Farewell to Mata Ji
Amidst the familiar and much-loved surroundings of Sawan Ashram – earthly home of all the Master’s children – the Master’s wife, affectionately known as Mata Ji, took leave of the worldly scene and returned to her Spiritual Abode on 3rd April, 1970.
Her frail form had suffered from the dread disease of cancer for about four years. On this subject, the Master afterwards remarked,
Many people who have experienced this sickness have suffered greatly and have screamed aloud with the agonies of pain that it causes, but with the Grace of God, through having direct contact with Him within, Mata Ji was spared the pinching effects of the burden.
Those who daily met and talked with her would enjoy a cheerful conversation accompanied by smiles. She was able to gently move about the Ashram at her pleasure, content in the knowledge of being in the care and protection of the Master, with her daily needs fulfilled under the direction and personal attention of Bibi Hardevi Ji, who administered constant selfless service with loving care and consideration.
For the last four or five months, Mata Ji was forced to spend more time resting in bed, although she was still able to slowly make her way into the Master’s quarters which annexed her own, and mingle among the friendly faces of the Satsangis. Eventually she was unable to get around any more, and while the Master was on tour in the latter part of March, her condition worsened. On 30th March the Master asked her if she was ready to leave and she replied,
Yes, in three clays.
The Master thought for a moment and then said,
Well, three days, that means 2nd April – I will be very busy that day (due to the occasion of special remembrance of Baba Sawan Singh Ji – the 3rd would be better, in the early afternoon, say 1:30 p.m. – I will be more free then.
On the night of 2nd April the Master became very ill physically, and on the 3rd the already programmed initiation was cancelled, although some five or six hundred people had requested initiation and many had travelled from far distances. Great disappointment was felt in the hearts of the hopeful ones.
At about 1 p.m. Bibi Hardevi Ji, who throughout the difficult period of Mata Ji’s illness had constantly served at the bedside, noticed that her condition was very serious. Someone suggested that the Master be called to the room, but Bibi Ji pointed out that the Master was in deep meditation and could not be disturbed. Ignoring this, the person approached the Master and on returning to his physical form the Master asked,
What is it?
When told about Mata Ji’s condition the Master said,
I know it.
On further request the Master went to Mata Ji and looking down at her very kindly, asked,
Are you prepared?
She looked up and said,
The Master said,
Are you sure your heart is absolutely clear – with no hatred for anyone?
Yes, I have nothing against anyone in my heart.
The Master said,
Then why are you not smiling?
With this, the thin shrunken face, blue with suffering, began to glow with joy. The blueness went, and the countenance became clear and serene. Ripples of laughter came forth and she looked radiant with happiness. Taking hold of the Master’s hand she said,
Forgive me, if I have ever done anything to offend You.
The Master smiled. She said,
Both forms are here – I am seeing You outside and inside.
The Master said,
All right, now close your eyes and relax,
and with these words He returned to His room. Within ten or fifteen minutes, Mata Ji had left.
Those who were present at the time and witnessed the amazingly joyful and peaceful happening, spread the news to others. As the people learned of this wonderful example of the soul’s final departure from the human form, sadness and solemnity turned into rejoicing. They brought musical instruments and began to sing hymns of praise to the Lord. The Master disapproved of the singing, but they could not contain the wonder and exuberance in their hearts and wished to express the joy of the occasion in music, as is the custom on happy events.
All ceremonies were performed according to Sikh rites, the Master being firm in advocating that one should live one’s worldly part of life within one’s religion and customs – the Holy Science of the Light and Sound Principle being the Spirtual Part. As with the Hindus, the Sikh customs uphold cremation on the funeral pyre, and so Mata Ji’s body was lovingly placed to rest, attended by the hands of those near and dear – by both her physical and spiritual relations.
Normally, on the second day after a funeral, the remaining bones are gathered with the ashes, and are thrown into a holy river, according to custom. As the Master’s program included a visit to Rishikesh to attend a meeting there on 5th April, the flowers as they are called, were carried in the Master’s car to that well-known religious place beside the waters of the Ganges. There is a certain location on this holy river where the bones of the bodies of religious people and renunciates are immersed. On approaching that place, the priests there protested that as the person was a householder, the ceremony could not be performed there, but further downstream.
Among those accompanying the Master was Maharishi Raghuvacharya Ji, a renowned and respected yogi, well-known in the area, who is yet continuing life though more than one hundred years old. He stepped forward with surprise and asked,
How can the wife of such a Great Saint be named merely a householder?
Thus reminded, the matter was resolved, and as the custom demands, the bones were then placed in a container and weighted with a large stone. This was then taken to midstream and cast into the river. For some time, instead of sinking they floated on the surface, and then gradually they gently sank out of sight.
Raghuvacharya Ji remarked,
As you all know, the bones of very few people float like flowers on the water like this – those people are called the Great Souls.
All who were present bowed their heads in silent respect.
On the tenth day, the function was completed at Sawan Ashram by a special ceremony of reading the Guru Granth Sahib from beginning to end without ceasing, which takes forty-eight hours. The relatives and some Satsangis were present. Satsang was held on the morning of 12th April and again as the reading finished at 3:30 p.m. Both the Master’s talks were on the theme of life and life hereafter.
That night, when the relatives were sitting in the Master’s house with sorrowful faces, the Master remarked quietly,
It seems that you have lost your mother and I have lost my worldly companion – but she is not dead – she is more alive than before.
Source: Sat Sandesh / May 1970