Sri Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982) was one of the great Hindu saints of the 20th Century. She was born in present-day Bangladesh. As a person of remarkable piety, sanctity, and wisdom, she came to the notice of both simple people and famous figures of India. She did not have an outer guru, and emphasized the importance of detachment from the world and religious devotion, encouraging her devotees to serve others. An ecstatic child of ecstatic parents, she became a famous saint who like many other female Indian saints stood on the edge of several religious traditions, and in the midst of none. She influenced the spirituality of thousands of people who came to see her throughout her long life, and passed away in 1981.
The central theme of all her words and expressions is this: Life and religion are one. All that you do to maintain your life, your everyday work and play, all your attempts to earn a living, should be done with sincerity, love and devotion, with a firm conviction that true living means virtually perfecting one’s spiritual existence in tune with the universe. To bring about this synthesis, religious culture should be made as natural and easy as taking our food and drink when we are hungry and thirsty.
Teachings of Sri Anandamayi Ma
“As you love your own body, so regard everyone as equal to your own body. When the Supreme Experience supervenes, everyone’s service is revealed as one’s own service. Call it a bird, an insect, an animal or a man, call it by any name you please, one serves one’s own Self in every one of them.”
“…this body has lived with father, mother, husband, and all. This body has served the husband so you may call it wife. It has prepared dishes for all so you may call it cook. It has done all sorts of scrubbing and menial work, so you may call it a servant. But if you look at the thing from another standpoint you will realize that this body has served God, for when I serve my father, mother, husband, and others, I simply considered them as different manifestations of the Almighty, and served them as such. When I sat down and prepared food, I did so as if it were in a ritual, for the food cooked was, after all, meant for God. Whatever I did, I did in the spirit of the divine service. Hence, I was not quite worldly, though always engaged in household affairs. I had but one ideal, to serve all as God, to do everything for the sake of God.”
“…My consciousness has never associated itself with this temporary body. Before I came on this earth Father, I was the same. I grew into womanhood but still I was the same. When the family in which I had been born made arrangements to have this body married, I was the same. And Father, in front of you now, I am the same. Even afterwards, though the dance of creation changed around me in the halls of eternity, I shall be the same.” – To Paramahansa Yogananda
Book to Hang Out With – A Goddess Among Us: The Divine Life Of Anandamayi Ma by Swami Mangalananda
“It cannot be that anybody, anywhere is not my very own. I am with you at all times.”
Clothed in spotless white… the image of simplicity and gentleness, Anandamayi Ma was one of the most influential spiritual teachers of our time. Her devotees ranged from prime ministers to renowned saints to humble villagers. Although virtually uneducated, Ma spoke with the authority of direct experience and mesmerised all with her ethereal beauty, sweetness and grace.
A free spirit, she wandered all over the country showering her love and tender care on everyone. Across India, several ashrams, established and dedicated in her name, today serve as sanctuaries for spiritual seekers. Wherever she went, miracles followed in her wake. From suddenly appearing at the bedside of a dying woman… to breathing life into an ant crushed thoughtlessly underfoot, everything was manifested effortlessly and graciously through Ma.
Her samadhi at Kankhal near Haridwar, radiates peace and showers blessings on devotees who come to pay their respects from all over the world. This short biography, written by a “dikshit” – a direct disciple of Ma, seeks to acquaint you with the sacred persona, inspired wisdom and the divine life of Anandamayi Ma. Its highlight is a chapter on new incidents that have come to light and never before been published in any biography of Ma.
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