Gospel of Holy Mother Sarada Devi
16th December, 1912
I raised the topic of' 'visions", and asked the Mother, "People have various "visions". Are they subjective or can they be actually seen by one's physical eyes?"
Mother: They are all subjective. But I had seen one actually with these physical eyes. It was at Kamarpukur'. A girl like Radhu (about 11 or 12 years old), wearing ochre clothes, with a string of Rudraksha beads around her neck, her hair all rough and dry, would accompany me wherever I went.
Then I performed the Pancatapa 1 at Nilambar Babu's rented house at Belur. Yogin (Yogin-Ma) too did it. After this the girl disappeared, and I saw her no more.
1 Pancatapa means 'austerity of the five fires'. The aspirant lights four fires, each seven feet apart in a square formation. Sitting in their midst, with the burning sun above as the 'fifth fire', the aspirant practises prayer and meditation.
Disciple: What is the need of Tapasya (austerity)?
Mother: It is very necessary. Look at Yogin. How much does she fast even now? She practises intense austerities. Golap is an adept in Japa. One day Naren's mother came to visit me. Naren said to her, "Perhaps you had practised austerities. Therefore you got Vivekananda as your son. Repeat them and then you may get another."
The Master practised all kinds of disciplines. He used to say, "I have made the mould; now you may cast the image."
Disciple: What is the meaning of casting the image?
Bhudev: It means to meditate on the Master and mould yourself after him.
Mother: Yes, he has understood it. To cast the image means to meditate and contemplate on the Master, to think of the various incidents of his life. By meditating on him, one gets all the spiritual moods. He used to say, "One who remembers me never suffers from want of food or from other physical privations."
Maku: Did he himself say this?
Mother: Yes, these are the very words from his mouth. By remembering him one gets rid of all sufferings. Don't you see that all his devotees are happy? Elsewhere you will not find devotees like those of the Master. Here, in Banaras, I see so many holy men; but can you point out one who is like his devotees?
Disciple: There is a reason for that, Mother. About him we feel as if the market has only just come to a close. All the signs of the market are there. People are still moving about. The devotees and the intimate disciples of the Master are still alive. We feel that the Master, as it were, is very near us. He has not gone away to any great distance. We shall get the response if we but call on him.
Mother: Yes, many people do get it.
Disciple: Krishna, Rama and others seem to belong to a bygone age. They do not seem near enough to respond to our prayer.
Mother: Yes, that is true.
Referring to the Cossipore Garden, I said, "It is a sacred place and now a European gentleman lives there."
Mother: At the Cossipore Garden the Master spent the last days of his life. The place is associated with so much meditation, Samadhi and the practice of austerities. It is the place where the Master entered into Mahasamadhi. It is a place permeated with intense spiritual vibration. One realizes God-consciousness by meditating there. The place may be acquired if the Master commands its owner through dream to hand it over to the Belur Math.
One day at Cossipore, Niranjan (Swami Niranjanananda) and others planned to drink the juice of a date palm. To my astonishment, I saw the Master too going behind them. When I asked him about this the next day, he said, "Oh! It is all your imagination! Your brain must have been heated by too much cooking!".1
1 A more detailed version of this incident was related by the Mother to the mother of Nirad Maharaj:- The Master was then completely bed-ridden at Cossipore. Swamiji and other intimate devotees were serving him to the best of their ability. One evening they planned to drink juice by tapping a date palm which was in one corner of the Cossipore garden. The Master was told nothing of this plan. In the evening, all of them proceeded towards the tree. The Mother was staying then in the same building. She suddenly noticed the Master darting down like an arrow. Startled at this, she wondered, "Is it possible? How can one, who has to be helped even to change sides on his bed, rush down like that?" And yet, she had seen it happen actually before her eyes! She went to the Master's room and found his bed empty. In a bewildered state of mind, she searched for him everywhere. Not finding him, she returned to her room in. extreme confusion and apprehension in her mind. A little later, she saw him again returning to his room as swiftly as he had left it. Later when the Mother asked him about this, he said, "Oh! Did you notice it?" He then continued, "They are all youngsters. They were proceeding merrily to drink the juice of the date palm in the garden. I saw a black cobra at the foot of the tree there which was so ferocious that it would have bitten them all. The boys did not know it. So I went by a different route and drove it away after warning, 'Never come here again'. The Mother was dumbfounded on hearing this. The Master had asked her not to divulge this to anyone then.
Vijay Goswami had a vision of the Master at Dacca. He even felt the touch of the Master's body!
After the passing away of the Master, Naren and other youngsters said, "Let us continue to stay here (at the Cossipore Garden house) at least for some days more, to help the Mother get over the shock. If necessary, we will feed her by begging food." But Ramachandra Datta and other older devotees were not willing. They said, "You need not go about begging to feed her," and the house was given up.
I can stay at that place (Udbodhan, Calcutta) only so long as Sarat is there. After him, I do not see anyone who can shoulder my burden. Yogen (Swami Yogananda) was there. And there is Krishnalal too, - calm and quiet - a disciple of Yogen. Sarat can look after me very well. Sarat is my , burden-bearer'.
Disciple: Can't Maharaj (Swami Brahmananda) do so?
Mother: No. Rakhal is not of that temperament. He can't face troubles physically. He can do so intellectually or through someone. He is of a totally different make-up.
Disciple: What about Baburam Maharaj (Swami Premananda)?
Mother: No, not even he.
Disciple: How then is he managing the Belur Math?
Mother: That may be. But taking the responsibilities of women! He can at the most make enquiries from a distance.
Then the Mother talked about the disciples of the Master, whereupon the disciple asked her, "Please tell me who these disciples of the Master are. We cannot recognize them."
Mother: What do I know? But it is true that those who had been born with the Master in his previous incarnations have accompanied him this time also.
Disciple: I do not have any such desire as to see a four-handed Deity and the like. I am quite satisfied with what we have.
Mother: That is also the case with me. What shall we gain by these supernatural visions? For us the Master exists-and he is everything.
11th February, 1913
Disciple: Mother, Swamiji has initiated so many people with the Mantra and you also have initiated so many. They come and go away, and are not remembered.
Mother: So many people come. Can all be remembered?
When the fire burms do not the moths come? It is like that.
Disciple: They take the Mantra. But what do they get? We find the man remains as he was.
Mother: Power passes through the Mantra-the Guru's goes to the disciple and the disciple's comes to the Guru. That is why the Guru at the time of initiation takes on himself the sins of the disciple and suffers so much from physical maladies. It is extremely difficult to be a Guru, for he has to take the responsibilities for the disciple's sins. If the disciple commits a sin, that affects the Guru too. On the other hand, the Guru is benefited if the disciple is good. Some disciples make quick progress, and some do it slowly. It depends on the tendencies of the mind acquired by one's past deeds. That is why Rakhal (Swami Brahmananda) hesitates about giving initiation. He said to me, "Mother, as soon as I initiate a disciple, I fall ill. The very idea of giving initiation makes me feel feverish."
One Swami sent a boy to the Holy Mother for initiation. She heard all details from him and said, "You have your own hereditary Vaishnava Gurus. Take initiation from them." Whatever may be the reason, the Mother did not initiate him.
After supper I went to bring a betel roll. The Holy Mother was tying the mosquito curtains for the children in the next room. I heard her speaking to the mad aunt, "Don't take me for an ordinary mortal. You abuse me so recklessly. I do not take it to heart, considering it only as so much noise. If I take notice of it, who will save you? It is to your advantage that I am alive. Your daughter is yours only. I am here only until she grows up. Otherwise what is attachment for me? I can cut it off this moment. When I pass away one day like camphor, you will never get a trace of me."
Mad aunt: When did I scold you? I just said a few words. The trouble is when-you give, you give without reserve.
She was of the opinion that the Holy Mother should keep all her money for Radhu.
Mother: Mine is a child-like nature. Do I keep meticulous accounts? I give to whoever asks.
