Chapter 15: 1989 – April and May, England and Italy

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

Blindness caused by prejudice

In 1989 we went to pick up Shri Mataji from Heathrow Airport, in London. She was slightly annoyed that when coming out of Customs the airport clerk denied Her access to the VIP exit route, because all the Sahaja Yogis were expecting Her to exit from there and if She came out from another exit She would have missed meeting them. The airport clerk in question did not believe Shri Mataji had VIP status, and She directed him to check the Who’s Who book. He did that in front of Her and though She spelled Her surname several times he could not find it.

I asked Shri Mataji how this could be. She explained that the man was Indian and having lived in the UK for a long time, he couldn’t believe that an Indian person had VIP status, and this made him blind. Luckily another clerk recognised Shri Mataji as being entitled to the VIP exit. This incident caused Shri Mataji’s Feet to become very swollen, but after a few minutes of massage by a Sahaja Yogi, they went back to normal.

Luis Garrido

The European Tour 1989

Here is a short account of Shri Mataji’s visits to various European countries in 1989. This does not include Her visits to other parts of the world in that same year. This type of schedule went on for many years.

The tour started with Shri Hanuman Puja in England just after Easter, and then Shri Mataji went on to visit Italy for the Sahasrara Day Puja in Sorrento, just south of the city of Naples, to be followed by programmes in Naples and Rome; then Spain, with programmes in Madrid and Barcelona and the Shri Buddha Puja in Barcelona, then on to Greece and Turkey with a puja and two programmes in each country.

July saw Shri Mataji visiting France for the Shri Devi Puja for that country, Belgium, and Holland, and for a public programme in Paris. A few days later Shri Mataji was in Munich for two programmes and the puja to Shri Paramchaitanya, followed by the journey through Germany, Austria, and Italy to Lago di Braies for the Guru Puja. Two days after the Guru Puja Shri Mataji was in Vienna for another two public programmes, then back to London for two programmes there, then Milan for two programmes and the puja to Shri Bhairavanath, then to Switzerland for the Shri Ganesha Puja and two programmes in Geneva, then to England for the Shri Krishna Puja and then to Finland and Russia.

Phil Ward

My heart jumped

I was just in Sahaja Yoga and had heard of the marriages. I had been in a relationship for six years and did not know what to do. Marry this man? Marry in Sahaj? What was the right thing to do? For some time I had been praying to Mother for an answer. I had dreams of Her I did not understand. Then Mother came to Germany and we were all sitting in front of Her Feet and She talked to every one of us. She asked me how I was, and about my parents. I just sat there and did not dare to ask the most important question for me.

How old are you? You should get married,’ Mother suddenly asked with a smile.

Oh no!’ I thought, ‘Mother please don’t leave me like this. Oh, please!’

Don’t worry. I will find you a nice man,’ She said.

Some time later, it was at the Shri Hanuman Puja in 1989. I had got married the year before and had moved to my husband’s country. The collectivity there was much smaller and I felt very alone, and did not understand the language. I felt ashamed of feeling like this, and felt far away from Mother’s attention. The day after the puja I was standing outside the hotel, waiting for our group to leave. Suddenly the door opened and Shri Mataji came down the little path.

Hello. How are you?’ She said as She passed by.

Fine,’ I whispered. I was so astounded. She walked on, turned, and looked at me with a melting smile.

By the way, thank you for the mirror,’ She said.

My heart jumped. With these little words She told me that She had not forgotten me or left me alone. She knew exactly, and She wanted me to come to my senses! I laughed loudly. There was only joy. This feeling of being alone left, and never came back.

Barbara Martens

No pain at all 

We were at Margate in 1989, at the Shri Hanuman Puja.

Anyone who has any problems can come up to My room tomorrow morning,’ Shri Mataji had said the day before. I decided to go as I had had a painful back problem for about a year. Initially people were going in individually, but then She said we should all go in together. I happened to be the first in so I ended up sitting right at Shri Mataji’s Feet. She asked me what was the problem so I told Her. She asked me if I had had a fall – I said no, forgetting that I had in fact had a fall a year or so before. Mother then told me to turn with my back facing Her, and She put Her Foot on it. She knew exactly the spot that was painful, and I could feel Her toes moving on my back as She sat talking to other people about their problems. She also made me put both hands on the floor, and I could feel a lot of heat coming from them. After about half an hour Mother asked me how I felt.

