- Religion and Philosophy»
FOR GURU PURMIMA: JAYASHRI MA
Guru Purnima is Celebrated July 9th
Guru Purnima celebrates the relationship between the guru (spiritual teacher) and the disciple or student. Gurus can take any form. Animals, plants and trees can teach us many lessons about taking care of Mother Earth and creation. Our first teachers were our parents who set an example for us to follow.
On July 9th I will honor my own spiritual master, Panditji Munelal Maharaj, and my
Qigong Master, Chunyi Lin, by conducting a personal ceremony to remember all the great forms of knowledge these two great individuals developed in my life and in the lives of many others. Panditji Munelal lives in Trinidad with his wife, Naveeta, and two daughters. Master Lin lives in the Minneapolis area with his wife, Debra, and their children.
There are many female gurus who live in India, the United States, Europe, South America and Canada. In the ancient Vedic tradition women were educated and 27 Rishikas (female sages) authored parts of the Vedas. They were the great philosophers of their life times. One of the greatest female sages, Gargi, was in the court of King Janaka, who was the father of Mother Sita. Mother Sita was the consort or avatar of Shri Ram, who was the ideal ruler at the time of the Ramayan. Gargi was known for her difficult and challenging questions at philosophic congresses. King Janaka was considered to be a great philosopher king.
Jayashri Ma was born in 1948 in Darjeeling, West Bengal, India. She is a Shakta in philosophy. Her father was a deputy magistrate and practitioner of the Shakta philosophy. His guru was Taraksepta of Basirhat, India. Unfortunately the record does not mention anything about her mother. Jayashri Ma met her own guru, Sudin Kumar Mitra, when she was eight years old. He was a friend of her father and Sudin worked as an officer in the Indian Adminstrative Service (IAS) in Darjeeling. He was a Shakta in philosophy, like her father. She was initiated at this age and became his first disciple. It was believed that her guru was initiated by Mother Adya Shatki Kali, one of the various forms of Kali, who is the consort of Lord Shiva. Kali is one of the forms of Mother Parvati. Kali is connected with Time and with the destruction and defeat of demons. In the Hindu tradition the female Shakti energy in a form of a woman or a goddess defeats demons and tyrants. Mother Kali appeared to her guru directly and gave him a mantra and initiated him into the Shakta philosophy. Nagin Bagchi of Tarapith told him the next day what happened at 2:00 a.m. was the Mother's own initiation. Gurus can initiate in different ways and forms. My own spiritual master appeared to me in a dream with a form of discourse and dialog for two hours.
When Jayashri Ma was a child, she also was friends with Swami Bhavesananda besides her guru, Sudin. She learned meditation methods from both of them. At the age of 13 she went into trances and saw images of Tara Ma and Adya Ma, two forms of the Divine Mother. In Buddhism Tara Ma is the female Buddah. There is a form of Tara Ma in Hinduism. Adya Ma is a form of Kali Ma.
If you have ever seen a form of the Mother in person or in a visionary form, you know how indescribable the experience can be. The feeling is ineffable, too great for words or understanding. One time I was in nature and saw a form of Mother Earth popping out of the ground. It did change my life and make me understand my blessings in life. I had an opportunity of experiencing Her power and greatness in that moment. This I know: I will never forget this experience and it will stay with me the rest of my life.
When Jayashri Ma moved to the Bibhum District, she became ill with dysentery and developed colitis and heart problems. Dysentery is an inflammation of the intestines which causes severe diarrhea. She received a college degree and studied classical music. She then became an elementary school teacher for children, ages 5 to 9 years of age. She has lived with her illness all this time and has survived, defying the predictions of her doctors. She sees forms of Mother Kali and Shiva quite often. Her disciples consider her to be an incarnation of Mother Kali. She has to keep her spiritual teacher identity secret from her employer because devotees, gurus, swamis and saints have been persecuted by the Communist government in West Bengal. People lose their jobs and even their lives because of their spiritual activities. It does make you appreciate your own freedoms when you see what happens in these places.
Her philosophy is the Shakta philosophy which promotes equality and devotion to the Divine Mother. Shaktas do not believe in the caste system. She believes that all women are aspects of the Divine Mother and honors the soul or atman as an eternal state of every individual. We all are divine, but we often do not realize that we are that powerful. People with the highest spiritual states realize their own divinity and live that divinity. They are called avatars or full incarnations. Amsa individuals are partial incarnations of the Divine. These people go in and out of consciousness of being in the state of union with the Divine. Her disciples call her Guru Ma. She does not accept donations and funds her activities from her salary as a school teacher. She speaks little English and has no Western followers. She only travels within India. Merchants, business people, professors and doctors are her devotees and disciples. People know of her by word of mouth.
Jayashri Ma is one of the many great female gurus of India. Gurus enlighten our lives with knowledge, truth and light. I am very happy for all those great individuals who teach us in our institutions of learning from elementary school to universities. They open many doors and elevate critical thinking skills, so that you can be a better human being and make a difference in the world. My brother was a physical education teacher and coach. He valued character as one of the most important values in life. He is so right because character is very important in this life. Gurus are the ones who bring us to a higher place and we are never the same again.
JAI SHRI MA! JAI SHRI KNOWLEDGE! JAI SHRI SHAKTA!