Chapter 05: 1990 June and July, Europe, East and West

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

Your love has brought Me here

Shri Mataji met my father, who then was a Thai diplomat posted in Madrid, at a public programme in Madrid in 1990. At Madrid Airport, seeing Shri Mataji off, my father approached Mother and introduced himself as the Ambassador of Thailand to Spain. Shri Mataji was pleased about it and told him that She had always wanted to visit Thailand but that She needed one person to be there to assist in preparing for Her coming and public programme. She asked my father’s name and was happy to hear that it was an auspicious Sanskrit one.

You are Sreshthaputra, meaning literally “son of the highest”,’ She told my sister, laughingly.

Shri Mataji and Mr Chitrik Sreshthaputra at Madrid Airport

Although my father was not a Sahaja Yogi, Shri Mataji invited him to come to Barcelona for the Shri Mahavira Puja the following day. Without hesitation, he got on a plane along with my sister, a yogini, and attended the puja.

Prakash Sreshthaputra

How Sahaja Yoga started in Thailand

After four years of practicing Sahaja Yoga in Switzerland and attending many programmes and pujas in different countries in Europe, it happened in July 1990 that my husband and my daughter talked to Shri Mataji in Madrid. Mother said that She wanted to start Sahaja Yoga in Thailand, but there were no Sahaja Yogis in that country.

Only one person would be enough,’ She insisted. The following day, I met my daughter in Barcelona at the public programme and she told me about her conversation with Shri Mataji. Immediately I felt I should go to Thailand to help as I knew the language, having spent a few years there. After the programme I had the chance to ask Shri Mataji if it was a good idea.

Yes, go to Thailand and I will come,’ She immediately said.

Janine Sreshthaputra

Everything was arranged

Hearing about Shri Mataji’s suggestion to have one person settling in Bangkok, my mother, who was a Sahaja Yogini from France, and had also come to attend the puja, immediately requested permission from Shri Mataji to move back to Thailand and prepare for Her coming. Shri Mataji agreed and said that She had just met the Ambassador of Thailand in Madrid the previous day! Within the span of a few hours, on Spanish soil, everything was arranged and decided about the start of Sahaja Yoga in Thailand.

Prakash Sreshthaputra

We stayed at the home of a yogini

When I was a very new Sahaja Yogi I found out that Shri Mataji was going to visit Greece, in June 1990. I asked if it would be ok if I booked myself on the same flight as Mother from Heathrow to Athens, and they said it was. In Athens we stayed at the home of a yogini. Space was very tight and there was only a very small kitchen, so some of our food was brought from a local take-away shop and the first thing served was a special type of macaroni cheese.

We all traveled to the small island of Hydra where Mother would be arriving the next day. It was an idyllic place, free from cars and noise. We stayed in a small house and Mother’s room was near the front door. About two hours before She was due to arrive the room was still completely bare and unwelcoming. Being new to Sahaj, I couldn’t understand how it would all be ready in time for Her arrival, but miraculously and quietly, the Greek yoginis worked together to turn the dark empty room into an exquisite place full of silks, lace, flowers and beauty fit to welcome Shri Adi Shakti.

Danielle Lee

Cannons on the Island of Hydra

Shri Mataji came to Greece, in June 1990 and went to Hydra to have the Shri Mahalakshmi Puja there. It was a great occasion and we all went there in a boat from Athens. When we entered the harbour of Hydra, it was not any special time, and I remembered when we had the first havan in Greece, on Her first visit, and they started shooting the cannon. I told Shri Mataji this story when we were on the boat, and just as I had finished, they again started to shoot the cannons in the harbour. Shri Mataji smiled at me.

Like that?’ She said.

Wolfgang Hackl

Shri Mataji on the island of Hydra

Amrit

At the beginning of my Sahaj life, I was very shy and even nervous in the presence of Shri Mataji. I somehow recognized Shri Mataji first as a guru and as a divine personality, and it was more difficult to be comfortable with Her human aspect, when being with Her in person. But being not only divine, but also a very loving Mother, She often played sweet little tricks to make me more comfortable.

One such sweet moment was at a puja in Greece. It was a Shri Mahalakshmi Puja on the island of Hydra and there were about ten adults and maybe twenty-five children from the Rome school. I was only twenty-one years old and quite new in Sahaja Yoga, but because there were so few people at present I could get up on the improvised stage, which was really just an elevation in the middle of a lawn or a back yard.

