International Forum for NeoVedantins

Holy Mother: Ma Saradadevi

Mother. The single word encompasses tremendous emotional volume , of love, selflessness, sacrifice, security, and calm repose. Mother. The sweet music brings holiness and purity of thought to the mind. It brings forth the serene power of creation and sustenance through the ages. Like Mother Earth, the human motherhood also creates, sustains, and fulfills the physical and emotional needs of its children without any grudge or irritation

Such simplicity, frugality, purity and grandeur, was embodied in the form of the Holy Mother Ma Sarada Devi, the spiritual consort of Sri Ramakrishna.

Born in a quiet, tiny village of Jayarambati in West Bengal, in the year 1853, she was married to Sri Ramakrishna in her early childhood. As the Divine play had it, they lived a pure life without physical sense enjoyment. Her marriage with Sri Ramakrishna was an example of 'union of two souls', and not of two bodies in usual sense as we understand. We get reference of such "Union of Souls" or Divine Love Relationship, in the life of Sri Krishna and Radha (and other Milk-maids of Vrindavan).

After staying with her parents, Ma Sarada Devi joined her husband at Dakshineswar in the year 1871. Sri Ramakrishna received her with respect and warmth. He asked her about the purpose of their marriage, to which Ma Sarada replied, "I have come to help you in your efforts to seek God. By forcing physical relationship, I do not want to drag you down to the sensate worldly plane."

Sri Ramakrishna accepted her as his first disciple and worshiped her as Mother of Universe, Divine Universal Power, and surrendered all his spiritual realizations at her Holy Feet. He used to say, "Sarada is Shakti, the Power; like the Sun and its light, fire and its warmth, milk and its whiteness, and diamond and its lustre. She is knowledge personified, and the world will learn a lot from her."

In the year 1886, when Sri Ramakrishna developed serious illness of throat, and knew that his life on this earth was short, he told Ma Sarada to look after and help spiritual upliftment of thousands of the people entangled in the mesh of worldliness.

The Holy Mother shouldered this great responsibility of spiritual awakening of masses with calm repose and maturity. Her silence, holiness, purity, and impromptu replies to complicated spiritual dilemmas will always remain etched in the golden letters. For twenty four years after the passing away of Sri Ramakrishna, she effectively carried out the aims and objectives of Ramakrishna Math & Mission. This she accomplished by immense faith in the Divinity of Sri Ramakrishna, constant prayers, and Japa-sadhana.

Once she prayed to God, "O Lord, there is a semblance of black spot on the Moon; let my life and character be more spotless, pure, clean, and calm than the Moon."

It may be difficult for us to understand the purpose of her Mission of simplicity and purity in this fast materialistic culture. However, in the words of Swami Gambhirananda: in this era of information explosion and scientific discoveries, the enemy is not outside demon or Daitya, but is inside our mind in the form of desires and wants, lust and power--vasanas.

"So in the present incarnation (as the Holy Mother) there is no clanging of weapons or the din of war; but there is abundance of modesty, humility, purity, goodness, practical love, and spiritual experience. Moreover, the Deity has not only to remove the obstacles, She has also to establish new goals and create fresh aspirations; and this is a tremendous task. As the whole of humanity has to be raised to a higher pitch of realization, Divine Power Herself takes the field."

During her last illness, Holy Mother's advice to one of her devotees is the supreme statement of universality of spirit, human understanding, and oneness of soul; said she: "If you want peace, don't find faults with others, but find fault rather with yourself. Learn to make the world your own. No is a stranger, my dear; the world is yours."

All this may appear very strange and full of superstitions to many, but the truth must be told. Its significance and explanation can wait for future.
Books on the life of the Holy Mother:

1) Holy Mother: Sri Sarada Devi

By Swami Gambhirananda, Sri Ramakrisna Math, Chennai, Madras 600 004, India

2) Sri Sarada Devi the Great Wonder, A compilation

Advaita Ashrama, 5 Dehi Entally Road, Calcutta 700 014, India.

Also at: Vedanta Press, 1946 Vedanta Place, Hollywood, California, 90068-3996, USA.
C S Shah

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