Anandamayi Ma, the Bengali yogini

Anandamayi Ma, the Bengali yogini

So loved in India and so little known in the West. Anandamayi Ma is a yogini who gathered around her pure devotion, as pure is her deep and humble search for knowledge of her.


  • The mother permeated with bliss
  • Ecstasy and knowledge
  • “All paths are my path”
  • The “conversion” of the bandit



The mother permeated with bliss

Anandamayi Ma is a name that means ” Mother imbued with Bliss “, used by some yoginis more or less known in the West. One of this, also nicknamed Manusha Kali , that is to say “Kali in human form”, was born with the name of Nirmala Sundari in the late 1800s, in Kehora, currently in Bangladesh but at the time part of British India. 


It is a truly unique yogini, considered a sant , a Hindu term often confused with the Italian “santo” due to its phonetic similarity and meaning. However, the Sanskrit term sant derives from the root Sat, therefore it is closer to the meaning of “true”, “true person”, “Truth personified” . 


The saints are not mere practitioners of yoga , and often lead a particularly mystical and in some cases religious life , although they transcend any limitations imposed by religions. 


Anandamayi Ma was born into a family of Brahmins dedicated to devotion expressed in the form of songs, called kirtan. Since she was a child, she had an innate attitude detached from reality , maintained and matured over the years, even during those of the never consummated marriage. 


At the age of 26, after years of daily meditation, she felt called to celebrate her initiation , following the dictates of her soul, while at the same time acting as a guru and a disciple, a condition considered as high as it is rare in the Hindu landscape. 


Ecstasy and knowledge

It was around 1924 that he began to participate in public kirtan (devotional songs) and to demonstrate his ability to reach high levels of ecstasy and to radiate special powers from that condition , thus attracting a growing number of faithful around him, so much so that he spontaneously created an ashram around Anandamayi Ma. 



Although she continued to define herself as “a little illiterate child” , from her constant ecstatic state she dictated messages comparable to the most sacred scriptures , discussing on an equal footing with great philosophers and earning the recognition of many great accomplished yogis of the same era such as Swami Vivekananda and Paramahansa Yogananda. 


In addition to the presence of gifts such as ecstasy and knowledge, he began to develop and manifest prophetic qualities and the ability to heal his disciples . He loved to surround himself with devotees, asking them to sing and dance, in order to express the highest level of beauty and love to be dedicated to the Divine. It would then be the Divine himself, seated in each of us in the form of the secret Self , who would take complete care of the needs (material and spiritual) of the devotees.


“All paths are my path”

But why is so little known about Anandamayi Ma in the West? Also celebrated by the Indian authorities and defined by the greatest expressions of yoga and  Hinduism as “the most perfect flower that Indian soil has ever produced”.  Why, hearing this name, do we think of the other Anandamayi Ma, that of hugs, still alive and active?  


In the West we have a limited and inflexible idea of ​​yoga and spirituality  and we tend to accept figures who somehow embody our values. A figure who indiscriminately embraces every suffering human being and collects millions of euros to alleviate their pains is very close to Christian values. 


It is much more difficult to approach a figure who has never left anything written or prepared a public speech, surrounding himself with simple people and children, asking them to dance, sing, play and let the call of the Self emerge. 


As overflowing with ecstasy, Anandamayi Ma did not have a predetermined path or a rigid doctrine , he only asked that every action, to be defined as such, should be fully dedicated to the divine, otherwise it would become spiritually equivalent to inaction, that is, devoid of value and meaning. . 


His state of unalterable ecstasy was his spiritual gift to the whole world, capable of influencing yogis, philosophers, men of action and entire mass movements without any direct mental influence. 


The “conversion” of the bandit

Here is a small episode told to me by a direct witness . It seems that one day Anandamayi Ma was traveling when he asked to stop the vehicle near a forest notorious for the presence of a terrible murderous bandit . 


The man was known to be brutal and physically imposing, exceeding two meters in height. Anandamoyi But she went alone into the woods, met him and he converted , paying his debt with justice and protecting the area. 


The man who told me this story was one of the children Anandamayi Ma loved to call asking them to sing, and  he personally met the bandit converted by Anandamayi Ma , confirming his grandeur. 


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