Letters from Sri Ramanasramam – Mother’s Gift

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Volume 2

14th September 1947
(8) Mother’s Gift

Last month, Niranj ananandaswami sent a bull born and bred in the Asramam to the Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, as a present. People there named it Basava, decorated it nicely and took a photo of it along with Sri Sambasiva Iyer who had accompanied it. Sambasiva Iyer returned with a copy of the photo besides an old fashioned silk-fringed shawl, some vibhuti, kumkum andprasad given to him by the Temple authorities.

Due to the great crowd of visitors since August 15th, Bhagavan had been spending the days out in the Jubilee Hall. Sambasiva Iyer came into Bhagavan’s presence with the shawl, vibhuti, etc. on a large plate. The brahmins who had accompanied him recited a mantra while all of us prostrated before Bhagavan, then rose. Looking at me, Bhagavan said, “Our bull has been sent to the Meenakshi Temple, did you know?” “Yes, I knew,” I said. “On the day it was going, I saw it decorated with turmeric, kumkum etc, and came to know of the purpose when I asked the cattle-keeper.”

Holding the plate reverentially and smearing the vibhuti and kumkum on his forehead, Bhagavan said, “See, this is Meenakshi’s gift.” And his voice quivered as he said it. Sambasiva Iyer spread the shawl over Bhagavan’s feet, and when Bhagavan, deeply moved, removed it with evident feeling of reverence, the attendants took it and spread it over the Backof the sofa. Adjusting the shawl properly with his hands, Bhagavan, looking towards us, said, “Mother Meenakshi has sent this. It is the Mother’s gift.” And, choked with emotion, he was unable to say more and became silent. His eyes were full of tears of joy and his body beccame motionless. Seeing this, it seemed to me that Nature herself had become silent. When, as a boy, Bhagavan was in Tiruchuli and wept, sitting behind the image of Sahayamba; he alone knows how the Mother consoled him and what hopes she gave him.

Three years ago, the Ashram doctor said that hand-pounded rice would be good for Bhagavan’s health. Thereupon the Asramites approached Bhagavan with a request to take such rice, which would be specially cooked for him. When Bhagavan asked them whether the same rice would be served to all, they said that it would not be possible, as the supply of such rice was limited. Bhagavan therefore would not agree to having it however much they tried to persuade him. At last they said that they would use the hand-pounded rice for the daily offerings to the deity in the temple, for which rice is usually cooked separately and they requested Bhagavan to partake of that rice. “If that is so, it is all right. I will take it because it is Mother’sprasadam,” said Bhagavan. And from that day onwards, they have been cooking hand-pounded rice separately and, after offering it to the goddess in the temple, have been serving it to Bhagavan, giving what was left over to all others in his company.

Last summer, Ramaswami Iyer’s son got married and for the occasion there was a feast here. That day, Iyer noticed that there was white rice on the leaves of all, whereas the rice on Bhagavan’s leaf was reddish, and he enquired the reason. Bhagavan smiling, said, “This is Mother’sprasadam. What is wrong with it? It is cooked specially as an offering to Mother.” He then related the above incident. He once again said, “This is Mother’s gift; I have accepted it only because of that.”

Is this not a great lesson to those who say that they have given up visiting temples and such things?

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