One of the pleasantest things in the world, says the poet, is going on a journey. But it must be done with a purpose. It should not be a mere squandering away of money, time and energy. The loftier the purpose, the greater the reward. Especially, if the traveller is a spiritually exalted person the benefit will accrue not only to him but also to all those who meet him in the places he visits. It is the Tirtikurvanti tirtani — places of pilgrimage are enriched in holiness by the visit of the holy ones.
It is against this back drop that we must study the trip of Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi to South India in the second decade of the last century. She was Sri Guru Maharaj’s Shakti. He had transmitted through the Shodasi Puja the enormous spiritual powers he had acquired by his austerities and he had commissioned her to spread his unique message. He had also asked her to go on pilgrimage to places he had been unable to visit. South India was not included in this brief itinerary. So Holy Mother was fulfilling Sri Ramakrishna’s behest, as it were, when she came on pilgrimage to Madras, Madurai, Rameswaram and Bangalore.
Swami Prabhananda, Secretary, Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata, and a trustee of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, has taken great pains to collect exact details regarding the dates on which she visited each place, the period for which she sojourned there, the names of those who accompanied her in this trip, the various spiritually significant events that took place and the impress of holiness she left on the hearts of the devotees of the south. Many facts not so far recorded are revealed by Swami Prabhananda’s researches, enabling us to have a richer picture of this uncommon common personality, known as Holy Mother. One charming feature of the book is the number of photos which explain the texts.
‘Holy Mother in the South’ is a pushpanjali we are happy to offer when the 150th Birth Anniversary of the Mother is being celebrated with great fervour and delight all the world over.
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