Chapter 16: 1979 – The Goddess Declares Herself

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

One of the most majestic things I have ever seen

At Dollis Hill, Shri Mataji would be working on someone, and would have Her index finger up, and like Shri Krishna She would be as if throwing these – chakras – at people and Her bangles would be jangling and Her hair would be back. It was one of the most majestic things I have ever seen, and She would have Her eyes on the person. She would be as if throwing the discus, and again, taking it back and throwing it again – using weapons. It was different to how it was later, but it was very beautiful and very majestic.

The person would be at Her Feet and Shri Mataji would look at their back. Then suddenly She would look up and look at a candle, which would be in front of the photograph and instantly the flame would judder – then She would look at another flame and instantly that flame would judder as She would be driving the bhuts out of the people. It was fantastic to watch.

One night we were at Dollis Hill ashram and She had Her finger on one Sahaja Yogi’s Hamsa chakra all night. I was lucky enough to be rubbing Shri Mataji’s Feet all that night. I remember glancing at the window and it was daylight. Shri Mataji had been working on the three of us all night long. Incredible.

John Watkinson

The protection of Her embrace

One day during meditation at home I became consumed by a deep desire to give something to Shri Mataji, to thank Her for all She had done for me and for all She had saved me from. I searched earnestly for something appropriate of my own to give Her because I had no money, and came upon an old, heavy and ornate silver bracelet my grandmother had given me. It was the only thing I had which had any value, and seemed to be the most appropriate gift.

I went to the public programme in Caxton Hall, which Shri Mataji gave every week, hoping to have the opportunity to give it to Her. When I got there, most people were sitting inside the room as usual, waiting for Her to come from Her flat nearby in Ashley Gardens. I took the rather bold step of hanging around the entrance of the room with the official welcomers, hoping to have a chance to discreetly give it to Her before She went in.

I tried to wait discreetly and not be too obtrusive, when suddenly She came up the stairs with two or three yogis. Before I had my opportunity, She turned aside and went into the ladies’ cloakroom. Instinctively, I followed Her. This was actually very presumptuous and rude, but somehow I could not stop myself — the desire to give this gift was so overwhelming. It was not the gift that was important, but that I had to give something to express all that was in my heart — this deep feeling of gratitude and thankfulness. I waited in the outer room of the cloakroom as to greet Shri Mataji when She came out. Suddenly I was standing facing Her.

‘Excuse me, Shri Mataji,’ I said, ‘I just wanted to give this gift to You.’ I felt conscious that it was not adequate to express all that was in my heart. She stood there for a moment, looking straight at me and then stepped forward and put Her arms around me, completely swamping and enveloping me in Her warmth and the protection of Her embrace. It seemed to last for a very long time. It is hard to describe the completely encompassing sense of love and compassion and safety I felt in Her arms in that timeless moment. Then She stepped back and went on out to the programme.

This incident is a supreme example that for Shri Mataji it never mattered what the gift was. It was the feeling behind it She valued.

Felicity Payment

I had arrived home to begin a new journey

In 1979 I had just returned to London after travelling around Europe on a motor-cycle for three months. I was twenty-one years of age and was beginning a course at an art college. Ever since I was a kid I had a feeling that something special was going to happen at art college. I soon met John Watkinson who told me about Sahaja Yoga and that a public programme happened every Monday evening at Caxton Hall, London.

The meeting began with an introductory talk by a Sahaja Yogi and then we sat with expectation, waiting for Shri Mataji’s arrival. Suddenly everyone stood up with respect as this Indian lady with a tremendous presence entered the hall. Immediately I felt I was in the company of someone very special, and it filled me with the feeling of coming home.

I was so impressed as I listened to Her speaking for a long time about many things. One point especially made a connection with me, as She made a comment about how special it is to be close to nature. She continued to speak with such clarity and eloquence until it was time to give us our self realisation. She asked us to hold out our hands and to really desire the highest gift of self realisation from Her, and pray to God with all our attention to awaken this energy inside us. Afterwards I felt very joyful, as if I had arrived home at my destination to begin a new journey.

At the end of the programme, and with some encouragement, I went in person to offer Mother a flower. I felt myself alone and at complete ease before Her. She looked through me. I did not say anything as She closed Her eyes for what seemed like ages, as if She went far away deep inside of me until She opened Her eyes again.

‘Put your hand on your heart and say, I love my Mother!’ She said.