Returning from Banaras, the Holy Mother stayed a few days at Calcutta and then left for Jayrambati. On 25th February she reached Koalpara. She was given the room next to the shrine. I brought out a banian seed and said, "See, Mother, this seed is smaller than the seed of red spinach. And yet from this comes such a huge tree! What a wonder!" She replied, "Why not? Just see, how small is the Bija(mystic syllable) of the Lord's Name. Yet from that, springs forth in due time spiritual consciousness, devotion, love and what not!"
We came to Jayrambati and sat for meal at night. Someone said, "Mother, did you notice how inconsiderate these people (the Mother's brothers) are? They knew of your coming. Yet, they did not send anyone to receive you at the river-crossing." Thereupon the Mother said to the eldest brother (Prasanna): "Why did you not send a man to help me cross the river? My children (referring to the disciples) accompanied me. You did not go yourself, nor did you send a man."
The brother replied, "I did not do so for fear of Kali (the next brother.) He might complain that I was trying to win you over to my side. Do I not know what you are and what these devotees are? I know everything, but I am helpless. Please bless me that I may have you as my sister in my future births also. I do not want anything else."
Mother: Do you think that I shall be born again in your family? I have had enough of it this time. Sri Rama once prayed, "Never may I be born again in the womb of Kausalya!" And to be born in your family again! Our father was a devotee of Rama and always helped others; our mother too had such a kind heart. That is why I was born in this family.
One day Uncle Prasanna came to the Mother and said, "Sister, I hear that you appeared to someone in a dream and initiated him. You also told him that he would be liberated. You have brought us up from our childhood, and shall we remain just as we are?"
In reply, the Mother said, "The Master's will shall prevail. And look here, Sri Krishna was so intimate with the shepherd boys. He played with them, laughed and wandered with them, and shared their food; but did they know who he really was?"
One day some of the devotees were about to clean the place where they had just finished their meals. The Mother prevented them saying, "No, no. Please don't do all that. You are all precious jewels of the Lord." When the devotees insisted on going ahead with it, the Mother said, "There is a person appointed for that work. The maid will do it."
14th March, 1913
Dr. Lalit of Shyambazar and Probodh Babu arrived. At about four o'clock in the afternoon they came to the Holy Mother and saluted her. The following conversation took place:
Lalit Babu: Mother, what rules and regulations should one observe regarding food?
Mother: One should not eat the food given at funeral obsequies (Sraddha ceremony). It does harm to devotional life. Sri Ramakrishna used to forbid it. Besides, first offer to God whatever you eat. One must not eat unoffered food. As your food is, so will be your blood. From pure food you get pure blood, pure mind and strength. Pure mind begets ecstatic love (Prema Bhakti).
Lalit Babu: Mother, we are householders. What shall we do at the Sraddha ceremony of our relatives?
Mother: Supervise the ceremony and give help to your relatives so that they may not be offended; but try somehow to avoid taking meals on that day. If you cannot do that, then on the day of the Sraddha ceremony eat what is offered t6 Vishnu or other gods. The devotees can partake of the food of the Sraddha ceremony if it is offered to God.
Lalit Babu: Many a time there remains an excess of unused food-stuff procured for the Sraddha ceremony. Can one cook and eat that?
Mother: Yes, you can. That will not injure you, my child. A householder cannot help it.
Prabodh Babu: Mother, the Master loved renunciation, but how little we practise it!
Mother: Yes, you will acquire it slowly. You make some progress in this life, a little more in the next and so on. It is the body alone that changes, the Atman always remains the same. Renunciation of 'lust' and' gold'!
The Master used to say, "I can change Kamarpukur into gold, if I so desire, by requesting Mathur Babu to do so; but what good will that do? It is all transitory." Regarding some devotees, the Master used to say that it was their last birth. He would remark, referring to some devotee, "You see, he has no desire whatsoever for anything. This is his last birth."
The devotees prostrated themselves before the Mother and took leave of her.
Speaking about the objection of certain people that some of Sri Ramakrishna's Sannyasin disciples, being Sudras are not entitled for Sannyasa according to orthodox rules, the Mother said, "The disciples of Sri Ramakrishna are Jnanis and therefore Sannyasins. A Jnani can be a Sannyasin. Take the case of Gaurdasi. A woman cannot be initiated into Sannyasa, but is Gaurdasi a woman? She is more than a man! How many men are there like her? See what she has achieved-built a school, acquired horses, a carriage, and so forth. The Master used to say, 'If a woman embraces Sannyasa, she is certainly not a woman; she is really a man.' He further used to say to Gaurdasi, I am pouring water, you will make the clay.' "
28th March, 1913
It was morning. I entered the inner apartment of the Holy Mother's house and found her cutting the Kalmi green. Seeing her cutting something else also along with it, I said, "What is this that you are cutting up with the Kalmi green?" "This is grass;" the Mother said, "this is also a kind of green. The complexion of Krishna was like this grass."
I was seated for the mid-day meal. Radhu's mother arranged a leaf-plate and a cup of water in the verandah of her house for another guest, perhaps one of her relatives. A cat drank a little water out of the cup, so Radhu's mother changed the water. The cat again drank some of the water, and again she changed it. A third time the cat drank, whereupon Radhu's mother chased it and screamed, "You rogue, you burnt-faced cat, I will kill you!" It was the hot season. The Holy Mother was there. She said, "No, no, you must not prevent a thirsty animal from drinking. Besides the cat has already touched the water." At this Radhu's mother shouted in anger, "You don't have to become compassionate towards the cat. You have shown enough compassion towards man! Why not reserve your kindness for man?"
The Mother said in a serious voice, "He is unfortunate indeed who does not gain my compassion. I do not know anyone, not even an insect, for whom I do not feel compassion."
I was seated for the evening meal. The Mother herself had cooked a curry, potatoes and other vegetables. She gave some of them to me and said, "Eat and tell me how you like it."
Disciple: This is patient's diet-cool and bland. Who cooked it?
Mother: I myself.
Disciple: You yourself?
Disciple: Well, it could be done better. It is not exactly to the taste of people of our part of the country.
Mother: You had better taste a little of the liquid portion.
Nalini: O aunt, you never put any red chilly in your curry. Can anybody relish it?
Mother: (to Nalini) Don't listen to him. When you eat it, you will find it tastes good.
Disciple: For some days past I have been asking about the curries you prepare and I have tasted some of them, but they all taste alike.
Mother: Very well, one day I shall cook as they do in your part of the country. You must show me how to cook. I am sure you add a lot of chillies. Don't you?
Disciple: Not so much. But a curry need not necessarily taste bad because it is less pungent.
Mother: (to Nalini) Bring some gram tomorrow. I shall make some soup. I used to cook very well; now I am out of practice. At Kamarpukur, Lakshmi's mother and I used to cook. She could cook very well. One day the Master and Hriday sat for their mea1s. Referring to a preparation made by Lakshmi's mother, the Master said, "O Hridu, the one who has cooked this may be compared to the physician Ramdas." And tasting the curry prepared by me, he said, "Ah, whoever has cooked this is Srinath Sen." Now Ramdas was a renowned physician while Srinath Sen was only a quack! At this Hriday said, 'What you say is true. But you can get your quack physician at all times to render you all kinds of service, even to massage your feet. Yon have only to send for her and she comes. But physician Ramdas takes a big fee for his visit, and you cannot get him at all hours. Moreover, people at first consult a quack. He is your friend at all times." The Master said, "That's true, that's "' true. She is always available."
8th May, 1913
Radhu was indisposed, being laid up with pain and fever. Her eccentric mother began to scold the Holy Mother, saying, "You are about to kill my daughter with medicines." As she kept on scolding, she lost all control over her tongue. Uncle Varada was called in. He chased Radhu's mother out of the house. The Holy Mother, too, could bear it no longer. She spoke some sharp words to Radhu's mother.
