Chapter 12: 1991 – April to July, England and Europe

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

Guilt has no power

Unfortunately I tried for many years, naturally unsuccessfully, to hide ego in left Vishuddhi. So I felt guilty for literally everything. While Shri Mataji was staying with us in the tiny Los Angeles house in April 1991, I was asked to wash Shri Mataji’s sari. It was white silk, with a bright pink border. Not wise in the ways of a Lakshmi, and not being told that one generally dry cleans silk, I found the most beautiful brass thali, filled it with rose water, and immersed Shri Mataji’s sari. There was a vague thought at the back of my mind, ‘Won’t the pink bleed onto the white?’ but I dismissed it – after all what did I know? Sure enough, the pink started bleeding before my horrified eyes! I can’t remember what happened after that but somehow I went through the process to the point of ironing the sari just as Shri Mataji was leaving. I hastily ran out to the car with the sari, and bravely held it out.

Shri Mataji, I am so sorry I have ruined Your sari. What can I do?’ I apologised.

Shri Mataji said something along the lines of it being unimportant. Never has the potential for guilt been removed so fast. In front of the Adi Shakti, guilt is entirely powerless.

Pramod Shete

The ganas lifted me

After saying farewell to Shri Mataji at the airport, the yogi who had driven Shri Mataji offered for my family to go back in the same car. Joyfully, I entered the back of the car and sat down. Suddenly I found myself on the other side of the back seat. As there had been no sari covering the seat, I hadn’t realised I had sat down on the side where Shri Mataji had been. The ganas were still guarding Her place.

Pramod Shete

She looks like My cousin

In 1991 we all met Shri Mataji at Heathrow Airport. I was briefly introduced by my first name and Mother patted both my cheeks which felt so sweet, and I felt like a small child. Then in about 1993, when I brought my baby boy to see Her at Heathrow, She also patted his little baby cheeks and I thought how She had done the same to me. About two years later we were again at Heathrow Airport and again I was introduced by my first name.

Oh, she looks like My cousin,’ Shri Mataji said.

It must be my cheeks,’ I replied, because I have wide cheeks like Mother, but I am fair and not at all Indian looking.

On that same occasion I met a yogini who gave me her address in the country and an open invitation to visit. Not long after, I had the offer to house sit in the same village as this yogini and brought my husband and children. My husband had not met many yogis. When we arrived I phoned this yogini and we met for a picnic. I introduced my Irish husband and they turned out to be first cousins, who had never met. All our Kundalini’s shot up! We three remain close to this day. Maybe Mother’s ‘cousin comment’ went across the universe and rebounded back. I don’t know how we would ever have made the connection without Sahaja Yoga.

Nicola Hallums

So, it was your birthday

In about 1991 I was living in an ashram in London – Muswell Hill, and it was about two days before my birthday. I had a fleeting thought – I wondered if Shri Mataji knew when it was our individual birthdays, then I instantly dismissed this as a silly thought.

About two days later we had the great honour of going to Heathrow Airport to meet Mother and we were outside the Queen’s Building, waiting for Her to arrive. I was at the back of a large group of Sahaja Yogis, and as I turned around, I saw Shri Mataji coming towards us. I was at the back and everyone was anticipating Her coming from another direction.

Oh, Mother’s coming this way!’ I said. So everyone quickly turned round and rushed towards Her. I was now at the front rather than the back. Shri Mataji came up to me.

So, it was your birthday,’ She said. It was the best birthday present I ever had, and it goes to show that Mother does know every single fleeting thought.

Mary Jane Williams

Shri Mataji took care of the most minute details

Shri Mataji was staying at the Muswell Hill Ashram in North London. A yogi was there translating Her book Sahaja Yoga into French. One day I was asked to go and help with the translation. I set off for a day but after three days I was still there. I did not have any change of clothes, so I would wash my clothes at night and wear them again the next day. On the third day, Shri Mataji called me and gave me a lovely pale blue dress. A few days later, Mother was leaving and we went to accompany Her to the airport. I was wearing the blue dress. Shri Mataji noticed.

Very chic Annie, very French,’ She said (because I am French).

Shri Mataji took care of the most minute details.

Annie Calvas

A healing balm

In May 1991, Shri Mataji was leaving England to go to the Sahasrara Puja in Italy. We were seeing Her off at the airport. I had lost my husband earlier in the year, and had written to Shri Mataji about it, but had not heard anything. As She came to the door and did not look at me, but put Her hand out onto my left arm and used it as a support, as She walked through the row of yogis giving Her flowers. All the time I could feel Shri Mataji’s hand on my left arm working on my heart chakra.

