Chapter 08: 1988 – January to March, India

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

1987- 88 India Tour

Ah! The white tents on the beach at Ganapatipule, camping under the palm trees.

Let’s go early and help with puja preparation,’ my friend said, on the day of the puja.

We set off and ended up making modakas with the Indian ladies in front of a little grass hut. Then as we headed into the pendal to help arrange flowers on the path Shri Mataji would walk, we realised we did not have our puja saris. Somehow we were able to borrow saris and get ready. During the puja, when fourteen married ladies were called up, no one moved. They asked again. Still no one moved.

Well, goodness, I’d like to go and do puja!’ I thought.

So I calmly stood up and walked to the front. Somehow by the time I got there, another girl and I were numbers fourteen and fifteen, the last two to arrive. We looked at one another, then looked up at the pujari, then again looked at one another. The pujari waved us both on stage. It was so amazing to do puja to Shri Mataji in Ganapatipule. Not only were we blessed with that experience, but we were also blessed as Shri Mataji gave each one of us a ‘peasant-style’ mangal sutra of silver.

Pramod Shete

It was like moonlight

My desire was to awaken the Kundalini. I tried following steps of Patanjali on my own, but gave it up and then in November 1987 I came to know about Sahaja Yoga. Somebody told me it was the spontaneous awakening of Kundalini. It seemed impossible.

No, try,’ they said, so I went to the Safdarjung temple in Delhi and, just by looking at the photo of Shri Mataji, I got my realisation.

On the 1st January 1988, I saw Shri Mataji for the first time in Maharashtra. They announced that She was not coming that day, but would come the next day. I was disappointed because New Year’s Day was special, but then they announced that Shri Mataji was coming and then She came and I saw Her for the first time. At that time, the Ganapatipule programme was in in the village of Malgond, and I saw Her coming out of the car and then on the stage. It was like moonlight, watching Her.

Nirmal Gupta

This photograph knows everything

Saint Namdeva wrote many songs and my father sang one of Namdeva’s songs to Shri Mataji. The song is about a saint who meets another saint and Namdeva explains the beauty of the meeting. Shri Mataji really liked this song and explained about his poetry and said he was a great saint. He went to Punjab and his poetry is in the book of the Sikh community, the Guru Granth Sahib. Shri Mataji said She wanted a book of Namdeva’s bhajans and my father happened to find one, and bought it the very next morning, and presented it to Shri Mataji that very day. She was surprised that he had managed to find one so quickly. She was very pleased and often asked him to sing that song again.

At Ganapatipule in 1988 my father was accompanying a great singer from Aurangabad. The performance went very well and they went to bow to Shri Mataji afterwards and She hugged this lady and gave her Her own necklace, and Her photograph.

Keep this photograph with you, because this photograph knows everything,’ She said. ‘Whatever you want to tell Me, tell it before this photograph, and I will come to know.’

Ravindranath Saundankar

A husband from anywhere

The first time I met Shri Mataji was at Ganapatipule in 1988. I had filled in the form for marriage, but it had got lost. My mother was with me and she was worried because I was twenty-four and wanted to get married.

We gave a lot of bandhans and on the last day she spoke with one of the leaders of Pune and he talked with Shri Mataji. In the evening Shri Mataji called my sister and me because she also wanted to get married. There was a music programme going on and we were on the stage at Shri Mataji’s Feet. She asked us many things and I remember She asked us about our studies and where we would like a husband from, and we said anywhere.

Nanda Tagliabue

Shri Mataji very patiently showed me how to do it

I am a musician, a conductor, and some people call me a maestro. On one of the earlier India tours, about 1988, Shri Mataji gave all the yogis who were there little cymbals; the ladies had smaller ones and the men bigger ones. Almost by chance I was sitting opposite Her when we were singing bhajans and on the stage. I was playing these cymbals and was not playing them the right way.

