Chapter 13: 1982 – May, France, Portugal and Spain

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

A memorable train journey

I remember a journey by train with Shri Mataji. We had gone to Lille in the north of France with Her to where some programmes were going to take place in May 1982. After a small puja to Shri Krishna performed with some yogis in a small apartment, where Shri Mataji asked me to read the names in Sanskrit – I had never done that before – needless to say that these brought me in a state of thoughtlessness which lasted until the programme when She asked me to introduce Her on stage. I had no idea about what I was going to say but in Her close proximity the words trickled from an unknown region into my mouth and my voice carried them out to the public. I felt inspired and talked about Sahaja Yoga as a Maha Yoga and went on to talk about the integration of all the yogas and religions.

The next day we took the train and Mother was nowhere to be seen. She must have boarded the train with one or two yogis so when we were in it we were very anxious to find Her. At that time the French trains had compartments with a sliding door so we were running down the train looking inside all the compartments and lo and behold we reached the compartment where Shri Mataji was sitting and She greeted us with one of Her luminous smiles.

‘There you are! Come in, come in,’ She said, so the five or six of us sat down, delighted after this kind of hide and seek that we had found Her. She started to quiz us on the Zodiac signs. We were all in such a light mood and when it was my turn I said my sun was in Aquarius.

‘Very good, very good,’ She said, ‘you see the Aquarius is the water carrirer, the kumba and it holds the divine waters which are the vibrations.’ As usual our divine Mother would bring what was a light subject into another more profound realm; the domain of Nirmala Vidya. We arrived in Paris in no time or infinite time, and Shri Mataji was going to another programme that evening.

Antoinette Wells

Your Mother is cooking

At Le Raincy, Paris, around 5th May 1982, Mother asked me ‘What are you doing?’ I was quite new in Sahaja Yoga and today I would have said much less and in different words.

‘I want to take photos of the whole atmosphere, Mother, and of our Guru who is cooking for us,’ I then said.

‘It is Your Mother who is cooking,’ Shri Mataji replied, and She smiled with joy.

Robbert Ruigrok

Mother, I am my own guru

I first met Shri Mataji in Portugal in May 1982. My knowledge of English was far from perfect. In fact to me the word vibrations meant the type of phenomenon that one experiences when a building is vibrating, for instance as a result of loud music. Shri Mataji, who was sitting at a distance of about three metres, asked me if I could feel the vibrations, as She blew them in my direction. I said no. She increased the flow and again asked, and again I said no. She increased the flow once more and by now the feeling of ecstasy was very distinct as well as the coolness of an all pervading cool breeze. Again I confessed to not feeling vibrations but yes to strong cool breeze. It was an incredible experience to see how Shri Mataji was completely in control of this cool wind, deciding where it went.

Shri Mataji was working on a new lady and told me to translate the following mantra for that lady to say aloud while She worked on her back. The mantra was: ‘Mother I am my own guru’. Being very new to Sahaja knowledge and inexperienced at translating English I reasoned that the correct mantra must have been ‘Mother I am not my own guru’. After that lady repeated this wrong version of the mantra in Portuguese, Shri Mataji said the vibrations were getting worse and the translation must be wrong. That’s when I was introduced to this incredible mantra: ‘Mother I am my own guru,’ which corrected the vibrations.

Luis Garrido

The Lady of the Rock

In May 1982, Shri Mataji came to Lisbon for a few days for two public programmes and subsequent follow-ups. The programmes were held in a school in the old part of the town and the last follow-up programme was held on a Saturday morning. The caretaker of the hall requested us to leave at a certain fixed time as he had to go to a fair on the outskirts of the capital, and one of the Yogis was supposed to take him there.

When Shri Mataji was informed of this, She mentioned She would like to go to this fair, and see the handicrafts of the country, so we all went in the same small car. Arriving near the spot, Shri Mataji asked what was the story of the place, why a fair was done there, and whether a sanctuary existed, because She could feel strong vibrations. The caretaker then explained that this fair took place only two Saturdays per year, because an apparition of the Holy Virgin’s statue had occurred many years before.

‘Two children playing in the fields entered a hidden cave and found a statue of the Virgin Mary. They went to tell some people, and when returned, the statue had changed place, in the same cave; people then decided to build a small chapel on the spot, and the statue is still in the cave underneath, where it can be visited by everyone.’

Shri Mataji decided to go and see all the handicrafts and ceramics, and at the end She mentioned She would like to visit the cave as well. There was a queue of people waiting to go inside, and therefore I did not wish Shri Mataji to wait in the sun, but She insisted She should go in. We queued for a little while, and once inside the cave could see the statue. How to explain in words the feelings in your heart when you are visiting a sanctuary where the Virgin Mary appeared long-time back, accompanying Mother Mary Herself in human form? And there She was, the same almond eyes, the same long black hair.

As people were leaving some money for the church, I asked Shri Mataji whether we should also give some money.

