Anandamayi Ma, Presence of the Infinite

Anandamayi Ma

The Bliss
Permeated Mother

Your sorrow, your pain, your agony is indeed my sorrow. This body understands everything. You may want to leave this body. But this body won't leave you for a single day - it does not and never will leave you. One who has once been attracted to this body, even though he may make a thousand attempts, will not be able to efface or blot out the memory of this body. It will remain and persist in his memory for all time.

Anandamayi Ma, the Impact of Her Presence

On This Page:

Anil Ganguli - Chance Encounter Changes His Life

It was one of the coldest nights in Northern India - January 31, 1947. The Calcutta bound Delhi Express was about to leave Delhi Junction Railway Station. I was rushing frantically from one end of the platform to the other in search of accommodation on the train. The porter led me to a vacant compartment and then went away to his other duties. I occupied one of the upper berths - a fact which eventually proved to be of great significance.

Soon after, some important looking gentleman claimed that the compartment had been reserved for Anandamayi Ma and I realized that law, equity, convention - everything was against me. I deserved to be turned out of the compartment as a trespasser. However, I was not; on the contrary, I overheard the sweet voice of a Bengali lady - "Leave Baba (Father) alone; he is so tired!" I could not see the lady, but was agreeably surprised and deeply touched by the sympathetic tone of her voice. The sense of words uttered by her was comforting, the sound simply captivation. My first impulse was to be chivalrous and to leave the compartment. But expediency prompted me to feign sleep. in fact, I did fall asleep within a few minutes, not caring for my fellow passengers, nor did they bother themselves about me.

Early the following morning I awoke, refreshed by sound sleep. The glow in the eastern sky indicated that sunrise was near at hand. From my upper berth I could see the lower one on the opposite side occupied by a motherly lady with a radiant face and a pair of sparkling eyes. A cluster of her black silken hair was overflowing her pillow and swinging in rhythm with the movement of the train. Her gracious gaze, focused on me, seemed to penetrate into every fibre of my being. It was so loving, so soothing! I was told later on that she was Anandamayi Ma and that by such a gaze she often made, as it were, an X-Ray examination of a person's personality. Be that as it may, I seemed to read a mystic message in that gaze - a message of love and peace. My eyes were automatically closed in silent salutation. after some time I recovered from the bewildering effect of the first darshan and opened my eyes to find the Mother's face covered. I was disappointed.

As the day dawned, I came down from the upper berth. I wanted a seat on the berth below mine. It was occupied by a lady saint who looked the very picture of peacefulness. Later on, I was told that she was Didima, the mother of Anandamayi Ma. Didima was then immersed in meditation. She did not speak to me but offered me a seat on her berth and then sprinkled holy Ganga water on my head. I appreciated her courtesy, but not the chilling effect of the drops of water that had moistened my forehead that cold winter morning. However, I accepted the kindly gesture without protest and quietly sat down.

Soon I realized to my dismay, that my fellow passengers were all ladies and I was the only male in the compartment. I felt extremely embarrassed and out of place. The Mother continued to remain covered up as before and was absolutely motionless. The impression of my first darshan kept my mind fully absorbed. Barring the noise of the running train, there was complete silence. Concluding that discretion was the better part of valor, I packed up my bedding and prepared myself for a change of compartment.

Meanwhile, I noticed that the Mother had uncovered her face and was sitting on her berth, tenderly looking at me. The train stopped at a wayside station and I tried to leave the compartment. However, the Mother would not let me go. Gently she asked me, "Where are you going?" Instead of replying to her question, I simply apologized to her for my trespass into a ladies compartment. She uttered two words in East Bengali dialect offering me a seat beside her. I gratefully accepted the kindly gesture and was thrilled with a peculiar sensation of love, peace, and joy. The Delhi Express moved on slowly. Sitting so close to the Mother, I had the delightful feeling that I was being caressed by my own mother. It was a unique experience indeed! The Mother's very presence inhibited speech. For some time there was no exchange of words between us until she broke the silence with several questions of a personal nature, and then we talked on various subjects, which did not include religion or spirituality.

The Mother asked me whether my people would expect me in Calcutta on the morrow. I said, "No Mother". "That's very good!" observed she. I failed to understand the implication of such a remark. Her second question was: "Is anyone coming to meet you at the Railway Station?" I said, "No." The Mother repeated her first remark, "That's very good!" I was unpleasantly surprised, because a repetition of the same remark seemed to confirm her apparently unsympathetic attitude. A mother who alternately attracts and repels seemed an enigma to me. Indeed, her "That's very good!" remained a mystery to me for the time being. Within a few minutes, however, I discovered that it had a deep significance for my future life.

The train stopped at Allahabad, the Mother's destination. I was about to bid her good-bye, when Didi told me that I was to break my journey at Allahabad. Without my knowledge or consent a lower berth from Allahabad to Calcutta had already been reserved for me on the Bombay mail, the next convenient train for Calcutta. I helplessly saw my luggage being carried to the platform by two bright looking boys who had come from the city of Allahabad to receive the Mother at the Railway Station. I got off the train as instructed. Apparently I had no option in the matter. The Mother asked me to get into her car. I did so and sat by her side. Our destination was the famous Triveni, the confluence of the rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati. Ardha-Kumbha Mela, a periodical congregation of saints and sages was taking place there. The "Anandamayi Ma Camp" consisting of a large number of tents, had been set up especially for the occasion under the supervision of Dr. Pannalal, I.C.S. since deceased. I stayed at Allahabad as the Mother's guest for about eight hours. She introduced me to Dr. Pannalal, who treated me with parental care, accommodated me in his own tent and told me in detail his rich experience at the feet of the Mother. Then he took me to the dining place for prasad. The food served there was more delicious than any I had ever tasted. What added to its charm was the fact that the Mother served one of the items and smilingly told me that I should not feel shy nor hesitate to ask for more, if I wished. Her hospitality was unexcelled. It deeply touched my heart.

After prasad Dr. Pannalal again took me to his tent. I asked him many questions regarding religion from a scientific point of view. He genuinely tried to be helpful to me. From his experience he warned me against a strictly rationalistic approach and advised me that in the spiritual field there was no alternative to faith. Though not fully convinced by his arguments, I was touched by the ring of sincerity in his words which seemed to carry conviction.

His views were supported by some elderly devotees, benefited by their long association with the Mother. I was much impressed by the narration of the experience of these venerable persons as recipients of the Mother's grace. It set me thinking from a new point of view. My mind was thus being prepared for the climax to come.

The time for my departure was drawing nigh. The sun was sinking down to rest. Its mellowed rays were reflected on the Mother as she was proceeding from her tent to ours. Her face, as seen my me at dawn, was charming; at dusk majestic. The Mother came right up to me and blessed me with her affectionate touch. Then she uttered a few sentences which touched my soul. Her words, too sacred to be repeated and too personal to be disclosed, kindled in me a new type of spiritual aspiration and a new awareness of my duty as a human being. This was the beginning of a new chapter in my life.

Introductory Prelude to the excellent book "Anandamayi Ma the Mother Bliss-Incarnate" as told by the author Anil Ganguli.

