June 10, 2016, marked the seventieth anniversary of the day our revered president and sanghamata, Sri Mrinalini Mata, entered Paramahansa Yogananda’s ashram to dedicate her life to the love and service of God and Guru. As spiritual head of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India…(since the passing of Sri Daya Mata), and as vice-president and editor-in-chief for more than forty years before that, Mrinalini Mataji has served SRF/YSS members worldwide with divine wisdom, love, and total dedication of body, mind, heart, and soul.
Mrinalini Mata was only fifteen years old when she was accepted for ashram training as a renunciant by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1946. When she met the Guru in 1945 at the SRF San Diego Temple, he had instantly recognized her as one who would play a key role in his work in years to come. Thus, with her parents’ permission, on June 10, 1946, she came to live at the SRF Hermitage in Encinitas, where she finished her final years of high school and simultaneously received Paramahansaji’s personal guidance.
Knowing the exceptional quality of this disciple from past incarnations, Paramahansaji bestowed on her the final vows of sannyas in 1947, after she had been in the ashram only about a year. He chose for her the monastic name “Mrinalini,” signifying the purity of the lotus flower, an ancient symbol of spiritual unfoldment.
Young Mrinalini Mata with Daya Mata and Ananda Mata, India
From the very beginning of her life in the ashram, he spoke to the other disciples about the role he envisioned for her — especially her future responsibility as editor of his SRF Lessons, writings, and talks. “She was destined for this work,” he said in a handwritten letter to Rajarsi Janakananda in 1950. “God showed it to me when I first saw her spirit.” He devoted much time to personally training and guiding her during the final years of his life.
Among the works that have been published as a result of her efforts are Paramahansa Yogananda’s masterful commentary on the four Gospels (entitled The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You); his critically acclaimed translation and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita (God Talks With Arjuna); several volumes of his poetry and inspirational writings; and three lengthy anthologies of his collected talks and essays — and more works are in preparation.
When Mrinalini Mataji was elected as the fourth president of SRF/YSS — succeeding the late, beloved Sri Daya Mata, who had played a monumental role as the spiritual mother of the organization for more than fifty-five years until her passing on November 30, 2010, and had been reverently referred to simply as “Ma” — many devotees expressed how much it meant to them that Mrinalini Mata would carry on. The following letter was received shortly after her election by the Board of Directors was announced:
“Deep gratitude filled me at the announcement of the SRF Board’s selection of Sri Mrinalini Mata for president. It is her sweetness that we devotees need at this time, and the world at large: a representative of Divine Mother on earth.
“I know devotees grieved Ma’s passing as children losing a mother, our spiritual mother on earth. I reflected that Mrinalini Ma came to Master almost still a child, so young, and how Master loved and nurtured her. Stories she told of her early years show the sweet relationship between her and Master, and also her sweetness.
“Offering gratitude to Master for this choice, I expressed my feelings that now we have another mother, and said to Master, “What shall we call her — we can’t call her Ma, because only our beloved Sri Daya Mata was Ma. Ma 2?”
“The answer came, “No, not ‘Ma 2’ — ‘Ma, too.’” Tears spontaneously flowed at this answer.
“She is our ‘Ma, too.’ Jai Guru.”
Mrinalini Mata’s regular letters of counsel and inspiration to the membership, along with the in-depth articles by her in this magazine and her numerous published audio/video talks, have earned her the loving reverence and profound gratitude of SRF/YSS members throughout the world. One person wrote: “Your humor, your frank wisdom, your practicality, your example of obedience and honoring our Guru, have filled me with hope and a knowing that I am loved.” And a recent card from the Encinitas Temple Sunday School children said: “You do so much to help us dwell in the light of God. Happy Mother’s Day and keep being amazing!”
Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India monastics, members, and friends offer joyous pranams and our hearts’ united gratitude and love to Sri Mrinalini Mata on this special anniversary.
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