I have always felt a strong connection to Anandamayi Ma, first seeing a picture of her almost 20 years ago. In 2007 while traveling to Pune with KD Babukishan he had unknown to me arranged to go to Anandamayi Ma’s Mandir in Pune.
On arrival at the Mandir I noticed there were only a few people at the temple. as lone older women standing in the front right next to the altar discussing something with Maa, she was pleading, talking waving her hands as if Anandamayi Ma where right there.
I settled myself on the floor and fell into an ecstatic bliss with a pure heart full of yearning for this deep connection to Maa. This is a rare feeling and I have felt it very few times in the past. I can recall this feeling a few times when I was at Saint Catherine of the healing metal Church in Paris, they were singing Ava Marie and I knew Maa was present. I felt this in other Kali Temples though out India, the Kali Beri in Delhi, Kali Ghat, Dakinishwar Temple, Anandamayi Ma in Haridwar.
There is a Kali temple in Mumbai the head Pujari is a man dressed in a Sari. Babu warned me before we went he said, this is really powerful be ready and be really respectful. The temple is run by men dressed as women called Hijra, inside this temple is a huge rock that taking up almost the whole temple there is just enough room to walk around the rock. It is very powerful a wild difficult to handle shakti and it does not dissipate even after a few days, this energy stays with one for a while, I can understand how one could go crazy if not prepared. I felt very comfortable with these people because I too felt like an outsider in India. As a white women married to an Indian man conjures up all sorts of negative thoughts in an Indian person’s mind. I was so naïve before I went to India for the first time I thought everybody was into Om Shanti peaceful.
My experience in India was one of racism it was difficult for me to understand I had just spent the past so many years in a comfortable mountain community where for the most part people are sweet, kind, and I never distinguished race difference, I was under the impression people are people and believe in humanity. But in India I had people walk out of restaurants because I came in, I had people sneer at me and came upon Hotels that would not let me in because they either figured I ate meat or was a prostitute. India is a very complicated and complex not to ever be confused with being a Canadian and Canada. I do love India and am grateful that I was able to get an insider’s view living there for a year in regular Indian life.
The energy of India is in the soil and soul of India, I do think people here have never experienced that continuous flow of Shakti. The forest here give peace but not the great energy of India. The air is clean here, the water is clear and clean but the Shakti is not as strong. I long to return to India in spite of all the challenges of smokey air, pollution, and the people’s stares. It humbles me in a way that I would not be able to experience here, it tests me in a way that I am not tested here.
Babu always knew where to go and most of the temples knew who he was. The Kali Beri in Delhi.. or Kali Ghat and the Dakshinswar Temple in Kolkata. Yes of course they knew him, he was a Ramakrishna Monk for 12 years. You see Babu grew up on Maa’s doorstep in a village in Bengal India. His grandfather Nabani Das Khyappa Baul and grandmother raised him until he was 8 when Nabani died, it was at this time they sent him to his Father and Mothers in Calcutta and he could not adjust to living with them so they sent to the Ramakrishna Mission in Kolkata to live as a Vedic Monk in a really tough sadhana until after his 12 standard. It was a very difficult time for Babu as he had just lost the love of his life his Grandfather a rare connection so profound. Nabani took Babu when he was born, he was born with crooked limbs so Nabani kept him 24/7 massaging him and healing his little Krishna who he named Krishnendu. Nabani Das took Babu with him on his wandering Journey’s throughout India having him initiated by most of the powerful, Guru’s, Nath’s, Sadhu’s, Tantrics, Siddha’s from 1962 until his death. Although Nabani had really slowed down in the last few years of his life, Babu’s Grandmother Brajabala Dasi understood who her husband was and raised her children under the most difficult circumstances and never complained.
While in the village with his grandfather Nabani Das who was a Baul Guru and Kali Sadhaka at Tarapith, he was both Baul and a accomplished Tantric Yogi.. that is why they called him an Avadhuta. Not all Bauls are like Nabani, most Bauls from this lineage are Vaishnavism pure Bhakti or Shajaya Vaishnavsm as they are Gosai Das and Dasi Baul. They are the lineage coming of Sri Nityananda of Ekkchara W Bengal, yes I realize other groups are saying the same thing, there are so many lines coming out of Nitai but the story is always the same and they do not have the stories the Bauls do coming from an oral tradition, there are so many things they do not even know, anyhow all OK, everybody can be an ancestor of Jai Nitai…. These stories have been passed down through Baul song and dance and Guru parampara from an oral tradition, not a book tradition. In the oral traditions of India, everything was heard and remembered in Sanskrit, the Bauls sang this in simple Bengali songs to the people of the villages..
Nabani Das Baul and all their ancestors were Sanskrit-ists, they knew all the stories of Radha and Krishna since the beginning of the story thousands of years ago. These sacred stories were not read in as in the book traditions of personal opinions. The translations are mere seeds of higher philosophy and techniques of Bhakti Yoga, Tantra, and Yoga. Most of what is being taught about the traditions of India are being passed off as original and are not they are just drops in the ocean of Yoga. Some People are calling things that have belonged to India and the people of India their own … taking and copy writing calling it there intellectual property…it belongs to the people who have preserved it for thousands of years, so next time you think you own something, you can not own what does not belong to you. Think about giving something back to India.. and remember Karma!!
The authentic Vaishnava is so different from what has come to the West, the new age version has been monotheised and colonized to fit into the mold of a few men.
And yes again I felt that sweet bliss on arriving at Anandmayi Maaa’s Samadhi Mandir in Kankhal Haridwar although at that point I must say they were expecting their special guest one Krishnendu to arrive with an Indian wife.. not a white wife, this is a story itself one I never expected. To my surprise even today I can still hear ringing through my ear after asking what did she say, the head Didi of the temple said, “Krishnendu you did not tell us your wife was a foreigner, you know how Maa felt about foreigners, it was hard to believe but this is something I met many times in India?? Being raised a Canadian or perhaps in the family I was raised in I never ever saw colour, or thought about racism. Maa will melt it all away and who cares anyhow I am a yogi big deal.
In Maa’s temples, and in some Churches that were dedicated to the Mother I fel the same thing there is only one Maa, she is real, loving and with me always..
Jai maaaaa I yearn to be in that place, in that space, it is God/dess intoxicating and when I am in that space time is lost, the outside world just melts away. Yet here I am time is running my life I want to be there yet my life is here. I understand Maa knows everything and there is a reason for everything that happens. Jai Kali, Laxshmi, Saraswati, Radha, Durga, Mary.. all are Maaaaaaaaa.. Jai Maaaa is the oldest most powerful mantra everybody knows this in India. The Bauls know this especially well, being Vaishnava they always puja Radha first, women first it is common sense, where did you come from, how did you enter this world. This world is a gift not something to be treated as a disease or negative to get to a higher plane one has to move through here master this world before going to the next. Rejection of the feminine or the beautiful planet never works, you attract what you reject.. instead love and learn to work with not against.. this is Maa’s way, this is her Grace.. Love her, respect her, that is Grace.