Part 1: Recorded by Pravrajika Bharatiprana
When I met the Holy Mother for the first time, I was a student of Sister Nivedita’s school, at 17, Bosepara lane. One day after the school, Sister Sudhira took four or five of us to the Holy Mother’s house. The Mother was sitting in the shrine room. Sister Kusum was reading some book. When we bowed down to her, the Mother said, “Sit down, my dear girl.” And she said to Sister Sudhira, “Are you well, my dear? Is your school over just now? Do these girls study in your school?”
Sister Sudhira: Yes Mother, these girls study in our school.
Mother: They are good girls. (Indicating me), Where does, this girl come from? She seems to be a very good girl.
Sister Sudhira: She is of Brahmana parentage. Her house is nearby only.
After this conversation, the Holy Mother said, “Kusum, you read. These people will listen.” Reading began. I think the book was ‘Krishna Charita’. Hearing the description of Sri Krishna drinking all the curds and milk through various stratagems, the Holy Mother and all others began to laugh very much. She said, “What a mischievous boy!” Soon after, our vehicle arrived. The Mother enquired, ‘Will you go just now? Could you not stay a little longer?” Hearing Sister Sudhira’s reply, she said, “Then come in the morning, my dear.” After receiving Prasad, we bowed down to the Holy Mother and took leave of her. She said “Come, my dear, come again.”
Another evening Sister Sudhira took me to the Holy Mother’s house. The Mother was lying on a mat spread on a plain cot. Seeing us, she said, “Sit down, my dear.” We made Pranam and sat down.
Mother: Is your school over? What is the time now?
Sister Sudhira: Today our school was over in the morning itself. Now it is half past three. And so I came, bringing them with me.
Mother: You have done well.
Later the topic of our conversation turned to a girl. The Holy Mother said, “Just see, my dear. She will not go to her father-in-law’s place. She has come to me. She does not like the son-in-law because he is dark. Should she reject him simply because he is dark? He is her husband. What kind of girls these are, I do not know. And I hear that his nature is not good. On that account also she does not wish to go. Even if it were so, he has not” neglected her. All said and done, he is her husband. I do not know, my dear, what kind of girls these are! If people come to know of this, what will they think? Let her do as she pleases.” Saying this, she went to wash her clothes. At the time of taking leave, we made Pranam and said, ”Mother, we are going.” She corrected me, saying, “You should not say ‘I am going’. You should say’ I shall come’. Come again when you get time, dear.”
One Saturday evening Sister Sudhira took a few of us to Dakshineswar and on the way Backwe went to the Holy Mother’s house. The Mother was then lying on her cot. Seeing us, Yogin-Ma said, “Where are you coming from at this time of night?” The Mother enquired, “Who has come?” “It is Sudhira,” replied Yogin-Ma. Hearing that, the Holy Mother sat up. All of us made Pranam to her and sat down.
Mother: Where are you coming from at this time of night?
Sister Sudhira: I took these girls to Dakshineswar. After seeing Arati, as we were returning, it was dark. I thought, having come so close, should I just go away? And so I came over here.
“You have done well,” said the Mother and lay down again. Sister Sudhira began shampooing her feet. I stood nearby fanning the Mother. Sister Sudhira was speaking with her about Dakshineswar.
Mother: You have seen the Nahabat. Have you not? I used to stay in the lower room of that Nahabat. Under the stairs I cooked.
Sister Sudhira: Yes, Mother, I know that. Even now, the stairs on the front side are walled over with matting. Under the stairs there is a hearth. And the baskets of the fisherwomen are left there in that same verandah of yours. I told these girls about you, how you stayed in that room. Well, Mother, how could you live in that room? Did you not have problems?
