Release of Sir CP’s book on Shastri

New Delhi (India)


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Sir CP’s talk:
For me it’s a very moving day, a very moving moment and if you find me stopping from time to time to regain my emotions, I hope you’ll kindly forgive me.

I want to begin by sharing with you a secret, a well kept secret for a long time and the secret is, the third of December, which is the day today, is by far the most important date in my annual calendar. Have you guessed it? You have!

It was on this date, forty-eight years ago in 1946, that I first came face to face with this Divinity. That was a day of my transformation. That was the day when a Divine Will enveloped my being. From then on a Divine Force emanating from the source that you know has been constantly with me, helping me, guiding me and that is the secret for whatever you may have heard today.

After third December I did not lose much time and I’m sure you’ll agree, I shouldn’t have. We got engaged on the 18th of February, 1947 and we got married on the 7th of April, 1947, and then events began to move very rapidly, events which might have seemed impossible in normal circumstances. Within a matter of months, as Rajesh mentioned to you, I was selected for both of India’s top [don’t understand]service, of the diplomatic service and the administrative service. I first joined the diplomatic service and when I was offered the Indian Administrative Service also, there were a lot of debate in office, my friends saying, some say, “Lovely to become an ambassador” and some saying, “No, no, join the home service.” So I came home that evening and I mentioned to my wife and She didn’t take even a moment to make a decision. She said, “No, no. Ambassador? No. Let’s remain within the country. Let’s serve our country here, and that was the decision which eventually lead to what we are doing today. It was as important as that and I’ll explain to you why. Because I changed my service from diplomatic to home civil service, called India Administrative Service, and my first posting was to Lucknow, and the first V.I.P. in Lucknow that I met was Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri.

She had foreseen, She knew what was coming. I didn’t. I only obeyed. I said, “Yes, you want I.A.S., okay.” Well and for those who have read the book or who will read the book, will read about this, but I’ll tell you about two instances. When I went to him first , I’d been given an appointment at 6 pm on a summer day in Lucknow. I reached his house on time, , my habit is to be on time or a little before that , and I saw that the minister’s car was ready, one of the doors was open and he was about, obviously about to go somewhere, although he had an appointment with me.

Of course, I knew that in India’s political affairs appointments with ministers don’t mean very much. You can go and you can be asked to come again and again. But here was something different. Now what happened was there was one person ahead of me who had come and the personal assistant told both of us, “We’re sorry, the minister is going to a meeting, cabinet meeting, so you may have come, you have to come again.” I said, “Okay. I’ll do that.” And, as I was saying this – I was some distance from the door of the house, and I saw a petite figure, five feet two inches, as you now know, coming out dressed in spotlessly clean khadi dhoti, kurta and cap, with a smile on his face.
He first went to the person who had come ahead of me, talked to him very politely. He was a common man and I was watching. I had come from Delhi, civil servant, bureaucrat. I said, “He’s a minister talking to this man, who looks so ordinary, with such attention,” I said, “There must be something wrong somewhere, anyway.” He talked to him for a moment then that gentleman went away. And then the P.A.. came and whispered into his ear something about me. I didn’t know what he said. Obviously, he must have said, “This is the new city magistrate, I.A.S. officer who has just come. He has come to meet you, but I’ve told him already to go away because there’s no time today.” Normally, he would have got into the car and gone away, but not Mr. Shastri. What he did was he looked at me and moved a few paces towards me. Now, ordinarily I should have been wise, I should have moved ahead, wished him, but I knew that he was in a hurry and I did not want to impose myself on him, so I stood back where I was.
Then he saw, he moved another five, ten paces, came nearer me, then he did what no minister on Earth, not in India, would do ever do, he raised both his hands to say this to me, “Namaste, aaiye. (means please come in) ” I was aghast – minister to a junior civil servant saying “Namaste”? It doesn’t happen in my country. Anyway, so I said, “No, sir, but you are busy. You are going away. You have a meeting. I understand. I’ll come again.” He said, “No, no, it doesn’t matter. We can talk for two minutes.” I am telling you because there’s a secret to that. So he insisted that I should go inside his house. I went with him, sat down and he asked, “Have you got a house? Are you well settled? Is your family all right?” I said, “I came to ask for instructions about some official matters.” He said, “Yes, yes, it’s an important city and you know the problems and your district magistrate will tell you. But are you happy ?” I said, “I’m very happy, sir. I have no other questions to ask.” Again I got up. I said, “I don’t want to detain you” and we came out together. Then he moved towards his car and this time I was a little cleverer, so when he moved, I did that simultaneously with him. He’s still first. I did namaste.

I had learnt a lesson, but, I’ll tell you, not yet fully. I was a bureaucrat, but I had begun to improve because of Her, so I said, “Okay.” Then when he sat down in car and as it moved away, again wished me, I wished him and he went away. And then, my dear friends, I just stood there wondering what kind of a human being he is, such an important cabinet minister, such humility. Is there something in me? Why should he be so kind to me? Then I said, “No, no,” because he was very kind to the other fellow also. “So it’s not me. It’s him.” Anyway, I thought for some time. Before going, he said, “Have you a transport?” I said, “I have.” Then he went away. And after eight months of that – he said, “Please come again.” I said, “Well, I will.” But after eight months of that, I was transferred from Lucknow to Meerut and I never met him because there was no reason. And then something else happens and that is the second incident I’ll tell you.

Two years after that I was still in Meerut. In the meantime, he had resigned from U.P., Lucknow. He had gone to the centre. He had become a central cabinet minister for Railways and Transport. He had become a national figure, a very eminent national figure. I had gone to Delhi railway station to receive my wife and my two daughters, who are sitting here, Kalpana and Sadhana. They were coming from Nagpur, they’re little kids at that time. So I went to the railway station and the train steamed in. They arrived, I received my wife and my daughters. A lot of crowd there, and, but on the other side of the platform I saw a lot of railway officials in their uniform waiting for someone and I didn’t know what it was. Another train steamed in and from one of the compartments came out Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, and the distance between me and him was as from here, to say, that row. So I held on to my children and my wife said, “Let’s stay here because there’s a lot of crowd. Let them go away, then we’ll move.”
So I stayed like that. And there is Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri with surrounded by big officials, general managers and so on and suddenly, after moving out five paces, he looked in my direction. When he looked in my direction, I looked at him and I’d still to learn more. I just stood still. I said, “How can I go to him? He – two years ago, two minutes conversation, he must have forgotten me.” So he moved another ten, twenty, fifty paces, thirty paces and looked again. So when he looked again in my direction, I looked this way, I that way. I said, “Who is he searching?” Then he moved a few paces again, but since he found that I was doing nothing, he left the group, came about ten paces and my wife is a witness, She was there, he did this to me, he said, “Namaste, Srivastava-sahib. You did not recognize me. I’m Lal Bahadur.”

