Gospel of Holy Mother Sarada Devi
31st December 1909
It was about nine in the morning. The Holy Mother had been preparing betel-rolls when I came to see her. Soon we were engaged in conversation.
Disciple: Mother, I have seen and heard so much; still I cannot recognize you as my 'own mother'.
Mother: If you do not think of me as your 'own', how is it that you come here so often? You will know your 'own mother' in proper time.
After a while I said to her, referring to my parents and brothers, "My parents brought me up. I do not know where they are now (after their death), or how they live. Please give your blessings that my brothers may have good tendencies."
Mother: Do most people ever want God? There are so many people in this very family; but do all want the Lord?
After a few minutes she said to me, "Don't marry. Don't enter worldly life. What should you fear if you are a celibate? Wherever you may live, you will be free."
Disciple: But, Mother, I have fear.
Mother: No, have no fear. All depends upon the will of the Master.
Disciple: The mind is the whole thing. If it be in a pure state, it does not matter where I live. Please see, Mother, that my mind always remains pure.
Mother: May it be so!
2nd January 1910
It was the birthday of the Holy Mother. A few days before, Prabodh Babu had come to Jayrambati and given five rupees to the brothers of the Holy Mother for special worship on her birthday. The Mother said to them, "You need not do anything special today. I shall wear a new cloth; the Master will be worshipped with a sweet offering and I shall partake of it later on. That is all for this occasion."
After the worship in the shrine, the Holy Mother sat on her couch with her feet hanging down. She had put on a new piece of cloth. Prabodh Babu offered some flowers at her feet. I stood on the porch near the door. The Mother said to me, "What! Won't you offer some flowers? Here they are. Take them." Then I also offered flowers at her feet. We enjoyed a sumptuous feast at midday and afterwards Prabodh Babu left for Calcutta; but as I was indisposed, I remained at Jayrambati.
5th January 1910
In the course of a conversation the Mother said, "Can you tell me if anyone could bind God? Mother Yasoda could and also the cowherd boys and milkmaids of Brindavan could, because He Himself allowed them to do so."
"As long as a man has desires, there is no end to his transmigration. It is the desires alone that make him take one body after another. There will be rebirth for a man if he has even the desire to eat a piece of sweetmeat. It is for this reason that a variety of foodstuffs are brought to Belur Math. Desire maybe compared to a minute seed. It is like a big banyan tree growing out of a seed, which is no bigger than a dot. Rebirth is inevitable so long as one has desires. It is like taking the soul from one pillowcase and putting it into another; only one or two out of many men can be found who are free from all desires. Though one gets a new body on account of desires, yet one does not completely lose spiritual consciousness if one has to one's credit merits from previous births."
"A priest in the temple of Govinda in Brindavan used to feed his mistress with the food-offerings of the Deity. As a result of this sin, he got the body of a ghoul after his death. But he had served God in the temple. As a result of this merit, he one day appeared before all in his own physical body. It was possible for him to do so, on account of his past good actions. He told people the cause of his inferior birth and said to them further, 'Please arrange a religious festival and music for the redemption of my soul from this state. That will free me.'"
Disciple: Is it possible to be freed from such states through religious festivals and music?
Mother: Yes; that is enough for the Vaishnavas. They do not perform such obsequies as Sraddha and so forth.
Once I visited the image of Jagannath at Puri at the time of the Car Festival. I wept in sheer joy to see so many people having a view of the image of the Deity. 'Ah,' I said to myself, 'it is good. They will all be saved.' But later on I realized that it was not so. Only one or two who were absolutely free from desires could attain liberation. When I narrated the incident to Yogin Ma, she corroborated this by saying, 'Yes, Mother, only people who are free from desires attain liberation (Mukti).'
* * *
One morning, while taking my breakfast on the verandah of the Holy Mother's room, I asked her, "Mother, will I have to be initiated into Sannyasa if I am to live in Belur Math?"
Mother: Yes, my child.
Disciple: But, Mother, the monastic life begets a terrible vanity.
Mother: Yes, that is true. A monk may become very vain. He may think, 'See, he does not respect me. He does not bow down before me, and so on.' (Pointing to her own white cloth).1 One should rather live thus (meaning possessed of inner renunciation). Gaur Siromani2 took to the monastic life in his old age when his sense-organs had become dull. Is it possible, my child, to get rid of vanity - vanity of beauty, vanity of virtue, vanity of knowledge and vanity of a holy life?
1 The white cloth is the symbol of the householder where the monks put on ochre clothes.
2 He was an outstanding holy man of the Vaishnava sect. He visited the Holy Mother in Brindavan.
The Holy Mother exhorted me to make ready for the life of renunciation. "Go home," said she, "and tell your brothers once and for all, 'I will not accept any job; I need not be a slave for anyone, now that my mother is no more. I will not do anything of that sort. You be happy with your householder's duties.'"
The Mother and I were engaged in conversation in the evening.
Disciple: Mother, one gets spiritual realization at any time the grace of God descends on him. Then he does not have to wait for the right time.
Mother: That is true; but can the mango which ripens out of season be as sweet as the one which ripens in the month of Jaishtha that is, the proper season? Men are trying to get fruits out of season. You see, nowadays one gets mangoes and jackfruits even in the month of Asvin (autumn). But these are not as sweet those found in the proper season. This is also true of the efforts that lead to God-realization. Perhaps you practise some Japa and austerities in this life; in the next life you may intensify the spiritual mood and in the following life you advance further.
Referring to one's attaining spiritual realisation suddenly, the Mother said, "God has the nature of the child. One man does not ask for it, yet He gives it to him, whereas another man asks for it and God will not give it to him. It is all His whim."
* * * *
Another day while the Holy Mother was seated on her porch preparing betel-rolls, I said to her, "In future, how many will practise spiritual disciplines to propitiate you!" Mother said with a smile, "What do you say! All will say, 'Ah, the Mother had such a gout, she used to limp like this!' "
Disciple: You may say that.
Mother: That's good. That is why the Master used to say when he was lying ill at the Cossipore garden, "Those who came to me expecting some earthly gain have disappeared, saying, 'Ah, he is an Incarnation of God! How can he be ill? This is all Maya.' But those who are my ‘own’ have been suffering a great deal in seeing this misery."...
UDBODHAN OFFICE, CALCUTTA
On the day previous to my initiation I said to the Holy Mother, "Mother, I want to be initiated." Mother said, "Have you not been initiated yet?" I answered in the negative. "I thought that you had been initiated," she said. After initiating me, she blessed me, saying "May your body and mind become pure by repeating the name of God!"
Disciple: What is the need of repeating the Mantra with the fingers? Is it not enough to do so mentally?
Mother: God has given the fingers that they may be blessed by repeating His Name with them.
25th September 1910
The Mother was engaged in a conversation with me in the morning.
Disciple: Mother, if there exists some being called God, why is there so much suffering and misery in the world? Does He not see it? Has He not the power to remove it?
