Chapter 10: 1989 – December, India

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

Divine diplomacy

We had a public programme in December 1989 at the King George High School at Dadar, Mumbai. At that time there were many demonstrations in Maharashtra against what was termed as ‘blind faith’ cults, and some people decided that Sahaja Yoga was also one of these blind faith cults, so they came to the entrance of the place where Shri Mataji was having the public programme, and started demonstrating against Sahaja Yoga. Each new seeker who wanted to come to the programme was given a pamphlet against Sahaja Yoga. Throughout Shri Mataji’s lecture these people were shouting outside.

After the talk was over, Shri Mataji told everyone, before doing the exercise for getting self realisation, that there would be a break for five to ten minutes, and those who wanted to could go out to have some tea or whatever, and then we would have realisation. We the yogis were surprised, as we had never seen Her giving a break during the public programme. Some people went out to the nearby shops to purchase some snacks. In the meantime people who were causing a disturbance thought that if people were going out it meant that the programme was over, and thus they left. Ten minutes after, when Shri Mataji gave realisation, there was no one shouting outside.

Without any words, She just showed us what divine diplomacy is.

Maneesha Shanbhag-Cruz

The exact point where Mother worked on me

In London, in the late 1980’s, I had an attack of negativity on my left foot and hurt it, but did not take it seriously, so did not go to the doctor. The next night I dreamed of Shri Mataji, and She worked on my foot where it was injured. Then in the morning I thought that if Mother worked on me then must be something wrong there. I went to the hospital and they took an X-ray. I asked where the bone was broken and they showed me the exact point where Mother had worked on me in the dream. I was so thankful to Her for looking after me.

Later, in India, at Pratishthan, I saw Shri Mataji. A Sahaja Yogi told Her about my leg injury. She called me and put Her left Foot on the table, and told me to take vibrations. I took vibrations of Her Foot for about five minutes.

You have cleared,’ She said to me.

After this Shri Mataji arranged a lift for me, due to my leg injury, from Pratishthan back to Mumbai, as there was a Mercedes car belonging to a Sahaja Yogi going back to Mumbai empty. Millions of thanks to Her!

Then once, Shri Mataji was watching a Hindi movie of Shri Krishna, with some yogis at Pratishthan. I was sitting a long way from Her in the room. She spoke to me about the actor who played the role of Shri Krishna.
Shakuntala Tandale

Without the Spirit, there is no joy

This story is from when I had perceived myself to be ‘away’ from Mother and then had the wonderful realisation that She had been protecting me all the while under the generous palu of Her sari. I promised Her in my heart that from then on, whatever She asked, I would always do it – without question or hesitation.  

In December 1989 we were near Pratishthan, sitting under a cotton canopy that did little to keep out the cold night air, yet gave a tantalising peek now and then of the magical Indian starlit sky as the cotton flapped open in the wind. My name had just been called out. Sahaj marriages were in the air. Without even hearing properly, the word ‘No!’ came from inside of me, thankfully no one around had heard it. You can’t say ‘No!’ I told myself, what about your promise to Mother?

I had been matched with an Italian who wasn’t on the tour, and I soon turned to the Milanese yogis to try and gain an inkling of my future. Their comments seemed a little incongruous with the auspicious surroundings of the ancient Maharashtran landscape.

I’ve seen him at a few meetings – looks like the sort of chap who’d know how to mix a good cocktail.’

He works out, looks like a model.’

Very fashionable, wears Versace.’

All very interesting, yet I kept hoping for someone to say how deep he was and how much he loved Mother – but nobody did. According to the Sahaja Yogis we were ‘engaged’ and we met in London a few times. He was not quite settled into his yoga and had not recognised Shri Mataji. I thought he might grow in his understanding given time and held fast to my pledge of not saying ‘No’, believing this was Mother’s choice and I was determined it could work.

After some months of feeling in a bit of a limbo, there was the exciting news that the UK was hosting Shri Krishna Puja, in 1990. I threw myself into stick dance rehearsals and stage decorations with gusto. Perhaps unconsciously I had chosen roles that avoided being involved in the preparations of Mother’s rooms because then She couldn’t ask me about my fiancé. On the Saturday of the puja, I was walking past Shri Mataji’s cottage when I saw the leader standing outside looking a bit worried.

Danya! Can you stand here a moment, all the ladies have disappeared and we need someone here in case anything is needed.’ What could I do? I stood outside Shri Mataji’s door and could hear many voices inside all sounding very serious. Suddenly the door swung open and one of the leaders handed out a tea-tray. My intention to discretely take the tray, refill and disappear was foiled when a very dear and familiar voice called from within.

