Chapter 16: 1982 – August to October, Europe and England

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

29th August 1982, diary extract 

This time the public programme was in the heart of the city, in the very centre of Geneva. Shri Mataji spoke in one of the oldest protestant temples of Geneva and it was a historical moment, especially on the second evening when She denounced the wrongdoings of Christianity in the world, along with the colonialism, the banks, the weaponry etc. Shri Mataji asked me to do the introduction the first evening. Before coming in front of the microphone I did not know what I was going to say and during the afternoon after Shri Mataji had asked me to introduce Her I felt quite nervous, however when I was in front of more than four hundred people, including professors of my university, pastors and eminent personalities of Geneva, I felt in the centre and the inspiration of Shri Mataji was flowing through. I started with the theme of the lady guru in the temple, which was in the newspapers and on the posters around the town.

That very morning an excellent journalist had interviewed Shri Mataji in my home and got her self realisation.

The first evening of the programmes the temple was full. There was also a fundamentalist Christian sect, who interrupted Shri Mataji and they were shouting with tiny black bibles in their hands, then a crazy man came down running towards Her shouting ‘Christ! Christ!’ and when he arrived near the stage he fell on his knees at Her Feet.

Shri Mataji in Her compassion tried to give him vibrations, but then the whole group left and after every sentence uttered by Shri Mataji, people were applauding. Many were those who got realisation this evening as well as the two following ones.

Antoinette Wells

Only I can bear so many children

On Her visit to Switzerland in 1982, Shri Mataji gave public programmes in several towns. While going from Geneva to Zürich by train, She was looking through the window and admiring the landscape. As it was spring, the fields were very green and due to plantations of rapeseed, large fields were yellow, thus offering a nice spectacle to our eyes of bright colours – green and yellow. She smiled and attracted our attention.

‘Look at the beautiful nature and colours, – this is why I have chosen to wear this sari today.’

Shri Mataji’s sari was a beautiful bright yellow with a deep green border, the same colours that we could admire in the nature from our train windows.

In the autumn of that year Shri Mataji again came to Switzerland, and when we were in Zürich, I was resting in the afternoon, being pregnant at that time, and when She entered the room Shri Mataji looked at me.

‘Yes, you are tired, and you need to rest. You see, it is not easy to bear a child. Only I can bear so many children,’ She commented.

Marie-Amelia de Kalbermatten

The Polish people have good hearts

It was in 1982; there was a puja in Switzerland and I brought a Polish eagle, made by Polish artisans, and a small carpet as a present for Shri Mataji. I put it under the Feet of Shri Mataji, and She was in a long meditation.

‘Spiritual growth will be very difficult for the Polish people for the next few years,’ She said. She spoke about why the Polish people are so sensitive, and why they are so much on the left side. During the Second World War a lot of people died and because of this, the Kundalinis cannot go to God, but stay near the earth.

Shri Mataji said she had been in Poland with Her husband at one time, and had been to Cracow, to a big reception and some church dignitaries were there. She gave one man realisation, but he didn’t take it, even though he later became the most important in their hierarchy. Shri Mataji spoke about Sahaja Yoga and Poland, and said it would be difficult in Poland until it was established in Russia, and with the help of Russian Sahaja Yogis. In fact, it did happen like that.

Dorota Nocera

A lost soul

Shri Mataji gave a lecture at New Hall College in Cambridge in September 1982 and that is how I came to Sahaja Yoga, a lost soul as I was at that time. I had seen a poster advertising Sahaja Yoga at my college and as I had just spent five months doing voluntary work in India I was curious to know more about Indian spirituality. Shri Mataji came round and gave me realisation, She may have even put Her hand on my head. At that meeting Shri Mataji gave some attention to a really incapacitated person who could not walk properly and that person stood up and walked some steps across the hall.

For me, Shri Mataji and Sahaja Yoga have been lifesaving. Jai Shri Mataji!

