Sri Gyanamata was born on July 4, 1869. On July 12, 1925 (at the age of fifty six) she met Paramahansa Yogananda. Recognizing the spiritual receptivity Gyanamata had attained through her efforts in past lives, the Guru was able, at that first meeting, to give her the direct experience of God as the great Amen, or Aum, the creative cosmic vibration.
On July 20, 1932, (at the age of sixty-three) Pramahansa Yogananda initiated her into the venerable Swami Order, giving her the monastic name and title, ‘Gyanamata’—Mother of Wisdom.
Sri Gyanamata’s motto,”God Alone,’ hung in her room throughout her years in the ashram; each year, on the anniversary of her taking the final vows of dedication to God, she would inscribe the date on the back of this sign as a renewal of those vows.
Do not wish to throw away before your time comes what He has given you. Remember what Draupadi prayed to Krishna, ‘Lord, I care not what pain or test of punishment you give me, but do not test me with forgetfulness of Thy love.’ And this is what I pray for you — that you ever remember and love God, and forget the body. Draw closer to the Divine Mother, even if She beats you with pain.
As befits your name, keep your gyana, wisdom’s light ever burning during the darkness of this test.
“Twenty years of suffering never took away her love from Me, and that is what I prize in her life.”
The reader may wonder why such a saintly individual had to go through the prolonged suffering that Gyanamata did. Paramahansa Yogananda explained: “Her suffering was because of the sins of many others who became saintly through her life. There was not a sin of her own I could find. I want you to know that. Such is the mystery of God.”
That Gyanamata was able and willing to serve others through her own suffering shows the spiritual greatness she had attained. “The metaphysical method of physical transfer of disease is known to highly advanced yogis,” Paramahansa Yogananda wrote. “A strong man may assist a weak one by helping the latter to carry a heavy load; a spiritual superman is able to minimize the physical and mental troubles of his disciples by assuming a part of their karmic burdens. Just as a rich man relinquishes some money when he pays off a large debt for his prodigal son, who is thus saved from the dire consequences of his folly, so a master willingly sacrifices a portion of his bodily wealth to lighten the misery of disciples.”