Chapter 13: 1988 – December, India

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

Derek Ferguson diary entries

Friday: Worked on plastering the barrel ceiling and saw Shri Mataji leave for Vaitarna, where the tour is at present.

Monday: Spoke to an Australian Sahaja Yogi who had just come from Vaitarna. Shri Mataji had arranged most of the marriages but some people who had put their names down had not come, so there had to be some changes. She said that Sahaja Yoga is the only group where you can get married four times in succession, one at a time, but if people try to stick together it would be better.

Tuesday: Shri Mataji has gone to Nasik for a puja. About 180 Sahaja Yogis have arrived from abroad, and in all 354 are expected. About 80% are new.

Every leaf that was moving was full of Her love

It was the India tour of the years 1988/9. I was in charge of the French collective that year. One day we had a camp outside Aurangabad on a hill and Shri Mataji called the leaders to have a meeting about marriages. The feeling was great, and I arrived a bit late. We were sitting round a big table and Shri Mataji invited me to come and sit next to Her. She took a couple of cushions and arranged them so I would sit comfortably. I felt spoiled, and felt Her love in every aspect.

She passed me the people’s forms and asked me what I thought of this one, and that one, and asked me questions even though I had no idea what to say, but it was a question of being part of it, and being so protected by Her. She invited me to feel part of the meeting and I felt so much bliss and security. On that tour I felt Shri Mataji everywhere, every leaf that was moving was full of Her love and I was part of it, sitting next to Her. When She showed me the forms, I had no idea what was going on, but She showed them to me to make me feel good – She was managing the whole thing.

Siddheshvara Barbier

India tour 1988/9 (diary entry)

We are in the mountains near Aurangabad, on the 9th December, 1988. We have already had a puja on this large flat topped mountain, typical of the interior of Maharashtra. Shri Mataji has been with us. We saw Her on the first evening that we arrived here from Bombay, to Nasik, and the buses deposited us at a place where She was just finishing a public programme. The public programmes are very different now, and there seems to be more music than words. Shri Mataji gave a short talk, and the rest was bhajans and instrumental music; and also at times people were dancing and singing for joy. The vibrations were less heavy, perhaps because we are clearer, and the Kundalini of the universe can rise more strongly through the Sushumna Nadi. The peace and the depth of this vibrated land were like manna for us.

Yesterday morning at breakfast time Shri Mataji came out of Her cottage and had a short talk with us. She asked us what was the value and significance of this journey around Maharashtra, for us Westerners. She said this land has been especially vibrated by all the incarnations, Shri Rama and Shri Sita even walked here without shoes – and there are so many swayambhus of Shri Ganesha and the other deities in this area. She said that we must meditate every day, because to meditate on this land clears all the problems of the left side, from the Mooladhara to the Agnya, and we should put our left hand towards the photo and the right one on the earth. This land helps us to find peace and silence within us, which is difficult in our countries where life is so frantic and there is always so much to do.

Later, someone said that the point of this tour was to enjoy tapasya, but Shri Mataji pretended not to hear, and replied, ‘How? Chapattis?’ and everyone laughed. Then She said that this tour is not supposed to be tapasya.

Alessandra Pallini

Derek Ferguson diary entries – Pratishthan, December

Wednesday: Someone mentioned that I had a certain newspaper – I didn’t but went to Pune to get it because Shri Mataji wanted to see it. She said I should go to the camp in the car with the barber.

Thursday: Left the house at 6.00 am for the camp, a nice setup and I saw all the Sahaja Yogis. Went to the programme in Pune and Shri Mataji spoke in Marathi and before She gave Her talk some Sahaja Yogis sang songs.

Saturday: A van came from the camp and picked us up for the puja. We had bhajans before Shri Mataji arrived, then She gave a talk about the mariadas and punyas of each chakra, then we had bhajans again. After that Shri Mataji gave out presents to a lot of people and we had food and went to Pune for a Marathi play. The play was about Shri Krishna winning Shri Rukmini as his bride.

Rahuri, 11th December, 1988 (diary entry)

We arrived here last night, at this wonderful place which is Mr Dhumal’s farm. Today we had a puja, the second of the tour. Shri Mataji came from Her house at about midday. Her talk was beautiful and maternal, and was mostly about marriage and its significance in Sahaja Yoga, which is that it is an instrument for our ascent.

