Saturday, May 18, 2019

A Play of the Self - A tribute to Smt. Susmita Devi

by Sri Ramen Basu

Susmita Devi passed away on January 25, 2019.  I recall Sri Sri Babathakur (hereinafter referred to as the Master) stating that one goes to the green room for the next act when one passes away. Only the Master knows best. 
Susmita wrote an autobiography of her life where she ended her story with the bhajan she used to often sing - Jai Guru Jai Ma Om Brahma Atma Saccidanandaghana Akhanda Bhuma…. a revealed bhajan of the Master. All through her life in India, she arduously practiced to qualify herself in the integral path of jnana, bhakti and karma through the worship of Mother Goddess Kali as her Ista. She built a temple of her Ista in her home, after she compiled the words of the Master in the book titled ‘Nectar of Wisdom’. 

She adored the Master as Maa. This is why, perhaps, the love and compassion of Maa manifested in the game of her life. She was the founder of a school for the poorest of the poor in a remote village of Purulia, India.  Now that school - by the name of Ramakrishna Vivekananda Ideal School - is being run smoothly by her associates. She also ran a vacation home for orphan children in Rajarhat, Kolkata. Thus, the glory of the Master spread through her karma in life.

As a husband and fellow traveler, I had many pleasant memories living as well as working with her. I became aware of many of my shortcomings during our talks on spiritual and worldly matters of life.  She always helped me in rectifying myself.  It was as if a spiritual guide was by my side at home.  I remember the Master telling me that you should always listen to her for I speak through her mouth.  She was a sincere honest seeker and did not burden the Master to solve her mundane problems even when she suffered great physical pain and mental sufferings during her lifetime, accepting it as her karma, and she got to learn from those experiences.  I learnt from her positive approach towards life and also from the unflinching faith she had on the Master, as the indivisible form of the Guru is exemplar to me.  May be that is the reason why Master did not allow her continuous physical presence besides Him; instead He made her try to implement His teachings which she compiled in ‘Nectar of Wisdom’ through actions and introspection in the later stages of her life.

We all know how she was aware in her own mind that the words of the Master must reach international audience. Her zeal was amply rewarded by the Master in letting her publish His words which were penned down by her in His company in two volumes as 'Nectar of Wisdom'-1 & 2. Later on, Saccidananda Society published the two volumes together at the direction of the Master which she herself composed, edited and gave to the press to print. It is a unique diary, for the content of the book shows how the Master transforms His western devotees, who have no knowledge of Vedanta philosophy - the shruti vidya, by verbal testimony and demonstration of a divine life. It is a good beginner for graduating to the book ‘Science of Oneness’ and in understanding the profound depth of the phrase ‘I-Reality’ (an original coinage of the Master) which He propounded later in His immortal treatise ‘Knowledge of Knowledge’ Vol. 1 & 2.

Till her last days of life, she kept on sharing her thoughts in e-Sanai for she could feel the spiritual needs of the western audience given she had directly experienced that kind of life before coming to India.  She also encouraged and inspired the good intention of the devotees of the Master for spreading His words in the West.

Not only did she learn by heart ‘The sportful dramatic sameside game of Self-Consciousness’ - one of the august proclamations of the Master, she consciously strove for Its manifestation in life. She always expanded herself in many services for humanity after imbibing the training received from the Master, thus fulfilling the meaning of the word Brahman - the ever revealing One.

For the love of the Self a husband loves his wife, we heard it from the Master. In our case, I cannot help quoting the blessings of the Master on marriage from Nectar of Wisdom.  ‘Usually the individual self or ego can’t overcome the sense of duality and in duality two partners are needed for the play. That is why one requires a consort, though it is the very same Self-Consciousness playing in both the female and male body. When the two unite in harmony, the spiritual and material aspects are fulfilled because of the exchange of ideas, desires and aspirations, and ambitions in life can be shared....’

We used to read together and discuss how we can manifest His teachings in our lives. Our gratitude knew no bounds feeling the showering of Grace of the Master through His words and the remembrance of His holy company. 

I end this article with a poem of Susmita Devi from Nectar of Wisdom.

The Most Precious Self
(A poem to Guru)

Grace was showered in plenty
As drizzle on dry land.
Mind drank the Grace as land the rain.
Now mind knows only to play with
Thoughts of love, by love, for love.
Making a lovely mosaic
Of Love. 

Words of Guru are of highest potency,
Spoken or unspoken.
Yet, why so surprised, oh mind!
Can’t you grasp the simple idea that
Self is manifesting Itself. 

A lonely child may play all the roles
Of a get-together play,
Changing only voice and hat
According to impulses
From desire for enjoyment. 

So do you, oh mind, full of treason,
Changing ideas incessantly
Giving no chance
For constant loving thoughts
Of Self, by Self, for Self
The only Reality. 

Do use your tool fully, wholly
Most precious Self
In whatever way You please,
For your Divine Game
In all Its surprising glory. 

Let the state of mind remain
A sonorous outcry in silence
Within, without, beyond
All apparent manifestation. 

Her life was an inspiration to me for she heard the call of the flute and left everything she possessed in material life of the West and sat at the feet of Sadguru to realize herself.  I want to share with you a secret.  She told me once that ‘Ram you did not care for me while I was in the body but you will eulogize me when I am gone’.  I do not deny that I am the posthumous admirer.  May the self of the little Susmita merge in the Paka Ami or the ‘I’ of the Master and find Peace Absolute in this present incarnation.    

Thus, ‘ALL DIVINE FOR ALL TIME AS IT IS’ manifested in her life as the game of the Self-I in a novel way.   

Guru Om Tat Sat

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