Chapter 16: 1989 – May, Southern Europe

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

Go on a liver diet

When I was living in France, we went to the Shri Buddha Puja in Spain in 1989. Shri Mataji was at the airport leaving Barcelona. It was very hot and She came in and looked at me.

You’re feeling down, aren’t you?’ Shri Mataji said, and knew exactly how I felt. ‘It’s your liver. Your liver is too hot,’ She said. ‘Go on a liver diet.’ As She walked away She turned and said, ‘Three months!’

So I did it. It did me a lot of good and I never felt down again. For the next three years Shri Mataji put all the French Sahaja Yogis on a liver diet, for three months every summer, to cool down the French liver.

Leanne Huet

Shri Mataji gave Her hand

It was in Spain, and the Spanish people had made a beautiful blue seat for Shri Mataji at the puja. Mother had a public programme in Barcelona and we went there from Montpellier in France. After the programme was finished, She went out through the main aisle of the building, and everybody was standing to say goodbye. As She passed She gave Her hand to every single person on the right and left side, all the way out of the building. I too took Shri Mataji’s hand, and was amazed at how soft it was, like a baby’s hand, so gentle.

The next day we had a puja in a hotel on a mountain I felt a sweet feeling in my heart, and it was the same feeling I had felt from Her hand the day before.

Jean-Michel Huet

His hand had been closed for years

There was one man at the programme in Barcelona who couldn’t open his hand and Shri Mataji told me to put mine on the hand of that new person, and massage it. His hand opened a bit, enough so that Shri Mataji could put Her Feet on it, which She did for a few minutes. After that She removed Her Feet and asked him to try to open it and he could open his hand much more. It had been closed for years, and Shri Mataji opened it. The whole atmosphere was divine.

Can you remove My socks?’ Shri Mataji then said, very sweetly. I did so and was touching the Feet of Shri Mataji – a dream come true. She asked me to massage Her Feet. Again, like the year before, it was my birthday. I kept on massaging for about half an hour. After everything was finished I felt completely thoughtless, as if I had no body, just ether, air and vibrations. I could not speak, just wanted to be silent and enjoy the divine vibrations, like a revelation. I knew Shri Mataji was Adi Shakti – not mental, but an experience, and I felt one with something so big. This lasted for about twenty minutes, thanks to Her power, and She had granted my wish on my birthday.

Pascal Shrestaputra

The coolness was inside my hand

I came to Sahaja Yoga in Paris. After a month or two I wanted to know who Shri Mataji was. I went to a programme She was doing in Barcelona with a friend. After the programme, my friend told me to join the queue and go up to see Shri Mataji. I must have been the last in line. I felt all my chakras turning, and when I got near Her I was thoughtless.

I received my realisation a month ago,’ I said, and She just laughed.

That is why you are so good,’ She said, took my hand, and it was as if my hand was in the fridge – but the coolness was inside, not outside. Slowly it came outside, the coolness.

Claude Ishram

Shri Buddha Puja, Barcelona (email report)

Shri Mataji arrived at the place of the Shri Buddha Puja, in 1989, a small and simple hostel on the top of a hill overlooking Barcelona. The decoration of the puja scene had been very lovingly done, particularly with a great painted frieze behind Shri Mataji in the intricate style of some of the Ajanta cave paintings. Many of the Buddha figures could be seen teaching how to give bandhan or how to raise the Kundalini, if one looked closely. Shri Mataji talked at great length about Buddha, stopping at one moment to look at Her watch.

I hope you people are not in a hurry!’ She said. It would have been a very hot day, but our Mother took care that Her children should not suffer too much. She raised Her left side to Her right twenty-one times, then wondered aloud whether She had not overdone things as the air became quite cool, seven times would have been enough.

That afternoon we had just retired for a siesta when someone came round to tell us that Shri Mataji was in the courtyard where the puja had taken place and was chatting to people, and that we should all go there. She spoke of the necessity of our promptly following any instructions She gave, and gave the example of Sorrento, two weeks earlier, where She had insisted on our looking after the children very closely. This was not done, and one of the children fell from a height of ten or twelve feet. By Mother’s Grace the child was brought to Her and healed, otherwise permanent damage would have been done to him, his hip bones having gone out of line. Shri Mataji went on to talk about some miracle stories which have been experienced in Her presence, some of which were quite hilarious.

In the evening the second of the two public programmes took place, in a hall on the twenty-third floor of a conference centre in downtown Barcelona. Shri Mataji arrived after a long introduction by José Antonio. After a time he requested the singers to start singing bhajans, and the audience enjoyed them immensely. The vibrations just grew and grew.

