The Mother Divine
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(A letter)
Indira Devi
Ganesh Khind Road,
Hari Krishna Mandir,
21st August, 1958
My dear brothers,

I have a book in hand. It is Dada’s Beggar Princess.
It happens to be the author’s copy. I was going to give it away to a friend when I discovered his signature and knew that he had reserved it for himself. It was not for sale.

There are a few amongst us also on whose foreheads the Lord puts His signature: these blessed few are reserved for the Divine Author.

Even if through ignorance or mishandling they stray away for a time, be sure that one day no one knows when or how He will put out His hand and claim him back, even as an author does his own copy if it gets mislaid. An author’s copy may have all sorts of corrections and amendments in it and may not look as presentable as the new books for sale, but it is utterly His.

“What would happen to the world if everyone gave up his household duties and went off to follow the spiritual life?” this is a question people keep asking me. The answer is simple. Spiritual life is no child’s play, nor idler’s pastime. The path one has to tread has been compared to the perilous razor’s edge in our scriptures. It is certainly the most difficult path known to mankind. Out of millions and millions only a handful feels the urge to take the plunge. It is not easy to stake everything one holds dear for the Unknown Beloved, and none but those who hear the irresistible Call can muster the strength to break the iron bars of the worldly cage, and wing the trackless blue of Divinity. The rest will go their own way. They are neither expected nor destined to transcend destiny by Yoga. The life-pull is so great and the mortal coils so dear to them that, nothing can wrench them off their moorings. They may respond once in a way to His Flute, they may pray a little because they want to play safe. (Is it not more advisable to keep on the right side of a Being who may be of real use to us in times of need than to shut Him out and suffer?) But that is about all, so the question of everybody giving up the world hardly arises.

Nor does the Lord ask us to give up anything. He wants us to fulfill ourselves by testing a little of the Bliss He is. If we can manage to be happy without Him: He does not impose Himself on us, He leaves us to ourselves. We are free to accept Him, or to do His Will, which would lead to liberation or follow the ego’s lead, which must end in a blind alley. He does not withhold from us His compassion, even if we turn away from Him. The sinner and the saint breathe the same air; bask in the same sunlight, drink of the same holy Ganges. The worldly men grab what they can as a matter of right –to use it for their own ends. The saints receive everything on bended knees as a boon of Grace and try to use it for the service of the Master. And so goes on the world!

The millions, who do not hear the call must, perforce live their own lives for so is it intended. Everyone has his own swadharma, his own mission in life. Nature will help each of us to flower out in his own field. Only the handful that is called and chosen is expected to follow a different rhythm. It is not by reason or even by personal choice that they turn to this life. When I look back I plainly see that I was given no choice in the matter. Like a storm that uproots trees some power snatched me away from all I called mine and threw me, helpless and dazed, at the feet of my Guru.

I was one of the luckiest of women and could have had everything but the stars for the asking, but it was just the stars that my mortal heart longed for, and the stars beckoned to me and claimed me for their own.

One calm night a spark fell from the blue into my heart and set my whole being aflame, devouring all reason, thought of the morrow, attachments and worldly desires. Who can tell why the lightning falls on just one particular person or place? All that we know is whatever this Divine Lightning touches it consumes.

The hunter spreads out his nets and hundreds of birds are caught, but in their ignorance they only chirp in delight at the sight of food they have discovered. They do not realise what they have lost. Only a few, here and there, struggle to free themselves, and still fewer succeed. The chosen few on whom the Lord lays his yoke of compassion, drawing them to Him with the reins of love, are like these few birds. What right do those, who are still in bondage, have, to criticize the few who seek freedom? They may well be reminded: “you are in bondage – break your shackles and come out. If you do, you are strong and brave, but if you can’t, be sorry for your own plight and leave us to seek liberation which is our birthright.”

I have developed a curious habit in the last few years. If has helped me and it may be of some help to you. Whenever anything untoward happens (whether it is an illness of a dear one, some wound inflicted by a well-meaning friend, some calumny, or insult, mental sorrow or physical pain), I withdraw myself, and stand back, and say to the Lord; “Now this is your affair. You must deal with it as you think best. Let me not be a party to it. Whatever has been offered to me I lay at your feet! My business is to cling to my Guru’s feet and surrender to your will. I follow exactly the same rule when good things happen. All love, friendship, kindness, praise, felicitation I receive I offer to Him, for this too He must accept and deal with us as He will. I must only think of Him and Him alone.”

A stone was thrown in the still waters of my life and little ripples started their quest to the shore. Till they reach the journey’s end these ripples cannot cease.

Let the world approve or disapprove, judge or condemn. What had to happen has happened: I am His and He has claimed me for His own. I would have it otherwise for the whole world. I have been given the stars to play with, with the blue skies for my playground.

With the wrath of Love my Guru broke my personal bonds, so I may gather the whole world to my heart of love. He cut my shackles of attachment and tied the anklets of Seva round my feet, so I may dance in ecstasy to his divine music. Could life ever offer a greater boon?

Come, my dear brothers. Come, and savour this nectar our Guru offers us. You are two of the chosen few, the blessed ones who have been called and claimed by Him. How can you be content with lesser ideals and passing loves? His one glance can fill your whole being with ecstasy. One touch of your Guru’s hand can charm away the restlessness of ages. Why then crave for joys that pall and beauty that wanes? Let us yearn for the one abiding Friend who is Eternally Beautiful. What are these family ties people call sacrosanct? The soul on its journey to Him takes a million births. In each birth it acquires these ties and sheds them soon after, as a tree sheds its old leaves. What are a few years in a million years’ lonely quest? All is His Lila. Let us not try to understand, nor question. Is it not enough that we are His children? Let us give ourselves to Him to do with us what He Will. We will sing His name and dance to our Guru’s songs, in joy and utter with abandon, love-mad- God-mad! We are called by Him, how can we rest for a moment till we reach Him?

To end with a poem I wrote long ago:

I have the power to hew from pain
  The mould of ecstasy:
A little ripple on life’s waves
  Yet I do claim the sea.
I have the courage to span the sky
  With frail half-opened wings,
To own the blue and taste the joy
  The vast infinity brings.
A tender petal of life’s rose,
  I shiver with every breeze,
Yet flows in my veins the nectarous sap
  Of love’s eternal trees.
A whispering hope in a pining heart,
  A hush before the dawn,
I have the strength to break pain’s night
  And claim the heavenly morn.
With love,
Yours, Didi Indira