‘You people should, not Me; after all, what is the need to give money to Myself?’ was Her answer.

This sanctuary was a real one, representing a true apparition of the Virgin, and this fact is not known at all! The apparition in Fatima is known world-wide, but not this one, though is as true. But Shri Mataji came and took us there, to show another hidden treasure of the country.

Marie-Amélia de Kalbermatten

The Portuguese swayambhu

In August 1385 Portugal was attacked by Spain. A battle took place on the eve of the Festival of the Virgin Mary, the Portuguese forces prayed for Her assistance and won against Spain’s much larger army – the victory was attributed to Her. The King of Portugal declared that the country and crown belonged to the Virgin Mary, Her statue was crowned and She was declared the Queen and Patroness of Portugal.

During Shri Mataji’s visit to Portugal for Diwali Puja in the 1980’s, a Portuguese Sahaja Yogi related this story erand declared that She was the one with the right to the Portuguese crown because She was the living Mother Goddess. The Sahaja Yogi also said that a day would come when all countries in the world would acknowledge this fact. Shri Mataji HHHHHH smiled graciously and accepted this praise.

In 1822, during a civil war, some children discovered a statue of the Virgin Mary in a grotto, on the outskirts of Lisbon. This discovery was accompanied by wondrous events and miraculous cures and took people’s interest away from the business of neighbour killing neighbour that is typical of a civil war, so it was called Our Lady of the Counter Revolution.

When Shri Mataji came to Portugal in 1982, apart from the people who lived in the neighbourhood, nobody knew about it. The chances of Her finding this statue were very slim because it was only taken out of the church for a procession on the 31st of May, but She went to there on that very day.

‘The vibrations are far too good, there must be something holy in this area,’ Shri Mataji commented, before arriving there. The Portuguese Sahaja Yogis were not aware of anything special. ‘Do you have here something holy such as a tooth of Lord Buddha or some hairs of the Prophet Mohammed?’ She asked.

‘Surely if there was something that precious we would have heard of it?’ the Sahaja Yogis continued.

‘It could be there is a swayambhu somewhere nearby,’ Shri Mataji said. At last Her car reached the spot where the procession was taking place and She exclaimed, ‘That’s your swayambhu, go and find out the story of this statue,’ and having examined it She commented, ‘It looks rather like Me.’

The Sahaja Yogis asked Shri Mataji about the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Portugal, in the village of Fatima, in 1917. Shri Mataji confirmed that they were genuine but advised them not to get too involved with all this. During one of Her visits, Shri Mataji asked to be driven to the area of Fatima.

Luis Garrido

Small daily miracles in Lisbon

Arriving in Lisbon in mid May 1982 to prepare the public programmes, from the plane I saw a new town under a blue sky, shining ochre roofs with a bright freshness I had never noticed before. While preparing we could feel the helping hand of Shri Hanuman. Knowing that Shri Mataji preferred not to stay in a hotel, although we were old it was impossible, we found and rented a house for one week, a beautiful old sixteenth century house, with an internal patio, five minutes walking distance from the hall rented for the programmes.

We had contacted the radio, TV and newspapers, requested journalists to come and to interview Shri Mataji, but none gave us an answer. So, a bit sad, we went to the airport to receive Her in our country. I went to the luggage hall and stood in front of the passport control. I saw lots of journalists and photographers, which made me even sadder, as they told us they were coming to welcome a famous musical group. One of the journalists asked me why I was asking, and I answered that I thought maybe it was to welcome Shri Mataji. To my amazement, he told me that one of his colleagues was there for that reason, that he was waiting for an Indian Lady who was a guru! We, the ‘big organisers’ did not even know it! I pretended I knew he was to come and gave a little explanation on Sahaja Yoga while waiting. When Shri Mataji arrived, illuminating the hall with Her radiance, She gave an interview right there, in the middle of the luggage. The journalist did a nice article and came to one of the programmes.

Marie-Amélia de Kalbermatten

The effect of Shri Mataji’s photo

Before meeting Shri Mataji, in May 1982, I had a glance of Her photograph which set everything in motion. As a seeker of truth I had gone through many spiritual books, some from false gurus and some from genuinely divine personalities. I never gave up praying to Christ but felt I never got an answer from Him, but when I saw Shri Mataji’s photograph, at last He had a message for me.

My parents had gone to meet Shri Mataji in the evening and came home very late. My mum was so excited that she woke me up at 4 am and showed me Her picture. I went back to sleep and Christ appeared in my dream.

‘I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I had no clothes and you gave Me nothing to cover myself with, I was in jail and you did not come to visit Me,’ He said, three times.

