Chapter 20: 1980 – Finding Chelsham Road Ashram

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

Looking for an ashram

Mother had the use of Her husband’s car, because Sir CP had one from the UN with a chauffeur. So in July 1980 we would drive around London looking for houses. Shri Mataji was looking for a house for Herself and Sir CP in London and finally found 48, Brompton Square, in the centre of town. But before that, in the summer of 1980, we drove around London on another quest, looking for an ashram. I didn’t have any money, but we were fighting a bankruptcy case and there was a chance we would get some and we got just enough to buy the house.

We looked at a lot of houses, and the only area which was not too expensive but was fairly close to where Shri Mataji lived was south of the river in Lambeth. We heard that sometimes houses were auctioned by Lambeth Council, and I had seen one in Stockwell which seemed quite nice. We drove down to Brixton to Lambeth Town Hall and parked outside in the street. The car driver went into the building to get details of these houses, and Mother was in the front of the car. I was in the back. At that time it was a rough area. Mother asked me to put one hand towards Her and the other out of the car window, so She could let the discomfort She was feeling go out into the air.

‘With Christ there was only one crucifixion. This time, the pain…. is like a crucifixion every minute of every day,’ She said. She was silent for a moment, and went on, ‘Last time they crucified Me. This time I’ll crucify them.’

I just didn’t know what to say or feel.

Linda Williams

Buying Chelsham Road

One day, we went to a house agent at Clapham Common. I asked if they had any largish houses which needed work on them and were not too expensive. They gave me the specifications of a few, but they were all too expensive. I asked if they had anything else.

‘Well, we do have one that no one ever wants,’ said the agent dubiously, and gave me the details of 44, Chelsham Road. We went to the house, which was leaning sideways and had a structural crack all the way up the right hand side due to a bomb, which had exploded across the road during the Second World War, in 1941, forty years before. Shri Mataji walked up the short path to the front door in front of me, turned round in the porch and looked at me.

‘This is the house!’ She said categorically.

‘But Mother,’ I replied, ‘it looks as if it’s going to fall down any minute.’

‘Do you really think I would let you buy a house which is going to fall down?’ She said. I apologized and we went inside.

Linda Williams

Shri Mataji vibrated the houses

Shri Mataji wanted my mother to buy a house, so I was often in the car too when we went house hunting. Shri Mataji obviously wanted a specific house, but in the meantime, we saw a number of houses in south London, and She vibrated them, until we found the right one. Shri Mataji and mum, in Shri Mataji’s car, sometimes used to pick me up after school from Chelsea, and then I would come along too.

Auriol Purdie

Shri Hanuman will always hold it up

Mum was quite excited because it looked like the end was in sight, and we went to this house and it was awful: dark and gloomy and falling down.

‘It won’t last. It won’t stay up,’ my mother said, but Shri Mataji reassured my mum.

‘Shri Hanuman will always hold it up for you. You don’t have to worry,’ She said.

Auriol Purdie

Say you are paying cash

We returned to the street outside the house agent and sat in the car. Shri Mataji said we had to put a holding deposit on the house. My mother asked Her what to say to the agent when She asked how we were going to pay.

‘Say you are paying cash,’ Shri Mataji said. She gave my mother a cheque for a hundred and eight pounds and told her to use it for the holding deposit, to stop anyone else buying it. The next day someone else made an offer on the house, even though it had been on the market at least two years. About a month later some money suddenly came to my mother from an unexpected source. When my mother later presented Shri Mataji with a set of keys from the house agent, she paid Her back for the deposit.

Auriol Purdie

The driver in front of us was not alright

One evening I was one of four yogis travelling down to Brighton with Shri Mataji in Her car. We became aware that the driver in front of us was not alright as the car was weaving from side to side of the road. Mother said he must have been drinking and gave him a bandhan. Immediately a police car came from a side road and pulled him over.

Kay O’Connell

Early pujas in England

When Shri Mataji was in England the puja would start mid-morning and then we would eat. First Mother was served.

‘Have your food, have your food,’ She would say.

It was so joyful to eat together. Then Mother would rest. What we lacked in protocol we made up for with our hearts, our devotion and our awe. We would arrive early to be prepared and to greet Mother and we would pray that we would be able to absorb all the love and vibrations Mother was bestowing on us so we did not cause Her pain. So how much more everything is now – we worship Shri Mataji within, the tinglings on the Sahasrara, our hearts swelling up with love, the peace and bliss in the Oneness we feel in this growing collectivity.

Pamela Bromley

Inducing babies – or not

Inducing a baby isn’t a very good idea unless it is medically necessary. Years ago, in July 1980, there was a puja in Brighton. The leader’s wife had just had a baby the day before. The doctors had decided to induce this baby, but after putting the mother on the drip, the baby didn’t come and after three days of semi labour, it was necessary to give a Caesarean because both mother and baby were almost finished. Mother said the baby wanted to come on the day of the puja, which would have been auspicious, and not before, and that if a child is forced to come too soon, it comes in on the wrong horoscope, which can be tricky.

Linda Williams

We covered the area with rose petals

It was July 25th 1980; I had been a Sahaja Yogi for a year. In those days if we organized a public programme, Shri Mataji would often actually attend. I first met Shri Mataji in Enfield, where I lived and a year later I arranged a programme that took place the day before the one when I first met Her. I postered the area and placed an advertisement in the local paper.

