and her mother is that madcap. Thinking thus, no sooner had I taken her in my lap, than I saw the Master in front of me. He was saying, 'This is that girl. Live with her as your support. This is Yoga Maya!' What can I say, my dear! Earlier she was well. Now-a-days she gets all kinds of diseases, and she is married too. I am now afraid, that this daughter of a mad woman might herself turn mad. Have I, after all, brought up a madcap?"

While she was at Calcutta, the Holy Mother had once written to Kedar Babu, "If you could put up a room for me at Koalpara, then when I come to the village, I could stay with you." Receiving this letter, we ourselves constructed a house for her and called it Jagadamba Ashrama. When the Holy Mother came there for the first time, she stayed there nearly a fortnight before going to Jayrambati. Later, a day was fixed for her second visit. We got a palanquin ready. But on that day, right from the morning, it started raining cats and dogs. We got news that the water level in the river Amodar had risen quite high. Yet Kedar Babu said, "You take the palanquin as she has instructed and be present in time. There after you may do as she wishes." We came to the river and found it too deep. Rajen Maharaj swam across and fetched a ferry, and all of us together crossed over with the palanquin and reached Jayrambati at about 3 p.m.

Uncle Kali rebuked us, saying, "In this weather how could you think of taking my sister?" The Holy Mother was much amused. Brother Rajen replied, "We have no power to take her. But we had promised to bring the palanquin today at this time, and so we have come." The Holy Mother on hearing this laughed and said, "You have kept your promise. I too should keep mine. I alone shall come in the palanquin. The others will follow afterwards." Thereupon we came forward, telling, "No, Mother, how can it be? In the rain, nobody is able to step out of their houses. Should we take you drenched in the rain and make you fall ill?" Uncle Kali and the Holy Mother laughed and laughed. Taking the empty palanquin we returned to our Ashrama.

But the Holy Mother fell ill immediately after, and so she could come to Koalpara only after a few months. One morning at about eleven when I went to Jagadamba Ashrama, all the ladies were in great excitement. Kedar Babu's mother said in a hushed voice, "She (the Mother) is in ecstasy. Saying 'Thakur' (the Master), she has just lost consciousness." The ladies attended on her, sprinkling water on her head and eyes. A little later when she recovered, Nalini-Didi asked, "Oh, aunt, what happened?" The Holy Mother replied, "What happened? It is nothing. I was trying to thread the needle and got dizzy." Hearing these words, no one spoke any more on the topic.

Later, during her last illness, the Holy Mother herself told me fully about this incident of ecstasy. That day it was about half past one or may be two. Her fever was rising. I, as usual, sat by her bed and was fanning her and massaging her forehead gently with a wet hand. Patting me affectionately, she looked at my face and said, "If I pass away, all of you will feel very miserable. I can understand that." In gentle reproach I said, "Why do you talk like that, Mother? When the medicine is not showing any effect, why don't you speak to the Master about your body? Everything will get right, if you do that." The Holy Mother smiled a little and said, "At Koalpara I used to get such high fever that I lay unconscious in my bed frequently. Yet when I became conscious and thought of the Master for the sake of my body, immediately I could have his vision. In a very weak state, I was one day sitting in the verandah. Nalini and others were perhaps sewing. There was the burning heat of the sun all around. Suddenly I saw that the Master entered through the main door, sat in the verandah and then stretched himself down to sleep. Seeing that, I hastily went to spread my upper cloth. While spreading, I had a peculiar feeling. Kedar's Mother and others were making all kinds of fuss. So I told them, 'O! It's nothing. While trying to thread the needle, I got dizzy'. For your sake, do I not pray to the Master about my body? I do pray. But now when I think of him for the sake of the body, by no means am I able to get his vision. I feel it is not his wish that this body should remain. Sarat is there." After my return to Koalpara I heard just the same thing from Kedar Maharaj's mother also. She must have heard it from the Mother herself.

Another day at about two in the noon, I reached Koalpara. It was quite hot. The Holy Mother brought me some sweets and water, and was talking, "Oh dear, what a heat! Cool yourself a little. You should not leave before evening. How is Gopesh? What did you eat today? What did you cook? Take some fruits and vegetables with you when you go." I said smiling, "In accordance with Gopesh-da's instructions I mixed together green plantains, potatos and such things and cooked a potato-rice. But as I was not able to make a proper estimate, I prepared food enough for eight or ten people." Hearing this, the Holy Mother had a hearty laughter. As we chatted, the sky became overcast. The Mother said "Ah! a little rain would cool down mother earth." Moments later, strong winds blew and a hailstorm began. Enjoying that, the Holy Mother put one or two hail stones in her mouth. This sudden exposure to chill brought on her a fever, which took a very serious turn later on.

Rashbehari Maharaj and I were sitting on either side of the Holy Mother's bed one day. She placed her hand on my chest and back and said, "Ah! So many women are here, but no one's body is cool. These are boys and their bodies-how cool they are! My hand is soothed." In the travails of illness the Holy Mother used to look for Sarat Maharaj a great deal. Getting the news, Sarat Maharaj arrived there accompanied by Dr. Kanjilal and went straight to the Holy Mother. The Mother was then restless with a burning sensation all over her body and was stretching her arms this way and that. Sarat Maharaj saw that and taking off his shirt sat by her bed. The Holy Mother put her hand on his back and said "Ah, my whole body is cooled. Sarat's body is like a cool slab." Sarat Maharaj said, "Look now, Mother. All of us have come, and now you must get well." In reply the Mother said, "Yes, my dear; if Kanjilal gives a little medicine I shall immediately get well." Sarat Maharaj was very happy to hear these words. Within a few days, she was free from fever, and she began to take her normal food. One day Sarat Maharaj said, "Mother, this time we shall not leave you here. I would like to take you with me to Calcutta." The Holy Mother also did not seriously object to this but said, "My dear, I must go to Jayrambati and start on an auspicious day." Sarat Maharaj agreed to this and set about fixing the day for going to Jayrambati.

It was during this illness of the Holy Mother that Swami Prajnananda passed away at the Udbodhan. Later the Holy Mother came to know that his sister, Sudhira, the head of the Nivedita School, was sitting quietly by his side, fully controlling her emotions. Hearing that, the Holy Mother said, "Oh! It would have been better if she had expressed her feelings through weeping. It would have somewhat assuaged her grief. You please see that she does not fall ill. Already she has a heart complaint."

