Chapter 01: 1981 – January and February, India

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

The same railway station

Something which struck me when reading Baba Mama’s book of memories was that many of the places that he mentions as being significant to the Salve family, especially their forebears, were places we visited in Maharashtra on the tour of 1980. For example, we went to the same railway station at Rahuri to which Shri Mataji’s paternal grandmother, Sakhubai, escaped with her children through a terrible night of flood and storm. We were at that station quite some time before the train came in.

Bogunia Bensaude

The train was late

On that same tour we were travelling near Nasik and a great banquet had been put on for us by some yogis. Shri Mataji was to join us because She was making the same journey by car. We waited a long time but She didn’t arrive. The yogis took us inside and suggested we rest, then there was a blackout and someone said we could meditate. When we eventually saw Shri Mataji again, She apologised because apparently the car had broken down.

It was New Year’s Day in 1981 and Shri Mataji was due to leave Rahuri by train and it was late. Someone fetched a chair and placed it beneath a lamp on the station. Our Mother sat and we all sat at Her Feet. This was where we all belonged, so peaceful at Her Feet. Shri Mataji had told us we had all been with Her before, and now there was no doubt. One yogi kept asking if we could sing the aarti now.

‘No, not now,’ She kept saying. As it approached midnight, She turned to the yogi and said, ‘You can sing aarti now,’ and as we came to the final verse the train arrived. Mother climbed into the train as we sang. ‘If the train had arrived before midnight I would have spent the rest of the year travelling,’ She said.

Sarah Frankcombe

You’ll travel all year

That was the first time we ever sang bhajans, proper Indian bhajans. We learnt them on the railway station and we waited and waited for the train.

The train was supposed to come at nine o’clock and I remember that Shri Mataji said that there’s an old saying that if you travel on the first of the year, first of January, if you start travelling on the first day of the year, it means you’ll travel all year and that you won’t be able to stop travelling.

The train was delayed, so we sang bhajans then we went and had a cup of tea. Eventually the train left at one minute past twelve on the second of January.

Wendy Barrett

Like the Sermon on the Mount

Do you remember that village called Karuse? We went to this village and it was an amazing experience because the villagers had come from miles and miles around and they were everywhere. We were in Maharashtra and way in the countryside. They had a simple bullock cart, with palm trees over the top of it and a driver, who slowly took Shri Mataji through the village and we danced in front of it and all the villagers played their music and came and She gave a programme.

That was on our first India tour and we did that quite a few times in quite a few villages, but that particular village I remember. There were people literally hanging out of the trees and on the tops of ruined walls and hanging everywhere and we were near the front. I looked around and thought, ‘This is like the Sermon on the Mount in the bible. They’re everywhere.’

Shri Mataji gave a very short talk in Marathi, but it was an amazing experience. It hadn’t rained there for ever such a long time, and they were destitute. As soon as the talk finished, the skies opened and the rain came down and we all had to run for cover and there were thousands of people.

Kay McHugh

A really joyous occasion

We went to a small village just outside Pune. It was a very dusty place and all the village people came and they were sitting on roofs and walls. They were just everywhere. The programme was held outdoors. Then it just poured and poured for about an hour. It had not rained for nine months and the Indian people were totally over the moon. They danced, sang and ended up covered with mud. Because there had been no rain it was very dusty and when the rain came it became very muddy. It was a really joyous occasion.

Cheryl Bradshaw

Because a saint was buried there

There was another village that we went to on that India tour, which was the place where those pictures were taken, where the light is coming down. I was sitting next to Cheryl Bradshaw, who took the pictures, so I can vouch for the fact that it was an overcast day. There was no sunlight.

I took the pictures from Cheryl to London to Shri Mataji, to Her flat. I was a flight attendant at the time and often went there from Australia.

‘These amazing pictures have come out, Mother,’ I said. I didn’t take all of them, only about three or four and showed them to Her, and She didn’t exactly say why the light was coming down. I think I was probably too busy talking to Her, rather than listening. ‘There’s another picture, Mother, in the series, it’s the last one and You have Your hand up over Your head like You’re saying, ‘It’s enough now.’’ She laughed. She said the reason for the light in the photos was because a saint was buried there. After the talk, She made us go down to his grave and we walked around.

Kay McHugh

Shri Mataji translated the movie

It was the beginning of 1981 and we went to see a movie with Shri Mataji in Pune. There were about thirty of us from Australia on that first tour where there were buses. Shri Mataji told us all to go to a movie theatre one evening. She was supposed to come too, but the movie started and She had not yet arrived, so we all sat down.

About ten minutes into the movie Shri Mataji arrived and She came and sat between my husband, then fiancé, and myself. All through the movie She translated, because it was a Hindi movie. She told him the plot, who the villain was and what was happening. She laughed and laughed and it was absolutely wonderful. When She sat down, She put Her glasses on, and it struck me that this was such a human thing to do. It was a very enjoyable evening.

Caroline Henwood

Not easy to give a hand to Shri Adi Shakti

There was a Sahaja Yogi in Pune called Mr Bakri. One day he was with Shri Mataji. He wanted to help Shri Mataji, and She was climbing some steps so he offered his hand to Her to help Her climb them. As soon as he gave his hand to Her he himself fell off the steps! Then Shri Mataji pulled him and he was all right. She said it was not easy to give a hand to Shri Adi Shakti.

