I had not heard about Divine Mother till 1958. It is really my fortune that no sooner I came to know about her, she entered into my life. She works changes in her destined devotees and disciples, to bring them nearer to her, with increased faith in the divine sakthi.
For a very long time, I was suffering from acute stomach pain, which could not be cure at Mercara, in spite of the best medical attention. So I was taken by my husband to Bangalore, where I was advised to undergo a major operation. The operation was over and I returned to Mercara. But I was no better. My condition had worsened.
One day I was very serious and my husband had lost all hopes of my survival. I was shifted to the Civil Hospital, Mercara, where I was advised to undergo one more operation. My mother, who was attending on me in the hospital, told me that regular Bhajans are being conducted by Sree Rama Devi Bhakta Mandali in Mercara and that I should determine to attend a bhajan and offer a pooja there on my getting completely cured. Meanwhile, one staff nurse, who is a staunch devotee of the Divine Mother, came to my room to give me medicine. Seeing her my mother told me that the nurse is also attending the Bhajans. When the nurse heard this, she too began to talk about the Divine Mother and impressed upon me about the sakthi of the Divine Mother. After about 15 minutes she left the room on duty. To my great surprise, no sooner had she left the room, I felt completely relieved of all my pain. My curiosity to know more and more about this great Sakthi increased. Next time when the nurse came to my room I got more information about the Mother. The kind nurse, the true devotee of the Divine Mother, used to come often to my room to talk about the greatness of the Divine Mother.
After three days I was taken to the operation theatre to undergo another operation. The doctor once again examined me and to my surprise they told me that the operation was not at all necessary and that I would be discharged from the hospital within a week. The nurse had taken me, in spirit, though not bodily, very near the Mother. I was getting better and better day by day. I was not taking any medicine that was prescribed for me in the hospital. Talking about Mother, hearing about Mother and thinking about Mother were my medicines.
On the fourth day of my discharge from the hospital, accompanied by my mother, I went to Smt. Shantakka’s house, with fruits and flowers as offerings to Divine Mother. There was no bhajan on that day. But when the fruits and flowers were placed before Divine Mother’s Photo as offering by me, a flower dropped down from Divine Mother’s photo. Smt. Shantakka assured me that it was a sign of Divine Mother’s grace and I was going to be perfectly alright soon.
A few days after this, suddenly on one day, I became seriously ill. My husband and children gathered round me in a sorrowful mood. Seeing the plight of my husband and children, suddenly I uttered the words ‘ Oh Sadguru Mata.’ To the surprise of my husband, within a few minutes I was completely alright. Seeing this my husband was convinced about the Sakthi of the Divine Mother and he himself advised me to attend the bhajans regularly. He was not allowing me to go for Bhajans, before this, to prevent strain on my weak body and because the bhajan hall is two miles away from my house. I was overjoyed at his change.
O Love! I give myself to Thee,
Thine ever, only Thine to be.
Twenty-fourth day of November 1957 is indeed the most memorable and fortunate day in my life, for on that day I saw Mother for the first time, and a new chapter of my life was begun. On that day, my parents and I were, by some mysterious power, taken to Arya Krida Mandal Hall at Thana. In the morning we had read in the Sunday Edition of the Sindhi paper “ Hindwasi ” that there was to be on that day a bhajan of Sri Rama Devi Bhaktha Mandali where Sri Rama Devi would also be present. We had not seen, heard or known her before.
I belong to a family, the members of which were not accustomed to attend bhajans or discourses by any person anywhere. But on that day, as I have said before, some irresistible power attracted us to the hall. When we entered it, we found it already packed with men, women and children and there was no room for us even to stand. But a brother devotee who happened to be with us at that time took my aged father by hand and the rest of us followed him. He got us seated in the front row.
