Chapter 13: 1991 – August, Europe

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

Shri Buddha Puja, Belgium, 1991 (email report)

By the grace of our Divine Mother the Shri Buddha Puja took place in Belgium in August 1991, in the picturesque small town of Deinze near the North Sea coast. Shri Mataji stayed nearby, with Patricia, the leader. The Belgians had prepared everything for their visitors from abroad in a large sports hall on the outskirts of the town. About four hundred Sahaja Yogis came. In the evening Nirmal Sangeet Sarita gave us a beautiful concert. Shri Mataji did not attend as She was very tired after the programmes in Amsterdam, which were a great success, particularly the second evening when Shri Mataji roundly criticized drug abuse, the dissipated and immoral life characteristic of modern times and certain false gurus; at each point, a few negative people left the hall and the hundreds who remained had a beautiful experience of self realisation.

The puja set had a column of light shining behind the golden throne which the Belgians had made, above which waves of tissue radiated out into the hall. The stage was richly decorated with many flowers. Shri Mataji arrived in mid-afternoon. The puja presents, which will be transported to Cabella, were mainly hand-woven silk carpets. The Swiss presented our Mother with a beautifully framed mirror. Our brothers and sisters from Belgium and Holland presented all their guests with gilt statues of Shri Buddha for their meditation rooms, and transcriptions of all the talks Shri Mataji has given at previous Buddha Pujas, in San Diego and Barcelona. Shri Mataji left shortly afterwards, to receive the Belgian Sahaja Yogis.

Phil Ward

We will cure you

In January 1991 I was operated for a hyperthyroid growth. In August Shri Mataji came to Belgium and when She first set eyes on me, I felt as if my skull was suddenly blown off my head and as if a very powerful explosion took place inside me.

We will cure you,’ She said, but a few weeks later I became ill again. The doctor could not find out what was happening and sent me to the hospital for a general check-up. They couldn’t find anything special, except a small increase of thyroid hormone in the blood and decided to reduce the amount of medicine. When your thyroid gland is taken away, except for a small part, you have to replace the hormones it produces normally by pills, and you have to take hormone pills for the rest of your life. Still, a few of the symptoms were disappearing naturally under the influence of Sahaja Yoga. After a few weeks, I decided to reduce the medication.

The following May I could attend a puja with Shri Mataji, and this was followed by a second personal contact with Her. The next day I stopped taking sleeping pills, which I had taken for five years and I continued reducing the hormone pills until zero. The doctors tell me this is quite impossible, medically speaking.

Rida Vindra

Follow these people

The first time I saw Shri Mataji I was not yet in Sahaja Yoga but went to a public programme in Brussels in 1991. The hall was full, and full of vibrations which I felt right away. I did not know what happened to me, but after the programme anyone who wanted was invited to come up front to meet Shri Mataji. I also went, and when I was in front of Her I was so impressed that I just knelt in front of Her, and took both Her hands. She was holding mine very firmly for at least a minute.

Now you go and follow these people,’ She said, referring to the people close to Her.

Some time later I was in Sahaja Yoga.

Stefan de Klerk

Lost in the vibrations

This happened in Vienna, at a public programme, and I was asked to do the introduction. Because of this I was very close to the stage when Shri Mataji came. She came to the stage, sat down and started to speak. I was sitting close to the stairs of the podium, and there I got completely lost in the vibrations. I felt attached to a huge, thick, solid column of light. There was nothing between me and this light and it kept me completely thoughtless.

Gunter Thurner

Still the train did not leave

Many years ago, in 1991, Shri Mataji left Vienna via train to Budapest. At the railway station many Sahaja Yogis where there to say goodbye. We sang some songs and Shri Mataji was already sitting in the train. It did not leave – we sang some more songs, and still it did not leave. Shri Mataji came to the window. We were full of love and She was touched by this, and we sang some more songs. Shri Mataji was standing there and had tears in Her eyes. After half an hour’s delay the train left.

Leopold Zeilinger

A concert and a movie

Shri Mataji came to Vienna, Austria, for a public programme and then went to Budapest, Hungary. Many of us remember this journey very well, because of the unforgettable boat trip on the Danube from Vienna to Budapest. My rakhi sister Vimala gave a little violin concert for Shri Mataji on the boat, and a public place turned into a very private space.

The evening before, we had returned from the public programme in Vienna and Shri Mataji stayed in the ashram. After She had dinner, some Indian yoginis, who had been serving Her, and maybe four men, were sitting in Her room and we were watching a video, a Hindi movie, a sociocritical Robin Hood story. Ompuri, an actor Shri Mataji liked very much, played the leading role of the robber who robbed the rich and gave money to the poor. It was in Hindi, so I repeatedly asked Shri Mataji what had been said, or made some comments to which She replied in a very natural way, and I completely forgot about the protocol. Our attention was fully on the film, but because Shri Mataji’s attention was on it as well, a special effect took place, maybe a flow of Her attention to us via the medium of the film. When the yogis and I met in the kitchen afterwards, we were in a state of the deepest and most blissful meditation.

Thomas Menge

The over-riding impression was one of peace

In 1991 we got on the Danube steamer cruise boat and set off on a lovely sunny day down the river. The first part of the day people were singing. Shri Mataji sat on one side of the ship and didn’t talk much. For much of the trip She was actually in meditation.

The bhajans, very soon, gave way to a very quiet atmosphere, as we passed through the Danube scenery with various remains of castles and we passed Bratislava. But the over-riding impression was one of peace, quiet and Shri Mataji in contemplation and meditation, very little talking.

Ian Maitland Hume

Learn a little Indian music

I had my viola with me. Shri Mataji settled down and She was in the main saloon of the boat on the Danube in 1991. The boat started going slowly and I was asked to play, and played a solo of Bach. There was a prayer in my heart that many musicians should come to Mother and praise Her because I always felt music takes you to the centre and close to the spirit.