Divine Personage of Anadamayi Ma - Life Summary

Who can understand the great and mysterious Divine Play that ever unfolds before our eyes. Mere mortals parade before the multitudes as heads of state, presidents, and prime ministers. Yet the most exalted spiritual beings are born as simple, humble personages out of view of the world. Such was the case with the bliss filled spiritual being known as Anadamayi Ma (Ananda Moyi Ma). She was born, Nirmala Sundari (Immaculate Beauty), before the beginning of the 20th century, on April 30th, 1896 in an obscure village in the Bangladesh area of India. According to those present at the birth, baby Nirmala illumined the cottage by the extraordinary luster of her body and surprised all present by not crying or uttering a single sound upon arrival into the world.

Anandamayi Ma lived a simple life. She had no possessions nor attachments and called no particular place her home. 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. She lived her life for the sake of her devotees and the world, ever following the currents of her Kheyal, the divine inner prompting that shaped all her movements and activities. People were drawn to her presence and the blissful divine nature of her personality changed them irreversibly and set them on a spiritual course. Though she remained passive, unobtrusive, and mostly silent, ashrams and organizations sprang up in her name, organized by her devotees to provide venues for contact with and care of the multitudes. In her presence the poor were fed and cared for, social boundaries between castes were lowered, barriers between Hindu and Moslem followers were destroyed. She encouraged and inspired all to go forward to their spiritual destination, whatever the individual's path or religion. She drew devotees from India and beyond and the impact and influence of her life on the world was immeasurably immense and continues beyond the lifespan of her human framework.

She never unveiled to others exactly who or what she was. Nevertheless, the people who came in contact with her saw a Divine Personage living amongst humanity, raising the fundamental vibration of the world around her by her mere presence. Her constant care and awareness of those who were drawn to her was never limited to the few who were in her physical presence at any given time. Her influence continues today for all who have the faith to invoke her presence in their lives through the inner contact. She herself remained always humble and never accepted adulation or worship but only lived to invoke the awareness of the One in everyone she came in contact with.

"You should kindle fire by any means, either with clarified butter or sandalwood or even straw. Once alight, the fire burns on; all worries, darkness and gloom gradually disappear. The fire will burn to ash all obstacles."
Anandamayi Ma

Experience of Sublime Holiness

It was a cold evening in December 1924, when I was taken to Shahbag for darshan of the Mother by Rai Bahadur Pran Gopal Muhkerjee. We were taken straight to the room where Mother was sitting alone deeply absorbed in meditation. A dim lamp was burning in front of her and that was perhaps the only thing in the room. Mother's face was completely hidden from our view, as in those days she used a veil exactly like a newly married village girl. After we had waited there for about half an hour, suddenly the veil loosened itself and Mother's face became visible in all its brilliance and lustre. Hymns containing many veeja-mantras (sound symbols) began to be recited by the Mother in uncommon accents, producing wonderful resonance, which affected the whole surrounding. The stillness of the cold December night, the loneliness of the Shahbag gardens and, above all, the sublimity and serenity of the atmosphere in the Mother's room - all combined to produce a sense of holiness which could be distinctly felt. As long as we were in the room we felt an indescribable elevation of the spirit, a silence and a depth not previously experienced, a peace that passeth all understanding. We came away from Shahbag late at night with the conviction that we had been in the presence of a superior being whom it is difficult to doubt or deny.

From the book: Mother as Seen by Her Devotees as told by Dr Nalini Kanta Brahma, Professor of Philosophy, Presidency College, Calcutta

"To believe in Him under any particular form is not enough. Accept Him in His numberless forms, shapes and modes of being, in everything that exists. Aim at the whole and all your actions will be whole."
Anandamayi Ma

Cry Only For Him

In the summer of 1948, a lady from South India had come to Kishenpur with a party from Hrishikesh. Seemingly absentminded and obviously distressed, she told Ma: "First my husband passed away. I was upset but I could bear it, because I had my only daughter, a lovely talented child. When she was 12, she fell ill and died. Since then I cannot find peace of mind. She was all I had, so beautiful and promising. When she had hardly begun her life, she was torn away from me. Why did she leave me? I cannot understand. For some time I worked in an orphanage. I thought, if I have no child, let me at least serve motherless children. I got attached to these children and they to me. But my heart is still broken. My guru said: 'Continue your sadhana'. But I cannot concentrate. All the time I am pining for my darling. Nothing appeals to me. I want my child back. What am I to do?"

Ma: "First of all, sorrow comes from the sense of 'I' and 'mine'. You say: 'My daughter died', and so you grieve. But who are you? Find out who you are! She was the fruit of your body. As long as you are identified with the body, there must be pain. It is inevitable. So many boys and girls die, young and beautiful, yet it does not affect you deeply. You only think this one child was your own and you have lost her."

"Then there is another thing to be learnt - all sorrow is due to the fact that one keeps apart from God. When you are with Him, all pain disappears. Let your thoughts dwell on Him. Remember that your daughter is now with Him. The more you think of God, the nearer you will be to her. If you must shed tears, cry for Him."

"Just as some blossoms fall off without bearing fruit, so do some human beings die young. For a while God had entrusted the child to your care and then He took her back unto Himself. Now He Himself is looking after her. One day you will go there too. Until then keep your mind on God and you will also be with your child."

"How do you know that your child is not much better off where she is now? How much trouble and distress life has brought you! Would you have desired a similar fate for her?"

"Then again, on the level where there is only one Self, there is no question of birth and death. Who is born? Who dies? All is one Self"

"The same mind that identifies itself with the body can be turned towards the Eternal and then the pain the body experiences will be a matter of indifference. Since the body is bound to get hurt at times, there must be suffering as long as one is identified with it. This world oscillates endlessly between pleasure and pain; there can be no security, no stability here. These are to be found in God alone. How can there be both, the world and the One? On the way there seem to be two, God and the world, but when the Goal has been reached, there is only One. What worldly life is you have seen. Who is yours? Only your Guru, your Ishta (chosen deity); in Him you will find everything and everyone. "I am your child".

Several months later the same lady came to Varanasi for Ma's darshan. She looked younger and happier. "I have gotten over my grief," she said "I am now reconciled to my fate. When Ma said 'I am your child', her voice was my daughter's voice. My hair stood on end and I had a wonderful feeling which I cannot describe in words. From that moment the wound in my heart began to heal. I have gained an inner conviction that my child is happy where she is. I am finding peace and am able to attend to my meditation. Now I am planning to go on a pilgrimage to Badri and Kedarnath. I only wish all bereaved mothers could be comforted as I have been"

From: Old Diary Leaves, Atmananda

"Joys and sorrows are time-born and cannot last. Therefore, do not be perturbed by these. The greater the difficulties and obstructions, the more intense will be your endeavor to cling to His feet and the more will your prayer increase from within. And when the time is ripe, you will gain mastery over this power."
Anandamayi Ma

A King Transformed to Service

On a chilly day in March 1934, immediately after a heavy snowfall, (Anandamayi) Ma visited Solan in the Simla Hills and temporarily lived, incognito, in a cave attached to the Salogra temple, about four miles away from the town. The then Ruling Chief of the State of Solan, Raja Durga Singh, heard about the presence of a saintly lady in his State. A pious man, His Highness felt an urge for her darshan, called at Salogra and found Ma seated quite complacently inside the cave with rain water running all around her. Ma asked the Raja to enter the cave, and then burst into hearty laughter. The effect on the Raja was more than magical. This strange and overwhelming experience acted like a sort of spiritual baptism for him and marked a starting point in his new career as a missionary for preaching Ma's message. "I fully believe", he observed later on, "that our Mother and the great Goddess at Dakshineswar (Kali) are one and the same."

