The Glories of Shravan Bhakti…. 3

June 29th, 2016

Guru Mata, Guru Pita, Guru Amuchi Kuladevata…

Dated: – Gokul Ashtami, 6th September 2015.

Charanam Sharanam Ramambike
Charanam Sharanam Trayambake.

This is the third article in the series on Shravan Bhakti.

1. Shraavan is month of religious observances – festivals, vratas, parayans of granths, namasmarans etc. This is the month of ‘shravan’ of  the Parmatma’s glories for the devout   and hence, it has come to be known as ‘Shravaanmaas’. The ‘shravan’ performed culminates in enhancement of satva gunas in our vritis and unique spiritual experiences.

Of all religious performances, ‘Shravan’ of the Guru’s ‘Mahimas’ absorbs the highest spiritual vibrations.

What better blessed opportunity  can there be than to write for an article on ‘Sharavan Bhakti’ in this month  and that too on the auspicious day of Gokul Ashtami ? Because it is on this very day more than fifty years ago-  a devotee of Mother called Smt. Sharada Mallya of Udipi derived a unique experience, which is covered in this article for case study.

The devotee’s experience appears in the ‘Sadguru Rama Devi, Golden Jubilee Souvenir (1961)’  in story  called ‘Conflict Resolved’ on page no. 78 therein.

While ending the previous article in the series on Shravan Bhakti, it was remarked  that the author was clueless on what to write in the next article and it was resigned to Divine Mother  to instruct on the same. The author had some time  thereafter randomly opened the Golden Jubilee Souvenir and this experience of Smt. Sharada Mallya  confronted him at the first glance.

Hence, the experience of this devotee has come selected in this article for a case study on the subject of ‘Shravan Bhakti’.

Readers may please patiently bear with a short prelude, which shall enable us to understand the style of Mother’s functioning as the Guru in this experience. The prelude (in para nos. 2 to 7 ) to will be followed by the experience cited by Smt. Sharada Mallya (in para no. 7).

2.

‘Guru Mata, Guru Pita ! Guru Aamuchi Kuladevata !
Thora Padata Sankade ! Guru Rakshi Maage Pude !@
Kaya Vaacha Ani  Mana ! Guru Charani Arpana !
Eka Janardhani Sharana ! Guru Eka Janardana!

This hymn was composed by Sant Eknath in dedication to his Guru Janardhan. We have sung and heard this bhajan so many times in our Sunday satsangs.

It’s core meaning is that  the  Guru, ( being the Creator), is both our father and mother. He also shares intimacy with us in our family life as our own  Kuladevata. In this manner, the Guru positions himself  in our proximity to protect us from all calamities – both unseen (that which sneak on us behind our backs) and seen  (that which is  manifest to our comprehension).

Having realized this, let us offer ourselves with absolute certainty – (kaya, vaacha ani mana)- at his Feet, fully knowing that the  Guru is none other than Janardhan.

The compositions of saints are a class by themselves. Saints compose the songs out of their own actual experiences and hence, every word in the same is a reality. They do so with a fond wish that ordinary devotees should also derive such experiences. Matching experiences can therefore be found in lives of ordinary devotees of True Gurus.

In the forthcoming experience of Smt. Sharada Mallya, one will experience every word of this hymn as Truth. Mother’s role as Guru and experience of Smt. Sharada Mallya as disciple -will be found matching in the same format and tenor as related by Sant Eknath.

3. Just as there is day and night in creation, there are periods of light and darkness in our lives. The Guru is the dispeller of darkness in our lives. He comes in the form of light in the periods of darkness in our lives.

What is the darkness in our life? The periods of sadness and calamities are the dark periods in our lives in which we do not find exits out of the same. The darkness may come in any form- prolonged diseases, family problems, financial debt, loss of prestige in society etc.

At one time, in several sections of orthodox male dominated societies in India, widowhood was one of the worst darkness that plagued lives of womenfolk. Widows had to face seclusion in homes and also exclusion from the mainstream activities of the society. The plight of the widow is so acute that she is driven to conclusions that there is no place for happiness in her life and God has forsaken her.

