Chapter 18: 1986 – April and May, England and Europe

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

I have brought your fiancée

I came into Sahaja Yoga when I was nineteen and went to university to study drama. I led a quiet life trying to follow Sahaja dharma, and at the end of my third year I began to pray for a wife, even though I was a bit young. Just before my finals I went to the Sahasrara Puja in 1986, at Madesimo, in north Italy. There is a wonderful golden Madonna statue on the hills there, which is usually covered with mist, but sometimes the mist blows away and then you can see it, shining on the hill. We went up to see it in coaches and even Shri Mataji came.

On the night before the puja, there was music and dance. I was sitting at the back and couldn’t see very clearly, or any details about the dancer. She was a young yogini who came on stage in a white dress in order to dance, and before she danced she walked up to Mother’s Feet and bowed. It was a deep symbolic gesture for me. Every artist would love to bow to Mother’s Feet like that. The dance was deep and I was enraptured. I felt the person dancing must have been very deep and I would love to marry someone with that depth.

The next day at the puja, Mother asked all the children to come up and get a name from Her and all the little children went up, plus a much taller person, who was the girl who had danced. I could hear when Shri Mataji gave her the name Purna and asked her age.

I will find a boy for you,’ Mother said to her. I secretly hoped it might be me, but put the thought out of my mind and went back and did my finals in England.

Victor Vertunni

Shri Mataji announced the engagement

When I was serving Shri Mataji tea, She just looked at me.

Well, you are such a nice girl and now I need to find a nice boy for you,’ She said. This was quite amazing because that day I had decided to go to Mother and ask if I could become a brahmacharini, which means I was to live forever in the collective without being married. I was just sixteen at the time and I had decided that, as I would see Mother on that day, I would have a chance to ask Her. She didn’t give me the time to open my mouth.

After a couple of months, Shri Mataji called the ashram and said She had found a nice boy for me. At the next puja, She announced the engagement, although we didn’t actually meet until She announced it.

Purna Vertunni

She is very beautiful

One day Mother was leaving for somewhere and we were able to go to the airport to see Her off. We found Mother at the airport with a few Sahaja Yogis, sitting at one of the cafes there having a cup of coffee, and we stood at a discreet distance – there were a lot of us there by then. She stood up and I found myself standing behind Her, trying not to be in Her way.

So, do you want to get married?’ She turned towards me and said.

Yes please, Mother,’ I replied.

I have found someone for you. She is Italian. She is very beautiful, she dances and I think you will have a happy life together,’ She said.

Thank you very much, Mother.’ I replied, but it still didn’t occur to me as to who it was. Mother smiled and saw how happy I was. She took my arm and we walked together towards the barrier. It was bliss and I felt like Her son or grandson.

Mother left and She smiled and waved and we all smiled and waved and it was one of those really moving occasions. Then one of the Sahaja Yogis told me who it was that Mother had in mind for me.

Victor Vertunni

Shri Mataji said we would have a very happy life together. She was so sweet and She knew I was a dancer and Victor was an actor.

Purna Vertunni

Mother knows everything.

After my finals I went to London and stayed in a rather makeshift ashram in the King’s Cross area. One day Shri Mataji decided to come and visit us because She had been shopping there. It was a converted squat, not grand at all, but Mother came, had a meal and rested. I had previously prayed that my wife, whoever Mother chose for me, should be a very innocent person.

Your fiancée is a very innocent girl,’ She said to me when Mother was with us. Mother knew everything.

Victor Vertunni


Once at Heathrow Airport, in 1986, someone was giving Shri Mataji some carnations and She remarked that now that so many Sahaja Yogis have given carnations to Her, this flower is no longer regarded as inauspicious by the deities.

Luis Garrido

Star signs, such as Gemini

I was serving Shri Mataji in Her room, after some years in Sahaja Yoga. It happened to be my birthday and the topic had turned to star signs. Just to give a little context to this story, when I was new, Shri Mataji had quizzed me about my star sign and when I’d told Her I was a Gemini, She hadn’t looked very impressed.

Are you sure?’ She had said, looking so fierce that I’d wished I had been born in any other month, if only to bring back Her radiant smile. Magda, my mum, also a Gemini and I were later told by an enthusiastic Sahaja Yogi that some new ladies both Gemini, and both possessed, had recently come and created all sorts of unspeakable problems and then they had gone out of the collective. Another then told us, ‘Gemin’s can be nice to know, but difficult to be’. So it is fair to say that I was a bit ambivalent about my star sign after that and I was quite tentative when Shri Mataji again drew attention to it on my birthday.