I gave Shri Mataji a little hand painted plate, which we had bought the afternoon before. After I gave Her the present, it somehow happened that I could sit down about a metre from Her chair, completely in bliss, meditating. Someone put a cup of amrit into my hand and I was sipping it and thinking to myself that this really was the nectar of the gods. After a while Shri Mataji turned to me and said something which sounded like, ‘It is enough.’

It seemed completely normal to me; I was near Her for some time, absorbing the vibrations, being in heaven and I thought, it was enough for now, and that’s ok. So I bowed down, and moved maybe ten metres back to sit on a small stone wall, continuing to meditate and sipping on my cup of amrit, when one of the leaders came to me with a rather strange expression on his face, telling me that Shri Mataji wanted to ask me whether the amrit was sweet enough. Still being in heaven, I was surprised by the question, as it was purely divine beyond any description of taste, but I said yes. At that exact moment also Shri Mataji was looking in my direction and I nodded to Her. Later I realised that it was a very sweet way of Her showing to me that She was not only divine but also a human being, and that it was ok to have a normal, even mundane conversation with Her. And the next day, at the airport, I actually did muster the courage to ask Her a question.

Walter Lerchner

You are the Holy Ghost

Because the puja date changed, I was going to have to fly back the day before the puja in Greece. I called the airline, asking to change my return flight, but they refused, saying the only option was to buy a new one-way flight at three times the cost of the original ticket. Being a student I could not afford this. Another yogini had the same problem, so someone told Shri Mataji.

Let’s give it a bandhan,’ She said, giving a bandhan Herself. Then She asked the owner of the house where we stayed to call the airline, and they agreed this time.

On the way back to Athens, we had the blessing to spend time with Shri Mataji, who was sitting on a chair on the deck of a small boat, Her bare Feet towards the ocean, vibrating the Greek sea. As far as I remember, we went directly to the airport. After the check-ins were done, only a few people were standing around Shri Mataji, so I mustered my courage to talk to Her.

Shri Mataji, can I ask you a question?”

Yes,’ She said graciously.

How can I work out my left Nabhi, and gain some weight?’ I was very skinny at the time.

You have left Nabhi? Who told you this?’ She looked surprised.

I can feel it, Shri Mataji,’ I answered, and someone stepped behind me to work on me.

What work do you do?’ She asked.

I study Genetics and Technical Physics, but I don’t study much at the moment.’

She asked the person behind me what he felt.

Right heart,’ he said.

What about your father?’ She asked.

He left my mother,’ I said – I felt a bit of sadness about a complex situation.

Yes, it is from your father,’ Shri Mataji continued, and then She put Her hand on my left Nabhi. ‘You are Gruha Lakshmi,’ She asked me to say, and I said it a couple of times. Then She said, ‘No, say: “You are the Holy Ghost,” That’s the best.’

So there I was standing in the middle of Athens Airport, with the Divine having Her own hand on my left Nabhi, my whole body filling with vibrations, and saying: ‘Shri Mataji, You are the Holy Ghost.’

Walter Lerchner

Flying on the air

In 1990 a public programme was held in Athens in the presence of our Divine Mother. The hotel was called the Grand Bretagne and the huge hall was packed with people. I had received my self realisation some years before and told myself Sahaja Yoga was something I should do but I never got into it seriously. The photo of Shri Mataji was always in my room as a reminder but I was not practising Sahaja Yoga. At the end of the programme one of the leaders directed me towards Shri Mataji. All of a sudden I heard Her from afar.

It is OK, you should not feel guilty for not coming to Sahaja Yoga,’ She said. Somehow at that time I did not even wonder how She knew. She worked on me, and worked on many people that day. She put Her Feet on my back as I sat in front of Her, and put Her Feet on my Heart chakra again and again, asking me if I felt anything, and I was replying no, and this happened three or four times. Now I know that I was feeling so much already that I could not even feel the difference.

Now it is OK,’ She said finally.  I walked out of that hall but I was not walking any more. I felt as if I was either flying on the air or walking on the clouds. This great feeling and blissful state remained there for many days that followed.

Polyvios Mylonas

A very moving experience

The programme in Kiev, Ukraine, in June 1990 had been in a sports stadium, an open one, and the stage had been built the further side of the running track and so one felt a little distant. There were a large amount of people, perhaps about fifteen thousand, lined up on that side of the sports stadium.

Mother arrived and at the last minute they decided to bring the stage nearer to the people. It was probably Her second visit to Kiev because there were quite a lot of Ukrainian yogis.

The talk was given and then the most remarkable thing happened. At the end of the realisation talk, half the people in the stadium streamed across the running track and completely surrounded the stage. Mother talked to various people, worked on some and at the end of this public programme we all sang the aarti to Mother, with a thousand people joining in.

