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SaradaDevi
FromWikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

FortheHindugoddess,seeSaraswati.
SaradaDevi(Bengali: SharodDebi(helpinfo))(22

SriSaradaDevi

December185321July1920),bornSaradamani
Mukhopadhyay(Bengali:
),wasthewifeand
spiritualcounterpartofRamakrishnaParamhansa,anineteenth
centurymysticofBengal.SaradaDeviisalsoreverentiallyaddressed
astheHolyMother(SriMaaor)bythefollowersofthe
Ramakrishnamonasticorder.SaradaDeviorSriSriMaisoneofthe
notablewomansaintsandmysticsofthenineteenthcentury.She
pavedthewayforthefuturegenerationofwomentotakeup
monasticityasthemeansandendoflife.InfactSriSaradaMathand
RamakrishnaSaradaMissionsituatedatDakshineshwarisbasedon
theidealsandlifeofSriSriMa.SaradaDeviplayedanimportantrole
inthegrowthoftheRamakrishnaMovement.
SaradaDeviwasborninJayrambati.Attheageoffiveshewas
betrothedtoRamakrishna,whomshejoinedatDakshineswarKali
templewhenshewasinherlateteens.Accordingtohertraditional
biographers,bothlivedlivesofunbrokencontinence,showingthe

SaradaDevi
Born

SaradamaniMukhopadhyaya
22December1853
Jayrambati,Bengal,British
India

Died

21July1920(aged66)
Bagbazar,Bengal,British
India

idealsofahouseholderandofthemonasticwaysoflife.After
Ramakrishna'sdeath,SaradaDevistayedmostofthetimeeitherat
JayrambatiorattheUdbodhanoffice,Calcutta.Thedisciplesof
Ramakrishnaregardedherastheirownmother,andaftertheir
guru'sdeathlookedtoherforadviceandencouragement.The
followersoftheRamakrishnamovementandalargesectionof
devoteesacrosstheworldworshipSriSriMaSaradaDeviasan
incarnationoftheAdiParashaktiortheDivineMother.
Contents[hide]
1 Biography
1.1 Birthandparentage
1.2 Betrothal
1.3 AtDakshineswarKaliTemple

Titles/honours (ShreeShreeMaa)
Guru

SriSriRamakrishna
Paramhansa

Quotation

"Iamthemotherofthewicked,
asIamthemotherofthe
virtuous.Neverfear.
Wheneveryouareindistress,
justsaytoyourself'Ihavea
mother.'"[1]

1.4 Pilgrimage
1.5 AtCalcutta
1.6 Lastdays
2 Teachingsandquotes
3 Impactandlegacy
4 Seealso
5 Notes
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6 References
7 Furtherreading
8 Externallinks

Biography

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Birthandparentage

[ edit ]

SaradamaniDeviwasbornofBrahminparentsastheeldestdaughteron
22December1853,inthequietvillageofJayrambatiinpresentdayWest
Bengal,India.[2]Herparents,RamachandraMukhopadhyayandShyama
SundariDevi,[3]werepoor.HerfatherRamchandraearnedhislivingasa
farmerandthroughtheperformanceofpriestlyduties.Accordingto
traditionalaccounts,RamachandraandSyamasundarihadvisionsand
supernaturaleventsforetellingthebirthofadivinebeingastheir
daughter.[2][4]
SaradalivedthesimplelifeofanIndianvillagegirl.AsachildSarada
thenknownasSaradamaniwasfascinatedbytraditionalHindufolklore

SaradaDevi'shouse
atJayrambati(centre)whereshelived
forthemajorityofherlife

andnarratives.Asinthecaseofmostgirlsofruralupbringing,shedidnot
receiveanyformaleducationbutlearnedtoserveothersasshehelped
hermotherrunalargehouseholdandlookedafterheryoungerbrothers.[5][6]Duringtheterriblefamineof1864,
Saradaworkedceaselesslyasherfamilyservedfoodtohungrypeople.[7]Shewasinterestedintheclaymodelsof
goddessesKaliandLakshmi,whichsheworshipedregularly.Sheissaidtohavestartedmeditatingfromher
childhoodandtraditionalaccountsrecounthermysticvisionsandexperiences.[2]AccordingtoSaradaDevi,she
usedtoseeabevyofeightgirlsofheragecomingfromanunknownplaceandescortingherinherchoresduring
herchildhood.[6]

