Chapter 21: 1980 – A Trip to Portugal

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

I am your Mother!

Shri Mataji had been formally invited to my brother Arneau’s, and Maria Amelia’s wedding in Portugal in the castle of Cintra, one hour away from Lisbon. On the actual day of the wedding, at lunch time, Shri Mataji was nowhere to be seen. I was concerned that She would not have any food, so I got a tray and chose the nicest dishes that I could find for Her from the buffet, and brought it to Her room. She was sitting on Her bed in meditation and gave me permission to sit at Her Feet. There followed a casual conversation, from which I remember that She liked the colour of my outfit – aqua blue with lots of stars on it. She then said that my liver was hot because of too much sun, and put Her Foot on it: it was icy cold.

‘You needed this treatment,’ She said after a while.

Mother said it was the first time She was facing a large gathering of Catholic people – around two hundred and fifty, between the two families. She attended the wedding ceremony in the church and it stirred up quite a lot of reactions from the Portuguese as well as the Swiss people, to see this beautiful unknown Indian lady in the first row pew – Arneau had asked Shri Mataji to come to the first row.

Shri Mataji didn’t mix and socialise much with the crowd. She mostly stayed in Her room, surrounded by the little group of Sahaja Yogis, and we went out to dine with Her in the small restaurants.

On the day of the departure, I went down the huge marble staircase of the castle with Shri Mataji leaning Her hand on my left shoulder. When we were at the bottom of the stairs She looked at me.

‘I am your Mother!’ She said. I was not sure about the significance of Her uttering these words at that moment; I understood later.

Antoinette Wells

Shri Mataji’s visit to Lisbon in 1980

As there were no collective Sahaja weddings when we (Arneau and myself) were engaged, in our earnest desire to have Shri Mataji at our wedding, we invited Her to come to Lisbon for the occasion. As we were organising the first programmes in that town at the same time, Shri Mataji in Her immense graciousness accepted to come. She came there for some days in August 1980, and the Yogis present had the luck and opportunity to follow and visit the town with Her.

The first public programme took place on the 3rd August 1980, and I was very worried that not many people would come. I had the feeling Portuguese were not real seekers. Shri Mataji arrived at the Sheraton Hotel some time before the programme, and for a while was in the lobby of the hotel, talking to us, the ten to fifteen yogis present. Just before, I had checked the hall and only a few newcomers where there waiting for the programme to start. I was very disappointed and sad but did not say anything and went back to the lobby to listen to Shri Mataji. After some minutes, She looked at me.

‘Go and see the hall,’ She said. To my surprise the hall was full, and the sixty chairs were all occupied now. I run back to the lobby, beaming and happy, and Shri Mataji was there smiling.

‘See? No need to worry!’ She said. Needless to say I had not mentioned my worries before.

The following day, we went out visiting Lisbon in the morning. We walked in the old part of the town and went to visit the Castello de São Jorge (St. George’s castle) overlooking the town and the River Tejo. While in the gardens, we admired the view over the town, and far away on the other side of the river stood the statue of Cristo Rei (Christ the King). Shri Mataji requested us to put our hands towards it and see what we could feel. We did not feel very cool, and stated so. She then told us to put our left hand towards Her and the right towards the statue.

‘And now, what do you feel?’

‘Much cooler,’ was our general answer!

‘You have one hand towards Me,’ She then laughed and said. ‘Now the statue can give vibrations to the town,’ were Her divine words.

After this all of us walked towards one of the old quarters of Lisbon and chose a typical small restaurant. As we entered we had to laugh, as the song playing on the radio was, ‘The answer my friend is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind,’ a well known song of the American singer Bob Dylan.

While waiting for the food, Shri Mataji took the bread, and as She had three days before, divided it and gave each one of us a piece.

Marie-Amelia de Kalbermatten

Mother just unravelled everything

We were in Portugal in 1980, at the beginning of August, in a small village called Cintra. We were about ten people, and we went to an inn at the top of a hill. The innkeeper was a wine owner.