At the end of the puja every Sahaja Yogi could offer a garland to Shri Mataji’s Feet and experience incredible joy. The music, and Shri Mataji’s words, took us to the Sahasrara and it was like waves, drops of water resounding to infinity, producing a joy which was indescribable.

One day recently Shri Mataji mentioned our transformation, and how we are changed, and how much joy there is on our faces. She said She was so proud of us, and so loved us, but has also made some remarks to the leaders, that we eat too much and we are not punctual. Another thing Shri Mataji said was that when we are in the buses, travelling from place to place, we should always try to sit next to different people and not with people of our own country.

Alessandra Pallini

Sangamner, 12th December 1988 (diary entry)

We are sitting under the palm trees in this delightful place near a river. There was a programme at Sangamner this evening in a big hall and it was rather heavy. Shri Mataji spoke for a long time, gave realisation and then invited everyone to have Her darshan. When She gave realisation She did not say the affirmations for each chakra, and did not have us put our hands on the different chakras, but just asked people to put their hands towards Her, and then on their Sahasrara, then to put their hands up to feel the chaitanya. It was like a puja, the Sahasrara open and joyous. At the end She was very happy and said, ‘Namaskar, Shrirampur, namaskar.’

Shri Mataji commented on the performance of the sitarist. She said he had exceptional attention and concentration, the fruit of his dedication to this discipline, the principle of his guru. She said that we Sahaja Yogis should be the same in order to achieve our spiritual ascent. Besides, She said that the speed and skill of the sitarist would have been impossible without the presence of the Sahaja Yogis, and that their vibrations had been the vehicle for the perfection of the playing.

Alessandra Pallini

Pink and green

In 1988, my friend was in Pune. We were talking about sari colours and I said I would like a strong pink but would never buy that for myself. The next day we were in Pratishthan, and Shri Mataji gave us saris. She told the lady to bring a certain sari. She looked at me.

This sari is bright pink,’ She said. ‘I know you would like this colour, but open it.’ The palau was green, and She said, ‘See, this is matching your eyes.’

Sita Wadhwa

Pune, 17th December 1988 (diary entry)

We are all together in a multicoloured pendal on the bank of the River Mutanwadi, waiting for Shri Mataji, to celebrate the third puja of the tour. There are about three hundred and fifty foreigners and many Indians from Pune. There is a pleasant breeze which refreshes us, because it is a bit hot at this hour. The puja was marvellous and Shri Mataji said that Pune is the city of punyas – good deeds. After the puja She stayed with us for some time. She ate food with us and then continued to arrange the weddings, until there were seventy couples. She arranged for ladies to buy saris and have the blouses made, and also arranged for the distribution of saris to be presented at the pujas in the West – we were given two for Italy, meaning we would be blessed with two pujas this year. Then She gave presents to the men – shawls and dhotis of many colours. To the Italian leader She gave a violet coloured one, saying that would be good for the left Vishuddhi, (the religion practised in Italy gives a bad left Vishuddhi) and another Italian lady and I also got violet coloured sari as gifts.

We have been in Pune for three days and there have been two public programmes which were full of people, including some Westerners. Both programmes began with bhajans, a group of both Western Sahaja Yogis and the Pune music group. Shri Mataji was very pleased with the result.

Last night another Sahaja Yogini and I were honoured to present the garland to Shri Mataji, and to do the aarti to Her. We were a little late, and the lights did not want to light, because of the wind, and Shri Mataji entered very fast.

In Pune we went shopping, and among other places, we went to the shop where Shri Mataji had bought a lot of saris for the weddings. In the evening we went to see a musical comedy in classical Marathi, about Shri Krishna and Shri Rukmini. At the end the curtain closed to a lot of applause, and when it reopened, there was Shri Mataji. She explained to everyone in the theatre how important and how good the actors were, the whole cast. She said they would have a great future in the West.

While at Pune, Shri Mataji said that we gain good punyas on the Swadishthan chakra through loving and admiring nature and art. It is impossible not to admire the ancient and changeless places we have visited, and where the saints and incarnations have taken their births. And as our procession of seven buses wends its way through the countryside and villages it invites curiosity, surprise and admiration, according to Shri Mataji.

Alessandra Pallini

Shri Mataji cooking at Pratishthan

Divine cooking

I remember the day Shri Mataji cooked for us at Pratishthan in 1988. It was so delicious! It is like it happened yesterday. She went to the back of the house, they had made a fire and there was a big pot and Shri Mataji was tasting the food sometimes. She said that when She was cooking She always tasted it so She knew if it was good and could control the taste better.

