Enlightened Since Birth
Ma Anandmayee was born in Kheura village in the Tripura district of India, on thirtieth April, 1896. Unlike other children, Ma Anandmayee didn’t cry at the time of birth. She was fully enlightened and aware since her birth. She would get into a trance if there was a kirtan in her house or in the neighborhood. She learnt to read and write very easily, and though she had neither much formal education, nor did she do much Swadhyay, she would amaze knowledgeable scholars, and those of repute, by the ease with which she solved problems related to the shastras.
Disclosure of Immense Spiritual Potential
In 1909, when Ma Anandmayee was twelve years and ten months of age, she was married to Ramani Mohan Chakravarty, who later came to be known as Bholenath. Ma Anandmayee and Bholenathji never lived like a normal married couple. Bholenathji experienced Ma Anandmayee’s divine powers in the beginning, and therefore assisted her in her spiritual pursuits. Later, she initiated him, too. In the beginning, certain Yogic Kriyas used to take place in her automatically, which was something that was a reason for concern in Bholenathji. He even called a few witch-doctors, but each of them ran away, chanting ‘ma, ma’. Some experts in the fields of Yoga and spirituality told him that Sri Ma wasn’t under the influence of any evil spirit, and that it was in fact her higher spiritual state. Yet, he didn’t believe them completely. Once Ma was in a Spiritual Trance (Adhyatmik Bhavavesh). A gentleman called Janaki Babu was called in. He asked her who she was. “Purna brahmanarayan,’ she answered. She stood up, and ran a finger over Bholenathji’s whole body. He went into the state of Samadhi. He stayed in that condition for around an hour, when, on Janaki Babu’s request, she touched him to take him out of that condition. After this, Bholenathji’s faith in Ma Anandmayee’s spiritual and divine powers never wavered.
Ma Anandmayee’s Severe Penance
Although Ma Anandmayee didn’t need to do any spiritual practices in this life, as she was already enlightened, she took up several hard practices to teach the people. In 1922, she took a vow of silence. For eight or nine months she ate only three morsels a day. Then for a few days she ate three bites on Mondays and Thursdays, and for the rest of the days she ate nine grains of rice. Apart from those nine grains of rice, she didn’t even drink a drop of water; yet she managed to do all her household chores properly. Once she didn’t drink any water for twenty-three days. She didn’t even wash her face. Once she didn’t sleep even for a moment for a month.
In 1925, Ma Anandmayee went to visit Kali Prasann Babu in Shahbagh. Ma wasn’t eating anything those days. His wife was insistent that Sri Ma ate some kheer (rice pudding, cooked in milk). Kheer of fifteen sers of milk was cooked. Ma ate all of that. On another occasion, a devotee insisted that she ate, and she consumed food enough for seven or eight people. After that, people stopped insisting.
Ma didn’t stay in one place for more that a certain period of time. Traveling all over the nation, she guided countless people. Even when she was eighty, her journey continued. Wherever she went, thousands of people turned up. She spoke very less. A mere glance from her was enough to destroy all doubts, and give immense peace. Those who had lost their way were put on the right path, and devotees experienced immense joy. On twenty-seventh August, in Kishanpur Ashram (in Dehradun area) she cast off her physical body.
Ma Anandmayee possessed immense divine powers. By merely contemplating upon something, she could do it. She could cure incurable patients; prevent a person form dying and even prevent natural disasters from taking place. She would sometimes take someone’s pain on to herself. Once a woman came with her son, and said,, “Mother, astrologers have said that a snake will bite him. Save him somehow!” Ma Anandmayee told her not to worry.” After a few days, she passed a snake on her way. People started chasing it. She stepped on it and it bit her. She didn’t tell anyone that it bit her, and the snake-bite didn’t have any effect on her.
Ma had immense power, but didn’t exhibit it. She’d often say, “We should be secretive. Spiritual powers and experiences should not be talked about. Still, if something accidentally slips, don’t pay any attention to it.” Even if something unusual took place in the normal course of things, she didn’t talk about it. For example, she could understand what somebody had in mind, look into the future, and get to know about the problems of devotees who were far away. But she didn’t tell these things to everyone. Once she was asked if she knew what everyone was feeling all the time. She answered, “No, I don’t always know what everyone is thinking all the time, but when I turn towards someone, I get to know clearly what they are thinking. Once a devotee asked her if she got to know when her devotees were scared for her. She said, “You know how I get to know? When your attention is towards me, I can see you people close to myself that you are thinking of me.” Although Ma Anandmayee is no longer with us in her physical form, her devotees still feel her guiding them.
Reading of the Quran
Ma Anandmayee never supported religious or caste discrimination. He devotees include Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Parsees. Once, Ma Anandmayee was in a trance. Suddenly, she walked out of the house, and started walking towards a fakir’s kab. Once there, she began to walk around the mazar, and started reciting ayats (verses) from the Quran. Then she did the namaz, and even told people how it should be read. Ma hadn’t ever studied Urdu or Persian, yet her diction was perfect.
The Mother’s Special Disciples
There are uncountable devotees of Ma. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Mrs. Kamla Nehru had immense respect for her. Mrs. Indira Gandhi, too, had her blessings. Dr. Rajendra Prasad used to visit her and the Pakistani ambassador to India, Mr. Brohi and his wife learnt to meditate from her. Dr. Pannalal, an IAS officer, even wrote her biography. Pt. Gopinath Kaviraj, who is known for his very scholarly articles in Sanskrit, English, Hindi and Bengali, used to consider Ma Anandmayee to be Devi Bhagvati. A French couple spent a lot of money to get a film made on Ma Anandmayee
How to instill spiritual feeling in one’s mind
Ma Anandmayee had taken birth to guide the worldly people. So, she traveled all over the country spreading the message of devotion. Ma never started any cult. Her way is very simple. She used to say, “Have faith in what I say, chant God’s name and you will achieve happiness. Chanting purifies one’s soul and also the place where it’s done, as does kirtan. Ma used to say about the development of the devotee that,
“i) keep the company of saints,
ii) read the scriptures,
iii) continuously recite God’s name of your choice,
iv) do actions that lead you to God.
Satsang greatly helps one in moving towards God, and so does chanting of his name. In the beginning, even if you don’t enjoy chanting, keep doing it, and gradually you’ll start enjoying it.” For busy worldly people, Ma used to suggest easy practices; Out of twenty-four hours, spare at least half an hour each in the morning and evening for bhajan. One doesn’t need to bathe before bhajan. ii) Apart from that, for ten minutes, meditate upon God. You’ll gain power from Him. Wherever you are, at home, or in office, you can remember God. You don’t need to go to the forest. He is in every particle. That’s why he’s called ‘Vasudev’.”She also used to exhort her disciples by saying, “Free your mind of all worldly desires. Even if you are doing your business, do it like worship, thinking that ‘O Lord! You are accepting my service in this form. I’m an instrument in your hands. As you are driving me, so I’m working. I’m a mere servant. Whatever I do is service.