Vimala Thakar



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Fast Facts
vimala.jpg
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Kumari Vimala Thakar
Function: 
Spiritual Teacher
Traditions: 
None
Main Countries of Activity: 
India
Date of Birth: 
15 April 1923
Place of Birth: 
India
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
No
Date Left His/Her Body: 
11 March 2009
Ancestor Gurus: 

Biography

Vimala Thakar is an Indian social activist and spiritual teacher. She was born into a middle-class Brahmin family in central India and was interested in spiritual matters from an early age. She pursued this interest with meditation and spiritual practices through her youth.

At the early age of 12, she already opened a Vivekananda Study Centre in her native district Akola.

Later she became active in the Bhoodan (Land Gift) Program. This program, led by Vinoba Bhave, persuaded landlords to give land to poor farmers. Through the 1950s, several millions of acres of farmland were so redistributed.

In 1960, Thakar attended talks given by Jiddu Krishnamurti and met with him. This meeting was to change her life. She dedicated herself to teaching meditation and philosophy. For the next two decades, she traveled between India, the U.S. and Europe, teaching and giving talks on spirituality.

After 1979, she curtailed her travel outside India, and her teachings emphasize balancing 'inner' spiritual development with 'outer' social development.

She was living at Mount Abu, Rajasthan, India during her last years.

Over her last two months she remained bed-ridden and met few people in Shiv Kuti ashram.

Vimala Thakar died at 5 a.m. on Wednesday, 11 March 2009, on the day of Holi, the festival of colour in India. Her body was cremated later in the afternoon in the presence of members of the Shiv Kuti ashram. Her ashes were spread over trees and plants as per her wish.

Teachings

Silence and Emptiness

In the dimension of silence the movement of thought goes on without creating the illusion of a thinker.

The reception of the sensation and the interpretation of the objects surrounding you takes place without the interpreter.

The movement of thought goes on without the thinker.

There is no centre to say: "I like this and I dislike that, I prefer this and I have a hatred for that".

So there is involuntary cerebral activity without the psychological recording or registering.

The movement of thought, the movement of knowledge goes on in the body like the movement of breath, of blood.

Silence implies the existence of the total human past within you, inside you. It also implies the movement of knowledge, thought, etc. without the knower, without the thinker.

The absence of the knower, the thinker, the experiencer, the centre - is the essential part of what we call silence.

And because there is no centre, no knower, no experiencer you call it emptiness.

Notable quotes of Vimala Thakar

There is much unexplored potential in each human being. We are not just flesh and bone or an amalgamation of conditionings. If this were so, our future on this planet would not be very bright. But there is infinitely more to life, and each passionate being who dares to explore beyond the fragmentary and superficial into the mystery of totality helps all humanity perceive what it is to be fully human. Revolution, total revolution, implies experimenting with the impossible. And when an individual takes a step in the direction of the new, the impossible, the whole human race travels through that individual.

…In India, Hinduism says woman can never be liberated in a woman’s body. If she behaves, if she follows bhakti yoga, then she may be born again in a male body and then she will be liberated. Buddhists and Jains also never accept that a woman in a woman’s body can be emancipated. Nor do the Catholics accept it. So at best a woman becomes a mother figure, such as Anandamayi Ma, or this figure or that figure. And she teaches as the Mother, not as an emancipated person.

What is the purpose of life?
"To live."

Is service internal or external?
"It's all the same."

I'm talking to you right now -- is that external?
"If I'm sharing with something, is that not an internal expression of love and compassion?"

Is englightenment a process or spontaneous occurence? "Both."

Where will spirituality blossom most, in the West or East?
"Everywhere. Even in the Middle-East."

Are we on the cusp of a collective transformation? "Yes. Not in my lifetime, but during yours."

Does everyone need a spiritual teacher?
"No."

Is Gandhi relevant today?
"Now more than ever."

What is non-violence?
"Science and spirituality."

What is your message for the youth?
"Arise, awake and act."

Sources: 
http://www.charityfocus.org, quotes

Photos

Locations

In the last years before her death, Thakar no longer traveled outside India but remained busy seeing individuals or groups who made their way to visit her at her home in Rajasthan (or in Ahmedabad where she used to stay during the winter). There she met with people from all over the world. It is said that her home in Mount Abu in Rajasthan is still open for visits (confirm before travelling to the place).

Vimala Thakar Home in Rajasthan
Type: 
Home
Address: 
Shiv Kutir,
Mount Abu, Rajasthan 307 501, India
Phone: 
02974 238434
Maps and Pictures of Location: 
vimala_house.jpg

View Video

Books & Media

Recommended Books: 
Cover image

Blossoms of Friendship

by Vimala Thakar

(Paperback)

Blossoms of Friendship introduces the Yoga Wisdom Classics series from Rodmell Press. This book is a collection of talks given by Vimala Thakar, in 1973, in Mount Abu, India. In the style of Krishnamurti, she describes the subtle differences between the states of concentration, attention, awareness, and meditation, and discusses the roles of guide, teacher, master, and guru. In the Foreword, publisher Donald Moyer writes that Vimala Thakar's insights "provide a clear exegesis of the last three stages of the eightfold yogic path: dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. For students who wish to deepen their understanding of Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, these talks will be especially welcome."