09: Recorded by an Anonymous Devotee
The Holy Mother was living in Kothar, Orissa. My second brother, who was staying at Sashi Niketan in Puri, wrote to one of his friends in our native village, “The Holy Mother is now living in Kothar. You can go there to pay your respects.” Till that time I had only a vague idea regarding the Holy Mother and Sri Ramakrishna. I had not read any book on them, nor did I know anything in particular about them. None the less I had felt a yearning to see her ever since I had heard about her. After being continuously seized for a few days by such an urge, I left for Kothar. It was almost past midday when I reached the place. But strange to say, my yearning had by now waned, and it was not so strong. The devotees were invited for their midday meal, and I accompanied them. The meal over, we seated ourselves in the parlour along with Revered Krishnalal Maharaj and Kedar Baba (Swami Achalananda), when Ram Babu, the only son of the late Balaram Bose, came and told Krishnalal Maharaj, “The Mother has sent for the boy who has come from Cuttack. He should go to salute her now.” Krishnalal Maharaj replied, “I have asked him to see the Holy Mother in the afternoon.” Ram Babu said, “No, that won’t do; the Mother is waiting for him. Only after the boy meets her will she go for her meal.” I accompanied Ram Babu and bowed down to the Mother. I had no talk with her then. The next day I came Backhome.
On my return home, I experienced a similar yearning once again, and so I went to Kothar. After a few days’ stay there I went to the Holy Mother one morning and said, “Mother, I shall leave for home tomorrow morning.” The Mother replied, “Well, stay here tomorrow and leave for home the next day.” I came out of the room. After a while a monk came to tell me, “The Holy Mother is going to favour you. Keep yourself ready for it after your bath tomorrow morning.” I wondered what the favour might be. I could make nothing of it and kept silent. Early next morning I made myself ready after my morning bath, when Radhu-Didi announced, “Who is Vaikuntha Babu? The Mother has sent for him.” I said, “My name is Vaikuntha. Am I to go to the Mother?” She nodded and I followed her to meet the Holy Mother. On seeing me, the Mother said, “Come, come inside the room.” She asked, “Will you take Mantra?” I replied, “If you are pleased, kindly give me. I know nothing about it.” The Mother said, “Well, be seated here.” Then she asked, “The Mantra of which deity would you like to have?” I replied, “I know nothing about these things.” Thereupon the Mother said, “Well this Mantra will suit you.”
The Mother initiated me with the Mantra that very day. It was the seventh lunar day of Magh of 1317 (January-February 1911). One day while on a visit I asked her, ”Mother, can I have another spiritual guide for my lessons on Yoga?” In reply she said, “You may have guides for learning various other things, but should have no other person for spiritual guidance.”
Ram Babu woke me up at about midnight prior to the morning I was to leave Kothar. He handed over a packet of sweets to me and said, “Vaikuntha, the Mother presents you with these sweets. Carry them with you. The Mother advised you not to take food from any wayside shop.”
* * *
Another time I went alone to see the Holy Mother. She had then come from Jayrambati to Kamarpukur for a few days. This was my first visit to Kamarpukur. The revered Ramlal-Dada and Lakshmi-Didi were staying there too. On the first day Ramlal-Dada and I were seated on the verandah for dinner. The Mother herself was serving us food. While serving, she told me several times, “Vaikuntha, take everything, don’t leave anything on the leaf.” Every time she served, she gave me more and more food. Ramlal-Dada too pressed, me saying, “Eat more; don’t be shy.” By that time I had already eaten so much that I was unable to take anything more. But I hesitated to say so. Now on hearing Ramlal-Dada’s words, the Mother intervened saying, “Look here, he is a whimsical boy. He has taken enough. Please do not insist on his taking more.” She said to me, “Vaikuntha, remove the leaf-plate and glass from here. One should not leave them behind in his Master’s house.”
On the second day, as I went to salute her, she asked, “When will you be returning home?” I replied, ”Mother, I have not seen Belur Math yet. I want to visit the Belur Math and then go home from there.” The Mother said,
“You need not go to the Math now. You leave for home today.” I said, ”Mother, I, have come here from so distant a place. I do not intend to go Backhome without visiting the Belur Math.”
