Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi|
SHRI MATAJI was born into a Christian family at midday of the Spring equinox, on the 21st of March 1923, in the geographical centre of India near Nagpur, in the state of Maharashtra.
Her father was a barrister, a scholar and a gifted linguist. He had a command of fourteen languages. He was well versed in the arts, science and literature and had translated the Koran into Hindi. He also became a member of India's first parliament and helped to draft the constitution. With his wife, an eminent mathematician, he had met and worked with Mahatma Gandhi in the struggle for India's independence from Great Britain.
Shri Mataji often lived in Gandhi's ashram as a young girl. She speaks with fondness of 'Gandhiji' and praises his steadfastness and sense of moderation. As a student she studied medicine and openly campaigned for India's independence. Although an able student, she was not allowed to complete her studies because of these political activities.
On the 7th of April 1947 she married Mr. C.P. Srivastava, who soon became private secretary to the Indian Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri. Mr. Srivastava went on to spend sixteen years based in London, as head of the United Nations International Maritime Organisation. In 1990 he was awarded a knighthood, as KCMG, by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The Srivastavas have two daughters. After both daughters had married, Shri Mataji turned her attention away from the home front and began to promote the spiritual development of mankind, by presenting a unique and practical discipline for self-improvement. This came to be known as Sahaja Yoga. Since the early seventies Shri Mataji has travelled to dozens of countries to present lectures and seminars on Sahaja Yoga and to help people achieve the goal of Self-realisation.
In 1993, Shri Mataji was made an Honorary Member of the Petrovskya Academy of Science and Arts in St. Petersburg. Barely a dozen people have had this honour and the list includes Albert Einstein.
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