Swami Muktanand Giri (Didi Ma)
Sri Ma's Mother
One hundred years ago, on a holy Sunday of the month of Baisakh (1877 A.D.) Swamiji was born in a flourishing village called Sultanpur in Tripura district of the then Bengal. Her parents were well established respected members of the society.
Father Mr. Ramakanta Bhattacharya and her mother Mrs. Harasundari Devi were very popular, and the year round religious festivities were gone through with such devotion as cannot be imagined today. The family was also traditionally a teacher's one and students from far and near used to study at the school run by them. Girijee's third brother Mr. Sarada Charan Bhattacharya got the title of Vidyasagar ( Ocean of learning).
Girijee was the eighth child of her parents. Her family name was Mokshadasundari. Who could think at that time this girl would one day be the proud mother of Shri Shri Ma Anandmayee, the incarnation of original power.
The Durga Puja held in this house was regarded not merely a family offering but as belonging to the entire area. Countless learned men, religious leaders , relatives with their family thronged the house on the occasion.Any guest was thoroughly looked after. Even passers by would bow their heads in acknowledgement of the virtues of this family.
Girijee was descendent in a line of religious preceptors. They had Shri Lakshmi Narayan as the presiding deity of the house, and the temple used to attract thousands of devotees. They used to administer the guiding Mantras to their disciples but unlike many other preceptors they never used this right to promote family interests. Ramakanta would arrange for the initiation of soul seeking it, in the true disposition of one who had been able rise above the pettiness of the mundane world.
Mokshadasundari's childhood was very interesting. Her pleasing features, impeccable manners and amiable disposition won the hearts of all. Father Ramakanta could not fulfil his desire to educate the daughter as he died before she was even ten years old. Within one and a half years, the mother Harasundari followed her husband, leaving Mokshada to the loving care of the eldest daughter –in-law.
In time, Mokshada was married to Mr. Bipin Behari Bhattacharya of Vidyakut village in Tripura district. Mokshada was around twelve then. Some of the local ladies pitied Mokshada, Some other offered help but Mokshada's sense of self respect would not accommodate any of these. She would politely refuse all such help. Despite the abject poverty she never lost her equanimity. The most respected Didi one day observed "Grandma was really untouched by difficulties never did I see her losing her temper".
The disposition gave Mokshada a clear insight, finding no fault with anybody. If anybody quoted uncharitable remarks about her, Mokshada would rationalize it by observing that the remarks were the result of hurt sentiments and therefore excusable. Similarly, high caste or low caste, poor or rich had equal treatment from her. This was natural of that great soul who sought salvation for the entire mankind. Her outlook had in a way revolutionized the thinking of people in millions of houses.
She was full of compassion for everybody. No seeker of alms was ever refused at her place. She would even give away the last morsel of food to the hungry, herself remaining without anything to eat. In childhood, in case this was noticed by Shri Shri Ma Mokshada would console her by saying that she had already eaten.
After renouncing the world, Girijee would often travel along with Shri Shri Ma. She
would experience the company of different people, some very rich, some very poor, but equally loved and honoured at all places. She would be seen explaining the difficult enunciations of scriptures to the devotees in lucid colloquial language, clearing their doubts most effectively.
Another vision , this time Giriji enters an enlightened world. She asks the divine being about the placement of her devotees. The divine being locates an area and says each one will be placed according to one's work. But Girijee extracts an assurance that none of these would ever fall from grace and the path of truth.
She is no more with us today but her spirit is still guiding us. It was our great fortune that she lived long 94 years before departing for the other world at the auspicious moment of the late night of August 8, 1970.
She was unmoved by pleasure and grief. She gave birth to eight children, but most of them did not live long. A daughter and three sons died in childhood and two other daughters died soon after marriage. She took the deaths calmly, displaying her firm faith in the kindness of God. But the same lady was full of compassion for any ailing person and would do everything possible for the succor of suffering souls. Now she is nursing the wound of a cat, now she is giving medicine to a beggar woman, Once she was seen secretly giving some fruits to a poor boy, Why this secrecy? Her answer was lest anybody took the poor boy to task.
"All these qualities have places Mokshada far above the complications of mundane interest. She did not have to strive for it, it came to her naturally.
Her other sterling quality was to forgive a manifestation of her great soul. Even the greatest pitfalls would be pardoned with extreme compassion, restoring many people to the path of truth and spiritual salvation.
It was 1938. The great sage Maha Mandaleswar Swami Shri Mangal Girijee was staying at that time at Kankhal. He was the head of Nirvani set up. There Giriji was initiated on 13th April and appeared in her role as Shree Shree Muktananda Girijee. Thus opened a new chapter in her life leading to the salvation of numerous people in the world.