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Anandamayi means "Joy Permeated Mother", a name given by her disciples in the 1920s to describe her habitual state of divine bliss. During her life, she attracted thousands of followers who saw her not only as a teacher and Guru, but as a manifestation of God, or Devi.

She was also called Dakshayani, Kamala, Vimala, and "Mother of Shahbag". Swami Sivananda (Divine Life Society) described her as "the most perfect flower the Indian soil has produced." Precognition, healing and other miracles were attributed to her by her followers.


Scholars were attracted to Anandamoyi Ma's spirituality and teaching, though she called herself "a little unlettered child". Mahamahopadhyay Gopinath Kaviraj, Sanskrit scholar, philosopher, and principal of Sanskrit College in Kolkata and the physician Triguna Sen were among her early followers. Uday Shankar, the famous dance artist, was impressed by Anandamoyi Ma's analysis of dance, which she used as a metaphor for the relationship between people and God.

Paramahansa Yogananda wrote about her in his Autobiography of a Yogi. His meeting with her is recounted in the chapter titled The Bengali "Joy-Permeated Mother", where he wrote:

    "Father, there is little to tell." She spread her graceful hands in a deprecatory gesture. "My consciousness has never associated itself with this temporary body. Before I came on this earth, Father, I was the same. As a little girl, I was the same. I grew into womanhood, but still I was the same. When the family in which I had been born made arrangements to have this body married, 'I was the same... And, Father, in front of you now, I am the same. Ever afterward, though the dance of creation change[s] around me in the hall of eternity, I shall be the same."

All that you have to know is that this is what meditation is: timelessness, egolessness, silence, blissfulness, an all-pervading joy, overwhelming ecstasy.

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