Chapter 19: 1996 – March and April, Australia, South East Asia and India

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

Somehow it protected me

I went to Sydney in March 1996 for the Shri Shivaratri Puja and Shri Mataji was there. At the evening music programme I decided to sit way down the back, because I knew it would be a long evening. Then my name was called – Nigel. For some reason I thought it was Nigel from England.

Nigel from New Zealand,’ Shri Mataji then said.

That’s definitely you,’ a friend from Christchurch, New Zealand said to me, so I went up through the crowd. There were a lot of other people around Shri Mataji so I waited. The gift had been put at the side. Michael Fogarty was there and he called me forward.

This is Nigel from New Zealand,’ he said to Shri Mataji.

Come,’ said Shri Mataji but there was no space so the only place I could go was by Shri Mataji’s footstool. I put my elbow on the side of the stool and Her Feet were slightly to the side.

Yes, yes,’ She said, and She had this gift and She was about to hand it out to me and I looked up. I saw Her Feet, and the beginning of Her legs, and I looked up and couldn’t see the top. I could vaguely see the gift so I took it and thanked Her. I needed to find some space to bow, and then I had this sensation that something had been put down my spine very gently, and it was like a rod, like when you take a soil sample, as if Shri Mataji had taken it out and checked it and put it back. When I stood up it was like everything had cleared.

She had given me a waistcoat. I treasured it and cared for it and about a year later the New Zealand leader phoned me and asked if I still had the waistcoat. I told him I did and I only wore it if I was sick or had a problem, or at the pujas. Somehow it protected me.

Nigel Matthews

Mother was smiling

In many different airports with my brothers and sisters I have offered a flower to Shri Mataji and would try very hard to experience the actual moment but never could. Always when I looked up Mother was smiling at the next Sahaja Yogi. Then someone sent me a photo after one of Mother’s visits to Sydney and I ‘saw’ my moment.

Christine Driver

Shri Mataji receiving Christine’s flowers at Sydney airport

Almost like a different person

We had lunch at an Italian restaurant in Sydney with Shri Mataji back in 1996. She ordered the lasagna and then every other yogi ordered the lasagna too. She then asked if it was beef. The waiter said it was. Shri Mataji then changed Her order but insisted the yogis didn’t. She commented that it was to do with Her teeth. Everyone was a little mystified but realised it was a test of our conditionings…our Sahaj conditionings!

I had just begun my first serious liver diet and ordered the most basic penne. When it was time for desert I commented to a yogi next to me that I was on liver diet and would pass the desert. Shri Mataji then told the waiter to give me a double dish of ice cream and handed me Her own as well, so I ended up eating almost three bowls of ice cream.

I had skipped work to be at that lunch and was worried about being missing for too long. When I went back to my office the computer system had crashed and everyone had gone home hours ago! On the way out I saw myself in a reflection and got a shock. I looked so clear at that moment that it was almost like looking at a different person.

Mark Williams 

I saw myself in Her

It was my very first puja with Shri Mataji in Sydney, Shri Shivaratri Puja in 1996, and I sat on the first row with the musicians. The previous evening I sat more or less behind a pole for the entertainment evening and did not see Shri Mataji much. My desire was so much to see Her closer and an aunty told me to sit with the musicians and pretend to be part of the bhajan group.

I did and as Shri Mataji came on to the stage She looked at each and every one of us and when I looked at Her and She looked my way, it was a recognition of a kind where I felt like I saw my total self in Her. She must have cleared my left side from then on because after that my eyes did not experience a dry moment in that puja.

I tried to take pictures because I was so close and my attention was busy with how to get a good shot, but at one moment She looked straight in my lens and I could not push the button down. I have not taken any pictures at pujas since then.

Sidsel Mugwort

Shri Mataji made sure everyone could see

The first puja I attended in the physical presence of Shri Mataji was the Shri Shivaratri Puja in Sydney, 1996. Being relatively new, I wanted a good seat and went to the marquee early to save seats for myself and two others at the concert on the Saturday, the night before the puja. While waiting in these seats, someone came and asked all those in the front six rows to please move to make room for the bhajan group, but I still had three front seats.

Shri Mataji arrived, gave Her talk, then decided to sit in the audience to watch the concert. By this time my two colleagues had joined me. Shri Mataji’s chair was placed directly in front of us, and She made sure that everyone in front of Her was able to see. I kept saying to myself, ‘but I can’t see’. There was only enough room between me and Shri Mataji’s chair for Her attendants to move behind it.

Can you see anything?’ my colleague whispered to me, when the concert was well under way.

I can see everything,’ I responded.

So can I, but we shouldn’t be able to see anything,’ She replied.

 Glenda Pollard

Shri Mataji arriving at Bangkok Airport

A child’s request

This photo, below, was taken on March 16th 1996 in Bangkok. My daughter was asking Shri Mataji if we can have power in Sahaj.

Of course, you have the power already,’ Shri Mataji answered, as I remember.

Celia Tanaka

Shri Mataji looking at a traditional Chinese book

In Hong Kong in March 1996, Lyndon bought a pictorial book from Beijing drawn using traditional Chinese techniques – brush water painting – featuring tigers. He presented it to Shri Mataji.

Edwin Hou

Delhi, the Himalayas and Kolkata

Apart from the organised India tours, Shri Mataji’s birthday was usually celebrated in India. Many Western yogis took advantage of these celebrations around 21st March to make short trips, for example to the foot of the Himalayas. That year, 1996, we celebrated Shri Mataji’s birthday in Delhi and one week later the puja to Shri Shiva in Calcutta (now Kolkata), so a group of yogis from different countries and I hired a bus and travelled to where the holy Ganges comes out of the mountains into the flatter countryside. The place where we took a bath in the Ganges was in the jungle, and the water was still, dark green and clean.

After the birthday celebrations in Delhi we flew to Calcutta and were welcomed by a suffocating heat. We went from the airport into the town. The windows of the taxis were opened, the airstream cooled us a bit and I felt great joy and lightness. Some hundreds of international yogis were accommodated in a high-rise building, which was not completed, and the floor where we slept on simple mats was still a shell.

One evening I had the privilege of being invited for a dinner in honour of Shri Mataji in the apartment of a yogi who was a businessman and lived in the two upper floors of the high-rise building next to the one where we slept. The upper floor was a penthouse, reached via a big spiral staircase of marble from the floor beneath. We sat in this roof garden with little streamlets, lawns and flowers, listening to soft music coming out of invisible loudspeakers. In the middle there was a little building decorated with traditional Rajasthani sandstone ornaments. The sky was clear, night had started, it was still very warm, but a cool breeze made it pleasant to sit above the bubbling town.

Shri Mataji was sitting in a basket-chair and we all had dinner together. Could there have been anything better? Yes – our happiness increased when Hemlata and Simple gave a concert for Shri Mataji, just harmonium and vocal.

I gave my camera to a Sahaja Yogi sitting next to Shri Mataji, who was sitting in front of a flat table with a glass top, and I saw Her arms reflected in the glass table as if She had four arms. This can be seen in the photo that was taken, and even if this was just a reflection, this moment has remained in my memory as a night full of wonders when I saw the Goddess with Her many arms.

The Goddess came to me in a dream after this. I was in a town. Suddenly all the people started running terrified in all directions, I heard a tiger roar and people were panicking, then I was in front of a high fence. I tried to rescue myself, climbed the fence and could look down at the slums from above. A dark lady came out of a hut and gave me Her hand. I was saved. I woke up in a blissful state and knew Shri Mataji was Shri Mahakali, the dark Goddess.

Calcutta has the most ardent Mahakali worshippers but they often misinterpreted the true nature of the Goddess and the Mahakali cults result in an extreme left side. Shri Mataji said this was the reason for the extreme poverty there. In my dream this principle was revealed to me in all its glory, the protectress of the bhaktas who in Her endless love swallows up the negative forces, and who is depicted with a garland made of the heads of demons.

The Shri Shiva Puja in Calcutta was fantastic, the most beautiful decoration I have ever seen. The base of the stage and he wall behind Srihri Mataji were decorated with clay relief statues – it was timeless and intercultural.

Thomas Menge

Shri Shiva Puja at Calcutta

The Rama Tattwa

Shri Mataji’s family always had servants. She said that it was important for us to develop our Rama Tattwa and to have people around us whom we protect, either our children or servants who virtually belong to the house. Shri Mataji never made a difference between rich and poor or well-educated or not.

Thomas Menge

The pain stopped and Shri Mataji smiled

In September of 1995 I was visiting Darwin, Australia and was bitten by a cattle tick which was carrying a very toxic virus. For the next six months I was plagued with huge seeping boils. Despite homeopathy and the most powerful antibiotics the boils kept coming back, getting worse each time.

In April of 1996 I was on my way back to England and stopped over in Delhi, India. My friend asked a doctor she knew to meet me – he was a general practitioner who also used homeopathy and ayurvedic medicine. He arranged to meet me at a medical seminar he was attending the following day.

We went to the seminar to meet him and sat at the back. Suddenly the boils under my arm started to throb violently. A few seconds later Shri Mataji Herself walked out onto the stage. I was not even aware that She was in India at the time! She sat down and although there were a lot of people in the room, She immediately started to look very intensely in our direction. The thumping pain under my arm got faster and faster and Shri Mataji continued to look intently for about thirty seconds. All of a sudden the pain stopped and She immediately smiled, looked around the room and the conference continued.

Two hours later the boils had shrunk from the size of half a hen’s egg to one quarter of their original size and the following morning they had disappeared completely. Since that day I’ve not had another boil.

Chris Coles

Shri Adi Shakti Jai Ho!

In April 1996 I had an appointment to meet Shri Mataji at the new ashram in Delhi. In the morning, as I entered the room, Shri Mataji and Sir CP were just entering the sitting room.

See, the Sahaja Yogis don’t recognise Me as Adi Shakti, but this… (a well-known false guru from Pune)… lay on the ground before Me and said “Shri Adi Shakti Jai Ho!”’ Shri Mataji said.

Bhagwati Singh

The whole work is done

There was someone living near the new temple in Delhi, and he used to put music on very loudly, so as to try to attract the attention of Shri Mataji.

If Shri Mataji just gives me a little bit of Her power,’ he said, ‘I can rule the whole of the world!’

You should not have any desires,’ Shri Mataji said. ‘See, I do not have any desires. You should be desireless, and the whole work is done.’

Bhagwati Singh