Chapter 19: 1983 – January and February, India

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

We would form a procession

I’m sure everyone has seen photographs of Shri Mataji on a bullock cart. On the earlier tours that I went to in the eighties, from 1982 to ’87, we had public programmes in the villages all around Maharashtra. There weren’t many of us on the tours — only two to three busloads on the earlier tours, about fifty to a hundred people.

After a very long bus journey we would arrive at a village, get out of the buses and there would be a bullock cart waiting, all beautifully decorated. The bullocks would also be decorated, their horns would be painted in different colours, they would be all shiny and would have little pompoms and the bullocks would be decorated all over. They would be attached to a cart and it would have a little seat built into it and would be decorated, usually with banana leaves. Then Shri Mataji would arrive and She would sit on the cart. Musicians would appear with drums and bells and we would sing bhajans and would form a procession and Shri Mataji would follow us. We would dance and sing and enjoy ourselves all the way to wherever the programme was being held, which was usually a school ground or the temple.

Because I was so small, quite often Shri Mataji would ask me to come up onto the bullock cart and stand next to Her, which was obviously a great honour for me, and saved my feet. Those were wonderful times and we were so blessed to have Shri Mataji’s attention on us.

Auriol Purdie

Shri Mataji in a village showing thousands of people how to raise the Kundalini and do a bandhan, on the 1982/83 tour.

John Watkinson

A huge pile of kumkum

I was generally the only child on the India tour in the early 1980’s, so I was very often blessed to do the puja to Shri Mataji. In 1983, January, in Kolhapur, there was a puja and Shri Mataji asked us to do a kumkum puja, instead of a water puja or an amrit puja. In this puja, I poured heaps upon heaps upon heaps of kumkum all over Mother’s Feet.

I was wearing a long bridesmaid’s dress and it was white with little pinky-red flowers on it. Because of the way I was sitting, the dress was sort of furled under Shri Mataji’s Feet. Although there was a plate, which was collecting the kumkum, a lot of the kumkum spilled onto me, onto my dress. When I stood up, my dress had completely changed colour, but it was very vibrated. There was a huge pile of kumkum, almost up to Shri Mataji’s knees.

Auriol Purdie

Only fifteen minutes had passed

Some time ago, Shri Mataji and a few yogis went to Kolhapur for a Sahaja Yoga programme. After a few days, while staying in a hotel, Shri Mataji called Mr Chavhan at about 3.00 am to ask for a cup of Indian tea, chai. Mr Chavhan said that he would have it ready in about fifteen minutes. He went outside but discovered that the hotel did not have any cooking facilities, and everything in the town was closed.

He knew of one lady, a Sahaja Yogi, who lived about three miles down the road, out of town, so he went outside to find that the whole town was asleep. He was out in the empty street, but a rickshaw suddenly came around the corner and gave him a ride to the lady’s house.

When he arrived there he found, unexpectedly, that she was awake and doing meditation. She was worried and wanted to know if there was some problem. Mr Chavhan said there was not, but that Shri Mataji wanted a cup of tea. So she quickly made a cup, packed it up so as to keep it hot, and sent Mr Chavhan on his way. When he went outside, there was no transport so he had to walk, and in fact he was there before he knew it. When he gave Shri Mataji Her cup of tea, only fifteen minutes had passed!

PD Chavhan

Shri Mataji kept bandhaning it

In the early eighties my father was in Kolhapur with Shri Mataji. They were near the Mahalakshmi temple complex and there are a lot of shops where they sell all the puja items. My grandmother was a devotee of Shri Mahalakshmi and had asked my father to buy her a little, what we call a ‘tak’, a little brass plate with an engraved silver idol of the Mahalakshmi statue. So he excused himself from Shri Mataji for a short time and went and bought one. When he came back he explained to Her that his mother had asked for this. My grandmother was realised and Shri Mataji asked to see it. Shri Mataji took it in Her hands and gave it a bandhan. She kept bandhaning it then gave it back to my father.

‘Take it,’ She said. ‘Now She looks like Me. Look!’ And sure enough, when you looked at it, it had similar features to Shri Mataji: Her cheeks, Her nose, those arching eyebrows, exactly like Mother.

‘Now give it to your grandmother,’ She said. My grandmother was an old lady who believed in the traditional deities.

Jayant Patankar

Attending the aarti

The Kadam family, who stay in Malgond, near Ganapatipule, were travelling with Shri Mataji to Kolhapur to do some jewellery shopping. They went to a shop which was opposite the Mahalakshmi temple. When they got out of the Jeep, they could hear that the bhaktas at the temple were singing aarti to Shri Mahalakshmi in the temple. Shri Mataji then stood there outside the temple until the aarti was over. This was puzzling the Sahaja Yogis who were with Shri Mataji. She said afterwards that they were singing aarti to Her, so She had to attend the aarti.

Naina Staff

Photographing Shri Mataji 

I bought a camera to take on my first India tour in 1983. Shri Mataji asked for all the yogis from a particular country to come and visit Her at the house where She was staying in Vaitarna. Because of this we found ourselves close to Her, and when I was photographing Her, She made a joke, saying that She could never see me, because my face was always behind a camera.

Colin Heinson

On another occasion, we were in Rahuri and were offering a puja to Shri Mataji as Shri Lakshmi. At the end of the puja She was fully decorated. She sat in Her chair, so I went close up to take some photographs. She looked straight into the camera and gave out vibrations with all Her majesty. There was no one else with a camera, and I felt so privileged, and kept wondering why was I so blessed to be in such a situation, at the right place at the right time, with a camera?

Colin Heinson

You are all right now

During the 1982/3 tour I developed a cough, which was quite uncomfortable and went on for some days. Nothing seemed to fix it. We were in Vaitarna in January 1983 and there was to be a procession ending in a public programme. Shri Mataji was radiant in a decorated bullock cart and the musicians were playing and everyone was dancing. We received a message from Shri Mataji to dance barefooted around the bullock cart, which we all did with great joy and enthusiasm.

The procession ended and the programme proceeded. After the programme, we all went to Her Feet. When my turn came, I went to Her Feet as normal and then heard Her laugh. I looked up and Her hands were folded in namaskar. She was looking at me with such love.

‘Look, you are all right now,’ She said, and, sure enough, my cough had completely gone.

Gillian Patankar

Solar power

At this time, Shri Mataji asked if there were any scientists present, and spoke about how primitive petrol driven vehicles are, and asked if it was not time to use the power of the sun.

Derek Ferguson

To me it was magic

We were in Maharashtra, in the middle of the tour. We were up on the plateau, way inland at a large village. It seemed quite ancient. Shri Mataji had organized that we should have a procession through the town and She rode on a bullock cart. We waited for about an hour in the sun and were all getting quite hot in our saris and kurta-pyjamas.

Then the bullock cart came carrying Shri Mataji, and there were also some musicians accompanying Her. Shri Mataji led us, with the musicians, through the village to a pendal. The pendal had a back side — three open sides and a top that covered us so that we weren’t in the sun. There was a stage with a backdrop. Shri Mataji sat on the stage and the musicians played. She tried to get all the Westerners in out of the sun, but could only get about half of us into the shade and was quite concerned.

It was on a high plateau and you could see for miles. There were low mountains in the distance and not a cloud in the sky, which was totally blue. Shri Mataji looked out from the stage to the centre of the sky and concentrated on that point. I looked up and there was not a cloud anywhere, not even on the horizon. She concentrated quite hard and then looked away and looked at the musicians and us. Then She looked back up at the sky and I watched Her again. Then She looked at us and a few minutes later She looked back at the sky and I looked back as well.

Right in the middle of the sky where Shri Mataji was concentrating, a grey cloud was starting to form quite thickly and it was like magic. You could see a cloud starting to form from nothing a dense grey cloud, a heavy sort of cloud and as She was concentrating on it, it was growing from the centre outwards. Then Shri Mataji stopped looking at it and looked back at us. Within minutes, the cloud had grown and grown and was now spreading out and within about ten minutes it covered the whole sky. Within about fifteen minutes we were completely covered in shade from this heavy, thick cloud. In not much more time it reached right out to the horizon.

Shri Mataji had covered the whole sky with clouds just to protect us from the hot sun.

Claire Nesdale

Shri Mataji had incredibly strong teeth. I remember most of us struggling to bite the sugar cane, but for Shri Mataji it was no problem.

John Watkinson

I can still see Her

We had all been on a long climb to a temple called Septashringi, outside Nasik, during the India tour of 1982/3, in January 1983, and it had taken us hours to climb up and down. We arrived back very hot and were standing around in the sun waiting for the buses, when a car pulled up. Shri Mataji alighted and said we were all too hot and our livers were hot. The car boot was opened and it was full of green guavas and green channa, still on the branches. Shri Mataji distributed these to everyone and, as we ate, you could just feel yourself cooling down. I can still see Her standing there full of so much concern and love for everyone.

Gillian Patankar


On one of the India tours, in 1983, we went to a village called Ekachakra in Maharashtra. We had lunch with Mr Dhumal’s sister, who lived near there, and afterwards went to see an ancient temple. The statue – murti – was Shri Ardanishwara – Shri Shiva as half man, half woman. Shri Mataji told us the temple was 5,000 years old and had been built by the Pandava brothers of the Mahabharata, in thanks for when Bhima, the third brother, killed a rakshasa who lived there and terrorised the villagers at the time. Periodically the rakshasa demanded an ox cart full of sweets driven by a maiden and he ate the lot – including the maiden. Bhima dressed up as the maiden and killed the rakshasa.

Linda Williams

This photo is of Shri Mataji at the end of the Shri Saraswati Puja in January 1983. Shri Mataji took us all by surprise when She suddenly stood up. To me She appeared to be very much larger than life, I mean Shri Mataji appeared to be huge.

John Watkinson

Find her a sari!

There is a miracle photo of Mother with the sun in Her hand. It was taken a puja at Bordi, in 1983. Behind Mother is a red sari, and on the day of the weddings, one lady came very late, and the weddings were already starting.

‘Find her a sari to wear,’ Shri Mataji said, so, with Shri Mataji’s permission, we took down the red sari from behind Shri Mataji and dressed the lady who had come late in it, for her wedding. It must have had beautiful vibrations. The marriage has been very successful.

Linda Williams

My first meeting with Shri Mataji and the Sahaja Yogis 

I was in India to make a documentary on Ayurvedic medicine. After interviewing many Ayurvedic doctors I felt that probably I could get cured from some psychosomatic problems I had had since long. I met one of the most respected Ayurvedic doctors in Delhi.

‘I can cure your liver and your colitis, but for your hectic brain I cannot do anything. You have to practice yoga and have devotion to God,’ he said, and put me on to some Sahaja Yogis. I received my realisation and a few weeks later went to Shri Mataji’s programme at the FICCI Auditorium, on the 27th January, 1983.

Finally the day arrived. It was the day of the first public programme, of the series that Shri Mataji held in Delhi that year. When I reached the auditorium there were some Indians, until suddenly, to my great surprise, the hall filled up with a large number of Westerners, the men dressed in white kurta-pyjamas and the ladies in saris. Who were these people? I started walking around among the row of seats, introducing myself to some of these people and trying to find out more about Shri Mataji, Sahaja Yoga and the reason they were there. Suddenly everyone was invited to seat down.

Shri Mataji was entering the hall. She came in from the left side of the stage, appearing from behind a curtain, wearing a sari of a light beige colour with a red border. As She walked in I saw Her completely surrounded by an aura of light, as if She had golden sparkles around Her body, which were following Her to the centre of the stage, where She began Her speech.

I didn’t understand much of what She said but at moments during Her speech I felt as if I was enclosed into a kind of egg, as if an invisible frame was enveloping my body. At the end, when She gave realisation to all the people, I felt an incredibly strong pressure inside my body ending on top of my head where I felt a kind of pin-like pulsation all around my fontanel bone.

A few days later I joined the hundred and twenty Western Sahaja Yogis for my first India Tour. I went to all the public programmes in Delhi where Shri Mataji gave Her speeches, to the sitar concert with Debu Chauderi and finally to the Mahashivaratri Puja in Shri Mataji’s presence in the temple at Safdarjung, Krishna Nagar, Delhi.

Alessandra Pallini

It was bound to happen

In 1983, due to some health problems, the doctors said that I did not have much time left. I was so sick that my wife was extremely tense, and that time, luckily, Shri Mataji was in Delhi. My wife had tears in her eyes as I was under depression and not able to speak. She took me in a taxi to Shri Mataji’s house. The person in charge at Her home looked at my state and completely banned my entry into Her room.

‘Who are they? They are our own people. Let them in! Let them in,’ Shri Mataji said loudly from inside.

My wife took me inside and I looked at Mother.

‘Arrey yeah kyaa hua tumko,’ (‘What happened to you?’) She said, and told me to sit near Her Feet. While She was speaking She kept Her Lotus Feet right on my chest for about fifteen minutes, and yes, as was bound to happen, She cured me completely.

Surender Pal Angurala

The back ache disappeared, never to return

I used to suffer from terrible migraines. After coming to Sahaja Yoga in Delhi, in the early 1980’s, due to meditation I do not remember when my migraine disappeared totally. I used to suffer from acute back ache. My doctors had told me that it was incurable. Then one day while sitting with Shri Mataji, I requested Her to let me press Her legs. She agreed to let me get some Ponds cream and massage Her legs.

Then Shri Mataji put Her Foot in my lap and asked me to massage it, and as I started massaging Her Foot I felt a terrible pain in my back. I kept massaging as long as I could. Then I said to myself that with such severe pain in my back, it was not possible for me to carry on, but if Mother wanted me to do it, She could end my terrible back ache. The back ache disappeared there and then. It has never occurred after that.

Suman Mathur

Her leukemia was totally gone

I am a medical doctor by profession, and when I got my realisation in Delhi, in 1983, on the first day I did not feel anything, but Shri Mataji called for those newcomers who were either sick or who had not felt the cool breeze. I should have gone on the stage because I had not felt anything and my mother was sick with chronic leukemia, however we did not go. The next evening the programme was in a different place, at Hanuman Park, near Connaught Place. After the realisation session was over I still had not felt anything but then I went near the stage and suddenly felt a gush of cool breeze on my hands.

‘Did you feel anything?’ I asked my uncle, who was with me. He said he also felt a rush of coolness on his hands. On the third evening I was sitting in front of Shri Mataji with a lot of other people. A French boy came and asked me whether I felt anything, and gave me vibrations. After some time I still did not feel anything but he assured me my Kundalini had risen. I was surprised. A few minutes later someone took me to Shri Mataji, and She just looked at me ‘This fellow is already cleared!’ Shri Mataji said and looked at my mother.

‘This lady has had to bear a lot,’ She said, and moved Her hands on top of my mother’s head. Immediately my mother’s entire body started shivering, and she got fever. It remained for the next four days, and on the last day of that seven-day programme Shri Mataji told my mother she had got her realisation.

‘Now she is cleared,’ Shri Mataji told my mother. We came back home to Kolkata and after three months we had her blood checked, and except for a little anemia, her leukemia was totally gone without any medication at all.

Gautam Sarkar

Is there something that you want to tell Me?

There were a lot of Sahaja marriages in Delhi in the early 1980’s, and a lot of shopping to be done for the marriages. In 1982 we went shopping to Connaught Place in Delhi and afterwards we went back in the car. There were some Sahaja Yogis who knew where they usually went for lunch.

‘No, today we will let Tarachandra choose,’ Shri Mataji said. I was so happy. She somehow knew I wanted to take Her. I took Her to a place that was newly opened, a South Indian restaurant and prayed that She would like it. As we were walking towards the restaurant, Shri Mataji put Her hand on my shoulder

‘Is there something that you want to tell Me?’ She said. In fact, there was something on my mind. My name had come up for possible selection for Air India. She asked if I had approached someone higher up, some minister or something and I said I had not. Then Shri Mataji said I should not be surprised that I had been selected because then I would be able to look Her up all over the world. I understood why, without my asking, this offer had suddenly come. The lunch was even better than expected and Shri Mataji was very pleased.


It works! Sahaja works!

In Delhi, in the early 1980’s, I had gone to the house of Shri Mataji at the appointed time. I was a bit late and felt a bit guilty. The car was all right until I got just in front of Shri Mataji’s house and then it stopped. It just wouldn’t go, no matter how many times I tried to make it.

Some people tried to get it to go and later the car started, but I was feeling guilty that I was late for Shri Mataji. I tried to forgive myself and saw Her in the room when I came in. I bowed down and apologized for having been delayed. She said it was all right and got into my car and we drove off together. As we drove off, I asked some other people to drive with us in case my car should break down again, so we should have another car just in case. But once on the road the other cars went on ahead. In a while, my car did start to misbehave again and I apologized again. Shri Mataji said it was all right and just gave some bandhans to the dashboard. As soon as She gave the bandhan, the engine picked up and became normal again and there was no problem.

‘See, it works! Sahaja works!’ Shri Mataji said.

The next day I took it to the garage and they said everything was perfect.



This was the part of the puja where Shri Mataji was dressed in a simple white cloth and gheru (brown powder, mixed with water) was put on Her forehead, like Lord Shiva.

Derek Ferguson

He was completely cured

In 1983, Shri Mataji also saved my sister-in-law’s son from Septicemia. The baby had turned blue as oxygen could not flow properly any more and the doctors had given up, all of them expecting him to die. The whole family was desperate, and he was brought to Shri Mataji as the last hope. Shri Mataji applied a bottle of mustard oil on his Sahasrara and massaged it for a long time. After such a treatment, he turned suddenly pink and normal again and was completely cured.

Madhur Rai

Thanking my wife for looking after the children

We were in Delhi, in 1983 and Shri Mataji was giving a talk prior to the puja

‘Now we will give a bandhan that all the non-seekers will get their realisation,’ She said at one point and we all did this with Her. I remember thinking that there might still be a chance for my ex-wife Pam. We had argued ourselves apart, and it had ended in divorce, although I knew that with Sahaja Yoga we could get back together again, especially as we did not dislike each other, and there were no third parties involved. At that point I had not managed to give her realisation.

At the end of the India tour we had a day of shopping and I bought gifts for my children and ex-wife. At Shri Mataji’s farewell talk She said, ‘You will go back like traders.’ When I returned home to Australia I went to see my family with the gifts and finished up giving my wife realisation.

Shortly after that, in 1983, Shri Mataji visited Australia, and Pam came to all Mother’s talks and programmes at Burwood. One evening I spoke to the leader and he said I should give our marriage another try, and he arranged a private meeting with Shri Mataji. I poured out my troubles and Shri Mataji said that She didn’t know who to thank more, me for coming to Sahaja Yoga, or Pam for being the good mother and looking after the children.

We got back together, and are still together over twenty years later, and Shri Mataji’s bandhan and the collective desire worked beautifully.

Albert Lewis

The candles flickered

It was my first year in India, in March 1983, after one of the tours. I was helping with the videos and we were in Calcutta, walking along to have lunch in a restaurant with Shri Mataji, who was ahead, with the Australian leader and some Indian yogis. I was quite a way behind with some Indian yogis who I had never met before. We arrived at the restaurant and it was dark and candle lit. Mother was at the head of a table on one side of the restaurant and I was on the other side with the Indian yogis.

‘Robin,’ little voice suddenly said, and it was Shri Mataji beckoning me over to sit next to Her, which was absolutely amazing. After a while a cone of silence came, which people talk about when they are with Mother, where it was as if the restaurant was completely empty and I swear that there was nobody there but Shri Mataji and myself, as if everybody had left; it felt like that anyway, completely.

‘Do you see this candle in front of Me has burnt down much more than any of the other ones?’ Shri Mataji said.

‘Yes,’ I replied.

‘When I look at that one over there, do you see it flickers?’ She went on, and looked at a different candle. Then She looked at yet another candle and said, ‘And if I look at that one over there it flickers as soon as I look at it.’