I just didn’t know what to do. I was lost for words. I just fumbled. I wished the Earth had taken me in – so ashamed. And then he said – I said, “Well, the whole country recognizes you, but how did you recognize me?” “Oh,” he said, “Remember two years ago when you came to Lucknow, we met and I know now you are in Meerut. How are you? Everything all right?” I said, “Yes, I am fine.” I was absolutely stunned. And then he went back to his group and went away.

That was the most important lesson that I learnt – humility. It was not the humility that you see when someone meets a Prime Minister. You know, you are very humble. No, when he meets a junior official, then he’s humble. And that was a very great quality.

I once put this to a very senior civil servant in India when he had become Prime Minister or after he had passed away. I said, “People say that he was very, very respectful to civil servants.” And the answer, you know, I got was, “Mr. Shastri was respectful to every human being.” What a wonderful quality is. I’m not aware of any individual, in politics at least, about whom truthfully you can say that he’s respectful to every human being.

But, that was Her decision that I should go to I.A.S., Indian Administrative Service, led me to this contact and then, when he became Prime Minister, I had served with him when as transport minister. But when he became Prime Minister, then again my wife played a very, very major role. I was in London attending a conference, shipping conference, when Panditji Nehru passed away and he became Prime Minister. I returned to Bombay and my wife said almost immediately, She said, “You know, he trusts you. He has confidence in you. You go to him, offer your services. A new Prime Minister needs support, needs help. You go immediately, meet him, offer your services, and I said, “How can I do that? It’s not done. I’m a civil servant and the code of civil servants is that you don’t go and seek jobs. You are given jobs and you do them. I said, “He knows me. If he wants me, he’ll ask for me.” But again, like the earlier occasion, She knew what She was telling me. She knew the future. She was foreseeing the future. So She said, “Okay, there will be other ways. I’ll have my way.” I didn’t understand what other way that could be.

Well, next day came a message from Delhi saying a meeting has been convened by my Ministry, Shipping Ministry – a very important meeting. Please come along. I had to go to Delhi. Now, when I went to Delhi, I knew that he was not well. He had had a mild heart attack. He was in bed and my understanding with him earlier was that whenever I came to Delhi I must let him know and I must meet him. I said, “Now, if I don’t meet him, that will be sheer arrogance on my part. Because he’s ill, it is my duty to go and ask how he is, just pay my respects.” Now, who created this situation?

Well, then, then what happens? I went to his house. There are two P.A.’s standing. Of course, they knew me. They knew my connection, so they would not be rude to me. I said, “He’s unwell, I know. He may be in bed, I know. Doctors may have told you not to admit visitors, but I just want you to go and tell him that I am here, I have come to pay my respects and if he wishes to see me for a moment, I will, otherwise, I will go away.” And the P.A..’s thought that very soon they’ll come back, tell me, Go away. He doesn’t want to see you or It’s not possible.

Well, very soon they came back, saying, Please come in. So I went in. But before I went in they said, Mark you, one minute, sixty seconds and no more and before sixty seconds are out, you should be out. I said, “Yes, sir,” in short. I went in. He was lying in bed, smiling. I wished him. He said, “I am feeling better? I am almost all right.” And then I didn’t know what to say, so I just said, “I came to offer my felicitations, congratulations and to wish you well, a speedy recovery.” Full stop. Nothing more. I didn’t offer my services because I was a civil servant, mind you.

So the P.A.’s were apprehensive about me. They thought I might come and a man like me not always, you know – anyway. So they were worried, standing there, both of them looking at me and I was looking at my watch. When it was fifty seconds, I did this to him. It’ll be the road to leaving. Then what he does is, he says, “Nahin, no, no, no no. You sit down and told P.A.’s [Sound like : could you close the door]{sounds like – will you be withdraw ).”, and the P.A..’s very surprised. He says, “What good is going on now?” And then a beautiful conversation, he said, “You know, you like Bombay I know,” because I was posted then in Bombay. I said, “Yes, sir.” He said, “How long do you intend to be there? Are you leading to something?” I said, “You are the Prime Minister. I’ll be there as long as you want me to be there. I’m a government official.” Didn’t still come to the point. Then he said, “I think you should now come here and help me”, and all I said was “Yes, sir.” And that was it.

So She had Her way, in Her own way. And I, so I joined him and probably, in public affairs, in public life, there has been no greater honor, no greater privilege than to have had the opportunity of serving Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, and I’m grateful to Her for having given me that opportunity.

The book is there. I don’t think I’ll take you too much into it, but what I would say is, as time passed, we became close, his views were known to me. He was truly wedded to dharma, to righteousness, to truth, to morals. There was no posture in him. There was no dichotomy. There wasn’t a Mr. Shastri inside, different from a Mr. Shastri outside. He was absolutely one: one inside, one outside, beautiful inside, beautiful outside. It was marvelous to work with him. It was very hard work. He gave everything that he had to country and, if you were close to him, you gave everything, not because he forced you, but because you loved the country and you loved him, and we worked very closely together, midnight, one o’clock and it was that kind of a thing. But during that time our family also came very close to him. You’ll find photographs in the book which will show that. But whenever my wife and I went – we never went uninvited, we were always invited and when Mr. Shastri invited us to dinner he would say, “Would you like to eat a little worse food than you are normally accustomed to?”
That was his humility because he was a vegetarian, I am a non-vegetarian, so we would go and eat good food. He was very, very kind. And then he would talk to Her during dinner time, not to me, but to me he talked all the time otherwise. But then he would talk at the book sales of saints and sages, of economics, of politics, various subjects and he had understood what She was and he had understood that if I was anything, by way of help to him, it was because of Her.

