Chapter 08: 1977 – The First India Tour

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

Getting the special treatment in India

When the Westerners went to India there were five of us on that first trip, in 1977. Gregoire de Kalbermatten was in Kathmandu and we flew into India. Shri Mataji actually offered me the chance to go with Her. I hesitated.

‘Never mind,’ She said. I was still scared of Her, unfortunately. We all flew out to Mumbai and we were looked after by the Sahaja Yogis so wonderfully. We were taken into their homes and Shri Mataji always called for us.

‘Where are the foreigners?’ She would say. I would feel so sorry for all the thousands of Indians dying to see Mother and there was us always put at the front. You just felt so humbled after what the English had done to the Indians, and here we were getting the special treatment in India.

Maureen Rossi

The first India tour

The trip to Nepal and India at the beginning of 1977 surpassed all of our expectations, especially the wonderful generosity with which the Indian Sahaja Yogis received us everywhere, but we had to get used to a lot more yogis being around Shri Mataji, and to us being a lot less important. Even so, Shri Mataji often would call us to see how we were, and did everything possible if any of us had any problems.

Pat Anslow

Shri Mataji introduced us to using ajwan

We had the chance to be a small group with Shri Mataji again when we visited Nepal with Her in 1977, on that first tour, and She was very sweet to us while we were there. We did quite a lot of shopping for hand crafted goods and trinkets, including brass statues of deities in Kathmandu, and Shri Mataji would help us by going into shops first and asking all the prices and then waving at us to come in, so the shopkeeper could not put his prices up for us Westerners!

‘This is so much and this is so much,’ She would say.

Pat Anslow

Paying respects to the mountain

We flew into Kathmandu from Patna, India, but we were also told that there were flight excursions around Mount Everest or towards that area, so a few of the Sahaja Yogis went on the plane round Mount Everest. It was only about an hour or two.

When we came back the next day, in the sky there were clouds that looked like ripples in a pool, like when you throw a stone in the water and you get ripples. There was this similar sort of thing, but in the sky. We pointed this out to Shri Mataji.

‘Oh, yes,’ She said. ‘That’s because you have been to pay your respects to the mountain and those are waves of joy coming from the mountain.’

It was quite incredible.

Douglas Fry

Shri Mataji wrote on the certificate

I got this ‘certificate’ after a local sightseeing flight to Mount Everest from Kathmandu during the first India Tour in 1977. On the way towards Mount Everest the plane flew quite a distance away from it, then turned in a wide circle and flew back much closer to it, so that I did not get a good view from the side I was sitting on. I used to get very deeply upset about things I perceived to be ‘unfair’ in those days, and so it was in this case, to the point where my sister Maureen went and asked the pilots if I could come into their cabin and see the view from there, and they agreed, but I was so angry I refused!

When we got back to the airport we were met by Shri Mataji, who asked why I was so upset, after which She wrote my name on the certificate to cheer me up.

Pat Anslow

A visit to Nepal

This is a photo of Shri Mataji giving vibrations to Gregoire de Kalbermatten in his garden in Kathmandu, where he was working in early 1977, and the photo was taken during the first journey of Western disciples to India and Nepal which can probably be described as the first India Tour.

Shri Mataji came to visit him twice and stayed for a week each time; the first time She came with Rommel Varma (Her son-in-law) who stayed a few days and the second time with the then small London based early group of Western Sahaja Yogis. At that time Gregoire was working on the book about Shri Mataji and Sahaja Yoga, The Advent, and Shri Mataji often gave him advice.

Pat Anslow and Gregoire de Kalbermatten

The silence was galactic

This is an unusual conversation and it did take place. Maybe the words are not absolutely exact, but I remember faithfully the sense of it.

‘But Mother, this is really an ugly Kali Yuga. Were there other Kali Yugas like this before?’

‘There were many other Kali Yugas before, but this is one of the worst.’

‘But then, there were also other golden ages before?’

‘Of course, the successions of yugas form a kalpa, which is your universe.’

‘When will our universe finish?’

‘If Sadashiva interrupts it in dancing Tandava, people of God will go back to God and everything else will be destroyed. I do not think it will happen now because of Sahaja Yoga.’

‘If our universe comes and goes like this, it means there were other universes before?’

‘Yes, many.’

‘But, Shri Mataji, where do all these universes go, when they are finished?’

‘They become a chakra in My body.’

Believe me, after this answer, no more questions. And the silence was very galactic.