Bruno Descaves

A visit to Pratishthan, 18th December 1988 (diary entry)

Yesterday Shri Mataji invited us to spend the day at Her new house, Pratishthan, this temple to the living God, but also Her home. Many of us felt we were out of time, and the three hundred and fifty of us were guests here, and able to admire it with the most extraordinary guide – Shri Mataji Herself. When we entered She was sitting outside the kitchen, busy preparing food for all of us, with Her daughter Kalpana.

After some time She led us and showed us this extraordinary building. It is large and the outer walls are of white marble. There were sections of inlaid and sculptured stone from a palace that Shri Mataji had bought and reassembled here. There was an internal colonnade of a form invented by Shri Mataji, antique carved doors, decorations and a fountain of carved marble, terraces and balconies, a divine palace never seen before, absolutely regal.

What do you think of My architecture?’ Shri Mataji asked one of the yogis who is an architect, at the end of the visit. She laughed and went on walking, followed by all the Sahaja Yogis.

Then She went and sat in the large living room, and all the saris that were still for sale were there. They were for people getting married, some were bought by husbands for their wives, and some ladies bought them too. After this Shri Mataji went to the kitchen, for cooking. When the meal was ready She came to where everyone was seated in long rows, ready to be served.

Your food is ready now, come and get it,’ She said. It was a chicken biryani with salads, and Shri Mataji ate with us.

Alessandra Pallini

The Western Sahaja Yogis visiting Pratishthan

Something you can’t forget

We were invited to visit Pratishthan, then under construction, on the India Tour of 1988/9 and Shri Mataji Herself led the visit. It is huge and we were possibly two hundred people trying to keep as near to Mother as possible. Sometimes you thought you had lost touch with the head of the line and suddenly Shri Mataji appeared in front of you, coming with a large smile from another corridor, another door, and you were near Her for a few minutes. It turned into a hide and seek situation, with the Adi Shakti leading the game, smiling at our surprise, something you can’t forget. Shri Mataji cooked for us, and we all had dinner with Her in the main hall that evening.

Devarshi Abalain

The beginnings of Sahaja Yoga in Brazil

In 1987, I went to live in Salvador, Brazil, with my wife Tereza. I wrote a letter to Shri Mataji, and She said I should begin to do something about Sahaja Yoga there. In September 1988 we did the first public programme in Salvador.

During the India Tour of 1988, at Shri Mataji’s house of Pratishthan, She asked how things were going in Brazil. She said it would be better for me to live there than return to Italy, because She wanted to go there, so we did: we made contacts, translated texts, prepared posters – everything for organising public programmes.

Duilio Cartocci

We longed for this day

On the 18th of December 1988, we had the privilege to visit our Divine Mother’s home – Pratishthan. We longed for this day to come because Mother also promised to cook a meal for us, around three hundred and fifty yogis and yoginis!

When we arrived, Shri Mataji led everyone on a tour in Her house. It is huge and well designed. Actually, we should not use the word ‘house’ because it is so grand. In a sense, it is a temple of the Goddess. It had been under construction for more than two years. A Sahaja Yogi from Pune told me that he used to come to help when the school was off. Every yogi from Pune liked to come to work because you felt so many vibrations while working around the house. After the house tour, Mother excused Herself to prepare the big meal.

Our Holy Mother was in the midst of kitchen smokes and hot stoves. She tasted every pot and added spices as necessary for this special meal. When it was finally served, everyone ate with such gratitude. Who else in the world could be as lucky as us to have a meal prepared by Goddess Herself! Shri Mataji told us that the rice we were eating was from the seeds vibrated by Her before planting.

Before She started to cook, I requested Shri Mataji to give me a new name, and She gave me the name Sarvesh. It means the great one God we serve, or the primordial power.

Sarvesh Su

Derek Ferguson, diary entries, Pratishthan, December

Sunday: The Sahaja Yogis on the tour all came here at about 11.00 am to view Pratishthan. Shri Mataji said they had arrived early but could come in and have the free run of the house. They all piled in and wandered round while Shri Mataji started to cook and supervise the cooking with Her daughters. People were standing there, amazed at what was happening, and the meal was mutton biryani, chicken salad, chapattis and a very nice sweet dish. When it came to serving Shri Mataji told everyone it was self-service, and in Her house men and women were the same and there was no reason for the men to be served by the women.

