Some Deep Impressions

Gen.Dr.B.N.Bhandari

Album-No-30-Pic-No-65

 

It is with some diffidence that I write because I am not in a position to effectively describe the many virtues and traits of One, the like of whom I have not known before. We all have our vices and virtues, but a person who is all Virtue is quite unimaginable until actually lived with in close proximity. Ma acts like a magnet –She touches you where you are most sensitive and vulnerable! She understands the hidden feelings and desires better than you know them yourself; and She comes to your assistance when you least expect any help possible. No wonder many diverse families have become Her own and their collective strength is progressively expanding. A few days of contact with her has the implication of a lifetime of association.

My own contact with her dates only from 1963. I knew nothing about her while I was posted at Poona during the last year of my military career. My wife and I heard that Ma had arrived in neighbouring Kirkee as a guest of the local renowned industrialist, Mr.S.P.Khosla. She came with a reputation of being very learned in Scriptures of which she had made a special deep study. My wife, Kamla is religious minded. If she hears of a saintly person she must pay a visit. This is in response to the hidden urge for spirituality. I am invariably called upon to accompany her and I usually comply, mostly to satisfy a curiosity. In this particular case my own curiosity was paramount. I wanted to see for myself the form that saintliness had taken in a cousin of mine. With some difficulty we found an entrance into the Satsang circle of 5 a.m. on a cool November morning. Perhaps a dozen of us were there, all squatting on the carpeted floor of the sitting room. I conveniently planted myself close to a wall. The atmosphere was quiet and serene.

A few minutes later, a lady appeared at the opposite door. She was Ma. She sat down facing us. There was a complete hush and we all bowed in obeisance. She did likewise and one or two arrivals did her a personal pranam. She gently said, “Any questions?” and somebody audibly asked, “What is Shraddha?” Hardly half a minute passed and Ma burst into song giving a complete reply in rhythmic Hindi, taking some twenty minutes to do so. Her face had now assumed an expression of divinity and she spoke as if in a trance. I was deeply stirred. What a memory! I said to myself. How has she mugged up a complete answer to, perhaps, a pre-arranged question? Another question followed and again there was the same sequence of events. How astounding!

On our return my wife and I discussed Ma. She certainly had a magnificent expression when singing. And what a colossal memory! How did she arrange to dole out so many facts in correct sequence and all in rhyme? It was astounding. She must have been at it all night. It was a phenomenon well worth a visit. We had been amply repaid for our effort. Yes, we will go again.

The next day we repeated the visit. The same sequence of events – the same divine expression and again complete replies in song and rhyme, followed by a talk in prose. Now it dawned on me that the feat we have been witnessing was no feat of memory at all. The rhyming was spontaneous. Nothing was pre-arranged. It was obvious that we were in the presence of a divine gifted ‘person’ who spoke in the Mandir as one inspired. Replies were perfect and complete and what little was not fully understood was clarified in prose. I had never come across such a One in my life.

Any random questions could be asked and a perfect reply followed. Questions mainly pertained to one’s traits and emotions: what causes anger, what is love and what it is capable of achieving, what is the cause of rebirth and what is karma chakra, how can one rise above the karmas, why did Lord Krishna wield the Sudarshan chakra having promised previously that he would not participate in the war; what kind of a good and a righteous act was that of Rama when he sent away Sita to the Valmiki Ashram? Answers were almost satisfying and convincing. They were radically different from what one usually finds in the commentaries by the numerous intellectuals of today. She was a person, we thought, who had a clear feel of the subject, who could interpret Rama and Krishna from their point of view and satisfy the seekers that all was consistent with the Scriptures. Nay, the Scriptures took strength from such lives.

In 1964,immediately on retirement from Army service, I was re-employed in Delhi. Meanwhile, Ma had moved to distant Dharwar in the Mysore State. My aged mother frequently suffered from Angina. For some reason of her own, she accompanied her grand-daughter to Dharwar to be with Ma whose spiritual attainments were already known to the family. From Delhi to Dharwar is a long journey by train and at Poona my mother suffered a severe pain in the chest. It was a heart attack. With great difficulty, they finished the journey. At Dharwar railway station, Ma was there to receive them. My mother fell into Her arms and declared that she had come to die in Her presence! And so it came to be.

On hearing the news of the illness, my wife and I reached Dharwar post haste. Soon after, my brothers and relations also came all the way from different stations. My mother was quietly resting in bed and was extremely well looked after by Dr.Mehta and the ashram family. All were giving her the fullest attention under the vigilant instructions of Ma. The latter herself was very ill with her long standing pains in the legs which almost paralyzed her. But these, along with her migraine headaches, did not deter her from being personally present at the bedside of the ailing lady. Ma was frequently bodily lifted and carried in a chair to the sick room where she attended to my mother and behaved as if she was herself perfectly normal and in a position to give my mother her full and undivided attention.

This was done some half a dozen times in the 24hours and whenever she came, my mother seemed to be full of appreciation and gratitude. During these times Ma brought considerable solace to the dying lady and completely removed fears of the coming event. She carried out a detailed “Krito Samar” and her assurances made my mother bravely face death with a conscience freed from all feeling of sin. There was no anguish when she passed away. Ma herself conducted the funeral proceedings and the oration on the spot was elating to all members of the family.

She sang:

सूर्य की ज्योति अंतिम री, जोत जला के जा रही।

ज्योतिर्मय हुई जो बसी, आज सबको छोड़ के जा रही॥१॥

प्रेम की ज्योति उदय हुई, जब सरस्वती का जन्म हुआ।

प्रेम दायिनी प्रेम प्रवाहिणी, सत्व रमणी का जन्म हुआ॥२॥

अपनी चाह न माँग कोई, सबको सुख देती चली।

देख देख उस प्रेमिका की, आज सामने चिता जली॥३॥

लो अग्न प्रज्वलित हुई, अग्नि जोत थी बन गई।

अखण्ड जोत बनी जो जली, वह प्रतीक ज्योति बन गई॥४॥

चिता ज्योति बन जली, जीवन भर जिस प्रेम किया।

जीवन का हर अंग अंग, ज्योति सम जिस देन दिया॥५॥

अज वही अग्न में अग्न भई, देख देख है जा रही।

प्रेम आसना पर बैठी, दुल्हिन देख है जा रही॥६॥

तेरी ज्योति सों ज्योति ले, ज्योतिर्मय तव कुल भये।

हर बहु हर पुत्र पौत्र, सीस झुका कर ज्योति ले॥७॥

तिलक लगाओ राखी का, जन्म सफल हो जायेगा।

‘सरस्वती’ का कहा माने, कुल भी अमर हो जायेगा॥८॥

The general feeling around was that of peace. Our very dear mother had lost her life and we, her children, silently wept at our loss. But within us all there was so much thankfulness that death could not have come under better auspices. The whole episode of the illness and the funeral makes a historic reading, clearly indicating what are right actions and correct thinking and what happens to us when we depart from this world of the living.

Here was one instance that revealed to us the true nature of Ma. Her own illness meant nothing to Her when her attention was required for another where her love was unlimited. For many years now we have much closer association with Ma. Each year that has passed has made us feel her perfection in everything that she does. Her daily actions match the Holy Gita in every way. She has so much endeared herself to us that she has become one with the family. But the real truth is otherwise. She has taken us under her vast umbrella and we have imperceptibly walked into her fold.

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