The Mother Divine
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(Excerpts from MADMAN’S JHOLI)

By Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath
Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath

In the twilight on the lonely banks of the Ganga, the madmanfinished his evening prayers. In a trance-like state, he sanglong to himself:

‘Ram Krishna Ram Krishna Ram Krishna Hare Hare’

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

Something made him turn around. There sat a Brahminyouth behind him.

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

The Madman said, ‘Me! Why?’

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

Madman: What have you to ask?

Brahmin: See, I have neither read the Shastras norinteracted with Sadhus. I have receivedmodern education. I have no blind faith.Please make me understand why one shouldadmit the existence of the soul.

Madman: Son, you want to pour ten litres of milkin a pot that can take just one ounce. Theknowledge of the nature of the soul is almostcompletely beyond one’s grasp. I myself havenot been able to understand it, then how canI explain it to you? Besides, you will neitherlisten to the Shastras nor believe in what theSadhus have to say.

Brahmin: I know nothing. Please explain in a simplelanguage that there is a soul separate fromthe body.

Madman: Do you admit that there are these two things;matter and consciousness?

Brahmin: How is consciousness different? Everythingis matter.

Madman: If everything is matter, whose power enablesyou to see, move and hear? How is it thatyou are alive?

Brahmin: Combinations of different types of matterspontaneously give rise to the vibration oflife. Then why should we admit the existenceof the soul? As lime and turmeric whenmixed together turn red, life is created whenblood, flesh, fat, marrow and bone are mixedtogether. Where do you find the soul in this?

Madman: If it is so, then why doesn’t a living being lastthe same way as does the colour of the limeand turmeric mixture? Why are happiness,sorrow, disease and grief of different kinds?And why does it happen that someone isblind, another is disabled, someone is richwhile someone else is penniless? If the samemix of blood, flesh and bones creates life inall the creatures, then why does death come upon them in different ways? Why doessomeone die in boyhood, some in youth andthe others in old age?

Brahmin: All this is due to differences in the proportionof the constituents.

Madman: Why do these materials get combined indiffering proportions? Moreover, if youlook at a dead body, all the materials oringredients of that body are there but why isit not alive? The analogy of lime and turmericadvanced by you does not at all hold well,because lime and turmeric when mixedtogether lose their original appearance andform a different substance. But blood, fleshand bones, collected together, undergo notransformation and yet a spark of life iscreated. What is this? Where is the similaritybetween these two things you compared?

Brahmin: Pray do not use the mechanics of logic orcomplex terms to convince me. Could youplease explain in simple language?

Madman: Well, if life is a mixture of matter, why doesany mixture of flesh and blood not comealive when put together? Why can’t you givelife to it?

Brahmin: Don’t say that, because science has not yetreached its full development. Why must Iadmit the existence of the soul only becausetoday I cannot make such mixture comealive? This is not fair. In future, someonemay be able to do this.

Madman: How can I ignore a self-evident fact today onthe basis that someone may or may not beable to confirm it at some point in time in thefuture? Well, if I speak of your house do youunderstand that you and your house are twodifferent things?

Brahmin: Yes, Sir.

Madman: Your hands, legs, eyes, nose, blood, flesh,body all are yours. Then are ‘you’ separatefrom your body? Just as you are not thesealso, that self of yours that is beyond yourbody and other things is a soul.

Brahmin: You are again trying to convince me bylogical reasoning!

Madman: Look, when you are not able to argue, youprotest about ‘the trap of logical reasoning’!Well, son, why is your body unconsciouswhen you sleep? If life is a compound ofmatter, then why does it assume differentstates in waking, dreaming and dreamlesssleep? Who takes it to the dreaming statefrom the waking state? Who passes on fromthe dreaming to the dreamless sleepingstate? Can you say who again brings it to thewaking state?

Brahmin: That is Swabhava (own state). Dream isnothing. Activities and thoughts of the day remain as impressions in the brain and areexpressed in dreams.

Madman: But sometimes we dream of things that havenot been thought of or experienced at all.Sometimes there are no dreams. Had it beenSwabhava, dreams would have happenedconsistently. Sometimes it occurs and othertimes it does not. What sort of Swabhava isit? What does Swabhava mean?

Brahmin: Swabhava means Prakriti (nature).

