Late Mr. Soparkar and Markand Dholakia had been college mates and friends at Poona (Pune). The friendship continued even after the one had become the boss and the other a subordinate.
Mrs. Taraben Soparkar was a very devout lady. In September 1931 she became seriously ill and was confined to bed. One day, she thought she heard someone chanting a verse from Saptashati. She called out to her husband to go and see whether any Sadhu was anywhere in the vicinity. Soparkar obligingly went round the place and reported that there was nobody on the premises except himself and Markand who had just come. 'Oh' , she cried out gladly. He has come, has he ? Then he must be the person whom I heard. please bring him up.
Taraben looked at the visitor standing at the door and began to repeat slowly :
दुर्गे स्मृता हरसि भीतिमशेषजन्तोः स्वस्थैः स्मृता मतिमतीव शुभां ददासि ।
दारिद्र्यदुःख्ख हारिणी का त्वदन्या सर्वोपकारकरणाय सदार्द्रचित्ताः ।। दुर्गा सप्तशती अध्याय 4 , श्लोक 17 ।।
Durge Smritha Harasi Bheethimasesha Jantoh Swasthai Smritha Mathimatheeva Shubham Dadasi | Daridrya Duhkha Bhayaharini Ka Twaddanya Sarvaopakarakarnaya Sadardra Chittha || [ saptashathi 4 : 17 ]
She then asked if he had not been reciting the shloka. Markand nodded affirmatively but added that he had been repeating the lines only mentally without even moving his lips.
It was his favorite stanza and he often used to recite it. It means : Oh Mother Durga , on remembering Thee, Thou art removing all types of fears from all sources. On remembering Thee with an established mind , mood and meditation, Thou art giving discrimination and deciding intellect towards righteousness. Who is there except Thee to remove all misery and poverty ? Thy heart is full of mercifulness to shower Thy Grace on Thy devotee.
It was felt that Markand's presence was a source of comfort to Taraben who was on the last alp of her life's journey. So Soparkar persuaded his friend Markand to live in the house.
One day, the teacher employed to give tuition to Soparkar's daughter happened to ask a saint of Pandharpur [Shri Daasganu Mahaaraaj ] about the chances of recovery of his pupil's mother. "The patient's time is already up " , was the reply. But out of courtesy to a saintly person living in the house the lady is not taken away. The moment he leaves the house the patient will leave this world. " This strange prophecy was promptly communicated to the master of the house. Soparkar began to brood pensively over the information. He was neither sentimental nor superstitious. But this was a matter touching the life of his dear wife . In spite of his disbelief the thought flashed across his mind that disregards of saint's words might spell disaster. After much thought he came to the conclusion that a willing suspension of disbelief would be a wise precaution against the unhappy, though unlikely, event of the prediction coming true. Love for his wife triumphed over cold logic. He used his official position and friendship to insist that Markand should not leave the house on any pretext and that his official work should be done from the house.
A few days passed. Taraben was on her deathbed. Three eminent doctors from Bombay [Mumbai] , Kirkee [Khadki] and Poona [Pune] unanimously opined that the patient had but an hour more in this world. A large number of relatives stood in the hall, silently and sorrowfully watching the inert body swathed in blankets, cheeks pallid, eyes closed. The husband was a stricken man.
"When serious illness strikes, people call the doctor. It is automatic for most to rely on human professional knowledge and skill. But finally when attending physician gravely shakes his head, and says there is nothing more that medical science can do, then at last people cry out desperately to God." (Herbert Armstrong).
When the doctors left, Soparkar turned to Markand and said in a voice hoarse with agony and despair ," Can't you do something ?" As the latter began to gently shake his head, the stricken man continued more in sorrow than in anger ", Do what you can. I won't take no for answer. Don't be diffident. Do something. "
Thereupon , just to console his friend, Markand went and stood near the patient's head and began to pray. Tears rolled down his face and a drop fell into the patient's mouth. The result was marvelous. As if in answer to a given signal, changes began to take place in the motionless form. A gentle glow slowly suffused the cheeks dispelling the ghostly pallor, the pulse speeded up, there was a mild , ever so mild heave of the chest and the eyes slowly opened , Taraben looked at her guest and said in a low voice," I saw Mother. She said if you promise to fast for a day, I would get an extension of life by a week. Won't you promise?" The promise was given forthwith and within minutes Mrs. Taraben Soparkar sat up and drank milk. Gone was her illness, Gone was the misery of the husband. Gone was the gloom that had enveloped the house. It was as if she had never been ill.
