Sudha Varsha-Shower of Nectar (A Monthly Spiritual Magazine)

Sudha Varsha (Shower of Nectar), the journal of the Sri Tara Ma Mission, is a spiritual monthly started in January 2002 on the sacred occasion of the Swami Omkarananda AmrutMahotsav or the 75th Birthday of Swami Omkarananda for the purpose of spreading the Divine Message of Sri Tara Mataji. It is also sought to keep the devotees of Sri Tara Mataji abreast with the happenings at the Ashrams and Centres and to provide them with details of programmes and celebrations.

All in all Sudha Varsha is an instrument for spreading the timeless wisdom of Sri Tara Mataji all over the world, so that people across the globe, irrespective of religion, caste, creed, colour, age, sex etc. may turn to a nobler way of life imbibing pristine precepts on morality and spirituality.

Sri Ma Amrutvani (Address to Youth)

Children! If I ask you what is that time in your life that you consider to be the most important for you, will you be able to answer me? Whatever be your answer, I feel that the present moment is the most important one. How many of you are using the present moment properly and enjoying it thoroughly? Are you able to draw forth the bliss, quintessential in a life lived in the present. Generally it is observed that most youth are either anxious about the future or weighed down by their past. For instance, many of you, first thing in the morning, as soon as you wake up, may be in the habit of analysing the previous day, planning the current day and also thinking of the arrangements to be made for the forthcoming days, relating to both domestic activities as well as work. However, don’t you think that every morning brings alongwith it inexplicable beauty in the form of the beaming rays of the sun, crisp fresh air, the trees and plants swaying rhythmically to the mild early morning wind. Through all this Mother Nature beckons us to awaken ourselves to the splendour of the Divine. How many of you reciprocate to this call? How many of you pay attention to the vivid beauty of Mother Nature every morning? Likewise, at the time of meals how many of you enjoy the food? Your mind is given to ever so many thoughts that you are unable to enjoy your meal even. Your mother, father, spouse, siblings or others in the household wait for you to come home so that they can partake of their meals alongwith you. However, your pre-occupation with other thoughts precludes you from enjoying those moments of togetherness, in the present moment, with your loved ones. You are unable to live in the present. Practise living in the present for a blissful and fulfilling life. Most of you do not perform work with a concentrated mind. Instead, you allow your mind to wander aimlessly thinking of various other things at the time of work. This is the reason for failure in any endeavour you undertake. As a result of the failure, valuable time is lost and also your obligatory duties arising at the given moment remain unfinished.

Time moves by rapidly and inexorably. The bygone moments cannot be recalled and relived at any cost. It is akin to the flow of a river. Notice in a river, the water is continuously flowing downstream. The volume of water that was in front of you a moment ago gets replaced by a different volume of water. All the water in a river is gushing on its course towards the ocean. This process is ongoing and never stops. If you are the one bathing in a river you will appreciate that the water that has gone ahead cannot be brought back by any means. The same is the nature of time. It is constantly moving and cannot be brought back. By not living in the present you are losing time. The present moment is the best moment. I have seen many of you are either drooling on your past achievements or are very optimistic about the future but are poles apart from living in the present. Mindfulness has been recognised as a very important factor for all professions and occupations. So, tests to find out whether one is present minded or not have been incorporated into the recruitment procedures of many big as well as small organisations. The scene of an interview, for a plum post, in a big company yielded the following sequence of pictures. Many young individuals, carrying with them all their certificates, had assembled to appear for the interview. One by one they entered the cabin of the interviewer, someone in a very high post in the company, and exited soon later, disappointed. They all failed. Nobody knew why. They were presented the verdict as soon as they entered the cabin by the interviewer and so had to turn away. Finally, it was the last candidate’s turn. This young lad was bright in character, brilliant in intellect and extremely gentle demeanoured as also soft spoken. As he approached the cabin he saw many files strewn by the side of the door and also a lot of litter. This boy first stacked up the files neatly in a corner and then threw all the litter in the dustbin. He then approached the door and knocked seeking permission to enter. He was promptly called in and handed the appointment order immediately. The boy was overjoyed. The interviewer was the owner of the company. He said, “I was looking for somebody pro-active and present minded like you. Those files and litter were left outside the room with the purpose of testing the candidates. That is why all the others lost out and you have stood to gain. Keep it up.” In this manner, the interview contained no questions or answers or any other conversation. All that mattered was the state of mind and the decisiveness of the candidate. If you cultivate the habit of not getting enmeshed in the thoughts of the past and the future then you will be able to successfully develop a state of mind that is alert, aware and conscious of the present. Unnecessary worries and anxiety are impediments to happy living. If you cultivate concentration of the mind with the help of meditation and be cheerful then you will be able to derive immense satisfaction and pleasure by living in the present and also become more alert and aware.

