Joyous Jagaddhatri

Sri Lalita Sahasranama in its 173 verse speaks of Goddess Tripurasundari as Jagaddhatri
Vishvamaataa jagaddhaatri vishaalaakshi viraagini
Pragalbhaa paramodaaraa paraamodaa manomayi 
Vishvamaataa: Who is the Mother of the Universe,  Jagaddhaatri:  Who is the holder of the universe, Vishaalaakshi: Who has large eyes, Viraagini: Who is utterly passionless, Pragalbhaa: Who is surprisingly daring, Paramodaara: Who is supremely generous, Manomayi: Who is all mentation.

Divine Mother Sri Sri Jagaddhatri in full regalia - clay image used for worship at Ranchi Ramakrishna Mission TB Sanatorium, Courtesy: Raju

Today is navami tithi when Sri Sri Jagaddhatri puja is performed in the eastern parts of India. After the Master’s puja this morning I was immersed in the thoughts on Ma Jagaddhatri. There is a beautiful hymn on Her which when repeated gives an elevating experience. To my heart’s content I chanted this Jagaddhatri stotram.

In the Ramakrishna tradition, Jayarambati, where Holy Mother Sarada Devi was born, this puja was started. I wrote earlier about the famous Jagaddhatri puja in Ranchi Sanatorium with the title Magnanimous Mother wherein I gave the mythological backround and how it all began at the Sanatorium where TB patients are treated. It is indeed interesting how this charming puja began at Jayarambati itself and how Holy Mother was involved in it. I reproduce some extracts from Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi written by Swami Gambhiranandaji Maharaj.

Once, at the time of Kali worship, Nava Mukherji, as a result of some village feud, did not accept the gifts of rice and other things from Shyamasundari Devi, which were her contribution to the joint endeavour at worship. She had gathered together these things with the greatest effort and utmost sincerity; but another man’s cruelty now deprived her of the chance of offering them to the Deity. Her sorrow was so painful that she spent a sleepless night and went on repeating, ‘This rice I prepared for Kali, and this has not been accepted! Who will now eat this? Indeed it is Kali’s rice, and nobody else can eat it!’ Then a Deity appeared to her in a dream and awakened her by patting her body. Opening her eyes, Shyamasundari Devi saw the Deity, red in hue, sitting near the door with one leg placed over the other, who said, ‘Why do you weep? I shall eat Kali’s rice. Why do you worry?’ Shyamasundari inquired, ‘Who are you?’ The Deity replied, ‘I am the Mother of the Universe: I shall accept your worship as Jagad-dhatri.’

Next morning, Shyamasundari Devi said to the Holy Mother, ‘Dear Sarada, who is that Deity with red hue, resting one leg on the other?’ The Mother said, ‘She is Jagad-dhatri, to be sure.’ Grandmother then said, ‘I shall worship jagad-dhatri.’ She went on talking about that worship off and on. She secured from the Vishwas family about 400 lbs. of paddy. It was then raining incessantly. Grandmother said, ‘Mother, how shall I worship you? I can’t so much as dry the paddy.’ But through the grace of’ the Goddess it so happened, that though it rained all around, grandmother’s mat, on which the paddy was spread, had plenty of sunshine; and she got it husked and converted, into rice. The clay image of the Deity had to be painted after drying it under fire. Uncle Prasanna went to Dakshineswar to invite Sri Ramakrishna for the celebration. But he said, ‘Mother will come, aye! Mother will come! ‘That’s. excellent. But weren’t you in very straitened circumstances, my dear?’ Uncle replied, ‘You have to come, I have come to take you.’ The Master said, ‘I am as good as already there. It’s fine. Go, and have the worship. It’s fine indeed! It will do you good.’ The worship was duly performed. Many people from far and near were invited and heartily fed. The rice was enough for all. At the time of the immersion of the image grandmother whispered in the ears of the Goddess, ‘My dear, Jagai, do come again next year. I shall be making arrangements for you all the year round.’

Next year, grandmother said to the Holy Mother, Look here, dear, you too should contribute something; my Jagai (Jagad-dhatri) will be worshipped.’ The Mother remonstrated, ‘I can’t bear all that trouble. It’s enough that you had the worship once; why rake up troubles again? There’s no need; I can’t do it.’ Then she saw three figures in a dream at night – Jagad-dhatri, with her maids Jaya and Vijaya – who said, ‘Well, shall we go then?’ ‘Who may you be?’ the Mother queried in surprise. I am Jagad-dhatri,’ said the Deity. At this the Mother said in great consternation, ‘No, where will you go? Do stay on, I didn’t ask you to go.’ Thenceforth the worship continued uninterruptedly for some years. The Mukherji family had not then enough hands to help in the festival. So the Holy Mother had to be present every year for scouring the utensils and doing some other odd jobs.