‘There is some wine in the cellar,’ Shri Mataji said, about the bad vibrations there.

We all sat around the rectangular table and Mother had a white sari on, and Her long hair was on Her shoulders. She was at the middle of the table and on it was a basket of bread and some grapes, and we were all waiting to have our supper. Two little local girls rushed into the restaurant and Mother smiled at them, and then they rushed out again.

‘Realised!’ Mother said.

‘Oh, how sweet, they just came in to get their realisation.,’ I thought. They were about ten years old and just went in and out, running.

Antoinette Wells

I remember the picture because it was so beautiful. Shri Mataji had Her long dark hair on Her shoulders, and She had a dark red shawl around Her.

‘Shri Mataji, please, could You explain to us, what was the charisti, the communion (the Christian mass)?’ my elder sister Antoinette asked Shri Mataji.

Marie-Laure Cernay

We were about to take some grapes.

‘Just wait,’ She said, and put Her hands on them for a while, ‘Now you can take the grapes.’

We had tasted the grapes before She put Her hands on them and they had been quite average: sugary, but no taste. After She put Her hands on the grapes, they were absolutely succulent, a lovely nectar flavour.

So we just ate the grapes and praised Her and said how good they were.

Antoinette Wells

Shri Mataji was really looking like Christ and took a loaf of bread, which was quite big and oval shaped and She took it in Her hand. She kept it in Her hand a little while, then just started to give a little piece of bread to each one of us.

Marie-Laure Cernay

‘Now you take this bread and share it among yourselves,’ Shri Mataji said. So we did and I was quite amazed at what was going on here because I could recall a scene that had happened two thousand years ago. ‘You see,’ She went on, ‘when Christ shared the bread among His disciples, He could say, “Take that because it is My body,” because this very bread was His own body, because it was full of vibrations and, as He was full of vibrations, He was pranava. He was the vibrations Himself. He could convey that to the bread and, obviously, when the disciples would eat this bread, they would eat His vibrations.’ And it was the same with the grapes or the ‘wine’ that Shri Mataji transformed.

Antoinette Wells

‘That’s all. That’s it. That’s all of it,’ She told us.

We all ate this in silence and we realised that this communion, was the same as the vibrated food that Shri Mataji is giving to us and She was putting the vibrations in the bread and then giving it to all of us.

Marie-Laure Cernay

I was completely in awe, and was in meditation, because years and years of Catholicism never explained to me that mystery. There, in a telescopic way, in five seconds, Mother just unravelled everything for us and we understood what was going on and it was very beautiful.

Antoinette Wells

So we realised also, as an experience, what it was. It was a very strong moment.

Marie-Laure Cernay

After this we went out and it was evening, a beautiful sunset in Cintra, in Portugal. Shri Mataji had Her burgundy-coloured shawl around Her head, Her big brown eyes were looking at the sun and the sun was enormous, just at the horizon, and it seemed not to move. We were all still beside Her, looking at the sun. In my head, I thought, ‘The sun is waiting to go down because Mother is here.’

Then She blinked. The sun went down and I felt that the sun was saluting Her, and that was the end of this beautiful evening.

Antoinette Wells

Clearing the Nabhi

Shri Mataji came to Glasgow on August 13th 1980 and had a public programme. She stayed in our flat, and the next day a lot of people came round. Shri Mataji was talking to us all and working on them. I had invited a friend to the programme, but he had not come. However he turned up at the flat. He came in and sat down and met Shri Mataji just like that. He was an educated ex-hippy, and was a teacher.

He had a number of preconceptions, and was nice, but did not know anything about Sahaja Yoga. Shri Mataji looked at him and said that he had a bad Nabhi catch, and we could all feel it.

‘Say, I will marry,’ Shri Mataji said to my friend.

‘I can’t say that,’ he replied. ‘I don’t believe in marriage.’

‘I doesn’t matter, just say it,’ He argued a bit more, but finally he did say it, even though he did not believe it. Nevertheless, immediately the catch cleared.

His attention also cleared immediately, and Shri Mataji said something like, ‘Ah! He’s clear!’