Ah, so you’re a Gemini?’ She said whilst folding Her arms and sitting back to contemplate, thankfully this time with a smile. She insisted on handing me a present of some very pretty earrings, the jewellery emerging from Her capacious magic handbag. As She opened the bag an exquisite fragrance wafted out and that sublime perfume lingered for days on my earrings. She sweetly told me to enjoy my birthday because people had good vibrations on the day they were born and it was important to celebrate and to share the day with others. This certainly made me feel less shy in accepting Her gracious gift.

Do you know the meaning of Gemini ?’ She then asked, offering me the best birthday gift of Nirmal vidya. ‘Well, sometimes Geminis can be very deep but people don’t realise it – and sometimes Geminis can hide their depth.’

With this i could identify – having always wavered at school between being a bit of a class clown (ever ready to put on a funny accent for the amusement of my friends). Shri Mataji then graciously explained the role of Gemini in Her own horoscope.

You see, in My case Gemini represents My Maha Maya aspect.’

She then lifted Her beautiful lotus feet to examine better Her recently varnished toe nails that had just been painted for a diplomatic function.

I mean, look at these nails! I have to get dressed up and go to a party and be Mrs Srivastava, housewife,’ She said a little disparagingly, ‘and all the time I am the Adi Shakti and nobody realises it. This is Maha Maya.’

She fell silent. She then scrutinised me in that certain way, as if She was seeing all of my past and all of my future in a split second, Her beautiful eyes looking through me and beyond me. This was another one of those moments when I could only bow down and keep my own eyes firmly on the ground, pulling my ears whilst clutching my shiny new birthday earrings.

Danya Martoglio

Top of Form

Bottom of Form


We were at Shri Mataji’s house in Brompton Square in 1986, and after lunch She was sitting and talking to the Sahaja Yogis. Suddenly She looked at Her watch and declared that the time was up, and explained that She had to keep Her word. Mother had promised Sir CP that She would take a long siesta that day and would take some medicine for headache.

Does anyone have any Paracetamol or Panadol or something like that?’ Shri Mataji asked.

All I have is aspirin,’ one of the Sahaja Yogis said.

That will do,’ She said. As I returned with a glass of water Shri Mataji went on, ‘the scientists keep wondering why aspirin has so many wondrous healing properties and the reason why it is so miraculous is because it opens up the Mooladhara.’

Luis Garrido

Sahasrara Puja, Italy 1986

Sahasrara Puja that year was in the Italian Alps. There was a golden statue of the Madonna way up on the mountain side overlooking the place we were staying. On the last morning when Mother was leaving we were all gathered to see her drive away. The cloud had really come down that morning and the statue was completely hidden from view. As Mother left the building and went to the car someone pointed us towards the mountain side. A gap in the clouds had appeared and the sunshine was pouring through straight onto the statue. The rest of the Alps remained in fog!

Joanne Moore

Shri Mataji conducting an interview at Guidonia Ashram, Rome with a journalist from the newspaper L’Unità, 9th of May 1986

Alessandra Pallini

Once more, She taught us a good lesson

In 1986 Shri Mataji came to the ashram of Le Raincy in Paris where I was living with about ten more yogis. As we usually did when Shri Mataji would arrive in an ashram, we did a little puja by washing Her Feet, putting some perfume on Her Feet and doing the aarti. That day the living room where we received Shri Mataji was completely full and there where many guests from abroad.

Shri Mataji said that when She is alone She thinks about nice things which have happened with us, Her children and about nice things She wants to do for us. She said we have to cherish good memories or experiences we had with Her and others or to think about what we could do for Sahaja Yoga and humanity. In this way no bad thoughts would come. She said that we are getting bad thoughts in our heads because we are not in a giving attitude. When we see publicity, we straightaway think of maybe having what is presented. We are not thinking of giving. If we would do so, no thought would come in us. The problem is not that we are surrounded by funny things and that the society is impure, it is just that we are not giving. We still want to have things.

After Shri Mataji had said that we all became quiet and thoughtless.

Trupta de Graaf

You needed to laugh

There was a puja in Dourdan, near Paris, in 1986. My daughter, Radhika, was six months old and I was quite tired between the baby and working. My husband, Kingsley and I were in Shri Mataji’s room. There were a few other yogis, maybe seven or eight. Shri Mataji started telling these hilarious stories and at first I was very shy, impressed to be in Her room, then slowly I relaxed. At the end, I was laughing completely.

Ah, now you’ve cleared,’ Shri Mataji said at some point. ‘You needed to laugh in order to clear.’

Ruth Eleanore

She took me in Her arms
It was in May 1986 during a seminar in Dourdan near Paris, before a puja. During the talk I was sitting in the back and at the end of the talk people went out before Shri Mataji, but I stayed there, still in the back. Suddenly Shri Mataji changed Her way to go towards me. Then She took me in Her arms and spoke to me of my husband. I was very surprised.
Monique G

A good liver diet

France being the collective liver, Shri Mataji regularly asked us, every year, to follow a strict diet for the liver, a diet that lasted several weeks. We had done this before and during Her visit, probably in 1986. Our best surprise was that at the end of Her stay, just before taking Her flight, Shri Mataji gathered us together and sat on a simple airport chair. She started distributing big chocolate bars to all of us saying that we had done a good liver diet! 

