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CHAPTER-IV: MEDITATION AND JAPA
1. "The mind keeps well when engaged in work. And yet Japa, meditation, prayer also are specially needed. You must at least sit down once in the morning and again in the evening. That acts as a rudder to a boat. When one sits in meditation in the evening, one gets a chance to think of what one has done - good or bad -during the whole day. Next one should compare the states of one's mind in the preceding day and the present. ... Unless you meditate in the mornings and evenings along with work, how can you know what you are actually doing?"
2. "It is very necessary to have a fixed time for these things. For it cannot be said when the auspicious moment will come. It arrives so suddenly. No one gets any hint of it beforehand. Therefore one should observe regularity, however busy one may be with duties. ... Even in the midst of the most intense activity, one should at least remember God and salute Him.
3. "May your body and mind become pure by repeating the Name of God!"
4. "The Mantra purifies the body. Man becomes pure by repeating the Mantra of God. ... It is said, 'The human teacher utters the Mantra into the ear; but God breathes the spirit into the soul.'"
5. "As wind removes the cloud, so the Name of God destroys the cloud of worldliness." 6. "Do you know the significance of Japa and other spiritual practices? By these, the power of the sense-organs is subdued.
7. A devotee took a tiny banyan seed and said to Mother, "Look, Mother, it is tinier even than the tiniest seed we know. From this will spring a giant tree! How strange!" "Indeed, it will," Mother replied. "See what a tiny seed is the Name of God. From it in time come divine moods, devotion, love, and spiritual consummation."
8. "Just see the power of habit. By the law of habit man attains realization by continuous practice of Japa."
9. A devotee asked her, "Mother, what is the secret?" She pointed to a small timepiece in a niche and said, "As that timepiece is ticking, so also go on repeating God's Name. That will bring you everything. Nothing more need be done.
10. "One has to suffer the consequences of one's deeds. But by repeating the Name of God, you can lessen its intensity. If you were destined to have a wound as wide as a ploughshare, you will get a pin-prick at least. The effect of Karma can be counteracted to a great extent by Japa and austerities."
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22nd July, 1918
|Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi|
It was half past seven in the evening when I arrived at the house of the Holy Mother. Only two months back she had returned from her village home, emaciated by a protracted attack of malaria. She greeted me with her usual smile and said, "It is a very warm day. Take a little rest and refresh yourself. What about your sister? Has she reached home?"
Devotee: Yes, Mother. I started after she had reached home.
Mother: Take this fan from Radhu, and rub this medicated oil on my back. There are heat-blisters all over my body.
As I started rubbing the oil, the bell rang for evening worship. The Holy Mother sat on her bed and saluted God with folded hands. Other devotees went to the shrine room to witness the worship.
The Mother said, "Everybody says regretfully, 'There is so much misery in the world. We have prayed so much to God, but still there is no end of misery.' But misery is only the gift of God. It is the symbol of His compassion."
That day my mind had been greatly troubled. Did she really know it and therefore address those words to me? The Mother continued, "Who has not suffered from misery in this world? Brinde, the woman devotee of Krishna, said to him, 'Who says that you are compassionate? In your incarnation as Rama you made Sita weep for you all through her life. And in this incarnation of Krishna, Radha has been weeping on your account. Your parents suffered extreme agony in the prison of Kamsa and cried day and night uttering your name. Then why do I repeat your name? It is because your name removes all fear of death.' "
Referring to a woman, the Holy Mother said, "People of that appearance are generally devoid of Bhakti, devotion to God. I have heard it from Sri Ramakrishna."
Devotee: 'Yes, Mother, I have read in the Kathamrita (A book on Sri Ramakrishna's teachings in Bengali. Its English translation is known as the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.) that he used to say that people who are not frank cannot make real spiritual progress.
Mother: Oh, you are referring to that. He said those words in the house of a devotee named Narayana. A man had a mistress. She once came to Sri Ramakrishna and said with repentance, "That man ruined me. Then he robbed me of my money and jewels."Sri Ramakrishna was aware of the innermost contents of people's minds. But still he would like to hear about things from their own mouth. He said to that woman, " Is it true? But he used to give us tall talks about devotion." Then he described those traits which stand in the way of spirituality. In the end the woman confessed to him all her sins and was thus released from their evil effects.
Nalini: How is it possible, Mother? How can one be absolved from sin by simply expressing it in words? Is it possible to wash away sin in this manner?
Mother: Why not, my dear child? Sri Ramakrishna was a perfect soul. Certainly one can be free from sin by confessing it to one like him. And one thing more, if at a certain place people talk of virtue and vice, those present there must take a share of those qualities.
Nalini: How is this possible?
Mother: Let me explain. Imagine a man confessed to you his virtue or vice. Whenever you think of that man you will remember his virtuous or sinful acts. And they will thus leave an impression upon your mind. Is it not true, my child?
Again the talk turned to human misery, affliction and worry. The Mother said, "Many people come to me and confide their worries. They say, 'We have not realized God. How can we attain to peace?' Thereupon the thought would flash in my mind; 'Why do they say so? Am I then a superhuman being? I never knew what worry was. And the vision of God, -it lies, as it were in the palm of my hand. Whenever I like it, I can have it.' "