by Anandi Ma, 2023
As we gathered to celebrate Anandi Ma’s birthday this year, there was a bittersweet touch to the festivities as this was Ma’s first birthday since her mother passed away. Amidst our time together, Ma’s heart held a deep longing to share this message with us all.
Memories of the mother are the biggest life force, next only to the prana pouring from the Guru. A million pranams to my mother, the giver of the gift of life, and to my Guru, the one who gave understanding and the journey to freedom from having her as my last mother on Mother Earth.
Her pure and gentle heart
Guruji taught us to be concerned about the welfare of all others. After meeting and learning this from Guruji, I realized that I had failed to see that all along in my childhood, Mummyji, with her very lifestyle, had constantly practiced and instilled that deep subtle samskara in me and my siblings.
Both Lord Krishna and Lord Rāma have stated that those who are of pure mind and who are engaged in the welfare of others are dear to me and will attain me. In the Ramayana, Lord Rāma says, “The person who is with a pure and gentle mind, only he can attain me. I do not like any deception, any fraud.” This verse very beautifully brings out the inner aspect of Lord Rāma, and these very aspects that the Lord describes are truly the essence of Mummyji’s character.
Guruji often told me, “Ashi, this world is very selfish. Even many on a spiritual path are unable to rise above their selfish nature and ego.” But a simple-hearted woman like my mom, rooted in the simplicity of her pure heart, her trust in God and serving Him through the service of her family and humankind, had arisen manifold over the limiting nature of the mind, body, and senses. My personal experience that both Lord Rāma and Guruji embraced her being to the Supreme realm testifies to her divinity, without any spiritual practice as such. It was nothing but from her simplicity, which of course sprouted from her pure and gentle heart, that she spontaneously inherited the worthiness and amazing grace of both God and Guru.
I know in my heart that besides giving me the gift of this body, she was also the master key, along with my father, to manifest Guruji in our lives and hearts, and thereby became a conduit of moksha not just for me but for many who encountered her. It is her pure and simple heart that pulled Guruji’s grace upon the family. Her seva was so pure and relentless, an act of the fine art of unconditional love, and the vision and outlook of “I bow to everyone, as I see my Sita and Rāma in you.” Her seva was so profound that even in difficult times when it was apparent that I should be with her, she always insisted, “Go do Gurujis work.”
This is true sacrifice, which is the other side of the coin bearing the stamp of unconditional love. Even in moments of her own pain and suffering, I saw and felt that when she caressed others in their pain, they experienced a state of peace and calm, a hand of love and protection.
Her love, respect and strength
Guruji used to say that there were two homes where he was best taken care of— the homes of Jashumati (my mother), and Jayaben (Bapuji’s mother). These are the simple souls, simple as they are nothing but purest of the pure.
For Mummyji, that noble quality that friend and foe are alike was clearly seen when those who tried to hurt the family in any way were still treated with same quality of love, respect, and hosting. She never allowed anyone who came in her home to leave without a bite to eat and a cup to drink.
A key to happiness is satisfaction. So say the scriptures. That spontaneous satisfaction was inherent in Mummyji. No complaints, just live in all the situations and environments in which God and Guru have placed us. She shone with the strength to adjust with a smile on the face in all situations, favorable or not.
Mummyji as Divine Mother
For me, my mother was not just a physical person but the very essence of the absolute Divine Mother. We have all had various experiences with her and we all know how expansive she was in her love. She was an ocean of love and the infinite sky of compassion. And she was so firm in her patience, and her determination, and will, like the mighty Himalayas itself. She had a subtle sense of visualizing, of seeing, of feeling the presence of the Lord in every heart, and with that in her consciousness she was very aware and sensitive, making sure she never hurt anyone in any way. Her divine qualities are infinite. Anger was something that she didn’t know at all. She was very innocent at heart.
It is my great blessing and fortune that in the journey of this life I have been her daughter. There is at one experience that dominates my mind and heart today. When I met Guruji and there was the discussion about sending me to the ashram with Him, after a lot of talks and debates, Pravinji finally agreed to send me, knowing that for the welfare of my soul, it would be a wise decision. But while everyone else finally agreed, the one person who was never in agreement initially was my mother. She cried immensely. That feeling of the care of the mother for the child that is typically described as when a cow gives birth to her calf, that immense love, that look in the eye, that protective nature, and the love that pours out in a human way was so beautiful and infinite in her.
After long discussions with Papaji, eventually, as she always followed her dharma of the traditions of our culture of respecting the wishes of the husband, she finally agreed to send me to Guruji. She had one concern, one feeling in her heart that if I went to the ashram, since Guruji was a sadhu, a saint, and wore white, I would become that type of a person, a recluse, out of this world. Guruji sensed her fears, natural for a mother, and said, “Your daughter is going to remain unchanged. I don’t give sannyas to anyone. The detachment aspect of giving up the world for spiritual growth, for attaining God, is an inner state. It doesn’t come by wearing white clothes or orange clothes, but it’s a state of the heart and mind. Your daughter is the Divine Mother, and the Divine Mother has all the riches with her, so that is how your daughter will be remaining forever. Someday, many in the world will recognize her in that state.”
