Chapter 18: 1982 – December, India

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

A present of a nose ring, for the blessings of Shri Kubera

In 1982, after a public programme at Andheri, Mumbai, Mother gave presents of nose rings to the Sahaja Yoginis who used to wear them, so I also got one from Her. She later noticed that I had not put in the nose ring She had given me. She asked me why I was not wearing it and I said that the one in my nose was so tight that only a goldsmith could remove it so I could put the new one in, and She said OK.

Shri Mataji later explained that if we put a nose ring in, we improve the blessings of Shri Kubera.

Shakuntala Tandale

Finally I had met my Mother

I had had my self realisation for a year and a half. During that time, we had listened to Shri Mataji’s talks and watched Her on video and seen Her photos, but most importantly experienced Her presence and love in meditation and in all the little miracles that occurred in my daily life. In December 1982 I was finally going on the India tour and would, for the first time, see Shri Mataji. I could hardly wait.

Our trip to India was exciting. Travelling with a group of Sahaja Yogis is always fun. We arrived in Mumbai and went by bus to Lonavala where we disembarked from the buses, unloaded the suitcases and stood in a car park underneath a hotel. My desire to see Shri Mataji was overwhelming, but we were informed that we would probably not see Her until the next day. I remember feeling very disappointed, as if I could not wait another second.

So there we were standing with our suitcases, mine was right in front of me, just waiting, as one does a lot in India. A car pulled up. I vaguely remember someone saying Shri Mataji was here and, in what seemed like seconds, She was coming towards me. I was very conscious of my suitcase being in the way. Then I saw Her. My first impression was that Shri Mataji was not very tall.

Then She was right in front of me and I was overwhelmed with the love that was pouring from Her. She moved fast through everyone, as if gliding, not walking, and smiled and welcomed everyone. There was a coolness all around Her. We all burst into tears, oceans of tears of joy, our hearts opening and just overflowing, exploding with love, like a release. It is very hard to explain. It seemed like everyone was just standing there and crying. It was quite extraordinary. Later Shri Mataji said at the puja that the tears were the result of the power of Mahakali, opening the left side.

Finally, I had met my Mother.

Gillian Patankar

With Shri Mataji in the Indian villages

I visited India for the second time in December 1982. We spent some time in Lonavala, Maharashtra, and then went to a village called Paud. Shri Mataji arrived in a car and the trunk was opened. She explained that a very good fruit to help sooth down our hot, irritated livers was guava and proceeded to hand out a guava to each of us to eat.

In these photos, Shri Mataji is in the village of Paud, and is handing out guavas to each of us. Everywhere we went in rural India, we attracted a crowd of curious onlookers – we were a group of about 120 Westerners from Canada, USA, Australia, and European countries such as Switzerland, UK, France and Italy. We all wore traditional Indian dress – plain white cotton for the men, colourful saris for the ladies. There were so few of us it was easy to get close for good photographs of Shri Mataji, even without a zoom camera.

Shri Mataji was concerned about our food, our health and our comfort throughout the time we stayed in India. She instructed our hosts in every village to cook mild food, without hot spices and advised us not to stay out in the blazing sun. One day She saw me wearing a hat (following Her advice, I was protecting the top of my head from the sun). She warned me not to wear too tight a hat or it would restrict circulation to my scalp and not be good for my hair.

We travelled in buses and met up with Shri Mataji for some of Her programmes in rural villages, such as Paud.

Mark Taylor

You lie down behind My chair

Right at the beginning of my being in Sahaja Yoga, in 1982, on the India tour, in a village there had been a puja and I felt so ill. I got up and went to Shri Mataji.

‘What is wrong with her?’ Shri Mataji said. I don’t know what was wrong, but She went on, ‘You lie down behind My chair, there.’

So I did and Her sari was hanging down and I held on to it. There was some music and Shri Mataji swayed a little, and said She was reacting to the music. After that I could drive with Her in the car to the next village. There was an English doctor in the car and she wanted to give me a pill, a paracetemol, and Shri Mataji said, ‘Take it.’

Patricia Deene

You know better than me

I had my realisation on the 22nd April 1982 in India. I saw Shri Mataji in Lonavala, on the Maharashtra tour 1982. Mother was distributing presents to Sahaja Yogis. She gave me a present of a sari, my very first present from Mother. When my friend Mrs Surawkar’s sari was announced, I had to go and collect it. That time Mother asked me whether my friend would like this sari.

