-Smt. Kerala Varma, M.A., F.C.A.
It is nearly ten years since I met my revered guru. In November 1950 on a Sunday morning I stepped it to the house where mother was staying at Trichur. In the large hall Mother was seated on a carpet on the ground facing the audience. Sitting on the southern side I remember being seated just before her at a distance of ten feet. Before me presented a glowing white figure. As soon as I was seated I heard distinctly the word Prem, Prem, Prem repeated thrice and suddenly I saw the delicately shaped hand moving up straight above making a V and the twinkling eye balls rolling up and hiding under the eye lids wide open.
Something caught my heart. I do not know what my feelings were. They were certainly elevating, enchanting and inspiring. The scene was novel. It was exciting. I sat there motionless: expecting every moment something which will fill my spiritual void. Excepting a feeling of buoyancy I was not able to experience anything.
I left the place soon. I cannot help remarking that I was attracted by the singular beauty of the form of Mother. It was wandering in some ethereal space enjoying spiritual experiences. Brindaban and Shyamsunder and the charming lovely tender creeper of Prem, Radha, were floating and splashing in my mind. The word Prem repeated thrice when I entered the hall struck deep into my heart. The symbol of Prem was Radha, the beautiful Radha, and here before me was the beautifully shaped lady, perchance, the Radha of my beloved Shyamsunder.
We were told that on Tuesday there would be a Bhajan led by Mother. A large audience gathered in the hall on that day. I also joined the gathering as spectator. Mother was seated at the far end on a chair. On two sides of her, leaving a path in the centre, sat ladies clad in yellow sarees. The hall was well lit. For a moment I felt that the Upanishad-sundaris or the female angels of heaven are seated before the Mother of the Universe and praising her in beautiful songs accompanied by the cymbals of Tamburu and Narada. The scene was wonderful, enchanting, elevating and one which was beyond description. One was simply off one’s feet. Was I in heaven or on earth? Were these real human beings? I looked at their faces. The calm, peaceful, smiling, joy-provoking faces filled with divine grace, not human beauty. How I enjoyed that evening, I cannot now describe. The very remembrance of that scene brings freshness and fullness to the wearied heart.
After the Bhajan we heard the talks and descriptions of Mother from many of those ladies. I had not seen such human joy before. The portals of heaven seemed to have had been opened. I could say the beam of light which shone on the faces of these disciples was an important reason for my seeking asylum at Mother’s feet.
All of us are running after Santi, Santi. In the heaven of Mother’s feet these children have obtained Santi. Naturally I too desired to share that precious treasure – Santi.
There was a fragrance about and all around Mother. Whatever she touched gave out the fragrance. One felt it was like the lovely Lotus spreading its fragrance in the early morning air in order that the thirsty bees may be attracted to drink the honey stored in it. The honey of starvation was here and human beings were invited without distinction.
I wanted to know more of Mother and I gathered from disciples and the daily discourses of Mother a short history of her life and her sadhana and attainment of the supreme bliss. At Trichur during those seven or ten days of her short trip she poured out what she had not given out after a stay of two months or three months in other places afterwards.
The most illustrious incident worth narrating was her visit to a Bhagawathi temple. The goddess was venerated by all Hindus. The custom of the temple is that no person other than the Poojari can enter the sanctum sanctorum or inner shrine. Violation of this injunction is pollution to the temple and many tantric rites will have to be performed to purify the deity. Mother went in and stood before the goddess for worship amidst the loud Kirtanas and praises of God, resounding in the temple premises. Suddenly like a waft of wind from heaven Mother floated into the inner shrine within the twinkling of the eye and before anyone could think about anything. There she stands as one identified with the idol, behind it. No one could distinguish her from the idol. The two ivory white hands alone could be seen with the Abhaya Varada Mudra. The temple priest had no doubt as to what was supremely necessary to be done at the moment. He lighted the camphor and waved the light before the “Light of the world”. This was the most unorthodox thing conceivable. In Malabar temples the time for the poojas, and the naivedyas are fixed and the priest could not wave the light or offer naivedyas as it pleased him. This could be done only as part of pooja, which was at fixed hours. Secondly, the temple was polluted by the presence of a stranger in the inner shrine and no pooja could be done to the polluted deity. Neither the priest nor the orthodox throng of worshippers in the temple found any incongruity in the violation of these. Everybody was elevated, transported and led beyond the limitation of ritualism into a realm of freedom before the real presence. This was a sudden revelation of the Mother before an unprepared audience. Like Sree Krishna of yore the veil was again drawn and the people forgot all that happened.
After this, one day, Mother was kind enough to come and bless our house. Mother was received with the loud chanting of Narayana Nama. As soon as she alighted from the car a sudden change came in to her. In the likeness of Gadadhara Vishnu she stood motionless for a time by the side of the car. The chant of the nama of Narayana began to fill the air and roll about in even higher and higher pitch. Wave upon wave the thundering kirtan splashed the air and the atmosphere was spiritually electrified.
Slowly then moved the august figure of Mother in Samadhi and reaching the porch sat on the chair kept for her. The oil lamps burned and the bushel-ful of paddy stood before her. She placed her feet inside the pan set there for the purpose and accepted the service of washing her feet with water.
She then moved upstairs and walked into the shrine room as a person familiar with the house and sat on the seat intended for her. A welcome song in Malayalam was sung. She suddenly rose in Samadhi and her movement of hands and feet re-echoed every sentiment expressed in the song. She again sat down and after a time came to the normal plane and talked to some of us nearby. As if suddenly remembering it she took parched rice from her lap and distributed to us as prasadam. Nobody can say from where this prasadam sprang up. The shrine has three steps and is covered. The inside will be nearly 3½ feet high on the sides and 4½ feet in the centre. No person of 5 feet high can stand inside erect.
Mother hurried into the shrine and embracing the Krishna idol moulded out of mud stood erect on the steps. How she could stand without her head slating and touching the top is another dilemma unsolved. She danced and the idol also moved. It seemed that life came into the idol by the touch of Mother. Needless to say how intense and suffused with the sense of awe was the whole atmosphere. The gathering watched in reverence. To describe the scene is beyond me. The divinity was manifested there in a manner, which it is impossible for me to describe. She came down from the shrine and sat on the floor before the shrine.
Mother left a deep impression in all of us. Divinity cannot manifest more impressively. Needless to say, I was irresistibly caught up by Mother. Here I am now an humble follower of Mother from that day onwards. I cannot remember but with awe and reverence those days we spent on numerous occasions at Tellicherry at Mother’s residence. The hospitality and love of Mother and the spiritual energy she infused in us are something superhuman. Without the feeling of the needle piercing your muscles you get such large doses of spiritual injection while you talk, eat and enjoy, that inspite of yourselves, you cannot go back to your old life.
The pleasant thoughts of those days are enough to elevate us, to raise us to heights above the material plane. What was the Dhyana of the Gopis? Their Dhyana was the thoughts, the pleasant dream of Gopalakrishna, while walking, talking, and working. We had also such days many times when Mother appeared to be the very Krishna of yore.