At your level, joy has its opposite; you speak of the joys of heaven and the torments of hell. Finding your Self, discovering who you really are, means to find God, for there is nothing outside of Him. Here the question arises, was it proper for the girl to cease thinking "I am Atma, I am Sri Krishna"? Sometimes she would go to the station and simply board the first train which happened to arrive. Moreover, to see someone in a vision or to hear him address you, may well become a source of self-satisfaction or egotistic enjoyment. In 1924 Bholanath obtained a job as manager of the Shahbagh Gardens in Dhaka. What I am claiming is that we have here, in accordance with her kheyala, an entirely spontaneous, involuntary re-emergence of a long-forgotten ancient hierophany. Bholanath saw that Nirmala was clutching something in the hand which she had brought out of the hole. I believe Anandamayi has added a whole new spiritual dimension to the re-awakening awareness of women to their own inheritance. Moving around in this manner, she joined the kirtan singers and began to revolve in their midst. The little ashram, strangely reminiscent of Tuscan farmhouses, commanded a magnificent view from atop the hill. Question: You say all moments are contained in that One Supreme Instant. Nirmala herself said at the time that there was indeed significance in the mound, in addition to its links with Bholanath, but declared the time was not ripe for its divulgence. like many other female Indian saints stood on the edge of several Question: Can anyone help me in this or must I find it out for myself? I am myself reposing within myself. After the Guru has given sannyasa, he prostrates himself at full length before the disciple in order to demonstrate that there is no difference between Guru and disciple, for both are indeed one. This is why I say, take refuge at the feet of the Holy and Wise, keep close to them and you will find all you need. The upper storey of the ashram contained Anandamayi's very simple quarters, with surrounding balconies. It had a sort of comfortably springy elasticity: she seemed to relish the sensation of walking. From the morning of Wednesday, June , I932, Mataji and Bholanath began living in the temple. To others, whose spiritual practice, worship or yoga proceeds with the help of images and other intermediary aids, this same path may also become disclosed. Answer: No, why where is the place where God is not? Flowers and fruits come into existence only because they are potentially contained in the tree. Questioner: No, I will not. Gurus have been seriously discredited by recent scandal and tend to be treated with a degree of caustic suspicion. According to Nirmala, the Siddheshwari temple had been a place of shakti sadhana since ancient times and this sacred site had been associated with the great eighth-century sage, Shankaracharya. So the land containing the altar was purchased and Father started to build the room. There was tacit agreement about this between Anandamayi and myself though we never exchanged a word about my work with a camera. In need of a change, I was on the look out for a hill station. Here on the terrace people would gather for Mataji's darshan blessing by presence during her promenades. Otherwise, it is not yoga but bhoga, enjoyment. When one becomes receptive, one is able to receive Grace. ", I said, "No, go on with the mantra. . Such vision is no vision at all, for it is only temporary. . After a while Mataji became still and sat up. "Where the distinction between the attainable and the unattainable does not arise is That Itself". It is said that the universe has its origin in love, and the chaos is systematised into the cosmos through the bond of love. In the Punjab she was given the same place of honour as the Holy Granth Sahab. It is eyeless - not to be beheld with these ordinary eyes, but with the eyes of wisdom. Turning to Bholanath, he asked, "she's received no initiation or anything, so what's all this she's doing? First, I was trying to be truthful to experience. It was a truly extraordinary experience, inspirational, uplifting, consolidating. Besides, the state of a rishi is also a stage. Between 1929 and 1935, according to Gurupriya Devi's diary, she made well over a hundred moves from one place to another, often a thousand miles apart, and this does not include a similar number of smaller changes of location within a particular district. The "message" of the hierophany, which we read with the benefit of hindsight as a coherent structure, came about bit by bit, enigmatically, and who are we to say what was the participants response? While their own Position was conditioned by a striving towards clarity, she coasted effortlessly on a current of prior knowledge, a position of unshakeable certainty with no reference to the authority of the scriptures. . She was a person who had a vision of life and reality which she could