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Prof M Sivaramakrishna
Magazine : Mother of All
Language : English
Volume Number : 9
Month : January
Issue Number : 1
Year : 2010

In “Weaver of Wisdom ” (Mother of All; October – December, 2009), I cited Anne Bencroft’s remarks on women saints. I tried to reflect on Mother in terms of those views. Two more facets of wisdom stand out which Bencroft describes as “a clarity of expression and liberation which at the same time seems to be the very deepest sort of relationship.” Thus, clarity of expression and deepest relationship are seen as marks of wisdom. Let us, in this issue, see how these two form our relationship with Mother.

Clarity of expression is concerned with language as the vehicle of thought. Expression is the product of experience – experience of various hues. With various people with whom we act and interact. Thus, these two are interlinked. How does Mother express herself? In her seeing people of varied temperaments, longings, tastes, expectations? In this sense, we have a very fascinating and immeasurably enjoyable gallery of various visitors to Mother. Each brings her/his personal idiosyncrasies. Young people of various age groups, professors, villagers, professionals of almost all jobs (doctors, engineers, scientists) , creative artists, litterateurs, singers, performing artists, administrators you name them, and they are all there in Mother’s galaxy of seekers.

Moreover, there are other facet seekers who may not, generally, know a word of Mother’s mother tongue. Some of them responded to her in, I think, a more earnest, insightful way, than those who know Telugu. So much at home with her expression and its comprehension that this resulted in writing uniquely insightful books on her. The amazing fact in this phenomenon is that language is not just verbal. There is communication which may not require words, the linguistic tradition of which we know.

We are now approaching the great mystery behind the weavers of wisdom. For them language is not bound by familiarity with its vocabulary, words, turns of speech, etc., both learnt and absorbed as mother tongue, effortlessly. And later on developed to the required levels of communicative competence. Mother spoke in Telugu but many Western visitors surely do not know it. Perhaps, a Telugu person translated Mother’s words. They understood, I suppose. But is understanding specially of Mother – totally dependent on words, original or translated? Or, is there something more than understanding in the process?

A clue is, it seems to me. provided by the contemporary debates in our country, especially about the need for communication skills. Many academic experts go on worrying themselves, and thereby worry others, about engineering graduates who are unemployable because they lack communication skills. Their speaking skills are virtually zero, they are shy. Therefore, 75% of them are not fit even for training. (see the ‘Opportunities’ pages of The Hindu). It means 25% are employable and therefore represent effective communication skills in English. In short, this group is crowned with “success”.

How does Mother communicate? Her language is simple, direct and easy to follow. Is this what attracts us? Or, is there something more behind her communicative ambience? There is absolute clarity of expression in her “speech”. Comprehension comes atmost instantly. In other words, the content of what she says is not difficult to follow. But then why do we seek her guidance? To get a job, to find a suitable alliance for our children, to keep us healthy? If we seek all these as motivations, is this not comparable to a corporate employee who moves from cadre to cadre by using communication modes skillfully? In short, clarity of expression which Mother embodies is liberation from communication as merely a mode for secular well being with — money and matrimony as ideal goals of life.

Communication is communion. The deepest sort of relationship – this is what it is. Mother’s wisdom is in transfiguring our innate nature as loving and being lovable. In other words, her words are transfiguring because they are steeped in love and oriented to the central aim of life living joyfully, she says “when this beautiful creation is created to be seen and enjoyed by us – – creation which is staring before our eyes — we stop seeing it and search for something else somewhere else. Why? If you close your eyes, thinking that all this should not be seen, what is it you see? Isn’t it all around darkness, when you shut your eyes?”

Open your eyes, to cite Sri Ram’s words, to communication as one totality of relations we have in our life. And how we should interact. The aim is living life as a journey into joy. This is what Mother shows us by living what she speaks about as living harmoniously.


Can we identify some of them? In relations, the source of freedom from suffering is tolerance. Somebody raised the question of tolerance in the context of apparent provocation? “they say that there is no one like Christ or Krishna” what should we do? Mother suggested: “I don’t say that even tolerance has no end, [no limits]. I think tolerance is destroying one’s liking and behaving according to the likings of others. Natural tolerance [patience] is not to feel hurt, whatever the situation.”

Tolerance goes with accepting diversity of all kinds. Diversity and duality go together. Underlying them are also commonalities. Sri Ram Sir gave an amusing but effective example which illustrates the diversity of tastes and temperaments. We went to a hotel to have some breakfast. The table we occupy has others also. You order what you like. The others order what they feel like eating. We don’t interfere with their tastes. They are not xerox copies of ourselves. But in spite of this, the thing which is common to us is hunger. To satisfy that hunger to eat food which suits you. In short, we are connected by the natural quality of hunger. Their unity stops and the diversity of satisfying it begins. In short, behavioral skills are effective when we absorb the natural qualities which we humans share and respect the individual traits. Tolerance now becomes not helplessly accepting what we cannot change but positively respecting differences.

The third related skill is also connected with equality. God, they say, is a democrat. His democracy is non-differentiating in terms of work but this has functional differences. Above all, the sacred is secular and vice versa. In a recent issue of Viswa Janani, I read about an incident highly suggestive of this truth. A huge fire broke out in Bapatla. Amma was personally supervising preparations of food packs for the victims. At that very moment a devotee asked: “Mother! Please tell me some path to get liberated!” Mother instantly replied: “Go there and help those people in packing food for those helpless people!” In other words, spiritual life and its spirit should inspire every activity. Indeed, sacralize everything.

The deepest sort of relationship is the one which radiates with the spirit of those three “skills” : Tolerance, respecting diversity and its consequences for our lives and every activity as stemming from these two.

Finally, Mother clarified all their in traditional frames but without giving them some kind of mystique. She was asked once : “Haven’t you, Mother experienced nirvikalpa samadhi..” Mother gave an infringing answer: “No, I didn’t… I thought that all sankalpa are nirvikalpa. But I never had a different sankalpa” This is an answer as simple as it is profound. More of it in our next…..

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