84. A sensational Jagaddhatri Puja at the Mother’s House
Many a devotee-son of hers had experienced it in his life how the Mother sometimes fulfilled some innermost desire of his in the most unexpected manner. Many of them would try to join in the celebration of the Jagaddhatri Puja if they came to know that the Mother would be present at Jayrambati then They knew that the Mother was none other than the Goddess Jagaddhatri Herself The Mother would worship Jagaddhatri in the image, and the devotees would have the direct Darsan of the living Jagaddhatri. The Mother would be very happy to perform the worship of Jagaddhatri, while her sons watched her uniquely charming worship. Once a son had come from a very distant place to join in the Puja festival. Due to some circumstances, he got delayed on the way. When he reached the Mother’s place at noon on the day before the Puja, everybody was busy with the various arrangements for it. The Amantran and Adhivas ceremonies, performed on the day previous to the great festival in the form of welcome to the Deity, were to take place that very evening, and the Puja was to start early next morning. The image was being properly decorated. He met the Mother and made Pranam to her. She expressed her joy at his coming and asked him how he was, but could not give him more time.
After nightfall, finding the inmates of the house very much agitated, he was eager to learn the reason for it. He saw many of them standing there surrounding the Mother, each one wearing a long face. Many suggestions were being offered and discussed. The Mother was sitting quiet, thinking, her eyes downcast. Piecing together the bits of conversation, he came to understand that they were in a fix, as they did not have the much-needed ripe bananas for the Puja. They had bought a full bunch of green bananas in the hope that they would ripen in time for the Puja. But to their utter dismay they found that not even one of them had ripened. The Puja was due early next morning and the bananas were the first things required for the various preliminary offerings, without which they could not start the
Puja. Nobody in the village had bananas and there was no hope of getting them from neighbouring villages too. Everybody was gloomy. A Sadhu of Koalpara now said that it was possible to get bananas from a plantation at that place. A resident of Koalpara maintained a banana plantation, from where he sent ripe bananas to be sold in the market. This brought a ray of hope, and they decided to send a couple of men there at once. But who would go at this time of the night? It was then nine o’clock at night. To cover the distance of eight miles up and down was indeed difficult.
The newcomer was a courageous young man. He took another youth of that
place as his companion and got ready to start on the errand. The Mother’s face shone with happiness. Making Pranams to her and receiving her blessings, the two friends started on their journey. When they entered the village Desra, the dogs of that place started barking at them Some of the villagers came out and showed them the way. When they reached Koalpara Ashrama, it was quite late in the night. They woke up the inmates, who were fast asleep. They were astonished at their arrival. But when they came to know the reason for this, they were very much perturbed; for it was the Koalpara Ashrama that had sent the bunch of bananas which had failed to ripen. Some of them at once went in search of ripe bananas, but with no success. The two friends therefore spent the rest of the night at Koalpara and returned to the Mother early next morning empty-handed, to tell her about the unavailability of ripe bananas anywhere. This filled the Mother and the others with great sorrow and anxiety. How could the Puja be performed without bananas?
This newly-arrived youth had brought with him for the Mother a few bananas from a tree which he had himself planted. Finding the Mother very busy when he arrived the previous day, he did not take the package of bananas out from his bag. He thought that after the Puja was finished and when the Mother got some leisure, he would put them in her hand. For, though the bananas were of a good size, they were just of the ordinary variety and were unlikely to be appreciated by everybody. He brought them simply because they were the fruits of the tree planted by himself, which had therefore a sentimental value for him When he packed the bananas they were still very green. Now, on returning from Koalpara very much disappointed at not being able to procure any banana, he remembered the green bananas he had brought and took them out of his bag. And lo! on opening the packet he found them quite ripe, with a few of them having become a little too soft even! He took them to the Mother. The moment the
Mother’s eyes fell on the ripe bananas, she cried out in great delight, “Oh, just see how the Mother has already arranged for Her own Puja! We have been worrying for nothing.” When the son had explained to her everything about these bananas, she took them in her hand, and examining them, found them to be the Kover variety of banana, which was well suited for the Puja. She became very happy at the turn of events. The son’s heart too, became filled to the brim with joy.
With a sweet smile playing on her lips, the Mother looked at the son and said, “It was just like searching for a thing far and wide, having it all the while within the premises itself” After
a little while, she repeated it slowly, uttering in a long-drawn tone, “Having, the-thing-within-the-premises-but-searching-for-it-far-and wide.” She was gazing at infinity, completely oblivious of the surroundings! The son, too, staring at her speechless, quickly moved out of the room, wondering at the Mother’s suggestive words.