So he gave Her tremendous respect, tremendous respect, which you give to a Holy person, which you give to your Mother. He would come out of his bedroom or drawing room, out to the, to the outer area, then go to the car, open the door of the car for Her to sit down – Prime Minister of India. That was the respect that he gave Her. And he gave tremendous love to my family, my children. I remember once, my – he invited his children and my children only to Mussourie for one night out and, in the hotel where we were staying, at eleven o’clock he comes to see whether my children have proper blankets or not – Prime Minister of India. That was his humility. That was true, true, genuine humility.

Anyway, we worked together and we faced many situations. It means he faced many situations, but when I joined him – when should I stop, now or little later? All right. When I joined him I said, “Sir, what are my duties? What should I do?” He said, “You’ll do whatever you use to do previously as my private secretary.” And then he said something which is very interesting. He said, “The job of Prime Minister of India is very difficult. Let us try.” Now, let us try.” If we succeed, well and good. If I fail, I’ll resign and go. See the difference. If we – if it is success, it’s “we.” He shares success. If we succeed, well and good. If I fail. In failure, he wants all the blame for himself. I listened to that and I remember those words, and then we began to work together. Many crises came, but he was totally unruffled, always firmly on the path of truth, righteousness. The food shortage, food prices rising, language problem, all kinds of things and he stood very firmly. And then came a war.

Now, I want to tell you he was the most peaceful man you can imagine, embodiment of peace. He wanted peace with Pakistan. You know what he did? The day he assumed office, in his first message he said, message to Pakistan – “We must live together as peaceful neighbors. Peace.” Then later, within a few months, he sent a message to Ayub Khan, saying he wants to come and meet him. Ayub did not invite him. He said, “I am going to Cairo. On returning, I will come to Karachi, if you allow me. I want to meet you.” How could Ayub say no. He invited. Ayub was also a very good man and they met, but there was a clique somewhere in Pakistan which was assessing, judging him and since he was a short-statured man, dhoti, kurta, smiling, they thought this, “He’s a weak Prime Minister. That’s the time to attack India, take away Kashmir.” They didn’t know him.
They didn’t know his true stature and he repeatedly told them. He said, “You know, Pakistani’s our brothers. They’re our kith and kin. We don’t have to fight with them. Why should we? No quarrel’s on. Let’s live peacefully.” But they – while he was talking of peace, they hatched a war which is explained in the book and they attacked. Now, when they attacked India, then this man of peace stood up like a colossus. He said, “No. I’m a peaceful man, but I’m man of honor. It is my duty as Prime Minister to defend the country.” But he told armed forces, “You must attack, but in a very measured way. We don’t want people of Pakistan to be killed. We don’t want bombing in East Pakistan. They’re our people. We must destroy the machinery which is threatening us. We don’t want destroy people.”

So he was a very wise man, brave, stood up. He ordered. He said, “No, we marched an hour. How can they attack us? How can they take away our territory? We must attack, but attack not with the view to killing people, attack with a view to destroying the machinery.” Pakistan had Patton tanks and Sabre jets. “That should be destroyed.” And because he was a holy man, he was pure – small knat of India, small aircraft destroyed Sabre jets up in aerial battle and, eventually, what he wanted was done. But when war was ended, came the question of peace. Now, there again, the Russians invited Kosygin. He invited Mr. Shastri and Mr. Ayub and he went there. He said, “Yes, we don’t want to have war all the time. Let’s have peace, proper peace.” And after two or three days of talks, he transformed Ayub, as you are transformed.
If you look at the book, look at the photographs, you will see Ayub first a gruff man, huge, tall, angry. Within five days he’s a picture of meekness. Who did that? Shastri. He transformed him. And who gave that power from behind, power of transformation?

I was in touch with Her, telling Her things are not moving. She said, “Don’t worry. Things will move” and here is transformation. Ayub, an adversary of yesterday, a friend of today. Have you known many examples of that kind? That is a power of truth. That is a power of dharma, as Nigel was saying. Very powerful, you cannot resist it. The man changed. He said, “Sir, we must have mutual contact, a hotline. I will install one in my house. You’ll install in yours. We must live as friends, not as warriors. That was a very big achievement, transformation.

The Russian professor, Dr. Varnov was talking about Kosygin. When Shastriji went to Russia, people had conveyed the message, “He is not a, you know, leftist. He is probably a centralist or a rightist.” You know how extreme people are. When he went there everything was nice, but not quite very effusive. So one evening, when we had all gone to see ballet – Shastri was not too keen on that. He said he was worried about his talks, so he went to Kosygin. He said at interval, “Can we have talk, the two of us.” So “Yes, fine.” And by that time Kosygin was nice, polite, but just that. And they sat at some distance together and he talked to them. And I was watching from a distance. I was not listening. After about half an hour, forty minutes, they came back and Mr. Kosygin was a changed man, transformed, again transformed by Shastriji. I was wondering, “How it worked? What magic is this?”

After the ballet, when we went back to the dasha, I said, “What did you do? What happened?” He said, “Very simple. I told Kosygin I am a simple Indian. I’m not a communist. I’m not a capitalist. I’m not a leftist. I’m not a rightist. I’m an Indian and, as an Indian, I love my people. I can’t see my people hungry. If food is not there, I cannot eat my food, therefore agriculture must be given very high priority. At least people must have enough to eat before you have huge plans. Now, if that is being rightist or leftist, so be it. I love my people. I want food for them, basic necessities for them and that is my priority.” And Kosygin said, “I agree with you one hundred percent. You are real communist in one way.” I mean, he didn’t say that, but he must have felt. But what is a communist? I mean, anyone who is interested in the welfare of everybody, true. He said, “We are fully with you.” And then he said, “Foreign policy. I am a friend of Russia. I respect Russia and I will go all out to maintain, but I want to tell you truthfully.
I want to be friend of the West also. Why should we quarrel? The world is one. The West, the East, the North and South, we must all come together. So I am going to be friendly with everybody.” And Kosygin said, “By all means, go ahead, as long as you are not anti-us.” I said, “No question of being anti, but why should we have a quarrel with America or U.K. or Germany. Why not be friend with everybody?” Kosygin was delighted and he became, not a friend, a disciple of Shastri from that moment. He used to touch the feet.

So that was the person he was, a tremendous transformer in the likeness of this lady. When he passed away – I’ll come straight to that. He achieved great success in Tashkent. Again, an agreement was signed, a real agreement between two warring nations to come to peace, to come together. If he had lived there would have been no further war with Pakistan. Things would have been very different, as the book will show, but he passed away and to me that was a most tragic experience, most traumatic experience.

