21. Mother’s extraordinary Anxiety for a sick stranger Son
That day there were present in the Mother’s house many devotees, both men and women, among whom were the mother of the famous doctor Prabhakar Babu of Arambagh as well as the mother and brother of Swami Asitananda. It was a little late when the mid-day meal was over. The devotees were now taking leave of the Mother one by one. Swami Vidyananda was to accompany the patient and his companions to the
Koalpara Ashrama. They had arranged a palanquin for the patient but the bearers had not come. So they were waiting for them anxiously as it was getting late in the evening. The Mother was still sitting in the verandah despite the late hour, quietly watching all the happenings. At last the bearers came with the palanquin and taking the patient in it, started on the journey. The Mother, with tears in her eyes, bade them good-bye much against her wish, saying ‘Durga, Durga Before the palanquin came, there appeared a speck of a cloud at a corner of the sky, which was gradually spreading. Many of them noticed this. Though there were chances of an occasional shower or two during this season also, they overlooked
all such possibilities because of the urgent need for removing the patient from there. The spreading clouds in the sky were therefore ignored.
That whole day the Mother had no rest. She had to receive the devotees, supervise the arrangements for cooking, perform the daily worship in the shrine, give initiations, serve light breakfast of offered fruits and sweets, prepare betel rolls, make the noon-offering (Bhog) to the Master and then see to the distribution of Prasada at lunch to all. Each of these duties made its demand on her without any interval. And now immediately after all these, she had to bid adieu to her departing devotees with the sick man among them Such occasions were always the cause of great sorrow to the Mother as well as to the devotees. For, neither party was willing to part from the other. But still it was a ‘must’, on this occasion. Sitting in the verandah with her legs stretched in front of her and her hands resting on her lap, the Mother with a heavy heart watched in silence her sick son departing in the palanquin. After that she withdrew to her room to lay herself down on her bed for a while. One of her disciples, who was on duty there, seeing the Mother going for her rest, thought at first of going to the Baithak-khana (drawing room) but decided against it, as it was rather late in the evening. He just sat at a corner of the Mother’s verandah to keep a watch that nobody disturbed the Mother during her rest.
Soon the clouds, which were noticed earlier, spread over the whole sky, making it very dark. A strong gale now suddenly struck the outer door, producing a deafening sound. All inside the house were startled. Soon a tempest began to rage outside, accompanied by a heavy shower of rain. No sooner did the Mother hear the sound of the tempest than she left her bed and ran outside, crying aloud, “Alas! What will happen to my child!” The end of the cloth on her head had fallen on the ground and was trailing behind her. Her hair too was dishevelled. Coming to the end of the verandah, she was looking up at the sky and crying piteously with tears running down her cheeks. With folded hands she was praying to the Master, entreating him again and again, “O Master! Please save my child! Oh, please save my child!”
Witnessing this scene, the Sevaka was dumbfounded and did not know what to do. A little later, he recovered his presence of mind and approached the Mother. Standing by her side, he proceeded to console her, telling, “There is no reason for alarm They must have reached Desra by now. Besides, Raj an Maharaj is with them He is a very wise and resourceful person. The bearers are all well known to him and are very obedient to him” Thus pacifying her somewhat, he brought the Mother Backto her room There the Mother stood before the Master’s picture and started crying helplessly. With tears streaming down her cheeks, she again and again prayed to Him saying, “Please be gracious to me and save my child, O Lord!” The boy was standing speechless on one side and watching all this, wondering if what he was witnessing was a dream or a reality. So strange and unusual all this looked!
Soon the rain and the storm abated a little and the sky started clearing. The Sevaka prevailed upon the Mother to go and rest a little in her bed. Lying down on her Backwith her hands folded on her chest, she again started imploring the Master, with tears in her eyes, to see that her son’s health was not endangered. Now and again she would murmur to herself with great pathos, “With what great anticipation the poor thing came to ‘his Mother’s house!’ He thought he could meet her, stay with her for a few days, eat, drink and enjoy her company. But how unfortunate he is! He must have started at an inauspicious moment. What all troubles he had to meet on the way! He falls ill here, on recovery goes to Kamarpukur, gets drenched in the rain and then comes Backhere with his fever aggravated! Alas! there seems to be no end to his misfortune! With no strength to walk, he is being shifted to Koalpara in a palanquin, and O God! rain and storm overtake him so soon on the way! O
Master! Have pity on my son and protect him!” Controlling herself a little, she would rest quietly for a while but soon she would be overcome by the sorrow gnawing at her heart, and would again burst out with lamentations, with tears gushing forth from her eyes. Sometimes in between, she would look out through the open door at the sky. The attendant sat quietly inside the room near the foot of the Mother’s bed witnessing this wonderfully pathetic but unique scene with his heart full to the brim with emotion. For, here is an example of universal love – love for a stranger, unblemished by any narrow or selfish considerations. He now found the Mother getting quiet after a while. But suddenly the gale bursts forth again with a terrific sound, followed by rain. And with it, the Mother leaves her bed and runs outside to the verandah with the end of her cloth trailing behind her, her hair dishevelled and tears running down her cheeks. Out of the anguish of her heart she again prays piteously to the Master to have mercy on her and protect her child. She then goes inside the room to pray before the picture of the Master, only to come out again to the verandah to look at the sky and repeat her prayers, not knowing how to assuage the sorrow in her heart.
This went on for sometime until the darkness of the night enveloped the countryside. The lamps were lit inside the room and incense was burnt before the Master’s picture. Then the Mother prostrated herself before the Master and tried her best to keep her emotions under control. The sky also became clearer. The attendant too was doing his best to console the Mother saying, “There are houses on the road, and Raj an Maharaj is well known in the locality. They must have taken shelter in one of them There is really no cause for anxiety.” The Mother was by now pacified a little, but expressions of sorrow continued to escape from her lips from time to time. The inclemency of the weather did not abate in the early part of night, and the Mother too was alternately resting on the bed or coming out to the verandah and praying to the Master all the while. When late in the night the stormy weather fully abated, the Mother went in and had some rest. She, however, could not have peace of mind until Raj an Maharaj returned the next morning and reassured her of the safety of the patient. He told her that they had no trouble on the way. During the time that the rain and storm lasted, they got shelter at the house of an inhabitant of Desra. After the rain and wind abated, they procured a lantern and went to the Koalpara Ashrama that very night, where they all had their food and sleep. The patient and his friends were in good condition.
This reminds me of another occasion, when in a village, a young
man, the only son of a widow, had gone to graze his cattle on a distant meadow. He was to have returned at nightfall. When at noon, the sky got covered with clouds and a storm and rain burst forth, that old widowed mother also lost herself in her anxious concern for her ‘own son’, just as our great Mother did for her ‘stranger son’. The former also was lamenting loudly and alternately, going in and out of the room, not knowing what to do to save her son from the calamity. But our Mother’s grief for her ‘stranger son’ seemed to be more intense than the widow’s for her ‘own son’. The widow, after all, was gaining substantially from her son. He was taking good care of her and providing her with all comforts. Later he was also expected to marry and bring home a daughter-in-law to look after her, and beget sons and daughters who would all enhance the granny’s joy. So much of expectations she had of her son. But what benefits, or what expectations of benefits, could our Mother have from these ‘unknown yet darling’ sons and daughters! None at all. Her only expectation was that her sons should practise devotion to God and live a righteous life.