The Mother, now firmly, said, “No, you go home. You must, not disobey your Guru.” After this I made no further protests. But I thought that I would contrive to visit the Math after leaving this place, thinking that the Mother would not come to know of it. About this time, two devotees, a man and a woman, had come from Allahabad. The Mother gave them spiritual initiation that very day. The Mother sent for me and said, “You please go along with them.” However, I was told that my accompanying them would cause them inconvenience, and so I dropped the idea. The Mother had come to the main entrance to see them off. A little earlier I had put my money bag in a niche in the parlour. Noticing it, the Mother had kept it in the living room. Subsequently she enquired of me through Lakshmi-Didi, “Where has Vaikuntha kept his money bag?” I looked for the bag in the parlour but could not find it. Lakshmi-Didi reported everything to the Mother. The Mother called me and said, “How can you afford to be so careless? He who does not have even this much alertness, how will he look after his house-hold? Your money bag is with me. Well, why did you not go with that party?” When I explained, she was evidently displeased with them. I assured the Mother, saying, “Why are you so anxious on that account? T shall fix up a person to accompany me and leave tomorrow.” On hearing this, the Mother moved towards her room.
That afternoon she called me into the inner courtyard. She said, “Read out these letters; let me hear what news they are bringing.” I read them out. I still remember the contents of one of them. The letter was from Baghbazar, Calcutta. It said that the ailing Sashi Maharaj wanted to see the Holy Mother once and that he promised to follow the course of treatment that the Mother might suggest for him. On hearing the contents of the letter, the Mother remarked, “What more can I say about medical treatment? Sarat, Rakhal, and Baburam are there. Let them consult among themselves and take the best available decision. If I decide to go to that house, the patient will have to be removed from there. Will that be good for him? Should such an acutely suffering patient be shifted? No, I shall not go. If something adverse happens to Sashi, shall I be able to stay there? You please write him a letter explaining why I do not intend to go now.”
The next day after the noon meal I went inside the house to take leave of the Holy Mother. I found her sitting on the verandah and preparing betel leaves. She asked me, “Have you made salutations at the temple of Raghuvir?” I said, “No, Mother.”
Mother: Whoever visits this holy place should make some contribution there. Offer some money when you make obeisance to Raghuvir. If you do not have money; take some from me.
Disciple: No, Mother, I have money.
I went to the temple of Raghuvir to make my obeisance. On my return as I saluted the Holy Mother, she suddenly exclaimed, “Vaikuntha, take my name.” But the very next moment, she added, “Call on the Master. Calling on the Master will alone serve everything.” Lakshmi-Didi who was standing nearby intervened, saying, “Mother, what is this? This is quite improper. What will your children do if you confuse them in this way?”
Mother: Well, what have I done?
Lakshmi-Didi: Mother, you said a moment earlier ‘Call on me’ and now you are saying ‘Call on the Master’.
Mother: Everything is achieved when one calls on the Master.
Lakshmi-Didi came forward and said, “Mother, it is not proper for you to bewilder your children.” Then she emphatically added, “Look, Vaikuntha, today for the first time I have heard the Mother saying, ‘Call on me.’ You must not miss this point. Who else is the Mother? You call on the Mother alone. Very fortunate are you to be given the advice by the Mother herself. You call on none but the Mother.” Turning towards the Mother, she said, “Well, Mother, this is explained. I believe.” The Mother, through her silence, lent her support indirectly to the words of Lakshmi-Didi.
When I was taking leave of her, the Mother said once again, “Go straight home from here. It would not be wise for you to go to the Math or elsewhere now. Go home and look after your parents. Now you should serve your father.” Then she gave me four betel leaves and bade me farewell. I gave up my previous plan, following the Mother’s instruction, and returned home via Koalpara. When I had left home for Jayrambati, I had seen my father hale and hearty. Now on coming Backhome I found him seriously ill; and, in fact, my father passed away six or seven days after my arrival.
