Chapter 16: 1992 – February and March

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

Australia and New Zealand

The job was half done

When Shri Mataji came to Perth in the early 1990’s, the musicians were on the stage and we played before Shri Mataji arrived to do a public programme, at a theatre called The Octagon. After the formal part of the programme Shri Mataji met everyone one by one. She held their hands and hugged them and greeted them as if She knew them so well.

The musicians continued to play and it had a serene and beautiful quality. When the people were waiting to see Her their attention was all on Her; they weren’t chatting to each other or doing other things. Everyone smiled at the love She was giving to everyone, even if She did not know them.

Later on when Shri Mataji went back to where She was staying, She said how much She had enjoyed the programme and that the music had already got the seekers half way to their realisation before She arrived. She said it was wonderful to walk in and the job was half done.

Matthew Fogarty

These ganas are always with us

I think it was 1992 when Shri Mataji came to Australia. It was very, very dry and hot and we were quite worried. It was about forty-five degrees centigrade and we thought it might be too hot for Shri Mataji and we were quite worried about the weather. She was arriving about 2 am Saturday morning.

Friday evening, a few hours before She was coming, a big thunderstorm came up from nowhere and there was thunder and lightning. This was in February or March and it never rains in those months at all in Perth. It is very dry for about four months each year but suddenly this huge storm came up and it bucketed down. So much water was coming down and the temperature fell about ten degrees. By the time Shri Mataji’s plane came, it was much cooler and quite wet.

We asked Shri Mataji about it and She said that the trees were crying out for water, so it had to rain. The next night was the public programme and we were really worried about people coming. She said that the real seekers would come. The hall was completely packed and people had been waiting to come to the programme with water around their ankles. On the way back to Gidgeganup, the ashram, which was about an hour and a half’s drive from where the programme was, going out of Perth, Shri Mataji passed a whole lot of cars that were stuck on the side of the motorway because there had been so much rain. It was still raining quite heavily.

Oh dear!’ She said, and at that point it stopped raining.

Do you see the ganas that are coming with us on each side of the car?’ Shri Mataji said a few minutes later. The people that were in the car with Her looked out, and about eighteen inches on each side of the car, just outside the windows, were sort of balls of fire, balls of light — more like white light, about the size of a baseball. Each one — there was one on each side — had a long tail of light that went for about twenty feet and they travelled with the car for about twenty minutes.

These ganas are always with us, but this time you can see them,’ Shri Mataji explained.

When they got up to the ashram, there had been a power cut and there was no power at the house where Shri Mataji was staying. They had to light candles all through the house and She said how good that was, and was quite pleased.

It will get rid of all the negativity,’ She said.

When Shri Mataji went to Cairns, it started to rain when She was there and then, when She went to Sydney, it started to rain there. It deluged down in Sydney and the whole of New South Wales. The whole state had had a drought for about ten years. That rain, which had started within hours of Her arriving, broke the drought and helped the farming industry of New South Wales.

The meteorologists were talking about the phenomenon of that rain when Shri Mataji came and, even two years later, there were articles in the paper about the rain that came to Perth at that time. They couldn’t work out what had caused the drought to break because the weather patterns at that time were so odd.

Clare Nesdale

Shri Ganesha Puja, Perth 1992

A lesson in alertness

This lesson started during Shri Mataji’s visit in Perth in 1992 and was completed when She revisited Australia in 2006. I was very new to Sahaja Yoga in 1992, and quite shy about stepping out, and this was the problem. I, with many other yogis and yoginis, lined the red carpet on either side awaiting Shri Mataji’s arrival at the hanger for the puja. Her car arrived and soon She appeared on the carpet. All heads were turned to Her but somehow I looked down and noticed a small fold in the carpet. To straighten it I would have to step out in front of Shri Mataji and gesture to many yogis/yoginis help pull it out. I told myself I couldn’t possibly get this done discreetly and quickly enough, and, ‘What are the chances of Shri Mataji tripping on that fold? It is so small.’ But She did falter on it.

I was mortified and over the years asked myself, why did I hesitate? I resolved to never again make such a mistake. I got another chance at Shri Mataji’s Birthday Puja in Sydney, 2006.

An enormous seven tiered cake was presented to Her and I didn’t know that some of these layers were fake. I happened to take the top layer, with the candles, onto the stage with another yogini. As we approached Shri Mataji, this yogini let go and I had the honour of placing the last layer onto the stack, and I stepped back. Just then a yogi moved one of the layers and it looked totally unbalanced.

The same voice that had alerted me to the fold in the carpet once more alerted me to the lopsidedness and for a moment I again hesitated, not wanting to bring attention to myself, but if the layers toppled over they would land in Shri Mataji’s lap, so this time, remembering my resolve, I stepped up and moved the layer more to the centre.