Gwennael Verez

Chocolate from Shri Mataji

In 1986, when Shri Mataji left France at the airport of Roissy, we had time to have darshan at Her Feet. Shri Mataji was sitting, and She had two suitcases full of chocolate beside Her and every time a person would go to do Namaskar She would give him or her a piece of chocolate. It was a nice surprise for us French yogis, because being the liver of the world we would always try not to eat too much chocolate and were sometimes a bit fanatic about it. Of course Shri Mataji would balance that by giving us chocolate. What a pleasure it was to eat it without feeling guilty!

Trupta de Graaf

Never say ‘No’ to the Adi Shakti

In 1986 Shri Mataji came to Paris and gave a programme in the centre of the city. Before Shri Mataji arrived we had carefully studied the way we would drive Shri Mataji through Paris, so as to go the fastest way possible to the programme hall. On the evening of the programme I was in the car beside Shri Mataji and Christian Zbylut was driving. Just before we were going to cross the River Seine, Shri Mataji told us to go right, while we had planned to go left as it was the shortest way. Unfortunately we both answered Shri Mataji that the way was left, and we went left. However, after a few hundred metres some traffic problems appeared, and we got stuck for a long time.

You see, I told you to go right,’ Shri Mataji said to us. Once again She knew it all.

Because of the traffic we arrived late at the programme. All the seekers were waiting for Shri Mataji, as the introduction had already been done. Never say ‘No’ to the Adi Shakti. She knows everything, and especially our egos.

Trupta de Graaf

Mother kissed me on the Agnya

In May 1986, we had received information that Mother was going to arrive two hours later than what really happened. We arrived at Barajas, the airport for Madrid and our hearts almost stopped when we saw Mother sitting in a chair, waiting for us with only two other Sahaja Yogis.

Every time we picked Mother up at the airport and we received Her, each Sahaja Yogi offered Her a rose, and at that time I was in charge of the flowers. I carried my bunch of roses in my arms to distribute them to all of us while we awaited Her arrival. I felt stupid with my bunch of roses to distribute, since it had no sense now. We had failed Her. We arrived late and She had been waiting for Her children. José Antonio was the only one who was there when She arrived.

I fell down at Mother’s Feet, crying and asking Her for forgiveness and She took me by the arm, raised me and kissed me on the Agnya. I laid my head in Her lap and felt very good there.

That afternoon we had a public programme, and the following day, another one.

Anasuya Asuncion

She told me a story

One night in Madrid, in May 1986, when Mother was to go to bed, I was drawing the curtains.

What’s your name?’ Mother asked me.

Asun,’ I replied.

This is very difficult for Me,’ She said. ‘I will call you Anasuya.’

The following day, we offered Mother a puja in the house where She stayed. She was happy because some days before sixteen Spanish Sahaja Yogis had gone to the Sahasrara Puja at Alta Motta in the Italian Alps. Before that time, only two or three Spanish Sahaja Yogis used to go to the Guru Puja. Sixteen yogis was an unusual event and Mother mentioned it during the puja.

So many things happened. The owner of the house where Mother was staying (and where all of us were staying) did the swastika the wrong way in the tray to wash Mother’s Feet. She explained to us the left and right sense of the swastika and how Hitler had used it. She told us about the importance of knowing the protocol and the devotion.

At the end of the puja, when Mother was ready to go to Her room, we began to sing Her the ‘Cantigas’ (Queen of the Sky). Mother stopped, listened to the song with Her eyes full of tears and when the song was finished, She went to Her room.

This is too much, this is too much,’ She said.

After the puja, while I was serving food to Mother, She told me a story, which was translated into Spanish by one of the Sahaja Yogis.

The meaning of Anasuya is without envy and without jealousy. The original Anasuya was an incarnation of Shri Mahakali, and the friend and counsellor of Shri Sita. Anasuya was very devoted, with great dedication and surrender. The wives of Shri Brahma, Shri Vishnu and Shri Shiva were jealous of the devotion and dedication of Anasuya and decided to trap her, to test her. The Sahaja Yogi translated ‘the goddesses’.

No, no, the wives,’ Mother insisted. She knew that the translation was incorrect.

They disguised themselves as sadhus, holy men that go asking charity and the dharma obliges people they ask to please them. They came to Anasuya’s house and they asked her to cook for them. When Anasuya served them the food they told her that they would not eat if she did not strip naked to serve them. Anasuya asked them to enter the house and, there, they became transformed into innocent babies that she fed, so her modest chastity was preserved. Then, Mother went silent for some seconds, made a gesture with Her eyes.

