If you love Fierce Wisdom then be sure to check out ‘Mahamaya’.
The Great Mother, Mahamaya, is the origin of creation. When the desire arose in her to play the game of life, She divided herself into two, namely Ma-Mother and Maya-illusion, and entered the stage of the world concealing Herself in many forms of maya (illusion). When after much searching and hard-beaten by the blows of fate a human being wakens to true intuition she or he feels the presence of the mother behind the fleeting appearances and sets out in search of her. Blessed by her grace we come to realise her as the prime cause and source of all creation, MahaMaya. Immersed in Her presence we lose ourselves in the Ocean of being consciousness bliss. Gradually we come to see that what is called moha or maya in the world is named Mahamaya – Great Mother. (Anandamayi)
Anandamayi’s life and influence – 1896 – 1982
Bengali-born Anandamayi was a wildly unorthodox ‘self-initiated’ holy woman, unbound by religious doctrine or cultural creed; and it was this that made her so appealing to me as a mentor and spiritual guide. She was brought up in rustic village conditions, midst much sacred sound and chanting, by devotional Brahmin parents. And it was from there that she grew into a great sage and luminary. Yet she clearly surpassed traditional religious definitions and categories. Her magnetic radiance, her immense spirit and rigorous counsel, combined with an intoxicating laughter and song that resounded everywhere she went, transformed the lives of many who sat in the graceful unconditional presence of her feminine wisdom. Her ever-widening audience of inquirers and seekers came from all backgrounds and faiths. Secularists, seekers, devotees, artists, religious and political leaders alike came to her for counsel and refuge eg Mahatma Ghandi, Nehru, Indira Ghandi, Yogananda Paramahamsa, the Shankaracharya (Hindu archbishop), Pierre Trudeau (Canadian Prime Minister), Western writers and artists such as Arthur Koestler, Colin Turnbull, Arnaud Desjardins and more.
I first encountered Anandamayi in the 1980’s, in dreams, during a time when I was profoundly restless for new teachings that could initiate me into a new octave of self-awareness and peace. I recorded one especially memorable dream in my journal:
A vast dark goddess was standing infont of me. She was a giantess, with immense presence, impersonal, awesome. She towered above me fixing me with her magnetic gaze. Then she slowly bent down, picked me up in her left hand and swallowed me whole. Everything blanked out. The next thing I remember is being spewed out of her mouth as two people, a man and a woman. She stood silently balancing masculine and feminine in her two giant hands, whilst I both participated in and witnessed every image and the whole event.
In 1986, while on retreat with American spiritual teacher, Ram Dass (Be Here Now), he showed me an archival black-white photograph of Anandamayi Ma as a young woman, sitting and ecstatically singing in an atmosphere of deep silence. It is this image that adorns the CD cover. I immediately recognised her as the goddess from my dreams. This first encounter with the physical image of Anandamayi was life-changing. The alchemy of that moment intensified my own inner longing, and inspired me to explore ways to translate her profound messages into vocal practices that gave birth to The Naked Voice.
It was from that time that voice as a spiritual practice became my life’s work, inspired by the music of Mother India. I began to find inner tranquillity through the expression of its devotional language through meditative sound, sanskrit mantra, chant and spontaneous song inspired by Indian melodies or ragas.
Anandmayi and the presence of the sacred feminine continued to infuse my life and the lives of others in new and unexpected ways
I have for many years loved to recite Anandamayi’s teachings out loud. The recitation in this download is drawn from many books notably the photographic essay of Ma’s life called, ‘Matri Darshan’ (The Grace of the Mother). Also the ‘Matri Vani’ Collections.
The words I am reciting here – along with the mystical poems of Rumi – ultimately inspired a more elaborate symphonic poem called Fierce Wisdom which I co-created in 2002 with sound engineer David Lord, and an ensemble of East-West classical, jazz and world musicians in the UK.
Fierce Wisdom is also available from this website.
Enjoy Mahamaya, meditations of the Divine Mother.
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