Chapter 02: 1990 – March, Australia and New Zealand

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis


A husband and wife came to the public programme Shri Mataji gave in Perth in 1990. They spoke with Her and then came to see Her at the Maylands ashram where She was staying.

Shri Mataji worked on them. They both had AIDS and Shri Mataji said we could cure AIDS, and spoke of someone who had been cured. We were to look after them and do three candle treatment with them. None of us knew about three candle treatment so Shri Mataji showed us how it was done, one candle on the altar, one behind at the Left Swadishthan and one to move up and down the left side, bandhaning each chakra. Shri Mataji explained in some detail about the way the medical results would change, how they would know their AIDS was improving.

Go home a different way to the one you came by,’ Shri Mataji said to them when they came to leave the ashram, after She had worked on them.

She explained that negativity would have left them as they approached the ashram and by going home another way it wouldn’t find them. Then She instructed us to put shawls over their shoulders, and scarves over their heads, and they had to be different colours to the clothes they were wearing; so if the negativity was outside it wouldn’t recognize them. We had to disguise them before they left the ashram.

For some time they came to some Sahaja Yogis’ house and we worked on them there with three candle treatment; then they asked us to come to their house. When we got there it had really bad vibrations, with heavy antique furniture, dark paintings and scary ethnic wooden carvings.

When we got home we told everything to a Sahaja Yogi who spoke regularly to Shri Mataji and when he spoke to Her She told us never go back to that house again and to tell them to get rid of all their antique and ethnic things, and to stop attending the particular ‘spiritual’ gathering they were going to, and to practice Sahaja Yoga.

Clare Nesdale

Shri Mataji, You are my Guru

In 1990 when Shri Mataji was staying at the Maylands ashram in Perth, we had the blessing of being there when She returned from doing a radio programme. She walked into the meditation room, sat on Her chair and we followed Her in.

She asked everyone to tell Her if they had any catches. We were to tell Her what we needed work on and come up to Her and She would work on us. There were only a few of us there. She looked at another lady and me and asked us what was wrong with our livers. We told Her we had been on the liver diet for several months. Shri Mataji told us we didn’t need the liver diet to cool down our livers*; we needed to use ice. She called me up and worked on me. She asked if I had been to a false guru and I said I hadn’t, then vibrated a glass of water by putting Her finger in it and gave it to me to drink.

Shri Mataji You are my Guru,’ Shri Mataji told me to say, because I had some problem with my Agnya. She got another yogi to bring down my right side and I went into thoughtless awareness.

Heather Symonds

*Editor’s note: on numerous occasions Shri Mataji has asked people to do liver diets, but She often gave specific instructions in specific cases.

The diamond has a flaw in it

We were shopping with Shri Mataji. We were looking at a diamond and Mother was looking at it.

That diamond has a flaw in it,’ She said.

Oh, no it hasn’t!’ the jeweller said emphatically. He got his microscope out and looked at the diamond, and then said, ‘Oh! Yes, it has!’

Robin and Jo Reid

I remember everything

Over the days Mother was in Melbourne in 1990, She had a public programme at the exhibition buildings. It ended with Her inviting anybody who wanted to come forward, to do so. The hall is large with a wide central carpeted aisle and two smaller side aisles. Shri Mataji was sitting in the very centre at the head and all the people who were slowly moving forward to meet Her.

We joined at the end of the almost hall-long queue and I noticed something remarkable. Right down the central aisle was flowing an intense current. It was unmistakable. If I moved to the sides, it slackened right off, but in the centre it was intense, like a wind off the sea, only rippling through me. The many people in front were like a weak shield to this wind, which was blowing straight through them, as I steadied myself, my vibrations and attention in order to be able to meet its source right ahead of me, which was Shri Mataji.

Then it was the turn of my husband and I to go forward to Her. She was looking at us approach, we both went down to our knees and then I thanked Her for the marriage in Milan.

Yes, I remember. I remember everything,’ She said, then She lifted Her right hand up, facing towards us and closed Her eyes, staying motionless as She did at the end of pujas.

See what a tremendous marriage I have given you,’ She said to me with Her eyes open.

