Vimala Thakar

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"The essence of religion is the personal discovery of the meaning of life, the meaning
of truth. Religion is related to the unconditional, total freedom that truth confers on
us. It is a revolution of the whole way of living. Religion moves us from the superficial
layers of existence and encourages us to go deeper to the roots of life. It is an inward
journey to the depths of our being."

Vimala Thakar, The Eloquence of Living.

"Nothing in life is trivial. Life is whole wherever and whenever we touch it, and one moment or event is not less sacred than another." 

Vimala Thakar



A Journey in Friendship by Premananda
Notes on some meetings with Vimala Thakar

The following short history comes from the What Is Enlightenment website.

Vimala Thakar

The Indian spiritual master Vimala Thakar, whom we featured in our Fall/Winter 1996 issue of What Is Enlightenment?, is best known in Europe and the US as a strikingly independent and powerful teacher of spiritual awakening. Indeed, we at What Is Enlightenment? believe that she is perhaps the most enlightened woman in the world today. But what many may not know is that Thakar is also a passionately committed social activist. Deeply influenced by the teachings of both J. Krishnamurti and Mahatma Gandhi, Thakar embodies the essence of enlightened consciousness and social responsibility—the two usually divergent streams of personal awakening and social advocacy seamlessly blending into the one indefatigable torrent of her life. And in both spheres, not unlike her mentors, she is a complete revolutionary. Her life and her teaching burn with the fire of the inner revolution of spirit that she feels is the only true foundation for a revolution of society.

Born to a middle-class Brahmin family in central India, Thakar's passion for the spiritual life began early. "The awareness of 'something beyond' dawned on me at the age of five," she writes, describing how she ran away from home into the forest searching for God, imploring God to reveal himself. Her father, boldly independent and free-thinking, encouraged her spiritual interests, supporting her in visiting ashrams, studying the scriptures, and experimenting with spiritual practices. She continued her spiritual pursuits in earnest throughout her youth and young adulthood and did an extended retreat in a cave in the Himalayas at nineteen. Her many unusual experiences during these early years have the epic aura of Mahabharatan tales.

As a young woman, Thakar became involved with Vinoba Bhave's Land Gift Movement. Bhave, Gandhi's spiritual successor who is considered a saint in his own right, furthered Gandhi's mission and vision of a new social order, and in his years of working closely with Thakar, instilled in her Gandhi's passion for, as she describes it, "a radical change in the very structure of human society as well as a radical revolution in the very substance of the human mind." Thakar worked tirelessly in the Land Gift Movement—a program that secures land from the wealthy and redistributes it to landless farm workers—traveling from village to village the length and breadth of India for eight years.

In 1960 Thakar was invited by a friend to attend a series of talks a visiting spiritual teacher was giving in Varanasi. The teacher was the legendary J. Krishnamurti, and he immediately took note of the unusual young woman listening so attentively at the back of the  hall and offered to meet with her. Their talks and private interviews sparked an upheaval within Thakar's consciousness, catapulting her into profound silence. "Something within has been let loose. It can't stand any frontiers," she wrote. "The invasion of a new awareness, irresistible and uncontrollable . . . has swept away everything." Within less than a year, Krishnamurti not only confirmed her spiritual realization but urgently implored her to begin to teach: "Why don't you explode? Why don't you put bombs under all these old people who follow the wrong line? Why don't you go around India? Is anyone doing this? If there were half a dozen, I would not say a word to you. There is not time. . . . Go—shout from the housetops, 'You are on the wrong track! This is not the way to peace!' . . . Go out and set them on fire! There is none who is doing this. Not even one. . . . What are you waiting for?"

At this point, she says, the "burning ashes became aflame," and she left the Land Gift Movement and the sphere of social action to take up her role as a spiritual teacher, traveling the world to give talks and lead meditation camps. In an open letter to her friends and former colleagues, she explained her reasons for turning her attention now exclusively to the inner revolution: "No words could describe the intensity and depth of the experience through which I am passing. Everything is changed. It is as if I am born again! . . . My association with the movement is over. Today it strikes me that the true problem is the internal problem of complete freedom! . . . The only salvation for mankind appears to be in a religious revolution of the individual. . . . As the source of all evil is in the very substance of our consciousness, we will have to deal with it. Everything that has been transmitted to our mind through centuries will have to be completely discarded. The momentum of a million yesterdays is not easy to overcome or to discard if we try to tackle it in a casual way, or if we don't touch it at all."

