Sara Devi is regarded as one of the notable women of the nineteenth century due to her insightful teachings. The followers of Sri Ramakrishna monastic order reverentially call her the Holy Mother as she paved the way for present and future women to take up monastic life as the way to serve the creator. She was born in 1853 to the low-income family of Brahmin and was devoted to from her early childhood days.

This respected woman of God served others diligently until the last day when she left the mortal world in 1920. But what makes her unique was the spiritual enfoldment that she experienced under the Master. Sarada Devi was Sri Ramakrishna’s first disciple. He trained the Holy Mother on all religious matters and went ahead to expose her also to lots of critical secular issues on a variety of subjects such as cooking, managing social relations, arranging articles of domestic use, and much more.

Due to her experience, the Holy Mother’s teachings have a direct impact on the present human condition as well. Here are 5 of her instructions that will move you to think much deeper about life than before.

Self Effort Influences Divine Grace

Many people in the 19th century wanted to know how they could get the vision of God. Sarada Devi knew that these people had a genuine concern and provided an answer that can help you too. She said that people could hear from God only through grace. Given her belief that she was not extraordinary, the Holy Mother taught that anybody could see God’s visions. However, she asked the people to express obedience to God as a matter of priority. In particular, Sarada Devi required them to practice meditation and Japa. This way, she explained, they would remove the impurities in their minds and be able to worship from their hearts. As such, if you are involved in regular worship and anticipate the blessings of God, you increase your chances of getting the vision of God.

The Mind is Everything

The Holy Mother taught that one’s mind determines his or her destiny. She believed that all human beings have the power to achieve their entire spiritual and life goals. However, when people think they lack the capacity, they limit themselves and cannot meet their dreams. Thus, people who want to have a close connection with God must first see themselves as his favorites and regularly call upon Him.

Be Merciful to Others

Sarada Devi also helped her followers to lead peaceful lives. According to the Holy Mother, anyone who wants peace must stop finding fault in others. She considered that human beings are not perfect. In this regard, if one focuses on finding the fault of others, he or she will come across too many mistakes. To make it worse, no one can solve all human limitations. So, these individuals end up leading hatred-filled lives.

The Holy Mother wanted people to learn to see their own faults instead. This way, she argued his spiritual children would make the whole world their own. Most likely, Sarada Devi wanted people to use this teaching to learn that they are wrongdoers just as their neighbors are to surrender themselves at the feet of the Master.

The Name of God is Supreme

Sarada Devi also taught that humans should use the name of God to overcome the evil forces in the world. She likened this name with the wind. According to her, wind causes the clouds to move, as it desires. In the same way, God has the power to destroy all the shadows of worldliness. The Holy Mother used this analogy to make her listeners clearly understand the power of God.

The Final Thoughts

The Holy Mother lived a quiet life, but her relationship with God made her exceptionally wise. Her quotes clearly explain the meaning of life. If you are a follower of the master, you must abide by her teaching as they have a direct bearing on the world’s present condition.

Due to wars, poverty, and other problems, most people today lack peace. They are running to experts for advice but ignore the Master. Others turn to the new religions that are cluttered in abstract dogmas and creeds that do not address the immediate human needs. As a result, most people fail to get the necessary help, and their actions are imbued with hatred and lack of compassion, which lead to the present increase in wars and political indifference. The good news, however, is that you can enjoy inner peace. Only follow these simply teaching of the woman of God whose actions were characterized with love and compassion until the last moment of her life.

Many people mistakenly think that Sarada Devi was just a humble religious woman who focused on meditation. Of course, it is correct that she was modest and dedicated a lot of her time connecting with God. But she did many other things that have actually transformed how we see the world. Sarada’s humble background did not stop her from challenging the world order of her time. Read for the crucial contributions of the Holy Mother.

Source of Inspiration

The Holy Mother led an ordinary life in an Indian village for the whole of her life. She did not have any formal education. What’s more, her poor parents could not meet her basic needs. During the historic famine of 1864, this young woman prayed and worked consistently to help her parents help the starving population.

