Chapter 08: 1981 – July and August, Brighton, Dorset and Weddings

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

Going to the game park

In the summer of 1981, in about June, Shri Mataji took Her grandchildren, and also my two, to a game park near London. We had a picnic lunch and it was a wonderful day. As we were driving around the park and looking at the animals, we were going past some giraffes, which were not too close, and as we drove past they turned their backs to us. Mother explained that the animals felt the vibrations as a cool wind, and in the way of animals, turned their backs to shield themselves from the cold. Mother explained that animals are one with the universal consciousness, whereas unrealised humans are split off from it.

Mother also said that when She first married, they went to Her husband’s family palace. The family owned some elephants, and in India that was not unusual at the time. But what was very unusual was that when they saw Mother, they all knelt down in obeisance to Her, in recognition.

The other thing I remember about the visit to the game park was that we were passing some monkeys on a rock, and they were all preening each other. They sat looking at us, and I laughed because they looked quite funny.

‘You were all like that, (were monkeys) not so long ago,’ Mother said. That put me in my place!

Linda Williams

A spiritual experience

Amjad Ali Khan was giving a concert of Indian classical music at the Commonwealth Institute, London, in 1981. He was a sarod player of some repute and being a public performance, the concert had started at the allotted time, but Shri Mataji had not arrived.  His playing was superb, and during his performance Shri Mataji entered with Her husband. Amjad respectfully acknowledged Her arrival by rising slightly and bowing to Her.

After that, his performance went through the roof and took you to another level altogether. It was a spiritual experience. Afterwards he apparently acknowledged the difference in his performance after She had arrived.

Kay McHugh

It just sort of takes place

I remember going to concerts with Shri Mataji in the early days. I went to a couple of concerts with Amjad Ali Khan in the Commonwealth Institute in London in 1981. He was always very respectful, and would always bow to Shri Mataji and tell Her what a great honour it was to be playing in Her presence.

I had also sung a few songs there. I would get up on the stage, and it would be like driving Shri Mataji, because when driving Her you feel you are about six feet up in the air and completely witnessing what is happening. It’s just happening and you are not doing anything, and singing to Shri Mataji is much the same. You are on the stage: you’ve been nervous before, but once you’re there, you are just enveloped in a nice little cocoon of vibrations.

Chris Marlow

A visit to Brighton

Shri Mataji visited Brighton with Her daughter Sadhana Didi, and Her grandchildren Sonu and Anand, and stayed with Pamela Bromley in Brighton, in July 1981. Brighton is a seaside town in the south of England.

Left: Shri Mataji sitting on the beach with some members of Her family and some Sahaja Yogis. Right: Shri Mataji on the Lower Promenade, above the beach.

We went to the beach

One morning we went down to the beach in Brighton. Mother sat on the pebbles and we all sat around Her and some of us foot soaked in the sea.

Kay O’Connell

Mother was just so motherly

When Shri Mataji was at my house in Brighton, She used to sit in the big high bed and all the yoginis could sit round.

We went shopping with Her in Brighton, to an Italian ceramics shop and Mother was looking in there.

‘I’ve got a weakness for china,’ She said. I went with Mother to The Lanes, a really smart part of Brighton. Mother bought many things and someone else collected them. Mother was just so motherly.

She was just so wonderful, wasn’t She?

Pamela Bromley

The most exquisite tea sets

One evening a group of us were walking with Mother through the Brighton Lanes and looking in the shops. Mother stopped at a shop selling Italian china and pottery then told us that She had ‘a weakness’ for tea sets and pottery. I remember thinking, ‘How can the Goddess have a weakness?’

Some time later I was at Brompton Square and there was a little room full of the most exquisite tea sets from all over the world. They were so lovely to look at and it made me smile thinking of how Mother enjoyed the maya.

Kay O’Connell

Just like a mother

There was a squat across the road from Pamela’s house and the young people living there came to meet Shri Mataji, who took great interest in them all. She spoke to them about the things that concerned them, just like a mother would but was also telling them that there was something greater.

Later that year we held two meetings in another squat with some of the same people and even though they weren’t ready to be yogis themselves they had respect for Shri Mataji and Her message.

Kay O’Connell

Editor’s note: a squat is a house or flat where people live temporarily, without paying rent.

A puja in the garden

In 1981 there was a puja with Shri Mataji in the garden of my flat in Hove. Afterwards Mother sat in my bedroom. All the yogis squeezed into the room and She chatted to us about India. She then vibrated all my photographs of Her. As She was going down the stairs to leave I went before Her to make sure that the carpet on the stairs was secure. She laughed and asked what I was doing. I told Her that I was concerned that She did not fall.