Danya! How is your fiancé?’ Shri Mataji came straight to the point. Her laser beam eyes had spotted me in the corridor. ‘Come and sit down.’ I prostrated at Her Feet, red with embarrassment at interrupting the august gathering. 

He is well Shri Mataji, thank you,’ I answered sheepishly.

Shri Mataji looked at me as only She could – with such intensity that it created a stirring in my heart to recall it even now. The room, and all the people in it, faded away and only She filled the space. 

Danya, what do you really want? Who do you want to marry?’ She looked deeper inside me. 

Mother, I just want to marry a yogi.’ By then I didn’t mind who I married – as long as they loved Shri Mataji. 

You see!’ She said triumphantly, ‘Without the Spirit, there is no joy.’ She gave a huge smile, making my heart dance.

I bowed again before Her Holy Lotus Feet feeling a million times lighter, and thanked Her. 

Now, you take it easy.’ She said as I took my leave.

It was a wonderful feeling to know in that moment that my whole life was in Her Divine hands – whether I married that boy, someone else – or didn’t marry at all, it really didn’t matter! ‘Without the Spirit there is no joy!’ Her words, those sacred mantras, still echo in my ears.

Much later on I got the ‘inside story’ from someone who had been in Shri Mataji’s room in Pune when names had come up relating to marriages. She had said, ‘Danya loves Italy! She would enjoy living there. There is an Italian boy living in Milan who works in Olivetti.’ I was matched to the only person who fitted the criteria, yet when his name was put forward, Mother said She wasn’t sure and wanted to know what I thought. Shri Mataji later told me (whispering in my ear at Heathrow Airport as if it were all a great joke), ‘They were all praising him, and I said I wanted to see what you thought!’

With humbling trust, She wanted to leave the choice up to me. I didn’t get to hear that at the time of the ‘announcements’. Through Her grace, I did marry an Italian (not the boy from Rimini). My husband Enzo and I have been happily married for over twenty years now – and in a twist of fate, he was also working in Olivetti and living in Milan – only at the time he had not yet come to Sahaja Yoga.

Danya Martoglio

A white dove

It was on one of the Indian tours, in December 1989, at a private high school in Kolhapur with our Holy Mother, while we were staying in a town with a university. The whole day we were walking through the streets, looking at the shops, informing people of the evening programme and then we went to the university.

The programme was in the open air. The stone stairs, which were going up at three sides of the venue, were full of Indian people. The sky turned black and as Shri Mataji said the affirmations for the different chakras, putting Her hand on all the places of Her body, it was totally silent. I was tired and instead of keeping my eyes closed and doing what everybody else did, I was looking at our Holy Mother and all of a sudden, while everybody put their hands on their Sahasraras, a white dove flew over the black sky directly above us for one circle and two circles above Shri Mataji, then it flew away.

As all the others had their eyes closed I couldn’t exchange this with them. But I still see it before me, as if it happened yesterday.

Ramaa Reusch

The sari maya

Great excitement – 1989, my first trip out of Australia and my first time to see Shri Mataji. We had to supply our body measurements as She would organize saris, petticoats and blouses for us to be worn on the tour. The ladies were ecstatic, eagerly anticipating the beautiful silks, bright hues and patterns and gold and glittery embellishments.

We were all bubbling with excitement and anticipation on the day we were to receive our saris. They were wrapped in paper tied with string in knee-high piles, each with a name on them. We eagerly walked through the bundles till we came to our names, impatiently struggled with the string and ripped open the coverings. We could not believe what we were seeing; each of us had a pile of thin pastel coloured cotton saris! In a somewhat subdued manner we wrapped ourselves into our saris and in a short time they became crumpled and limp like used dish cloths. Later that evening Shri Mataji asked us if we liked them.

Yes Mother,’ we all replied in a flat monotone. Mother asked us again.

Yes Mother,’ we replied, trying for a bit more enthusiasm.

As the days and weeks ticked over, saris became the last of our concerns. However I started to notice that amongst the broad spectrum of pastels of the five or six saris in each package, everyone had a selection of colours that suited their complexion perfectly. Shri Mataji, half way through, again asked us if we liked our saris.

Yes Mother,’ we replied in a matter of fact way.

One day I was on a small hill overlooking the camp and river where a lot of ladies were doing their washing. The mass of pastel saris blended together, the scene looked like a moving Monet painting and I began to see why Mother had bought us washed-out cotton saris. Firstly, maybe, to calm down our Western egos that were very particular about fashion, maybe to identify us as a group or maybe they were just more practical as we moved every other day, but what I especially noticed was that no one stood out – we were visually truly collective and equal. Towards the end of the tour Shri Mataji again asked us if we liked our saris.

