29 February 2012

LIFE OF SRI SARADA DEVI


CHAPTER:4 VISIT TO DAKSHINESWAR [PART-II]
An auspicious day was then selected, and the party soon started on their long journey towards the end of March,2 1872. They had to travel a distance of about sixty miles on foot; for in those days there was no railway or steamer service to Calcutta, and the only other alternative means of travel, namely, the palanquin, was beyond the financial capacity of people like them. The first two days of the journey were very pleasant. Corn-fields and lotus ponds greeted their eyes everywhere, while the shade of antique-looking banyan trees offered them protection from the heat of the noonday sun. They were not, however, destined to complete their journey in the same joyous fashion. For on the third day the Holy Mother, who was not accustomed to such long walks, fell ill of high fever, probably owing to the fatigue of the journey. Ramachandra was constrained to break the journey and take shelter in a wayside rest house until his daughter was again fit to travel.

Mother Kali, Dakshineswar
The Holy Mother felt very anxious over this unexpected trouble on the way. She was, however, much relieved in body and mind by a wonderful vision she had at night. Of this she spoke to her devotees in later days to the following effect: 'I was lying unconscious owing to fever, without any sense of decorum even. Just then I saw a woman, pitch dark in complexion, sitting by my side. Though she was dark, I have never seen another so beautiful as she. She stroked my aching head with her soft cool hands, and I felt the heat in my body subsiding. 'Where are you from?' I asked her. And she replied, 'From Dakshineswar.' At this I was speechless with wonder and exclaimed, 'From Dakshineswar! I too am going to Dakshineswar to see my husband. But this fever has unfortunately detained me on the way.' To this she replied, 'Don't worry. You will soon be all right and see your husband at Dakshineswar. It is for your sake that I have kept him there.' I said to her, 'Indeed! Is it so? But who are you to me?' 'I am your sister,' she replied. I was much astonished to hear this. After this conversation I fell asleep.
[Notes: This is the first authenticated mystical phenomenon that we come across in her life. There are, however, traditions regarding certain occult facts about the period of her life already covered. The following is a brief statement of these traditions. (a) The first is regarding her birth. Her mother Syamasundari Devi had once gone to Sihor to attend a religious festival. There, while she sat under a tree near the temple, she experienced as if a quantity of air entered into her body and made her feel heavy. Just then a beautiful girl of five or six, dressed in a red silk sari, descended from the tree, and throwing her tender arms round her neck, said, 'Mother, I am coming to your house.' That girl seemed to enter into the body of Syamasundari Devi who fell into a trance. (b) The Holy Mother is reported to have told a disciple; 'You see, my child, I used to notice during my childhood that a girl, just like me, would always roam about with me and help me in all my work. She would also laugh and play with me. That continued until my tenth or eleventh year.' (c) While she was thirteen, she once went to Kamarpukur. Being very young and new to the house, she used to feel afraid to go to the outer tank for her bath. One day, coming out of the backdoor of the house, she was thinking of her difficulty, when she found all of a sudden eight women near her. As she proceeded to the street leading to the tank, they escorted her, four of them walking in front and the other four behind. They bathed with her in the tank of the Haldars, and came back with her to the house. This happened for several days. She could not make out who these women were.]

Next morning Ramachandra found that his daughter was free from fever. He, therefore, thought it better to proceed than stay indefinitely in that inconvenient rest house on the wayside. Fortunately, as they proceeded, they came across a palanquin,  which they engaged. That night, too, the Holy Mother had a relapse of the fever. It was, however, a mild attack, and she did not mention it to anybody. So they proceeded, and covered the distance little by little, reaching Dakshineswar at 9 0' clock in the night.
 SRI RAMAKRISHNA'S ROOM, DAKSHINESWAR

And what was the type of welcome that awaited her at Dakshineswar? Let her speak in her own simple way. 'I went straight to the Master's room,' she said, 'while the others went to the Nahabat (ie orchestra block or concert house) where my mother-in-law was living. The Master said to me,  "Ah! You are here! All right." And he asked someone to spread a mat on the floor. Then he added, "Alas! Would that my Mathur4 were alive now! By his death my right hand, as it were. 
[Notes: Son-in-law of Rani Rasmani, the foundress of the Dakshineswar temple, who became the proprietor of it after her time. He was both the patron and devotee of Sri Ramakrishna, and used to spend money unstintedly for his service. is broken." Mathur had died a few months before. Akshay (the son of the Master's elder brother) also was dead. Should I have had to live in that inconvenient place (ie the Nahabat) had Mathur been alive? He would have built a mansion for me. Anyway, after seeing the Master I wanted to go to the Nahabat. But the Master said, "No, no. Stay here. It would be rather difficult for the doctor to see you in the Nahabat." I spent the night in the room. A woman companion slept with me. Hriday gave us two or three baskets of puffed rice; for all had finished their supper when we arrived. Next day a doctor visited me. Within a few days I felt all right, and went to live in the room in the Nahabat. My mother-in-law was then staying in the Nahabat. Before that she had been living in a room in the building used by the owners of the temple garden. Akshay had died in that house: Therefore she left it. She said, "I shall not live there any longer. I shall live in the Nahabat and turn my face towards the Ganges. I do not need the building any more." ']

The Holy Mother was cured of her fever, but the physical relief she felt was nothing compared with her mental appeasement on account of her first experiences at Dakshineswar. The worst fears she had in mind were now laid at rest. Experience proved those disquieting rumours to be nothing but the idle gossip of worldlings whose hearts and heads were blind to the spiritual glory of Sri Ramakrishna. He had not forgotten her, nor was there any indication of his sanity being in peril. The care and solicitude he showed at the time of her illness, and the personal attention he bestowed on her treatment and nursing, went to strengthen the previous impressions. She had now no more doubts regarding her duty for the rest of her life. She decided to stay at Dakshineswar and be of service to the Master and his revered mother.
   Ramachandra, too, rejoiced to see his daughter so cordially received by her husband and to find her happy in his company. So, after a few days' stay at Dakshineswar, he returned home alone, free from the anxious thoughts about his daughter's future, which must have been tormenting his mind till then.
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SOURCE: SRI SARADA DEVI, THE HOLY MOTHER, 
                   Srimat Swami Tapasyanandaji