After I had played, Shri Mataji talked about music and composing. She said it was a very difficult piece that I had played. She pointed to the Agnya chakra and said that if you have to learn music like this, you have to learn it from here and if you do too much — and then She pointed down to the Swadishthan – your creativity will be spoiled.

She was talking about how the Indians study and the difference in learning music. Everything in India comes from Shri Ganesha, even the dancing. They learn all these melodies or ragas, which are already fixed. You cannot invent them. You learn these until you become a master and then you are completely free to do what you like. Then She said that in Western classical music there are no masters because they do not come to this point. There is no freedom. So because there is no freedom, they always remain in these fixed things, which are written down.

The Indian musician is the composer and everything, and is completely connected. He has a perfect technique, which he had to learn, learn, learn, but the Western musicians do not become free in this sense of the word. Shri Mataji mentioned Yehudi Menuhin and Ravi Shankar and said Ravi Shankar was like the mother and Yehudi Menuhin like a little child. Ravi Shankar was helping him and he didn’t know how to do anything. Shankar was the master. It is especially because we have to learn without the Agnya. In Indian music there is nothing written down, so you don’t use the Agnya chakra and in Western classical music everything is written down and you have to use the Agnya.

Because this freedom is not there, they started doing jazz music in the West. Shri Mataji did not say anything against jazz. I think She liked jazz, but She said that this is also limited. They think they are free, but they are not because they do not have the mariadas. Because they do not have mariadas, then they cannot get to the freedom.

Learn a little bit of Indian music,’ She said to me in the end.

It was so full of love and concern, the way Shri Mataji was telling all this. When She stopped talking, She was leaning back a bit and had a bit of a rest, and luckily I could stay there at Her Feet. I didn’t see anything of the River Danube, but I enjoyed for many hours the Holy Lotus Feet of Shri Mataji.

Vimala Gratz

I feel Shri Mataji is coming

It was several months after being introduced to Sahaja Yoga that, together with a bus full of people from my home town in Northern Transylvania, Romania, we made the ten hour journey to Budapest, Hungary, where we met Shri Mataji for the first time in August 1991. The communist regime had been toppled, and the borders had opened just the previous year, thus the length of the journey, due to the exhaustive border control carried out on everyone crossing towards Western Europe. All of us were very new in Sahaja Yoga and looking forward to meeting Shri Mataji; we felt like little children eager to see their Mother.

Shri Mataji was then visiting Hungary during Her 1991 tour of Europe. When we arrived at Budapest, we met many other people who had come to see Shri Mataji from places even more remote. Some had met Her the previous year, but for many it was the first time ever. We were all very excited and somehow happy, despite the scorching heat in the non-AC bus and arrived at the venue in the heart of Budapest a few hours before the programme. We made good use of the time until the start of the programme by doing a footsoak in the lake nearby, raising our Kundalinis and meditating. Most of us had never travelled abroad, but we felt at home in the middle of a bursting European city.

The programme started and Shri Mataji was expected to come every minute. Suddenly my sister, who was much more into Sahaja Yoga than me at the time, said, ‘I feel Shri Mataji is coming. She is giving vibrations to the people in the hall. I can feel the cool breeze.’ The skeptic in me objected that, ‘It must be just the air conditioning of the room,’ but I was soon proved wrong.

Shri Mataji arrived presently and we were very quiet; even our thoughts stopped. I could feel the cool breeze, which I now knew was not the air conditioning. Later, after She finished talking and giving realisation to people, everyone was invited to shake hands with Her. The more than three thousand people trickled on the stage and instead of shaking hands, they bowed to Her. Seeing their reverence for Shri Mataji, I was convinced that all the people in the hall were Sahaja Yogis but later I realised that less than a sixth of them were. The spontaneous reverence of so many people was impressive.

The organisers of the programme also invited everyone willing to sing bhajans to join Nirmal Sangeet Sarita. We went on the stage and sang some bhajans we had never rehearsed previously, and some more familiar ones. We were having the night of our lives. Shri Mataji was merely one or two metres from us, and we could see the different nuances of Her beautiful black hair, with streaks of henna-coloured threads in it.

She was giving vibrations to everyone who came to Her, while musicians were playing highly rhythmical songs, and some people in the audience were dancing at the foot of the stage. She was also talking to many of the people present. Everyone was in the seventh heaven with joy.

Alexandra Dumitrescu

A very powerful love

When Shri Mataji went to Hungary for a public programme, my mother, brother and I went along with other yogis from Romania, a very joyous and bubbling group of people travelling by coach. The hall where the programme was to take place was very elegant, with red carpets and tapestry and air conditioning; it was in the middle of the summer. Shri Mataji was about an hour late and the hall was full, with people sitting on the stairs and on the floor.

Many left the hall before Mother came, and the whole atmosphere literally changed after their leaving. The hall became a calm and peaceful place and just before She came, a sensation prevailed of being somehow lifted up. When Shri Mataji came, She brought in so much joy. There was just pure joy and love, a very powerful love that cannot be described.

After the programme, there was a lot of qawali singing, and people went onto the stage to meet Shri Mataji. There was a big queue and Mother, in Her beautiful pure white sari, smiling, would work on everyone and speak to everyone with immense compassion.

Many chose not to go to the stage and would just sit and listen to the music. At one point, when just a few were still not fully engaged in that joy, Baba Mama, Shri Mataji’s brother, came towards the front of the stage and when he put his hands in the air and shook his body in the rhythm of the music in a very innocent way, everyone started clapping their hands with full heart, as if he pressed a button for the joy to flow.

Liliana Beaven


It was in Frankfurt in Germany, in 1991, at a public programme prior to my first Kundalini/Adi Shakti Puja, held a day later in Weilberg, and I had come with two Sahaja Yogis from Sheffield, England. During the drive from England I felt cool energy flowing across my palms for the whole journey, so kept them up almost the whole time because I was enjoying it so much. I had only recently begun practising Sahaja Yoga and I was feeling my Kundalini almost constantly.