Greta More

I remember every tree

While Shri Mataji was staying at Robin and Jo Reid’s cottage at Gidgeganup in 1992, Jo asked Shri Mataji if She thought Her bedroom would be better painted? Robin and Jo had thought Shri Mataji might find the room too dark; it was lined with Oregon planks.

Oh no, you mustn’t paint the room, I remember every tree it came from,’ Shri Mataji said.

Jo Reid

This photograph of Shri Mataji was taken in 1992, outside the Reid’s cottage at Gidgeganup, where Shri Mataji stayed for the first time that year. Soon after She arrived in Perth She was taken to the cottage and sat at the front, as seen in the photo. Shri Mataji drank tea and had refreshments, and spoke with the yogis.

Clare Nesdale

The Bodhisattva Maitreya

In speaking to Shri Mataji in Perth in 1992 I offered Her some small curios made of mother of pearl, the only things I could find in Australia that were made in Burma. I mentioned to Her that the Burmese were predominantly Buddhist and that they have been waiting for the Buddha Maitreya for many centuries. Her Holiness Shri Mataji smiled as She listened and then very gently corrected me by saying: Bodhisattva Maitreya, so I later researched the difference between Buddha and Bodhisattva. A Buddha takes samadhi, while a Bodhisattva has taken an oath that they will not take their samadhi while there is even one soul waiting to be saved.

I came to the conclusion that Shri Mataji was the Bodhisattva Maitreya, the Eternal Mother of the three gunas.

Greta More

Such intelligent birds

A funny thing happened in 1992 when Shri Mataji was staying at the Applecross Ashram. We were having the puja at Gidgeganup, and someone asked me to wait until Shri Mataji had finished breakfast and take the little table She had been using in the bedroom, and drive it up in my car to be put next to Her chair at the puja.

I told the man who was driving Shri Mataji that I had to get there before him, with this table. I drove fast, but when I was going along O’Brien Road I looked in my rear vision mirror and there was Shri Mataji’s car coming over the hill behind me.

When we drove through the gates, there was a huge flock of black cockatoos all sitting around the gate, waiting to see Shri Mataji. I’ve never seen them there any other time, but they are such intelligent birds, and so collective.

Lyndal Vercoe

Shri Mataji arriving for the puja

The heavens exploded

At the puja in Perth in 1992, we didn’t have the right kajal for Shri Mataji. Before the kajal, they had to put the bangles on Shri Mataji’s hands. The women who were doing it couldn’t because the size that we had got was far too small for Her hands.

Here, give them to Me,’ Shri Mataji said, and did the same thing for each hand. She put the bangles on the first parts of Her fingers, covered Her hands with Her sari and then took the sari back off Her hand. It had not touched the bangles at all, but now they were on Her wrists. She did it to each hand in turn and the people watching just couldn’t believe it because She hadn’t actually tried to force them on. Previously, they couldn’t put them on, but after She lifted Her sari back, the bangles were on.

The next thing that happened was that Shri Mataji wanted the plain kajal and we had the kajal with camphor in it. We didn’t have any plain kajal. So She put on the kajal that had the camphor in it and soon teardrops formed in each eye and started to fall down Her face.

At that point, the heavens exploded and rain just pelted down. We hadn’t quite finished the walls of the ashram when we had the puja and rain was coming in right across the floor. Because Shri Mataji had the sari in front of Her, She couldn’t see us, though I am sure She was aware of what was happening, people having to move to higher ground. When the sari was taken down, we were all in different places. This happened simultaneously with the camphor kajal going on Her eyes and the tears forming in Her eyes and the clouds just letting go.

That and the bangles were the most incredible miracles. Shri Mataji must have taken them off Herself later because there was no way you could have taken them off.

Clare Nesdale

Shri Mataji solved the problem very simply

At a puja held in Australia between 1992 and 1996, I was seated towards the front, near the stage because I was singing with the musicians. I noticed Shri Mataji was having some difficulty getting the bangles on and one of the Sahaja Yogis kept offering her different ones to try on. None seemed to fit easily and finally I saw Shri Mataji put Her hand under the fold of Her sari and a few seconds later Her hand emerged with the bangles on. 

Later I was told that none of the bangles that She tried on were the right size but that the Devi, in order to complete the puja, needed to have on new bangles, so Shri Mataji had solved the problem very simply. 

Greta More

This I cannot deny

We had the puja in Gidgeganup in 1992, where Shri Mataji graced us with Her presence. The ashram was only a concrete floor and roof at that time. We had done our best to make it comfortable for Her, but the weather was determined to make itself obvious. The wind started to blow, the rain started to fall and Shri Mataji pulled Her shawl around Her. I thought, ‘Oh dear, we haven’t been able to make Her comfortable.’

