Chapter 11: 1991 – March and April, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

Shri Mataji knew what was going on

I travelled with Shri Mataji in 1991, from Calcutta to Australia, round Australia and to New Zealand, for one month. During the first part of the journey, between Calcutta and Singapore, we arrived in Singapore Airport. It is like a city and we had to walk from one end to the other, to the next terminal, for our next flight from Singapore to Perth. For most of the way Shri Mataji was very happy, but at one point She was finding the walking difficult. She became quiet and we reached a place where there was a small alcove with a few seats, and nobody was there. Shri Mataji wanted to sit down and the mood was quite serious.

Shri Mataji took a tissue from Her bag and wiped Her face with it. She handed me the tissue and told me to go and place it in the bin. I felt She was actually doing something quite powerful. I went and sat back down and for some time there was silence. Shri Mataji was silent and I felt She was working something out.

Eventually it was time to board our plane, and once on it the mood became light once more. When we eventually arrived in Perth, news had come in the paper that there had been an attempted hijack of one of the planes at Singapore airport. It was exactly at the time that we were sitting there in the airport. It was reported to be a very unusual incident, in that the hijackers for some reason decided to abort their mission of hijacking this plane and were taken into custody. When I was told this news I went to Shri Mataji and told Her. She just looked at me, with an expression that was gleeful and knowing.

Oh, really?’ She said, as if to say She did not know, but really She did know exactly what was going on.

Sandhya Dara

Kuala Lumpur Airport, Malaysia, 1991

Shri Mataji knew what was happening outside

The Malaysians flew into Singapore Airport to meet Shri Mataji when She was in transit from India to Australia. Shri Mataji talked with us as in previous times.

Let’s raise our Kundalinis and give ourselves a bandhan,’ She suddenly said, or something similar, and we all did this together with Shri Mataji. We were a bit surprised because we had been told it is not correct protocol to raise Kundalini and do a bandhan in front of Her.

When it was time, we accompanied Shri Mataji to Her departing gate before taking the flight back to Kuala Lumpur. It was only then that we heard that when we were with Shri Mataji in the transit lounge there was a hijacking attempt on the tarmac. There were no announcements because they didn’t want to panic the public. Shri Mataji was with us but She knew what was happening outside.

KT Tan

Australian wildlife

When we were on the flight going from Singapore to Perth, in 1991, there was a documentary on Australian wildlife. They were showing kangaroos and koalas and crocodiles and so on, and very beautiful scenery. Then it came to a crocodile in muddy waters that raised its head from the waters to reveal its massive jaws.

Oh, that one’s not so pretty!’ I remarked.

Yes,’ Shri Mataji commented, ‘but see how delicately it holds the eggs for its young in among such sharp teeth.’

In the same documentary they were showing the koalas which had been threatened by a disease which was making them go blind. Sadly, Shri Mataji commented that this disease, which is spreading through the koala communities, has been introduced by humans.

Australia has the greatest number of venomous creatures – sea creatures and land creatures which are incredibly poisonous. Later on in the journey, on the subject of Australian wildlife Shri Mataji said that the reason why Australia has these, is that it manifests from the people, and the negativity that manifests from the people. Australians fear themselves, and eventually this goes into the animal life and manifests in the form of this venom.

I asked Shri Mataji what it meant to have fear of yourself, and She replied that it is a fear to go deeper within yourself, because you are afraid of what you will find. This can keep people from coming to Sahaja Yoga or staying in Sahaja Yoga.

Sandhya Dara

Shri Mataji came beaming

At Perth Airport in 1991 we were waiting for Shri Mataji’s arrival. It was 4 am and a long time had elapsed since the sign flashed ‘Landed’. Customs were being difficult.

It was my first time in Mother’s presence and our car had broken down on the way but we got a lift on a small truck delivering newspapers to the airport, so we were in time. After a while tears welled in my eyes. What was there to cry about? Then I realised, ‘Oh, She must be coming’.

At that moment Shri Mataji came beaming through the swing doors.

