Nirmala Devi Srivastava (1923-)

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Nirmala Devi Srivastava (1923-)

Modern Hindu teacher, and wife of a United Nations diplomat. She was born on March 21, 1923, in Chindawara, a small hill station near Nagpur, India. Although born into a Christian family, she has embraced the concept of the basic truth of all religions in a universal teaching, based on ancient Hindu concepts of kundalini, the latent power believed to reside in the human organism and to be an evolutionary force in nature. Kundalini operates as a psycho-physical force in human beings, as the dynamic of sexual activity and also, when properly aroused, as the mechanism of higher consciousness and Godrealization.

Kundalini yoga is concerned with the opening of chakras or psychic centers in the body, culminating in an energy flow to the highest center in the head. The arrival of kundalini energy in the top of the head is believed to result in an expansion of consciousness and mystical awareness.

On May 5, 1970, Nirmala Devi experienced the awakening of the sahasrara chakra (the highest center) through kundalini arousal and perceived a vision of her ability to communicate this arousal to other individuals (an ability generally termed shaktipat ). She began teaching other people a technique called Sahaja Yoga (inborn technique) in order to transform their lives.

A center was established in New Delhi, India, and through the decade centers came into being in Great Britain, Australia, France, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Canada, and more recently in the United States. Known to her followers as "Mataji," Nirmala Devi travels to centers abroad, keeping contact in different countries. A bimonthly magazine, Nirmala Yoga, is published from the international headquarters at 43, Banglow Road, Delhi 110007, India. In the west the movement may be contacted at Nirmala Palace, 99 Nightingale Ln., Clapham South, Balham, London, SW12, United Kingdom or at 12416 Reva St., Cerritos, CA 90701.


Barker, Eileen. New Religious Movements: A Practical Introduction. London: HMSO, 1989.

Coney, Judith. Sahaja Yoga. Richmond, Surrey, UK: Curzon Press, 2000.

Pullar, Philippa. The Shortest Journey. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1981.