‘There’s nothing you can do about it. If I’m meant to fall, I’ll fall,’ She said.

Gilly Grimshaw

Shri Mataji’s attention was always on current affairs

It was August 1981, and we had not had a seminar for some time. Every couple of months when we had a seminar, it really helped bring everyone together and get the vibrations going. My parents were going away from their house in the country for two weeks. I had known, ever since I got realisation, that this would be the perfect place to have a seminar, but my parents weren’t supportive of Sahaja Yoga and I was really hesitant. However, after a very thoughtless meditation I felt we should just do it, so we started to organize for a seminar in Dorset.

I wanted to give an invitation to Shri Mataji because it was protocol to do so, and to ask Her if we could have a puja there in Her presence. The only day I could go was the next Sunday, which was Princess Diana’s wedding day, and everybody was at home watching it on the TV, and I also wanted to watch it. She was very loved by everyone, but I thought, ‘No, I have to go to see Shri Mataji.’ The streets were deserted and I went to Shri Mataji’s apartment at Ashley Gardens. I was very nervous about giving this invitation and met Alan Richards in the lobby, which was perfect timing.

‘Maybe you could give the invitation to Shri Mataji,’ I said.

‘No, you must come up with me,’ he replied. So we went up in the lift and knocked on the door, and Shri Mataji opened it.

‘Come in, come in,’ She said. ‘We’re just watching the television.’

Princess Diana and Prince Charles were going through the streets, so we sat down and watched the whole procession and ceremony with Shri Mataji, just as if we were all family, in a very relaxed way. It was very interesting to see how Shri Mataji’s attention was always on current affairs, what was going on at the time. She watched the TV and read the newspapers.

I gave Shri Mataji the invitation and She said that She would be happy to come.

Felicity Payment

What beautiful flowers

We started the weekend from the Friday night. People brought tents to camp in the backyard and a lot of people slept in the big empty mill room and it felt really special because we were right in the heart of England, in Dorset.

‘Shri Mataji, could we call the seminar Keeping your heart open?’ I had asked when I gave the invitation, because we would go to the meetings, we would see Shri Mataji and our hearts would open and then they would close over again and I felt, ‘How to keep the heart open so that always the vibrations are flowing?’

Once I had decided that it was the right thing to have the seminar at my parents’ place, I felt confident, that I could deal with whatever happened with my parents afterwards, and then everything just worked out. About seventy people came from all over England. It was very joyful, greeting everyone as they came.

Shri Mataji came on the train on Sunday morning and we were going to greet Her at the station. Suddenly I realised that I hadn’t got any flowers for Her and it was Sunday. All the stores were closed in the countryside. I tried to raid the flowerbeds by the house but there was only one rose and two other little flowers so I arrived at the station feeling very impoverished. I wanted something to make more of a bouquet, and growing alongside the station wall were some little yellow wild flowers, and I thought, ‘This could be nice.’ I asked the stationmaster’s wife if I could pick them.

‘Oh, yes. They’re just weeds,’ she said, so I picked the flowers and made a bouquet. Shri Mataji always knows what’s in your heart and She knew what had lead up to this.

‘What beautiful flowers. Where did you get these ones from?’ She said, when I gave the wild flowers to Her, ‘They are so fragrant.’

‘I got them from here. The stationmaster said they’re just weeds.’

Felicity Payment

‘You see today she brought some flowers. There were some supposed to be weeds according to her. She went to the station and there she was taking some flowers out and the stationmaster and his wife were very sweet. They said, ‘Go ahead. They are only weeds. You can have them.’ And they are so fragrant — one of the most fragrant flowers I have ever seen. They are just weeds. They do not conform to any formal flowers or anything, but just a few flowers attached to other flowers were most fragrant.

Love gives all the sophistication and the fragrance and the breeding which is required. Not talking of love, but really loving is the way. It’s most enjoyable.’

Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi (Extract from puja Open Your Heart 1981 talk)

Shri Mataji was breaking our conditionings, that some flowers are just weeds. But wildflowers are still flowers. We took Shri Mataji back to the house in the car. Everybody was waiting for Her and stood to sing a beautiful song as She came in and sat down in Her chair at the end of the big long room, an old mill room, with all the yogis in front of Her. We did the puja. It was very special and I was always very thankful to be at a puja with Shri Mataji, because we always felt so much better afterwards, and She worked on all of us in such a deep way.