Shri Mataji also did a tour of the house and told everyone what the different areas were for, and said She was trying to make the people hungry by walking around. Then we ate, the food was fantastic, and She gave some presents to Her daughter from the Sahaja Yogis. We also had some of Her medicine, added to water for the sick people. Eventually it was time to go and She told people not to cry, because if they did She would cry and we would be washed away by Her tears.

Last week Shri Mataji gave me a wool jacket and wool jumper, both very nice.

Monday: Waited all day to speak to Shri Mataji and just before She left at 4.00 pm, I asked Her about the work, and there is not much left to be done.

Wednesday: Went to Pune about my ticket for Ganapatipule and when I got back Shri Mataji was already there. She said I looked well, but when I returned to England I should not eat too much cheese, butter and other dairy products. She spoke about solar energy for Her house, to a Spanish Sahaja Yogi. He has to prepare things for heating a secondary water tank on the roof. Shri Mataji spoke about my plane ticket and said there was a man in Air India in Bombay who would help me to go back to England.

Thursday: Had to see Shri Mataji again and She spoke about England, saying the Derby Sahaja Yogis said they were having ‘revelations’ and She asked the main person behind it to leave Sahaja Yoga. She mentioned that they need someone with a knowledge of vibrations to lead them. She said She is going to sell Shudy Camps and it just needs some work finishing off first.

Someone wanted to go to the Taj Mahal, and wanted to stay with the Delhi Sahaja Yogis but Shri Mataji said it would be better to stay in the ashram, and She would give him a letter of introduction, because not all the Indian Sahaja Yogis were genuine and some of them might ask him for cameras etc.

Shri Mataji has not been well these last few weeks and has cancelled some of Her India Tour. She had caught flu in Saudi Arabia.

An experience out of time

In Pune I was working on stained glass in Shri Mataji’s house, Pratishthan. Shri Mataji arrived and we did namaskar and She looked at various people and asked how their families were and that sort of thing. Then She invited us up to Her apartment because when the building was at a certain stage She lived there, not in the main house. She sat down and started talking. There were about twenty people in the room. First of all, She scolded the woman who was looking after Her at the time. Then She progressed to every person in the room.

You’ve got a liver. The livers are dreadful.’

Your vibrations are shocking.’

Your Swadishthan needs clearing out.’

You need to shoebeat this. Shoebeat that.’ She went right round the room and then She looked at me. So I gave a big smile. I was waiting for my turn.

And what do you think of this house?’ She said to me.

I think it is quite fantastic. It’s one of the most imaginative things I have seen in my life.’

I teach art and architecture and so on. Then She sat there and there was no other comment. We were there, I calculated later, from about 12:30 in the afternoon until about seven in the evening, sitting in meditation. I thought, ‘It must be afternoon by now.’ When I went down to get a cup of tea, everything was dark. It was seven hours roughly and the sense of time was totally cut through. So I guess it was some level of existence. Maybe in the future we will experience more of this and the concern about time — nothing so tightly bound. It felt like the whole day, you were out of time. I have never felt an experience out of time like that.

John Henshaw

The ‘gana’

In about 1988, Shri Mataji taught us to look at the ridiculous and laugh at it rather than get angry. There was a gentleman with Her who was like a gana around Her. He had a very stern look and a very nasty tongue. We all used to wonder how he was close to our Mother. When he spoke to Her he would become all soft and polite. He was only devoted to Her and didn’t care for anyone else.

One day the Sahaja Yogis went to Shri Mataji and complained to Her that he would not let them come anywhere near Her. He was almost like a guard dog.

That’s why I keep him near Me, to keep him out of harm’s way,’ She laughed and said.

Deepa Mahajan

We never felt tired

In about 1988, when we were working in Prathisthan every evening I would go home and have a bath, change out of my working clothes and come back to Prathisthan to sit with Shri Mataji and enjoy the evening. We would gather around Shri Mataji and chitchat with Her. She would explain many aspects, about Sahaja Yoga, or clearing out or look into any problem of Sahaja Yogis. People would present their poems or songs. We would then meditate with Her and this would go on till about 2-3.00 am in the morning.

One amazing thing was that even if we did not have enough sleep we never felt tired.

Deepa Mahajan

Ah, Buddha, how beautiful!

During the 1988 India tour, we visited a handicraft exhibition in Pune. There were many stalls with clothes, jewellery, leather articles, carvings and other things from all over India. Shri Mataji was also there for some time to look at the exhibition and do a little shopping.

