Suniti Devi – Sudhir’s Wife

Part I

The Mother said she was a being from another world.

Here is a portion of the Mother’s talk on Suniti Devi with her son Mona.

Mona: Mother, here is the photo of my mother that you wanted to see.

The Mother: Ah! show it to me. She is your mother… (The Mother concentrates on the photo). She is very pretty and endowed with a deep intelligence. Her psychic was illumined — that is quite evident. Ah, let me see. (The Mother goes into trance) But she did not belong to this world. She belonged to the world of Gandharvas. Do you understand what it means?

There are beings who take birth from time to time, who come down upon earth to complete some experience or realisation, and your mother is one of them. She lives there, above our earth, but very close to us, in the world of Gandharvas; these beings are blessed with exceptional qualities.

Her devotion and self-abnegation are quite extraordinary. She is very, very devoted, and patient. She has very distinct spiritual qualities. Her eyes are quite similar to yours; in fact, you have inherited many things from her…. I know her very well. It is because she was very open to Me that she had these experiences. It is I who guided her. She was a very sweet woman.

Mona: Yes, Mother, it is true.

The Mother: Do you remember her?

Mona: Very well, Mother.

The Mother: But you were very young.

Mona: Still, I remember her quite well. Once when she was ill, she called me to her side and talked to me asking me not to repeat it to anyone. “Your place is in Pondicherry, in the lap or the Divine Mother. I have told the Mother and have arranged everything for you. When I leave the body, you will go there; in fact, all of you will go.”

The Mother: You see, she was right. It is true that you received much from her.

Mona: And from my father?

The Mother: You inherited some qualities from your father too: courage, frankness — and you are well-built…. (Then the Mother went into trance for sometime; when She came out, She commented) These people like your father, who served Sri Aurobindo during the revolution in India, were truly a class apart. They were all valiant warriors who sacrificed everything for their Motherland, and only the Motherland existed for them. They had an unswerving sense of duty to the country. They worshipped India as the Mother — Aditi. Such was their devotion. Truly speaking, they were not ordinary people, they were beings from a higher world who came down here upon earth only to work with Sri Aurobindo, to accomplish His work.

Suniti Devi, wife of Sudhir Sarkar

They suffered a lot, but this did not alter their character. They had the capacity to do everything for Sri Aurobindo, attempt everything, offer everything to Him. They were very open to Him; that is why they were so successful. As I told you, their psychic beings were quite individualised, so they knew what their duty was: to free India. They launched themselves into this adventure not for any egoistic motive, certainly not for fame, but to sacrifice their lives for the country. And so many of them died. We saw their photos the other day. And they did their duty with utter devotion. One after another, they gave up their lives, humbly, quietly. They were true disciples and patriots of Mother India, courageous, noble, brave and selfless workers. Sri Aurobindo shaped them according to His will, and they gave themselves to Him. It is something exceptional.

Mona: Yes, Mother, they had no sense of fear at all, they were ready to do anything.

The Mother: Yes, that’s what they had been taught — the sense of duty and a total self-abnegation. Because at that time only a handful of people had come down here to do this specific work of helping Sri Aurobindo. They did what they had to do, and then they left without caring for themselves. That chapter is closed now.


Part II

Delusion or Prophetic Vision?

An article written by Sudhir in 1952 on his wife Suniti Devi.

I had been released from prison and was then travelling extensively on business in Assam, Calcutta, Rajshahi, Khulna. At the Calcutta office of the Bengali magazine “Bijoli” I received a telegram: “Suniti ill come at once.” I took the night train and reached Khulna, my home town, in the morning. My mother opened the door and in a tear-strained voice whispered, “Something is very wrong with your wife. She has stopped eating, sleeping, bathing. She just lies in bed and smiles as though she is watching something wonderful. If questioned, she utters strange truths about one’s past and future destiny. For the last few days people have been pouring into the house to consult her about their future. Unable to control the crowd, your father now keeps the main gate locked…”

But still the crowd did not diminish.

One of my younger brothers had just come home after appearing for his medical examination. When he asked my wife about his result, she announced, “You’ve passed.” My youngest brother had left college and joined our family business. When there was a theft in our shop, following my wife’s instructions he caught the salesmen who had stolen the money and hidden it in a secret nook under a cupboard. My wife had never seen that shop in the market-place and yet she correctly predicted that the money would be found under cupboard No. 6!

My elder sister had been married to a high caste brahmin. Later when we learnt that the man was a habitual drunkard and wife-beater, my father brought her back to live permanently in our house. One night she dreamt that her husband was missing. When she narrated her dream to my wife, Suniti informed her that he had died quite some time back. My sister put on a widow’s dress and renounced non-vegetarian food….

