The life of Shri Mataji

Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi is the founder of Sahaja yoga. She was born in 1923 in India into a Christian family. As a little girl of 7 years old, she was invited to live in the ashram of Mahatma Gandhi who recognized her depth and wisdom. Later she studied medicine and psychology, which she compared to ancient yoga techniques.

She could not finish her studies, but fought with Gandhi for the freedom and liberation of India. After the independence of India was declared, she married diplomat Chandrika Prasad Srivastava. As the mother of two children and the wife of a prominent international diplomat, she lived for many years in London.

Founding Sahaja Yoga

Shri Mataji wanted everyone to be able to access meditation, so that they may uncover their full potential. She knew she had to awaken the powerful, loving energy in all people. On the 5th of May in 1970 she spent a night in deep meditation and she created a method to make the spiritual knowledge from many ancient traditions accessible to everyone: Selfrealisation. Selfrealisation brings people who meditate in a spontaneous state of thoughtless awareness.

She spent 40 years, travelling all over the world to spreading the knowledge of Sahaja yoga, giving thousands of lectures. Every program was free of cost, because everyone has the right to experience Selfrealisation and meditation. Shri Mataji had developed a system through which the subtle energy Kundalini can be spontaneously awakened in each of us. An important feature of this experience is that it can be passed on from person to person, and thus to the world. At the moment there are Sahaja Yoga centres in over 100 countries worldwide.

Dedication to humanitarian work

Besides founding Sahaja Yoga Shri Mataji spent the better part of her life setting up volunteer projects and diverse nonprofit organizations, such as a shelter for homeless women and children, health centre’s, international schools focused on balanced and holistic living, but also art academies to support classic arts. During her life she was frequently compared to a mother rather than a teacher or a guru. The compassion, love and patience that motivated Shri Mataji in her work, without any financial reward, testify to her humanitarianism. Shri Mataji passed away on February 23, 2011 at the age of 87 in Genoa, Italy.

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