Felicity Payment

Tea in the garden

Shri Mataji sat outside in the garden and had tea and we all sat round, very informally and She’d just start talking to us of interesting subjects, often seeking subjects.

Ray Harris

Shri Mataji sat and had tea with us in the garden — the mother drinking tea with Her children. It was very relaxed and She was so motherly. At times, Mother would be fierce, like when you’ve got naughty children or children who don’t seem to understand what they’re doing and you’re trying to get them on the right path and explain things to them. But, at other times, it was so nice just to be able to sit with Her as She was drinking tea or talking about ordinary things.

Felicity Payment

Shri Mataji says thank you

We had a beautiful puja and then afterwards we sang William Blake’s Jerusalem, ‘And did those Feet in ancient time.’ There we were amongst the green hills of England and this was so many years ago, seventy of us. That’s all the yogis there were in England.

‘This is the song you should sing,’ She said, and we sang about building the New Jerusalem ‘amongst these dark satanic mills,’ which William Blake wrote about all those years ago. It felt like we were at the beginning of something special, like you were building. We felt important, that it was important to be there, meditating and working it out.

Someone brought a piece of green muslin material and everybody embroidered a little flower on it, as if we were all the flowers on the green of England, and we offered this after the puja to Shri Mataji as a gift. Shri Mataji put it on and said it was like the green hills of England. There was even a green towel which someone had provided. Mother’s Feet were on the green towel and the vibrations from this — the puja photo that Ray took from this puja was very strong, very beautiful vibrations.

After the seminar Shri Mataji left for Bristol. I stayed behind to clean up, and I got a phone call from a Sahaja Yogi who had been travelling with Shri Mataji.

‘Shri Mataji says thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you again and again.’ She was very over-exuberant with all these thank-you’s for the seminar and I wondered why.

A few days later my parents returned and heard from the neighbours that we had had ‘a bit of a do’ while they were away. I got an ominous phone call to meet with them and I realised what the thank-you’s were all about. By thanking me, Shri Mataji gave me the courage to face my parents, and of course it all just worked out beautifully. When you work for Shri Mataji with a sincere, pure heart, you are always taken care of. On a vibrational level, really something opened and worked out for us in England.

Shri Mataji had shown us each other as She saw us, not the outside weedy appearance, but the beautiful flower that always lies within. She was always trying to make us see that we were truly beautiful.

Felicity Payment

Shri Mataji gave a complete architectural explanation

We were standing with Shri Mataji in the knave of a beautiful 13th century limestone abbey in Sherbourne, Dorset, England. We had just had the puja the day before at Mill Farm, Yetminster, and as was Her custom, Shri Mataji was visiting the local area to spread vibrations everywhere. She looked way up at the stone ceiling full of vaulted buttresses.

‘How do you think they made those arches?’ She said, gesturing with Her hand, as if wondering to Herself, yet asking us. I was clutching a guidebook and started flipping through the pages.

‘Maybe it will tell us in here,’ I replied, but before I could find anything, Shri Mataji gave a complete architectural explanation. Later Djamel said that he once had a conversation with Shri Mataji about aerodynamics and She had talked with him about very technical aerodynamic concepts.

It was this incident that made me realise that Shri Mataji is the pure source of all knowledge. She knows everything about everything.

Felicity Payment

Reading the Bible to Shri Mataji

We were at the seminar in the summer of 1981, in Wiltshire, at Felicity’s house, but I cannot recall which part of the Bible I read. However, it was in one of the rooms with the women. Shri Mataji asked a couple of us to read the Bible out loud to Her. When it was my turn, I remembered Her asking me about four times to slow down my speech to a point where I felt I was talking painfully slowly. This experience has taught me considerably with my attention and communication.

 Ann Lewis

The seminar in Dorset – Open your Hearts

In August 1981, we went to Felicity Payment’s house in Dorset, to a seminar in the countryside. Shri Mataji went on the train, and told people not to go on that train with Her – unless She had asked them to. However, two Sahaja Yogis did try. They went to the station to find Mother, both on the platform and they walked right up and down the train looking in all the compartments, but they could not see Her. When we all got to Felicity’s, Mother said to the two of them that they would never find Her if She did not want them to – and I remember one sentence She said as to why: ‘…because this is a being of a totally different order.’