Eventually we arrived at the hall and I walked up some very wide stairs to a first floor room with big doors. We could hear Indian music coming from inside and when we opened the door there was Shri Mataji glowing on the stage in Her white sari. All this time I was feeling completely open-hearted and a tremendous flow of cool energy. Shri Mataji spoke at length and made some jokes about the Germans, and to my amazement they were all loving them and laughing at themselves. I guess that’s the seekers way. At the end Shri Mataji asked the entire audience to come up and see Her. Strangely enough I didn’t jump up, although I had a tremendous desire to meet Her. Then one of the English Sahaja Yogis came and told me to join the queue.

But what if someone really new misses a chance because of me?’ I said.

You are new, so get on up there,’ he said.

OK, but I’ll give it a while.’

I waited for some time in my seat and watched Shri Mataji working on the people. It was fascinating seeing Her move Her hands around, and one time it looked as though She was pulling something invisible out of someone’s ear. I was transfixed, and my desire to see Her grew and grew, then I just said to Her inside myself, ‘Mother, I really, really want to meet You!’

At that moment She turned, looked over at me, pointed to me and beckoned me to come up. I was absolutely awestruck and looked around me, but it was as if time had stopped and no one moved, then I looked back and She was continuing with Her work. I was filled with doubt and semi-shock, because I was sitting in the fourth or fifth row back and all I had done was think something and She heard me! I eventually got to Mother and bowed down to Her. I was practically stuck to Her Feet, soaking it all up, then very directly She told me to get up and took both my hands in Hers. I was expecting Her to tell me everything that was wrong with me and was convinced She would say, ‘You have to work on this, this and this’.

Excellent,’ She said, having summed me up for a moment with a very stern look. She raised Her eyebrows in a majestic fashion. I really couldn’t believe it, and almost said, ‘but Mother… what about,’ then my mind was simply washed out with total silence and satisfaction.

I floated off that stage absolutely overflowing with cool vibrations and glided back to where the English were sitting and something absolutely tremendous happened. The lady was complaining of a sore neck and I went behind her and started massaging her shoulders. After a few moments she turned around with tears in her eyes and told me that she could feel the vibrations on her hands for the first time. I had no idea that she was suffering from some condition to do with the thyroid gland and had never felt the cool.

Dave Libby

While singing the aarti

We were in Germany for Shri Kundalini Puja, August 1991, and at the end, while we were standing and singing the aarti, I put my hands on my son’s shoulders and suddenly we heard the sounds of my son’s bones stretching, even though we were not moving or doing anything. I was a bit shocked and asked my son if he could hear that noise from his bones.

Yes mum, I can, very clear and strong,’ he answered. He had some problems with his bones, and at that moment they were all gone.
Ornella Bollani

We could often see Shri Mataji

I was working at Cabella in 1991, and although getting invited to Shri Mataji’s apartments was unusual, we could very often see Her for a while when we were called to work on different parts of the castle. Once we were asked to work under the roof, to carry away some pieces of wood. The man in charge took us through some corridors under the roof and we ended up going through a hole in the wall into a fully equipped bathroom, with all kinds of soaps and creams. As we came out of the bathroom, we found ourselves in Shri Mataji’s bedroom where She was seated, waiting for the work in the bathroom to be over.

One night we were scratching the old wallpaper off the wall in the hall opposite Shri Mataji’s bedroom. A lady stepped out from Mother’s room, asking for some help to change the heater’s gas bottles. As I was the first yogi available, I followed her into Shri Mataji’s room where She was seated in Her armchair, and bowed to Her. While I was changing the first heater’s bottle, the lady left for some reason. It was the kind of moment when you keep trying to put your attention on your attention, bearing in mind that you are just in front of the Adi Shakti, busy with a spanner changing a heater’s gas bottle. Suddenly the electricity went off and I was standing in absolute darkness, just near Shri Mataji, and commenting casually with Her about how long the power cut was going to last.

Devarshi Abalain

Feeling so loved and nurtured

In my early Sahaja life I went through an unsuccessful marriage. I was twenty-three years old and ended up separated after just eight months. I had poured out my heart with lots of expectations, but it didn’t work out.

Once Shri Mataji heard that the marriage was not working well She became very concerned, and for about two years called for me at almost every puja, and nurtured me with Her love and vibrations. She repeatedly told me She felt so sorry, and didn’t understand why it had happened to me.

I never felt so loved, understood and comforted than in those hours spent in Shri Mataji’s room in Cabella where She would show me how She knew me much better than I knew myself. I was quite attached to my then wife although it was clear to everyone else and to Shri Mataji that we could not live well together. I was pretty confused about the situation and after a puja Shri Mataji called me in Her room. To my surprise Mother was lying on Her sofa in the exact same position as the reclining Buddha in Bangkok’s temple, in a simple white cotton sari, welcoming me with Her wonderful smile. Her kumkum was slightly spread on Her forehead and She motioned for me to come near Her.

How are you?’ She asked gently.

I sat in front of Her and Mother was lying on Her side, Her face resting on Her hand. Seeing Her like this I knew it was not the Divine Guru talking to me, but the most gentle and loving Mother who wanted me to feel completely at ease and who knew that most of all I needed Her love and comfort. Mother started to talk about my relationship with my ex-wife and then asked me to write Her a letter about this marriage. While I thought I would go back home and send Her the letter in the following days, Shri Mataji asked for a pen and paper to be given to me.

She dictated a very detailed letter about how I felt about this marriage and how my ex-wife behaved, as if Shri Mataji was revealing to me all I had kept deep inside, and She cut all the romantic nonsense that was clouding my judgment about this relationship. It was one of the most amazing experiences ever, as Mother knew me better than I did myself. She dug deep into my heart and my subconscious, revealed the truth of the situation and made me write it down for Her. She gave detailed examples of the problems encountered and even referred to how it would appear in traditional Thai culture. As the words poured onto the paper I felt relieved, and from that moment it became possible to accept the situation and move on.

