by Erin Currier
web # 12600
Acrylic and mixed media on panel
36"h x 24"w
Much has been written about the great Bengali saint, Sri Anandamayi, most of which centers around her magnificent spirituality. As important as her spirituality was, there are other interesting facts concerning Sri Anandamayi. Married at the age of 13, Sri Ma, as she was popularly known, refused to consummate her marriage, and embraced a spiritual celibacy for her entire life. At the age of 15 she had what she referred to as a spiritual awakening, the contours of which allowed her to liberate herself from the extreme rural traditions that have typically kept women of the Indian subcontinent enslaved in a legal system that grants more autonomy to cows than it does to females. As a lineage holder in the Kali tradition, Sri Ma advocated a personal regime of silence, meditation, and uncompromising love to all of those who came to see her as a divine embodiment. She refused to kiss the feet or bow to male Brahmins. She embraced all religions as one and believed that the supreme calling of every human being was to aspire to self-realization. She considered all other pursuits secondary. In the course of her life she became renowned for her healing miracles and demonstrations of precognition. Her true preference, however, was to remain out of the spotlight. Once when asked how someone would know whether to choose the renunciate life, she responded "would one deliberate on whether to flee a massacre?". On another occasion when a widower approached her in his grief she laughed and told him that there was one less obstacle between him and God. She died in 1982.