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Prof M Sivaramakrishna
Magazine : Mother of All
Language : English
Volume Number : 8
Month : January
Issue Number : 1
Year : 2009

This is a continuation of my article which appeared in the July September, 2008 issue (Vol7. No.3). We tried to absorb the meaning and the corresponding logic of Mother’s natural state. This state is of total concern for us. Without any judgmental attitude. “You may go out and smear yourself with mud but when you return, I wash you and feed you” says Mother and also adds “That’s the position if you can understand it, you can forget yourselves and know that you have no responsibilities.”

Mother does not stop with that. That is itself the clearest assurance. But then, she says something much more startling, to say the least: “what more do you need?” Let us stop here and reflect. Mother tells us that we do grow up: We go out of her field apparently. Going out of her fold is for us a reality. For Mother it is a fiction; for, who can be outside Mother’s lap when that lap is a microcosm of the entire macrocosm? But then why does Mother state that we go out (at this stage, let us not raise the issue of “smearing” ourselves)?

Perhaps, this going out from Mother’s lap, entering the wide world, the macrocosm, is both a fact and a fiction. “The ultimate fact of life is that life is a fiction and the ultimate fact of fiction is that fiction is a (psychic) fact; so let us, in order to be really happy, enjoy fact as fiction and fiction as fact. Spirituality is nothing but the ability to do so,” says SriRam Sir. It may appear as though there is a lot of wordplay here. Yes, to make this tremendous truth appear like that is part of Mother’s game.

In the world of dualities, the web of our experience is of mingled threads: fact and fiction. We live in this world and we go through experiences which we divide, categorize and choose what we wish to like or enjoy, with our own definitions and interpretations of what is pleasant and what is painful. In other words, we wish to avoid pain at all costs and seek perennial pleasure free from all threatening pain hovering on the horizon. Both the things are not only inseparably interlinked. They are also both illusions and realities, simultaneously.

One feels that what Mother means by “smearing” ourselves is, the colossal but natural fact of what philosophers complicate simple things call “Maya”. This is the smear, the Primal Smear (if we can put it that way), which soils our psyche. It is the net of dualistic existence in which Mother’s children get caught by her own sankalpa. In short, Mother allows us (perhaps, enjoys our getting caught in her play, leela) to soil ourselves. And the resulting pain or pleasure (or one of the two which we choose or led to delude ourselves that we are choosing) cannot be wished away as fiction. As Advaitins try to do (Advaita, if I can venture to say, is the most fatal fiction – cum fact of all philosophical systems). The moving shadows on the “silver screen” are, of course, much sought after and expensively bought psychic fictions of our times. And who will concede that they are mere psychic tricks?

“The mud of Maya” smearing ourselves with that mud – is a natural and timeless phenomenon of Mother’s creation. Her children, over the endless tracks of time, get caught and sink in the bog, filled, choked with the mud of, in Sri Ramakrishna’s classic images, “wo/man and gold”. Wo/man – the oblique is meant that the word applies to both genders. And gold is the oldest obsession known to humanity. But, juxtapose it with the strange associations of “Hiranyagarbha”, the cosmic womb, with gold! Therefore is it negative? Of course nothing of the sort.

One comes back, therefore, to a strange situation. This is the Homeo principle: like cures like. Since illusion and reality are both within the cosmic system (and both are both fact and fiction). With her characteristically stunning simplicity and transparency, Mother clarifies: “Illusion vanishes through illusion alone. Ignorance will be destroyed by ignorance only. It takes a thorn to remove a thorn. The antidote to snake poison is often made from the poison itself.” Mud soils but mud itself is used as (to use a pompous word) a detergent to clean vessels. (Mud is a better detergent: e.g. Mud bath).

How does one return to getting cleansed? That’s a different story. To sum up: Mother’s cleansing us from our getting muddied physically and muddled mentally, are the two sides of the same coin. Good and evil together in the cosmic play. You/we may think that Mother is doing some philosophical sabda chamatkar. Then, see what Eric Erikson, the Harvard psychologist (his book Gandhi’s Truth is a classic) says: “Psychoanalytic observation first established the psychological basis of a fact which Eastern thinkers have always known, namely, that the radical division into good and bad can be the sickness of the mind.” (The Eric Erikson Reader; edited by Robert Coles; New York: W.W.Norton & Company, 2001; p. 448).

Mother, perhaps smiles: “yes, my son on the other shores of the earth has hit upon the nucleus, the cardinal principle of My Cosmos!” What else does one need? ( to be continued)

*Mother’s citations from Richard Schiffman’s “Mother of All”.

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