It is an old saying that the ‘Most Precious Moment is the Present Moment that Man Loses Every Moment’. There is a story of a renowned violinist. He once visited a circus. There was another violinist in the circus. Whenever he played the violin, deers and the other wild animals danced and performed various acts. Now, our violinist who was in the audience was quite an accomplished musician. He was very proud about his ability to bring rain over even a barren land with the violin in his hand. This fellow now felt slighted by the ability of the circus violinist to whose tunes the wild animals danced given a semblance that they were totally under the control of his music. So, soon after the show was over our violinist approached the owner of the circus and persuaded him for a chance to play the violin during the show. The following day the violinist appeared for the show and took the place of the circus violinist. He drew his bow over the strings and out flowed mellifluous music in synchronisation to the notes of which, one by one, all the animals and birds – the deers, peacocks, elephants, horses, bears etc. – performed in front of the audience. Finally, a tiger made its way into the ring. The violinist’s pride, by now, had ripped through the roof. He felt as if there was no greater violinist on earth other than him. However, within seconds, the tiger leapt over the violinist and struck him on the neck with its paws. He gnarled viciously looking at the violinist who by now was overcome with extreme fear. Somehow the ring master took the tiger under his control and saved the violinist’s life. The shaken violinist was escorted to the tented area behind the circus and given first aid. He was being comforted by the owner of the circus and others. The violinist then asked the ring master: “Sir, all the animals and birds swayed so beautifully and happily to the tunes of my violin but why did your tiger alone attack me.” The ring master replied, “Sir, in your over-confidence that all the animals will surely be e nslaved by your music you failed to notice that the tiger had neither of his ears. How could a deaf animal hear your music however enchanting it may be.” The violinist at once understood that he had become unaware of the present moment and so had to pay for it with a near fatal encounter with a tiger. This incident teaches that one must always be conscious of the events occuring around oneself and act in a befitting and measured manner. Keep your eyes, ears and the other senses open and alert. Be awake to the happenings around you. This will benefit your life immensely. Our beloved Swamiji (Swami Omkaran anda) has been repeatedly saying that the youth of today have gone astray. “They are living as they wish. They seem to be drooling in a false air of success and so are losing control of their lives and its details. They are unable to remember even the smallest of works to be done and are prompt in tendering apologies for the same. “Sorry, I forgot!” is on the lips of almost all youngsters,” Swamiji says.

You youngsters are always bored. You have forgotten how to enjoy life and its umpteen offerings. Setting aside real happiness you are all running after a sort of happiness which is no more than a reflection that will never come within your hold. Doing so, you are all living lifelessly. This two day camp has been conducted in order to infuse right thinking in all of you. Keeping the mind in the present moment will yield infinite happiness. You must take back this very profound teaching with you from here. Likewise, dwell deeply on all that I have spoken with you here and take corrective action in your life and make
it blissful.

Sri Ma Amrutvani Navratri Celebrations Third Day

Goddess Mahalakshmi has manifested as various Shakti (Goddess) forms. Lakshmi represents truth, chastity and grandeur. She is the blessed consort of Lord Vishnu.

Sage Bhrigu and his wife begot a very pretty young girl child. Her beauty was unsurpassable in the three worlds. The girl was endowed with many virtues and divine qualities. Hence, She was named‘Lakshmi’. The meaning of the word ‘Lakshmi’ is to be virtuous and divine.

As years went by, young Lakshmi, gained divine wisdom by listening to the conversations between her father, Sage Bhrigu, and other great sages like Narada, who visited her home frequently. Intermittently in the conversations the one name that she heard the most number of times, whose glories the Sages never tired to sing, was that of Lord Narayana. Lakshmi became divinely enamoured of the Lord and in her heart of heart regarded Him as her husband. Lakshmi’s thoughts were intensely concentrated on Him whom the great ones knew as being the Supreme One.

Thereafter, Lakshmi immersed herself in penance seeking the Lord for her husband. Thousands of years elapsed yet Lakshmi carried on Her endeavour relentlessly. As a result of Lakshmi’s powerful penance a kind of fire began to rage in the three worlds. The increased heat due to
the fire began to be experienced all over.

