Chapter 05: 1974 – India and the Move to London

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

A lot of laughter

In 1974 Shri Mataji used to stay in Kalpana Didi’s flat and sometimes we would go there and eat with Her, eleven or eleven thirty at night. Once or twice we had to go before Mother left because there were no taxis so late, but if we waited until Shri Mataji left it all somehow worked out to get home. A lot of laughter – we used to laugh a lot.

Avdhut Pai

The middle path

Pujas were not the thing so much in the early days, that is in the seventies. Every time we used to have a programme, meditation at different places, such as Dadar and Andheri, (Mumbai). There were pujas, but the main stress was not on them. Mother’s speeches and giving realisation were the things.

‘One person must give realisation to at least fifteen people,’ Mother said. From the beginning this was the slogan, not just doing things like shoe beating. ‘You must follow the middle path of the road, don’t be too rightist or too leftist. Always be in the sushumna, not on the pingala or ida.’

Niranjan Mavinkurve

Our Sahasraras on Her Feet

In the beginning, about 1974 to 1978, we used to go to the seashore, to Marve near Malad. There was an auspicious day called Akshatritiya. We used to go to a bungalow which had been hired by a Sahaja Yogi, and Shri Mataji would come and we would often have a puja, and in the evening we would go to the seashore. Once She worked on us all, about twenty of us, individually. This was on the wet sand and She said the wet sand was the best earth element to absorb what is negative.

Either there or in Bordi, we used to go in the sea, and Shri Mataji would sit in the sea, at the edge, and the water would come on Her a little bit. We used to take turns to put our Sahasraras on Her Feet, so our noses would be under the water. We would see who could stay in the water the longest! That way She used to work on us.

Before Ganapatipule we used to go to Bordi every year, and from 1978, we would have singing programmes and at about two or three o’clock we would accompany Her to Her bungalow, walking in the starlight. She stayed in a separate bungalow. We would go there even earlier, from 1973, and there were about twenty of us then.

One time Shri Mataji wanted to go to a place called Wassay, some distance from Mumbai, by train. My parents wanted to go there and they thought, ‘How could Shri Mataji travel in the Third Class? So they took a First Class ticket even though it was very expensive for us. They found Shri Mataji in the Third Class compartment with the others. From Bordi Shri Mataji used to also go with us on the train.

Avdhut Pai

Everything was with Mother

In those days everything was with Mother. We could not imagine doing anything, even the public programme, without Her. The way we do pujas and havans now has almost nothing to do with the Hindu way. Previously we used to have very elaborate havans – a thousand names – even the pujas were like that. Nowadays almost everyone is involved, singing bhajans or whatever, but in those days my father would be in the front saying all these mantras.

Avdhut Pai

Shri Mataji could empower people by raising the Kundalini

It was my good fortune to meet Shri Mataji in 1974, at 17, New Oxford Street, in central London. A reception was organised by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan to welcome the newly elected United Nations diplomat, Mr (Sir) CP Srivastava and his wife Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi. The reception was well attended, with about two hundred Indian people, and musicians.

After the thank you’s and welcomes, Shri Mataji was asked to grace us with Her spiritual knowledge and Her new Sahaja Yoga. She had a commanding presence which nevertheless seemed flexible, always just enough, but never too much so as to intimidate anyone. It quickly became apparent that here was no ordinary saint, but someone surpassing all the norms of holy persons. Shri Mataji was able to empower ordinary people and give them access to their inner being by raising the Kundalini. She could empower individuals with thoughtless awareness and vibratory awareness, tangible tools for the verification of truth and one’s state of being.

 Toni Panayioutou

Sahaja Yoga in the West began

After the reception given for Sir CP and Shri Mataji, She returned on the following Monday and held a follow up session at 17, New Oxford Street. About twenty people came, mostly Indian ladies. A few people from Shri Mataji’s husband’s office participated. Later an Indian gentleman named Mukund Shah brought the first group of spiritual seekers to a session at the Bhavan, and from thereon Sahaja Yoga in the West began. This went on for a few weeks until Her Holiness invited us to Her residence in Oxted.

Through the new vibratory awareness Her Holiness could show ultimate truths on the central nervous system, especially via the hands, and in this way Sahaja culture started to manifest. Shri Mataji had access to highest levels of diplomatic life but chose to grace sincere seekers, and as She would always say, She was not there for election.

It always amazed me how Shri Mataji never practiced any kind of favouritism. Never would anyone be made to feel uncomfortable and She was always so interesting. Actually She would tell us that we must always make people comfortable in our presence and not be boring.

 Toni Panayioutou

Shri Mataji brought together people from all over the globe

When they first came to England in 1974 Shri Mataji and Her husband lived at 1, Icehouse Wood, Oxted. Sir CP and Shri Mataji, as his wife, would attend functions with diplomats and royalty etc, because Sir CP was the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation, part of the United Nations. They had a wonderful rapport as husband and wife.