As you can see, she had nothing to show. However, due to her meditation and hard work, she became the teacher of the locals on spiritual matters. After a while, this divine mother became one of the most respected followers of Sri Ramakrishna. She rose from grace to grace. As such, the Holy Mother is a role model for people who want to achieve their life goals but lack the necessary resources or come from humble backgrounds.

Promoter of Social Work

The Holy Mother had a lot of wisdom, and many people believed in her. At one time, she worked as the advisory head of the Ramakrishna Mission. This organization became a monastic order and was devoted to social work. This way, Sarada used religion to help the less fortunate people in the society.

Visionary of the Ramakrishna Order

Through her influence, Sarada initiated many monks into their belief system. One of the famous individuals who accepted her as his teacher and joined the Ramakrishna Order was Swami Nikhilananda. This guy was a preeminent freedom fighter. Also, he was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi. He eventually launched the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center by the help of the Holy Mother in New York. Through similar initiatives, the Holy Mother helped to give her religious movement an international face.

Advocate for the Education of Women

Though Sarada Devi was not educated, she advocated for the rights of women to quality education. Due to her wisdom, she brought other competent people on board to help her achieve this dream. In particular, she gave Davamata the duty of ensuring that girls from all walks of life had the opportunity to study together. Due to the Holy Mother’s love for education, Sri Sarada Math and Ramakrishna Sarada Mission were founded in 1954 in her honor. As you can see, Sarada’s activities had both a direct and indirect impact on the education of the girl-child.

Teacher of All

After the death of Ramakrishna, the followers of the Order relied mainly on the Holy Mother for divine inspiration. She used this opportunity to teach her devotees essential lessons that have formed part of the religion’s core doctrines. Having been the first disciple of the Master, the followers put a lot of significance on her insights.

Sarada Devi always taught them to practice meditation, protect their minds and hearts from worldliness, and love their neighbors. During her last days, the Holy Mother gave the last advice to her grieving followers. She taught them to avoid finding faults in others, but start seeing their own errors to have peace. This teaching of mercy is considered her last message to the war-torn world. Once she spoke this, the divine woman passed on at 1:30 am on July 20, 1910. As such, her teachings have remained important to date as they influence the teachings that you will find in any of the temples you that you want to visit. Besides, they can befit anyone.

Final Thoughts

We cannot forget about Sarada Devi as her ideas and life influence almost all things in many parts of the world. Her teachings offer useful guidance to the followers of the Sri Ramakrishna monastic order. She also championed for the rights of all women. If you look at her contribution from childhood to death, you can easily conclude that she made an outstanding contribution to the word despite her humble background. As such, with dedication and hard work, you are able to achieve anything.

 ‘Sri Sarada Devi Stotram’

This song  ‘Prakritim Paramam…’ on Sri Sarada Devi was composed by Swami Abhedananda, one of the direct disciples of Sri Ramakrishna.

 ‘Sri Sarada Devi He Maha Maate…’

This famous Kannada song on Sri Sarada Devi sang by Swami Purusothamananda, a monk of Ramakrishna Order.

If you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others. Rather see your own faults. 

When one realizes God, He grants knowledge and illumination from within; one knows it oneself. 

Continue to pray without losing heart. Everything will happen in time. If one surrenders himself totally at his feet, the Master will see that everything is set right.

Even the impossible becomes possible through devotion.

Our sacred nation exists in the world to show the power of magnificient spiritual strength which is the real foundation for all other developments. Today this land may seem to be devoid of culture and tradition;it may appear that virtuous persons face  hardship and the vice enjoy victory;we may also feel that we are engulfed by immeasyrable falsehood and unruly incidents.

In this crucial situation, the question can easily arise…Who will work for social welfare and cultural revival? The answer is …the great spiritual heritage of this holy nation will never perish!…Indomitable spiritual force will rise and bring back the same glory!

Whenever the grace of God is showered, blessings fall upon parched land and rejuvanates the seeds of rich spiritual tradition tradition that lies dormant and makes them prosper. One such seed of dharma with ‘potential divinity’ sprouted in the form of “SRI SARADA ASHRAM” in 1988 and has grown as an illustrious heavenly tree, sheltering and giving warm love through real service to thousands of people in and around Villupuram district across Tamilnadu in South India.