As time moved on closer to the date of the programme, I imagined Shri Mataji coming to my flat, which was like a bedsit but with a separate kitchen and I went on to imagine falling at Her Feet as She arrived, at which point I felt very strong vibrations, and so I asked if Shri Mataji would like to come to my flat before going to the meeting. It was fantastic – She said She would come!

I went into a panic like state and started to wash the walls of the flat, painting ceilings and all kinds of things. By the time the big day came I was exhausted and in a mess.

When the Mercedes pulled into the drive I was in a complete state of shock as to who was going to get out of it. As Shri Mataji started to walk down the drive, I just could not believe what was happening. We covered the area on which She walked to enter the flat in rose petals.

As soon as Shri Mataji entered the flat She smiled and took off Her shoes. My altar was a photo of Shri Mataji on a sofa. There was no bed or anything. You can imagine it was like a dream to see Her actually sitting on the altar. It was completely beautiful.

Unfortunately only four useless people turned up at the programme and it was not easy for Shri Mataji to give realisation to any of them. I worked on one lady with Her and finally I felt the Sahasrara blow cool.

‘Ha!’ Shri Mataji said, the very instant I felt it.

After the programme She went to another yogi’s house and we, all the yogis, stayed there too.

The next day I gave Shri Mataji a gift to celebrate my receiving realisation exactly a year before. When I told Her what the gift was for, She took my head in Her hands and kissed my Sahasrara. A beautiful memory.

John Watkinson

How majestic it felt

Whenever Shri Mataji was in London on a Monday, She used to hold public introductory programmes at Caxton Hall. Mother would give a talk, then give realisation and would then work on the new people. This was how we learnt how to work on people, as we would walk round the hall with Shri Mataji and sometimes She would have us work on people, asking us to feel their vibrations. Then either She would show us what to do or ask us what we would do.

When Shri Mataji Herself worked on new people, She would say the mantras differently — not ‘Aum twameva sakshat Shri Mahakali’ or whichever deity She was invoking, but She would say, ‘Aham sakshat Mahakali,’ meaning, ‘I am Mahakali.’ How great and majestic it felt!

One miracle Shri Mataji did at Caxton Hall was to do with food. She did similar miracles many times. That evening, Shri Mataji and Sir CP were invited to dinner at 10, Downing Street, the official home of the British Prime Minister, and a number of important members of the government were also to be there.

Shri Mataji came to the programme looking beautiful, and ready for the dinner. Below is a photo taken of Her on Her balcony, wearing a lot of pearls, when She was ready to leave Her flat. After the talk, with extraordinary humility, our Divine Mother, the Goddess, progenitor and Empress of all the universes, apologised that She had to leave early because She had a previous engagement, a dinner date, but there was a nice supper waiting for us all.

Shri Mataji had insisted on cooking a meal for us. That morning, we had gone to the meat market with Her and had bought chicken legs, eighty portions. Mother made a delicious chicken dish and we took the pots to the programme and served it out after She had left, on Her instructions. I was serving the chicken and was counting the portions. I got to well over a hundred and ten, and just kept dishing them out. There was just enough for everyone.

Linda Williams

Dinner with the Prime Minister

Shri Mataji went to dinner with Margaret Thatcher at 10, Downing Street, when she was Prime Minister. The next day we eagerly asked what it was like. She said the food was awful, so bad that when She and Sir CP got home, Shri Mataji had to prepare something for him to eat. The wine was incredibly expensive, but of course neither She nor Sir CP drank that, and they had rhubarb ice cream, which was not at all nice. During the meal, She was talking to a cabinet minister who was sitting next to Her.

‘Haven’t I met You somewhere before?’ he said. Shri Mataji told us he had a little bit of seeking in him and She had appeared to him in a dream.

Another time when Shri Mataji returned from one of these VIP dinners She said what a low level the conversation was – these people were supposed to be running the country, or world, and all they talked about was where you could get drinks cheap in bulk. She said She preferred the company of the seekers.

Linda Williams

Shri Mataji was just looking at me

Sometimes Shri Mataji would bring pots filled with biryani for us to eat after the programme at Caxton Hall. Sometimes we used to eat at the programme, but other times we used to go round to Mother’s house. Quite often these talks would go on quite late for me, as I was quite young, only six or so. One time I fell asleep on the stairs and I woke up and there was Mother at the top of the stairs looking down at me. There was a crowd of people behind Her and She was just looking at me on the stairs.

Auriol Purdie

The power in Shri Mataji’s little finger

Shri Mataji always made sure that everyone got their realisation by moving around the room, working personally on each new individual. One time, after She had given realisation, I was still sitting in meditation when my mind began to fill with dark thoughts. Suddenly, I heard from behind me Shri Mataji’s voice calling me.

‘Felicity!’ I jumped up somewhat startled and turned around to see Shri Mataji two rows behind me, busily working on some new seeker. I moved closer and waited expectantly. Then She looked across at me and said, with great love and compassion, as if willing me to understand, ‘Don’t you know I have more power in My little finger than all the power in the whole world put together?’ The dark fog went away. She pulled me out of it.

Whatever Shri Mataji was doing, She always knew exactly where everyone was at and what everyone was experiencing. She had Her attention on everyone, all at the same time, and always gave to each person what they needed. This incident produced such a comforting feeling in me that Shri Mataji knew what was happening inside of me and that She would always protect me if I let Her.

