Sri Sarada Devi, the divine consort of Sri Ramakrishna, was not educated in the normal sense of the word “education”. In fact, she never went to school. But she had extraordinary spiritual wisdom. She could understand and explain intricate spiritual truths in a remarkably simple manner.The following incident reveals her spiritual wisdom.
Sri Ramakrishna had gone on a pilgrimage to Benaras. He was in an exalted spiritual mood. In a vision he saw that whenever anyone dies in that holy city, Shiva, accompanied by Parvati, quickly approaches that person. Soon Parvati unties the knots binding that person and then Shiva whispers Tarak Mantra into the dead person’s ears and he or she is liberated at once. There is a spiritual tradition in Hinduism according to which people dying in Benaras, even if they are sinners, are liberated. Sri Ramakrishna’s vision testified this belief.
A monk who had read the Shastras in depth raised a doubt about this vision of Sri Ramakrishna to Holy Mother. He said that this vision contradicts scriptures which state that one will not be liberated or have true jnana (Knowledge) unless ajnana or ignorance is removed. If that to be so, how could anyone and everyone dying in Benaras be liberated?
The Holy Mother Sarada Devi gave a beautiful answer. She said, “My son, what is the purpose of Parvati’s untying the knots binding the person? All the ajnana or ignorance in a person is supposed to rest in one’s heart in the form of complex knots. Untying those knots means removal of all doubts from one’s heart or in other words removal of ajnana or ignorance. Only after this is done, Shiva chants Tarak Mantra into the ears of the dead.
Thus before liberation the ajnana or ignorance is removed by Parvati and therefore there was no contradiction between what is stated in the scriptures and Sri Ramakrishna’s spiritual experience. The sadhu was dumbstruck by the Holy Mother’s spiritual wisdom.
-by Swami Shantatmananda, Sunday Guardian, 1st Feb 2014