Sharada Mai: A New Look examines Mother Sharada in a new light, using the perspectives of Eric
Neumann and Erich Fromm, on the Feminine and Productive Love respectively, Marilyan French’s views
on feminism and Jungian formulations on levels of the Feminine as a mother, companion, medium and
Sharada Mai: A New Look has a regular format. The introduction outlines the scope of the
book and the perspectives invoked. It states and argues that Mother Sharada, considering her sway over
the West, should also be explained in contemporary conceptuality. So far she has been projected only in
terms of Vedanta, Yoga and referentially in terms of the Indian cultural archetype of the Eternal Mother
Sharada embodies Saraswati, Lakshmi, Bhavatarni Kali and Bagla. That Mother Sharada embodies Bagla
comes as a surprise. Swami Vivekananda was the first to give expression to this idea of Sharada being
mild on the outside, but endowed with great strength within.
Sharada Mai had no formal education. In fact, she never went to school and couldn’t read or
write. But she had Indian myth and lore on her fingertips. Besides, she was a siddha yogini who could
predict the past, present and future of people who came to meet her and could easily read their mind.
But these weren’t powers she exhibited too often or to too many people. Though unlettered herself, she
could bestow the gift of knowledge on seekers.
As a young girl, she was always cheerful, not being subjected experience. Neither did she
crave for the company of others. Holy Mother had no problem with solitude and was centered in
We cannot know this occult, mystical side of Mother Sharada. Even Sharadananda admitted to
feeling quite inadepuate in comparison and declined to write her biography. I am not concerned with her
noetic realities in this book, which is an attempt at presenting her in contemporary/modern terminology
for the reader of today. Even in India the attempts to analyse Vedanta, yoga and the India cultural
archetype are few and far between, though we invoke these all too familiarly in a flat counter cliché
Sharada Mai: A New Look dares enter where angels fear to tread. I have made a humble
attempt at writing this book because I am a sporadic devotee and somewhat familiar with depth
psychology, though I have been a teacher of English literature-romancing myth, folklore, and
archetypes-right from the undergraduate days.
This book spells out her life narrative in the introduction to serve as a ready reckoner for the
interpretations made in the next three chapters which deal with her coniunctio with her spouse, seeing
her through the prism of feminism, and as a Puella Sophia respectively.
The introduction-“Sharada Mai: A Narrative’-has been abstracted and adapted from Swami
Tapasyananda’s Sri Sarada Devi. It gives a bare outline of her life. One wishes that a writer like
Kazantzakis had written her biography. He would have dramatized it in a simple epic sweep.
Back from the Book
So far Mother Sharada has been portrayed in terms of Vedanta, Yoga, or as the archetype of the eternal
feminine. But Sharada Mai: A New Look gives us a glimpse of her in the context of contemporary
conceptuality. This book examines Mother Sharada in a new light, using the perspectives of Eric
Neumann and Eric Fromm, on feminine and productive love, respectively. Marilyn French’s
perspectives on feminism and Jungian formulations on different levels of the feminine as a mother,
companion, medium, and an Amazon also contribute to this discourse.
Prof Som Ranchan prefers to call himself a resilient scholar and a sporadic devotee.
An essayist, a poet, mythologist, folklorist, therapist, and critic, he has authored many books. Som
Ranchan was the head of department (English), for a decade, at H.P. University, Shimla. He has worked
with the California State University for several years and also has a vast experience in university
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