Founder of Sahaja Yoga

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Founder of Sahaja Yoga

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About Shri Mataj

 

Dr. Shree Nirmala Srivastava (21 March 1923 – 23 February 2011), also known as Shri Mataji, is the founder of Sahaja Yoga, a meditation technique.

 

She claimed to have been born in a fully realized state and spent her life working for peace by developing and promoting a simple technique through which people can achieve their own self-realization.

Dr. Shree Nirmala Sivastava

Founde of Sahaja Yoga

 

Also known as "Shri MatajiNirmala Devi"

Shri Mataji and her parents

Shri Mataji passed her childhood years in the family house in Nagpur. In her youth, she stayed in the ashram of Mahatma Gandhi. Like her parents, she was involved with the struggle for Indian independence and, as a youth leader when a young woman, was jailed for participating in the Quit India Movement in 1942. Taking responsibility for her younger siblings and living a Spartan lifestyle during this period infused the feeling of self-sacrifice for the wider good.

She studied at the Christian Medical College in Ludhiana and the Balakram Medical College in Lahore.

 

Her parents named her Nirmala, which means "immaculate”. She said that she was born self-realized. Her father, a scholar of fourteen languages, translated the Koran into Marathi, and her mother was the first woman in India to receive an honor’s degree in mathematics.

Sahaja Yoga spreads in the world

In 1980 Nirmala Srivastava first toured Europe spreading Sahaja Yoga and in 1981 she toured Malaysia, Australia and North America – many other countries were to follow. In 1989, after the lifting of the Iron Curtain, Nirmala Srivastava began visiting Eastern Europe where Sahaja Yoga spread quickly. In 1995, Nirmala Srivastava was awarded an honorary doctorate in Cognitive and Parapsychological Sciences by the Ecological University of Bucharest, Romania. Also in 1995, Nirmala Srivastava gave a speech at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. In 1997 Claes Nobel, the founder of United Earth, spoke in strong support of Shri Mataji and Sahaja Yoga which he described as a reference point for determining right from wrong. He said he was very comfortable with Shri Mataji and her teachings quoting "you shall know the tree by its fruit" and described Sahaja Yogis as ambassadors for the earth.

Honors and recognition

  • Italy, 1986. Declared "Personality of the Year" by the Italian Government.
  • New York, 1990-1994. Invited by the United Nations for four consecutive years to speak about the ways and means to achieve world peace.
  • St. Petersburg, Russia, 1993. Appointed as Honorary Member of the Petrovskaya Academy of Art and Science.
  • Romania, 1995. Awarded Honorary Doctorate in Cognitive Science by head of the Ecological University Bucharest.
  • China, 1995. Official guest of the Chinese Government to speak at the United Nations International Women's Conference.
  • Pune, India, 1996. On the occasion of the 700th Anniversary of Saint Gyaneshwara, Shri Mataji addressed the "World Philosophers Meet '96 - A Parliament of Science, Religion and Philosophy" at Maharashtra Institute of Technology.
  • London, 1997. Mr. Claes Nobel, grandnephew of Alfred Nobel, chairman of United Earth, honored the life and work of Shri Mataji in a public speech at the Royal Albert Hall.
  • A road in Navi Mumbai, near the Sahaja Yoga Health and Research Center, was named in honor of Shri Mataji.
  • Cabella Ligure, Italy, 2009. Bhajan Sopori and his son Abhay Sopori composed raag Nirmalkauns in honor of Shri Mataji.

 

Shortly before India achieved independence in 1947, Shri Mataji married Chandrika Prasad Srivastava, a high-ranking Indian civil servant who later served Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri as Joint Secretary, and was bestowed an honorary KCMG by Elizabeth II.

Childhood

Shri Mataji was born in Chindawara, Madhya Pradesh, India to a Hindu father and a Christian mother Prasad and Cornelia Salve. Her parents named her Nirmala, which means "immaculate"

Her father, a scholar of fourteen languages, translated the Koran into Marathi, and her mother was the first woman in India to receive an honors degree in mathematics.

Shri Mataji passed her childhood years in the family house in Nagpur. In her youth she stayed in the ashram of Mahatma Gandhi. Like her parents, she was involved with the struggle for Indian independence and, as a youth leader when a young woman, was jailed for participating in the Quit India Movement in 1942.

 

She studied at the Christian Medical College in Ludhiana and the Balarama Medical College in Lahore.

They had two daughters, Kalpana Srivastava and Sadhana Varma. In 1961, Nirmala Srivastava launched the "Youth Society for Films" to infuse national, social and moral values in young people. She was also a member of the Central Board of Film Certification.