Shri Mataji started to talk again. Again the weather started up. She stopped, looked up for a number of moments. The wind dropped, the rain stopped and it was calm. I thought to myself, ‘I have truly seen a miracle with my own eyes. This I cannot deny.’

Diana Selentin

We talked about it for years

The centre of the roof hadn’t been put in and Shri Mataji had started the puja talk. About ten minutes into the talk, big rain clouds came over and rain started to pour down. Everybody was panicking because it was wetting their puja saris and nobody was moving because it would be impolite.

Shri Mataji looked up, saw what was happening and cut through the air with Her hand, a cut downwards with Her hand, and immediately the rain stopped. It seemed to stop in mid-air and just didn’t come down any more. Everybody looked to see what had happened to it because nobody could quite work it out.

At the very same time, a wind blew up and blew the clouds away within minutes. The big rain clouds had gone and there were just soft fluffy white clouds in their place and after a little bit, fine patches came in the sky.

The Sahaja Yogis talked about it for years afterwards. New people, who had only been in Sahaja Yoga a year or so, couldn’t believe what had happened because one minute you were being drenched with these heavy drops of rain and the next minute it was just cut in mid-air.

Clare Nesdale

The divine gardener

After the puja in Perth at Gidgeganup, Shri Mataji had lunch in Robin and Jo’s house where She was staying. After eating, several of us Sahaja Yoginis, still wearing our puja saris, went down to walk near the lake and stand some distance from the cottage with our hands towards it, feeling the vibrations. Someone came out of the cottage and called to us to go up and get Alex Henshaw to bring his video camera right away, because Shri Mataji wanted him to make film of Her.

I ran up and got Alex and then someone else came out of the cottage and organised moving the cars away from around the cottage, to set a more natural scene. Shri Mataji came out and paused at the front veranda and plucked dead leaves off the wisteria growing up to the balcony.

I’m the gardener. I’m taking off the dead leaves,’ She said. She also said this in puja talks, in reference to Sahaja Yogis who leave Sahaja Yoga. She walked around the garden and talked about the sky and the clouds and asked to be filmed with the lake in the background.

Clare Nesdale

Shri Mataji was an actress

After the puja Shri Mataji was at our house at Gidgeganup. We had had lunch and Shri Mataji had been talking about how She had been in plays and had been a good actress and never said the same line twice. Alex Henshaw came down with his video camera and Mother had the table cleared and we put a bowl of fruit in front of Her. Shri Mataji told him to start filming; She picked up a banana, peeled it and started to eat it, and then walked around the room and was posing against different areas in the cottage.

Then, Shri Mataji walked outside and wanted to walk with bare Feet and She looked at the water lilies and the fountain. I answered a question, at least I thought I was answering a question.

No, don’t talk. I’m the gardener,’ She said. Then She noticed there were some wonderful things in the sky and She said to Alex, ‘I hope you are filming these and I want to give a copy of it to the Europeans.’

Later we asked for a copy of the film, but the film got lost.

Jo Reid

Shri Mataji laughed in joy with him

On the veranda at Gidgeganup, all the household helpers were lined up in the doorway as Mother prepared to leave for shopping. Baby Joshua Fitzgerald was gazing around at no particular thing. He snapped to attention and started to laugh and babble. He struggled in his father’s arms, reaching towards Shri Mataji as She paused, framed in the doorway of ancient jarrah wood ‘sleeper’ timbers.

See – they recognize,’ She said, and laughed in joy with him.

Christine Driver

Hepatitis relieved

I joined Sahaja Yoga at the beginning of the year 1990 in France. I got married in December 1990 and emigrated to Perth, Australia in March 1991. After the India Tour of December 1991, lots of yogis came back with hepatitis, and I was the last to get it, after everybody else. It coincided with Mother’s arrival to Perth in February/March 1992, but being too sick I could not attend the public programme or the puja and could not have Mother’s darshan. Just before getting sick I had crocheted a small cloth or mat, so I gave it to my leader with a letter to offer to Shri Mataji. In the letter I was welcoming Shri Mataji to Australia, letting Her know how happy I was here, and at the end I asked Her to give me a name.

As Mother was at the airport about to leave Perth, two yoginis came to my house to pick me up, because Shri Mataji wanted to see me! I was so weak and all yellow, with one yogini on each side. I was suddenly at Mother’s Feet, in the middle of the airport. Shri Mataji was sitting next to Aunty Jo, our leader at the time, and She had Her hand working on another yogini sitting on the other side of Her. Shri Mataji asked someone to fetch some ice. It came in a cup, She gave it a stir with Her hand and it was put in a plastic bag which was put on my liver.