A bit better, Mother,’ I answered, although to be truthful I couldn’t feel much difference. When I got up to leave the room, though, I was amazed to feel that my whole back felt loose – whereas before it had been tight and painful. Gradually, over the next few months, my back improved until the pain completely went.

There was a girl there to see Shri Mataji at the same time because she had a problem walking which was to do with her hip – she had been in constant pain all her life because one leg was shorter than the other. Shri Mataji put Her Foot on her hip and told her to look at Her Feet and to put her hand towards a candle. I saw the girl a year or so later and asked her how her hip was. She said she was cured and now had no pain at all.

Frances Firth

Namoh namoh Maria

This was Shri Hanuman Puja, 1989, Margate, England. I was with Shri Mataji upstairs, and we were coming downstairs to the puja hall. Shri Mataji was coming down the stairs and She stood at the bottom of the stairs, and Namoh, namoh Maria was going on. I was a few steps behind Shri Mataji, a little bit higher up and while the bhajan was going on I could see Her Sahasrara just throbbing – just alive – it was like a huge amount of light was coming from inside. Shri Mataji just stood there until the bhajan was finished and ever since then Namoh, namoh Maria is a bhajan that makes me completely thoughtless, because it reminds me of Shri Mataji’s Sahasrara and I can be back on those stairs, totally lost in it.

Prerna Richards

Shri Hanuman Puja 1989

Advice from Shri Mataji

At the end of 1986 I began work on a book about Christ called Sophia. My writing, which began very slowly with a few chapters, received an added impetus when my wife Ruth went to stay with Shri Mataji in Rosary Gardens, in London, in mid-November 1987. Mother had just watched a programme on TV about the Gnostics and was enthusiastic about it. She told Ruth that Thomas, the apostle, was a good man.

Later, in April 1989, after I had finished Sophia, I was traveling back in the train from Margate to London after the Shri Hanuman Puja when Mother waved for me to come into Her compartment. Another Sahaja Yogi had been telling Mother what Sophia was about just before I went in, but She had forestalled him by saying, ‘I know. I know everything.’

She told me that I should mention Her directly in the book and only then would it be published. Erring on the side of discretion, I had not mentioned Her. She said that I should say I had got the knowledge in the book through my self realisation. She added reassuringly that they wouldn’t get after me the way they were getting after Rushdie, in a reference to the then current fatwa on the writer Salman Rushdie, for writing a book on religious matters.

Chris Greaves

One of the most lovely days of my life

I was on that boat where that amazing series of photos were taken, on the way to Capri in May 1989. The sky was so blue and the water clear, as if I had fallen into paradise. I did not see anything of the miracles though! It was such a clear day, there was lots of sunshine and a wonderful feeling.

The boat was very crowded and I was far at the back, but we felt so happy and safe, as if Shri Mataji was taking care of us all. We were singing a lot on the boat and there was a lovely dinner, a pizza I recall. Later we went ashore and Shri Mataji wanted to do some shopping in the little village there. All the Sahaja Yogis wanted to follow Her, but we didn’t want to bother Her so we did it very discreetly, and didn’t go into the shops, but stayed outside. There were flowers all over the place, growing everywhere. I only remember the emotions in my heart, one of the most beautiful weeks of my life.

Shri Mataji did a public programme on the island, and I was very close to Her, right at the front. The Sahaja Yogis were singing Jogawa! Uda bai, uda bai, ho! very loudly. I was thinking that they were perhaps singing too loudly, because the new people who wanted to talk to Shri Mataji couldn’t. Sure enough Shri Mataji read my mind and looked at me.

What naughty ones they are!’ She said, or something like that, but She was laughing, and I felt She wanted it to be like this and maybe didn’t want to speak. She was very sweet.

Henriette Hagrasman

When we were on the boat we didn’t see any light coming

I was on the boat trip when Shri Mataji was with us, near Capri. We were going round another smaller island there and when we got to Capri, Robert Hunter, who took the photos, went to the photo shop to have his pictures developed that he had taken on the boat. When he picked them up an hour or so later, I happened to be with him, and we were eager to see how they had come out. We thought they were normal photos.