As the day of immersion of the image on the first occasion happened to be a Thursday sacred to the goddess of fortune, the Holy Mother objected to bidding farewell to Jagad-dhatri on that day. The next day was the last day of the month, and the next the first day of another month. Hence the immersion took place on the fourth day.

The worship in the first four years was performed in the name of Shyamasundari Devi, in the second four, in the name of the Holy Mother, and in the next four in the name of her uncle Nilmadhav. The Holy Mother felt no need for continuing the worship after twelve years, because all had had their names formally proposed as worshippers. That very night after she had made the declaration, the Deity appeared to her in a dream and intimated that the family of Madhu Mukherji’s aunt had it in mind to worship Her, and asked her three times, ‘Shall I go then?’ The Holy Mother realized that Jagad-dhatri wanted to leave her after getting her affirmation; and so she took hold of the feet of the Deity and said eagerly, ‘I won’t let you go any more, I shall worship you every year.’ With this determination in mind, she later on secured about three and a half acres of paddy land with which she made a trust for the continuance of the worship. With the income from this land and some contributions from devotees, the authorities of the Ramakrishna Math, Belur, perform the worship every year with due pomp, at the Mother’s temple at Jayrambati. And as in the first year, so now too, the worship continues for three successive days – on the first day with all ceremonials but on succeeding days not so elaborately as was the custom during Mother’s lifetime. One on each side of the main Deity Jagad-dhatri, are placed images of Jaya and Vijaya. The devotees of the Holy Mother believe that as the Mother was none other than Jagad-dhatri Herself, when the latter is worshipped the Holy Mother too is adored as a matter of course.

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23 comments

  1. Respected Maharaj
    I get nostalgic thinking about the Jagaddhatri Pujo in Ranchi,
    how are you Maharaj ?!
    Som Dutta
    Bangalore, India

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    1. ||Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Som
      Thanks Som, its all Sri Thakur’s grace!
      Yes, ‘nostalgic’ is the right word! Mother blessed me there for long 12 years and afforded an opportunity to witness that wonderful puja!
      A month before this event I placed one old photo I had, as a desktop picture and whenever I open the laptop, the very first thing that comes up before my eyes is that picture! My mind would be repeating Her special mantra. What a great feeling!
      Hope your parents and sister are still in Vishakhapatnam. How are they?
      May the blessings of Divine Mother be on all of you!
      Swami Vimokshananda

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  2. Om Namo Bhagvate Sivanandaya!
    Pranam at Pujiye Swamiji‘s lotus feet.
    How blessed I am to have Swamiji’s guidance and sweet inspiring discourses! I pray Swamiji is well!
    Just this morning, I was wondering on whom to focus on when I go to hospital, and it occurred to me only the Divine Mother could give me the strength to go through any trial or tribulation.
    I pray Swamiji that Mother’s protection be with us at all times. How devotedly worship is offered to Ma in Ranchi and other places.
    I wish I could feel that spiritual vibration course through me and touch us all!
    Jai Jagaddhatri Ma!
    Prem & Om
    Your child
    Ashina
    Estcourt, SA

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    1. ||Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Ashina
      Yes! Happy to say that by the Grace of Master, all is well here.
      Mother will most certainly give you the strength, courage and joy when you surrender your all at Her lotus Feet! Its time that the most expected new member of your family arrives. Have no fear. Keep the holy name repeated in your heart and seek the grace of Gurudeva.
      The Jagaddhatri Worship is a popular festival during this time in Ranchi, representing the subjugation of ego to the supreme Will that rules this universe. The devipaksha which began from the Mahalaya day ends with this puja. The actual purpose of any puja or for that matter, any religious festival is to help mankind to evolve into higher consciousness.
      May we all climb the ascending steps of that inner spiritual world!
      With prayers
      Swami Vimokshananda

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  3. ||Sri Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||
    Respected Maharaj,
    The “Roopa” of Sri Jagaddhatri Maa is just as described at the beginning of UttaraCharitra of Sri Sri Chandi:
    Aum siMhasthA shashishekharA marakataprakhyaishcaturbhirbhujaiH
    shaN^khaM cakradhanuH sharAMshca dadhatI netraistribhiH shobhitA.
    AmuktAN^gada hArakaN^kaNa ranatkA~ntikanannUpurA
    durgA durgati hAriNI bhavatu vo ratnollasat.h kuNDalA..

