Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi passed away peacefully on 23rd February, 2011 in Genoa, Italy. Hers was a life unlike any other. Whether walking with kings or walking barefoot with Gandhi, it was a journey of extremes managed effortlessly, living as she did with grace, dignity and, always, loving guidance.
Shri Mataji’s was to be a truly remarkable path. Born of a royal dynasty, she conferred as a child with Mahatma Gandhi, living for a time in his ashram, was a medical student and a freedom fighter, was an adored mother, grandmother, great grandmother and the wife of a distinguished diplomat who himself was decorated by the kings and presidents of innumerable countries and knighted by the Queen of England.
But incredibly, after all this, with her family grown and settled, she embarked on an even more extraordinary mission. Shri Mataji was born to Christian parents in India. Spiritually enlightened, she knew from very early on that her unique spiritual gift must be made available to everyone. And so it was that in 1970 she founded Sahaja Yoga meditation, which she shared freely. Using simple techniques, she discovered a unique process of Self Realisation through which huge masses of people could easily achieve the peace of true meditation. She charged no money, and instead insisted this was a birthright which should be available to all who desired it, at no cost. She said “There can be no peace in the world until there is peace within”.
Thus began the next outstanding stage of her life: for the next forty years, she continuously travelled the globe teaching meditation; She was a loved and loving spiritual leader, acclaimed public speaker, gentle guide, philanthropist, Nobel peace prize nominee, and recipient of numerous awards and commendations worldwide.
Extending her care and compassion ever further, in India she established a holistic health and research centre in Mumbai, an international cancer research centre in Mumbai, a charity house for destitute women and children in Delhi and an international Music Academy in Vaitarna to promote classical music and arts. Although at birth she was named Nirmala, meaning ‘Immaculate’, she came to be known as Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi - the revered Mother. She was regarded by many as the most significant spiritual figure of our times. Regardless of race, religion, age or status, probably millions of ordinary people have now learnt how to tap into their inner spiritual power through Sahaja meditation, helping to find balance in their lives. And at meditation centres throughout more than 80 countries in the world, her legacy will live on, with volunteers continuing to teach her techniques for free. In the spirit of her teaching, those who have been helped will then help others, like one candle lighting another. Shri Mataji was described as ‘an Avatar of the modern era’. And in the hearts of her followers, she will remain evermore, the all compassionate Mother.
Let us all remember our Mother and join in collective meditation on February 23rd, 2015.
From Canadian National Council