~~OM~~ I recently returned from a short visit to the Himalayas. Joined by three dear friends, Sanjay, Sushil, and Swami Ramkripaluji, we visited several places in the Kumoan before we headed for Yamunotri and Gangotri. We took mules into the higher mountains on the way to Gomukh. There were no bridges, so the mules […]
Over the years we have visited many pilgrimage places around the world. Most of these yatras were for the purpose of conducting special vows of worship, pujas, homas, recitation of scriptures, and feeding people.
Enclosed are descriptions of some of the places we have visited, along with what we did while we were there, and in many cases what we found by doing it.
Also, we have included information about other places of worship, where you might want to visit.
What's In Now:
We woke up very early Monday morning and took the train from Delhi to Haridwar. Swami Ram Kripaluji met us at the train station and whisked us off to his ashram in Rishikesh. We stayed at Ram Kripalu’s ashram located in Mayakund, Rishikesh on the bank of the Ganges. We all appreciated the beauty and quiet of the Ganges and the Himalayas which were within sights view!
Here is a view of the Ganges as seen from Ram Kripaluji’s ashram:
Maa, Swamiji, and Ram Kripaluji enjoy each other’s company:
In the morning we woke up very early and chanted the Chandi. By about mid morning, Swami Ram Kripaluji prepared his blow up boats to take us across the Ganges:
Swamiji and Swami Ram Kripaluji in the boat together crossing the Ganges:
Devotees in another boat cross the Ganges, too!
Once on the other side, Maa made a small Shiva lingam out of the sand. Swamiji chanted some mantras from the Shiva Puja book and we all prayed for world peace offering water, flowers and incense.
Shiva lingam made out of sand by Shree Maa:
Later in the afternoon, we took a brief walk across the Lakshman Jhulan bridge. It was a beautiful sight to see the Ganges:
A view from Laxman Jhulan bridge:
A monkey on the bridge gave us darshan.
Sri Sri Swami Prakashanandaji Maharaj visited Maa and Swamiji in Rishikesh. He is one of the oldest living yogis of the Himalayan region. He is around 117 years old and known for his knowledge of the HIndu scriptures. He visited Devi Mandir several years ago and blessed our Napeshwar Shiva LIngam as the 13th Jyotir lingam.
We all felt very fortunate to be blessed by Sri Sri Swami Prakashanandaji’ Maharaj’s Shiva like presence here in Rishikesh. To share in the pure devotion and wisdom of so many great souls at once was truly an inspirational and unforgettable experience!
Most of us left Benares and headed to Kolkata after receiving so many blessings. For many, the trip to Benares had fulfilled the desires of a lifetime, whether it was taking a bath in the Ganges, reciting a scripture at Manika Karnika Ghat, or visiting the Annapurna and Vishwanath temples.
After arriving by train in Kolkata in the early morning, we headed to Daksineshwar. At Daksineswar, we unloaded our luggage and promptly made our way over to the much anticipated Daksineswar temple which was located only a few minutes away from our hotel.
Beautiful Bengali songs devoted to Mother Kali played over the loud speakers. The bhava of Ramakrishna’s devotion to the Divine Mother flowed as sweetly as the river Ganges beside the temple.
We took a late afternoon boat ride across the Ganges to Belur Math to attend the evening arati devoted to Sri Ramakrishna. We sang “Jai Maa!” all the way to Belur Math and back.
Once inside the building we sat down along with hundreds of other devotees and monks and sang Kandana Bhavana, a song composed by Swami Vivekananda about Sri Ramakrishna. The huge hall was dark except for the brilliant arati lights and marble image of Sri Ramakrishna. The deep melodious voices of the monks filled our hearts with joy and warmth reminding of us Sri Ramakrishna’s pure love for humanity.
The motto of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission is, “Atmano mokshartham jagad hitaya cha – For one’s own salvation, and for the welfare of the world.”
