On March 21, 2023, yogis from all over the world gathered to celebrate the 100th birthday anniversary of their guru, Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi.
Disciples of the Sahaja Yoga meditation, which Shri Mataji invented, organised public programs and collective meditations in major world capitals and cities, like London, Rome, Paris and New Delhi. The events have been going on for the whole year to commemorate her centenary after her passing in 2011.
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi was born on March 21, 1923, in Chhindwara, India, to Prasad Rao Salve, an academic, and Cornelia Karuna Jadhav, the first woman in India to receive a degree in mathematics.
When she was seven she spent time with Mahatma Gandhi in his ashram, and received teachings on spiritual and social life, in the time frame where India was trying to gain freedom from the British colonists.
She was married to Sir C.P. Srivastava, who was Secretary General of the UN International Maritime Organization. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II after his retirement in 1989.
In 1970, after her daughters got married, she founded Sahaja Yoga meditation. By meditating on her own by the sea in Nagpur, near Bombay, India, she opened what was believed to be the last chakra on the top of our head, the “Sahasrara”, literally the “flower of a thousand petals”.
“And it happened that I really saw the Sahasrara, opening out beautifully. And the petals were just like flames, rounded flames; not like flames but rounded ones: rounded, beautifully coloured flames, of different colours.” Shri Mataji said in a speech in May 1979, describing the moment when she decided to develop and spread Sahaja Yoga.
“And then I felt that, a tremendous flow of my grace, started flowing. So much grace, even upon me. Like torrential rain on me. Absolutely I was so drenched in that joy. Just like that. Everything was finished. Only the joy was permeating. And then I started my work.”
Sahaja Yoga is a practice which allows the person to reach a state of “thoughtless awareness”, by awakening an energy which stays dormant in each person, called “Kundalini” (literally meaning “three coils”, as it is represented).
By meditating, this Kundalini rises and goes through different chakras, bundles of energy placed along our spinal column, each of which embodies certain qualities within us that should achieve their full potential.
The chakras present in our subtle system, according to Sahaja Yoga, are seven and, in order, the qualities that they represent are: innocence, creativity, peace, courage, collectivity, forgiveness and finally, at the level of Sahasrara, the unification with the energy of everything and everyone.
By awakening the energies of these chakras, the person should achieve a state of pure inner peace and integration with the whole world.
Sahaja Yoga literally means “spontaneous union” with the universal energy, it is now practised and taught for free in over 130 countries around the world.
Cover image: The Divine Cool Breeze
Stazione Termini, Rome, May 1986
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