Any penance of this kind causes such difficulty to the pantheon of gods that they are incapable of bearing it. Lord Indra forthwith began to wonder why Lakshmi, a woman, was performing such intense penance.“What for has she resorted to such austerities? Does she intend to douse the whole universe in fire and reduce everything to ashes? The heat from her penance is almost unbearable,” thought Lord Indra. Then, all on a sudden, it flashed in Indra’s inward eye, that Lakshmi was hopeful to marry Lord Narayana, the father of the Universe. And so, she was on the path of pleasing the Lord so that he may take her as His consort. So, Indra donned the guise of Lord Narayana and appeared before Lakshmi. He said, “Open your eyes O great lady! I have come. Ask whatever boon you may wish and it will be fulfilled.” Lakshmi smiled as she knew in her mind that it was Indra who had appeared as Lord Vishnu to test her. This time though the examinee too developed an urge to test the examiner. Mahalakshmi, as she is, asked Indra in Vishnu’s guise, “O Lord! I wish to behold Your Universal Form. Kindly grant me the blessedness of seeing Your All Encompassing, All Pervading, Almighty form.” Indra felt ashamed and at that very moment he fell at Lakshmi’s feet and said, “O Mother of the Universe! Kindly pardon Thy son for attempting to impersonate the Lord of lords, Narayana. Please do not cast a curse over me.” Lakshmi replied, “O Indra! You call me Mother and also accuse me of being capable of cursing you. Can Mother ever curse her own child? I bless you to be endowed with all happiness and glory.” Lord Indra prostrated himself before Lakshmi Devi and headed straight to Vaikuntha seeking humbly Lord Vishnu’s audience. Indra related everything about Lakshmi Devi to Lord Vishnu and entreated Him to accept her as His consort. At the behest of Indra, Lord Vishnu appeared before Lakshmi and granted her a boon. On beholding her beloved Lord Lakshmi Devi spoke in the following string: “O Lord of lords! Kindly grant me the vision of Your Universal Form (Vishwa Roopa Darshan).” The Lord obliged without ado and gave Lakshmi the vision of His dazzling, Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient form. Lakshmi surrendered to Her Lord and the Lord on His part accepted Lakshmi as His consort. This is how the first manifestation of Lakshmi unfolded in time.

The story about the second manifestation of Mahalakshmi and how again she became the consort of Mahavishnu is as follows.

When the fight for supremacy between the gods and the demons reached the zenith the former sought the intervention of Lord Vishnu for a solution so that the conflict may come to an end soon with the gods emerging victorious. Lord Mahavishnu gave a solution. He said, “O gods! Churn the ocean to extract nectar that will grant you immortality. Use Mount Meru as a pestle and the Lord of the snakes, Vasuki, as a rope. Strike a truce with the demons and have them churn from one side whereas you all take the other side. I will Myself descend in the form of a Turtle (Koorma Avatar) and support Meru from the bottom so as to prevent it from sinking. Gaining immortality is the only way to subject the Asuras (Demons) to defeat.” The idea of striking a truce with the demons and taking their help in the churning of the ocean for obtaining nectar was not acceptable to the Devas (Gods). They said, “O Lord! If we take the help of the demons then they will also stake their claim over the nectar. We will have to give them their rightful share. Then they will also become immortal and wreak havoc in the three worlds. The blessed Lord then said, “O Devas! Do not worry. Go in peace. That the demons must fail in their wicked plans is my look out. I will see to it that their evil devices are doomed. With these reassuring words of the Lord of the Universe Himself the gods acceded to temporarily compromise with the demons.

The churning of the ocean was completed successfully. During the churning, before the nectar was obtained, many different objects, things and Beings emerged from the ocean. Airavat, the elephant, different medicinal herbs and even some deadly poison surfaced from it. Goddess Mahalakshmi too manifested from the ocean and offered Herself at the Lotus Feet of Lord Vishnu.

With every descent of the Lord one is bound to witness the advent of the Divine Mother. That is the reason why Lord Narayana is also known as ‘Lakshmi Prabho’. The divine name of Goddess Lakshmi precedes that of the blessed Lord. Thus the chant ‘Lakshmi Narayana’ came about. Mahashakti is the only cause of all creation. Anything in the universe is obtainable by the Grace of the Divine Mother. Day to day phenomena is a result of the Divine Will of Shakti. The divine strength of the Goddess resides in women. So much so that women may be called manifestations of Goddess Shakti. That is why no prosperity, success or fame may be attained by men without the support or contribution of women.

In every household, the men, be they fathers, uncles, brothers, husbands or sons, should pray for the well being of the women of the household and also treat them in a good manner. The women of the household must cultivate peace and cheer within themselves so that the others too in the household develop such a mental disposition. Men who step out to earn money will perform better at their work if the ladies in the house have a clear mind. Women take upon themselves roles of a mother, wife, sister, aunt, daughter etc. and work for the welfare of all. Inimical qualities cannot in any manner lay their hold over the character of a woman. Women living in households do bear noble desires. Respecting them and their expectations is very important. Even women must care for their family members, both males and females. There must be a spirit of co-existence and co-operation in the running of a house. Women and men are like the two wheels in the chariot of worldly life. When both function alongside each other in a smooth, cohesive and co-ordinated manner the world and the people and the creatures in it will be joyous and peaceful. For this men will have to take notice and give due importance to the outlook and desires of women and also take into consideration their opinions and advice while making important decisions or resolving various problems. Opinions given by women must be accepted and carried out if valid whereas if they are not acceptable then atleast they must not be humiliated for expressing their feelings. To humiliate or insult someone is a sin. One humiliates or ridicules others due to a lack of conviction or courage in one’s own thinking and feelings. Listening to others with patience or tolerance, strength and courage opens the floodgates to infinite wisdom.

