When I was young I did not smoke many cigarettes, but when with friends, I used to occasionally. In 1980 we were in Dhulia, a town in Maharashtra.
‘I need somebody to put his or her hand near My Vishuddhi Chakra, (at the level of the throat) to take vibrations. Somebody who has never smoked in his life,’ said Shri Mataji.
‘Avdhut,’ said the people.
‘No, Mother, I have smoked,’ I said.
‘He smoked cigarettes, but he has admitted it in front of everybody,’ She said.
I spent the whole of the next day with a Sahaja Yogi, certainly did not touch a cigarette, and in the evening we went to a Sahaja public programme. We were standing outside the hall guarding it and suddenly I smelled cigarette very strongly even though there was absolutely nobody around.
‘From where is it coming?’ I said, then realised it was coming from my right Vishuddhi finger (the index finger). ‘My God!’ I said and showed my friend. ‘You are the proof. I did not even touch a cigarette today.’
‘It’s true,’ he replied.
We were staying in the same house as Shri Mataji. As soon as we reached there I washed my fingers with a lot of soap but the smell was still there and would not go away. She was in Her room and I knocked on the door.
‘Shri Mataji, there’s a problem. There’s a smell of nicotine on my finger,’ I said.
‘Yes, because this morning you told Me you smoked a cigarette, I’m trying to clean you, but you should promise you will never smoke again.’
‘I promise.’ She took my fingers in Her hand for some time and the smell went away. I never smoked again.
This isn’t the first time we’ve met
The first time we saw Mother was in Mumbai in December 1980. There were thirty Australians on that tour, five English, two French and one American. My first impression of meeting Mother was when She walked through the door with Sir CP. I had a garland for Sir CP and Mother smiled at us all. We were all waiting in anticipation because most of us had never met Her, but we had all been in Sahaja Yoga for at least a year.
‘This isn’t the first time we’ve met or been together,’ were Her first words.
She was the Devi
Our first meeting with Shri Mataji was on the first India tour we went on, in 1980 – 81. A lot of us had resigned our jobs, or given up our rentals, and things like that, because it was going to be a long trip, and it was amazing to think that we were going to be in Shri Mataji’s presence. Our first meeting was to be at a celebration arranged by the Mumbai Sahaja Yogis because Sir CP had just been re-elected to the UN, for I think the fourth time.
We all waited and finally they arrived. Shri Mataji, as Mrs Srivastava, had a sari over Her head and we sat through many speeches praising Sir CP’s contribution to the United Nations. Then Shri Mataji got up and was asked to speak. She spoke very humbly. The irony of it all was that we were here to meet the Goddess, and She was there to honour Her husband, and we were watching Shri Mahamaya at work. Later Sir CP left.
Shri Mataji pulled out Her bun, and Her hair fell all around Her. She was the Devi, and we were Her children. We went to Her Feet.
‘You think this is the first time you have met Me, but I have met you all before, and you have all been with Me for many lifetimes,’ She said.
We went to India to see Shri Mataji
About six months after getting self realisation in Australia, in 1980 a group of us went to India to see Shri Mataji, and travel on a pilgrimage through the villages as She gave realisation to thousands. We met Her in Mumbai, then called Bombay, in a theatre and as we waited for Her to arrive, suddenly we heard, behind the stage curtain, Shri Mataji clearing Her throat. We all felt a thrill and looked at each other. She’s there! Just behind the red curtain!
The programme began and it was in Marathi, but we listened with our hearts and watched Her Feet as they moved about in emphasis to Her words. It was enough to be there. After the seekers had gone home, the foreign visitors were asked to come up and meet Shri Mataji. Most rushed straight up but I felt diffident. What was the proper protocol? How could we just approach Her like any ordinary mortal? Even a queen would not be approached so easily. I stayed with the luggage until someone came and offered to relieve me, and said we were all invited to rest our foreheads on Mother’s Feet.
‘Just place your hands under them,’ they told me.
I watched some others with faces shining as they received this darshan. Then it was my turn. There was no feeling of separateness between the forehead and Shri Mataji’s Holy Feet. It was like being joined to something, a column perhaps, which moved endlessly in both directions, having unfathomable roots and stretching forever upwards.
‘You Australians! Livers are all so hot! You are such seekers. You go through everything… even chillies!’ I heard Her laughingly say.
We’d been holidaying for two weeks on a train journey through Southern India. She promised to take us to the jungle, ‘To see the tigers,’ and to where we would find peace which was unobtainable in the countries we were from. This was the tranquility which we needed to give us rest and melt our egos, ‘Like butter – that’s the only way to deal with ego,’ She told us.
My first few months in Sahaja Yoga were spent meditating with the photograph and listening to the library of the very few audio tapes we had in Australia in 1980. No videos then. The photos of Shri Mataji were mostly head and shoulder shots. The face was so warm and loving, and my favourite was the official black and white one. It has all the aspects of the Adi Shakti in it – such an enigmatic smile, compassionate yet totally commanding and a look that is arresting. Then there was the voice on the tapes; such authority, so much passion, intense concern and power. I had built up an image of a tall and commanding figure like the ancient British warrior queen, Boadicea. Imagine, when in Bombay, at a ceremony to commemorate Sir CP’s re-election to his United Nations post, I saw Her in person for the first time.
