Chapter 26: 1983 – December, India

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

A nativity play

We did a nativity play to Mother in Delhi, in the old temple at Safdarjung Enclave, in December 1983. The Nepali ladies had come from Dharmshala and did the aarti to Mother as She came in. The Indian Sahaja Yogis had mostly never seen a nativity play and quite enjoyed it. Mother was, as always, gracious and wonderful towards the children. She gave all of us involved in the production handmade ceramic tile, after the play.

‘These are the foundations of the new educational system,’ She said.

I recall the sweetness of the children, with Joseph walking to one side of the stage and Mary to the other, of our rehearsals of carol singing with the Indian Yoginis, of the graciousness and beautiful smile and joy emanating from Shri Mataji, as She sat beside Sir CP on the altar dais.

Bogunia Bensaude

A kumkum story

We were in Delhi, at the Safdarjung Temple, in 1983. Shri Mataji was sitting on the dais and I was standing near the door of the bedroom. Another Delhi Sahaja Yogini, Mrs Mathur, was next to me. We were watching the yogis and yoginis going up and giving things to Shri Mataji to vibrate. Mrs Mathur wanted to get some kumkum vibrated, so she fetched a potful to give to Shri Mataji, and was waiting her turn. When it came she asked Shri Mataji a couple of times, but there was no responseHH.

‘I heard you what you are asking, but check the kumkum box – there is no kumkum inside,’ Shri Mataji told her. Mrs Mathur felt so embarrassed, and checked the container – it was empty!

Oh Divine Mother, nothing is hidden from You! Your glance can penetrate anywhere and into anything. You are beyond our comprehension.
Pramila Mehra

The blessing of children

I was with Shri Mataji in Delhi, where She was staying, along with my family. At the time we did not have any idea about the good news that we were about to receive.

‘You know a great soul is coming in your family?’ She mentioned.
Soon after this my son and daughter-in-law were blessed with a son, and Shri Mataji gave him the name Arjun. Later on when he was a year old She said he needed company and a year after that another son was born, and She gave him the name Amrut.

Pramila Mehra

Good to feel the catch

I was in the Sahaja Temple at Safdarjung, in Delhi, and was standing near to Shri Mataji. I got a chance to tell Her that I felt a pain in my right side, under the ribs, when I paid attention to that spot. She said it was a good sign that I could feel it, because usually people do not feel anything, and eat what they are not supposed to. She told me She would take the problem out of my liver. Shri Mataji gave me so much contentment and security and I am extremely thankful to Her for Her love and care.

Pramila Mehra

Protected by Shri Ganesha

When Maneesh Singh was getting married in Delhi, we stayed in some flats, with the relations. We all went out for Shri Mataji’s programme; we left early and came back late in the evening. The main door of the apartment was wide open and everyone was worried about their jewellery and valuables, but nothing was missing, and even my small dog, which would normally have gone out onto the road, was still in the flat.

When we were again at the programme I mentioned to Shri Mataji about this and She said the innocence of the person is always protected by Shri Ganesha. She has done so many miracles for us, and we do not have enough words to thank Her.

Pramila Mehra

Kumkum

The first time I attended a Sahaja puja in Delhi, a young girl was applying kumkum to everyone, and when my turn came I stopped her. She was taken aback.

‘This is a must for everyone,’ she said.

‘If it is so then when Shri Mataji will tell me and I will do it,’ I replied. Everyone who was listening was surprised, and but left it at that.

Some time later I was in Nasik in the house of some Sahaja Yogis where Shri Mataji was staying. She called me in Her room and was sitting on Her bed and some Sahaja Yogis were there too. She asked one of them to bring some kumkum which was on HHHBHer dressing table, called me and applied it on my forehead.

‘It is big like My bindi, but it looks good on you – I know you like a small one,’ She said. That experience gave me such deep silence, and total thoughtlessness, I cannot describe it in words, but wanted to enjoy it as long as I could. When I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror, I could not recognise my face; it was glowing pink and serene.

Pramila Mehra

A very special Christmas

In 1983 I was staying in the Delhi Temple – the Sahaja Yoga centre – with two Western Sahaja Yogis. Along with a few yogis from Delhi we were invited to travel to Nagpur to spend Christmas with Shri Mataji and Her family. We took the train from Delhi, an experience in itself, arrived at Nagpur and reached the place where Shri Mataji was staying. Bogunia, from Australia, and I were told which room Shri Mataji was in, so along we went, and knocked on the door, and heard Her voice.

‘Come in!’

Shri Mataji was sitting on a low stool looking through some photographs. One of Her daughters and Her son-in-law were also there, in another part of the same room, reading a newspaper, and it was so casual and easy.

We went straight to Mother’s Feet and bowed down. Then She started sharing with us the family photographs and explaining them to us. I particularly remember seeing one when She was very young, beautiful and serene, that many of us know as pendants.

‘Look, this is Me when I was sixteen,’ She said.

There was a big lunch outdoors in a marquee – a real family gathering that we were fortunate to be a part of.

