Chapter 01: 1998 – January to June, India, Dubai, Cabella and Russia

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

Shri Mataji joined India and Mexico

In 1998, I went to Delhi for the Birthday Puja, and afterwards went to the International Sahaja Hospital at Belapur. We asked Dr Rai, the Director, about the possibility of having a conference on Sahaja Yoga and Health in Mexico. I asked him to please talk to our Holy Mother and request Her blessing. Shri Mataji authorized the conference, and as soon as I came back from India, I began to organize it.

Dr Rai came to Mexico in September. Sahaja medical doctors from Spain, India and Colombia also came and the Chief of the Department of History and Philosophy of Medicine from the National University of Mexico was our host. The conference was a complete success.

 Graciela Vázquez-Díaz


For some years I lived in Dubai. I was there when Shri Mataji visited in April 1998. I did not know the Dubai Sahaja Yogis and it was my first time to meet Shri Mataji, at the airport. There were two arrival gates, and I went to the second gate. Everyone else was waiting at the first gate. So I was the person to actually greet Shri Mataji and took blessings from Her. (The narrator is in flowery shirt behind car door). She asked me where our coordinator was and I told Her that they were coming, but I didn’t know for sure. Then we reached Her car, and the driver and everyone came there.

On the same day one of my work colleagues, a Mr Singh, (seen behind in blue) heard that I was going to meet Shri Mataji and that She was coming to the airport, and he came behind me to see what was happening, because he had been quite critical of my involvement with Sahaja Yoga. He waited a long time at the airport, and was very late for his work. But he wanted to see Shri Mataji, and he saw Her when She arrived. He started following Shri Mataji’s car on his motor bike. The car stopped at the traffic light, and his bike drew level with Shri Mataji’s car. She looked at him, and did namaskar to him, and he was so surprised and his eyes became wet with tears. He got to work nearly three hours late, but no one was worried there. And from that day he started to do the puja of Shri Mataji and became a good Sahaja Yogi.

My friends and I got in a taxi and followed, and when we got to a traffic light we saw Shri Mataji’s car and told the taxi to follow, because we did not know where the programme was to be. Then we went upstairs and got to the apartment, and there was just Shri Mataji, the centre leader and myself. Soon there were quite a few people in the big meeting room there. Shri Mataji called me over to Her chair and first She asked me what language She should use for the Dubai Sahaja Yogis. I said English, because there were Shri Lankans and other foreigners who would not understand Hindi. Then She told me how nice the Dubai collectivity was, and how She really enjoyed them.

I am very joyful here, and I have seen never such a nice collectivity, and such love anywhere,’ She told me in Hindi.

Shri Mataji at the Dubai Centre

The next day Shri Mataji came to our Shahjah centre. Shri Mataji gave a speech which was not taped. There were about twenty-five people there on the previous day and She had given almost the same speech, but at the centre more people could hear it. One lady came to the centre, and came in front of Shri Mataji.

You are the daughter-in-law of Mr Shankar of Lucknow,’ Shri Mataji said, even though She had not met this lady before (the lady in blue in the photo). The lady was surprised that Shri Mataji knew her father-in-law, but Shri Mataji said She knew him because he sang bhajans in Lucknow.

There were some Sahaja Yogis from Shri Lanka and Shri Mataji told us that Shri Lanka is your younger brother and you from India are like elder brothers and it is your duty to help them. At that time there was a problem in Shri Lanka with terrorism.

Don’t worry, this problem will soon be solved, within two or three years,’ Shri Mataji said to them.

You have to follow Sahaja Yoga and then Shri Lanka will become free of terrorism,’ She said, and that they should open Sahaja centres, and through Sahaja Yoga one day Shri Lanka will change.

Rajesh Yadav

Play the sarod

In 1998 and 1999 during the Easter Pujas I had the privilege to play the jumbush, a Turkish instrument, for Shri Mataji. She was very pleased and spoke to me while we were carrying Her on the palanquin. To carry Mother from Her car to the stage and back on that palanquin was one of our delights at Easter Pujas in Istanbul.

