23 March 2014
GOSPEL OF SRI SARADA DEVI
SECTION I (by Sarayubala Devi); 23rd August 1918 (CONTINUED)
The topic of conversation now turned to Jayrambati.
Mother: At one time a terrible famine devastated Jayrambati. (NOTE: In the year 1864. The Holy Mother was eleven years old then). People without number would come to our house for food. We had a store of rice from the previous year's produce. My father made Khichuri, cooking that rice and pulse together. The Khichuri used to be kept in a number of pots. All the members of the family would take only that Khichuri. The starving people would also eat the same. My father, would however, say, "A little plain rice of good variety shall be cooked for my daughter Sarada (the Holy Mother). She will eat that." Sometimes the starving people would come in such large numbers that the food would not be sufficient for them. Then new Khichuri would be cooked, and when the hot stuff was poured in large earthen pots, I would fan and make it cool. People with hungry stomachs would be waiting for it. One day a low class girl came there. She had shaggy hair and blood-shot eyes like those of a lunatic. She saw the rice polishings soaking in a tub for the cattle and at once started eating it. We said to her, "There is Khichuri inside the house, go and eat it". But she was too impatient to wait. Is it a joke to bear the agony of an empty stomach? As soon as one takes a body, one takes on hunger and thirst also. This time at home when I was ill, one night I was so hungry! Sarala and all others were sleeping. Ah! They had toiled so long and slept. Could I wake them again? Never. So, lying down I felt all around. There was some parched rice in a dish and a few biscuits near the pillow. I was immensely happy. I ate that and drank water which was nearby in a pot. I was so hungry that I was not at all aware of what I ate.
Saying this she began to laugh and continued, "I had high fever that time. What severe illness did I have at Koalpara! I was unconscious, calls of nature had to be answered in bed only. That time Sarala and others served me in a spirit of dedication. (In a weeping voice) So I wonder if I have to suffer like that again! That time I was cured by Dr. Kanjilal's medicine. Oh! What a burning sensation all over the body! Sarat also came to serve me."
A little later I asked her, "Mother, why did you write to us from Jayrambati not to mix with that lady devotee?" "Her path is different," she replied, "She is not of this (The Master's) path."
Next day when I went to the Holy Mother, she was sitting in the verandah telling her beads. The Mother welcomed me, finished her Japa and touching the rosary to her forehead, put it away. At that time the area in front of Mother's house was vacant. Some labourers were living in huts towards the west of it. Referring to them she said, "They have laboured the whole day and are now sitting free from worry. The poor are indeed blessed." The words of Christ in the Bible occurred to me. Today I heard the same words from the Holy Mother also. A little later we came back to the room. The Mother laid herself down on her bed. Earlier in the morning, I had sent her some powder for her prickly heat. The Mother said, "I applied the powder you sent. The prickles are much less now. In this place it is more. Please apply there. Itching also is much reduced. Sarat also is suffering from severe prickly heat. Ah! If only some one would apply the powder on him also!" I said, "Oh, no, who will dare tell him of this matter? These things are used by fashionable people!" Hearing this the Holy Mother began to laugh.
The rheumatism in the Mother's knee had increased. Yesterday a devotee's two children had given her electric treatment, which benefited her. They came today too. The younger aunt said, "My rheumatism also has increased from yesterday. I also will apply the battery." The Holy Mother heard it and said laughing, "Give it to her by all means." The two mischievous fellows quickly arranged their instruments and touched her feet with the wires. And what a shout it brought from the younger aunt! "Oh God, I am dead," she exclaimed, "My whole body is in jitters. Let me go, let me go." Everybody laughed hearing her cries.
Another day I had been to the Holy Mother's place, when a monk came and prostrated before her. He said, "Mother, why does the mind become so restless every now and then? Why can't I constantly meditate on you? Many worthless thoughts disturb my mind. Useless things we can easily obtain if we simply want them. Shall I never realize the Lord? Mother, please tell me how I can attain peace. Nowadays seldom have I visions. What is the use of this life if I cannot realize. Him? It is better to die than to lead such a worthless life."
Mother: What are you talking of, my child? Do not even think of such things. Can one have the vision of God every day? Sri Ramakrishna used to say, "Does an angler catch a big carp every day the moment he sits with his rod? Arranging everything about him, he sits with the rod and concentrates. Once in a while a big carp swallows the hook. Many a time he is disappointed. Don't relax the practices for that reason. Do more Japa.
Yogin-Ma: Yes, that is true. The Name is identical with Brahman. Even if the mind be not concentrated at the outset, you will succeed ultimately.
Monk: Please tell me, Mother, how many times I should repeat the Name. That may help me to get concentration.
Mother: Ten thousand times, or even twenty thousand times or as many times as you can.
Monk: One day, Mother, I was kneeling in the shrine and weeping, when I suddenly saw you standing by my side. You said to me; "What do you want?" "I want your grace, Mother," I replied, "as you bestowed it on king Suratha." (The reference is to the story contained in the Devimahatmya, a great devotional text of the Mother cult, in which a king named Suratha and a merchant named Samadhi, both exiles from home and country worship the Divine Mother and receive Her grace). Then I added, "No, Mother, that was done by, you as Durga. I do not care for that form. I want to see you as you are at present." With a smile you disappeared. My mind became all the more restless. Now nothing satisfies me. Often I think, "If I cannot realize Her, then what is the use of this life?"
Mother: Why are you so restless, my child? Why don't you stick on to what you have got? Always remember, " I have at least a Mother, if none else." Do you remember those words of Sri Ramakrishna? He said he would reveal himself to all that take shelter under him, reveal himself at least on their last day. He will draw all unto Him.
Monk: I have been staying with a householder who is a great devotee. His wife comes from a very aristocratic family. She spends much money for me.
Mother: Ask her not to spend much money for you. The money of the devoted householders is for the benefit of the monks. Their money enables the monks to stay at a place for four months together during the rainy season. It is very inconvenient for the monks to go out (at that time) for begging.
The monk prostrated himself before the Mother and left the room.