My Impressions of Anandamayi Ma
(By Melita Mashmann, German author and long-time devotee of Ma)
It is more than ten years since the day when I met Ma first, and up to now it has been the most important day in my life. I owed it only to my Guru’s grace and not to my own understanding that I recognized the importance at once.
One day, after having been with Ma for about a month, I said to Her: “Ma, I did not come here to love you but to learn to love God better through you.” At that time I was so fascinated by Her, that it tortured me to part from Her at night to go to my dharmashala. I have observed this phenomenon since in many newcomers of all ages and both sexes from East and West.
It takes some time to understand that Ma’s irresistible power of attraction has only one purpose: to draw towards God those whose life has but one center of gravitation—their own petty, fearful and ignorant self. I have often felt that Ma has thrown a kind of hook into my heart. If I try to get away from Her, it tears painful wounds, and if I follow its pull it draws me nearer to Her. Suddenly the point is reached when the external senses indeed recognize Ma unchanged, but the Inner Sense perceives only the presence of God.
Sometimes I saw people coming out of Ma’s room reeling after their first darshan. Some of them stand there as if lost for a long time. They suddenly seem to be unable to recognize the world in which they have lived since their childhood. Some of them cry for several days, some become silent. Others throw themselves to the ground or jump about and shout with joy in the middle of the street like children. At first I surmised that they were people with an unstable balance of mind. But this is not true. In the course of the years I have seen too many normal people (both Indians and non-Indians) reacting in this striking way.
I have never grown tired of simply gazing at Her. Sometimes this gazing flows into a sort of mystical perception. In these moments it is unimportant whether the eyes are closed or open. One sees Ma only as the medium through which one looks into the mysterious Reality, into which She wants to draw us.
Years ago I said to Ma in a private talk: “I am such an extrovert, that I cannot find God within myself, but sometimes I see Him in your face.” That very night I made a note in my diary: “During the evening darshan Ma glanced at me. Suddenly Her face, which had looked tired became beautiful beyond description and irradiated by inner light. For an hour She sat silent and without moving on Her seat; no one dared to speak. Each cell in Her body seemed to vibrate in the joy of a mysterious presence.” I had just made the remark that morning and there He was!--Called by my longing to see Him.
Matri Vani (Ma’s Words)
(Extracts from letters in reply to different people at different times.)
Endeavor to remain ever consecrated at His feet by engaging in worship, japa, meditation, the study of sacred books, on in devotional music—whichever of them you feel inclined to at any particular time.
When you first began to learn to read and write, you surely did not examine the reasons for and against it, did you? You accepted what you were told. Even if all sorts of critical thoughts arise, call to mind that they are due only to your lack of understanding; they are certainly not the outcome of pure wisdom. Try to accept as much as possible, appropriate to the occasion. Discard laziness and exert yourself. It is natural that your mind should find all sorts of reasons for not doing Sadhana—yet your aim must be to persevere in doing it. Eschew such thoughts as, “I shall not be able to do it.”; “It will not be possible”.
Be truthful in speech and rigorous in self-discipline at all times and devote yourself to the study of books of wisdom and to satsang. Cultivate the company of those who are helpful in your quest, avoid those that distract you. In other words, associate with the Good and shun the merely pleasurable. If you live in this spirit, the help you need will come to you naturally—unasked.
To be sure, there is a way of approach even in terms of gain and loss; not to aspire to God –realization is loss and to aspire to it is gain—although He is Self-luminous. He and He alone is the one thing needful, all the rest is useless. Without Him man cannot live. Leaving Him there is no place to go. Therefore to exclude Him is impossible, He cannot be set aside. Because He is all in all, such is the nature and the mode of His play. Without Him man simply cannot proceed. He alone IS. Through delusion you forget Him. All trouble is due to ignorance alone.
If man endeavors to live his life according to dharma (the way of righteousness), he will gradually overcome sorrow and will progress towards peace. Without Him Supreme Peace cannot be found.
During the summer months of April—June, the Omkareshwar School is closed for holiday and most people leave the ashram due to the excessive heat, moving to the Indore Ashram or going on pilgrimage.
In the Indore Ashram, May was a month of festival. The month began with the consecration of the new Kali Mandir and Matri Smriti Museum. The opening of the new temple was a strong sankalp of our Baba as he said that the worship of Kali in this temple will have a silent influence on the entire world during important world events that are coming. The temple was completed with great difficulty and debt, but opened with great joy and ceremony. The Matri Smriti Museum now houses many articles used, touched and blessed by Sri Anandamayi Ma and bears Her power and presence.
Following this was the celebration of Janmotsav—the Birthday Observance of Sri Anandmayi Ma. For an entire week the ashram was in festive array and filled with devotees, sadhus and pandits. The talented Swami Chidambarananda ji Maharaj came with a group of musicians from Mumbai and for several hours each afternoon expounded the Srimad Bhagavatam all through beautiful music and bhajans. There were daily classes and satsangs and on the last day Ma’s puja began at 3:00 AM—Her birth time.
Our dear friends and long-time supporters Sundaram and Hillary LaPierre of Encinitas, California have founded a new non-profit organization for helping raise the much-needed funds for the Omkareshwar School and as always are a great source of help and support the project. See their new website at http://www.shantipurifriends.org/. Our gratitude goes out to them and to Yogeshwar and all in Encinitas who are working with this project. May Ma bless!
Swami Gurusharanananda and Swami Mangalananda will be leaving for their annual tour of Europe on the 10th of June and return the 21st of July. They will visit Switzerland, France, Germany and Poland and present bhajan concerts, classes and satsangs. For information on events in your area, please contact this e-mail address.
As always, we end with Ma’s words:
“The Lord’s is the body; the Lord’s is the mind; the Lord’s is all mankind. Without loving God you will not get anywhere. Remember this at all times.”