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.
The embodiment of love, compassion, and peace, epitome of motherhood, a guide to the spiritual life of both the monk and the householder through the example of her very life was Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi. It is difficult to find an equivalent to Mother’s life and gospel. Every word of hers was uttered with compassion for the good of generations to come. Her words give solace and sustenance to all her children. As her words have touched and sanctified the life of many, they transformed my life also.
Holy Mother, in a unique way, fulfilled the duties of wife, mother, and nun. There have been before in the world the ideal wife, the ideal mother, and the ideal nun, but a combination of the three in one person is rare indeed. Holy Mother was wedded to Sri Ramakrishna at the age of five, lived with him as long as he lived, and ministered to his physical needs in the best tradition of a Hindu wife. She was his companion in spiritual life. She demonstrated that wifely devotion and love are possible without demanding physical satisfaction from one's mate.
It is very difficult to speak about the Holy Mother. As a matter of fact, when we were young people in the Order we never spoke publicly about the Holy Mother, nor was even her picture shown to outside world except to those who were very close devotees. We wanted to keep the Mother exclusively within our hearts.