30 June 2012
29 June 2012
28 June 2012
27 June 2012
CHAPTER-III; CONTROL OF THE MIND [PART-I]
|Sri Sarada Devi|
1. "Everything depends on one's mind. Nothing can be achieved without purity of mind. It is said, 'The aspirant may have received the grace of the Guru, the Lord, and the Vaishnava; but he comes to grief without the grace of "one.'"That 'one' is the mind. The mind of the aspirant should be gracious to him."
2. "My child, this mind is just like a wild elephant. It races with the wind. Therefore one should discriminate all the time. One should work hard for the realization of God."
3. Disciple: "I cannot concentrate my mind well during meditation. My mind is fickle and unsteady."
Mother: "Don't worry! Restlessness is the nature of the mind, as it is of the eyes and ears. Practise regularly. The Name of God is more powerful than the senses. Always think of the Master (Sri Ramakrishna), who is looking after you. Don't be troubled about your lapses."
4. "Whenever the mind goes after anything other than God, consider that as transient and surrender the mind at the sacred feet of the Lord."
5. "The mind naturally tends towards evil deeds. It is lethargic in doing good works. Formerly I used to get up at 3 a.m. and sit up for meditation. One day I felt disinclined to do so on account of physical indisposition. That one day's irregularity resulted in the upsetting of my routine for a number of days. That is why I say that perseverance and tenacity are necessary for success in all good work."
6. Mother forbade a disciple to make pilgrimages without discrimination of time and company. Quoting from a song, she said, " 'Pilgrimage and excursion are causes of misery. Oh my mind, don't be restless about them.' You can attain more in your house, if you are really earnest."
7. Regarding weakness of the mind, Holy Mother said to a disciple, "Child, this is the law of nature. Have you not noticed the full moon and the new moon? Likewise the mind is sometimes dominated by good, and sometimes by bad tendencies.
8. Disciple: "Mother, my mind becomes restless now and then. It craves for enjoyments. That frightens me."
Mother: "Don't be afraid. I tell you that in this Kali Yuga mental sin is no sin. Free your mind from all worries on this account. You need not be afraid."
26 June 2012
25 June 2012
24 June 2012
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22 June 2012
CHAPTER-7: AT THE FEET OF THE MASTER
|Sri Sarada devi|
The Life of the Holy Mother at Dakshineswar was by no means eventful, if by events we understand striking happenings in the external world. It was a life of quiet unobtrusive service, coupled with the realization of spiritual truths in the silence of the soul. Of these two phases of her life, the first will be treated at length in the next chapter. Here we shall confine our attention to her spiritual practices under the guidance of the Master.
While for the purpose of exposition one may separate these aspects of her life, they form an integral whole from the point of view of her discipleship and spiritual development. For, among her spiritual practices, the first and foremost was the service of the Master, who was to her, as she said in later days, 'God Eternal and Absolute as her husband and in the general spiritual sense.' Every Hindu woman who has received the right spiritual training looks upon her husband as a symbol of the Divinity and believes that unselfish service to him in the right attitude of mind is her principal means of spiritual progress. Her faith in this respect receives encouragement and support from the Mahabharata story which depicts how a woman, by performing her duty to her husband and family, attained a spiritual eminence which an ascetic could not with all his austerities in a solitary forest. While every woman may put this attitude into practice in regard to her husband, the efficacy of it, however, is much greater, if the object of her adoration is a personality of high spiritual development. For, in that case, close contact and loving thought, which service invariably requires, give her an opportunity to participate in the spiritual consciousness of a highly evolved being and thereby to raise herself to the same spiritual level as his.
The Holy Mother's service of Sri Ramakrishna possessed this higher efficacy; for he, the object of her love and adoration, was a perfect man, nay, an incarnation of the Divinity. By the intensity of his life and thought he has generated a wave of spiritual energy, a stress or proclivity in the higher levels of consciousness. By putting oneself within the orbit of its influence through devout contemplation on his personality, one's mind gradually gets established in the same level of consciousness without all the drudgery and fluctuations of fortune attendant on mere individual struggle. It is in this sense that every incarnation is said to establish a new way of spiritual striving and to continue to be a potent force in the lives of men even long after his earthly career. To the Holy Mother was given the opportunity of communing with such a divine man through personal service, and thus not only of being herself drawn to that current of spiritual consciousness centering on him, but also showing the way to this attainment to future generations. Service requires the aid of devotion and meditation in order to be converted into a spiritual energy; for without it one cannot engender the attitude of mind capable of transforming work, which is merely mechanical, into an energy of a higher quality. So in the training that Sri Ramakrishna gave to the Holy Mother, the practice of devotion and meditation formed an important part. What she was required to do was to absorb that burning renunciation and insatiable hankering for God that formed the characteristic features of his life. The kind of teaching that Sri Ramakrishna imparted to her can be understood from the following words he addressed to her one day: 'The moon is addressed as uncle by all children. So also God is the "uncle," the common property, of all. Everyone has a right to call on Him. Whoever thus calls on Him becomes blessed by realizing Him. If you, therefore, turn your attention to Him, you too can attain Him.' It is said, this instruction was given to her a few days before the Shodasi Puja, and it had a powerful effect on her mind.
