Part 4: Recorded by Swami Ishanananda
One day at dusk, the Holy Mother said in the course of a conversation, “I can no longer see or hear of anybody’s faults, my dear. It all happens according to one’s Prarabdha, the effect of past deeds. Where a ploughshare has to hit, at least a needle must prick. They speak of the faults of A – . Where were they at that time? How much he served me! In those days I was boiling paddy in my brother’s houses. My sisters-in-law were all too young. Not minding the cold or rain, he used to work with me from dawn to dusk, taking down huge vessels of boiled paddy from the ovens. Now so many come as devotees. Then who was there with me! Are we to forget all the happenings of those days? Besides, what is his fault? In earlier days I also had an eye for people’s faults. Thereafter I wept and wept before the Master, praying, ‘O Master! I do not wish to see anyone’s faults’ and finally got rid of that habit. You might have done good to a man a thousand times and harm only once; he will turn away from you for that one offence. People see only the faults. One should in fact note the merits.”
One day at Jayrambati the Holy Mother said in connection with the evil mentality of some of the attendants, “Look, there is certainly what is called Sevaparadha, faults in serving. That means: as one serves, gradually one becomes more proud and egoistic, and then one wants to make a puppet of one’s master. Whether the master sits or stands or eats, he must do so at the bidding of the attendant. The attitude of service completely disappears from them. Why should people turn out to be so – people who serve a saint forgetful of their own bodies, and take the master’s joy and sorrow for their own? Is there a greater degeneration? Most holy men have an aura of grandeur around them. Attracted by that, many come to serve them and remain intoxicated by that grandeur. That will cause their downfall. How many can serve the holy men with the proper attitude?” The Mother then narrated a story: “Look, the story goes like this. In a tank there was a reflection of the full moon. Seeing that, all the small fish of the tank were immensely pleased. They leaped and splashed and played around the moon, thinking that it was one among them. But when the moon went down, they were the same old lot. All leaping and playing came to an end – they never understood anything.” I said, “Kedar Maharaj says that one should not remain long with one’s Guru. Seeing the commonplace actions of the Guru, the disciple’s faith and devotion may be reduced.” The Holy Mother said, laughing, “But, my dear, don’t you go spoiling your minds with all those words. If it is true, how can I get on with my work? Do not entertain such a godly attitude, but have a human attitude towards me, and attend to what I say, and carry on with your work. You need have no fear.”
There were, a very ‘large number of letters from devotees on one occasion. At dusk I read them all to the Holy Mother. She heard them through and said, “Did you notice how many children have written with how many different desires? Some Say, ‘I pray so much, meditate and tell so’ many beads and yet nothing happens.’ Others write about the anxieties, fears, wants, diseases and sorrows of this world. I cannot hear any more of this. I say to the Master, ‘O Lord! In this world and in the next, you alone have to save them.’ Where is the yearning? They speak so much of their devotion and earnestness on the one hand, and on the other they are so pleased with any little enjoyment they come to have and say, ‘Ah! How merciful is He!’ That is the measure of their devotional hankering. They say, ‘How is Radhu’s health?’ That is to please me – this anxiety for Radhu. As soon as I pass away, no one will even look at Radhu.” The sister from Navasan now said, “Mother, for you all children are equal. But to those who want to know the desirability of marriage, you give permission to marry. To those who want to renounce the world, you give instruction praising renunciation. Should you not take them all on the one path that is good for all?” To that the Holy Mother said in reply, “Will they abstain because of my prohibition if their desire for enjoyment is strong? And to those who have understood by virtue of great merit that all this is Maya’s play, and believe that God alone is the reality, should I not offer a little help and encouragement? Is there any end to the miseries of the world?”
Nalini-Didi and others argued among themselves for some time and finally asked the Holy Mother, “Aunt, what kind of false description is good?” The Holy Mother, expressing her wonder at the question, said, “False description is by itself bad. In that how can there be good and bad again?” After a little talk of this sort, she said, “But then it is better to be described as a rich man though falsely. If anyone were to be told that he is quite rich; whatever humility or displeasure he may show in his face upon hearing these words, in his heart of hearts he will feel quite happy.” The Mother now passed on to another topic and said, “Now to another question. Well, let me see if you can tell what object is to be prayed for from God?” Nalini-Didi replied, “Why, aunt; wisdom, devotion, objects that make you happy in life, all these are to be prayed for.” The Holy Mother said “To say in one word, we must pray for Nirvasana, freedom from desire.
