THERE is a story about a man who practised
Sava-sadhana*.He worshipped the Divine
Mother in a deep forest. First he “saw many terrible visions.
Finally a tiger attacked and killed him. Another
man, happening to pass by and seeing the
approach of the tiger, had climbed a tree.
Afterwards he got down and found all the
arrangements for worship at hand. He performed
some purifying ceremonies and seated himself on
the corpse. No sooner had he done a little Japa
than the Divine Mother appeared before him and
said: “My child, I am very much pleased with you.
Accept a boon from Me”. He bowed low at the
Lotus Feet of the Goddess and said: “May I ask
you one question, Mother? I am speechless with
amazement at your action. The other man worked
so hard to get the ingredients for Your worshipand tried to propitiate You for such a long time,
but You did not condescend to show him Your
favour. And I, who don’t know anything of
worship, who have done nothing, who have
neither devotion nor knowledge nor love, and who
haven’t practised any austerities, am receiving so
much of Your grace?” The Divine Mother said
with a smile, “My child you don’t remember your
previous births. For many births you tried to
propitiate Me through austerities.
As a result of those austerities all these things have
come to hand, and you have been blessed with My
vision. Now ask me your boon.”
One must admit the existence of tendencies
inherited from previous births.
*A religious practice prescribed by the Tantras, in which the aspirant
uses a Suva, or corpse, as his seat for meditation.
EVFRYONE must reap the result of his past
Karma. One must admit the influence of
tendencies inherited from the past births and the
result of the Prarabdha karma.
And one must
remember that pleasure and pain are the
characteristics of the embodied state. In Kavi
Kankan’s Chandi it is written that Kaluvir was sent
to prison and a heavy stone placed on his chest.
Yet Kalu was born as the result of a boon from the
Divine Mother of the Universe. Thus pleasure and
pain are inevitable when one accepts a body.
Again, take the case of Srimanta, who was a great
devotee. Though his mother, Khullana, was very
much devoted to the Divine Mother, there was no
end to his troubles. He was almost beheaded.
There is also the instance of the wood-cutter who
was a great lover of the Divine Mother. She
appeared before him and showed him much grace
and love; but he had to continue his profession of
wood-culling, and earn his livelihood by that
arduous work. Again, while Devaki, Krishna’s
Mother, was in the prison she had a vision of God
Himself endowed with four hands, holding mace,
discus, conch-shell and lotus. But with all that she
could not get out of the prison.
Once, there lived a very pious Hindu who
always worshiped the Divine Mother and chanted
When the Mussalmans conquered the country, they
forced him to embrace Islam. They said to him:
“You are now a Mussalmans. Say ‘Allah’. From now
on you must repeat only the name of ‘Allah’.” With
great difficulty he repeated the word ‘Allah’, but
every now and then blurted out ‘Jagadamba’. At
that the Mussalmans were about to beat him.
Thereupon he said to them: ‘I beseech you! Please
do not kill me. I have been trying my utmost to
repeat the name of Allah, but our Jagadamba has
filled me up to the throat. She pushes out your
It is not an easy thing to destroy old tendencies.
Let me tell you how powerful inborn tendencies
are. A prince had, in a previous birth, been the son
of a washer-man. While playing with his chums in
his incarnation as the prince, he said to them:
“Stop those games, I shall show you a new one. I
shall lie on my belly, and you will beat the clothes
on my back as the washer-man does, making
THOSE who have read a few books cannot get rid
of conceit. Once I had a talk with Kalikrishna
Tagore about God. At once he said, “I know all
about that.” I said to him: “Does a man who had
visited Delhi brag about that? Does a gentleman go
about telling everyone that he is a gentleman?”
Oh, how vanity turns a person’s head! There was a
scavenger woman in the temple garden at
And her pride! And all for a few ornaments! One
day a few men were passing her on the path and
she shouted to them, “Hey! Get out of the way,
you people!” If a scavenger woman could talk that
way, what can one say about the vanity of others?
GOD alone is the Doer, and we are all His
instruments. Therefore it is impossible even for a
Jnani to be egotistic. The writer of a hymn to Siva
felt proud of his achievement; but his pride was
dashed to pieces when Siva’s bull bared his teeth.
He saw that each tooth was a word of the hymn.
Do you understand the meaning of this? These
words had existed from the beginning less past. The
writer had only discovered them.
THE great Sankaracharya had a foolish disciple
who used to imitate his Master in all matters.
Sankara uttered ‘Sivoham’ (I am Siva); the disciple
also repeated “Sivoham‟. To correct his disciple’s
folly, Sankara one day, while passing by a smithy,
took a potful of molten iron and swallowed it; and
he asked that disciple also to do the same. Of
course, the disciple could not imitate this act of his
Master, and thence forward he left oil saying
A disciple, who had firm faith in the infinite power
of his Guru, walked over the river by simply
uttering his Guru‟s name. Seeing this, the Guru
thought, “Well, is there such a power in my mere
name? Then how great and powerful must I be!”
The next day, the Guru also tried to walk over the
river uttering “I”, “I”, “I”, but no sooner did he step
into the water than he sank down and was soon
drowned; for the poor man did not know how to
Faith can achieve miracles while vanity or egotism
brings about the destruction of man.
‘The cow cries “Hamba‟ which means “I‟. That is
why it suffers so much. It is yoked to the plough
and made to work in rain and sun. Then it may be
killed by the butcher. From its hide shoes are
made, and also drums, which are mercilessly
beaten. Still it does not escape suffering. At last
strings are made out of its entrails for the bows
used in carding cotton. Then it no longer says,
‘Hamba! Hamba!’, ‘I! I!’, but ‘Tuhu! Tuhu!’, Thou!
Thou!’ Only then are its troubles over.
O Lord, I am the servant; Thou art the Master.
am the child; Thou art the Mother.
Egotism is the cause of all suffering.
ADDRESSING a devotee named Mahendra
Mukherjee, said Sri Ramakrishna: “You have no
children. You do not serve anybody. And still you
have no leisure! Goodness gracious!”
“You have no children to divert your mind. I know
a deputy magistrate who draws a salary of eight
hundred rupees a month. He went to Keshab’s
house to see a performance. I was there too.
Rakhal* and a few other devotees were with me
and sat beside me. After a while Rakhal went out
for a few minutes. The deputy magistrate came
over and made his young son take Rakhal’s seat. I
said, ‘He can’t sit there.’ At that time I was in such
a slate of mind that I had to do whatever the
person next to me would ask me to do; so I had
seated Rakhal beside me. As long as the
performance lasted the deputy did nothing but
gibber with his son. The rascal didn’t look at the
performance even once. I heard, too, that he is a
slave to his wife; he gets up and sits down as she
tells him to. And he didn’t see the performance for
that snub-nosed monkey of a boy.”
*Later known as Swami Brahmananda, the first president of the