We will see a reality of this in the forthcoming experience of Smt. Sharada Mallya.

4. Why does God accept services or offerings from his devotees – when he is fully self-sustained, self- reliant and requires no external support for his existence? The truth is God ‘deliberately’ accepts services from his devotees – even though he does not need it. There is a clever strategy behind this act. God, by his nature, also does not accept anything free and returns whatever is given to him, manifold times the value of what is received. By accepting a service, God thus gets an excuse to become ‘indebted’ to the devotees and cause welfare to the devotee by repaying him much more than what he received.

God also reserves to himself the best time to repay the devotee. He repays the devotee when he is in most need of assistance from God i.e. in his calamity- so that the repayment is most useful.

We shall also see this truth in the forthcoming experience of Smt. Sharada Mallya.

5. The merits of congregational worship ( samoohik upasana) has always  been emphasised by Mother in her     discourses. The vibrations emanated in congregational satsangs and absorbed by devotees are several times multiple of the sum of the same -if the worship conducted individually by the devotees in their private chambers.

In the process, a devotee who participates in satsangs reaps spiritual experiences far beyond his individual capacities.

Taking of a single name of Ram has total redeeming effect. Therefore, stretch your imagination to reckon the efficacy of Akhand Ram Nam Jaap performed in congregational gathering.

It is for this reason that many devotees got unique spiritual experiences of Mother, – even when they had visited for first time- a site of congregational worship or bhajans conducted by Mother’s devotees.

6. Many are the diverse ways by which Mother imparts specific, instructions to individual devotees. She does so – according to the specific   need and life situations of the devotees. To some – she may impart instruction by words, some by gestures, some in silence, some in dreams and some even in visions and so on.

The vision granted by the Guru specifically caters to the devotee’s specific need in life. For example, to a devotee passing through a dark phase in life – without any solution in sight, Mother may show herself  to him in a vision as a Lamp. The visions granted by Mother are therefore symbolically realistic and not randomly meaningless.

7. Why do we celebrate anniversaries like Ram Navami, Gokul Ashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi ? What are the gains to the devotees from these observances?

We have seen above that God does not accept anything free  and returns any devout services manifold the value received.

By observing these anniversaries as auspicious events, be sure that we shall be rewarded by some auspicious experiences in return on that very  day itself.

8. With the above preludes, let us take up the experience related by Sharada Mallya in the Golden Jubilee Souvenir and one will see all the aspects described in the above preludes as clear features and realities in her experience.

The article of Sharada Mallya called ‘Conflict Resolved’ reads as under …

“The passing away of my husband who was throughout his lifetime pious and devoted and with whom I had shared a peaceful life for two decades compelled me to draw two conclusions. They were (1) all earthly pleasures are transient. (2) To me God is not merciful.

A friend of mine in order to console me took me for a bhajan which was conducted at a devotee’s house under the auspices of Sree Rama Devi Bhakta Mandali, Udipi.

A twelve hours’ akhanda ram nam yajna was in full swing. I felt that I had come to a new world. The atmosphere of devotion, the melodious notes of Ram Nam sung in chorus, had a marvellous effect of me. The lighted lamp adorned by a garland of multicoloured flowers attracted my attention. Charmed by the grandeur of floral decorations on the lamp, I was staring at it when I had a singular experience. The lamp was suddenly transformed into the blissful form of a very divine being, a venerated mother in a sitting posture, which was the exact resemblance of Sri Rama Devi’s photograph worshipped by the devotees. My body vibrated to the thrill of the experience.

My friend gave me an interesting narration about the various supernatural powers of Mother and how she was widely acclaimed and worshipped as a divine incarnation. The singular experience which I had on the first day lent support to her view but within me was lurking doubt because the tutelary deity to whom our entire family was devoted was Ganapathy. The very thought of the captivating form of the Mother which was imprinted in my mind would be sufficient to transport my mind to a region of exaltation. But the idol of my chosen deity whom I have been regularly worshipping for years together was equally evoking love, reverence and adoration.

