Sri Sarada Devi is revered in the spiritual world as the 'Holy Mother'. From being a member of a poor family to being the spiritual counterpart of Sri Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi's life extruded divinity and was surrounded with spirituality in all aspects, though she led a quiet and mundane life.
Her contribution to the growth of the Ramakrishna Movement is crucial and unparalleled and the monastic order of the Mission preaches many learning from her life. There are several books dedicated to the life and teachings of this great saint.
The serenity, grace and simplicity which an onlooker beholds by just looking at the picture of Sri Sarada Devi, the spiritual consort of the great sixteenth-century mystic Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, cannot be expressed in words. Let us go through the journey of this revered saint who went on to be known as the Holy Mother.
Saradamani Mukhopadhyaya was born on 29 December 1853 to Shyama Sundari Devi and Ramchandra Mukhopadhyaya in a small village called Jayrambati near Calcutta. She was the eldest daughter among the other siblings in the family.
Sri Sarada Devi was married to Sri Ramakrishna at the age of six, in the year 1859. After the marriage Sarada Devi started living at her father's house and helped her poor parents with the household chores, while Sri Ramakrishna went back to Dakshineswar to continue with his spiritual practices. She continued to live in her parents' place until, after years passed, she heard people commenting about the mental state of her husband. Bothered by the comments, she set off to meet her husband.
Sri Sarada Devi went to Dakshineswar, to live with her husband Sri Ramakrishna at the age of 18. Worried and concerned by the rumours that her husband has lost his mind, she started her journey to meet her husband. She walked around 60 miles to Dakshineswar to met Sri Ramakrishna. After she met him, she understood that the rumours about Ramakrishna were wrong and he was a truly devoted person walking his spiritual journey.
Thereafter, since 1872, Sri Sarada Devi lived with Sri Ramakrishna. The relationship between them was grounded in spirituality and celibacy. Apart from her hours of meditation and japa, she spent most of her time in cooking for Sri Ramakrishna and his disciples and devotees.
Sri Sarada Devi was the first disciple of Sri Ramakrishna and under his guidance, she achieved great spiritual heights. Sri Ramakrishna also considered Sarada Devi as the Universal Mother Herself, and even worshipped her as the incarnation of the Divine Mother.
Sri Ramakrishna taught her holy mantras, how to guide people for spiritual life and also how to live an intensely spiritual life by discharging the household duties at the same time. Being with Sri Ramakrishna, she mastered to strike a balance between advancing in spiritual states and at the same time managing the family duties efficiently.
Addressed as 'Sri Sri Maa' by millions of devotees today or 'Holy Mother' by the spiritual world, including Swami Vivekananda, the favourite disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi continued to be a spiritual guide to the devotees even after Sri Ramakrishna passed away. She took over his mission and began to be the strength of the group of young disciples of Sri Ramakrishna, which later became the pillars of the Ramakrishna Order. She considered all the disciples and devotees as her own children and guided them as per their temperament and capacity, not because of the fact that she was the wife of their Guru, but a Universal Mother.
The teachings of Sri Sarada Devi find an unparalleled place in spirituality till today. After the death of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi spent many years in meditation, doing spiritual practices and pilgrimages. The exemplary life of the Holy Mother - a life of sacrifice, dedication, simplicity, motherly love for all and service is an inspiration to many walking the spiritual path, while her devotees still find divine love and grace sheltered in the knowledge of the Holy Mother.