She looked at me, and with Her hands made a gesture for me to give Her the cymbals, and She showed me how to play them. So here was I, who am supposed to be an accomplished classical musician, and Shri Mataji very patiently showing me how to do it. When I finally got it right, She nodded at me very strongly with Her head, to make me understand that it was the correct way.

Very recently I was organising a concert with choirs, and the children had to sing a traditional song from Japan, and one little girl had to play cymbals. I was able to give her some Indian type cymbals and taught her how to play. If anyone had asked me who taught me this, I was ready to admit that it was God Herself.

Siddheshvara Barbier

She was so comforting and so normal

It must have been 1988, when we went back from Ganapatipule on the boat with Mother from Jaigad to Mumbai. Jaigad was a little place near Ganapatipule, with a tiny quay and one little building on it, and there were only about twenty of us. We were with the Dehra Dun people and a few Sahaja Yogis from England, not many at all and there were loads of tiny jellyfish clustered round the quay. Mother was sitting there drinking Limcas, waiting for the boat to come and we were all sitting round Her and I think the harbour master got his realisation. I remember the feeling of utter peace of being there with Mother at that little port, a fishing village and all those little wooden buildings.

Later that night, we were up on the deck singing bhajans to Mother and it was a really beautiful calm night. All the Sahaja Yogis were on the deck around Mother. I don’t know what had happened to all the other passengers, the hippies from Goa and so on, but it was a Shipping Corporation of India boat, so Mother got star treatment, even if they did not know She was the Goddess. The greatest memory of those times was that you knew She was the Goddess, but She was so comforting and so normal.

Auriol Purdie

It was just magical

We were at Ganapatipule and a few of us travelled via boat from a port near Ganapatipule to Mumbai with Shri Mataji. We got to a quay and were waiting for the boat so were able to have tea with Mother. The boat arrived around midnight. We followed Mother out onto the dock as the boat was there, and there were about twenty or thirty yogis. We were walking together, with Mother at the front wearing a white sari. As we went onto the boat, there was a plank you went over. Mother stopped so majestically as we went from the dock to the boat and I was just two feet away.

See this. This is hell,’ She said strongly to me and told me to keep away from the people on the boat, because one of them had tried to talk to me. She pointed, and didn’t have to say anything. We just looked around in the dim light at the lower parts of the boat. There were people drinking alcohol and so on and it was just yucky, squalid. She led us up to the top deck, which was where they had First Class cabins. We were there with Her and our brothers and sisters were so sweet. They knew Shri Mataji had spoken strongly to me, so they let me come close to the front and I held the prasad for Mother to eat. It was just magical. The moon was full on the calm Arabian Sea as the boat was going up the coast.

Dattatreya Haynes

My best birthday

I can’t remember if it was my twelfth, thirteenth or fourteenth birthday, but it was my best ever. My parents and my younger brother were traveling on a ship and about to arrive in Mumbai and I had gone to the docks to greet them. By a stroke of good fortune, I saw Shri Mataji, who was on the same ship. I went forward and bowed to Her but She stopped me and gave me a very loving hug and wished me happy birthday!

My heart skipped a beat. I was surprised and my happiness knew no bounds. I thanked HHer and She asked my father to bring me to Her house in the evening to celebrate. I was very excited but later, my father said that while it was very nice of Her, we really shouldn’t bother Her as She is so busy. I quite understood and was still very happy because the Divine had wished me happy birthday, so went to bed with a blissful smile on my face.

Next morning, when I woke up, my room was full of presents. My father said he was sorry because he hadn’t realised that Shri Mataji had gone to the trouble of making arrangements to celebrate my birthday and all the gifts were from Her. She invited me over later that day. I was so touched that I had tears of joy in my eyes, for even as a child, I recognised Shri Mataji was an ocean of love and only She knew how to pour so much love on to all of us. Thank You, Shri Mataji.

