About Shri Mataji
H.H. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
( Founder of Sahaja Yoga)
Birth And Childhood
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi was born on March 21, 1923 to a Christian family in Chindawara, India. Her parents were Prasad and Cornelia Salve, direct descendants of the royal Shalivahana dynasty. Seeing the beauty of this child who was born with a spotless brilliance, they called her Nirmala, which means 'Immaculate'.
Later on she came to be known by the multitudes by the name of Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi - the revered Mother who was born with her complete Self Realization and knew from a very young age that she had a unique gift which had to be made available to all mankind. Her parents played a key role in India's Liberation Movement from under British rule. Her father, a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi, was a member of the Constituent Assembly of India and helped write free India's first constitution. He was a renowned scholar, master of 14 languages, and translated the Koran in Marathi. Her mother was the first woman in India to receive an Honors Degree in Mathematics.
Fighting for India's Freedom
As a child, Shri Mataji lived with her parents in the ashram of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi saw the wisdom of this child and used to appreciate her immensely, affectionately calling her Nepali due to the Nepali features of her face. Even at a young age, her deep understanding was evident to Gandhi, who frequently sought her advice on spiritual matters.
Shri Mataji's involvement in the freedom struggle is extremely remarkable. She was very courageous and played a daring role as a youth leader of this campaign. In the 1942 "Quit India Movement" announced by Gandhi, she was even arrested and put in jail along with other freedom fighters for actively participating in this movement.
Shri Mataji was born with a complete understanding of the human nervous system and its energetic counterparts. In order to become acquainted with the scientific vocabulary attached to these subjects, she studied medicine and psychology at the Christian Medical College in Lahore.
Sahajayoga is Born
Shortly before India achieved independence she married Sir. C.P. Srivastava, one of India's most dedicated civil servant officers, who was knighted by the Queen of England. In India it is believed that the wife brings luck to her husband - this is most certainly the case for Sir. C.P. Srivastava.
He rose in government ranks very quickly though he was an absolutely honest person. He held the post of the Joint Secretary to the Prime Minister's office of the late Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri in the years 1964-66. Shastri himself was an ideal model for a Prime Minister in India's political history. Afterwards he was elected for 16 consecutive years to be the Secretary General of the United Nations International Maritime Organization.
As Sir C.P. Srivastava moved in fame from the Indian history to the worldly scene, Shri Mataji, after fulfilling her familial duty of bringing up her two daughters, embarked on her spiritual mission.
Although she knew about her own spiritual consciousness she did not know how to present it to the people of modern times. She was also aware of the problems encountered by the earlier spiritual personalities who came on this earth like Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, and others when they prophesized the truth directly to the people.
As she was pondering on the many faceted problems confronting human beings, on the 5th of May, 1970, on a lonely beach of Nargol (about 150 km from Mumbai) a divine spiritual experience filled her whole being and suddenly she found an answer to her question. She discovered a historical process of en-masse Self Realisation through which thousands of people could get this connection to their Spirit and thereby their inner transformation.
Sahaja (=Spontaneous) Yoga (=Union with the Self) was born.
Spreading Sahajayoga around the world
Shri Mataji made this experiment of awakening the spiritual power of every human being (which the Hindus name the Kundalini, the Muslims as the Ruh and in the bible it is described as the Holy Ghost) and was amazed at the results.
She tried it first on people near to her and noticed they were transformed physically, mentally and spiritually. Slowly she found out that only this process had the potential solution for all human problems and therefore she decided to spread it on an en-masse level. She invested her own time and money to talk to people and give them the key to their own spiritual power. Those few people who started feeling this spiritual power, which flowed like a cool breeze over their whole body, especially over the palms of their hands and on top of their head (around the fontanel bone area) were quite astonished that it worked. Though they argued and disputed over it they could not disbelieve their own experience. Under the instructions of Shri Mataji they tried giving this power to others, which really gave them the faith that this was the true spiritual experience that was being prophesized in every religion.
Honors And Rewards
In North America
New York, 1989-1994: Invited by the United Nations Sahaja Yoga Organization for four consecutive years to speak on ways to achieve world peace.
105th Congress, 1997 and 106th Congress, 2000: Honorarium read into Congressional Record byCongressman Eliot Engle commending Shri Mataji for her dedicated and tirelesswork for humanity.
"Shri Mataji's discovery brings genuine hope to humanity." Claes Nobel, (grandnewphew of Alfred Nobel, Nobel Peace Prize Foundation) Chairman of the United Earth Organization.
Nobel Peace Prize nominee
Romania, 1995, Awarded PhD in Cognitive Science from the Ecological University of Bucarest
China, 1995, Official guest speaker at the Women's Conference in Beijing as a guest of the Chinese Government
Brazil, 1994, Presented with the key to the City of Brasilia following official sponsorship of the series of Sahaja Yoga programs in the country
St. Petersburg, URS 1993, Invited to inaugurate the now annual International Conference on Medicine and Self-Knowledge.
Moscow, 1989, Government sponsorship of Sahaja Yoga research granted after meeting between Shri Mataji and the Russian Minister of Health at that time.
Italy, 1989, Named Personality of the Year by the Italian Government.
NGOs created by Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
2. An international cancer research centre in Mumbai in order to study the effects of Sahaja Yoga methods on curing various illnesses, including psychosomatic diseases.
3. An international music school in Nagpur, now shifted to Vaitarna near Mumbai, to promote classical music.
4. A charity house for the poor people in Delhi, to provide shelter to destitute and homeless people. Also to help them through the process of Sahaja Yoga to become better individuals.