Desire is at the root of all sorrows, the cause of repeated births and deaths, and the main obstacle on the path of liberation.”
In the month of Sravan, the Holy Mother came to Jayrambati from Koalpara, accompanied by Radhu. At the time, we were fifteen or twenty people in her house. The Holy Mother herself would look after the welfare of every one. One day she told me in the course of a conversation, “My dear, that day, what in the world did Kedar tell me, accusing A – ? Kedar after all is a man with a generous heart. For such generous man it is not at all proper to speak as he did. I understood his mind, and at the time of my departure gave him a binful of paddy for the expenses of the Ashrama. But he did not wish to take it. He discovered his own error and has come to seek my forgiveness.” Thus saying, she narrated the whole incident. “That day he (Kedar) came in the morning to make Pranam and said, ‘Mother, all these people were quite obedient to me before. But now they have grown ‘wise’ and do not always wish to respect my words. When they come to you or to Sarat Maharaj, you treat them with great affection and keep them with you. They get nice things to eat also. If you do not entertain them, but convince them of the error and send them back, they will be obedient to me.’ I replied, ‘What are you saying? Our root is love alone. Out of love alone the Master’s family has grown up. And I am their mother. How dare you make spiteful remarks to me about my children’s requirement of food and clothing?’ Ah, how much I prayed for them, wept for them before the Master! That is how they have today a monastery and such other things by his grace. After the Master’s passing away, his children renounced the world and gathered together at one place for a few days. Thereafter one by one they left and were wandering here and there. Then I felt very sad. I began to pray to the Master: ‘O Lord, you have come, performed your divine play with these few people, enjoyed yourself and gone away. Is everything finished with that? If so, what was the need for you to come, taking so much trouble? I saw in Kasi and Vrindaban so many Sadhus who live by begging and dwell under the shade of trees, wandering at will. There never was any dearth of such Sadhus. I cannot bear to see my children, who have left everything and come away taking your name, wandering around for the sake of a few handfuls of food. It is my prayer that those who come away in your name should not lack food and clothing, that all of them stay together, taking you, your memory and your teachings for their support; and that those who are scorched by the miseries of worldly existence come to them and obtain peace and solace by learning of your life and teachings. This was the purpose of your advent. It wrings my heart that they should wander here and there shelter less.’ Since that time, slowly Naren built up all this.”
At the time of Durga Puja at Jayrambati on the Ashtami day a devotee was coming with a basketful of lotus flowers. He saw me at a distance, and raising his hands together with the basket, saluted me. The Holy Mother saw this from a distance. Later she told me, “We cannot worship the Master with these flowers now. Throw them away.”
Two of us were wearing borderless clothes. The Mother noticed it and said, “Why are you wearing plain clothes without a border? You are young men. You must wear clothes with nice borders. Otherwise your minds will get old. One must always have enthusiasm,” and she gave each of us clothes from her box.
On the same day a little after dusk, Sandhi Puja was performed. Many offered lotus flowers at her feet as Pushpanjali. The Holy Mother said,
“Bring more flowers. Rakhal, Tarak, Sarat, Khoka, Yogen, Golap–offer flowers in the names of each of them. Offer flowers for the sake of all my known and unknown children.” I did so and with folded hands the Holy Mother sat erect for a long time steadily looking at the Master. Finally she said, “May all be blessed in this world and in the next!”
One morning Kedar Maharaj sat near the Holy Mother at Jayrambati and asked her, “Mother, in our free dispensary those who are fairly well off also come to take medicines. But our dispensary is meant for the poor only. Is it right that such people are served?” The Mother thought for a minute and said, “My dear, in these parts all are poor. Yet, knowing all the details, if they still come to wait for free medicine, you will of course serve them if you can. Anyone who comes begging may be considered poor.”
Kedar Maharaj asked, “Mother, is it for the establishment of the harmony of all religions that the Master came this time?” The Holy Mother replied, “Look here. I never felt that he practised all the religions with the intention of teaching the harmony of all religions. He was always immersed in God-consciousness. He followed all the disciplines – those of Christians,
Muslims, Vaishnavas, etc. – for the sake of God-realization, and he enjoyed the Divine lila (play) in different ways, entirely unconscious of how time passed. But still, do you know, my dear, in this age renunciation has been his speciality. Has anyone ever seen at any time that kind of spontaneous renunciation? What you have said of the harmony of religions is also true. In other Incarnations one ideal or another was emphasised over others.”
