- Mata, Sri Daya
- (1914– )prominent American Hindu leaderSri Daya Mata is the American-born third presi-dent of the SELF-REALIZATION FELLOWSHIP (SRF).Faye Wright was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and grew up in an environment of the Church of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). As an elementary school student she first learned about India and quickly developed an emotional attachment that stayed with her as she grew up. Her reading of the BHAGAVAD GITA as a teenager set her on a quest for God that only began to be satisfied in 1931 when she attended a lecture given by Paramahansa YOGANANDA in her hometown.Wright saw in Yogananda a person with a relationship to the divine that she wanted for herself; she resolved to follow him. Because of an illness that kept her out of school she was able to attend some of his classes, her face bandaged. During one class Yogananda approached her and announced that she would be healed within a week. His prophecy materialized. Two weeks later, with the permission of her parents, she entered Yogananda’s ashram in Los Angeles.Wright became one of Yogananda’s closest associates in his Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF). She took vows of renunciation and was given a new name, Daya Mata. At the time of Yogananda’s death, she was placed in charge of the movement’s headquarters at Mount Washing-ton, California, and James Lynn (Swami Rajasi Janakananda) was placed in charge of the SRF organization. Lynn died three years later. In 1955, Daya Mata succeeded Lynn as the third president of Self-Realization Fellowship, a position she has retained for decades.She has been very active as president, oversee-ing a growing international organization, meeting frequent speaking engagements, and authoring several books. On March 5, 2005, she celebrated her 50th anniversary as the leader of SRF.Further reading: Daya Mata, Enter the Quiet Heart (Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2005); ———, Mata, Sri Daya 279 JFinding the Joy within You: Personal Counsel for God-Centered Living (Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellow-ship, 2002); ———, God Alone: The Life and Letters of a Saint (Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1998); ———, Only Love: Living the Spiritual Life in a Changing World (Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellow-ship, 1976).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.