Chapter 45 - The Bengali "Joy-Permeated" Mother
"Sir, please do not leave India without a glimpse of Nirmala Devi. Her sanctity is intense; she is known
far and wide as Ananda Moyi Ma (Joy-Permeated Mother)." My niece, Amiyo Bose, gazed at me earnestly.
"Of course! I want very much to see the woman saint." I added, "I have read of her advanced state of
God-realization. A little article about her appeared years ago in East-West."
"I have met her," Amiyo went on. "She recently visited my own little town of Jamshedpur. At the entreaty
of a disciple, Ananda Moyi Ma went to the home of a dying man. She stood by his bedside; as her hand touched
his forehead, his death-rattle ceased. The disease vanished at once; to the man's glad astonishment, he was
A few days later I heard that the Blissful Mother was staying at the home of a disciple in the Bhowanipur
section of Calcutta. Mr. Wright and I set out immediately from my father's Calcutta home. As the Ford neared
the Bhowanipur house, my companion and I observed an unusual street scene.
Ananda Moyi Ma was standing in an open-topped automobile, blessing a throng of about one hundred
disciples. She was evidently on the point of departure. Mr. Wright parked the Ford some distance away, and
accompanied me on foot toward the quiet assemblage. The woman saint glanced in our direction; she alit from
her car and walked toward us.
"Father, you have come!" With these fervent words she put her arm around my neck and her head on my
shoulder. Mr. Wright, to whom I had just remarked that I did not know the saint, was hugely enjoying this
extraordinary demonstration of welcome. The eyes of the one hundred chelas were also fixed with some surprise
on the affectionate tableau.
I had instantly seen that the saint was in a high state of samadhi. Utterly oblivious to her
outward garb as a woman, she knew herself as the changeless soul; from that plane she was joyously greeting
another devotee of God. She led me by the hand into her automobile.
"Ananda Moyi Ma, I am delaying your journey!" I protested.
"Father, I am meeting you for the first time in this life, after ages!" she said. "Please do not leave
We sat together in the rear seats of the car. The Blissful Mother soon entered the immobile ecstatic
state. Her beautiful eyes glanced heavenward and, half-opened, became stilled, gazing into the near-far inner
Elysium. The disciples chanted gently: "Victory to Mother Divine!"
I had found many men of God-realization in India, but never before had I met such an exalted woman saint.
Her gentle face was burnished with the ineffable joy that had given her the name of Blissful Mother. Long
black tresses lay loosely behind her unveiled head. A red dot of sandalwood paste on her forehead symbolized
the spiritual eye, ever open within her. Tiny face, tiny hands, tiny feeta contrast to her spiritual
I put some questions to a near-by woman chela while Ananda Moyi Ma remained entranced.
"The Blissful Mother travels widely in India; in many parts she has hundreds of
disciples," the chela told me. "Her courageous efforts have brought about many desirable social reforms.
Although a Brahmin, the saint recognizes no caste distinctions. 1 A group of us always travel with her, looking
after her comforts. We have to mother her; she takes no notice of her body. If no one gave her food, she
would not eat, or make any inquiries. Even when meals are placed before her, she does not touch them. To
prevent her disappearance from this world, we disciples feed her with our own hands. For days together she
often stays in the divine trance, scarcely breathing, her eyes unwinking. One of her chief disciples is her
husband. Many years ago, soon after their marriage, he took the vow of silence."
The chela pointed to a broad-shouldered, fine-featured man with long hair and hoary beard. He was standing
quietly in the midst of the gathering, his hands folded in a disciple's reverential attitude.
Refreshed by her dip in the Infinite, Ananda Moyi Ma was now focusing her consciousness on the material
"Father, please tell me where you stay." Her voice was clear and melodious.
"At present, in Calcutta or Ranchi; but soon I shall be returning to America."
"Yes. An Indian woman saint would be sincerely appreciated there by spiritual seekers. Would you like to
"If Father can take me, I will go."
This reply caused her near-by disciples to start in alarm.
"Twenty or more of us always travel with the Blissful Mother," one of them told me firmly. "We could not
live without her. Wherever she goes, we must go."
Reluctantly I abandoned the plan, as possessing an impractical feature of spontaneous enlargement!
"Please come at least to Ranchi, with your disciples," I said on taking leave of the saint. "As a divine
child yourself, you will enjoy the little ones in my school."
"Whenever Father takes me, I will gladly go."
A short time later the Ranchi Vidyalaya was in gala array for the saint's promised visit. The
youngsters looked forward to any day of festivityno lessons, hours of music, and a feast for the climax!
"Victory! Ananda Moyi Ma, ki jai!" This reiterated chant from scores of enthusiastic little throats
greeted the saint's party as it entered the school gates. Showers of marigolds, tinkle of cymbals, lusty
blowing of conch shells and beat of the mridanga drum! The Blissful Mother wandered smilingly over the
sunny Vidyalaya grounds, ever carrying within her the portable paradise.
"It is beautiful here," Ananda Moyi Ma said graciously as I led her into the main building. She seated
herself with a childlike smile by my side. The closest of dear friends, she made one feel, yet an aura of
remoteness was ever around herthe paradoxical isolation of Omnipresence.
"Please tell me something of your life."
"Father knows all about it; why repeat it?" She evidently felt that the factual history of one short
incarnation was beneath notice.
I laughed, gently repeating my question.
"Father, there is little to tell." She spread her graceful hands in a deprecatory gesture. "My
consciousness has never associated itself with this temporary body. Before I came on this earth, Father, 'I
was the same.' As a little girl, 'I was the same.' I grew into womanhood, but still 'I was the same.' When
the family in which I had been born made arrangements to have this body married, 'I was the same.' And when,
passion-drunk, my husband came to me and murmured endearing words, lightly touching my body, he received a
violent shock, as if struck by lightning, for even then 'I was the same.'