We had a lovely weekend and various things happened, but there was one which was connected with shopping. Mother had gone to the local town, Winchester. There was a clock in an antique shop which She saw and was interested in. She went in and bought it, and the shop owner said it had been in the window for a very long time. Shri Mataji explained She could work on every person who had looked at the clock as they passed up the street, and that was why it was a good thing for Her to buy.

She had me rub Her Feet in the night after the puja for hours. Whenever I thought She had gone to sleep and I stopped a bit, She would jerk Her toe to indicate I should go on. She never really slept.

At the puja we did not have a sari to offer but I had bought some green material and edged it with white lace and got everyone at the seminar, including the men, to sew a flower on. Then I sewed a green stem and leaves to tie them all up together like creeper all over it. Shri Mataji wore it like a veil over Her head in the puja.

Linda Williams

A tide in the affairs of men

Shri Mataji came to our house in Bristol again, in early August, 1981. Shri Mataji took me aside and talked to me. It was my choice, of course, but there was a tide in the affairs of men – She used that phrase of Shakespeare’s – and for me that tide had come. Shakespeare, She said, had been almost too aloof. Much though She respected him, his heart had not been as warm as William Blake’s, nor had he felt as much concern for the totality. Perhaps in a previous life he had spent a long time on a mountain top – and so, maybe, had I. Now it was time to come down off the mountain. To marry Ruth was the right thing to do, absolutely. So, I said: yes.

One week later we were married.

Chris Greaves

The woman who came to say hello

In the summer of 1981, Shri Mataji visited Bristol for a second time. She was sitting talking in my room when the woman from the flat downstairs came up to say hello to Her. She was a nice young woman, a decent person though very reserved and spinsterish and somehow ‘old before her time’, and she was always suffering from a bad back. She wasn’t exactly a seeker, but she had let us use her room on Mother’s previous visit and was clearly curious. She sat on the floor at Mother’s Feet, clearly in pain. Shri Mataji was very compassionate.

‘How could they do this to this sweet girl?’ She asked, referring to the negative forces. Shri Mataji said the acupuncture the woman had had for her back hadn’t helped at all. Privately, She told my wife that this woman had stomach cancer, but not to do anything about it: She would try to work it out. Of course, we didn’t mention any of this to her. Some time afterwards we heard she had had a dream in which Mother took something out of her stomach.

Chris Greaves

Basmati rice

Every time Shri Mataji came to Bristol, in the early eighties, I had the honour of cooking for Her. The first time She came She talked to me about what I had cooked and the ingredients I’d used. She was very complimentary but said that the best rice to use was Basmati – I had used ordinary long grain Patna rice. So, the next year when She visited I used Basmati. However, the third time She came to the Old Vicarage in Montpelier, where we had a flat, somehow in the rush of preparing everything we had only managed to get Patna rice. At least, it came out of a big sack in our local shop and was sold to us as the much cheaper Patna rice. They didn’t have any Basmati.

Shri Mataji had been served Her food and I was in the kitchen. I started worrying.

‘Mother said I should use Basmati and I didn’t get it,’ I said to a Sahaja Yogini there at the time. At this moment someone came into the kitchen and said that Mother was asking for me, so I went to Her.

‘Ruth, where did you get this rice, this is the finest quality Basmati, we cannot even get this in London, you know!’ She said.

Ruth Greaves

A few flower related stories

The first happened in York Road, Bristol on one of Shri Mataji’s visits there. She said that She would show us how we are all cells in Her body. She took a rose in her hand and held it to Her nose. She told us to breathe in deeply through our noses every time that She did, and that we would smell the fragrance. She did this four or five times and with each intake of breath we all smelt the wonderful fragrance of the rose, no matter how far away from Shri Mataji we were. I was in the doorway, which was on the other side of the large room, from Shri Mataji.

The second was at the Cowley Manor seminar in 1982. I had felt some negativity trying to distance me and make me draw back from Shri Mataji, so when we were walking in the gardens, I think it was after we had performed a havan, I made myself go up to Shri Mataji and offer Her a flower. I did not look at Her when I gave it. Later on we were all sitting around Shri Mataji and She was talking to us. On the table next to Her was a pile of flowers that had been offered to Her, at some point She picked up the very flower that I had offered and began playing with it, twirling it in Her hands and smoothing out the petals with Her fingers. Several months later, when She visited Bristol, a yogi showed me some photographs he had taken of Shri Mataji and suddenly there was one showing Mother with the most beautiful smile and the hand of someone extended, offering Her a pink chrysanthemum. It was my hand! I had no idea that this moment had been captured on camera!

