Love at first sight

Dr.Mrs. Kamla Bhandari

 

12th November, 1963 was a very significant day for me as it ‘ushered in’ a new era in my life. It marked the beginning of a phase which radically changed my outlook on life. I met Revered Ma for the first time on that memorable day at Pune and what a deeply impressionable meeting it was! It would be no exaggeration to say that it was love at first sight. Two years prior to this, I had been wanting to meet Ma since I heard from a common relation how she got submerged in Puja, and a unique treasure of volumes of Shastras had emerged in consequence.

ma

My urge to meet Ma was based partly on this curiosity and partly from my quest for “God realization”. I had always been inspired by great souls and to come across one who belonged not only to my class of society, but apparently had the same background as myself in the way of general education, upbringing, family traditions, principles and ideals, who had held a responsible job as I had done and to crown it all, a lady few years younger to me, Who now, I learnt was immersed in spirituality, made my inquisitiveness grow all the more intense. I mused, “How did this normal lady suddenly develop the wisdom of yore which has manifested itself as an eternal fountain of spiritual knowledge? How did the light dawn on her? Had she become God realized? Was Her behaviour now very different from ordinary mortals?” All these and many more questions raced in my mind, creating a desperate urge within me to know the answer.

When I learnt that Ma had actually arrived in Pune, where we lived at that time, I felt it was the design of Providence to fulfill my long cherished desire. I immediately got in touch with the people who had arranged for Ma’s stay. It was disappointing to learn that she avoided newcomers, but at the same time it was encouraging to hear further that if I landed at the morning Satsang held at 5 a.m. daily I would perhaps get an opportunity to hear her.

The moment I set my eyes upon her, there was a marked impact within me as if my innermost core was stirred. A spark seemed to pass through my entire being and I felt an instantaneous magnetic affinity towards her. After hearing her divine exposition in verse in reply to a Sadhak’s question something within me urged instinctively that “this was it” i.e. the reality I had been in search of. First impressions can often be misleading but the passage of time through the last twelve years has only strengthened that observation.

Subsequently, I mustered courage to seek a private meeting with Ma. When I sat close to her, the dynamism of her lively personality coupled with the radiant exuberance of her love made her irresistible. Yet, she had the boldness to paint my real picture and reveal to me how my complexes had veiled my basic interior. There was so much genuineness in her analysis that I could not help being convinced that her interpretation of me was not only logical but factual. How true is the saying “if there is anyone one does not know, it is one’s own self”. In Ma’s presence that day I forgot her young age and felt like a child submerged in the love of the Mother. Ma’s sublime love has amply stood the test of time because it is true, genuine, all embracing and intellectually vibrant. In consequence my own love for her has multiplied manifold, not because of my inherent capacity to love, but because she is so worthy of admiration and adoration.

To imagine that any association with such a one would be full of bouquet galore with no brick bats, would be far removed from reality. In fact, it is these brick bats which constitute the real Grace of such great souls. Nevertheless, many a storm has been weathered, each causing interminable ripples, stirring the depths of my very being, but with the great difference that each storm has been the precursor of a greater peace, and my relationship with Ma has gained in strength as time passed on. Ma never shirks telling us the Truth about ourselves, howsoever bitter it maybe, but she is ever ready with the soothing balm when she showers Her love on us in such abundance.

“Know thyself” is a necessary pre-requisite for Sadhana and self realization as has been proclaimed by the sages.
Having had the good fortune of not only being intimately associated with Ma, but also the exclusive privilege which she has bestowed on me and my family, by making our humble home as her abode whenever she is in Delhi, I have had the opportunity to see Ma’s unique way of dealing with people. Her love is universal, only it manifests itself in different ways depending on the needs of the person concerned. I have seen people coming with parched hearts, tormented with pain and sorrow and Ma in Her compassion and deep love offering succour and solace to each one. It seems as if she fills their empty pitchers to the brim from her in-exhaustible and perennial fountain of love so that once they get satiated, they will be able to impart the same love to others. As the thirsty go to the ever flowing stream so the afflicted rush to Ma to be relieved of their pain. Even those who in their heyday refused to see Ma’s greatness have sought refuge in her when in trouble. They want to be safe under the umbrella of her benevolent compassion since they know that she will spare no effort to help as she bears no grudge or ill will against anyone.

The Vedantic term Advaita, seemed only abstract to me, conveying nothing that pertained to practical life, but now after having seen Ma’s method of conduct in the sense that her identification with the other is total and absolute the term has unraveled itself beautifully. She keeps the other’s interest in mind to an absolute degree with no consideration for her own prestige, reputation, status, physical discomfort, monetary gain or loss, or personal sacrifice. Therein lies the secret of her greatness and divine living. She is so indifferent to herself that many a time her actions do not conform to set conventions and apparently not in tune with Sage hood. Does she seek any personal recognition? The answer is an emphatic ‘no’. In fact, it is often noticed that when people’s jobs are complete, their ego deters them from offering gratitude and they justify this lapse by going on the offensive and even imputing motives. Such are the vile moves of the human ego! The beautiful part is that Ma does not only remain complete uninfluenced by such ungrateful and at times slanderous retorts of others, but continues to love them just the same and whenever they are again in trouble, she never takes cognizance of their past attitude.

Ma has been instrumental in completely transforming my outlook on life. My basic values have been radically changed. Her method is emphasis on developing reasoning and objectivity which is the only way to stabilize one’s attitude at all levels whether it be the field of enhancing gross efficiency or inculcating harmony in emotional relationships or discovering a new intellectual horizon. Her own life is a practical example and an eye opener in all situations that normally crop up. If I have not reached perfection, it is certainly on account of my own short comings. Ma has spared no effort to put me and my family on a sound footing – to bring us nearer to each other and the Truth. When I went to Ma steeped in ignorance, it was difficult to discern between right and wrong. In Her grace and infinite Love a wealth of knowledge and a devotional attitude have been imbibed, eliminating anguish and despair to a great extent.

To be able to express what exactly Ma, means to me personally calls for the language beyond words which alone can signify the chords of the heart! Only those who have tasted the nectar of her Supreme affection can perhaps fathom that immense Compassion and Divine Holiness.

To Love Divine

When Love is in the air,

I know Some One is there

Whose Hand will Uphold in me,

Truth that will bind me to Thee.

That Hand which guided me through life,

That smile which overcame all strife,

Tell of the Giver who did impart,

Divine Bliss that reigns my very heart.

Your soft tread beside me wherever I go

Makes my path with Your Presence aglow,

Through life You are my Guiding Beam

Which shows me how this world’s a dream.

Everlasting security You give us all,

To embrace this world without a fall,

In life I can never then be alone,

For in my heart is your Eternal Home.

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