Honey and ajwain
Shri Mataji told us about putting honey in the eyes for clearing the Agnya chakra and to try and keep the eyes opened during the process. At Chelsham Road during a collective ajwain sessions with Shri Mataji in person, in 1985, She also went under the collective blanket for a while but kept telling people to keep the eyes open while the smoke was coming up in order to benefit the eyes and the Agnya as well, so the ajwain smoke is also good for the eyes.
Instructions on public programmes
In 1985, in London, at Sahaja Yoga public programmes without Shri Mataji in person, it was the norm to first play a tape of one of Her public lectures in its entirety and then to give realisation to the seekers who had come for the first time. By listening to the whole talk new people often wondered with admiration at Her infinite love, knowledge and wisdom.
At one point, in a local London Sahaja Yoga public meeting, the person conducting the meeting started to only play part of Shri Mataji’s lecture and the Sahaja Yogis complained to Her about this. She came to Chelsham Road and the whole collective had been invited, and this was one of the rare occasions in which Shri Mataji passed a personal rebuke, in this case to the person who had been stopping Her lectures half way – She seemed visibly saddened by this. Shri Mataji behaved like a loving mother towards all of us and we felt we were part of a great family headed by our beloved Mother, Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi.
Shri Mataji’s ashram visit
Many hours had passed and we were waiting for Shri Mataji to arrive. It was the mid-1980s. We were a small group of Sahaja Yogis, most of us in our early twenties, sitting on the floor of an upstairs room in an ashram deep in the suburbs of South London. We had been informed Shri Mataji was at a function and afterwards planned to come to the ashram to rest. We were filled with longing to see Her but it was getting late. The sense of excitement and joy had been steadily mounting but the hands of the clock continued to move and still nothing happened. Gradually the expectancy Shri Mataji would be with us any moment relaxed, perhaps Her plans had changed and nobody had thought to ring and tell us. I began to wonder if Shri Mataji would really be among us soon: I was longing to see Her, that blazing smile, those fierce-loving Goddess eyes that could pierce your heart, and know its every hope. I glanced around the room, we did not look like a very dynamic bunch; some barely awake.
All of a sudden the plumbing system of the house rumbled loudly into life, and began to make a very strange noise. Pipes in the ceiling clanked and began to shudder in rising octaves. There seemed to be a great wind rushing along invisible flues somewhere. It was truly weird and lasted about five or six seconds, about the same length of time it takes to blow a conch. People were looking around the room a bit puzzled but I felt I knew what it meant.
‘I think the house is telling us Shri Mataji’s car is about to arrive. Why don’t we all go and see if Mother’s coming?’
We got up as one and rushed downstairs. Standing on the gravel of the driveway in the cool night air we just had enough time to clasp our hands together in namaste before Shri Mataji’s white Mercedes turned a corner and drew up. Mother, when She got out of the car, was wearing a gorgeous sari, beaming at us all beautifully with a loving smile, and those familiar ‘How are you’s?’ rang out. She laughed and took us all in with a knowing look.
‘So nice to find you all still awake here, all of you standing and waiting so alertly to see Me!’ She said.
Songs of praise
The first time I remember singing the song Mataji, Mataji, Your face shines like a thousand suns, was at Shri Ganesh Puja 1985 in Brighton, UK. We all had gone to the station to greet Shri Mataji on Her arrival and made a corridor of flowers and yogis for Shri Mataji to walk through, and as She got to Her car, all the yogis were surrounding Her. Gregoire started singing those words and we all joined in. It was completely awesome, and how moved Our Holy Mother was really did melt all our hearts!
The next song, two weeks later, was Mother I adore You, sang as Shri Mataji arrived for the seminar, ‘The English are Scholars’ in Sheffield, where Mother arrived, got out of the car, and stood whilst this song was being sung to Her. She looked to the sky and later mentioned that the clouds had taken up the melody of the song. So beautiful. She also mentioned that the grass of the place was the kusha grass that Shri Ganesha liked.
Top of Form
Shri Ganesha Puja, 1985
The night before we went to Brighton, we had the privilege of going to Shri Mataji’s house in London, with the leader, and we waited for an hour in the kitchen, hoping to catch a glimpse of Her, and to enjoy Her presence. We could see Her profile and hands while She spoke with the people who were having supper with Her. It was a powerful emotional experience to see Her – one always forgets how marvellous She was.
