Cover of YSS Magazine, July-Sept. 1955
“I want so much to enter your ashram and devote my life to seeking God.” The Guru looked at [Daya Ma] penetratingly for a moment before replying: “And you shall.”
But it would require a miracle for that to come to pass, as family opposition was great…One evening, Paramahansa Yogananda said in his lecture that if a devotee called deeply enough to God, with determination to receive a response, His answer would be forthcoming. Daya Mata made her resolve; and that night after the family had retired, she went into the living room, where she could be alone. Tears flowed as she poured out her heart to God. After several hours, a profound peace came over her whole being, and she could cry no longer: she knew that God had heard her prayer. Within two weeks all doors were opened, and on November 19, 1931, [at the age of 17] she was able to enter Paramahansa Yogananda’s ashram in Los Angeles. The following year, she took her final vows of renunciation and consecration to God, becoming one of the first sannyasinis of the monastic Self-Realization Order.
Through the years Paramahansaji often referred to Daya Mata as his “nest egg.” “When you came,” he told her, “I knew that many other true devotees would be drawn to this path.”
After only a short time in the ashram, in 1933, Paramahansa Yogananda published an announcement in SRF’s magazine that she had been ordained as a minister of Self-Realization Fellowship. Thus she was one of the first women to be so designated — though in customary humility her identity was given only as “YOGI F. SEVAKA” — “F” for Faye, as she was then known; and “Sevaka” meaning “Servant of God.”
from SRF link SRI DAYA MATA 1914-2010; President 1955-2010
[Yogananda Site]: The above anouncement mentions Daya Mata’s name change when she ‘formally’ became a sister of the SRF Order during Rajarsi’s presidency. As mentioned earlier, Daya Mata had taken final renunciant vows from Guruji soon after entering the ashram in 1931, and soon after that he made her a minister. This notice in 1933 East-West (early name of SRF magazine) lists Daya Mata as “Yogi F. Sevaka” (F. for Faye; Sevaka meaning ‘servant of God’) as a minister of SRF. Other ministers listed include Sradha Devi; Sister Gyanamata; F. Darling (Florina Darling, later Durga Mata), among others.
In the March, 1951 Self-Realization magazine (see below): “VOWS TAKEN – SRF announces that the following persons took their final vows many years ago as Sisters of the Order of Self-Realization.” Included are Laurie Pratt (Tara Mata); Florina Darling (Durga Mata); Faye Wright (Daya Mata); Virginia Wright (Ananda Mata); Orpha Sahly (Sraddha Mata), among others.
Below see another announcement (at bottom of page) during Rajarsi’s presidency (1952) stating: “NAMES OF SISTERS: Six renunciates, Sisters of the SRF Order, will henceforth be known by their monastic names. These Sisters, all of whom have been disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda for nineteen or more years, took the monastic vows from Master personally…” The names listed are Durga Ma, Tara, Daya, Mataji (later changed to Ananda Mata), Darja and Sradha.
DAYA MATAJI’S LETTER TO HER CO-WORKERS
(taken from the first article above)
On March 15, 1955 Sister Daya sent the following letter to resident workers at the various SRF centers in southern California: “Let me thank you all for your very loving notes and letters. My heart is greatly warmed by your affection and your expressions of loyalty; given to me, I know, as a symbol of your love for Master. I, like all of you, will strive always to be a humble channel for the working of his will.
“It will be through the combined efforts of us all that much may be accomplished in this life for the good of the world through the spread of our Guru’s divine message. May we work together in harmony and with ever-increasing enthusiasm; may we often commune with God and Guru to feel Their guiding hand upon us and Their infinite love flowing within our hearts.
“Although the Board of Directors has seen fit to appoint me to high office, yet I shall always remember that I am first, not a president, but a humble disciple and a Sister of our Order. I take the dust of the hallowed feet of our spiritual father, our Master; and, bowing to you all in a spirit of humility, I ask you to pray for me, as I often pray for you.”
In a letter dated March 7th that was sent to all SRF members, Sister Daya said: “May I have your prayers that I be able always to know and follow the will of Master. He remains forever the divine guide and Guru of SRF.”
Los Angeles Times, Dec. 30, 1956
“Tour Shows Growth of Self-Realization Fellowship Group”
“Often a sect dies with its founder, or perhaps struggles for a few years before dissolving or melding into another faith.
“But this fate seems unlikely to befall the Self-Realization Fellowship…Yogananda built the faith upon solid foundations but he also took care to leave it in good hands…
Photo caption: “RETURNS FROM TOUR–Sister Dayaji, president of the Self-Realization Fellowship, is presented a basket of fruit by Brahmachari Leland (Bro. Mokshananda), SRF minister, on her return here from nationwide tour. She visited New York and many other cities.”