Chapter 24: 1997 – June to December, America, Europe and India

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

The great find Shri Mataji had made

In a New York hotel room, I remember conversations that led to the discovery of Canajoharie listed in the newspaper for a small sum of just over $100,000. Shri Mataji was so delighted when She found the land, proclaiming that this is how the divine works. The land was already there waiting to be bought by Shri Mataji because the Ganesha principle is extremely efficient and active in Her presence. Soon after Shri Mataji signed the papers for the land, I watched Her hand as She did so, and was thinking what a historic event I was witnessing.

The next day we drove to see the land and Shri Mataji got out of the car to walk on it. A yogi brother and I rushed ahead into the fields joyfully laughing, tackling each other in playful celebration of the great find that Shri Mataji had made.

Stephen Day

Shri Mataji knew there would be water

Shri Mataji used to send directions for the projects at Canajoharie. She told us to add salt to the men’s food one day because they were getting dehydrated.

Once we were to try to find a well. Shri Mataji knew there would be water and suggested that we use an old technique of dousing for it. A newly cut twig was placed in my hands. It was new growth in the shape of a ‘Y’. I held the two ends and the stick was parallel to the ground. I walked with my eyes closed, and when I opened my eyes I was shocked to see that no one was there but that the stick had pulled towards the ground with no assistance from me. Several people verified the same experience and that is where we drilled the well.

We have all heard the story of how Shri Mataji found Canajoharie, a small advertisement in the paper was blasting cool vibrations. But it seems She must have put it there for us long ago, nourished and protected it, a brightest green gem in the American treasury.

Elizabeth Singh

Why didn’t you wake Me?

During the afternoon of June 18th 1997 Marcus Nobel, great grand-nephew of Alfred Nobel, of the Nobel Peace Prize, came to meet Shri Mataji as he was also to address the audience that evening. As always Shri Mataji was only concerned for his personal comfort and ascent, whilst Marcus was concerned to make sure he would give a fitting introduction.

Shri Mataji talked about Mother Earth, the carbon element and the Ganesha principle, whilst intimating these qualities had been eroded or forgotten in modern day San Francisco and how it would be difficult for Her to travel there. It needed repair. By early evening Shri Mataji retired to take a little rest.

All of sudden we started to sense that time had moved on and that the programme had begun whilst Shri Mataji was sound asleep. A delicate situation seemed to be developing. One of the American Yoginis puzzled as to how we should best proceed. She happened to be wearing bangles. I suggested if she entered the room and jangled her wrists the bangles would gently awake Shri Mataji.

Shri Mataji immediately awoke and discovering the time enquired why we hadn’t woken Her. Shri Mataji has the amazing capacity to strike like lightning when needed and within a short time we were getting out of the car at the Wheeler Auditorium, Berkeley University Campus, just in time for another packed evening public programme.

After a vibrant programme, and after Shri Mataji received seekers onto the stage we eventually made our way back to the car, where an Indian gentlemen stood eagerly waiting to engage Shri Mataji in lively debate about Vedantic philosophy. We had started the day early in Los Angeles, and now here we were in Berkeley debating the ancient Vedas at midnight in a car park. Shri Mataji, who was always patient, displayed tremendous compassion in guiding this aspirant before we made our way back to where we were staying.

                                                                                                    Geoffrey Godfrey

Is She the Holy Spirit?

On June 18th 1997 we boarded a plane at LA-X to fly to San Francisco for a public programme at the Berkeley University Campus. After settling Shri Mataji in Her seat we made our way to our seats. Steve Day and Mark Tickell, American Sahaja Yogis, had joined the flight for this journey and one of the flight stewards came over.

You know the Indian lady with the red dot (bindi), are you travelling with Her?’ he asked.  You knew it was going to be one of those interesting moments.

Yes,’ I replied.

Is She the Holy Spirit or something like that?’ he continued, to our astonishment.