We were so very surprised when we saw them with the light coming in every photo on the boat. In every successive photo there were more and more vibrations (light) coming. We were amazed and didn’t understand about them at all. When we were on the boat we had not seen any light coming. It was a wonderful trip with Shri Mataji but there was nothing unusual happening. Also there was no light in the other photos on the same reel of film.

Mara-Madhuri Corazzari

Sorrento, Pompeii and Naples

In 1989 I went to the Sahasrara Puja at Sorrento, where that incredible miracle photo was taken. The puja took place in a cinema, and the backdrop was very plain, and there was just Shri Mataji sitting on a simple chair on the stage.

After the puja programme there was a public programme in Naples. Somehow, by my mistake, my son and I got left behind, alone, at the Sorrento campsite where we were staying. I wasn’t worried as I had the address of the programme in the evening, and said to my son, ‘Let’s go and look at Pompeii.’ So we took a local train there.

We entered the Ancient Roman town, buried by the volcano eruption of AD 79. We started walking, not really having any plan, because it is a very big area, and somehow I felt guided to go in a certain direction. A few streets later, who should we meet but Shri Mataji and a lot of Sahaja Yogis all sitting near Her. It was a miracle that we just spontaneously walked straight to them all. We joined them, and then Shri Mataji said we should all have lunch together, which we did, at an open air restaurant nearby.

The public programme in Naples was well attended and was in a beautiful old palazzo in the centre of the town.

Linda Williams

Shri Mataji’s magic

After the public programme in Naples, in May 1989, we stayed in the old school for the little children outside Rome. Mother was there, and a lot of Sahaja Yogis from various places, as well as the children. The next day a journalist came to see Mother. I was at the back of the room with my son. Mother called me to the front as the journalist wanted to talk about the damage inflicted by false gurus, among other things.

I sat at Mother’s Feet and She very graciously gave me a cup of tea. I was a bit worried as the journalist didn’t speak much English. I hadn’t spoken Italian for fifteen years and am not good at languages, plus it was only my fourth language. Mother encouraged me to try in Italian though, and it was amazing, after that cup of tea the Italian just flowed out. Later the journalist complimented me on my almost perfect grasp of the language. Just, and only, at that time, I was using words I did not know I knew, thanks to that magic cup of tea!

Linda Williams

Everyone was impressed by Her personality

I phoned Shri Mataji in Rome and She spoke to me very sweetly, the Great Mother, and accepted the invitation to come to Brazil. After some uncertainties, I decided to phone again, at six o’clock in the morning. She was very sweet, and I tried to explain everything about Brazil and spoke to Her of the room we had been offered by the government. She was amazed, and asked how it was possible that we had managed to do so much in a city like Brasilia, where we did not have much help. I explained that everyone was impressed by Her personality.

But how do they know it?’ She said.

I told Shri Mataji of the little biography I had made of Her. She was astonished, and asked where we had got it from, and who had written it. I explained that I had written of Her life with Gandhi, of Her mission, of Her husband etc. She confirmed Her coming to Brazil. The programme was to consist of Salvador, Brasilia and Rio. We did not ever hope for so many blessings for Brazil, in so little time.

Duilio Cartocci

We must be more relaxed

Shri Mataji came to Rome and we had a puja and a public programme, and on the day She had to leave I was the driver. The flight was at twelve o’clock and at about half past eleven, Shri Mataji came out. It was quite late and we could not possibly reach the airport, as it was at least an hour’s drive. She sat in the car and we went very fast. She went to sleep and when we were ten kilometres from the airport, there was a big traffic jam. Finally, we reached the airport at half past twelve and saw all the Sahaja Yogis outside the airport and wondered, because usually they would be inside. We stopped and Shri Mataji asked what was happening.

Shri Mataji, the flight is cancelled,’ they said.

Let’s go and eat something,’ She suggested. We went to a restaurant at the seaside and had a nice meal of fish. Someone had a newspaper and saw that a certain place was for sale, so he asked Shri Mataji if we could go and see it.

