Golap Ma

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Golap Ma
Golap Sundari Devi
Golap Ma woman disciple of Sri Ramakrishna.jpg
Golap Ma, the direct woman disciple of Sri Ramakrishna and a spiritual consort of Sri Sarada Devi
Born
Golap Sundari

Died(1924-12-19)19 December 1924
Cause of deathIllness
NationalityIndian
Other namesAnnapurna Devi, Golap Ma
CitizenshipIndia
OccupationHousewife
Known forSpiritual work
Home townCalcutta, India
Childrenone Son, one daughter named Chandi

Golap Ma (Bengali: গোলাপ মা) was a direct householder disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, the 19th century mystic and saint, and a foremost companion of Sri Sarada Devi, his spiritual consort and the Holy Mother of Ramakrishna Order, along with her other constant companion Yogin Ma. Her real name was Annapurna Devi or Golap Sundari Devi.[1] She was also referred as "grief stricken Brahmani" in the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. She played a very important role in the early development of Sri Ramakrishna movement and stayed till her death in Udbodhan, the house where the Holy Mother stayed in Calcutta. She was popular as Golap Ma (translation: Mother Golap) among the devotees of the Ramakrishna Order.

Early life[edit]

Very little is known about the early life of Golap Ma, except that she was born in a Brahmin family in the Baghbazar area of North Calcutta probably in 1864. She was married and had a son and a daughter named Chandi. Chandi was married to Saurindra Mohan Tagore of the Tagore family in Pathuriaghata, Calcutta. However she lost her husband, only son and daughter Chandi in quick succession and was grief-stricken on account of her loss. She was brought to Sri Ramakrishna by Yogin Ma, who was her neighbour.[2]

Sri Ramakrishna's influence[edit]

She met Sri Ramakrishna in 1885 in a grief-stricken state. He assuaged her grief and introduced her to Sri Sarada Devi. She soon became an intimate companion of the latter. [3] Sri Ramakrishna on one occasion visited the house of Golap Ma, on 28 July 1885, as recorded in the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.[4] Golap Ma was one of the major woman disciples of Sri Ramakrishna and could render him personal service in the form of carrying his food and cleaning his room.[2] During Sri Ramakrishna's illness, she provided dedicated service to him as the constant companion of Sri Sarada Devi, first in Shyampukur and then in kashipur.

As companion of Sri Sarada Devi[edit]

After passing away of Sri Ramakrishna, Golap Ma accompanied Sri Sarada Devi to the holy places of Varanasi and Vrindavan. Afterwards she was one of the first to report the abject poverty of Sri Sarada Devi in Kamarpukur and was instrumental in bringing her to Calcutta in 1888. Sri Sarada Devi used to affectionately call her as "Vijaya" and Yogin Ma as "Jaya".[5] She stayed with Sarada Devi whenever the latter stayed in Calcutta and accompanied her to Puri and later to Rameswaram, Madras and other places in South India. Subsequently when the Udbodhan house was constructed for the Holy Mother, by Swami Saradananda, Golap Ma came to stay there permanently. She also traveled to Jayrambati, Sarada Devi's village. As constant companion of Sri Sarada Devi, Golap Ma used to perform many of the household chores and also served as a major point of interaction with her devotees. Sri Sarada Devi used to speak through her to some of the male devotees, including Swami Vivekananda. As a constant companion of Sarada Devi, she had the unique opportunity of seeing and interacting with her from a very close quarter and therefore was a major source of information on her life and activities.

Last years[edit]

She was kind and charitable and during her last years was preoccupied with her spiritual practices. Half of her income was spent for the charity to the poor and needy. [3] Sarada Devi had said that "Golap has attained spiritual illumination through japam (repeating the name of God)". Her life was simple but austere. She was literate and could study the scriptures like Mahabharata and Bhagavat Gita [6]

After Sri Sarada Devi died on 21 July 1920, Golap Ma, together with Yogin Ma and Swami Saradananda became the spiritual mainstay for her devotees. She died on 19 December 1924.

References[edit]

  1. ^ People in Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
  2. ^ a b Women disciples
  3. ^ a b Women Saints of East and West, by swami Ghanananda, published by Vedanta Press, Hollywood, 1955
  4. ^ The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, by M, translated by Swami Nikhilananda, published by Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, New York, 1942
  5. ^ Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi, by Swami Gambhirananda, published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Madras, 1977
  6. ^ "Extract from They Lived with God". Archived from the original on 6 January 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2014.

External sources[edit]

  • They Lived with God, by Swami Chetanananda, published by Vedanta Society of St. Louis