Mark Callahan

The first puja at Chelsham Road

The first of many pujas we had at the Chelsham Road ashram was the Shri Bhumi Puja, on August 16th, the puja to bless the house. Shri Mataji stood in the doorway, the front porch, and rice and other things were offered to Her Feet. Everyone crowded round in the hallway and garden. After we had finished the short puja, Mother told us to bury the offerings of rice, kumkum, turmeric and flowers on the right of the doorway, between the door and the window.

Auriol Purdie

Playing the game

I always remember when I first came into Sahaja Yoga, Shri Mataji said to us all in Chelsham Road something very deep.

‘You see,’ She said, ‘Sahaja Yoga is a game and you have to know how to play the game. The problem is I want to play the game with you, but you don’t know how to play the game. And if you don’t know the rules of the game, it is very difficult to play the game with you.’

It is very important to remember, that She is playing a game that we really don’t know how to play. Shri Mataji will, to an ignorant human, appear to contradict Herself, but in fact it is because different things apply at different times and, in reality, She is entirely consistent.

To give an example, She will get someone to design the house or to design a new floor in the house or to design a room. Basically, She will change all the rules, like She will make the dimensions completely different and the architect will be trying to draw something on a rational level and not understanding that Mother is on a completely different level. She makes space where space doesn’t exist, at least on our level. Very often it is just that She is trying to put us thoughtless.

Jeremy Lamaison

She gave me a photograph of Her Feet

I did not know who Shri Mataji was, but found out where She was staying in London, shortly after I got my realisation. I hitchhiked down to Chelsham Road, London, and knocked on the door.

‘Who are you?’ someone said.

I explained that I was a Birmingham Sahaja Yogi, which was a lie because I just wanted to get in front of Shri Mataji. Anyway, I bluffed it enough for the person to let me in so I came in and sat at the back of the room for the talk, and when Mother finished there was a lapse while people made tea and generally milled around. I made my way towards Her sheepishly and asked Her if She could help me because I had had chronic asthma from the age of four years. Shri Mataji told me to sit on the floor in front of Her and She put Her Feet on my Centre Heart which I held in position with my hands. I just held them on my Centre Heart whilst She was talking to everybody. Suddenly there was a noise like a stick snapping.

‘You’re okay now,’ Mother said. I felt much better and could feel a difference in my Centre Heart. I had been ill all the time with asthma.

‘What do I do when Your Feet are not there?’ I asked Shri Mataji.

She gave me a photograph of Her Feet.

John Firth

Public programme in Geneva (diary extract 27th August 1980)

Everything is ready: the posters are up in the town, the adverts in the newspapers, I have contacted the journalists. The ‘right side’ has gone in gear and as there were my courses at Uni, my family and the preparations for the programmes I became a little ‘speedy’, but everything is done. Shri Mataji is coming to-morrow! O Lord, I surrender everything at Your Feet.

(30th August) Shri Mataji came: average attendance at the programmes in Lausanne but great success in Geneva. More than three hundred people in total on the two days. A very good article came out in the Tribune de Genève just before the programmes. In Geneva I had the immense joy of translating Shri Mataji – English into French – on stage; it was totally fulfilling for my Swadishthan chakra: Shri Mataji spoke about Athena, who held a snake in Her hand; She said that it was the Kundalini. All my philosophical dreams were answered and I was so happy to serve Shri Mataji in this creative way.

In Lausanne, Shri Mataji soothed a serious case of epilepsy combined with paralysis. He was the son of a psychiatrist who said that all the psychiatry was nothing in regard of Mother’s power which was able to better the condition of this patient with vibrations, fire and lemons in a significant way!

In Geneva people from all ages, races and ethnicity were represented, maybe because of the UN: the next evening they all came with lemons, sugar, salt for Shri Mataji to vibrate. It was incredible to see this in Geneva: the Vishuddhi, liver, Agnya chakras were open! The Lord’s Prayer said in front of Shri Mataji had helped clear the Agnya.