Satsang and 1000 names of Kali outside Kali temple
We woke up before the crack of dawn to attend the 4 am arati to Daksineshwar Kali. We stood outside the temple entrance singing and clapping “Jai Maa!” as the priests waved the arati lights. A little later in the morning, because of the grace of Shree Maa and Swamiji, we were allowed into the inner sanctum where Sri Ramakrishna used to worship. We offered a saree and ornaments that Shree Maa had sent along from Benares as well as some flower garlands and sweets. Seeing Daksineshwar Kali face to face was another long time desire fulfilled for many. She was shining brightly from head to toe and bestowing blessings upon one and all. Afterwards, we sat down across from the temple entrance and recited the 1000 names of Kali and sang a few bhajans. Feeling very fortunate and full of blessings we made our way over to the room of Sri Ramakrishna. No talking is allowed inside the room. We sat down to meditate for a short while with Thakur!
In the evening we walked to a small temple located behind Daksineshwar temple where there was a life sized marble statue of Sri Ramakrishna in the Kalpataru pose. When we arrived, there was one devotee singing many beautiful stotrams devoted to Sri Ramakrishna. One could truly feel the bhava of Sri Ramakrishna’s presence.
Sri Ramakrishna is said to have revealed himself as Kalpataru – ‘the wish-fulfilling tree’, on 1 January 1886 at Kasipur. In this particular pose, Swamiji explained that Ramakrishna is receiving Divine blessings from above and passing them down to earth.
Maa and Swamiji arrived in Calcutta and are welcomed graciously with lights, incense and flower garlands by Joydeep and his family and other devotees who have been waiting ten long years to get their blessings in person. Joydeep’s three-storied house quickly filled up with eager devotees. In the late afternoon after giving gifts and blessings to each and every person, Maa and Swamiji headed off to the Meera Mandir located in Central Calcutta.
The Meera Mandir is a home to many life sized marble murtis which include, Shiva, Parvati and Ganesh, Ram, Lakshman and Sita, Radha and Krishna plus many more smaller murtis located all around the perimeter of the Mandir.
This is where Maa, Swamiji and a few other devotees stayed for the next three days while Maa met many of her relatives and devotees from near and far after many, many years.
In the late afternoon, Maa and Swamiji met with many of Maa’s relatives from Calcutta, Bangladesh and Assam at the Meera Mandir. Some relatives and devotees had been waiting 20 years for this moment! Tears of joy and love filled the room.
Later in the evening hundreds of devotees and family members joined together for a very lively satsang!
A Chandi homa was performed inside the Meera Mandir.
In the early morning, Maa. Swamiji and a few devotees headed to Daksineshwar to receive the blessings of Daksineshwar Kali. Some of us had been waiting a long time to step foot in Dakineshwar with Maa! Next we performed a small puja inside each of the 12 Shiva temples. Afterwards, we went inside Sri Ramakrishna’s room. Maa offered a dhoti and a pair of black shoes to Sri Ramakrishna. She said they were the same kind of shoes that Ramakrishna used to wear. The priest put the cloth on Ramakrishna’s bed and did a small puja to the shoes. Inside Thakur’s room with Maa and Swamiji what more can one say …
Next, off we went to visit one of Maa and Swamiji’s oldest devotees named Gopal Maa. What a blessing to finally meet Gopal Maa and Gopal. We had been hearing her story for so many years now.
Briefly the story goes that Gopal Maa was very poor and all alone raising her children. After meeting Maa she went to take her bath in the Ganges and found this Gopal. She took him home and began to worship him with pure devotion. After some time, her life began to change. Her house expanded, her children did very well in school and all of them got good jobs. Gopal took care of her every need and she no longer had to struggle like she used to.
Swamiji bows to Gopal Maa’s grandson, who is like Gopal himself in living form.
Next, we headed off to see Tiwariji and his whole family who lived nearby.
Tiwariji is one of Swamiji’s and Maa’s oldest devotees. He has walked to each of the Jyotir lingams carrying water from Gomuk, in the Himalayas, which is where the source of the Ganges starts running, to all of the lingams located throughout India. Tiwariji is also the one who generously gave the 3 ton Shivalingam, Napeshwar, to our Devi Mandir. We were also very fortunate to have had Tiwariji’s two sons join in our satsang in Benares and Calcutta.