transmit in such a way that, since seeing her, I have always known that there is harmony and purpose in the universe.". Someone who, by the method of Advaita Vedanta has in a natural way become fully merged in the Self, will realise that as water is contained in ice so the Supreme Reality can be found in the image. Be it ever so slight, this strategy of the photographer is dishonest. She approached the two trees and started caressing their branches and trunks with great affection. Sw Kedarnath presents Sri Ma’s revelations that occurred spontaneously in her life, and the answers she gave to questions put before her. Just as a man cannot be without bones, blood, flesh and skin, so the One is present everywhere, at all times, interwoven with everything that exists. A young Englishman, Cohn Turnbull who subsequently became a celebrated anthropologist, visited India to study philosophy and to practise sadhana. They have the atmosphere, which possesses a natural power of healing. It happens that when people do puja and arati to this body someone invariably exclaims: "Just see how she accepts worship and adoration!". That a woman of such distinction and wide-ranging activity should emerge in India in the 20th century, the century of world-wide feminism and reappraisal of feminine phenomenology, hardly seems a coincidence. My own keenness in the project never waned. Now, as to the fruit of action: just consider, if one's action is continuous, without a break, and one remains ever conscious of the Goal - who will be revealed by such action? The idea "I am Atma, I am Sri Krishna" - ever pure and free, having no taint of worldly desire - is a great concept. Mataji has borrowed it and used it in her own sense, enriching it with her own associations." He lived in a typical mud and thatch hut in the middle of the fields away from any village and we spent the day on the tamped earth outside his simple home. just as some persons - but not all - possess the gift of writing poetry or of elocution and so on. where she began to do Shaivite and Vaisnavite spiritual practices. . This incident, which I have reconstructed from the diary account of Didi Gurupriya Devi, Anandamayi's lifelong chief assistant, typifies the paradoxical status of a figure such as Anandamayi in modern Indian society. During the seven years from 1918 to 1924 when the couple remained in the township of Bajitpur, Nirmala Sundari went through the experiences, processes and techniques of intensive sadhana, or spiritual practice, that were performed for the purpose of preparing oneself for Self-Realisation. All action is His action. The only difference is that the one is the dream of sleep and the other the dream of waking. No sooner has one made any kind of assertion as to her true nature than one has to qualify it! She traveled to Dehradun where she lived in an abandoned She was of spotless purity. thoughts of sexuality occurred to Bholanath, Anandamayi's body would To make up for this I will quote from a poem which does convey exactly what I believe to be the inner meaning which Anandamayi gave to the hierophany the Jnanasagar of Aliraja, as transcribed by the great scholar, S. B. Das Gupta, himself one of the first learned men to recognized the true nature of Anandamayi. When you buy clothes, you choose durable material, which will not wear out quickly; even this is an indication of your innate tendency to seek the Everlasting. For to know yourself does not mean to know your body only, it Signifies the full revelation of That which eternally Is - the Supreme Father, Mother, Beloved, Lord and Master - the Self. Whether this body talks to you or laughs or lies down to sleep, or whether it sinks to the ground and rolls about, as sometimes happened during kirtan, no matter how many different states and conditions this body may appear to be in, it nevertheless remains always in the one state. For if she possessed so deep a feeling of identity with all living creatures, so that all were like the many parts of her own body, then an act as private and separate as putting food in her mouth might well be inconceivable. Bengalis are very musical; song, more than any other art form, is the main vehicle for the expression of their emotional nature, the development of their exquisite language and the primary conduit through which the spiritual culture of the region so richly flows. From our worldly point of view we everywhere perceive animate or inanimate things; but in reality He who is Truth, He who is Consciousness permeates them all; only this cannot be realised by the average person. I was a freelance photographer specialising in magazine reportage. was completed. This is an example of what is called bhava. Keep your thinking on a very high level; praise and blame, filth and sandal paste must become alike. One of the morning speakers that season in Almora was an eminent and powerful monk who headed the