It is 6:45 PM. Although this quiet street of a rural West German village was empty only minutes ago, a crowd of 70 people has suddenly gathered in front of a simple house. There is barely time for exchanging a few words - English, French, Italian, and German - before the door opens and the group is permitted to enter.
The house belongs to a young Indian known as Mother Meera, about whom extraordinary rumors have been circulating - rumors of a 28-year-old woman who transforms others by the medium of silence, touch and sight; who frequently appears to be surrounded by a play of gold and colored lights, seen even by those not prone to such experiences; who imparts peace and healing and bliss. Yet she lives unpretentiously, tending her abundant vegetable garden and working to build a new center and home together with a few devotees.
Four evenings each week some 50-100 people make their way to Thalheim, a village near Frankfurt, to Meera's quaint ashram of the past six years. Mostly Europeans, Americans, Canadians - rarely Indian Hindus - make the pilgrimage. It's only known by word-of-mouth, and they come not for verbal wisdom, but for direct spiritual energy.
So, at twilight, eager seekers file in, quietly finding a comfortable spot to sit and wait their turn. As the town church bell strikes 7:00, Mother Meera enters and takes her place. Her communication is by darshan, seeing the Divine: she and the devotee-head to head, eye to eye, soul to soul. No pujas or outer adulation is performed, just the work of the evening. Each person approaches her and she places her hands on their heads, a method she describes as undoing knots and obstacles in the subtle body. Next she gazes into the person's eyes, seeking the places she may heal or transform. Two hours later, when all have taken an invisible pan of her out into the night, she returns to her room.
Meera has admitted, when questioned, that she is one of several incarnations of the Divine Mother now living on earth. She explains, "Some will be known, others will have neither name nor fame. The work of each is different, according to each Mother's inner activity. It is difficult to say where they live as they wish to remain secret." In a book entitled The Mother, Meera fully explains her divinity, stating that her real activity is in the inner worlds where she is the Cosmic Shakti, and her mission on earth is to bring down the light of Paramatma to prepare humanity for spiritual transformation. Her recommended daily discipline: "Remember the Divine in everything you do. If you have time, meditate. Offer everything to the Divine. Everything good or bad, pure or impure. This is the best and quickest way."
Andrew Harvey, Professor of Literature at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, New York, is an award-winning author who has known Meera for ten years. He speaks eloquently of his and others' experiences, of the transformation they have witnessed as a result of meeting her. He says, "I have spoken to many people who have had profound darshan experiences, everything from the unific Brahman to healings and supreme bliss. From my own experience, I have every reason to trust these accounts."
The accouterments of guruhood appear to hold little appeal for Mother Meera. She appears a simple, unremarkable Indian woman. Puttering around her garden with dirt-covered hands and a well-worn smock, she chats with neighbors curious about the unusual bounty of vegetables from her beds. There is no cadre of "inner-group" students flanking her every move, but there are half-a-dozen chelas, "spiritual students," living at her home.
That home would hardly qualify as an ashram. The rhythm of life here, except for the darshans, appears similar to that in many of the neighboring houses. Mother answers correspondence, oversees receipts or bakes a cake-a good one at that. In fact, she favors western food and, when time permits, enjoys inventing East/West recipes. She sews blouses and skirts from her own designs and likes to sit down to a little TV-news and comedy preferred-in the seclusion of her room. For the past year-and-a-half, she has been engaged in directing the designing and building of a new home for herself and her guests. She often pitches in with the concrete block work and can handle an air hammer with impressive mastery.
Thalheim, Germany, is where she's chosen to take root, but her upbringing was in a village in Andhra Pradesh, South India, a Vaishnavite stronghold that also has leanings to Shaktism. She was born Kamala Reddy in 1960. Her family was not especially religious and she was not brought up in any tradition. Her spiritual evolution unfolded on its own even though she had no living guru, read no religious philosophy and followed no special discipline. She says she had her first samadhi at age six, lasting a whole day and teaching her complete detachment from human relations.
When Meera was 12, her uncle, B.V. Reddy, was strongly attracted to her. Believing he had received enlightenment from her, he began promoting Meera as Mother incarnate. The relationship between the young seeress and Reddy was close and symbiotic. Without the constant front-running and personal testimony of uncle Reddy, Meera would be unrecognized. Reddy was a devotee of Aurobindo and had been living at the Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry. In 1974, he brought Meera to the sophisticated and cosmopolitan Ashram, where she exclaimed she was receiving visionary guidance from the late Sri Aurobindo and Mataji, the Mother. She describes how they guided her development and indicated that she had a role to play in their work of bringing down the higher "lights" necessary for world transformation. By age fifteen, she would go into samadhi-often, it is reported, for fourteen hours a day. She slept and ate little. She says at this point she attained the state of sahaja samadhi, "natural, continuous samadhi." But most at Aurobindo were not caught up in her magnetism. Grumblings began to arise. She decided it would be best to leave the Ashram so as to avoid the possibility of diverting the attention of some devotees from Mataji and Aurobindo and their established way of life. Beyond Aurobindo, her reputation was rippling out and in her last year in India, darshan was held for thousands of devotees.
Leaving India in September, 1979, Mother Meera and Mr. Reddy traveled throughout Europe over the next couple of years and occasionally, they were in Canada, where a Mother Meera Society was established. On the third trip to Canada, Reddy's health was declining. Mother Meera decided to return to India with a stop in Germany to see devotees. But the stop became a permanent move, as Reddy entered a German hospital for kidney malfunction. He urged her to buy a house in Thalheim in 1983 and she has continued to live there since his death in 1985. His passing touched off great grief among Meera's followers and left the 24-year-old avatar as a fledgling on her own.
Mother Meera will be a special guest of the "Other Worlds, Other Powers" conference on India being hosted by Hobart and William Smith Colleges during May '89. This is her first trip to the US. For more information, contact: (607) 257-1715.
Article copyright Himalayan Academy.