Sri Sarada Devi - an exceptional woman

by Lidia BUTU

Sarada Devi - an exceptional womanSarada’s message to humanity is: "Observe your own mistakes. Learn to see the world as if it were yours. Nobody is a stranger."

A less common childhood
Sarada Devi was born on 22d of December 1853 in a village in West Bengal called Jayrambati. Her name was Thakurmani, later known as Saradamani. Her first years were full of simplicity, spent in prayer and meditation. Born in a a very humble and religious family, she grew up as a simple country girl, making just a little school because she had a lot of work at home and in the field.
Sarada was convinced that her destiny was to serve humanity. As a child, she was helping her mother to cook and took care of her younger sister and brother. One year, during the harvest season, rice crop was destroyed by locusts. She walked across the field collecting the remaining rice grains and offered them to the farmers as food. Many beggars came to her house, and together with her father she offered them boiled rice .
Since her childhood, Sarada has showed a real aptitude for meditation. Also, instead of dolls and other toys and games specific to children of her age, the girl prefered clay replicas of deities such as Lakshmi and Kali, whome she used to consocrate flowers and leaves with a big devotion.


Sent by Divine Providence
According to widespread custom in India that time, Saradamani was engaged when she was still a child. She was only six years old when her parents brought her to the man who would be her husband. It was Sri Ramakrishna, who was almost 23 years old. Passing through a phase of divine "madness", he was completely detached from food, sleep and other physical needs being absorbed day and night by meditation and prayer.
Being considered by the others as a fool, his relatives decided to find him a wife in order to return to a normal mental state . As Ramakrishna’s parents were poor, Sarada was the single possible bride, because she was only 6 years old. After the marriage ceremony, she returned to her parents, being too small to live with her husband.
Next few years Sarada spent in Jayrambati. Meanwhile, rumors spread that her husband has gone crazy, and the villagers began to call her the wife of the "crazy man".  She decided to visit Dakshineswar (where Sri Ramakrishna was a priest in the temple of Kali ) to see the situation with her own eyes. By that time, Ramakrishna has dedicated his entire life to spiritual path and was living like a monk. However he has received Sarada with lots of love, feeling that she was brought to him by divine providence.
After he helped her recover from a disease contacted while traveling, Sri Ramakrishna asked her if she came to urge him to a worldly existence. Without hesitation, she replied: "No, I'm here to help you achieve the ideal choice", which she well knew is a way to completly renounce all worldly ties for the sake of God realization. Therefore, instead of seeking the fulfillment in marriage, she became the first disciple of her husband, who,  in turn, adored her as Shodashi ( an aspect of the Divine Mother).


Privileged to have Ramakrishna as a Master
She was close to Ramakrishna and his disciples for years. After he died, she continued his spiritual mission, being the guide of those who sincerely followed the spiritual path. Sarada Devi was Sri Ramakrishna 's spiritual friend, devoted wife, disciple, and the relationship between them was always chaste.
State of happiness and inner peace were constantly so deep, that no worldly obstacle could affect her. She was the purity itself. She has never lost the communion with God, which she described as always being in her heart, though she was involved in various activities day and night .
Her husband was the one who initiated her in many spiritual disciplines, taught her to worship the Divine Cosmic Mother. They could see God in themselves and in each other. Sri Ramakrishna offered her initiation in many important mantras and instructed her how to guide spiritually those who sought her help. Sarada Devi is considered a humble disciple of her Master, and this fact was the supreme privilege and the highest happiness she could ever live.
Immediately after her husband's death in 1886, Sri Sarada Devi started a pilgrimage in the north of India. For a while she lived in Vrindavan, where she attained the highest state of consciousness, called Nirvikalpa Samadhi, after which her guru role has started.


Spiritual perfection requires humility and dedication
When she returned back, Sri Sarada Devi went to Kamarpukur, where she met a great hostility from villagers. Because she had no money, she had to dig herself the land in order to grow vegetables. When the disciples of Sri Ramakrishna heard about the difficult situation she was, they invited her to Calcutta. There she was recognized as the Holy Mother and she offered spiritual guidance to many people. She was known by her maternal tenderness and hospitality that she prooved, by the  gift of healing and permanent help offered to her disciples.
In 1909 Sri Sarada Devi moved to what is now the Home of the Holy Mother in Calcutta and lived there for the next 11 years, along with several other holy women. Her natural and spontaneous way of being, made others perceive her as a child, even if she was already in her sixties.
Spiritual teachings of this great female prophet are a window into the beauty of her soul. "As clouds are removed by the wind, so the thirst for material pleasures will be driven away by the utterance of God's name ," she said.


If you want mental peace, do not look for others’ mistakes
In 1919 Sarada Devi contracted black fever, even if she had lots of pains, she continued to help her disciples. At the age of 67 years she was dying. In early 1920, the fever was growing and she was moved to Calcutta for treatment, where crowds of people came to receive blessings .
The final message she addressed to a troubled and hatred world, only two years after the First World War, was delivered 5 days before her death: "If you want mental peace, do not look for others’ mistakes. Look rather your own mistakes. Nobody is a stranger, my child. The entire world belongs to you." On Tuesday, July 21, 1920 , at 1.30 at night, she hardly breathed a few times and went into a deep state of samadhi (divine bliss) of which she has never returned to the body consciousness. Whole body destroyed by a long illness, suddenly relaxed and exuded a celestial light. Many of her followers were deceived by this light for a while believing that the Holy Mother was still with them in this world.
Her entire life, Sarada has seen people as her own children, even if they were Hindus and Westerners. She has attracted many foreign disciples through compassion, through love, that she permanently showed. She has boosted Ramakrishna 's disciples to carry his message to the countries they came from.
The Holy body, full of garlands and flowers, was taken to Belur Math, across the Ganges, and burned on a pyre of sandalwood. In that place a white temple was built in memory of her life full of purity.
Another white temple was built in her native town, in Jayrambati, on the top of which waves a flag on which is engraved a single word - "Ma", reminding her followers, from near or far away, her words: "I am the mother of weak, as I am the mother of the virtuous. Whenever you feel lost, you confidently say: I have a mother." Sarada Devi was full of compassion and love and lived to alleviate the suffering and pain of others. With a life full of strict austerity, she taught people to love everything.


The goal of life is to achieve a state of adoration
"Sri Ramakrishna left me behind to manifest to the world the appearance of the Divine Mother."
"I will not be able to turn my back to anyone who call me Mother."
"If my son is playing in the dust or mud, I 'm the one who has to clean all the dirt from his body and hold him ."
"The goal of life is to achieve a state of adoration and to remain absorbed in Divine contemplation."
"God alone is real, and everything else is false."
"How can be people divided into castes? Children are all equal."
"The people only desire has to be the lack of desire, because the desire itself is the root of all suffering. But you can ask for dedication and detachment. They can not be classified as desires."
"Love is our strength. Through love, Master’s family took shape."
"The purpose of human life is attained only when he can give joy to someone else."
( Sarada Devi )


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