Chapter 14: 1979 – Dollis Hill Ashram and Lost Seekers Saved

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

Overcoming negativity

It was 1979, the puja was to be held near the ashram in Finchley, North London and I was living south of the city. When I woke up that morning I had a terrible migraine, was feeling really dizzy and started vomiting. There was no way I was going to the puja as I could not even stand up. At this point I decided that I was going to go. Suddenly and inexplicably at that very moment the vomiting stopped and the migraine went away. I walked up to the station, caught the train into London and then the tube to the ashram. I told my story to one of the yogis and he said it was the negativity trying to keep me away from the puja.

We had a little meeting with Mother in the back garden but not all the yogis came to this. I think the puja was organised in a little scout hut just half a mile away from the ashram. It was too large an event to hold in the ashram garden as at least thirty yogis attended. There might have been a few more or less, but it was a large event for those days. All the songs and mantras were just on a few sheets of A4 paper. Mother, as was the case then, guided the puja from beginning to end. Afterwards we all went back to the ashram where we had food – not much of a queue in those days, thank goodness!

Colin Dunwell

Dollis Hill ashram

In 1979 the ashram moved to 8, Hamilton Road, Dollis Hill, North London, which was close to Dollis Hill Underground Station. This house belonged to a friend of Shri Mataji’s. By now, Sahaja Yoga had spread, and more people were living in and visiting this ashram. Shri Mataji made many visits to this house and stayed overnight on many occasions. She would spend so much time with us, teaching us, working on us, and conversing with us. She would even cook meals for everyone. Shri Mataji held havans in the back garden, just outside the back door of the living room. Shri Mataji held pujas there, including Guru Puja in December 1979 when She declared who She was.

From the outside, it looked like an ordinary suburban, semi-detached house, yet this was where Shri Mataji was nurturing the next step in human evolution. In 1979 also Shri Mataji made several visits to a house in Barnes, south-west London, where we were all invited too.

Patricia Proenza and others

I feel very grateful

Shri Mataji hugged me on a couple of occasions. One time was in Dollis Hill ashram in London in 1979. She was leaving and we all parted to make a passageway for Her exit. She walked past me, stopped, turned back and threw Her arms around me.

I feel very grateful.

Marilyn Leate

I’m God Almighty

Mother was sitting in a room with David Baxter and two others. (David told me this immediately after it happened in the late 1970’s) They were chatting casually.

‘Oh dear,’ Shri Mataji exclaimed, ‘My right side is catching, I’m forgetting that I’m God Almighty,’ and She started to raise Her right side. Needless to say it wasn’t She who was forgetting!

Marilyn Leate

A dimension of pure joy

At the very beginning of 1979 the ashram moved to Dollis Hill, a house at 8, Hamilton Road, close to the station. Shri Mataji Herself found this house, which belonged to Her friend.

By now, Sahaja Yoga had spread and there were more yogis living in or visiting the ashram. Shri Mataji made many visits to this ashram. She spent so many hours with us, talking to us, and also allowing us to converse with Her. She always gave time, and respect, to every person. She worked on people frequently and also stayed on many occasions. She permitted us to sleep on the floor in Her bedroom when She stayed, and we would squeeze into precious spaces on the floor, for the unbelievable privilege of sleeping in the holy presence of our Divine Mother. We were in another universe, in a dimension of pure joy, where even time did not exist. The hours of sleeping were short. We were up with Shri Mataji far into the night – there was no sense of passing of time, of day and night. We were just enveloped in Her presence, in joy and inner silence. Sometimes, as the joy bubbled up, we felt laughter bubbling out of us!

One night when Shri Mataji was going upstairs to Her bedroom at the ashram. I went up with Her, and was still laughing at Her comments on the ‘fashionable’ young girls who were very skinny and wore mini-skirts, whom She described as ‘mosquitoes’ and ‘TB cases’. Perhaps because of the exhilaration of the vibrations and joy, I was unable to stop laughing. Shri Mataji, who was by now in Her bed, asked me why I was laughing so much.