I’ll take few minutes more to tell you. The day was – last year was wonderful. Agreement was reached. Bhutto tried his best to destroy everything, but agreement was reached. Kosygin played a great part, very great part. Ayub played a very great part. Shastri played very great part. See, Ayub wanted that something about Kashmir, some new machinery, but Shastri said, “Impossible, Kashmir is India. There is no question and we can go on talking for two thousand years. Nothing. But, if you want to live peace, I’m with you, totally.” Anyway, agreement was signed and one must pay tribute to Ayub as much to Kosygin, as much to Shastri, three heroes. And we signed that. I was with him. It was at four o’clock I went from the villa in company with him. He had, had a lunch that day with Ayub and they had agreed mutually to remain friends, to talk to each other directly, to be good friends. Anyway, from villa we went to sign this agreement at four o’clock. I sat by his side, came back. He was very happy, very happy because everything he wanted was done.
Then we were back at about – when we were coming back in Tashkent the whole, all the streets were lined with people, “Shastri, Shastri,” waving because agreement had been signed. He was so happy. He told me, “I’ve had a breakthrough with Ayub. It will be a new world, new India, new Pakistan.” Then we came to the house and he explained little more. Then at 10:30 he said – he always used to call me Srivastava-sahib, never, never C.P. Srivas- nothing. Just see, again humility.
He said, “Srivastava-sahib, you know, every day we have been going to sleep at about one o’clock. Let’s sleep early today.” I said, “Yes, sir, we should.” The next morning we are going to Kabul. It’s very cold there. Kabul was very, very cold. We were planning to go there. “So you must wear proper clothes.” Look at this, the Prime Minister concerned with Tashkent conference, worried about my clothes. He says, “Please wear proper clothes. It will be very cold there.” I said, “Sir, yes, I will do that, but I have to go for a conference now, press conference.” He said, “Press conference? At this time?”
I said, “Yes.” “Where?” I said, “In a hotel about ten miles away.” He said, “How will you go?” I said, “There’s a car waiting for me.” “Oh,” he said, “it’s very cold. Your car may not be good enough.” Now I said its quite a good car. He said, “No, no.” He came out with me to the outer door of the villa, sent for the driver of his car, Prime Minister’s special security car. He said, “You go in this car,” told the driver, “Take this person. Stay there. Bring him back.” He said, “This will be safe for you. It’ll protect you.” How can you forget this? And then I sat in the car. He waved, smiling like that and I went away, attended the press conference and came back to my room. I was in an another building, about hundred yards away. I came back there and suddenly the telephone rang and the P.A.. that was inside said, “Please come rushing. The Prime Minister is very sick.” I couldn’t believe my ears. I left him hale, hearty, cheerful. I ran. I ran, literally. And I was the first to reach his bedroom, for by that time he was just about passing away or he was dead at 1:32 am, and I couldn’t believe myself. I said, “What is it? How can God do that?” I left him hale and hearty, cheerful, smiling. Anyway, fate is a role in everything.

So he passed away and after that moment it came to me that I should write his biography. I came home and my wife said, “You must write. This is a mission, the only mission I entrust to you.” She told me, as Rajesh has said, “Everything in the world will be taken care of for you. You do your work. Don’t worry about anything else, about daughters, children, house, nothing, but this one is a mission to you.” I said, “Okay, when I retire from public service I will do that.” And I was then still – I was young at that time, forty-six, forty-five and many years of service – I served in India, then twenty years abroad – but the moment I retired, the first moment after retirement I began writing and then everyone has helped me. And I am now concluding, but I want to thank you all for the enormous help that all of you collectively and so many individually have given to me in writing, the writing of this book. I will not be able to name, take all the names because it would take about two days, there’s so many of you, but I’ll just recall to you very briefly some instances of how Sahaja Yogis have helped me. You should know that.

I wanted very much to get some confidential material about correspondence between Shastriji and other countries and here the rule is everything is confidential. I went to various government offices. “No. No. No. It’s confidential.” Now you can’t write a biography without some material, so I said, “Okay.” I went to America. My wife said, “Maybe they are more open. There might be some papers there.” So I went to America. First I went to Yale University and Manoj and Gregoire, some others helped me greatly to get material from there, and then I made another trip, probably the most useful of those trips. Then I went to a place called Austin in Texas and I was literally supported from both sides by Paul Ellis on one side and Captain Mangal Singh, you know, from the other. They took me to the hotel. They prepared food for me from breakfast to dinner. They took me to library, got material, immensely valuable material and without that material the book will not be half as valuable as is today.

Now how can I forget that kindness? And Paul Ellis went on finding material even after I had left. I don’t know how many envelopes I must have received from him. I’ve kept them all, safe. I’ll probably use them some other time. But enormous material was given to me and I’m very happy that Paul is here. I hope he’ll convey my thanks to Victoria also and to Manoj and others.

Then let’s shift the scene to U.K. I went to the British library – huge, wonderful library, and I remember Ian Parradine sitting with me, collecting books for me, getting copies made, photocopies made and I saw there the marvelous Sahaja Yoga. I wanted some photocopies of some pages of a book. The time was about five minutes left and when he went to the counter the gruff man at there said, “Oh, it’s just five minutes left now. How can I deal with all this?” And Ian Parradine didn’t get angry, no. He said, “Ya, I agree with you entirely. It’s very tough. Try do whatever you can. I’m sorry we’re late.” And then he started looking at one book and Ian started helping him with the others and suddenly the man was transformed. “Don’t worry, don’t worry. I’ll do everything for you.” I said, “Here is a Sahaja Yogi, you know, doing this kind of a thing.”

Then I used to go to Colindale Avenue Library, a newspaper library of British Museum – wonderful place – books, newspapers of Pakistan, India, America and I got lovely quotation, which you will read in the book. And there John Glover, who was sitting with me all the time, helping. Even after I came away, he would go to the library, get material for me, send it on to me in India. Very grateful to him.