 Colin Heinsen

You have My complete protection

At some point in 1979, my wife Ruth was at a meeting at Caxton Hall in London. In those days, after giving an introduction and then granting self realisation, Shri Mataji would often attend to the seekers individually. At this point She was working on a young man who was sitting close to Ruth. She asked the man his name.

‘Mikhail,’ he answered.

‘Do you know what it means?’ She said.

‘No,’ he replied.

‘It means Almighty God.’

He started behaving very strangely and Ruth felt afraid. She had never seen anything like this before. Mother sat down again on Her chair, maybe five yards from where Ruth was sitting. Shri Mataji suddenly turned to her and put her in bandhan.

‘Don’t worry, you have My complete protection,’ She said.

Chris Greaves

How did Shri Mataji know that?

I was at a programme at Caxton Hall, London, and suddenly Shri Mataji looked at me. I was sitting several rows back and I had not expected to be spoken to. I was also surprised by what She said.

‘Ah, an intellectual!’ She exclaimed.

It was true, but how did Shri Mataji know that? I was wearing glasses, but so were plenty of people who were not intellectuals. I wore jeans and my hair was very long; certainly there was nothing like a tweed jacket or a notebook and pencil in evidence. She added one or two things, and then at the end of the meeting someone took me up to Her. Shri Mataji cricked my neck in order to clear my Vishuddhi chakra and asked me to say a mantra.

Chris Greaves

Shri Mataji worked tirelessly on people

Towards the end of each Caxton Hall meeting, Shri Mataji would take a lighted candle and stare through it, with Her eyes wide, looking towards certain individuals who had Agnya problems.

‘Ha! Better now,’ She would call out. People brought limes and chillies to Her and She would vibrate them, either by a gentle touch or a bandhan inside the bag. She worked tirelessly on people, often using Her Feet, as well as Her hands. She made chopping movements in the air to destroy negativity. Individuals would stand with one hand towards Her and the other out of the nearby window.

Shri Mataji recommended white cane sugar for the liverish and She would vibrate it for them. She spoke a lot about the liver — how it was the seat of our attention — emphasizing how badly Western diets, alcohol, medicines, too much thinking and too much chocolate ruin the liver.

Marilyn Leate

Have some faith

At a public programme there was a man who couldn’t look at Shri Mataji.

‘Have some faith. Just try to look,’ She said. She asked for a lemon and had it in Her hand. Shri Mataji could move very fast and suddenly She got up out of Her chair, walked across to this man and put this lemon in his hand, then he became better.

John Watkinson

The vibrations of material objects

Shri Mataji gave me lessons on the importance of being aware of the vibrations of things. When I first got realisation, I had a necklace made of red Chinese lacquer beads. Shri Mataji warned me that it did not have good vibrations, and took it to Her flat to try to put it right. She put it in a bucket of vibrated water on Her balcony for some weeks, but it did not get ok, and She finally told me this, so we threw it away.

Linda Williams

I want to come to your meeting

In November 1979 Shri Mataji phoned me in Brighton, at my house, and I picked up the phone.

‘It’s Mataji here. I want to come down to your meeting,’ She said, when we were to have our first public programme in Brighton. We hadn’t had our realisation very long and it was one of the first programmes outside of London. I remember writing all the posters and we were amazed that there was a cool breeze coming out of them. The wording was ‘Come and find yourself.’ We thought the whole town was going to be jammed with people coming. The programme was going to be in Hove. A few days before the programme, Shri Mataji said She was going to come down to this programme. I was the only one with a car and I had to pick Her up at the station. I put the children in the back.

We got to the station a bit late and there was no sign of Shri Mataji. We knew Mother was coming by train and then it came in and we saw Her in the distance, at the far end of the platform, coming walking, and behind were all the yogis.

‘See how the train waited for us?’ Shri Mataji said when She arrived, and so, suddenly I was early and not late. We got to the programme and all our friends came. Actually, nobody came from the posters, except all our friends. They didn’t all get realisation, but it was a very interesting programme.

Pamela Bromley

To defend Shri Mataji by all means possible

This is something that happened at Heathrow Airport in England in late 1979. The authorities were very prejudiced and racist and both Shri Mataji and Her husband, who was a senior United Nations diplomat, had experienced racial discrimination whenever they travelled in or out of London.

On this particular day, Shri Mataji was going to leave London and somehow She told another Sahaja Yogi and me the wrong time, a time that was some time after Her plane departed. We had been with Her all day and had a bit of a reputation for getting rather angry with people who troubled Her and being rather strong with anyone who got in Mother’s way, so maybe that was Her way of keeping us out of trouble.

