Chapter 21: 1996 – September, Italy, Russia and America

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

A painting, a flower or a kiss

The first time I saw Shri Mataji, in 1996, I wasn’t a Sahaja Yogini, but I had had self realisation A Sahaja brother invited me to the Magliano ashram because Shri Mataji was there. In Rome it was raining very hard and it was difficult to see the way – my mother was with me and told me it was too dangerous to go. I didn’t understand the address very well either and there was lightning and a lot of rain falling heavily.

Nevertheless, I felt I wanted to go there. When we got near the area, about ninety kilometres from Rome, I didn’t know where to go, but in the dark sky I saw an opening where it was light and felt to go in that direction. The first street didn’t go towards the light, so I came back. My mother continued to say, ‘Go home, go home,’ so I took another street, and another again, until I reached the light in the sky, and finally we reached the ashram.

It was sunny there, while all around it was raining, and there was a pleasant breeze in the air. What a strange situation – and wind came from a little house, against all physical laws, the wind came from the house and went in all directions. In that house was Shri Mataji. There were many people and many children because the children’s school was at Magliano then, and there was joy everywhere. A Sahaja Yogini called Rukmini put a beautiful sari on me, and I was very comfortable.

My mother was a heavy smoker but all the time she forgot to smoke. In late afternoon, in the school room, Shri Mataji met all of us – what a great joy. I didn’t know why, but that was paradise. All the children were around Shri Mataji and She was particularly happy in their presence, and also with their little gifts: a painting, a flower or a kiss.

My heart was full of peace and joy. Jai Shri Mataji!

Serenella Avoscan

She knows each one of us

I went to Cabella for Shri Krishna Puja 1996. I was living in Colombia then and used to get the chance to go to a puja once every two or three years. When we reaching Cabella, we could feel lots of vibrations, and in the castle, it was full of joy and bliss. I was travelling with three other yogis from Colombia and we all felt that the Italians were so lucky to get the chance to see Shri Mataji every now and then, whereas we got this so rarely, and thought we were not fortunate enough.

There were two nights of cultural programmes before the puja. During these programmes, Shri Mataji was seated in the audience, in the first row, just in front of the stage. I was sitting with another Indian lady married to a Colombian, at the right hand side of the stage with some other ladies from America. In the middle of the programme, Shri Mataji turned towards us and pointed to me and my friend, and was saying something with Kalpana Didi. My friend and I saw that Shri Mataji was looking at us, so we just put down our heads, and continued with our meditation.

Later the yogini who was attending Shri Mataji during the programme told us that when Shri Mataji pointed us, She was telling Kalpana Didi, ‘These two girls are married to Colombians. One is married to a doctor and another to an engineer.’

She was right. She showed us that we are not less fortunate, even though we may live very far away, Shri Mataji’s attention is always on each one of us and She knows each one of us very well.

Maneesha Shanbhag-Cruz

The geography of the Virat

The most recent update of the geography of the Virat came about in 1996. In England we were making a newsletter and we faxed an A4 copy of the then known geography of the Virat to Cabella, inviting correction from Shri Mataji. After some time an amended version came back with additional amendments, and we published it in the then UK newsletter. Here is the original file.

I recall a few of the then amendments as being the following: Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark were added to the Right Vishuddhi and Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Czech, Poland were added to the Left Vishuddhi. Also, the Middle East and Nepal were put in.

Geoffrey Godfrey

The geography of the Virat

Butter for Shri Krishna

It was in the late nineties at a Krishna Puja in Cabella, hosted by the Americas. On the day before the puja, around mid-morning, Shri Mataji walked to Her window in Her apartment and looked down and exclaimed that there were cool vibrations coming from downstairs, and wanted to find out what was going on, so I started downstairs to look for the source of these vibrations.

There are many floors below Mother’s apartment and as I walked down I could hear singing so I headed for it. This is what I saw. At every Krishna Puja we made fresh butter to offer at the puja and we made it by shaking Italian cream that came in bottles. There were about thirty yoginis in the dining area of castle shaking these bottles and whilst doing their glass bangles were jingling. There was a melodic rhythm to it and a spontaneous joy writ large on their smiling faces. The kitchen crew had gathered around to sing along and there were many countries represented. After a few minutes I headed upstairs to report.

In the meantime Shri Mataji had changed into a beautiful sari that She wore Gujarati style like Shri Radha has been depicted wearing. She looked ready for a puja and was sitting in Her beautiful chair with Her eyes closed and a faint smile on Her lips.