Another day the Holy Mother went to the Master's room with a woman devotee to serve his night meal. Her face was veiled; for her shyness was so great that in those days she never appeared even before the Master without the veil. That day the Master began to speak to her of God and the spiritual life in a highly inspired mood. As he proceeded, he lost all sense of time and talked away the whole night, unmindful of the hour. The Holy Mother, too, was caught up in the magic of his words, and stood listening to him, oblivious of everything else. When dawn broke, she found herself standing before him with the veil entirely thrown back from the face, lost in the fervour of his words. Daylight recalled her to herself, and she quickly drew the veil and ran to the Nahabat.
Besides such general instructions and exhortations, the Master also initiated her into the practice of Japa and meditation, which form the basis of higher spiritual discipline. While at Kamarpukur, the Holy Mother had been given Shakti Mantra (the holy word for worship of the Deity as Divine Mother) by a Sannyasin named Purnananda. She was again initiated by the Master, who wrote the Bija (the mystic syllable forming the core of a Mantra) on her tongue. It is known that she used to spend long hours in Japa and meditation even in the midst of the very heavy work in the service of the Master and devotees. She told her niece Nalini: 'What a lot of work I did when I was of your age! And yet I could find time to repeat my Mantra a hundred thousand times every day.'.
Beyond a few glimpses of this kind, we have little record of the Master's spiritual instructions to her and the way in which he imparted them ( It is also known from her own words that the Master taught her various Mantras pertaining to different aspects of the Deity, with instructions as to how to impart them ). The Holy Mother seldom spoke of this subject to others. But we know for certain that the Master's teachings had a tremendous effect on her pure mind. To a disciple she gave a glimpse of her inner life in the following words: 'During my days at Dakshineswar, I used to get up at 3 O' clock in the morning and sit in meditation. Often I used to be totally absorbed in it. Once, on a moonlit night, I was performing Japa, sitting near the steps of the Nahabat. Everything was quiet. I did not even know when the Master passed that way. On other days I would hear the sound of his slippers, but on this, I did not. I was totally absorbed in meditation. In those days I looked different. I used to put on ornaments and had a cloth with red borders. On this day the cloth had slipped off from my back owing to the breeze, but I was unconscious of it. It seems 'son Yogen'(The Holy Mother used thus to distinguish Swami Yogananda (Yogen), a Sannyasin disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, from Yogin-Ma, a woman disciple of the Master and a lifelong companion of hers, whom she addressed merely as Yogin or 'daughter Yogin' See ch.17 for an account of both these persons.) went that way to give the water-jug to the Master and saw me in that condition. Ah! the ecstasy of those days! On moonlit nights I would look at the moon and pray with folded hands, "May my heart be as pure as the rays of yonder moon!" or "O Lord, there is a stain even in the moon, but let there not be the least trace of stain in my mind!" If one is steady in meditation, one will clearly see the Lord in one's heart and hear His voice. The moment an idea flashes in the mind of such a one, it will be fulfilled then and there. You will be bathed in peace. Ah! What a mind I had at that time! Brinde, the maid servant, one day dropped a metal plate in front of me, with a bang. The sound penetrated into my heart.( The Holy Mother was then meditating in the Nahabat and felt the sound like a clap of thunder, and she burst into tears. According to textbooks on Yoga (the art of concentration), when the mind is just getting into a very tense state of concentration, even a slight sound will appear like a peal of thunder). In the fullness of one's spiritual realization, one will find that He who resides in one's heart, resides in the heart of others as well - the oppressed, the persecuted, the untouchable and outcast. This realization makes one truly humble.'
SOURCE: saradadevi.info [Sri Sarada Devi, the Holy Mother
Written by Swami Tapasyanandaji]
21 June 2012
20 June 2012
19 June 2012
18 June 2012
17 June 2012
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15 June 2012
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.
* * * * *
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.
* * * * *
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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14 June 2012
13 June 2012
12 June 2012
11 June 2012
10 June 2012
9 June 2012
8 June 2012
CHAPTER-2: THE SPIRIT OF DISPASSION [PART-III]
|Sri Sarada Devi|
21. "These earthly ties are transitory. Today they seem to be the be-all and end-all of life, and tomorrow they vanish. Your real tie is with God."
22. "If you love any human being you will have to suffer for it. He is blessed, indeed, who can love God alone. There is no suffering in loving God."
23. "Always do your duty to others, but love you must give to God alone. Worldly love always brings in its wake untold misery."
24. "The Master saw dabchicks floating, diving and swimming in the water of Haldar's pond, but there would be not a drop of water sticking to them—they would just shake it off. He gave their example and said that in this world one should live like these—live in the midst of worldly possessions, but from one's mind one should completely shake off the attachment for them. The Master used to teach everybody to live in the world completely unattached."
25. "Everything is due to desire. What bondage is there for a man who has no desire? You see, I live with all these things, but I do not feel any attachment; no, not in the least."
26. Disciple: "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, alittle more in the next, and so on. It is the body alone that changes; the Atman 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.'
27. "Sri Ramakrishna would say, 'Musk forms in the navel of the deer. Being fascinated with its smell, the deer run hither and thither. They do not know where the fragrance comes from. Likewise God resides in the human body, but man does not know it. Therefore he searches everywhere for bliss, not knowing that it is already in him.' God alone is real. All else is false."