- Mrs.Thankam Madhusudanan Nair, Madras
“Lead kindly Light amidst the encircling gloom, Lead Thou me on”
It is with feelings of profound gratitude and adoration that I am making this feeble attempt to record how I had the rare blessing to take refuge at the Lotus Feet of Divine Mother Sree Rama Devi. Before I proceed, I turn towards Thee, Oh beloved Mother, in utter devotion and surrender, for the unutterable love and divine compassion showered on me all through, setting my faltering steps steadily onwards to Thy light, in the midst of life’s tribulations and remembering how in the moments of my agony Thou sheltered and comforted me as a child in its mother’s arms !
Years ago, in my younger days, I used to spend my spare time reading books about Bhagawan Ramakrishna and Holy Mother Sarada Devi, and those books used to give me a solace and an inner joy. I used to pity myself that I was not born at that time of their advent. Even now I remember how a heartfelt prayer often rose from my heart that I should meet a divine personality like Sree Ramakrishna Paramahansa, take refuge in Him and realize the purpose of my life. Years passed by and I continued my prayers to God, in my new set up of married life with its numerous duties and responsibilities. In the year 1950, the first gladsome news of Divine Mother came to me from a lady patient, who came to Pandalay’s Nursing Home. I was overwhelmed with joy. My heart was filled with the spirit of thanksgiving to God, for at long last, I was going to meet a Divine Being! My informant had also told me to read the book “From Darkness Unto Light”, written by one of Divine Mother’s disciples. Needless to say, I lost no time in getting a copy of the book, narrating the wonderful experiences of a nervous and sorely stricken soul, how she was uplifted by Mother in Her infinite power and mercy. I still remember with what emotion I poured over the book in the stillness of the night, the image of Mother’s divinity revealed therein touching the deepest chords of my heart.
Soon after, I heard that Divine Mother was coming to Madras and that Her Birthday, 4th March, was to be celebrated by Her sincere disciples and devotees at Madras. My heart leapt with joy and I counted the days. Divine Mother and Her illustrious consort Sri Bhagawan, a most venerable Personage, arrived from Bombay in Madras on 2nd March, with a group of disciples. I went to the station where all Her devotees had gathered to welcome Mother. Some said that even before the train had arrived they felt a holy fragrance wafted in the air, uplifting numerous hearts. When the train came, I saw Mother as She stepped down on the platform. Words are inadequate to describe the vision of that form of celestial beauty, the embodiment of all sweetness, purity, prem and compassion. Her cotton orange sari seemed to shimmer with a radiance which was ethereal. Her bewitching smile conveyed the assurance that She loved all creatures, high or low, bore with them, knew their weaknesses and smiled tenderly with inexpressible sweetness of understanding, instead of reproving them. As I gazed and gazed at the celestial Being, I had a feeling that She was none other than the Goddess Parvati Devi, the great Mother of the universe. Even in the midst of the great crowd, at that moment Her eyes fell on me, smiling graciously with a twinkle in that look, with a nod of the head. In the midst of that jarring noise and sound, I felt I was alone with Mother, gathered close to Her. It was as if I had known Her all my life and even in the previous lives. In that moment I laid my heart, soul and everything at those sacred Feet. Since that day I have not known any other God or Goddess except, the Divine Mother. I felt I had reached an oasis in the arid desert of samsara.
3rd March happened to be my birthday and I had the great good fortune to place a garland at Her feet and as mother gave me the garland back, I felt the godly assurance of silent blessing and a great load was lifted from my heart. Devotees and God-seekers and people from various walks of life, all burdened with the trials and struggles of life, flocked to Her. I also got a personal interview ere long with my little son who was only nine years of age then. Mother told us to repeat Ram Nam and specially gave blessings and advices to my son. With an inner trepidation, I managed to tell Mother that I was in no way fit for discipleship, but that I was prepared to wait till the end of my days for that great blessing.
The birthday celebrations of Divine Mother that year were very grand and the scenes of Mother’s samadhis, divine bhavas, ecstatic states and illuminating discourses, are still fresh in the sanctum of my memory. Our family Kuladevate being Devi, the conviction somehow grew in me that Mother was Parashakty Herself manifested in a human form to bless Her devotees and to establish the Garhasthya dharma. It is incredible how in Her incomparable mercy Mother granted me initiation a week after, on a very auspicious day. From that moment I began to experience Her infallible grace and measureless love. In many ways Her grace intervened in my life averting dangers and calamities. In my new-found relationship with Her I discovered the happiness of a carefree child. I found a safe anchorage at Her Lotus Feet. Amidst the confusions, doubts and darkness of samsaric life, Her love warmed my heart and Her unseen Hands soothed and guided me. Hundreds are the incidents I can narrate when Mother came to my rescue to lift me up from utter despair and calamities.
Once when my son was riding a scooter along with another boy, a huge gigantic tree branch came hurtling down right on the top of the scooter. It fell in such a way that the scooter was crushed to bits, but the two boys were extricated by others from the leaves and other branches but without a scratch or cut. Daily I was invoking Mother for enlightenment and also for protection on my dear son. Yes, I remembered with tears of gratitude Her words to my son that wherever he may be even if Mother’s physical Presence was far away, he would be always protected by Her benedictive grace. On another occasion when he was a student, he went to Ennore beach with others for a swim. It so happened that he nearly got drowned but was saved miraculously ! Mother’s Abhaya Hastha was stretched out to save him from that imminent danger ! My husband also was saved from a most serious accident while driving when the steering wheel got twisted and dashed against his chest. The car had swerved to one side and was so badly damaged that people nearby wondered, how he escaped unhurt. I know that these are most common happenings in the world but to all those who had taken shelter under Mother, there comes the perception and experience, as to how potent is Her invariable grace intervening in their destiny, saving them, giving strength to get over complex problems with ease, while their faith mounts from moment to moment, in the plenitude of Her light and love. She was teaching us, step by step, how to live detached, yet, joyously participate in the duties of life with the mind immersed in the infinite glory of the Mother. Now I am coming to the most crucial moment of my life, when She worked the greatest divine miracle and saved me from direst agony of suffering and even the jaws of a miserable end to this life. I was given a rebirth and looking back, I can realize, clearly now, how Her boundless power rescued me from that nightmare of acute suffering.
