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I Wish I Knew My Mother-in-law (Series: Women Who Inspire)

Freda's meditation prayer

It’s Mother’s Day w/e in India and I wanted to share how my mother-in-law, Freda Bedi influences me even though she has long passed and I never knew her. I wish I had known my mother-in-law, I truly do. From all accounts she was a remarkable human being, an English woman who left her country and moved to India for love. I know how that feels and what it takes.

Her life was extraordinary in every sense: a British feminist, Oxford graduate, Indian freedom fighter, Satyagrahi and Buddhist Nun. I’m pleased her life story is being told, there will be 3 books released by the end of the year. In a bid to help the authors; all of Freda’s letters, audio recordings and other written material that had been kept safe and out of the public domain was carefully catalogued and archived. I enjoyed the process immensely and savoured every moment getting to know her better and better as I turned each page of her letters.

Last week we were sent a bundle of Freda’s letters from AUSTRALIA. Amongst it all was a meditation prayer translated by Freda. A precious gem. The timing was impeccable, it came to us when I was toiling with the idea of resuming my own meditation practise. It felt like a little nudge from Freda to go for it. Or at least I’d like to believe it so.

My husband says his mother would have loved me and adored me, hearing that warmed my heart. It’s evident Freda’s love and compassion knew no bounds, it was for all of humanity. She was a mother not only to her own children but to the TIBETAN lamas that came to India as refugees during the 1959 exodus. She nurtured, loved and tutored all of them, even adopted some of them. As part of her social welfare work she had been appointed by the government to assist at the refugee camps.

When we met the HH Dalai Lama earlier this year, he smiled and referred to Freda as ‘Mummy-la.’ She was the mother to so many that she was given this name. She is revered by so many who practise the Buddhist faith. Many attribute Freda and her Young Lama’s School as the conduit for the spread of Buddhism to the West. I wonder what she would have to say to that...

Mummy-la - here’s to you, your love, compassion and devotion this Mother’s Day. You inspire me 🙏

books on Freda

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