In India, thousands of women have died in the blaze to defend their chastity,’ She said, ‘and currently women, especially in the West, have lost their sense of chastity.’

All the time, I was crying so much. The story is a total surrender to dharma and to chastity. Later, Shri Mataji told the two Sahaja Yogis with Her that they could call me Anu, an abbreviation, the meaning of which is ‘without’.

Anasuya Asuncion

Our first concert with Mother (May 1986)

In the afternoon, we had our first ‘concert’ with Mother in the living room of the house. We sang in Spanish but also dared to sing the Indian songs. Mother translated the song ‘Ragupati Ram’ for us and it was very lovely to have Her so close. She did not only accept, and was pleased with our ‘art’ but also made us understand better what we were singing.

We had already had our artistic baptism at the Sahasrara Puja in Italy. My sister Fe had put words to the music of a well-known Spanish song and thus the song Mataji Jai! was born. My sister asked a Sahaja Yogi with Mother to ask Her for a name. When She’d left, he told us that Mother had given her the name Mamata, meaning compassion.

Anasuya Asuncion

Our meeting with Shri Mataji

Mother came to Spain for the second time in 1986. I had already met Her in 1985. That second time, all my family went to Madrid: my children, their mother and a yogi from Zaragoza.

When we arrived to Madrid, we found the yogis in a street in the city centre. They told us that Mother was in the opposite antique shop with José Antonio, our leader, and some other yogis. We were a bit nervous. Mother was about to walk out of the shop and it was our turn to greet Her. How would we do it?

As always, Mother knows everything about us, but we are not aware of it. She came out of the shop, and we all went towards Her. Mother approached us smiling and someone told Her we were yogis who had just arrived from Zaragoza.

How did they come?’ She asked, and we showed Her the van which was parked there. The moment was very emotional. She came nearer and we stood in line opposite Her; it seemed like She was going to shake hands with us, but instead She gave us a kiss on both cheeks. We were a little paralysed with emotion, and the others there were astonished; only Mother knew that we were worried.

Lucky you, Mother has kissed you,’ the yogis were saying.

Mother solved our doubts, as always, with much love. Though it was a long time ago, one cannot forget these sensations and emotions which are as strong and fresh as that first day. It was only my family and me that received that greeting; maybe we needed it most.

Joaquín Orus

I only know how to open Kundalinis

At the second puja with Mother in Spain, in 1986 there were scarcely thirty people in the Sahaja Yogi’s flat. We arrived from Zaragoza in the morning and found great activity among the yogis making food for the collectivity. They were preparing Shri Mataji’s food in a special manner, trying to offer Her all the best. Shri Mataji was resting in Her room, and everybody tried to make everything succeed. A Sahaja Yogini was ironing a sari, very carefully. It was a very special silken sari, a sari of Mother. We all felt great joy and happiness. Some people were preparing everything for the Puja, the flowers, the elements, etc.

When it was time to do the Puja, I helped with the decoration and adorned the wall with some flowers, making a bandhan and an Om sign with roses in the centre. The yogis brought the present for Mother, two pictures engraved on metal, something very typical of Toledo.

Who wants to wrap Mother’s present?’ somebody said. Nobody answered and I offered to do it. I wrapped it the best I could in a piece of green paper and decided to put an ornament on it. I improvised a paper rose, put three leaves around it and stuck it on a corner of the parcel. During the Puja, when the moment arrived, our leader offered Mother the present. She took it and noticed the flower.

It’s a beautiful flower,’ She said. Mother tried to open the parcel, but it was quite difficult, so She gave it back and said, ‘I do not know how to open parcels, I only know how to open Kundalinis,’ showing us Her usual smile. We all smiled with Her. It was opened and Mother saw the pictures. She was enchanted and said, ‘This is Toledo.’ She liked the present, and was very joyous and happy with all of us.

This experience is an unforgettable memory for all of us who were there.

Joaquín Orus

There was a lot of heart! (May 1986)

Mother left the following day. I served Her breakfast, a French omelette, but She ate very little; two or three mouthfuls. I was very worried because Mother did not eat. She told me that everything was fine, that She did not need to eat more as She had enough with my love. Again my eyes were filled with tears.

All of us went to the airport to say good-bye. While Shri Mataji was boarding we sang to Her: ‘Adiós con el corazón que con el alma no puedo’, which means ‘Good-bye with the heart, as I cannot with my soul.’

What a farewell! There was heart, a lot of heart! We came back to the house where Mother had stayed and we spent the whole morning singing and dancing. You could feel the physical ‘attachment’ to Mother. We wanted it to last among us and the songs helped us.

Anasuya Asuncion