‘Mosquitoes!’ I just managed to blurt out, and She joined in enthusiastically with my helpless laughter. She would spend hours with us at Dollis Hill.

Patricia Proenza

You are not alone

When I came back from India in 1979, I thought I would be so lonely.

‘So many times I have been by Myself,’ Shri Mataji said. ‘Just meditate, and you are not alone.’

Patricia Proenza

Shri Mataji asked for the aarti to be delayed

In my early days of Sahaja Yoga I worked with an airline back home in Algeria, and since I was lucky to have cheap standby flights I used to come to London at least once a month. The ashram at the time had moved from Finchley to Dollis Hill and quite a few pujas took place in this ashram.

One of my trips back from Algiers to London was to attend a Dollis Hill puja. I can vaguely recall that it was an Easter Puja. My plane was late and I missed most of the puja. When I arrived at the ashram Shri Mataji said that we could now start singing the aarti. Once the aarti was finished the Sahaja Yogis told me that just before I arrived Shri Mataji asked for the aarti to be delayed because Djamel was coming.

Djamel Metouri

Shri Mataji saved my father

As soon as they got back to Greece after getting realisation, my parents established Shri Mataji’s photograph in their house and started talking about Sahaja Yoga to all their friends and relatives, and thus Sahaja Yoga started in Greece. I was helping them, travelling from England to Greece. A short period later, in England, I had a dream of my father calling for help and his voice was so loud, and he sounded so desperate it woke me up. In the morning I telephoned my parents in Greece, my mother answered and said my father was OK. The next night, the same desperate cry of my father woke me up again. I phoned back, only to get the same answer from my mother.

When I checked on vibrations I knew something bad was going on with my dad. I wrote a letter to Shri Mataji, asking Her what should I do, took the letter to Her house, put it through the letterbox and waited for Her answer. Shri Mataji phoned me that evening. She said my father’s life was threatened by negativity that was trying to kill him because he was the first Sahaja Yogi in Greece, and that I should travel immediately there.

‘Mother, I must travel by bus, which will take three to four days to reach Athens,’ I said.

‘Why go by bus and not by plane?’ She said.

I answered that all the money I had was a fifty pound note and this would be just enough for the bus but not for a plane ticket which would be over a hundred pounds.

‘No, there is not enough time, three days will be too late,’ She said.

‘Mother, I understand that one day he will die but…..’ I said.

‘But we must not let him die in the hands of the bhuts but in the hands of God,’ She continued, before I finished my words.

Then She called a Sahaja Yogini to book me the first flight to Greece. She went to the nearest agent, who said that the plane was fully booked and my only chance was to go to the airport and hope for a stand-by flight. Shri Mataji asked me not to waste any time but to leave immediately, and gave me Her advice and blessings as to what I should do with treatments on my father.

At the airport, the lady at the desk looked at me, showing with her eyes that I was going to be left behind. At that precise moment, the departure of the flight was announced. Simultaneously, someone phoned and said that at the last minute, a First Class passenger had cancelled and I could take his place. I travelled to Greece, First Class, for only fifty pounds, to look after my father. It took about one month for my dad to recover, following Shri Mataji’s advice, with Sahaj treatments.

Maria Laventzi

Advice on Easter Monday

One Easter Monday, the 16th of April 1979, Shri Mataji spent the evening with us at a yogini’s house in Barnes. Shri Mataji was so loving and compassionate and gentle, and full of Her loving humour.

She talked of the problems of the West, how we have blind faith in science and reason, and how we must be aware that there is much beyond the point where reason ends. To balance our intuition and our reason, She told us to bring the energies from the back of each hand over to the front. The right hand represents wisdom on the front, knowledge on the back. The left hand represents intuition on the front, reason on the back. She said that intellectualism is just like a performing circus, like doing a somersault. You are in the same spot in which you started! Intelligence is needed in Sahaja Yoga, not intellectualism.

She said that we each have to work on our own chakras, and on others’ chakras, and discover for ourselves the subtleties of the different centres, where the catches manifest on the hands and body.