Shri Mataji came through a side door dressed in a pink sari with navy border, Her hair pulled back in a neat bun and looking quite diminutive, accentuated by Her extremely tall husband who was accompanying Her. ‘She is shorter than me!’ I thought to myself in surprise. She was smiling warmly at us all and sat at the side of the stage as speeches were made and congratulations given. Eventually Sir CP left and Mother came forward and took centre stage.
Shri Mataji reached around and pulled out Her bun. Her black hair came tumbling down and She beamed Her loving attention on us all. There She sat, Shri Visangi, unaccompanied, Shri Nilachikura, dark-haired, having lost all concepts of dimensionality, and fulfilling every description of the Goddess that existed. I never thought of Her as short again. On the contrary over the years I saw quite the opposite as sometimes on occasion She subtly changed in size, density, form and strength before my very eyes.
We were a group of about thirty-five Australians, all seeing Shri Mataji for the first time, excited and thrilled to be in Her physical presence. Each of us was keen to have some acknowledgement from Her and She graciously smiled and had a few kind words for every one of us. When it came to my turn She smiled and nodded.
‘Nice to see you again,’ She said.
I was elated and then puzzled, ‘again’? We hadn’t met before. Since then I found out that Shri Mataji said that we had all been with Her in previous lives. Those few words have been very comforting over the years and have given me some sense of proportion and significance about this incarnation.
We were allowed to do a small puja and then each of us went to Mother’s Feet. In those days we put our hands under Her Feet and our head on top of them. She would look at our Kundalinis and see I don’t know what. I used to hope that when I bowed down She would not wince with pain as I sometimes saw Her do. This day however She had some sweet thing to say to each of us as we came up and shyly looked into Her face.
‘Enjoy yourself,’ or, ‘Beautiful,’ She said.
It was a day to remember.
Mother makes you so important
When I was with Mother with the India tour, She did not want to take any money from me because I was looking after Her grandchildren and helping Her. But I insisted that Mother should let me pay my way for the trip. After all, I was working and I could afford it, so I gave some rupees. Later, Mother was buying some shoes at the shoe shop for Her grandchildren and She also bought me some sandals.
‘See, I am using your rupees now,’ She said. I used those same sandals for my marriage. Really, Mother made you so important.
The first proper tour
The first proper tour was 1980, in a way, because that’s when they hired the first coach. One coach fitted in whoever came and most of the thirty-five or more people were Australian. We went to the same places as the previous year. Shri Mataji took us to villages and we had processions; there was one particular village that we went to for two or three years, where Mother would be on a bullock cart with banana leaves in big arcs and the Sahaja Yogis and the band would be in front dancing.
You lost that shyness of dancing in front and even lost your shyness of dancing in front of Shri Mataji. We really enjoyed it. We had a lot of close contact with Shri Mataji because quite often after the pujas we would go to Mother’s room and Mother would always tell us to take the vibrations that weren’t absorbed by the Sahaja Yogis. Quite often when you did take the vibrations like that, you’d literally shake with them.
My will will be done
This is another memory of the first India tour that the Australians went on. We were visiting Maharashtra and Shri Mataji took us to a fort that Mrs Dhumal had given to Shri Mataji, but they couldn’t take possession because there were squatters in it. It was very dark and as we approached, men came out with lanterns and sticks and looked really aggressive. Shri Mataji spoke sternly to them, and we were all ready to rush out and defend our Mother if they attempted to do anything, but She held us back and we followed Her as we walked in a bandhan around the fort. It was almost impossible to keep up with Her, even though She didn’t seem to be moving. We asked Shri Mataji what She had said to the squatters.
‘My will will be done.’
It was just getting my hair cut
I was in India, the first time I went, in 1980. All the Sahaja Yogis had gone on to a huge programme, six thousand people at a village near Pune. I was with some of the Indians I’d got friendly with and we stayed behind.
‘You want to come for a haircut? I’m going to the barbers,’ one of them said. So I went and got my hair cut because I was a very young man then and had great big fuzzy hair. We got to the programme right towards the end and crept in, but I was feeling really bad, thinking, ‘Shri Mataji’s been giving realisation and we’ve been out about town having a Limca and a haircut.’ She must have seen us come in because the stage was near the entrance. It was a huge amphitheatre and there were thousands of people. Shri Mataji saw me and my Indian friend coming in.
‘Come, come, up on the stage,’ She said, and we went straight up. I sat there feeling like a complete idiot, having just arrived at the meeting, and thought, ‘Everyone there must have seen me. I’m going to get told off after this.’
