03: Recorded by Swami Santananda
I asked the Holy Mother, “How shall I lead a spiritual life, Mother?” She said, ”Spend your days as you are doing now. Pray to Him earnestly and remember Him always,”
Disciple: Mother, the fact that even great men become degraded frightens me terribly.
Mother: When a person has enjoyable things all around him, their influence naturally affects him. My son, don’t look at a woman, even if it be only a figure made of wood. Avoid the company of women.
Disciple: Men can’t do anything on their own. It is He who is making them do all that they do.
Mother: True it is that He is causing men to do everything. But do they have that understanding? Being filled with egotism, they think they are the doers of everything and that they don’t have to depend upon God. Those who rely on Him are protected by Him from all dangers.
Then pointing to a monk, the Mother continued: “The Master used to say, ‘Monk, beware!’ A monk has always to be on the alert. He should be cautious all the time. A monk’s path is very slippery. In walking along a slippery path, one has to move cautiously at every moment. Is it easy to become a monk? A monk must not even glance at a woman. While walking he should keep his eyes fixed on his toes. The ochre cloth of a monk protects him as does the collar on a dog. No one hurts such a dog, for they know it has a master.
“A man’s mind runs after bad things. If he wants to act virtuously, the mind fails to co-operate. In earlier days I used to leave my bed daily at three o’clock in the morning to meditate. One day I felt unwell and out of laziness dispensed with the meditation. Because of this my meditation was stopped for a few days. Therefore, if one wants to achieve something noble, he must be sincerely arduous and seized with a firm resolve. When I used to stay in the Nahabat, on moonlit nights I would look at the reflection of the moon in the still waters of the Ganges and, weeping, pray to God, ‘There are stains even on the moon, but let my mind be absolutely stainless.’ During my stay there the Master forbade even Ramlal to see me, although he was a nephew. Now-a-days I talk with all and come out in the presence of others.
“You are a Calcutta boy. Had you so desired, you could have married and led a householder’s life. Since you have renounced everything, why should you give your mind to it again? Should one again take in the spittle that has been once spat out?”
Disciple: Mother, is it good to practise asanas, pranayama, and other exercises?
Mother: Asanas and pranayama endow one with occult powers and these lead a man astray.
Disciple: Is it good for a monk to go to places of pilgrimage?
Mother: If one’s mind is at rest in a particular place, then what need is there to go to places of pilgrimage?
Disciple: Mother, I don’t have time even for meditation. Kindly make my Kundalini awaken.
Mother: It will certainly awaken. A little Japa and meditation will awaken it. Does it wake up on its own? Do Japa and meditation. The practice of meditation will lead your mind to such one-pointedness that you won’t like to give up meditation. But when you do not achieve such concentration of mind, don’t force yourself to meditation. On such occasions finish your spiritual practice by simply saluting the Lord. The day on which you have the right mood, you will have meditation spontaneously.
UDBODHAN 19 June 1912
Disciple: Mother, why is it that my mind does not become steady? When I try to think of God I find it drawn to various worldly objects.
Mother: It is harmful if the mind is drawn to worldly objects like money and members of one’s family. Nonetheless, the mind naturally dwells on one’s daily activities. If you don’t succeed in meditation, practise Japa. Japa leads to perfection. One attains perfection through Japa. If a meditative mood sets in, well and good. If not, don’t force your mind to meditate.
26 Agrahayana (November-December) 1912:
Disciple: For practising spiritual disciplines in Varanasi, should one live in the monastery or in some lonely place?
Mother If you practise spiritual disciplines for some time in a solitary place like Rishikesh, you will find that your mind has gained in strength, and then you can live in any place or in the company of anyone without being in the least affected by it. A sapling must be protected by a fence all around, but when it grows big not even cows and goats can injure it. Spiritual practice in a solitary place is essential. When worldly thoughts crop up in your mind, and they possess it, then you should go away from the company of others and pray to Him with tears in your eyes. He will remove all the dross of your mind, and will also give you understanding.
Disciple: I don’t have enough strength for doing spiritual disciplines. I have surrendered myself to your holy feet; please do as you will.