Mary Anne Gaffurian

A wonderful opportunity

On Shri Mataji’s 1990 tour, we were helping with publicity. I was working for the Melbourne Herald at the time. I advised Shri Mataji that the next day there would be two media appointments, one for a television station and the other for the Melbourne Herald.

Who is to do that? She asked.

Fran,’ I said.

Well, you mustn’t laugh,’ She said.

That was an impossible request because there was so much laughter in Her presence. The next day I had the wonderful opportunity to ask Shri Mataji about the move into Russia, about SIDS and many other things. On SIDS She said the truth would be unlikely to be printed. Shri Mataji said babies died suddenly in their cots when people indulged in séances, calling on their relatives or friends. The spirit which had taken its rebirth as the baby would leave in answer to the call. Western babies were often isolated in their own rooms instead of being close to their mothers, so their spirits were not strong. She advised parents to keep babies in cots in the parents’ rooms until they were older and stronger. She pointed out that SIDS was not a problem in countries like India and China. Below is a scan of the article.

Frances Henke

She’s so gracious

Shri Mataji came to Cairns twice. The first time She came was in March 1990, and I’d only just moved up there.

Why are you moving to Cairns?’ people said.

Don’t worry. Shri Mataji will come,’ I replied to my own surprise.

Yes,’ She said She would come, and the leader was as amazed as I was when he asked if She would come there.

We didn’t know what to do, because there were only four of us and a few people who had just come into Sahaja Yoga. Shri Mataji came in early March and we’d only been there a couple of months. The other couple had been building a house and it wasn’t quite finished. The phone wasn’t on and we’d moved in the day before. The floors were still cement, but we managed to put carpet in Mother’s bedroom and we painted up to where Mother would see.

Shri Mataji was going to come early, but they couldn’t phone us and tell us because we were in between two houses and the phone was off at both houses, so somebody drove twenty minutes down the mountains to us to tell us.

Oh my, She’s coming early!’ we said and literally pushed the painters and the plasterers and everybody out as we were going to the airport to greet Her.

As we were so few we had hired a professional video cameraman, who was the first at the airport and the first to catch Shri Mataji’s eye as She came down the exit gate. He became completely smitten over the next few days as he followed Her around. Shri Mataji was very charming to him, as can be seen on the video.

Kay McHugh

The mayoral reception

The cameraman videoed the mayoral reception which followed Shri Mataji’s arrival, which, I believe, was a world first at that stage. The mayor said that we were honoured to have someone of Shri Mataji’s calibre to visit Cairns and She replied that we were lucky to have a mayor who recognized the importance of our spiritual dimension. Cairns is a small city but She made us all feel special and the ‘press’, The Cairns Post – our only paper, covered the reception and interviewed Mother afterwards and published an article and picture the next day.

Kay McHugh

Shri Mataji at the press conference in Cairns,

demonstrating the alignment of the chakras

Shri Mataji enquired about the area

On the way from the reception and press conference Shri Mataji admired the city and said it would be a good place for Sahaja seminars. She rested in the afternoon and quietly enquired about the area and its problems. We mentioned the starfish devastating the reef, the deadly box jellyfish that come in the hot summer months, the infestation of cane toads and the growing of tobacco on the fertile tablelands behind Cairns.

Shri Mataji was concerned about the tobacco growing and said they should plant cotton instead. She then asked whether the soil was black or red. When I said red, She said then plant teak trees. Since then the tobacco growers have been taxed out of existence and most have planted other crops.

Shri Mataji said the jellyfish were a good idea as it is far too hot to be on the beach in our summer months. The problem we had with cane toads, She said, was our fault as we imported them and we had such ridiculously strict quarantine laws. The next year She came back She relented about the cane toads. Shri Mataj graciously allowed us to wash Her Lotus Feet and told us to use the water in the rivers. The toads definitely went down in size but seemed to be spreading slowly over the whole country.

Kay McHugh

An attack on the Mooladhara

We also spoke to Mother about cane toads, which were in plague proportions at the time. She said they were an attack on the Mooladhara from the left Vishuddhi. They were imported from South America originally.

Mother had us do a small puja where we poured water over Her Feet and then She told us to take the water to the headwaters of the main rivers in the area. The numbers have since decreased to where they are rarely seen here.

