Our Founder

Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi


Recognized by many as the most important spiritual figure of our times, Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi has dedicated Her life to the spiritual ascent of mankind, reclaiming the role of women in the spiritual realm and laying the groundwork for a society based on enlightened spiritual awareness.

Born in India on 21st March 1923, Shri Mataji’s unique spiritual predisposition was immediately apparent to all who met Her, including Mahatma Gandhi. Together with Her family, She was deeply committed to India’s freedom struggle and, although She was little more than a child at the time, She happily gave up a very comfortable lifestyle for the sake of freedom.

She later married Sir C.P. Srivastava, one of India’s most respected and highly ranked civil servants, and together they raised a family. Only once their daughters were married and settled did Shri Mataji begin Her public spiritual work.

Although Shri Mataji was born with Her complete Self-Realisation and knew from a very young age that She had a unique gift, She wanted first to show, by Her own example, the perfect compatibility of a deeply spiritual life with the ordinary life of a householder.

Thus, on the 5th May 1970, while in meditation on a lonely beach of Nargol (India), She discovered the secret to en masse Self-Realisation through which thousands of people could achieve union with the deepest, most subtle aspect of their being, thereby triggering a process of spiritual self-transformation.

Sahaja Yoga

From the 1970s onwards, Shri Mataji spent the following four decades visiting every corner of the world, granting people the experience of Self-Realisation and communicating Her message of integration and harmony through yoga.

Shri Mataji always said that She is more a mother than a teacher, because the intricacy and subtlety needed for spiritual enlightenment can only be worked out with the delicacy of a mother’s love. However, she stressed the fact that this transformation is open to anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, position or possessions – and when awakened, it is then every individual’s responsibility to use their newly acquired awareness to truly and thoroughly understand themselves.

On the 23rd February 2011, Shri Mataji passed away at the age of 87, in the city of Genova. Her legacy endures, as the experience of Self-Realisation continues to transform countless lives.

Sahaja Yoga has now been well established in more than 100 countries throughout the world.

For more information, please visit the website dedicated to her life: Shri Mataji

Towards CISS

Since 1990s, Shri Mataji spent parts of the year in Cabella Ligure – a small provincial town in the Piedmonte Apennines.  She grew fond of the place, its people, and the purity of air in this remote region of Italy.

It occurred to her in 2007 that the valley of Borbera is an apt location to put into practice an educational project in Europe inspired by Shantiniketan: fostering students wellbeing, sensitivity to their natural surroundings, and sense of community. A potential place was found right next to the winding Borbera river, from which the valley derives its name.

By 2009, the old shoe-mould workshop near Cabella had been transformed into a modern educational facility, with a capacity of 50 students on an annual basis. Alongside the core curriculum of Maths, Science and English, the students are also versed in subjects that look at our shared past in World & People, themes and topics of spirituality in Sahaja Yoga lessons, as well as ample time exploring both creative pathways in Arts, Drama, Music and the nature surrounding our premise in Outdoor and Sports lessons.

There will never be peace in the world until we have peace within ourselves.