When we got there that day, we met some Sahaja Yogis, who said that we had missed Mother’s flight, but that something very terrible happened. They told us that Shri Mataji had been badly treated by one of the airport security guards. Later on, I got a message that I had to call Shri Mataji, so I did.

‘Bala, the guard actually hit Me on My back. He hit Me so hard that it caused a problem with the spinal fluid,’ She said.

You can imagine how tormenting this was. Shri Mataji was very unhappy with the reaction of the Sahaja Yogis, because of those who were present, other than one person, none had jumped to Her defence, and they had not gone and made a major issue with the airport authorities.

At that time, people were under the illusion that they had to step back and be peaceful and loving, but what Shri Mataji was trying to show us was that when your Mother is insulted or attacked, like Shri Ganesha, you should defend Her. Also She was giving us an indication of the extreme discrimination that was still going on at that time against Indians, even after all these years of independence. To think that if somebody who had a diplomatic passport like Shri Mataji could be treated this way, how the ordinary Indian people and Asians there were treated!

Bala Kanayson

Douglas Fry’s seventieth birthday, November 2008 

On Saturday night at Flood Street, London, there was a celebration of Douglas Fry’s seventieth birthday. He was one of the first six Sahaja Yogis in the Western world. Douglas spoke about the Dollis Hill ashram.

 In 1979, Shri Mataji often visited Dollis Hill at weekends and sometimes stayed the night. One weekend Douglas Fry had made some cakes. There was a Sahaja Yogi there who was quite disturbed by his previous practice of a false guru cult. Every time he tried to take a bite of one of Douglas’s cakes he would have a sort of fit and make all kinds of noises. As he was determined to take a bite, this went on for some time! Shri Mataji said that the cakes had such a dramatic effect because Douglas had made them with love.

 The first Sahaja Yogis were all dynamic in their own way. Douglas was always so innocent and simple hearted and if it were not for Douglas we would not have any of the very early audio tapes of Shri Mataji.

 John Watkinson

Mother’s return from India in 1979

It was the year that The Advent was published, in 1979. We all knew that Shri Mataji was due back from India and at the evening meeting at Caxton Hall we were told that She would be returning that very weekend. We all decided that we should meet Mother at Heathrow Airport to welcome Her on Her return. I think it was a Saturday. We all turned up at the airport a few hours early and were so pleased to find that the flight was on time. As each minute went by the air was filled with excitement at Mother’s return.

We all looked up to the Arrivals Board – Shri Mataji’s flight had just landed. We all stood there in anticipation waiting for Mother to come through the gates. The first few people started to trickle through and then a few more. We were all excited to feel that Mother would be with us at any moment. More people came though until it became all too obvious that all passengers had come through the gates. We were all amazed and bemused. We were like small children who had lost their mother; all stood there in a state of shock. What we had not realised that time was that Mother had gone through the VIP lounge and was on Her way back to central London.

Gavin, the leader, made a telephone call to Shri Mataji’s apartment in London only to find that She had just returned home. When Mother found out what had happened She was very upset that She had missed us all and was not aware that we were all going to be there to greet Her. When Gavin returned he told us what had happened and that Mother was so upset that She had missed us all. He then told us that Mother had requested that any Sahaja Yogi still at the airport could travel into London and have tea with Her at Her apartment in Westminster. I think about fifteen or so of us actually made it back into London. On arriving at Mother’s house we had tea and refreshments and we all sat around talking to Her.

You are probably wondering what all this had to do with my earlier reference to The Advent. We were all very aware that Mother must have been very tired after the long flight back from India, so it was decided that we should all leave and allow Her to rest. Just before we were about to go Mother announced that She had brought a number of copies of the newly published Advent back from India and the books were then put on display for people to see. The vibrations coming from the books were tremendous – not just a breeze but a gale force wind. Unbelievable! Just as I was about to leave Gavin came up to me. He said that Mother wanted me to have a copy of The Advent, just brought back from India. I felt so privileged and the vibrations from the book were amazing.

The Advent sat next to me on the front passenger seat all the way home. The cool vibrations that filled the car were tremendous.

Colin Dunwell

A big event

When The Advent was inaugurated, in 1979, it was a big event. We had heard that Gregoire would show it to Shri Mataji and She would edit it and make changes. Shri Mataji suggested he move the rather heavy, intellectual chapters to the end.