Unfortunately the United Nations has not completely managed to deliver its promises for bringing people together, whereas Shri Mataji miraculously brought together peoples from all over the globe, communicating, exchanging love and respect effortlessly – a real united nations of people who would ordinarily not share a cup of coffee together, such being the diversity, but united in the universality of the inner being.

 Toni Panayioutou

Shri Mataji would talk to me in a way I could understand

Sometimes, when I used to get too familiar, in that I somehow would analyse Shri Mataji, She would suddenly lead me on a merry trip where She would tell me something was green where I would see blue etc, until I would jump into thoughtless awareness for safety, then She would talk to me in a way I could understand.

Later we had some very English people, very identified with their origins, and they would ask questions about some of their ancestors, whether they were enlightened souls or not. Mother would say, ‘Yes, William Blake was,’ but as if their egos and conditionings wouldn’t be able to cope, She denied that people like William Shakespeare were. Those with vibratory awareness would know the discrepancy. Of course later Shri Mataji would say how great William Shakespeare really was.

Or some people would ask about other life in the cosmos, and Mother would deny it existed, and then at times later, as if the timing was conducive, She would say, ‘Yes, there is intelligent life out there but they keep a distance because their minds are too strong for human beings.’ At other times She would come out of a meditative state and say She was on another planet with very spiritually advanced beings who didn’t want Her to leave!

 Toni Panayioutou

Shri Mataji used to exorcise many demons

In the early days of Sahaja Yoga, in the 1970’s, Shri Mataji used to exorcise many demons from people, and then would interrogate them. In the process they disclosed that there was a very definite and well organized project going on behind the veil of physical existence to undermine and destroy humanity’s efforts for emancipation. Their plan is to encourage drug use and undermine gender definition, thereby encouraging perversion and eroding of natural ‘mariadas’ (boundaries) and at the same time create conduits for their evil manifestation.

Toni Panayioutou

‘I’ve found this new sort of yoga’

I used to live near Tolmers Square, Euston, in North London. About half a dozen of us had a little community club there and one day in 1974 a man came to teach us yoga. He had tried all sorts of different yogas and meditations and then one day he went to see Shri Mataji and, because he had so much experience, he tended to be a bit sceptical, but he did feel vibrations.

‘I’ve found this new sort of yoga,’ he said, ‘and all we have to do is sit down in front of this photograph of Shri Mataji and put our hands to it.’

He produced a little black and white photograph, not much bigger than a postcard. We sat there in the rather cold, drafty, old bank that we used as a social club, with our hands out before Shri Mataji’s photograph. He came round and felt our hands and asked us what we felt and we all felt different things because we were all in different states of awareness due to what we’d done before.

‘You get these vibrations from Shri Mataji,’ he said. ‘Would you like to come and meet Her at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan?’ This was on New Oxford Street.

The following Friday we went there. We met Shri Mataji and sat at the back. We listened to what She had to say and realised it was something really nice. She was working on somebody at the time. We were aware that it was something special and had an inkling of what it might be, but weren’t prepared to admit to anybody, least of all ourselves, that we had actually met Shri Adi Shakti.

We went to Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan about two or three times and then, because the series was over, we moved to a house in Clare Court, Judd Street, where Mukund Shah lived, just over the road from Kings Cross Station. We had a few meetings there and Shri Mataji told us about raising the Kundalini. Also, we had our first experience of actually hearing through the Sahasrara.

‘Put your hands over your ears and cover them up completely and you’ll still be able to hear Me,’ She said.

We did so and we could actually clearly hear what Shri Mataji was saying because we were hearing through our Sahasraras. She told us our Sahasraras had opened. So that was the first amazing experience we all had, apart from feeling the cool vibrations.

We had a few meetings at Judd Street, and then we started to meet in a house in North Gower Street. That was when it actually began to take root, because there was a base for the Sahaja Yoga to actually put roots down. Shri Mataji would come and there would be maybe half a dozen of us. She would talk to us and tell us all about Sahaja Yoga. The way She would work on us would be that we would kneel and put our hands under Her Feet, and She’d do various things to clear us out.

Douglas Fry

The most phenomenal thunderstorm

We were at Shri Mataji’s house in Oxted, Sussex, England in about 1974. We had been there quite some time and She had gone off on the Thursday or Friday to either Norway or Sweden. The day after She had gone, when we were sleeping, there was this most phenomenal thunderstorm and lightning. We knew we were all right because we were in Shri Mataji’s house, but it was frightening nevertheless.

A couple of days later when Shri Mataji came back, She said She was not pleased with England for what was going on there at the time, and the thunderstorm was the result of Her annoyance.

It was quite incredible, absolutely amazing.

Douglas Fry