The third incident was at a Guru Puja at Shudy Camps. At some point previously I had heard Shri Mataji say that pink is the colour of the love of the child for the Mother and red is the colour of the love of the Mother for the child. As a secret message of love, before the puja and unknown to anyone I placed a pink rose on Shri Mataji’s table, beside Her chair. It was a large puja with hundreds of yogis from all over the world and I hadn’t seen my husband, Chris all day. We were finally clearing up to go home when Chris came up to me – he gave me a pink rose he had in his hand.

‘I found this on Mother’s table and thought you might like it,’ he said.

Another yogini and I were standing side by side waiting to give our flowers to Shri Mataji. She paused in front of us, looked at us very sweetly and said ‘You look like flowers yourselves, standing there.’

Ruth Greaves

The protection of Shri Rama

The week after the seminar in Dorset, my husband left me. I was in Shri Mataji’s house a few days after all this had happened and She asked me why I was looking so glum, and said that it was very inauspicious to look so sad in Her presence. I explained that life was a bit tricky in every direction.

A day or two later, I was again with Shri Mataji, and She asked me to go to Her room. She showed me a beautiful red sari, and even today people remark on what a rich and glowing colour it has, even though it is now old, tarnished and faded. She put it on me, fold by fold.

‘This sari represents Shri Rama. He is now going to look after your Right HHeart chakra, and you must never worry or be afraid. He is always there to protect you,’ She said.

August 1981 was difficult for me and Shri Mataji was incredibly kind. One day She spoke to me alone, at Brompton Square. It was a talk which seemed to come from a very high level, as if She was saying – try to stop worrying about superficial things.

She told me that I must try to be brave, because by looking through my eyes, She was helping to work out millions of women around the world who had been left to bring up children without the support of a husband. She then said that She had come down to our level to help us, and when She incarnated She did not have to obey any rules of the world – but She did so impeccably, as an example. She also said that between incarnations, She has an overview of what is going on but when She incarnates She sees the details. On this occasion She could hardly believe the mess we had managed to make of everything.

Linda Williams

Shri Mataji moves house and Sahaja Yoga grows

In 1981, Shri Mataji and Sir CP stayed in a number of temporary residences. With growing numbers of Sahaja Yogis, some large houses were rented through the Sahaja Housing Association. In the Earls Court area of west London, these included a former hotel, which was part of a housing association that the Sahaja Yogis had started. The hotel was in Bramham Gardens. Shri Mataji and Sir CP stayed for some time at this hotel, sleeping in a room which was behind the reception desk on the ground floor.

Patricia Proenza and others

This humble little car

Back in 1981 there was a very dynamic Sahaja Yogi. Shri Mataji used to call him ‘the James Bond of Sahaja Yoga.’ He had set up a Sahaja Housing Co-op, which meant that he got hold of large properties that were up for redevelopment and they would be filled with yogis for short periods of time. It was by these means that the co-op acquired a hotel in Earls Court, London.

For the first two weeks, the fourteen bedroom hotel was occupied by only two yogis, but then Shri Mataji said She would like to move in. This was due to the fact that Her flat in Westminster had been sold and the new house in Brompton Square was still undergoing renovations. As you can imagine the hotel filled up overnight. A week before Her arrival in the hotel, in Bramham Gardens, Earls Court, there were some Sahaja weddings in London – and where else to put up those getting married, from out of town, but the hotel? The weddings were to be on the Sunday and on the Saturday the grooms went to Southall to buy their wedding outfits. The brides went to Chelsham Road, where the weddings were to be.

Bernard Rackham and Mia, Miodrag Radosavljevic, who were the only yogis living at the hotel, were recovering from having to suddenly cater for what was their first experience of hosting thirty or so people.

‘Mother’s here!’ the call suddenly went up, and so She was. Shri Mataji was on the way to Southall (a suburb of London where many Indian people live) to buy saris for the brides. She had been packing at Her flat in Ashley Gardens, Westminster and someone had packed away the car keys and they could not be found, so She had come to the hotel in a taxi.

‘Bernard has a car, Shri Mataji,’ someone mentioned.

‘Great, we can go in that,’ She replied.

Now this car, to describe it as modest was to elevate it to unknown proportions. It was not only a Mini, one of the smallest British cars on the road, but it was to be vibrating a scrap yard within six months of the event. There was no suspension, moss was growing out of the windowsills and the rust was such that you could see the road going by through a hole in the floor – yet this humble little car was destined to be a vehicle for Shri Adi Shakti.

