Chapter 06: 1981 – Mid Summer

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

The perfect answer

There was a puja at Chelsham Road in 1981 with the whole collective well packed sitting crossed legged on the floor. Being that close to Shri Mataji, with everyone in a large room felt like a family gathering. At the end of the puja Shri Mataji allowed some questions and was asked whether there would be a Third World War. She said no. Another yogi asked whether what happened to all the world religions would also happen to Sahaja Yoga in terms of a great deviation from the original teachings. Shri Mataji answered that this time people would be better equipped thanks to vibratory awareness.

Shri Mataji asked ladies not to wear trousers at pujas. Some ladies who did not know about this came in trousers but were asked to keep discreetly at the back. Most ladies would borrow a skirt or sari if they had turned up wearing trousers. We were told that wearing saris at pujas helped the ladies’ vibrations. We were also told that a sari was much better than a Punjabi suit for puja.

I asked Shri Mataji about a ‘religion’ that was founded in Persia in the nineteenth century and has about six million followers. Immediately I felt great heat coming onto me.

‘They still smoke and drink don’t they?’ She asked.

This answer meant a lot to me because my brother was following this and seemed frustrated at not being able to give up tobacco and alcohol. I felt Shri Mataji had tailored the answer to my personal circumstances, which amazed me since I had never mentioned him or introduced him to Her.

Carol Garrido

My headache disappeared

After the Guru Puja at Chelsham Road in 1981, many people including myself had very painful headaches. Shri Mataji told us to go and lie on the earth face down and place our Agnyas on the ground. This was so that Mother Earth could suck out all our problems and clear the Agnya chakra. When I gave a flower to Shri Mataji after the puja and took vibrations from Her Feet, She placed Her right Agnya finger on my Agnya chakra and turned it clockwise. Miraculously my headache disappeared.

Gilly Grimshaw

Look at the flames

In those days, Shri Mataji often used to bless us with Her physical presence when we had a havan. One time, at Chelsham Road, it was a very dark day, with heavy clouds. It was beginning to rain and looked as if it was bound to really pour in a few minutes. Shri Mataji asked us to do a bandhan for it to stop, and when we did, She made the rain hold off until we had finished the havan. Shri Mataji sat at one end of the fire, where nowadays we would have Her photograph.

Shri Mataji told us to take a little of the samigri in our right hand, raise the right hand up the left side and revolve it three times over our heads in a clockwise direction, before offering the samigri, or our pure desire, to the fire, every time a mantra was said. She told us that one should try to look at the flames because this is good for the eyes and absorbs negativity. After the mantras, Shri Mataji would encourage all of us to offer different ‘baddhas’ or problems to the fire. She also told us havan ash is very good for the Hamsa if you put a bit on your nose between the eyes.

Linda Williams

The numbers of people were ever increasing

Most weekends, Shri Mataji would come to Chelsham Road ashram and we would have a long afternoon talking and working with Shri Mataji and being worked on and the numbers of people were ever increasing. It was always packed on a Sunday afternoon.

Mark Callahan

The foundation stones

‘You are the foundation stones of Sahaja Yoga, but like foundations stones in a building, you will not be seen,’ Shri Mataji said to us at Chelsham Road, when there was a largish group of us there, She explained that the next generation would be the ones who would be seen.



One time Shri Mataji came into the meditation room and some people put their hands up with the palms towards Her, as She came in, like the gesture which means ‘Stop!’

Shri Mataji said that was not a good idea, because the deities, who were always with Her although we did not see them, saw this gesture as aggression, and it is not wise to disturb the deities. She showed us how we should do it – hands out with the palms upward in the gesture of humbly asking for Her divine blessings which She gave us all the time.

It was ok when She asked us to put our hands up at a public programme.