Addressing us the Mother said, "I was married to one who never addressed me as tui. One day at Dakshineswar, I carried the Master's food to his room. As I was leaving the room, the Master thought that it was his niece Lakshmi, and called out, 'Close the door behind you (tui)'. I said, 'Yes, I am closing it.' Recognizing my voice he was embarrassed and said, 'Ah, it's you! I thought it was Lakshmi. Please don't mind.' That unintentional disrespect upset him so much, that the next morning he came to the Nahabat saying, 'Look here, my dear. The whole of last night I couldn't sleep, worrying how indeed I spoke so rudely to you! And look at this Radhu's mother! How she abuses me day and night! I do not know what sin I committed to deserve all this. Perhaps I worshipped Siva with a thorny Bilva leaf. That thorn has now become this thorn-this Radhu's mother."
12th May, 1913
Referring to Radhu's illness, the Mother said, "My mind now does not dwell upon Radhu even in the slightest degree. I am sick of her illness. I force my mind upon her. I pray to the Master, saying 'O Lord, please divert my mind a little to Radhu. Otherwise who will look after her?' I have never seen such illness. Perhaps in her former birth she died of an illness for which she had not performed any penance. I have in mind to do these two things-one, to invoke the help of a Canda (a fierce spirit) through adequate rites, and the other, to undertake the Candrayana vow.
"Whenever the Master experienced Mahabhava, he used to experience excruciating burning sensation in his chest. You must have read all about it in the books. My brother-in-law then brought him to the village-home. He called in a few exorcists, and with their help a Canda was invoked. He addressed the Master by his childhood name and said, 'O so-and-so (Gadai), your state of Mahabhava is due to the grace of God. It is not a disease. Do not eat too much betel-nut. It increases lust.' If a man dies for a particular illness without doing the necessary penance, he gets the same illness in his next birth1; but this rule does not apply to a holy man."
1 The idea is that an illness is brought about by one's evil Karma. In the case of the last illness, it may be that one dies before the Karma is fully exhausted, and in that case, one may have to suffer for that residuary Karma in the next birth, the suffering taking the shape of the same old disease. Hence one should perform penance, charity, worship, etc. as atonement for one's sinful Karma during one's last illness and thus one gets over the effects of that Karma.
Kedar's mother: The monk dies repeating the Name of God and therefore he attains to God.
Mother: Yes, that's true. The other day a young man died at Koalpara. Will he be reborn? No. That was his last birth.
At the time of his illness at Cossipore, the Master once remarked, "I am ill. The officers of the Kali temple may criticize me for not performing any penance." Then to Ramlal he said, "Take these ten rupees and go to Dakshineswar. Offer the money to Mother Kali and distribute it among the Brahmanas and others."
A Sadhu is not entitled to perform any ritual. Therefore the Master asked Ramlal to offer the money to his Chosen Deity and later on distribute it among the Brahmanas and others. In ancient times the hermits and Rishis used to live in the forest. Could they perform penances like the Candrayana? They used to offer only fruits and roots to their Chosen Ideal and later on distribute them among the needy. That was enough for them.
Radhu's Mother: My aunt died of a certain illness. Do you mean to say she has been born again with that illness?
Mother: Do you think that your aunt has not been reborn? Certainly she has again taken birth and inherited that illness as well. Many a time a man born in a particular family takes birth and dies again and again in the same family as a result of his Karma.
JAYRAMBATI (Mother's old House)
8th June, 1913
Surendranath Bhaumick and Dr. Durgapada Ghosh had been staying at the house of the Holy Mother. They were to leave that afternoon. In the morning, after their bath, they came to the Mother and saluted her. She blessed them by placing her hand on their heads and asked them to take their seats. After the exchange of a word or two, Surendra said to the Holy Mother, "Mother, while worshipping the Master I find one difficulty. Suppose a devotee has a general belief that his Ishta Devata and the Master are one and the same. He worships the Goddess through the image of the Master. Afterwards he surrenders the fruits of the Japa to the image of the Master, uttering the words, tvat prasadat maheshvari- 'O Great-Goddess, through Thy grace,' and so forth. This creates a confusion in my mind."
The Mother said with a smile, "Don't worry, my child. Our Master alone is Maheshvara (Supreme God) and Maheshvari (Supreme Goddess) as well. He alone is the embodiment of all Deities. He alone is the embodiment of all mystic syllables. One can worship through him all Gods and Goddesses. You can address him as Maheshvara as well as Maheshvari.
Surendra: Mother, I cannot concentrate my mind in meditation at all.
Mother: It does not matter much. It will be enough if you look at the picture of the Master. The Master was ill at Cossipore. The young disciples used to attend on him by turn. Gopal also was there. One day instead of serving the Master, he went for meditation. He meditated for a long time. When Girish Babu heard of it, he remarked, "The one upon whom he is meditating with closed eyes is suffering on a sick-bed, and fancy, he is meditating upon him!" Gopal was sent for. The Master asked him to stroke his legs. He said to him, "Do you think I am asking you to stroke my legs because they are aching? Oh, no! In your previous births you did many virtuous acts; therefore I am accepting your service." Look at the picture of the Master and that will be enough.
Surendra: Mother, I do not succeed in regularly counting the beads three times a day.
Mother: Even if you don't, try to remember the Master always and perform your Japa whenever you can; at least you can salute him mentally, can't you? '
Durgapada: Mother, I do not quite understand what rules one should observe regarding one's food.
Mother: The Master was very particular about one thing in regard to food. He used to forbid all the devotees from eating the food of the Sraddha ceremony. He used to say it affected one's devotion. Apart from this you may eat what you like, but remember the Master when you do so.
Durgapada: Mother, while performing my duties in the hospital, many a time I feel thirsty. I feel compelled to drink water, without consideration for place and persons. As a matter of fact, I do so. What do you say to that, Mother?
Mother: What else can you do? You do it in connection with the discharge of your duty. Remember the Master while you drink the water. As you do this while on duty, it will not injure you. Is it ever possible for those who are called upon to perform various odd duties to observe all religious injunctions regarding food?1
1 This part of the conversation is to be understood in the light of the injunctions of the Hindu Scriptures on the purity of the food consumed by spiritual aspirants. In so far as the vital energies of the body are renovated by the food consumed and in so far as the vital energies condition the functioning of the mind, the food taken in has an effect on the state of one's mind. Food is contaminated or made impure not only by hygienic causes, but also by its quality and contacts. Certain food-stuffs are condemned because they are obtained by injuring other creatures or from experience found to lead to mental excitement. The motive and character of the giver, as also of the person preparing it, are said to make food impure. In later times these ethical and spiritual injunctions became petrified into rigid caste rules in the matter of interdining. The Holy Mother does not seem to favour these caste rules very much, but accepts the validity of the original spiritual principles behind them. The Sraddha food is condemned, because the sins of the dead are supposed to contaminate it.
Surendra: You see, Mother, we householders live in families with many relations. Sometimes it happens that while the food is being cooked, some members of the family partake of it; later on that food is brought to me. I hesitate to offer that food to God.
Mother: That is inevitable in the case of householders. We also have to face similar situations. Take an instance: there may be a sick person in the family. Part of the food may be kept aside for him. But when food is placed on the plate, remember the Master, think that he himself has given this food, and eat it. Then it will not have any injurious effect on the growth of devotion.
Surendra: Mother, how can I describe to you my mental condition? You are the inner guide. You understand everything. I have been undergoing all possible sufferings for the last few years. But for your blessings I would perhaps have been dead by this time.
Mother: Yes, my child, you do not have to tell me of the sufferings in the life of the world. There is no limit to it. In your case it is inevitable. Look at me, my child. What sort of life I am leading by the will of the Master! How much I am suffering on account of this girl (Radhu)!
Surendra: Yes, Mother, your condition gives us consolation and hope. You yourself know the sufferings of the world; therefore we can expect your compassion.
Mother: Don't be afraid, my child. The Master is ever-present. He alone will protect you, both here and hereafter.
Surendra: Mother, we are living so far away. Are dreams real?
Mother: Yes, they are. Dreams regarding the Master are real, but he forbade his disciples to narrate, even to him, dreams regarding himself.
Surendra: Mother, we do not know what the Master was like. We have not seen him. So for us you are the Master and everything else.
Mother: Don't fear, my child. The Master will look after you. He will watch over you here and hereafter. He will protect you always.
