Vimala Thakar (1921-2009) was a remarkable person and teacher. From a very young age she was of a spiritual nature. As a child many saints used to visit the family residence. She attended university where she studied philosophy. As a young person, before she began her sadhana, she received initiation from the great saint Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982).
During the 1950’s she was involved in and became one of the prominent members of the Land Gift Movement in India which was led by the activist Vinobe Bhave. She traveled all over India persuading wealthy landlords to donate land to villages and peasant farmers so that they would have a chance to step out of the poverty cycle of indentured labour. It was an incredible undertaking. They didn’t stay in five star hotels. They roughed it sleeping out and in barns and lived off whatever food they were offered by poor villagers. In the end several million acres of farmland were redistributed to the villagers of India.
In the late 1950’s Vimala had a series of meetings with Krishnamurti which might be said to have been the catalyst for an inner transformation. After this, Krishnamurti encouraged her to travel overseas and teach. From the 1960’s for around thirty years she traveled all over the world to Europe, the USA, South America and Australia meeting and speaking with small groups of spiritually minded people who she called friends.
I had the great good fortune to meet and spend time with Vimalaji when she was older, after she had stopped traveling. It was the summer of 1996 in Dalhousie in the Himalayas. I had been traveling through India up from Sri Lanka for many months before I got to Dalhousie. I arrived unannounced and without invitation. I had an unkempt beard and wearing an Indian dhoti I must have looked like some kind of wild wandering fakir. When the housekeeper opened the door she looked me up and down and I could see she was not impressed by what she saw. Nevertheless I was granted an audience. Vimala simply said, “Hello my dear!” It was as though she had been expecting me. She welcomed me warmly and I stayed in Dalhousie the whole summer and came every afternoon to sit in silence with her. Usually there were just a couple of people there at most. As I write this, I can hardly express the gratitude I feel to her. Over the years it is my experience that everything that she said to me has turned out to be true.
Vimala was a true radical. She never aligned herself with any particular tradition although she was well grounded in the immense richness of the many centuries of Indian metaphysical and yogic exploration of the human condition. Her only alignment was to truth. She wasn’t after followers or self-aggrandizement. In short she wasn’t after anything. Her life was a field of love, encouragement and openness. And as part of that she gave expression in her own language to the timeless ancient teachings of the great rishis of India. This truth that Vimala embodied was a living reality for her. Life was positively exploding through her. The highest active intelligence was operating through her. She was a great soul. A living example of what the true human being might become.
I’m not going to paraphrase or try to explain her teachings here. That would be too insulting. She was so fantastically eloquent herself. So I have taken the liberty of presenting various excerpts of some of her talks which can be read if you are interested. These revolutionary discourses belong to humanity as a whole. I know it’s what she would want.