Then in Shuddy Camp, where I wrote much of the book – Shuddy Camp because of Her again – there was Derek Lee, professor, pouring at the text I would write, giving hours and hours of his. I can never be too thankful to him. And there’s Guy Beven. I am very happy he has come. We used to sit together till early hours of the morning every day, he on his computer and me with the text and go on and on and revise this and do it again. Never did he feel once that I was, you know, revising and re-revising, smiling always, pleasant and he worked very hard for me and I’m most grateful to him and I’m happy that he is here.

And Dr. Spiro helping me, the medical question. Chris Marlowe – Chris Marlowe, he read the book and he told me something which has been said today. He said, “After reading the book, I felt that I should become a better man.” It’s a great tribute from a Sahaj Yogi for the book.

And back in India, here also same situation. There’s a Mr. P.C. Tandan sitting here, who gave hours and hours and hours and months and months of his time for the book. I’m very grateful to Mr. Tandan for the most dedicated way in which he helped me. There was Dr. Chugh, who’s in America, who’s not here. He must have brought me photocopies of innumerable books, which I wanted, Mr. Sharma, who helped me with computerization, the squadron leader R. K. Pal, who helped me with a lot of material.

Now, in brief, what I want tell you is the book, please do not believe that the book is mine. The book is ours, yours and mine together, and yours and mine together, a book about dharma, about righteousness, truth, integrity, about a man who I think was a most moral politician this country has seen. Now such a book can be dedicated only to a Divine person and I, therefore, come to the end of my words. I thank you all for the enormous honor you have done me. I would like to thank very much Rajesh, Yogi, Bogdan, Chris, Nigel, Paul Ellis and Professor Varnov for the very, very kind words they said about me. I don’t deserve that. It’s not humility. They have been very, very generous and very kind. I think I have learned a great deal from Mr. Shastri, but the credit for whatever has come by can go only to one person, who has given me Divine envelope.
The debt that I owe Her is unfathomable. The debt that I owe Her is unrepayable. The debt that I owe Her I do not want to repay. I want to remain indebted to Her. All I want to do is to acknowledge the true debt in your presence, and having done that, as a humble token, I want to dedicate this book to Her.

Shri Mataji’s talk:

My heart is so full of gratitude to My husband that he accepted My desire that he should write a book about Lal Bahadur Shastri.

The first day I saw him I knew he was a very highly evolved soul and to have such a person in the politics itself was a great vision for Me. My father, mother sacrificed all their lives for the work of Mahatma Gandhi, of getting freedom. When I was with Mahatma Gandhi he knew about Sahaja Yoga because he was also a Realized Soul, but he told Me that just now we are not free people. We have to get our freedom; otherwise we cannot talk about Sahaja Yoga. Of course, his [unclear…] he wrote, according if you read it, according to the different chakras.

I know I, I was a very patriotic person. I mean, whenever even I see now flag, My throat gets choked, with all these songs I just couldn’t bear it. I don’t know, perhaps it reminds Me of all the struggles people have gone through or maybe the mess in which our country is today or maybe My heart felt love for My country.

As you know, I am full of compassion and Mr. Shrivastava has seen how I used to cry seeing people being starved and in, living in conditions which not even animals can manage. So when I saw Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, I felt now, after Gandhiji, here is a man. Normally, you’ll be surprised. Most of these people, martyrs, even My father, mother, even Gandhiji, they never cared for politics, they never wanted to do anything with politics. They said, ‘We don’t want to do anything,’ but here was a man who ventured himself into politics and who was a Realized Soul, was a very big combination for Me. And I could see the potential of this.

If you ask Me, I can’t join politics. Shastriji asked Me several times. He said, ‘Why don’t You come to politics?’ I said, ‘It’s beyond Me. I just can’t.’ And most of them were so much detached. They didn’t want to have election, they didn’t want to do anything of that kind. I remember my father, when he came out of jail, Vallabhbhai Patel asked him that, ‘You have to contest election.’ He said, ‘I refuse. I don’t want to go into politics.’ He said, ‘You have to.’ And he forced him and forced him, ultimately sent somebody with some money, three thousand rupees for My father, that for your advertising and all that. So My father say that, ‘Why for advertising? There’s no need to send any money. If by that I’m going to win, I don’t want to win such an election.’ But that made him ready. He accepted the challenge and he really went for the election. And surprisingly, he was the only Christian member elected in that Assembly, Central Assembly and the one who was opposing him, lost everything, lost his deposits, but his own daughter helped My father and she said, ‘Nirmala, what is my father, what does he think of himself? I think, against Your father.’

So, in those days you see, it was a, another atmosphere where people who sacrificed, who loved their country, who were genuine, were very much respected. When My father was in jail, I tell you, wherever we went, we were treated just like you are treated here, Sahaja Yogis, like we all brothers and sisters were given all kinds of help from everyone and they were very courageous people. They were politicians in a way, because they were fighting for a cause, but they were not politicians who were running after any position or money, no, they never understood such things. It was beyond them, but they had no interest in joining this assembly or all these things.

I looked at Shastriji, I said, ” Now here is someone!” I wanted someone to be like that, because there were so many I knew who were very sacrificing, very detached, very honest, very dharmic, but somehow they didn’t want to do anything with these assemblies and elections and all that.

Shastriji was already in office when I saw him first and I think he recognized Me very well, no doubt about it. There’re, two, three incidents I remember. First of all he showed tremendous respect for Me, tremendous respect. I always used to go to the airport to receive him, always. Once I was not well, so I didn’t go. So he was coming with all the cars and everything, suddenly he stopped in front of our building and walked up to our flat, all alone. ‘Why didn’t You come to the airport? Are You not well?’ I said, “I’m all right, Sir, but little unwell.” ‘Na, na, everytime You must come.’ So very sweet, he was so very sweet. Such small, small things he used to notice.

Once, the children, his children told that, ‘We have seen Babiji – they call sister-in-law – ‘she’s in the town.’ He said, ‘Really, where is she? Find out.’ He, he knew about. ‘Find out where is she.’ They found out and he said, ‘You have to be there for lunch.’ And he told his wife you make a particular type of food, call it Moong ki goli. One time they had made, I ate it, so he remembered. See, all these little, little things, you know, I’m surprised at it; and he would talk to Me on subjects – I was just an ordinary housewife at that time – subjects like economics. He would say, ‘What are Your priorities? You run Your household very well. Your husband is so busy, what is, what are Your priorities?’ I said, “The first priority: that My children must get their food. First. Second: A house. Third: Education, and the foremost is their character. They must have good character. And I really didn’t start Sahaja Yoga till My daughters got married because that was also My responsibility. And you know it was needed, also that (much or first?… UNCLEAR) time, it all worked out in a Sahaj way, I would say.

