Chapter 17: 1980 – Delhi, India, and London and Brighton, UK

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

A prayer answered

In 1980 Shri Mataji was visiting New Delhi. She went shopping at Cottage Industries in Connaught Place and bought some big silver thalis for puja for over 20,000 rupees each, which in those days was a large amount of money. After finishing shopping, a Sahaja Yogi insisted on taking Her for ice cream. Shri Mataji agreed and everyone got into the car. However there was no place for me, so I told erH Her I would walk, as it was not far. She insisted that I should get into the car, so here I was in this car standing up in the back area with Shri Mataji sitting right behind. She insisted that I should sit in Her lap and it was too embarrassing even though it was a short ride. Eventually She just pulled me and I was sitting on Her lap.

For the previous two years, every night before sleeping I had prayed to Her to let me put my head on Her lap, and here it was happening in actuality. It taught me that She knows everything and one should be careful what one desires.

Maneesh Singh

A very pleasant experience

On 3rd February 1980, I went to Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi’s public programme, a gathering of about a hundred people at Gandhi Bhavan, Delhi. I did not feel any vibrations in spite of the yogis working on me.

As advised, after foot-soaking at home, on 4th February I went there again and felt some vibrations only on my right hand palm. When I went in a queue to touch Shri Mataji’s Feet, and She lifted Her Feet and kept them on my head. At that time, I could feel that a very strong wave, like a river, started flowing from my Mooladhara towards my head and then into the ground. It was a very pleasant experience which I wanted to keep longer but due to the queue, I was asked to move on. Before starting Sahaja Yoga several of my chakras and nadis might have got damaged due to practising Hatha Yoga for fifteen years, which I stopped on the advice of Mother.

RR Singh

How hard She worked for us

The first time I went to meet Shri Mataji was in Gandhi Ashram, Delhi on 3rd February 1980. As I was a little girl, I don’t remember much except that there were about forty to fifty people and also some foreign Sahaja Yogis. Mother was working with Her hands on someone, and She was a kind of magician for me. At a certain point She almost ran to the bathroom to vomit. This I clearly remember because I followed Her. After a few minutes it was a shock for me to see Her back working on people in such a motherly way.

Another time in Delhi we were in a meeting, and there were more than eighty to a hundred people. After the programme everyone was called to do namaskar at Mother’s Feet. I followed my parents, so when I reached in front of Her, She asked me to keep my hands open under Her Feet and bowed down, putting my head on Her Feet while She massaged my back. You can imagine these were moments of sheer bliss – time had stopped.

‘Now you can go out and play,’ She said, and I obeyed Her. I’m sure many of us have had all these blessings and pampering, still sometimes falling into the net of maya. Then we see so many beautiful new Sahaja Yogis who have never even met Mother personally, so humble and dedicated.

Yoggita Singh

Editor’s note: sometimes the negativity of the new people caused Shri Mataji to have a difficult time, but She never let them know this, She just took their problems on Herself.

I was just floating

I went along to London Airport, but I couldn’t see any other Sahaja Yogis there, except two. There were just us three who met Shri Mataji. Shri Mataji came out, pushing Her own trolley, so I went over and took it. Next we got into a black cab with Her. She was sitting in a completely relaxed way. I was very nervous and all I could think was that I shouldn’t be there. We arrived at Shri Mataji’s flat and then we were in Her flat and all these feelings were going on in me, that I shouldn’t be here in front of Shri Mataji like this. Then we had a cup of tea.

‘Can we take Your leave, Shri Mataji?’ one of the other Sahaja Yogis said after some time, and he went down and knelt at Her Feet.

‘Oh my!’ I thought. The second Sahaja Yogi knelt at Shri Mataji’s Feet and She also stayed there for a few seconds. ‘Oh no, I shouldn’t go to Shri Mataji’s Feet,’ I thought. All this insecurity was going on in my head, but when I did go to kneel at Her Feet, a few minutes went by and I started thinking, ‘I must be in a terrible state.’

‘John is very deep,’ Shri Mataji said. Suddenly all the guilt, insecurity and fear just popped like a bubble and I felt incredible joy. It was as if Mother played this game just to hit this Centre Heart guilt right on the head. I was just floating for hours afterwards. It was just beautiful the way She did it.

John Watkinson

No words could express my gratitude

I received self realisation in Brighton in 1979. Some months later I had a miscarriage, which led to serious complications and it was eventually discovered that there was a tumour in my womb. The news didn’t come as any great shock, as I’d felt for some time that something was wrong as it was impossible to stop thinking and my thoughts were morbid and often about death.