As Shri Mataji reached the departure lounge She turned to the yogini who was holding the huge bouquet of flowers. She told the lady to hand the flowers to me, while She went away for a little time, and I held this huge bunch of vibrated flowers in both arms. The perfume of the flowers seemed to go into me like a healing balm. Shri Mataji came back, and walked through the departure lounge and I handed the flowers back to the lady. Mother could work on us through flowers, through anything.

Melody Hodgson

Sahasrara Day 1991 (email report)

Our journey to Ischia took us through Italy under stormy skies. The rain was exceptionally heavy between Rome and Naples, and as we got into the bus that was to take us to Naples Airport to greet Shri Mataji the sky was completely covered by dark grey clouds. On arriving at the airport the sky had turned a slightly lighter shade of grey. After about fifteen minutes Shri Mother’s plane landed and we were told She would be coming out by a side entrance from the terminal, so we all swarmed out into the bright, warm sunlight that was bathing the whole area.

That afternoon we sailed over choppy seas to Ischia, a beautiful volcanic island in the Mediterranean about an hour out of Naples. Shri Mataji arrived on the island shortly after us and made Her way to the luxurious Continental Terme hotel, where She relaxed for the rest of the day.

Late that evening, Shri Mataji was sitting on the balcony outside Her room, chatting to Sahaja Yogis who gathered in a little crowd around Her. Her conversation covered many topics. In particular Shri Mataji said that for Her there was no difference between beet sugar and cane sugar, and either can be used as part of a diet for a hot liver condition.

Shri Mataji spent part of Saturday morning giving an interview to a local journalist, and this resulted in a very positive article appearing in the local newspaper next morning, with a beautiful photograph of Shri Mataji on the front page and a long article. The journal pointed out that it was a source of pride for the island that people were coming from all over the world to attend a conference here, and reported Shri Mataji as encouraging the islanders to cherish their old traditions and dharmic ways of life, which had been lost in the big cities.

The puja took place on the Sunday in a sports stadium under a large geodesic dome which Shri Mataji said resembled the petals of the Sahasrara. Her throne stood on a large dais, with rays like those seen on the miracle photos from Sorrento, two years ago, radiating from Her Sahasrara to the walls of the dome. After the puja, which continued with bhajans, many priceless gifts of Chinese jade were offered to Shri Mataji, sculpted into goddesses, ships, trees, vases, and other shapes. She commented that jade is like the human brain as one cannot see what is inside it.

Phil Ward

The pearl earrings

At Shudy Camps in 1991, Mother gave me a pendant and some large freshwater pearl earrings. They were studs, each one made up of many pearls. I was very happy but felt sorry because the posts that went through the ears were not of a metal I could wear, because my skin reacts. I was thinking about this when a Sahaja Yogini came in with another pair of pearl earrings from Shri Mataji, this time on gold.

Mother sent these for you and She said, “Tell Ruth they’re real”.’

Ruth Greaves


In May 1991 I went to Shudy Camps at Shri Mataji’s request to do some tailoring for Sir CP, and stayed for two weeks. At this time my daughters were seven and five. I wanted to have another child and had occasionally thought it would be lovely to have twins. I was sitting on the grass looking at the sky. Mother was inside the house. Suddenly a desire rushed into my attention and I prayed, ‘Oh Mother, please may I have twins?’ I was covered with a shower of vibrations and thought, well, I suppose babies are a good thing to be thinking about.

I went home a few days later and soon became pregnant – with twins! They were boys and Shri Mataji named them Buddha and Mahavira at the Shri Buddha Puja at Shudy Camps in 1992.

I later heard from the lady who was looking after Mother while I was at Shudy Camps, that Mother had asked, ‘How many children does Ruth have now?’

Ruth Greaves

Watching a movie

I remember being at Shudy Camps in about 1991 and we were invited up to Mother’s room to watch an animated movie with Her called Fern Gully – The Last Rainforest. It is about the magical creatures of the rainforest fighting to save the forest and defeat an evil creature. Whilst watching the film Mother kept saying that the magical creatures were very small but still very powerful.

Laura Richardson 

Shri Mataji wanted to buy books

One day at Shudy Camps, Shri Mataji asked to go into Cambridge to buy some books. We thought She meant a few. How wrong we were.