In this connection another incident comes to my mind. I was then at Jayrambati with the Holy Mother. One day I returned to Jayrambati from Koalpara with an old woman carrying a headload of things for me. The old woman put down her load and bowed down at the Holy Mother's feet. "What is the matter, my daughter?" she said. "You have not come this side for so many days?" The old woman replied in a piteous voice, "Mother, now-a-days I am in great difficulties. Searching for food, I go to different places. And so, when there is an occasion to bring a load here, the gentlemen do not find me in time. A few days back, my young earning son passed away." The Holy Mother was much affected to hear this and her eyes were filled with tears.

"What do you say, my daughter?" she said. On the Mother expressing her sympathy, the old woman gave way to her grief and wept loudly. The Holy Mother was overcome by a wave of sympathetic grief, and she began to lament with the woman, resting her head on a post of the verandah. The other women of the house rushed to the spot on hearing the sound, and stood transfixed there for a minute at the sight they saw. A few moments passed in this way. When the intensity of their grief subsided a little, the Holy Mother asked for some coconut oil. It was brought and she poured it on the old woman's head. After properly oiling her hair the Holy Mother tied a quantity of puffed rice and molasses in her cloth. Bidding her farewell, with her eyes still glittering with tears, the Mother said, "Come again, my daughter." The woman departed, highly consoled by the compassionate conduct of the Holy Mother.

After she recovered the physical strength a little, the Holy Mother went to Jayrambati on the appointed day, accompanied by Sarat Maharaj and others. All men and women of the village came to see her. Some said that they had given up all hope of seeing her again. The Mother replied, "Yes, I suffered very much from illness. Sarat, Kanjilal and others rushed to my help. By the grace of Mother Simhavahini, I was saved this time. Sarat says I must go to Calcutta. If all of you permit me, I shall go and return after regaining my health." Everyone gladly gave her permission and seven or eight days later the Holy Mother started for Calcutta.

A few months later, I came to Belur Math. Radhu was ill at Udbodhan. She could not stand even a little noise. The Holy Mother therefore took her to the Boarding Home of Nivedita Girls' school. So I used to go there often to pay my respects to the Mother. She was considerably worried and would say, "Well, where can I go with her? The village is quiet enough but there is no medical facility."

On Swamiji's birthday I came to know that the Holy Mother was leaving for her village the next day. In obedience to Revered Sarat Maharaj's instruction I hastily reached the Udbodhan house by evening, ready to accompany the Holy Mother. She was packing a bundle of coir. Seeing me, she said, "I am going to my village taking these endless numbers of things. What about your coming with me? You boys are my only support there." I bowed down at her feet and said, "Whatever you command will be done. I shall go with you, what difficulty is there?" "That is good, my dear. See to these ropes and things and pack up all other items of luggage. Till now nothing has been set in order. I was waiting for you and packed the ropes." Along with her I packed things until eleven in the night, and quite early next morning we left on our journey.

After resting at Vishnupur for three days, we started again with our six bullock carts. Eight miles further at the Jaypur village, arrangements were made at an inn for cooking. At the time of taking down the pot of rice from the fire place, the pot broke and rice and water got scattered all over. We were stupefied and did not know what to do. But without any hesitation or excitement, the Mother took a broken sherd and separated the water from the rice. She then washed her hands, took out the Master's picture from her box and set it up on one side. Gathering the upper layers of the scattered rice, she arranged the rice and some curry on a leaf plate. With that make-shift offering, she said to the Master with folded hands, "You have willed it this way for today. Please finish your meal quickly while it is hot." All of us witnesed this strange procedure of the Holy Mother and began to laugh. Thereupon she remarked, "We have to adjust our ways to changing circumstances. Now please sit down for your meal, all of you." We sat down in a circle. The Mother served us all and served herself also on one side, sat down cross-legged and started eating. "Quite well-cooked," she said. We finished our meal and the carts moved on again. By eleven in the night we reached Koalpara.

Yet another incident comes to my mind. Once, Revered Gauri-Ma was going to Jayrambati to call on the Holy Mother. From Koalpara she took me for company, and we started in the evening. We reached the river bank near Jayrambati while there was still daylight. So Gauri-Ma lingered there. So we could reach the Mother's house only a little after dusk. She asked me to wait outside the gate, and went in. There imitating the beggars, she called out, "O mother, give me alms, mother." Hearing that, the younger aunt came out, enquiring, "Who is that?" Gauri-Ma repeated her cry. The aunt was quite frightened. With a shriek she ran back to the Holy Mother. The Mother, who had heard the shout, came out with composure, and said in a firm voice, "Who is there?" Gauri-Ma once again said from the same place, "Give me alms, Mother, I am a night beggar." The Holy Mother recognised her voice in the dark and exclaimed, "Is it not you Gaurdasi! Come, come, when did you arrive?" Everyone had a hearty laugh.

After staying for a day or two at Koalpara, Radhu developed a liking to the place, especially because of its loneliness. So the Holy Mother stayed there with her for six months. Arrangements were made for Radhu's stay in another lonely house, a little away from Jagadamba Ashrama. A thorny thicket surrounded the three sides of her house. One day the Holy Mother said to me, "Now-a-days I find my mind is having a strange power. Whatever thought arises, it comes true, be it good or bad. Radhu likes this forest because it is lonely. For a few days I have been feeling that, wherever you may be during the day time, after dusk you must come here and be with us. I am much afraid, my dear. I told Rajen also. He will come after ten or eleven in the night." From that day, after dusk, I used to keep watch under a tree in front of Radhu's house until eleven in the night. The Holy Mother too would sit up by me and talk with me in a very low voice. One day she remarked, "What a jungle! Any day a bear may pop out." I replied, "Why, Mother, I never saw a bear in these parts." But as a matter of fact one or two days later, word came that about a mile away, in the village Desra, one huge bear did attack and kill an old woman at noon while she was collecting cow dung. The bear too was shot. At dusk the Holy Mother said, "Did you not hear of the bear being on the rampage? It seems it has killed the mother-in-law of Ambika (the watchman of Jayrambati). And you declare there are no bears in this area!"

The Holy Mother used to eat some sweets and have a drink of water at dusk. She used to give me also a portion of it when I sat with her under the tree. She would say, "After the whole day's labour if you eat something and drink some water, the body will be quite refreshed. Thereafter, be it in Japa, meditation or any other work, the mind will settle down quite steadily." One day she said, "While I was staying at the Nahabat for the service of the Master, what hard conditions I had to endure in that tiny room! How many articles and things! I used to keep fish in a pot for the Master and hang it up. But in his service I never felt these as difficulties. The day would go by in inexplicable bliss. Now I am in these straits on account of Radhu. I am sitting here in this jungle with all of you. Good deeds, austerities, meditation-are all no more. Now by His grace, if we come out of the present difficulty safely, we should consider ourselves fortunate. (Radhu was then nearing her confinement). A little later the lady from Navasan came and said, "O Brother, did you hear? Today at noon the Mother and I were sitting here, quite alone. The Mother was saying, 'Those two crows used to come right at this time, and sitting on that tree caw and caw, to the great annoyance of Radhu. But for the last few days, I do not see them at all. Can you tell where those two have gone?' Even as the Mother was saying these words, those two crows alighted on the tree and began cawing." The Holy Mother too laughed and confirmed her story saying, "Yes, my dear."