After the meal the two devotees took leave. Uncle Varada accompanied them. He was going to Calcutta. The Mother walked part of the way with them and looked on until they were out of sight.
Surendra was the head-master of a school at Ballaratanganj. Some butchers of that place used to flay cows alive. One day the rogues did so in front of the school. Surendra, the other teachers and the students - Hindus and Mussalmans alike - made a strong protest. The butchers were beaten. This created some trouble. Surendra was threatened by the butchers. At this time two or three students of the school were preparing to leave for Jayrambati for taking initiation. Surendra sent a letter to the Holy Mother through them. The boys also narrated the incident to her. She was extremely shocked and said, "If you do not protest against such action, who will do so?" According to her instruction a letter was written to Surendra giving him assurance and encouragement. Further, he was asked to see that a repetition of such cruel action did not take place. Later on the Mother again wrote to Surendra, saying, "If God really exists, then He shall certainly redress the grievance." Some time later a law-suit was filed, and as a result butchery of that heinous kind was stopped.
11th June, 1913
It was noon. Along with another, I was taking food on the verandah of the Mother's room.
Mother: Radhu says that this time in the month of Asvin, there will be fierce fighting (maramari). It is written so in the almanac.
Disciple: It is not 'fighting'; but a devastating epidemic (mahamari) is anticipated.
In the course of conversation, the Mother said: "Satya Yuga has begun since the birth of the Master. Many luminaries have accompanied him. Naren was the chief among the Seven Sages (Saptarshi.) Arjuna came as Yogen. How many such great souls can there be? Sour mangoes can be had without number. But fajli (a certain variety) mangoes - can one get so many? Countless ordinary people take birth and die. But only these jewels among men come along with the Incarnation for the sake of His mission.
Disciple: Swamiji also said that with the advent of the Master the Satya Yuga has begun.
Mother: That is so.
12th June, 1913
At noon the Holy Mother was feeding Radhu. She said while coaxing her to eat, "When the Master was ill, Ganga Prasad Sen of Kumartuly was consulted. The physician prescribed some medicine and forbade him to drink water. The Master began to ask one and all, 'Well, will I be able to live without water?' He asked this question of everyone, even of a five year old child. All replied, 'Yes, sir, of course you can'. 'Can I?' he asked me. 'Of course,' I replied. He then said, 'You should wipe the water from even washed pomegranate seeds. See if you can do it.' In reply I said to him, 'Well, everything will be done by the grace of Mother Kali. We shall try our utmost.' The Master made up his mind at last. He stopped drinking water and took the medicine. Every day I used to give him three to four seers of milk to drink-later I increased it to even five to six seers. The man who milked the temple cows used to give me milk in large quantities. He would say to me, 'If I give all this milk to the temple, the priests will take it home after worship and give it away to anyone and everyone. But if I leave the milk here, the Master will have it.' He used to give me up to five or six seers of milk. He was a good man, full of devotion. I gave him Rasagolla, Sandesh-all kinds of sweets and other things that lay at hand. The devotees used to bring plenty of these. I would boil the milk down to a seer and a half. The Master would ask me, 'How much milk is there?' I would say, 'How much, indeed? May be 4 or 5 quarters of a seer!' He would remark, 'Perhaps more. I see such thick layer of cream!'
"One day Golap was there. He asked her, 'How much milk is there?' And she told the truth. 'Ah! So much milk!' he exclaimed, 'that is why I get indigestion. Call her, call her!' I came in, and he told me of what Golap had said about the milk. I pacified him telling, 'Oh! Golap does not know the measurement. How can she know how much the pot contains?'
"Another day he asked Golap about the milk and she said in reply, 'One full bowl from here and another from the Kali temple.' At this the Master got nervous again. He sent for me, and began to ask about the exact capacity of the bowl. I replied, 'I do not know all those calculations. You will drink milk. Why all these enquiries about measurement? Who cares for all those calculations?' He was not satisfied. He said, 'Can I digest all this milk? I shall get indigestion.' Really, that day he did get indigestion. He did not take anything that night, except a little sago water.
"Golap said to me afterwards, 'Well, Mother, you should have told me about it before. How could I know? His whole evening meal is spoiled!' In reply I said to her, 'There is no harm in telling a lie for feeding someone. In this way I coax him to eat.' Anyway he picked up his health and was almost cured of his illness."
Disciple: I see that mind alone is everything.
Mother: Exactly. It is mind alone. Indeed, when he was not told, he could consume quite a lot.
At night Vibhuti and I were taking food. I said to Vibhuti, "Would it not be good to get Radhu an amulet for hysteria, from a dependable person?"
Mother: Yes. The priests at the temple of Dharma1 known by the name 'Swarupa-Narayana', give medicines. I have a mind to try it for Radhu. Now I wish to try some supernatural remedies for her. My mother had once recovered from her illness as a result of a consecrated flower from the temple of Swarupa-Narayana Dharma. Since then I have begun to have faith in these things.
1 Literally, virtue or right norm, deified in Buddhism. The worship of Dharma in these regions began probably during the transitional period in the history of Bengal when Buddhism was being re-absorbed into Hinduism together with its deities of whom Dharma, under various names, was one.
Vibhuti: Oh, the priests of Dharma? The Buddhists were distributing medicines, weren't they? The deity Dharma is actually the Lord Buddha.
Mother: We also have a Dharma temple. There it is.
Disciple: I know Dharma is represented by the image of Buddha in all places.
Mother: Here it is known as (Sundara) Narayana, and is of the form of a tortoise.
Vibhuti: The image is like a seat, isn't it, with four heels at the bottom?
Mother: Yes, but slightly raised in the middle.
Vibhuti: That is not a tortoise. It is the seat of Buddha. The state of Buddha is beyond existence and non-existence. There can be no image of His and so they just make a seat for Him.
Mother: That may be. The boys worship our Dharma. There is no set ritual. They give whatever they like; perhaps one or two red flowers. Whatever is prepared is given. He takes no notice of any faults. He is happy with whatever is given.
Disciple: People often get supernatural remedies for their illnesses. It seems this is not in her (Radhu's) lot.
Mother: When I was ill, my whole body was swollen and the eyes and nose were running incessantly. Umesh (Holy Mother's brother) said, "Sister, Simhavahini is present here. Will you make a vow of fasting before Her?" He persuaded me and almost carried me there. That night of full moon was a dark night for me. I couldn't see anything. Due to incessant watering, my eyes were almost blind. I went and prostrated in front of the Devi. In addition I had diarrhoea. One woman whom I called god-mother lived nearby. She used to grunt loudly now and then, so that I might not be frightened in the dark silent night. I was lying there alone. Just a little later She (Simhavahini) came to my mother, in the form of a blacksmith girl of about Radhu's age, and said, "Go and bring her back. She is so ill and can she be left lying about? Bring her this moment. Use this medicine and she will be all right." Here She advised me, "Crush the gourd flowers with salt and apply that juice drop by drop in the eyes. You will get well." I took that medicine. The juice of gourd flowers was applied to the eyes drop by drop. And immediately there was such a burning sensation that it cleansed the eyes of all dirt. My eyes got well that very day. The swelling in the body also went down, and I felt very light. Soon I got well. When people asked me about it, I used to reply, "Mother gave me medicine." From then on, the fame of Mother Simhavahini spread. I got the medicine and the world also was blessed. Earlier none knew much of this Mother Deity. My uncle made a vow of fasting before Her. But black ants bit him, and so he could not carry out his vow. She said to my mother in a dream, "Now I am sleeping. Why has he taken the vow now? He is a Brahmana, doesn't he know this? Go, and bring him back." My mother rejoined, "You have said so much, you could have as well given the medicine!"
My mother saw Her once. On one occasion during the village Kali Puja day, Naba Mukherjee, out of rivalry, refused to receive our rice. My mother had made ready rice and other things for the Puja. When he refused to take them from our home, my mother wept all through the night. She thought: "I have made rice for Kali and he has not taken it. Who will eat this rice now? Can anyone eat Kali's rice?" And then in the night she saw Jagaddhatri, red in colour and sitting cross-legged near the door. Then there was only one room, Varada's, in our house. When the Master came, he also would stay in that room. Jagaddhatri raised my mother, patted her and said, "Why are you weeping? I shall take Kali's rice. Why do you worry?" My mother asked, 'Who are you?' Jagaddhatri replied, "I am the mother of the universe. I will receive your worship in the form of Jagaddhatri."