Many have been called by Ma but few chosen; the Raja of Solan was one of those called and chosen. A spiritual aspirant of a rare type, he earned from Ma the name of Yogiraj (King of Yogis) which speaks for itself. He was also known as Yogibhai. Personally he preferred the epithet bhai (brother) rather than raj (king). Ever since his first darshan of Ma in 1934 till his death in 1977, Yogibhai lived the life of a yogi devoted to Ma and spent money like a Raja for institutions associated with Ma's name. His deep conviction that Ma was the Divine Mother, his wealth and resources dedicated to Ma's service and his influential connections combined to make him an ideal apostle for preaching Ma's gospel, particularly amongst the Rulers of Princely States.

From the book: Anandamayi Ma the Mother Bliss-Incarnate

"Always bear this in mind: Everything is in God's hands, and you are His tool to be used by Him as He pleases. Try to grasp the significance of 'all is His'. and you will immediately feel free from all burdens. What will be the result of your surrender to Him? None will seem alien, all will be your very own Self."
Anandamayi Ma

Rescue of a Desperate Devotee

In a spiritual gathering at a school in Varanasi, Ma was once listening to kirtana (sacred singing) then going on in full swing. Suddenly she got up from the dais for reasons best known to her and hurriedly proceeded towards the gate leading to the public road. Two devotees, N and A, followed her. A motorist who was driving to the gathering was met at the entrance. Ma unceremoniously asked him to give her a lift to the railway station which he did. On arrival at the station, he was asked to purchase three railway tickets to Sarnath for Ma, N and A. The gentleman pointed out that no train for Sarnath would be available till the next day. Still Ma insisted and the gentleman procured three tickets for Sarnath, knowing full well that there was no point in doing so. Within minutes a train steamed into the station and Ma with her two companions hurriedly stepped into an empty compartment. The gentleman murmured that the train, being a mail train, would not stop at Sarnath. Ma paid no heed to his remonstrances. The train whistled off. The motorist went back to Varanasi to inform Gurupriya Devi about Ma's latest kheyal (act of divine whim) and eventually brought her and some others to Sarnath.

Now, N and A had almost an uncanny experience. Unexpectedly the train suddenly stopped, presumably because there was no 'all clear' signal. At once Ma alighted from the train and told N and A: "Come down, come down quickly." A jumped from the train. N was incapable of such an athletic feat. While N was hesitating, Ma helped him get down. And within a few seconds the train started. N and A found themselves under the protecting wings of Ma at Sarnath, thus carried by a mail train not scheduled to touch such an unimportant station. The chain of events was mysterious enough so far. At Sarnath the mystery deepened. The evening was dark and the locality desolate. Ma asked her companions whether they could lead her to the newly built Birla Dharmasala. Their answer was in the negative. Ma then assumed the role of a guide and started walking in a particular direction without any hesitation. N and A followed her silently. The party at last reached Birla Dharmasala - a big house with a porter posted at the gate. Without caring to make any enquiry Ma walked past many empty rooms and finally entered straight a particular room occupied by a lady who happened to be an ardent devotee of Ma, Maharattan by name.

Maharattan's experience was also very wonderful. She had come from far away for Ma's darshan at Varanasi. Misinformed that Ma had gone to Sarnath, she forthwith rushed to Sarnath in a tonga (cart) and learnt, to her dismay, that there was no question of Ma's visit to that place. In the meantime, the tonga driver had left and there was no train for Varanasi. So Maharattan was stranded. She shuddered to think of the dreadful prospect of spending the night all alone in an empty dharmasala situated in a lonely locality far away from human habitation. On top of this she was unwell and was running a temperature. The helpless lady was in a terrible plight. She then completely broke down, crying 'Ma, Ma!' At this juncture Ma physically appeared before her and exclaimed: "Here am I, here am I .... don't cry any more."

After some time the motorist who had escorted Ma to the Varanasi railway station brought Gurupriya Devi and others to Sarnath. Ma was now revealed in wonderful spirits - she want on talking and laughing and cutting jokes at the cost of Maharattan. The whole party had prasad rather late at night and then they all slept on the roof of the building with Ma lying near to them.

From the book: Anandamayi Ma the Mother Bliss-Incarnate

"Suffering is sent to remind you to turn your thoughts towards That which is real - to God who will give you solace."
Anandamayi Ma

Encounter with Paramahansa Yogananda

In the following incident the well known saint of India, Paramahansa Yogananda, tells of his brief but memorable meetings with Anandamayi Ma.     From: Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda

Anandamayi Ma was standing in an open-topped automobile, blessing a throng of about one hundred disciples. She was evidently on the point of departure. Mr. Wright parked the Ford some distance away, and accompanied me on foot toward the quiet assemblage. The woman saint glanced in our direction; she alit from her car and walked toward us.

"Father, you have come!" With these fervent words she put her arm around my neck and her head on my shoulder. Mr. Wright, to whom I had just remarked that I did not know the saint, was hugely enjoying this extraordinary demonstration of welcome. The eyes of the one hundred chelas were also fixed with some surprise on the affectionate tableau.

I had instantly seen that the saint was in a high state of samadhi. Utterly oblivious to her outward garb as a woman, she knew herself as the changeless soul; from that plane she was joyously greeting another devotee of God. She led me by the hand into her automobile.

"Anandamayi Ma, I am delaying your journey!" I protested.

"Father, I am meeting you for the first time in this life, after ages!" she said. "Please do not leave yet."

We sat together in the rear seats of the car. The Blissful Mother soon entered the immobile ecstatic state. Her beautiful eyes glanced heavenward and, half-opened, became stilled, gazing into the near-far inner Elysium. The disciples chanted gently: "Victory to Mother Divine!"

I had found many men of God-realization in India, but never before had I met such an exalted woman saint. Her gentle face was burnished with the ineffable joy that had given her the name of Blissful Mother. Long black tresses lay loosely behind her unveiled head. A red dot of sandalwood paste on her forehead symbolized the spiritual eye, ever open within her. Tiny face, tiny hands, tiny feet - a contrast to her spiritual magnitude!

I put some questions to a near-by woman chela while Anandamayi Ma remained entranced.

"The Blissful Mother travels widely in India; in many parts she has hundreds of disciples," the chela told me. "Her courageous efforts have brought about many desirable social reforms. Although a Brahmin, the saint recognizes no caste distinctions. A group of us always travel with her, looking after her comforts. We have to mother her; she takes no notice of her body. If no one gave her food, she would not eat, or make any inquiries. Even when meals are placed before her, she does not touch them. To prevent her disappearance from this world, we disciples feed her with our own hands. For days together she often stays in the divine trance, scarcely breathing, her eyes unwinking. One of her chief disciples is her husband. Many years ago, soon after their marriage, he took the vow of silence."

