Dedicated to Sri Sarada Devi, The Holy Mother
An Organization Unfolds
We are an informal association of spiritual aspirants from all faiths who are interested in the universal ideals of Vedanta. Taking Sri Sarada Devi’s example as our model we try to apply the principles of Vedanta in our daily lives.
Sri Sarada Society had simple beginnings in December 1992. Its first ongoing project was to collect American subscriptions to Samvit, Sri Sarada Math's semiannual English publication, Samvit is published by the Sri Sarada Math center in New Delhi, India. As envisioned by Swami Vivekananda, Sri Sarada Math is an independent women's monastic order in India established in 1954 in honor of Sri Sarada Devi’s birth centenary. Soon after our inception, devotees close to Sri Sarada Society provided travel sponsorship for three Pravrajikas (nuns) from Sri Sarada Math who came to the U.S. in 1993 as participants in the second Parliament of the World's Religions held in Chicago.
It became apparent that Westerners, especially women, drawn to the teachings of Vedanta were feeling a need to encourage a more manifest expression of the principle of Divine Motherhood within themselves and in others. This led to the broadening of Sri Sarada Society as one of the first devotee organizations in the West dedicated to promoting the study of the life and teachings of Sri Sarada Devi as an inspiration and example through which the principles of Vedanta may find full and practical application in Western life.
Together with other devotee groups, Sri Sarada Society continues to facilitate visits and public tours by Pravrajikas in America. Additionally, Sri Sarada Society encourages informal retreats by small devotee groups, which may be held in one's own home.
The Ridgely Project
Sri Sarada Society worked to raise funds to purchase and preserve the Ridgely estate as a spiritual residence from 1994 through March 1997. We are proud to have led initial efforts to secure this sacred property associated with Swami Vivekananda. While we had intended to purchase the property to establish the work of Mother's daughters in the West, we are pleased the property is now within the Ramakrishna family and tradition as Vivekananda Retreat, Ridgely.
Sri Sarada Society Newsletters
Sri Sarada Society Update was initially introduced in 1995 to inform readers during the course of the Ridgely Project. It combined information about fundraising efforts with personal reflections and historical articles. Update also reported on the first two Western lecture tours by Pravrajikas visiting from Sri Sarada Math.
The newsletter was renamed Sri Sarada Society Notes in Spring 1998. Expanding upon the more literary style emerging in Update, Sri Sarada Society Notes welcomed articles from devotees throughout the world. Spiritually oriented content took a variety of forms, including both reflective and researched articles, poetry, biographies, and book reviews. In keeping with the increasing use of digital newsletters, distribution of Notes switched from mail to email delivery in 2013, enabling us to add color photos and graphic touches. Nonetheless, Sri Sarada Society continued to send black and white editions of the newsletter to readers who preferred printed copies.
The last issue of Sri Sarada Society Notes was printed in Spring 2017, after 22 years of newsletter publishing. A new website, Sri Sarada Society Notes Online, features easy access to selected articles from the newsletter collection. New offerings are occasionally posted online.
An Early Internet Presence
With this site Holy Mother's thread is woven
into the illusory web being spun in cyberspace.
Websites were just beginning to appear when Sri Sarada Society uploaded its initial Offering to Mother late in 1996 via an America Online membership. In 1998 we switched to an independent web host. As internet domain names were appearing, we registered Mother’s site as srisarada.org. Seeing the growing use of the internet as another aspect of Maya, the site was renamed Holy Mother’s Cyber-Tantun, representing the Mother’s silken thread, tantun, woven into this new web of illusion and keeping us connected to Her.
Although there have been many advances in website technology we have chosen to make few changes, both in homage to the loving devotion with which Mother’s was created and as reminder of the early simplicity of the internet. Features include: Weaving a Tapestry of Mother through sayings, photos, and remanences; Mother’s Online Temple; and an introduction to Vedanta. During its first few years Mother’s Courtyard, an internet forum, drew devotees from around the world together in lively and thoughtful discussion.
Our Incorporation Draws to a Close
Sri Sarada Society became incorporated as an independent charitable nonprofit organization under New York State Nonprofit Law in 1993. As ongoing responsibilities seemed to naturally fall away, Sri Sarada Society's board members felt its need to continue as a nonprofit waning. In Fall 2019, members voted to initiate the end of our status as an independent nonprofit organization with the assistance of legal counsel. A key step in this process required that any remaining funds held by an organization and tagged for a specific purpose must be given to another nonprofit organization that is both (1) similar in purpose to Sri Sarada Society and (2) willing to use the funds for the same purpose for which they were originally intended. During the early years as a nonprofit, the Society received donations carrying the stipulation that the funds be reserved for future use when nuns from Sri Sarada Math establish a presence in the United States. After prayerful consideration of the nonprofit organizations the Society has shared ties with. it was felt that Sri Sarada Mahila Samiti of Northern California was the closest match, being a devotee organization centered on Holy Mother and best able to honor the original intent of donors. Upon entering into agreement, the Society's funds were transferred to the Samiti as directed by law. Approval by the State of New York to dissolve Sri Sarada Society, Inc., as a charitable nonprofit came in 2021 after nearly two years. The corporation’s checking and savings accounts have been closed and any subsequent donations are being returned.
We wish to convey our heartfelt appreciation for the support that has been given us through the years. Lifelong friendships have grown from the holy company shared with brother and sister devotees and friends around the world. We are encouraged in seeing Thakur, Mother and Swamiji at work through the many new and diverse online expressions of Vedanta drawing interest in America and throughout the world. As we each journey along our spiritual path, we anticipate these new online associations will continue to foster the interconnectedness that is possible within Mother's web of cyberspace.
Vedanta assures us that “all this is verily Brahman.” As spiritual aspirants we know, at least as a guiding principle, that nothing is Real except the Divine, which is playing hide and seek with us behind an ever-alluring veil. Our spiritual tools of discrimination and detachment apply no less in this age than in ages past. We can trust that Mother has spun this newest attraction. Holding fast to her, we can use it for our spiritual benefit no less than the so-called “physical” world. If anything, it can serve as a reminder of the overall illusion of Maya.