It was in 1996 at Navaratri Puja in Cabella. Russia was one of the organising countries, and we were doing some work. At the evening programme we had been invited to accept presents from Shri Mataji. When I came to the stage there were six or seven yogis already sitting before Shri Mataji and I sat behind. The leader was sitting next to me and asked me who else had worked with me. I gave him a couple of names but he said, ‘Not those, who else?’
It lasted several seconds, at least it seemed so to me. At the next moment by some force my head was turned towards Shri Mataji. There was nobody between Her and me and I met at Her glance. There was not even a shadow of impatience or anything of that sort in it. She was witnessing how Her children were arguing in front of Her eyes.
The only words I can use to describe Her glance are Shri Gambhira – meaning bottomless depth, the great and bottomless lake of consciousness, uncomprehended by space and time. It`s impossible to say how long it lasted; I really had dissolved in it. After all this, I bowed to Shri Mataji and accepted the present. It was a ring for the right Nabhi finger.
You have to be connected to the mains
Diwali Puja 1996 took place in Quinta do Mar, a camping place by the sea close to Cintra, Portugal. Shri Mataji was staying at a very beautiful hotel there. Coming from an organizing country, I happened to be there with other yogis in order to deliver or pick up something, just a couple of hours before the puja was to begin. When we came out there was a fine drizzle spraying on our faces. We soon noticed that there was something extraordinary about this rain. We were staying in front of the hotel entrance and could see that the water was coming around the left side of the building and going all across the façade and around the other side, as if the rain was turning clockwise all around the hotel in a bandhan manner. When we got in the car and drove away, we found out that it was actually only raining around the hotel. By the time we came to a nearby hill, we saw the most vivid rainbow, perfectly centred over the hotel where Shri Mataji was!
The public programme in Lisbon a few days earlier had been equally miraculous. There was a power cut in the middle of Shri Mataji’s speech and the candle burning on the little table close to Her was the only light in the big hall. She just went on with the speech.
‘You have to be connected to the mains,’ Shri Mataji said when the power was restored several minutes later.
All the yogis who were familiar with Her laughed. People sitting very close to the stage were worrying that those sitting at the end of the hall would have missed a great deal of the speech while there was no sound amplification. No one complained though because Shri Mataji was heard all the way to the back row and everyone thought that the microphone went on working although the lights went off.
After giving realisation, Shri Mataji said there should be some music and suggested that the people should clap their hands, so the Kundalini could work its way through the chakras easier. She called for the bhajan Jogawa. I was sitting on the stage close to Her with the other musicians and was very happy that Shri Mataji wanted to hear a song I really knew how to play. I quoted the first two bars on the harmonium to make sure this was the song she meant. She turned around to me, gave me a big smile and nodded Her head approvingly. This was the greatest compliment I ever got for my music.
The imaginary chairs and the mock microphone
As part of the Diwali Puja weekend in Lisbon, Portugal, 1996, Shri Mataji gave a public programme in the basement hall of the Ritz Hotel. Some new people insisted on standing up at the back, though Shri Mataji asked them to sit down.
She told the story of an architect who was a crook and offered to build a palace to the king, so long as the king gave him a nice parcel of land. The palace was to be built free of charge, however only people of true spiritual vision would be able to see this visionary palace. All the architect wanted was possession of a nice parcel of land and the whole concept of the imaginary palace was a fraud. Many years later when the king came to see the palace the architect described to him how beautiful it was and invited the king to step in and see for himself. Then the architect described how beautiful the throne was. At this point the king insisted the architect should sit on the throne. The architect tried to sit on the imaginary throne. After a few minutes of trying to remain in a very difficult sitting position on a non-existent throne the architect confessed that the whole concept of the palace was a scam and begged for forgiveness.
At this point, in the hall, the electric power went down while Shri Mataji spoke. We could see that there were lights in the other parts of the hotel. Candles were brought in and because there was no power for the microphone system, Shri Mataji invited people to come closer so that they could hear. Again the individuals standing at the back felt reluctant to do so, again She insisted they come closer and sit down but they would not budge. She explained that these were real chairs, not imaginary ones, they had nothing to fear and they wouldn’t fall down. Everybody laughed and at last these people saw their own folly and came forward and take a seat.
Shri Mataji requested the translator to speak via the microphone, though it was out of order since there was no electric power. The translator spoke through the microphone, but after a while gave up because he felt it was pointless. Shri Mataji gestured to him to use it.
‘Shri Mataji, it does not work, there is no electricity,’ he replied.
‘That’s precisely why I want you to speak via the microphone, because I’m trying to fix the electrical fault.’
She gave one him more sentence to translate, and with some reluctance he rendered the translation via the dead microphone. There and then his voice reverberated very loudly and the microphone was working. The electric fault was gone and the electric lights were back on as well. Later, all the lights came back and the Sahaj band beat drums and sang loud bhajans via the microphones. It was all part of the fun and drama of the event. Technical hiccups did not detract from the joy and glory of sitting next to Shri Mataji. The story of the architect had a spiritual meaning. She explained that the false gurus who promise non-existent spiritual powers to their disciples are much more crooked than the architect in that story.