Christine Driver

This land of Shri Ganesha

In 1991 Shri Mataji arrived at the Applecross ashram and two Sahaja Yoginis began to do aarti to Her outside the main door. After the third bandhan Shri Mataji put Her hand up to stop them. The leader didn’t see this and told them to continue to do aarti, the Sahaja Yoginis hesitated; again the leader told them to continue so they continued and several bandhans later they somehow spilt the oil from the oil lamp down the right side of Shri Mataji’s sari. Now they stopped doing aarti and Shri Mataji came inside and sat down on Her chair in the meditation room.

Shri Mataji asked for talcum powder and a clean tea towel and while She spoke to the whole collective, She sprinkled talcum powder on the oil stain and began to rub it with the tea towel. The stain was thick with oil and was about eighteen inches long and six to nine inches wide. As She rubbed She spoke lightly about Her flight and asked about the schedule for Her time in Perth and after about twenty minutes She showed us Her now clean sari. It was completely clean, with no sign at all of where the oil had been. Shri Mataji told us that this is how we can remove oil from a sari.

While Shri Mataji was rubbing the talcum powder on Her sari She said how She had come to Perth on Her way to Australia. Then She said how blessed we were to be living in this land of Shri Ganesha. Afterwards we talked amongst ourselves, about how Perth and Western Australia do feel like a different country; not quite the same as the rest of Australia.

Claire Nesdale

Shri Hanuman was guiding the car

On one occasion in 1991 we had such rain during Shri Mataji’s visit. No one had ever seen rain like this here before. It was programme night and the drive down from the hills to Fremantle was through a dense screen of rain. Visibility was zero. Shri Mataji said Shri Hanuman was outside guiding the car. At the venue for the programme everyone had to take their shoes off and wade through several inches of water across the square to the town hall.

About ten years later there was a report on the news that the weather bureau people had finally come up with an explanation for it, because they had not predicted the rain. They had a very complicated explanation about an amazing updraft of about 30,000 feet which had drawn a huge amount of water from the Indian Ocean and then dropped it on the city.

Lyndal Vercoe

Rain and a power cut

Concerning the rain on that night, it was not so inviting to get out of the house. Only the real seekers came, and Shri Mataji said the rain kept the others away.

Also at that time, the Shri Mahavira Puja weekend, 1991, the power went off, so we had to use candles. It was the night before the puja. We were all in the sleeper house and the candles all came out and the next day at the puja Shri Mataji said the negativity had to be cleared away. The candles did that.

Sissy Horry

Burma and a born realised soul

When Shri Mataji came to Australia in the early ‘90s I was a very new yogini and was very excited to see Her and be near Her. I was also having a problem on the left side which, upon introspection, I connected to my Burmese past. When Shri Mataji came to Perth I had the opportunity to mention this to Her and also bring to Her divine attention the plight of Burma and Aung San Suu Kyi. Regarding the left side catch, Shri Mataji looked at me.

Don’t worry about it. It is now in My attention,’ She said.

At that moment I felt I could let go of the worry and just get on with cleansing myself. I knew somehow that it would eventually work out because Her loving attention was now on it. Regarding Burma and Aung San Suu Kyi, Shri Mataji said that Aung San Suu Kyi was a born realised soul but that she needed to get her self realisation again for things to work out for Burma.

Greta More

Editor’s note: Aung San Suu Kyi is a political figure, a brave lady who has suffered much for her country of Burma.

Jesus was a big man, tall and broad shouldered

This is a short story from 1991 in the Burwood Ashram. We were staying there, and I was so-called looking after Shri Mataji. How can we look after Shri Adi Shakti? – Let’s just say I had an opportunity to give and receive love.

It might have been close to Easter, and being as it is a Christian country, Easter is one of the main celebrations. Shri Mataji was talking a lot about Jesus. She had been talking about the church as well, so the conversation had gone from the church to Jesus. The context was the churches and Australians generally, and probably other Christian nations as well, don’t portray Jesus in an accurate way physically. She said you see images of Jesus where He is scrawny and skeletal, a small man even with red hair. She described Him as a big man, broad shouldered, and quite tall. He had dark hair and a complexion like that of North Indians – dark eyes and an olive type complexion.

I asked Shri Mataji why it was that Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist, and She had a quizzical look on Her face.

I think it was just the practice at the time,’ She said.

Sandhya Dara


When I first came to Sahaja Yoga back in 1991 there was a man I lived with in an ashram who was diagnosed with AIDS. He had been gay and came into Sahaja Yoga before he found out he was HIV positive. Shri Mataji gave him Her gold ring and told him to take shavings of gold from it every day and insert it into his body at Mooladhara. He had a bad Centre Heart, as you might imagine.

She told me around that time that homosexuality is difficult to cure because the right side only starts at the Swadishthan, meaning you can’t pull yourself out of it using your willpower or right side (the way you might give up smoking or drinking). It’s even worse with lesbians. It is a possession of course.

Mark Williams 

A rainy night in Sydney

How grateful I was that rainy night in Sydney when against all odds I found myself on my way to the theatre where Shri Mataji would speak for the second and last programme that year (1991). I had been actively seeking for several years and had looked everywhere but had not found what I was seeking. I had been invited to the first programme, but said ‘no’, to my friend, because I was tired of all the different seminars, gurus and workshops that ended in vain.

My friend was persistent, and rang me again, (eternally grateful) begging me to go to see Shri Mataji on the second evening and so although I had to work late, had a throbbing migraine, no transport, and it was pouring rain, found myself walking into a packed theatre and instead of sneaking in quietly and finding a place up the back, I just kept walking towards the stage and took my place in the only vacant seat in the second row – as if I was being led.

The musicians had already started and I was struggling with my migraine, wondering whether I could stay because the music was so loud and was like a jack-hammer in my head. I was about to go outside for some fresh air, when I felt an incredible cool and soothing feeling really strongly, coming from my side – I was sitting near the aisle – and I opened my eyes to see this amazing lady in a white sari, Shri Mataji, walking past me. I didn’t expect Her to enter the theatre from the main foyer and walk down the aisle, so to feel the coolness and Her coming was a miracle to me. The talk Shri Mataji gave that night was divinely planned ‘just for me’ as many a Sahaj Yogi has felt, and I was transfixed to Her every word.

As luck had it, we were incredibly blessed to be offered darshan from Shri Mataji after Her talk, and even though I was only in the second row, there was a line to see Her, but I had to be there. When it was my turn to go up the steps to meet our Divine Mother, I followed the protocol I had witnessed while waiting, and did namaskar before kneeling at Her Feet, where I had an overwhelming feeling that I had finally come home, had found what I was looking for all those years – and that She was my Mother.

So, you got it!’ Shri Mataji said.

I nodded, although I wasn’t capable of thinking or speaking, I was so happy, but burst into tears and started sobbing uncontrollably in Her lap when She asked me what I did for work. I couldn’t answer that I was a naturopath and a massage therapist. I felt that to say anything was meaningless in front of my Holy Mother.

Don’t cry, My child, give it all to Me. That’s what I’m here for,’ She told me.

I am eternally grateful for that moment and blessing, Jai Shri Mataji!

Susi Baumgartner 

A very good day

Shri Mataji was visiting Sydney in 1991, a few months after we had got married in Ganapatipule in early 1990. Because my family were not yogis, we had not told them about our spiritual union in India, so we arranged a simple civil wedding at my parents’ home. Someone who was with Shri Mataji at the time suggested to us that we should present an invitation for our wedding to Her.

She will not be able to attend, but it will be very auspicious to invite Her,’ he said, so we had the blessed opportunity to see Shri Mataji in Her room and present the wedding invitation to Her. A part of me was feeling very guilty, as if it was like saying, ‘Our wedding in India does not really count, so we have to put on this other wedding.’ Shri Mataji was of course sweeter than we could have imagined, and She looked carefully at the invitation and the date.

Oh that is a very good day. It is the same day I got married and the same day I was christened!’* She said. We were thrilled that this day we had spontaneously chosen, the seventh day of the fourth month was such a special day for our dear Mother, and came to know that many important events took place in Her life on this day. She made me feel completely better and joyful about having this second marriage ceremony.

Lene Jeffrey

*Editor’s note: ‘christened’ means given a Christian name – a Christian ceremony for babies.

Little notes to Shri Mataji

Years ago my daughter, then about twelve, was going through a rebellious stage and ran away from home with her girl friend, and ended up working on a farm under a Child Welfare Order. She had Shri Mataji’s photo in her bedroom and ‘sort of’ meditated and used to write little notes to Shri Mataji and put them on the altar. Years later we were at the airport greeting Shri Mataji and my daughter offered Her a flower.

Oh thank you – and thank you for the letters,’ Shri Mataji said.

Peter Hewitson

Shri Mataji smashing a chocolate Easter egg at the Easter Puja in Sydney, 1991

The red rose

Shri Mataji was leaving Sydney. The message got to our home very late. I picked a deep red rose from my garden, and raced our unreliable old car across Sydney to the airport. I arrived just in time to hand Shri Mataji the rose, as She entered the boarding lounge. She stopped, stood for a moment and smelled the rose. I can still see Her with the rose in Her hand.

Heather Jeffrey

In the presence of God

In Brisbane, in 1991, we had a Shri Bhavsagara Puja, which was a Guru Puja, at the ashram at Highgate Hills. They announced for ladies to come and do the puja, but not on the microphone, so I couldn’t quite hear. I stood up, but then was about to sit down again when Shri Mataji nodded, so I came up to do the puja.

I had the great blessing of being able to paint Her Feet and put the swastika on. I had some problems doing this, and it was a little bit embarrassing because I couldn’t do it properly. But Shri Mataji actually lent down and took my hand and helped me to draw it. There was such a sweetness in the way She did it, with so much compassion and love, as if it wasn’t a problem. I always felt, when in front of Shri Mataji, that I was in the presence of God, and felt so overawed by Her, and by Her Feet, and being fairly new in Sahaja Yoga at that time it was so overawing to be so close to Her, but such a joyful experience at the same time.

Gillian Patankar

Shri Bhavsagara Puja, Brisbane 1991

This param chaitanya even bewilders Me!

In Brisbane, in March 1991, my wife had excitedly come home with a lovely leather handbag. She carefully wrapped it as a gift for Shri Mataji. Following a weekend at the Brisbane ashram with Shri Mataji, we were able to offer it.

You haven’t got a job!’ Shri Mataji said as I entered the room.

No, Shri Mother I haven’t,’ I replied.

I know, I know!’ Shri Mataji then said.

Shri Mataji, please don’t worry about me, I always get a job!’ I said.

What have you there?’ She asked my wife.

A gift for You, Shri Mother,’ she answered.

You open it,’ Shri Mataji said. My wife ripped the paper away from the handbag. ‘This is the handbag we spent all morning looking for yesterday, and she had it,’ She said to the leader. ‘This param chaitanya even bewilders Me!’

Kay (McHugh), bring My old handbag and change everything over to this handbag please,’ Shri Mataji said.

I soon got a job.

Peter Corden

A new experience

I remember being overwhelmed by the preparation for the arrival of Shri Mataji in New Zealand in 1991. The time, love and attention to every detail were incredible, right down to the hand painted silk bed cover and cushions. It was a new experience, sleeping in the same house as the divine and helping to prepare Her dinner etc, being there hearing Her talk, seeing Her looking at Her plans for Pratishthan.

All the yogis were introduced and we each did pranams at Her Feet, I remember a drawing of mine of a frog was shown to Shri Mataji. I had recently had an exhibition of drawings in which frogs featured. Shri Mataji then relayed a fable about a frog with a big ego that fell in a well.

She commented on all sorts of things, even our clothing. I had a grey shirt and skirt on that She said would look better with a bit of brighter colour on it, that it would be nice with a bit of red on it!

Shri Mataji was shown a book on New Zealand and the overall feeling was that the country is very beautiful and that auspiciousness flows from New Zealand.

Janie Frith

The Kingdom of God

When Shri Mataji came to New Zealand in March 1991, She came to a rented premises at Parnel, Auckland. Mother came, and She was loving and bright and talkative. My responsibility was the cooking. For prasad the Indians made traditional prasad, but I made a kind of meringue with ginger filling, raspberry meringues and so on. Mother really noticed them after the puja.

Who made these?’ She asked, and I stood up at the back and said I had. I realised I had made a mistake in drawing attention to myself, but Mother really enjoyed them. We were all staying in the ashram with Mother when She came.

You must meditate,’ Shri Mataji said to me when She was leaving. I thought I had been meditating, but after that I started to work very seriously on myself. Eventually I had a strong experience, and felt I was in the Kingdom of God. At that time Shri Mataji used to phone quite regularly and spoke to Brian Bell, our leader. She would make suggestions and comments, and the very next morning She phoned up.

You have all entered the Kingdom of God,’ She said.

This sort of thing happened a lot in those days.

Colleen Keetley

Even the flowers

Shri Mataji had come to New Zealand and She was being taken to the airport to catch the plane, and there was a very famous rose garden in the area. People got married in it — I went to a marriage of Sahaja Yogis there myself — a very beautiful garden. Mother said She wanted to see it.

We’ve got to go to the rose garden. We’re not going to get to the airport,’ the driver said. ‘Well, I can’t say anything because of Who Mother is. We’ll have to go by the rose garden.’

It’s okay, we can go to the airport now,’ Mother said, as we came to the rose garden.

She said that the flowers just wanted to do namaste to Her as She went past.

Pamela Bromley

Mother bandhaned the situation

I was a somewhat confused seeker before Sahaja Yoga, as were a lot of us at the beginning, and I had a daughter who was a born realised soul. When Mother visited New Zealand She made a fuss of my little girl, saying she was Italian, and that she was born to save me. When we had the puja in Auckland in 1991, she was definitely lacking the effect of a father. It was quite challenging, because she was the only little one in the ashram at the time. At the puja Mother called her up, and was putting a lot of attention on the children.

Later during the puja another child was teasing mine with a lollipop, so my daughter started to yell, because she was hungry and wanted the lollipop. Mother bandhaned the situation, and told me to take her off and give her something to eat. However, in another puja talk Mother mentioned that my child had cried for something quite small, and I realised that I had to raise her to be beyond that sort of thing.

Colleen Keetley

The house could be ours

Shri Mataji’s fourth visit to New Zealand was in 1991, again in March. We were still in the Parnell ashram. This time Shri Mataji asked about the house, a large one with six or seven bedrooms radiating out from the large open lounge area – the puja and meditation room. She asked what the rent was and thought it was rather a lot. She suggested that we should buy a house! This divine trigger led to the yogis searching for our own ashram, which would be ready for Her next visit.

Shri Mataji asked to be taken to an estate agent, and with Hugh Frith She enquired about houses for sale in the Mount Eden area. Meanwhile, next to the estate agent, there was a 50% sale on at the Portuguese Trading Shop. It was full of beautiful porcelain in stunning colours and Shri Mataji bought many presents here. These artistic items receiving well deserved divine attention, being destined to go across the world.

Later two of us yogis went to attend an auction for a beautiful house in Epsom, at the foot of another volcanic cone, called One Tree Hill, a magnificent part of Auckland, with lots of lovely homes, gardens, and parks, very appropriate for Shri Mataji’s house. The auction seemed to be controlled by Shri Adi Shakti. There were not many bidders and bidding stopped a little below the reserve price, just after one of New Zealand’s most beautiful birds flew from where we were observing, and did a swooping dive over the proceedings. We were not bidding, but as the auction finished, an estate agent approached us, saying that if we could raise the reserve price, in other words find that amount of money, the house would be ours. This was such a good offer, and it all worked out, by our Mother’s grace.

David and Trisha Sharp

Tea and a chat

When Shri Mataji came to New Zealand, She would arrive, go into Her room and settle, and would then come out and have a cup of tea. It was in Parnell, in Auckland, in 1991, and I rented some premises there for Her. We all sat around at Her Feet. She talked about Her trip and about Australia, where She had just been, and generally chatted and asked different people different things. She spoke to me about my daughter, as She was drinking Her tea. We had a few bhajans and then it would be time for us to leave, and Shri Mataji would go to bed.

Colleen Keetley