Chapter 11: 1988 – July to September, Europe and England

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

I didn’t want to come until you were all here

The first puja that I attended was in Andorra, between Spain and France, in 1988. My wife had asked me to go with her. I wasn’t sure, but eventually agreed, particularly if we could combine it with a family holiday. So rather than going with the UK group we went by train, with our younger daughter. By the time we arrived at the frontier station between France and Andorra in the evening, all the taxis had disappeared. Then a coach arrived to pick up a party of French students and they took us into Andorra city, about a half an hour away. It was about eight o’clock and I thought there was no point in rushing to get out to the Sahaja camp, since surely Shri Mataji would have already started the evening programme. So we had dinner and then took a cab out to the campsite.

When we finally arrived, it must have been nearly midnight and the moment we drove into the field, somebody asked us to dump our bags quickly and get into the pendal. We were aware of a car arriving behind us and a lot of noise and we had just got into the pendal before Shri Mataji Herself was ushered into Her seat.

I didn’t want to come until you were all here,’ was the first thing I remember Her saying.

Ian Maitland Hume

A large smile for the policeman

Guru Puja, July 31st 1988, Andorra was a great event for France and we felt lucky that it was happening just by the French border and with France among the organizing countries. The music was by Nirmal Sangeet Sarita, with shennai, sitar, sarod and Guruji’s violin concerts.

Just before the puja, I was told to indicate to car drivers the way to the entrance. When a certain car showed up I put my arms to the right hand side, moving them like a policeman regulating the traffic at a crossroads. When I was sure that the car had taken the right direction, I joined my hands and did namaskar. Shri Mataji, at the back of the car, had a large smile at the sight of this strange policeman standing in the sun in a white kurta pyjama welcoming his guru for the puja!

Devarshi Abalain

All My love, all My powers, all My wisdom

In 1988 there was a tour of Europe and Shri Mataji went first to Andorra, then Italy. Guru Puja in Andorra was at a camping site. After the puja was over, Mother told us we could go and get food. Some of us decided not to rush and then just have to wait in a line, so we continued to sit in front of Mother. Mother stayed on the stage, but the microphones and video were turned off. Those of us left behind went a bit closer and sat down, then Mother got up to leave and, as She did so, She said the following. I may not have remembered them exactly word for word, but this was the sense:

All My love, all My powers, all My wisdom must be transferred to you people in this lifetime or My incarnation will have been a waste of time.’

Linda Williams

The vibrated sari

It was in 1988, at the Guru Puja in the Principality of Andorra, I was very anxious to attend the musical evening because Shri Mataji’s brother, Baba Mama, was there with his group, Nirmal Sangeet Sarita. But a yogi from my area, for whom this was his first puja, did not feel good. As we looked for someone to make a dessert for Shri Mataji and Her family, I proposed that this yogi, who is an excellent pastry cook to do it.

Alright, but you must stay with me,’ he said.

Herve, the pastry cook, decided on a dessert consisting of custard with floating masses of whipped whites of egg. I told myself that this would be quick to prepare and then I would be able to listen to my ‘preferred singers’. The bhajans began and we were nearby but strangely did not hear anything. We got ready the desert, but so slowly! I asked the cook if I could go and listen, just for five minutes, but at that moment there was a pause in the bhajans.

I returned to help my Sahaja brother and in the end it was magnificent. We found some bowls and the cook presented his dessert in a very refined way. But when everything was ready, a yogini arrived and said, ‘There is a change of plan. The bhajans evening is finished, and Shri Mataji has decided to take Her meal at Her hotel.’ The yogini took the bowls and poured them into a pressure cooker. I wanted to cry. All the work of Herve was destroyed and I had missed the bhajans. 

I went to the pendal, closed my eyes and meditated on the lesson that Shri Mataji had given me (to have more desire for the bhajans than Her divine presence) and when I opened my eyes saw two armchairs: one very beautiful and the other smaller, with my sari that I had lent, draped over it. Everyone was bowing down to that armchair.

Shri Mataji left the most beautiful armchair to Her husband, and sat on the other one,’ the people around me said, and it was the one on which my sari was placed. I felt so much such love and gratitude. Shri Mataji knows everything and always takes care of us.

Despite the floating islands having been put in the cooking pot, the dessert was served and presented to Shri Mataji in a very delicate manner by other yogis.

