Serving women and girls has been the primary mission of Mothers Trust Mothers Place since 1973. The complete nature of that mission became clearer in 1986.
At that time, Eva Schroeder - a disciple of Swami Bhashyananda, was sent to India on pilgrimage. While touring in Kolkatta, as if by chance, she and her party found themselves before the doors of Gauri Ma's Ashram. She knew this place, from the depths of her soul. She thought strangely, "If they know who I am, they will let me in" - and when the doors opened moments later, the nuns of Saradeswari Ashram, "knew her". Nuns came running, "You came back!", they said. Revered Mataji Vandana Ma was there, disciple of Gauri Ma and head of the Ashram at the time. She said to Eva (who would soon become Mataji Gauribrata), "You have to know who you are". A long expected reunion was taking place, it seemed.
Years before, in 1938, Gauri Ma left this world. During her last illness she told the nuns, devotees and Ramakrishna monks who had gathered there, "I will be born again in a white body (meaning the West). You will know it is I because I will know where the sacred objects are kept in the Ashram." Those present marked her words and waited as the years past. When would it happen?
In India they waited, and eventually in America, as well. Swami Bhashyananda came to Chicago in 1965 , as the new head of the Vivekananda Vedanta Society there. He and other monks had known of Gauri Ma's prophecy and were among those who waited.
A fateful day came in May, 1973. Eva and her companion that day, stopped to purchase books at the Chicago Vedanta Society bookstore - for an upcoming road trip to Arizona. They happened to meet Swami Bhashyananda there and Eva's friend became fascinated by the Swami and all he heard. For her part, Eva only wished to proceed to Arizona - as soon as possible. For Swami Bhashyananda, this meeting stirred memories and a deep curiosity. Could it be? Could this be Gauri Ma?
Perhaps it was stronger than a hunch. Swami Bhashyananda had been trained by Swami Baskareswarananda, who started the Vedanta center in Nagpur years before. Without any training or backing, the Swami was doubtful about how to proceed in Nagpur. Swami Shivananda, a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Sarada and great pillar of the Sarada-Ramakrishna tradition, told him not to worry, "Those who will help you have already left their hearth and home and will join you in the work". That spirit of service and reliance on divine destiny were with Swami Bhashyananda. We marked it in his life through the years we were with him in Ganges and Chicago, from 1973 to 1994.
So, Swami Bhashyananda knew he had met someone special. He now waited for a sign. He knew how the message and mission of the Holy Twins (Sri Sarada Devi and Sri Ramakrishna) was growing and developing in the world. Perhaps he was aware of the significance of Gauri Ma returning as a child of the West. Perhaps he and other Vedanta monks knew there was work to do, here in Chicago?
To test these ideas, the Swami needed to meet with and speak with this young woman - but there was a difficulty on this score. Eva wanted nothing to do with this strange man and religion - but her companion did. Reluctantly, Eva agreed to stay on for sometime in a nearby hotel, but would not enter the building or speak with the Swami.
For information about our Shrine and Sacred Space call Swami Atmalokananda - Rev. Glenn Davenport at 616-293-6884. For ALL victims of violence and abuse (incl. Men & Boys), contact RESILIENCE, 800-848-5991, resiliencemi.org
Mothers Trust Hotline: 616-293-6884
Sri Sarada Devi & Sri Ramakrishna, The Holy Twins, came to aid all humankind. Others came with them to help. Gauri Ma served Women & Girls lifelong at The Holy Twins Behest...