This repeated itself in both years. Shri Mataji told me to go to the academy and learn sarod three times, but I did not do what She said. My job and my worldly responsibilities prevented me, but after the third time in 1999 my wife Bistra supported me and I took an incredible leave of three months and stayed in Nagpur from January 2000 to the closing of Nagpur Academy in March after the passing away of our dear Baba Mama. When I first arrived, Baba Mama suggested that I learn the sitar, but my mind was already set on sarod.

I will play the sarod because Mother said so,’ I said to him.

If that is what She said you should do so,’ he replied.

When I started to learn, I realised why they say the sarod is the most difficult instrument, and it was only Shri Mataji’s command that kept my faith alive that at some point I would be able to play it. Now when I look back I realise more what an important step it was to take the challenge and I cannot imagine how my life would be without my sarod.

Selim Ergen

A beautiful hand painted ceramic vase

I went to Istanbul with the Romanians to Easter Puja, in 1998. There were only myself and one other Australian girl who were given the honour of buying a present on behalf of Australia. We had never done anything like that before, and went to a shop and chose a beautiful hand painted ceramic vase. When we went on the stage to give it, we were waiting in the line and weren’t sure if it was going to be appropriate. There were two people in front of us who gave a vase.

Oh good! I need more vases!’ Shri Mataji said, in a very loud voice, so we felt comfortable that we were doing the right thing.

After I had given Shri Mataji a vase at Easter Puja in Istanbul, in 1998, we went to Cabella for Shri Ganesha Puja, and stayed for a month, between that puja and Navaratri Puja, helping at the castle. I had been helping in the kitchen and after about a week I got to go inside to the main rooms where Shri Mataji lived. I walked in and just at the bottom of the landing, in the dining room, was the vase that we had given. My heart just felt so open, it was as if Mother knew we were there and had put out the gift we had given Her and was using it.

Although I helped in the castle for another three weeks and went in all the rooms, I never saw that vase again. It was just on that first day – Mother made those connections between Her heart and yours, and you knew that She knew you were there.

Anna Chicos

Easter Puja, Istanbul, 1998

I have My own plan, you will see

It was in Istanbul, for an Easter Puja. I was in Mother’s room and told Her I could not wait for Her to be on the front page of Time magazine and Newsweek.

Do you want Me to be at the same level as (a well known Tibetan)?’* She answered. ‘I have My own plan, you will see.’

Ruth Eleanore

*Editor’s note: name deleted

It was not the right thing to miss the programme

On the occasion of the Sahasrara Day Puja in 1998, we European Sahaja Yogis formed an orchestra and put together a programme of a number of European composers including a full piano concerto by Mozart. We so wanted it to be well done, but the darshan of Shri Mataji was more important than anything.

On Friday night, Shri Mataji was attending the programme, but we, the orchestra rehearsed in one of the hotels of Cabella because we wanted the music to be as perfect as possible. The rehearsal didn’t go well, and after this I saw my national leader.

What? You didn’t attend Shri Mataji’s programme? It was so important to be there in Her presence,’ he said.

So we played in front of Shri Mataji the next evening and the concert was of a pretty high standard. It was videotaped, as all the programmes were, but the video didn’t work. It confirmed what my leader said, that it was not the right thing to do to miss the programme the previous evening.

Siddheshvara Barbier

A few simple stories which show how Shri Mataji cares

These are a few simple stories which show how Shri Mataji cared for Her children and noticed small things. It was my first Sahasrara Puja at Cabella in 1998. I was there to make the food as part of the kitchen team and we made all the food for the puja. We worked day and night and it was so joyous; we did not feel we did anything because everything was so smooth and spontaneous. We felt – I am not the doer, Shri Mataji does everything.

After the puja was over the kitchen team had the chance to have Shri Mataji’s darshan. I was able to take flowers to Her and a Sahaja Yogini introduced me to Her.