The chela pointed to a broad-shouldered, fine-featured man with long hair and hoary beard. He was standing quietly in the midst of the gathering, his hands folded in a disciple's reverential attitude.

Refreshed by her dip in the Infinite, Anandamayi Ma was now focusing her consciousness on the material world.

"Father, please tell me where you stay." Her voice was clear and melodious.

"At present, in Calcutta or Ranchi; but soon I shall be returning to America."


"Yes. An Indian woman saint would be sincerely appreciated there by spiritual seekers. Would you like to go?"

"If Father can take me, I will go."

This reply caused her near-by disciples to start in alarm.

"Twenty or more of us always travel with the Blissful Mother," one of them told me firmly. "We could not live without her. Wherever she goes, we must go."

Reluctantly I abandoned the plan, as possessing an impractical feature of spontaneous enlargement!

"Please come at least to Ranchi, with your disciples," I said on taking leave of the saint. "As a divine child yourself, you will enjoy the little ones in my school."

"Whenever Father takes me, I will gladly go."

A short time later the Ranchi Vidyalaya was in gala array for the saint's promised visit. The youngsters looked forward to any day of festivity—no lessons, hours of music, and a feast for the climax!

"Victory! Anandamayi Ma, ki jai!" This reiterated chant from scores of enthusiastic little throats greeted the saint's party as it entered the school gates. Showers of marigolds, tinkle of cymbals, lusty blowing of conch shells and beat of the mridanga drum! The Blissful Mother wandered smilingly over the sunny Vidyalaya grounds, ever carrying within her the portable paradise.

"It is beautiful here," Anandamayi Ma said graciously as I led her into the main building. She seated herself with a childlike smile by my side. The closest of dear friends, she made one feel, yet an aura of remoteness was ever around her—the paradoxical isolation of Omnipresence.

"Please tell me something of your life."

"Father knows all about it; why repeat it?" She evidently felt that the factual history of one short incarnation was beneath notice.

I laughed, gently repeating my question.

"Father, there is little to tell." She spread her graceful hands in a deprecatory gesture. "My consciousness has never associated itself with this temporary body. Before I came on this earth, Father, 'I was the same.' As a little girl, '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 when, passion-drunk, my husband came to me and murmured endearing words, lightly touching my body, he received a violent shock, as if struck by lightning, for even then 'I was the same.'

"My husband knelt before me, folded his hands, and implored my pardon.

"'Mother,' he said, 'because I have desecrated your bodily temple by touching it with the thought of lust—not knowing that within it dwelt not my wife but the Divine Mother—I take this solemn vow: I shall be your disciple, a celibate follower, ever caring for you in silence as a servant, never speaking to anyone again as long as I live. May I thus atone for the sin I have today committed against you, my guru.'

"Even when I quietly accepted this proposal of my husband's, 'I was the same.' And, Father, in front of you now, 'I am the same.' Ever afterward, though the dance of creation change around me in the hall of eternity, 'I shall be the same.'"Anandamayi Ma with Yogananda and Bholanath

Anandamayi Ma sank into a deep meditative state. Her form was statue-still; she had fled to her ever-calling kingdom. The dark pools of her eyes appeared lifeless and glassy. This expression is often present when saints remove their consciousness from the physical body, which is then hardly more than a piece of soul less clay. We sat together for an hour in the ecstatic trance. She returned to this world with a gay little laugh.

"Please, Anandamayi Ma," I said, "come with me to the garden. Mr. Wright will take some pictures."

"Of course, Father. Your will is my will." Her glorious eyes retained the unchanging divine luster as she posed for many photographs.

Time for the feast! Anandamayi Ma squatted on her blanket-seat, a disciple at her elbow to feed her. Like an infant, the saint obediently swallowed the food after the chela had brought it to her lips. It was plain that the Blissful Mother did not recognize any difference between curries and sweetmeats!

As dusk approached, the saint left with her party amidst a shower of rose petals, her hands raised in blessing on the little lads. Their faces shone with the affection she had effortlessly awakened.

On one other occasion after her Ranchi visit I had opportunity to see Anandamayi Ma. She stood among her disciples some months later on the Serampore station platform, waiting for the train.

"Father, I am going to the Himalayas," she told me. "Generous disciples have built me a hermitage in Dehra Dun."

As she boarded the train, I marveled to see that whether amidst a crowd, on a train, feasting, or sitting in silence, her eyes never looked away from God. Within me I still hear her voice, an echo of measureless sweetness:

"Behold, now and always one with the Eternal, 'I am ever the same.'"

"Whenever you possibly can, sustain the flow of a sacred Name. To repeat His name is to be in His presence. If you associate with the Supreme Friend, He will reveal His true being to you."
Anandamayi Ma

Healing of a Mentally Ill Person

"Ma Does not seem to notice anybody's shortcomings.
She only sees everybody's luminous aspects."
Anil Ganguli

In 1948, Ma's birthday anniversary was being celebrated in a private garden in New Delhi. One morning in the midst of satsang (religious congregation) a weird looking man entered the garden. He was dressed in a queer fashion and his face bore the look of insanity. He walked straight over to the women's side and spoke to each woman with her head uncovered: "Cover your head!" No one took any heed of him. This seemed to annoy him much. He was obviously getting more and more desperate. Finally he approached Ma and repeated his request to her as well. She at once complied with his wish and motioned to the girls sitting near her to do likewise. Every woman in the assembly followed suit. The stranger was visibly pleased at his sudden success. With a triumphant smile he walked across to the men's side and sat down quietly. After some time, however, he got up, announced in a loud voice that he wanted to leave. Ma handed an orange to some one to be passed on to him. This for some unknown reason infuriated the stranger and he threw the fruit at Ma with violence. He aimed well and it hit her. A wave of indignation surged through the crowd. Two of Ma's devotees caught hold of the offender and tried to lead him out of the garden. At the gate he freed himself from their grip and attempted to return to the satsanga. One of the devotees hit him and with difficulty the intruder was finally turned out on the street. Ma later reprimanded the devotees, telling them: "You are not to prevent anyone from coming to this body. Moreover, you must not beat anybody."

Next morning the stranger came again. This time he was decently dressed and looked normal. He did not concern himself with the women's bare heads, but straightaway sat down with the men in a dignified manner and remained quiet throughout the satsanga. When it was over, he went up to Ma and talked to her. She invited him for lunch, and he stayed until after the meal. He was found to be an educated, cultured and amiable person. Afterwards it transpired that the throwing of the orange at Ma had caused the man such deep remorse that he was healed of his mental disturbance. He had been unbalanced and was restored to normality by Ma's grace.

From the book: Anandamayi Ma the Mother Bliss-Incarnate

"Just as fire burns away all dross and rubbish, so the three fold suffering purges man's heart from all impurity and results in a growing single mindedness in his search after Truth. When he becomes deeply conscious of his weakness and tormented by the thoughts of his undesirable impulses and distressing characteristics, when afflictions like poverty, bereavement or humiliation make him feel his life is futile, then and then only does he develop real faith and religious fervour, and becomes anxious to surrender himself at the feet of the Supreme Being. Suffering should therefore be welcomed. Never does the soft moonlight appear more soothing than after the scorching heat of a summer day."
From: Life and Teachings of Anandamayi Ma, Alexander Lipski

Daya Ma, Meeting Invokes Great Bliss

Daya Ma, President of the Self Realization Fellowship, U.S.A describes her first impression of Ma's darshan as follows:

"As my eyes first beheld the blessed Mother, it seemed that a dart of love went out from Her and struck my heart, leaving me transfixed. I remained in that state for some moments, eyes locked on the Mother, feeling great waves of love surging within me. The Mother placed a garland of yellow flowers around my neck and I was plunged into an ecstatic state. When I opened my eyes the Mother gazed long and lovingly into my eyes. What sweetness - what blessing! I can say no more. She is a Divine Being."

Suddenly I felt a tremendous spiritual fulfillment and oneness with the Universal Mother. Anandamayi Ma removed from her neck a string of small rudraksha beads and put them about my neck and said with great tenderness, 'This daughter of yours ever lives in your heart'."

Ananda Varta Quarterly, VII/3/130

"Enquire: 'Who am I?' and you will find the answer. Look at a tree: from one seed arises a huge tree; from it comes numerous seeds, each one of which in its turn grows into a tree. No two fruits are alike. Yet it is one life that throbs in every particle of the tree. So, it is the same Atman everywhere.

All creation is That: There is beauty in the birds and in the animals. They too eat and drink like us, mate and multiply; but there is this difference: we can realize our true nature, the Atman. Having been born as human beings, we must not waste this opportunity. At least for a few seconds every day, we must enquire as to who we are. It is no use taking a return ticket over and over again. From birth to death, and death to birth is samsara. But really we have no birth and death. We must realize that."

Anandamayi Ma, Ananda Varta Quarterly I/60

Helps a Woman Overcome With Grief

In 1943, Professor Haridas Pakrashi of Lucknow and his wife, Punyamayi were plunged into deep grief at the premature death of their only child Dhira, a sixteen year old daughter gifted with physical grace and great promise. The couple had led a happy life until their peaceful existence was shattered by this bolt from the blue. In particular, the mother's heart was broken. The light seemed to have gone out of her life. all her thoughts were with her beloved Dhira whom she would never meet again. She would sit sleepless far into the night near the empty bed of her departed daughter, spending her heavy hours in painful memory. In the loneliness of the silent night she felt forlorn and helpless. When she was sunken in such a state of deep despair, solace came most mysteriously from Anandamayi Ma whose name she had never heard before. She tells the story in a letter she wrote: "Some time after Dhira's death one night I saw her sitting on her bed in a white sari (not usual for her when she was alive). I could not see her face clearly but her abundant hair was tied in a knot on the top of her head. Next night again I had the same vision, vanishing after about half an hour. Although the light had been switched off, the room was fairly well lit up from outside and I could see Dhira quite well. The face of the girl was blurred - it was not exactly like Dhira's; but I had a feeling that my darling was with me. For three months she continued to appear before me like this at the same time in the night and on every occasion she gradually disappeared after about half an hour. My heart was filled with joy at the sight of my Dhira although she seemed somewhat different from what she had been in life. On hearing about my experience, a friend of mine concluded that Anandamayi Ma of Dacca answered to the description, because, she too had abundant black hair, often tied in a knot on the top of her head and she always wore a white sari. 'Who is Anadamayi Ma?' wondered I and 'why should she come to Lucknow and visit me?' I became very anxious to meet her. I got an opportunity for her darshan after several years when Ma chanced to come to Lucknow. I went to the place where she was expected to stop. There I was struck at the sight of a lady in white sari with raven black hair tied in a knot on the top of her head. I had no doubt about her identity. I had seen her in Dhira's bed - not in a dream, but when wide awake; not on one occasion, but night after night continuously for three months. I had then mistaken her for Dhira.

"Ma, now seated on a dais, watched me from a distance and beckoned me to come to her. At once I did so and then I completely broke down. Ma caressed me and calmed me. I remained at her feet, shedding silent tears. About an hour passed in this manner. The heaviness of my heart was relieved by magic as it were. As I asked for leave to go home, Ma said: 'Come at 5 a.m. tomorrow and sing to me'. 'Since my daughter's death I have stopped singing', said I. But Ma would not have it so. She said: 'The Mother (that is Punyamayi) will sing and the daughter (that is Ma) will hear and the latter will also sing to the former'. So I had my second darshan the next morning and I sang. Ma then simply overwhelmed me with her unparalleled song 'He Bhagavan etc'."

"Ma drew me towards her. Once her shadowy presence had, to some extent, consoled my heart aggrieved at the loss of Dhira. Her darshan changed my outlook - bereavement for Dhira has since lost it's sting for me. I know Ma is with me"

From the book: Anandamayi Ma the Mother Bliss-Incarnate

"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 serve's one's own Self in every one of them."
Anandamayi Ma, Ananda Varta Quarterly I/60

Thief and The Merchant, a Story Told by Anandamayi Ma

"A wealthy merchant went on a business trip. A thief in the disguise of a businessman joined him, intent on robbing him at the earliest suitable occasion. Every morning, before leaving the inn which they happened to have put up for the night, the merchant would count his money quite openly and then put it into his pocket. At night the merchant went to sleep seemingly without suspicion. While he was asleep the thief would frantically search through all the belongings of the merchant without being able to find the money. After several nights of frustrating searching, the thief finally in resignation confessed to the merchant his true intention and pleaded with him to tell him how he was able to hide his money so successfully. The merchant replied casually: "I knew from the very beginning what you were up to. So, every night I placed the money under YOUR pillow. I could safely sleep, knowing full well that that would be the one place where you would never look.

God is within everyone, but man goes out in search of Him. This is what constitutes God's Play and God's Creation."
From the book: Life and Teaching of Sri Anadamayi Ma, Alexander Lipski

Her Natural Wisdom

In 1929 a number of eminent Professors of Philosophy visited Dacca in connection with a session of the Indian Philosophical Congress. Some of the delegates had a discussion with Ma in her house lasting for about three hours. A Professor of Wilson College, Bombay, asked a series of questions with reference to which the following remark has been made by Dr. Mahendranath Sarkar: "All sorts of questions were put, mostly philosophical, and Mataji was ready with answers spontaneously. There was no hesitation, not the least conscious thinking, nor the least sign of nervousness in her. Her answers hit directly the point, free from metaphysical teaching." He added that all present were impressed by "the profundity of her wisdom, the fluency of her expression and luminosity of the smile on her face."

Once Dr. Sarkar asked Ma whether she had read philosophy; Ma wondered why such a question was being asked. The Professor said: "The answers that you give to our questions invariably correspond to what books on our philosophy say. Now, how is that possible?"

Anandamayi Ma replied: "There is a great book of life. To one who has dived deep into it, all truths of Science, Philosophy and allied subjects never remain unexplored."