‘What is selfishness?’ Shri Mataji asked. ‘How can we know that, when we have not discovered our self? To know a house it is best to go inside it. To know your Self, you have to go inside the self, look at it, learn about it, know it.’

Shri Mataji advised us to hold our breath in front of Her photo, then after a while, release it, and to do this three times for colds, respiratory problems etc. Also, to put the Vishuddhi finger on the throat centre, just above the collarbone, then sniff rapidly through the nose a number of times. This clears the throat and ears.

Patricia Proenza

A breakthrough with the damaged seekers

In May 1979, Bala arranged a public programme in Birmingham, and Shri Mataji invited some of the seekers from a particular false guru cult to attend this meeting. When the day arrived, the room in Birmingham City Centre was full. The invited seekers were asked to sit in front. As Shri Mataji gave realisation, these seekers behaved in a way which showed they were very damaged. Finally the meeting ended, well past the scheduled finish time and everyone thought that now they could go back to the Tamworth centre and spend some peaceful time with Shri Mataji, but it was not to be. She invited the damaged seekers to Bala’s house.

By the time they arrived at Rosemary Road, it was nearly midnight. Shri Mataji had Bala, Tony Panayioutou and some others work on these seekers – it was a very long night. After 3 am, She told Bala and Tony that this was a breakthrough as far as this particular cult was concerned, here in Birmingham. They stayed up all night continuing the work on the damaged seekers with Shri Mataji.

The next day, it was back to work again. Eventually, the faces of these deep seekers cleared and they actually looked happy. They had lots of questions and Shri Mataji very patiently answered them. In the afternoon She came out and spoke to the little children who were in the playground in front of the house. She then asked Bala and the local yogis to look after the new seekers, and left for London.

Bala Kanayson

Those vibrations will go and work on others

Once, Rustom Burjorjee, who was a psychiatrist, had introduced a gentleman to Shri Mataji who was a well-known German member of the London Jung Society. We were in Shri Mataji’s flat, during the morning on the day She was going to meet these people and She worked on a painting all morning; She took an Indian painting and changed it. She was showing us what She was doing and how She was changing the colour and the shapes and repainting it all, it was some kind of watercolour, an Indian painting done on cloth, and you can put your own colours on top, if you want. Shri Mataji was modifying the colours and shapes and so on, and putting so many vibrations into this painting. We didn’t know why, but we were there witnessing that.

In the afternoon, these people came to Shri Mataji’s flat. She was, of course, very happy to meet them because they were following Jung, who was a realised soul and who did so much work, which was really Sahaja work.

‘Do you like this painting?’ Shri Mataji said about the painting She had been working on. I think they said yes and She gave it to them. Mother was very generous, of course. If anybody said they liked something, She would just give it.

‘Mother, You have been working on it all morning!’ a Sahaja Yogi there said, shocked.

‘It is not for Me. It’s got vibrations and those vibrations will go and work on others. You have to show your generosity,’ She said.

Djamel Metouri

Nurturing the next step in human evolution

So many memorable events took place at Dollis Hill – the wonderful times when Shri Mataji talked to us, looked after us, even cooked for us. Time and the mundane world ceased to exist. Shri Mataji was nurturing the next step in human evolution. And all this was happening inside this ordinary, semi-detached house in an average North-West London suburb.

On one occasion, we all sat in the living room, waiting in silence for Shri Mataji’s arrival. She had been abroad for some time, so we were greatly excited, awaiting Her return. Suddenly I felt a beautiful coolness on my hands and all around – Her car had just arrived! Then the total joy as She entered the house, and greeted us.

Patricia Proenza

Cashew nuts

Shri Mataji put me on the liver diet for a while. One day, when walking around a shop during my work lunch hour I saw some cashew nuts, and was really tempted for a moment to buy them. I didn’t, and continued walking around the shop. That evening, Shri Mataji came to the ashram and looked at me.

‘Have you been eating cashew nuts? She asked.

