“Repeat the name of God always in the innermost core of your heart, and in all sincerity take refuge in God.” The Holy Mother Sri Saradamani Devi
The story of the life of the Holy Mother completes the trinity or Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekinanda and the Mother, Herself. Ramakrishna, as described in a later chapter, was one of the great God realized beings of all time. Swami Vivekananda was a great yogi, teacher, and instrument of Ramakrishna from the spiritual world.
Sri Saradamani Devi embodied the female principle, or Mother principle for the world, and was also used by Ramakrishna in the continuation of His mission, even after His death. Vivekananda and the Holy Mother were like the male and female, or yin and yang instruments to carry on Ramakrishna’s work.
Neither of them obtained the supreme exalted position that Ramakrishna had, however, by allowing themselves to be used as instruments by Him, their work was greatly enhanced, and they became, in and of themselves, lights to the world.
The Holy Mother was born to pious Brahmin parents on December 22, 1853. Her father was a very righteous man and sincere devotee of Rama. Her mother was very kind, religions, and was an excellent and organized householder.
One day her mother was sitting under a tree and had a vision of a small girl coming down from the tree. The girl clasped her mother about the neck, and she went unconscious. She had the premonition that the young girl had entered her womb. Her father, meanwhile, in another part of the city, took a nap after his meal and had a vivid dream of a young girl with beautiful golden complexion, holding his neck with his arms. When he asked who she was, she said, “You see, I have come to your family.” When he got home they each shared their experiences with each other and were convinced some Deity would be born in their family.
They called her, at her birth, Saradamani or Sarada for short. They went on to have six children. As a young child, Sarada had an imaginary playmate who used to help her in her work, who disappeared when other people came around.
Meanwhile in a nearby city, Ramakrishna was going through His spiritual practices and was demonstrating signs of being God intoxicated. His family, not understanding this, thought He was insane. Their solution was to find Him a bride.
They began traveling all over trying to find the right bride when Ramakrishna, in a state of samadhi said, “Go to Ramachandra Mukherjee’s house at Jayrambati and you will find the girl there.” In a state of omniscience, Ramakrishna had picked out the ideal spiritual mate for Himself. At the time of the betrothal, however, Sarada was only six years old, and Ramakrishna was twenty three years old. This was very common in India.
The actual marriage takes place when the wife attains maturity. Ramakrishna, in his God realized state of samadhi, in which He lived most of the time, saw all women as the embodiment of the Divine Mother of the universe. He also worshipped the Divine Mother in his spiritual practices. Sarada became the outer representation of His inner worship. Because of Ramakrishna’s total focus on the Eternal Self, they never sexually consummated their marriage. Ramakrishna prayed at an early age that his wife would be able to accept this, and to His amazement, she did.
Ramakrishna became her teacher and guru in spiritual and worldly matters because she was so young. He trained her in cultivating detachment from the world and to develop deep devotion to God. As she matured she became more introverted and worked very hard at all her household duties and spiritual practices.
She was different from Ramakrishna in that He was truly the embodiment of the archetypal renunciate. Her path was to practice the same philosophy, however, to do it more as a householder. In Swami Nikhilananda’s book, “Holy Mother”, he describes Ramakrishna’s attitude towards His wife and women in general from a quote from Ramakrishna’s teacher, Totapuri, who states, “He alone, is established in the realization of Brahman, who sees the same Self in both men and women. He who sees a difference between the sexes may be an aspirant, but he is far from having experienced Brahman.” On another occasion, Ramakrishna was sleeping next to his Sarada and awoke and looked at her with His worldly eyes. Immediately He said, “O mind, this is a woman’s body, people regard it as a most covetable object and are ever eager to enjoy it. But if a man embraces this body, he becomes entangled in the world and cannot realize God. Now, oh mind, don’t be a hypocrite. Your tongue must not say what you do not feel at heart. Be truthful and tell me what you want, this body or God. If you want the body, it is right here in front of you. Take it.” Ramakrishna immediately chose God and went into samadhi.
To Ramakrishna, Sarada was the ideal of Indian womanhood. She was a devoted wife, renunciate, teacher, and loving mother to all. This state of consciousness, of course, developed over time in being around such an exalted God realized saint and His disciples from such a young age. Ramakrishna, all along, was training her for her future mission.
At the age of 18, Sarada was initiated by Ramakrishna as the embodiment of the Divine Mother incarnate on earth. Ramakrishna, in a sense, set the mold for which the Holy Mother was in the process of moving into and filling. She was trained by Ramakrishna in the use of different mantras to create different states of samadhi.
Ramakrishna, as He evolved, would sometimes spend days in exalted states of samadhi and so depended on the Holy Mother to take care of and feed his physical body. The Holy Mother looked at Ramakrishna as God incarnate, (which, in truth, He was) and to serve Him was to worship God. Ramakrishna always treated her kindly and as an equal. To her Ramakrishna was teacher, father, mother, companion, husband and God. Ramakrishna, being a renunciate, could not deal with worldly matters at all. She tells a story of how He once touched a “coin”, and it was like He was stung by a horned fish. Ramakrishna watched over the Holy Mother’s development and made sure she meditated. She would get up every morning at 3:00 A.M. and begin her spiritual practice. She would later in life, teach her disciples the great need for firmness and determination to achieve spiritual progress. The Holy Mother never let her spiritual practices interfere with her daily duties. In this regard she was different from Ramakrishna, for they had different missions.