She asked me start the letter with ‘Most respected Shri Mataji’, to end with ‘Forever Your son’ and to sign my name and give it to Her. This is how Her love kept me going. I came out of Her room feeling so loved and comforted, vibrations flowing. In Her infinite Motherly compassion, Shri Mataji kept an eye on me until She was sure I was completely fine and regularly asked me to come to see Her for one reason or another, while actually ensuring I was OK.

Pascal Sreshtaputra

A very powerful havan

I came to Sahaja Yoga in 1982 and after I got married in 1989 Shri Mataji suggested we come to live in Italy, and after a year, in 1991, we were among the first couples to live at Cabella. We were blessed to be in Shri Mataji’s presence when She started to put Her attention on Italy and its problems.

You Sahaja Yogis should not do anything. You should just witness the play, and the param chaitanya will expose them,’ Shri Mataji said and laughed very indulgently.

This coincided with a very powerful havan which Shri Mataji asked us to do. She was personally present for the first five hundred names or so – we did the thousand names of the Goddess. As many Italian Sahaja Yogis as could be mustered came to it and it was only a matter of days a number of problems started to be resolved in Italy, on a national level.

This was also a time when Sahaja Yogis had a sort of phobia of watching the news, in case we got caught up. At this time Shri Mataji told us that part of our work was to put bandhans on things when we watched the news, and put bandhans on problems we read about in the newspapers, so our attention could go on these things. Again She said that we shouldn’t take any action, but just sit back and watch the play unfold and the paramchaitanya would expose them.

Victor Vertunni

Acceptable clothing

The first year we were with Shri Mataji in Cabella, we were all newly married girls and living in the castle, and always wore saris. Once I was a bit fed up with wearing one and wore a nice hand embroidered salwar suit of simple cotton. That evening I was sent to Shri Mataji to ask if She would like Her dinner to be served. I was standing before Her while She was busy with the architect, but in my mind I was just asking myself if it was correct to wear a salwar suit in front of the Goddess. I waited nearly five minutes before She noticed I was there.

Yes?’ She said, so I asked if She would like Her dinner. At that moment She looked at me from top to bottom and I did not know what to do, then She told me, ‘Yes, you can wear it.’

I could not understand Mother’s reply – so I asked again about the food! And She replied, that yes, She could have Her dinner. Only after two or three days could I realise that She had answered my inner question first, about wearing a salwar.

Smita Barbattini

Concerning kumkum

In 1991, when we were living in the Castle with other sisters and brothers, we had often chance to see Mother as well as to talk with Her. One day, She said She would like to give us all some vibrated kumkum. And for that, She asked each one of us to bring our ‘karanda’ (silver kumkum box). A few of the sisters had a plastic box for their kumkum. When Shri Mataji saw it, She was very upset.

I have given you a silver box in your marriage. Where it is? I will not vibrate the kumkum in a plastic box,’ She said.

So those who did not have one, they brought their kumkum on a piece of paper. Again She was very upset and told us always to keep the kumkum in a silver box. She even told us, when we travel we should wrap our silver box in a handkerchief like our grandmothers did, to prevent spreading the red colour around, and take it along with us, but never to take kumkum in plastic. She might have explained about the vibrational effect of kumkum in silver and in plastic, but I do not remember it in detail.

Smita Barbattini


In Cabella Mother once asked us to remove a few orchid plants saying that they attracted Tantric negativities.

Soma Bakshi 

Shri Mataji in Romania

In the first photo, Shri Mataji is on the stairs outside the History Museum, Bucharest, where there was a Sahaja Yoga exhibition, in 1991. Shri Mataji is seen leaving the Museum after visiting the Sahaja Yoga exhibition. The exhibition was a big event which was presented at the National TV programme and another TV programme broadcasted through all the country.  

  Dan Costian

Shri Mataji outside the museum

How the world came into existence

During a visit to Prague, we were sitting in one of the beautiful Art Nouveau restaurants with Shri Mataji and a group of twelve yogis, in a kind of a gallery. Two opposite walls of the hall were lined with large mirrors and in the midst of the hall a mighty crystal chandelier was hanging and which was reflected to and fro into eternity between the mirrors, like we sometimes see in a lift with mirrors to the right and left, reflecting our own image a thousand fold.

This is how the world came into existence. Shri Ganesha was standing between Shiva and Parvati (Shakti) and He got reflected into eternity so that all matter emerged out of him,’ Shri Mataji said.

We felt electrified. Then Shri Mataji rested Her head on Her hand and closed Her eyes. Feeling like the disciples at the Lord’s Supper, we also closed our eyes for some minutes. It was an incredible meditation.

Thomas Menge

Such is the power of this divine music

This photo was taken in Europe in 1991 at a public programme. After Shri Mataji’s talk, She asked me to sing one of my compositions which She very much liked. While I sang, She was treating the seekers, who had just had their realisation. Baba Mama and Nirmal Sangeet Sarita were with me, and they played the music along. In between attending to the seekers, Shri Mataji would turn Her face towards me, and give me one of Her most compassionate smiles, that I can never ever forget. At the end of the programme, She told me how this music was helping in curing the seekers.

See, it works even faster. Such is the power of this divine music, and you are My chosen instruments,’ She said to us. It was one of my most overwhelming experiences.

Sanjay Talwar

Throw away your sticks

In 1991 it was the second programme in Prague. Afterwards there was an old lady sitting and the two people each side of her helped her to walk in. They both helped her to come on the stage, and I was on the stage too at that time. This old lady crawled up onto the stage, centimetre by centimetre. About four metres in front of Mother she stopped.

Mother, I know that You can cure me,’ she said. So Mother looked at her.

Ok, then throw away your sticks,’ She said. She threw away her sticks and started running down the steps, and I ran to her to stop her falling off the staircase. Without any help she just walked. It was so strong that we couldn’t control our tears. It was a miracle.