Shri Mataji came twice for dinner at home. To the little group of yogis who were there She said that Sahaja Yoga had to be the essence for us, that we shouldn’t limit ourselves to the incarnations who were before Her but to see in Her who She was now.

‘You have just to love Me in an informal way,’ She said.

Antoinette Wells

Only the truth

  These programmes were so significant because Shri Mataji challenged the wrongdoings of Christianity especially the fundamentalism, in one of the oldest Protestant temples in Geneva. For three weeks there were debates about the three programmes in the newspapers, but the head of the Protestant Church recognised that Shri Mataji had only spoken the truth and that nothing She had said was against the ancient scriptures.

Antoinette Wells

Peace and thoughtlessness

(Extract from my diary: April 1980)

‘The first puja that I have had the privilege to attend in Lausannne, Switzerland has been an unforgettable experience to me: I remember Shri Mataji clad in a splendid blue sari. I was sitting on the floor with my sister in law, Maria Amelia just in front of Her, and She taught us to decorate Her Feet with kumkum.

‘I am Shiva’s wife!’ She said at some point.

At these words a firework of joy burst in my heart and my attention went to a very ancient scene where I could see Shri Mataji in a large arena. On the steps a big crowd was cheering and She was watching a little Shri Ganesha dancing! My mind was so fascinated by the unfolding of this puja that I was a little on the right side, but when, a few moments later, Shri Mataji was gratifying the little group of Sahaja Yogis with powerful vibrations, my ‘horse’/mind settled down, my Agnya opened up in a fraction of a second, I felt peace and thoughtlessness and I saw Her in Her Majesty within the silence. At that same moment She pointed Her finger towards me and said, ‘Ha!’ like She used to say when something was working out. In other words, at the same fraction of second I was in Nirvichara, She could see it in me.’

Antoinette Wells

Many hours in Shri Mataji’s presence

In the summer of 1980 the ashram moved to 44, Chelsham Road, Clapham, fulfilling the prophesy of William Blake.

‘…Lambeth Vale, Where Jerusalem’s foundations began,

Where they were laid in ruins..’

Shri Mataji Herself laid a stone of the new foundations of what was at the time an almost derelict house. How many, many hours we spent in the meditation room there, in the Divine Presence of Shri Mataji, in puja, listening to Her talks, Her advice, being worked on, meditating.

Patricia Proenza

William Blake prophesied about Sahaja Yoga

Someone had been reading William Blake’s prophetic work, Milton, and showed some parts to Shri Mataji. She explained that a lot of what Blake prophesied was about Sahaja Yoga, all over London and Britain. The little bit about Chelsham Road referred to some ruins, and Shri Mataji explained that not only was the house a ruin, so were a lot of our Kundalinis.

Linda Williams

Not to assume

Shortly after we got Chelsham Road, I was in the back of Shri Mataji’s car. We had, by some miracle of Hers, managed to find the money to buy the house, but there was simply no more. Mother asked me where I was going to get the money for necessary repairs, and I must have phrased it very wrongly, because She was not at all pleased with my answer, something like:

‘I am praying to You that some will turn up,’ or ‘You are the source of all wealth.’

Shri Mataji said that why should I expect Her to produce that money? How dare I ask such a thing? As if I were actually asking Her for cash in hand. Perhaps there had been an element of presumption, because the money never came. Or perhaps She was trying to teach me that we shouldn’t have the hippy attitude, ‘Oh Mother will do it all, we can just sit back and enjoy’. It was a big lesson for me, that we can pray to Shri Mataji, and She will give what is best for our spiritual growth, and we should be deeply grateful for Her many blessings, but we should never assume.

Linda Williams

The mother bird and her children

I was in John Lewis, the department store in Oxford Street, with Shri Mataji, choosing wallpaper for the hall and stairs of Chelsham Road. I looked at some innocuous and boring designs, and Mother showed me which one to buy. It was very dark, with a lot of tree branches and leaves, and a big bird and a smaller bird. Mother explained that this was the mother bird looking after her babies – the smaller birds – and that was us. The background was dark because they were dark times, very symbolic. Of course, by Her grace, this particular wallpaper was on ‘special’ and very cheap and there were just enough rolls for us to do the job.

