The Grace Dawns

Dr.J.K.Mehta

 

I was the sculptor – I cut, I trimmed, I recast. Slowly I chiseled out an idol of perfection. I saw it before my eyes. But it was not me, it was Ma – at whose altar I sit today to worship and adore the statue I once carved. My repeated question to myself today is: Will I ever become that perfect idol or remain a sculptor?

ma

In 1958, I was a renowned Doctor in Jalandhar (Punjab), with a happy home and a respectable social status. Qualities of true service to fellow-beings grew simultaneously and needy persons always found a place in my heart. I ran a free dispensary called “Daridra Narayan” for serving the poor. In spite of all this, there was some lacunae – gnawing feeling, urging me to discover something further. I sought the company of saints and scriptures and this led me to Raman Maharishi where I found an anchor. But, since no personal guidance was available, I continued to feel the emptiness within. Gradually, my study led me to certain conclusions and ‘Sadhana’ for me came to mean the resistance to and curbing down of desires through self-control; renunciation of worldly objects and retiring to the forests to practice austerities in seclusion to achieve God realization. This was ‘Sanyas’ for me, the highest objective in life. Only today, as the Grace dawns, do I realize how wrong and misleading my conceptions were.

I came in contact with Ma when I was called to visit her when she was sick. I discovered that her suffering was based on sheer physical exhaustion born out of care and looking after a mentally sick girl. It was her sense of selfless service that impressed me, and evidently, for some time my own virtuous acts paled into insignificance.
So far I had known Ma as a gay, happy-go-lucky person, an arm-chair social worker and very assertive in her views. On 9th March, 1958 on the advice of her sister, Miss Nirmal Anand, I, in consultation with my wife, invited her to our house. My wife doubted her character and I corroborated without confirmation. We wished to reform her and thought of weaning her away from her present life. Thereafter, Ma started attending my morning prayer. I sat on a high pedestal and started doling out Gyan in the form of instructions to her by quoting the Vedas, Gita and Upanishads of which I considered myself to be a connoisseur. She readily complied even though her own outlook and practical life was entirely different to mine. There was no word of protest nor did she contradict my wrong conceptions of spirituality. She identified herself with what I said, knowing that I did not translate those theories in my own daily life. She was the perfect pupil and would even anticipate my thoughts and take action accordingly.

Simultaneously, Ma started he own intense “Sadhana”. In her own Mandir, sitting before the living presence of the Lord, divine prayers burst forth from her like the perpetual flow of the Ganga. I find this enchanting today, but then, I was unaware of this aspect of Ma and I really marvel at my blindness. On the other hand, I was constantly admonishing her for her show of ‘ego’. There was no protest and she offered no defense! To top it all, she started serving our family at the gross level, doing petty jobs as desired and suggested by us. In addition to this, she also compensated for the emotional lacuna bringing greater concord and happiness in the family. All this was done so unassumingly that we took no notice of her humility and thought ourselves to be superior to her. We treated her like a servant and completely forgot her worldly status of a Director of Physical Education in the Punjab University. At the same time we were gloating over our success in the “reform” that had been brought about. We talked freely about it in our circle of friends and relatives and only today do I realise how much we defamed her, often in her very presence. All this never made her give us up or even register a protest. Such an attitude of absolute silence and perfect quietitude towards her own reputation and condemnation encouraged us all the more to exercise our authority over her.

My type of “Sadhana” was leading me to indifference towards my family and profession. Though the pinch of neglect was felt, it was condoned as an evidence of my increasing devotion. I considered the world as a great obstruction in the spiritual path. On the other hand, during the first five years of contact with Ma, the period of her intense Puja, I observed her taking an increasing interest in our family and all those who came into contact with her. Very often on receipt of a call from my wife, she would leave a verse half sung and drive to our place to carry out our insignificant errand, which occasionally meant many hours. In this period of her intense study, she used to hold coaching camps with 50 to 60 girls staying in her own house. There was an increasing efficiency in the management of her office. She was acquiring an internal quietitude in the midst of worldly turmoil, where she was playing her part most effectively, whereas I was finding the world, my duties and responsibilities an obstacle and thus sought solitude by ignoring all!