Some called the incident a miracle. Others said it was luck. Yet others said the cure was due to the delayed action of the medicine given by the doctors .
Armstrong would not have been wrong if in continuation of the passage quoted above he had said," And if God intervenes and cures the patient, very few are really grateful ".
On the morning of the seventh day Taraben had fever suddenly. The husband realized the significance. He knew his wife would go that day. The extended tenure of life would expire that evening. He broke down and became hysterical. After a long time he became normal, thanks to ministrations of Markand.
In the afternoon a message came from the Secretariat asking for a confidential file . The papers were in his office under lock and key. They were so confidential that either he had to go or send somebody in whom he had absolute confidence. He could not think of leaving his wife. Markand was the only person he could trust , but sending him out of the house might be disastrous according to the prediction of the Pandharpur Saint. He was in dilemma. Finally preferring to remain with his wife in her last moments, he sent his friend with every strict instructions not to tarry for a minute after handing over the papers.
Mrs. Taraben Soparkar breathed her last the moment Markand stepped out of the house.
EXTRACT FROM THE BOOK : SAINT MAI SWARUPA WRIIEN BY MAI SHISHU U.G. MENON, MAI NIWAS, SARASWATI ROAD END, SANTA CRUZ (WEST), MUMBAI 400054 INDIA
Markand ( The Founder of Mai-ism - Saint Mai Swarup Mai Markand ) began his devotion of Divine Mother at the tender age of twelve. At first he tried to propitiate Rama, Krishna, Shiva and others but he was passed one by one deity to another, finally Divine Mother accepted him. He took to worship of Divine Mother at the instance of his mother Prabhadevi. After worship of Amba in a temple one day during worship the symbols slipped from his hands and were dashed to pieces against the stone floor. He was scolded for this and he left Mother Amba for good and started worshipping Kalika in another temple. It was situated in a desolate place and he shifted from there when land surrounding the temple was given on lease to a dramatic company. There after he went to a forest like area beyond the village limits and continued his worship to the fearful Chamunda. He never missed worship a single evening or a single night. He went on asking, " Mother, tell me doth Thou exist or not ?"
After a long period of worship of these goddesses, once while he was returning from a lonely place in darkness he was chased by two robbers as according to the custom of the age he was wearing ornaments on his hands and around neck. While he was proceeding on the main road he became suspicious about the chasers. Soon he entered a parallel long side lane to evade them. True to their intension the chasers followed him on the lane. By then he became sane of their designs. The nearest house was 40 minutes away. He said to himself," I will give all the ornaments but let them not kill me ". After 5 or 7 minutes of intensive prayer he was taken by surprise when found from one side of the paths " a very tall old cultivator's wife -like mother, black woman with black garment with a huge basket on a head " emerge. She silently followed the chasers. Nearly 30 minutes passed like this. The boy was anxious to reach the village boundary quickly praying that the woman may not leave him and the chasers. The chasers were every now and then looking at the fearfully tall and black woman, whether she was following them or not. The woman never sought their sympathy nor opened any talk. Nor did she allow the distance between her them to be smaller or greater. When all reached village boundary (Molaay Bhagole in Petlad) the boy observed that the woman had suddenly and inexplicably disappeared perhaps in the air. Being now safe near the village house he picked up a courage and asked the chasers " Where did that tall black fearful woman go ? They answered by laughing only. " One of them asked Markand " Have you faith in or do you worship Mata ? " " Yes, I never eat without worshiping Mataji ", " These are bad days. You have ornaments on your body. You should never wonder like this after sunset ". The first man added ," You were fortunate, we were with you and that tall black fearful woman was with us or otherwise someone would have robbed you this very night ".
For months together the boy was remembering this instance and tried to arrive at a conclusion regarding the most timely appearance and the abrupt disappearance of the tall black fearful woman.
