It is often thought that personal relationships are the cause of bondage and that their existence is a hindrance to the attainment of Liberation. Such a view tends to kill the tenderness and love for fellow human beings in their hearts which are the only traits that prevent a man from becoming callous and misanthropie. This misconception is responsible for the prevalence of man’s inhumanity to man in the form of narrow dogmas and caste differences. It never occurs to the mind of a bigoted scholast that it is infinitely sacred to quench the thirst of a hungry and a thirsty low born wretch than to recite his Mantras and avoid the sight of a dying fellow human being on pretext of being polluted.
This mistaken notion is dispelled by what Mother says about personal relationships. She suggests that in their purest form personal relationships actualy aid a man in preceiving divinity in all creatures which is the goal of all spiritual endeavour. This is what Ramakrishna preached: this is what Vivekananda strove to establish in the Indian Society. It is this truth that Mahatma Gandhi taught. The wisdom of these teachers is testified by the verses in the Bhagavadgita in which the Lord said that the wise see Him in all creatures and all creatures in Him and that the wise look upon the animal, the low born and the Brahmin with an equal eye. No wonder that Mother asserts that personal relationships, if rightly cultivated are aids and not obstacles to the attainment of that highest wisdom.
“Which is the best Sadhana to attain perfection?” someone asked Mother. “Anything and everything that you do is Sadhana if you do it with sincerity.” “What was your Sadhana?” someone asked Her. “It is begetting children and looking after them” she replied. “Which is the best form of worship,” another asked her. The one who bears the whole of your burden, the one who looks after all your needs, is your husband. Look upon him as the visible form of God that protects all; that is the easiest sadhana. Whatever service you do unto him do it with the faith that you are doing unto Him. Even whether you receive hard treatment, believe that it is a training in endurance, humility and non. -voilence. When you look after your children believe that your child is the young Lord Krishna and serve him in that spirit.. Thus the whole of your domestic life is converted into perfect and incessant Sadhana. Going to a forest, closing the eyes and holding the breath are not greater than that”. “Our goodness lies in perceiving good in all”- this saying of Mother brings out the core of Mother’s philosophy of personal relationships.
What is the right form of personal relationships? What is the pure form of the relations between a husband and a wife? What is ideal friendship! On these and several other relationships Mother (xpressed her views.
One day someone referred to a certain newly married couple and commended their harmonious relationship. But immediately Mother said that she was not satisfied by their relationship. Then someone asked her what, according to her, would constitute ideal relationship between a husband and a wife. Mother replied with oblique references to the said couple:–
There should be regard for one another in a good relation ship. Real regard is neither conditioned nor necessarily denoted by constant physical proximity in any relationship. It is enough if genuine-mutual regard is there in their minds be it between mother and son, brother and sister, or even between wife and husband. They might stay together or even sleep together- it is alright as long as they behave in a sobre way, with dignity; but I don’t like if they make a fuss of it and try to proclaim to the whole world by their behaviour that they are the husband and the wife!
“They should attend to their respective duties. The husband must go out into world, work hard and earn their livelihood: she must stay at home and attend to cooking and other domestic responsibilities. She is described as a Sahadharmacharini’ or a devout companion. If they waive these principles, their very avocations get wayward.
“The husband must teach his we to accept both pleasure and pain. He must enable her even to receive pain as though it were a pleasure. I do not approve of his actionsif he tries to sre that she never faces suffering. One day Mr. X to please his wife, took his children into the house and sat by her side. It is such things that I do not like. He thought that by merely sit ng in the other room at a distance, he would not be pleasing her. It was he that had made such things a habit with her. I say that one should not do such things and one should not be so overindulgent. When either of the wife or the husband is bedridden, certainly one should serve the other. But to do so at all times is bad. Ofcourse these days there seems to be only familiarity between the couples but there is no regard, fear or respect.”