On waking up I recognised some of these words as being from the Bible, but what did this mean to me? The answer hit me as a flash of lightning. I had, for the last three years, refused to visit my cousin who was in jail for drug offences, but after this dream I went to see him that very day. I took my girlfriend to introduce her to him and on the way back we went to see Shri Mataji for the first time. To my surprise She told me to visit my cousin and raise his Kundalini. Shri Mataji explained that She had already seen a photograph of him and given him self realisation from a distance at my aunt’s request. I was proud to be able to tell Shri Mataji I had just been to see him.

Luis Garrido

Meeting Shri Mataji

We were told to sit and wait because Shri Mataji was having a siesta, and it would be a while before She could see us. We had no difficulty going into a siesta like mood since the atmosphere was impregnated with silence and spirituality, and felt as if we were in a temple. Later I got a glimpse of a person I recognised and followed him to get his attention, but was trying not to make any noise since Shri Mataji was resting. She came out of Her room and he told Her that several people had arrived to see Her.

From that angle all I could see was the profile of Her face, but I had the most amazing experience. I saw in quick succession many previous lives of mine and in every life Shri Mataji was my mother and creator, She had watched over me and knew everything I had done. A few seconds later She came into the room to see us. Shri Mataji addressed me in English as if She knew I could speak this language. She said I could translate for Her when She was speaking to the other people. This gave me a chance to move closer to Her and I felt an enormous energy radiating from Her as well as a feeling of holiness and joy that beamed from Her being.

‘Thank you, Mr William Blake,’ I said to myself, because I had been taking English lessons hoping to read his poetry in English. Later I learnt that in Sahaja Yoga one often finds people interested in William Blake.

This house had a beautiful inner courtyard and garden and Shri Mataji remarked that it was similar to certain Indian houses in layout. It had been rented for Her stay, plus an extra month. Her bedroom was the largest room in the house and since more people were still arriving to see Her we were all invited into it to listen to Her.

Sitting on Her bed, Shri Mataji gave a long lecture that was translated by a Sahaja Yogi. She talked of many things including the Virgin Mary, but I was ill and did not manage to listen properly, so just relaxed and fell into a daze. By the end I was feeling much better and fully recharged. Shri Mataji mentioned the Kundalini several times, and this interested me a lot.

Luis Garrido

The girlfriend

Just before going into the house my girlfriend said she was an atheist and a communist and ought not to meet a spiritual person like Shri Mataji. I took no notice and dragged her inside. When Shri Mataji came to see the people that were there to meet Her, She pointed at my girl-friend and looked at me.

‘What is this woman doing here?’ She said. I answered that she was my girlfriend.

‘I don’t know the meaning of the word girlfriend. It’s something very indecent; do you really love her?’ Shri Mataji replied. I was unable to say that I did and She asked again, ‘Do you really love her, because if you did you would marry her rather than treating her like this. In societies like India this type of relationship of boyfriend, girlfriend is considered highly immoral.’

When Shri Mataji started giving realisation to the new people on a one to one basis the first person She worked on and cured was my girlfriend. Shri Mataji explained that she was very sick and that she couldn’t have children, and spent a long time with her. About a week later I proposed marriage, but she told me she did not want to marry me and we ended the relationship. She soon got married and later I heard she was expecting a child.

Luis Garrido

The last to be worked on

Shri Mataji worked on everyone who had come to see Her and told me to go to the end of the queue. My turn came up a few times.

‘Sir, please go to the end of the queue,’ Shri Mataji said each time, so I was the last person She worked on and our family were the last to leave – my girlfriend, my mum and dad, my younger sister and my aunt and uncle. My aunt had brought a photo of my cousin who was in jail.

‘You all came together but you did not bring Me the most important person,’ She said to us. My aunt knew straight away that Shri Mataji meant we had not brought our grandmother.

When my turn came I understood why She had asked me to wait until last. It was getting very late, She spent at least forty minutes on me and this would have caused a great delay to the other people who had come to see HeHer.

Shri Mataji spent a long time saying Sanskrit mantras in my ear against the false gurus I had visited. I can remember a fragment of the mantras – ‘Aham sakshat …mardini.’ Then She told me to turn my back to Her, as I was kneeling on the floor at Her Feet. Without warning She held my head, with full force gave a fast twist to my neck to the left, and it made a clicking noise and felt as if a great tension was released. Shri Mataji knew what She was doing. She did the same in the opposite direction, the neck made the same clicking noise and another blockage was released. By now I was immersed in a sea of bliss.

It was quite common for Shri Mataji to ask people to take off their coats or jackets while She was working on them so people did not carry too much (vibrational) baggage while getting their self realisation and She also told me to take my jacket off. I saw Her telling people to wash their spectacles before putting them back on after receiving self realisation. For that reason I washed my glasses prior to my own session with Shri Mataji. She told me to remove them during the exercise.