Many people who had been traveling on the tour left Calutta to return to their own homes or continue their travels. A few of us continued on to Delhi for a little rest and a visit with some more relatives and devotees.
Foreign Devotees Sing a Beautiful Recitation of the Sundar Kanda
Coming from California, USA, Shree Maa and Swami Satyananda Saraswati along with disciples from many countries sang a beautiful recitation of the Sundar Kanda at the Sankat Mochan Mandir on Monday evening. Along with about 40 disciples from many countries and about two dozen Indian disciples from Banaras, they arrived at the Sankat Mochan Mandir at 4:30 in the evening.
After performing worship, they all assembled in one area of the temple. Then as one voice, they all sang the Sundar Kanda with great rhythm and speed. Seeing so many foreigners reciting with so much devotion, the local people who came to the temple for evening prayers were greatly surprised.
Playing harmonium was Trilochan, on tablas was Rajan, on dholak Vinay Bhushan, playing the cymbals was the Respected Ramya, and on the bells was Srini Baba. After completing the recitation, they joined the arati in the Ram Mandir and in the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Mandir. The foreign devotees distributed prasad with their own hands. Coming from many various countries were Dharmesh, Mahananda, Manohar, Srimati Rukmani, Susri Parvati, Kamala, Nanda and others joined devotees Amitabh and Jolly Agrawal to perform the recitation.
The Maha Yajna of Shree Maa and of Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Coming from California, USA, Shree Maa and Swami Satyananda Saraswati performed a Maha Yajna of the Shiva Sahasranam for Universal peace and the welfare of all mankind at the Lalita Ghat on the bank of the Ganga. Also present in this great religious undertaking many people from various countries were reciting the mantras with beautiful tones and correct pronunciation.
Along with both Indian and foreign devotees, Shree Maa and Swami Satyananda Saraswati arrived at the ghat on the bank of the river at 5:00 AM. After cleaning the area of the yajna, they erected a howan kunda. After inviting and worshipping the Gods, Swami Satyananda Saraswatiji enkindled the homa fire. After that about forty devotees who came from California, were joined by devotees from Australia, Switzerland, England, Indonesia, and many other countries, and at least two dozen Indian disciples, all offered oblations into the fire while reciting the Thousand Names of Shiva.
Desiring the welfare of all mankind, Shree Maa offered one thousand eight bilva leaves into the fire. Witnessing the clear intonation and proper pronunciation of the the Sanskrit mantras by foreigners, a large crowd of Banaras citizens gathered. In this same way foreign tourists gathered and many people were able to receive the blessings of Shree Maa and Swami Satyananda Saraswati.
Local resident Amitabh Agrawal said that on 10 November at 4:30 PM Shree Maa and Swami Satyananda Saraswati will be leading the recitation of the Sundara Kanda at the Sankat Mochan Mandir, and at 6:00 AM on 12 November, they will be leading the Chandi Path Homa in the Annapurna Mandir.
3rd Nov 2008
We came out from the airport at about 3:00 AM. Many dear friends and devotees were waiting to welcome us. We touched the ground and bowed to Mother India! What a joy to be back!
We were home by about 4, and after a bath, some of us sat down to chant the Chandi Path in the living room Mandir that had just been created.
After the Chandi Path and a loving breakfast, we went to the Yogamaya Mandir near Qutub Minar. There we sang the Kali Sahasra Nam and took darshan of the wonderful deity and ambiance of this very old temple. Yogamaya is the name of the girl child which was born to Yashoda and exchanged for the boy child, Krishna, born to Devaki, in order to slay the wicked king Kamsa. In this story she is the form of Mahalakshmi.
Yogamaya is also a name for Mahamaya and Yoganidra, names of Kali in the first Chapter of the Chandi Path. In this capacity She is the form of Mahakali, who causes the balance between Too Much and Too Little when the Supreme Consciousness, Vishnu, was in the sleep of eternal union. That is why we chose to sing the Kali Sahasra Nam, to celebrate the cessation of all our darkness and the illumination of light.