Shri Mataji decided, completely unexpectedly, to have a puja to Shri Ganesha in Brighton, England. What was to be a small local seminar became a large gathering of Sahaja Yogis, an important and joyous event. We arrived in Brighton, at the Friends Meeting House, in time to see an exhibition on Sahaja Yoga, with beautiful photos and explanations. In the evening Shri Mataji arrived at the railway station and all the Sahaja Yogis were there to meet Her. She came with Sir CP, and was wearing a red sari with blue embroidery.
The night before the puja Shri Mataji organised a wonderful sitar concert for Her children – Nishat Khan, a young Indian, showed us his marvellous art, especially the Bhairavi raga, and took us to a high point of joy – a flow of vibrations on the Sahasrara penetrated throughout our beings, spread waves of love and joy and awakened our Spirit. Shri Mataji enjoyed it very much, this divine music which penetrated all of us, so we felt Her in our hearts in an eternal and divine dimension. The concert finished at about three in the morning but we were not tired. After a short night’s sleep we met again in the morning for meditation. The weather was very English – rain, black clouds and a rough sea for the whole weekend.
In the afternoon, at about six o’clock, we had the Shri Ganesha Puja. It took place in a room that was not that big, and was full of people. There were representatives of all the countries: Italy, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, USA, and many more – about a hundred and fifty people in all. Shri Mataji was a bit severe, She spoke of the need for everyone to have a sense of chastity. Brighton is the Mooladhara of England, the land of Shri Shiva, and because of that the negativity has attacked this chakra so much. At the end, before leaving the room, She even apologised for this seriousness, but explained that it had to be said, and would help everyone to improve. The evening continued with bhajans, from the English, while Shri Mataji was offered presents from various countries. Our present, of a coral necklace, was well received with praise, that it was very appropriate for such a day as this*, and meanwhile Her supper was served.
After that we returned to London.
*Editor’s note: coral is the jewel of the Mooladhara.
Shri Ganesha Puja, Brighton, 1985
Covered in vibrations
At a Shri Ganesha Puja in 1985, Shri Mataji emphasised that chastity was the most important thing to preserve your innocence. You couldn’t get caught up or possessed or anything, if you had chastity. The next day we went round to Brompton Square to see Shri Mataji or to do some work in the morning and were sitting at Her Feet.
‘I’m sorry I had to say all those things to you in the puja.’ She said, or something like that.
‘Oh, Shri Mataji, it was fantastic,’ I replied, and had hardly got the words out of my mouth when my heart exploded and something happened. I got completely covered in vibrations and couldn’t speak for a while. I just had to close my eyes.
Shri Mataji looking at marriage forms
It was in the early 1980’s and Shri Mataji sat regally on an armchair, the Goddess leaning forward contemplating the human destinies at Her Feet, a bundle of A4 pages with photos attached that a particular leader was spreading on the floor. We were in Brighton.
There had been a public programme and puja. It was in the evening, the room was full of vibrations, the mood relaxed, just a few people were there now, huddled, sitting cross-legged, close to Mother. The forthcoming Sahaja Yoga marriages were being discussed. The marriage forms were fanned out, assuming different patterns, some matches remained together for a while and then got re-positioned. Shri Mataji, working quickly, scrutinised the forms and made comments. There were jokes which made us laugh, for example, I remember a comment that two people might be suitable for each other because they both wore glasses. It seemed the whole subject of marriage that many of us took with extreme seriousness, due to our western romantic conditioning, was being handled by Shri Mataji with ease and the greatest light-heartedness, as if to say, how many marriage partners have you had in your former lives, it is just another marriage – not such a big thing. I, back then, still a very young person at the time, looked on from the edge of the circle, fascinated (and a little alarmed, not to say stunned!) at this mysterious process, fluid, almost casual, whereby new Sahaja destinies were being created. Mother seemed in a very jolly mood. She regarded two forms in front of Her.
‘I would say they look good together. Yes these two, this one here and this one there; maybe put them together.’
Off to the side, I heard the leader’s voice.
‘There is the issue of their heights, Mother.’
‘Yes, Shri Mataji. It says here on their forms that the woman is only four feet ten inches in height and the man is six feet four.’
‘What was that you said?’
‘The man is exceptionally tall and the woman is extremely short.’
‘Yes, he is extremely tall and she is much smaller than average.’
Shri Mataji paused and considered.
‘Yes, that would be very funny, maybe it is not so good; we will try something different for them.’
