Editor’s note: We feature an excerpt from the book ‘Living in The Presence‘ written in Bengali by Shobha Mitra and translated into English by Maurice Shukla. The author shares how she once fell into the grip of jealousy, which was later dissolved by the Mother’s sweet blessings. The passage reveals that inner revolts such as anger and jealousy can be transformed into feelings of calm and goodness only when we call the Mother for help.
In the Grip of Jealousy
It was a moment in my life when I had fallen into the clutches of jealousy.
It was connected with the Mother, about going to the Mother, about being able to spend time with Her. I began to feel within me anger towards all those who were given the opportunity to work with Her or to stay close to Her. I was not among those fortunate ones. I met the Mother exactly like the ordinary Ashramites did, not with the frequency allowed to some chosen ones. The anger and jealousy caused by this feeling brought a lot of suffering too in its trail.
I went to see the Mother on 15th December, the day after my birthday. I had seen the Mother only from a distance on my birthday. I had never imagined that a birthday could be so full of pain. On the 14th afternoon, when the Mother was to go out of the Ashram, I had gone, like every day, to stand near the staircase door next to Nirod-da’s room in order to catch a glimpse of Her. The Mother came out punctually but She did not look in my direction, She did not wish me Bonne Fete as She normally would do. From here, I went to the Tennis-ground and there too, the Mother did not look at me.
When in the evening it was time for Her to return from the Playground, I went and stood near the staircase door, hoping this time at least to be seen by Her. My whole being was restlessly eager to receive a gracious, compassionate gaze from Her.
She arrived and turned Her eyes on me; a long, penetrating significant look. But She did not smile, nor did She greet me with Bonne Fête. She headed straight for Debu’s room and went inside. Those around me who had come for darshan slowly scattered.
Only I remained, deeply pained, as with thirsting eyes I looked on at the receding footsteps of the Mother heading for the staircase. I just told myself, Lord, may such a birthday never befall anyone!
Then 15th December arrived, the day I was supposed to go and see the Mother. She saw me at night. She was wearing the salwar-kameez I had prepared for Her. I offered Her the bouquet of flowers I had carefully selected for the Mother. She observed the flowers offered very attentively, and from these She selected some to give back to me, which She kept in Her left hand.
I bowed down at Her feet. She placed Her hand on my head and kept it there for a long time. When She removed Her hand from my head, I raised my face.
With an irresistibly gentle divine smile, She wished me Bonne Fête and offered me a bouquet of flowers and a book. After that, one after another, She handed me Sincerity, Transformation, Tender Love, Purity and some other flowers.
Call the Mother in the Moments of Inner Revolt
Holding Her hands in mine, I told the Mother, “I have caused great hindrance to your work. Please forgive me for it.”
The Mother: (She was holding some Transformation flower in Her left hand which She offered to me) If this kind of revolt does not recur in you again then I shall forgive you. But if this were to recur, then I will not forgive you. This revolt is very bad.
I: Mother, I do try not to get caught by this revolt. It is the last thing I myself desire. But when the actual moment arrives. . .
The Mother: Then everything disappears, doesn’t it? But my dear child, that is what you need to develop, will-power. If you are not able to do it at that time, then call me or visualize that I am standing before you. Then you will never be able to do such a thing. This is where the mind’s determination comes into focus. (The Mother placed Her hand over my head and shook it.) There will be no more difficulty. It is finished.
I: (very emotionally) Mother, will I ever get transformed?
The Mother: I hope it happens, my Child. That is why you are here, isn’t it? (Taking my hands in a very meaningful way) We do not wish to see that revolt again. See you then, my child. Bonne Fête and au revoir!
I: Douce Mere, au revoir.
After that day’s incident, this revolt never returned. With a still mind, I got back to my work and my studies. I tried to remember everything that the Mother had told me to do.
That anger and jealousy I used to feel for others who could approach the Mother disappeared completely from my being.
Jealousy comes from a narrowness of the mind and a weakness of the heart. It is a great pity that so many are attacked by it.~ The Mother, CWM, Vol. 14, p. 261
About the author: Shobha Mitra (1933-2019) first met the Mother in 1942. And in 1951 while still in her teens, she came to settle permanently at Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Dance and music were her field of work and sadhana in the Ashram. She was the head of the Indian music section at the Ashram for decades.
~ Design: Raamkumar