The Founder of Mai-ism and President of Mother’s Lodge ( Mai Mandal ), MAI SWARUP MAI MARKAND ( Rao Saheb M.R. Dholkia, L.C.F. ) began his devotion of Hindu Mother since his tender age of twelve. He began his sadhana साधना from the very first rung of the ladder, with shouting in solitude, ” Mother. Tell me, dost Thou exist or not ? ” at that young age in Petlad, his native place in Gujerat, near Cambay.
He had proof of Mother’s existence by being saved from the attack of two robbers on his way home from that place of solitude to that of his home, one night, through the intervention of a tall, fearful woman. She walked over between the boy and the two robbers for a few furlongs till the boy was safe near the outskirts of his village. Most wonderfully, the same terrible black woman disappeared in the air immediately after the boy’s safety.
The incident did not go beyond creating a suspicion and a wonder, but at least the idea of the possibility of the existence of God, deities, angels, spirits, other worlds etc., took its roots. It took three years of strong devotion of Jagadamba जगदम्बा Kali काली and Chamuda चामुण्डा one after another to make the boy ripened enough to have a doubtful belief about the existence through the second incident mentioned below.
The boy in a busy crowd in Ahmadabad अहमदाबाद was shoutingly warned by a dog-cart driving European pair, to set aside. The boy failing, the European took off his long whip determined to beat the boy out. The merciless man, however, lost the grip of the whip, the whip encircled the foot of the horse and the dog-cart fell to the ground. The boy terribly afraid ran away from the crowd and tremblingly concealed himself in Bhadra Kali भद्रकाली temple corner, the nearest safe place.
With his whole frame shattered, the boy had the very night, a dream in which the whole scene of accident repeated itself and ended with the daily repeated question, ” Mother, does Thou exist or not ?” The Mother ( The Bhadra Kali Image ), in the dream, answered,” I DO NOT EXIST “. The boy asked,” Who is then speaking ? ” Mother then smilingly asked,” Whom then are you asking this question tiring me and yourself for the last over the three years. ? “
The boy got confidence about the existence of God at the age of 15. He began to believe it was the intervention of Kali that had saved him from robbers. The boy was busy trying to secure God’s grace and recognition as devotee through devotion to any of the usually worshipped Hindu deities, viz., Rama, Shiva, Krishna and others. He was however, as it were, passed on by one deity to another without retention till, he concluded MATAJI alone would accept him.
The conception of Hindu Devi or Mataji is that of sternness, terror and destructivity though united with benignity and mercifulness and everything-asked-givingness and all-desire-fulfillingness. Mataji is restricted to Hindus alone and She is personification of Power. Mai or Maijee is Universal and a Personification of Mother, God himself as Mother and not God’s Power. Mataji is mostly a Goddess of fear and power, where as Maiji is the Goddess of parental love and permanent welfare. Except the common element of the feminine-sex, the conceptions of Mataji and Maiji are entirely different and dissimilar, if not contradictory.
The mention of this distinction becomes indispensable here as otherwise it would not be realised how much terror-stricken the boy was at the idea that the none of the Sattvik deities as Shiva, Rama or Krishna had accepted him and that on the other hand he was so much favoured and cared for by Matajee, the most prominent feature of whole traditional mythology was the destruction of demons and terrible fighting in the battle-fields. The boy had none of the requirements of a fearful sadhana.
The boy, then eighteen, was shuddering at the idea of being a devotee of a terrible deity. Said he,” Let me cast the gambler’s throw. I will perform a hundred repetitions of Saptashati. If Mataji accepts me as Her son with no displeasure, no freaks, no terrible wrathfulness and no vengeance for consciously or unconsciously done offences, I become Hers. Otherwise, I live my life as an atheist or an agnostic, with all goodness, morality, broad-mindedness, fellow-feeling etc. “
At eighteen he began the experiment. On thirty repetitions, he had a telegram, at Poona (Pune), where he was studying in the Engineering College, from his maternal uncle who was the Revenue Collector of the Baroda State of Mehesena मेहेसाणा near Ahmedabad. It was about his mother’s illness and asking him to start immediately. On the way railway station, where his uncle had come to receive him, the former received the telegram from the Baroda Government to immediately proceed to Bahucharaji Mataji बहुचराजी माताजी ( the second most popular Goddess worshipped in Gujerat) as the Revenue Collector of the district and to do certain arrangements. The young lad was taken directly to the place, as his mother become fairly all right, as soon as he has started from Poona (Pune) by Mother’s Grace. The illness was a pretext utilised by Mother to force him to come down as he had determined not to leave Poona (Pune), although all students had left in their vacation. He had refused going home, as he was determined to finish the experiment at the same place, without any break or interruption. There, in the temple, the boy was given an assurance by Matajee in a dream that She would be to him purely and unadulteratedly a loving and living mother. He returned to Poona full of hair-erect bristling joys.