In verse 58 of Chapter Two of the Devi Gita, the Mother who manifested in Hastinapura, Yogamaya, is called Jayanti, She who is Eternally Victorious. This Jayanti, the Yogamaya of Hastinapura, confers the blessings of Union with all manifested existence. Here is a picture of Yogamaya
4th Nov 2008
After our morning Chandi Path we visited the temple of Hanuman in Connaught Place, and then to took darshan of Lakshmi Narayan Mandir near Chandni Chowk. Here is a picture of the Howan Kund at the temple
5th Nov 2008
Today we went to the Katyayani Temple in Chhattarpur, sang the Durga Chalisa, and we will leave for Banaras by the evening train.
6th Nov 2008
We reached Banaras at about 8 AM to a rousing welcome from the devotees at the railway station. We went home to Devi Mandir Varanasi, freshened up and chanted the Chandi. Shree Maa set up a beautiful altar in the living room.
We planned the schedule for the days ahead – here is the itinerary
6th Nov –
5.30 pm Satsang at Devi Mandir Varanasi. Open to group.
7th Nov –
6.00 am Devi Mandir Varanasi, Chandi Path. Open to Public.
5.30 pm Sundar Kand, Devi Mandir Varanasi. Open to Public
8th Nov –
7.00 am Annapurna Mandir , Chandi Path, Open to Public.
5.30 pm Sundar Kand, Devi Mandir Varanasi. Open to Public
6.00 am Lalita Ghat, Shiva Sahasranama Homa. Open to Public
7.00 am Annapurna Mandir , Chandi Path , Open to Public
5 00 pm Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, Sundar Kand . Open to Public.
11th Nov –
7.00 am Annapurna Mandir , Chandi Path , Open to Public.
5.30 pm Vinay Bhushan Mishra’s house, Kirtan .Open to Public
12th Nov –
7.00 am Annapurna Mandir ,Chandi Homa, Open to Public
5.30 pm Satsang, Devi Mandir Varanasi. Open to Public
13th Nov –
7.00 am Devi Mandir Varanasi, Chandi Homa, Open to Public
14th Nov –
6.00 am Devi Mandir Varanasi, Chandi Path. Open to Public
We sang the Sundar Kand in the evening with devotees.
We sang the Chandi in the morning. The Mahant of the Annapurna temple visited us, bearing special gifts. We did puja to him and got his blessings. After a pleasant hour, he left, promising to meet us again at Rishikesh during the later half of our India trip.
Here are a couple of photos from the Mahant’s visit – one of the Mahant, and one of Swamiji performing a puja on behalf of all the devotees
We completed the Sundar Kand path this evening. Shree Maa sang kirtans to a joyful audience.
We visited the Vishwanath Temple with a few of the devotees and watched the Mangal Arati. Shree Maa performed her puja to Vishwanath.
After a brief rest, we went to the Annapurna temple and sang the Chandi. Swamiji went inside the inner sanctum and offered bhog to the Goddess, which he then distributed to the group.
In the evening, Maa sang kirtans to a delighted crowd. One of the devotees had composed songs on Swamiji and Shree Maa and mesmerized the crowd with his compositions, his effortless and inspired singing and above all his evident devotion to the Gurus.
We went to the Lalita Ghat on the bank of the Ganga before the crack of dawn. As the boat drifted to the Ghat, we saw the preparations that were being made for the Ganga Mahotsav (festival of Ganga) that starts today and culminates on Kartik Purnima (13th Nov).
The Lalita Ghat is very close to the famous Manikarnika Ghat – where bodies are cremated 24 hours a day. The Lalita Ghat itself is just another entry point to the Ganga, where people come to take a dip. After cleaning up an area, we set up a havan kund and performed the Shiva Sahasranama. With the burning pyres some distance away (about 200 meters), the sun rising in the east over the Ganga, it was an unforgettable experience in chanting the names of Shiva.
After the morning chanting, some of the devotees left on a day trip to Vindhyachal to pray respects to Goddess Vindhyavasini.