    May Durga destroy all the evils which beset ye! She has three eyes and is seated on a lion. On Her forehead is the moon. In Her four hands which are of the color or emerald, She is holding a conchshell, a bow, a discus and arrows. She is wearing armlets, garlands, wristlets, girdles and toe rings with tinkling bells thereto. Her ear -ornaments are set with brilliant gems.
    But I am unable to understand why, in the beginning of the same chapter, there is the Saraswati dhyana mantra just before this?
    Pranam,
    Sucheta
    Italy

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  4. Revered Maharaj,
    Sitting in Delhi, with new responsibilities and a new personality, I am being continually reminded of the roots. In the suburban areas of Kolkata, her worship is strongly prevalent. My maternal aunt stays in one such town called Bhadreshwar, which is just beside Chandannagar- the former french colony of India, hallowed for its majestic Jagad-dhatri puja. I remember attending the worship once during my childhood days. There is a particularly famous temple of Mother in an area called Tentul-talla, in Bhadreswar. The worship is a few centuries old and she is said to be especially alive in that place. Devotees flock to offer their obeisances every year, and she is laden with Gold ornaments from head to foot.
    I am reminded of her glowing face and long brimming eyes, amidst all the hullabaloo. Amidst all the shouting and rush, she was particularly sombre-sitting peacefully on the lion looking down on the devotees. The animal sacrifice ceremony was just to start (which goes back to 3000-4000 sacrifices per year) and her face had a peculiar expression-was she angry for the on slaughter that would take place, or was she hungry to eat all the animals inside our bodies, which is why the symbolic sacrifice is performed! Anyway, I could never forget the look on her face.
    My mind was very restless to see the deity at Saradapitha, Belurmath from the very morning. Owing to the generous thinking of one of my Facebook brothers, I was fortunate enough to receive her darshan and could have a peek of HH Most Revered President Maharaj as well. So with all the peace in my heart, I am returning back to the mundane wishing you would bless us enough so that the earthly realms be short-lived, and we get what we were born to.
    Sasthang Pranam.
    Sabuj
    New Delhi, India

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    1. ||Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Amit
      Thanks for your visit! Your cooperation in rendering help wherever and whenever needed is really appreciated.
      May the Divine Mother bless you!
      Swami Vimokshananda

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    1. ||Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Bharathi
      Pray always that we should have strength, vigour and energy in our hearts.
      Devotion to Ma Sarada, who is, as Swamiji put it ‘jivanto Durga’ (Durga in flesh and blood) brings in the spiritual path the abiding peace..
      May She guide you!
      Swami Vimokshananda

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  5. My humble pranam to you Swamiji
    Thank you for the interesting background of this puja.
    Since we were young, we traditionally worshipped and I remembered very little of a talk on Ramakrishna, or Sri Sardama and Jagaddhatri puja in Burma.
    Now, I’ve got the whole story which reflect that Ma Sarada is Jagadhatri Ma herself.
    Humble pranam,
    NiNi
    Pietermaritzburg, SA

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    1. ||Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Nini
      Happy to note that you have identified Ma Jagaddhatri as Ma Sarada!
      What is necessary to above all is to have holy company of Her Life and Teachings in this life. Then from our mouths will come forth the word of God. And egotism and conceit and other bad vices will leave us totally. This is the gist of Jagaddhatri worship.
      May we all be good to one another with loving heart is my earnest prayer!
      Swami Vimokshananda

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  6. Maharaj ji
    How r u ??
    We miss those old gold days…Nice article.
    Pronam maharaj ji
    Abhishek Pal
    Ranchi/Mumbai, India

    Like

    1. ||Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Abhishek
      I am keeping well by His Grace alone!
      Happy you enjoyed the article.
      For me it was very good to have spent time with such wonderful devotees of Sri Thakur in Ranchi.
      May Mother grant you and your family everything auspicious!
      Swami Vimokshananda

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  7. Dear Maharaj,
    Pranam.
    I really liked your articles on Jagaddhatri – this one and the Magnanimous Mother.
    You referred to Jagaddhatri stotram. Can you kindly post it here or refer us to the link, if it is available online somewhere.
    I am inspired by the statement: “Anybody who worships Jagaddhatri becomes absolutely egoless and a true servant of the world..”.
    Thank you very much for writing these wonderful articles.
    Pranam.
    Kiran
    Nottingham, England, United Kingdom

    Like

  8. Most Revered Maharaj
    Om Namo Narayanaya!
    Thanks for the informative posts, Maharaj.
    The documentary on the Ramakrishna Centre on SABC was excellent. Regretfully, I missed the first few minutes.
    Maharaj’s advice on increasing one’s reading is being heeded. Now I am taking renewed interest in my collection of hitherto neglected books. Sometimes, it’s difficult to settle down with one book at a time. Hence, I find myself reading different books simultaneously.
    I’m currently reading “Swami Akhandananda”, “The way to God”, “How to shape the Personality” and “The Mystery of Death”. I have just finished a re-reading of “In the vision of God” by Papa Swami Ramdas. All of these are amazing books!
    While it takes only limited time to finish reading these, it takes many lifetimes to assimilate even a fraction of the lofty teachings…. I pray for grace in this regard.
    Hari Om Tat Sat.
    Nirmala
    Ladysmith, SA

