…my mother would say to me sternly whenever I misbehaved, which admittedly was often. I was a curious child and did not believe in the maxim of children should be seen but not heard (a friend turned that around jokingly and said: children should be obscene but not heard, and I had a good laugh). And so I butted into adult conversations and asked outrageous questions, simply because I wanted to know what made this strange world tick. I also had the ‘bad’ habit of striking up conversations with anyone who took my fancy—total strangers, servants, the old, the young, the rich, the poor, beggars.
“You have no shame,” my puritanical and sheltered mother would scold again, and I grew so used to hearing her criticism that soon it no longer had an effect on me. I knew, you see, that I meant no harm but was merely trying to comprehend my world. Also, unlike many of my friends with progressive parents who had studied and lived abroad, my mother was a small-town girl who honestly believed we should remain securely within our birth matrix lest the wicked world ruin us. Though I found her constant attempts to shield us from the world extremely irritating, I also knew for sure that she was only trying to protect us in her pure and simple way.
Clearly my mother and I were like oil and water; nevertheless she loved and admired not just me, but all her kids. She had been married off at sixteen, against her will, and was literally forced to have a large family, which was then the norm for affluent segments of society. She and I definitely had our troubles, but today, as I deepen my own mystical journey into the Spiritual Heart via Ramana Maharshi’s Direct Path of Self-Investigation, I find myself utterly grateful to her for the system of values and ethics she passed on to me. When I asked her what she wanted as a birthday gift, she’d murmur that I’d make her very happy if was “a good girl.” I can’t tell you how mad I would get when she said that! Because, by no stretch of the imagination was I “good.” Yes, I lied (because both my parents were so strict with us that the only way we could explore the world was to deceive them so we could slip away from the house to partake of fresh adventures), stole money (they did not believe in giving their kids pocket-money, although most of my friends had liberal parents who kept up with the times) etcetera, but nevertheless her values still embedded themselves deep within me. If I borrowed a book or an article, for instance, she would insist that I return it in good shape and on time, and her heroes were the great men and women who had sacrificed personal gratification for others. She had no respect for the tinsel aspects of mundane life or for celebrities such as movie stars or the very rich, and strove to live a deep and prayerful life. So whoda thunk that this woman I rebelled against so strongly as a child and teenager would have so seriously impacted me as an adult?
This post is inspired because right now I am watching from the sidelines as a certain very wealthy family who has recently entered the political scene in America continues to abuse their position by taking as much from the over-taxed people as they can, while they can. I laughed softly to myself at the bizarre thought flashed that my mother (who has long since passed away) would consider them real low-lifes. You see, she had no time for those who lied, cheated and stole, no matter whether they were kings or paupers. You have no shame, she would have told this man and his family, and she wouldn’t have cared a damn whether they liked her or not because she was speaking her truth.
Greetings from Arunachala, Shiva the Destroyer in the form of a hill of fire and light, who whips us into shape so we can enter the blissful Spiritual Heart and bask in our true nature!