CONVERSATIONS : SECOND SERIES
(Being pages from the diary of a monastic disciple)
JAYARAMBATI Year 1909
UNCLE Varada said to me, ” The Mother has sent for you.”
I went inside the inner apartment and found the Holy Mother standing at the door of her room waiting for me. As I saluted her, she asked, ” Where do you come from ? ” I told her the name of the district of my native village.
Mother: I suppose you are now reading the teachings of the Master.
I did not reply to these words. She spoke to me as if we had known each other for a long time. I still remember her tender and affectionate look.
Mother : Do you belong to the Kayastha caste ?
Mother : How many brothers have you ?
Mother: Sit down and take some refreshments.
With these words the Mother spread a small carpet on the floor of the verandah and gave me some Luchis and sweets that had been offered in the shrine on the previous night.
I told the Mother that I had walked all the way from Tarakeswar on the previous day, spending the night in the village of Deshra, to the northwest of Jayrambati, in the house of a young man whom I had met at the railway station of Haripal. The Mother listened to all this and said to me, after I had finished my refreshments, Don’t bathe now; you have walked a great deal.’ Then she gave me a betel leaf to chew.
She sent for me again after the noonday worship. After the offerings were over, she first of all served me food. She served it with her own hands, on a Shal leaf, on the porch of her room. ” Eat well, and remember, don’t feel shy ! ” she said to me as I was enjoying the meal. Afterwards she gave me a betel leaf.
I went to the Holy Mother again at three or four o’clock in the afternoon and found her kneading dough for bread. She was seated on the floor, facing the east, her legs stretched out in front of her. The oven stood near her. Casting a benign glance upon me, she said, What do you want ? “
Disciple : I want to talk to you.
Mother: What do you want to talk about ? Sit down here.
She gave me a seat.
Disciple : Mother, people say that our Master is God Eternal and Absolute ; what do you say ?
Mother: Yes, he is God Eternal and Absolute to me.
As she had said to me ,’ I went on, ” It is true that to every woman her husband is God Eternal and Absolute. I am not asking the question in that sense.”
Mother: Yes, he is God Eternal and Absolute to me as my husband, and in a general way as well.
Then I thought that if Sri Ramakrishna were God Eternal, then she, the Holy Mother, must be the Divine Power, the Mother of the Universe. She must be identical with His divine consort. She and he are like Sita and Rama, Radha and Krishna. I had come to the Holy Mother, cherishing this faith in my heart. I asked her, ” If that be the case, then why do I see you preparing bread like an ordinary woman ? It is Maya, I suppose, is it not ? “
Mother: It is Maya, indeed! Otherwise, why
should I fall into such a state ? But God loves to sport as a human being. Sri Krishna was born as a cowherd boy and Rama as the child of Dasaratha.
Disciple : Do you ever remember your real nature?
Mother: Yes, I recall it now and then. At that time I say to myself, ” What is this that I am doing? What is all this about?” Then I remember the house, buildings and children (pointing with the palm of her hand to the houses) and forget my real self.
I used to visit the Mother almost daily in her room. She would lie down on her bed and talk to me, Radhu lying asleep by her side. An oil-lamp would cast a dim light in the room. On some days a maidservant rubbed her feet with medicated oil for rheumatism.
One day she said to me in the course of conversation, ” Whenever the thought of a disciple comes to my mind and I yearn to see him, then he either comes here or writes a letter to me. You must have come here prompted by a certain feeling. Perhaps you have in your mind the thought of the Divine Mother of the Universe.”
Disciple: Are you the Mother of all ?
Disciple: Even of these sub-human beings, birds and animals ?
Mother: Yes, of these also.
Disciple : Then why should they suffer so much ?
Mother: In this birth they must have these experiences.
One evening I had the following conversation with the Holy Mother in her room.
Mother: You all have come to me, because you are my own.
Disciple : Am I your ‘ own ‘ ?
Mother: Yes, my own’. Is there any doubt about it ? If a man is the very ‘ own ‘ of another, they remain inseparably connected in the successive cycles of time.
Disciple: All address you as Apani1 but I cannot do so. I cannot utter that word. I address you as Tumi.
Mother: That is good, indeed. It denotes an intimate relationship.
In the course of our talk I said to her, ” You must have taken the responsibilities of those whom you have initiated with the sacred Mantra. Then why do you say when we request you to fulfil a desire,
I will speak to the Master about it ‘ ? Can’t you take our responsibility ? “
Mother : I have, indeed, taken your responsibility.
Disciple: Please bless me, O Mother, that I may have purity of mind and attachment to God. Mother, I had a classmate in school. I would be grateful if I could bestow upon Sri Ramakrishna a fourth of the love which I cherished for my chum.
Mother: Ah me! That is true, indeed! Well, I shall speak to the Master about it.
Disciple: Why do you only say that you will speak to the Master ? Are you different from him ? My desire will certainly be fulfilled by your blessings alone.
Mother: My child, if you can get perfect knowledge through my blessings, then I bless you with all my heart and soul. Is it ever possible for a man to
1Apani – There are three words in Bengali by which one can address another. Apani is used when a person addresses his superior entitled to respect. Tumi is used to address an equal and is a term of intimacy and endearment. Tui is used ta address the inferiors, servants, etc.
free himself unaided from the clutches of Maya ? It was for this that the Master performed spiritual austerities to the utmost extent and gave the results thereof for the redemption of mankind.
Disciple : How can one love Sri Ramakrishna without seeing him ?
Mother: Yes, that’s true. Can one ever have intimate relationship with a mere airy being !
Disciple: When shall I have the vision of the Master ?
Mother: You shall certainly see him. You shall see the Master at the right time.
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One day the Mother lay on her bed while Kamini, the maid, was rubbing her knee with some medicated oil for rheumatism. The Mother said to me, ” The body is one thing and the soul another. The soul pervades the whole body; therefore I have been feeling the pain in my leg. If I should withdraw my mind from the knee, then I would not feel any pain there.”