The Culmination

Shri Mataji knew from an early age that her ultimate goal was to contribute to the spiritual evolution of humankind. Yet it was not until she was 47, and her two daughters were married, that Shri Mataji embarked upon her life-defining work.

The turning point came in Nargol, a small village in the State of Gujarat, India. On May 5th, 1970, after a period of deep meditation, Shri Mataji had a profound experience of consciousness and truth that would inspire her actions for the next forty years.

Shri Mataji speaking on Spirituality and Kundalini Awakening in IndiaFrom that moment on, Shri Mataji devoted herself to spreading the message that self-realization is within reach of every individual, through the practice of a simple form of meditation she called Sahaja Yoga – a Sanskrit term meaning the ‘spontaneous union’ of the individual self with the ‘all-pervading creative energy of the universe.' She stated that self-realization is freely available to one and all, and showed how to pass the experience on to others, "like one candle lighting another."

Shri Mataji began on a small scale, with a handful of ardent ‘seekers of the truth’ in Mumbai and London. During this period up until the mid-1980’s, Shri Mataji was an immediate and very maternal presence – cooking, eating, shopping, going to the cinema, not to mention meditating regularly with her growing spiritual family.

Her husband, Sir C.P. Srivastava, the Secretary General of the UN International Maritime Organization, was at first somewhat taken aback by his wife’s ‘open door’ policy, but in due course he too became inspired by her compassion and desire to help others. He watched his wife welcome individuals into their home, give them self-realization and care for them, teaching them to cure themselves using Sahaja Yoga techniques. Of one such incident, he said, "Then I began to see the miracle happening. She treated the young man with a great deal of care and affection and Sahaja Yoga, and the boy began to be transformed..."

Shri Mataji speaking to an audience on SpiritualityWhile Shri Mataji already had a high profile as the wife of a leading diplomat, she began to play an increasingly public role in her own right – speaking at public events, giving press interviews, delivering lectures and above all, sharing the experience of self-realization with all who desired it. She attracted people wherever she went with her message of truth, her inexhaustible energy and her wonderful sense of humour. Slowly but surely, the practice of Sahaja Yoga became established in the United Kingdom (her primary venue being London’s Caxton Hall), India, then across Europe, the United States and the rest of the world.

By the 1990s, Shri Mataji had become a global personality, attracting media attention wherever she went, along with a succession of tributes and awards. She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and Claes Nobel, the grandnephew of Alfred Nobel and Chairman of the United Earth Foundation, declared that “Shri Mataji empowers us to become masters of our own destiny." She was invited to speak at the United Nations headquarters in New York as well as the UN Conference for Women in Beijing. Countless city and regional governments established a day in her honour.

Shri Mataji traveling in the village of Daglio, Northern Italy, 2007Shri Mataji founded a number of non-governmental organizations, including the International Hospital and Cancer Research Centre near Mumbai and Nirmal Prem, a home for destitute women on the outskirts of New Delhi. To this day, these foundations use Sahaja Yoga techniques to help people overcome problems such as disease and addiction and to find joy and meaning in their lives.

In spite of her celebrity, Shri Mataji remained the compassionate, kind and unassuming personality she had always been. Her purpose did not change, nor did her message. As she wrote in her book Meta Modern Era, “There is the all-pervading joy of Divine love and I want everyone to enjoy it." [1]

Shri Mataji continued to travel around the world until the very end of her life, though her public appearances diminished in later years as she spent more time with her immediate family.

On the twenty-third of February, 2011, Shri Mataji passed away at the age of 87. Her legacy endures, as the experience of self-realization continues to transform countless lives.

one has to realize that we are all bound by some common principle of life ... is that we all have kundalini within us ... we have to respect all the people, all the human beings whatever nation they come from, whatever country they belong to, whatever colour they have because they all have kundalini.

1. ^ Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, 'Meta Modern Era' Pune: Vishwa Nirmala Dharma, 1995