A Mother For All

Celebrating 100 years of Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi


Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi: Creator and Founder of Sahaja Yoga Meditation

Kriti Dhaduvai, Staff Reporter

“There can be no peace in the world until there is peace within,” said Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, the creator and founder of Sahaja Yoga, a freedom fighter, a humanitarian, a Guru, a Mother and so much more.

From her birth in 1923, till present day, her legacy is ever alive, flourishing and spreading across the globe like wildfire. This year marks an entire century of Shri Mataji’s legacy on this planet.

On March 21 1923, Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi was born into a respectable family to Prasad Rao Salve and Cornelia Jadhav, in Chindwara, India. Her father was a prominent member of the Indian parliament and her mother, Cornelia, was the first woman in India to get a high ranking degree in the field of mathematics.

At the time, the Indian subcontinent was still a British colony. As such, the Indian Independence Movement was in full swing. Shri Mataji’s parents were at the forefront of the action, marching alongside Mahatma Gandhi himself and demanding independence from the British. Her parents, along with countless other freedom fighters, were imprisoned by cruel British rulers on multiple occasions. In these times, Shri Mataji displayed immense courage and bravery, taking care of her family in her parents’ absence just when she was eight. At the tender age of five, she gave a speech to a large gathering of people, rousing them to lift up their flags and fight for their rightful freedom.

In 1942, Mahatma Gandhi initiated the Quit India Movement, an extraordinary non-violent movement that sparked fires of resilience and independence across the nation. Shri Mataji fully embraced the movement, leading several youth programs for India’s freedom when she was merely 19. In a stirring patriotic hymn written by Shri Mataji herself, she says: “The fields of your villages were singing of thy glory, and the towns were echoing with the melody: Victory to Mother India, Victory to thee!”

Shri Mataji in India in 1982. Image Courtesy of Divine Cool Breeze

Finally, after centuries of toil and sacrifice, the historic moment came.

“I saw the Union Jack coming down, and I saw the Tricolour going up. That was the moment – it’s beyond me,” Shri Mataji said. “I cannot tell you what was the feeling at that moment—such a feeling that the truth has somehow or other overcome the untruth. The justice has been shown over the injustice.”

On August 15, 1947, India finally became free.

By 1970, Shri Mataji had fulfilled her duties towards her nation and towards her family; she had married and her two daughters grew up and became mothers as well. At this juncture in time, she realized that the time had come for her to finally manifest her dream: to emancipate humanity by enlightening one’s inner being.

Shri Mataji had this vision since she was a child. Her father asked her what her dream was. To which she replied: “I want to meet all the seekers of the world. That’s what I want. All over the world. All the nations.” She knew from her childhood that humans were constantly seeking; seeking peace, freedom from thoughts, and above all, seeking their True Self.

However, all of them were lost, in the darkness of ignorance, unable to find the Truth. This greatly saddened Shri Mataji. She was filled with compassion for the seekers who were blindly misguided by so-called “spiritual leaders” who promised inner peace in exchange for money. At this point, not only the East, but the West, especially America, was seeing an epidemic of false spiritual leaders and fake gurus.

On May 4, 1970, Shri Mataji meditated the entire night by the seashore, contemplating how she could save and redeem all the Seekers of Truth. As the sun rose at dawn, Shri Mataji had an unparalleled experience, which was in fact, the solution. She experienced her own inner energy rising to the top of her head and she was one with it.

“I got lost into the joy. It was like an artist seeing his own creation fulfilled. I felt the joy of great fulfillment,” She said about the experience.

Shri Mataji meditates in India in January 1981. Image Courtesy of Divine Cool Breeze

That day, on May 5, 1970, Shri Mataji had created the method by which She could share the light inside of Her with others, thus kindling them and connecting them with their True Self. This was an inner revolution, a groundbreaking moment for all of humanity.

For the first time, people were able to achieve their Self-Realization en masse. Self-Realization is nothing but us realizing and becoming the most authentic and true version of ourself.

At first, it started with a single person, then a little group, an auditorium, and then overcrowded football stadiums; Shri Mataji traveled all over the world meeting people of all ages, races, nationalities to enlighten them so that they could realize their True Self.

“Once you have known your Self, it’s like a light which gives you a complete balance.” Shri Mataji said.

Self – Realization brings people balance, satisfaction, joy, peace, and innumerable other benefits. These benefits could be sustained through daily meditation, now known across the world by the name of Sahaja Yoga Meditation.

Shri Mataji teaches Sahaja Yoga Meditation. Image Courtesy of Divine Cool Breeze

“Within us lies the peace, the beauty, the glory of our being. There is an ocean of all that. We cannot seek it outside. We have to go within.” Shri Mataji said.

Shri Mataji dedicated her entire life to spreading Sahaja Yoga around the world. Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to her programs to experience the Self-Realization that they had been searching for their entire lives. In one year alone, 1981, Shri Mataji visited 26 countries!

Shri Mataji speaks at a Public Program. Image Courtesy of Divine Cool Breeze

Shri Mataji was recognized by many world leaders and received numerous awards and accolades for her tremendous efforts to transform the world. Aside from being a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Shri Mataji was invited as a guest speaker to three consecutive United Nations World Conferences. In her address to the 4th United Nations World Conference on Women held in 1995, Shri Mataji spoke about how Self – Realization is the key to resolving gender inequality and many other world problems.

“Women must therefore rank with Mother Earth as the edifice of the entire humanity . . . A society that does recognize this fundamental truth and does not give to women their rightful role is not a civilized society.” She said at the address.

Not only did Shri Mataji create and spread Sahaja Yoga, she also founded several other non-profit NGO’s.

Never in the entire history of spirituality, had such a Guru existed who asked for nothing in return except that we love others and love ourselves. Shri Mataji’s love for the seekers of the world was akin to a Mother’s love for her children and, as such, Sahaja Yoga practitioners often refer to her fondly as Mother.

Sahaja Yoga practioners greet Shri Mataji at the Sahaja Yoga exhibition, in Romania, on 07/22/1992

Her deep desire was that once someone became enlightened, they would be capable of enlightening others, like a candle that gets kindled and then lights another candle, and that candle lights another, until the world is full of light.

“You have to become the light to remove the darkness and ignorance of others,” Shri Mataji would say.

Today, Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi’s message of Self Realization continues to spread throughout the world via Sahaja Yoga practitioners whose lives were transformed by her.