In such frame of my mind I was sitting, one auspicious Gokulashtami day in my shrine room, just before starting the midday worship. My mind drifted into meditative mood. With closed eyes, I was concentrating on my ishta devata when in a powerful beam of light I beheld the radiant form of Mother, her hand raised in benediction. In that I visualised the beautiful form of Ganapathy, indicating thereby, that Mother was identical with supreme being manifesting various aspects of divinity including Ganapathy.

The experience granted to me by Mother intensified my longing to have her darshan. By this time I had no doubt about her divinity. In fact my chosen deity and my sadguru was identified with the Mother whom I saw in my visions.

My first darshan took place at Mangalore during a flag hoisting ceremony. She looked exactly similar to the Mother of various earlier visions. I felt safe in protection of universal Mother who had descended in our midst taking on herself the role of sadguru. The inner path which she prescribed to me appeared to be smooth and easy because it was illuminated by love. As against the customary life of seclusion imposed by widowhood, I now courageously associate myself with all the activities of the mandali with new strength and determination.”

End of article by  Smt. U. Sharada Mallya

9. Readers should find all aspects discussed in the prelude (in para nos. 2  to7) as features and realities in the experience cited by Smt. Sharada Mallya (in para no. 8). Therefore, for sake of brevity, the same are not repeated again in the  conclusion.

Readers will  also find their own experiences  by doing Shravan Bhakti of Mother’s leelas in the experience of this  devotee

10. Such is our Divine Mother, who has come as our Guru  for all times and lives to come. Let us just love her for all times and  in all lives to come.

Jai Matha!

HYMN TO HOLY

May 10th, 2016

 – Smt. Leelavathi J. Shenoy

I am a humble worshiper of Mother.  Though by birth I am the younger sister, nearness and familiarity have only increased in me the sense of awe and majesty of the gracious presence.  To sublime virtues in her are found added a vivacity and freshness of constant love, gentleness and generosity.  It is sheer rapture to gaze upon the animated countenance during interludes of Samadhi.  Before and after Samadhi, speech would flow from her like a spring of ambrosial sweetness.

Lakshmi’s charm, Saraswathi’s eloquence, Parvathi’s grace meet in her.  In her complexion of pearl-like whiteness there in blending of lovely hues and magic tints, in delicate shades, and subtle gradations.  The virtues, her gentleness,, her spontaneity, her sympathy, her sensitivity, her intensity and her innocence, seem to achieve perfection in the total charm of her wondrous personality.  Her chief care, then as now, is for duty and her highest teaching is obedience to the moral law.  She gives a sense of freedom from the ensnaring network of worldly occupations.  Her girlhood suggested to our pious family purohit, the grand-imagery of the ceaseless celestial flame.  Praise of her, he said, was offering to the sacrificial fire.  Before touching the spirit, she gladdens the heart of the devotee at mere darshan.  Her loveliness gives assurance that with it is entwined a divine purpose.

There is no diminution visible of her patience upon earthly contact with human want and suffering.  She can at any time withdraw into a splendid isolation of being, admitting of no penalties of contact with profanities of the world.  Her love purifies and exalts without itself being sullied by anxiety or anguish.  For those who come to her, what is dark in them gets sudden illumination.  When she opens her lotus eyes, there is efflorescence of a soul in the richness of a new realization, the plenitude of spiritual power finding the rapture of a solemn dedication.

In early years of which I am writing, she looked like an angel of peace.  She was the comfort of her mother, the pride of her father, the guardian goddess of our home.  When she parted her ruby lips to speak her premature wisdom, she revealed her flashing teeth of pearly whiteness.  She could soothe the mother’s grief as well as curb the father’s temper.  From tender years she began receiving the timid homage of the children of her own age.

At the fourteenth year when she was given in marriage, she had a slender frame of ravishing beauty.  She had ripeness of understanding and seriousness of outlook.  She had matured wisdom, discernment and discrimination.  Exceedingly handsome, she from girlhood showed, exceptional confidence in herself, far beyond her years.  Though she read little, strangely enough, she was familiar with sastric injunctions and esoteric meanings of religious rituals.  She had marvelous powers of organization and arrangement, and artistic regard for details.  She had precise knowledge of the ithihasas and the puranas.  She had inborn sense of rhythm and music.  She remembered and could accurately recapture and sing in appropriate tunes a vast repertoire of devotional songs, holy hymns and kirtans in a variety of languages.  She had powerful memory and spontaneous wit.  She had fondness for animals and was familiar with the characteristics of birds.

