Sri Mrinalini Mata Elected President and Spiritual Head of SRF/YSS
The Self-Realization Fellowship Board of Directors is happy to announce that Sri Mrinalini Mata has been elected president of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India — to succeed the late revered Sri Daya Mata as the spiritual leader of Paramahansa Yogananda’s worldwide work. Her appointment was made by a unanimous vote by the SRF Board of Directors on Friday, January 7, 2011.
Mrinalini Mata is one of the close disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda personally chosen and trained by him to help guide his society after his passing. She has dedicated more than 60 years to selflessly serving the Guru’s work. (Watch video clips here)
Since 1966, she has held the position of vice president of Self-Realization Fellowship. In this capacity, she closely assisted Sri Daya Mata in overseeing the spiritual and humanitarian activities of SRF/YSS, including the worldwide dissemination of Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings, the establishment and guidance of temples, centers, and retreats, and the spiritual direction of the SRF monastic communities. She has also served as editor-in-chief of SRF books, lessons and periodicals, a responsibility she will continue to hold.
Born in 1931 in Wichita, Kansas, the future Mrinalini Mata grew up in California. It was in 1945 at the young age of 14 that she first met Paramahansaji, at the SRF Temple founded by the Guru in San Diego. Just a few months later, her desire to dedicate her life to seeking and serving God found fulfillment when, with her parents’ permission, she entered Paramahansa Yogananda’s ashram in Encinitas as a nun of the SRF Order. (Two years later her mother also entered the ashram, receiving the name Meera Mata after taking her final vow of sannyas.)
Chosen by Paramahansa Yogananda for a Special Role
Through daily association during the years that followed (up until the time of the Guru’s passing in 1952), Paramahansaji devoted close attention to the spiritual training of this young nun. (She also completed her formal education in the local schools.) From the very beginning of her life in the ashram, he recognized and spoke openly to the other disciples about her future role, and personally trained her to prepare his writings and talks for publication after his passing.
About Mrinalini Mata’s personal training under Paramahansaji, Sri Daya Mata wrote: “Gurudeva made clear to all of us the role for which he was preparing her, giving her personal instruction in every aspect of his teachings and in his wishes for the preparation and presentation of his writings and talks.”
Among the works that have been published as a result of her efforts are Paramahansa Yogananda’s masterful commentary on the four Gospels (entitled The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You); his critically acclaimed translation and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita (God Talks With Arjuna); several volumes of his poetry and inspirational writings; and three lengthy anthologies of his collected talks and essays.
Mrinalini Mata — whose name refers to the lotus flower, an ancient symbol of spiritual unfoldment — has made a number of visits to India to assist Sri Daya Mata in guiding the spiritual work of Sri Yogananda’s society there and has lectured on his teachings in principal cities of the subcontinent. Her talks on the guru-disciple relationship and a variety of other subjects have been published in Self-Realization magazine as well as released in audio and video formats — including In His Presence: Remembrances of Life With Paramahansa Yogananda, an inspiring video about her years with Paramahansaji and her reflections on his life and teachings.
“I Ask Your Prayers As We Go Forward Together”
Following her election as president on January 7, Mrinalini Mata addressed these words to the SRF monastic community: “I humbly ask your prayers in assuming this responsibility at the request of the Board of Directors. My only wish through the years has been to absorb Master’s teachings and serve his blessed work — to be the kind of disciple that he wanted each of us to be, focused on the one Goal for which we came, God alone; and fully surrender to his will for the guidance and welfare of his work and all who follow this path. I hold in my heart always the example of our beloved Sri Daya Mata, and the words she so often spoke when facing the decisions she had to make for this society: ‘Master, not what I want, but what do you want me to do?’ That has been the principle by which she guided his work through these many years — and it will be the touchstone for all in future to whom this responsibility is entrusted. God and Guru are the head of this work. It is by Their blessings and our united efforts to be in tune with Them that it will continue to grow and flourish. I cherish your divine friendship, the devoted and selfless service you all give, and ask your prayers as we go forward together.”