Chapter 04: 1981 – Back in London

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

London-Mumbai, Mumbai-London

I had just come to Sahaja Yoga, and had applied for a London basing in my airline job, which seemed impossible at the time because it was done on a point system and I had just used up all my points. While I was on the India tour, I had got the London basing and, to this day, I don’t know how. I didn’t question it. I told Shri Mataji I was coming to London.

‘Oh, good, then you can come and stay at My house,’ Shri Mataji said.

My trips were London-Mumbai, Mumbai-London, so it worked out for Mother that She had somebody to take things backwards and forwards, while She was in India, with all the work at Brompton Square.

After Shri Mataji had come back to India from the Australia tour, I got a trip from London down to Mumbai and was so excited. The yogis at Chelsham Road ashram gave me money to buy flowers for Shri Mataji in India, and I went and bought the biggest bouquet, which was taller than I was and it was so wide I had to walk sideways in through the door to give it to Her and that’s when Shri Mataji wrote that lovely letter.

Kay McHugh

I must write a letter for the flowers

My heart was so full to see Shri Mataji again after being away from Her for those weeks that I walked into the room with the flowers and presented them to Her and I sat down at Her Feet and there were other people sitting down around Her Feet at the time. Shri Mataji told me that She’d said some wonderful things in Australia and was telling me all the things that had happened on the Australia tour.

‘I must write a letter for the flowers,’ She said, and it was such a lovely letter.

Kay McHugh

That wonderful letter

What was not much money in the UK, translated into lots of rupees and an enormous bunch of flowers in India. We were amazed when the next week, when Kay reappeared in London, she brought that wonderful letter from Shri Mataji, which we all read with delight, in the kitchen in Chelsham Road. We truly never expected that.

Linda Williams

The full incarnation

Mother once said at Caxton Hall, ‘I am Christ, I am Krishna, and you’d better worship Me in this lifetime.’

Shri Mataji made it clear that we could only come to Shri Sadashiva through Her, because He never incarnates. All the deities were within Her and did not incarnate as separate entities as they did in other times, because this time Shri Mataji was the complete incarnation with all Her powers.

Linda Williams

Supta and Svapantini

It is said in the Shri Lalita Sahasranama that the Divine Mother is known as Shri Turya, the one who transcends all states, but She is also Supta, the one who is the state of deep sleep and Svapantini, the dream state. In the early programmes we saw Mother do many astounding things, sometimes it was as if Shri Durga walked among us hurling vibrational missiles, or it was Mahakali who sat enthroned on the stage stretching Her finger toward the fire to destroy negativity, or using channa to eat bhuts. Among the many miraculous and extraordinary things we witnessed Shri Mataji do was entering into the Ida Nadi channel of the seeker, seemingly going in and out of deep sleep at will, while working on the subtle system. Several times I stood or knelt close to Shri Mataji while She was seated behind a person She was working on. She’d vigorously clear the chakras and raise the Kundalini, Her hands moving upward as She tied three knots above the head, bangles making that delightful musical jangling sound.

‘There is a deep Left Heart,’ sometimes She’d then say, or ‘Void is catching,’ or ‘Now there is a Swadishthan problem’. Then She’d close Her eyes, Her head would go to one side and in a single beat of time She’d have entered the most profound state of sleep and we’d hear a gentle rumbling snoring sound. After working on the problem in the Supta state for a minute She’d open Her eyes bright and wide as if no time had passed.

‘Ah, yes, flowing much better now!’ She’d say, then leaning forward with loving concern She’d ask ‘How is it?’ to the person, perhaps followed by something like, ‘Hm, it’s still not fully there’. Again in an eye-blink Shri Mataji would re-enter the deep sleep state and we’d hear that measured powerful breathing of the Goddess coming in and out. A few seconds afterward again She’d wake up and say, ‘That’s it, the chakra is cleared and the Kundalini is flowing smoothly’. We who had our hands towards Mother as all of this was going on would feel tremendous vibrations at this announcement. It was truly amazing to see the love She poured into each person, how hard She’d work and the lengths She’d go to.

Caleb Williams

A training ground

In those days Shri Mataji would get off the stage to be with the many new people and work on them. Sometimes if we were working on one of the new people She would ask us what we felt and if we did not feel what we should She would explain to us why. As different false guru followers appeared over the years She would give us different mantras and methods to overcome them so the public programmes became a training ground where we could test out whether what we had learned was working or whether we needed more training, so She would be working on both the new person and the Sahaja Yogi who was working on the new person at the same time. Sleeping and standing at the same time is not normally possible but we would witness it all the time. When Shri Mataji was alone with the Sahaja Yogis She would suddenly go back 2000 years and start talking about when She came as Mary and Her son Lord Jesus Christ.