Inspired by the ideals of Bhagavan Sri Ramakarishna, Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda, Srimath Swami Ananandaji Maharaj, took initiation from His Holiness Srimath Swami Bhuteshanandaji Maharaj, the 12th President of Sri Ramakrishna Math and Mission, Kolkatta.He took up the great monastic life and through his complete renunciation, bound

less love, total surrender and supreme penance has nouorished this unique organisation.

The ashram is located 200Kms south of Chennai, 120kms north of Trichy and 130kms east of Salem in a natural and beautiful environment, providing peace and solace to those who approach for Divine blessings. Under the loving and spirited leadership of Yatiswari Ramakrishnapriya Amba, the President of Sarada Ashram, a team of 45 well eductaed Sanyasin sisters have dedicated their whole life ,leaving their kith and kin by undertaking sacred penance and sacrificed their all, devoting their whole and soul for doing service to mankind through selfless and committed monastic life.By absolute and incessant  efforts the dedicated sisters are doing excellent work in the areas of education,health, agriculture, culture and socio economic upliftment for the rural poor and downtrodden. Vivekananda Sevapratishtan is the service wing which functions tirelessly with a noble mission and foresight for the upliftment of masses in villages.

ANCESTRY

About sixty miles to the west of Calcutta, on the south-eastern border of the Bankura District, is situated the little hamlet of Jayrambati, the native village of the Holy Mother. The rivulet Amodar, a perennial stream of transparent waters, meanders its way along the northern boundary of the village. Today, thanks to railroad and motor traffic, a night’s journey is enough to reach Jayrambati from Calcutta. But at the time to which our narrative refers, it was much more inaccessible, since one had to travel for more than two days either on foot or in a palanquin, passing through fields and wildernesses infested by robbers.
Compared with some of the adjoining villages, Jayrambati, with not more than a hundred little mud houses in it, must be considered small. Its soil, however, was fairly rich, and an industrious peasantry raised in it a variety of crops, consisting chiefly of paddy, potatoes and vegetables of various kinds. While self-sufficient in the matter of staple foodstuffs, the village had no bazaar or fairs, and its inhabitants had, therefore, to depend on bigger villages of the neighborhood like KotalpurKoyapet and Kamarpukur – all within six miles of it – for the purchase of several necessaries of life like cloth, and for the marketing of the surplus products of their fields. In spite of its backwardness, life in it was fairly happy before the ravages of malaria carried misery into its homes in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The monotony of the villagers’ life was frequently relieved by the public celebrations of the great Hindu festivals like Durga Puja, Kali Puja, Dol Purnima and the rest, and by the special worship of various deities, be it of Sitala or of Dharma, of Santinath, the Siva image of the neighbouring village of Sihor or of Simhavahini, the Mother deity of Jayrambati itself.
   In a population consisting mainly of agriculturists and artisans, the village had only two Brahmin families, the Banerjis and the Mukherjis, The Holy Mother was a daughter of the Mukherji family. Her father Ramachandra Mukherji had three younger brothers – Trailokya Nath, a scholar well-versed in Sanskrit, who met with premature death, and Isvar Chandra, and Nilmadhav who remained lifelong celibate. All the brothers lived as a joint family.
  Ramachandra was a poor man, but he was virtuous, upright, and an example of the Brahmanical ideal. ‘My father,’ said the Holy Mother in later days, ‘was a very good man. He was a great devotee of Rama. He had unswerving devotion to the idea of a Brahmin’s life. He could not accept gifts indiscriminately. He loved to smoke, and as he smoked – he was so simple and humble – he would address in a friendly way every passer-by that crossed his door and said cordially, “Come in, brother. Have a smoke.”‘ We come across a remarkable instance of Ramachandra’s generosity and goodness when Bengal was in the grip of a terrible famine in 1864. Ramachandra was himself a poor man, making a meager living from the cultivation of a few acres of paddy fields, the performance of priestly duties, and the making of sacred threads. He had none the less a good stock of paddy from the surplus of the previous year’s produce, and without any consideration for his own worldly circumstances, he spent it all in feeding the famine-stricken.

