Archive for October, 2010

The Uniqueness in the Mother’s Message

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

To those initiated to the thought and teachings of the great Rishis of old the Hindu Society of today would present a very sad picture. According to those seers, the purpose of life is the realization of the supreme – the liberation from the cycle of births and deaths. But with thousands of religious books and commentaries, thousands of temples and priests, mutts and sanyasins the essential doctrines of our religion are ignored and the fundamental brotherhood they stand for has disappeared. In spite of the crusades launched against it by great leaders like Swami Vivekananda, Sri. Narayana Guru and Mahatma Gandhi the barbarous institution of caste, never sanctioned by the scriptures and never contemplated by their exponents, is still rampant and diffusing poison. It is the wild growth of touch- me- not in our garden of all embracing love, denying access to the fragrant flowers and sweet fruits. Our days are so over–crowded with religious rites and functions, ceremonies and festivals that we have no time to pause and ponder what they really mean.

This suicidal history, these pernicious tendencies and this immunity from correction had made me rather pessimistic about the future. So I took shelter under the Geetha which helped me draw up a code of discipline for myself. I was not interested how our society was faring. I did not therefore feel encouraged when I learnt that a Bhakta Mandali has been organized in our town in the name of Sri Ramadevi. But as some of my friends were members of the Mandali, I visited it once or twice out of curiosity. The calm atmosphere of the mandali with the charge of magnetism, the solemn chorus of the Bhajans that filled the air, the silent meditation, the enthusiasm with which the members carried the programme, their discipline, the brotherly feelings between the high and low – all greatly impressed me. A cool breeze of Bhakthi was blowing all over with bliss. This was a unique experience so different from the din and discord we are accustomed to in the temples. That was a sigh of relief.

Later, I visited the Mandali on the occasion of its Anniversary in 1962. I was glad to note that the Mandali had grown in numbers. The Akhanda – nama appeared to me a commentary on what the Lord has said in the Geetha, “Among yajnas I am japayajna” it was my privilege on that occasion to give a short discourse on Bhakti based on chapter 12 of the Geetha.

Then it was my good fortune to be present when the Divine Mother blessed the Mandali with her gracious presence. The Mother was punctual to the minute and no sooner had the Mother taken Her seat in the pandal than the chorus of Bhajan, led by Her, began. In about ten minutes, the Mother went suddenly into samadhi with eyes half closed and turned upwards. The samadhi lasted for about two hours and when the Mother regained her outer consciousness a discourse was ringing forth in forceful Malayalam with a little Kannada accent. It was a vigorous plea, as I remember it, for a reorientation of our outlook, an earnest appeal for spirituality of life and a kind advice on the Sadhana needed for the final goal.

Having beard the Mother, having read some literature relating to Her philosophy and teaching and having learnt about the work of the several Mandalis I am convinced that the Mother has kindled a new message to the World and is fulfilling a new mission. If the spiritual basis of life is forgotten, we are denying ourselves the solace of our great religion. Spiritual Sadhanas should therefore be part and parcel of our daily life and a code of such discipline combining Bhakti and Jnana and simple enough for the largest number to follow, is the greatest need of the day. And this is what the Mother has given us. The success of all sadhanas depends on the grace of the Guru. This is emphasized everywhere in our shastras. It is said ‘durlabho vishaya tyago durlabham tatwa darshanam, durlabha sahajavastha sadguro karunam vina”. Without the grace of sadguru it is difficult to abstain from the world of senses, to realize the self and to attain liberation. It is such a sadguru that India has now secured.

It is generally believed that spiritual sadhanas are either impracticable in or inconsistent with married life and that the region belongs to those who have renounced the world. The Mother has given the lie to this belief, has conquered the region and is demonstrating to the world the technique of making married life nobler in purpose and at the same time richer in domestic felicity. I seldom come across any Hindu home, where the husband and the wife are holding namajapa or prayers together. In the majority of the cases, they have no religious turn of mind at all and no ideas about God or the Atman. In some cases, there is religious fervour on one side of the balance with no possibility of any equilibrium. Even where both the partners have religious inclinations the degree of spirituality they command varies and each has his or her own beliefs and ways of worship of the Lord. But with this last group a compromise is easy and should be worked out in the manner the Mandalis are showing us. It should be our aim to educate the other groups on right lines and bring them round too. I believe that this emphasis on spiritual sadhana in married life is the most valuable gift from the mother and I am sure that it is bound to have miraculous effects. We have the case of parents who ask the children to go to the temple or to hold prayers and who at the same time are engaged otherwise, at cooking or out shopping. They forget that practice is better than precept. It is my conviction that children should not be put to religious observances against their inclinations. The elderly members of the family should make the children follow them by their rigid example.