That day after dusk, I went to the Holy Mother as usual, after finishing my duty of baking bread, to read her mail to her. One woman devotee often wrote letters full of praise and glorification of the Holy Mother. I told her its essence. She heard everything and said, “Look, many times I wonder, I am but the daughter of Ram Mukherjee, and many women of my age are there at Jayrambati. How do I differ from them? All these devotees come from various places and bow down to me. On asking them I find that some are doctors, some are lawyers. Why do these people come?” She was silent for a while. A little later I said, “Well Mother, do you not then always remember your real nature?” The Holy Mother replied, “Is it possible always? If it were so, can all this work go on? Yet amidst all this work whenever the desire arises, inspiration comes in a flash upon a little thought and the whole of the play of Mahamaya comes to be understood.” Someone said, “How, Mother, even with so much effort we are not able to understand anything! ” The Holy Mother reassured her, “It will come, my dear, it will come. Why are you worried? In due time everything will come.” We were talking late into the night. I said. ”Mother, Kedar Maharaj says. ‘You exert yourself doing all this work and then what should happen will happen of itself.’ “The Holy Mother replied, “You must work, of course. Work keeps the mind in order. But Japa, meditation and prayer are quite essential. At least once at dawn and dusk one must sit down for spiritual practices. It is like the rudder of a ship. When you sit at dusk, you get to think of all that you have done and not done during the day. Then you have to compare the states of your mind yesterday and today. Then doing Japa one has to meditate on the form of one’s Ishta. Though in the beginning, one sees only the face of the Ishta, one must meditate on the whole form from the feet upwards. Along with work, if you do not meditate morning and evening, how can you understand whether you are working on the right lines?” I said, “Some others say that we gain nothing by work, that everything is gained if we can meditate and do Japa all the time.” The Holy Mother answered, “How did they know that by this they gain and by that they do not? By meditating a little for a few days, is everything accomplished? Unless Mahamaya opens the way nothing will happen by any means. Did you notice the other day, how one man forcibly did more Japa than he could stand and got his mind deranged? If the mind is gone, what remains? It is like the thread of a screw. If one thread is loose, the fellow becomes mad, or falls into the trap of Mahamaya and thinks himself very clever, that he is doing fine. On the other hand if it is tightened the right way, one goes along the correct path and obtains peace and bliss. One must always remember Him and pray, ‘Lord, grant me good tendencies.’ How many can do Japa and meditation all the time?
“It may be that one does these for some length of time in the beginning. Because of this one becomes egotistic like N – . Afterwards he fails to do even that, but sits thinking of all kinds of things, which only generates restlessness in his mind. Far better is it to work than to let the mind loose to indulge in riotous thinking. If the mind is allowed a little laxity, it will create such a turmoil. My Naren observed all this and so laid down the foundation of selfless work.” Referring to N – , the Holy Mother continued, “Just see, sitting and sitting, what an impure mind N – has acquired! The purity-mania alone is on the increase, and there is constant complaint of want of peace. Why so much restlessness? In spite of such experiences, why is it that wisdom does not dawn on him?”
Next day at about ten or eleven the Holy Mother was sitting at the main entrance. We were in the drawing room. Uncle Kali and Uncle Varada were exchanging words over the path between their houses, and gradually it developed from words into an exchange of blows. The Holy Mother could not restrain herself any longer. She rushed towards them. Now she would scold one saying, “It is your fault,” and next she would try to drag away the other. She was caught up in the fray. At this juncture we all ran to the spot, whereupon the quarrel subsided a little. Still abusing each other, the two brothers withdrew to their respective houses. Still angry, the Holy Mother too came Backand sat down. No sooner had she sat than she burst out laughing. “What a play of Mahamaya! Here is this wide earth, spreading endlessly. This bit of land too remains there always. Puny man cannot understand even this much!” Saying this, she rocked with a prolonged laughter.
Six months had passed after Radhu’s child was born but still she could not stand up because of weakness. She could only crawl about. What was worse, she got addicted to opium. The Holy Mother’s health too was not good. Now and then she would have attacks of fever. She was trying to wean Radhu away from opium eating. But Radhu was quite cross over it all the time.