Her inner nature
At one point I was very sick with vertigo for almost a year. I could hardly get out of bed. While that was going on, Mummyji had a very serious burn on her hand that was intense and painful. But she put aside her pain, telling me, “Don’t worry about me. I am perfectly fine. It is you who need to become strong and stand up high and continue Guruji’s work.”
Amongst many millions, there would be only one person who has the depth of unconditional love that I found in her. Her inner nature of sacrifice, forgiveness, tolerance and compassion, and her lessons of strength and encouragement were always flowing. A lot of us knew Papaji well. He was like a lion. Mummyji said, “I am the lioness!”
During the years of my staying with Guruji, many harsh incidents came up. And often it was because of those that she also had to undergo a lot of pain and difficulties, mentally for sure, but even sometimes physically. But with all that, her faith, her loyalty, her trust, her values of a true disciple never flickered in any way. And no matter who was across from her, her interactions were always of love and giving. Even if the other person was negative, she never looked at that but just continued to be who she was in a positive way.
She tolerated all and continued to inspire me externally to do what I could for the welfare of my soul and to be able to carry on our spiritual work of our Guru in the best possible way. With that unique smiling face of hers, she never allowed me to take a backwards step, but continued to give her support, her enthusiasm and love, and her blessings for my welfare continue.
Her love and compassion was distinctly clear through her eyes. Even in the final moments when she was leaving the body, that same divine look, that luster, that purity and gentleness radiated out from her face. And I could see the aspect of her soul through that divine light leaving her body through the eyes, and both Lord Ram and Guruji were present and taking hold of that.
The depth of a mother
How to ever describe or narrate that depth of a mother? There is so much to write but the heart is getting choked. There is no way I can return the depth of what she has given. But my million pranams and my prayers to her that may her blessings pour on all of us to acquire just the one root factor of spirituality— a simple and pure heart.
I just have one wish—that I am able to continue Guruji’s work and as I do that for the welfare of others, the subtle blessings of the souls who start their journey go to her and through that, my attempt to fulfill that debt continues. And may she have that absolute and infinite union with the Lord and in that state the truth, the absolute consciousness, and the infinite bliss.
Words from her family
Bapuji spoke at Mummyji’s funeral, saying:
What Ma has said is very complete. Lord Ram said that the pure and simple aspect of the soul is the key. We may have seen how in her human interactions, Mummyji was very innocent. We credit ourselves for all our education and what we have attained externally, but truly speaking Mummyji was a soul who had that key quality of simplicity very spontaneously. A lot of us are still trying to get just a speck of that through Guruji’s grace or the grace of any other saint we have in our lives. The soul is very simple. Our understanding is limited, that’s why it appears to be complex. The complexity is something we add to it.
Adi Shankaracharya composed verses about the process of neti-neti: I am not this, I am not this, I am not this, concluding, I am this. I am not the mind, I am not the intellect, I am not the ego, I am not the chitta. This is where we add the complexity to the soul. I am not the five senses of action, the five senses of knowledge, I am not the aspects of the physical body or the subtle body. At the end of every verse, he wrote, “Chidananda rupah Shivo’ham Shivo’ham.” I am truth, consciousness and bliss. I am just that state of bliss. And that is who Mummyji was. In her, that simplicity, that innocence put her so close to God that nothing in the world touched her. We seek her hand on our head, giving us blessings that we are able to reach at least one of her qualities of unconditional love, compassion, even feeding others—a tremendous blessing from the soul. We seek her blessings to help us reach the state of consciousness of truth, consciousness and bliss.
Her grandchildren, Vishvam and Meera, also spoke about their grandmother. Vishvam said:
When it comes to selflessness, love, care, affection, and most of all serving food to all, Ba was a great soul. Her love was sincere and eternal and spread from her three children and everyone around the world spanning from India all the way to America. Her impact on us all showed various lessons on how to live life to the fullest without regret or resentment and willingness to accept the current moment with a smile.
Meera read three poems she wrote about Mummyji:
A tree grew in the ground.
It grew fruit so sweet
to give to everyone around.
In return the tree received the love of many.
And the tree’s leaves rustled in sound
With love to go all around
A flower whose petals fell one by one
becoming one with the Earth.
But a garden grew around where they fell in its stead.
Never will the flower be replicated
but the garden holds many parts of it.
In every corner you turn, will you see the flower that once stood
in the ground.
The sun who brings light to a room.
Even in the darkest, it holds the hands of the moon.
The sun brought out the brightness,
a golden halo in our eyes.
Close your eyes to feel the sun
as it wraps its arms around you
and gives you a warm hug.
Jai MA, Jai Shri RĀMA, Jai GURUDEV.