While I was still kneeling with my back towards Her, Shri Mataji took out of Her handbag an Indian medicine called Netranjan and applied a liberal portion of it to the inside of my eyes. I did not know exactly what had happened at the time except that another strong blockage had just been release, the waves of bliss were even stronger and I felt safe in Her hands. The temporary loss of sight I experienced had been caused by the application of Netranjan. A few minutes later I was able to see again, much better than before. Then Shri Mataji told me that I no longer needed my spectacles. This was true because I could now see much clearer without the glasses than with them. People who were wearing necklaces or bracelets associated with false gurus were told by Shri Mataji to take them off. She would not proceed until they were removed. Before leaving, Shri Mataji left me a piece of advice that proved very important and also demonstrated to me Her prophetic powers.

‘If ever you have a problem go and seek her advice, she is a very good person with a good heart,’ She said to me, pointing at my aunt.

A couple of months later I was conscripted into the army. I remembered Shri Mataji’s words and my aunt informed me that if I applied to be classed as a conscientious objector I would be able to delay the date of joining, which I did, and never had to do military service.

Luis Garrido

The dog

When Shri Mataji was talking to people on that first evening, a big dog managed to install herself on the same settee that She was sitting on. Most people felt that the dog ought to be removed, but Shri Mataji waved Her hand signalling to let it be. People were enthralled by Her words and no one noticed that very discreetly the dog inched herself bit by bit towards Shri Mataji until her head was resting on Her leg very devotedly. Shri Mataji laid Her hand on the dog’s head for quite a while.

‘Even this dog realises who I am and she loves Me too,’ She declared.

The dog was now safe from being removed from the settee and became very aggressive when anyone tried to move it off.

‘Did you notice how careful this dog was not to disturb Me and how very slowly and with what great care and protocol this dog came to share the same settee with Me?’ Shri Mataji remarked.

This dog was very old and had been declared sterile by several vets. She belonged to a Sahaja Yogi who was an orphan and lived with his grandmother, who felt very lonely when this Sahaja Yogi left home and took the dog with him. The grandmother demanded that either the Sahaja Yogi came back to live with her or the dog must be returned to her for company. After Shri Mataji had touched the dog she had a litter of puppies that were given to the grandmother. Shri Mataji must have cured this dog’s infertility.

Luis Garrido

A stronger treatment

I had been suffering from a constant headache for many years, on the left of my forehead. In Sahaj terms this coincides with the area of the Ego, the place in our body where Lord Buddha resides, but I did not know it at the time. After Sahaja Yoga this pain started to go away but from time to time it would come back, especially if I engaged in an intellectual debate or an argument. At one point I asked Shri Mataji if She could remove it. In less than a second She did, just by passing Her hand gently over my forehead. I was amazed, and assumed that She had removed this problem once and for all. Later I had a light argument with someone and the pain came back. I went to Shri Mataji and told Her.

‘I did cure it for you but you have to learn to do it yourself, it is not completely cured, and you will have to work hard at it to master it completely. It could take you several years,’ She said.

‘Don’t you have some stronger technique to wipe this problem out for ever?’ I asked.

‘One stronger technique is, if you want, you can rub My Feet, this might help,’ Shri Mataji replied.

I said I would like to try. She was sitting down and removed Her shoes, so I came forward and rubbed Her Feet. For a second I thought that it was going to be embarrassing to been seen doing this in a room full of people who were waiting for Shri Mataji to start Her usual lecture. While rubbing Her Feet I felt lost in an ocean of bliss, a sensation similar to the one I had felt while She was giving me self realisation. I could feel cool vibrations coming into my head, the headache was completely gone and I hadn’t felt so well for years. I was busy rubbing Shri Mataji’s Feet when I felt a tap on my shoulder.

‘I’ve decided to go back home but my car has a puncture. I want you to come and change the tyre for me,’ my father said.

I didn’t want to interrupt my treatment of rubbing Shri Mataji’s Feet because I could feel how much I was benefitting from it but didn’t want to let my father down. I translated my father’s request.

‘That’s no problem, the other Sahaja Yogis can go and change the tyre and you can stay where you are,’ Shri Mataji said promptly.

I was able to stay for another fifteen minutes rubbing Her Feet, while She started Her lecture. The pain in my forehead didn’t trouble me again.

Luis Garrido

The trip to the airport

The next morning I went round early, hoping to see Shri Mataji again. I decided to cook a special breakfast for Her. It consisted of strong tea from the Portuguese ex-colonies in Africa, buttered toast, a few slices of yellow Portuguese corn bread, two hard boiled eggs off the shell, and a few slices of smoked ham. A Sahaja Yogini, seeing the food, warned me that She was currently on a diet, and I had prepared a typical Portuguese breakfast which was not something She had ever eaten. The Sahaja Yogini saw that I was very disappointed so she took the tray to Shri Mataji just to show Her. Some time later she came back.

‘I can’t believe it, Shri Mataji ate the whole breakfast that you prepared for Her. She said She enjoyed it very much and is now ready to see you,’ she said.

‘You may travel in the car with Me to the airport,’ Shri Mataji said, and I left the room feeling completely transported into the divine realms. Mother was truly extraordinary, what a feeling being in Her presence!

