How far should one observe rules of purity regarding food?
Mother: The Master was very particular about one thing in regard to food. He used to forbid all the devotees from eating the food of the Sraddha ceremony. He used to say it injured one’s devotion. Apart from this you may eat what you like, but remember the Master when you do so.
Durga Babu : Mother, while performing my duties in the hospital, many a time I feel thirsty. I feel compelled to drink water irrespective of place and persons. As a matter of fact, I do so. What do you say to that, Mother ?
Mother : What else can you do ? You do it in connection with the discharge of your duty. Remember the Master while you drink the water. As you do this while on duty, it will not injure you. Is it ever possible for those who are called upon to perform various odd duties to observe all religious injunctions regarding food ?1
1 This part of the conversation is to be understood in the light of the injunctions of the Hindu Scriptures on the purity
of the food consumed by spiritual aspirants. In so far as the vital energies of the body are renovated by the food consumed, and in so far as the vital energies condition the functioning of the mind, the food taken in has an effect on the state of one’s mind. Food is contaminated or made impure not only by hygienic causes, but also by its quality and contacts. Certain food-stuffs are condemned because they are obtained by injuring other creatures or from experience found to lead to mental excitement. The motive and character of the giver, as also of the person preparing it, are said to make food impure. In later times these ethical and spiritual injunctions became petrified into rigid caste rules in the matter of interdining. The Holy Mother does not seem to favour these caste rules very much, but accepts the validity of the original spiritual principles behind them. The Sraddha food is condemned, because the sins of the dead are supposed to contaminate it.
Surendra : You see, Mother, we householders live in families with many relations. Sometimes it happens that while the food is being cooked, some members of the family partake of it; later on that food is brought to me. I hesitate to offer that food to God.
Mother : That is inevitable in the case of householders. We also have to face similar situations. Take an instance : there may be a sick person in the family. Part of the food may be kept aside for him. But when food is placed on the plate, remember the Master, think that he himself has given this food, and eat it. Then it will not have any injurious effect on the growth of devotion.
Surendra: Mother, how can I describe to you my mental condition? You are the inner guide. You understand everything. I have been undergoing all the sufferings for the last few years. But for your blessings I would perhaps have been dead by this time.
Mother: Yes, my child, you do not have to tell me of the sufferings in the life of the world. There is no limit to it. In your case it is inevitable. Look at me, my child. What sort of life I am leading by the will of the Master! How much I am suffering on account of this girl (referring to Radhu) !
Surendra: Yes, Mother, your condition gives us consolation and hope. You yourself know the sufferings of the world; therefore we can expect your compassion.
Mother: Don’t be afraid, my child. The Master is there. He alone will protect you, both here and hereafter.
Surendra: Mother, we are living so far away. Are dreams real ?
Mother: Yes, they are. Dreams regarding the Master are real, but he forbade his disciples to narrate, even to him, dreams regarding himself.
Surendra: Mother, we do not know what the Master was like. We have not seen him. So for »us you are the Master and everything else.
Mother: Don’t fear, my child. The Master will look after you. He will watch over you here and hereafter. He will protect you always.
After the meal the two devotees took leave. Uncle Varada accompanied them. He was going to Calcutta. The Holy Mother walked part of the way with them and looked on until they disappeared.
Surendra was the head-master of a school at Balia-ratanganj. Some butchers of that place used to flay cows alive. One day the rogues did so in front of the school. Surendra, the other teachers and the students – Hindus and Mussalmans alike – made a strong protest. The butchers were beaten. This created some trouble. Surendra was threatened by the butchers. At this time several students of the school were preparing to leave for Jayrambati for taking initiation. Surendra sent a letter to the Holy Mother through them. The boys also narrated the incident to her. She was extremely shocked and said, ” If you do not protest against such an act, who will do so ? ” According to her instruction a letter was written to Surendra giving him assurance and encouragement. Further, he was asked to see that a repetition of such cruel action did not take place. Later on the Holy Mother again wrote to Surendra, saying, ” If God really exists, then He shall certainly redress the grievance.” Some time later a law-suit was filed, and as a result butchery of that heinous kind was stopped.