Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi was born on March 21, 1923 to a Christian
family in Chindawara, India. Her parents were Prasad and Cornelia
Salve, direct descendants of the royal Shalivahana dynasty. Seeing
the beauty of this child who was born with a spotless brilliance,
they called her Nirmala, which means 'Immaculate'.
Later on she came to be known by the multitudes by the name of Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi - the revered Mother who was born with her complete Self Realization and knew from a very young age that she had a unique gift which had to be made available to all mankind.
Her parents played a key role in India's Liberation Movement from under British rule. Her father, a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi, was a member of the Constituent Assembly of India and helped write free India's first constitution. He was a renowned scholar, master of 14 languages, and translated the Koran in Marathi. Her mother was the first woman in India to receive an Honors Degree in Mathematics.
As a child, Shri Mataji lived with her parents in the ashram of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi saw the wisdom of this child and used to appreciate her immensely, affectionately calling her Nepali due to the Nepali features of her face. Even at a young age, her deep understanding was evident to Gandhi, who frequently sought her advice on spiritual matters.
Shri Mataji's involvement in the freedom struggle is extremely remarkable. She was very courageous and played a daring role as a youth leader of this campaign. In the 1942 "Quit India Movement" announced by Gandhi, she was even arrested and put in jail along with other freedom fighters for actively participating in this movement.
Shri Mataji was born with a complete understanding of the human nervous system and its energetic counterparts. In order to become acquainted with the scientific vocabulary attached to these subjects, she studied medicine and psychology at the Christian Medical College in Lahore.
Shortly before India achieved independence she married Sir. C.P. Srivastava, one of India's most dedicated civil servant officers, who was knighted by the Queen of England. In India it is believed that the wife brings luck to her husband - this is most certainly the case for Sir. C.P. Srivastava.
He rose in government ranks very quickly though he was an absolutely honest person. He held the post of the Joint Secretary to the Prime Minister's office of the late Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri in the years 1964-66. Shastri himself was an ideal model for a Prime Minister in India's political history. Afterwards he was elected for 16 consecutive years to be the Secretary General of the United Nations International Maritime Organization.
As Sir C.P. Srivastava moved in fame from the Indian history to the worldly scene, Shri Mataji, after fulfilling her familial duty of bringing up her two daughters, embarked on her spiritual mission.
Although she knew about her own spiritual consciousness she did not know how to present it to the people of modern times. She was also aware of the problems encountered by the earlier spiritual personalities who came on this earth like Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, and others when they prophesized the truth directly to the people.
As she was pondering on the many faceted problems confronting human beings, on the 5th of May, 1970, on a lonely beach of Nargol (about 150 km from Mumbai) a divine spiritual experience filled her whole being and suddenly she found an answer to her question. She discovered a historical process of en-masse Self Realisation through which thousands of people could get this connection to their Spirit and thereby their inner transformation.