The Mother Divine
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By Kinkar Vitthal Ramanuja

The other day I had to visit a highly qualified and well-established family in Delhi. There are three highly acclaimed academicians in this family and the next generation is also doing very well. A grand house, a lovely garden. A friend’s circle full of their admirers and well-wishers. But this is what life is: amidst all this, this family also suffers from depression, discontent, ill health, lack of peace and harmony. One of the professors of the family Dr. Chakrabarti was very dear to me particularly for his erudition and personal confidence in me. I was taken aback that day when he described the depth of his depression. His total set-back according to him may be summarized as follows: i) His health was deteriorating every day without showing any signs of improvement. ii) His colleagues in his office were always aggressive and non-cooperating. iii) His wife at home was misunderstanding him now and then. iv) His two sons were not doing well with their studies. v) Instead of repaying his gratitude his most indebted relatives were disregarding him, even abusing him.

This being the case, Mr. Chakrabarti was completely at a loss. Why live such a life? In fact his family members were also frustrated with him in addition to their own personal problems. It was shocking to see two innocent children (one was 12, the other 9) crying aloud out of tension for their ailing father who also joined them in their fearful plight with his tearful eyes!

“What is all this, my good friend, to what sad extreme you have lowered your life along with that of your wonderful family!”

“Why! I have already recounted to you, point by point, the reasons behind my deplorable conditions; do you see any point in my living anymore? Sometimes, I confess to you, I feel tempted to commit suicide. But I don’t exactly know when or how to finish myself.”

“Good heavens! I am at my wit’s end to justify this fatal decision of yours… why don’t you consider the many good fortunes Providence has granted to you? — Your high social status, your learned sweetheart, your flourishing children and admiring neighbours and all that. How many people in this world are fortunate enough to enjoy all this good luck in a lifetime? If you have some serious disease, who has not? If you have some other problems, nobody is an exception! If you go on to reckon the pros and cons of your life nearly 80% of your life is so very bright and you are fretting over only the 20% which may look gloomy!

“This is your mental disorder, at best, lack of understanding. Nobody can fulfil all the desires of his life. So what you ought to do is to be very happy with whatever you have. Try to fulfil all other desires also —there is no harm in it— but never get defeated if you get rejected, that will only tarnish the major portion of the happiness you are already master of.

“Don’t you practice yoga and meditation as advised before? If not, start again right away, that is the only way to recover from your ill-health which is undoubtedly one of the basic causes of your mental disorder.”

“I confess my limitations. And accept your advice. I must act upon your advice. I must try to practice yoga exercises and meditation from tomorrow morning. In fact I am already feeling better, a bit relieved too— thanks to your good counsel...”

Now there was a ray of hope evident in everybody’s face. His wife recommended, ‘Whenever Maharajjee comes to you for a friendly visit, you become a charged man. So you must also stay with him in his ashram for a week or so, with a view to a complete recovery. I also intend to stay with him a day long from the morning to evening the next month.’ A fresh new wave of positive energy was visible in his children too. They decided,

‘We must learn from Maharajjee the technique of yoga and meditation as soon as our exam is over.’
‘Whenever Maharajjee comes to my brother, he becomes a changed personality, but, I am afraid, he cannot continue this stage longer than a week, why?’ his professor brother chimed in.

‘He must continue it evermore and all of you too’, I replied in a decisive voice: ‘Just continue yoga and meditation regularly. And one thing more, learn to remain happy all the while—take into accountonly the positive aspects of your life and overlook the negative points however formidable. This is the way to be always cheerful and happy.

Twelve years ago. I was on a very busy trip to Mumbai. I had to visit, on earnest prayers, the houses of some devotees residing in the cosmopolitan city; I had to go from one house to another, with a band of carefree youngsters always in a hurry, to make the matter worse. The visit commenced in the morning and very close to nightfall we were taken to a palatial building of a prominent industrialist of the city. He was a man of position endowed with property, aged but energetic. After the formalities were over, the old man made a clean breast of what he had to say enthusiastically, ‘I have been waiting here for your arrival since morning. Frankly speaking, I am facing some acute problems and I need your blessing as well as urgent advice: it may take almost an hour to describe them but to make things easy I have already jotted down ten serious points! Now let me place these before you one by one…’
‘Excuse me please! Time is hanging heavy on me. My boys have been too eager to take me to four other places this very night. They are here to hurry me up all the time. So please curtail the number of points only to three. That will save your labour and my time too. But if God wishes, I hope, by that time, I will be in a position to show you some solutions to your many problems.’

‘Fine! Only three points is okay.  I have to select only three very important points out of the total ten. Hard job for sure! Now I must give it a try! The first problem, if I remember correctly (he consulted his jottings), is the problem regarding my seriously ill health. My B.P. and Sugar are equally high. I cannot walk properly—the problem of arthritis is always there since years. I cannot even sleep properly– ‘insomnia’ problem as you are aware.’

‘Hello Sir! You have already crossed 70, so by no means can you now have a brand-new physique. You have to remain satisfied now only with some repair work upon your old structure, and that through some medicine and yoga. The next question please!’

