The Mother Divine
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Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath
Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath
In the twilight on the lonely banks of the Ganga, the madman finished his evening prayers. In a trance-like state, he sang long to himself:

‘Ram Krishna Ram Krishna Ram Krishna Hare Hare’

As he sang he cried, then laughed and after a while became silent.

Something made him turn around. There sat a Brahmin youth behind him.

The youth bowed and said, ‘I have been looking for you these last few days.’

The Madman said, ‘Me! Why?’

The Brahmin said, ‘Ever since I heard what you had said the other day, I wanted to ask you a few questions.’

Madman : What have you to ask?
Brahmin : See, I have neither read the Shastras nor interacted with Sadhus. I have received modern education. I have no blind faith. Please make me understand why one should admit the existence of the soul.
Madman : Son, you want to pour ten litres of milk in a pot that can take just one ounce. The knowledge of the nature of the soul is almost completely beyond one’s grasp. I myself have not been able to understand it, then how can I explain it to you? Besides, you will neither listen to the Shastras nor believe in what the Sadhus have to say.
Brahmin : I know nothing. Please explain in a simple language that there is a soul separate from the body.
Madman : Do you admit that there are these two things; matter and consciousness?
Brahmin : How is consciousness different? Everything is matter.
Madman : If everything is matter, whose power enables you to see, move and hear? How is it that you are alive?
Brahmin : Combinations of different types of matter spontaneously give rise to the vibration of life. Then why should we admit the existence of the soul? As lime and turmeric when mixed together turn red, life is created when blood, flesh, fat, marrow and bone are mixed together. Where do you find the soul in this?
Madman : If it is so, then why doesn’t a living being last the same way as does the colour of the lime and turmeric mixture? Why are happiness, sorrow, disease and grief of different kinds? And why does it happen that someone is blind, another is disabled, someone is rich while someone else is penniless? If the same mix of blood, flesh and bones creates life in all the creatures, then why does death come upon them in different ways? Why does someone die in boyhood, some in youth and the others in old age?
Brahmin : All this is due to differences in the proportion of the constituents.
Madman : Why do these materials get combined in differing proportions? Moreover, if you look at a dead body, all the materials or ingredients of that body are there but why is it not alive? The analogy of lime and turmeric advanced by you does not at all hold well, because lime and turmeric when mixed together lose their original appearance and form a different substance. But blood, flesh and bones, collected together, undergo no transformation and yet a spark of life is created. What is this? Where is the similarity between these two things you compared?
Brahmin : Pray do not use the mechanics of logic or complex terms to convince me. Could you please explain in simple language?
Madman : Well, if life is a mixture of matter, why does any mixture of flesh and blood not come alive when put together? Why can’t you give life to it?
Brahmin : Don’t say that, because science has not yet reached its full development. Why must I admit the existence of the soul only because today I cannot make such mixture come alive? This is not fair. In future, someone may be able to do this.
Madman : How can I ignore a self-evident fact today on the basis that someone may or may not be able to confirm it at some point in time in the future? Well, if I speak of your house do you understand that you and your house are two different things?
Brahmin : Yes, Sir.
Madman : Your hands, legs, eyes, nose, blood, flesh, body all are yours. Then are ‘you’ separate from your body? Just as you are not these also, that self of yours that is beyond your body and other things is a soul.
Brahmin : You are again trying to convince me by logical reasoning!
Madman : Look, when you are not able to argue, you protest about ‘the trap of logical reasoning’! Well, son, why is your body unconscious when you sleep? If life is a compound of matter, then why does it assume different states in waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep? Who takes it to the dreaming state from the waking state? Who passes on from the dreaming to the dreamless sleeping state? Can you say who again brings it to the waking state?
Brahmin : That is Swabhava (own state). Dream is nothing. Activities and thoughts of the day remain as impressions in the brain and are expressed in dreams.
Madman : But sometimes we dream of things that have not been thought of or experienced at all. Sometimes there are no dreams. Had it been Swabhava, dreams would have happened consistently. Sometimes it occurs and other times it does not. What sort of Swabhava is it? What does Swabhava mean?
Brahmin : Swabhava means Prakriti (nature).
Madman : Well, well, that which experiences the Prakriti is the soul.
Brahmin : Who can be the experiencer of Prakriti? It is everything.
Madman : No-no, Prakriti is not everything. Prakriti consisting of twenty four constituents (Tattvas) is an object of experience and the soul is its user. A bed made of quilt, sheet and pillow suggests that, there is someone to sleep on it. Similarly, Prakriti implies there is a soul (Purusha) experiencing it.
