Chapter 06: 1993 – November and December, Russia and India

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

Shri Mahalakshmi Puja

During the first years of Sahaja Yoga in Russia, Shri Mataji came to Moscow several times a year. It was not an easy time for Russia. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the former Soviet Republics faced a severe economic crisis. On November 12th 1993, Shri Mahalakshmi Puja was offered to Shri Mataji in Moscow.

Moscow, November 12th, 1993 Shri Mahalakshmi Puja

Bigger halls needed

Sahaja Yoga was spreading in Moscow with the speed of a fire. In Moscow, the hall of the House of Culture ‘Red October’ did not fit all the seekers of truth. Several times afterwards the halls of Sahaja Yoga meetings were changed for bigger ones.

Mother knew you would interview Her

It was my third year in Sahaja Yoga. In St Petersburg, 1993, Mother was giving two public programmes in a big stadium, the Jubileiniy. On the first day, 31st July, many people came, it was so festive. Baba Mama, transmitting love, a sort of childlike joy and benevolence, was conducting his orchestra. The Sahaja Yogis of St Petersburg were sitting all over the stadium with happy faces. Few people had Indian clothes, and most people put on the best clothes they had.

By the end of the programme, when Mother asked those who felt a breeze coming off their head or their palms to raise their hands, a ‘wood’ of hands rose. Like in the previous programmes with Mother; many of the yogis and people who had just got their realisation had tears of joy pouring from their shining eyes, which had become enormous; and a spontaneous dance started on different levels of the stands.

The following day, I arranged to meet one of the sisters, and to go with her to pick some wild flowers for Mother, because we knew that wild flowers gave Her much pleasure. When she arrived, I was already dressed. It was really hot, like the day before. We were ready to go out, but I suddenly decided to change into another suit: a formal one.

What are you doing? It is so hot!’ my friend asked me with surprise.

I don’t know,’ I said, as I changed.

Having picked some flowers, we arrived at the stadium and Mother started the programme. I was in a row in the middle, when someone touched my shoulder and told me to follow him, because Mother agreed to give an interview after the programme. I was an experienced journalist, but my first reaction was that I felt I was not prepared to interview Mother. I prepared a couple of questions, but my head was completely empty.

We reached the back of the stage and went in. There were many people there and instead of kneeling, I lay down on the floor stretching my hands forward with my palms upwards. It was absolutely natural for me at that moment, and the only possible thing to do. Shri Mataji was sitting in an armchair. Yura, the interpreter, was opposite Mother, and my place was at Mother’s Feet. I sat up and took the microphone. My head was still empty, and I felt as if I were near something unknown to me.

For about an hour I was passing the microphone to Mother and taking it back from Her hands. I was sure She was being very severe with me – Her eyes were like an amplified model of an atom and, although I was concentrated on the work, the feeling of incredibility and half-awareness of a wonderful awe did not leave me. When the work was done, Mother told us to eat the fruits which had been prepared for Her.

As I walked out of that room full of divine vibrations, I understood why I was wearing a formal suit. I watched the video of the interview and Mother was looking at me with such love. Thank You, Mother, I am very happy.

Victoria Petrova

My children’s house

I attended Diwali Puja in Moscow in 1993. It was a wonderful programme and Shri Mataji was sitting between the Sahaja Yogis on the stage. Shri Mataji had Her hand on a big bag of money and asked all the ladies to dance in front of Her, so one by one the ladies came and She was giving us money and we were passing it to the Qawwali group. That time was very difficult for us in Russia and most of us had no jobs or money. I got a chance to go to India tour just after that, miraculously.

I had had realisation one year before, and had not seen Shri Mataji personally. I was waiting for that meeting to see how my heart would respond. We were all working in Mother’s house near Moscow and She was supposed to come there from the airport, but a lot of the work was not finished and we doubted whether She would come. In the morning we came and saw that there was so much to be done, and I felt I could not go to meet Mother at the airport if the house was not ready for Her. So I started working and thought I would get a chance to meet Her some other time. Then a phone call came that Shri Mataji would come, so we changed our clothes and had flowers ready and were all waiting outside the house for Her.