When Shri Mataji arrived She remarked that all the people had received their realisation through the music. She gave a very short talk after which She simply asked the people to hold out their hands to see if they could feel a cool breeze; there was none of the usual holding the hands to the chakras on the Ida Nadi, as though the music had already worked that out. Then a surge of people towards the front as Shri Mataji received one by one all the newcomers, during which we continued with the bhajans. It went on for hours and we were exhausted by the end, but Mother kept us going. At one point a large choir of Spanish Sahaja Yogis sang some beautiful new Spanish songs, which Mother really enjoyed. They were very discrete, not pushing their way onto the stage but waiting until Shri Mataji asked whether they had anything to sing. The evening ended with a Spanish Sahaja Yogi and Yogini dancing some Flamenco on the stage in front of Shri Mataji, to the delight of everyone. It was a fantastic contrast to the first evening. The next morning we were able to see Shri Mataji off from the airport in Barcelona as She returned to England.

Phil Ward

It will be clearer later

I went up to the stage to take a photo of Shri Mataji in May 1989 after the Barcelona Buddha Puja, and my old Polaroid didn’t have a zoom so I had to go very close to get a good photo. When it came out Shri Mataji looked surprised, and wanted to see it. But of course it was not clear at once, because you have to wait a few seconds before it is clear enough, and dry. She took it and looked at it.

It’s not clear now, it will be clearer later,’ She said with a nice smile, talking about my Polaroid photo. I know She was referring to me as I left Sahaja Yoga shortly after and returned twelve years later with reinforced faith.

Colette Desigaud

A crown made for Shri Mataji

In 2007 my wife Arlene and I travelled to Nirmal Nagari, near Pune to celebrate Christmas Puja with Shri Mataji. I noticed a stone plaque on the wall which read Sangrahalaya, meaning museum. It is relatively small, but wonderful and filled with vibrations.

I entered and saw gifts that were made and offered to Mother during the spreading of Sahaja Yoga displayed in cabinets, and beautiful photos of our Mother holding flowers in Her hands. On the wall facing the entrance there were more gifts and a big frame which displayed 108 photos of Mother with different facial expressions. In another cabinet were crowns which had been offered to Shri Mataji at past pujas. To my surprise, I recognised a crown that we, the Spanish collective, had offered at the Shri Buddha Puja in Barcelona in May 1989.

I was filled with tremendous joy and gratitude towards our Mother, to see the crown displayed here. My heart only had the words, ‘Thank You Mother,’ and the feeling of entering history.

When Mother offered us that puja in Barcelona, a few months before, at a national meeting, I presented the idea of making a crown for Her. From my city, Zaragoza, I started working on it, a difficult and delicate task requiring lots of attention, and it was carved from birch wood. A carpenter friend of mine assisted with cutting the pieces, then I carved the shape with patience and love, and the end result was very light in weight. Whilst working I said mantras and put on my bandhan, so that all would go well. It was a collective collaboration.

At the puja, when it was time to offer the crown to Shri Mataji, I saw with surprise the yogis offering Mother a different crown, because in Madrid another one had been prepared. I felt frustrated and sad, because I had put so much love and energy into ours. I lowered my head and asked myself, ‘How did I fail? Maybe my ego?’ I felt rejected but slowly accepted what was happening. As I lifted my head to look toward Mother, She was wearing the crown I had made and immediately felt immense emotion and joy. The words, ‘Thank You Mother,’ and ‘Forgive me, Mother,’ were on my lips and my eyes filled with tears.

The yogis later told me that the Madrid crown was offered first because the size and fit were more appropriate. This is true, because mine lacked technique and professionalism, but not love. The experience was a miracle of appreciation, a natural manifestation of the Divine essence of Mother’s love. She knows when we put love into the things we do. On leaving the museum I went away realising that Mother knows everything.

Later, I discovered that this place is historically related to Shri Rama, an episode of the Ramayana, which the yogis in India know as, ‘the place where the horse of Shri Rama was stopped or detained.’

Joaquin Orus    

The two crowns for the 1989 Shri Buddha Puja, left from Madrid, right from Zaragoza

The forgotten kettle

On the occasion of one of Shri Mataji’s visits to Madrid, She had a very intensive schedule, with the first public programme on the day of the arrival, and on the next day a puja in the morning and another public programme in the evening. On the third day She was leaving.

On the second day of the visit, after breakfast, we went to the place where the puja was held and Shri Mataji went directly to the public programme in the evening without going back to where She was staying.