"My husband knelt before me, folded his hands, and implored my pardon.
"'Mother,' he said, 'because I have desecrated your bodily temple by touching it with the thought of
lustnot knowing that within it dwelt not my wife but the Divine MotherI take this solemn vow: I shall be your
disciple, a celibate follower, ever caring for you in silence as a servant, never speaking to anyone again as
long as I live. May I thus atone for the sin I have today committed against you, my guru.'
"Even when I quietly accepted this proposal of my husband's, 'I was the same.' And, Father, in front of
you now, 'I am the same.' Ever afterward, though the dance of creation change around me in the hall of
eternity, 'I shall be the same.'"
Ananda Moyi Ma sank into a deep meditative state. Her form was statue-still; she had fled to her
ever-calling kingdom. The dark pools of her eyes appeared lifeless and glassy. This expression is often
present when saints remove their consciousness from the physical body, which is then hardly more than a piece
of soulless clay. We sat together for an hour in the ecstatic trance. She returned to this world with a gay
"Please, Ananda Moyi Ma," I said, "come with me to the garden. Mr. Wright will take some pictures."
"Of course, Father. Your will is my will." Her glorious eyes retained the unchanging divine luster as she
posed for many photographs.
Time for the feast! Ananda Moyi Ma squatted on her blanket-seat, a disciple at her elbow to feed her. Like
an infant, the saint obediently swallowed the food after the chela had brought it to her lips. It was plain
that the Blissful Mother did not recognize any difference between curries and sweetmeats!
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and
with all thy strength:" Christ has proclaimed, "this is the first commandment."2
Casting aside every inferior attachment, Ananda Moyi Ma offers her sole allegiance to the Lord. Not by the
hairsplitting distinctions of scholars but by the sure logic of faith, the childlike saint has solved the
only problem in human lifeestablishment of unity with God. Man has forgotten this stark simplicity, now
befogged by a million issues. Refusing a monotheistic love to God, the nations disguise their infidelity by
punctilious respect before the outward shrines of charity. These humanitarian gestures are virtuous, because
for a moment they divert man's attention from himself, but they do not free him from his single
responsibility in life, referred to by Jesus as the first commandment. The uplifting obligation to love God
is assumed with man's first breath of an air freely bestowed by his only Benefactor.
On one other occasion after her Ranchi visit I had opportunity to see Ananda Moyi Ma. She stood among her
disciples some months later on the Serampore station platform, waiting for the train.
"Father, I am going to the Himalayas," she told me. "Generous disciples have built me a hermitage in Dehra
As she boarded the train, I marveled to see that whether amidst a crowd, on a train, feasting, or sitting
in silence, her eyes never looked away from God. Within me I still hear her voice, an echo of measureless
"Behold, now and always one with the Eternal, 'I am ever the same.'"
Chapter1 - My Parents and Early Life
Chapter2 - My Mother's Death and the Mystic Amulet
Chapter3 - The Saint With Two Bodies
Chapter4 - My Interrupted Flight Toward the Himalayas
Chapter5 - A "Perfume Saint" Displays His Wonders
Chapter6 - The Tiger Swami
Chapter7 - The Levitating Saint
Chapter8 - India's Great Scientist, J.C. Bose
Chapter9 - The Blissful Devotee and His Cosmic Romance
Chapter10 - I Meet My Master, Sri Yukteswar
Chapter11 - Two Penniless Boys in Brindaban
Chapter12 - Years in My Master's Hermitage
Chapter13 - The Sleepless Saint
Chapter14 - An Experience in Cosmic Consciousness
Chapter15 - The Cauliflower Robbery
Chapter16 - Outwitting the Stars
Chapter17 - Sasi and the Three Sapphires
Chapter18 - A Mohammedan Wonder-Worker
Chapter19 - My Master, in Calcutta, Appears in Serampore
Chapter20 - We Do Not Visit Kashmir
Chapter21 - We Visit Kashmir
Chapter22 - The Heart of a Stone Image
Chapter23 - I Receive My University Degree
Chapter24 - I Become a Monk of the Swami Order
Chapter25 - Brother Ananta and Sister Nalini
Chapter26 - The Science of Kriya Yoga
Chapter27 - Founding a Yoga School in Ranchi
Chapter28 - Kashi, Reborn and Rediscovered
Chapter29 - Rabindranath Tagore and I Compare Schools
Chapter30 - The Law of Miracles
Chapter31 - An Interview with the Sacred Mother
Chapter32 - Rama is Raised From the Dead
Chapter33 - Babaji, the Yogi-Christ of Modern India
Chapter34 - Materializing a Palace in the Himalaya
Chapter35 - The Christlike Life of Lahiri Mahasaya
Chapter36 - Babaji's Interest in the West
Chapter37 - I Go to America
Chapter38 - Luther Burbank -- A Saint Amidst the Roses
Chapter39 - Therese Neumann, the Catholic Stigmatist
Chapter40 - I Return to India
Chapter41 - An Idyll in South India
Chapter42 - Last Days With My Guru
Chapter43 - The Resurrection of Sri Yukteswar
Chapter44 - With Mahatma Gandhi in Wardha
Chapter45 - The Bengali "Joy-Permeated" Mother
Chapter46 - The Woman Yogi Who Never Eats
Chapter47 - I Return to the West
Chapter48 - At Encinitas in California
Chapter49 - The Years - 1940 - 1951