Later I came to know that rarer powers were in her than what is imported by this assemblage of qualities.  Treasures of experience are in her; pearls of wisdom too in her universal consciousness.  Clearly her proficiency and powers are divine attributes, not human inheritance.

To Bhagawan’s home at Tellicherry I accompanied her and enjoyed their hospitality and affection for several months.  There I had my first impressions of the exemplary home; the exemplification of the exalted duties of the wife.  In the role of the wife I saw her in her domestic avocations.  I saw her in the morning hours worshiping the tulsi plant; I saw her bending her graceful body in humble prostrations to Bhagawan; consecrating the holy shrine with sacred hymns; encircling the image of Sri Krishna with a chaplet of fragrant jasmine flowers; I heard her sing kirtans at the evening bhajan in her home; with palms, soft as leaves of fresh lotuses, I have seen her showering flowers in propitiation of deity before pictures of its holiness.

After the routine of these appointed occupations, she retired into an inner chamber for prayer and meditation.  Those silent sessions of solitary retirement lasted far into nights and sometimes would touch the fringes of the golden morn.  As sign of holy maidenhood, her sacred person was encircled by a mysterious aroma of camphor, tulsi and sandalwood.

Purity invested her home with the air and atmosphere of a hermitage.  To it came unknown ascetics as to a temple of divinity.  Those versed in the Vedas came to do obeisance to her.  Her insight into the human mind and the nature of its working was revealed in the recovery she effected of an unfortunate woman, an inmate of her home with serious mental derangement and nervous prostration.  This victim to mental malady was restored to absolute normalcy of physical health and mental efficiency by her.  The patient’s moods were at times so stormy and her behavior so violent that they were strange and frightening.  It was surprising the way she responded to Mother’s love and kindness.  The cure was complete through the simple ministrations of her endearments, showered in tender solicitude with touching abundance.

Hour after hour in her home I experienced happiness as though from an inward spring of perpetual gladness.  It was the very home of peace and purity and piety.  One day, like a mass of thundering cloud, the temper of a serving woman mounted to a high pitch of rage, directed against another serving woman of the household.  There was exchange of words and stormy scenes.  Only a flight of steps above was the prayer room where Mother was in meditation at the while.  The silence was so profound as to forbid the slightest sound or movement.  The loud altercation seemed a sacrilege and violation.  Repeated appeals were of no avail.  In the increasing fury of words all attempts at pacification failed.  Symbolic of divine intervention in remediless situations and dire calamities, all on a sudden, the more vociferous of the two in the quarrel became abruptly silent.  Her frame trembled, the pupils of her eyes quivered; her wandering eyes cast all round a glance that intense grief had made vacant and repentant tears had dimmed.  She stood mute and motionless, as if there occurred sudden deprivation of speech and motion.  She was the picture of sorrow and repentance.  The quiet of the place super induced by Mother’s meditation should have cast its spell and hushed her into silence.  Tranquil vibrations had inspired awe and inherent solemnity had instilled reverence.

Those early days are here recalled as part of a happy dream.  My own marriage and departure to Bombay took me far away from the holy presence.  This period of separation too was educative.  There were enriching experiences.  Years brought sorrows too.  I have returned to Mother with chastened heart to receive the higher instructions.

The occasion on which I could summon courage by the grace of her to face the greatest calamity of my life was the death of my husband.  The impact of grief I felt, but its impetuosity was restrained by an inward calm, which I was unaware of until then, but which Mother had already made part of my nature.  When grief rushed with storm of sighs and torrent of tears, I could repeat her name and all I felt was strength and solace thereafter.  There is solace in her name and there is strength in her teachings-upon the evanescence of life and the immortality of the soul.

