Eternally Inspiring Recollections of our Divine Mother Volume 1 – Early Days to 1980


Sahaja Yogis’ stories of

Her Holiness Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi

This book is humbly dedicated to

our Divine Mother, Her Holiness Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi

that Your name may be ever more glorified, praised and worshipped

Thank You, Shri Mataji, for the warmth and simplicity and all the many ways in which You showered Your love upon us. And thank You for the great play of Shri Mahamaya that helped seekers to love and trust You, often without yet understanding the Truth that You were and are.

The heart of this book is to remind us of the magic of Sahaja Yoga. The spirit of this book is to help our brothers and sisters all over the world, and also in the future, to know a small part of the beauty and glory of You, Shri Mataji, as a loving, caring Mother whose wonderful power of divine love dispelled and continues to dispel all our uncertainties.

Sift now through the words that we found when we tried to remember. What follows is our collective memory, our story together. We ask Your forgiveness if our memories are less than perfect, but our desire is to share with others the love that You gave us, as best we can.


The editor would like to humbly thank all the people who have made this book possible. First and foremost we bow to Her Holiness Shri Mataji, who is the source and fulfillment of all, and who graciously encouraged the collection of these stories.

Chapter 1: 1960’s and before – It Began in India

The middle path

Shri Mataji told us that seekers and more evolved people tend to be born in the middle level of society – not too rich and not too poor. She said She took Her birth in a family in this middle range, but as She was Shri Mahalakshmi, Her family could not help rising up and becoming blessed and successful in every way.


Stories from Shri Mataji’s childhood

Shri Mataji told us that when She was a little girl She would get Her friends to play at acting out stories from the Ramayana, for example, and She would take the part of Sita.

She also told us a story of how when Her parents were in jail for their part in the freedom struggle, She would sometimes be sent to Gandhi’s ashram. She told us that a number of young people were sent there and one was a young Maharaja. He had never shared a room with anyone and at the ashram the boys all slept together in a big hall. Mahatma Gandhi apologized when he asked for his own room, explaining there were none available, but said he could sleep outside in the yard. The other children knew what would happen but did not let on. In the night some snakes came to drink and the young Maharaja heard them coming. He was only too happy to share a room after that.

Linda Williams

Birthday presents

This story was told to us by Mother’s sister (we called her Moushi Aunty). Moushi was just over one year younger than Shri Mataji and so Mother’s birthday was celebrated a short while before Moushi’s.

One year, when they were still very little girls, Shri Mataji’s birthday came around and She was lovingly given many presents. Moushi was jealous and started crying and complaining. No one could pacify her, she wanted presents too and she didn’t want to wait those few weeks until her birthday. She herself confessed that she was stubborn and wouldn’t stop her tantrum. Eventually the little child Shri Mataji gathered up all Her presents and brought them over to Moushi.

‘Here, you can have them, they’re yours,’ She said.

Marilyn Leate

What Shri Mataji wrote

When Shri Mataji was around eleven years old Mahatma Gandhi asked Her, ‘Why don’t You write a poem?’ And this is the poem that She wrote:

Early in the morning

I pray to the essence of My Spirit,

Which is,

‘The Truth, the Attention and the Joy;

So that I should go to the highest state of My ascent.’

Juan Vega

Bhide Girls High School, Nagpur, Maharashtra, where Shri Mataji was a pupil

Shri Mataji was actively involved in the freedom struggle

When Her Holiness was a teenager and Her family were involved in the struggle for India to be freed from the colonialists, Shri Mataji was very actively involved Herself and used to sneak out at night to attend meetings for planning freedom tactics etc. She was also caught by the British and tortured. She was highly active in Mahatma Gandhi’s movement and he used to call Her ‘Nepali’ and seek Her advice on spiritual protocols.

Also the Holy Mother supported many humanitarian causes that no one is aware of, and gave of Her own money freely to help alleviate suffering.

Toni Panayioutou

A gift of bangles

When Shri Mataji was a medical student the head of the university where She was studying was sympathising with the British and the students wanted to do something to show him up. There was a big gathering of staff, students and families, and Shri Mataji went up on the stage in front of everyone and presented him with a small gift, some bangles. To give a man bangles in India implies he is not a man. She was expelled, but said She only studied medicine in order to find out how far humans had got with their knowledge of the human body and after two years did not need to go on with it.

Linda Williams

The life blood of my country

Shri Mataji was once with Mahatma Gandhi when it was time for a meal. The servant came in and Gandhi gave him the key of a cupboard, and Gandhi looked to see how many people were staying for lunch, and then measured out one scoop of rice for each person. Someone asked why he was doing this, because he was not short of food.

‘This is the life blood of my country, I cannot waste it,’ he said.

Linda Williams

Travels abroad

Shri Mataji told us that when Sir CP was the Director of the Shipping Corporation of India, Shri Mataji encouraged various changes on the ships, such as cabins for officers which were large enough for their wives to accompany them. She Herself travelled on the ships and visited many places such as Cape Town and Dar es Salaam.

Linda Williams

The Divine censor

Shri Mataji told us She was on the board of Film Censors in India before coming to the UK. This is why the old Hindi movies of the sixties are always ok from the point of view of dharma.

Linda Williams

My first holy darshan of Shri Mataji

It was in about February or March in 1963 that a complaint came to my superior, from the Shipping Corporation of India office, about a maintenance problem in their flat at Jeevan Jyot. As it was my job, the next day I went to Jeevan Jyot around 9.00 am and rang the bell of the flat. Shri Mataji Herself opened the door and I was so impressed by Her personality and holy shining face that I automatically folded my hands together.

‘Namaskar,’ I said, and She reciprocated the same.

‘I have come about the complaint lodged in our office,’ I explained. Shri Mataji asked if I had brought a replacement to solve the problem.

‘I have come to explain about our inability to do so,’ I replied. She said that Shri Srivastava Saheb had already gone to the office and whatever explanation I had to give, to give it to him, as he was the master of the house, and She was ‘just a Gruha Lakshmi’.

‘I will come tomorrow again early,’ I said. She offered me a cup of tea, to which I said I would come the next day and have it. I said namaskar and departed. I had learnt from the staff under me that She would never allow a person to go from Her house without a cup of tea, however small he may be.

At 8.00 am the next day I went to the flat again. The servant opened the door and I was asked to sit in the drawing room. Shri Mataji came in with Her two daughters, gave instructions to them about their going out and asked them what time they would be back. As Shri Mataji came in I offered my namaskar.

‘Saheb is taking his bath. Please sit and have a cup of tea,’ She said. The servant brought a cup of tea. I just had one sip when Shri Srivastava Saheb came. I got up and said namaskar and he reciprocated the same.

Then followed a series of questions about the maintenance of the flats, and I explained that as per the lease agreement all the maintenance inside the flat had to be done by the lessee. We discussed this and came to a satisfactory conclusion. He asked why my staff did not explain this earlier, and I answered that they might have been afraid to meet him personally to say this. He replied that no one should be afraid to tell the truth to anyone.

‘Oh, you have not finished your tea. Sit, finish it and then go,’ he said, and left. I finished my tea and said namaskar again to Shri Mataji.

‘May God bless you,’ She said, and the blessing gave me two beautiful twin daughters later on. I still remember in my heart Her shining holy face and Her white silk sari with a red border that She was wearing then.

Suresh Thacker

Shri Mataji, front right, at a Shipping Corporation of India function

May God bless you

In 1969, I again met Shri Mataji at Worli, Mumbai, near Century Bazaar. We were then staying in Worli, and my wife told me that she had met a beautiful lady with a gleaming, shining face at the market.

‘I said namaskar to Her and asked Her if it was the first time She had come to this area,’ my wife said. ‘To this the beautiful lady replied that it was, and She had come to stay with Her married daughter for a few days. I told HHYer to buy vegetables from that Madrasi hawker, because he sells fresh ones at reasonable rates. She thanked me for guidance and said “May God bless you!”.’

My wife asked me if I would like to meet this lady. The next day being Saturday, I accompanied my wife to the market, as usual. She took me to Shri Mataji when She was buying vegetables from the Madrasi hawker.

‘She is Mrs Srivastava!’ I told my wife. I said namaskar to Shri Mataji and She reciprocated the same. Shri Mataji narrated to me how kindly my wife had directed Her to this hawker for fresh vegetables.

‘You have a good dutiful wife,’ She said. ‘May God bless you both.’ This blessing probably enabled me to survive my first heart attack three months later.

When I look back on both these occasions, I feel how compassionate and loving Shri Mataji and Shri Saheb were for all who came in contact with them, and how they both loved truthfulness, sincerity, good human values in others.

Suresh Thacker

The perfect mother

These photos were taken on the occasion of the wedding of Shri Mataji’s daughter Kalpana. It took place on 24th November 1969 in Mumbai. It is well known that Shri Mataji, the perfect wife and mother, did not begin Her spiritual mission until Her daughters were both married and settled.

The wedding of Shri Mataji’s elder daughter

A prayer answered

The musician Aslam Khan is the brother-in-law of Baba Zaheer, the qawwali singer from Hyderabad who always sang before Shri Mataji. He told this miracle story. 

Around the time of Eid, the Muslim festival, Aslam Khan was very worried as there was no money to buy presents for his family. This festival being like Christmas and Diwali, it is celebrated with feasts and presents. They had barely enough to prepare a biryani.

One day before Eid he prayed to Allah to show him a miracle by which he could get a programme and with the money get gifts. Eid was next day. Just then his phone rang and he got a call, asking if he was free to sing Sufi songs at the house of the Chairman of the Shipping Corporation, Mr CP Srivastava, on Napean Sea Rd, and he should come immediately.

Luckily he lived nearby and arrived at the house of Shri Mataji, as it was also Kalpana Didi’s sangeet ceremony before her marriage in Mumbai. He went there, sang for two to three hours and was handed an envelope. When he went home he opened the envelope and found 2,000 rupees in it, which was a very high sum in those days. He didn’t know who Shri Mataji was, and broke down and wept silently and thanked Allah!

Deepa Mahajan

How kind and compassionate Shri Mataji was

Shri Mataji and Sir CP were living in Mumbai in the Shipping Corporation flat, on Napean Sea Road, when Sir CP was Shipping Corporation Chairman. A few floors down lived Mrs Batra, the wife of Admiral Batra, who knew Shri Mataji very well and related this story to me.

She told me how kind and compassionate Shri Mataji was. If anyone in the building fell sick She would go their flat and heal them. Once Mrs Batra’s son got a high fever and it would not go down. She phoned Shri Mataji. The ladies used to call Her Nirmala. Shri Mataji immediately went downstairs and for a long time worked on the little boy. He recovered. 

This is from one who is not a Sahaja Yogi and whose experience of meeting Shri Mataji was very pleasant.

Deepa Mahajan

Chapter 2: 1970 – 1971Opening the Sahasrara

Shri Mataji called the seekers

We lived in Mumbai when I was a child, and my grandmother was very religious, reading scriptures and doing pujas. She regularly went to temples. One time my grandmother went to a bhajans session in a temple and after it was finished she came out.

A lady, who was in fact Shri Mataji, drew up in a car and introduced Herself, and said they had met in past lives, and She was going to start something, and would my grandmother be interested? Shri Mataji gave Her family background, and Sir CP’s job, so as to reassure anyone at our home that it was all right to go to someone’s house.

A few other people had also been told in this way, that Shri Mataji was trying to get the seekers together before the opening of the Sahasrara. After going to Jeevan Jyot, my grandmother came home very excited, saying that she had met someone very amazing. She got a confirmation of this, because I saw someone outside our house, sort of looking at it, and when I described this man to my grandmother, she recognised him as Shri Shirdi Sai Nath, whom she worshipped. When we looked outside again he had completely disappeared.

Anonymous Indian Sahaja Yogini

I am about to start this work

Shri Mataji used to stay at Jeevan Jyot, Mumbai, in 1970 and was known as Mrs Nirmala Srivastava. I asked some girls where Mrs Srivastava stayed and went up.

‘Are you looking for Me?’ Shri Mataji said as She opened the door. She held me by the hand and took me inside very politely and asked me to sit down.

‘Where are you coming from?’ She asked me.

‘I am from Dhulia and I have heard Your name and came looking for You.’

‘Who have you been worshipping, that your vibrations are so nice?’ Shri Mataji asked.

‘Ambaji,’ I said.

‘So today Ambaji has come to you. Here I am in front of you.’

‘I am about to start this work and right now I am waiting for My daughter, Kalpana, to have her baby. Once I am through with that, I will call you. Please leave your name and address before you go and within a month I shall call you.’


How amazing it was

Shri Mataji asked my grandmother to go to Her house, and after a few sessions a group of ten or twelve people went up to Nargol, where Shri Mataji opened the Sahasrara. When my grandmother came back from that she told everyone in our house how amazing it was and how she would get up early in the morning and bathe in the ocean and sit for meditation.

Anonymous Indian Sahaja Yogini

Tree at Nargol under which Shri Mataji opened the Sahasrara on 5th May 1970

They all felt the cool breeze

After opening the Sahasrara at Nargol on the 5th May 1970, Shri Mataji slowly, one by one, raised the Kundalini shakti of the seekers who came to Her, and they all felt the param chaitanya shakti, the cool breeze, on their fingertips, hands and at the Sahasrara chakra.

Suresh Thacker

Nargol, a holy pilgrimage place for all Sahaja Yogis

Nargol is a small village on the beach about sixteen kilometres from Sanjan in South Gujarat, just inside Gujarat State, and close to the border with Maharashtra. The creek between Sanjan and Umergaon was an active port many years back and was where the Parsis landed over a thousand years ago, and settled in Nargol, Sanjan and other places nearby. The Parsis originally came from Iran, and are followers of Shri Zoraster, an avatar of Shri Adi Guru Dattratreya.

It was on the morning of the 4th May, 1970 that Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi decided to open Her and the universal Sahasrara. She sat in meditation from twelve noon of that day under a saru tree on Nargol Beach and on the 5th May, 1970 at 4.40 am, the ‘Brahma Muharat’, the dawn and the auspicious divine moment, when She opened the whole universal Sahasrara. Shri Mataji has described this in Her lectures, about how the param chaitanya Kundalini entered Her body and the Kundalini, the Sahasrara shakti, was raised. Shri Mataji had gone to Nargol on 3rd May, 1970 and stayed in a bungalow named Blue Heaven, which belonged to Shri Talyarkhan, the Collector of the Bulsar District at that time.

It is said by old local residents of Nargol that when Shri Mataji was meditating, on that night in 1970, four dogs came and sat at a little distance from the saru tree at the four corners and stayed there until the following morning.

Suresh Thacker

A trip to Bordi

We all went from Bombay to Bordi in a train with Shri Mataji. She would talk to all of us and we would follow Her wherever She went. I would never leave Mother, as I wanted to see what She did. I would follow Her and do as She directed, without any question.

‘Look at Raolbai from Dhulia. She always has her attention on what I am doing, not like some others who are busy wasting their attention on some trifling matter,’ She said, and used to call me Rajkunwar.

We were all staying in a school and after dinner She would start giving realisation to people. She asked me to keep my hands under Her Lotus Feet. Mr Modi, who was then the leader, used to understand everything. I personally never understood anything, as for me what She said was it. If She said I was realised now, for me I was that.

She worked on my back like this – the raising of the Kundalini. Then Mother looked very lovingly and sang a beautiful song, ‘Par Brahma Parameshwar.’ She sang so beautifully. That face was so joyous, so loving and so happy. And like this, She gave realisation to four or five people until midnight. The next day She sat alone and called each one individually to give them Self Realisation.


You are fortunate that you saw Me

‘Raolbai, I want you to come to My house tomorrow. All of you who felt vibrations must meditate every morning and evening, so as to go deep and feel them.’

I used to stay with my daughter in a one room apartment and at around 4 am I woke up and I was surprised to see Mataji in front of me in the same position as when She gave self realisation in Bordi.

‘Do you get thoughts by putting attention on Me?’ She asked, when the next day I met Shri Mataji.

‘No,’ I said. Mataji told me that I had attained my thoughtless state.

‘What did you see in the morning?’

‘Mother, I saw You in a meditating pose.’

‘For all the people to whom I gave self realisation yesterday, I was meditating in the morning for them. As you all are new and do not understand, you are fortunate that you saw Me.’



It concerned the 2500th anniversary of the Acheaminid Dynasty. I was talking to Shri Mataji and happened to mention to Her that I was there in May 1971, at the same time as Her brother Baba Mama took Her there as part of Her visit to Teheran, when he worked as accountant for Air India. She immediately remembered the event clearly, when She was talking to a group of archaeologists at the wooden workshop where the throne room had been located, walking around identifying the features.

There was this throne of Indra, who had incarnated as King Cyrus, one of the most revered figures of the ancient world. Later the scientists confirmed Shri Mataji’s indications as incredible but factual according to their research. Persepolis overlooks the plain on which at that time a collection of huge tents were assembled for the celebrant heads of state.

John Henshaw

Shri Mataji praised our every attempt  

This was on my first visit to Shri Mataji’s flat in Napean Sea Road, Mumbai in July 1971. A week or so earlier while in Udaipur, Rajasthan where I was studying, a friend mentioned that he knew of someone who did healing through meditation. I needed healing, but also was desperate to find a guru. This fitted the bill, so to speak. Twenty four hours later, an eight hour bus ride and a twelve hour train journey found me in Mumbai trying to get details of Her address. A week later found me sitting in a taxi with someone who had been treated by Shri Mataji. At last we were on our way to Her place. When we arrived the lady who took me there pointed to Shri Mataji’s flat.

‘Go there and say you are here to see Mrs Srivastava,’ she advised. 

A few moments later I was let in by Her servant. Shri Mataji came into the lounge.

‘How are you?’ She asked.

‘Happy,’ was my reply. 

She then asked where I was from and I said I was from South Africa. Her next words took me by storm. 

‘I will give you My powers and you can go back there and do My work,’ She said.

I sat there gaping. Me, a broken down, battered seeker! Not possible. This must some sort of a joke. But Shri Mataji was so vibrant and beautiful that I stayed put and am ever so glad I did.

Anonymous South African Sahaja Yogi

From ignorance to bliss

 In around October 1971 Shri Mataji was working on my back with Her Feet and I asked what She was doing. Shri Mataji said She was straightening out my Kundalini. My thoughts were, ‘It must be pretty twisted’. But then I felt so happy that someone was doing it for me after all the years of trying to awaken my Kundalini myself. Until that point Shri Mataji had not mentioned much about the Kundalini. 

 In those days Shri Mataji never corrected or challenged our beliefs but praised our every attempt to understand and experience our beings. She led us from where we were in our deluded states to our enlightened state, from ignorance to bliss so very gently that we did not realise where we were going till we had arrived.  

Anonymous South African Sahaja Yogi

The first public programmes

It was around November 1971 that the first public programme was organized at Cawasji Jehangir Hall in Mumbai and Shri Mataji gave a lecture, and gave realisation to a few seekers.

Shri Mataji established first weekly meditation centre in 1971 at Geeta Bhavan, on the third floor of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chowpatty, Mumbai, every Tuesday at 6.30 pm. Shri Mataji would be there personally whenever She was in Mumbai. How well She used to take care of us all at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Centre!

Suresh Thacker

Bring her along

The first time I saw Shri Mataji was in Her house at Jeevan Jyot, in about 1971. I was a schoolgirl at the time. Shri Mataji used to invite people to the house. My mother went to see Shri Mataji quite a few times before I was taken. I used to wonder where she was going. One day she took a photo of me to Shri Mataji.

‘Bring her along!’ Shri Mataji said. I didn’t know where I was going but I was told by my mother that I was going to see somebody, and I had to be quiet when She spoke because my mum had something important to discuss, and if I was quiet I could be taken again.

As soon as we, that is my mother, sister and I got there, we were greeted by little dogs at the door. Apparently they recognised yogis and their bark was completely different then. If a seeker knocked they knew. We were led into a little room at the side and Shri Mataji came in the evening. Immediately She saw us kids She called and asked the cook to go and get something to eat for the children. We were admiring a little carved coffee table, painted white, that was there, and it had been designed by Shri Mataji.

The cook brought in chips and occupied us throughout so we didn’t disturb the talk, and obviously Shri Mataji was working on us through our Nabhis. We always wanted to go back after that! Shri Mataji was forcing us to eat the chips – we would just eat one or two, but She would encourage us to eat them all and said they were for us.

If people arrived and Shri Mataji was in deep meditation, on occasions even Sir CP would welcome them and make them comfortable until such time as Shri Mataji could see them. Right from the start Shri Mataji and the Sahaja Yogis had so much support from Her family.

Anonymous Indian Sahaja Yogini

One would feel Her fragrance

After the first meetings at Jeevan Jyot I was allowed to go to the talks that Shri Mataji used to give near Dadar. There would be sixty to a hundred people. Everyone would come in and sit with their eyes closed and Shri Mataji would arrive. Sometimes She would give a talk and sometimes She would just give an introduction.

‘Close your eyes,’ She would say then, and She would walk around the whole hall and put Her hand on everyone, on the Sahasrara. As She came closer one would feel Her fragrance as She went past us and moved between people. Then we would feel Her hand come on our Sahasrara. After that She would call people up. Everyone would queue up and go to Her Feet. Further on into those programmes Shri Mataji would tell people to check other people’s vibrations. Some people would stand around in a semicircle, and as others came up to do namaskar to Her Feet, the ones standing would check and She would say things like, ‘This one is realised.’ We were too young for that, and just used to offer flowers and garlands to Shri Mataji.

She would tell people about the fingers and the chakras, maybe, at the formal talks, but I was too small at the time. We would check the vibrations with both hands towards the person, but Shri Mataji would be just in front of us and so the attention was through the Sahasrara. She would sometimes touch the person’s back, or tell the person to sit up, with their back to Her, and work on the chakras at the back, with Her Hands or Feet, mostly with Her Feet. If it was the lower back She would have Her Feet on them.

One of the experiences was that if someone had a problem, or if someone was ill, She would actually show us. The person would have their head on Shri Mataji’s Feet, and She showed us how the Kundalini was working somewhere on the back. You could see the skin pulsing, and that was the first time we saw a physical manifestation of what we had felt on our fingers. Shri Mataji explained that wherever there is a blockage the Kundalini goes and clears that.

Anonymous Indian Sahaja Yogini

Jump into the ocean

In the early days, going back to July 1971, we did not know who Shri Mataji was but knew She was great. She allowed us to feel the vibrations coming in at our Sahasrara when She placed Her hand on it and also allowed us to see the golden hue of the vibrations. This lasted until January 1972, then suddenly we stopped seeing the vibrations but continued to feel them. I remember really trying to see them after that but could not and thought I had done something wrong and was being punished. But as time passed we began to see the reality of it and how gradually Shri Mataji was revealing to us the truth of Her advent.

  Anonymous South African Sahaja Yogi

Back from the dead

In December 1971 I fell sick at my home in Nasik and sank into a state of deep anaemia, my entire body having turned yellow with an astoundingly low haemoglobin count of five, normal being about fifteen. I sank into a coma and was rushed by ambulance to hospital in Mumbai with a recovery chance estimated at hardly five per cent.

At that time, by divine providence, Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi was in Mumbai and a close relative of ours took my worried children to Her for Her Blessing. When they told Shri Mataji about my plight, She assured them that She would put Her attention on me and I would be all right in a few days. After two weeks I was discharged from hospital.

Two weeks later I went for a check-up and was found to be perfectly normal and in good health, to the amazement of the doctors. I was put on some strong medicines, but Shri Mataji advised me to discard them all. She warned me that my continued intake of these strong medicines would give me a heart attack at a later date. Ignoring Shri Mataji’s advice and thinking that out of caution I had to take these medicines, I went on for a while till Shri Mataji sent another warning. I then discontinued the medicines, but it was a bit too late.

In 1973 I had a severe heart attack and was rushed to Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai, where I was examined and declared dead, my pulse having totally failed. Shri Mataji was at that time in London. Fortunately, She could be contacted over the telephone. Her attention and Her blessings were given to me from London and I miraculously recovered.

My point here is that it is not very necessary for Her to be physically present. Her collective attention and vibrations travel like lightning to any distance in a very short time. There was a time I needed twenty to twenty-five tablets a day for my health. Today, nearly forty years later, I do not need even a single tablet and enjoy excellent health. 

BG Murthy

Chapter 3: 1972 – Mumbai, Dhulia, Indian Villages and America

Jump in the ocean 

One day, early in 1972, when I entered Her flat in Napean Sea Rd, Bombay, I saw two lights appear at Shri Mataji’s Hamsa. All my delusions and illusions were absorbed into those lights, until all that remained was just myself, naked in my own being, seeing Her Holiness as if for the first time. It was an experience of unbounded, indescribable joy. Thereafter She placed Her hand on my head.

‘What are you feeling?’ She asked.

‘The ocean,’ I answered.

‘Jump in,’ She then said. She kept Her hand on my Sahasrara for about two minutes. The result was the skin of my whole body, which had dark patches in various parts, like all the joints, eyes etc, due to drug taking, became transformed into one even colour. Gone were all the dark patches. 

The resulting blissful state lasted for nearly two weeks.

Anonymous South African Sahaja Yogi

Editor’s note: if we see lights like this it means we are a bit off centre and it will not happen as we become clearer and more centred.

The first seminars

Shri Mataji requested the first seekers to attend a seminar for four days at Bordi beach, a few kilometres to the south of Nargol, in January 1972. Only ten seekers came to Bordi, where Shri Mataji Herself helped all of them to further establish the power felt by them within. After that She arranged annual camps at Bordi every year until at least 1980, which increased the strength of the old Sahaja Yogis and the new seekers. With all Her selfless devotion and persuasion Sahaja Yoga spread like a fire.

Suresh Thacker

The tree

In March 1972 Shri Mataji again visited Nargol for one day along with Advocate Pradhan, the first trustee of the Life Internal Trust of Mumbai. He requested Shri Mataji to show the tree at Nargol under which She sat to open the Sahasrara of the universe. In all the subsequent years after 1975 some Sahaja Yogis, including the Yuva Shakti have been visiting Nargol on 5th May and have benefitted, by increasing their vibrations after meditating under that tree and doing the salt water treatment on the sea shore.

Suresh Thacker

He felt he could be anywhere in the universe

The second experience occurred a short while later in 1972, at Dadar during a programme. There were young and old who had this state of self realisation. The writer was a bit incredulous but decided to approach a teenager, and asked him what it was like to be realised. This question was asked even though the writer had already had his realisation, but refused to accept it. The young man he asked said he felt light. So the writer went and stood next to Shri Mataji.

‘What is it?’ She asked him. He, taken by surprise, did not know what to say and said the first thing which came to mind.

‘I want to feel light,’ he said.

 Shri Mataji placed Her hand on his head and he started just feeling the vibrations pouring in with a limitless capacity to absorb. This continued until he became completely merged, with a feeling that he could be anywhere he chose in the universe, just by wanting to be there. It felt as if he could reach out to the end of the universe in a moment. This lasted for a while and then he was back to being Mr Nothing. On that day it dawned on him that Shri Mataji was no ordinary person or guru, but greater than even the greatest of gurus. This was in the days when we were gradually coming to realise Her true nature as Shri Adi Shakti.

  Anonymous South African Sahaja Yogi

From now onwards it will be like this

In the early seventies, after Shri Mataji started Sahaja Yoga She used to spend a lot of time working on people. She used take the time to teach us how to feel vibrations and would always ask us which chakras were catching. This gave us the opportunity to develop confidence in ourselves. At each programme, She would deliver a lecture and then She would come down from the stage to work on all the seekers. Due to this we would still depend on Her to make the final pronouncement as to whether someone was ok or not.

In those days the writer was a student in Udaipur, India. In 1972 Shri Mataji decided to have a programme in Ahmedabad.  We found out about it and a few of us made our way there to have the privilege of having Her darshan and participating in the programme. As usual Shri Mataji delivered Her lecture and then came the expected time when She would come down from the stage to work on the seekers. To our surprise She remained on the stage and we remained transfixed, not knowing what was going to happen next.

‘They have all got it,’ Shri Mataji said.

We still did not move. This is not how we had rehearsed it in our minds. 

‘Go and check,’ She said.

We still did not move. It felt like She, as mothers do with their children, was playing a joke on us. So we very reluctantly went and checked one, then another, and with each checking the smile grew on our faces. They were all blowing gale forces above their heads. We then looked at Her.

‘See, you don’t need to work on them,’ She said, or something like that.

The joy we felt and the tremendous confidence that flowed from this experience was unbelievable. For the first time we pronounced seekers as being realised without any intervention from Her Holiness. I am not too clear on this, but I think Her words were, ‘From now onwards it will be like this,’ and She said She would not have to work on people any more for the Kundalini to rise. The writer would like to ask forgiveness from Shri Mataji and all the deities for any inaccuracies in this account.

  Anonymous South African Sahaja Yogi

Shri Mataji was in a white sari

I got my realisation on the 14th of April 1972 in a big apartment called Jeevan Jyot in Mumbai. Shri Mataji used to receive people in Her house every day in 1972, before going to America. My first experience of meditation was when I was told to sit quiet for some time with closed eyes. It might have been fifteen minutes, but I thought maybe it was two hours. Anyway, then they said I got my realisation and we went to Shri Mataji. She was in a white sari, just sitting there.

‘You can either go and put your head under Her Feet,’ they said, ‘or you can go towards Her hand.’ When my turn came, I was near Shri Mataji’s hand and She put some amla oil on my head and massaged it for me. She asked me how I felt.

‘Very fine,’ I replied. She asked me my name and was very happy to hear it.

Avdhut Pai

Shri Mataji would not let them go without eating food

My sister, Meenakshi Murdoch, got her realisation the same day as my mother and I in 1972. In those days, we were very close to Shri Mataji to the extent that sometimes my father would just desire to go to see Shri Mataji. From work, he used to call Her.

‘Shri Mataji, I would like to come and meet You,’ he would ask. He used to go to Her house. At that time sometimes She used to stay in Her daughter Kalpana’s house. That was also later, when She came from England for some time and we used to stay with Her until ten, eleven o’clock and then come home late at night. We would generally have dinner in Her house.

Shri Mataji used to have people come, and they would get realisation, and before going they would have to eat some food. Shri Mataji would not let them go without eating food. In those days people used to be worked on, and then they used to go on Mother’s Feet or hands.

Avdhut Pai

A reflection of your state

We have a photo of Shri Mataji in our house, and when I went out I would see the photo smiling. One time Shri Mataji told us that the photo is a reflection of your state. It smiles because of your state.

Avdhut Pai

This is Nirmal Vidya

Shri Mataji would explain how we have to remain in the collectivity and behave as Sahaja Yogis. She has always given importance to meditation. She made all of us meditate and one by one put attention on all the chakras, Mooladhara and then upwards.

‘This is Nirmal Vidya and nobody has taught Me all this, nor have I read any book,’ She would say. ‘I have meditated on each chakra and discovered the secrets of each one, like Mooladhara, what it looks like, what are the qualities and so on. Every night I meditate for eight hours. I have worked hard for all of you and now you have to work hard and meditate in the morning.’


The story of Tiffin, Ohio, 1972 onwards

Shri Mataji went to the USA in 1972. She was invited to Tiffin, Ohio, by a seeking group called Lotus. The lady, Helen, who invited Shri Mataji, died some time ago and Shri Mataji often asked about her. While Shri Mataji visited the group they called on dead spirits.

‘Of course they (the dead spirits) wouldn’t come with Me being there,’ Shri Mataji later said.

In the late 1980’s Shri Mataji asked repeatedly for Anna Mancini to have meetings in Tiffin and around 1993 I organized a meeting in Heidelberg, which is one of the universities there, and some of the old group members came and informed us that the group had broken up after Helen died, but I would always silently admire the building, when I was driving by, in which the group had been located, as it was the first place Shri Mataji went to outside India and gave self realisation.

Cornelia Weiker

In a public programme given by Shri Mataji in Paris in 1985, She talked about listing all the false gurus, cults and sects in 1972 in America. She stated that this list was published in the newspapers. She mentioned selling Her bangles and sailing to New York, in other talks.

Karen Cole

I had the opportunity to hold some of the meetings in Tiffin, Ohio, and met many of the members of this seeking group who had spent the week with Shri Mataji in 1972. They were all elderly by the time I knew them. They all spent a week with the Goddess, and then went right on seeking, basically. They never understood much about Her, but had fond memories of the time they spent. 

I remember one man who was a farmer and he told me that Shri Mataji had put Her finger in a glass of water for a moment, and had then given it to him and instructed him to put it on his crops. He told me he never understood why She had done that, and asked what I thought. I asked him if he had followed Her instructions and he said he had.

‘How were your crops that year?’ I asked. He said they were fantastic. 

In 1972, Shri Mataji also spoke in San Diego at some sort of seekers’ conference.

Steve Wollenburger

To add to what Steve has stated, Shri Mataji spent a week in Ohio with seekers and actually stayed in the home of one of these seekers. She also gave a public programme in Tiffin. In The Advent, Gregoire states that ‘Mr BG Pradhan, an advocate to the Bombay High Court, was with HH Mataji during Her 1972 trip to the USA.’

In 1989 Shri Mataji asked me to organize some public programmes in Tiffin and some other yogis and I actually met some of the people that were in the presence of Shri Mataji in 1972!     

 Anna Mancini

Everyone was laughing

It was in 1990, and Shri Mataji was in the Toronto ashram (Canada) and several Yogis were gathered around Her.

‘Is the boy from Tiffin here?’ She asked at one point.

I stood up and Shri Mataji suggested we do a programme in Tiffin. So, Anna and I organized a programme. About fifteen to twenty Yogis came to my house, some from as far away as Boston. About twenty to twenty-five new people came to the public programme, which was quite a good turnout considering the population in Tiffin is less than 20,000.

At New York Airport, in 1995 or 1996, I was with a small handful of Yogis who greeted Shri Mataji when She arrived. She started talking about Her trip to Tiffin in 1972. She mentioned that they were trying to channel dead spirits in Her presence. Shri Mataji started imitating them in a very humorous and playful way. She put Her hands out, palms up.

‘Come, come,’ She said slowly, showing us how they were calling on the spirits. She was laughing the whole time. She went on to say, ‘Of course they wouldn’t come, I was there.’ Again there was more laughter from Shri Mataji as well as everyone around Her.

Gary Weiker

We must always be in a joyous mood

Mother came back to India from the USA in 1972. We again had a programme in Dhulia and when She came we would treat Her like a guest. There was no aarti, no puja, only warm hospitality. When Mother’s car arrived some children sent showers of flowers all around.

‘How can I walk on such beautiful flowers?’ Shri Mataji said as She climbed the stairs to enter a room.

‘Mother, I am sorry that You had to climb so many stairs,’ I replied.

‘Oh, it’s nothing. My labour has borne fruits, as I see so many of you self realised.’

Mother stayed there for four days and during that period I prepared everything for Her personal use and meditation. For the self realisation, Mother would ask the seeker to hold Her Feet and requested us to work on the back of the seeker. In this fashion, She would give realisation to each and every one. People in Dhulia were surprised to feel the vibrations all over and Mother would answer all the doubts and questions of every seeker. By the evening time, there was such a large crowd to have self realisation that we did not know what to do. But Mother effortlessly and in a most loving manner gave realisation to all those who desired.

Later, when She left for the house in the car, many seekers followed Her for the blessings of the Devi. Before She left, we all desired for the puja of the Mother. She agreed to it and the first puja was performed in the most humble and simple manner. During the puja my sari caught fire, but nothing happened to me. Mother said in very sweet manner that it had to get burnt, so it got burnt. At that time, we would worship Mother as Shri Mataji only.

Later we all went to Nasik with Mother in Her car. On the way the car broke down and we had to spend some time in the fields. The car was sent for repair and we meditated in the fields. Then Mother said that maybe this land has some punyas, that one day She would come and sit here.

‘See how nice it is here and we are all enjoying. What has to happen, will happen, but we must always be in a joyous mood.’


A new era

It was the beginning of a new era for me, in December 1972, when I fell at Her Feet and She removed the block in my heart, by tapping Her fist on the back of my Anahat (heart) chakra, making me ice-cold all over my body, and with the feeling of the cool breeze at the Sahasrara.

Suresh Thacker

The first pujas

Shri Mataji did travel outside Mumbai at this time but we were too young to go to the villages. The first puja was celebrated in a village in Maharashtra, and the second one was in Shri Mataji’s house at Jeevan Jyot, about 1972 or ‘73. The classic photograph was taken after that second puja, and was then used on handbills and everything.

We also had pujas with Shri Mataji at the sea, and Shri Mataji would form a chain. She would give Her hand to someone and the clearing just happened through holding our hands together. We would all stand with our feet in the water, even Shri Mataji. I think there were mantras said.

Anonymous Indian Sahaja Yogini

Chapter 4: 1973 – The Second Batch

Songs in praise of Shri Mataji

A lot of devotional songs were written at that time for Shri Mataji. She would allow anyone who was poetic, either at the beginning of the programme or afterwards, to do namaskar and sing whatever they had composed. This was before Mother went to England.

‘This one is beautiful,’ or, ‘This one should be set to the harmonium,’ Shri Mataji would say, but I don’t know if they were ever recorded. They weren’t bhajans, just songs in praise of Shri Mataji. They might have been printed in the early books, or souvenirs that were handed out at public programmes.

Once Shri Mataji had a programme on the front lawns of Her house and the yogis were sitting around, and Shri Mataji was holding Her granddaughter. She was attending to Her granddaughter and also talking to the yogis. That place was right next to the ocean.

There were programmes in different halls in Mumbai, sets of two or three programmes. Before Shri Mataji actually gave public programmes it was word of mouth, whenever She was going to have a set of programmes for the people who had already got their realisation. One time the Sahaja Yogis sent hundreds of postcards informing everyone about some programmes.

Anonymous Indian Sahaja Yogini

His search for God led us

Shri Mataji opened the Sahasrara at Nargol in 1970. I am not one of the initial few disciples. I was one of the second batch, so to say. I got my realisation on 12th August 1973. The credit for this goes to my eldest brother, Maruti, who had a yearning to get realisation for a number of years. His search for God led us to meet Shri Mataji. That day we had read an article written by a Marathi newspaper editor about Shri Mataji and Sahaja Yoga and that led us to approach him in his office. We went to see him and he told us to visit Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, so we left his place and went there about three o’clock. To our surprise nobody was there to tell us about Sahaja Yoga. We came out of the hall and telephoned his office.

‘Where do we find Shri Mataji?’ we asked.

‘Oh, this is not the time,’ he said. ‘You must come after seven in the evening.’

In the evening, we again went to Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, where Shri Mataji was giving realisation to a few people, about ten or fifteen. We both of us sat there and, this being a very early stage of Sahaja, Shri Mataji was Herself working hard to give realisation and raise our Kundalinis. To my great surprise, when She touched my head, there was a flash and I saw — not knowing it was the Agnya chakra — a Christ crucified. It was for five or six seconds, just a flash. I wondered why I — being a Hindu — should get a vision of a crucified Christ, but I didn’t say anything. I just closed my eyes.

‘You got realisation at the very first sitting,’ Mother said.

In those days we had programmes every day. We used to meet at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in the evening and slowly it spread.

Niranjan Mavinkurve

Shri Mataji taught us so many things

During the Navaratri days we would go up to the terrace of Mother’s building. Mother would come there and give us a lecture and further training. Sometimes we would leave there at four o’clock in the morning, sometimes even six thirty. Around twenty-five people would gather at seven and we would come down to Her flat on the first floor, take some breakfast, tea and disperse. At that time, nobody was allowed to tape record any of Her discourses.

‘No, you must grasp it aurally. No use of tape recorder,’ She said.

Shri Mataji used to let us give realisation in those days. We would put our leg at the Mooladhara and start giving realisation, so that the Kundalini would rise. We gave realisation to many people. At that time the methods were not so much developed and Shri Mataji Herself was doing great research. Now Sahaja Yoga is spreading at internet speed, but initially it took a long time to get realisation. She had to Herself go out and give realisation. She taught us how to do so many things, like balancing of both sides and raising the Kundalini.

Putting on a bandhan came a little later. At that time, there was no bandhan, but a lot of baddhas were coming away. Then Shri Mataji realised that it would be a good idea to put a bandhan. So it was an evolutionary development, and now it is a full-fledged system and people don’t have to do much. Just sitting before the photograph also, one gets it.

Initially, we did not raise the Kundalini like now; that too came later. It so happened that every person used to do a bandhan without realising its implication or its importance. People started criticizing us and so Shri Mataji said that we should not do it in open places, only in a hall or something. People used to go in the trains and do this and others would think, ‘These are mad people, doing this. Maybe they are doing some sort of a magic type of thing.’

Foot soaking and other treatments came later. We used to go to the sea with Shri Mataji, and do foot soaking in the sea. That is how Ganapatipule came in because the sea there is very clean. Before that we went many times to the sea at Bordi. Nargol, where Shri Mataji opened the Sahasrara, is very near there. Of course, not everybody lives near the sea, so the alternative was footbath soaking. Then there was the shoe beating, which She showed us, but whenever Mother said something, people tended to do too much of it.

‘You must put more attention on dhyana, meditation,’ Mother later said to the Mumbai people.

Niranjan Mavinkurve

She was also Mother Nature

This was written by my wife, and goes back to the 1970’s. It was the time of Navaratri Puja, and Shri Mataji used to stay in Mumbai. She told all the Sahaja Yogis to come to Her house for Navaratri. They all got to where She was living on the fifth floor and they went and sat down, and Shri Mataji gave a talk.

Two parrots came along and sat there. My wife said she felt quite strong vibrations. Then Mother sent Sahaja Yogis out to buy food for the visitors and two of them went to do so. When Shri Mataji was garlanded there were these extremely powerful vibrations, and these parrots stayed with Shri Mataji all the way through the puja because She was not only Shri Adi Shakti, She was also Mother Nature.

Douglas Fry

I was just thinking about you

‘I went to Mother’s house today,’ my father would say, when he came home in the evening. He would get this feeling that Mother wanted him and he used to take time off from work and go, telling his boss, ‘I have to go out,’ and go and see Mother.

‘Oh, Mr Pai,’ Mother would say, ‘Good you have come because I was just thinking about you. I wanted something to be done.’

Mother came three times or four times to our house.

Meenakshi Murdoch

Shri Mataji used to go to people’s houses

We used to go to the seashore to Worli. Mother would go to people to heal and clean them in their houses. They were often rich people who came just to get cured, and at that time She used to sometimes go to people’s houses. She came three times to our house. We used to do a puja, after a public programme, and She used to eat and then go home, at perhaps four or five in the morning. Then Mother said She didn’t want to go to people’s houses.

Avdhut Pai

Don’t worry! It’s all right

In the 1970’s, Mother would come every week, on a Tuesday, to Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Mumbai. We could see Her sitting down there and we were all sitting too, with maybe thirty people, or forty at the most. Mother would point to the candle.

‘Look at this candle now,’ She would say, and ask everyone to clear the Agnya or things like that. We all would stand in a queue and go at Mother’s Feet.

‘Oh, see. That’s there,’ Mother would say. I still remember the Kundalini rising or throbbing at each chakra and She used to clear it out and that’s how it was. It would be so hot and because I was only a child, I used to fan Mother and once I remember, by mistake, I hit Her with the fan.

‘I’m so sorry,’ I said and thought, ‘Oh no, that’s going to be finished.’ I felt that I had hurt Mother and in India we’re so much taught that to hurt a person of God is a big sin.

‘Don’t worry! It’s all right. Don’t worry,’ She said.

She would stay there until, say, half past eleven, twelve sometimes. After that we used to take buses to go home, and sometimes that happened twice a week.

Meenakshi Murdoch

Shri Mataji would go around working on the new people

In the public programmes, from 1973, people used to be worked on, and that was how they got realisation. I remember those times before Shri Mataji went to the UK, because I was doing my school leaving exams and there was a programme every morning and evening in Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Then the new person would go on the Feet of Shri Mataji, with the person’s hands under Her Feet, and someone would also be working on that person. Often there would be one person on each of Shri Mataji’s Feet. After the new people, the older people would also go on Her Feet.

Sometimes Shri Mataji would go around working on the new people, but before that She always used to give a small talk, a lecture, both morning and evening. The talks were different; She talked more about conditioning. Sometimes we would have a theme for the talks. In those days we were so close to Shri Mataji, but many people were lost because they did not get to the essence of Sahaja Yoga.

Avdhut Pai

Only a mother’s job

This is a story from about 1973. My mother was just recently introduced to Sahaja Yoga and to Shri Mataji. She was at the early stages of experiencing vibrations, experiencing within herself. At that time my parents were living in Ambanath, which is a suburb of Mumbai, and one day someone rang the doorbell and my mum opened the door, and there was a sadhu or sanyasi wearing saffron robes. He presented himself and said that his guru had sent him because he had heard that my mother was a disciple of Shri Adi Shakti. My mother was dumbfounded because she didn’t expect anyone to come and ring the doorbell and say that. So my mother gave him self realisation, took his contact details and reported this to Shri Mataji.

In fact after a few months Shri Mataji came to our home in Ambanath and wanted to meet this person, and here he was, with his guru, and Shri Mataji told this story in many of Her speeches. This guru was one of the naonath, that is, one of the nine great masters who stay in the Himalayas. He was a disciple of this great master, and then Shri Mataji went to his ashram. We noticed that this man was very silent, very humble, and very respectful towards Shri Mataji, and this was because he had a total recognition of who Shri Mataji was. We had a whole night of bhajans and all night he was just silent, watching Shri Mataji’s Lotus Feet very respectfully, as if he was doing some kind of a puja within his heart. At the end he opened up a little bit.

‘Only You can do this job of giving self realisation,’ he said, and also said he had no hope for human beings and Shri Mataji asked why that was. He said that two of his disciples, who after many years of his training, of his meditation, were still smoking and still had a very bad Agnya chakra. He didn’t know how to open it and could not forgive them. He said it was only a mother’s job to help them. So of course Shri Mataji promptly opened their Agnya chakras and gave them self realisation.

These two disciples came running to Shri Mataji’s Feet and thanked Her, and said that their guru was very strong with them. In fact one of the disciples was hung upside down over a well because he was caught smoking. So this was a big memory which is very close to my heart, our first exposure of who Shri Mataji really was.

Sandeep Gadkary

A wonderful miracle

In 1973, a very old Sahaja Yogi, householder, Shri B G Pradhan, was at that time Chief Trustee of Anant Jeevan Trust. He was a very humble and submissive man, and was ready to do any work of Shri Mataji. His age was 74 years.

He and I were good friends. I used to go at least once a week to his house at Mahim. He was an advocate but he had no pride in it. Both of us went to Shri Mataji’s house several times. One day we had gone to Shri Mataji’s house at Prabhadevi at 11 am and She made him stay until 5 pm. After about one or two hours he told me, ‘Phadke, there was a case of mine in the court and the decision was to be announced today. But what to do? I could not tell Shri Mataji that.’ Shri Mataji had looked at them and had smiled to Herself.

In the evening, around 6 pm, he went home. He got a phone call from his client saying that he was very thankful for having been present in the court for the whole day and for fighting the case, which was decided in our favour and so we are coming to you in a short while. All those people came with the court files to Shri B G Pradhan’s house. Shri Pradhan was stunned. He could not understand anything. The client gave him pedhas and congratulated him.

Shri Pradhan started thinking as how could this have happened. I was there for the whole day in Shri Mataji’s house. He had not told the client anything. In fact the whole day constantly the thought bothered in his mind, ‘I had not gone to the court, how did my signature appear on every paper? How was I arguing on behalf of my client and how was my signature on it, how did it happen?’

The next day morning Shri Pradhan went to the house of Shri Mataji and literally fell at the Her Feet and started crying.

‘Shri Pradhan, what happened?’ She calmed him and asked.

‘Shri Mataji,’ he said, ‘the whole day yesterday I was at Your house, and yesterday was the last day of the hearing of the case in the court and the decision was to be given, but because I was here, I was not able to go to the court . But when I went home I received a phone from my client saying, “Shri Pradhan, we have won the case, the decision has been in our favour. The arguments that you made in the court was very good!” Shri Mataji, I am not able to understand anything of this.’

‘Shri Pradhan,’ Shri Mataji replied, ‘if you do so much of My work, I will definitely do your work. I had gone to the court in your form and I fought the case in the court on your behalf.’ Hearing this, Shri Pradhan was filled with emotion. He did not understand anything.

‘Shri Mataji, You did this for me!’ he told Her.

Shri Mataji said yes, and She had signed on all the papers like Shri Pradhan himself. He told us all this the next day and we were very much surprised.

At the time of Shri Pradhan’s death Shri Mataji had gone to purchase something. At that time She felt that She should go to Shri Pradhan, but with the presumption that the shops would be closed She could not go there. She purchased something and went home. When Shri Mataji was passing by his house, at that very moment he died.

Mr Phadke

Shri Mataji Herself corrected the letter

In 1973 Shri Mataji suggested to my sister that I should go in for shipping. I wrote a letter to get the interview, and Shri Mataji Herself corrected the letter. I still remember Her sitting on the chair, with Her spectacles, correcting the letter.

Avdhut Pai

Chapter 5: 1974 – India and the Move to London

A lot of laughter

In 1974 Shri Mataji used to stay in Kalpana Didi’s flat and sometimes we would go there and eat with Her, eleven or eleven thirty at night. Once or twice we had to go before Mother left because there were no taxis so late, but if we waited until Shri Mataji left it all somehow worked out to get home. A lot of laughter – we used to laugh a lot.

Avdhut Pai

The middle path

Pujas were not the thing so much in the early days, that is in the seventies. Every time we used to have a programme, meditation at different places, such as Dadar and Andheri, (Mumbai). There were pujas, but the main stress was not on them. Mother’s speeches and giving realisation were the things.

‘One person must give realisation to at least fifteen people,’ Mother said. From the beginning this was the slogan, not just doing things like shoe beating. ‘You must follow the middle path of the road, don’t be too rightist or too leftist. Always be in the sushumna, not on the pingala or ida.’

Niranjan Mavinkurve

Our Sahasraras on Her Feet

In the beginning, about 1974 to 1978, we used to go to the seashore, to Marve near Malad. There was an auspicious day called Akshatritiya. We used to go to a bungalow which had been hired by a Sahaja Yogi, and Shri Mataji would come and we would often have a puja, and in the evening we would go to the seashore. Once She worked on us all, about twenty of us, individually. This was on the wet sand and She said the wet sand was the best earth element to absorb what is negative.

Either there or in Bordi, we used to go in the sea, and Shri Mataji would sit in the sea, at the edge, and the water would come on Her a little bit. We used to take turns to put our Sahasraras on Her Feet, so our noses would be under the water. We would see who could stay in the water the longest! That way She used to work on us.

Before Ganapatipule we used to go to Bordi every year, and from 1978, we would have singing programmes and at about two or three o’clock we would accompany Her to Her bungalow, walking in the starlight. She stayed in a separate bungalow. We would go there even earlier, from 1973, and there were about twenty of us then.

One time Shri Mataji wanted to go to a place called Wassay, some distance from Mumbai, by train. My parents wanted to go there and they thought, ‘How could Shri Mataji travel in the Third Class? So they took a First Class ticket even though it was very expensive for us. They found Shri Mataji in the Third Class compartment with the others. From Bordi Shri Mataji used to also go with us on the train.

Avdhut Pai

Everything was with Mother

In those days everything was with Mother. We could not imagine doing anything, even the public programme, without Her. The way we do pujas and havans now has almost nothing to do with the Hindu way. Previously we used to have very elaborate havans – a thousand names – even the pujas were like that. Nowadays almost everyone is involved, singing bhajans or whatever, but in those days my father would be in the front saying all these mantras.

Avdhut Pai

Shri Mataji could empower people by raising the Kundalini

It was my good fortune to meet Shri Mataji in 1974, at 17, New Oxford Street, in central London. A reception was organised by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan to welcome the newly elected United Nations diplomat, Mr (Sir) CP Srivastava and his wife Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi. The reception was well attended, with about two hundred Indian people, and musicians.

After the thank you’s and welcomes, Shri Mataji was asked to grace us with Her spiritual knowledge and Her new Sahaja Yoga. She had a commanding presence which nevertheless seemed flexible, always just enough, but never too much so as to intimidate anyone. It quickly became apparent that here was no ordinary saint, but someone surpassing all the norms of holy persons. Shri Mataji was able to empower ordinary people and give them access to their inner being by raising the Kundalini. She could empower individuals with thoughtless awareness and vibratory awareness, tangible tools for the verification of truth and one’s state of being.

 Toni Panayioutou

Sahaja Yoga in the West began

After the reception given for Sir CP and Shri Mataji, She returned on the following Monday and held a follow up session at 17, New Oxford Street. About twenty people came, mostly Indian ladies. A few people from Shri Mataji’s husband’s office participated. Later an Indian gentleman named Mukund Shah brought the first group of spiritual seekers to a session at the Bhavan, and from thereon Sahaja Yoga in the West began. This went on for a few weeks until Her Holiness invited us to Her residence in Oxted.

Through the new vibratory awareness Her Holiness could show ultimate truths on the central nervous system, especially via the hands, and in this way Sahaja culture started to manifest. Shri Mataji had access to highest levels of diplomatic life but chose to grace sincere seekers, and as She would always say, She was not there for election.  

It always amazed me how Shri Mataji never practiced any kind of favouritism. Never would anyone be made to feel uncomfortable and She was always so interesting. Actually She would tell us that we must always make people comfortable in our presence and not be boring.

 Toni Panayioutou

Shri Mataji brought together people from all over the globe

When they first came to England in 1974 Shri Mataji and Her husband lived at 1, Icehouse Wood, Oxted. Sir CP and Shri Mataji, as his wife, would attend functions with diplomats and royalty etc, because Sir CP was the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation, part of the United Nations. They had a wonderful rapport as husband and wife.

Unfortunately the United Nations has not completely managed to deliver its promises for bringing people together, whereas Shri Mataji miraculously brought together peoples from all over the globe, communicating, exchanging love and respect effortlessly – a real united nations of people who would ordinarily not share a cup of coffee together, such being the diversity, but united in the universality of the inner being.

 Toni Panayioutou

Shri Mataji would talk to me in a way I could understand

Sometimes, when I used to get too familiar, in that I somehow would analyse Shri Mataji, She would suddenly lead me on a merry trip where She would tell me something was green where I would see blue etc, until I would jump into thoughtless awareness for safety, then She would talk to me in a way I could understand.

Later we had some very English people, very identified with their origins, and they would ask questions about some of their ancestors, whether they were enlightened souls or not. Mother would say, ‘Yes, William Blake was,’ but as if their egos and conditionings wouldn’t be able to cope, She denied that people like William Shakespeare were. Those with vibratory awareness would know the discrepancy. Of course later Shri Mataji would say how great William Shakespeare really was.

Or some people would ask about other life in the cosmos, and Mother would deny it existed, and then at times later, as if the timing was conducive, She would say, ‘Yes, there is intelligent life out there but they keep a distance because their minds are too strong for human beings.’ At other times She would come out of a meditative state and say She was on another planet with very spiritually advanced beings who didn’t want Her to leave!

 Toni Panayioutou

Shri Mataji used to exorcise many demons

In the early days of Sahaja Yoga, in the 1970’s, Shri Mataji used to exorcise many demons from people, and then would interrogate them. In the process they disclosed that there was a very definite and well organized project going on behind the veil of physical existence to undermine and destroy humanity’s efforts for emancipation. Their plan is to encourage drug use and undermine gender definition, thereby encouraging perversion and eroding of natural ‘mariadas’ (boundaries) and at the same time create conduits for their evil manifestation.

Toni Panayioutou

I’ve found this new sort of yoga’

I used to live near Tolmers Square, Euston, in North London. About half a dozen of us had a little community club there and one day in 1974 a man came to teach us yoga. He had tried all sorts of different yogas and meditations and then one day he went to see Shri Mataji and, because he had so much experience, he tended to be a bit sceptical, but he did feel vibrations.

‘I’ve found this new sort of yoga,’ he said, ‘and all we have to do is sit down in front of this photograph of Shri Mataji and put our hands to it.’

He produced a little black and white photograph, not much bigger than a postcard. We sat there in the rather cold, drafty, old bank that we used as a social club, with our hands out before Shri Mataji’s photograph. He came round and felt our hands and asked us what we felt and we all felt different things because we were all in different states of awareness due to what we’d done before.

‘You get these vibrations from Shri Mataji,’ he said. ‘Would you like to come and meet Her at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan?’ This was on New Oxford Street.

The following Friday we went there. We met Shri Mataji and sat at the back. We listened to what She had to say and realised it was something really nice. She was working on somebody at the time. We were aware that it was something special and had an inkling of what it might be, but weren’t prepared to admit to anybody, least of all ourselves, that we had actually met Shri Adi Shakti.

We went to Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan about two or three times and then, because the series was over, we moved to a house in Clare Court, Judd Street, where Mukund Shah lived, just over the road from Kings Cross Station. We had a few meetings there and Shri Mataji told us about raising the Kundalini. Also, we had our first experience of actually hearing through the Sahasrara.

‘Put your hands over your ears and cover them up completely and you’ll still be able to hear Me,’ She said.

We did so and we could actually clearly hear what Shri Mataji was saying because we were hearing through our Sahasraras. She told us our Sahasraras had opened. So that was the first amazing experience we all had, apart from feeling the cool vibrations.

We had a few meetings at Judd Street, and then we started to meet in a house in North Gower Street. That was when it actually began to take root, because there was a base for the Sahaja Yoga to actually put roots down. Shri Mataji would come and there would be maybe half a dozen of us. She would talk to us and tell us all about Sahaja Yoga. The way She would work on us would be that we would kneel and put our hands under Her Feet, and She’d do various things to clear us out.

Douglas Fry

The most phenomenal thunderstorm

We were at Shri Mataji’s house in Oxted, Sussex, England in about 1974. We had been there quite some time and She had gone off on the Thursday or Friday to either Norway or Sweden. The day after She had gone, when we were sleeping, there was this most phenomenal thunderstorm and lightning. We knew we were all right because we were in Shri Mataji’s house, but it was frightening nevertheless.

A couple of days later when Shri Mataji came back, She said She was not pleased with England for what was going on there at the time, and the thunderstorm was the result of Her annoyance.

It was quite incredible, absolutely amazing.

Douglas Fry

Chapter 6: 1975 – More Seekers, Eastern and Western

Sahaja Yoga starting growing a lot

From 1975 to 1980 we had seminars in Bordi and Lonavala and Sahaja Yoga starting growing a lot in India at that time. Then Shri Mataji went to Pune and other parts. She had a touring programme, visiting many districts in Maharashtra and in the later seventies foreigners would come. The tour was at least a month long and it was very hectic for Mother, She used to work so hard.

Shri Mataji would give discourses on different tattwas, for example prithivi tattwa, the earth principle, that comes from the Mooladhara — then the Shiva tattwa, the Shiva principle, then the Vishuddhi principle. In one lecture She would elaborate on one particular topic in Marathi, Hindi and English. In the country districts, it was all in Marathi, but then She would give the gist in English, depending upon the crowd. If it was a Hindi crowd, She would speak in Hindi, but basically it would be in Marathi and the gist in Hindi and English.

Niranjan Mavinkurve

Shri Mataji spoke with absolute authority

I first met Shri Mataji in London in the late summer of 1975. I had been living in London for some years, and my search for spiritual truth had been growing increasingly desperate, when I heard one day that a ‘yogi lady’ had appeared from India. The flat where Shri Mataji was meeting seekers at the time was in a block in Judd Street near Kings Cross Station, and this was the last meeting there. It belonged to an Indian Hatha Yoga teacher whose classes I had attended some months previously. I had seen Shri Mataji’s photograph before I met Mother. One damp Sunday afternoon, it was raining, and I came with my sister Maureen.

I walked through the door into the room where Shri Mataji was and my life was never the same again. My first impression of Shri Mataji surprised me in many ways. I had been somehow expecting a kind of silent gathering with people tip-toeing about and speaking in hushed tones. Instead, the first thing I saw was Shri Mataji correcting someone in a very forceful manner. Not only did this shatter my expectations, but it created a quite unexpected reaction within me, ‘This is what it must have been like to come across Christ preaching in the market place,’ I thought, while at the same time having the strangest feeling that I had somehow wandered inside the pages of the Bible. I felt both startled and uncomfortable by this as I came from a hippy background, and was wary of anything that seemed ‘religious’.

At the same time I felt that the room was full of light, as if I had stumbled out of a jungle path on to a great, royal highway. I felt something long forgotten was rising within me, a sense of goodness, of self worth, a feeling of purity. Shri Mataji Herself was extraordinary. I just could not believe that anyone like Her could exist in this world. I felt transported to a different dimension where anything was possible.

‘This one is sick,’ were Shri Mataji’s first words to me. Then She said, ‘Don’t worry, you will be all right,’ and I felt tremendous relief. I knew instantly that She spoke with absolute authority.

Shri Mataji asked for a bottle of water. She held the bottle for a moment, then gave it to me. I treated the bottle very reverently, and sure enough, when I later drank some of it at home, it had quite an extraordinary effect on me.

Pat Anslow

I had no idea what I had but knew I had it

It was the 16th September 1975 that we first met Shri Mataji in that Judd Street flat and, similar to my brother, Pat Anslow, it was a most momentous feeling.

‘This lady is a yoga teacher, but She doesn’t teach Hatha Yoga,’ I had been told and I remember thinking that if I was not with people who felt all right about all this, I would have run away. That is how strongly I could feel the force I was walking towards.

We went into the flat and were asked to take off our shoes, which was strange for me, and told to sit down. I saw Shri Mataji working on an Indian gentleman and sorting him out and I thought, ‘She is a Goddess.’ That was my first thought and then I thought, ‘What on earth do I mean by that? I don’t even know what a Goddess is.’ Then She went on seeing to everybody and when my turn came, She told me to put my hands out and asked me what I felt. My attention was drawn to my hands.

‘Oh, I feel something,’ I said.

‘May God bless you. You’ve got it,’ Shri Mataji said.

‘I’ve got it,’ I thought. I had no idea what I had, but I knew I had it. She then went on to everybody else. It was just great!

Maureen Rossi

The gesture was so full of motherly concern

After this I met Shri Mataji at similar gatherings of seekers in a house in Euston. Shri Mataji would come every week, usually on a Sunday, and accompanied by a servant, although occasionally by Herself. It is difficult to imagine now the situations that Shri Mataji subjected Herself to in order to find and rescue the seekers. On one occasion in North Gower Street the room was full of hippies arguing with Shri Mataji that drugs were a good thing. At this point Shri Mataji put Her arms around Herself as if to say, ‘These children are lost. What can I do for them?’ The gesture was so full of motherly concern that it touched my heart.

‘I will give up drugs,’ I said, whereupon the argument subsided.

My first memory of Gregoire de Kalbermatten was when he came to one of the meetings at Gower Street and Shri Mataji was saying it was bad to use drugs.

‘No, it is absolutely not true,’ they were saying.

‘You must stop taking drugs,’ She said.

Gregoire was on his knees.

‘Mother, You must forgive them. They know not what they do,’ he said. It was very dramatic, but very true. He understood what was going on.

It might seem strange that Sahaja Yoga in the West should have its beginnings in such rough, low level surroundings, and yet at the same time Shri Mataji was trying to talk to people in the highest levels of society in England, in which She and Her husband moved, but found no one with any real interest in seeking.

Pat Anslow


Foot soaking was the first cleansing technique that I learnt from Shri Mataji and She asked us to do this right from the beginning. She simply told us to ‘sit in the water’; to put warm water and salt  into a suitable plastic bowl, sit with our feet in the water and place both hands out towards Her photograph, palms upward,  preferably with a lighted candle in front of the photo. It was a general treatment, there were no cold foot soaks for the right side, or anything like that. Shri Mataji’s simple description of ‘sitting in the water’ actually led to an amusing incident where we discovered one yogi had been doing exactly that, lowering his bottom into a bowl of water!  

Shri Mataji laughed when She discovered this and said it had been good for his Mooladhara chakra.

Pat Anslow


My first experience of shoe-beating took place at Gavin Brown’s house in North Gower Street in Euston, central London, in the mid 1970’s. I quote from my book:

‘Shri Mataji demonstrates a technique She calls ‘shoe-beating’, explaining that it can help to separate our attention from people we feel are affecting us in a negative way. She takes one of Her shoes, traces a name on the carpet with Her finger and then strikes the spot repeatedly with the sole of the shoe. Just as I am wondering if such symbolic acting-out is really necessary, the floor becomes suddenly transparent, and I find myself staring at a beautiful image of the planet Earth, which shines brilliantly against the vast blackness of space beneath Shri Mataji’s shoe.’

Pat Anslow

I am back home

I remember entering Shri Mataji’s house in Oxted in 1975. I was in jeans and was wearing an old US Army jacket full of holes. I kissed Her hand and gave Her flowers. Interestingly, I remember bowing and looking at the ground, so spontaneously. She commanded immediate respect. But my heart felt such a relief almost immediately.

It is hard to say when exactly I started recognizing Mother, but clearly the heart was faster than the brain. It was greatly helped, no doubt, by the contagious feeling of lightness and joy, an enveloping feeling of affection and well-being that made you feel, ‘I am back home! Home, sweet home!

Gregoire de Kalbermatten

The shoes of Shri Adi Shakti

I saw from the very first days the colossal meaning of what Shri Mataji was doing. I recognized She brings the total, the grand revolution, the most radical factor of global change for mankind. The French and Russian revolutions were nothing compared to this.

On the other hand, I was looking around me. ‘How on earth and in the heavens are we going to get there?’ This was the problem and the tension within me. It was like being at the bottom of a huge rock and not knowing how to climb it.

One day in August 1975, in the house of Shri Mataji in Hurst Green, there were about seven Sahaja Yogis around the table. Needless to say, in those days we were all new and there was nobody else. Shri Mataji started putting Her shoes on the table, very nice and elegant ones, no doubt. But, of course, we did not know then that Mother was doing it because the vibrations from Her shoes are so powerful.

I was looking at a group of stunned people, sitting around a table looking at a pair of shoes on the table and thinking, ‘Is it with these people we are going to change the world?’

My mistake was to focus on the people, not the shoes. I did not know what shoes can do if these are the shoes of Shri Adi Shakti. And if the world, indeed, will be transformed, let us handle these shoes with the feelings that Bharat had in handling the shoes of his brother, Shri Rama.

Much later, Shri Mataji named me leader of the USA for a brief period.

‘You are quite qualified for this because you know hell best,’ She told me.

It is true that before Sahaja I had experimented with many forms of adharma, but had also discovered their limitations. So, for me, it was not at all a problem to change my lifestyle after meeting Mother. The way She presented it made full sense, while the moral teachers of my past could not explain why I should not do something I fancied doing. I had done it all and I knew it was dust. On one hand, I finally understood from Mother why virtue was good for me. But, all the same, I did not know how to purify my attention right away, and only meditation helped destroy the addictions.

Gregoire de Kalbermatten

In a cocoon of motherly love

Shri Mataji would invite the small group of seekers who were coming regularly to meetings to Her house in Hurst Green, Oxted, south of London, and She would work on us individually and collectively for hours.

I remember these early sessions with Shri Mataji as beautiful moments of sanctuary in a cocoon of motherly love, and revelling in the flood of knowledge that was poured upon us. All of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle came so effortlessly together and the stunning revelation of Sahaja Yoga quickly took shape. Shri Mataji used to cook for us. The servants cooked, but sometimes She would cook especially for us and the meals used to be the most memorable. We were really spoiled.

Shri Mataji would work on us. It was so intensive. You’d bow down with your hands under Shri Mataji’s Feet and the other Sahaja Yogis would be gathered around and it would sometimes go on for what seemed like hours — just to clear one person out. They would be down for that length of time with their head on Mother’s Feet.

All the time Shri Mataji worked on us, joked with us, discussed spirituality with us, tried to find out what our problems were and taught us techniques for working on the chakras. Always She would talk to us, answer our questions, find out every detail about our problems. Sometimes Shri Mataji would have us all in stitches of laughter. Sometimes She would be very serious. Some moments were unimaginably humbling and profound.

Again, looking back, it is hard to imagine how Mother coped with us when we were so ignorant and unaware of any kind of protocol. I soon became aware of how much I had damaged my subtle system, however, as Shri Mataji struggled over and over again to clear my chakras.

I remember once Shri Mataji gave me a head massage with oil, on another occasion She made me lie face down in front of Her, took Her shoe and tapped it up my spine!* It worked really well!

Also we would do odd jobs around the house. Once we were sandpapering something ready to paint and Mother came over and joined in. She got a bit of sandpaper and sandpapered with us.

Pat Anslow

* Editor’s note: Shri Mataji’s shoes are pouring with vibrations. Sahaja Yogis should not do this with just any pair of shoes.

That’s better now!

Shri Mataji worked on us and talked to us and there was an incredible smell of Indian cooking for about three hours. The servants started cooking early and then I began to get ill, but I felt brilliant. Everybody went down to the big drawing room and fell asleep on the floor for some time. Then we had another session with Shri Mataji working on us and I was so ill, but it was like being totally divorced from the actual bodily feeling. I felt fantastic.

‘Maureen, you can come and sleep in My room,’ Shri Mataji said.

When it came to bedtime, Shri Mataji went up the stairs that curved round the middle of the house. Half way up the stairs She turned, saw me and called me up out from the crowd. She worked on me, and She slept and then She’d stop sleeping.

‘That’s better now!’ She would say. ‘How do you feel now?’ Then She would carry on putting Her hand on my back and then She would sleep for a bit longer and then stop. It went on all night.

In the morning I was allowed to have bananas and cardamom seeds. That was the absolutely minute attention Shri Mataji would give us; it’s just incredible to think of Her doing that for us.

Maureen Rossi

A lot of clearing out went on

We were all sitting in a line. Somebody had a hand on Shri Mataji and we all had one hand on each other. The end person had their hand out of the window and we were sitting there and it went on hour after hour. Eventually, we all fell asleep. I woke up early in the morning and we were all lying, still holding on to each other. I looked up and Shri Mataji was sitting watching me.

‘Ready? Okay, let’s carry on,’ She said.

I remember a lot of it being quite hard work. It was really difficult at times, quite painful, but it was always magical. A lot of clearing out went on.

Pat Anslow

It was great being a kid

I got my realisation in the UK when I was seven years old, in 1975. My father sometimes used to bring me to London for the weekend. He first met Shri Mataji about that time, and said I was going to meet this very special Indian lady. I had never met an Indian lady, but Shri Mataji was very different from what I imagined because an Indian lady, to me, would have been a distant person in a sari. She was a quite remarkable lady who was very friendly, so instead of not knowing what to do because She was a strange adult, it was rather fun.

Mother came alive with children and said something like, ‘Really?’ She got their attention and made them feel comfortable and created this instantaneous connection. She asked me questions and Her eyes lit up and there was a huge smile and for some mysterious reason, I can’t remember why, one time I decided I had to be an elephant. It was in the flat in Gower Street where there were some wickerwork drink containers to put your drinks inside. I turned them upside down and stuck them on my feet and roared around the room pretending to be an elephant.

When I did this, Mother just pitched Her head back and laughed and laughed. My father was horrified, sort of, ‘Oh no, what’s he doing?’ but Shri Mataji really brought the situation alive and there was no anxiety or anything like that.

It was great being a kid. With Shri Mataji, you didn’t have to think, ‘Do I have to be this or that?’ You just were.

Kevin Anslow

Shri Mataji was telling bedtime stories

I don’t know how many times this happened, but sometimes Shri Mataji would have the Sahaja Yogis — there were about five or six of them — sleep in Her bedroom at night. They would all be laid out on the floor, and She would be up on a couch. One evening I couldn’t sleep, as I had never had an experience like this before.

‘Come up here on the couch,’ She said.

Shri Mataji noticed I was restless, so I got up and She started to tell me stories. I don’t remember all the stories She told me, but one was about Shri Hanuman going to get the flower and He brought the mountain back. She told me another one about the Prophet Mohammed, but I don’t really remember it too well. She was telling bedtime stories to make me go to sleep. It is a fragmentary memory, but it has always stuck with me.

Kevin Anslow

Shri Mataji was very patient

I remember in the mid-seventies in the UK Shri Mataji being quite stern with the early Sahaja Yogis at times. She could be incredibly humorous and very warm, but quite stern when She needed to be. She was very much a mother figure in every way in those days. Like, one man went off to try the vibrations of the graveyard. He came back and Mother had to work on him for hours on end.

‘What did you do this for?’ She said, and he couldn’t explain it.

An early Sahaja Yogini went off somewhere and bought a necklace.

‘You’ve got to try the vibrations of things,’ Shri Mataji said, and, ‘This thing, there’s something not quite right.’

She had the Sahaja Yogini get a bucket of water and put the necklace in the water and the water turned black, a black cloud came out of it. Shri Mataji was very patient.

Kevin Anslow

How am I going to visit you?

We went to Shri Mataji’s house in Oxted, but I can only remember patchy things because I was quite young. I used to love drawing maps, and drew this map which had some islands, an island for me and an island for Shri Mataji.

‘That’s no good because how am I going to visit you?’ She asked.

‘Well, I can’t take the ordinary train. What about an underground train?’ I said.

‘OK, that’s fine,’ Mother suggested.

So, with Her direction, we drew in this little sort of underground train track. That solved the problem.

Kevin Anslow

Shri Mataji tried things out

Shri Mataji used to give me little presents sometimes. In Gower Street, my father says the older Sahaja Yogis at the time were a collection of ex-hippies and I was younger and clearer. They had had a bit of a wild time and it had left its imprint on their chakras.

Shri Mataji sometimes used to use me to try things out or clear things out. There was a sense that Sahaja Yoga at this time was experimental. She tried things out with people. She would get them to do things and see if it worked or not.

Kevin Anslow

We felt what Shri Mataji felt

We were painting various bits of the house in Hurst Green in Sussex. One evening Shri Mataji went out with Sir, then Mr CP Srivastava to go to a reception. He was at that time the Director-General of IMCO, the International Maritime Consultative Organization. We were cleaning a wall and painting it. About half way through the evening, we suddenly got headaches and it felt really strange, but we carried on working. So it passed. Shri Mataji came home and asked us how we were.

‘I got this headache halfway through. I didn’t know what was happening,’ I said.

‘What happened was that we were at this reception and somebody, by mistake, gave me a glass of wine and I drank it,’ She said. We felt the effects of the wine that Shri Mataji drank. At that time, we actually felt what Shri Mataji felt. That was quite an amazing experience.

Douglas Fry

The first havan we had with Shri Mataji was on the terrace at Ice House Wood, Hurst Green, at the end of 1975.

Maureen Rossi

A magical year

Shri Mataji went back to India towards the end of 1975, but a small group of us met together during this time and waited for Shri Mataji to come back, which She did in the spring. After this our meetings with Shri Mataji continued throughout the rest of 1976, either at the house in Euston or at Shri Mataji’s house in Hurst Green.

It was a magical year. Shri Mataji had told us that we were all to go with Her when She went back to India this time. The time spent with Her blurred into numerous meetings, laughing, learning and increasingly, hard work.

Pat Anslow

Profound spiritual truths

I remember us all having cucumber sandwiches and tea with Shri Mataji in a hotel by Victoria Station, also travelling on the Underground together. Shri Mataji was continuing to explain profound spiritual truths to us as we all stood around Her, swaying with the movements of the train.

Pat Anslow

Part and parcel of Her Divine Being

Once I went to Norwich, a small town in England. I liked silver at that time and admired a beautiful silver cup in a shop window. When I got back to London and was with Shri Mataji She turned to me in a matter of fact kind of way.

‘Nice silver cup, wasn’t it, Kuli?’ She said. I was a little embarrassed to seem so materialistic.

Another time, I used to go to a secluded part of a river near me. In the side of the river bank I had excavated an alcove for Mother’s photo, and made a kind of seat to represent Mother’s chair. I used to stand in the stream and take vibrations. Again, when I was with Shri Mataji and a few others, She turned to me.

‘One day we must visit that river. He’s made a chair for Me,’ She said.

Shri Mataji saw what we saw, felt what we felt and we basically were and are a part and parcel of Her Divine Being.

Toni Panayioutou

Shri Mataji went away for the winter

Shri Mataji went to India for about six months at the end of 1975 and we used to meet together, a handful of us, to try to meditate, but we were not very good at all.

‘You can come to India next year when I go. You can come with Me and meet all the Sahaja Yogis there,’ She said, before She went away for the winter, but when She came back we were in such a state.

‘Forget it. You’re not up to it,’ Shri Mataji said about going to India with Her, and then She again started meeting us each week, generally on a Saturday or Sunday, and She again had us to Her house.

Maureen Rossi

Chapter 7: 1976 – Malaysia and England

The beginning of Sahaja Yoga in Malaysia 

This is a personal account of the beginning of the history of Sahaja Yoga in Malaysia in 1976, by Hamim. Hamim’s father owned a company which was the local agent of the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) and he was a personal acquaintance of Sir CP who was then the Chairman of SCI. Shri Mataji mentioned an incident in Kuala Lumpur in which many people were miraculously cured. Here an excerpt from that talk:

 ‘I was in Kuala Lumpur… he was the speaker of the assembly, at his residence, and there were at least thousand people. And sixty percent were sick, and forty were attending to them.

I was alone, no Sahaja Yogis, nothing. Luckily, they had a big garden, and it was quite warm day. I said, “All right, let’s go in the garden.” I made them sit in the garden and I asked the Mother Earth, I said, “You better now do the job and I’m sitting down.” And everybody started feeling better.

One thing I’ve never before seen being cured was what you call in English language, polio, and a little boy, about eight years of age was sitting on the ground, his parents had brought him on the back and put him down. He just got up and started walking, and the parents suddenly realized he’s missing, “Where’s he gone?” And he was running in the garden.’

Her Holiness Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi: The Subtlety Within

Caxton Hall, London, 9th June, 1980 

The wife of the Chairman would be staying with us

It was 1976 and our family firm was an agent for the Shipping Corporation of India. Some months into the year, my father was informed that the wife of the Chairman of the Corporation would be visiting Kuala Lumpur and staying with us. This caught me as quite unusual. Captains of ships that plied the eastern routes that called at our port, Port Swettenham, as Port Klang was then known, occasionally did bring their wife or family along, but their preference however was to be taken shopping or sightseeing in the daytime and be returned to the ship by nightfall.

As it came closer to the arrival date we were informed that Shri Mataji had already arrived in Penang, the first port of call in Malaysia by ship. A few days later She would be arriving in Kuala Lumpur by air and had requested that the press be invited to come to the airport to interview Her. Once again we were all puzzled.

Hamim from Malaysia

Shri Mataji emphasized on the importance of meditation

Shri Mataji arrived at our house by late morning and spent some time getting to know us. In the course of the day, She inquired as to the Islamic prayer postures which we explained and went through the motions. She too went through the motions and at each posture, paused silently as if sensing something subtle. Later that day She made us take certain postures and gestures and gave certain members of the family realisation and also clearing. She followed that up with more gestures in order for us to feel the subtle energies streaming out of our bodies, especially the hands and the top of the head.

Shri Mataji emphasized the importance of meditation after realisation or Kundalini awakening as the core practice of all true spiritual paths and religions, especially the mystical aspects known as Yoga in Hinduism and Sufism in Islam. This was familiar ground to me as I had already been building up my knowledge base in this area since the earliest time I can remember. She said this was because I was born realised and was drawn to the knowledge of the spirit, due to latent memories of an earlier experience. Shri Mataji herself spent time meditating in the privacy of Her room whenever the opportunity arose in the midst of Her busy schedule during Her stay.

  Hamim from Malaysia

She was using spiritual energies

Next morning Shri Mataji’s interview at the airport to the press was reported in a few newspapers. Later that morning some people turned up after reading the article. Shri Mataji had a chair brought out to the extensive lawn in front of the house and sat under a large shady tree and instructed them where to sit, and what to do, as She talked to them collectively. She then explained a little about the basis of what She was practising and how She would help them with their problems. Shri Mataji then talked to them one at a time as they related their problems, and She started working on them, but She already knew what was wrong with them.

Shri Mataji dealt with a whole variety of physical, mental and spiritual problems that covered everything from chemical imbalances, glandular malfunction and impairment, diabetes, early cancer, cardiovascular problems, immobility problems of the skeletal system, arthritis, gout, long term effects of debilitating diseases, nervous system problems, blindness, depression, multiple personalities and possessions. As the hours went by more and more people trickled in and She continued to work on the people until it was way past lunch time.

We, as hosts, were getting very uneasy, that Shri Mataji had not had Her lunch even at 3.30 in the afternoon. On repeated urging, She came in for a quick small lunch (throughout Her stay She ate so little that it was unbelievable how She was able to sustain Her activity level). She did say at some point that She was using spiritual energies, coming into Herself through the top of Her head, and was not so dependent on food for sustenance.

Hamim from Malaysia

Unusual and miraculous phenomena

Shri Mataji left for the lawn immediately after lunch and asked me to join Her. She asked me to stand beside Her with upper arms outstretched and palms directed to the person She was treating. She said this would help speed up the healing process, as She continued to work on the people into the early part of the night with flood lights on. Shortly before 8.00 pm She asked those who were still there who She had not treated to come back the next day. It was obvious that there was a good response to the publicity that day, and expecting more of the same the next day, She requested that pieces of paper with numbers be prepared for a queuing system for the next two days. The crowd came earlier the next day and as before She worked tirelessly on the people.

 I observed unusual and miraculous phenomena on many occasions during those few days. This was especially apparent in cases of possession resulting in mental problems and multiple personalities. Whenever Shri Mataji was told by a relative that it was the turn of someone who was possessed, they would immediately start behaving in some strange way. Some went into a vigorous bending forward and backward motion. Slowly the motion would slow down like a pendulum about to stop its rocking. Then gradually they would come to their senses and be cured.

All those whose problems were due to occupation by sub-personalities and possessions were asked to leave by a different route from what they had taken to enter the premises. For this purpose a second gate, which was rarely used was opened up. Shri Mataji said the possessing spirits were very mechanical and after being purged from the body would be waiting at the familiar points and could be easily tricked this way. 

There was also the case of a man who came on crutches, and a blind man, both of whom had quick, dramatic recoveries. On the afternoon of the third day Shri Mataji brought in a group of people chosen from the three days, and in the privacy of her room She gave instruction on the practice of Sahaja Yoga and how to form a centre.

Hamim from Malaysia

Shri Mataji related the knowledge of the spirit and soul

As the dates Shri Mataji was available as mentioned in the press article were over, there was no crowd on the morning of the fourth day. Some did turn up later in the day and She attended to them in the hall of the house. Earlier that morning Shri Mataji insisted She wanted to cook for the family and spent some time in the kitchen preparing a splendid dish called ahkni pulaw for lunch, which She served to the family.

In the time available, in the early mornings and nights of Her stay Shri Mataji related about the metamorphosis of the knowledge of the spirit and soul, and communication between the creator and human beings, from eons ago to the present. Also about the Primordial Masters, the founders of the great religions of the world and their crucial roles as teachers of truth and also as defenders of the good in holding at bay the forces of evil and destruction, of mechanisms set into creation by the celestial forces which mankind inadvertently initiates to their own detriment.

 Shri Mataji related about the periodic rise and fall of civilizations due to the increase and dwindling in numbers of people who had reached a certain maturity in the practice of highly spiritual ways. She also conveyed something about the events that would transpire in the near and distant future. She explained about the state of human civilization in modern times, which was off on a tangent from what was normal and good.

She spoke about immorality, unhealthy values, extreme emotions and involvement in blind rituals, witchcraft and black arts which were running rampant. She related how these activities had increased to a level where they had reached a threshold point at the collective level in current times. This had resulted in the opening of a doorway within the being to a dimension from which very evil beings were coming through. She told about the agenda of these beings and their one weakness. It was thus necessary to teach people Sahaja Yoga as their shield against the ills of all these occurrences. She said all the various problems of humankind could be summed into two broad categories consisting of immorality in all its forms and ignorance concerning spiritual duties and practices.

From Kuala Lumpur Shri Mataji left for Singapore to carry on Her mission.

 Hamim from Malaysia

This is Sahasrara, on the top of the Virata

After meeting Shri Mataji for the first time in 1975, I got my first posting with the UN in Kathmandu, Nepal. I had spoken about my encounter with Mother to an old friend, who was a sort of professional Swiss seeker, who, unlike me, had gone to India many times and had met many gurus. He knew a lot about spirituality. As he started responding to me, I got confused because it looked like many people were doing what Shri Mataji says She does. I was not so sure any longer that She was the One. I wrote to Her to tell Her that.

She responded by sending me a letter that I still have and a picture of Herself.

‘This is Sahasrara, on the top of the Virata, whether you like it or not, whether you can accept it or not,’ was the comment on the picture. It was straightforward. It was splendid. It was so powerful. I looked at Her picture. This has been the first and last time I doubted Her.

Gregoire de Kalbermatten

Like learning to ride a bike

When Shri Mataji came back to England in 1976, after we had first met Her in 1975, we didn’t have public programmes. We just had meetings at a private house. At one stage She called me and said that She had to go to an Indian ladies’ meeting somewhere in West London and She wanted me to come and talk about Sahaja Yoga. We’d never done anything like that before and I was twenty-one. Shri Mataji took me on the tube (London Underground train) and all the way there She told me what to say and what was going to happen.

‘It’ll be all right,’ She assured me.

I just couldn’t believe this and we walked from the tube. Imagine — going on the tube with Shri Mataji! We got to the meeting place and the Indian ladies were very respectful of Mother, which was something new for me to see, how they regarded Her. They understood about touching Her Feet, whereas we had just been told, ‘Put your hands under Her Feet to get the vibrations.’ So it was again a new experience to see that.

Shri Mataji asked me to sit in front and She sat a little way from me and told me what to say, then someone translated. It was like learning to ride a bike, She sort of gave me a final push and I was off and She didn’t have to prompt me anymore because suddenly here were people who actually wanted to know about Shri Mataji. It didn’t matter that they didn’t understand me and they had to wait to have it translated. It was this incredible surge of feeling that I could tell people about Mother and it was my first experience of talking to people. The way Shri Mataji literally hand-led me along that path was incredible – I didn’t want to stop.

‘Well, thank you very much. Come and have some tea,’ they said eventually.

We went back home by tube.

Maureen Rossi

The first public programme

At one stage, through some connection of Shri Mataji’s, we were going to have a public meeting in Cambridge in 1976, the first one. It was in an old people’s home. To get there we all went in Shri Mataji’s big official car and there wasn’t much space. I had nearly cut the top of my finger off and She held it nearly all the way there. When we got to Cambridge, Mother had to really labour to get any attention out of these people — it was very stony ground.

Maureen Rossi

Shri Mataji burst out laughing

We went to our first public programme in England with Shri Mataji. It was in Cambridge. Somehow Shri Mataji had been invited to talk at a Christian old peoples’ home. We all travelled down with Shri Mataji in Her car. She gave a powerful talk, which completely stunned the congregation, and the programme ended with Her inviting the audience to get their realisation at one end of the room and someone attached to the home shepherding his flock out of a door at the other! Several times in the weeks that followed Shri Mataji would burst out laughing at the thought of it.

Pat Anslow

We joined in as best we could

We were introduced to pujas and havans at Shri Mataji’s house in Hurst Green. An Indian Brahmin from Southall was called to officiate and we joined in as best we could. We would sit there while he went through the mantras and did everything. The aarti took the form of a record being played which had the Om Jai Jagad Shri Hare aarti on it. It was the music of Sabko Dua Dena, but it was the original aarti.

There was a small trickle of seekers coming to see Shri Mataji during this time, mostly people we had invited, but no one else ‘stuck’ during this year.

Pat Anslow


In 1976 we went away for a seminar in Weston-super-Mare. We went to Shri Mataji’s niece there and spent a weekend at the seaside. The whole idea was to get us out of the London environment so that Shri Mataji could work on us and clear us out some more.

Douglas Fry

Shri Mataji sat on a park bench

On one occasion, in 1976, we all went on the train to have a seminar in Weston-super-Mare, a seaside town near Bristol, in the South-West of England, in a room above an Indian restaurant owned by a niece of Shri Mataji.

At Weston-super-Mare Shri Mataji sat on a park bench down near the sea front while we all sat across the path from Her on the grass. She spoke to us in Her usual forthright and authoritative style.

Pat Anslow

Shri Ganesha’s anger

During the baking hot and dry summer of 1976 in the UK Shri Mataji told us that the unusually hot weather was being caused by Shri Ganesha’s anger at the space probe the Americans had landed on Mars. She explained that the spacecraft carried the gross vibrations of the people who had created it and these vibrations were polluting his planet, Mars.

Shri Mataji told us that She was trying to persuade Shri Ganesha to forgive those who had done this and to stop creating all the heat, but we were rather ‘hard line’ at this time and said that we were in full agreement with Shri Ganesha and thought he should continue to punish everyone! Shri Mataji just smiled at us and we went off on a camping trip, confident that Shri Ganesha would keep the weather nice and sunny, but the first night there was a torrential rainstorm, we had a river flowing through our tents and spent the night sitting in the car!

Pat Anslow

Shri Mataji was endlessly patient

Shri Mataji came everywhere with us in the 1970’s. It was a long time before we actually had a car for Her to travel in. Before that She went everywhere by tube with us. We would stand in one of the aisles, Shri Mataji would be explaining something and we would have our hands towards Her.

When we went to Weston-Super-Mare in western England, we all went on the train together. We didn’t understand how to look after Mother or anything. She was endlessly, endlessly patient.

Pat Anslow

I was seeing Shri Mataji as a child would

I saw Shri Mataji as a child would. Every time I saw Her, I would run up and hug Her. She was like a big friend; it was very different. She was very accessible to people in those days and yet it didn’t quite have the intensity that people have had in encounters with Mother later on.

I remember my aunt, Maureen Rossi, saying that Shri Mataji was very direct and sociable, especially with the ladies, in a way that She wasn’t with the men. But generally, in talks and at other times too, you would notice that at a certain moment some aspect of Her would come out, something very serious and quite didactic and sometimes a great jocularity. She did have that, but it was much more toned down in those days.

Kevin Anslow

The sky opened up like a great big halo above us

At one particular puja, one of the very early pujas, we had a havan outside. We had a book of the thousand Sanskrit names of the Goddess, and we were sitting round putting offerings on the havan, and Shri Mataji was actually reading the names of Herself!

‘This is very strange,’ She pointed out, ‘because you’ve got the Goddess, reading the praise of the Goddess, which is rather unusual,’ but Shri Mataji was the only one who could read them. Whilst we were there, and it was really cold outside because it was late in the year, the sky opened up like a great big halo above us. The sky was quite dark but there was a whole light patch above where we were, because the vibrations that were given out had caused the sky to open.

Maureen Rossi

A huge wind came up

At one stage Shri Mataji took us outside in the evening, into the garden and we had a havan. She was trying to clear us and we all stood there, and suddenly Shri Mataji said something like, ‘That’s it!’ A huge wind came up and disturbed all the leaves, and you just felt like the disciples gathered around Christ. Shri Mataji worked so hard all the time on us – no matter what. She tried everything to try and clear us out.

Douglas Fry

Chapter 8: 1977 – The First India Tour

Getting the special treatment in India

When the Westerners went to India there were five of us on that first trip, in 1977. Gregoire de Kalbermatten was in Kathmandu and we flew into India. Shri Mataji actually offered me the chance to go with Her. I hesitated.

‘Never mind,’ She said. I was still scared of Her, unfortunately. We all flew out to Mumbai and we were looked after by the Sahaja Yogis so wonderfully. We were taken into their homes and Shri Mataji always called for us.

‘Where are the foreigners?’ She would say. I would feel so sorry for all the thousands of Indians dying to see Mother and there was us always put at the front. You just felt so humbled after what the English had done to the Indians, and here we were getting the special treatment in India.

Maureen Rossi

The first India tour

The trip to Nepal and India at the beginning of 1977 surpassed all of our expectations, especially the wonderful generosity with which the Indian Sahaja Yogis received us everywhere, but we had to get used to a lot more yogis being around Shri Mataji, and to us being a lot less important. Even so, Shri Mataji often would call us to see how we were, and did everything possible if any of us had any problems.

Pat Anslow

Shri Mataji introduced us to using ajwan

We had the chance to be a small group with Shri Mataji again when we visited Nepal with Her in 1977, on that first tour, and She was very sweet to us while we were there. We did quite a lot of shopping for hand crafted goods and trinkets, including brass statues of deities in Kathmandu, and Shri Mataji would help us by going into shops first and asking all the prices and then waving at us to come in, so the shopkeeper could not put his prices up for us Westerners!

‘This is so much and this is so much,’ She would say.

Pat Anslow

Paying respects to the mountain

We flew into Kathmandu from Patna, India, but we were also told that there were flight excursions around Mount Everest or towards that area, so a few of the Sahaja Yogis went on the plane round Mount Everest. It was only about an hour or two.

When we came back the next day, in the sky there were clouds that looked like ripples in a pool, like when you throw a stone in the water and you get ripples. There was this similar sort of thing, but in the sky. We pointed this out to Shri Mataji.

‘Oh, yes,’ She said. ‘That’s because you have been to pay your respects to the mountain and those are waves of joy coming from the mountain.’

It was quite incredible.

Douglas Fry

Shri Mataji wrote on the certificate

I got this ‘certificate’ after a local sightseeing flight to Mount Everest from Kathmandu during the first India Tour in 1977. On the way towards Mount Everest the plane flew quite a distance away from it, then turned in a wide circle and flew back much closer to it, so that I did not get a good view from the side I was sitting on. I used to get very deeply upset about things I perceived to be ‘unfair’ in those days, and so it was in this case, to the point where my sister Maureen went and asked the pilots if I could come into their cabin and see the view from there, and they agreed, but I was so angry I refused!

When we got back to the airport we were met by Shri Mataji, who asked why I was so upset, after which She wrote my name on the certificate to cheer me up.

Pat Anslow

A visit to Nepal

This is a photo of Shri Mataji giving vibrations to Gregoire de Kalbermatten in his garden in Kathmandu, where he was working in early 1977, and the photo was taken during the first journey of Western disciples to India and Nepal which can probably be described as the first India Tour.

Shri Mataji came to visit him twice and stayed for a week each time; the first time She came with Rommel Varma (Her son-in-law) who stayed a few days and the second time with the then small London based early group of Western Sahaja Yogis. At that time Gregoire was working on the book about Shri Mataji and Sahaja Yoga, The Advent, and Shri Mataji often gave him advice. 

Pat Anslow and Gregoire de Kalbermatten

The silence was galactic

This is an unusual conversation and it did take place. Maybe the words are not absolutely exact, but I remember faithfully the sense of it.

‘But Mother, this is really an ugly Kali Yuga. Were there other Kali Yugas like this before?’

‘There were many other Kali Yugas before, but this is one of the worst.’

‘But then, there were also other golden ages before?’

‘Of course, the successions of yugas form a kalpa, which is your universe.’

‘When will our universe finish?’

‘If Sadashiva interrupts it in dancing Tandava, people of God will go back to God and everything else will be destroyed. I do not think it will happen now because of Sahaja Yoga.’

‘If our universe comes and goes like this, it means there were other universes before?’

‘Yes, many.’

‘But, Shri Mataji, where do all these universes go, when they are finished?’

‘They become a chakra in My body.’

Believe me, after this answer, no more questions. And the silence was very galactic.

Gregoire de Kalbermatten

The grandmother of Christ

I recall Shri Mataji saying that Saint Ann, the mother of Mary, was an (anch?) avatar of Shri Mahakali.

Gregoire de Kalbermatten

The first ajwan session

We had the first ajwan session in Kathmandu when we went there in the late seventies. Shri Mataji got Her shawl, and She got the fire, and She put the ajwan on it – there are pictures of us under Shri Mataji’s shawl doing ajwan, inhaling ajwan. Shri Mataji was also under the shawl with us, and we had to tie our heads up. You shouldn’t go to sleep with an uncovered head afterwards. She gave us a lot of very personal attention and really looked after us. We were in such a state.

Maureen Rossi

It was here that Shri Mataji introduced us to using ajwan. A fire was lit in the house and the ajwan thrown onto the glowing embers. Shri Mataji asked for a blanket and we all, including Shri Mataji, put our heads under the blanket, over the fire, to inhale the fumes.

Pat Anslow

The joy coming out of it

We went to a market square in Kathmandu where there was a fearsome looking statue of Shri Bhairava, and Shri Mataji washed its feet.

‘Now look at Bhairava,’ She said. We stood there and, as we looked at it, we all went into deep meditation. Its fearsome look changed to a smile and it was actually smiling at us. In that deep meditation we were obviously seeing it in a totally different light and we could see the joy coming out of it.

Douglas Fry

The Adi Shakti is here

We were in Kathmandu and we set off for a picnic. We went off for quite some distance up into the hills, all in a car with Shri Mataji. We were looking for a picnic place and heard there was a little hermitage where a saint lived.

‘That sounds interesting. We’ll go up there,’ we said and we drove around and eventually found this place. It was a little kind of a hut, a two-storey thing – quite a nice little place. There was no one there.

‘This is a nice spot for a picnic,’ Mother said. We were all agog about this yogi that was supposed to live there and we were trying the vibrations and Mother said, ‘I think he’s realised, this yogi.’

We were so excited because we had this great idea of a great sage meeting the Adi Shakti. We thought that this was going to be an amazing thing. The picnic drew to an end and we were looking everywhere and sure enough, the yogi came down the path with his hair done up in a topknot. We were on fire with excitement and very confused. Suddenly, he was sitting down and Mother was working on him.

‘He’s out of his mind,’ Gregoire’s servant said in an aside to us. He was realised, but he was a bit mad and Mother was helping him.

The time came to leave and we discovered that Mother’s purse had been stolen. We started looking everywhere for this purse and then some local people said they would find it. We went back to the car and we could see all over the hillside people running from house to house and more and more people would join in the search. Eventually, they found the purse and brought it back. Mother gave the person who found it a reward. She called all the little children there to come up and get realisation and each child She gave realisation to, She gave one rupee. One of the Sahaja Yogis who was there was surprised.

‘I am the Adi Shakti. I can do anything I like,’ Shri Mataji replied.

Pat Anslow

Shri Mataji looked pained

We also travelled to (the last incarnation of the Adi Guru) Sai Nath’s ashram at Shirdi. It had been turned into a bit of a commercial circus and there were large numbers of people there. Shri Mataji took us around outside, to the back of the shrine, where She tried to clear out the negative vibrations. She looked pained at what had been done to the place where he had lived, and began to bang Her head against the wall in anguish. We could not bear to see Shri Mataji hurt Herself and one of the Indian Yogis placed his hand on the wall behind Shri Mataji’s head to protect Her.

Pat Anslow

A havan at Bordi

These photos were taken during a havan on the India tour in 1977, at Bordi. Mother requested the yogis to ask for a boon. Shri Mataji is vibrating the threads which would then be given out to the Sahaja Yogis to wear on their wrists for some time. She asked them to cut up the strings and distribute them.

Pat Anslow

The thousand names of the Goddess

These pictures, seen above, are from a havan at Bordi where the Sahaja Yogis used to go before Ganapatipule. We went down to Bordi by train and they carried Shri Mataji in a bullock cart. It was right by the sea and it was also there that the pictures of Shri Mataji standing in the sea with a few of us around Her were taken.

The havan was on one of the evenings and the Indian Sahaja Yogis, four ladies who were looking after Shri Mataji, laced the threads around Her in a very intricate way around each toe and back around Her head. We (the foreigners) sat around three sides of the fire and Shri Mataji was facing the fourth side. There were a number of Indian yogis there, perhaps around one hundred. They read the thousand names of the Goddess. 

Personally it was tough, as I felt as if I was burning almost as much as the fruit that was placed on the little wall around the flames. As we watched it blister and blacken you felt as if parts of you were blistering and blackening and dropping off and you could hardly bear it – but you knew you had to hang on in there. It was like a major battle going on inside and you had to just sit tight and let it happen. Afterwards, when the threads had been unwound from Shri Mataji’s body, they were distributed to everyone to wear as rakhis, tied on the wrist. 

It was also at this Bordi camp that one evening Shri Mataji said She was pleased with everyone and they could ask for a boon and we all sat there desiring the ultimate and She broke in on our earnest thoughts.

‘No, no, ask for something material for yourselves,’ She said. It was extraordinary. 

At this session Shri Mataji got us to try putting lemon peel on our eyes to clear our Agnyas – it stung like mad but worked! My brother Pat was really ill after the session in the sea, because the sun and his liver did not go together well.  He had to stay in his room – he felt so bad – and suddenly there was a knock at the door and Shri Mataji appeared there to see him.

Maureen Rossi

There was Shri Mataji

At Bordi I had left the programme and gone back to our hut because I was not feeling well and a couple of hours later I heard a knock at the door. I hopped over in my sleeping bag to open the door and to my astonishment there was Shri Mataji, who had stopped on Her way back from the programme to see how I was. I then had the embarrassment of having to hop across the room in my sleeping bag to a chair in full view of Shri Mataji and Her retinue, so that Shri Mataji could work on me!

Pat Anslow

Tremendous fun

We had tremendous fun, travelling to programmes in many places. Our biggest problem was trying to eat all of the food that we were offered.

I remember one occasion when we were in a hut trying to work on an Indian gentleman with a large, shiny bald head. Shri Mataji asked one of the Indian Yogis to put some kumkum on his head, and the whole pot full accidentally tipped onto him. He sat there with a huge pyramid of kumkum on his head and Shri Mataji went into gales of laughter. We all laughed till we cried while the unfortunate (or fortunate!) gentleman looked around in bewilderment.

Pat Anslow

Birthday Puja 1977

This photo, above, was taken at Shri Mataji’s Birthday Puja in Mumbai on the 21st March 1977 when my brother Pat, Douglas Fry, Tony Panayioutou, I and three others went to India for three months. This was the culmination of the tour.

 We had been to several pujas during the three months but this was the most powerful. The puja was held in a grand hall in Mumbai, and there had been a public programme there as well either the day before or a few days before. It had a stage and we sat on the stage at the public programme with Shri Mataji and some of us spoke a few words as the ‘foreigners’. At the puja Shri Mataji was not on a stage but in the body of the hall, because we were brought forward to Her after the puja as She often had happen.

‘Where are the foreigners?’ She would say. She was surrounded by people, it seemed to me, not separate or on a platform. 

When we set off to spend three months in India I had this illusion that we would come back perfect. The reality was that when Shri Mataji called us to bow down and go on Her Feet we were all in such a state that She really had to correct us, and it was a very humbling experience. But the first faltering steps of starting to perhaps grow a little, once you glimpse the immensity of the mountain you are attempting to climb, you may feel unworthy and certainly question your pompous ideas of yourself, but also a tiny little voice inside recognises with relief that all the rubbish you identified with as ‘you’ was not you at all and had to go. 

Maureen Rossi

She loved juxtaposition of the different cultures

At the Birthday Puja in Mumbai, on that first trip, this was again our first time of seeing Shri Mataji in that kind of situation for Her birthday. It made us realise what a pitiful thing we had attempted to do in England before, compared to what they did. Shri Mataji wanted us to talk. One of us talked and then Shri Mataji called me across to Her.

‘Can you really do this?’ She said. By then I was so fired up, I was just dying to talk. I wanted to say how Mother had poured love on us and how wonderful it was. But Shri Mataji wanted to have the Westerners tell the Indians about Sahaja Yoga. She loved using the juxtaposition of the different cultures. Here people tend to think Sahaja Yoga is Indian, but She loved to use the different approaches, because each person would have a way of putting it across that would perhaps catch the attention of the other culture.

Shri Mataji always looked after us and made sure we got proper accommodation, and the Indian people were so wonderful. They put up with us. We were very disrespectful in our ways. We didn’t know, and were given a lot of help. Shri Mataji gave us ladies saris of Hers and cardigans, and She gave me a coat. It was all part of protecting us and protecting us from this awful state we were in.

Maureen Rossi

Chapter 9: 1977 – Pujas, Ashrams and Caxton Hall

True seekers – ring this number!

1977 continued with the same sort of meetings and workshop sessions, pujas and havans, as the year before, but new things were happening. A few more seekers came to our meetings with Shri Mataji.

I used to spend my dole money putting cryptic messages into Time Out Magazine. ‘True seekers – ring this number!’

Pat Anslow

Editor’s note: the dole is the informal term for the British government’s financial support for those who are unemployed. Time Out is a magazine that tells readers what entertainment and other events are happening.

Shri Mataji took him home

In 1977 one seeker, a friend of mine, collapsed in the street, seriously ill with hepatitis, and Shri Mataji took him home to Hurst Green and kept him there for six weeks, working on his vibrations until he was better. I also spent a lot of time there in order to try and help him.

Pat Anslow

Alcohol down the sink

Shri Mataji once made me go to my parents’ house and pour all my dad’s whisky down the sink. It was because my son Kevin was staying there at the time and I was upset because my dad had been shouting at him, because his bad liver, due to drinking, made him irritable. It was a very confrontational and traumatic experience. I found it a very difficult and emotionally upsetting thing to do, but some weeks later my dad said that he respected the fact that I had done it.

 Pat Anslow

Shri Mataji gave us so much affection

For me the early days of Sahaja Yoga were the spring and summer of 1977. What was special was that Shri Mataji had just a few Sahaja Yogis. She was trying to bring them up to the level where they could be strong enough, so we could then expand our collectivity.

When I arrived there were about six or seven people — I was probably the eighth. I remember how Shri Mataji worked on an Australian boy for many weeks; She took him home, She looked after him and She cured him. He was like an encyclopedia of drugs, really bad. He had so many problems and She worked on him day in and day out, every day. She never spared any effort. The most extraordinary thing is that She gave him all Her love and, after three months, he just left, and left Sahaja Yoga. When you look at it from our point of view, he wasted Mother’s efforts. But She never actually talked about it that way. She just gave love and there was no condition put on that love.

The most extraordinary thing about Shri Mataji is and was Her capacity as a Mother to nourish the Sahaja Yogis who came at that time, to nourish them with enough love so they stayed in Sahaja Yoga, so they felt, ‘She gives us what we didn’t have,’ so as Shri Sai Nath of Shirdi said, ‘We may want what She wants to give us.’

Shri Mataji worked tirelessly, taking us to Her home. She never hesitated to cook for us – just think, Shri Adi Shakti in Her home, cooking for the few of us. She would, Herself, cook food for us because obviously She wanted to put those vibrations in our Nabhis and improve our Nabhis, which were in such a state. It was so great, the way She actually received us in Her home, whether it was the house She had in Hurst Green or later in the flat in Ashley Gardens. She did everything for us and gave us so much affection.

Djamel Metouri

A day at Hurst Green

Mother invited some of us to come to Her house in Hurst Green. For some time before we were invited I had a burning desire to visit Mother’s house. I could already picture how loving and hospitable Mother was going to be with us.

I arrived in the house on a hot and sunny summer day and yet I felt surrounded by cool vibrations. Every corner of the house was filled with a powerful and yet peaceful energy. Douglas, Pat and Maureen were already in the house and were very familiar with the surroundings, so Pat was showing me the various statues of gods and goddesses which Shri Mataji had brought from India and which gave the house decoration a divine grandeur. Amongst the statues that Pat was showing me I saw a white marble Shiva statue placed over the mantlepiece of the fireplace in the downstairs lounge, depicting the God Shiva in deep meditation, and Pat was explaining how impressed he was with this statue.

Once we were upstairs we came across a wooden statue of Lord Ganesha and Pat asked me to put my hands towards it saying that it had very cool vibrations. I put my hands towards it in a rather diffident way while reflecting on my lifelong habit of neither bowing nor worshipping any man made idol, which came from the religion I grew up with.

Later on I was shown an imposing stone statue of Shri Kartikeya which was located just outside Mother’s bedroom. It had the expression of a warrior ready to fight any intruder. I had to concede that these statues had cool vibrations and so did every object in the house.

The house had a divine fragrance which would become very familiar and was to become very characteristic of Shri Mataji’s presence. All the reception rooms were beautifully furnished with genuine Eastern carpets and hand carved Indian furniture. I could feel lulled into a beautiful feeling of blissful fragrance and peaceful aesthetics.

In the main reception room where the Shri Shiva marble statue was placed there was a large bay window. Douglas caught my curiosity and told me that the window ledge was painted by Mother in white and if I moved my hands along the ledge I should feel very cool vibrations. I tried it and so it was.

Shri Mataji bought the house ready built and when I praised its architecture She remarked that the layout would have been different had She built it Herself. The house was on top of a hill at the end of a wooded alley. It enjoyed plenty of light. The garden did not have an all-round fence but, when viewed from the road leading up to it, had a small decorative wall of stones over which were placed various plants. At the back of the house there was a beautifully kept lawn with a variety of small trees and plants around the edges.

The kitchen was filled with the fragrance of Indian spices. Shri Mataji’s Indian servant, a young man named Paramshiva, was already busy making tea and snacks for the guests. Shri Mataji walked around the house in bare Feet and we followed wherever She went. Towards the end of the day Sir CP Srivastava arrived from work. As a young student I felt rather intimidated by his dignified stature. Later on he came out to the lounge to greet us and addressed us in warm, kind and reassuring words.

Late in the evening we had dinner, and afterwards we all sat around Mother while She worked on us. She was sitting on a couch and was showing us an exercise for the Mooladhara chakra. We had both hands directed to Mother and the left heel placed under the Mooladhara to feed it with vibrations. Mother was trying to awaken our Shri Ganeshas. At one point Gus, the boy She had healed and had to stay with Her, said he had seen Mother’s face changing into Shri Ganesha’s.

Everyone has noticed how much Shri Mataji’s physical nature changed all the time according to circumstances and the environment. During this particular evening She looked so majestic and physically so much greater that we were all awed by Her presence. This became part of the many unforgettable moments we had with our Divine Mother.

Djamel Metouri

I am like the source

One time Shri Mataji gave us a meditation in Her lounge, where we were seven or eight people. We were Maureen Rossi, Gus the Australian from the early days, Pat Anslow and Douglas Fry. Shri Mataji was trying to tell us who She was.

‘The power of God actually just goes to the back of Me,’ She said. ‘I am like the source and it’s just flowing behind Me.’

That is when we started realising who She was. On one occasion She was trying to work on our Mooladharas. One man saw Mother as Shri Ganesha.

Djamel Metouri

A different universe altogether

Mother arranged a weekend at Her house at Hurst Green — Icehouse Wood, Hurst Green near Oxted in Sussex. We all went down there by train. It was extraordinary because there we were, a very strange collection of people in an extremely ‘nice’ neighbourhood.

‘Not even a rat would enter because the houses there were so perfect,’ Shri Mataji described it. The neighbours never had visitors, let alone about fifteen straggling, hippie-type people dressed in jeans.

In Shri Mataji’s house there was a big drawing room downstairs with beautiful Indian rugs and things like that and then a room up the stairs that was on the mezzanine. It was very sunny and there were large statues of deities and a beautiful Shri Ganesha.

Maureen Rossi

The list of what She did for us goes on and on

Shri Mataji sacrificed so much to pull us out of the mud. She gave me Her own clothes to wear like the red silk shawl I am wearing in one of the pictures, dresses made out of Her saris, saris, sari blouses, petticoats and cardigans all to confuse the bhuts and help me to clear out.  This was only one occasion!  The list of just what She did for all of us at that time goes on and on: She cooked for us, and She even welcomed my father into Her house, personally taking his hand and giving him no choice but to come in and sit with Her and talk to Her, which he told me afterwards had a profound effect on him.

 Maureen Rossi

Closeness and intimacy

I remember at Oxted, at the house that Shri Mataji had there in the mid-seventies, the sort of closeness and intimacy, and Her relationship with the early Sahaja Yogis. For example, we would have an ajwan session, and She would get under the sheet with everybody and all the Sahaja Yogis would be coughing and spluttering, because of the smoke.

‘What’s wrong?’ Shri Mataji would say, and She would be completely unaffected.

Kevin Anslow

A mixing device

I can remember Shri Mataji working on people. People would come and visit Her. Sometimes Indians would come to worship Her as an incarnation, and then they would disappear again. Then there would be people who had heard of Her or people that Sahaja Yogis had brought along and She would work extensively on them, sometimes for hours. Shri Mataji would talk to them and find out where their attitudes were and suggest things to them.

Once, two or three Sahaja Yogis tried to raise a gentleman’s Kundalini and it wasn’t happening. At the same time I was playing with these kind of electronic spoons, a mixing device that Douglas had bought.

‘Can you come and help?’ they said to me. I remember moving this spoon machine up behind his back as we tried to raise this man’s Kundalini and up it shot.

‘See. That’s how it’s done,’ Shri Mataji said.

Kevin Anslow

Delicious Indian sweets

In the 1970’s, we quite often went to Oxford Street shopping with Shri Mataji, and also round North Gower Street, in North London, to the Indian shops, and to the amazing Indian sweet shop. What was it called? Ambala, that’s right. We nearly always had Ambala sweets when Shri Mataji came to the leader’s flat there. And the extraordinary effect that Mother had was that when She was there you didn’t feel like eating, but when She had gone the sweets had all gone, because everybody had taken them!

Maureen Rossi

To have met someone very special

In the summer of 1977, my aunt and uncle introduced me to Sahaja Yoga.

‘Would you like to try this?’ my uncle said one evening. Without much explanation, they sat me down facing the photograph and brought a bowl of water for me to put my feet into.

The next day, they asked me if I’d like to accompany them to meet Shri Mataji. Of course, I agreed. On the train journey from Euston Station to Oxted, where Shri Mataji lived, I noticed how excited my uncle and aunt were feeling about meeting Her, and the child-like excitement in their faces was striking.

We reached Shri Mataji’s house and it was full of Indian artwork, including large statues of gods in the hall. The house was also filled with the delicious smell of Indian cooking. When we met Shri Mataji in a sunny room overlooking the garden, She greeted us in a very open and friendly way, like a mother talking to her children. It was very peaceful there.

When Shri Mataji talked to me, it reminded me of how my grandmother talked to me. She was interested in what I was doing and what my interests were. She rubbed my head and said something about being careful about eating cheese because some cheeses are not good. She said I had been born with the realisation. I did not have any strong unusual experiences, such as feeling the cool breeze, but I did feel lucky to have met someone very special.

Alan Richards

So informal

Sahaja Yoga was so informal. At first, we didn’t have any programmes which were with a lot of people. We used to go and meet at someone’s place on a Sunday afternoon. Shri Mataji used to come by train to Victoria Station, London from Oxted, where She lived and then She would come by taxi. I even remember Her coming to a programme by tube.

Djamel Metouri

My first puja

My first puja was a Guru Puja in 1977. I was at work and then someone phoned me.

‘Can you come over? We’ll have a puja,’ he said.

I didn’t know what a puja was, but I went. We were something like eight or nine people and an Indian pujari. This was the first time that I was seeing a puja. I sat down and it all felt and looked quite new.

It was in the lounge of a house, with just ten people, as opposed to many thousands today. We had a large piece of paper with a chakra chart drawn and we offered rice and flowers to each of the chakras on the chart, saying mantras for each chakra. That puja was just a small one but there is a picture of Mother who is holding the flowers between Her Feet. That puja was done differently from the way we do it today, which is to do the puja directly to the Goddess, and wash Her Feet. At that time, we did wash Her Feet, but at the same time we used the chakra chart, making offerings to the various chakras.

Djamel Metouri

We are all here

That was the first Guru Puja, in a flat in North London. There is a picture of Mother holding some roses. I remember giving Her those flowers.

‘Mother, be careful, there are thorns in them,’ I said.

‘I have to take the thorns, too,’ She said, and took the flowers. ‘Can you tape record this, My talk?’

That was the first time I remember Shri Mataji giving a formal talk. I thought, ‘What is the point of taping it? We are all here.’

Pat Anslow

Saint Albans

During my first summer as a realised soul, in about July 1977, Shri Mataji was staying in Hurst Green, a charming hilltop village in the heart of Surrey. It was the official residence of Sir CP as Secretary General of IMO (The International Maritime Organisation). In addition to being our divine Mother and our Guru, She also had a responsibility as a housewife. Not only did She have to look after Her husband Sir CP but She also had to attend and sometimes organise official dinners.

Sometimes when Sir CP was away Shri Mataji used to invite us home or we would travel to another venue where we would spend time together. Mother spent many a day working on our vibrations, clearing our subtle centres, removing so many of our left sided problems. Sometimes we had an opportunity to do a puja to Shri Mataji and sometimes we just meditated under Her guidance. These seminars could last a whole weekend.