Another day, in the early part of the month of Ashadha (June), the Holy Mother and a few of us were seated at the foot of the tree. It might be about 10 P.M. Suddenly the Mother said, "Look, that mad man has not been coming here for many days. He is stark mad, but sings quite well. Yet, my dear, I am greatly afraid lest he should come here and create a commotion." The sister from Navasan protested, "Why do you think of him, Mother? Suppose your thought turns true, and he pops up here at this time of night!" "Who knows, my dear," rejoined the Holy Mother. I intervened and said, "You are merely imagining. In this weather how can anyone cross the river and come here?" Even as these words came out of my mouth, there stood the mad man, with a palm leaf plume on his head and a bundle of sajina greens under his arm. "I have brought these greens for you," he said. The sister from Navasan slipped inside, in fright. The Holy Mother said to him, "Go away. Don't make noise at this time of night."

The mad man replied: "How can I go? There is high tide in the river." I intervened saying, "How did you come then?"

The mad man replied: "I swam across."

The Holy Mother now said once again, "My dear fellow, don't make noise." The mad man then went away without a word. For two months the Holy Mother was in this mood often.

On another occasion I was sitting near the Mother in the verandah opposite Radhu's room, writing up the accounts. As a woman devotee passed by carelessly, the end of her cloth brushed my back. The Holy Mother noticed this and was much annoyed. "What is this? This boy is sitting before me and writing; and you are so unmannerly as to go brushing the ends of your cloth against his back! These are Brahmacharins (monastics) and you are women; you should move with due deference towards them. Bow down to him." The Holy Mother said these words in such an irritated voice that all the women of the house, including the woman so addressed, were frightened.

One new Brahmacharin at Koalpara desired to stay with the Holy Mother for a few days. To him the Mother said: "You want to stay with me. But you will have to face many difficulties if you stay here. I have a lot of work, and I am in this jungle with Radhu." But seeing the earnestness of the young man, she continued, "All right; tell Kedar and stay here for a few days," Just at that time, the attendant who looked after Radhu had to go to Calcutta for a few days. The Holy Mother enquired if the Brahmacharin could manage that work, and when he agreed, she asked him to learn the work from the regular attendant. On the very first day as he was carrying Radhu's food, the vessels slipped from his hands and all the food was spilt. He could not decide what to do. He took the empty vessels to the Holy Mother. The consequence was that Radhu had to go without food that day. The Holy Mother was much vexed. Later she said, "As a monastic this boy may be quite good. But in my establishment I need dexterous workers. My work cannot be done by a 'foot-of-the-tree' monk. And again there are people who perform wonderful deeds under momentary excitement. But a man's true worth can be known only by observing the attention he bestows on his daily inconsequential actions." As the regular attendant returned within a day or two, the Brahmacharin had no chance to stay.

Yet another day one boy of Koalpara escaped from Police observation and came to the Holy Mother at dusk, wishing to be initiated. As the police kept a watch on the Ashrama of that place, the head of the Ashrama told him to go away. The Holy Mother came to know of this and told me, "See, the boy has come with such eagerness, braving so many difficulties. If you could arrange to keep him in somebody's home for this night, then in the morning I shall initiate him and ask him to go." As desired by her, I found him accommodation elsewhere for the night.

Next day quite early in the morning I was going to Radhu's house with the Holy Mother. The boy had bathed in readiness for initiation, and cutting across the fields, approached the Holy Mother. She asked me to bring some water from a nearby pond and I brought a tumbler full of it. The Holy Mother was looking around for something, and I asked her if I could get her a seat. She replied, "Yes. But you need not go, again. Bring some hay and we two will sit." I did accordingly. They spread the hay and sat down on the ground. Asking me to move away, the Holy Mother purified herself by sipping water and initiated him.

One day at dusk, the Holy Mother said in the course of a conversation, "I can no longer see or hear of anybody's faults, my dear. It all happens according to one's Prarabdha, the effect of past deeds. Where a ploughshare has to hit, at least a needle must prick. They speak of the faults of A-. Where were they at that time? How much he served me! In those days I was boiling paddy in my brother's houses. My sisters-in-law were all too young. Not minding the cold or rain, he used to work with me from dawn to dusk, taking down huge vessels of boiled paddy from the ovens. Now so many come as devotees. Then who was there with me! Are we to forget all the happenings of those days? Besides, what is his fault? In earlier days I also had an eye for people's faults. Thereafter I wept and wept before the Master, praying, 'O Master! I do not wish to see anyone's faults' and finally got rid of that habit. You might have done good to a man a thousand times and harm only once; he will turn away from you for that one offence. People see only the faults. One should in fact note the merits."

One day at Jayrambati the Holy Mother said in connection with the evil mentality of some of the attendants, "look, there is certainly what is called Sevaparadha, faults in serving. That means: as one serves, gradually one becomes more proud and egoistic, and then one wants to make a puppet of one's master. Whether the master sits or stands or eats, he must do so at the bidding of the attendant. The attitude of service completely disappears from them. Why should people turn out to be so- people who serve a saint forgetful of their own bodies, and take the master's joy and sorrow for their own? Is there a greater degeneration? Most holy men have an aura of grandeur around them. Attracted by that, many come to serve them and remain intoxicated by that grandeur. That will cause their downfall. How many can serve the holy men with the proper attitude?" The Mother then narrated a story:"look. the story goes like this. In a tank there was a reflection of the full moon. Seeing that, all the small fish of the tank were immensely pleased. They leaped and splashed and played around the moon, thinking that it was one among them. But when the moon went down, they were the same old lot. All leaping and playing came to an end-they never understood anything." I said, "Kedar Maharaj says that one should not remain long with one's Guru. Seeing the commonplace actions of the Guru, the disciple's faith and devotion may be reduced." The Holy Mother said, laughing, "But, my dear, don't you go spoiling your minds with all those words. If it is true, how can I get on with my work? Do not entertain such a godly attitude, but have a human attitude towards me, and attend to what I say, and carry on with your work. You need have no fear."