Robin Reid

Editor’s note: when the candle flickers, and there is no apparent reason for it to do so, it is often absorbing negativity.

What we need in Sahaja are strong individuals

We were staying in India in the early 1980’s with a Sahaja Yogi, and Shri Mataji called him to a meeting with some others.

‘What do you think of modern art?’ Shri Mataji said to me after a while. I was rather taken aback and said that I thought it was rather individualistic.

‘Individualism is when everyone is trying to be an individual, but is no longer individual. What we need in Sahaja are strong individuals,’ Mother emphasized.

The next day Shri Mataji talked about art in the puja talk.

Robin Reid

Are you better now?

On an early India tour, when we arrived in Kolhapur, there was a group of people sitting in a room waiting for Shri Mataji. It was an opportunity to see Her so I went and sat with them. It was very sweet when Shri Mataji came; She talked with each of them.

‘Mother I shall never be able to love You as I should,’ one woman said.

‘Well, don’t worry whether you love Me; it’s important to know that I love you,’ Shri Mataji replied. Then there was a woman who had been carting around heavy video equipment. ‘There were plenty of men to carry it around,’ Shri Mataji told her.

At the end I was feeling rather above this, thinking, ‘I’m not one of these people, who were all getting corrected.’

The nice thing was, as I went past Her She said, ‘Are you better now?’

Robin Reid

By Your grace, Mother

At the end of the Foreigners’ India Tour in 1982/3 Shri Mataji asked me to stay on in India, and for that year my children and I were living where the Dharmshala school is nowadays, before it was there.

After the 1983 tour, we were in Delhi in February 1984, and I received a hand written note from one of the leaders saying, ‘Shri Mataji wants you and your children to go to Dehra Dun’. I was told this was because there were good schools there.

A major problem was staying in the country. Foreigners were only allowed to stay for six months. Somehow I always got my visa extended until such time as it felt right to go back to Britain, after six years. One time Shri Mataji asked me how I managed this, as it was theoretically almost impossible.

‘By Your grace, Mother,’ I replied and She and I both laughed.

Linda Williams

Shri Mataji sent the India tour to me

It was in the winter of 1982/83. I had not been able to go on India tour and was quite upset. The Swiss yogis transited through my flat in Rome, taking the train between Geneva and Rome. Because I had not been able to go to India, I went for a long weekend to Vienna to see Gregoire and Catherine. They had given me my realisation and taught me about Sahaja Yoga.

On the Saturday morning, when they went shopping, I decided to clean their bedroom and there they had a little altar of Shri Mataji and on it there was a pair of chappals (sandals) of Shri Mataji. Because, just before, I had been reading the Ramayana and had been impressed by the story of the brother, Bharat, who was ruling the country during the fourteen years that Rama and Lakshmana were in the jungles. He had taken the chappals of Shri Rama, put them on the throne and he was ruling from next to the throne. Knowing that, the notion of Shri Mataji’s chappals was very important to me. I also cleaned the altar and put the chappals somewhere else to clean the cloth underneath. While carrying them I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness, I wish one day I also have some chappals of Shri Mataji.’ Then I finished cleaning the altar in their room and forgot completely about it.

Maybe a week afterwards, the yogis from India tour came back to Rome and came to my flat, a yogini came to me with a plastic bag.

‘Here is something from Shri Mataji for you,’ she said. ‘She gave this to me and said, “Give this to Ruth because she asked for it.’” I opened the bag and there was a pair of Her chappals.

Later, I saw photos from the India tour and recognised the chappals She was wearing. They were the ones She had given to me. I could not go to India but She sent India tour to me through these chappals.

I put them in my bedroom on a little altar close to my bed. For a while, because I was sick for a few days, I was lying in bed and working on a Sahaja translation from English into Italian. Every time I would work on it, I would smell Shri Mataji’s marvellous perfume floating from these chappals and coming into my nostrils and when I stopped working on the translation, this perfume would disappear. I could smell it for quite a while, maybe a week or two. It was more and more subtle. It took a long time before it completely disappeared.

Ruth Eleanore