Next day my mother said to me, "Look, Sarada, who is that Deity, red in colour and sitting cross-legged? I shall do Jagaddhatri's Puja." She brought about thirteen maunds of paddy from Viswas. It was raining non-stop. My mother said "Oh Mother, how can I worship you, I cannot even dry the paddy!" In the end by Jagaddhatri's grace there was sunshine. The Mother's image had to be dried by fire and painted. Prasanna informed the Master at Dakshineswar of the Puja. He heard and said, "Mother will come. Very good. But weren't you in straitened circumstances, my dear?" Prasanna said "You also will come. I have come to take you." He said "You go and perform the worship. It will be very beneficial for you all." Thus Jagaddhatri Puja was performed. The whole village was invited. Every expense was met out of that rice. At the time of farewell to Jagaddhatri, my mother whispered in her ear "Mother Jagai, come again next year. All through the year I shall be making things ready for you." Next year my mother told me, "Look, you give something. My Jagai's worship will be celebrated." I replied, "Oh, such a trouble, I cannot bear. You have performed it once, why bother again?" That night I saw in a dream that three of them arrived-Jagaddhatri and Her two companions, Jaya and Vijaya. I remember it distinctly. They said to me, "Shall we go away then?" "Who are you all?" I asked. One of them said, "I am Jagaddhatri." In reply I said, "No, why should you go? Stay here. I did not ask you to go away."
Since that time I have been going home as far as possible every year at the time of the Jagaddhatri Puja. I used to help in polishing the utensils and to look after other things. Formerly there were not many people in the family. I would go home to cleanse the pots and pans. Later Yogen (Swami Yogananda) got a set of wooden utensils. He said to me, "Mother, you do not have to scour pots and pans any more." He also secured a piece of land to provide for the expenses of the Puja. Ah! My mother was like goddess Lakshmi. Always she used to keep everything well arranged and spick and span. She would say, "Mine is a family of devotees and gods. Perhaps one day my Sarada (Swami Trigunatitananda) will come, Yogen (Swami Yogananda) may come. All this is necessary." Whatever good rice she got, she would process it and keep ready. She would say "As long as I am here, Brahma also is here, Vishnu is here, Jagadamba, Siva and everybody is here. When I go, they also will accompany me. Is it possible for you to take so much trouble? Mine is a family of gods and devotees."
I had a little diarrhoea. Hearing of that the Mother said, "He is disposed to diarrhoea. He had it in Banaras also." I replied "Before going to Banaras, I suffered from it in Calcutta also. This disease is in our family itself. My father and many others died of diarrhoea."
Vibhuti: What of that? What does it matter if one's father died of some particular ailment?
Mother: Yes. What does it matter? Giving examples is not good. One has to suffer for that. Who dies when! Who is father, who is mother! God is everything.
14th July, 1913
Mukunda and I were seated in the porch of the Mother's house for our midday meal. The Mother was seated in the porch of the adjoining house. Nalini arrived dressed in wet clothes. She had taken her bath, because a crow had 'urinated' on her!
Mother: I am an old woman now, but I have never heard of crows urinating! Your mind is impure. Can the mind lose its purity without great sins? The sister of Krishna Bose had such mania for cleanliness. While bathing in the Ganges she would ask people whether the top of her head was under water. That is an obsession. As a result the mind never feels pure. An impure mind does not easily become pure. The more you emphasize your obsession, the more obsessed you become. It is true of all things.
Disciple: I have seen Mahapurushji (Swami Shivananda) fondle dogs and then go to the shrine room to worship the Master. Perhaps someone would pour a little water in his hand and he would sprinkle a few drops over his face. At that time Ganga water was used for everything.
Mother: It is quite different with them. How pure is their mind! It is the mind of the Saint. They are gods, indeed, who live on the banks of the Ganga. Can anyone but gods live on the banks of the Ganga? Sins committed daily are expiated by ablution in the Ganga.
Nalini: Golap-Ma one day cleaned the toilets in the Udbodhan Office and then dressed fruits for offering in the shrine after merely changing her cloth. I said to her, "What is this, Golap-Didi? Go and bathe in the Ganga." Golap-Ma said to me, "Why don't you do it, if you so desire?"
Mother: How pure is Golap's mind! How high-souled she is! Therefore she does not discriminate so much between pure and impure things. She does not at all bother about rules regarding external purity. This is her last birth. In order to acquire a mind like that you need to be born again in a different body.
Pure air blows for eight miles on both the banks of the Ganga. This air is the embodiment of Narayana. The mind is rendered pure as the result of many austerities. God who is purity itself cannot be attained without spiritual practices.
What else does a man obtain by the realization of God? Does he grow two horns? No, his mind becomes pure, and through such a pure mind one attains knowledge and spiritual awakening.
Disciple: There are devotees who surrender themselves to God fully and do not practise austerities. How do they attain to this state?
Mother: That they surrender themselves to God, that they live placing implicit trust in Him, is their spiritual discipline. Ah! Naren said, "Let me have millions of births, what do I fear?" It is true. Does a man of knowledge ever fear rebirth? He does not commit any sin. It is the ignorant person who is always seized with fear. He alone gets entangled and becomes polluted by sin. For millions of births he suffers from endless miseries, he undergoes infinite pains, and at last he craves for God.
Disciple: Yes, through experience he gets his lessons and then attains knowledge.
Mother: Yes, the calf makes the sound of 'Hamba, Hamba.' It makes the same sound even after drums and other instruments are made from its hide and entrails. At last it goes into the hand of a carder, and then comes the sound 'Tuhu, Tuhu.'1
1 The reference is to a parable often related by Sri Ramakrishna: "The cow cries, 'Hamba!', which means 'I'. That is why it suffers so much. It is yoked to the plough and made to work in rain and sun. Then it may be killed by the butcher. From its hide shoes are made, and also drums, which are mercilessly beaten. Still it does not escape suffering. At last strings are made out of its entrails for the bow used in carding cotton. Then it no longer says, 'Hamba! Hamba!', 'I! I!', but 'Tuhu! Tuhu!', 'Thou! Thou!' Only then are its troubles over." -The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1980), vol. 1, p.105.
18th September, 1913
In the course of a letter to a devotee the Mother wrote: "There is no happiness whatever in human birth. The world is verily filled with misery. Happiness here is only a name. He on whom the grace of the Master has fallen, alone knows him to be God Himself. And remember, that is the only happiness."
A Sannyasin disciple had gone to Rishikesh, visiting the Holy Mother at Jayrambati on the way. After a few days he wrote to the Mother, saying, "Mother, once you remarked that I would get the vision of the Master in course of time, but that has not happened as yet:" Hearing the contents of the letter the Mother said to the disciple, "Write to him: 'Sri Ramakrishna has not gone to Rishikesh for your sake or simply because you are there.' He has become a Sannyasin. What else is he to do but call upon God? He will reveal Himself to the devotee when it is His sweet will."
A young man, placed in very poor circumstances, had come twice or-thrice for initiation, but could not, unfortunately, succeed owing to the Holy Mother's illness. So he wrote, "Please do not refuse me any more. It is with great difficulty that I go over there. I want to know whether the next time I come, I shall get initiation or not." In reply the Holy Mother said to a disciple, "A person, whoever he may be, must go back, if I am not well. Even if I am well, I cannot invite people for initiation. People get facilities and opportunities according to their past Karma. A person comes here several times, but does not get the opportunity to see me, either because I am ill or for some other reason. It is his bad luck. What can I do? You may say that it means a great deal of expense for him, and everybody does not have money. But a Guru may turn away a person seeking to be a disciple, time after time. He who is really eager for the blessing of the Guru, however, will come to him even by begging. The truth is this: He who is really anxious to cross the ocean of the world, will somehow break his bonds. No one can entangle him. Financial difficulties, awaiting a reply, the fear of going back with unfulfilled desire-these are mere excuses."