She sat back and laughed and laughed with the infectious delightful laughter that we all loved so much. In the end as I remember it, a much taller woman was found for the very tall man.
How difficult it is to be English!
On the Tuesday after the Shri Ganesha Puja in Brighton, we were able to have another blessing of seeing Shri Mataji at Chelsham Rd. There were over a hundred people in the meditation room and it was absolutely full. We had prepared supper, pasta with tomatoes and mixed salad, and had worked all the afternoon.
When Shri Mataji arrived one of the ladies did the welcoming aarti. The talk was aimed solely at the English – the problems of ego, arrogance, lethargy, untidiness, etc.
How difficult it is to be English!
I think you are coming with us
It was some time in 1985 that we got the big news. My sister Danya, and I stared at each other incredulously, half in disbelief, realising our whole family was about to receive an amazing boon. We had just discovered we would, very shortly, be getting some new neighbours. Due to the need to sell Brompton Square, Shri Mataji and Sir CP were relocating to Flask Walk, Hampstead. This street was a continuation of that on which we lived, at number 15D Well Walk – three minutes away.
Once Mother and Sir CP had settled in, our family (my mother Magda, father Gwil, Danya, and I) being the nearest Sahaja Yogis in the area, often got invited to help out with some matter or other at the flat, or sometimes just seemed to end up there, basking in the beautiful vibrations. The phone would frequently ring in our flat, and my heart would immediately start to beat a little faster on hearing Shri Mataji’s very distinctive way of clearing Her throat before speaking.
‘Ah, hello? Caleb? It’s Mother here…’
Mother wryly joked about Hampstead’s reputation – for ‘madcap intellectualism’ – and sometimes even seemed rather annoyed due to its boisterous and boozy pub culture. But She had a special and enduring relationship with this area of London. Many of the early UK pujas were conducted at the Temple of All Faiths there. Mother also lectured and gave realisation at Friends Meeting House and at Hampstead Town Hall, repeatedly blessing the district with Her darshan on countless occasions, and She lived in Hampstead for some time. Mother once told us why various poets, painters, and writers had been drawn to Hampstead; because it was the part of the Virata that ‘triggered’ or ‘thrilled’ the heart into beating.
One Saturday morning the phone rang and I answered. It was Mother. She asked for my sister Danya to go around to Her flat and help with some vacuuming. I recall looking on a bit wistfully, as my lucky sister skipped down the stairs, off to see Shri Mataji with a big smile on her face. Though happy my sister could have this blessing, I felt rather left out. Sighing disconsolately, I stumped back to my bedroom and felt an incredible longing to also see Mother. I decided to go to Hampstead High Street, to browse in a favourite bookshop, in order to cheer – or at least distract – myself a little.
The most direct route took me past Shri Mataji’s residence in Flask Walk. As I drew closer I realised Mother and Her driver had just emerged from the building, and were standing on the front step. Mother glanced up, saw me and smiled warmly. I was about ten metres away on the opposite side of the street. I immediately did a namaste, bowing deeply to Her. She gestured me to come over with a wave of Her arm.
‘Caleb, what are you doing now?’
‘Erm …I am going for a walk, Mother.’
‘A walk? Really where are you walking now?’ Mother’s tone was full of slightly mischievous amusement.
‘Actually, I was going to a bookshop, Mother,’ I said, feeling slightly foolish.
‘A bookshop? Really?’ Mother almost hooted, ‘Nothing doing!’ I stood in front of Her, my hands still clasped in namaste. ‘Caleb, I think you are coming with us. We are going to Brompton Square now in the car! Is it alright with you?’
‘Yes Mother, of course!’ I stammered, hardly able to believe what was happening.
As this conversation was taking place Mother’s driver had slipped off to fetch Her distinctive white Mercedes parked down the street. A minute or two later we were whisked off, just the three of us, in the car. At one point, as Mother’s chariot chugged slowly through the heavy Saturday morning traffic we started to sing a bhajan. In that moment She became extremely regal, Her expression taking on such a look of majesty that I thought to myself: here I am with the ‘queen of the cosmos, the supporter of the worlds, the cause of the sustentation and dissolution alike of the universe’ and She was nodding and smiling along, with a contented look on Her face as we sang these praise-filled words. I have never forgotten that car journey. Or the sweet play of Shri Leela, that went before it.
The events of that morning always remind me of that gentle, hide-and-seek game Shri Mahamaya sometimes played with all Her children, and of those blissful times, when She saw the love we had for Her in our hearts and granted our wishes to be close to Her.