See, this is what happens if people really believe in Me,’ Shri Mataji said on the way back to the hotel in the car.

Gunter Thurner

The mistake that had to happen

After the first public programme held in Prague in 1991 by Shri Mataji, Gunter and I took the opportunity to meditate outside Shri Mataji’s room. After a while a leader came out and asked us why we had announced a second programme without consulting him. We were concerned that we had made a big mistake, because we had announced the second programme, thinking it would be like the year before, being as Gunter and I were in charge of the preparations for the programmes. However, before we could apologise, Shri Mataji told us it would be as the year before and indeed we would have it.

The next day was a very special programme, because Shri Mataji announced to the new seekers, that ‘I am the Holy Ghost, and I am God also.’ The vibrations were extremely strong, and we felt, ‘What a day for us and for mankind!’

After that very special programme, I was allowed to take the darshan of Shri Mataji’s Feet in the hotel room. While doing namaskar I had both my hands in front of my head, but one hand was closed because I was bringing back the keys of Shri Mataji’s car. She was watching me.

What do you have in your hand?’ She asked me.

Still kneeling, I opened my right hand and the keys fell out, and everyone, including Shri Mataji, began to laugh.

Very good!’ Shri Mataji said.

At that moment I felt very happy and was sure that the mistake of announcing the second public programme ‘had to happen’.

Franz Mekyna

If you know that, then go

At a public programme in Prague, after Shri Mataji had given realisation, She was working on some people. I saw an old lady walking towards Shri Mataji onto the stage extremely slowly, with a stick. When she reached Shri Mataji someone translated something and then this lady turned round and ran very loudly across the whole stage, holding up her stick and laughing.

In the next puja Shri Mataji told us that this lady said, ‘I know that You can cure me,’ and Shri Mataji said to her, ‘If you know that, then go.’

Leopold Zeilinger

Airports, computers and a failed coup

When Shri Mataji talked about computers, She said that they should not control people.

People should not be involved where a lot of people are involved, like in airports,’ She explained.

And indeed, when Shri Mataji left Prague, the whole computer system broke down and no plane could leave or start, everything was blocked. There was always a story going on either through the airport or in the airport. Either coming or going, She demonstrated something very special at the airport. In 1991, when there was the big coup in Russia, when Gorbachev was still in power, and the communists captured him and wanted to come back. That year Shri Mataji went from Prague to Moscow.

I have to go and get a rest,’ She said, and landed in Moscow and slept for two hours, and then Gorbachev was free.

Next year I will come at the last moment,’ She had said to us the previous year in Prague. We didn’t understand it at the time, but we did later.

Gunter Thurner


We were on the return trip from Prague to Vienna in 1991. Shortly before the border, the Sahaja Yogi with me asked me a question.

Franz, are you still learning Czech?

Yeah, a little!’ I said.

Why do you learn it?’ he asked.

You know, the people enjoy it when you ask them how they are and other things in their own language,’ I answered.

OK, good, I understand,’ he said.

At the border crossing we had the most unbelievable opportunity to drink coffee with Shri Mataji, who was in another car. None of the yogis present wanted to place their order before She did. At last, Shri Mataji looked around at everyone.

What would you like to drink?’ She asked. No one answered so Shri Mataji continued, ‘Would you like coffee?’

Yes, Shri Mataji,’ we all answered.

We actually had such a strong desire to drink a coffee that it was a great relief when She said, ‘Yes, let’s have one. I can manage it with more sugar!’ It was such an eternal moment and a comfort to remember in future times, feeling again that satisfying joy and oneness with the divine. As we prepared to leave, I watched as Shri Mataji held Wolfgang’s arm.

Wolfgang,’ She asked him, ‘how do you say thank you in the German language?’

Danke, Shri Mataji. We say danke,’ he replied.

I happened to catch this bit of conversation as I hurried ahead to open the car door for Shri Mataji. She came slowly forward and paused. I was deeply moved when She looked lovingly at me.

Danke!’ She said. I will never forget the love in this word, spoken to me in my mother tongue by the highest Mother Herself.

Franz Mekyna

I hoped She would understand

I had written a poem in Russian in the summer of 1991 and wanted to read it to Shri Mataji. I did not know much English at that time, but I hoped that Shri Mataji would understand my heart. She graciously allowed me to read my poem to Her. I sat in front of Her and read Her the whole poem in Russian. She was looking into my eyes with Her big eyes full of love and it was an unforgettable moment. It seemed that the time stopped. Really it was great.

This poem has good vibrations. What is it about?’ She said.

I got a little bit confused. I hoped that Shri Mataji would understand the meaning in Russian because my English was too poor to explain. Actually, the poem was about offering my past and my future at Shri Mataji’s Lotus Feet. My past was crying like a little puppy and my future is lying before Shri Mataji like a white sheet of paper, in complete surrender, to be written by Her.

What is proshloe?’ She asked me. She used the Russian word from my poem that meant ‘the past.’ So I told Her that it means the past and then She asked, ‘What is budusheie?’ – the Russian word meaning ‘future’ that I used in my poem. I told Her that that word means the future.

You are a philosopher,’ She laughed and said.

I realised then that She must have understood the poem in Russian, since She asked such questions.

Alla Kulkarni

Joy and relief on their faces

The 1991 Moscow public programme was in a sports stadium and what struck me most on arriving was the enormous care and attention which the Russian yogis had devoted to the floral decorations and the care with which they had done these wonderful floral patterns on the path from the door to the stage, so that it was literally a carpet of flowers.

Because of the size of the stadium, there must have been about twenty thousand people at the programme. This was to set the pattern for all the subsequent visits. There was always a tremendously enthusiastic welcome for Shri Mataji and an abbreviated self realisation process, whereby She asked all those present to put their hands on their hearts and then out towards Her to see whether they could feel the cool breeze.

