Wife of Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
▵ Vivekananda gets Sharada’s blessings
Unless you are a devotee, life should not open for you, because if it opens for you, you will only cause damage to yourself and everyone else. Knowledge in India was never ever handed over to a person who lacked devotion.
There is a beautiful incident in Vivekananda’s life. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa had passed on and Vivekananda gathered a band of young people, travelling throughout India, trying to build the nation and change the face of the country. Then someone told him that the Parliament of Religions was happening in Chicago, United States. They suggested he go there because no one was listening to him here. Nobody was! One young man running from place to place, trying to talk about big things which are not written in the scripture – who is willing to listen? They said, “You go and shake them there. If you shake them there, everyone here will take note of you.”
When he was about to leave for the West – the first time he was going to the United States to take the message of Ramakrishna – he went to Sharada, Ramakrishna’s wife, to seek her blessings.
She was cooking when he came. Sharada was humming a tune. It was very common for Indian women, particularly when they were cooking, to sing. Not anymore because many people play the iPad now, but earlier, one of the greatest things you could do was to cook well with utmost love and serve it to people. It was the greatest satisfaction for them to see someone eating well. Cooking was such a joyful, elaborate process. For a 20-30 minute meal, they would spend a minimum of three to four hours on it and they would always be singing. At least my mother was singing all the time.
When he came and said, “I want to go to the United States to take my master’s message to the whole world,” she did not respond. Then suddenly she said, “Naren, give me that knife.” Vivekananda handed over the knife to her and gave it to her in a particular way. Then Sharada said, “You may go, you have all my blessings.” Then he asked, “Why did you wait so long and first of all, why did you ask for the knife? You have finished cutting the vegetables.” She said, “I just wanted to see what you are after the master is gone. Now, the way you gave me the knife showed you are fit to go, you are fit to carry the master’s message.”
▵ Biographical Stories of Swami Vivekananda | Master’s Words (Isha)