‘Mother, You know better than me,’ I said. This was my very first conversation with Mother. She looked at me top to bottom, changed the sari and gave me another.

‘This sari your friend will like,’ She said.

Shakuntala Tandale

You have just received a gift from God

After one of the first pujas on the India tour in 1982/3, we were lining up to receive a gift from Shri Mataji, a little mat. This was the first time I would have direct contact with Shri Mataji. My heart was beating as I waited.

Then there I was in front of Her. She smiled at me and handed me the mat, then asked me to hold out my hands to Her. Up until then, I had not felt the cool breeze very strongly on my hands, but as I held them out to Her, they were flooded with a beautiful coolness and I felt such joy. Shri Mataji looked at me and smiled. I was overwhelmed and went to Her Feet. In those days, we used to put our hands under Her Feet, palms up and our head on Her Feet. I went thoughtless. It was so beautiful.

‘You know you have just received a gift from God?’ a Sahaja Yogi said to me when I returned to my seat. All I could do was smile and nod my head. My heart knew this was true. My brain was trying to comprehend it.

Gillian Patankar

Chikkus

When I was looking after Mother on the India tour, I never got more than two or three hours sleep, yet never felt tired at all. We were in the car with Mother one time, and a very poor Sahaja Yogi gave some fruits, chikkus, to Mother. They were left in the car for some days.

‘Get those chikkus from the car,’ Mother said to me. I thought that they must have gone off by then, as chikkus are soft fruit and do not last long, but I got them and Mother ate some.

‘What sweet chikkus!’ She said. Even though they were not that good, She wanted to make the Sahaja Yogi feel good, and he was so happy when he was told She had had them and liked them. It was as if Mother ate them to please him – because they had been given from the heart.

Meenakshi Murdoch

A marvellous moment

It was in India, in January 1982. I had been in Sahaja Yoga something like six months. Shri Mataji had sent for me after a programme or a havan, and took me along to stay with Her. It was in a village in Maharashtra, in a little house. I found myself in the same room as Her. There were two beds, She in one and I in the other and a bathroom en-suite. Shri Mataji put on Her new sari, and showed me how to fold the old one She had taken off, by putting both extremities together, to fold it in two and then again folding it in two and again folding it in two. It was just such a marvellous moment of intimacy.

Ruth Eleanore

She had taken it into Her own body

When we were at Satara in December 1982, at a dam and staying in the guesthouse, one of the Sahaja Yogis had become quite sunburned. He was very ill and was lying in a heap somewhere. Someone told Shri Mataji. During those tours, She would travel alongside us, in that when we were in the buses, She would often go by in the car and would be with us pretty much every single day. So we wouldn’t just see Her for the pujas, but also when we were eating and a lot of the time, every day.

Mother was sitting at the foot of a tree and in India a lot of the trees have seats built of concrete almost like a step around the bottom of it. Shri Mataji was sitting on one of these at the guesthouse and we were all sitting round Her. She called this boy out and he came and sat next to Her. She worked on him for quite a long time and he was sent off to go to sleep. When he woke up, he was feeling infinitely better and the next morning someone who had been close to Shri Mataji said that She had had a very bad night. Her skin was dark and black and looked as if it was covered in sunburn.

Shri Mataji had taken the sunburn from this person into Her own body and had worked it out through Herself.

Auriol Purdie

The most beautiful day of my life

This story is about the India tour in 1982/3. We were in a small village where there was a big dam. Every night Shri Mataji called ten women to come and sleep in Her house. We went there, had something to eat and fell asleep. It was a very nice sleep – I don’t remember anything, but in the morning Shri Mataji called us to come into Her room. She was sitting on a chair in a very motherly way. She asked us to take breakfast, and tea with Her. She asked us nice questions – like, ‘What do you do?’ ‘How long are you in Sahaja Yoga?’ She was very, very sweet.

