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New Book Release

Sri Sarada Devi and Her Divine Play

 

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Ramakrishna as We Saw Him – 2nd Edition Mahendra Nath Gupta (M.) Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play by Swami Saradananda Ramakrishna As We Saw Him God Lived with Them They Lived With God How to Live with God Sri Ramakrishna: A Biography in Pictures Sri Sarada Devi: A Biography in Pictures Vivekananda: East Meets West Meditation and Its Methods: by Swami Vivekananda A Guide to Spiritual Life Spiritual Treasures: Letters of Swami Turiyananda How a Shepherd Boy Became a Saint Avadhuta Gita: The Song of the Ever-Free Girish Chandra Ghosh Methods of Knowledge: According to Advaita Vedanta The Goal and the Way The Universe, God, and God-Realization Sri Ramakrishna's Life and Message in the Present Age Swami Vivekananda's Contribution to the Present Age Meditation: Its Process, Practice and Culmination Hinduism and Christianity Vedanta For All Mind According to Vedanta

 

Audio Gallery

 Sri Sarada Devi and Her Divine Play (Ramakrishna Institute of Culture, Sep 10, 2016)

Sri Sarada Devi and Her Divine Play Sw Chetanananda

 (click to play audio)

 Bhagavatam (Bhubaneswar, August 24, 2016)

Bhagavatam Sw Chetanananda

 (click to play audio)

 International Seminar (Belur Math January 28, 2014)

Presidential Address Sw Chetanananda

 (click to play audio)

 

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Thursday
Sep172015

Sri Sarada Devi and Her Divine Play

By Swami Chetanananda

Hardback; 876 pages. 125 illustrations.  

ISBN 978-0-916356-99-6

$39.95     Add to Cart    View Cart

Sri Sarada Devi and Her Divine Play is the story of Sarada Devi (1853–1920), the wife of the Indian sage Ramakrishna. The God-man of the nineteenth century, Ramakrishna is known worldwide for demonstrating religious tolerance and respect for all traditions. He was truly a spiritual phenomenon, and his disciple Swami Vivekananda was among the first to bring the wisdom of yoga and Vedanta to the West. This book describes how Sarada Devi, known affectionately as “Holy Mother,” carried out her husband’s spiritual ministry for 34 years after his passing. Her life is a glowing example of Vedanta in practice, as exemplified by her final message: “My child, if you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others. See your own faults. Learn to make the world your own. No one is a stranger, my child; the whole world is your own.”

 

Reviews

In this volume we find reverent, lovely recollections from those who knew Sarada Devi intimately as her companions and disciples. We experience the panorama of a human life, a woman’s life, fully lived a century and more ago,and also the story of a spiritual journey and realization that can edify readers even today. Sarada Devi’s life can be taken to demonstrate practical Vedanta: how to balance contemplative and active life, the ideals of monastics and householders.- Francis X. ClooneySJ Parkman Professor of Divinity, Harvard University

This is an account of one of the most extraordinary spiritual lives of modern
India. Swami Chetanananda has gathered materials from a wide range of
sources and woven them together in a compelling, highly readable biography of
Sri Sarada Devi. This book combines authentic scholarship with deep spiritual
understanding of the events. Readers from the East and the West will be gripped
and transformed by the narrative.-
Lance E. Nelson, University of San Diego

Sri Sarada Devi and Her Divine Play is a massive undertaking of nearly five
years of careful research, based on many past biographies in English and Bengali,
eyewitness accounts, and reminiscences. Swami Chetanananda has not
simply written a biography of Sarada Devi. This book is also a hagiography that
devotees of the Ramakrishna movement will treasure for many years to come,
and rightly so.  -
Gerald James LarsonRabindranath Tagore Professor Emeritus, Indiana University, Bloomington

Sarada Devi was one of India’s most unlikely saints, an unassuming Bengali
village girl who blossomed into an epitome of spirit. This is the remarkable story
of Sarada’s transformation and her extraordinary contributions. Superb! -
Linda Johnsenauthor, Daughters of the Goddess: The Women Saints of India