I then looked at the platform. Mother was not there and I learnt that there was still some time for her to come. But I saw seated there the sisters of our Bhaktha Mandali whom I did not know at that time. They were wearing sarees of saffron colour, generally worn by sannyasinis. So I thought Mother also must be a sannyasini. But when she came and sat on the sofa placed for her on the platform, to my surprise I saw instead of a sannyasini, a very sweet, extraordinarily handsome Devi. Her face shone with beauty divine, and from her eyes radiated love.
It is but natural that different people, with different outlook and inclinations and different temperaments, should see Mother in different aspects. But the aspect of Mother I have seen which some others also have seen-and of which I write is that of love-love sweet and bliss-bestowing. She is an ocean of love, boundless and limitless-deep, majestic and infinite. Her intense spirituality, absolute purity, overflowing love and life of self-abnegation provide lessons for all who seek the way of God. I rush to her lotus feet, bow my head in deep reverence and feel quite gratified when I place a garland of flowers round her neck and wait for her to bestow a glance and a smile on me. It makes no difference to me, whether I understand her words or not. Only to see her, feel the radiance, the presence, the love and the bliss, is what matters to me, and in return all that I can offer her is my devotion, and that, she will never reject.
She is accessible to all irrespective of caste or creed, be he or she worldly or other-worldly. When one sits at her lotus feet in silence, one feels a certain joy-not the joy which we get when our desires are fulfilled, but the joy of pure and sublime love, which cannot be expressed in words. This is not only my experience but also the experience of many others. I know of a devotee who always used to be present when Mother gave discourses. He sat near her in silence. One day our beloved Mother asked him if he did not feel tired by sitting for so long, particularly as he could not understand her discourses as the language in which she spoke was foreign to him. He said “ Mother, I do not get tired ; on the contrary by sitting at your lotus feet I get joy, the like of which I will not get from discourses, even if I understood them”.
Many worship her as an avatar of para sakti. Some regard her as a Jeevana-mukta, a liberated and illumined soul, having attained that state by sadhana or yoga. I do not know. I leave it to those who are well learned and have philosophical bent of mind, to speak on it, if they are so inclined. But I, who have got no load of such learning in my head, take her as an avatar of Love and Love only.
“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.
Two decades back, I did not hear or know anything about Divine Mother Rama Devi. Later, from my wife Leela, I came to hear and know something about Her, Her divinity and Her spiritual activities. My wife from her early days grew up as a Sreekrishna Bhakta, and that bhakti later turned into an ardent devotion to Divine Mother. She had to suffer in her early days of wedded life much mental and physical pain and other difficulties, living with me in the orthodox set up and old fashioned way of a joint family. As a God-send, a Nambudiri Brahmin lady came to her and advised her to chant the Navakshari Mahamanthra and to take refuge at the Feet of Divine Mother Rama Devi. Soon, Leela had the darshan of Divine Mother, and this contact with Mother was a turning point in her life. From that day of contact with Mother, the misery and monotony of life vanished and she started getting happiness and joy. But despite this wonderful change in my wife, I remained skeptical and was not prepared to believe it.
