By Anup Taneja
A devotee once asked Anandmayi Ma: “To what caste do you belong and where is your home?” She responded, “From your worldly standpoint this body belongs to East Bengal and is Brahmin by caste; but if you think beyond these artificial distinctions, you will understand that this body is a member of one human family.” Consciousness is present in all. Anandmayi Ma’s approach transcended all barriers of caste and religion, and endeared her to all. Little wonder that wherever she went, people from different walks of life thronged just to have a glimpse of her.
Anandmayi Ma taught profound spiritual truths in simple language, devoid of jargon and complexity, which an average person could easily understand. These were based on direct experience of Truth in deep meditation and were not from books. Even as a child, Ma showed signs of being highly evolved spiritually; the moment she heard the Divine Name being chanted, she would spontaneously slip into a spiritual trance for hours together. With the intuitive knowledge that she gained, she declared that everything that one perceives is because of Divine Light, that the outer light originates from an inner light, and that the light of the Self is the same in all. “Whether one worships Christ, Krishna, Rama or Kali, one actually worships that one Light, which pervades all things.”
During an informal interaction with devotees she spoke of a mystical experience which culminated in realisation of the eternal Self. Seeing her own body as a luminous figure expand infinitely in all directions, she was left completely wonderstruck. The quality of this Divine Light was so magnificent that she could find no words to express its ethereal beauty. She simultaneously saw other forms of light emanate from the Divine Light which appeared in different hues – sometimes bluish, sometimes yellowish and at other times crimson. Seeing these lights of great brilliance, she lost body-consciousness and experienced a dazzling luminosity encompassing the entire universe. She saw the entire cosmos within the infinitude of her being. This was the supra-causal state where Consciousness in its purest, undifferentiated and eternal form is cognised.
Realisation then dawned upon Ma that the wondrous universe of myriad diversities, despite being unreal, appears to be real because of the movement of mind which keeps fluctuating. In contrast, that which remains unchanged and eternal is the Supreme Truth; and to realise this Truth is the supreme calling of every human being. Mere intellectual inquiry, according to Ma, is not enough to know the Truth; one has to make sustained effort over a prolonged period to get the desired results. Through regular practice of meditation combined with chanting of the Divine Name, the seeker should endeavour to delve deep into the innermost chambers of her being.
The path of Divine contemplation, said Ma, is akin to walking on the razor’s edge; only a rare seeker succeeds in experiencing the highest level of consciousness. Nevertheless, the seeker who remains steadfast in his practice and adopts an attitude of unconditional surrender, will, at some stage, find the free flow of the blessings of the Supreme Being upon his soul, “Just as a bucketful of water comes out of a well only when the rope to which the bucket is tied is being pulled.”
Anandmayi Ma entered mahasamadhi on August 27, 1982
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.