Put your left hand on your liver and your right hand towards Me and ask Me to come in your liver,’ Shri Mataji then said, ‘Not loudly, within yourself, ask me over and over again.’

I felt I must be in a very bad state then because Shri Mataji wasn’t looking at me at all. So I put my head down.

Please Shri Mataji come in my liver,’ I started asking within myself. As soon as I asked I started shaking but ignored it and kept on asking.

Still shaking?’ Shri Mataji asked after about ten times of my asking.

Yes,’ I said with all my courage.

Keep asking,’ She said, so I did. After another six or seven times, my body suddenly started to completely relax, releasing the shaking, and then it was like an injection of heaven in my whole body and head. I felt tremendous love for Shri Mataji and lifted my head up, looking for Her eyes. I saw Shri Mataji’s face, big eyes, glasses and big smile leaning forward to me and looking right into my eyes.

Feeling better?’ She asked.

My heart was pouring with love, I said in my heart, ‘You are my true Mother, only a Mother can relieve Her child from pain and sufferings, I bow to You.’

Yes, Mother,’ I answered. After that Mother praised my small artwork and commented on all the points of my letter, in order, and then She gave me a name.

Meenakshi Pujari

His face suffused with colour and light

In 1992 the yogis were moving along with Shri Mataji as She walked towards Departures at Perth Airport. A small brother and sister were on either side of Her. Mother put a hand on each head and pressed down firmly. The little girl smiled and her face became pink and glowing. The little boy resisted and tried to move away. Then he too surrendered and his faced suffused with colour and light, and he smiled.

Christine Driver

Shri Mataji was still there

Shri Mataji had been driven to the airport and I thought there was plenty of time to have a quick shower at home and still get there before Her. It didn’t happen that way and I arrived late. I wanted to see Her off, so raced to the airport and went to the wrong area. I also wanted to give Her a gift and was racing around trying to find it. I found some dried flowers which were native to Western Australia but having bought them, worried that they were dead. I found the collective and, thank goodness, Shri Mataji was still there. I was of two minds whether to give the gift to Her, but, through the crowd, She beckoned me. I didn’t think that She had seen me.

I gave Her the flowers and She was pleased and asked a lady who grows flowers what the names of the flowers were. She was very interested indeed.

Diana Selentin

She stopped and turned

Shri Mataji was at the airport in Sydney in 1992 and She was travelling to Cairns and then She was to return to Sydney. Most of the yogis were at the top of the escalator and I was the only one at the bottom. She walked out of Her car and straight towards me. As She came to the escalator, She stopped and turned to me.

I am coming back,’ She said.

Brian O’Gorman

She smiled at us

While my husband Brian was at the bottom of the escalator, I was at the top, standing with another yogini. When Shri Mataji got to the top of the escalator, She stopped and looked at both our hearts very hard and then said, ‘Everything always works out right in Sahaja Yoga.’ Then She smiled at us and moved on.

Isn’t that nice that She said that to my friend,’ I thought, because she had been going through a really difficult time. I said to my friend, ‘Isn’t that nice?’

She didn’t say anything,’ my friend said, and I realised that She was actually saying that to me.

Elizabeth O’Gorman

A day shopping with Shri Mataji

This was during Shri Mataji’s visit to Australia in the early months of 1992. A friend and I knew Shri Mataji was to attend an interview at a Sydney radio station and we had decided to be there to welcome Her.

Somehow I arrived late and my friend had already offered our flowers to Shri Mataji, who was sitting on a bench outside the radio station, which was on a busy road in Sydney’s Kings Cross. There were a handful of yogis and my friend and I sat at Shri Mataji’s Feet while we all waited for Her to go in to the interview.

We went upstairs and waited in the hall while the interview took place. After around fifteen minutes Shri Mataji came out and everyone proceeded downstairs. One of the Indian men who was looking after Shri Mataji at that time asked my friend and I if we would like to come shopping with Shri Mataji. We, of course, said yes.

My friend and I went in the car of another yogi and somehow located the others and Shri Mataji in the shopping centre in the centre of Sydney. It was so amazing wandering all over the shopping arcades and department stores with Shri Mataji – we went into many china shops and jewellers. We walked past a display of masks such as children wear for Halloween. They were quite ghoulish and Shri Mataji remarked that bhuts got into people who wear these masks.

When Shri Mataji wanted to buy some make-up for Her daughters we went into one of the main department stores and She bought Shisedo lipstick. My friend and I instantly went back to buy this brand after She left. The last shop was another department store where Shri Mataji wanted to buy a suit for Sir CP, who was not there that year.

We walked out of the shop into the main road and waited with Her for the car to come round. As She got into the car She told us to go and have our lunch, as by then it was around 4.00 pm and we hadn’t eaten all day. Only then did we realise how hungry we were!