JAI MATHA – OUR PASSPOSRT

October 3rd, 2015

-G. Anandaraya Kamath

Our respected ex-secretary Late Basroor Venugopal Rao in his article about the term JAI MATHA has given in detail how this came into vogue amongst the children of Divine Mother.

In October 1965, the first birth anniversary of Rama Sakti Mission was celebrated in Shaktinagar. The name Shaktinagar actually came into usage much later. Late in the evening on that happy day, three senior members of Governing Body went to meet Mother at Her residence in Car Street for some guidance and advice. After the meeting they came down and stood at the gate for a while. Before parting, all greeted each other with a habitual good night.

Mother had come to the balcony and heard this good night. She called them and asked them if they all have so soon forgotten the resolve they had just made a couple of hours ago, that they shall greet only with the words ‘Jai Matha’ every time they meet or part. Brother Sri. Kanaya Panjwani had suggested this and every one had appreciated and accepted the idea. It was very evident that even Mother liked this suggestion.

B V Rao in his article has given in detail how this apparently simple phrase is potent with enormous spiritual significance. When we say ‘Jai Matha’ its superficial meaning is very obvious: glory to Divine Mother.

But on a little deeper contemplation we can perceive that we are addressing the person in front of us as Divine Mother Herself or that we are offering salutations to the Mother in the person. Also when we get back the same ‘Jai Matha’ from that person, we are constrained to remember the Divine within us.

If this attitude is sustained and thereby continuous remembrance of Mother becomes possible that in itself is a great and powerful sadhana.

In addition to this, this Jai Matha is of immense utility for the children of Divine Mother. Amongst the large number of devotees of Divine Mother it may not be possible for us all to know each and every one personally. Circumstances may crop up where we need for any task, personal or otherwise to deal with other devotees of Mother whom we have never met before. In such situations a simple and humble JAI MATHA navigates us through all hurdles.

In the year 1967 or so soon after my graduation I was frantically on the lookout for a good job. Dear Venumaam with whom I was working in Mission office during my college days suggested that I should go to Bombay and shall surely land myself in a decent career. Paying heed to his advice I set out to Bombay a very strange dream land almost an unknown destination for me at that point of time. I had none either to sponsor or provide me a visa to reside in Bombay. I was alone on my adventure. I was relying totally on the directions that Venumam has given me and a few addresses he provided to whom I should meet to achieve my objective.

On reaching Bombay after an eventless journey, I set out to meet Sri. V.K. Kulkarni the joint secretary of Bombay Mandali. 2nd floor, R. K. Building No: 2, L. J. Road, Dadar-14 was his address, if I remember right. With such experienced guidance, I could not make any mistake. To be sure to find him, I reached the place one fine morning, on a public holiday.

Yes, I was right. I read the name on the door ‘V. K. Kulkarni’. Door was closed and absolute silence prevailed around that humble looking small house. Prostrating at the Lotus Feet of Divine Mother mentally, I knocked the door very, very gently, lest I should annoy the insiders. I waited and after a pause the door slit open, just to see who has come. I could see only an eye of a woman.
She almost shouted ‘kya?’
I said in a subdued voice, ‘Kulkarni saab?’
She: ghar me nahi – not at home
Me: kab ayenge? – when will he come?
She: malum nahi- don’t know
Me: thoda deer dekenga- Will wait for some time.
To this, she banged the door shut hard on my face.
Involuntarily, by virtue of habit I happened to blurt out ‘accha, JAI MATHA’

When she heard this Jai Matha, there was a electrifying effect. She burst opened the doors, put on all the switches on her board, light, fan etc. with a very broad ear to ear grin, this short statured woman in a pleading gesture said ‘aayiye, aayiye, andhar aayiye’ – come, come, come inside. ‘Kya Mangalore saye aayehen?’ ‘came from Mangalore?’

I was careful not to display any emotions. She showed me a large sofa to sit and went into her kitchen which is just couple of feet away and I could see her moving about.

Just then my Kulkarni saab, a huge big pahilwan, entered and announced ‘ho hoo Jai Matha, Jai Matha, When did you come?’ His wife rushed out to see this affectionate and bounteous welcome accorded to me by her husband.