Mother: The problem was only regarding the morning ablutions and bath. The want of proper toilet arrangements was another. It affected my health. And those fisherwomen were my companions. They came to bathe in the Ganga, and keeping their baskets in the verandah, would get into the water. How much they used to chat with me! And at the time of going, they would pick up their baskets and leave. I used to hear the fishermen sing while catching fish at night. How many devotees used to come to the Master! How much singing! I used to hear it all and think, ‘Were I one among those devotees, I too could have stayed very near the Master like them and how much more could I have listened to!’ Yogin and Golap know everything. They would come to me and sometimes stay with me.
The Holy Mother looked at Yogin-Ma and said, “How blissful it was then, Yogin!” Saying this, she became a little absent-minded. Yogin-Ma now remarked, “What an intense bliss it was – can it be described in words? The soul is thrilled to think of it even today.” The Holy Mother turned to us and said, “It is night. Won’t they at home scold you for being late?”
Sister Sudhira: Yes, they will get a little scolding today. Their people at home are quite angry with the folk here. If they hear that these girls have been to this place, they will bite their heads off.
Mother: That is so, my dear. Poor children, how much scolding they will get! How many kinds of people there are – who can say? For those who live in society, there is no end to their fear. Dear ones, you take leave now. Ah! How much scolding they will get!
Sister Sudhira: If they cannot endure a little, what are they good for? By your blessing they will have nothing to fear.
Mother: By the grace of the Master everything will become easy. If they scold, do not say anything in return. In the world so many kinds of people are there. We have to put up with all of them. The Master used to say: sa ,sa, sa meaning, he who ‘endures’ alone will live.
For our sake she folded her hands before the Master and said, “Lord, give us protection.” We bowed down to her and took leave.
During the holidays, one day at noon, Sister Sudhira and three of us went to the Holy Mother’s house. The Mother saw us and said, “Sit in the shrine. I shall come after making the offering to the Master.” A little later, when she returned, we bowed down to her. After enquiring about our welfare, she asked, “That day, did they scold you at home?” “Not much,” we replied.
“We did not even feel it.”
At the end of the meal the Holy Mother gave cooked Prasada to Sister Sudhira. Among us two were widows. Seeing that they were hesitating to take it, the Mother said, “You eat, my dear, there is no objection to taking Prasada.”
The Holy Mother rested a little thereafter, asking us to lie down on the floor, spreading a mat. In the evening the Mother gave us some Prasada, and sat in the verandah, talking with Sister Sudhira. One young lady handed over a picture of Gopal in a lace knitting to the Holy Mother, made Pranam and sat down. The Mother looked at it and said, “My dear, did you make this?”
“Yes, Mother,” replied the young lady. “Ah, it is well done. What a beautiful expression in the face! See how well she has done!” remarked the Mother. Saying so, the Holy Mother showed it to all of us and continued, “It is well done, is it not?” We all agreed. She looked at the picture again, touched it to her head and asked it to be hung up. Later she enquired after the welfare of the lady’s family and gave Prasada to her.
The Holy Mother showed the lace-work to Golap-Ma as soon as she came and said, “See how beautiful it is!” Pointing to the lady, she explained, “This young lady has done it.” Golap-Ma looked at it and said, “Everything is quite well done. Only the left arm has become a little too thick.” We began to laugh. The Mother also laughed and said, “Golap has come and showed up the blemish. Their taste is different, my dear. Golap is the master of many arts and is therefore critical. Her work is always neat. Besides she has many kinds of skills. All the personal requirements of the Master used to be made by her. She makes all kinds of Things – mosquito curtains, pillows, pillow cases etc. She is never idle.”
A little before dusk the lady made Pranam to the Holy Mother and was taking her leave. The Mother said, “Come again, my dear.” Yogin-Ma came and bowed down to the Holy Mother and sat. After a little conversation the Holy Mother showed her also the picture and said, “See how beautifully it is done! What a beautiful expression in the face!” “Well done indeed! Who has done it? It has come out quite excellently!” exclaimed Yogin-Ma. The Holy Mother told her about the lady and said, “Golap says that the left hand is a little stout.” Yogin-Ma replied, “O, don’t mind her words.”