A woman wrote to the Mother, "Mother, I am young in years. My father-in-law and mother-in-law do not allow me to go to you. How can I go against their will? It is my desire to receive your blessing." The Mother asked the disciple to write to her, "Child, you need not come here. Call on the Lord who pervades the entire universe. He will shower His blessings upon you."
UDBODHAN (Prayer Hall) 30th September, 1918
It was morning. The Holy Mother was dressing fruits for the worship. The disciple was reading to her a letter written by a devotee. He had written in such a strain that it seemed as if he were piqued with God. The Mother dictated the reply: "The Master used to say, 'Sages like Suka and Vyasa were at best big ants.' God has this infinite creation. If you do not pray to God, what does it matter to Him? There are many people who do not even think of God. If you do not call on Him, it is your misfortune. Such is the Divine Maya that He has thus made people forget Him. He feels, 'they are quite all right, let them be.'"
Disciple: Mother, it is not that people do not want to see God. Otherwise why should such a question arise in their mind at all? The thing is that they feel greatly hurt that God, whom they like to feel as their very 'own', moves away from them. Buddha, Chaitanya, Jesus Christ and others like them did so much for their devotees in order to insure their welfare.
Mother: That was also the attitude of our Master. It is not possible for me always to recollect all the devotees. I say to the Master, "O Lord, please bless all, wherever they may be. I cannot remember everyone." And see, it is He who is doing everything. Otherwise why should so many people come?
Disciple: That is true, indeed. It is rather easy for men to believe Kali, Durga and other Deities to be God, but is it easy to accept a man as God?
Mother: That depends upon His Grace.
A day later a devotee arrived. The disciple said to the Mother, "Mother, it is this devotee who wrote to you that letter." The Mother said, "Is it so? I see he is a good boy." Then she said to the devotee, "You see, it is the nature of water to flow downwards, but the sun's rays lift it up towards the sky; likewise it is the very nature of the mind to go to lower things, to objects of enjoyment, but the grace of God can make the mind go towards higher objects."
It was about half past ten in the morning. A householder devotee arrived and saluted the Mother. "Mother," said he, "why do I not see the Master?" The Mother said, "Continue to pray without losing heart. Everything will happen in time. For how many cycles did the Munis and Rishis of old practise austerities to realize God, and do you believe you will attain to Him in a flash? If not in this life, you will attain to Him in the next. If not in the next, it will be after that. Is it so easy to realize God? But this time the Master has shown an easy path; therefore it will be possible for all to realize God."
After the devotee left, the Mother said, 'He is so deeply engrossed in worldliness. He is the father of scores of children and still he says, 'Why do I not see the Master?' Many women used to come to the Master. They would say to him, 'Why can't we concentrate our mind upon God? Why can't we steady our mind?' and things like that. Sri Ramakrishna used to tell them, 'You still smell of the lying-in room. First get rid of that smell. Why are you so worried about God-realization now? Everything will happen in course of time. In this life we have met. In the next we shall again meet and then you will attain to your goal.' It is easy to see a person as long as he lives in the body. I am now living here, so one can see me by merely coming here. How few have the good fortune to see the Master now with physical eyes! Vijay Goswami had seen the Master at Dacca. He felt his body. At that the Master said, 'That my soul goes out is not good; perhaps this body will not last for many more days.'
"Can you tell me who has seen God? He made Naren attain to God-realization. Suka, Vyasa and Siva are like big ants at the most; they had glimpses of Him. One may see a vision in dream, but to see God in a physical form is a matter of rare good fortune.
(Excitedly) "Why can't one meditate if one has a pure mind? Why should one not be able to see God? When a pure soul performs Japa, he feels as if the holy Name bubbles up spontaneously from within himself. He does not make an effort to repeat the Name. One should practise Japa and meditation at regular times, giving up idleness. While living at Dakshineswar I used to get up at 3 o'clock in the morning and practise Japa and meditation. One day I felt a little indisposed and left the bed rather late. The next day I woke up still late through laziness. Gradually I found that I did not feel inclined to get up early at all. Then I said to myself, 'Ah, at last I have fallen a victim to laziness.' Thereupon, I began to force myself to get up early. Gradually I got back my former habit. In such matters one should keep up the practice with unyielding resolution.
"Austerities, worship, pilgrimage, the earning of money - one should do all these in the days of youth. You see, even I had visited so many places at Banaras and Vrindaban on foot in my early years, but now I need a palanquin to go even a few feet. I lean upon others. In old age the body deteriorates. It does not possess any strength. The mind loses its vigour. Is it possible to do anything at that time? It is quite right that the young Sannyasins of our Math have been directing their mind to God from an early age. This is the right time for them to do so. (To the disciple) My child, austerities or worship, practise all these things right now. Will these things be possible later on? Whatever you want to achieve, achieve now; this is the right time."
Disciple: Lucky indeed are those who receive your blessings now. Those who come later on cannot have this rare opportunity.
Mother: What do you mean? Do you mean to say they will not succeed? God exists always everywhere. The Master is always present. They will succeed through his grace. Are not people of other countries making spiritual progress?
Disciple: The mind feels longing when it knows that it is loved, but do you really love us?
Mother: Do I not love you? I love even those who do a little for me, and you are doing so much. Whenever I touch anything at home, I remember you. I often think of those of you who are with me, and as for those who live far away, I say to the Master, "O Lord, please look after them. I cannot always remember them."
UDBODHAN (Prayer Hall)
The Mother was seated on her bedstead. The disciple was reading to her the letters of her devotees. Krishnalal Maharaj was also there. The letters contained such statements as "The mind cannot be concentrated," etc. The Holy Mother listened to these and said in a rather animated voice, "The mind will be steadied if one repeats the Name of God fifteen or twenty thousand times a day. It is truly so. O Krishnalal, I myself have experienced it. Let them practise it first: if they fail, let them complain. One should practise Japa with some devotion, but this is not done. They will not do anything, they will only complain, saying, 'Why do I not succeed?'"
A devotee entered the room and asked the Mother about meditation and lara. She said, "Repeating the Name of God a fixed number of times, telling the rosary or counting on fingers, is calculated to direct the mind to God. The natural tendency of the mind is to run this way and that way. Through these means it is attracted to God. While repeating the Name of God, if one sees His form and becomes absorbed in Him, one's Japa stops. One gets everything when one succeeds in meditation.
"The mind is by nature restless. Therefore at the outset to make the mind steady, one may practise meditation by regulating the breathing a little. That helps to steady the mind. But one must not overdo it. That heats the brain. You may talk of the vision of God or of meditation, but remember, the mind is everything. One gets everything when the mind becomes steady.
"It is quite natural that man forgets God. Therefore whenever the need arises, God Himself incarnates on earth and shows the path by Himself practising Sadhana. This time He has also shown the example of renunciation."
SECTION - II
Translated by Swami Prabhananda
(RECORDED BY YOGIN-MA)*
SOME days after I had been introduced to Sri Ramakrishna, I paid a visit to Dakshineswar. Learning that, being in a hurry, I had not taken my meal, the Master said, "Ah! You haven't taken your food. Go to the Nahabat and take rice and curry." There at the Nahabat I saw the Holy Mother for the first time. Rama's mother1 and others had been there once or twice before. At the Nahabat they told the Mother that I had not taken my meal. The Mother promptly served me rice, curry, luchi, and whatever else she had in stock. Even at this, my first meeting with the Holy Mother, I became quite intimate with her. The next time I went to Dakshineswar I found that the Mother was going on a trip to Kamarpukur that very day to attend Ramalal-Dada's marriage. I felt very sad at the thought that I would not see her for many days. The Mother came to salute the Master before leaving on the journey. The Master came to the northern verandah when the Mother took the dust of his feet. The Master said, "Move cautiously. See that you don't leave behind any of your belongings in the boat or railway compartment." I had had the desire to see them together, and that day my desire was fulfilled. The Mother left by boat. As long as it could be seen, I stood gazing at the boat. As soon as the boat was out of sight, I went to the spot in the Nahabat where the Mother used to meditate, and wept bitterly. I sat for meditation facing south on the western verandah. While passing by the Nahabat the Master heard me sobbing and sent for me. When I went to his room, he said, "Have you been deeply grieved at her departure?" Then to console me, as it were, he began to recount the spiritual disciplines he had practised at Dakshineswar. He concluded, saying, "Don't divulge these to anyone." I, a mere housewife, was shy, but on that day I sat quite close to the Master and talked with him. The Mother returned to Dakshineswar after about a year and a half. The Master had written to her, "I am having difficulties regarding my food." On her return the Master said to her, "That girl with big, beautiful eyes loves you dearly. The day you left she wept bitterly, sitting in the Nahabat." The Mother said, "Yes, her name is Yogin."
