Shri Mataji’s proposed itinerary, May to December 1990
Programmes in Eastern Europe
The first public programme conducted by Shri Mataji in Moscow took place at the Biological Faculty in Moscow State University in May 1990. Shri Mataji talked to doctors, scientists and university teachers. Right after it, there were more public programmes, in Mosiprotrance on the 12th and 13th of May 1990. The first puja in Moscow was offered to Shri Mataji by the Sahaja Yogis in May 1990.
Starting with 1990, Shri Mataji visited Eastern Europe every year, sometimes coming to places like Russia, Turkey or Romania even twice a year, both for public programmes and pujas. She would spend two to three days in each of these countries, having public programmes, shopping, talking with yogis, and indefatigably doing things at an amazing pace.
You are a poet
In May 1990, Shri Mataji came to Russia and I met Her for the first time in person. After the programme I came to the stage and told Her that I wanted to abandon the university where I studied mathematics and do only poetry, but that my parents were concerned about my career if I did that.
‘You are a poet, but mathematics is very important,’ said Shri Mataji, looking at me. Then She just held my hand and I felt that all my questions were answered. In complete bliss, I went home after the programme and surrendered to Her suggestion.
The next day I had to go for the exams and I went with full faith to the university. Despite the fact that I did not spend any time preparing, I did just fine and got all excellent grades.
I never wanted it to end
After a programme at the United Nations in New York in 1990, the yogis were allowed to go up to the stage. It was my first time in front of Shri Mataji. I knelt at Her Feet and then She reached for my hands. She held mine in Hers, and looked into my eyes, and I looked into Her eyes. I felt that I was swimming in a cosmic pool of love. She would cross Her arms and switch Her left with my right and vice versa. I couldn’t say anything. We held hands for the longest time, both of us smiling. She then said that She enjoyed so much and I enjoyed so much.
I don’t know how long we sat there in total bliss. I just know I never wanted it to end.
A twinkle in Shri Mataji’s eye
Shri Mataji would often bring Her grandchildren to America with Her and we would put them up in Gregoire’s house in New York. They loved America. Shri Mataji would have the master bedroom, and Her grandchildren ended up in the attic above Shri Mataji’s room.
At one stage, quite late at night, the children were up above and there was all this thumping on the floor above us. Shri Mataji laughed and ignored the whole thing, but then it got really loud so one of the mothers went up and hushed them down. Shri Mataji was always the loving grandmother – always with a twinkle in Her eye and always joking. Always more likely to take the children’s sides than their mother’s!
One more flower
Shri Mataji often reminded us that whatever She did was always for our benevolence. Her corrections, whether minor or large-scale, were always subtly suited to our personalities. In my case they often revealed my ego, in a humorous way.
Once, in 1990, at JFK Airport in New York, the Sahaja Yogis had gathered to say goodbye to Shri Mataji. There everyone was, flower in hand, anxious to offer it and to have a last glimpse of Our Holy Mother before She left for Her next destination. On previous occasions at airports I had noticed how the yogis rushed towards Mother, squashing and joggling and thrusting their flowers forward. I also noticed how Shri Mataji ended up receiving every flower – Her path wound, serpentine-like, fulfilling the heartfelt if clumsily expressed desires of everyone present.
So there I was, feeling pretty superior to ‘those’ yogis who lunged forward with their flowers. ‘She will get my flower,’ I reassured myself, ‘She always does,’ with my ego well-satisfied at my humility in waiting at the outskirts of the crowd.
Suddenly the crowd dispersed and the view opened up to reveal Shri Mataji’s back as She headed at an effortlessly high speed toward the boarding gate. I was left standing, the only one still holding a flower. My lesson instantly learned, I rushed towards Her.
‘Shri Mataji, there’s one more flower!’ I cried. She turned around with a huge smile on Her face and took my flower.
