It may bea question why MaSarada is considered the Universal Mother. Ma Sarada an ocean of love withall her motherly affection to all, attained this statusas,her husband Avatara Sri Ramakrishna worshiped sarada as his Shakti, a supreme Divine.
According to scripture, “Shakti” is the potency of “Brahman “and inseparable from it, like fire and its power to burn. The potency is unable to function by itself. “Brahman”, which is existence, consciousness, and bliss, by its mere presence impregnates” Shakti” as it were. Hence she is called Mahamaya, the Great
When Avatara descends then Shakti follows him; as Sita arrived for Shri Ram, Radhika appeared for Shri Krishna, Joshodhora for Goutam Buddha, Bishnupriya for Shri Chaitanya and Sarada Devi the spiritual ‘consort’ of Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Sarada’s passion for service and motherly affection towards every one irrespective of cast and creed, poor and rich, honest and dishonest, good and wicked were evident as she frequently uttered “I am the Mother of All”.
Holy Mother’s immaculate purity, her unceasing meditation and prayer, her all-embracing compassion and utter selflessness, endowed her with the delicacy and tenderness of a maiden, a subtle grace with quiet dignity, and simplicity took her to the height of acceptance as universal mother, poured to the world a love as divine as that of the Universal Mother who could never show any discrimination towards any section of humanity.
Gadhadhar Chattopadhyay of Kamarpukur who later incarnated as Shri Ramakrishna came to Dakshineswar to assist his elder brother Ramkumar, the then principal priest. After the demise of his elder brother Ramakrishna, who experienced spiritual ecstasies from a young age, started his spiritual journey as a priest at the Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, built by Rani Rashmoni.
The worship in the temple intensified Sri Ramakrishna’s yearning for a living vision of the Mother of the Universe. He began to spend in meditation. Worshiping MA KALI in Dakshineswar continued and he would notstop adoration until the Goddess of the world appeared before him. After prolonged worship when MA KALI did not appear before him, owing to mental agony and over powered with great restlessness, he took the sword from the hand of the image of mother kali and attempted to end his life suddenly the blessed Mother revealed herself. The buildings with their different parts, the temple, and everything else vanished from his sight, leaving no trace whatsoever, and insteadhe saw a limitless, infinite, effulgent ocean of consciousness bliss, altogether new, and he felt the presence of the Divine Mother.
Ramakrishna lived as a very intense devotee and for him, Kali was not a deity, but was a living reality When someone asked him about Kali worship, he said: ”I do not worship Kali made of clay and straw. My Mother is the conscious principle. My Mother is pure Satchidananda — Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute.
For his extraordinary activities, people began to think that Gadhardar might besuffering from a mental disorder. Rumors spread to Kamarpukur that Ramakrishna become unstable as a result of his spiritual practices at Dakshineswar. Ramakrishna’s mother and his elder brother, Rameswar, decided to get Ramakrishna married, thinking that marriage would be a good steadying influence upon him — by forcing him to take up responsibilities, and keep his attention on normal affairs rather than on his spiritual practices and visions. After a prolonged search when the bride for him was not found, Gadadhar told his mother that the bride was ready for him in the house of Ramchandra Mukherjee at Joyrambati. Sarada was the daughter of Ramchandra Mukherjee who was born on 22nd December, 1853.
Since her childhood she was full of kindness, and was also calm and quiet bynature. During the great famine of Bengal from 1864-65, large number of people of Bankura district, West Bengal were also in distressfor want of food Father of Sri Ma was poor but was kind hearted. Sarada’s father Ramachandra prepared Kichudi—a type of gruel made of rice and lentil cooked together—from the grains stored in his grain silo and distributed it to the hungry. During distribution, little Sarada was ever ready with her hand-fan to cool the hot Khichudi served on the plates of the starving people.