She is new in Austria,’ the yogini said, and Shri Mataji looked at me.

Aren’t you from Calcutta?’ (Which I am) She said. Shri Mataji knew everything, as She had never met me personally before. Then She said, ‘How are you? Are you happy?’ This was the best moment of my life. Then Shri Mataji saw Purnima, another Austrian Sahaja Yogini, and she was almost seven months pregnant. Shri Mataji was so happy to see her pregnant because she had been married for eight years and no baby had come until then. At that moment a desire came to me that I would also like a baby and as soon as I returned from the puja I also became pregnant.

A few years later we again got an opportunity for Shri Mataji’s darshan, and went inside Her room with flowers to bow down to Her. This time Shri Mataji spoke for a long time in Marathi with Mrs Koli.

Is there anyone here who cannot understand Marathi?’ Shri Mataji asked. I was the only person who couldn’t so I raised my hand. Shri Mataji asked me where I came from and I told Her that I was from Calcutta, and She said that my eyes showed that I came from there.

Another time I got an opportunity to work in Shri Mataji’s kitchen at Sahasrara Puja. It was very nice to work there, washing dishes, cutting vegetables, serving – wonderful experiences. As I came from Calcutta, where fish is the Bengalis’ favourite food, I always had a desire to cook fish for Shri Mataji. That day, when I was in the kitchen, there was no plan to cook fish. The ladies who always did the cooking there asked me to write down some Bengali fish recipes so they could cook them, and I was happy to hear that.

Why not cook fish today?’ a lady said to me out of the blue, in the evening. She asked me to cook fish Bengali style, which I did. It was an example of the fact that Shri Mataji knew everything that was on Her children’s mind.

Soma Kuma

My biggest smile

Once in 1998, I had the opportunity to meet Shri Mataji. Upon seeing Her, my tears started flowing uncontrollably. She looked at me and asked why I was crying. I had no idea why, but managed to say that it was because I was feeling tremendous joy. She lifted Her finger and said to everyone present ‘Khushi hona bahut jaroori hain. (It is very important to feel joyous.) 

That night, I felt quite silly to have cried like that in front of Shri Mataji, and promised myself that when I next saw Her, I would smile my biggest smile to let Her know that I was extremely joyous under Her protection. I had that chance in Cabella in 2004 when Shri Mataji was taking a stroll in Her garden. I was beaming from ear to ear upon seeing Her, and remembered my promise to give Mother a huge smile. Suddenly She turned to me and smiled so much, Her eyes grew bigger and sparkled. And Her smile was so big, it seemed to encompass me and the whole world in it. That was the sweetest day of my life.

Sonalika Sanas

Shri Mataji wanted an inventory

One day, in the castle at Cabella, Shri Mataji decided that She wanted to see all the paintings which had been presented to Her. She asked somebody to go and find where they all were and he discovered that they were stored all over the place. Shri Mataji wanted an inventory. We went up into the attic, took the paintings out, showed them to Her and then She would comment on them. I remember there was a really nice one that had the shape of Africa, and it was a mother and child.

Ah, Africa, the mother,’ Shri Mataji was saying. There was a Sahaja Yogi who’d done a painting and he hadn’t presented it to Shri Mataji.

Shri Mataji’s looking at paintings. This may be your opportunity,’ I said to him. So he quickly brought his painting and managed to present it to Shri Mataji and She made a comment that it was nice.

One thing I remember Her talking about — there were some paintings done by the Russians and She was saying how different they were, and very professional. She wanted to send the Russians the paintings which were damaged, to be repaired, because they were very good repairers.

So over a period of time, Shri Mataji would sit in a chair — it must have happened over nearly a week, they took the paintings to Her. Then we had to wrap up some of the ones that were proper, and number them and then itemize them, and then there were several numbers on them, and finally we had to put them back. Everything was done systematically and with no confusion.

Everyone asks what happens to all these presents. Quite a few times Shri Mataji would send the things to India or give them back to different people. Every now and again people would have to go out and buy suitcases and load them up with all manner of things to be taken to various places.