Derek Ferguson

She broke any fanaticism

When vegetarians came to the programmes, generally catching on the left, Shri Mataji would recommend them to eat a McDonald’s hamburger, as much to break the conditionings as anything else. She sometime called McDonald’s ‘Macdougles.’

Shri Mataji often broke Her own rules, giving gifts of black trousers to women, advising a yogini to wear high heels and fancy stockings, chocolates to children, coffee beans given to an ashram, etc.

She broke any fanaticism which attached itself to Her advice.

Marilyn Leate

Boons and fire

My first puja with Shri Mataji was the 5th of May 1981. I came to London from Bristol with the Sahaja Yogis and did not know what was going to happen. A puja, they said, and Chelsham Road ashram was packed. It was an international puja with Sahaja Yogis from all over the world.

At the end of the puja it was said that if you were not born in the UK you could ask for a boon for your country. The first boon I asked for was for a new pseudo-religious movement that was taking hold should be stopped. The second boon was for marijuana to stop being produced by the Mother Earth, because this group said it was a holy herb. The third boon Shri Mataji told me to ask, that another group should stop.

After this, when Shri Mataji was unwrapping presents, the oil burners with wicks caught the wrapping paper, and flames shot up to the ceiling. Everybody stood where they were and Shri Mataji did not move either, so I jumped up, ripped off my corduroy jacket, damped down and put out the fire, then went and sat back down.

Derek Ferguson

Not a single scorch mark

At one of the first pujas I went to at Chelsham Road, a small miracle happened. I was sitting at the back, and suddenly I noticed that quite a sizeable fire had started just by Shri Mataji. I literally threw my coat forward, as I could not get to the front myself, and told someone to put it over the flames. This they did and the fire was put out. After everything was finished and Shri Mataji had left, I went to the front and found my coat in the corner. It did not have a single scorch mark on it.

Bill Hansel

Editor’s note: On one occasion the Sahaja Yogis were honoured to have a concert of classical Indian musicians at Chelsham Road, who played in the presence of Shri Mataji. One of the gentlemen was Mr CV Vyas, who was very well known. In the photo, the musician on the left, who is looking very intently at Shri Mataji, has a light coming out of his Sahasrara.

Shri Mataji was so pleased

When we started singing bhajans Shri Mataji would ask us to get together at Chelsham Road and sing together. We were not successful at first. At last a French yogi captured some qualities of singing bhajans in a more authentic style while on the India Tour, around 1982. Shri Mataji was so pleased. At last a Western yogi had begun the journey towards singing in the Indian style.

Patricia Proenza


We had a lot of mice at Chelsham Road ashram. My mother complained about this to Shri Mataji.

‘Of course you will have mice; it is Shri Ganesha’s house!’ She said.

Auriol Purdie

Alcohol and nicotine

On one occasion Shri Mataji told us that God created alcohol for cleaning jewellery and nicotine was supposed to be a pesticide. However humans drank the alcohol and consequently polish their livers, and poison themselves instead of unwanted insects with the nicotine.

Linda Williams

The wisdom of nursery rhymes, children’s songs

Shri Mataji spoke about nursery rhymes. Concerning this one:

‘Ladybird, ladybird fly away home

Your house is on fire,

Your children are gone.’

She said She was the ladybird and we were Her children. Then there was this one:

‘London Bridge is falling down,’ and it goes on ‘Build it up with bricks and stones…’ but that doesn’t work, so eventually it says:

‘Build it up with rods of iron.’ That works, according to the song, and these are our Kundalinis. Mother was building up the bridge – us – with that.

This is similar to one of the psalms of the bible, where it says:

‘Thy rod and thy staff will comfort me’- that is also the Kundalini.

Auriol Purdie

May God bless you

In 1981, when I came back to Britain from India, where I had got realisation from an older Sahaja Yogi, he would sometimes ring me up and ask me to phone Shri Mataji, because he wanted to ask Her various questions and often could not get through. I used to ring Mother up, and the first time I did so, at the end of the conversation, Mother said to me, ‘May God bless you.’

‘What a lovely thing to say,’ I thought, because I did not realise who I was talking to.

Susie Lumsden

The tender love of a tigress protecting her cubs

There were many people from false gurus at Caxton Hall meetings and Shri Mataji worked on them tirelessly, trying to save them. We used candles in meetings and sometimes Shri Mataji used to come down from the stage to the floor to check people’s vibrations and often worked on their left Vishuddhis, which seemed to be the main problem stopping them from feeling the cool breeze.

