Sri Mrinalini Mata, one of the foremost disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda and the President and Sanghamata of Yogananda’s Self-Realisation Fellowship (SRF) and Yogoda Satsanga Society (YSS) of India, peacefully passed away on August 3 in Los Angeles, USA. She was 86. Prior to assuming the presidency, she served as SRF vice president for 45 years, closely assisting her predecessor, Sri Daya Mata, in aiding the growth of Yogananda’s work in India and the West.
Mrinalini Mata, known in her pre-monastic life as Merna Brown, was a deeply religious child. Merna first met Yogananda when she was 14 years old and he took a deep interest in her future almost instantly. Out of a sense of loyalty to the church, she had been reluctant to attend services of another religion. Upon seeing Yogananda for the first time, she later recounted, she was filled with ‘a tremendous feeling of peace’ and a sense of ‘something anciently familiar.’
From the very beginning of her life in the ashram, Yogananda spoke to the other disciples about the role he envisioned for her. He chose for her the monastic name ‘Mrinalini’, signifying the purity of the lotus flower, an ancient symbol of spiritual unfoldment. Through daily association during the years that followed, he devoted close attention to her spiritual training, providing her with personal instructions on how to edit his manuscripts for publication after his passing. Many works of Yogananda have been published under her direction, including his critically acclaimed commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, the Gospels, and several volumes of his poetry and writings.
Mrinalini Mata’s many decades of selfless and divinely attuned service earned her the loving reverence and gratitude of her disciples all over the world. Her legacy can be encapsulated in her profound words of wisdom and compassion. “No matter what experiences you go through externally, or what lessons you are learning through those experiences, let the consciousness always be centered on that one Reality, the one thing that will never fail you, that will never change, that is eternal - God, and your relationship with Him.”
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