On the education and marriage of girls
One lady devotee said, ” Mother, I have five daughters. I cannot find suitable bridegrooms for them. I am so anxious about it.”
Mother : Why do you worry about their marriage ? If you cannot find suitable husbands for them, please send them to the Sister Nivedita Girls’ School. They will be trained there. They will be very happy in the school.
Another lady devotee : If you have faith in the Holy Mother, then do as she asks you to do. That will be for your good. If you listen to her, you will have no worry.
Needless to say, the mother of the five girls could hardly appreciate the advice.
Third devotee: It is very difficult to find suitable bridegrooms now-a-days. Many boys refuse to marry.
Mother: Yes, the boys have learnt how to discriminate. They are gradually realizing that the happiness of the world is transitory. The less you become attached to the world, the more you enjoy peace of mind.
It was quite late before I took leave of her that night.
* * *
Another day I went to Baghbazar and found the Holy Mother resting after her lunch. She was gracious enough to request me to fan her. Suddenly I heard her speaking to herself: ” Well, you all have come here. But where is Sri Ramakrishna ? ” I said in reply, “We could not meet him in this life. Who knows in which future birth we shall be able to see him ? But this is our greatest good fortune, that we have been able to touch your feet.” ” That is true, indeed,” was the brief remark of the Holy Mother. I was rather amazed at this confession. Very seldom would she speak of herself in such a way.
I could hardly realize at that time that people might possibly have their secrets to confide to the Holy Mother. I was a foolish girl, so I could not comprehend that. Therefore if I happened to miss her on entering her room, I would search the house for her ; I could hardly wait for her to come. One evening two pretty young ladies had been taking the Holy Mother into their confidence in the northern porch of her room when I suddenly presented myself there, not finding her anywhere else. I heard the Mother saying to them, ” Lay the burden of your mind before Sri Ramakrishna. Tell him your sorrows with your tears. You will find that he will fill up your arms with the desired object.” I could at once understand that the ladies were praying to be blessed with children. They were abashed at the sight of me. My state of mind was even worse. But I was taught a great lesson that day. I took a vow that I would never again go to the presence of the Holy Mother without previously intimating my arrival. A few months later I again met those ladies in the house of the Holy Mother. I was glad to find that
their cherished desire was going to be fulfilled soon.
Gauri-Ma was present there. In reply to our request, she gave us some of her reminiscences of Sri Ramakrishna. She said, ” I had visited Sri Rama-krishna long before many devotees began to go to him. I saw Naren and Kali while they were quite young.” It was evening. The conversation had to be cut short. Gauri-Ma took leave of the Holy Mother. I also had to go. As I was about to take leave of her, she called me to the porch and gave me some Prasada. She said, ” Come again. You do not stay here long at a time. Come one morning at seven o’clock and have your noonday meal with us.”
8th September, 1912
I was a little busy with some work in the Gauri-Ma’s Girls’ School. Therefore I was not free to go to the Holy Mother according to my desire. It was an auspicious day when, one morning, I arrived at her place. She was getting ready to go to the Ganges for her bath. At the very sight of me she said with evident pleasure, ” I am very glad you have come to-day. It is an auspicious day, being the birthday of Radhika. Wait here till I return from the Ganges.” I expressed my desire to accompany her and she first agreed. It was drizzling and Golap-Ma sternly objected to my going, as I would be exposed to the rain. The Mother supported Golap-Ma and said, ” Please wait here. I shall return presently.” We often noticed her behaving like a gentle young girl. She would never press her views over those of others. As soon as she came to the street, the rain stopped. She returned home after finishing the bath and said, ” Well, the rain stopped as soon as I came out into the street. You also wanted to accompany me. I thought it would have been nice if you had come with me. You could have had a sight of the Holy Ganges.” To tell the truth, I was not so eager for the Ganges as for her holy company. For, as we are involved in a thousand and one duties of the world, we can hardly find time to visit her. On those few days when we can fortunately go to her, we do not like to leave her presence even for a minute. Golap-Ma, however, heard the words of the Holy Mother and remarked, ” What does it matter if she has not seen the Ganges! All desires will be fulfilled by touching your holy feet.” I also nodded assent to these words. But the Mother said at once, ” Do not say so ! Ah, it is the Mother Ganges after all! ” The Mother would seldom reveal her divine greatness through any word or deed. She would always act in such a way that people might take her as an ordinary human being like themselves. Only on rare occasions would she, out of grace to some fortunate devotee, reveal her divine aspect. She entered the room, sat on the bed and said, ” Look here. I have finished my bath in the Ganges !” I understood that she had come to know of my innermost desire of worshipping her lotus feet. I said to myself, ” Thou art ever pure. It is not necessary for Thee to bathe in the Ganges to purify Thyself.” When I sat at her feet with flowers and sandal-paste, she said, ” Don’t put Tulasi leaves if any.” I worshipped her feet with flowers and sandal-paste. I bowed down to her. Afterwards she began to take her breakfast. She made me sit near her and began to give me, with infinite love, half of every article of food she ate. I ate the Prasada with great joy. As I was eating from the leaf-plate, I was reminded of Saint Durga Charan Nag. I said to the Mother, ” This leaf-plate often reminds me of Nag Mahasaya.”
