Chapter 01: 1960’s and before – It Began in India

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

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

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

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.

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