Hinduism

Biography of Anandamayi Ma

Sri Anandamayi Ma was a mystic, saint, guru and spiritual teacher from Bengal. She was a prominent mystic of her era. She embodied spiritual bliss as indicated by her name which means ‘joy-permeated mother’. This article reveals the inspiring

biography of Anandamayi Ma.

Early Life

Anandamayi Ma was born Nirmala Sundari in 1896 to Mokshada Sundari Devi and Bipinbihari Bhattacharya in Kheora, Bengal. This place is now in Bangladesh. Nirmala married at age 13, in 1908. During much of her married life, Nirmala used to be in a deep trance. Her husband often saw lying in deep trance in the kitchen, with the food half burnt. Nirmala’s husband became one of her disciples.

Spiritual Initiation

In 1924, Nirmala moved to Dhaka after her husband was appointed to take care of the Nawab’s gardens. She used to be in ecstasy most of the time. While praying in a temple, she experienced mystic bliss and adopted the name Anandamayi Ma.

Founding of Ashrams

Anandamayi Ma followed tantra and attracted many devotees. She remained humble calling herself “a little unlettered child”. In the year 1932, Anandamayi Ma moved to Dehradun accompanied by her husband. She also traveled all over India teaching her followers, who established several ashrams in her name.

Anandamayi Ma’s Teachings

Anandamayi Ma’s discourses were remarkable for their spontaneity. They were marked by alliterative word-play and musicality, which could not be reproduced in writing. Anandamayi Ma averred that all humans should aspire for self-realization. Other goals were only secondary. She also said that all actions should serve to kindle man’s innate divine nature. Anandamayi Ma did not stress on renunciation, stressing that everybody had a right to their viewpoints. She had no personal path and embraced all paths.

Though she herself practiced tantra, Anandamayi Ma blessed Vaishnavas, Saivas, Christians and Muslims equally. The Muslims of Kheora fondly called her “our own Ma”. Anandayi Ma taught her followers to centre their lives around God. Her discourses included instructions, songs, jokes, meditation and scripture readings.

Anandamayi Ma left her mortal coil in 1982 and her remains were buried in Haridwar, near the Ganges.

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