After that She asked us to massage Her Feet. We were a little bit afraid, because none of us had done this before. I was the third or fourth person to do this. It was a really beautiful sensation to touch Mother’s Feet. When we were doing this She asked us to use a paste – yellow-brownish with herbs, a little bit. She asked us to put an old newspaper under Her Feet and said not to worry, but the paper could catch all the bits of herbs that were falling from Her legs. She started to tell us this story that this was how She made Shri Ganesha. A herbal paste was mixed, and She put it together and gave it life, and in this way a little boy called Ganesha was born. It was absolutely beautiful to massage Shri Mataji’s Feet, and to have all these incredible vibrations, and to hear this beautiful story directly from Mother.

When we were finished, it was completely beyond time and a few hours had passed. It was a very sunny day and we had to go in the open air, back to where we were staying, about two kilometres, around one o’clock in the afternoon. Suddenly a very dark cloud, but a little cloud, came and covered the sun to protect us from too much sun. You could see kilometres around, and there were no clouds anywhere else and there was no one around. Suddenly we heard the sound of a bullock cart behind us, and we turned round and there was a nice man on the cart, who took us on it to the village. But only two minutes before there had been nobody, and we could see for a very long way all around.

It was the most beautiful day of my life.

Dorota Nocera

When I decided to get married

Shri Mataji would always point out someone to me.

‘What about the girl in the blue sari?’ She would say. I would say nothing and disappear to the other end of the hall to avoid the subject. Mother never pushed me, saying it must be this girl, or something. That year during the tour, around places like Rahuri, I went to Shri Mataji.

‘Yes, I’d like to be married,’ I said.

‘I’ve got two girls in mind, an Australian and an Indian,’ She said.

‘All right, yes. Mother, I’d like to marry the Indian girl.’

‘Well, she’s that girl over there.’ I knew instantly who it was. I’d stayed in their house overnight because they were near the airport.

‘Let me know in a few days’ time what you want to do,’ Mother said.

‘Okay, Mother. Thank You.’ I got Patrick Redican to go and be my spy.

‘Go and speak to this girl to see what she’s like,’ I said. I couldn’t do it myself. I’d be too embarrassed. So he came back and gave a good report and during this whole time, Meenakshi had no idea about it. I eventually went to Shri Mataji.

‘I’ll accept her,’ I said, that kind of thing.

‘It may take a little time because I haven’t spoken to the girl and I haven’t spoken to the family.’ She called in Raolbai. I expected to wait a few days, for Her to speak to the parents, so we went outside and in about half an hour Shri Mataji came out to speak to the Sahaja Yogis.

‘I’ve got some good news that Malcolm and Kamakshi,’ She said during the conversation (Meenakshi was then called Kamakshi) ‘are to be married.’ Of course, we were all sitting there cross-legged on the ground with these two heads which popped up, because I was expecting it to take some time. Meenakshi had no time to think about it because she’d only just been called and probably her father had been called too. She agreed without any hesitation.

Malcolm Murdoch

I thought She wanted a handkerchief

‘There is a boy in England, but I don’t know, the human mind is such that we always look in the human way. We never think of how the divine is trying to play the game,’ Mother said to me in the car. I didn’t want to get married before I finished my degree. A few years later, things were still not working out, because Mother had Her own plans for me. So I went to Mother’s feet.

‘Mother, I surrender all my ego at Your Lotus Feet and I am ready to get married to whoever You give me as long as he is a Sahaja Yogi,’ I said. So if you have ego or conditionings, Mother doesn’t force you, but you have to grow and realise it. When Mother asked me about Malcolm I was quite stunned. I knew Malcolm, and Mother wanted me to be quite sure. I asked Her to clear the doubt in my mind which was still there, but I was still not quite sure. Then at Rahuri Mother announced my engagement to Malcolm on the mike. I misheard, and thought the reason Mother mentioned my name was because She wanted a handkerchief from Her handbag, because I was holding it at the time. So I ran, and was so embarrassed, and then Malcolm was also there.

Meenakshi Murdoch

Shri Mataji knows everything

Shri Mataji told me to visit Rahuri when She was there. I did not know where it was but got a bus from Mumbai to Rahuri from the State Transport Bus Station. We arrived at midnight, having left Mumbai in the morning at 8.00 am. The conductor said there were three bus stops in Rahuri: the Sugar Mill, the Patil’s House and the University, and where would we like to debus? Something guided me from within and I told him, ‘Patil’s House’.

