Imagine being semi-lettered, almost unlettered.
In deep poverty.
Imagine the Universe throwing boulders of trouble at you; on and on.
Yet, your life reflects a deep faith and conduct borne out of a profound knowing of Divinity, of the Holy Spirit itself.
Yet you are, as the Omniscience is. Pure love and empathy.
“Every droplet of the sea, each ray of the Sun is him,
The only existence
As he is, so am I. Blissful“Sarojini Pattnaik
At a young age a brilliant army officer married her. Only to abandon her, three children later. Leaving her penniless and without a job. Moved by the devotion and love of the young bride, her Mother in law told her
“You are like my daughter now. If you want to marry someone else, please do so and I will happily arrange for it. You are young. Please do not waste your life.”
The young Sarojini replied, “Would a daughter leave an old Mother alone to face the waves of old age?”
With undying dedication, she loved her mother in law and the latter in turn told her son
“I choose righteousness.”
When the Son asked her, “Mother choose between me and the daughter in law.”
The Son, blinded by the youth of another girl, abandoned his old Mother, his wife Sarojini and three little children.
A measly pension of rupees 200 per month($2.5) from the old Mother in law could not bear the load of even the basic meals for the five of them. Yet when Sarojini Devi found a forsaken and disabled little boy with a poor relative, she quickly adopted him as her fourth.
“He looked like sunshine,” she said as she lifted him and brought him home.
She surely possessed
A mind which believed, “I have.”
A mind where every space was occupied by faith and empathy.
A mind in eternal gratitude.
She could not even provide footwear for her children, leave alone education or three meals a day. Yet, she would find joy in sorrow and abundance in misery. She would often say
“How lucky are we to be on the sands of such pure beaches. The air, the ocean are clean and loving here. People spend millions to come here, yet here we are reveling in nature’s glory at all times.”
Her life was a saga of misery, survival and unhappiness as seen by the outside world.
Yet, when her son Sudarshan became famous and rich, the world media in an interview asked her
“So how did you manage in such lack and poverty?”
She replied, “I was always well provided for by the Divine, the Lord Jagannath.”
Sarojini Devi as people called her, lived and breathed gratitude.
It said that the
“Sins of the parents visit their children.
Yet equally profound is the fact that their goodness also visits the progeny.”
The result of her dedication?
Her lifetime of faith and thankfulness visited her children.
One of her sons’ Sudarshan Patnaik was a natural sand artist. He would make exquisite art in the sands of Puri beaches. One day, he got noticed and never looked back. Winning medals in almost every competition in the world and being honoured with the Padma Shree (similar to a knighthood) by the government. He became rich and famous and so did the entire household.
Just like the clear ocean, her life reflected every aspect of the Universe.
When asked by some friends to say unkind words about her husband, she declined.
“He fell out of love with me, I didn’t”.
When her children grew up and were angry with the Father, she advised them
“When you cut your nose, the blood falls into your own mouth.”
Never an unkind word about the one who gave her misery. Never a whimper of protest.
Only love and greatfulness.
No wonder, even before she died, people started to revere her as a deity born in flesh.
For such was her life, lived in gratitude.