For the previous two or three issues we tried to share some reflections on Mother’s firm assertion that it is she who gives all experiences. Success or failure, negative or positive, good or bad - our categorization can go on and on. And we may choose the positive though the positive may turn out to be negative. It then would mean that it is our unripe, unregenerate ego which made the choice. But then the unripe ego and its responses also are her Prasad. Aren't they?
If it is comforting to assume that they are, let us certainty do so. Nothing prevents us. But then I feel uneasy. (Sorry, ‘l’, again crops up). I identify with this uneasiness and become unhappy. Unhappy that I am again falling into traps. It is in this context of thinking, analyzing or reflecting on what Amma says (and experiencing the related feelings) that her experiences provide transitional clues. From these transitional clues we enter the indivisible, holistic world of Amma, where divisive traps do exist but are not elaborate. They are - the divisive tendencies, I mean - are like snakes from whose fangs the poison has been taken away. Of course, they hiss but do not hurt or harm. They can never be fatal.
Let us make this much more concrete. But, before that, let us keep before us the following chart of what it is to be totally, wholly rooted in the dualities of life but without experiencing their consequences. ‘Sri Ram” quotes a very fascinatingly paradoxical description of the behavioral nature of a jnani.
While keeping awake
I snore in slumber
While working hard
I rest in peace
While remaining in crowds
I dwell in the cave
While alive to all appearances
I am dead to the world!
(Journey into Joy, p.30)
Apparently these activities are paradoxical, contradictory logically, but experientially they are natural and interdependent. Reverse them, you have the same equation: “I snore in slumber/while keeping awake; I rest in peace/while working hard……..” And so on. In other words, we can recall what Mother said: “l am dropping everything into your bowl……..”
Are all these wonderful states experienced only by the sages? Only by celestial beings like Amma? Amma’s natural state is this. As Richard Schiffman reports: “Even when she is apparently inactive, there is nevertheless a quiet intensity, an alertness that is palpable. Perhaps the best way to put it is that we are in the presence of a person who is totally awake and alive in every cell of her being. This awareness is so profound that it seems at first sight almost supernatural”.
(Richard Schiffman, Mother of All, San Diego, CA, The Blue Dove Foundation; 2001, p.63-64)
The supernatural is natural. That is the clue. For, whatever happens to us as experience, thought, dream or act is her play. Suppose we get a bad thought, even in the presence of Mother (presence - physical I mean), Schiffman has this to tell us in this context:
Once when Amma was gazing off, seemingly absent-minded into space, a devotee asked her what she was looking at. She replied, “I am watching thoughts coming to me crooked and distorted and leaving me straight”.
Commenting on this Schiffman adds:
Many have commented that when they are with her, it is nearly impossible to hold on to feelings of anger, worry or agitation, however compelling they seemed just moments before. And even afterwards, these emotions seem to have less of a hold on one. One devotee termed this remarkable effect “the subtle alchemy”. (Schiffman, p.65)
When we read these responses, we feel agitated. At least, I did. Not having been in the physical presence of Mother, I cannot say what such an experience is. But, then, are we then to jump to the conclusion that the subtle alchemy does not function, is not effective now? Fortunately, Schiffman uses the words “seemingly”, “seem”. They appear so. In the dualistic world “subtle” pairs with “gross”. “Supernatural” with “natural” etc. But we disrupt the pair!
What does Mother say?
“I have not attained some special state of consciousness among other states. Mine is rather a condition of perfect equanimity. Whatever happens, whatever I feel or think, appears the same to me. Nothing is either important or unimportant. Everything is natural - everything is equal. That is all”.
(Schiffman, p.315 - emphasis added).
How then do we juxtapose “supernatural” and natural? How can we realize that both are natural as also equal? Is such an experience (or at least its understanding) beyond us? Sri Ram once remarked that “one who sees Sai in Kasai (butcher) is a Gosai (Sage, Goswami)”. There is no question of our realizing it. For, it is “real”, a fact, whether we realize it or not. And what is real has got to be a fact, a fact to everyone. We are not - for whatever the reason - used to accept the usual. We want the unusual. And we attribute to the unusual, mystery, sublimity etc. While all along the usual and the natural are themselves miraculous!
I know this is again a going away - in explanatory excursions - from Mother. She anticipates this and clarifies: “Mother is like the Earth itself which assimilates filth as well as good things. Whether a thing is good or bad is your concern - the Earth and Mother make no such distinction”. (Schiffman, p.314)
Perhaps, we can, I suppose, gently ask Mother: “Is it our concern Ma? We are your children. Aren’t we?” There, l think, the matter rests!