                                                           Andrew Low

A trip to Cambridge

In September 1982, Shri Mataji was going to Cambridge for a public programme. I was blessed to go with Her in the train. It was a lovely day in early summer and as we looked out of the train window there were lots of red poppies and white ox-eye daisies in bloom. Shri Mataji remarked how daisies didn’t used to have a perfume, but since She had been in the UK they had developed a nice one.

On the way back we arrived a bit late for the train but it was still standing in the station. I ran down the platform and opened some of the doors, because a train does not leave if the doors are open. Shri Mataji said I should not have done that.

‘I am Kali (time) and trains don’t leave without Me,’ She said.

Linda Williams

She is the One

I am from Amsterdam. In September 1982, when I first came to Sahaja Yoga, we were trying to put a video together for the local TV. We filmed some doctors, and also some miracle photos, and then were in Shri Mataji’s room, asking Her how we should do it. She said to tell the viewers that She is the one who has come to save the world, and to tell them clearly so that they know.

Andreas van England

Incredible generosity

This photo was taken during Shri Mataji’s visit to Belgium on the 19th or 20th September, 1982, at Maarkedal. It was late evening after Shri Mataji’s first public programme in Ghent on the 19th September. No shopping had been done, the yogis and Mother turned up unexpectedly, and the fridge kept producing food! Mother was at the dinner table and all fourteen yogis that were there were standing or sitting around the same table while She had dinner. During the meal I offered Her a slice of bread.

‘No thank you, people eat too much bread,’ She said.

After it turned midnight, it was the 20th September, I told Shri Mataji that it was the birthday of my father who was there and although he wasn’t a practicing yogi had helped prepare for Her visit and had arranged for the brass bowl with the candle, as he knew She liked candles. Mother took Her handbag and browsed through it for quite a while to try and find something. Then as it seemed She could not find what She was looking for, She took the diamond ring She was wearing off Her finger, and gave it to my father for his birthday. What incredible generosity – I had never seen anyone do this before or since!

‘He is a child of Mine,’ She said.

Shri Mataji also signed the guest book.

Robbert Ruigrok

Divine approval

When Shri Mataji visited Holland and Belgium in 1982, Robert Ruigrok had lined up a programme in Brussels. Shri Mataji was driven from somewhere near Ghent to Brussels.

‘Look ahead, look ahead,’ She said at one point. There was a rainbow directly over the road, totally balanced.

‘There you are, you see, we are getting divine approval for this programme,’ She said, ‘and here we are driving through the middle of a rainbow.’

It was like we sailed straight through this rainbow and, as we came through it, it dissolved.

Brian Bell

Shri Mataji’s serious warning

At the end of a visit to Holland and Belgium in 1982, while Shri Mataji bought chocolates at the airport, I was given a copy of an Indian magazine called Today and asked to show Her an article in it. I told Her I had the magazine in my bag and the matter dropped out my mind.

‘Now what is this letter?’ Shri Mataji said, after we had settled on the plane. My mind was totally blank – letter? letter? Then I realised and passed the communication I had been given over to Her.

The article was about the leader of a very damaging cult who was hoping to resettle from Switzerland to India, and who wanted the Indian government to waive any tax claim on the money he aimed to transfer. The article included a map which showed the Indian properties he owned. Shri Mataji pointed out how they were clustered around army, navy and air force headquarters, in Pune, and Calcutta, for instance. She talked about the dangers of this, put a bandhan on it and handed it back to me.

‘You know that what this rakshasa is doing?’ She said later. ‘He pushes his followers as far as possible into the left. He prevents them from taking garlic and cuts down on their protein, so that when they die they will die far out in the left. He can then control the bhuts that they become, so he can have an army of bhuts under his command.’

Suddenly Her comments about this rakshasa’s properties, and the way he was creating these armies of bhuts, took on terrifying overtones. Fortunately – because of Shri Mataji’s bandhan – the Indian government refused to waive its legal claims and the rakshasa never resettled in the land of his birth.

Brian Bell

Such paradise

When Shri Mataji went to Austria for the first time, in autumn 1982, September, She stayed at Gregoire and Catherine de Kalbermatten’s home for five or six days, and it was just paradise. We were about twelve sleeping in their flat with Shri Mataji.

