In August 1993, I attended the Shri Krishna Puja in Cabella, where I met Bala Kanayson, a Sahaja Yogi born in Singapore but later relocated to England and to the US. Bala recounted his experiences with Shri Mataji in Singapore in the mid 1980’s. Shri Mataji would stay at his mum’s house at Siglap many times, often for days at a time, and once for about two weeks where Mother ran some programmes. Bala would travel in from England, where he was working then, to help with the programmes. They would use the house as a base from which Mother would fly to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to give public programmes. Shri Mataji also had some public meetings at the Shri Senpaga Vinayagar, Ganesha temple at the Ceylon Road in Katong. Unfortunately, Sahaja Yoga did not take root in Singapore at that time.
The greatness of the earth of India
We were in Kuala Lumpur in 1983 and Shri Mataji was talking about the greatness of the Indian earth, and how it was the land of Yoga Bhumi, a land where saints and incarnations had walked and vibrated the earth. She had been in Kuala Lumpur many years before, in the seventies, travelling with Her husband. Some Indian people arranged a programme in a large garden, but they were not Sahaja Yogis as Sahaja had not been established there at that time. Shri Mataji was there alone, and a lot of the people who came were sick. She wondered how to raise their Kundalinis. They were all sitting on the Mother Earth and so She put Her hands to the Mother Earth and asked her to help, but nothing happened.
‘I am from the great Yoga Bhumi, please help,’ She then said, and the Mother Earth started sucking in the impurity and the people’s Kundalinis started rising. ‘You see, even the earth recognises the greatness of the earth of India,’ She explained.
These may not have been Shri Mataji’s exact words, but this is the essence of the story.
A puja in Malaysia
In May 1983 Shri Mataji had just completed a lecture tour of Australia and had stopped over at Kuala Lumpur, en route to India, where She was to give some public programmes and have a puja.
It’s a myth
In 1983 we were in Singapore and I was with Shri Mataji, alone in Bala Kanayson’s house. I was worrying about packing the bags and getting Shri Mataji’s breakfast.
‘Come here,’ She said. She put Her Agnya finger on my Agnya and twisted it. ‘It’s a myth, looking after Me. You’re not really looking after Me at all.’
The correct auspicious beat
In March 1983, I went to India for the purpose of videoing Shri Mataji’s Birthday Puja and felicitations and at the end of the puja we were singing the aarti. The clapping was random, and Shri Mataji stopped the aarti, and demonstrated the auspicious way to clap. It is – clap, clap, clap, then pause, clap, clap, clap then pause, one, two, three, pause etc. So the aarti was restarted with the correct auspicious beat, after Shri Mataji’s demonstration.
Advice on singing the aarti
In Delhi in 1983, at the end of a puja everyone was singing the aarti to Shri Mataji. It was all over the place, different tunes, different timing and so on. Shri Mataji stopped the singing and said it was important to sing it totally in unison, not too fast and not too slow, and with due reverence. On another occasion, during the India Tour at about that time, She said to clap in three-time when singing the aarti, the right hand on the Sahasrara (the palm) of the left hand, and that when we clap like this it activates the Sahasrara.
Mother knows our every thought and desire
In 1983 two yogis and I were staying in Shri Mataji’s flat and She suggested we travel to North India to see a temple dedicated to Shri Mahavira. We did this, a three day round trip, and saw it, with exquisite carvings around the inside walls of an open roofed temple.
We returned and were present at the sixtieth birthday celebrations. There was a havan, and also a puja and felicitations. We were at Shri Mataji’s flat during this period, and there were a number of leaders gathered together, discussing some upcoming events with Shri Mataji, such as Shri Mataji’s tours for that year. My video duties were finished and I was relaxing in a corner, watching the leaders trying to keep up with all the changes that were being made in the plans. The Australian leader was not there, and it crossed my mind that I should have been writing all the plans down, but then I thought, ‘It is not necessary, because it will all be changed anyway.’ At that moment Shri Mataji looked at me.
‘You should be writing all this down,’ She said.
Later in the evening there was a meeting with some of the founding Indian Sahaja Yogis about the plans for the design and layout of the proposed school at Vashi (later this became the Belapur clinic). The plans and sketches were spread out on the coffee table in front of Her, with the attending yogis seated on the floor around the table.
It was the most amazing scene and many ideas and suggestions were coming forth. It seemed that in the maya the protocol was dropped. There were interjections, and more suggestions coming from first Shri Mataji and then everyone else. Several times when there was a lull in the fracas Shri Mataji kept it on the boil.
‘My father said you should have it like this!’ She said, and She would sketch something, and then the enthusiastic suggestions would be up and running again.
It was against this backdrop that it was time for the other Australian Sahaja Yogi and myself to take our leave and start our journey back to Australia. I wanted to quietly thank Shri Mataji for sorting me out, and to say goodbye, and I tried to penetrate this wall of enthusiastic designers, but there was no opening, and time was ticking away. Suddenly Shri Mataji looked at me.
