Meetings with Mahashakti
It was four o'clock in the afternoon and as usual Mahaprabhuji was holding satsang when suddenly there stepped before him a very old woman whom I thought to be at least hundred years old. She was dressed like a man and wore a foot anklet of silver.
To the surprise of all, she paid her respects to Mahaprabhuji in the traditional manner, circling him seven times, then kneeling on the earth and reverently bowing before him twenty-one times. None of us had ever seen her before. All were wondering who she could be. Physically she looked thin and frail but obviously she possessed much mental vigour as she was certainly radiant.
She spoke to Mahaprabhuji in a foreign dialect and we could understand only fragments of their conversation, but Mahaprabhuji obviously knew her because he greeted her warmly.
"Be welcome, Mataji (mother)! After such a long time, at last you have found your way here."
"Only your grace has led me here," she replied.
After that I was unable to distinguish any more and so I asked Mahaprabhuji if I could go and collect wood for the fire.
As I stood up, the old woman indicated that she wanted to come with me.
"Mother, I am afraid you won't be able to keep pace with me. I must hurry to be back in time for prayer."
"We'll see," she merely said and followed me out of the ashram.
How surprised I was! Contrary to my belief, it was I who couldn't keep pace with her and I was soon left behind! Even running I couldn't catch her. She seemed to know exactly where I wanted to go because she headed in that direction and stopped to wait for me at exactly the place I had in mind.
Breathless, I finally reached the place where she stood smiling at me.
"You see, in spite of your youth you were unable to keep up with me."
Needless to say I was baffled by her physical prowess and now, more than ever, was eager to know who she was. I collected the firewood and we returned to the ashram.
That evening, after satsang and prayer, Mataji went into the courtyard and spread out her blanket near the well. There she sat down and sank into deep meditation. All night long she sat motionless in meditative posture and every now and then I could hear her sing OM and Mahaprabhuji's name. On this night I was serving Mahaprabhuji and took the opportunity to ask him about our mysterious guest.
"She is Mahashakti Mateshwari, the eternal Divine Shakti and Mother. If she wishes, she can dislodge whole mountains with her little finger."
At four o'clock in the morning Mahaprabhuji gave me instructions to spread a red blanket beside his bed and light oil lamps and incense sticks.
"In a few minutes the Divine Mother will appear in this room."
Just when I wanted to ask if I should open the door, the whole room filled with red light and in this light appeared the Divine Mother in the radiant form of Goddess Tripura Sundari, the goddess of eternal youth and beauty. She bowed before Mahaprabhuji, then settled beside his bed.
"Be welcome, Divine Mother," Mahaprabhuji greeted her. "You are Omnipresent, eternal Divine shakti. The whole cosmos is your creation. You represent the three gunas and the five elements, the force of kundalini and the chakras. You can bring down the most excellent one, when through your maya, pride and ego have awakened in him. Through you a king can become beggar and beggar a king. You are worshipped by countless names — Gayatri, Sarasvati, Sati, Sita, Radha, Lakshmi, Brahmani, Amba, Ashapura, Nava Durga, Chamunda, Kali, Minakshi, Dakini, Shakini, Vishwa Mohini, Bhuvaneshvari, Bageshvari and many more. The animal you ride is the mighty tiger. Your lila is infinite and unfathomable, indescribable and limitless. None can comprehend you in your abundance. O Mateshwari, Divine Mother, tell me, what can I do for you?"
Mateshwari smiled, bowed her head and spoke to Mahaprabhuji:
"You are Vishwa Deep, the Lord of all worlds. Through you, in all three times — past, present and future — the Light of Wisdom is conveyed to humans. You alone live in the hearts of all beings. Without your Divine Light, ignorance cannot be overcome and as you have said in one bhajan:
Even though an object may lie directly in front of me,
It remains invisible as long as there is no light to fall upon it.
In the same way, realization of Truth is impossible
Without the enlightenment of the Satguru.
"You are right," she continued. "All that maya is able to provide, I can give as a gift to humans: riddhis, siddhis, wealth and power. I can create and destroy, but O Lord, maya only binds and that is the immutable law which I obey. I am unable to give liberation to my devotees. Only by the grace of the Satguru can they attain liberation, unalterable bliss, happiness and eternal peace.
Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Rama, Krishna and other Divine incarnations, all the venerable gods and goddesses, should be worshipped for that reason, because they serve the Satguru and meditate on him all the time.
Maharani Mira, the incarnation of Radha, sang in a bhajan:
Forever more my thoughts remain with my Guru,
Nothing in the world can entice me,
it is only an illusion, a dream,
For me the ocean of the world has dried, without effort
I can cross it,
Mira says, Through the grace of my Guru I am Liberated
From all harm, from death and birth.
In another bhajan, Mira has said,
My Guru has presented me
With the most valuable jewel: The name of God,
Its worth is priceless and increases every day.
O Lord of mercy ! Following the command of Paramatma to the saints, rishis, yogis and other great incarnations, I give siddhis and rich blessing according to the intensity of their worship and practice. Yet I do not obey them, but obey the will of the Supreme. Just as the light of the torch cannot compete with the brilliance of the Sun, saints, mahatmas, rishis and munis are unable to compare with Vishwa Deep.
You are Brahman, the eternal, unalterable, indestructible. You are the origin and goal of all living beings. Without the grace of the Guru, you cannot be realized. Through the power of maya, you manifest. The infinite play of the universe is my work. But you alone are the Life and Consciousness in it. I do not exist without you — Brahman and maya are One. Only a few are able to understand this secret.
Just as the bird may only fly with two wings, so only a true devotee may achieve peace and liberation if he reveres Mahamaya and Gurudeva, the Highest Self.
In the age of kali yuga, living beings suffer sorrow and pain as they are victim to their illusions and mistakes. Injustice, lies and fraud rule the world. To rescue your devotees and liberate those who have lost their way, you have again appeared on this earth. I beg you, be gracious to all who worship and seek shelter in you with pure heart. By your grace, grant them a happy life. Warn them of harm and sorrows, until finally they may attain liberation in Unity with you."
This conversation went on for about an hour and only Mahaprabhuji, Mateshwari and I were present. As soon as the other disciples came in to greet Mahaprabhuji, the Divine Mother, Mataji, again took the appearance of an old woman.
Before Mahaprabhuji began his satsang, she turned to all who had gathered.
"You ignorant ones!" she spoke. "Before you, you see God Himself and yet you are incapable of recognising him. You only come here to satisfy your worldly desires."
She then bowed before Mahaprabhuji and took her leave. After walking some metres she disappeared like the flame of a candle, simply blown out.
The tiger is a symbol for the human mind.
Next Chapter: The Liberation of a Snake
Previous Chapter: Mauna Satsang
Overview: My life with Sri Mahaprabhuji