Life of Ramakrishna | 14. Female devotees
14. Female devotees
We have already seen that Śrī Ramakrishna’s realization lifted him above all sex-consciousness and enabled him to approach men and women with the innocence and simplicity of a child.
He looked upon every woman as the living embodiment of the Divine Mother.
Women devotees who flocked to him for spiritual guidance and help in God-realization felt not the least scruple or uneasiness in his presence.
He read their thoughts and understood their feelings as easily as those of men. And as his mind was absolutely pure, it was but natural that he evoked only the highest sentiments in them. He advised them to renounce lust and greed for wealth, and to struggle for God- realization.
Lives of some of his distinguished women devotees including Yogin-Ma, Golap-Ma, Aghormani Devi (better known as Gopal’s mother), Gauri-Ma, and Lakshmimani Devi furnish illuminating instances of how pure unalloyed devotion and spirit of absolute self-surrender can bestow supreme realization on all sincere seekers irrespective of caste or sex.
The magnetic touch of Śrī Ramakrishna’s divine love transformed their lives into pure gold and made them recipients of the transcendental bliss.
Many among such women devotees, even though belonging to highly aristocratic families, flung to the winds all social conventions and sometimes walked the whole distance from Calcutta to Dakshineswar in their eagerness to hear words of wisdom from Śrī Ramakrishna.
The Master, with his usual love and readiness, fulfilled the aspirations of these earnest souls and thus built up a brilliant group of women devotees. Their lives became in time an unfailing source of spiritual comfort to a large number of aspirants.
But no life was so angelic and impressive, so simple and yet sublime, as that of the Master’s own consort, Śāradā Devi, who enjoyed the unique privilege of living intimately with him and receiving for years the requisite spiritual training:
Her life of intense Sadhana, under the affectionate guidance of the Master, culminating in supreme spiritual realization, is a luminous instance of how conjugal relationship can be spiritualized.
She was, in fact, an ideal wife as well as a superb nun. Her life was one long stillness of prayer:
With her infinite patience and overflowing motherly love, the Holy Mother was a never-failing source of solace to all troubled souls that sought refuge with her. Her life was a marvellous synthesis of knowledge and devotion, Yoga and work.
No wonder that Śrī Ramakrishna, at the conclusion of his spiritual practices, worshipped her as the personification of the Divine Mother.