The Mother Divine
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It was a quiet morning; Sri Ram Kripalu Maharaj was wearing his high wooden sandals. Though they were heavy, Swamiji walked with the ease of a dancer in them, swiftly and lithely. The tilak mark was on his forehead, his toenails had a coat of sandal paste and his matted locks were nicely placed on his arm. With matted locks on his arm, like a Roman king would carry his toga, Swamiji moved about royally. Great charm exuded from his persona. He welcomed me, offered me a seat and sat in a chair laid out in the open veranda of his ashram at Triveni Ghat. He was gazing at the Ganga as he spoke with me. Our conversation made me reflect about the very foundation of imparting spiritual wisdom.

The question of broadcasting scriptural knowledge is indeed a complex one. Does God or His word need any publishing?

There are two schools of thought here. One way of thinking does not favour formalising, organising and propagating the mysterious spiritual wisdom. According to this, the work of God is underway, naturally, in ways He alone deems fit. The secret of spirituality is being carried around informally, unassumingly, through word of mouth, for centuries. This is the adrishya dhaaraa - the invisible stream. Wherever a true seeking arises, God provides the necessary wisdom. There’s no need to organise and consequently antagonise this great current.

The second school of thought seeks to reach the word of God to the masses, with prudence and policy. This is the drishya dhaaraa - the visible stream. It is assumed that there is a natural languor and slowness among the people which impedes their movement to the higher truth; therefore that, which is beneficial, should be assertively driven home. Well, it’s not easy to answer which one of the two perspectives is closer to the truth.

“Swamiji, can I have one of your books?” I asked Ram Kripalu Maharaj that morning.

“I have written no book,” he replied.

“No book? What I meant was a book of wisdom. Some text that you may have written on spirituality, a commentary on Gita maybe... anything. I’d love to read it,” I pleaded.

“I told you, I haven’t written anything,” he calmly reiterated. “What’s the need to write anything? Everything has been already set forth by our predecessors. Every facet of spiritual truth has been already written about. We have enough of written word. We are inundated with spiritual writing. Why should I add my grain to the mountain? I’d say, let’s carefully read what has already been written, let’s practice an ounce of that rather than add to it.”

“That’s indeed a great perspective!” I concurred.

“My Guru was also of the same opinion,” Swamiji continued, tossing his twelve feet long matted locks on his arm. “When it came to publishing one’s wisdom, he used to say, ”

jo paayaa woh chupaayaa, jo khoyaa woh chapaayaa!
जो पाया वो छुपाया, जो खोया वो छपाया !
(That which I’ve indeed found, I’ve had a good occasion to conceal. That which I’ve indeed lost, I’ve often published.)

“Well said, Swamiji.”

“Yes. He said all spiritual wisdom has a character of secrecy. It is not to be made public – because it is the light that steals finer things, not darkness! Keeping your spiritual subtleties in the dark is like securing them and bringing them to the light of day is to rob their essence. In this context an Urdu poet has quoted:
andhere se hame dar nahin
hum aksar sare aam roshani mein loote gaye hain

अन्धेरे से हमें डर नहीं, हम अक्सर सरे आम रौशनी में लूटे गए हैं
(I fear not darkness for it was in broad daylight that I was often times robbed)

Swamiji had a point. We see so much being lost due to the glare of publicity. As it is, there’s a growing decline in concern for the scriptures which already exist, the new-found passion to churn out self-styled interpretations makes matters worse. It’s disturbing to see such great hankering and largesse for interpretations. A whole band of perversely inspired intellectuals are looking for stains upon the eternally pure fabric of scriptural wisdom. Thomas Kempis in Imitation of Christ says:
It is Truth which we must look for in Holy Writ, not cunning of words. All Scripture ought to be read in the spirit in which it was written. We must rather seek for what is profitable in Scripture, than for what ministereth to subtlety in discourse. Therefore we ought to read books which are devotional and simple, as well as those which are deep and difficult. And let not the weight of the writer be a stumbling-block to thee, whether he be of little or much learning, but let the love of the pure Truth draw thee to read. Ask not, who hath said this or that, but look to what he says.
With these words playing in my mind, I went for a walk around five in the evening. There was a heavy stillness in the air. Gangaji was full but seemed to carry the swollen waters with great cheer and gaiety. I made my way, looking into the forest on the opposite side of the river and spotted a family of peacocks. They were making their way lazily towards the water. I kept them in the line of my vision as I kept walking. The next paragraph from Imitation of Christ came rushing to me.
Men pass away, but the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Without respect of persons God speaketh to us in diverse manners. Our own curiosity often hindereth us in the reading of holy writings, when we seek to understand and discuss, where we should pass simply on. If thou wouldst profit by thy reading, read humbly, simply, honestly, and not desiring to win a character for learning. Ask freely, and hear in silence the words of holy men; nor be displeased at the hard sayings of older men than thou, for they are not uttered without cause.
Suddenly there was a gentle breeze; it lifted the heaviness of the warm evening in an instant. I raised my face heavenwards to breathe in the air more deeply. The cool breeze felt wonderful. Just then with almost no prior warning, raindrops came down. Scattered like a child was casually throwing fistfuls of water. This sudden shower made me so very happy. Then I saw the peacocks dancing in the slight drizzle and heard a distant clap of thunder. I remembered reading about Radha and Krishna and the ecstatic peacocks dancing whenever they spotted the divine lovers together.

Who can publish what God has never written? And who can unpublish that which God has already writ?

We humbly present the May-July issue of The Mother. I thank Vinod Singh for all the technical help, Shubhdeep, Lalit and Bijoy for putting together the design and Aditya Vikram for assisting me in proof-checking this issue.

Raj Supe (Kinkar Vishwashreyananda)
The Editor