Well yes, but not everyone knows it yet,’ I responded. We had a brief chat, some of his female colleagues joined and we invited them all to hold out their hands to feel the vibrations, then everyone carried on as normal and the flight got underway.

                                                                                                      Geoffrey Godfrey

Believe in yourself 

I have been very blessed to come close to Shri Mataji a few times. Here is a short narration of one of my most blissful experiences with Our Divine Mother. 

In 1997, when Our Divine Mother visited Berkeley Bay Area, we were blessed to be at the public programme held at UC Berkeley Campus. I had a strong desire to offer Her a very fragrant variety of rose that grew in our small patio. I went to the stage, bowed before the Goddess, sat at Her Lotus Feet and offered the humble little rose. Then, I still wonder why, I simply burst into tears. Mother instantly took my right hand into Hers.

Kiyun? Kya ho gaya, beta?’ (‘Why? What happened, my child?’) She asked. I was so overwhelmed with Shri Maha Shakti in front of me. I somehow gasped an answer:

Ma, aapko itne paas dekh paayungi, main soch bhi nehi sakti.’ (‘Mother, I could have never imagined that I would get to see You this close’.)

Believe in yourself,’ Mother said with a smile, radiating love. She had my hand still in Hers. Then, many other seekers got to the stage to enjoy Her loving vibrations, while I was getting immersed in the most blissful experience of my life. 

This divine gift of Shri Mataji has a very special place in my heart.

 Ivana Banerjee

Public programme in New York in 1997

There appeared a great wonder

Things seemed to be on the move within the American collective when Shri Mataji arrived in June 1997. There was tremendous anticipation in the air as many meetings had been arranged with a special New York programme scheduled for the Cathedral of St John the Divine in uptown Manhatten. Lots of invitations had gone out and Claes Nobel, grandnephew of Alfred Nobel, the creator of the Nobel Prize, was supporting the efforts of the Sahaja Yogis in reaching out to the American public.

There was some concern for security. Shri Mataji had even informed Yogi Mahajan and me – we were in charge of security. We gulped and stared at each other quizzically. On the night of June 10th 1997 a group of yogis were deployed with FBI type ear pieces. We had even drafted in a security specialist and NYPD had been alerted. It felt rather exciting. Yogi gave the introductory talk along with slides of miracle photos, following Shri Mataji’s directions. Earlier in the day I had briefed Yogi on Chapter 12, verse 1 of the Book of Revelations wherein it records the following words:

And there appeared a great wonder. A lady dressed with the sun. With a moon at Her Feet, wearing a crown of twelve stars.’

Photographic slides depicting these images where projected for the 1200-1500 seekers in the audience that night. By chance the image showing what looked like an orb or moon at Mother’s Feet remained on the large screen throughout the rest of the introductory talk. I mused how by chance this would be subtly aiding proceedings. I returned backstage where Shri Mataji was seated. She looked at me and quietly gestured, is it alright? I confidently intimated yes and nervously helped Mother to the stage.

It was a wonderful programme, even with questions from the audience. After giving self realisation to everyone Shri Mataji met with journalists from the Spanish-American communities, and also from South America. It was the largest programme in America to date and it felt like things had shifted a gear. So much so that a second programme was decided upon – for June 27th 1997, to coincide with Mother’s return to New York after circumnavigating America and Canada.

Geoff Godfrey

I called Shri Mataji 

In 1997, in Philadelphia, a drunk driver hit our vehicle from behind.  Pieces of glass from the shattered back window fell into my baby’s open mouth, but I called for Shri Mataji. The baby held his mouth open in a moment of shock. I was absolutely sure that Shri Mataji directed my eyes to his mouth, because in another moment and he’d have moved to cry or swallow. However, I was able to remove the pieces. Everyone was unharmed and the hospital could not find a single scratch on the baby.    

Shri Mataji was in New York at that time, and knew we had been in an accident. It was clear that She had saved us from harm. That week we took the child to the airport and offered Shri Mataji a big bunch of roses. She held the little baby, smiled at him sweetly, kissed him on the throat and all was well.