Since that day, supernatural and occult powers of prediction and blessing which were inherent in him from the very childhood became more effective, intense and acute. He could bring two persons at daggers drawn going to a criminal court for cross suits to be friends in a two hours talk. Once he wanted 63 rupees ( his Money Order, not arriving at proper time from parents before the last date of college fee payments ). He prayed at 9 p.m. and at 11 p.m. he had a heap of about Rs. 800 because the Bengali and Gujarati quarters took a fright at 10 p.m. (there were some robbers preparing to loot the quarters from behind,seen gathered on desolate railway lines). Though a big cipher in drawing ( the most essential subject in Engineering ), his drawing to be finally examined with marks-giving at the annual University examination would be prepared by the best students with the full permission and cognition of the very supervisors and even the principal. Once Mataji dictated to him the whole of the chemistry paper the previous night.
He was a voracious reader but he was more of a mathematician, a poet, a thinker, a philosopher and a songster than an engineer by his very birth. What did he care after he had Mother’s protection? His repeated failures in spite of his hardest work trained him to realise nothingness of himself and life and left no drop of cheerfulness about life with all its varied pleasures. He ceased to be a responsible actor of the world and became a superficial spectator of his own life, allowing it to be drifted as Mother desired according to his past Karmas, with nothing as the goal of life, at such a tender age, – usually full of follies and passions, spirits and storms.
At twenty-two, he had the most calamitous , and yet the final hardest hammer under which he would have succumbed, but for Mother’s Grace. He happened to read Yoga-Vasistha योग वसिष्ठ and Vedantism वेदान्त, the terrible teaching of ” AHAM BRAHMA ASMI ‘ अहं ब्रह्मास्मी and his head turned. His intellect got clouded with controversy of the new teaching. He thought he was all along under a delusion and pitiable victim of a huge cheat by Mataji, the Maya deity. He threw away his deity picture, scriptural Saptshati सप्तशती, wooden seat, worshipping materials and vessels in the river Mula-Mutha Sangam मुळामुठा संगम behind his living place. He changed his course from devotion to Divine Knowledge. He began repeating “AHAM BRAHMA ASMI ” day and night and interviewed so many religious teachers on the subject.
Some decades ago divine Knowledge and Devotion were at daggers drawn. It is now,things have now changed and religious teachers have accepted the policy of harmonising both. The Advaitists have seen that unless they equally appreciate and preach devotion, their popularity and maintenance of Ashrams would be an impossibility. That deprecating manner of saying,” Devotion is only just a stepping stone, which has now disappeared, was it then at its shouting pitch. It is now only very recently that Sanyasees and Yogis and Karma Margis all have gradually pitched their tents in the open airy yellow lawn of devotion. That preaching of one-ness of Atma and Paramatma, that idea of inferiority of devotion and deities, that sophistry about the fruitlessness or unreality or the delusion of the Universe and all allied teachings, so very forceful than, were more than overpowering for the young boy of twenty-two who had seen nothing of the world in its true natural colours.
The young boy had never had to pass through a more terrible time. He experienced that, as a result of his faithless desertion of Mother, the whole world has changed to be worse for him. Even his best friends and relations disliked, displeased and deserted him; no miraculous powers, no happy meditations, no devotional effusions, no good-lucks. His morality, goodness, character, religiosity all stood before him threatening him with leaving him a as a corpse. The contrast of his faculties before and after, all led him to the highest desperation. One day, in Petlad, he tore of his garments and sacred thread, threw of his shirt and dhoti and cap in the street and ran away from the house as one determined to mend or end his life, to be Sanyasin or or to commit suicide. What might have been the climax of his sorrow , disappointment and disgust of life and world, at twenty-two, can be better imagined than described. He was however caught by his most revered father who ran after him with all the force he can command in the street, weeping and shouting out on losing his son and by his mother, weeping and madly running after his father. He was brought home and confined in a room for a week and greatly smoothened and solaced by his parents. After a promise not to be a Sannyasin, he was permitted to return to Poona for studies. His mother with tears in her eyes said ,” You have never been telling a lie. You never break your promise. If you are determined to be a Sannyasin, first stab me and then go. If you wish I may live, promise me, you will never leave home.” This promise did not leave him undisturbed whenever he got the idea of taking Sanyasa.
