Sri Anandamayi Ma: The Perfect, Profound and Mysterious Flower
When asked why she was in this world, Sri Anandamayi Ma said, “In this world? I am not anywhere. I am myself reposing within myself.”
An astrologer, Abinush Babu, once had the honor of reading Sri Ma’s palms. He said that her markings were beyond a defined deity or tradition, and “beyond the control of the invisible.” He went on to say that Kali would return to workshop her.
Every soul who visited Sri Ma was struck by her sweet but aloof tranquility, and her remarkable depth of presence. It was as if she did not only sway with the wind but was the wind itself.
There seemed to be no distilling the identity and physical form of Sri Ma from the nature-form of the universe. She appeared to be within all eternal fabrics, and beyond space and time. First-hand accounts state that when seated with Sri Ma, it felt as if you were sitting on the edge of forever.
“Ma is here. What is there to worry about?”
— Anandamayi Ma
Anandamayi Ma: Becoming The Divine
Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982) was an Indian spiritual leader with boundless compassion. She was born as Nirmôla (Nirmala) Shundori (Immaculate Goddess), in Uttrakhand, India. Nirmala’s surrounding village consisted of mostly Muslims who have continued to call her, “Our own Ma.”
Nirmala’s parents were also euphoric, spiritual initiates, and were known for their kind and lovely natures. Her mother was a devout housewife, loving mother, and generous neighbor. Her father had a beautiful voice and sang the ancient bhajans at local kirtans.
Nirmala’s possibly insane neighbor Harakumar, was the first person to recognize her true divine nature. Morning and night, he would call her “Ma.”
Bhajiji, an early disciple, suggested that her name be Anandamayi Ma, meaning “Joy-Permeated Mother” or “Bliss-Permeated Mother.” In deference to her adoring followers, Nirmala adopted her divine name. Bhajiji would be the first to construct a temple devoted to Andandamayi Ma.
At age 26, Anandamayi Ma relinquished her human identity and embraced a spontaneous initiation into living sainthood. Describing the late-night ritual, Sri Ma said, “As the master (guru), I revealed the mantra; as the disciple (shishya) I accepted it and immediately began reciting it.”
Sri Ma also remained loyal to her marriage with Ramani, whom she named Bholanath. The idea that it was a wholly celibate marriage has never been contested.
Bholanath was Sri Ma’s devotee, and the two traveled together for many years. With her husband by her side, Sri Ma held public programs and kirtans where she would go into full-bodied spiritual ecstasies. Because he became somewhat of a gatekeeper and bodyguard, “Bholanathji” was also seen as a religious figure in some circles.
After years of love and devotion, Bholanathji died while Sri Ma’s hand rested gently upon his head. His last words were, “Ananda, Ananda, Ananda.” Joy, Joy, Joy.
Throughout their marriage, Sri Ma remained a devout and tireless partner to her husband.
Sri Ma’s reaction to her husband’s death was not surprising to her devotees. She said, “Do you start to wail and cry if a person goes to another room in the house? This death is inevitably connected with this life. In the sphere of Immortality, where is the question of death and loss? Nobody is lost to me.”
It was in this way that Sri Ma’s compassion and detachment were in perfect, divine harmony.
Anandamayi Ma Quotes
- “Whether you worship Christ, Krishna, Kali or Allah, you actually worship the one Light that is also in you, since It pervades all things.”
- “Without cause or reason, His compassion and His grace are pouring forth at every instant.”
- “Joys and sorrows are time born and cannot last. Therefore, do not be perturbed by them. The greater the difficulties and obstructions, the more intense will be your endeavor to cling to His feet and the more will your prayer increase from within.”
- “At every breath try to be in communion with Him [Her] through His/Her Name.”
- “As you love your own body, so regard everyone as equal to your own body. When the Supreme Experience supervenes, everyone’s service is revealed as one’s own service. Call it a bird, an insect, an animal or a man, call it by any name you please; one serves one’s own Self in every one of them.”
- “Perfect resignation gives the deepest joy of all. Accept it as your sole resource.”
Anandamayi Ma’s Miracles
Many first-hand reports describe the unique, spiritual qualities and gifts that this divine master shared with her disciples and householder followers.
During public kirtans, early in her sainthood, Sri Ma swayed to the music as if she were perfectly united with its vibrational material. Amid her bliss, and while her body continued to sway, her spirit would often exit and rise above her body. As Sri Ma’s spirit moved around the room, she shed light on all of the attendees, which resulted in revelations, healings, and deeply inspired peace in the receivers.
These types of experiences were frequent and visible to everyone. It was as if Sri Ma wanted her devotees to see how thin a veil exists between here and the other realms.
Thousands of people reported physical, mental and emotional healings simply by attending her programs, imagining her form or chanting her mantras.
The Non-organized, Non-Proclaimed Guru
Because Sri Ma traveled in a haphazard way, she could follow the flow of the light that moved through her. In cities where ashrams were built to honor her divinity, she would often choose to visit a different location within that city, never stepping foot inside the structures that bared her name.
Even meals could not be assumed. Sri Ma would say, “It is not necessary to eat at all to preserve the body. I eat only because a semblance of normal behavior must be kept up so that you should not feel uncomfortable with me.” It was regularly reported that Sri Ma was in excellent health, whether she ate or not.
With less structure, proprieties, and management dictating her life and travels, it appears that Sri Anandamayi Ma invited the winds of the divine to move through her as spontaneous blessings in every moment.
Many of her devotees might agree with this sentiment, “The knot of the heart is penetrated, all doubts are resolved, all bondages are destroyed upon seeing Her who is here and beyond.” — Mundakopanisad 11.2.8
“My consciousness has never associated itself with this temporary body. Before I came on this earth, Father, I was the same. As a little girl, I was the same. I grew into womanhood, but still, I was the same. When the family in which I had been born made arrangements to have this body married, I was the same… And, Father, in front of you now, I am the same. Ever afterward, though the dance of creation changes around me in the hall of eternity, I shall be the same.”
— Anandamayi Ma
About the Author:
Paul Wagner is an Intuitive-Empath, clairvoyant reader, and a 5-time EMMY Award winning writer. He created “The Personality Cards,” a powerful Oracle-Tarot deck that’s helpful in life, love and relationships. Paul studied with Lakota elders in the Pecos Wilderness, who nurtured his empathic abilities and taught him the sacred rituals. He has lived at ashrams with enlightened masters, including Amma, the Hugging Saint, for whom he’s delivered keynotes at Her worldwide events. Paul tours the world lecturing about spiritual liberation, and lovingly offers intuitive readings and inspirational coaching to help others with self-discovery, decision-making, healing, and forgiveness. Learn more at PaulWagner.com.
Paramhansa Yogananda: A Mahayogi Comes West
Millions actively practice yoga and meditation with the ultimate goal of achieving self-realization, but few are aware of one of the most influential people who brought these Eastern teachings to the West. Paramahansa Yogananda, an Indian yogi and guru who lived from 1893 to 1952, experienced his own rendition of the famed Hero’s Journey. Yogananda’s legacy lives on, and his seminal work, Autobiography of a Yogi, is still considered among the “100 Best Spiritual Books of the 20th Century,” continuing to grace the bookshelves of philosophers and the spiritually inquisitive.
Born to a devout, upper-class family in Gorakhpur, India, Yogananda’s spiritual fate was foretold in his infancy. His parents’ guru, Lahiri Mahasaya, blessed the child and told his mother, “Little mother, thy son will be a yogi. As a spiritual engine, he will carry many souls to God’s kingdom.” The prophecy did not take long to begin its manifestation, and at an early age, Yogananda experienced the first signs of spiritual awakening.
When he was eleven years old, Yogananda’s mother was in Calcutta — he had a dream that she was dying. A telegram arrived soon after, confirming this tragedy. From this point onward, Yogananda’s spiritual life escalated, and he began an earnest search for the guru he had seen thousands of times in his dreams. When he was 17-years old, he finally found Swami Yuktweswar Giri, a revered teacher who met him with open arms, and declared that he had been waiting for Yogananda.
It was at their first meeting that Yuktweswar taught Yogananda the meaning of unconditional love. In his autobiography, Yogananda recalls his master’s words, “‘Ordinary love is selfish, darkly rooted in desires and satisfactions. Divine love is without condition, without boundary, without change. The flux of the human heart is gone forever at the transfixing touch of pure love.’” It was also during this first meeting that Yuktweswar told Yogananda that he was destined to teach Kriya Yoga in the United States and throughout the world.