In 1990, we performed puja to Shri Mataji in the form of Shri Mahakali in the San Diego ashram. Well, ‘we’ is not exactly correct. Sometimes Shri Mataji was able to clear us better when we were asleep. When my one year old daughter was fussing, I went with her into a nearby bedroom, the one where every large photograph of Shri Mataji was placed while She was in the house, and fell sound asleep in the middle of them, until halfway through the puja.
Later that visit, many yoginis were called one by one to get scoldings. I somehow knew I would be one of these. I prayed desperately, ‘Shri Mataji, please do not send me out of Sahaja Yoga,’ one of the biggest fears many of us had in those days.
‘Are you Catholic?’ Shri Mataji asked, because the left Vishuddhi was so bad. She then said that my mother had spoiled me, and asked me to say to Her directly, ‘Mother, I am part and parcel of the whole.’ Finally She said in an almost sorrowful way that once the ego has been blown up, there is very little She can do, as it will always blow up again so easily.
‘Are you racist?’ She then asked. This gave me the biggest shock of all, as I had been brought up to be ‘politically correct.’ However as some of my family was from the deep South, I might have picked up some subtle attitudes. Shri Mataji asked something like, ‘What are you doing about it?’
‘Shri Mataji, I work on myself every day,’ I said.
‘No. You have to change yourself,’ She said.
The following year, we had moved to Los Angeles, and Shri Mataji stayed with us in a very tiny house overfull of yogis. As She was leaving one day, She saw me at the end of the corridor.
‘Better now,’ She said, and almost smiled at me, something I had been waiting for years.
Shri Mataji at Lion’s Bay, British Columbia
In the year 1990 the Sahaja Yogis of the Vancouver area were privileged to host Shri Mataji for another public programme and puja. Shri Mataji arrived at mid-day and we washed Her Feet and did aarti to welcome Her. She commented so sweetly that we were all becoming experts in the protocols. The public programme held that evening in downtown Vancouver was very successful and several hundred people again got their realisation. Shri Mataji seemed very pleased with the turnout.
We had been informed a couple of months ahead of time that Shri Mataji had given Her blessings for us to do puja to Her in Her aspect as Shri Saraswati, and we had spent long hours building and preparing. It was decided that the best location for the puja would be on the grounds surrounding the ashram, on a small acreage high above and overlooking the small islands of Burrard Inlet; very private with a western view over the water and with virtually no close neighbours. We rented a pendal to cover Shri Mataji’s chair and stage, and set up seating on the Mother Earth for our visiting brothers and sisters. We prayed for clear, warm weather.
On the Saturday evening there was a fierce thunder and lightning storm; the electricity went off and we had to quickly gather candles to light the large open area inside the ashram where Shri Mataji was speaking to us. Throughout the storm that evening, in the surrounding area there were a total of 16,000 lightning strikes. The following day the major newspapers contained many photos and write-ups describing this most unusual natural phenomenon. At one point during the storm, one of the yogis reported that a bolt of lightning had passed very close to the window of Shri Mataji’s room, just next to where She was sitting. She was just laughing throughout the storm and commenting about the power of Shri Vishnumaya.
The puja day was warm and beautiful, everything freshly cleansed by the rains of the previous evening. The puja was attended by nearly a hundred of us, with visiting yogis and yoginis from as far away as Europe and from all areas of North America. Beautiful gifts of native art including intricate soapstone carvings were offered.
Shri Mataji with the Native American mask
The qualities of Shri Saraswati
The photo is of Shri Mataji holding a carved wooden mask presented on behalf of the native Indians in the area. We had commissioned a local Native American artist to carve the mask especially for presentation to Shri Mataji and he very nicely finished it for us in just a few short weeks. It is symbolic of the Mother aspect in the native traditions. During Her puja address, Shri Mataji spoke at length about the qualities of Shri Saraswati and emphasised the importance of pure music in Sahaja Yoga.
Vancouver and the lower mainland had once again been immensely blessed by the personal attention and presence of our most Divine Mother, Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi.