Debra: Hi. I’m Debra Katz, and I’m very excited that you are joining us today for this very special episode of the Psychic Explorer: Adventures of the Spirit. Today we are filming on location at the Seven Centers School of Yoga Arts, a spiritual hotspot in West Sedona.
And we are very, very grateful to have with us, one of India’s most beloved and respected female Saints, Shree Maa. And Shree Maa means Respected Holy Mother. And we are very very excited to have her today, and we are also joined by Swami. So we have a very exciting show for you and we have many questions we are going to be asking Shree Maa about her life and about her lifes work. So, hello there, thank you for being with us today.
Shree Maa: Thank you.
Debra: Now, you have had a very interesting life, and if we could start off with hearing maybe a little bit about your childhood in terms of, have you been doing your devotional work to God and to the Divine Mother since a young child? And how did you first get in to your spirituality?
Shree Maa: I born that way. When my mother was pregnant, one Saint told my mother that a higher soul is coming and I’m giving initiation to you. That Saint gave initiation to my mother, and Saint told, “When She is born, when She will be two months, please come back and I will give Her initiation.” And when I was two months, the Saint gave me initiation also.
Debra: Wow, so very young.
Shree Maa: From my childhood, I know only God.
Debra: And so did you spend many hours in meditation even as a child?
Shree Maa: Yes, yes, when I was four years old, from four years old, three times to worship to God. Early in the morning, wake up, look in the mirror and I bow down to myself, first. And Sun also, the Sun salutation, from four years old, three times a day puja. Puja means worshipping, worship to God. And God is discipline. Whole life from my childhood went that way.
Debra: And then I heard that after you finished your schooling you went in to the forests of the Himalayas?
Shree Maa: Actually not after school, when I was studying you know I was living near jungles and big mountains and once in a while I went there and meditated. And my family did not know. Hiding. Because from my childhood my Guru Ramakrishna, told me, “If you express your experience, you will lose it, keep hiding everything.”
Debra: And so is there a point when you finally were able to not have to hide it anymore?
Shree Maa: Yes, when I was like fifteen or sixteen years old, I could not control myself. Automatically I’m going Samadhi. Automatically. And at that time I could not hide myself anymore.
Debra: And at that period did you stay in Samadhi for a long time?
Shree Maa: Long, long, long time. Sometimes twelve, sometimes seven, sometimes five.
Debra: And can you describe for people who aren’t familiar with that word what that means, or what thats like to be in that state?
Shree Maa: No. I cannot explain that. We say that word you know neti neti (Not this, Not that). That is Beautiful.
Debra: It feels very good to be…
Shree Maa: Beautiful.
Debra: For people who would be desiring to obtain that state is their something that they can do?
Shree Maa: I don’t know if other people has the desire, I never know I had the desire for that. Only I know God, so it comes to me. And when people has the desire, they do spiritual practice to make themselves purified and ultimately they reach the stage.
Debra: And is there a particular practice that you encourage people to do?
Shree Maa: I never force anybody to do practice. I do. Whatever I do is a delight for me. That I do. One thing I would like to say everybody, speaking truth is important. It’s a dark age. It’s very hard to do spiritual practice sometimes. But speak truth always and that is tapasya.
Debra: And what if speaking truth sometimes means maybe hurting someones feelings? Would you say to still speak the truth even then?
Shree Maa: You can speak truth, yeah, why do you think it will harm if I speak truth? Why? You have to speak truth to purify themselves.
Debra: And do you find that it’s more difficult to meditate and do your spiritual practice here in the United States versus maybe back home in India?
Shree Maa: No, I’m same, I’m same everywhere.
Debra: How many hours of meditation a day would you say you spend?
Shree Maa: I think I stay twenty-four hours.
Debra: That’s wonderful. I think I’d like to do that myself, that would be nice.
Shree Maa: Meditation does not mean you close eyes and sit in one asan. I will say that every moment you respect your action.