Contents

Illustrations

Preface

 Introduction

1. Jayrambati: An Idyllic Village in Bengal

2. Birth and Early Life of Sarada Devi

3. Marriage and Early Years

4. Journey to Dakshineswar

5. Awakening of Divinity

6. With Ramakrishna in Dakshineswar

7. Holy Mother’s Reminiscences of the Master

8. Farewell to Dakshineswar

9. In Shyampukur and Cossipore

10. Pilgrimage (August 1886 – August 1887)

11. Ordeals in Kamarpukur

12. In and Around Calcutta

13. Holy Mother and Vivekananda

14. Holy Mother and Western Women

15. Holy Mother and Girish Chandra Ghosh

16. Holy Mother and Mahendra Nath Gupta (M.)

17. Holy Mother’s Caretakers

18. Mahamaya’s Maya

19. Radhu

20. Holy Mother in the Midst of Her Family

21. Pilgrimage in South India

22. Last Visit to Varanasi

23. At Belur Math and with Disciples

24. Mother of the Ramakrishna Order

25. Mother of All

26. Holy Mother as a Guru

27. Ministry through Correspondence

28. Untold Stories of Jayrambati

29. Udbodhan: The Mother’s House

30. The Divinity of Holy Mother

31. The Human Aspects of Holy Mother

32. Two Flowers on One Stem

33. Further Glimpses of Holy Mother

34. Farewell to Jayrambati(27 January 1919 – 27 February 1920)

35. The Return to Her True Abode(27 February 1920 – 21 July 1920)

Epilogue 

Appendix 1: First Three Photographs of Holy Mother

Appendix 2: Swami Saradananda’s Diary

Appendix 3: Swami Nirlepananda’s Diary

 Appendix 4: Journeys of Ramakrishna and Holy Mother

Appendix 5: The Family Tree of Holy Mother

Sri Sarada Devi: A Chronology

Glossary

References

Index

 

Excerpts

  Mother of the Ramakrishna Order

Holy Mother tied the monks to her with unfathomable love and affection.

She watched over their physical needs as well as their spiritual welfare.

Swami Virajananda recalled:

Towards the end of the summer of 1893, Holy Mother was staying at 

Nilambar’s garden house in Belur. She lived on the second floor with 

Golap-ma and Yogin-ma. Swamis Yogananda and Trigunatitananda lived 

downstairs as her attendants and they did all her errands. The Ramakrishna 

Math was then at Alambazar. I joined there and went to visit the

Mother, which was my second meeting with her.* I prostrated at her feet

and she asked me to stay there that night. The next morning when I was

about to take leave, she said to me affectionately: “My son, this time I am

very much pained to see you. What a nice plump body you had previously.

Repeated attacks of malarial fever have now brought your health to

such an emaciated condition. Well, you have joined the monastery, but you

know those people there are penniless fakirs. How can they procure the

requisite nutritious food for you? What necessary care for your health is

possible there? So I suggest that you go back to your home and stay there

till you regain your health with proper diet and medicine.”

I was least prepared for these words of the Mother. Astounded, I couldn’t

utter anything for some time. After a while I said: “Mother, you are asking

me to go home. What shall I do there?” She replied: “You spend your time

practising meditation, japa, worship, and studying the scriptures.”

Coming downstairs I could not hold back my tears. I went to a secluded

corner of the garden and wept bitterly. Swami Yogananda heard the whole

story from Golap-ma about me. He consoled me and asked, “Have you

received any initiation?” “No, I have not,” I replied. “Then why did you

not ask the Mother what meditation and japa you were to do at home?”

said Yogananda. “Well, ask her tomorrow after your bath.”

Those words of the swami were to me a revelation. I did not know

till then that the Mother gave initiation to anybody. However, as per the

instructions of Yogananda, I went to the Mother the next morning after

she had finished her worship and put to her the tutored question. The

Mother then initiated me formally. The mantra that she gave me for japa

and meditation was not in tune with the particular aspect of sadhana I had

been following. So I was a little confused and asked her openly, “Mother,

I have been meditating on God in such and such a manner and that gives

me great satisfaction.” “No, my son, what you have received from me is

better for you,” was her short reply. How strange! I felt within myself an

instantaneous transformation of my outlook on sadhana.

I spent the whole day at the Mother’s place before my evening departure

for the Alambazar Math. It was July — right in the middle of the rains

in Bengal. The Ganges was full to the brim. A thick mist had enveloped the

atmosphere and the evening darkness was to follow soon. It was drizzling.

Suddenly I felt a sob deep in my heart. The gloomy inclement weather

outside represented my state of mind. With a heavy heart I went to the

Mother and said, “Mother, I will take leave of you now.” “Yes, my son,”

she said, “it is time. Well, come here now and then. See that the body gets

strong.” She then touched my chin by way of motherly blessing. I went out

of the house and got on the boat at the ferry ghat close by. The boat plying

northwards passed in front of the garden house. In that background of

twilight I looked at the Mother’s room on the terrace. She was standing on

the open terrace with her gaze fixed towards the Ganges on the boat. As

long as the house was visible from the boat I saw her in the same position.