But Shastriji also looked after My children very much and he felt they were sacrificing so much because their father was never at home, he was always busy, you see. He could understand Me, that I’m a sensible Woman and that I’m dedicated to this country and that I feel very happy that My husband is doing the work of the country. He understood that, but still he used to feel for Me.

One day, though I am very fond of music, but I had stopped going for music because I would not go without My husband, so one day I told him that somebody has come and I would like to hear that music. He said, ‘All right. What time is the program?’ I said, “Nine o’clock, you should come we’ll be going (UNCLEAR…).” So at nine o’clock little bit, I think, he got disturbed and started looking at the watch. So Shastriji asked him, ‘What’s the matter? What are you doing? What’s the matter?’ He said, ‘My wife had asked to go for a music program. It’s nine o’clock.’ ‘Then get up. What are you doing? Come along.’ He brought him in his own car and dropped him there. He said, ‘If She asked you once to go to this thing, what business you have got to sit down?’

He was so humane, so humane, mothering type of a person. My, of course My husband is a very hard-working man and I can always take out his pressures when he comes home, so it was all right but he was really very hard-working and Shastriji was quite worried about him, so one day he got some temperature. Immediately he said, ‘You are on leave, you are going to Simla. I have arranged everything, you go down there.’ Immediately. He forced him to go to Simla. I didn’t know what to do with him because I have never lived with him on any holiday anywhere. That way of course, Mr. Shrivastava is an extremely, extremely honest, to a fault, to a fault he is. But then, there in the holiday we were playing chess, or say scrabbles or anything, he used to cheat Me all the time. All the time he used to cheat Me. I said, “What is this going on, here he is such a honest man, he cheats Me.” He said, ‘Is allowed, if you can cheat your Wife, is allowed.’

Then we used to walk down to buy some cherries, you see, we both are very fond of cherries, so it’s all right, we’ll make half-half; so he would put much more in Mine and less in his. I said, “What is this cheating, why you are taking so little?” ‘Because You like cherries.’ I say, “You also like cherries, so now exchange.” So, big fight on that.

You see, a woman in the house has to be very sensible, she has to be caring, sensible and also, I must say, My two daughters never troubled Me because their father was not at home or anything. They really supported Me very much and I gave them all the company that was needed but they never complained to Me that, ‘Why our daddy is not here, why our daddy doesn’t come?’ In the school also, everybody’s daddy used to be there but their daddy used to be missing. But they never, never even thought of it. So it was such a help from everyone.

Also, I had such a good childhood with My parents. They taught us how to be sacrificing. My father was in jail for years. My mother went to jail five times. And from huge, big houses, we were living in huts. But we used to enjoy everything. The feeling that whatever our parents are doing is for our country’s freedom was so elevating, so elevating, that we never even thought of little comforts that children ask for. We could sleep anywhere, eat anything, live anywhere, and that time also, I found lots of great people who were my father’s friends were such dynamic, patriotic people, extremely patriotic.

Once (MUFFLED…) some people told us that they are transferring the political prisoners to another place far away, so they are on the platform. So we all rushed to the platform to see them. There was one sage, supposed to be, and he was the one who was regarded as a very great, honorable force. He called Me, and he said, ‘What are You doing? Why are You taking part in 1942 movement? Why don’t You look after Your mother? Your mother is so much worried.’ This and that. He gave Me a big lecture, you see. Of course, 1942 was a real ordeal for any young girl. They put Me on the ice and gave Me electric shocks, did all kinds of things, but to Me it didn’t bother.

So, My father called Me on one side. He said, ‘How dare this old man tell You all this nonsense? I’m so very proud of You. I hope all my children become like You and kill themselves for the country. And then he shouted at My mother, ‘You are a daughter of such and such, of such a family. How dare you write letters like that? What do you mean by this?’ That was My father.

I was a very young person, about seventeen, eighteen, nineteen. He said, ‘Go ahead. I’m all with You. And that has given Me the lesson that if you have complete purity about your dedication and purity about what you have to do, you can achieve. And as Gandhiji had said, ‘We have to have first freedom.’

I saw the Union Jack coming down and I saw the Tricolor going up. That was the moment – it’s beyond Me- even now I remember those days. Many of you who are Indians here may not have seen those days. That’s why you’re so careless. That’s why some of you do not understand out of what sacrifices this freedom we have got. It’s not a easy freedom. It was very, very difficult one and Shastriji was one of them who gave up everything to join and he had a mother to look after. He was another one who just gave up all those things. Any young man would have ambitions: do this, do that -nothing. He gave up everything just to join Congress. Those were the days where people were charmed. Just he…

Gandhiji was also a very short man. This gentle man had really charmed all the young people. So many young people gave up their studies, gave up everything, not for something wrong, but for, to fight for your country and they sacrificed their lives. So many of them were extremely honest, pure, with a love for your country itself, made them so beautiful, I think. There we were young girls, there were young boys, there were old men, old women, we never had any, any such things which we call as corruption, or any kind of bad feelings. We’re all working together, day and night.

I mean, I have had some very bad experiences of these, that where to stay in jungles and do all these things. I mean, if somebody writes My biography, maybe there you might see all these things. But in the main life of these great people is their pure love for their country, pure love for their country. There’s a difference between love for your country. Pure love means you just love your country for the country’s sake, not because you can make money, get into positions, high, higher positions you’ll have, all this, not for that, just purely, purely, very purely, just an inner innate dharma to love your country.

In the same way, all of you should love your country, but with the view that we all will have one world, one day. It’s important that if any country, if any country is not equipped with that love for their own, they will be like a cancer if they join one world. Impossible. So the pure love for your country is so good.

Now I find with Sahaja Yogis, once they are transformed, immediately they start seeing what’s wrong with their country. It’s not attachment, it’s not infatuation, it is not blind faith, but they see. Like, call it ( UNCLEAR…??), every one of them, I know every one of them. Nigel will tell you about U.K. They see immediately what’s wrong with their country and they will not be patriotic in the sense that they will condemn other countries and praise their own country. I think that this is the essential that we should see: What’s wrong with our country?

