Though universal in his consciousness, Paramhansa Yogananda especially worshipped the feminine aspect of God, or Divine Mother, as he called Her. Newcomers to Yogananda’s teachings often ask us, “Who is this Divine Mother?” To answer this question, I’d like to share with you some experiences from my own journey that have clarified my understanding.

The first incident occurred when I was quite young, perhaps three or four years old. I awoke late one summer morning to find that I was alone in a quiet house. My older brother, with whom I shared a room, must have gone out to play, my father probably had gone to work, and my mother was nowhere to be seen. Wondering where everyone was, I wandered out into our backyard.

And there was my mother hanging out laundry on a clothesline—clean white sheets brilliant in the sunshine and billowing in the breeze. As I stood quietly watching her, I experienced a moment of seeing past the forms of my mother, the sheets, the backyard, and felt a sense of goodness, simplicity, and peace that seemed to permeate everything. I knew that the universe was made of these qualities, and I never forgot it.

Some twenty years later I found Ananda and became Master’s disciple. During my first summer I met a wonderful woman, Haripriya, who was a follower of the great woman saint, Anandamayi Ma. When Haripriya gave me a book about her, and I looked at her photos, I felt the same qualities I had experienced in my backyard as a little girl: the goodness, simplicity, and serenity. The concept of Divine Mother began to coalesce for me. These qualities could be both formless and embodied in a human form.

anandamayiAt about that time Haripriya was leaving to visit Anandamayi Ma in India, and a desire arose in my heart to give a gift to Ma. “But what,” I wondered, “can I give that is fitting for such a great saint?” I had no money for lavish gifts, so I asked Haripriya what would be appropriate.

She paused for a while, and then replied, “A bottle of good cooking oil. This is hard to get in India.” Her answer touched my heart so deeply: to think of the simple aspects of life like cooking combined with the consciousness of one revered by thousands as a manifestation of Divine Mother.

I sent that cooking oil to Ma, and over the years have felt a flow of Divine Mother’s blessings present in the little acts of daily service that we all perform.

So, who is Divine Mother? For me, She is the goodness, simplicity, and peace that permeate all aspects of life and everything that exists. She accepts us our imperfections notwithstanding, and forgives us when we err. Though at times the world seems to be held in the grip of darkness, Divine Mother always keeps Her lamp lit in the window of our soul, showing us the way back to our eternal home in Her.

With joy,
Nayaswami Devi

18 Comments

  1. Absolutely beautiful and inspiring. Thank you Devi! Blessings to all. Paix Paix Paix

  2. Divine Mother!!How beautifully and simply and sweetly defined.Loved it.

  3. Beautiful example of finding Divine Mother in the everyday times of our lives. Thank you, Devi

  4. Dear Nayaswami Devi,
    Such a wonderful article :). Divine Mother guide us . Aum !!!

  5. So sweet thanks, Devi! What a beautiful picture for my mind today.

    1. Dear Jugnu,
      My friend, Haripriya, always began and closed each conversation with “JAI MA!” Thank you for echoing her words and reminding me of her loving presence.

  6. I so love reading these inspiring letters. So meaningful! Your experience reminded me of my childhood. I felt exactly as you explained while watching your mother hanging laundry on a clothesline. I have felt like this often in life, while witnessing something around me. Thank you for this beautiful message.

  7. Dearest Devi,
    THANK YOU! So beautifully spoken…
    Personally I have been very patriarchal in my view of the Divine. I found the concept of Divine Mother to be vague. Your words help me expand my view and perhaps now my ability to experience Divine Mother as simplicity, gentleness, calmness, and whatever for me creates a “sense” of peace and serenity. I will also be looking out for those qualities in others (as well as in Nature) as an example for me to see, feel, and understand the manifested form of Divine Mother; so that I might learn also to manifest those qualities within me and express them outwardly. Again Thank you!
    ~~~Peace, Josette

  8. Please accept my Pranam , Nayaswami Devi ,
    Just few days back I read this though its not related to this article but i just wanted to share this :
    It seems there has always been a rivalry between man and woman. But they are equals; neither one is superior. Be proud of what you are in this life. You are a soul that has been in both male and female bodies in different past incarnations. If you are a woman now and you envy men, you will have to reincarnate as a man. And take heed: if you are a man now and feel superior to woman, you may have to be born as a woman. Man argues that woman is emotional and cannot reason; and woman complains that man cannot feel. Both are incorrect. Woman can reason, but feeling is uppermost in her nature; and man can feel, but in him reason is predominant. The ideal is to balance reason and feeling in one’s nature. Those who are too womanish do not find soul freedom, and neither do those who are too mannish. Each sex should strive toward a balance by learning from one another through friendship and understanding. In the great Saints we see combined the ideal masculine and feminine qualities. Jesus was like that ; so were all the masters. when you have attained the perfect reason-feeling equilibrium, you will have learned one of the major lessons for which you were sent here. – By Parmahansa Yogananda

    1. Dear Shainee,
      Thank you for the beautiful quote from Master. He always speaks with such profound wisdom.

  9. I love the imagery of your childhood memory — “clean white sheets brilliant in the sunshine and billowing in the breeze. “

    1. Yes, there are many beautiful childhood memories that we share.
      Love,
      Your sister

    2. the fact that your brother read and replied to this deeply touches a “mother’s” heart… aum, peace, namaste…

  10. So beautiful and so touching. I understood and felt every word you wrote, dear Devi. And I would like to share that my earthly mother that I loved and love, has also become a Divine Mother. That is a blessing that Divine Mother has given to me . . She has taught me to love my mother as I love Her. And I love you too dear mother Devi. mariana

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