He asked her why she did not make tea for me. To this she replied that I told her that I will take tea only with him. And then there came tea and we had it.

Since then wherever and whenever we met either at the Sunday bhajans or elsewhere she used to give me an apologetic smile.

The Glories of Shravan Bhakti…. 2

August 31st, 2015

– By Anant Narayan Pai, Mumbai

Charanam Sharanam Ramambike
Charanam Sharanam Trayambake.

This is the second article in the series on Shravan Bhakti.

1.The Guru is not different from God. There is no Vaikunta, no Goloka, no Kailas and no Brahmapuri greater than the Guru’s Feet. That is why some  cadre of  bhaktas do not covet moksha. On the other hand, they pray that every time God incarnates, they should also be reborn to serve His Feet again.

“Gheyeen me janma, yajh sathi deva! Tujhi charan- seva, sadha- vaya!” We have sung this abhang so many times to our Mother in our Sunday satsangs. Have we not ?

2.Yet at human levels, these are easier said than done. The choice of re-birth and its timings are not in our hands. And even if we are born during the tenure of the Guru’s incarnation, what is the guarantee that we shall recognize Him again in His new form as the same Guru of our past life? This is because with the dawn of the new life, the jiva  ‘forgets’ his connection with the old life in his memory..

“Janam janam ka nata, hai tera mera! Yaad raha prabhu tum ko, mai bhoola bisera!
“Sadguru teri ichha hai to, janam lu mai sav baar! Ho har janam me teri, bhakti aparam paar!”

How true and significant are these lines, I hear sung in a Sad guru’s arti !.It is only  through the Guru’s Grace that we can  get the fortune of being reborn during the  tenure of His incarnation and the privilege of doing His bhakti..

3.Though we may forget our Guru in some moment of  indiscretion, it shall never happen that the Guru will ever forget us  for even a moment..

Though the disciple, on his rebirth, may lose track of his Guru of past life, it shall never happen that the Guru will lose track of his disciple.

Once a Guru accepts a disciple, as far as the Guru is concerned, it is a relationship for all times and lives of the disciple to come thereafter. The Guru will maintain this relationship faithfully –  even unilaterally without a single break. The Guru will never shed his role for even a single moment.

Therefore, if devotee fondly prays that he should be reborn every time  his Guru re-incarnates and enjoy the blessedness of His  company- how can the Guru, the Mother refuse ?

4.Nothing that we see in our dream is a new experience. Every object, person or scene that we see in our dream is something which our mind has seen in the past and registered in memory.

Even what we have seen in our past lives get retained in our memory at the time of rebirth. This is because when a person dies, he only cast away his gross body (sthool sharir), but not his mental being.

Thus, sometimes we may notice that when we see a stranger for the first time, we feel happy on seeing him, even though we don’t know him. Some of us are scared of water; some have fear of heights, or darkness, etc. All these have some relation with our past lives. Children are seen with some habits right from birth. For example, a four month old kid is found to be very short tempered. So much so that once angry, it stops breathing and turns blue while crying. Why does this happen? It is because in this childhood, there are mixed memories of last life’s childhood and old age.

5.All of us have dreams. Sometimes, it is claimed that we saw Mother in our dreams. But there is a significant difference between ‘dreaming of Mother’ and ‘Mother coming in our dreams’.

Dreaming of Mother is a product of our own egos. We flaunt to our own selves that we are great devotees of Mother and therefore, a ‘preferred one’ for Her Grace. And this flaunt may translate in to dream in which we see Mother blessing us.

But Mother coming in our dream on Her Own – without any effort from our side-  is a different matter. It is only when the jiva’s mind is shed of ego, bereft of flaunt of intelligence  and in state of child- like surrender, that it can see this Mother coming in to his dream. Such dreams are “Apourusheya” – i.e. derived sans human effort.

6.In fact, saints have unique spiritual experiences of  divine revelations in  their dream. The sacred Ram Raksha Stotra was written by Buddha Kaushika Rishi after it was divinely recited to him by Lord Shiva in dream.  That is why Ram Raksha stotra is also ‘Apourusheya’.