‘So, you go back and marry that wife of yours!’ She said, and I immediately burst out laughing, because Mother knows our every thought and desire.
One with Mother
It was Easter 1983 and Shri Mataji had asked at the last minute for one representative per Western country to go to India for Her birthday celebrations, which were very close to Easter. So everybody jumped in a plane and we stayed there for quite a few days. We stayed in a guest house and would spend the whole day with Shri Mataji in a teensy flat, where She was staying. We were quite cramped and She would receive all the people and work on them and it was just wonderful.
The day before Shri Mataji left Mumbai was Easter Sunday. She went to a Sahaja Yogi’s flat and there were only us, the Westerners who had been invited, our host and one or two Indians. She received a high personality from Mumbai, but it was a totally different atmosphere than in the little flat where She had been the rest of the week, seeing everyone. After the official gentleman left, Shri Mataji said we westerners could go to Her Feet. That was a few hours before She left for the airport and we were also supposed to take our planes and go back to our respective countries.
At that time, She would lift Her Feet. We would slip our hands, one hand under each of Her Feet, our head touching the top of Her Feet and She would signal by lifting Her Feet, so our hands would be free for us to withdraw. One after the other, we could go to Her Feet and this was a treat, even at that time when it happened relatively frequently.
The event described here is the strongest, deepest spiritual experience I have had with Shri Mataji. My turn came. I put my hands under Her Feet and soon after I felt and heard a crack in my forehead. It was not only a feeling, but also a noise. After this crack, I felt that my forehead was one with Her Feet. My forehead was touching Her Feet, the top of Her Feet. It was one with Her Feet, I was integrated in the same blood circulation as Hers and there was no more any physical separation between Shri Mataji and me. I was absolutely one with Her. That was an unbelievable moment of bliss. The exuberance and joy of just being one with Mother and one with God! That lasted and lasted and I was in a state of exultation. I had no notion of time at all. Then She lifted Her Feet. I withdrew and was in such a state of joy and bliss. ‘I’m one with Mother! I’m one with Mother!’
A little later, Mother left for the airport and She called me to sit next to Her in the car. It was a little car and there were three of us in the back. I was squeezed against Her and the state of bliss continued. We accompanied Mother to the airport. We waved Her goodbye as we usually do and there, for the first time, I was not crying at all and not in the mood for crying. I was waving goodbye in a state of perfect joy and just feeling, ‘I’m one with Mother.’ So it was obvious that I was not going to be sad.
Until then every time Shri Mataji would go away and I would say goodbye to Her, I would cry and feel like an orphan or an abandoned child. For many years after that, I did not cry any more when Mother would leave.
I will follow this lady to the ends of the earth
When I first came into Sahaja Yoga in November 1982, I was told my Kundalini had risen strongly, but I hadn’t felt a thing – except their care on an emotional level. I had respect for Sahaja Yoga and persisted. I got my realisation from some of the London Sahaja Yogis and when Mother came back from India in the following spring I was invited to Heathrow Airport to meet Her.
Shri Mataji arrived wearing a beautiful camel hair coat, She had a silk scarf on Her head, wore a beautiful sari and had a radiant smile. She asked how things were going in the UK and someone mentioned that there were some new yogis. I was one of them and got ushered to towards Her. She looked at me and gave me Her hand, with the palm down as a queen would for Her subject to kiss.
I am half Italian and had been told by my father to kiss the hand of married ladies, bow to a lady of nobility, but if I should ever meet a queen I should go down on one knee first as I took her hand. I was before Shri Mataji, and instinctively went down on both my knees and kissed Her hand. I remember as a child, my father saying that it is only when we address God in prayer that we kneel on both knees. Somehow Mother knew where I was coming from and I felt, ‘I will follow this lady to the ends of the earth.’
And she was born realised
While Shri Mataji was visiting Geneva in April 1983, we did a programme in Lausanne. In it Shri Mataji attacked various corrupt and evil institutions and as the programme continued, quite a large handful of people sedately stood up and left. At the end of a programme Shri Mataji would move amongst the people who remained and talk to them. She would work on them: rub their Agnya foreheads, tap them round the Vishuddhi and so on.
Shri Mataji worked on one girl who was perhaps twenty-one, an attractive young woman and She worked and worked on her. Shri Mataji rubbed her forehead, rubbed her hand, held her hand and talked to her. Then She moved away, but turned round, came back and worked on her for a second time. As She moved away that time, She mentioned that this girl had been involved with a well-known false guru. Then Shri Mataji went back a third time and worked again on this girl, over a period of five minutes.
‘This false guru!’ She said. ‘I cannot get her Kundalini up. And she was born realised.’
She burst into tears and embraced Shri Mataji
In Lausanne, Switzerland, in April 1983, after a public programme Shri Mataji met a Portuguese lady who had lost her hearing. Shri Mataji asked her to come back the next day to the house of a Sahaja Yogi with whom She was staying.
