The Mother Divine
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By Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath
Translated by S. Chakrabarti

One doesn't like to chant the Name.

If so, listen.

Will it do?

Yes, it will.

I don't see how mere listening will.

Well, if one speaks ill of your mother, father or Guru in your presence, how do you feel?

I'm offended.

If one hails you as Saint, as God incarnate, pray how do you react?

I'm pleased.

Sitaram! You admit then that mere listening has an effect.

Praise and blame affect me psychologically In so far as these concern those who are physically related to me. The relation is direct, personal; hence the effect. The Name stands in no such physical relation to us: how can It then affect us spiritually ?

Praise and blame pass through the ear obviously to operate on the mind; some feel it, some don't.
If it does function, why is it not universally perceived?

Suppose a man is dead drunk, if you praise or blame him, will it not reach his ears?

It will;  but as he is out of his senses, it will not affect his mind.

Jat Jai Sitaram! So also with those who are heavily intoxicated with sensuous enjoyment, the Name does reach their ears but they cannot sense its effect. It does produce Its effect all the same. They may or may not realise it, but the Name goes on doing away with their sins.

Can you cite the instance of one who has been gratified by merely listening to the Name?

Yes there is king Parikshit.

Oh, he listened in a sense in which we none of us can ever expect to listen. To listen, after having renounced everything, prepared for the approach of death! How can it escape being effective? But we have neither renunciation nor reverence. You say 'Hari Hari' to me and I hear, how can that be of any use?

The Name will pass through your ears to stamp itself indelibly on the mind. Your sins will begin to be erased. Not one of the Names that you hear can go in vain. Just as bricks dropped Into a well cannot return but will go on filling the well, so too the Name that reaches the ear passes on to blood, flesh, bone and marrow, on each of which it leaves and indelible impression until at last the man that listens to the Name comes to be saturated with, and compact of, the Name.

What next?

The rest is not for me to describe. The eyes rain tears, it aches within, the gate is flung open, the flute sings. Sitaram, right into the realm of light you pass. May I tell a story?

Tell it please.

There was a king. He was a great devotee. His tongue would always utter the Name. His eyes would only look on the image of the Lord. The ears did nothing but hear the chanting of His Name, The hands had no business except to sweep the floor of the Lord's temple, to prepare sandal paste for His worship, to weave garlands for Him and serve Him in similar other ways. The nose would simply smell the sacred odour of the basil-leaves offered at His feet. The tongue partook only of the food offered devoutly to the Deity as part of the worship. To be brief, with all his senses the king served God. The Lord's is the kingdom: with this feeling he ruled his kingdom. On one occasion he had been on fast for three days as a sequel to the observance of the vow of Dwadasi for the space of a year; as he was going to break the fast after having fed the Brahman to their satisfaction, a famous sage of quick temper chanced to arrive. The king bowed to him and entreated him to take his meal there. The sage went to have a bath but happened to sit absorbed in meditation. Meanwhile, Dwadasi was about to pass. Not to break his fast before it was out would be to liquidate the year-old vow: so the king was in a dilemma. The Brahmanas advised him to take water. Drinking water both amounted to and did not amount to taking food. The king acted accordingly. Long afterwards the sage returned. He came to know that the king had taken water. He tore off a lock of his matted hair to bring about the ruin of the king who had taken water before entertaining his guest according to the rites of hospitality.

Yes?   Yes?

Out of that matted lock emerged a terrible ogress with weapon in her hand, weapon she hurled to strike the king dead. The king stood still with folded palms, the wheel of Vishnu appeared instantly to protect the king. It reduced the ogress at once to ashes and rushed at the sage who ran frantically to save his life. His back was getting scorched however with the heat of the wheel. He sought refuge in the domains of Indra, Chandra, Vayu and Varun and finally approached Brahma, Maheshwar and all else. No one could however come to his rescue, At long last the sage went to the Lord Himself in Vaikuntha. He said, "I am not at liberty, you know, to help you, being at my devotee's disposal. You better go to the king himself," And to the king did the sage hasten. He was about to fall at his feet and to tender abject apology but the king would not allow him to do so. He hymned the praise of Sudarshan and begged that the life of the sage might be spared. The wheel vanished.  Then sage Durbasa said to King Ambarish:


—"Only to listen to the Lord's Name Is to be pure at heart. What remains then to be achieved by those who serve God at Whose feet indeed every holy shrine resides?

So great a Sage says: श्रुतिमात्रेन —"Only to listen to the Name." One becomes pure by just listening to the Name. Jal Jai Sitaram! If you find no pleasure in chanting the Name, do but listen—see that? Says my dear Radha-Rani:

Oh dear friend, who uttered the Name of Shyam for my hearing
Passing through the ears It reached the core of the heart.
And Oh !   How it distracts me.
I wonder what a store of honey is the Name of Shyam
The tongue longs in vain to resist it,
As one goes on with Japa of the Name, Oh how it benumbs!
How may I, Oh my dear, have Him for myself?
He whose Name has power thus to transport.
Oh, how may it feel to have the touch of His limbs!

This is pale translation, you know;   here is the original for those of you who know the alphabet: