Chapter 25: 1983 – October and November, London

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

Her perfume of beautiful vibrations

I met Shri Mataji in 1983 at Heathrow Airport. I took along a big bunch of flowers and was waiting to give them to Her with everyone else. She arrived, and was smaller than I imagined. She had a glorious smile on Her face. I saw one yogi standing there with his hands out towards Shri Mataji and I wondered what he was doing. It was as if he was breathing in deep breaths. I realised he was sucking in Shri Mataji’s vibrations. When Shri Mataji came over to me and took my bunch of flowers, I too felt that incredible bliss that this man was feeling. I understood why he was standing there, so serene, with his hands out to Shri Mataji, and I too was breathing in Her perfume of beautiful vibrations. That was my first experience of Shri Mataji and I felt so totally joyful and blissful.

Leanne Huet

Two days before the Diwali Puja, November 1983

On the 5th November 1983, there was a great celebration at Surbiton ashram. In the presence of Shri Mataji an enormous bonfire was lit* – it was not exactly a havan – which purifies, but was symbolic of this festival. Deepa – awali means a river of lights. Fire is the element that when it burns lightens the darkness. It is at this time that Shri Adi Shakti opens the gates of hell to put in all the demons.

*Editor’s note: Alessandra, being Italian, may not have been aware that November 5th is the night when the English traditionally light a bonfire and have fireworks to commemorate Guy Fawkes, who tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament in the seventeenth century, but it seems that the paramchaitanya has created a little festival of light, even for those, like the English, who are mostly unaware of Diwali.

Alessandra Pallini

A puja and advice

We had some celebrations for Diwali at Surbiton ashram in 1983 – Shri Mataji talked to us and then we had fireworks in the garden which Shri Mataji watched from inside Her flat, and Debu Choudhuri came to give a sitar concert, but was not feeling well and the concert had to be delayed. Shri Mataji spent some time healing his Swadishthan chakra and liver and ultimately he felt so well that he gave what he considered one of his best concerts.

Shri Mataji invited everybody to stay the night at the ashram after the celebrations and suggested that we all get up at 4 am for meditation the next day. The celebrations finished late so there was hardly any sleep but Shri Mataji was there in person in Her flat and we could all feel Her presence in the ashram, and getting up collectively in big numbers very early for meditation was a memorable occasion and a very deep experience. We were all mindful not to make noise as the noise travelled through the floorboards from the first floor onto Shri Mataji’s apartment on the ground floor.

Shri Mataji mentioned at the time that She was not pleased that something had been published in a London Sahaja Yoga newsletter, i.e. an isolated quote of Hers, taken out of context, and which might have caused misunderstandings. The issue was to do with neighbours. In a certain talk Shri Mataji had warned that some neighbours can at times give problems to Sahaja Yoga. We all know that Shri Mataji does not preach hatred towards neighbours, much to the contrary, and great care has always been needed in selecting isolated statements.

Luis Garrido

The Sahaja Yogis’ desire (diary entry)

In 1983 the Diwali Puja was to be celebrated in London on the 7th November. The puja concluded a series of celebrations which take place at this time of year. Each one has a particular significance, Shri Mataji explained, during a marvellous introductory conversation the evening before the puja, at the Surbiton ashram in south London.

The struggle against evil is particularly intense, and Diwali is the final, concluding moment of a drama that She plays out every year to show the victory of our Mother. This is shown clearly, internally in the chakras, where the work is done on a larger scale.

Shri Mataji was so beautiful; She spoke about America, from where She had returned the week before, with great satisfaction. She explained how the attention and desire of all the Sahaja Yogis of the world had made it possible for the Adi Shakti to intervene and save even this lost part of humanity. It was the compassion of we who know the normal state of consciousness of humans, but who have risen to a level that is closer to the divine, that in the form of a request, an appeal, to the divine compassion has made this miracle possible.

Alessandra Pallini

Diwali Puja, 1983 (diary entry)

The 7th of November was the day of the puja. That morning Shri Mataji spoke to us of the aspect of the divine which is worshipped at Diwali (Shri Lakshmi in Her eight forms), of the behaviour of the Sahaja Yogis and their shortcomings in respect to the qualities of this chakra. She spoke in particular about the miserliness of the English, their economic problems and their lack of generosity. We then went from the Surbiton ashram to the Temple of All Faiths, in Hampstead, where we had the puja.

The vibrations at the puja were extremely strong. In Her discourse Shri Mataji spoke of the importance of stabilising the principle of Shri Lakshmi within us, in the form of material wellbeing and satisfaction, because only then can our attention be on the divine, and the principle of Lakshmi can evolve into Mahalakshmi.

At the end of the puja gifts were offered to Shri Mataji, and She said that we should not give Her any more saris – this happened when She was covered with so many saris of many colours, shining with gold inlay, which went right down to Her Feet, and adorned Her like a rainbow, as bright as the sun, the colours of the Sahasrara. They had been presented by the different English and European centres. Her face expressed a state of complete and profound satisfaction and the serenity of the Spirit.

After the puja we remained with Shri Mataji and had our meal in Her presence, sitting around Her. Then various people went to pay their respects to Her, to Her Feet, and to talk to Her. She listened to everyone and spoke to everyone. She gave Her attention to everyone in Her form of Shri Mahamaya, in Her human aspect, and was in all of us in Her subtle form as the individual Kundalini. She continued to work on each and every one of us. At a certain point Her look met mine – naturally I had my eyes fixed on Her and for a few seconds had the reassuring and marvellous sensation of Her love and attention on me, and it was within me, without my needing to go to Her Feet or speak to Her.

At about six o’clock Shri Mataji left, very pleased that we had absorbed the vibrations which were so strong. She said that the fact we had meditated the evening before, when we were waiting for Her to come to Surbiton, and so when we were in Her presence had already been cleansed, meant we could be good instruments to receive the grace of the divine. From Her this flowed, to our open chakras. Shri Mataji said at the end, smiling, that She hoped that we would all become rich! Let us hope so!

Alessandra Pallini

Shri Mataji waved Her hand

We had been invited to Shri Mataji’s ashram in Surbiton, London, around the time of Diwali. This was soon after getting realisation, in about November 1983, and Sean had only just been made aware of Her status as Sakshat Shri Adi Shakti. Shri Mataji was speaking with some Indian businessmen and trying to explain to them about vibratory awareness.

Look at all the people in the room with their hands towards Me,’ She said. The room was packed, with most seated on the floor. We were standing close to the open door where the gathering spilled out into the hall. Sean had been given a lift to the venue by other yogis who had to leave and Sean felt uncomfortable at having to leave so early, especially without asking Mother’s permission, so in his heart asked if it was all right to go.

Astonishingly, Shri Mataji looked over towards him across the crowded room and waved, Her wrist bangles making the event somewhat musical. Sean was amazed at this and couldn’t quite believe it had happened, so he bowed his head and went into a short meditation. When Sean looked up at Mother, She again looked over and waved Her hand. Sean performed namaste and departed completely at ease.

Sean Kelly

That started my seeking

About two months before I got realisation, in 1983, I had to do a gilding job, some chairs and a sofa, because that is my work. I had to deliver them to Brompton Square, just up from Shri Mataji’s house. One afternoon I was driving round Brompton Square very slowly, looking for the house where the chairs had to go. I got to the other side and saw a beautiful lady wearing a wonderful sari.

I now know it was Shri Mataji and She must have just got back from a function with Sir CP. I was surprised, because I had never seen an Indian lady dressed as beautifully, it was fantastic and that stuck in my mind.

As I got to the house where I had to go, near Shri Mataji’s house, I am sure that Mother looked at me and then went back inside Her house. That started my seeking.

Antonio Scialo

About shoe beating

One day at Brompton Square (about 1983) Shri Mataji was reading some letters. A Sahaja Yogi had gone to Spain to spread Sahaja Yoga, and Shri Mataji had asked him to write and report on the situation, but his letter was all about his own shoe beating. Because he was living in a high rise block of flats and did not have a garden, his only option was shoe beating on the outside part of the windowsill, but he was overlooked by neighbours and could not concentrate properly. Shri Mataji said it was sad that people wrote to Her and discussed such minor problems. For this reason we did not dare ask the answer, though we wanted to know. This question had already been asked to Shri Mataji by other yogis and the answer was that if circumstances didn’t allow one to do shoe beating outdoors, one can do it indoors. If one is worried about causing noise one can do it on a pillow, but one must do it somehow.

