Sahaja Yoga seminars began and one of the early ones was in a place called Easthampstead Park in 1978. We all stayed there together for the weekend and various yogis organized workshops and showed slides. I seem to remember Shri Mataji arriving at lunchtime on Saturday.
Each of us had threaded a flower to make a greeting garland. One of the meditations, which we did there under Mother’s instigation, was to form a chain, holding hands with one grateful yogi holding Mother’s hand. In those days, we were so few that we could each wash Shri Mother’s Feet. We could meditate in a small room in front of Shri Mataji in person. We could massage Mother’s Feet and we could go down to Her Feet.
Singing and shoebeating
At that seminar we were so unused to singing, and Shri Mataji insisted that we sang for Her. First two Sahaja Yogis who had French as their first language shyly sang a French carol and then we all began to sing English carols. Most of the yogis who attended were extremely new, including me.
We did workshops on the lawn. Mother got us to hold hands with Her in a circle but She insisted that no negative people should be part of the circle and so some got sent to sit on the mother earth. We sat on the lawn to have a shoebeating lesson as well.
It was in quite a magical manner. I remember Mother giving a very humorous talk about Indians and Westerners. Oh those incredible, far off days when morning meditation was conducted facing Mother Herself!
Shri Mataji cleared the problem
We had a weekend seminar in 1978 at Easthampstead Park, near Bracknell. We stayed in a large country manor. We arrived on a Friday, and Shri Mataji was due to come the next day. That night, very few of us slept properly. My own experience was of feeling very uneasy and disturbed, and was awake much of the night. Others felt the same, and some had nightmares. We found out that something tragic had happened in the house in the past. When Shri Mataji arrived the next day, and was told about this, She told us not to worry, that She would clear this problem and that we would all sleep very well that night. And we had a deep and peaceful sleep!
It was a blissful experience staying in the presence of Shri Mataji for two days. She had had a small operation on Her ear just before this weekend. While looking at Shri Mataji during one of Her talks to us, I was aware of seeing a glowing, golden light around Her, but at Her ear, this golden silhouette was broken, with a small division at the ear, then it continued again.
Music for Shri Mataji
The next seminar was at Uckfield Park, Sussex, also in 1978, and I played some western classical music, possibly Mozart, to Shri Mataji for the first time.
Shri Mataji said it was like the sunlight
I experienced a miracle when we had a seminar in the English countryside in 1978, and Shri Mataji came. It was a very dark day with no sun and heavy, dull clouds. There was some doubting in Sahaja Yoga at that time, and Shri Mataji was talking to us and saying that She is Shri Krishna and Shri Jesus and Shri Mataji — all of them.
She said it was like the sunlight. At that moment the beam of sunlight came out of nowhere and shone on Her head and went away. To prove it, She said the beam of light should come on Her head again. That happened two or three times, out of nowhere the sun came. So this was the miracle I witnessed together with about fifty other yogis who were present at that time.
She invited all of us
The first time I met Shri Mataji was at my first public programme, at Dr Johnson House in Birmingham, in December 1978. I don’t remember anything about the talk, but afterwards someone worked on me and I was amazed that I was completely without thoughts, because I was quite a live wire type of person who was always thinking and running about all over the place. I come from a totally unreligious background, but nevertheless, when the person who had worked on me told me to go up to Shri Mataji and bow to Her, I just went to the front of the hall, and knelt at Her Feet, put my head lightly on Her Feet, and She tapped me on the back.
‘May God bless you,’ She said. I was in a state of complete happiness and bliss. Shri Mataji talked to Bala Kanayson about the area: Birmingham, Tamworth and Coventry. At that time I lived in Birmingham, and had only visited Coventry once. ‘We definitely need a centre in Coventry,’ Shri Mataji said. Ten years later, I spontaneously moved quite close to Coventry and then we did start meetings and a centre there.
At the meeting at Dr Johnson House, there must have been about a hundred people. Mother invited all of us to a follow up meeting, and it was held in Bala Kanayson’s house in Tamworth, the next day, which was a Sunday. My wife and I went and there were about fifteen people in the room. We all sat round the edges of the room with our backs to the wall.
‘You must forgive your father,’ Shri Mataji said to one girl. She burst into tears.
I was amazed, and thought, ‘How did Shri Mataji know that this girl had a problem with her father?’
‘You may not like your parents but you must respect them,’ Mother said to the girl.
Then there was a boy by the door. He said something to Shri Mataji and She asked him the name of his guru. He gave a name.
‘Yes, he is an enlightened soul,’ She said and I was amazed again, that She could know from the guru’s name that he was enlightened, so I realised She knew things on a different level. Then She asked the boy what his guru had him do and he said he had to go into meditation and say, ‘Who am I?’ Shri Mataji said that was ok, but he needed something else. She asked him to come over to Her and She painted a red swastika onto the palm of his hand and put a bindi on his forehead, both in red kumkum.
I was sitting against the wall and Mother was sitting in a chair opposite me. I had recently bought a watch, and while Mother was talking I was unconsciously fiddling with my watch. Mother wasn’t giving a talk as such, She was just chatting about things in general. She stopped talking and told me to give Her my watch, so I took it off and gave it to Her.
‘Bhuts, they’re like flies, they get everywhere,’ She said. She put a few bandhans on the watch and gave it back. ‘There,’ She said, and somehow you knew it was fine.
Through the music
In late 1978, I went to a performance of Handel’s Messiah in the Royal Albert Hall in London. Although it was a bad time for me, during the performance I felt something lift, as if, in that darkness, something was turning, and after that everything started to improve.
Six months later, I got realisation and discovered that Shri Mataji had been at that same performance. A year or so later She took some of us to a concert of Indian classical music at the South Bank Centre, London. When we were there, She told us that when She went to a music performance, even if it was a public one and She was incognito, She could work on all the people there through the music.