The power of the bandhan
In 2005 I was living at Belapur, the Sahaja Health Centre, beginning to wonder what I was supposed to do with all the recollections stories I had collected over the previous five years. Shri Mataji’s last words to me at Cabella, in 2002, were an instruction to write books, so I kept working on them. I decided to give out the stories I had on a disc and this soon got all round the Sahaja world. This was my intention, in the hope of getting more stories as a result, which I did.
But I was not getting anywhere with actual publication. One day two very good Indian Sahaja Yogis were in my room and I was explaining this to them and they said, ‘Give it a bandhan,’ which we did.
The next day Dr Sandeep Rai, who had just been in Delhi with Shri Mataji and Her family, came into my room with his mobile phone and said there was a call for me. It was Shri Mataji’s grandson Anand. He told me he was sitting next to Shri Mataji reading a printout of the stories from the disc I had sent round, and She was saying that he was really enjoying them and they should be printed in book form, by NITL the Sahaja printers. That year, 2005, Shri Mataji was hardly talking to anyone except Her family. It showed very clearly the power of the bandhan.
Country flowers for Shri Mataji
It must have been in 2005 when Mother visited England and I was enjoying the beautiful summer in this area, the Cotswolds, I got a call that I might want to say farewell to Shri Mataji at terminal 4, Heathrow Airport, so I went out in the early morning to our beautiful country garden and gathered a lovely bouquet of roses and country looking flowers still covered in dew. I wrapped it in a purple silk paper and jumped in my car to be on time at the airport. I hadn’t seen Shri Mataji from close up for quite a while and suddenly I found myself just close to Her wheelchair with my flowers.
‘How are you?’ She said, looking up at me and in a very loving way.
‘Shri Mataji I am very moved to be here!’ I replied.
She took my flowers and smelled them.
‘From where are these beautiful flowers? You can’t find flowers like these in the shops,’ She said, and asked the country leader next to Her to name the flowers for Her. All the time She was holding the flowers I described the area they were coming from.
‘Yes, I have been there,’ She paused and said.
I was melting with joy to have been living for all this time with my family in a village just half a mile from these blessed places and understood why the vibrations were always so strong, with an open Sahasrara in this area!
Editor’s note: Shi Mataji visited the Seven Springs and had a seminar near there at Cowley Manor in 1982.
Shri Adi Shakti Puja, Cabella Ligure, 19th June 2005
I was sitting on a chair at the side, and watched most of the puja on the big screen because I couldn’t see Shri Mataji. Children placed flowers at Mother’s Feet and then Her Feet were decorated with the kumkum. It was all very quick and, at the same time, done with meticulous attention and love.
When the ladies who had been holding the sari went back to their places, I became aware that there was a clear path in front of me. All the ladies sitting there had moved. There was a straight line, like a path of moonlight on the ocean. I stood up and walked forward, took a step to the left and found myself kneeling almost at Shri Mataji’s Feet. I had moved without thought, like being drawn by a magnet. Now I had a full, unimpeded view, so close, so clear.
I marveled at this gift. I was before the Lotus Feet of God, my Mother. And I could feel She knew I was there. The singing was raising the roof and She was in joy, hearing the joyful voices of Her children. She wiped tears from Her cheeks. Behind Her seemingly impassive face, I could feel Her huge loving smile.
Shri Adi Shakti Puja 2005
As I watched Her, I suddenly felt tremendous compassion. With it came the thought, ‘Oh Mother, what You do for us!’ And straight away, I knew that the compassion was Hers, that compassion is one. Instantly that recognition became inexpressible experience. It began as a sudden feeling of expansion, emanating from Her. I could almost see it, but it wasn’t seeing. Then it was of me, too. A huge expansion – and I was inside it. My eyes stayed open, watching Mother, and I knew I was inside, inside the body of the Adi Shakti. For the first time, I experienced the absolute knowledge of what that meant. At least, I glimpsed it. I was feeling the oneness, the drop becoming the ocean, where ‘there is not the other.’ For the first time, after all these years, I touched it. It was a gift from Her to me, kneeling before Her. I was kneeling at the Feet of God, feeling the power, feeling the vastness of it. It was not physical. There was no surge of energy. It was pure feeling, deep stillness, complete peace and a kind of knowingness. One Power, One Whole. And this is what I am. It was stunning.