    Like

    1. ||Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Nirmala
      I have heard from many devotees and well wishers about the brilliant program that was aired on SABC 2. I hope to view it at my convenience.
      I am so happy to note that you are an avid reader! The gems that are found in these books are “priceless”. The ennobling lessons of these books are wonderful as they give one a practical spiritual vision. As our past senior Swamijis used to say that studies become effective only when they are done seriously, thoroughly and systematically, as if you are preparing for an examination. Another reason for its effectiveness is when they are directly or indirectly linked to the ultimate goal of life.
      May you continue to derive inspiration and spiritual joy from your swaadhyaaya !
      With prayers
      Swami Vimokshananda

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  9. Pranam Swamiji.
    Do pray you are well.
    I watched the TV program about the Centre on Sunday. This was made even more elevating and blissful – I attended a havan & Bhajans and kirtans session from 07:00 to 11:00. And there I got home to my very own/God’s very own Centre being highlighted for the all South Africans to admire and emulate.
    It was great to see Big Swamiji and Gurudev again in the phisical body.
    The Program was professional, very tastefully put together and informative. All glory to Amba Ma Sarada Ma.
    Thank you all for the untainted love and love you give to all.
    I beseech your blessings and love, always.
    Your son
    Kosi
    Johannesburg, SA

    Like

    1. ||Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Kosi
      Yes, the program aired on Sunday, what I have feedback from many devotees, was really exceptional, in that it brought out our parampara (lineage) and the Centre’s activities. I have yet to view it.
      All love is derived from the Master Himself. We are just mere instruments. I would like to quote a saying from Sri Ramakrishna’s direct disciple, the Love Incarnate Swami Premanandaji: “Love one another. Watch yourselves, see that your love never lessens. Remember, the Ramakrishna Mission has been founded on the rock of love”.
      My visit to your home will ever remain etched in my memory. Such a wonderful hospitality! Such a divine atmosphere! When I see the photos taken on that evening, I become nostalgic.
      May you have peace and prosperity always!
      Swami Vimokshananda

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  10. Respected Maharaj,
    Due to unforeseen reasons, I could not see Mother Jagadhatri this year in TB Sanatorium in Ranchi even though I was in the town.
    Such is Mother’s wish!
    Pronam,
    Dr. Shubhashish Sircar
    Ranchi, Jharkhand, India

    Like

    1. ||Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Dr Shubhashish
      Mother is in the lotus of your heart, where She will always remain. Feel blessed that Mother has given you the wonderful blessing by remembering Her Holy Name though a mere visit to puja place would have definitely made a memorable experience.
      In the final analysis everything is in Her hands. sakali taar icchaa – its all Her Will !
      Repeat this wonderful prayer given by our Master in the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:
      “O mother, I am just a machine; you are the operator. I am the house; you are the dweller. I am the chariot, you are the charioteer. I do as you make me do; I talk as you make me talk; I am not; I am not. It’s you; it’s you”
      “O mother, here is your virtue; here is your vice. Take both and grant me pure love for you. Here is your knowledge; here is your ignorance. Take both and give me pure love for you. Here is your purity; here is your impurity. Take both and give me pure love for you. Here is your dharma and here is your adharma. Take both and give me pure love for you”
      “Mother, I don’t want name and fame; I don’t want the eight occult powers; I don’t want a hundred occult powers. O Mother, I have no desire for creature comforts. Please mother, grant me the pure devotion that I may have pure love for thy lotus feet”.
      Swami Vimokshananda

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  11. Pranam Maharaj
    Once again we enjoyed a beautiful article on Ma Jagaddhatri!
    Very soon the blog will reach 1 00 000 hits!!
    Hearty congratulations on reaching so many devotees and more importantly inspiring so many of us!
    May Mother Saraswati crown Revered Maharaj’s posts with continued success is my fervent prayer.
    Loving pranam!
    Avithaa
    Pietermaritzburg, SA

    Like

    1. ||Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Avitha
      It is only by the Grace of the Mother that this blog has reached Her devotees. Holy Mother has blessed us all so that we can interact easily and share the wonderful wealth of spirituality as declared by our scriptures. Of late I had practically stopped noticing those ‘hits’ till you so kindly pointed out that ‘Very soon the blog will reach 1 00 000 hits!!’
      AUM sarveshaam svastir bhavatu, sarveshaam shaantir bhavatu
      sarveshaam poornam bhavatu, sarveshaam mangalam bhavatu |
      sarve bhavantu sukhinah, sarve santu niraamayaah
      sarve bhadraani pashyantu, maa kashchidh dukha bhaag-bhavet ||

      Swami Vimokshananda

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