For the next twenty-two years, Thakar traveled and taught in more than twenty countries, and scores of books of her teachings were published in twelve languages. While she always stayed keenly attuned to the political, environmental, and social currents throughout the world, her teaching for the most part remained focused on the inner revolution of the spirit. In 1979, however, Thakar rekindled her social advocacy and curtailed her global teaching tours for three years to stay in India, once again traveling from village to village, talking with people about local problems and founding centers for educating villagers in agro-centered industries, sanitation, local self-government, and active democratic citizenship. After this hiatus, she began traveling abroad again, with the focus of her teaching now more fully encompassing her passion for both inner and outer revolution. When California meditation teacher Jack Kornfield asked her why she returned to development work and to helping the hungry and homeless, she replied, "Sir, I am a lover of life, and as a lover of life, I cannot keep out of any activity of life. If people are hungry for food, my response is to help feed them. If people are hungry for truth, my response is to help them discover it. I make no distinction between serving people who are starving and have no dignity in their physical lives and serving people who are fearful and closed and have no dignity in their mental lives. I love all life."

Now seventy-nine, Thakar no longer travels outside India but remains busy seeing individuals or groups who make their way to visit her at her home in Rajasthan or in Ahmedabad where she stays during the winter. Here she meets with people from all over the world, ranging from Buddhists and yoga teachers to industrialists, ecologists, Indo-Pakistan peace activists, and members of Parliament. "Spirituality is the seed," says this awakened activist, "and social action is the fruit born of it." Thakar's words have the authority and authenticity born of a life wholeheartedly and holistically devoted to total revolution of the human spirit.

Article by Vimala Thakar:
Awakening to Total Revolution

Vimala's book "On an Eternal Voyage" where she tells of
her meeting with J. Krishnamurti

(click here to listen to Vimala Chanting
a poem by Shankaracharya in RealAudio format)

A Webpage about Vimala

See also:
Essay -- Psychic Mutation and World Peace

On the Spiritual Emancipation of Women
by Vimala Thakar

Set Them On Fire
A Portrait of a Modern Sage

Vimala's Residence at Mount Abu

Two Conversations with an Extraordinary Woman

Hinduism Today: Letter and Response

"The aspirant, he who seeks the Self, is never alone in any of his efforts. The whole of totality is eager to render assistance. It runs out to help. Your eyes are fixed on your efforts and, therefore, you fail to notice or comprehend the cooperation you receive. Never in this world was there an aspirant who was left alone by God even if he dwelt in the loneliest of places. If the aspirant takes one step towards the truth and God, the totality takes ten steps to meet him." 

Vimala Thakar
Life as Yoga (Delhi: Banarsidass, 1977), p. 193

"Vimala Thakar has been a meditation teacher in India and Europe for many years. In many ways, she is a Dharma heir to (the Indian-American mystic) Krishnamurti. After she had been working in rural development for many years, Krishnamurti asked her to begin to teach, and she became a powerful and much-loved meditation teacher.

"Then she returned to her rural development work, teaching meditation considerably less. (Kornfield) asked her, ‘Why did you go back to rural development and helping the hungry and homeless after teaching meditation?’ …(S)he was insulted by (his) question. She said, ‘Sir, I am a lover of life, and I make no distinction between serving people who are starving and have no dignity in their physical lives and serving people who are fearful and closed and have no dignity in their mental lives. I love all life.’"

(originally from link is now dead)

"Sir, do not let God be a concept and theory to be imprisoned in the pages of the books and in the images and idols of temples and churches. Let him become the reality of life. He is the substance. The invisible, the unmanifest is the substance, the visible and the known is only the shadow. This is the conceptualisation and ideation of the reality that has made man fight..."

Vimala Thakar
Totality in Essence

(from some books from

"Vimala Thakar, the greatest living saint-philosopher, gave the most powerful metaphor, “The human being seems to be born with the faculty of self-awareness and understanding. That understanding which is not knowing has a perceptive sensitivity.” Understanding comes when the cerebral activity goes to abeyance voluntarily. J. Krishnamurti wrote, “Understanding comes only when the mind is very quiet.... Only the truth can liberate the mind from its own ideation, to see the truth, the mind must realise the fact that so long as it is agitated it can have no understanding.” The symbolic-dualistic frame of reference of the mind spectrum has self-awareness. The non-dual frame of reference of the mind spectrum is bestowed with understanding. The quantum jump from the symbolic-dualistic frame to non-dual frame of reference implies a quantum jump from self-awareness to understanding."

