16: Recorded by Mahendra Nath Gupta
Two or three days after the birth anniversary of Sri Ramakrishna in March 1914, I went one afternoon to the Udbodhan house with a letter of introduction from a certain devotee living at Barisal. Rashbehari Maharaj (Swami Arupananda) read the contents of the letter and then went to see the Mother. On returning, he conveyed to me the following message from her: “The purpose of taking initiation is to try to realize God through simple spiritual practices. It should not upset the livelihood of the family Guru. I may grant the boy’s prayer if he will honour his family Guru as much as he will honour me in case I give him initiation, and if he agrees to enhance as much as he can his annual contribution to the family Guru.” When I agreed to these proposals, Rashbehari Maharaj escorted me to the Holy Mother.
Two days later I received initiation from her and my mind was absorbed in an indescribable mood for a week after this.
The Mother had asked me at the time of initiation, “Are you a Sakta or a Vaishnava?” On hearing my reply she gave me the Mantra. Seven or eight years later I learnt from my mother that it was the same Mantra as adopted by our family, and the Holy Mother had only added the Bija to it.
Two months after this, my wife became eager to receive initiation, and so I took her to the Holy Mother. The Mother said to her, “From your appearance it seems that you have a suckling baby. With whom have you left him?” My wife said, “I have not brought the infant for fear that he might dirty this holy place.” Learning that the child was only three months old, the Mother said to my wife, “Why do you say so? Who told you that the excreta or urine of so small an infant can defile a place? Children are like Narayana and you should take care of them with that attitude. Go home just now; otherwise the baby may be deprived of its mother’s milk. Come here after four days. The Master willing, you will have initiation. But don’t forget to bring your baby.”
As I was waiting downstairs, I thought: “I shall be convinced that the Mother loves me dearly if she shares with me some of the food she eats.” Half an hour later I went to bow down to the Mother, when I found her eating a sweetmeat. As her glance fell on me, she said, “My child, eat this sweet first and then salute me.” Being favoured with this unexpected Prasad, I forgot to salute the Mother altogether. After a while she herself reminded me, saying, “Now make salutation to me and then go home.”
The Mother’s instruction to come for initiation after four days made us sad and worried. But on returning home I understood from my wife’s health the Mother’s foresight in telling her to wait.
We went to salute the Mother before we left for Barisal. The Mother said, “Go carefully. The Master will protect you from dangers on your way.” On our journey a severe storm overtook us and our lives were in danger. When we arrived at our destination, everyone of us felt convinced that it was only the Mother’s blessings which had protected us.
A year later, in the month of Vaisakh (April-May), I saw the Mother again at Jayrambati, and this time I got the opportunity of coming in very close contact with her. Sitting in front of me, the Mother would feed me affectionately, and I would become filled with joy.
Assuming that I would be benefited more if I practised Japa and meditation while living close to the Mother, one day at Jayrambati I performed Japa and meditation arduously. While I made Pranam to the Mother on that day, she said, ‘You have come to your Mother; what’s the need of so much spiritual practice now? I am doing everything for you. Now eat, drink and enjoy yourself, free from all anxiety.”
The next day I desired to offer flowers and sandal paste at the Mother’s feet. But how was I to procure them in such an unfamiliar place? While I was thinking in this strain, the Mother sent to me a young girl belonging to the family of the Mother’s brothers. She was carrying flowers and sandal paste, and conveyed the Mother’s message: “If my son desires to offer these, he may come now and offer them.”
On the third day the Mother was suffering from pain in her leg. She had a mild fever too. At about ten o’clock another devotee came and, not being aware of the Mother’s ill health, saluted her by touching her feet. The Mother said, “I have a severe pain in my leg. Don’t salute me by touching my feet. The Master will certainly bless you.” Bilash Maharaj, who was present, asked the Mother, “The scriptures, I am told, prohibit making Pranam to a person who is ill or lying down. What really happens if one does so?” Immediately, the Mother said, “Yes, my child, Pranam made in such circumstances fixes the disease in the person. Nobody should be saluted during his illness.”
About three years later during the Christmas holidays I saw Mother for the last time. It was the occasion of her birthday celebration. In the morning that day the Mother told me and a certain monastic member of the Koalpara monastery, “Go to Sibu at Kamarpukur. He will purchase a pitcherful of milk and collect some flowers. Bring them here quickly.” To this, Bilash Maharaj-added, “The Mother has difficulty if she takes her meal late. So you must return by nine o’clock, otherwise you may not get a chance to offer flowers to her.” Nonetheless, it became half-past eleven when we returned. I felt very sorry thinking that we had missed the chance of making offerings to the Holy Mother. Bilash Maharaj rebuked me for being late and said, “The Mother is waiting for you.” Just at that moment the Mother appeared from somewhere, took the basket of flowers from my hand, and said, “How beautiful the flowers are! You should first worship the Lord with them. Quickly take your bath and come.” Bathing over, we came and found that some of the flowers were kept arranged for us to make offerings with. The Mother’s incomprehensible affection captivated us.