Biography of Anandamayi Ma – Part 3

From Bajitpur Ma and Bholanath came to Dhaka where Bholanath became the Manager of the Shahbagh Gardens, which were part of the Estates of the Nawabzadi Pyari Bano. Here Anandamayi Ma’s fame began to spread. People came to see her out of curiosity and stayed to become devotees. Among the early devotees were Sri Jyotish Chandra Rai, who came to be known as Bhaiji; Sri Shashanka Mohan Mukherji and his daughter Adorini Devi known as Gurupriya Devi or Didi, Sri Pran Gopal Mukherjee, Sri Niranjan Rai, Sri Nishikanta Mitra, and many others. It was at Shahbag that for the first time her state of spiritual ecstasy came into public view. At a Kirtan as the singing progressed, there was a perceptible change in Ma. Slowly her eyes closed and her body swayed to the music and rhythm of Kirtan. She stood up slowly, her body vibrating. All her movements were spontaneous; Sister Gurupriya and a few close associates saw her condition and rushed to take care. Gurupriya wrote:

Suddenly her body started swaying and the head cover came off. The eyes were closed but the body responded to the rhythm and mood of the singing. She stood up as if possessed by an unknown power, the limb movements not willed by her but commanded by some other force. She appeared to be riding on air, now falling, now regaining balance, moving all around the room, steeped in an ecstasy. Her unblinking eyes were fixed up-wards, a strange illumination radiating from her face, a red glow on her body, she fell to the ground like a log but did not seem to hurt herself. The body turned and turned in rapid horizontal movements like a paper or a twig before a tornado. We tried to control her but it was impossible to cope with the turmoil and rapidity of her movement.

After such bhavas she would lie in a samadhi for many hours. It was always Bholanathji who would try to rouse her. When he called her repeatedly, she would somehow open her eyes and say, “You want me to get up?” in lisping and slurred tones. At this time he would ask the women to rub her hands and feet gently and keep talking to her and make her answer some questions. In this way slowly Sri Ma would be drawn back to the ordinary world. Many devotees saw images of Goddesses in Ma. Nirmal Chandra Chattopadhyay, who came from Varanasi saw Ma as Goddess Saraswati one day and vouched that he had never seen a more luminous figure in his life.

Anandamayi Ma welcomed all faiths as true paths to God. While in a trance during a Kirtan session at Shahbag, Ma went out of the house and crossing the garden in darkness, she reached the mazar of a Muslim saint (fakir). A Muslim caretaker opened the door to the mazar and Ma went round the mazar loudly reciting from the Holy Koran. She offered namaz in the fashion of a devout Muslim even though she did not have any knowledge of Islam. When she returned to the house, the Muslim caretaker also followed her and participated in the Kirtan. He also fed Ma with a piece of candy with his own hand.

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