It was a very, very moving experience.

Ian Maitland Hume

Absolute harmony

Shri Mataji gave us self realisation in Saint Petersburg in June 1990.

The hall was full and everyone was awaiting this lady. I remember looking at the stage for a long time enjoying the throne and many beautiful flowers, which were very colourful. Each and every colour and hue was represented there, and it was like a fairy tale. While we were waiting for Shri Mataji I was trying to guess what colour She would be wearing. I was trying to think of the ‘right’ colour so it would be of absolute harmony, but whatever colour or hue I thought of did not create a complete harmony in my mind. In my heart I knew that even the colour would give an answer. Shri Mataji was wearing a white sari. Oh, God! Absolute harmony! My mind became still. No more questions.

Maria Dobrinskaya

Editor’s note: Shri Mataji has explained that She would wear a white sari to a public programme because white is the colour of the Adi Guru, and often it would have a red border, the colour of Shri Mahakali. Shri Adi Guru is the giver of wisdom and Shri Mahakali destroys negativity.

Shri Mataji at the House of Culture ‘Lensoviet’, in 1990

Shri Mataji made me thoughtless 

Shri Mataji had the first public programmes in St Petersburg in the summer of 1989. In June 1990 Shri Mataji came to St Petersburg (then Leningrad) from Moscow by train with some Sahaja Yogis and Her granddaughters. I was asked by the Sahaj Committee to be Shri Mataji’s personal interpreter, because not many Russians spoke English at that time. I had only practiced Sahaja Yoga for about six months.

Shri Mataji with Svetlana at the railway station in St Petersburg

When I met Shri Mataji at the railway station, She looked radiant and was very happy to see us all. People brought many flowers and after handing them to Her She gave them to me to carry to the car reserved for Her. I accompanied Her all the way, translating what people were saying to Her. I was told by the Sahaj Committee to take the flowers to the car and go on a bus, reserved for the yogis, to the hotel where everything was prepared for Her comfortable stay. 

When we got to the car, Shri Mataji and an Indian Sahaja Yogi sat down on the back seat and I was standing with the flowers not knowing what to do. Shri Mataji and the Sahaja Yogis were talking about something. Dr Bogdan, the then leader, was supposed to go with Shri Mataji too because he spoke English and Russian but he was taking care of the luggage, so he took the bus with other Russian yogis. I was new in Sahaj and did not know all the protocol but intuition told me that I should not put the flowers on the seat and the driver (he was not a yogi) encouraged me to go with them because he did not speak a word of English and was afraid that if they asked him something he would not know what to say, so I got to be in the car with Shri Mataji for the first time.

She had a rest in the hotel and did not go out that day. I was there too, helping Indian yogis who were taking care of Her, to communicate with the Russian yogis.  

Next morning Shri Mataji wanted to go shopping and I was asked to accompany Her. In those days She bought gifts in one country for the yogis of another one. It was such a joy to be around Her when She was buying things. She was so natural and polite, showing a great interest in what She was buying.

After shopping Shri Mataji went back to the hotel for lunch and rest. In the evening She was to meet the scientists in the House of Scientists which was located on the beautiful Neva River next to the Hermitage, the famous art museum. Again I had to accompany Her in the car and the professional interpreter was supposed to come in a van with some other yogis and translate.  

For some reason the van did not come on time and Shri Mataji asked me to accompany Her onto the stage and translate for Her. I was not prepared for that and nor was the Indian Sahaja Yogi. He looked more nervous than me. He assured Shri Mataji that as soon as the other interpreter came I could step down and sit in the audience. She started talking about the subtle system and I was fine translating Her. I thought that I just needed to hold on for a short while but what I did not know was that when you are around the Divine Power anything can happen.   

Soon the interpreter arrived and the Indian Sahaja Yogi came on the stage telling Shri Mataji that I could go. She glanced at him and said that I was doing fine and She wanted me to continue. It went pretty well until the scientists started asking questions. It is more difficult to translate from your mother tongue to another language especially if you do not know the subject.  

I started losing confidence and wanted them to stop asking questions. Shri Mataji and I were sitting at a table covered with a red cloth, so nobody saw that my legs started trembling. I looked at the floor and imagined that maybe it would split so I could disappear. At the very moment Shri Mataji put Her right hand on my lap and I felt I was under Her full protection, and had to go on. I could not keep up with the questions and answers so I was saying whatever came into my head. I used all my courage and became completely thoughtless. I was sure I failed but after the programme, to my great surprise yogis came to me, saying that they felt tremendous vibrations and I did very well.