One idea alone, about his greatest ungratefulness to the Mother who had been protecting him all along, and without whose protection what the world would be to him, he had experienced and realised, that one mania seized him. This one idea acted like the most violent attack of an unbearable shock. He decided to drown in the very same river unless Mother reaccepted him. In the midst of the excruciating pains he got an imaginary idea like lightening in the darkest cloudy night. “Will not Mother save me ? Will She not tell me She has re-accepted me ?” All this was a matter of few hours, before determination and preparation for action. He went to commit suicide in the river. He ran in towards the river water depth with a speed which had never before used. Just then, he was caught in the sweetest trans-heavenly Embrace of Mother – The Visible, The infatuatingly Beautiful Mother. She admonished him strongly never to be so reckless and senseless in future and assured him he was never disowned by Her, although his head had turned. Not only that,but She told him, She was carrying him through certain experiences which were indispensable. Mother knew his fickle mindedness and did the preventive needful. Retracing to his room, he expressed to himself, though most stealthily, wishing none to know it, not even his own mind to hear him, his inmost suspicion which proved his greatest ungratefulness even after Mother had been merciful enough by saving him from committing suicide. He asked himself,” What did I see ? What did I hear ? Is this not all a mental derangement ? Is this all not a false vision because of a mental despair ?” Mother had anticipated this and had kept the answer ready to convince him of Her Embrace and Her Word and Her Promise.
Most surprisingly, on opening the room he saw the very same deity picture, the very same scriptural book of Saptashati, the very same wooden-seat, the very same worshipping articles at the very same place as they were and where they were before, the very same things which he had thrown away in the river with contempt about six weeks before.
From this moments onwards, he linked himself with and riveted himself to Mother. His conception then was a Hinduistic one, viz., that of power, although with the additional personally secured concessional advantage of Mother’s protection to him as Her son. That was however just as a lioness has her love to her cub though not with a devouring ferocity. “Mother” was however to him an honorific name for a feminine sex deity with no conception of a mother-and-child relationship for one and all.
The period from this event in 1907 up to 1932 was that of a common man’s living with a gradual progressive development in religiosity. Hindu Mataji (Power) was gradually transforming Herself with him to be the Universal Mother Mai. Universalization of one’s ideal is not merely a matter of tongue-twist. Universality means a complete absence of the idea of one man being different from another exactly similar man on the mere ground of such two man’s belonging to two different religions. Universality to be effective must be the supreme quality of one’s whole vision and entire intellectual outlook with a belief and a conviction about it’s highest value. Universality should not be outcome of a policy, a temporary acceptance , or a delusion creativeness, for some specific object in a view. It should be an impossibility to assume a different colour after some attainment or after a lapse of some long time.
The difference, the superiority and inferiority complexes, prejudices and prepossessions, likes and dislikes, as a result of different persons following different religions, require to be uprooted, wiped out and forgotten as if they were never in existence. The Founder brought about a reconciliation between Hindus and Muslims over a mosque question at Nasik in a few hours, which was a standing cause of unrest for 12 to 15 years. That was possible only because the Founder was Universal-minded, in every moment of his living, after 1932 and because he was a Mai-ist, the Founder and follower of a religion which has Universal-mindedness as its main-most commandment.
The subtle difference is to be noted here. It is not that some few Hindus or Muslims are not there that are universal-minded, but the presumption holding sway in the minds of both the communities in terms of millions of hearts is that Hindu is a Hindu and a Muslim is a Muslim, during butchering riots. When the knife is raised is to be plunged, it is not possible for one to know or to inform that he is not an enemy, at the moment of life and death. Mai-ism emphasises the need of a solid working through organisations during peace periods.
There the whole difference comes in. To be the known follower of a religion ( or even a society ) which makes no distinction of that nature, on the one hand, and on the other, to be an exception to the usual beliefs about a religion or a society by the co-religionists or members are poles asunder. That you are above such animosities must have been a proved fact known to the world at large, much before an incident.
That supreme stage of Universal outlook, once attained, along with other sterling virtues, carries with it, its own wonderful silent supernatural power over the hearts of average men. The man appealing to brotherhood must have actually lived in that spirit and with that belief as the maxim of his life. Reconciliation between two antagonistic forces become possible only when a much superior force makes each of them to be reminded of its comparative nothingness.
The spiritual force of a Religious Universal-minded man is of a much stronger powerful-ness than that of the Life force or the Will-force or Soul-force. It derives its strength from the divinity itself.
