44. Mother’s Love of Her Devotees: Her Letters
The Mother had the same love and affection for all, whether one was a Sannyasin or a householder. When her householder sons and daughters went to the Mother, they never felt that she discriminated against them in her behaviour, or that she gave them less of her love and affection than to the others.
The sympathy and fellow-feeling that they received from the Mother did much to lessen the sorrows and sufferings they were experiencing in the world. It filled their hearts with joy, and gave them courage to face the battle of life. She always took an interest in their household affairs, in their kith and kin, and in their professional career. If they asked her for advice on some problem that was facing them, she would listen to the details with great care, and then would give them the right direction. Many of her children who lived in distant lands would often write to her, letting her know about their own condition. Whenever they fell into trouble, or when calamities visited them, they would ask her for advice and blessings. The Mother received many letters from both her Sannyasin and householder children The Mother would attentively listen to these letters when they were read out to her and she would then herself dictate what was to be written in reply. She would also receive letters from her ‘sons of the older generation’, namely, the disciples of the Great Master, as well as from some noted persons, for blessings. This humble son of hers had the good fortune of seeing many such letters. If he had even a bit of intelligence, he would have collected and preserved these invaluable ‘treasures’ with great care. But this ‘irresponsible fool’ did not do so, and actually destroyed them with his own hands! How full the heart is now with heavy remorse for this! He will, however, try to recall as best as he can, the matter contained in some of these letters.
1. A letter from revered Raja Maharaj (Swami Brahmananda) offering his devoted Pranam, lying full length on the ground at the feet of the Mother, and humbly asking for her permission and blessings to establish the Math at Bhuvaneswar. In reply to this, the Mother gave her warm approval and prayed to Sri Ramakrishna to have the good work accomplished satisfactorily through His grace.
2. A long letter written by revered Baburam Maharaj (Swami Premananda) full of the deep feeling and loving sentiments with which he offered at the holy feet of the Mother his respectful Pranams, lying flat full length on the ground, and asking for her loving blessings, when he went to Deoghar for recouping his health from the malady he had been suffering from In reply, the Mother expressed her deep sorrow and anxiety, and prayed to Sri Thakur for his well-being.
3. A letter from the revered Sarat Maharaj (Swami Saradananda). In reply to a letter from the Mother, Sarat Maharaj was to send her some money to Jayrambati for some purpose. The Maharaj asked Ganen Maharaj to see that the money was sent. Later when he enquired about it, the latter told him that the money was duly sent, and so he was satisfied. And, as they did not feel any financial stringency at Jayrambati just then, the Mother too did not make any enquiries about it. When a few days later Ganen Maharaj informed him that the money had not actually been sent, and that by mistake he had reported otherwise, Sarat Maharaj became very much perturbed and anxious. He wrote to the Holy Mother a pathetic letter, regretting the mistake very much and craving for her pardon with great humility. In reply to this, the Mother informed him that she was free from any want then, and assured him that through the will of the Master, it was good that the money was not sent. She sent him her blessings too.
4. The long letters of RamBabu, the son of revered Balaram Babu, giving details about the last illness of his mother, her death, the performance of her Sraddha ceremony, and then asking the Mother for her blessings. In reply the Mother let him know how sorry she was, and how she had prayed for the Sraddha ceremony to go off smoothly. Now she felt relieved that everything had gone all right.