It was an amazing sensation, twenty thousand people getting realisation, raising their hands above their heads with incredible sense of joy and relief on their faces.

Ian Maitland Hume


She was working on the situation all the time

Shri Mataji arrived on Monday, 19th of August in Moscow: Gorbachev had been arrested, in the city of Moscow there were tanks; Red Square and the main roads were blocked. According to Shri Mataji Gorbachev should have met Her and should have asked for blessings. In the afternoon the Austrian bus with the Indian musicians and some yogis arrived at the house of Shri Mataji.

On Tuesday the 20th of August again we saw lots of tanks, soldiers and people demonstrating. The public programme in the evening was allowed to take place, but it had to be finished at 10 o’clock. It was in a big sports hall which was completely full (about 4000 seekers from Moscow). The stage was beautifully done with lots of flowers, the way to the stage was decorated with flower figures, and we felt that every single petal was placed with full heart and attention. When Shri Mataji arrived Nirmal Sangeet Sarita left to prepare for the departure to Togliatti, situated on the river Volga, about 1000 kilometres from Moscow. After the meditation exercise, which felt much easier than in the West, everyone lifted their hands to show that they felt the cool breeze. Shri Mataji stayed in Her house which was not yet quite finished. All the time you found a group of yogis sitting in front of the house, singing or meditating.

About 700,000 people live in Togliatti, and according to Shri Mataji there are 50,000 realised souls there. 14,000 of them found already their way to the collective and are meditating regularly. We in Togliatti heard that Shri Mataji was at the airport three times for hours together in Moscow but it just did not work out to go to Togliatti. In fact She was working all the time on the situation with Gorbachev! Once She went into Bohdan’s flat to rest for about two hours, and during this two hours Gorbachev was released. Shri Mataji explained when She was sleeping She was in a different level where She could work out things much faster, so things happened with a different speed.

On Friday, the 23rd of August we met Shri Mataji again in Leningrad; there was a public programme in a theatre which was also completely full. Nirmal Sangeet Sarita with Baba Mama again prepared the atmosphere and Shri Mataji emphasised the importance of collectivity to rise; the meditation was very deep and long. Many people went on the stage and guarded Shri Mataji as She left the hall. She returned to Moscow in the night and on Saturday, the 24th of August She took the plane to Cabella.

Manfred Ringhofer

Mother of Russia

I still don’t know if other yogis knew about the attempted Russian coup of August 19th, 1991 that had just happened when we were standing on the bus station, since nobody talked. We were enjoying the Sahaj collective in silence. Our hearts were full of joyful expectation to see Shri Mataji soon and the nature around resounded in our hearts.

Whenever Shri Mataji came to Russia, the whole nature was aware of Her visit and the air became very fresh and the fragrance of flowers spread all around. Then the bus came and we boarded. In the bus, suddenly we noticed that the bus radio was sounding unusually loud and something terrifying was in the tone of the radio. I listened up. They were announcing about the military revolution that ‘finally established the true communist military regime.’ That was difficult to believe. We enjoyed our freedom in Russia since 1985 and gradually it seemed that the dark times were over. Still, the voice of the dictator sounded very familiar.

My whole childhood I spent pretending to be respecting communist values, just like everybody else in the country, but now this ‘military revolution’ seemed like a nightmare. It did not seem real. The reality was that we were going to meet Shri Mataji in the airport and She is the Mother of Russia, the Mother of the World. She is God. What could matter when we were going to see Her face, full of love, very soon?

We were overjoyed when finally She arrived and all the yogis met Her. We were standing completely thoughtless, enveloped in the bliss of Her love. The whole airport hall was full of Sahaja Yogis.

I am very sorry what happened to your country,’ Shri Mataji said.

We are not living in Russia,’ the Sahaja Yogis answered. ‘We are living in the Kingdom of God. Why should we be afraid?’ That was what everyone felt. We were together with God. Why would we fear anything? When Shri Mataji was in Russia, all the Russian yogis enjoyed very much and I think that time She poured even more love on us, so the political problems seemed just like a stupid game.

Whatever will happen to Russia, Sahaja Yogis are not going to be affected because we are now one with the Divine Power,’ we thought. Of course, we had some hopes that Shri Mataji would do something to help, since we thought it must be for a reason that She came exactly on the day when the coup happened and that turned out to be true. While Sahaja Yogis, as Her little children, were carelessly enjoying Her love and protection, She worked very hard on the Russian situation, as we learned later, and at a meeting that occurred a couple of days after the coup was over, Shri Mataji was to leave Russia. Later the same day, the Russian collective thanked Her for saving Russia. She answered very modestly, as if this task of saving Russia was very small.

I just lay down for a couple of hours and worked out the situation,’ She said, and added that She felt very strong or powerful during this visit.

Alla Kulkarni

Shri Mataji told me everything I needed to know

The 19th of August, 1991 was a very difficult time for Russia. Military tanks were going through Moscow streets. Gorbachev, then leader of Russia (the Soviet Union) was deposed in a coup. Shri Mataji had told us that he was a realised soul and did a lot for the improvement of international relationships between countries. However, economically there was not much improvement, so he did not get much credit and some negative forces organized a revolt. We thought that Sahaja Yoga might be closed in Russia as a result and were all concerned what would happen to us. Nevertheless Shri Mataji decided to have a public programme as was planned. She was staying in the house renovated for Her in the suburbs of Moscow, called Rastorguevo.  Bogdan was there with some other Russian yogis. He asked me to come to Shri Mataji’s residence in the early afternoon and wait there for Mother’s instructions.  

I was supposed to translate for Her at the public programme for thousands of people that night in Moscow. When it was time to leave for the programme Bogdan told everybody to go by train to Moscow except me. Soon Shri Mataji came out with an Indian Yogi.  Bogdan went to the driver’s seat and the Indian, who always sat next to Her, started to get into the back seat, but Shri Mataji asked me to sit beside Her in the back.