Felicity Payment

The Agnya should not be covered

On more than one occasion when people brought their children to see Shri Mataji at Caxton Hall, and if they had hair fringes which covered their foreheads, She would push them aside and say that the Agnya must not be covered. Unfortunately the fringe was very fashionable at that time.


A TV show and a concert

Some of us did a talk show against the very dangerous techniques the false guru who had caught us made us do. We had recorded it and it was shown at 6.00pm on a Sunday. The programme was called Credo and showed the relationship between this type of ‘meditation’ and epilepsy – the EEG waves were the same in both cases, and how one was hypnotised and mesmerised. When the show went out, Shri Mataji had those of us who appeared on it round to Her flat, and we watched it with Her. I was sitting at Her powerful, hHHoly Feet.

After the programme we went to a concert at the South Bank Centre, given by a well-known Indian musician. Shri Mataji was wearing a black shawl. She left the flat ahead of me, then came back inside and gave the black shawl to me, and got another one for Herself. She said the bhuts would see the black shawl, think it was Hers, and I was Her, and avoid me.

When we got to the concert Shri Mataji had me sit next to Her, because I was very vulnerable. As mentioned before, She could work on everyone there through the music. She later said that when She, and millions of others, watched Princess Diana’s wedding, She could work on every single person whose attention was also on it.

Linda Williams

The petals of the Sahasrara

I was with Shri Mataji at Ashley Gardens, and suddenly She looked at me.

‘Your Sahasrara is opening out beautifully now,’ She said, She described how the petals looked so beautiful, even though I had no idea!

Linda Williams

Marriage and the left side

Shri Mataji said that marriage is good for the left side. She explained that the relationship starts at the Swadishthan, and the two people are physically attracted to each other. There is nothing wrong with this, within the marriage union. After some time the wife starts looking after the man, cooking and so on, and he feels very grateful, and maybe the husband brings home money for the wife, and that is the Nabhi chakra. Then the children come and the relationship rises to the heart, and there is a deep, mutually respectful love between the members of the family. As the children grow up, the couple have a good effect not just on their own family but their whole social circle, and that is the Vishuddhi chakra. Mother did not talk about the Agnya or Sahasrara.

Linda Williams

I do try

Shri Mataji’s flat at Ashley Gardens was on the top floor and overlooked the Roman Catholic Westminster Cathedral. I noticed Her flat was near the east end of the cathedral, and mentioned this.

‘Yes, I do try,’ was Her reply.

Worshippers always kneel towards the main altar at the east end of a church, so even though they did not realise it, they were kneeling in the right direction. The east end of the church in Cabella village also faced Her room.

Linda Williams

A very successful marriage

A few months after I came to Sahaja Yoga, one of the Sahaja Yogis met a lady who was a Sahaja Yogini. Shri Mataji called me to Her, and as I was one of the few married Sahaja Yogis, asked me to talk to the lady. I was to tell her that she should not become intimate with the man and then the man would admire her for it, and would marry her. He was a confirmed bachelor, but she did what Shri Mataji asked and he did marry her and it was a very successful marriage.

Linda Williams

Gabriel and the lilies

In many famous paintings, the angel Gabriel is portrayed as announcing to Mother Mary that She was to have a child, even though She was unmarried at the time, and he is depicted as giving Her a large white lily. In my ignorance, I asked Shri Mataji if this actually happened.

‘You see, those lilies do not grow in Palestine,’ She very sweetly replied.

Linda Williams

The Temple of all Faiths

My earliest memories of attending pujas, always centre on the Temple of All Faiths in Hampstead. I was new to Sahaja Yoga then so a puja that brought together 70 to 100 people seemed like a significant occasion. At that point in Europe circa 1980, there were one or two French Sahaja Yogis, a handful of Swiss and the rest all seemed to be English, from London and surrounding centres. To arrive at the Temple of All Faiths was to prepare one’s body for many hours of gruelling sitting. The ‘temple’ as it was rather generously called, was in actual fact a converted garage owned by a local Hindu pandit, a Mr. Bernarsi (who occasionally participated in the pujas and liked to hand-out his own brand of incense as a gift afterward). All of us jammed into the temple’s modest dimensions sitting cross-legged, huddled in rows on worn strips of carpet that were scattered over an uneven concrete floor.

Despite the humble setting these pujas were some of the most powerful I ever experienced in Sahaja Yoga. One left them starry eyed, entirely elevated, the veils of maya billowing apart, the cosmos a brighter, more magical, more intimate place. Listening to the thousand names of the Devi being recited in front of crackling, smoking havan, eyes watering as a result of the burning wood and samigri, you lost all sense of time and space. At one of these very early pujas I remember Christ’s Sermon on the Mount from The King James Bible being read to Shri Mataji at Her request. Watching Shri Mataji’s Holy face, with its regal, supremely dignified expression while these beautiful, sonorous words were recited, it felt as if I was living inside an ancient prophecy. It was incredibly moving. My Sahasrara opened and the vibrations just poured down in waves of grace and bliss, the joy deepening with each line that was spoken: ‘Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.’ It was hard not to cry.

It felt as if we were very much the children of God, at such pujas. Their mood was sublime despite the fact they could easily take five or six hours to complete (particularly if the Sahasranama and a havan was involved and this was usually the case) but Shri Mataji’s astounding patience, compassion and kindness with us all, no matter how long they took, was always in evidence. At the end of every puja all of us queued to personally present Shri Mataji with a bunch of flowers then we bowed down, placing our hands beneath Her Holy feet. While each Sahaja Yogi was prostrated Shri Mataji would check our vibrations, sometimes work on us briefly, give an instruction or utter a few words of encouragement, about each individual’s progress. They were very incredibly beautiful and special times.

Caleb Williams

The position of the stars

In 1980 there was a puja at the Temple of All Faiths in Hampstead. In those days an outside pujari, not a Sahaja Yogi, would sometimes come and help. On this occasion he was very late, having been unexpectedly detained. Shri Mataji explained that it was alright, because the jyotish, the position of the stars, was not right for the puja earlier, so he had to get late.


I felt such joy

I was blessed to be able to accompany Shri Mataji to Sheffield by train and I was running late. I was to meet Shri Mataji and Pamela at the station. I quickly bought a ticket, ran to find Shri Mataji on the train and quickly found Her, but of course in a First Class carriage! As I had been in such a hurry, I had bought an ordinary ticket without thinking, and said to Shri Mataji that I had to go back to the ticket office.

‘Why?’ Shri Mataji said, to which I apologised and explained that I had to change my ticket. Shri Mataji insisted that I stayed where I was and told Pamela to change Her and Pamela’s tickets to Second Class. I pleaded with Shri Mataji to let me change my ticket, but Shri Mataji would not hear any of it. Pamela returned and we started to move through the carriages, with Shri Mataji in the lead. I felt dreadful and as we entered the Second Class compartment. It was completely packed, so we moved on into the next carriage, which again was packed. By now my left Vishuddhi was carrying a ton weight. We moved through several packed carriages until suddenly we stepped into a completely empty one. I ended up sitting sheepishly opposite Shri Mataji. The train pulled away and as it did, I felt something in my lap. It was Shri Mataji’s Foot!

‘Rub My Feet,’ She said. I started to rub Her Feet and went into joyous ecstasy. I rubbed Her Feet for three hours and felt such joy that there was no room left for left Vishuddhi. The joy was so much that I wanted to kiss Her Feet as this feeling grew, and then I was still there rubbing Her Feet.

It was a beautiful weekend and Shri Mataji really spoilt me. On two or three occasions I called Her ‘Mum’, by mistake.

  John Watkinson

‘She-field,’ the field of the Mother

Shri Mataji visited Sheffield in the north of England, in 1980, the year after I got realisation and gave it to my parents. She came up and was absolutely charmed with the country around Sheffield. She told us it was the ‘She-field,’ the field of the Mother. We thought it was sheaves — to do with wheat and corn, but no, it is much deeper.

That time in Sheffield was one of the most magical times of my life, when Shri Mataji came and stayed at my parents’ house. About half a dozen Sahaja Yogis came up from London on the train with Shri Mataji and it was a great honour for us.

Ray Harris

Shri Mataji explained how She opened the Sahasrara

Do you remember Shri Mataji sitting in that red armchair in the Harris’s little front room, with Mr Harris? Mother was explaining how She first opened the Sahasrara and how it was done telescopically. It was only later that She spoke about it at pujas.

Pamela Bromley

It was so informal, like a family

At that time I wasn’t living in my family’s house in Sheffield, and when I arrived Shri Mataji was already there, sitting comfortably, in the sitting room, visibly enjoying every ones company. The room was filled with a beautiful atmosphere.

Shri Mataji was sitting in a chair, there were a lot of people sitting at Her Feet and around Her, it was so informal, like a family. She was the same in a small modest family house, or in a palace. She was — how do you say — comfortable, relaxed, like a queen. Then, years later, you saw Her exactly the same, whether in front of thousands of people. Or sitting in our sitting room! She was like a queen, wherever She was.

It was just my impression of when Shri Mataji was in our house. People were extremely open towards Her. At that time, at the beginning of Sahaja Yoga it was so natural, like a big family. She was so close to you and everybody loved to be in Her company and She would just talk about any subject. My mother would come to Shri Mataji, showing Her paintings that we’d done. She was like a proud mother, as my own Mother.

‘Well, maybe it should be like this or like that,’ Shri Mataji would say, putting Her own little touches and being very sweet. It was a very, very special atmosphere. Maybe we didn’t realise at the time exactly what dimension we were taken into or how lucky we were.

Sharon Vincent

Shri Mataji is always there and She is eternal

I was at Sheffield railway station in England, and had some problems at the time. There were about four or five girls waiting in a row and Shri Mataji looked at us, then Her eyes fell on me. I felt that She was looking right through me and saw everything.

‘Come here,’ She said. I walked over to Her and She took my hands in Hers. ‘Don’t worry. Everything will be all right.’ Of course, when She said that, everything would be all right — it is!

The experiences I had with Shri Mataji were very human. When you were with Her, you saw there was something very human. Obviously, the human qualities of patience, love, compassion and generosity were remarkable, but also, you recognized Her subtle form by the unique realisation or awakening of the Kundalini in yourself.

When someone who had never met Shri Mataji heard people saying, ‘She’s very generous,’ it had an impression. You saw this generosity and you saw these qualities in Her, which were extraordinary. This was when you didn’t even know who She was or you didn’t feel what was happening on a subtle level.

