A DEVOTEE VISITS MOTHER
Mother’s Affection for Sister Nivedita
The Holy Mother was seated with a number of women devotees. I was acquainted with some of them. The Mother was very cheerful in their company. She welcomed me with a smile. I requested Gauri-Ma to bring from the library two books, the life of Sister Nivedita and the Indian lectures of Swami Vivekananda. I wished to read something from the life of Sister Nivedita. The Mother agreed and said, “Please read Nivedita’s life. I also received a copy of the book the other day. But I have not yet looked into it.” I felt a little shy to read the book in the presence of so many people. At the same time I was eager to read to the Mother the beautiful biography of the Sister written by Saralabala. So I obeyed her order. The Mother as well as the other devotees began to listen with rapt attention. Their eyes became moist on hearing of the wonderful devotion of Nivedita. Tears trickled down the cheeks of the Mother. Referring to Nivedita, she said, “What sincere devotion Nivedita had! She never considered anything too much that she might do for me. She would often come to see me at night. Once seeing that light struck my eyes, she put a shade of paper around the lamp. She would prostrate herself before me and, with great tenderness, take the dust of my feet with her handkerchief. I felt that she even hesitated to touch my feet.” The thought of Nivedita opened the floodgate of her mind and she suddenly became grave.
Those present began to give their reminiscences of Sister Nivedita. Durga-didi said, “It is the misfortune of India that she passed away at such an early age.” Another lady said, “She looked upon India as her motherland. She herself said so, many a time. On the day of the Saraswati Puja she would walk bare-footed, putting on her forehead the mark of the sacred ash of the sacrificial fire.” I finished reading. The Mother now and then expressed her feelings towards the Sister. She said at last, “The inner soul feels for a sincere devotee.”
Family and Spiritual Life
It was the hour for afternoon worship. The Mother changed her clothes and sat on the carpet before the image of Sri Ramakrishna. She had made some flower garlands with her own hands to decorate the image. Rash Behari, a young Brahmacharin, had kept near the garland some sweets for offering. Ants gathered around the sweets. Some ants were seen also in the garlands. Mother said, with a laugh, “See what Rash Behari has done! Sri Ramakrishna will be bitten by these ants.” She removed the ants and tenderly decorated the image with the garlands. Seeing her thus decorate the picture of her husband with flowers before others, Surabala, her sister-in-law,1 laughed. Later the Prasada was distributed to all.
A lady devotee said, “Mother, I have five daughters. I cannot find suitable bridegrooms for them. I am so anxious about it.”
Mother: “Why do you worry about their marriage? If you cannot find suitable husbands for them, please send them to the Sister Nivedita Girls’ School. They will be trained there. They will be very happy in the school.”
Another lady devotee: “If you have faith in the Holy Mother, then do as she asks you to do. That will be for your good. If you listen to her, you will have no worry.”
Needless to say, the mother of the five girls could hardly appreciate the advice.
Third devotee: It is very difficult to find suitable bridegrooms nowadays. Many boys refuse to marry.
Mother: “Yes, the boys have learnt how to discriminate. They are gradually realizing that the happiness of the world is transitory. The less you become attached to the world, the more you enjoy peace of mind.”
“The Master used to say that one should learn from the scriptures that God alone is real and the world illusory. Suppose I write to you a letter asking you to bring certain things for me. How long do you need the letter? So long as you do not know its contents. But when you have known the contents of the letter do you need it any longer? Then you will procure those things and come to me. On the other hand, what is the good of reading the letter day and night?”