That morning the Holy Mother was cutting vegetables. Radhu came and was waiting for opium. The Mother understood and said, “Radhu, why don’t you stand up? I cannot bear with you any more. For your sake I left all my spiritual practices. How do you think I can meet so much expense?” At this mild rebuke Radhu got angry, and taking a big brinjal from the wicker basket in front, she hit the Mother very hard on the Backwith it. As I turned my eyes at that thudding sound, I saw the Holy Mother rise, curling her back in pain. Immediately that spot was swollen. Looking at the Master, the Holy Mother prayed, “O Lord! Do not take notice of her actions. She is an idiot.” Touching the dust of her feet to Radhu’s forehead, she said, “Radhi, never once did the Master speak harshly to this body, and you give me so much trouble! How can you understand where my place is? Simply because I put up with you, what do you think of me?” Radhu burst out weeping.
A few days after this incident one day, Radhu’s mad mother, out of some whim, searched for her son-in-law, Manmatha, in many places. She even got into the pond in her search and came to the conclusion that he was drowned, and that it was all the manipulation of the Holy Mother. She then ran to the Holy Mother in her wet clothes, fell at her feet and started shouting and weeping, “Oh dear, Oh sister-in-law, my son-in-law is drowned in the pond. Oh dear, what is to be done now?” This was a bolt from the blue to the Holy Mother. She was upset and called to us, “Come quickly. Just hear what this mad woman is saying.” We all rushed there. Hari said that he saw Manmatha playing cards with his friends. “Make haste and bring him here,” said the Holy Mother. We immediately left and returned with the son-in-law. Seeing him, the mad aunt was embarrassed and withdrew angrily, pronouncing curses on the Holy Mother.
In the evening the Mother was cutting vegetables for the night. Suddenly the mad aunt came and sat near her and said, “You fed Radhu with opium and disabled her. Thus you keep her in your control. You do not allow my daughter and granddaughter even to approach me.” The Holy Mother retorted, saying, “Take away then your precious daughter. She is there lying like a lump. Have I kept her hidden anywhere?” After one or two exchanges like this; the aunt’s madness reached its peak. She ran to bring a burning firebrand to beat her with. The Holy Mother shrieked in terror, “Oh, who is there, this mad woman will kill me!” I ran to the spot. I found the mad aunt aiming the blow and the fire brand about to fall on the Mother’s head. I snatched it away from the mad aunt and pushed her out of the main door. Shaking with anger, I threatened her and forbade her ever to enter our portals again. The Holy Mother too was quite excited and blurted out these words. “Mad woman! What were you about to do? That hand of yours will rot and drop.” No sooner did she say this, than she bit her tongue and shuddered. Turning to the Master, she said with folded hands “O Lord, what have I done! What is the way out now? Never did a curse on anyone ever come out of my mouth till now. Finally that too has occurred. What more?” I was stunned to see this boundless compassion of the Holy Mother.
A few months before, Sri N – of Bangalore had come on a short leave to see the Holy Mother at Koalpara. Seeing that the Mother had to incur much expense on account of Radhu, he used to send considerable amounts as monetary offering to the Mother. At the time of his departure he said to the Holy Mother, “Mother, whenever you feel any want of money, please inform me without any kind of hesitation.” With the passage of time the expense at Jayrambati had greatly increased. Revered Sarat Maharaj wrote saying that there was some delay in arranging for money and that he would therefore be late in sending it. Listening to this letter, the Holy Mother said, “Then Sarat does not have much money in hand. Otherwise, why would he write like that? N – had offered to help that day. But ah! How can I ask money of him? O Master, can I not obey your last instruction? Radhi, for your sake I am about to lose everything. The Master had said, ‘Look, never stretch out your hand for money before anyone. You will not be in want of simple food and clothing. If you stretch your hand for a pice before anyone, you will be selling your head to him. Yet to live on charity is better than to live under another’s roof. Wheresoever your devotees may keep you in their homes and look after you, don’t you ever lose your own house at Kamarpukur.'”
A boy named Manasa came to the Holy Mother. He wanted to be initiated and become a Sannyasin. The Holy Mother satisfied his desire with much pleasure. He was very glad and sitting in Uncle Kali’s drawing room sang the two songs: ‘There is nothing in the world, Shyama is the only essence!’ and ‘I cast your image in the mould of my mind, O Shyama!’ The Holy Mother liked the songs very much. Sitting near him Radhu, Maku, Nalini, one or two aunts and many others were listening to the singing. One of the aunts said, “Sister-in-law has made a monk of this boy. Such fine boys she turns into monks. With what difficulty their parents have brought them up, and pinned all their hopes on them! All that is shattered. Now he will either go to Rishikesh and beg for his food, or clean the dirt of patients in the name of service! To marry and set up a family also is a rule of creation. If you keep turning out monks like this, Mahamaya will be angry with you. If they want to be monks, let them do so by themselves. Why should they do so through your agency, aunt?” The Holy Mother replied, ‘Maku, they are all children of the gods. They remain pure as flowers in the world. Can you tell what greater happiness is there than theirs? You know yourself what happiness there is in worldly life! You know also the happiness of having a husband. Are you not ashamed to go to your husband again and again? What have you learnt, staying with me so long? Why so much infatuation, so much animality? What happiness do you enjoy? If you again approach your husband, I will send you away from here. Cannot a pure thought ever come to your mind even in a dream? Can you not even now live as brother and sister? Do you want to live like a pig? My bones burn in the fire of your worldly life.” All hung their heads in shame.
