Shri Mataji walked into a large store and headed for the counter selling good saris. A bored salesman watched Her approach and took his time reaching for the sari She wanted to see. Within minutes though, I saw at least three salesmen measuring metres of sari material, folding them and taking down yet more piles as Shri Mataji looked over everything and told them that She wanted ten of these in blue, another ten in that colour, but no, She didn’t want those ones. It wasn’t long before all the counter tops were full of multi-coloured piles. Gold threads winked from hues of blues, purples, and rich reds, chasing beautiful designs of amazing complexity. Throughout the entire time, I just watched Shri Mataji.
I watched Her movements and how She spoke to the salespeople; how Her deft fingers touched some fabrics and rejected others. Her keen eyes picked out beautiful pieces of art, and never once did She hesitate. I had never seen shopping on this scale, and I just watched, amazed. At some point, I got a little rude. I was standing about ten feet behind Shri Mataji, and watched as She did everything.
My eyes never stopped staring, and in my mind, I kept asking, ‘What is it that is so special about You?’ and my heart said, ‘I don’t know, but there’s something.’ Suddenly, Shri Mataji turned and fixed me with a penetrating look. She knew what I was thinking!
Shri Mataji moved regally around the store, leaving salespeople desperately trying to keep up in Her wake. Once She was done with the saris, She said She wanted to buy some fabrics, located at another part of the store. To get there, She had to walk past me, and as She drew up, I smiled weakly at Her, a poor attempt at an apology for my rudeness earlier. She did not look at me, and shamefaced, I turned my gaze to the floor. Then, as She walked by, some three feet ahead of me, I saw the light blue part of Her pallu float gently in the breeze behind Her. My eyes followed the rhythmic movement and suddenly fixed on a little thread that had unravelled itself at the end of the fabric. It stuck out about half an inch from the end of the pallu, and as the overhead light caught it in its passage past me, a thought ran through my head.
I remembered bible classes from when I was a youngster in school, and the story of a man who touched the hem of the cloak of Jesus as he walked past. Jesus felt energy drain out of His cloak, and knew that He had been touched by someone. In a split second, as I looked at that thread, I thought of this story and thought that if Shri Mataji was truly great, She would know if I touched this thread. Looking at Her receding figure and not thinking about possible consequences of such an action, I looked back at the thread and, reaching out very deliberately with my right index finger, I touched it.
She stopped, turned slowly and looked at me with eyes that penetrated my being and I could not look away. I knew that She knew what I was thinking. She did not say a word, but there was no need. I felt no more doubts that there was something truly incredible about Her.
Robert Ramesh Tan