As we got down from the bus I felt a very strong fragrance of roses. The conductor put us in a tonga (horse cab) and told the driver to take us to the Patil’s House. As we reached it, Raolbai (Shri Mataji’s helper) also arrived there in a jeep. She told us that Shri Mataji had asked her to go to the bus stop as the guests from Delhi had arrived. I asked Raolbai how Shri Mataji knew this when I myself did not know where we were.

‘She knows everything,’ she said simply.

Nirmala Verma

Better now?

Early in the 1982/3 India tour, we were at a hill station, waiting for Shri Mataji. I was wearing a sloppy track suit, and assumed there would be some time before Shri Mataji arrived, but suddenly She came, and we all sat down and I realised there would be no time to change. Shri Mataji started talking.

‘Who are the people who are going to do the puja?’ She asked. The leader suggested John Kant and myself to do the puja, which would be the following day.

‘Come up here,’ She said, looking serious.

John was looking immaculate, but I was looking scruffy. We wended our way through the crowd and Shri Mataji beckoned us to come to Her Feet. I remember thinking what an honour it was, and that I mustn’t think as my hands were at Her Lotus Feet. Our backs were uppermost, and I couldn’t see what was going on, but I could hear Her bangles tinkling as She worked on our chakras, revolving Her hands above them. When She had finished, we straightened up on our haunches. Shri Mataji looked at us.

‘Better now?’ She said.

‘Yes, Shri Mataji,’ I replied, stunned and thoughtless.

I didn’t know anything was wrong, but I definitely felt better when I left. Obviously something needed to be sorted out before the puja, because when the people doing the puja are clear, the vibrations flow better to the other assembled participants.

Albert Lewis

A magical journey I’ve never forgotten

Of the India tours my first, 1982/3, remains the most vivid – probably because as a youngster of sixteen I saw it all through wide innocent eyes. It was thrilling to visit the places where Shri Rama and Shri Sita walked the earth, and to see where the Goddess fought Her battles, as witnessed by Markendaya – we even saw the spot where he shot his arrow to recall that battle, as well as the vibrated pilgrimage sites and swayambhus of Maharashtra.

We also stayed in Delhi, where Mother gave those famous lectures on a different chakra each night. As a grand finale She kindly organised a trip for us to visit the Himalayas; who could ask for more of a first experience of India? Being away from home for the first time there were moments of home-sickness. One day on our way to the next destination, our beloved Mother, who would often travel in convoy with the buses, perhaps sensing this, stopped the car and invited me to travel beside Her.

I was whisked from the dusty, delightful municipal bus to sit in Her air-conditioned car for a magical journey I’ve never forgotten. What an honour to sit beside the Goddess as She marvelled at Her own creation, enjoying each scene as if it was a painting in motion. She gave a running commentary on everything, explaining how the Maharashtrian land was formed by volcanoes – I wondered if She was seeing those ancient creation scenes in Her mind’s eye as She spoke. She would point out tiny details such as the delicate decorative patterns painted on the mud huts that nestled by lush sugarcane fields. No detail missed Her all seeing gaze. She sounded so proud of India when She spoke, pouring out Her love on each village and villager that passed Her by. I still remember the buffalo that stood near the car when we stopped at a junction – he looked into the car watching Shri Mataji with big, liquid dark eyes. She laughed delightedly.

‘What intelligent creatures they are!’ She said.

Danya Martoglio

Gifts of saris

I can remember the softness of those cotton saris chosen so lovingly by Mother for us ladies on the early India tours … so soothing, I am convinced they cooled my liver down! And a few in the collection that I would never have chosen.

This reminds me of the first sari Shri Mataji ever gave my mum – it was one of Her own and highly vibrated – orange silk with a thick green border (orange was one colour my mum never wore). Needless to say when she put it on we all gasped as she looked so beautiful – and Shri Mataji told her that orange was the colour of detachment.

Danya Martoglio

She is the eternal Mother

Whether by some past good deeds or because of a blessing in this lifetime, I had the good fortune to attend a number of India tours as a child. The first was in 1982 and we also attended the full tour over the following three or four years after that and the half tour for a good number of years. I have such wonderful memories of those times.

