In this issue, we are introducing a new series in which the more mysterious and the deeper aspects of Mother are presented before the reader by a writer who intends to keep himself anonymous; he will be known to the readers as “Sainath”.
Every incarnation, while being a manifestation of the Eternal and the Bound- less Basis of all Existence, was characterized by the cam- ouflage of a common mortal’s appearance. Even Lord Krishna who was described no less a sage than Vyasa to be the most complete manifestation of Godhead possible in human form,evaded the understanding of all except a few whom He graced with the sight of His devine form. Even highly evo- lved souls are characterised by both these qualities; but they attain to it by vigorous effort whereas incarnations. manifest themselves as such. Mother is one such instance.
“I am not any thing that you are not, my child ” says mother to the visitor; “Mine is the state of Know ledge ignorance; I do not know what I know.” But when some of the visitors point to the miracles that they had experienced on account of her grace, she simply says “I do nothing; they happen because your faith is great. More convincingly, she adds.” If I can cure diseases. why should there be any hospitals at all? If I can help the needy why should so many starve and be poor”? “What a pity; My boy has also failed in his exa mination. and my daughter is almost always suffering from a bad headache. I am not able to help my children, dear lady, what can I do for yours?”* she replies to a lady who begs for a favour for her son. Though something within us tells us strongly that she is all-powerful, we are silenced by her misleading logic.
How decieved are by her words, we come to realize as we observe her more closely and carefully. As we draw closer to the vari ous inmates of the Ashram, everyone comes out with an account of his own experiences and observations that throw a flood of light on what She says. For we come to realize that we are misled by our understanding of what she says and that her words have a different dimension in their connotation which we can hardly understand owing to the infinite disparity between her level of being and of our own if we have a being at all. Even these narrations of one’s experiences to us does not easily happen. Everyone among them, on being asked for his (or her) experiences by the newcomers, replies that (or she) has none! This should not be taken for deliberate effort to mislead us. For the same person later gives an we account of his experience of his own accord, and his only explanation of this discripancy will be that Mother’s permi ssion was only given then. Indeed, there is a strangeness about the experiences one has from Mother: which some times they get so completely lcst from memory, that even those who had very remarkable experiences feel that they have none to recount. Sometimes these experiences return to the mind so vividly that it be comes impossible to contain them without expressing them verbally.
Some of these ex periences reveal some of the hidden aspects of this Devine Manifestatson and open vistas into “the Great Beyond” that is normally concealed from us by the mask of a mortal.
One of the strangest and the most enigmatic aspects of Mother is that She never takes any food.
‘She never knew a morsel of food’, once her late mother-in-law sighed, “nor a wink of sleep”. Even as a child,I was told that Mother never asked for anything from anybody–not even food for herself! Even as a babe she never cried for milk, it was left to late Rangamma to re member the time of giving her a feed. Even then, she never thinned on away or weakened that account. She ex plained away this mystery to some people by saying that-she had some aitment which made it impossible for her to eat anything- a blessed ailment it is which very few even among the most rigorous of sages could achieve! She does not take any substitutes even. All that she could be pursuaded to take regularly by her devotees is coffee three or four times in a day, and an ounce or two each time.
Whence does She get all the energy and strength which She sometimes displays to the utter amazement and shame of even the most athle- tic of her devotees? That que- stion haunted my mind for quite a long time. But one day I thought I caught the clue when
One day a small family consisting of the parents and a few children visited Mother and they were beside them- selves with the joy of prostra- ting to her. Mother said, in the midst of casual talk, that some people are devoted enough to offer first to her whatever they eat even while staying far away from Jillellamudi. “But, She added, “in their anxiety to hurrily feed their children with idlis before star ting on the journey to Jille Ilamudi, they offer plain idly to my photo while they dress them with ghee and chutnee while eating themselves: and by doing so, they make it difficult for me to eat those idlis.”The couple started shed ding tears of joy as they bowed again and again to her feet. Later I knew that Mother re ferred to them only all through. Strange, is n’t it?
One Mr. Lakshminarayana of Guntur once told me of a similar experience which he had. Mr and Mrs Lakshmi narayana were ardent devotees of the Mother. Everyday they offered the food that they had cooked before the photo of Mother and partook of it as her gift. Every weekend, when they visited Jillellamudi, Mother used to refer to what was prepared in their house on a particular day, imitating the way they made their offering. She used to tell them when either salt or chillies were used in excess and when they were overboiled or when they were improperly cooked. When they asked her whether the reference was to them only, she replied with feigned anger “Do you think that my only business is to see what everyone is doing in his house? Am I a thief? If there is a coincidence between what I said and what had happened in your house, it is only by accident!” But so many and so frequent were tions! these accidents’ that they fell under what one of cur brothers said ** a prefect accident is a miracle.”
In the light of such experience which several others had, I had closely perceived that even Jillellamudi, whenever an offering was made in the kitchen room of the free boarding house, before Mother’s photo, she showed signs of satiation of hunger, of having had a stomachfull, and belched sitting on her cot in her thatched at a great distance.
In the light of these incidents I could dimly perceive the reason behind one of her instructions to the closer devotees-not to beat or drive away the creatures like cats, dogs, crows etc., which might approach the offering when they were being offered but to look upon them as being her own manifestations
When I once asked her whether I should think that she draws her nourishment from what was offered to her by various devotees in various places, She told me that is in not necessary. For, the One who is All, and from whom all existence (including the five elements) draws it’s nourishment, there is no need to draw any nourishment from anywhere. That, ofcourse, is her characterstic way of putting things.