Brahmin : Are you speaking of the scriptural doctrines?
Madman : Son, how can I say anything ‘un-scriptural’?
Brahmin : I could not understand your words properly.
Madman : Suppose, the river Ganga in front of you is the object, the eyes are the instruments and he who sees with their help is the soul. The scent of a flower is the object. He who smells it with the nose is the soul. Ganga makes a rushing sound as it flows towards the sea. This sound is the object, the ears are the instruments. He who hears the sound with his ears is the soul.
Brahmin : What is it that you say? Please point out and make the soul apparent to me.
Madman : What do you mean by apparent?
Brahmin : What is seen with the eyes is apparent. No intelligent person can believe without seeing with one’s eyes. What is not directly seen does not exist.
Madman : Well, you intelligent person, you are blind, so how will you see?
Brahmin : Well, here are my eyes.
Madman : Who says that these are eyes? Can you directly see your own eyes?
Brahmin : Sir, Sir……
Madman : Do not say, Sir, Sir. If you do not directly see your own eyes then as per your own reasoning you must admit that you are blind. You did not see your grandfather, does that mean that your grandfather did not exist? You do not see your wife and son now. Then have you no wife and son? You cannot see your hunger and thirst. Then have you no hunger and thirst?
Brahmin : Well, Sir, I can see my eyes when I place a mirror in front of me. By simple inference, my grandfather existed because I exist. I can see my wife and son if I go home. Then how my eyes, grandfather, wife and son are not apparent?
Madman : Good, good, so you admit use of inference. If you use the mirror of intelligence that is lit up by the light of Shastras, you can see the soul. As one can infer the existence of your grandfather from your own existence, similarly existence of the soul as the rider can be inferred from the existence of the chariot (the body), the horses (the senses) and the charioteer (the discriminative thought). As you can see your wife and children when you go near them so you can see the soul when you come near it.
Brahmin : Sir, I have been defeated by you in argument but I still cannot understand the soul.
Madman : Sir, you cannot understand what the soul is. I made the mistake of beginning a discussion about the soul with you. If a blind man is told, ‘Look, there rises the Sun!’ he cannot see the Sun, though the Sun is self-evident. Similarly, you lack the means of seeing the soul though it is self-evident. You will not be able to grasp the idea of soul even if given a thousand explanations based on Shrutis, logic and realization. This life of yours is that of a creature of little intellect. You will not be able to experience the nature of the soul unless you are born again.
Brahmin : Why do you call me a beast?
Madman : The scriptures say ‘Eating, sleeping, fear, copulation are common to beasts and men. The beasts eat, sleep, fear and copulate as you do’. Then where is the difference between you and the beasts?
Brahmin : Then is every man a beast?
Madman : No, the one who is virtuous is not a beast.
Brahmin : I am twice-born, then why should I be regarded a beast?
Madman : You are certainly a Brahmin. But because you do not pray and worship you are still impure and not yet been born again. You could have been called twice-born had you prayed and worshipped and eaten pure food. You are still the creature that you had been born as. You have no faith and reverence for your preceptor and you have only grave doubts about the teachings of the Vedanta.
Brahmin : Well, do I not have recourse to any remedy? I have never prayed or engaged in worship and have never made sure that the food I eat is pure. I never have observed the prescribed practices. I have eaten according to my wishes and have never prayed to God. Is there not a remedy for a state such as mine? Is there not scope for salvation for me? I have no devotion, respect or faith; will my life then pass in vain? I throw myself at your feet, show me the way.

Thus the Brahmin catches hold of the feet of the Madman.
Madman : Let go my feet, let go my feet. You can have recourse to the Name of God; why then should you fear?
Brahmin : Ah, will the Name of the Lord save me?
Madman : Surely, it will save you. Seek refuge with the Name that delivered Ratnakar and Ajamil, and surely you will find peace.
Brahmin : See, I know nothing. I have not been initiated into any mantra. Please tell me what am I to do?
Madman : Wake up at 4 in the morning and perform ablution. Next, meditate on the two-petaled white-complexioned Guru, on top of your head. The time from twenty-four minutes before sunrise up to twenty-four minutes after sunrise is the suitable time for the morning prayers. Prayers must be said within that time. Specially, you ought to chant the Gayatri, read the Gita and worship Shiva and Vishnu. Begin all these practices and you will certainly receive the grace of God. Pure food is essential. Utter the Name, my son, utter the Name. In this Kaliyuga peace will come only if you utter the Name. ‘The Name of Hari is the only way. In Kali Yuga there is no other way’

The Madman claps his hands and sings:

‘Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare.’
The waters of Ganga dance and sportingly join his song.