Natalie Singh

Just enjoy

I was fortunate enough to have Shri Mataji say this to me on a few occasions when secretly I was feeling troubled and I was blessed to be in Her presence.

Just enjoy, just enjoy!’

I knew of course in my deepest being that She was right, and it seemed so simple, but at the time, I have to admit my thoughts turned to the question ‘Yes, but how?’ It took me a few years before I truly felt the gravity of Her statement deeper within, but I always remembered what She said when I was struggling and kept Her words like a mantra and an everlasting goal to work towards and assist me in moving forward. 

Susi Baumgartner

See, they are all vibrations

In about 1992 we were attending the puja in Sydney, held in an Australian bush (forest) setting and Shri Mataji was staying in a tiny single storied wooden cottage in a clearing at the puja site. A group of us were standing quietly, some distance from the cottage with our hands towards it, feeling the vibrations coming from it. The door of the cottage opened and Shri Mataji walked out and called us over to Her. She pointed to the sky, having come out to look at the clouds.

See, they are all vibrations,’ She said. There were long thin trails of cloud drifting across the sky above Shri Mataji. We all looked up in awe. The vibrations were strong and we were in thoughtless awareness, and stood with Shri Mataji for some time looking at the clouds.

Clare Nesdale

Shri Mataji kissed my Sahasrara

When I was a child, in Sydney at a programme in the ’90’s, people were going up to Shri Mataji. She looked at me and asked if I had been to some guru or something. Then the man with Her introduced me and She hugged me and kissed my Sahasrara.

I walked back and burst into tears.

Tim Reid

The racism has to stop

Shri Mataji asked me about Australia and what I felt was wrong with the country. It was the early 1990’s, and I said I felt we had a darkness we would not acknowledge, but just swept under the carpet: it was the dispossession of the Aboriginal people.

The racism has to stop,’ She said so clearly. At the time, the Labor Government was talking of a treaty with the Aboriginal people, and Shri Mataji, who knew what was going on, said, ‘and not just a treaty. They must be given land.’

At the time I was studying racism, and in Her gracious kindness She came down to my level to discuss these matters. Of course Her words are mantras, and for quite a long time after, racism kept coming up in the media, and then some good laws were passed against racism in Australia.

The American Indians were near their self realisation. They must have felt that God had forsaken them,’ Shri Mataji also said during that meeting.

Heather Jeffrey

How could She love me like that?

I first met Shri Mataji in 1992. When She was at the Brisbane Town Hall, at a public programme, after the giving of self realisation, people were able to line up and meet Her. I lined up too, and when I was finally in front of Mother I was unable to move or talk. I went into total thoughtless awareness, and was just standing there looking at Her.

Next I could feel Mother’s very soft cheek. Somehow I was up on the stage hugging Her, with my cheek next to Hers. I have never felt a cheek so soft. I don’t know how I got into that position because I don’t remember moving. It was time to move on and let someone else meet Shri Mataji, and She tapped my cheek with the palm of Her hand and smiled, as if to say ‘Off you go now.’ It felt like She was my grandmother. I sat for a long time in my seat looking at Her, wondering how She could love me like I felt She did, when She had only just met me.

Cornelia Jessop

I am home!

On Her fourth visit to New Zealand, Shri Mataji visited us at an ashram in Parnell, Auckland. We had had about three rental properties for collective living and by then the numbers of yogis wishing to live together had increased. Shri Mataji said it was now time to buy a place of our own, and She was even willing to help us buy it.

We were in a real estate agent’s office and Shri Mataji was asking the yogis to calculate some sums and none of us could do them. She laughed at how She is no good at maths but easily worked out the figures. Our minds just went blank. We drove and looked at the outside of one property. It was huge and was a converted boarding house. Shri Mataji obviously had big plans for us.

We didn’t actually buy anything until the end of the year, about nine months later, but the desire was kindled and amazingly all the yogis pulled their resources together. We had at least twelve adults and children living together, and it was one of the most collective times ever.

Only two weeks after moving into 24, Pukenui Road, Epsom, our Divine Mother graced us with Her divine presence. It was the most glorious time with a Shri Mahasaraswati Puja, public programmes and many, many beautiful moments for us all. She was so pleased with the ashram and commented on everything, even the carpet design, which She liked.

Ah, I am home!’ She exclaimed on walking through the front entrance on Her return the following year.