Yes, why not?’ She said. He phoned and made an appointment and we went to see it. It had two big buildings and the owner had divided it into two, along with the land. He had been trying to sell it for years, but no one was interested because it was too big, so the price came down and down. We went inside and the more we saw of the one half, the more we knew this was the right place. We came and told Shri Mataji.

Go and see the other one, too,’ She said. So we did and then She said we should buy both of them. Shri Mataji said that if the flight had not been cancelled, we wouldn’t have found this beautiful ashram which was used for the children’s school. She said we always got worried when She was leaving and we had to be more relaxed about Her departures.

Akbar Samii

How can your Mother do all the work?

On May 21st, 1989, in Barcelona, I was telling the French leader how fortunate he was to have massaged the Feet of Shri Mataji. On the Friday there was a public programme and we came almost at the end. Shri Mataji was sitting down and the programme was finished but She was receiving all the new people one by one and working on them. So many Sahaja Yogis were around Shri Mataji. Then I saw Her, who didn’t know me, apart from the one time I went shopping with Her, and I had never talked with Her. She looked at me and called me over.

How can your Mother do all the work if you don’t help Her?’ She said to me. ‘Please, come here and sit next to Me.’ I sat next to Her, giving vibrations to the new people when Shri Mataji indicated treatments for them. Sometimes, there was some new person who couldn’t speak English and just spoke French, and I was translating.

Pascal Shrestaputra

The beginnings in Greece

When Sahaja Yoga started in Greece in May 1989, I was lucky to be one of those who was there when we had the first public programme, which was postered in a big way by some Sahaja Yogis from Rome. There were about five hundred people at the programme and then we had a seminar at the home of a Sahaja Yogi, who had a kind of a castle. We had the first havan, and when everything was ready suddenly someone started to shoot cannons, at that auspicious moment.

Wolfgang Hackl

I trust you

I lived at Shudy Camps for a while, in 1989, after my mother had left for South Africa and some of the Sahaja Yogis there were looking after me. I think they thought that I was going through a slightly wild phase in my life, as I was fifteen and enjoyed going to parties with my friends and going to pop concerts and things like that.

I remember Shri Mataji came for a visit and I’d returned from school and I was told in very ominous tones that She wanted to see me. So I thought, ‘Oh no, Mother isn’t going to be happy with me.’ I hadn’t really done anything wrong, but from the tone I was worried.

I changed into my best outfit, an angora jersey and a navy blue kilt with green stripes on it. I went to see Shri Mataji and, as I walked through the door, She was sitting on the sofa and She looked me up and down.

Auriol, I’ve told you never to wear black,’ She said.

I’m sorry, Shri Mataji,’ I replied, looked down at myself and thought, ‘I’m not actually wearing black. I’m wearing navy blue.’ But I didn’t say anything and was expecting Her to be displeased with me and get told off about my behaviour.

Instead, Shri Mataji started asking me what it was like to go to school in the West, as opposed to India, because I had lived and been to school for six years in India. She sat and talked to me for quite a long time and asked many different questions about what I thought about the different ways of schooling and whether I preferred it in India or the West.

I was telling Her my opinions on the matter. Every minute I was expecting Her to start telling me that I had not been behaving properly and then the conversation came to a close. By this time, She had been served some food and was sitting at the table and I was sitting the other side of it to Her.

But you’re not wearing black, are you? You are wearing navy blue,’ Shri Mataji said eventually. Then She said to me something to me I will never forget. ‘You know, Auriol, I trust you, and I will always trust you. You can go now. It’s okay.’

If I had ever thought of doing anything wrong at that time, that thing She said would have stopped me because I knew She trusted me and I would never break that trust.

Auriol Purdie

Tactful advice

In 1989 I was 15 and was living in Shudy Camps under the care of some of the yogis who lived there, as my mother had gone to South Africa to spread Sahaja Yoga. I was very innocent to the ways of a Western schoolchild. In India, where I had been living for the previous six years, I had attended a private co-ed school and there were no romantic relationships between schoolchildren and we had no exposure to alcohol and smoking. When I attended the local comprehensive school near Shudy Camps I wanted to be part of the new environment so started to emulate the dress and hairstyles, made friends and started going to parties. I tried alcohol and took a puff on a cigarette, out of curiosity, and did occasionally flirt with the idea of accepting a offer to go on a date, but when it came down to it I knew I was a yogini.