There was just something so utterly magical about the early India tours. Often we travelled alongside Mother and many a time we would stop and spend time at Her Feet while She spoke to us about many different things, ranging from how to use neem twigs as toothbrushes to explaining the complicated history of the area or expanding on the mysteries of the cosmos. I recall so many times staying near dams and swimming in the water while Mother watched over us. She had us swimming in so many rivers! I am sure it was to wash away any negativity that we still carried and not just to cool us down.

Mother took us to so many interesting places from huge paper and sugar factories to beautiful temples and hidden places like where Shri Ram, Sita and Laxmana lived. It was in a small valley and there were caves in which they lived. There was one cave in which there were two springs and one flowed with warm water, a little miracle provided by Shri Ram for the comfort of his beloved wife.

I will never forget the processions: Shri Mataji seated on a beautifully bedecked cart pulled by a pair of painted oxen while all around Her yogis sung and danced along to the music. Because I was so small often Mother would have me on the cart with Her and I would just watch in wonder.

The very first puja I attended in India was up in the hills between Bombay and Pune, at Lonavala, in December 1982. There cannot have been many people, perhaps a few hundred at the very most. That was a feature of the earlier tours, the closeness with Mother because there were not many of us. We started out with just a few bone rattling buses but by the end of my experience of those tours there were up to fifteen or so buses. I can still hear the call of, ‘On the buses!’ the smell of ajwain tea in the early hours of the morning, and the cool of the Maharashtrian dawn contrasting with the fierce heat of the afternoons.

Mother used to send us to watch Hindi movies. It was on those tours that I honed the skill of sleeping whenever and wherever possible because who knew when we may be treated to a recital from some astounding musician (whose eminence we had no idea of!) who would play for Mother through the night under a marquee in the middle of a field.

My mother tells a lovely story of accompanying Shri Mataji when She went to purchase saris for all the ladies on the tour. Do you remember those wonderful saris? Mother spent hours at the factory choosing each and every one of them. She spent so much time making sure that we were comfortable and happy.

She is the eternal Mother.

Auriol Purdie

The feeling of coming home

My first India tour in 1982/83 was a very spontaneous decision. Before our plane landed in Mumbai we flew over the slums and could see the brown soil. Whether the intense and high expectations of finally arriving in India which for many of us was like the Promised Land and gave my soul the feeling of coming home, or whether it was the strong left side – I don’t know.

We were accommodated in a hall in Mumbai. In the evening an elder yogi worked on me and by asking a simple question concerning a chakra which was catching triggered a storm of emotions of which I had not been aware before. Then there was nothing but silence. This joy went on almost the whole tour and I gained confidence in my power to work on yogis and to allow the vibrations to flow through me.

Vaitarna was the first stop after Mumbai and I have rarely felt such strong vibrations. I sat on the earth and felt a stream of vibrations coming out of it. Then we went to Nasik. In the evening all the visiting yogis met with the Nasik yogis. We did not have a bhajan group, and had not sung much yet. The Nasik group performed, and were requested to sing about the Devi. They sang Ughada Sahasrara Mate, Namostute and Adi Ma for the first time, and other songs which we now know as classics, and I felt like hugging the musicians. It was enlightening music, spirituality joined rhythm and words in praise of Shri Mataji – a great celebration and the beginning of a long-lasting journey in which She taught us what classical Indian music and bhajans can trigger in us. Later, we all experienced the joy and depths of singing, playing and dancing. She showed the often stiff Western yogis how to express their feelings and let go our self-control.

We went to the sugar cane farm of Mr Dhumal, one of the most active yogis in India, who had arranged programmes for thousands of seekers. Lunch was prepared and we lined up in front of the house holding the most beautiful banana leaf plates. The joy and aesthetics of this simplicity was a subtle and deep experience. It made us more flexible, tolerant and able to break out of some of the temptations of the consumer society.

Shri Mataji, who was wearing a simple white and green cotton sari, was sitting at the end of the lines in front of the house. I dared to go with my camera to the very front and ask Her, with a gesture, whether I could take a photo. This picture expressed such compassion and understanding, and something hard for me to express which was working deep in my soul.

Thomas Menge

Fruits, coconut and bangles etc being offered to Shri Mataji during the puja at Mr Dhumal’s farm. Also Shri Mataji is applying kajal to Her eyes and the ladies are about to crown Shri Mataji. The lady in the red sari is Mrs Dhumal.

John Watkinson