||Aum Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||
|Master performing pooja to Mother|
There is an English phrase which says: "save the best for last". In many respects we are at the grand finale. Schools are out, places of business have closed for the year, and everything seems to be winding down to the gorge of relaxation from the hectic year that has been. Being a part of the madding crowd, I too, have decided that this shall be my last blog for the year. There have been many highlights and lowlights but in essence when once reflects through a clear mind, a sense of appreciation arouses from the dust of melancholy. The blessings add up when we account for so many things we take for granted that are conspicuously absent in many lives around the globe. In that light I decided to dedicate this post to HOLY MOTHER, who through Her unceasing ever-expanding heart... welling with compassion declared: "I am the Mother of the wicked, as well as the virtuous, when you are in distress always speak this to yourself: I have a Mother."
Born on 22 December 1853 in the humble village of Jayrambathi, the Mother followed the customs and traditions of Her lineage with sincerity and devotion. She was married to Sri Ramakrishna at the age of 5 and joined Him at Dakshineswar Temple at the age of 18. Her external life was full of struggle and challenges. At Dakshineshwar, She lived in an eight-square-feet room until She was 32 years but undertook all these discomforts as spiritual training under the guide of a realised Master and emerged as His finest student. Although Her outer being went though much pain and suffering... Her inner being was the culmination of purity, joy and complete detachment from the outer world.
To the untrained eye, it may come across that the Ramakrishna-Order deliberately polarises the Mother. We always hear Monks ask if people have read Ramakrishna or Vivekananda or speak of the Master and Swamiji with much enthusiasm. It is only from the tongues of the ardent devotees of the Mother will you hear Her gospel. However this is furthest from the truth. When you read the lives of all the disciples and even the Master you will gain an unambiguous insight on how their lives were guided and blessed by the Mother. Her true nature was ultimately revealed by Sri Ramakrishna Himself when He performed the 'shodasi pooja' and worshipped Her as the Mother of the Universe itself. Swami Nikhilananda intuitively once explained that as heat cannot be separated from fire and lustre from gems, the Brahman cannot be separated from Shakti. Hence, Mother is the power behind Master and Swamiji.
Being guilty myself of ignoring the literature of the Holy Mother in favour of Swamiji and Master, I was superlatively captivated by Her wisdom and teachings which appears as a calming and soothing balm from the burning miseries of this life. The Mother -unlettered- Herself spoke through Her inner awakening catalysed by the Master to give continuity to His mission after His departure.
A doubt or enquiry may arise as to why I continuously refer to the world as miserable and full of pain and suffering when on the contrary it reflects a materially well endowed civilisation... when compared to our ancestors 50 years back. Living on the lap of luxury, advanced science and much progress - where is there room for the misery?
When I glanced at the morning edition of the Daily News this week, it delivered another odious blow to a frustrated and vexed nation dealing with the ongoing power load shedding. Due to the shortage of adequate rainfall and the depleting dam levels, the authorities want to enforce shedding with water as well. On the very same page side-by-side, the article relates to gangs tormenting neighbourhoods with armed robberies... and if you continue to read the other supplements you will come across drug abuse, violence etc, etc........ In fact, finding positive and inspiring news to read has turned into a treasure hunt. So let’s just say my reference to misery is really an inference to the daily murk that hangs over the society as presented in the media. We seem to be caught in the vortex of despair, held frigid in fear we stand helplessly as the ground of hope and faith gives way under us.
But Mother has assured us: "Don’t be afraid. Human birth is full of suffering and one has to endure everything patiently, taking the name of God. None, not even God in human form can escape the sufferings of the body and mind. Difficulties always come but they do not last forever. You will see they pass like water under a bridge."
Mother’s sagacious wisdom is not far-fetched fairytale false-hope counsel but stems from reality and grounds us with firm understanding that provides nutrition to deal with the situation rather than pretend it does not exist. Holy Mother further said that one must experience the results of 'prarabdha karma' (karma from previous births which has begun to bear fruit in this life). No one can escape it. But japa or repetition of God’s name minimises its intensity. It’s like the case of a man who is destined to lose his leg, but suffers only from the prick of a thorn in his foot instead.
With such practical teachings and advice, it is no wonder that the Ramakrishna Mission and its work has grown to the state that it is today. Mother's life has taught us that purity, compassion and boundless love are the necessary nutrients needed to fertilise the humanness that is stagnant within us. Her teachings free us from the shackles of our own minds. Her remedy to all ailments in this age is to not find fault in others. She said: "If you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others, rather see your own faults. Learn to make the whole world your own. No one is a stranger my child the whole world is your own."
In all the challenges we face in the world, let’s not find fault in others.Let us go about life with the understanding that we are all one. Instead of getting agitated and pointing fingers at others let us find our own weaknesses and rectify them. Let us build the strength to make positive contributions in finding solutions and always immersing ourselves in God's name. Through devotion and surrender to God, we shall tap into peace and joy.
In these trying times we have the comforting embrace of a Mother. Let us embrace Her and ask Her to take away our troubles. She comes to you in the form of your personal deity. Cling to Her affectionately. Let's live by Her assuring words: "Don’t be afraid... always remember that somebody is protecting you... you always have a Mother".
Jai Ambe Mata ki Jai!!!!!!
Have a safe and blessed festive season. Thank You for your support of the blog in 2014 and for your encouraging feedback.
May Mother bless us all always.
With love and prayers