Pilgrimage Vrindavan

On the 30th of August 1886 Holy Mother (Sri Sarada Devi) departed from the house of Balaram Bose in Kolkata to Vrindavan. She made her first of two pilgrimages to this sacred place associated with Sri Krishna and Radha in order to alay her grief from the Master’s (Sri Ramakrishna) passing just two weeks prior. Accompanying her were Yogen (Swami Yogananda), Kali (Swami Abhedananda), Latu (Swami Adbhutananda), Lakshmi-Didi (Sri Ramakrishna’s niece), Golap-Ma, and Nikunja Devi (the wife of Master Mahashaya, Mahendranath Gupta).

At Vrindavan, Holy Mother resided at Kalababu’s Kunja, which belonged to Balarama Bose’s family on the Yamuna (Jamuna) River. She was reunited with Yogin-Ma (Yogindra Mohini Biswas), a disciple of the Master and her life-long companion. About their initial meeting here, Yogin-Ma recorded: ‘I had come to Vrindavan a few weeks before the demise of the Master. On meeting me at Vrindavan she clasped me to her bosom, crying in grief, “Oh, Yogin!”, and began to weep bitterly. After the death of the Master, this was my first meeting with her. At the beginning of her stay in Vrindavan, the Mother used to weep often. One day the Master appeared before her and said, “Well, why are you crying so much? Here I am. Where have I gone? It is just like going from one room to another.”’ This vision and assurance helped lessen Holy Mother’s tears and grief.

Golap Ma

Swami Yogananda

Her life at Vrindavan was filled with constant worship, meditation and spiritual experiences. She visited many of the main temples several times. Despite the many miles and the rheumatism in her legs she circumambulated the city and its surrounding areas. In exalted moods she would sometimes, and unknowingly to others, walk along the banks of the Yamuna from where she then later had to be searched and brought back. She became free from grief and memories of her separation from the Master.

At the temple of Radharaman (Krishna), she earnestly prayed that she might not see other people’s faults and weaknesses. Her prayer was answered as this tendency was not present in her life. She related these analogous words to a devotee just a few days prior to her passing; “But I tell you one thing – if you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others. Rather see your own faults. Learn to make the whole world your own. No one is a stranger, my child: the whole world is your own.” She advised everyone of this truth, exemplified it in her own life and had limitless compassion for all.

While at Vrindavan, Holy Mother received, through repeated visions of Sri Ramakrishna, his request to initiate Yogen, her devoted attendant. He was her first disciple and this marked the beginning of her active spiritual ministry. During the Master’s last illness at the Cossipore garden house he had told Holy Mother that she would have to do spiritual ministration. He told her that it was not only his responsibility but hers also. Sri Ramakrishna had said to her; "Well, won’t you do anything? Am I to do all?" She replied, “I am a woman. What can I do?” At this the Master replied, “No, No, you have much to do.” She realized the truth of his words. As his spiritual counterpart she stepped into the work of spreading the message of the Master.

During the one year Holy Mother lived in Vrindavan, she visited Haridwar where she offered a portion of Sri Ramakrishna’s relics to the sacred waters of the Brahma-kunda, where the Ganga (River Ganges) leaves the mountains and enters the plains. She also crossed the Ganga to climb Chandi Hill and worship the goddess Chandi. She then visited the temple of Govinda (Krishna) at Jaipur and from there went to Pushkar where she climbed Savitri Hill (Ratnagiri Hill, dedicated to the wife of Brahma). On her return to Kolkata in August 1887, she stopped in Allahabad and at the holy confluence of the Ganga and the Yamuna River she immersed the remaining relics of Sri Ramakrishna.

Holy Mother’s second pilgrimage to Vrindavan was in 1895. This time she was accompanied by her mother and brother, Swami Yogananda, Golap-Ma and Yogin-Ma. They resided at Kalababu’s Kunja for two months.

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