Editor’s note: once Shri Mataji has touched something, it is permanently imbued with Her divine vibrations. Many people have been healed and comforted by objects She has touched in this way, so by sitting in the armchair which was covered with Joelle’s sari, She gave a great and lasting gift to her.

Marie-Joelle Coeuru

Guru Puja Andorra, 1988

An incredible day

The day of my marriage was at an ashram at Garlate near Milan, on the shore of Lake Como, in 1988. There was a huge lawn going to the lake, beautiful. I had put my name down but I had no money so assumed I would get married later, in India.

I was watching the day unfold, and Shri Mataji was up on the balcony conducting events. There was a stick dance and She was telling the ladies circling around what to do. I was watching, and felt a hand on my shoulder, and the leader said I should go with him. I knew at that moment I was going to get married. I went in front of Mother and there was Sigrid, standing in front of Mother, who was high up on the balcony.

You two,’ She said. At that moment my Kundalini shot up like a rocket.

Englishmen make good husbands,’ She said. I had met Sigrid, who is Austrian, a few times before, and had got to know quite a lot of the Austrians. One Austrian lady I had got to know came up and hugged Sigrid, and I noticed Mother looked down and smiled and Her eyes were full of tears of joy. She was human but at the same time divine, divine motherhood, the love of the Mother on both levels.

After matching us, Mother matched a lot of other people. I had to get a kurta, and did the haldi, and dived into the lake, and felt totally cleared out. Then we had a rest and in the evening all the men lined up to touch Shri Mataji’s Feet. I was feeling very nice and completely thoughtless. As I bent down She called me.

God bless you, Steve.’

I had such a deep experience as I stood up after touching Her Feet, that I was touching the Feet of God. When I stood up everyone was singing Mataji Jai! After that I sat in the bus which was to take us to the other side of the lake. They were calling the numbers and I was in such bliss that they had to call out my number again. We were driven to the other side of the lake, put into boats and we grooms, all dressed up, sailed over the lake in the evening of the wedding. It was a beautiful evening, the stars were in the sky and you could hear Baba Mama’s Nirmal Sangeet music. I felt I was not on the same planet and was in heaven. When we got to the other side and climbed off the boat there was Shri Mataji to welcome us. It was one blessing after the other!

At these weddings Shri Mataji sang the wedding shlokas personally. I walked round the fire hearing the vows, feeling the presence of the deities and how auspicious this event was. Afterwards we received a present from Shri Mataji, a cutlery set. At the end Baba Mama was there and we did the rhyming couplets in front of Shri Mataji. An incredible day.

Steve Jones

Shri Mataji appeared at the time of the Sahasrara mantras

In August 1988 there was a European tour, and after the Guru Puja in Andorra, the next event was the Krishna Puja in Milan with marriages. There was a public programme in Milan followed by a concert by Guruji, while people were lining to get the darshan of Shri Mataji. The marriages and the puja took place in the Garlate ashram’s garden, by a lake, but we were sleeping in a camping ground some distance from there and we had to share our morning meditation with sun bathers, next to the swimming pool. Then we went to the ashram where Shri Mataji was staying. People were meditating in the garden and we joined them, happy to find a more suitable place.

My eyes were closed as I meditated deeply for a long time. When it was time to end, I opened my eyes to say the three great mantras and just as I did so the shutters of a window were opened by – guess who? – Shri Mataji Herself! I just did namaste. She had appeared exactly at the time of the Sahasrara mantras.

Devarshi Abalain


 I was at Garlate ashram in the late 1980’s when Awaz Uthaenge was adapted from being about Shri Jesus to being about Shri Mataji – and in fact both songs are now in the song book. And the melody of Vinati Suniye – a bhajan Mother Herself wrote in 1992 – was one that She had particularly liked from a film at that time.

Caroline Durant

I will cure you

Before I came to Sahaja Yoga I suffered from depression and this continued for two or three years after getting realisation. After the puja in Italy on the Lago di Como, I was standing on the shore. I didn’t realise how it happened, but Shri Mataji approached me.

I will cure you,’ She said. The next evening Her car passed by the place where I was. It stopped, the window was wound down and Shri Mataji held my hand and asked me how I was feeling. Then She left. The change didn’t come immediately, but without even realising it I did get cured and since that time I have never suffered from depression.

