Sri Sarada Devi, Sri Ramakrishna,
and Swami Vivekananda
Sri Sarada Devi is the spiritual consort of Sri Ramakrishna, a revered God-man and spiritual teacher of the past century. She was born in the village of Jayrambati, about 60 miles northwest of Calcutta, on December 22, 1853.
Sri Sarada Devi
From a very early age, young Sarada exhibited spiritual qualities. Quiet and reflective by nature, she would readily go out of her way to help others. Such service came naturally and needed no prompting.
Young Sarada loved playing with holy images, especially the Goddesses Kali and Lakshmi and showed early evidence of spiritual adeptness. Although her family was poor Sarada enjoyed a happy childhood, though in later years she would assume the care of burdensome family members.
As was custom at the time, Sarada was promised in marriage at an early age. This was no ordinary betrothal, however. From his village of Kamarpukur, the God-intoxicated saint, Sri Ramakrishna, had sent his family to Sarada's doorstep to fetch the "bundle which had been marked" for him, referring to a practice of marking the best straw for use.
As was also the custom, she remained with her family until her late teens, when, in her concern, she felt it was time to join her husband. Reports were circulating that Sri Ramakrishna had gone mad, and Sarada resolved to go care for him.
Upon her arrival, however, the spiritual couple immediately recognized each other. As priest of the Kali Temple at Dakshineswar, he ordered all provisions for her care. Soon afterwards, Sri Ramakrishna arranged for a Shodashi Puja, that is, a worship of the Divine Mother as a virgin. When Sarada arrived for the worship, he had her take the special seat meant for the Divine Mother. During the ceremony, both entered into spiritual ecstacy. With this special worship, Sri Ramakrishna's intense spiritual quest came to an end. In the years to come, each would assume significant roles in bringing Vedanta inspiration and teachings to light.
Born in a remote village about one hundred miles from Calcutta on Feb 18, 1836, Sri Ramakrishna is felt by many to have ushered in a new age of spirituality. Through his life and experience, he showed that both the personal and impersonal aspects of God are real and that all religions lead a sincere aspirant to direct experience of this Divine Reality.
During Sri Ramakrishna's lifetime, Sri Sarada Devi was seemingly hidden away. Nonetheless, upon his mahasamadhi, death, she became the inspiraton and guiding force of the Ramakrishna movement for three decades. Her influence was direct and profound. Mother is recognized as a spiritual force by her own right, not merely as the wife of Sri Ramakrishna.
The Master himself set the vision of Mother. "She upon whom you are meditating is cutting vegetables," he told a young disciple. "Go and help her." And to another young disciple he said, "Nothing is possible except by Mother's grace."
Her all-compassionate love, keen insight, and careful attention to both the spiritual and mundane led to her being reverently referred to as the Holy Mother.
Swami VivekanandaIt was on the strength of Holy Mother's assurances that Swami Vivekananda traveled to America, wherein he became the foremost proponent of Vedanta in the West. Following his participation as Hindu delegate at the Chicago Parliament of the World's Religions in 1893, he spent more than three of his nine remaining years traveling and teaching in America. Swamiji, as he was called, left the body on July 4, 1902, at age 39. His short time on earth made a profound impact which was felt around the world.
During the United States Bicentennial Celebration, Swami Vivekananda was counted among those foreign visitors who have most contributed to the country. In India, January 12, Swamiji's birthday, has been declared All Youth Day, reflecting Swamiji's heroic efforts in his homeland and his visionary faith in humankind.
This page was updated July 24, 1999.
Copyright © 1996-99, by Sri Sarada Society