Anandamayee Ma hides her beauty
This incident took place when Anandamayee Ma was newly married. She was about sixteen or so. Her husband, Bholanath, was much older than she was. One day her husband brought a friend of his home. Bholanath wanted to show off what a beautiful wife he had.
At that time, Anandamayee Ma’s name was Nirmala Sundari. She was extremely beautiful, both inwardly and outwardly. On that day, when Bholanath arrived home with his friend, Bholanath saw to his great surprise that his wife had put a towel over her head and covered her face.
Bholanath said to her, “What are you doing? What are you doing? You do not want to see my friend?”
But Nirmala did not listen to him. She kept the towel on her head. Then Bholanath became furious. He asked her, “Who do you think you are?”
Nirmala took off the towel and said, “I am Brahman all-pervading.”
The husband was furious and the friend was amused.
The Guru and the disciple in one form
Anandamayee Ma did not have any Guru. At first she thought that it was necessary to have a Guru. Then she felt that it was not necessary. She prayed and meditated. Finally, in a deep meditation, she felt that her highest Self was the Guru and her lower self was the disciple. This moment she played the role of a disciple; next moment she played the role of her Master. This is how she initiated herself.
Possessed by God
Anandamayee Ma did not listen to her husband. She passed her time in prayer and meditation. She was all the time self-absorbed. Her husband could not tolerate her behaviour. He used to beat her quite hard until she was black and blue. This went on for years.
Then one day she told him, “Wait for another two years. Then you will not be able to beat me any more.”
What happened? Within two years she gathered many devotees and her husband became frightened. He could not continue to treat his wife in such a rough manner. He touched her feet and begged her for forgiveness. Then he became her first real disciple.
The villagers were all shocked. How could a husband become his wife’s disciple? But Bholanath said, “I see her divinity. Previously I thought that she was possessed by demons. Now I see that she is possessed by God.”
Anandamayee Ma ceases to feed herself
One evening, in 1924, Anandamayee Ma said, “I am not going to eat food with my own hand any longer.”
From that day on, she was always fed by her disciples. They had to put food into her mouth. This went on until she left the body in 1982.
Each one is right
Once a disciple of Anandamayee Ma asked her, “Please tell me who you are. I want to know.”
She replied, “It is up to you. Whatever you think of me, I am that. If you think I am this, you are right. If another person thinks I am something else, he is right. As you think of me, so I am.”
Anandamayee Ma solves the religious disputes
India’s greatest religious festival is the Kumbha Mela. It takes place every twelve years. Millions of people attend, including many religious leaders and all kinds of devotees.
Sometimes the religious leaders go there to enjoy debating, and sometimes even quarrelling and fighting. Anandamayee Ma was also present on a number of occasions. Some leaders felt that they should go to her for wisdom. They used to come to her and she used to advise them. It happened for quite a few years that leaders of religious groups used to come to her for her wisdom-light. In this way, she was the one to prevent them from quarrelling and fighting.
The western world comes to know of Anandamayee Ma
It was Paramahansa Yogananda who brought Anandamayee Ma’s light to America. He wrote the Autobiography of a Yogi and in his autobiography he devoted a chapter to “The Bengali ‘Joy-Permeated Mother’.”
It was because Paramahansa Yogananda wrote about his meeting with Anandamayee Ma that the Western world came to know about her.
The real Guru
Anandamayee Mas opinion was that each person is his own guru because each person listens to himself. He listens to his mind or his heart, so he is his own guru. Whatever comes to his mind, he does. Whatever he feels, he does. Therefore, each individual is his own guru.
But again, she felt that there is only one real Guru, one highest Guru, and that is the Self.
Anandamayee Ma’s simple advice
Anandamayee Ma used to advise her disciples to laugh and laugh and laugh. She said, “If you laugh, then you minimise your sufferings and also you unburden the sadness and sorrows of other human beings.”
This is why she encouraged her disciples to laugh to their heart’s content.
The subject of mother’s bath
In the evening of her life, sometimes for days Anandamayee Ma did not take a bath. Once one disciple said to another, “Mother does not take a bath at all.”
The other disciple said, “Why does she have to take a bath? She has such a beautiful and pleasing fragrance in her body. She does not have to take a bath. She is not like us.”
The Mother overheard their conversation and the following day she bathed thirty times! The disciples were horrified, and they never brought up the subject again. Then, as usual, Anandamayee Ma stopped taking baths on a regular basis.
(Sri Chinmoy, The power of kindness and other stories, Agni Press, 2011)