The simplest sadhana is the holding of Namajapa or prayers and every Hindu should hold it every day at an appointed hour, say in the evening. All the members of the family should assemble and hold such prayers in their homes. The absentees should hold them at the appointed time wherever they may be – in the temples, in the playing grounds, in the running train, in the shops or in the offices. All other business should be suspended during this appointed time. If every Hindu would take a vow in this respect and keep to it, that is the best we can achieve as a beginning in the common interests of our society. Of course, individuals can have other sadhanas at other times according to their qualifications and environment.

Although not directly associated with the work of the Mandalis, there is important task which should engage our serious attention. The Hindu philosophy is high and sublime as the Himalayas and its literature consists in hundreds of original works and a greater number of commentaries. There have been several translations and adaptations of some of these original works in Sanskrit into the various provincial languages. But it is a matter of regret to note that no serious attempt has been made so far to collect, analyze and codify their teachings in a manner suited to ready reference and with a view to make the largest number of people understands at least the basic ideas. In almost all our religious books there is a good deal of repetition and overlapping. The same subject will be found dealt with in greater and smaller detail in dozens of books. For instance, the yoga shastra lies scattered in about twenty five Upanishads, the yoga darshana of Patanjali, some of the Puranas and several other works like Goraksha Paddhati, Hata Yoga pradeepika, Kheranda Samhita, Yoga Taravali of Shankerachrya etc. None of these gives us a complete picture. This diversity was inevitable in older days when the art of printing was unknown. In these days the position is different and it is the duty of the learned to compile comprehensive works on all branches of our philosophy in Sanskrit and the provincial languages and thereby make the fullest use of the vast treasure and spread its message to the utmost extent in India and outside.

Once again, I visited the Haripad Mandali on the occasion of its Anniversary with the usual items of Akhanda nam, Bhajan etc. The whole function was well attended and it was evident that the Mandali has been able to make its voice felt by and instill new life into the public of the locality. On this occasion also I gave a discourse on the goal we have to keep in mind, the importance of Sadhana and the success of Gurubhakti yoga. To the sisters assembled I made a special appeal to follow the foot steps of the Divine Mother, to keep the Mother’s teachings always before the eyes.

I expressed the hope that through the efforts of the Mandalis the Divine Mother’s message would reach every Hindu home and make their lives sublime. I take this opportunity to repeat the hope and to pray the Almighty for this glorious result the fulfillment of Mother’s noble mission.

– V,K,Moothathu, Advocate, Haripad

Redeeming Power

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Like many others of my generation, I drifted through life with no firm beliefs or settled convictions. I knew of only one reality, a world where men live, suffer and die. I was vaguely familiar with the teachings of the great religions of the world. But to me, it all sounded like “the brave music of the distant drum”.

During Mother’s visit to Trivandrum in 1953, I walked in casually one evening, when Mother was in the middle of a discourse. Her first words which fell into my ears where a direct answer to a doubt that was haunting me at the time. They illumined a dark corner in my mind. She had spoken out of context. Yet, I thought it was only a coincidence. Later I gathered, that many others had similar experiences; when Mother interrupted Her discourses in response to a tormented soul. This is perhaps the reason why Her discourses sometimes appeared to be a series of unconnected remarks. I now fancy that Her talks are a sally of the universal mind in the volley of innumerable questions of troubled spirits. But at that moment, I thought no further about it. Occasionally, I used to attend Her discourses for a short time and go away. I also had seen Her often in samadhi radiating ineffable peace. Yet, so dense was the fog that surrounded my mind, that they left no lasting impression on me.

More by accident than by design, I visited Mother’s home in Mangalore towards the close of 1955. some devotees and disciples had also come the same day. All those who came to see Mother stayed under Her hospitable roof. Still a stranger, to Mother’s ways, I was amazed when we were all received and treated like children coming to see their mother on a holiday. I saw something new, something more loftier than a Mother’s love; a love with no trace of expectation of return. I felt the presence of divine love in its purest form.

During the four days we stayed there, Mother Herself attended to our comforts with meticulous care. She Herself looked into every detail. She would also talk to us again and again for hours together. She had only one subject – truth and its realization . Here was harmony between two worlds. Here was the highest wisdom mixed with a mother’s love.

We listened to a voice which carried a sense of inner authority. Mother’s message went straight into the heart with the force of an intimate personal impact. It is one thing to read books containing the wisdom of the past; another, to listen first hand to words of power coming direct from the depths of truth. It is one thing to have food hot from the oven; and another to feed on the faded food of yesterday.