The thing that was most important is the subtle effect that it had on you, the spiritual growth, the evolutionary development in yourself. To be living in these times and to have experienced all this is awesome and overwhelming, especially to an analytical mind. I wonder why I was lucky enough to have been there physically in Shri Mataji’s presence. She is everywhere, She is always there and She is eternal. The Spirit is eternal. But how fortunate we are in these times to have seen Her in Her physical form!

Sometimes in the programmes Shri Mataji would put Her handbag by Her side or take a cup of tea — so human, and there She was with Her hands out a second later, giving vibrations, completely contrary, completely opposite. What a paradox! You cannot comprehend this, to see somebody completely human and yet so completely above the mundane human existence. She took you to another dimension or level of consciousness.

When you saw Shri Mataji at an airport, there were thousands of people in Sahaja Yoga all over the world and you knew that She hadn’t changed from the first time you met Her. Yet you’d say, ‘She will not remember my name.’

‘Hello, Sharon. How are you?’ She would come up and say. She knew everyone to the minutest detail, who you were, what you were, and every tiny little detail about everybody. She knew all their names and She solved people’s problems, and took them to another dimension. Only a divine personality could do that!

Sharon Vincent

We were just so joyful

We used to go up to London to Caxton Hall from Brighton every Monday.

‘Did you hear this?’ we’d say, and ‘Did you hear that?’ Just so exciting — ‘Did you hear that Shri Ganesha is Christ?’ It would be such a contrast on the way home, we’d be laughing and everything, singing on the train. We were just so, so joyful, weren’t we? We noticed it so much.

Pamela Bromley

Humans do make mistakes

After I had been in Sahaja Yoga for about eighteen months, and Shri Mataji had graciously worked on me many times, She asked me if I felt I was alright. I replied that I felt alright when with Her, but that otherwise might do anything wrong, and make any stupid mistake at any moment. Shri Mataji replied that I would make a lot of mistakes, because I am a human and humans do make mistakes.

Linda Williams

Too much conditioning

We were driving to a programme outside London and I was in Shri Mataji’s car. For some reason we went down the high street of Eton, a little town where the famous public school for boys is situated. Shri Mataji asked us to feel the vibrations and we felt left Vishuddhi and right Swadishthan. She explained that it was because that very traditional school gave the pupils too much conditioning and then they felt guilty about it.

Linda Williams

Learning to work on people

Every Monday evening when Shri Mataji was in London there would be a public programme at Caxton Hall. Mother gave a talk, then realisation, and would walk round the hall working on new people. She would teach us how to give vibrations, and one time asked me to feel the vibrations of a person and tell Her where he was catching.

‘I feel a left Vishuddhi,’ I said.

‘That is your left Vishuddhi, try again,’ She corrected me – She was very patient.

When working on people, sometimes two or three of us would work on the same person. This meant that the person on the right side would put their left hand to the photo, or Shri Mataji Herselfer,H and their right across it towards the person being worked on. This was wrong, and Mother told us never to cross our hands.

Linda Williams

Some golden opportunities

As young teens, of sixteen and fourteen, my brother Caleb and I had some golden opportunities of being near to Shri Mataji. She was extremely kind to us both sometimes teasingly calling me ‘old grandmother’ and Caleb ‘the poet’ (not very teenage-like). Such close proximity also meant direct attention on one’s catches and at times the spotlight could be uncomfortable. With me it was usually liver and left Vishuddhi.

‘Don’t feel so guilty!’ Shri Mataji would scold. Moments later She’d kindly explain, ‘You know, those people who should feel guilty, rarely ever feel guilt at all.’
If the liver were catching Shri Mataji would usually tell me to stop what I was doing. I remember Her admonishing me one day on finding me sweeping a staircase.

’Why are you doing that? Please take it easy.’ She sounded quite exasperated that I was rushing around when most of the house was asleep.
Another time I was washing a pile of dishes in Shri Mataji’s kitchen, feeling very at peace with the world and when I turned there She was standing in the doorway; I hadn’t heard Her coming. I’ll always remember that sweet look on Her face, eyes brimming with love, and Her saying with great charm: ‘Ah you see! Cleanliness is next to Godliness.’ It seems amazing that one could experience such joy from doing the dishes.
Sometimes I got to pack Mother’s suitcases for those long realization tours and when I ironed and folded those exquisitely perfumed saris in preparation for their journey, I would sometimes think, ‘If only I could go with You,’ As usual Shri Mataji had a knack of reading minds. She was sitting on the bed checking I’d matched the right blouses with the right saris.

‘Don’t worry, I’ll take you with Me one day,’ She said, out of the blue.

Danya Martoglio

What about your friends?

‘Caleb, what about your friends?’ Mother often would say to me in my earliest days of Sahaj, or ‘You must now bring the other young people.’

At that time, in 1980, there were no other teenagers in the collective, apart from myself, then 16, and my sister Danya, 14. After meeting Mother it was not so hard to turn our backs on the teen lifestyle we were leading, but sometimes it felt a little lonely.

Caleb Williams

We can pray to Shri Mataji to fight for us

Shri Mataji often came to the Hampstead public programme, which was held on a Thursday at Friend’s Meeting House. At the end of the programme, from 1980, we often used to sing Jerusalem, the beautiful hymn by William Blake to Lord Jesus and Shri Mataji.