(Years after one female devotee painted the whole incident to Maiji [Markand] and assured Him that the tall black woman was none than Mother) .
THE WHIP HAND
In 1900 in Ahmedabad just near the Cinema opposite Prembhai Bhatt near Bhadrakali temple , Markand was slowly making his way in the midst of usual crowd. A European pair was driving a dogcart with a smart terrible whip for a tall horse. The man twice or thrice shouted at Markand to be out of the way. He was absent-minded as his mind was occupied by the question " Doth Thou exist or not "?
The European got wrathful and lifted his whip and as it were not enough to beat him out without getting additional force whirled it most forcefully in the air. The boy saw the whip spinning in the air over his head. Most spontaneously he cried out " Mother save me or I am dead ". All of a sudden the whip slipped from the hand and encircled the horse foot , the horse stumbled, the dog cart and wife all fell down on the ground. Immediately a crowd gathered to help the fallen horse and the lady. The boy ran and sought refuge at Bhadrakali temple for an hour and afterwards reached home by back-doors and a lane via Astodia Road to Akasheth Kuva Pole. That night he had a dream in which all the incidents of the evening repeated. In the dream Mother was laughing at the way in which he was trembling in fear. He repeated the question which troubled him for 3 to 4 years. He asked, " Why don't you tell me ? Doth Thou exist or not ? " The answer was , " I do not exist " and She laughed at him. The boy anxiously asked, " Who is then laughing at me and speaking ? " I do not exist ". The Mother answered , "Then whom are you questioning whether the questioned exist or not "? This brought about a sea change in him. He understood that it was Mother who saved him now from the whip-hand and it was the same Mother who saved him three years ago from robbers.
ACCEPTANCE AS MOTHER'S SON
In 1900 at the age of 15 the boy was convinced of the existence of God. He was convinced that he was saved from robbers by Kali. He tried to secure grace and recognition of the usually worshiped Hindu deities like Rama, Krishna, Shiva etc. He was passed on as it were by one deity to another till Mataji alone accepted him. In 1903 he shuddered at being the devotee of a terrible deity. He decided to perform hundred repetitions of Saptashati. He said,"If Mataji accepted him as Her son with no displeasure, no freaks, no terrible wrathfulness and vengeance for consciously or unconsciously done offences he would become Hers. "
In 1903 at the age of 18 he started the experiment. When he completed 30 repetitions of he received a telegram at Poona [Pune] to start at once to see his mother who was with the uncle. Accordingly he reached about 2 P.M. Mahesana where his uncle was acting Collector. His uncle came to the station to receive him. Just at the station the uncle received an order from Baroda to proceed immediately to Bahucharaji , the most renowned temple of Devi Bahuchara. The uncle took Markand also to the temple. He wondered there were few chances of his mother going to the uncle , still fewer chances of her calling him to meet her, fewest chances of uncle getting orders to proceed to the temple. It is strange that he received the order at the railway station where he had come to receive Markand.
The enigma unraveled itself in a dream.
He saw in the dream a beautiful garden with best lawns, natural luxurious growth of dense forest, several singing birds peacocks, cuckoos; colored pigeons and several animals. The season was spring. On the boundaries of the central lawn there were thick shades of tall trees. Then appeared several most beautiful damsels between 12 to 18. They were playing a flower ball. In their midst there was one entirely luminous beautiful and incomparable. Markand was petrified and it did not take even a second to understand that the central majestic beauty was Mataji. He was concealing behind a tree. After a little play the Mataji said," just bring here that boy who is observing us. ". One of the Sakhis (female friend) took him to Her, He prostrated again and again. She asked," Who brought you here at my place ? " Markand most humbly replied ," That is your Divine will and grace ". Mother asked, " How long do you wish to oscillate ? Are not so many years enough ? " He replied, " That is a matter of your Divine grace." Mother asked," What suspicious and wrong conceptions are working in and troubling your mind ? " He answered ," Mother you know them best. Please condescend to set me on right lines leading to the devotion of Thy sacred Lotus Feet. " Said Mother," Hear then, the black terrible woman was myself. One that saved you from the whip was myself. One that pulled you out to come over here is myself. In spite of the highest tall talk the world remains straight only out of godly fear. Love to God is entirely different mentality. I am exactly the world believes me. If I were not, there will be no end of their wickedness of the world.. I keep them in freight. I punish them for their wickedness after every effort to improve individuals and even after giving repeated warnings . It is only the punishment which opens the eyes of the most of the wicked people.