On several occasions when someone came to visit Shri Mataji, She would instruct one or two yogis to go outside onto the patio and shoe beat the name of that person. At times we saw Shri Mataji Herself doing a different style of destroying negativity, while sitting barefoot on a settee. She would put Her attention on a certain problem and then hit the floor with Her heel. This would take hardly a minute or two with Shri Mataji counting and concentrating on the problem, and there was a rhythm in the beating. She did not speak while doing this.

We also saw Shri Mataji doing a different version of shoe beating very discreetly in the streets, while wearing Her shoes. She would tap the ground with Her left heel, standing by a wall. All this was so discreet that no member of the public would have noticed it, because She was hardly lifting the foot up, though the tapping was with a fast rhythm and virtually noiseless. She did not talk while doing it. I once saw Her do this before going into a public programme, while outside.

Luis Garrido

I am your Mother

Shri Mataji’s endless love, compassion and generosity – She was always giving and sharing everything from Her food to Her saris and even one day, in 1983, I was about to leave Brompton Square to return to my part time job at Harrods. I had taken Shri Mataji Her lunch and was about to leave when She suddenly appeared, as She did on many occasions.

‘Thelma, have you had your lunch?’ She asked me.

‘I will get a sandwich,’ I replied.

‘No such thing, sit down,’ She said, then She started to prepare me food, I was so shocked.

‘Mother, I am supposed to be taking care of You. I will get into trouble from…’ I said.

‘I am your Mother!’ She said.

This is poignant because as an elder sibling I had always prepared food, bathed and looked after my younger siblings in the home and in fact could not remember my own mother preparing food for me or even asking me if I had eaten. It dawned on me that of course Shri Mataji knew that and wanted to give me the experience of a real Mother’s love. She cooked the most delicious biryani I have ever tasted. As I sat there, watching Her stirring and adding spices and telling me about Her daughters and grandchildren and their food preferences, friendships etc, laughing and enjoying, She also told me that cooking and feeding people was a great way to spread vibrations. So having Lakshmi Tattwa I just knew that one day I would have to share these amazing vibrations with others, as I soaked up Her presence and amazed that the Mother of Christ was actually serving me food.

‘You don’t have to eat those,’ She said, as I ate (even the chillies) – too late!

I knew She was clearing me and I was and always will be in awe and thankful that She would even give me Her divine attention. So with that in mind I cater and bake for the Chinese here in Shanghai as often as I can.

Thelma Fishley Patmore

Gifts

Many will remember pujas when Shri Mataji used to hand out gifts at the end, sitting tirelessly on stage into the small hours oblivious both to the cold and the late hour. She would also often give spontaneously to those who came to Her home. Should any guest express pleasure on seeing an object, or should their eyes even linger momentarily on a piece of art, they risked going home with it.

‘Please have it! I was wondering what I was going to give you,’ Shri Mataji would implore.
The gifts given often expressed both Shri Mataji’s great love for Her children– and Her great sense of humour. I recall someone once being given a beautiful ceramic cockerel; in Her own words this was to help them wake up in the morning!
There were also days when Shri Mataji would decide to ‘sort out’ surplus belongings. One would find Her seated among a sea of objects piled up around Her; from saris to crockery. She would then rapidly distribute these vibrated items to the delight of those present. Each gift given so spontaneously, and seemingly randomly, was always highly pertinent to the recipient.
During one of those great sorting out days Shri Mataji was in full flow, hardly looking down at the next object to be given, when She spotted me and said, ‘I want to give something for your father,’ (he had recently come into Sahaj). As She reached down Her hand touched a small ornamental brass wagon, the wagon was carrying an elegant crystal drinks decanter and six crystal glasses, just the ornamental horses were missing to pull the cart. As Shri Mataji handed it to me to carry home, the private significance of the gift was not lost and we shared a little smile as I bowed down in thanks.
As mentioned in an earlier recollection, when all our family first came to Sahaj my father held back from meeting Shri Mataji because he felt ashamed to still be drinking alcohol. Though a life-long seeker, he had struggled to give up drinking. Many times he had gone ‘on the wagon’ – this was the special expression he always used for a period of abstaining, these periods usually lasted no more than six months. One day Shri Mataji asked why he wouldn’t come and my mum told about him wanting to stop drinking completely before meeting Her.

‘But that’s My job! Doesn’t he know it? It’s My job to wash all the sins of the seekers away,’ I remember Shri Mataji exclaiming.

Soon after, he put away his fears and did come to Her Lotus Feet, and as a happy by-product of his self-realisation, was able to stay ‘on the wagon’ till the end of his days.

Danya Martoglio

Saint Ann

I recall Shri Mataji saying that Saint Ann, the mother of Mary was an (anch?) avatar of Shri Mahakali.

Gregoire de Kalbermatten

The vibrations are not alright

There was a group of about six young men at Brompton Square one day in 1983. We were all feeling rather lethargic and sat down expecting to spend a nice time at Shri Mataji’s Feet listening to Her soothing motherly words and knowledge, but on that occasion Shri Mataji surprised us.

‘The vibrations in this room are not alright, let us turn them around,’ She stated, and had us moving furniture in all directions, but ‘No, it’s not working,’ She kept saying.

We were still rather serious and worried that we might have to make a few extra changes to the room before the vibrations would lift up. Shri Mataji suggested we bring in additional furniture from the upstairs rooms. This was turning into serious hard work and we were starting to feel a bit tired and worried, but we acceded. Nothing would work, the furniture was too big to fit in and had to be taken back upstairs and still the vibrations were not alright according to Shri Mataji.

We all felt responsible for fixing this and jumped out of our inertia and started grabbing whatever furniture we felt might be the right size and colour from the adjacent rooms. Then we realised how much energy we had if only we put our hearts into solving this problem. But the vibrations were still not right!  We were on the verge of bursting into arguments and were all full of intelligent suggestions, offering them to Shri Mataji, but nothing would work. At one point we all fell to the ground having a good laugh and after a few more attempts Shri Mataji took charge.

‘Just put this one here and push that one a little bit there,’ She patiently said.

Lo and behold everything fell into place and it was incredibly beautiful and different from anything we had ever seen. Now we were elated, thus we sat down again in front of Shri Mataji’s seat expecting Her usual address and comforting words. We were all rather red and sweaty, yet feeling very happy that we had earned the right to sit down.

‘Sometimes it is alright to experiment a little bit, isn’t it?’ Shri Mataji commented. ‘Can someone please open this window for Me?’ One of us stood up and did so, and She went on, ‘Truly you should all have got up at the same time to open the window.’

Then we knew we were still not quite yet there as a group, though we had made some progress from sheer lethargy into action. Shri Mataji closed Her eyes and went into meditation and so did we all, and what a blissful experience Mother gave us while we meditated at Her Feet. There was never a boring moment in the presence of Shri Mataji.

 Luis Garrido

Divine plasterwork at Brompton Square

X marks the panel, five bars up on the left hand side, where Shri Mataji demonstrated the plastering of the outside. The plastering was the smoothest ever!

Shri Mataji asked us to repair the outside plaster which was all pitted. She put some dry Polyfilla powder into the paint and we mixed it up together, and we then painted it on. When it was finished we tried to make a new batch but it didn’t work and went lumpy. We asked one of the leaders to tell Shri Mataji, and She came out and asked us how we had mixed it. When we mentioned that we’d done it the same as Her mix She said that was wrong and we should mix the Polyfilla with water first before mixing it with the paint. I realised Shri Mataji had played a little game with us and I said the mantra, ‘Om twameva sakshat Shri Vishvakarma sakshat….’ (You are the divine architect). She was standing by the door looking towards me as I was saying it – ending with ‘Ki jai!’ and everyone also said ‘Ki jai!’ She took my trowel and smoothed the bit on the left, and then it all went ok.

Derek Ferguson

Another way to renovate us

There were several of us working in Shri Mataji’s house in London. The complete redecoration of this house was another of our Mother’s ventures through which She could renovate us. So: I am hammering a nail into a piece of skirting board when I hit my finger instead – not too hard, but hard enough for me to look at it and shake it. Then all at once I see Shri Mataji hurrying over from the other side of the room: the Holy Spirit in the guise of a human being. Her concern that I might have hurt myself is so great that it surprises me: I feel abashed and say, ‘No, no, it’s all right, it’s fine.’

Chris Greaves

Myth and reality

We were in Brompton Square.

‘You see the glass from one side, and I see it from the other,’ Shri Mataji said, about reality. In other words, She said that we see the material world as reality and the spiritual world as myth, but for Her, ‘I see the spiritual world as reality, and the physical world as myth.’ I cannot remember, thirty years later, whether She used the word myth, or some simile.