My heart surged with emotion and tears came in profusion. Later I learned

that Golap-ma had protested her standing that way in the drizzling rain,

but she said with tearful eyes: “Oh, I am thinking how very sad the boy

must be feeling. So I am looking at him".

 

Letters

 Written on 28 July 1910 in Baghbazar, Calcutta, to Sara Bull, United States

Mother, 

            Hearing that you are very ill, I am very anxious about you! I heard

from your daughter Nivedita that you are a little better. I am praying to

Thakur, the Lord, for your speedy recovery. Your recovery will cause me

great joy.

            I have come here [to Calcutta], and all my children here are well, except

Yogin, who is not quite well, about which I am a little anxious, and very,

very sorry.

            I have offered on your behalf, to the feet of Ramakrishna, a tulsi and a

bel leaf, and three evenings sitting before him I have prayed for you. Also

I want to know if Jaya [Josephine MacLeod] is going to you. Please give

her my warm blessings, and do not forget Christine if you see her. I am

so sorry to hear that your daughter is not at present with you, in this time

of illness.

            And now from our Lord I am sending you a flower and sandal dust,

which I offered to him with worship. My deep love and blessing you will

realize. I love you very much and bless you from my heart. We are far

away from you, but I always feel as if you were quite near.

 

                                                                            Your Ma [Mother]

 

HOLY MOTHER AS GURU


Swami Vishweswarananda was a disciple of the Mother and lived in

Udbodhan House. One day he candidly said to her: “Mother, you initiate

so many people, but you never enquire about them. You don’t even give

a thought about what is happening to them. A guru keeps a keen eye on

his disciples, seeing whether they are developing spiritually. It would be

better if you did not give initiation to so many people. You should initiate

only as many as you can keep in touch with.”

  Holy Mother replied: “But the Master never forbade me to do so. He

instructed me about so many things; would he not have told me something

about what you have said? I give the responsibility for my disciples

to the Master. Every day I pray to him: ‘Please look after the disciples,

wherever they may be.’ Further, I received these mantras from the Master

himself. These are siddha mantras — very potent. One is sure to attain liberation

through them.”

  Once in Jayrambati, Vishweswarananda asked: “Mother, how does

one realize God? Worship, japa, meditation — do these help?”

“None of these helps,” replied the Mother.

“Then how does one get the vision of God?”

“It is only through God’s grace. But one must practise meditation and

japa. They remove the impurities of the mind. One must practise spiritual

disciplines, such as worship, japa, and meditation. As one gets the fragrance

of a flower by handling it, or as one gets the smell of sandalwood

by rubbing it against a stone, in the same way one gets spiritual awakening

by constantly thinking of God. But you can realize God right now if you become desireless.”

Illustrations

Preface

Introduction

1. Jayrambati: An Idyllic Village in Bengal

2. Birth and Early Life of Sarada Devi

3. Marriage and Early Years

4. Journey to Dakshineswar

5. Awakening of Divinity

6. With Ramakrishna in Dakshineswar

7. Holy Mother’s Reminiscences of the Master

8. Farewell to Dakshineswar

9. In Shyampukur and Cossipore

10. Pilgrimage (August 1886 – August 1887)

11. Ordeals in Kamarpukur

12. In and Around Calcutta

13. Holy Mother and Vivekananda

14. Holy Mother and Western Women

15. Holy Mother and Girish Chandra Ghosh

16. Holy Mother and Mahendra Nath Gupta (M.)

17. Holy Mother’s Caretakers

18. Mahamaya’s Maya

19. Radhu

20. Holy Mother in the Midst of Her Family

21. Pilgrimage in South India

22. Last Visit to Varanasi

23. At Belur Math and with Disciples

24. Mother of the Ramakrishna Order

25. Mother of All

26. Holy Mother as a Guru

27. Ministry through Correspondence

28. Untold Stories of Jayrambati

29. Udbodhan: The Mother’s House

30. The Divinity of Holy Mother

31. The Human Aspects of Holy Mother

32. Two Flowers on One Stem

33. Further Glimpses of Holy Mother

34. Farewell to Jayrambati(27 January 1919 – 27 February 1920)

35. The Return to Her True Abode(27 February 1920 – 21 July 1920)

Epilogue 

Appendix 1: First Three Photographs of Holy Mother

Appendix 2: Swami Saradananda’s Diary

Appendix 3: Swami Nirlepananda’s Diary

Appendix 4: Journeys of Ramakrishna and Holy Mother

 Appendix 5: The Family Tree of Holy Mother

Sri Sarada Devi: A Chronology

Glossary

References

Index