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the Holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark satanic mills?

Once Shri Mataji explained to us the meaning — And did those feet in ancient time. Those feet, refers to Lord Jesus, and Mother said He did come here, and walked all over England.

The second verse refers to Shri Mataji:

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

She said it is She who takes up the weapons of the Goddess and not us. We can pray for Her to do so, but if we take up the weapons, we may have problems because we do not have the Shaktis (powers). She said we can pray to Mother and ask Her to do the fighting for us, because She has given us the power of desire. So the second verse refers to Mother, not us.

Mother said that Hampstead, in north London, is where the actual beat of the heart takes place on a subtle level, England being the left Heart chakra on Mother Earth.

Auriol Purdie

The most amazing cook

When I was picked up from school I would often go with mum to Ashley Gardens, a block of flats where Shri Mataji was living then. I always loved going to Her house because Shri Mataji was the most amazing cook and to this day I remember the taste of Her dal, and the smell of Her dal. There is something absolutely magical about the food that Mother cooked. However simple it may have been, just rice and dal, it was out of this world, obviously, being as it was prepared by the Goddess. She was so caring and so loving and She would always make sure I had food and that I was happy and content. I was six years old at the time.

She liked me to rub Her Feet. One time Shri Mataji was talking and I was very intent on doing this. She used to like me to do it very hard, but it can’t have been that hard because I was so small. I was doing Her ankles but She was deep in conversation with someone, then She turned around.

‘No that’s enough,’ She said.

Auriol Purdie

What is behind is vast

One day, I was in Shri Mataji’s flat at Ashley Gardens, in Her living room. It was a wonderful warm yellow and red colour scheme, very rich and regal looking, with thick Indian carpets on the floor. On this occasion, Shri Mataji was sitting on a sofa by the window. I sat on the floor and looked up at Her, and could see Her silhouetted against a clear blue sky. I thought, ‘Mother, You are so human and loving, but behind You is infinity.’ She picked up my thoughts.

‘What you see is Mataji, but what is behind is vast,’ She said.

Another time I was with Shri Mataji at Ashley Gardens and had picked my daughter up from school. It was a hot sleepy afternoon and She suggested we should all have a rest. We went into Her room and Shri Mataji lay down on Her bed with my daughter next to Her. I sat on the floor and meditated, as I didn’t feel very tired. They both looked so totally relaxed.

After some time, Mother and my daughter woke up. I asked Her if She was unconscious when She slept and She explained that when She slept She went from Her limited form into Her unlimited Self.

‘If I sleep, what will happen to the universe?’ She said.

Linda Williams

Taking the vibrations

Shri Mataji asked me to make Her a summer dressing gown, as She was going to Russia with Sir CP. I asked Her what size pattern I should buy to make it, and She said it depended on how well we were taking Her vibrations. She explained that if we were taking them properly then She was about a size 12, which is average, but if not She could go up to size 18.

While in Russia, She was often putting Her hand on Her nose. She told us that Sir CP wondered what She was doing, as She was asking Shri Kubera, who gave the Goddess Her nose, for his help, because we needed money to buy Chelsham Road.

Linda Williams

An official trip

Shri Mataji travelled widely in Russia and the former Soviet Union before She visited there to spread Sahaja Yoga. Here are two photos taken while there with Sir CP. Our Holy Mother accompanied him on official business.

This photo shows Shri Mataji with Sir CP and others in St Petersburg, then Leningrad, in 1980.

Maxim Belyanin


Nearly a month after signing with the house agent that I would pay cash for Chelsham Road, Shri Mataji asked me if I had paid for the house. I said I had not, as I didn’t have any money and the outlook was not good. She had absolutely no sympathy and was extremely displeased.

‘How can I work through I work through you if you don’t have faith in Me?’ She said.

I apologised and promised I would have faith and within a week the money magically appeared – I won some money from a court case against a false guru and my mother very nobly came up with the last two thousand pounds.

Linda Williams

Shri Mataji works miracles

‘Well, Mother works miracles because I only have something like ten pence in the bank,’ Linda said, ‘and we just bought a house.’ It was like Linda was a pauper and she had bought this house. It was so incredible, another miracle.

Rosie Lyons

This is going to be a tricky one

Our original instructions for marriage — when we were very few, were that Sahaja Yogis couldn’t marry because we were brothers and sisters. We had the same Mother. So the only way you could marry was that you had to meet someone. They had to agree to marry you and then they would get their realisation, as your fiancé. We all thought this would be a tricky one, but my sister Maureen actually did it.

Pat Anslow

I’ve met somebody and he wants to marry me

I was going to college in 1980 and I met someone. I thought this was really not the right way to do it and I had better tell Shri Mataji. So I phoned Her.

‘Mother, I’ve met somebody and he wants to marry me,’ I said. I thought She would ask me about his vibrations.

‘What does his father do?’ She said, unexpectedly, and ‘What is his career? What is his income?’ She was just like a mother. Then She said, ‘Bring him to the meeting.’

‘Shri Mataji wants to meet you,’ I said to this young man. He hadn’t met Her, even though he could feel vibrations and everything. So we went to the weekly Caxton Hall meeting.

‘Mother, this is the one,’ I said, when Shri Mataji came near to him. She paid particular attention to him and the meeting went on. As She was getting into Her car, because we would always see Shri Mataji to Her car outside Caxton Hall and gather round to say goodbye, I thought that I must ask Her, so I pushed myself forward.

‘May God bless you,’ She said to me, and then She told us we would have the wedding in the Temple of All Faiths in Hampstead in early July 1980. Shri Mataji organized the whole thing. On the day of the wedding, I was in a Sahaja Yogi’s house getting ready and Mark, my husband-to-be, was at the Dollis Hill ashram getting ready.

‘You must have wedding ornaments,’ Shri Mataji said. She went out and bought them for us. She got Her own sari and put it round Mark’s head as a turban — an entire silk sari.

We had the havan and the wedding vows and everything. At one point during the ceremony, when we were seated within about two feet of Shri Mataji, Mark’s turban started to come undone, so Shri Mataji stood up and reorganized it.

We have some photos of Mother and you knew that it was all linked to the chakras, and that She was fixing everything. At one point during the ceremony, I didn’t know if I would feel married in an Indian wedding. It was a totally new thing, but gradually the whole thing unfolded and we walked around the fire tied together by the silk scarf. When most of the ceremony was finished, I was seated nearest to Mother. I looked at Her and I started to cry and Mother started to cry. She just took the depth of that occasion; She wanted to show me that this was for real. After the wedding, She took the wedding ring and blessed it and gave it to us.

Then we went back to the Sahaja Yogi’s house and Shri Mataji had done a whole reception for us. We sat on this special seat, and Shri Mataji was in another room. We were sort of the guests of honour. In the end, we were brought in front of Mother, still joined by the scarf.

‘Where are you going now?’ said Shri Mataji. We looked at each other because we hadn’t arranged anything. ‘You’d better come with Me,’ She said.

She took Mark and me to Her flat, Ashley Gardens. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves; we were just so stunned. Shri Mataji took us into Her room and undid all the silk things and took them off, then took us into Her sitting room and gave us supper, and we watched television with Her. We watched a Bette Davis movie. I can’t remember the film but Mother said we should watch the film with Her as Bette Davis was very good.

The next morning we had breakfast with Her and She gave me a cardigan to wear. We had nothing. She gave us everything to wear.

It so happened that next day was the day on which Chelsham Road became ours, and Mark and I had to go and collect the key from the former owner, and Mother said it would be such an auspicious thing to do. So we went there and found the old lady who had sold it. That was an incredible start.

Maureen Rossi

Let Me kiss you

When Mother came to Bristol for the first time, in early July 1980, I had made Her a cushion out of antique fabrics.

‘Can I give You a present now, Mother?’ I asked when She had given us presents.

‘Look at her, she asks Me if she can give Me a present – of course you can!’ She said. I gave it to Her – She was talking about it, saying how beautiful it was and She said, ‘Somehow it has such a good feeling about it.’ Then She said, ‘Let Me kiss you.’ After this I moved away to the other side of the room and then She said, ‘Come here, I want to kiss you again!’

A year or more later, my husband Chris and I went to a meeting at Caxton Hall. Mother greeted us as we entered, and we must have been late.

‘Ah, hello Chris, Ruth,’ She said, ‘I was looking at your thing (the cushion) lying there like a beautiful flower today and I thought of you and wondered when I would see you again.’

Ruth Greaves

A tide in the affairs of men

The first time Shri Mataji visited Bristol, in 1980, She gave Ruth, now my wife, and me a present, a large brass elephant bell.

‘Oh, but we’re not a couple,’ I explained.

‘Really? I thought you were. So, Chris, would you like this present, or another one?’ I could see that Ruth had set her heart on it.

‘Let Ruth have it, Mother,’ I said. She nodded and asked for something else to give to me. Someone standing beside her drew out a second present from a bag. It was a heart-shaped soapstone box.

‘This is for you,’ She said.

Chris Greaves

He is within me

When Shri Mataji was in Bristol in 1980, She asked me about Gurdjieff. Someone who had come to Her public programme had been a follower of this particular savant, the ‘herald of the coming good’. As it happened, I’d read most of Gurdjieff’s books shortly before coming to Sahaja Yoga – and somehow Shri Mataji must just have known this.

‘He is within Me,’ She said of him.

Chris Greaves

Editor’s note: all realised souls are cells in Mother’s body, so She was implying that he was a good man. Gurdjieff was an Armenian philosopher and writer who lived in the early twentieth century.

Who would be a woman?

Some yoginis and I were sitting around Mother in Bristol in 1980. She had Her suitcase open in front of Her and was choosing a sari top to wear to the meeting that night. She picked out a deep purple one and asked us what we thought. We said it was lovely.

‘No, I don’t think so, I don’t want to frighten them,’ She then said. The choosing went on for a while and I think She picked a white one in the end. This task complete, She looked up with a twinkle in Her eye and said, ‘Who would be a woman?’

It was at around this time that Shri Mataji said that we keep to the same sex each time we incarnate, and also to the East or West – only changing over if there is some specific lesson to be learned, or a reason for it.

Ruth Greaves

Editor’s note: after Shri Mataji’s first public programme in Montpelier, Bristol in 1980, She invited all the new people back to the organiser’s house the next day. Shri Mataji held three roses seen in the photograph in Her hand and inhaled their fragrance. As She enjoyed it, so did everyone in the room – the scent was overpowering. Bristol is the Vishuddhi of England.

Basmati rice

Every time Shri Mataji came to Bristol, in the early eighties, I had the honour of cooking for Her. The first time She came She talked to me about what I had cooked and the ingredients I’d used. She was very complimentary but said that the best rice to use was basmati – I had used ordinary long grain Patna rice. So, the next year when She visited I used basmati. However, the third time She came to the Old Vicarage in Montpelier, where we had a flat, somehow in the rush of preparing everything we had only managed to get Patna rice. At least, it came out of a big sack in our local shop and was sold to us as the much cheaper Patna rice. They didn’t have any Basmati.

Mother had been served Her food and I was in the kitchen. I started worrying.

‘Mother said I should use basmati and I didn’t get it,’ I said to a Sahaja Yogini there at the time. At this moment someone came into the kitchen and said that Mother was asking for me, so I went to Her.

‘Ruth, where did you get this rice, this is the finest quality basmati, we cannot even get this in London, you know!’ She said.

Ruth Greaves

Shri Mataji would go anywhere to save Her children

Shri Mataji had the first public programme in Exeter in the summer of 1980. Mother visited Exeter Cathedral and said that there was a realised bishop buried there. After that Pat (Anslow) and I drove from London to Exeter most weekends. We had about ten people who stuck on and we were teaching them about the chakras and the Kundalini. Shri Mataji always wanted to go to Exeter even though we hardly had anywhere for Her to stay. She would go anywhere to save Her children, as She kept saying.

The seekers were in mortal danger from false gurus, who were keen to damage their subtle systems. We did not mind at what state they were in because they were our brothers and sisters and they were going to be all right. Shri Mataji worked on them all the time even though She was often in a lot of pain. During the pujas in those days with just a few of us Mother was releasing a lot of vibrations and we could not absorb them so Her Feet used to swell up with all the vibrations.

Grazyna Anslow

A happy cat

There was a cat that sat curled up next to Shri Mataji while She sat on a sofa and gave a talk to a small collection of yogis in the living room of Ulla’s house in Exeter. It purred constantly, loudly and enthusiastically through Her talk and then, when Shri Mataji got up from the sofa at the end of Her talk it suddenly let out an extremely loud and piercing miaou of protest, as if it had suddenly and inexplicably been ejected from the most perfect resting spot imaginable.

Kevin Anslow

A meeting in our student hostel

In the summer of 1980 we had a meeting in the lobby of our student hostel in east London, and Mother came and talked to some students. Then She came up to our one room student flat and it was filled with Sahaja Yogis. It was just two rooms and a bathroom and a passage and where all the Sahaja Yogis went, I don’t know, because you had to give Mother enough room.

Maureen Rossi

Got it now?

I’d like to share a memory about the dynamic, powerful way Mother was in the early public programmes at Caxton Hall and other places around London in the summer and autumn of 1980. At the conclusion of each lecture Mother usually left the stage to walk among the seekers. She would often greet, namaste, or shake hands with new people while directing various Sahaja Yogis to work on them. There were also occasions when Mother would go from individual to individual, standing behind each personally raising their Kundalini, working on chakras and giving neck massages.

Sometimes while standing behind someone and working on them She would stamp Her Foot loudly in order to crush their negativity under it, usually accompanied by a triumphant cry of ‘A-Ha!’ or ‘Hum!’ Mother would frequently laugh thunderously at such moments, tossing Her rippling blue-black hair on Her shoulders as some blockage in the path of the Kundalini was freed. Then in a voice that was filled with motherly care, She would lean over the seated seeker She was working on.

‘Got it now?’ She would say, and a face melted by tenderness would turn around and give a nod of heartfelt thanks.

Caleb Williams

Shri Durga in action

There were also times when Mother, in a display of Devi-like prowess, would raise Her index finger and begin to rhythmically rotate Her wrist (as if twirling the Shri Chakra on Her fingertip) so that Her many bangles began to bounce and jingle, then this accumulated vibrational energy was hurled at the blocked chakra of the person in front of Her. Sometimes She would do it several times before crying ‘A-Ha!’ as the person’s chakra finally cleared and the Kundalini began to flow again.

To see Mother in this mode was to witness Shri Durga in action – the radiant, fiercely compassionate Goddess, joyously conducting a campaign of battle at each programme, busily casting out negativity and resurrecting old souls She had known in previous lives, to worship Her and walk by Her side again.

Caleb Williams

The scene was reminiscent of something biblical

At one of these early programmes at Caxton Hall, I was watching as Mother and the Sahaja Yogis worked on a young seeker whose body was wracked by fits of uncontrollable shaking. This kind of extreme reaction to Mother’s vibrations was not so uncommon then. Many seekers in that era had been seriously damaged by false gurus, and this young man collapsed on the floor in front of Mother as She approached him.

Mother stood in front of him steadily and lovingly raising his Kundalini and giving him a bandhan. His limbs still shook furiously, but his face became soft, as he stared back at Mother – in loving recognition of Her spiritual power and Her divinity. Gradually his fit was brought under control, and the extreme reaction subsided. The whole scene was reminiscent of something biblical, and I thought of Christ casting out spirits into the herd of Gadarene swine. There were many incredible moments of this type back in those early days.

Caleb Williams