Next to the Ramakrishna Mission in Dehradun, there is a small ashram where on 27th August 1982, Anandamayi Ma left her body. Anandamayi Ma, who was born in 1896 as Nirmala Sundari in what is now Bangladesh, was and still is revered all over India for having being extraordinary saintly and wise right from childhood. Devotees still come to her Samadhi in Kankhal, even though many of them have never seen her in person. I was fortunate to meet her and would like to share some of those precious memories:
During the Ardha Kumbh Mela in Haridwar in April 1980, some foreigners asked me to join them to receive their guru, Anandamayi Ma, at the railway station. I was curious, because I had seen a photo of her in Paramahansa Yogananda’s ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’. The photo was taken in the 1930s and showed a beautiful woman. Almost fifty years had passed since then and I was surprised that she was alive and anyone could meet her.
At dawn we went to the railway station. A group of Indians were conspicuous by their well-groomed appearance. They were devotees of Ma. Then the train from Varanasi pulled in. Four young men in spotless white dhotis entered and carried Ma out on a chair, to which four handles were attached.
Ma looked delicate, was wrapped in white cloth and her black hair fell over her shoulders. She looked at us with calm eyes. There was no reaction on her face, no sign of recognition of her devotees, many of whom she would have known for decades. She simply looked and her eyes moved slowly around the group. It was pleasant, and I had the strange feeling, that nobody was there behind those eyes.
When I saw her like this, tears were rolling down my cheeks. There was no reason for tears and yet they didn’t want to stop. “That’s normal, when one is touched by a great soul”, someone next to me, who had noticed it, reassured me. And indeed I felt being touched by a very pure soul.
Anandamayi Ma went to her ashram in Kankhal and we followed. At the ashram gate, flower vendors awaited us….
…. Sorry, I had agreed to truncate those articles on my blog which are covered in my book. There is a chapter on Anandamayi Ma in my book, so please, if you want to know more, read my book “Thank you India”.
Here are the links to buy it at Garuda Prakashan, the publisher. It will also be soon on Amazon.
The price for one book is Rs 499 in India (first link).