Betrothal

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RamakrishnathenknownasGadadharChattopadhayaandapriestoftheDakshineswarKaliTemplesince1855
waspractisingspiritualausterities.Hismotherandbrotherthoughtthatamarriagewouldbeagoodsteadying
effectonhim,bydivertinghisattentionawayfromspiritualausteritiesandvisions.[8]Itisreportedthat
RamakrishnahimselfindicatedSaradamaniasthebride.[9]InMay1859,SaradawasbetrothedtoRamakrishna.
Saradawas5yearsoldandRamakrishnawas23theagedifferencewastypicalfor19thcenturyrural
Bengal.[10][11]
Afterthebetrothal,SaradawaslefttothecareofherparentsandRamakrishnareturnedto
Dakshineswar.[9]SaradanextmetRamakrishnawhenshewasfourteenyearsold,andshespentthreemonths
withhimatKamarpukur.There,RamakrishnaimpartedtoSaradainstructionsonmeditationandspiritual
life.[12]Ramakrishna'sfrequentbhavasamadhi(ecstasy)[13]andunorthodoxwaysofworshipledsomeonlookers
todoubthismentalstability,whileothersregardedhimasagreatsaint.[14]SaradajoinedRamakrishnaat
Dakshineswarin1872onherownaccordwhenshewaseighteen,afterhearingtheserumoursabouthismental
health.ShefoundRamakrishnatobeakindandcaringperson.[11]

AtDakshineswarKaliTemple
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AtDakshineswar,SaradaDevistayedinatinyroominthenahabat(music
tower).[15]ShestayedatDakshineswaruntil1885,exceptforshortperiods
whenshevisitedJayrambati.[16]BythistimeRamakrishnahadalready
embracedthemonasticlifeofasannyasinasaresult,themarriagewas
neverconsummated.[11][17]Asapriest,Ramakrishnaperformedtheritual
ceremonytheShodashiPujawhereSaradaDeviwasmadetositinthe
seatofgoddessKali,andworshipedasthedivine
motherTripurasundari.[18][19]AccordingtoSwamiSaradanandaadirect
discipleofRamakrishna,Ramakrishnamarriedtoshowtheworldanideal
ofasexlessmarriage.[20]RamakrishnaregardedSaradaasanincarnation
oftheDivineMother,[21]addressingherasSreeMaa(HolyMother)andit
wasbythisnamethatshewasknowntoRamakrishna'sdisciples.[22]
SaradaDevi'sdaysbeganat3am.Afterfinishingherablutionsin
theBhgirathiHooghly,shewouldpracticejapaandmeditationuntil
daybreak.[23]Ramakrishnataughtherthesacredmantras,andinstructed
herhowtoinitiatepeopleandguidetheminspirituallife.[24]SaradaDeviis

Thesouthsideofthenahabat(music
tower),whereSaradaDevilivedina
smallroomonthegroundfloor.

regardedasRamakrishna'sfirstdisciple.[25]Exceptforherhoursof
meditation,mostofhertimewasspentincookingforRamakrishnaand
thegrowingnumberofhisdevotees.WhileSaradaDeviremained
completelyinthebackground,herunassuming,warmpersonalityattracted
somefemaledevoteestobecomeherlifelongcompanions.[26]
DuringRamakrishna'slastdays,duringwhichhesufferedfromthroat
cancer,SaradaDeviplayedanimportantroleinnursinghimandpreparing
suitablefoodforhimandhisdisciples.Itisreportedthatafter
Ramakrishna'sdeathinAugust1886,whenSaradaDevitriedtoremove
herbraceletsasthecustomsdictatedforawidow,shehadavisionof
Ramakrishnainwhichhesaid,"Ihavenotpassedaway,Ihavegonefrom
oneroomtoanother."[27]Accordingtoher,whenevershethoughtof

SaradaDevi'stinyroomonthe
groundfloorofthenahabat,now
ashrine

dressinglikeawidow,shehadavisionofRamakrishnaaskinghernotto
doso.[28]AfterRamakrishna'sdeath,SaradaDevicontinuedtoplayanimportantroleinthenascentreligious
movement.[22]Sheremainedthespiritualguideofthemovementforthenext34years.[29]