‘No,’ I said. Perhaps those cashews were still registering in my subconscious!

Patricia Proenza

Inviting us in

Memories flood in but recently the face that flows into my mind most strongly is the picture of Shri Mataji standing at Her doorway in the Ashley Gardens flat in the early years in London. She has just opened the door and is standing there so young looking, so vibrant, so fresh with a big welcoming smile on Her face as She invites you in.

I feel She has left Her earthly form so She can invite us in, in the same way, into the heavens through Her door again – heaven will be on earth.

Again the memory flows in. She is coming tonight to Dollis Hill, in 1979. We are waiting for HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH Her, so eager to see Her, She arrives, the door opens and I am rushing into the hallway. I cannot wait to see Her face, to be in Her presence and She comes in as our Mother, Her dark hair, thick and flowing around Her shoulders, all smiles, full of energy, beaming, She turns, looking around at everyone.

‘How are you? How are you all?’

Her smile is so full of Her care and love for us; no one is left out and my heart is so open and so full of love to see Her and I feel everything in the world is alright after all.

When I first came to Canada from London to a new starting of Sahaja Yoga, it was all so different; few yogis, few vibrations, no internet connections in those days, and after some months She sent a message to me half way around the world.

‘Tell Felicity to remember the good times,’ and only then, I realised how alone I had felt. I did not know I had not been feeling good, but then Her love soothed me and She drew me into Her embrace again.

We must remember the good times and all the beautiful memories She has left for us to share and relive. Even better times are coming. So much that Shri Mataji promised all those years ago has already come true, now the rest will follow.

Felicity Payment

She corrected us, taught us and gave us practical advice

There were many other pieces of valuable advice I remember from those times. Shri Mataji talked to us about our powers: the power of the bandhan, to give ourselves complete protection from any negative forces, to be able to feel the states of the chakras of ourselves and of others, to be able to fix each chakra of ourselves and of others – with a bandhan, to be able to cure the problems in each centre, to be able to raise the Kundalini by lifting one’s hand – giving self realisation to others and to be able to work on people at a distance.

Sometimes Shri Mataji rebuked us – very strongly! She corrected us and taught us. She also gave us much practical advice, such as looking after our hands and feet, and rubbing olive oil into them at night, then sleeping with cotton gloves on. (Only to be done occasionally)

On one occasion Shri Mataji told us that the best times for meditation are at around 5 am and between 6 pm to 7 pm. She advised us not to meditate between midnight and 4 am when more negative forces are around. She also told us it was not good to be out very late at night, especially after midnight.

Shri Mataji told us that when we had a problem and felt unable to deal with it, we should write to Her about it, but instead of sending the letter, to put it in front of Her photo.

She told us that baddhas can be effects of bhuts, or toxic states or emotional upsets. Bhuts are one of the causes of baddhas, but not the only cause. She once said that if you feel anger, do not hold onto it, but let it out by hitting a pillow. When talking about pulling our earlobes, (as a way of asking for forgiveness) She told us that this is also a remedy for feeling guilty, as it is good for left Vishuddhi catches.

Shri Mataji often told us just to watch our thoughts, not to fight them, but to be aware of them.

Patricia Proenza

The people there were very privileged

Shri Mataji would often come round to Dollis Hill ashram unexpectedly, without giving hardly any warning, and She would sleep the night there and vibrate the place, so the people there were very privileged.

Marilyn Leate

A selfless boon and Shri Mataji’s beautiful article

Shri Mataji later told some of us that She had been waiting for some years for us to realise we had been on the wrong path, and then She would call us. A month before we came, at a puja in London in early 1979, the Sahaja Yogis had decided that if Shri Mataji offered them a boon, which She often did after a puja, they would all ask for the same one, that all the true seekers who were caught on all the false paths would find Her.

A group of people I knew were searching for realisation. Soon after Shri Mataji granted the boon, one person of our group, who was in London, happened to see a beautiful article entitled A Unique Discovery in Yoga Today magazine, which had been written by Shri Mataji Herself.

