The Mother Divine
Change Font Size 
We take pleasure in introducing the ‘The Mother Questions of the Quarter’. Questions by readers- Answers by The Mother! These answers are in no way definitive; nor do they make any claims to authenticity. These are supposed to answer the seeking. The insights contained in these answers issue from patrons of The Mother, among who are saints, holy men, scholars and advanced seekers. To submit a question, send email to Do not feel disappointed if The Mother does not publish the answer to your questions. The Editorial Board will choose questions to be published in The Mother depending upon its significance and service to the spiritual seekers at large. However, we will strive to answer most queries and personally communicate the answers to those who put forth genuine queries. Editor.


If pilgrimage, Bhagawan darshan are prescribed by our religious texts, why did those who practised it, meet with the biggest tragedy in their lives? The Kedarnath yatris had undertaken their tour in the name of God, how could God reward them with death in return?


This is an important question.
Catastrophes of this nature, especially of this magnitude, make general mass of believers question their faith. It is natural. There are three types of miseries called Tritaap (Threefold-misery) or three fires (Taapa Traya).
  1. Adhyaatmika (Spiritual): afflictions caused by one’s own body. Related to the mental plane, e.g. anger, greed, infatuation, recurring doubts, infidelity etc.
  2. Adhibhautika (Physical): those caused by beings around one; related mainly to body; e.g. hunger/thirst, snake bite, wars or fights with other living beings
  3. Adhidaivika (Divine): those caused by the demi-gods or forces of nature. Generated by Prakriti, e.g. extreme weather, earthquake, excessive rain or lack of it, tsunami, floods, famine, drought, earthquake, epidemics etc
What hit the higher realms of Himalayas is the third type- Adhidaivika. Collectively, these are a result of atrocities against nature.

We usually associate the cause of death with the immediate karmas. But this is not correct. Death is inevitable and can come in any form. Death is death. To those who die, it really means nothing.

Each one dies alone, though the appearance is one of mass casualty in events such as these.

We have unpleasant associations based on the “appearance” of death. But in fact, this is only an aesthetic concern, considering that irrespective of how and where one dies; there is just the end of body, that’s all. The appearance of death, gruesome, peaceful etc. are cosmetics of the great truth of passing on.

The death condition is determined by karmas of many lifetimes. They are calculated to create “last thoughts”. The nature of death is awarded on the basis of “last thoughts” that may be created by the desires of the dying over many lifetimes. The pilgrims dying are bound to have thoughts of God; they would have turned to Him suppliantly which is a good last thought. The cause leading to it is immaterial.

Surrender is a way of courage and strength. And the way of surrender is not passivity but calm acceptance. A surrendered soul stays calm in the midst of the storm. This was displayed by a rare sight witnessed by the deputy inspector general of Garhwal range Amit Sinha who has been supervising the rescue and relief operations in Gauri kunda and Kedarnath.

He said that the several eyewitness accounts of the recent deluge have painted a very tragic picture. Many people were drowned or were washed away after finding no means of escape.

Sinha however added, “there were hundreds of devotees who had taken off their shoes and socks as a mark of respect and surrendered themselves to the floods after folding their hands in prayers in the hope of attaining moksha.”

This is a startling fact to note.

These were people who had gone to meet God. And in this calm gesture they perhaps came close to Shiva.

Gigantic wave of the Ganga that came sweeping was to them a call of God. To it they silently, prayerfully surrendered.

Just think about it. A pigmy human standing before a gigantic, water divinity, with hands folded. “O death, take me! I smile as you carry me in your lap to a safe place.”

Next moment he or she is carried away. Whatever it is, this needs strength!

The same logic of Bhagavad Gita is applicable here. Lord Krishna assures Arjuna, hato va prapsyasi svargam -O son of Kunti, either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the heavenly planets (2: 37).

For those who lost their life in Kedarnath tragedy, a possibility of attaining bhakta veer svarga as against veer svarga cannot be ruled out.

