The History of Mother’s House

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.