Debra: So, can you tell us a little more about that. How can people enhance their lives on a daily basis or even minute to minute basis? Do you have some way of thinking or some way of seeing the world in order for people to do that? Because so many people spend so much of their time worried about whats going to happen in the future or what has happened in the past.
Shree Maa: Because they don’t know themselves. They have no goal for their life. From their childhood that kind of teaching they did not get from their parents. And therefore, I think, confusion. Most of the people. Parent is very important. They are the first teacher, our teacher. At first, every parent has to be changed, for their child.
Debra: So what can parents do with their children to direct them on a spiritual path?
Shree Maa: If they don’t say they have the desire you cannot force anybody. You cannot force anybody.
Debra: So, say like myself, I have a son, he is one and a half years old. What could I do to make sure he stays on a spiritual path?
Shree Maa: You do practice yourself. And he will watch you. Discipline. And one day he will say that my mom was that way.
Debra: That seems pretty simple.
Shree Maa: It is simple. Life is simple. Very simple.
Debra: That’s wonderful. So, in the early 1980’s, Yourself and Swami here, you came to the United States. And why is it that you came to the United States?
Shree Maa: Why I came? Because the whole universe is my family. Ok. Now, in 1982 I was doing spiritual practice in the Himalayas with Swamiji and other disciples also. And Ramakrishna, do you know Ramakrishna?
Debra: I’ve heard of him.
Shree Maa: Ramakrishna, my Guru, was telling, “You have to go now for our country, and all other country, you have to go do fire ceremonies and show what is truth, what is dignity, and at that time the whole world will be peace.”
Debra: And did he tell you about any maybe specific future events that would be happening? Anything about the future?
Shree Maa: I always think about present, make nice. When you make the present nice, future will come nice. I don’t think too much about future.
Debra: So, when you were spreading your message to the people. If there was one thing that you could have everyone understand what would that be?
Shree Maa: I always give my Pure Love.
Debra: And, so, I had a friend who went to see you several months ago and she had described how just walking in the door and seeing you her heart just opened up and her entire life changed. How is it that someone can just be in your presence and have that kind of experience.
Shree Maa: You should ask her. You should ask her. But I always say to my children, you know, I’m giving three things. Pure Love, Inspiration and Appreciation. These three things give yourself.
Debra: Do you feel that there’s different energies or spirits or other people or God’s working through you when you’re singing?
Shree Maa: No. I don’t think about that.
Debra: Why do you think you as a spirit have been …
Shree Maa: I don’t think about what you guys are telling…I’m a child of God. I came to do his work.
Debra: Did your family, you said they didn’t always know that you were meditating or what your practices were, was your family supportive once they understood what your path was.
Shree Maa: Uh, yeah they did support.
Debra: That’s good. So how long are you going to be in America for?
Shree Maa: I’m Eternal Here. I don’t know where’s America, where’s Russia, where’s India. I have no discrimination for that.
Debra: Are there any certain places you enjoy more than others?
Shree Maa: I enjoy everywhere!
Debra: That’s wonderful.
Shree Maa: Everywhere.
Debra: So, you seem very happy and very joyful, and for some people in their lives they’re not so happy.
Shree Maa: Because they are too much attached.
Debra: So if someone is too much attached, how can they not be so attached?
Shree Maa: If they do duty in a perfect way, I don’t think so. They won’t be attached. And you know G-O-D another meaning is Go On Duty. Only our attachment makes everything a problem.
Debra: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.
Shree Maa: Yes, If you think you brought your son to God, and if you surrender to God, you can see how much you are blessed.
Debra: I guess sometimes it’s hard to not be attached, because I love him so much, but…
Shree Maa: You have to love. You have to love. You have to give pure love all the time.
Debra: Yeah, but also know that he doesn’t belong to me, he belongs to God.
Shree Maa: Yeah, we are all instruments.
Debra: One thing people wonder about, we’ve heard about how when you spent many hours or even years in meditation how sometimes you would barely even eat. So how is it that you were able to stay alive?
