Mystical Experience of ShantiMayi

ShantiMayi (1950 – ) is a spiritual teacher who is also a mother of three and grandmother of four.  According to her website, “ShantiMayi eclectically draws upon the quintessence of many traditions: Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, and the Aboriginal Tribes of the Americas and Australia.”  ShantiMayi is the author of In Our Hearts We Know, an in-depth exploration of the wisdom of the Heart, which is based on transcripts of public talks she gave in Sacha Dham Ashram, India.

ShantiMayi described her satori (mystical illumination) as follows (note that paragraph breaks have been inserted below for ease of reading):

“While working in a canning factory, in the back of the factory, in a room alone, there in early October a satori [i.e., a mystical awakening] of indescribable subtlety, a sensation ever so slight, ever so delicate, consumed what I thought was me.  The entire satori was like a needle piercing a soap bubble in slow motion.  The universe, as I knew it, disappeared, with a very subtle pop of that delicate tiny bubble.  It was as though all experience washed away and what was left could not be considered at all.  I could only look into the emptiness.

There was no I, no looking, and no emptiness, no nothingness as well.  There was no moment in time and doubt could not enter.  Here nothing could enter and there was no language for doubt or validity.  I could see somehow all that my Guru had ever transmitted to me in silence.  In that moment, enlightenment removed that which could be enlightened.  There I stood (not knowing I was standing until later) breathless for an hour peering into emptiness as emptiness.  Ever so delicate and ever so subtle.

It seemed as though, if there was the slightest movement the entire universe might break like silence is broken by a glass falling on cement.  This is how I perceived that hour, after that hour, not during that hour.  What emerged out of that time was the beginning of a way of ‘seeing.’  From that moment when I started to leave the factory at the end of that work shift, until now, the ability to see things for what they are has never failed.  The totality was so overwhelming and the wordless message that was conveyed was so powerful in its subtlety that the appearance of multiplicity in existence has not ever taken prominence since that time.

The satori was like a infinitesimal particle of mist falling into a shoreless ocean.  Ocean, only ocean.  And, of course, it is much deeper than that.  Nothing could be said about it and nothing could be brought out of it.  There is no language for it at all.  Yet, that moment changed my life forever and continues to mature….”

Quoted by Robert Ullman et al. in Mystics, Masters, Saints, and Sages: Stories of Enlightenment.

Photo Credit: Shantimayi from

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