The look of love in his eyes
When Shri Mataji was living near us in Hampstead, one day my father saw Her in Her doorway just as She was going shopping and he was on his way to the theatre. He was so thrilled, he phoned from Hampstead tube station, and I remember how excited we were.
‘What did She say?’ we asked in our enthusiasm.
‘Nothing,’ he said, ‘She just smiled at me and I bowed.’
Of course the ‘nothing’ of that moment lived with dad for all eternity! Maybe ten years later in an exchange with our beloved Shri Mataji in Cabella, She mentioned dad.
‘He loves you very much, Shri Mataji!’ I said.
‘Yes, I know. I’ll never forget that day we met in Hampstead, and the look of love in his eyes,’ She replied.
When Shri Mataji was staying in Hampstead in the 1980’s, speaking to a Gemini one day, Shri Mataji was explaining that some people considered Geminis to be superficial, because they sometimes hid their depth. She explained that in Her horoscope the star sign Gemini represented Her Maha Maya aspect. Then, as if to illustrate the point, Shri Mataji cast Her eyes downwards to Her recently varnished toe nails, in honour of a pending diplomatic function.
‘You see! I can paint My nails, go to these parties and everyone thinks I am just a diplomat’s wife, and all the time I am the Adi Shakti, that is Maha Maya!’
Shri Mataji on literature
I had a few opportunities to talk to Shri Mataji about writers in the mid 1980’s, when I was studying English Literature and Art History at university. For example I remember a conversation about Tolstoy in Mother’s car on the way to Brompton Square from Flask Walk, in Hampstead (where Mother and Sir CP were residing at the time).
I was a huge War and Peace fan and while I was sitting in the back of the car, leaning forward to where Shri Mataji sat in the front and beginning a conversation about Tolstoy, which She concluded by talking about his late novel Resurrection, which She could not praise highly enough saying it was a story of ‘complete transformation’. Another time I remember talking to Shri Mataji about my studies and Her saying quite wistfully, in a tone of voice which surprised me, because it revealed the respect and curiosity She had about certain English writers and periods of English literature; that if She had more time She would have loved to have studied English Literature Herself.
I also remember Shri Mataji mentioning Thomas Hardy (whose writing She appreciated, but whose overall pessimism She commented on wryly) and Her favouring English authors who were popular and well known to a certain sector of the population – I suppose well-read, middle class people, before and after the Second World War: W.S. Maugham, A.J. Cronin, H.G. Wells, etc. Mother said that H.G. Wells was highly realised.
There is also a talk She gave at Hampstead Town Hall that mentions some of these people (and of course Shakespeare!) – the talk in which She also spoke of Hampstead as the ‘trigger’ that ‘thrilled’ the heart into beating, and this was the reason so many great artists and poets were attracted there. Mother also once mentioned to me that She had been reading Tennyson one morning (I had just arrived at Brompton Square, to do some work) and he was realised. I also remember Her fluently quoting from Shakespeare in Nightingale Lane.
Mother saw the beauty
I remember at one of those meetings at Hampstead Town Hall in London, Shri Mataji was giving Her talk and in walked a lady at the back. She was really rather small, pretty dirty, and had two plastic bags hanging off her. She came in and walked down the centre aisle and, as yogis, we thought, ‘Oh dear, we don’t want this lady too near Mother.’
Shri Mataji greeted her like a long lost friend.
‘How lovely to see you,’ She said. And this smelly, little, old bag lady smiled back and Mother said, ‘Find her a seat.’
She sat right in the front and later Shri Mataji said she was a very old realized soul.
It was such a lesson for us all, that you don’t measure people by what is on the outside. Shri Mataji saw the beauty and, for the rest of us, she was a smelly, old bag-lady.
We wanted to protect our Shri Mataji from someone like that, but Mother knew better.
Wimbledon tennis, authors, poets and Shakespeare
Mother certainly loved many old movies. I also remember watching TV with Her in Flask Walk, how could we forget Her love of Wimbledon and enjoyment of the acrobatic prowess of Her favourite players – even those that became angry if they missed a shot?
‘But he is a Sahaja Yogi!’ She would say of a certain born-realised racket wielding tennis prima donna.