You can’t describe the joy or the maya of being that intimate with Shri Mataji, so it won’t be attempted. What can be said is that, on arriving in Southall, the first thing to be seen was a large group of yogis pacing the streets in search of kurtas and the like. The car horn honked and the bewildered yogis peered around. You can imagine their astonishment when they realised Who it was sitting in this little green car. It being Southall, it was not just the yogis, but everyone crowded around the car to see, and soon there was a huge crowd. Yet, a couple of minutes later, after Mother had told the yogis where to do their shopping, they drove fifty metres up the street, pulled up, attracting no attention whatsoever, and Mother disappeared into a shop — another Indian lady looking for saris.

Bernard Rackham

We went shopping in a little Mini car with Shri Mataji and the Sahaja Yogis. It was interesting because we are used to seeing Shri Mataji coming out of a big Mercedes and She went shopping in Bernard Rackham’s little Mini.

Miodrag Radosavljevic

Encompassed in Mother’s love

In 1981 there was a wedding of sixteen brides in London and I was one. On the morning of the day before the weddings Shri Mataji arrived at Chelsham Road with a huge plastic bag of saris. She threw them into the middle of the room and said that all the brides could choose one as a wedding present. All the brides got up and started to sort through the saris noting the colour and pattern. I remained seated because something inside me wanted Shri Mataji to choose a sari for me. She looked up and saw I had not moved. Selecting a sari She tossed it to me and said that it was for me.

After the weddings when I wore this sari to a meeting Shri Mataji drew everyone’s attention to it and how it was made of very hard wearing silk.

In the beginning I really didn’t like the sari. The ego would not allow me to enjoy its vibrations. But over the years I have come to love and appreciate it and every time I wear it I feel encompassed in Mother’s love.

Gilly Grimshaw

Sixteen weddings in the back garden of Chelsham Road

In August 1981, I was very new to Sahaja Yoga –  I had had my realisation for about six months, and had only met Shri Mataji a couple of times. I was living in Sheffield. I was phoned at home there by a Sahaja Yogini one day.

‘Mother has proposed a match for you. Will you accept?’ she asked me. So I said yes and felt amazing vibrations. My Kundalini shot to the top of my head and I thought, ‘Wow.’ I had never felt such strong vibrations before.

I had about three days in which to get myself down to London for the weddings. It was quite an event because although there were only sixteen couples, we thought this was a huge amount of people to be married. Most of the weddings prior to this had been two or four couples at the most. I came down to London and Graham, my future husband, met me at the station. Graham had been spending quite a lot of time in the presence of our Holy Mother and She had even told him what ring to get for me.

Gail Pottinger

There were sixteen weddings and it was lovely, full of flowers. It was the middle of summer and lots of brides were getting dressed at Chelsham Road. Shri Mataji sat outside with Her face to the garden with Her back to the meditation room with the French doors open either side of Her.

It was a beautiful starry night in the end. Didn’t it go into the night time?

Kay McHugh

Editor’s note: The weddings took place in the garden, and beforehand there was a haldi ceremony, also in the garden. There was one large fire, which all the couples walked around, and Shri Mataji personally handed out the garlands beforehand.

Marriages at Chelsham Road

My brother was getting married in 1981, and was one of the couples. The havan and marriages took place in the garden, after which Mother sat with the Sahaja Yogis in the meditation room. I was watching all the yogis queuing at the door to come and sit down in an already crowded room; there was shuffling from all around, everyone making space for more; still the person who was at the back of the queue was shortly sitting down, but still it seemed like droves of people were still waiting. The floor space around us got smaller.

‘Come in, come in! Move forward, there’s plenty of space,’ Shri Mataji would keep saying from time to time. The meditation room was not the same size as usual. It had expanded for sure, and again space/physics were not relative.

Ann Lewis

We were there to welcome Shri Mataji

The first time I met Shri Mataji was for the weddings at Chelsham Road in 1981. The very next day Shri Mataji was going to Scotland, where I come from. After the wedding celebrations we all got into cars and drove up to Scotland and went to the flower markets when they opened at 4 am. Then we were there to welcome Shri Mataji when She arrived. She spoke to everybody in a little flat in Glasgow. We were all able to go in and talk to Her.

The very next day She came through to Edinburgh and was staying in a flat belonging to Finn Robertson’s father somewhere round about the King’s Market. He was about the only yogi in Scotland then. I was driving Shri Mataji and there were lots of cobbles there, and I wanted to drive slowly to keep it nice and smooth for Her. I couldn’t remember the way to the hall where the public programme was going to be, but there was only one person there, so Mother only stayed one night.