I was very nervous about translating for the programme. I had translated Shri Mataji a few times before, but that day I was not sure that I’d be able to understand everything She would say. In the car She started talking to me woman to woman about different things: where to buy good carpets, and told me the weather in India has six different cycles, and She was surprised how unstable and unpredictable it was in Russia.

I could not understand why She was talking with me about those ordinary things. The atmosphere in the car was very relaxed. Bogdan and the Indian Yogi were having a nice conversation too. She had never talked with me like that before. She was always very nice to me but I never had such a long conversation with Her – about an hour later, we arrived and I was not nervous anymore. I understood that Shri Mataji talked with me about different subjects to give me self-confidence to translate Her that evening. It was such a blessing.  

Svetlana Klette

Studying the tanks

At the time of the first coup or ‘putsch’ Shri Mataji came to Moscow when Gorbachev was kidnapped and held prisoner near Yalta on the Black Sea. The feeling amongst the people was of total depression and paralysis as they felt now they would return to the old totalitarian ways again and the freedom promised by Perestroika would be taken away from them. We lived through those hectic three or four days.

Shri Mataji was the only one to have a programme in the whole of Moscow that evening, because we had booked the hall in an Army sports stadium. All other programmes had been cancelled that night, but we had been pre-warned that at ten o’clock there would be a curfew. Mother gave a beautiful programme, as always, there were about four thousand people and then afterwards they all came around Mother, some with tears in their eyes, going towards Her, and She was just being a Mother radiating continuous love.

We had been instructed to finish at 10 pm as there was a military curfew starting at that time.

They wanted to touch Her, they wanted to be near Her, so slowly She was going back and I thought, ‘Oh my God, it’s nearly ten o’clock, it’s five minutes to ten, we still have to get all through the centre of Moscow’, which was under curfew and where martial law was in place.

Mother was still smiling and moving ever so slowly. I drove onto the footpath so that She would not have far to go, and the crowd virtually pressed Her into the car. We had the Moscvitch, Mother’s car, so I mounted the gutter on to the pavement, and parked the car perpendicular to the sidewalk. I opened the back door to the car, as Shri Mataji went backwards, and when She was one metre away.

Shri Mataji, Your car,’ I said.

Ah, very good,’ She said, looked around, and got in. Then I closed the door and vroom, off we went, trying to beat this curfew. We started our way south from the north of Moscow. I was wondering how we would traverse the centre where rumours suggested that all the streets were closed to traffic.

We are coming down Leningradskaya Street, which is then absolutely dark, because all the lights were off, and all of a sudden I hear, ‘Tuk, tuk, tuk, tuk, tuk.’ Oh God, it’s a flat tyre! And we stopped.

I have never changed the tyre of a Moscvitch, this was the first time. Shri Mataji was sitting on the right side at the back. The flat tyre is the one over which Shri Mataji is sitting. I pulled the car over to the kerb, got out, rolled up my sleeves. I get out the car jack, pump it up, take the wheel off, get another one, and I’m trying to put it on, and it is not going on. And I say, ‘Now look Bohdan, there are four bolts and four holes’, but it just wasn’t going on. I’m starting to sweat. No matter how I tried to twist and turn the tyre, it would not go on. I am looking over at Mother, She had the window a little bit open.

Just then a convoy of sixty heavy battle tanks rumbled past us northward on Leningradsky Prospect. They were large heavy battle tanks, with their commanders directing their tanks from open turrets. Each commander had leather headgear covering their ears, their classic, signature, Red Army tank commander leather hats. Each tank commander is resolute, looking straight ahead, clearly nervous as they face the possibility of opening fire on their own people, but their faces were extremely pale. ‘These are just boys!’ I thought. ‘Boys fight the world’s battles and old men, old politicians stay in their ‘cabinets’ (offices) drink vodka, sherry or port, if they are English. And send them to their deaths. I straightened up and peeked over the window sill into the car.

Are You all right Mother?’ I asked. She had put Her little glasses on.

Yes yes, I’m studying the tanks,’ She replied as She scanned each of the sixty tanks which roared past. Later I learnt that these were the tanks ordered in by the putschists to help in the putsch and somehow they refused to take part. They were not used. The army commanders decided not to send these tanks out, they stayed still, they waited, and it looked like they were actually for Gorbachev. They were now moving past us to bivouac at the Central Sports complex, under the control of Army Command next to the stadium where Mother had just had Her programme.

In fact, it was the other Sahaja Yogi with us who came to the rescue, he saw two small guide pins which I hadn’t noticed and these enabled the wheel to locate accurately on the four bolts. Later, I learned that this device used to be on post-war English cars, nineteen forty-seven, nineteen forty-eight. My attention went back to the car. I realised that these Russian car rims had two protruding pegs on which you would suspend the tyre while you could bolt the wheel properly to the car. So this Maya kept us out in the street for twenty minutes till my problem was worked out.

I realised that Mother was saving Russia and I was saving a tyre; we each had our duties. Mother used this time to keep Her attention on this world problem. I think these tanks, if they had been put into different parts of Moscow, would have helped the success of the putsch. So they were neutralized by Mother’s holy gaze, holy attention.

So, I am trying to put this wheel on the car, I put this wheel on and we were off. I was in a suit, so I put the jacket back on, and my arms were all black and covered in grease up to the elbows. Then we are going towards the centre of Moscow, down Leningradskaya, not yet Gorky Street, and all of a sudden, in the distance we see men at a temporary barricade.

Oh, they won’t let us through,’ I said, and we had to go Rastergoeva, which is south.

Bohdan, will we be all right?’ said Mother, in a very small voice. She had opened my centre heart at that moment, and I was about to reassure Her in an excessive way, almost saying, ‘Of course, Mother.’  But I thought, ‘Hey, wait a minute, this is Shri Adi Shakti sitting there, She has given me this huge heart, there is no fear.’ So I said within, ‘I’m sorry Mother, You are the ….’