Madman: Well, well, that which experiences thePrakriti is the soul.

Brahmin: Who can be the experiencer of Prakriti? It iseverything.

Madman: No-no, Prakriti is not everything. Prakriticonsisting of twenty four constituents(Tattvas) is an object of experience and thesoul is its user. A bed made of quilt, sheetand pillow suggests that, there is someone tosleep on it. Similarly, Prakriti implies there isa 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 isthe object, the eyes are the instruments andhe who sees with their help is the soul. Thescent of a flower is the object. He who smellsit with the nose is the soul. Ganga makes arushing sound as it flows towards the sea.This sound is the object, the ears are theinstruments. He who hears the sound withhis ears is the soul.

Brahmin: What is it that you say? Please point out andmake the soul apparent to me.

Madman: What do you mean by apparent?

Brahmin: What is seen with the eyes is apparent. Nointelligent person can believe without seeingwith one’s eyes. What is not directly seendoes 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 youdirectly see your own eyes?

Brahman: Sir, Sir……

Madman: Do not say, Sir, Sir. If you do not directlysee your own eyes then as per your ownreasoning you must admit that you are blind.You did not see your grandfather, does thatmean that your grandfather did not exist?You do not see your wife and son now. Thenhave you no wife and son? You cannot seeyour hunger and thirst. Then have you nohunger and thirst?

Brahmin: Well, Sir, I can see my eyes when I place amirror in front of me. By simple inference,my grandfather existed because I exist. I cansee my wife and son if I go home. Then howmy eyes, grandfather, wife and son are notapparent?

Madman: Good, good, so you admit use of inference.If you use the mirror of intelligence that islit up by the light of Shastras, you can seethe soul. As one can infer the existence ofyour grandfather from your own existence,similarly existence of the soul as the rider canbe inferred from the existence of the chariot(the body), the horses (the senses) and thecharioteer (the discriminative thought). Asyou can see your wife and children whenyou go near them so you can see the soulwhen you come near it.

Brahmin: Sir, I have been defeated by you in argumentbut I still cannot understand the soul.

Madman: Sir, you cannot understand what the soul is.I made the mistake of beginning a discussionabout the soul with you. If a blind man istold, ‘Look, there rises the Sun!’ he cannotsee the Sun, though the Sun is self-evident.Similarly, you lack the means of seeing thesoul though it is self-evident. You will not beable to grasp the idea of soul even if givena thousand explanations based on Shrutis,logic and realization. This life of yours is thatof a creature of little intellect. You will notbe able to experience the nature of the soulunless 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 youdo’. Then where is the difference betweenyou 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 beregarded a beast?

Madman: You are certainly a Brahmin. But because youdo not pray and worship you are still impureand not yet been born again. You could havebeen called twice-born had you prayed andworshipped and eaten pure food. You arestill the creature that you had been born as.You have no faith and reverence for yourpreceptor and you have only grave doubtsabout the teachings of the Vedanta.

Brahmin: Well, do I not have recourse to any remedy?I have never prayed or engaged in worshipand have never made sure that the food I eatis pure. I never have observed the prescribedpractices. I have eaten according to mywishes and have never prayed to God. Isthere not a remedy for a state such as mine?Is there not scope for salvation for me? Ihave no devotion, respect or faith; will mylife then pass in vain? I throw myself at yourfeet, 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 haverecourse to the Name of God; why thenshould you fear?

Brahmin: Ah, will the Name of the Lord save me?

Madman: Surely, it will save you. Seek refuge with theName that delivered Ratnakar and Ajamil,and surely you will find peace.

Brahmin: See, I know nothing. I have not been initiatedinto any mantra. Please tell me what am I todo?

Madman: Wake up at 4 in the morning and performablution. Next, meditate on the two-petaledwhite-complexioned Guru, on top of yourhead. The time from twenty-four minutesbefore sunrise up to twenty-four minutesafter sunrise is the suitable time for the morning prayers. Prayers must be saidwithin that time. Specially, you ought tochant the Gayatri, read the Gita and worshipShiva and Vishnu. Begin all these practicesand you will certainly receive the grace ofGod. Pure food is essential. Utter the Name,my son, utter the Name. In this Kaliyugapeace will come only if you utter the Name.

‘The Name of Hari is the only way. In KaliYuga 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.