The next day, we drove up to the castle, the magnificent front entrance, and looked out over the valley. It was there. Then we went down to the river and it was there.
I close my eyes now, as I write, and it’s there. Not like at the puja, but it exists.
It’s come into my experience. For years I have been asking and hoping for just one more chance to see Mother. Just once and I’d be satisfied. It happened. Jai Shri Mataji!
The entrance to the castle
Shri Mataji’s place in my heart
I got my realisation three years ago, in The Bronx, from some yogis who were giving realisation on the streets.
I had always wanted to know what it is like to be in Shri Mataji’s presence and eventually went to the Shri Ganesha Puja in 2005, in New Jersey. The whole weekend was blissful and by the time the night of the puja came around, I was in such a state of joy, from the weddings, the meditation and being with the collective. Before it was announced that Shri Mataji was on the road, we started to sing bhajans and I started getting teary-eyed.
I made my way closer to the stage so I could take some photographs, and found a spot near the stage. Then the yogis began offering the puja and I started to cry non-stop for about five minutes.
There was a plant to my right which I hid myself behind. For some reason, I didn’t want Shri Mataji to see me crying. However I knew that She knew that I was there, and She looked at me for about thirty seconds. It didn’t feel like She was looking at me though, it felt like She was looking through me. Every time She looked in my direction, I couldn’t look up at Her at all. Instead, I could only put my head down and keep my eyes to the earth.
As Shri Mataji was accepting the gifts, I began thanking Her for everything from my heart, and asking for Her blessings. That’s when my crying stopped. It was, by far the best experience I’ve ever had in my life. Being in Shri Mataji’s presence made me feel like I was so close to God! It wasn’t until then that I finally felt that there was some being much greater and more powerful than me, and that being is Her Holiness Shri Adi Shakti Mataji Nirmala Devi. It was an incredibly humbling feeling but I was filled with such joy and peace, like I was a child at the feet of my mother who loved and accepted me just as much as everyone else.
After the puja, a few other sisters and I were discussing our experiences concerning Shri Mataji and Sahaja Yoga. All of them said that they cried like I did when they were in Shri Mataji’s presence for the first time. Since then, I’m finding that She not only has a place in my heart, but that that place is getting bigger and bigger, and the collective has become a part and parcel of my being. Now I know how much She loves all of us, I can feel that more and more every day of my life.
Shri Mataji knew everything and everyone
In early October 2005, I dreamed of Shri Mataji and She somehow stood high in the sky, which was full of sunshine. I moved a step forward and felt very strong vibrations on my palms and my whole body. I was very peaceful with this silence of the universe. Simultaneously, rain started falling from the sunny sky but it was raining rice instead of water. When I woke up, I felt very joyful. I remembered that rice was used in pujas and felt it was Shri Mataji calling me, so decided to take leave from my busy work schedule and attend the Navaratri Puja in Delhi.
We did not expect to have a chance to present our country gift to Shri Mataji on stage until it was announced at the end of puja. We were four yogis to present two puja gifts, on behalf of the Hong Kong and China collectives. When we stood beside the stage, I could feel my heartbeat speed up to the extent that I heard only my heartbeat, because I never believed we could have chance to be so close to Shri Mataji. One yogi and I presented the gift of a Quan Yin, with a thousand hands, and I held a wooden stand for the statue. I followed the yogi and did namaskar to Shri Mataji. She looked at it, and also at the yogi next to me, then glanced far away, at the open sky.