Sandeep Gadkary

How the Indians clean their teeth

In 1981 we went to a temple where Shri Rama had worshipped. It was a Shivalinga, very old and underground. Shri Mataji sat outside afterwards and had tea and started to tell us about the neem tree that was shading us. We’ve got some lovely pictures of Her sitting under the neem tree laughing and laughing. She was breaking branches off and giving them to us to chew.

‘This is how the Indians clean their teeth. They never have tooth problems because they just chew on the branches of the neem tree,’ Shri Mataji said. Mr Dhumal handed the branches out to us.

‘Chew on it. It’s really sweet,’ he said, and Mother was laughing. He was tricking us because it’s really bitter!

Kay McHugh

The Kundalini pulsating

I had a friend called Emily who lived in Hong Kong and who had received her realisation. We asked if she could help with the arrangements for the upcoming Hong Kong programmes and she immediately said yes. The next few days she was given intense treatments, a crash course in the subtle system and how to clear it, and a copy of The Advent. Thus armed, she returned to Hong Kong and arranged a spectacularly successful first foray of Sahaja Yoga into Hong Kong and China.

In order for Emily to meet Mother, she joined the India tour of 1980/81. At this first meeting Emily was very business-like, with a portfolio of details. Shri Mataji seemed very pleased and gave her a present of antique brass. The best present Mother gave her, however, was allowing her to go to Her Feet. Needless to say she was quite caught up and this first experience of going to Mother’s Feet was a startling revelation to her. Her Kundalini pushed with such a force that it pulsated powerfully at several chakras, especially the liver, and tremendous heat came out.

In the series of public programmes that followed in Bombay, Mother, in Her great benevolence, would call Emily up to the stage and have her go to Her Feet. Each time she would sit up afterwards looking stunned and sweating profusely. Emily told me she used to try to pull her hands out from Mother’s Feet but could not move them. She said it was like a mountain on her hands. In those days Shri Mataji would, after some time, slightly lift Her Feet and it would be time to take your hands away and sit up. Towards the end of the series of programmes, Mother was again working on her; She gave a triumphant ‘Hah!’ and Emily at last came up radiant and smiling.

Kay McHugh

Extra sweet

During my first India tour of 1981, I quickly learnt that the delicious sweet that was sometimes served at the end of meals or as prasad was called barfi. Having found out to my great surprise, and to my advantage, that many of my sisters were not fond of it, I was cheeky enough to extend my hand far out whenever distributed or to ask my neighbours whether they wanted their sweet. I then ended up with a treasured bag that would last a few days, since I would often try to share it in vain.

The last day, on arriving at the airport for our return flight, we were pleased to hear that it was rescheduled for noon of the next day and that we would spend the night at the airport, since our leader told us that Shri Mataji’s departure flight would be at 10.30 am.

When Mother arrived, we all sat quietly at a distance on the floor. Mother was talking to the family members and country leaders that accompanied Her. We could not really hear what was said but a box of barfi appeared. After Mother vibrated them, Anand, who was a little boy at the time, started distributing one to each yogi. At the end of the round, one was left in the box. Anand went back and asked Mother something, which I assumed to be ‘Who shall I give the last one to?’

The thought, ‘Of course not me. How can I be so selfish and greedy to even think…’ was interrupted by Mother pointing at me and saying, ‘Give it to her.’

Natalie Amram

Rub them more strongly

I was a child of about nine years old. It was a puja in the 1980’s in Mumbai and there were usually about twenty children on the stage. Before this, my father told me to be careful and had me cut my fingernails so as not to give any pain to Shri Mataji and to be very gentle when I washed Mother’s Feet.

It was the puja day and all the children were called onto the stage to wash Shri Mataji’s Feet. It was my turn and Mother asked me to warm Her Feet. I remembered my father told me to be gentle with Mother’s Feet, but Shri Mother asked me why I was being so gentle! She wanted me to warm Her Feet by rubbing them. She told me to rub them more strongly.

Raju Koli

Shri Mataji is omnipresent

On 9th February 1981, with my doctor brother, I attended a public programme of Shri Mataji in Delhi, at the Constitution Club. On the previous day I had given realisation to him and he felt vibrations, but he did not feel them at the programme. On the bus home he expressed many apprehensions about Mother. The next day my brother went home to Allahabad and again I attended Mother’s programme. I was surprised that Mother started delivering Her lecture as if replying to my brother’s doubts about Her, in chronological order. The next day I wrote a letter to my brother about the replies and told him it was as if Mother had listened to our talk.

RR Singh

The parrot

In about 1981 Shri Mataji came to my father’s house for lunch. Accompanying Her were Raol Bai and a few Delhi Sahaja Yogis. My father is very fond of animals and has had dogs, bears, cheetahs, squirrels and parrots over the years. The wild animals were released into the wild. At the time Shri Mataji came he had a parrot which was not caged. He used to go inside the cage only to sleep, otherwise he would fly all over the house. At breakfast he would come down from my father’s shoulder and sit on the dining table. He would never eat anything from the plate, only from the edge of it, where my father would keep a titbit for him to eat. We had a Samoyed dog too.

The day Shri Mataji came, She sat in the garden as it was winter. My father brought the parrot, perched on his finger, to Shri Mataji. She petted it and spoke to it. He cocked his head to one side listening very carefully. The parrot made sounds like ‘Uh? Uh?’ as it was enjoying the petting. She petted him for quite a while. She also petted the dog.

A week after this incident the door was left open and the parrot flew out. That was the first time he flew out of the house and we never found him again.

Deepa Mahajan