On Christmas Eve there was another large gathering, again in a marquee. One of Mother’s brothers, who was involved in the church, gave a Christmas speech – a pre-Christmas sermon really. There were various entertainments and here was Shri Mataji amongst Her family, at Christmas time.

At some point during the evening Mother suggested that Bogunia, myself and Linda , from England, should sing a Christmas carol. We knelt at Her Feet, She pulled Her sari over Her head, and we sang to Her – beautiful, profound – an amazing moment, to be sitting at the Lotus Feet of Mary Herself, on this unforgettable Christmas Eve, singing a carol, performing a puja. Time stood still, and we were just in that moment, with our beloved Mother.

The next day, Christmas Day, we were invited to go to church, to the service that Shri Mataji would also attend. When we arrived it was pretty full and they had put rows of benches outside for the overflow. We went and sat on one, and could see Shri Mataji inside through an open door. It started to drizzle and She asked us come and sit with Her – somehow we squeezed right in front of Her, sitting on the floor, in the church.

The service went on with hymns, carols and a sermon or two. I remember hearing Mother’s bangles jangling all through the service – like there was a lot of ‘work’ going on, and by the end Her bindi was smudged right across Her forehead. When the money collection came round, before Shri Mataji put Her contribution in, She bandhaned the bowl a few times. After the service we followed Mother out of the church with Her family members and there were lots of ‘Happy Christmases’ and exchanges of greetings.

‘Come with Me,’ Shri Mataji said to us yogis, after a while.

We followed Her back into the church, up the aisle and out of the main entrance. Many people were gathered here, chatting away. Among the crowd was an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair.

‘Nirmala!’ he exclaimed on seeing Mother.

She walked over to him – he had been Shri Mataji’s father’s valet. After exchanging a few words Mother told us to gather round. She started working on him and we joined in. After some time he stood up and took a few steps, in sheer delight and astonishment. Mother had performed a miracle on the threshold of the church, on Christmas Day, and no one really noticed, except the Sahaja Yogis – and did we really understand what we had just witnessed?

Tina Cesbron

Christmas with Shri Mataji

A few days before Christmas in 1983, Shri Mataji said that at Christmas, the city of Nagpur was arranging for the official unveiling of a statue Her father, Shri PK Salve. Mother said that any Sahaja Yogis who wanted to go and spend Christmas in Nagpur with Her and the family were welcome to do so. In the end, there were about seven of us.

The ceremony for the dedication of the statue was as it should have been, very grand, with many dignitaries there, including the Vice President of India and the Premier for the State of Maharashtra. Mr Salve was praised and remembered in about five languages, a tribute to his genius as a linguist, and they all said what a great soul he had been and how he had always thought of himself as an Indian, not a Maharashtrian or a member of any one religious group. In his speech, Sir CP also praised Shri Mataji.

There were hundreds of people, including a lot of members of the Salve family. By chance or design, Mother later said the place where the statue was put up was very auspicious because it was exactly on that spot that Her father had stood up to and strongly reprimanded a British soldier who had spoken in a rude manner to Shri Mataji, many years before when She had been going to school in a tonga.

In the evening we three Western Sahaja Yogis sang some English carols, and were rather nervous in front of everyone, a gathering of the family. We were all invited to the family church on Christmas Day. Those of us who were not part of the family were given chairs to sit on in the garden outside the church because it was not big enough for everyone. However, the rain came down just after the service started and we all ran inside through a side door and happened to finish up sitting on the floor at Shri Mataji’s Holy Feet. It was strange to be at a church service with Mother, who was sitting in the front row, in the congregation. Her brother, who was a bishop, was giving a sermon at that moment.

After the service, all the people in the church, mostly members of the Salve family, went out and began greeting each other in the area round about the church. The ladies were dressed in gorgeous silks and jewellery and the men also looked very smart because it was Christmas Day. Mother remained seated in the church until the crowd had cleared and there were some Sahaja Yogis with Her. Then She got up and walked down the main aisle and we followed Her. We all went out of the main door with Shri Mataji, and only the Sahaja Yogis were with Her at that point. There was a portico outside and in one corner was an old man in a wheelchair. He hadn’t walked for years.

‘Oh, it’s little Nirmala! I was a servant in your father’s household,’ he said in Marathi.

‘Get up and walk,’ said Mother. And he did. He got up out of his wheelchair and walked towards Mother.

Linda Williams

Shri Mataji looked like Mother Mary

Visiting Nagpur over the Christmas season and staying in the compound with Shri Mataji and Her family was another great blessing. My memories have a dream-like quality, of the three of us Sahaja Yogis sitting in a semi-circle on the ground of the pendal before Shri Mataji and Her family, and singing Silent Night. On looking up, I saw Shri Mataji had covered Her head with Her blue sari and looked like Mother Mary. Her face was lustrous and beautiful, young, joyous, serene, yet sad and perhaps wistful. For those brief minutes it was as though we were doing a puja.

Earlier that afternoon, while passing Shri Mataji’s room, She had called me in to come and have a look. She and Her daughters were seated on the bed, looking at photos. Shri Mataji showed me a family grouping. She was standing in the midst of it — a young woman, with the eternally sweet smile and dignity and gravity.

Bogunia Bensaude