Maggie Cohn

In the spring of 2008, Maggie Cohn earned her M.A. by completing her thesis, “Rethinking Rage: The Philosophical and Rhetorical Context for Umbricius' Anger in Satire 3 of Juvenal,” which won the Norman Austin Outstanding M.A. Thesis Award that year. At that point, she commenced a journey that still seems not to have found its end. In 2008-9, Maggie taught Classics, Greek, and Latin courses at the department’s Orvieto International Institute for Classical Studies. Maggie traveled throughout Europe, and extensively in Greece in 2009. In November of that year, she traveled to India for the first time to practice yoga and meditation at the ashram of living enlightened Master Paramahamsa Nithyananda, an experience that has greatly altered the course of her life. Maggie took Brahmachariam (monkhood) in 2010 and became a full-time volunteer for the Nithyananda Mission. Within her ashram, Maggie is now known as Ma Nithya Chandikananda.

(On the side: Ma Nithya Chandikananda)

We interviewed Maggie by email: 

What are your fondest memories of your time in the department?

My fondest memories in the department come from the language courses in which I participated, especially reading Cicero with Dr. Christenson and Catullus' oeuvre with Dr. Skinner. Teaching the undergraduate Latin courses was also very transformative and memorable.

What about your graduate program at UA has benefited you most in your subsequent career?

The graduate program has benefitted me immensely in my subsequent training as a Hindu monk. The pedagogical skills I received have proven very useful. My background in philology helped pave the way for future studies in classical Sanskrit. Working on my Master's thesis with Professors Christenson, Skinner, and Van Steen was a particularly enriching and educationally valuable experience. I am very grateful for the intellectual ambience provided by the philology faculty, which focused on precise and careful reading of texts, thorough study of Latin and Greek grammar, and giving an introduction to the various schools of literary theory.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently training as a Hindu monk under the guidance of Paramahamsa Nithyananda, a young enlightened Master of yoga and meditation who has inspired millions of followers worldwide. My service as a spiritual worker includes teaching meditation classes in Arizona, as well as helping to start Nithyananda ideological communities worldwide. I also assist in the coordination of various social service projects for the Nithyananda mission, such as free schools, medical care, and meal services in India. I am currently studying ancient Sanskrit text Bhagavad Gita and Sri Rudram, a Vedic stotra dedicated to lord Shiva.  


You can contact Maggie/Ma Nithya Chandikananda at