It was the first time we had held a programme in such a really upmarket place and there was a lot of preparation. We arrived in the main entrance of the Indian Consulate, in one of the many grand old historical buildings in London. Off to the right was a small room holding a beautiful exhibition about Sahaja Yoga. It had stands about each chakra, with Shri Mataji as the main focus. I can still see the entrance. It was as if the room was filled with a special kind of soft, bright light. I felt as if I was walking into vibrations. It was heavenly.

Then we went into the main auditorium and the presentation began. There were many speeches in honour of Shri Mataji and the work She was doing — notably from Sir CP and, as always, heart-warming and humble words from Gregoire.

Felicity Payment

Time ceased to exist in Her holy presence

Of the many talks Shri Mataji gave at Dollis Hill, one in particular comes to mind – Her talk on attention in 1979. No doubt She was working on our attention at the time. Every word, every syllable seemed to focus our attention. The vibrations were pouring out and again time ceased to exist in Her holy presence.

In December 1979 HH Shri Mataji held a Guru Puja at Dollis Hill. At this puja She gave Her momentous speech declaring Who She is. Here is an extract:

‘But today is the day, I declare that I am the one who has to save the humanity. I am the One who is Adi Shakti, Who is the Mother of all the mothers, who is the primordial Mother, the Shakti, the desire of God, who has incarnated on this earth to give its meaning to itself, to this creation, to human beings, and I’m sure through My love and patience and My powers I am going to achieve it.’

It was the most momentous moment of my life. She was the One we had waited for all our lives. At that time She told us not to declare it publicly.

At this puja, She gave out copies of The Advent, writing an inscription inside each book cover, each with our individual names, and signed by Shri Mataji.

Patricia Proenza

To My daughter Felicity

The day Shri Mataji signed The Advent She was sitting in Dollis Hill ashram with Her back to the window in a big comfy armchair with the books beside Her. She was always so motherly and someone was asking the yogis to come up in front of Her one by one, then they would say the name of that yogi and Shri Mataji would take a new book and write inside. She explained that She was writing in Devnagiri.

I thought She was just writing Her name in it like Western authors do, but, when I went up, instead She explained what She had written. The translation of what She had written in my book said, ‘To My daughter Felicity, with loving blessing, your Mother, Nirmala.’

Can you imagine what it feels like to have a book like that so beautifully written, the first one ever edited and supervised by the Divine Herself, the Goddess, all about truth, the real truth of our lives, about the Kundalini and Shri Mataji Herself and Her powers and then to have it written in by Shri Mataji Herself with so much love? It feels really special.

She said we should wrap this book in cloth with four corners folded and keep it in a special place like a Bible and only look at it with clean, washed hands.

Felicity Payment

A born realised friend

Shri Mataji attended a concert at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Kensington in 1979 or 1980. I brought a friend along with me, who, although not a Sahaja Yogi, was born realised. We sat a few seats from Shri Mataji, in the same row. Several times, Shri Mataji leant forward and looked at my friend. So I brought her to Shri Mataji and introduced her, saying that she was born realised.

‘You don’t have to tell Me that!’ said Shri Mataji.

Patricia Proenza

I felt deepest thankfulness and love for Shri Mataji

In the summer of 1979, I travelled to London from Germany to meet Shri Mataji, having already received realisation. I was disappointed to discover that Shri Mataji was not in London, but somewhere in the North of England, and decided to travel to the Scottish highlands. I reached a youth hostel on Loch Ossian and spent two days there in great peace with myself. The next station up the railway line was Loch Rannoch and a few years later I heard Shri Mataji had been giving a seminar there.

Not having managed to meet Shri Mataji in person, I journeyed to London again in December 1979. I attended the puja celebration at the ashram, when Shri Mataji said, ‘Now I declare that I am the One, who came to save humanity. I am the One who came again and again, the Adi Shakti, the desire of God.’ These powerful words did not shock me, nor could I actually see the significance of them, but as a young seeker I had a great readiness to involve myself in a new way.

I was presented to Shri Mataji after the puja, and She asked me to sit in front of Her on the floor with my hands open to Her on my lap, and my eyes closed. She was busy with an older man who sat on Her right for quite some time, and I did not quite know what to do. All of a sudden, I felt an inner movement in my heart and all the pain that had collected there came out of me in a great rush of tears.

‘Now it is coming up. Let it out,’ Shri Mataji turned to me and said. At that moment I felt the inner movement rise and my head was filled with limitless joy, accompanied by an ecstasy of liberation. My head and the region above it seemed to become the unlimited universe. The joy bowled me over and for the first time I had the clear consciousness that spirituality and love belong together, like the sun and the light of the sun.