Shruti Jalan Gupta

Because I am with them

When I went to Ganapatipule in 1987, it was announced that the programme was over and now we were going to Mumbai and on the 10th January 1988 there would be the Sankranti Puja in Mumbai. I felt the programme was over so soon and I had the desire to go closer to Shri Mataji, but felt I could not.

I went to the puja in Mumbai and was sitting towards the back and in my heart thinking, ‘I want to go to Shri Mataji.’ In the beginning the desire was very strong. Shri Mataji gave Her lecture and afterwards they were going to start the puja and once they started the mantras Shri Mataji stopped them.

People sitting here are thinking that they want to come to Me. Why are they thinking like this? Because I am with them,’ She said.

I was indeed thinking like that. I was amazed and thought, ‘She knows everything,’ because I had been thinking, ‘I want to go to Her,’ and then She announced this. I pulled my ears and that was it.

Nirmal Gupta

This music will reach every corner of the world

The best compliment Shri Mataji ever paid to me was in 1988, when She named me Roshan – the enlightened one. She once told me that I had the complete knowledge of Sahaj Yoga and She was very happy that I would be able to now write, compose and sing Her message for the whole world. I am still trying to understand what She really meant by that, but if God is to be seen on Earth today, it is Param Pujyaniya, Her Holiness Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi.

The recording of the bhajan tape Roohani Roshani was important because Shri Mataji personally supervised its making – right from the compositions, poetry and the pre-recording puja advice. At the recording time, She put Her attention to it and when it was recorded She checked its quality and made me redo certain portions where She felt it needed correction. I still remember Her remarks after I phoned Her to check She had heard the whole album, before it was formally released.

I want you to know that I am very pleased with this work of music,’ She said. ‘This music will reach every corner of the world. You will not believe it, but your music will become so popular and in demand worldwide that your name will be remembered even a hundred years after you are dead and gone. Probably you will return to listen to your own work.’

I was completely dazed with Her words, spoken so very softly over the telephone. At that time, I was staying at a yogi’s home in Mumbai. After the phone conversation the yogi put flowers around his phone and did a small puja to it. He would not let anyone call from this phone, as it had just been vibrated with Mother’s voice. It was such a thrilling moment for both of us.

Sanjay Talvar

Shri Mataji made Her recommendations

This photo was taken in Mumbai in 1988, after Shri Mataji had heard my first professional audio recording. We had gone through each song, and She had made Her recommendations to improve upon them. Later I went back to the studio to make the amendments. The cassette was called Roohani Roshani, named by Shri Mataji.

Sanjay Talvar

Shri Mataji in Mumbai 1988

The pencil and the piece of cloth

Shri Mataji was explaining something. I remember very vividly when She actually took a pencil and a piece of cloth, and She poked the cloth. The following explanation was given to me directly by Mother.  

 ’Do you know that this pencil represents the Kundalini?’ She said. ‘The cloth represents your attention, and this attention is actually lying on the diaphragm on the seat of the Nabhi. It’s always around the Nabhi, because we are worried about our existence, our sustenance and how are we going to survive and all that, so the attention is all the time there.’

So when the realisation happens it is an automatic process, the Kundalini like a pencil just draws that cloth of attention from the diaphragm and brings it to the level of the heart. At the heart it gets enlightened. Now at the heart when it gets enlightened there is a passage which connects the heart to the brain, and that passage goes through the left Vishuddhi. If there is no guilt, the Vishuddhi is clear; then this attention rises through, goes to the brain. And its light, its enlightenedness is now ready for projection. Then any yogi can project his attention through it anywhere, where it needs to work.

He can empower it with the desire, with the motive, with submission, and it can go there and can just disperse. It’s like waves that reach the end of the sea and just disperse, they don’t bring back any ripples, which means this attention can actually work, it can actually change things around. Whatever you have put it to use for, it affects. In a normal man who is not realised, his attention is on the Nabhi. When he tries to project it, it goes somewhere and it brings back a reaction like a projectile back to you. And then you go into a cycle of action and reaction. Whereas a realised person just disperses his attention, it is enlightened and it enlightens things wherever he goes.