In the early morning around six o’clock Shri Mataji would go and sit in the lounge and we would bring Her first cup of tea. Slowly all the yogis would wake up and gather round Her while She sipped Her tea. Shri Mataji’s breakfast would come much later and She would speak about things and tell stories. One morning She started talking about the astrological signs, and asked the yogis which sign they were, and gave a description of each astrological sign.

In the evening, after the programme, we would eat there. Shri Mataji would sit at the table and mostly She ate with us, not in Her bedroom. We would sit all round Her and we, the yoginis, would go round the table, serving everything silently while She was speaking. It was just fantastic.

Ruth Eleanore

Shri Mataji was working on the whole city

It is interesting how the pujas have changed from the early days to now. In 1982 we had a puja in Gregoire’s house, just before the first public programme in Vienna. Shri Mataji could not sleep in the night because there was a lot of negativity and She was working on the whole city. Then we had a puja; there were very few of us and Shri Mataji worked on each and every person. Everyone used to wash Her Feet and then we kept our hands under Her Feet, we would stay there for some time and She would suck in all our negativity.

Throughout the puja She would say things like, ‘You go there in the corner and clean your Agnya’, so it was like a cleansing moment.

Duilio Cartocci

Extract from my diary

When Shri Mataji went to Vienna for the first time we were a small group of Sahaja Yogis staying with Her in my brother Gregoire’s house and on Sunday we had a puja to Shri Durga. It was very powerful; ancient weapons had been laid around the Feet of Shri Mataji as a symbol of the Goddess fighting the negativity. She said that this puja was so strong that it could have been for at least 6,000 people, as the vibrations were so strong. The very evening of the puja there was a public programme, followed by three others which were more and more fantastic. The people of Vienna received Shri Mataji and Sahaja Yoga in a very good way. The newspapers and the radio were positive – and this a Catholic country! But it is also at the very centre of Europe. Upon Her return to the house She talked to us whilst I was massaging Her left Foot.

Antoinette Wells

Her smile went directly into my heart

It was a nice, sunny afternoon on September 28th, 1982, in Vienna. I was walking home from work and the prospects of the evening ahead were partying with friends. Inside me was a strong feeling of sadness and darkness. I saw a newspaper on the ground and something made me pick it up. I opened it and saw a picture of an Indian lady smiling at me. This smile had a profound impact on me and was so irresistible that I just kept looking at Her picture. After a while I noticed that at the end of the article was an invitation to a lecture by this Indian lady, and it was today, less than two hours hence.

I rushed home, changed and rushed back to the programme place. From all this rushing I was one of the first people there, and took a centre seat in the front row. A man came on stage and started speaking German with strong French accent, talking about chakras and Kundalini and my mind kept telling me to leave as I had a party that night. But my heart was so much looking forward to actually meeting this Indian lady.

Then She came, walking slowly, in a white sari and with the same radiant smile She had in the paper. Her smile went directly into my heart! It felt amazingly soothing and comfortable. When She started speaking I noticed the subject She spoke about was somehow flowing like a strong current high above my head. I did not understand much and felt much too small to tap into this powerful river flowing above my head.

‘Let’s have a meditation,’ She said, to prove, on our nervous system, if what She had said was right. I thought, how can that be? I don’t know how to meditate, and I don’t understand much about chakras and subtle energies, but then I realised that Shri Mataji was guiding us through a simple meditation and I felt comfortable to follow. At the end I felt a cool breeze coming out of my own head and on my hands, and I had no thoughts in my mind. It felt wonderful, so joyful and relaxed.

After the meditation Shri Mataji asked those who were interested to come forward and meet Her. As I was already sitting right in front of Her, I just got up and made a few steps towards Her. She stretched Her hands out to me, took my hands into Hers.

‘It is so beautiful that you came!’ She said with a warm smile. I did not know what to say, but also did not feel the need to say anything. I just felt like I had come home from a very long journey, and here I was, completely relaxed and comfortable. Other people were waiting in line so I stepped aside, and it took me quite some time to actually leave the hall, a long time after Shri Mataji had left.

When I finally realised I was still sitting in my chair and that everyone except me had already left, I looked around and noticed one young man was patiently waiting for me at the exit. So I got up and walked back towards him, still ‘floating’ above the ground in the newfound thoughtlessness. I smiled at him while passing and saw a bunch of beautiful red roses in his hand. He smiled back at me and offered me one.

‘Take this, this is from Shri Mataji!’ he said. Such a simple gesture! But what an effect it had on me, as if I had been touched by the ocean of love itself. I walked out, with the rose from Shri Mataji held towards my heart, and as soon as I reached home, I put it into a vase to keep it a while longer. Eventually the flower dried out, but I still kept it next to my new meditation set-up, as it reminded me so much of that moment of magic.

Herbert Reininger

Nirmalam Sakshat

Shri Mataji’s voice kept ringing in my ears for days after my realisation in September 1982. During the programme in which I got my realisation, Shri Mataji used the mantra ‘Nirmalam Sakshat’, and the effect was quite amazing for me.

Herbert Reininger

Shri Ganesha Puja 1982

In 1982 there was a Shri Ganesha Puja at Irchester, near Wellingborough, small town in central England, in the house of a Greek Sahaja Yogini who lived there.

Editor’s note: As was often the case in those days, after the puja Shri Mataji offered us a boon, meaning that we could ask for something in our hearts as we knelt down at the end of the puja, and our prayer would be answered.

Food and realisation

In 1982, during a three day seminar and after the Shri Ganesha Puja in Irchester, we expected around sixty people with their sleeping bags to stay at my house (all the men downstairs and all the women upstairs with Shri Mataji who shared Her bedroom with some Sahaja Yoginis). I cooked for sixty people but over a hundred arrived. I started getting worried that there would not be enough food for everyone.

The day before, Shri Mataji had had a housewife’s talk with me on cooking, and I took the opportunity to ask Her for a recipe to use for the next day. After the puja I started filling the plates for all the Sahaja Yogis with the food from Shri Mataji’s recipe and at the same time I was very concerned that there would not be enough to feed everybody. To my surprise all the casserole dishes were not becoming empty. All SahajaYogis had second helpings until they were fully satisfied. Then a stranger who was passing by knocked at the door and came in, saying that he had sniffed some good cooking and he wanted some. I told Shri Mataji, She was very amused and asked him to come in front of Her. She asked him what he wanted.

‘All I want is something to eat,’ he answered.

‘All right, give him some food,’ Shri Mataji laughed in amusement and said.

Of course this man, apart from the food, got his realisation too. The casserole dishes were emptied completely after everybody was fully satisfied.

Maria Laventzi

A recipe for chicken, carrot salad and aubergines

Here is Shri Mataji’s recipe for that day, exactly as She gave it.

Clean the chicken and cut it in small pieces. Add a lot of yogurt and crushed garlic plus ginger powder and salt, and keep it for a while to marinate. Cut lots of onions long wise, add unsalted butter or ghee with garam masala and bay leaves and sauté them (semi-fry them). Simultaneously put the marinated chicken in the oven with the rest of the ingredients. Cook them in the oven until slightly soft. If the yogurt has dried out add some fresh cream. Wash the basmati rice and mix it with salt, saffron and lots of butter and place it on top of the chicken. Cook for an extra ten minutes, until the rice has separated. Add fresh fennel and coriander leaves to the mixture.

Wash and grate some carrots. Clean (wash) raisins and add to the carrots. Add sliced olives. Marinate in lemon and honey.

Boil some aubergines and put them in the oven for five to ten minutes. Peel them, mix with onions, tomatoes, coriander leaves, garlic and salt.

Maria Laventzi

You look so incredibly beautiful

I was staying with some Sahaja Yogis near Bedford, England, in October 1982. They had organised a public programme there, and Mother had met some important people, like the mayor. I was sick at the time, but when I came to the place where Mother was meeting these people, in the basement of the Town Hall, Mother looked so incredibly beautiful. I was right in front of Her.

‘Oh Mother You look so incredibly beautiful!’ I said, and She tilted Her head on one side.

