05: Recorded by Brahmachari Ashokakrishna
One morning during her last illness I went to see the Holy Mother. There was no one else in her room at the time. She was staying in the southernmost room. During daytime the Mother’s bed used to be spread on the floor of that room. She had been keeping better health for the past few days.
It was the first week of the month of Chaitra (third week of March). As soon as I made salutations to the Mother, she began to enquire about the other members of my family. Seeing her very lean and thin, I said, “Mother, your health has very much deteriorated. I have never seen you so weak before.”
The Mother said, “Yes, my son, the body has become quite emaciated. It seems that whatever the Master had wanted to get done through this body has already been accomplished. Now my mind is constantly directed towards him. Nothing else brings happiness to the mind. Look, how dearly I loved Radhu, how much care I took in looking after her. But now all this is changed. Now when Radhu approaches me, I feel uneasy. I feel, why should she try to drag my mind down? For the sake of his work, the Master kept my mind tied down to the world through these aids. Otherwise, would it have been possible for me to continue in this world after he passed away?”
Disciple: Mother, such words from you are very painful to us. If you leave us, what will happen to us? We don’t practise austerities. We have hardly any renunciation. If you don’t maintain your body for our sake, how shall we get the strength to survive in this realm of Mahamaya? Whenever any weakness would assail my mind, I used to tell you everything and find a way out every time. But where shall we go now? We shall all be helpless.
Mother: What! Why should you be helpless? Does not the Master guide you through good and bad? Why should you be so worried? I have deposited you at his holy feet. You will have to move about within that circle; you can’t go beyond it. He is always protecting you.
Disciple: Even though I remember the mercifulness of the Master, I fail to understand it all the time. Though I often have faith in it, I am haunted by doubts at times. But I can see you directly. I tell you everything, and you instruct me on how to follow the best course for my own good. This has instilled in me the conviction that I am under your protection.
Mother: Always remember that the Master is the only protector. If you forget this, you will have trouble. Do you know why I enquired about your family so much? I first heard from Ganen that you had lost your father. So I asked him about the close relations of your mother, whether she has means to maintain herself and whether she can manage her affairs without you. When I heard that she can pull on even without you, I felt relieved and thought, “Well, the boy has taken a good resolve, and now by the grace of the Master he will not face any serious trouble.”
She continued, “Everyone should serve his mother, particularly those of you who have come together here to serve all people. Had your father not left behind some wealth, I would have asked you to earn money with which to serve your mother. It is by the will of the Master that you are not burdened by any such trouble. It will be enough if you can make some arrangement, so that the family property is not squandered while under the management of a woman. As for yourself, you are in a very advantageous position. Men can hardly earn money through honest means, and even this contaminates their mind very much. That’s why I advise you to settle these monetary affairs as early as possible. Money is such a thing that one develops an attachment for it, if one is associated with it for long! You may think that you have no attachment for it, that since you have renounced it once for all you will not get attached to it, that you will be able to be free from it whenever you wish. Oh, no! Never harbour such an idea in your mind. Money will find its way somehow to grip you unawares by the neck, as it were. I am telling this particularly to you who belong to Calcutta – you are free with money, aren’t you? Settle your family affairs as early as possible and leave Calcutta. And if you can take your mother to some place of pilgrimage, both of you will be able to call upon God, forgetting the mother-and-son relationship. It will be nice if you can arrange it now while your mother is mourning. She is already aged. Try to explain your intention to her. Discuss this with her.
“You will play the true role of a son only if you can help her acquire the means for her higher evolution in the hereafter. Don’t forget that you have grown up by sucking the milk of her breasts. Remember with what difficulty she tended you. To serve her is your highest religion. It would be different, of course, if she stands in the way of your progress towards God. Please bring your mother here once. I want to see what she is like. If I find her helpful to you, I shall give her some advice. But beware; don’t engage yourself in worldly affairs under the cover of serving your mother. The real issue is to provide board and lodging for her because she is a widow. Is a big amount of money necessary for this? Try your utmost to quickly settle these affairs, even if there be some monetary loss. The Master could not touch money at all. Since you have renounced everything to realize the Master’s ideal, always remember his words. Money is at the root of all evil in this world. At your tender age, your mind will easily feel tempted if you possess some money. Beware!”
Disciple: I thought of bringing my mother to you one day. But considering the present condition of your health, I don’t dare to bring her here. –
Mother: No, no, bring her one day. Many people are coming. The condition of this body will deteriorate day by day. Bring her once very soon. I don’t feel too bad in the mornings. Can you not bring her in the morning one day? Don’t be too late in the day; otherwise the attendant may not permit her to see me.
Disciple: Mother, your words are very painful to me. Your repeated mention of your health suggests that you don’t desire to keep your body any more.
Mother: The continuation of this body is not under my control; it all depends on His will. Why are you all so impatient? How long do you really stay near me? You stay at the Math (Belur Math) sometimes, or somewhere else at other times. How many of you find an opportunity to speak to me or stay near me? You don’t even care to inform me of your whereabouts.
Disciple: Yes, it is true that there is hardly any scope for our staying with you, but we know in our heart of hearts that you are here. Whenever any weakness assails us, we rush to you, and we are relieved.
Mother: Suppose the Master lets this body of mine perish – do you think I can be free even then so long as a single person of whom I have taken charge remains in bondage? I shall have to be with them all. I have taken the responsibility for their well-being. Giving initiation is no joke. One has to bear on one’s shoulders such a big burden, you see! How much I have to worry over them. Just see, when your father expired, I felt very sad. I thought, the Master has again put this young man, to the test. I worried as to how you would manage in this situation. That was why I talked with you so long. Do you really understand everything? If you could, the burden of my worries would have diminished. The Master is sporting with different people in different ways. And now, you see, I have to bear the brunt of it all!
Surely, I cannot leave those whom I have accepted as my own.
Disciple: Mother, I become frightened whenever I wonder what will happen to us when you are gone. Whom shall we approach in your place?
Mother: My son Rakhal (Swami Brahmananda) and others are there. Are they any the less worthy? You dearly love Rakhal also. You can seek his help. Besides, what else have you got to ask? To question too much is not good. It is difficult to properly assimilate even one thought. Now why should you trouble your mind by harbouring ten thoughts? Dive deep with the noble idea that you have received. Repeat the holy Name, meditate upon it, keep good company, and subdue the ego by all means. Do you see the child-like nature of Rakhal, as if he is still a young boy? Don’t you see Sarat (Swami Saradananda), who does so much work, bearing all tribulations silently? Being a monk, he has no need for all these troubles. These monks can fix their minds on God all the time if they so wish. They bring their minds down only for your welfare. Keep them before you as an ideal and serve them. And make it a point to remember always whose child you are, who has granted refuge to you. Whenever any evil thought haunts you, tell your mind: ‘Being her child, can I stoop so low as to indulge in any such activity?’ You will find that you gain strength and peace of mind.