"Telo-bhelo." Many devotees of Holy Mother Sarada Devi know what that name stands for. The very mention of "Telo-bhelo" brings before their mind's eye a long and lonesome stretch of land on the way from Jayrambati to Dakshineswar. A meadow that was at one time infested with armed thieves known in India as dacoits. No one dared in those days to cross that place at night or alone.
From my childhood I have been interested in fruit and flower gardens. I had planted some jasmine, beli (bel), lotus-oleander, marigold and other flowers in the courtyard in front of the Holy Mother's house and also along the edges of the "Punyapukur" pond next to the house. Mother used to feel delighted to see these flowers. One day I saw Mother after her noonday rest digging at the roots of the jasmine plant. When I took the spud away from her hand saying, "I shall do that, you do not have to do it," she said, "It is you who do everything. You see, I love jasmine flowers and so, seeing that it is nearly time for them to bloom, I am only making the ground ready for watering the plants."
The Holy Mother’s native village, Jayrambati, is about twenty miles from the place where I was born. In order to go from Calcutta to her village, she had to pass through our little town. One afternoon, two of us boys, about 14 and 15 years old, went for a walk. Near an inn we saw a monk in orange robes, with a number of women standing around him. We began to criticize the monk to ourselves for being surrounded by so many women, and walked on.
The life of Sri Saradamani Devi or the Holy Mother, as she is now known all over India and abroad, is bereft of all those things which we are apt to consider great according to our present-day standards. Judged by the current standards, she looked like a common pious lady going round her daily routine household duties. Hers was a life of extreme simplicity devoid of all events and activities which attract one’s attention.