Foreword to In Her Perfect Love, a book by Shraddha
by Swami Nirmalananda Giri
Not much over one hundred years ago God walked with man in the blissful form of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa of Dakshineswar. One of His disciples, Swami Turiyananda, told in later times of one visit to Sri Ramakrishna during which a renowned Vedantic scholar spoke at His request. After more than an hour of brilliant exposition of the eternal philosophy, he fell silent. Paramhansa Deva was most pleased and spoke words of praise to him. Yet, He then said: "As far as I am concerned, I do not like all those details. There is nothing but my Mother and I.
To you, knowledge, knower, and known - the one who meditates, meditation, and the object of meditation - this sort of triple division is very good. But for me, 'Mother and I' - that is all and nothing else."
Recounting this incident years later, Swami Turiyananda concluded:
"These words, 'Mother and I,' were said in such a way that it made a very deep impression on all present. At that moment all ideas of Vedanta paled into insignificance. The Master's 'Mother and I' seemed easier, simpler, and more pleasing to the mind than the three divisions of Vedanta. I realized then that 'Mother and I' was the ideal attitude to be adopted."
Mother and I! Besides which all the greatest principles of philosophy are but "details"! There is nothing else to life, for She is life. I well remember talking with Shraddha and Satya once about the differing levels of "circles" of Mother's devotees and what marked them out from one another. One conclusion we came to was that the devotees could be divided into two basic groups: those that considered Mother to be the most important thing that had ever happened to them ... and those who knew that Mother was the only thing that had ever happened to them. This latter group was small compared to the former.
No one can really write about the reality or the nature of Mother. Infinity cannot be captured in finite words. This is why over half a century ago Mother's greatest devotee, Sri Jyotish Chandra Roy ("Bhaiji"), wrote the finest of all books ever written about Mother, naming it simply Matri Darshan, Mother's Darshan. Many wonderful books about Mother have been written since then, but it has remained unique, for it not only told about Mother's words and actions but about Her reshaping of his life. In other words, he wrote about "Mother and I." What else could be written?
Now, decades later, someone as far away from East Bengal and the culture of Bhaiji as it would seem possible has written about the same subject: Mother within the devotee's life - Mother as the devotee's life. And how alike the two are! For they reveal the universal face of God and the individual spirit as essentially one. It was in Mother that Bhaiji and Shraddha both met their True Self.
I was blessed to be with Shraddha and Satya at their first earthly meeting with Mother and at their last, also. Some of my happiest memories are those of Mother's love poured out upon my two beloved friends. Since the withdrawal of Mother's heart-stealing form from the earth I have never ceased to grieve over the immeasurable loss. Who can understand that pain? Only another who has been wounded in the same way and to the same degree.
There is a song in which one Gopi says to another: "Come, sister, take my hand; for you alone know my sorrow." The chariot of Akrura took the Gopis' Life from them in the form of Krishna, and seeming death has taken our Life in the form of Mother from us. Many times I have wished to be with Shraddha and Satya so we could mourn our loss together - for to whom else could I show my suffering but to those who are experiencing it as well? But to no avail. For whenever I am with them I cannot grieve, for my suffering is greatly alleviated. How is that? Because being with them I am with Mother. Mother is the life of all, but they have come to know it by Her grace.
It is a temptation to set down here some of my most cherished memories of Mother's loving interaction with Shraddha and Satya, but that must be left up to Shraddha in the following pages. I can only sum up the essence of this book in the words of a nineteenth-century English hymn - slightly altered by me.
O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
O Light that follow'st all my way,
I yield my flickr'ing torch to Thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in Thy sunshine's glow its day May
brighter, fairer be.
O Joy that seekest me thro' pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain, And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall dawn with Thee.