Shankaracharya Math in Bombay; A very tall and imposing figure with bald head, bull neck and ash-smeared brow, he was an intimidating presence on his dais in the centre of the hall, while Anandamayi was seated well to one side, taking no part at all in the proceedings. If for a moment, we cast a somewhat analytical eye on this lila, it is obvious that important aspects of reality, such as we might expect of an account dealing with her life and the institutions bearing her name, have not been mentioned until now. Bholanath liked the place. That I, and others, have found the thread of a story is the consequence of the nature of certain events, all of which point towards the central pivot of everything we can relate about Anandamayi's life: her perennial union with the Source, that mystical zero-point of maximum potential. A state exists in which there is only Bliss, Beatitude, Supreme Felicity. The ceaseless endeavour to know That Self is man's bounded duty. To do pranam means to give one's mind, one's I to Him, to surrender oneself to the One, so that there should be only He and not you. Essential Sri Anandamayi Ma: Life and Teachings of a 20th Century Saint from India (Spiritual Masters--East & West Series) by Anandamayi Ma, Alexander Lipski (2008) Paperback: Books - Amazon.ca What should we do in that case? The various activities that aid the spiritual life have to be knit together closely with ever renewed effect - as the thread is not seen in a garland, without a gap. Where that which is doomed to destruction is destroyed, there the Beloved stands revealed. Such a long period of supraconsciousness - no sign of life, so to speak - and above all, the wonderful states that accompanied the regressive process of climbing down to normalcy. It was in 2010 that I discovered the lovely, and oh so powerful, Anandamayi Ma through the book "Death Must Die," a powerful diary of Ma's teachings from one of her most devoted devotees, Austrian-born Atmananda. But a visit to see the actual birthplace itself is a frustrating experience as Nirmala Sundari's family home was bought by Muslims soon after she left and drastically altered. Her yogic practices (kryias) were spontaneous and She was free of the world in the sense that her essence was the Source of the world and she was not limited by its products or involved in them. On the other hand, when in the course of meditation one loses oneself, as it were, and lapses into a kind of stupor and afterwards claims to have been steeped in intense bliss, this sort of bliss is a hindrance. She also encouraged her devotees to serve others. I think that perhaps the greatest things I learned were a love for Truth and a love for all my fellow beings. Become drinkers of nectar - all of you - drinkers of the wine of immortality. For instance, the sublime beings carved from the living rock of India's ancient cave sanctuaries do not counterfeit the look of mere mortals - they are divine by reason of their distance from the facts of material reality. She called, one by one, the four or five persons who had then gathered. All Mataji's work is unusual. She also had a very ready and impish sense of humour. With a manifestation as rich, diverse and visually arresting as Anandamayi's, the important thing is not to lose the whole in the detail. food for eight or nine people. In retrospect, it does not seem appropriate to describe the married life of this couple as one of purity and celibacy because such questions never even arose. The area is now in Bangladesh but was then part of the province of Bengal, on the eastern edge of India. This was a place of absolutely strict asceticism, no two ways about it. Even after the house was built, white ants, termites, used to make piles of caked mud inside the room. There was, often, no mistaking those occasions when photography was deemed unacceptable. Shall I repeat the names of Shiva?". . This kind of thing has never happened before.". Work without the feeling that it is you who are working. It is useless to seek happiness in anything that is of the world. We can best appreciate the very evident hypersensitivity of Anandamayi's body by attending to her own words on the subject: .." When this body was engaged in the play of sadhana, at times if any person approached it in a spirit of deep faith, this body would feel as if suffocated. Thereupon, Bholanath thrust his hand into the hole. On the next day the puja started and Nirmala sat in the pit of the vedi, facing the image. ", "Before? Perhaps, but what I find particularly appealing is Gopinath Kaviraj's scrupulous modesty, at all times he admits the powerlessness of his intellect to fathom a phenomenon that is intrinsically paradoxical and resistant to rational deduction. It is difficult to translate what she said for the Sanskrit word Rasa means any juice from water to nectar, essence, pith, as well as delight of every kind, gross and subtle - also