The following morning, we were once again in Her presence, in the drawing room of that house. Mother gave vibrational treatment to several people, leaving the Portuguese lady till the last. This lady had lost her hearing many years previously and an operation had not succeeded in restoring it. Shri Mataji worked on her with vibrations for about ten minutes, during which all communication with the lady was with written notes on scraps of paper, translated from Portuguese to French and then to English. Then, at one moment, the lady started to hear more clearly what was being said. She burst into tears and embraced Shri Mataji. Her hearing continued to improve.
Shri Mataji was in Switzerland in the early eighties. She was talking to us, a little group of yogis. She said to us that from now on we should call Her Shri Mataji rather than Mataji. In my diary I referred to Her as ‘Mataji’ up to 983. I was there when She said that.
On the other side of that ocean
I was staying with some Sahaja Yogis in Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa in 1990 and we were looking through their photo album of photos of Mother. I saw one of the back of Mother’s head and behind was a sky the colour of apricot over the sea, with some coconut palms.
‘That was at Gorai Creek,’ I said. ‘Did someone give you a copy of the photos I took?’
‘No,’ my host replied, ‘I took those photos myself.’
‘There was one other person with a camera. Was that you?’ So here we were, on the other side of the Indian Ocean, years later.
Gorai was a beach north of Mumbai, on a peninsula. We went down from Delhi and stayed in Mumbai and, to get to the Sahasrara Day Puja, took a suburban train to the end of the line, then a tonga pony cart and finally a ferry across the creek to the beach. The place of the puja was on the beach under the palm trees and, being May 1983, it was hot and the breeze through the trees was most welcome. Mother talked about the palm trees in the puja talk and said they always bend towards the ocean and recognize it as their father, Lord Vishnu.
After the puja was finished many people hurried to get back to the ferry, because it was said that the ferry stopped at dusk and it was nearly dusk then. Some of us did not want to leave Mother, who was still there, and the now cool beach. Mother walked down towards the sea. It was a wide beach and the tide was out.
A divine experience
After I came into Sahaja Yoga, for nearly one and a half years I could not believe in it. I kept saying to myself that if I could have a divine experience, then I would. One day, when I was with Shri Mataji at Goregaon, (Gorai Creek) She asked us to call the sea. At that time the sea was very far from where we were standing. She asked us to stand on both Her sides and recite the Samudra Devata mantra. We did so and after a short while, to my total surprise, the sea came right up to where we were and first bathed the Feet of Shri Mataji and then the image of Shri Ganesha that She had made in the sand. I became a true Sahaja Yogini.
Power and majesty emanated from Her
Shri Mother stopped some distance from the retreating tide. She bent down and began to create a Shri Ganesha in the sand and then ornamented it with flowers and kumkum. She moved a few paces forward and stood quite still, with an intent expression, and looked out to the sea and the sunset-reddened horizon. Great power and majesty emanated from Her. To some present, it felt as though the Adi Shakti was ushering out forever the dying embers of the Kali Yuga and invoking the ocean, Dharma, to assert itself.
The image of Shri Ganesha lay in the sand, a symbol of the advent of the age of truth, innocence and wisdom. Shri Mataji called on the sea to wash over us all. We chanted the mantra to Samudra Devata, the God of the Ocean, asking His blessings. Several Sahaja Yogis saw the wave coming inward towards the shore. Then the sea came rushing up to Shri Mother, flowed past everyone present and encircled the Shri Ganesha.
The evening star, Venus — the Devi’s own sign — was seen high in the twilight sky directly opposite the Devi, our most beneficent Mother.
Shri Samudra Devatur sakshat
From seemingly nowhere, a man appeared with a basket of flowers for Mother and She decorated the Shri Ganesha. We stood back and admired it, after which Mother looked towards the sea, a good fifty metres off and dead calm, with little ripples and certainly no big waves. She told us all to say the mantra to the sea, Samudra Devatur.
So we started saying, ‘Aum twameva sakshat Shri Samudra Devatur sakshat.’ After we had said it a few times, the most extraordinary thing happened. The sea came up to the Shri Ganesha in the sand in a narrow stream about a metre wide, not violently, but just enough to bathe the Shri Ganesha and dissolve it into the seawater. Mother walked down to the sea, where the shoreline was some way out and the water receded again, but Mother put Her Feet in the ocean and said something like, ‘Whenever I put My Feet in the ocean, I vibrate the whole ocean because the current takes the water right round to all the shores touched by it, all the shorelines of the Indian Ocean.’
After this, Mother went away and we began quite a long walk to the ferry. As we were going up the track, a bit dubious as to whether there was even going to be a ferry when we got there because it was pitch dark by this time, a car went past us and stopped.
‘Don’t worry. I have asked the ferry to wait and there is a truck to take you there,’ a beloved voice said. Thank You, Mother, as always.