Mataji Nirmala Devi, founder of Sahaja Yoga movement and sister of former union minister NKP Salve, passed away in Genoa, Italy, on Wednesday, her family sources here said. The spiritual leader was 88. Her body will be brought to Delhi on Sunday and funeral will be held there on Monday.
Nirmala Devi, who was born in Chhindwara in 1923, started Sahaja Yoga propagating it as a method of meditation and claiming it to be a breakthrough in evolution of human awareness. It was started in 1970 and attracted followers in thousands across the world. The movement now has centres in about 120 countries.
In her younger days, Nirmala Devi had stayed with her parents in Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram in Sewagram, Wardha, and had also participated in freedom movement including Quit India movement of 1942. That had resulted in her getting arrested and put in jail along with other freedom fighters. Many followers of Sahaja Yoga have expressed their shock and grief over her passing away.