In the evening, some of us got together with Maa and Swamiji for the Arati. How we danced!!! More importantly how Maa and Swamiji danced!!! Here are some pictures ..
and here is Swamiji with Sushil (author of the “Sahib Sadhu”)
Another busy day. The group travelling with Maa and Swamiji headed to the Annapurna Mandir this morning and chanted the Chandi Path, lead by our beloved Srini . In the evening, Maa and Swamiji, accompanied by devotees visited the famous Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple. We settled ourselves in one corner of the temple and sang the Sundar Kand. From time to time, we were joined alike by the curious and the devoted in singing the praises of Ram. News of our chanting was published in one of the local Hindi Newspapers.. Extract below.
Maa and Swamiji accompanied by a few devotees made their way to the Annapurna Mandir at 2.30 AM . This was a very special event. They were going to personally perform the abhishek and puja to the deity, a privilege rarely accorded to anyone outside of the temple priests. At 3 am, we were escorted indoors and found places just outside the sanctum sanctorum. Maa and Swamiji, along with one the temple priests, took their sankalpa (vow of worship) and started with the abhishek (ritual bathing of the deity). They offered Ganges water, and many many pots of milk, yoghurt, ghee etc. Most of the offerings were collected to be given as prasad (sanctified offering) to the devotees. They draped the Goddess in the many beautiful sarees offered by the devotees, and piled flower garland upon flower garland on her. When finally they were satisfied that they had given their best to the Goddess, they offered arati – with the temple priests clanging bells, bellowing drums. We filed in one by one and got the blessings of the deity and the Gurus.
Later that morning, the group reassembled for reciting the Chandi Path at the temple.
In the evening, some of the local devotees had organized a satsang with Maa and Swamiji in their apartment buildings. There was a large turnout and people crammed every nook of the suddenly small hall. Swamiji blessed everyone with the ashes collected from all his yajnas in the last 40 years.
This morning, Swamiji invoked the fire. He set up a havan kund in one of the courtyards of the Annapurna temple and we sang the Chandi Path. It seemed as if the line of devotees to get his blessings would never end, as more and more people inched towards him and paid their respects.
In the evening, there was a class on the Tattva Jnan at Devi Mandir Varanasi (the residence of our hosts). Swamiji shared his thoughts on many aspects of Siddhantachara. There were several questions and the lively discussion extended to over 2 hours. This was followed by the song “Bhava Sagara” and arati.
Today performed the Chandi Homa at Devi Mandir Varanasi. In the evening, we were to go on a boat ride across the Ganges and watch the lights and fireworks of an occasion that was unique to Varanasi – the Dev Deepawali. We all gathered at Assi Ghat, and after a cheerful start with bhajans (Hara Hara Mahadeva Shambho Kashi Vishwanath Gange), cruised on Mother Ganga. Every ghat was lit up thousands of little mud lamps, and there were spectacular fireworks going off it seemed literally on top of our heads. Each devotee also got the opportunity to light a little mud lamp and let it afloat on Ganga with a little prayer. We watched the many young men and women perform the Ganga arati in almost perfect synchronization.
This Dev Deepawali was the culmination of the Kartik Purnima. Later we found out from our host , that this was one of the main reasons they had planned Maa and Swamiji’s visit to coincide with this festival.
Here is a picture of Swamiji and the group singing bhajans on the boat.
Here is a photo of the famed Ganga Arati
And here is a picture of the lights on that day – the best we could do given our amateur cameras …
Our visit to Varanasi was almost over. Maa and Swamiji were staying behind for a couple more days, but the majority of the group were headed to the next destination Kolkata.
There was an unexpected treat on this day. Maa decided to visit the Trailinga Swami Ashram and took a few of us with her. The ashram is really a small temple on the Panchganga ghat. Lord Krishna greeted us at the entrance and to the right side was a huge Shiva Linga. The story is that one day Trailinga Swami dived into the Ganges and came up with a huge stone that now serves as the Shiva Linga. There were pictures of Trailinga Swami with Ramakrishna and Vivekananda throughout the entrance.
