Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi was an extremely charismatic, dynamic and divine personality who radiated nothing but loving energy. She had an unconditional love, with which she saw the spiritual potential of people and divinity in all creation. “My love is unconditional and absolute, no expectation behind it.” It emanated from her like a magnetic force. To walk with her on a busy street and see oncoming strangers’ eyes drawn to her and their heads turning to stare, was to see this magnetism in action. Truly an awe-inspiring personality.
She never consciously drew attention to herself. She conducted herself in a very modest and natural way. She was extremely practical and down to earth with a motherly compassion that comforted all in her presence. Shri Mataji was once asked to define the Sanskrit word vigraha. “Vigraha means a personality which has a coefficient. The person who is innocent has such great coefficients that he can charm anybody” Her warmth and this charm tempered a powerful air of authority which, in her words, was “because I stand on the truth”; that truth being that we are all spiritual beings. She spent her life raising the awareness of people to that reality, transforming them into realised souls thus empowering them to transform others.
Even as a child she exhibited the calibre of her divine personality. Her younger brother in his book “My Memoirs” described her smile: “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, even though she was not the eldest in the family, she was the one who took care of her siblings.
During this time Mahatma Gandhi also recognised her qualities “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 a 17 year old girl could have stood against police without any fear?”. (Shri Mataji 05 March 1989)
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 and 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. Realised souls are a rare category of people who have achieved a state of higher spiritual awareness and she was 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 from 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 and prime ministers. 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.
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi explains “So today we have to understand that it is the time for the motherly qualities to develop. Even a man, when he becomes motherly only, becomes a great man. Like Christ, when he had compassion, he was called as a great man.” (Shri Mataji 21 August 1981)
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 enabling her to create wonderful homes for her family.
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 by revering her via a puja, vibrations would spontaneously flow from her and they would be drenched and have an incredibly uplifting experience. Not only could they experience a deep meditative state enjoying the present moment, but they became aware of their own vibrations and the vibrations of others. It is this tangible individual and collective experience of the phenomena of collective consciousness that 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 growing process of the 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 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.
Thus, through her unconditional love and compassion, she was the great comforter. Her thousands of discourses skilfully and artfully imparting spiritual truths and integrating the essence of all religions made her a counsellor of renown. Her method of mass realisation empowering people to exponentially transform others indeed means that Shri Mataji was truly the redeemer, the promised one.
"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."