We went to Dillon’s bookstore in the centre of Cambridge with Sir CP and a couple of yogis. Shri Mataji started walking round selecting books — not just a few, but whole shelves full and we came to understand that She was buying for Pratishthan for the guest rooms. She bought whole collections of Agatha Christie, AJ Cronin, Somerset Maugham and Sherlock Holmes, books on paintings, flowers, gardens and art of all kinds, novels, biographies, encyclopedias and on.

We finally had all the books boxed up and, to our amazement, they just fitted in the very capacious trunk of the Mercedes with absolutely no room to spare.

Chris Marlow

The British character

Soon after I came to Sahaja Yoga, someone told me that Shri Mataji was fond of PG Wodehouse’s books, which were very light but not superficial. At his best his writing was masterly as well as deeply funny.

Some time in the early 1990’s, Shri Mataji suggested that, as an entertainment at one of the international seminars, the English should put on a series of comical sketches denoting different aspects of the British character. This didn’t happen – but, as a substitute, I thought I would like to give her Pont’s The British Character, a book of finely drawn cartoons from the 1930’s which fulfilled the same function. Hardly had I had this desire than I came across a copy in a local bookshop. I asked someone to present it to Shri Mataji and later heard that She enjoyed it very much.

Chris Greaves

Deepak and Chetak

In the early 1990’s Shri Mataji rang our coordinator in the UK and asked if someone could buy two Golden Retriever puppies, because She wanted to take them back to India. The coordinator asked me to do this as I had experience with dogs. It didn’t take long to find two which I felt were exactly right for Mother. I then had the wonderful job of keeping them for some months until they were old enough to be transported as we didn’t know where they would go exactly. They began to grow and turned into two beautiful golden dogs, both males. Eventually I called our coordinator and asked him to telephone India to request Shri Mataji to name Her puppies, as I needed to begin training them a little.

In the meantime I could see their individual characters developing; one puppy was bigger built, slower, calm and quiet. He used to sit on the back doorstep and just watch the world go by. The other was slimmer, lithe, very fast and could never keep still. He was always on the go and always looking for something interesting.

Eventually the answer of the names came back to me by telephone. Shri Mataji wanted to call them Deepak and Chetak. The coordinator told me that Shri Mataji had instructed us that Deepak meant ‘quiet and watchful’ and Chetak meant ‘lively and very attentive.’

I don’t know how you are going to tell which one needs which name,’ he said.

Don’t worry about that, I already know which one is which,’ I smiled and replied; Shri Mataji already knew Her dogs intimately, without even seeing them.

 I was very sad the day Deepak and Chetak left for India but these two beautiful friends eventually went to Dharmshala and ended up living with all the children at the school. Many younger Sahaja Yogis will remember growing up with them at the school.

 Rosalyn Tildesley

Who does this rose belong to?

It was the summer of 1991, in Milan, when Shri Mataji stayed in Aldo’s apartment for ten days and we were allowed to go and meditate there every day during our lunch break from work. Normally, we went there with a bunch of flowers or just one flower, and meditated outside Her bedroom door. The fairy tale started when one day, another Sahaja Yogi and I were outside Mother’s room, in deep meditation and enjoying the miracle to have Shri Mataji just around the corner from where we lived. Suddenly the door opened and the then leader of Milan pointed to a rose lying on the sofa.

Who does this rose belong to?’ he asked, and I opened my eyes and answered that it was mine. He asked me to go into Mother’s bedroom. I can’t describe in words what I felt, and I was a bit confused because I didn’t expect this could have happened, nor had I expected Shri Mataji’s attention on me. I was enjoying Her divine presence and feeling so good. I was so overwhelmed that I was meeting Mother almost alone, with just one other lady there who was helping with the translation into English.

How sweet you are,’ Shri Mataji told me, and I was melted in Her divine love, my whole body and my soul were sucked in Her divine essence, and in one instance She restored my entire dignity and confidence, and I was able to answer Her questions about my life, job and so on, and She suddenly happily said that She was going to buy a castle and there were plenty of rooms and She added, ‘You can come and live there with Me.’ Her compassion and generosity were flooding the entire room, city and universe. (A few months back I had been asked by my landlord to leave my flat, because he wanted it back for his son, so, I was practically without a home, for me and my son)

In one moment Shri Mataji gave me a place in Her heart and a home too. More miracles were to come, and also a chance to grow in Sahaja Yoga, without my asking Her anything. That was the first great miracle. She also advised me to keep my son in Sahaja schools and gave me so much encouragement and advice. Having Shri Mataji with all of us in Milan every day was another miracle. She spoke with us about our own town and She told us the meaning of the word Milan, (it means to meet, union – yoga) and told us also that in the past Milan used to be a very spiritual place.