The sensitivity to vibrations was quite poor those days, yet Shri Mataji often asked our opinion as to make us feel that we were all one team and encourage us to feel confident about our abilities. She wanted us to experience our newly gained powers straight away. During my second meeting Shri Mataji looked at me.

‘What are you sitting down there for? You have to give people their realisation. Can someone show her what to do?’ She said.

Mother talked to the people at programmes about everything, trying to solve their work, relationships and family problems. I could feel this immense love and concern emanating from Her, the tender love of a tigress ready to fight in order to protect Her unsuspecting cubs from many dangers until they are equipped to care for themselves.

Grazyna Anslow

You killed Christ

There was a programme with Shri Mataji at Caxton Hall where She had been speaking on the Agnya chakra when at the end of Her talk, Her mood changed.

‘You killed Christ!’ She suddenly cried out.

There was pin drop silence, no one moved – no one dared. I shrank further down in my chair as She again directed the accusation at yogis and newcomers alike.

‘You all killed Him!’ I couldn’t bear to look at Her face any more as it seemed an intrusion on the raw, private grief of a Mother for Her son and I felt to be a helpless bystander at the cross witnessing Her anguish.

This lifting of the veil lasted probably only a minute, Shri Mataji then changing the topic and bestowing a soothing smile upon Her children, bringing us gently back with Her again to the here and now.

Danya Martoglio

Incidents at Caxton Hall

Sometimes Shri Mataji did miracles at the programmes. An Indian diplomat’s wife came and she unfortunately had breast cancer. Shri Mataji invited some of us ladies, with the permission of the Indian lady, to feel the lump in her breast. Then She worked on her for a bit. After this Shri Mataji had us feel her breast again, and the lump had completely disappeared.

Once a very dear lady came to Caxton Hall and Mother noticed She had a bad liver, in that her right Nabhi was catching. There did not seem to be any reason for it, as the lady led a moderate life and was a nurse. Shri Mataji asked her what sort of nursing she did, and she replied that she was working with terminal liver patients. Mother explained that this was the cause of her problem.

One evening there was a fight outside, because a lot of groups hired rooms at Caxton Hall, a building of halls for rent. That night some extreme right wing political group was there and things had got a bit out of hand. It did not affect us, but we asked Mother if we should stop going there. She told us not to worry, because a lot of seekers’ groups went there, and that it was good if we had programmes there, to help the seekers. She also said schools were good, for the same reason.

Linda Williams

Editor’s note: Shri Mataji explained that the Brahma shakti enters the fetus’s brain from above, but because it is triangular in shape the awareness is refracted outwards and our connection with the all pervading power is lost, so we get into our ego and super ego. For a fuller explanation, see the text of A Unique Discovery, in the Appendix at the end of this book.

Shri Mataji was completely detached

After the public programmes at Caxton Hall, the Sahaja Yogis often went to The Spaghetti House nearby for a meal. And occasionally Shri Mataji came too!

‘What did you think of that talk?’ She said to me in the cloakroom of the restaurant, referring to Her talk at the programme. She went on, with words to the effect that She was surprised and thrilled at how good it was. Shri Mataji was completely impersonal, detached about Herself.

Patricia Proenza

My life transformed

We had the Monday programme near Shri Mataji’s flat and then we would go and spend time with the yogis eating afterwards at a restaurant. Shri Mataji would come and eat with us sometimes. What did I eat? Well it was all firsts. I’d never had hamburgers, never had Italian food, until then. My life was totally transformed at the age of thirty-one.

Kingsley Flint


It’s May 1981, and my wife Ruth and I have come up to London for the Sahasrara Puja in Lambeth. Just before going to the puja we browse through some National Geographic magazines and in one there’s an article about crocodiles. I comment on what evil-looking creatures they are.

‘Yes, but look at this,’ Ruth replies, showing me a picture of a mother crocodile carrying its babies in its mouth in an oddly sweet, protective way. ‘Even they have their nice side.’

‘Maybe,’ I admit begrudgingly.

We go on to the puja and Shri Mataji gives a wonderful talk. Imagine our surprise, however, when in offering an image of the way in which, after giving them self realisation, the mother looks after and cleanses Her children, She refers to the way in which a mother crocodile will carry her babies in her mouth.

Suddenly we glimpsed at once the fullness of Her knowledge and the discretion with which She used it.

Chris Greaves

Small children at Her Feet

The first time I went to Chelsham Road was May 31st 1981, where Shri Mataji was due to give a programme. We were so many in this meditation room that I felt the walls had expanded.

This is from my diary: ‘The prophecy of William Blake seems accurate, this place looks like a ruin… and the Sahaja Yogis are trying to restore it. However the meditation room is very beautiful and rustic: there is a beautiful wooden statue of Jesus Sacred Heart, a statue of Shri Ganesha and several stunning large photos of Shri Mataji, lots of flowers and the sun shines through the wooden leaded windows.  The vibrations are very clear.’