The Holy Mother continued, “Whether a man calls on God or not, if he does not marry, he is already half liberated. When the mind happens to be a little attracted to God he will progress by leaps and bounds. Family life is the result of demerits. A man involved in it, even if he is inclined to God, cannot do anything about it. He is tied hand and foot.”
Of late, almost every day, the Holy Mother was having slight fever. Her body was getting very weak. Revered Sarat Maharaj was trying to take her soon to Calcutta. But he had to go to Kasi on urgent matters. So when it was proposed at that time that she should go to Calcutta, she said, “When Sarat is not there, the question of my going to Calcutta does not arise at all. To whom should I go? When I am there, if Sarat should say, ‘Mother, I am going elsewhere for a few days,’ then I say, ‘Wait a minute, my dear. First I shall move away from here and then you may go.’ Other than Sarat who will bear my burden?”
It was winter and the Holy Mother’s health was getting very bad. Even then she would, as usual, get up early in the morning at three. Finishing her ablutions, she would sit for some time on her bed, covering herself with her quilt and then lie down again. We used to enter her room, then close the door and sit silent in the darkness. The Holy Mother would perhaps say, “At such and such time, do Japa of such and such a Deity, in such and such a manner” etc. A little later came up the topic of some of our monks going to live with the householders when they fall ill. The Holy Mother said, “Just because of illness why should monks live with householders? There is the monastery. A monk is the ideal of renunciation. A monk should not associate with women. And for monks to accumulate money is absolutely bad. There is nothing that money cannot do – one may lose even one’s life on account of it. There was a monk in Puri, living on the seashore. He had a little money. Getting scent of it, two disciples could not control their greed. They murdered the monk and went away with his money.”
One day at about nine or ten, the Holy Mother was rubbing oil on her body. An attendant just then swept the place and threw the broom on one side. The Holy Mother noticed it and said, “What is that? The job is over and straightway you threw it off so carelessly! It will take just as little time to keep it properly as it takes to throw it away. Should you neglect a thing because it is small? Whatever you care for, will care for you also. Won’t you need it again? That aside, in this family it also is a part. From that angle also it deserves a certain regard. Whatever regard a thing deserves, that must be accorded to it. Even the broom has to be replaced respectfully. An ordinary work too must be done with care and attention.”
One day Radhu’s dearest cat was lying at the edge of the yard. One woman was standing near by and was petting it with her foot. Gradually she placed her foot on its head also. The Holy Mother noticed it and said, “Oh dear, what are you doing? Head is the seat of the Guru. Should one place one’s foot there? Salute it.” The said woman responded, saying, “I never knew that, Mother. I came to know of it only now.”
Some devotees came from Calcutta one morning, all tip-top. They were dressed expensively. They also brought a lot of fruits and other things for the Holy Mother. In the evening the Holy Mother was talking to herself, “They have taken the life out of me. I cannot bear any more. Some children come and my family is as if filled with peace and bliss. From somewhere vegetables and all other needed things come to hand. I never have to worry about anything. Whatever is ready, they quietly eat and get up, folding up the leaf plate. Ah, their spoken words also are like a balm to my heart. Now look at this! Since morning, I am in a turmoil. They brought a binful of fruits. And half of them are so rotten as to be fit only for manure. Where to throw these? I do not know. They wear such tip-top clothing and yet they say. ‘I forgot to bring my towel. Where should I go to get a towel? Still I procured one. Now my worry is what I shall cook for the night. I learn further that there is no string for their mosquito nets. Hari is now searching for thread. O Master, you look after your family yourself. As for me, I can do no more. On one side is Radhi, and on the other are all these people.” I recollect one or two incidents of how some devotees exasperated the Holy Mother.