Madhuri Dunphy

Blue Roses

It was a Krishna Puja in the late 1990’s and we were going to the castle representing our countries and we always brought flowers to Shri Mataji. I was running a bit late and when I arrived at the flower shop in Cabella all the fresh flowers were all sold out apart from a large bunch of blue roses. There was no time to think but it struck me that it was Shri Krishna Puja and blue should be perfect for the occasion. I bought the whole bunch, about twenty of them, and ran off to the meeting with Shri Mataji.

Looking around in the room I saw there were no others with blue roses and it dawned upon me that maybe this was not so auspicious after all. I had never seen blue roses before and I got more nervous to see Mother, because the last thing one wants to do is something wrong or inauspicious. One of the leaders looked concerned when I was to present the flowers on behalf of Norway.

Ah, how do they do that?’ Shri Mataji said when She saw the roses, but in a very happy tone. Some people there were trying to save the situation by talking about how they put colour in the water and the flowers turn blue. I did not say anything, as it all just happened around me.

May God bless you,’ Shri Mataji said, when I did namaskar. She always knows when it comes from the heart and appreciated those words very much.

Sidsel Mugford

Shri Ganesha Puja Moscow, 9th September 1996

Shri Mataji’s beautiful wide eyes saved me

In March of 1986, before I knew about Sahaja Yoga, I was reading a seeking book about a young man who had a guru who was a martial artist and a Zen Master and who worked in Berkeley, California, where I was living at the time. At dawn, they would meditate, practice martial arts, and then run into the hills to get their bodies into shape. I became totally obsessed with the dawn time of the day and would run far and fast into the hills – I would even hurt my body and feel no peace.

About six months after this experience, I discovered Sahaja Yoga. I knew that Shri Mataji was talking about the truth and believed Her with all my heart – but I couldn’t feel vibrations for maybe two years. 

Now fast-forward to September 1996. If I am ever to doubt Who Shri Mataji is, all I have to do is remember this moment in time. I was on an airplane with Mother from Vancouver, en route to Los Angeles, sitting right beside Her. I didn’t know this at the time, but She was busy saving me. She had me sing and play on my guitar the songs I wrote for Her during that summer to begin Her public programmes in New York, Toronto and Vancouver.

Matt, have you heard of a book called (name deleted)?’ Mother said, out of the blue. I was in shock!

Yes Mother!’ I told Her, in a totally excited state. ‘It’s my favourite book! I think that book helped me get my self realisation!’ Mother is just looking at me with Her eyes as wide as can be. That evening there was the public programme in Los Angeles.

There is a book called (name deleted) and it says that you have to get up in the morning and torture your body!’ She told the audience.

After ten years, Mother destroyed whatever problem I had picked up from it, with Her beautiful wide eyes, so I could have a chance at ascending.

  Matt Malley  

Vishnumaya announcing the Goddess
On an East to West coast flight to Los Angeles, in September 1996 Shri Mataji took a night flight. There was a tremendous lightning storm going on across the whole sky and heavens as we flew over middle America.

Vishnumaya announcing My arrival!’ Shri Mataji commented as we gazed out of the window.
Geoff Godfrey

Engulfed in a crowd

After a Los Angeles public programme in 1996 Shri Mataji gestured that She wanted to leave and made Her way from the stage. I made my way towards the steps to join Her.

Are you awake?’ She asked as She looked down.  It was a double edged question, because on the one hand Shri Mataji was obviously pulling my leg, as earlier that day, due to exhaustion I had overslept a morning outing, but on the other hand it was one of those eternally recurring spiritual questions relating to the state of our attention, our state of consciousness – our state of alertness. That simple question still stays with me.

At the same moment, hundreds of seekers seemed to spontaneously engulf Her. I quickly made my way towards Shri Mataji where they all pushed closer, wanting a closer glimpse, or wanting to namaskar before Her, or to ask a personal question or touch Her sari. The crowd crushed and gently jostled and as I reached Shri Mataji Her shawl was falling from Her shoulders.

It reminded me of that scene in the Christian Bible where so many wanted to just reach out and touch Lord Jesus. I reached for the shawl and somehow wrapped it around Shri Mataji’s shoulders, and then facing Shri Mataji held out my hands palms upturned to act as supports and slowly edged backwards. In this way She was able to move forward, stopping whenever She wished to spend a few moments engaging someone and we slowly made our way the seventy or so metres to the elevator.