After this it was announced the book printed in India by Gregoire de Kalbermatten about Sahaja Yoga, The Advent, had arrived. Shri Mataji introduced it festively and signed my copy personally. As I eventually stood up to go, someone said I should go to Shri Mataji’s Feet, as I would not so often have the opportunity to do it.

I had seen how after the puja the yogis knelt in front of Shri Mataji with their foreheads on the floor and I thought that was what he meant. She stopped next to me and asked me to stand up and hold out my hands to Her, then asked me whether I felt the cool breeze on my hands, and I denied it.

‘Shri Mataji, You are my guru,’ She told me to say, three times. After that, my experience was so strong that I felt deepest thankfulness and love for Shri Mataji.

Thomas Menge

A talk on Mr Ego

A Sahaja Yogini brought a girl along to Dollis Hill who had been following a false guru, and the Sahaja Yogini was concerned for her. She asked Shri Mataji to help her as the girl was in poor shape and was suffering from anorexia among other things.

In that tiny meditation room Shri Mataji reposed in an armchair and sat the girl down in front of Her with her back towards Mother so that Shri Mataji could work upon her chakras from behind.

Then Shri Mataji requested the ashramites to play one of Her recorded talks. Someone put one Shri Mataji had given about Mr Ego into the tape player and switched it on. It was a highly amusing talk. We all began to laugh at Mother’s anecdotes and She began to laugh uproariously at Her own talk, which made us laugh even more. The girl who was being worked on laughed and it cleared her out!

Marilyn Leate

You could feel Her presence

In the beginning, in those first two years when I came, 1979 and 1980, most of the pujas were in people’s houses. We had a lot of pujas in Brighton in Pamela Bromley’s house and I can remember being in the house with Shri Mataji. It didn’t matter if Shri Mataji was upstairs or in a different room, you could feel Her presence, that She was in the house and you would become much more conscious of your behaviour, of what you felt and what you said or even what thoughts you allowed to pass through your mind. Sometimes you would feel it wasn’t right to have a certain thought. It was as if your awareness became more sensitive, became enlightened. Thoughts that one would not have noticed away from Shri Mataji were not OK in Her presence, because you were in the presence of the Goddess.

Felicity Payment

Why don’t you come home with Me

It was my first trip to India, in 1979. I had had my realisation, seen Shri Mataji and been to the Guru Puja in December at Dollis Hill. I really wanted to see Her again. Within a week, I was there, looking for Mother. I finally found Her and apparently I hugged Her and the Indians were shocked because I should have fallen at Her Feet. We went to the puja, which was in a flat in Mumbai. I had got a tiny present for Her. We were all queuing up to give the presents and I was the last. I went up to give my present to Shri Mataji and was really nervous. Just as I was going up, they put the tray with Mother’s food on it and I thought, ‘Oh, no.’ I went out onto the balcony and thought, ‘No, I mustn’t be upset. It doesn’t matter.’

‘Why don’t you come home with Me? I think you have something for Me,’ Mother said as She went to leave and we were all standing there. I finished up going to Mother’s house. When I got there, She sat at a table and She was eating and I was sitting opposite. She poured me water into a glass and had that lovely look on Her face, where She was really enjoying everything.

‘Here I am and the Adi Shakti is pouring water,’ I thought. She gave me a sari belonging to Kalpana, Her daughter.

‘See how beautiful she looks now,’ She said next, and that was my first experience of India.

I travelled with Shri Mataji for the next six weeks.

Pamela Bromley

One of the fishermen when I came as Christ

Mr Harishchandra Koli got his realisation at the end of 1979 in Patkar Hall, Mumbai. The next programme he attended, Shri Mataji called him on the stage and asked him to put his hands on the mother earth and see what he felt. Shri Mataji put Her Feet on Mr Koli’s hands. He explained that with Mother’s Feet on his hands he felt as if he was in Kailash. He saw Shri Mataji as Himalaya and Her legs were like a Shivalinga on his hands. This was the most wonderful experience of his life because he was a seeker and he was looking at God, and with this experience he felt that this was heaven and this was Adi Shakti, who he had been looking for the whole of this lifetime.

One month after getting realisation he was lying on the sofa after meditating. He was looking at Mother’s photograph and suddenly he saw Mother in the Virata swarupa and the whole house was full of light. After these two miracles he realised that She was not a normal person, but is divine. He wanted to know more about Her and he went to see his best friend Bhiku, and they went for a walk at the Gateway of India in Mumbai, with so much enthusiasm. Mr Koli told his friend that when he got his realisation he felt the cold chaitanya all over his body. He also told his friend of his two visions, and that he must come to the next programme.

