ANANDA MATA, “Her whole life was guru-bhakti” ~ Mrinalini Mata

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from left, Mrinalini Mata, Ananda Mata, Bro. Anandamoy

See also ~ Stories of ANANDA MATA – Bro. Anandamoy

Excerpts from Ananda Mata Reminiscences  (1915–2005) SRF link

 

MRINALINI MATA

For sixty years I was blessed to be in the company of beloved [Daya] Ma and Ananda Ma; Faye and Virginia—as Master used to refer to them in those earlier days: “Two peas-in-a-pod.” ….

…These two disciples of Master would come down the steps into the temple just after Master had stepped up to the podium…one of the young devotees said, and we all agreed: “You know, when they come down those steps, they don’t walk, they float!” In our minds, those who were around Master were angels, just as Brother Anandamoy has expressed….

 

Her whole life was guru-bhakti

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Her whole life was guru-bhakti (devotion to God in the Guru) through service to Master.  After Gurudeva left his body, that guru-bhakti did not end…

Gurudeva’s words to us: “When I am no longer in the body, this organization will be my body. As you have helped me, and served this form while I am here, so serve this organization.” Without missing even a step, Ananda Ma continued to serve.  She took on more and more duties in various areas of the work—always with that same diligent caring.  When the responsibility for Master’s society fell to Daya Ma’s shoulders, Ananda Ma was there—just as she had been with Gurudeva—to help in all ways, little and great…

You could prepare a report or proposal about some aspect of the work, thinking you had been completely conscientious in listing all the points that needed to be addressed.   And you could send it to Ananda Ma’s desk and she would add ten more!   But that was her devotion.  As Guruji used to say to us, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing well.”  She took that to heart.  Everything that she did, she gave a thousand percent of herself to fulfilling her responsibilities.  Guruji taught us all to do this, and she certainly excelled at it.

She applied that conscientiousness, for example, to preserving these buildings, these houses of God, where Gurudeva had lived and started his great work. Mt. Washington, the Encinitas Hermitage, Hollywood Ashram, Lake Shrine—they are maintained so beautifully because their upkeep was under her oversight.  It was not just because “these are nice buildings, and they must be kept up.”  It was because they were part of Gurudeva.  That caring extended to every little shrub and tree in the garden that Master had planted and that he loved; she was very protective of them.  Her strong conviction and her tireless effort was: “Preserve them as long as nature will allow them to live,” because they were part of Gurudeva.

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Ananda Mata, Daya Mata and Mrinalini Mata in India

It has been said several times that Ananda Ma lived her life very much in the background… But in 1981, when there were many administrative matters that needed to be attended to in India, and Ma could not go, she sent Ananda Ma and me.  During that visit, it so happened that Ananda Ma’s body became unwell, and…it was determined that she would …have some days of rest…

One day, some of the very dear, close members had found out where she was; and when I entered her room there was a whole group of devotees gathered around her bed.  There she was, sitting up, giving them the most beautiful satsanga!  They were asking her advice and help on their spiritual problems, and she was giving such wonderful counsel.  I just stayed in the doorway listening for close to an hour. It was so beautiful to see; I said to myself: “All of this wisdom, all of this love that is within her—she is just pouring it out!”

A life that is well-lived in this world gives something to us all; and this is surely true of the life that was lived by our dear Ananda Ma, that example of guru-bhakti.  And to really honor what she is—not what she was but what she is, because she will always be an integral part of Gurudeva’s work—we should remember and apply her example: that guru-bhakti is given in the highest form through selfless service to his cause.

You have heard many stories of how she was never reserved in the hours and the energy that she gave. It did not matter how small or how great the responsibility or the problem or the duty, let it all be related to God and to Guru—that is the way Ananda Ma lived her life.  Whether she was working on administrative duties or whether she was quietly taking Gurudeva’s car to be washed and polished before he had to go to one of his lecture services at the temple, it was always with the same devotion, the same caring.

 

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…She was a sister to me, an honored disciple who was at Gurudeva’s feet, a spiritual mentor, and an example…Master told those of us who were around him that we had many times been together with him in the past.  So that bond is there, and death cannot sever it—nor can it sever it for all of you.  You will always know, when you serve well and in an exemplary way, that you are being Master’s angels, as are Ananda Ma and Daya Ma and the other chelas of whom Gurudeva himself said: “God has sent me angels.”  Then he would look at each of us and say: “Now, you must all behave as angels!”

I feel it an honor to say even a little word of love and appreciation for a soul who is so dear, so elevated in the sight of God and Guru and in the divine friendship of all of us. Jai Guru!