I think Shri Mataji wanted me to experience that so I would be able to translate at the public programmes and medical conferences, which I did for another three years, and on that day She made me thoughtless, so She could speak through me. It was a miracle.

Svetlana Klette

A gift from Mother

Shri Mataji gave gifts to the Russian yogis who were helping Her, like watches for the men and jewellery for the women. When I came to Sahaja Yoga some women said we should stop using cosmetics, but to my surprise the first gift I received from Shri Mataji was a set of high quality Italian make up. She wanted us to be like normal people. Whatever gifts She gave had tremendous value beyond their material form. She also gave gifts to drivers and other people who were taking care of Her. Everybody liked Her. I am sure they all got realisation, through Her gifts and divine attention. 

Svetlana Klette

Recollections of Guru Puja 1990 (email report)

After the drive down through France on a beautiful hot Friday afternoon, the Guru Puja began for many of us when several hundred Sahaja Yogis assembled in the airport in Marseille to welcome our Divine Mother prior to worshipping Her as the Guru of all gurus. Shri Mataji’s flight was late, but when the flight from London finally arrived She walked right through the crowd to where a chair had been set up for Her just outside the concourse building. Here Shri Mataji was able to sit comfortably as we went up to Her one by one to offer a flower and bow before Her Lotus Feet.

After Shri Mataji had received everyone’s flowers and departed, we all drove to Avignon, where we were accommodated in tents on a camp site to the north-west of this beautiful old city. At midnight we were preparing to have dinner and turn in for the night when it was announced that Shri Mataji would be arriving in a few minutes for bhajans. The Goddess blessed us by Her presence until the grey light of dawn started to filter through the roof of the ‘pandal’. It was a festival packed into a few hours, with bhajans from various groups including Nirmal Sangeet Sarita, just back from our Mother’s triumphant tour of Russia, and Sharon Vincent singing modern Sahaja songs. Shri Mataji was seated on the stage with a map of the world as backdrop with lights marking out the different places our Divine Mother has visited on Her travels and where Sahaja Yoga has taken root.

Next day began with breakfast after three hours of incredibly deep sleep, and continued through a relaxed day spent meeting one another, in meditation and foot-soaking in the Rhone river which flowed past the camp site, and visits to Avignon.

After dinner all twelve hundred of us assembled in the pandal and a music programme began with a recital by Nirmal Sangeet Sarita; the world première of a new raga which Baba Mama had conceived while on tour with them. Shri Mataji honoured their creation by giving it a name, Chaitanya Purnima. The highlight of the concert was the young sitarist Nishat Khan. He played Rag Durga, bringing out its dual nature, as a very tender and motherly music and a very strong and fierce evocation of the Divine Mother with all Her weapons on the tiger, battling the evil forces to protect Her devotees. Finally, after the audience rose to their feet for prolonged applause, and Shri Mataji had praised him for the greatness of his art and notably for his humility, he asked to be allowed another five minutes to conclude his concert in the proper manner, with Rag Bhairavi. Shri Mataji commented that by absorbing the vibrations of the music in thoughtless awareness we absorbed better than when She spoke to us, when particularly if She had something hard to say to us, our egos tend to react.

The Guru Puja began on Sunday afternoon. Shri Mataji sat on stage in front of a huge painting of Her house, Pratishthan. Before the puja She had spoken particularly to the women, about how they must overcome certain western characteristics. At the end of the Puja many presents were offered to Shri Mataji, all the national and international presents being of ivory, with ancient and beautiful deities, boats, buildings, and animals in all forms.

Shri Mother took a flight the next morning to London and a hundred or so Sahaja Yogis saw Her off at the airport. We sat on the floor around Mother as She took Her seat on the concourse of Lyon airport, drank tea, and chatted to some local Sahaja Yogis.

Phil Ward

When I saw Shri Mataji for the first time

The first time I met Shri Mataji was in Marseille in 1990. We arrived on Friday afternoon in a camp near Avignon. The mistral was blowing quite strongly and to us it was Her breath. The vibrations were so strong, yogis and yoginis from all over Europe and beyond were pouring into the camp for Guru Puja.

In the evening we went in buses to the airport in Marseille to welcome Shri Mataji. Her plane was delayed and we waited for about four hours. Everyone was singing, meditating, and carrying flowers, and there were a lot of curious eyes from the airport personnel and other travellers. I hardly had any money to go to a puja and didn’t have any money for flowers, but I wanted to give some, and so secretly plucked some lavender from the bushes in front of the airport.