Spanish Sahaja Yogi

This is the desire

After the 1988 Shri Krishna Puja in Garlate, north Italy, we were supposed to go up to Switzerland, where the next puja was to be, one week later. It seemed as if everybody was on their way, but our car broke down. So Helga, a German yogini, was so nice and offered me a place in her car. She had to drive way down to Tuscany first but she promised we would be heading back up north as soon as possible, and in time for the puja.

Although I was very grateful for the offer, I felt that we were heading in the wrong direction; the collective were driving north and we were heading south. After a short while I developed an overwhelming desire to be with Shri Mataji; this was so strong that I had no interest in anything else. The journey was nice, but this wonderful desire remained.

We reached Volterra, a beautiful medieval town and did some sightseeing before finally sitting down outside a restaurant for a drink. We believed that Shri Mataji would be nearing Switzerland at this time, but to our amazement, a big black car drove slowly past us – with our Holy Mother sitting in it. We left the restaurant immediately and tried to follow the car which drove slowly and carefully through the small streets of the old town. It was not difficult to follow and we were so excited.

Suddenly, we found ourselves standing at the entrance to a small but lovely square which had a statue of Shri Mary adorning one of its walls. Shri Mataji stood there surrounded by Baba Mama, the Indian musicians and two Italian yogis. As She looked towards us we made namaskar and were then asked to come nearer. Someone was massaging Shri Mataji’s Feet.

How is it possible you found us?’ She asked with Her most loving smile, and Baba Mama asked the same question, which we weren’t able to answer. We namaskared again and at that moment everything was so wonderful and joyful at the same time. Everybody was beaming with joy.

You come shopping with us,’ Shri Mataji said. Her Holiness went to a popular place for shopping, which dealt in semi-precious stones and white horses carved out of stone, and that sort of thing. Shri Mataji was sitting in a chair, buying and ordering things. It felt like we were in a completely different world. After nearly four hours, She stood up to leave the shop and walked towards Helga.

What did you buy?’ She asked. Helga answered that she had bought an egg made of semi-precious stone. Shri Mataji said the egg was very auspicious then walked towards me and took both my hands in Hers and pressed them.

This is the desire,’ She said. When Shri Mataji pressed my hands within Hers something so beautiful happened, I don’t know how to describe it!

Christina Sweet

Don’t be nervous about catching planes

My father had to take Shri Mataji to Malpensa, which is the main airport for Milan, about one hour from the city. She was staying at our house in Milan.

OK, I am ready,’ Shri Mataji said but She kept speaking to the people. Finally She was ready to go, and She said, ‘but did we give any gift to your children?’

No, but they are fine,’ my father replied.

How can I go without giving them a gift?’ said Shri Mataji, and said She wanted to go and buy something, but he was worried that She might miss the plane. Mother went out of the house to a shop nearby and purchased some gifts for my brother and me, then came back, and by that time it was really becoming very late. She sat and gave us the gifts, and then said, ‘Now we can go.’

My father had something like half an hour to get there, a road which would normally take one hour and Shri Mataji missed the plane. He was feeling bad, and when we all reached the airport Shri Mataji just laughed. She told him not to be nervous about catching planes and then She invited all the Sahaja Yogis to lunch in the airport and we enjoyed it a lot. She took a later flight.

Anita Gadkary

Looking after the liver

We were all invited to go to Heathrow Airport to see Shri Mataji, sometime in 1988. I had given birth recently and had developed a brown mark on my face. Shri Mataji enquired about this. I told Her I had neglected taking iron pills during pregnancy and had to take them afterwards, but the treatment had not succeeded. Shri Mataji told me that my explanation of this medical condition was not correct, and if I were to improve the state of my liver this condition would be cleared. While saying this She rubbed Her thumb on the facial mark and it faded away in a few weeks. Meanwhile I did my best to practice the techniques for improving the liver.

I was very grateful that Shri Mataji had offered to solve a problem I had not been able to fix and I didn’t even have to ask Her for help, such was Mother’s compassion and ability to sense what was troubling any of Her children. Later it dawned on me that Shri Mataji had rubbed Her thumb with the finger that represents the liver!

Carol Garrido

Shri Kalki’s day

In the late 1980’s, in London, Shri Mataji asked me about my daughter, as to when her birthday was. I said her birthday was on 5th May. Then Shri Mataji asked if it was 5th May or 6th May. I said that it was 5th May and She said that Shri Kalki’s day is 6th May.