Maa and Swamiji offered Ganges water to the Shiva Linga, puja to the Kali murti near the linga, and their pranams to the samadhi of the great Swami. They went downstairs to the underground chamber and meditated in silence. Some of us were fortunate to be in the same chamber and meditate with them in silence. This was one of the most beautiful and profound moments of the trip – a rare opportunity to visit the samadhi of a great soul under the wings of another great soul.
Jai Maa ! Jai Trailinga Swami !
- Security Lock with a combination or key
- Small flashlight w/long-life batteries & same batteries for other electrical equipment.
- Small cloth or other ID-Bag to contain Passport, Credit Card, & Cash to be worn under your clothes while out in public places.
- Mosquito Repellant, Folding Umbrella, and Sunglasses. Mosq. net get in India.
- Your own effective medicines for common cold, headache/pain, nausea, digestive aid, menstrual cramps, diarrhea, etc.
- ATM/Visa Card with international symbol for cash-rupees from Indian “State” banks
- Small day/backpack or closeable shoulder bag for shopping/or carrying your puja books around. Please note that cameras and mobile phones are usually not allowed to be carried into important temples.
- Bring comfortable, but not expensive walking shoes or sandals with some tread which you will leave outside of the crowded public temples.
- Pack light-weight, loose-fitting clothes which can be worn in layers, and which are appropriate for Hindu temples. Weather will be like Autumn Season in the USA with warm, sunny days, but cool in the mornings and evenings. A sweater or thin woolen shawl/chadhur is sufficient for the coolness. For women: sarees, two-piece Punjabi dress outfits, or long skirts with modest blouses are OK. For men: Punjabi-style pants & shirt, kurtas, lungies are most comfortable.
- Pack for minimum use of electronic gadgets, and plan for backup options as 1-2 power-cuts per day, lasting 1/2-1 hour are normal in both Varanasi and Kolkata.
- Some people find that carrying Nutrition/Protein Bars and moistened towelette come in handy while traveling here.
- If you’re traveling and sleeping in slim-budget accommodations, bring your own bedsheets. 1st, 2ND A/C, and 3rd A/C Class trains provide sheets etc.
- Some shopping time for clothes and other items is available in the schedule.
- Keep your luggage within the required weight-limits of the Airline, and pack your carry-on bag or laptop bag with the bare- minimum amount of items, to REDUCE the amount of your time in the Security-Check and Customs lines.
- Pack the puja books indicated on website: Chandi Path, Sundar Kand, Annapurna Sahashranam, Shiva Puja & Advanced Yagnya, Kali Puja, & Rudrashtadhyayi.
We asked Sushil dada to share with us more stories of his time with our beloved Swamiji. “You will not believe this”, Sushil dada said. “I don’t believe it myself. But I was there.”
“Yes, yes, what? What?” We ask breathlessly.
“Is Kolkata hot? The roads?” Sushil dada asked us.
“Yes, of course, most of the time.” We answered quickly.
“Swamiji used to walk there barefoot. All the time. How did He do this? I saw it. But I still can’t believe it.” Sushil dada said.
We asked: “What about you?”
Sushil dada said, “Oh, I had shoes. How could I walk in that heat without them? But not Swamiji. He was walking and walking. So many places, He always went walking. Without shoes.” He looked at Swamiji and said, “Is that not so?”
Swamiji was smiling and we asked Him, “Why did you do that, Swamiji?”
Swamiji answered; “Oh! It was a bother! Either the shoes got stolen or they broke. It was better without them. I didn’t have to worry about them.”
“Unbelievable!” Sushil dada voiced all our thoughts!
We were sitting with Swamiji and Sushil dada. Sushil dada (Sushil Chowdhury) is the author of Sahib Sadhu and he spent most of his teenage years with Swamiji, in his own village Bakreswar where Swamiji did intense tapasya and travelling with Swamiji.
