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Atmananda: An Austrian woman who became a devoted Hindu sadhvi

Atmananda had a profound effect of Anandamayi Ma’s teaching in her life

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Ghats in Varanasi. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Atmananda was a 29-year-old Austrian woman who came to India in 1935 and never looked back
  • Fascinated with Jiddu Krishnamurthi even as a teenager, she taught English in a school for 18 years in Varanasi
  • Her diaries are published with a title ‘Death Must Die’

It is not a fact unknown that Indian culture and religion has inspired many westerners to visit the country in their quest of spiritual inspiration from times immemorial. However, settling and adopting the culture as its own is a rare case and a little too heart-warming. One such story is that of Atmananda.

Atmananda was a 29-year-old Austrian woman when she came to India in 1935 and never looked back from then. Blanca, as she was known in her youth in Vienna started this journey because of Jiddu Krishnamurthi but was later fascinated with Anandamayi Ma and became her disciple.

She made the country her home for 50 years and lived in Dehradun in the surroundings of Anandmayi Ma till she died.

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She made a small cottage her nest and had khichdi (made of pulses and rice) for most of the meals. She had her head shaven and wore a saffron cotton sari, symbolic of her denouncement of the world.

Talking about Atmananda, Maria Wirth in Chakranews.com said, “In spite of her age, Atmananda was aware, interested, open minded and knew for each topic an appropriate comment by Anandamayi Ma or other sages like Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Swami Vivekananda or Ramana Maharshi.”

Fascinated with Jiddu Krishnamurthi even as a teenager, Atmananda taught English in a school for 18 years in Varanasi.

Apart from teaching, she also gave piano concerts to All India Radio (AIR).

atmananda youtube

Atmananda had a profound influence of Anandamayi Ma’s teaching in her life. She came in contact with her because of Lewis Thompson, an Englishmen in 1945.

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Recalling her first meeting with Anandmayi Ma, she said, “Ma said only a few sentences, actually nothing new, and yet – the effect was out of proportion. It was as if someone had switched on light and I suddenly clearly saw the path. I was confident that I would always see the next step before me. My thoughts had not stopped to wander, but worries had stopped.”

Atmananda was also proficient in many languages. After her mother died, her  father  employed teachers in his upper middle class home to teach her daughters many languages.

In India, Atmananda further learnt Hindi and Bengali. She also maintained a diary about the conversation in the ashram and published them in the monthly magazine.

She later handed the diaries to Ram Alexander, who she thought was Lewis Thompson reborn. Alexander later got them published under the title ‘Death Must Die.’

Soon after the death of Anandmayi Ma, Atmananda also fell sick. When she was taken to Haridwar for better care a friend told her “You will be back soon”. To which Atmananda replied, “I go now and won’t come back.”

Three days hence she passed away and her body was immersed in Ganga (a holy river) – a privilege exclusive to Sanyasis.

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NewsGram’s Pick: The Best 5 Words of Wisdom by Indian Philosophers

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Indian Philosophers Quotations
Words of Wisdom by Indian Philosophers
– by Naina Mishra

June 16, 2017:

” Wisdom is a daughter of experience” – as rightly said nothing can surpass an experienced folk, and experience is the only source of knowledge.

Newsgram brings to you the words of wisdom uttered by the legendary Indian philosophers.

1.    Chanakya: Friendship is self-indulgent

2. Rabindranath Tagore: Let your child free

ALSO READ: Existentialism: Mirroring the Western thought in light of Indian Philosophy 

3. Adi Shankaracharya: Restrainful freedom draws away from peace

4. Swami Vivekananda: The World is tight

5. Syed Ahmed Khan: Harmony is foundation of society


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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Ham Radio Operators to help Check Fishermen along West Bengal coast receive Weather Updates in the deep seas

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A fisherman in India (representational image), Wikimedia

Kolkata, May 11, 2017: Ham radio operators will help check whether fishermen along West Bengal coast receive weather updates via radio broadcast in the deep seas, an operator said on Thursday.

A joint inspection for measuring the signal strength of All India Radio broadcast in the deep seas will be held on May 14 and 15 by the Coast Guard, AIR, state fisheries department, fishermen’s association, and ham radio operators.

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“Around a year back, 39 fishermen went missing in the deep sea. The reason was they didn’t hear the weather report on radio. We will investigate whether they are receiving these important transmissions,” Ambarish Nag Biswas of the West Bengal Radio Club (Amateur Club) said.

Through ham radio one can talk across cities, around the world, or even into space, all without the internet or cell phones. Ham radio operators or hams can swing into action in times of disaster, when regular communications channels fail, and assist disaster management agencies.

Biswas said the hams will also educate the fishermen on using the Very High Frequency (VHF) radio.

“Although every fishing vessel has a VHF Radio, due to lack of knowledge they are not maintained properly,” he said. (IANS)

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Amid Cash Crunch Pan-India, PM Modi asks Small Businesses, Labour to opt for Cashless transaction through Mobile Banking and Plastic Money

Modi told the country's labour population how adopting digital technology would help end their exploitation

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NEW DELHI/INDIA, 16NOV08 -Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, India, speaks during the welcome lunch at the World Economic Forum's India Economic Summit 2008 in New Delhi, 16-18 November 2008. Copyright World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org)/Photo by Norbert Schiller. Wikimedia

New Delhi, Nov 27, 2016: In his first monthly radio address after demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged small businesses and workers to embrace cashless transaction through mobile banking and plastic money.

“I would like to tell our small and micro businesses to take up this opportunity to enter the digital world. You too should download mobile banking applications, install POS (point of sale) machines for swiping cards,” Modi said in his customary ‘Mann Ki Baat’ speech on All India Radio.

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“In the way that large malls expand their business through use of technology, small businesses too can increase turnover by using simple user-friendly technology,” he added.

Modi told the country’s labour population how adopting digital technology would help end their exploitation.

“You have been exploited much…getting one wage on paper and another in hand. Besides, when you are paid every month, there is always someone outside the gates waiting to take a cut from your wages,” the Prime Minister said, addressing workers.

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“Under this new project (demonetisation), we want your salary deposited in the bank account so that faithful payment of minimum wage is assured,” Modi said.

“And you, in turn, can use your mobile phone like an e-wallet to make payments to your neighbourhood shops for your needs,” he added. (IANS)