Shri Mataji at this time was in India and, although I knew She could cure me, it didn’t seem right to expect to be cured when She returned to England and so I went to Charring Cross Hospital in London for treatment. It was a depressing place to be, but I felt that Shri Mataji was always with me. I was given chemotherapy treatment and while the first week wasn’t too bad, by the third week the pain was unbearable. To the horror of the doctors, I discharged myself: they told me that without the full course of treatment, I’d have at most eighteen months to live.

By this time, Shri Mataji was back in England and so I wrote a letter to Her about the illness. Shortly afterwards I was invited to spend some time at Her house at Brompton Square in London. On arrival, Shri Mataji asked me to sit down in front of Her and gave me vibrations. After a few minutes She told me that the main causes for the cancer were drugs and getting involved with, and practically hypnotized by, a very negative person, who had come into the Brighton collective. Immediately, I started to feel guilty but Shri Mataji very sweetly told me not to, because the vultures swoop down to attack the baby chicks when they’re born and She is like the Mother hen (lifting the edge of Her sari) who has to keep the chicks under Her wing. Shri Mataji asked me to go upstairs to rest and I fell asleep and dreamt of being on a bus full of Sahaja Yogis, driving along a road we suddenly came across the negative person and he was destroyed. I woke up feeling much better.

Shri Mataji worked on me every day for a week and after two days, the colour came back into my cheeks and the darkness around my eyes disappeared. After another two days, Shri Mataji told me I was cured. Inside I felt transformed.

I returned to the hospital for a checkup and to show them the results, but only one doctor was interested in how it had happened. The others, reluctant to recognize that the Spirit is stronger than their treatments, put the cure down to luck! Also during a check-up I had a chest x-ray and my lungs appeared perfectly clear of nicotine. This also confused the doctor as they knew that that I had smoked heavily for a number of years.

There are no words to express my gratitude and love for Shri Mataji as the feelings run much too deep for that. I was given my rebirth as well as my life.

Kay O’Connell

Editor’s note: Kay, who subsequently had two children, is in good health over thirty years later. A number of Sahaja Yogis have had chemotherapy for cancer and, combined with Sahaja Yoga, are now fine, so this is not necessarily the recommended path to take. Consult the vibrations, any responsible Sahaja doctors and your SY Council for guidance, should it be necessary.

Only love Me

On occasions Shri Mataji graciously allowed me to go to and from the pujas and public programmes in the back of Her car. One time in the early part 1980 we were going from Dollis Hill to the centre of London, after a puja.

People who don’t feel vibrations shouldn’t come to pujas,’ Shri Mataji said at a certain point.

I have so many catches, and don’t really feel vibrations very well, so do You want me to not come to pujas?’ I replied. Shri Mataji did not speak for some time, perhaps a minute or two.

Do you love Me?’ She then said.

Yes, very much, Mother,’ I replied.

All you have to do is love Me, and leave the catches to Me.’

Linda Williams

Shri Mataji and new people

At Dollis Hill it was the most delightfully majestic thing to watch Shri Mataji work on people, with Her beautiful hair back and with Her index finger raised up throwing the discus again and again, clearing people out, with Her bangles jingle jangling. Shri Mataji would also put Her attention on a yogi at Her Feet and then suddenly look at a candle placed before Her photo, which would instantly judder as She drove the negativity out into the flame.

At the Caxton Hall public programmes, Shri Mataji regularly publicly exorcised new people as well as those who had been coming a while. She would direct us to work on the new people and would go and personally work on people, or we would take people up the front to be worked on by Her. On one occasion we took someone up the front, who could not stop wheezing with a centre heart catch. Shri Mataji asked for the window to be opened and the next minute She had Her mouth on the man’s front Agnya sucking out the negativity and then blowing it out of the window, while the man’s arms were flapping about like a wounded bird.

On another occasion a new person sitting up the front, was unable to look at Shri Mataji.

‘Just have faith,’ She kept saying to him and then asked the yogis if anyone had a lemon, which they did, and when given to Her She rolled it around under Her Foot. Shri Mataji could move incredibly fast when She wanted to and the next minute She picked up the lemon, placed it in his hand, which instantly shot straight up in the air, while a loud inhuman roar came out of him. You can imagine what it must have been like for people who attended for the first time, but it was nothing unusual at that time, as the negativity was more on the gross level.