Often Mother would come and stay for a few days and when She arrived we would all gather to greet or offer our respects as She left. On one such occasion I happened to be standing next to a friend who was several years older than me. She was Indian but her mother had been married to a British yogi by Shri Mataji and as Mother was leaving, She suddenly stopped and started to talk to this girl in Hindi (unusual as this girl was from Maharashtra so Mother normally spoke to her in Marathi) but Hindi is a language that I speak. Mother told the yogini not to get sucked into the maya of the Western way of life and to be careful of her ego persuading her that she was ok. I stood there, understanding every word and I very rapidly realised that Mother was not only talking to my friend but also warning me not to let my ego tell me that I was above getting caught up by all these silly things. Mother had such a wonderful way of gently guiding us. She knew that if She had reprimanded me openly I would probably have been exceptionally embarrassed and upset but because Mother spoke in a language that only She, myself and my friend were able to understand we knew that Mother was protecting us in every way. In every way Mother taught us not only how to grow spiritually but also how to strive to be good, honest, respectful and kind. Would that we could all emulate Her example.

Auriol Purdie 

Three Sahaja Yogis reminisce about laughter 

In 1989 when we were helping Shri Mataji pack away tea sets in Shudy Camps, another yogi and I, at dinner, were enjoying the vibrations and cracking jokes, and both of us have quite loud and distinctive laughs. I was wondering if our jocundity would be disturbing for Shri Mataji but later heard that She had enquired as to who was laughing and had enjoyed listening to us and said laughter was a quality of the heart. Such a great Mother who enjoyed the laughter of Her children.

Steve Jones 

I remember giggling blissfully outside Mother’s suite in Shudy Camps along with you and others, Steve. We had sneaked upstairs one evening and were sort of eavesdropping outside Mother’s door, whispering like daring children, as though She somehow wouldn’t know we were there! Bogdan (Shehovych) was inside with Mother, who was watching the movie, Back to the Future. The absurd juxtaposition of this zany American film with its whacky professor, and dodgy mariadas, and the Adi Shakti actually sitting inside there watching it, was too, too much.

Marilyn Leate 

 I remember! And the part in Back to the Future where he is about to kiss his own mother when she was a teenager and she didn’t know he was her son from the future and they stop before they kiss as they feel something is not right.

Ah, you see, the mariadas!’ Shri Mataji said.

Steve Jones

Swirling gold dust

When we were at Shudy Camps with Shri Mataji, who had just come back from a programme, probably a public programme in Cambridge and She was walking up the stairs. She was at the end of the corridor, so I watched Her passing from the other end. I looked at Her and for a split second I saw like very fine gold dust swirling behind Her where She walked.

Sharon Vincent

Shri Mataji likes people to act naturally

I think Shri Mataji is always very happy if you are doing a little thing for Her. When She is with yogis, She doesn’t like them to feel in awe of Her. She likes people to act naturally, I guess.

Once at Shudy Camps, Shri Mataji had a group of us sitting round Her and everyone was talking quite casually, almost as if She wasn’t there. Of course, we were aware because She is God. But it was all happening very naturally.

Barry Humphries

A very powerful mantra

Shri Mataji called me up to Shudy Camps, to work with Sir CP to help with his book. I was very concerned about my own ascent, and was able to talk to Shri Mataji, up in Her room. We sat for a while and She talked about a number of things, none of them personal, but She looked at me and was obviously aware of my concern.

Don’t worry, you will be all right,’ She said. When I went downstairs, there was a video of Mother playing, and just at the point I looked at the video, on the video She said, ‘What is the problem? You live, you die, you have done it so many times, don’t worry.’ I realised that I was all right, because I am the spirit, no matter what happens. It was quite clear to me.

During this period Shri Mataji was at Shudy Camps for about three months, recovering from an injury. I had the opportunity to spend several moments with Her. A powerful experience was when She dealt with an Agnya catch of mine. She put Her finger on my Agnya, and told me to look at Her Agnya. I was sitting literally a foot away from Her and looking into Her Agnya.

Say, seven times, Shri Mataji, You are the Holy Ghost, the Christ, the ascent,’ She said.