Then we received another call that Shri Mataji’s car was held up in traffic but almost immediately a car arrived with dark window glass, so we could not see who was inside. It was Shri Mataji, and all the other cars and buses were stuck in the traffic. We saw Her hand coming out of the car. When She went inside She called us all inside and allowed us to give the flowers to Her Lotus Feet. For one year I had been praying to the photo, but when I met Her I felt I had known Her for so long, and something started moving in my heart and tears came. She thanked us all for working so hard in the house.

I know that all My children have been building this house,’ She said. ‘No matter that the work is not finished. I will not go to any hotel, don’t worry, I will stay in this house because it is My children’s house.’

Lena Kadam

Diwali in Moscow 1993

Shri Mataji is much more

In 1993 we were in Moscow for Diwali Puja, staying in a hotel. Shri Mataji was in that room at times, our luggage was in it, we were sleeping and also cooking there.

Very nice saris and a very nice necklace,’ Shri Mataji would say, because I had a necklace and Mother asked where it came from. She was like a mother.

When Mother spoke like this, I felt less in awe, but in my heart I still knew who She was, but I was enjoying. She was making me feel relaxed, but still, I realised that She is much more. Mother gave a public programme, there was the Diwali Puja and also we went to St Petersburg and Togliatti, where She gave programmes. The Diwali Puja was in a big stadium.

On that occasion, Shri Mataji gave all the leaders a sniffing powder to sniff and sneeze. They were all sneezing and everybody was laughing. It is a powder made of some flowers and if you put a little bit near the nose, you start sneezing. It is to clear your nose and the sinus, and for colds and the Hamsa chakra. When you have taken this powder, you keep on sneezing for quite some time so they were all sitting together and sneezing and cracking some joke. Everybody was laughing and enjoying the time with Shri Mataji.

Nirmal Gupta

The most gracious smile

In Togliatti, in 1993 there was Shri Shakti Puja. It was held at a tourist centre on the picturesque shores of the Volga River in attendance of up to two thousand yogis, many of which were novices in Sahaja Yoga. After finishing the puja protocol and offering gifts to Shri Mataji there was a big distribution of little gifts from Shri Mataji Herself to the yogis.

First, little girls up to eight years from Togliatti were invited, then little boys, then teenager girls, then teenager boys, and so on, and so on. Many new Togliatti Sahaja Yogis crowded, longing to get the gifts from Shri Mataji. I saw them and thought that I wanted to get a gift too, but the most precious gift for me would be to be in our Great Mother’s holy attention forever, so that She would know about my existence and recognize me. I did not understand then that She knew everything about each human being.

At last all the Togliattians had got their gifts and some active Sahaja Yogis from other collectives were invited to the stage. The invited yogis lined up at the side of Shri Mataji’s chair and their leader gave out the gifts. Shri Mataji did not take part Herself in the gift distributing and was talking with some yogis of Her entourage. When the turn of Kiev came I heard my name too, possibly because I had been Shri Mataji’s translator there, and made my way to the stage. When I joined the line of our yogis I looked spontaneously at Shri Mataji and was astonished to see that She turned to me and with the most gracious smile greeted me with namastey! So She remembered me! I was completely dizzy, so I awkwardly bowed down. I got the gift I desired so much and also learned that we all are in our Great Mother’s attention.

Afterwards there were several other instances when I was blessed to come close to Shri Mataji and even to talk with Her briefly, offering Her our national gifts at pujas, etc.

Yuriy Dobrovolsky

Faster than an eighteen year old

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.

It was in Russia, during the Diwali Puja Seminar in 1993 when I had two very special personal experiences. I could not go to Bucharest when Shri Mataji went there, as I was preparing a difficult university entrance examination, but, together with another 150 Romanians or so, we took the two-day train journey to Moscow for Diwali. I was so eager to see Shri Mataji after the long year which had lapsed since seeing Her in Timisoara, in 1992, that I would not miss any chance to be in Her presence.