Like everyone else, I strolled from one kiosk to the other and stopped at some nice wooden carvings. I liked some of them very much, specially a Shri Buddha statue. I took it in my hand to look at it closer. As I was standing there, I realised that Shri Mataji was standing next to me and looking at some carvings which the kiosk holder was showing Her. As usual, She was surrounded by a large crowd of people.

Being so close to Mother was too much for me and I went two steps backwards, so I was standing behind Her. I was thinking that I would not keep all the things bought in India, although I liked them very much, but would use them as presents for those who stayed back in Austria. I was also thinking that if Shri Mataji would touch one of these statues, I would keep it and place it on my altar at home. Lost in this thought, I did not realise that all the people had left and as I looked up, only Shri Mataji was there. She looked at me and came towards me. Everything was so bright all of a sudden. She greeted me and asked if I had already purchased something. I was so perplexed that I couldn’t answer, then She saw the Buddha statue in my hand.

Ah, Buddha, how beautiful,’ She said. She took it in Her hand to look at it, then She gave it to me in a very friendly and gentle way.

Edwin Tobias

Just enjoy

In 1988, my wife Ruth went on the India tour. One day, there was a visit to a craft market in Pune. As Shri Mataji toured the stalls, She was – as so often – surrounded by a large crowd of people. Ruth held back. She wasn’t feeling particularly good about herself and at this moment did not want to put herself into Mother’s attention. After a while she became involved in buying some silk paintings. When she next looked about her, she realised that the market had more or less emptied and Shri Mataji was nowhere to be seen. Supposing that Mother had left, she continued wandering around. Suddenly she saw Shri Mataji walking towards her and there was no-one with Her. Ruth bowed.

How are you, Ruth?’ Shri Mataji asked.

Very well, Mother,’ Ruth replied politely.

Just enjoy, just enjoy,’ said Shri Mataji, and walked on.

Yet when Ruth returned to the camp, she was told that such an encounter could not possibly have happened – Shri Mataji had been with people all the time.

Chris Greaves

Shri Mataji was praising the work of the craftsmen

On the 1988/9 India trip we visited an arts and crafts fair in Pune and Shri Mataji was there too. Wandering around between the stands, you would sometimes cross Mother’s way, take Her darshan for a while and then continue your visit. I was near a stand selling carved conches and there was an American yogi next to me. Suddenly Shri Mataji was there, praising the work of the craftsmen. She took one of the conchs in Her hand, and then put it back on the table before leaving for another stand. The American yogi and I remained kind of spaced out for a while, but he was the quickest to get back to his senses and immediately asked for the conch that Shri Mataji had taken.

Devarshi Abalain

Brahmapuri, 20th December 1988 (diary entry)

At Brahmapuri Shri Mataji spoke to us, when we were in the river, and here are a few of the things She said. Ramdas, who was an incarnation of Shri Hanumana, found the statues of Shri Rama, Shri Sita, Shri Lakshmana and Shri Hanumana and took them to a temple. At the age of fifteen, Shri Mahadeva said he should die, but above all the gods is Shri Adi Shakti. He became Her bhakta and She appeared to him, and stayed there as a swayambhu.

Ramdas was the guru of King Shivaji. He was fed up with all the administration and wanted to give Ramdas his kingdom, but Ramdas said no, you be detached. Most of the incarnations in India were kings: Shri Mahavira, Shri Buddha, Shri Rama and Shri Krishna. Christ had the qualities of Shri Ganesha, humility, and was pure chaitanya, but He was the King of Kings. She also said that the gurus, Abraham, Confucius etc, tried to free people from poverty.

Sahaja Yogis have to know what is happening in the world and should work out, through their attention, international people. We should be alert and take a vow to be responsible for Sahaja Yoga. At times funny people have come to Sahaja Yoga and have occasionally even become leaders, but we should not worry about them, because they go out, and it is a warning for us not to become like them.

Alessandra Pallini

The highest of heights is the heart of Her disciple

During the India tour of 1988, Shri Mataji gathered us at Her Feet for a concert on the banks of the Krishna River. I felt that Shri Mataji was very much working on all of us. She was beating time throughout on Her left knee, probably to cure our Left Nabhis. At the end of the concert Shri Mataji said to us that the Devi resides in the Himalayas and that She is surrounded by tigers. She resides there because She loves the heights and, for Her, the highest of heights is the heart of Her disciple. As we were all surrounding Her with an infinite stream of love and devotion, I felt that this allegory depicted that we Sahaja Yogis were Her tigers.

