Anandamayi Ma



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Fast Facts
200px-Sri_Anandamoyi_Ma.jpg
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Nirmala Sundari, Sri Sri Ma Anandamoyi, Anandamoyi Ma, Sri Anondomoi Ma, Ari Anandamayi Ma, Dakshayani, Kamala, Vimala, Mother of Shahbag
Function: 
Avatar
Traditions: 
Hinduism, Tantra
Main Countries of Activity: 
India
Date of Birth: 
04/30/1896
Place of Birth: 
Kheora, West Bengal, India (nowadays Bangladesh)
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
No
Date Left His/Her Body: 
27 August 1982

Biography

Sri Anandamoyi Ma was a spiritual teacher, Guru, saint and a mystic from Bengal, and hailed as one of prominent mystics of the 20th century. During her times, she was considered the embodiment of spiritual bliss and her name literally means Joy Permeated Mother.

Early Life

She was born as Nirmala Sundari on 30 April 1896 to Bipinbihari Bhattacharya and Mokshada Sundari Devie in Kheora, Brahmanbaria District, British India, in what is now Bangladesh.

At the age of thirteen, in 1908, she was married. She spent 5 years after her marriage at her brother-in-law's home, where she was in a trancelike state much of the time.

When she was about 17, she went to live with her husband in Ashtagram. It was here that a devout neighbor, Harakumar, developed a habit of addressing her as "Ma", and prostrated before her morning and evening.

In 1918, they went on to live in Bajitpur, where she became famous for her beauty. Here they stayed till 1924, while she went deeper into her trances. On his return from the office at the end of the working day, her husband often found her lying on the kitchen floor, the food half cooked or burnt.

On the full moon night of August 1922, at midnight, 26-year old Ma went through the actions of spiritual initiation - all by herself.

Members of her husband's family did not respond to his wife’s strange behavior as calmly as he did. While his relatives suggested he remarry, he became her first disciple in 1922.

The Dhaka Period

In 1924 she moved to Shahbag with her husband where he had been appointed caretaker of the gardens of the Nawab of Dhaka.

During this period she used to manifest the ecstasy that resembled Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

In 1926 she set up a Kali temple in the Siddheshwari area and devoted herself to spirituality.

She underwent a mystic experience while praying in the temple one day. Henceforth, she became known as Anandamoyi Ma, meaning the Joy Permeated Mother. She set up an ashram at Ramna within the precinct of the Ramna Kali Mandir. Though her parents were Vaishnavas, she followed the Tantric creed.

Scholars and followers were attracted to Anandamoyi Ma's spiritualism, though she called herself "a little unlettered child".

The Dehradun Period

In 1932, Anandamoyi Ma went to Dehradun with her husband and started working there. She traveled across the subcontinent to enlighten others. Several ashrams, and seats of learning hospitals were established in her name at Ramna (near Shahbag) and Kheora in Bangladesh, and Benares, Kankhal and other areas in India. Twenty-five ashrams are named after her.

She also renovated many dilapidated holy places, including the Naimisharanya, where she set up a temple there and arranged for the recitation of holy names and the performance of kirtan and other religious rites.

At this times people like Arnaud Desjardins, the French producer of sprititual films, Melita Maschmann, the German novelist, and Dr. Collin Turnbull, the English author, became her disciples.

Kamala Nehru, wife of the future prime Minster, Jawaharlal Nehru, became a devotee in 1933. Anandamoyi was then staying at a small temple in Dehradun, while Pandit Nehru was incarcerated by the British in Dehradun jail. Later she took Kamala to the Ambika temple in Kajpur to perform a three-day yajna. She gave to her daughter Indira the rosary which Mataji had given her.

Mahatma Gandhi came to hear of Anandamayi through Kamala and sent his aid, Jamnalal Bajaj, to see her. He in turn became a devotee. After the unexpected death of Bajaj, she went to Wardha to console Mahatma Gandhi.

She visited Ramana Maharshi at his ashram and also met J Krishnamurti.

Although she is mentioned in many books about Indian spiritual teachers, she is notably written about in Paramahansa Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi. His meeting with her is recounted in the chapter titled The Bengali "Joy-Permeated Mother", where he wrote:

Father, there is little to tell." She spread her graceful hands in a deprecatory gesture. "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 change[s] around me in the hall of eternity, I shall be the same.

She died on 27 August 1982 and was buried on the banks of the Ganges near the Kankhal Ashram in Haridwar in North India.

Teachings

Anandamoyi never prepared her discourse, wrote anything down, or revised what she had said. It is said that noting down what she said in her discourses was difficult, as the musicality and alliterative word-play of her saying died in writing. Only Brahmachari Kamal Bhattacharjee is said to have had the ability to transcribe her discourse with scrupulous fidelity.

The central theme of her teaching in endless variation is:

The supreme calling of every human being is to aspire to self realization. All other obligations are secondary.

and

Only actions that kindle man's divine nature are worthy of the name of actions.

However she did not ask everyone to become a renunciate. "Everyone is right from his own standpoint," she would say. She did not give formal initiations and refused to be called a guru, as she maintained that "all paths are my paths" and kept telling "I have no particular path".

She did not advocate the same method for all.

How can one impose limitations on the infinite by declaring - this is the only path - and, why should there be so many different religions and sects? Because through everyone of them He gives Himself to Himself, so that each person may advance according to his inborn nature.

Though she was Tantric, Anandamoyi Ma blessed Saivas, Shaktas, Vaishnavas, Muslims and Christians equally. Even now, the Muslim population of Kheora still refer to her as "our own Ma".

She taught how to live a God-centered life in the world and provided the powerful living inspiration to enable thousands to aspire to this most noble ideal. Her way of teaching involved jokes, songs and instructions on everyday life along with long discourses, meditation and reading of scriptures.

Photos

Locations

Indore Ashram
Type: 
Ashram
Details: 

In the midst of the large and busy city of Indore, is the quiet haven of Mata Anandamayi Peeth Ashram. The well-kept two acre plot contains three beautiful temples. The temple dedicated to Sri Anandamayi Ma is the heart of the ashram.

Address: 
Mata Anandamayi Peeth
18 AB Road,
Indore, MP 452001, India
Next to Medical College
Phone: 
09-425314859
Contact Persons: 
Ashram Secretary: Prof. Sarabjeet Singh
Directions: 

The ashram is located at 18 Agra-Bombay Road, next to Mahatma Gandhi Medical College.

Special Events: 

Many holy festivals such as Krishna Janmashtami (the birth celebration of Lord Krishna), Durga Puja (the worship of the Divine Mother) and Deepawali (the Festival of Lights) are joyfully and beautifully celebrated in the ashram.

The main observance of the year is the five-day celebration of the birth of Sri Anandamayi Ma. During this period, the ashram is in full festive array and filled with joyful devotees. The days pass with yoga classes, spiritual discourses by visiting holy men and women, kirtan (group singing of the Names of God) and pujas (ritual worship).

Daily Schedule & Opening Hours: 

In addition to the formal daily worship that is done here, all meet here every evening for devotional singing and prayers.

Attractions, activities, and more to see: 

The Matri Smriti Museum which beautifully houses items used, worn or blessed by Sri Anandamayi Ma, thus preserving Her physical power and presence in the world today.

Accomodation: 

There is also a large guest house for college students who wish to live in an ashram environment and study spirituality along with their standard examination subjects.

Omkareshwar Ashram
Type: 
Ashram
Address: 
Mata Anandamayi Tapo Bhumi
Sangam Parikrama Marg,
Omkareshwar, MP 450554,
Phone: 
09-893111809
Contact Persons: 
School Principal: Dr. Swami Gurusharanananda

View Video

Books & Media

Recommended Books: 
Cover image

Mother of Bliss: Anandamayi Ma

by Lisa Lassell Hallstrom

(Paperback)

This book examines the life of =Anandamay=i M=a, one of the most renowned Hindu holy women of modern times. Lisa Hallstrom paints a vivid portrait of this extraordinary woman, her ideas, and her continuing influence. In the process, the author sheds new light on important themes of Hindu religious life, including the centrality of the guru, the influence of living saints, and the apparent paradox of the worship of the divine feminine and the status of Hindu women.

Cover image

Words of Sri Anandamayi Ma

by Sri Anandamayi Ma

(Paperback)

minor shelf wear, back page corner bent.

Cover image

The Essential Sri Anandamayi Ma: Life and Teaching of a 20th Century Indian Saint

by Anandamayi Ma

(Paperback)

Anandamayi Ma has inspired millions of individuals of diverse faiths and circumstances—from Prime Ministers, artists, and industrialists to shopkeepers, beggars and monks including Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Jawarharlal Nehru, Former Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the Queen Mother of Greece, and the Former President of India, Ragendra Prasad.

Pro Opinions

the mother

NIDHI PARKASH's picture

After going through her biography and her notes it seems that mother had divine stuff.

Living grace

MAI's picture

A beautiful embodiment of living grace.

THE PRESENCE OF THE DIVINE SPARK

Solis Ortus's picture

I am moved by her words, and return to the essence of all that is, in an instant, the restless mind becomes like a still poll, without the ripple of a changing wind.

At First Glance

Aniyamananda's picture

I saw a photo of Mataji posted on Facebook with no indication of who she was, but a first glance I felt such warmth, love, and beauty that I had to find out more about this beautiful soul.

she intoxicates me

Ammi's picture

i feel compelled to suddenly make offerings of flowers, incense, candles & water to her. i wish she were still in her body so i could throw myself at her feet.

Amit Phand's picture

Thats Her !!

I know & understand that urge. I live like that, day in & day out. Thankfully I have found the solace in my Guru.

Amit Phand | Fri, 07/03/2009 - 20:28

She is intoxcating inspration to relgious and spritual seekers.

santthosh kumaar's picture

Whatever her is a religious wine in spiritual glass.

All Divine Love

archana.anchal's picture

She always intoxicated the seekers.........with the divine love........

Nothing's compared to that....

Best Regards

Divine

Amit Phand's picture

She is a big part of my life.