So, together with thousands of other yogis, I was awaiting Her arrival at the entrance of the huge Dynamo Stadium. She arrived, coming from the crisp Moscow air into the hall, which was filled with Her very eager disciples. It was then that I had the sudden feeling that I was not separate from Her, not a distinct individual, but part of Her. The feeling was somewhat puzzling at the time, and overwhelming, so perhaps out of a desire to clarify its meaning, I felt the urge to stay in Her immediate presence as long as possible.

As She was advancing towards Her armchair in the centre of the hall, I tried to walk along the cordon of people that had formed. To my surprise, I realised that I actually had to run to keep up with Her very energetic and rapid walk. I was eighteen at the time, and Shri Mataji was in Her sixties, but She was faster and way more energetic than any of us.

Alexandra Dumitrescu

Shri Mataji’s sense of humour

The atmosphere during the long cultural programmes was almost informal, very relaxed and joyful. When one such an artistic programme was about to begin, a photographer popped out of the crowd of several hundreds or thousands of people, asking if he could take a photograph. Shri Mataji seemed to agree, so he started shooting away. Shri Mataji was smiling, apparently at a private joke and a few seconds later signalled to the photographer to have a look at his camera. He stopped, turned it towards himself and, to his dismay, noticed that the cap of the camera lens had been on all along. He took it off and took one more picture.

All those who noticed the scene had a huge laugh.

Alexandra Dumitrescu

Shri Mataji misses nothing

It might have been the second India tour I was coordinating, in 1993. I went to see Shri Mataji to talk about it in Delhi in the New Temple. I was wearing a khadi kurta-pyjama, which I had bought cheaply in Delhi. Shri Mataji took one look at it and laughed.

What are you wearing?’ She asked, so I walked up to Her and held my arm out. ‘Come here, come here. Oh yes, this is cheap, cheap khadi. You should get decent kurta-pyjamas.’ She proceeded to show me how you can tell the difference between the different types of cotton by pulling the threads apart with Her fingernails. She touched my sleeve. ‘See, that’s thin. You can tell it’s not very good because if it stays together when you pull it apart with your fingernails, then that is very good cotton. So next time buy better cotton.’

We were in Yamuna Nagar about two weeks later dancing round a fire and Shri Mataji suddenly burst out into laughter and pointed at my kurta and, lo and behold, I had a hole in it. It was at the back and I hadn’t noticed. The funny thing was I hadn’t remembered. I didn’t correlate the two things together, but Shri Mataji did. She immediately remembered the conversation about the cheap cotton.

She missed nothing. Her attention was so acute that even the smallest things She noticed and remembered. That’s what really amazed me afterwards, when I thought about it.

Nigel Powell

Shri Mataji looked far away

We were on the India tour. It was the end of a puja, and Shri Mataji looked very far away.

You cannot imagine what Your Father has prepared for you,’ She said.

She had these shining eyes, with joy like you knew She knew exactly what She was saying and it was absolutely true, and there was something that we cannot even think of.

Jean-Michel Huet

The drum is Shiva’s heartbeat

I was on an India tour and we were in Haryana or somewhere near there. We heard that Shri Mataji wanted to talk to the musicians and all the yogis in a garden. I was learning the dholak that year, so I sat in the front with the other musicians and we played to Mother. Then She started to talk, and I was sitting very close to Her. I was looking into Her eyes – they were so beautiful, like pools, like the sea, only brown. Shri Mataji said that the drum is Shiva’s heartbeat. Then later on She made a comment in Hindi, and I got up to move away.

No, you be comfortable,’ She said, but it was strange, because when She had spoken in Hindi, She had asked someone else to move, and I had done what She said as if I had understood. She spoke to all of us for some minutes. I had a shawl over my head and She told me to take it off, and said that in the morning I should leave my head uncovered, and it was in the afternoon that we needed to cover our heads. She also spoke about the Kundalini.

Your Kundalinis are your Mother, and that’s why She lets you sleep, but really you should get up at four o’clock in the morning,’ She said. She spoke about craftsmen and people who could make things by hand. There were far fewer of them now so they were getting into a position where their services were very much required. Even in India, having gone through a phase of wanting plastic, people now want everything hand crafted again. Then Mother pointed to one of the trees near there.