I was very nervous since I felt utterly unworthy to meet Shri Mataji. Near midnight, Her plane landed and we all gathered by the stairs where She would appear. The yogis formed a gateway along the stairs and one after another draped their shawls on the floor. Everyone was singing Kundalini, Kundalini, louder and louder, spreading through the crowd. Then I saw Shri Mataji for the first time. She was walking very fast, as if floating down the stairs and all my doubt of Her being a Divine Being vanished. A vision of heralding angels with clarions paved Her way. To me, and I pull my ears if this sounds disrespectful, She had the form of an egg. Later on I read about the divine cosmic egg, Hiranyagarbha.

We followed Shri Mataji outside the airport, while She was passing through the rows of Sahaja Yogis, as if pulling the right and left channel into the Sushumna and taking us to Sahasrara. She sat down on a chair decorated with a sari, and we formed a circle around Her, singing and clapping. Everyone bowed down and gave a flower, looked up and glowed.

Then a yogini smiled, gave me a gentle push and I was in the middle of the circle. Beforehand a yogi had told me that She was the Goddess of fourteen universes. I felt utterly unworthy of Her attention, but I bowed down, gave my bunch of lavender and She smiled to me. I saw the one who created me, who knew everything about me, and I felt the pure me. A timeless moment, a meeting between the Goddess and one of Her children, a moment known by Her, and a surprise for me. The feeling was vast and spacious, and so deeply comforting.

On Saturday evening Nishat Khan played in total awe of Shri Mataji, or rather She was playing through him. Was it Rag Durga? The tigers’ paws flying over Europe were carrying Shri Durga, who was attending to all Her children’s needs, all the countries’ needs, clearing the way for our Guru, our Mother, who was at the same time deeply bowing down to lift us all up, Her strong arms wielding weapons, and putting us in Her safe heart.

On Sunday before the puja the hall smelled like lavender, but I was sure it had a different fragrance for all of those present.

Irene Hoogmoed

An earthquake of joy

In July 1990, the Guru Puja was supposed to be in Greece, but some weeks before things did not work out and suddenly Mother decided to give the puja to France! An earthquake shook the French collective but we managed to be ready. We found a beautiful place on an island in the South of France near Avignon.

Concerning the whole organisation plan there was one moment which could not be messed up: the arrival of Shri Mataji. Mother was supposed to arrive at the airport on Saturday afternoon. We were around a thousand Yogis attending this puja and in order to get everyone to the airport we rented fifteen buses. The arrivals area was above the main entrance and I will never forget that moment when Shri Mataji appeared at the top of the stairs and saw an ocean of Sahaja Yogis with beaming faces and flowers, all looking at Her. The whole airport was full of Sahaja Yogis from all over the world, and She stood still for some eternal minutes watching us while we were watching Her.

An earthquake of joy shook the place with tsunamis of love and waves of smiling tears. It took two hours for Shri Mataji to cross the hundred metres that separated Her from Her car. Not only the Sahaja Yogis but all the people present in the airport wanted to meet Her – passengers, local people, airport workers, taxi drivers and so on wanted to share the wave of eternal love by giving a flower.

Kabir

My spiritual Mother

In 1990, I told this story to about two hundred Polish people in Warsaw, Poland, asking them to desire that Shri Mataji would come. It was a Wednesday in May or June. On Thursday morning, Annegret, her baby daughter Laxmi and I went to the post office to call Matthias, in Switzerland. He was Annegret’s husband and the Swiss leader at the time, and was originally from Poland. At this time in Poland, we had to give the phone number to an employee and wait hours there for a connection.

Who is this lady on the medallion?’ the employee asked.

My spiritual Mother,’ I replied.

She immediately dialled the number and at our great amazement, we immediately got the connection to Switzerland.

Mother is coming to Poland in July!’ Annegret suddenly shouted with great joy from the phone box. She did come, and about 2,000 people attended Her first programme in Warsaw.

Christine Haage

Where did you go?

We were travelling with Shri Mataji and were in a hotel in Dresden, in July 1990, for the first public programme there. We were just a few yogis with our Mother and therefore had many opportunities to be in Her presence. I had spent almost the entire day at Shri Mataji’s Feet and I felt a true ‘bliss casualty’, as She puts it.

Then Shri Mataji asked us to leave the room as She wanted to take a rest. When I left, I realised that I had not eaten for quite some time and my stomach was demanding food. Still floating on the cloud of Shri Mataji’s love I decided to rush down to the street to find something to eat. The first place I saw was a McDonalds, newly opened in Dresden. As I did not want to lose too much time searching I had a quick Big Mac and a Coke and returned to Mother’s hotel after just twenty minutes. Shri Mataji was awake when I returned and I entered Her room.