           Sanjay Talwar

How fortunate I was

I remember going to work at Pratishthan just after school, with my school uniform on. Sometimes I was very fortunate to get the holy darshan of Shri Mataji, who directed and taught the architects everything about divine architecture. She asked us yuvas to come and work there and I had just finished my tenth class exams and had studied hard.

You have used your head a lot, now you should come to Pratishthan and work and learn to use your hands,’ She told me, after one of the pujas.

Yes, Mother,’ I said, and bowed down.

Little did I know at that time how immensely fortunate I was to be directed by the Supreme One to work at Her house, for one of Her names erHis Kataaksha Kinkari Bhuta Kamala Koti Sevita, which means ‘at a single glance of Hers, billions of Shri Lakshmis present themselves to be at Her service’. 

 Ajit Kulkarni 

It is just heaven

When I was young I was at Pratishthan, playing with some other children. Shri Mataji was passing by and She called many of the kids and I just went close to Her. She put Her hand on my head and it was an experience of heaven. When She touched you or was close to you, you could not describe it in words – it was just heaven.

Sahaj Singh

You are the only One who gives!

When I first went to Pratishthan to see Shri Mataji, She was very busy and we waited for some time for Her. When She came, Her first words were, ‘Forgive Me that you had to wait for two hours.’ I was very ashamed at hearing those words!

Where do you come from?’ She said and also asked what work I did, so I told Her. I explained I was new to Sahaja Yoga, and had come for Her blessings.

Shri Mataji asked me to put my hands under Her Lotus Feet, then She raised my Kundalini and gave me some tips. She asked some other Sahaja Yogis to feel which chakra was catching, and they said it was the Nabhi. Then She asked me get up, and I apologized and said I did not know anything about chakras. Shri Mataji explained it was something to do with my being a government servant, and told me to do ice treatment on the right side, on the liver.

When I visited again, Shri Mataji asked me if we ever had a problem of people behaving in a manner as if they had epilepsy, in our house. She told me that if this did happen, to burn ajwan in the house every evening. We did this for about two months and everything became all right. Then I again went to Pratishthan, and Shri Mataji asked me why I was afraid, and asked what I had in my hand. I told Her it was a ring with Her photo on it, and Shri Mataji said if ever I was afraid to show this photo.

On the way home, by mistake I got into the Ladies’ Compartment on the train. I was caught by a Police Constable, and he tried to frighten me by saying he would take me to the lock-up. There were many other people who were also in trouble like me that he had also arrested at that time. On the way to the Police Station he asked me where I had been, and I said I had been to Shri Mataji’s programme. I showed him Shri Mataji’s ring and he asked me never to make this mistake again, and just let me go.

On another occasion, I was able to explain to Shri Mataji that although I had a good salary, somehow money never stayed with me. She asked me to build a house, but I did not know where I would get the money from. Anyway, I prayed to Her photo when I got home, and although I only had four thousand rupees to start it with, somehow people came and helped, and the materials were just there, and now it is finished and worth about 2,000,000 rupees.

We should pray at Shri Mataji’s Lotus Feet that everyone should get a mother like that. You are the only One who gives!

Mr Raskar

Shri Mataji called me

When the construction of Pratishthan was going on Shri Mataji stayed in the front portion on the first floor. At this time the Pune Sahaja Yogis used to go there to help with the construction work. Once Shri Mataji was going out of Pune and the working yogis had assembled to meet Her. I was standing at the back of the gathering and She called me. On reaching Her with my son Sahaj, when I bowed at Her Feet, I felt Her body enlarging like Shri Virat, Shri Hanuman. I was like a tiny particle before Her. In my heart, I thanked Her for showing me Her Virat form.