There were, a very 'large number of letters from devotees on one occasion. At dusk I read them all to the Holy Mother. She heard them through and said, "Did you notice how many children have written with how many different desires? Some Say, 'I pray so much, meditate and tell so' many beads and yet nothing happens.' Others write about the anxieties, fears, wants, diseases and sorrows of this world. I cannot hear any more of this. I say to the Master, 'O Lord! In this world and in the next, you alone have to save them.' Where is the yearning? They speak so much of their devotion and earnestness on the one hand, and on the other they are so pleased with any little enjoyment they come to have and say, 'Ah! How merciful is He!' That is the measure of their devotional hankering. They say, 'How is Radhu's health?' That is to please me-this anxiety for Radhu. As soon as I pass away, no one will even look at Radhu." The sister from Navasan now said, "Mother, for you all children are equal. But to those who want to know the desirability of marriage, you give permission to marry. To those who want to renounce the world, you give instruction praising renunciation. Should you not take them all on the one path that is good for all?" To that the Holy Mother said in reply, "Will they abstain because of my prohibition if their desire for enjoyment is strong? And to those who have understood by virtue of great merit that all this is Maya's play, and believe that God alone is the reality, should I not offer a little help and encouragement? Is there any end to the miseries of the world?"

Nalini-Didi and others argued among themselves for some time and finally asked the Holy Mother, "Aunt, what kind of false description is good?" The Holy Mother, expressing her wonder at the question, said, "False description is by itself bad. In that how can there be good and bad again?" After a little talk of this sort, she said, "But then it is better to be described as a rich man though falsely. If anyone were to be told that he is quite rich; whatever humility or displeasure he may show in his face upon hearing these words, in his heart of hearts he will feel quite happy." The Mother now passed on to another topic and said, "Now to another question. Well, let me see if you can tell what object is to be prayed for from God?" Nalini-Didi replied, "Why, aunt; wisdom, devotion, objects that make you happy in life, all these are to be prayed for." The Holy Mother said "To say in one word, we must pray for Nirvasana, freedom from desire. Desire is at the root of all sorrows, the cause of repeated births and deaths, and the main obstacle on the path of liberation."

In the month of Sravan, the Holy Mother came to Jayrambati from Koalpara, accompanied by Radhu. At the time, we were fifteen or twenty people in her house. The Holy Mother herself would look after the welfare of every one. One day she told me in the course of a conversation, "My dear, that day, what in the world did Kedar tell me, accusing A-? Kedar after all is a man with a generous heart. For such generous man it is not at all proper to speak as he did. I understood his mind, and at the time of my departure gave him a binful of paddy for the expenses of the Ashrama. But he did not wish to take it. He discovered his own error and has come to seek my forgiveness." Thus saying, she narrated the whole incident. "That day he (Kedar) came in the morning to make Pranam and said, 'Mother, all these people were quite obedient to me before. But now they have grown 'wise' and do not always wish to respect my words. When they come to you or to Sarat Maharaj, you treat them with great affection and keep them with you. They get nice things to eat also. If you do not entertain them, but convince them of the error and send them back, they will be obedient to me.' I replied, 'What are you saying? Our root is love alone. Out of love alone the Master's family has grown up. And I am their mother. How dare you make spiteful remarks to me about my children's requirement of food and clothing?' Ah, how much I prayed for them, wept for them before the Master! That is how they have today a monastery and such other things by his grace. After the Master's passing away, his children renounced the world and gathered together at one place for a few days. Thereafter one by one they left and were wandering here and there. Then I felt very sad. I began to pray to the Master: 'O Lord, you have come, performed your divine play with these few people, enjoyed yourself and gone away. Is everything finished with that? If so, what was the need for you to come, taking so much trouble? I saw in Kasi and Vrindaban so many Sadhus who live by begging and dwell under the shade of trees, wandering at will. There never was any dearth of such Sadhus. I cannot bear to see my children, who have left everything and come away taking your name, wandering around for the sake of a few handfuls of food. It is my prayer that those who come away in your name should not lack food and clothing, that all of them stay together, taking you, your memory and your teachings for their support; and that those who are scorched by the miseries of worldly existence come to them and obtain peace and solace by learning of your life and teachings. This was the purpose of your advent. It wrings my heart that they should wander here and there shelter less. Since that time, slowly Naren built up all this."

At the time of Durga Puja at Jayrambati on the Ashtami day a devotee was coming with a basketful of lotus flowers. He saw me at a distance, and raising his hands together with the basket, saluted me. The Holy Mother saw this from a distance. Later she told me, "We cannot worship the Master with these flowers now. Throw them away."1

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1 The idea is that when the flowers are shown to some one along with a salutation, they are to be considered as offered to that person. They cannot be offered to the Deity afterwards.
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Two of us were wearing borderless clothes. The Mother noticed it and said, "Why are you wearing plain clothes without a border? You are young men. You must wear clothes with nice borders. Otherwise your minds will get old. One must always have enthusiasm," and she gave each of us clothes from her box.

On the same day a little after dusk, Sandhi Puja was performed. Many offered lotus flowers at her feet as Pushpanjali. The Holy Mother said, "Bring more flowers. Rakhal, Tarak, Sarat, Khoka, Yogen, Golap—offer flowers in the names of each of them. Offer flowers for the sake of all my known and unknown children." I did so and with folded hands the Holy Mother sat erect for a long time steadily looking at the Master. Finally she said, "May all be blessed in this world and in the next!"
One morning Kedar Maharaj sat near the Holy Mother at Jayrambati and asked her, "Mother, in our free dispensary those who are fairly well off also come to take medicines. But our dispensary is meant for the poor only. Is it right that such people are served?" The Mother thought for a minute and said, "My dear, in these parts all are poor. Yet, knowing all the details, if they still come to wait for free medicine, you will of course serve them if you can. Anyone who comes begging may be considered poor."

Kedar Maharaj asked, "Mother, is it for the establishment of the harmony of all religions that the Master came this time?" The Holy Mother replied, "Look here. I never felt that he practised all the religions with the intention of teaching the harmony of all religions. He was always immersed in God-consciousness. He followed all the disciplines-those of Christians, Muslims, Vaishnavas, etc.-for the sake of God-realization, and he enjoyed the Divine lila (play) in different ways, entirely unconscious of how time passed. But still, do you know, my dear, in this age renunciation has been his speciality. Has anyone ever seen at any time that kind of spontaneous renunciation? What you have said of the harmony of religions is also true. In other Incarnations one ideal or another was emphasised over others."

