Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi was an extremely charismatic, dynamic and divine personality who radiated nothing but love. She had absolute unconditional love – nirvajya prema (निर्व्याज प्रेम) – with which she saw the spiritual potential of people and the heart of divinity in all creation. It emanated from her like a relentless magnetic force. To see this magnetism in action in one of her many thousands of programs was to bear witness to the care, compassion, and command with which she attended to the woes and worries of those who sought her guidance until each question had found its answer, all sound was replaced with profound silence, and a glint of light shone bright in eyes that beheld that which was right. Truly an awe inspiring personality.
Even as a child she exhibited the calibre of her divine personality. Her younger brother in his book “My Memoirs” described that “Shri Mataji, from childhood, was very playful and would go to anybody and everybody who called Her. She had a very sweet and charming smile, which was her way of expressing joy to everyone.”
Her parents recognised the depth of character and spirituality in their daughter and would leave her in peace when she got into meditative moods. In her family and extended family, she became the matriarch because of her loving and caring nature. When her parents were away due to their freedom fighting during the Quit India Movement, she was the one who took care of her siblings.
During this time Mahatma Gandhi also recognised her qualities. She once remarked that “Gandhiji used to call me ‘Nepali’ with love. Whatever vision and planning I used to present before him, he used to consider it with great respect.” One of the things she taught him was the order in which his slokas, prayers and bhajans should be recited during his morning meditation in order to best awaken the subtle system. He asked her parents repeatedly to send her back to his Ashram.
As a young adult, she also took up the cause of freeing India and joined the underground movement. She was motivated by the deep injustice of India’s occupation, undertaking many dangerous tasks and was never daunted despite being jailed and tortured. Many years later, her college headmaster recalled seeing her standing alone at the school gate heading a picket line. He said “you are a shakti – how else could’ve a 17 year old girl stood against police without any fear?”.
During the terrible time of the partition, while compassionately sheltering Muslim refugees, she stood defiantly at her door facing an armed militant Hindu mob, challenging them to search her house while staring them down. Her only defence was her status as a housewife announced by her large red bindi. Her courage was unquestionable.
She had always known who she was and what she had to do in this lifetime; the triggering of humanity’s next evolutionary leap. She was a born realised soul. These are a rare category of people who have achieved a state of higher spiritual awareness who are anxious to find a way to give this realisation to all who were seeking it. In a radio interview in America in 1983, Shri Mataji was once asked to explain who she was.
She tossed her head, laughed and replied:
Her style was never to confront or challenge anyone’s ego so she presented herself as a simple housewife and worked with infinite patience, sweetness, delicate finesse and humour. It is on record that the thousands and thousands of public lectures Shri Mataji delivered in over 40 years while giving en-mass realisation are an exercise in artful diplomacy. Her message of eternal truths was delivered with the perfect balance of gravity, grace and gentle tact. Whether she delivered her discourses in a humble small hall to 5 or 20 people or whether it was in vast auditoriums to tens of thousands, her manner was the same. Dignified and always respecting the dignity of others, very motherly and spontaneous, but with the absolute authority of someone who knew she was speaking the truth.
Shri Mataji worked with sincere earnestness but sometimes she was disheartened by this cynical world because it was hard for people to believe that somebody could be motivated only by pure love. She was resolute as she knew how imperative it was to keep giving realisation, to lift humanity’s awareness. Shri Mataji faced this daunting task with the same courage that she had displayed in her early life.
Shri Mataji travelled extensively circling the globe year after year, driven by her compassion to empower people to transform themselves and others. She kept up this relentless pace even as she aged and explained this ability to the fact that she was in a constant state of meditation thus connected to an infinite source of energy. A perfect example of the yogic state that she was granting to others. She would arrive in a city, go to press conferences, and meetings, and give public programs to thousands all of whom, even if they were at the back of the hall, would get realisation and feel her warmth and joy. In each city she would spend hours with her followers whom she called her children, dealing with the establishment of ashrams and the spreading of Sahaja Yoga. Shri Mataji would leave one city’s collective with genuine tears in her eyes at the separation, only to arrive in the next, greeting her children, her face radiant and smiling, collecting every floral tribute offered no matter how humble. Everyone was made to feel special by her warm appreciation.
