Skip to main content

Gayatri Devi (c. 1897–1995)

Gayatri Devi (c. 1897–1995)

Indian-born spiritual leader of Ramakrishna Brahma-Vadin, a female religious order rooted in Hinduism. Name variations: known to her followers as "Ma," short for mataji, meaning reverend mother. Born in Bengal, India, possibly in 1897; died in La Crescenta, California, on September 8, 1995.

The Reverend Mother Gayatri Devi, the spiritual leader of a bicoastal religious order known as Ramakrishna Brahma-Vadin, was born in Bengal, India, around 1897, one of 19 children of a civil lawyer and a housewife. Forced into marriage at an early age, she was widowed at 19, after which she was allowed to

join her uncle, Swami Paramananda, in America. She was ordained at the Massachusetts center which her uncle founded in 1909, according to the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, who introduced Hinduism to America. The first Indian woman to teach Americans the Vedanta philosophy, which honors all religions, Gayatri Devi inherited leadership of the religious communities in La Crescenta, California, and in Cohasset, Massachusetts, after the death of her uncle in 1940. Although the mostly female order was disowned by its all-male parent order in India, it survived and flourished, eventually supporting two ashrams for underprivileged women in Calcutta.

In 1975, Gayatri Devi appeared with Mother Teresa at the Conference of World Religions at the United Nations. She helped found the Snowmass Religious Leaders' Conference, and, at the invitation of the Dalai Lama, taught at the Harmonia Mundi Contemplative Congress in Newport Beach in 1989. Mother Gayatri Devi died in September 1995.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Gayatri Devi (c. 1897–1995)." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Gayatri Devi (c. 1897–1995)." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 23, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gayatri-devi-c-1897-1995

"Gayatri Devi (c. 1897–1995)." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . Retrieved September 23, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gayatri-devi-c-1897-1995

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.