The tulsi leaf ceremony

When I was thirteen years old, Mridu-di had another job. Every day, around eleven o'clock, no matter where I was, she used to find me and put a leaf in my mouth.

According to our Indian mythology and spirituality, this particular leaf — the tulsi leaf — means devotion. It is said that at times people have actually been pronounced dead by the doctors. Then the village ladies have brought the tulsi plant. They have put a little water in a leaf and then placed it in the mouth of the dead person, and the person has revived and opened his eyes.

Anyway, it became Mridu-di's bounden duty to put this tulsi leaf into my mouth without fail every day with the hope that I would increase my devotion to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

Sometimes I would be in a rush and I did not want to have devotion. Then Mridu-di would scream and scream in the street until I stopped. She would never place the leaf in my hand. Even though she was so short and I am quite tall by Indian standards, she always had to put the leaf in my mouth herself.

Every day she used to trap me, only to give me one leaf. So if I have an iota of devotion today, it is because of Mridu-di.