Shobha Mitra reads from her reminiscences, published earlier as a book “Living in the Presence”.
To begin with…
[A Foreword to the book “Living in the Presence” by the Author]
In my life I have known moments of such exceeding sweetness and beauty that they are profoundly anchored in my being. How I would love to hold these in my memory’s embrace, to save them in my heart’s treasure trove forever! But whether I will be able to, I cannot say. Like the endless waves of the ocean, these memorable divine moments had been lapping the shores of my soul. Then, one day, I finally made up my mind and started noting them down on paper.
I first met the Mother when I was nine, in August of 1942. In that very first darshan of the Mother I felt that She was not human but a goddess come down in a human body, the Divine Mother herself.
On Her instruction, in 1951, I settled down in the Ashram for good. In those days the Mother used to Herself organise all the activities of the Ashram. She thus had a connection with each one of us. We did not do anything Without Her consent. The Ashram was not a very large community then. We felt as if we all dwelt in Her consciousness. At some time or another, for whatever reason, we all had to come into Her physical presence. Thanks to all these opportunities of being physically in Her presence, that first impression of my childhood experience has always remained in focus. I started carefully recording in a notebook any incident that was connected with Her or any words She had spoken, however insignificant they might have been, since they were the utterance of the Divine Mother herself. I shall pick out here from that note-book some of the words She blessed me with. My questions and the Mother’s answers have also been recorded faithfully in the form and language that She gave to them. Naturally I had recorded Her answers without specifying at that time the context in which they were given. I have tried to bring these writings alive by setting them in the context of the incident that gave them rise. Wherever I could not quite recollect the precise context I have simply presented the Mother’s answers along with my questions.
In this attempt at bringing out in a book some of my life’s incidents and the Mother’s words of compassion, I have felt deep within me an aspiration accompanying all these moments of my life, be they significant or futile. This book is a testimony of how the Mother took charge of the most ordinary of human beings, made use of their nature’s aptitudes, battled with their incapacities and resistances, helping with Her divine force each according to their nature’s needs in order to urge us to walk the sunlit path of the New Life. My sadhana, dance, music, teaching and cultural programmes became the occasions for the Mother to work on me and gave rise also to the exchanges I had with Her. It is in these fields that I have experienced the Mother’s extraordinarily divine Light and the infinitely healing touch of Her divine consciousness.