Janie Frith

Shri Mataji raised Her Feet and the flames obeyed

We moved in to our new ashram and had it ready, just, for Shri Mataji’s next visit in February 1992. It was a large homestead in a magnificent location. Shri Mataji allowed us to perform Shri Mahasaraswati Puja here. The talk is amazing for its description of the arts, and the inspiration that flows from Shri Mahasaraswati. Shri Mataji talked about many of the great writers, especially the realised souls. She also spoke about the problems and pitfalls when people move to the extreme right, giving several examples. It was a very joyous puja in Shri Mataji’s new house – Her New Zealand temple. Several Australian yogis came and really added to the great vibrations with their music and their presence.

When the aarti was sung the leader held the silver tray and as it progressed several pieces of camphor melted and merged into a flaming mass. Another tray was slid underneath, and a towel to hold the silver. Shri Mataji’s divine attention came on to the leader. Briefly, the heat got more intense, but as Shri Mataji raised Her Feet, the flames obeyed, and completely died down. After the puja She said we forgot to sing Shri Mahasaraswati’s praises. This was followed by a Sanskrit poem in Her praise, and we said, ‘Bolo Shri Mahasaraswati, Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi Ki Jai!’

There was a very well attended public programme at Auckland’s Maidment Theatre. Shri Mataji graciously invited all the seekers to come and speak with Her and receive Her blessings. She also invited everyone to come back the next night, and again it was full. On this visit Shri Mataji went down to Christchurch in the South Island, for the first time. She held a public programme there, delaying the start due to negativity in the area. She later told the Yogis that a certain ‘religious’ organisation had a strong negative influence there.

David and Trisha Sharp

Shopping in Auckland

A very special soul

Shri Mataji came to New Zealand in 1992 and was staying at the ashram that we had collectively purchased at Pukenui Road. She wanted to see the former Prime Minister, who had set up the non-nuclear power boats agreement, meaning no nuclear powered boats were allowed in our waters, which broke us away from any military agreement with the USA and Australia. The New Zealanders did not want anything nuclear on the land, either.

Mother had a lot of respect for this former Prime Minister. We were to ask him to come for lunch on the Sunday, and Shri Mataji wanted to cook him a full Indian lunch. We managed to get a nice blue tablecloth, and make the room look good, and we were very busy helping Mother to cook.

While She was cooking, Shri Mataji was talking about Her father, and how as a child She loved going camping overnight with him. She said they would light a camp fire and talk, and he would fish, and they would cook the fish. She was reminiscing about those days, and how much enjoyment She got from that.

It was quite a pressure to get the meal done, because it was four courses: chicken, lamb, and so on, and Shri Mataji went to change, then came back and did some more cooking.

She would not sit down, but in the traditional way served everybody their meal. Shri Mataji was sad because the former Prime Minister did not recognise Her. She said he was a very special soul, and Mother had heard him speak in India at a United Nations meeting about nuclear non-proliferation. She was very impressed with him and said he was a man who said something differently.

Colleen Keetley

All you need is faith

On one of Shri Mataji’s visits to Pukenui Road ashram, a lounge had been created, and a TV and video had been installed for Her. The evening after Shri Mataji’s arrival She decided we should watch a video about Saint Hari from India. Shri Mataji asked Hugh to turn on the video and he had no idea how this one worked, so Shri Mataji told him to give a bandhan for the TV to come on and instantly it did.

All you need is faith,’ Shri Mataji told Hugh.

Shri Mataji then asked him to sit and watch the movie on how Saint Hari lived through all the torments he was subjected to. In one scene Hari is set on fire for his beliefs and the flames did not consume him.

See, all you need is faith and things will work out,’ Shri Mataji said again.

Hugh Frith

A name

Mother came to the Pukenui Road ashram in 1992. She would sit in the lounge of this big old three storey house, which was in a well to do area and was the first place we bought for Sahaja Yoga in New Zealand.

Shri Mataji was thrilled with this ashram, and again we offered Her tea. On this occasion when Mother was leaving I could not find Her hot water bottle and I was rushing around looking for it. At this time everyone was lined up so Mother could name their children, my daughter included. Finally I found the hot water bottle, came back and thought Mother had named all the children and my daughter Shaila was just standing there. ‘Oh, I can’t ask now,’ I thought, ‘because Mother has named them all. What a shame, I’ve missed out.’ But then Mother just looked at me.

Her name is Shailavashi, but you can call her Shaila for short,’ She said. ‘It means – the Goddess that sits on the peak of the mountain.’ I remember standing on the steps while Mother was leaving, and we waved at Her, and She waved at us through the window of the car, and it felt like She was really my mum that year. The following year She was more the guru.

Colleen Keetley

A passion fruit soufflé

In 1992 I was cooking for Shri Mataji. I was all on my own, and had never done it before. When Mother first arrived She went straight to Her room, and I was sitting outside in the hall feeling I would not be able to keep my attention in the right place, then I was given a very beautiful vibrational confirmation by Shri Mataji, coming directly to my Nabhi from Her. After that I was able to do the cooking. She was always very appreciative of my food, however, at one point I took Her a dessert, and I wasn’t very strong on the visual side.

