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The Founder of Sahaja Yoga

H H Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi

Brief overview:  

Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi was a mother and grandmother, as well as the spiritual mother to Sahaja Yogis from all over the world.  Shri Mataji is a descendant of an Indian royal family and her father was a member of India's first parliament.  She had a good and close relationship with Mahatma Gandhi.

She was the wife of Sir C.P Srivastava, a very distinguished diplomat who served as Secretary General of the United Nations International Maritime Organisation.  Shri Mataji was born in India to a Christian family on March 21, 1923.

On May 5, 1970 Shri Mataji opened the Sahastrara (Crown) chakra for mankind, thereby allowing anyone with the desire to have their realisation by awakening their dormant spiritual energy known as Kundalini.  Shri Mataji then began to spread

en-mass Self-Realisation using the Sahaja Yoga techniques she developed.  

Shri Mataji accepts no money for her time, knowledge or for the giving of Self-Realisation.  She has worked and travelled tirelessly for over 40 years to bring Sahaja Yoga to the seekers of the world.  She is regarded by hundreds of thousands of people in more than 130 countries as the "world's greatest living spiritual teacher".

A Photo of Shri Mataji in a white sari standing with hands in a Namaste position


Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, was born on the 21st of March, 1923 in Chhindwara, India.  Her Christian parents, Prasad and Cornelia Salve, chose the name Nirmala, which means ‘immaculate’.  Her father, a lawyer and scholar fluent in 14 languages, translated the Qur’an into Hindi.  Her mother was the first woman in India to receive an honours degree in mathematics.

A photo of Shri Mataji at a 'Free India' rally.  She is walking with a group of young ladies

Her parents were actively involved in the struggle for Indian independence, and as a child Nirmala frequently stayed with Mahatma Gandhi in his ashram.  As a young woman she, too, joined the struggle for independence and was jailed for her participation in the Quit India Movement in 1942.  She studied medicine at the Christian Medical College in Ludhiana and the Balakram Medical College in Lahore.

Photo of Shri Mataji in her young days in a black sari

From 1947 to 1970, Nirmala Srivastava courageously stood against prejudice, offered protection to those in need, supported and career of her eminent husband, nourished a growing family, farmed the land, encouraged culture through music and film, constructed numerous homes, engaged in charitable work, fulfilled everyday household duties, raise two daughters, was a loving wife, a supportive sister and eventually a grandmother.

All the while, she deepened her perception of human nature, focusing her attention on the best way to help human beings rise to their highest potential.  She came to understand that this transformation could only occur through the process of self-realisation, which is the activation of the inbuilt subtle energy present in all of us.  The awakening of this energy was something she would experience herself, before dedicating her life to sharing it with others.

On the 5th of May, 1970 she began her spiritual life-work.  At the age of 47 years, she found a way and developed a method of giving en masse self-realisation.  She desired to offer a genuine experience that people could use to transform and heal themselves, unlike many so-called gurus who took advantage of those seeking spiritual knowledge.  She denounced such false gurus and throughout her life warned against fraudulent and abusive spiritual practices.

With her husband as Secretary General of the UN International Maritime Organisation in London, Shri Mataji began her spiritual work with a small group of people, touring the United Kingdom giving lectures as well as the experience of self-realisation.  She never charged money for these programs, insisting that the awakening of the spiritual energy dormant within all human beings was their birth right and thus could not be paid for.  She soon received the honorific title Shri Mataji, meaning “Respected Mother”, as those around her came to recognize her exceptional spiritual and motherly qualities.

Photo of Shri Mataji outside on the step of a Hall, surrounded by lots of people including photographers and camermen,wanting to see her and holding their hands out to receive Her vibrations.

The method of meditation through self-realisation developed by Shri Mataji was called Sahaja Yoga.  Shri Mataji toured throughout Europe, Australia, and North America continuously in the 1980’s, teaching this method free of charge to all who were interested.  The 1990’s saw her travels spreading to South America, Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia and Pacific region.

a Hall full of people with their hands on their heads, taking their Self Realisation
Photo of Shri Mataji surrounded by Sahaja Yogis/ people, all full of joy on their faces. The Mother is about to get into her a departure...

Institutions around the world bestowed honorary awards and doctorates upon her.  In 1995 she spoke at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.  Claus Noble spoke of her Nobel Prize nomination in 1997, at the Royal Albert Hall in London.  A great admirer of Shri Mataji and Sahaja Yoga, he proclaimed it “a source of hope for humanity” and “a reference point for determining right from wrong.”

Photo of H H Shri Mataji Nirmala receiving an award from Claes Nobel

Shri Mataji established non-governmental organizations including a home for destitute women and children, several international schools, a health and research center, and an international academy promoting classical music and fine art. 

Her legacy lives on through these institutions as well as through Sahaja Yoga practitioners and meditation centres established in more than 120 countries where Sahaja Yoga is taught, as always, free of charge. 

“My Life now is dedicated for the well-being and benevolence of humanity completely, entirely.”

A photo taken at Royal Albert Hall, UK, of thousands of people with their hands out stretched receiving the Self Realisation from Shri Mataji

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