What tree is that?’ She asked, and nobody knew, and Mother was laughing, but She said we should know more about nature.

Philippa Newman

The great orchestra conductor

We were at the end of an India Tour. As Shri Mataji walked past I had the smell of a rose garden passing by. We had a puja and at the end the usual happened, which is that some people got up and started trying to move forward, and they created an unholy scramble just at the time when it would be better to sit in meditation. Shri Mataji began to scold the people who were pushing forwards and made us all stand up. 

Once normality and order was restored, the post puja process continued and I watched as Shri Mataji directed the people around Her with consummate ease, and She was totally in charge of the entire proceedings. It passed fleetingly through my mind that She was conducting everybody like the conductor of some great orchestra and right at that moment, Shri Mataji turned Her head towards me and spoke. I was unable to hear, not only because I was some distance away but also because it seemed too incredible for me to take in. She was actually speaking to me. Something made me step out from the crowd.

Would you like to take a photograph of My Feet?’ Shri Mataji repeated Herself.

Without thinking I walked forward with my camera, which God knows how, was in my hand and ready.

Oh but My Feet, they are not decorated,’ She said, as I was about to come up the steps. I had no hesitation inside me – the Feet of God are the Feet of God whether they are decorated or not.

Oh that doesn’t matter, Shri Mataji,’ I said – the words fell out of my mouth – and I took my photo.

Philippa Newman

Don’t cover your head in the morning

It was during the India tour at Yamuna Nagar in 1993/94. There was big garden in front of the house where Shri Mataji was staying, and one nice morning She asked to have a get together and some bhajans. It was around ten o’clock, and sunny, and some of us quickly went to bring musical instruments from the nearby tents where we were staying. Some people were wearing qawwali hats and caps, and Shri Mataji asked them to remove them. Until then we did not know that we should not cover our heads. We went and sat before Shri Mataji with our musical instruments, and She again saw someone wearing a qawwali hat, and that was me.

Beta (son) don’t cover your head in the morning,’ She said. ‘The sun’s rays are light in the morning and are very good for the hair to grow. You should cover your head when the sun is hot. Until twelve o’clock, the morning sunshine is good but after that you must cover your head to protect the Sahasrara from the hot sun.’

After some bhajans Shri Mataji pointed to one tree and then another and another, and asked yogis to tell Her the name of that particular tree. Some of them didn’t know them so Shri Mataji told us. She said that we should know all about nature and the names of the trees and flowers.

Ravindranath Saundankar

The Yamuna River

In December 1993, on the India tour, we were staying near the Yamuna River. One night the Yogis built a huge wood fire and Shri Mataji came and sat under a tree by it, and we all gathered around. The musicians started playing, Mother called the Yogis from each country and we took it in turn to dance in front of Her. After a while some large packages were brought to Mother. She had bought us beautiful white cotton shawls. They were most welcome as it was a cool night.

Later, a young Russian girl sang Vishwa Vandita. Her voice was so pure and clear, it rose in the silent night, singing the praise of the Goddess; I had never heard anything so beautiful. There was Shri Mataji sitting under the tree, all the yogis wrapped in their white shawls, this beautiful voice, the stars and the fire. It was timeless, like a William Blake painting. That night Shri Mataji told us that it had been predicted long ago that the Goddess would sit there with Her devotees around Her.

Anonymous Australian Sahaja Yogi

Shri Mataji can stay with Her children

In December 1993, during the India tour, Shri Mataji accepted the Sahaja Yogis’ request to visit Dehra Dun. As is normally done, we were busy finding a suitable place for Her to stay. We were not able to find anywhere and decided to once again try for the Officer’s Rest House in the Forestry Research Institute. I went to the Director General and surprisingly he was unable to accede to my request, even though I had an excellent relationship with him. I tried to explain that She was an international celebrity and the wife of a leading diplomat, but nothing worked. I suggested further that Shri Mataji was the founder of Sahaja Yoga, and gave realisation to seekers. He showed great interest.