In the evening two yogis who were accompanying Shri Mataji came back and when they arrived they saw a kettle on the stove, that I had put there to boil some water in, in case Shri Mataji might want more tea in the morning before leaving. Everything was just fine, even though the stove had been on from early morning to evening!

Spanish Sahaja Yogi

Greece is a specially blessed country

In May 1989 our flight to Athens arrived in the early evening, in unusually wet weather. Just as the last of us had got into our taxis to go to the leader’s flat a tremendous thunderstorm started, but stopped when we reached there. For all the other Sahaja Yogis the experience had been the same; the rain only started when they had reached their cars or their homes. Shri Mataji redirected the hot weather towards the north; Switzerland, France, the UK and even places as far north as Norway were to enjoy exceptional sunshine for the next few days, while things cooled down on the Mediterranean.

Shri Mataji was very pleased to see that so many Sahaja Yogis had come to greet Her at the airport, and we all accompanied Her back to the flat where a radio interview took place. The interviewers seemed to enjoy it as much as we did and promised to broadcast it at prime time, so that people would know to come to the programme the next evening.

The next day everyone was summoned to the flat for puja and Shri Mataji came around half past three. She sat on Her throne in front of a mere forty or so Sahaja Yogis, under an improvised Greek arch which was decorated with flowers and leafy branches, an amazing feat by so few Sahaja Yogis. In Her puja talk Shri Mataji explained that the puja was happening on a Wednesday, for the first time ever. She had been born at midday on a Wednesday, and just as babies have to sleep after midday, She also had had to sleep for a while just then.

And you were also tired,’ She said.

She talked about how Greece, being on the right side of the centre in the Himalayas, was the place where much of the creation took place. For this reason the Greeks have a fine sense of how far to go with anything, without going to extremes. A case in point was Alexander the Great, who when he reached India was so impressed with the culture of the country that he did not stay but retreated out of respect, which Shri Mataji contrasted with the crass behaviour of the British two thousand years later.

During the puja some extracts were read from the Apology, Socrates’ dialogue at His trial. Socrates explained why He was what He was and how He worked things out, and warned and denounced the ones who condemned Him. Socrates, Shri Mataji said, always spoke the truth, and was a very straightforward and courageous personality. Like Lord Jesus, who also spoke the truth, though in parables, He was condemned by those who did not wish to hear, and His followers became confused and lost the essential message that He had taught.

The first public programme took place that evening in the ballroom of one of Athens’ grandest hotels. Shri Mataji received all the new people at the end of the programme, which consequently lasted until well after midnight. Quite a number had suffered from false gurus and our Mother devoted a lot of Her attention to them.

After the programme dinner had been arranged in a local club with Bouzouki music for Shri Mataji and all the Sahaja Yogis. It was quite empty apart from us. A small dance band was playing, and a few of us danced on the stage; my wife and I were persuaded to dance a slow waltz under the gaze of Shri Mataji. Then we persuaded the members of the band to stand aside and a few of us went on stage to play a little music, and have a great deal of fun.

The following day there was another interview, with a girl from one of Greece’s best newspapers. She spoke very good English, was respectful, posed sensible questions, and finished by receiving her self realisation without any problem apart from the usual journalistic liver. During the interview Shri Mataji mentioned that a special diet can be followed to improve it.

In the evening there was another public programme, very successful again. Shri Mataji spoke quite a lot about Socrates and Pallas Athena. Afterwards She returned to the flat and a few of us had the privilege of being able to stay and listen to some recordings of traditional Greek music, and then some Indian classical music with Her. Shri Mataji translated some of the songs, particularly one by Kabir in which he pokes fun at death and the way humans take it so seriously.

We finally got to bed at 3.30 am, and got up again at 4.30 to go to the airport and check in for the flight to Istanbul. We were travelling on the same flight as Shri Mataji, and at the airport accompanied Her shopping and then sitting at Her Lotus Feet in the departure lounge as She ate breakfast, read the newspaper and chatted. One important point She made was that we must all have a very strong sense of discrimination about what to tell and to whom, and what not to tell.

Phil Ward

Read Homer

A good many years ago our Holy Mother was in Greece.

Read Homer,’ She said to me before departing, and then She added, ‘you have the books, read them.’

Theodore Estathiou

A regal setting

In Istanbul, in May 1989, we were met at the airport by Sahaja Yogis who had been preparing for Shri Mataji’s coming for the first time. Shri Mataji was staying in a large flat belonging to a Sahaja Yogini from Milan whose husband has been assigned to Istanbul for Olivetti to help set up their Turkish subsidiary. It was a beautiful flat on the banks of the Bosphorus, looking out to Asia a kilometre away over the water, with large ships sailing past.