Elizabeth Singh

Editor’ note: Shri Mataji has said that if we think of Her in our most difficult moments, She will instantly be there to help us.


Just one flower

In 1997 we were to drive several hours to see Shri Mataji off at the airport in New York. I bought the best flower I could find the day before, a star gazer lily. I brought it home on the train, babied it with fresh water and was careful never to sniff it or touch the petals. I carried it carefully, in a small vase, the whole trip the next day. We were waiting at the airport, soon Shri Mataji would be there, and that flower suddenly started to give off a lot of fragrance.

When Shri Mataji arrived there were many people to greet Her. It came to my turn and I felt shy. I did namaskar and went back to my place; somehow my eyes were stuck on the floor the whole time. Someone told me that Shri Mataji smiled when She took that flower. That was enough, that was all I needed in life, to know She had enjoyed that fragrance.

Elizabeth Singh 

She would arrive at the best millisecond

In 1997, we prepared a book of children’s drawings, poems and hand prints. It was a project which took several ladies a long time to put together. We were still adding final touches in one of the cabins when the Kundalini shot up with that bubbling feeling which signals that Shri Mataji was on Her way. All the yogis were in the hall settled and singing wonderfully but we were still rushing to finish that book. Finally we closed it, and tried to run in our best saris to the hall. Just at that moment Shri Mataji arrived in Her car, smiling with Her hands together. It was always like that; She would wait for us, She always knew, and would arrive at the best millisecond.

Elizabeth Singh

My first miracle photo

I was in New York in the mid-nineties and there had been a public programme. Afterwards Shri Mataji was going to watch a movie, Dances with Wolves. A yogi came in and said there was a problem with the TV and could I help fix it. So I went down the hall and waited close to Shri Mataji’s room. I waited and waited, but the yogi never came out and asked me in to Her room. I was a bit sad, but thought, ‘that’s life’. A bit later, right after the puja, I took a photo, and it was the first miracle photo I had taken. It was as if She had heard my heartfelt plea, a desire to be close to Her. She was divine compassion.

Alan Morissey

I just checked the vibrations

Shri Mataji was in Vancouver in the latter part of the nineties, and much to our surprise She decided to look for an ashram in Vancouver. So everyone was poring through the newspapers, and looking through them. Finally there were two prospective homes to look at. One was in the Surrey area of lower Vancouver – one area was highly populated with Chinese people, and the other was in an area with a lot of Indian people.

We drove off to have a look. Some of us were in the car with Shri Mataji and there were a number of other people in another car. We got to the first house and half a dozen yogis got out and went to have a look. Interestingly enough Shri Mataji stayed in the car and didn’t go out. The yogis went through it and came out and told Her all about it. She seemed quite pleased and decided She would put in an offer. On the way back we stopped and had an ice cream. The owner of the store came out and greeted Shri Mataji – he was Indian.

I just checked the vibrations. That’s the main thing, the vibrations,’ She joked.

Everyone else had been trying to figure out the best price for the house and all that, but for Shri Mataji all that was important was the vibrations.

Alan Morissey

Just meditate

In about 1997 I was in the hotel with Shri Mataji, in Toronto. I was in front of Her completely alone and felt awkward. I looked at Her and didn’t know what to do.

Just meditate,’ She said.

I could not close my eyes, and had to look at Shri Mataji the whole time. Her face changed form: She changed into three different deities in front of me. When it is a Shri Ganesha Puja She looks like Shri Ganesha, and at a Shri Buddha Puja She looks like Shri Buddha. On that occasion I felt She changed into the three chakras of the Heart Chakra, and my heart was getting worked out looking at Her. Behind Shri Mataji were big windows and the clouds just changed as She did.

Mohan Gulati

Forty days and nights

Although the trip to North America in 1997 was initially scheduled for about twelve days, Shri Mataji ended up staying forty days and nights, and throughout all this time She seemed to be working-out all sorts of issues, and working them out on the subtle level. It seemed to be a testing time, with much essential yet subtle work being undertaken personally by Shri Mataji, so much so that we missed travelling back across the Atlantic to the July 3rd public programme at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England.

