Remembering Anandamayi Ma

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).

Maria Wirth



  1. So beautiful, Maria.! The blessing of the saints (or according to some, even avatars) like Shri Anandamayi Ma accompany you always, and such a privilege must be only due to your good karmas. Whenever I read on Shri Anandamayi Ma, I get such an inspiration that makes me feel that, as the enlightened being that she is, she is alive and present, having transcended the relative plane of time and space. We can access her and other Mahatmas right here and right now. It is just a matter of believing and focusing on it. And of course, of their grace. And this is also a blessing for us.. The power of shradda breaks all mental barriers and limitations.

  2. R.Venkatanarayanan · · Reply

    The impact of an enlightened Being, a self-realized Being, has to be experienced. It is not a matter for the intellect, of knowledge in the ordinary meaning of that word. The impact is contingent on Shraddha. This is what Maria the writer of this moving article and what Maria, the preceding commentator, convey.

  3. Reblogged this on umeshsajjanar and commented:
    Beautifully written and very convincing for many of us to go back to our roots…

  4. A great soul who migrated from German seeking God. Her articles are worth reading.Thank you Maria, the Divine sent devotee, to inspire us all.

  5. Ma Anandamayee is the guru ma for my entire maternal family….was blessed by her when was small kid…..since then I always feel her guidance till date…I consider her my sadhguru…Jai Ma !

  6. Praveen Srivastava · · Reply

    I was blessed to have darshan of Maa on numerous occasions at Kankhal ashram in my childhood and teen years and felt every word you have mentioned through her fixed gaze on me.She is still around us all the time.

  7. I am feeling blessed and also I am feeling bad or type of emptiness how could I meet her, o ma where you are?
    Learning philosophy will do very little help, only the gaze of ma can do anything. My heart is now just like a fish without water.
    My mother do you love me? I am always involved in sinful activities. I never have control over me. How it is possible to have your love? How it is possible to meet you? I always have a fear to leave my personality in spite of knowing vedantic philosophy. My mind always goes behind sensual objects. O my mother, do you still love me?
    Will these word reach up to my mother?

    1. Sanjay Narain Saigal · · Reply

      pap no punya are only a perception. Nothing is absolute

  8. Sanjay Narain Saigal · · Reply

    MAA Anand Mai
    I read a beautiful write up on MAA Anand Mai, a very accomplished saint from Bengal, by Maria Wirth. That led me up the Memory lane & I wrote back to her:
    Maria Wirth thanks for this beautiful blog on MAA. I too was extremely lucky to have had number of chances to meet her. She use to radiate Divinity & peace. My Grand Father Shri Prayag Narain Saigal ji & Grand Mother SMT Munni Devi Saigal were extremely close to her & boath of them had a very rare honour & privilege of having her permission to meet her at any time they desired.
    Year1977-78 my grandmother was down with last stage of cancer at Lucknow medical college, Dr’s told us to take her back home at Sitapur, as there is no time left. At that stage my grandmother expressed her last desire to meet Maa , we all wept as my grandmother could not go anywhere & MAA had no program of coming to our area. With in no time a massage came that MAA is on her way to Varanasi & will be passing through Lucknow the very next day it was like a miracle but it didn’t end here.
    Next day my Grandmother, Grandfather , full family along with thousands of people including then Governor M chenna Reddy, CM && were lined on Platform No 1 of Lko charbagh station. In such situation invariably MAA use to sit in train itself & people use to have darshan from our side. Train stopped & to every body’s amazement quite frail MAA came out & went straight to My Grand parents along with her Sevika’s , then she started to do the Shringar of my Grandmother by her own hand’s, using the things she had brought, repeatedly addressing my Grandmother as “ANNAPURNA” as this was not enough she asked my Grandfather to stand by her side & the unthinkable happened. Suddenly MAA Started to perform AARTI of my Grandparents, addressing them as “SHIV & Annapurna” , my grand parents were very embarrassed & wanted her to stop but nothing doing. All this went on for 1.5 hrs then my grandmother & MAA, with tears overflowing from their eyes, embraced eachother very tightly, as two real sisters do while departing & MAA told us to keep calm & have courage as Annapurna has to return back & she went away on her way. My Grandmother, was radiating like godess, utterly content & completely at peace with her self as if all the pain had vanished.She was brought to our home in Sitapur city. Next day she called for my grandfather & asked hem sit on floor next to her bed & then told my father & others to lay her on floor with her head in my grandfather’s lap, & as soon it was done she had some eye to eye contact with my grandfather & it was all over.

    HINDU’S believe they when they depart their body should be lying on floor not bed

    1. Thank you for sharing this beautiful experience with Ma

  9. About sixty years ago I had a chance to stay in the Ashram of MAA at Rajpur Road, Dehradun for three days. I went there with my grand mother who had gone there to attend the birthday celebrations of MAA.There she went into trance (Samadhi) for few hours.Again after thirty years once I was going to Dehradun from Lucknow by train.In the morning when train arrived at Haridwar station I saw a crowd on the plateform.Out of curiosity I also alighted from the train and entered the crowd.There I saw MAA. Immediately I bowed and touched her feet. Everytime I visit Mussoorie I cross the MAA ashram on Rajpur Road, Dehradun.And my childhood memory of staying there for three days come alive.

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