‘You think so? Come!’ She said, almost with amusement, and opened Her arms really wide, and gave me the hugest hug. It was really amazing.

Susie Lumsden

An Indian lady getting out of Her car

At that same period we held a meeting at the Bedford Guild Hall where the Mayor of the town and his wife were invited, plus the media, to cover the meeting. While Shri Mataji was giving Her Sahaj lecture at the Guild House in Harpur Street, an accident occurred in another street of Bedford where this boy (Jason Haynes) was driving on his motorbike from Sainsburys supermarket, where he was working, to his house. He was knocked down by a car. When he recovered his senses, he said that he saw an Indian lady getting out of Her car and approaching him while he was lying down on the road. She put Her hand at the lower part of his spine and he felt immediately the pain going away. The next day this boy saw one of the posters with Shri Mataji’s photo and said that that was the lady who helped him at the accident. At the precise moment of the accident, Shri Mataji was giving Her lecture at the Guild Hall, a few streets away from the accident. After that meeting, Shri Mataji exchanged a nice conversation with the Mayor and his wife. They were very pleased to have met Her, indicating that Shri Mataji would be welcome in town any time.

The incident was published by the media in the local papers but some individuals being sceptical about it passed on some comments which displeased Mother who asked me to write a prayer. Here it is:

Spirit Divine

Oh!  Mother of Heaven, Oh!  Spirit Divine, I need to be closer, each day and each night.

Sweet ether’s whisper, You speak in my heart, You carry me higher, with one mere glance.

Please, nourish my being, with amrut and water, and mind and soul, dwell at Your altar.

Please, help me surrender, please, let me become one with Your ocean, one with Your heart.

 Maria Laventzi

First darshan

I had been in Sahaja Yoga for a couple of months but being winter Shri Mataji was in India, so when She returned I was keen to see Her and started to imagine what extraordinary things might happen when I finally came in the Divine Presence having already had some powerful experiences, and was feeling cool vibrations on my hands almost continuously. There was to be a public programme in Holborn Library in London, in 1983.

The stage was sumptuously decorated with flowers and saris and a large armchair, and all the usual speeches were made before Shri Mataji came. When She arrived, instead of coming onto the stage She came in by the public entrance and stood in front of the stage to give Her speech, wearing a simple white sari.

After Her talk and giving realisation, all the new people went to the front, including me although I was not technically new, and were worked on by Sahaja Yogis while Shri Mataji gave them advice. In my case She lifted up Her right forefinger and said, ‘Vishuddhi,’ to the person working on me. Strangely in the whole programme I had not felt anything, not even cool breeze on my hands. At the end of the programme the armchair was brought down from the stage and Shri Mataji sat there taking flowers and talking to the yogis. I was standing at the back with a flower that I had brought but did not want to push through to the front.

‘What about that gentleman, did he feel anything?’ Shri Mataji asked, and everyone turned round to look at me. I was looking behind me but there was no one there.

‘Yes, you,’ Shri Mataji said.

The crowd of Sahaja Yogis parted to create a corridor with Shri Mataji sitting at the end smiling, so I walked up to Her, knelt down and offered Her my flower which She took.

‘Did you feel anything?’ She asked again.

I was slightly at a loss to answer as I had felt plenty before but nothing on this evening.

‘Yes, I felt something,’ I said, which seemed to satisfy Her and then She wound up the meeting and left.

Chris Marlow

The boy in Bedford was a good receiver

During the 1983 tour of America, while Shri Mataji was in Los Angeles She did a half hour radio interview. Two of us were waiting with Her for the studio to become clear.

This was shortly after the incident which happened in England, the so-called ‘Bedford Boy,’ who had had an accident on his motor bike and when he was taken to hospital he told the doctor of this strange thing that had happened. While he was lying there waiting for the ambulance, a Mercedes had come up and stopped nearby. A lady in a long white dress had got out of it and smiled at him, come over to him, passed her hand over him, and had then gone back into her Mercedes and driven off.

‘Yes, that is a very interesting story,’ the doctor had said. ‘The reporter is somewhere. You should tell him.’