After her marriage Sarada who was then five years old went to her in-laws house and returned after a few days. There after remained in her father’s house for a number of years,
A few years later she went to Dakshineswar when one day in a lonely place Thakur Sri Sri Ramakrishna asked mother, if she came to distract him from his Godly life and pull him into the world of Maya. Sarada Devi responded, “No, I am here to help you realize your Chosen Ideal.”
Sri Ramakrishna taught her how to lead a spiritual life while discharging her household duties. They led absolutely pure lives, and Sarada Devi served Sri Ramakrishna as his devoted wife and disciple, Sri Ramakrishna looked upon Sarada Devi as a special manifestation of Divine Mother of the universe. In 1872, on the night of the Phala-harini-Kali-puja, he ritualistically worshipped Sarada Devi as the Divine Mother, thereby awakening universal Motherhood latent in her.
After Sri Ramakrishna’s passing away in 1886, Sarada Devi spent some months in pilgrimage, and then went to Kamarpukur where she lived in great privation. Coming to know of this, the disciples of Sri Ramakrishna brought her to Kolkata. This marked a turning point in her life. She now began to accept spiritual seekers as her disciples, and became the open portal to immortality for hundreds of people. Her great universal mother-heart, endowed with boundless love and compassion, embraced all people without any distinction, including many who had lived sinful lives.
Once during the time of Jagaddhatri Puja, Ramhriday Ghosal of Haldipukurat joyrambati watched Ma Sarada in meditation, when he lost hissense as, he could not distinguish the difference between Debi Jagaddhatri and Ma Sarada. This miracle of heavenly and worldly activities of Holy mother was unique.
Sister Nibedita came to India on the advice of Swami Vivekananda for awakening Indian Women. Within a few days of arrival in India, on 17 March 1898, Margaret met Ma Sarada, who, surpassing all language and cultural barriers, embraced her as “khooki” (address to little girl child in Bengali). Mother not only welcomedher but also took meal with her.
It was the utmost desire of Ma Sarada that the girls of our country be educated. At the time it was a custom in our country that the guardians of the girls arranged marriage for the girls at their attaining age of eight to nine. Mother said that the girls should not only be educated but learn some vocational work for self reliance and as means of empowerment.
On 13 November 1898 the Holy Mother Sarada Devi came to open the school of Nivedita. After worshiping Ramakrishna she consecrated the school and blessed it, saying: ‘I pray that the blessings of the Divine Mother may be upon the school and the girls; and the girls trained from the school may become ideal girls.’ Nivedita became extremely delighted and recorded her feelings later as ‘I cannot imagine ... Till her death in 1911, Nivedita remained one of the closest associates of Sarada Devi.
Although she was highly respected for her spiritual status, and literally worshipped as the Divine Mother, she continued to live like a simple village mother, washing clothes, sweeping the floor, bringing water from the pond, dressing vegetables, cooking and serving food. At Jayrambati she lived with her brothers and their families. They gave her endless troubles but, established as she was in the awareness of God and in Divine Motherhood, she always remained calm and self-possessed, showering love and blessings on all who came into contact with her. As Sister Nivedita stated, “Her life was one long stillness of prayer.”
In the history of humanity there has never been another woman who looked upon herself as the Mother of all beings, including animals and birds, and spent her whole life in serving them as her children, undergoing unending sacrifice and self-denial. About her role in the mission of Sri Ramakrishna on earth, she stated: “My son, you know the Master had a maternal attitude (matri-bhava) towards every one. He has left me behind to manifest that Divine Motherhood in the world.”
On account of her immaculate purity, extraordinary for bearance, selfless service, unconditional love, wisdom and spiritual illumination, Swami Vivekananda regarded Sri Sarada Devi as the ideal for women in the modern age. He believed that with the advent of Holy Mother, the spiritual awakening of women in modern times had begun.
[“Jananing Saradang Deving Ramkrishnang Jagatgurung
Padpadme Tayasritwa Pranamami Muhurmhu” ]