To intensify my Puja, she persuaded me and my wife to go to Rishikesh and seek the company of saints. She took leave for ten days from her office and came to our house in Jalandhar to look after the children. She was accommodated in the smallest back room, usually used as a store, where hardly one bed could fit in, whereas my children enjoyed their large well furnished bedrooms. Her own personal orderly standing by the car would fume at the shabby treatment especially since he respected and served Ma with devotion and love. Our servants treated her as a poor relation and often insulted her by serving stale food on the table and giving the best to the children. On another occasion, we all went to Rishikesh, Ma was driving her car carrying my small girls and servants, whereas I was in the other car with my wife and friends. We were quite oblivious of her status and the company that we endowed on her. I am today amazed as to what made me overlook even the normal etiquette as, basically, we were not ill-mannered people as far as the world goes. I now see the magnificence of Ma’s humility where she had reduced herself to dust to give me a practical example of the one who lives for others – little did I realize that one day, this dust on which I trampled would bring tears of regret into my own eyes.
Her smiles, her compassion and her love remained uninfluenced in spite of our negative treatment. Her endurance, forgiveness, sincerity, humility and her complete identification with others made a tremendous impact on my unconscious mind. The concept of tapas (endurance) was changing within me and I was observing the emergence of complete Egolessness – the state I considered to be the highest achievement in life. Another Raman was born! Here was the ‘Gyani bhakta’ who emerged as the absolute embodiment of the Gita and Upanishads – the Truth Incarnate before me.

Consistent with my conception of the culmination of Sadhana, Ma took long leave and went to Rishikesh – before she left, all her duties and responsibilities had been discharged towards her family, friends and office.
On the 2nd October, 1962 (exactly a month after she left for Rishikesh), I declared to her that she had attained perfection and that she was Bhagwan. She smiled and said: “If you consider that I have achieved my goal, then you must realize that the practical of this state was, my life before I entered your house”. She had given the proof of a true seeker and the method of self-realization. Now she reverted to her original nature of joy and smiles, carrying the sunshine with her wherever she went. This is the reason as to why even her past associates remark on meeting her now, that she is the same as ever. It took me all these years to climb down from my pedestal.
Seeing a Perfect image of my ideal – another Raman born, an incarnation of Gita, I wanted to come away to sit at her feet so that one day I might become the ‘ideal’ myself. When I spoke of my intentions to renounce the world, She dissuaded me to the utmost from taking any such step. She told me bluntly that Truth can be realized in the performance of one’s duty, in normal circumstances and in our day to day life. She argued, wrote letters to my wife asking me not to give up my profession and home. She even offered to come to Jalandhar for as long as I considered necessary for the guidance I was seeking. My conception of ‘Sanyas’ was so deep rooted that I did not understand her then and thought of her arguments as tests of my state of detachment and dispassion!

Finding me adamant, She started persuading my family to come along with me and would laughingly tell me: “You can’t become the symbol of love by trampling on the love of the ones who have claims on you.” It was only on this account that I brought my whole family with me to Rishikesh. My departure shook the town, which I was serving. Relations and friends were hurt and in their anguish cast aspersions on Ma and attributed motives to her. Little did they realize how persistently Ma had pleaded with us in order to prevent us from leaving our home. They were ignorant of the real facts, and we, in our complacency, did not tell them. Ma was aware of all these repercussions. She merely heard and smiled. There was no self-defense and nor did she give us any feeling of guilt.

Years have passed and for me, whatever it be, it has turned out to be a beautiful blessing, but for this, I would not have been able to see my misconceptions and the true light of Adhyatam.
Today I realize that my Guru had come in the form of a pupil to teach me as to what a perfect disciple should be and to rectify my misconceptions about ‘Sanyas’. I, in my goodness, was blinded by my own ego like the Devtas in the Kenopanishad, who could not recognize “Brahm” when He appeared in the form of “Yaksha” (a servant) before them.

Indeed, in my life the Lord has taken birth to destroy the evil within me. But for this Supreme Grace, I would not have known the true path and the method of Sadhana.

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