What happened to you? She said immediately. When you left Me you were perfectly all right and now your liver is catching. Where did you go?’ Then She asked me to rub Her right Foot. I pulled my ears and realised that to be balanced in Her presence I still had to learn a lot!

Herbert Reininger

Shri Mataji’s first visit in Prague

On the occasion of Shri Mataji’s first visit to Prague in Czech Republic in 1990, we drove all the way from Frankfurt. We had a vague idea about the address of the hotel where Shri Mataji was staying, but none of us had been in Prague before. This was not really a problem, so we drove along quite relaxed looking forward to meeting Shri Mataji soon. Everything went well until after the Czech border, when the traffic intensified immensely. Slowly we moved through crowded two-lane roads until we finally reached Prague much later than anticipated.

Finding the hotel was really easy. We just happened upon it at our first attempt – quite obviously Shri Mataji was guiding us. Our hearts were beating with excitement when we entered the hotel and proceeded up towards Her suite. When we came to the kitchen just outside Shri Mataji’s room we found the usual mix of activities in the smallest possible space: cooking, flowers being arranged, Mother’s sari being ironed, relaxing and enjoying, all of it enveloped in a beautiful fragrance and very cool vibrations. I wanted to relax a bit from the trip and someone offered us a cup of tea and at some point the door opened and someone called me into Shri Mataji’s room.

My heart was beating joyfully and I entered and bowed to Her Feet. I stayed with my head down until I could hear Her voice blessing me, then I looked at Her and saw Her smiling at me. I noticed Wolfgang and another yogi sitting at Her Feet massaging and taking vibrations. Wolfgang was holding Shri Mataji’s right Foot in his hands and obviously did not notice anything else around him. He had tears in his eyes and the most beautiful smile on his lips.

I quietly sat down somewhere on the side. Shri Mataji was just making a comment on Wolfgang who was completely absorbed at Her Feet, laughingly calling him a ‘bliss casualty’. We all laughed with Her, and felt the vibrations growing even stronger.

Then all of a sudden Shri Mataji signalled for me to change places with Wolfgang and he moved to the side, still with his eyes closed and tears flowing over his cheeks. Then the most amazing thing happened to me! As soon as I settled in front of Shri Mataji to take over from Wolfgang She lifted me to the state in which my brother was, almost in an instant, from one moment to the next, just like simply turning a switch! I felt my tears flowing down my cheeks, I had my eyes closed and offered my overflowing grateful heart at Her Feet. How fortunate we are to have such a loving and compassionate Mother! How fortunate we are to be chosen as children by such a powerful Mother!

How fortunate is the universe that Shri Adi Shakti chose to place Her Ocean of Love at the very foundation of creation!

Herbert Reininger

The attitude of an artist

One of the Shri Mataji’s first visits to the Czech capital, Prague, in July 1990, took place just after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Shri Mataji bought some things made of the famous Bohemian lead crystal. While I was walking through the town I saw a fine mirror fitted into a lead crystal frame which I just had to buy for Her, and when I proudly presented it to Her, She was very happy.

You have a great sense for aesthetics, you should become an artist,’ She said.

It was wonderful to get so much of our Mother’s attention but I knew there was no way I could become an artist. I came to the conclusion that I could do anything as long as I did it with the attitude of an artist, with creativity, spontaneously and without thinking of money. Thus I made peace with my business career, and I have been very successful.

Thomas Menge

Tell them that I am God

We prepared the first programmes in Prague in July 1990. Shri Mataji came, and we set up meetings with the press, and rented a hall and a house for Her to stay in. The first programme was at the Exhibition Hall in Prague, and three thousand people came on the first day. It was difficult to arrange a translator, but there was an Indian boy, who had just got realisation that evening.

Ok, I am going to do it tomorrow,’ he said.

Afterwards we went back to the house and Shri Mataji spoke to me personally, because I was supposed to do the introduction on the next day.

Tomorrow, Gunter, you are going to tell them that I am God,’ was one of the things She said.

Thank You, Shri Mataji, I am very happy about that,’ I replied. The evening after that we had the programme and again three thousand people came. Shri Mataji told us to do follow up programmes every day in the first week. There were five hundred people coming to the follow ups to begin with, and less towards the end, but that was the start.

Gunter Thurner

She could even feel my desires

Shri Mataji gave the first public programme in Prague in 1990. I was quite young in Sahaja Yoga.