Shree Maa: At that time I could not tell who I am. Always Samadhi. And when I wake up, like thirteen hours or fourteen hours or eight hours, and I wake up, people would give me a little juice, devotees give me juice. It went a couple of years and most of the saints told that if she stay in this stage she will not live anymore. She will leave her body. And at that moment Swamiji came.
Debra: Oh, wow!
Shree Maa: It was a beautiful story. Could I tell? When Swamiji came I was in Assam. You know Assam, state. I was in samadhi the whole day. And next day I came back in the morning at nine o’clock or nine-thirty and Swamiji was sitting here, and lots of my children was crying. They always thought that if I am in twenty-four hour meditation, Mother will leave body. They always thought Mother will not come back. Therefore, the whole night, the whole day their chanting for me, Mother should come back. And that feeling was really beautiful.
And so when I came back, I was feeling somebody’s pulling me down and down. And that experience was really beautiful. And Swamiji was sitting here, and I wake up, I open my eyes, and I told Swamiji, “What do you want from me?” And He told me, “I want boon from you?” Swamiji told me, I want boon from you. So I said, “You want boon, Ok, I’ll give you boon.” And He said, “No, I want word, that whatever I want, You will give me that boon.” He told me that.
So I closed my eyes, and after a half an hour again I came back. And I said, “What boon do you want?” And He told me, “You have to stay in this world and protect this world.” And He was crying, everyone was crying. It took time to give that word. I told Swami, “Ok, I’m promising you, I will help.”
From that time they started feeding me, because I was sixty pounds then. So they started slowly slowly giving me a little food, and started to feed me. And when I came back to America, I started to eat good food actually, I needed to modernize. It was hard for me also in America, because you know Swamiji would took me to one University to give a lecture, and I went totally beyond myself, and when I opened my eyes the whole hall was empty. They were gone.
But I have to take care of my children, for that purpose I came.
Debra: So have there been times where you consciously thought that maybe you wouldn’t come back?
Shree Maa: You know I cannot tell you, when you go, you cannot tell anything, express anything.
Debra: And when you go, do you remember what it’s like when you come back?
Shree Maa: I’m not mine at that time.
Debra: Are there some people maybe who have never experienced that, but then later in life they start to experience that, or is it something that …
Shree Maa: Many saints, Ramakrishna, he did also practice.
Debra: Can you tell us anything about your Guru?
Shree Maa: I think most of the people know about Ramakrishna. Swami Vivekananda’s Guru.
Debra: Do you find that having a Guru is necessary or essential in order to have a good spiritual practice, or do some people not need Gurus?
Shree Maa: Yeah, I think every body has a Guru, they don’t know themself. Everyone has a Guru. You know our life is very simple, if we pay attention to ourself and respect ourself every moment. Every moment. It is beautiful to be a human being.
Debra: It’s very much a gift to be a human being.
Shree Maa: Yeah, it’s the highest birth. It’s beautiful.
Debra: Do you believe in reincarnation?
Shree Maa: I think everybody is an incarnation of God, I believe, because God makes us. But, sometimes you know, that higher soul comes from time to time to purify this world.
Debra: So, I guess we probably need to start wrapping up our interview, is their anything else, any message that you would like to give to the people of Sedona or the people of America?
Shree Maa: Just I can tell them I Love You All.
Debra: I think that’s good enough. Thank you very much.
Shree Maa: Thank you, you are happy?
Debra: Yes, I’m very happy.
Shree Maa: Very Good. Very Good.
Debra: We’ve just been speaking with Shree Maa and Swami and I’d like to thank them so much for joining us here. Today they are giving an event where there is going to be lots of music and chanting and smiling faces I’m sure at the Seven Center School of Yoga Arts located here in west Sedona. So thank you for all joining us and we’ll see you next week on the Psychic Explorer: Adventures of the Spirit. Thanks a lot.