Mathru Sri Sarada
Sri Sarada was given the name Mathru Sri Sarada by Bhagavan Sri Lakshmana Swamy when Sri Sarada realised her self. Mathru means mother. Mathru Sri Sarada realised her self through her intense love and surrender to Bhagavan, thus becoming one with him. The book, No Mind, I am the Self, contains details about them.
Brief Life Sketch (based on No Mind, I am the Self):
Ramanadham, Saradamma’s father, was a childhood friend of Lakshmana Swamy. However, they lost touch of each other after their college days. Ramanadham and his wife, Bhanumathy, were devotees of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda. Therefore, when Saradamma was born in 1959, they named her after Sarada Ma, wife of Sri Ramakrishna.
Though initially healthy, Saradamma was afflicted with many ailments as a child, thereby losing her good health and her light complexion. Saradamma had a curiously ascetic nature, not caring for good clothes or food. Many people mistook her for a servant because of her dark complexion and poor clothes. Saradamma was indifferent to such views. Young Saradamma also had a very generous disposition.
Ramanadham, on becoming aware that his childhood friend had become a great yogi, started visiting Lakshmana Swamy for the annual and eventually bi-annual darshans. Lakshmana Swamy became more accessible in 1972 but it was not until 1974 that Saradamma started visiting Lakshmana Swamy regularly. Lakshmana Swamy’s face would light up with a big smile whenever he looked at her. He recognised her as an advanced devotee who was capable of realising her self.
Saradamma started having dreams of Lakshmana Swamy after each darshan. Shortly, Saradamma started to meditate on Swamy’s form and accepted him as her Guru. Within a year, the frequency with which Saradamma had Lakshmana Swamy’s darshan increased. During this time, apart from going to school, Saradamma would spend her evenings and weekends with Lakshmana Swamy. Eventually, she was spending so much time thinking about Lakshmana Swamy that her studies suffered. Saradamma’s education ended when she was in her 8th standard. Recognizing her devotion and love for him, Lakshmana Swamy informally adopted Saradamma as his daughter.
Details about the period between 1975 and 1978 are sketchy since Saradamma had stopped maintaining her diary by then. Lakshmana Swamy’s mother, jealous of Saradamma’s increasing prominence, harassed her in numerous ways. Lakshmana Swamy also tested Saradamma’s devotion and faith many times. During this time, Saradamma would do japa or meditate on Lakshmana Swamy’s form for up to 20 hours a day. In the remaining four hours she would be dreaming about him.
The holy mountain, Arunachala, has had a significant positive influence on Saradamma’s spiritual progress. During her third visit to Arunachala, as Lakshmana Swamy, Saradamma and other devotees were sitting on its slopes; Lakshmana Swamy looked and smiled at Saradamma. Saradamma lost thought and body consciousness. During the next few days, whenever Saradamma looked at Lakshmana Swamy during darshan she would go into the same state.
On returning back to Gudur, Saradamma resumed her meditation. She discovered that she could enter into the thought free state whenever she was in the presence of Lakshmana Swamy. During all these years, Lakshmana Swamy tried a few times to persuade Saradamma to do self-inquiry. However, self-inquiry had no attraction for Saradamma. Her path was that of surrender.
It was at Bangalore, where Saradamma had gone to help her sister, that Saradamma had her first experience of Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi. This was in October of 1978. The last few weeks of her stay there were spent in either a thought-free state or Samadhi.
Saradamma returned back to Gudur on the 16th of December, 1978. The next day, Saradamma went to the Ashramam and sat before Lakshmana Swamy. She went back into a thought-free state and eventually into Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi. She remained so all day and night. The next day, Lakshmana Swamy, realising that she was close to self-realisation, recorded her words using a tape recorder. Her ‘I’ thought repeatedly sank into her heart, but every time it came back up into her brain, banging against her skull causing intense pain. Saradamma unable to bear this pain took Lakshmana Swamy’s hand and placed it on her head. This made her ‘I’ thought go back into the heart. Three minutes later it again came back causing similar pain. Saradamma placed her head on Lakshmana Swamy’s feet, upon which her ‘I’ thought returned to its source and died forever. Saradamma had realised her self permanently on 18th December 1978.
Lakshmana Swamy gave Saradamma a new name Mathru Sri Sarada. Mathru means mother and Sri is a common Hindu honorific. Initially, Saradamma wanted to give up her body; however, Lakshmana Swamy wanted her to retain it, since sincere devotees would be benefited by her bodily presence. The next one year was a struggle for Lakshmana Swamy to keep Saradamma alive. She would lose body consciousness and withdraw into the self almost daily. She was also not interested in the outside world. Lakshmana Swamy was able to keep her interested in the world by making her play with dolls. In the next phase, Saradamma spent the whole day playing with dolls. People would not believe that she was a Jnani, but she did not care. Jnanis do not care for name or fame.
Slowly, over the years, Saradamma has taken up the role of catering to devotees’ needs. Now-a-days, it is she who interacts with devotees, Lakshmana Swamy having become more reserved. While neither of them is available to the general public, Saradamma occasionally gives darshan to some devotees.