Linda Williams

Editor’s note: the full text of the article is at the end of this book.

Many new seekers

The Unique Discovery article engendered a lot of interest in Sahaja Yoga and brought many new seekers to the Caxton Hall programmes to get their realisation.

Marilyn Leate

They realised that Sahaja Yoga was the thing

It was a two or three page article in Yoga Today. It had a picture of Shri Mataji and told all about Shri Mataji and Sahaja Yoga. It said that if you put your hands towards the picture of Shri Mataji you could feel vibrations and you could sit and meditate.

One particular man who had read this wanted information on it. He phoned Dollis Hill ashram because the number was in Yoga Today and he happened to get hold of me. He asked me what Sahaja Yoga was all about. I wasn’t a particularly eloquent sort of a speaker, but I tried to explain. He wasn’t terribly impressed.

‘Do you do meditation of any sort?’ I then said.

‘Well, what’s it to do with you?’ he said.

‘I think you do a damaging meditation.’ I was met with this stunned silence.

‘How do you know?’ he said.

‘With Sahaja Yoga you feel vibrations from various chakras and if you do various things, chakras get altered or damaged, put out of alignment.’ I told him that when we feel a certain number of chakras altered, we know it has been caused by a certain thing.

Mother must have been doing a bit of driving from the background. It made him realise I knew what I was talking about. From what I said on the phone, he realised that Sahaja Yoga was the thing that he had to do.

Douglas Fry

Very relaxed and sleepy

We were all staying with Shri Mataji at a Sahaja Yogi’s house near Wellingborough, in 1979. Shri Mataji permitted the ladies to sleep on the floor of Her bedroom, and we lay with our heads against the base of Her bed. During the night I heard Shri Mataji turn over and half-sat up in the dark. Suddenly I felt Her hand on my head, and very gently She pushed me into a lying position. She kept Her hand on my head. Soon I felt very relaxed and sleepy, and it was only when I started to drift into sleep that Shri Mataji removed Her hand.

Patricia Proenza

A feeling of utter relief

In June 1979 I was living in Scotland and received a letter from a friend with a picture of Shri Mataji and a note which said, ‘You must come and see this lady, she is your only hope.’

Shri Mataji was going to be in a Sahaja Yogi’s house near Birmingham, a couple of days later, so I went. When I reached the tiny local station, the station master told me the train to Glasgow, where I had to change for Birmingham, was running late, and I would miss my connection. I told him it was very important to catch that train. To my amazement he phoned Glasgow and asked them to hold the second train for me. When I reached it, delayed for nearly an hour, the ticket collector at the barrier said, ‘Are ye the lady from Rannoch? Get on the train, and don’t let the other passengers know who you are, or they’ll have your guts for gaiters.’ British Rail never held trains for one unimportant passenger and this was my first indication that with Shri Mataji anything was possible.

I finally reached the house where Shri Mataji was staying and She was sitting on the sofa in the living room with a number of Sahaja Yogis. I was nervous, and stood at the back. Mother asked me to come forward, I walked up to Her and knelt at Her Feet, put my head on them and felt utter relief. At that moment I saw a vision of Shri Durga, dressed in red, riding a tiger with Her hair flying behind Her and with many arms and weapons.

‘What did you see?’ Shri Mataji asked, and I told Her. ‘You are very supraconscious. Yes, that is Me, but not in this lifetime,’ She replied.

Shri Mataji then told me I should go to London with Her that afternoon, and She graciously took me in Her car. It was the first of many wonderful car journeys with Her.

The first night after She gave me realisation Shri Mataji went home and cried with compassion, because those of Her children who had met Her on that day were so damaged by the fake gurus. There were some other people there who had come from the same false guru, and Mother said that not all of them would stay in Sahaja Yoga, and many did drop off.

