Visit of Holy Mother Sarada Devi
Holy Mother Sarada Devi
Holy Mother visited Varanasi thrice. The first visit was in September 1886, on her way to Vrindavan. Sri Ramakrishna has just passed away and devotees opined that the grief was to be controlled by sending her on pilgrimage. The group stayed at Varanasi for about 8-10 days en route. Holy Mother visited the temples of Vishwanathj, Annapurna and many others and even climbed atop Benimadhav Dhwaja. One day, during the evening services of Vishwanath, she went into such a state of ecstasy that unconscious what she was doing she walked to her dwelling place with unusually heavy steps. Questioned about it she exclaimed, "The Master had led me by hand from the temple." One day she went to see the famous ascetic Swami Bhaskarananda. On arrival the group saw the Swami was completely naked. Seeing the ladies uneasy the Swami said "Shanka mat karo maai, tum sab jagadamba ho! Sharam kya!"
Some devotees believe that during her second visit in 1895 along with her mother and a few other relatives, she experienced first-hand that Sri Ramakrishna was none other than Lord Vishwanath.
Lakshmi Nivas - where Holy Mother stayed
Holy Mother arrived in Varanasi for the third time on 5th November 1912. After resting for a while at the Ramakrishna Advaita Ashrama she went to "Lakshmi Nivas" the house completed hurriedly for her visit by the Dutta family of Bagbazar. She was accompanied by Master Mahasay, his wife and sister-in-law, Golap-ma, Bhanu-pishi, Bibhuti Ghosh (affectionately referred to by her as 'kalomanik') and others.
Holy Mother along with other ladies stayed on the first floor while others put up in the ground floor. The next day Mother went to visit the deities Vishwanath and Annapurna in a palanquin.
The ten-rupee note donated by Holy Mother
On November 9th, following the day of Shyamapuja Holy Mother visited the Ramakrishna Mission Home of Service, in presence of Swamis Brahmananda, Shivananda, and Turiyananda, Charu Babu (later Swami Shubhananda), Dr Kanjilal, and other devotees. Kedarbaba (Swami Achalananda) accompanied her palanquin and showed her round the entire campus. She expressed great delight at the place and all the arrangements and remarked, "The Master himself is present here and Mother Lakshmi is here in all her majesty." While talking to Kedarbaba she wanted to know about the initiation and the taking shape of the institution. Soon after going back to Lakshmi Nivas, she sent a ten-rupee note as donation to the Sevashrama. The note is still kept there as an invaluable asset. Later that day at her residence she said to a devotee, "I saw the Master himself present there, and that is why this work goes on here. These are all his work."
Shivalinga of Shooltankeswar
She visited Kedareswar temple and saw the vesper services. She remarked that the Kedar of Kedarnath in the Himalayas and that in Kashi were the same and sight of the later would kindle the same spiritual fervour as would be with that of the former. She visited other temples including Tilbhandeshwar where she said that it was a 'Swayambhulinga'. She used to have a fond feeling for the Shivalinga of Shooltankeswar near Dasaswamedh Ghat.
Holy Mother visited Sarnath during her stay. Devotee Miss Josephine Mcleod had arranged a large carriage for her but on the day of the visit she organized another carriage since the one arranged by Miss Mcleod did not arrive on time. The same was used by Swami Brahmananda and a few other devotees after its late arrival to proceed to Sarnath after Holy Mother had left. At Sarnath Holy Mother went around seeing the relics. On seeing a couple of European tourists she said "Those who had built this place have come again and are astonishingly saying that what remarkable things have been done!"
Sarnath - visited by Holy Mother
While coming back though she insisted that Rakhal (Swami Brahmananda) and others who had come by the bigger carriage take the same one back, she had to change plans and take the bigger carriage at the behest of Swami Brahmananda who took the one Holy Mother had come by. It so happened that on the way back that carriage upturned while negotiating a bend. Though there was no grave injury to the passengers, Swami Brahmananda was relieved that Mother had not taken the ill-fated carriage. Holy Mother coming to know of the incident said that what was in store for her was deliberately taken by Rakhal on his shoulders.
While in Varanasi Holy Mother had met a ascetic of the Nanakpanthi sect and the well known ascetic Chameli Puri.
Srimat Chameli Puri
While meeting Chameli Puri Golap Ma asked him from where he manages his food to which the elderly monk quipped back with firm resolve "Ek Durga Maai deti hai, aur kaun deta?" (Only Mother Durga provides, who else does?) Holy Mother arranged for some oranges, sweets and a blanket for him. Later one day when she was asked whether she liked to meet other monastics she said "What other monastics will I see? I have already seen so (referring to Chameli Puri). Who else is there?"
During her stay she listened to discourses on "Kashikhanda" and on a day, the Srimad Bhagavat at the Ramakrishna Advaita Ashrama. She witnessed Raaslila at the Advaita Ashrama and prostrated before the young boys playing the roles of Radha and Krishna and offered them money. On 30th December 1912, her birthday was celebrated at the Advaita Ashrama.