                                                                                                          Geoffrey Godfrey

Bliss at 30,000 feet

An American Sahaja Yogi, Matt Malley, tapped me on the shoulder.

Mother needs you,’ he said, and I made my way to Her seat at the front of the plane and She invited me to massage Her Feet. Often Shri Mataji would request yogis to massage Her Feet to help release and ease the flow of vibrations from them, whilst the yogis themselves were bathed and cleansed in so doing. It was in the middle of the night and the other passengers were all fast asleep. She passed me some Chinese oil, then some Moove cream and finally some eucalyptus oil, which were all quite pungent in a fragrant way. I applied them and got lost in the moment.

After some time a flight hostess came by and said the pilots’ eyes were streaming from the effects of the eucalyptus oil and could we please stop. Shri Mataji smiled, reached for Her bag, pulled out some perfume from Maharashtra and indicated for me to apply this to neutralise all the other aromas. We finished and I returned to my seat in a state of deep bliss and silence, musing at the marvel of the moment.

                                                                                                                Geoff Godfrey

The girl was going to be all right

The New York public programme was held in 1996 in a chapel, close to the Lincoln Center in Manhattan, and it was a complete success. When Shri Mataji was coming down from the podium, She turned around and came back as we heard someone was shouting and crying in the upper part of the chapel. We heard someone running and coming down the stairs in a very noisy way, and suddenly we saw an Asiatic girl coming up to the podium where Mother was.

Shri Mataji told the girl, in a very strong way, to throw away the medal she had on her chest. The girl obeyed and began to cry as a small child. Shri Mataji had come back and shouted at the bhut to go. She told us that the girl was going to be all right now.

Graciela Vázquez-Díaz

Public programme in New York, 1996

It suits you

Whilst in New Jersey in September 1996 we visited a store to buy gifts for Yogis back in Italy. Sir CP insisted on buying me a suit. How sweet it is he always looks after people! But of course I politely declined.

You’d better accept, as Sir won’t leave the store till you have one,’ Shri Mataji sighed and said.

Hearing this I surrendered, accepted Sir CP’s kind invitation and went off to find a suit which would fit. I kept the suit nicely packed in the suitcase when we left America for Europe.

When we arrived at Malpensa, Milan’s northern airport, we made our way to the baggage reclaim. I had about seven different bags etc hanging from my arms and shoulders and all of a sudden there was an almighty ripping sound and the whole arm of my old suit lay on the floor, with some of my shoulder bags tangled around it. It had been ripped clean off by the weight of the bags. I removed what was left and in the airport lounge both Mother and Sir CP enquired where my jacket was.

I knew why Shri Mataji insisted that I had needed a new suit.

                                                                                                    Geoffrey Godfrey

I knew I was home

I’ve been a seeker since I was very young. One day, it was a Tuesday and I was sitting at work and thought, ‘Gee, I want to find out about meditation’. On that very Friday one of my clients came in and said, ‘Maryanne, I just found out about Sahaja Yoga and I think you would like it’.

I went to my first meeting in September 1996 and never stopped coming back. Shri Mataji was scheduled to appear at the Cultural Arts Center in New York City sometime in October, and I went to that about five weeks later.

Then I heard talk of a puja with Shri Mataji at Camp Vacamus, New Jersey. I had only been in Sahaja Yoga for about eight weeks; it was all so fast but I was ready. At the puja my seat was centre stage, about thirty feet back from Shri Mataji. I was so impressed because I actually felt like I was home! This lady said She didn’t understand money and neither did I. I had thought there was something wrong with me up until this point, then I heard Her say it is good to be generous and give gifts. I was always like this, but made to feel like I was buying my friends through Western Psychology standards.

As I watched Her speak I saw the most amazing sight I had ever seen. My mouth hung open. I witnessed gold light pouring out of the top of Her head. I sat in awe because it was just streaming up and out of the top of Her Sahasrara. I sat there saying, ‘Oh My God,’ more than a few times, and then when She saw my mouth hanging open it stopped. I also cried a great deal because I knew I was home.

Maryanne Berman

Paint with your heart

In my first year of realisation I wanted to talk with Shri Mataji about painting, about how difficult it was as a job, so I prepared a few questions. Once She was seated and having a rest with the Sahaja Yogis and they left. Being close to Her I came forward and I do not know what happened, but I couldn’t stand and couldn’t speak either. She just put Her hand on my left shoulder.

Paint with your heart,’ She said, twice.

Louise Ruelland