In Hinduism, women are considered a form of energy and are given due importance at every stage of life – as a daughter, as a daughter-in-law and as a mother. Out of these roles some come out as women gurus.
During the Vedic times we had seers and philosophers like Ghosha, Apala, Lopamudra, Vishwvara, Surya, Indrani, Yami and Romasha (all women). In a theosophical debate between Shankaracharya and Mandana Mishra (Sanskrit scholars of ancient times), the latter’s wife was appointed to be the judge – obviously because of her superior knowledge and spiritual attainments.
In modern times we also have a number of female gurus with large followings. Some of the TV channels like ‘Aastha and Samskaara’ in India continue showing the gatherings and preaching of women gurus. Ma Anandmayee, Amma, and Mata Nirmala Devi are famous female gurus. I have attended one of Mata Nirmala Devi’s big congregations in New Delhi. Let me tell you about her and her work and how she is helping to change the face of women in the spiritual evolution.
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi was born on March 21, 1923 in Chindawara, India. Her parents called her Nirmala, which means ‘Immaculate’. She is married with children and is currently living in Italy. She travels extensively in India and abroad.
Shri Mataji began experimenting with awakening the spiritual power of every human being (which the Hindus call the Kundalini) and was surprised at the results. She experimented first on people near her and noticed they were transformed physically, mentally and spiritually. Slowly she found out that this process had the potential solution for all human problems and decided to make her work more widespread.
Since 1970, Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi has been traveling around the world teaching the techniques she developed of Sahaja Yoga meditation (Sahaja is Spontaneous and Yoga is Union with the Self). Large numbers of people acknowledge the value of her teachings and Sahaja Yoga centers are now in more than 75 nations. The yoga and meditation allows people to tap into their inner spiritual power and achieve balance in their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual lives.
Some members of the Hindu faith have accepted Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi’s guru status today. Nirmala Devi has dedicated her life to helping with the spiritual ascent of mankind and in doing so has “reclaimed the role of women in the spiritual evolution.”