As I placed my feet on the enchanted misty island, all my memories came flushing in. The moon was at its cusp, emanating its soothing beams all over. The flowers of Kadamba were at its prime youth and the scent of parijat could not be neglected. The subtle scent of the musk signified her omnipresence. The shrine of the Griha was visible clearly amidst the trees. The water burbled its way into the adjacent gorge where I found a rock suitable to do what I was supposed to.
I sat on it and with folded hands, asked,” Oh the syllable of Maya Beej, I call upon thee. Please manifest and aid me to fulfill my endeavors.”
The ground shook, the birds departed from the adjacent trees in large flocks till no one was left to pry on. From thin air, a form manifested, first transparent, only the peripheral shape could be perceived. Then gradually it became translucent like the reflection in a waterfall and then completely opaque. Fully adorned with beauty as she and was accompanied by one more who was beyond description.
“Hrilekha and Ananga Kusuma are at your aid. Why did you summon us, dear?” She said with her enchanting smile.
“Devis, you serve Mahadavi on a daily basis and are also her most confidential associates. Without your aid, no one can get close to her, no one can experience her grandeur within oneself. So I need your help to do something that would please her today.”
They both looked at each other, grinning, and then looking at me, nodded their heads in acceptance.
“Tell us what you want us to do and we will oblige accordingly.” Said Ananga Kusuma.
“Devis, before invoking Mahadevi, I want to prepare for her majestic Abhishekam. As you know all about how to do it, I request you both to make arrangements for it accordingly.”
They both chuckled and said,” Don’t worry child, leave everything to us. You just prepare for her invocation.”
“As you command, Devis,” I replied, hands folded in gratitude.
As I sat on the rock, they summoned 16 more associates of her and started the preparations. Each Devi, holding a specific offering for the abhishekham. From scented waters to incense, from milk to honey to rose water to perfumes, everything was ready within moments. Such was their skill and efficiency that I saw everything, gaping at them.
“Everything is ready, dear. Please take a look. If you want to add something more, we will do it in no time” said Hrilekha.
I said, smiling, overwhelmed by their service,” Devi, you all are the different skills and aspects, personified, needed to know life and enjoy it fully. I don’t have the audacity to supervise any work that you all do, for you all are no one but expansions of Her. ” They all looked at each other, mailing and then looked at me.
“then shall we summon her?” asked Hrilekha.
Her throne was prepared and placed under the shade of the Kadamba tree and her bath was fixed on the lake adjacent to the waterfall. We all stood together in front of the throne and called her.
“Oh, mother! You are the one who provides refuge to anyone who seeks your shelter. Without You, even Hari is incapable of nurturance and sustenance of the three worlds. Oh, mother, I am an ignorant fool who doesn’t know anything except weeping for you. Oh Mahadevi, grace me with your presence so that I can have the delusion of serving you as you are the one who is serving yourself by manifesting in me as Gyaan shakti, Chitta Shakti and Kriya Shakti.”
The scent of Kasturi filled the atmosphere, the sound of her anklets could be distinctly heard. Her giggles and chuckles were omnipresent, hence, it was difficult to comprehend where it came from. Hrilekha stared at Ananga Kusuma and then said to me, “She has arrived.”
The surroundings were covered with mist and like a breeze, she placed her hand on my shoulder. As I turned back, there she was in her full majestic beauty and grandiosity. I fell on her feet. She took me up and hugged me.
“After such a long duration, such a long one, I could have the joy of holding you in my arms.” Said she, feeling overwhelmed.
“The feeling is mutual Maa” and she hugged me again.
I swept the tears from her cheeks and said,” I have got a surprise for you, Mahadevi. I hope you like it. Although nothing is out of your reach but still.”
She placed her palm on my cheek and said,” Don’t worry dear. I have willfully restricted myself to this present form. any work done by my expansions is out of my awareness for now. So, we can both enjoy ourselves at different levels of experience.”
I grinned and took her to the adjacent lake for her Abhishekham. The companions changed her to bathing robes and she was majestically placed onto the bathing altar. I nodded at them signaling the start of the abhishekham. The pots filled with different offerings approached with each Devi carrying one specific offering. Hrilekha and Ananga Kusuma took their positions at each side of Mahadevi. They handed me the first pot of offering. As I was about to pour it on her, she stopped me.
” What happened Mahadevi? Is there a fault or something? Command and I will fix it.”
“Yes, there is a slight modification that needs to be made here.” She replied, serious.
“Command Mahadevi,” I replied.
” The problem is that I am missing my daughter for a long time. She is so busy with her work as her father that she has no time to spent with her mother. Can you please call her? I want to do my abhishekham by her hands.”
“As you wish Mahadevi” I replied, smilingly.
She looked at me, slightly smirking. I took the pot and said,” Now can I? Maa”
“Yes, now you can, daughter.”
One by one the offerings were given. First with water and then milk, curd, ghee, honey, sugar, and again she was bathed with scented water. While I bathed her with the offerings, Hrilekha nad Ananga Kusuma massaged her body in the due process of Abhishekham. As the Abhishekham was completed, Devi Swadha brought her clothes and Devi Pushti, her ornaments.