Gwennael Verez

Written at Sangli, 21st December 1988 (diary entry)

At Brahmapuri yesterday there was a puja in the garden of a little house, near where, four years ago, Shri Mataji had sat with Her Feet in the river. This year we again all bathed in the cool fresh water, and felt the peace and silence. There were not many Indians at the puja, only those from Sangli who helped in the organisation. Brahmapuri is a long way from a big town, and yesterday, at Atita, Shri Mataji said that the people’s vibrations were very innocent and pure. The evening before there had been two public programmes in other places, and again the vibrations were good and the Kundalinis rose easily.

Here at Sangli we had a puja to Shri Mahalakshmi, the third or fourth in this area, near Kolhapur. We were all ready for the puja at eleven o’clock in the morning, but Shri Mataji did not come until much later. She sent a message that She was tired after so many public programmes and the puja the day before at Brahmapuri. We spent the day in meditation and singing bhajans, and the day seemed like a puja even without Her presence.

It was almost seven o’clock in the evening when Shri Mataji came, and we did not get to bed until about three in the morning, but despite that we got up at about seven, because Shri Mataji has asked to get up early and meditate, every day.

Alessandra Pallini

Ganapatipule, 23rd December 1988 (diary entry)

We were waiting for Shri Mataji in the pendal, here in this earthly paradise of Ganapatipule. She arrived about half past eight, from Kolhapur. She said She had not been well on the previous day, and asked how many of us were sick. Many of us had coughs, upset stomachs and fever. Shri Mataji said that the reason for Her illness was us. When She asked the doctor how high Her fever was, he told Her.

That is not a fever, I thought it was at least 104 degrees – 41 degrees centigrade. I can go to the college with this!’ She said. She advised us to not dwell on the fact we were ill, or we would be worse. She gave us some hints to help us.

  1. Wash in cold water.

  2. When we have a fever we should not drink cold water without first eating a bit of sugar or a biscuit.

  3. Dust irritates the throat, so it is a good thing to gargle with salt and water in the evening after a journey.

  4. Wear enough clothes, when the evening is cool.

Alessandra Pallini

Ganapatipule, 24th December 1988 (diary entry)

We had been buying jewellery and silver for the weddings in the pendal, and Shri Mataji, came after we had finished our meal. She was welcomed with a carpet of flowers and Her entrance was preceded by two lines of girls who went in front of Her, scattering flowers at Her Feet.

There are about three thousand people here, and Indian people have come from all parts of the country. Music is the most important aspect of this seminar. There are not so many talks or meditation sessions, although Shri Mataji has instructed that we all meditate together every morning, but so much music! Groups of musicians from every part of India, and the West, instrumentalists and vocalists, every night until very late, we never sleep more than three or four hours, and it is important to try to stay alert during the evening programmes.

On Christmas night, Shri Mataji explained that while the other incarnations were born in royal families, Christ, who was innocence and humility personified, took His birth in a very simple family. We had bhajans until four in the morning, and Baba Mama led the programme, with joy, enthusiasm, and jokes.

On the night of the 26th there was a tremendous concert by Debu Chauderi, and Shri Mataji began distributing an endless amount of gifts. She did this until ten o’clock the following morning. They were given first to the foreigners and then to the Indians, and everyone thanked Her from their hearts.

Alessandra Pallini

Ganapatipule, 28th December 1988 (diary entry)

This was the day of the weddings. In the morning we met on the beach at the place chosen by Shri Mataji for the haldi. She was on the veranda in front of Her cottage, presiding over events. When everyone was covered in the yellow paste we had a bathe in the ocean.

The weddings were in the evening and first the ladies, looking beautiful in their saris and golden ornaments, went in front of Shri Mataji for the Gauri Puja. Then they lined up behind the cloth and their husbands-to-be arrived with a band. The celebrations went on until four in the morning, with music and dancing. The next morning we all went to pay our respects to the swayambhu of Shri Mahaganesha here.

Throughout the tour, whether in the presence of Shri Mataji at the pujas, or whether for some other reason, I was in direct contact with Her on an interior level, for instance at Pune during the aarti, or at the public programme at Rahuri when I offered Her the garland, or during the Gauri Puja at Ganapatipule when I was near Her throne to take a photo of the newlyweds, or when I was called, with great joy, to offer the saris, one from the West and the other from India, and was able to also offer fruit on Shri Mataji’s lap.