That day after dusk, I went to the Holy Mother as usual, after finishing my duty of baking bread, to read her mail to her. One woman devotee often wrote letters full of praise and glorification of the Holy Mother. I told her its essence. She heard everything and said, "Look, many times I wonder,I am but the daughter of Ram Mukherjee, and many women of my age are there at Jayrambati. How do I differ from them? All these devotees come from various places and bow down to me. On asking them I find that some are doctors, some are lawyers. Why do these people come?" She was silent for a while. A little later I said, "Well Mother, do you not then always remember your real nature?" The Holy Mother replied, "Is it possible always? If it were so, can all this work go on? Yet amidst all this work, whenever the desire arises, inspiration comes in a flash upon a little thought and the whole of the play of Mahamaya comes to be understood." Someone said, "How, Mother, even with so much effort we are not able to understand anything!" The Holy Mother reassured her, "It will come, my dear, it will come. Why are you worried? In due time, everything will come." We were talking late into the night. I said. "Mother, Kedar Maharaj says, 'You exert yourself doing all this work and then what should happen will 'happen of itself'". The Holy Mother replied, "You must work, of course. Work keeps the mind in order. But Japa, meditation and prayer are quite essential. At least once at dawn and dusk one must sit down for spiritual practices. It is like the rudder of a ship. When you sit at dusk, you get to think of all that you have done and not done during the day. Then you have to compare the states of your mind yesterday and today. Then doing Japa one has to meditate on the form of one's Ishta. Though in the beginning, one sees only the face of the Ishta, one must meditate on the whole form from the feet upwards. Along with work, if you do not meditate morning and evening, how can you understand whether you are working on the right lines?" I said, "Some others say that we gain nothing by work; that everything is gained if we can meditate and do Japa all the time." The Holy Mother answered, "How did they know that by this they gain and by that they do not? By meditating a little for a few days, is everything accomplished? Unless Mahamaya opens the way nothing will happen by any means. Did you notice the other day, how one man forcibly did more Japa than he could stand and got his mind deranged? If the mind is gone, what remains? It is like the thread of a screw. If one thread is loose, the fellow becomes mad, or falls into the trap of Mahamaya and thinks himself very clever, that he is doing fine. On the other hand if it is tightened the right way, one goes along the correct path and obtains peace and bliss. One must always remember Him and pray, 'Lord, grant me good tendencies.' How many can do Japa and meditation all the time?

"It may be that one does these for some length of time in the beginning. Because of this one becomes egotistic like N-. Afterwards he fails to do even that, but sits thinking of all kinds of things, which only generates restlessness in his mind. Far better is it to work than to let the mind loose to indulge in riotous thinking. If the mind is allowed a little laxity, it will create such turmoil. My Naren observed all this and so laid down the foundation of selfless work." Referring to N-, the Holy Mother continued, "Just see, sitting and sitting, what an impure mind N- has acquired! The purity-mania alone is on the increase, and there is constant complaint of want of peace. Why so much restlessness? In spite of such experiences, why is it that wisdom does not dawn on him?"

Next day at about ten or eleven the Holy Mother was sitting at the main entrance. We were in the drawing room. Uncle Kali and Uncle Varada were exchanging words over the path between their houses, and gradually it developed from words into an exchange of blows. The Holy Mother could not restrain herself any longer. She rushed towards them. Now she would scold one saying, "It is your fault", and next she would try to drag away the other. She was caught up in the fray. At this juncture we all ran to the spot, whereupon the quarrel subsided a little. Still abusing each other, the two brothers withdrew to their respective houses. Still angry, the Holy Mother too came back and sat down. No sooner had she sat than she burst out laughing. "What a play of Mahamaya! Here is this wide earth, spreading endlessly. This bit of land too remains there always. Puny man cannot understand even this much!" Saying this, she rocked with a prolonged laughter.

Six months had passed after Radhu's child was born but still she could not stand up because of weakness. She could only crawl about. What was worse, she got addicted to opium. The Holy Mother's health too was not good. Now and then she would have attacks of fever. She was trying to wean Radhu away from opium eating. But Radhu was quite cross over it all the time. That morning the Holy Mother was cutting vegetables. Radhu came and was waiting for opium. The Mother understood and said, "Radhu, why don't you stand up? I cannot bear with you any more. For your sake I left all my spiritual practices. How do you think I can meet so much expense?" At this mild rebuke Radhu got angry, and taking a big brinjal from the wicker basket in front, she hit the Mother very hard on the back with it. As I turned my eyes at that thudding sound, I saw the Holy Mother rise, curling her back in pain. Immediately that spot was swollen. Looking at the Master, the Holy Mother prayed, "O Lord! Do not take notice of her actions. She is an idiot." Touching the dust of her feet to Radhu's forehead, she said, "Radhi, never once did the Master speak harshly to this body, and you give me so much trouble! How can you understand where my place is? Simply because I put up with you, what do you think of me?" Radhu burst out weeping.

A few days after this incident one day, Radhu's mad mother, out of some whim, searched for her son-in-Iaw, Manmatha, in many places. She even got into the pond in her search and came to the conclusion that he was drowned, and that it was all the manipulation of the Holy Mother. She then ran to the Holy Mother in her wet clothes, fell at her feet and started shouting and weeping, "Oh dear, Oh sister-in-law, my son-in-law is drowned in the pond. Oh dear, what is to be done now?" This was a bolt from the blue to the Holy Mother. She was upset and called to us, "Come quickly. Just hear what this mad woman is saying." We all rushed there. Hari said that he saw Manmatha playing cards with his friends. "Make haste and bring him here," said the Holy Mother. We immediately left and returned with the son-in-Iaw. Seeing him, the mad aunt was embarrassed and withdrew angrily, pronouncing curses on the Holy Mother.

In the evening the Mother was cutting vegetables for the night. Suddenly the mad aunt came and sat near her and said, "You fed Radhu with opium and disabled her. Thus you keep her in your control. You do not allow my daughter and granddaughter even to approach me." The Holy Mother retorted, saying, "Take away then your precious daughter. She is there lying like a lump. Have I kept her hidden anywhere?" After one or two exchanges like this; the aunt's madness reached its peak. She ran to bring a burning firebrand to beat her with. The Holy Mother shrieked in terror, "Oh, who is there, this mad woman will kill me!" I ran to the spot. I found the mad aunt aiming the blow and the fire brand about to fall on the Mother's head. I snatched it away from the mad aunt and pushed her out of the main door. Shaking with anger, I threatened her and forbade her ever to enter our portals again. The Holy Mother too was quite excited and blurted out these words. "Mad woman! What were you about to do? That hand of yours will rot and drop." No sooner did she say this, than she bit her tongue and shuddered. Turning to the Master, she said with folded hands "O Lord, what have I done! What is the way out now? Never did a curse on anyone ever come out of my mouth till now. Finally that too has occured. What more?" I was stunned to see this boundless compassion of the Holy Mother.