Yes, Shri Mataji, I think we will be all right,’ I said aloud but She was playing.

Bohdan,’ She said in a small voice, ‘Turn left.’ My initial reaction was, ‘Well, Mother doesn’t know,’ then I thought, ‘Bohdan, are you mad? What is this thought coming that Mother doesn’t know? You just stay silent.’ This all took one second, very quickly, to neutralise this thought.

Yes, Shri Mataji,’ I said.

And left,’ then She said, ‘Turn right here, and right.’ It was dark and I went down some one-way streets the wrong way, I didn’t even ask, look or anything. As soon as we neared a road which appeared blocked, Mother would say, ‘Turn here’ and I would turn. ‘Now turn there,’ and I would do so.

We ended up between houses, Doms, the big blocks of flats that Russians typically live in, so would be off the road, over grass and dirt. We didn’t know if we were going into a ditch, or if we were going up to a wall or a rock. We mounted gutters and went through unfenced yards in the dark. Somehow, with Mother saying, ‘Go left, go right,’ we ended up on the other side of the river going south down the Warsawska Expressway, and I don’t know how, because the whole of the middle of the city was blocked off. We left danger behind us and proceeded towards Mother’s dacha in the country, and peace.

A few days later Mother was to fly to Togliatti where about thirty thousand people were to meet Her in a stadium. When we got to the airport officials said we couldn’t fly because Togliatti was not amongst the several cities stamped on our visas and Mother was refused entry onto the plane. I went around to various organisations and government departments to get the addition of Togliatti on the visas but everyone seemed too scared to stick their necks out and make a decision. Finally we got the appropriate stamps. We again drove Mother to the airport but this time thick clouds set in and again we couldn’t fly. We waited for several hours but the fog didn’t lift. No planes were flying so we returned to Mother’s flat in Moscow.

Mother mentioned She would go to sleep in the bedroom. Baba Mama, Shri Mataji’s brother, went to sleep in the lounge and the rest of us sat in the kitchen for several hours. For the first time since the coup started, we were able to receive an international telephone call from England to inform us that the coup was over. Just then Mother came out of the bedroom.

It appears that the coup has failed,’ we said.

Yes I’ve been working on that,’ Mother replied in a very simple way. Immediately I was overwhelmed by the enormity of the Being who was standing in front of me, .just simply standing there in a very humble and unassuming way. I walked backwards, bowing again and again. Mother later said that ritambara prAgnya had worked it out where She just had to stay in Moscow so that the coup would fail.

Each time Mother had said something simple like, ‘Yes, yes I am studying the tanks’ or ‘I have been working on that,’ it was a step towards the end of the coup. What an enormity of key work to transform Russia and the world were encapsulated in these simple words coming from a humble yet enormous being. I felt She was the great Mahamaya, yet whom we are privileged to call our Mother.

Bohdan Shehovych

They were caught

In 1991 a few of us went on a bus from London to Warsaw. I went on to Russia, and Shri Mataji left before us. We arrived soon afterwards, and later we were to fly to Togliatti, and we all went to the airport. But when we got there we were told we had to wait and we were taken to a foreigners’ lounge and we found a chair for Shri Mataji.

We had to wait for at least four hours and we didn’t know what was going on. Someone had some salami, and a penknife to cut it with, and somebody had some bread and biscuits. We cut the salami and offered it to Shri Mataji. At a certain point She said to Bohdan that She wanted to go back to his house, because She did not think we would fly on that day. Some of us stayed on with Shri Mataji and went back to Bohdan’s flat, and the next day we left the airport.

The next time we met Shri Mataji we asked Her what was going on. It turned out that the reason we had been locked up in that airport was because it was the time when the people who had organised the coup were trying to flee from Moscow. They were caught heading for the airport we were in, so they had shut down all flights and all movement in and out of the airport in order to seal the exits and catch these people. Shri Mataji had gone back to the flat and went to sleep.

I went to sleep, because you see in My sleep I work things out, I work on a different plane and it is much faster,’ She said to us afterwards. While She was asleep they had caught the criminals and Gorbachev was back as President of Russia. We didn’t go to Togliatti but we had a programme in Moscow and I remember walking through Moscow and seeing the tanks rolling into the stadium.

Anthony Headlam

The putsch had collapsed

Shri Mataji was in Russia when the putsch took place. At one point in Her stay, when the confrontation was at its height with tanks in the streets of Moscow and Leningrad, She was given a list of the principal members of the putsch committee, and She retired into Her room asking not to be disturbed. When Shri Mataji emerged two hours or so later, the putsch had collapsed.

Phil Ward

Shri Mataji smiled sweetly

We came back to Moscow after the coup was over, and went to Shri Mataji’s house – a dacha at Rastorguevo near Moscow. Lena Gorbacheva, who drove Shri Mataji, told us that Shri Mataji asked her to drive along the Moscow streets. They drove, and nobody stopped them, even though many streets had military people and weapons, hidden behind the trees. Shri Mataji looked at everything and soon came back. The then leader of Ukraine spoke to Her.

Thank You, Shri Mataji very much for all You did,’ she said, and asked Her how She did it.

I just went to sleep and worked a little bit,’ Shri Mataji smiled sweetly and said.

Raya Levitan

Shri Mataji was radiant

This story is about time of GKCHP in 1991, when a reaction tried to take over power, from our new born democracy in Russia, and President Gorbachev was under house arrest. On that day we met Shri Mataji at the airport. She was radiant.

How are you?’ She asked us.

You are with us and we are not afraid. We are in the sky,’ the Sahaja Yogis answered.

The next day Shri Mataji had a public programme in Moscow. As usual, there were about five thousand people there, and we had rented the Dinamo Football Field. This day was described by Doctor Bohdan, who drove Shri Mataji back home from the programme.

Raya Levitan

Shri Mataji in St Petersburg 1991