All these incidents had created a tense and heavy atmosphere in our house. When I had heard everything, I too was worried After getting over the first shock, I began to think, “What was going to happen in the future? In her present condition how will my wife be able to meet the many social demands that a joint Hindu family like ours imposes on her?”

However, for the present I decided to ask her a few questions of my own. I wanted to know what Sri Aurobindo was doing in Pondicherry. I had heard that in Alipore Jail Sri Aurobindo had attained the realisation of the omnipresent Vasudeva. (After observing silence for nearly a year, he had made predictions about our sentences long before the judicial verdict was out. Later we found that every word had come true!) So what puzzled us was why a man who had already gained divine realisation should go to Pondicherry for further sadhana? What more was there to achieve? Of course, once in a while we got news from Pondicherry from our co-revolutionaries — Bijoy Nag, Nolini Gupta, Upen Banerjee and Hrishikesh. We heard that around the year 1920 Sri Aurobindo had said that India’s freedom was already a reality in the subtle world; its earthly manifestation was being delayed only due to our own defects….

I asked my wife, “Is it true that you have become a fortuneteller, that you are telling people truths about their past and future?”

“It is not me — my Mother tells me everything.”

“Who is that Mother?”

Suniti was lying in bed. She pointed to a photo behind her head and murmured, “How beautiful the Mother is, her face is like the moon, her smile is like moonlight. When I turn to her, she takes me to all sorts of places. When I ask her a question, she shows me things and tells me the answer. Her voice is very sweet, like the sound of the flute.”

I asked her, “Can you tell me what is happening now in the ‘Bijoli’ office?”

Without pausing for breath, she replied, “Bibhuti-da is playing the harmonium, Barin-da’s room is closed, and so is Upen-da’s but Upen-da is writing something. Sarojini-di is reading a book.”

Since all this tallied with my knowledge of their habits, I asked again, “Now tell me what Sri Aurobindo is doing.”

For a long while she gazed at the ceiling, then replied, “The Mother says, ‘That is none of your business.’ ”

Shamelessly I persisted, “Don’t you have any feelings for me? As my wife you should know how eager I am to learn about him. Why don’t you plead with your ‘Mother’ on my behalf?”

At once a change came over her. She gradually began to turn blue, like the colour of her veins; her breathing stopped, her body became cold and damp with sweat. My mother, who was fanning her, burst out crying, “Sudhir, you’ve troubled me all my life and now you’ve done something which has killed my gem of a daughter-in-law!”

I was badly shaken. I struggled hard to control myself lest I should join my mother in her wailing.

After two or three minutes, my wife sighed deeply. Then the blue began to fade from her body. She looked around, laughed and clapped her hands like a child. “Look, look, my mother has come!”

“What had happened to you,” I asked her.

“The Mother had abandoned me and I felt as if I had fallen into a deep well. It was so dark there!”

From Pondicherry Bijoy Nag came to our house to see things for himself.

He asked my wife, “Can you tell me what I want?”

“You want everything. You want to satisfy all your worldly cravings and at the same time you want salvation. But that you cannot have.”

Bijoy was embarrassed, because indeed there was a kind of all-devouring greed in his nature.

Taking this opportunity, I again asked her about Sri Aurobindo.

She answered, “The Mother says, ‘Why do you want to know?’ (then as if consenting) Oh, all right. Do you see that two-storey building with the terrace facing south and tastefully arranged with flower pots? Sri Aurobindo is in the room which goes out to that terrace.”

“Can you see him,” I asked her.

“Of course I see him. He has long hair, a beard and moustache. In our house I’ve seen that photo of his in which he is standing with a corner of his dhoti wrapped round his shoulders. But now he looks a little different — he is sitting very still, as though in a trance.”

I was greedy to learn more. “Tell me what he is actually doing.”

“That I cannot tell you. The Mother keeps saying that it does not concern you.”

I consoled myself with the thought that it was not in my destiny to reach that place, but still I asked her, “Why don’t you ask your Mother to tell you. If you know it, that’s enough for me.” She was silent.

The day after Sri Aurobindo was informed about my wife’s condition, she became completely normal. She got up in the morning as usual and went about her daily activities. Of the happenings of the previous few days she did not remember anything.

After returning to Pondicherry, Bijoy Nag reported the whole incident to Sri Aurobindo. Sri Aurobindo, it seems, commented that in the spiritual world there are such “mothers” who are unwilling to take a human birth and yet want to experience motherly feelings and human love — it is they who take possession of a person in order to fulfil their desires.


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