67. Pilgrimages to the South and other Places
Just as she went on pilgrimage to the Northern parts of the country, she went to the south also with her devotee children in her later days. Thus, at the earnest request of the devotees of the South, she visited the famous places of pilgrimage such as Rameswaram, Madurai etc., where she had exalted divine experiences and her companions found great joy. At that time she stayed for several days near the Ramakrishna Math at Madras and Bangalore and graced many a devotee with initiation. Those men and women of different provinces did not at all understand the language of the Mother, and the Mother too did not understand theirs. Still, on being initiated by her they considered themselves blessed and were very happy, and the Mother too was much pleased with their genuine devotion and regard. Being completely unknown to each other and so different in their dress and manners, a conversation between the
two was impossible, but still there was ‘complete self-surrender’ on the one side and ‘complete acceptance’ on the other! How was this made possible? The utterance of a syllable or two accompanied with certain gestures and a benign look, bound the devotees for ever with an unbreakable bond of love and grace. This may look paradoxical at first. But whenever we are reminded of the eternal bond of love between the hearts of the Mother and her child, all doubts disappear. Does the relationship between a tiny baby and its mother depend upon the exchange of clear words or polished and well-mannered behaviour between the two? Never! The Mother looks at the baby and the baby looks at the Mother, and there may at the most be the exchange of a few indistinct syllables.
Like the devotees of South India, the Mother blessed other devotees of different lands and races and speaking different languages with initiation at different times. All of them realised in their heart of hearts the infinite love and compassion of the Mother and thus made their human birth blessed.
The easiest and the simplest way to realise God, the Paramatman or the Parabrahman – to attain the
consciousness ‘I am His servant’, ‘I am a part of His’ or ‘I am one with Him’ – is to cultivate the feeling: “Thou art my Mother and I am Thy child, now, hereafter and for ever. The gross body, the subtle body and the causal body are all derived from Thee, exist in Thee and will merge in Thee, who art the first Cause, the Mother of the Universe. Through all the ages and in the different bodies I am born in, I am always in Thy loving lap. And, whenever guided by my desires I forget Thee, I suffer troubles and worries, and cry aloud in agony, and it is Thou alone that pacifiest me. I shall never forget it, and will ask for nothing. Please give me eternal peace.” Initiated into this attitude of the present age, many were the people, young and old, male and female, of this country and of others, who had their lives made blessed.
Once the Mother, at the instance of
the late Balaram Babu’s son Ramakrishna Babu, his mother and other relations, went to their Zamindari at Kothar and lived there at their guest house for some days. At that time the Mother initiated an Indian Christian devotee there. When we think of such an incident, which was quite against the prevalent custom of society, we are filled with unceasing wonder. From there she went to have a Darsan of Jagannath at Puri, and stayed there too for some time. Some orthodox Brahmanas of Orissa, who lived according to the injunctions of the scriptures, were fortunate to have initiation from her. Unique divine experiences and devotional moods were manifested in her in all the places of pilgrimage that she visited. As the subject of her pilgrimage is being discussed, it is relevant to state that at the request of devotees she stayed for some time at Varanasi. She told her disciples repeatedly that many a day during that time, she got visions of Viswanatha and Annapurna and their glories.
The Master had never visited Gaya and Puri. It was feared by him and the devotees that he was likely to attain in these places to high spiritual planes from which he might not come Backto the human body. So the Master asked the Mother to go to Gaya and offer Pinda (offering of rice balls) to the Manes there. The Mother carried out this with great faith and devotion after the Master’s earthly play was over.
During the time of the Master’s last illness the Mother went to Tarakeswar and offered ‘Hatya’ (vow of fast unto death) there for his cure, when it was disclosed to her by divine revelation that the cure was impossible. She had visited this place once to fulfil her earlier vow, made when she was ill at her father’s place.
The Mother had faith in all Deities and the rituals connected with their worship. She also accepted such rites as the Sraddha and Tarpana for the higher evolution of the departed. All these she observed to the best of her abilities.
Thus, when she was staying at the garden house of Nilambar Babu at Belur, she went through the rite of Panchatapa or the austere discipline of staying between five fires. Four fires of burning cowdung cakes at short distances apart were made in a rectangle and she remained amidst them with the summer sun above as the fifth fire, for seven days from sunrise to sunset. Yogin-Ma also went through this austere practice with her. In all these religious performances, the onlookers would be profoundly moved to see her great faith and scrupulous adherence to the rituals, and the way she honoured the priests and Pujaris and pleased them with proper monetary and other offerings (Dakshina). To her attendants she was like a mother, always keeping them happy with her affectionate behaviour. Instead of their serving her, it was really she who looked after them always.