Shakuntala Tandale

For our benevolence

We were at Muswell Hill ashram in the late eighties, and Shri Mataji spoke to us. I don’t remember Her exact words, but what I understood was that She told us that anything that happened to us was for our benevolence. At that same time She said that we were all jewels in Her crown. She said Sahaja Yoga would spread almost invisibly – like the flowers on the trees, you don’t see them opening but suddenly they are there.

Rosemary Maitland Hume

Nature knows

Some years ago, I was staying in an ashram in England when Shri Mataji visited us. It had been very hot and dry and the country was having some drought conditions. During the first part of Her stay it rained and rained and rained. We were in Her bedroom and She was looking out at the rain.

The nature knows exactly what to do,’ She said simply. ‘Human beings, they are a little different.’

Patricia Leydon

Defending the good name of Sahaja Yoga

While I was living at Shudy Camps I showed Shri Mataji a book entitled Begone Godmen. It was against false gurus, but went on to criticise all the religions and contained a remark against Shri Mataji. It was this that made me show the book to Her. She confirmed that She knew of this man, whose theories were similar to the philosophy of certain groups that were causing trouble to Sahaja Yoga in India. I told Shri Mataji that this writer tried to denigrate all the scriptures so She told me to write on the same subject and turn the book on its head by creating a book in favour of God. 

Do You mean me to do this myself, Shri Mataji?’ I asked.

Yes, and I want you to write an article in defence of Sahaja Yoga, based on your experience, for an Indian newspaper,’ She answered.

Shri Mataji always took care to defend the good name of Sahaja Yoga, and testimonials were an effective way of doing this.

Luis Garrido

It will spread like wildfire

We were at Shudy Camps, in 1988 and Shri Mataji had just returned from one of Her many Sahaja world tours and though She was tired after a long trip, She took a moment to sit back and relax.

Now Sahaja Yoga is working out all over the world,’ She declared.

But Shri Mataji, what about Russia and the other communist countries where it is not legally possible to spread Sahaja Yoga?’

Don’t you worry about Russia, the day Sahaja Yoga starts there, it will spread like wildfire,’ Shri Mataji smiled.

In less than six months She was conducting programmes in Moscow with electrifying results that spread to the neighbouring communist nations. Later I had the privilege of being invited by Her to go to Moscow and saw with my own eyes how the Russian people were coming in large numbers to the Sahaja Yoga events and how humble, attentive and thankful they were in receiving it.

When Sahaja Yoga first went to the Soviet Union, just after the Perestroika had started, it was still against the law to preach about God. Shri Mataji instructed Sahaja Yogis there to talk about the all-pervading power of the Mother Nature as opposed to the all-pervading power of God.

Luis Garrido

A blasphemous film

In 1988 I went to see Shri Mataji at one of Her temporary London residences. She went through many different rented addresses in London and vibrated many areas by moving many times. It was Good Friday and was the year when a blasphemous film about Christ had been released, entitled The Last Temptation of Christ. The fact that it was Good Friday already justified Shri Mataji being pensive, introspective and saddened, and She was disturbed because England was so indifferent to the blasphemous film.

Don’t you feel hurt that Christ is being insulted through this film?’ She asked.

Shri Mataji dictated a letter of protest for publication in the English newspapers, and now and again closed Her eyes and looked as if She was going into a deep meditation, so it took a long time. The atmosphere was a bit tense and to relax us Shri Mataji told us not to feel apprehensive, and to watch TV. We put it on, without any sound, and the programme was golf. She commented that watching the green lawns was good for our Agnyas, and to try to remain relaxed.

She was dismayed by the suggestion that Mary Magdalene could have had any relationship with Christ except as a disciple. For Shri Mataji the suggestion of a liaison between them, as was suggested in this film, was a great insult, a blasphemy to Christ and totally false.

Luis Garrido

Pizza prasad

One day we went shopping with Shri Mataji in Cambridge, for crockery. There were only myself and another Sahaja Yogi who was a prosperous professional.

Shri Mataji, today is a very auspicious day because at last I have a chance to buy You lunch,’ he said. ‘All these years I have been eating food cooked by You at Your home, and I’ve lost count of how many times You’ve fed us. I’ll be very disappointed if You don’t allow me this privilege, so please allow me to buy You lunch as we are far from home and it’s well past lunch time.’

The shopping is not yet finished,’ Shri Mataji replied. The shopping continued for a while and then She smilingly said, ‘Now you can buy us lunch.’

