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Excerpts from

"The Near and the Dear"

by Dada Mukerjee

Chapter: Shukla, Part 2


Shukla emphasized that Babaji knew his nature very well.

" could not be denied that I was not fully reconciled to be satisfied with things as they came, so Babaji wanted to teach me that what I was getting and what I was missing were both the result of my own doing. No one else is responsible for it.

"This was what I had to learn: I make and unmake everything for myself. If I wanted the successful wordly life then I should go all the way for it and change the old pattern of my life and work to the utmost for the new pattern. And if I do not go for that or am unable to do that, I should accept it and be fully satisfied that success along that line was not for me. So, the false charm in the mind for those things should be banished. Do not shed tears for things that are not for you or that you cannot bring yourself to do. It is of utmost importance to be satisfied and reconciled with what you have received as your reward for your efforts.

"Brother, I only know this much: decide exactly what you want and what you will have to do to achieve it. What is the work that has been given to you? Look at it from all sides and then devote yourself to it with full strength and energy. We look to all sides expecting that somebody will come to help and finish the work for us. This never happens.

"After all, what is sadhana? Sadhana does not mean that while you sit in meditation with your eyes closed, cooked food will drop into your mouth on its own. Meditation and deep concentration are not outside of us. They do not come from others; they are already a part of us. One has to learn when and how they are to be used. Doing your work with full attention until it is done, putting your whole mind on it with no diversions, is actually meditation. When your work is done there should be full satisfaction and total peace in your mind. That is actually samadhi that comes from the work in which one is engaged.

"This dos not mean that for everyone dhyana and samadhi will come from the same things or in the same way. You have not taken sannyasa. Why do you think that sitting like a yogi for the whole day with eyes closed will give you your samadhi? Your life is different, so how can you do the dhyana which is meant for the sadhu? I understand only this much: whatever work has come to you, take that to be your deity. Do your work accordingly and be satisfied that whatever comes out of it is your reward. Well, am I mistaken?"


Babaji would be sitting in a cottage giving darshan and talking to the people while others were busy with work for the bandara. The prasad was prepared early in the morning. Brahmachari from Bhumiadhar, with a couple of helpers, would manage all the cooking. He did it admirably well, day after day, without any lapse in his work or trace of depression on his face. People used to say that he had some special shakti from Babaji. There were also a large number of 'mothers', both from the plains and the hills, who were staying in huts specially prepared for them. They would rise early, take their dips in the Ganga, and then peel and cut vegetables and roll puris throughout the day. As with Brahmacari, this went on for the whole duration of the mela.

When there was not much of a crowd and they could get a break, they would sit around Baba. While sitting nearby observing the mothers at work, I would often say that they were setting an example for everyone, young and old, of what really dedicated and selfless service meant. You could engage any number of persons, pay them as much as they demanded, but you would not get such perfect and accomplished work. One one occasion, Babaji agreed with what I said and added: "Dada is right, seva should be like this. Everyone must learn by seeing them at work. These mothers have come to the mela, leaving their household behind, and coming here they have been trapped in household work again. Where is their freedom from household work?"

Everyone heard him with full attention. Many of the mothers felt they were receiving so much for the little work they were doing for Babaji's bandara. One of the old mothers was much moved and with difficulty she said, "Baba, we are not so very fortunate. We do not have any money, nor are we free from our own household work. There is so much desire to visit the places of pilgrimage, but we cannot go anywhere. Now God is so very gracious to us that he has drawn us to Prayag, the crown of pilgrimage centers, on this sacred occasion of the Kumbha, and has made all necessary arrangements for our stay. People go for baths in the Ganga in the morning. They purify themselves washing and cleaning in the river and after puja they leave Ganga Ma there. But Ganga Ma is exceedingly kind to us. After taking our bath, performing our ablutions and purifying ourselves early in the morning, we do not have to go away from Gangaji. We sit on her lap and do our worship for the whole day and offer water for her. Baba, we can not see anyone as fortunate as we are. All we know is that you are our God, who has fulfilled all our desires and aspirations."

These were not her feelings alone, but it was actually the expression of everyone sitting there. Babaji looked at me and then said, "How very pure and supreme is their love of God. How deep is their faith. They see the Grace of God in everything. These are the people who actually get the darshan of the sacred pilgrimage centers. Anyone may go to any place of pilgrimage, but only these rare ones who have real faith and devotion to God get the real darshan."

Looking at Shukla, Babaji asked him what he thought of the mothers' faith in God. Shukla said that he had developed great admiration for these mothers since he started helping them in their work. Babaji then looked at me and said, "Shukla himself is a great bhakta. It is good to be a lover of God, but one must not neglect one's duty to others. These mothers work for the whole day, but do not forget their God. They see God in their work and that is why they do their work so well."

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