Shri Mataji gave an interview to some local journalists in the big room of the house where She was. It was on the ground floor and was completely filled with Sahaja Yogis. I could not get in, so waited outside.

The door was open, and the interviewer was going on for more than an hour, and after a while I got the desire to see Shri Mataji, just for a short look, thinking that I had come all the way and could not even see Her. I prayed that I might see Her, and at that moment, I looked up and between all the people, perhaps eighty to a hundred, a gap like a street opened up; they all unconsciously moved either to the left or the right.

With a kind and loving expression, Shri Mataji looked at me straight in the eyes for some seconds and I felt that motherly glance as if it was for days of my life. It gave me tremendous relief, and for the first time I felt that deep divine love. It gave me a feeling of awe, and I knew that She could even feel my desires.

Franz Mekyna

Shri Mataji in Bulgaria, July 1990

There were Swiss, French, a Syrian, some Italians and an English Sahaja Yogi to help arrange the programmes. A day or two before the programmes, the TV news featured a Sahaja Yoga programme, and we could see Shri Mataji’s photograph and a Sahaja Yogi presenting Sahaja Yoga with the aid of the chakra diagram. A hall with 2,800 places had been reserved for the programme.

On Tuesday 24th at 11.30 am, one to two hundred people are there, at the airport singing. Shri Mataji arrives, smiling, to be offered bread and salt and a goblet of water in which were floating some flowers, the traditional manner of welcoming a guest in this country. Mother received our flowers offered one by one by us. Anca was there with fifty new Sahaja Yogis from Romania, and Mother had tears in Her eyes because of their devotion, and on their repeated questions and urgings promised to come to Bucharest later in the year. A journalist from the radio was there, and Mother sat down for a quick interview. Later in the day we could hear the echoes of Kundalini, Kundalini, which we had been singing, and the voice of Shri Mataji in the shops in town, and in the places where we were staying, where the programme has a wide audience. Leaving the airport, Mother expressed Her concern that the hall we had rented might not be large enough. Shri Mother went shopping, particularly for local handicrafts, before arriving at Her hotel to rest.

The programme was advertised as starting at 7.00 pm, but when we arrived at the hall at a quarter to six half the people in the tram got off with us and made their way to the hall, where the doors were not yet open. It was impossible to be in Sofia and not know of the programme; people had even come from Plovdiv and Varna, hundreds of miles away. Well before the start, the hall was full, with people crammed into the rows of seats and seated or standing in the aisles and at the sides of the stage.

Shri Mataji gave one brief interview on the threshold of the hall, which was to be broadcast at midday the following day, Mother entered at the back of the hall to be saluted by a rousing chorus of applause. She spoke of freedom and what the West has made of it, tracing a sad picture of life in the USA, England, and France. For giving self realisation, the only answer to the problems of the East as for the West, some people were standing up, as the hall was so full, with anything up to four thousand people, but this proved to be no obstacle for the people concerned.

When She asked who had felt, at least ninety per cent of the hall raised their hands, even at the rear of the hall from where Mother looked very distant and the chakra chart was a small patch on which the colours of the chakras were too far away to be distinguished! But since it was only half past nine, Shri Mataji invited all the seekers to come closer to Her so that She might meet them. For more than two hours Mother was to listen, advise, give vibrations, while the little group of yogis sang bhajans, particularly with the Romanians who already knew several and had very good voices.

Michel Cernay


Press conference with Shri Mataji at the Sheraton Hotel in Sofia

Press conference

In Sofia in 1990, Shri Mataji had a gathering of twenty journalists, some from TV channels. She arrived at 10.00 am and answered many questions. After a while, probably at 11.30 am, one journalist said that they had no more questions and that they would like to have their realisation. Shri Mataji looked at Her watch and continued talking about various topics, among which was Her family history. Fifteen minutes later another journalist said again that the audience was really eager to obtain their realisation and had no questions. But again Shri Mataji looked at Her watch and continued to talk of Her family, to the bewilderment of everyone in the room! 

Finally, shortly after 12.00 noon She started giving self realisation ‘live’ through the TV channel. One yogi told me that Shri Mataji was waiting for the Mahalakshmi power to rise (it rises at noon) in order to start giving realisation to probably hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Bulgarians.