Ornella Bollani

Everything was exactly right

Before Shri Mataji bought the castle, we went to buy some furniture for it. We thought She would buy this big castle, so we went to this building where they sold furniture, five stories high, near Cabella. We went there and on one floor were beds, one floor cupboards, one floor bathroom things – like that. So from the first floor we started. We were writing, ‘two of these beds, three of these cupboards, three of these mirrors.’

You remember those two cupboards down there, make it one cupboard,’ Shri Mataji said when we were going to the second floor. All the time She was changing and after three or four hours, all the time we had to be aware of what She was saying. We couldn’t remember very well, but She did. She bought lots of things after being there for half a day. When Shri Mataji bought Cabella, we thought all this furniture would be too much because Cabella was much smaller, but everything was exactly right for Cabella.

Akbar Samii

A house between Milan and Genoa

When Shri Mataji came to Italy in 1991, She said She wanted to have a house in Italy between Milan and Genoa. A group of people went to look for a castle. My husband and I were with some other people. We went around and saw many big houses, together with other people. One time we were told about the Palazzo Doria, which was for sale in Cabella. This time just my husband and I came and visited it. That day there was a lot of snow on the ground. I took some photos, although before I had not done so when visiting places. It seemed nice, but a bit different from what Shri Mataji wanted. In the meantime people looked at other places, and it seemed Shri Mataji wanted to buy a castle called San Giorgio, near Castel Monferrato. At the last moment She did not want to buy it, and people around Her did not know what to do. An Italian man showed Her the photos I had taken of Cabella.

I will buy this one,’ She said.

She went directly to Cabella and the mayor showed the castle to Her and She bought it at once.

Daniella Picciafuoco

The vibrations were right

When Shri Mataji decided to buy a castle in this area of Italy, Alessandria, in 1991, for two weeks we were going to see so many castles in north Italy. She was interested in one of these castles which was huge and had ninety rooms. One floor, for Shri Mataji Herself, was beautiful — on top of a hill. There was a puja coming soon and She wanted to buy quickly, so the puja could take place there. This castle belonged to a father and his children. Then suddenly, Cabella Ligure came along and we went to see this too.

We came there and the car wouldn’t go up from the road down below, so Shri Mataji told us to go and see it. I was alone with Her in the car and the others went up to see it, and were not very happy with it somehow. Compared with the other castle, it was nothing. Then one of the daughters of the owner of the other castle decided not to sell, but Shri Mataji had already bought all the furniture and so on. The things were in a truck at the other castle and we had been cleaning this other castle because it was nearly time for the puja.

We contacted the mayor of Cabella and Shri Mataji came and said She wanted to buy it right then. She bought it, and the furniture, trucks and all, came to Cabella. We had only one evening to prepare everything and for the puja and we put a tent for the puja near the river and somehow it worked out. Shri Mataji said that when She saw Cabella the vibrations were right, and Sir CP was with us and he said how pure the air was.

Akbar Samii

All My love to you and your wife

My husband and I had the unexpected blessing of being able to host Shri Mataji in our home in Milan when She came to find a residence in Italy. She stayed there for about a month from May to June 1991, breaking Her permanence only for a short trip to London.

With Guru Puja being imminent and having signed the contract for the purchase of Palazzo Doria in Cabella Ligure, Shri Mataji readily went there even though there was an almost complete lack of the comforts and necessities required to manage everyday life. For us, the Sahaja Yoginis of Milan, it was a great blessing to bring Her clothes and bedding to our city to be washed, almost as though we didn’t want to cut the umbilical cord that had united us so closely to Her in that period that we had just passed together. Every time we immersed our hands in the bag of things to be washed, waves of vibrations would hit us. The coolness and the perfume that came from Her sheets graced us with a sense of wellbeing and a slight euphoria. One evening, alone in my house in Via Boccaccio, I found myself holding a silk white sari to be ironed.

I have always loved Shri Mataji’s white and immaculate saris. When I met Her for the first time in a public conference in Milan, She was dressed in a white sari. She spoke of truth. She worked, with infinite love, with complete assuredness, with full awareness on the subtle system of all those who desired it. How much love She had!

I was ironing that sari, when I realised that also the atmosphere around me had suddenly become filled with love. The space around me had become completely pervaded – I would dare to say – with tangible molecules of intense pure love! The love was ‘real’ and I was completely immersed in it! It covered everything and it sustained and nourished me, giving me a sensation of deep and intense sweetness. Before then ‘I knew’ that I was immerged in an ocean of pure love. But that evening I had had the indescribable experience of it!