Linda Williams

The winnowing basket

After we had been at Chelsham Road for some time, Shri Mataji gave us a semi-circular basket and told us it was a winnowing basket, used in India for separating the wheat or rice from the chaff. She said it was very significant, and represented the sorting out of this time, and we put it in front of Her chair, which was the altar, and put the pair of shoes She gave me on top of it.

There is a bit in the Ganesha Artharva Sheersha about that: ‘Shoorpa karanakam’, meaning ‘he has ears like a winnowing fan’. William Blake talks about ‘the great harvest of the nations’ which may also be connected in some way.

Linda Williams

Little gifts

I loved taking small presents to Shri Mataji. She liked fresh mint for making Indian chutney, and this was difficult to buy in London then. As I grew mint in the garden of Chelsham Road, I often took some to Her. One day our peach tree had some ripe peaches on it, and these also went to Shri Mataji. I tried never to go to Her empty handed, although this did not always work out.

Linda Williams

You give us our own powers

One evening, Shri Mataji came to Chelsham Road to see us. She often came on a Friday evening to see those of us who were Sahaja Yogis. She came and sat down and we usually gave Her a cup of tea soon after She arrived.

‘How do you know I am not a fake?’ Shri Mataji said to us. We were shocked, but tried to answer Her.

‘You give us presents, Mother,’ we said, and other things like that.

‘That is not it.’ She replied.

‘You cook meals for us.’

‘You cure us of diseases.’ But none of these were what Shri Mataji was looking for because, as She said, maybe She did these things to make us follow Her.

‘Mother, you give us our own powers and the ability to know right from wrong and you give us discrimination,’ someone said. This, She said, was the right answer.

Anonymous

She held on to my hand

In 1980, when we were living at Chelsham Road, we had the use of a VW Combi belonging to Bohdan Shehovych, who had gone to Australia. I was only six, and stood up on the front bumper. I was trying to clean the windows and I had my fingers in the door. Someone came along and shut the door and when they opened the door again my fingers were hanging at a very unnatural angle. I was in absolute agony. We were on the way to meet Shri Mataji at Gatwick Airport and John Watkinson held me all the way there.

We got to the airport and there was Shri Mataji. She held on to my hand and She held it really, really tightly. When She took Her hand away it was still a bit sore, but it definitely wasn’t broken and it definitely had been broken. Before, my fingers were all at a totally unnatural angle, but they weren’t after that.

Auriol Purdie

Sahaja synchronicity

Not long after I had my realisation in August 1980, in Australia, I had a knock on my door and found to my surprise a friend from Hong Kong. In over ten years, she had never visited me in Australia. Suddenly here she was, saying that she was incredibly sick and had the compulsion to jump on a plane and come to me rather than consult with medical people in Hong Kong. She was bewildered, but I knew exactly why she was there.

I immediately put her in front of Mother’s picture and gave her realisation. I rang the ashram and explained the situation and they said to come straight away. After a session with about three or four people working on her, she had a tremendous experience and felt much better.

The leader told me that he was stunned at her turning up like this. The day before, Shri Mataji had rung from London saying that She wanted to have programmes in Hong Kong when She came to Australia and could they arrange it. They were nonplussed as they knew no one in Hong Kong or anything about the place and now, the next day, here on their doorstep, was the very person they needed!

Kay McHugh

A sari for the River Ganges

When I was expecting my second child in 1980, Shri Mataji gave me a cotton sari – blue and pink and a little white, a Rajasthani design. She told me to cut it up and make it into a maternity dress, which I did. She later told me it was given to Her at a puja which was done with just four or so people, on the Har ki Peri on the bank of the Ganges at Hardwar in 1979, at the spot where one of the four drops of amrit fell when the asuras took the amrit from the devas in the story of the churning of the ocean. When I left India in 1988, after living in Dehra Dun for almost five years, it was in pieces from being worn so much, and my daughter and I decided to put it back in the River Ganges, so we went up to Devprayag, fairly near Dehra Dun, and put it in. It seemed right that the sari should return to the river.

Linda Williams

An easy birth

My second child was born when we were living at Chelsham Road, in August 1980. He must have been one of the easiest births ever, about forty minutes from the beginning of the contractions to the birth of the child. It was a Saturday afternoon and I was alone except for Grazyna Anslow. I felt the labour pains, not painful, but enough to know the birth was starting. I was just about to phone for an ambulance to take me to the hospital, when the phone rang. It was Shri Mataji and, when on the phone to Mother, one did not interrupt or change the subject. She talked for quite some minutes and the labour contractions were coming closer and closer together, indicating the child would soon arrive.

‘Mother, I think the baby is coming soon. Perhaps it would be a good idea to phone the ambulance,’ I eventually plucked up the courage to say.

‘Yes, it is. I can feel it too,’ Shri Mataji replied.

She rang off and I phoned the ambulance, which arrived a few minutes later. We were supposed to go to the Royal Free Hospital in the north of London, but as we were crossing the Thames, (Chelsham Road ashram was in the south of London) I realised the baby would come imminently and the driver dropped me at University College Hospital in Central London, and within five minutes the baby was born.

Shri Mataji came to see me in the hospital and brought a lovely bunch of flowers in a copper vase. When the flowers had died, I tried to give Her back the vase.

‘No, the vase is part of the gift,’ She said. For many years we put the coconut in it at pujas.

I later discovered that there was a reason Shri Mataji did not want me to go to the other hospital.

Linda Williams

The removal work went fine

Shri Mataji would call Sahaja Yogis to Her flat in Ashley Gardens. I was living in Chelsham Road then. There were usually two or three of us who would go from Chelsham Road to move some furniture around or something. On one particular occasion, we were moving furniture and nothing was really going right.

‘Just come here,’ Shri Mataji said. She sat on the armchair. She had Her Feet on one person and was working on me with one hand and on the other person with the other hand. She was working on the three of us at once. It was like a massacre of all the negativity and afterwards we all felt so much better and the removal work went fine, whereas before it had been a disaster.

John Watkinson

Shri Mataji gave them so much love

Virtually ninety per cent of the seekers who came in those days were from false gurus of all kinds. In fact, we used to work almost exclusively on people who had been to false gurus and some were on drugs as well. Shri Mataji used to work on them individually and She gave them so much love. She really worked very hard.

Djamel Metouri

Shri Mataji took the negativity out

I was working on a man at Caxton Hall, at the public programme. He had lots of problems and in those days we would take new people up to the front and Shri Mataji would direct us as to what to do. She would also work directly on people. On this occasion, after I had taken the man to the front, She cleared his Agnya.

John Watkinson

Early public programmes

I was recently told by someone that my sister and I had much luck in finding Shri Mataji, over thirty years ago, when we were relatively young (although perhaps it is truer to say She found us). There are many memories from that period I deeply treasure, and I’d like to share one in particular, the powerful way Mother was in the early public programmes we attended 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 wander among the assembled 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 wander 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 to the ground 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 up. Then in voice that was filled with motherly care, She’d lean over the seated seeker She was working on and say, ‘Got it now?’ A face melted by tenderness would turn around to Her and give a nod of heartfelt thanks.
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 simultaneously, 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 in a row, before crying ‘A-Ha!’ just 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. It was as if Mother was 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 at by Her side again.
At one of these early programmes I attended at Caxton Hall, 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 back then. Many seekers in that era had been seriously damaged by ‘false gurus’, and this particular seeker, a young man with a beard, had 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 the man’s fit was brought under control, and the extreme reaction subsided. To me the whole scene was reminiscent of something biblical and I could not help thinking 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

Muesli

It was always fascinating to watch the way Shri Mataji seized upon certain topics, explored them in depth and then laid them to rest during Her lectures in the early days of Sahaja Yoga in the UK. Ordinary life, everyday events such as going shopping, often produced memorable anecdotes and observations. Even a supermarket product like a breakfast cereal, might come in for humorous criticism or outright condemnation.

I can recall several occasions on which Shri Mataji complained about a certain brand of muesli, popular at the time, called Country Store. She found it extremely painful to digest because of its heavy blend of hazelnuts, oats, bran and maize. Shri Mataji quipped that perhaps you had to be a horse or farm animal to enjoy it. She said it felt as if you were ‘storing the whole country in your stomach’ when you ate it. It was bad for the Nabhi chakra and heavy going on the liver. Shri Mataji’s satirical wit, Her throwaway quips on the subject of this health-food were delightful and She had us all rolling on the floor with laughter. But of course there was a real point behind Mother’s words. She wanted to make us mindful of the impacts of the foods we ate, and the unforeseen consequences they might have on our subtle systems. I for one, being the naive, serious and literal-minded Sahaja Yogi I was back then, started to regard Country Store as something quite terrible: the epitome of what was anti-Sahaja, a breakfast cereal to be completely avoided, a vibrationally-damaging product that nothing in the world would force me to eat.

A few days after Shri Mataji had made one Her negative mentions of Country Store in a talk, I happened to be in Her flat in Hampstead when She was dictating a shopping list. Different food items needed for the next few days were mentioned. At the end of this She paused as if trying to remember something important that had been forgotten. Her eyes seemed full of mischievous humour.

‘Ah yes,’ She said, the beloved Mahamaya smile twinkling, ‘Poor Sir CP, I almost forgot. Very important. We need to buy him his Country Store.’

Caleb Williams

Hampstead

Mother once told us why various poets, painters, and writers had been drawn to Hampstead (everyone from Keats and Constable, to Tagore and George Orwell). She said it was because Hampstead was the part of the Virata that ‘triggered’ or ‘thrilled’, the ‘heart’ into beating.

Caleb Williams

To clear the liver

Shri Mataji mentioned that we could invoke the prophet Mohammed to clear the liver.

Djamel Metouri

At Ashley Gardens

I was at Shri Mataji’s flat at Ashley Gardens, London, before the programme at Caxton Hall on a Monday evening. She asked me to go to the chemist and buy the strongest pain killers available without a prescription because She said the new people gave Her such pain at the public programmes.

In those days we would often be invited to take new people to Shri Mataji’s flat. Someone came across a man who had been the secretary to a minor false guru and had sensibly given him up. However this man thought he was a bit special. Shri Mataji welcomed him into Her beautiful living room, and then asked him to sit by the window and put his hand out, and the other one towards Her, to clear his vibrations. He wasn’t too happy at that and didn’t come back another time. Often, people who were caught up would come to see Shri Mataji and She would make sure there was a window open for the negativity to go out of.

Linda Williams

You just let it go and go with it

When I first came to Sahaja Yoga, in the late seventies, I hadn’t played music for years. But I started writing songs quite spontaneously. I wrote one song called We Are the Light, which everybody seemed to like and played it a couple of times in front of Shri Mataji.

You feel this spotlight of Shri Mataji, which is on everyone usually, is suddenly on you and you actually have to do something. You have two choices: you can either be terrified, which you start off being, or you feel lifted ten feet off the ground, and feel enveloped by this incredible love and attention. If you just let it go and go with it, the experience of playing is something quite unique.

Nishat Khan has talked about it. He plays all over the world and then he plays in front of Shri Mataji, and says he has never played as well as when he is in front of Shri Mataji because something just takes over. It is like the Kundalini Herself does the playing. You obviously have to learn the technique, but once you know it, it comes through you. There is no feeling comparable to that bliss when you are playing and singing. It must be the highest form of devotion, this music.

Ray Harris

Amrut

Many pujas took place at Chelsham Road with Shri Mataji being personally present. The Divine Amrut from washing Shri Mataji’s Feet would be left there after the yogis had taken some for their collectives. We would drink a glass of Amrut on the following morning for breakfast.

 Ann Lewis