Adi Shankaracharya's & Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's Experience with Divine Mother
There is a story about the great saint, Adi Shankaracharya. One day, he was caught in the monsoon rains and was swept away in the flooding river. He tried to save himself and swim to shore but suddenly became paralyzed unable to move his arms and legs. As he was fighting for his life, suddenly he heard an old woman laughing on the other side of the river. He called out to her. “Help! Help! Get help!” The hunchback woman laughed again, this time so loud it echoed like thunder in the skies. Then the old woman dove into the river and swam to him. She reached him in an instant then grabbed his neck and screamed at him. “Shankara, where is your strength now? Who is saving you now? You teach that women are a man’s downfall and must be avoided, and this world is nothing but an illusion. You are afraid to even look at a woman. Who is rescuing you now? Don’t you see your strength comes from Shakti? Without Shakti you can’t even move your limbs! Why do you insult the Mother? Don’t you know that I am everything? Don’t you know that you can’t live without me?” Shankaracharya realized this was the Divine Mother Herself coming in darshan to teach him.
"Suddenly I had the wonderful vision of the Mother and fell down unconscious. It was as if houses, doors, temples, and everything else vanished from my sight, leaving no trace whatsoever. However far and in whatever direction I looked I saw a continuous succession of effulgent waves madly rushing at me from all sides, with great speed. I was caught in the rush, and panting for breath I collapsed, unconscious. I did not know what happened then in the external world—how that day and the next slipped away. But in my heart of hearts there was flowing a current of intense bliss, never experienced before, and I had the immediate knowledge of the light that was Mother."