Mother’s parting advice was to devote half an hour a day to the chanting of the divine name “Sree Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram”. In spite of all that I had heard, it was hard enough for me even then to believe that the repetition of a name, however divine, would take one nearer to truth. But by this time, I was caught in the spell of Mother’s love of the loftiest kind. So, merely out of devotion for Her, I decided to carry out Her instructions. Here is perhaps a feeble illustration of Mother’s profound saying: “Devotion is the connecting link between action and knowledge”.

It is difficult to believe that a dark, apparently lifeless seed buried underground, would soon burst into a green shoot. It has to be seen to be believed. The power of a divine name taken from a divine Guru has to be experienced to be believed.

I soon discovered for myself that Mother was not merely imparting a name but also infusing a redeeming power that slowly vivifies the inner world.

I attended the entire session when Mother visited Madras in 1956. One morning Mother delivered an inspiring message in English, out of schedule. The words came with tremendous force and speed. This message had a strange fascination for me. The same evening, Mother went into deep samadhi in the middle of Her discourse. I had seen Her in samadhi many times before; but this time, I had an inner experience which is difficult to describe. The following words from “Pilgrim’s Progress” may convey some idea, though inadequate, of the experience:

“This made a strange seizure of the Spirit, it brought light with it and commanded a silence in my heart of all those tumultuous thoughts that before did use like masterless hell hounds to roar and bellow and make a tedious noise within me.”

Since then I missed no opportunity to attend the sessions from the beginning to end.

“Like unto those who in a rigorous winter draw near the fire, we go as often as we can to that ardent fire which warms the soul.”- W.James.

I had imagined that the path of spirituality was a dismal negation of life with a doubtful promise of ultimate peace and joy. So it amazed me when I saw that the very first fruit of spirituality is the disappearance of life’s monotony. A new enchantment is added like a gift to life. Every moment is charged with a sense of purpose. Every event assumes a new meaning. Slowly even misfortunes lose their sting. The darkness of evil changes by the pale morning light of another world.

I now firmly believe that in Mother’s life, the doctrine of divine descent finds affirmation anew. This not a blind belief. It is founded on experience. In fact, it was by listening to Mother’s messages that I discovered for the first time the difference between faith and credulousness, between devotion and sentimental effusiveness, between surrender and fatalism.

“Enter the path ! there spring the healing streams
Quenching all thirst there bloom the immortal flowers
Carpeting all the way with joy; there throng
Swiftest and sweetest hours.” -Light of Asia.

– P.Parameswaran Nair

The Starry Splendour

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

In the year 1949, I had the fortune to attend the bhajan of Sri Rama Devi Bhaktha Mandali, Bombay , in the Brhaman Sahayak Sangh Hall at Shivaji Park . I visited the hall with the curiosity to see Mother and enjoy the bhajan. I had heard much about Her and Her teachings from my wife. On the day referred to above, my wife pressed me to accompany her to the hall. When we reached, it was packed with ladies; gents were standing outside in the corridor. The bhajan was in the last stage and when I peeped into the hall where there was a pin-drop silence, I was amazed to see the figure of a saintly lady with lustre on the face standing with Her hands on the waist similar to the posture of Lord Vithal of Pandarapur. I waited eagerly to watch the developments; but the figure was still and static like a statue. After the bhajan was declared over, I bowed humbly before Her and returned home. Later I was informed that She was standing in the same attitude for about forty minutes.

For our first interview, my wife and I went at the appointed time with fruits and flowers. Our arrival was communicated to the Mother, and we were advised to wait. In an inner room the saffron coloured asan was kept for the Mother. Incenses were burning in the room which was full of fragrance. All the doors of the room were closed and we awaited Her arrival with expectation. She stepped in quietly by opening the rear door of the room and occupied the asan. We bowed down before Her and offered fruits and flowers which were returned to us as Prasad. Then we were given the initiation. Within a few minutes, I saw the blue sky with twinkling stars, the enchanting and cool light of the full moon and heard some sort of humming sound of a flowing rivulet and I became still and silent. I also felt that some lukewarm vapour was entering my ear when the mantra was chanted. Joy was experienced. There was the manifestation of asta-satwik bhawas in my body. Thereafter I lost control over my body and was fully immersed in bliss. I came to myself after three quarters of an hour when there was nobody in the room except my wife. We then prostrated before Mother, took leave and returned home with new lives and hearts full of joy.

– Sri Chandrachud