With folded palms the Mother began praying to the Master, “May the Master protect you in your vows of Sannyasa. He is looking after you; what should you be afraid of? If the mind is kept engaged in some work, it doesn’t indulge in silly thoughts. But if you sit idle, the mind is likely to indulge in various kinds of thoughts. “
17 Pous (January-February) 1912:
Disciple: How and where should I perform spiritual disciplines?
Mother: Varanasi is the place for you. Spiritual discipline means holding the mind steadfast at His holy feet all the time and immersing the mind in thoughts of Him. Repeat His Name.
Disciple: What can repetition of His Name achieve, if it is not attended with earnestness?
Mother: Regardless of whether you get into water willingly or are pushed, your clothes will be soaked. Practise meditation regularly, for your mind is still unripe. After prolonged practice of meditation your mind will become steady. And you should constantly discriminate between the real and the unreal. Know the worldly objects to which the mind is drawn to be unreal and surrender your mind to God. A man was angling in a pond all by himself when a bridegroom’s procession with its music passed by. But his eyes remained fixed on the float.
Disciple: What is the aim of life?
Mother: The aim of life is to realise God and remain immersed in the contemplation of His holy feet always. You monks belong to the Master. He is watching over your earthly life as well as your life to come. What worry do you have? Can anyone think of God all the time? Spend some time relaxing and some time absorbed in thoughts of Him.
VARANASI I8 Pous, Thursday:
Mother: A monk must be free from anger and hatred, he must tolerate everything. The Master used to tell Hriday, “You will bear with my words and I shall bear with yours-then only we can satisfactorily pull on.
Otherwise, the cashier of the temple estate may have to be called for settling our disputes.”
23 Pous, Tuesday, 9.30 A.M.:
Mother: The Master used to tell me, “Take short walks, otherwise you won’t be able to maintain your health.” In those days I lived in the Nahabat. I used to bathe in the Ganges at 4 o’clock in the morning and would then enter the Nahabat, not to come out of it again during the daytime. One day the Master said to me, “Today a Bhairavi will come. Dye a cloth and keep it ready; I have to give it to her.” The Bhairavi arrived that day when the worship of Mother Kali was over. The Master began to chat with her on various topics. She was a little hot-headed. She used to boss over me always. She would tell me at times, “You must keep Panthabhat2 for me; otherwise I shall pierce you with my trident!” Hearing this I would get frightened. But the Master would reassure me, saying, “You needn’t fear. She is a true Bhairavi. That’s why she is somewhat hot-headed.” Sometimes she brought such a large quantity of alms that it would last for seven or eight days even. At this the cashier of the Temple estate would say, ”Mother, why do you go out and beg your food? You can get it here.”
The Bhairavi would reply, “You are my Kalanemi uncle, Can I rely on you?”
The Mother continued, ‘During the years of his spiritual practices, the Master would shrink through fear at the sight of various objects of temptation; he would shun all these allurements. One day in the Panchavati grove he suddenly saw a boy approaching him. This started him thinking, ‘What is this?’ Then the Divine Mother explained to him that a shepherd boy of Braja would join him as his spiritual son. When Rakhal came, the Master said, ‘My dear shepherd boy has come. Tell me, what’s your name?’ ‘Rakhal,’ he replied. The Master remarked, ‘Yes, yes, that’s right.’ This was exactly in keeping with what he saw at the Panchavati grove.
“Hazra told the Master, ‘Why do you think so much about Narendra, Rakhal and the others? Why don’t you immerse your mind in thoughts of God all the time?’ The Master said, ‘All right, I’ll keep my mind immersed in God.’ Saying this, he went into Samadhi, and his hair stood on end. He continued in that state for about an hour. Then Ramlal began to utter the names of various gods and goddesses. After he had done this for a long time, the Master regained his bodily consciousness. When his Samadhi had passed, he remarked to Ramlal, ‘Did you notice the mental state into which I enter whenever my mind dwells on God? That’s why I keep my mind at a lower level by thinking of Narendra and the others.’ Ramlal said, ‘No, please continue to stay in your own mood.'”
Disciple: I’m practising a few breathing exercises. Should I continue them?
Mother: You may practise them a little. But it’s not safe to do them for very long, for it may throw you off your balance. What need is there of breathing exercises if your mind becomes concentrated on its own?
Disciple: Unless the Kundalini is aroused, nothing worthwhile can be achieved.
Mother: Certainly it will awake. Repetition of His name will lead to the goal. Even when your mind does not become concentrated you can repeat the holy
Name thousands of times. One hears the anahata-dhvani prior to the rousing of the Kundalini. But this is not possible without the grace of the Divine Mother.
The Mother continued, “In the early hours of the morning I was musing that I would not be able to see Lord Viswanath. It is a tiny emblem of Siva covered all over with vilva leaves and water to such an extent that one can hardly see it. As I was thinking this way, all of a sudden appeared the jet-black stone emblem of Siva – Viswanath Himself! I saw Nati’s mother run her fingers over the head of Siva. Then I too quickly came and put my hand on Siva’s head.”
Disciple: Mother, I don’t like the stone emblem of Siva anymore.
Mother: How is that, my son? How many great sinners come to Varanasi and get emancipation by touching Lord Viswanath! He is accepting the sins of all with perfect composure. When people come here on weekends and salute me. I feel a burning sensation in my feet. Only after I wash my feet can I be at peace again.
Disciple: If the Lord is the Father and Mother of all, why does He induce people to commit sins?
Mother: True it is that He has become all living beings, but everybody reaps the fruit of his actions according to his past impressions and deeds. No doubt the sun is one, but its shining varies according to the place and the objects it illumines.
1 January 1917:
I said to the Mother, “Mother, kindly bless me so that I may have good ‘meditation and get immersed in His holy thoughts.”
The Mother blessed me by touching my head with her hand and said, “Also you should always discriminate between the Real and the unreal.”
Disciple: You see, Mother, sitting quietly I am able to discriminate, but then the real test comes in the field of action. I am simply carried away. Mother, please give me strength so that I can keep steady at such times.
Mother: My son, the Master will protect you. May you attain knowledge and illumination.
Then she said to another monk, “You are all monks; it is very harmful for you to keep connection with householders. It is bad even to be in the vicinity of worldly people.”
KOALPARA 27th May 1919
Disciple: Mother, so many days have passed! What have I achieved?
Mother: Pulling you free from worldly tribulations the Lord has placed you at His holy feet. Is this not a rare fortune? Yogen (Swami Yogananda) used to say, “Whether I perform spiritual practices or not, I am free from worldly botherations.” Don’t you see how much I suffer from Maya owing to Radhu?
Disciple: I want to practise Sadhana in a solitary garden for some days.
Mother: This is the time for such practices. One must do them at a young age. And you shall do so, of course. But be careful about your food. Because of too much austerity, Yogen suffered terribly until at last he died prematurely.
KOALPARA 29th May 1919
Disciple: ……Babu doesn’t visit the Math any more. Nor does he call on you
here. Why is he acting like this?
Mother: True, he didn’t see me when I was in Calcutta.
Disciple: He is an old devotee; how did this change come over him?
Mother: All this is the outcome of his past deeds. The actions of many births had accumulated. At long last he has been forced to yield to their effect. But all these accumulated waves of past actions will pass off. He will be liberated in one birth.
Disciple: If everything happens in accordance with His will, then why does He not cut away the bondage of Karma?
Mother: If it is His will, He can certainly cut it all away. But don’t you see that even the Master had to suffer from the consequences of his past deeds. Once his elder brother Ramkumar, while in delirium, was drinking water, when the Master took away the glass from him. Annoyed at this, Ramkumar cursed him, saying, ‘As you have prevented me from drinking water, so you too will not be able to eat or drink anything in your last days.’ The Master said, ‘Brother, I took away the glass of water from you for your own good, and you have cursed me for that!’ Then Ramkumar wept saying, ‘Brother, I don’t know why I uttered such words.’ See, even the Master had to reap the fruit of his past deeds. He couldn’t take any food during his last illness. This devotee too has changed owing to his deeds in many past lives. Don’t you see what happened to A. … ? It’s really difficult to understand why and how such things happen.