I remember Mother discussing books and writers and poets more than films, probably because I was a literature student at the time. I was always amazed by Her knowledge of Shakespeare and Her ability to recall various passages that had greatly moved Her. I remember Mother talking about Romeo and Juliet – ‘A love like Romeo’s – that is so total, so powerful and complete, is very rare.’ And She loved the ‘mercy speech’ from The Merchant of Venice:
‘The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings;
It is an attribute of God himself;
And earthly power doth then show like God’s
When mercy seasons justice…..’
As for Blake, we all know that Mother absolutely loved him, and saw many passages as a prophecy of Sahaja Yoga especially those concerning Lambeth, where Chelsham Road ashram, London’s most enduring Sahaja Yoga address was built over many years.
|Laughter is the best medicine
Mother always loved a good laugh at things, like when She was sitting and telling us stories
about various ‘madcaps’ in Sahaja Yoga, and rolling with laughter, so much so that the tears would roll down our cheeks, and that amazing time with Her in that flat in Hampstead – so many incredible moments with Her in that period, so how could it be forgotten?
She was relaxing in the evening, flicking though the TV on the remote control to find something to watch, rejecting various programmes, until with satisfaction She arrived at the British classic husband and wife sit-com, ‘Terry and June’. Then She mischievously commented it was good to see a comedy that accurately depicted married life.
Many flowers threaded together
The beautiful metaphors from these divine stories speak straight to the heart, many different flowers all threaded together like a garland to create one meaning – love. Those months when Shri Mataji and Sir CP stayed in the Flask Walk flat were indeed so special. She would phone and we would make the two minute journey, running up the hill, our hearts overspilling with love and a desire to be ‘useful’ to the Goddess.
‘Have you eaten yet?’ She would always say when we arrived.
‘Yes, Mother,’ we would always answer.
‘Really? I don’t believe you! Have something,’ She would playfully say, so our moment of ‘being useful’ was delayed by us sitting at the dining table and eating some highly vibrated breakfast or lunch.
One day I was in the kitchen washing a few plates, humming quietly to myself as I knew Mother was sleeping. I had nearly finished my work when suddenly I felt soft waves of joy wash over me and I turned and saw Shri Mataji standing in the doorway. I had not heard Her coming so I don’t know how long She had stood there – it was as if She had just appeared from nowhere. She was smiling benevolently and looking so pleased,
‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness,’ She said.
At that moment dedicated yogis were no doubt carrying Her message, giving realisation and spreading Sahaja Yoga, yet She made me feel so validated and loved – just for doing a few simple dishes! Other times I would be busy cleaning and She would almost admonish me.
‘What are you doing?’ She’d ask incredulously, when one day She found me sweeping a staircase. ‘Leave that, come and sit down.’
Perhaps my attention was too much on doing and not enough on being, yet I welcomed the golden opportunity to sit at Her Holy Lotus Feet. When I had cooled my hot liver She would usually allow me to press Her Feet and would perhaps tell a story.
In 1985 I received some career advice from Shri Mataji, when I was a twenty-two year old university student, and being a typical ‘arts student’, had no practical plan about what to do afterwards. A phone call came requesting me to visit the flat where She was staying. Bounding up the stairs at the appointed time the next morning, my heart felt full of joy. At the door I was met by Mother’s servant and swiftly ushered, clutching my small bunch of flowers, into the hushed, vibration-filled living room, where Mother sat in an armchair in a relaxed mood, reading The Times, a cup of tea by Her side.
I greeted Shri Mataji, bowed at Her Feet then sat down cross-legged, on the deep, soft carpet, a few metres away from Her. She went on reading the newspaper. Every few minutes the corner of the paper would droop downward, Mother’s twinkling eye would appear and She would talk to me about one of the stories. I sat there, at Her Feet, hands outspread on my lap, taking vibrations, contemplating Mother’s dignity and authority – the Devi deeply absorbed in world affairs.
In the background I could hear the soft, padded footsteps of the servant, and the rattle of some dishes being washed in the kitchen. Once or twice I wondered why I had been summoned, as She seemed in no hurry to talk to me. Perhaps it was simply to absorb the wonderfully strong vibrations, in which case I felt immense gratitude as I seemed to be the only Sahaja Yogi around. After about fifteen minutes, the newspaper was folded away.
‘Caleb, I have been thinking about you,’ She began.
‘Really, Mother?’ I replied.
‘Yes, after you have finished university, maybe you should become a diplomat.’
‘A diplomat, Mother?’ I said, feeling some surprise.