We all witnessed many a massacre and it was fantastic watching Shri Mataji in action. All the screaming, roaring etc, was quite scary at first, but we all got used to it. We took it all quite seriously at first, as the negativity wants to be taken seriously, but Shri Mataji showed us that if you do not take it seriously and just laugh at it, it runs a mile.

On a lighter note, a couple of old ladies asked Shri Mataji at a public programme if we could be reborn as a dog or cat.

‘Yes, the other day I went into a shop and a woman started barking at Me for no reason at all,’ Shri Mataji said.

John Watkinson

There are seats at the front

When you do programmes, it is the love and enjoyment that keeps people in. That’s what kept me in Sahaja Yoga. When I first went to see Shri Mataji, the hall was full and She saw this girl who came with me.

‘Come in, come in. There are seats at the front,’ She said.

This girl was the girlfriend of a friend of mine and when she was invited to go on Shri Mataji’s Feet, she didn’t. I understood something about that and it seemed very natural because Mother was just so motherly. The yogis were so normal, like just all my other good friends, except they were really seekers.

It was a very impressive meeting; Mother was talking common sense and that’s what struck me. It was very natural and normal and delivered with such love. It was just beautiful.

Kingsley Flint

Like being on Mount Kailash

The first time I really felt vibrations was at Caxton Hall. It was at the end of Shri Mataji’s talk, when She normally gave realisation. I was sitting quite near the front and it was like a white cloud of vapour came off the stage and surrounded us all. It was like being on Mount Kailash, this freezing cold vapour all around.

Jeremy Lamaison

I don’t like to think of My children being hungry

There were just three of us at Ashley Gardens, and we were upholstering Shri Mataji’s bed. There was a diplomatic party on in the evening, so we had to hide because there was no way we could get out of the flat. To get out, we had to go through Shri Mataji’s bedroom and the flat. So we were stuck in Mother’s bedroom. She came in halfway through the evening with a tray of food.

‘I brought you these things to eat because I don’t like to think of My children being hungry,’ She said. After it was over we sneaked out of the flat.

Pamela Bromley

Feeling the love

I was at Ashley Gardens once and I didn’t really have any clothes much and Shri Mataji gave me a coat, a beautiful coat. I remember going back home to Brighton, and while I was on the train, feeling the love of having been there with Shri Mataji and Her patience and Her working on me and totally covered in this coat. It was an amazing feeling. I’ve still got the coat and the shoes and the shawl She gave me, and everything else.

Pamela Bromley

The prasad of the Goddess

I had been a vegetarian for twenty years before coming to Sahaja Yoga, because I erroneously assumed it would be good for the spirit. Shri Mataji suggested that it would be a good idea to eat fish and chicken, and I took Her advice, but still didn’t want to eat red meat. One day, quite some months after I had been given realisation, Shri Mataji took us out in Her car, and then we arrived back at Her flat at Ashley Gardens. Before this, Mother had asked me to get some McDonalds from nearby Victoria Street, and we realised we didn’t have the keys to Her flat, and the other set was with Sir CP at his office, some way away. The car driver went off to the office to fetch them, and Mother and I waited on the top floor of the block, on a flight of stairs outside the flat. We sat on the stairs, Shri Mataji above me.

After some time the bag of McDonalds was beginning to get cold, so Shri Mataji suggested that we eat our food while we waited for the others to bring the spare key. There were two beefburgers and a fishburger. I gave the bag to Mother, to vibrate the food, and She took a beefburger out of the bag and handed it to me, sitting below Her on those stairs.

‘Eat it! It is the prasad of the Goddess,’ Shri Mataji said. That was the last time I was fanatic about food. Even though in general Shri Mataji told us not to eat beef, there are exceptions to every rule.

Linda Williams


I was walking down the street near Ashley Gardens with Shri Mataji. I asked Her if, when She passed all the people, their Kundalinis rose. She said that they did, but because their attention was not on that, they didn’t stay up.

That day Mother was supposed to go to a funeral. She wanted to buy some black material to use as a sari, so we went to the Army and Navy Stores, near Her flat. We entered the shop and on the ground floor was the department where perfumes were sold, and on each counter were tester bottles.

‘Look Mother, would You like to try this one?’ I said as we passed a counter. I explained that one usually sprayed the testers under the wrist. Shri Mataji raised Her right hand, and Her handbag was in Her left hand. As I sprayed the perfume, a nice floral one, on to the underside of Her wrist, for a single moment the whole shop went absolutely silent. I realised that Shri Mataji’s hand was raised as if in a blessing, and felt that as usual I had failed to realise in whose presence I was. I apologised, and we walked on. She gave a slight nod as if to say, ‘Yes, that was the point’. We never did get the material, and Shri Mataji said She did not want to go to the funeral anyway.

