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Prof M Sivaramakrishna
Magazine : Mother of All
Language : English
Volume Number : 6
Month : January
Issue Number : 1
Year : 2007

Before we go into another aspect recorded in Geethopadesam, it is necessary to remind ourselves that the incessant interrogation regarding Mother’s mystery can never be complete or comprehensive. In the very nature of things, the colossal range of her advent, her life, her words, are huge terrains, the tips of which alone one glimpses. (That too, if She decides, such a thing is needed.)

This explains repetitions in our contemplation. We come back to the same words, same events again and again but find fresh facets of meaning. The colors of words change, the structure of events acquire new contours. Above all, the simplest things appear awesome. As our scriptures say we see with wonder, hear with wonder and the wonder, after some time, dissolves into vibrant silence. As the Narada Bhakti Sutras say “yat java matto bhavati stabdho bhavati athmaramo bhavati”: “with a realization of spiritual devotion one becomes spiritually intoxicated; one becomes overwhelmed; one comes to rejoice in the Self”

Towards this end, contemplation in any form, in any context is sure to enrich, nourish and nurture our seed of love for Mother. But the road map of contemplation has many blocks, many speed breakers which are risky and make us quite often trip and get trapped. Even when Amma states plain and simply “who she is”, the words slip through like water in or through a sieve. “The saying of Truth, or the radiant darshan she graced with in such contexts the dormant awareness (of Rajamma) becomes ignited. The light that emanates from Amma and dazzles her becomes evident. Rajamma is intoxicated with joy. Tears of joy continue to be shed. But what is the use? In no time clouds of cosmic illusion cover them up. Rajamma remembers only (what she regards as a fact) of herself being the guru. She then gets on to a pedestal, assumes the lotus posture and sits.”

Then we get a pertinent but somewhat anomalous question. Rajamma asks: “Mother! Tell your true state of being (consciousness) from your childhood.” Pat comes Amma’s answer: “If I had to tell the truth of my being, I will not remain here this long. In short, the Truth about Amma can hardly be revealed – like a straight-jacket answer to a question. Questions put by Rajamma to Amma particularly about revealing herself and the nature of that revelation can never have any answers. They cannot be verbalized.

As the author, Vasundhara says: “yes: If Rajamma puts (such a question) even after witnessing so many incidents, and gaining so much experience, it can only mean that like a sesame seed on a mirror, everything has vanished behind a curtain. Amma does not have the habit of making anything articulate in and available through words through speech. Amma’s tendency, her intention is to evoke through signs, through indirection. She communicates and has no manner, no distinct mode of communication.” (pp.46 – 47)

Let us pause here and look at this phenomenon. How does one communicate? By words, by gestures. To speak you require speech. To express something without speech requires, perhaps, “body language” – its gestures, its positioning in space and many such related aspects. That is why, the author Vasundhara says “one word is enough. For that such lengthy conversation and so much time are not needed.” (p.47)

But then why does Mother, with such compassion, talk for considerable time and at such length “answer” the questions? Modern research into the role of speech reveals one important thing. It is the fact that some areas of consciousness are receptive to comprehending a speech and its depth meanings without even understanding the words. For instance, music can be enjoyed without knowing its technicalities, indeed, even if it is in a language other than the mother tongue. In other words, when words are spoken (particularly in the area of spirituality) by the Realized one, they are no longer verbal signs, but energisers which activate the deeper levels of awareness that something is being experienced beyond words and their meaning. If a child is put to sleep by a lullaby not one word of which the child knows, then the Divine Mother can immeasurably deepen and intensify areas of awareness which are beyond words. This is, perhaps, what T.S.Eliot called “the auditory imagination”, “the feeling for feeling and syllable and rhythm” which penetrates the conscious levels of our being and brings something back to the surface. And that is awareness which exists in itself, delights in itself and is self-effulgent. The sound of Mother’s words constitute

 “Nada Brahma”.

If all this is complex, one can look at our own experience of using words for communication. Often we do not mean what we say. Social propriety requires us to contextualize the meaning of words which, in many ways, the speaker does not intend. (A good example is introducing dignitaries in a public function attributing non-existing qualities to those on the dais. They are taken for granted and hardly expected to be the truth)

But then, in absorbing Mother into our being, words play also on the rich “semantic qualities and possibilities inherent in language itself. This is particularly significant in spiritual texts which are dialogues. They are narratives which play on words and which thrive on the deliberate omission of connecting links. They also make use of symbols. (cf. “the cloud of Maya” used by Mother). Here these are verbal signs which evoke symbolic effects.

One of the most celebrated post-modernists, Jacques Lacan, sees this quality as comparable to the literary expressive mode called dhvani. He notes the paradox that when a patient goes to a psychoanalyst, and tells him/her problems which he or she cannot tell others in most cases the problems do not exist. For instance, as Sri Ramakrishna says, when a tiger appears in a dream, our heart beat rises and we come off with fear, sweating all over. It is a dream tiger but our fear and heartbeat are not unreal. We actually experience them. In other words, the psychoanalyst makes use of a dream experience to cure the patient of his neurosis. If as Lacan says, “an analyst can play on the power of symbols by evoking them in a calculated fashion in the semantic resonances of his remarks” he is actually pressing into service the potentialities of “dhvani” implicit in both word and symbol.

What is “dhvani”? We can define it, says Lacan, “as the property of speech by which it conveys what it does not say.”2

Conveying the Truth through symbols, a literary artist can do Or any artist can. But he/she stops on the threshold of symbols and their decoding in terms of aesthetic relish or Rasa. 

When Mother speaks, however, there is delight; we relish the play in words, the sabda chamatkara. But the Source of the relish we do not generally comprehend and perceive. It is this perception – directly of that SOURCE that Mother’s words hone to perfection. She cleanses the lenses of our perception in that we realize the Truth that in her the Speaker, the Speech and what is Spoken are merged in an indivisible totality. Mother does what the psychoanalyst can hardly do. The psychoanalyst makes the troubled individual, as Aldous Huxley says; adjust himself to less troubled individuals. But Mother shows that her world is always joyful. 

By evoking this PURNATVA, we live joyfully in a world in which way she playfully makes it appear as joyless. Then everything is sankalpa. Everything, let us note.³ 

  1. Mother’s words are all from Geethopadesam by Brahmandan Vasundhara Devi; Jillellamudi; Sri Maatha Prachuranalu; 2003

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