News of the passing on November 30, 2010 of SRF Sanghamata and President Sri Daya Mata has reached millions of people around the globe as a result of widespread press coverage from the world’s leading news organizations, who have paid tribute to her exemplary life. Common themes focused on Sri Daya Mata’s humility, dedicated service to others, and divine compassion.
“A guiding light...” —The New York Times
“A faithful interpreter of Yogananda’s teachings…” —Los Angeles Times
The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, AARP, The Oregonian, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Kansas City Star, Salt Lake Tribune, San Diego Union-Tribune, St. Petersburg Times, and the Associated Press are just a sampling of the many online and print news organizations and wires reporting on the passing of Sri Daya Mata.
The Los Angeles Times, whose story on Daya Mata was syndicated to newspapers across the country, included comments from noted religion scholar J. Gordon Melton, director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion and author of the Encyclopedia of American Religions, who said, “[Sri Daya Mata] chose to spend her time projecting her teacher rather than herself” — a strong testament to her humility and dedicated service to humankind.
“An inspiration…who touched many lives...” —Hindu Statesman Rajan Zed
Indian print and online news sources both in the U.S. and abroad featured stories on Sri Daya Mata, ranging from the Times of India to India West to DailyIndia.com. The latter referenced distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed’s description of Sri Daya Mata: “an inspiration and full of divine love who touched many lives on the spiritual journey.”
LA Yoga, Horizons Magazine, Prana Journal, Integral Yoga magazine, Light of Consciousness magazine, and Wisdom Quarterly: American Buddhist Journal were among the spirituality publications that acknowledged the longtime leader of SRF. Additional tributes honoring Sri Daya Mata are being planned for future editions of various magazines that cover spirituality and Yoga.
National Public Radio’s KPCC-FM (Los Angeles) interviewed Brother Chidananda on Sri Daya Mata’s life and accomplishments, and featured on Beliefnet.com an audio recording of the interview as well as a print news summary and separate video interview. KPCC reporter Shirley Jahad said that Daya Mata “was noteworthy for avoiding the kind of fame many spiritual leaders seek.” The radio broadcast included an interview with Christopher Chapple, professor of Indic and Comparative Theology at Loyola Marymount University, who said that Daya Mata will be “remembered as an inspiration for those who seek in their life to be in service to others.”
“A remarkable woman who dedicated her life to the service of others…” —Twitter post.
News of this historic occasion was also widely covered on websites, blogs, online forums and social media networks — with heartfelt tributes on such sites as Triumph of the Spirit, Open to Healing, BellaOnline and Beliefnet.com.
One interesting blog entry was that of Vedic Maths Forum, which highlighted Daya Mataji’s instrumentality in the historic visit to America of His Holiness the Shankaracharya of Puri (whose many distinguished accomplishments included a volume explicating the advanced mathematics of ancient Indian scriptures).
Hundreds of tweets appeared on Twitter, with retweets of media coverage and details of the memorial services. Online news aggregators shared coverage appearing in the many media outlets that reported on the events. And, Facebook groups created by members, friends, and SRF centers around the world paid homage to SRF’s beloved sanghamata, acknowledging her as “a great spiritual mother.”
One of the most touching tributes came from a neighbor of SRF — a resident of Mt. Washington — who is not a member and never had the opportunity to meet Sri Daya Mata, but certainly captured her spirit. Author BJ Gallagher, in a recent article appearing in The Huffington Post, wrote:
“When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt,” someone wise once said. It seems an apt description of the life of Sri Daya Mata, who led the Self Realization Fellowship for the past fifty-five years....
I didn’t learn the facts of [Sri Daya Mata’s] life until I read them in the LA Times after she died recently. But I didn’t have to know the details of her life to get a sense of who she was. I already knew her by her work.
I knew her spirit in the happy, friendly faces of the monks and nuns who greeted me on my morning walks. I knew her in the beautiful books and calendars the SRF publishes. I knew her in my strolls across the SRF grounds to take in the view and the times my dog and I would play on their lovely lawns. I knew her in my quiet moments of meditation in the SRF garden, when I acknowledged her unseen presence with a simple prayer of thanks.
Sri Daya Mata, the neighbors of Mt. Washington hardly knew you — but yet we did. We knew you through the peaceful, serene spirit of your community and the special energy we feel when we’re around your followers and in your gardens. Thank you for being our neighbor; thank you for making Mt. Washington your home; thank you for your contribution to the world. Your work speaks for itself.