15 June 2012

THE GOSPEL OF SRI SARADA DEVI


May 1914
That day the Holy Mother was coming to our Ballyganj home. All the necessary arrangements had been made from the previous day. A separate seat, a new set of white marble vessels, etc., had been purchased for her use. The whole night I couldn't sleep for joy at the thought of the Mother's coming. She was to come only by noon, but under the impression that her arrival was to be earlier, Sri Shokaharan had gone to her Baghbazar house early in the morning and was waiting there with the carriage. We also finished our household duties early and were ready to receive her. I spread the Holy Mother's seat, decorated all-around with flowers, sprinkled Ganges water all over the house, and made a garland of flowers. On either side of her seat two large bouquets spread their fragrance.

As the time of her arrival neared, we were on the lookout, in eager expectation. At last the blessed moment arrived. Hearing the sound of the carriage, we all went downstairs. As the carriage stopped, I beheld the Holy Mother's smiling face casting a compassionate glance on us. When she got down everyone crowded round to take the dust of her feet. Seeing us all, her eyes were filled with tears of love.

Holy Mother with Radhu
Golap-Ma, the youngest aunt, Nalini-Didi, Radhu and a few monks came with her. We led her upstairs, and after seating her, bowed down at her feet. The Mother said affectionately, "Have you all finished your meal?" With these words, she touched my chin endearingly. Till now I was too busy with the arrangements for the visit to think of meals or anything else. I now hurried downstairs to arrange for lunch.

Upstairs the gramophone was playing. Finding a little respite from work, I went up. Listening to the music of the machine, the Holy Mother was immensely pleased. "What a wonderful machine is this!" she said, bubbling with joy like a small girl. It was very hot. The Mother was reclining in the verandah on a mat. Near her all others were seated. In a stone pot iced water was kept, which the Holy Mother sipped now and then. Seeing me, she called, "Hullo, take a little ice water." I drank some as her Prasad and went to the kitchen.

After dusk, the offering to the Master was arranged in the next room. The Holy Mother came and asked Golap-Ma to make the offering but she declined. "You do it please. When you are here, why should I?" she said. So the Holy Mother sat down to make the offering. "How beautifully has everything been arranged!" she remarked. She was all praise for everything she saw and made us all immensely happy. Offering was over, and the Mother and the rest sat down to partake of the Prasad. The Holy Mother finished her meal first. She sat in an easy chair in the verandah and called to me, "Hullo, give me a betel roll." I was yet busy serving Golap- Ma. Quickly I took a betel roll to her. Ashamed that she had to ask for the roll, I said to Sumati, "Could, you not wait near the door with a betel roll? You saw how busy I was." A little later the Holy Mother came down. Taking a lamp, I also went with her.

It was time for departure. The Mother did not like to travel by car, as once a dog was crushed under her vehicle. But the distance was long and unless a car was used, she would reach her destination very late. So the Mother agreed to the devotees' request to use a car. She got ready, after making repeated Pranams to the Master. Blessing us all, she got into the vehicle.

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I saw the Mother one night. She was lying on her bed. Another woman was near her. She at once sat up in bed so that I might bow before her. In the course of conversation she said, "At the time of creation, people were born with the quality of Sattva, light. They had wisdom from their very birth. Consequently they at once realized the unreal nature of the world. They renounced it and practised austerity. They were liberated in no time. The Creator found that the purpose of his creation was going to be frustrated. These wise men, who were thus liberated, were unfit for the continuance of the play of the world. Then he again started the work of creation and mixed the qualities of Rajas (activity) and Tamas (inertia) with, the Sattva. Thus His purpose was fulfilled." Then she cited a popular verse bearing on the theme of creation, and said, "In our young age we acquired these ideas from the country dramas. But now these have become rare."

Some of the young girls, relatives of the Holy Mother, were reading loudly from a book in another room. The Mother said, "Listen, how loudly they are reading! They have forgotten that there are many people on the ground floor."
Radhu's mother, the insane sister-in-law of the Holy Mother, entered the room and said, "Lakshmi-mani (Sri Ramakrishna's niece) is going to Navadvip on a pilgrimage. I wanted to go with her. But you have stood in my way." She left the room in a pique. The Mother said, "How can I allow her to go with Lakshmi? Lakshmi is a devotee. She would sing and dance with other devotees. She would not observe the distinction of caste and would dine with others. But Radhu's mother would not understand this. She hardly knows that the devotees need not observe caste rules among themselves. So she would come back and criticize the conduct of Lakshmi before others. Have you met Lakshmi?"

Devotee: No, Mother.

Mother: She is in Dakshineswar. Visit her one day. Have you been to Dakshineswar?

Devotee: Yes, Mother, I have visited the place many a time. But I did not know that she had been living there.

Mother: Have you seen the Nahabat at Dakshineswar, where I used to stay?

Devotee: Yes, Mother, I have seen it from the outside.

Inside Nahabat Room
Mother: When you visit the place another day, go inside the room (see Picture). When I stayed there, my entire world consisted of that small room. Even the vessel containing fish was hung up. I had never seen water taps before. I came to Calcutta one day and entered a room where there was a tap. I opened the tap. Before the water rushed out, there came a hissing sound, like that of a snake, out of the tap. I was terror-stricken and ran from the room. I at once came to the other ladies of the house and cried, "There is a snake in that water pipe. It is hissing." They laughed and said, "There is no snake there. Do not be afraid. The hissing sound comes from the air being forced out by the rushing water." Then we laughed and laughed till our sides began to ache.

Saying this, the Holy Mother laughed heartily again. So sweet and innocent a laughter! I too could not hold back my laughter any more and thought, "So guileless is our Mother!"

Mother: Have you seen Sri Ramakrishna's birthday festival at Belur?

Devotee: No, Mother. I have never been to the monastery at Belur. I have heard that the monks who live there do not like a crowd of women in the monastery. Therefore I hesitate to go there.

Mother: Go there once and see the celebration of Sri Ramakrishna's birthday.

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It was evening when I went to Baghbazar to see the Holy Mother. She was kind enough to ask me to spread her small carpet on the floor and fetch her beads. She soon became absorbed in her meditation. Across the lane there was an open space. A few labourers lived there with their families. One of the male members began to beat a woman severely, probably his wife. Slaps and fisticuffs began to be showered upon her. Then he kicked her with such force that she was thrown to a distance with a child in her arms.

Then he started kicking her again. The Mother could not proceed with her meditation any more. Though she was extremely modest and would not usually talk even loud enough to be heard by people on the ground floor, she now came to the porch of the second floor, stood by the iron railing, and cried aloud in a tone of sharp reprimand, "You rogue! Are you going to kill the girl outright? I am afraid she is already dead!" Hardly had the man looked at her than he became quiet like the snake before its charmer, and released the woman. The sympathy of the Mother made the woman burst into loud sobs. We heard that her only fault was that she had not cooked in time. Afterwards the man became his old self again and wanted to be at peace with the woman. The Holy Mother saw this and came back to her room.

Some time later, the voice of a beggar was heard in the lane. He was crying, "Radha-Govinda! Glory unto God! Please be kind to the blind." The Mother said. "This beggar passes yonder lane almost every night. At first he would cry, 'Please be kind to the poor blind.' But Golap one day rightly said to him, 'Please utter that name, Radha-Krishna-the name of God. This will serve the double purpose of uttering the holy name and also of reminding the householders of God. Otherwise you will, day and night, think of your blindness alone.' Since then, the blind man, while passing through this lane, takes the name of God. Golap gave him a piece of cloth. He also gets alms in other forms."

SOURCE: The Gospel of Sri  Sarada Devi


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