Sno Bonneau

Shri Mataji vibrating the water for the rivers of the area

The magnetism of Shri Mataji’s presence

Drawn by the magnetism of Shri Mataji’s presence many people from around Australia and the world gathered in the house, meditating in the lounge room outside Her room. At 11pm, just as everyone started to think She had retired for the night, Shri Mataji emerged looking rested and radiant and asked for dinner. She ate with us and made everyone there feel their own special connection to Her, filling us with a mellow and contented joy.

The next day we had arranged a TV programme and another interview with the local suburban paper and, of course, the public programme in the evening. Shri Mataji surprised us by doing the TV interview sitting next to the swimming pool with its brand new sods of grass.

Kay McHugh

A moment that had to be taken

A reporter from the local suburban paper of Cairns came to interview Mother. He’d been sitting waiting while She was being interviewed by TV people and he was just amazed at the amount of flowers in the house, and all the comings and goings.

All these flowers are wonderful. Could we get a bit of local colour with Shri Mataji on the beach?’ he said.

Yes, yes, we’ll go down to the beach,’ She said.

Can we bring these flowers with us?’ he asked, and we went down to the beach. He arranged the flowers and there’s a lovely picture of Shri Mataji sitting on the sand with all these vases of flowers around Her with the local background.

Shri Mataji on the beach at Cairns

Shri Mataji in the sea

Shri Mataji walked along the beach and a video of Her was shot. She talked about how beautiful the area was and how lovely it was for meditation to be able to be in such a beautiful area. She said that She’d like this video sent to Russia because the Russians had a desire to see Her in the water. Shri Mataji was walking on the beach and started to walk down towards the water, and the vibrations were tremendous.

Quick, quick, come with your camera!’ I called out to Sno Bonneau, who had one. He was a little bit further down the beach. I thought Shri Mataji was going to walk on the water. She was walking with such purpose and the vibrations were so strong that it looked as if She was just going to walk on top of the water, but then She just got to the water’s edge and seemed to have Her attention away out to sea. Whether this was the moment where Mother was working out this business with the starfish on the reef, I don’t know. Then She turned and smiled and you’ve seen those photos. That turned out to be a very popular series.

It was a very magical time when Shri Mataji came to Cairns in 1990, because we were such a small collective and had such proximity to Her. She was so gracious. She talked to us about cricket and different things and sat in the garden, allowed all these media people to come and speak to Her and take Her time.

Shri Mataji was very tired when She came to Cairns. She’d come from Perth, then to Adelaide, then to Melbourne where She’d been sorting out some problems with the Melbourne collective. She said She left us refreshed, which was another gracious thing to say.

Kay McHugh

Shri Mataji was so complimentary

While we were at the public programme, the baby-sitter, who was a non-Sahaja Yogi, set up a meal that I understood Mother would like — marinated chicken thighs in yogurt.

Put it in the oven at about half past nine because, by the time Mother comes back from the programme, it’ll be just finished,’ I said to her.

At the programme, Shri Mataji was so gracious, She stayed and met people. We didn’t get home until really late and the baby-sitter had left the dinner cooking in the oven for ever such a long time. So by the time we presented it to Mother, it was unrecognizable. All the meat had fallen off the bone when we gave it to Her, She looked at it.

Well, what is this?’ She said looking slightly puzzled.

Oh, it’s chicken, Mother, marinated in yogurt.’ I said, She looked doubtful but She ate it and seemed to enjoy it very much.

We were so busy and there were only four of us. We were doing programmes and cooking and doing different things. She ate every meal and then was so complimentary about them.

Kay McHugh

Shri Mataji on the boat to Green Island

A perfect example of collectivity

Shri Mataji was supposed to leave on the second day in the morning, but She decided to stay and get a later flight so as to have time to go out to the Great Barrier Reef. We got a jet-boat out to Green Island, which is just a little island just off the coast. She went on a semi-submersible, a boat that goes just under the water and allows you to see the reef and fish. The reef looked beautiful and a great sea turtle swam close to the boat; She smiled and said he was attracted by the vibrations. She said the coral reef was a perfect example of collectivity.

I had been explaining to Shri Mataji the day before how the Crown of Thorns starfish was destroying the reef. It was in disproportionate numbers and it was eating the reef away. Maybe it was at this time because of Her vibrations that the starfish in the area disappeared, or was it the day before when She was walking on the beach?

Later, after Shri Mataji had left, there was an article in the paper saying they didn’t know where all the Crown of Thorns starfish had gone to, but they just disappeared.

Kay McHugh

This is an article from the local Cairns paper, about the disappearance of the starfish and the regeneration of the reef. Quote from the article: ‘it was a mystery where they went or what made the starfish reach plague proportions.’

She looked out to sea

We talked to Mother about the problem of the starfish when we were on the beach and, at that point, She looked out to sea with a very focused gaze for some time and then changed the subject.

Up until this point the Crown of Thorns starfish were completely devastating the reef and scientists had no idea what to do. In the newspaper story, they said it was a mystery where they had gone.

Sno Bonneau

The other end of the world

I was in Austria and Shri Mataji was in Australia. I had to get a very important decision from Her concerning a law case, and I was trying to call Her.

Shri Mataji is asleep,’ they said.

I knew She would go to the airplane right after that and it would be too late for a decision from Her. So again we tried to reach Her, and again they said that She was sleeping. I knew She would wake up and then go to the airport, and I knew I had to catch this moment when She was coming out, because everyone would be busy, and no one would go to the phone to call me in Austria to say that Shri Mataji was leaving at that moment.

I tried several times, but with no success. Then I just sat back and said to myself, ‘OK, Shri Mataji, just let me feel when You are ready,’ so I waited. All of a sudden I was so blissed out, so drenched in vibrations that I almost forgot to call. I pulled myself together and called.

Yes, Shri Mataji is just going out now, hold on,’ they said, so I was able to talk to Her on the phone.

She was in Australia and I was at the other end of the world, and just on vibrations I got the ten or fifteen seconds where I could reach Her.

Wolfgang Hackl

At the Auckland radio station

Shri Mataji’s third visit came in March 1990, again centred in Auckland, New Zealand. We had grown in numbers and moved to another ashram on the east side of the city, in fashionable Parnell. We were on the edge of the Auckland Domain, a large park and bush area. Shri Mataji allowed us to perform Shri Mahalakshmi Puja to Her. Again, the public programme was well attended, with over four hundred seekers enjoying their enlightenment.

There was a most amazing radio interview on Auckland’s very popular Radio Pacific. The interviewer was a doctor, the most well-known talk back host on New Zealand radio. He had a large ego, was extremely intelligent and was diabetic. He started in his usual confident, ‘on top of it all’ manner and then asked Shri Mataji if She was a prophet or the Messiah or something.

Straight after this, in amazement, he said there was a ball of cool air above each hand. All the staff at Radio Pacific came running out to see what was happening. Shri Mataji later said in the car that She had cured him of his diabetes – She had taken all the heat and negativity into Herself. She asked one of the Sahaja Yogis to help Her and take out some of the heat from Her divine Swadishthan chakra. She also said that he should come to Sahaja Yoga, and follow it up.

David and Trisha Sharp

I think we have had enough

It was 1990, and our family were living in a house in Temple Street, Brisbane. Shri Mataji stayed with us because we didn’t have a collective ashram at that stage. One day Shri Mataji was sitting on the end of the bed and my youngest son, who was just two at the time, had wandered in and She was giving him a cuddle. I went to the door to take him for a bath, and my other son, who was a couple of years older, was standing next to me and looking very jealous, because he wasn’t getting a cuddle too. So Shri Mataji called him over and gave the two of them a cuddle together. While She was sitting there cuddling them She suddenly looked up and looked directly at me.

You must send these children to the India school,’ She said.

We were having a music evening, and the music group Nirmal Sangeet had come from India with Her. There were about twenty-five of us in the room singing bhajans in a house we were renting from the landlord who lived next door. We were very aware of noise and wanted to do the right thing to keep this house. It was about eleven thirty at night, and the music was getting louder and louder. I was just out of Mother’s sight in the kitchen, and my husband and I looked at each other and knew the noise was too much. We lifted our hands to make a bandhan, and hadn’t actually even started the bandhan.

I think we have had enough tonight,’ Shri Mataji suddenly said.

When She was with us that time, She looked in the paper with us and said we should get an ashram and live collectively. She found the perfect place and it had a room for every single person who wanted to live there. So eighteen months later we were living in this collective ashram. I still had it in my sights that the children were going to India, and a yogi staying with us insisted on giving us the money to get them there initially. We were soon able to pay him back, but it all worked out, as if Mother was helping every moment.

Pam Lewis


It was during the Australian tour when Shri Mataji visited Brisbane, and we were at the Temple Street house. Shri Mataji was seated in Her bedroom, talking to another Sahaja Yogini and myself. In the large lounge dining room, some yogis were seated and singing bhajans. There was also an audio tape of Shri Mataji talking. She instructed that they shouldn’t be singing while Shri Mataji was talking on the tape.

Albert Lewis

Make a film about God

Shri Mataji was in the Brisbane ashram.

Have you seen the film Ghost?’ someone asked. This was a film that was out at the time.

Why make a film about ghosts?’ She said. ‘You know all about God, make a film about God.’

Peter Corden

She’s totally fearless

During Shri Mataji’s tour of Australia in 1990, Shri Mataji went to Brisbane. She was addressing the yogis at the ashram, and my daughter Sophie, then a little toddler of one year old was there. She was wandering round and walked in front of Shri Mataji with a bottle and wearing a nappy, and looked at Shri Mataji.

She is a fearless girl,’ Shri Mataji said. ‘She’s totally fearless.’

Alex Henshaw

Just hold on

It was March April 1990. Shri Mataji had come to Australia that year, and She was flying from Sydney to Canberra. I decided to also fly to Canberra so I could attend the programme there. Without realising how it happened I found myself right behind Shri Mataji, boarding the domestic flight from the tarmac. We were walking up the portable steps and I was directly behind Shri Mataji.

I had my hand on the handrail and saw that a thread of Shri Mataji’s sari had caught on it; it was a red thread. My first response was to take hold of this thread so it wouldn’t pull or tear Her sari. So I held the thread in my left hand, and looked up to Shri Mataji to see if Her sari was ok. When I looked back down at the thread, it had disappeared from my hand.

At that moment I realised it was something symbolic – Shri Mataji was just saying, ‘Hold on to this thread of My sari, just hold on.’

Sandhya Dara

Shoes, by courtesy of Pratishthan

The most vivid memory of my marriage ceremony at Ganapatipule in January 1990 was when I offered a huge hibiscus flower at Shri Mataji’s Feet during the Shri Gauri Puja.

When I came back to Australia after going on the India tour I went to a shoe shop, owned by a family friend and saw a pair of shoes with a lacy cut-out pattern in light brown leather. It reminded me of the carved panelling I had seen at Pratishthan. I knew I had to buy these shoes, as they brought me back to Pratishthan and India, which I missed so much. The shoe shop was owned a lovely lady, who had come to one of Shri Mataji’s programmes in Sydney. She designed all the shoes herself, and used lovely materials and colours. One day my mother-in-law, her friend, told her how these shoes reminded me of a beautiful home in India. The shoe-shop owner paused for a minute.

Do you know how I got that design? One night I had a beautiful dream, and in the dream an Indian lady came with a tray full of red flowers and on it was this pair of shoes. So I got up in the middle of the night, and drew the shoes as I had seen them in the dream,’ she said.

A few months later Shri Mataji was visiting Sydney. I was asked to go and talk to Her about fashion and design, as it was my field of work. She wanted to hear about how this industry was working in Australia. I told Shri Mataji the story about the shoes that reminded me of Pratishthan.

So now Pratishthan is making shoes for us!’ She said and smiled.

There was a lovely big photo of Pratishthan on the wall of Her room, which we then all looked up at. I spent a long time in the room with Shri Mataji and another Sahaja Yogi. We had such a wonderful conversation, and although it was on the pretence that Shri Mataji wanted information from me, it was of course the other way around – Shri Mataji was working on me the whole time.