It was during one of these seminars that Shri Mataji came to stay at my place in Saint Albans, a town just north of London. I lived in a large house which I shared with other students. When She came to stay the house was empty and we had the whole place to ourselves. She arrived in the morning of a warm and sunny day. Pat, his young son and his sister Maureen arrived the day before.

In the evening we had a puja with Mother. It was my second puja since I arrived in Sahaja Yoga and I can remember seeing the whole place full of light as if we were transported into another dimension. It was a Shri Krishna Puja and we washed Mother’s Feet and had a puja the way we do it today, but with perhaps not all the ingredients. It was not a fully fledged puja.

The next day we went to Saint Albans Cathedral. We visited Saint Alban’s grave where Mother knelt to pay Her respects to Saint Alban who She said was an Adi Guru. Saint Alban was a Roman saint who was beheaded for his Christian beliefs in the third or fourth century AD.

At lunch time Shri Mataji invited all of us to a Greek restaurant located close to the centre of St Albans city. While ordering our lunch we had a discussion about the maitre d’hotel who welcomed us to his restaurant. While I was speculating on the state of his vibrations Shri Mataji remarked that he had quite a bad right heart.

Djamel Metouri

Editor’s note: apart from the ten main incarnations, Shri Adi Guru has come on earth many times, as, for example, Saint Alban. The Adi Guru always does miracles with water, as did he.

A part incarnation

We went to Saint Albans with Shri Mataji for one or two days in 1977. Shri Mataji, my sister Maureen, my son Kevin, Gavin and Jane Brown, Douglas Fry and Tony Panayioutou all stayed with Djamel Metouri at his student accommodation in the town. We had a small puja with Shri Mataji at the house and we visited Saint Alban’s grave at Saint Albans Cathedral where Mother paid Her respects and said that Saint Alban was a part incarnation of the Adi Guru. Afterwards Shri Mataji invited us all to have a meal with Her in a restaurant in the town centre.

Pat Anslow

Those blessed times

Early on in Sahaja Yoga, in the 1970’s, before Shri Mataji started public programmes at Caxton Hall in London, our Mother looked after us with great love, patience and kindness. We would go to Her house near Oxted in Surrey and She would spend hours explaining about Sahaja Yoga, asking us about our problems and the seeking we had done, and working on each of us with great attention to detail. She would massage our heads with oil; direct us to wash Her Feet and apply kumkum in small pujas as we sat on the floor around Her chair; and each of us would spent literally hours with our head on Her Feet while She worked on our chakras.

The attention that Shri Mataji focused on us was very intense and powerful, and we often felt as if we were swimming in a rich ocean of blissful, golden vibrations. Mother often discussed the future of Sahaja Yoga and the work we would have to do. She talked about the different stages of self realisation and the tests and illusions we must beware of on our ascent, and the complete oneness we would feel with each other when our divinity finally manifested. The atmosphere was always very relaxed and She often made us laugh, and sometimes cooked beautiful meals for us. 

In the beginning we often had to leave when Sir CP came home. He was always polite but found it hard to get used to the strange Western seekers his wife was teaching. Shri Mataji tried to bring him around by giving him his realisation, and asked us to help to raise his Kundalini. We tried on several occasions, but the Kundalini could not pierce the Sahasrara, and Shri Mataji said it was difficult for him because of his high position at work and his traditional role as head of the household in Indian society. She said if Sir CP could get his realisation then anyone could. He eventually got his realisation some years later.

Sir CP became fully reconciled to Sahaja Yoga when the Sahaja Yogis helped finish the work on his house in Knightsbridge in central London. Being an honest and trusting gentleman, he had paid some builders in advance to carry out a huge renovation job, and they ran away before finishing. Shri Mataji asked us to come and help complete it, and dozens of Sahaja Yogis worked hard on the house for several months. Sir CP was very grateful and became much more supportive of Sahaja Yoga from then on. 

Pat Anslow

Don’t panic

Shri Mataji told us this once. If you worry too much about something that is wrong within you, bad vibrations or something like that, you start to panic.

‘Do all the things that relax you,’ She said, at least thirty years ago, and She said if you do that it will make you feel better. She said that if you get tense your heart closes up and you can’t feel the love. Then you can’t even receive the love of Shri Mataji or give any love either.

Djamel Metouri

Mother asked us to watch Her with adoration

This photo was taken in Mother’s house in Hurst Green some time in August 1977. It was during a weekend seminar we were having with Mother. We did not call it a seminar at the time. There was a pujari whose name was Satpal, a very sweet man and he was also the pujari of the first Guru Puja in London in July of that year.

We had a puja during this particular get together. At the time Mother would instruct us not to eat in the morning* and the puja itself would take place in the morning. I remember Mother had placed next to Her a very small silver statue of Shri Sai Nath, and I think one of Shri Ganesha as well. When the puja started Mother asked us to watch Her with adoration. It was a very powerful moment which has remained engraved in my memory ever since.

Later on we had another puja in Her house. It was more like a real puja with the amrit and all the elements and so on. That took place during a seminar we had in Her house around September 1977, at Hurst Green in Oxted.

Djamel Metouri

*Editor’s note: this no longer applies

An earthquake disaster movie

While we were there Shri Mataji asked us if we could do some painting and decorating. We were hopelessly inept, and the end result resembled a film set for an earthquake disaster movie. Shri Mataji seemed greatly to enjoy everything we did, and even joined in to help us sand down wood and paint at times.

Pat Anslow

Shri Mataji got us everything

The first London ashram was in Acton in West London, in 1977. The ashram was a rented place, a little house at the bottom of a hill right next to a railway line, so at the back you had trains thundering by and at the front you had lorries making that huge hissing noise on their brakes or revving up to go up the hill. Djamel Metouri and I slept in the lounge. It was really exciting.

Shri Mataji found it and arranged it all for us. She got us everything, even the ironing board. We only stayed there for six weeks or so, and then Shri Mataji told us that She had found a better place in Finchley, in North London. I can’t remember exactly what the initial financial arrangements in acquiring the Finchley Road ashram were, but I’m sure that Shri Mataji must have put up most if not all of the money required. We at least were all working by then and could pay the rent.

Pat Anslow

Strong vibrations

Sometimes if you want to remember what has happened during a particular period of time, you remember anecdotes. This anecdote happened when we were in the first ashram at Acton Lane. Shri Mataji was coming to the ashram, and as we were driving to the place She said She was amazed at how strong the vibrations were, then when we got to the ashram, Pat or Maureen pointed out that it was the 15th of August, which is the day of the Assumption of the Virgin, the day on which the Virgin Mary traditionally rose up into heaven. Mother said there were amazing vibrations that day because of that.

The vibrations were always strong at Acton ashram. There were five of us there, and whenever some Sahaja Yogi came up to see us, they didn’t have to ring the bell, because we felt such strong vibrations we knew there was someone there at the door.

In this photo below of Shri Mataji working on Pat Anslow She was trying to make him less serious.

Djamel Metouri

The first ashram

The very first ashram in London was in Acton Lane, Acton, West London, where the first UK Sahaja Yogis lived for a short time. Then they found a flat in Finchley Central, North London – above a shop which was then called Halaria’s Builders Merchants, in Regents Park Road, in a row of shops next to the junction with East End Road. The entrance was in an alley at the back of the shops, in East End Road, and was the far end house in that alley.

Once, we held a small, symbolic havan outside the back entrance with Shri Mataji. She spent a lot of time at this ashram, and sometimes stayed overnight. Shri Mataji had a tiny room there and six of us ladies squashed onto the floor in that room. Comfort didn’t matter at all. We were in a new dimension of awareness.

Patricia Proenza

Shri Mataji never tired of clearing us out

Once, Shri Mataji came to the house in Gower Street when we used to have meetings there on Sunday afternoons.

‘You are all so caught up,’ She said when She came. We had been playing a Chinese game called mahjong.

‘What is this?’ She said. ‘How did you get so badly caught up?’ We got caught up from the mahjong. She worked on us virtually all afternoon and evening and then at night one Sahaja Yogi had to put one hand on Shri Mataji and we made a chain, so we were all holding hands all night. She was asleep, sometimes waking up.

‘Put your hand here,’ or ‘Put your hand there,’ She would say. I can’t imagine any human being able to do that.

‘Alright,’ Shri Mataji said the next day.

‘You should go and watch a movie,’ She would say, to have a change of atmosphere.

She would work virtually twenty-four hours. She put so much love into us, and worked so hard and we were far from perfect, yet She always had love for us. She always received us: think of all the love She gave us.

‘If you can’t love others,’ Shri Mataji Herself said later on, ‘considering the love I give you, you can’t love anyone.’ It was true because the love She gave us was so powerful. There was so much of it and She showed it at every single moment. She never tired of loving every one of us and was never tired of clearing us out. Every time we went to see Her, She always looked at our vibrations.

Shri Mataji always worked on us. It was a non-stop job for many years.

Djamel Metouri

Shri Mataji worked on people with so much love

Before we had the programmes at Caxton Hall, from October 1977, we had meetings in a Sahaja Yogi’s place on Sundays and sometimes in the middle of the week. Shri Mataji used to come, even though She lived quite far away.

She had so much love that She worked on certain people who came to these meetings, even though they were not necessarily great seekers – they maybe had a marriage problem or some personal problem. Shri Mataji never felt that these people were a burden on Her; She never showed it anyway.

It was an intermediate period, during which many people came to Sahaja Yoga and left and Mother worked on them without ever putting any demands. She always let people choose what they wanted to do. She never forced on people that they should stay in Sahaja Yoga. She always showed a lot of concern for them, for their health, for their well-being, but it paid off because once we started the programmes, then we had real seekers, a whole wave of real seekers coming into Sahaja Yoga. Sahaja Yoga changed beyond recognition after just a few months, even though until the end of 1977 and throughout 1978 we still had these smaller meetings, where the core of Sahaja Yogis used to come and Mother used to invite us in Her home.

Djamel Metouri

Great news for all the Sahaja Yogis

London, 16th October 1977

‘Great news for all the Sahaja Yogis. The first public lecture is on the 24th of this month at Caxton Hall. We have advertised and have invited many people. Let us see how it fares.’

(Extract from a letter from Her Holiness Shri Mataji to Gregoire de Kalbermatten, then in Kathmandu, Nepal)

The Time Out advertisement

The formal programmes started in October 1977 in Caxton Hall, on Mondays. The first advertisements were put in Time Out London. At the same time, we had posters, which we put up in shops and on shop windows. A lot of the seekers came from the Time Out advertisement.

Djamel Metouri

Sahaja Yoga changed gear

That was a complete sea change. Up to that time it had just been a small group of people going around to different houses with Shri Mataji. Then She announced that She would like to have a public programme and we were all mystified. We were quite frightened and didn’t know what would happen.

We put a big advert in Time Out magazine and hired a room in Caxton Hall, in central London close to Shri Mataji’s new home in Victoria. We didn’t know if anyone would come, and to our amazement about two hundred people came. We were rather embarrassed, because Shri Mataji asked us all to sit on chairs on stage with Her. As Shri Mataji gave Her powerful talk I remember gritting my teeth at all of the aches and pains I could feel working out in the chakras and trying my best to look evolved!

She then went down into the audience to work on people, and the next thing we knew we were all moving down into the audience with Shri Mataji and working on people, and in the space of one evening Sahaja Yoga completely changed. At the end of that meeting everyone in the hall felt part of one big family, it was as if the Sahaja Yoga we had known had changed gear and moved to a new level.

Pat Anslow

You’ve got it!

I came to Sahaja Yoga at the first meeting held at Caxton Hall in October 1977. An Indian lady was sitting on the stage with about half a dozen very sick looking people and an English man was standing and talking. I was in the audience because the advertisement said, ‘Your divine birthright’ and ‘No money will be taken,’ which rang true for something spiritual.

The Englishman’s talk became boring and I thought, ‘I can’t sit here any longer, I’m going to leave.’ I sat near the door so I could make a quick exit. Just as this thought came to my mind, Shri Mataji signalled to this man to stop talking. Then She got up and started talking. It was everything that I had expected, at least verbally. When we were supposed to feel the vibrations, I didn’t feel anything at all.

‘All I am here for is to give you love.’ Shri Mataji said, and something happened in my heart. I felt this distinct churning in my chest. She came down and looked at all of us. She told one of the older yogis who was with Her that I had ‘got it’. I felt nothing. Shri Mataji came up to me, stood right in front of me and put Her hand over my head.

‘You’ve got it. You’ve got it!’ She said.

‘No, I don’t feel anything at all,’ I replied.

‘Oh wow, I feel it. I feel it!’ said a person sitting on my right.

‘This is just auto-suggestion,’ I thought.

‘I feel the cool breeze,’ the person on my left started saying. Meanwhile, I felt absolutely no breeze at all. I was quite disappointed and Mother was insisting that I’d got it.

I was a sceptical aerospace engineer, just out of college. Of the thirty or so new people who came to that programme, I was the only one who became a Sahaja Yogi.

Bala Kanayson

Shri Mataji encouraged us to work on others

On that first encounter Mother’s talk was about chastity. She explained how chastity was the most important quality in a woman.

Also Shri Mataji worked upon a young Scandinavian girl who had been seeing a false guru. After Mother had worked upon her, the girl moved back to her seat, however a little while later Shri Mataji looked towards her asking what was wrong. The girl had seen Mother’s golden aura and Shri Mataji worked upon her again, telling her not to put her attention on the false guru any more. The girl began to glow herself, with that inner light, whilst Shri Mataji worked upon her.

A lovable Moroccan boy arrived carrying a daisy for Shri Mataji. He went to Her Feet. Mother greeted him heartily but then was quite firm with him, telling him he shouldn’t just sit there at the front week after week, just bathing in Her vibrations, but that he had to get up and give vibrations to others. And She sent him back to do so.

Shri Mataji encouraged us to work on others almost from the word go, even when we didn’t really have a clue what we were doing. Another thing Mother chastised the Morrocan boy about was his long hair. She told us that men should dress as men and women as women.

In those days (and I can remember vividly seeing this on that first encounter) yogis would frequently raise their Kundalini in front of Shri Mataji at the programmes. She encouraged them to do so, although as Sahaja Yoga grew it became necessary to stop this in Her presence. The Kundalini was originally raised by placing the hands flat, palms inward, fingertips towards each other at the Mooladhara level and then  moving the hands up the Kundalini rather than rolling the right hand over the left; this came later.

  Marilyn Leate

My path to Sahaja Yoga

In 1974 I lost my wife to a car accident. I was only twenty four, totally devastated and my life was at an end. For the next few years I was searching for some meaning to life and after much mental anguish I went to a spiritualist organisation in London to try to find some answers to life. It was while I was in London that day that I bought a copy of Time Out magazine. There was a photo of Shri Mataji and it was advertised that there was public meeting that same evening.

I was in Victoria so it was only a short walk to Caxton Hall. I sat about twenty rows from the front and just looked at this large photograph of Shri Mataji on the stage. A Sahaja Yogi then came forward and began to speak. There was great love in his voice and that feeling stays with me to this day. He must have spoken for three quarters of an hour before Mother came into the room. Everybody stood when She walked into the hall, then She allowed him to continue. After another half hour Shri Mataji stopped him and the programme began. After Mother’s talk came the realisation session. In those days She tried to go to see each person in turn but as over five hundred people turned up that evening She could not see everybody.

I decided to come back the following week, to hopefully get my realisation. There were only about twenty-five yogis in the room when Mother came in. She started talking about the previous week’s public programme, then someone told Her that I had not got my realisation then and had come back to try again.

‘He must be a true seeker,’ Mother said.

I felt the cool breeze that evening in 1977 and that was my path to Sahaja Yoga.

Colin Dunwell

Shri Mataji would talk to people in a very personal way

Shri Mataji took a whole pile of photographs and rubbed kumkum on the pictures. These were small posters, which we used to put in the shops because we thought if Mother vibrated them there would be a greater chance that they would attract seekers, but we didn’t have large posters and all these fancy things.

Mother used to get down off the stage after giving realisation and would go round the hall working on people. She would talk to people, She knew what everybody’s problem was and She would talk to people in a very personal way, trying to resolve their problems, including their health and family problems.

In the early days, Her attention was very much on the seekers who were lost because of following false gurus. Mother used to blast all these false gurus whenever She spoke. She didn’t perhaps do it so much later because things changed, but in those days She could see that so many seekers were lost and, of course, many of the talks in Caxton Hall were about blasting all these horrible gurus who were just torturing the seekers.

Djamel Metouri

The recording of Mother’s early talks

Initially the only recording of Shri Mataji’s talks was done in India. We started to record them in England with a small cassette recorder but the first real recording by the English Sahaja Yogis was at the first public meeting at Caxton Hall on 24th October 1977. This was done with an open reel recorder supplied by Mother Herself. 

I was then working at the Audio Visual Department at Kings College at the Aldwych, nearby, and I was taught to transfer recordings from tape to cassette. Also I learnt how to use a tape duplicator, so some of the first copies were done that way. Caxton Hall started in 1977, and from then on it was every week, and I have a list of all the public meetings Shri Mataji gave between 1977 and 1984 there. In about 1979 I bought a high speed tape duplicator and started to copy and distribute tapes.

Initially I used an open reel tape recorder, then bought a small cassette recorder and after a couple of years realised something more professional was needed, so I bought a battery tape recorder and two microphones. This was used for about five years until I bought a high quality recorder, which I used until I stopped doing the recordings in 1985.

Douglas Fry

A glass of water

I was born in Athens in 1945 and as a child knew it was necessary for me to learn English, which I did at the age of eleven and it was most useful later when I met Shri Mataji. At the age of seventeen I had a vision of Lord Jesus in my house, during Easter time, the most frustrating period of the year for me, as I could not bear the crucifixion. Shri Jesus appeared on the cross and as He saw me so frustrated, the nails came off His hands and feet, He came down from the cross, and smiling He sat with me at a large empty dinner table. During His visit I asked why we sat at such a large table and He answered that it would soon be filled with people. He then asked me for a glass of water and some bread, and to touch His wounds. I felt a lot of pain and He said not to worry but to remember Him at a later date when the time was right.

A few years later I went to England and on the March 21st 1970 got married there. My real seeking started and by the mid-seventies I knew I was searching for ‘my Mother’. In about 1977, during a lunch break from work, in Wellingborough, in the Midlands, feeling very sad and depressed from my fruitless search, I walked into a bookshop and pulled out a magazine. I opened a page at random and there was a picture of Shri Mataji. I knew, looking at that divine photograph, that my search was over, as I saw the One I had been looking for. Under the picture was the time and place of the meeting – 7.00 pm, Caxton Hall, London.

I drove to London immediately after work, arrived at Caxton Hall and found it absolutely packed with people. I squeezed through the crowd and found a seat in the third row exactly opposite Shri Mataji, who was wearing a white sari. In those days Shri Mataji, after Her talk, would get up and go to every single person, touching their heads and giving realisation. Anxiously waiting for my turn, after giving realisation to the person before me, She passed by, absolutely ignoring me, and on Her way to the next person I saw in a flash, Lord Jesus, as I had seen Him, when He asked me to remember Him years before. Overwhelmed, I touched Her sari, brought it to my forehead and silently sent out the thought: ‘My Lord, even touching Your gown is enough for me.’

Shri Mataji turned and came back to me. I embraced Her round Her waist and rested my head on Her Nabhi, crying my heart out.

‘Mother, at long last I have found You. May I please become Your daughter?’ I cried. She laughed in the same way Lord Jesus had done in my vision.

‘But you already are My daughter,’ She answered, and asked for a glass of water. Someone brought it to Her. She vibrated it and asked me to drink. I drank half of it and with the rest She washed my face. That was my first encounter with Shri Mataji.

Maria Laventzi

A visit to the Midlands

The next day I rang the ashram. Gregoire answered the phone. I asked him to explain me more about Mother. He simply said that She was the Adi Shakti. I asked what this meant and he replied that She was the Holy Spirit. My whole being filled with tremendous satisfaction, and I was very eager to see Shri Mataji if She was coming up north, visiting the Midlands. My invitation was accepted and Her Holiness’s first visit took place in Irchester at my house with some other yogis. Our first meal together was soup, Greek style, for starters and roast chicken with potatoes and salad for the main course. My thoughts travelled back at that empty dinner table where I had sat with Lord Jesus and I thought that His words were coming true, that the table would soon be filled with people. Shri Mataji looked with Her beautiful eyes directly into mine. She smiled and nodded as if She had heard my thoughts.

A few days before, I had put posters all around the village and the nearest town – Wellingborough. A lot of people came to meet Shri Mataji and get their realisation.

Maria Laventzi

The greatest moment in my life

I received my self realisation in November 1977. I had been seeking for years and as a result of trying various so-called spiritual paths, had become damaged and confused. I decided that it would be better not to get involved with ‘spiritual’ groups or people.

One day, one of the people I was sharing a house with mentioned an advertisement she had seen in Time Out magazine, for a programme at Caxton Hall given by an Indian lady. With my past experiences in mind, I declined to go with her. She went, and when she came back, she looked different. There was some colour in her normally pale face, and there seemed to be a glow about her. On her next visit to Caxton Hall, I again refused to go. I was unwell, and asked her if she would buy me some fruit on her way home from work.

That night she came back late and handed me some grapes. I ate one, and to my amazement received what felt like a very pleasant electric shock! The grape tasted so cool, sweet and delicious – it seemed to sparkle with life! I began to feel better. When I asked her where she had bought the grapes, she said she had bought them in the market. When she went to the Sahaja Yoga programme, the Indian lady had given her a lemon, which she had placed in the same bag as the grapes. They had been vibrated by the lemon. Needless to say, the following week, I agreed to attend Shri Mataji’s programme.

We arrived in good time. Shri Mataji was already seated on the stage, waiting patiently for people to arrive, and looking intensely at the audience. I remember feeling very awed at seeing Her sitting on the stage, and found Her presence immensely powerful. There was a group of Sahaja Yogis seated around Her on the stage – perhaps six or seven. Shri Mataji gave a talk, which I was unable to understand very well, partly due to a very poor sound system, but no doubt also due to my being caught up. She then gave realisation. At that moment I knew that this was the end of my years of searching. I was aware of a happening in my system, and a quietening of the mind.

Shri Mataji then came down from the stage and worked on each person in the audience individually row by row. She came to me.

‘Good!’ She said and made to go away.

‘Can You help my friend? She gets a lot of colds,’ the person who had brought me said.

Shri Mataji looked into me deeply and compassionately. It felt as if Her eyes were boring right inside me, but without judgment.

‘Where is your father? Where is your mother?’ She asked, and I knew She had touched on the most significant problems in my life. I told Her that my father had died five years before. She told me to put my left hand on my right heart and to tell my father not to worry about me, that I was being looked after, that he should leave me and take his rebirth and get his realisation. I told Her that my mother had hardly spoken to me for some years and that I had written to her a couple of months before but she had not answered me.

At this first meeting, Shri Mataji then put Her hand on my back, and on my head. I felt an immensely powerful, rushing sensation up my spine, and then silence, total silence, total peace. I couldn’t speak, and I couldn’t sleep. No thoughts, just being. This was the greatest moment I had ever experienced in my life, a moment in evolution, the raising of the awareness to a new dimension.

We saw a lot of Shri Mataji in those days. She used to come to Caxton Hall every week, on Mondays. Some people were quite aggressive, but they would address Shri Mataji as Mother.

‘If you address Me as Mother you should speak to Me as you would to your mother,’ She said, and that made them better.

Patricia Proenza

I will look after your heart

The second meeting I had with Shri Mataji, after the first one at Caxton Hall, was at the flat in North Gower Street. Shri Mataji invited some of us there and asked me to take along seven lemons and seven chillies and I did, but I didn’t know what they were for. There were a few of us there and one by one She would sit us down at Her Feet with our back towards Her so She could work on our Kundalini.

‘Have you been to any other teachers?’ She said.

‘No,’ I said. Then I said that I had been to something.

‘Ah, very bad one!’ She said. I had not even mentioned this name to Her, but somehow She knew that I had heard his talks.

‘His followers are evil,’ She said. I took this quietly inside myself and after some time I saw this was absolutely true. Shri Mataji said I was in a very bad way. ‘You have given your heart to the wrong people. Say “Mother, I give You my heart” and I will look after it for you.’

Shri Mataji vibrated the lemons and chillies and gave them back to me. The older Sahaja Yogis, Douglas, Maureen and a few others, were sitting in a semicircle round Her, and I was at Her Feet. She was asking them what they felt, and they were saying Left Heart, Right Heart, and in a way I felt as if I understood, although I did not know the terminology. I knew that these people were compassionate. I felt a detached compassion.

Shri Mataji invited me to go to Her house. I went along, with two other Sahaja Yogis and at that time She was staying temporarily in a place off Sloane Square. We went to this house and She worked on me a lot. I had one hand out of the window and the other towards Her.

‘My hand will get cold,’ I said.

‘Don’t worry about that,’ She said.

She asked me about my mother and I explained that she hadn’t spoken to me for five years because I had disappeared off and had been seeking and she couldn’t understand that.

‘Write to her again,’ Shri Mataji said.

‘I did, but she didn’t answer,’ I replied.

‘Just write to her.’

That night I wrote a letter, and my mother answered by return of post. And from that moment our relationship started to heal.

Patricia Proenza

A burst of tremendous joy

In 1977, after I physically met Shri Mataji, She would tell the others that I’d been with Her for more than a year. It apparently went back to the previous year when She raised my Kundalini.

I was at college, in Loughborough, Leicestershire, walking alone, contemplating the meaning of life and yearning to find my ‘guru’. I was crossing a large field at sunset – it was Spring 1976 – 5th May, and as I was walking, I suddenly felt this huge rush of something up my spine. I then felt a burst of tremendous joy. I was just laughing and gushing with this overwhelming bliss. It lasted for quite a while, even after a college mate came and started talking to me. He thought someone had drugged me, and told me so. He came to Birmingham several years later, and insisted that I ‘teach’ him Sahaja Yoga – and he later started Sahaja Yoga in Malaysia.

How wonderfully overwhelming it is, every time we dare to remember, that our Mother and guru is the Adi Shakti Herself, and that She has actually accepted us as Her disciples.

 Bala Kanayson

Shri Mataji welcomed everybody with joy

After the introductory programmes at Caxton Hall there followed a hugely exciting time with large numbers of seekers coming to see Shri Mataji at the Finchley ashram. The number of yogis went up tenfold almost overnight. For us it was wonderful, a dream come true, to be able to share what we had found with other seekers, to experience the joy and wonder of discovering Shri Mataji afresh through the eyes of the newcomers.

For Shri Mataji of course, it must have meant a considerable additional burden, working on the problems of so many people whose seeking had taken them into so many dark and dangerous places. She gave no sign of it, however, welcoming everyone with joy and working tirelessly with them, listening to their problems and healing their wounds. Some sessions would last an entire weekend.

Pat Anslow

Excuses to see Shri Mataji

I often visited the Finchley ashram after coming to Sahaja Yoga in November 1977. I remember the tiny living room overlooking the main road, where we spent so many hours in the holy presence of Shri Mataji. I used to have to make all sorts of excuses to miss work or leave early in order to see Shri Mataji, making the long train journey from Hounslow to Finchley.

On one occasion I was sitting with Shri Mataji in Her little bedroom in the Finchley ashram. A gigantic candle about two feet high was burning in the room, and the flame was flickering. I asked Shri Mataji if it was flickering because of my negativity.

‘I am clearing the catches of the whole world!’ She laughed.

Patricia Proenza

The difference between the cool and the heat

I was at a public meeting in the late seventies, again in Caxton Hall. I had been coming to Sahaja Yoga for a few months and a Sahaja Yogi, one of the ‘first five hippies,’ worked on me from the back, particularly on my Agnya. All of a sudden, I began to feel this tremendous cool breeze flowing. In those days, Shri Mataji used to come by and talk to each one of us.

‘Are you feeling the cool breeze?’ She came up and asked me.

‘Yes,’ I replied. Then She told me to put one hand towards Her and one hand towards a long-haired person who was next to me. The hand towards Mother felt this fantastic cool breeze, whereas the one towards this man felt tremendous heat. As I was doing that, this man turned around to me and said something like that he didn’t like me at all. It was the first time I had felt the difference between the cool and the heat.

Bala Kanayson

Just students

When we were staying at Finchley ashram we started organizing meetings at Caxton Hall, but we didn’t have all the facilities like having cars and vans and things like that; we were just students. We used to take a picture of Mother and anything we could, candles and incense and so on, and we went by bus. A lot of Sahaja Yogis don’t realise that Sahaja Yoga started like this, with very little means, with the very little that the Sahaja Yogis who were there at the time had.

Djamel Metouri

I am always with you

We also spent many wonderful times with Shri Mataji in the flat of a Sahaja Yogi, at 160, North Gower Street, Euston. It was here that only a month after my first meeting with Her, and my self realisation, that Shri Mataji informed us that She was going to India for some time. I must have looked, and certainly felt, aghast at this news. Shri Mataji took my hand.

‘Do not cry. I am always with you,’ She said. Immediately all my pain dissolved away.

I had only been in Sahaja Yoga a month, and felt so much joy seeing Her again when She returned from India.

Patricia Proenza

Shri Mataji decided to move into London

Before long Shri Mataji decided to move into London, and we went with Her to look at properties that were for sale. It was the reverse of what happened in Nepal, where Shri Mataji had helped us not to get overcharged in the shops. Shri Mataji decided to send some yogis to visit properties as potential buyers before She did, in case the owners were artificially inflating the price for Her as an Indian. We thought this was great fun, going into expensive London properties and trying to knock the prices down, when we were in fact unemployed!

Pat Anslow

Shri Mataji moves to Central London

In November 1977 Shri Mataji was staying for a short time at a beautiful flat in Knightsbridge, close to Sloane Square underground station. After that She moved to Ashley Gardens, Ambrosden Avenue, near Victoria Station in Central London. Her flat was on the top floor, and overlooked Westminster Roman Catholic Cathedral. Shri Mataji would make comments on the many barrels of alcohol which were delivered to this building.

Patricia Proenza and others

The Monday evening meeting at Caxton Hall

Shri Mataji often held public meetings on a Monday evening at Caxton Hall, Westminster, Central London, from 1977 onwards. Usually the large hall was used, but sometimes Shri Mataji held meetings in one of the smaller halls. After the meetings, the Sahaja Yogis would often go to The Spaghetti House restaurant nearby in Victoria, and occasionally, Shri Mataji would come too.

Patricia Proenza and others

Chapter 10: 1977-1978 – Shri Mataji in India

I would like to share a brief summary of Shri Mataji`s tryst with a great realised ascetic, Gagangiri Maharaj. My dad was with Shri Mataji at that time and I would like to enumerate whatever he experienced there. This meeting happened sometime in the 1970’s. Gagangiri Maharaj lived near a place called Khopoli, in Maharashtra, which is between Mumbai and Pune. His ashram was located on a small hilltop where he used to stay with his disciples. Once Shri Mataji expressed a desire to meet him and She, along with a few yogis, went to meet him. The following are some of the excerpts from their conversation.
‘Mother, I knew that You would come on this particular day to give me self realisation,’ Gagangiri Maharaj began. ‘I have been waiting for this time for thousands of years. By severe penances and by living an austere life I have been able to clean every chakra form the Mooladhara to the Agnya, but I knew that finally You would help me to jump from the Agnya to the Sahasrara to obtain beatitude and bliss. When You were climbing the hill, I could see You in Your original form of Adi Shakti, accompanied by all the deities dancing in the procession.’
He then offered Shri Mataji a sari and looked at all the yogis who were there with Her.
‘Mother, why are You giving so much to all these people?’ he went on. ‘Do they understand the real worth of it? Do they understand what they have achieved so easily? It took me thousands of years to get my realisation. I had to go through severe penances and live an austere life.’
‘You are a guru and cannot be a mother,’ She replied. ‘I am the Mother and cannot be a guru like you. A mother always gives everything to her children selflessly. A guru will expect his disciple to go through all the hardships before he gets the blessings but a mother cannot do that. So, now you have achieved such a state, then why don’t you help Me in My work?’
‘As You say Mother. I was not lucky enough to have a mother like You, before,’ Gagangiri Maharaj said, and to the yogis added, ‘You all are very lucky to get so much from Mother Herself. So understand the worth of it and grow.’
The next morning, Shri Mataji woke up early and was sitting on the swing outside the ashram. My dad had also woken up by then and he observed that two disclike objects were revolving around Shri Mataji for almost thirty to forty-five minutes.

‘You can leave,” She then said and both of them soared high in the sky with tremendous speed and disappeared. My dad then asked Mother about this and She told him that sometimes Shri Hanumana and Shri Bhairava wanted to be with Her and that the two discs he saw were them.


My greatest good fortune

I came in Sahaja Yoga around 1977. My brother was in Pune at that time and I used to go to many gurus with him. He told me that Shri Mataji had arrived at Rajwada, a large building like a small castle. He said he was going there and if I wanted I could go with him, so we went to meet Shri Mataji.

When I reached there I came to know that the owner of that house was very sick with a knee problem. He could not walk at all and lived all the time on the second floor of the house.

‘Where is the owner of this house?’ Shri Mataji asked when She came there. Someone from the house mentioned that he was upstairs. ‘Tell him that Shri Mataji has come here and he should come down,’ said Shri Mataji, so the people from the house told Her about the knee problem and said that that he could not even walk four steps, so he would not be able to come down. Shri Mataji said to them, ‘Oh, nothing is like that. This time he will come down; at least tell him to come down,’ and he walked down on his own and bowed down to Shri Mataji.

In that house there was an altar that Shri Mataji liked very much. She said that it had some yogic power and the place was very sacred and important. We were about twenty people there and most of us, like me, had come to see Her for the first time. Shri Mataji asked us to have a havan and She pointed at me and told me to say the names and mantras for the havan, 1008 names of the Devi. We also did a puja to Shri Mataji.

She gave me realisation. She put Her hand on my forehead and spoke to me, and worked hard on me. I did not feel the importance what I got that time and Her working on me.

‘You have received self realisation,’ She said, but now at this stage of my life I know that it is my greatest good fortune that I met with Shri Mataji.

Vinayak Kalantri

Give the garland to Shri Mataji

Once, a few of us went to Rahuri. The Rahuri people wanted to garland all the people from Mumbai.

‘Give the garland to Shri Mataji,’ someone whispered in my ear when it was my turn, because Shri Mataji was standing there and had no garland. So I took the garland and gave it to Her, but Shri Mataji took off the garland and put it on me! I did not know whether to take it or not.

Avdhut Pai

I know you want it

Once at Rahuri when I was seventeen, I was quite late for lunch. There was just one place on the left hand side of Shri Mataji and I had to take it. They began serving the meal and they gave us chapattis without butter or ghee. For Shri Mataji, it was with ghee. I like chapattis with ghee. They brought three or four chapattis for Shri Mataji and She suddenly took one chapatti and put it on my dish. I just had a small dish.

‘No, no, Mother,’ I said.

‘I know you want it.’

Mother knew what you wanted.

Avdhut Pai

Now I have told you

Let me tell you about the programme of Ahmadabad. The family with whom we had to stay were Jains and there was only one Sahaja Yogi. This yogi had a very big bungalow. I waited at the house while the family went to the station to receive Mother, who arrived and saw me.

‘You have come again for Me!’ She exclaimed, and we shared the same room. ‘How can I sleep alone? You have to be with Me.’ Mother said. During the time She slept, the vibrations would descend on Her like a sky all around Her with stars like a small universe surrounding. In the morning, I told Mother what I had seen.

‘This is what has to be witnessed,’ Shri Mataji said. ‘It is your good fortune that you have witnessed all this. Without you, who would have taken care of Me?’

I would prepare tea and food for Mother, as the family we were living with had plenty of food restrictions.

‘The divine has sent you,’ Mother would say again and again.

‘Yes, Mother,’ I said, ‘You are divine and You have called me.’

We would talk for hours together; even have our tea and food together. Since I come from the family of Devi bhaktas, we did all that we could to worship the Devi, like the washing of feet, etc.

The first programmes were at Bordi and once, while returning we saw all the stars following Mother. When She was sleeping, all the stars covered Her and the whole room was filled with scintillating, sparkling stars. The next day, I told Mother about what I had seen the previous night.

‘That’s what I am, and in fact I am everything. Now I have told you,’ She said.



In 1977 at Pune, we gathered there again with Shri Mataji for a puja and a havan. That time there was collective contribution for the programme of five rupees per head. I had strong thoughts that one or only a few people should raise funds and host the programme. In Maharashtra, usually only a few people spend for the whole of a religious gathering, because those who have devotion but not the possibility to pay money, what they will do? So I asked Shri Mataji if it would be better for a few people to pay, who wanted to, instead of the expenses being shared by the entire collective?

Shri Mataji said to me that when you do it collectively it will sustain and grow, and the other way it will not.

Vinayak Kalantri

About five hundred people would come

There was a place called Amarind Mandir, and in 1977 and 1978 we used to have meetings and there would be a theme – say Kundalini, or left side. One time some negative person threw a stone, as it was in the open air, with a stage, and it landed on the mike near Shri Mataji. In those days about four or five hundred people would come, and nowadays we have the programmes in Shivaji Park, where 200,000 people can come. We used to have programmes in different places around the suburbs of Mumbai.

Avdhut Pai

Shri Mataji is the only doer

Shri Mataji’s programme was to be arranged in 1978 at Paud, now a suburb of Pune, and my brother took some politicians to arrange it. They did this, but they were not in a humble state and were full of pride. They gathered at one place with a jeep to receive Shri Mataji and planned that Her car would go in the front. They would then follow in their jeep with some sort of a funny ego, but it happened that Shri Mataji came two hours late. Before She arrived there, at the place where the political workers’ jeep was waiting, the tyres of the jeep lost their air, so they could not receive Shri Mataji as they planned. Shri Mataji’s car came and passed by and went on towards a temple of the Devi. The programmes were arranged in a big hall nearby, which belonged to the political workers. After Shri Mataji’s car passed by, some time later the tyres of the jeep somehow got their air back like before.

When Shri Mataji was coming out of the temple to go to the hall, a bee’s nest swarmed near the programme hall, and all around the hall bees started flying, and everyone ran away from the place. The organisers were disappointed that all their arrangements had collapsed and programme was cancelled, but they realised that this was how their pride and ego got exposed. They went to Shri Mataji and asked what they should do.

‘Don’t worry, we will work it out in this village, which is on the way,’ Shri Mataji said, and they had the programme there, and also dinner. We realised that Shri Mataji is the only doer, we are just instruments to work it out. After that we went to Bhoogao, another village, and all that area, and Shri Mataji awakened all those places and holy land for Sahaja Yoga.

Vinayak Kalantri

If anyone will try to trouble my devotees, I will not tolerate it

My brother Vidhyadhar Kalantri was working in the Revenue Department of the Collector’s Office. In the late 1970’s or early 1980’s, in Pune, Shri Mataji told to him that we should do programmes to spread Sahaja Yoga, and he agreed.

‘So, which holy places are around here?’ Shri Mataji asked him. He told Her about the places that are related to Sopandev, the brother of Shri Gyaneshwara, the great Maharastrian saint who was an incarnation of Shri Kartikeya, and some more holy places around. ‘We can go to spread Sahaja Yoga at these places,’ Shri Mataji said. At that time we were about ten or twenty people practising Sahaja Yoga, and because my brother was in a government job he was able to arrange programmes around the villages, arranging venues, transport etc.

We went with Shri Mataji to a temple near Saswad, Pune, and there were beggars around the temple. One of them was blind and he was a Muslim. Shri Mataji pointed at him and told us to call the beggar, so we brought him to Shri Mataji. She asked him to stand up straight, then started giving him vibrations, and at the same time Shri Mataji asked us to move our hands around him to give him vibrations. In a while he got his vision back he could see. We felt very blessed that Shri Mataji made us instruments in this divine work.

This was like in the story of Shri Krishna, when He lifted the huge Govardhan mountain, at the same time He asked all of the people to join hands and lift it. All the cowherds supported the mountain, but it was actually lifted by Shri Krishna. Nevertheless, he gave joy to all the collective and made it seem that they were part of the support to lift the mountain. I felt blessed in the same way, when Shri Mataji asked us to give vibrations to this blind man.

Then we entered the temple, a samadhi of a realised saint. Shri Mataji sat next to it, and at that time the place of the samadhi was open. She touched it and moved Her hand around it with all compassion.

‘This son of Mine suffered a lot,’ Shri Mataji said about that realised saint, ‘but from now on if anyone will try to trouble My devotees, I will not tolerate it.’ She told us not to worry and just to practice Sahaja Yoga, and if anybody tries to trouble us, She would take care of them. Before was different, and the devotees suffered a lot and had no protection.

‘Now I have come to you as a Mother, and from now on whoever tries to trouble Sahaja Yogis or make them suffer or come against them, I will make them straight or give them a left and right.’ Shri Mataji again touched and moved Her hand on the samadhi three times, until She had tears in Her eyes, She again looked at us and told us to be without worries and just practice Sahaja Yoga and She would take notice if someone troubles us.

Vinayak Kalantri

Why don’t you give in the fourth dimension?

It was January or February 1978. My family and I went to Jaipur and there was a very special sari, which we bought for Shri Mataji and also a number of pearls. These were not real pearls, but looking quite real. My father bought them and I went and gave them to Her.

‘Why are you giving this to Me?’ She asked. So I gave Her, I thought, a smart reply, saying all that You give us is in the fourth dimension and this is all in the third dimension, so it is nothing.

‘Why don’t you give Me in the fourth dimension? Why are you giving Me in the third dimension?’ She said. I still remember that reply.

Avdhut Pai

Way back in 1978, I was staying in Mumbai, with an old Sahaja Yogi. He told me about the photo that we give to new people, the black and white one. It was one of the very first formal photos of Mother. He had taken Mother to a photographer’s studio in Mumbai and Mother had the photo taken in the studio by the photographer. The sari was pink with a gold border.

Djamel Metouri

Humans make mistakes

In 1974 Mother went to Delhi, and She also went to Madras (Chennai) at that time. She was invited by the Indian Government to go to Colombo, Shri Lanka, but it didn’t work out, in about 1978. Mother had planned everything in great detail, and a lot of yogis wanted to go too, for the wrong reasons, because Colombo was a free port and things were very cheap there, so She cancelled it.

One time an Australian brought some electronic goods for us – a flash for the camera and the only tape recorder we had at that time, and things like that. Mother said we should never ask people to bring things from overseas, and She would not want us to ask them for things like that, and said no material relationship should be there between the foreigners and us.

In 1978, I had finished one part of my studies and had a year before continuing. My father told me to be with Shri Mataji. There were about eight to ten Sahaja Yogis mostly from the UK. Shri Mataji asked me to take them out, and to the cinema. Sometimes the visitors would have cool drinks, and I would pay, but I didn’t have much money as I was just a student.

The next year when the Sahaja Yogis came, there was a public programme in Borivali, and in the evening there were about ten to fifteen Sahaja Yogis. We had been lent a bungalow and were staying there.

‘Let Avdhut take you there, but don’t allow him to spend any money on you, because he has spent a lot on you out of his pocket,’ Shri Mataji said. She knows everything.

Avdhut Pai

Chapter 11: 1978 – England – London, the South West and the Midlands

The Spaghetti House

The meetings at Caxton Hall continued, with Shri Mataji coming every week, when She moved to London. After the meetings we would often go back to Mother’s flat in Ashley Gardens, Victoria, which was walking distance; and sometimes new people would be invited as well.

At other times we would have a meal at a nearby restaurant, The Spaghetti House, after meetings, and Shri Mataji joined us there on occasion too. We also often had follow-ups at the ashram at Finchley, with Shri Mataji sometimes staying for two or three days, when She spent a long time talking to, and working on, each of the new people. Those were blessed times, and I think of them now as a glimpse of the future; when our self realisation matures and our divinity fully manifests, and we are all one with each other and with Mother for all eternity.

Pat Anslow

Mother burst into laughter

It was one of those beautiful evenings in springtime. We used to arrive at Caxton Hall about 6.30 pm in those days. It gave us all time to settle down and meditate before Mother arrived at 7.00 pm. Sometimes we had as many as forty Sahaja Yogis at the meeting. It may come as a shock to most people now to think that so few people attended meetings and especially as Shri Mataji was there almost every week.

This particular day was even more special for those twenty or so Sahaja Yogis who attended. Mother decided that as there were so few Sahaja Yogis there that evening that each and every person would be worked on individually. As Shri Mataji sat there each person would come forward in turn, placing our hands under Mother’s Feet and our forehead on top. There would be a semi-circle of Sahaja Yogis around you.

‘What is the problem?’ Mother would ask.

We must have had about ten minutes each in turn. But it could have been ten hours, ten days or ten years. I remember looking up at Mother after raising my head.

‘Look at his face!’ Mother burst into laughter along with all the other Sahaja Yogis.

I can’t really explain how I felt but it was like the whole world was spinning around. No words can ever describe or explain that feeling. I don’t remember much about the journey home but I slept really well.

Colin Dunwell 

Shri Mataji would attend to each person

I remember one public programme in Caxton Hall, probably in 1978. Shri Mataji used to attend to each person in the audience. She would come down from the stage and go to each one in turn. At this particular meeting, She stopped in front of one man, who was Indian, and said with great feeling that he had been Her son in a previous life.

Patricia Proenza


On one occasion at Caxton Hall, Shri Mataji spoke about auspiciousness – that everything has its own auspiciousness, be it a chair a parent has sat in, a place or a situation. We should treat everything with respect, awareness. Each thing has its own protocol, dignity. We should also respect ourselves and be aware of the auspiciousness and dignity of ourselves.

Patricia Proenza

A change of clothes

‘When you come to the meeting next week you must all bring a change of clothes,’ Mother said to us one evening at Caxton Hall.

When we arrived the following week Mother explained why She had made this request. She said that spirits which attach themselves to us though our normal daily life are with us when we came to the meeting.

‘When you arrive, the spirits that are attached to you will not come into My presence or into the Sahaja Yoga meeting. They wait at the door and attach back to you when you leave at the end of the evening. This is why I asked you to bring a change of clothes – spirits are very stupid and they look for the same person that they were attached to. When you leave, if you wear different clothes, they get confused, and look for the person wearing the same clothes that they were attached to when you first arrived. When they realise that everyone has gone, they disperse into the atmosphere. These kinds of spirits are not usually harmful but they are negative, which is why some Sahaja Yogis feel tired at the end of the day.’

Colin Dunwell

What do you see?

In the years up to 1984, Shri Mataji visited me in Irchester in the Midlands several times, and so did my parents from Greece. I remember their first visit after my realisation, when I first spoke to them about Shri Mataji, as to who She was, and about Sahaja Yoga. My father was overwhelmed and wanted to visit Mother immediately. My mother believed it all, but was a little reluctant. So my husband Harry and I took them to Caxton Hall. It was packed, like the first time I went to get my realisation. All the seats were taken apart from three in the first row right in front of Shri Mataji. After She finished Her lecture, She asked everybody to take their shoes off, close their eyes and open their hands towards Her. In this silence I felt my mother, sitting next to me, crying and leaning her head on my shoulder. I asked her to keep still and be quiet, but she carried on sobbing and whispering and asked for forgiveness from the Holy Mother.

‘Maria, do you see what I see?’ she then said to me in low voice.

‘No, I do not. What do you see?’ I whispered back to her. At that point Shri Mataji got up and walked a few steps away from Her seat towards the people. ‘Shri Mataji and Her seat are surrounded by angels in white, and they are shining like the sun,’ my mother continued in tears.

‘It is not for me to see because I know who She is, but it is for you to realise who She really is, and to stop giving me a headache,’ I said to her. She then bowed at the Feet of Shri Mataji, asking for forgiveness.

‘Mother, here are my parents, who are coming from Greece, and they are humbly asking you to give them their realisation,’ I said to Shri Mataji.

Shri Mataji was very pleased and gave them their realisation.

Maria Laventzi

That was a beautiful letter you wrote to Me

One time when I met Shri Mataji in Caxton Hall I experienced spiritual ecstasy. There were relatively few people in the room. At each programme, She would sit down and close Her eyes and those who were Sahaja Yogis would also close their eyes. But I would always watch what was going on, still being rather curious. On this particular day, which was the 8th of April 1978, I was watching Shri Mataji very closely and She opened Her eyes and looked straight at me. Then something very amazing happened.

She gazed at me and I felt as though I was being pulled into Her eyes. The next thing I knew, I was being whirled into this cosmic flux, going back through time and experiencing — yes, experiencing — all those things that I had studied in history whizzing past me. It is truly hard to describe. I distinctly saw/heard/smelt/felt certain objects like a sabre-tooth tiger, the universe, planets, etc., until it came back to the beginning. Then there was nothing, just nothing. In the middle of this nothingness was Shri Mataji.

It encompassed me, this complete silence which was like a thick transparent sphere of silence. I was feeling complete love and compassion flowing out of me and I was in tune with everything. All of nature, all of life, was living and breathing with me. My every gesture made ripples and waves in this completely interlinked creation. All this lasted for three days and nights, where I was in a perpetual state of ecstasy. It is impossible to describe. After I had this experience, I went back home and wrote a letter to Mother, apologizing for having not known who She is. The next time when I went down to London, which was the following weekend, Shri Mataji came up on stage and looked straight at me.

‘Bala, that was a beautiful letter you wrote Me,’ She said and told the people that I had had a very special experience. After the meeting She invited me to stay at Her home.

Bala Kanayson

Shri Mataji and early Sahaja books

Much of the content of The Book of Adi Shakti is reminiscent of the kind of things that Shri Mataji talked about very early on in Sahaja Yoga. She seemed to expect much more from us in those days. For instance, Mother told us that we were ‘made in the pattern of Shri Ganesha’ and that we would be able to walk on water like Christ did.

Gregoire brought the main draft of ‘The Advent’ to the UK not long after the first Caxton Hall programmes. He spent a lot of time commuting back and forth between the Finchley Ashram and Shri Mataji’s flat in Ashley Gardens, mostly every day, going over the text with Mother. There were no word processors then so Maureen Rossi, my sister, had to type everything all over again each time. The incident I remember most vividly was Gregoire tearing his hair out when Mother made him move the long intellectual bit to the end of the Advent! (It was originally the introduction)

Pat Anslow 

Every morning, Shri Mataji used to phone

In 1978, we were living in Finchley Road ashram. Gregoire de Kalbermatten was there, writing a book on Sahaja Yoga called The Advent, which everybody knows. Every morning, Shri Mataji used to phone around nine o’clock, just after Sir CP had gone to work.

‘Come over,’ She used to say.

We would go to Her flat, Ashley Gardens, and spend the morning. Then we would leave at lunch time, when Sir CP was about to come. The least we could do was to try not to disturb Her married life and disturb Sir CP, who had an important job as Secretary General of the IMCO/UN, United Nations International Maritime Organisation.

Shri Mataji used to work on us and we used to do all kinds of things. She was working on Gregoire’s book. We used to go shopping with Her and in the afternoon we often sat down around Her and would have a nap, with our Sahasraras directed towards Her body. She used to work on us; even when She was asleep, She was working on us.

Djamel Metouri

A very special time

I stayed in London one year to finalize The Advent and saw Shri Mataji several times a week. She still recalls laughingly that I was bombarding Her with so many questions. But She always replied, steadily, brilliantly. Only slowly did I cool down. In those days She revealed so much and mentioned things that I never heard Her uttering again.

I soon found Her so much more knowledgeable, competent and convincing than any other teachers or gurus I had visited in several countries. She moved with total ease from the most practical and down-to-earth subject to the highest metaphysical consideration. It was a very special time for the few of us. She fed us so often, keeping us for lunch or dinner.

Sir CP was always most gracious when he found us in his home, back from his long days of work at the International Maritime Organisation, sitting at his table and sometimes wearing his kurtas.

Gregoire de Kalbermatten

So filled with joy and coolness

My very first puja was in early 1978 at the Finchley ashram. It was an awe-inspiring, amazing experience. At the end of the puja we were each invited to Shri Mataji’s Feet. She looked down at me and asked if I was feeling the vibrations – I was so filled with joy and coolness, I was unable to speak, and just managed to nod slightly.

Patricia Proenza

Everybody would go to Shri Mataji’s Feet

There was no singing in those days at the pujas. At the end of every puja everybody would have to take turns to go to Shri Mataji’s Feet and have their vibrations checked. That could sometimes be quite an ordeal. I remember being thankful when the collective got big enough to hide in and you didn’t always have to be right up front!

Maureen Rossi

Bubbling with joy

At the time, 1978, I already had my realisation, but I didn’t know really what it was. I had pictures of Shri Mataji with me, but at the time there was nothing written, no material, no explanation, no raising Kundalini, no bandhan, no meditation, no self realisation exercise, so I just had Shri Mataji’s pictures with me and nothing else.

We were going to London from Switzerland with a lot of expectation and a lot of enthusiasm and we didn’t realise the luck we had and the privilege we had when Shri Mataji received us in Her flat, which was in Ashley Gardens. We entered the house and everything was so soft and sweet and full of love and we waited for a while in Mother’s living room. Shri Mataji came in, with a big, big smile when She saw all of us. Then we sat down and She started to talk. She was looking at my brother, Arneau, and She was just laughing and smiling.

‘He’s great. He’s really great,’ She said. There were some channa (roasted chick peas) and I had never seen channa before. I was so attracted to that.

‘Take, take, take,’ said Shri Mataji. Then She said, ‘No, take some more. Take some more.’ I didn’t know at the time that it was so good for the Nabhi, but I felt it was so fulfilling and doing something within us. Mother looked after us with such love and such care.

At that moment, incredibly, it started snowing. It never snows at that time of year in London, as it was already April. So we stayed quite a long while in Mother’s house and we were just absolutely overwhelmed by love and joy, like a smooth atmosphere. When we left, our hearts were just bubbling with joy and we didn’t know how to express it.

Marie-Laure Cernay

An auspicious meeting

Switzerland is a very special country not just because of its beautiful snowy mountains but because it happens to be the headquarters of many international organizations: world health, refugees and commerce etc.

Back in the early days of Sahaja Yoga in Europe, the Swiss collective, with the help of the Kalbermatten family, became a powerful driving force for propagating Sahaja Yoga in the world. Before this, it all started with a little anecdote that took place in the heart of London. When we lived in the Finchley ashram we spent many a day at the Feet of Mother in Her Ashley Gardens flat. One day around mid-April 1978, Shri Mataji told us that Gregoire’s brother Arnaud along with some of his Swiss friends were coming to see Her. Shri Mataji spoke to them in sweet and beautiful words; worked on them and gave them self realisation.

While this beautiful meeting was taking place, and there was much talk, heavy clouds gathered above us in the London sky and snow fell until the pavements and roofs of buildings were covered with a white layer. Shri Mataji then remarked how the snow of Switzerland had come to London to greet this auspicious meeting. Once we had to go back to our ashram the snow had stopped falling but not without leaving a white blanket for us to enjoy one more time before melting.

Djamel Metouri

She was creating the collective

I attended my first Caxton Hall programme in the early summer of 1978. In those days, Mother held programmes every Monday near St. James Park in London. Even outside Caxton Hall and across the road there was this sensation of tranquility. There were three of us; we were late and Shri Mataji had already begun the programme. Caxton Hall seemed unusually beautiful that sunny evening and I felt like a child. There was a small lecture room with shoes, sandals and chappals piled up outside. Inside Shri Mataji was seated on an armchair, upon a slightly raised rostrum in front of the window. She had Her left hand upon the Sahasrara of a young woman, who sat on the floor with her back towards Shri Mataji, slightly to Her left. There were two or three other young people sitting on the rostrum around Her Feet.

My first impression was of a large, confident personality, full of warmth and humour, completely different to the silent little Madonna I had expected. Her hair was loose about Her shoulders. Her arms seemed huge and powerful. I noticed Her smile. As we entered, She broke off from the talk She was giving to greet us.

‘Hello. Come, come. Are you new?’ She called out in a warm and friendly manner. A small international group of alternative-type young people were seated respectfully on rows of chairs, facing Mother, with their hands out, palms upward. Shri Mataji indicated for us to go and sit near Her on the rostrum. She told us to close our eyes and to put our hands, palms upward, out to Her. Then She asked those seated around to watch and see if our eyelids flickered. Mine did and somebody pointed it out. When She turned to me and inquired about my fluttery eyelids, I told Her that I occasionally suffered from tension, although I felt so peaceful there.

‘Oh, My poor child,’ She said, and got me to remove the giraffe-hair bracelet that I was wearing. The fluttering stopped. She told us to stop thinking. It was very easy. I felt wonderful. She turned to me a couple of times, saying to the others, ‘Look, she’s beautiful.’ I looked around me and everyone was radiant, with innocent, open faces.

Shri Mataji worked on each and everybody. She was the nucleus, calling out to every one of us whilst we worked, ‘How is she?’ or ‘Where is he catching?’ ‘Has she got it?’ We were all taking vibrations from Her, whilst we worked and meanwhile She would be personally working on someone else and often giving a talk at the same time. Sometimes She would sit someone down in front of Her.

‘How is he? Which chakra is blocked?’ Shri Mataji would ask everybody. She was creating the collective.

Marilyn Leate

Shri Mataji had this way of putting people at their ease

My first ever visit to Ashley Gardens came after attending only two of Shri Mataji’s programmes, so it was my third encounter with Her. She had this way of putting people at their ease — instantly.

I walked in clutching a bag containing seven limes and seven chillies without the faintest idea why She had asked me to bring them along. I had a vague notion of Her Holiness blending them in a food mixer, then popping in some mystical ayurveda to make a curing elixir. She took one motherly, enthusiastic look at me, clutching my lemons and chillies, and laughed.

‘You don’t need them. You’re better!’ She said.

Shri Mataji asked me how I had cleared myself. I explained that it all got drawn out. I told Her I’d had nightmares about war. She asked me if I’d ever been in a war and when I told Her that I hadn’t, She seemed to go into a concentrated reflection on this.

She told me I was born realised, and that it was the duty of the born realised to help the others. She likened it to us all being in a tall building. The born realised are on a higher floor and so, when they look out of the window, they can see further. It’s their duty to inform those upon the lower floors what they can see and thus enable them to come up to their level.

