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At the Feet of The Mother

Living in this Imperfect World

The condition of the world is not very pleasant. Nobody can deny that this is far from a perfect world. It reeks of falsehood and is filled with the suffering of various kinds and gives the ultimate wages of disease and death to all our efforts. The question is if this is all that is there, or there is behind all the anomalies and sufferings of life something deeper and greater that is worth all our efforts.

The answer to this question cannot be found on the ground where we presently stand. We live upon the surfaces of life and here everything is fast changing with no stable ground upon which we can stand and say that yes finally there is something that will stay and endure and remain permanent if not perfect. It is also a ground where we see individuals, groups, nations, empires, civilisations even emerge and vanish sometimes without even leaving a trace. What was strong and powerful yesterday has become today a doubtful haze of memory. What seemed weak and helpless yesterday is today a tyrant or a hero and a king. The great sages who wandered in the forest singing uplifting hymns are no more visible to our sight though their songs continue to haunt the hearts of men and inspire the prophet tongue. Yet there are others who are being born and the newborn who has just begun his infant step may well be a greatness clothed in a perishable bag of skin. Is this not the great vision of God’s Viswaroopa?

It is no doubt appalling to the senses and the mind may well feel dazed and dizzy at this tremendous Energy that is constantly throwing and swallowing marbles of Time as so many forms of creatures and species and atoms and galaxies whirling them in boundless Space. Why then limit our vision to a few or many or whatever percentage of corrupt and evil human beings whom we witness in our present society? Many much worse ones have come and gone and yet the world continues to move and march towards some far-off unseen goal. It is this that should be our focus. If we stay glued to the surfaces then we shall see nothing else but the dangerous yet delightful dance of Time. Sometimes this dance becomes too dangerous as we find on the battlefield of Kurukshetra where the Lord manifests Himself as Time the Destroyer.

But behind His form as the Destroyer there is still the same benevolent smile of the Divine beloved who bewitches and charms us and helps our hearts to struggle and endure the failures and yet strive for and rejoice in the victory. The Gita tells us to hold on to That, to the Lord who alone Was, IS and shall be when all these that you see around are dead and gone and new ones sit on the thrones occupied by them. Let our vision and toil be vast even as the sun and the earth for we inherit something of both. When the surface things appal us, we should contemplate the boundlessness of Space, the endlessness of Time and seek the Eternal, the stable basis behind all changing appearances. This is well within our reach. To prefer the apparent and the ephemeral and the transient over the eternal and the infinite and the permanent is to join the bandwagon of corrupt politicians. The Gita itself bids us remember the Lord at all times in this otherwise transient suffering world, anityam asukham lokam bhajaswamam.

And for this, we do not have to go to an Ashram or retire from the world into some forest or a cave but simply seek Him with all our heart and place ourselves in His hands cry out with faith to show Himself to us. If we do this with sincerity and persistence the Lord will reveal Himself one day. It is then and then alone that we shall truly understand the true meaning behind all our sufferings and travails. Before that we shall be only wasting our breath and energy in conjectures and speculations about Him and His ways. After all, it is His play and He alone can answer it fully to our utmost satisfaction.

All who have thus sought and found Him have declared that all our suffering is nothing but an easy price when we stand face to face with our Divine Beloved.

