An Encounter



In the words of Oxford scholar (a western authority on Indian & Oriental religion) Dr.Madhu Khanna, “Madhobi-Maa is a woman of extraordinary calling. as per the Hindu way of life a name is an identity, a reflection of the personality. And the mystic connotation of her name Ma-dho-bi given by her guru is befitting. Ma- stands for mother, Dho- for dharani the bearer of the creation mother earth and Bi- for Bishwa Brahmanda the complete Universe.


She is unusual among Indian women, for she combines several roles, of a wife, mother, a sakta priestess, a detached sanyasini and of a Guru, a female preceptor. The role of the Guru in the sakta marga is somewhat unique, for a Guru incarnates the ‘total’ personality of the divinity. The Guru is perhaps one of the most influential person in one’s spiritual search. The Guru may or may not have a religious position in temples or conduct ceremonies. Instead their role is to council the disciple, awaken the dormant spiritual energy and to bestow understanding about the path of salvation. The bond between the disciple and the guru has an umbilical strength. When a devotee finds a guru unconditional commitment should follow. It is only in sakta marga that women have access to the status of guruship. The fire of my curiosity was fueled by the fact that I was going to have a darsana(a privileged holy meeting) of a female preceptor. She is perhaps the only women who was given authority by her five male gurus to take the chair of guruship. This status was granted to rare souls who had the experience of the enlightened state of awareness and an insight into the deepest truths of sadhana.


The image of the great mother of the cosmos who incarnates as Kali, Durga, Tripursundari has been deeply embedded in my consciousness. My journey had been long and pain staking. I have often wondered whether in this land of sages and devotees, learned and the wise, had found a human vessel of the great archetype of the universal mother. My quest to find a human parallel to the divine image had been intensified by the great claims of the sakta marga that, ‘the great Mother incarnates in every woman’. Certainly, universal experience of the mother-essence manifests in each mother, but in most of us, this experience lies dormant for several life times. Is there a living woman whose motherhood reflects the virtues of the Great Mother ? As I pondered over this, I walked into a large temple hall where a ,saffron clad figure sat on the floor. I bowed down at her feet. I was deeply struck by her presence, because she bore all the laksanas (holy traits) of a saint which I had read about in the scriptures. Her broad forehead spelled wisdom; her eyes sparked like the luminaries in heaven. The palms and soles of her delicate feet were soft as lotus petals, her face was adorned with a flowering smile. She had a magnetic presence. There was an uncanny look of recognition in her eyes. She welcomed and embraced me. There was a sudden quickening in my blood. I could sense a radiation engulfing me from all sides. I sat down, and we communicated in silence.”


Matrika Ashram – Delhi

Matrika Ashram

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