15. LAST DAYS

After the passing of the Master, when the Holy Mother would come to Calcutta, Swami Yogananda was in attendance on her. His service and devotion to her have become proverbial amongst the members of the Ramakrishna Order. After the death of Swami Yogananda, Swami Saradananda took his place and looked to the needs and comforts of the Mother. Among the women disciples of the Master, Yogin-Ma and Golap-Ma were especially devoted to her. When she was in Calcutta they were her constant companions. They would often shield her against the undue intrusion of people and sometimes against the senseless display of devotion by sentimental disciples which would cause her great suffering.

In the latter part of her life she often suffered from malaria when she went to Jayrambati. On such occasions Swami Saradananda himself would go to Jayrambati or send physicians and able hands to attend her. When she would return to Calcutta she would look pale and emaciated, a shadow of her normal self. But no amount of suffering could cast any shadow on her spirit. She herself would say that her inner joy was never disturbed throughout her life.

In December 1919, she fell ill from fever. She was brought to Calcutta, but the fever continued to the anxiety of all. Even in her protracted illness she radiated wonderful peace, sweetness and light. She was considerate to all around her and was very careful that none should undergo much trouble in attending her. Sometimes she would behave just like a little girl, and sometimes she would talk in a high spiritual mood. Five days before her passing away, she said to a woman devotee who felt disconsolate at the prospect of her approaching end: 'Why do you fear? You have seen the Master. Just learn to make the whole world your own. No one is an alien. This whole world is your own.' This was her last spiritual utterance. She passed into Mahasamadhi at 1:30 a.m. on 21 July 1920.

The immortal spirit that had for the time being been clothed in mortal flesh was gone. But the example of the life of the Holy Mother lived and the message she left behind are potent means of transforming lives and a source of strength and inspiration to a large number of men and women. When one sees how her influence is spreading like the water of a flood-tide, one asks oneself whether she lived to continue the work of the Master or to give added strength to his message, whether she was a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna or complementary to him. One wonders whether she was not an essential part of the same divine power that descended on earth to show light to the world and to guide humanity to the heaven of peace and bliss.