" The case of a devotee who bases his devotion on God lovingness is just the reverse. Your greatest painfulnes arises from your viewing me as the world had depicted me , where as you are the softest metal. As you wish and conceive often, how happy you would be if Devi or Mataji would love you as a mother loves her child.I am exactly what you wished me to be for them the rarest few. You can not do anything else except follow my path which you trod in so many years of your past lives. You are doing nothing. You can do nothing. You decide now your course yourself. Go. "
This wonderful experience gave him a stupendous lift. On returning to Poona (Pune) he became a changed person, a confirmed devotee; he completed the one hundred repetitions of Saptashati and continued the repetitions further.
In 1907 at 22 he had the most calamitous and yet the final hardest hammer blow under which he would have suffered but for Mother's Grace. He read Yoga Vasishtam and books on Vedanta philosophy. He was captivated by the aphorism " Aham Brahma Asmi " and his head turned. He thought he was all along under a delusion and pitiable victim of a cheat by Mataji , the Maya deity. Driven by reckless abandon he flung away in the river Mula-Mutha Sangam his worshipping materials, his deity's picture, Saptashati, Wooden seat and Vessels. Soon thereafter he left for his native place, "Petlad".
As a result of his faithless desertion of Mother he lost his miraculous powers. Instead of respect he met with contempt. He was dethroned and deposed. his good character, sense of values, morality and goodness were about to leave him. At last his magnitude of his ingratitude to Mother dawned upon him. In highest desperation one day in Petlad he tore off his garments and sacred threat., threw off his shirt and dhoti and cap in the street and ran away from his house either to end or mend his life , to be a Sanyasin or to commit suicide. His father ran after him and his mother ran after the father. Both took him back to their home. When he became normal he came back to Poona [Pune] to resume his studies.
The remorse for having forsworn Divine Mother who always helped him worked as a canker worm in his mind. He lost his peace of mind and earnestly desired Mother to re-accept him. Oppressed by the sin he had committed he decided to drown in the same river where he had flung his worshiping materials unless Mother re-accepted him. " He ran towards the river water depth with a speed which he had never before used.". "The rushing body with all momentum goes straight into a center of radiance and stops. " He was caught in the sweetest trans - heavenly embrace of Mother. the visible and infatuatingly Beautiful Mother. Thus he was saved by Mother who embraced him from behind and thus prevented him from falling into the river. She assured him She did not or would not ever disown him.
Retracing to his room he was surprised to find the very same deity's 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 moment onwards "he linked himself with and riveted himself to Mother".
Immediately thereafter His occult powers were restored. He regained his Vakkyasiddhi. Like the sun after eclipse, he rose to greater heights with untold radiance. On number of occasions he had "personal eye-to-eye vision of Divine Mother in waking state ".
The wife of his friend and superior officer was on death bed. All the doctors who treated her gave up all hopes. The husband wanted some more time to prepare for the worst. Maiji (Markand) prayed and sinking lady's life was extended by a week. This miracle was a turning point in Maiji's (Markand's) life. He saw the divine hand of Mother in the prolongation of life. She had saved Him many times, showered on Him blessings and granted Him visions after visions. He was beset with the sense of ingratitude for not breathing even a syllable about her to any one. By way of quid pro quo He decided to glorify Her. Strangely and wonderfully Mother commanded Him to install Her as " Mai " , the Universal Divine Mother. His plea of diffidence was dismissed by Her. He was coerced to install Her and She was installed on 2 SEPTEMBER 1932, FRIDAY at 12 midnight and then at Her behest He declared "MAI-ISM", the Universal Religion. Mai-ism scriptures consists of six words only  Motherhood of God  Universality  Love  Service  Devotion and  Unconditional Cheerful Self-Surrender. These words are sacrosanct to Mai-ists as Mai Herself had disclosed them to Maiji.