The year 1968 was the worst part of my life, according to astrology. It all started as a small ailment due to allergy to Kumkum and a patch appeared on the forehead where the tilak is usually put. The medicine I took did not agree and day by day the trouble increased. My whole body got swelled up and the fair skin became black and the skin also started to peel off, like onion skins. The itching in that state became unbearable. My husband and son both being doctors had me treated by a panel of the best specialists. But all their medicines had no effect and none could diagnose my ailment. My head became almost bald and the eyebrows also disappeared. My face became swollen up and sleep deserted me for months and months in spite of over-drugging. Due to it all I often felt I was off my head. I was actually a mass of bruised flesh praying for death, to relieve me. The doctors were at their wits end, while my husband and son were in the depths of despair. The astrologers discerned that it was due to the evil effects of Sarpa Kopa, (from ancestral family). As a last attempt to alleviate this misery, we went to Trichur and visited the most famous serpent temple nearby and performed all poojas prescribed. But my condition remained just the same for nearly two years. Oh the agony I went through !!
Divine Mother at that time was staying in Ahmednagar for a long period and even though I could hardly hold a pen, I sent appealing letters. The replies came, advicing me to take all medical care at the same time to rely on Mother’s healing grace with faith and courage. I know now that it was those words that soothed me and gave me courage to continue to struggle through those days of inexpressible suffering. For a change I went to Trivandrum to my relations, when I heard that Divine Mother was visiting Madras. My soul was hungering and thirsting for Her darshan and I flew to Madras, though I could hardly stand the journey. With the skin peeling off all the time I could bear neither heat nor cold. Divine Mother was staying at Woodlands Hotel for a very short stay at Madras. Mother was not in good health at that time and so the devotees never troubled Mother. I know now that Mother came at that moment to Madras to save Her most miserable child, in the divine onrush of mercy. The time was fixed to see Mother and I went there accompanied by my son and Mr. and Mrs. T. N. K. Nayar. Lady Venkitasubba Rao, one of Mother’s most devoted disciples was standing outside and she was taken aback, seeing the total wreck of my miserable physical being. I saw nothing, only the inner desire to see my Mother kept me going. When we entered Mother’s room, Mother was lying on a sofa and Tara Devi (the present Mother) made us all comfortable, seated us near the Mother. I could only gaze at the Divine Face, no words came. I saw Mother taking the towel and holding it to Her face. Tears of divine sorrow was pouring down, the universal heart melting down in torrential flow of compassion. I was before the beneficient splendour of divine love. There was silence for some time and then Mother spoke a few words. I do not clearly remember them, yet the sense was with effect : Fear not, beloved child, Mother’s heart weeps for the miseries of Her children. Prarabdha alone brings misery and worldly happiness by turns. It is inevitable. Sometimes it is very difficult to annihilate the evils of Sarpa Kopa. But fortunately for you, this has come at a time, when Mother is still in this world in this Saguna Upadhi. Now, surrender yourself completely to Mother. Rest assured of Her healing grace. These words of Godly assurance was a great relief for me. I regained my hope and cheer.
Both myself and my son fell at the Lotus Feet, tears streaming down. I remained tongue-tied. Divine Mother’s heart melted in such compassion, seeing my plight, for I was not recognizable even to my close relatives. As tears of divine mercy rolled down Mother’s eyes, which were pools of Prema, Mother assured me again that I would regain normal health. She commanded me to do archana and abhisheka of the sacred Guru Padukas with repetition of the divine Name and daily take the consecrated theertha with absolute devotion and faith in Devi’s all-powerful grace. Mother continued that unwavering faith in the Guru and heartfelt Japa and prayers can work wonders invoking the healing, merciful grace and achieve even the most impossible in this world. The divine assurance came of Her abundant blessings on me and my family and not to have any fear. With Her divine hands She gave me tender coconut water and some sweets. Because of my frail health, Mother cautioned my son to do Japa consistently for my recovery. She also again instructed us that the paduka theertha is so sacred that it can effectively cure ills which are beyond all medical cures.
The great Goddess Lalithambika had descended on earth to redeem mankind, and She alone can annihilate all sorts of evils that afflict humanity. I know now that She took took upon Herself my bad Karmas joyfully sacrificed, and suffered, but always this truth remained hidden from the knowledge of others. With a light heart I flew back to Trivandrum and got admitted in the Ramakrishna Hospital for proper nursing etc. The very same medicines I had taken for two years were only continued but the daily worship of the paduka, taking of the theertha as ambrosia and the divine Name worked a miracle. In two months, time I returned to Madras, a changed being well on the path of recovery. My husband and son who met me at the airport could not believe their eyes. They bowed down their heads with folded palms in profound gratitude and joy. Oh Mother! without Thy unutterable mercy, where would I be ? Who else but my supreme Mother Lalithambika could work such miracles in Her love for all suffering souls! I bow low to that Great Mother. All glory to Her and Her Divine Name.