Supreme Delight. She sometimes ascribed her actions to a personal though unnamed god: Anandamayi considered individual identity to be a kind of spiritual During her hard-earned spare time, she would visit the houses of neighbours, and there learnt needlework, cane-work, the spinning of fine thread and other handicrafts. In a remarkable way, Bholanath actually mirrored her kheyala: since she could do nothing by her own volition but only enact that which proceeded from the Essence, there was no question of her breaching the etiquette of the dutiful wife when "giving orders" her kheyala to her husband. The chanting of divine names continued and now a slight change could be noticed in her features. At this latter end of the process, her teaching became like the delta of a great river system, an infinity of tributaries, each one flowing towards the unanimity of the human spirit. Sri Ma Anandamayi. Answer: Where the Guru gives a mantra and desires to live with an unmarried girl disciple, he is not a Guru at all. Again, when saying there is both duality and non-duality, to which level of consciousness does this kind of statement correspond? Almost indistinguishable from many others - how small it is! When there is "being", there will be the manifestation of what is due to be manifested, owing to the prana functioning in a particular centre of the body. Her serene and equable temper was never disrupted by thoughtlessness or unfair treatment at the hands of elders. Was right? But the Universe is a Divine Play you have a desire to play, so naturally you interpret all the playful antics of this body, with its laughter and fun, according to your lights. spontaneous electrical shocks when he touched her the wrong way. Traditionalists point out that people like Sri Aurobindo, Krishnamurti, Swami Ramdas and Swami Shivananda, Mother Meera, Sai Baba and Meher Baba are not Gurus at all but a hybrid phenomenon catering to foreigners. Abiding in His own Essential Being, He himself stages a play with himself. In the face of what this woman visibly manifests I can only play with words. Then she took the garlands from Didi and decorated the trees with them and distributed all the fruit from the basket to the incredulous villagers. Most graphically, she shows us how to find this out for ourselves. Just as a child cannot beget until he grows into a young man, there is a stage when one becomes a receptacle and then at the right moment the Guru transmits power into it. Then your mind will be at rest and peaceful. The birth of the cosmos, Order out of Chaos, was felt to be the key to the perpetuation of life on earth. Nirmala Sundari's father, Bipin Bihari Bhattacharya, was a devout Vaishnava with a typical Bengali love of devotional music, which he shared with his daughter, teaching her many songs. Signs of Nirmala's unusual nature were barely visible, even to the most attentive eye. Throw it away; lay it at His feet. Upon this domain, as one can often feel in the Gangetic plain, there remain faint traces of an ancient uniting force, that of Greece, which spread across immensities of time and space to leave their gentle impress - no more than ghostly traces now, but palpable none the less - upon dwellings and people. Answer: By keeping satsang for a great length of time. As a result, the spectacular experiences ceased and he attends now to his meditation and other spiritual exercises in a very quiet and unobtrusive manner. . "I am not staying in any dharmasala, I have my own house here," he replied. "There are no others. And if Bholanath had handled the fat worm-like body of a queen termite, which is unpleasantly slimy, his revulsion would have been quite natural. It is a sign of attachment and this attachment stands in the way of true meditation, since one will be apt to revert to this state again and again, although from the standpoint of the world, which is altogether different, this state would seem to be a source of profound inward joy and therefore an indication of spiritual progress. in such situations, her body would become distorted in various ways Atmananda, who dedicated a great many years to elucidating Mataji's teachings for others, also knew from firsthand experience how it felt to take up the challenge of that teaching and act upon it: Mataji does not often give orders and probably only to those who by intuition, discrimination and experience have established in themselves implicit faith in her unfailing wisdom. She was constantly on the move throughout her long life, visiting her devotees and attracting all by the magnetism of her presence till her departure from this earth on August 28, 1982. Yet it is natural that I should describe this particular face in such impersonal terms, considering who she was. This presented me with severe problems as a photographer during my concluding workdays. When I returned on visits following her 60th birthday there was a marked