A few months before, Sri N- of Bangalore had come on a short leave to see the Holy Mother at Koalpara. Seeing that the Mother had to incur much expense on account of Radhu, he used to send considerable amounts as monetary offering to the Mother. At the time of his departure he said to the Holy Mother, "Mother, whenever you feel any want of money, please inform me without any kind of hesitation." With the passage of time the expense at Jayrambati had greatly increased. Revered Sarat Maharaj wrote saying that there was some delay in arranging for money and that he would therefore be late in sending it. Listening to this letter, the Holy Mother said, "Then Sarat does not have much money in hand. Otherwise, why would he write like that? N- had offered to help that day. But ah! How can I ask money of him? O Master, can I not obey your last instruction? Radhi, for your sake I am about to lose everything. The Master had said, 'Look, never stretch out your hand for money before anyone. You will not be in want of simple food and clothing. If you stretch your hand for a pice before anyone, you will be selling your head to him. Yet to live on charity is better than to live under another's roof. Wheresoever your devotees may keep you in their homes and look after you, don't you ever lose your own house at Kamarpukur.'"

A boy named Manasa came to the Holy Mother. He wanted to be initiated and become a Sannyasin. The Holy Mother satisfied his desire with much pleasure. He was very glad and sitting in Uncle Kali's drawing room sang the two songs: 'There is nothing in the world, Shyama is the only essence!' and 'I cast your image in the mould of my mind, O Shyama!' The Holy Mother liked the songs very much. Sitting near him Radhu, Maku, Nalini, one or two aunts and many others were listening to the singing. One of the aunts said, "Sister-in-law has made a monk of this boy. Such fine boys she turns into monks. With what difficulty their parents have brought them up, and pinned all their hopes on them! All that is shattered. Now he will either go to Rishikesh and beg for his food, or clean the dirt of patients in the name of service! To marry and set up a family also is a rule of creation. If you keep turning out monks like this, Mahamaya will be angry with you. If they want to be monks, let them do so by themselves. Why should they do so through your agency, aunt?" The Holy Mother replied, 'Maku, they are all children of the gods. They remain pure as flowers in the world. Can you tell what greater happiness is there than theirs? You know yourself what happiness there is in worldly life! You know also the happiness of having a husband. Are you not ashamed to go to your husband again and again? What have you learnt, staying with me so long? Why so much infatuation, so much animality? What happiness do you enjoy? If you again approach your husband, I will send you away from here. Cannot a pure thought ever come to your mind even in a dream? Can you not even now live as brother and sister? Do you want to live like a pig? My bones burn in the fire of your worldly life."1 All hung their heads in shame.

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1 Some time before this, Maku's baby son had died, and after that she had another son born to her.
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The Holy Mother continued, "Whether a man calls on God or not, if he does not marry, he is already half liberated. When the mind happens to be a little attracted to God he will progress by leaps and bounds. Family life is the result of demerits. A man involved in it, even if he is inclined to God, cannot do anything about it. He is tied hand and foot."
Of late, almost every day, the Holy Mother was having slight fever. Her body was getting very weak. Revered Sarat Maharaj was trying to take her soon to Calcutta. But he had to go to Kasi on urgent matters. So when it was proposed at that time that she should go to Calcutta, she said, "When Sarat is not there, the question of my going to Calcutta does not arise at all. To whom should I go? When I am there, if Sarat should say, 'Mother, I am going elsewhere for a few days,' then I say, 'Wait a minute, my dear. First I shall move away from here and then you may go.' Other than Sarat who will bear my burden?"

It was winter and the Holy Mother's health was getting very bad. Even then she would, as usual, get up early in the morning at three. Finishing her ablutions, she would sit for some time on her bed, covering herself with her quilt and then lie down again. We used to enter her room, then close the door and sit silent in the darkness. The Holy Mother would perhaps say, "At such and such time, do Japa of such and such a Deity, in such and such a manner" etc. A little later came up the topic of some of our monks going to live with the householders when they fall ill. The Holy Mother said, "Just because of illness why should monks live with householders? There is the monastery. A monk is the ideal of renunciation. A monk should not associate with women. And for monks to accumulate money is absolutely bad. There is nothing that money cannot do-one may lose even one's life on account of it. There was a monk in Puri, living on the seashore. He had a little money. Getting scent of it, two disciples could not control their greed. They murdered the monk and went away with his money."

One day at about nine or ten, the Holy Mother was rubbing oil on her body. An attendant just then swept the place and threw the broom on one side. The Holy Mother noticed it and said, "What is that? The job is over and straightway you threw it off so carelessly! It will take just as little time to keep it properly as it takes to throw it away. Should you neglect a thing because it is small? Whatever you care for, will care for you also. Won't you need it again? That aside, in this family, it also is a part. From that angle also it deserves a certain regard. Whatever regard a thing deserves, that must be accorded to it. Even the broom has to be replaced respectfully. An ordinary work too must be done with care and attention."

One day Radhu's dearest cat was lying at the edge of the yard. One woman was standing near by and was petting it with her foot. Gradually she placed her foot on its head also. The Holy Mother noticed it and said, "Oh dear, what are you doing? Head is the seat of the Guru. Should one place one's foot there? Salute it." The said woman responded, saying, "I never knew that, Mother. I came to know of it only now."

Some devotees came from Calcutta one morning, all tip-top. They were dressed expensively. They also brought a lot of fruits and other things for the Holy Mother. In the evening the Holy Mother was talking to herself, "They have taken the life out of me. I cannot bear any more. Some children come and my family is as if filled with peace and bliss. From somewhere vegetables and all other needed things come to hand. I never have to worry about anything. Whatever is ready, they quietly eat and get up, folding up the leaf plate. Ah, their spoken words also are like a balm to my heart. Now look at this! Since morning, I am in turmoil. They brought a binful of fruits. And half of them are so rotten as to be fit only for manure. Where to throw these? I do not know. They wear such tip-top clothing and yet they say. 'I forgot to bring my towel. Where should I go to get a towel? Still I procured one. Now my worry is what I shall cook for the night. I learn further that there is no string for their mosquito nets. Hari is now searching for thread. O Master, you look after your family yourself. As for me, I can do no more. On one side is Radhi, and on the other are all these people." I recollect one or two incidents of how some devotees exasperated the Holy Mother.