Sushil dada is an expert in Sanskrit and speaks English with the cutest Bengali accent and was joyfully telling us stories about Swamiji. He said that Swamiji would be locked in a little temple in Bakreswar and be chanting and doing puja continuously from dawn to dusk. Nobody could enter the temple as the door was locked from outside and Swamiji had the key inside. When Swamiji finished His practices he used to throw the key outside and they would open the door. Swamiji would have his only meal for the day – a humble fare of daal and rotis. In the evenings, Swamiji would share His knowledge with all those present.
Rolling his eyes in a sweet manner, Sushil dada asked us, “Do you know who was present then?”
“No Dada, please tell us.” Eagerly we asked.
“Farmers, Pachu and me.”
Swamiji laughed, “That was the satsang, a young Brahmin boy, Sushil, Pachu who worked in cremation grounds and some farmers and me.”
“Swamiji was a farmer with the farmers.” Sushil dada exclaimed. “They wore dhothis till their knees and Swamiji too. He spoke to them in a village dialect so they would understand. With them He was like them. They love Him.”
Today, we see Swamiji working with routers and computers and His classes are webcast to over 70 countries. Viewers across the United States watch His classes on community TV. He is as much at home with us in the western world as He is with the farmers in rural Bengal. He is able to talk to us in a way we understand. We love Him for all He is doing for our universe.
A young devotee was sitting at Shree Maa’s feet and confessed to Mother, “Mother, I get angry with my wife. What to do? When I am coming home from work, I think, “Oh, how sweet and patient is my wife. I should not get angry with her.” But somehow, when I get home I just lose it.” What to do Maa?” Maa smiled and said, “Don’t get angry. Talk to me. Think of me. I am ever with you. Just talk to me and don’t let anger manifest.” The young man smiled and we all felt blessed that our Mother is ever with us!
Many of Maa’s devotees came to have Her darshan even if for just a few hours from different places in India. One such devotee is Mr. Mitra, an extremely successful lawyer in the Kolkata High court. Mr. Mitra recounted how he met Maa many decades ago when he was a young man. He said he was not at all interested in meeting any saint and even today he said, “I don’t know about God. I know Maa. She is my everything.”
As a young man in college, he went to escort a family member who wanted to have Shree Maa’s darshan but when he saw Maa he was spell bound. In his own words, he said “I became crazy. Wherever Maa went, I tried to go there – by hook or crook. I waited outside the house, in a park, anywhere and anyhow I tried to have Maa’s darshan.”
At that time, he was studying for his M Com (Master of Commerce) exams. He went to see Shree Maa and took with him a packet of incense sticks and other offerings as is customary in India. In the house where Maa was staying, were many devotees waiting for Maa to open Her eyes from deep meditation to do arati. There was a big pile of incense boxes before Maa which had been brought by the many devotees. Maa opened Her eyes and got up to do arati. From the big pile, She picked the “Vaishak” brand that Mr. Mitra had offered and took out one incense stick. She used that for arati. She handed the rest of the packet to Mr. Mitra.
There was a month left for his M Com exam and each day Mr. Mitra took out one incense stick and broke it into a little piece and lit it to guide his studies. Needless to say, Mr. Mitra did very well in his exams and later following Shree Maa’s advice he went to law school and has since been practicing law with “truth”. As Mr. Mitra recounted this story, he smiled and handed a packet of the Vaishak incense and said, “Please light one tonight at arati time.”
One of Shree Maa’s young cousins was reminiscing about her childhood days with Shree Maa. She said that she loved Shree Maa very much as a child but she was very young when Maa left their family house. “She was a mystery to all of us!” Maa’s cousin exclaimed.
In response, I heard myself saying, “We stay with Her everyday now and see Her night and day and yet She is a mystery to us also.”
Next day, all of Maa’s relatives had left and the house we were staying in was quiet. As usual, Shree Maa awoke before dawn and conducted Her Nitya Karma (everyday worship). After worship, She blessed us with tilaks. Everybody was remembering the beautiful days we had spent with Shree Maa’s family and other guests. We recounted this conversation with the young cousin. Shree Maa smiled endearingly and said, “God is a mystery.”