Sunday, January 13, 2013

15 Minutes with the Mother of the World

Tiruvannamalai, 2013

The mother of the world sees visitors every morning from 10:00 to 10:15.  She does not just see them, she very specifically looks at them, one at a time, and some people come an hour early, and take a seat in the front row, just to make sure they are seen, because it would certainly be a great misfortune to be overlooked by the mother of the world.

The audience hall – the entire ground floor of the Siva Sakthi Ashram – is full in this season, perhaps 150 people, and the devotees are exclusively foreigners.  The only Indian face in the hall is that of Ma Siva Sakthi.

Ma Siva Sakthi is said to be fully enlightened.  She bestows her grace in silence, by means of sight, as Sri Ramana did.  For years she did not speak at all.  Now she speaks, but only rarely.  Several of her speeches have been transcribed and translated.  Copies are available beside the door.

So many foreigners!  To go for the darshan of Ma Siva Sakthi is to be made aware of just how many well-to-do white people are looking for the meaning of life in central Tamil Nadu.  I shudder a little to look at them, though I guess that they are only meditating.  They look terribly fussy.  I feel a little sorry for the Mother of the World, who has to look, one by one, at so many grim-faced white people.

The mother of the world is a small dark round woman, perhaps sixty.  She is appropriately motherly.  She wears the brownish peach colored robes of a renunciant and moves in absolute silence.  Looking out the window, you can see her descending the stairs; her step is as measured as that of a sleepwalker.

She enters the room slowly and sits in a chair front and center.  She greets us silently, her hands in namaskar.  Some of us respond.  Some do not.  There are many different styles and strategies for receiving the grace of Ma Siva Sakthi.  Some, like myself, watch her every move.  Others keep their eyes screwed shut the entire time.

After sitting for a moment, she stands, walks toward the assembled devotees, and begins the process of looking at us, very carefully, one at a time.  She runs her eyes very carefully down the rows and, in my opinion, late arrivals need not be concerned.  I do not think she misses anyone.

It is rather like a wave, rising in the distance, drawing nearer, you feel her gaze grow close and then, here you are: the mother of the universe is looking at you.

Being looked at by Ma Siva Sakthi is not like being looked at by anyone else.  Note that I do not intend to make claims of sanctity, or to debunk such claims.  I only mean to say – here is something else.

Her gaze is entirely impersonal, as rain cloud might make to the earth.  She looks at you, but she does not appear to be seeing whatever it is that most people see when they look at you.

Her eyes themselves are very strange, one of a kind eyes, splintered almonds of eyes.  I thought of a cat, of a mentally handicapped person, and most of all of the narrow eyes painted in silver upon images of the Divine Mother, the eyes you see when you push forward in the crowd for darshan of the Mother at the temple’s center.

I admit that I can only speak of what I see when Ma Siva Sakthi looks at people near me.  When Ma Siva Sakthi looks directly at me, I do not see anything at all.  Nothing whatsoever of her face, which appears hidden behind a black cloud until she looks away.

I cannot see Ma Siva Sakthi when she looks at me.  I do not know what that means. 

Her eyes then continue along the rows, one person at a time, and, when she is finished, she joins her hands in namaskar and returns upstairs with the same slow, silent and unvaried steps.

The foreigners leave slowly.  Days, weeks, or months of this treatment have not visibly sweetened them.  But I am too much a cynic.  Some people feel she is very powerful.  Others feel nothing at all.  Many are not sure what they feel but believe it has to be doing them good, in a deep down sort of way.  It is like discussing homeopathy.

I do not know.  The speeches, translated and available beside the door, are thoroughly disappointing.  They are a disjointed mix of well-wishing and perfectly generic predictions of natural disaster. 

Natural calamities will happen in India.  There will be loss of lives.  Tamilnadu will also be affected: wind and heavy rains; extreme heat. 

For the old politicians, both former and current, the time is very close for them to leave their bodies.  It will happen one by one.

Ma Siva Sakthi said the climate was changing because the Earth was spinning too fast.  Then she said it is because the Earth is tilted wrong.  She says that starting in 2022, the world will prosper: a prediction which may well be unique.

It seems to me that silent saints should think long and hard before opening their mouths.  Perhaps it is best never to open them.  It may be that Ma Siva Sakthi has found exactly the correct procedure: to stare at the foreigners for 15 minutes and not say a word.  As for what occurs, we may think as we choose, and as we require.

We have come so far.  We want to see a true saint of India.  We want, for once, to feel the eyes of God rest directly on us.


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