After I had done this, and it was one of the most powerful mantras I have managed to retain. I have used and passed on that mantra to many people.

Guy Beavan

Good art

At Shudy Camps there was a period when we were packing all of Shri Mataji’s belongings that were going to be shipped back to India. She used to come up for about two weeks at a time, mostly over one summer, and She must have come five or six times. There was a team of about seven or eight of us. Shri Mataji would come out onto the landing at about eight o’clock every morning, and we would all be there. Sometimes She would talk to us for maybe a couple of hours.

Right, now we have got to get on with it!’ Shri Mataji would say, and we would all jump up and keep bringing all the things – hundreds of tea sets, and porcelain. It was incredible – it would become like an art appreciation lesson, because we would bring something along, and She would say, ‘Just look at this, look at the way the artist has expressed himself!’

One day I found a pot which was really brightly coloured and thought, ‘Shri Mataji will really like this one,’ and She did not like it at all and suggested we should throw it away. She would show us what was good art and what wasn’t. One person would wrap everything up, in tissue paper and bubble wrap, and the rest of us would keep bringing things.

Chris Marlow

Assembling chandeliers

In 1989 Shri Mataji was away on a tour and I decided to assemble and hang some chandeliers belonging to Her that were packed away in the attic at Shudy Camps. I had been told by some Sahaja Yogis that Shri Mataji had asked for this to be done on several occasions but no one had done it. People reassured me that She would be pleased to see this done. When Shri Mataji first arrived back, I was surprised that She did not say anything about the chandeliers. A few days later She spoke to me.

I never told you to assemble and hang the chandeliers,’ She said.

Everybody told me that You asked for the chandeliers to be hung, Shri Mataji. Did all these people lie to me?’ I asked.

I did not ask you, I asked someone else, that’s My point,’ She replied.

Yes I see that now,’ I answered.

Do you know how many years ago I asked for the chandeliers to be assembled and hung?’ Shri Mataji asked. ‘Three years – a long time. Circumstances have changed, we are packing everything to go back to India and you could have saved yourself the trouble of doing this. But on the other hand they look very nice, and I wanted to ask you to assemble two more chandeliers, to fill in a gap. Now we are expecting guests we could make the place look nice.’

 Luis Garrido

Shudy Camps House from the back with some of the Sahaja Yogis. In the foreground is the large lawn where the marquee was pitched for pujas. The house is situated in the depths of the English countryside, near Cambridge.

Pruning roses

At Shudy Camps, around 1989, Shri Mataji asked us to prune some rose bushes in the front of the house, so we waited for a gardener to come. A week later She again suggested we prune them. We replied that we didn’t know how and would rather have it done by a proper gardener.

Just prune them, there’s nothing to it,’ Shri Mataji said, but we lacked confidence.

Later there was a programme on TV featuring an experiment by the Royal Agricultural Society in which ten rose bushes were pruned by an expert, another ten by a gardening amateur, and ten by a madcap with a chain saw. The conclusion, judged by experts, was that the three methods of pruning produced the same amount and quality of blooms the next season. By now we were convinced that even we could do it.

Luis Garrido

The builder with the noisy drill

Around 1989, in a temporary London flat in Buckingham Palace Road, Shri Mataji was back in London from a long tour around the world. She explained that She had developed a headache that week because every time She tried to take an afternoon rest the builder next door would start operating a pneumatic drill.

This man needs to be stopped, he has no right to do this,’ we said.

We asked Shri Mataji whether we could stop him and She replied that the man was not important, what was important was our desire to see Her welcomed by the whole country.

In that case would You allow me to give You a head massage for the pain?’ one of the Sahaja Yogis said.

Since you suggested it, you might as well,’ Shri Mataji replied.

A towel and oil was brought and later Shri Mataji explained that from then on, the builder next door no longer used the drill the moment She decided to take an afternoon rest.

Luis Garrido

Watering the garden

This simple method of vibrating water was taught by Shri Mataji in 1989 at Pratishthan. When watering the garden with a hose, let the water fall onto the palm of the hand (the Sahasrara) and from there the water will cascade down to the plants or soil. Ideally the person using this technique would be wearing a badge or a pendant of Shri Mataji, otherwise keep the attention on Her or on the Sahasrara. 

Luis Garrido