If you have love, say if you love your child, then you must know what’s wrong with that child. Also you should love the child and also say that this is what is wrong with the child. Otherwise you don’t love. It’s possession, it is infatuation. You can call it ‘conditioning’. In the same way I’ve seen everybody now as professor saab from Russia also told Me, how many things are wrong in Russia. Everyone tells Me, ‘This is wrong, Mother, put Your attention. Please try to save.’ I went to Tunisia. They said, ‘Mother, please put Your attention on to Tunisia. This is wrong with East Turkey, this is wrong.’ It’s very surprising, how with this subtle opening of your awareness, now you see what is wrong, what is injurious, whatever is destructive for your country and you want to improve it.

Same with Lal Bahadur Shastri, he asked Me several times, several times, how to improve the food conditions of India. Now you know with Sahaja Yoga you can. I couldn’t tell him about Sahaja Yoga, but I did say there is a divine method by which it can be done. But agriculture should be without income tax and maximum importance must be given to agriculture. Till today it is (UNCERTAIN..there??) . Otherwise also he asked Me about various things, even about Kashmir. So I told him that the biggest mistake was to make a separate constitution. By that you just give a gap to them. Just give them a gap and that’s why the problem is there. His, you see, whole attention was so holistic, I would say, and he would always see how we can create beautiful relationship between people of different races, different religions, different ideologies, he had a knack of (UNCERTAIN??…sounds like “everything) he had a knack. I think he must be raising their Kundalini perhaps, but he had a knack that C.P. has said is true. He could transform a person into something more. His style was so collective, so collective, that in the garden he would sit, stand there. And everybody who comes there he would meet.

He had a tremendous memory. I too have, so I used to wonder there’s another one I found out, who has such a tremendous memory, because to Me it is sometimes embarrassing to have such a memory but to him it was such a blessing, I should say for people, because he would ask them for such small things. ‘How is your mother now?’ or ‘How, did you get your house?’ See, so much subtle. It was, like I tell you the motherly type of a love. Of course, he has been extremely, extremely kind to Me, except that he didn’t take Me to Tashkant. He was to take Me; things would have been different, but it is all fated, you know. Can’t help it. And once I did tell him that you should little bit take rest also, do little meditation. ‘We have no time.’ He said, ‘It’s better to shine like a shooting star.’ I said, ” Shooting stars are those which are no good as stars. But you are so important. You have no idea as to how important you are. And if you realize how important you are, you’ll look after yourself.”

He used to live in the last part of the houses, so humble, so very humble. Whatever you gave him, he would eat. His ordinary what you call Khatiya in our language, he used to sleep on that. I said, ‘Why are you such a saint? Why can’t you sleep on a proper bed, after all, we need you, for our sake you have to do it.” So, he would say, ‘I feel more comfortable in this.’ See, he’s just a man who is so detached. He was going to Russia and they all felt that the, he wore the coat he was wearing is not sufficient for Russia and must change it. So they told Me. I said, “You better tell him. I won’t be able to talk to him about it,” so they approached C.P. They said, ‘C.P. told him that, ‘Sir, don’t you think we should make another coat for you?’ He said, ‘Ah, so they have come to you now?’ He said, ‘Whatever it is, but I think we have to make a coat for you.’ To make one coat for him was impossible.

He never carried any money with him. You’ll be surprised and he didn’t know what were the new coins are. So at the airport I would always be there, you see, and he would tell Me. So he said, ‘This lady is coming to me to put that piece of flag on me. I have no money. What to do?’ So I said, “All right. I’ll give her something.” So I gave her one rupee. He said, ‘You have no coin?’ I said, “The coin is for ten p.” ‘What is that?’ he says. I said, ” It is one tenth of a rupee nowadays.” ‘Oh, I see. It is better then you give her a note.’ But he wanted to give her a coin as an auspicious thing. So detached about things, so much.

At the same time he was so diligently working out, you know, because the way he used to ask Me questions, I was surprised, I was surprised how diligently and subtly he wanted to improve everything. He said that, ‘What should we do?’ I said, “First of all we must have water.” ‘I know that. We must have water in every village. Gandhiji always used to say. He told his wife that, ‘You go to the well and bring the water to me.’ I told her one day. ‘Ba, let me do it. Why are you doing it? So now my husband will be very angry. He has told me, ‘Till every village gets water, you fill in the water for me and bring it. So I remember that we have to supply water. (ASIDE HERE…not too sure about who is saying what here.)

Shastri was very much on that. Also he said that these people who travel by third class there’s no fan, nothing. We put fans, we put fans in the third class waiting rooms. He, I mean he, you see, he started you can say, he was a communist in a way, because he was a capitalist. He was so full of love and so full of patriotism, that if his love would not allow him to see people suffer, so whatever he could do, he tried to do. He was really only for eighteen months he lived. Like a shooting star as he said and there are so many things one can talk about it which C.P. has kindly put it in his book also.

I know I, I put him onto an oath that he has to write this book because he has written files after files up to here and they’re of no use. I said, “What’s the use of all these files? You have to write Me a book on Shastriji.” And I’ve been always insisting on him for helping Shastriji because I knew what he was. I had the image of a man who would do such revolution in this country and bring down people to higher values then, not money, money, money, money business, no, to the higher values because he was an evolved soul, he was detached man and what a caliber of intelligence he had.

Normally if you talk to any minister, I know so many of them, at the most they might speak good English because, you see, we are very slavish people. If you don’t know how to speak good English, means we are the worst, you see, you must speak good English. If you don’t know Hindi, all right, but English, you must know. We are still, we are still like that.

I know so many ministers who knew very good English, great, great speakers but there not a word about Indian philosophy, not a word (UNCLEAR..??) they did. Kundalini is out of the question. They didn’t know also what is the (UNCLEAR…TATTWA??), nothing, nothing, they did not know about their (country??). But Shastri was a ( UNCLEAR…??) and so learned in all our scriptures and thing. He had studied Koran, he had studied Bible, every sort of thing he had studied. And I talked to him sometimes about what My father told Me. He said, ‘Correct. That’s it, that’s it.’ About Koran I told him. He said, ‘ That’s it. That’s correct.’ Such a learned man he was. And his own capacity to convince others was something very special, very subtle and he would first listen, then smile, then wait, listen more, talk less but one sentence he’ll say and it would ( UNCLEAR, sounds like.. ‘stamp’ or ‘stand’). There’s something really absolutely divine. But I don’t know, he showed this respect so much for Me, that I used to feel very shy, you know, extremely shy, but he’s very sweet, he does it in such a sweet way that he’ll just say he’ll take my sari and put in inside and then push the ( muffled..).