Almost a frozen lake
My first puja was in November1996. I was living in Italy at the time and took a plane from Venice to Milan, intending to fly on to Lisbon, but there was a strike so I had to wait until the next day. The next day I was on the same plane as Shri Mataji. She was asleep, but I could feel my Kundalini bouncing up all the time. We landed in Lisbon and Shri Mataji asked me what I was doing in Venice. I replied that I was staying in Padua, near Venice, studying Italian.
In the evening there was a public programme in a hotel in the centre of Lisbon, in November. There weren’t many people there, and those that there were, were at the back of the room. Then the electricity went out. It didn’t come back on, and they brought candles. Everyone had to move to the front of the room, and I remember sitting on the edge of the stage singing bhajans to Mother for about five minutes.
At the puja, at one point Shri Mataji asked all the unmarried men to go on the stage, so I went up and washed Her Feet, and it was so cool, like a cool lake, or ice, almost a frozen lake. I was so happy. Afterwards we were outside and Mother was getting into the car. We saw Her coming out, and She was in the car, and then somehow She was outside the car again. It was as if She stopped time. The vibrations seemed to leap sky high.
The next day I was at Lisbon Airport, and really wanted to go back to Italy on the same plane as Mother. I had done some shopping and had a whole bag full of things. Shri Mataji asked me what I had in the bag and I said that She had given me so much money, I felt I had to spend it. She laughed. On the way back on the plane there was tremendous turbulence. I came out of the airport with Mother at Milan.
‘May God bless you,’ She said. It was complete bliss, engulfing me completely.
In front of Shri Mataji you go thoughtless
I had the privilege to live at the castle in Cabella for a couple of years. Cabella Ligure is a small village in Italy and Shri Mataji’s house is very big, so everybody calls it the castle or the palace.
Shri Mataji was going to leave for India in November 1996 and we ladies decided to give flowers to Her, so we went up to Her bedroom and all gave Her flowers. We gave a present from the collective; I think it was a handbag, and then Shri Mataji talked individually to a few people. She told them about personal things that they needed to do. Shri Mataji had presents for a number of people, and then we all did namaskar and left.
Shri Mataji’s bedroom is beautiful. It’s got a fireplace on one side. Shri Mataji’s chair is just in front of the fireplace and then there is the bed and a beautiful wardrobe and the entrance to Her private bathroom. The whole room is full of souvenirs and things that Shri Mataji has received from people over the years. There were many beautifully handcrafted objects: porcelain, paintings and whatever you can think of. All these things make it so beautiful when you are inside.
When you were sitting there in front of Her you went thoughtless.
Janaki, look at Me
Our little daughter Janaki fell on her head from a considerable height onto a concrete floor. She fell asleep and did not wake up except for making little whimpering sounds. She had never been like this, and we decided to take her to the hospital, but were able to also show her to Shri Mataji at Her home in Italy.
Shri Mataji said that the subtle negativity, which can lodge in a chakra or channel within us, can do such things with children and She gave Janaki a ‘bad sight treatment,’ as She called it, seven chillies, mustard seeds and salt wrapped in paper.* She asked us if our other children learnt to speak earlier and faster, which was indeed the case. Janaki was very introverted and Shri Mataji worked on her with a candle, moving it around her head. Then Shri Mataji said to the little one:
‘Janaki, look at Me.’
In that instant, Janaki sat up on her own, without remaining on my lap, which she would normally have done in similar situations, and looked at Shri Mataji with absolute big clear eyes. The sun shone in her face and she appeared absolutely still and calm inside — a picture I will never forget. At that moment, I knew that Janaki was completely cured. Shri Mataji gave her a doll. And she was cured.
*Editor’s note: this treatment is good for negative attention. You take the chillies, mustard seeds and salt, vibrate them, wrap them in the paper and make a bandhan around the person to be protected or cleared, holding them in the right hand. Then burn all the items.
The Israeli Sahaja Yogis came to Egypt
Shri Mataji was in Egypt in 1996, in December. She was holding a public programme and before that She received the Israeli Sahaja Yogis who had come to Egypt. She was very happy that they had come to greet Her there in Egypt.
You must write!
On the 1996 India tour I was speaking with numerous Sahaja Yogis from around the world that I had previously met, on the Christmas 1982/83 tour. I was recounting that Shri Mataji had suggested we write diaries of events and miracles that happened to us. Many of these yogis replied, ‘Ah yes. If only I’d …’
On two occasions Shri Mataji had given me a gift of a pen, gold coloured Parker pens, and I had often joked that maybe She was hinting for Albert to write something. I had started to write some Sahaja experiences in an exercise book and I had also started to write a play, a musical, but they were always something that some day I would get around to.
Recently Shri Mataji appeared to me in a dream and told me, ‘You must write!’ Suddenly this was no joke any more, this was serious. I was a little embarrassed but also delighted at this dream, embarrassed because Shri Mataji had appeared in a dream to prompt me after my many jokes, but at the same time, delighted at being useful.
A gift from Japan
Once in Pune before a puja I went to buy a silver set to offer to Shri Mataji as I was the only one representing Japan. In the shop there were two different sets, one more fancy and expensive and the other more simple and within the budget. The vibrations were cool to buy the cheaper one, but the mind was telling me to buy the more expensive one. So listening to it I bought the more expensive.
The puja was wonderful and then came the time for offering the gifts. When they called Japan, I bowed to Mother’s Lotus Feet and offered the expensive silver set.
‘Bruno, please don’t buy such expensive gifts, just a simple one would be lovely!’ Shri Mataji said.