The supreme calling of every human being is to aspire to self-realization. ~ Anandamayi Maa
Nirmala Sundari (1896–1982) was born and lived her early life in poverty. She attended school for 2 years. Although Nirmala’s teachers were pleased with her scholastic ability, her family thought she was dimwitted because of her constant blissfulness. When her mother fell seriously ill, relatives remarked with puzzlement about Nirmala appearing unperturbed.
At age 13, in keeping with rural custom, Nirmala was married. She then spent 5 years at her brother-in-law’s home, mostly in a withdrawn, meditative state.
During this time, a devout neighbor, Harakumar, developed the habit of addressing her as “Maa,” prostrating before her morning and evening in reverence. Harakumar was considered insane.
Nirmala moved to Shahbag with her husband in 1924. She was in a silent state of ecstasy much of the time.
In 1926, Nirmala set up a temple and devoted herself to spiritual practices. While in a meditative state at the temple one day, she held difficult yogic positions for extended durations and spontaneously formed complex mudras (yogic hand positions and gestures).
More and more people became drawn to Nirmala as a living embodiment of the divine. She was given the name Anandamayi Maa, meaning “Bliss Permeated Mother,” by an early disciple. Though she called herself “a little unlettered child,” many were attracted to Maa’s spontaneous spiritual teachings.
This world is itself but an embodiment of want. To perceive duality means pain, conflict, struggle, and death. Suffering is sent to remind you to turn your thoughts toward that which is real. ~ Anandamayi Maa