In our culture, relationships established for the attainment of the Supreme Self are held in higher esteem than familial relationships. It is due to respect of knowledge. This verily is the greatness of our culture.
In our country, there have also been fortunate wise people who, on seeing any of their relatives, a Knower of Brahman (Self-realized), attained Self-Knowledge by becoming a disciple of that great man, leaving behind the bodily relationship. Saint Jnaneshwarji, by regarding his elder brother Yogi Nivrittinathji as (his) Guru, attained Direct Realization of Absolute Brahman. Shvetaketu attained realization of Brahman by hearing the instruction on the Great Saying ‘Thou Art That’ from his father Uddalaka Rishi. Even amongst the aforementioned, the height of respect for Knowledge (of the Self) is seen in the case wherein a mother attains Self-knowledge from her Self-realized son, who was brought up personally by her in childhood, by accepting Him as her Guru. One of such examples is – Mother Devahuti, who attained the Knowledge of the Self from her son – sage Kapila. And the height of the heights amongst such mothers is seen when a mother, who, during the childhood of her son, has been his Guru of Bhakti Marga (the path of devotion); on her son’s attaining Self-Realization, becomes his disciple by respecting the science of Brahman and human birth, attains Self-Realization by accepting every single word of the latter as Guru’s behest till her last breath. Do you know who was such a mother? She was none other than Pujya Bapuji’s revered mother – Brahmalina Matushri Shri Ma Mahengibaji! Another such mother hasn’t so far been found in world history.
The life of Pujya Bapuji’s Matushri – Shri Ma Mahengibaji is such an ideal character for every individual treading the path of God-Realization, that by following in her footsteps, one can easily become eligible for receiving the Complete Grace of the Guru. One fine day, Jethanandji (Ammaji’s eldest son) arrived at the ashram to take her home for few days. Initially Ammaji refused bluntly, as she did not like to be away from Bapuji at all, and secondly, her life was already adapted to the ashram’s sattvik (i.e. pure) environment charged with the vibrations of sadhana and selfless-service. But Jethanandji started insisting to Ammaji saying – “You are mother to both of us; and when we both are coequal to you, why won’t you come along to my place?”
Ammaji would never take any decision without asking Bapujii. Hence, before giving a reply to Jethanandaji, she went to Bapuji and said: “Sai! Jethanand wants to take me home for a few days.”
Bapuji asked: “Do you want to go?”
Ammaji: “Actually, I don’t want to go at all, but for worldly dealings it would be appropriate to go for a few days.”
Noticing her mind was becoming enticed by worldly attachment, Bapuji said: “Amma! What’s so valuable in this attachment and sense of ‘mine’? Better you set your mind on God instead.”
After a short pause, Gurudev said: “Look! If you live close to me, and engage yourself in sadhana, it will be my responsibility.”
In no time, Ammaji, endowed with pure and subtle spiritual insight, figured out the message that Bapuji intended to convey via the word ‘responsibility’, and refused Jethanandji’s proposal. Thus, an ideal aspirant, Ammaji gave the utmost importance to the most benedictory and salutary relation, i.e. that with the God; and preferred it over a worldly relationship which deprives one, along with one’s relatives from real happiness and entangles them in delusion. She didn’t even think of leaving Guru’s place thereafter. (The benefit that she reaped from this is mentioned at the end of this article).
Such was the height of Ammaji’s obedience to the commands of her Guru! Firmly determined towards the goal of Self-realization, Ammaji perfectly exemplified the words of the scriptures: ‘Aagya sama na susahib sewa’ (there is no service comparable to that of following Guru’s commands) in her life. As a good outcome of this very fact, Ammaji’s life blossomed with the flowers of steadfastness in the highest knowledge of Vedanta– ‘Brahma satyam; jagan mithya’, i.e. ‘Brahman is real. The universe is unreal.’
The world doesn’t exist at all…
Reminiscing Ammaji, Pujya Bapuji narrates one of her incidents below:
Enquiring about her well-being, I once asked: “Amma! How are you doing?”
Amma: “What well-being! The world doesn’t exist at all, it hasn’t ever come into existence; it’s all a dream.”
(Bapuji): “How come? Your eldest son was born; he then fathered children, fell sick and then left his physical body; then how come you say that the world doesn’t exist? You are bragging about Brahma Jnana!”
Ammaji: “The way it appeared (to have occurred), it has disappeared (become ‘non-existent’). We are now just talking about him. Does he exist now? His coming, living and dying are nowhere to be found. All is like this! There is only Atman (the Self) that exists; the world doesn’t exist at all.”
(Bapuji): I said: ‘Wow!’
It’s not that these were mere words, she was speaking boldly. She was in fact telling me what I was supposed to instruct her in. While in pain, she’d say: “It’s the body that suffers. I am ever free, Atman, I am Brahman. The world doesn’t exist at all. Aum… Aum… Bliss… Bliss….” I used to be very pleased with Amma’s behaviour.
One fine day, I said: “Amma! Let’s go to Motera. All mothers there must be remembering you.”
Amma: “It’s not me, but this body that they will remember. While I am there, they will nag me, saying – ‘Amma! This happened; Amma! That happened….’ But it’s only to my body (i.e. my physical being) that they address– ‘Amma! Amma!...’. Who is Amma?...’ the world doesn’t exist.”
I was quite pleased hearing this.
Pujya Bapuji also shares (about Himself): “When I left home (in search of God), my mother never complained ‘Oh my God! The very same son, for whom I’ve done so much all through my life, hasn’t brought (any) happiness to me… what will happen to me!’ Though she would ask – ‘What would my son be eating? Would he be getting breakfast?’ Thinking about this, she would get a bit worried at times. But when I came back home on Guru’s behest, having completed 7 years of sadhana (intense spiritual discipline) after receiving Guru’s grace, she didn’t complain at all.
Jo Manjil Chalte Hain Ve Shikvaa Nahin Kiyaa Karte.
Jo Shikvaa Kiyaa Karte Hain Ve Manjil Nahin Pahunchaa Karte.
“Those who walk towards the goal, never complain; And those, who complain, never achieve the goal.”
Since then my mother started showing respectful attitude towards me. She wouldn’t consider me as her son; instead, she’d consider me the way Kapil Muni’s mother would consider him, as God, or the Guru.”
Ammaji attained Immortality
When Ammaji was counting the last 3 days of her life, she didn’t take any food or water, nor did she meet or speak to anyone. Being detached from everyone, she did nothing but remain immersed in contemplation of God, in the depth of divine consciousness.
And when Ammaji was about to leave her body, she reminded Pujyashri of the event (when I had stopped her from leaving), saying – “Sai! You told me– ‘If you live close to me, and engage yourself in sadhana, I will bear your responsibility.’ Look, ever since I didn’t leave, it was Jetha who used to come to see me.” Hearing these words of Ammaji, Bapuji, overcome by compassion, acknowledged with a cheerful mild smile. Thus, Ammaji, by means of the yoga of ‘Obedience to the commands of Guru’, reaped full benefit of ‘Guru-Bhakti Yoga’ and ‘Yoga of Guru’s Grace’ and thus became accomplished in the supreme goal, and got established in the Self.
Pujyashri: “Mother attained Immortality after leaving her body. She left her body during the early hours, in Delhi’s secluded ashram.”
Ammaji always obeyed Guru’s commands promptly and diligently. And by saving herself from outward greatness she attained such a lofty height that is difficult for even great Yogis to attain. And even we are feeling blessed by her sacred remembrance.