At that moment, I kept looking at Mother and asking in my heart, ‘Did You call me to come here?’ and She turned Her face and looked into me deeply. I knew She was answering my question and I again did namaskar, as I felt it was not polite to look directly at Her. During the time we had eye contact for a second, I could feel the emptiness of the universe in my Agnya chakra.
We left the stage after presenting the gift and I knew from my heart that She knew everything and every one of us. Later on, I learnt from a book of puja protocol that rice offering means blessings of prosperity and good fortune, so I understood the meaning of my dream and how Shri Mataji is always with us and takes care of us.
During the last three months of 2005, while we were in Pratishthan, Shri Mataji was silent most of the time. Her sentences were very few but so meaningful, whether it was a brief comment on a cricket match, or on a movie seen on TV, or guidance for the way we, the people serving Her, were doing things. In Her silence there was a love that took many expressions; a glance, a smile, a touch of the hand.
I remember that one day Mother wished to take Her lunch on one of the two balconies outside Her bedroom; one with a magnificent view over the garden. She asked on which side a particular shrub was growing that had been planted by divine hands some time ago, and chose to seat Herself by this plant. As soon as She was seated two leaves from the bush, carried by the wind, touched Her Lotus Feet, gently paying respects to the Holy Mother. The vibrations were beyond words.
Our main priority
I was leading the meditation at the Vaitarna Music Academy on the day before New Year’s Eve 2005. At one point I prayed to Shri Ganesha that He may fill us with pure divine music, and lead us to the Feet of Shri Adi Shakti. Within an hour Arun Apte arrived back from Pune. As he stepped out of his car he received a phone call asking him to come back to Pratishthan and sing for Shri Mataji for the New Year celebrations the next day.
Rather than sing by himself he decided to take six singers from the academy – three women and three men. We travelled by jeep to the Pune ashram, rehearsed, freshened up and arrived at Pratishthan around 8.30 pm on New Year’s Eve. I had never been there before and was amazed at its stylish grandeur and feeling of deep peace. We passed through some decorated marble corridors with fine carpets, meditated and prepared some songs for Shri Mataji.
After about an hour we were led into a reception room and waited for Shri Mataji to arrive. When She came She looked extremely powerful, yet quiet and contained, intently looking at all the fifty or so yogis gathered before Her. A local man performed a raga and two Yuva Shaktis sang a beautiful Kabir song. When the Vaitarna group began with Mahamaya, Mahakali, the whole room seemed to reverberate with everyone clapping and joining in. The vibrations completely opened the heart and Shri Mataji put a lot of attention on the singers. She enjoyed the performance very much and asked us to sing more, so we offered two more bhajans.
Tim, and Ronald from Germany offered a garland at Shri Adi Shakti’s Feet, and after we had bowed down, Sir CP asked us to perform again. He addressed the meeting and conveyed Shri Mataji’s message that Sahaja Yoga has to be our main priority now, our main job, to spread it all over and go all out, so that in the coming year we would double the number of Sahaja Yogis in the world. He added that we should do it through our music, that music is very important in spreading Sahaja Yoga.
As we filed out we were completely in another state of bliss, smiling unstoppably, with huge grins on our faces – such was the feeling of joy bubbling up from inside. About fifteen minutes before midnight we were hurriedly directed to Shri Mataji’s room. We sang to Her again, this time ‘We wish You a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.’ No one had thought to bring a songbook, so we sang some more bhajans from memory, ending with Shri Ganesha’s names. Just as we finished singing the names, Sir CP wished everyone a Happy New Year on behalf of Shri Mataji, and added that She had promised to stay with us all (on this earth) until every human being had become a Sahaja Yogi. Shri Mataji nodded Her head in agreement with this, then cut a very large cake.
The atmosphere was extremely joyful and vibrated, and again, as I did namaskar I felt a great sense of surrender and devotion – nearly forgetting to get up again!
As we left, the sky lit up with fireworks announcing the New Year 2006.