Yes Mother!’ we replied joyfully.

Leela HollandollandHooH

How Moses parted the Red Sea

It was the India Tour, and I’d come from a city that was more like a large country town. It was my first trip to India, but also out of Australia, and hence I was struggling with the crowds and the personal space factor. One day we were walking and singing beside Mother in a bullock cart procession, part of a mass of Indians and Westerners jammed in together enjoying. Shri Mataji was in the cart, and myself and another yogini were to the left of Her. We received a message that She had requested all the Westerners to move to the front of the procession. My friend and I looked at each other aghast. All we could see was a sea of mostly Indian Yogis and no way through.

There’s no way I’m pushing and shoving through all those people!’ I said.

I could feel Shri Mataji in my head and my brain. There’s no other way to explain it. Her consciousness permeated mine, something I experienced on many occasions in conversation or in close proximity to Her. Then the people in front of us started to part – until we were looking at a path leading into the crowd.

We started walking and the path just kept opening up before us. Yogis were still walking, talking, laughing and singing and had no idea this was happening, really quickly. As we started walking in wonderment, I looked behind, and where we’d just walked through, those we had passed fell immediately into the space they’d just created, still talking and laughing like before, completely unaware how they had just created a passageway.

My friend and I kept looking at each other a bit nonplussed about what was happening, but enjoying it anyway, all the way to the front of the procession. It was then I understood how Moses parted the Red Sea.

Leela HollandollandHooH

Shri Ganesha’s mouse

Shri Mataji sent us to an Indian craft market to ‘circulate and shop’. I was with a yogini from America, who bought a wooden carved statue of Shri Ganesha. It was about one foot tall, with lots of intricate detail. She had a desire for Shri Mataji to hold the statue and vibrate it. At one point, we looked up and there was Shri Mataji shopping, mingling amongst the shoppers. The American yogini got her statue held.

That night in the tent, we put the statue on our little altar, right at our heads. Later we were woken by scratching sounds coming from it. We looked, and in the pale light could see a little mouse sitting in the carving work at the feet of the statue.

Leela HollandollandHooH

Keeping out of the sun

In India in the late 1980’s, my friend and I were sitting by a lake in the midday sun chatting, when we both instantaneously had a sudden strong feeling to get out of the sun, to protect our Sahasraras. So we pulled up the ends of our saris over our heads. We stayed where we were and continued chatting, including about how Shri Mataji had talked about the heat being too strong and to stay out of it in the middle of the day. We thought that advice was for the Europeans who weren’t used to the sun. Coming from the sub-tropics, we didn’t think the advice was for us because we were used to it.

Twenty minutes later a yogi came up to us and said that Shri Mataji asked us to get out of the sun. She was staying at a bungalow at the side of the lake, and it would have taken the yogi approximately twenty minutes to reach us from Her bungalow. Shri Mataji had either been on the veranda watching us, or inside the house and She knew anyway.

Not long after we returned home, government media campaigns commenced to encourage people not to sunbake and to avoid sun exposure during certain hours, as our state had the dubious title of the skin cancer capital of the world.

Leela HollandollandHooH

Vibrated liquorice

One time when most people on India Tour were coughing and spluttering for days and weeks together, we were cleaning our teeth beside a lake in the brisk early morning air, doing Allah Ho Akbah and gargling with salted water. A yogi arrived from Shri Mataji’s residence, bringing small pieces of pure liquorice vibrated by Shri Mataji Herself for all of us with coughs. I put one in my mouth and sucked. Instantly the cough stopped. The passageways cleared, but also the chakra opened out and felt light, sweet and expansive. Also, at least temporarily, my voice changed. It was light, clear and sweet and I felt very detached, softly sweet, balanced and in the centre.

Leela HollandollandHooH

The stone-throwing incident
Angapur is a village near Brahmapuri/Satara, on the banks of the Krishna River in Maharashtra.

This Angapur has a very special feature about it,’ Shri Mataji explained, ‘you see, Shri Ramdas swami, the master of, the guru of Shivaji, found the statue of Shri Rama, Sita and Lakshmana in this river, at this point in the Krishna River. And this was such a remarkable thing, they didn’t know how the statue has come there.’

The entire tour of this year was overshadowed by disturbances against us, brought forth by a group of people who called themselves Against Blind Faith. They appeared at public programmes and, while Shri Mataji was speaking, started shouting slogans from the back, causing disruption and confusion. This happened during the programme in Satara, Maharashtra, and when we heard that we would go to Brahmapuri next we felt that this place, being so remote, would give us a welcome break from being constantly followed by this group.

On December 29th, 1989, while in Brahmapuri, we were told that on that evening we would walk over to Angapur, about a mile and a half from our camp, to be with Shri Mataji at a public programme. It was already dark when we arrived and the local people helped us reach the village square where the programme was to be held. The stage was facing the dimly lit square, which was already filling with local seekers.

As I was part of the bhajans group we were sitting on the stage and bhajans were going on when Shri Mataji arrived. We finished our song, and She took Her seat on the stage. We musicians were waiting for Her instructions, whether we should leave the stage or stay – it was different in different places – this time Shri Mataji asked us to stay, and our fairly small group remained seated to the right of Her throne. 

Shri Mataji started Her lecture in Marathi when after a short while I noticed a strange noise, like howling, or strange shouting, coming from almost every street leading into the central village square. First I did not pay much attention, but then saw a crowd of people emerging from several streets running towards us across the square. I noticed large stones being thrown towards the people sitting in front of the stage.

This created quite a commotion, but Shri Mataji, interrupting Her lecture, kept repeating through the microphone to stay calm, don’t react, don’t respond, everything will be all right – speaking both in English and Marathi. Meanwhile the Sahaja Yogis in front of the stage formed a circle, our sisters inside and their brothers around them to protect them.

I was looking against the light on a pole in the centre of the square and could see the stones raining down on this circle like a hailstorm. It was a frightening sight. Shri Mataji interrupted Her lecture, most of the local Indians left and stones were coming down on the Western Yogis, Shri Mataji kept repeating to stay calm and nobody would get hurt – when I noticed that the rain of stones was coming closer and closer towards the stage and Shri Mataji. It seemed they were actually aiming at Her – too much for me to bear!

I found the cover of our harmonium. It looked like a pretty useful shield, so I got up and placed myself in front of Shri Mataji, holding it up as a shield. I had no idea what would happen next, but I was ready to protect my Mother! Suddenly I heard Her speaking in a low voice behind me.

Do you really believe someone could throw a stone at Me without My permission?’

I turned around and looked at Her smiling face. My bravery suddenly felt very awkward, I pulled my ears, put the harmonium cover back and quietly sat down. My head was spinning. How could I forget who I was sitting next to?

By now the rain of stones had subsided, the programme was obviously finished and there was considerable commotion in front of the stage where Shri Mataji was treating two yogis who got hurt while trying to push against the intruders, despite Her repeated requests to stay calm and not to react. One of them seemed to have suffered a broken rib and was in great pain. Shri Mataji asked him to lie down in front of Her and She placed Her Foot on his chest. After a few minutes She asked Dr Bogdan to see if he was all right, and to our amazement the yogi confirmed that he was fine, no broken rib to detect!

Herbert Reininger

Shri Mataji’s explanation

The next day we all were still shaken and learned that despite more than 400 stones having being thrown at a very tightly packed circle of yogis only about seven got hurt, none of them life threatening and they were treated in a local hospital. Shri Mataji explained during Her puja talk later that day that those who got hurt were catching on that part of their body and their catch got worked out through this incident.

 I remembered the incredible rain of stones falling down on such a small area and it was nothing short of a miracle that not more yogis got hurt. Shri Mataji simply said that the deities were there to protect us and only those got hurt who needed to.

Our camp was buzzing with activity that day as Shri Mataji had unleashed a huge campaign against the organizers of this incident, who were backed by a leading Maharashtran politician, and instigated by the Pune false guru. Many high-ranking officials and police commanders were ordered to come to this remote place of Brahmapuri and take note of Shri Mataji’s request, for them to end this problem.

We yogis were staying as quiet as we could and at a certain point that afternoon I got called to where Shri Mataji was, a humble place, just two small rooms with a tin roof, now serving as the abode of Shri Adi Shakti. When I entered I noticed several people, some in uniform, and Shri Mataji was clearly in command. As soon as I closed the door behind me, and without warning, She began speaking.

Why did you tell the Western yogis to run to the back and fight the intruders while I was asking everyone not to react?’ Shri Mataji said to me in a very stern voice. She repeated it several times.

At first I did not understand why She was saying that. I wanted to respond that it wasn’t me, but quickly realised She did not expect an answer. Shri Mataji had told me off before and I was always amazed and overwhelmed by the sheer power that could emanate from Her words. This time it was stronger than ever and I felt all the atoms of my being slowly started to disintegrate. My eyes were firmly fixed on the ground, I did not dare to look up at Her and it felt I was in the midst of a giant hurricane and needed to hold on to something, anything, for dear life!

I’m very disappointed with you! Get out now!’ She said.

In a daze I folded my hands and left the room. Nothing really made sense. I don’t know how long I remained in this state, but it felt like eternity. I had tears in my eyes and desperately tried to understand what I had done wrong. I knew for sure I had not told any yogis to go and fight the attackers but realised that if Shri Mataji said so in front of so many official people, She must have had a good reason.

Then a yogi who was in Shri Mataji’s room before came to talk to me. By that time all the official people had left. He HHHYsaid Shri Mataji wanted to let me know that Her anger was just a drama. She needed to have someone from our group to be the culprit to make sure the police officers understood that She was serious about Her request for us not to react to the violence. At first I was confused. But looking into the smiling, loving eyes of my brother helped clear the heavy clouds around my head.

Shri Mataji probably picked you for this role because you seem to be able to bear it,’ he added.

The following year Shri Mataji explained the broader background of this drama in a talk after the evening entertainment of the Easter Puja in Rome, Italy. By adding a much larger dimension to it, I understood that She was absolutely in control of every minute aspect of this drama, and of anything and everything throughout the universe.

The false guru died soon after that incident.

Herbert Reininger


This was the colour of Shri Mahalakshmi

It was 1989 when I was on the India tour, when we were at Brahamapuri, which was on the Krishna River, and I had the opportunity to walk close to Shri Mataji. She did some footage for a video, and I put my shawl on a rock where She was going to sit down. She vibrated it, and when I put it on afterwards it felt like being wrapped up in the whole universe – there were so many vibrations.

We followed Her back, and She was barefoot. She stopped and looked at the sky. She told us to look at the sky, and the sky changed through about eight different colours in about thirty seconds. At the end it turned this very dark pink colour.

That is Me. When you see that colour, know that I am there,’ She said, ‘and this is the colour of Shri Mahalakshmi.’

Mohan Gulati

Mother had saved me!

On the India tour of 1989 – ‘90 all the ladies body soaked in the Krishna River. Even though I was only thirty I was amazingly stiff. Suddenly the message came that we had to put on dry saris, because Mother was coming to the river, and I was the very last. When everybody was already on the river bank I was still struggling with the sari. Some local ladies who lived there graciously helped me to dress. Shri Mataji and some yogis were grouping together because there was going to be a video-shooting of Shri Mataji.

Out of the river! Get out of the river!’ some men said, pointing to the right. I had to walk over the rocks but decided to do it as fast as I could because it was important was not to be in the way. At that very moment Shri Mataji called at me. (The distance between me and the others was quite far). She pointed at the opposite direction. There was no way to reach the bank of the river, on that side, but I would not be seen by any camera. The way Shri Mataji suggested had only flat stones placed like a path in the river. Immediately I followed Her suggestion, which was at the same time as simple as a genius. Instead of feeling embarrassed of my awkward position, I felt utterly happy.

Mother had saved me! It was the same moment when we all could see the image of Shri Garuda in the sky formed by the clouds. It was a very, very special moment.

Henriette Hagrasman

Shri Shiva in the clouds

I was at Pratishthan and by Shri Mataji’s grace I could show Her some photos I had taken on the India tour of 1989/90. In the photo we were on the banks of the Krishna River, and all the yogis were standing in a tremendous light, while the sky was dramatic with both light and dark colours. This was the reason I took it.

Look, this is Shri Shiva with His hair in a knot,’ Shri Mataji said, and showed me the image in the clouds. I was absolutely speechless and thankful.

Brijbala Samii

By the banks of the Krishna River 1989

Shri Shiva in the clouds above the Krishna River

This is an enlargement of part of the photo above. Shri Shiva can be seen in the cloud on the left hand side, above the men in white kurtas.

Why do you think I brought you to India?

Just before returning to Australia, after the 1989/90 India Tour, it was New Year’s Eve. Earlier that day I had walked up a hill, and observed Indians politely lined up to board a bus. A cow was standing across the doorway, and the people were respectfully waiting for her to move. The symbolism moved me, the respect for the feminine, the Mother. Later that day, in the evening, we waited for our Holy Mother to come. I felt sad about leaving Mother India, and did not want to go back to Australia, where the Mother is not respected. Shri Mataji arrived and started to talk.

Why do you think I brought you to India? To fill you up with vibrations, so you could go back to the West and tell them about the Mother,’ She said.

Heather Jeffrey