Sri Sri Ma meets Mahatma Gandhi, about 19th February 1942.
Mataji with all of us left for Sevagram to meet Bapuji. Bapuji thus met Mataji for the first time. My feeling was that in his great eagerness to win S waraj by following the path of truth and non-violence in his own way, Gandhiji was too concentrated on his aim to recognize fully Mataji's Divine Nature during Her short stay of about eight hours in Sevagram. He was certainly immensely attracted by Mataji's radiant personality. But it seems, due to the peculiar circumstances of this meeting at an odd hour and without previous intimation, he could not find leisure to talk to Mataji in private, although this was the cherished desire of his great disciple, Seth Jamnalal Baja. This was all Mataji's own Lila .
As soon as Mataji entered Bapuji's room where he was plying his charkha, (spinning-wheel) She called out loudly:
"Pitaji, your pagal bachhi (crazy daughter) has come to see you! Bapuji remarked laughingly that if She really were a pagal bachhi, She could not possibly have impressed men like Bhayyaji, whom Bapuji was unable to give inner peace, in spite of his best efforts during thirty years of close association with him. Bapuji also told Mataji that he himself had asked Bhayyaji to meet Her, the Guru of Kamla Nehru. Mataji at once emphatically declared that She was neither Kamla Nehru's nor in fact anybody's Guru. Bhayyaji had been so much attracted by the Divine Personality of Mataji that he had repeatedly written to Bapuji from Dehradun for permission to stay with Her for longer periods. Bapuji consented as he felt that Mataji's presence was helping Bhayyaji to get peace of mind. Bapuji now told Mataji that a mad child could not possibly give peace of mind to persons like Jamnalal Baja]. Bapuji also related to Mataji Bhayyaji's cherished desire that She should stay in Gopuri for at least a month, so that Bapuji, Bhayyaji, Rajendra Babu and Swami Atmananda could discuss with Her many intricate and complex problems facing the present war-ridden world.
Bapuji did not allow Mataji to move to Wardha that night and succeeded in persuading Her to remain with him at Sevagram. Beddings were spread for Her and Bapuji on two wooden planks close to each other in the open veranda of Bapuji's cottage. Bapuji, being a patient of high blood pressure, had to go to bed at about 10 P.M., when light massage was administered to his body by his attendants, Dr. Sushila Nayyar, Amrit Kaur, and others. Bapuji got hold of the wrist of Mataji's right hand as She was sitting close to him. While the ladies were busy massaging Bapuji, Mataji asked them what they would do if Bapuji were taken away by Her. Mataji repeated this question three times and one of the ladies replied that they would go with Bapuji. Mataji then told Bapuji that at an opportune time She would take him away. I was greatly upset on hearing this, as I thought that Mataji was perhaps giving an indication of the early death of Bapuji which might occur within a year or so. Mataji did not appreciate my interruption and ordered me to keep quiet and watch. This I did, though reluctantly.
The following morning, Mataji left Sevagram for Wardha on Her way to Sagar (M.P.) via Nagpur and Itarsi. At Sagar, Mataji wanted to remain in seclusion for some time. Only Gurupriya Didi and Abhaya stayed with Her. From Wardha to Itarsi, I travelled with Mataji in a first class compartment. Thus I could get ample time to discuss with Her in private Her strange behaviour during Her short stay at Sevagram. It puzzled me that She did not give Bapuji the necessary help to understand Her real Swarupa (Nature) and philosophy. This had been the great desire of both Bhaiji and Bhayyaji. Mataji told me many things about the doctrine of non-violence as propagated by Bapuji. I wanted to communicate to him through a letter all that I had heard from Mataji so that Bapuji might perhaps remodel his future plans of action. Mataji at first did not agree to my suggestion but when persistently requested, She finally permitted me to do so. She however told me that all She had stated was meant for my own personal guidance. I then wrote a letter to Bapuji in the presence of the Divine Mother, and after reading it to Her, dispatched it from Lucknow in the first week of March 1942.
A copy of this letter and Bapu's reply which was in his own handwriting, and their English translation are reproduced below for the benefit of the readers. They may draw their own conclusions about Mataji's personality, about Bhayyaji'S devotion and his spirit of self-surrender to Her after a brief meeting at Raipur, about his full faith in the philosophy of life as explained to him by Mataji which had given him complete peace of mind. I have tried in this letter to give, as far as possible within my own limitations, a correct version of all that I had heard from Mataji in private while travelling with Her in the train. This letter gives in a nutshell some clue to Mataji's teaching, which is universal, and also depicts to some extent Her real Divine Nature. I am confident that a careful reading of the letter with reverence and in a meditative mood will be very helpful to the reader.