This was in the seventies when Sahaja Yogis were in their infancy. Nowadays, Sahaja Yogis seem, on the whole, much more evolved and aware than we were in those days. Later, in the eighties Mother expressed Her displeasure at the born realised, saying that just because they can do simple addition, they think they are great mathematicians, adding that many had caused Her trouble.

Marilyn Leate

Editor’s note: in those days the matka treatment went like this: Shri Mataji would ask us to bring Her seven lemons and seven chillies and She would vibrate them by putting Her hand in the (plastic) bag. She told us we should open the bag at night and put it near our head, and in the day close it and put it under the bed or out of sight. Then after seven nights we were supposed to put them in running water, if we could. Now it has been developed somewhat.

Greet Me as you would greet your mother

My second visit to Ashley Gardens was with two friends – one was completely new and had her six month old son with her and the other, who had attended one programme a few months earlier, was having emotional problems because she was breaking up with her partner. When Shri Mataji entered the sitting room to meet us, the friend who was completely new moved towards Shri Mataji.

‘I don’t know how to greet You,’ she said.

‘Greet Me as you would greet your mother,’ Shri Mataji said, so she threw her arms around Shri Mataji and gave Her a big hug, which, of course, Mother returned. Shri Mataji began bandhaning the little baby.

‘I’m giving him so many bandhans because in these terrible times the born realised are under so much attack,’ She said, putting a lot of attention on the baby.

To the other friend, Shri Mataji exhibited Her powers of understanding everything, for She outlined the situation the girl was in without her or any of us having opened our mouths. Her Holiness went into accurate detail, which could not be explained, except that Mother knows everything. She explained with great care what this girl should do to ease her emotional pain and how to save the relationship, all said in such a gracious, easy, humble, grandmotherly way, which belied the power She was exhibiting and kept us at our ease.

Marilyn Leate

I realised this lady was something very high

My first reaction to Shri Mataji, in 1978, was that I felt that I had met this lady before. I thought I had seen Her in Oxford Street in London, in a shop somewhere.

‘You will be all right,’ She said, and touched my hand. ‘You are not all right now, but you will be all right.’

I went home and had a shower, and all of a sudden I went completely thoughtless. I wanted to think, but I couldn’t so I lay on the bed and closed my eyes. I was aware of this energy rising up through my stomach and then all the way to my chest and then on to the top of my head like a sort of crown, and my body felt very light and I felt totally in the bliss. So I realised that this lady was something very high, and I never experienced that before.

That was my first experience of Sahaja Yoga.

Miodrag Radosavljevic

Today we can talk quite freely about religion

When Shri Mataji was renovating Ashley Gardens, in 1978, we used to go down to the McDonalds in Victoria Street nearby sometimes and have our lunch there. When we were sitting down, She used to talk to us.

‘Just imagine that today we can just sit down and talk quite freely about religion,’ Shri Mataji would say, and things like, ‘we can talk freely about anything, whereas in the days of Lord Mohammed, if you said anything, they just came out with swords. People would just kill you because you said something which was out of place.’ She said that now we can’t imagine what it was like.

‘I can remember very well all those times and how we lived in those days,’ She said, ‘and the women were not protected at all,’ in the sense that they were protected by the Prophet. In those days women were in a male-dominated society, and men would just come and ransack a caravan and rape all the women and take them as slaves.

It was a terrible situation and when the Prophet came one of the things he said, so that people recognized the women around him, like Aisha, Fatima and so on, was that they should have a veil. They were dressed in a particular way and they were recognized by people outside. She explained the reason why the Prophet asked the women to cover themselves: it was to stop the men from being attracted by them and then, of course, behaving in a way that was very adharmic.

Shri Mataji said that Lord Mohammed was the one who protected women. He did a lot to further the society. In the days when he was around, She said that the people in his country behaved in a very barbaric way and he came into a very difficult society, and he had to change and improve it.

Mother explained that the Kaaba has vibrations and even the Indian scriptures knew about this, and they called it Makeshvari.

Djamel Metouri

Shri Mataji created a strong relationship of friendship

Shri Mataji came to Colombia in 1978 with Her husband, then Mr CP Srivastava, for an official visit, when he was invited by the government of Colombia. There was one lady who accompanied Shri Mataji all the time. By chance we met her and got her story.

We discovered that when Shri Mataji was there, She had organized two programmes on Her own in the Military Club and both the evenings they were full. Shri Mataji created a strong relationship of friendship with this lady and wrote her letters at Christmas for many years. This lady did not know anything about Sahaja Yoga and Shri Mataji was her friend Nirmala.

Marie-Laure Cernay

Stonehenge and strawberries

We used to go on trips out of London with Shri Mataji to different places. Once, we went on a long journey to the West Country of England, when I was about eight or nine. Along the way, going to Stonehenge, we stopped at a strawberry farm and Shri Mataji bought everybody strawberries. I said I didn’t like strawberries and Shri Mataji heard about this.

‘You can’t not like strawberries,’ She said, or ‘It’s not allowed,’ or ‘It’s not right,’ or something, I forget the exact words. She just picked up a strawberry and popped it in my mouth and it tasted delicious and I have liked them ever since.

Kevin Anslow

They are waiting for My permission

Some Sahaja Yogis went to Stonehenge and felt a lot of wonderful vibrations coming from the large stones. They suggested that we go there with Shri Mataji, so we went, in several cars.

When we got down there, Shri Mataji bought us all ice creams. And just like little kids, we were all running around our mum eating ice creams, walking around the stones. Eventually we stood close to Mother and were trying to feel the vibrations from the stones and oddly there were no vibrations coming from them.

Some of the Sahaja Yogis who had been there before and had felt the vibrations asked Mother. They were really surprised.

‘We used to feel vibrations here and we are not feeling any,’ they said.

‘That’s because I am here,’ Mother turned to us and said. ‘Out of respect for Me, the stones are not emitting any vibrations. They are waiting for My permission.’

‘All right, now!’ She said, and the moment She said that, the vibrations just came in waves from the stones.

Bala Kanayson

Shri Mataji just looked at those clouds

On the trip back from Stonehenge we had been having some forest fires in the south of England, which had been going on for quite a long time and it hadn’t rained. I was in the car with Mother and one of the yogis was expressing his concern that we were going to lose all these wonderful forests. Mother’s response was that England had a lot of trees and it didn’t matter. Being tree lovers, we were a little concerned and he was telling Mother that it was a shame that this fire had been going on for so long.

I saw Mother look out of Her window, the window on the right, and in the distance, up in the sky, there were a few clouds. She just looked at those clouds and all of a sudden they began to move from the right hand side of the car, over the car, towards where, miles away, the forest fire was raging.

Needless to say, we heard on the news that night that they had had rain over the fire and it had been put out.

Bala Kanayson

Her face kept changing

In Bath, in the late 1970’s with Shri Mataji, we wandered around shopping and there was a street artist trying to draw Her. She sat down and he tried to draw Her and couldn’t. He complained that Her face kept changing. The artist had incredible problems trying to draw Shri Mataji. The end result didn’t look anything like Her.

Pat Anslow


It must have been about 1977/8, in Bath, and Shri Mataji asked me if I knew what mammals were and I didn’t, so She explained to me that they were distinguished from other creatures because they suckled their young. I am uncertain how that came up though. Childhood memories can be so fragmentary sometimes. She also posed for a street artist while we were there. He tried to draw a portrait of Her and the poor fellow had a really, really hard time of it.

Kevin Anslow

You are now new born and it is a new beginning for you

I used to go to a lot of seeker’s meetings and in 1978 was living in London. One evening a friend and I went to a meeting given by a Buddhist, at the Westminster Town Hall. There was another meditation meeting there that evening, and the friend who had given me a lift had some other friends at this meeting. He suggested we went in to the other meeting while we waited for his friends, and this second meeting was given by Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi.

‘This is a special teacher, I can feel the vibrations before we go in,’ said my friend, who was more sensitive than me, as we got near to the door. I saw this quiet motherly looking lady and knew immediately that this was ‘my’ teacher, who I had been looking for all my life. I was so glad it turned out to be a lady. We heard the end of Her talk and I went and kneeled at Her Feet.

‘I’m glad I found You,’ I said. Then I felt tearful and said, ‘but Mother, I have done so many wrong things.’ She put Her Feet on my shoulders – I was still at Her Feet.

‘Forget it, it is all in the past. You are now new born and it is a new beginning for you,’ She said. ‘God bless you, My child.’

Douglas Fry welcomed me and told me there would be a follow up meeting at Caxton Hall. We met there for some years, and afterwards we would often go to a café nearby with Shri Mataji. We would also have meetings with Shri Mataji at the Hampstead Quaker House.

One day I was working on someone at the weekly programme, and thought I was doing a good job on that person. At that moment someone came and said Shri Mataji wanted to have a word with me. I looked up and saw that Her eyes were fixed on me.

‘It has to come through Me,’ She said. I saw my ego and began to give vibrations more humbly.

Rita Davies

Talk to him about Sahaja Yoga

I first met Shri Mataji in person in 1978. I went to Her apartment in Victoria and it would take a book to describe the feelings I had that day. She talked to me for hours, and then She asked me to talk to the other Sahaja Yogi who was there at the time, so we did. This was Bala Kanayson. It turned out that the day before I came, Shri Mataji had said to him, ‘There is a psychiatrist coming tomorrow – talk to him about Sahaja Yoga.’

Rustom Burjorjee

Editor’s note: Rustom Burjorjee was a psychiatrist.

They were touchingly hospitable

The first puja to Shri Mataji I attended was Guru Puja 1978. It was performed at a hall in Finchley, North London, and some Indian people did most of the preparation. They were touchingly hospitable and I remember feeling clueless in the light of their humble Indian hospitality and culture.

Shri Mataji called all of us very new people to do Her puja and put the born realised at the front. This included a little Dutch boy and myself. She told us that ours was a double responsibility. Then we did Her puja with the other new people behind us. They each put their hand on our shoulders or upper arms, so we were all connected. We didn’t really know what we were doing and Shri Mataji instructed us step by step through the washing of Her Feet, the amrit, the kumkum, the sandal oil and the flowers. At the end, people came rushing through and over us to get their photographs of our Mother.

Marilyn Leate

Mother used to teach those protocols. She used to tell us which hand to use and how and when we were to put this and that on. She would lead the puja.

Malcolm Murdoch

A quiet Indian lady

Shri Mataji’s flat in Ashley Gardens was opposite Westminster Cathedral. She would make comments about all the barrels of alcohol She saw being wheeled in there.

I remember coming out of Ashley Gardens one day with Shri Mataji – it was a series of flats and Hers was a top floor flat, and a lady who lived in the same building was just going in.

‘Hello, my dear,’ she said to Shri Mataji, in an over-friendly, and somehow patronising manner. Shri Mataji seemed to transform in front of our eyes. She somehow withdrew into Herself and became a very quiet, humble, simple Indian lady, and was inaccessible to the approaches of the patronising neighbour.

Patricia Proenza

Two memorable things at Ashley Gardens

Shri Mataji moved from Hurst Green to Ashley Gardens in Victoria, Central London, and I particularly remember two things that happened there. The first was when someone told Shri Mataji that it was my birthday, and She picked up a lovely ornament in Her lounge and gave it to me as a birthday present.

The second occurred one day when I was feeling rather caught up and depressed. Shri Mataji tried in various ways to make me smile, and as a last resort She took off the bangles around Her wrist and hung them on my ears! Needless to say it worked!

Pat Anslow

We were only a few Sahaja Yogis

We were only a few Sahaja Yogis. After a while, we had the experience that when you worked on someone new, you knew which false gurus they came from, according to the catches.

We used to have programmes at Caxton Hall and then people used to come back to a Sahaja Yogi’s place for follow-ups, and Shri Mataji could work on them individually and give them more individual attention. Shri Mataji also used to try and bring back as many Sahaja Yogis as possible to Her flat at Ashley Gardens, and bring back some of the other new seekers to be worked on by them. She always had people in Her flat in those days, people that She worked on. She always showed Her concern and treated everyone equally, whether they were deep seekers or not. From the moment they came to Her, She would work on them.

Djamel Metouri

It was just like being an apprentice

After the Caxton Hall meetings, Shri Mataji would have us back to Her flat in Ashley Gardens. It was almost like a debrief.

‘Phwah! What a night!’ We would say. If any new person was astute enough, they would come with us.

‘Where are you all going?’ they would say.

‘We’re going back to Shri Mataji’s place.’

You would know it would be right because they would have the awareness to come. Mother wouldn’t let them in otherwise.

‘What on earth have you been doing?’ Mother said to me, after one particular programme.

‘Oh, just working on these people.’

‘You don’t get involved in it!’

She had to work on me and it was a real lesson. It didn’t matter what state the people were in, you didn’t take it personally.

We were supposedly helping Shri Mataji, but She would have to sort us out afterwards. It was just like being an apprentice, you were allowed to have a little go and then She would have to put it all right and rebuild the whole apparatus afterwards.

Maureen Rossi

Powerful, isn’t it?

We all trooped up to Shri Mataji’s flat after the Caxton Hall programme and were given cups of coffee. Shri Mataji continued to work on people. She just gave and gave. She asked me to put my hand on Her Left Swadishthan and put my other hand out. I felt an incredible force going through me and my arm shook slightly. Mother looked at me.

‘Powerful, isn’t it?’ She said.

Marilyn Leate

This is for you!

While Shri Mataji was living at Ashley Gardens, one day She requested some help with sorting out Her clothes. I arrived early. No other yogis had come yet, and Shri Mataji invited me to sit down with Her. She told me that She had been up since 4 am so that She could do all the housework and cleaning for Her husband.

On another occasion at Ashley Gardens, She invited us to stay overnight, and we were permitted to sleep on the floor of Her bedroom.

Before coming to Sahaja Yoga, I had been taught reflexology. Someone told Shri Mataji this, and one day She invited me to Ashley Gardens to perform reflexology on Her.

She invited me for dinner. The first thing She did was to put my head in Her lap while I sat at Her Feet, and kept it there for about three quarters of an hour, She was working on me continuously as She conversed with Her family. Then we sat down for dinner and I felt so peaceful, though shy, and feeling – did I really deserve to be there?

Afterwards She took me into another room and invited me to do reflexology. After a few moments I realised that I was unable to give any benefit to Shri Mataji with reflexology. Vibrations were pulsating from Her Feet, and I was unable even to examine them from a reflexologist’s viewpoint.

‘There is nothing that I can give to You through this work,’ I said.

‘That’s right. This is for you!’ Shri Mataji replied.

She allowed me to rub Her Feet for hours until about one o’clock in the morning. When I touched Her big toe, I felt a great peace come over me, quietness, thoughtlessness, and felt so comfortable and tranquil. She was blasting me with vibrations. I was in a blissful state, and could have continued rubbing Her Feet all night.

‘Now you have your complete realisation. I want you to become the hollow instrument for Me,’ She said afterwards.

Patricia Proenza

We were just there as instruments

One day we were in Mother’s flat in London.

‘Can you go with another yogi to this old lady who is in the Royal Free Hospital?’ She said. Apparently this lady had some kind of ulcer and was in a really critical condition. At the hospital they didn’t give her much chance to live.

I went with another Sahaja Yogi. We took some lemons and worked on her a little bit. We raised her Kundalini and put some lemons next to her. Then we left and Shri Mataji worked on her two days later. The lady was much better, apparently, by the time Shri Mataji got there and worked on her and Mother did it all, of course. We were just there as instruments.

We heard that this lady was sick because she had been making money out of a photograph of Shri Sai Nath, doing something that was not right with money, with someone who was divine. It was considered to be quite a miracle that she recovered because she was about to die. Mother said the Adi Guru was angry and because of this she had problems in the Void. When she’d recovered completely, she organized some kind of party at her place and invited all the Sahaja Yogis.

‘You should have come because you’re the one who first went to help her,’ Shri Mataji said to me. She went to the party, but I didn’t go.

Djamel Metouri

I know you

In those early days, we all had the pleasure of going for personal visits to Shri Mataji and Sir CP’s apartment in Ashley Gardens, next to the cathedral in Victoria, London. Of course, Shri Mataji’s apartment was the real cathedral.

Once Shri Mataji worked on a twelve year old girl I’d brought, who had a Left Heart catch – a very sweet born realised child, but painfully shy and as quiet as a mouse.

‘I know you. Often when you’re alone you dance and sing,’ Shri Mataji said, then gave the child the gift of a wooden dancing doll, saying, ‘When you look at this doll and make it dance, you must remember to be happy and to dance and laugh.’ Shri Mataji told her to forgive society for what it had done to her. She was from a broken home.

Marilyn Leate

Chapter 12: 1978 – England – Large Seminars and the Midlands

The Easthampstead seminar

The first large seminar in the UK was at Easthampstead Park Conference Centre, in October 1978.

Holding hands

Sahaja Yoga seminars began and one of the early ones was in a place called Easthampstead Park in 1978. We all stayed there together for the weekend and various yogis organized workshops and showed slides. I seem to remember Shri Mataji arriving at lunchtime on Saturday.

Each of us had threaded a flower to make a greeting garland. One of the meditations, which we did there under Mother’s instigation, was to form a chain, holding hands with one grateful yogi holding Mother’s hand. In those days, we were so few that we could each wash Shri Mother’s Feet. We could meditate in a small room in front of Shri Mataji in person. We could massage Mother’s Feet and we could go down to Her Feet.

Marilyn Leate

Singing and shoebeating

At that seminar we were so unused to singing, and Shri Mataji insisted that we sang for Her. First two Sahaja Yogis who had French as their first language shyly sang a French carol and then we all began to sing English carols. Most of the yogis who attended were extremely new, including me.

We did workshops on the lawn. Mother got us to hold hands with Her in a circle but She insisted that no negative people should be part of the circle and so some got sent to sit on the mother earth. We sat on the lawn to have a shoebeating lesson as well. 

It was in quite a magical manner. I remember Mother giving a very humorous talk about Indians and Westerners. Oh those incredible, far off days when morning meditation was conducted facing Mother Herself!

Marilyn Leate

Shri Mataji cleared the problem

We had a weekend seminar in 1978 at Easthampstead Park, near Bracknell. We stayed in a large country manor. We arrived on a Friday, and Shri Mataji was due to come the next day. That night, very few of us slept properly. My own experience was of feeling very uneasy and disturbed, and was awake much of the night. Others felt the same, and some had nightmares. We found out that something tragic had happened in the house in the past. When Shri Mataji arrived the next day, and was told about this, She told us not to worry, that She would clear this problem and that we would all sleep very well that night. And we had a deep and peaceful sleep!

It was a blissful experience staying in the presence of Shri Mataji for two days. She had had a small operation on Her ear just before this weekend. While looking at Shri Mataji during one of Her talks to us, I was aware of seeing a glowing, golden light around Her, but at Her ear, this golden silhouette was broken, with a small division at the ear, then it continued again.

Patricia Proenza

Music for Shri Mataji

The next seminar was at Uckfield Park, Sussex, also in 1978, and I played some western classical music, possibly Mozart, to Shri Mataji for the first time.

Patricia Proenza

Shri Mataji said it was like the sunlight

I experienced a miracle when we had a seminar in the English countryside in 1978, and Shri Mataji came. It was a very dark day with no sun and heavy, dull clouds. There was some doubting in Sahaja Yoga at that time, and Shri Mataji was talking to us and saying that She is Shri Krishna and Shri Jesus and Shri Mataji — all of them.

She said it was like the sunlight. At that moment the beam of sunlight came out of nowhere and shone on Her head and went away. To prove it, She said the beam of light should come on Her head again. That happened two or three times, out of nowhere the sun came. So this was the miracle I witnessed together with about fifty other yogis who were present at that time.

Miodrag Radosavljevic

She invited all of us

The first time I met Shri Mataji was at my first public programme, at Dr Johnson House in Birmingham, in December 1978. I don’t remember anything about the talk, but afterwards someone worked on me and I was amazed that I was completely without thoughts, because I was quite a live wire type of person who was always thinking and running about all over the place. I come from a totally unreligious background, but nevertheless, when the person who had worked on me told me to go up to Shri Mataji and bow to Her, I just went to the front of the hall, and knelt at Her Feet, put my head lightly on Her Feet, and She tapped me on the back.

‘May God bless you,’ She said. I was in a state of complete happiness and bliss. Shri Mataji talked to Bala Kanayson about the area: Birmingham, Tamworth and Coventry. At that time I lived in Birmingham, and had only visited Coventry once. ‘We definitely need a centre in Coventry,’ Shri Mataji said. Ten years later, I spontaneously moved quite close to Coventry and then we did start meetings and a centre there.

At the meeting at Dr Johnson House, there must have been about a hundred people. Mother invited all of us to a follow up meeting, and it was held in Bala Kanayson’s house in Tamworth, the next day, which was a Sunday. My wife and I went and there were about fifteen people in the room. We all sat round the edges of the room with our backs to the wall.

‘You must forgive your father,’ Shri Mataji said to one girl. She burst into tears.

I was amazed, and thought, ‘How did Shri Mataji know that this girl had a problem with her father?’

‘You may not like your parents but you must respect them,’ Mother said to the girl.

Then there was a boy by the door. He said something to Shri Mataji and She asked him the name of his guru. He gave a name.

‘Yes, he is an enlightened soul,’ She said and I was amazed again, that She could know from the guru’s name that he was enlightened, so I realised She knew things on a different level. Then She asked the boy what his guru had him do and he said he had to go into meditation and say, ‘Who am I?’ Shri Mataji said that was ok, but he needed something else. She asked him to come over to Her and She painted a red swastika onto the palm of his hand and put a bindi on his forehead, both in red kumkum.

I was sitting against the wall and Mother was sitting in a chair opposite me. I had recently bought a watch, and while Mother was talking I was unconsciously fiddling with my watch. Mother wasn’t giving a talk as such, She was just chatting about things in general. She stopped talking and told me to give Her my watch, so I took it off and gave it to Her.

‘Bhuts, they’re like flies, they get everywhere,’ She said. She put a few bandhans on the watch and gave it back. ‘There,’ She said, and somehow you knew it was fine.

John Firth

Through the music

In late 1978, I went to a performance of Handel’s Messiah in the Royal Albert Hall in London. Although it was a bad time for me, during the performance I felt something lift, as if, in that darkness, something was turning, and after that everything started to improve.

Six months later, I got realisation and discovered that Shri Mataji had been at that same performance. A year or so later She took some of us to a concert of Indian classical music at the South Bank Centre, London. When we were there, She told us that when She went to a music performance, even if it was a public one and She was incognito, She could work on all the people there through the music.

Linda Williams

Chapter 13: 1979 – India, January to March

A rare opportunity

Shri Mataji blessed me with an opportunity to accompany Her to meet the minister in charge of Indian television, on the Sahaja Yogis’ suggestions. It was some time in the late seventies when the television was under government control and private channels were not permitted. Shri Mataji reached there at the time fixed for the meeting. However some more people were also waiting for the minister, who arrived late and kept talking to a man for a long time. Although the minister had known Shri Mataji and Her family for a long time, Shri Mataji told us this later, he did not notice Her and She was waiting for more than half an hour. It was a moment of great embarrassment to me since I was involved in the minister’s appointment. Shri Mataji said that the minister should not leave without meeting Her.

In a split second I felt as if a kind of energy filled me from within. I was on my feet and walked straight to the place where the minister was hobnobbing with the man and stood close to him so as to catch his attention. In the normal circumstances no one whom the minister did not know would dare to do it since Indian ministers are very powerful. The minister noticed me in a few seconds and gave me a dirty and scornful look.

‘Sir, Mr N.K.P. Salve’s sister is waiting for you,’ instantly these words came from me.

‘Oh, is it?’ The minister exclaimed, and walked towards Shri Mataji. They talked for a short time, when Shri Mataji told him to spare a time slot for Sahaja Yoga in television programmes, and then She left.

Raman Kulkarni 

A question of My attention

There was a big house in Delhi in 1979 where one room was for Shri Mataji and we were staying in the other rooms. Some of the English Sahaja Yogis were there also and outside there was a big pendal and in that we had public programmes every evening.

‘Mother is calling you. She is having a lot of problem with Her left ear,’ Mrs Raolbai said one afternoon.

‘What was the problem?’ we asked. We went in and Shri Mataji was really in pain and I didn’t know what to do.

‘Put your hands to My ears and put some oil with garlic and everything,’ She said.

‘Now what’s going to happen?’ we said. ‘Should we take Shri Mataji to the hospital? Should we call the doctor?’ It went on until about six-thirty when somebody came.

‘Mother, everybody is ready outside,’ he said. ‘People have gathered and they’re waiting for You.’

‘Ah, OK,’ She said and asked us to go out. She dressed in five minutes and came out at about quarter to seven. She gave Her talk and about eighty new people had come. At that time it was a custom that all the old Sahaja Yogis would go on Mother’s Feet at the end. It went on until about eleven-thirty. I was always looking at Mother’s face. She never showed even a sign that She had a pain in Her ear.

‘Either there was no pain or the pain vanished,’ I said to myself, but it was always in my mind. After about two years, I had an opportunity to ask Shri Mataji about this.

‘What was it? Did You really have a pain at that time?’

‘It’s all a question of My attention. Whenever I have pain, My attention was on the pain and when there was the public programme, My attention was on the new people. It was on the Sahaja Yogis. So when My attention is not there, that thing doesn’t exist for Me.’

Avdhut Pai

Mother liked it very much

While we were staying at Ashoka Road with Shri Mataji She showed me that She fulfills your desire, even the smallest desire, even if you don’t really desire. When we were in Delhi, everybody was giving presents to Shri Mataji — blouse pieces, saris, whatever. I was a student and didn’t have enough money to buy Her things and didn’t know what to buy. It happened that my own mother’s sweater had been lost. There was one Mr Varma, who used to take Shri Mataji shopping.

‘My mother’s lost her sweater and you can get good sweaters. Can you buy one and I’ll send you the money from Mumbai?’ I asked Mr Varma. A day or two later, he came to me.

‘I bought a sweater. Mother liked it very much,’ he said to me. I didn’t understand because when I said ‘mother’ to him, he thought I meant ‘Shri Mataji’ and he had bought a cashmere sweater.

‘Very light, but good quality cashmere,’ he said. ‘Mother liked it very much. We said that Avdhut wanted us to buy a sweater for You,’ he said and he bought Her a sweater.

‘No, you should take the money,’ said Shri Mataji to me.

‘No, Shri Mataji, please,’ I said and finally She took the sweater.

Avdhut Pai

Meeting Shri Mataji for the first time

During March 1979 the Sahaja Yogis rented 10, Ashoka Road, Delhi, and set up a shamiana (a kind of tent) in the gardens where Shri Mataji Herself conducted meetings twice a day. After each session She called each person who received their realisation to come and place their hands under Her Feet and offer pranams to Her. No one understood what a big blessing it was to be at Her Feet and how She sucked everything from the subtle being, but everyone felt wonderful after they got up. She just blasted everyone with a deep feeling of bliss and divine vibrations.

The first Sunday after I had received my realisation, and after the afternoon session, another Sahaja Yogi convinced me to stay on and take a nap in the living room. I woke up around 6 pm and shortly afterwards Shri Mataji emerged from Her room. Her whole being was shining with so much light that despite not knowing who She was it was evident She was someone very special. The song which we all sing, Mataji, Mataji, your face shines like a thousand suns, was witnessed that day.

A week after receiving realisation I requested an old Sahaja Yogi from Bombay to arrange for me to meet Shri Mataji. He told me that one could go into Her room but to come out in five minutes. After offering pranams at Her Feet and speaking to Her briefly I got up to leave. Shri Mataji asked me why I was getting up. On telling Her that I had been told to come out, She asked me to sit there and showered me with vibrations while Her grandchildren Sonu and Anand played around. It was one of the most wonderful times. She knew everyone’s desire and always fulfilled them.

Maneesh Singh

Shri Mataji waited and kept on calling

In 1979, Shri Mataji had arrived in Delhi, so on my way to the puja I picked up a garland made of almost dried up orange coloured marigolds. Later Shri Mataji said this type of flower should not be used to give to Her. When Mother was leaving, everyone offered their garlands to Her. They were huge, fresh and beautiful and Her neck was full, the garlands almost touched Her head, with just a little of Her face visible.

‘More! Whoever has a garland, bring it, offer them all, bring, bring,’ She kept on saying. She waited and kept saying, ‘Now bring more.’

I felt She was waiting, but what could I offer? A dried up garland? But She waited and kept on calling until I offered my dried up marigold garland to Her.

A similar incident occurred in 1983, again at Delhi Airport. I got some ranjani gandha flowers to take to Shri Mataji. When She came I was just looking at Her with such awe that I forgot to offer the flowers. She was really close, and She smiled.

‘This is for Me?’ She asked, and took it from my hand. She took them and smelled the flowers and went on Her way laughing! What a time!

Surender Pal Angurala

Shri Mataji said what was in my mind

I had read about Shri Mataji and Sahaja Yoga some time before in a popular magazine, The Digest of India. There was a full-page article and it talked in detail about Kundalini awakening and Sahaja Yoga. I read it with great interest, but did not know if I would ever get a chance to meet Shri Mataji.

Then about a month later, I was in Delhi for the weekend and happened to see an advertisement in the paper for a programme where Shri Mataji was coming to give people en masse enlightenment. All our family got together and went to the programme. It was wonderful. Having listened to Shri Mataji, I was very, very touched. It was cold, being winter in Delhi, and we weren’t sure whether the cool wind was coming from the weather round about or whether it was coming from the body.

In those days, in the late 1970’s, it was customary that everybody queued up in front of Shri Mataji, who sat on a big chair, and as your turn came, you bowed down and placed you palms face upwards in front of Her and She placed Her Holy Feet on top of your palms and then She verified and declared whether you had got the awakening or not. When I came there, She asked me how I felt. I explained that I wasn’t quite sure whether the wind was coming from all around because it was cold and winter. She called a couple of people who were standing around.

‘Come, take a look at this boy. His entire face has changed,’ She said. Of course, at that moment, I couldn’t assess what I looked like. Shri Mataji said that I had got enlightenment and directed some people to get a book for me, which was named The Advent. I told Shri Mataji I was going away from Delhi because I was a pilot in the Indian Air Force and had been posted to Punjab. She asked me when I had to go. I told Her I had to catch a train the following night and She said I should bring my bags to the programme, then go after that.

That next day, to my amazement, I saw a Kundalini moving at the back of a lady who was sitting in front of Shri Mataji and some Sahaja Yogis were working on her. I was totally dumbfounded when I saw it move up about three inches when the people worked on her.


Let him come

The first time I met Shri Mataji was in 1979. There was a series of public programmes that Shri Mataji held in Delhi. They were in the Mavlankar Auditorium behind All India Radio. In those days Mother used to have week-long programmes, and generally She would address a chakra each day. Every evening She would send the people home and tell them to come back the next day and She would tell us about the next chakra.

My father and I went to all the consecutive evenings that first week. I was about ten years old. At the end of the week, an announcement was made that on the coming Sunday there would be a puja and the address was given. A general condition was made that all those who had felt the cool breeze during the week’s discourse and meditation could come to the puja. My brother and I had felt it but my father had not, so on the Sunday my father had us get dressed and get ready for the puja. Only my father and I went, to Sarva Priya Vihar, and we later came to know that it was Sadhana Didi’s residence in Delhi. It was a one floor house, and Shri Mataji was sitting in the living room. There was a dilemma, because my father had not felt the cool breeze, so he sent me and he stayed back on his scooter across the street.

I was just a boy, and I went and knocked on the door of this house. A tall Sahaja Yogi opened the door and would not let me in. He did not know where this young boy had come from, and I told him that we had been asked to come if we had felt the cool breeze. Somehow Shri Mataji got to hear of all this going on, and told him to let me in.

‘Let him come,’ She said, when the man said I was only a boy, alone. So I went in and even Shri Mataji was wondering how a ten year old boy could have found his way there. She asked me who I was and where I had come from, and I think I called Her ‘auntie’, but She said I should call Her Mother. I told Her that my father had brought me, but it was said that only those who had felt the cool breeze should come to the puja, so he had brought me, but was waiting outside on the street. Then I told Her my full name, Jayant Patankar.

‘You’re Maharashtrian!’ She said. Shri Mataji immediately started talking in Marathi and She said I was to go and call my father. So I went out and across the road, and told my father what had happened. He was a bit hesitant because he had not felt it, but Mother was very nice and kind and explained that sometimes our condition was not perfect, especially, She said, ‘with us grown ups’, as if trying to say it was not only him. She told us to go upstairs onto the terrace, and said She would come up for the puja when She was ready.

It so happened that on that day, our first puja, the sky was completely overcast. The people were rather forward in those days, and were telling Mother not to have the puja on the terrace because it could rain at any moment. Shri Mataji kept on insisting that it would not rain. My father and I were very much at the back.

It was a nice puja. In those days pujas used to take a long time, they could go for half a day or more. There would be the thousand and eight names and so on. We knew what a puja was, being Hindus. All attention was on Shri Mataji and nobody noticed anything else.

After the puja, Shri Mataji told us to look up at the sky. We all looked up and the fully loaded dark clouds had settled around the house in a circle. There was a big opening in the sky, right on top of the house. Mother pointed to the big hole in the sky right above our heads.

‘See, this is like your open Sahasrara,’ She said. Then the miracle happened. Mother asked all of us to look at the clear blue sky and asked us if we could see anything, after we had focused on it for a minute or two. Most people didn’t respond.

‘Yes,’ some said.

‘What do you see?’ She said.

‘We see these little specks of light like spots or dots, and they are luminous and glowing and moving so rapidly, in a random way,’ some people said. I also saw them.

‘These are the vibrations that flow through you,’ Shri Mataji said. ‘And this is the same power to which you are connected, as well.’ I could see all this, although I had not put my hand up. That was my first puja and I remember it as if it had happened yesterday, not twenty-six years ago.

Jayant Patankar

The Indian people sat respectfully at Her Feet

I got my realisation in India in March 1979 at the age of twenty-two. I had been wandering around India seeking the joy I had lost in my life, looking for some kind of yogi. One day I met an Australian who had had a very powerful experience from Shri Mataji, so I went to Delhi to try to meet Her. Shri Mataji had been traveling around India giving public programmes, accompanied by some Indians and about thirteen Westerners and She was now finishing Her tour in Delhi with a week of evening programmes.

I arrived at the given address, a small bungalow in a quiet street surrounded by cool leafy trees, where I was invited in and given tea. Later, they told me to go over to the small pendal on the other side of the garden. There were about fifty people there, and I sat at the back with one other new Westerner, a handful of Western yogis and otherwise mostly middle aged Indian businessmen, like my father.

This struck me as very significant, as I really respected my father’s wisdom and thought, ‘This must be something different from the hippie gurus. These men are like my father and there is hardly a hippie in sight.’

Shri Mataji spoke in Hindi and after She had finished there was a pause. Suddenly all the Indian people rushed up to sit very respectfully at Her Feet. I did not get my realisation that night, but the next night I became completely thoughtless and slept a very deep restful sleep.

I went back to the following programmes; I would go early in the afternoon, which seemed like a very relaxed time, and Shri Mataji would come out and talk to the group.  

Felicity Payment

I felt a deep connection inside with Her being

After receiving my realisation in Delhi, in March 1979, I was invited to go with the Sahaja Yogis and Shri Mataji to a seminar in Bordi, on the coast near Bombay.

We all went on the train with Shri Mataji, who was in a different carriage. It was surprising to me how available She was, never requesting special treatment nor was She shut away behind closed doors. We ate with Her, travelled with Her, slept where She slept and She talked with everyone equally, according to their need, in a very Motherly manner. I was told later, that on hearing I was accompanying the group to Bordi, some people had said that I was catching everywhere.

‘Don’t worry, she will be all right,’ Shri Mataji said. In Her compassion She knew exactly what was in everyone’s heart, who were the real seekers.

On Saturday morning we gathered for the beginning of the seminar in a large hut. Shri Mataji, in Her chair, instructed us to stand in front of Her, in a bandhan. There were about forty of us and we faced Her in a semi-circle, with our palms and fingers connected to each other. The person on the left side, at the beginning of the line, had their left hand pointed to Shri Mataji, taking vibrations from Her. The person at the end of the line had their right hand pointed up in the air away from the circle, so we were all collectively clearing out through the person at the end.  Shri Mataji asked if we were all feeling the cool breeze in both hands. Up to this point I had not felt any vibrations. Suddenly I could feel cool pouring out of my right hand, but absolutely nothing in my left side. Shri Mataji asked me to come out of the circle and sit on the floor in front of Her, to put my right hand on my left heart and keep my left hand pointed towards Her.

‘Ask the question,’ She said. ‘Ask, is this the cool breeze of the Holy Ghost? Is this the cool breeze of the param chaitanya? Ask it three times.’

I did, and felt an amazing wind pouring from Shri Mataji onto me. She seemed very big, looming over me, and something welled up inside and rushed up to the top of my head and lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I felt so different, light and happy, like writing poetry, as if I had been given my soul back again.

That afternoon, for the first time in my presence Shri Mataji gave a talk in English. We were a small group, listening to Her words at Her Feet, and as I listened I felt a deep connection inside with Her being, as if She was saying with Her being, not Her words, that everything I had always valued was real and true and important. The words that I remembered from this talk spoke directly to me.

‘Do you think Christ was a namby-pamby skinny sort of fellow? No He was not!’ She said, and in one stroke dissolved the vice-like torment I had been living under, for I had been unknowingly suffering cruelly from anorexia for five years.  

I was very moved by the love and joy of the Indian yogis surrounding Her at the time and thought that if they had got this joy and love through Sahaja Yoga then this was what I wanted.

Felicity Payment

Congratulations, you have completely cleared out!

Shri Mataji was so kind, sweet and motherly towards us during that 1979 India visit. There were initially just three of us from the West. One morning She took me out to buy some clothes, holding my hand as we walked along the road. She arranged for Indian Sahaja Yogis to take us to the museum, take us shopping and to see sights of interest. Then on occasions She rebuked us, correcting our imbalances.

Shri Mataji noticed one night that I had removed the pillow on my bed, and replaced it with a few of my clothes. This was because the pillow was as hard as a stone. Shri Mataji asked me why I had removed it, and when I explained, rather ashamed of my lack of detachment, She immediately gave me Her pillow and took mine, saying that She was completely unaffected by such things, that She couldn’t even feel it!

One day, Shri Mataji asked for a bowl of water for Her Feet. When it came, the water was extremely hot, and I was concerned that the water would scald Her Feet. Shri Mataji removed Her Feet so the water could be cooled, and said that She could not even feel the heat of the water on Her Feet.

Every day we were instructed to lay our foreheads on Shri Mataji’s Feet. How blessed we were. The Mumbai Sahaja Yogis would advance on us at this point and vigorously work on our chakras.

These sessions were quite traumatic, but we felt grateful that we were being worked on. One evening, Shri Mataji called me to Her Feet, and I knelt down, waiting for the Indian yogis to call out my catches. But none came. Afterwards, I felt, sadly, that they must have given up on me. Then Shri Mataji called me over.

‘Congratulations. You have completely cleared out!’ She said.

Patricia Proenza

Shri Mataji told us to watch

In 1979, we spent a weekend on the beach at Malad, just outside Mumbai. One morning, Shri Mataji stood in the sea, and we rubbed Her Feet. We were sitting in the water, which meant that we were completely, deeply cleared out, leaving us a state of total stillness and silence. The tide was going out. Shri Mataji told us to watch, that although the tide was ebbing, it would come up to touch Her Feet. Suddenly the water moved forward in a rush and completely covered Her Feet, even moving further up the beach, behind Her.

Patricia Proenza

The whole universe was sparking with joy

Another memory from that 1979 visit to India is of some of the Indian yogis coming back to the Mumbai flat we were staying in – Neelamber – and talking with Shri Mataji into the early hours of the morning, often after public meetings the night before.

Mr Dhumal would often make Shri Mataji laugh and laugh – laughter which was so free, boundless, uninhibited. It felt as if the whole universe was bubbling and sparking with joy! They spoke in Hindi or Marathi so we did not understand what was being said, but we too laughed uncontrollably, enveloped in joy, in utter mirth.

Patricia Proenza

The Kundalini itself was dancing

During one of the concerts we attended in India in 1979 we were sitting near to Shri Mataji, listening to the violin played by a realised soul. I became aware that the sound seemed to travel through my Sahasrara rather than my ears – as if moving directly into Sahasrara. On another occasion, in London, I was most blessed by being able to sit next to Shri Mataji while at a concert of classical Indian music. It felt as if the Kundalini itself was dancing, swaying to the music. On asking Shri Mataji about this experience, She smiled.

‘That’s right!’ She said.

Patricia Proenza

Thank You Shri Mataji, for finding me

In 1979, Shri Mataji said I should go back to England, where the Sahaja Yogis would take care of me. At this time there was only a small group of yogis in Delhi and Bombay, and about thirty yogis in England. 

We went to see Shri Mataji off at the train station in Delhi, and there were only about ten of us – it was so informal and joyful and She was so happy and dynamic, giving advice to everyone. I felt if only I could stay with yogis, while I was arranging my travel back to England, then I would be safe. There was one particular yogi whom I really wanted to stay with, because he was so full of love for Shri Mataji. Lo and behold, after some time, Shri Mataji turned to him.

‘She should stay with you until she leaves,’ She said to that very yogi.

‘Yes Mother,’ he replied.

I was so new in Sahaja Yoga, and did not understand what it was all about, but She took care of me and knew what was in my heart. We waved Her off on the train and She smiled and laughed with us. I knew I would see Her in England.

Thank You Shri Mataji, for finding me.

Felicity Payment

Chapter 14: 1979 – Dollis Hill Ashram and Lost Seekers Saved

Overcoming negativity

It was 1979, the puja was to be held near the ashram in Finchley, North London and I was living south of the city. When I woke up that morning I had a terrible migraine, was feeling really dizzy and started vomiting. There was no way I was going to the puja as I could not even stand up. At this point I decided that I was going to go. Suddenly and inexplicably at that very moment the vomiting stopped and the migraine went away. I walked up to the station, caught the train into London and then the tube to the ashram. I told my story to one of the yogis and he said it was the negativity trying to keep me away from the puja.

We had a little meeting with Mother in the back garden but not all the yogis came to this. I think the puja was organised in a little scout hut just half a mile away from the ashram. It was too large an event to hold in the ashram garden as at least thirty yogis attended. There might have been a few more or less, but it was a large event for those days. All the songs and mantras were just on a few sheets of A4 paper. Mother, as was the case then, guided the puja from beginning to end. Afterwards we all went back to the ashram where we had food – not much of a queue in those days, thank goodness!

Colin Dunwell

Dollis Hill ashram

In 1979 the ashram moved to 8, Hamilton Road, Dollis Hill, North London, which was close to Dollis Hill Underground Station. This house belonged to a friend of Shri Mataji’s. By now, Sahaja Yoga had spread, and more people were living in and visiting this ashram. Shri Mataji made many visits to this house and stayed overnight on many occasions. She would spend so much time with us, teaching us, working on us, and conversing with us. She would even cook meals for everyone. Shri Mataji held havans in the back garden, just outside the back door of the living room. Shri Mataji held pujas there, including Guru Puja in December 1979 when She declared who She was.

From the outside, it looked like an ordinary suburban, semi-detached house, yet this was where Shri Mataji was nurturing the next step in human evolution. In 1979 also Shri Mataji made several visits to a house in Barnes, south-west London, where we were all invited too.

Patricia Proenza and others

I feel very grateful

Shri Mataji hugged me on a couple of occasions. One time was in Dollis Hill ashram in London in 1979. She was leaving and we all parted to make a passageway for Her exit. She walked past me, stopped, turned back and threw Her arms around me.

I feel very grateful.

Marilyn Leate

I’m God Almighty

Mother was sitting in a room with David Baxter and two others. (David told me this immediately after it happened in the late 1970’s) They were chatting casually.

‘Oh dear,’ Shri Mataji exclaimed, ‘My right side is catching, I’m forgetting that I’m God Almighty,’ and She started to raise Her right side. Needless to say it wasn’t She who was forgetting!

Marilyn Leate

A dimension of pure joy

At the very beginning of 1979 the ashram moved to Dollis Hill, a house at 8, Hamilton Road, close to the station. Shri Mataji Herself found this house, which belonged to Her friend.

By now, Sahaja Yoga had spread and there were more yogis living in or visiting the ashram. Shri Mataji made many visits to this ashram. She spent so many hours with us, talking to us, and also allowing us to converse with Her. She always gave time, and respect, to every person. She worked on people frequently and also stayed on many occasions. She permitted us to sleep on the floor in Her bedroom when She stayed, and we would squeeze into precious spaces on the floor, for the unbelievable privilege of sleeping in the holy presence of our Divine Mother. We were in another universe, in a dimension of pure joy, where even time did not exist. The hours of sleeping were short. We were up with Shri Mataji far into the night – there was no sense of passing of time, of day and night. We were just enveloped in Her presence, in joy and inner silence. Sometimes, as the joy bubbled up, we felt laughter bubbling out of us!

One night when Shri Mataji was going upstairs to Her bedroom at the ashram. I went up with Her, and was still laughing at Her comments on the ‘fashionable’ young girls who were very skinny and wore mini-skirts, whom She described as ‘mosquitoes’ and ‘TB cases’. Perhaps because of the exhilaration of the vibrations and joy, I was unable to stop laughing. Shri Mataji, who was by now in Her bed, asked me why I was laughing so much.

‘Mosquitoes!’ I just managed to blurt out, and She joined in enthusiastically with my helpless laughter. She would spend hours with us at Dollis Hill.

Patricia Proenza

You are not alone

When I came back from India in 1979, I thought I would be so lonely.

‘So many times I have been by Myself,’ Shri Mataji said. ‘Just meditate, and you are not alone.’

Patricia Proenza

Shri Mataji asked for the aarti to be delayed

In my early days of Sahaja Yoga I worked with an airline back home in Algeria, and since I was lucky to have cheap standby flights I used to come to London at least once a month. The ashram at the time had moved from Finchley to Dollis Hill and quite a few pujas took place in this ashram.

One of my trips back from Algiers to London was to attend a Dollis Hill puja. I can vaguely recall that it was an Easter Puja. My plane was late and I missed most of the puja. When I arrived at the ashram Shri Mataji said that we could now start singing the aarti. Once the aarti was finished the Sahaja Yogis told me that just before I arrived Shri Mataji asked for the aarti to be delayed because Djamel was coming.

Djamel Metouri

Shri Mataji saved my father

As soon as they got back to Greece after getting realisation, my parents established Shri Mataji’s photograph in their house and started talking about Sahaja Yoga to all their friends and relatives, and thus Sahaja Yoga started in Greece. I was helping them, travelling from England to Greece. A short period later, in England, I had a dream of my father calling for help and his voice was so loud, and he sounded so desperate it woke me up. In the morning I telephoned my parents in Greece, my mother answered and said my father was OK. The next night, the same desperate cry of my father woke me up again. I phoned back, only to get the same answer from my mother.

When I checked on vibrations I knew something bad was going on with my dad. I wrote a letter to Shri Mataji, asking Her what should I do, took the letter to Her house, put it through the letterbox and waited for Her answer. Shri Mataji phoned me that evening. She said my father’s life was threatened by negativity that was trying to kill him because he was the first Sahaja Yogi in Greece, and that I should travel immediately there.

‘Mother, I must travel by bus, which will take three to four days to reach Athens,’ I said.

‘Why go by bus and not by plane?’ She said.

I answered that all the money I had was a fifty pound note and this would be just enough for the bus but not for a plane ticket which would be over a hundred pounds.

‘No, there is not enough time, three days will be too late,’ She said.

‘Mother, I understand that one day he will die but…..’ I said.

‘But we must not let him die in the hands of the bhuts but in the hands of God,’ She continued, before I finished my words.

Then She called a Sahaja Yogini to book me the first flight to Greece. She went to the nearest agent, who said that the plane was fully booked and my only chance was to go to the airport and hope for a stand-by flight. Shri Mataji asked me not to waste any time but to leave immediately, and gave me Her advice and blessings as to what I should do with treatments on my father.

At the airport, the lady at the desk looked at me, showing with her eyes that I was going to be left behind. At that precise moment, the departure of the flight was announced. Simultaneously, someone phoned and said that at the last minute, a First Class passenger had cancelled and I could take his place. I travelled to Greece, First Class, for only fifty pounds, to look after my father. It took about one month for my dad to recover, following Shri Mataji’s advice, with Sahaj treatments.

Maria Laventzi

Advice on Easter Monday

One Easter Monday, the 16th of April 1979, Shri Mataji spent the evening with us at a yogini’s house in Barnes. Shri Mataji was so loving and compassionate and gentle, and full of Her loving humour.

She talked of the problems of the West, how we have blind faith in science and reason, and how we must be aware that there is much beyond the point where reason ends. To balance our intuition and our reason, She told us to bring the energies from the back of each hand over to the front. The right hand represents wisdom on the front, knowledge on the back. The left hand represents intuition on the front, reason on the back. She said that intellectualism is just like a performing circus, like doing a somersault. You are in the same spot in which you started! Intelligence is needed in Sahaja Yoga, not intellectualism.

She said that we each have to work on our own chakras, and on others’ chakras, and discover for ourselves the subtleties of the different centres, where the catches manifest on the hands and body.

‘What is selfishness?’ Shri Mataji asked. ‘How can we know that, when we have not discovered our self? To know a house it is best to go inside it. To know your Self, you have to go inside the self, look at it, learn about it, know it.’

Shri Mataji advised us to hold our breath in front of Her photo, then after a while, release it, and to do this three times for colds, respiratory problems etc. Also, to put the Vishuddhi finger on the throat centre, just above the collarbone, then sniff rapidly through the nose a number of times. This clears the throat and ears.

Patricia Proenza

A breakthrough with the damaged seekers

In May 1979, Bala arranged a public programme in Birmingham, and Shri Mataji invited some of the seekers from a particular false guru cult to attend this meeting. When the day arrived, the room in Birmingham City Centre was full. The invited seekers were asked to sit in front. As Shri Mataji gave realisation, these seekers behaved in a way which showed they were very damaged. Finally the meeting ended, well past the scheduled finish time and everyone thought that now they could go back to the Tamworth centre and spend some peaceful time with Shri Mataji, but it was not to be. She invited the damaged seekers to Bala’s house.

By the time they arrived at Rosemary Road, it was nearly midnight. Shri Mataji had Bala, Tony Panayioutou and some others work on these seekers – it was a very long night. After 3 am, She told Bala and Tony that this was a breakthrough as far as this particular cult was concerned, here in Birmingham. They stayed up all night continuing the work on the damaged seekers with Shri Mataji.

The next day, it was back to work again. Eventually, the faces of these deep seekers cleared and they actually looked happy. They had lots of questions and Shri Mataji very patiently answered them. In the afternoon She came out and spoke to the little children who were in the playground in front of the house. She then asked Bala and the local yogis to look after the new seekers, and left for London.

Bala Kanayson

Those vibrations will go and work on others

Once, Rustom Burjorjee, who was a psychiatrist, had introduced a gentleman to Shri Mataji who was a well-known German member of the London Jung Society. We were in Shri Mataji’s flat, during the morning on the day She was going to meet these people and She worked on a painting all morning; She took an Indian painting and changed it. She was showing us what She was doing and how She was changing the colour and the shapes and repainting it all, it was some kind of watercolour, an Indian painting done on cloth, and you can put your own colours on top, if you want. Shri Mataji was modifying the colours and shapes and so on, and putting so many vibrations into this painting. We didn’t know why, but we were there witnessing that.

In the afternoon, these people came to Shri Mataji’s flat. She was, of course, very happy to meet them because they were following Jung, who was a realised soul and who did so much work, which was really Sahaja work.

‘Do you like this painting?’ Shri Mataji said about the painting She had been working on. I think they said yes and She gave it to them. Mother was very generous, of course. If anybody said they liked something, She would just give it.

‘Mother, You have been working on it all morning!’ a Sahaja Yogi there said, shocked.

‘It is not for Me. It’s got vibrations and those vibrations will go and work on others. You have to show your generosity,’ She said.

Djamel Metouri

Nurturing the next step in human evolution

So many memorable events took place at Dollis Hill – the wonderful times when Shri Mataji talked to us, looked after us, even cooked for us. Time and the mundane world ceased to exist. Shri Mataji was nurturing the next step in human evolution. And all this was happening inside this ordinary, semi-detached house in an average North-West London suburb.

On one occasion, we all sat in the living room, waiting in silence for Shri Mataji’s arrival. She had been abroad for some time, so we were greatly excited, awaiting Her return. Suddenly I felt a beautiful coolness on my hands and all around – Her car had just arrived! Then the total joy as She entered the house, and greeted us.

Patricia Proenza

Cashew nuts

Shri Mataji put me on the liver diet for a while. One day, when walking around a shop during my work lunch hour I saw some cashew nuts, and was really tempted for a moment to buy them. I didn’t, and continued walking around the shop. That evening, Shri Mataji came to the ashram and looked at me.

‘Have you been eating cashew nuts? She asked.

‘No,’ I said. Perhaps those cashews were still registering in my subconscious!

Patricia Proenza

Inviting us in

Memories flood in but recently the face that flows into my mind most strongly is the picture of Shri Mataji standing at Her doorway in the Ashley Gardens flat in the early years in London. She has just opened the door and is standing there so young looking, so vibrant, so fresh with a big welcoming smile on Her face as She invites you in.

I feel She has left Her earthly form so She can invite us in, in the same way, into the heavens through Her door again – heaven will be on earth.

Again the memory flows in. She is coming tonight to Dollis Hill, in 1979. We are waiting for HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH Her, so eager to see Her, She arrives, the door opens and I am rushing into the hallway. I cannot wait to see Her face, to be in Her presence and She comes in as our Mother, Her dark hair, thick and flowing around Her shoulders, all smiles, full of energy, beaming, She turns, looking around at everyone.

‘How are you? How are you all?’

Her smile is so full of Her care and love for us; no one is left out and my heart is so open and so full of love to see Her and I feel everything in the world is alright after all.

When I first came to Canada from London to a new starting of Sahaja Yoga, it was all so different; few yogis, few vibrations, no internet connections in those days, and after some months She sent a message to me half way around the world.

‘Tell Felicity to remember the good times,’ and only then, I realised how alone I had felt. I did not know I had not been feeling good, but then Her love soothed me and She drew me into Her embrace again.

We must remember the good times and all the beautiful memories She has left for us to share and relive. Even better times are coming. So much that Shri Mataji promised all those years ago has already come true, now the rest will follow.

Felicity Payment

She corrected us, taught us and gave us practical advice

There were many other pieces of valuable advice I remember from those times. Shri Mataji talked to us about our powers: the power of the bandhan, to give ourselves complete protection from any negative forces, to be able to feel the states of the chakras of ourselves and of others, to be able to fix each chakra of ourselves and of others – with a bandhan, to be able to cure the problems in each centre, to be able to raise the Kundalini by lifting one’s hand – giving self realisation to others and to be able to work on people at a distance.

Sometimes Shri Mataji rebuked us – very strongly! She corrected us and taught us. She also gave us much practical advice, such as looking after our hands and feet, and rubbing olive oil into them at night, then sleeping with cotton gloves on. (Only to be done occasionally)

On one occasion Shri Mataji told us that the best times for meditation are at around 5 am and between 6 pm to 7 pm. She advised us not to meditate between midnight and 4 am when more negative forces are around. She also told us it was not good to be out very late at night, especially after midnight.

Shri Mataji told us that when we had a problem and felt unable to deal with it, we should write to Her about it, but instead of sending the letter, to put it in front of Her photo.

She told us that baddhas can be effects of bhuts, or toxic states or emotional upsets. Bhuts are one of the causes of baddhas, but not the only cause. She once said that if you feel anger, do not hold onto it, but let it out by hitting a pillow. When talking about pulling our earlobes, (as a way of asking for forgiveness) She told us that this is also a remedy for feeling guilty, as it is good for left Vishuddhi catches.

Shri Mataji often told us just to watch our thoughts, not to fight them, but to be aware of them.

Patricia Proenza

The people there were very privileged

Shri Mataji would often come round to Dollis Hill ashram unexpectedly, without giving hardly any warning, and She would sleep the night there and vibrate the place, so the people there were very privileged.

Marilyn Leate

A selfless boon and Shri Mataji’s beautiful article

Shri Mataji later told some of us that She had been waiting for some years for us to realise we had been on the wrong path, and then She would call us. A month before we came, at a puja in London in early 1979, the Sahaja Yogis had decided that if Shri Mataji offered them a boon, which She often did after a puja, they would all ask for the same one, that all the true seekers who were caught on all the false paths would find Her.

A group of people I knew were searching for realisation. Soon after Shri Mataji granted the boon, one person of our group, who was in London, happened to see a beautiful article entitled A Unique Discovery in Yoga Today magazine, which had been written by Shri Mataji Herself.

Linda Williams

Editor’s note: the full text of the article is at the end of this book.

Many new seekers

The Unique Discovery article engendered a lot of interest in Sahaja Yoga and brought many new seekers to the Caxton Hall programmes to get their realisation.

Marilyn Leate

They realised that Sahaja Yoga was the thing

It was a two or three page article in Yoga Today. It had a picture of Shri Mataji and told all about Shri Mataji and Sahaja Yoga. It said that if you put your hands towards the picture of Shri Mataji you could feel vibrations and you could sit and meditate.

One particular man who had read this wanted information on it. He phoned Dollis Hill ashram because the number was in Yoga Today and he happened to get hold of me. He asked me what Sahaja Yoga was all about. I wasn’t a particularly eloquent sort of a speaker, but I tried to explain. He wasn’t terribly impressed.

‘Do you do meditation of any sort?’ I then said.

‘Well, what’s it to do with you?’ he said.

‘I think you do a damaging meditation.’ I was met with this stunned silence.

‘How do you know?’ he said.

‘With Sahaja Yoga you feel vibrations from various chakras and if you do various things, chakras get altered or damaged, put out of alignment.’ I told him that when we feel a certain number of chakras altered, we know it has been caused by a certain thing.

Mother must have been doing a bit of driving from the background. It made him realise I knew what I was talking about. From what I said on the phone, he realised that Sahaja Yoga was the thing that he had to do.