The happy blending of an unrivalled ancestry, an exalted parentage , an intensive education, an unattainable knowledge, an unparalleled devotion, an unequalled Mother's Grace and the culmination of his elevation as Mother's son gave us SAINT MAI SWARUPA the great and at the same time the one and the only Motherly Saint the world has ever seen.
JAY MAI JAY MARKAND MAI
EXTRACTS FROM THE ARTICLE " AS WE SEE IT - THE HISTORIC INGRESS " BY U.R.M. N.K.P. NAIR [ MAIJI 7 ] ; PUBLISHED IN MAI MARG BOOKLET. PUBLISHER : UNIVERSAL MAIISM TRUST , MAI NIWAS, SARASWATI ROAD END, SANTA CRUZ [WEST], MUMBAI 400054 INDIA.
Mai literally means mother. Mai of Mai-ism is the Finalmost God conceived as Mother. The principal tenets of Mai-ism are : Universality, Motherhood of God, Love, Service , Devotion and Unconditional Cheerful Self-Surrender, Spiritual co-equal status of man and woman as a necessary corollary. True, every religion claims to contain these Principals. But Mai-ism RELIGIONISES them. That is the difference. The difference is in emphasis. By the standards set by Mai-ism you will not be religious unless you live a practical life of Universal Love and Service to all irrespective of caste, creed, color or race.
Universal Religion must have a Universal God. Such God can not have His chosen people , temples, scriptures and pilgrimage centers.
Universality to be effective must be the supreme quality of one's whole vision and integral outlook with a conviction about its highest value. Universality should not be the outcome of policy, a temporary acceptance for some specific object in view.
Next let us take the conception of God as Mother. It is the common experience of daily life that mother is pleased when her children are happy and that particular child is dearest to her who exerts most for the well-being of the other children. When God is Mother and all are Her children service by one child to another pleases Her. Practice feeling that you are a child; a child whom Mother could not but accept, however wicked. Be Mother's child and Her lap shall be thrilling and throbbing to have you on it.
If God is Mother to you, there is no meaning in the belief of pleasing Her with servile recitation of Her virtues in an intellectual manner. None acts that way with his own mother. There is every right for a child to make demands on its mother. (Thus Sakama Bhakti is permitted in Mai-ism). You can always run to Her with your problems, you can confess to Her all your follies and misdeeds fearlessly, you can always seek Her protection however wicked you are. But your right and claim are proportionate to and based on your love , service and devotion to Her as Mother.
Infinity is thought of , visualized and approached as Divine Mother with all living creatures as Her children. Mother is essentially ocean of infinite Love and Mercy. She, Mother Mai is only human mother raised to the power of infinity, to Godhood. Nothing less than God of all nations, all religions, all humanity, but conceived as Mother.
It has to be understood that there is no gender in case of Mother; gender follows words and conceptions only. Mother is neither a woman nor a man nor any other thing. Mother is pure consciousness. No gender should be finally attributed to Her except for fanning the flame of devotion. The common man is unable to meditate on God's Eternal and Invisible Form. So some qualified form is necessary and in adopting a qualified form nothing can be more natural than a parental conception; and in as much as Father is Justice and Mother is Mercy, Motherhood of God is more is acceptable.
I am reminded of the last words of His Holiness Pope John xxii who passed away on 3 June 1963. They were " Mater Mea " (Mother Mine).
Universal Love and Service are the corner stones of Mai-ism. Leave off everything else. Practise this and this alone. Service is but an application of love. Service concretises love. Mai-ism recognizes love and serve other counts much more than the richness of your offerings, correctness of pronunciation and strict adherence to scriptural details.
Even if you do not believe in the very existence of God, if you try your best to love and serve all, you are a Mai-ist, because you are revering Mai in one of Her aspects : Conscience.
Devotion : Bhakti yoga is pre-eminently suited to this age. There is no suffering that can not be alleviated by devotion. We come across in the biography of saints and bhaktas very many instances of relief from distress. There is practically nothing that a true devotee can not accomplish.