Suddenly a large car stopped close to them, and the window went down. There was this miraculous person they had been talking about – Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi. She asked him who he was, and he said his name was Mr Koli, that he had been at Her programme and also about the miraculous vision he had had that morning and that he would love to come to the next programme. He went to it with his family and friends and afterwards went up to Shri Mataji on the stage and She asked him to turn round and look at the other people.

‘Look at his Kundalini rising,’ She said. ‘He is a realised soul and was one of the fishermen with Me on the boat when I came as Christ. He is St Thomas.’ At this time, 1979, Mr Koli was a fisherman with four big fishing boats.

‘Stop catching fish and now you must start catching people, within a few months,’ Mother told him. So he sold the boats, and devoted his life to Sahaja work.

Lena Koli

Editor’s note: This is from the Christian Bible, Gospel of Matthew: ‘Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. He said to them, ‘‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” They straightway left their nets, and followed Him. He saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. They immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him.’

In the Apocryphal Acts of Thomas, (a text which dates back to the early days of Christianity) it states that Saint Thomas went to India and began spreading the word of Lord Jesus there, especially in the south.

I am trying to put my vibrations in you

When you put your hand on Mother’s chakras, on Her Agnya chakra or whatever chakra, you could feel the rotation of the chakra spinning so fast. At one point, Mother was sleeping and She asked me to put my hand on different chakras of Hers: the Swadishthan and the Agnya, and I could see the vibrations so strong that my hands could not take it.

‘I am trying to take all the bad things from your body and am trying to put My vibrations in you,’ Mother said. That really stunned me.

Meenakshi Murdoch

You can’t take the vibrations

In the early days in India and after a puja, Mother used to call a few of us to suck the vibrations, and rub Her Feet very hard and take the vibrations, as She lay down.

‘It’s too much. I really can’t bear it because you can’t take them,’ She used to say, because after the puja, it was tremendous for Her.

Shailaja Glover

You must have this

In India, I used to go to see Mother when I was working, and I used to take my own lunch and sit and eat, even though other people used to eat what was made there.

‘You must have this,’ Mother said.

‘No, I am all right,’ I said.

‘You give Me your lunchbox and you eat this food of Mine.’

Meenakshi Murdoch

You are not alone

This is a story about my grandmother who was a widow. For many years she wore white saris and lived the life of a widow. In Hindu society they treat widows very badly: They should not come to weddings and auspicious occasions and so on. Some time around the late seventies, in Mumbai, all the yogis were sitting, about to do puja to Shri Mataji, and they were putting red bindis (red dot) on people’s foreheads. One lady said she couldn’t have a bindi, because she was a widow. Shri Mataji told her that she had to put a bindi on, because the kumkum is auspicious. Shri Mataji spoke about this, and said that the widow was fortunate, and not an outcaste or anything like that. My grandmother was sitting in the back, and she was a widow, and my aunt told her she must also put the bindi on. On that day Shri Mataji put bindi on her Agnya chakra and turned it, and told her not to think of herself as a widow.

‘You are not alone,’ Shri Mataji said. ‘You have children and you should tell everybody that this bindi was given to you by Shri Mataji. And you are not to wear white saris.’

Shri Mataji told her to wear any colour, but it should have a border, but not plain white. Shri Mataji also told her to come to the collective meditation, and there is no such thing like widows not being allowed to come.

Naina Staff

Early India tours

My first India tour was 1979/80 and that began with flying from the UK to Delhi with Shri Mataji. We stayed at Shri Mataji’s daughter’s house. It was a tour, but it wasn’t like the ones that followed because we used to just travel around either in the car with Mother or go in the train between places. We were there two and a half months.

My remembrance of Delhi was that it was a circle of about half a dozen Sahaja Yogis and we had a Shivaratri Puja, which was on the roof of Sadhana Didi’s house. There couldn’t have been more than fifty, a hundred people at the very most because the roof wasn’t that big. Mother said Delhi was a bit westernised and that’s why they were all thinking too much, and there was a lot of corruption. At that time, She was never very positive about Delhi, but since then they’ve become so good.

We went down to Mumbai for perhaps a couple of weeks and there were public programmes. The programmes were large by English standards, but there weren’t fields and fields of people. They were in their hundreds, rather than in their thousands. After that we set off into the interior of Maharashtra. We went to Pune, Rahuri, Aurangabad and all these places.

Malcolm Murdoch