Mother: What wonderful devotion he had! Look at this dry leaf-plate. Who can eat it ? But he had an exuberance of devotion, and would swallow the leaf which had touched the Prasada. Ah ! what loving eyes he had! Blood-shot and always moist with tears! His body was emaciated by hard austerities. He would come to see me. He could hardly climb the steps. His emotion would well up at the very sight of me. He would tremble like a leaf. He would stagger while walking. I have never seen such devotion in anybody.
Devotee : I have read in his biography that he gave up his medical practice and was absorbed, day and night, in his meditation on Sri Ramakrishna. One day his father said in an angry mood, ” You are so indifferent to the world. What will be your fate ? You will not have a piece of cloth to cover your body with ! And you will have to eat frogs to satisfy your hunger ! ” There was a dead frog in the courtyard. Nag Mahasaya threw away the cloth he had been wearing and ate the frog. Then he said to his father, ” I have fulfilled your two prophecies. Please banish all your anxieties regarding my food and clothing and devote yourself to the thought of God.”
Mother: What wonderful devotion to his father? He did not make any difference between purity and impurity. This speaks of his high spiritual realization.
Devotee : Once, on a very auspicious day, he came home from Calcutta. The father reprimanded him and said, ” You were in Calcutta near the Ganges. How foolish of you to have come home away from the Ganges on such an auspicious day! You should have stayed in Calcutta and taken your bath in the holy river.” But just at the auspicious moment of that day, all noticed water rising in a spout from the courtyard. Everything was flooded. Nag Mahasaya became mad with ecstasy and cried, ” Come, Mother Ganges ! ” He sprinkled that water on his head. The people of his locality bathed in that water and felt as if they had bathed in the Ganges.
Mother: True, even the impossible becomes possible through devotion. Once I gave him a piece of cloth. He always tied it around his head. His wife also is very good and devoted. She came to see me the other day during the summer season. She is still alive.
At this time some devotees arrived and the conversation was stopped. They prostrated themselves before the Holy Mother. She asked me to prepare some rolls of betel leaves. I prepared two and handed them over to her. She ate one herself and returned the other to me. I left her again to prepare the rest of the betel leaves. The Mother, after a while, came to our room with two devotees. They started to help me and the work was over very quickly. The Mother separated a few leaves to make an offering of them. She was very happy and said, ” Ah ! my good girls have finished their job so quickly.”
The Holy Mother retired to the room of Golap-Ma on the second floor. I went there a few minutes after and saw that she was lying on the floor, resting her head on the door-sill. So I could not step over the door-sill and enter the room. She looked at me and said, ” Come in. It is all right! ” She was always so free and informal. She raised her head from the sill and I entered the room. I sat by her side and began to fan her. She asked me various things regarding the school of Gauri-Ma. I gave her suitable replies. Just then the two women devotees came there. One of them began to dress the Mother’s hair. She separated one or two grey hairs and tied them in the skirt of her cloth. She said, ” I shall preserve them as a souvenir.” The Holy Mother felt abashed and said with hesitation, ” Why are you doing so ? I have thrown away so much hair before.” She went to the roof to bask in the sun. We also followed her. There were many clothes drying in the sun. She asked me to take them away to the room.
Later, when the worship was over, the Holy Mother asked me to make the necessary preparation for the noonday meal of the devotees. We all sat together for meal. The Mother took a morsel or two. The Prasada was then distributed among us. The two women-devotees mentioned above were with us. One of them was old and had her husband. She had seen Sri Ramakrishna. The other one was her daughter-in-law.
The old lady said, ” Sri Ramakrishna gave us many instructions. But we have carried out very few of them. Had we followed his advice, we would not have suffered so much in the world. We are attached to the world and are always running after this or that work’