Letter of Sri Hari Ram Joshi to Bapuji
March 1942. Sri Sri Ma Saranam
Hari Ram Joshi offers obeisance at the lotus feet of revered Bapuji.
After taking Mataji directly from Wardha to a solitary place as desired by Her, I reached Lucknow on the 25th of February. Brahmachari Abhaya and Sri Gurupriya Didi are with Mataji at the moment. Swami Paramanandaji has gone to Dehradun and will join Mataji again shortly. Sri Ma said that Her whereabouts should not be disclosed to anyone until She directs otherwise. If anybody wants to write to Her, he may do so care of my address and I shall forward the letter.
This time Mataji did not give way to your entreaties to stay with you longer and, like a small child asked your permission to leave so soon. Yet it is my hope that your next meeting may be an event of great magnitude with far reaching results. By that meeting the whole world will benefit. It was Sri Bhaiji's (J. C. Roy) and Sri Bhayyaji's (Seth Jamnalal) great desire that on this special occasion we should be able to recognize Mataji's Divine Nature and to experience the joy of directing our lives towards the Supreme Quest. They felt confident that you were possessed of the rare capacity to understand Sri Ma's Real Being. It is a matter of deep happiness to me that their great expectation has been fulfilled to some extent at least.
From Wardha station Mataji sent you a message through brother Radha Krishnaji which he must have delivered to you. The message was: "One has to go to one's own Self. If Pitãji wishes this smallest of all children to come and play with him, he may kindly send word. If Pitaji keeps good health and reminds her of it, this little girl will come to him again."
Sri Ma made the following remark concerning food and clothes : "Whatever one eats or wears is obtained from one source. All forms and shapes are His. From this point of view—the point of view of God—Mataji told you : ‘I am indeed wearing your clothes!' Kamla Nehru gave Mataji khaddar (hand spun and hand woven cloth) and Mataji wore it.
Mataji always talks about spiritual things and on the journey from Wardha I had the opportunity to listen to Her words while no one else was present. Never before did I have the good fortune to hear so many significant remarks from Her blessed lips. I feel extremely happy that this should have happened just after meeting you and I am longing to write to you what I have heard Mataji say. I therefore asked Her permission to communicate Her words to you. When I kept on insisting, Sri Ma said : "We are all of the One. Why should I be asked? The Supreme Father, Mother, Friend and Lord is One indeed. He is Rama, Narayana, Krishna, He is Mahadevi, Sakti, He is the Brahman, the Atman. Truly, everything is His play."
It goes without saying that I do not possess the capacity to understand the import of Mataji's utterances. Moreover, there is sometimes a vast difference between what one hears and what one is able to note down. I am writing to you as much as I have understood.
About meeting you, Mataji told me : "Pitãji, who is an embodiment of love, called this little child and received her with the joy of affection. In a way this small girl is as dear to Pitaji as all children are to him. Looking equally on all, Pitaji will have to accept this small girl also as his very own, and since she is the tiniest of tiny babies, she will have to be looked after with even greater care."
Now to the special things that Sri Ma uttered
(1) Universal love and permanent peace are won only through Perfect Power (purna sakti) .
(2) Perfect Power comes into being where there is complete knowledge, in other words, all-encompassing Knowledge.
(3) Where Perfect Power reigns, there, whatever manifests is perfect in its own right. There everything can be accomplished by mere willing.
(4) Self-knowledge means knowledge of the one Self.
(5) Knowledge of the Brahman is the realization that there is only One Brahman-without-a-Second.
(6) The realization of God in His multifarious images signifies the realization of Him in His infinite Power. There is nothing outside of Him. HE IS and none else. This does not mean that there can be something separate. All different names and forms that exist are but He alone. The wonder of it is that the destructible and the indestructible exist simultaneously—in Him this is possible.
(7) God is without form, without quality as well as with form and quality. Watch and see with what an endless variety of beautiful forms He plays the play of His maya with Himself alone. The lila of the all-pervading One goes on in this way in infinite diversity. He is without beginning and without end. He is the whole and also the part. The whole and the part together make up real Perfection. Try to remember the aforesaid at all times. If you like you may read it over once every day. Just as a child has to exert himself in the beginning to learn the alphabets so, if you labour hard for it, you will come to understand the meaning of all this. Questions do arise and their solution will also come.
(8) To believe in Him under any particular form is not enough. Accept Him in His numberless forms, shapes and modes of being, in everything that exists. Aim at the whole and all your actions will be whole. Just think, how marvelously in the small seed of a banyan tree small trees, medium sized trees and giant trees and seeds in numberless stages of development are potentially present.
(9) Endeavour to know yourself! To know oneself signifies to discover everything within oneself. There is nothing separate from you.
(10) As you love your own body, so regard everyone as equal to your own body. When the Supreme Experience supervenes, everyone's service is revealed as one's own service. Call it a tree, a bird, an insect, an animal or a man, call it by any name you please, one serves one's own Self in every one of them.
(11) In order to be able to really serve the whole world in a universal manner, it is necessary to pray to the Fountainhead of all Power or to repeat His Name or to contemplate Him. Without full power full success does not come.
(12) Look, one has to pay special attention to the following: to become wholly absorbed in the pursuance of anything in particular and to forget the whole world over it, is not right. In such a scheme, ignorance of the essence still persists. One's determined aim must be not to allow partial knowledge or ignorance to persist.
(13) Don't become inert; to contemplate all-encompassing Knowledge does not mean inertia. See how wonderful the play of Rama and Krishna is
(14) While in ignorance one can only do the work of the ignorant. Yet it must be said that even in ignorance one may be able to achieve something by His inspiration. Whatever is undertaken should be done with direct knowledge.
(15) He is and He is not ; and yet neither is He nor is He not—and even beyond this. One who has attained to perfection can grasp this, having risen beyond mind and intelligence. Through the spectacles obtained by His Supreme Grace it is possible to realize everything. To pray for God's grace is man's innate duty (dharma).
Pardon me for this very long letter. I hope this finds you in the best of health. I am praying to Sri Ma that your object may be fulfilled and that you may attain to perfect bliss and perfect peace.
Hari Ram Joshi
Revered Bapuji's reply
Sevagram, Wardha, M.P.
Thank you for your letter. You did well to write it. Now Janakibehn has gone there.
Please tell Sri Ma to come any time She feels like it.
With Bapu's blessings.
A year later, namely on February 20th, 1943, when Bapuji was facing a severe crisis in the Ahmednagar jail, I visited the Vindhyachal Ashram and prayed to Mataji to save Bapuji's life. She responded by pointing to a Maharastra brahmin, aged about seventy-five years, who was sitting before Her. He was a lifelong brahmachari and a great scholar of the Gita. He had come from Varanasi and was praying all the time to Her to save Bapuji's life. He had been crying before Her for the last three days. Two hours after my arrival at Vindhyachal, Mataji ordered everybody in the Ashram to join Akhanda Nama Yajna, but She would not give any clear indication to us whether Bapuji's life would be saved. Happily for us all, the following day, news was broadcast that Bapuji had passed the crisis under miraculous circumstances, to the great surprise of all his attending physicians, including Dr. B. C. Roy, who had declared that Bapuji had no chance to survive. I feel that a further lease of life was given to Bapuji by Mataji in Her great mercy.
The last meeting in late 1947
Haribabaji was also in Delhi. He wished to meet Gandhiji who was in town at this time. Sri Ma's name was enough for opening all doors. We arrived at Gandhiji's residence in a motorcade because all who were at hand wanted to go with her wherever she went. Gandhiji received her with great affection and pleasure. He talked of her visit to Sevagram and how she would not stay with him and was against her wandering around so much. Sri Ma with some emphasis said, "Pitaji I do not need go anywhere away from you, I am ever with you. Believe this. This daughter never speaks an untruth."
Gandhiji did believe her, but was reluctant to let her go away, quite like everyone else from mahatmas to the merest child. He put his arm round her and led the way to the prayer meeting. It was obvious that he was not interested in the mahatmas who had come to visit him. Sri Ma held back till he had acknowledged their presence and it was arranged that the mahatmas also would be accommodated on the dais. Upadhyayaji (a close friend of the Nehru family) who knew Sri Ma since the days of Smt. Kamala Nehru was there; he made all the arrangements most satisfactorily. Gandhiji made Sri Ma sit close to him. He was in a happy mood. He would talk to her, and then he would talk about her to the congregation. I think he was asking for some donation or other. I remember him saying, "Do give generously; see my daughter ( bachhi ) is here. What will she think of you if you behave in a miserly way!" He made the congregation laugh a number of times.
This was their last meeting. The tragic date of 30th January 1948, was not far away.