Susie Lumsden

The normalness of so many things Shri Mataji would do

The first meeting in Glasgow was in a small flat in 1981. There were quite a few of us staying to help out for the public programme. Shri Mataji arrived in the evening, having been driven up in the car by Hari Jairam. Upon arrival, we inquired if Mother had eaten and apparently Hari had bought fish suppers and they had eaten them in the car, but again it points out the ‘normalness’, from our point of view, of so many things She would do.

Mark Callahan

The effect of photos

Different photos can have different effects, depending who took them. In 1981 I was helping a yogi to arrange programmes in Scotland. We drove from London to Glasgow and Edinburgh and spent days plastering both cities with posters. When we got back to London we went to see Shri Mataji to tell Her the progress of the arrangements and show Her the posters. She told us the posters were not suitable.

‘That photo will never attract the seekers,’ She said.

We made new posters with a photo of Her approval and not only replastered the two cities but had to remember every shop and newsagent we had been to before! Later, when we were in Edinburgh with Shri Mataji, a yogini who had come with us had brought two albums of photos she had taken of Shri Mataji. She had used expensive equipment and different lenses and had been quite diligent in her work. I thought they were beautiful photos but to our surprise when Shri Mataji saw them, She said that the lady must throw them all in the sea and the negatives as well. To her credit she did not question Shri Mataji and did just that and considered it a blessing to be corrected by Mother.

Shri Mataji would ask yogis to take some photos for a particular purpose.

‘But Mother, there’s not enough light,’ a gentleman said, on one such occasion.

‘You take the photo; I’ll take care of the light,’ She answered.

Another example of the photograph reflecting the vibrations of the photographer was in Australia on one of the early trips. The collective was told by Shri Mataji not to use photos taken by a particular person, and that they should be destroyed. She said he caught on Vishuddhi and all his photos of Her showed Her neck area in a distorted way.

Kay McHugh

A programme in Birmingham

Shri Mataji gave a large number of public programmes in different towns all over the UK. She went to Birmingham, which She said is the Nabhi of England, quite a few times.

We all stayed there with Shri Mataji

After I married, Shri Mataji went to Sheffield, where I came from, to do a programme and I went too. She was staying in the Harris’s family house and we all stayed there with Mother overnight. People were sleeping all along the landing outside Her door and everything. When we got up in the morning, we came downstairs, Shri Mataji started to work on all of us. She stayed in that house, which is interesting because it was a very Jewish household.

Gail Pottinger

Ashrams for the growing numbers of Sahaja Yogis

In 1981, with the growing numbers of Sahaja Yogis, some large houses were rented through a housing association in the Earls Court area of west London. Shri Mataji and Sir CP stayed for some time at one of the houses, a former hotel.

Patricia Proenza

Bramham Gardens Hotel, Earls Court   

After our marriage we were living at a house in Bramham Gardens, which had been a hotel. The Sahaja Yogis had rented it as part of a housing co-op. Quite a few Sahaja Yogis were living there, all together. Mother was in the process of renovating Brompton Square and because the house wasn’t ready, Shri Mataji and Sir CP came to live in the ground floor flat of the Earl’s Court hotel. Every day She would go from Bramham Gardens to Brompton Square to work and sometimes my husband Graham would drive Her there. We’d wait outside and watch Shri Mataji go off. Then we’d all follow on to go and work on Brompton Square with Her.

Gail Pottinger

Two young men

When Shri Mataji was working on Her house in Brompton Square, in 1981, She lived for a short time in a flat in Earls Court, in the basement of a big house which the Sahaja Housing Co-op had taken.

One day I was with Shri Mataji in Her sitting room and there were two people sitting with Her and talking. They were both fairly new Sahaja Yogis. One was a bonny young man from Scotland, with reasonable vibrations and a fresh healthy face. He was glowing in Mother’s presence, and She indicated that his vibrations were quite good. The second young man was of West Indian origin and the way Mother was working on him, and by feeling his vibrations, it was obvious that his situation was not so easy. After they had both left Shri Mataji confirmed what I had observed and felt.

A few weeks later the Scottish boy disappeared back to Glasgow and was last heard of experimenting with non-prescribed drugs. The other young man, some thirty years later, is a strong Sahaja Yogi.