When it was dusk the Holy Mother made Pranam, saying, “Haribol, Haribol, Gurudev, Guru’s grace” etc., and bowed down in the direction of the Ganges. She spread her seat in the room and sat down, took a little Ganges water and started doing her Japa. The Arati now started. The room was full of people, of whom many were doing Japa. What a wonderful sight!
On the day of Akshay Tritiya two of my friends took initiation. Unluckily, I could not have it at that time, as I was not then in Calcutta. A little after this, one evening, I went with Sister Sudhira to the Holy Mother’s house. The Mother was to have gone to her village but the journey had been put off.
The Holy Mother replied to some questions put by Sister Sudhira and then said, “My youngest sister-in-law has become quite abnormal. She will be better as soon as she goes to the village. And there is Radhu’s marriage. Because of all this, I have to go soon. Everything was fixed up for my journey that day. But it was postponed, as the day was not quite auspicious.” After Arati, the Holy Mother lay down a little. Sister Sudhira was massaging her feet. The Mother said, “Press a little harder, my dear. Tomorrow is full moon day, and so the rheumatism in the leg is aggravated. Just see, this disease has taken such a hold that there is no sign of its abatement. It started quite long ago, when I was still staying at Dakshineswar.”
Gaining a little relief through the massage, the Holy Mother fell into a nap. Our vehicle arrived. We made Pranam to the Master and were leaving, when the Holy Mother woke up and said, “Are you going? Come again.” Yogin-Ma told her about my initiation. “Come tomorrow morning,” she replied. Next day morning when I reached the Holy Mother’s house, she had finished the Master’s worship and was getting ready to go for her bath in the Ganges. Seeing me, she said, “Come, my dear, I shall initiate you quickly and then go for bath.” After the initiation was over she said, “Offer these flowers at my feet” I was wondering what I should say while offering. The Holy Mother gave me some flowers and continued, “‘Whatever that is mine, I offer unto you’ – saying this, offer these flowers at my feet.” I complied. Showing me the Master’s picture, she said, “He is your all in all. Call upon Him and everything will be yours.”
I applied oil upon her feet at her bidding. After the Mother finished her bath, Sister Sudhira said that we should now be leaving. “How can you go away now, my dear?” objected the Holy Mother. “Have your Prasad and go in the evening.” When Yogin-Ma came upstairs, the Holy Mother told her, “These people want to go home:’ Yogin-Ma said: “They should take Prasad, and then go. I have just told the cook about their food.”
Yogin-Ma was going home. She bowed down at the Holy Mother’s feet. The Holy Mother placed her hand on her head and blessed her and said, ‘It is quite late in the day. Why don’t you take your food here? To cook again after reaching home will be difficult:’ “No, Mother. My mother is there. She would have made all arrangements. I shall have only just to cook,” replied Yogin-Ma. So the Holy Mother hurried her on the journey, saying, “Then don’t make any more delay, my dear. The sun is hot and you have to go quite a long distance.”
After that, Lalit Babu’s wife came, made Pranam and sat down. Her daughters had passed away recently and she was grief-stricken. The Holy Mother consoled her in various ways. Said she, “Ah, all the three passed away! Could not at least one survive? Added to that, Lalit is ill. May he recover by the Master’s grace. It will be a great solace if Lalit is saved.” She gave her Prasad and continued, “Eat, my dear. How thin you have become!” Taking leave, Sister Sudhira now said to the Holy Mother, “After how many days hence could I hope to have your Darshan?” “I shall return soon,” replied the Holy Mother. “Why don’t you come to attend Radhu’s marriage?” Sister Sudhira did not say anything in reply to this, but said, “For the present I shall take leave, Mother.” The Holy Mother gave her blessings and said, “Come again after my return.”
After the Holy Mother came Backfrom the village, Sister Sudhira and I went to the Mother’s house one evening and paid our respects to her. Sister Sudhira remarked, “Mother, you have become very dark and lean.” “Our village is in open fields, you know,” the Mother replied, “and so the complexion becomes dark. In addition, I had to work hard too.”
