Shyama Mata (June 15, 1887 – August 16, 1972)
SHYAMA MATA— Mother of Daya Mata, Ananda Mata and Richard Wright, consecrated as Shyama Mata in the Monastic Order of Self-Realization Fellowship…
It was in the fall of 1931 that she was divinely guided to take her children, Richard, Faye, Virginia and Dale [Faye and Virginia now known as Daya Mata and Ananda Mata, respectively] to attend a series of public lectures given by Sri Yogananda in Salt Lake City, Utah. The inspiring portent of his dynamic message was immediately understood by this yearning soul, ending her search of forty-four years. Thereafter, Shyama Mata dedicated herself completely to a life of spiritual service in Self-Realization Fellowship, with ever-expanding devotion to God and unswerving faith in his power. That faith she imparted to all who came within her humble sphere.
[Daya Mataji]: SHYAMA MATA was a great example of truthfulness, of kindness, compassion, love and unselfishness. I remember when, many years ago, the time came for her children to leave their nest. Paramahansa Yogananda had come into our lives; and after she had met him and studied his teachings, with total unselfishness she said to him one evening: “Well, Paramahansaji, these are your children. I give them to you.” And she did indeed. She never tied her children to her apron strings. But she was always there to share with us the great wisdom that was part of her nature.
I remember Master saying, shortly after we came to live at Mt. Washington, “I call her ‘great mother.’ She is a great mother and rarely in the annals of spirituality do you find a group so close, so completely united in their love for God, as I see here. This is indeed a rare family.” She lived to see all of her children firmly grounded in the spiritual life, firmly set upon the path that leads to peace, contentment, and happiness in this world.
I am reminded of something else Guruji said of her many years later, because of a particular instance of the great calmness, the great peace, that she always radiated. He looked at us children and said: “Your mother is indeed a yogi without ever having had to practice it.”…
How many times he called for her when there was some problem within the Society, because he knew he could depend upon Shyama Mata…
And up to the last day of his life he depended upon her. When it was decided that Paramahansaji would go down to the Biltmore Hotel on that last day, we determined that he should have room where he could rest before he spoke at the banquet. We reserved a room for him, and, so that Guruji wouldn’t have to go into the main part of the hotel to pick up the key, the monks were asked to bring it back to Mt. Washington with them. They returned with a look of defeat. “We cannot do it.” Mother turned to Guruji and said, “Never mind. I will get the key for you.” And when she made that statement we knew that heaven and earth might have to bend, but the will of Mother could not but hold sway. About an hour later the came back triumphant. Placing the key before him, she said, “Here it is.”
He gazed at her with such sweetness in his face, and such appreciation for all of the many years of tireless, willing, energetic, loving service that she had rendered there at Mt. Washington.
READ ARTICLE BELOW: ‘In Memoriam, a Tribute to Shyama Mata’ from Fall, 1972 Self-Realization magazine
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