                                                                                                       Geoffrey Godfrey

On top of the world

Sometime in early 1997 I remarked to a yogi friend that Sahaja Yoga is growing so quickly, and that there are so many global issues and numbers of Sahaja Yogis taking up Shri Mataji’s attention, that we will never again get those old experiences of spending personal time in Her physical presence. I was to learn an important lesson about making absolute proclamations.

In June, I returned from a puja in New Jersey and decided to go help renovate the façade of Shri Mataji’s castle in Cabella. Shri Mataji arrived with physical complications a month later from the U.S.A, so Her busy schedule was cancelled and She stayed at Cabella. I found myself living, for six months, within a few metres of Shri Mataji Herself and Her indescribably beautiful vibrations!

One night towards the end of my stay in heaven, when the dark, wintry air outside made you glad to get in to a warm, cheery dinner, I suddenly felt like lying back on the hillside above the castle to look up at the stars. I called a Sahaja brother and as we lay there on the frozen earth, looking up at the sea of sparkling diamonds in the black sky, I asked him how, of the six billion souls on Earth, the few of us here had somehow chanced into this divine realm at the top of the world.

In the house below us, God the Mother was eating dinner or enjoying a Hindi movie. The windows glowed warmly down in the castle. When our backs became too cold from the frosty grass, we quietly got up and made our way inside to join the rest of our family. Whatever hardships had darkened our way through the millions of years of our evolution, we were finally home, together, and at peace.

Edward Saugstad

The king of Morocco

At the Shri Krishna Puja in 1997, at Cabella, someone gave Shri Mataji an old painting, a portrait of King Sidi Mohamed ben Aboleth of Morocco. We had bought it because it had very nice vibrations but did not know anything about him.

I know him,’ Shri Mataji had said, ‘he was a realised soul.’

I did some research and discovered that he was a king at the time of Queen Maria Theresa of Austria. She was an incarnation of Shri Raja Lakshmi, and this king had established very good diplomatic relations between the two countries. So as the spiritual descendants of this queen, we had to carry on the work.

Franz Mekyna

I am always with you

This little gem took place at Lisbon Airport after Diwali Puja 1997 in Portugal. About 30 yogis were in the airport and one by one Shri Mataji was accepting a flower from them. I began to feel we were putting pressure on Mother, who was staying there and having to accept all our flowers and I held back. However Mother had accepted all the flowers from nearly all the other yogis and it was my turn. When I gave Mother the flower, I began to cry. She asked me why I was crying.

I always cry, Mother,’ was what came out. I don’t actually cry so much but that is what I said.

You know I can never leave you. I am always with you,’ Shri Mataji replied, knowing really what I felt.

Barbara Bain

She did come

We went to Lisbon three people were chosen to cook for Mother, one person from each of the hosting countries. I was chosen for South Africa. When it was time to take the food to Mother we were sitting and chatting with Her. Mother asked me where I was from and told me I looked typically as if I had come from India. I told Her that although I was from South Africa my father had been very strict that we should be like Indians. She spoke to me in Hindi and asked me how I had made the dish. She told me not to put too many chillies in it. She said my food was lovely.

At one point She closed Her eyes and it was as if She took some weapon and Her form was so fierce. After some minutes She seemed to come back.

What happened?’ I asked Her.

Oh I just went to help somebody,’ She laughed and said.

She finished Her food and talked to me again. I asked Her if She would come to South Africa and She said She would, and asked which was the best season to come. In a way She did come because I had an extraordinary miracle, when Shri Mataji appeared at my house.

Devibehn Kadam

This is the miracle:

Devibehn lives in Cape Town, South Africa, and runs a catering business from her home. One of Devibehn’s customers knocked at her front door.

