My mother's prayer

Once my mother was attending a theatrical performance — we call it jatra — by a village theatre troupe. My brother Chitta had taken my mother to watch the life of Sri Chaitanya, our great Bengali spiritual Master. At one point in the story, Sri Chaitanya's mother was shedding bitter tears because her son had taken a solemn vow to renounce the world and follow the spiritual life. My own mother, in the audience, became racked with sobs. My brother Chitta attempted to console her: "Mother, do not cry! Sri Chaitanya was disobedient to his mother, but we will never be so. We will remain with you always. We will not take renunciation. Have no fear! You will have grandchildren. We are all going to get married and have children. Do not cry, do not cry."

My mother said, "Fool, fool, fool! You do not understand why I am crying. It is because I want all my children, sons and daughters alike, to follow that path. I want all my children to remain unmarried and take sannyasa like Sri Chaitanya. I long for each one of them to be able to realise God in this life! Will God listen to my prayer?"

Such was my mother's inner cry. She was crying for her children to be spiritual, to renounce the world. My brother thought that she was identifying with Sri Chaitanya's mother, who did not want her son to go away.