Mirabai, the great devotee, once visited a saintly person. On reaching the latter’s Ashram she sought an audience with the great man. Upon receiving the request an attendant at once replied to Mirabai that his master never met ladies. In fact, sometimes he would even get very angry on seeing women. So, he will have to first convey to his master the credentials of Mirabai and only then maybe he might consider meeting her. This process would be time consuming and hence Mirabai would have to wait patiently if she really wanted to have the noble one’s Darshan. On hearing the reply Mirabai told the attendant with a smile on her face, “Is there anybody greater than Lord Krishna who lifted the mighty Mount Govardhana on his little finger and held it aloft for days together? There is none greater or mightier than the Lord of the Universe. Rest all of us are feeble. The Great Lord alone is the Male, rest all of us are females.” Neither is any work small or big nor is any person superior or inferior on the basis of his occupation or achievements. One who recognises all work as important is only a great man in this world. He is pure and perfect. Work must be performed completely, skillfully and gracefully, with a lot of humility. This will give rise to the power of accomplishing things in you and you will become great.

All work is important irrespective of which gender is usually engaged in its execution. Work that a small child does is also important as also that done by a maid or a helper. Every work must be given due importance. Have an open mind and pay attention to all that is told to you. Men are usually wont to not paying heed to the words of the women of the household on account of egoism. This usually results in grief for all. Ladies must also, at the same time, amiably present their views on pertinent matters in front of the gents. Men must accept constructive suggestions and opinions from women and not disregard them thinking of it as dishonour. Only then will a man and his wife be able to run a successful household. Harmonious families will give rise to peaceful and happy societies that in turn will ensure progressiveness in the functioning and affairs of the Nation as a whole.

The treatment meted out to women in our country is not so good. Despite women being considered manifestations of Goddess Shakti by our scriptures and culture they continue to be humiliated, suppressed, denied opportunity etc. They are called Griha Lakshmi and held worshipful but in many families they are demeaned. Many atrocities are perpetrated against them for the sake of dowry or for upholding false beliefs. People are mad after money everywhere. They do anything for it; even adopt unfair means. They safeguard it in banks, lockers etc. They willingly accept insults of all sorts, become fatigued, but still relentlessly strive for the growth of their wealth. Even after earning enough and sometimes excess money they treat women in their homes unfairly whom they should actually be reverential towards and because of whom they are seeing the success in their respective vocations. It often happens that such men give hardly any money to their wives for running the household, for their personal expenditures and so on. On the contrary the lady has to often listen to abuses if she spent above the budget a little here and there. Women are deprived of even their small wishes. Their happiness is not considered at all. They are stereotyped as being weak and unintelligent. All this is wrong and unfair. A nation where such things happen can never progress. Unfortunately, some books from which some religions draw authority speak of women as being very low. Severe measures are suggested to keep the womenfolk in chains. The followers-the males-of such doctrines must consider their actions in the light of equality and justice and derive whether females deserve inhuman treatment. Conscience, the inner voice, will always guide in the right direction.

Women are born as images of the Divine Mother. Leaving this divine feeling men borrow words from other’s mouths and talk ill about women.

Earlier in the talk, I introduced to all of you the magnificent, ornamental qualities of Goddess Lakshmi who is free of any blemish whatsoever. What is a blemish or taint? Is beauty of appearance a good quality? Malice and cruelty are bad qualities. The demoness Putana was a den of all bad qualities. She was assigned the task of killing the infant Lord Krishna by Kamsa. To accomplish her mission Putana adorned herself exquisitely and arrived in Gokul. Her beautiful form captivated one and all. People thought of her as a celestial being. No one knew of her malicious motives. Unsuspectingly they allowed Putana to gather the infant Lord Krishna onto her lap. peme efomeleæb leme vemeleb cnCetve peie HeÀmeleb is a Marathi saying. All that glitters is not gold. There is always more to anything than meets the eye. Mere outward show while the real motive being unclean is far from being a sign of nobility. Only a heart purified with divine thoughts and feelings can be beautiful. Rest all is skin deep.

Goddess Mahalakshmi possesses both inner and outer beauty. Merely having the name Lakshmi and not possessing any virtues is no good. Nobility in thought, word and deed is a must. Women must possess an exemplary character.

Goddess MahaLakshmi is seen seated on a Lotus in a pond full of Lotus blossoms. The Lotus blossom shows how one must live aloof of the world despite being in the midst of everything. Lotus rests on the surface of the water that may be marshy. Its petals never become wet. They remain clean and untainted. Water cannot remain over the petal at all. Goddess Mahalakshmi is the presiding deity of wealth and riches. She bestows prosperity and happiness. Nevertheless, Goddess Mahalakshmi is all pervasive. She permeates the entire universe but reveals Her resplendent form to only that person whose heart is free of the shackles of the sensory world. Goddess Mahalakshmi ever remains absorbed in the contemplation of Lord Vishnu. Her mind rests forever at the Lotus Feet of the Lord of the Universe. Goddess Mahalakshmi is constantly teaching us to adore Divinity through Her own example.