The evening’s programme took place in a large country house in a park to the north of the city, close to the Bosphorus. At first the intention was to hold the programme outside, but as the sun dropped the air started becoming cooler and the first drops started falling, so we were moved inside. Grégoire continued his introduction and Saïd Ait-Chaalal from Algiers spoke for a little while as a Muslim (it was the first programme in an Islamic country, and Shri Mataji had asked for as many Sahaja Yogis as possible from a Muslim background to go there). The room was not large, and we sang bhajans. Shri Mataji’s chair was on a small dais, a very regal setting in which to receive our Divine Mother.

There were perhaps a hundred or so people; the hall was quite a way from the centre of town and rather inaccessible. The audience was quite receptive to Shri Mataji’s discourse and at the end a member of the audience, who from his behaviour had some sort of official position, stood up and formally thanked Her for coming to Istanbul. Although quite a few people had come from false gurus generally people had no problem getting realisation. As Shri Mataji left at the end of the programme we saw something of the difference between the Turks and the Greeks; the Turks said much less, but glowed and radiated their enjoyment, a very humble people. Shri Mataji chatted briefly and shook hands with some new people as She left.

The next day a puja took place at the flat. We thought it would just be a small puja for Turkey but Shri Mataji gave a very important discourse, not so much about the country, but about our hearts. She talked about different types of people; some have knowledge but are lacking in compassion as their knowledge is purely mental, and some have compassion but no discrimination. We must be like the sea, She said; it touches all the countries with equanimity, does not drown any of them but stays within its limits; we must not have too much concern for any one individual at the expense of the collectivity. We must not lose ourselves in other people, but must stay within the maryadas of our compassion, and must put Mother in our brain and heart. Some people, She said, feel themselves from time to time remote from Her; but She does not move, She is what She is, a fixed quantity, and if we feel ourselves estranged it is because it is we who have moved away. Conversely, if we feel close to Her it is not because She loves us or has concern for us more than others, but because we have moved closer to Her in our hearts, not physically. So the key is not how much Mother loves us, but how much we love Her.

After Her talk, Grégoire read out a prayer in which he, on behalf of all of us, besought Shri Mataji that in future the spreading of Sahaja Yoga would depend less on Her presence and more on the work of the Sahaja Yogis. In particular, he cited Shri Mataji’s forthcoming itinerary in America. Shri Mataji looked at all of us very compassionately and gently.

Do not worry about Me,’ She said. ‘I may look human, but I am not. Do I look tired?’ She asked us all, and we had to admit that She looked anything but tired!

The evening’s programme had been arranged in the Conference Centre of the Hilton Hotel, in the business area of the town, and the hall of six hundred seats was completely full by the time that Shri Mataji arrived. After Her talk She received people on the stage, while the Sahaja Yogis gave vibrations to newcomers, who all seemed very normal and cultured; in particular there were a number of musicians, one of whom sang a traditional song to Shri Mataji, as an interlude to the bhajans.

After the programme some of us returned to the flat. My wife and I went and Shri Mataji was so kind as to give us both names. It was particularly important for my wife, as her name, Ursula, has very sad vibrations (apparently this is generally true of all names beginning with ‘U’). So it was that at the Lotus Feet of our Divine Mother, we became Lakshmi and Narayana.

Phil Ward

Shri Mataji’s cashmere coat

When I was a very new Sahaja Yogi in 1989 I found out that Shri Mataji was going to visit Greece and Turkey. I asked if it would be alright if I booked myself on the same flight as Mother from Heathrow to Athens, and they said that was ok, and I was in Economy Class. At the airport, the yogi who was accompanying Shri Mataji suddenly asked if anyone else was going on the flight, and my name was put forward.

He came to me and gave me Her coat, the coat that we have often seen in all the photos – a sort of cashmere cream coloured one. He asked me to go to the departure gate because Mother was delayed as She wanted to talk to the yogis, and he wanted to make sure that the plane was delayed for Her. I couldn’t believe I was carrying something of Shri Mataji’s, but when I got to the departure gate I was completely confident and explained the situation and they were fine and agreed to hold the aircraft. When Mother came along and walked towards me, it was the first time She spoke to me, and She just put Her hand on my arm.

Thank you,’ She said. Her face seemed so big, and it seemed as if I was a tiny child looking at Her Mother, and Her eyes seemed so big as well.

Later, I was in an aircraft with Shri Mataji, I was standing near Her, She placed something in Her mouth, and as She did that I got a very strong taste of cardamom in my own mouth. I found out later that She had been eating cardamom.

Danielle Lee