Gwennael Verez

 

A press conference

On the Wednesday, at 10 o’clock, there was a press conference at the Sheraton, Mother’s hotel. Evidently very happy to see such a good audience – some thirty or so journalists from all the leading papers and magazines – Shri Mataji talked and answered some very sensible questions for more than two hours. She spoke at length about Hatha Yoga, which is very widespread here; and said that, yes, She can read thoughts and perceive the deities and other beings present in the room with us, but that Her sole interest was to give realisation. After all, Christ had promised a Comforter, a Counsellor, and a Redeemer. One question was asked about Mother’s family, and She spoke for fifteen minutes in quite some detail about Her parents and others, and about Her husband, who recently received a knighthood from the Queen in England to add to many other honours. She went on to say that many people suffer from the fact that their families are torn apart, in the East as well as in the West, and then, to the astonishment of the Sahaja Yogis present, She went into a discussion of the Sahaja marriages; seventy per year, whose basis is faithfulness and chastity, assuring the security of the heart.

At half past twelve, the journalists were beginning to get impatient for their realisation, and the little ceremony began. Practically all felt the cool breeze, and Mother went on to give vibrations to all the newcomers. Later, as the journalists were served tea at the rear of the room, one man was heard saying that he had been able to leave his crutches, without which he could not previously walk, by his chair close to where Shri Mataji was still giving vibrations, and he was now moving unaided, slowly but surely.

Michel Cernay

The second public programme

Half past seven in the evening. As the Ganesha Stuti was resounding and re-echoing from loudspeakers in the stadium, Shri Mataji’s car crossed the grass slowly and came to a halt near the stage. The audience applauded, thunderously, some ten thousand or so souls, ranked as far as the eye could see on the slopes, the individuals somehow melting into one another in the evening light, rather like the knots in some divine carpet for God’s Lotus Feet. Shri Mataji asked those sitting farthest from Her to come closer and sit in front of the stage, which they did, maybe one or two thousand people moving with the greatest calm and discipline, and leaving a small open space before the stage for the bhajans team.

Fortunately Christopher Columbus didn’t make it to India, otherwise perhaps I wouldn’t be here today! Mother spoke at length about the qualities of Christ, how His Mother was the Goddess who had given realisation to the apostles at Pentecost. Then, as She had promised, She spoke about the Spirit, source of peace, knowledge, and above all of love.

It was time to receive realisation. For several minutes, drops of rain had managed to fall. A sudden wind started to blow, a little storm which blew over the vases of flowers on the stage and blew saris draped over the back of the stage into disarray. At this moment, in the stadium, ten thousand hands were pressed firmly onto ten thousand Sahasraras, and Shri Mataji was Herself blowing into the microphone.

Is this the cool breeze of the all-pervading power of love?’ The gusts of wind were blowing from our left, but the source of the cool breeze was in front of us, cooler, straight into the palms of our hands. Practically the whole stadium raised their hands to show that they had felt it, and applauded. And then Shri Mataji waved slowly, one long, last time to the crowd, and made Her way from the stage into the car for the airport. Mother remarked how the wind had risen to keep the rain at bay, and expressed Her concern for all the newcomers who would be returning to their homes that they would not be caught in the rain. A few flashes of lightning lit up the sky a little way off, but few drops of rain fell where we were. Those nearest to Her surged forward for a last glimpse, but with no hurry, and as Mother left Her new Bulgarian children they themselves left the stadium, some pausing at the stage to leave flowers where Shri Mataji had been sitting, calmly and quietly, a river of reborn humanity, into the streets and away to their homes.

Since Shri Mataji’s plane had about two hours’ delay, She was discussing various matters with the Sahaja Yogis at the airport, and rearranging Her future travels for the rest of the year. Shri Mataji arranged to visit Bucharest, Romania, for a couple of days on the way to Turkey in October, as She had promised.

Shri Mataji observed that many people are preoccupied here with questions about their health, as the medical services here are very poor, and we had to insist quite often that in Sahaja Yoga we do not become healers nor do we heal others but that each one could learn how to heal himself. Shri Mataji had told us that many realised souls would take birth in the East, and here we were meeting some of them for the first time.

Michel Cernay

This photo was taken in the Universada Hall during the first public programme with Shri Mataji in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1990. The hall was overcrowded and many people remained out of it but they felt the vibrations even staying outside.

Kamelia Ersan 

 

The Bulgarians had suffered a lot

Shri Mataji came to Bulgaria in 1990 to start Sahaja Yoga there. She had a huge programme at the stadium of the Akademik in Sofia. She came back a few times after that. She said that Bulgarians made Her cry, and when we saw Shri Mataji our spontaneous reaction was that tears came out. At Easter Puja 1999, after our programme She said that when She went to Bulgaria for the first time She saw that the Bulgarians had suffered a lot, and didn’t know how to enjoy, but that now they know how to enjoy, and now they know the inner joy. And they don’t cry any more.

Gary Boneva