The sacred Sri Sai Sat Charita cites several stories in which Sai Baba had transacted with his devotees – even imparting spiritual instructions.

Therefore, when Mother comes in a dream, let us know that that it is not an idle event. It is conscious and deliberate effort of Mother to impart some spiritual instruction to the dreamer.

Our own independent capacities to transact with Mother have human limitations  i.e. it is highest in our awakening state, lesser in our sleep state and least in our dream state But,  there is no such limitations for Mother to transact with us in any of or mental states. Nothing is impossible for Mother and She is fully capable of instructing us effectively even in our dream states.

7.Most of us cannot profess to be devotees of such high order with egoless minds, to whom Mother come in dream.

Then, what use is the above discussion? Yes. We are not saints, but we can definitely profit by hearing of leelas of Mother, of some good devotee, to whom Mother  came in his  dream.

Shravan Bhakti of this leela with definitely translates in to spiritual enlightenment for us too.

8.The ‘Sadguru Shree Rama Devi-Golden Jubilee Souvenir (1961)’ is not an ‘advertisement souvenir’. Have you seen any advertisements in it- as you see in any souvenir? None at all!

The Golden Jubilee Souvenir contains inspired writings by devotees of their spiritual experiences with Divine Mother. Since, the devotees are inspired by Mother; there must definitely be Her purpose behind the inspirations. We must know that Mother is delivering some message to us as our Guru in these writings. The devotees’ experiences are therefore mediums of Mother’s instructions to us.

The Golden Jubilee Souvenir is, in reality, a “Granth’ containing the leelas of Divine Mother – imparting specific spiritual instructions to all of us – both individually and collectively. Mother talks to us in these stories. Each word in it is inspired by Divine Mother only. For disciples, it is the ideal material for Shravan Bhakti –  for exploring the instructions imparted by their Great Guru.

In the above connection, certain excerpts from the Preface to the Souvenir are reproduced below (with emphasis in bold underlines):-

“ This volume is an attempt to present in a convenient form the influence of Sadguru Sree Rama Devi upon the lives of her devotees, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of her auspicious birth. The devotion she has inspired finds expression in these pages”

“Though the experiences herein narrated, are personal, they will be found to possess interest, as feelings and happenings which are intimate and spiritual. They may have inspiring power beyond the individual lives in which they occurred, It is hoped that this souvenir will prove not only interesting but helpful to lovers of devotional literature, to seekers of spiritual guidance, and to students of the esoteric of religion which remain largely hidden and not easy to access.

An effort has been made to present the articles in this volume in a sequence and continuity dictated by the special character and dominant atmosphere of the individual contributions”

“The volume is not an attempt to give a précis of Mother’s teaching. The article, herein presented, are like represented passages from a larger book of devotion. Here is raw material for profound thought and more competent creation.”

9.One such article called “The Precious Secret…. by Smt. Uma Rao in this Golden Jubilee Souvenir (1961) – Page nos. 59-60 is reproduced below for a Shravan Bhakti case study. Incidentally Smt. Uma Rao was a part of the publishing team that compiled the Golden Jubilee Souvenir.

The article reads as under …

“Africa, perhaps, brought to humanity, no art or science, no civilization worth the name. But, it was the place where my three-year-old son had a dream in 1943, which brought upon me the blessing of spirituality. Children because of their innocence are found capable of drawing the divine force, into the sphere of earthly existence, more often, than adults. This may be because; childish candour is nearer than mature wisdom, to deeper realities.

What to the child was a pleasing dream, is today still a mystery to me, its mother. He described, upon waking, that he had the dream of a beautiful woman. That dream, vividly narrated by him, though in the few words of his baby speech, allows to me, who first heard the narration, and has preserved carefully its details, in tenacious fondness of maternal recollection, its interpretations, as the projection of Mother’s gracious person, across space to distant Africa.