During the college sub-period ( from 1908 to 1912 ) there were many convincing proofs of Mataji’s Grace.
During his second-year examination, one day he was in devotional mood, which made him entirely uncomposed to be able to attend the examination hall, in Bombay [Mumbai] at the appointed hour. When he could compose himself in his home, the examination hour had passed. He washed his face dressed himself in his home and took a tram. In hot haste, his T-square which was shoved in the drawing board the wrong way, fell off on the ground. Some Seth picked it up and ran in a victoria after the tram and caught it at the next halt. The boy was overwhelmed with gratefulness. The Seth said,” Mataji, bless me with a son “. Said the Founder,” Mother Grace shower Welfare “. The devotee ran to the hall and found that he was 40 minutes late. Soon after him came the Registrar with the question paper packets. He was admitted to the hall. The printing machinery unprecedentedly had gone wrong to give the boy sufficient time to recover his normal plane.
The second instance was in respect of the special train carrying the students on a geographical tour in the final year. The students had encamped in Agra and were awaiting the arrival of a special train expected to arrive within an hour or so. The boy got a flying news that Mathura was near. Said he ,” I must go for Darshan of my beloved Lord Krishna.” The train time that day to Mathura had passed away. Like a mad man he said,” I will go to the station.”Two friend accompanied him. First station, the station staff laughed at their ignorance of the scheduled timings. Second station people called them mad. Third station , the engine was lying “sick”. On purchase of tickets and hurried sitting in a coal wagon, the engine came to order and whistled. The despondency that has arisen on the booking-clerk advising not to purchase tickets as the engine had gone useless, turned to a cheerfulness with joyful hurrah. However the cause of standing suspense and anxiety, did not altogether cease. They would be detected on the arrival of a special train as absconders and be even punished. They had not enough money to return Bombay [ Mumbai ] from Agra with fresh tickets. From 4 P.M. to 9 P.M. of the next day, the special train could not be ready in spite of the repeated telegrams by the influential professor-in-charge of the tourists, till they returned. The in-charge was hot with the boy for having bolted away but his popularity came to his aid.
His reputation as a devotee of Mataji had become widespread and established. In the direction of Divine Knowledge, he took a very active part in all religious matters. He was in close touch with Theosophy both in Ahmadabad and Poona and wrote several thought-provoking and instructive articles in “Meher Message मेहेर मेसेज ” such as ” Ignorant Adverse Criticism”, ” Misfortunes of the modern mumukshus मुमुक्षु “, ” Facts for the fatigued “, “Divine Love”, “Happiness ” etc. and ” God and God attainment Remedies ” in “Kalyan” कल्याण of Gorakhpur गोरखपुर and “Dharma Darshan” धर्मदर्शन in Sharada Peetha शारदा पीठ etc.
He had several occasions to have a personal eye-to-eye vision of the Divine Mother, in waking state, oftentimes in the most painful mood and moments. One of them may be narrated as a specimen.
His service as a municipal engineer in Surat were to be discharged as a result of a new fad of Government to lend engineers along with the Municipal Commissioners. He resigned before a notice be served.He was anxious that he had an appointment somewhere, before his leaving; but nothing would come forth in reply to his applications . It was Navaratra 9th day. Brahmins were on the wooden seats for dinner after all the ceremony. He sent word to his wife and relations that he could not join the brahmins. “Serve them with all heart and liberality,” He told Mother,” What more do you want ? Should I break my head at Thy feet ? “. Just then the door was knocked. A telegram of appointment was there. The whole scene was changed. He ran up to weep out his gratitude to Mother. And what did he see and hear ? “Will you not at least now come with me down for the dinner ?” The form and the sound both disappeared in less than a second, leaving him again lost in labyrinth, Divine meditation and ecstasy.
The year 1932 was a turning point in his religious life. The period 1912 to 1932 was that of preparation with lots of troubles and sufferings to be fitted up religiously and spiritually for the work he was to be charged with. His belief till then consisted of increasing proportions of “Mother-element” in the Power Mother-basic mixture from time to time. It was reaching the culmination point of the full Mother-hood of God to which Universality became automatically a corollary. Said he to himself,” If your God is Father or Mother of the whole Universe and if whosoever resides and is worshipped in Hindu temples is not a mere Hindu God , but a Universal God of one and all, there can be absolutely no justification for ” entry-refusal ” to any one ( Harijans or Mohammedans etc.) What Hindus alone can worship can only be a Hindu God and not a Universal God.