A similar silence fell in 1986, when we were returning to England after Shri Mataji’s European tour. We had been asked to bring back the crowns which had been presented to Her at the pujas. We were in the customs shed at Dover, and the customs men wanted to see inside the boxes containing the crowns. As the boxes were opened, the vibrations were very strong and silence fell throughout the whole building.

Linda Williams

Shopping in Aldgate

Some of Mother’s favourite places to shop were the markets in Aldgate. She would go there every Sunday when Her granddaughters were around to buy many things – dresses, suits, gifts for Her granddaughters, Sir CP and yogis; material for saris, leather handbags and purses and even pocket watches by the hundreds. During Her roaming She would talk to all the store owners and would touch their merchandise.

After a long morning shopping in Aldgate Mother would not leave until She had taken Her granddaughters and sometimes the yogis to McDonalds. Shri Matai’s favourite was the strawberry milkshake.

Djamel Metouri

Editor’s note: Aldgate is in the East End of London, and at that time was very economically depressed.

Shri Mataji would buy jackets and ties for us

Shri Mataji would actually go out to a shop. I know because She took me and several other people. She would give us Sir CP’s ties and Sir CP was the head of the International Maritime Organization, so totally opposite from us. He was one of the highest placed people in international society.

I remember I got a tie. Shri Mataji always gave ties to people at pujas. She would give ties, jackets, clothes. She took me out and bought a jacket for me and also bought clothes for my sister. She must have spent well over a hundred pounds on clothes, that was down at Brick Lane in the East End of London. She would never take money. I tried to pay Shri Mataji back for the clothes She bought my sister, Sharon Vincent.

‘Don’t be silly. What are you doing? I don’t want your money. Don’t be silly!’ She said.

Ray Harris

I’m not leaving you

The second public programme in Brighton was in March 1980 and that was the time when Mother gave that amazing talk about the beginning of creation. Mother stayed in my house and there was a music programme, and we cried when She left.

‘Don’t worry. I’m not leaving you. I am with you always,’ She said. That was the first puja in my house, at College Gardens in Brighton.

Pamela Bromley

Restoring the mother-son relationship

In my early days of Sahaja Yoga, in my naïve enthusiasm to share my joy and newly found knowledge, I explained all about Shri Mataji and Sahaja Yoga to my family and friends, as one does. My mother got very upset, and asked me why we called Shri Mataji ‘Mother’. I tried to explain that while she, my earthly mother, was a physical mother, Shri Mataji was a spiritual Mother. Now I was an adult, I didn’t need a physical mother any more, what I really needed was a spiritual Mother to follow a spiritual path. It seemed, to me, to be a sound logical argument and my mother appeared to accept it.

A little while later there was a public programme in Brighton, where I was living. My mother and brother had come down to visit me as it was also my birthday that weekend, so I invited them to come along to the meeting. Towards the end of the programme, as usual, Shri Mataji was working on people in the audience; meanwhile I was also working on someone at the back of the hall. I heard a voice call out ‘Jeremy!’ It was Shri Mataji. As I approached, I saw Shri Mataji working on my mother. A chill went up my spine!

Why does my son need You more than me?’ my mother asked Her. It was a very embarrassing situation.

Jeremy, this lady is your mother and you must always respect her as your mother,’ Shri Mataji said fiercely.

Yes Mother,’ I said. Shri Mataji’s stern expression melted into a smile.

After the end of the programme everyone went back to the house of a Sahaja Yogi. I dropped someone off and when I went down to the party it was already in full swing, the room was packed full of merry conversation and laughter. Shri Mataji was in the centre, and to my surprise my mother was there too. It was then that Shri Mataji did a very sweet thing. She took some birthday cake and gave it to my mother.

Now put this cake into his mouth.’ She said. ‘Go on, feed him,’ my mother fed me just as if I was a young child, and a wonderfully tender loving smile spread across Mother’s face. Shri Mataji was restoring the mother-son relationship.

How is your mother?’ Mother would make a point of asking me, for some years afterwards, whenever we met.