An hour later She left for the airport. The front seat was occupied by a large Indian Sahaja Yogi. On the back seat was Shri Mataji and next to Her the Sahaja Yogini who had opened the door in the morning for me. I was about to get in when suddenly the dog, which belonged to the driver, got in and took my place.

I looked at Shri Mataji and She understood my predicament as I wanted to go in the car with Her. She tried to push the dog out but it started snarling at Her, and we were worried that She might get bitten. I was amazed at Her courage when struggling with such an aggressive dog. The people in the car begged Shri Mataji to give up, because it was dangerous.

‘You see this dog, she also loves Me and wants to come with Me. What can I do?’ She said.

‘That’s alright, I understand,’ I replied, and besides I did not want Shri Mataji to be bitten. ‘Why don’t you find some other transport, perhaps a taxi?’ She suggested.

‘That’s a good idea,’ I replied, and Her car left for the airport.

We started our journey more than an hour after Shri Mataji had left but arrived at the same time as Her, and our taxi driver stopped right next to Her car. I asked one of the Sahaja Yogis how this happened.

‘It’s very simple,’ he replied, ‘the Sahaja Yogi driving Shri Mataji’s car today, when he picked Her up from the airport a week ago, had an accident whilst She was in the car, involving a motorbike. Today he drove very slowly and did not know the best route to the airport. Shri Mataji advised that it is best not to ride motorbikes in the West.’

I was grateful for this advice because I had recently had an accident on my motorbike, and was still wearing plaster from a broken rib sustained then, but it was fine after Mother worked on me. Inside the airport we said goodbye to Shri Mataji.

‘What am I going to do now, when You are gone? I asked.

‘Fear not and have faith,’ She replied,’ and see this Indian Sahaja Yogi, he is staying behind and he can teach you about Sahaja Yoga.’

On the way back I went in the Sahaja Yogi’s car, next to the dog. I was curious to find out more about the car accident when Shri Mataji was a passenger. They told me that the driver had just passed his test and that at a traffic light his attention wavered a bit while waiting for it to change, then there was a crash against a motorbike. Luckily the motorbike driver was not injured. Shri Mataji said that they should not worry too much about this and the negativity of the motorbike rider played a major part.

She took pity on the driver, who was feeling guilty for causing this mishap. She told him not to feel guilty and to drive with full confidence, and kept Her hand lightly on his left Vishuddhi shoulder to remove his feelings of guilt. She also reassured him that there would be no serious legal consequences arising from this accident.

Luis Garrido

A sleeping bag

After the programmes Shri Mataji visited the handicrafts fair, where She bought some ceramics. They were to be taken to Madrid, where some yogis from the UK were preparing the public programmes and our Mother’s visit. Shri Mataji mentioned that as just I was accompanying Her in the plane, it was better that I did not have a suitcase, so we could carry all the items bought in Portugal which were to be taken to UK by the Yogis from England who were staying in Madrid. She never forgot any detail, and mentioned that my personal belongings needed for the three days in Spain could go in Her own suitcase! I was very shy to put my clothes in Her suitcase, but She insisted, and so it was done. The only luggage I had was my sleeping bag.

Arriving at Madrid, I carefully counted all the parcels, making sure I was not forgetting Her suitcase and all the other boxes with the ceramics; and was so concentrated that I forgot to look for my sleeping bag.

‘What about your sleeping bag? Did you collect it?’ Shri Mataji asked me when we were leaving the luggage hall. She was the Mother looking after Her child and her belongings.

Marie-Amélia de Kalbermatten

Shri Mataji had never been to Madrid before

Let me tell you some little stories which show the power of Shri Mataji in little details of life, for example in 1982, at the first public programme in Spain. At that time I lived in England and we were a little group of yogis from England who came to Madrid to prepare and organise that programme. It was very difficult to get halls and hotels, because it was the football World Cup. We had to get a very simple flat to accommodate Shri Mataji. In England, before that, Shri Mataji was talking about the ambassador of India to Madrid, that She knew.

I wrote him a letter, saying that Shri Mataji was going to Madrid. I asked if he could help us to get a hall. He gave me a letter of recommendation so I could go to the Indian embassy and they could forward me to other people. I didn’t know much Spanish then, and I don’t know how it was possible for me to talk and ask. Shri Mataji really worked through me. The Indian Embassy gave me a letter for the Ministry of Sport, and we went there, told the man what we needed and he got us a hall.

The ambassador organised a reception for Shri Mataji in his home, before the public programme. There were no Sahaja Yogis in Madrid then, so I found myself driving Shri Mataji’s car. My sister-in-law Marie-Amelia had just come from Portugal with Shri Mataji. My sister-in-law and I decided to drive to the ambassador’s house the afternoon before, because we had never driven in that town before, but when we went in the evening, with Shri Mataji we got completely lost. We were talking in French and wondering where to go, and didn’t dare to say anything to Shri Mataji.

