UDBODHAN OFFICE, CALCUTTA
Next winter I came to Calcutta to pay my respects, to the Holy Mother. On the first day I went to see her, she was still staying at the house of Balaram Bose, but by the time of my second visit, she had shifted to her newly constructed house in Calcutta (i.e., the Udbodhan Office). On entering the houser I saw Doctor Kanjilal reading a newspaper. In answer to my query he said, ” The Mother had an attack of pox. She has not yet completely recovered. You may see her after two weeks.” I had not been aware of her illness. Swami Saradananda said to me, ” Come tomorrow ; you may see her then. Also take your meal here.” When I came the next day, the Mother showed me the pox marl^. Most of them had disappeared. Through her blessings and the arrangement made by Swami Saradananda, I was staying in the Belur Math. On being informed of this, the Holy Mother said to me, ” That’s good. He has fallen a victim to the influence of monastic life. Live in the Belur Math. May you get love for the Master! You have my blessings.”
I used to take milk for the Mother now and then from the Belur Math. That would also give me the opportunity to pay my respects to her. One day, while entering her house with milk, I saw her preparing betel leaf assisted by Nalini, her niece. Seeing me, Nalini was about to leave the room. The Mother checked her and said, ” Don’t go away. He is my child. Sit here.” In the course of conversation, she referred to the relatives of Maku’s husband (Maku was another niece), and said, ” I have to take special care of them, otherwise they feel offended and hiss. But you are my children. You are satisfied with whatever I do for you. You do not mind if I cannot always show you attention. But those relatives feel very much offended if I do not give them the best of everything, or if I fail in the least in attending to them.” After a while I asked her, Mother, how does one get purity of mind and yearning for God ? “
Mother: Oh ! You will certainly have these. As you have taken refuge in the Master, you will achieve all. Pray to him sincerely.
Disciple: I can’t do it. Please do pray for me.
Mother : I always pray to Sri Ramakrishna to make your mind pure and holy.
Disciple: Yes, Mother, I shall have everything if you but pray for me.
After a few months I was sent to Ghatal, not very far from Jayrambati, to give relief to the flood-stricken people of that place. I took leave for three days and visited the Holy Mother at Jayrambati on the occasion of the Jagaddhatri Puja. Atul was with me. This was his first visit to the Mother. We went to Jayrambati through Kamarpukur and as soon as we reached her home, Ashu Maharaj, an attendant of the Holy Mother, said, ” It is nice that you have come. The Mother has been sad because of not seeing any devotee for some time past’ The Mother asked us to stay for meal and fed us sumptuously. Early next morning we had to return to the relief work. While taking leave of the Mother, I said to her, ” I shall come again.” Atul said, like a schoolboy, ” Please remember.”
After finishing the relief work at Ghatal, I again returned to Jayrambati. It was winter. On reaching the house of the Holy Mother in the evening, I found her seated on the porch applying medicine to her leg. She was suffering from rheumatic pains in her knees.
Disciple: What is this medicine ?
Mother : Someone suggested this leaf. Have you been starving for the whole day ?
Disciple: No, but I have not taken any food on the way.
Mother: Why did you not buy some refreshments? There are stores on the way.
I had with me only a rupee which I had saved to make an offering at Belur Math. However, I did not tell her about it. She served me with a hot meal which I ate heartily. She gave me a blanket and asked me to use it during the night I asked her, Whose is this blanket ? ” She told me, It is mine. I use it myself.”
The next day’s mail brought a letter to her from one of my brothers, requesting her to persuade me to return home. Though short, the letter was written in a good style and contained beautiful sentiments. The Mother said, Ah ! what a nice letter ! ” Then she said, addressing me, Why don’t you return home ? Live in the world, earn money and bring up a family.” She was testing me. But, Mother,” said I, please do not say that.”