5. The letters written by Swami Prajnananda from Mayavati. At the Udbodhan House, Swami Prajnananda and his sister Sudhira Devi were blessed with the love and grace of the Mother in profusion and they felt very much attracted to her. He wrote a long detailed letter from Mayavati to the Mother, telling her about the innermost desire of his heart and asked for her affectionate blessings. His letters contained beautiful and detailed descriptions of Mayavati. In one of his letters he wrote: “Tigers come in the compound of the Ashrama at night. We hear their growls.” Hearing this the Mother was filled with fear and worry. He had sent Dahlia bulbs from Mayavati to be planted in the garden of the Mother’s new house. I am also reminded of what he had written about the devoted Bhutia sisters, Rama Devi and Surama
Devi, whose present of a beautiful ‘Asana’ or prayer carpet he had forwarded to the Mother as a token of their great devotion
6. At that time the condition of the country was very alarming. The inhuman atrocities let loose by the British Government against the political agitators had produced an atmosphere of great terror in the country. The police were all-powerful and were keeping a strict watch everywhere. The Sadhus of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission too were suspect. The police were very vigilant about both Koalpara and Jayrambati. The locality was malarial and difficult of access, and it was the abode of uneducated poor
people. That was the reason why the Government had considered it an ideal spot to keep interned the healthy and strong young patriots to teach them a lesson Practically every police station (Thana) of the locality had some of these young internees. Amongst them were to be found some who had obtained the love and grace of the Mother. The Mother’s mind would always be full of worries concerning their welfare. Some of them would write to the Mother occasionally. These letters would bear the ‘Police Stamp’ on them Seeing such letters several times, she could identify that mark of police censoring. So whenever she got such a letter, she would take it up in her hand and keep looking at the ‘Police Stamp’ for a long time with her eyes filled with tears. Sometimes a few words would come out of her lips, giving expression to the pent up emotion in her heart.
7. At times devotees would write to her mentioning some difficult problems, in the hope of getting solutions to these in her reply to them. The Mother would always give the right answer. I shall try to give here a few examples of these:
8. A certain lady devotee had written that her husband was not liking the householder’s life and was thinking of sending his wife (herself) and children to her father’s place with the intention of leaving the world and becoming a Sannyasin. The moment the
Mother heard this letter read out, she lost herself in grief. She said, “Oh, the injustice of it! She is only a young girl. Where will she go now with these little offspring of hers and what will she do?” Then she said in a firm voice, “Write to him forbidding him to leave the world now. Let him first bring up these children of his. By earning money, let him make proper provision for their upkeep. Then we shall see what is to be done.”
9. Another disciple had written: The service that he was employed in required of him to tell lies sometimes. So he was intending to leave it. But on account of his family responsibility he was not able to do so, there being no other alternative work that he could take up. He wanted the Mother’s advice and directive in this distressing situation Hearing this, the Mother was absorbed in thought for the devotee for some time, and then asked the disciple to write to the devotee not to leave his job. The immature writer was hesitating to write this, thinking within himself why the Mother should have given him such an advice, considering that what he wanted was to stick to the path of truth. At this the Mother explained to him; “Today he is afraid to tell a few lies. But after leaving the job, when he gets overwhelmed by wants, he would not be afraid to steal or even to rob.” In great grief the Mother repeated to herself several times this last portion: “He will not be afraid to steal or even to rob, when he gets overwhelmed by wants.” The writer was amazed at seeing this far-sightedness of the Mother, as well as her anxiety to protect her son
10. Another wrote: At their place they had a shrine in which the pictures of the Master and the Holy Mother were installed on a wooden throne. Their children did the worship, including making food offerings (Bhog) and Arati. One day, their youngest daughter who performed the worship that day, finished the Arati and placed the burning wick-light under the wooden throne of the Deity. The cloth hanging from the throne caught fire, and the throne itself as well as the pictures of the Master and the Mother on it, were all burnt and reduced to ashes. Filled with great fear and apprehension, they were now approaching the Mother for her ‘assurance’ and ‘mercy’. Hearing about the incident, the Mother was filled with great sorrow and concern. She said, “This kind of Puja and Arati are not to be treated lightly. They are rather difficult to perform and they should be done with great care. It is only places like the Maths and the Ashramas that can undertake them Otherwise, can I also not wave the incense or the light in my chapel every night-fall?” After expressing her regret again and again, she ultimately had a reply sent to them in which she bestowed her ‘assurance’ to them but also cautioned them to be careful in future.