‘Well! Listen to me with undivided attention! This is some other question regarding some old property. Here in this city, I had a large property (land) which might have been sold nowadays at some crores of rupees. My foolish younger son had already sold this without intimating me. This was almost a decade ago and at a throwaway price, say 25 lakhs or so. This was done haphazardly and this has caused the entire family a huge loss which is irreparable. Now what should I do? What is the way out of this inevitable tension I have been passing through since then?

--And I can very well guess, I must argue, you have still now plenty of your property, huge land, regular business profit as well as unlimited bank balance, eh?

--That is of course true, but what of that previous loss? How to get rid of the tension? screamed the old multimillionaire.

--Never think of that petty loss anymore. Think only about the current pretty profit you are making every day, the large property you own even now, the huge bank balances you have in safe deposit and the charming family members all around you. Think only about the plus points of your life and never about the negative ones. That will only destroy your mental peace all the more.

—But what should I do with my most rebellious younger son who is always disobeying me and wasting lots of money on wine and other things? His attitude is enough to drive me out from my own house. I would do that but for my elder son who is so sober and respectful!

—Be happy with the elder son and his family. Let the younger son go his own way. It is enough that you have shown him the right path, and given him the necessary guidance in time. No more worrying about things you can never manage. Let him face his own fate.

—You are absolutely right. I agree! But one, there is one more problem tormenting me always. Let me relate that now!.....

—No more please! You have already completed your three most important points. No more now! I have to go to some other places this very night. My young companions are already fed up, their frowns are communicating to me that I have to ‘hurry up!’ But one last piece of advice before I depart:
Carry on yoga and meditation regularly that will lead you to a very peaceful and blissful state. Only this divine practice will help you a lot and rid you of your tension as well as insomnia. And of course take recourse to medicine only when it is urgent.

In the year 2009, summer. I was in my meeting room at Maha Milan Math, Kolkata, our All India headquarter. It was getting dusk and as usual I was getting myself ready to enter into my meditation chamber. All of a sudden a woman devotee from a poor family entered into the room with an urgent request: Maharajjee! Do please wait a few minutes more. I have come to you with a serious problem. Please listen to me with due attention.

—After my day’s duty is over now I am busy with my duty to myself. Please tell me what you have to tell but tell me in brief.

—Maharaj! Do save me from the direst sin of committing suicide.

—What !! Why of all persons a religious lady like you is thinking of suicide? Amazing indeed!

—I am sorry, I have no alternative. I have been always passing my days in utter depression for reasons quite unknown to me. So the only solution is suicide.

—But why? Your small family has small wants but immense happiness. Your husband is working as a clerk in a reputed company. Your son is well educated, well placed and well married. You have a grandson also. Your only daughter is also so very nice so much devoted to her Guru and extremely sympathetic to you. So what is your problem?

—There is some misunderstanding with my husband and with my son also…..but that is not all about it. I simply don’t feel well. I don’t want to live any more. Suicide is the only remedy.

—Perhaps you know that committing suicide is the most heinous sin which can never be absolved. After death you have to court the life of ghosts for an indefinite period. I can only guess that yours is a common case which most women face during their life. Don’t worry, it will be alright in a year or two. Consult a good gynaecologist well known to you. He may help you get out of this malady in no time. But before that you must try to regain your normal love for your family members—they are also so good and loving to you.

As you rightly say they pose no problem. All the problem is within you, you can easily surmount the problem, if you take little care of your health, through yoga and meditation.

Of the three examples cited above of tension tormented lives each belong to a unique category. The first one – the example of the most burdened learned professor is an example of, in the language of a great writer— ‘excessive sanity amounting to temporary insanity’. The second example of the most tense industrialist is the example of the result of ‘excessive materialism’. The third example of that of the most disturbed lady is the example of the outcome of some disease, mainly physical.

Thus we can well anticipate that too much of intellectualism may sometimes generate an imbalanced mental state hard to control. ’All work and no play may make Jack a dull boy’ as we all know. Similarly too much of materialism may often lead to a massive mental disorder, if not for anything but for the simple reason that too much of anything good never leads to good consequently. It is not that we do not need physical fitness, material prosperity, financial or social enrichment but the fact remains that all these aspirations or ambitions must always be tamed with our rationality. There are so many diseases which may seriously take a toll on our mental equilibrium. In that case we have to consult a doctor and take recourse to medical sciences or Yogic practices and wait for recovery with the required patience. All the three diseases intellectual, mental or physical can mostly be cured or controlled through proper reasoning, understanding or right life-style.

The first thing that we have to bring home to our good sense is that human life is nothing but a mixture of pleasure and pain, ups and downs, honour and dishonour, health and ill-health, fortune as well as misfortune, above all a beginning with an end. So, even if we have without exception some serious problem or problems in life what so ever, we also have, each and every one of us – from the beggar to the emperor – some very positive grounds to be very happy. This we often forget or overlook. This aspect of human life has been pointed out by a great philosopher of the day– ‘We people on this good earth, may remain as much happy as we want to be’. In other words we may enjoy our life all the more, if we can but practice to reckon only the sweeter aspects of our life and overlook the bitter ones. In short, to be really happy, we have to emphasise more on what we have than on what we have not. And above all to keep our body and mind fit altogether, we have to take recourse to some physical exercises, Yogic practices, regular meditation and in serious cases medication also.