Douglas Fry

Very relaxed and sleepy

We were all staying with Shri Mataji at a Sahaja Yogi’s house near Wellingborough, in 1979. Shri Mataji permitted the ladies to sleep on the floor of Her bedroom, and we lay with our heads against the base of Her bed. During the night I heard Shri Mataji turn over and half-sat up in the dark. Suddenly I felt Her hand on my head, and very gently She pushed me into a lying position. She kept Her hand on my head. Soon I felt very relaxed and sleepy, and it was only when I started to drift into sleep that Shri Mataji removed Her hand.

Patricia Proenza

A feeling of utter relief

In June 1979 I was living in Scotland and received a letter from a friend with a picture of Shri Mataji and a note which said, ‘You must come and see this lady, she is your only hope.’

Shri Mataji was going to be in a Sahaja Yogi’s house near Birmingham, a couple of days later, so I went. When I reached the tiny local station, the station master told me the train to Glasgow, where I had to change for Birmingham, was running late, and I would miss my connection. I told him it was very important to catch that train. To my amazement he phoned Glasgow and asked them to hold the second train for me. When I reached it, delayed for nearly an hour, the ticket collector at the barrier said, ‘Are ye the lady from Rannoch? Get on the train, and don’t let the other passengers know who you are, or they’ll have your guts for gaiters.’ British Rail never held trains for one unimportant passenger and this was my first indication that with Shri Mataji anything was possible.

I finally reached the house where Shri Mataji was staying and She was sitting on the sofa in the living room with a number of Sahaja Yogis. I was nervous, and stood at the back. Mother asked me to come forward, I walked up to Her and knelt at Her Feet, put my head on them and felt utter relief. At that moment I saw a vision of Shri Durga, dressed in red, riding a tiger with Her hair flying behind Her and with many arms and weapons.

‘What did you see?’ Shri Mataji asked, and I told Her. ‘You are very supraconscious. Yes, that is Me, but not in this lifetime,’ She replied.

Shri Mataji then told me I should go to London with Her that afternoon, and She graciously took me in Her car. It was the first of many wonderful car journeys with Her.

The first night after She gave me realisation Shri Mataji went home and cried with compassion, because those of Her children who had met Her on that day were so damaged by the fake gurus. There were some other people there who had come from the same false guru, and Mother said that not all of them would stay in Sahaja Yoga, and many did drop off.

Linda Williams

An invitation to the home of the Goddess

The next morning we were invited to Shri Mataji’s flat in Victoria, at the top of Ashley Gardens. We took someone who was a barrister, and Shri Mataji said that although human law did not make much sense to Her, She understood divine law. Shri Mataji offered us coffee, and at that time I was a health fanatic and took neither coffee nor sugar. She offered me both, and the Sahaja Yogi sitting next to me made it quite clear that one did not refuse anything offered by Her.

Then a strange thing happened. I was sitting next to the door, looking at Shri Mataji who was on the other side of the room. While I was drinking my coffee, I felt there was someone behind me and assumed it was the maid, who had been bringing the coffee and snacks in previously.

‘Linda, your father is standing behind you. He has been very worried about you, and you must tell him you are alright now and I will look after you,’ Shri Mataji said.

My father had indeed died two years previously, but after that day his presence was never there.

Linda Williams

My first public programme

After the main part of my first public programme at Caxton Hall, a day or two later, Shri Mataji asked me to come onto the stage and began to work on me. I felt an epileptic fit coming on. Mother explained it was a possession, and if I wanted it to be taken out, the best thing was to lie under Her Holy Feet. I did this, and felt as if the universe was in battle within and around me. A great dark cloud lifted, and there were no more fits.

I knew I had been blessed to meet the Adi Shakti, the Queen of Heaven, and that was all that was important. At one of those meetings, Shri Mataji told us that in those early days we were mostly a bit mad, but that the sane people were unfortunately not seeking God, so She had to work through us.

Linda Williams

My son Jesus

I was kneeling at Shri Mataji’s Feet on the stage at Caxton Hall – sometimes we would go up – and She worked on my Agnya chakra. She made a cross on my forehead, over and over again.

‘My son Jesus, My son Jesus,’ She said as She did so.

When Shri Mataji made the sign of the cross on me, She made the vertical line upwards, not downwards like the Christians do.

Linda Williams

My first puja

A few days later, at Dollis Hill ashram, we had a puja, the Adi Shakti Puja, then called the Kundalini Puja. After the puja, we would all take turns to go up to Mother. We would kneel in front of Her, with our forehead on Her Holy Feet and our hands under them, and She would work on us. I always remember the sound of Her bangles chinking as She moved Her hands to clear the chakras. To my amazement, as I was kneeling, I heard Her speak quite positively about how I would be in the future, maybe to give me hope and courage.

Linda Williams

Shri Mataji visits Leeds, 1979

Shri Mataji paid two visits to my home town of Leeds in the late 1970’s, to Jim Proctor’s house. I was working in London at that time and was sadly unable to travel north on that first visit. Although I could not be there for that first weekend I asked my brother if he would take our mum, who had just been diagnosed with emphysema, to meet Shri Mataji. When I contacted my brother after the weekend he told me that Mother had requested that a chair should be put next to Her, and that my mum would sit next to Shri Mataji while she was there. Shri Mataji held my mum’s hand and had a long chat with her. It was the only time that my mum met Shri Mataji but I was so pleased that she had had the chance to do so.

Colin Dunwell

A great privilege

I was back in Leeds on the occasion of Shri Mataji’s second visit. I went to the house in Cookridge early Saturday morning. There were a few Sahaja Yogis already there preparing for Shri Mataji’s visit. Mother arrived in the afternoon and we all sat in the front room having tea with Her. In the evening a number of non Sahaja Yogis were invited to meet Mother. The meeting went on until about 10.00 pm. As there were only a few Sahaja Yogis staying that night; Jim Proctor asked if I would like to stay too. As Mother was also staying at the house I did not have to be asked twice. Mother went to bed and we all settled down on the floor of the dining room for the night. It was at this point that one of the Sahaja Yogis came into the room.

‘Mother has requested that four of us should go up to Her bedroom,’ he said.

Mother then asked two yogis to massage Her hands and the other two to massage Her Feet. I was given the privilege of massaging Mother’s left Foot. Mother directed me to certain part of Her Foot and toes. After about twenty minutes we left the room and other Sahaja Yogis took our place. The floor of the dining room was very hard but I had a wonderful sleep that night.

Colin Dunwell

Chapter 15: 1979 – Lost seekers salvaged

Please do anything

After the momentous few days of meeting Shri Mataji I returned to Scotland to a veritable ocean of problems, and gloom set it. Shri Mataji phoned me and I told Her that I felt I was too far gone, and that She could not save me. She told me that if I did not face myself then it would be ten thousand years before I had another chance.

‘Please do anything – anything at all, to put me right,’ I replied.

Shri Mataji told me to go and live in London, so She could work on me and help me.

‘You must always do one thing – just trust Me,’ She said.

Before that there were some wonderful happenings in store in Scotland.

Shri Mataji decided to have a seminar at Crosscraig, the house where I was living. The word Crosscraig or Croiscrag meant ‘place of the holy stone’. At that time it had dreadful vibrations because we had been involved with a dangerous false guru cult there. Before Shri Mataji came, She phoned me about some details, and told me only to charge the cost price, and never to make money out of Sahaja Yogis.

Linda Williams

They were so damaged

From 1979 we started getting a steady stream of people from who had been badly damaged in their seeking. These people knew what they had done was a con, but didn’t know what to do about it. I remember seeing people being worked on, and it was the first time we saw Shri Mataji literally fighting and helping these people, who wanted to be cleared out. She fought with everything.

We used lemons and chillies, which we would bring with us. Shri Mataji had told us to do it and we had found it worked. People would go to Caxton Hall and be ready to give them to Mother to hand to people. The lemons would turn black as soon as She put them near a candle because the people were in such a state. She would use anything, even electric lights, if She didn’t have a flame. Shri Mataji worked night and day on these people.

About once a month we would hire the Great Hall in Caxton Hall, which really held a lot of people. We had a couple come from one false guru and they could see who Shri Mataji was, but their Agnyas were so damaged; Mother said they were short-circuiting completely. Then we had a lot of those people who wore a picture of their guru.

‘Why are you coming here when you have got a guru?’ we would ask. They would come, and want their realisation, and then would argue.

Maureen Rossi

In the garden

There was a boy out in the garden, in Dollis Hill ashram. Shri Mataji was twirling Her finger, as if She had the Sudarshan chakra of Shri Krishna around Her finger, and She destroyed the negativity in him.

At one point this man had his eyes closed and Mother held an onion in front of his face.

‘Open your eyes,’ She said, and he did, and said something, and Shri Mataji nodded and said that the negativity didn’t like onions.

Pat Anslow

Crosscraig, Scotland

I can remember standing in Dollis Hill ashram whilst Shri Mataji selected people to go up to Crosscraig with Her in July 1979. A group of us travelled north by mini-bus, whilst others journeyed in a train with Shri Mataji. We broke our journey at Birkenhead in Liverpool, where Shri Mataji held a programme in a large apartment. During the train ride from London to Liverpool, Mother met and gave realisation to an American tourist. He came with us to the house in Birkenhead and then came on up to Crosscraig.

Marilyn Leate

She was wearing the same sari as in my dream

Before I met Shri Mataji, my parents and I were going through a rough patch in our lives. I was five at the time. I had a dream that an Indian lady, who I later discovered was Shri Mataji, was standing at the prow of this barge and She was looking towards me. I was not in the barge.

‘Don’t worry, I’ll come and get you soon,’ She said with great love in Her eyes, in the dream. She was wearing a sari which had spots on it and I remembered it very clearly.

My parents went to meet Shri Mataji down in London. I didn’t go down because we were living in Scotland at the time. However, soon Mother came up to our house with a lot of Sahaja Yogis from London. My parents had come back before and told me that Shri Mataji was coming, and when She arrived, Her car pulled up and it was a Mercedes. I remember Her getting out of the car and She was wearing exactly the same sari as She had been wearing in the dream, so I knew exactly who She was.

Auriol Purdie

I felt my heart open in waves

I travelled up with a friend from Glasgow and we arrived at the place where Shri Mataji was meeting people on a beautiful sunny summer’s afternoon. It was a small establishment, which was capable of accommodating a reasonable number of people.

In the evening, everybody congregated in a large room and Shri Mataji came and sat down at the front of the room facing us. I had a big, optimistic hope that She wouldn’t notice us, that we would sit at the back of the room and be able to observe what was happening. In reality, we were ushered down to the front almost immediately and introduced to Shri Mataji, who greeted us in a friendly and direct way. She very quickly put Her attention on me.

‘You have a bad heart,’ She said and asked the assembled Sahaja Yogis to direct their attention to me and they began to chant a mantra, which I didn’t know at the time, but was the mantra for the Left Heart chakra. I felt my heart open in waves as if a part of me, which had been asleep, was suddenly awakening. It was a very intense experience, but yet very normal. Many questions were immediately answered by that one experience, which lasted no more than a few minutes.

Mark Callahan

How deep and powerful everything was

Shri Mataji had all the older Sahaja Yogis wash our feet in Her bath water. This was outside in the garden and we newer people sat in a row on the edge of the lawn with our feet down on the gravel area where one drove cars in. In those days we did not realise how deep and powerful everything was that was going on.

I picked a bunch of herbs from the herb garden, and put one or two flowers in with them, then presented it to Shri Mataji.

‘One day I must tell you about all these,’ Shri Mataji said. She took a foxglove.

‘This flower is sacred to Lord Shiva,’ She said. The foxglove contains digitalis, a substance used in heart surgery. She also said sage was very good. Years later, I heard that the Americans had taken sage to Her, as it is sacred to the Native Americans.

Linda Williams

Shri Mataji just transformed the place

We stayed up at Crosscraig at the time of the seminar for about a week. Each day, with Mother there, it got clearer and lighter, even though more and more damaged seekers kept turning up. A whole family of brothers and sisters came over from Ireland. Shri Mataji worked relentlessly, with yogis, elements and persuasion.

She just transformed the place, the vibrations, while She was there. I remember we had pujas, we had a havan and we had an ajwan session. There was one point where everybody came and took vibrations from Her. Some people touched Her and the rest of us held hands with those who had their hands on Her body, and She just gave vibrations that way.

Marilyn Leate

A havan and ajwan

We had a havan in the field by the side of the loch and, as always in those days, Shri Mataji Herself sat on the further side of the fire. I watched the havan from a distance. There were all these people and Shri Mataji was next to the fire, in the field, and the people were all sitting round this fire. I was only a child of five, but I could feel the power of what was happening. The havan was the thousand names of the Goddess.

Shri Mataji had some people bring in a wheelbarrow full of burning charcoal from the havan, afterwards. She had us bring it into this room where we were all gathered, and had us shut all the windows and the doors. I was sitting right next to Her, and next to the wheelbarrow. She put a whole lot of ajwan in it and we weren’t allowed to leave the room. I was choking and having a terrible time, but it was very good.

Auriol Purdie

More about the seminar

One time Shri Mataji kept us up all night, and being summer the nights were only about two hours long. We went outside as the sun rose, about three in the morning, in a golden line over the loch. Shri Mataji said the negativity had come for us in the night and had had a nasty shock when met by the Adi Shakti Herself.

Crosscraig house

The room in the centre of the picture, with the black inside its window, was where we had the puja. Shri Mataji slept next to it, on the right in the photo – white behind. After the puja Shri Mataji had us go into Her room and we massaged Her Feet and legs to take the vibrations which had been generated during the puja. Very often in those days the vibrations were not taken, and Mother explained they would cause Her great pain if they were not absorbed.

The strange thing about the cooking was this: we had a big catering style fridge, and Shri Mataji made a chicken dish which we didn’t finish, so we put the leftovers in the fridge for another day. Then after She had left, about a week later, Pat Anslow, who stayed up after the seminar, and I made another chicken stew and also put it in the same fridge and forgot about it. About three weeks after this we suddenly remembered the two stews; our stew had gone completely rotten whereas Mother’s was as fresh as the day it had been made.

Linda Williams

Stray cats

We had a couple of cats, half wild moggies that had wandered in off the moors. Shri Mataji explained that cats often tend to get possessed, although one of ours was alright

Linda Williams

We had beautiful weather, an almost midnight sun. I can remember Shri Mataji talking in the garden, about herbs.

Marilyn Leate

A great feeling of love and compassion

Shri Mataji was sitting on the lawn on the front of the house, and She had all the Sahaja Yogis around Her and I remember running up to Her and She was telling them something and the feeling of love and compassion that She gave was so great.

Mother cooked for us. We had these big catering size pots and Mother was cooking for us.

Auriol Purdie

Lemons and chillies

Shri Mataji was curing false guru victims at Crosscraig with lemons. I saw Her putting lemons on a chakra and then burning the lemon in a candle. It was when She burnt the lemon in a candle that I would notice that the catch in the person being worked on would disappear.

Shri Mataji cooked for us, wearing a Snoopy apron which had ‘Come and get it’ printed on it. She cooked delicious spicy food, with plenty of chillies to clear the left side.

Marilyn Leate

Because of the love with which it was made

Someone was cooking pizza for everyone when Shri Mataji was at Crosscraig. I was very small, but I wanted to make one for Mother, so my mother gave me a little piece of dough and I made a small pizza. It went into the oven with all the other bigger pizzas but because it was so small when the other pizzas came out mine was burnt. I still wanted to give it to Shri Mataji but my mother said it was too burnt.

Nevertheless, I must have taken it to Mother, or somehow She heard about it. Anyway She asked for it and ate it, and said it had good vibrations, because of the love with which it was made.

Auriol Purdie 

To make Shri Mataji’s work easier

There was a megalith, an ancient standing stone, near the house, in the garden. This was why the place was called Crosscraig, or Croiscrag, which meant ‘place of the holy stone’. There were quite a few standing stones in the Rannoch Valley, but this one was all alone, about a metre and a half high and near the edge of the loch (lake).

We took Shri Mataji to see it, as it was only about fifty metres from the house, and She told us something very interesting. She said that the people who put up these stones knew that She was going to come there, but that also some negative things were going to go on there beforehand. She asked us to feel the vibrations of the stone and it didn’t seem to have any, either positive or negative. Shri Mataji said that was correct, and that the stone had been put there thousands of years ago to absorb some of the negative vibrations and so make Her work easier, but that it was as if full, so could not emit cool vibrations.

Linda Williams

She never stopped working on everybody

At night Shri Mataji would ask the people to go, and we would direct vibrations while She slept, and She would wake up and comment on something and then fall back to sleep again. She never stopped working on everybody, just individually and collectively. She was working on every newcomer that came. People were coming from Ireland, as well as Scotland and England, and were coming to get cleared out.

People were really getting better. They were all improving as the week went on. People who had physical problems were just getting better, were feeling healthier, getting more energy.

Marilyn Leate

The tremendous power, joy and majesty

We made garlands out of pink lupins from the garden for Mother, for the puja. They were for bracelets and anklets as well as a garland. When we sang the aarti to Mother, although I did not know what it meant, I felt the tremendous power, joy and majesty of the great Goddess in front of me. When we were bowing to Mother, She offered us a boon, but said we should ask in our hearts for something material.

It was a beautiful few days. As She left to get in Her car, I gave Her a flower, an orange one from our garden and to my amazement, Mother gave me a big hug. It was wonderful.

An honour and a blessing

Afterwards, Shri Mataji gave us a ceramic Shri Ganesha and a beautiful wooden statue of some deities, and also She gave me a wonderful gold and ruby necklace and a number of beautiful silk saris. Such generosity, because it was such an honour and a blessing that She came to the house in Scotland to save us, and on top of that She gave gifts!

Mother told me She would replace all the terrible memories of my misplaced seeking with beautiful memories, and so it has indeed been.

Linda Williams

Our eternal Mother

When I was a child I used to have a recurrent dream. It came back a few times when I first got realisation. It went like this: I was in a beautiful, golden, shining place, and somehow all the others there had bodies of light. I asked Shri Mataji about this, and especially about the golden shining place.

‘Don’t you remember? You were with Me then,’ She said, meaning before I was born in this lifetime. There were many of us there, and on other occasions She also told us we have been in Her presence in Her previous incarnations.

Linda Williams

The gentlest handshake

When we left Crosscraig in July 1979, we came down to Glasgow in a mini bus and Shri Mataji and others who were going south were getting on a train. As I was the only person to stay in Glasgow, I shook Shri Mataji’s hand as She was leaving. This was an incredible experience, as over that last couple of days, I had developed a considerable awe of Her power, which was immense.

When we shook hands, the handshake was the gentlest handshake I have ever experienced and it transformed my impressions of what a handshake could be. It had the strength of an elephant and yet it was as if it had been compressed into an egg without cracking it. It had authority and power and great sensitivity in it.

Mark Callahan

A very helpful relative

When we were arranging a programme in Cardiff in the mid-eighties, Shri Mataji told us that it was very important that we invite one of Her relatives who was living there. His name was Councillor Varma. This gentleman had the privilege of being one of the very first people in the UK to organise a public programme for Shri Mataji back in 1979, namely on the 20/07/1979, in Cardiff. Shri Mataji said that She was very pleased how he had managed to organise everything so well, all on his own, in 1979.

Shri Mataji said Wales is ‘the Maharashtra of the UK’. She also said that the first time She visited Wales in 1979, while travelling through the countryside, She noticed that the old Welsh place names had a strong influence from Marathi language, rather than Sanskrit as some scholars might assume. Shri Mataji also mentioned that on Her first visit in 1979 She enjoyed visiting Newport as well as Cardiff.

Luis Garrido

It was a lot easier to be thoughtless after that

I first met Shri Mataji on the 26th July 1979. I don’t think I actually got my realisation then, as Shri Mataji said it took a couple of weeks. The first experience was Shri Mataji invited some of us to a flat in Ashley Gardens. I had voices going on in my head all the time and Shri Mataji asked me what I had done. In the end, She got me to put my left hand under one of Her Feet and the right hand towards the candle flame and Shri Mataji started going into my subconscious, though I didn’t know it then. On the outside it looked as if She was dozing. Then all the voices stopped and a cool breeze just came blowing into my Agnya.

It was a lot easier to be thoughtless after that.

John Watkinson

An unbelievable experience

In August 1979, my friend and I had been teaching at a martial arts club for some years. We had taken instruction from many Japanese masters and had been trying to achieve the state of Moksha. Unbeknown to me, my friend had been attending lectures at Caxton Hall over the previous six months; given by a lady he called Shri Mataji. He gave me an audiotape of one of Her lectures and I listened to it. I lay in my garden in the warm sunshine and when I heard Shri Mataji’s voice for the first time, I felt in my heart that the owner of this voice was 110% pure love. I ran into the house to find my wife Brenda and we both listened, and all we could think was, ‘How could we meet Her?’

I told my friend that I would go with him when next he went to Caxton Hall, but he said there was no need as Shri Mataji was coming to his home before she gave a lecture in the East End of London the following week.

Brenda and I went to the house to await Shri Mataji. Brenda went into the kitchen whilst my friend and I went into the lounge. Eventually we heard great shouts outside. Brenda was looking out of the kitchen window when she heard a woman’s voice behind her say, ‘Hello,’ She turned round to see Shri Mataji for the first time. She told me later that it was all she could do to stop herself running forward and embracing this wonderful lady she knew instinctively was her Mother.

Brenda showed Shri Mataji into the lounge, and I saw Her for the first time. She gave us a wonderful smile and as She sat down, a young girl dropped to her knees and bent to Shri Mataji’s Feet, as she did this I saw what I can only describe as a transparent snake shoot up her back towards Shri Mataji. The transparency was shimmering, and Shri Mataji pointed and looked up at us excitedly.

‘Ha! Did you see? Did you see the Kundalini?!’ Shri Mataji exclaimed. I looked at Brenda and my friend we all looked shocked and disbelieving at each other, but once again Shri Mataji asked, ‘Did you see the Kundalini?’ We all nodded our heads in acknowledgment.

That evening Brenda and I attended the East End programme with our three children. I had recently lost my elder brother who had died suddenly, and he had always worried about my eldest son, who had been a bit accident-prone. When Shri Mataji came up to work on us and grant us our realisation, She worked on my eldest son and told him there was someone there, looking after him. She asked if we had recently had a bereavement and smiled and told my son he could tell his uncle to go now, as he would always be looked after. Brenda and I couldn’t believe our ears. Then Shri Mataji saw two children sitting in front and said they were born realised.

‘Whose children are they?’ She asked. It was my son and daughter, and Shri Mataji told us we were very lucky to have born realised children. I did not quite understand what this meant at the time.

Rupert Pearce

Shri Mataji massaged me with oil

The first time Shri Mataji came to Crosscraig was for the seminar and the second time was with Sir CP for a short holiday. That was later on, in about September and She came for a few days. One evening, we had a large open fire in the living room and Shri Mataji was sitting by the log fire. I was five and She massaged me with oil, while I was lying in front of the fire — back, legs, the whole body.

I also remember we drove right round the loch with Shri Mataji and Sir CP, a trip of about twenty-five miles in all, and at one place there were some wild geese walking across the road. We stopped the car to let them cross. Shri Mataji mentioned that the goose, or swan, is known as the hams – hence the name – Hamsa chakra.

Auriol Purdie

Editor’s note: there is a legend in India that the swan can suck the milk out of water when it is all mixed up – the symbol of discrimination.

An informal visit

When Shri Mataji came the second time to Scotland in 1979, to graciously visit us at Crosscraig there were fewer people. She made ordinary tea, with milk and sugar, and put some fresh basil in to flavour it. She gave it to us to drink and said it would be good for our Vishuddhis.

A man dropped by who was not a Sahaja Yogi. He went on long distance yachting races. Mother said his vibrations weren’t too bad, because being on the sea so much cleared him out a bit. He met Shri Mataji but had no idea who She was. He was critical of the fact that many people had servants in India. Mother explained very gently that in a country where many people were poor and uneducated, if some of them could be employed to do menial tasks it was a good thing.

‘What else are they going to do for a living?’ She said.

I wondered about people who met Shri Mataji but were not seeking Her. I asked if, when a person died, whether they would recognise Her in the other realm.

‘No, why should they?’ She replied.

Linda Williams

I am protecting them

I remember Mother sitting on a rock, at Loch Rannoch in Scotland in 1979, and both Her and Sir CP had a fishing rod. Mother was very amused by this activity. Someone else caught a fish. Mother didn’t catch a fish, but what did happen though, while all this was going on, was that about a hundred fish suddenly came to the surface, sort of bobbing up, as if they wanted to be caught. Mother didn’t catch any of them, but they just appeared out of nowhere. These fish just started appearing spontaneously everywhere and when She left, they all vanished again.

Kevin Anslow

‘Sir CP will not get any fish because I am protecting them,’ She said. It was really sweet.

Gregoire de Kalbermatten

The warm reception Shri Mataji got in Scotland

In 2001, at Cabella, Shri Mataji spoke to me about Scotland and said how much She loved Scotland, and how She would never forget when She went there in the 1970’s, and how She went to Crosscraig, Rannoch. She recalled how She was greeted there with the aarti, and the warm reception She got in Scotland from the local people and the Sahaja Yogis. She said that memory is with Her always.

Alexandra Maitland Hume

Not enough words to thank Her

In 1979, we were living in Shimla, a hill station in the Himalayas, and got our realisation from a strong Sahaja Yogi, Maneesh Singh.

‘You have got realisation,’ he said, but I told him that I would only believe it when Shri Mataji Herself told me so.

We went to Delhi to meet Her and when all the first timers were going to the stage to bow down to Shri Mataji’s Lotus Feet we also did.

‘Did I get my self realisation?’ I asked Shri Mataji.

‘Yes, you did,’ She said, smiling, and while we were taking permission from Her to leave for Shimla, She gave me a big long hug and blessed all of us – myself, my son and my two daughters.

My husband had a serious heart condition, and Shri Mataji knew it and gave me strength to bear that, and the witnessing power when he expired soon after. She again met me and took my hand in Hers.

‘I am taking on all your responsibilities,’ She said.

Pramila Mehra

I know you have been waiting for Me

The first time I met Shri Mataji was 1979. We had had our realisation in April in Shimla but we hadn’t met Shri Mataji yet. She came from London to Delhi in August and did a public programme. We went down to meet Shri Mataji there. We sat right in front and I was with my brother and sister and mother, and as soon as the programme was finished we ran right up to the stage.

‘I know you have been waiting for Me for such a long time, and here I am,’ Shri Mataji said as soon as She saw me. Those were Her very first words, and we went to Her house the very next day, and were going back to Shimla after that. My brother said that we always got car sick on the drive to Shimla.

‘They won’t this time, they will be just fine,’ Shri Mataji said. We went to the bus station and there was a very strong smell of roses there, all around us, and that stayed with us the whole long trip to Shimla, and we didn’t become sick, not once. It was like fresh roses.

When I first came to Sahaja Yoga in early 1979, Shri Mataji asked us to look up into the sky to see if we could see vibrations. We looked really hard and couldn’t see anything.

‘Shri Mataji, I see white dots and black dots,’ I said.

‘Focus on the white ones, and you will see the vibrations,’ Shri Mataji said. Suddenly you could see them, sparkling – and She said the black dots were the negativities. What happened after that was that I could see vibrations all the time in the air, and on top of people’s heads, and everywhere. You don’t have to try so hard, now She has shown it to you.

Prerna Richards

Chapter 16: 1979 – One of the most majestic things I have ever seen

At Dollis Hill, Shri Mataji would be working on someone, and would have Her index finger up, and like Shri Krishna She would be as if throwing these – chakras – at people and Her bangles would be jangling and Her hair would be back. It was one of the most majestic things I have ever seen, and She would have Her eyes on the person. She would be as if throwing the discus, and again, taking it back and throwing it again – using weapons. It was different to how it was later, but it was very beautiful and very majestic.

The person would be at Her Feet and Shri Mataji would look at their back. Then suddenly She would look up and look at a candle, which would be in front of the photograph and instantly the flame would judder – then She would look at another flame and instantly that flame would judder as She would be driving the bhuts out of the people. It was fantastic to watch.

One night we were at Dollis Hill ashram and She had Her finger on one Sahaja Yogi’s Hamsa chakra all night. I was lucky enough to be rubbing Shri Mataji’s Feet all that night. I remember glancing at the window and it was daylight. Shri Mataji had been working on the three of us all night long. Incredible.

John Watkinson

The protection of Her embrace

One day during meditation at home I became consumed by a deep desire to give something to Shri Mataji, to thank Her for all She had done for me and for all She had saved me from. I searched earnestly for something appropriate of my own to give Her because I had no money, and came upon an old, heavy and ornate silver bracelet my grandmother had given me. Itwas the only thing I had which had any value, and seemed to be the most appropriate gift.

I went to the public programme in Caxton Hall, which Shri Mataji gave every week, hoping to have the opportunity to give it to Her. When I got there, most people were sitting inside the room as usual, waiting for Her to come from Her flat nearby in Ashley Gardens. I took the rather bold step of hanging around the entrance of the room with the official welcomers, hoping to have a chance to discreetly give it toHer before She went in.

I tried to wait discreetly and not be too obtrusive, when suddenly She came up the stairs with two or three yogis. Before I had my opportunity, She turned aside and went into the ladies’ cloakroom. Instinctively, I followed Her. This was actually very presumptuous and rude, but somehow I could not stop myself — the desire to give this gift was so overwhelming. It was not the gift that was important, but that I had to give something to express all that was in my heart — this deep feeling of gratitude and thankfulness. I waited in the outer room of the cloakroom as to greet Shri Mataji when She came out. Suddenly I was standing facing Her.

‘Excuse me, Shri Mataji,’ I said, ‘I just wanted to give this gift to You.’ I felt conscious that it was not adequate to express all that was in my heart. She stood there for a moment, looking straight at me and then stepped forward and put Her arms around me, completely swamping and enveloping me in Her warmth and the protection of Her embrace. It seemed to last for a very long time. It is hard to describe the completely encompassing sense of love and compassion and safety I felt in Her arms in that timeless moment. Then She stepped back and went on out to the programme.

This incident is a supreme example that for Shri Mataji it never mattered what the gift was. It was the feeling behind it She valued.

Felicity Payment

I had arrived home to begin a new journey

In 1979 I had just returned to London after travelling around Europe on a motor-cycle for three months. I was twenty-one years of age and was beginning a course at an art college. Ever since I was a kid I had a feeling that something special was going to happen at art college. I soon met John Watkinson who told me about Sahaja Yoga and that a public programme happened every Monday evening at Caxton Hall, London.

The meeting began with an introductory talk by a Sahaja Yogi and then we sat with expectation, waiting for Shri Mataji’s arrival. Suddenly everyone stood up with respect as this Indian lady with a tremendous presence entered the hall. Immediately I felt I was in the company of someone very special, and it filled me with the feeling of coming home.

I was so impressed as I listened to Her speaking for a long time about many things. One point especially made a connection with me, as She made a comment about how special it is to be close to nature. She continued to speak with such clarity and eloquence until it was time to give us our self realisation. She asked us to hold out our hands and to really desire the highest gift of self realisation from Her, and pray to God with all our attention to awaken this energy inside us. Afterwards I felt very joyful, as if I had arrived home at my destination to begin a new journey.

At the end of the programme, and with some encouragement, I went in person to offer Mother a flower. I felt myself alone and at complete ease before Her. She looked through me. I did not say anything as She closed Her eyes for what seemed like ages, as if She went far away deep inside of me until She opened Her eyes again.

‘Put your hand on your heart and say, I love my Mother!’ She said.

 Colin Heinsen

You have My complete protection

At some point in 1979, my wife Ruth was at a meeting at Caxton Hall in London. In those days, after giving an introduction and then granting self realisation, Shri Mataji would often attend to the seekers individually. At this point She was working on a young man who was sitting close to Ruth. She asked the man his name.

‘Mikhail,’ he answered.

‘Do you know what it means?’ She said.

‘No,’ he replied.

‘It means Almighty God.’

He started behaving very strangely and Ruth felt afraid. She had never seen anything like this before. Mother sat down again on Her chair, maybe five yards from where Ruth was sitting. Shri Mataji suddenly turned to her and put her in bandhan.

‘Don’t worry, you have My complete protection,’ She said.

Chris Greaves

How did Shri Mataji know that?

I was at a programme at Caxton Hall, London, and suddenly Shri Mataji looked at me. I was sitting several rows back and I had not expected to be spoken to. I was also surprised by what She said.

‘Ah, an intellectual!’ She exclaimed.

It was true, but how did Shri Mataji know that? I was wearing glasses, but so were plenty of people who were not intellectuals. I wore jeans and my hair was very long; certainly there was nothing like a tweed jacket or a notebook and pencil in evidence. She added one or two things, and then at the end of the meeting someone took me up to Her. Shri Mataji cricked my neck in order to clear my Vishuddhi chakra and asked me to say a mantra.

Chris Greaves

Shri Mataji worked tirelessly on people

Towards the end of each Caxton Hall meeting, Shri Mataji would take a lighted candle and stare through it, with Her eyes wide, looking towards certain individuals who had Agnya problems.

‘Ha! Better now,’ She would call out. People brought limes and chillies to Her and She would vibrate them, either by a gentle touch or a bandhan inside the bag. She worked tirelessly on people, often using Her Feet, as well as Her hands. She made chopping movements in the air to destroy negativity. Individuals would stand with one hand towards Her and the other out of the nearby window.

Shri Mataji recommended white cane sugar for the liverish and She would vibrate it for them. She spoke a lot about the liver — how it was the seat of our attention — emphasizing how badly Western diets, alcohol, medicines, too much thinking and too much chocolate ruin the liver.

Marilyn Leate

Have some faith

At a public programme there was a man who couldn’t look at Shri Mataji.

‘Have some faith. Just try to look,’ She said. She asked for a lemon and had it in Her hand. Shri Mataji could move very fast and suddenly She got up out of Her chair, walked across to this man and put this lemon in his hand, then he became better.

John Watkinson

The vibrations of material objects

Shri Mataji gave me lessons on the importance of being aware of the vibrations of things. When I first got realisation, I had a necklace made of red Chinese lacquer beads. Shri Mataji warned me that it did not have good vibrations, and took it to Her flat to try to put it right. She put it in a bucket of vibrated water on Her balcony for some weeks, but it did not get ok, and She finally told me this, so we threw it away.

Linda Williams

I want to come to your meeting

In November 1979 Shri Mataji phoned me in Brighton, at my house, and I picked up the phone.

‘It’s Mataji here. I want to come down to your meeting,’ She said, when we were to have our first public programme in Brighton. We hadn’t had our realisation very long and it was one of the first programmes outside of London. I remember writing all the posters and we were amazed that there was a cool breeze coming out of them. The wording was ‘Come and find yourself.’ We thought the whole town was going to be jammed with people coming. The programme was going to be in Hove. A few days before the programme, Shri Mataji said She was going to come down to this programme. I was the only one with a car and I had to pick Her up at the station. I put the children in the back.

We got to the station a bit late and there was no sign of Shri Mataji. We knew Mother was coming by train and then it came in and we saw Her in the distance, at the far end of the platform, coming walking, and behind were all the yogis.

‘See how the train waited for us?’ Shri Mataji said when She arrived, and so, suddenly I was early and not late. We got to the programme and all our friends came. Actually, nobody came from the posters, except all our friends. They didn’t all get realisation, but it was a very interesting programme.

Pamela Bromley

To defend Shri Mataji by all means possible

This is something that happened at Heathrow Airport in England in late 1979. The authorities were very prejudiced and racist and both Shri Mataji and Her husband, who was a senior United Nations diplomat, had experienced racial discrimination whenever they travelled in or out of London.

On this particular day, Shri Mataji was going to leave London and somehow She told another Sahaja Yogi and me the wrong time, a time that was some time after Her plane departed. We had been with Her all day and had a bit of a reputation for getting rather angry with people who troubled Her and being rather strong with anyone who got in Mother’s way, so maybe that was Her way of keeping us out of trouble.

When we got there that day, we met some Sahaja Yogis, who said that we had missed Mother’s flight, but that something very terrible happened. They told us that Shri Mataji had been badly treated by one of the airport security guards. Later on, I got a message that I had to call Shri Mataji, so I did.

‘Bala, the guard actually hit Me on My back. He hit Me so hard that it caused a problem with the spinal fluid,’ She said.

You can imagine how tormenting this was. Shri Mataji was very unhappy with the reaction of the Sahaja Yogis, because of those who were present, other than one person, none had jumped to Her defence, and they had not gone and made a major issue with the airport authorities.

At that time, people were under the illusion that they had to step back and be peaceful and loving, but what Shri Mataji was trying to show us was that when your Mother is insulted or attacked, like Shri Ganesha, you should defend Her. Also She was giving us an indication of the extreme discrimination that was still going on at that time against Indians, even after all these years of independence. To think that if somebody who had a diplomatic passport like Shri Mataji could be treated this way, how the ordinary Indian people and Asians there were treated!

Bala Kanayson

Douglas Fry’s seventieth birthday, November 2008 

On Saturday night at Flood Street, London, there was a celebration of Douglas Fry’s seventieth birthday. He was one of the first six Sahaja Yogis in the Western world. Douglas spoke about the Dollis Hill ashram.

 In 1979, Shri Mataji often visited Dollis Hill at weekends and sometimes stayed the night. One weekend Douglas Fry had made some cakes. There was a Sahaja Yogi there who was quite disturbed by his previous practice of a false guru cult. Every time he tried to take a bite of one of Douglas’s cakes he would have a sort of fit and make all kinds of noises. As he was determined to take a bite, this went on for some time! Shri Mataji said that the cakes had such a dramatic effect because Douglas had made them with love.

 The first Sahaja Yogis were all dynamic in their own way. Douglas was always so innocent and simple hearted and if it were not for Douglas we would not have any of the very early audio tapes of Shri Mataji. 

 John Watkinson

Mother’s return from India in 1979

It was the year that The Advent was published, in 1979. We all knew that Shri Mataji was due back from India and at the evening meeting at Caxton Hall we were told that She would be returning that very weekend. We all decided that we should meet Mother at Heathrow Airport to welcome Her on Her return. I think it was a Saturday. We all turned up at the airport a few hours early and were so pleased to find that the flight was on time. As each minute went by the air was filled with excitement at Mother’s return.

We all looked up to the Arrivals Board – Shri Mataji’s flight had just landed. We all stood there in anticipation waiting for Mother to come through the gates. The first few people started to trickle through and then a few more. We were all excited to feel that Mother would be with us at any moment. More people came though until it became all too obvious that all passengers had come through the gates. We were all amazed and bemused. We were like small children who had lost their mother; all stood there in a state of shock. What we had not realised that time was that Mother had gone through the VIP lounge and was on Her way back to central London.

Gavin, the leader, made a telephone call to Shri Mataji’s apartment in London only to find that She had just returned home. When Mother found out what had happened She was very upset that She had missed us all and was not aware that we were all going to be there to greet Her. When Gavin returned he told us what had happened and that Mother was so upset that She had missed us all. He then told us that Mother had requested that any Sahaja Yogi still at the airport could travel into London and have tea with Her at Her apartment in Westminster. I think about fifteen or so of us actually made it back into London. On arriving at Mother’s house we had tea and refreshments and we all sat around talking to Her.

You are probably wondering what all this had to do with my earlier reference to The Advent. We were all very aware that Mother must have been very tired after the long flight back from India, so it was decided that we should all leave and allow Her to rest. Just before we were about to go Mother announced that She had brought a number of copies of the newly published Advent back from India and the books were then put on display for people to see. The vibrations coming from the books were tremendous – not just a breeze but a gale force wind. Unbelievable! Just as I was about to leave Gavin came up to me. He said that Mother wanted me to have a copy of The Advent, just brought back from India. I felt so privileged and the vibrations from the book were amazing.

The Advent sat next to me on the front passenger seat all the way home. The cool vibrations that filled the car were tremendous.

Colin Dunwell

A big event

When The Advent was inaugurated, in 1979, it was a big event. We had heard that Gregoire would show it to Shri Mataji and She would edit it and make changes. Shri Mataji suggested he move the rather heavy, intellectual chapters to the end.

It was the first time we had held a programme in such a really upmarket place and there was a lot of preparation. We arrived in the main entrance of the Indian Consulate, in one of the many grand old historical buildings in London. Off to the right was a small room holding a beautiful exhibition about Sahaja Yoga. It had stands about each chakra, with Shri Mataji as the main focus. I can still see the entrance. It was as if the room was filled with a special kind of soft, bright light. I felt as if I was walking into vibrations. It was heavenly.

Then we went into the main auditorium and the presentation began. There were many speeches in honour of Shri Mataji and the work She was doing — notably from Sir CP and, as always, heart-warming and humble words from Gregoire.

Felicity Payment

Time ceased to exist in Her holy presence

Of the many talks Shri Mataji gave at Dollis Hill, one in particular comes to mind – Her talk on attention in 1979. No doubt She was working on our attention at the time. Every word, every syllable seemed to focus our attention. The vibrations were pouring out and again time ceased to exist in Her holy presence.

In December 1979 HH Shri Mataji held a Guru Puja at Dollis Hill. At this puja She gave Her momentous speech declaring Who She is. Here is an extract:

But today is the day, I declare that I am the one who has to save the humanity. I am the One who is Adi Shakti, Who is the Mother of all the mothers, who is the primordial Mother, the Shakti, the desire of God, who has incarnated on this earth to give its meaning to itself, to this creation, to human beings, and I’m sure through My love and patience and My powers I am going to achieve it.’

It was the most momentous moment of my life. She was the One we had waited for all our lives. At that time She told us not to declare it publicly.

At this puja, She gave out copies of The Advent, writing an inscription inside each book cover, each with our individual names, and signed by Shri Mataji.

Patricia Proenza

Editor’s note: these were some of the first miracle photos

To My daughter Felicity

The day Shri Mataji signed The Advent She was sitting in Dollis Hill ashram with Her back to the window in a big comfy armchair with the books beside Her. She was always so motherly and someone was asking the yogis to come up in front of Her one by one, then they would say the name of that yogi and Shri Mataji would take a new book and write inside. She explained that She was writing in Devnagiri.

I thought She was just writing Her name in it like Western authors do, but, when I went up, instead She explained what She had written. The translation of what She had written in my book said, ‘To My daughter Felicity, with loving blessing, your Mother, Nirmala.’

Can you imagine what it feels like to have a book like that so beautifully written, the first one ever edited and supervised by the Divine Herself, the Goddess, all about truth, the real truth of our lives, about the Kundalini and Shri Mataji Herself and Her powers and then to have it written in by Shri Mataji Herself with so much love? It feels really special.

She said we should wrap this book in cloth with four corners folded and keep it in a special place like a Bible and only look at it with clean, washed hands.

Felicity Payment

A born realised friend

Shri Mataji attended a concert at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Kensington in 1979 or 1980. I brought a friend along with me, who, although not a Sahaja Yogi, was born realised. We sat a few seats from Shri Mataji, in the same row. Several times, Shri Mataji leant forward and looked at my friend. So I brought her to Shri Mataji and introduced her, saying that she was born realised.

‘You don’t have to tell Me that!’ said Shri Mataji.

Patricia Proenza

I felt deepest thankfulness and love for Shri Mataji

In the summer of 1979, I travelled to London from Germany to meet Shri Mataji, having already received realisation. I was disappointed to discover that Shri Mataji was not in London, but somewhere in the North of England, and decided to travel to the Scottish highlands. I reached a youth hostel on Loch Ossian and spent two days there in great peace with myself. The next station up the railway line was Loch Rannoch and a few years later I heard Shri Mataji had been giving a seminar there.

Not having managed to meet Shri Mataji in person, I journeyed to London again in December 1979. I attended the puja celebration at the ashram, when Shri Mataji said, ‘Now I declare that I am the One, who came to save humanity. I am the One who came again and again, the Adi Shakti, the desire of God.’ These powerful words did not shock me, nor could I actually see the significance of them, but as a young seeker I had a great readiness to involve myself in a new way.

I was presented to Shri Mataji after the puja, and She asked me to sit in front of Her on the floor with my hands open to Her on my lap, and my eyes closed. She was busy with an older man who sat on Her right for quite some time, and I did not quite know what to do. All of a sudden, I felt an inner movement in my heart and all the pain that had collected there came out of me in a great rush of tears.

‘Now it is coming up. Let it out,’ Shri Mataji turned to me and said. At that moment I felt the inner movement rise and my head was filled with limitless joy, accompanied by an ecstasy of liberation. My head and the region above it seemed to become the unlimited universe. The joy bowled me over and for the first time I had the clear consciousness that spirituality and love belong together, like the sun and the light of the sun.

After this it was announced the book printed in India by Gregoire de Kalbermatten about Sahaja Yoga, The Advent, had arrived. Shri Mataji introduced it festively and signed my copy personally. As I eventually stood up to go, someone said I should go to Shri Mataji’s Feet, as I would not so often have the opportunity to do it.

I had seen how after the puja the yogis knelt in front of Shri Mataji with their foreheads on the floor and I thought that was what he meant. She stopped next to me and asked me to stand up and hold out my hands to Her, then asked me whether I felt the cool breeze on my hands, and I denied it.

‘Shri Mataji, You are my guru,’ She told me to say, three times. After that, my experience was so strong that I felt deepest thankfulness and love for Shri Mataji.

Thomas Menge

A talk on Mr Ego

A Sahaja Yogini brought a girl along to Dollis Hill who had been following a false guru, and the Sahaja Yogini was concerned for her. She asked Shri Mataji to help her as the girl was in poor shape and was suffering from anorexia among other things.

In that tiny meditation room Shri Mataji reposed in an armchair and sat the girl down in front of Her with her back towards Mother so that Shri Mataji could work upon her chakras from behind.

Then Shri Mataji requested the ashramites to play one of Her recorded talks. Someone put one Shri Mataji had given about Mr Ego into the tape player and switched it on. It was a highly amusing talk. We all began to laugh at Mother’s anecdotes and She began to laugh uproariously at Her own talk, which made us laugh even more. The girl who was being worked on laughed and it cleared her out! 

Marilyn Leate

You could feel Her presence

In the beginning, in those first two years when I came, 1979 and 1980, most of the pujas were in people’s houses. We had a lot of pujas in Brighton in Pamela Bromley’s house and I can remember being in the house with Shri Mataji. It didn’t matter if Shri Mataji was upstairs or in a different room, you could feel Her presence, that She was in the house and you would become much more conscious of your behaviour, of what you felt and what you said or even what thoughts you allowed to pass through your mind. Sometimes you would feel it wasn’t right to have a certain thought. It was as if your awareness became more sensitive, became enlightened. Thoughts that one would not have noticed away from Shri Mataji were not OK in Her presence, because you were in the presence of the Goddess.

Felicity Payment

Why don’t you come home with Me

It was my first trip to India, in 1979. I had had my realisation, seen Shri Mataji and been to the Guru Puja in December at Dollis Hill. I really wanted to see Her again. Within a week, I was there, looking for Mother. I finally found Her and apparently I hugged Her and the Indians were shocked because I should have fallen at Her Feet. We went to the puja, which was in a flat in Mumbai. I had got a tiny present for Her. We were all queuing up to give the presents and I was the last. I went up to give my present to Shri Mataji and was really nervous. Just as I was going up, they put the tray with Mother’s food on it and I thought, ‘Oh, no.’ I went out onto the balcony and thought, ‘No, I mustn’t be upset. It doesn’t matter.’

‘Why don’t you come home with Me? I think you have something for Me,’ Mother said as She went to leave and we were all standing there. I finished up going to Mother’s house. When I got there, She sat at a table and She was eating and I was sitting opposite. She poured me water into a glass and had that lovely look on Her face, where She was really enjoying everything.

‘Here I am and the Adi Shakti is pouring water,’ I thought. She gave me a sari belonging to Kalpana, Her daughter.

‘See how beautiful she looks now,’ She said next, and that was my first experience of India.

I travelled with Shri Mataji for the next six weeks.

Pamela Bromley

One of the fishermen when I came as Christ

Mr Harishchandra Koli got his realisation at the end of 1979 in Patkar Hall, Mumbai. The next programme he attended, Shri Mataji called him on the stage and asked him to put his hands on the mother earth and see what he felt. Shri Mataji put Her Feet on Mr Koli’s hands. He explained that with Mother’s Feet on his hands he felt as if he was in Kailash. He saw Shri Mataji as Himalaya and Her legs were like a Shivalinga on his hands. This was the most wonderful experience of his life because he was a seeker and he was looking at God, and with this experience he felt that this was heaven and this was Adi Shakti, who he had been looking for the whole of this lifetime.

One month after getting realisation he was lying on the sofa after meditating. He was looking at Mother’s photograph and suddenly he saw Mother in the Virata swarupa and the whole house was full of light. After these two miracles he realised that She was not a normal person, but is divine. He wanted to know more about Her and he went to see his best friend Bhiku, and they went for a walk at the Gateway of India in Mumbai, with so much enthusiasm. Mr Koli told his friend that when he got his realisation he felt the cold chaitanya all over his body. He also told his friend of his two visions, and that he must come to the next programme.

Suddenly a large car stopped close to them, and the window went down. There was this miraculous person they had been talking about – Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi. She asked him who he was, and he said his name was Mr Koli, that he had been at Her programme and also about the miraculous vision he had had that morning and that he would love to come to the next programme. He went to it with his family and friends and afterwards went up to Shri Mataji on the stage and She asked him to turn round and look at the other people.

‘Look at his Kundalini rising,’ She said. ‘He is a realised soul and was one of the fishermen with Me on the boat when I came as Christ. He is St Thomas.’ At this time, 1979, Mr Koli was a fisherman with four big fishing boats.

‘Stop catching fish and now you must start catching people, within a few months,’ Mother told him. So he sold the boats, and devoted his life to Sahaja work.

Lena Koli

Editor’s note: This is from the Christian Bible, Gospel of Matthew: ‘Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. He said to them, ‘‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” They straightway left their nets, and followed Him. He saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. They immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him.’

In the Apocryphal Acts of Thomas, (a text which dates back to the early days of Christianity) it states that Saint Thomas went to India and began spreading the word of Lord Jesus there, especially in the south.

I am trying to put my vibrations in you

When you put your hand on Mother’s chakras, on Her Agnya chakra or whatever chakra, you could feel the rotation of the chakra spinning so fast. At one point, Mother was sleeping and She asked me to put my hand on different chakras of Hers: the Swadishthan and the Agnya, and I could see the vibrations so strong that my hands could not take it.

‘I am trying to take all the bad things from your body and am trying to put My vibrations in you,’ Mother said. That really stunned me.

Meenakshi Murdoch

You can’t take the vibrations

In the early days in India and after a puja, Mother used to call a few of us to suck the vibrations, and rub Her Feet very hard and take the vibrations, as She lay down.

‘It’s too much. I really can’t bear it because you can’t take them,’ She used to say, because after the puja, it was tremendous for Her.

Shailaja Glover

You must have this

In India, I used to go to see Mother when I was working, and I used to take my own lunch and sit and eat, even though other people used to eat what was made there.

‘You must have this,’ Mother said.

‘No, I am all right,’ I said.

‘You give Me your lunchbox and you eat this food of Mine.’

Meenakshi Murdoch

You are not alone

This is a story about my grandmother who was a widow. For many years she wore white saris and lived the life of a widow. In Hindu society they treat widows very badly: They should not come to weddings and auspicious occasions and so on. Some time around the late seventies, in Mumbai, all the yogis were sitting, about to do puja to Shri Mataji, and they were putting red bindis (red dot) on people’s foreheads. One lady said she couldn’t have a bindi, because she was a widow. Shri Mataji told her that she had to put a bindi on, because the kumkum is auspicious. Shri Mataji spoke about this, and said that the widow was fortunate, and not an outcaste or anything like that. My grandmother was sitting in the back, and she was a widow, and my aunt told her she must also put the bindi on. On that day Shri Mataji put bindi on her Agnya chakra and turned it, and told her not to think of herself as a widow.

‘You are not alone,’ Shri Mataji said. ‘You have children and you should tell everybody that this bindi was given to you by Shri Mataji. And you are not to wear white saris.’

Shri Mataji told her to wear any colour, but it should have a border, but not plain white. Shri Mataji also told her to come to the collective meditation, and there is no such thing like widows not being allowed to come.

Naina Staff

Early India tours

My first India tour was 1979/80 and that began with flying from the UK to Delhi with Shri Mataji. We stayed at Shri Mataji’s daughter’s house. It was a tour, but it wasn’t like the ones that followed because we used to just travel around either in the car with Mother or go in the train between places. We were there two and a half months.

My remembrance of Delhi was that it was a circle of about half a dozen Sahaja Yogis and we had a Shivaratri Puja, which was on the roof of Sadhana Didi’s house. There couldn’t have been more than fifty, a hundred people at the very most because the roof wasn’t that big. Mother said Delhi was a bit westernised and that’s why they were all thinking too much, and there was a lot of corruption. At that time, She was never very positive about Delhi, but since then they’ve become so good.

We went down to Mumbai for perhaps a couple of weeks and there were public programmes. The programmes were large by English standards, but there weren’t fields and fields of people. They were in their hundreds, rather than in their thousands. After that we set off into the interior of Maharashtra. We went to Pune, Rahuri, Aurangabad and all these places.

Malcolm Murdoch

Chapter 17: 1980Delhi, India, and London and Brighton, UK

A prayer answered

In 1980 Shri Mataji was visiting New Delhi. She went shopping at Cottage Industries in Connaught Place and bought some big silver thalis for puja for over 20,000 rupees each, which in those days was a large amount of money. After finishing shopping, a Sahaja Yogi insisted on taking Her for ice cream. Shri Mataji agreed and everyone got into the car. However there was no place for me, so I told erH Her I would walk, as it was not far. She insisted that I should get into the car, so here I was in this car standing up in the back area with Shri Mataji sitting right behind. She insisted that I should sit in Her lap and it was too embarrassing even though it was a short ride. Eventually She just pulled me and I was sitting on Her lap.

For the previous two years, every night before sleeping I had prayed to Her to let me put my head on Her lap, and here it was happening in actuality. It taught me that She knows everything and one should be careful what one desires.

Maneesh Singh

A very pleasant experience

On 3rd February 1980, I went to Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi’s public programme, a gathering of about a hundred people at Gandhi Bhavan, Delhi. I did not feel any vibrations in spite of the yogis working on me.

As advised, after foot-soaking at home, on 4th February I went there again and felt some vibrations only on my right hand palm. When I went in a queue to touch Shri Mataji’s Feet, and She lifted Her Feet and kept them on my head. At that time, I could feel that a very strong wave, like a river, started flowing from my Mooladhara towards my head and then into the ground. It was a very pleasant experience which I wanted to keep longer but due to the queue, I was asked to move on. Before starting Sahaja Yoga several of my chakras and nadis might have got damaged due to practising Hatha Yoga for fifteen years, which I stopped on the advice of Mother.

RR Singh

How hard She worked for us

The first time I went to meet Shri Mataji was in Gandhi Ashram, Delhi on 3rd February 1980. As I was a little girl, I don’t remember much except that there were about forty to fifty people and also some foreign Sahaja Yogis. Mother was working with Her hands on someone, and She was a kind of magician for me. At a certain point She almost ran to the bathroom to vomit. This I clearly remember because I followed Her. After a few minutes it was a shock for me to see Her back working on people in such a motherly way.

Another time in Delhi we were in a meeting, and there were more than eighty to a hundred people. After the programme everyone was called to do namaskar at Mother’s Feet. I followed my parents, so when I reached in front of Her, She asked me to keep my hands open under Her Feet and bowed down, putting my head on Her Feet while She massaged my back. You can imagine these were moments of sheer bliss – time had stopped.

‘Now you can go out and play,’ She said, and I obeyed Her. I’m sure many of us have had all these blessings and pampering, still sometimes falling into the net of maya. Then we see so many beautiful new Sahaja Yogis who have never even met Mother personally, so humble and dedicated. 

Yoggita Singh

Editor’s note: sometimes the negativity of the new people caused Shri Mataji to have a difficult time, but She never let them know this, She just took their problems on Herself.

I was just floating

I went along to London Airport, but I couldn’t see any other Sahaja Yogis there, except two. There were just us three who met Shri Mataji. Shri Mataji came out, pushing Her own trolley, so I went over and took it. Next we got into a black cab with Her. She was sitting in a completely relaxed way. I was very nervous and all I could think was that I shouldn’t be there. We arrived at Shri Mataji’s flat and then we were in Her flat and all these feelings were going on in me, that I shouldn’t be here in front of Shri Mataji like this. Then we had a cup of tea.

‘Can we take Your leave, Shri Mataji?’ one of the other Sahaja Yogis said after some time, and he went down and knelt at Her Feet.

‘Oh my!’ I thought. The second Sahaja Yogi knelt at Shri Mataji’s Feet and She also stayed there for a few seconds. ‘Oh no, I shouldn’t go to Shri Mataji’s Feet,’ I thought. All this insecurity was going on in my head, but when I did go to kneel at Her Feet, a few minutes went by and I started thinking, ‘I must be in a terrible state.’

‘John is very deep,’ Shri Mataji said. Suddenly all the guilt, insecurity and fear just popped like a bubble and I felt incredible joy. It was as if Mother played this game just to hit this Centre Heart guilt right on the head. I was just floating for hours afterwards. It was just beautiful the way She did it.

John Watkinson

No words could express my gratitude

I received self realisation in Brighton in 1979. Some months later I had a miscarriage, which led to serious complications and it was eventually discovered that there was a tumour in my womb. The news didn’t come as any great shock, as I’d felt for some time that something was wrong as it was impossible to stop thinking and my thoughts were morbid and often about death.

Shri Mataji at this time was in India and, although I knew She could cure me, it didn’t seem right to expect to be cured when She returned to England and so I went to Charring Cross Hospital in London for treatment. It was a depressing place to be, but I felt that Shri Mataji was always with me. I was given chemotherapy treatment and while the first week wasn’t too bad, by the third week the pain was unbearable. To the horror of the doctors, I discharged myself: they told me that without the full course of treatment, I’d have at most eighteen months to live.

By this time, Shri Mataji was back in England and so I wrote a letter to Her about the illness. Shortly afterwards I was invited to spend some time at Her house at Brompton Square in London. On arrival, Shri Mataji asked me to sit down in front of Her and gave me vibrations. After a few minutes She told me that the main causes for the cancer were drugs and getting involved with, and practically hypnotized by, a very negative person, who had come into the Brighton collective. Immediately, I started to feel guilty but Shri Mataji very sweetly told me not to, because the vultures swoop down to attack the baby chicks when they’re born and She is like the Mother hen (lifting the edge of Her sari) who has to keep the chicks under Her wing. Shri Mataji asked me to go upstairs to rest and I fell asleep and dreamt of being on a bus full of Sahaja Yogis, driving along a road we suddenly came across the negative person and he was destroyed. I woke up feeling much better.

