Faye Wright was an unassuming Mormon teen in Salt Lake City until Paramahansa Yogananda, an Indian mystic, came to town in 1931, preaching a combination of yoga meditation, Hindu principles and Christian ethics.
Dazzled by what she saw as divine love, Wright, the descendant of handcart pioneers and granddaughter of an architect of Salt Lake City’s Mormon Tabernacle, gave up everything familiar to follow him to Los Angeles, where he changed her name to Sri Daya Mata. Three years after Yogananda’s death in 1952, Daya Mata succeeded him as president of Self-Realization Fellowship, an unusually important post for a woman at the time and one she held for the next 5½ decades.
Daya Mata died … Read more »
Sri Daya Mata, who for more than five decades was the leader of one of the most influential Hindu groups in the United States and an ardent advocate of the healing power of meditation, died on Tuesday at the group’s retreat for nuns in Los Angeles. She was 96.
Her death was confirmed by Lauren Landress, a spokeswoman for the group, the Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, which is based in what once was an elegant hotel on Mount Washington in Los Angeles.
From 1955 until her death, Sri Daya Mata — her name means “true mother of compassion” in Sanskrit — was the society’s president and spiritual leader. In her flowing ocher sari, … Read more »