* Yogindra Mohini Biswas, a disciple of the Great Master, and a life-long companion of the Holy Mother.
1 Wife of Balaram Bose.
Whenever I went to Dakshineswar, the Mother used to tell me all that had happened. She sought my advice. I used to braid her hair. She liked so much the way I braided it that she would not undo it at the time of bathing, even after three or four days. She used to say, "No, Yogin braided my hair; I shall unbraid it on the day she comes next." I used to visit the Master every seven or eight days. I would take Bilva leaves from Dakshineswar for worshipping Siva at home. I used to worship Siva with those leaves even when they got dried up. One day the Mother asked, "Yogin, do you worship using dried Bilva leaves?"
Yogin-Ma: Yes, Mother, but how did you know?
Mother: During my meditation this morning I saw you worshipping with dried Bilva leaves.
One day the Mother was preparing rolls of betel leaf in the Nahabat and I was sitting by her side. I noticed that she prepared some rolls with cardamom and a few others with simply betel and lime. I asked, "Why didn't you add cardamom to these? For whom are these meant and for whom are those?" The Mother replied, "Yogin, these (specially spiced betel rolls) are meant for the devotees; by taking good care of them I have to make them my own. And these (the ones without cardamom) are for the Master; he is already my own."
The Mother had a good musical voice. One night she and Lakshmi-Didi were singing in a low tone. It was very resonant and reached the ear of the Master. The next day he said, "Yesterday you were singing. That's good, very good."
During her stay at Dakshineswar, the Mother couldn't find even a little time for rest. For the devotees who came, she had to make Chapatis out of three to three and a half seers of coarse flour. How many rolls of betel leaves she had to prepare! Then she would boil down the milk meant for the Master; for he was fond of cream. Then soup had to be prepared for him. He used to take his food at the Nahabat as long as his mother lived. After her death, however, he used to dine in his living room. On the days male disciples were not present, the Mother would rub the Master's body with oil before his bath. The Master asked Golap-Didi one day to bring his meals to his room. From that day Golap-Didi carried the Master's meals everyday. Thus the Mother was deprived of her only opportunity of seeing the Master daily. Golap-Didi used to spend long hours in the evening with the Master, and some days she didn't return to the Nahabat even by ten o'clock. The Mother had to keep an eye on Golap-Didi's food on the verandah of the Nahabat and was, therefore, experiencing inconvenience. One day the Master heard her saying, "Let this food be eaten by a dog or a cat. I can't look after it any more." The next day the Master said to Golap-Didi, "You spend a long time here. That inconveniences her; for she has to keep watch over your food." "No," Golap-Didi said, "The Mother loves me very much and calls me by my first name, as if I were her own daughter." Though Golap-Didi could not understand that the Mother was hurt because she was being prevented from coming to the Master, the latter could understand it.
One day Golap-Didi said to her, "Mother, Manmohan's mother says, 'The Master is a man of such great renunciation and yet, the Holy Mother wears ear-rings and other ornaments. Does it look well?'"
The next morning when I visited Dakshineswar, I noticed that the Mother had only a pair of gold bracelets on her wrists and had taken off all other ornaments. Surprised at this, I asked, "Mother, what's this?" The Mother replied, "Golap said. . . ."
After much persuasion I succeeded in making her put on the ear-rings and one or two other ordinary ornaments. But she never again put on all the ornaments she had taken off, because just after this the Master fell ill.
When the Mother first came to Dakshineswar she didn't understand much about household problems, and she didn't experience trances either. Though she devotedly practised meditation and Japa every day, we didn't hear of her going into Samadhi. Rather, she even became very frightened and worried at the sight of the Master's Samadhi. For, I heard from her lips that during her first visit to Dakshineswar, the Master had asked her to stay with him at night. In those days the Master and the Mother slept in the same room. The Master used to occupy the larger bed and the Mother the small cot. The Mother would say, "The Master used to pass through spiritual trances and so I couldn't sleep. Out of fright I used to keep almost inert, wondering all the time when the night would end. One day he showed no signs of coming back to the normal state. Then I became much worried and sent for Hriday through Kali's mother (the maid-servant). Hriday came and repeated aloud the name of the Lord; this made him regain his consciousness. The next day, the Master taught me the particular Mantra I would have to utter at each kind of spiritual trance into which he entered."
A few days after I had become acquainted with the Mother, she said to me, "Please tell him that I would like to experience a little of spiritual ecstasy. I don't find him alone to speak about this matter myself."
I thought it was quite all right that, since the request was from the Mother, I should convey it to the Master. The next morning when I went to his room the Master was seated alone on his bed. After saluting him I informed him of the Mother's request. He listened without replying and became grave. When he was in such a serious mood, no one dared utter a word. So I left the room after sitting there quietly for a while. Returning to the Nahabat, I found the Mother seated for her daily worship. I opened the door a little and peeped in and found her laughing. Now she was laughing, and now weeping. Tears were streaming from her eyes. After a while she gradually became still. I knew she was in Samadhi. So I closed the door and came away. After a long while I again went to her room. She asked me, "Are you just returning from the Master's room?" I said, "How is it, Mother, that you say you never experience high spiritual moods?" An abashed Mother began to smile.
After that incident I began to spend occasionally the nights with her at Dakshineswar. Althought I wanted to sleep on a separate bed, she would never allow me. She would drag me to her side. One night somebody began to play on the flute. At the sound of the flute, the Mother entered into a high spiritual mood, and she laughed every now and then. With hesitation I sat on a corner of the bed for a long time. I thought that I, being a worldly person, should not touch her at that moment. After a long while the Mother came back to the normal state.
One day, on the roof of Balaram Bose's house, the Mother passed into Samadhi while she was meditating. After she regained external consciousness, she said, "I found that I had travelled to a far-away country. There everybody showed me great tenderness. My appearance became exceedingly beautiful. The Master, who was present, affectionately made me sit by his side. I can't describe the joy I felt at that time. When I regained a little body-consciousness, I noticed my body lying nearby. Then I began to wonder, 'How can I enter into that hideous corpse?' I didn't feel the least inclined to get into it once again. After a long while I persuaded myself to enter into it, and I regained my body-consciousness."
One evening, on the roof of Nilambar Babu's house, the Mother, Golap-Didi, and I were meditating side by side. When my meditation was over, I noticed that the Mother was still absorbed in meditation-motionless, in Samadhi. When after a long while she regained partial consciousness, she began to say, "Oh, Yogin, where are my hands, where are my feet?" So we began to press her hands and feet, saying, "Here are your feet, here are your hands." But in spite of this, it took the Mother a long time to regain consciousness of her body.
One morning in Kalababu's grove in Vrindaban, the Mother was meditating, when she became absorbed in Samadhi. All attempts to bring her mind down to the physical plane proved futile. I repeated the Lord's name in her ears for a long time, but it produced no effect. At last Swami Yogananda came and repeated Sri Ramakrishna's name, which brought her mind down to the semi-conscious plane. Then, just as the Master used to do on similar occasions, she said, "I will eat something." Some sweets, water, and betel were placed before her, and she partook of a little of each, as the Master used to do towards the end of such periods of ecstasy. Even in taking the betel, she cut off its end in the manner of the Master. We were surprised to find that her manners, her way of taking food, and her general behaviour exactly resembled those of the Master. When she finally came down to the plane of physical consciousness, the Mother told us that the spirit of the Master had entered into her at that time. Swami Yogananda put to her some questions while she was in that mood, and she replied very much like the Master.
