- Religion and Philosophy»
ANANDAMAYI MA & HER BLISS
Great Female Indian Saint
A pandit once told me that there are not many female Indian saints. I was totally surprised by this statement considering the majority of devotees at the mandirs in the United States are women. The truth is there are many female Indian saints, gurus, swamis and teachers. Many are known only locally. Not all of them are on the internet. After all 27 female sage (Rishikas) authored passages in the Vedas. No other spiritual tradition has no many female authors in their spiritual texts, such as the Vedas and the Upanishads. The Rishika Lopamurda was a guru of Sri Vidhya. Her husband was one of the greatest sages of all time and yet she knew more than he did about Sri Vidhya.
Anandamayi Ma is one of those great women who are great teachers and who developed spiritual teaching for humanity. She was born on April 30, 1896 in Bengal, British India and lived a very long life. She was considered to be a Self/God-realized spiritual master.
She had a great and powerful personality which attracted many great devotees and supporters. Parmahansa Yogananda met her and called her the "Joy-Permeated Mother." From childhood she was happy even when tragedy struck her family. Most of us get easily upset if anything tragic is happening in our families. She experienced everything as bliss. Even when her husband died she lived in bliss afterwards. Gandhi and Nehru met her and were greatly impressed by her blissful state of mind.
She was a child bride of 13 when she married Ramani Mohan Chakrabarti of Vikramapura. For five years she lived with her brother-in-law's family before she lived permanently with her husband. She travelled to locations with him whenever he changed positions. People reported seeing her helping them out even though she was not physically there. She was a woman who got around through spiritual space.
She could go into ecstasies at kirtans on a similar level as Lord Chaitanya Mahaprbhu. He was considered to be an incarnation of both Radha and Krishna in one form. He initiated kirtan devotion 500 years ago in Bengal. Many Hari Krishna devotees honor him during Krishna Kirtans.
Scholars greatly admired her wisdom even though she had little formal education. She was taken out of school to help at home. Unfortunately this happens to way too many female children. This is why some of them do not develop as human beings with knowledge and skills that will empower and support themselves financially and personally. Poverty in India is tied to the wealth in home and women are the wealth in the home. Fortunately she was able to do great things despite her lack of formal education.
She said, "All paths are my paths." She respected everyone's spiritual tradition and would explain spiritual concepts using names and stories from that tradition. She said that we find God all in unique ways, so that is why we have multiple traditions and teachers. She advocated spiritual equality for women and opened up ceremonies to women which some others prohibited because of their gender. Exclusion based on gender has no standing in any tradition. As Krishna was a friend to all, she also welcomed all. Even the Muslims of Kheora respected her and called her "our own Ma." She lived there for a while and developed a relationship with them.
She met the famous Babaji in 1935. He was showing his typical demonstrations of magic. He made a crystal out of petals of flowers. Babaji said, "Little girl, what is there that I can show you? You know it all. I am demonstrating only for others." He had a lot of insight into who she was I would say. Many people had encounters him including Parmahansa Yogananda. It was because of his encounter with Babaji that he came to recognize his path in life.
One of Ma's great abilities was her ability to heal people who had illnesses which the doctors could not cure. Soon many people came to find relief from all kinds of illnesses and conditions. Of course it is God who heals, but she was a great conduit of healing.
She lived a long life and left the Earth plane on August 27, 1982 around 8 p.m. She had the highest praise and honor from citizens. A procession of thousands escorted her as she was transported from Dehra Dun to Kankhal. She always said she belonged to all, so even in death she had many followers and devotees honoring her transition to the afterlife.
This sums up Ma's philosophy: "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 human being, call it by any name you please, one serves one's own Self in everyone of them." What is the Self? The Higher Self or the Atman is what is meant here. You are serving your own soul, yes.
Her teachings now-a-days are published in a magazine called Anandavarta Quarterly by the Shree Shree Anandamayee Charitable Society.
Ma was one of the greatest saints of India. She helped many through the transition time period when India became independent from Britain. Many great souls respected her and her great spiritual mission. She was truly a great human being. She was even more than that, though. She was a true incarnation of bliss in the world.
JAI SHRI MA! JAI SHRI TRUTH! JAI SHRI ANANDAMAYI!