Who is that lady in the red sari that I saw outside?’ she said to Devibehn, ‘She had such a lovely smile and I felt so warm and comforted, it was as if it was my own mother smiling at me.’ Then the visitor saw the photo of Shri Mataji which Devibehn had in the house.

That is the lady I saw outside!’ she said.

Are you sure?’ asked Devibehn. She went to have a look, but there was no one there. Then she told her visitor how special Shri Mataji is, but that She had never been to South Africa. Devibehn said the visitor was so lucky to have seen Her outside the house. The lady agreed, but said to Devibehn that she was so very fortunate to have this wonderful lady as her Devi Ma. She also said she had seen Shri Mataji walking round the house as if She was looking after it.

Devibehn Kadam

I invite you

After the 1997 Diwali celebration, Shri Mataji sent word for me to come in Her apartment at the ‘Palácio de Seteais’ at Cintra, Portugal. ‘Seteais’ means ‘Seven Sighs,’ evoking the Holy Breeze nourishing the seven chakras. She asked me if I intended to go on the India Tour. My answer was negative. After some time, when She asked me about the Romanian collective, She again asked the same question. Then, I hesitated to answer. She said that many beautiful temples would be seen during this tour.

You would not pay for the tour, I invite you,’ She added, noticing my hesitation, and guessing the real reason of my incapacity to go to India. And, indeed, the tour in that year was amazing, including Delhi, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Madras, Cochin, Bangalore, and Ganapatipule.

Dan Costian

The scent of roses

Towards the end of an India Tour, it was the puja in Kalwe and as Shri Mataji walked past there was a strong smell of a rose garden.

Philippa Newman 

No tiredness had been felt

On the India tour of 1997/98, I was twenty-two and was invited to help the video team to record the tour. This began with the videoing of the public programme in Delhi. Apart from that programme, Mother did not physically attend the tour before it reached Ganapatipule, via Nagpur, Hyderabad, Madras, Cochin and Bangalore.

There were several joy-filled evening programmes in Ganapatipule, but, while filming Christmas Puja, my attention began to wander. It was focusing more on the pictures that ‘I’ was getting on ‘my’ camera than on Shri Mataji and Her words. After the aarti, the different centres and countries began to offer gifts to Mother. One of the organizers approached the edge of the stage, close to where I was standing with the video camera and tripod.

Which country are you from?’ he asked me.

South Africa,’ I answered. This was relayed back to Shri Mataji.

You must stop filming,’ he said. ‘Shri Mataji says you can film when She comes to your country.’

I sat down. Mother had brought my attention back to Her Feet. After the representatives of Africa had offered gifts to Shri Mataji, Mother spoke to the South Africans.

Tell that boy not to worry. He can film when I come to your country,’ She said. What needed no words was Mother’s glance and smile at me across the stage as She said it. It was an all-enveloping feeling, like a small child, I felt. Nothing else mattered.

The next day, the head of the team spoke through the leaders to Shri Mataji, explaining that I was helping the video team. Shri Mataji had not recognized me and thought that only Italians were helping with the videos. After this message, they were sure that I could carry on helping, but having heard other words, my heart was not sure. As it happened, two of the three cameras were sent back to Italy before the New Year’s Puja in Kalwe and help was not needed.

Four months later, I was at Cabella for Shri Adi Shakti Puja and I was again asked to help. I expressed my doubts and my question seemed answered when the bag of cables for one camera could not be found. The other two already had operators, Mother arrived and I found myself seated near Her.

How many cameras are there?’ Mother asked one of the leaders.

Two, Shri Mataji,’ he answered.

The programme got under way. After maybe half an hour, I noticed Mother look at me. Some yogis next to the video mixing desk whispered towards me and I realised that they were calling me. Mother had asked Her grandson to sit down and I was to take over the operation of that camera. Silently thanking Mother, I did so. The programme must have ended at 4 am the next morning, although I never felt the time pass. Later that day, I met someone who Mother had spoken to about me.

That boy must be so tired,’ She had said, but no tiredness had been felt. It had just flowed.

George Barberton