A few days after the passing away of the Master, the house-holder devotees like Ram Datta settled off the rent of the Cossipore Garden House and decided to give it up. The Mother was therefore taken to the residence of Balaram Babu. Soon after, the Mother went on a pilgrimage in the company of Yogen Maharaj, Kali Maharaj, Latu Maharaj, lakshmi-Didi, and a few others. The party stopped at Varanasi, where they spent eight to ten days. Finally arriving at Vrindaban, the Mother resided at Kalababu's grove for about a year. I had come to Vrindaban a few weeks before the demise of the Master. On meeting me at Vrindaban she clasped me to her bosom, crying in grief, "Oh, Yogin!", and began to weep bitterly. After the death of the Master, this was my first meeting with her. At the beginning of her stay in Vrindaban, the Mother used to weep often. One day the Master appeared before her and said, "Well, why are you crying so much? Here I am. Where have I gone? It is just like going from one room to another."
One day in Vrindaban the Mother saw a dead body being carried to the cremation ground, decked with flowers and to the accompaniment of devotional songs. On seeing the procession she said, "Look, how blessed this person is to die in holy Vrindaban! I also came here to die. Strangely enough I haven't had the trace of even a fever. And yet how old I am! I have seen such elderly persons as my father and my husband's elder brother!" At this we laughed and said, "Indeed, you saw your father! Who does not see one's father?" In those days the Mother indulged in such childish talk. In Vrindaban, at first the Mother wept bitterly for the Master, but later the Master kept her always immersed in bliss. The Mother then moved about like a carefree girl. She used to go round the temples daily. One day in the temple of Radharamana it appeared to her as if Navagopal Babu's wife was standing by the side of the image of Radharamana and fanning it. On returning home, the Mother said to me, "Yogin, Navagopal's wife is very pure. I saw her like this."
One day at Vrindaban the Master appeared before Mother and said, "Initiate Yogen with this Mantra." On the first day the Mother thought it was a freak of her mind. On the second day the vision was repeated, but she paid no heed to it. On the third day when she had the vision again, she said to the Master, "I don't even speak to him. How can I initiate him?" The Master said, "Ask daughter-Yogin to be with you at the time of initiation."
The Mother asked Swami Yogananda, through me, if he had received initiation already. He replied, "No, Mother, the Master did not give me any Ishta Mantra. I repeat a holy Name of my own choice." On hearing this; one day the Mother initiated him. The Mother was worshipping before a picture of the Master and the urn containing his relics. She sent for Swami Yogananda and asked him to sit by her side. While performing worship, she went into ecstasy and in that state gave him the initiation. She uttered the Mantra so loudly that I could hear it in the next room.
From Vrindaban we accompanied the Mother to Hardwar. Swami Yogananda was in the party. While travelling in the train, he contracted high fever. When I was feeding him with pomegranate juice, it appeared to the Mother, as if I were feeding the Master. Swami Yogananda, in his delirious condition, saw a hideous-looking figure which said to him, "I would have taught you a lesson, but what can I do? Paramahamsadeva (Sri Ramakrishna) has ordered me to leave this place right now. I am unable to stay here even for a moment." Pointing to a woman wearing a red bordered sari, the figure further said, "Feed this woman with some Rasagollas." Curiously enough, soon after this vision, Swami Yogananda was relieved of his fever. Subsequently we went to Jaipur from Hardwar. There we saw the image of Govinda and visited the various temples. While going round, Swami Yogananda suddenly noticed an image by the side of a temple and cried out, "I was asked to offer Rasagollas to this deity." And in front, we found a shop selling Rasagollas. We purchased eight annas (fifty paise) worth of Rasagollas and offered them to the deity. On enquiry we learnt that it was an image of Sitala.
From there, the Mother returned to Calcutta, and after a few days stay at Balaram Babu's house, she left for Kamarpukur. After about a year at Kamarpukur, the Mother went to stay at Nilambar Babu's house at Belur, rented for her by the devotees. There in 1888 she stayed for about six months. She left the rented house in Kartik (October-November) and spent a few days at Balaram Babu's house at Calcutta. Shortly afterward she went on a pilgrimage to Puri. From Calcutta she travelled to Chandbali, where she boarded the Cuttack Canal steamer, and from Cuttack she went to Puri in a bullock cart. Sarat (Swami Saradananda), Rakhal Maharaj (Swami Brahmananda), Swami Yogananda, and others accompanied the Mother to Puri. She was accommodated in a house called 'Kshetrabasi', which belonged to Balaram Babu's family. There she stayed from Agrahayana (November-December) to Falgun (February-March). The Mother lived in a room with a porch in the front. Since the Master had not visited the temple of Jagannath, the Mother one day took his photograph to the temple concealed under her wrapper and uncovered it before the image of Jagannath.
After visiting the temple of Jagannath, the Mother remarked, "I saw Jagannath to be like a lion among men seated on his precious alter and I was attending on him as his handmaiden." On her return to Calcutta from Puri, the Mother stayed at the house of Master Mahasaya (Mahendranath Gupta) for three to four weeks and then went to Antpur (birthplace of Swami Premananda) together with Baburam (Swami Premananda), Naren (Swami Vivekananda), Master Mahasaya, Sannyal (Vaikunthanath Sannyal), and a few others. After about a week's stay there she travelled by bullock cart to Kamarpukur via Tarakeswar in the company of Master Mahasaya and some others, and there she lived for about a year. Then she went to Calcutta before the Dol-festival and stayed with Master Mahasaya's family at Combulitola for about a month. Thereafter she lived in Balaram Babu's house during the latter's last illness and continued there till his death. Next she lived in a rented house at Ghusuri near the cremation ground of Belur from Jaistha (May-June) to Bhadra (August-September) of 1890. As she had an attack of blood dysentery there, she was removed to a rented house at Baranagar belonging to Sourindramohan Tagore for her medical treatment. Following a short stay there, the Mother moved to Balaram Babu's house, from where she returned to Jayrambati after the Durga Puja.
The Mother again came to Nilambar Babu's rented house at Belur in Ashadha (June-July, 1893). Then she spent the month of Falgun at Kailwar (Bihar), and from there she visited Varanasi and Vrindaban a second time, together with her mother and brothers. Coming back to Calcutta, she lived with Master Mahasaya at his Colootola residence for about a month and then returned to her native village. The next time when she came to Calcutta, the Mother lived for five or six months in a house attached to a godown on the bank of the Ganga at Baghbazar. It was at this house that Nag Mahasaya (Durgacharan Nag) saw the Mother. Then she again went to her native village and lived there for a year and a half. On coming back to Calcutta she stayed in a house in front of Girish Babu's. In this house Nivedita lived with the Mother for three weeks. Her next residence was at 16, Bosepara Lane, close to Girish Babu's house. It was here that Nivedita first organized her school. Next, the Mother lived in a house in front of Ramakrishna Lane on Baghbazar Street. Sarat too stayed there. From there the Mother moved back to her native place.
Again she came back to Calcutta on the occasion of Durga Puja at Girish Babu's house and stayed at Balaram Babu's house. At that time she was very much reduced owing to an attack of malaria. Then, following still another stay in her native village, she came to live in the new 'Udbodhan' house soon after it was constructed. She next visited Kothar (in Orissa), Madras, Bangalore, Rameswar, and other places; and then returned to the 'Udbodhan' house. Two days later the Mother went to her native village where she gave away Radhu in marriage. This time she returned from Jayrambati to Calcutta after about a year, and from there she went to Varanasi in Kartik (October-November) 1912. After staying there for about three weeks she returned to Calcutta.
In her younger days Mother had to cook often. Whenever her mother was unable to cook for some reason or other, she had to do the cooking herself. The Mother said, "I used to cook and my father would lift the rice pot from the fire." Later the Mother spent much of her time in attending to her relations and devotees.