Sister Nivedita now came in, bowed down to the Holy Mother and took her seat. The Holy Mother enquired after her welfare, and gave her a woollen fan made by herself, saying, “I kept this for you.” The Sister was very happy to receive it. She put it on her head, touched it to her heart and said, “How beautiful, how wonderful!”
She showed it to us and said, “Just see how beautifully it is made!” The Holy Mother said appreciatively, “Do you notice her happiness upon receiving some small present! Ah, what simple faith! As if she were a Goddess! How much devotion she has for Naren! Because he is born in this country, she left her all and has come to do his work with her heart and soul. What a devotion to the Guru! What love for this country!”
The Sister was going to Darjeeling. She told the Holy Mother about it. When Radhu came in, the Holy Mother told her, “Radhu, bow down to your sisters.” Sister Sudhira protested, saying, “No, no; let her not do so. Why should she salute us?” But the Holy Mother persisted, saying, “You are all her elder sisters. Should she not salute you?” One Brahmacharin now came in and informed the Holy Mother of men devotees waiting to make Pranam to her. “Let them come,” she said and sat covering herself with a shawl.
Some time later we returned home after receiving the Mother’s blessing.
One day Sister Nivedita told us that the Holy Mother would visit our School, and that we should all be full of joy on the occasion. The Holy Mother’s carriage arrived only in the evening instead of in the morning. Radhu, Golap Ma and others were with her. As soon as she got down from the vehicle, Sister Nivedita made Sashtanga Pranam (full prostration) to her and led her to the prayer hall. She gave us all flowers to be offered at the Holy Mother’s feet. As the girls offered flowers, Sister Nivedita introduced them one by one to the Holy Mother. The Mother asked the girls to sing a little. They did so and recited a poem. The Holy Mother listened to it and appreciated the poem. Then she directed some Prasad to be given to us. A little later Sister Nivedita took her around and showed her the whole house, the handicrafts of the girls, etc. On seeing all that, the Mother was much pleased and remarked, “The girls have indeed got good training.” Later on Sister Nivedita took the Mother to her own room for rest.
At the time of Sister Nivedita’s passing away, Sister Sudhira too was quite ill. How much the Holy Mother worried for her sake! She would cry, saying, “Oh-Master, has Sudhira got to go? How much work she has still to do!”
To the ‘aunt at Syampukur’ the Holy Mother said, “Could you bring me news of Sister Sudhira, my dear? Ah, how ill she is!” When she agreed, the Holy Mother gave her the Master’s Charanamrita, pomegranate etc., and said, “Give these to her, and let me know how she is. I am offering Tulasi leaves to the Master for her sake.”
After Sister Sudhira recovered her health, she, I and Sister Christine went to the Holy Mother’s house one evening. After Arati we made Pranam to her and seated ourselves before her. “Have you got well, my dear’?” enquired the Holy Mother. Sister Sudhira replied that she was much better but that she had still to be careful. “I was greatly worried about you,” said the Holy Mother. “You have, however, recovered by the Master’s grace. Just now Nivedita passed away and you fell ill right after that-hearing it I wondered, if Sudhira too goes, who will run the school? (Referring to Sister Christine)
Ah, they were together all the time. Now how much more difficult it will be for her to be alone! Even our hearts are afflicted by her demise, what then to speak of your grief! What a personality she was! How many people weep for her today!” Speaking thus, the Holy Mother began to weep. Later she asked Sister Christine many questions about the school.
Sister Sudhira was to go to Kasi for a change. I was to accompany her. Hearing that from us, the Holy Mother made detailed enquiries about our plan and said, “Start soon, my dear. The body is to be cared for, is it not?”
It was many days later that I went to the Holy Mother next. Mrs – was with me. As Sister Sudhira was not with me that time, I was greatly worried whether the Holy Mother would be able to recognise me. We went to the shrine and saw that the Mother had got up after finishing the Puja. Seeing me, she said, “Oh! my dear, you have come at last? It is many days since your last visit is it not? How much I thought of you! Where were you?” As I made Pranam she put her hand on my head and blessed me and enquired about Sister Sudhira. I said that she had come to Calcutta and that I came with her. My soul was filled with bliss at the thought that the Holy Mother could recognise me.
That day there was an invitation from Balaram Babu’s house and all were going there. Radhu was not well. So the Holy Mother said referring to me, “She won’t go anyhow, not being an invitee Radhu and she shall remain here.”
The vehicle to take the Holy Mother arrived. Before leaving the Mother told us, “You two amuse yourselves. I shall return quickly.” Then she said to Radhu, “Play with your sister, my dear. I shall return shortly.”
The Holy Mother came Backafter four. I, together with others, was to go by the same vehicle. The Mother hastily gave me some Prasad and said, “Ah, my dear, we have just arrived and you are going away immediately. What can be done? You have come with them, and it is proper for you to return with them.”
Radhu: Why not let the sister stay?
Mother: How can she stay, my dear?
Radhu: No, let her stay. Let the others go away.
Mother: She (Radhu) is senseless, for sure. If she stays, how can the others go? No, my dear. You get ready quickly; they are calling you from below.
I bowed down to the Holy Mother and took leave of her. She blessed me and said, “How many days you have to stay like this, the Master alone knows. Come again, my dear.” She came with me upto the stairs. What a deep compassion of hers I experienced that day, I cannot describe in words. She gave me much instruction, saying, “Do this, do that etc.”
During the holidays of the month of Paush (February), Sister Sudhira wished to be with the Holy-Mother and went to Kasi, taking along a few of us with her. When we met the Holy Mother, after some talk, she enquired about Yogin-Ma and said, “Ah, my dear, Yogin could not come. She was quite ill. The Master and the Divine Mother saved her. I was much worried over Yogin.” After a little conversation, Sister Sudhira and others went to see the house hired for our stay.
The Holy Mother fell asleep a little. The house was almost silent with everybody resting. In that silence a song was heard from the verandah:
Where has my Mother gone?
For many days have I not seen you; Mother, take me in the lap.
What sort of a Mother art Thou, so stony-hearted towards the child!
Grant Thy vision, Mother, and make me weep no more.
The song was sung in such a gentle tone that I felt as though some one was weeping at quite a distance. Suddenly the Holy Mother woke up and said, “Who is singing? Let us go, my dear, to the verandah and see.” We went and what I saw struck me dumb with astonishment. One girl was singing the song and her chest was bathed in tears as she sang. As the Holy Mother sat there, the girl bowed down to her and said, “Mother, my heart’s desire of many days is fulfilled today. I cannot express the joy that is flooding me today, Mother.” The Holy Mother blessed her and asked her about herself.
Girl: I am only a beggar girl, Mother.
Mother: Where do you stay?
Girl: I stay at the gate of Annapurna, near the Behari Baba’s temple at the Dasasvamedh Ghat.
Mother: You are well off by taking alms, I hope?
Girl: By your blessing everything goes on well, Mother. There is no worry about daily needs. By the grace of Annapurna, no one has to go without food here, Mother. I am worried about how to get a little Bhakti.
Mother: That will certainly come about, my dear. You stay in such a sacred place. Here Lord Viswanath and Mother Annapurna are reigning actually.
By Their grace everything will come about.
The Holy Mother asked her to sing another song. She began to sing:
Mother, may thou be pleased to keep me as a child!
Let me not grow, leaving behind the beauty of childhood.
A beautiful simple soul, unaware of honour and infamy;
It does not know cruelty, nor censure nor shame nor contempt.
Mother: What a beautiful song!
Girl: I had a great desire for many days to see you. Hearing that you are here, I often think of coming but feel afraid that someone would object.
Mother: None will say anything. Come whenever you like.
The Holy Mother asked Prasad to be given to her. After receiving Prasad the girl was taking leave. The Holy Mother told her, “Come again, my dear.” Later she told us, “The girl has great devotion.”
During the few days we were in Kasi, we used to go to the Holy Mother everyday, morning and evening. One evening, when we went there the Mother was going to the Ramakrishna Advaita Ashrama to attend a Bhagavata discourse. Seeing us, she said, “We are going to hear the Bhagavata at the Math. Some Pandit recites. Will you come? Why not you come with us?” We went with her. The talk lasted two hours. After the talk was over, the Holy Mother gave a Rupee, bowed down and returned. In the course of a conversation she said, “Ah, what a wonderful recitation! The pandit has done very well.”
One day after dusk Sister Sudhira and I were sitting near the Holy Mother. The Mother then said, “Anyone who has once called on the Master, with sincere faith and devotion has nothing more to fear. As one calls on Him, by His grace one gets Prema-bhakti, loving devotion. This love is to be cherished in utmost privacy, my dear. The Gopis of Vraja had this Prema-bhakti. They did not know anything except Krishna. It is said in Nilakantha’s song: ‘This treasure of Prema must be preserved with the greatest effort.’ “Saying this, the Holy Mother sang the song. In what a sweet voice did she sing that day! It is even today resounding in my ears. At the end of the song, she said, “Ah, how excellent is this song of Nilakantha! The Master liked it immensely. While the Master was at Dakshineswar, Nilakantha would come to him now and then and sing songs. How blissful it was! How many kinds of people came to him! It was as if a mart of joy was set up at Dakshineswar.”
I went to the Holy Mother’s house another day. The Mother was sitting in the verandah and talking with two ladies. The beggar girl mentioned earlier came and bowed down to the Holy Mother. In her hand was a pear. She offered it to the Mother and said, “Mother, I got it as alms today, and so I have brought it for you. But Mother, I cannot muster the courage to offer it to you.” “You have done well,” assured the Holy Mother. “Ah! Give it to me, my dear.” Saying this, she took the pear, touched it to her head and said, “The things given as alms are very pure. The Master loved them very much. It is quite a good pear too. I shall eat it now.” The girl was deeply touched and said, “I am only a beggar girl, what compassion are you bestowing upon me!” Tears trickled down her cheeks as she said this. The Holy Mother continued, “Your songs are so sweet. Now do sing a song for me.” The girl sang:
Gopal, I shall deck you now.
Do dance thus and thus, wheel and turn about.
I shall fix up your anklets, my dear,
They would sound well jingling.
A golden cloth I shall wrap around your waist.
Gopal, my dear, I shall feed you,
And give you two pairs of golden wristlets.
Concluding the song, she added, “Mother, if this song is sung, the Behari Baba Sadhu of Dasasvamedha Ghat would keep dancing just like Gopal. His nature is exactly like that of a boy.”
The Holy Mother said, “Quite a good song, won’t you sing another?” She sang another song. The Holy Mother asked Prasad to be given her. Taking the Prasad, she bowed down to the Mother saying, “I shall take leave for the day, Mother.”
“Come again, my dear, come whenever you like,” said the Holy Mother.
One day at about three, the Holy Mother picked us up on her way to the Old Women’s Ashrama. When we got down there, a young woman came and took the Holy Mother upstairs. All the old ladies began to offer flowers at her feet and bow down at her feet.
Mother: What is this? These are all dwellers of Kasi. Why then do they make Pranam?
Young Woman: Should they not, Mother? They are all maintained by your food.
Mother: My dear, Lord Viswanath and Mother Annapurna are there. I take it that you are the care-taker of these people?
Young Women: Yes, mother, as you make me do.
Mother: Ah, that is good. If these helpless old ladies are served, Narayana’s service is done. Ah, what wonderful work these children are doing!
After that the Holy Mother made their acquaintance, visited their rooms and returned.