On a later occasion, while going to Kamarpukur, I brought with me a letter addressed to the Mother, from one of my fellow disciples. When I was about to hand over the letter to the Mother, she asked me to read it out. It contained these two questions: (1) “I am going to take up such and such an employment. Will I get entangled in Maya if I join there?” On hearing this, the Mother remarked, “Why should he get entangled in Maya if he simply takes service?” (2) To the question as to whether marriage will bring him good, the Mother did not give any definite reply. On the other hand, the Mother asked me, “My son, are you married?”
Disciple: No, Mother, I have not married.
Mother: Very well, do not marry. Marriage invites many complications.
Once during my stay at Kamarpukur I asked the Mother: “What is the harm in taking fish and meat?”
The Mother replied, “This is the land of fish; you can take fish.”
It was during one of these days that I once requested her to give me a print of her feet. The Mother replied, “This cannot be done here now. Everybody here does not look upon me in the way you do. Some members of Laha Babu’s family frequently visit this place. If I give you my footprint, the red paint will linger on my feet and I shall have to hide myself from them.”
Another time I had gone to Jayrambati in the company of a few fellow disciples from my native district. On arriving there it occurred to me several times, “I have come from such a distant place. I have not achieved anything worth mentioning till now. I would consider myself blessed if I could serve the Holy Mother.”
One day my fellow disciples went to Kamarpukur while I stayed back. In the afternoon I went to see the Mother. She was sitting on the porch of the new house in front of the kitchen store. When the Mother saw me, she said, “My child, bring the pitcher of wheat flour from the store.” I did as directed. She took out some quantity of flour, mixed it with water, and asked me to knead the dough. I finished the work and shortly after came Backto the parlour. I went to her again in the evening when she was resting on the portico in front of her living room. There I sat quietly for sometime. After a while the Mother said, “Vaikuntha, my son, please stroke my legs a little.” While I was doing so, the Mother said, “Why have my sons not returned from Kamarpukur yet? Have they taken the wrong road?” Saying this, she became quite anxious and sent for Brahmachari Jnan. When Jnan came, she said, “Jnan, see why they are so late in returning from Kamarpukur.” Brahmachari Jnan walked quite some distance to trace their whereabouts and finally met them. They had indeed taken a wrong path! Had Brahmachari Jnan not gone to look for them, they would have taken much longer to reach Jayrambati.
At night we slept on the portico of the Mother’s main house. In the early hours, at about 4 o’clock, we woke up. One of us said, “Ah, if only we could see Mother at this auspicious juncture of night and day!” and then began singing, “O gracious Mother, get up and open the door,” etc. As soon as the song was over, we were surprised to see the Mother opening the door and standing in front of it. At this sudden and unexpected appearance of the Mother we were extremely happy. All of us saluted her in turn. Then she quietly went inside and locked the door.
On another occasion, during the worship of Vasanti, a few of us went to Jayrambati. Finding white lotuses in a pond on our way, we collected some of them. As we were preparing ourselves to offer those white lotuses at the feet of the Holy Mother, she sent word, saying, “White flowers cannot be used for the worship of the Goddess.” On hearing this we procured some red lotuses and joyously offered them at her feet.
One day I heard her say to someone in the course of a conversation, “Don’t tease me much, for if I admonish you, losing my temper, no one can give you protection.”
On that occasion I asked her, ”Mother, the Government is putting young men behind bars these days. What do you think will be its outcome?” “Yes, this is very improper,” the Mother, replied. ”However, a solution will soon be found. You will not have to wait for long. Certainly it will bring good ultimately.”
One day I told her, ”Mother, kindly do something for me.” To this she replied, ”There are Sarat, Rakhal, and others. Why do you worry?” Then I said, ”Mother, I greatly desire to live in the Math for some days.” But Mother did not give her consent. She said, “You need not go to the Math now. Live in your own home. “
This time the Holy Mother kindly initiated Kshirode Mukhopadhyaya of our native village. I learnt from Kshirode Babu that the Mother said at the time of his spiritual initiation: “All your sins committed in this life as well as in earlier ones are gone.”
One day I made obeisance to the Holy Mother at her residence in.
Baghbazar, Calcutta. I was standing by her side, when she asked, “Have you saluted Master Mahasaya?’ “No, Mother, I said, “I do not know him.”