It is not so that the Goddess resides only in a forest pond amidst lotus blossoms. You will meet disappointment if you set out to seek Her in that place as your search will be limited to the physical plane. The analogy to draw from Goddess Mahalakshmi’s picture in a lotus pond is that this illusory, physical world may disintegrate at any time without warning and our bodies are equally ephemeral. So, fill your mind with love for God and lofty thoughts of renunciation and detachment. Remain aloof of the world even while living its midst. Have love and compassion or else you will fall back in your spiritual progress. The image of Goddess Lakshmi with a lotus in Her hand is indicative of the Divine Mother’s message to all of you that while living in the world constantly strive to live above it like how a lotus blossoms above the surface of the water. The depiction of different Gods and Goddesses always conveys some inner meaning. Try to understand and learn them. There are ample instructive stories about Gods and Goddesses as told by our ancestors. You have inherited them but have failed to imbibe them.

Now-a-days, people, after knowing a few hymns, some mantras or a few phrases or verses in Sanskrit start to think big of themselves and harbour a swollen ego. They think they have achieved erudition.

The purpose of Avatars or Divine Manifestations is to serve the whole world. They return again and again to earth if they do not feel fulfilled by the service they have rendered. Lord Krishna has said,‘mecYeJeeefce ³egies ³egies’ sambhavämi yuge yuge. Do not consider the words of the Lord as meaning Satyuga, Dwaparayuga, Tretayuga or Kaliyuga. Every moment of strife or grief is equivalent to the word Yuga uttered by the Lord. God manifests the moment you remember Him. Even if you don’t remember Him when the going is easy He does not forsake you in times of trouble. He honours His promise. God can appear in front of you in any form. The mace and the sudarshana chakra in the Lord’s hands indicate that you must wage war against your own evil propensities and annihilate them. Inimical qualities are the cause of your misery. Destroy them and you shall attain happiness.

Be embellished with noble qualities, have enthusiasm and engage yourself in service all the time. Service must be rendered at the time of need. Service done when it is not required is not service at all. Watch yourself all the time. At the time of rendering service safeguard your mind from unfavourable thoughts. A situation wherein service is rendered is often highly dynamic and everything may not fall in place the way you desire. However, you must not relent to the circumstances and forsake your high-mindedness and lofty spirit even a little. Keep them up and the service rendered will strike fruition of its own.

Goddess Mahalakshmi always facilitated Lord Mahavishnu in achieving His purpose during His many advents or Avatars. You too can persevere to facilitate great work if you feel you do not have the ability to undertake them all on your own. Even spiritually, if you are unable to practise meditation, Japam etc. you must not discourage others from doing it. You must encourage others knowing clearly that spiritual practices alone can bestow unending happiness. Become a facilitator there. Learn to find happiness in others’ success. I have Myself witnessedin many temples, Ashrams and especially Gurudwaras many different people rendering service in the forms of taking care of the footwear of visiting devotees, offering them water to drink and for washing their feet etc. The people rendering service must bear the attitude that devotees coming from places afar to offer their obeisances and to worship the Guru or God must be made to feel comfortable and at ease. He or she must think that the Great Lord Himself has appeared as His devotees and with this feeling the service must be rendered. So, take out time from your busy schedule to engage in service activities. Do not be under the false impression that those who are engaged in rendering service at footwear counters in big temples or Gurudwaras are ordinary people. They are often big merchants, traders, officers, bureaucrats, businesspeople etc. These are people who understand and value the importance of service and hence with a view to rise spiritually they perform them in the name of the Lord or the Guru. Charity need not always be monetary or in kind. You can endeavour and offer the charity of your effort. Seva or service is a very high form of charity. If you cannot do even so little then your human life is no better than that of fallen, dry leaves.

In Ashrams and in places of worship of the Guru, devotees must take care not to act unbecomingly. One must also ensure to complete the work undertaken. Doing work for some time and then going away leaving it incomplete is very wrong. Doing work only to show-off is bad. Even to think oneself as being indispensable is not correct. The dwelling place of the Lord or the Guru becomes charged with divine vibrations due to Satsanga. The Lord or the Guru requires nobody to perform the tasks of service there. If not you then someone else will come or even if no one comes then God will enter Himself and see to it that the work is accomplished. The Lord has shown through the lives of many saints that He remains ever eager to be of service to His devotees.‘What will happen if I don’t be there? I must go or else something untoward will happen! I am the most important person for that work.’ All these statements and the sort of tension that it creates are totally unnecessary. Once you come to the Lotus Feet of the Lord all tensions must vanish.

You can attain anything under the sun if you yearn and work for it sincerely. Have you noticed that sometimes you are deep in thought about somebody and that person all of a sudden comes in front of you? If a mere mortal can come to you by the power of your thought then why won’t God appear in front of you whom He loves beyond compare. You are very close to the Lord. Only prayer devoid of love and devotion can avert the Lord from manifesting Himself in your heart. Otherwise the Lord is ever eager to occupy the heart of His devotee and make it a veritable temple. If you exhibit slackness in your thinking or let go of your resolve to attain God then be ready to face failure that will be a direct consequence of your actions. What you sow so shall you reap. You alone will be responsible for the outcome.

A true devotee must surrender himself or herself to the will of God. If not then there shall remain a divide between the God and the devotee. They will not become One. This will give rise to untold grief and agony. Anger and the other evil qualities will make the devotee’s mind their home and create a chaotic condition. God need not always adhere to the petitions of a devotee. If the devotee asserts his whims and fancies then there will be no surrender to the will of God. A devotee’s arrogance will be seen on the rise if the feeling wells up that God will appear everytime he or she prays. Sublimate to higher states of existence by giving up petty desires. Completely surrender to the Lord what is His own. Offer yourself to God with love and devotion. Be dutiful and have faith in the Lord. If your intention is to serve the world then help will flow to you from all directions. God will shower His Grace on you but remember He will never do anything to purely satisfy your wishes.

I started my talk explaining to you all the significance of Goddess Mahalakshmi, the Divine Mother. I wish to conclude by saying that it is a widespread mis-conception that Lakshmi means only wealth and riches. Possessions and property of every type are merely material and illusory. Mahalakshmi resides not in illusory objects but is Herself a home of all divine qualities. If you want to attain Her Lotus Feet then you must purge yourself of all evil, inimical tendencies. Destroy your ego that is the root cause of all sorrow and evil. The Divine Mothers, Mahalakshmi, Maha Saraswati and Mahakali will surely then shower their Grace and Blessings on you and grant you eternal peace and happiness.

Sri Ma Amrutvani Navaratri Celebrations Ninth Day

Desires are endless. The mind is constantly wriggling wrenched by one desire or the other, small or big. Today, man is unable to understand
why he is so discontented. He does not know what he is going after. He is unaware of his real goal. He is constantly hankering after worldly goals. No sooner does he achieve one desire than he is ridden with another wish. His wish-list seems to be never ending. Material wants bestow pleasures but not even a little bit of happiness. Since man does not get happiness on obtaining a certain material object he wishes for some other material thing thinking that the happiness he is searching for must be in that. He feels that by gaining materially he will become really happy. He tries his luck at one venture after the other and makes a desperate attempt to gain happiness through material means. However, happiness remains as elusive as it was in the beginning. Man continues to remain discontented and distraught. Youngsters desire for a good job or business, good food, clothing and a luxurious home. Then they want a good spouse and a happy family with two or three happy and healthy children. In this manner desires keep on multiplying. Even after getting everything the mind continues to pine for something else. The mind wants eternal happiness.

Eternal happiness is the goal of all created beings. The Jeevatma (Individual Soul) does not know that real happiness lies in liberation. It continues its journey amidst sensory objects deriving pleasure from their contact and remains oblivious to the resplendence of the Divine Spirit, the fountainhead of perennial bliss.

The seed of God Realisation is in all. All living beings have the innate urge to attain infinite happiness. However, the soul looks for happiness in transient objects not realising that the source of infinite happiness is the SELF alone. Hence, there is a constant struggle to evolve into a higher form of life to enjoy the material world better. Nevertheless, reunion with the creator alone can bestow unending happiness. Only on reaching the doorstep of divine wisdom can a soul taste real bliss.

The Devi Mahatmyam, a collection of verses in adoration of Goddess Shakti or Durga, is a repository of teachings of the Ultimate Truth. It has been composed poetically in a story form to convey secrets underlying God’s creations to even lay persons. Most people usually worship Kali, Chandi, Chamunda, Durga, listen to stories of the slaying of the demons, Mahishasura, Chanda-Munda, Shumbha-Nishumbha etc. and get filled with awe and devotion. However, people do not understand the inner meaning, the quintessence of the narration, the secrets, the teachings that can help the soul cut asunder the veil of Maya (Illusion), go beyond material frontiers into the realm of Spiritual Bliss. During the Navaratri festival the glories of the Divine Mother are narrated. Listening to them and understanding their meaning one can make considerable progress on the spiritual path. By doing Pooja during Navaratri one tries to get rid of inimical tendencies and feelings. Every individual tries to proceed towards the door of salvation by worshipping the Divine Mother. How to get rid of desires, how to cease all mental modifications, how to merge in God, and such other cosmic secrets and different types of Sadhana (spiritual practices) are revealed in the Devi Mahatmyam.

The glories of the Divine Mother are classified into three sections in the Devi Mahatmyam. The synopsis of the first section is that the Primordial Mother awakens Lord Mahavishnu from Yogic sleep and slays the demons Madhu and Kaitabha. In the sequel, the Divine Mother manifests as Mahalakshmi and Durga and delivers devotees from the torments of the demons, Mahishasura and Raktabeeja. In the final section, the Divine Mother takes the form of Mahasaraswati, annihilates the demons Shumbha and Nishumbha and furthers the spiritual seeker on the path of divine knowledge. On Vijayadashami the Divine Mother attains victory over all evil. The spiritual significance of Vijaydashami is that the seeker or devotee conquers the five sense organs (Karmendriya) and their five respective knowledge centres (Jnanendriya), goes beyond the confines of mundane existence and beholds the Effulgence of the All Pervading Divinity. This journey from illusion to Illumination has been depicted in three stages.

