When Osho (formally Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh) was asked why we don’t hear of many women being enlightened, he replied: “Exactly the same number of women attain to enlightenment as men, but they don't fuss about it as much as men – that's all. They don't advertise it as much as men. They enjoy it.
“That is how woman, the feminine being, is. Man enjoys talking about his enlightenment more than enlightenment itself. He is interested in how many people have come to know that he has become enlightened. Women are not worried. They are not worried at all. If it has happened they enjoy it, they nourish it deep inside. It becomes a pregnancy. They live with it; they don't talk about it. That's why you don't know many names. Only a few names are known and those are of women who had some quality of man in them, that's why you know. Otherwise you would not have known them.”
One such enlightened woman was Sri Anandamayi Ma
She was born in 1896 in Kheora, a small village in Bengal, now Bangladesh. Her birth name was Nirmala Sundari Devi and she was “realized” (awakened, enlightened) from birth. From all outer appearances she had a normal childhood, but even from this early age, she saw only with a divine vision. Her parents arranged a marriage for her in the traditional way, but her husband quickly recognized she was not an ordinary woman. Their marriage was never consummated and he later became her devotee. She was eventually named Anandamayi Ma, the bliss-bestowing mother. Though she never wrote or even gave spiritual discourses, she did answer questions and such talks were transcribed and compiled into several books. Her words have a loving, compelling, and very powerful quality about them.
Four other Female Spiritual Teachers who were and still can be of service to aspiring seekers are:
***Sarada Devi – Endearingly known as "Holy Mother," Sri Sarada Devi (1853-1920) was the wife of Sri Ramakrishna. During the lifetime of Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi’s modesty meant she kept a very low profile. But she was a great spiritual personality herself and she came to play an important role in leading the Ramakrishna movement after the death of Ramakrishna. On account of her immaculate purity, extraordinary forbearance, selfless service, unconditional love, wisdom and spiritual illumination, Swami Vivekananda regarded Sri Sarada Devi as the ideal for women in the modern age.
***The Mother – The Mother was born in Paris, France as Mirra Alfassa on 21 February 1878. From an early age she displayed a remarkable interest in spirituality. In 1926 that Mira Richards became universally known as the Mother. This reflected her spiritual consciousness which was a manifestation of the Divine Mother. Sri Aurobindo also entrusted the whole of the Ashram organization to the Mother. The Mother entered her mahasamadhi in 1973 at the age of 95, three days after her passing her body was placed in the Samadhi alongside Sri Aurobindo.
***Mirabai – (also known as Meera) was born in 1504 A.D. at Chaukari village in Merta District of Rajasthan. As a young child Mirabai would spend her time playing with a small image of Krishna. Nobody understood her infatuation. But to Mirabai this doll was a living embodiment of Krishna. From an early age Mirabai dedicated her life to the worship and praise of her beloved Krishna. However, depsite her life of intense devotion, she faced great difficulties from her family who didn’t respect the amount of time she would spend in devotion to Krishna. Mirabai was a born poetess. She expressed in a beautiful style her intense and deep love of God. She composed hundreds of poems in a simple, unpretentious style. They are full of vivacity and feelings. No poetess in the history of India enjoys a greater respect than Meera. Her poems have gained a unique popularity and are sung by the rich and the poor alike, even to this day. She spent her life dancing In trance and singing the attributes of her Beloved Krishna. Mirabai left this mortal world in 1550 to be united with her beloved Krishna. She was a great Hindu woman saint and will always be remembered.
***Peace Pilgrim – Peace Pilgrim was an extraordinary woman who spent several decades of her life walking across North America with her simple message of peace. Her simple message she always carried with her was: “This is the way of peace: overcome evil with good, and falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.” Peace Pilgrim was born in around 1908 on a New Jersey farm. Friends say she was a popular and bright young girl but there was no indication she would make the transition to be a saintly pilgrim. Peace Pilgrim would walk throughout the day only stopping for food when this was offered. Often she did not get proper shelter but she kept maintained a calm and serene approach to even the most difficult of situations. She touched the lives of many, inspiring others to consider what they could do to find inner peace within side themselves. Throughout her life Peace Pilgrim had remarkably good health. A feature she attributed to a plain and simple vegetarian diet and living in harmony with the world. Peace Pilgrim died in July 1981 when she was killed instantaneously in a car collision. Peace Pilgrim called death a glorious transition to a freer life.
***Pema Chodron – Beloved Buddhist teacher, author, nun and mother, Pema Chodron has inspired millions of people from around the world who have been touched by her example and message of practicing peace in these turbulent times. The Pema Chodron Foundation is dedicated to preserving and sharing Pema’s inspiration and teachings in order that they might help us all awaken wisdom and compassion in ourselves and the world around us. Born: July 14, 1936 (age 80), New York City, NY. Pema continues to be the resident teacher at Gampo Abbey, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, the first Tibetan monastery for Westerners.
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