The Mother was then at Jayrambati. A little before dusk I returned from Shyambazar and saw she was lying on a mat spread in the verandah. As soon as I went, the Holy Mother said with vexation, "All of you are here, but you will have to go out upon works. Today some one came, Sri -, an elderly person. Seeing him from a distance, I went inside and sat on the cot. He made Pranam from the outside. That was all right. But he was anxious to take the dust of my feet. However much I objected and shrank back, he would not desist. In the end, more or less forcibly, he touched my feet and took the dust. Since then my feet are burning unbearably and I have mortal pain in the stomach. I washed my feet three or four times but still the burning sensation does not abate. If you were near, you would understand my sign and could have forbidden him. With regard to devotees, those boys in Calcutta are so strict. It won't do otherwise. How many types of people come! You are young boys, you cannot understand."

Finishing all out-door work, I came to the Holy Mother at dusk. She said, "Today evening B- brought a high Police Officer (she named him) to me. That man was of a peculiar nature-he came twirling his moustache and bowed down to me. He wanted to take the dust of my feet. I shrank back and could not by any means allow it. What a restless nature! And yet B-was there in front of me, praising him to the skies to his own face. On my part, I was on tenterhooks, wondering how to get rid of him. Finally I made some Halwa and, giving it to him, sent him away."

One day the Holy Mother got up after Puja at the Udbodhan house. One devotee came with some flowers and went to pay his respects to her. At the sight of this stranger, the Mother covered her whole body with a shawl and sat there on the cot hanging her feet like a new bride. The devotee offered flowers at the Holy Mother's feet, bowed down and sat down crosslegged in front of her. Sitting there like a log of wood, he began Nyasa and Pranayama. Everyone in the house was busy and there was none near the Holy Mother. She was sweating profusely. Time passed.

Seeing that the devotee was worshipping the Holy Mother, Golap-Ma had gone elsewhere on some other work. When she returned some time after and saw the same devotee sitting in the same fashion, she could understand the whole situation. Laying hold of his arm, she pulled him up to his feet and said in her natural loud voice, "Are you before a Deity of wood that you are about to enliven it by your Nyasa and Pranayama? Have you no sense? Can you not see the Mother is perspiring and is in great discomfort?"

Once another devotee went to make Pranam to the Holy Mother and knocked his head with force on her big toe. The Mother cried out with pain and stood up. When he was asked why he did so, he replied, "I knocked my head on her foot and pained her. As long as the pain is there, so long will the Mother remember me."

These two incidents, the Holy Mother narrated to us many times, to our great amusement.

As soon as revered Sarat Maharaj returned to Calcutta from Kasi, he sent an escort to bring the Holy Mother from Jayrambati. In due time, one morning she got ready for the journey with all her entourage. After every one had saluted her, K-Maharaj and H-bowed down to her. She gave them a cloth and a wrapper used by her and said, "Keep these." She placed her hand on their heads and blessed them, with tear-filled eyes. Then she started on her journey. I rode a bicycle alongside of her palanquin. On the way, in Sihore, the Holy Mother stopped the palanquin at the temple of Santinath Mahadev and offered Puja to Siva with two rupees worth of Sandesh, sugar and molasses. She then distributed the Prasad to all of us, took a little herself, and tied some at the end of her cloth for Radhu. All of us reached Koalpara in due time. That evening Radhu and other women started in bullock carts for Vishnupur. Next morning at five, when I went to the Mother at Jagadamba Ashram, she had just finished the Master's Puja with sweets and flowers, and was wrapping up his photo in a cloth and putting it in the box. She was saying to the Master, "Please rise. It is time to start." Seeing me, she said, "You have come! You are so late! It will soon be hot. Take this flower for the journey." Saying this she touched an offered flower to her head and gave it to me. Later she bade farewell to all and entered the palanquin. A little farther on she said, "Always keep near me and go attentively. Radhu's and Maku's jewels are all in Maku's palanquin." When we reached Jaypur, the Holy Mother stopped the palanquin. She got down at the inn, at which once we had cooked and taken our food on .our way to Jayrambati. Seeing it in a dilapidated state, she said laughing, "Ah, it is that same inn of ours." She spread a blanket near it and sat down. "Feed the bearers with something," she said and had two rupees worth of puffed rice given to them. She then warmed the milk for Maku's son and having washed her hands and feet in the pond in front, said, "Buy me also a pie worth of puffed rice. I'll chew a little. And for you and Maku, see if you can get some puffed rice fried in oil." I brought all these. The Holy Mother ate very little, and gave it away to us, saying, "I cannot chew anymore." After the bearers finished eating, they took up the palanquin. We crossed four miles of jungle and reached Tantipukur where we saw a few labouring class people making a hullabaloo sitting near a small shop. I was thinking that it was best to cross this area as quickly as possible. Two miles farther we should reach a somewhat inhabited area and I could be free from worry to a great extent. But the Holy Mother peeped out from-her palanquin, saw the shop and said, "Stop the palanquin a little. Sitting here my legs have become numb. Bring me half a pice worth of oil in a leaf from the shop. I shall shampoo my feet." Hearing this, I was beset with fear. Finally I told her, "Here are some people who seem to be unruly. There is no point in your getting down. Please stay inside, and I shall bring the oil." Maku was saying at the same time, "I am thirsty after eating puffed rice. I want some water to drink." The Holy Mother replied, "Drink. Go to that pond and drink." I protested, "Drink that water! It is not at all good." The Holy Mother said, "So many people drink that water on their way. Nothing will happen, go. You go with her and bring her back." I got the oil for the Holy Mother and accompanied Maku for her drink of water. Immediately on our return we resumed our journey.

At about twelve in the noon we reached Sureswar Babu's house in Vishnupur. Sureswar Babu had passed away a few months earlier. The Holy Mother said, "Ah, whenever I would come here, my Suresh would always stand there with folded hands. Sometimes he could not climb the verandah even. What devotion he had! "That day we stayed at Vishnupur, and next day noon after finishing our meals we caught a train for Calcutta, and travelling third class, reached Udbodhan by about ten at night.

Yogen-Ma and Golap-Ma saw the Holy Mother's condition and exclaimed, "Oh, dear, what a Mother have you brought us! So black in complexion! You have brought us a few bones and skin! We could never imagine that the Mother's health was so bad.'" From the very next day, Revered Sarat Maharaj made all arrangements for her treatment.

By the treatment of Dr. Shyamadas Kaviraj, the Holy Mother was a little better for a few days. One evening some women devotees came to see her. One among them was quite gorgeous in her dress and ornaments. Referring to her, the Holy Mother said, "For a woman, modesty is her ornament. Flowers are best used in the service of the Lord. Otherwise it is better that they fade away on the trees. I feel very bad when I see foppish gentlemen make sometimes a bouquet of flowers or sometimes casually put a flower to their nose and admire: 'Ah! What fine scent!' Oh dear, perhaps the very next moment, they throw it on the floor and trample it with booted feet."