Recounting her impression of this event, which took place in her tenth year, the Holy Mother said to her disciple in later days: ‘At one time a terrible famine devastated Jayrambati. People without number would come to our house for food. We had a store of rice from the previous year’s produce. My father made Khichuri, cooking that rice and pulse together. The Khichuri used to be kept in a number of pots. All the members of the family would take only that Khichuri. The starving people would also eat the same. He would, however, say, ‘A little plain rice of good variety shall be cooked for my daughter (Sarada, the Holy Mother herself). She will eat that.’ Sometimes the starving people would come in such large numbers that the food would not be sufficient for them. Then new Khichuri would be cooked, and when the hot stuff was poured in large earthen pots, I would fan and make it cool. Hungry people would be waiting for it.  One day a low class girl came there. She had shaggy hair and blood-shot eyes like those of a lunatic. She saw the rice bran soaking in a tub for the cattle and started eating it. We said to her, “There is Khichuri inside the house, go and eat it,” but she was too impatient to wait. Is it a joke to bear the agony of an empty stomach?’
 Ramachandra had for his partner in life a woman fully worthy of him. His wife Syamasundari Devi – the daughter of Hari Prasad Mazumdar of Sihor-, besides being a strongly-built and industrious woman and an able housewife, was also imbued with the same high ideals as her husband. ‘She was,’ according to the Holy Mother, ‘very simple, guileless and compassionate.’ She was devoted to the Deity, and it was her nature always to feel delighted in feeding people and working for their good. In later days when her daughter’s circle of devotees increased, she used to love and welcome them with great affection. ‘My mother,’ said the Holy Mother, ‘used to be so pleased when anyone of the devotees came to our place. She would look after them with great attention. She looked upon this family of devotees as her own flesh and blood.’ 

Written by DASSANA SHARMA

FIRST SERIES: RECORDED BY SARAYUBALA DEVI,

January, 1911

ONE Friday morning Sriman K-came to our home at Pataldanga in Calcutta and said: “We shall go to Baghbazar tomorrow afternoon to pay our respects to the Holy Mother. Please be ready at that time.” Well, after all, I shall now have the good fortune to prostrate myself at the feet of the Holy Mother! Such was my exuberance of joy that I could hardly sleep during the night. I had been living in Calcutta for the last fourteen or fifteen years. And after such a length of time the Mother was gracious enough to afford me this opportunity to pay my respects to her.
Next day in the afternoon we hired a carriage, fetched Sumati from the Brahmo Girls School, and set out to the Holy Mother’s house at Baghbazar. I can hardly describe the eagerness and fervour which I felt at the time of this pilgrimage. I reached her house at Baghbazar and found her standing at the door of the shrine room. She was standing with one foot at the door-sill and the other on the door-mat. There was no veil on her head. Her left arm was raised high and placed on the door, while the right one was hanging by the side. The upper part of her body was bare. She had been looking wistfully as if expecting somebody. As soon as I prostrated myself at her feet, she asked Sumati about me. Sumati introduced me as her elder sister. She had been visiting the Holy Mother for some time past. Then the Mother looked at me and said, “Look here, my child, how much I am troubled by these people here! My sister-in-law and her daughter, Radhu, are all down with fever. I do not know who will look after them and nurse them. Will you wait for a minute? Let me wash my cloth and come back.” We waited and she returned after a few minutes. Then she offered us two handfuls of some sweets and asked me to share those with my sister. Sumati had to go back to her school. Therefore we could not stay for a longer time. We saluted her and took leave of her. The Mother said, “Come again.” This inter-view of five minutes could not satiate the inordinate hankering of my soul. I returned home all the more thirsty.