She then advised me: “Go downstairs. You will find him there. He is a noble soul. Please go and salute him.” She deputed Golap- Ma to escort me and introduce me to Master Mahasaya. I went below, bowed to him, and came Backupstairs. Just then two persons were going downstairs after saluting the Holy Mother, who was sitting on her cot in the shrine room. I heard her whisper, “The indiscriminate touch of people has caused me stinging pain!”
Once I had a quarrel with my brother regarding some worldly matters. I wanted to inform the Holy Mother of my intention of staying somewhere other than my own house, and I also wanted her permission to do so. After my salutation I was standing nearby. Addressing Golap-Ma, the Mother said, “O Golap, have you heard that Vaikuntha has come here to complain about his brother’s slapping him on the cheek? Do not householders sometimes kick up a row? But then why should one go too far?” Now turning to me, she said, “Go home, my son. It is quite common to have occasional hitches in family life.”
A fellow disciple of mine, who had forgotten his gayatri Mantra, asked me to teach it to him. I wrote to the Mother in a letter, “Should one disclose a Mantra to someone else?” The Mother was then on a pilgrimage to the South and was staying in Madras. She wrote in reply, “A Mantra should not be disclosed to anyone. You can, however, tell it to a fellow disciple. There is no harm in that.”
One day, being depressed, I went to see the Holy Mother at the Udbodhan house in Baghbazar. I bowed to her and said, “Mother, I am here to tell you something.”
Mother: What’s that? Come on, tell me.
Disciple: When will you bestow your grace on this unfortunate child of yours?
Mother: Child, remember the Master. He will certainly bless you. Keep only holy company and do your spiritual practices. Everything will be achieved if the Master is remembered.
Disciple: I have tried, Mother, but nothing has happened. I have not seen the Master, how can I remember him? I have received your blessings. Now that you are saying thus, you yourself kindly tell the Master about this unfortunate child of yours.
Mother: How can you achieve the goal without practising Japa and meditation? One must practise these disciplines.
Disciple: I don’t feel like doing japa, etc. any more; for nothing whatsoever is of any avail. Desire, anger, delusion – these still hold sway over my mind exactly as they did before. The impurities of my mind have not decreased yet.
Mother: Child, the repetition of the name of God will gradually remove impurities. How can you expect results without such disciplines? Don’t be foolish and neglect them. Whenever you find time, repeat the holy name of God. And pray to the Master.
Disciple: No, Mother, I do not have that capacity. Whenever I try to repeat the name, I find my mind agitated. Either you make my mind concentrated on God so that no evil thought assails me, or you take Backthe holy name! I do not want to be a cause of suffering to you; for I have heard that a spiritual preceptor suffers if his disciples do not repeat the sacred name.
Mother: Well, what is this? My worries about you have made me restless. The Master has blessed you already.
These words brought tears to the Mother’s eyes. With great feeling she said, “Well, you will not have to repeat the Mantra any more.” This implied that she herself would do whatever was necessary on my behalf. But I failed to grasp the import of her words, and fear and apprehension gripped me. Thinking that my connections with the Mother were going to be snapped, I passionately said, “Mother, are you snatching away everything that I possessed? What shall I do now? Well, Mother, am I now doomed to annihilation?”
On hearing these words she said emphatically, “What! You being my child, can you be doomed? Those who have come here, those who are my children, have already achieved liberation. Even God can do no harm to my children!”
Disciple: Well, Mother, what should I do now?
Mother: Take refuge in me and keep quiet. And always remember that there is behind all of you one who in time will lead you to the abode of eternity.’
Disciple: Mother, so long as I am here, I feel happy. No worldly thought disturbs me. But as soon as I return home various bad thoughts haunt me. I again get mixed up with unholy companions and commit evil deeds. However hard I try, I cannot get rid of bad thoughts.
Mother: All this is owing to the impressions gathered in your previous births. Can anyone forcibly get rid of them in a trice? Live in holy company. Try to be pure. And everything will be achieved gradually. Pray to the Master. I am with you. Know that you have already achieved liberation in this very birth. Why do you fear? In time he will do everything for you.