Derek Ferguson

It was amazing to see him walk out

My husband Michele had a bad problem in his back, but we were not living in the castle in Cabella at that time. We were living in Albera, where the puja hangar is now. He couldn’t move at all and was lying in his bed.

At that time, Shri Mataji said we should never go to the hospital without telling Her, so Rosario asked Shri Mataji and She said to bring him to see Her. Rosario came and even though he is very strong, he and Mauro, another man, couldn’t move Michele at all. So Rosario asked Shri Mataji again and this time he came with six men and they put him on a door and took him into the dining room of the castle. Shri Mataji came and he couldn’t even move to do namaskar.

Oh, my God,’ She said a few times, and put Her Foot on his side and started working on him.

Just put your hand out and tell Me what you feel,’ She said to me, but I was nervous and didn’t feel anything. She was touching him with Her Feet and telling another Sahaja Yogi which chakra to work on with the candle. After about twenty minutes, She said to Michele, ‘Now turn.’

Shri Mataji, I cannot turn,’ he said.

You have to turn,’ She insisted. So he turned and She was pressing and pressing with Her Feet. She went on giving him vibrations and, after one hour She said, ‘You get up now.’ Slowly he got up; he stood up and walked out.

She said he had to work with the candle two hours a day. She said it was like a chain, the left Swadishthan pulling on the right. So he walked out and no one could believe it. He had a hernia. The men worked on him for some months and after three or four months he did have the operation. It was amazing to see him come in carried on a door and then after one hour to walk out.

Roxana Sindici

Programme in Moscow, 9th June 1998

Boundless love and care

On the 7th of June 1998 I turned fifty. Half a year before that day I had been living with a dream that Shri Mataji might arrive in Russia on my birthday. In my heart I was asking, ‘Oh, Mother, please make such a present for me. It’s such a happiness to see You! The very fact of Your arrival will strengthen my faith in myself,’ and immediately another thought came to my mind, ‘Oh, Mother, please forgive me for such a request. Who am I to receive such a gift from the Goddess?’

Shri Mataji did come to Russia on the 7th of June 1998, but it happened that we were told Shri Mataji’s arrival to Moscow would be on the 8th of June. We came to Moscow early in the morning from Murom. My heart was flattering with joy: it had happened! As soon as I got off the train, my Kundalini rose. I immediately understood that Shri Mataji was already in Moscow and that very minute I asked Her to forgive me for not coming on the 7th of June.

The arrival of Shri Mataji at the stadium, for the presentation of Shri Mataji’s book, Meta Modern Era, was to happen on the 9th of June at 5pm. A self realisation programme was also going to take place on that day. It was supposed to be held near the covered stadium. I sat in one place, then changed it for another one, then again for some other ones until I finished up sitting at the entrance, near the fence. The car of Shri Mataji appeared and stopped right opposite the place where I was sitting. She was looking through the window of the car. I saw Her eyes, shining like stars. She was smiling. I didn’t know if I should do namaste or not – would it be according to the protocol? Is it allowed to attract the attention of the Goddess onto yourself when there are so many Sahaja Yogis around? I wanted to hold the door of the car for Her, but dared neither to hold the door nor to fall down. I made namaste mentally not to distract attention of Holy Mother onto myself.

A stage was set in the stadium and Shri Mataji conducted the self realisation programme after which there was a concert. There were many people there. I was standing in the place where it was difficult to see Shri Mataji on the stage, and it was getting dark. Gradually Sahaja Yogis began to move to the place where Shri Mataji was to leave the stage, in order to see Her better.

After the concert Shri Mataji was taken to Her room for a rest. All our Sahaja Yogis from Murom left for the railway station, and I thought, ‘How many lives did I dream of the meeting with God! And there She is in the person of Shri Mataji here in Moscow. I am standing on the ground which She has stepped on and my feet feel the vibrations which the ground is filled with. I breathe the air sodden with the vibrations of the Holy Spirit. And I dissolve in the ocean of love of Adi Shakti which has filled all of us.’