She asked me to feel the quality of the sari that She was wearing, and also to take a look at Her whole wardrobe of saris. I noticed how each sari was unique, so beautiful and unlike anything I had even seen in any sari shop in India – there was a quality and beauty in the cloth that I had never seen before. Then Shri Mataji showed me Her shoes and handed them to me, and asked me to look inside Her handbag very closely, sweetly telling me how Sir CP had bought it for Her, and how She had never asked him for anything. I was in a complete time warp, and after some time, as the queue outside Her room was steadily growing, they had to interrupt and get on with the next item on the agenda. I floated out of the room, and floated for many hours after this incredible encounter. I was in a completely blissful state.

Lene Jeffery

Is your mother here?

We were at a public programme in Sydney at the Hilton Hotel. Shri Mataji was there and after the programme all the new people who wanted had gone up on the stage. Then the yogis all started to go up too, and in the end I went. Shri Mataji took my hand, and then spoke to me.

Is your mother here?’ I was so surprised that She should say that, it put me straight into thoughtless awareness.

No Mother,’ I replied.

We thought that you looked like someone here,’ She said, and at that moment my heart just opened. It was as if divine bliss poured out of my heart and for days I was in utter bliss.

Pam Mathews

You only have to think of Me and I am there

It was the farewell night at Burwood Ashram, Sydney. I was sitting right opposite Shri Mataji, down at the end of the room. I felt so sad that She was leaving us, and She said words of such comfort.

If you go down deep enough, if you have faith deep enough, you do not have to see My face. You only have to think of Me and I am there. So develop your faith.’

Heather Jeffrey

They just want to know You

I was interviewing Shri Mataji for a radio programme in Australia. I had finished the interview and so wanted to ask the questions that all the yogis want to know the answers to. I was asking about Christ because in Australia we have a big problem with the Agnya chakra and everyone is quite judgmental.

What was it like when You were in the incarnation of Mary?’ I asked.

Mary used to cry a lot,’ She said and explained Mary was made to witness it all in that incarnation. She was not active, just support.

The problem is the concepts,’ She said, giving the example of how they make Christ out to be very thin. ‘It was the opposite. He was very big and strong and very joyful,’ She explained, as an example of how the concept was all wrong.

She was saying that the problem is that when we deal in concepts, we get the Agnya catch. She was saying that that’s the problem with the yogis, and more often than not, they are in their ideas, like: this is the idea or that is the idea.

How do we get through that?’ I asked.

You have to use your heart. It is only with your bhakti that you can go through that,’ She said.

Shri Mataji,’ I said, ‘we love You so much. All the yogis just want to know You as much as they can, but You have this maya around You. The closer You get, the further You are away, because You become like a housewife. So we would just love it dearly if You could just pull back the veil of maya just a tiny, tiny little bit, so we could see Your form, perhaps.’

If I did that, you couldn’t handle it. It would be too much. It is nothing like you think it is,’ She said, and laughed.

Mark Williams

Clad in a suit of armour

At Singapore airport, a friend of mine and I had the privilege of being able to join Shri Mataji for the onward flight to Mumbai. We were waiting in the queue of people to go through the metal detector prior to boarding the aircraft. As Shri Mataji started to walk through, all the lights started to flash and the buzzers to sound, and She was called to one side by a security attendant. After we had gone through without a murmur from the alarms, we followed to where She was detained.

Shri Mataji was wearing a typical traditional Indian sari and blouse. The security attendant was using his hand scanner to check for any metal objects and, to his surprise, it continued to sound while scanning Shri Mataji, even on Her bare arms. He checked his device on himself by scanning his arm and it only buzzed when going over his watch. A little confused, he once again scanned Shri Mataji, especially Her bare arms and the device continued to buzz.

According to the metal detector, this Indian lady, wearing only a silk sari with a short sleeved blouse, was clad in a suit of armour. In the confusion and in disbelief in what was happening before his eyes and with a queue of passengers building up and walking through the detector without supervision, he waved to Shri Mataji to carry on. She chuckled and walked on into the boarding lounge.

All this happened in a matter of ten to fifteen seconds. We both saw it and were totally bemused. I doubt that anyone else in that busy airport lounge realised what had happened that early morning.

Albert Lewis