KOALPARA 4th June 1919
Disciple: Mother, shall I keep count while I do Japa?
Mother: If you count while you do Japa, your attention will be drawn to the counting. Do Japa without counting.
Disciple: Why doesn’t my mind get absorbed while doing Japa?
Mother: You will succeed through practice. Don’t give up your practice of Japa, even if your mind doesn’t become steady. Do your spiritual practice ardently. Repeating His name will make your mind steadfast like the flame of a lamp protected from wind. Wind makes a flame unsteady. Similarly, desires prevent the mind from becoming concentrated. Besides, if the Mantra is not pronounced correctly, it takes more time for one to achieve any result. A woman had ‘Rukmini nathaya’ as her Mantra. She used to utter ‘Ruku’, ‘Ruku’, and on account of this her progress was retarded. But through the Lord’s grace she later got her Mantra corrected.
KOALPARA 12th June 1919
Disciple: I have been practising Asanas for some days to keep my body fit. It helps in digesting food and in maintaining continence.
Mother: If you practise them too much, your mind may become attached to the body, but if you give them up, you stand the risk of falling sick. Keeping this in mind, act accordingly.
Disciple: I practise them for only five to ten minutes in order to have good digestion.
Mother: Then go ahead. I was trying to impress upon you that a man’s body becomes unwell when physical exercise is given up. I bless you, my boy. May you be illumined.
Pointing to the flag hoisted on the top of the temple of Venimadhava at Varanasi, the Mother observed, “You see me so incapacitated now, but when I visited Varanasi after the demise of the Master; I climbed to the top of the temple of Venimadhava to fasten the flag. I also climbed the Chandi Hill at Hardwar and the Savitri Hill at Pushkara.”
In those days a certain monk of the Ramakrishna Order had been practising hard austerities at the Manikarnika Ghat at Varanasi. When I was leaving for Calcutta he told me, “Please ask the Mother when God will bestow His grace upon me.” When I conveyed this to the Mother, she became grave and said, ”Write to him that there is no such rule that God’s grace will fall on him simply because he is practising austerities. In olden times the ascetics practised austerities for thousands of years with their feet up and heads down, and with fires burning under them. Even then, only some of them received God’s grace; others did not receive it at all. It entirely depends on His will.”
At the Udbodhan house one day a young man expressed to the Holy Mother his desire to become a monk. Smiling a little, the Mother pointed to a monk standing nearby and said, “If everybody becomes a monk, who will look after them? Who will supply provisions for them?” The young man married subsequently.
Once it was proposed that I should travel to Varanasi in the company of a distinguished householder devotee of Sri Ramakrishna. He had agreed to pay my fare. On hearing of this, the Holy Mother said to me, “You are a monk.
Won’t you be able to procure your passage money yourself? These are householders; why should you travel with them? As you will all be travelling by the same compartment in the train, they might tell you, ‘Do this, do that.’ Being a monk why should you take such orders from them?”
On another occasion it was decided that I should be transferred from Calcutta to Varanasi, but I could not make up my mind on this. So I asked the Mother for guidance. She said, “Look, people at Calcutta right from the morning rush about engaged in their job or business or something else, whereas people at Varanasi keep themselves busy from early morning in bathing in the Ganges, seeing Lord Viswanath, practising Japa and meditation, and so on.” I replied, “But here I am engaged in your service.” The Mother said, “Yes, this too is a point that should be taken into consideration so long as this body lasts.”
One day, in the course of a conversation, the Mother said, “Is the Master’s hair a trifle? After his passing away, when I went to Prayag (Allahabad). I carried some of his hair to offer at the confluence of the Ganges and Jamuna. Standing in still water I was holding the hair in my hand and was thinking of immersing it in the water, when suddenly a wave rose and swept away the hair from my hand. The water, already sacred, took the hair from my hand in order to increase its sanctity.”
One day I asked the Mother, “Mother, there are some who have different Gurus for their Mantra and their Sannyasa. Now, whom should they meditate upon as their Guru?” The Mother replied, “The giver of the Mantra is the real Guru, for by the repetition of this Mantra one obtains dispassion, renunciation, and Sannyasa.”