‘Yes, a diplomat. You would be a good diplomat. Of course, you speak French well,’ Mother added with a certain emphasis.
‘Yes, Mother, I speak a bit of French.’ I said, with some exaggeration. She seemed to consider this admission and nodded.
‘There is the law as well,’ She said. ‘Maybe you should try law. I think you would make a good lawyer. Yes, definitely you could try the law. This would be a good job for you.’
Shri Mataji continued to talk about the law, and added that lawyers could make a decent living and were paid very well. Soon, the conversation swung onto other topics.
May God bless you all
The Shri Vishnumaya Puja Seminar in September 1985, in Wimbledon started on Friday with a public programme. Something went wrong with the advertising as the newspaper advert did not bring any public, just three or four new people.
Shri Mataji commented during the talk that rather than wasting money advertising in newspapers it would have been more auspicious to have Her photo all over town through posters,, and even though a few people came they were not seekers of the required quality. She did not seem pleased, but graciously granted a session of self realisation, which was most beneficial to the many Sahaja Yogis present. At the end, the Sahaja Yogis erupted into spontaneous singing of the famous William Blake hymn, Jerusalem.
‘May God bless all those who desired that Jerusalem should be built here in England,’ Shri Mataji then said.
There was joy in the whole audience and Shri Mataji was pleased. She never stayed displeased for long. Every time I heard Shri Mataji say, ‘May God bless you all,’ I felt something deep inside, because no one but Shri Mataji has authority to give this benediction. Even though I was just one of many in the crowd, right at the back of the hall, I felt as if She had spoken straight to me, such was the power of Her words.
The singing of Jerusalem in front of Shri Mataji was done regularly in England, always with the utmost feeling of protocol, sometimes at public events and often at the end of the puja when the atmosphere was at the highest level of spirituality and vibrations, just before Shri Mataji’s aarti.
A song of praise
Shri Mataji recommended the whole collective to listen to a particular song sung in praise of Shri Hazrat Ali and the Prophet’s family, entitled ‘Ali, Ali, Ali, Maula Ali, Haq as it was played on a tape recorder. This was during the Shri Vishnumaya seminar in Wimbledon. Shri Mataji had attended a qawali concert by Nusrat Fateh Ali, in London, in which this song was performed.
Keep a discreet distance
After my first puja, a Shri Vishnumaya Puja in London on 1st September 1985, I was very new and still had my beard and my Indian scarf. I was staying at Chelsham Road ashram and we heard that Shri Mataji was to go shopping in Southall. I asked the Sahaja Yogis there if it was possible to meet Her there.
‘Well as long as you don’t rush after Her in a shop, and keep a discreet distance, maybe it is ok to go,’ someone said.
I went with another new Dutch Sahaja Yogini, and it took two trains, one underground, one bus, and half an hour delay of a train to get there. As we left Southall Station we thought, ‘How on earth are we going to find Shri Mataji here?’ The very moment we left the station, we were on the pavement and there was Shri Mataji’s Mercedes coming towards us. She asked the driver to lower the window.
‘How are you?’ She asked.
‘These are the new people from Holland,’ the driver replied.
‘Come in the car,’ Shri Mataji said.
So there I was, sitting in the front seat, with the other lady in the back with Shri Mataji. We had just had a two and a half hour train journey across London, so the coincidence of us walking out of the train station and at that very same second Shri Mataji’s car pulling up was the play of the Divine Mother, who was going shopping to one of those wholesale markets. It was agreed that it was very nice to have been in the car with Shri Mataji for about ten minutes, and maybe we should go and enjoy ourselves. We were already in bliss, very happy and we walked away.
‘Henno, Shri Mataji wants you to help Her to do the shopping,’ the driver said, when he came back after about five minutes. So it was just me, because the other girl had gone somewhere and we did not see her any more.
It was a huge wholesale market, where you don’t just buy fifty grams of cardamom, you buy ten bags of it. Shri Mataji put everything in my hand and asked me to put it on the counter. I was only two or three months in Sahaja Yoga, and was enjoying it, of course. We had an incredible amount of shopping, so She asked for some Sahaja Yogis to bring two little mini buses.
‘As you helped Me go shopping, you might as well help Me carry it into My house as well, so why don’t you come to Brompton Square, where I live?’ She said.
