AkhandanandaBholanath DidimaGurupriya Didi Paramananda
HaribabaBhaijiGopinath KavirajAtmananda
Swami SwarupanandaSwami ChinmayanandaSwami VirajanandaSwami Vijayananda
Swami BhaskaranandaSwami SivanandaSwami BhajananandaSwami Omkarananda
Br KamalakantaBr YogeshdaBr AtuldaBr Hari Harda
Br TanmayanandaPanudaSwami KeshavanandaSri AbhaydaNarayan-Swami
Swami Nirvanananda

Didima (Mokshada Sundari Devi)

Sri Ma’s mother(Didima), Mokshada Sundari Devi. After receiving sanyas from Swami Mangal Giri, received the name Swami Muktananda Giri.

Born in Baisakh (April-May), 1877 in East Bengal, she was the eighth child of her parents. Didima’s parents called her Mokshada Sundari who was very calm and quiet and loved to spend time alone. Even as a child, she did not like games. Instead, she would stay in the religious environment of her home. As was the tradition in those days, she went to school to study up to the second standard. Her parents died early, therefore further studies were done at home. She could read the Ramayana, Mahabharat and Puranas in Bengali.

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At times she expressed her spiritual feelings through verses. She recited a number of such verses, which were her own composition. She was indifferent to her domestic life. Though there were problems a plenty, including that of money, they never reflected in her behaviour. She was always an excellent host, who would give her own food to a guest and still retain the charm of a very satisfied, contented person. This quality of kindness and compassion was the dominant part of her character.

Ma’s father, the late Bipin Behari Bhattacharya, frequently left home because of his passion for tapasya. He was brought back home by relatives and friends. Even during those situations, Didima never lost her composure, her patience. However much financial trouble she was in, Didima never made complaint. Giriji hailed from the Shiva Shakta Sampradai. Durga Puja and Kali pujas were regularly held at her home. There was a Narayan Shila there too, which is now being worshipped by Brahmacharini Chandan Bhattacharya at Kankhal ashram. From her childhood, Didima took interest in puja and its related exercises. She also had darshan of God in her dreams. She had a special fascination for Narayana and was very much fond of the name of Narayana. She once had darshan of Lord Gopal who asked her to “offer Batasa Bhog worth one paisa”. Since then Didima regularly offered Batasa Bhog to Thakur.

Didima first had her Mantra initiation in a dream. She did the japa of this mantra for several years. In 1905 she was formally initiated by the family priest Shri Kalikrishna Vidya Vinod. Didima always carried with her the picture of her family priest as her first Guru, and also that of her sannyas Guru. Nobody has ever seen Didima angry. Nothing could antagonise her. Once Ma said, ‘Dear Ma, what do you have in your brain that never looses its balance.” Didima laughed at this tribute. On another occasion, Ma spoke about her patience and perseverance, “She is mother earth.”

(extract from Ch 9 The Divine Mother, Shri Shri Ma Anandamayee by Premlata Srivastava)


On February 5th, 1963, Mataji at the request of Sri Haribabaji Maharaj went to Jodhpur for a few days to be present at the inauguration of a satsang hall. She left Didima with Narayan Swami and a few other companions at Kankhal, asking them to meet Mataji at Delhi on February 14th.

On February 11th at about 9 p.m. at Jodhpur, Mataji asked someone to send the following telegram to Narayan Swami: “See that Giriji is well looked after and keeps good health”. It was difficult to understand why Mataji had the wire dispatched since she was to meet Giriji within less than three days.

On February 14th early morning, as soon as Mataji arrived at the Delhi Ashram, she went straight to Giriji’s room, remaining there for an hour. Giriji and her party had arrived the evening before. After leaving Giriji’s room, Mataji said: “What need was there to wire, when we were to meet in any case two days later? People may have thought, perhaps Mataji was not aware of this”. Mataji continued: “That day in the early morning I saw Giriji come to me with the words: ‘Shall I leave tomorrow?’ meaning that Giriji intended leaving her body. For Mataji there is no birth and no death. She at first said: “All right”, but quickly added: “No, no, no, don’t leave tomorrow!”

In reply to someone’s question, Mataji later explained: “Do you know why the telegram was sent?” Just as one does not become a sanyasi by reading the sanyasa mantra in a book, but has to obtain it from the Guru, in a similar manner this body had the kheyala to confirm, as it were, what Giriji had heard Ma say. This is why the wire was sent to Narayan Swami.

