Nirmala Srivastava (Salve by birth) – well-known spiritual teacher from India, founder of Sahaja Yoga. Better known as Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, “Shri” – appeal to a respected person, “Mataji” – mother, “Nirmala Devi” – the full form of the name Nirmala
Nirmala Salve was born March 21, 1923 at noon in Chindvara (now Madhya Pradesh), in a family of Indian Christians.Their ancestors belonged to the ancient imperial dynasty – Shalivahan, so they were close to the traditions of Hinduism.
Nirmala’s father – Prasad Salve – knew a variety of languages, was an expert in various areas of art and literature, and knew by heart the sacred Bhagavad-gita. He has also translated the Muslim holy book Koran in Hindi. He was respected by everyone who surrounded him and was well known as a generous and humble person. Prasad Rao directly participated in the struggle for India’s independence from the British Empire and was the only Christian representative in the Constituent Assembly and the Parliament; later on he kept his own law practice.
Nirmala’s mother– Cornelia Salve – was a highly educated woman and had a degree in mathematics, but refused scientific careers, limiting her duties to that of housewife. She was honest and decent in everything and never made compromises.
Nirmala’s parents gave her to the traditional Indian schools and contributed to the development of the girl’s intuition and spiritual qualities. When she was seven years old, she met Mahatma Gandhi, who allowed her to be in his ashram. Strict daily life in the ashram – rise at four o’clock in the morning, ablutions, prayers and morning walks – naturally came to the life of Nirmala, staying with her forever. Many ideas of Gandhi were later to become part of her ideology: a balanced economy and production, social service, simplicity of life, the unity of world religions.
After finishing school Nirmala was admitted to a medical college. Her college years were not as cloudless as childhood. In those days of intense struggle for the freedom of India’s National Congress, leaders often fell into prison. So, Nirmala’s father was in prison for two and a half years, and her mother has been to prison five times. In 1942 Nirmala headed the Student Liberation Movement and several times she fell under arrest. As a result, she was excluded from the college and had to spend several months in hiding.
After the the War of Independence, in 1947, Nirmala Salve married a member of the Indian government, Chandika Prasad Srivastava, later one of the most respected public figures in India. Soon Chandika Srivastava became secretary of the Indian Prime Minister Lal Shastri and in 1961 he headed the Indian Steamship company (IPC), and made this low-profit company into one of the world’s largest corporations. In 1974 after the merger with International Maritime Organization at the United Nations until 1991, he was its Secretary General.
Chandika Srivastava was the first Indian since independence in 1990 who was bestowed an Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George by Queen Elizabeth II and another 31 awards in 17 countries. By getting married in 1947 to a young woman with an amazingly beautiful smile, Mr Srivastava, of course, expected to find her a faithful wife and loving mother to his children, but the last thing he assumed was that his wife would be a spiritual leader whose authority is recognized on five continents. However, in the first years of married life Nirmala devoted herself entirely to the house. Chandika and Nirmala had two daughters (Kalpana and Sadhana) and four grandchildren.
The great discovery
On May 5, 1970 the great discovery took place. After three days of continuous meditation in the small village of Nargol, on the west coast of India, Shri Mataji opened the Sahasrara (seventh energy center). This allowed people to get their Self-realization by awakening of the primordial power of pure desire. Sahasrara is the most beautiful part of the person: the continuous flowing stream of light like a flame, which looks like a very colorful and fragrant fountain.
Shri Mataji, with her boundless compassion and love felt that the energy had to be transmitted to people. She did not know how to tell others about it. At first, only one woman received her Self-realization, then a few more people. Later Shri Mataji developed a method and protocol of giving Self-realization on a mass level. Now, Self-realization can also be given by those people who have already received it; it is how to light the flame of one candle from another candle.
For Shri Mataji whole world is united and Self-realization is given to everyone who wants it, regardless of race, caste, creed and financial status. She does not accept any money for her work, but she provides a means for the dissemination of spirituality.
For outstanding contributions to humanity in the name of spiritual rebirth and the peacekeeping activities of the United Nations, Shri Mataji was awarded the Medal of Peace in 1989. For significant contribution into development of science and spirituality, Integral International Fund in 1997 included the name of Shri Mataji in the list of the greatest people in the world.
Work for spiritual ascent of mankind began in India, but after her husband’s election to the United Nations she moved to London and she continued to work in England. Shri Mataji held her programs and lectures in Europe, America, Australia and Russia by telling seekers of spiritual truth about the structure of the subtle energy body and giving them Self-realization.
Shri Mataji said:
The most difficult part is to convince a human being that in the entire creation, he is the most highly evolved being; that he is capable of becoming a glorious personality.
This method she called “Sahaja Yoga” (“Sahaja” – an innate, spontaneous, “Yoga” – ascent, union). Sahaja Yoga has spread to all continents in more than 80 countries around the world. Until 2005 Shri Mataji spent several months a year traveling, by giving programs in various countries around the world.
February 23, 2011, Shri Mataji left her physical body and took her Niraakar form.
Institutions founded by Shri Mataji
International Medical Centre in Mumbai – helps patients from around the world to cure themselves through Sahaja Yoga methods. This hospital has achieved significant results in the treatment of diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and others.
Shri P.K. Salve Cala Pratishtan in Vaitarna – Academy of Music and Fine Arts
House of Mercy in Delhi – provides shelter to the homeless.