Kamala Singh

A blessing in disguise

On 23rd January 1988 as per instructions from Mother, I went to Pratishthan with a Maths tutor for arranging tuition for Miss Aradhana, the grand-daughter of Shri Mataji. As Miss Aradhana had not come from college, we were sitting with Shri Mataji in the first floor room, near the entry staircase of the house.

This is the room where She used to stay when the construction of Pratishthan was going on. Shri Mataji was sitting on the bed with Her Feet on the ground and we were sitting on the ground. During the waiting period of about an hour, She was discussing all sorts of topics with us.

Suddenly I began to cough and fell at Her Feet, but soon recovered. We came back from Pratishthan without meeting Miss Aradhana, as she had not come. Later on I realised that from the moment of falling at Her Feet, my chronic chest problem had disappeared. I felt I had been called for this, on the pretext of arranging the tuition.

RR Singh

Her attention was on every stroke

In the late eighties, when Pratishthan was being built, as Yuva Shakti we used to go and do the work there whenever we could, at weekends, when there was no college. We were told people were required in a certain courtyard so we went there. We were handed little buckets of paint and small brushes. Shri Mataji had some cement plates cast which were adorning the beams and columns and She wanted to make them look like stone. We climbed up a ladder to do the painting and Mother took a seat behind us, even though we did not see Her.

Jayant,’ Shri Mataji called to me. I was surprised because I did not know She was there. ‘Do it there,’ I tried to do pranams but it was difficult, up there on the ladder. She pointed a finger to the left of where I had been painting. ‘Do it there, but do it very lightly. I don’t want the colours to be very dark.’ Her attention was on every stroke. We were there with our hands, but Shri Mataji was looking at everything that was happening and was working through us.

Jayant Patankar

Shri Mataji watching the work

Shri Mataji demonstrating at Pratishthan

By Your Grace any raga can work for any chakra

I felt that in Sahaja Yoga music is essential and there is a relation between Kundalini shakti and music. I studied Indian classical music quite lot, and as I knew that Mooladhara is Shri Ganesha’s chakra, and that is purity, so all pure notes come in Raag Bilawal. So I proposed this raga for Mooladhara. I wrote notes on the relations between Indian Classical Music, the subtle spiritual body and Kundalini shakti, and tried to relate the ragas with the chakras. In 1988 I met Shri Mataji at Pratishthan.

Shri Mataji by Your grace any raga can work for any chakra – this is Your power, this is what I feel about the relation between the ragas and chakras,’ I prayed. Then I read out what I had written and asked Shri Mataji to guide me, and She said it was ok, but for Nabhi I should use Gunakali and for Vishuddhi Jai Jaivanti. I presented Her a book that I brought, which had some reference to the Indian classical music used in ancient prayers to God and She took it.

I have no time to read,’ She said, but She opened the book and pointed to one paragraph, ‘see it is written here that in the ancient period, to please Shri Shiva, Bhairavi raga was used.’

Then later, in the year 2000 I presented another tape to Shri Mataji – Stotrangeli – at Pratishthan.

Videh Saundankar

She had never played like that before

It was in early 1988, and I went to a puja in Maharashtra. There were no other foreigners there and I did not understand much of what was said. There was a music programme and I sat upstairs in the front of the gallery, because I wanted to tape the music. I had a tape recorder which worked well. The lady who played for Mother was a Begum, a Moslem lady. The music was nice but nothing to write home about, but then suddenly, towards the end of the performance, I think when she was playing the Bhairavi which comes last, her playing seemed to take off and become a million times better.

After the performance I discovered that firstly I was not supposed to have taped the music, and secondly, nobody except me had in fact taped it, but both Mother and the lady wanted a copy of my tape. Mother explained that She had raised the lady’s Kundalini at a certain point during the programme, and it was after that that her playing transformed. The lady said she didn’t know what had happened to her – she had never played like that before. Of course I was honoured to give Mother the tape.