She also said, in Her bedroom, to a group of us, ‘You must keep saying to yourself, I am the Spirit, I am the Spirit,’ whereas I have to keep saying to Myself, ‘I am a human being, I am a human being,’ and of course we all laughed.

 Kay McHugh

Always the gifts would be perfect

Most of the Sahaja Yogis from England went to work and help at Brompton Square. Shri Mataji always wanted to buy something for them, to give something to them. She went out and bought these wonderful suits. You would come and there would be ten or fifteen suits laid out.

‘Oh this one will be good for John, as it is his size and this is good for Pat and this is good for Fergy,’ Shri Mataji would say. She knew exactly what to buy and what to get. Shri Mataji would say to each of us, ‘Try this one.’ And the size would be perfect. Sometimes She would say, ‘No that one doesn’t look good on you, change it over.’ But always the gifts would be perfect. We were so looked after by Her. We were working on Her house, but She was working on us. She would always go out and buy us a suit or jumpers or ties. She always, all the time, would come back with something for us.

Antonio Scialo

‘Thou art one with her and knowest not of self in thy supreme joy’

I arrived in the basement and there was Shri Mataji in the kitchen, which was in the basement. I came in through the door.

‘Hello, come here. Just put your hand on My Centre Heart,’ Shri Mataji said, so I walked over and put my hand on Her back at the Centre Heart. There were various people there working and She was moving around the kitchen, so I was walking after Her.

‘Push harder,’ She would say every now and again, and I was pushing so hard, but She was solid as a rock. That went on for a few minutes.

‘Thank you very much,’ She said and that was it. I just went off to work. It had completely cleared my Centre Heart and I had so much energy, I was running around the house and hugging everyone and I felt love for everyone and everything. I got so much work done that day because my Centre Heart was so clear.

John Watkinson

Shri Mataji would get involved in all the work

Brompton Square was a jewellery box. Shri Mataji would get involved with all the work, She showed yogis how to stain furniture, all kinds of things and it would surprise some tradesmen that She even showed how to apply filler on the walls. On the outside of the house Shri Mataji applied filler and it was as smooth as glass. Shri Mataji would wear the same coat and shoes and headscarf, and would be involved with the work, or sometimes sit in a room with all the work going on around Her while talking to us or working on us.

John Watkinson

Picking up on the right protocols  

Whilst staying at Brompton Square, I saw how subtly Shri Mataji taught us things. One day She told me to let the kitchen servant know that it would be best for her if she would respectfully touch Shri Mataji’s Feet each morning. I had been, just prior to that, in a quandary as to whether or not it was protocol to go to Mother’s Feet or not. Not wanting to behave inappropriately, especially in Her own home, I didn’t know what to do. So I had my answer. I was to tell the servant she was to touch Mother’s Feet each day and clearly that was a message for me as well.

I took the cue and the next morning greeted Mother in the traditional way by touching Her Feet; it was quite evident by the vibrations that it was the right thing to do. Later when it was appropriate for me to leave or not to touch Her Feet any more, it also became very obvious that it was no longer the thing to do — a very  subtle way of picking up the right protocols.

Vicki Halperin

See how beautiful nature is

One day, after a shopping trip in London, Shri Mataji left it to me to give the directions to the driver to get back to Her house at Brompton Square, while expressing Her concern that it had become very late. It was during the rush hour and I’d suggested a route through Hyde Park, which once we’d embarked on, it wasn’t really possible to turn back.

‘This way gets very busy. It may not be quicker,’ Shri Mataji said when we were well on the way.

I was upset because I felt I had made a wrong choice and was responsible for causing Her some inconvenience. The traffic was almost at a standstill. She must have known I was feeling guilty, as She started admiring the trees. It was late autumn and She looked at the bare branches and the finer twigs.

‘See, what lace – see how beautiful nature is to entertain us and to give us such joy,’ She said.  Whereupon it changed from a tortuous journey through the traffic to this amazing experience and admiration of nature and, of course, my heart lifted up again.

Vicki Halperin

Thank you for not arguing

I had a few experiences driving Shri Mataji around. It’s strange how when you drove Shri Mataji around in Her car, the geography of the streets changed. She was basically working on us. She was working on me in particular at that time.

‘You should always know that I have a reason for telling you these things,’ She said. It was like ‘thank you for not arguing,’ because we assumed we knew the way to go to those places.

Ray Harris

There’s a reason

I was with you, Ray. Do you remember when we drove round and round the Barbican Centre in the City of London. Shri Mataji was in the back of the car and I was sitting in the front with you driving. We were heading back to Brompton Square after Mother had been shopping in the East End of London; She had bought suits and other things to take back to India as gifts for Her brothers. You and I both thought we knew the way back and which turnings to take but Mother would disagree each time.

‘No, no, go the other way,’ She said.

‘Yes, Mother,’ Ray said. We ended up in the heartland of the Barbican and had great difficulty getting our bearings again we just couldn’t find our way out. It was like a maze, we kept trying to get out but kept passing the Theatre again and again.

‘You see,’ said Shri Mataji, ‘I have to be in this place. There’s a reason.’

Vicki Halperin

He’s all right now

I started off driving really carefully. ‘Her car,’ I thought. ‘I mustn’t crash the car.’ I was really, really careful.

‘Give Ray a bandhan,’ Shri Mataji said at one point, I think it must have been the same day, on the way back west, just as we had gone shopping. I was still feeling very, very careful and I think maybe that’s why She gave me a bandhan. Suddenly, I just went off, driving like forty-five, fifty just like everyone else on the Great West Road.

‘Oh, he’s all right now,’ She said.

Ray Harris

You are here to enjoy yourself

At the end of a public programme Shri Mataji was giving at the Hampstead Town Hall, London, in November 1983, She was patiently listening to an old English gentleman talk away to Her for what seemed a long time and then all of a sudden, as if Shri Mataji felt me looking at Her, She looked at me and in a comical way raised Her eyes in an upward gesture as if to share the fun and humour of the situation while this man continued to speak such nonsense to Her!

Later, at another programme I went to give Shri Mataji a flower. I remember at the time feeling so busy with thoughts, concerned with what Mother wanted me to do and how She wanted me to live my life. Not saying anything, I gave Her the flower, and Mother just looked at me as if to answer my thoughts.

‘Just enjoy yourself. You are here to enjoy yourself!’ She said. It has become the mantra of my life ever since.

   Colin Heinsen

I do so remember that feeling of holding Shri Mataji’s soft shawl – sometimes wishing that I could be a thread in that shawl … or a flower in Her garland. She told us each garment/object had a Gana attached to it so I was always aware of this when holding anything belonging to Her!

Danya Martoglio

Forgive the white people

These recollections are from a public programme in Hampstead Town Hall, London.

‘Where’s he catching?’ Shri Mataji asked, while working on a young man who followed a certain cult*, a newcomer.

‘Agnya,’ someone replied.

‘Forgive, forgive the white people,’ She said loudly, then, ‘Ha! Got it.’

At the same programme She was working on an older intellectual man, Her hands pressing on his head.

‘Hmm, you’ve read too many books. What books have you read?’ She asked. The gentleman reeled out a list of impressive authors, including some so-called literary masterpieces. ‘No good, no good, these are catching up your Swadishthan and Agnya. You should read Barbara Cartland*, she’s a realised soul.’
*Editor’s note: members of this cult are of African origin, and Barbara Cartland was a writer of light romantic novels.

Marilyn Leate

An overwhelming feeling of joy and divine bliss

I first saw Shri Mataji at a public programme in Hampstead Town Hall, in 1983. I was right up the front with the new people, and when Shri Mataji entered the hall we all stood up and I turned around. She came from the back, and immediately She entered the hall I had an incredible experience. My Kundalini was just shooting through my Agnya and Sahasrara. There is the song Your face shines like a thousand suns. It was like that. Shri Mataji came and sat down, and gave Her talk. Afterwards we were invited to come and meet Her. I bowed down to Her and She asked me how I was.

‘You felt it, didn’t you?’ She asked. I couldn’t speak. I was absolutely speechless. I nodded my head. I had an overwhelming feeling of joy and divine bliss.

Leanne Huet

A black heart

Once at a public meeting at a London venue in the early 1980’s a man asked a question from the audience after a lecture by Shri Mataji. It came across to me as a cheeky, arrogant, facetious question, although I can’t remember exactly what it was. Shri Mataji said that the man was a ‘black heart’ or that the answer was it was because of a ‘black heart’. The man asked what that was. Shri Mataji told the man he knew very well what a black heart was.

                                                           Andrew Low

The white handbag

It had been a long while since Shri Mataji had given Her darshan to the English collective because She had been travelling abroad. Then an invitation arrived for the whole collective to gather for a Diwali celebration at Her residence, the flat below the Surbiton Ashram. Shri Mataji had also invited a sitar maestro to give a concert to us.