From the book: Anandamayi Ma the Mother Bliss-Incarnate

Who Is She Really?

Arnaud Desjardins, French producer of spiritual films said the following of her:

"From the first day I have had the conviction that I was not in the presence of a human being, however extraordinary, but of a Being of an altogether different order. She has gradually made me understand the meaning of the Gospels and the message of Christ.

Since my first visit to Ma at Varanasi I have discovered the Life in myself. The Christ said: "I am the Life. I shall give Life to all who come to me'. I know that Ma is Life and she gives Life to those who come to her."

From the book: Anandamayi Ma the Mother Bliss-Incarnate
Some eminent saints also adored Ma even when she was in her thirties. Thus, Thakur Ram Chandra Deva (Ram Thakur) who was regarded as a man of God in East Bengal, offered pranama (obesience by lying prostrate) to her although he was considerably older then Ma who was like a daughter to him. Later on, he offered an explanation for his unusually reverent attitude: "I offered pranama to one who deserved it from me. She is the Divine Mother Incarnate."

From the book: Sri Sri Ma Anandamayi, by Gurupriya Devi

A lady: "Ma! A motor car is waiting to take you away from us. The sound of the horn causes my heart to ache. It seems as if Akrur has come to snatch away our Sri Krishna from our midst."

Ma: "Why are you so much moved? Am I not just an ordinary person like you? I have been here only on a short visit. And like a stranger I have wandered about in my own way. But you have offered me meals with great cordiality and tender care."

A young housewife said in her smart reply: "Ma, we belong to Tarapeeth, a sacred place of pilgrimage. We are used to seeing so many saints and sages. We can easily size up people. We have never come across one like you - verily a goddess in human form."

Ma replied: "No I am neither a sage nor a saint. How could I be compared to them?"

The lady's rejoinder was: "Why try to deceive us? You are indeed, goddess incarnate!"
From the book: Anandamayi Ma the Mother Bliss-Incarnate

On the occasion of the solar eclipse on Makar-sankranti (January 10th, 1926) nama kirtana (singing of a sacred name) was started at Shahbag in the morning. In the elevated mood of mahabhava, unmindful of her body, Anandamayi Ma started moving her head backwards so much that it touched her body. Her hands were lifted towards the sky. For a short while she performed Shiva's dance standing on one leg. Thereafter she lay down flat on the floor and her whole body rolled over the open space just like a piece of cloth or a dry leaf blown forward by a strong wind. People around Mataji tried to stop her movement but failed in their attempts. When Mataji's body became still of its own accord and was lying on the floor, a very sweet melodious tune - 'Hare Murare Madhu Kaitabhare, Gopala Govinda Mukunda Shaure' came from her lips.

Later a devotee who had her darshan for the first time that day disclosed that he had seen Mataji in the form of Goddess Durga while she was singing Kirtana.

From the book: Memoirs of Hari Ram Joshi
Mataji says that sometimes dead persons in their subtle bodies appear before her just as we go to her for darshan. She also has said that these souls sometimes come to her in the guise of even snakes. At times devotees feel that they should leave Mataji alone in her room so that she may have the chance to rest. But Mataji has stated so often that even though she might be left alone in the room, souls not visible to ordinary human beings appear before her and talk to her in their own languages. She says that her body may seem to be sleeping but actually she does not sleep inasmuch as she never is unconscious. In her kheyala or bhava she knows what is happening all around. It is really surprising that when we are blessed with the presence of such a great Divine Being in our midst, only a few of our leaders, educationalists, reformers and well wishers of the oppressed and down trodden should take advantage of her guidance to solve the many intricate and complex problems facing the world.

From the book: Memoirs of Hari Ram Joshi
Recorded statements she made in reference to herself:
Anandamayi Ma once observed: "Ma means Atma. All space is ma-may (i.e. pervaded by her presence)".

She once said to a group: "I am ever present with you all, but you have little yearning to see me. What am I to do? Know it for certain I have my eyes fixed on what you do or fail to do."

"You all love this body so much that you often come to see me, unmindful of the long distance that many of you have to travel. Yet, it is true that this body has no relationship with any of you except the kinship of the Atma which this body enjoys equally not only with each of you but even with all trees, creepers and the foliage around, as well as with rocks, mountains, and everything else."

Another time when she was leaving the Almora ashram after two month stay there. One of the residents lamented her leaving: "Mataji, you are leaving us! We shall feel so lonely; our lives will be empty without you." Ma consoled the devotees by saying: "Why do you say I am leaving you? Why do you push me away? I am always with you!"

At another time she said: "This body has her being in all ashramas. You imagine she is confined only to the ashram set up by you. This body knows but one sole ashram which extends over the whole universe."

A Devotee complained: "But we cannot see you with our eyes. If you had really been with us, certainly we would have seen you. I am not satisfied with such an explanation from you." Ma's reply was:

"By thinking about somebody one can come close to him. There is really no difference between seeing with the eye and seeing with the mind."

From the Book: Anandamayi Ma the Mother Bliss-Incarnate

Topics - From Her Recorded Ashram Talks

Reason for Different Religions:

Questioner: "When there is only ONE, why are there so many different religions in this world"?
Ma: "Because He is infinite, there are infinite varieties of conceptions of Him and of paths leading to him".

Place of Destruction and Ruin

Questioner: "How is the idea of a benevolent God compatible with ruin and destruction in the history of peoples and lives of families and individuals"?
Ma: "Do you believe that God is the creator of this world and therefore its Lord"?
Questioner agrees.
Ma: "Very well, If God is the Lord of the world, He can do with it as he pleases. Suppose you have grown beautiful flowers in your garden, but decide to plant fruit trees in their place, won't you have to remove the flowers? If you have a fine house, but wish to build a larger and better one on the same plot, you demolish the old one. The freedom that is yours in small things, God exercises in great ones. In both is He, in destruction as well as in construction. The history of nations, families and individuals is the great Lila (divine sport) that He stages with Himself."
Ananda Varta Quarterly XIII/3/94

On Meditation and Union with the Eternal:

The spiritual aspirant should practice dhyana (steady meditation) in the proper posture (with the back straight) and deeply meditate on his Ishta (beloved deity). He should purge himself of all outside thoughts and consider himself pure. Once he is absorbed in genuine dhyana, worldly attractions lose all their appeal and then worldly enjoyments cannot possibly touch him. Meditation opens one's true being to the Light, to that which is Eternal. In true meditation, Reality is contacted. When the movement of your true nature sets in, then, because it is directed solely towards God, the knots of the heart will be unraveled. Then you should know that the current of your life is turned towards the Eternal. Give yourself up to the wave, and you will be absorbed by the current - having dived into the sea, you do not return any more. The Eternal Himself is the wave that floods the shore, so that you may be carried away. Those who can surrender themselves to this aim will be accepted by Him. But if your attention remains directed towards the shore, you cannot proceed - after bathing you will return to the shore. If your aim is the Supreme, the Ultimate, you will be led on by the movement of your own true nature. There are waves that carry away and waves that pull back. Those who can give themselves up will be taken by Him. In the guise of the wave He holds out His hand and calls you.

On Silence:

Even when speech is supressed, the activity of the mind still continues. All the same silence helps control the mind. As the mind dives deeper, its activity slackens off, and then one comes to feel that He Who provides for everything will arrange matters. When the mind is agitated by thoughts of worldly things, the benefit that should be gained by abstaining from speech is lost. When the mind is centered on God, it keeps advancing steadily, and along with this emerges purity of body and mind. To let thoughts dwell on objects of the senses is waste of energy.

By constantly dwelling on the thought of God all the granthis (knots) that make up ego are unraveled, and that which has to be realized will be realized.

To say 'through silence He is realized' is not correct, because Supreme Knowledge does not come 'through' anything. Supreme Knowledge reveals itself. For destroying the 'veil', there are suitable spiritual disciplines and practices.

The Mother is Always With You:

Even though you may want to push God the Mother aside, She will never leave you. Are you not her offspring? A mother does what is good and beneficial for her child. She gives to her scion exactly what is needed, not more and not less. Her forgiveness knows no limits, this is why she is called MOTHER. If with deep faith, devotion and love you can exclaim: 'Mother, come to me, I cannot pass my days without you', rest assured, the Universal Mother will spread out Her arms and clasp you to Her heart. Don't look up to Her only as a mysterious refuge in your hour of distress. Keep in mind, She is always very, very near as the Force that guides your life. She Herself is the supreme refuge of every sentient being. With this conviction proceed. She will take the brunt of your burdens from your shoulders and make them light.
Mauna Milani, B 11

Trials and Tribulations in Life:

The distress that is experienced burns to ashes all pleasures derived from worldly things. This is what is called Tapasya. The heartache, the anguish over the effect of obstructions, are the beginning of an awakening to Consciousness.

Remember, one is born to experience various kinds of joys and sorrows according to one's desire. For the time being, God comes to you in the disguise of suffering. He is purifying you in this manner. The suffering is for your own best. A mother gives a slap to her beloved child for its own good, in order to keep it on the right path. When a fond mother gives her baby a bath, the child may scream desperately, yet the mother will not let the baby go until she has thoroughly washed and scrubbed him.
From: The Life and Teachings of Anandamayi Ma, Alexander Lipski

"By sorrow does the Lord dispel sorrow and by adversity does He destroy adversity. When this is done He sends no more suffering - this must be born in mind at all times."

"Who is it that loves and who that suffers? He alone stages a play with Himself. The individual suffers because he perceives duality. Find the One everywhere and in everything and there will be an end to pain and suffering."

On Suicide:

Once a devotee asked whether he would be able to join his beloved wife who had recently died if he himself committed suicide. Anandamayi Ma replied very strongly against the idea:

"To whom belongs the body that you speak of destroying? Is this the way a human being talks? For shame!" Suicide is nothing but a foolish attempt to escape one's karma. It only retards further spiritual progress.

From: Life and Teaching of Sri Anandamayi Ma, Alexander Lipski.

Importance of State of Mind at Time of Death:

"Man's spiritual evolution is greatly affected by the thought he harbors at the time of death: Just as a leech does not leave its place without hooking on to something else, so the soul at the time of leaving the body hooks on to some kind of new existence according to the state of mind of the dying person."

Potent affect of contact with a Holy Person

"Just as water cleanses everything by its mere contact, even so the sight, touch, blessing , nay the very remembrance of a real sadhu, little by little, clears away all impure desires and longings."

From: Life and Teaching of Sri Anandamayi Ma, Alexander Lipski.

On Service:

"Widen your shriveled heart, make the interests of others your own and serve them as much as you can by sympathy, kindness, presents and so forth. So long as one enjoys the things of this world and has needs and wants, it is necessary to minister to the needs of one's fellow men. Otherwise one cannot be called a human being. Whenever you have the opportunity, give to the poor, feed the hungry, nurse the sick - do service as a religious duty and you will come to know by direct perception that the person served, the one who serves and the act of service are separate only in appearance."

"In order to be able to really serve the whole world in a universal manner, it is necessary to pray to the Fountainhead of all Power or to repeat His Name or to contemplate on Him. Without full power full success does not come."

From: Life and Teaching of Sri Anandamayi Ma, Alexander Lipski.

Parable of the Necklace, A Story Told by Anandamayi Ma

A precious necklace was seen flashing from the bottom of a lake. Many felt tempted to recover the valuable ornament and dived deep into the water for it, but found no necklace anywhere. Yet it was clearly visible to everyone from the edge of the lake. They were all puzzled. Eventually they realized that there was no necklace at the bottom of the lake; what they saw was its reflection in the water. They looked up and discovered the precious ornament hanging from a tree. A bird must have picked it up from somewhere and deposited it there.

God who dwells within you is the source of true happiness. In the objects of the senses this happiness is merely reflected. The individual, misled by birth after birth by having only a glimpse of this reflected joy, thinks that this is the real thing, namely sensuous delight. So long as one believes that true happiness can be had in sense objects without searching within, one will never taste true happiness. The kingdom of God, hence of happiness, is within you.

Anandamayi Ma the Mother Bliss-Incarnate, Anil Ganguli

"God is without form, without quality as well as with form and quality.
Watch and see with what endless variety of beautiful forms
He plays the play of his maya with Himself alone.
The lila of the all pervading One goes on and on in this way in infinite diversity.
He is without beginning and without end.
He is the whole and also the part.
The whole and part together make up real Perfection."

Extract of Anandamayi Ma's Illuminating Wisdom Discourse

Under most circumstances Anandamayi Ma spoke very little and for years even observed a vow of complete silence. However when questioned earnestly by devotees she sometimes held forth impromptu discourses on various topics; matching her answers and style of speaking to the innate capabilities of her immediate audience. In the following discourse she touches on profound truths of the nature of the Supreme Self, of the lines and stages of approach to that Self and of the riddle of the simultaneous existence of both form and formlessness.


Grace (of God) is by its very nature beyond cause or reason. When working, one reaps the fruits of one's actions. If for instance you serve your father and he, being pleased with your service, gives you a present, this would be called the fruit of action: one does something and receives something in return. But the eternal relationship that by nature exists between Father and son surely does not depend on any action. The Supreme Father, Mother and Friend - verily God is all of these. Consequently, how can there be a cause or reason for His Grace? You are His, and in whatever way He may draw you to Him, it is for the sake of revealing Himself to you. The desire to find Him that awakens in man, who has instilled it into you? Who is it that makes you work for its fulfillment?

Thus you should try to arrive at the understanding that everything originates from Him. Whatever power, whatever skill you possess, - why even you yourself - from where does everything arise? And does it not all have for purpose the finding of Him, the destroying of the veil of ignorance? Whatever exists has its origin in Him alone. So then, you must try to realize your Self. Are you master even of a single breath? To whatever small degree He makes you feel that you have freedom of action, if you understand that this freedom has to be used to aspire after the realization of Him, it will be for your good. But if you regard yourself as the doer and God as being far away, and if, owing to His apparent remoteness, you work for the gratification of your desires, it is wrong action. You should look upon all things as manifestations of Him. When you recognize the existence of God, He will reveal Himself to you as compassionate or gracious or merciful in accordance with your attitude towards Him at the time - just as, for example, to the humble He becomes the Lord of the Humble.