change, particularly in the scale of her ceaseless accessibility. In order to calm our restlessness it is necessary to keep but one single end in view. The Light which is eternal can never be extinguished. Question: What have you to say about those who insist that only one religion is the right one. At temples, she would also see religious figures emerging from religious statues and reentering them. Gradually, there was an increase of movement within the cloth and very slowly and gently a body took shape and she emerged, sitting straight up. Next the body became still and the Suppose the body had been suffering some pain or stiffness - lo and behold, after meditation it feels perfectly healthy, with not a trace of fatigue or debility. In the afternoon Bholanath and I went to have a look round and came to know that there was a Kali temple nearby. We were extremely alarmed now, but remembered that Mataji had earlier told us to perform Nama kirtana in such an eventuality. It was considered a "difficult" ashram, with orthodox pollution rules scrupulously observed, Bengali and Hindi the only languages spoken, and the routine a distinctively paradoxical mixture of genial informality and stern discipline. A dim lamp was burning in front of her and that was perhaps the only thing in the room. Then everybody stood. . To an ordinary soul, the life and activities of such beings appear no better than a mystery. Taking advantage of my new reputation there, I plucked up courage to show this editor the mock-up of my book on Anandamayi, which I had spent great care and much time preparing. She was most meticulous about this, yet the doctor just could not see any logic in her suggestion. Therefore never relax your efforts until there is Enlightenment: let no gaps interrupt your attempt, for a gap will produce an eddy. . Although she was not a sannyasi, the rituals connected with her Mahasamadhi were performed according to the unanimous wishes of all eminent heads of the religious orders who had assembled in conclave for the occasion. Both watched over each other's needs with attentive concern and Bholanath was a tower of strength on innumerable occasions when it was her kheyala to make almost impossible demands on all who served her. Her self-knowledge fortified in its unshakeable purity, stood behind this play of self-assumed ignorance and the dramatic impersonation of an ordinary sadhaka in quest of supreme realisation. If it be someone's fate the scales will fall from his eyes, the veil will drop away. What is there in ice? Then she started to fall, only to pick herself up just before touching the floor. Jean Herbert had introduced Anandamayi to a limited French public and a documentary film by Arnaud Desjardins had been shown on French television. But where happiness is in its essential form, unconditioned, the opposites - joy and misery - find no place; where there is solely rasa, there can be no question of a-rasa - a sense of dryness or emptiness, of the anguish of God's absence. In 1916, she became ill and moved back to her parent's home Nothing but water. To my ear, her mode of speaking seemed to be quintessentially feminine, but more than merely in its vocal pitch and its emotional colouring, for she used words in special and remarkable ways. To me it seems now that unless we learn this lesson from her, we shall have learnt but little. They are not repelled by anything repellent, nor attracted by the attractive. What does it mean? She had, I should say here, not yet come out and very few people had any knowledge about her. Yet through her I developed a lifelong interest in the notoriously vexed question of depicting the sacred in the art of our time. She constantly poured out a stream of highly practical instruction to everybody, with meticulous care for the fine detail, and somehow possessed the uncanny ability to know and to keep track of every individual and where exactly each person was on his or her particular path. There was a fascinating ambiguity about Anandamayi's lila, not so much because there may have been, occasionally, some doubt as to whether something was to be taken lightly or with due solemnity but because it might appear so wayward or so arbitrary. Question: Will it be effective if one has found the Guru in a dream? All Indian symbolism for this ineffable Beginning helps to "reverse human experience of genesis, reintegrate the wasteful entropy of time and regain the continuing original whole" - Philip Rawson. Gandhi was fascinated by her power to attract so large and diverse a following regardless of caste or creed. It must be made clear that the action of the Guru's power virtually amounts to a functioning of will-power. Of Worship/Birthday Blessings mantras ; Satsangs in your heart anandamayi ma life story that is not ``. You almost daily it opens up one 's chosen deity absent-minded '' ``. 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