(originally from:

"I have read Vimala Thakar’s article ‘Meditation, A Way of Life’. Here are some of the things I really liked in it:

'… unless there is an innate passion to find out, to discover for oneself one will not be equipped to live the meditative way. Meditation is a total way of living, not a partial or fragmentary activity… Life is neither occidental or oriental… There is no excitement in a real enquirer, there is a depth of intensity, not the shallowness of enthusiastic excitement… Then that state of observation begins to permeate the waking hours. Whether you cook a meal, go to the office, or while you are talking, the state of observation begins to permeate all activities of the waking hours… When the state of observation is sustained the sensitivity gets heightened, and from morning till night you are much more aware than before… It is no use concentrating your attention upon the activities of the mind, to the exclusion of the rest of your way of living. Meditation is something pertaining to the whole being and the whole life. Either you live in it or you do not live in it. In another words, it is related to everything physical and psychological… Thus, from the small area of mental activity, we have brought meditation to a vast field of consciousness, where it gets related to the way you sit or stand, the way you gesticulate or articulate throughout the day. Whether you want it or not, the inner state of your being gets expressed in your behaviour… This co-relation of meditation to the total way of living is the first requirement on the path of total transformation… Very few of us realise that constant verbalisation is one of the greatest obstacles in the path of meditation… Life is a homogeneous whole and you can never fragment it… To be aware of the lapse or the gap is itself a kind of observation.  (Vimala Thakar) '"

(from :

"The life that the dawn brings us is the only life we have. Life
is in the here and now, not in the there and afterwards."

Vimala Thakar

Blossoms of Friendship
by  Vimala Thakar
- 2003

Vimala Thakar's Blossom of Friendship is an extraordinary roadmap of the mind that will be of interest to anyone who is serious about the practice of meditation. With the precision of a physicist, Thakar reveals the distinct layers of the mind in a refreshingly original, yet accessible, manner. Through these talks, she firmly places herself in the league of iconoclastic spiritual teachers, such as the late Krishnamurti.

Sensitivity and Pain

To live requires energy and fearlessness, but we are brought up in a
pleasure-hunting human race, and pain is something to be afraid of,
to be driven away completely, to protect oneself from.

But it is the pain and pleasure
- the duality -
together that make the whole,
the wholeness of life.

The more sensitive you are and the more you live from the depth of your being,
the more vulnerable you are to life.

The more sensitive you are and the more capable of loving human beings,
the more you will be hurt; there is more sorrow, there is more pain.

Psychological hurts, pain and sorrow
accompany the sensitivity, intelligence and love.
Love and sorrow go together.

So, if there is physical or psychological pain, you live with it -
not out of despair, not out of self-pity, not out of any weakness.
You live with it because it is part of life, it is an expression of life.

- - - - Gems from Vimala Thakar
Originally from


Vimla Thakar

In the sacred emptiness of silence, flows the Life Force, the infinite creativity in the form of the human body without any resistance from any corner of that being. Ordinarily when the creativity of that totality or wholeness whispers in our hearts there is resistance. The 'I', the 'Me' assuming the airs of wisdom, knowledge and experience, retorts back to the wisdom of the Creativity and says: "What you are suggesting is not practical. It is not adaptable in my social life, in my family life"·.

When there is the ending of the momentum of the total human past, and there is a release, as it were, from the prison-house of the 'Me' as a separate entity then the creativity of the whole Life can manifest its activisation and can flow through all the layers of that human form without any obstacle. The idea of the 'Me' and the identification with that idea of the 'Me', is the greatest obstruction to the flow of creativity, to the flow of innocency in our lives.

In the silence, innocency reigns supreme. In the emptiness of silence, there is no obstruction of knowledge, memory. There is no resistance of the 'Me' introducing psychological time and saying to the creative energy "Not now, tomorrow, next year". The 'Me' arrests the flow of creativity and wants to adapt it, wants to pour it into the mould of social norms and value-structures. Then it is only the ashes of creativity that remain there, which the 'Self', the 'Me' holds in its fist and says: 'I had an inspiration, I had a glimpse.' It wants to hold onto that experience.

Vimala Thakar, Himalayan Pearls, pp. 48-49

Originally from


“We are at odds with ourselves internally; we believe that the inner is fundamentally
different than the outer, that what is me is quite separate from the not-me, that divisions among people and nations are necessary, and yet we wonder why there are tensions, conflicts, wars in the world. The conflicts begin with the minds that believe in fragmentation and are ignorant of wholeness.”

             ~ Vimala Thakar, Spirituality and Social Action: A Holistic Approach

April 18, 2001