Hm,’ She said, ‘take it back and present it nicely.’ So I did, and then presented it again and She ate it and seemed very happy.

Shri Mataji wanted to experiment at that time. I made Her a passion fruit soufflé and She saw the seeds. She wanted to soak them overnight to see what happened. She put them in water but did not do anything with them in the end.

Colleen Keetley

I completely dissolved into something exquisite

After the puja Shri Mataji called us into Her room to have a chat. She was lying beautifully on Her couch, had a shawl over Her to keep warm, and was talking. She spoke a lot about my daughter’s father, who was not living with us at the time, and was following a false guru, and was not a positive influence. Shri Mataji suggested I should go to live in Perth, Australia, but not just yet. She was so compassionate about my then husband, and said he was such a seeker, but had unfortunately got caught by this false guru. Shri Mataji said She would let me know when to go to Perth, and She did: She sent me a fax about eighteen months later.

During this time, Shri Mataji was talking about how I cooked well, and could maybe get a job as a chef in Perth. She was very practical, and was talking to the other ladies, very light and delightful, and I noticed Her shawl had slipped, so I very gently picked it up, not wanting to touch Her. As I put the shawl over Her shoulders, I completely dissolved into something exquisite – a lovely experience. I had the same experience when I went up with my little girl to help her pour the water over Mother’s Feet.

Colleen Keetley

We are very responsible for these children

One other thing happened when Mother walked into that puja. Both my child, and another little boy, namaskared as She walked by, to the chair at the end.

She namaskars because you do,’ She said about my daughter as She walked past. I understood it to mean we are very responsible for these children, even if they are born realised.

Colleen Keetley

Puja with water

Shri Mataji came to Christchurch at the beginning of February 1992. She had been to Auckland and had done a Shri Mahasaraswati Puja and then had flown down and spent a couple of days in Christchurch, in the South Island of New Zealand. It is the third largest city in New Zealand. There were about forty people with Shri Mataji, mostly Australians and New Zealanders, and we stayed in a motel. Brian Bell had started Sahaja Yoga there and had a small unit, and had hired a motel for all of us and Shri Mataji to stay in.

On the plane from Auckland to Christchurch, coming into the South Island, Shri Mataji said that She could feel that the depth of the country, and that there were very deep seekers in the South Island. This parallels the folklore of the Maori people that the South Island was the mainland, Të Waipounamu, meaning greenstone waters or the Isle of Jade, and the North Island was fished up by Mauï, a well-known and legendary common ancestor known to many peoples of the Pacific region.

Shri Mataji arrived and there were about three or four of us to meet Her at the airport – everyone else was on the plane with Her. Brian asked if She would like a little tour of the city and She agreed. He took Her on a tour of Christchurch and about an hour and a half later She arrived at the motel, where the rest of us were waiting.

We had set up a little aarti tray: some perfume and flower petals. When Shri Mataji arrived She wanted to have Her Feet washed, so She came in and sat down in the room we had prepared – very sparsely, in this motel. We had no dish or anything large enough to wash Shri Mataji’s Feet in. In the end we had to use a cast iron baking dish. We did puja to Her with water, with Her Holy Feet in this dish.

Pam Mathews

Shri Adi Shakti circled the city

After we had welcomed Shri Mataji at Christchurch airport in 1992, I asked Her if She would like to see something of the city. She agreed and we drove off. We were only about ten minutes’ drive away from the motel where we had arranged Shri Mataji’s accommodation, but the trip into the Port Hills to look down on the harbor and the wide Canterbury Plains took over an hour. We were still far away from our eventual destination when Shri Mataji asked if we were going to be much longer. I told Her it would be a while and She closed Her eyes. Feeling pretty miserable, I realised that the trip should have been much more carefully explained, and that Shri Mataji was in Christchurch to see the seekers, not the scenery.

But, when we arrived at the motel, Shri Mataji was as warm and loving as ever. However, She didn’t mention the trip. Someone said how fortunate we were that the Adi Shakti had circled the city with Her divine bandhan, but it was little comfort to me at the time.

Brian Bell

Shri Mataji said they were absolutely beautiful

Shri Mataji spent a lot of time talking to people, and clearing people. All sorts of people came and then there was a public programme, at the Town Hall in Christchurch, which was about a ten minute drive away from where we were staying. The musicians from Australia had come over, and the yogis started the programme. Shri Mataji waited at the motel and finally we moved to the car with Her and drove to the hall about an hour and a half after it was due to start.