One day after dusk we returned from Sarnath and went to the Holy Mother’s house. The Mother was lying down. Radhu was lying by her side. Hearing the description of Sarnath, she asked, “Mother, will you go once to see the place?” “How can that be, my dear?” responded the Holy Mother. “Do I have legs to go round and see? Just look, my dear, I cannot go and have Darshan of Viswanath even. Seeing all these people go, I too get a desire to go and see Lord Viswanath. But I cannot walk. How to go? I cannot do anything. When my legs were in good condition, I walked from my village to Dakshineswar. What a distance could I walk then! After the Master’s passing away, I went to Vrindaban. I used to walk from place to place and have Darshan.”
Another day one woman and her daughter of ten or eleven years were seated near the Holy Mother. The woman was very poor.
Mother: Where is your husband?
Women: He became a Bairagi some time back. He went away when this girl was quite young.
Mother: All these days how have you managed without work?
Woman: I did some work and managed with whatever was got. Now this won’t do any longer, Mother, I am in great difficulty. If only you could tell them and arrange something. Mother!
Mother: I could put in a word. But they collect by begging. How many people they help that way! They will do as they think fit, surely.
The Holy Mother gave her a rupee and a cloth and said, “Take food here today.” The Mother was sitting on the roof. Below, the cooking was going on. The woman said, “Mother, the girl says ‘what a fine smell of cooking is coming!'” The Holy Mother said reprovingly. “What is this? Should one say such things? The food is intended for the Master’s offering.” At the time of taking Prasad the Holy Mother told the cook to serve a large helping of fish curry etc, to the girl. After food, the woman said, “I had a hearty meal, Mother; the girl does not want even to get up.” “That’s good,” said the Holy Mother. “Now that the meal is over, go below and rinse your mouth.” When the woman went away the Holy Mother said, “What poverty! What greed! The girl ate and ate until she was about to vomit! Such a grown up girl and no sense at all. Nothing will benefit these people. Prosperity will never attend on them.”
When they returned upstairs, the Holy Mother gave them betel rolls and bade them goodbye. After they had gone away, the Mother lay down on the cot and was chatting with us. “So many kinds of people live in Kasi,” she said. “How many of them come to me and say ‘Please tell your children to help us a little.’ What could I reply? You just see, they built a home for helpless old women. How hard they have worked for it, and how much service they are doing! A hospital for the sick is there. Their activities for the relief of the poor seem endless. How much the poor children toil! It is all His will, my dear. What He is making us do from where, He alone knows.”
One evening when I went to the Holy Mother, she was sitting in the verandah talking with a few widows. One among them was wearing an ochre cloth. She sang a song for the Holy Mother
‘Just you wait, Oh Java, you the beauty of the forest!
Flower of the wild you are, blossoming in the wild.
When I see you on the bosom of Siva,
I think I see the crimson feet of the Divine Mother,’ etc.
Golap-Ma: Ah, what an excellent song! Do sing another.
The girl sang another song.
Mother: Have you seen the Sevashrama?
Sister Sudhira: No, we have not seen.
Mother: Then go with Golap and see.
Another evening the Holy Mother was talking of Devavrata Maharaj and Sachin. They went away suddenly because of the Government’s objection to their presence on account of their political antecedents.
Mother: Ah, Devavrata went away today. The Company (the East India Company, the old name for the British Govt. in India) offered some help in connection with the acquisition of the land proximate to the Sevashrama. But they raised objection against the stay of these two. So Rakhal told them to go away. Do you know, my dear, they are innocent, but yet a detective is ever after them. Ah, the boys did not even take food before going.
Sister Sudhira: Brother (i.e. Devavrata Maharaj) and Sachin had food with us.
Mother: Ah, my dear, did they have their meal? That is good. I was worried about it.
Sister Sudhira: Wherever brother goes, they keep track of him. So he says ‘my father-in-law’s people have come. I will go, have a look and return.’
Mother: Father-in-law’s people indeed! It was very long ago that they caught him in connection with the Swadeshi Movement. Still they are on his trail. Just see, the whole day my mind was troubled thinking that the boys had had no food. I am, however, at peace now, after learning that they took food at your place.