“I cannot be known; you know me only when I make myself known to you.” This saying is taken from “The Life & Teachings of the Mother” written by Sri Ekkirala Bharadwaja.
This Is one of the unique sayings of Mother, which suggest Her Divinity that is seldom recognised by us. This sentence is pregnant with a profound meaning. Mother is the microcosm of the infinite Energy. It is very possible that we take Her for an ordinary woman. Because, we often come across in Her, very ordinary feminine characteristics which are commonly found in the woman folk. Besides, as Mother says, when the unlimited Energy takes the limited form, it is bound to possess the limited or the specific qualities common to that species. Even a rare gem is often-times mistaken for an ordinary stone and consequently neglected and thrown away. In such a case, how can we generally recognise a Divine Personality as such when it is found amidst the most common human beings? Recognition of Divinity requires a special eye which is, in other words, called Grace.
The above saying confirms our inability to recognise not only Her Divinity but Even Her human form. During the early days of Mother’s household life, a certain devotee of the medical profession wanted to accompany Her when in a dark mid-night, She had decided to go to a distant place alone. She prevented him from following Her. But he was bent on accompanying only to help Her. This poor fellow was then asked to go in advance and stay at a particular place ahead on the way, where he could follow Mother. Accordingly he went there and was waiting for Mother’s arrival. Hours passed by, but there was no sign of Her on the way. And there was no other way for her to reach the destination. He was sitting wide awake throughout the night, warding off the mosquitoes with his upper-cloth. At last, at dawn, he returned to Mother’s house and found Mother performing Her house-hold duties. To his surprise, Mother informed him of Her going out and coming back as per schedule. But still to his greater surprise, a servant who devotedly served Mother throughout the night, told him that She had slept in the bed and had not evidently gone out anywhere.
Why this paradox? It was a fact that Mother had gone out and come back. But neither the gentleman nor the servant observed it, because Mother did not make Herself known to both of them or She might have assumed two human forms simultaneously in both the places.
When we cannot recognise even Her human form, how can we take cognizance of Her Divinity? We are here reminded of a similar saying in the Kathopanishad in this Context:
‘Nayamaatmaa pravachana labhyah
Na medhayaa na bahunaa srutena
Yamevaisha vrinute tena labhyah
Tasyaisha Aatma vivrinute tanoom swaam’
This Aatman cannot be attained by the study of the Vedas, nor by intellect, nor even by much learning; by him it is attained whom it chooses this, his (own) Aatman, reveals its own (real) form. translation by Swami Sarvananda.
Here Sri Sankaracharya explains that the Self is realized by the Self of the aspirant who does not desire anything whatsoever except the Self or Atman. Also Mother says that the Self must be known through the Self only.
The teachings of Mother do agree with The Upanishadic precepts, in essence. The paradox observed by some scholars in Mother’s teachings when contrasted and compared with the Upanishadic thought is only superficial but not real, in my view. The secret lies only in the right approach. The Upanishads always keep the Sadhakas in view and begin to explain the nature of the Universe, Brahman, Aatman, Creation etc. So there is a touch of dualism in the Upanishads. Mother always speaks from the highest peak of Advaitic Philosophy. She is in constant Awareness of Her identity with the creation and, in fact, She is the creation itself. She cannot talk of the two because She is the One without the second. She does not talk of Saadhana for She is Saadhya. She cannot talk of re-birth because She transforms and expands Herself into creation with all varieties and also contracts and diminishes Herself into mere Existence without admitting any concept of duality.
Unlike Mother, the Saadhaka has got different stages of attainment and ultimately he becomes merged in Brahman. The Jeeva and the Ishwara are one and the same. Indeed, the Ishwara has become the Jeeva and the universe. And yet, for the sake of facility, this apparent distinction between Jeeva and Ishwara is inevitable. The relation between Jeeva and Ishwara is beautifully explained by Sri Shankaraachaarya : – ‘The ocean transforms into many a wave but the wave cannot become the ocean’ –
The wave is a part and parcel of the ocean, nay, it is the ocean itself in another form and name. It seems to be separate from the ocean for a while but finally merges and becomes one with the ocean. Thus I analyze and explain the teachings of Mother wherein I find a happy blend of all philosophies spread throughout the length and breadth of the world.
(one of the rare articles of Dr. Pannala Radhakrishna Sarma in English. Reproduced from “Matrusri (English) Journal of 1975” – Vol. 9 No. 10)