The inner telegram had already reached before. On February 11th at about 2.30 a.m. at Kankhal, Giriji had a strong desire to leave her body. During the whole night, she sat in meditation. At first, she reviewed her early life, then she had a number of visions. At dawn, she rose from her seat. At about eight a.m. she went to bathe in the Ganges near Dakshalaya Mandir which adjoins the Ashram. She then sat in the temple doing japa for a long time. She saw many of her devotees. When she got up, she asked Vimala, her attendant, where they had gone. Vimala said astonished “What do you mean? They never came here!” After distributing wheat-flour and gur to the beggars at the temple gate, Giriji sat among the tulasi plants in the Ashram garden in meditation. At that time, Mataji was watching Giriji from Jodhpur. She said: “Giriji’s eyes were tightly closed. Her senses did not work at all”. Giriji was absorbed in deep contemplation. Her eyes were shut, but her consciousness was fully awake. Everyone present at the Kankhal Ashram saw Giriji in that state. At their request, Giriji went into the house and sat down on her asana.

The extraordinary visions she had can hardly be understood by the ordinary intelligence. Yet, for the benefit of all, an attempt is made here to give an idea of what Giriji saw. She had the vision of a boatman who was taking souls across samsara, the round of birth and death. Giriji was herself in the boat. At Jodhpur Mataji also saw herself sitting in a boat with Didima. Didima said to the boatman: “I have crossed over the ocean of life and death; but what about those who are standing on the bank waiting to be ferried to the other shore? I cannot leave them behind!” Again, Giriji asked: “You will take them across, won’t you?” The boatman repeated three times: “Yes, certainly I shall take them across”.

Giriji reflected: “For so long I have striven for the highest good of my followers, today my prayer is: Almighty God, may they all advance towards Thee, let none experience again the agony of birth, and the trials and tribulation of worldly life’. Thereafter Giriji saw a divine personage ascend a staircase together with her. Behind her, there was a dog. Giriji asked the divine being: “Who are you? Are you taking me with you? Are you a man or a woman?” “Neither a man nor a woman,” was the reply. The divine apparition was clad in white garments, with a profusion of black hair covering the clothes at the back. Again, Giriji spoke: “Judhisthir had once to witness hell. Let none of my followers ever experience hell!” The divine being said with great vehemence, “No, no, no, none of them will see hell. Where the name of Hari is, there can be no question of hell.” Then Giriji’s vision changed. She was in a realm of endless light.

At once the question: “Where are my followers?” arose in her mind. Her divine companion pointed in one direction, saying: “They are there. According to their stages and states of achievement, they are at various levels. This is why there is difference. Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Sudras are on their own levels appropriate to their work”. Giriji said three times: “May none of them fall down again!” And three times, she received the reply: No, they will never fall down again!” Next, Giriji found herself alone with the divine being in a realm of which she said: “From there everything could be seen, call it the earth or anything you like; yet there was neither day nor night, neither darkness nor light, a deep pervading peace that passes understanding it is impossible to describe that realm”. It cannot be grasped by human intelligence.

In the Kathopanishad we read: “The sun shines not there, nor the moon and stars; These lightings shine not, much less this earthly fire After Him, as He shines, everything shines. This whole world is illumined with his light”. Did this great land of light appear before Giriji’s inner eye? She said: “Unless all are liberated, how can there be liberation for me? Animals, birds, insects, trees, creepers, may none have to suffer again the agony of birth and death!” This reminds us of the lord Buddha who remained on the threshold of Nirvana out of compassion for all sentient beings.

The whole day Giriji sat on her asana inside the house. In the evening she came outside, sang kirtan under the bel-tree, and then distributed batasha to all. After having sung God’s names, Giriji again felt like leaving her body in front of Siva. She was utterly calm, peaceful and serene, her heart and mind merged in the Self. All at once, she saw Mataji. Giriji said: “How are you? From where have you come?” Mataji said: “I’ have come to see you”. The whole day Mataji had taken nothing but water. Didima saw that Ma was wearing a red sari. That day at Jodhpur someone had dressed Ma in a red sari and performed her puja. Girji said: “You have come to stop me from going, haven’t you? Mataji said: “Just look at me for a minute, Giriji” “I am looking at you”. But Mataji saw that Giriji’s eyes were shut. Neither of them would open. However, gradually the right eye opened. Mataji did not take her gaze off Giriji’s eyes.

For a long time, Girji remained in that state of deep inner absorption. Before returning, Ma said: “A mood was made to start in you that would not let you leave”. Mataji gave Giriji a flower from the head of Siva. Giriji began to breathe again. Gradually energy returned to her senses, her hands started moving. Twice that day at Kankhal, Giriji had gone into that state and both times Mataji had seen it at Jodhpur. At night, Giriji hardly ate anything. Even when going to sleep that night she was not yet fully reconciled to the thought of remaining in the body. Some of the members of Giriji’s family had had the power to die at will. One or two of her brothers had foretold the exact time of their death and made all arrangements themselves. A few days later someone wrote a letter to Mataji, asking how the whole world could be liberated.

Mataji replied: “If you yourself endeavour to attain to liberation, by your example the desire to pursue the path to liberation will be awakened in others”. Turning to the people present in the room, Mataji added: “This is meant for all of you!”