Linda Williams


I used to practice Hatha Yoga before I came to Sahaja Yoga. Shri Mataji invited me to Her house once to meet a Polish girl, a wife of an Indian diplomat. There were some other Indian ladies in the room also wives of employees from the Indian Embassy in London. They had some health problems and were not seekers. They kept asking Mother for advice and She told me to instruct them about asanas they had to do. She gave me some general guiding information: bending forward asanas are for the left and bending backwards asanas are for the right.

Grazyna Anslow

In the car with Shri Mataji

Shri Mataji was going to Cambridge for a public programme in July 1981. She asked that the Sahaja Yogis who travelled with Her in the car should be able to give directions to the meeting hall. As I used to live in Cambridge I got the privilege of a seat. Although I’d lived in Cambridge the destination was not clear in my memory, and it also appeared to be unclear in the other passengers.

On the motorway we experienced a couple of traffic jams delaying us and we were getting anxious with time. Shri Mataji told us to put our attention ahead of the jam instead of immediately around us. When the road cleared we were already late and had half an hour before the programme started. At this stage we were also lost and none of us knew where we were.

Shri Mataji asked the driver to stop at a garage for directions. As we continued, the directions could not be remembered. At this point, I remember Shri Mataji’s person as extremely big. Our minds were all blank. Shri Mataji took over and suggested we turned at a couple of junctions; then each of us redeemed ourselves, we recognised parts of the road and our memories slowly returned. As the route became clear, Shri Mataji’s person reduced back to the accustomed size.

Ann Lewis

It’s very rare that a great scholar should also be a great realised soul

I was a seeker for as long as I can remember. When travelling in India I found some books translated into English by a Cambridge University Professor named Juan Mascaro. These books not only made the most sense to me, but also gave me such joy that I could not put them down. They were the Dhammapada, the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads.

About a year after getting self realisation from Shri Mataji in Caxton Hall in London, in October 1979, my wife and I were living in Cambridge and we attended a lecture given by Juan Mascaro. As soon as he walked into the room and began reciting passages from the Gita and Upanishads in Sanskrit, the whole room lit up around him.

When Shri Mataji came to Cambridge some time later for a programme, in June 1981, it was only natural that I would want Mr Mascaro to meet Her, so I arranged a meeting that would occur the day after the programme, at his house. As it turned out an interview for Shri Mataji had been arranged in the morning with a lady from a local BBC studio, and it went on much longer than we had anticipated. Afterwards we got caught in a traffic jam, all of which resulted in Shri Mataji’s desiring to have a nap before departing for Norwich, a city some sixty miles northeast of Cambridge, where we had arranged another public programme that evening. Shri Mataji seemed to sleep quite soundly and we knew it was inauspicious to wake Her.

‘I slept so soundly, it must be quite late,’ Shri Mataji said when She awoke. I replied that it was, and that we would not have time to go see Mr Mascaro. ‘Better go and phone him,’ She said. I could feel his sadness and disappointment over the phone but we agreed to make it some other time. When I reported back to Shri Mataji, She said ‘Well, he is an older man, better phone him again and tell him I will come’. By this time my emotions had gone through the entire spectrum and I reported back to Mr Mascaro. I couldn’t tell whose relief and joy was the greater – his or mine!

When we all arrived at his very humble thatched cottage in a small village about ten miles from Cambridge, he was standing in the doorway with a single, beautiful white rose that he had picked from his garden. To our amazement and delight he began to sing the ancient shloka that we Sahaja Yogis were very familiar with, as we used to sing it to Shri Mataji following the aarti at pujas! There were no dry eyes that observed that scene, I can assure you. After presenting Shri Mataji with the rose, he invited Her, then us, inside and what was to follow was even more amazing. The vibrations in the room were so strong that I envisioned the walls of the house collapsing from the power of it. It was as if a long lost son finally had found his Mother.

At this point any hope of getting to Norwich anywhere near the scheduled meeting time was so far out of the question that I almost thought about calling the hall to tell the caretaker to put out a sign saying that the meeting was cancelled. I was resigned to fact that we were going to be very, very late and that if anyone did show up they would have left hours ago. The drive to Norwich was very beautiful but normally it would take between an hour and a half and two hours. In the car, on the way to the meeting Shri Mataji made this statement.