In such moments, due to the profound presence of Shri Mataji, I felt only the desire to thank Her – a great sense of gratitude towards the Divine Mother who has given me so many blessings, most of all this bliss, this joy of the Sahasrara, which overtakes and sweeps away every thought, every desire and gives total fulfilment and joy, the presence of God in our consciousness. All differences of sex, culture, age, role in life, are annulled in the true collectivity of Sahaja Yogis in the Sahasrara of Shri Mataji, the heart of the universal being. This enables us to know who we really are, away from the illusion of corporal appearances, so we can permanently become one with this profound love, this deep sense of peace, which emanates from being close to Her.

Alessandra Pallini

Please Shri Mataji, allow me to recognize You fully

It was during India Tour 1988/89, I was twenty-two years old and new in the Sahaj Sangham. I had indeed just got my realisation three months earlier. At that time we could offer a flower garland to Shri Mataji at the end of the puja. We would line up and offer it on the stage where She was still sitting and talking to various people. As I was a new Sahaja Yogini, my ego was sometimes still annoying me with doubts, though I was convinced through meditative experiences that Sahaja Yoga was the way and the method.

Please Shri Mataji, allow me to recognise You fully,’ I therefore prayed in my heart while giving the flowers and doing namaskar.

Then I looked at Her, and to my astonishment She stopped talking and had turned Her face towards me. She nodded Her head, saying, ‘Yes!’ I was so surprised and so touched. She had heard my prayer and answered me.

I went back to the end of the pendal with a light and blissful heart. Suddenly I felt a lot of vibrations flowing down through my Sahasrara and filling my whole body. It was so strong that I felt dizzy and lay down on the ground. I remained peaceful and thoughtless for a while. Then I had a vision: the beautiful feeling of a harmonious family, a father, a mother, children, happy and peaceful, a house. Shri Mataji made me feel the peace and the deep satisfaction of an open Nabhi and the beauty of the Lakshmi tattwa.

I noticed that this vision had cleansed me from my feminist conditionings and later another vision occurred to me: the picture of a very disciplined, serious and austere Yogi, shoebeating, grey and cold, and the contrast with Shri Ganesha, joyful, innocent, spontaneous though wise and powerful. I started to laugh, it was a relief.

Catherine Hallé

Shri Mataji called her back

One time in the late eighties I was not able to go to Ganapatipule because I was pregnant, and was a little bit depressed. All my family went to Ganapatipule. When Shri Mataji was giving gifts to the Calcutta Sahaja Yogis, my mother-in-law went up. Shri Mataji gave a sari to her, and she was about to leave the stage. Shri Mataji called her back and gave her another sari, for me, even though I wasn’t there. When they came back it was so amazing that Shri Mataji had remembered me! She only saw me two or three times before that.

                  Mahua Sarkar

Giving gifts for fourteen hours

At Ganapatipule, Shri Mataji was on the stage and gifts were being given out to everyone. I did not want to go up, but eventually someone said I should because it was prasad. Shri Mataji had been there, overseeing the giving of gifts, for a very long time, and at one point She just closed Her eyes for a very short time, and when She opened them again She was quite fresh once more. In all She sat on the stage giving gifts for fourteen hours.

Why are you so late? Now, what to give you?’ Shri Mataji said when I did go up, and She took a badge with Her photo on it and put it on Her heart. Then She gave it to me.

Once Shri Mataji had a fever and after ten minutes the fever had gone. We asked Shri Mataji about this.

I only said, “This fever is not Mine,” and the fever has to go away,’ She said.

Videh Saundankar

The experience of recognition I had asked for

I had only gained recognition of Shri Mataji for a fairly short time, when I went on my first India Tour in the late 1980’s. I had some wonderful experiences during the time in Maharashtra but I wanted that recognition to strengthen, so asked Shri Mataji in meditation for an experience to bring that about.

At that time I was a student of architecture and my mind had a habit of trying to mentally redesign everything around me. When we got to Ganapatipule I thought I had overcome this problem, but in the fierce midday sun the thought arose, ‘These trees should be of a different species that can provide better shade. They should have more attractive leaves. I would plant some over there,’ and so on.

The next day there was a puja in which Shri Mataji talked about the complication of the Western mind. At one point She said words to the effect, ‘the Western mind is so critical that it sees even a tree and wants to redesign it.’