One whom her soul had faced as Death and Night
A sum of all sweetness gathered into his limbs
And blinded her heart to the beauty of the suns.
Transfigured was the formidable shape.
His darkness and his sad destroying might
Abolishing for ever and disclosing
The mystery of his high and violent deeds,
A secret splendour rose revealed to sight
Where once the vast embodied Void had stood.
Night the dim mask had grown a wonderful face.
The vague infinity was slain whose gloom
Had outlined from the terrible unknown
The obscure disastrous figure of a god,
Fled was the error that arms the hands of grief,
And lighted the ignorant gulf whose hollow deeps
Had given to nothingness a dreadful voice.
As when before the eye that wakes in sleep
Is opened the sombre binding of a book,
Illumined letterings are seen which kept
A golden blaze of thought inscribed within,
A marvellous form responded to her gaze
Whose sweetness justified life’s blindest pain;
All Nature’s struggle was its easy price,
The universe and its agony seemed worth while.
As if the choric calyx of a flower
Aerial, visible on music’s waves,
A lotus of light-petalled ecstasy
Took shape out of the tremulous heart of things.
There was no more the torment under the stars,
The evil sheltered behind Nature’s mask;
There was no more the dark pretence of hate,
The cruel rictus on Love’s altered face.
Hate was the grip of a dreadful amour’s strife;
A ruthless love intent only to possess
Has here replaced the sweet original god.
Forgetting the Will-to-love that gave it birth,
The passion to lock itself in and to unite,
It would swallow all into one lonely self,
Devouring the soul that it had made its own,
By suffering and annihilation’s pain
Punishing the unwillingness to be one,
Angry with the refusals of the world,
Passionate to take but knowing not how to give.
Death’s sombre cowl was cast from Nature’s brow;
There lightened on her the godhead’s lurking laugh.
All grace and glory and all divinity
Were here collected in a single form;
All worshipped eyes looked through his from one face;
He bore all godheads in his grandiose limbs.
An oceanic spirit dwelt within;
Intolerant and invincible in joy
A flood of freedom and transcendent bliss
Into immortal lines of beauty rose. [Savitri: 678-680]

Of course, one may say that all this is alright but what about the collective life, the life of a nation, of civilization, of humanity? Well for the moment let us understand that the guardian of dharma is none else but the Lord Himself. It is He who alone understands what Dharma is and how to safeguard it. He has done it in spite of Ravana and Kansa and Hitler and Mussolini and will do it so in the future. Let us leave it to Him but meanwhile, there is something that He bids us do, the first and foremost dharma since man began to think and feel and aspire and hope and it is to realise the divinity within us. Let us discover that first and we shall see that in proportion to our discovery we shall start looking at this world and all that appals us very differently and find His meaning in a seemingly vain world, His purpose that punishes virtue with defeat, His ways that baffle human intelligence that finds good sown in evil’s soil.

The Mother shows us the way:

If at any time a deep sorrow, a searing doubt or an intense pain overwhelms you and drives you to despair, there is an infallible way to regain calm and peace.
 
In the depths of our being there shines a light whose brilliance is equalled only by its purity; a light, a living and conscious portion of a universal godhead who animates and nourishes and illumines Matter, a powerful and unfailing guide for those who are willing to heed his law, a helper full of solace and loving forbearance towards all who aspire to see and hear and obey him. No sincere and lasting aspiration towards him can be in vain; no strong and respectful trust can be disappointed, no expectation ever deceived.
 
My heart has suffered and lamented, almost breaking beneath a sorrow too heavy, almost sinking beneath a pain too strong…. But I have called to thee, O divine comforter, I have prayed ardently to thee, and the splendour of thy dazzling light has appeared to me and revived me.
 
As the rays of thy glory penetrated and illumined all my being, I clearly perceived the path to follow, the use that can be made of suffering; I understood that the sorrow that held me in its grip was but a pale reflection of the sorrow of the earth, of this abysm of suffering and anguish.
 
Only those who have suffered can understand the suffering of others; understand it, commune with it and relieve it. And I understood, O divine comforter, sublime Holocaust, that in order to sustain us in all our troubles, to soothe all our pangs, thou must have known and felt all the sufferings of earth and man, all without exception.
 
How is it that among those who claim to be thy worshippers, some regard thee as a cruel torturer, as an inexorable judge witnessing the torments that are tolerated by thee or even created by thy own will?
 
No, I now perceive that these sufferings come from the very imperfection of Matter which, in its disorder and crudeness, is unfit to manifest thee; and thou art the very first to suffer from it, to bewail it, thou art the first to toil and strive in thy ardent desire to change disorder into order, suffering into happiness, discord into harmony.
 
Suffering is not something inevitable or even desirable, but when it comes to us, how helpful it can be!
 
Each time we feel that our heart is breaking, a deeper door opens within us, revealing new horizons, ever richer in hidden treasures, whose golden influx brings once more a new and intenser life to the organism on the brink of destruction. And when, by these successive descents, we reach the veil that reveals thee as it is lifted, O Lord, who can describe the intensity of Life that penetrates the whole being, the radiance of the Light that floods it, the sublimity of the Love that transforms it for ever!  [CWM 2:20-21]

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