The demons Madhu and Kaitabha are present in living beings as Kama (Lust), Krodha (Anger) and Lobha (Greed). They must be conquered if a soul is to progress on the path of Self-Realisation. The Bhagavad Gita unequivocally states that Kama, Krodha and Lobha are the triple gates to hell. Hence, they must be destroyed lest should they ruin the soul. However, victory over the above three must not in the least be considered as the final victory. For, three more vices have to be expunged before the soul enters the realm of the Supreme. All mental impressions too have to be wiped out without a trace for a soul to be able to experience Supreme Bliss. Impressions or Vasanas are very powerful and are born from worldly contact. They underlie all actions of living beings. Their erasure is also a must for spiritual growth. Together, the six vices and mental impressions pose a very high peril to the soul as they are covert in their deeds. They are not present outside but inside and hence can inflict unimaginable and inexplicable damage to the soul. They are like the sweet talking person who always carries a weapon hidden under a cloth and can attack to kill at any moment. Inimical tendencies are like a bomb that can not only explode but also implode causing a complete degeneration of the body, mind and intellect. They cause harm to the world as well as the individual. Harbouring them is no worse than committing suicide. Mental modifications arising from them torment the body, mind and
intellect. The mouth utters unbecoming words. Hands and legs perform actions without discrimination. At that juncture, the conscience does ring the bell of guilt but man continues to live a decadent, debased life. The soul plunges into the abyss of hell.

During the Durga manifestation, the demon Mahishasura dons different guises and attacks the Divine Mother. Likewise, the inimical human tendencies also have taken several forms as impressions and are seated firmly within man.

The end of Mahishasura at the hands of Goddess Durga is followed by the depiction of the killing of the demon Rakta Beeja. Every drop of blood of this demon was giving rise to several thousands of Rakta Beejas. When the Supreme Mother beheld this She invoked Goddess Bhadrakali for his destruction. Mother Kali then arose in Her most dreadful and fierce form. Seeing the relentless device of the demon, Mother Kali spread Her tongue all over the vast expanse of the battlefield and collected Rakta Beeja’s blood on it not allowing even a single drop to fall on the ground. Then, Bhadrakali ate up all the Rakta Beejas, their weapons, horses, elephants and chariots. In this manner, Mother Kali rooted out the menace of a replicating evil force.

There is a very deep precept in this portion of the story during the manifestation of Mother Kali. To regulate the mind, to goad it towards God, people try so many things, they resort to a life of solitude, they live in jungles, shave their heads, don saffron robes and take Sannyas, they fast and mortify their bodies, yet the mind does not come under control. Why? Desires and other evil qualities inside humans are of the nature of Rakta Beeja. When one dies, several thousands are born. The already difficult task now becomes several thousand times harder. Mother Kali teaches us that to conquer the mind, vices and their impressions will have to be completely uprooted and thrown away without leaving even a trace behind. When all mental modifications due to Kama, Krodha, Lobha, and their impressions cease the mind commences to wear a semblance of joy. Tamas and Rajas having been overcome the soul enters the domain of Sattva Guna. The soul reaches the penultimate stage of the spiritual journey. Finally, the soul has to even transcend the Sattva Guna to experience the state of God.

Mrs. S. R. Meenakshi Iyer

Mrs. S. R. Meenakshi Iyer

My First Glimpse of Mataji

I recall my first meeting with Mataji to be in mid-may 1972. I remember those days quite vividly for I was pining to have Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s Darshan (Sanctifying Glimpse) then. But due to many household duties I was unable to proceed to Puttaparthi. One night Baba came in my dream and said, “You want to see me but are unable to come. Even if you come many inconveniences will rid your trip. I keep coming (in astral form) to a place in Thane, not far from where you live. You can visit me there.” He also described the place to me. He said, “The place will not be opulent but will have people performing their duties assiduously and selflessly.” The dream lingered in mind for some time.

A few days later my brother’s son was to be invested with the sacred thread. It was at this ceremony that I met Smt. Shardambal (Sri Ma’s mother). She told me that Sri Ma has an Ashram (Spiritual Haven) in Thane and invited me to come and have Her Darshan (Sanctifying Glimpse). So, I visited Prem Ashram on a Thursday. I found that the Ashram was set in the same ambiance as Baba had foretold in my dream. I entered the shrine room. In the sanctorum were a Shiva-lingam, Baba’s Padukas and life-size portraits of Sri Shirdi Sai Baba and Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The resplendent Divine Mother, nonchalant and ever-established in Her splendourous glory, lived in a corner of the shrine room covered only by a curtain. It was time for Aarti (Waving of Sacred Flame in front of God) and Mataji came to the shrine. The Tikka (vermilion) was adorning Her forehead. This, with Her pure white Saree and Blissful countenance, made up for a spectacle beyond description and imagination. Her Darshan was like beholding the Abode of Love and Peace. Since then I have been visiting Prem Ashram regularly experiencing the same pure love each time.