Jeremy Lamaison

Shri Mataji laughed and laughed

Very soon after the group started in Brighton, in 1980, we had a public programme there. As was the habit in those days, Shri Mataji came round after the programme to look at everybody, to see how they were, to work on them and to see how their vibrations were. At the back of this programme was a very strange fellow with a long face and an aquiline nose and very soulful eyes, and he called himself Michael. He referred to himself in the third person and we were very taken with this fellow. He didn’t want us to work on him. Then Shri Mataji came round.

‘Until you came along, there was only Me to do the job,’ She said. We were very puzzled by this and very taken by the fact that this chap was called Michael — you know, archangels and all that.

He quickly became a member of the group and gradually managed to persuade everybody — by inference — that our suppositions that he was an incarnation of the archangel were right. He convinced the six or seven of us, with great confusion amongst us. This is a hallmark of something wrong going on, that there is confusion. He managed to persuade us that the London Sahaja Yoga group was infected with a false guru cell and that an incarnation such as Shri Mataji could not be perfect if She were in a physical form. Further to that, we shouldn’t go up to London to see the others, nor should we go to see Mother any more because we were, so to speak, the Holy Grail of Sahaja Yoga, in Brighton.

This fellow was able, as you were walking down a street in Brighton, to pop out of a shop doorway and look into your eyes, to speak and talk to you about your deepest thoughts and fears and what have you. He was very convincing.
‘There is no way that we are staying in Brighton and not going to see our Mother,’ Phil Ward and I said eventually.

So after several weeks of all this, in great trepidation, we got on the train and went up to London. We told the London people that there was something odd happening in Brighton and we didn’t know what it was. Eventually, at the end of the programme we went up to Shri Mataji, knelt at Her Feet and told Her all about it. To our utter astonishment, She laughed and laughed. This was the last thing that we expected. We thought She would be grave or disappointed or upset or something like that.

After the programme, She said we had better go round to Her flat in Ashley Gardens. Then I had the only time in my Sahaja life where I saw Her in a way that was not normal. I walked into Her living room, where She was sitting, and to my eyes She looked about nineteen, with light all round Her. In five minutes She had completely dehypnotized us and everything was fine again, and then Phil and I had to go and tell the others in Brighton that we had been deceived by this fellow.

Some months later Shri Mataji said that She had been sorry to crucify us — those were Her words — but that She had to test us and we had to know how much we loved Her and how faithful we were to Her. Of course, this fellow was a fake, but She had had to test us.

Kingsley Flint

A new risen Shri Mahamaya

Shri Mataji was so loving, also because we knew who She was. Because there were so few of us, we were so full of awe all the time. Mother then was a new risen Shri Mahamaya, but it was actually Mother that we loved and we wanted to make tea for Her and we wanted Her to love it. It was all these things. We were like children.

Pamela Bromley

Look after him!

There was a man who had agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) and he always came to the programmes drunk.

‘Look after him! Take his address,’ Shri Mataji said. The only way he could get out his house was to have a drink, but not once did any of us say anything. That is just how we were in Brighton and people used to be marvellous. After the programmes, at the end, we couldn’t leave each other.

Pamela Bromley

Sahaja Yoga is like an apartment block

Shri Mataji once said that Sahaja Yoga is like an apartment block and She has come down to the second or first floor as a human being and we have to come up because this is as far as Mother can come down.

Pamela Bromley

In one human body

Shri Mataji said one of the most difficult things of Her incarnation was to fit all the powers of Shri Adi Shakti into one human body. She made it clear that we could only come to Shri Sadashiva through Her. All the deities were within Her and did not incarnate as separate entities because Shri Mataji was the complete incarnation.


One hundred per cent your faith

When I first came to Sahaja Yoga, I foolishly asked Mother if She could know everything.

‘I can know all thoughts, words and deeds, past, present and future, simultaneously. But I can’t be bothered,’ She replied.

Then, with even greater naivety, I asked Mother how much was Her ability to cure someone and how much it was their faith in Her.

‘One hundred percent your faith,’ Mother very sweetly and patiently replied.

Linda Williams


A day we should not observe in the conventional way is Good Friday. In 1980, Shri Mataji took me shopping in Oxford Street – to Selfridges, the big department store, where some Sahaja Yogis were working, and then to Marks and Spencer.

‘Shri Mataji, it is Good Friday, is this the day to be going to Oxford Street, in all the materialism and so on?’ I asked.

She replied that one crucifixion was enough, and that as Mother Mary She had had to stand at the foot of the cross and see Her Son suffer in that horrible way. She did not want to be reminded of it again and again, so doing something like going shopping was quite in order. We should rather remember Easter Day, the day of resurrection.

Linda Williams