Shri Mataji worked on me every day for a week and after two days, the colour came back into my cheeks and the darkness around my eyes disappeared. After another two days, Shri Mataji told me I was cured. Inside I felt transformed.

I returned to the hospital for a checkup and to show them the results, but only one doctor was interested in how it had happened. The others, reluctant to recognize that the Spirit is stronger than their treatments, put the cure down to luck! Also during a check-up I had a chest x-ray and my lungs appeared perfectly clear of nicotine. This also confused the doctor as they knew that that I had smoked heavily for a number of years.

There are no words to express my gratitude and love for Shri Mataji as the feelings run much too deep for that. I was given my rebirth as well as my life.

Kay O’Connell

Editor’s note: Kay, who subsequently had two children, is in good health over thirty yearslater. A number of Sahaja Yogis have had chemotherapy for cancer and, combined with Sahaja Yoga, are now fine, so this is not necessarily the recommended path to take. Consult the vibrations, any responsible Sahaja doctors and your SY Council for guidance, should it be necessary.

Only love Me

On occasions Shri Mataji graciously allowed me to go to and from the pujas and public programmes in the back of Her car. One time in the early part 1980 we were going from Dollis Hill to the centre of London, after a puja.

‘People who don’t feel vibrations shouldn’t come to pujas,’ Shri Mataji said at a certain point.

‘I have so many catches, and don’t really feel vibrations very well, so do You want me to not come to pujas?’ I replied. Shri Mataji did not speak for some time, perhaps a minute or two.

‘Do you love Me?’ She then said.

‘Yes, very much, Mother,’ I replied.

‘All you have to do is love Me, and leave the catches to Me.’

Linda Williams

Shri Mataji and new people

At Dollis Hill it was the most delightfully majestic thing to watch Shri Mataji work on people, with Her beautiful hair back and with Her index finger raised up throwing the discus again and again, clearing people out, with Her bangles jingle jangling. Shri Mataji would also put Her attention on a yogi at Her Feet and then suddenly look at a candle placed before Her photo, which would instantly judder as She drove the negativity out into the flame.

At the Caxton Hall public programmes, Shri Mataji regularly publicly exorcised new people as well as those who had been coming a while. She would direct us to work on the new people and would go and personally work on people, or we would take people up the front to be worked on by Her. On one occasion we took someone up the front, who could not stop wheezing with a centre heart catch. Shri Mataji asked for the window to be opened and the next minute She had Her mouth on the man’s front Agnya sucking out the negativity and then blowing it out of the window, while the man’s arms were flapping about like a wounded bird.

On another occasion a new person sitting up the front, was unable to look at Shri Mataji.

‘Just have faith,’ She kept saying to him and then asked the yogis if anyone had a lemon, which they did, and when given to Her She rolled it around under Her Foot. Shri Mataji could move incredibly fast when She wanted to and the next minute She picked up the lemon, placed it in his hand, which instantly shot straight up in the air, while a loud inhuman roar came out of him. You can imagine what it must have been like for people who attended for the first time, but it was nothing unusual at that time, as the negativity was more on the gross level.

We all witnessed many a massacre and it was fantastic watching Shri Mataji in action. All the screaming, roaring etc, was quite scary at first, but we all got used to it. We took it all quite seriously at first, as the negativity wants to be taken seriously, but Shri Mataji showed us that if you do not take it seriously and just laugh at it, it runs a mile.

On a lighter note, a couple of old ladies asked Shri Mataji at a public programme if we could be reborn as a dog or cat.

‘Yes, the other day I went into a shop and a woman started barking at Me for no reason at all,’ Shri Mataji said.

John Watkinson

There are seats at the front

When you do programmes, it is the love and enjoyment that keeps people in. That’s what kept me in Sahaja Yoga. When I first went to see Shri Mataji, the hall was full and She saw this girl who came with me.

‘Come in, come in. There are seats at the front,’ She said.

This girl was the girlfriend of a friend of mine and when she was invited to go on Shri Mataji’s Feet, she didn’t. I understood something about that and it seemed very natural because Mother was just so motherly. The yogis were so normal, like just all my other good friends, except they were really seekers.

It was a very impressive meeting; Mother was talking common sense and that’s what struck me. It was very natural and normal and delivered with such love. It was just beautiful.

Kingsley Flint

Like being on Mount Kailash

The first time I really felt vibrations was at Caxton Hall. It was at the end of Shri Mataji’s talk, when She normally gave realisation. I was sitting quite near the front and it was like a white cloud of vapour came off the stage and surrounded us all. It was like being on Mount Kailash, this freezing cold vapour all around.

Jeremy Lamaison

I don’t like to think of My children being hungry

There were just three of us at Ashley Gardens, and we were upholstering Shri Mataji’s bed. There was a diplomatic party on in the evening, so we had to hide because there was no way we could get out of the flat. To get out, we had to go through Shri Mataji’s bedroom and the flat. So we were stuck in Mother’s bedroom. She came in halfway through the evening with a tray of food.

‘I brought you these things to eat because I don’t like to think of My children being hungry,’ She said. After it was over we sneaked out of the flat.

Pamela Bromley

Feeling the love

I was at Ashley Gardens once and I didn’t really have any clothes much and Shri Mataji gave me a coat, a beautiful coat. I remember going back home to Brighton, and while I was on the train, feeling the love of having been there with Shri Mataji and Her patience and Her working on me and totally covered in this coat. It was an amazing feeling. I’ve still got the coat and the shoes and the shawl She gave me, and everything else.

Pamela Bromley

The prasad of the Goddess

I had been a vegetarian for twenty years before coming to Sahaja Yoga, because I erroneously assumed it would be good for the spirit. Shri Mataji suggested that it would be a good idea to eat fish and chicken, and I took Her advice, but still didn’t want to eat red meat. One day, quite some months after I had been given realisation, Shri Mataji took us out in Her car, and then we arrived back at Her flat at Ashley Gardens. Before this, Mother had asked me to get some McDonalds from nearby Victoria Street, and we realised we didn’t have the keys to Her flat, and the other set was with Sir CP at his office, some way away. The car driver went off to the office to fetch them, and Mother and I waited on the top floor of the block, on a flight of stairs outside the flat. We sat on the stairs, Shri Mataji above me.

After some time the bag of McDonalds was beginning to get cold, so Shri Mataji suggested that we eat our food while we waited for the others to bring the spare key. There were two beefburgers and a fishburger. I gave the bag to Mother, to vibrate the food, and She took a beefburger out of the bag and handed it to me, sitting below Her on those stairs.

‘Eat it! It is the prasad of the Goddess,’ Shri Mataji said. That was the last time I was fanatic about food. Even though in general Shri Mataji told us not to eat beef, there are exceptions to every rule.

Linda Williams


I was walking down the street near Ashley Gardens with Shri Mataji. I asked Her if, when She passed all the people, their Kundalinis rose. She said that they did, but because their attention was not on that, they didn’t stay up.

That day Mother was supposed to go to a funeral. She wanted to buy some black material to use as a sari, so we went to the Army and Navy Stores, near Her flat. We entered the shop and on the ground floor was the department where perfumes were sold, and on each counter were tester bottles.

‘Look Mother, would You like to try this one?’ I said as we passed a counter. I explained that one usually sprayed the testers under the wrist. Shri Mataji raised Her right hand, and Her handbag was in Her left hand. As I sprayed the perfume, a nice floral one, on to the underside of Her wrist, for a single moment the whole shop went absolutely silent. I realised that Shri Mataji’s hand was raised as if in a blessing, and felt that as usual I had failed to realise in whose presence I was. I apologised, and we walked on. She gave a slight nod as if to say, ‘Yes, that was the point’. We never did get the material, and Shri Mataji said She did not want to go to the funeral anyway.

A similar silence fell in 1986, when we were returning to England after Shri Mataji’s European tour. We had been asked to bring back the crowns which had been presented to Her at the pujas. We were in the customs shed at Dover, and the customs men wanted to see inside the boxes containing the crowns. As the boxes were opened, the vibrations were very strong and silence fell throughout the whole building.

Linda Williams

Shopping in Aldgate

Some of Mother’s favourite places to shop were the markets in Aldgate. She would go there every Sunday when Her granddaughters were around to buy many things – dresses, suits, gifts for Her granddaughters, Sir CP and yogis; material for saris, leather handbags and purses and even pocket watches by the hundreds. During Her roaming She would talk to all the store owners and would touch their merchandise.

After a long morning shopping in Aldgate Mother would not leave until She had taken Her granddaughters and sometimes the yogis to McDonalds. Shri Matai’s favourite was the strawberry milkshake.

Djamel Metouri

Editor’s note: Aldgate is in the East End of London, and at that time was very economically depressed.

Shri Mataji would buy jackets and ties for us

Shri Mataji would actually go out to a shop. I know because She took me and several other people. She would give us Sir CP’s ties and Sir CP was the head of the International Maritime Organization, so totally opposite from us. He was one of the highest placed people in international society.

I remember I got a tie. Shri Mataji always gave ties to people at pujas. She would give ties, jackets, clothes. She took me out and bought a jacket for me and also bought clothes for my sister. She must have spent well over a hundred pounds on clothes, that was down at Brick Lane in the East End of London. She would never take money. I tried to pay Shri Mataji back for the clothes She bought my sister, Sharon Vincent.

‘Don’t be silly. What are you doing? I don’t want your money. Don’t be silly!’ She said.

Ray Harris

I’m not leaving you

The second public programme in Brighton was in March 1980 and that was the time when Mother gave that amazing talk about the beginning of creation. Mother stayed in my house and there was a music programme, and we cried when She left.

‘Don’t worry. I’m not leaving you. I am with you always,’ She said. That was the first puja in my house, at College Gardens in Brighton.

Pamela Bromley

Restoring the mother-son relationship

In my early days of Sahaja Yoga, in my naïve enthusiasm to share my joy and newly found knowledge, I explained all about Shri Mataji and Sahaja Yoga to my family and friends, as one does. My mother got very upset, and asked me why we called Shri Mataji ‘Mother’. I tried to explain that while she, my earthly mother, was a physical mother, Shri Mataji was a spiritual Mother. Now I was an adult, I didn’t need a physical mother any more, what I really needed was a spiritual Mother to follow a spiritual path. It seemed, to me, to be a sound logical argument and my mother appeared to accept it.

A little while later there was a public programme in Brighton, where I was living. My mother and brother had come down to visit me as it was also my birthday that weekend, so I invited them to come along to the meeting. Towards the end of the programme, as usual, Shri Mataji was working on people in the audience; meanwhile I was also working on someone at the back of the hall. I heard a voice call out ‘Jeremy!’ It was Shri Mataji. As I approached, I saw Shri Mataji working on my mother. A chill went up my spine!

‘Why does my son need You more than me?’ my mother asked Her. It was a very embarrassing situation.

‘Jeremy, this lady is your mother and you must always respect her as your mother,’ Shri Mataji said fiercely.

‘Yes Mother,’ I said. Shri Mataji’s stern expression melted into a smile.

After the end of the programme everyone went back to the house of a Sahaja Yogi. I dropped someone off and when I went down to the party it was already in full swing, the room was packed full of merry conversation and laughter. Shri Mataji was in the centre, and to my surprise my mother was there too. It was then that Shri Mataji did a very sweet thing. She took some birthday cake and gave it to my mother.

‘Now put this cake into his mouth.’ She said. ‘Go on, feed him,’ my mother fed me just as if I was a young child, and a wonderfully tender loving smile spread across Mother’s face. Shri Mataji was restoring the mother-son relationship.

‘How is your mother?’ Mother would make a point of asking me, for some years afterwards, whenever we met.

Jeremy Lamaison

Shri Mataji laughed and laughed

Very soon after the group started in Brighton, in 1980, we had a public programme there. As was the habit in those days, Shri Mataji came round after the programme to look at everybody, to see how they were, to work on them and to see how their vibrations were. At the back of this programme was a very strange fellow with a long face and an aquiline nose and very soulful eyes, and he called himself Michael. He referred to himself in the third person and we were very taken with this fellow. He didn’t want us to work on him. Then Shri Mataji came round.

‘Until you came along, there was only Me to do the job,’ She said. We were very puzzled by this and very taken by the fact that this chap was called Michael — you know, archangels and all that.

He quickly became a member of the group and gradually managed to persuade everybody — by inference — that our suppositions that he was an incarnation of the archangel were right. He convinced the six or seven of us, with great confusion amongst us. This is a hallmark of something wrong going on, that there is confusion. He managed to persuade us that the London Sahaja Yoga group was infected with a false guru cell and that an incarnation such as Shri Mataji could not be perfect if She were in a physical form. Further to that, we shouldn’t go up to London to see the others, nor should we go to see Mother any more because we were, so to speak, the Holy Grail of Sahaja Yoga, in Brighton.

This fellow was able, as you were walking down a street in Brighton, to pop out of a shop doorway and look into your eyes, to speak and talk to you about your deepest thoughts and fears and what have you. He was very convincing.
‘There is no way that we are staying in Brighton and not going to see our Mother,’ Phil Ward and I said eventually.

So after several weeks of all this, in great trepidation, we got on the train and went up to London. We told the London people that there was something odd happening in Brighton and we didn’t know what it was. Eventually, at the end of the programme we went up to Shri Mataji, knelt at Her Feet and told Her all about it. To our utter astonishment, She laughed and laughed. This was the last thing that we expected. We thought She would be grave or disappointed or upset or something like that.

After the programme, She said we had better go round to Her flat in Ashley Gardens. Then I had the only time in my Sahaja life where I saw Her in a way that was not normal. I walked into Her living room, where She was sitting, and to my eyes She looked about nineteen, with light all round Her. In five minutes She had completely dehypnotized us and everything was fine again, and then Phil and I had to go and tell the others in Brighton that we had been deceived by this fellow.

Some months later Shri Mataji said that She had been sorry to crucify us — those were Her words — but that She had to test us and we had to know how much we loved Her and how faithful we were to Her. Of course, this fellow was a fake, but She had had to test us.

Kingsley Flint

A new risen Shri Mahamaya

Shri Mataji was so loving, also because we knew who She was. Because there were so few of us, we were so full of awe all the time. Mother then was a new risen Shri Mahamaya, but it was actually Mother that we loved and we wanted to make tea for Her and we wanted Her to love it. It was all these things. We were like children.

Pamela Bromley

Look after him!

There was a man who had agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) and he always came to the programmes drunk.

‘Look after him! Take his address,’ Shri Mataji said. The only way he could get out his house was to have a drink, but not once did any of us say anything. That is just how we were in Brighton and people used to be marvellous. After the programmes, at the end, we couldn’t leave each other.

Pamela Bromley

Sahaja Yoga is like an apartment block

Shri Mataji once said that Sahaja Yoga is like an apartment block and She has come down to the second or first floor as a human being and we have to come up because this is as far as Mother can come down.

Pamela Bromley

In one human body

Shri Mataji said one of the most difficult things of Her incarnation was to fit all the powers of Shri Adi Shakti into one human body. She made it clear that we could only come to Shri Sadashiva through Her. All the deities were within Her and did not incarnate as separate entities because Shri Mataji was the complete incarnation.


One hundred per cent your faith

When I first came to Sahaja Yoga, I foolishly asked Mother if She could know everything.

‘I can know all thoughts, words and deeds, past, present and future, simultaneously. But I can’t be bothered,’ She replied.

Then, with even greater naivety, I asked Mother how much was Her ability to cure someone and how much it was their faith in Her.

‘One hundred percent your faith,’ Mother very sweetly and patiently replied.

Linda Williams


A day we should not observe in the conventional way is Good Friday. In 1980, Shri Mataji took me shopping in Oxford Street – to Selfridges, the big department store, where some Sahaja Yogis were working, and then to Marks and Spencer.

‘Shri Mataji, it is Good Friday, is this the day to be going to Oxford Street, in all the materialism and so on?’ I asked.

She replied that one crucifixion was enough, and that as Mother Mary She had had to stand at the foot of the cross and see Her Son suffer in that horrible way. She did not want to be reminded of it again and again, so doing something like going shopping was quite in order. We should rather remember Easter Day, the day of resurrection.

Linda Williams

Chapter 18: 1980 – France and Switzerland

Let us go back to 1980

It was the first time Shri Mataji went to do programmes in France, in April 1980.

After getting off the Calais ferry from Dover, England, we went into a French supermarket. Mother went around and bought cheese and all the things. Then we went out of the supermarket, found a corner of a field and we laid out a cloth. Shri Mataji and others were making sandwiches in the corner of this field.

Malcolm Murdoch

I guess the vibrations were required in that area

Shri Mataji was going from London to Paris in 1980 and some British yogis accompanied Her including my mother and myself. I was only six years old. We travelled by a convoy of cars and crossed the channel in a hovercraft. When we got to France we drove for a while and then stopped at a supermarket to purchase some food for a picnic. Mother had previously given me a ring with an opal set into it and I was wearing it at the time. Shri Mataji asked me to reach into an open freezer and get something out of it, my ring fell off somewhere into the bowels of the freezer. The staff practically took the freezer apart, seeing how upset I was at losing my precious ring but to no avail. Eventually we left it there. I guess as Mother had touched it the vibrations it was emitting were required in that area!

A little later we stopped by the roadside and Mother dealt out the food. I have a memory of one of those traditional French landscapes with one tree and a lot of beautiful country, with us sitting eating a simple picnic with our Mother.

Auriol Purdie

I could trust Shri Mataji with my life

I came to Caxton Hall in April 1980. A friend visited my house and told me about the meeting. She was very impressed with Shri Mataji. I used to go to different meditation groups those days and was never satisfied with anything they had to offer. Prior to that I had a spontaneous experience of Kundalini rising in Poland, where I lived before coming to London, when I felt I became one with the whole of creation and was thoughtless for a couple of days. I was an atheist at the time, and as a result of my experience I suddenly announced to all my friends that God existed and I was going to find Him.

On entering the meeting room in Caxton Hall I saw Shri Mataji sitting on the stage, wearing a white sari. Her black hair was long and loose and two huge Indian oil lamps were burning brightly on each side of her chair. She looked so magnificent; very decisive and strong, so unlike all those people from the other meditation groups who just styled themselves to look serene and ‘very holy’. Shri Mataji did not strive to be anything. She was Herself and in complete control of everything that was going on in the room yet letting things happen on their own accord.

During the realisation session I had a strong experience and went to Mother’s chair to tell Her what I felt. She was looking at me and smiling. She knew all my problems and I felt that I could trust Her with my life. I knew that very moment that my seeking was over and I had come home.

Grazyna Anslow

Shri Mataji’s first public programmes in France

In 1980, Shri Mataji visited Paris and gave Her first public programmes there. Many English Sahaja Yogis came, and we all stayed with Shri Mataji in the tiny flat of a Sahaja Yogini, several storeys up above the street level. It is impossible to describe the joyfulness of these days in the continuous Divine Presence of our Mother.

Firstly there was the historic happening of Her first public programmes in France, then the blissful experience of staying in such close proximity to our Mother for several days. She even allowed as many of us ladies as possible to sleep on the floor of Her bedroom. There were about thirty of us in all in the flat, and somehow so many managed to squash into the small room each night!

During the day, Shri Mataji talked to us and worked so hard on many yogis with various problems. Also She went with us to see the sights, the Louvre, the former royal palace at Versailles and so on. I remember all of us sitting round Shri Mataji on a little lawn outside the Louvre museum. We all slipped into meditation, sitting in complete silence and tranquility, while tourists were milling around us! At Versailles, Shri Mataji again sat with us on the grass, this time sharing a picnic. That was a totally blissful day.

At one of the public programmes, as I looked at Shri Mataji giving a talk, suddenly I felt as if She was going back and back in time, and Her face seemed to transform into the very ancient, beautiful face of a holy being of earlier times.

On the last full day of our stay Shri Mataji held a puja in the flat. Again, words cannot express the power and depth of our Holy Mother’s vibrations, which poured out endlessly, boundlessly, as we sat in total bliss.

Patricia Proenza

Sleeping in Mother’s room

When Shri Mataji held a seminar in England in the early years, and even abroad, the ladies would have the privilege of sleeping on the floor in Mother’s room around Her bed. Before sleeping and upon waking Shri Mataji would talk to us, work on us and allow us to rub Her Feet for hours. One night in Paris, France, in 1980, Shri Mataji asked me to sleep at the bottom of Her bed by Her Feet. One can’t put that feeling into words as it’s beyond comprehension; all of us were transported to another place together. We were healed and wrapped in Her protective Love: to glimpse what it is to be pure and as one.

 Ann Lewis

Everyone wanted to be as close to Shri Mataji as possible

We were staying in a tiny flat in Paris. Shri Mataji had the bedroom and most of the rest of us were sleeping in the main living-cum-kitchen area. It was really small and there were about thirty of us. You could hardly move around and there was one bathroom for all of us. No one had any money to stay anywhere else and, besides, everyone wanted to be as close to Shri Mataji as possible.

Some of the ladies were in a queue for the bathroom, when suddenly someone came and said Shri Mataji needed to use it. So, of course, we all stood back and waited as discreetly as we could. After some time, Shri Mataji finished and came out.

‘I’ve left the water in for you,’ She said to us in the queue, very sweetly, in a loving manner.

I didn’t know what She meant. But we all went inside together, about four of us, and I saw the water still in the bath and sink. The vibrations in the room were very light, almost holy, as if there was a kind of heavenly light in the room. It is difficult to put into words. It was very comforting to be in there, as if you were in a warm embrace. When I put the water from the sink onto my face, I suddenly felt lifted into a different state, transformed as if I had become an angel in heaven. For a short time, I felt pure and whole. It was completely unexpected, but this was the vibrational reality of Shri Mataji’s physical body. It is so pure that even the water coming off it takes on Her purity and cleansing powers.

Felicity Payment

The flowers were actually trembling

In Paris, Mother was sitting in a room and the flowers had arrived. They were all dying a bit and we watched Mother bring them back to life – the flowers were actually trembling. One time She took the flowers and put hot water on them to bring them back to life and they were all absolutely fantastic.

Pamela Bromley

Clearing the negativity

Concerning what Natalie, a French Sahaja Yogi, wrote about what Shri Mataji said about the French having been badly affected by the ancient Egyptians, I now understand something which always puzzled me. In 1980 some of us went to Paris with Shri Mataji, when She first did programmes there and we all went to the Louvre art gallery with Her. I assumed we would go and see some of the beautiful paintings such as the Mona Lisa, but Shri Mataji did not want to. Instead She insisted on going to the section which had rooms of what seemed to me to be rather uninspiring Egyptian sculpture. I now understand that She was obviously clearing the negativity out of these things, so as to help the Parisians.

Auriol Purdie

A firework of vibrations everywhere

I live in Paris but come from Algeria. I got my realisation directly from Her Holiness Shri Mataji in 1980, on the first day of the first public programme in Paris. I was sitting in the first row and near Her greatness. It was like a firework of vibrations everywhere in the small room where the programme was given, and I was struck with wonder at that celestial show. When a sister Sahaja Yogini came behind me to raise the Kundalini, Shri Mataji pointed Her holy finger towards me.

‘Good, good!’ She said.

The experience was like a festival of celestial light, and back home I was still under the effect of that and didn’t stop thinking of Shri Mataji. At once She entered my heart and was my only thought, so loving and so delicious to the soul.

She invited those who wanted to develop themselves in Sahaja Yoga to meet with erHer. I was divinely excited by that invitation, and was only thinking of that day, the second day of the programme, to meet Her again, in the house of an old French Sahaja Yogini. Before meeting Shri Mataji I had practised Hatha Yoga for a long time. It was bad for my heart, gave pain in the chest and a fear of death. I was sitting close to Her Holy Lotus Feet.

‘Shri Mother, my heart is beating fast and it is painful,’ I said.

She told me to close my eyes and meditate on the compassion of Allah, so I did. In my heart I felt a deep silence that made my heartbeats decrease to a normal and quiet level.

Later She started dedicating the book, The Advent, with Her holy name, so I bought one and asked for Her autograph, with joyful excitation, like the fan of an artist. What a great divine artist She was, and we are all Her fans!

I attended my first puja that day. Shri Mataji was sitting up very straight, in a white sari – and Her long black hair flowed over Her shoulders and down Her back, as Shri Mahakali. I was in silent wonder and so happy. During the aarti, I thought, ‘It’s impossible, She is the Goddess!’ because before meeting Her I had a divine love of Lord Shiva and Shri Mahakali, and had beautiful posters of them both.

Salim Benkadi 

Just think of Me and I will be there to help you

During the puja we had in that little flat in Paris Shri Mataji asked someone read the part in the Devi Mahatmyam where the deities all go to the Goddess to praise Her.

‘If ever you are in the most extreme and dire situation, think of Me and at that moment I will solve the problem and be with you,’ the Goddess says, or something similar.

‘Stop!’ Mother said, when the person reading got to that point. I don’t remember Her exact words, but She then said something like, ‘That is the boon for today. If ever you are in a dire situation, just think of Me and I will be there with you to help you.’

And She has been, for thousands and now millions of us, again and again and again.

Linda Williams

Because of all you higher selves I came down to this earth

The first time I saw Shri Mataji was two years after my realisation in January 1978. She came to my flat in Genthod, Geneva. She was there in the capacity of a diplomat’s wife and I invited Her for tea, just very naturally. She looked amazing – so beautiful. A strong rose scent was with Shri Mataji when I opened the door of my flat and saw Her for the very first time.

‘Shri Mataji, You look so young,’ I said to Her, in greeting.

‘Well, I take care of Myself,’ She replied. I was in awe to see Her. We went down and sat on the sofa, and She gave me a silver bangle, and I was moved by this present. I put it on.

‘Shri Mataji, I called You so much, and now You are here,’ I said to Her. When I said that, I knew it was not only that I had called Her now in this present life, but I must have called Her for a long time. Her answer, I think it was something like this, and I don’t want to misquote Her.

‘It is because of all you higher selves that I came down to this earth.’

I recall having talked about the disciples of Jesus Christ.

‘What about the disciples?’ I said to Shri Mataji.

‘Only the youngest, only John understood,’ She said.

‘Why did You take this form?’(In this lifetime), I asked Her.

‘Because you would have been afraid.’

She took my right hand, pressed each finger quite hard and put each one in turn in Her ear, as if She would like to hear my chakras.

‘You have a good right side,’ She said. Then She asked me to go on the other side of Her, and then She took my left hand and started to do the same. I did not feel comfortable at this point. ‘Your left side has been damaged.’

At that point I was worried because my little girl had taken Shri Mataji’s shoes and was going, ‘Plonk, plonk, plonk!’ walking around the whole flat with them. I was feeling a bit embarrassed.

‘Don’t worry, don’t worry! She is just vibrating the whole place for you,’ Shri Mataji said, so I felt more relaxed. Also that same day when Shri Mataji came in, my two little ones were four and two years old at the time, and they were jumping on the other sofa, and hiding behind cushions and smiling and laughing. Mother was beaming.

‘They know Me!’ She said, because they were so happy to see Her.

The next day, when my brother and I went to visit Her in the hotel, I brought a pot of Swiss honey to thank Her for Her visit.

‘This is the food of the Kundalini,’ She said. I was delighted to have brought a small present which had pleased Her. Later we sat at Her Feet.

‘Now you have to give realisation to other people,’ She said, and I got a fright.

‘How can we?’

‘Don’t worry, I will help you!’ She turned to me and said, laughing, ‘You must write a diary, because people will want to know later.’

So the same year I started to write the journal, an extract of which you are reading.

Antoinette Wells

Cuddly toys

 When my eldest child was six years old, Shri Mataji came several times to my place in Geneva when we were organizing the first programmes and I said to Her that he used to have nightmares at night. Next time She came, She had brought a furry monkey toy for him and a teddy bear for his younger sister. From that day he never had nightmares anymore and the tummy of the monkey, that he called Hanuman, was totally flat for having put his little head on it every night in his sleep – we still have the monkey!

Antoinette Wells

Chapter 19: 1980 – A Seminar, Meetings and Expansion

Those golden days

We who were Sahaja Yogis in London lived in a different reality in the early eighties. Things used to work out spontaneously in no time at all. There seemed to be divine timing and divine dimensions in many seemingly every day events. On waking up we went to see Shri Mataji and on going to sleep we remembered the whole day spent in Her company and were looking forward to the dreams we would have about Her, which were frequent. We all adored our Mother so much and She would be so happy to meet us all.

We ladies often used to sleep around Mother’s bed and we thought it was quite a normal thing, we took everything for granted. One night I suddenly sat up in my place by Her bed and saw Shri Mataji doing the same simultaneously. I did namaste and She did the same and we both went back to sleep. We really were part of Her body, could feel the fragrance of Her perfume and hear Her soothing voice calling, ‘It is good, it is all working out.’

The second day after I got my realisation I was walking in the street and I felt I had Mother’s hair, Mother’s face, walking like Her, I was like Her. It was incredible! For the first time in my life I was not just myself and it was fascinating. When sometime later I was at Kingston public programme I felt Shri Mataji was thirsty and rushed to fill Her silver cup (indeed empty) with fresh water.

We used to meet Shri Mataji in Caxton Hall on Mondays and sometimes She would invite us to Her flat in Ashley Gardens and even cook for us. I was very lucky when I came in the spring of 1980, because Shri Mataji was conducting public programmes in many places in London and later on around England. We often talk about that time as those golden days. 

Grazyna Anslow

For ten thousand other people

Shri Mataji was always inspiring us and encouraging us in so many ways. She would try to raise us out of our personal problems, so that we could see the bigger picture, the greater vision that She was creating for us. I remember when Grazyna Anslow first came, in 1980.

‘Ah, really? Now we can work out Poland,’ Shri Mataji said, on hearing that she was from Poland.

Shri Mataji said that each one of us works it out for ten thousand other people. As our chakras start to clear, it has this effect on the collective unconscious, so that other people like us with the same problems — or just unconsciously, the vibrations start to clear their chakras too. It made you feel better to know that if, at a certain point, you were having a bit of a hard time, it was doing some good.

Felicity Payment

Editor’s note: Shri Mataji has, on more than one occasion, told people that She has been working out whole groups of people through one is simply not going to solve the problem

Like tiny plants in a storm

There were just a few of us in England in 1980, so we were all like a big family. Shri Mataji cooked for us, gave us presents, talked about our problems, always wanting to help us and give us encouragement. Mother was always very open about everything. Each new person felt straightaway trusted and included in this Sahaja family. Shri Mataji used to joke a lot and make fun of many aspects of everyday life, which to us were normal and which looked strange from an enlightened point of view. She would emphasize that we need to lead a very moral and pure life. Her standards were very high and we all tried to live by them.

Shri Mataji explained that holidays were not a good idea, and holy days are the time spent in the company of saints serving a divine purpose. We tried to clear ourselves out as much as possible and that was all the time. We had Shri Mataji with us at the time, so it was not difficult to keep our attention on Her.

Sometimes I could not understand the conversations which Shri Mataji had with other people, because my English was not fluent in those days. But it was Shri Mataji’s presence which was totally fascinating. In everyday life, Shri Mataji is Shri Mahamaya and we would forget who She really was. She was so patient with us and sweet. Shri Mataji always referred to the better part of ourselves and spoke to us with respect and understanding about some good quality we had or nice things we had done.

She Mataji often said to us that to be a guru in Sahaja Yoga, one has to be a mother, which means that the love has to be there first.

Shri Mataji used to joke and say that we move three steps forward and two steps backwards. We could not feel the vibrations instantly, as we do these days and some new people used to take thirty minutes of workshops to get their realisation.

We were like those tiny plants in a storm and often the only shelter was Shri Mataji’s smiling face.

Grazyna Anslow

Working out the catches through us

At the end of the programmes at Caxton Hall, Shri Mataji would say, ‘Anyone who felt the cool breeze, please raise your hands above your heads.’

Afterwards we often went to a restaurant called The Spaghetti House, and sometimes Mother came too. One evening She asked why so few of the Sahaja Yogis put their hands up when She asked that question. We explained that often we would not feel coolness at the public programmes, rather heat pouring off our hands. Mother told us that we should put hands up, because we had felt the cool breeze at some time. She explained that She worked out the catches at the programme through us, to a certain extent, and that was why we felt such heat.

I asked Shri Mataji why She spoke on a specific subject at a specific time at the public programmes and She replied that She just went on talking until people’s thoughts had settled down enough for Her to raise their Kundalinis. She explained that She often wore a white sari with a red border at a public programme because the white represented the Adi Guru, which She was, and the red was for Shri Maha Kali, to chase away negativity.

Linda Williams

Different stones, different chakras, different deities

We went with Shri Mataji to Avebury (a Neolithic stone circle) in the south of England some time before going to Stonehenge, when there were just the few of us. At Avebury we stopped and got out with Mother and walked all round the stones. Mother was telling us that different stones had different vibrations of different chakras, different deities.

Ray Harris

It’s just a vehicle

The hall in the house at Old Alresford near Stonehenge in England was lined with wood so the acoustics were incredibly noisy. There must have been sixty of us there when we had that seminar in 1980.

Shri Mataji spoke really, really softly with Her head down and you could hear a pin drop. That’s when She said that Sahaja Yoga was just a vehicle that She was using.

‘You have to hang on to Me,’ She said.

Kay McHugh

A trip to Stonehenge

In 1980, during the weekend seminar to Old Alresford with Shri Mataji, She visited Stonehenge. A large group of us went with Her. At that time, the site was surrounded by a fence so that visitors could not walk among the stones or touch them. Shri Mataji said that the stones were not emitting vibrations. She held Her hand out towards Stonehenge, standing as close as was possible to it, and after a short time She said that now it was emitting vibrations.

Patricia Proenza

The Sahasrara of England

I remember Shri Mataji saying Stonehenge is the Sahasrara of England. It contains both a Shiva lingam and a Ganesha stone. Significantly She was sure that there were no headstones originally as they stop the flow of vibrations. Nevertheless the stones had amazing vibrations which could be felt from miles away. They are not really a swayambhu as the stones were transported from a hundred miles away.

The whole site, which was much bigger originally, has the form of a true Shiva lingam, including the approach to the Shiva stone up the hill. Stonehenge is the circular part of the lingam, the symbol of the Shakti, oriented towards the winter solstice sunset and summer solstice sunrise 3,300 years ago. It represents the union of Shiva and Shakti and Shri Ganesha – the Holy Trinity in celestial England.

Then Shri Mataji bought us all an ice cream!

Ray Harris

Eternal moments with the divine

Those of us who were fortunate to be in the presence of Shri Mataji and to be in Her attention can still feel Her love, Her touch and Her compassion whenever they put their own attention on the situations. Not only that but when they tell these stories to other yogis they too can also feel Her presence and grow deeper from that experience.

After a public meeting in Caxton Hall in 1980 I was amongst the yogis waiting to give our beloved Mother a flower. As I gave Her this symbol of love I burst into tears because I missed my daughter. At once Shri Mataji put Her arms around me and gave me words of comfort. Then She asked why I was crying. I explained that I lived and worked in London but my daughter, who was two, was living with my mother in Brighton because there was not a place in the nursery for her. I saw her at weekends only. That day I had been told that it was unlikely that I would get a place for nine months and everything seemed hopeless to me. Through my tears I heard Shri Mataji say that it was alright and everything would work out, and then She moved on to the next person. Two days later I had a phone call from the nursery. They said that my daughter could start the following Monday. My thoughts went immediately to Shri Mataji and Her words that everything would work out. It was then that I started to believe that there could be something in Sahaja Yoga.

Gilly Grimshaw

A visit to the Flower Show

In May 1980 some of us went to the famous Chelsea Flower Show in London with Shri Mataji. It was incredibly crowded but Mother didn’t seem to mind. At one point we got to a stand where there were some enormous red begonias. Shri Mataji paused and looked at them, and then told us that She was interested to see these enormous flowers. She wanted to see what humans wanted flowers to look like, so She could create what we wanted.

Auriol Purdie

Now you are in the centre

It was in May 1980, and Mother was still living in Ashley Gardens, before She was in Brompton Square. It had been a hard year in Switzerland for the little bunch of yogis there because the negativity was hovering around us like a nasty dragon looking for someone to devour. When I was preparing my trip to England I had painted a small ‘Limoges’ jar with a garland of flowers for Shri Mataji, and I wanted to wrap it in a nice silk paper and ribbon. I chose some orange paper with a bright green satin ribbon. 

When we arrived at Shri Mataji’s place there were about eight of us, and we were sitting in Her living room waiting for Her. My sister-in-law Catherine was there, my sister Marie-Laure and I don’t remember who else. Mother came in, radiant as usual, smiled at us, and asked us how we had been during these past months. I was very moved because She was wearing a beautiful orange sari with green patterns and a green paloo, and when I gave Her my present, wrapped in the same colours, She smiled.

‘See how I know how you have been,’ She said. I was melting speechless; everybody was amazed. We were later invited to eat at Her dinner table and – I pull my ears now – I was chatting nonstop (completely on the right side). Mother was just smiling.

Later She asked my sister and me to sort out some tablecloths and napkins ready to be packed and I went completely to the left, like a pendulum. My sister-in-law Catherine comforted me and told me that it would be all right, and that I was just clearing out after this hard year, because the vibrations in front of Mother are so strong. When Mother came back in the room where we were I fell at Her Feet.

‘Now you are in the centre,’ Shri Mataji said, and I was feeling absolutely fine.

Antoinette Wells

Shri Mataji in Hampstead

In 1980 the Hampstead (North London) public meeting started. It was held on Thursday, at the Friends’ Meeting House in Heath Street, at the top of the hill.

First meeting with Shri Mataji

It was a Friday afternoon in June, 1980, I had just come home from school and my mum told me she had spotted a poster advertising a talk by an ‘Indian Yogini’ at Hampstead Friends Meeting House and was I interested in going? So that evening we set off very early, maybe our Kundalinis knew better – as we only lived five minutes away from the Meeting House. We were the first newcomers to arrive and chose seats right at the front. As we sat, we watched as the yogis serenely set up the meeting, ghee lamps were prepared, polished and lit, a beautiful sari was draped over a chair, a man confidently rummaged around with mikes and sound equipment and an Indian yogini swept the floor with careful, dignified movements almost like a dance. 

‘Look at their eyes!’ my mum noted. ‘They are all shining!’

The hall slowly filled up with the familiar faces of Hampstead seekers, eccentrics and intellectuals. Then a young man gave an introduction. The talk was quite long and I couldn’t follow much, but I do remember him saying ‘Mother’ would be here soon. As I sat and waited I let my attention wander and at a certain point, I couldn’t see the young man anymore, only light! There was a torrential rainstorm of light coming down and apparently my mum could see it too. It was about then that Mother arrived. 

Everybody stood as She swept into the small hall, changing the energy completely. She was wearing a colourful silk sari with a golden zari border. Shri Mataji had just come from a diplomatic function, we were told. She brought with Her that sacred rose perfume and lightness of being, so that everything around Her seemed brighter and more alive. The yogis sang the aarti and then a young woman offered something and bowed to Her Feet. Although I had never witnessed anyone do this before, I felt an aching desire to do the same.

‘Can I go to Her Feet as well?’ I asked my mum.

‘Maybe not now,’ she told me.

‘If not now, when?’ I thought. 

Then Mother spoke. I remember hardly a word, a combination of poor attention and being too busy drinking in how lovely She looked: beautiful, majestic, powerful, regal, and divine.

‘She is a like a warrior princess,’ I whispered to my mum.  

Mother stood for Her address and this made Her seem even more powerful. I knew nothing of Shri Durga but it was obvious to anyone She was a Goddess. As She moved Her arms, Her bangles clinked and shone and when She laughed, the laughter of waterfalls and small innocent children was so infectious that you longed for the beam of Her smile to come in your direction again. As She tossed back Her long midnight black hair, I knew this was love. 

‘Now, everyone will get it!’ Mother said before the realisation, and so little had I been following Her talk, that I thought ‘get what?’ I soon found out. I don’t recall cool vibrations, only an absolute stillness within and not being able to move at all – or think, my chattering mind finally still. Everything was so familiar somehow. Then She came over and praised my mum’s vibrations.

‘What a good heart she has!’ Shri Mataji said. ’Don’t worry, everything will be alright now,’ She told my mum, a lifelong seeker who had passed through many tribulations.

‘She is Mother Mary, you know,’ a yogini whispered to me.

As we followed Mother around the hall we stood amazed, watching as She worked on everyone. At the end of the meeting we couldn’t believe our luck when we overheard that there would be another programme with Shri Mataji on the Sunday – at a place called Dollis Hill. 

Danya Martoglio

The radiant, fiercely compassionate Goddess

How tirelessly Shri Mataji worked on all those early seekers, rubbing their heads, cricking their necks (not to be tried at home) drinking in their badhas with Her wide ‘Mahakali eyes’, and all done with such compassion. At our first meeting it seemed that every possible permutation and combination of the community was represented – from the hippies, seen around Hampstead village for years, to the dry intellectuals, to our very own Hampstead brahmin, each one representing a type for Her to work on and through, to reach many others. There was also an elderly lady, a well-known local eccentric, who resembled a bag-lady (homeless person or tramp).

Mother would move amongst the seekers after the realisation and work on them individually. My mum and I, being keen, were in the front row and I remember that first heavenly rub on the Sahasrara with Her radiant face so close to mine that I could actually see the individual specks of red kumkum powder of Her bindi.

‘Ha! Now your eyes are black like Mine!’ She told me.

The Sahaja Yogis at the programme were also asked about the seekers’ vibrations, a sort of training school because She would correct any ‘misdiagnosis’.

‘No, that is your catch! The problem here is right HHeart,’ She would say, and would ask the seeker about their father, getting immediately to the root of the problem. If there was a particularly damaged person who needed working on, Shri Mataji would often call, ‘Douglas!’* to attend to them, and he would come running, rolling up his sleeves like one of Her ganas.

As it happened, there was no one working on the elderly lady – perhaps that slight odour she had put folks off coming too close. When Shri Mataji came to where the lady was sitting, She immediately pressed her to Her heart embracing her with such joy, as if meeting an old friend.

‘This is a born realised soul!’ She told the Sahaja Yogis and then, more quietly, ‘she came to find Me too soon – no one understood her.’

In subsequent meetings at Caxton Hall I always looked out for that lady, and each week I noticed she was a bit brighter, a bit cleaner – always with her little bunch of freesias for Shri Mataji. Whenever Mother spotted her in the audience She would say a few words and it seemed they were sharing some private joke. And then I didn’t see her any more.

Danya Martoglio

*Douglas Fry, one of the first Sahaja Yogis

A magical adventure

Two days after getting realisation, when we arrived at the Sunday meeting at Dollis Hill we realised it wasn’t a public programme and it was all very informal. We were at a very ordinary looking house in North London, and Shri Mataji was sitting in someone’s front room. Unlike Friday, there were no chairs and everyone was sitting on the floor. Slightly embarrassed, wondering whether we should be there my mum and I tried to be discreet, slipping in and creeping to the back of the room. 

Before long, Mother beckoned me over. She lifted Her Feet up as if in invitation. I bowed down, holding onto both Her Feet, and there was something dream-like about it all. I don’t remember how long I was doing namaskar, it felt like falling into infinity. I saw stars and planets down there!  At one point my Kundalini went to my liver and was ‘knocking’ rather vigorously. Shri Mataji blessed me then told me to bring some sugar to the next meeting. When I got up there were people all around and someone said, ’Get a camera!’ as they had seen the Kundalini clearly pulsate at the liver, which it only does if there is an obstruction.

We were plunged into a magical adventure, joined by my dear brother Caleb and later my dad, going to every single meeting in or near London, and Shri Mataji was always so kind when She saw us. Shortly after our realisation, we went to a meeting in Kingston, just south of London, about an hour from where we lived.

‘Oh! You have come all this way to see Me!’ She said, greeting us.  

We would have followed Her to the ends of the Earth. 

Danya Martoglio

Shri Mataji’s love and confidence in us all

Shri Mataji displayed complete trust, love and openness towards people She had often only just met for the first time, myself included when I first got realisation in 1980, as if we somehow already knew each other, and were only re-connecting after being with Her in other lifetimes, and it was as if She was bringing us all back to Her in this one, reminding us of who we really were.

My second meeting with Shri Mataji was in a room above a library in West Kensington; there had been an earlier meeting that week in Caxton Hall and it was with a much smaller group. When Mother was giving realisation at the end of Her talk, and we were told to shut our eyes, I felt Her attention going from seeker to seeker, then falling on me, and my Kundalini rising and coming out of the top of my head.

Later I watched Shri Mataji work on people, going from individual to individual around the room. I was thinking about vibrations, and fingers, and chakras and what it all meant and how it worked. Mother was standing next to me and working on a woman with arthritis, and as if in answer to my question She took hold of my arm and guided my hand to Her own Sahasrara. She laid my hand gently on the top of Her head and told me to direct my other hand towards the back of the woman and unsurprisingly I began to feel the vibrations very clearly.

Afterwards I rode home on the tube with my sister and mother, marvelling at the complete trust and love I had been shown, at the incredible intimacy and yet complete authority Shri Mataji displayed. I was completely blown away that Mother had taken my hand and placed it on Her head and had done it at the very moment I was wondering how everything worked. Her love and confidence in us all, even those of us who were completely new, such as myself, seemed completely wonderful to me, and still seems that way.

Caleb Williams

Seekers of lifetimes

‘You have been with me before, and much before,’ Shri Mataji often used to say when She spoke to the collective at pujas and meetings around the time my sister and I got realisation in 1980. We were also told repeatedly we were saints, this powerful insistence frequently clashing with our own rather more mundane understanding of ourselves!

Every person that came to Mother with a genuine desire to grow spiritually was regarded as precious, no matter how damaged. She often seemed to recognise people She had known before in earlier incarnations. It seemed very clear to me that She was gathering Her children again, for a new battle, a new Divine purpose and task; and despite the surface dirt and confusion that covered the outside of all those who were sometimes so badly bruised and battered by Kali Yuga, She always saw the beautiful diamond, the heart filled with longing, the seeker of lifetimes, that was buried deep inside that person.

Caleb Williams

Certain biblical scenes

I was rather startled at certain biblical scenes at early meetings at the Friends Meeting House in Hampstead when the vibrations would be too intense for the newcomers who’d overdone the guru shopping. Some would writhe as the negativity left their overloaded chakras – and then there they would be at the next meeting looking ten years younger! 

I remember one particularly because of his inauspicious entrance and subsequent transformation. Shri Mataji was already addressing the seekers of Hampstead one evening when a small gentleman with unkempt, matted hair and a weasel-like face strode into the hall. He was probably drunk because of the way he obliviously, and noisily, plonked himself down in the front row. Then he stood up and tried to pull Shri Mataji over to him.

‘Come ‘ere Ma!’ he said, in a rude guttural voice. Waves of outrage rippled through the hall and some yogi boys got ready to evict him. Shri Mataji instead, was completely calm and indicated for them to let him be. ‘Now you sit down!’ She commanded. ‘You are a seeker!’ She continued emphatically. ‘You have come here for your self realisation.’

The startled man obeyed, and Shri Mataji continued Her talk. Later She graciously worked on him Herself.

‘Next time I want you to bring Me lemons, chillies and salt!’ She instructed.

And next meeting there he was with the items dutifully presented for Mother to vibrate. He came for quite a while after that, always a bit cleaner, a bit meeker and milder; till eventually I remember him bringing in some beautiful poetry he had written for Shri Mataji in praise of the Goddess.

Danya Martoglio 

Lemons to clear the chakras

In London in the eighties, Shri Mataji used to have us hold lemons in our right hand to clear the left side and also put them on different chakras depending on what chakra needed to be worked on. We had to burn them with the flame afterwards until they were black all around and then throw them away.

Grazyna Anslow

Blake’s vision

On June 11th 1980 we went to a public programme at Kingston-on-Thames, which was quite a drive from London, and those of us in the car with Shri Mataji had a good chance to listen to Her talking on the way down and back. As we drove along the motorway, we could see the orange sodium lights, and ahead of us was the orange glow of these lights reflected in the sky above London. Mother told us that with his prophetic vision, William Blake, who was Shri Bhairava, had seen these lights and glow.

The Surrey hills glow like the clinkers of the furnace;’ he wrote, and Shri Mataji explained that when She lived to the south of London, in the Surrey hills, in Oxted, She would look towards London in the night and see that glow, which looked like the glowing clinkers in a furnace.

Auriol Purdie

Advice on marriage

At one time, one of the Sahaja Yogis wanted to marry a certain lady who was also a Sahaja Yogi. He went to Shri Mataji and asked Her about this.

‘Will she make you happy?’ She replied, with the emphasis on the word happy.

They married, it was a disaster and soon they split up. Shri Mataji later said She was trying to warn the man that the lady was not alright, and not right for him, because She said that happy is not what a marriage should be – it should be joyful, fulfilling and so on, but happy was too superficial a word to describe a good marriage.

Linda Williams

Sewing Shri Mataji’s saris

There were times when Shri Mataji would give saris to women to sew the seams and falls on them. I remember sewing a few saris and how this helped my attention and my liver.

Ann Lewis 

A lemon in the hand

In London I can remember Shri Mataji getting someone who had been to a false guru to cut up a lemon into smaller and smaller pieces. It really did seem to help him afterwards. I cannot remember if he held it previously or what. As for which hand to put a lemon in, I feel that one has to just see which hand it works in, Shri Mataji would sometimes change things. For example we were told very early on to put our left hand to Shri Mataji’s photo and right hand to the candle and also, if the left side was catching, to raise left to right. After some time it changed to raising right to left, and the left hand towards the candle.

John Watkinson

You may kiss Me

I had upholstered a three piece suite for Mother, many years ago in London, and She said that I could kiss Her, and I did kiss Her on Her left cheek.

‘You’ve kissed Me on My heart,’ She said.

Pamela Bromley

The woman and the red dragon

In June 1980, Shri Mataji was sitting in the dining room at Ashley Gardens with a newly married couple. She invited me to sit down at the table with them. They were talking about the Bible, and looking at the Book of Revelations, Chapter 12. Mother was making comments on it. This is what I remember:

Verse 1: And there appeared a great wonder in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.

The woman mentioned is Mother.

Verse 2: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

This is the collective consciousness of Sahaja Yoga and the Sahaja Yogis: Mother suffered much pain of our behalf.

Verse3: And there appeared another wonder in heaven: and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

The dragon is the collective evil of the false gurus, and Mother counted on Her fingers.

‘Yes, they are all here at the moment,’ She said.

Verse 4: And his tail drew a third part of the stars in heaven, and did cast them upon the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

The ‘third part of the stars’ are the seekers who get lost (another time Mother said something like 60% of the people in America are actually seekers, but many are completely lost). The false gurus try to catch and deceive and ruin the seekers and try to destroy the birth of the collective consciousness of Sahaja Yoga.

Verse 5: And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up to God, and to his throne.

The man child – Kalki – the collective awareness – rules with the Kundalini – the instrument of that collective consciousness.

Verse 6: And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

The wilderness is the world – Mother was in the spiritual ‘wilderness’ of London. Mother said that John, who wrote the Revelations, was rather supraconscious, and likely to get things like dates and numbers wrong, even though he was essentially right. On another occasion Shri Mataji said that the white horse of Kalki, which is also mentioned in the book of Revelations, is the brain.

Linda Williams

Either the negativity goes or we do

Shri Mataji worked on me a lot and would often have me with Her in 1980. In Her presence I found it easy to meditate and would feel full of love and joy and peace. Then She would ask me to go home and meditate in front of Her photo. This would sometimes be very difficult and I would feel restless, negative, unable to sit there and full of gloomy or distracting thoughts.

I told Mother this, and She said that when we want to run away, this is just the moment to sit it out, because what is happening is that the negativity is getting uncomfortable and wants to stop one sitting there – either the negativity goes or we go, with it still there. So when one has a strong desire to get up and leave, that is the very moment to stay in front of Her photo, because the negativity cannot take it.

Linda Williams

Lemons and chillies

‘You need to do lemons and chillies,’ Shri Mataji used to say, and She would ask us to bring Her seven lemons and seven green chillies in a plastic bag.

We would give the bag and its contents to Her, and She would put Her hand in it and touch all the lemons and chillies to vibrate them. Then She would return them to us. The instruction was to open the bag at night and put it somewhere by our head, and in the day to put it, closed up, under the bed or out of sight. After seven days the lemons and chillies were to be thrown away, preferably in water.

There was no mention of a mudka, because you could not get them in the UK, or water, or turmeric or kumkum, and nothing about not opening the bag on either full or new moon.


Babies have to cry

This might have been recorded elsewhere, but one time Shri Mataji was explaining the account of the birth of Lord Ganesha, Lord Mahavishnu, in the Shrimat Devi Bhagavatam. She said He was created of the most gross matter, Maha Virat, but through devotion rose up to be the finest and subtlest. He is our example and elder brother. We asked why it is written that He cried, and why He had to cry, and She said crying is important for the baby because it makes it grow or, because it develops their lungs.


The thumb and the big toe

Shri Mataji explained that the reason why the Nabhi is the big toe, but the thumb, the most important finger, is the Swadishthan is this: animals are more interested in food and that sort of thing, and so the more animal part of us, the foot, has the chakras in those places. The big toe is the most important toe and that is what is most important to animals, whereas for us, it is creativity and knowledge which makes us human. For animals food is the most important thing.


Chapter 20: 1980 – Finding Chelsham Road Ashram

Looking for an ashram

Mother had the use of Her husband’s car, because Sir CP had one from the UN with a chauffeur. So in July 1980 we would drive around London looking for houses. Shri Mataji was looking for a house for Herself and Sir CP in London and finally found 48, Brompton Square, in the centre of town. But before that, in the summer of 1980, we drove around London on another quest, looking for an ashram. I didn’t have any money, but we were fighting a bankruptcy case and there was a chance we would get some and we got just enough to buy the house.

We looked at a lot of houses, and the only area which was not too expensive but was fairly close to where Shri Mataji lived was south of the river in Lambeth. We heard that sometimes houses were auctioned by Lambeth Council, and I had seen one in Stockwell which seemed quite nice. We drove down to Brixton to Lambeth Town Hall and parked outside in the street. The car driver went into the building to get details of these houses, and Mother was in the front of the car. I was in the back. At that time it was a rough area. Mother asked me to put one hand towards Her and the other out of the car window, so She could let the discomfort She was feeling go out into the air.

‘With Christ there was only one crucifixion. This time, the pain…. is like a crucifixion every minute of every day,’ She said. She was silent for a moment, and went on, ‘Last time they crucified Me. This time I’ll crucify them.’

I just didn’t know what to say or feel.

Linda Williams

Buying Chelsham Road

One day, we went to a house agent at Clapham Common. I asked if they had any largish houses which needed work on them and were not too expensive. They gave me the specifications of a few, but they were all too expensive. I asked if they had anything else.

‘Well, we do have one that no one ever wants,’ said the agent dubiously, and gave me the details of 44, Chelsham Road. We went to the house, which was leaning sideways and had a structural crack all the way up the right hand side due to a bomb, which had exploded across the road during the Second World War, in 1941, forty years before. Shri Mataji walked up the short path to the front door in front of me, turned round in the porch and looked at me.

‘This is the house!’ She said categorically.

‘But Mother,’ I replied, ‘it looks as if it’s going to fall down any minute.’

‘Do you really think I would let you buy a house which is going to fall down?’ She said. I apologized and we went inside.

Linda Williams

Shri Mataji vibrated the houses

Shri Mataji wanted my mother to buy a house, so I was often in the car too when we went house hunting. Shri Mataji obviously wanted a specific house, but in the meantime, we saw a number of houses in south London, and She vibrated them, until we found the right one. Shri Mataji and mum, in Shri Mataji’s car, sometimes used to pick me up after school from Chelsea, and then I would come along too.

Auriol Purdie

Shri Hanuman will always hold it up

Mum was quite excited because it looked like the end was in sight, and we went to this house and it was awful: dark and gloomy and falling down.

‘It won’t last. It won’t stay up,’ my mother said, but Shri Mataji reassured my mum.

‘Shri Hanuman will always hold it up for you. You don’t have to worry,’ She said.

Auriol Purdie

Say you are paying cash

We returned to the street outside the house agent and sat in the car. Shri Mataji said we had to put a holding deposit on the house. My mother asked Her what to say to the agent when She asked how we were going to pay.

‘Say you are paying cash,’ Shri Mataji said. She gave my mother a cheque for a hundred and eight pounds and told her to use it for the holding deposit, to stop anyone else buying it. The next day someone else made an offer on the house, even though it had been on the market at least two years. About a month later some money suddenly came to my mother from an unexpected source. When my mother later presented Shri Mataji with a set of keys from the house agent, she paid Her back for the deposit.

Auriol Purdie

The driver in front of us was not alright

One evening I was one of four yogis travelling down to Brighton with Shri Mataji in Her car. We became aware that the driver in front of us was not alright as the car was weaving from side to side of the road. Mother said he must have been drinking and gave him a bandhan. Immediately a police car came from a side road and pulled him over.

Kay O’Connell

Early pujas in England

When Shri Mataji was in England the puja would start mid-morning and then we would eat. First Mother was served.

‘Have your food, have your food,’ She would say.

It was so joyful to eat together. Then Mother would rest. What we lacked in protocol we made up for with our hearts, our devotion and our awe. We would arrive early to be prepared and to greet Mother and we would pray that we would be able to absorb all the love and vibrations Mother was bestowing on us so we did not cause Her pain. So how much more everything is now – we worship Shri Mataji within, the tinglings on the Sahasrara, our hearts swelling up with love, the peace and bliss in the Oneness we feel in this growing collectivity.

Pamela Bromley

Inducing babies – or not

Inducing a baby isn’t a very good idea unless it is medically necessary. Years ago, in July 1980, there was a puja in Brighton. The leader’s wife had just had a baby the day before. The doctors had decided to induce this baby, but after putting the mother on the drip, the baby didn’t come and after three days of semi labour, it was necessary to give a Caesarean because both mother and baby were almost finished. Mother said the baby wanted to come on the day of the puja, which would have been auspicious, and not before, and that if a child is forced to come too soon, it comes in on the wrong horoscope, which can be tricky.

Linda Williams

We covered the area with rose petals

It was July 25th 1980; I had been a Sahaja Yogi for a year. In those days if we organized a public programme, Shri Mataji would often actually attend. I first met Shri Mataji in Enfield, where I lived and a year later I arranged a programme that took place the day before the one when I first met Her. I postered the area and placed an advertisement in the local paper.

As time moved on closer to the date of the programme, I imagined Shri Mataji coming to my flat, which was like a bedsit but with a separate kitchen and I went on to imagine falling at Her Feet as She arrived, at which point I felt very strong vibrations, and so I asked if Shri Mataji would like to come to my flat before going to the meeting. It was fantastic – She said She would come!

I went into a panic like state and started to wash the walls of the flat, painting ceilings and all kinds of things. By the time the big day came I was exhausted and in a mess.

When the Mercedes pulled into the drive I was in a complete state of shock as to who was going to get out of it. As Shri Mataji started to walk down the drive, I just could not believe what was happening. We covered the area on which She walked to enter the flat in rose petals.

As soon as Shri Mataji entered the flat She smiled and took off Her shoes. My altar was a photo of Shri Mataji on a sofa. There was no bed or anything. You can imagine it was like a dream to see Her actually sitting on the altar. It was completely beautiful.

Unfortunately only four useless people turned up at the programme and it was not easy for Shri Mataji to give realisation to any of them. I worked on one lady with Her and finally I felt the Sahasrara blow cool.

‘Ha!’ Shri Mataji said, the very instant I felt it.

After the programme She went to another yogi’s house and we, all the yogis, stayed there too.

The next day I gave Shri Mataji a gift to celebrate my receiving realisation exactly a year before. When I told Her what the gift was for, She took my head in Her hands and kissed my Sahasrara. A beautiful memory.

John Watkinson

How majestic it felt

Whenever Shri Mataji was in London on a Monday, She used to hold public introductory programmes at Caxton Hall. Mother would give a talk, then give realisation and would then work on the new people. This was how we learnt how to work on people, as we would walk round the hall with Shri Mataji and sometimes She would have us work on people, asking us to feel their vibrations. Then either She would show us what to do or ask us what we would do.

When Shri Mataji Herself worked on new people, She would say the mantras differently — not ‘Aum twameva sakshat Shri Mahakali’ or whichever deity She was invoking, but She would say, ‘Aham sakshat Mahakali,’ meaning, ‘I am Mahakali.’ How great and majestic it felt!

One miracle Shri Mataji did at Caxton Hall was to do with food. She did similar miracles many times. That evening, Shri Mataji and Sir CP were invited to dinner at 10, Downing Street, the official home of the British Prime Minister, and a number of important members of the government were also to be there.

Shri Mataji came to the programme looking beautiful, and ready for the dinner. Below is a photo taken of Her on Her balcony, wearing a lot of pearls, when She was ready to leave Her flat. After the talk, with extraordinary humility, our Divine Mother, the Goddess, progenitor and Empress of all the universes, apologised that She had to leave early because She had a previous engagement, a dinner date, but there was a nice supper waiting for us all.

Shri Mataji had insisted on cooking a meal for us. That morning, we had gone to the meat market with Her and had bought chicken legs, eighty portions. Mother made a delicious chicken dish and we took the pots to the programme and served it out after She had left, on Her instructions. I was serving the chicken and was counting the portions. I got to well over a hundred and ten, and just kept dishing them out. There was just enough for everyone.

Linda Williams

Dinner with the Prime Minister

Shri Mataji went to dinner with Margaret Thatcher at 10, Downing Street, when she was Prime Minister. The next day we eagerly asked what it was like. She said the food was awful, so bad that when She and Sir CP got home, Shri Mataji had to prepare something for him to eat. The wine was incredibly expensive, but of course neither She nor Sir CP drank that, and they had rhubarb ice cream, which was not at all nice. During the meal, She was talking to a cabinet minister who was sitting next to Her.

‘Haven’t I met You somewhere before?’ he said. Shri Mataji told us he had a little bit of seeking in him and She had appeared to him in a dream.

Another time when Shri Mataji returned from one of these VIP dinners She said what a low level the conversation was – these people were supposed to be running the country, or world, and all they talked about was where you could get drinks cheap in bulk. She said She preferred the company of the seekers.

Linda Williams

Shri Mataji was just looking at me

Sometimes Shri Mataji would bring pots filled with biryani for us to eat after the programme at Caxton Hall. Sometimes we used to eat at the programme, but other times we used to go round to Mother’s house. Quite often these talks would go on quite late for me, as I was quite young, only six or so. One time I fell asleep on the stairs and I woke up and there was Mother at the top of the stairs looking down at me. There was a crowd of people behind Her and She was just looking at me on the stairs.

Auriol Purdie

The power in Shri Mataji’s little finger

Shri Mataji always made sure that everyone got their realisation by moving around the room, working personally on each new individual. One time, after She had given realisation, I was still sitting in meditation when my mind began to fill with dark thoughts. Suddenly, I heard from behind me Shri Mataji’s voice calling me.

‘Felicity!’ I jumped up somewhat startled and turned around to see Shri Mataji two rows behind me, busily working on some new seeker. I moved closer and waited expectantly. Then She looked across at me and said, with great love and compassion, as if willing me to understand, ‘Don’t you know I have more power in My little finger than all the power in the whole world put together?’ The dark fog went away. She pulled me out of it.

Whatever Shri Mataji was doing, She always knew exactly where everyone was at and what everyone was experiencing. She had Her attention on everyone, all at the same time, and always gave to each person what they needed. This incident produced such a comforting feeling in me that Shri Mataji knew what was happening inside of me and that She would always protect me if I let Her.

Felicity Payment

The Agnya should not be covered

On more than one occasion when people brought their children to see Shri Mataji at Caxton Hall, and if they had hair fringes which covered their foreheads, She would push them aside and say that the Agnya must not be covered. Unfortunately the fringe was very fashionable at that time.


A TV show and a concert

Some of us did a talk show against the very dangerous techniques the false guru who had caught us made us do. We had recorded it and it was shown at 6.00pm on a Sunday. The programme was called Credo and showed the relationship between this type of ‘meditation’ and epilepsy – the EEG waves were the same in both cases, and how one was hypnotised and mesmerised. When the show went out, Shri Mataji had those of us who appeared on it round to Her flat, and we watched it with Her. I was sitting at Her powerful, hHHoly Feet.

After the programme we went to a concert at the South Bank Centre, given by a well-known Indian musician. Shri Mataji was wearing a black shawl. She left the flat ahead of me, then came back inside and gave the black shawl to me, and got another one for Herself. She said the bhuts would see the black shawl, think it was Hers, and I was Her, and avoid me.

When we got to the concert Shri Mataji had me sit next to Her, because I was very vulnerable. As mentioned before, She could work on everyone there through the music. She later said that when She, and millions of others, watched Princess Diana’s wedding, She could work on every single person whose attention was also on it.

Linda Williams

The petals of the Sahasrara

I was with Shri Mataji at Ashley Gardens, and suddenly She looked at me.

‘Your Sahasrara is opening out beautifully now,’ She said, She described how the petals looked so beautiful, even though I had no idea!

Linda Williams

Marriage and the left side

Shri Mataji said that marriage is good for the left side. She explained that the relationship starts at the Swadishthan, and the two people are physically attracted to each other. There is nothing wrong with this, within the marriage union. After some time the wife starts looking after the man, cooking and so on, and he feels very grateful, and maybe the husband brings home money for the wife, and that is the Nabhi chakra. Then the children come and the relationship rises to the heart, and there is a deep, mutually respectful love between the members of the family. As the children grow up, the couple have a good effect not just on their own family but their whole social circle, and that is the Vishuddhi chakra. Mother did not talk about the Agnya or Sahasrara.

Linda Williams

I do try

Shri Mataji’s flat at Ashley Gardens was on the top floor and overlooked the Roman Catholic Westminster Cathedral. I noticed Her flat was near the east end of the cathedral, and mentioned this.

‘Yes, I do try,’ was Her reply.

Worshippers always kneel towards the main altar at the east end of a church, so even though they did not realise it, they were kneeling in the right direction. The east end of the church in Cabella village also faced Her room.

Linda Williams

A very successful marriage

A few months after I came to Sahaja Yoga, one of the Sahaja Yogis met a lady who was a Sahaja Yogini. Shri Mataji called me to Her, and as I was one of the few married Sahaja Yogis, asked me to talk to the lady. I was to tell her that she should not become intimate with the man and then the man would admire her for it, and would marry her. He was a confirmed bachelor, but she did what Shri Mataji asked and he did marry her and it was a very successful marriage.

Linda Williams

Gabriel and the lilies

In many famous paintings, the angel Gabriel is portrayed as announcing to Mother Mary that She was to have a child, even though She was unmarried at the time, and he is depicted as giving Her a large white lily. In my ignorance, I asked Shri Mataji if this actually happened.

‘You see, those lilies do not grow in Palestine,’ She very sweetly replied.

Linda Williams

The Temple of all Faiths

My earliest memories of attending pujas, always centre on the Temple of All Faiths in Hampstead. I was new to Sahaja Yoga then so a puja that brought together 70 to 100 people seemed like a significant occasion. At that point in Europe circa 1980, there were one or two French Sahaja Yogis, a handful of Swiss and the rest all seemed to be English, from London and surrounding centres. To arrive at the Temple of All Faiths was to prepare one’s body for many hours of gruelling sitting. The ‘temple’ as it was rather generously called, was in actual fact a converted garage owned by a local Hindu pandit, a Mr. Bernarsi (who occasionally participated in the pujas and liked to hand-out his own brand of incense as a gift afterward). All of us jammed into the temple’s modest dimensions sitting cross-legged, huddled in rows on worn strips of carpet that were scattered over an uneven concrete floor.

Despite the humble setting these pujas were some of the most powerful I ever experienced in Sahaja Yoga. One left them starry eyed, entirely elevated, the veils of maya billowing apart, the cosmos a brighter, more magical, more intimate place. Listening to the thousand names of the Devi being recited in front of crackling, smoking havan, eyes watering as a result of the burning wood and samigri, you lost all sense of time and space. At one of these very early pujas I remember Christ’s Sermon on the Mount from The King James Bible being read to Shri Mataji at Her request. Watching Shri Mataji’s Holy face, with its regal, supremely dignified expression while these beautiful, sonorous words were recited, it felt as if I was living inside an ancient prophecy. It was incredibly moving. My Sahasrara opened and the vibrations just poured down in waves of grace and bliss, the joy deepening with each line that was spoken: ‘Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.’ It was hard not to cry.

It felt as if we were very much the children of God, at such pujas. Their mood was sublime despite the fact they could easily take five or six hours to complete (particularly if the Sahasranama and a havan was involved and this was usually the case) but Shri Mataji’s astounding patience, compassion and kindness with us all, no matter how long they took, was always in evidence. At the end of every puja all of us queued to personally present Shri Mataji with a bunch of flowers then we bowed down, placing our hands beneath Her Holy feet. While each Sahaja Yogi was prostrated Shri Mataji would check our vibrations, sometimes work on us briefly, give an instruction or utter a few words of encouragement, about each individual’s progress. They were very incredibly beautiful and special times.

Caleb Williams

The position of the stars

In 1980 there was a puja at the Temple of All Faiths in Hampstead. In those days an outside pujari, not a Sahaja Yogi, would sometimes come and help. On this occasion he was very late, having been unexpectedly detained. Shri Mataji explained that it was alright, because the jyotish, the position of the stars, was not right for the puja earlier, so he had to get late.


I felt such joy

I was blessed to be able to accompany Shri Mataji to Sheffield by train and I was running late. I was to meet Shri Mataji and Pamela at the station. I quickly bought a ticket, ran to find Shri Mataji on the train and quickly found Her, but of course in a First Class carriage! As I had been in such a hurry, I had bought an ordinary ticket without thinking, and said to Shri Mataji that I had to go back to the ticket office.

‘Why?’ Shri Mataji said, to which I apologised and explained that I had to change my ticket. Shri Mataji insisted that I stayed where I was and told Pamela to change Her and Pamela’s tickets to Second Class. I pleaded with Shri Mataji to let me change my ticket, but Shri Mataji would not hear any of it. Pamela returned and we started to move through the carriages, with Shri Mataji in the lead. I felt dreadful and as we entered the Second Class compartment. It was completely packed, so we moved on into the next carriage, which again was packed. By now my left Vishuddhi was carrying a ton weight. We moved through several packed carriages until suddenly we stepped into a completely empty one. I ended up sitting sheepishly opposite Shri Mataji. The train pulled away and as it did, I felt something in my lap. It was Shri Mataji’s Foot!

‘Rub My Feet,’ She said. I started to rub Her Feet and went into joyous ecstasy. I rubbed Her Feet for three hours and felt such joy that there was no room left for left Vishuddhi. The joy was so much that I wanted to kiss Her Feet as this feeling grew, and then I was still there rubbing Her Feet.

It was a beautiful weekend and Shri Mataji really spoilt me. On two or three occasions I called Her ‘Mum’, by mistake.

  John Watkinson 

She-field,’ the field of the Mother

Shri Mataji visited Sheffield in the north of England, in 1980, the year after I got realisation and gave it to my parents. She came up and was absolutely charmed with the country around Sheffield. She told us it was the ‘She-field,’ the field of the Mother. We thought it was sheaves — to do with wheat and corn, but no, it is much deeper.

That time in Sheffield was one of the most magical times of my life, when Shri Mataji came and stayed at my parents’ house. About half a dozen Sahaja Yogis came up from London on the train with Shri Mataji and it was a great honour for us.

Ray Harris

Shri Mataji explained how She opened the Sahasrara

Do you remember Shri Mataji sitting in that red armchair in the Harris’s little front room, with Mr Harris? Mother was explaining how She first opened the Sahasrara and how it was done telescopically. It was only later that She spoke about it at pujas.

Pamela Bromley

It was so informal, like a family

At that time I wasn’t living in my family’s house in Sheffield, and when I arrived Shri Mataji was already there, sitting comfortably, in the sitting room, visibly enjoying every ones company. The room was filled with a beautiful atmosphere.

Shri Mataji was sitting in a chair, there were a lot of people sitting at Her Feet and around Her, it was so informal, like a family. She was the same in a small modest family house, or in a palace. She was — how do you say — comfortable, relaxed, like a queen. Then, years later, you saw Her exactly the same, whether in front of thousands of people. Or sitting in our sitting room! She was like a queen, wherever She was.

It was just my impression of when Shri Mataji was in our house. People were extremely open towards Her. At that time, at the beginning of Sahaja Yoga it was so natural, like a big family. She was so close to you and everybody loved to be in Her company and She would just talk about any subject. My mother would come to Shri Mataji, showing Her paintings that we’d done. She was like a proud mother, as my own Mother.

‘Well, maybe it should be like this or like that,’ Shri Mataji would say, putting Her own little touches and being very sweet. It was a very, very special atmosphere. Maybe we didn’t realise at the time exactly what dimension we were taken into or how lucky we were.

Sharon Vincent

Shri Mataji is always there and She is eternal

I was at Sheffield railway station in England, and had some problems at the time. There were about four or five girls waiting in a row and Shri Mataji looked at us, then Her eyes fell on me. I felt that She was looking right through me and saw everything.

‘Come here,’ She said. I walked over to Her and She took my hands in Hers. ‘Don’t worry. Everything will be all right.’ Of course, when She said that, everything would be all right — it is!

The experiences I had with Shri Mataji were very human. When you were with Her, you saw there was something very human. Obviously, the human qualities of patience, love, compassion and generosity were remarkable, but also, you recognized Her subtle form by the unique realisation or awakening of the Kundalini in yourself.

When someone who had never met Shri Mataji heard people saying, ‘She’s very generous,’ it had an impression. You saw this generosity and you saw these qualities in Her, which were extraordinary. This was when you didn’t even know who She was or you didn’t feel what was happening on a subtle level.

The thing that was most important is the subtle effect that it had on you, the spiritual growth, the evolutionary development in yourself. To be living in these times and to have experienced all this is awesome and overwhelming, especially to an analytical mind. I wonder why I was lucky enough to have been there physically in Shri Mataji’s presence. She is everywhere, She is always there and She is eternal. The Spirit is eternal. But how fortunate we are in these times to have seen Her in Her physical form!

Sometimes in the programmes Shri Mataji would put Her handbag by Her side or take a cup of tea — so human, and there She was with Her hands out a second later, giving vibrations, completely contrary, completely opposite. What a paradox! You cannot comprehend this, to see somebody completely human and yet so completely above the mundane human existence. She took you to another dimension or level of consciousness.

When you saw Shri Mataji at an airport, there were thousands of people in Sahaja Yoga all over the world and you knew that She hadn’t changed from the first time you met Her. Yet you’d say, ‘She will not remember my name.’

‘Hello, Sharon. How are you?’ She would come up and say. She knew everyone to the minutest detail, who you were, what you were, and every tiny little detail about everybody. She knew all their names and She solved people’s problems, and took them to another dimension. Only a divine personality could do that!

Sharon Vincent

We were just so joyful

We used to go up to London to Caxton Hall from Brighton every Monday.

‘Did you hear this?’ we’d say, and ‘Did you hear that?’ Just so exciting — ‘Did you hear that Shri Ganesha is Christ?’ It would be such a contrast on the way home, we’d be laughing and everything, singing on the train. We were just so, so joyful, weren’t we? We noticed it so much.

Pamela Bromley

Humans do make mistakes

After I had been in Sahaja Yoga for about eighteen months, and Shri Mataji had graciously worked on me many times, She asked me if I felt I was alright. I replied that I felt alright when with Her, but that otherwise might do anything wrong, and make any stupid mistake at any moment. Shri Mataji replied that I would make a lot of mistakes, because I am a human and humans do make mistakes.

Linda Williams

Too much conditioning

We were driving to a programme outside London and I was in Shri Mataji’s car. For some reason we went down the high street of Eton, a little town where the famous public school for boys is situated. Shri Mataji asked us to feel the vibrations and we felt left Vishuddhi and right Swadishthan. She explained that it was because that very traditional school gave the pupils too much conditioning and then they felt guilty about it.

Linda Williams

Learning to work on people

Every Monday evening when Shri Mataji was in London there would be a public programme at Caxton Hall. Mother gave a talk, then realisation, and would walk round the hall working on new people. She would teach us how to give vibrations, and one time asked me to feel the vibrations of a person and tell Her where he was catching.

‘I feel a left Vishuddhi,’ I said.

‘That is your left Vishuddhi, try again,’ She corrected me – She was very patient.

When working on people, sometimes two or three of us would work on the same person. This meant that the person on the right side would put their left hand to the photo, or Shri Mataji Herselfer,H and their right across it towards the person being worked on. This was wrong, and Mother told us never to cross our hands.

Linda Williams

Some golden opportunities

As young teens, of sixteen and fourteen, my brother Caleb and I had some golden opportunities of being near to Shri Mataji. She was extremely kind to us both sometimes teasingly calling me ‘old grandmother’ and Caleb ‘the poet’ (not very teenage-like). Such close proximity also meant direct attention on one’s catches and at times the spotlight could be uncomfortable. With me it was usually liver and left Vishuddhi.

‘Don’t feel so guilty!’ Shri Mataji would scold. Moments later She’d kindly explain, ‘You know, those people who should feel guilty, rarely ever feel guilt at all.’ 
If the liver were catching Shri Mataji would usually tell me to stop what I was doing. I remember Her admonishing me one day on finding me sweeping a staircase.

’Why are you doing that? Please take it easy.’ She sounded quite exasperated that I was rushing around when most of the house was asleep.
Another time I was washing a pile of dishes in Shri Mataji’s kitchen, feeling very at peace with the world and when I turned there She was standing in the doorway; I hadn’t heard Her coming. I’ll always remember that sweet look on Her face, eyes brimming with love, and Her saying with great charm: ‘Ah you see! Cleanliness is next to Godliness.’ It seems amazing that one could experience such joy from doing the dishes.
Sometimes I got to pack Mother’s suitcases for those long realization tours and when I ironed and folded those exquisitely perfumed saris in preparation for their journey, I would sometimes think, ‘If only I could go with You,’ As usual Shri Mataji had a knack of reading minds. She was sitting on the bed checking I’d matched the right blouses with the right saris.

‘Don’t worry, I’ll take you with Me one day,’ She said, out of the blue.

Danya Martoglio

What about your friends?

‘Caleb, what about your friends?’ Mother often would say to me in my earliest days of Sahaj, or ‘You must now bring the other young people.’

At that time, in 1980, there were no other teenagers in the collective, apart from myself, then 16, and my sister Danya, 14. After meeting Mother it was not so hard to turn our backs on the teen lifestyle we were leading, but sometimes it felt a little lonely. 

Caleb Williams

We can pray to Shri Mataji to fight for us

Shri Mataji often came to the Hampstead public programme, which was held on a Thursday at Friend’s Meeting House. At the end of the programme, from 1980, we often used to sing Jerusalem, the beautiful hymn by William Blake to Lord Jesus and Shri Mataji.

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the Holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark satanic mills?

Once Shri Mataji explained to us the meaning — And did those feet in ancient time. Those feet, refers to Lord Jesus, and Mother said He did come here, and walked all over England.

The second verse refers to Shri Mataji:

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

She said it is She who takes up the weapons of the Goddess and not us. We can pray for Her to do so, but if we take up the weapons, we may have problems because we do not have the Shaktis (powers). She said we can pray to Mother and ask Her to do the fighting for us, because She has given us the power of desire. So the second verse refers to Mother, not us.

Mother said that Hampstead, in north London, is where the actual beat of the heart takes place on a subtle level, England being the left Heart chakra on Mother Earth.

Auriol Purdie

The most amazing cook

When I was picked up from school I would often go with mum to Ashley Gardens, a block of flats where Shri Mataji was living then. I always loved going to Her house because Shri Mataji was the most amazing cook and to this day I remember the taste of Her dal, and the smell of Her dal. There is something absolutely magical about the food that Mother cooked. However simple it may have been, just rice and dal, it was out of this world, obviously, being as it was prepared by the Goddess. She was so caring and so loving and She would always make sure I had food and that I was happy and content. I was six years old at the time.

She liked me to rub Her Feet. One time Shri Mataji was talking and I was very intent on doing this. She used to like me to do it very hard, but it can’t have been that hard because I was so small. I was doing Her ankles but She was deep in conversation with someone, then She turned around.

‘No that’s enough,’ She said.

Auriol Purdie

What is behind is vast

One day, I was in Shri Mataji’s flat at Ashley Gardens, in Her living room. It was a wonderful warm yellow and red colour scheme, very rich and regal looking, with thick Indian carpets on the floor. On this occasion, Shri Mataji was sitting on a sofa by the window. I sat on the floor and looked up at Her, and could see Her silhouetted against a clear blue sky. I thought, ‘Mother, You are so human and loving, but behind You is infinity.’ She picked up my thoughts.

‘What you see is Mataji, but what is behind is vast,’ She said.

Another time I was with Shri Mataji at Ashley Gardens and had picked my daughter up from school. It was a hot sleepy afternoon and She suggested we should all have a rest. We went into Her room and Shri Mataji lay down on Her bed with my daughter next to Her. I sat on the floor and meditated, as I didn’t feel very tired. They both looked so totally relaxed.

After some time, Mother and my daughter woke up. I asked Her if She was unconscious when She slept and She explained that when She slept She went from Her limited form into Her unlimited Self.

‘If I sleep, what will happen to the universe?’ She said.

Linda Williams

Taking the vibrations

Shri Mataji asked me to make Her a summer dressing gown, as She was going to Russia with Sir CP. I asked Her what size pattern I should buy to make it, and She said it depended on how well we were taking Her vibrations. She explained that if we were taking them properly then She was about a size 12, which is average, but if not She could go up to size 18.

While in Russia, She was often putting Her hand on Her nose. She told us that Sir CP wondered what She was doing, as She was asking Shri Kubera, who gave the Goddess Her nose, for his help, because we needed money to buy Chelsham Road.

Linda Williams

An official trip

Shri Mataji travelled widely in Russia and the former Soviet Union before She visited there to spread Sahaja Yoga. Here are two photos taken while there with Sir CP. Our Holy Mother accompanied him on official business.

This photo shows Shri Mataji with Sir CP and others in St Petersburg, then Leningrad, in 1980.

Maxim Belyanin


Nearly a month after signing with the house agent that I would pay cash for Chelsham Road, Shri Mataji asked me if I had paid for the house. I said I had not, as I didn’t have any money and the outlook was not good. She had absolutely no sympathy and was extremely displeased.

‘How can I work through I work through you if you don’t have faith in Me?’ She said.

I apologised and promised I would have faith and within a week the money magically appeared – I won some money from a court case against a false guru and my mother very nobly came up with the last two thousand pounds.

Linda Williams

Shri Mataji works miracles

‘Well, Mother works miracles because I only have something like ten pence in the bank,’ Linda said, ‘and we just bought a house.’ It was like Linda was a pauper and she had bought this house. It was so incredible, another miracle.

Rosie Lyons

This is going to be a tricky one

Our original instructions for marriage — when we were very few, were that Sahaja Yogis couldn’t marry because we were brothers and sisters. We had the same Mother. So the only way you could marry was that you had to meet someone. They had to agree to marry you and then they would get their realisation, as your fiancé. We all thought this would be a tricky one, but my sister Maureen actually did it.

Pat Anslow

I’ve met somebody and he wants to marry me

I was going to college in 1980 and I met someone. I thought this was really not the right way to do it and I had better tell Shri Mataji. So I phoned Her.

‘Mother, I’ve met somebody and he wants to marry me,’ I said. I thought She would ask me about his vibrations.

‘What does his father do?’ She said, unexpectedly, and ‘What is his career? What is his income?’ She was just like a mother. Then She said, ‘Bring him to the meeting.’

‘Shri Mataji wants to meet you,’ I said to this young man. He hadn’t met Her, even though he could feel vibrations and everything. So we went to the weekly Caxton Hall meeting.

‘Mother, this is the one,’ I said, when Shri Mataji came near to him. She paid particular attention to him and the meeting went on. As She was getting into Her car, because we would always see Shri Mataji to Her car outside Caxton Hall and gather round to say goodbye, I thought that I must ask Her, so I pushed myself forward.

‘May God bless you,’ She said to me, and then She told us we would have the wedding in the Temple of All Faiths in Hampstead in early July 1980. Shri Mataji organized the whole thing. On the day of the wedding, I was in a Sahaja Yogi’s house getting ready and Mark, my husband-to-be, was at the Dollis Hill ashram getting ready.

‘You must have wedding ornaments,’ Shri Mataji said. She went out and bought them for us. She got Her own sari and put it round Mark’s head as a turban — an entire silk sari.

We had the havan and the wedding vows and everything. At one point during the ceremony, when we were seated within about two feet of Shri Mataji, Mark’s turban started to come undone, so Shri Mataji stood up and reorganized it.

We have some photos of Mother and you knew that it was all linked to the chakras, and that She was fixing everything. At one point during the ceremony, I didn’t know if I would feel married in an Indian wedding. It was a totally new thing, but gradually the whole thing unfolded and we walked around the fire tied together by the silk scarf. When most of the ceremony was finished, I was seated nearest to Mother. I looked at Her and I started to cry and Mother started to cry. She just took the depth of that occasion; She wanted to show me that this was for real. After the wedding, She took the wedding ring and blessed it and gave it to us.

Then we went back to the Sahaja Yogi’s house and Shri Mataji had done a whole reception for us. We sat on this special seat, and Shri Mataji was in another room. We were sort of the guests of honour. In the end, we were brought in front of Mother, still joined by the scarf.

‘Where are you going now?’ said Shri Mataji. We looked at each other because we hadn’t arranged anything. ‘You’d better come with Me,’ She said.

She took Mark and me to Her flat, Ashley Gardens. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves; we were just so stunned. Shri Mataji took us into Her room and undid all the silk things and took them off, then took us into Her sitting room and gave us supper, and we watched television with Her. We watched a Bette Davis movie. I can’t remember the film but Mother said we should watch the film with Her as Bette Davis was very good.

The next morning we had breakfast with Her and She gave me a cardigan to wear. We had nothing. She gave us everything to wear.

It so happened that next day was the day on which Chelsham Road became ours, and Mark and I had to go and collect the key from the former owner, and Mother said it would be such an auspicious thing to do. So we went there and found the old lady who had sold it. That was an incredible start.

Maureen Rossi

Let Me kiss you

When Mother came to Bristol for the first time, in early July 1980, I had made Her a cushion out of antique fabrics.

‘Can I give You a present now, Mother?’ I asked when She had given us presents.

‘Look at her, she asks Me if she can give Me a present – of course you can!’ She said. I gave it to Her – She was talking about it, saying how beautiful it was and She said, ‘Somehow it has such a good feeling about it.’ Then She said, ‘Let Me kiss you.’ After this I moved away to the other side of the room and then She said, ‘Come here, I want to kiss you again!’

A year or more later, my husband Chris and I went to a meeting at Caxton Hall. Mother greeted us as we entered, and we must have been late.

‘Ah, hello Chris, Ruth,’ She said, ‘I was looking at your thing (the cushion) lying there like a beautiful flower today and I thought of you and wondered when I would see you again.’

Ruth Greaves

A tide in the affairs of men

The first time Shri Mataji visited Bristol, in 1980, She gave Ruth, now my wife, and me a present, a large brass elephant bell.

‘Oh, but we’re not a couple,’ I explained.

‘Really? I thought you were. So, Chris, would you like this present, or another one?’ I could see that Ruth had set her heart on it.

‘Let Ruth have it, Mother,’ I said. She nodded and asked for something else to give to me. Someone standing beside her drew out a second present from a bag. It was a heart-shaped soapstone box.

‘This is for you,’ She said.

Chris Greaves

He is within me

When Shri Mataji was in Bristol in 1980, She asked me about Gurdjieff. Someone who had come to Her public programme had been a follower of this particular savant, the ‘herald of the coming good’. As it happened, I’d read most of Gurdjieff’s books shortly before coming to Sahaja Yoga – and somehow Shri Mataji must just have known this.

‘He is within Me,’ She said of him.

Chris Greaves

Editor’s note: all realised souls are cells in Mother’s body, so She was implying that he was a good man. Gurdjieff was an Armenian philosopher and writer who lived in the early twentieth century.

Who would be a woman?

Some yoginis and I were sitting around Mother in Bristol in 1980. She had Her suitcase open in front of Her and was choosing a sari top to wear to the meeting that night. She picked out a deep purple one and asked us what we thought. We said it was lovely.

‘No, I don’t think so, I don’t want to frighten them,’ She then said. The choosing went on for a while and I think She picked a white one in the end. This task complete, She looked up with a twinkle in Her eye and said, ‘Who would be a woman?’

It was at around this time that Shri Mataji said that we keep to the same sex each time we incarnate, and also to the East or West – only changing over if there is some specific lesson to be learned, or a reason for it.

Ruth Greaves

Editor’s note: after Shri Mataji’s first public programme in Montpelier, Bristol in 1980, She invited all the new people back to the organiser’s house the next day. Shri Mataji held three roses seen in the photograph in Her hand and inhaled their fragrance. As She enjoyed it, so did everyone in the room – the scent was overpowering. Bristol is the Vishuddhi of England.

Basmati rice

Every time Shri Mataji came to Bristol, in the early eighties, I had the honour of cooking for Her. The first time She came She talked to me about what I had cooked and the ingredients I’d used. She was very complimentary but said that the best rice to use was basmati – I had used ordinary long grain Patna rice. So, the next year when She visited I used basmati. However, the third time She came to the Old Vicarage in Montpelier, where we had a flat, somehow in the rush of preparing everything we had only managed to get Patna rice. At least, it came out of a big sack in our local shop and was sold to us as the much cheaper Patna rice. They didn’t have any Basmati.

Mother had been served Her food and I was in the kitchen. I started worrying.

‘Mother said I should use basmati and I didn’t get it,’ I said to a Sahaja Yogini there at the time. At this moment someone came into the kitchen and said that Mother was asking for me, so I went to Her.

‘Ruth, where did you get this rice, this is the finest quality basmati, we cannot even get this in London, you know!’ She said.

Ruth Greaves

Shri Mataji would go anywhere to save Her children

Shri Mataji had the first public programme in Exeter in the summer of 1980. Mother visited Exeter Cathedral and said that there was a realised bishop buried there. After that Pat (Anslow) and I drove from London to Exeter most weekends. We had about ten people who stuck on and we were teaching them about the chakras and the Kundalini. Shri Mataji always wanted to go to Exeter even though we hardly had anywhere for Her to stay. She would go anywhere to save Her children, as She kept saying.

The seekers were in mortal danger from false gurus, who were keen to damage their subtle systems. We did not mind at what state they were in because they were our brothers and sisters and they were going to be all right. Shri Mataji worked on them all the time even though She was often in a lot of pain. During the pujas in those days with just a few of us Mother was releasing a lot of vibrations and we could not absorb them so Her Feet used to swell up with all the vibrations.

Grazyna Anslow

A happy cat

There was a cat that sat curled up next to Shri Mataji while She sat on a sofa and gave a talk to a small collection of yogis in the living room of Ulla’s house in Exeter. It purred constantly, loudly and enthusiastically through Her talk and then, when Shri Mataji got up from the sofa at the end of Her talk it suddenly let out an extremely loud and piercing miaou of protest, as if it had suddenly and inexplicably been ejected from the most perfect resting spot imaginable.

Kevin Anslow 

Exeter, 1980

A meeting in our student hostel

In the summer of 1980 we had a meeting in the lobby of our student hostel in east London, and Mother came and talked to some students. Then She came up to our one room student flat and it was filled with Sahaja Yogis. It was just two rooms and a bathroom and a passage and where all the Sahaja Yogis went, I don’t know, because you had to give Mother enough room.

Maureen Rossi

Got it now?

I’d like to share a memory about the dynamic, powerful way Mother was in the early public programmes at Caxton Hall and other places around London in the summer and autumn of 1980. At the conclusion of each lecture Mother usually left the stage to walk among the seekers. She would often greet, namaste, or shake hands with new people while directing various Sahaja Yogis to work on them. There were also occasions when Mother would go from individual to individual, standing behind each personally raising their Kundalini, working on chakras and giving neck massages.

Sometimes while standing behind someone and working on them She would stamp Her Foot loudly in order to crush their negativity under it, usually accompanied by a triumphant cry of ‘A-Ha!’ or ‘Hum!’ Mother would frequently laugh thunderously at such moments, tossing Her rippling blue-black hair on Her shoulders as some blockage in the path of the Kundalini was freed. Then in a voice that was filled with motherly care, She would lean over the seated seeker She was working on.

‘Got it now?’ She would say, and a face melted by tenderness would turn around and give a nod of heartfelt thanks.

Caleb Williams

Shri Durga in action

There were also times when Mother, in a display of Devi-like prowess, would raise Her index finger and begin to rhythmically rotate Her wrist (as if twirling the Shri Chakra on Her fingertip) so that Her many bangles began to bounce and jingle, then this accumulated vibrational energy was hurled at the blocked chakra of the person in front of Her. Sometimes She would do it several times before crying ‘A-Ha!’ as the person’s chakra finally cleared and the Kundalini began to flow again.

To see Mother in this mode was to witness Shri Durga in action – the radiant, fiercely compassionate Goddess, joyously conducting a campaign of battle at each programme, busily casting out negativity and resurrecting old souls She had known in previous lives, to worship Her and walk by Her side again.

Caleb Williams

The scene was reminiscent of something biblical

At one of these early programmes at Caxton Hall, I was watching as Mother and the Sahaja Yogis worked on a young seeker whose body was wracked by fits of uncontrollable shaking. This kind of extreme reaction to Mother’s vibrations was not so uncommon then. Many seekers in that era had been seriously damaged by false gurus, and this young man collapsed on the floor in front of Mother as She approached him.

Mother stood in front of him steadily and lovingly raising his Kundalini and giving him a bandhan. His limbs still shook furiously, but his face became soft, as he stared back at Mother – in loving recognition of Her spiritual power and Her divinity. Gradually his fit was brought under control, and the extreme reaction subsided. The whole scene was reminiscent of something biblical, and I thought of Christ casting out spirits into the herd of Gadarene swine. There were many incredible moments of this type back in those early days.

Caleb Williams

Chapter 21: 1980A Trip to Portugal

I am your Mother!

Shri Mataji had been formally invited to my brother Arneau’s, and Maria Amelia’s wedding in Portugal in the castle of Cintra, one hour away from Lisbon. On the actual day of the wedding, at lunch time, Shri Mataji was nowhere to be seen. I was concerned that She would not have any food, so I got a tray and chose the nicest dishes that I could find for Her from the buffet, and brought it to Her room. She was sitting on Her bed in meditation and gave me permission to sit at Her Feet. There followed a casual conversation, from which I remember that She liked the colour of my outfit – aqua blue with lots of stars on it. She then said that my liver was hot because of too much sun, and put Her Foot on it: it was icy cold.

‘You needed this treatment,’ She said after a while.

Mother said it was the first time She was facing a large gathering of Catholic people – around two hundred and fifty, between the two families. She attended the wedding ceremony in the church and it stirred up quite a lot of reactions from the Portuguese as well as the Swiss people, to see this beautiful unknown Indian lady in the first row pew – Arneau had asked Shri Mataji to come to the first row.

Shri Mataji didn’t mix and socialise much with the crowd. She mostly stayed in Her room, surrounded by the little group of Sahaja Yogis, and we went out to dine with Her in the small restaurants.

On the day of the departure, I went down the huge marble staircase of the castle with Shri Mataji leaning Her hand on my left shoulder. When we were at the bottom of the stairs She looked at me.

‘I am your Mother!’ She said. I was not sure about the significance of Her uttering these words at that moment; I understood later.

Antoinette Wells

Shri Mataji’s visit to Lisbon in 1980

As there were no collective Sahaja weddings when we (Arneau and myself) were engaged, in our earnest desire to have Shri Mataji at our wedding, we invited Her to come to Lisbon for the occasion. As we were organising the first programmes in that town at the same time, Shri Mataji in Her immense graciousness accepted to come. She came there for some days in August 1980, and the Yogis present had the luck and opportunity to follow and visit the town with Her.

The first public programme took place on the 3rd August 1980, and I was very worried that not many people would come. I had the feeling Portuguese were not real seekers. Shri Mataji arrived at the Sheraton Hotel some time before the programme, and for a while was in the lobby of the hotel, talking to us, the ten to fifteen yogis present. Just before, I had checked the hall and only a few newcomers where there waiting for the programme to start. I was very disappointed and sad but did not say anything and went back to the lobby to listen to Shri Mataji. After some minutes, She looked at me.

‘Go and see the hall,’ She said. To my surprise the hall was full, and the sixty chairs were all occupied now. I run back to the lobby, beaming and happy, and Shri Mataji was there smiling.

‘See? No need to worry!’ She said. Needless to say I had not mentioned my worries before.

The following day, we went out visiting Lisbon in the morning. We walked in the old part of the town and went to visit the Castello de São Jorge (St. George’s castle) overlooking the town and the River Tejo. While in the gardens, we admired the view over the town, and far away on the other side of the river stood the statue of Cristo Rei (Christ the King). Shri Mataji requested us to put our hands towards it and see what we could feel. We did not feel very cool, and stated so. She then told us to put our left hand towards Her and the right towards the statue.

‘And now, what do you feel?’

‘Much cooler,’ was our general answer!

‘You have one hand towards Me,’ She then laughed and said. ‘Now the statue can give vibrations to the town,’ were Her divine words.

After this all of us walked towards one of the old quarters of Lisbon and chose a typical small restaurant. As we entered we had to laugh, as the song playing on the radio was, ‘The answer my friend is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind,’ a well known song of the American singer Bob Dylan.

While waiting for the food, Shri Mataji took the bread, and as She had three days before, divided it and gave each one of us a piece.

Marie-Amelia de Kalbermatten

Mother just unravelled everything

We were in Portugal in 1980, at the beginning of August, in a small village called Cintra. We were about ten people, and we went to an inn at the top of a hill. The innkeeper was a wine owner.

‘There is some wine in the cellar,’ Shri Mataji said, about the bad vibrations there.

We all sat around the rectangular table and Mother had a white sari on, and Her long hair was on Her shoulders. She was at the middle of the table and on it was a basket of bread and some grapes, and we were all waiting to have our supper. Two little local girls rushed into the restaurant and Mother smiled at them, and then they rushed out again.

‘Realised!’ Mother said.

‘Oh, how sweet, they just came in to get their realisation.,’ I thought. They were about ten years old and just went in and out, running.

Antoinette Wells

I remember the picture because it was so beautiful. Shri Mataji had Her long dark hair on Her shoulders, and She had a dark red shawl around Her.

‘Shri Mataji, please, could You explain to us, what was the charisti, the communion (the Christian mass)?’ my elder sister Antoinette asked Shri Mataji.

Marie-Laure Cernay

We were about to take some grapes.

‘Just wait,’ She said, and put Her hands on them for a while, ‘Now you can take the grapes.’

We had tasted the grapes before She put Her hands on them and they had been quite average: sugary, but no taste. After She put Her hands on the grapes, they were absolutely succulent, a lovely nectar flavour.

So we just ate the grapes and praised Her and said how good they were.

Antoinette Wells

Shri Mataji was really looking like Christ and took a loaf of bread, which was quite big and oval shaped and She took it in Her hand. She kept it in Her hand a little while, then just started to give a little piece of bread to each one of us.

Marie-Laure Cernay

‘Now you take this bread and share it among yourselves,’ Shri Mataji said. So we did and I was quite amazed at what was going on here because I could recall a scene that had happened two thousand years ago. ‘You see,’ She went on, ‘when Christ shared the bread among His disciples, He could say, “Take that because it is My body,” because this very bread was His own body, because it was full of vibrations and, as He was full of vibrations, He was pranava. He was the vibrations Himself. He could convey that to the bread and, obviously, when the disciples would eat this bread, they would eat His vibrations.’ And it was the same with the grapes or the ‘wine’ that Shri Mataji transformed.

Antoinette Wells

‘That’s all. That’s it. That’s all of it,’ She told us.

We all ate this in silence and we realised that this communion, was the same as the vibrated food that Shri Mataji is giving to us and She was putting the vibrations in the bread and then giving it to all of us.

Marie-Laure Cernay

I was completely in awe, and was in meditation, because years and years of Catholicism never explained to me that mystery. There, in a telescopic way, in five seconds, Mother just unravelled everything for us and we understood what was going on and it was very beautiful.

Antoinette Wells

So we realised also, as an experience, what it was. It was a very strong moment.

Marie-Laure Cernay

After this we went out and it was evening, a beautiful sunset in Cintra, in Portugal. Shri Mataji had Her burgundy-coloured shawl around Her head, Her big brown eyes were looking at the sun and the sun was enormous, just at the horizon, and it seemed not to move. We were all still beside Her, looking at the sun. In my head, I thought, ‘The sun is waiting to go down because Mother is here.’

Then She blinked. The sun went down and I felt that the sun was saluting Her, and that was the end of this beautiful evening.

Antoinette Wells

Clearing the Nabhi

Shri Mataji came to Glasgow on August 13th 1980 and had a public programme. She stayed in our flat, and the next day a lot of people came round. Shri Mataji was talking to us all and working on them. I had invited a friend to the programme, but he had not come. However he turned up at the flat. He came in and sat down and met Shri Mataji just like that. He was an educated ex-hippy, and was a teacher.

He had a number of preconceptions, and was nice, but did not know anything about Sahaja Yoga. Shri Mataji looked at him and said that he had a bad Nabhi catch, and we could all feel it.

‘Say, I will marry,’ Shri Mataji said to my friend.

‘I can’t say that,’ he replied. ‘I don’t believe in marriage.’

‘I doesn’t matter, just say it,’ He argued a bit more, but finally he did say it, even though he did not believe it. Nevertheless, immediately the catch cleared.

His attention also cleared immediately, and Shri Mataji said something like, ‘Ah! He’s clear!’

Mark Callahan

The first puja at Chelsham Road

The first of many pujas we had at the Chelsham Road ashram was the Shri Bhumi Puja, on August 16th, the puja to bless the house. Shri Mataji stood in the doorway, the front porch, and rice and other things were offered to Her Feet. Everyone crowded round in the hallway and garden. After we had finished the short puja, Mother told us to bury the offerings of rice, kumkum, turmeric and flowers on the right of the doorway, between the door and the window.

Auriol Purdie

Playing the game

I always remember when I first came into Sahaja Yoga, Shri Mataji said to us all in Chelsham Road something very deep.

‘You see,’ She said, ‘Sahaja Yoga is a game and you have to know how to play the game. The problem is I want to play the game with you, but you don’t know how to play the game. And if you don’t know the rules of the game, it is very difficult to play the game with you.’

It is very important to remember, that She is playing a game that we really don’t know how to play. Shri Mataji will, to an ignorant human, appear to contradict Herself, but in fact it is because different things apply at different times and, in reality, She is entirely consistent.

To give an example, She will get someone to design the house or to design a new floor in the house or to design a room. Basically, She will change all the rules, like She will make the dimensions completely different and the architect will be trying to draw something on a rational level and not understanding that Mother is on a completely different level. She makes space where space doesn’t exist, at least on our level. Very often it is just that She is trying to put us thoughtless.

Jeremy Lamaison

She gave me a photograph of Her Feet

I did not know who Shri Mataji was, but found out where She was staying in London, shortly after I got my realisation. I hitchhiked down to Chelsham Road, London, and knocked on the door.

‘Who are you?’ someone said.

I explained that I was a Birmingham Sahaja Yogi, which was a lie because I just wanted to get in front of Shri Mataji. Anyway, I bluffed it enough for the person to let me in so I came in and sat at the back of the room for the talk, and when Mother finished there was a lapse while people made tea and generally milled around. I made my way towards Her sheepishly and asked Her if She could help me because I had had chronic asthma from the age of four years. Shri Mataji told me to sit on the floor in front of Her and She put Her Feet on my Centre Heart which I held in position with my hands. I just held them on my Centre Heart whilst She was talking to everybody. Suddenly there was a noise like a stick snapping.

‘You’re okay now,’ Mother said. I felt much better and could feel a difference in my Centre Heart. I had been ill all the time with asthma.

‘What do I do when Your Feet are not there?’ I asked Shri Mataji.

She gave me a photograph of Her Feet.

John Firth

Public programme in Geneva (diary extract 27th August 1980)

Everything is ready: the posters are up in the town, the adverts in the newspapers, I have contacted the journalists. The ‘right side’ has gone in gear and as there were my courses at Uni, my family and the preparations for the programmes I became a little ‘speedy’, but everything is done. Shri Mataji is coming to-morrow! O Lord, I surrender everything at Your Feet.

(30th August) Shri Mataji came: average attendance at the programmes in Lausanne but great success in Geneva. More than three hundred people in total on the two days. A very good article came out in the Tribune de Genève just before the programmes. In Geneva I had the immense joy of translating Shri Mataji – English into French – on stage; it was totally fulfilling for my Swadishthan chakra: Shri Mataji spoke about Athena, who held a snake in Her hand; She said that it was the Kundalini. All my philosophical dreams were answered and I was so happy to serve Shri Mataji in this creative way.

In Lausanne, Shri Mataji soothed a serious case of epilepsy combined with paralysis. He was the son of a psychiatrist who said that all the psychiatry was nothing in regard of Mother’s power which was able to better the condition of this patient with vibrations, fire and lemons in a significant way!

In Geneva people from all ages, races and ethnicity were represented, maybe because of the UN: the next evening they all came with lemons, sugar, salt for Shri Mataji to vibrate. It was incredible to see this in Geneva: the Vishuddhi, liver, Agnya chakras were open! The Lord’s Prayer said in front of Shri Mataji had helped clear the Agnya.

Shri Mataji came twice for dinner at home. To the little group of yogis who were there She said that Sahaja Yoga had to be the essence for us, that we shouldn’t limit ourselves to the incarnations who were before Her but to see in Her who She was now.

‘You have just to love Me in an informal way,’ She said.

Antoinette Wells

Only the truth

  These programmes were so significant because Shri Mataji challenged the wrongdoings of Christianity especially the fundamentalism, in one of the oldest Protestant temples in Geneva. For three weeks there were debates about the three programmes in the newspapers, but the head of the Protestant Church recognised that Shri Mataji had only spoken the truth and that nothing She had said was against the ancient scriptures.

Antoinette Wells

Peace and thoughtlessness

(Extract from my diary: April 1980)

‘The first puja that I have had the privilege to attend in Lausannne, Switzerland has been an unforgettable experience to me: I remember Shri Mataji clad in a splendid blue sari. I was sitting on the floor with my sister in law, Maria Amelia just in front of Her, and She taught us to decorate Her Feet with kumkum.

‘I am Shiva’s wife!’ She said at some point.

At these words a firework of joy burst in my heart and my attention went to a very ancient scene where I could see Shri Mataji in a large arena. On the steps a big crowd was cheering and She was watching a little Shri Ganesha dancing! My mind was so fascinated by the unfolding of this puja that I was a little on the right side, but when, a few moments later, Shri Mataji was gratifying the little group of Sahaja Yogis with powerful vibrations, my ‘horse’/mind settled down, my Agnya opened up in a fraction of a second, I felt peace and thoughtlessness and I saw Her in Her Majesty within the silence. At that same moment She pointed Her finger towards me and said, ‘Ha!’ like She used to say when something was working out. In other words, at the same fraction of second I was in Nirvichara, She could see it in me.’

Antoinette Wells

Many hours in Shri Mataji’s presence

In the summer of 1980 the ashram moved to 44, Chelsham Road, Clapham, fulfilling the prophesy of William Blake.

‘…Lambeth Vale, Where Jerusalem’s foundations began,

Where they were laid in ruins..’

Shri Mataji Herself laid a stone of the new foundations of what was at the time an almost derelict house. How many, many hours we spent in the meditation room there, in the Divine Presence of Shri Mataji, in puja, listening to Her talks, Her advice, being worked on, meditating.

Patricia Proenza

William Blake prophesied about Sahaja Yoga

Someone had been reading William Blake’s prophetic work, Milton, and showed some parts to Shri Mataji. She explained that a lot of what Blake prophesied was about Sahaja Yoga, all over London and Britain. The little bit about Chelsham Road referred to some ruins, and Shri Mataji explained that not only was the house a ruin, so were a lot of our Kundalinis.

Linda Williams

Not to assume

Shortly after we got Chelsham Road, I was in the back of Shri Mataji’s car. We had, by some miracle of Hers, managed to find the money to buy the house, but there was simply no more. Mother asked me where I was going to get the money for necessary repairs, and I must have phrased it very wrongly, because She was not at all pleased with my answer, something like:

‘I am praying to You that some will turn up,’ or ‘You are the source of all wealth.’

Shri Mataji said that why should I expect Her to produce that money? How dare I ask such a thing? As if I were actually asking Her for cash in hand. Perhaps there had been an element of presumption, because the money never came. Or perhaps She was trying to teach me that we shouldn’t have the hippy attitude, ‘Oh Mother will do it all, we can just sit back and enjoy’. It was a big lesson for me, that we can pray to Shri Mataji, and She will give what is best for our spiritual growth, and we should be deeply grateful for Her many blessings, but we should never assume.

Linda Williams

The mother bird and her children

I was in John Lewis, the department store in Oxford Street, with Shri Mataji, choosing wallpaper for the hall and stairs of Chelsham Road. I looked at some innocuous and boring designs, and Mother showed me which one to buy. It was very dark, with a lot of tree branches and leaves, and a big bird and a smaller bird. Mother explained that this was the mother bird looking after her babies – the smaller birds – and that was us. The background was dark because they were dark times, very symbolic. Of course, by Her grace, this particular wallpaper was on ‘special’ and very cheap and there were just enough rolls for us to do the job.

Linda Williams

The winnowing basket

After we had been at Chelsham Road for some time, Shri Mataji gave us a semi-circular basket and told us it was a winnowing basket, used in India for separating the wheat or rice from the chaff. She said it was very significant, and represented the sorting out of this time, and we put it in front of Her chair, which was the altar, and put the pair of shoes She gave me on top of it.

There is a bit in the Ganesha Artharva Sheersha about that: ‘Shoorpa karanakam’, meaning ‘he has ears like a winnowing fan’. William Blake talks about ‘the great harvest of the nations’ which may also be connected in some way.

Linda Williams

Little gifts

I loved taking small presents to Shri Mataji. She liked fresh mint for making Indian chutney, and this was difficult to buy in London then. As I grew mint in the garden of Chelsham Road, I often took some to Her. One day our peach tree had some ripe peaches on it, and these also went to Shri Mataji. I tried never to go to Her empty handed, although this did not always work out.

Linda Williams

You give us our own powers

One evening, Shri Mataji came to Chelsham Road to see us. She often came on a Friday evening to see those of us who were Sahaja Yogis. She came and sat down and we usually gave Her a cup of tea soon after She arrived.

‘How do you know I am not a fake?’ Shri Mataji said to us. We were shocked, but tried to answer Her.

‘You give us presents, Mother,’ we said, and other things like that.

‘That is not it.’ She replied.

‘You cook meals for us.’

‘You cure us of diseases.’ But none of these were what Shri Mataji was looking for because, as She said, maybe She did these things to make us follow Her.

‘Mother, you give us our own powers and the ability to know right from wrong and you give us discrimination,’ someone said. This, She said, was the right answer.


She held on to my hand

In 1980, when we were living at Chelsham Road, we had the use of a VW Combi belonging to Bohdan Shehovych, who had gone to Australia. I was only six, and stood up on the front bumper. I was trying to clean the windows and I had my fingers in the door. Someone came along and shut the door and when they opened the door again my fingers were hanging at a very unnatural angle. I was in absolute agony. We were on the way to meet Shri Mataji at Gatwick Airport and John Watkinson held me all the way there.

We got to the airport and there was Shri Mataji. She held on to my hand and She held it really, really tightly. When She took Her hand away it was still a bit sore, but it definitely wasn’t broken and it definitely had been broken. Before, my fingers were all at a totally unnatural angle, but they weren’t after that.

Auriol Purdie

Sahaja synchronicity

Not long after I had my realisation in August 1980, in Australia, I had a knock on my door and found to my surprise a friend from Hong Kong. In over ten years, she had never visited me in Australia. Suddenly here she was, saying that she was incredibly sick and had the compulsion to jump on a plane and come to me rather than consult with medical people in Hong Kong. She was bewildered, but I knew exactly why she was there.

I immediately put her in front of Mother’s picture and gave her realisation. I rang the ashram and explained the situation and they said to come straight away. After a session with about three or four people working on her, she had a tremendous experience and felt much better.

The leader told me that he was stunned at her turning up like this. The day before, Shri Mataji had rung from London saying that She wanted to have programmes in Hong Kong when She came to Australia and could they arrange it. They were nonplussed as they knew no one in Hong Kong or anything about the place and now, the next day, here on their doorstep, was the very person they needed!

Kay McHugh

A sari for the River Ganges

When I was expecting my second child in 1980, Shri Mataji gave me a cotton sari – blue and pink and a little white, a Rajasthani design. She told me to cut it up and make it into a maternity dress, which I did. She later told me it was given to Her at a puja which was done with just four or so people, on the Har ki Peri on the bank of the Ganges at Hardwar in 1979, at the spot where one of the four drops of amrit fell when the asuras took the amrit from the devas in the story of the churning of the ocean. When I left India in 1988, after living in Dehra Dun for almost five years, it was in pieces from being worn so much, and my daughter and I decided to put it back in the River Ganges, so we went up to Devprayag, fairly near Dehra Dun, and put it in. It seemed right that the sari should return to the river.

Linda Williams

An easy birth

My second child was born when we were living at Chelsham Road, in August 1980. He must have been one of the easiest births ever, about forty minutes from the beginning of the contractions to the birth of the child. It was a Saturday afternoon and I was alone except for Grazyna Anslow. I felt the labour pains, not painful, but enough to know the birth was starting. I was just about to phone for an ambulance to take me to the hospital, when the phone rang. It was Shri Mataji and, when on the phone to Mother, one did not interrupt or change the subject. She talked for quite some minutes and the labour contractions were coming closer and closer together, indicating the child would soon arrive.

‘Mother, I think the baby is coming soon. Perhaps it would be a good idea to phone the ambulance,’ I eventually plucked up the courage to say.

‘Yes, it is. I can feel it too,’ Shri Mataji replied.

She rang off and I phoned the ambulance, which arrived a few minutes later. We were supposed to go to the Royal Free Hospital in the north of London, but as we were crossing the Thames, (Chelsham Road ashram was in the south of London) I realised the baby would come imminently and the driver dropped me at University College Hospital in Central London, and within five minutes the baby was born.

Shri Mataji came to see me in the hospital and brought a lovely bunch of flowers in a copper vase. When the flowers had died, I tried to give Her back the vase.

‘No, the vase is part of the gift,’ She said. For many years we put the coconut in it at pujas.

I later discovered that there was a reason Shri Mataji did not want me to go to the other hospital.

Linda Williams

The removal work went fine

Shri Mataji would call Sahaja Yogis to Her flat in Ashley Gardens. I was living in Chelsham Road then. There were usually two or three of us who would go from Chelsham Road to move some furniture around or something. On one particular occasion, we were moving furniture and nothing was really going right.

‘Just come here,’ Shri Mataji said. She sat on the armchair. She had Her Feet on one person and was working on me with one hand and on the other person with the other hand. She was working on the three of us at once. It was like a massacre of all the negativity and afterwards we all felt so much better and the removal work went fine, whereas before it had been a disaster.

John Watkinson

Shri Mataji gave them so much love

Virtually ninety per cent of the seekers who came in those days were from false gurus of all kinds. In fact, we used to work almost exclusively on people who had been to false gurus and some were on drugs as well. Shri Mataji used to work on them individually and She gave them so much love. She really worked very hard.

Djamel Metouri

Shri Mataji took the negativity out

I was working on a man at Caxton Hall, at the public programme. He had lots of problems and in those days we would take new people up to the front and Shri Mataji would direct us as to what to do. She would also work directly on people. On this occasion, after I had taken the man to the front, She cleared his Agnya.