Pilgrimage

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AfterRamakrishna'sdeath,SaradaDevibeganherpilgrimagethroughNorthIndia,accompaniedbyapartyof
womendisciplesincludingLakshmiDidi,GopalMa,andRamakrishna'shouseholderandmonasticdisciples.The
partyvisitedtheVishwanathTempleofgodShivaatBanarasandthecityofAyodhya,whichisassociatedwithlife
ofgodRama.Later,shevisitedVrindavanwhichisassociatedwithgodKrishna.Accordingtotraditionalaccounts,
atVrindavan,sheexperiencednirvikalpasamadhiandbeganherroleasguru.Sheinitiatedseveralof
Ramakrishna'sdisciplesincludingMahendranathGupta,Yogenwithamantra.[30][31]Accordingtohertraditional
biographersanddisciples,tocallher"Mother"wasnomereexpressionofrespectandallthosewhomether
becameawareofamaternalqualityinher.[31]

AtCalcutta

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Afterthepilgrimage,SaradaDevilivedaloneinKamarpukur,thevillage
whereRamakrishnawasborn.There,sheenduredpoverty,vergingon
starvationforayear.In1888,whenthenewsreachedthelayand
monasticdisciplesofRamakrishnathatsheneededtheircareand
attention,theyinvitedhertoCalcuttaandarrangedforherstay.Swami
SaradanandabuiltapermanenthouseforSaradaDeviinCalcutta.The
housewasnamedtheUdbodhanHouse,aftertheBengalimonthly
magazinepublishedbytheRamakrishnaMath.Thehouse,alsoknown
asMayerbati("HolyMother'sHouse"),iswhereshespentthelongest
periodofherlifeoutsideJayrambati.[30]
SaradaDeviwenttoCalcuttabecauseshehadmanyhardshipsin
Kamarpukur.Shehadnofinancialresourcesandaboutnoonecouldtake
careofher.Shetriedtohidehersituation,butitleakedout.Whenthe
devoteesatCalcuttaheardthis,theypersuadedSaradaDevitocometo
Calcutta.[32]

SaradaDeviworshipingat
herUdbodhanresidenceinCalcutta.

AtUdbodhanHouse,SaradaDeviwasaccompaniedbyotherwomen
disciplesanddevoteesofRamakrishna,GolapMa,YoginMa,GopalerMa,LakshmiDidiandGauriMabeingthe
bestknown.Anincreasingnumberofpeoplebegantoflockforguidance,instructionsandspiritual
initiation.[33]OtherWesternwomenfollowersofRamakrishnaOrderincludingSisterNivedita[34]andSister
Devamataformedcloserelationshipwithher.[35][36]Accordingtoherbiographers,herinnatemotherlinessput
visitorsatease.SwamiNikhilananda,herdirectdisciplewrites,"Thoughshehadnochildrenoftheflesh,shehad
manyofthespirit."[37]Sheregardedallherdisciplesasherownchildren.[38]
SaradaDevireceivedthehighestreverencefromtheRamakrishnaOrderanditsdevotees.Ramakrishnahad
badehercontinuehismissionafterhisdeathandwantedhisdisciplesnottomakeanydistinctionbetweenhimself
andher.Accordingtoherdevoteesandtraditionalbiographers,thehospitalityofSaradaDeviwasuniqueandwas
characterisedbymotherlycareandsolicitude.[39]Traditionalaccountsrecountthemysticalexperiencesofher
devotees.Somedreamtofherasagoddessinhumanformthoughtheyhadneverseenherpicturebefore.
Othersreportedlyreceivedtheirinitiationfromherintheirdream.OnesuchexampleisofGirishChandraGhosh,
thefatherofBengalidrama,whoreportedlysawSaradaDeviinadreamwhenhewasnineteenyearsoldand
receivedamantra.Whenhemethermanyyearslater,tohisastonishmentshewasthesamepersoninthe
dream.[40]

Lastdays

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SaradaDevispentherfinalyearsmovingbackandforthbetweenJayrambatiandCalcutta.InJanuary1919,
SaradaDeviwenttoJayrambatiandstayedthereforoverayear.Duringthelastthreemonthsofherstay,her
healthseriouslydeclined.HerstrengthwasgreatlyimpairedandshewasbroughtbacktoCalcuttaon27February
1920.Forthenextfivemonthsshecontinuedtosuffer.Shortlybeforeherdeath,shegavethelastadvicetothe
griefstrickendevotees,"ButItellyouonethingifyouwantpeaceofmind,donotfindfaultwithothers.Rather
seeyourownfaults.Learntomakethewholeworldyourown.Nooneisastrangermychild:thiswholeworldis
yourown!"Thisisconsideredasherlastmessagetotheworld.[33]Shediedat1.30amonTuesdaythe20July
1920atMayerBadi(inthefirstflooroftheShrineRoom),Kolkata.HerbodywascrematedattheBelur
Math.[33]Todayatemplestandsatthatveryspot.

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