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(RECORDED BY SWAMI SANTANANDA)

   Pointing to the flag hoisted on the top of the temple of Venimadhava at Varanasi, the Mother observed, "You see me so incapacitated now, but when I visited Varansi after the demise of the Master; I climbed to the top of the temple of Venimadhava to fasten the flag. I also climbed the Chandi Hill at Hardwar and the Savitri Hill at Pushkara."
   In those days a certain monk of the Ramakrishna Order had been practising hard austerities at the Manikarnika Ghat at Varanasi. When I was leaving for Calcutta he told me, "Please ask the Mother when God will bestow His grace upon me." When I conveyed this to the Mother, she became grave and said, "Write to him that there is no such rule that God's grace will fall on him simply because he is practising austerities. In olden times the ascetics practised austerities for thousands of years with their feet up and heads down, and with fires burning under them. Even then, only some of them received God's grace; others did not receive it at all. It entirely depends on His will."
   At the Udbodhan house one day a young man expressed to the Holy Mother his desire to become a monk. Smiling a little, the Mother pointed to a monk standing nearby and said, "If everybody becomes a monk, who will look after them? Who will supply provisions for them?" The young man married subsequently.
   Once it was proposed that I should travel to Varanasi in the company of a distinguished householder devotee of Sri Ramakrishna. He had agreed to pay my fare. On hearing of this, the Holy Mother said to me, "You are a monk. Won't you be able to procure your passage money yourself? These are householders; why should you travel with them? As you will all be travelling by the same compartment in the train, they might tell you, 'Do this, do that.' Being a monk why should you take such orders from them?"
   On another occasion it was decided that I should be transferred from Calcutta to Varanasi, but I could not make up my mind on this. So I asked the Mother for guidance. She said, "Look, people at Calcutta right from the morning rush about engaged
 

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