Linda Williams

Holi, with the powder anointing Shri Mataji’s Feet

Shri Mataji watching the workers and yogis playing Holi

Shri Mataji with the workers and yogis

Derek Ferguson diary entry Wednesday 1st March

Dr Rustom Burjorjee, the psychiatrist, arrived. He asked Shri Mataji lots of questions. She explained about dreams a bit, saying that they could be analysed and gave an example of how. Rustom had a patient who saw the Kundalini rising in a dream and also a serpent going round the Mooladhara. She explained that the patient’s Mooladhara was damaged and that the dream he saw was trying to show him that, and he should take to Sahaja Yoga to get it cured. She told Rustom that he could explain that and could interpret other dreams also.

Shri Mataji spoke about a leader and said the reason he had gone down was because he had developed ego because of being a leader and also because of complacency. Earlier he was very good and had a very powerful innocence. For example four men had tried to steal some sugar cane from his field, but they were caught and beaten by some big men whose faces were black and you could just see their eyes. The next day the thieves went back to the Sahaja Yogi and asked him what path he followed because they knew it was something divine. He asked them if they had been hurt and he told them he had not, and Shri Mataji said the big men were ganas.

She spoke about some angels helping Her. Shri Mataji went to a Mahakali temple to awaken the deity there and a tall fair faced man came and took Her in and around it then disappeared. She asked the people there who he was and they had never seen him and there was no one of that description there. She said it was an angel.

Another time Shri Mataji went to Jaganpuri temple and the Brahmins would not let Her in. Suddenly a little boy came and took Her inside past the crowds and then disappeared. Again She asked the people who he was and they said he had not been there before – he was another angel. She said angels come down like that to help with the Sahaja Yoga.

After this Shri Mataji started to work on one of the leaders and said his boss was like a rakshasa. Rustom said that most people have someone like that at work. Shri Mataji said we should rise above these things and not get affected by them. Rustom said the person had a bad Vishuddhi and Shri Mataji said Rustom also had a Vishuddhi problem, and that is why She could not hear what he was saying properly, because She goes by the chakras and hears through the Vishuddhi and not the ears. She said that we should have a genuine dedication to Her from the heart to be able to rise.

Shri Mataji said the caste system is the curse of India and Shri Krishna tried to put things right but people have still not changed. No matter what caste you are, you can still commit the same sins. She also said that when the Hindu Indians change to Christianity they still have a caste system, so what is the use of changing? Even in Sahaja Yoga people from different castes try to club together. Only Sahaja Yoga can change that, because of the intermarriages. She said She could understand people clubbing together when they go abroad, because of language etc, and also in different states of India, but not in their own state.

Shri Mataji being shown a finished window made by hand, because there were no power tools at Pratishthan

A cure for a bad liver

During this time Shri Mataji went to England for Easter Puja. While She was away I became ill with jaundice. It took some time to completely get over the jaundice fully, but Shri Mataji really speeded the process up in a few sessions of putting Her Foot on my liver. At one time I was called to Her and as I sat before Her, there was a lot of activity in Marathi. Water was poured over Shri Mataji’s Feet and that water was put into a bottle; ginger was vibrated and sugar and then all these things were given to me to treat my liver. I rounded up the other yogis, like Laurent Dumonet, and we sat in a circle and I shared out all of the vibrated things. We all drank it together and after drinking, we were all floating, just like we had drunk some kind of divine drink.

On another session Shri Mataji asked for a small bowl, called a katuri, of mustard oil. While She put Her hand in the oil, Shri Mataji told me to look into the mustard oil and nothing else. Shri Mataji took Her hand out of the oil and told me to keep looking. Now with the jaundice I had become completely yellow, like science fiction yellow. I remember getting such a shock when I saw myself in the mirror, but after looking into the oil 95% of the yellow went into the oil and I came out very much pinker than when I went in.

John Watkinson