One by one she was adorned with majestic clothes and ornaments. From bangles to toenails, maangtikas to mekhela, everything was put on her by us.
“Comb,” I asked Ananga Kusuma while she was perfuming Sridevi’s hair with incense vapors.
“Here it is,” said Devi Dhriti, passing it to me.
“Do you remember this comb, Maa?”
Overwhelmed, she replied,” How can I forget this comb, dear. It is the comb by which your father used to comb my hair every now and then. but now he is in Yognidra and I have no option but to wait.”
I held her chin and said,” Maa, don’t worry. Hari is not here so what, I am here. I will comb your hair the same way as he did it. And moreover, the day of his awakening draws near.”
“That I am certainly sure of.” She smiled.
As I combed her hair, she asked me,” Daughter, can I ask you something?”
“It’s your right, Maa. Please.”
“How long will you delude them into believing something which is something different altogether? Don’t they have the right to know?”
I smiled and replied, sarcastically,” Look who is speaking about delusion. The one who keeps every living being in delusion through her Maya, in bhranti, is asking me to remove the delusion concerning me.”
She replied,” That is required. For those who stay on the path of dharma, my delusion keeps them empowered and joyful because to stay happy, sometimes it is necessary that you don’t enlighten yourself with certain things. Otherwise, the same knowledge can be the cause of your misery. As they become capable and are ready to grasp the truth, I slowly enlighten them with the Brahma Gyan. But those who share the arrogance of their intellect, I break their delusion suddenly before they are capable to comprehend it which, in turn, makes their life barren and miserable. But is this the case with yours too?”
I finished combing her hair and took the festoon of parijat to place it on her hair. As I was placing it, I said,” Do you know Maa, how many delusions do they have regarding you. Forget about you, the Hari that they are worshipping for lifetimes, they still can’t know him. They are looking for you all everywhere except the place where you are. The blind spot, I suppose. Despite so many stories that describe you and him, they still are confused. They know everything about you all except, you all. In spite of being your daughter, I discover a new facet of you all, every time I have an interaction. If they can’t know you, how can I even expect that they can know me? It is best that I am not known. It will complicate things even more.”
I finished placing the festoon and asked for the Chunari to place it on her. Hrilekha provided me with it and as I placed it on her,I said smiling,” If Hari would have been here, he would have been completely dumbstruck looking at you.”
She pressed my cheeks with her hand and replied,” Why not? When the shringar has been done by his image itself, how can he not be amazed?”
I made her stand and made her look at her reflection in the lake and said,” You are ready, Maa. Your devotees are eagerly waiting for you to grace themselves with your presence. They are indeed very fortunate that they can have the satisfaction of worshipping you as their mother. Always keep your benedictions hand on their head. They need it.”
I took her and made her sat on the throne and then worshipped her with flowers, incense, and lamps. The companion devis played different string instruments, some blew conch shells while others played mridanga. Hrilekha and Ananga Kusuma fanned her while Devi Jwala did aarti. As the aarti completed, she said,” I am very pleased with you dear. Ask for a boon, any boon and I will give it to you. I am not saying this to you as my daughter but as my devotee.”
I sat on her feet and said,” Mahadevi, I am very lucky, or should I state, more than lucky that you are pleased with me. When you are already pleased, why do I need a boon? When your presence itself is not less than any boon. And as a devotee, everything I do is to please you, not in pursuit of getting any boon. I already got my boon, you are pleased.”
“But still you need to ask something, anything?” She said, a little uncomfortable.
I hold her hand and placed it on my head and said,” Mahadevi, I am very ignorant. Most of the time I don’t know what I do. How can you expect from me that I know what is right for me better than you do? If you are so determined to offer me a benediction, give me something that you see fit for me and I shall accept it with gratitude.”
“Playing with words and pleasing others is something that you have perfectly inherited from your father but there is no deceit in it, so I am more than pleased. You have really exhibited the gem of surrender that very few beings can exhibit. When a devotee surrenders to their Ishta completely, they don’t have to think for themselves. Anything they want to do, their Ishta personally sees to it that the work is fulfilled. You were disappointed that everyone has delusions concerning us. They know everything about us but don’t know us. Well, from now on, the scenario will change. Whosoever, that will come across you in any way, will get to experience us. Any work you do will have a fragrance regarding us that they can’t neglect. Whenever you will talk or write about us or simply even talk to someone, they can’t let go of the experience that happens to you when you are with us. Through your conduct, they will experience many facets of us that are not even revealed to anyone. And the biggest treasure of all, those who stay with you for a significant amount of time cannot escape the seed of causeless devotion sown into their hearts.”
“Mahadevi, the gift that you have bestowed upon me is huge and the responsibility that comes with it is unfathomable. I am not sure that I am eligible for it.”
She smilingly replied,” Who was just saying that her mother knows better than her?”
I replied, smiling,” As you wish, Mahadevi.”
” Now you should depart. Your devotees are waiting eagerly for you. I hate to make them wait for me.”
She said,” It is my choice, not yours. But before I depart, I want you to make me a promise.”
“What Mahadevi? Command.”
“You will be present with us when he wakes up from his Yog Nidra. Promise me, daughter.”
I held her hand and said,” As you wish, Maa”