Birth Anniversary of Maa Sarada Devi
Endearingly known as ‘Holy Mother’, Sri Sarada Devi, was born on Thursday, the 22nd December, 1853, in a sequestered corner of a small wayside village of Bengal named Joyrambati. It is situated in the District of Bankura and is three miles to the west of Kamarpkur where Sri Ramakrishna had already taken birth seventeen years back (i.e. in 1836). The nativity of Holy Mother who was none other than the Goddess Lakshmi, took place on the auspicious evening when the womenfolk of the village were carrying on their worship of Mother Lakshmi (the Goddess of Fortune) in their respective houses to the accompaniment of blowing of conchs.
Swami Vivekananda and other disciples of the Master also looked upon the Holy Mother as the Goddess incarnate and sought her guidance in all matters of importance.Swamiji wrote to Swami Shivananda, one of his brother disciples, from America in 1894, ‘Without Shakti, there is no regeneration for the world. .. Mother has been born to revive that wonderful Shakti in India, and making her the nucleus, once more will Gargis and Matreyis be born into this world.’ He further said, ‘Brother! I shall show you the worship of Goddess Durga incarnated in flesh and blood. When I think of the Holy Mother, I forget all about the Great Master. Indeed, herein lies my bigotry. … fie upon those who are not devoted to the Holy Mother!’ Swami Saradananda, another monastic disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, collected money with great difficulty and built at Baghbazar in Calcutta a suitable residence called ‘Mother’s House’ for her stay, where he served her with extreme devotion till she passed away.
The Holy Mother upon whom the mantle of spiritual ministry and the responsibility of conducting the Ramakrishna- brotherhood fell after the Mahasamadhi (demise) of the Great Master, always prayed for and looked after the well-being of her spiritual children. The Mother did not make any distinction between the rich and the poor, the high and the low, the learned ad the ignorant, the monks and the householders, not even between the pure and the impure. Once addressed as a mother, she became a veritable mother to them. Needles to say, those who had the good fortune of receiving her unalloyed love and care even for a single day, could feel in their heart of hearts the profundity of her love and width of her vision. In all her works and conversations, one could find a beautiful mixture of the human and Divine. Rare is indeed such a luminous instance of a harmonious blending of life and actions in the annals of mankind.
Sarada Devi’s life, as such, was not an accident in the cultural history of India, but a natural outcome of centuries of silent working of India’s manifold creative forces. She stands silhouetted today on the canvas of time as a triune personality wherein the wife, the nun and the mother have been beautifully blended. Her life has conclusively shown once again that Truth knows no limits of land, caste or creed and that spirituality is not the monopoly of men alone. It reveals itself in women as in men, when the moral stature of an individual is fully developed.
In the course of conversation, the Holy Mother once said, ‘One must work always as body and mind remain healthy thereby. I used to work day and night during my stay at Joyrambati. I did not even go to meet the inmates of any other house; for they very often pitied me, saying “Ah ! the daughter of Shyamasundari has been married to a mad man!” Frankly speaking, ‘I avoided them lest I should have to hear from them any such uncharitable and uncalled-for remarks which cut me to the quick.’
Writes Sister Nivedita, ‘To me it has always appeared that she (Sri Sarada Devi) is Sri Ramakrishna’s final word as to the ideal of Indian womanhood. … In her one sees realized that wisdom and sweetness to which the simplest of women may attain. And yet, to myself the stateliness of her courtesy and her great open mind are almost as wonderful as her sainthood.’