He’s the Prime Minister of….But in our country a saint is worshiped and respected. I also remember Sanjivreddy , he had invited Me because I had cured him of his cancer. When I went there they have everything made of what you call ‘sandalwood’. I was rather careful sitting in the chair with the sandalwood, you know. He came with his wife, with all kinds of fruits and a big, such a big tray of silver, very beautifully done. He kept it before Me and both of them sat at My feet. So I said, “Sir, what are you doing? You are President of India. Why are you sitting here?” He said, ‘I am President, but You are Saint, You are a Saint.’ And I took one, I mean he said, ‘You have to take something.’ I said, “I can take an apple.” I took apple, but I said, ” I cannot take anything.” He said, ‘But what about this plate we have made for You.?’ I said, “You keep with you. I don’t take anything like that.” He was so amazed. And he’s the one who really gave us this land for our ashram. He’s gave us this.

So we had people of that kind, very much. Also Governor of Kashmir when I went there. He was a very nice man, very kindly to Me, but he knew Me as his (???). One day I saw him walking down to the guest house. I said, “What is he doing without any shoes or socks in Kashmir?” I said, “What is he doing?” He came in. I said, ” Sir, you are without shoes and socks.” He said, ‘I have come to meet a Saint,’ and he came and he sat at My feet and then he started asking about Sahaja Yoga.

So, India is a very great country because it’s a country where the Saints are worshiped. They are not created by church or by something. But they are real Saints and such Saints are worshiped and respected by Kings. This is the only country where it happens. I think, and I was surprised now, another country I found out is Russia, where they have respected Me so much. I’m really amazed, so there must be quite something very common.

First time I went with C.P. to Russia I told him, ” This is a very spiritual country, no doubt.” And Shastriji went there. I was happy because I knew that Russians are spiritual, very introspective and they are not conditioned by any religion or anything. Now so many things, if you see, you can connect, how things worked out in Shastriji’s life. Now he’s no more, but this book, I hope, will go to all over the world and will really open the eyes of the politicians and they will have to revalue themselves.

Socrates talked about a benevolent King and Shri Rama was that benevolent King once upon a time and when I saw Lal Bahadur Shastri, I said, ” Here is a benevolent King who is come.” He has lived very short. I don’t know. That’s our fate; we Indians don’t have a very good fate, I think; doesn’t matter. But now it is for us to express his life all over the world. Here we have Sahaja Yogis from everywhere, they can take this book and they can present it to some of their politicians if they have any time to read. They might understand that there’s a life which is much higher, much valuable. After all, this money, I have not known anybody who has erected a statue of a man who has too much money or too many wives or keeps or the one who was a drunkard. So the value system which is now going on, is of a, a nature that will not only destroy you, but destroy nations after nations.

But this book has a special value, I feel, that by that, many will see their faces in the mirror and they might be able to correct themselves and maybe in the political field we will find sensible, better people. That was My idea. I must say I got after My husband that he should write this book. But you know, he is a man worse than Me because he’s, if he takes to some work – finished. He went here, and he went there, he did this and he did that. Worked very hard. He’s very hard working, extremely meticulous. Today the first day he’s late, you see, I said,” Because of Me, better change now.” He’s so particular about time.

I must say that without C.P.’s help I could not have done Sahaja Yoga because he has only one Wife and I’m always out, I’m always traveling. I’m, I mean, I’m very, very little time with him. One thing he used to do the same to Me before. So (laughs) he’s used to My absence, I think, but I must say My children and My family, which is here, they also always support Me in Sahaja Yoga and they respect Sahaja Yogis very much and they think that what work I am doing is the only solution for saving the world. In a way they do not take too much part in our organizing and all that. The reason is: I Myself, I think the partisan business should not start in Sahaja Yoga, but they are very much with us and they have come all the way today again and they do meditation and is very, very supportive to Me and to Sahaja Yoga.

I have to now thank all the people who have helped C.P. so much. It’s so spontaneous. They all helped him so much and (UNCLEAR NAME….) himself was telling Me, ‘Mother, he writes very well,’ and I don’t know what to do, and one day I said, ” (UNCLEAR..NAME??), write for Me also something. You can write very well.” So he wrote one paragraph.

So I showed it to C.P. So C.P. said, ‘Who wrote? You wrote it?’ I said, “No, not Me.” He said, ‘Yes, must be somebody else, complicated like me.’ I said, “Why?” He said, ‘You don’t refer any book. You don’t go to any library. You don’t do anything. You just straight forward, You write.’ But I said, “I write on a subject which I know.” And while he has to not only to refer, but has to be meticulously all right and ( UNCLEAR NAME…) would be after him, ‘Sir, this is little different than this,’ I said, ” I’m not bothered. If I have to say something, I’ll say that. “What (Unclear…??), ” Socrates said. So what. In the book whatever is written, who’s going to challenge Me? But for him, you see, being a bureaucrat and all that, so meticulously he has done the book that even General Joshi was surprised the way he has written about the military things. He said,’Sir, how do you know all this?’

So you see the book itself is very interesting and really it reads like a novel, no doubt. I’m very happy about it. But it is being worked out so meticulously that I don’t think you can find any fault anywhere. But in My book, anybody wants, can find that Christ didn’t say so, that didn’t say so, this thing, I don’t care. I’m not bothered. Whatever I have to say, I will say.

He had to work very hard to make it that perfect and he has done it. He has taken all the thing. It was one of My greatest desire. He always said, ‘You never ask me for anything. I want to buy something for You when I am going abroad. What is this? Everybody buys something.You never ask for anything.’ I said, “I don’t want anything. Why should I ask for?” ‘But something You must ask.’ Always he used to demand.

I said, “Now I have one desire, one desire: that you write this book and complete it. That’s all is. My desire.” And he has done it. I’m thankful to him and I’m thankful to all Sahaja Yogis who have helped and to you all who have come into another kind of an atmosphere where patriotism and righteousness and Shastriji’s great character we are enjoying through Sahaja Yoga.

May God bless you.

H.H. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi