Where have you been?
The first clear vivid memory I have of Shri Mataji is when I was introduced to Her at the airport in London, in March 1987. David Prole introduced me, and Mother took my hand and said something very nice to me.
‘Where have you been? Lost!’ She said then and at that moment my life flashed through my mind and I thought, ‘Where on earth have I been all these years?’ When I got my realisation that feeling of coming home was so completely natural and I felt, ‘Why did it take so long to get here?’ When Shri Mataji said that to me I felt my Sahasrara blow open – whoosh! All this bliss, I couldn’t sleep for some days.
One of the moments I think about
A few days after meeting Shri Mataji at the airport, in 1987, She had a programme just for the Sahaja Yogis in Friends Meeting House, Covent Garden.
We were all lining up to give a flower to Mother. She had a big beaming smile on Her face and again She said something really nice to me. I bowed down in front of Her and when I got up She said my left side needed working on. She invited me to sit next to Her and took my left hand, then She looked straight ahead with a Shri Mahakali pose and gave a bandhan. I felt all these vibrations pouring through my left side. I was blissed out, like a little child looking up at its mother, and completely enchanted by Shri Mataji and looking into Her eyes. I could have stayed there forever. I was in heaven.
Mother said that whenever we feel down or lose that connection just think about Her for a moment that we’ve been with Her, and that is one of the moments I think about a lot.
A lovely cozy ashram
There was a time in the mid-eighties when Shudy Camps, near Cambridge in England, had just been purchased and was in the initial stages of renovation. Rumours abounded that Shudy Camps was the New Jerusalem and Mother wanted Hounslow sold as soon as possible. This was upsetting for those of us who lived there and loved the place. Shri Mataji had stayed there, and many foreign brothers and sisters too, as it was conveniently near Heathrow Airport.
One early evening, I heard someone entering the ashram and when I went to greet them in the hallway, I was amazed to find Shri Mataji Herself walking towards me. She refused Her special chair and sat on a very ordinary stool in the dining room. She played with the four children we had there, who offered Her everything they could find, including their toys. Yogis were returning from work and found themselves suddenly at the Feet of Shri Mataji. We had a number of Her belongings stored upstairs and She described a jacket of Sir CP’s which She wanted, so yogis went up to find it. Meanwhile, She spoke with everyone, giving little bits of personal advice.
‘What a lovely cozy ashram this is! Such loving vibrations, such a nice hospitable, family feel and now they want to sell it. I don’t know why,’ She said very clearly. Sir CP’s suit jacket was duly found.
‘Yes, that’s the one,’ Shri Mataji said, and then asked for it to be put back again where it had been found. She spoke personally to some more of the yogis and then left.
Shri Mataji knew exactly what was there
The first time I really spoke to Shri Mataji was in 1987. That was when She came and visited Shudy Camps, when we were all working there on this beautiful house. In 1986 Mother had given everyone presents. They all got watches. I was quite sad because I had been there for six or seven months, and I did not get a present that time. In 1987 Shri Mataji came again, and She gave me a watch, the same watch that everyone else had got the year before. I can’t remember Her exact words, except that She said She was happy that I was there. I felt completely at home, and it was wonderful.
Shri Mataji told everybody in detail what to do – such as removing internal walls and so on. Mother only inspected the house once, and She would explain exactly what to do in a part where She had never actually been. She would tell them to look for areas which had been hidden, such as false ceilings. The rooms were all so small, one could hardly use some of them, but Mother knew exactly what was there. It was quite amazing. The whole situation was as if Mother had designed the house long in the past and knew where every nook and cranny was.
‘Where did that space come from?’ we would say, when we were asked to do something which didn’t seem possible.
A school in India
The first time I saw Shri Mataji was when She arrived at Rome Ashram, at Easter in April 1987, She sat in the central room and all the children gathered around Her, one sitting on Her knee. She told them that She was going to make a school for them in India where they could have lots of fun and climb the trees.
‘Would you enjoy that? Would you like to climb the trees?’ She said.
Shri Mataji and the architect
The photos below are of Shri Mataji at the Campagnano land, near Rome, in the spring of 1987. She was explaining to Hermann Haage, the architect, how to make the changes to the existing projects.
Shri Mataji visiting Campagnano, 1987
These drawings below, done by Shri Mataji, were for us in the ashram at Guidonia, where She explained how to do the roof, the arches, the style of the house, what kind of plants to put in the garden and so on.