12th February, 1911

When I went to the Udbodhan Office on this day, I found that the Holy Mother had gone to the house of Balaram Bose. I had not to wait long before she returned. As soon as I saluted her she asked me with a smile “Who has accompanied you to-day?” “One of my nephews,” I replied.
   Mother: How are you today.,? How is your sister? You did not come for a long time. I was anxious about you and thought you might not be doing well.
   I was surprised because I had met her once only and that just for five minutes. But she had not forgotten us. My eyes were filled with tears of joy.
   The Mother said with great tenderness, “You have come here, and I was feeling restive at the house of Balaram.”
   I was completely taken aback. My sister Sumati had sent two woollen caps through me for ‘Khude’, the baby nephew of the Holy Mother. I handed them over to her. She expressed much joy at these trifles. She sat on the bed and said, “Sit by me here.” I sat by her side. The Mother said with great tenderness, “It seems, my child, as if I have met you many a time before, as if we know each other for a long time.” “I do not know,” said I, “I was here one day only for five minutes.”
The Mother laughed and began to speak highly of the devotion and sincerity of mine and my sister’s. But I do not know how far I. deserve those compliments. Gradually many women devotees assembled. All of them looked wistfully and with great love at the smiling and compassionate face of the Mother. I had never seen such a sight before. My mind was feasting upon the spiritual joy, when someone reminded me that the carriage was ready for my return. The Mother at once left her seat and offered me some Prasada. She held these before me and said, “Eat these!” I felt shy of eating in the presence of others without sharing. The Mother said, “Why do you hesitate? Take these sweets.” I accepted the offerings in my hand. I bowed down before her and took my leave. She said “Come again. Can you go down the steps alone, or shall I go with you ‘?” She came with me as far as the staircase. I said,  ” I can go alone. You need not take trouble.” The Mother said in parting, “Come another day in the morning.” I returned with a sense of fulfilment and thought, “What a wonderful love!”  

Mother Sarada Devi, the goddess of peace and happiness had come to Calcutta on many occasions to shower her bounty on the people of this city. She stayed here for quite a long period. There being no permanent place for her stay, the sannyasi children of hers were quite perturbed and finally succeeded in building a house for her at Baghbazar, north Calcutta.

Frequent changes in location had caused a loss of important documents related to the Udbodhan Office. So, it was decided to shift the office immediately to a tiled house on the newly acquired piece of land (the present Mother’s House). Mother was to be brought here only after the second storey was complete. The responsibility of Sri Ramakrishna’s worship and service of Mother was to be with the monks of the Udbodhan Office.

There was not enough money to start the construction work at that time. The total amount with Udbodhan was Rs. 2700/- which had come from the sale of Swami Vivekananda’s literature. However, Swami Saradananda mustered up courage and started the work with this small capital. On his personal surety he borrowed Rs. 5700/-, but this too was inadcquate and he had to borrow more money to complete the building. When completed, the house had six rooms on the ground noor, three on the first floor, and one on the second floor. Thus, there were a total of ten rooms. The entrance was from the north, and a shuttered door was in the south.

Udbodhan Office shifted to this building permanently in November 1908 and Holy Mother arrived at the new house on Sunday, May 23, 1909. The new centre of Ramakrishna Math, Belur was christened ‘Sri Ramakrishna Math, Baghbazar’. Since its inception, service of the Holy Mother and managing the affairs of Udbodhan Office had been its principal objectives. That is why it is known as “Mother’s House” as well as “Udbodhan Office”.

A room in the north-west of the first floor of the building was used as the shrine of Sri Ramakrishna from the beginning. The photograph of Sri Ramakrishlla was kept on a silver stand on an altar on the eastern side of the room and was worshipped daily. Sister Nivedita had prepared a canopy made of silk which used to be hung over the stand. The room to its left (as one faces it) was meant for Mother.

Mother wanted some changes made. She decided to stay in the shrine room itself instead of the room meant for her. Mother always carried with her the photograph of Sri Ramakrishna which he once worshipped at Dakshineswar. This photograph used to be kept on the silver throne. While performing worship she used to keep this photograph on the altar facing west. Presently, this photograph is kept on the throne.

The first and the second floors were meant for Mother and her companions. The room to the right of the marbled staircase on the first floor and one room on the second floor was meant for the use of Golap-Ma, Yogin-Ma and other female attendants of the Mother. At times she used to go to the terrace to dry her hair and have Ganga darshan and watch Dakshineswar temple. Both were visible from the terrace. Swami Saradananda got one wooden staircase 2.5 feet wide, constructed from the ground floor to the terrace. Ganga being near, Mother had no difficulty in going there for bath.

Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, one of the greatest revolutionaries of India, had met the Mother on a Sunday in 1910 and had sought her blessings in this house. His wife Mrinalini Devi, and his mother too had come here and had received the blessings of the Mother. It is also here that Sister Nivedita used to meet Mother.