The Mother was then at Jayrambati. A little before dusk I returned from Shyambazar and saw she was lying on a mat spread in the verandah. As soon as I went, the Holy Mother said with vexation, “All of you are here, but you will have to go out upon works. Today some one came, Sri – , an elderly person. Seeing him from a distance, I went inside and sat on the cot. He made Pranam from the outside. That was all right. But he was anxious to take the dust of my feet. However much I objected and shrank back, he would not desist. In the end, more or less forcibly, he touched my feet and took the dust. Since then my feet are burning unbearably and I have mortal pain in the stomach. I washed my feet three or four times but still the burning sensation does not abate. If you were near, you would understand my sign and could have forbidden him. With regard to devotees, those boys in Calcutta are so strict. It won’t do otherwise. How many types of people come! You are young boys, you cannot understand.”
Finishing all out-door work, I came to the Holy Mother at dusk. She said, “Today evening B – brought a high Police Officer (she named him) to me. That man was of a peculiar nature – he came twirling his moustache and bowed down to me. He wanted to take the dust of my feet. I shrank Backand could not by any means allow it. What a restless nature! And yet B – was there in front of me, praising him to the skies to his own face. On my part, I was on tenterhooks, wondering how to get rid of him. Finally I made some halwa and, giving it to him, sent him away.”
One day the Holy Mother got up after Puja at the Udbodhan house. One devotee came with some flowers and went to pay his respects to her. At the sight of this stranger, the Mother covered her whole body with a shawl and sat there on the cot hanging her feet like a new bride. The devotee offered flowers at the Holy Mother’s feet, bowed down and sat down cross-legged in front of her. Sitting there like a log of wood, he began Nyasa and Pranayama. Everyone in the house was busy and there was none near the Holy Mother. She was sweating profusely. Time passed.
Seeing that the devotee was worshipping the Holy Mother, Golap-Ma had gone elsewhere on some other work. When she returned some time after and saw the same devotee sitting in the same fashion, she could understand the whole situation. Laying hold of his arm, she pulled him up to his feet and said in her natural loud voice, “Are you before a Deity of wood that you are about to enliven it by your Nyasa and Pranayama? Have you no sense? Can you not see the Mother is perspiring and is in great discomfort?”
Once another devotee went to make Pranam to the Holy Mother and knocked his head with force on her big toe. The Mother cried out with pain and stood up. When he was asked why he did so, he replied, “I knocked my head on her foot and pained her. As long as the pain is there, so long will the Mother remember me.” These two incidents, the Holy Mother narrated to us many times, to our great amusement.
As soon as revered Sarat Maharaj returned to Calcutta from Kasi, he sent an escort to bring the Holy Mother from Jayrambati. In due time, one morning she got ready for the journey with all her entourage. After every one had saluted her, K – Maharaj and H – bowed down to her. She gave them a cloth and a wrapper used by her and said, “Keep these.” She placed her hand on their heads and blessed them, with tear-filled eyes. Then she started on her journey. I rode a bicycle alongside of her palanquin. On the way, in Sihore, the Holy Mother stopped the palanquin at the temple of Santinath Mahadev and offered Puja to Siva with two rupees worth of Sandesh, sugar and molasses. She then distributed the Prasad to all of us, took a little herself, and tied some at the end of her cloth for Radhu. All of us reached Koalpara in due time. That evening Radhu and other women started in bullock carts for Vishnupur. Next morning at five, when I went to the Mother at Jagadamba Ashram, she had just finished the Master’s Puja with sweets and flowers, and was wrapping up his photo in a cloth and putting it in the box. She was saying to the Master, “Please rise. It is time to start.” Seeing me, she said, “You have come! You are so late! It will soon be hot. Take this flower for the journey.” Saying this she touched an offered flower to her head and gave it to me. Later she bade farewell to all and entered the palanquin. A little farther on she said, “Always keep near me and go attentively. Radhu’s and Maku’s jewels are all in Maku’s palanquin.” When we reached Jaypur, the Holy Mother stopped the palanquin. She got down at the inn, at which once we had cooked and taken our food on .our way to Jayrambati. Seeing it in a dilapidated state, she said laughing, “Ah, it is that same inn of ours.” She spread a blanket near it and sat down. “Feed the bearers with something,” she said and had two rupees worth of puffed rice given to them. She then warmed the milk for Maku’s son and having washed her hands and feet in the pond in front, said, “Buy me also a pie worth of puffed rice. I’ll chew a little. And for you and Maku, see if you can get some puffed rice fried in oil.” I brought all these. The Holy Mother ate very little, and gave it away to us, saying, “I cannot chew anymore.” After the bearers finished eating, they took up the palanquin. We crossed four miles of jungle and reached Tantipukur where we saw a few labouring class people making a hullabaloo sitting near a small shop. I was thinking that it was best to cross this area as quickly as possible. Two miles farther we should reach a somewhat inhabited area and I could be free from worry to a great extent. But the Holy Mother peeped out from-her palanquin, saw the shop and said, “Stop the palanquin a little. Sitting here my legs have become numb. Bring me half a pice worth of oil in a leaf from the shop. I shall shampoo my feet.” Hearing this, I was beset with fear. Finally I told her, “Here are some people who seem to be unruly. There is no point in your getting down. Please stay inside, and I shall bring the oil.” Maku was saying at the same time, “I am thirsty after eating puffed rice. I want some water to drink.” The Holy Mother replied, “Drink. Go to that pond and drink.” I protested, “Drink that water! It is not at all good.” The Holy Mother said, “So many people drink that water on their way. Nothing will happen, go. You go with her and bring her back.” I got the oil for the Holy Mother and accompanied Maku for her drink of water. Immediately on our return we resumed our journey.
