Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, was born on the 21st of March, 1923 in Chhindwara, India. Her Christian parents, Prasad and Cornelia Salve, chose the name Nirmala, which means ‘immaculate.’ Her father, a lawyer and scholar fluent in 14 languages, translated the Qur’an into Hindi. Her mother was the first woman in India to receive an honors degree in mathematics.
From the age of seven, Shri Mataji spent much time with Gandhi at his ashram. “He would sit down with me, very seriously ask me very sweet questions,” recalled Shri Mataji, who often accompanied him during early morning walks before collective prayers.