While in Africa, and even after our return to India, on many occasions, I have coaxed my son, to visualize the dream, in order to identify the features and aspects, with any one person of our acquaintance.  His recollections of the dream continued fresh, even after the lapse of eight years. But, its identification with a person in real life was not possible. The dream, thus, to have persisted even in to boyhood days, unobliterated by succeeding waves of emotions that must have swept the little heart, is quite remarkable. It must have been one of those experiences, embedded in the centre of personality.

The interesting probabilities as to who may be the replica in life of the lady of my son’s dream – if at all such an interesting dream could have had its correspondence in outer reality – vastly intrigued me. Today, time has clarified the issue; the dreamer has found the corresponding reality, in the person of Mother. But, the animation and wonder of the dream, are only brightened by the circumstances, leading up to the recognition, which revealed the mystery.

Deeply entwined with the mental life of the child, should have been this dream – ever present, in his memory and consciousness. I have observed him, attempting to find out an approximation in real life, an actual person, corresponding in appearance, to the lady of his dream. Every attempt failed.

Eight years passed. My son and I were in a gathering of devotees at Mangalore, for darshan of Mother. Mother appeared. Recognition, on the part of my son, was instantaneous. He pressed my hand and whispered into my ear the precious secret : “ Here is my dream”. I stood tiptoe, in joyous amazement, literally, at the very starting point of my own spiritual career.”

End of article of Smt. Uma Rao.

10.We have now read the above article called “The Precious Secret” by Smt. Uma Rao.

What is “the precious secret” that can be extracted by us from Shravan Bhakti of this article?

Just as a precious mantra is imparted in secret by the Guru to each of his disciples at time of initiation into the discipleship – may each reader discover the secret instructions imparted by Mother to each of them individually in this experience related by Smt. Uma Rao.

11.We know that our Divine Mother undertook a twelve year tapas from 1927 onwards – which culminated firstly, in her experience of Nirvikalpa Samadhi in 1939 and secondly, in  the receiving of a divine directive to assume the role of a  World Teacher. Her spiritual ministry as the World Teacher can be thus assumed to have started in 1939-40. In short, the outside world started the facility of darshan of Mother in her role as the World Teacher only from 1939-40 onwards.

The child in Smt. Uma Rao’s article was three years old when he had the dream in 1943. Logically, the child was born in 1940.

We have seen above that dreams can carry connections of our past lives. Did Mother come in his dream in response to some fond wish of this child from past life?

“Gheyeena me janma, yach sati deva ! Tujhi charan- seva, sadhavaya !”.

Does this abhang have any connection with the child’s dream?

Are any ‘hidden’ answers to these questions, the ‘precious secret’ that the author, Smt. Uma Rao was referring? Readers will have to answer these questions themselves.

12.Guru’s eternal relationship with disciple for lives to come; the capacity of Guru to come in a dream to instruct a disciple; the difference between ‘disciple dreaming of Mother’ and ‘Mother coming on Her own in one’s dream’; the essential condition of egoless mind is required by disciple, to derive the benefit of ‘Mother coming to his dream’ (i.e. child- like innocence mental state and the analogy of residing in a ‘Africa-like state’-  a continent where there was no flaunt of knowledge or intelligence – so well described by Smt. Uma Rao) and  the benefit of spiritual advancement  even by third party (i.e. Smt. Uma Rao herself) from Shravan Bhakti of the dream graced by Mother – are the ‘precious secrets’ that can  extracted from the story.

Now, after Smt. Uma Rao, we are the subsequent beneficiaries of Shravan Bhakti of Mother’s leelas.

The Golden Jubilee Souvenir, which heralded 50 years of Mother’s life in 1961, has resurfaced today after another fifty years as a ‘Granth’ through which Mother talks to us. It is therefore a golden opportunity for all of us to access this Granth and absorb its essences. Let us repose faith in our Guru and all his strategies will be taught to us.

13.Though there is a commitment to write a series of articles on Shravan Bhakti, I am clueless on what to write in the next. But, when we have a Great Guru in our Mother -who is capable of instructing us even in our dream, why bother? Let us just relax.

Such is our Divine Mother, who come to instruct us for all times and lives to come. Let us just love her for all times and in all lives to come.

Jai Mata!