Need of self-restraint in household life
In the meantime Harihar Maharaj came to the shrine for offering food. Pointing to him, the Mother said to me, Look at this child who has renounced the world. He has left everything behind in the name of Sri Ramakrishna. The worldly men beget children without number, as if that is their only duty in this world. Sri Ramakrishna used to say, One must practise self-control after the birth of one or two children.’ I have heard that the Englishman begets children according to the amount of his property. After the birth of the children they want, the husband and wife live separately, each one busy with his or her own work. And look at our race !”
The Mother continued with a smile, Yesterday a young woman came to see me. She had a lot of
children, some hanging from her Backand some clinging to her arms. She could hardly manage them. Can you imagine what she told me ? She said, ‘ Mother, I do not at all enjoy this worldly life,’ I said, ‘How is that, my child? You have got so many young ones ! ‘ She replied, ‘That is the end of it. I will not have them any more/ I said, ‘ It would be well if you could carry out your intention ” The Mother began to laugh.
Devotee: Well, Mother, according to our Hindu conception, the husband is our most adorable Guru. The scriptures say that by serving him one can go to heaven, and even be united with God. Now if a wife, somewhat against the will of the husband, tries to practise self-control through prayer and spiritual pursuits, is she committing a sin ?
Mother : Certainly not. Whatever you do for the realization of God cannot have any sinful effect. Self-control is absolutely necessary. All the hard disciplines enjoined upon Hindu widows are meant to help them practise self-control.
All the acts of Sri Ramakrishna were directed to God alone. He once performed the Shodasi Puja, making me the object of worship. I asked him what I should do with the bangles, the clothes and other articles of worship. After a little thought he said that I could give them all away to my mother. My father was then alive. Sri Ramakrishna said to me, ” When you present your mother with these articles, don’t think that she is an ordinary human being.
Think of her as the direct embodiment of the Divine Mother of the Universe.” I acted accordingly. That was the nature of his teaching.
4th September, 1918
The Mother was seated on her meditation carpet, counting beads. The evening service was over. A woman devotee, a sister-in-law of the Mother, came there and said to her, ” Please set my mind right. I am full of worries. I do not wish even to live for a day. I shall make a will and leave all my property to you. After my death, you execute my will.” The Mother laughed and said, ” When are you going to die ? ” Suddenly she became grave and reprimanded her for her foolish thoughts, which she attributed to a heated brain and idle life.
Looking at me the Mother smiled and said: “Do you notice, my child, the inscrutable play of Sri Ramakrishna? Look at my own relatives! Seethe evil company I am in ! One is already mad and this one also is verging on insanity. And look at the third one ! How much care I took to train her up, but all to no effect! She does not have the slightest trace of wisdom. Look there. She is standing in the porch, leaning against the railing and wistfully looking forward to the return of her husband. She is afraid that her husband may enter the house where that music is going on. Day and night she has been trying to keep him within her sight. What an inordinate attachment!
I could never dream that she would be so much attached.”
The woman relative of the Mother left the place with a sorrowful air and she lay down on her bed.
Mother: My child, you have been extremely fortunate in getting this human birth. Have intense devotion to God. One must work hard. How can one achieve anything without effort? You must devote some time for prayer even in the midst of the busiest hours of the day. I used to be very busy during my days at Dakshineswar; yet I did my prayer and meditation. . . . Let my sister-in-law, who complains of mental worry, do likewise. Let her get up from bed at 3 o’clock in the morning and sit in the porch adjoining my room for meditation. Let me see whether she can still have any worry of mind. She will not, however, do that, but only talk about her troubles ! What is her suffering? I never knew, my child, what mental worry was. But now I have been suffering day and night for my relatives. It was an unlucky time when this sister-in-law came to our family ; all my sufferings are due to my efforts to bring up her daughter Radhu. Let them all go away. I do not want anybody. Just look at these girls. They never listen to me. Such disobedient women !
Golap-Ma: Just see how they decorate their bodies! They think that is how they will get the love of their husbands.
Mother: Ah ! how kindly Sri Ramakrishna treated me ! Not even one day did he utter a word to wound my feelings. He would tell me, ” One should always be active. One should never be without work. For when one is idle, all sorts of bad thoughts crop up in one’s mind.”