‘Keep right – turn left – go straight,’ Shri Mataji suddenly said, and She directed us perfectly to the house of the ambassador. It was absolutely amazing, because She had never been to Madrid and had never been to that house before.

Of course we arrived late at the reception, where there were many Indian people. We were worried, because the public programme was supposed to start, and we had one yogi who was to do an introduction. We arrived an hour and a half after it had begun, but the hall was still full. Of the two hundred people who had come, only six had left. Everyone got realisation.

Marie-Laure Cernay


My sister-in-law Marie-Laure was in Madrid and we were very happy to see each other, as we had rarely had the occasion since she had left Switzerland and gone to live in UK. As we were busy with all the preparations, we did not have much time to chat together. Shri Mataji showed us how She knew Her children well, with a nice little ‘detail’. Her passport needed an extension, and She requested us both to take it to the consulate, so we had three complete hours together in Madrid. When we came back, radiant and smiling, Shri Mataji looked at us and smiled, asking us if we had had a nice time together!

This short visit was full of these kind of nice details, showing Her divine attention and also sense of humour. The Indian ambassador invited Shri Mataji for tea and to give realisation to a group of Indians living in Madrid.

Shri Mataji requested Marie-Laure and myself to accompany Her. Marie-Laure was driving and I had a map and was supposed to be the co-pilot. None of us knew the way, but with the map I thought we could manage. Shri Mataji was sitting in the back seat, alone. I carefully chose the streets to take to the ambassador’s residence. But each street I indicated Marie-Laure to take, had the traffic going only the wrong way. Therefore, instead of approaching the area, we were going further and further away. I started feeling very hot, and did not know what to do, and was worried we would be late.

‘Are you sure this is the way? I have the feeling we are going in the wrong direction,’ Shri Mataji suddenly asked, then added, ‘Maria-Amélia, your hair is standing up on your head.’

All the heat I was feeling was putting my hair up. We laughed a lot, Shri Mataji started indicating the streets to take and miracle of miracles, without a map, the streets She was indicating were not one way streets going the wrong way, so therefore we arrived in minutes.

These details show us how Her attention and guidance is always present, especially when we are doing Her work, but doing Her work without being the doers, just being the instruments. Shri Mataji gave us the opportunity to enjoy Her great sense of humour.

Marie-Amélia de Kalbermatten

He knows who I am

When we went to Spain for the first time in 1982, we prepared the room for Shri Mataji and put a candle next to Her bed. She smiled at us.

‘I don’t need a candle in My room,’ She said.

Of the new people who came in Madrid, there was a lawyer who spoke no English and was an amazingly charismatic character. He had a large personality and seemed to enjoy Sahaj and Shri Mataji very much. She also enjoyed him, even though there was a language problem.

‘It seems to Me that people can only really take to Sahaj if they have some sort of intelligence,’ She said. One of Mother’s names means this: She cannot be worshipped by the stupid or the cowardly.

She enjoyed this man very much and when we were leaving, She was anxiously looking at the airport up and down to see if he would come and say goodbye. Her face lit up as She was so happy to see him come to wish Her farewell. She was putting Her coat on and he lifted Her hair and helped Her.

‘There, now I have touched the hair of the Goddess, I can never die,’ he said in Spanish.

‘You see, he knows who I am,’ She said.

Kay McHugh

The new Sahaja Yogi

In 1982, five days after Shri Mataji left Portugal for Spain, we received the unexpected news that on Her way back from Spain She would stop over in Portugal again for a few days and would stay in the same residence as before.

We went to receive Shri Mataji at the airport. I had a bunch of flowers for Her, and felt tempted to smell them, but something told me that one should not smell the flowers before offering them. I asked one of the Sahaja Yogis about this and he confirmed that this was indeed the case. He also explained that as Sahaja Yogis we are able to feel inside what is the right protocol towards Her. Shri Mataji invited me to travel in Her car to where She was staying.

‘I was hoping to meet you again, and I have been told that since I left you have been learning and practicing Sahaja Yoga assiduously,’ I was very pleased to hear Her say to me, ‘it’s only been a week, but you have become a Sahaja Yogi.’ Then turning towards the other Sahaja Yogis She said, ‘You have been asking Me to send you a new Sahaja Yogi, well here he is, your new brother.’ My reply set everybody laughing.

‘Yes Shri Mataji I really would like to join this organisation and I’m going to get some photos for a Sahaja Yoga identity card,’ I said.

‘We don’t have identity cards or application forms for joining Sahaja Yoga, you are already a Sahaja Yogi,’ She explained, setting me straight.

‘In Portugal to be a member of any organisation one has to fill in an application form, give photos for the identity card and pay a joining fee,’ I replied.

‘Sahaja Yoga is free to all,’ Shri Mataji said.