Gregoire de Kalbermatten

The grandmother of Christ

I recall Shri Mataji saying that Saint Ann, the mother of Mary, was an (anch?) avatar of Shri Mahakali.

Gregoire de Kalbermatten

The first ajwan session

We had the first ajwan session in Kathmandu when we went there in the late seventies. Shri Mataji got Her shawl, and She got the fire, and She put the ajwan on it – there are pictures of us under Shri Mataji’s shawl doing ajwan, inhaling ajwan. Shri Mataji was also under the shawl with us, and we had to tie our heads up. You shouldn’t go to sleep with an uncovered head afterwards. She gave us a lot of very personal attention and really looked after us. We were in such a state.

Maureen Rossi

It was here that Shri Mataji introduced us to using ajwan. A fire was lit in the house and the ajwan thrown onto the glowing embers. Shri Mataji asked for a blanket and we all, including Shri Mataji, put our heads under the blanket, over the fire, to inhale the fumes.

Pat Anslow

The joy coming out of it

We went to a market square in Kathmandu where there was a fearsome looking statue of Shri Bhairava, and Shri Mataji washed its feet.

‘Now look at Bhairava,’ She said. We stood there and, as we looked at it, we all went into deep meditation. Its fearsome look changed to a smile and it was actually smiling at us. In that deep meditation we were obviously seeing it in a totally different light and we could see the joy coming out of it.

Douglas Fry

The Adi Shakti is here

We were in Kathmandu and we set off for a picnic. We went off for quite some distance up into the hills, all in a car with Shri Mataji. We were looking for a picnic place and heard there was a little hermitage where a saint lived.

‘That sounds interesting. We’ll go up there,’ we said and we drove around and eventually found this place. It was a little kind of a hut, a two-storey thing – quite a nice little place. There was no one there.

‘This is a nice spot for a picnic,’ Mother said. We were all agog about this yogi that was supposed to live there and we were trying the vibrations and Mother said, ‘I think he’s realised, this yogi.’

We were so excited because we had this great idea of a great sage meeting the Adi Shakti. We thought that this was going to be an amazing thing. The picnic drew to an end and we were looking everywhere and sure enough, the yogi came down the path with his hair done up in a topknot. We were on fire with excitement and very confused. Suddenly, he was sitting down and Mother was working on him.

‘He’s out of his mind,’ Gregoire’s servant said in an aside to us. He was realised, but he was a bit mad and Mother was helping him.

The time came to leave and we discovered that Mother’s purse had been stolen. We started looking everywhere for this purse and then some local people said they would find it. We went back to the car and we could see all over the hillside people running from house to house and more and more people would join in the search. Eventually, they found the purse and brought it back. Mother gave the person who found it a reward. She called all the little children there to come up and get realisation and each child She gave realisation to, She gave one rupee. One of the Sahaja Yogis who was there was surprised.

‘I am the Adi Shakti. I can do anything I like,’ Shri Mataji replied.

Pat Anslow

Shri Mataji looked pained

We also travelled to (the last incarnation of the Adi Guru) Sai Nath’s ashram at Shirdi. It had been turned into a bit of a commercial circus and there were large numbers of people there. Shri Mataji took us around outside, to the back of the shrine, where She tried to clear out the negative vibrations. She looked pained at what had been done to the place where he had lived, and began to bang Her head against the wall in anguish. We could not bear to see Shri Mataji hurt Herself and one of the Indian Yogis placed his hand on the wall behind Shri Mataji’s head to protect Her.

Pat Anslow

A havan at Bordi

These photos were taken during a havan on the India tour in 1977, at Bordi. Mother requested the yogis to ask for a boon. Shri Mataji is vibrating the threads which would then be given out to the Sahaja Yogis to wear on their wrists for some time. She asked them to cut up the strings and distribute them.

Pat Anslow

The thousand names of the Goddess

These pictures, seen above, are from a havan at Bordi where the Sahaja Yogis used to go before Ganapatipule. We went down to Bordi by train and they carried Shri Mataji in a bullock cart. It was right by the sea and it was also there that the pictures of Shri Mataji standing in the sea with a few of us around Her were taken.

The havan was on one of the evenings and the Indian Sahaja Yogis, four ladies who were looking after Shri Mataji, laced the threads around Her in a very intricate way around each toe and back around Her head. We (the foreigners) sat around three sides of the fire and Shri Mataji was facing the fourth side. There were a number of Indian yogis there, perhaps around one hundred. They read the thousand names of the Goddess.

