Pitcher of Bliss

by Br. Shankara

She lived for years in a room so small
she could barely stand, fish in a pot
that hung above splashing water on her
as she slept. No space there for a cot—
the floor she sometimes shared with other 
women was of stone. In spite of this,
she said to her companions, “My heart
overflows with a pitcher of bliss.”

Years later, she’d agree life was hard
then—”Yes, my legs still ache from sleeping
on that damp and chilly floor.” And yet,
what she remembered best was peeping
through a broken screen to sometimes get
a glimpse of her beloved Gadai. “This,”
she’d say to disciples, “this alone
could fill my heart with a pitcher of bliss.”

When she would return from time to time
to the little town where she was born
in West Bengal, the devotees would
follow her from the city. Though torn
by a wish to be alone, she could
not turn them away. “They came for this,”
she’d say, pointing to her heart. We knew
she meant her love, that pitcher of bliss.

A famous writer of Calcutta—
that drunkard Ghosh who became a saint—
once visited her village home, where
she did not wear a veil. “O, this can’t
be so!” he cried. “That face, your sweet bare
face I’ve known from boyhood, when in this
form you came and pulled me back from death.”
Laughter poured from her pitcher of bliss.

“What kind of mother are you?” Girish
asked. “Your real Mother, my child,” she said,
“not just the wife of your guru, not
a foster mother, not a vague sort
of mother, your real Mother.” He sat
for a moment in silence. “Can this
be true?” Girish asked at last, and wept
the tears that filled his pitcher of bliss

Image of a hibiscus.

Br. Shankara is the resident minister of the Vedanta Society of Atlanta.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email