She told us to contact the people who had met Her before, as She was keen to meet them again. By the evening lots of familiar faces came back to meet Her, including my parents.

Luis Garrido

It felt appropriate to call Her Mother

Many people who came to see Shri Mataji brought gifts of the best Portuguese dishes and cakes. She was not a great eater, though as a guest She used to eat whatever was served to Her. In order not to let such good food go to waste, we younger people were being sumptuously fed, and this delicious food had been brought with love to Shri Mataji as a way of thanking Her for the help, the healing and joy that She was spreading around.

No one failed to notice how much love poured out of Her to each and every person, and how Shri Mataji treated everybody like Her own son or daughter. It felt appropriate to call Her Mother, and that is what everybody called Her in those days. Very few people called Her Shri Mataji except on very formal occasions.

Luis Garrido

They are all My children

In Portugal people liked shaking hands with Mother before going home, and though She was not in the habit of this, She allowed them to do so when saying goodbye. I also shook hands with Shri Mataji the first time that I met Her, but my uncle went a step further. He had been suffering from a bad back pain and She got up and showed him some exercises to relieve it. Having given a demonstration Shri Mataji helped him do the exercises and stretches properly. By the time this was finished my uncle felt much better and in his euphoria hugged and kissed Her on the cheek. There was a strong feeling of disapproval amongst all present, and it was obvious that he should not have done so.

‘It’s alright, they are all My children,’ Shri Mataji said to our stern faces looking disapprovingly at my uncle. I felt very grateful for Her quick intervention because I was deeply embarrassed by his behaviour.

Luis Garrido

A pleasant surprise

In the evening Shri Mataji said, talking to the only Sahaja Yogini present, that her vibrations had improved so much during this Portuguese and Spanish tour, and her Swadishthan chakra was now in such good condition that she should have no problem becoming a mother very soon. She had been married for some time and soon after Shri Mataji left for England she discovered she was pregnant. We had never seen her so happy.

Luis Garrido

Better to avoid beef

I was told by the Sahaja Yogis that the first time Shri Mataji came to Portugal they served Her beef not knowing that this was completely off the menu, and after eating some She explained that Her gums would probably bleed the next day as a result, and advised Sahaja Yogis to avoid eating beef in the future. At the time Shri Mataji was also given bananas to eat, and after eating them said She had not eaten bananas since the wedding day of one of Her daughters.

Luis Garrido

Shri Gruha Lakshmi

On one occasion Shri Mataji decided to go shopping. I was not invited, maybe there was not enough room in the car, but I felt a bit despondent. Then I realised that maybe it was because I was mostly interested when Shri Mataji was talking about chakras and vibrations and I might have disapproved, seeing Her shopping. It was hard for me to understand that apart from being a spiritual guru, She also had to perform the tasks that wives do, like going shopping.

The morning Shri Mataji was going back to England we were all in Her bedroom and Her suitcase was being packed. I was hoping that the packing would be quickly out of the way and She might revert to talking about chakras and yoga, but She asked for several saris to be taken out of Her suitcase as She wanted one of the Sahaja Yogis to see them.

My heart sank, I was hoping for something about chakras. To my surprise Shri Mataji used the patterns in Her saris to demonstrate how the traditional patterns and colours were associated with specific chakras and this was intended as an art lesson for one of the Sahaja Yogis who wanted to become a professional painter. It was typical of Shri Mataji to turn the mundane task of packing a suitcase into a deep lecture on traditional Indian art.

Luis Garrido

Lessons in photography

The artistic Sahaja Yogi showed an album of photographs of Shri Mataji that he had taken. The first thing She said, looking at the photos, was that certain photographs did not reflect Her face and this was because of vibrations. She explained that the person taking the photos would get the best results if he or she was in the centre and in thoughtless awareness at the time of taking them.

‘In this photograph, this is not My face at all,’ Shri Mataji pointed out. ‘Can you see your own face in this particular photo? Ah! See this photo, this is your nose, isn’t it? That’s not My face at all.’

This was about some photos in which the vibrations of the photographer were not in the centre and had affected the photo badly. All along Shri Mataji was praising him very much for taking such beautiful photographs and confirmed that he had a great talent for art. She also advised him to turn some of his talent into learning about ceramics. She explained that this would give him an opportunity to work with clay, which is very beneficial for the Mooladhara chakra, because earth is the element of Shri Ganesha. Again, we went from photos back to the Indian deities and their elements, and how to improve our chakras with this knowledge.

Luis Garrido

Innocence and joy

There were times when I felt so happy that I could not hide it. I had known this type of feeling when very young and some of my relatives asked, ‘Where does the joy come from? HHHYe seems lost in it sometimes.’ Having met Shri Mataji, this feeling of innocence and joy was coming back, something precious I had lost for many years. On one occasion She told me that I was a born realised soul and that most members of my family were too.