Henno de Graaf
Shri Mataji was concerned about this born realised soul
We were in Sheffield, in September 1985. Shri Mataji came onto the stage at a programme, and we, a handful of Sahaja Yogis, ran towards Her. She called me said there was a boy, the son of one of the Sahaja Yogis, who needed to improve his vibrations. Shri Mataji asked me if I could do this. I said that with Her blessings I would. She did not guide me as to how to improve him but with Her blessings and prayers I started helping him.
After six weeks Shri Mataji asked me to bring the boy to see Her at Brompton Square. We went, and She saw him but did not say anything. She was having breakfast and asked me to eat with Her, toast and water melon pieces in a bowl, and tea. I humbly said to Mother that I had eaten before, however, She said that as I had come to Her house I had to eat. So we ate with Her company and in my heart I felt so melted in Her love.
After three months of giving the boy Sahaja treatments, I saw Mother and She asked me what I had done to the boy, because he was much improved, and his cheeks looked pink, whereas before they had an unhealthy grey hue. She was very pleased!
The blessings of Her darshan
In September 1985 Shri Mataji came to Sheffield for a public programme at the Memorial Hall, at the City Hall in the city centre. This is the talk that is known because Shri Mataji called Sheffield the She Field. This was also the weekend that we had the seminar ‘The English are Scholars’. I personally was not at most of the seminar because we were told that the present that we had bought Shri Mataji on the occasion of Her visit was not what She would like, and so myself and another yogi had the most exciting time scouring Sheffield for a silver tea set, who never knew that these items were seasonal!
In the afternoon, before the public programme, we went to Shri Mataji’s room in the St George Hotel in the Swallow Chain in Sheffield with tea for after Her afternoon rest. At some point, I was alone with Shri Mataji, sitting at Her Feet, not knowing what to do about the unmade bed, when Her niece, who was accompanying Her came in and tidied it up. Shri Mataji explained that she wanted to do it so to let her. Then there was just Mother and me, and She asked me what I thought of all the Indian girls She was sending to England, and I replied that they were really wonderful and that we were learning a lot from them, especially in the protocols, and Shri Mataji seemed pleased.
As time was getting near for the programme, Shri Mataji handed me some pop socks, those stockings that only go up to the knee, and asked me to put them on Her. I was so amazed to be asked to do this, what a complete privilege, a bit nervous in case I was a bit clumsy doing the job, wow, sitting at the Feet of God, putting on stockings. As I rolled them up to put them on, I noticed as ladder in one of them, what a dilemma! Did someone point out that there was a ladder or not? Well, they were not going to be seen under Her sari, so I just put them on. How can we comprehend having had moments like this, only as I am writing this do I fully realise what an awesome time that was bestowed on all of us who had the blessings of Her darshan. Thank You so much Shri Mataji, for opening my heart deep enough so that I can reach to the bottom of it to adore You.
Behold the Mother
There is a painting by Blake entitled ‘Behold the Mother’. Once in Sheffield, in 1985, when Shri Mataji gave a seminar there, She asked us if we knew what it meant when Christ said, ‘Behold the Mother’.
None of us gave an answer, so Shri Mataji answered Her own question by saying that to behold the Mother means to hold Her in your heart.
A meditation mask of William Blake
In 1985 we acquired a replica of the life mask of William Blake at the souvenir shop of the National Portrait Gallery, made of plaster and painted black. We did not know that the original had been done while Blake was alive and wrongly assumed it to be done after his death. It occurred to us to find out Shri Mataji’s opinion about it. That day She was attending a concert of Indian classical music by the great sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan. Since the Sahaja Yogis had been invited, this was an opportunity to present the mask to Her.
During the interval several dignitaries were being introduced to Shri Mataji. Standing at a distance of three metres, I decided to take the mask out of the box, I removed the lid and lifted the head out of the box by one inch, so that only the Sahasrara was visible. Shri Mataji got a glimpse of it while exchanging greetings with several people and pointed towards the box.
‘Isn’t he beautiful, he is in meditation!’ She commented.
These words answered my question. William Blake was in meditation while the mask was made and we found that in a biography he fell asleep while it was setting.
In 1989, Shri Mataji was making preparations for moving from the UK back to India. At Shudy Camps, Cambridgeshire, She was supervising the packing of fragile objects and the black mask came out of a box. Shri Mataji looked at us and proceeded to answer the question I had in my mind four years earlier. The only thing She didn’t like about the mask was the way it had been painted in black.
In 2003, on a visit to the National Portrait Gallery, we found the replica masks of William Blake are now in flesh colour.
Luis and Carol Garrido