‘It’s very rare that a great scholar should also be a great realised soul.’

I do not know how long it actually took us to get to Norwich that day, but I do know two things: that the meeting was scheduled to begin at 7 pm and as I opened the door to let Shri Mataji out of the car at the front entrance to the hall, the clock on the church tower across the street began to chime seven times!

‘How many times do I have to tell you people that we are not bound by time?’ joked Shri Mataji.

Jim Thomas

Shri Mataji spoke in a loud and powerful voice

It was in 1981 and a Sahaja Yogi called John had been practising a type of meditation intensely for about two months before he got his Self Realisation in Cambridge at a Sahaja Yoga programme and was very eager to meet Shri Mataji in person. As luck would have it, She was giving a programme in London only a few days later and my wife Hilary and I accompanied him down on the train.

At the conclusion of Shri Mataji’s talk, as was customary, we began to work on the new people and I was somehow drawn to work on John. He was catching very badly on the left side and the left Vishuddhi was particularly hot. I concluded it was all due to the meditation practice, which was from a false guru, and the mantras he had been saying. He confided in me that he felt it was a very dark practice, and I never did feel his Kundalini had come up fully.

As the programme ended, we began to walk down the long winding staircase and I made some remark about how his experience had been, when I saw to my surprise Shri Mataji walking just behind us, without anyone else within twenty feet of Her, and completely out of earshot of anyone else. She glared at John.

‘What are you doing here? Get outside right now!’ She said in very loud and powerful voice, glaring at John.

The three of us were speechless and stopped on the stairs as Shri Mataji continued on down the stairs, followed by a large contingent of Sahaja Yogis. After Shri Mataji had departed, I looked for John and was embarrassed by what had transpired.

‘Oh, no it’s alright,’ he said, recognising my confusion, ‘actually throughout the entire programme I was painfully aware of a very grotesque goblin sitting on my left shoulder. It was terrible. It stayed there until the very moment Shri Mataji told it to get outside!’

Jim Thomas

Keep the whole house tidy

Shri Mataji once came into my bedroom at Chelsham Road. She was downstairs in the meditation room, but some tea had spilt on Her sari and She wanted to change it. I had some saris that She had graciously given me, and that I had never worn, so I invited Her up to my bedroom to change. She came up and it was a mess – I hadn’t had time to tidy it up as I’d been cooking for the puja and also had to get myself and the children ready. She said we must keep every room in the house tidy when She came, and it was not auspicious to have a room like this even when She was downstairs.

Linda Williams

There are no words

I gave Shri Mataji a card. I wanted to put all I felt in my heart into words on the card to give Her. But I couldn’t. There were somehow no words to express these deep feelings She brought out inside me.

‘There are no words to express my feelings,’ I wrote. When I gave it to Her, She read it and paused.

‘That’s the best,’ She said.

Feelings and true love go beyond words into the realm of the Divine.

Felicity Payment

With all Her Mother’s love

We are sitting in front of Shri Mataji in a North London flat. She is reading letters and helping others. We are at Her Feet, maybe three or four feet away, around Her like family. It is very comfortable. However I am feeling somewhat anxious, as was usual at that time. I am aware at a subtle level that somehow She is trying to make me feel better. Suddenly She stops and looks over at me. From Her very depths I felt Her pour Herself into Her words.

‘Can you not feel how much how I love you?’ She said, with all Her Mother’s love, Her arms reached towards me. She wanted to melt all my anxieties with Her great love.

Above all, that is what She came to give us, that sense and feeling of Her great love for us all, Her tremendous joy, Her laughter. With this in our hearts the dams will break and Her love will just flow out and melt all around us. This is the power She has given us, to love all equally as She did and does still.

Felicity Payment