Shri Mataji did not want to stop at the hall, so we drove up and around the huge park in the centre of Christchurch. She looked at all the trees and said how beautiful they were. She mentioned that England had too many trees, but that this park was beautiful. She loved Christchurch and said it was like a Disneyland version of England. There were some willow trees and Shri Mataji said that even in England the willows were not as beautiful as those. I mentioned that the willows had a disease, but Shri Mataji said She would put Her attention on it. There are some botanical gardens in that park and Shri Mataji said they were absolutely beautiful. We arrived back at the hall and it was about two hours after the time that the programme was meant to start.

We went in the hall and a lot of people were leaving. Nevertheless, Shri Mataji gave a lovely talk to the people of Christchurch. About six hundred people got their realisation and afterwards a lot of people went up to Her and She worked on them, so graciously.

Pam Mathews

Watching the video

After the public programme we watched the film of Shakespeare’s play Henry the Fifth. She answered a lot of questions about it and said it must have been a play of Shri Shiva. It was very interesting.

Pam Mathews

A great soul

When Shri Mataji went to Christchurch, we all watched some videos with Her. For me the most memorable one was the Henry the Fifth video. She spoke quite a bit about it.

He was a great soul, and in those days you had to fight like that, for good and for the right outcome. But of course we don’t have to do that anymore,’ She explained.

Colleen Keetley

Clearing out the Agnya

Shri Mataji wanted to go shopping in Christchurch and a few of us went with Her. She went to the main centre and bought some woollen suiting for Sir CP. She also went to one of the major department stores and bought lipsticks for Her granddaughters and lots of things.

The main thing She looked at was in a jeweller’s shop, a beautiful square cut diamond ring. Shri Mataji looked at this and tried it on both Her Agnya fingers. Later someone explained to me that the diamond is the stone of the Agnya chakra, and Shri Mataji would have been clearing out the Agnya by looking at this diamond. Shri Mataji said the main problem for New Zealand was fundamentalism. In another shop we showed Shri Mataji a lot of the New Zealand green stone (jade) and this is a favourite of the tourists. She looked at it but made the comment that coral is actually the stone of New Zealand.

There is a beautiful avenue that goes from the city up to the airport, and we were driving Shri Mataji up it, as She was going to Sydney for the Shri Shivaratri Puja. She said how She really liked the houses in New Zealand. She noticed everything – such as that the trees planted along the roadside were magnolias, which were also found in India.

Pam Mathews

She came all the way to Christchurch

The first time I saw Shri Mataji was in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1992. I had seen adverts for Sahaja Yoga in the newspaper before, but I couldn’t find the hall. The person who told me about the advert said this time the lady was actually coming, and I couldn’t believe a person like Her could come all the way to Christchurch.

I went along to the Town Hall and waited and waited, and groups of people left, about a hundred and eighty left, I counted them. I wondered who could be holding Shri Mataji up. I wandered around and came back, and was reading the posters. Then I looked up and there was Shri Mataji approaching with a group of followers and in my mind I thought, ‘Ah, there You are, You’ve come!’ I could see a lightness, a radiance, around Her followers. I waited at the door and Shri Mataji stopped just three feet away. I stepped aside and She also stepped aside. I moved away, and thought that I would have to do that, because I was not one of Her followers. She looked at me and I wondered what was going on.

I went in at the side and listened to Her talk. It seemed like twenty minutes. In that short time She gave me so much wisdom, but even so, I knew She must have much, much more to give.

Nigel Matthews

Shri Shivaratri Puja 1992

Look at the moon!

It was the Shri Shivaratri Puja at Glen Rock, near Newcastle, on the 1st March 1992. After the puja while we were sitting on a balcony, eating the meal, some of the men who had doing puja said they had problems with tying up Shri Mataji’s hair on top of Her head. In the end She said She would do it. They were surprised by how easily Shri Mataji did it, with one hand. Then the men went to put the comb which had a crescent moon attached to it into Shri Mataji’s hair, and the mirror that was cut in the shape of a thin crescent moon fell off. The men didn’t know what to do, so they put it on Shri Mataji as it was, the cardboard was a dark red colour with lighter colour were the glue had held the mirror on. The crescent moon shape was at a lower angle than it was meant to be.

Look at the moon!’ one of the men said, when they had just finished telling us. The moon had just appeared low in the sky from behind heavy cloud, above the bay. It was a thin crescent moon, dark red and on the same angle as it had been sitting on Shri Mataji’s head. The men were relieved, and understood it was meant to happen that way.

Later a Sahaja Yogi who was helping Shri Mataji told us that She said that She was very pleased with the puja, the vibrations had been very strong and that Shri Shiva was present on earth for the first time at this puja.

Clare Nesdale

Shri Shivaratri Puja 1992