Shri Mataji’s drawings for an ashram near Rome (not constructed)
Shri Mataji on the Via il Prato, Florence, 16th April 1987
Easter in Rome, April 1987 (email report)
Shri Mataji spent Easter weekend in Rome, and Sahaja Yogis came from all over Europe to sit at Her Lotus Feet there. It was originally intended to be more or less a private visit with Mr Srivastava, to celebrate their fortieth wedding anniversary, which occurred a few days previously. When it was known there would be a puja, people were invited from all over Europe.
Shri Mataji arrived from London on Friday morning in Rome airport, to be greeted by the Sahaja Yogis who had already arrived, not least the small children of the ashram, about twenty-five of them, who ran up to Shri Mataji with flowers and then ran back to the adults for more flowers which they then ran to present to Shri Mataji again. The sky was an impeccable blue, as it remained all weekend, except for some fine clouds like silk threads of vibrations which appeared after the puja, and this seemed to match Shri Mataji’s sunny mood; Mother seemed very relaxed and happy the whole time. Shortly afterwards Shri Mataji departed with Her husband for a private visit to Florence.
Meanwhile hosts of Sahaja Yogis were arriving from all corners of the continent. Puja day was Sunday, and Shri Mataji arrived at the ashram from Her flat in Rome about midday. A platform had been built the previous day for the puja to one side of the house, so that Shri Mataji would be in the shade and we would all be sitting in the garden facing Her. She spoke about materialism and how people became dead with their attention going on dead material objects, and She told us how Lord Jesus had countered this tendency, He being pure Spirit.
The puja continued with bhajans and with small children washing Shri Mother’s Feet and with the married ladies decorating Her. She was radiant the whole time. At the end She said how pleased She was with the show of unity between all the European nations which She had witnessed that weekend; it was really a very collective happening. The Europeans will all meet in ten days’ time for the Sahasrara Day Puja in Alpe Motta. Shri Mataji had found the most beautiful and best place She had ever been to for puja.
Another relaxed afternoon followed, and in the evening after dinner Shri Mataji was so kind as to come again to the ashram, accompanied this time by Mr Srivastava, for an evening of bhajans. All the children of the ashram, aged between three and four years, gathered around the Lotus Feet of our Divine Mother to sing the Indian song ‘Queen of the Universe’ and to see some of the girls from the ashram perform an Indian-style dance. We finished off with a few more bhajans including Jogawa. The mood of the evening was relaxed and happy, like the whole weekend.
On the following day, in the afternoon a message came that Shri Mataji would like to see the national groups before She left for India. First were the Swiss. Most of us had already left by bus the previous night, but about ten of us were left, and we drove to Shri Mataji’s flat where She received us in Her sitting room. She spoke to us for about fifty minutes about Switzerland and the evilness of its institutions, mainly the banks, and how we should now be quite uninhibited and fearless in proclaiming Sahaja Yoga. She also kindly advised us on how to handle the media in Switzerland. A Sahaja Yogini’s article had recently come out; when I was in London last week I was able to present a copy, with translation, to Shri Mataji. Also, two Swiss Sahaja Yogis appeared recently on a radio show to talk about Sahaja Yoga. When I told Shri Mataji about it in London She said it was miraculous. She indicated that things might move much faster this year in Switzerland, and when we told Her that we hoped soon to start the new ashram in Givrins and to move in October, She seemed very happy indeed.
Everything just works out in Shri Mataji’s presence
The first time I saw Shri Mataji was Easter 1987, in Rome about six months after I got my realisation. We Austrians all went in a bus from Vienna. We stayed in a school, all the girls and ladies squeezed into a room, sleeping on the floor. We arrived in the dark and I remember hearing the birds singing in the middle of the night, as if nature herself was jubilant in anticipation of the arrival of Shri Mataji, just as much as we were.
We went to the airport to receive Shri Mataji and there was a big crowd of yogis, and I was in the back and could not see properly. I got a small glimpse of a top of a head and black hair, and I knew it must be Her. She was not tall, which surprised me.
The puja was held in the ashram in Rome, and I was amazed at how humble everything was. I had expected gold and marble, and there was this ordinary, if nice Italian house, and the makeshift stage was small, in the garden at the back of the house, and the decoration was made of a few cotton saris. We sat on the ground and had the Easter Puja. Shri Mataji was presented with a live lamb.
Later, there was a musical evening, and we sat in the hall. I was in pain and very uncomfortable, as my back was hurting badly, and thought I might get ill from the cold, but after a few minutes of sitting there, all the pain vanished, being sucked into the stone floor. That was one of my first strong experiences of Shri Mataji in person; to see how everything just works out and negative thoughts or feelings just vanish in Her presence.