Linda Williams

Shri Krishna Puja in the Midlands

Shri Mataji went to Birmingham several times and stayed at the Tamworth centre each time, and visited places like Shakespeare’s Stratford-on-Avon during Her stay. She appeared to like going to Tamworth and Birmingham, and spoke of the discipline, which gave a special gravity and depth. The Shri Krishna Puja was held in Tamworth in 1981.

Bala Kanayson

Not imagination but reality

In London, 1981, I bought a present for Shri Mataji for presentation at the forthcoming Ganesha Puja in late August in Switzerland. Clutching the precious floral crystal platter I had taken hours to choose, and walking back to the underground station, thinking of Shri Mataji, I heard Her voice, in my head, calling my name. I’d never had such an experience before. Then I heard it again. This time, however, I realised it was not imagination but reality.

There, across the road, Shri Mataji was calling my name, through the traffic noise of Oxford Street. She needed help with some purchases Sir CP had made. So, happily, I joined a group that included a couple of yogis, and we collected the packages, delivering them to the apartment Shri Mataji was staying in. The experience itself was reward enough, but we were invited to tea and cake, and I was given a jacket, a treasure I still am delighted to wear, well over twenty-five years later.

Brian Bell

Because it is You

Mother came to my house in 1981, when we lived in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is a medium-sized town near the lake and we used to live in a flat that was at the ground level, which was easy for Shri Mataji. Mathias Kaluzny, the leader in those days, had asked me if Shri Mataji could stay at our house. I was happy to welcome Shri Mataji, but, when I think back, I feel ashamed the way I received Her. In Her kindness and Her compassion, She accepted to come.

She slept in my room. It was a huge room, and we had got the flat just before She came. In those days, there was a small collective of yogis that were travelling with Shri Mataji, plus a few people in Switzerland, maybe twenty or thirty. The ladies were allowed to sleep in the room with Her, and at night, we were fourteen ladies sleeping on the floor around Shri Mataji’s bed.

We cooked for Her and served Her and on one occasion She was having a meal in the bedroom. She asked to eat a pear for dessert, so I sat next to Her. I didn’t dare to touch the pear, but I took the knife and the fork and prepared the pear.

‘Why are you doing that?’ She said.

‘Because it is You, Shri Mataji.’

‘But you are a Sahaja Yogini now. It is all right,’ She said.

So somehow I had to use my fingers.

Marie-Martine de Techtermann

For God there is no time

In August 1981, there was a public programme with Shri Mataji in Lausanne, Switzerland, where I got my realisation. I was sitting at the very back of the hall because I wanted to observe everything. Mother came one hour later than announced and while She was walking to the stage, a couple of elegantly dressed Swiss people stood up, and showing their watches indicating She was too late.

‘For God there is no time,’ Shri Mataji answered, majestically walking by them in Her white sari.

Christine Haage

My saris have got so many vibrations

This is one of my memories from when Shri Mataji was living at Bramham Gardens in 1981. One day I was upstairs in my room.

‘Mother wants someone to pack Her suitcase,’ somebody came and said. She was going to America on tour and there was no other lady around. I went down to Shri Mataji’s room to help Her pack. She had a walnut wardrobe which was really beautiful, and in it She kept Her saris, including the white saris, which She used for public programmes.

‘They all need folding and putting in this suitcase,’ She said. I started folding Shri Mataji’s saris and putting them in the suitcase and got about halfway through. There were quite a lot and I kept folding them up, and after a time I got really dizzy. Mother looked at me.

‘It’s the vibrations,’ She said. ‘They’re too much for you. Sit down. It’s My saris, they’ve got so many vibrations.’ Shri Mataji made me sit down and then a servant appeared. ‘We’ll have lunch now,’ She said.

I remember sitting down at a table with just Shri Mataji, and the servant brought lunch in. The starter was melon and I thought, ‘I don’t really like melon, but I can’t refuse because I’m sitting here with Mother.’ So I just ate it, and then I think we had some prawns and something else. It was quite an amazing experience. I felt completely over-awed that I was sitting with Shri Mataji in Her dining room eating lunch.

‘Right, we’ll finish the packing now,’ Shri Mataji said after the meal was finished , and I packed up the rest of the saris.

Gail Pottinger

She was giving vibrations at that time

While we were at the hotel at Bramham Gardens, Shri Mataji asked us to get up at four o’clock in the morning, for meditation, because She was giving vibrations at that time to all the saints and gurus all over the world, and it would help Her. There was a sharp intake of breath with that news but we all gave it a go, and it carried on all round the country.

Derek Ferguson