Shri Mataji arrived late.

‘All the protocol is nothing! She said in a magnificent way, and also asked what protocol could we offer to Her? She said that the only thing to prove our love to Her is to love one another.

It was so beautiful, so intense, and echoed the words of Christ. I had tears in my eyes. A lot of small children were at Mother’s Feet and before speaking She had taken three of them on Her lap. Afterwards a little five year old girl with brown hair sat at Her Feet with hands stretched towards Shri Mataji; she was in total silence.

‘She is in meditation,’ Shri Mataji smiled and said.

Antoinette Wells

Humans do make mistakes

In 1981, I had been in Sahaja Yoga for about eighteen months, and in those days that meant that Shri Mataji had graciously worked on me many times, because as there were so few of us we all had a turn. She asked me if I felt I was alright. I replied that I felt alright when I was with Her and in Her presence, but that otherwise I might easily do something wrong, and make a mistake. Shri Mataji replied that yes, I would make a lot of mistakes, because I am a human and humans do make mistakes.

Another important piece of advice I recall from those days was this. Shri Mataji said we should always try to be very gentle with people if we had to say something a little correctional, we could even pretend that we too had a similar problem but got over it, to make the person feel more at ease.

Linda Williams

The understanding of ants

Once Mother said that the difference between the understanding of humans and ants was something like the difference between our understanding and that of the deities — except that the distance between us and the ants was much, much less than between us and the deities. That was in the early 1980’s.

Auriol Purdie

An amazing memory for names

I am reminded of so many early morning trips out to Heathrow Airport, sitting on the tube, flowers in hand to greet Mother. She had an amazing memory for names.

The first time Mother used my own name in Brompton Square, I was occupied with a job, probably scraping back old wallpaper and watching people trooping back and forth to Mother for instructions with tasks about the house. Each was met with a warm smile, and called by their name. I was then still quite new in Sahaja Yoga and was thinking inside, I wish Mother knew my name, too. A little later the same afternoon, I heard Her on the stairs, clearing Her throat in that characteristic way and then calling down to me, using my name. It was such a simple thing, but I knew Mother had heard my desire, and my heart was so full. Another time, when passing Her on the stairs, She stopped and looked at me for a few seconds.

‘Caleb, you really love music, don’t you?’ She said out of the blue, before continuing on Her way down the stairs.

I had been listening to Holst’s The Planets suite before coming to Brompton Square that day, and the jaunty themes, were resonating through my mind as I worked. I concluded that Mother could hear the music that was re-playing in my mind and this was the reason for Her comment.

Caleb Williams

The Falklands War 

 In 1982, while at Brompton Square, Shri Mataji arranged to go and see the Prime Minister, Mrs Thatcher during the Falklands War, to try and give her some vibrations and calm her down. When Shri Mataji came back, while sitting round the dining table with us, She told us that Mrs Thatcher asked Her what Her name meant.

‘Immaculate, the Holy Ghost in reality,’ was Her reply.

Shri Mataji also said that the divine was not interested in the war outcome because the islanders were not seekers, but She did give a bandhan when one of the Sahaja Yogis came running into the room, saying one of the ships was going to be blown up, and the planes turned around and did not bomb the ship.

Derek Ferguson

Avoiding problems

In Brompton Square, before we started work we were advised to say the mantra to Shri Ganesha and Shri Hanumana so that we would not have problems. One of the siddhis of Hanuman is that he can become invisible. If that power is awakened within us the negativity would not see us in the first place to give us problems and you can go around untroubled by having to clear out.

Derek Ferguson

Sahaja music

In the early pujas when there were not many bhajans. I remember the Sahaja Yogis singing old Christian songs like Onward Christian Soldiers and feeling that this couldn’t be right. Later on when bhajans came in, it was so different on the vibrations, for the better. At Brompton Square, London, in the early 1980`s, I was Shri Mataji’s house when She started to play some jazz music. I was shocked to hear that She liked jazz music, then She read my mind.

‘It`s very spontaneous music,’ She said.

To this day I regret not looking at the record collection to see what type of jazz She liked or the musicians She listened to. We could have invited them to play at many concerts for Her if they were alive in those days.

Derek Ferguson

Sometimes you have to pity Me

One time I was with Shri Mataji at Brompton Square, just Her and myself, and She was talking about some person who had been giving Her a lot of trouble.

‘Mother sometimes I really pity You,’ I said – it just slipped out. Then I apologised profusely for speaking so out of place.

‘No, it is alright,’ She said, ‘sometimes you have to pity Me.’

Linda Williams