When a spiritual aspirant starts worshiping a form of his Beloved, he will in the course of his practice attain to a condition in which the form of his Beloved is beheld wherever his eyes may fall. Next he comes to realize: "All other deities are contained in my Beloved." He sees that everyone's Lord, in fact all things, are contained in his own Ishta (chosen form of God) and that his Ishta also dwells in all deities, as indeed, in everything. The aspirant comes to feel: "As my Lord resides within me, so He, who is present within everyone else, is truly the same Lord. In water and on land, in trees, shrubs and creepers - everywhere in the whole universe abides my Beloved. Further, all the various forms and modes of being that we behold, are they not expressions of my Beloved? For there is none save Him. He is smaller than the smallest, and greater than the greatest.

Actuated by your various inborn tendencies, you each worship a different deity. The true progress in one's spiritual experience depends on the sincerity and intensity of one's aspiration. The measure of a person's spiritual advance will be reflected in the manifestations that are vouchsafed to him of his Ishta, who will by no means remain inaccessible or separate from His devotee but let Himself be contacted in an infinite variety of ways.

The multifarious kinds of beasts, birds, men and so forth, what are they all? What are these varieties of shapes, of modes of being, what is the essence within them? What really are these everchanging forms? Gradually, slowly, because you are rapt in the contemplation of your Beloved, He becomes revealed to you in every one of them; not even a grain of sand is excluded. You realize that water, earth, plants, animals, birds, human beings are nothing but forms of your beloved. Some experience it in this manner. Realization does not come to everyone in the same way. There are infinite possibilities. Consequently, the specific path along which - for any particular person - the Universal will reveal itself in its boundlessness, remains concealed from the average individual.

The Universal Body of the Lord comprises all things - trees, flowers, leaves, hills, mountains, rivers, oceans, and so forth. A time will come, must come when one actually perceives this all pervading Universal Form of the One. The variety of His shapes and guises is infinite, uncountable, without end. When a sadhaka enters this state, he becomes conscious of the perpetual transformation of all forms and moods. When the current of one's thinking that was directed towards worldly matters, is reversed and turned inwards, the One Himself becomes revealed as the 'secret skill'. It is a Kingdom without end, in which even what is discerned as non-existence is equally an expression of the One. In Chinmaya, the purely spiritual (and completely non-material) world, all forms - whatever they may be - are ever eternal. Therefore, simultaneously and in the same place there is non-existence as well as existence, and also neither non-existence nor existence - and more of the kind if you can proceed further!

Just as ice is nothing but water, so the Beloved is without form, without quality, and the question of manifestation does not arise. When this is realized, one has realized one's Self. For, to find the Beloved is to find my Self, to discover that God is my very own, wholly identical with myself, my innermost Self, the Self of my Self. Then according to the exigence of time and circumstances, various possibilities may take effect - as for example, the revelation of mantras and even of the entire Vedas by the ancient Rishis who were seers of mantras. All this will occur in consonance with the individual karma and inner disposition of the person concerned.

Form is really void; one sees that freedom from form means the realization that form itself is the void. In this way the world reveals itself as void, before emerging into the Great Void.

It is the perception of the world, based upon the identification of yourself with body and mind, that has all along been the source of your bondage. A time will come when this kind of perception will give way before the awakening of universal consciousness, which will reveal itself as an aspect of Supreme Knowledge.

On transcending the level where form, diversity, manifestation exist, one enters into a state of formlessness. What can this be called? Godhood, the Paramatma Himself. As the individual self becomes gradually freed from all fetters, which are nothing but the veil of ignorance, it realizes its oneness with the Supreme Spirit (Paramatma) and becomes established in its one Essential Being.

Now to another aspect of the matter. Everyone has his own path. As the Path, He attracts each person to a particular line, in harmony with that person's inner dispositions and tendencies. The One is present in each sect, even though in some cases there appears to be conflict among them, due to the limitations of the ego. Now suppose a man follows his own specific path, which happens to be the worship of a deity. Who actually is present as that particular deity? Certainly the One who is the formless Self! Consequently, just as the formless Self is He, so is the idol or concrete object of worship.

From your angle of vision it is but natural to perceive differences. He is whatever you take Him to be; you see Him according to your way of thinking, and as you portray Him, so He is.

One who, by the method of vedanta, has become fully established in the Self, may also find the Supreme Reality in the idol or image of a God, just as water is contained in ice. He will then come to see that all idols are really spiritual forms of the One. For what is hidden in ice? Water of course. Where He is present as the All, in that ice there are stages of melting, like solid and semi-solid ice.

He appears in the guise of countless shapes and modes, each one of them His own Spiritual Form. Depending on one's avenue of approach, prominence is given to one particular form. Why should there be so many different religious sects and subsects? Through every one of them He gives Himself to Himself, so that each person may advance according to his individual uniqueness.

If one believes fully in the Supreme Lord, His Divine Power (Shakti) is already taken for granted. Here you distinguish between Bhagavan and Bhagavati, Shiva and Shakti, between God as male and His Power as female. From one standpoint there is no question of male or female, while from another the Divinity is conceived as divided into these two aspects. The Eternal Virgin (Shakti or Kumari) does not depend on anyone, She is the One Itself as Power. Where the Supreme Reality is conceived as Shakti, It is recognized as Pure Existence (Sat) - with form or without form - Power alone constituting Its Essence. This represents yet another standpoint. When bhava (the mood to create) manifests as kriya (action), then only can form emerge. This also is a way of seeing it. Further, if you think of Bhagavati Herself as Shakti there are untold manifestations of Her Infinite Power. Again, Mahashakti (Ultimate Divine Female Power) is the root cause of everything - of creation, preservation, dissolution. Just as in the case of a tree, boughs and branches spring forth from its root, so all kinds of orders of deities, angels, and archangels, and so forth, come into being as the manifestations of that Power.

The specific character of Shiva (the male aspect of the Supreme) is a transcendence of all changes and mutations, symbolized by a corpse, which signifies that in the death of death lies Immortality, namely Shiva. Where creation, preservation, and dissolution occur, He is present as becoming and He Himself preserves the universe as what is called Mahavishnu. As regards the various cosmic positions, He is indeed in all of them, manifesting Himself in diverse ways and as the formless. In each of them all the rest are contained, and in this multiformity behold the One! When you gaze at one form you cannot see any other, but in each of them the All is present, and every form reveals the One. In the void there is fullness, and in fullness the void. There are possibilities of every kind and description, but the root is the One, the Great Light. He is infinite.

Extracted from Discourse Number 25, Words of Sri Anandamayi Ma; Translated and compiled by Atmananda. Shree Shree Anandamayee Charitable Society, Calcutta.

Anandamayi Ma in Courtyard
"I find one vast garden spread out all over the universe. All plants, all human beings, all higher mind bodies are about in this garden in various ways , each has his own uniqueness and beauty. Their presence and variety give me great delight. Every one of you adds with his special feature to the glory of the garden."
to Cosmic Harmony Home Page