Mataji is a Hindi term that literally means ‘a respected mother’.
This is a polite term used to address an older woman in Indian culture, if the speaker does not know her very well. The word Mataji, when used to address any woman in general, or somebody’s mother in particular, expresses the highest possible respect.
The word “Mataji” also implies security, caress, smiles, peace, the strength of tenderness, the greatness of simple life that originates from softness and harmlessness. The Indian culture celebrates mother as the one who gives life. For Indian women, motherhood is the greatest of all life achievements.
“Mataji” is also a title used by Hare Krishna devotees. Female devotees are usually referred to as “Mataji”, with their initiated name coming first, for example, “Padma Mataji”. Men use the term “Mataji” to respectfully address a female devotee whom they do not know, for, according to Vedic culture, all unmarried women are to be treated as mothers.