On the 9th of December, the Ramakrishna Mission will joyfully celebrate the 165th birth anniversary of Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi. She is considered the Mother to all Vedanta devotees who venerate her, put her on a pedestal and worship her. Bhajans, prayers, arti and feasting of sumptuous prasad to follow after prayers. There will be Readings from the Teachings of Holy Mother followed by a Havan. In the evening programme starting at 7 PM, there will be a Discourse by Swami Vimokshananda, the President of the Ramakrishna Mission. Both morning and evening programmes will be followed by lunch prasad and dinner prasad respectively. When you pray to her she will protect you, watch over you, wipe your tears away and give solace and refuge to the wounded soul and comfort to the despondent. She is known to answer prayers to those afflicted by the harsh realities of life.
Holy mother is most revered as the paragon of virtue the very epitome of divine manifestation of the Universal mother .Her love is in abundance and compassion is unlimited to one and all.
Endearingly known as ‘Holy Mother’, Sri Sarada Devi, the spiritual consort of Sri Ramakrishna, was born on 22 December 1853 in a poor Brahmin family in Jayrambati, a village adjoining Kamarpukur in West Bengal. Her father,Ramachandra Mukhopadhyay, was a pious and kind-hearted person, and her mother, Shyama Sundari Devi, was a loving and hard-working woman.
As a child Sarada was devoted to God, and spent most of her time helping her mother in various household chores like caring for younger children, looking after cattle and carrying food to her father and others engaged in work in the field. She had no formal schooling, but managed to learn the Bengali alphabet. When she was about six years old, she was married to Sri Ramakrishna, according to the custom prevalent in India in those days. However, after the event, she continued to live with her parents, while Sri Ramakrishna lived a God-intoxicated life at Dakshineshwar.
Visit to Dakshineshwar
At the age of eighteen she walked all the way to Dakshineshwar to meet her husband. Sri Ramakrishna, who had immersed himself in the intense practice of several spiritual disciplines for more than twelve years, had reached the highest state of realization in which he saw God in all beings. He received Sarada Devi with great affection, and allowed her to stay with him. He taught her how to lead a spiritual life while discharging her household duties. They led absolutely pure lives, and Sarada Devi served Sri Ramakrishna as his devoted wife and disciple, while remaining a virgin nun and following the spiritual path.
Life at Dakshineshwar
Sri Ramakrishna looked upon Sarada Devi as a special manifestation of Divine Mother of the universe. In 1872, on the night of the Phala-harini-Kali-puja, he ritualistically worshipped Sarada Devi as the Divine Mother, thereby awakening universal Motherhood latent in her. When disciples began to gather around Sri Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi learned to look upon them as her own children. The room in which she stayed at Dakshineshwar was too small to live in and had hardly any amenities; and on many days she did not get the opportunity of meeting Sri Ramakrishna. But she bore all difficulties silently and lived in contentment and peace, serving the increasing number of devotees who came to see Sri Ramakrishna.
Sarada Devi often prayed to see people without any faults. She later said that seeing faults in people doesn’t help them but hinders your own progress.
“I tell you one thing my child — if you want peace, do not find fault with others. Rather, see your own faults. Learn to make the world your own. No one is a stranger, my child; the whole world is your own. ”
– Sarada Devi
A significant event took place when Sarada Devi had been living with Sri Ramakrishna for about a year. Sri Ramakrishna had undergone intense spiritual disciplines. He practiced spiritual disciplines from many religions and spiritual traditions. However his principle deity was Kali, the Divine Mother. On one occasion of worshipping the Divine Mother he asked Sarada Devi to sit in the seat of the Divine Mother. Thus Ramakrishna completed the Shodasi Puja (worship of the Divine Mother) with Sarada Devi taking the place of the Divine Mother. Both attained a very deep spiritual consciousness in which Sarada Devi became identified with the spiritual devotion of Ramakrishna and became absorbed in the consciousness of the Divine Mother.
After the death of Sri Ramakrisna, Sarada Devi was distraught feeling a great emptiness in her life. However after his cremation, Ramakrishna appeared to Sarada Devi saying
What are you doing? I have not gone away, I have only passed from one room to another. This vision greatly helped her and contrary to Hindu tradition she continued to wear a red-bordered Sari and ornaments. She was later criticized for doing this but she felt no reason to mark the death of Ramakrishna in the usual way.
After the passing of Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi went on a pilgrimage to Vrindavan, a place associated with the life ofSri Krishna. Here she had frequent ecstasies and profound experiences After a debilitating illness Sarada Devi passed away onJuly 1920, her body was taken to Belur Math and cremated. There were over 7,000 well wishers present at her funeral.
Quotes of Holy Mother
Let me tell you how to love all equally. Do not demand anything of those you love. If you make demands, some will give you more and some less. In that case you will love more those who give you more and less those who give you less. Thus your love will not be the same for all. You will not be able to love all impartially.