I know Shri Mataji,’ he said, ‘She belongs to Madhya Pradesh, which is my state.’ He was willing to give another guest house which was not for VVIP’s, but not the one I requested. ‘If She is Shri Mataji, She can stay with Her children,’ he suggested.

Yes,’ I replied, ‘She will be pleased to do that, but it is for the children to ensure every comfort is available to Mother, for She works very hard and incessantly.’ The Director General rose, with folded hands, and apologised for being unable to give the rest house. I came back rather dispirited. The next day the Dehra Dun leader was having dinner at my bungalow – an officer’s residence in the FRI, designed like the Officer’s Rest House. It had a very green front full of trees and potted plants.

Shri Mataji stays in Her children’s house, and we can arrange Her stay in your house this time,’ suggested the leader with a smile, echoing what the Director General had said to me. We were thrilled with this decision. During our meditation, we saw Shri Mataji knocking at our door. This vision came to me, my wife and our two children at separate times, but we did not believe it, because, we reasoned, how could Mother feel comfortable in this old, shabby bungalow! Now our vision was going to be realised! During the sprucing up of the house, one of the Yuva Shakti broke the statue of Shri Krishna, and felt very sorry. My wife told him not to worry, because sakshat Shri Krishna is visiting, therefore why bother about a statue? Shri Mataji came to Dehra Dun from Yamuna Nagar, where She had accepted a Shri Krishna Puja at Hathni Kund the previous day.

Shri Mataji arrived at my bungalow at noon and remained in the car in meditation for a while, then came out and saw the potted plants. Many of the pots were old and broken, and we had forgotten to remove them.

Such nice plants,’ She said joyfully to the man accompanying Her. ‘We should plant these in Pune.’ She entered the house, looked around, and smilingly told my wife, ‘I have come to My house.’ My son took Her picture as She reached the front door. She accepted the lunch which had been prepared by the collective and was very cheerful. We were not supposed to enter Her room, but She wanted to know about tulips, and I was called in. Thus I was blessed. Then Shri Mataji looked at some paintings done by my wife. She asked who had done them, and my wife was called. Shri Mataji greatly admired the sense of colour in them and asked about the details.

These things gave me great joy. Firstly, after the Shri Krishna Puja, She blessed me by visiting my house. Secondly, I felt so happy, because it was my birthday, and thirdly, Shri Mataji desired some of my wife’s paintings for Cabella.

MN Jha

Miracle photo – vibrations in the shape of a carbon

atom dumbbell over plant outside Dr Jha’s house

Thank you very much!

I was staying in Nagpur at the Music Academy in the 1993, in the house of Bala Mama, Shri Mataji’s younger brother who was formerly a renowned judge. In the next house was the eldest brother of Shri Mataji, and She was elsewhere in Nagpur. The eldest brother came to know that Shri Mataji was in town, and he wanted very much to see Her. Later She was to leave Nagpur, and we wanted to see Her at the airport.

It was already quite late and we spent a lot of time getting Her brother to the airport to see Shri Mataji off, because he was very elderly. We were not even sure She would still be there. We finally arrived in a rickshaw, and just as we arrived, Shri Mataji came out from all the people.

This is great that you came,’ She said to him and had a big talk with him, and he gave Her the flowers I had bought to give – I gave them to him to give to Her. As he did She looked straight in my face.

Thank you very much!’ She said. She knew.

Sakshi Deen

Mother really knows we are here

India tour, 1993. It was the last night at Ganapatipule and we were having the weddings. A yogini and I took a little walk down to the entrance to the camp, and we were discussing the fact that we hadn’t seen Shri Mataji, as She did not come with us on the tour that year. We wondered whether She knew we were there. As we walked back to the place where the weddings were to take place, we were caught in the headlights of a car which drew to a stop, as we were right in front of it. As we stood there, we realised it was Mother’s car and She was in the back. We moved, and the car went on.

Well Mother really knows we are here now!’ I said to my friend. This was Mother’s little play to tell us She know everything.

Melody Hodgson