There was a beautiful moon in a rainbow bandhan in the sky. The colour of the moon was neither yellow, nor orange, nor pink. All the colours merged in one and that magic colour exhaled extraordinary tenderness for the Goddess of the universe and Her children.

Isn’t it happiness? Why should one hurry anywhere if Shri Mataji is still here, with us? Many Sahaja Yogis had missed the suburban train and returned. We all, who had stayed, were enjoying the divine presence. Some hours passed and then Shri Mataji was taken to the car. Sahaja Yogis surrounded Her in several circles. She is getting into the car. I could not see Her and thought, sadly, ‘So, I have been waiting for this moment to see Holy Mother once again but I do not see Her beautiful face,’ and suddenly a light was turned on in the car and our Holy Mother looked in my direction, so different and so beloved, a smile of love. She was shining. I even saw a crown on Her divine head. My heart said, ‘O, Shri Mataji! How beautiful You are! How much I love You! Thank You for the present to see You once again.’ It lasted a minute and then the light was turned off. The car left. It was after midnight but I did not want to sleep. We were enjoying the state until the morning.

Sisters from Kolomna treated me to the water which Shri Mataji had drunk (it was my old dream). The first rays of the sun appeared from above the horizon. We settled in meditation. Overfilled with love of Shri Adi Shakti we left the place for our home cities in the morning.

Tatyana Lyubomirskaya

Public programme, Moscow, 1998

That unusual and unforgettable meeting

Shri Mataji was in Moscow from 8th until the 11th June 1998. We, Sahaja Yogis from Russia and other countries, were with Her. In the Culture House of the ZIL Factory the presentation of Mother’s book Meta Modern Era was held.

Before going back home I went to Kazansky Railway Station. I felt a little sad because I couldn’t accompany Mother to the airport. I left some petals from the puja flowers at the station, sat there for a while and read Meta Modern Era. Then I went to one of Moscow biggest stores, Moskovsky Univermag, not far from the station. I bought something then went outside and sat nearby to have a snack and oh! Miracle!

Shri Mataji is there, looking at me! People were everywhere and a policeman was standing nearby to make sure it was all in order. At first I couldn’t believe my eyes, but then I felt a strong desire to fall in front of Shri Mataji’s Feet, but remembered that She had asked us not to do this. I was looking at Her. She was laughing and constantly speaking. Our Sahaja brother Aleksey was pushing Her in a wheelchair and Mother’s tall and handsome grandson was walking by Her left side, also laughing.

I wish you happiness and health,’ I said, and did namaste to our beloved Mother when they reached me. She made namaste to me, too, smiling all the time.

Shri Mataji went to the store. I went back home as if on wings and wanted to share the joy which our beloved dear Mother had given to me. Now, when I write about it I feel the same emotions – no matter that more than seven years have passed. One year after that meeting and I again met Aleksey at a Sahaja Festival.

What was Shri Mataji speaking about when you passed by?’ I asked him.

I was in such a state that I couldn’t remember what She was saying,’ he answered.

I am very grateful to our great beloved Mother for that unusual and unforgettable meeting. After some time Kazansky Railway Station was renovated and the station became quite modern. Mother’s flowers helped.

Zinaida Kozlova

Shri Mataji in Moscow, 1998

It’s good your husband lost his job

I lived in Russia from 1997 to 2005. When I went to join my husband in Russia he had a very good job but after about six months he lost it. I felt bad about this, that maybe I was a bad Gruha Lakshmi or something.

In 1998 I came in front of Shri Mataji, because we were looking after Her in a hotel when She came to Russia. I did not say anything to Her, but She suddenly spoke to me, out of nowhere.

It’s good your husband lost his job, because those people were bad, so it is good he is not working there any more.’ My husband had been working in the oil industry.

Thank You, Shri Mataji,’ I said. I was so relieved.

Anonymous Canadian Yogi