Since Shri Mataji would spend Christmas in India the UK Sahaja Yogis arranged a Diwali present for Her in lieu of a Christmas present. It was a white leather handbag. Shri Mataji seemed pleased with the gesture and accepted it.

Someone pointed out that inside was a small coin wallet in the same white leather. She opened the handbag, searched for the wallet and having found it, opened it.

‘But it is empty, there are no coins in it,’ She said.

Then Shri Mataji asked for Her own handbag to be brought so She could put some coins in it as it was not auspicious for it to be empty. Some Sahaja Yogis came forward with a couple of coins, but She said She would only accept one quarter of a pound, because traditionally when one is giving £100 to charity, it is more auspicious to give £101 instead of £100. Conversely, when receiving, it is more auspicious to ask for less. This principle is also related to the notion some shopkeepers have that it is better to charge £9.99 instead of £10.

At the beginning of Her talk Shri Mataji stated that She was feeling better and She had recovered from Her cold because collectively we had desired that She got better. In those days She allowed the Sahaja Yogis to say a prayer wishing Her a long life and good health, but gradually over the years She did not allow this practice to continue.

The next day Shri Mataji commented in private that while She was giving Her talk the day before the vibrations were not flowing from Her to the back of the room because a lady very new to Sahaja Yoga, still in a bad vibrational state, had sat right in front of Her and had blocked the flow. We all knew who it was, but to our amazement Shri Mataji invited her to come and stay with Her as a guest. Some time later, redecoration was taking place at another of Shri Mataji’s residences.

‘Shri Mataji, this place is looking more beautiful every day!’ I exclaimed.

‘What I enjoy most is seeing, for instance how this lady is looking so well now that her vibrations have improved,’ She replied. ‘It’s one thing to make a place look nice, but to redecorate human beings is only possible if they cooperate. I cannot do it against their will. What pleases Me most is seeing people who at one time were not well and now are progressing well, and I never forget how much they have changed.’

Luis Garrido

An inauspicious day to travel

In December 1983, there was an incident involving the late Mr Dhumal, who in the early days of Sahaja Yoga in India gave realisation to a great number of people. He came to see Shri Mataji in London at Surbiton ashram. A week later, on the day he was going to travel back to India, he did not have a chance to see Shri Mataji in person to take leave. He asked me to inform Shri Mataji that he was travelling back that day. I had an opportunity to see Her that morning and related that he was about to travel back to India. Shri Mataji told me to tell him not to travel as it was not an auspicious day and it was also a Wednesday.

Dhumal did not make alternative arrangements to travel on a different day and tried to take a flight that very day. The next day Shri Mataji Herself was travelling to India.  We, the whole collective, were invited to come to the airport to see Her off. Arriving at the airport we were surprised to see the Mr Dhumal still there, looking very tired and unable to get on a flight. His flight had been cancelled the previous day and there was no flight available for him to travel back, this being a busy travelling time close to Christmas. He had spent the previous day waiting at the airport and had spent the night on a bench at the airport lounge.

He was surprised to see Shri Mataji arriving at the airport as he did not know that She was travelling that very day. Mr Dhumal told Shri Mataji that if he had followed Her advice he could have saved himself a lot of trouble and still he had no flight and he had already waited a whole day and night without success. Then Shri Mataji made some travelling enquiries at the airport and was able to arrange a place for him on the very same flight in which She was travelling and thus took Mr Dhumal out of his predicament. Then we remembered how accurate Shri Mataji had been when warning him not to travel the previous day on account of it being an inauspicious day for him to travel.

Luis Garrido

Shri Mataji was looking at the vibrations

There was a Christmas Puja at the Temple of All Faiths in Hampstead, London. Shri Mataji gave me a picture. For some of the other older Sahaja Yogis, She had different things. She had a lot of ties, and She had wrapped them all up. They were all wrapped up in exactly the same way. They were all different, but they were all wrapped up the same way, so there was no way of knowing one from the other. Shri Mataji was giving packages out – She gave one to somebody, and then off he went, and She gave a couple more out.

‘No, don’t take that one. Give me that one back, please,’ She said. Then She gave them to someone else. Then She gave him another sealed parcel, and he opened it up and it matched the suit he was wearing exactly.

Douglas Fry