So the boy told the reporter and the reporter reported this incident, which had a number of sequels, one of which was that the injured boy saw the picture of Shri Mataji.

‘Oh, that was the lady. That was the lady who came to me when I had my accident,’ the boy said later.

The doctors were amazed that even though he had had this accident, very little damage had been done to him. The other interesting thing was that this happened while Shri Mataji was delivering a public programme at Bedford Town Hall.

Before this radio programme in Los Angeles, Shri Mataji was talking about this.

‘Shri Mataji, were you conscious of that? Were You conscious of being with that boy at the accident?’ The Sahaja Yogini with me asked. Shri Mataji didn’t answer immediately. She thought about it for a moment.

‘It’s like this — the divine is always transmitting. The message is always going out from the divine. Whether it is picked up or not depends on the quality of the receiver. If the receiver is good, then the divine message is picked up,’ were more or less Her words.

Presumably the boy in Bedford was a good receiver.

Brian Bell

Shri Mataji did not leave

I was at that Bedford programme, except that because my baby was crying so much, I had to take him out and sit in the back of my car with him. Shri Mataji’s car was near mine in the car park, just outside the main door into the Town Hall.

Shri Mataji did not leave the Town Hall during the programme and Her car certainly did not leave the car park. I know because I was sitting there wishing I could go inside, except with a fractious child I couldn’t. I was watching the door intently all the way through, waiting for Mother to come out. She finally did, at about ten o’clock, accompanied by the other Sahaja Yogis. The Bedford boy incident had happened earlier in the evening.

Linda Williams

‘As motor scooter rider Jason Haynes, seventeen, lay in a crumpled heap after a crash, he says a woman spiritualist came up to him and eased his pain by simply laying her hands on him.

But at the time of the crash on Thursday night, ‘Holy Mother’ Mataji Nirmala Devi was a quarter of a mile away at a public meeting in Harpur Street….

Jason said: ‘I was just laying in the road in pain. People were standing about saying, ‘Don’t touch him — he may have broken his back.’

‘Then I was aware of this Indian lady over me. She said: ‘Do you have faith in me?’ I said, ‘Yes.’

‘She put her hands on my head, my shoulders, my arms, my body.

‘As she took her hands away from each spot, the pain just vanished. I thought I had broken my arm, but she said I hadn’t.’

He didn’t see the lady after that and minutes later was taken to the hospital in an ambulance….’

And the final word from Jason: ‘I definitely saw this woman and she helped me. There was only one spot that she didn’t touch, my lower back, and that is still hurting.’

Ross Francis, Bedfordshire Journal

Editor’s note: ‘It’s marvellous to think that such occurrences are happening in this country, and it is a blessing.’ Shri Mataji said, when told of the strange event.

Ajwan and a boon 

After the Bedford public programme, we went back to Maria’s house at Irchester. Shri Mataji had settled in Maria’s house with a cup of tea, and was talking to us all about various things, so an ajwan treatment was suggested. Preparations were made with a very large pan etc. As soon as the ajwan seeds were hot enough we all began to inhale the smoke from them, whilst underneath a large blanket. Most of us could only manage to stay under the blanket for a short while because of the effect the smoke was having on our eyes, noses and throat. Shri Mataji was laughing at us all, with our watery eyes and runny noses and suggested we stay under the blanket as long as possible. Of course none of us could.

Still laughing, She suggested that She should sit under the blanket too. A proper seat was arranged and Shri Mataji sat inhaling the smoke, we were all then invited to join Her under the blanket, and we all tried to stay under it while She was there, but of course we could not, and we kept leaving the blanket with streaming eyes etc. This went on for some considerable time; many of us tried to stay longer but eventually we had to give up. The whole of this time Shri Mataji sat under the blanket inhaling the smoke, which seemed to have no effect at all. After all this was finished and put away, Shri Mataji spoke to us all about cleansing the chakras and then granted us all a boon or wish.

Bill Hansel

Editor’s note: ajwan treatment is done by inhaling the ajwan smoke, where it is either put on a dry pan which has been heated, or on burning charcoal.