6. The Mother before and after Radhu’s Advent
It was only after she developed an attachment to Radhu that the Mother could hold her mind to the worldly plane, enabling people at large to drink at the cool nectarine fountain of her love, and have the anguish of their heart replaced by the bliss of communion with her. Before that, it was given only to the inner circle of the Master’s devotees and to a few other fortunate souls to have the privilege of tasting that nectar. Radhu’s mother, ‘the mad aunt’ (Mami), told us once; “Before the Mother grew anxious on account of Radhu, she appeared to me like a living Devi. I never dared approach her. Then my sister-in-law (the Holy Mother) was quite a different person. She was like a Goddess. When she would sit on the seat for worship, I could not go near her. I was afraid to do so. It is Radhi that has brought about all this change. It is on account of Radhi alone that we are having all this fuss.” The Mother herself would say, pointing to Radhu, “It is on account of her alone that we have all this. Otherwise my mind would have soared away to the Unknown and got merged there! How wonderful are the workings of the Master! He has brought the mind down and kept it on Radhu.” When Radhu gave too much trouble, she was sometimes heard to say with a smile playing on her lips, “Does she think that I cannot do without her? If I take my mind away from these, who would care what becomes of them?” The Mother understood what the Master wanted of her. So, it was for the Master’s work alone that, making Radhu the prop, she kept the stream of her love flowing on this earth for the good of men. Accepting her worldly situation, property, the company of people and the ways of the world, the Mother took on herself the role of a person with worldly responsibilities and taught people the ideal of the householder’s life. Understanding the good and the bad propensities of the human heart and their expressions, she controlled them in others with the help of her love and affection, filling even the wise with wonder.
We have heard from her companions what the Holy Mother was before the advent of Radhu on the scene. Steeped in meditation, she would be bodily shifted from one place to another like a statue by Golap-Ma and Yogin-Ma who often kept company with her. She had no consciousness of the body. The devotees after making Pranams (prostrations) to her, would offer at her feet money, cloth, fruits etc., but she would take no notice of them.
Her attendant would collect them and put them away. They would be made use of as necessity arose, but she herself never bothered about all that. Then Radhu came, pulling down the Mother’s mind. Her household now increased, and the Mother assumed the role of a householder, taking on herself all the responsibility of that state. She started feeling within her heart the sorrows and tribulations of the world. Her heart melted at the sufferings of the Jivas, and for their emancipation, she sacrificed herself unstintingly. The afflicted and the dazed Jivas of the Kali Yuga, getting the nectar of the Mother’s love and affection, can hope to be rejuvenated and established in new strength.
The readers of the life-story of the Mother would have seen how, with the coming of Radhu, her household went on expanding. It was after the construction of the Mother’s house, the Udbodhan building in Calcutta, that the Jagadamba Ashrama at Koalpara was built for her. To remove the shortage of accommodation at Jayrambati, land in Kali-Mama’s (uncle Kali’s) compound was acquired later and a separate house constructed there for her. The number of people, men and women of all communities and stations of life from
India and abroad, coming to the Mother and getting initiation from her, went on increasing. The Mother used to live in Jayrambati like the ‘daughter’ in the father’s place. There was no veil or Purdah here and the Mother would talk with people without any hesitation. That was why her children flocked there to meet her. While the Mother was looked after by the Sadhus and devotees during the stay at Calcutta in the Udbodhan house, it was just the contrary while she lived in her village at Jayrambati. It was the Mother there that looked after the comfort of the inmates. She would procure the necessary articles, cook, feed, remove the orts, and make arrangements for her children to rest.
She did not like to send away these children coming from far-off lands without giving them an opportunity to stay with her for a day or two, She was always anxious about their well-being, and so she would enquire about their domestic affairs, about their relatives, listen to their tales of joy and sorrow, express her sympathy for them and give them proper advice. She was the Mother to the very letter! At the time of their departure, she would become sad and would not leave them easily. When her children would be going away she would keep on looking till they got out of her sight, and tears would all the while be flowing from her eyes. That picture of the Mother has remained engraved for ever in the hearts of the children who have witnessed it.
Matters were however quite different when she stayed at the Udbodhan house, her Calcutta residence. The Udbodhan was actually built for her by the revered Sarat Maharaj (Swami Saradananda), who stayed in a room at the entrance of the house, considering himself her ‘gate-keeper’. The Mother, however, considered that place as an Ashrama of the Sadhus, and therefore whenever she stayed there with her party of relatives and dependants, she took special care to see that the life of the monastics was not unduly disturbed by the members of her household.
At the Udbodhan the Mother stayed like the ‘daughter-in-law.’ It was difficult to have her Darshan (audience) there; and to have her Prasada (consecrated food) was a matter of great good fortune. To be fed by her was something impossible. When she went to have her bath in the Ganga from the Udbodhan, she would follow Golap-Ma like a new daughter-in-law following her mother-in-law, holding on to a corner of the latter’s cloth. When the revered Sarat Maharaj (Swami Saradananda) came to her to make his daily prostrations at her feet, she would sit with her veil drawn completely over the face. How many times Sarat Maharaj was heard to lament, “She looks on me as if I were her father-in-law!”