Omkareshwar Newsletter--June/July (NL16)
Welcome to the Newsletter from www.SriAnandamayiMa.org!
Ma as Ishta Devata
(From “Matri Lila Darshan” by Debaprasad Mukhopadhyay)
Sri Sri Ma appeared to me first in a dream (I had never before had Her darshan in the physical). I was then twenty-nine. At night I dreamt that the portrait of Sri Ramakrishna Deva whom I worshipped was overlaid by an exquisite form of a Goddess seated in Padmasana (lotus pose) and absorbed in meditation. She was clad in immaculate white and radiated a brilliant light all around. Her face was beaming with a delightful smile.
When I woke up, I sat up in my bed and tried to recollect whether I had seen this celestial lady ever before and came to the conclusion that I had not. What Goddess was this? It was not the image of Bhavatarini (Kali), well known to me. I have not so far confided this experience to anybody else; perhaps it is Sri Sri Ma who inspires me to do so now, being a part of Her divine lila with this unworthy child of Hers.
Some days after this event I noticed the identical image of Sri Sri Ma in a newspaper and read Her life story for the first time. It was, I guess in 1971 during Her diamond jubilee celebrated at Varanasi . This was when I saw Sri Sri Ma for the first time and received Her blessings as I prostrated myself at Her lotus feet. Gracious Ma tossed a lotus to me at the end of the Kumari Puja, though I was then quite an ordinary young man, come to Her unasked. As I rose, I found Sri Ma’s face radiating unearthly light all around and for a second I perceived a halo round Her head—it was as if a wonderful radiant Goddess had descended to earth and appeared before me. Little did I understand then that Sri Sri Ma was soon going to bind me for ever with the tie of causeless grace and love.
Many call Ma “Kidnapper Mother”. Perhaps this epithet applies to my case. As Ma Herself says, “No on can approach this body (as Ma refers to Herself) unless it is my kheyala (spontaneous will). Whoever has come in contact with me must need some sort of link, however subtle, dating from the past in unbroken continuity.
[Later in the narrative, the author receives Initiation from Ma] After initiation, my spiritual strivings were directed along the path pointed out by my Guru (Ma). For the previous ten years, my worship, meditation and thoughts were inseparably associated with Sri Paramahansa Dev (Sri Ramakrishna) and Mother Bhavatarini (Goddess Kali). Now they all received a phenomenal orientation and all of a sudden. I had to turn over a new leaf. I cannot deny having had occasional conflicts in the depths of my heart on this account. But God’s Grace is infinite. No secret of the heart is concealed from Sri Sri Ma, and She was well aware of the temporary conflicts in my mind. That was why She arranged for dispelling my ignorance.
A few days after my Initiation, I was engaged in repeating my mantra (japa) and meditation in my shrine room. I was contemplating my Ishta Devi. Suddenly the most gracious Sri Ramakrishna Deva gave me darshan in my meditation. He led me by the hand and seated me on the lap of Sri Sri Ma Anandamayi and said, “She is the Deity whom you adore”, and added, pointing to Ma, “Know that She is no other than Bhavatarini”. With this he vanished.
My body, heart and mind were filled with a delight such as I had never known before. I fell into a state of ecstasy and continued enjoying that divine bliss. To think that I was holding the hand of the most gracious Thakur! He was no longer in the body, but I was firmly convinced of his total omnipresence. It is he who led me by the hand to the feet of Sri Sri Ma Anandamayi, who is Guru, Ishta and the Surpreme Brahma, all in one. To his holy feet I address my impassioned salutation again and again.
Matri Vani (Words of Ma)
(From Sad Vani by Bhaiji)
“In the field of action, people’s minds become crippled by the lack of freedom to proceed in their own way. The same is true in the sphere of religion. If the aspirant does not find scope for a wide extension of his search in keeping with his individual temperament, his efforts will stagnate in narrow grooves. The path that has been chosen must be pursued with great vigor in order that purity of mind and heat may be developed. When the goal is ever before one as a living reality, all that is needful will come of its own accord.
Each of the five fingers of the hand has its own peculiarity; each part of the body has its own function, high or low; the teeth may at times bite the tongue, but since the whole of it is your own body, you accept all its ways and take great pains to look after every part of it. In the same manner, try to regard as your own every person you contact. By making this a habit you will in due course come to feel that everyone in the universe is part of you. To abolish the distinction between ‘I’ and ‘you’ is the sole purpose of all spiritual endeavor.
Many hang their heads in disappointment, murmuring, “I have received Initiation from a Sadguru, but what progress have I made?” Just think, when a little ink is spilled on cloth, how much time it takes to remove it. How can you expect the thick layers of impurities that obscure human consciousness to be cleared up in a few days or months? Rather than trying to estimate how efficacious the power of the Guru and the mantra is, you should lay emphasis on exerting yourself to the utmost. By sitting back comfortably and without paying the price, spirituality does not come. Hard and sincere labor is indispensable in order to realize the Self. With implicit faith and a sacred regard for the Guru’s instructions, continue your practice with the greatest possible regularity and concentration—rest assured, success will be yours. Those who serve dharma (the Way of Righteousness) will be gripped by it and led on the path of dharma.”
With the coming of the monsoon rains and the breaking of the heat in Omkareshwar, a new school term is begun in July for the Omkareshwar School . This year we added on the 12th Standard, thus completing the offering of a complete High School education for our children. The end of the year in May will witness the first graduates from the school. We have several new teachers and the new computer lab, science lab and library are being opened.
The BRF Youth Club ecology project is still in full swing, and the students and ashramites have planted over 1,000 trees on the island and are still working digging the rocky ground every day. Sri Abhiram of Sadhana Forest in Auroville, along with several Auroville residents have lent their enthusiastic volunteer work. The Matri Shakti ladies’ empowerment group started by the ashram is still meeting regularly, giving a voice, strength and greater independence to the local women.
Swami Gurusharanananda and Swami Mangalananda have returned from their annual tour of Europe , which by Ma’s grace was very successful. We wish to thank all the faithful and devoted people who made the tour successful by their selfless dedication and hospitality.
As always, we end with Ma’s divine words:
“By constantly sustaining the flow of God’s Name, the days of your imprisonment in this world will expire. But this is not enough! Wherever you may be placed, call others to join you. Untiringly entreat those of your fellowmen whose lives are divorced from religion to turn their thought to the Divine.”
Jai Ma!Indore / Omkareshwar website: www.SriAnandamayiMa.org/A brief video interview with Swami Mangalananda about Ma from Yogi Impressions Publishers, Mumbai: http://www.yogiimpressions.com/author-profile/Swami-Mangalananda.aspx>Come teach in the Omkareshwar School: www.teach-India.com
Berlin Yoga Festival: http://www.yogafestival.de/archiv2008_fotogalerie_freitag.phpTax-deductible donations for the school: http://www.shantipurifriends.org/Brief video about Omkareshwar School: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKVAu-7bD00