Linda Williams

An invitation to the home of the Goddess

The next morning we were invited to Shri Mataji’s flat in Victoria, at the top of Ashley Gardens. We took someone who was a barrister, and Shri Mataji said that although human law did not make much sense to Her, She understood divine law. Shri Mataji offered us coffee, and at that time I was a health fanatic and took neither coffee nor sugar. She offered me both, and the Sahaja Yogi sitting next to me made it quite clear that one did not refuse anything offered by Her.

Then a strange thing happened. I was sitting next to the door, looking at Shri Mataji who was on the other side of the room. While I was drinking my coffee, I felt there was someone behind me and assumed it was the maid, who had been bringing the coffee and snacks in previously.

‘Linda, your father is standing behind you. He has been very worried about you, and you must tell him you are alright now and I will look after you,’ Shri Mataji said.

My father had indeed died two years previously, but after that day his presence was never there.

Linda Williams

My first public programme

After the main part of my first public programme at Caxton Hall, a day or two later, Shri Mataji asked me to come onto the stage and began to work on me. I felt an epileptic fit coming on. Mother explained it was a possession, and if I wanted it to be taken out, the best thing was to lie under Her Holy Feet. I did this, and felt as if the universe was in battle within and around me. A great dark cloud lifted, and there were no more fits.

I knew I had been blessed to meet the Adi Shakti, the Queen of Heaven, and that was all that was important. At one of those meetings, Shri Mataji told us that in those early days we were mostly a bit mad, but that the sane people were unfortunately not seeking God, so She had to work through us.

Linda Williams

My son Jesus

I was kneeling at Shri Mataji’s Feet on the stage at Caxton Hall – sometimes we would go up – and She worked on my Agnya chakra. She made a cross on my forehead, over and over again.

‘My son Jesus, My son Jesus,’ She said as She did so.

When Shri Mataji made the sign of the cross on me, She made the vertical line upwards, not downwards like the Christians do.

Linda Williams

My first puja

A few days later, at Dollis Hill ashram, we had a puja, the Adi Shakti Puja, then called the Kundalini Puja. After the puja, we would all take turns to go up to Mother. We would kneel in front of Her, with our forehead on Her Holy Feet and our hands under them, and She would work on us. I always remember the sound of Her bangles chinking as She moved Her hands to clear the chakras. To my amazement, as I was kneeling, I heard Her speak quite positively about how I would be in the future, maybe to give me hope and courage.

Linda Williams

Shri Mataji visits Leeds, 1979

Shri Mataji paid two visits to my home town of Leeds in the late 1970’s, to Jim Proctor’s house. I was working in London at that time and was sadly unable to travel north on that first visit. Although I could not be there for that first weekend I asked my brother if he would take our mum, who had just been diagnosed with emphysema, to meet Shri Mataji. When I contacted my brother after the weekend he told me that Mother had requested that a chair should be put next to Her, and that my mum would sit next to Shri Mataji while she was there. Shri Mataji held my mum’s hand and had a long chat with her. It was the only time that my mum met Shri Mataji but I was so pleased that she had had the chance to do so.

Colin Dunwell

A great privilege

I was back in Leeds on the occasion of Shri Mataji’s second visit. I went to the house in Cookridge early Saturday morning. There were a few Sahaja Yogis already there preparing for Shri Mataji’s visit. Mother arrived in the afternoon and we all sat in the front room having tea with Her. In the evening a number of non Sahaja Yogis were invited to meet Mother. The meeting went on until about 10.00 pm. As there were only a few Sahaja Yogis staying that night; Jim Proctor asked if I would like to stay too. As Mother was also staying at the house I did not have to be asked twice. Mother went to bed and we all settled down on the floor of the dining room for the night. It was at this point that one of the Sahaja Yogis came into the room.

‘Mother has requested that four of us should go up to Her bedroom,’ he said.

Mother then asked two yogis to massage Her hands and the other two to massage Her Feet. I was given the privilege of massaging Mother’s left Foot. Mother directed me to certain part of Her Foot and toes. After about twenty minutes we left the room and other Sahaja Yogis took our place. The floor of the dining room was very hard but I had a wonderful sleep that night.

Colin Dunwell