One of India's Famous Women
Sarada Devi was the wife and spiritual counterpart of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa. Born into a poor family in the town of Jayrambati West Bengal in the year 1853, she was betrothed to Sri Ramakrishna at a young age (as was the custom of the time), later following her husband to the famous Dakshineswar temple complex at the age of 18.
The couple lived completely celibate lives, dedicated absolutely to the path of divinity. Sri Ramakrishna at this time an already famous spiritual luminary, himself worshiped Sri Sarada Devi as a manifestation of the mother Goddess. After the passing of Sri Ramakrishna she took up the guidance of his followers.
Though considered a spiritual giant in her own time, it wasn’t the habit of Sri Sarada Devi to preach from raised platforms or fancy seats, her teachings came in the form of kindness, gentle reminders, affectionate strokes of the face or lovingly prepared plates of food. Her life was a perfect example of humility, dedication to spiritual practice and a profound love and respect for everyone she came in contact with, in this way she taught by her own example.
Before her passing she said “I tell you one thing- if you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others. Rather see your own faults. Learn to make the whole world your own. No one is a stranger my child, this whole world is your own”.
Saradamani Devi was the eldest daughter of a Brahmin family in West Bengal. She was born in December 1853 and left this life in July 1920.
Here is the wonderful hymn to Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi by Swami Abhedananda sung daily in Ramakrishna Mission centres.
प्रकृतिं परमामभयां वरदां नररूपधरां जनतापहराम्।
शरणागतसेवकतोषकरीं प्रणमामि परां जननीं जगताम्॥
To the Divine Shakti embodied in human form, the giver of boons and dispeller of fear, who quenches the fire of misery and fills with joy the hearts of those who take refuge in Her; to Thee my salutations, O Supreme Being, O Mother of the worlds!
गुणहीनसुतानपराधयुतान् कृपयाद्य समुद्धर मोहगतान्।
तरणीं भवसागरपारकरीं प्रणमामि परां जननीं जगताम्॥
Redeem Thy children, bestowing Thy mercy, full of faults, deluded, and without merit as we are! A veritable ship ferrying us across the ocean of Samsara art Thou;
To Thee my salutations, O Supreme Being, O Mother of the worlds!
विषयं कुसुमं परिहृत्य सदा चरणाम्बुरुहामृतशान्तिसुधाम्।
पिब भृङ्गमनो भवरोगहरां प्रणमामि परां जननीं जगताम्॥
Abandoning the flowers of worldly enjoyment, always drink, O honeybee of my mind, the nectar of eternal peace at the lotus of Mother’s feet—the sure panacea for the disease of worldliness. To Thee my salutations, O Supreme Being, O Mother of the worlds!
कृपां कुरु महादेवि सुतेषु प्रणतेषु च।
चरणाश्रयदानेन कृपामयि नमोऽस्तु ते॥
Bestow Thy grace, O great Divinity, on us Thy children, bowing in prostration before Thee, and grant us shelter at Thy feet, O Compassionate One. To Thee our salutations!
लज्जापटावृते नित्यं सारदे ज्ञानदायिके।
पापेभ्यो नः सदा रक्ष कृपामयि नमोऽस्तु ते॥
Though ever covered with the veil of modesty, Thou, O Mother Sarada, art really the Power that bestows spiritual illumination on human beings. Protect us from sins evermore, O grace embodied! To Thee our salutations!
तद्भावरञ्जिताकारां प्रणमामि मुहुर्मुहुः॥
To Her whose life is fused into one with Ramakrishna’s, whose delight consists in absorption in thought and talk of His glory, whose personality is soaked and suffused with His spirit; to Her our salutations!
पवित्रं चरितं यस्याः पवित्रं हीवनं तथा।
पवित्रतास्वरूपिण्यै तस्यै कुर्मो नमो नमः॥
To Her whose nature is sanctity, to Her whose life is sanctity, to Her who is the very embodiment of sanctity; to Her I bow down, again and again!
देवीं प्रसन्नां प्रणतार्तिहन्त्रीं योगीन्द्रपूज्यां युगधर्मपात्रीम्।
तां सारदां भक्तिविज्ञानदात्रीं दयास्वरूपां प्रणमामि नित्यम्॥
To the gracious Mother Sarada, the embodiment of mercy and the granter of devotion and knowledge, to Her who is worshipped by the chief of yogis, to Her who (with Sri Ramakrishna) has given a new revelation for the present age, and who assuages the miseries of devotees taking refuge at Her feet; to her do I ever bow down in worship.
स्नेहेन बध्नासि मनोऽस्मदीयं दोषानशेषान् सगुणीकरोषि।
अहेतुना नो दयसे सदोषान् स्वाङ्के गृहीत्वा यदिदं विचित्रम्॥
Binding our mind to Thee with the bonds of Thy love, Thou does transmute our very vices into virtues. Compassionate as Thou art without any consideration of merit, Thou dost, lo! Take even unworthy ones into Thy lap!
प्रसीद मातर्विनयेन याचे नित्यं भव स्नेहवती सुतेषु।
प्रेमैकबिन्दुं चिरदग्धचित्ते विषिञ्च चित्तं कुरु नः सुशान्तम्॥
Mother, be propitious and grant what I in humility beseech. May Thou be ever affectionate to us, Thy children; and casting even a drop of Thy love on our long-parched heart, render it cool and peaceful.
जननीं सारदां देवीं रामकृष्णं जगद्गुरुम्।
पादपद्मे तयोः श्रित्वा प्रणमामि मुहुर्मुहुः॥
Taking shelter at the lotus feet of the Mother, Sarada Devi, and Ramakrishna, the teacher of the world, I salute them again and again.