as I am the mother of the virtuous.
Whenever you are in distress,
just say to yourself,
'I have a mother'"
The foregoing words of Sri Sarada Devi admirably illustrate the essence of her infinite compassion for suffering humanity.
Saradamani Devi, called Sarada for short, and later known and revered in India and abroad as Holy Mother, was born on December 22, 1853, in the little village of Jayrambati in West Bengal. At the age of five Sarada was married to Sri Ramakrishna, then twenty-three years old. Her new husband was, at this time, passing through a state of God-intoxication, completely indifferent to food, sleep, and other physical requirements, and absorbed day and night in meditation and prayer. People took him to be a madman. His relatives finally hit upon the idea of finding him a wife so as to bring his mind to a normal state.
It was about eight years after, when Sri Ramakrishna had his first contact with his new wife. The next four years Sarada spent at Jayrambati. Naturally she missed her husband, and an unexpressed anguish ate into her heart. In the meantime, a report came to the village that her husband had become insane, and the villagers began pointing to her as a madman's wife.
Now she made up her mind to visit Dakshineswar (where Sri Ramkrishna was installed as priest in the temple of Kali) and see the situation with her own eyes. Reaching her destination, Sarada went straight to Sri Ramakrishna's room. He received her cordially and in no time she discovered that her husband was as tender and affectionate as ever, if not more so. Henceforth she remained by his side as his wife and disciple, but always as a nun.
Sri Ramakrishna now devoted himself to teaching her abstruse spiritual truths and the disciplines to realise them in life. He also kept an eye on her health. Soon there developed between husband and wife an intimate relationship which, however, existed on a level completely inscrutable to the ordinary mind.