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Prof M Sivaramakrishna
Magazine : Mother of All
Language : English
Volume Number : 9
Month : April
Issue Number : 2
Year : 2010

Mother’s leelas have various functions. They are, it seems, decided by not just the basic need to fulfill the aspirations of those who come to her. It is also to prevent them (some at least) from falling victims to the misunderstandings which they hold. One such – the most frequent is to associate spirituality with siddhis. The awakening of these powers could be a natural result of sadhana. But then, spirituality may not just be the use of rituals (especially of a Tantric variety) to achieve such powers. There is, of course, ‘ritual’ in the very word spiritual.

This is a signpost of sadhana as far as I know. But not the “final” stop. In other words: it can be said to be the “serpent” which guards the final entry into “Vishnuloka” in the traditional game of Snakes & Ladders. It is called “Paramapada Sopana Patam” or “Vaikuntapali”. Once that serpent catches us, we go back to our evolutionary ancestors: namely, monkey. Even if you escape this snake, in the Vishnuloka itself you may not get the right number of dice to land at Vishnau’s feet.

I have written all this in my own complicated way. But I hope one point is clear: Mother’s leela has both traps and liberating treasure heaps of compassion; or, rather the passion to “rescue” a child who is fascinated by the peripheral. The aim is to give a final push by removing the blink of perception. Or, rather it is Mother’s “operation cataract” for restoring the sight; sight which is more than a style to get back its normalcy.

It happened this way: a baba from Guntur arrives for Mother’s darshan. Mother had completed her bath etc., and was sitting to receive visitors. The baba offers some fruits to Mother who accepts them and gives her “teertham”. The baba whispers something: it was his desire to offer “aarati” to her. Mother agrees.

So far, absolutely natural. He was baba. He came to have darshan of Mother: a pointer to the absence of spiritual ego in him. He has awareness, surely, of who Mother is. But then there is something that still needs to be removed. A little of Katcha ami – unripe ego (in Sri Ramakrishna’s view) was there. Or, it is like a child’s eagerness to show his mother his precocious abilities. In short, this is a lovable flaw. Only love is needed in return for its removal.

The baba sits before Mother and closes his palm, raises his right hand and it appears as if he is catching something that is going to fall from above. (Ultimately what ‘falls’ is Mother’s grace. preventing his ‘fall’ into the occult). He brings the closed hand before Mother closely. He opens and a piece of camphor reveals itself. Amma sits watching with no change in her radiant smile. Doesn’t a mother smile when her child wants to show her what he has achieved? The smile is of compassion and not of condescension. It is like a child asking for a chocolate – or show that he has bought one by his first salary, if he is grown up- and Mother is neither amazed or amused

If you allow me to take a further step before the next event; Mother’s method is not corrective but self regulatory. That is, the person has to activate his/her own processes of “recovery”. Of recognition of what is true and what is real or apparently real. Sri Ramakrishna’s analogy of using a thorn to remove another.

The sadhu now ‘wills’ to light the camphor. It does, but when he offers it to Mother as aarati, it gets extinguished. The very next second after lighting it, this happens. And it happens like this two more times. Now the sadhu realizes what the ‘matter’ was. He recovers, collects himself to the extent of smiling. This is quickly followed by tears. He keeps his hand in Mother’s lap, tears gush forth and says: “Your grace, (in Telugu Bhiksha), Mother!”. Saying this, he lights the camphor. The flame remains this time and he offers it to Mother as aarati. After keeping the lighted camphor on his fingers also, he finally places it on the plate..

Two transitions can be noticed: one is the surrender to Mother. This would mean a little erasure of the ego. His tears are smiling tears! He knew that he tried to exhibit his powers before her which is understandably childlike (or childish?). The other is an instant awareness that something more than his action was happening; but an awareness which is still raw. The awareness that there is another more important miracle that only Mother can do.

To be more explicit: we are likely to think, at this stage, that Mother too performs miracles. See how when the sadhu surrendered to her, the camphor glowingly lighted itself! Therefore, she also shares with the sadhu, the power to perform miracles. Those of us who are highly impressed by and even addicted to such things feel a glow about Mother! In short, the implied view is: there are supernatural elements and so the natural is a lower case. Both these need to be neutralized.

The next part of the drama does it: the sadhu asks Mother for something inaudibly. But this was made transparent from Mother’s answer. She says to him: “Where is the question of my coming? (Keeping the camphor in mind) when all these things came, where is the question of asking about my coming? If one is possible, everything else is possible. If as you say everything is my grace, then why ask about this?…. As you brough camphor on your hand (by your powers) make me also come to you.”

The final words are the climax. Mother’s mood, perhaps, is to have no-nonsense in this matter. Things must be made clear so that the implicit addiction in the sadhu is not allowed to clog the full potential of awareness already there in him. Mother’s statement is simple, clear and direct: “Spend four annas and you get camphor. Why bring out camphor? What else is its use except to make people say: ‘Oh my!! It came!’ just like that!”.

Here lie the most important lessons for us. Here is communication so amazingly effective and transparent that there is, one feels, no need for analysis and explanation. The main lesson is to cure us of our doggedly held conviction that spirituality is something of an extraordinary thing. It is, in fact, as normal as breathing. Similarly, we want physically demonstrable power as a sign of spirituality. “Can she cure my incurable illness? Can she read my thoughts? Can she create an object and give it to me, so that I can constantly draw strength from it, especially in times of crisis?”, so go our thoughts. We have a considerably long catalog of petitions and pleadings. Is spirituality something of a power-like political power to wield as a weapon to impress and thereby boost our sagging ego?

In fact, the most important lesson is concerned with ego. The achievement of the occult powers puts a premium on it. Ego eclipses awareness: was the sadhu aware before what kind of a person he was creating a-four anna-costing camphor? But then his case is a charmingly negative one. He quickly realizes the truth. And yet, forgets to apply that logic: see the way in which he asks Mother to visit him. Mother is one who does everything unasked; everything that according to her, as Mother, the child needs.

Reference: Conversations with Mother (Ammato Sambhaashanalu in Telugu) by Dr. S. Gopalakrishna Murty; Sri Viswajanani Parishat, pp 125 -26

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