One day Ramlal-Dada, Lakshmi-Didi and Ramlal-Dada's daughter came to the Holy Mother from Dakshineswar. They were on their way to the festival at Entally. Ramlal-Dada bowed down to the Holy Mother and went downstairs to Sarat Maharaj. At the request of the Holy Mother and others, Lakshmi-Didi sang in a low voice and simultaneously mimicked the sound of the play of Khol (a kind of drum) with her mouth, to the amusement of all. After that the following conversation took place about the Master's birthplace, the temple to be built there and connected matters.

Lakshmi-Didi: If it happens (if the temple comes up), it should be under our control, shouldn't it be? Their (Ramlal-Dada's and Sibu-Dada's) children will do Puja etc., and live there.

Mother: How can it be? These are all monks and devotees. Can they observe caste regulations? Ladies and gentlemen of so many countries will come here, stay here, and have their Prasad. We have to do with devotees alone. But you are householders. You have your society. You have to perform the marriage etc., of your children. Would it do for you to live along with them?

After conversing thus for a while the Holy Mother said, "Houses just like those you have now, but with corrugated iron roofing, will be built for you separately in another area, either near Yogis farm or somewhere on the western side."

Lakshmi-Didi: Then will Raghuvir and Sitala stay in the temple that is going to be built?

Mother: How is it possible? They are your family deities. On festival days your daughters and in-laws will have to worship them. That cannot be. For Raghuvir they will construct another temple. There will be left a small passage on the side so that the women can come and go. You, Ramlal or Sibu, when you go there, will be fed and accommodated in the temple with the devotees. What more worry is there for you?

Ramlal-Dada and others came upstairs to Sarat Maharaj's room. Ramlal-Dada and Lakshmi-Dadi wholeheartedly agreed to the Holy Mother's proposal, and after listening to the whole arrangement, Sarat Maharaj also expressed his happiness.

When Ramlal-Dada and Lakshmi-Didi left, the Holy Mother called me and said, "Look, talking with Lakshmi I forgot to give her a cloth and money. You go with Krishnalal to Entally and see the festival and also give this cloth and money to Lakshmi. They decorate the Deity at Entally beautifully." Saying this, she took out two rupees and a cloth and gave them to me. Later she said, "Lakshmi used to imitate the singers and sing and dance before the Master, displaying all their postures. The Master said to me, 'That is her mood. Be careful that you do not lose your modesty trying to follow her example.'"

From Jayrambati a letter came one day, conveying the news that some native of that place took to robbery and was under arrest. Hearing this, the Holy Mother said, "Oh dear, did you hear? I knew that he was a robber. But with what affection I used to treat him and give him so many things! So he was obedient to me. He would be as harmless as an earthworm with me. I live there with the responsibility of these girls and their ornaments. As for you, there is never any certainty where you will be at any time. Wicked men must be kept at a distance, in whatever manner it may be."

The Holy Mother's illness was gradually worsening. The temperature would rise only to 102° or 102.5°, but because of the burning sensation in hands and feet, there was great restlessness. Regarding it, she had been saying repeatedly, "Take me to the Ganges bank. I shall be cooled on the Ganges bank." Revered Sarat Maharaj wanted to do as she wished. But the doctors forbade all movement in her present condition. One day the Mother told me, "You take Radhu and all their set to Jayrambati and leave them there." Radhu was the Holy Mother's second heart, so to speak. She could not part with her even for a moment. And today in her worsening state of health she was directing them to be sent to Jayrambati. What could be the matter, we wondered. Gradually she was getting so much displeased with them that Nalini-Didi and others were afraid to go near her. Revered Sarat Maharaj tried to cajole the Holy Mother, "They will be unhappy to depart, leaving you in your days of illness. They will go after you get well a little." The Holy Mother replied, "It is better to send them away, so that they may never come near me again. I have no inclination to see even their shadow."

One day at noon Radu was sleeping in a side room. Her child crawled over on all fours to the Holy Mother's bed and was trying to climb on her chest. The Mother looked at it and said, "I have cut off my attachment to you totally. Go now. You cannot bind me any more." To me she said, "Take away this child elsewhere. I do not like all this any more." I took the child in my arms and gave it to its grandmother.

One day at Jayrambati when some one spoke rudely to the youngest aunt, she said, "What is that, dear? Should one speak such words as would hurt the feelings of another? Even if it is truth, it should not be told in an unpleasant manner. Finally, you will end up with that kind of nature. If one's sensitivity is lost, then nothing would control one's speech. The Master used to say, 'If you have to ask a lame man how he became lame, you must only say: How did your leg get bent this way?' "

Towards the end, the Holy Mother became so weak that she could not sit for long. But I noticed that she would be doing Japa even while lying down. Sometimes at Jayrambati I had to wake her up at one or two, at night in connection with some work or other. She would respond at the first call. When I enquired if she did not sleep, she would say, "What shall I do, my dear? My children come eagerly and take initiation. But some do nothing regularly; some others do nothing at all. I have taken up their burden, should I not look after them? And so I do Japa for them. I pray to the Master on their behalf, 'Oh Lord, arouse their spiritual consciousness. Give them liberation. This world is a well of sorrow and misery. See to it that they do not have to come to it again.'" Saying this, she would rise very slowly to a sitting position. She would continue, "With so much earnestness they take initiation. But why then are they not practising anything? Is it so difficult to do so? With a little practice one gets such joy! Ah, with what bliss Yogin-Ma and I used to do Japa for long hours at Vrindaban! Mosquitoes would cause eruptions on our faces, but we were unaware of it all."

One day the Holy Mother said, "However much of Japa you do, however much of work you perform all is for nothing. If Mahamaya does not open the way, is anything possible for anyone? Oh bound soul! Surrender, surrender. Then alone will She take compassion on you and leave your path open." Saying this, she told an incident in the Master's life at Kamarpukur. "One day in the month of Jyeshta, there was a heavy rain one evening. The whole field was covered with water. The Master was going along the main road near Dompada wading in the water. There, seeing that many fish had accumulated, people were beating them to death with sticks. One fish kept going round and round the Master's feet. Noticing it, he said, 'Hey, do not kill this fish. It is going round my feet, surrendering itself to me. If anybody can, let him take this fish and set it free in the pond.' Then he himself set it free and came home and said, 'Ah, if anyone could surrender in this manner, then alone can he find protection.'"


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