"When Holy Mother came to Dakshineswar
at the age of sixteen, Sri Ramakrishna asked her whether she had come to pull him down to
a worldly life. Without hesitation she said, "No, I am here to help you realize your
Chosen Ideal." From then on, Holy Mother lived with Sri Ramakrishna as his spiritual
companion, devoted wife, disciple, and always the nun. She was the embodiment of purity.
Her mind was never sullied by the faintest breath of worldliness, though she lived with
Sri Ramakrishna for the greater part of fourteen years. She never missed communion with
God, whom she described as lying in the palm of her hand, though she was engaged day and
night in various activities.
"Holy Mother was an unusual awakener
of souls. With her disciples she served as teacher, dissolving their doubts, as mother,
who through love and compassion won their hearts, and as the Divinity, who assured them of
liberation. Herself nearly illiterate, through simple words she taught them the most
profound truths. Her affectionate maternal love tamed their rebellious spirits; but her
great power lay in her solicitude for all. Often she said, "I am the Mother, who will
look after them if not I ?" She encouraged them when they were depressed because of
slow spiritual progress, and she took upon herself their sins and iniquities, suffering on
"Holy Mother was conscious of her
divine nature, but she rarely expressed this awareness. For many years Sri Ramakrishna
practiced great austerities and formally renounced the world, but Holy Mother lived as a
simple householder, surrounded by quarrelsome and greedy relatives. As a teacher she
taught the realization of God alone is real, and everything else, impermanent. The human
body so treasured by most people, survives cremations as only three pounds of ashes. Holy
Mother -- humility itself -- claimed that she was in no way different from other devotees
of the Master. Her disciples felt awed and uplifted when she blessed them by touching
their head with the same hand which had touched the feet of God. She was fully aware of
her disciples' present limitations and their future possibilities. No one went away from
her with a downcast heart.
"The outstanding virtues of Indian
womanhood are courage, serenity, self-control, sweetness, compassion, wisdom, and an
intuitive relationship with God. Holy Mother possessed all these virtues. Since the
acquisition of such gifts is the dream of all women, Holy Mother may aptly be seen as the
symbol of aspiration of women everywhere."
-- Swami Nikhilananda
"Holy Mother and the Ideal of Indian
Published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madras, India.