We walked some way until this senior Sahaja Yogi found a restaurant that looked impressive. He asked Shri Mataji to order anything She liked, but She told him to choose. This restaurant specialised in pizzas so he ordered three extra-large ones. When they arrived we couldn’t help laughing, each one was truly gigantic.

We were slightly embarrassed to be sitting at table with Shri Mataji in such an informal setting, but we attacked the pizzas with courage. From time to time She pointed at our gigantic glasses of Coca Cola and reminded us to drink plenty of it, so we carried on until we had cleaned up our plates. Shri Mataji was pleased to see us eat and hardly any words were said. She only ate a very small amount from Her own gigantic pizza.

Shri Mataji, it looks like You were not very hungry after all,’ I said.

She replied that She was feeling very satisfied seeing us eat, then broke up Her pizza into large chunks and passed them onto us.

Thank You Mother, but we just couldn’t manage any more,’ we both said.

Now it has become prasad, so you have to eat it,’ Shri Mataji said, laughing, and kept handing us large chunks until it was finished.

She was smiling lovingly and we realised this was prasad and Shri Mataji was revealing something very deep about Her nature. Prasad is food that is offered to the Deity, then distributed back to the devotees and it becomes prasad. It was a lot, but we ate it all and truly enjoyed it. Mother was giving us pizza but love was pouring out from Her.

Luis Garrido

Fridges, a TV, jam and Marmite

Around 1988 Shri Mataji invited a large group of Indian musicians and their families to Shudy Camps. Baba Mama also came, and Shri Mataji’s daughters, granddaughters, grandson and other relatives. There were about twenty Sahaja Yogis living there.

One day Shri Mataji came to the kitchen and told us She noticed that we went food shopping quite often which was not convenient since there were no shops nearby.

Why haven’t you used the large fridges I bought in America?’ She asked.

We replied that the electric current in the US was different from the UK and some adaptation would be needed before we could use them.

That’s an easy problem to solve – ask any Sahaja Yogi with a background in engineering or electrics,’ She replied. ‘I told you to use those fridges, and now I understand why you didn’t. When I move back to India I must take appliances that have been used, not unused items in their original packaging. Since I’ve lived in this country for many years I’m entitled to benefit from this tax concession.’

Later on a TV was being packed to ship back to India and Shri Mataji noticed that there was a film of food on the screen.

What’s that?’ She asked.

Someone explained that a Sahaja Yogi had seen that the TV looked new, so he smeared jam and Marmite on it. Shri Mataji told us to phone him and tell him She would not resort to this to avoid import duty, and to explain to him the difference between benefiting from a legitimate tax loophole and stooping to immoral strategies.

It’s important that he understands the difference,’ Shri Mataji told us.

Luis Garrido

The protective bandhan

One day while I was staying at Shudy Camps, I was about to enter the car to drive to London. I heard a sound and looking up noticed Shri Mataji waving at me from Her apartment upstairs. Then I saw Her bringing down my ego channel from left to right several times. She also indicated that I should calm down and get into the centre. While going to London I remembered Her advice and had no problem, but on the way back completely forgot to keep my ego in check, and had a minor car accident. Then I remembered Her advice, brought down the ego and returned home safely.

So many accidents could be avoided if we put ourselves into bandhan before going out. Two Sahaja Yogis hurt themselves on the Indian tour while travelling and this was reported to Shri Mataji.

Did they remember to put themselves into bandhan first thing in the morning before going out?’ She asked, and the Yogis had not.

Luis Garrido


In Shudy Camps entrance hall there were several large square supporting columns and at the bottom they had been finished with wooden skirting boards. They had been painted, a light blue on the skirting, then a slightly darker blue in the middle section, and at the top, where they joined the ceiling the blue was darker still.

Tell the person who created the colour scheme that usually one would have the darker tones of blue at the bottom and then gone gradually lighter towards the top,’ Shri Mataji explained, because the opposite had been done. She explained that in decorating a room this is a general principle for colour schemes.

We were driving Shri Mataji through the countryside in Cambridgeshire, in May, and there were many yellow fields of rape seed in flower. She told us to look at these as they clear our Swadishthans.

In Portugal there was a Sahaja Yogi who had the habit of walking with his neck bent down and Shri Mataji told him to look at the blue sky to clear his Vishuddhi.

Luis Garrido