Personally it was tough, as I felt as if I was burning almost as much as the fruit that was placed on the little wall around the flames. As we watched it blister and blacken you felt as if parts of you were blistering and blackening and dropping off and you could hardly bear it – but you knew you had to hang on in there. It was like a major battle going on inside and you had to just sit tight and let it happen. Afterwards, when the threads had been unwound from Shri Mataji’s body, they were distributed to everyone to wear as rakhis, tied on the wrist.

It was also at this Bordi camp that one evening Shri Mataji said She was pleased with everyone and they could ask for a boon and we all sat there desiring the ultimate and She broke in on our earnest thoughts.

‘No, no, ask for something material for yourselves,’ She said. It was extraordinary.

At this session Shri Mataji got us to try putting lemon peel on our eyes to clear our Agnyas – it stung like mad but worked! My brother Pat was really ill after the session in the sea, because the sun and his liver did not go together well.  He had to stay in his room – he felt so bad – and suddenly there was a knock at the door and Shri Mataji appeared there to see him.

Maureen Rossi

There was Shri Mataji

At Bordi I had left the programme and gone back to our hut because I was not feeling well and a couple of hours later I heard a knock at the door. I hopped over in my sleeping bag to open the door and to my astonishment there was Shri Mataji, who had stopped on Her way back from the programme to see how I was. I then had the embarrassment of having to hop across the room in my sleeping bag to a chair in full view of Shri Mataji and Her retinue, so that Shri Mataji could work on me!

Pat Anslow

Tremendous fun

We had tremendous fun, travelling to programmes in many places. Our biggest problem was trying to eat all of the food that we were offered.

I remember one occasion when we were in a hut trying to work on an Indian gentleman with a large, shiny bald head. Shri Mataji asked one of the Indian Yogis to put some kumkum on his head, and the whole pot full accidentally tipped onto him. He sat there with a huge pyramid of kumkum on his head and Shri Mataji went into gales of laughter. We all laughed till we cried while the unfortunate (or fortunate!) gentleman looked around in bewilderment.

Pat Anslow

Birthday Puja 1977

This photo, above, was taken at Shri Mataji’s Birthday Puja in Mumbai on the 21st March 1977 when my brother Pat, Douglas Fry, Tony Panayioutou, I and three others went to India for three months. This was the culmination of the tour.

 We had been to several pujas during the three months but this was the most powerful. The puja was held in a grand hall in Mumbai, and there had been a public programme there as well either the day before or a few days before. It had a stage and we sat on the stage at the public programme with Shri Mataji and some of us spoke a few words as the ‘foreigners’. At the puja Shri Mataji was not on a stage but in the body of the hall, because we were brought forward to Her after the puja as She often had happen.

‘Where are the foreigners?’ She would say. She was surrounded by people, it seemed to me, not separate or on a platform.

When we set off to spend three months in India I had this illusion that we would come back perfect. The reality was that when Shri Mataji called us to bow down and go on Her Feet we were all in such a state that She really had to correct us, and it was a very humbling experience. But the first faltering steps of starting to perhaps grow a little, once you glimpse the immensity of the mountain you are attempting to climb, you may feel unworthy and certainly question your pompous ideas of yourself, but also a tiny little voice inside recognises with relief that all the rubbish you identified with as ‘you’ was not you at all and had to go.

Maureen Rossi

She loved juxtaposition of the different cultures

At the Birthday Puja in Mumbai, on that first trip, this was again our first time of seeing Shri Mataji in that kind of situation for Her birthday. It made us realise what a pitiful thing we had attempted to do in England before, compared to what they did. Shri Mataji wanted us to talk. One of us talked and then Shri Mataji called me across to Her.

‘Can you really do this?’ She said. By then I was so fired up, I was just dying to talk. I wanted to say how Mother had poured love on us and how wonderful it was. But Shri Mataji wanted to have the Westerners tell the Indians about Sahaja Yoga. She loved using the juxtaposition of the different cultures. Here people tend to think Sahaja Yoga is Indian, but She loved to use the different approaches, because each person would have a way of putting it across that would perhaps catch the attention of the other culture.

Shri Mataji always looked after us and made sure we got proper accommodation, and the Indian people were so wonderful. They put up with us. We were very disrespectful in our ways. We didn’t know, and were given a lot of help. Shri Mataji gave us ladies saris of Hers and cardigans, and She gave me a coat. It was all part of protecting us and protecting us from this awful state we were in.

Maureen Rossi