She held the status of a housewife and mother in the highest esteem: ”I said this is the greatest thing. Look at Me. This is the greatest thing to be the mother, to love everyone, that they depend on you for love and guidance – just for love. Such a great thing to feel, ‘Oh God, see how much I can give, how many cups I can fill.’ It is such a great feeling. I wish you would know what a mother is and the motherhood you have to learn for your children and grandchildren and expand it to the whole universe. It’s such a great thing a woman has.” (Shri Mataji 27 March 1981)
As well as being a loving mother to her two daughters, Shri Mataji delighted in being an extremely supportive wife to her husband in his international diplomatic career. In her capacity as his wife, she travelled extensively and mixed and met many people from all walks of life: kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers, civil servants, tycoons, and artists amongst others. She attended and hosted international functions and diplomatic dinners with grace and aplomb and was always beloved by her husband’s staff for her motherly concern. She demonstrated that these nurturing qualities are of eternal value and are the real source of power not only for women, but that men must now also develop these maternal qualities for humanity to evolve.
All the remarkable achievements of her life were accomplished using this power of universal motherhood.
Shri Mataji also encouraged the arts and creativity. She would spend many nights staying till the early hours watching world-renown musicians and humble performances with equal attention and enjoyment. As well as being a music connoisseur, she also displayed remarkable architectural and design skills establishing stunning homes around the world for her family. Some she designed herself from scratch and carefully supervised their construction. Others, she renovated completely in an opulent but cosy style that warmly welcomed a constant stream of family, friends, colleagues and devotees. She constructed these marvellous residences in her own inimitable manner; a feminine approach, like cooking a recipe. Shri Mataji would go to the source and buy bulk materials at the cheapest season and gather workers around her, caring, accommodating and cooking for them, creating a family. She inspired such loyalty and respect that they produced exemplary work.
As her global family grew in number and depth, they slowly became aware of her real nature far beyond the loving motherly guru. They discovered that by revering her waves of bliss – chaitanya lahari – would suffuse the atmosphere, drenching each soul and elevating all towards the innermost Spirit. With this emanation of vibrations, not only could they experience a deep meditative state, but they also became aware of their own essence of vibrations and that of others, too. It is this tangible, shared experience of the phenomena of collective consciousness that has inspired awe and veneration for Her around the world.
Shri Mataji single-handedly created a living global movement that transformed people and empowered them to transform others. She said that what people were doing was because of their devotion, and devotion has to flow from the heart, which cannot be organised. It is a living process of ascent and eventual salvation of human beings. The love that emanated from her created that wave of devotion that continues to inspire. Her disciples still freely give realisation all around the world forever expanding Sahaja Yoga by simply using her photograph.
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi was an extraordinary personality, enveloped in the glorious guise of a loving mother. She demonstrated forbearance and a nurturing love that encompassed the whole world. Her discourses revealed spiritual truth and integrated the essence of all faiths into one universal religion. But even beyond this, she was the divine catalyst of the subtle power within that unites, transforms and empowers. She gave en-mass realisation allowing the evolution of man’s awareness to collective consciousness and will be forever remembered as the great pure Divine Mother, Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi.
"Your kundalini rises. She is your mother. She is your individual mother and she gives you the second birth. That’s how you get connected to the Divine Paradise."
"Present is the reality. The past is finished, and the future doesn’t exist. When the Kundalini rises She elongates those thoughts and establishes in the center where there is complete thoughtless awareness. And spiritually you grow in that thoughtless awareness which in Sanskrit we call as Nirvichaar Samadhi."
"My simple message is that you have to seek yourself, you must know yourself."