At about twelve in the noon we reached Sureswar Babu’s house in Vishnupur. Sureswar Babu had passed away a few months earlier. The Holy Mother said, “Ah, whenever I would come here, my Suresh would always stand there with folded hands. Sometimes he could not climb the verandah even. What devotion he had! “That day we stayed at Vishnupur, and next day noon after finishing our meals we caught a train for Calcutta, and travelling third class, reached Udbodhan by about ten at night.
Yogen-Ma and Golap-Ma saw the Holy Mother’s condition and exclaimed, “Oh, dear, what a Mother have you brought us! So black in complexion!
You have brought us a few bones and skin! We could never imagine that the Mother’s health was so bad.'” From the very next day, Revered Sarat Maharaj made all arrangements for her treatment.
By the treatment of Dr. Shyamadas Kaviraj, the Holy Mother was a little better for a few days. One evening some women devotees came to see her. One among them was quite gorgeous in her dress and ornaments. Referring to her, the Holy Mother said, “For a woman, modesty is her ornament. Flowers are best used in the service of the Lord. Otherwise it is better that they fade away on the trees. I feel very bad when I see foppish gentlemen make sometimes a bouquet of flowers or sometimes casually put a flower to their nose and admire: ‘Ah! What fine scent!’ Oh dear, perhaps the very next moment they throw it on the floor and trample it with booted feet.”
One day Ramlal-Dada, Lakshmi-Didi and Ramlal-Dada’s daughter came to the Holy Mother from Dakshineswar. They were on their way to the festival at Entally. Ramlal-Dada bowed down to the Holy Mother and went downstairs to Sarat Maharaj. At the request of the Holy Mother and others, Lakshmi-Didi sang in a low voice and simultaneously mimicked the sound of the play of Khol (a kind of drum) with her mouth, to the amusement of all. After that the following conversation took place about the Master’s birthplace, the temple to be built there and connected matters.
Lakshmi-Didi: If it happens (if the temple comes up), it should be under our control, shouldn’t it be? Their (Ramlal-Dada’s and Sibu-Dada’s ) children will do Puja etc., and live there.
Mother: How can it be? These are all monks and devotees. Can they observe caste regulations? Ladies and gentlemen of so many countries will come here, stay here, and have their Prasad. We have to do with devotees alone. But you are householders. You have your society. You have to perform the marriage etc., of your children. Would it do for you to live along with them?
After conversing thus for a while the Holy Mother said, “Houses just like those you have now, but with corrugated iron roofing, will be built for you separately in another area, either near Yogis farm or somewhere on the western side.”
Lakshmi-Didi: Then will Raghuvir and Sitala stay in the temple that is going to be built?
Mother: How is it possible? They are your family deities. On festival days your daughters and in-laws will have to worship them. That cannot be. For Raghuvir they will construct another temple. There will be left a small passage on the side so that the women can come and go. You, Ramlal or Sibu, when you go there, will be fed and accommodated in the temple with the devotees. What more worry is there for you?
Ramlal-Dada and others came upstairs to Sarat Maharaj’s room. Ramlal-Dada and Lakshmi-Didi wholeheartedly agreed to the Holy Mother’s proposal, and after listening to the whole arrangement, Sarat Maharaj also expressed his happiness.