I realised at that moment that Shri Mataji, as the Supreme Self in all beings, knows our every thought. That was the experience of recognition I had asked for, and in the same moment Shri Mataji looked right at me, where I sat in the pendal, and smiled so compassionately that it dissolved all that criticizing tendency.

Graham Brown

I feel that touch

I come originally from Shillong, near Assam in north-eastern India. My first meeting with Shri Mataji was at Ganapatipule in the 1980’s. I was really eager to see Her. I knew She was God on earth. From my childhood I had seen the pictures of all the deities and I always wanted to see one, and now I was going to see Her in front of me. The first time I saw Shri Mataji walk up to the stage at Ganapatipule it was like a dream fulfilled for me – this is God, this is Her.

One time my brother Rishi and I performed one or two songs for Shri Mataji. Baba Mama presented us to Mother and said we were from Shillong, very far off. He said on the mike, to everyone, that we had saved all year to buy gifts for people and to come here, and we were shocked – how did he know all these things? The first time I was in front of Mother, I bowed down to Her and She touched me on my heart.

May God bless you’ very nice,’ She said, and whenever I think about that moment, I feel that touch.

Shoma Arcilio

You should serve your guests first

After the Ganapatipule seminar in 1988/9, it was announced that there would be a puja at Alibagh, a village near Mumbai. Many yogis from all over the world went to it. After the programme was over, we, the yogis from Mumbai had dinner and went to the buses which had been hired to take us back to Mumbai. Before the buses left, we got a message from Shri Mataji to come back to the programme. When we arrived, She was not on the puja stage but at the entrance of the house. She was upset with us, as we had all had our food before the foreigners. She asked us how we could eat before our visitors.

You should serve them the food first. You should be taking care of them,’ She said.

We realised our mistake and felt very ashamed. Then all the foreigners were asked to sit in a row and everyone from the Mumbai collective served them their food. Shri Mataji was walking in between the rows, looking at each person to see what was missing on his or her plate. She was calling us to come and serve rice here, dal there, etc. She not only told us our mistake but made us face it and correct ourselves. At that time I was just a teenager, and hardly knew anything about the Lakshmi principle, but the example She showed us will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Maneesha Shanbhag-Cruz

The first mobile phone

In 1988 there was the first New Year Puja at Alibagh. A miracle took place in the house. Shri Mataji reached there around 7.00 pm from Ganapatipule, and many other Western yogis too. When Mother stepped out of the car She was so surprised.

This place is so beautiful. I always wanted to come here,’ She said. Mother went into the bedroom and said to the other yogis, ‘I must tell Sir CP about this place and he must come and visit it.’ She asked one of the yogis if somebody could get Her a phone as She wanted to call Mumbai. Since it was not a developed/ village there were no phones. Then She asked Mr Koli for a coconut. He asked Shri Mataji if She wanted to eat one and She said She did not, but She wanted a fresh one from the tree. A village boy climbed up and got one in ten minutes and gave it to Her. She went into Her room and closed the door.

Many country leaders were sitting in the hall outside, and after an hour one of the leaders came and said that Shri Mataji was using the coconut as a phone and they had heard She was speaking to Sir CP for nearly an hour. Later the yogis found out that this was the year that mobile phones first came out.

Lena Koli

Puja at Alibagh, 1988

Shri Adi Shakti always follows Lord Shiva

A few of us yogis were sitting around Shri Mataji and Mr Koli asked Mother if a certain story from our grandfather’s time was true. The story went like this: there once came a man, very large and smart, walking on the seashore.

Now you have come back from fishing, how were the waters and how much fish did you catch?’ he asked the fishermen. One fisherman jokingly said that there were a lot of stones in the sea and less fish. The next day when all the fishermen wanted to go out they saw the sea was full of stones everywhere and they could not go fishing. They realised the man from the day before must have had something to do with it, and they all went searching for him. After walking for a few miles they saw him sitting under a banyan tree with closed eyes. The fisherman who had been joking the day before went running up to him and fell at his feet and asked forgiveness.

Tathastu,’ the man said, meaning ‘Blessings forever’, and then said, ‘go, everything will be all right’. From that day everyone in the village worshiped at that tree and said it was Lord Shiva. Shri Mataji said that the story was true.

Shri Adi Shakti always follows Lord Shiva and that is the reason I am here now,’ She said. After that all the yogis and we went to the seashore with Shri Mataji, and She was barefoot.

Lena Koli