Who is Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi?

Who is Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi?

Nirmala Salve was born at midday on 21st March 1923 in a small town called Chindwara, located close to the geographical centre of India. The birth was unremarkable save for the fact that it was relatively effortless and that the baby was spotless when she arrived, a fact which prompted her name of Nirmala (literally meaning immaculate). Her Christian parents were prominent members of an old dynastic family of the region, and as such were well respected in the local community. Her father practiced as a lawyer and was eventually to become the only Christian member elected to the Legislative Assembly prior to India’s independence. His wife was one of the first ladies in India ever to graduate in Mathematics.

Nirmala very quickly established a reputation as something of a special child. Always smiling and playful, she seemed to lead a self possessed and untroubled life in every way. In his book My Memoirs, her late brother H.P. Salve recounts a series of unexplained events which occurred during her early life which seemed to point to some special qualities. These include the time when a horse and buggy in which the baby girl was placed careered off at high speed without the driver, stopping only once it had reached the family home.

At the time it was considered something of a miracle that no harm befell the baby during the wild journey, and people were amazed that the strange horse stopped exactly outside the gates with no prompting.

The child grew up in the time of conflict between the old colonial British powers and the burgeoning movement for Indian independence led by Mahatma Ghandi. Indeed it was during this period that the young girl was invited to spend some time at the great Mahatma’s ashram at Wardha during her school vacations, and he made it clear that he was very impressed with her obvious depth and spiritual knowledge. After her schooling Nirmala moved on to study medicine, but was forced to abandon her studies because of her active involvement in the independence movement.

In 1948, she married Mr C. P. (later Sir C. P.) Srivastava, who was to go on to become the longest serving and most decorated Secretary General in the history of the International Maritime Organisation of the United Nations.

Start of Sahaja Yoga

However it was not until several decades later, after she had married and raised two daughters of her own, that Nirmala felt she could turn her full attention to her spiritual destiny. So it was that after years of long contemplation on the plight of humanity, and a growing unease with the distortion of spiritual messages being peddled by the so-called gurus of the time, on 5th May 1970 in a place called Nargol in the state of Gujarat, India, Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi manifested her full spiritual powers after a profound night of meditation on a deserted sea shore.

This awe inspiring and momentous event was both the catalyst and the genesis for the evolutionary process of Kundalini awakening that was to follow. It was the birth of Sahaja Yoga and the beginning of the transformation of humanity from Homo Sapien to Homo Spiritus. Through the power of her meditation she was able not only to effect the opening of her own Sahasrara Chakra, the ultimate spiritual centre necessary for the actualisation of an individual’s true yoga, but to replicate this event on a Cosmic plane.

By so doing, by enabling this catalytic unfolding of the primordial Sahasrara, Shri Mataji opened the spiritual gateway to mass enlightenment, to a yoga which can be effortlessly experienced by anyone with a genuine desire for spiritual growth.

Her destiny fulfilled and her powers now fully manifested, it was not long before she took the opportunity to begin emancipating the world. Slowly at first, but with increasing frequency, news of her spiritual power started to spread to those who were in need. She began to minister to friends and acquaintances, offering them spiritual advice and in certain cases offering spiritual treatments for their illness. It was only when one lady, a Mrs Oak, sometime in July of 1970 actually started to accept her teachings as from a Guru, that it could really be said that Sahaja Yoga started in earnest.

Real spiritual alternative

Today Sahaja Yoga is practised in over 90 countries of the world. Hundreds of thousands of people have discovered that there is a real spiritual alternative to the apparent chaos of the world, and that real peace can be found through the dedicated practice of this most powerful of yoga meditations. Shri Mataji is still devoted to spreading the benefits of this wonderful process as widely as possible, and she travels the world tirelessly teaching and promoting spirituality to whoever is prepared to listen with an open heart.

Sahaja Yoga classes are always provided free of charge. Right from the earliest days Shri Mataji made it clear that this ancient knowledge and the process of Divine union through self-realisation is the birthright of every human being, and therefore cannot be charged for.

Classes are organised and run by volunteers who have been impelled by the positive changes in their own lives to pass the gift on to others. These individuals come from all walks of life and occupations, but the single link between them all is their open hearted compassion and genuine desire to help others benefit as they have done. The hire of rooms and payment for materials is also all done through the sincere generosity of these people.

Above published with permission from
Sahaja Yoga Meditation by Nigel Powell
2005, Corvalis Publishing
available on amazon.co.uk

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And I saw Her coming out of the car and walking one or two steps. And after that I got lost. I don’t remember anything. And then I saw Her on the stage. It was like moonlight, watching Her.

Nirmal G.

To be living in this time and to have experienced all this is very difficult to imagine sometimes. I wonder why I was chosen and why I was so lucky enough to have been there in Her presence. It’s all these little experiences, which stay with you for the rest of your life. You can’t ignore them.

Sharon V.

It is amazing how many people She has been able to put Her attention on.

Victor Vertunni

We were like those tiny plants in a storm and often the only shelter was Shri Mataji’s smiling face.

Grazyna A.

It is completely overwhelming that God loves us so much.

Helen S.


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