Indian swamis also foresee the birth of saints, including Shree Maa, one of the great women saints in contemporary history who has been described as kindness incarnate.
When Kalyani married Sushil, a wealthy man who managed a tea estate, she was only thirteen years old. One year after their marriage, the pious couple climbed Kamakhya Mountain to do worship in the Kamakhya Temple. Much to their surprise, Swami Bhuvananda Saraswati appeared before them when they reached the summit. This great saint and religious teacher who dwelt on the mountain at the Kalipur Ashram had a message for Kalyani: “I have been waiting for you. You are going to give birth to a divine child, and I want to give you mantra initiation with the blessings of God.” Kalyani protested, I am not pregnant. You are making a mistake. The Swami insisted, No, no, it is you. Thereupon, he approached the couple, stretched out his arms, and blessed them with sacred prayers. He whispered the Gayatri mantra, a powerful Vedic formula, into Kalyani’s left ear, and anointed her with holy water.
Then he asked the couple to return when Kalyani was two months pregnant. When Kalyani conceived a child within the next month, the couple accepted the prediction that their child was a divinely inspired messenger. (*Saraswati, ibid) Kalyani and her husband followed the Swami’s directive and visited the Swami’s ashram where the Guru was expecting them. After welcoming the couple with the highest respect, the Swami performed a sacred ceremony to the expectant mother and gave the baby in the womb a mantra initiation. Moreover, he instructed the parents on how to maintain a sacred atmosphere conducive for the impending birth and asked them to return when the child was two months old.
As directed by the Swami, the parents made the third visit with their two-month-old daughter Shree Maa (the respected Holy Mother). He took the baby into his arms and danced with her throughout the temple. Afterward, he whispered mantras into the infant’s ears in the process of initiation. Even before this powerful initiation, however, Shree Maa had been aware of her divine mission at birth. She was fully conscious from birth and recalls how her earthly sojourn began with an inner experience. She heard the voice of the nineteenth-century saint Ramakrishna Paramahansa whom she regards as her spiritual teacher, saying, “Oh, you have come again.” Much more needs to be done in this Dark Age. You must show people what divine life really means, what is spiritual practice is, and what sacrifice is. Subtle experiences continued throughout childhood. Shree Maa was gifted with God Consciousness and the capacity to enter into deep meditative states at will. Her most difficult realization was to understand that everyone was not as blessed.
Shree Maa’s spiritual work began in earnest after completing her college education. She left home to reside in the seclusion of the Himalayan forests where she meditated and conducted spiritual practices. She rarely spoke and ate practically nothing except sandal paste mixed with water, basil leaves, and occasionally juice, fed to her by devotees. Yogis who saw her in deep samadhi for days at a time expressed concern for her physical survival. It was inconceivable for a woman to travel throughout the forests and jungles of India alone, especially without money and possessions. Yet Shree Maa was oblivious to any danger. She later joked with disciples saying, What risk, what fear? When I am one with the soul of existence, how will anyone or anything cause me harm?
Shree Maa left the seclusion of the Himalayas after nearly a decade. Since that time, she recites Sanskrit scriptures, worships, and meditates ten to fourteen hours a day. Moreover, she is a poet, a singer, and an artist who enjoys cooking and sewing for her family of devotees. She has inspired and contributed to the authoring of three dozen books in a dozen languages and has written devotional songs which bring tears to people who gather in her presence. Politicians, leaders of industry, businessman, educators, and simple household people of every religious heritage have sought her advice. Her egoless nature and divine simplicity shine through every action inspiring spiritual growth and radiating peace to everyone who meets her.
By Elizabeth Carman