When Ramlal-Dada and Lakshmi-Didi left, the Holy Mother called me and said, “Look, talking with Lakshmi I forgot to give her a cloth and money. You go with Krishnalal to Entally and see the festival and also give this cloth and money to Lakshmi. They decorate the Deity at Entally beautifully.” Saying this, she took out two rupees and a cloth and gave them to me. Later she said, “Lakshmi used to imitate the singers and sing and dance before the Master, displaying all their postures. The Master said to me, ‘That is her mood. Be careful that you do not lose your modesty trying to follow her example.’ “
From Jayrambati a letter came one day, conveying the news that some native of that place took to robbery and was under arrest. Hearing this, the Holy Mother said, “Oh dear, did you hear? I knew that he was a robber. But with what affection I used to treat him and give him so many things! So he was obedient to me. He would be as harmless as an earthworm with me. I live there with the responsibility of these girls and their ornaments. As for you, there is never any certainty where you will be at any time. Wicked men must be kept at a distance, in whatever manner it may be.”
The Holy Mother’s illness was gradually worsening. The temperature would rise only to 102° or 102.5°, but because of the burning sensation in hands and feet, there was great restlessness. Regarding it, she had been saying repeatedly, “Take me to the Ganges bank. I shall be cooled on the Ganges bank.” Revered Sarat Maharaj wanted to do as she wished. But the doctors forbade all movement in her present condition. One day the Mother told me, “You take Radhu and all their set to Jayrambati and leave them there.”
Radhu was the Holy Mother’s second heart, so to speak. She could not part with her even for a moment. And today in her worsening state of health she was directing them to be sent to Jayrambati. What could be the matter?, we wondered. Gradually she was getting so much displeased with them that Nalini-Didi and others were afraid to go near her. Revered Sarat Maharaj tried to cajole the Holy Mother, “They will be unhappy to depart, leaving you in your days of illness. They will go after you get well a little.” The Holy Mother replied, “It is better to send them away, so that they may never come near me again. I have no inclination to see even their shadow.”
One day at noon Radhu was sleeping in a side room. Her child crawled over on all fours to the Holy Mother’s bed and was trying to climb on her chest. The Mother looked at it and said, “I have cut off my attachment to you totally. Go now. You cannot bind me any more.” To me she said, “Take away this child elsewhere. I do not like all this any more.” I took the child in my arms and gave it to its grandmother.
One day at Jayrambati when some one spoke rudely to the youngest aunt, she said, “What is that, dear? Should one speak such words as would hurt the feelings of another? Even if it is truth, it should not be told in an unpleasant manner. Finally, you will end up with that kind of nature. If one’s sensitivity is lost, then nothing would control one’s speech. The Master used to say, ‘If you have to ask a lame man how he became lame, you must only say: How did your leg get bent this way?’ “
Towards the end, the Holy Mother became so weak that she could not sit for long. But I noticed that she would be doing Japa even while lying down. Sometimes at Jayrambati I had to wake her up at one or two, at night in connection with some work or other. She would respond at the first call. When I enquired if she did not sleep, she would say, “What shall I do, my dear? My children come eagerly and take initiation. But some do nothing regularly; some others do nothing at all. I have taken up their burden, should I not look after them? And so I do Japa for them. I pray to the Master on their behalf, ‘Oh Lord, arouse their spiritual consciousness. Give them liberation. This world is a well of sorrow and misery. See to it that they do not have to come to it again.'” Saying this, she would rise very slowly to a sitting position. She would continue, “With so much earnestness they take initiation. But why then are they not practising anything? Is it so difficult to do so? With a little practice one gets such joy! Ah, with what bliss Yogin-Ma and I used to do Japa for long hours at Vrindaban! Mosquitoes would cause eruptions on our faces, but we were unaware of it all.”
One day the Holy Mother said, “However much of Japa you do, however much of work you perform all is for nothing. If Mahamaya does not open the way, is anything possible for anyone? Oh bound soul! Surrender, surrender. Then alone will She take compassion on you and leave your path open.” Saying this, she told an incident in the Master’s life at Kamarpukur. “One day in the month of Jyeshta, there was a heavy rain one evening. The whole field was covered with water. The Master was going along the main road near Dompada wading in the water. There, seeing that many fish had accumulated, people were beating them to death with sticks. One fish kept going round and round the Master’s feet. Noticing it, he said, ‘Hey, do not kill this fish. It is going round my feet, surrendering itself to me. If anybody can, let him take this fish and set it free in the pond.’ Then he himself set it
free and came home and said, ‘Ah, if anyone could surrender in this manner, then alone can he find protection.'”