Give every man his due
After some time a beggar came to the house and shouted for some alms. The monks felt annoyed and said rudely, ” Go away now. Don’t disturb us.” At these words the Holy Mother said, ” Have you heard their remarks ? They have driven away the poor man. They could not shake off their idleness and give something to the beggar. He only wanted a handful of rice. And they could not take the trouble to do this bit of work. Is it proper to deprive a man of what is his due ? Even to the cow we owe these peelings of the vegetables. We should hold these near her mouth.”
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I went to see the Holy Mother again after many days. She had gone Backto her country home and returned to Calcutta in the autumn, a few days before the Durga Puja. I visited her one afternoon and found a woman kneeling near her feet and begging with tears for initiation. The Mother was seated on her bedstead. She refused to comply with her prayer and said, ” I have already told you that I would not be able to initiate you now. I am not well.” The woman was insistent. The Mother felt annoyed and said, “You treat initiation very lightly. You are perfectly satisfied if you get the sacred Mantra. But you never think of the consequence.” But the woman was inexorable. All present felt disgusted.
The Holy Mother at last asked her to come another day. Then the woman requested her to ask one of the monks to give her initiation.
Mother : They may not listen to me.
Woman: What do you mean, Mother ? They must obey you.
Mother: In this matter they may refuse to comply with my request.
Finding the woman unrelenting, the Mother said, Well, I shall ask Swami S – . He will initiate you/’ But the woman started insisting again and said, ” I shall be happy to be initiated by you. You can certainly fulfil my desire if you like.” She brought out ten rupees and said, ” Here is some money. You may purchase the necessary articles for initiation.” We all felt mortified at her impudence. At last the Mother was angry and said severely, ” What ? Do you mean to tempt me with money ? You cannot coax me with these coins. Take them back.” The Holy Mother immediately left the room. Being hard pressed by the woman, the Holy Mother at last agreed to initiate her on the sacred Mahashtami day. She soon took leave of us. The Mother now found some leisure to talk to me.
* * *
I came to see the Mother after two and a half months. She cried, ” Oh! It is almost an age since I have seen you ! ” In the course of the talk I asked her about the woman whom she had consented to initiate.
Mother: She could not come here on the appointed day. I had said to her, ” I am now ill. Let me be well and then I shall initiate you.” My words came to be true. She could not come on the Mahashtami day as she herself fell ill. She came here many days later and was initiated.
Devotee : That is true. The words that are once uttered by you cannot but be fulfilled. We suffer as we go counter to your wishes. Many a time, you condescend to initiate people even while you are ill, and thus suffer all the more by transferring their sufferings to yourself.
Mother : Yes, my dear child. Sri Ramakrishna also used to say, ” Otherwise why should this body have suffered at all ? The other day I was ill with an attack of diarrhoea.
My sister-in-law was with me. Referring to her, the Mother said, ” A very nice and quiet girl. There is only one dish of vegetable. If this be not palatable, then the whole dinner is spoiled.” She meant that I had only one sister-in-law in the family. My life could have been made unhappy if she had not been good to me.
I went to Baghbazar one morning with a basket of flowers. I offered it to the Holy Mother. She was exceedingly happy and began to decorate the image of Sri Ramakrishna with the flowers. Some of them were blue* She took these in her hands and said, ” Ah, what a pretty colour! There was a girl at Dakshineswar named Asha. One day, she came to the temple-garden and picked a red flower from a plant with dark leaves. She cried, Dear me! Such a red flower on a plant with dark leaves ! Goodness gracious! What a strange creation of God! ‘ Sri Ramakrishna saw her and said, My dear child, what is the matter with you ? Why are you weeping like that ? ‘ She could hardly utter a word. She was weeping incessantly. Sri Ramakrishna at last pacified her.”
The Holy Mother was in an exalted mood and said, ‘ Look at these flowers with a blue colour! How can one decorate God without such fine flowers ! ” She took a handful of them and offered them to the image of Sri Ramakrishna. A few flowers dropped at her feet before they were offered. She cried, ” Dear me! How they have dropped at my feet before I could offer them to the Lord ! ” It is very nice,” I said. Then I thought, To you Sri Ramakrishna may be a higher being; but we do not make any distinction between you and him.”
A widowed lady came into the room. I asked the Mother about her. The Mother said, She took initiation from me about a month ago. She had accepted another Guru before. She later felt that it was a mistake and came here for initiation. I could not convince her that all teachers are one. The same power of God works through them all.”