As for those who have come to harm, they have reaped the results of their karmas. Their harm has really nothing to do with the immediate fact that they had gone on a pilgrimage. Actually, immediate causes have little to do with ensuing events; things are coming to us from far, from many lifetimes. It’s imprudent on our part to read cause-effect relationships with immediate events/ time frames in these.

When adharma prevails, nature misbehaves. We’re seeing it in the rise of new afflictions and nature’s wrath.


How to make prayers work for you?


You ask how to make prayers work. It's not an easy question. But I shall answer to the best of my lights, deriving encouragement from the fact that most of my prayers have indeed worked.

Many consider praying to be “whispering desires to an unseen God". That is begging in darkness; just because you feel very strongly about something, it doesn't mean it will yield.

The strong sentiment (of desire) is restricted to your own self and perhaps it does not have any energy. If the strength of one's own sentiment were to yield, there would be no need to seek from a higher source. So, it must be understood, will power is not prayer. More will power is not better prayer. Wishful thinking, raised to the level of constant passion, is not prayer. This is where the prayers actually fail. Human will fails the prayer. Divine will sets sail.

The root of prayers being answered lies with the one who answers prayers, not the one who prays.

If the prayer is full of desire, it does not even leave the personality of the seeker, there's no question of making a contact with Higher Source. Prayers which work are prayers where thought of God is above the thought of desire. God answers, the desire does not! So filling oneself with what one wants, to the brim of one's consciousness, is actually perilous. It is to defeat the very purpose. We have to fill our consciousness with God and His unfailing power and then solely relying on such power quietly slip in the desire. Only when the ground is ready and a contact is made, the message reaches. Not otherwise.

A prayer that starts with what one wants is worthless rambling, it gets nowhere. It's like presuming that one will reach the other shore just because one can cry harder. First step is to find the vehicle...a boat! So, first we think of God for His own sake, for His own glory, for His own beneficence. We remember Him, try to visualise Him, desperately try to connect to Him, and stay there for a while. Once the heart is full of His thought, once the heart has melted in surrender and tears of gratefulness have trickled (mind you, no desire! Desire means drawing curtains even before the act of Prayer begins), then you tell God: "Lord, this is my desire. It is legitimate and I'll work hard to attain it...I just need you to be with me in attaining it. I surrender this want before you, and now I'll stop thinking about it. Thy will be done! You do what you like, I'll accept whatever the outcome is unreservedly." This works!

Prayers which work are about works which go to make better prayers.


I am presently reading Bhagavad Gita- As It Is by Swami Prabhupada, which are the versions of Bhagavad Gita worth pursuing?


There’s no one best commentary of Bhagavad Gita. Different saint-scholars have brought out different versions with insights based on their experience and divine intuition. Study of Gita is a lifelong occupation. One must follow the version advised by one’s Guru, or carefully read different commentaries and imbibe their essence.
  1. Sadhak Sanjivani by Swami Ramsukhdas
  2. Geeta Rahasya by Bal Gangadhar Tilak
  3. Yathartha Gita by Sri Paramhamsa Swami Adgadananda
  4. The Song of God, Bhagwad Gita by Swami Prabhavananda. (Ramakrishna Mission)
  5. Bhagavad Gita by Swami Chidabhavananda
  6. PRANAV PREM PIYUSH (Commentary on Bhagavad Gita with ‘Sri’ annotation and nectar of Pranava/ Aum doctrine) by Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath (available in Bengali and Hindi (Part 1)
  7. The Bhagavadgita by S. Radhakrishnan
  8. Bhagavad Gita by Swami Chinmayananda
  9. The Bhagavad Gita and Its Message (English) (With Text, Translation and Sri Aurobindo's Commentary)
  10. Gudhartha Dipika (an annotation revealing the true Import of the Gita) by Madhusudan Saraswati
  11. Gita Bhashya by Ramanujacharya
  12. The Bhagavad Gita Translated by Edwin Arnold [1885] Fine verse. Available at
  13. Bhagavad Gita with Shankara's Commentary by Swami Gambhirananda
  14. Bhagavad Gita of International Gita Society Available at
  15. Bhagavad Gita As It Is by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada available at