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Gauri Ma
A Monastic Disciple of Sri Ramakrishna

MEETING AT DAKSHINESWAR

THE SUN WAS RISING on the eastern horizon. Soft, golden rays spread everywhere. A pure and solemn atmosphere pervaded Kali Bari. the temple garden dedicated to Kali. Balaram and his party entered Sri Ramakrishna's room. He was seated on a wooden platform winding a thread around a piece of wood, all the while singing softly to himself:

Oh, Mother Shyama! When you were
in the form of Krishna, filled with
motherly love, Mother Yashoda used to play with you. Mother Shyama,
with your terrifying appearance,
where have you hidden that sweet form?

Sri Ramakrishna finished winding the string just as the group entered the room. At the same moment, Gauri Ma felt the turbulent unrest of the day before completely disappear, just as if someone had waved a magic wand. In its place, her heart was filled with a divine joy and peace. That indescribable mystical experience of the previous day, when she had felt that someone was pulling her with a string, came to an end.

Each person in Balaram's party made pranams to Sri Ramakrishna, bending down to touch his feet in respect. As Gauri Ma bent down to make the customary pranams, suddenly she saw again those luminous feet! These were the very lotus feet she had seen on the throne of Damodar, her Ishta.

A shiver went through Gauri Ma's entire body. Surprised, joyful, but not a little perplexed, she gazed at Sri Ramakrishna. He was smiling to himself.

What is the meaning of all this? she wondered. Who is he? Where have I seen him before? Uncertain, anxious, and bewildered, Gauri Ma took her seat at the back, behind everyone else.

Pointing to her, Sri Ramakrishna asked, "Balaram, who is she?"

"My sister."

Frowning a little, Sri Ramakrishna persisted, "Is she your real sister?"

Balaram hesitated a little but said, "Yes, Maharaj."

Then Sri Ramakrishna shook his head. "You mean to say, she is a Kaistha? Oh, no! Absolutely not."

Balaram Babu laughed sheepishly. "What you say is correct. She is a Brahmin girl, the youngest sister of a close friend of mine. She regards my father as her father."

Sri Ramakrishna smiled and nodded his head. "Then say that. She belongs here. I have known her for a very long time."

There was no end to Balaram's surprise. He had never said a word about Gauri Ma to Sri Ramakrishna. Only after much effort and struggle had he been able to bring her to Dakshineswar that day. That Sri Ramakrishna knew Gauri even though he had never mentioned her, to Balaram was a matter of great astonishment. Looking at the ladies and neighbor who had accompanied him. Balaram laughingly said. "Did you see that? We all came together, but Didi was the only one who passed."

Everyone, including Sri Ramakrishna. laughed at Balaram's remark. As they took leave, Sri Ramakrishna turned to Gauri Ma. "Come again, my child."

At that time, Gauri Ma was twenty-five years old.