Luis Garrido

Portugal was not quite ready for Sahaja Yoga

It was not so easy, talking to people about self realisation in those days in Portugal. Shri Mataji told us that the country was not quite ready for Sahaja Yoga. A year later She advised the Portuguese Sahaja Yogis to go to other countries where Sahaja Yoga was flourishing.

‘Portugal is part of the liver, and we cannot abandon our liver, but the right time will come later,’ She told us. She added that there were many seekers in Portugal but that until such time as the material wellbeing of the country improved it would be difficult to establish Sahaja Yoga because people’s attention was mostly on earning a living.

Luis Garrido

A garland of red chillies

Shri Mataji vibrated a large basket of lemons and chillies and gave them away to new people. When my turn came they were all gone, and I had been queuing for them, not knowing what they were for. Shri Mataji seemed sorry that they were all gone, and asked the yogis to check whether there were some in the kitchen. There were none, except for a garland of dry chillies for cooking, and She had been distributing fresh chillies, not dry ones. She vibrated the garland and told me to put it under my pillow during the night, to remove negativity. It took me a month before I gathered the courage to do this. If I had been given fresh lemons and chillies they would have rotted away by then, thus it was providential that I was given dry ones.

Luis Garrido

Real gurus and false ones

Several people brought books to Shri Mataji to ask Her opinion about them. Most were by false gurus, but the notable exceptions were those relating to the real Sai Baba of Shirdi and Shri Ramana Maharishi. These were very great, genuine, Indian gurus according to Shri Mataji. I brought Her a book about a Bulgarian guru and She told me he was very right-sided. Being new to Sahaja Yoga I asked Shri Mataji whether this was good or bad.

‘For a spiritual guru that’s a terrible thing. A real guru has to be in the centre,’ She told me.

There was a list of false gurus and for each one a specific mantra. Shri Mataji was very particular that Sahaja Yogis who had been to them practiced the correct mantra against their false guru as an antidote. Even though results were immediate it was necessary to do this in the beginning assiduously and then later on from time to time because the attack and the bad influence could come back if not kept in check.

Shri Mataji told me to visit some of the centres of false gurus in Lisbon and tell their disciples about Sahaja Yoga. Before going I was told by the Sahaja Yogis to rub some oil and kumkum on my Centre Heart chakra under the shirt, and to put some vibrated oil on my forehead, in particular on the Agnya chakra, because wearing oil is more discrete than a red dot. I could carry a photo of Shri Mataji in my breast pocket and put some vibrated lemons and chillies in my coat pockets. I was told to check before buying incense that it had not been manufactured at a factory belonging to a false guru as it would not have good vibrations. Once Shri Mataji was coming home and there was some incense burning.

‘That’s nice incense,’ She said. This was a Padmini dhoop stick which came in tiny boxes about two inches long.

Luis Garrido

The evils of spiritualism

A lady who was suffering from throat cancer came to meet Shri Mataji. She asked her whether she had been to any false gurus to which she replied, only spiritualism, and that only a few times.

‘There you are, even once is enough to cause the development of cancer. Spiritualism is very dangerous and not an authorised practice,’ Shri Mataji replied.

‘But don’t they perform certain cures through spiritualism?’ I asked.

‘They may perform a temporary cure of the body now and then but later on the patient will contract several serious diseases, because in the process of working with dead souls, spiritualism plants an extra source of disease in the patient,’ She explained.

Luis Garrido

Candle treatment

At one point Shri Mataji told me to cleanse myself through a candle flame. This meant putting my left hand towards the candle and the right hand towards Shri Mataji. Meanwhile She was talking and we were all sitting down listening to Her. I forgot about the candle and burnt my hand on it, and cried out. Shri Mataji commented that it was better for the hand to perish than the whole soul. I knew She was quoting Christ.

‘Shri Mataji, do you believe in Christ?’ I asked.

‘But of course, He is the Son of God,’ She replied.

Still today I cherish those words.

Luis Garrido

Instructions for baldness

Just before Shri Mataji left for England a new person came to see Her and asked Her for a cure for baldness. We all laughed and She advised him to rub oil on the scalp of his head, took some Amla hair oil and applied it to this young man’s bald patch. I was also suffering from thinning hair and a bald patch at the back of the head but felt ashamed to ask for the same treatment. To my amazement when Shri Mataji had gone back to England, She left behind Her own hair oil with instructions that it should be given to me. This made me laugh because I thought that I had managed to conceal my desire from Her.

Luis Garrido

Shri Mataji and letters

Before travelling back to the UK, Shri Mataji told me to write to Her and to come and visit Her in London. Three months later I did write to Her, and another three months after that I was able toer, but I never informed Her that I was coming. Once in Shri Mataji’s home I was very touched to see that the letter I had sent Her three months earlier was lying on a side table in the dining room. Even though I had met Her six months earlier in another country, I felt She had not forgotten me, and She cared for everyone She met.

Luis Garrido