Now someone asked Mother whether there should be no friendship at all between the couple. Mother replied: “There can be friendship between them: but it should not be allowed to transgress its limits. Friendship should not oust devotion and regard totally from their hearts. When it does, such a relation ship does not deserve the name of friendship, It seems as though they are there only to meet one another’s needs just as meals is there to quench hunger! Marital relationship nowadays seems to exist as a means of satisfying merely physical desires and for no higher purpose.” She said, obliquely referring to their sexual needs.
What then is the higher purpose of maraiage to which Mother had referred Mother’s views are evident from what she says and does. Several devotees consider it auspicious to celebrate their marriages in the presence of Mother (the living manifestation of Divinity) rather than in the presence of an idol in a temple. On such occasions, Mother never remains a passive witness of the celebrations. She participates actively in the ceremonial and in most cases conducts the whole function herself in a way that brings out the real significance of the various aspects of the ritual and points at the ulterior purpose of marriage in human life.
That was on 1-6-1963. When the marriage party arrived at 10 O’ Clock in the night, the priest was said to have left the village owing to the r delayed arrival. As music was being played to the accompaniment of the ‘nama sankirtan, by all the devotees present, Mother finished her bath and came out dressed for the occasion. She got up from her chair and played the part of the priest more perfectly than does the priest himself. She made them go through the whole ritual in detail and when everything was over including the tying of the sacred thread around the neck of the bride by the bridegroom, She made them worship one another; finally she made the girl bow and touch the boys feet. Before they dispersed, Mother reminded the boy that he too had performed ‘puja’ to his bride. Herein is indicated the ulterior significance of marriage in human life as the means of attaining Perfection. They are the visible manifestations of the Self which is One. Recognising their ultimate unity in Godhead ie, recognising one another as the manifestaion of God and serve one another as such is the final object. For, this establishes harmony in the mundane sense while leading towards Self-Realisation. This, she said, is the real purport of the ideals of Pativratya’ (absolute devotion to the husband) and ‘Ekapatnivrata’ (Perfect devotion to the wife in monogamy). These are symbolised by the thread and the golden pieces respectively in the wedlock which symbolises Ardhanariswara’. The triple knot of the sacred thread symbolises the fact that they are unified in the triple knot which is Creation ie. the Triputi. The more orthodox among scholars might be shocked at the idea of the bride groom worshipping the bride. But did not sage Yagnaya Valkya say in The Brihadaranyakopanishad” that “The husband loves the wife not because he loves the wife but for the self?”
One day Mother told a group of widows, “In my opinion there is no Vidhava (Widow) at all. Physically her husband may not be present with her. But so long as her husband’s feet are in her memory that woman remains a house-wife.” One who was widowed in her childhood asked Her, “What about widows like me who had lost their husbands too early in their life to remember their forms?” Mother replied, “you certainly have the idea, I had a husband’ Keep that memory fresh and worship that idea. What all one can achieve by meditating on form, one can achieve by meditating on an idea. Dhyana is that constant remembrance of one thought or object.”
It is a well known fact that Mother offers ablutions to her sacred thread every morning and partakes of that water as an offer ing. Not that she hopes to attain perfection thereby. She is Perfect by birth. But as was stated by the Lord in the Bhagavad gita, the Perfected ones have nothing to do for their own sake but they continue to observe rules and discipline to set an example to others. “What are the sacred thread and the golden pieces?’ once Mother asked and explained it herself; “The two golden pieces are the feet of the husband. When he ties them around your neck, he is tying his own feet permanently to you. Let him stay anywhere, let him do anything, his feet are always in your heart. What is easier for women than serving them to attain Perfection? To a woman her husband is God in human form. That faith is the easiest means of attaining Liberation. Creating the form of an invisible God in his mind, worshipping it in mountain fastnesses, falling a prey to suppressed (not conquered) desires, even a muni cannot accomplish what an ordinary housewife can easily accomplish and she needs no special mantra or sadhana for it.” This way the householders, life which is feared by several as an obstacle to Liberation can be turned into an aid to Liberation.