It was at last in the early sixties, when I was living at Trichur during the Navarathri festival holidays that I happened to visit Sree Rama Devi Mandir at Poonkunnam. During the school days, my wife and I, with our children, used to visit Trichur and spend the vacation there in my mother-in-law’s house. My wife would regularly visit the Mandir dedicated to the worship of Divine Mother Rama Devi. One day I accompanied her to the Mandir. It was the evening prayer time there and the Mandir was full of devotees. The bhajan was in progress. Mother’s Vigraha was shining bright at the altar in the halo of lighted deepams. Smeared with sandal paste and decorated with rose, jasmine and Tulsi garlands, the vigraha was very attractive. After the bhajan, Lalitha ashtothara recitation and archana started. Barrister T. N. K. Nayar, the first President of Rama Sakti Mission, was doing the archana. His chanting, archana and waving of arati to the deity, all produced such a fervour of devotion in the heart of every one that I could feel a vivid presence of the Divine throughout the Mandir. It was an auspicious evening hour. Outside, the Nature was all calm. The setting sun gave a golden and crimson colour to the floating clouds as well as to everything down on the earth. The burning wicks, the electrical illuminations, the pleasing scent of the incense, the chorus of devotional songs, the ringing of the temple bells and the blowing of conch, all these had soul-elevating effect. ‘And even those who came to scoff remained to pray’. To me, it was an unforgettable experience. I felt as though I was in front of the Lord of Guruvayur during the Deeparadhana time. I have no words to express my feelings and to describe the nature of experience I had that day. And, in the end, when that universal prayer “Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu” was intoned, my mind wandered to those years of yore when our forefathers prayed on the banks of Ganga and Sindhu. I could not control the tears that gushed forth from my eyes. Mother’s Vigraha with all the floral decorations and adornments, captivated me so much that I stood rooted to the ground, forgetful of everything else. That day was really a turning point in my life. Prayers and arati over, prasad was distributed to all. Mr. T. N. K. Nayar and his pious wife introduced me to Divine Mother’s spiritual movement.
Years passed and I did not have the occasion to have a darshan of Divine Mother. Mother was in those days living at the far off Ahmednagar and we were not in a position to go to such a distant centre. Soon the all-knowing Divine Mother gave me an opportunity to have Her darshan. Mother was returning to Mangalore from Ahmednagar via Madras, in view of the inauguration of Shakti Nagar which was to take place very soon. We went to Tirur Railway station on getting the information that Mother would be travelling by Madras-Mangalore Mail. There were more than 30 people from Kottakkal, mostly women and children, in our group. As the train steamed in, we crowded near Mother’s compartment. That was a moment of ecstasy for most of us, the moment that blessed us with the darshan of Parashakty. With beaming face wreathed in smiles, Mother raised Her hands in blessing. Before the train moved out slowly, a packet of banana chips and some jasmine garlands sanctified by Mother were given to us by Mother Herself. That was the first prasadam I received directly from Mother’s hands. This incident strengthened my faith and my devotional bond with Divine Mother. The era of scepticism was over.
We, Leela and I, used to get letters from Mrs. T. N. K. Nayar who used to give us thrilling accounts of Divine Mother’s glory and life in Shakti Nagar. Moved by those letters, we made a pilgrimage trip to the abode of Divine on earth, Shakti Nagar. We stayed in Shakti Nagar for three days, absorbed in contemplation of Mother’s saguna leelas and enjoying Her love and basking in Her grace. On the last day morning, when we were getting ready to take leave of the Campus, Divine Mother Sree Rama Devi quite unexpectedly gave us darshan. Mother instructed the devotees not to crowd in but to present before Her in Que form. When my turn came, Mrs. T. N. K. Nayar introduced me to Her. Mother smiled at me and tenderly advised me to have full faith and trust in Her. She recited a sloka in the Bhagavad Gita which was the Lord’s call to surrender. With eyes filled with tears and heart overflowing with sublime emotion, I fell prostarte before Mother. That blessed day united my heart with the Mother of the Universe for all times to come. I became Her child and devotee. My spiritual life started.
A month passed and we again got the opportunity of visiting Shakti Nagar, this time for participating in the momentous sadhana sessions for Malayalees. A week’s stay in that divine abode engaged in sadhana and absorbed in the bliss of Mother’s sannidhya mahima, was indeed a memorable phase in life, for it was during this period that Leela and I were blessed with Brahmopadesha by Divine Mother, along with many other devotees. Our happiness, joy and satisfaction knew no bounds. We opened a new leaf in our lives and began to follow Mother’s tenets and teachings in our day to day life. Great was the mental peace and strength we got after the upadesha.
It was Mother’s immense grace that drew us to Her fold. To-day, our home is a shrine of peace dedicated to the worship of our great Guru and Saviour, Sree Rama Devi.