Monday, 10 October 2016

Holy Mother and Durga Puja

 

When Swamiji decided to celebrate Durga Puja at Belur Math, one of the first things he did was to seek the approval of Holy Mother Sarada Devi who was then staying at Baghbazar in Kolkata.  Swami Premananda went to Mother, and Mother whole-heartedly approved the proposal.  On Shashthi day She came with other women devotees and stayed at Nilambar Babu's garden house nearby.  Mother attended the awakening ceremony that day and attended the Puja on all the three subsequent days.

 

Since Sannyasins cannot undertake this kind of ritualistic worship, Swamiji decreed that the Puja should be done in the name of Holy Mother.  This became a tradition which continues to this day.  Swamiji looked upon Sri Sarada Devi as the divine counterpart of Sri Ramakrishna, born for the awakening of womankind in the modern world.  In a letter to Swami Shivananda written in 1894 from America, Swamiji had given expression to his conviction about the Divinity of Holy Mother as follows: ''Brother, I shall show how to worship the living Durga (Jivanta Durga), and then only shall I be worthy of my name.  I shall be relieved when you have purchased a plot of land and established there the living Durga, the Mother (i.e. Sri Sarada Devi).''  The presence of Holy Mother, the Living Durga, during the Puja must have given boundless joy and satisfaction to Swamiji and the other disciples of Sri Ramakrishna.

 

Holy Mother attended the Durga Puja at Belur Math in 1912 and in 1916 and perhaps in some other years also.  Each time Mother stayed for a few days and blessed Her monastic and lay children.