At the end of the programme, Shri Mataji was consecrating a temple to the Devi, a Kundalini temple. In India, thousands of villages have little temples. She was reconsecrating what must have been an old temple to the Goddess, to Kundalini, and She asked me to come up and do a dedication. So I just thanked Shri Mataji and said how wonderful it was to be here on behalf of the Westerners. I think She was pleased because I had had my hair cut.
On the train with Mother
‘Quick, quick,’ they said, ‘you’ve got to go on the train to Bombay,’ from wherever we were with Shri Mataji. ‘She wants to talk about Hong Kong.’
I was stunned. I hitched a ride on a truck to the station and got our bags and whatever and the next thing I was on the train with Mother, with Avdhut Pai and another yogi and myself and Mother on four seats on the train. It was 1980. I was only a couple of months in Sahaj and I had no idea about protocol. I just knew who Mother was and I knew that you either talked or didn’t talk or you sat on the floor or you didn’t. I was sitting on the train opposite Mother and She was at the window seat. I can’t remember what She said, but I do remember that She put Her Foot to my lap.
‘Look how hard these Feet work. Can you massage them for Me?’ She said. So I massaged Mother’s Feet, thinking I was doing Her a great favour. One after the other, She put them on my lap and I massaged them.
‘They work so hard, these Feet,’ She said, and they were a little bit swollen. Later on in the train trip, I was wondering why Shri Mataji would do all these different things and all the time She was clearing me out. It never occurred to me that was what She was doing.
You are now getting to where I want you to be
This was about 1980, at Nevasa, which is connected with Shri Gyaneshwara. There is a very vibrating temple and many local people visit it. That year Shri Mataji had asked my father, Mr GP Patankar, to be part of the tour and help out with the arrangements, and those were the some of the first years when the foreigners came. Mr Dhumal from Rahuri was alive then and was also there. Shri Mataji had sent the foreigners and my father and Dhumal uncle to prepare the programme, and introduce Sahaja Yoga, and She was going to follow in Her car. At that time Shri Mataji was always the one to give mass realisation. Up until then it was believed that only Shri Mataji could give realisation to a large gathering.
There were very traditional country people in that village. My father addressed them, about a hundred and fifty, in Marathi, very nicely. He spoke about their families, and things they could understand. He explained about the subtle system, and how Mother was doing the same work as Shri Gyaneshwara, and after my father had finished Mother still had not come. After about an hour, the country people started getting restless, so Mr Dhumal and my father decided to do the same thing as Mother did, and just hope and pray it would work out – saying the affirmations and so on. And everybody’s Kundalinis came up. Mother still did not arrive and the people had to do everything.
After that they all went back on the buses to where they were staying. My father went back and reported it to Shri Mataji and explained that they had to do it alone.
‘Yes, My car broke down,’ said Shri Mataji, smiling. My father said to Her that it was Her way of showing him and the others that Her powers can work through us as well.
‘You are now getting to where I want you to be,’ said Mother, with a deep smile on Her face.
A yesterday’s memory
We went with Mr Pradhan on a trip to Nasik in 1980. We first went to a hospital where there was a Sahaja Yogi’s relation who had gone to a false guru after getting her realisation. She’d gone blind and Mother went to the hospital in Her compassion.
‘You don’t come in,’ Shri Mataji said to me. Obviously, I wasn’t strong enough, vibration-wise. Shri Mataji went into the hospital and after She came out again. She sat in front of me in the front seat of the car and, because She had worked on this woman’s blindness, Shri Mataji’s back Agnya had sucked in all the negativity and it was pulsating about an inch and a half. You could see it. I sat there with my mouth open and watching the back of Her Agnya go in and out and in and out. That was a pretty amazing experience, to see the bones move like that and pulsating.
Then we went over the mountains towards Nasik. Shri Mataji seemed to drop off to sleep occasionally, which we all know She doesn’t really do. We also had various conversations. Mr Pradhan was driving.
‘Horn, horn,’ Shri Mataji would say from time to time to Mr Pradhan, as we’d go round the corner of a mountain road. We got lost and it got dark and the Sahaja Yogis were to have a programme in Nasik, so Shri Mataji was missing the programme. Eventually, we stopped at Niphad, a town near Nasik, to have tea, so we could find directions. We were standing in the car park of this tea place, which was very barren with only telephone poles and lines and tar on the ground. Shri Mataji told me this was the exact place where the nose of Ravana’s sister was cut off by Shri Rama.
‘That’s why this place is called Nasik, because it means nose,’ She said, and looked around, as if it was very familiar to Her. ‘Of course, it was all forest then. This was the place.’ We were standing in this very stark area with not a tree in sight. It made you feel that it was just a yesterday’s memory.
A new age
Do you remember that New Year’s Eve in 1980 when we sat in a circle around Shri Mataji? We were sitting outside in front of a big bonfire with Mother. Later on, when She was leaving to go back to the university where She was staying that night, She saw a great light in the sky and said it was a symbol of a new age starting and that a new star had been born.
When we got back to Mumbai, we saw in a newspaper that two Australian scientists had found a new star, the dawning of the new age.