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

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

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

Auspiciousness

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

Mammals

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