John Watkinson

Early public programmes

I was recently told by someone that my sister and I had much luck in finding Shri Mataji, over thirty years ago, when we were relatively young (although perhaps it is truer to say She found us). There are many memories from that period I deeply treasure, and I’d like to share one in particular, the powerful way Mother was in the early public programmes we attended at Caxton Hall and other places around London in the summer and autumn of 1980. 
At the conclusion of each lecture Mother usually left the stage, to wander among the assembled seekers. She would often greet, namaste, or shake hands with new people while directing various Sahaja Yogis to work on them. There were also occasions when Mother would wander from individual to individual, standing behind each personally raising their Kundalini, working on chakras and giving neck massages. 
Sometimes while standing behind someone and working on them She would stamp Her Foot loudly to the ground in order to crush their ‘negativity’ under it, usually accompanied by a triumphant cry of ‘A-ha!’ or ‘Hum!’ Mother would frequently laugh thunderously at such moments, tossing Her rippling blue-black hair on Her shoulders as some blockage in the path of the Kundalini was freed up. Then in voice that was filled with motherly care, She’d lean over the seated seeker She was working on and say, ‘Got it now?’ A face melted by tenderness would turn around to Her and give a nod of heartfelt thanks. 
There were also times when Mother, in a display of Devi-like prowess, would raise Her index finger and begin to rhythmically rotate Her wrist, as if twirling the Shri Chakra on Her fingertip, so that Her many bangles began to bounce and jingle simultaneously, then this accumulated vibrational energy was hurled at the blocked chakra of the person in front of Her. Sometimes She would do it several times in a row, before crying ‘A-Ha!’ just as the person’s chakra finally cleared and the Kundalini began to flow again. To see Mother in this mode was to witness Shri Durga, in action. It was as if Mother was the radiant, fiercely compassionate Goddess joyously conducting a campaign of battle at each programme, busily casting out negativity and resurrecting old souls She had known in previous lives to worship Her and walk at by Her side again. 
At one of these early programmes I attended at Caxton Hall, watching as Mother and the Sahaja Yogis worked on a young seeker whose body was wracked by fits of uncontrollable shaking. This kind of extreme reaction to Mother’s vibrations was not so uncommon back then. Many seekers in that era had been seriously damaged by ‘false gurus’, and this particular seeker, a young man with a beard, had collapsed on the floor in front of Mother as She approached him. Mother stood in front of him, steadily and lovingly raising his Kundalini and giving him a bandhan. His limbs still shook furiously, but his face became soft as he stared back at Mother in loving recognition of Her spiritual power and Her divinity. Gradually the man’s fit was brought under control, and the extreme reaction subsided. To me the whole scene was reminiscent of something biblical and I could not help thinking of Christ casting out spirits into the herd of Gadarene swine. There were many incredible moments of this type back in those early days.

Caleb Williams


It was always fascinating to watch the way Shri Mataji seized upon certain topics, explored them in depth and then laid them to rest during Her lectures in the early days of Sahaja Yoga in the UK. Ordinary life, everyday events such as going shopping, often produced memorable anecdotes and observations. Even a supermarket product like a breakfast cereal, might come in for humorous criticism or outright condemnation.

I can recall several occasions on which Shri Mataji complained about a certain brand of muesli, popular at the time, called Country Store. She found it extremely painful to digest because of its heavy blend of hazelnuts, oats, bran and maize. Shri Mataji quipped that perhaps you had to be a horse or farm animal to enjoy it. She said it felt as if you were ‘storing the whole country in your stomach’ when you ate it. It was bad for the Nabhi chakra and heavy going on the liver. Shri Mataji’s satirical wit, Her throwaway quips on the subject of this health-food were delightful and She had us all rolling on the floor with laughter. But of course there was a real point behind Mother’s words. She wanted to make us mindful of the impacts of the foods we ate, and the unforeseen consequences they might have on our subtle systems. I for one, being the naive, serious and literal-minded Sahaja Yogi I was back then, started to regard Country Store as something quite terrible: the epitome of what was anti-Sahaja, a breakfast cereal to be completely avoided, a vibrationally-damaging product that nothing in the world would force me to eat.

A few days after Shri Mataji had made one Her negative mentions of Country Store in a talk, I happened to be in Her flat in Hampstead when She was dictating a shopping list. Different food items needed for the next few days were mentioned. At the end of this She paused as if trying to remember something important that had been forgotten. Her eyes seemed full of mischievous humour.

‘Ah yes,’ She said, the beloved Mahamaya smile twinkling, ‘Poor Sir CP, I almost forgot. Very important. We need to buy him his Country Store.’

Caleb Williams


Mother once told us why various poets, painters, and writers had been drawn to Hampstead (everyone from Keats and Constable, to Tagore and George Orwell). She said it was because Hampstead was the part of the Virata that ‘triggered’ or ‘thrilled’, the ‘heart’ into beating.

Caleb Williams

To clear the liver

Shri Mataji mentioned that we could invoke the prophet Mohammed to clear the liver. 

Djamel Metouri

At Ashley Gardens

I was at Shri Mataji’s flat at Ashley Gardens, London, before the programme at Caxton Hall on a Monday evening. She asked me to go to the chemist and buy the strongest pain killers available without a prescription because She said the new people gave Her such pain at the public programmes.

In those days we would often be invited to take new people to Shri Mataji’s flat. Someone came across a man who had been the secretary to a minor false guru and had sensibly given him up. However this man thought he was a bit special. Shri Mataji welcomed him into Her beautiful living room, and then asked him to sit by the window and put his hand out, and the other one towards Her, to clear his vibrations. He wasn’t too happy at that and didn’t come back another time. Often, people who were caught up would come to see Shri Mataji and She would make sure there was a window open for the negativity to go out of.

Linda Williams

You just let it go and go with it

When I first came to Sahaja Yoga, in the late seventies, I hadn’t played music for years. But I started writing songs quite spontaneously. I wrote one song called We Are the Light, which everybody seemed to like and played it a couple of times in front of Shri Mataji.

You feel this spotlight of Shri Mataji, which is on everyone usually, is suddenly on you and you actually have to do something. You have two choices: you can either be terrified, which you start off being, or you feel lifted ten feet off the ground, and feel enveloped by this incredible love and attention. If you just let it go and go with it, the experience of playing is something quite unique.

Nishat Khan has talked about it. He plays all over the world and then he plays in front of Shri Mataji, and says he has never played as well as when he is in front of Shri Mataji because something just takes over. It is like the Kundalini Herself does the playing. You obviously have to learn the technique, but once you know it, it comes through you. There is no feeling comparable to that bliss when you are playing and singing. It must be the highest form of devotion, this music.

Ray Harris


Many pujas took place at Chelsham Road with Shri Mataji being personally present. The Divine Amrut from washing Shri Mataji’s Feet would be left there after the yogis had taken some for their collectives. We would drink a glass of Amrut on the following morning for breakfast.

 Ann Lewis

Chapter 22: 1980European Programmes

The foundation stone

One day, in about September 1980, quite unexpectedly, Shri Mataji came to Chelsham Road and I was upstairs with the baby. I noticed, from an upstairs window, that She was in the back garden with one or two other people.

‘Mother was laying the foundation stone of the New Jerusalem in the back garden,’ someone said afterwards.

One of the early building projects in Sahaja Yoga was the meditation room at the back of Chelsham Road. Everybody contributed work and Mother very generously gave the money and furnishings, a beautiful pink carpet and some light brown velvet curtains. She also lent us some armchairs and a sofa, covered in yellow velvet and very elegant and the first celebration we had there were some weddings — Pat and Grazyna Anslow’s and others. We also had many pujas but soon it became too small to hold everyone, because Sahaja Yoga was growing so fast.

Linda Williams

Diary extract, 19th September 1980

Once more, blessed time! I could join Shri Mataji and the other Sahaja Yogis for the programmes in Paris and Lille.  We arrived one week ago to Paris at the programme just at the time when Shri Mataji was giving the self realisation; there were around a hundred people. In the train to get there my sister Marie-Laure and I were talking about Sahaja Yoga to an icon painter who came with us to the conference and immediately got his realisation. 

At Lille we had a beautiful puja to Shri Krishna – Shri Mataji was so beautiful, all clad in red! She asked me to do the translation, with my hand on my Vishuddhi chakra. Again in the evening at the programme, She asked me to do the introduction; the vibrations coming from Her were just flowing through me. I spoke about the integration of the religions and the discourse of Christ to Nicodemus, and everyone at the programme got their realisation.

After the puja, in the afternoon, I had been in Her room where Shri Mataji was resting and I prayed to Her to open my heart and that I might enter into Her love. The next day at the airport in Paris before leaving She spoke like Christ, as what She was saying was like the Sermon on the Mount. Once again I was translating Her and I got very moved because when She spoke about love it was exactly an answer to my silent prayer of the day before.

What was quite remarkable was that during this week end we travelled for eighteen hours and slept only six hours between the two nights; I was starting my courses at the university again and was absolutely not tired!

Antoinette Wells

I told you that you would pass

It was September 1980 and Shri Mataji was going to Switzerland. We had public programmes in Lausanne, Geneva and Zürich. We were very few Sahaja Yogis at that time, so we were all helping and trying to prepare. I had my final exams of Pharmacy, after six years of studies. I dedicated all my time to the preparation of Shri Mataji’s coming, and suddenly realised that the following day I had my first exam, Pharmacography. I had had no time to prepare for it and almost began to panic. Shri Mataji called me and worked on my head, Her right finger at the level where the hair starts.

‘I give you Saraswati’s blessings,’ She told me. She asked me about Pharmacography, which is the study of plants, their chemical products and what help they give for medicine. Shri Mataji asked me about certain products and plants.

Nevertheless, when I got the exam question, it was a totally different one. I was calm, and the teacher asked me the questions and I was guessing the answers, but I passed. With the other exams I took three or four days to prepare for each one. It was amazing to see how Shri Mataji’s power was working because for every exam there was a big folder that I had never read before. After reading it once I could remember all the names. Overall, I passed quite well. There was a public programme in Paris the following week, and Shri Mataji was coming from an elevator. When She saw me She just laughed.

‘I told you that you would pass!’ She said. She knew everything, even though I did not have time to tell Her. It was amazing the capacity She gave me to study and absorb, beyond all human expectations.

Marie-Laure Cernay

We felt such a deep silence

We were in Zürich and Gregoire was talking with Shri Mataji. We were outside and he was talking about different things.

‘Shri Mataji, are You Shri Kalki?’ he suddenly asked. She just smiled and extended Her hands as if to check vibrations.

‘Just see,’ She said, and we felt such a deep silence which brought us to Sahasrara. ‘You see?’ She said, and smiled. It was a very deep and beautiful experience.

Marie-Laure Cernay

A divine personality

When I first came to Sahaja Yoga in 1980 these early pujas took much longer to reach their conclusion than later ones; some began when the sun was brightly shining overhead and ended when the stars were scattered across the sky. I remembered one puja, in particular, at The Temple of All Faiths in Hampstead, from those early days. It was Navaratri, in autumn 1980. It began with a talk from Shri Mataji, followed by puja, then a havan, while the 1000 names of the Goddess were recited, each name in Sanskrit followed by a full English translation (this went on for many hours, but for me, it was also a strangely timeless experience). 

Veterans of that era will also recall similar marathon puja stretches; there was much to be worked out, Mother sometimes orchestrating changes to proceedings as the puja unfolded, or giving advice on the pronunciation of Sanskrit words, as we – many of us then, fairly new Sahaja Yogis – learnt to worship Shri Mataji in the correct way and to maximise vibrations and our abilities to receive and absorb them. 

Shri Mataji’s divine chakras, would of course, emit a tremendous amount of vibrations during a puja, particularly during the recitation of mantras or when different bhajans were performed, and it was essential that these vibrations were properly absorbed or else it would lead to Mother suffering pain and discomfort later on. During this particular Navaratri uja Shri Mataji sat regally enthroned before the havan, Her face, the essence of divine authority and majesty. In some moments Her expression seemed to signal that She was fully present among us all, and at others, She seemed far away, as if engaging with dimensions we could not see, perhaps traversing universes, yugas and lokas beyond our understanding. 

As the 1000 names progressed and the havan, fed with copious ladles of ghee, blazed and crackled before us, the vibrations became so powerful that Shri Mataji began calling up certain Sahaja Yogis to sit beside Her and instructed them to use their hands in order to channel vibrations from parts of Her body. I was then a seventeen year old boy, and fairly new to Sahaja Yoga, and was thrilled and honoured to be one of those called. Moving beside Mother I was asked to place my right hand in the small of Her back and left hand toward the havan. After some time Mother instructed me to switch to another position, channelling vibrations from another part of Her body.

I sat there next to Shri Mataji channelling vibrations for what seemed an inordinate duration. I lost all track of time, and felt I had drifted off into another dimension. As the havan continued, I saw the dancing licking flames, felt the heat on my face and arms, heard the rising and falling cadences of Sanskrit, but inside my main sensation was of throbbing coolness, profound thoughtless awareness. I’d become a hollow conduit, and in pressing on Mother’s back, literally discerned ‘infinity in the palm of the hand’. 

As the experience continued my personality seemed to realign and simplify. I felt myself becoming a much earlier, deeper self: child-like, inviolate, pure, my only aim, and the entire meaning of my life, to serve and please my Mother. Afterward, when the havan was over and people were relaxing over a plate of food, chatting, milling around and laughing, it was difficult for me to speak to anyone. The silence inside was so great and the clarity so overwhelming, ordinary conversation, beyond a few mumbled monosyllables, felt nearly impossible. It was such a powerful experience, I knew then, beyond any doubt, as I still do, that Shri Mataji was a completely Divine personality.

I have some other very powerful memories of those early Temple of All Faiths pujas; it seemed to me, we were living through a time with Shri Mataji when all sorts of prophecies and scriptural predictions were being borne out in reality. For example I remember one early puja in which Christ’s Sermon on the Mount was read out to Mother ‘Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled,’ and ‘Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy,’ and ‘Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God’, with each sentence, the vibrations became more and more powerful, the bliss of hearing those words while sitting in front of Shri Mataji was indescribable. The Kundalini poured through the Sahasrara and came down in overwhelming cascades of grace and there was hardly a dry eye among any of us there, who had, in our earlier lifetimes, hungered and thirsted after righteousness and longed to see God.

Caleb Williams

A beautiful pink sari

I was fortunate to receive one of Shri Mataji’s saris, in October 1980 soon after the first programmes that I had organised in Geneva. We were in the flat of our friend Mathias. Shri Mataji was staying there and She had worked on one of my best friends, who had attended the programmes. At some point Shri Mataji called me and gave me the most beautifully woven dark pink sari. It was of an ancient way of weaving where the figurines of deities were inserted in medallions in the fabric. I was in awe, and put the sari on my lap. My friend was not yet sure if she was feeling the vibrations, so I told her to put her hands towards the sari and lo! she got a flow of vibrations. She asked Mother if She was a prophet, so Shri Mataji made her ask these questions:

‘Mother, are You Shri Krishna?’

‘Mother, are You the Virgin Mary?’

Every time the vibrations were coming in her hands stronger and stronger and my friend was more and more puzzled! At the end my brother read the hymns to the Great Goddess, the Devi Mahatmyam.

A few years later I was in Columbia where I joined Shri Mataji and some Sahaja Yogis for the first programmes there. Another friend, Brigitte, had organized the first three in 1988, and after this there was a puja – I think it was to Shri Mahavishnu (Christ) – in the garden. We decorated the whole garden with exotic flowers and after the puja Shri Mataji asked if the ladies wanted a name from Her. I wanted one so much, and although I was not Columbian I queued with the others.

‘Who gave you this beautiful pink sari?’ Shri Mataji said, when I was in front of Her. I was wearing the one She gave me, and She touched the silk fabric. ‘One can’t find this sort of sari anymore.’

‘Shri Mataji, You gave it to me,’ I replied.

‘Really?’ She said, and we both laughed, enjoying the situation. ‘You too want a name?’

‘Oh yes, Shri Mataji.’

‘Amruta is your name,’ She paused and said.

I thanked Her very much. I always thought my name, Antoinette, is a bit harsh, whereas I love the softness of Amruta. When I am in India, as the Indians can’t pronounce Antoinette, I always say my name is Amruta.

Antoinette Wells 

A request

In the autumn of 1980 the Swiss yogis planned a tour through Geneva, Lausanne, Bern, Zurich and Basel. Gregoire de Kalbermatten sent a letter to me asking whether I could prepare one or two programmes in Germany. After well-attended programmes in Lausanne and Geneva, the ones in German-speaking Switzerland were rather disappointing, but I had the chance to join those in Zürich and Bern. I took a wonderful photo of Shri Mataji which has accompanied me all through these years in which She looks so young and radiant.

Thomas Menge

I rented the lecture hall of my college in Freiburg and was quite nervous about how everything would be, knowing that I might be asked to say something and some of my friends might be among the audience. Shri Mataji arrived with Gregoire’s wife Catherine and five other yogis. The programme was relatively well attended. However, Shri Mataji’s arrival brought a special blessing for us. My wife and I had been hoping for a baby for quite some time and the doctor said that at this point in time a pregnancy was not possible, but the very day Shri Mataji arrived we got the message that my wife was pregnant.

I still have a poster and the newspaper advertisement announcing this first programme on German soil, on 14.10.1980.

Thomas Menge

The second programme, two days later, took place in Bonn. I asked a friend from Bonn to arrange a hotel, rent a small hall and place an advertisement in the newspaper. Considering the little effort we had made, this programme was rather successful.

The hotel, however, was beneath the dignity of Shri Mataji. Being a poor student I neither had the sense of Shri Mataji’s status nor the means to think of a more dignified hotel. There was no soap in the bathroom and the door was not lockable, so Catherine had to stand in front of the door when Shri Mataji used it. We bought some takeaway chips and fried chicken and ate them from the packaging. It took me a long time to overcome the shame of all this, but Shri Mataji never gave me the feeling of having been displeased. However, since She mentioned the lack of soap, when She was staying in Lausanne, Switzerland, the next year, I gave Her a nice piece, saying I felt sorry that the soap had been missing the year before. In Her own inimitable way She took some green Chandrika soap out of Her handbag and let me smell its fragrance. She showed me how good scents can open the Vishuddhi. My left Vishuddhi, my exaggerated guilty conscience, opened up and I felt Shri Mataji’s endless benevolence flowing through me.

At the first programme in Bonn I stood in front of the audience to say some introductory words. I had a big lump in my throat, convinced that nothing would come out of this. Shri Mataji noticed it and looked at me. I felt the Kundalini rising powerfully and She dissolved the lump in my throat. I started to talk and from that day onwards, I had no problem anymore to speak in front of ten, a hundred or a thousand people. It was a gift which greatly helped me in my professional career as well as in spreading Sahaja Yoga.

We went from Freiburg to Bonn by train. Having arrived in Bonn we went through the pedestrian area and through a part of my past. Shri Mataji bought presents for Her grandchildren in a big toy store. The owner’s son had been my classmate. Then we had lunch in the restaurant of a big department store where my father was the manager. The atmosphere was very light and Shri Mataji gave us the feeling of human closeness and naturalness.

Thomas Menge

The next day we saw Shri Mataji off at Düsseldorf Airport. It was one of those loving good-byes many more of which were to come and which left us in silent joy and thoughtless awareness.

Thomas Menge

Extract from my diary, 13th October 1980

‘You have to stand like a rock,’ Shri Mataji told me.

There was a lot of turmoil and invisible battles with the negativity in the early days, and this reminded me of the parable of Christ, who said that you should not build your house on the sand. Then Shri Mataji spoke about sin: She said She is beyond sin, She is Nirmala, and that those who commit sins are divided in two categories: those who say, ‘What’s wrong, I like it,’ (they are on the right side) those who say, ‘I am a useless person and I can’t help doing it,’ (they are on the left side) and then there are those who see that it is wrong and won’t do it.

Antoinette Wells

Shri Mataji even made a wedding turban      

      I moved to Chelsham Road just after it was purchased in July 1980. It was a ruin and the vibrations were strange. We burnt candles and incense and said lots of mantras to clear the place out, because knew we were there for a purpose – to build the foundations of the New Jerusalem.

Shri Mataji had many pujas there, and there were marriages as well. In 1980 I was engaged to Pat Anslow by Shri Mataji, and She rang the ashram and fixed the date of our wedding for 5th of December. It was to be the first marriage there. By the end of November I was a bit worried, because the space which was going to be the meditation room was just a concrete floor, the walls were bare bricks and the roof was nonexistent.

On the morning of my wedding I was close to tears. I was new in Sahaja Yoga and not good at witnessing. One hour later we got a message that the roof had arrived. I started to feel more hopeful. After another hour the place was transformed by the whole collective into a magical tent from an Arabian fairy tale and the walls were covered with Persian carpets.

Shri Mataji arrived shortly afterwards and even had to make a wedding turban for Pat. We had a Hindu priest to conduct the ceremony.

Grazyna Anslow

In the upper photo Shri Mataji is tying one of Her saris around the bridegroom’s head as a turban. In the lower one the couple are kneeling at Her Feet after the wedding.

Marriage advice

The advice Shri Mataji gave me when I married was ‘Never let the sun go down on a quarrel,’ so I always apologised and made up if we had an argument.

Pat Anslow 

Some little jewels from Shri Mataji

Shri Mataji told us never to keep half an onion in the fridge or elsewhere for later use, because once one has cut an onion, it should be either used or thrown away. A cut onion absorbs negativity. The same applies to lemons.

If a baby is born with a good head of hair it means he/she has less ego. Also that a child should be able to sit in meditation with its parents for a few minutes by the time it is two years old.

Shri Mataji said the violent political troubles in Northern Ireland in the 1980’s, that were causing a lot of deaths, were another aspect of the evil of the rakshasa Narakasura creating dissension between people.

Someone was saying how horrible it was where, in the Devi Mahatmyam Shri Mahakali drinks the blood of Raktabija, to stop it falling on the ground and turning into more asuras like him.

‘How many of you would drink the blood of an asura to save your children?’ Shri Mataji replied, to show how much She has always loved us, time out of mind.

Shri Mataji explained that She had three places in the solar system: the moon as Shri Mahakali, Venus as Shri Parvati, and Pluto as Shri Kalki.

She explained why She felt the cold rather a lot: ‘The temperature of the Spirit is absolute zero – cold within and cold without,’ or words to that effect.

In 1980 Shri Mataji asked us to learn Her 108 names off by heart, and also the meanings.

The word in Hindi for farmer ‘kissi’ is from the word Krishna. Shri Krishna planted the seed in people’s minds and hearts to seek for the Spirit.

I asked Shri Mataji what would be the languages of the future, because I did not want my children to be bothered with learning languages that they would never use. She told me that English and Hindi were the most important.

Shri Mataji looks similar in every incarnation. This is why the description of Her in the Saundarya Lahiri is so accurate.

As Sahaja Yogis we help our relations for seven generations in either direction.

Young children should generally be put to bed about eight thirty. It is alright once in a while to keep them up late, like when She was there, or arriving or leaving. Also She was strict with my two that they should be clean, quiet and sit still in Her presence.

One of the main causes of cancer is alcohol. She told us that when people understand the relationship between alcohol and cancer they will stop drinking very fast. She also told us one should not have a hot shower and then go straight out into the cold air in London as this could also cause cancer of the lungs.

The Swadishthan chakra is always moving, either to the right or left, as it circulates around the Void.

There was something Shri Mataji used to say to us in the early days. ‘Don’t try to penetrate the maya’. She also often said, ‘be in your fortress of thoughtless awareness.’

Lord Jesus said He was the light, the truth and the way, but He never said He was the goal – for that we have to come to the Sahasrara, to Mother, through the gate of the Agnya.

In the future anything that we have close to us, like clothing, furniture etc, will be hand made out of natural products, with love and care so it has good vibrations. Nevertheless we will live in a very high tech world when it comes to computers, transport etc.

Someone asked Shri Mataji if we take another birth after we have received our realisation. She said we didn’t have to but we would like to because it is going to be so beautiful.

The standard treatment for Vishuddhi was initially ajwan dhuni (smoke). Shri Mataji gave this treatment right back in the seventies. Allah hu Akbar was given later.

Mother often used to ask for a lemon which She would vibrate, then give it to the new person or possessed person to hold, and the negativity or bhut would go into the lemon. It would often change colour – then Mother would ask us to chop it up and put it down the toilet and sometimes to also burn it in a candle.

The ancient Romans were a whole race of rakshasas. However in 2001, She said about the Italians: ‘Where did we find this beautiful country with all these wonderful people in it?’

There is a name in the aparajita hymn: chaya. The line is ‘ya Devi sarva bhuteshu, chaya rupena samsthitha’. One time someone who was not a Sahaja Yogi was quite unpleasant to a Sahaja Yogi for no apparent reason, and Shri Mataji explained it thus: She said that the word chaya does not only mean shadow, but also reflection, and what happens is that the person sees his or her own defects in the Sahaja Yogi, who is like a mirror, and then the caught up person starts criticising the Sahaja Yogi, but actually it is their own faults or problems they are seeing. So forgive them, or don’t worry about it!

The reason people in the West often wear soft and gloomy colours is that they have such big egos the bright colours would overshadow them, so they wear dull colours. Peasants wear bright colours and they tend to have less ego.

On many occasions Shri Mataji asked us ladies to wear clothes which covered our knees and shoulders, to protect those chakras – the Shri chakra and Shri Lalita chakra on the shoulders and the Nabhi for the knees.

Linda Williams

Chapter 23: 1980 – December, India

I promise

When I was young I did not smoke many cigarettes, but when with friends, I used to occasionally. In 1980 we were in Dhulia, a town in Maharashtra.

‘I need somebody to put his or her hand near My Vishuddhi Chakra, (at the level of the throat) to take vibrations. Somebody who has never smoked in his life,’ said Shri Mataji.

‘Avdhut,’ said the people.

‘No, Mother, I have smoked,’ I said.

‘He smoked cigarettes, but he has admitted it in front of everybody,’ She said.

I spent the whole of the next day with a Sahaja Yogi, certainly did not touch a cigarette, and in the evening we went to a Sahaja public programme. We were standing outside the hall guarding it and suddenly I smelled cigarette very strongly even though there was absolutely nobody around.

‘From where is it coming?’ I said, then realised it was coming from my right Vishuddhi finger (the index finger). ‘My God!’ I said and showed my friend. ‘You are the proof. I did not even touch a cigarette today.’

‘It’s true,’ he replied.

We were staying in the same house as Shri Mataji. As soon as we reached there I washed my fingers with a lot of soap but the smell was still there and would not go away. She was in Her room and I knocked on the door.

‘Shri Mataji, there’s a problem. There’s a smell of nicotine on my finger,’ I said.

‘Yes, because this morning you told Me you smoked a cigarette, I’m trying to clean you, but you should promise you will never smoke again.’

‘I promise.’ She took my fingers in Her hand for some time and the smell went away. I never smoked again.

Avdhut Pai

This isn’t the first time we’ve met

The first time we saw Mother was in Mumbai in December 1980. There were thirty Australians on that tour, five English, two French and one American. My first impression of meeting Mother was when She walked through the door with Sir CP. I had a garland for Sir CP and Mother smiled at us all. We were all waiting in anticipation because most of us had never met Her, but we had all been in Sahaja Yoga for at least a year.

‘This isn’t the first time we’ve met or been together,’ were Her first words.

Wendy Barrett

She was the Devi

Our first meeting with Shri Mataji was on the first India tour we went on, in 1980 – 81. A lot of us had resigned our jobs, or given up our rentals, and things like that, because it was going to be a long trip, and it was amazing to think that we were going to be in Shri Mataji’s presence. Our first meeting was to be at a celebration arranged by the Mumbai Sahaja Yogis because Sir CP had just been re-elected to the UN, for I think the fourth time.

We all waited and finally they arrived. Shri Mataji, as Mrs Srivastava, had a sari over Her head and we sat through many speeches praising Sir CP’s contribution to the United Nations. Then Shri Mataji got up and was asked to speak. She spoke very humbly. The irony of it all was that we were here to meet the Goddess, and She was there to honour Her husband, and we were watching Shri Mahamaya at work. Later Sir CP left.

Shri Mataji pulled out Her bun, and Her hair fell all around Her. She was the Devi, and we were Her children. We went to Her Feet.

‘You think this is the first time you have met Me, but I have met you all before, and you have all been with Me for many lifetimes,’ She said.

Sarah Frankcombe

We went to India to see Shri Mataji

About six months after getting self realisation in Australia, in 1980 a group of us went to India to see Shri Mataji, and travel on a pilgrimage through the villages as She gave realisation to thousands. We met Her in Mumbai, then called Bombay, in a theatre and as we waited for Her to arrive, suddenly we heard, behind the stage curtain, Shri Mataji clearing Her throat. We all felt a thrill and looked at each other. She’s there! Just behind the red curtain!

The programme began and it was in Marathi, but we listened with our hearts and watched Her Feet as they moved about in emphasis to Her words. It was enough to be there. After the seekers had gone home, the foreign visitors were asked to come up and meet Shri Mataji. Most rushed straight up but I felt diffident. What was the proper protocol? How could we just approach Her like any ordinary mortal? Even a queen would not be approached so easily. I stayed with the luggage until someone came and offered to relieve me, and said we were all invited to rest our foreheads on Mother’s Feet.

‘Just place your hands under them,’ they told me.

I watched some others with faces shining as they received this darshan. Then it was my turn. There was no feeling of separateness between the forehead and Shri Mataji’s Holy Feet. It was like being joined to something, a column perhaps, which moved endlessly in both directions, having unfathomable roots and stretching forever upwards.

‘You Australians! Livers are all so hot! You are such seekers. You go through everything… even chillies!’ I heard Her laughingly say.

We’d been holidaying for two weeks on a train journey through Southern India. She promised to take us to the jungle, ‘To see the tigers,’ and to where we would find peace which was unobtainable in the countries we were from. This was the tranquility which we needed to give us rest and melt our egos, ‘Like butter – that’s the only way to deal with ego,’ She told us.

Lyndal Vercoe

First encounter

My first few months in Sahaja Yoga were spent meditating with the photograph and listening to the library of the very few audio tapes we had in Australia in 1980. No videos then. The photos of Shri Mataji were mostly head and shoulder shots. The face was so warm and loving, and my favourite was the official black and white one. It has all the aspects of the Adi Shakti in it – such an enigmatic smile, compassionate yet totally commanding and a look that is arresting. Then there was the voice on the tapes; such authority, so much passion, intense concern and power. I had built up an image of a tall and commanding figure like the ancient British warrior queen, Boadicea. Imagine, when in Bombay, at a ceremony to commemorate Sir CP’s re-election to his United Nations post, I saw Her in person for the first time.

Shri Mataji came through a side door dressed in a pink sari with navy border, Her hair pulled back in a neat bun and looking quite diminutive, accentuated by Her extremely tall husband who was accompanying Her. ‘She is shorter than me!’ I thought to myself in surprise. She was smiling warmly at us all and sat at the side of the stage as speeches were made and congratulations given. Eventually Sir CP left and Mother came forward and took centre stage.

Shri Mataji reached around and pulled out Her bun. Her black hair came tumbling down and She beamed Her loving attention on us all. There She sat, Shri Visangi, unaccompanied, Shri Nilachikura, dark-haired, having lost all concepts of dimensionality, and fulfilling every description of the Goddess that existed. I never thought of Her as short again. On the contrary over the years I saw quite the opposite as sometimes on occasion She subtly changed in size, density, form and strength before my very eyes.

We were a group of about thirty-five Australians, all seeing Shri Mataji for the first time, excited and thrilled to be in Her physical presence. Each of us was keen to have some acknowledgement from Her and She graciously smiled and had a few kind words for every one of us. When it came to my turn She smiled and nodded.

‘Nice to see you again,’ She said.

I was elated and then puzzled, ‘again’? We hadn’t met before. Since then I found out that Shri Mataji said that we had all been with Her in previous lives. Those few words have been very comforting over the years and have given me some sense of proportion and significance about this incarnation.

We were allowed to do a small puja and then each of us went to Mother’s Feet. In those days we put our hands under Her Feet and our head on top of them. She would look at our Kundalinis and see I don’t know what. I used to hope that when I bowed down She would not wince with pain as I sometimes saw Her do. This day however She had some sweet thing to say to each of us as we came up and shyly looked into Her face.

‘Enjoy yourself,’ or, ‘Beautiful,’ She said.

It was a day to remember.

Kay McHugh

Mother makes you so important

When I was with Mother with the India tour, She did not want to take any money from me because I was looking after Her grandchildren and helping Her. But I insisted that Mother should let me pay my way for the trip. After all, I was working and I could afford it, so I gave some rupees. Later, Mother was buying some shoes at the shoe shop for Her grandchildren and She also bought me some sandals.

‘See, I am using your rupees now,’ She said. I used those same sandals for my marriage. Really, Mother made you so important.

Meenakshi Murdoch

The first proper tour

The first proper tour was 1980, in a way, because that’s when they hired the first coach. One coach fitted in whoever came and most of the thirty-five or more people were Australian. We went to the same places as the previous year. Shri Mataji took us to villages and we had processions; there was one particular village that we went to for two or three years, where Mother would be on a bullock cart with banana leaves in big arcs and the Sahaja Yogis and the band would be in front dancing.

You lost that shyness of dancing in front and even lost your shyness of dancing in front of Shri Mataji. We really enjoyed it. We had a lot of close contact with Shri Mataji because quite often after the pujas we would go to Mother’s room and Mother would always tell us to take the vibrations that weren’t absorbed by the Sahaja Yogis. Quite often when you did take the vibrations like that, you’d literally shake with them.

Malcolm Murdoch

My will will be done

This is another memory of the first India tour that the Australians went on. We were visiting Maharashtra and Shri Mataji took us to a fort that Mrs Dhumal had given to Shri Mataji, but they couldn’t take possession because there were squatters in it. It was very dark and as we approached, men came out with lanterns and sticks and looked really aggressive. Shri Mataji spoke sternly to them, and we were all ready to rush out and defend our Mother if they attempted to do anything, but She held us back and we followed Her as we walked in a bandhan around the fort. It was almost impossible to keep up with Her, even though She didn’t seem to be moving. We asked Shri Mataji what She had said to the squatters.

‘My will will be done.’

Sarah Frankcombe

It was just getting my hair cut

I was in India, the first time I went, in 1980. All the Sahaja Yogis had gone on to a huge programme, six thousand people at a village near Pune. I was with some of the Indians I’d got friendly with and we stayed behind.

‘You want to come for a haircut? I’m going to the barbers,’ one of them said. So I went and got my hair cut because I was a very young man then and had great big fuzzy hair. We got to the programme right towards the end and crept in, but I was feeling really bad, thinking, ‘Shri Mataji’s been giving realisation and we’ve been out about town having a Limca and a haircut.’ She must have seen us come in because the stage was near the entrance. It was a huge amphitheatre and there were thousands of people. Shri Mataji saw me and my Indian friend coming in.

‘Come, come, up on the stage,’ She said, and we went straight up. I sat there feeling like a complete idiot, having just arrived at the meeting, and thought, ‘Everyone there must have seen me. I’m going to get told off after this.’

At the end of the programme, Shri Mataji was consecrating a temple to the Devi, a Kundalini temple. In India, thousands of villages have little temples. She was reconsecrating what must have been an old temple to the Goddess, to Kundalini, and She asked me to come up and do a dedication. So I just thanked Shri Mataji and said how wonderful it was to be here on behalf of the Westerners. I think She was pleased because I had had my hair cut.

Ray Harris

On the train with Mother

‘Quick, quick,’ they said, ‘you’ve got to go on the train to Bombay,’ from wherever we were with Shri Mataji. ‘She wants to talk about Hong Kong.’

I was stunned. I hitched a ride on a truck to the station and got our bags and whatever and the next thing I was on the train with Mother, with Avdhut Pai and another yogi and myself and Mother on four seats on the train. It was 1980. I was only a couple of months in Sahaj and I had no idea about protocol. I just knew who Mother was and I knew that you either talked or didn’t talk or you sat on the floor or you didn’t. I was sitting on the train opposite Mother and She was at the window seat. I can’t remember what She said, but I do remember that She put Her Foot to my lap.

‘Look how hard these Feet work. Can you massage them for Me?’ She said. So I massaged Mother’s Feet, thinking I was doing Her a great favour. One after the other, She put them on my lap and I massaged them.

‘They work so hard, these Feet,’ She said, and they were a little bit swollen. Later on in the train trip, I was wondering why Shri Mataji would do all these different things and all the time She was clearing me out. It never occurred to me that was what She was doing.

Kay McHugh

You are now getting to where I want you to be

This was about 1980, at Nevasa, which is connected with Shri Gyaneshwara. There is a very vibrating temple and many local people visit it. That year Shri Mataji had asked my father, Mr GP Patankar, to be part of the tour and help out with the arrangements, and those were the some of the first years when the foreigners came. Mr Dhumal from Rahuri was alive then and was also there. Shri Mataji had sent the foreigners and my father and Dhumal uncle to prepare the programme, and introduce Sahaja Yoga, and She was going to follow in Her car. At that time Shri Mataji was always the one to give mass realisation. Up until then it was believed that only Shri Mataji could give realisation to a large gathering.

There were very traditional country people in that village. My father addressed them, about a hundred and fifty, in Marathi, very nicely. He spoke about their families, and things they could understand. He explained about the subtle system, and how Mother was doing the same work as Shri Gyaneshwara, and after my father had finished Mother still had not come. After about an hour, the country people started getting restless, so Mr Dhumal and my father decided to do the same thing as Mother did, and just hope and pray it would work out – saying the affirmations and so on. And everybody’s Kundalinis came up. Mother still did not arrive and the people had to do everything.

After that they all went back on the buses to where they were staying. My father went back and reported it to Shri Mataji and explained that they had to do it alone.

‘Yes, My car broke down,’ said Shri Mataji, smiling. My father said to Her that it was Her way of showing him and the others that Her powers can work through us as well.

‘You are now getting to where I want you to be,’ said Mother, with a deep smile on Her face.

Jayant Patankar

A yesterday’s memory

We went with Mr Pradhan on a trip to Nasik in 1980. We first went to a hospital where there was a Sahaja Yogi’s relation who had gone to a false guru after getting her realisation. She’d gone blind and Mother went to the hospital in Her compassion.

‘You don’t come in,’ Shri Mataji said to me. Obviously, I wasn’t strong enough, vibration-wise. Shri Mataji went into the hospital and after She came out again. She sat in front of me in the front seat of the car and, because She had worked on this woman’s blindness, Shri Mataji’s back Agnya had sucked in all the negativity and it was pulsating about an inch and a half. You could see it. I sat there with my mouth open and watching the back of Her Agnya go in and out and in and out. That was a pretty amazing experience, to see the bones move like that and pulsating.

Then we went over the mountains towards Nasik. Shri Mataji seemed to drop off to sleep occasionally, which we all know She doesn’t really do. We also had various conversations. Mr Pradhan was driving.

‘Horn, horn,’ Shri Mataji would say from time to time to Mr Pradhan, as we’d go round the corner of a mountain road. We got lost and it got dark and the Sahaja Yogis were to have a programme in Nasik, so Shri Mataji was missing the programme. Eventually, we stopped at Niphad, a town near Nasik, to have tea, so we could find directions. We were standing in the car park of this tea place, which was very barren with only telephone poles and lines and tar on the ground. Shri Mataji told me this was the exact place where the nose of Ravana’s sister was cut off by Shri Rama.

‘That’s why this place is called Nasik, because it means nose,’ She said, and looked around, as if it was very familiar to Her. ‘Of course, it was all forest then. This was the place.’ We were standing in this very stark area with not a tree in sight. It made you feel that it was just a yesterday’s memory.

Kay McHugh

A new age

Do you remember that New Year’s Eve in 1980 when we sat in a circle around Shri Mataji? We were sitting outside in front of a big bonfire with Mother. Later on, when She was leaving to go back to the university where She was staying that night, She saw a great light in the sky and said it was a symbol of a new age starting and that a new star had been born.

Kay McHugh

When we got back to Mumbai, we saw in a newspaper that two Australian scientists had found a new star, the dawning of the new age.

Wendy Barrett


  1. Alan Richards
  2. Alexandra Maitland Hume
  3. Anonymous Indian Sahaja Yogini
  4. Anonymous South African Sahaja Yogi
  5. Ann Lewis
  6. Anna Mancini
  7. Antoinette Wells
  8. Auriol Purdie
  9. Avdhut Pai
  10. Bala Kanayson
  11. BG Murthy
  12. Bogunia Bensaude
  13. Caleb Williams
  14. Chris Greaves
  15. Colin Dunwell
  16. Colin Heinson
  17. Cornelia Weiker
  18. Danya Martoglio
  19. David Baxter
  20. Deepa Mahajan
  21. Djamel Metouri
  22. Douglas Fry
  23. Enlightened Jyoti
  24. Felicity Payment
  25. Gary Weiker
  26. Gilly Grimshaw
  27. Grazyna Anslow
  28. Gregoire de Kalbermatten
  29. Hamim from Malaysia
  30. Jayant Patankar
  31. Jeremy Lamaison
  32. John Firth
  33. John Henshaw
  34. John Watkinson
  35. Juan Vega
  36. Karen Cole
  37. Kay McHugh
  38. Kay O’Connell
  39. Kevin Anslow
  40. Kingsley Flint
  41. Lena Koli
  42. Linda Williams
  43. Luis Garrido
  44. Lyndal Vercoe
  45. Malcolm Murdoch
  46. Maneesh Singh
  47. Maria Laventzi
  48. Mark Callahan
  49. Marie-Amelia de Kalbermatten
  50. Marie-Laure Cernay
  51. Marilyn Leate
  52. Maureen Rossi
  53. Maxim Belyanin
  54. Meenakshi Murdoch
  55. Miodrag Radosavljevic
  56. Naina Staff
  57. Niranjan Mavinkurve
  58. Pamela Bromley
  59. Pat Anslow
  60. Patricia Proenza
  61. Mr Phadke
  62. Pramila Mehra
  63. Prerna Richards
  64. Raman Kulkarni 
  65. Raolbai
  66. Ray Harris
  67. Rita Davies
  68. Rosie Lyons
  69. RR Singh
  70. Rupert Pearce
  71. Rustom Burjorjee
  72. Ruth Greaves
  73. Salim Benkadi 
  74. Sandeep Gadkary
  75. Sarah Frankcombe
  76. Shailaja Glover
  77. Sharon Vincent
  78. Steve Wollenburger
  79. Surender Pal Angurala
  80. Suresh Thacker
  81. Tarachandra
  82. Thomas Menge
  83. Toni Panayioutou
  84. Vinayak Kalantri
  85. Wendy Barrett
  86. Yoggita Singh


Sahaja Yoga – A Unique Discovery

by Her Holiness Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi

Man in his search of joy and happiness is running away from his Self, which is the real source of joy. He finds himself very ugly and boring because he doesn’t know his Self. A human being seeks joy in money or possessions, in power or human limited love, and ultimately in religion that is also outside. The problem is how to turn one’s attention inward. The inner being, which is our awareness, is energy. I call it the energy of Divine Love. All evolution and the manifestation of material energy is guided by the supreme energy of Divine Love. We do not know how powerful and thoughtful this unknown energy is. The silent working of awareness is so automatic, minute, dynamic, and precious that we take it for granted. After self realisation, this energy appears to us as silent throbbing vibrations flowing through our being. But we have been unable to achieve self realisation because we cannot fix our attention on something that lacks form (abstract Being). Instead, our attention wanders outside on forms.

Now there is a method to tap the Divine power – Sahaja Yoga. At the very outset, I have to say that the working of Sahaja Yoga is very simple, although the operation within is quite complex. For example, if you want to watch television, it is very easy. But to explain the engineering technique of a television set is very difficult and the explanation is complicated. To learn about a television you also need a qualified engineer who understands it and who can explain its working.

I will try to explain Sahaja Yoga in the simplest way, but please note that it is really complicated if you want to know it in detail. The best way to enjoy television is first to switch it on and watch. Then later you can try to understand its engineering. As a Mother I would say that I have done the cooking for you. Why should you worry about how it is done? If you are hungry you should start eating. If you are not actually hungry, but only inquisitive, what can I do? I can neither force you to eat nor make you hungry with discussions or lecturing. I leave it to your wisdom and to your freedom to feel that longing.


The word ‘Sahaja’ (Saha + ja) means born with you or inborn. Whatever is inborn manifests without any effort. Hence Sahaja Yoga is the name given to my system, which is effortless, easy, and spontaneous. It is a part of Nature, you may call it life’s source-the vitality of the Divine.

To understand life, consider the case of something that is living: a germinating seed. The seed grows by itself into a tree, blooms into flowers, and then the flowers become fruit. Any human effort cannot change the process of growth from a seed into a tree. The gardener can only look after the growth of the tree. In the same way, the process of the growth of our consciousness, to further evolution, takes place effortlessly.

When a foetus is between two and three months old, in the mother’s womb, a column of rays of consciousness, emitted through the all-pervading Divine Love, pass through the developing brain to enlighten it. The shape of the human brain is prism-like. So, the column of rays falling on it gets refracted into four diverse channels corresponding to the four aspects of the nervous system.

These are:

1. Parasympathetic nervous system

2. Sympathetic nervous system (right)

3. Sympathetic nervous system (left)

4. Central nervous System (This need not be discussed as it is the link with objectivity).

The set of rays that fall on the fontanel bone (apex of the head known as Taloo) pierce in the center and pass straight into the medulla oblongata through a channel (Sushumna). This energy, after leaving a very thread-like, thin line in the medulla oblongata, settles down in three and a half coils in the triangular bone at the base of the spinal cord (Mooladhar). This coiled energy is known as Kundalini.

The subtle energy enters through the center of the brain (Sahasrara Brahmarandhra) and precipitates six more centers on its way down. The gross manifestation of this subtle energy, in the Sushumna channel of the spinal cord, is termed the Parasympathetic nervous system. The centers of Chakras are expressed as plexuses outside the spinal cord. Surprisingly, we have the same number of plexuses and sub plexuses outside, as the number of Chakras and their petals inside, the spinal cord.

Medical science knows very little about this system. Science calls it the autonomous nervous system, meaning the system that works spontaneously-on its own. For example, if we want to increase the rate of our heartbeat, we can do so by exerting ourselves (activity of the sympathetic nervous system). But we cannot directly reduce the heart (activity of the parasympathetic nervous system). The parasympathetic nervous system is a system that is like a petrol pump through which the petrol of Divine Love fills us. But when a human child is born and the umbilical cord breaks, a gap is created in the Sushumna (the subtle channel in the spinal cord). And on the gross level, one can see there is a gap between the solar plexus and the vagus nerve of the parasympathetic nervous system. This gap is known as the void in the Zen system of religion and Maya (or Bhav- Sagar) in Indian thought. Later when ego and superego bloat up like balloons and cover our brain at the apex of the left and right sympathetic nervous systems, the fontanel bone calcifies, and the all-pervading vital force of Divine Love gets cut off completely.

Then the human being identifies himself as a separate entity and the consciousness of ‘I’ (Aham) presides. This is why Man does not know His universal unconscious. His ego severs this subtle connection.


The sympathetic nervous system uses the vital energy. There are two systems-left and right. The two channels, which carry this energy, in subtle form (in the medulla oblongata), are known as Ida and Pingala respectively. The right-side system (in the right-handed person) caters to the emergencies of the active consciousness (extra efforts and emergencies). The left-side system (in medicine they say it remains dormant) caters to the subconscious mind of the psyche (libido).

Both these sympathetic-nerve systems are called the Sun and Moon channels (i.e., Surya nadi and Chandra nadi). Hatha Yoga comes from the words Ha and Tha, meaning the Sun and Moon. By this yoga you can control the activity of the sympathetic; you can use more stored energy or else completely stop the activity of the sympathetic for a short time. Just by using the stored energy you cannot achieve the eternal flow of the Divine. With control over the sympathetic you can slow the heart rate or even stop the heart for a short time. You may achieve all the physical gross symptoms of the parasympathetic. But you cannot activate the parasympathetic which is the channel for your real yoga (meeting of the Divine). With Hatha Yoga you may even control your mind. But the mind thus governed is heavily conditioned for the spiritual flight into the divine. One may keep good health and good mind to be a good citizen in a society, but that is not the only aim of life.


Both sympathetic and parasympathetic act on the plexuses, but in opposition to each other. The parasympathetic relaxes the plexuses while the sympathetic squeezes the energy by constricting them. One fills in the vitality and the other consumes it.

There is a gap in the parasympathetic nervous system (Sushumna) but no gap in the sympathetic nervous system (at the navel). This is the hurdle that has rendered all our searching-and entry into the parasympathetic-fruitless so far. It is like three ladders, two of them touching the ground while the central one is hanging in the air. So whenever we try to rise in our consciousness, we move on to the sympathetic system.

If we pass toward the right side we enter onto the activity that goes on bloating in the balloon of ego. Thus we feel responsible and active. When this activity increases beyond limits, like a growing tree whose roots are not equally grown, the being falls to the ground.

Over activity of the sympathetic nervous system causes tension, sleeplessness, and ultimately all deadly diseases like cancer. These diseases are caused by the constricted plexuses that have been drained of their energy. If you can make the parasympathetic dominate the right side, then we can antidote the effects of over activity. Then all the diseases and the effects caused by this right side get cured automatically.

The left side sympathetic nervous system (libido) has the power to store all that is dead in us. It connects you with store houses of the subconscious mind and with the collective subconscious (Bhootlok or Paralok).

At the backside of the brain, at the apex of this channel, the super ego exists like a balloon. It becomes heavy by storing, the conditioning of the mind through libido. So if the tension is heavy it breaks the superego into many fragments. If you still overexert by conditioning, a partial vacuum forms and this sucks another dead personality from the collective subconscious (Paralok) into your superego. So in your pursuit of truth, if you take to further efforts and indulge in concentration, training of the mind, forced abstinence, forced meditation, or complete slavery to the emotional attachment of the mind, the libido with the aid of the affected superego may connect you to the collective subconscious (Paralok) where all dead souls-bad, good, or saintly-exist. These souls start manifesting through you and you get siddhis or extra sensory perceptions. Actually these are the different subtle (dead) personalities dominating us through super ego.


There is another method that may be effortlessly employed by many so called teachers. This method, by which they turn the Chakra in the direction of the libido, can put you into your subconscious. This method either makes the aspirant go into a trance or accept the complete domination of the dead spirits introduced by the teacher through the plexuses.

In the first case, the Sadhaka feels relaxed, his mind is switched off. But after a few years of practice, he realises his weakness. He cannot face reality and takes to heavy use of drugs. In the second case, the aspirant becomes a complete slave of the teacher and starts giving away all material possessions to the teacher without understanding the logic behind it. These teachers never explain the technique they have employed, nor do they give their powers to anybody else. In short, all efforts in the name of religion, or the mishandling of Kundalini by so called realised people, can only activate the sympathetic nervous system (Ida and Pingala). These activities cannot make any progress toward bringing about the play of parasympathetic (Sushumna).

All mesmerize powers such as materialization power (enslaving masses for money or fame), visionary powers (Drishti Siddha), speech powers (Vani Siddha), curing powers, transcendental feelings (powers of switching off the mind), separation of body, and many other powers, are very ordinarily found among those who practice the control of spirits (Pret siddhi or Smashan Vidya). All such powers can be proved to be the powers of the dead in any one of our experimental Centers.

These are not Divine powers because the Divine has no interest in these gross subjects. It is interested only in the miracle of the inner being and its further manifestation to bring about human evolution. Thus those who indulge and use their attention (Chitta) on such ‘siddhis’ and those who run after such gross miracles find it difficult to follow Sahaja Yoga.

We have noted that when such people confront Sahaja Yoga, they start trembling and shaking like lunatics. If with very great difficulty such a person reaches the state of Self-realisation, he completely loses all interest in such powers and in their exhibition. He is freed of all extra dead personalities who dominated him.

There is no need to pass through the subconscious strata to jump the unconscious. The subconscious is an end by itself and one gets lost after entering its realms. These strata are placed vertically. The only direct way is through the parasympathetic (through Sushumna)-the central path that takes you to the Divine (the universal unconscious)-through Sahaja Yoga.

It is very dangerous to use the powers of the subconscious which may become uncontrollable and torture the practitioner and Sadhaka. Those who are temporarily benefited may suffer irreparable loss to body, mind, or grace.


All religions have promised inner silence when you reach the state of Self-realisation-the inner miracle of the subtle awareness and not gross jugglery. The Bhagavad Gita says that you become the witness (Sakshi Swarup) of the play of the Divine. Many modern thinkers are also talking about the new awareness. This has been described as ‘thoughtless awareness’ which results in collective consciousness. We hear of many prophesies made by ancient and modern writers about the evolution of a new race of super-human beings of unique awareness. These are no longer empty words. Through the discovery of Sahaja Yoga it is possible to achieve the transformation of the human consciousness to the higher planes promised by various seers.

The subject of Kundalini is no longer a matter of book knowledge. Now you can see, with the naked eye, the breathing of the Kundalini at the Mooladhara. You can feel the different Chakras in the spinal cord with your fingers. Formerly, bridging the gap in the Sushumna was the insurmountable problem. But it is being discovered that this gap can be filled with the vibrating power of Divine Love. The Kundalini rises like a majestic mother and breaks the apex of the brain (Brahmarandhra) without giving the slightest trouble to the child (Sadhaka). It happens in a split second, in the short spell between two successive thoughts. Of course, if the aspirant (Sadhaka) is diseased or his Chakras are constricted by over activity of the sympathetic nervous system, the Kundalini, being the Mother of every individual and the embodiment of love, knowledge, and beauty, knows how to reveal Her love beautifully and to give rebirth to Her child without causing any hurt. There are many descriptions about Kundalini warning us against the dangers and perils of the taming of Kundalini. Also many books describe various gross or frightful experiences of the Kundalini awakening.

Actually this is caused because Kundalini cannot rise without Sahaja Yoga, i.e., if someone, who is not Self-realised, tries to awaken Her, the Kundalini does not leave Her seat and, without the proper invitation, the Kundalini becomes adamant and angry. Thus the sympathetic gets into activity. When She is accused of sex, She sends heat waves over the sympathetic nervous system which causes the constriction or blockage of the plexuses and the path of the Kundalini is completely broken down.

Sometimes one gets into funny gesticulations or loses complete awareness of the outside. Moreover with mishandling of Chakras and Kundalini due to the ignorance or greed of the teacher, the chance of realisation for the aspirant can become very poor and sometimes impossible.

The mind that is very much conditioned, or the mind that is the slave of self-indulgence or of egoistic actions and thoughts, is also a very slow conveyance for Sahaja Yoga. Even if you read too much about the de-conditioning of the mind, you may get only further conditioned. If you try to de-condition by efforts, you can become conditioned much worse than what you were. De-conditioning is only possible through Divine Love. The main ‘condition’ of Sahaja Yoga is that your will and freedom are always respected.

In Sahaja Yoga the person is fully aware and alert and receives inner silence and experience without doing any unnatural movements. He sits in a completely easy pose throughout or he also may lie down (Sahajasana or Shavasana). The breathing is normal or less than normal.


Religions are also the expressions and experiments of realised souls-the seers. They also talk about the inner being, second birth, and about Self-relaxation. In the beginning, in India, they tried to take the attention inside by introducing symbols that they saw of this unconscious, universal being within. This gave rise to pantheism and the aspirant’s attention got stuck to symbols (Sakar) and to rituals which killed the main objective.

So the other type of experiments of talking only about the abstract (Nirakar) gave rise to many other religions which ended up as dogmas or ‘isms.’ The reason is obvious. Talking about the flower or the honey cannot take you to the honey but can only create dogmatic ‘isms’ in the mind. You have to be a bee to reach there, i.e., you have to be reborn. This has to happen within to take you inside. It is too great an achievement and unbelievable, but I feel the search of ages has brought great results.


The mind, with a child-like innocence achieves very quick results. Whatever may be the loads of the mind, if the longing is honest and earnest, sooner or later, the aspirant can get Self-realisation. After reaching this state the vibrations start emitting from the extremities. These are described by Adi Shankaracharya in his work ‘Ananda Lahari.’ These vibrations are the waves of Divine Love that can fill also other persons’ inner being and give them the same experience of Self-realisation. This is how the chain reaction starts. One light enlightens another.

The physical manifestations are as follows:

The pupils of the eyes become dilated (Parasympathetic action). The face becomes radiant, the body becomes light, all tension is completely removed. The rising of the Kundalini can be seen by others and felt by the aspirant. First the throbbing is clearly felt at Sahasrara (apex of the brain) and when it stops, complete silence is felt within and in all awareness. The flow of grace is felt coming down, cooling the whole being. As the attention moves to the subtle, gross attachments drop out. A person gradually loses identification with falsehood and artificiality.

In matter, he sees beauty and not its possession value. In knowledge, he identifies himself with the Truth and is not afraid to profess, nor does he indulge in the double standards of life. His flow of love becomes spontaneous, generous, without any tinge of attachment, possession or any return. The person becomes ageless-a hollow personality.

Now let us see what happens inside.

The attention of the consciousness moves to the inner being (Kundalini). As the thread (Sutra) of a necklace is passing through every bead of the necklace, the inner consciousness (Kundalini) is also passing through every human being.

As soon as our attention moves to our inner consciousness we can move on to everybody’s Kundalini. One starts feeling the Kundalini, its nature, its position in other persons. Collective consciousness is thus established. Now you become a universal being. After some days you cannot say who the other person is. The power of love is so great and dynamic that with the movement of your fingers you can move the Kundalini of thousands. It becomes child’s play.

This is how the en masse evolution of human beings will take place. These are the signs of the advent of the Golden age of Truth (Satya Yoga).

Let us forget whatever hardships we have suffered in our search in the past. It does not matter if some could not find it before this. You have to open your mind and understand that though the discovery is unprecedented, it does not make any seeker or predecessor small. If some experiments are made, it does not matter if, ultimately, we have found out the way. It is a collective achievement. Perhaps in the chaos of Kali Yoga it was to happen and many of us, who have been earnestly searching in many lives, are reborn to have their promises fulfilled by the Divine. Maybe we were our own predecessors.

On the tree of life there might have been very few flowers but now the blossom time has come. Their fragrance of longing has collectively materialized the manifestation of Sahaja Yoga. Many are going to jump into the realm of thoughtless awareness where you get introduced to yourself and start identifying with your universal nature.

Those who deserve will get the throne of their inner being which rules the skies of peace, and the oceans of divine love and supreme knowledge within, which is limitless (Anant).