Mother: The creation itself is full of misery and happiness. Could anyone appreciate happiness if misery did not exist? Besides, how is it possible for all persons to be happy? Sita once said to Rama, "Why don't you remove the suffering and unhappiness of all your subjects? Please make all the inhabitants of your kingdom happy. If you only will, you can easily do it." Rama said, "Is it ever possible for all persons to be happy at the same time?" "Why not?" asked Sita, "Please supply from the royal treasury the means of satisfying everyone's wants." "All right," said Rama, "Your will shall be carried out." Rama sent for Lakshmana and said to him, "Go and notify everyone in my empire that whatever he wants he may get from the royal treasury." At this the subjects of Rama came to the palace and told their wants. The royal treasury began to flow without stint. When everyone was spending his days joyously, through the Maya of Rama the roof of the building in which Rama and Sita lived, started to leak. Workmen were sent for to repair the building. But where were workmen to be had? There was not a labourer in the kingdom. In dire absence of masons, carpenters and artisans all buildings went out of repair, and work was at a standstill. The subjects of Rama informed the king of their difficulties. Finding no other help, Sita said to Rama. "It is no longer possible to bear the discomfort of the leaking roof. Please arrange things as they were before. Then all will be able to procure workmen. Now I realize that it is not possible for all persons to be happy at the same time." "Let it be so," said Rama. Instantaneously all things were as before and workmen could once more be engaged. Sita said to Rama, "Lord, this creation is your wonderful sport!" No one will suffer for all time. No one will spend all his days on this earth in suffering. Every action brings its own result and one gets one's opportunities accordingly.
Disciple: Is everything then due to Karma?
Mother: If not, to what else? Don't you see the scavenger carrying the tub on his head?
Disciple: Whence does one first get the propensity, which leads him to an action, good or bad? You may say, as an explanation of the propensities of this life, that they are due to the actions of the previous life, and the propensities of that life to the preceding one. But where is the beginning?
Mother: Nothing can happen without the will of God. Not even a blade of grass can move. When a man passes into a favourable time, he gets the desire to contemplate on God. But when the time is unfavourable, he gets all the facilities for doing evil actions. Everything happens in time according to the will of God. It is God alone who expresses His will through the actions of man. Could Naren (Swami Vivekananda) by himself have accomplished all those things? He was able to succeed because God worked through him. The Master has predetermined what he is going to accomplish. If anyone surrenders himself totally at his feet, then the Master will see that everything is set right. One must bear with everything, because everything is determined by actions (Karmas). Again, our present actions can counteract the effect of past actions.
Disciple: Can action ever cancel action?
Mother: Why not? If you do a good action, that will counter act your past evil action. Past sins can be counteracted by meditation, Japa and spiritual thought.
I had heard that a boy in the Mirzapur Street was possessed by a ghost. Some members of the Udbodhan Office had visited the boy yesterday. I asked the Mother, "How long does one live in the spirit body!"
Mother: All people, excepting highly evolved souls, live in the spirit body for a year. After that, food and water are offered in Gaya for the satisfaction of the departed souls and religious festivals are arranged. By these means the souls of the departed are released from their spirit body. They go to other planes of existence and experience pleasure or pain, and in course of time, are born again in human forms according to their desires. Others attain salvation from those planes. But if a person has some meritorious action to his credit in this life, he does not lose spiritual consciousness altogether in his spirit body.
Here the Mother referred to the spirit of the Vaishnava priest of the Govindaji temple in Brindavan.
Disciple: Is it possible for one to attain to a higher state if one's Sraddha ceremony is performed in Gaya?
Mother: Yes, that is true.1
1 In this connection I am reminded of another incident. The Holy Mother was in Banaras. I had left a day or two before for Gaya to perform the Sraddha ceremony for my dead ancestors. I had said to the Holy Mother before my departure, "Mother, please give your blessings that my ancestors may attain heaven." On the very night of the day I offered food and drink in Gaya for the gratification of my departed ancestors, Bhudev, the Mother's nephew, who had accompanied her to Banaras saw the Holy Mother in a dream, engaged in Japa, with a crowd of people around her, saying, "Please give me salvation! Please give me salvation!" The Mother sprinkled over them the holy water kept in a jar and said, "Go away, you are saved!" Then they departed in great happiness. Then another man appeared. The Mother said to him, "I cannot continue like this any longer." He begged of her a long time and at last received her grace. The next day Bhudev narrated this dream to the Holy Mother and she said in reply. "R has gone to Gaya to perform the Sraddha ceremony of his ancestors. Therefore all these people have obtained their salvation." In fact, while offering oblations for my departed ancestors with great sincerity, I had also offered food and drink for the salvation of all persons whose names I could remember at that time. I had prayed for the salvation of all of them.
Disciple: Then what is the necessity of spiritual practices?
Mother: These dead souls, no doubt, attain to a higher state and live there for some time, but afterwards they are again born in this world according to their past desires. After their birth in a human body some of them obtain salvation in this life, whereas others take inferior births to reap the results of their Karma. This world is moving around like a wheel. That indeed is the last birth in which one gets rid of all desires completely.
Disciple: You just referred to the dead souls attaining to a divine state. Do they go there by themselves or does someone lead them?
Mother: No, they go by themselves. The subtle body is like a body made of air.
Disciple: What happens to those for whom no Sraddha ceremony is performed in Gaya?
Mother: They live in the spirit body until some fortunate ones born in their family perform the Sraddha ceremony in Gaya or some other forms of obsequies.
Disciple: We hear of ghosts and spooks. Are they the attendants of Siva or simply spirits? Or are they the spirits of dead people?
Mother: They are the spirits of the dead. The spirit attendants of Siva belong to a special group. One must live very carefully. Every action produces its results. It is not good to harass others or use harsh words towards others.
Disciple: Mother, a margosa tree does not produce a mango, nor does a mango tree produce a margosa fruit. Everyone reaps the result of his own Karma.
Mother: You are right, my child. In course of time one does not feel even the existence of God. After attaining wisdom (Jnana) one sees that gods and deities are all Maya. Everything comes into existence in time and also disappears in time.
* * *
It was morning and we were talking with the Holy Mother.
Mother: After Sri Ramakrishna passed away, while staying alone at Kamarpukur, I thought within myself, "I have no children. There is no one in this world whom I can call my own. What will happen to me?" Then the Master appeared to me and said, "Well, you want a son. I have given you so many jewels of sons. And in course of time you will hear many many more people addressing you as Mother."
While I was going to Brindavan, I saw the Master look at me through the window of the railway carriage and say, "You have the gold amulet with you. See that you do not lose it."
I had tied his amulet on my arm. I used to worship it. Later I gave it to the Belur Math. They worship it there.
Devotee: That amulet, it seems, was lost this year on the Master's Tithi Puja day. Along with flowers and Bel leaves, that also was thrown into the Ganges, unknowingly. When water receded at the ebb tide, Ram Babu's son found it while playing there and brought it back.
Mother: It is his amulet. It must be preserved carefully. The talk turned to Belur Math.
Mother: Of a truth, I always saw as though the Master lived on the land on the other side of the Ganga (that is, opposite to Dakshineswar) in a cottage just where the present monastery and plantain trees are. (At the time there was no Math). After the new land was purchased for the Math, Naren took me there one day. He showed me each and every part of it and said, "Mother, now you can move about in your own place at will without any restraint."
At Bodh Gaya I saw the Math of that place with so much of property. There was no dearth of any commodity there. I used to weep and pray to the Master: 'Oh, Master, my children have no place to stay, nothing to eat. They go wandering from door to door. If only they could have a place like this to stay!' And so by the grace of the Master this Math came up.
One day Naren came and said, "Mother, just now I offered one hundred and eight Bel leaves to the Master, so that we could have a piece of land for the Math. That Karma can never go without its fruit. One day it will certainly happen that way."
At night after food I went to bring the betel-rolls and heard these words from the Holy Mother: "Naren said, 'Mother, now-a-days everything of mine is flying away. I see that every thing flies away.'" The Mother smilingly continued, "I said, 'please take care. Don't send me also flying.' At that Naren answered, 'Mother, if I were to send you flying, where shall I remain? That Jnana which makes nothing of the lotus feet of the Guru is surely Ajnana. If the Guru's lotus feet are slighted, where is the basis for Jnana?' "
Having said this, she continued, "After knowledge dawns, God and all else vanish into nothing. Mother, Mother - in the end my Mother pervades the whole universe. Everything becomes One. This is the simple truth."
* * * *
The Holy Mother was sorting Bel leaves for the daily worship, when I showed her one of the photographs of her that had been printed recently. I asked if it was a good likeness of hers.
Mother: Yes, this is a good picture, but I was stouter before it was taken. Yogen (Swami Yogananda) was very ill at that time. Worrying about him, I became emaciated. I was very unhappy then. I would weep when Yogen's illness took a turn for the worse and I would feel happy when he felt better. Mrs. Sarah Bull took this photograph. At first I did not agree to it; but she insisted and said, "Mother, I shall take this picture to America and worship it." At last the picture was taken.
Disciple: Mother, that photograph of Sri Ramakrishna which you have with you is a very good one. One feels it when one sees the picture. Well, is that a good likeness of the Master?
Mother: Yes, that picture is very, very good. It originally belonged to a Brahmana cook. Several prints were made of his first photograph. The Brahmana took one of them. The picture was at first very dark, just like the image of Kali. Therefore it was given to the Brahmana. When he left Dakshineswar for some place—I do not remember where—he gave it to me. I kept the photograph with the pictures of other gods and goddesses and worshipped it. At that time I lived on the ground floor of the Nahabat. One day the Master came there and at the sight of the picture he said, "Hallo, what is all this?" Lakshmi and I had been cooking under the staircase. Then I saw the Master take in his hand the Bel leaves and flowers kept there for worship, and offer them to the photograph. He worshipped the picture. This is the same picture. That Brahmana never returned; so the picture remained with me.
Disciple: Mother, did you ever see the face of the Master to be pale at the time of his Samadhi?
Mother: Why, I don't remember to have seen it so. On the other hand, I always saw a smile on his face in his ecstatic mood.
Disciple: It is possible to have a smile during the state of emotional ecstasy (Bhava Samadhi); but regarding the photograph of his sitting posture, the Master had said that it was a picture of a very exalted state. Is it possible to have a smile in that state?
Mother: But I have seen him smile in all states of Samadhi.
Disciple: Of what complexion was he?
Mother: His complexion was like the colour of gold-like that of Harital (yellow orpiment). His complexion blended with the colour of the golden amulet, which he wore on his arm. When I used to rub him with oil, I could clearly see a lustre coming out of his entire body. A youth with a very fair complexion once came to the Kali temple at Dakshineswar. The Master said to me, "Both of us (the man and the Master) will walk side by side in the Panchavati. You judge who is the fairer of the two." They started walking and I observed that the youth was slightly fairer than the Master. He was 19 or 20 years old.
When the Master would come out of his room in the temple, people used to stand in line and say to one another, "Ah, there he goes!" He was fairly stout. Mathur Babu gave him a low stool to sit on. It was a rather wide stool, but it was not quite big enough to hold him comfortably when he would squat on it to take his meals. People would look at him wonder-struck when he went with slow, steady steps to the Ganges to take his bath.
When he was at Kamarpukur, the men and women there looked at him with mouths agape whenever he chanced to come out of the house. One day as he went out for a walk in the direction of the canal known as 'Bhutir Khal', the women who had gone there to fetch water looked at him agape and said, "There the Master goes!" Annoyed at this, Sri Ramakrishna said to Hriday, "Well, Hridu, please put a veil on my head at once."
I never saw the Master sad. He was joyous in the company of everyone, were he a boy of five or a man of ripe old age. I never saw him morose, my child. Ah, what happy days those were! At Kamarpukur he would get up early in the morning and tell me, "Today I shall eat this particular green, please cook it for me." With the other women of the family I would accordingly arrange for his meal. After a few days he said, "What has come over me? The moment I get up from sleep I say, 'What shall I eat? What shall I eat?'" Then he said to me, "I have no desire for any particular food. I shall eat whatever you will cook for me."
He used to go to Kamarpukur to get relief from the severe diarrhoea from which he was suffering at Dakshineswar. He used to say, "Goodness, my belly is filled only with filth. There is no end to it!" Suffering thus, he developed a kind of hatred for the body and thereafter he did not pay much heed to it.
Once, in Kamarpukur, the Master came across a big fish, which had come on the road from the nearby overflowing tank. He helped it back into the tank, saying, "Run, run for your life! If Hridu sees you, he will finish you off in no time." Returning home, he told Hriday, "O Hridu! Today I saw a very big fish of yellow hue that had come on the road. I helped it back into the tank." "O Uncle! What have you done!", cried Hriday, "Alas! A big fish like that would have made a delicious dish!"
Nowadays you see so many devotees everywhere. There is so much excitement and noise. But during the illness of the Master one of the devotees ran away in order to avoid giving twenty rupees! The expenses for the treatment of the Master during his illness were raised by subscription, and this devotee had been asked to contribute that sum. Now it is not at all difficult to serve the Master. For though food is offered to him, it is really eaten by the devotees. If you make the Master sit, he will sit. If you make him lie down, he will remain in that position. After all, he is only a picture!
The Master saw (in a vision) Balaram Babu with a turban on his head and his hands folded, standing by the image of Kali. Balaram always remained with folded hands before the Master. He never saluted the Master by touching his feet. The Master understood his thought and would say to him, "O Balaram, my foot is itching. Kindly massage it gently." Immediately Balaram would send for Naren or Rakhal or someone else among the boys who attended on the Master, and ask him to massage his feet!
Disciple: Once I asked Swami Brahmananda about Sri Ramakrishna's complexion. He said, "The Master's complexion was just like ours."
Mother: Yes, he looked like that when Rakhal and other disciples met him. At that time he had lost his former good health and complexion. For example, look at me and see my complexion and health. Did I look like this formerly? No, I was very pretty then. I was not stout, but later on I became so.
In Dakshineswar I lived very quietly and unobserved by people in general. The manager of the temple used to say, 'We have heard that she lives here, but we have never seen her.' At that time I would see the Master perhaps once in two months. I used to console my mind by saying, 'O mind, are you so fortunate that you can see him everyday?' I used to stand behind the screen round the verandah of the Nahabat, and hear the Master sing and see him dance in ecstasy through the holes in the screen. It was standing there long that brought on the rheumatism in my legs. He would tell me, 'A wild bird, if kept within a cage day and night, gets rheumatic. So you should have a walk at times in the neighbourhood.'
I would bathe at 4 a.m. As the day advanced, a little sunshine would come near the staircase, and I would dry my hair then. I had very long hair in those days. A small room, after all, in the Nahabat! And that too used to be full of things. Many things were even stored in stringed suspenders from the ceiling. But I never experienced any difficulty.
It was the time of worship. The Mother made herself ready to go to the shrine room. I came downstairs. After the worship was over, I went upstairs again to bring the Prasada for the devotees. As I took the leaves containing the sweets and fruits, suddenly my elbow touched the Holy Mother's feet. "Ah!" said the Mother, and saluted me with folded hands. "That's nothing," said I. But she was not satisfied with merely bowing down before me and said, "Come, my child, let me kiss you." She touched my chin with her hand and kissed the hand and so became pacified. Thus she used to respect her disciples as the manifestations of God and at the same time show her affection to them as a mother does to her children.
UDBODHAN (PRAYER-HALL) 29th October 1910
It was early in the morning. I was seated near the Mother's bed. She began to talk to me about the Master.
Mother: On the very day I reached Puri, I quickly finished the worship of the Master in the morning by placing his picture on a tin containing ghee. Then I went to visit the temple of Sri Jagannath after locking the room. When I returned, I saw the picture of the Master at the foot of the tin. The others too came and observed it. All felt that some thief might have entered the house in our absence. But all the things in the room remained undisturbed. At last I noticed that big red ants had gathered on the tin - it was ghee tin, you see. Since they had approached the picture of the Master also, he had comedown and settled himself below!
Disciple: Does the Master really live in the picture?
Mother: Of course, he does. The body and the shadow are the same.1 And what is his picture but a shadow?
1 It is for this reason that one does not walk over the shadow of an elder. One day, while living at Jayrambati, I was returning home after my bath. The Mother was also coming back from the tank. I was walking by her side, and now and then I stepped over her shadow. The Mother asked me to walk on her other side. At first I did not know that I had been walking over her shadow.
Disciple: Does he live in all the pictures?
Mother: Yes. If you pray to him constantly before his picture then he manifests himself through that picture. The place where the picture is kept becomes a shrine. Suppose a man worships the Master there (pointing to a plot of land north of the Udbodhan), then the place is associated with his presence.
Disciple: Well, good and bad memories are associated with all places.
Mother: It is not exactly like that. The Master will pay special attention to such a place.
Disciple: Does the Master really partake of the food that you offer him?
Mother: Yes, he does.
Disciple: But we do not see any sign of it.
Mother: A light comes out of his eyes and licks all the articles of food. His ambrosial touch replenishes them again, so there is no decrease.
The Lord comes down from Vaikuntha (the heavenly abode of Sri Vishnu) to where the devotee calls him. On the night of the Kojagari Purnima, Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth) comes down to the earth from Vaikuntha. She visits and accepts the worship in those places where she wants to bestow her special grace. My mother-in-law had seen at Kamarpukur a fair girl, about 14 or 15 years old, with ear-rings made of conch-shells, and with diamond bangles on the arm. The goddess Lakshmi Herself, who had come in the form of the girl, spoke to her under the Bakul tree (opposite the house of the Master). My mother-in-law asked, "Who are you, dear?" Sri Lakshmi replied, "Oh! I have specially come here!" My mother-in-law asked, "Have you seen my son (Ramkumar, the elder brother of Sri Ramakrishna)? He has gone to perform worship. It is already so late, and he has not returned yet." "Yes, he is on his way back," said Lakshmi, "From that place itself, I have now come to visit your house." "No, dear," said my mother-in-law, "there is nobody at home. Please do not come now." Hearing such repeated refusals to entertain her, the goddess disappeared saying, "All right. Anyway, I will look after you all in a general way." So, you see, their circumstances never improved to a great extent. However, they could maintain themselves on coarse food and clothing.
My mother-in-law had seen the girl come from the direction of the house of the Lahas, where the corn used to be stored. On his return, when my brother-in-law heard of all this, he exclaimed, "O Mother, you did not understand! Today is Kojagari Purnima. Lakshmi Herself had come!" He could foretell things, and verified this incident by astrological calculations.
Why? Does the Master require any food? He doesn't. He eats the food-offering only for the gratification of the devotees. The sacred Prasada purifies the heart. The mind becomes impure, if one eats food without first offering it to God.1
1 A devotee had once accepted from the Holy Mother the ochre robe of the monastic life. He suffered from illness for some years and had been to several places for, change of air. Later he spent some time at his home instead of living at the monastery. One day he came to Jayrambati and returned the ochre robe to the Holy Mother. Referring to the incident, the Holy Mother said, "Alas! His mind has become impure on account of his eating the food of worldly-minded people."
Disciple: Does the Master really partake of the food-offering?
Mother: Yes, do I not notice whether he partakes of the food or not? The Master takes the seat before the plate and then partakes of the food.
Disciple: Do you then actually see it?
Mother: Yes. In the case of some offerings, he actually eats and in other cases he merely looks at them. Take your own case. You don't like to eat all things at all times. Nor do you relish the food offered by anyone and everyone. It is like that. One's love of God depends entirely upon one's inner feeling. Love of God is the essential thing.
Disciple: How does one get love of God? Even if one's own son be brought up by someone else, he does not recognize his own mother as his mother.
Mother: Yes, that is true. The grace of God is the thing that is needed. One should be fit to deserve the grace of God.
Disciple: How can one speak of deserving grace, or not deserving it? Grace is the same for all.
Mother: One must pray sitting on the bank of the river. He will be taken across in proper time.
Disciple: Everything happens when the proper time comes. Then where does God's grace come in?
Mother: Must you not sit with the fishing rod in your hand, if you want to catch the fish?
Disciple: If God be our 'own', why then should one sit and wait?
Mother: That is true. It may happen even out of season. Don't you see now-a-days how people get fruits like mango and jack out of season? How many mangoes grow nowadays in: the month of Bhadra?
Disciple: Is it all, that He sends us away by giving us what we deserve? Or, can one get Him as one's very own? Is God my very 'own'?
Mother: Yes, God is one's very 'own'. It is the eternal relationship. He is everyone's 'own'. One realizes Him in proportion to the intensity of one's feeling for Him.
Disciple: Intense feeling is like a dream. A man dreams what he thinks.
Mother: Yes, it is a dream. The whole world is a dream; even this (the waking state) is a dream.
Disciple: No, this is not a dream, for then it would have disappeared in the twinkling of an eye. This state exists for many, many births.
Mother: Let it be so; still it is nothing but dream. What you dreamt last night does not exist now. (As a matter of fact, on the previous night the disciple had an amazing dream). A farmer who lost a son dreamt at night that he was a king and the father of eight sons. When the dream vanished, he said to his wife, "Shall I weep for my eight children or for this one?"
After arguing thus with the Mother, I said, "Mother, I. don't really bother my head about what I just said to you. All that I want to know is whether there is anyone whom I may call my 'own'."
Mother: Yes, such a One exists.
Disciple: If He be really our 'own', then why should we pray unto Him in order to see Him? One who is truly my 'own' would come to me even if I did not call on Him. Does God do things for us as our parents do?
Mother: Yes, that is true my child. He Himself has become our father and mother. He Himself brings us up as our parents. It is He alone who looks after us. Otherwise where were you and where are you now? Your parents brought you up, but at last realized that you did not belong to them. Have you not seen a cuckoo brought up in the nest of a crow?
Disciple: Shall I realize God as really my 'own'?
Mother: Yes, surely you will realize Him. Whatever you yearn for, that you will get. Did not Swamiji (referring to Swami Vivekananda) realize Him? You too will realize Him as Swamiji did.
Disciple: Mother, please see that I am not overcome by fear or slackening of faith.
Mother: There is no such danger for you. For I myself have hooked the fish.
Disciple: That is good. We all shall enjoy it.
Mother: Yes, that is right. One makes the mould and many others make their images from it.
Disciple: Yes, we shall get everything if you only work for us. You cannot set us aside.
Mother: Yes, my child, you will have all if I do it for you.
UDBODHAN 26th November, 1910, 7 a.m.
The Mother had gone the day before to see Gupta Maharaj (Swami Sadananda) who was ill. Boshi and Tabu were nursing him with great care. The Mother praised them, saying-, "They are really holy. Blessed indeed are they! Whom else shall we call holy?"
"YoginChatterjee's (Swami Nityananda's) disciples too nursed him carefully. They were all from East Bengal. All young boys used to serve the Master at Kasipur. He used to keep them in good humour by saying all sorts of things. He used to say, 'How will they be able to endure so much hardship, if they do not get any joy?' He was very tactful. He didn't need much nursing. His diet too was very spare. .
"One day he wanted to eat Amalaki (myrobalan). Durgacharan (Nag Mahashaya) came three days later with two or three very big ones. He had not eaten for three days. Taking the Amalaki in his hands, the Master was in tears. He said to Durgacharan, 'I thought that you had left for Dhaka or somewhere.' He then asked me to prepare a pungent dish for Durgacharan, as people from East Bengal like it pungent. When it was ready, the Master himself sat down to eat. Durgacharan had Prasada after the Master had tasted all the various preparations.
"The expenses at the Kasipur household were very high. Three separate menus had to be prepared: one for the Master, one for the youngsters like Naren, and one for the rest. Subscriptions were raised to meet the expenses. One of the devotees dropped away for fear of having to pay!
"The Master's disease was due to accepting the sins of others. He used to say, 'It is due to Girish's sins; He would not have been able to bear all this suffering.' The Master had the power to die at will. He could have easily given up the body in Samadhi. But he would say, 'It will be nice if I unite all these youngsters together in a close bond of love.' Until then, merely a 'how-do-you-do' relationship existed between them: 'Naren Babu, how are you?', 'Rakhal Babu, how do you do?', and so on. That is why the Master did not give up the body early, in spite of so much suffering."
UDBODHAN 14th April, 1911
In the morning I carried to the shrine the flowers meant for the worship of Sri Ramakrishna. It was late, so the Mother said, "Please come with the flowers as soon as they are brought." The Mother used to perform the worship after making all the necessary arrangements for it herself. She was sitting on her cot, and beckoned me near her and enquired about a certain devotee.
Mother: Is he downstairs?
Disciple: . Yes, Mother.
Mother: What does he do? Is he studying?
Disciple: May be. But probably he is not a regular student.
Mother: Won't he go to the Belur Math?
Disciple: No. He doesn't want to go there.
Mother: All of you should persuade him.
Disciple: I tried my best. You please tell him, Mother. May be then he will go and stay at the Math at least for some days.
Mother: I have also told him, but he would pay no heed. He doesn't want to go. He fears that others may tease him for going there. Sarat also spoke to me about that boy: "Shouldn't the boy have some regard for our advice, and the words of Maharajji (Swami Brahmananda)? Let him go and stay for at least two days at the Math in obedience to Maharajji's wish." That is right. The boy should go with Rakhal and stay for some days at Puri. How will the boy be able to wander about alone? Where will he get food?
Disciple: That is no problem. He will beg for food. But he should go to the Math once, at least in obedience to the advice of Maharaj and the other elders.
Mother: That is right. The advice of the elders must be obeyed. The boy has no desire to work. How can the mind be kept well without any work? Is it possible to meditate for all the twenty-four hours of the day? So one has to take up some work. That keeps the mind in good shape. How is your work going on?
Disciple: It is going on all right.
Mother: You had written about going to Rameswaram. It is good, my child, that you did not go. The journey is indeed hazardous.
Disciple: Sarat Maharaj wanted to send me. 'But from where could the funds come? Had I gone, all the burden of bearing my expenses would have fallen on Sasi Maharaj.
Mother: Yes. He has already spent a thousand rupees on our pilgrimage.
UDBODHAN 15th April, 1911
The next day Mother was preparing betel-rolls in the room to the south of the shrine. It was nearly 11 a.m. When I went to her, she enquired about the boy who had come on the previous day, "Has he left?"
Disciple: Yes. He may stay for a day or two at the house of Dr. Kanjilal. Sarat Maharaj said, "If the. boy has left with pride and egoism, then he will degenerate more and more as days pass. And if he has left out of shame, then if the Master wills, he may again turn over a new leaf."
Mother: What does it matter? He is after all a boy, not a girl. It is easy to break. How many can build? All can criticize and make fun of him; but how many can bring him on the right path? Man is prone to weakness.
Disciple: Sarat Maharaj said, "It is possible for only a noble-minded person to live alone, while one with an impure mind becomes all the more degenerated thereby."
Mother: Why should he fear? The Master will protect him. Are there not many monks who live all alone?
Disciple: Even Hriday Mukherjee lost the company of the Master in later days.
Mother: Is it possible for anyone to enjoy a good thing eternally?
Disciple: He, it seems, had also troubled the Master a lot, and used very offensive language with him.
Mother: When one has done so much dedicated service, what does it matter if he says a few unpleasant things? It is natural for one who really takes so much care, to say sometimes things like that.
Disciple: This boy too served you very much and now see what has happened!
Mother: How is it possible to get along without any discipline? How else can one improve?
In the month of Aswin, on the day of the Mahasaptami, the first day of the worship of Mother Durga, two young devotees presented themselves before the Mother. On the Mahashtami day they offered lotus flowers at the feet of the Mother. One of them said, "Mother please, ordain me into the vows of Sannyasa." The other young boy too joined in the request. The Mother smiled a little and said, "All in due course, children. Why do you worry?" The devotee persisted, "Mother, you must give us Sannyasa.. Give us the ochre cloth."
The Mother now spoke a little seriously: "What will you gain by putting on the ochre cloth? What is so special in it? Neither of you has entered married life; you are already Sannyasins. All the other things will follow in due course. "
The devotee said, "Mother, I wish to throwaway my sacred thread, cloth, and all, and remain absorbed in the contemplation of the Divine like Trailanga Swami." Mother said smilingly, "It will happen, child, when the right time comes." Now the devotee began speaking rather excitedly: "Mother, here it is-I am throwing away the cloth and the sacred-thread," and actually was about to do so, when the Mother said rather hurriedly, "Enough of it now. At proper time, these things will leave you by themselves."
Still his childish behaviour did not stop. He said, "Bless me Mother, with at least a drop of madness that had come upon the Master. Make me mad, Mother." And again, "Mother, will you not endow us with devotion? Won't you bestow on us the vision of the Master?" Mother said, "Everything will come to pass, my child, in due course." Both the boys went out of the room after prostrating themselves before the Mother.
At noon, all sat down for meals. The same young devotee again spoke, "How have you cooked this rice-pudding? It does not at all taste well." The Mother smiled and said, "What can I do, child? Sufficient quantity of milk is not available here." Kedar's mother was nearby. She said, "Very good. You are all Mother's children. Bring plenty of things, then the Mother will be able to feed you to your heart's content." This did not even reach the devotee's ears. He went on, "Mother, today I could not eat my fill. I will come gain and eat to my satisfaction. You must also allow me to meet you one day at the Udbodhan." The Mother agreed to this request.
In the forenoon a devotee had arrived from Shillong. Doubtful about the divine nature of the Mother; he had taken a vow that he would not visit her unless he had seen her in dream seven times. He had the requisite visions. Therefore he had gone to Jayrambati to pay his respects to her. In the afternoon, as he was about to take leave of her, he said, "Mother, I shall say good-bye now. Do I need anything else?"
Mother: Yes, surely. You must have your initiation.
Devotee: I may have it at Baghbazar in Calcutta.
Mother: Better finish that task, my child. Have your initiation today.
Devotee: But I have eaten the Prasada.
Mother: That doesn't matter.
After the initiation, the devotee departed.
The mental state of the eccentric devotee who had come in the morning took a turn for the worse after he returned home from Jayrambati. He became restless for the vision of the Master and felt piqued to think that though the Holy Mother could, by her mere will, make him get a vision of Sri Ramakrishna, she refused to do so. In a very angry state of mind he came back to Jayrambati and said to her, "Mother, won't you enable me to see the Master?" The Mother said tenderly, "Yes, you will see Him; don't be so restless." He could not stand it any longer. He said in an angry voice, "You are only deceiving me. Here is the rosary you gave me. Take it back. I don't care for it any more." With these words he threw the rosary at her. "All right," said the Mother, "remain for ever the child of Sri Ramakrishna!" He left the place at once.
Afterwards the devotee went really mad. He began writing abusive letters to the Swamis of the Ramakrishna Mission and did not spare even the Holy Mother in this respect.
One day, referring to this devotee, I asked the Holy Mother, "Did he also return the Mantra? He threw away his rosary. Can anyone ever return the Mantra?"
Mother: Is it ever possible? The word of the Mantra is living. Can anyone, who has received it, give it back? Can he, once having felt attraction for the Guru, get rid of him? Some day in the future this man will come round and fall at the feet of those whom he now abuses.
Devotee: Why does such a thing come to pass?
Mother: Such things do happen. One Guru may initiate many disciples, but can they all be of the same nature? Spiritual life manifests in a devotee according to his nature. He said to me, at Jayrambati, "Mother, make me mad." "Why?" said I, "why should you be mad, my child? Can anyone, without committing much sin, ever be mad?" He said, "My younger brother has seen the Master. Please let me also have a vision of Him." I said in reply, "Who can ever see him with the physical eyes? But one may do so by closing one's eyes. Can we not visualize a picture by closing the eyes? Your brother is a child. He may have visualized the Master with his eyes closed, but he thinks that he has seen him with his eyes open." I asked him to continue his spiritual life-to practise spiritual disciplines and pray to the Master-and told him that he also would have the vision. Man knows in his own mind how far he has advanced and how much knowledge and consciousness of God he has attained. He knows in his innermost soul how much of God he has realized. Besides, who has been able to see God with his physical eyes?
This devotee, after having been scolded at the Udbodhan Office, used to live on the bank of the Ganges. Sometimes he would sit on the door-step of the Udbodhan Office and would take his meal there. After some time, he was brought once to the Holy Mother with her permission. She tried to pacify him in various ways and said, "The Master used to say, 'At the time of death I shall have to stand by those who pray to me.' These are words from his own mouth. You are my child. What should you be afraid of? Why should you behave like a mad man? That will disgrace the Master. People will say that his devotee has become mad. Should you conduct yourself in a way that will discredit the name of the Master? Go home and live as others do. Eat and live like them. At the time of your death, he will reveal himself to you and take you to him. Can you tell me if anyone ever got a vision of him with physical eyes? It was only Naren (Swami Vivekananda) who saw him thus. That happened in America when he had intense yearning for him. Naren then used to feel that the Master was grasping his arm. That vision also lasted only for a few days. Now go home and live there happily. How miserable are the worldly people! The other day Ram's son passed away. You can at least sleep with an easy heart."
The devotee was much pacified by the Holy Mother's consolation and words of instruction. He took his meal at the Udbodhan Office and later returned to his native village. He gradually regained his normal state of mind.
26th May, 1911
The Holy Mother returned to Calcutta from her pilgrimage to Rameswaram and after a few days went back to Jayrambati. One evening, while seated on the porch of her old house, she asked me about a monastic devotee.
Mother: What did he say?
Disciple: He felt a yearning for you for three or four months.
Mother: How strange! A sannyasin must sever all the bondage of Maya. A golden chain is as good a shackle as an iron one. A sannyasin must not entangle himself in any form of Maya. Why should he constantly say, "Oh Mother's love! Mother's love! I am deprived of it!" What ideas! I do not like man constantly hanging on me. At least he has the form of a man; I am not talking to God. And I have to move about with women. Ashu also used to come to me frequently to make sandal paste or on some other pretext.
Disciple: Will the sannyasins who profess the ideals of Vedanta attain to Nirvana?
Mother: Surely. By gradually cutting off the bonds of Maya they will realize Nirvana and merge themselves in God. This body is, no doubt, the outcome of desires. The body cannot live unless there is a trace of desire. All comes to an end when a man gets rid of desires completely.
Children (i.e. devotees) come here, eat their meals, enjoy themselves and then go away. Why should I be attached to them? One day Hazra said to the Master: "Why do you constantly long for Narendra and other youngsters? They are quite happy by themselves, eating, drinking and playing. You had better fix your mind on God. Why should you be attached to them?" At these words, the Master took his mind away from the young disciples and merged it in the thought of God. Instantaneously he entered into Samadhi; his bearded hair stood straight on end like the kadamba flower. Just imagine what kind of a man the Master was! …. His body became hard like a wooden statue. Ramlal, who was attending on him, said repeatedly, "Please be your former self again." At last the mind came down to the normal plane. It was only out of compassion for people that he kept his mind on the lower plane.
At the time of death, Yogen (Swami Yogananda) wanted Nirvana. Girish Babu said to him, "Look here, Yogen! Don't accept Nirvana. Don't think of the Master as pervading the entire universe, the sun and the moon forming his eyes. Think of the Master as he used to be to us, and thus thinking of Him, go to Him." Deities and angels, whoever they be, are born again on this earth. They do not eat or talk in their subtle bodies. Hence, they cannot stay in those planes for long.
Disciple: If they neither eat nor talk, then how do they spend their days?.
Mother: Immersed in meditation they remain where they are, like wooden images, for ages! Like the images of the kings I saw at Rameswaram, standing there dressed in royal robes! When God needs them, he brings them down from their respective places. There are different heavenly planes, such as the Jana-loka, Satya-loka, and Dhruva-loka. The Master said that he had brought down Narendra (Swami Vivekananda) from the plane of the Seven Sages (Saptarshi). His words are verily the words of the Veda. They can never be untrue.
Disciple: Must we also, then, live like images of wood or clay?
Mother: Oh, no! You will serve the Master. There are two classes of devotees. One class devotes itself to the service of God, as on this earth; and another group is immersed in meditation for ages, like the images.
Disciple: Well, Mother, the Master used to say that the Isvarakotis can come back to the relative plane of consciousness even after the attainment of Nirvana; others cannot do so. What does that mean?
Mother: The Isvarakoti, even after the attainment of Nirvana, can gather back his mind from it and direct it to the ordinary plane of consciousness.
Disciple: How can the mind that has merged itself in God be brought back again to the world? How can one ever separate a jar of water from the water of the lake, if it has been poured into it?
Mother: Not all can do so. Only the Paramahamsa can. A Hamsa can separate the milk from a mixture of water and milk, and drink only the milk.
Disciple: Can all get rid of desires?
Mother: If they could, then this creation would have come to an end. The creation is going on because all cannot be free of desires. People with desires take their births again and again.
Disciple: Suppose a man gives up his body standing in the waters of the Ganges.
Mother: Freedom from birth is possible only when there is no trace of desire. Otherwise, nothing else is of any avail. If one does not get rid of desires, what will one gain, even if this be one's last birth In this world?
Disciple: Mother, infinite is this creation; who can tell what is happening in a 'remote plane? Who can say if any living beings inhabit any of those innumerable stars and planets?
Mother: It is possible only for God to be omniscient in this realm of Maya. Perhaps there is no living being in those planets and stars.
One day in the rainy season of the same year, 1911, Swami Saradananda, Yogin-Ma, Golap-Ma and several other devotees went to Kamarpukur from Jayrambati. Yogin-Ma slipped on the road. Some parts of her body were injured and blood flowed. I returned to Jayrambati ahead of the party and told the Holy Mother about Yogin-Ma's accident. The Mother said sadly, "Golap said before they set out, 'Yogin is going with us; let us see how often she slips on the road.' Yogin fell down to vindicate Golap's words. After all, those were the words of a spiritual woman. She practises spiritual disciplines. Therefore her words must bear fruit. Hence a holy person must not say anything bad about anyone."
16th January, 1912
In the morning I was with the Holy Mother in her room. I said to her, "Mother, Sri Chaitanya one day blessed Narayani, saying, 'May you have devotion to Krishna!' The words had such a magic effect that the girl, only three or four years old rolled on the ground uttering. 'Ah Krishna! Ah Krishna!' We have read a story about Narada. After he had realized God, one day he felt compassion for an ant. He said to himself, 'I have attained to perfection as the result of practising austerities through many human births, and this poor ant will have to wait so long, even before it is born as a man!' Tenderly he blessed the ant, saying, 'Be free!' Immediately the ant assumed such non-human forms as birds, beasts, and so forth, and gradually took the body of a man. It passed through many human births, enjoyed the experiences associated with them, and step by step, directed its attention to spiritual disciplines. It worshipped God and attained salvation. Narada saw in the twinkling of an eye all these events of innumerable births. Therefore one may get liberation instantaneously through-the grace of a great soul"
Mother: That is true.
Disciple: But I have also heard that one cannot keep one's body long, if one accepts the burden of the sins of others. The body that might have been instrumental in getting salvation for many withers away for the sake of one sinful person.
Mother: That's also true. Further, a great soul thus loses his power. The power of austerities and spiritual disciplines that might have been utilized for the liberation of many souls is spent for the sake of one person. The Master used to say, "I have all these physical ailments because I have taken upon myself the sins of Girish." But now Girish also is suffering.
Disciple: Mother, one day I had a dream. I saw that a man with shaggy hair came to you and insisted that you must do something for him at once. He had previously been initiated by you. But he himself would not practise any spiritual discipline. You said, "If I do something for him then I shall not live; my body will fall off immediately." With all the earnestness I could command, I forbade you to show any kindness to this man and said, "Why should you do anything for him? He will achieve his own salvation. Let him practise Sadhana." As he insisted again and again, you became disgusted with him, did something to him by touching his chest and neck, and said repeatedly, "If I do something for him, then I shall not live; my body will fall off immediately:" Then my dream disappeared. Well, is it true that one's power becomes limited when one is born in a physical body?
Mother: Yes, that is so. Many a time, disgusted with the repeated requests of some persons, I think, "Well, this body will die some day. Let it fall off this moment. Let me give him salvation."
Disciple: Mother, does the vision of God mean the attainment of knowledge (Jnana) and spiritual consciousness (Chaitanya)? Or, does it signify something else?
Mother: What else can it mean except the attainment of these? Does anybody mean to say that a man of realization grows two horns?
Disciple: Many of your devotees explain the vision of God differently. They believe that one sees God with physical eyes and talks to Him.
Mother: Yes, they say, "Please show us the Father." But he (Sri Ramakrishna) is nobody's father. The three words-Guru, Master (Karta) and Father (Baba)-pricked him like thorns. How many sages practised austerities for ages and ages! Still they could not realize God. And now people will not practise disciplines or undergo austerities, but they must be shown God immediately! I can't do it. Can you tell me if he (Sri Ramakrishna) had shown God to anyone?
Disciple: Well, Mother, we hear that some seek but do not get; while others do not seek but get. What does this mean?
Mother: God has the nature of a child. Some beg but He does not give them, while others do not want but He asks them to accept. Perhaps the latter had many meritorious acts to their credit in their past births. Therefore God's grace descends on them.
Disciple: Then is there discrimination even in the grace of God?
Mother: Yes, that's true. Everything depends upon Karma (one's past actions). The moment one's Karma comes to an end, one realizes God. That is one's last birth.
Disciple: I admit that the cessation of actions (Karma-ksaya); spiritual disciplines and time are the factors in the attainment of spiritual knowledge and consciousness. But if God be our very 'own', then can't He reveal Himself to His devotees by His mere will?
Mother: That is right. But who has this faith that He is his 'own'? All practise these or those disciplines because they think it their duty to do so. But how many seek God?
Disciple: Once I said to you that the child does not recognize even its own mother, if it is deprived of her care and love.
Mother: Yes, you have spoken truly. How can one love another unless one sees him? You see, you have seen me. I am your Mother and you are my child.
1st February, 1912
It was about half past nine in the evening when I went to the Holy Mother. I had not seen her for the whole day
Mother: Where have you been the whole day?
Disciple: I have been busy with accounts downstairs.
Mother: Yes, Prakash told me so. Can anyone who has renounced the world relish these things? Once there was a mistake in the accounts relating to the salary of the Master. I asked him to talk to the manager of the Temple about it. But he said, "What a shame! Shall I bother myself about accounts?" Once he said to me, "He who utters the Name of God never suffers from any misery. No need to speak about you!" These are his very words. Renunciation was his ornament.
8th February, 1912
A mat used to be spread on the northern side of the room adjacent to the shrine. The Mother used to sit there often in the mornings. Sometimes she would perform Japa there facing the east. Whenever we came to talk with the Mother, we too would sit there. Today also the Mother was sitting on the mat.
Disciple: Mother, how long did you stay at Dakshineswar?
Mother: For a long time. I came when I was sixteen.1 Since then, I was always there. Occasionally, I would visit our village-home, as when I did to attend the wedding of Ramlal. I would go there every two or three years.
1 Actually eighteen. Her first visit to Dakshineswar was in March 1872.
Disciple: Were you alone at any time?
Mother: Yes, on some occasions. My mother-in-law would be there at other times. Sometimes Golap, Gaurdasi and others would stay with me. We cooked, lived and ate all in that tiny room.
I used to cook for the Master. He had poor digestion. So he could not eat the food offerings from the Kali temple. I had to cook also for the devotees of the Master. Latu lived with him. Having had a difference with Ram Datta, he had come away. The Master said to me, 'He is a nice boy; he will knead flour for you.' Cooking went on day and night. For instance Ram Datta would come, and would shout after getting out of the carriage, 'Today I shall have Chapatis (Indian bread) and gram Dal (a kind of soup).' Then I would at once start cooking. I used to make Chapatis out of three or four seers of flour. When Rakhal lived there, I often made Khichuri for him. The Master one day asked me to cook nicely for Naren. I prepared some Mung (green gram) soup and Chapatis. When the meal was over, the Master asked Naren,' 'How did you enjoy the meal?' 'Very well,' he replied, 'but it tasted like sick diet.' At this the Master said to me, 'What sort of stuff have you cooked for him? You must prepare for him thick gram Dal and heavy Chapatis.' Finally I prepared those things and Naren was very pleased. Suren Mitra gave ten rupees a month for the expenses of the Devotees. Gopal Senior did the marketing. Dancing, devotional music, ecstasy and Samadhi went on day and night. I made little holes in the bamboomat screen, so that I could watch through it. As a result of standing there continually, I got this rheumatism at last.
There was an old woman who came often. She had led an impure life. Now in old age, she had become religious. I was alone. So whenever she came, I would talk to her. One day the Master saw this and said, "Why do you allow her here?" I said. "Now she speaks of only good things, talks only of God. What is wrong with it? One's mind cannot be coloured always by one's former condition?' The Master said, "No, no, she is a fallen woman. Why talk with her? However changed she may be, it is better to keep away." He used to forbid me from even speaking with such people lest their evil influence may affect me. Such was the extreme care he took of me.
Once a man came to meet the Master at Kamarpukur. He had a bad character. No sooner had he left, than the Master said, "Throw away a basketful of soil from this place." When no one heeded his words, he himself dug out with a spade some soil from the spot where the man was seated. "Wherever such people sit," he said, "even the soil of that place becomes impure!"
Durgacharan of East Bengal would visit him. What great devotion he had for the Master! He brought Amalaki (myrobalan) at the time of the Master's illness. Since it was not the proper season he had brought it after a vigorous search for three full days, with no thought of food and sleep! Once I gave him Prasada on a leaf-plate (at the old Baghbazar residence on the banks of the Ganga). Such was his devotion, he ate it leaf and all! He was dark and thin, but his eyes were large and sparkling-eyes of a devotee, always moist with the tears of divine love!
In those days there were many such great devotees. Those who come nowadays simply keep on saying, "Give us the vision of the Master!" They do no spiritual practice, no Japa, no meditation; Lord knows, how many wicked things they have done in their past lives-go-hatya (killing of a cow), brahma-hatya (slaying of a Brahmana), bhruna-hatya (foeticide)! First of all, the evil effects of these wicked acts have to be counteracted slowly and steadily. Suppose the moon is covered by the clouds. Only when the wind gradually takes the clouds away the moon becomes visible. Do the clouds vanish in the twinkling of an eye? Spiritual life also is like that. Karma is exhausted gradually. When one realizes God, He endows one with spiritual illumination within. One becomes aware of it oneself.
9th February, 1912
Girish Chandra Ghosh had given up his body on the previous night. Referring to him, I asked the Holy Mother, "Well, Mother, do those who give up their bodies in a state of unconsciousness attain to a higher spiritual state afterwards?"
Mother: The thought that is uppermost in mind before one loses consciousness determines the course of one's soul after death.
Disciple: Yes, that is true. A little after six o'clock in the evening Girish Babu exclaimed, "Jai Ramakrishna! Let us go," and then fell unconscious. Afterwards he never regained his consciousness. A few minutes before, he had been constantly saying, "Let us go, let us go!" "Hold me a little, my son!" and so forth. I said to him, "Why do you only say, 'Let us go, let us go!1 You had better repeat the name of Sri Ramakrishna, which will do you real good.' I said that a couple of times when Girish Babu replied, "Do I not know that?" I said to myself, "Oh, he is fully conscious within!"
1 Girish Babu had the intense desire to be taken to the Ganges at the time of death. Therefore he made these remarks. His brother said, "Does my brother need the Ganges for the welfare of his soul?"
Mother: He remained immersed in the thought that was in his mind when he became unconscious. They (referring to Sri Ramakrishna's disciples) all have come from him and will go back to him (i.e. the Master). They all have come from him-from his arms, feet, hair and so forth. They are his limbs, his parts.