According to Hindu Moon Calendar Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi’s birthday is on December 24, 2013. On this day, all over the world devotees of Holy Mother are offering special worship to her and thinking about her life and teachings.
Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi was born on December 22, 1853 in a village called Jayrambati, Bengal, India. Her father Ramachandra Mukherjee and mother Shyamasubdari Devi were very simple and pious people. They both were kind, loving, and eager to serve people who were in need. Little Sarada was very active and helping her family in various choirs.
She got married to Sri Ramakrishna. Since Sarada was young, she was staying with her parents and was waiting to join her husband at a proper age. Later on when rumors spread that Sri Ramakrishna has become insane, Sarada decided to go to see her husband in Kolkata and to be with him. After going to Kolkata, she found out that her husband was not insane, but he was a saint. When Sri Ramakrishna asked her whether she came to drag him down to the world or to support him in his spiritual path, Sarada Devi said that she came to help him. Sarada Devi learned everything about spirituality from Sri Ramakrishna and started doing spiritual practice herself. She had visions of God. She used to say that she could see God at her wish as one see an apple in one’s hand.
On the auspicious day for worship of Universal Mother, June 5, 1872, Sri Ramakrishna asked Sarada Devi to take a seat at the altar prepared for the worship. Sarada Devi was very shy, but at that time in the intense spiritual environment she followed what Sri Ramakrishna asked her to do. She sat on the altar and Sri Ramakrishna worshiped her as a Universal Mother. Thus, he raised the spiritual consciousness of Sarada Devi, invoked the Universal Motherhood in her, and gave the highest honor to womanhood. Sri Sarada Devi showed from her life that a person born in a small village, deprived of education, living in a small room for years, and fulfilling one’s responsibilities could become a great inspiring person. Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi inspired millions of devotees during her lifetime and afterwards.
Swami Vivekananda wrote to his brother disciple Swami Shivananda regarding Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi in a letter from USA in 1894, “You have not yet understood the wonderful significance of Mother’s life — none of you. But gradually you will know. Without Shakti (Power) there is no regeneration for the world. Why is it that our country is the weakest and the most backward of all countries?– because Shakti is held in dishonor there. Mother has been born to revive that wonderful Shakti in India; and making her the nucleus, once more will Gargis and Maitreyis be born into the world. Dear brother, you understand little now, but by degrees you will come to know it all. Hence it is her Math that I want first. . . . Without the grace of Shakti nothing is to be accomplished. What do I find in America and Europe?– the worship of Shakti, the worship of Power. Yet they worship Her ignorantly through sense – gratification. Imagine, then, what a lot of good they will achieve who will worship Her with all purity, in a Sattvika spirit, looking upon Her as their mother! I am coming to understand things clearer every day, my insight is opening out more and more. Hence we must first build a Math for Mother. First Mother and Mother’s daughters, then Father and Father’s sons — can you understand this? . . . To me, Mother’s grace is a hundred thousand times more valuable than Father’s. Mother’s grace, Mother’s blessings are all paramount to me. . . . Please pardon me. I am a little bigoted there, as regards Mother. If but Mother orders, her demons can work anything. Brother, before proceeding to America I wrote to Mother to bless me. Her blessings came, and at one bound I cleared the ocean.”
Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita says that when one attains same-sighted-ness, meaning one sees same God in all and serve them with love, then one has attained the highest knowledge. We see how naturally this was happening in Holy Mother’s life. Once when Holy Mother’s niece Nalini was serving lunch to a Muslim bandit Amjad by throwing food from a distance Holy Mother was upset. She told Nalini that how one can enjoy food when it is thrown from a distance. Holy Mother served Amjad with great love and then cleaned his plate. Nalini shrieked, “Aunt, you have lost your caste!” Holy Mother said, “As Sarat (Swami Saradananda) is my son, exactly so is Amjad.” It is amazing to see that Holy Mother has surpassed all the differences of castes, countries, religions, and high or low. For her all were her children. She loved all equally.
Holy Mother’s teachings were very practical. She emphasized that japa is a very important spiritual practice. She said that as the clock is continuously ticking one should continuously repeat God’s name. Japa purifies the mind. She herself was doing japa for many hours. She said that if one does japa regularly at a fixed time for few years then definitely one makes spiritual progress.
Swami Nikhilananda who was blessed by Holy Mother in person and who was the spiritual head of Ramakrishna Vivekananda Center, New York, USA, during 1933-1973 wrote an excellent biography of Holy Mother. On the cover page of this biography he selected the following teaching of Holy Mother:
“If you want peace, then do not look into anybody’s faults. Look into your own faults. Learn to make whole world your own. No one is a stranger; the whole world is your own.” – Holy Mother’s last message.
This is a simple but a profound message. Fault-finding causes all the problems and pain in our life. I think a person finds others’ faults to satisfy one’s own ego. This way one thinks that he/she is superior to others. It ultimately harms the fault-finder. A person with fault-finding nature tries to cover one’s own faults and does not let him/her to improve. When we look into ourselves, we will find many faults in us. If we are sincere about our spiritual development, then we find our faults and try to get read of them. Swami Vivekananda says that we see outside whatever we have inside. We see jealousy in others because we have jealousy in our own mind. Similarly it is true for other weaknesses. When our mind is filled with divinity, then we will see divinity in others. When we see God within us, then we see God in all. Then the whole world becomes our own.