Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, the founder of Sahaja Yoga, was born on March 21, 1923 in the beautiful town of Chindawara, near the city of Nagpur in Central India. Her parents, Prasad and Cornelia Salve, descendants of royal Shalivahana dynasty, played a key role in India's liberation movement. Her father was a scholar fluent in 14 languages. Her mother was the first woman in India to receive an honors degree in mathematics. In her young age, Nirmala Salve, as a youth leader participated in the freedom struggle against the British rulers. Later on she dedicated her entire life to the noble aim of bringing spiritual liberation to the people of the world.
In 1970, Shri Mataji developed a method by which the residual spiritual energy in a person could be awakened en masse. This method of self realization has become known as Sahaja Yoga. 'Sahaja' means spontaneous, simple, and effortless. It also means - born with you. 'Yoga' means union; union with something beyond ourselves, with something collective and universal. So Sahaja Yoga is "spontaneous union" with the all-pervading universal energy that is the source of this entire creation and which exists inside of every human being.
Shri Mataji introduced the practice of Sahaja Yoga in over 90 countries transforming the lives of thousands. These people who live a normal life, tap to their inner spiritual power through daily Sahaja Yoga meditation and achieve a greater improvement in their lives at the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels. Shri Mataji traveled the world offering her teachings free of charge. She delivered thousands of lectures, gave many television and radio interviews, and was the subject of hundreds of newspaper articles around the world. In 1995, she spoke at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. Claes Nobel spoke of her Nobel Prize nomination in 1997, at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Institutions around the world bestowed honorary awards and doctorates upon her.
Shri Mataji passed away on February 23, 2011. Her legacy endures, as the experience of self-realization continues to transform countless lives.