Mai-Swarupa once said that if Religion had to be defined in one word , that word would be sharanagathi which means Unconditional, Cheerful, Self-Surrender. Joseph Headly, a noted religious writer of England wrote in the world Religion Congress Report (Eighth report) " Unconditional, Cheerful Self-Surrender mentioned by Mai Swarupa signifies the necessity for every human being to merge his personal selfhood within the Divine Will and manifest the same in that greater conscious field of Universality ".
Guru : Everyone needs a spiritual mentor. This seed has been recognized by religious Savants the world over. Mai-Swarupa makes a slight departure from the usually accepted notions. According to him your Guru need not be perfect; it is often impossible to get a perfect Guru. Any one who is spiritually your superior can be your guru provided he has your spiritual welfare at heart and you confide in him whole-heartedly.
The importance of Guru-Shishya relationship is seen from the division into three trios of all the major principles.
Maiji declares :  Humanity, Love and Service  Mother, Devotion and Self-Surrender and  God, Guru and Disciple . Take up any trio and fire on. No handicap of what to eat, when to bathe, whom not to touch, which temple, which river, which pilgrimage place, which saint, which priest etc."
It can be seen that the first trio suits even atheists.
Symbol of Mai-ism : The Swastic is the symbol chosen by the Master. The arm drawn down from the right hand of the horizontal represents Universal Love ; the other arms ,reckoned clockwise represent Service, Devotion and Surrender respectively. The horizontal denotes Universal mindedness and the vertical stands for co-equal status of man and woman.
Regarding Adwaitism : Mai-ism says it is a stage of consciousness and not an independent path by itself. Although the supremacy of " I am God " is not denied the world will be happier by being taught "Thou art God ". Mai-ism is not so much for God above or God within, as for God around, God who will be ever with us while we render service with love.
EXTRACT FROM THE BOOK : SAINT MAI-SWARUP AUTHOR : MAI SHISHU U.G. MENON PUBLISHED BY : UNIVERSAL MAI-ISM TRUST, MAI NIWAS, SARASWATI ROAD END, SANTA CRUZ (WEST), MUMBAI 400054 INDIA
1] Mai-ism was represented at All Faiths' Conference at Nasik in 1933 and the Indian Philosophical Congress at Poona (Pune) in 1934. Maiji was invited to Japan for the World Religion Congress in 1955. Maiji was the Sub-Councilor-in-Chief of the International Religious Federation which was started in Japan in 1955.
2] Maiji had been elected as VICE PRESIDENT and Spiritual MINISTER for PEACEFUL HUMAN RELATIONSHIP & Universal Religious Alliance ( U.R.A.) in Havana, Cuba for SIX YEARS FROM 1959 TO 1965.
3] The latest most appreciated representation of Mai-ism was at the Universal Religious Alliance World Congress held at Havana in Cuba from 23 October 1959 to 22 January 1960. Mai-ism was explained , discussed and commented upon in the World Congress by Revered Sister Duchesse Blanche Ladran, The Grand Chancellor of the Universal Religious Alliance. Mai-ism received the greatest approbation in this World Congress of the Universal Religious Alliance , which had a standing of over five decades. In fact it was one of the most important universal religious institutes. As stated in the Preliminary Report pertaining to the Congress held on 23 October 1959, the complete attendance at the Congress was around 3800 persons 2184 of which integrated about 318 different official delegations which came from 96 different countries. The representation was of 449 different sections and sub-sections of religions and various organizations. Further more, 43 countries had sent their official observers . Appreciation and truest understanding about Mai-ism by the said World Congress would be evident from these words," We have received valuable literature from all quarters of the world, which simply reveals that the regeneration of man is at hand, as well as that a new age (Aquarian) is being ushered in taking the shape of brand new Spiritual Civilisation. We recommend such sources of research. We recommend Mai-ism and Mai-Institute of Santa Cruz West, Bombay [Mumbai] - 400054 India. "
EXTRACT FROM : MOTHER'S MESSAGE ; published by Mai Adherents' Institute, Mai Niwas, Saraswati Road End, Santa Cruz (West) , Mumbai 400054 , India.