Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982), " the Mother imbued with bliss", as she was called by her followers, was one of the most significant Indian saints and one of the very few woman-Gurus of our times. Melita Maschmann, a journalist by profession, meets her by sheer coincidence and travels with her throughout India for several months.
This book was first published in 1967 under the title "Der Tiger singt Kirtana" (A Tiger sings a Kirtana). It was revised and enlarged and was published in 1990 under the title "Eine ganz gowohnliche Heilige" (A Very ordinary saint). It was also published in paperback edition in 1992.
The book gives a lively account of Anandamayi Ma's life and work, of a saint whose both feet were firmly on the ground and who inspired not only people of all faiths, but could also give something to someone what one wanted - whether a believer or an atheist, an artist or a scholar, a politician or a housewife, a writer or a simple farmer.
But this book is not only an account of Ma. It is a fascinating account of Melita Maschmann's encounter with the Divine India (for she met only religious people), her trails and tribulations, her joys and sorrows in the constant company of Ma. Melita meandered her way through questions and more questions, doubts and more doubts in her search for the ultimate truth. On her way, she met luminaries like Mother Teresa, who was worried because she was not a saint, Raihana Tyabji, a grand old lady who was an associate of Mahatma Gandhi, a Tantra-Lama and many others to realize finally, like Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha" that she had to look into herself to get the ultimate answer.
MELITA MASCHIMANN was at the helm of the affairs in Germany during the Nazi period. She was an active member of the Youth wing of the Party. At the end of the war, she realized that she was supporting a wrong cause, and she openly opposed the movement which was started again immediately after the War. The result was that she was hounded. She escaped to Afghanistan and earned her livelihood there as a journalist for German newspapers. In the summer of 1962, she wanted to return to Germany, but after travelling in India for a fortnight, "A sheer coincidence" brought her to Anandamayi Ma. She cancelled all her travel plans, stayed with Ma, traveled through India with her, and made India her home.
Dr. S.B. SHROTRI was Professor of German at Karnatak University, Dharwad till he retired in 1994. Since then he was made Pune his home. He has been translating Indological books for this publication house.
Melita Maschmann blissful encounter with Ma Anandamayi was purely a chance meeting, during the letters travels in India, in the summer of 1962. The meeting proved so fascinating that instead of leaving the country shortly for the home in Germany she accompanied Ma in her travel in India for the next almost two years and finally made India her home.
The following account of her experience with Ma, which is not a product of a mere credulous devotees mind but the report of a critical-minded and cautioned journalist, is so impressive and enlightening, at times thrilling, elegant in style, objective in approach, that we could not resist the temptation of making it available in English to our readers. The book, as the reader will see for himself, for excels other existing books on the subject in quality, readability, style and spontaneous appeal, and we are happy to present it to our readers.
Brahma Sutras (81)
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