During Bhajans (Collective Singing of Devotional Songs) I saw that devotees offered Prasad (Sanctified Offering) prepared by them to God. These were later on distributed to all. One day I too decided to prepare Prasad and take it to the Ashram. Offering it with love to God I went about attending the Bhajan. After the Bhajan, Mataji, apparently in a chiding manner, asked me as to who will distribute the Prasad if one and all brought it. To this I merely answered that if it were not in Her wish that I should prepare and bring Prasad I will take the same back home immediately. Mataji smiled at once and had the Prasad distributed. As I mused over the incident, I felt that Mataji was testing my intentions behind making the Prasad, whether I was trying to show off or whether I prepared the Prasad in a spirit of devotion.

Mataji’s ways are inscrutable. She alone knows how to redirect the astray toward illumination. She is perfectly aware of our innermost thoughts and knows exactly when and where to push our mind so that we may experience higher truths and progress toward our goal. One day after the Bhajan She asked me whether I read books. When I answered positively She drew out the book titled ‘An Autobiography of a Yogi’ by Sri Paramahamsa Yogananda and gave it to me to read. Now after many years of having read that book I have realised that Mataji gave me that book in order to enlighten me with the truth underlying all creation.

Mataji is Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient. The devotees actually need not even relate their tale to Her, for She knows everybody’s world in and out. One day I purchased a Saree and took it as an offering to Mataji. On reaching Prem Ashram I found that Mataji was not in Her sanctum. So I placed the Saree under Her cot and went to attend the Bhajan. Sri Ma customarily came out during Darshan time. To my pleasant surprise Mataji was wearing the same Saree that I had brought for Her. After everyone had offered Pranam (Prostrating Oneself) to Her, She called me and gave me the Saree worn by Her before the Bhajan, which I took reverently. It is a point to ponder as to how Mataji came to know that I had brought a Saree for Her and how She accepted the offering tacitly, by wearing it for the Aarti.

Mataji knows our minds. It was the day of Savitri Nombu or the sacred day commemorative of the Goddess Savitri. Since the auspicious moment was around 1:00 p.m., I decided not to miss the Bhajan that morning. Taking along with me the Prasad that I had prepared for the ceremony I went to the Ashram. On that day, however I was assailed by an uncanny inhibition, as to whether Mataji will accept the Prasad or not. So, all through the Bhajan I kept the vessel with me and did not place it in front of God. After the Aarti, even as I was about to leave, Mataji called me and asked for the Prasad. She said that Ajji (Sri Ma’s mother) was out of station and that no one else had prepared Prasad. Mataji said that She was actually waiting for me to bring the offering.

In November 1973, Mataji told me to pound groundnut flour for the sweetmeat to be served as Prasad during Baba’s birthday celebrations. Later on She told me to get involved with the entire Prasad preparation for the function. Since then, now for about 32 years, I have been involved in the preparation of Prasad on all Thursdays and in all functions.

Once, Sri Ma told me that She would visit my house and also have Her afternoon meals there. The day was fixed and I set about making preparations for the same. The whole house was readied and the menu was decided. I paid special attention to the drawing of Rangoli (Colourful designs on the floor), especially, the one in the Shrine room – A Sri Chakram (One of the circular designs symbolising the Goddess Shakti). Mataji graced our house on the decided day to the delight of my whole family. Having seen the Sri Chakram She told me to draw similar Rangoli in the Prem Ashram courtyard. Since then I have been drawing Rangoli in the Prem Ashram courtyard, especially during Sri Ma’s birthday celebrations. The designs that I drew were spiritual depictions set in a 6.5 foot diameter circle, oil paint being the material used. This was an arduous task, for this entailed twenty days of eight to ten hours of drawing daily. That I did not feel even an iota of tiredness was because Sri Ma was granting me immense energy and enthusiasm within. Mataji indeed is a storehouse of Divine Energy, which She extends to all Her children. If one receives even a little of this energy then he/she can accomplish any task, however onerous it might seem. Fatigue never shows on the face of those blessed with this Divine Energy. I had a first hand experience of this grace in drawing Rangoli. I also started drawing Rangoli in front of the main shrine daily. This used to take about an hour’s
time. Over the years I was able to keep up this routine, though I was growing old, only because of Mataji’s Divine Energy. A more recent incident in which Mataji’s infinite energy became evident to me was when She took me to the inauguration of the SRI MAMISSION-NEW DELHI CENTRE on 25th April 2006. When at first She told me to come along with Her, I interposed that my octogenarian frame might make it difficult for me to do so. To this She said in reply that if life were to forsake my body then it shall do so on Her lap. This reinforced my faith and I attended the function.

Mataji is the embodiment of fullness. She is Sat-Chit-Ananda (Absolute Truth, Consciousness and Bliss). She is an ocean of love, compassion and peace. She is abundant light and has come only to give that light to all Her children. Indeed Magnificent Spiritual Luminaries like Divine Mother Sri Ma come again and again to earth only to evoke Supreme Love and Devotion in us.

DOB: 31st May 1925

Mrs. S. R. Meenakshi Iyer