The phone rang. They were calling from Palazzo Doria and Shri Mataji wanted to speak to my husband. I answered that he would be in later, and they told me to get him to call in any case. Then, around midnight, when my husband came in, we learnt what Shri Mataji wanted to communicate to him: ‘All My love to you and your wife’.

Floriana Gandolfi

The most important gift

In 1991 Shri Mataji came to stay in a beautiful flat in the heart of Milan, very near to the place I used to live. Every day we were allowed to go and meditate, in our work break, for some time and in the evenings we could help in the kitchen. We used to have prasad, but the most important gift we had was to drink the water where Mother used to wash Her Hands after dinner, and we started to feel drunk with joy, we couldn’t stop laughing and we could not control our tears of joy. This was happening every time we had some of that water.

With Mother there, it was a never ending miraculous experience.

Ornella Bollani

She created all those rooms

At Cabella, Shri Mataji chose everything Herself for the decoration of the house upstairs, even the architecture, because everything upstairs was all fallen down and there were no rooms there really. There was no room where the computer room is now and She created all those rooms up there.

Nanda Tagliabue

Dreams have a way of telling you things

At Guru Puja in 1991, the first year at Cabella, I was sitting way back in the audience. Shri Mataji called me up to the stage, and She called a couple of times before it clicked that it was me She was calling. So I went up and did the puja to Her, and I She called me up to Her room afterwards. She showed me some miracle photographs that some Sahaja Yogis had taken.

I told Shri Mataji that I had had some dreams. They were like a series, in that I was having them every night but each time a little more was added. They were dramatic, huge waterfalls and things falling from the sky, all in colour, very elaborate dreams. Shri Mataji said She wanted to hear them so I told Her and She listened very closely with great attention. She had a smile on Her face and said that dreams have a way of telling you things that the param chaitanya wants you to know, and that is the way it comes through.

Prerna Richards

A new era

In the 1980’s and ’90’s, Shri Mataji made an enormous amount of journeys all over the world, partly to give public programmes and partly to celebrate the big international pujas in respective countries. The purchase of Castello Doria in Cabella marked the beginning of a new era.

The collective discipline which She imposed on us at that time meant that several times we arranged coaches from Munich to Cabella and nobody went in individual cars. The first time none of us knew the place, we had to navigate using a map and descriptions of the direction, not knowing what was awaiting us. We arrived in Val Bolbera in the middle of the night. The moon was full in a clear sky and cast an enchanting light on the mountains, and there were deep grooves in them. The shadows of the moonlight increased this impression and the mountains looked like the claws of magic animals. This wonderful wild nature had a healing effect and became our new home: the river, which is all the time changing its bed, the untamed growth of flowers, bushes and trees, the picturesque sky, the nightingales greeting us at 4 o’clock in the morning after an Indian concert, and nearby the castle standing in solitary splendour.

Cabella, the castle before restoration

The castle was very much in need of renovation. To most of us the old stone building, which looked like a hundred years before, was very romantic and the collective overnight stays in the circus tent near the castle were primitive but natural.

We cooked meals for everybody on the small bridge leading to Shri Mataji’s floor. One day I had kitchen duty, made sure the log fire was burning and stirred the pots. She taught us how to cook biryani in large pots and showed us little tricks – how to close the lid with dough, thus creating a kind of pressure cooker. She would sit at the entrance on an armchair, directing the show, and had pots brought to Her to add different spices and to stir them with a big spoon. Once I sat next to Her on the wall, and was fascinated.

Shri Mataji, it’s just like a puja!’ I said.

Of course, it`s just the way you look at it,’ She answered, as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

Thomas Menge

Shri Mataji did not forget Her child

It was one of the first pujas at Cabella, maybe Guru Puja 1991. After the puja was finished, Shri Mataji was still there. I was very tired, very satisfied, and I fell asleep. About two hours later someone woke me up. I saw all Sahaja Yogis in a big circle standing around Shri Mataji in complete silence and I wanted to know what was going on, because one Yogi was in the middle of this circle doing namaskar to Shri Mataji’s Lotus Feet.

Wow, I would like to do the same,’ said my heart. At that moment someone said I should come forward to do namaskar too! Very shy, I came forward and made namaskar to Shri Mataji, feeling so much joy that I wanted to do that endlessly. Then I stood up to make space for the next to come for namaskar, but I was the last one. There had been a music session before this, and all Sahaja Yogis where dancing in joy and I had not woken up, but at the end Shri Mataji did not forget Her child.

Leopold Zeilinger