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Ananda Mayee: Instead of using the personal pronoun "I," she often used the phrase "this body." She was born in 1896 in a Brahmin family noted for its religious learning and piety. When nearly thirteen years old, she was married to another Brahmin. She developed a great liking for religious music, from which she passed to mantra yoga practice. "Everything becomes possible by the power of pure concentrated thought," she says. No guru initiated her. From her middle teens to her twenty-fifth year, she passed more and more time in reveries, abstractions, and long periods of silence, until even trance states were achieved. Often she passed into states in which tears of joy or of longing and aspiration would well up in her eyes while singing devotional songs. Those who heard her were thrilled by the emotion in her voice. Strange phenomena manifested when she was alone. Her neck would be turned by some force and remain twisted for some time. A brilliant light would shine all around her; or her body would automatically assume one of the yogic postures, and she would stay in it for hours, eyes open and unblinking. Or she would fall into a trance so deep that no one could awaken her. She had to be left to come out of it of her own accord. Her food intake is very small. I first met her in Rajpur, at the foot of the Himalayas. Her husband had become her first disciple; his relationship with her was then a brother-and-sister one. She gives no formal initiation to disciples and recommends everyone to take a few minutes every day out of their routine for meditation. Benares is her headquarters now, but she goes on tour for a few months every year so that others elsewhere may benefit by her heavenly singing.[Ananda Mayee has died since this note was written--Ed.]

-- Notebooks Category 15: The Orient > Chapter 2: India > # 531

-- Perspectives > Chapter 15: The Orient > # 29

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