Chapter 09: 1981 – September and October, North America

Recollections - Book by Sahaja Yogis

My fist meeting with Shri Mataji

In 1981, Shri Mataji came to Boston for the first time. This was my first experience of Sahaja Yoga. Through the person who is now my husband, Steve, I had heard about Shri Mataji and about Sahaja Yoga and heard of the reality of who She was and became very eager to meet Her face to face. I felt if I could meet Shri Mataji, I would be able to recognise if this was reality or not. I still have vivid memories of standing with my then acquaintance, now husband, at the airport, preparing to greet Her with a bouquet of yellow roses.

Shri Mataji wasn’t on the plane that we expected Her to be on, which was a disappointment, but She was on the very next one, which was an hour later.

Kristine Kirby

I will remember them for eternity

We were living in dormitory like rooms in the centre of Boston. Steve Kirby was in one building and I was in the next one. Since I had the nicer room, that was the room in which we had prepared to host Shri Mataji in. She had to climb three flights of stairs and did so without complaint. Shri Mataji seated Herself in the room and was extremely gracious.

‘Oh, how nice,’ She said.

It was a sunny day and the sun was flooding in and it was a dingy little room with a few flowers, and Shri Mataji’s presence. It did seem quite pleasant at that moment. For some reason I went out of the room and when I came back, She was working on Steve, now my husband. There were about seven other people in the room, the entourage who were accompanying Her on the trip from New York. I sat in the back because I still wasn’t familiar with Sahaja Yoga and had not really ever felt the cool breeze. As I sat there, the cool just immediately started wafting over my hands. It was unmistakable and that was the first time that that had happened.

‘Now, let’s see Kristine,’ Shri Mataji said after She had finished with Steve.

I came forward without questioning because these cool vibrations I had heard about, I was actually feeling. She worked on me for about an hour and a half. I can’t remember everything that was said, but I do remember one moment, where Shri Mataji talked about thoughtless awareness.

‘If you are in the present, you will remember everything,’ She said, and picked up a mug from the side table. ‘You see, the colours in this cup, I will remember them for eternity,’ because of Her thoughtless awareness.

Of course, I remember that vividly because of Her words, and because She pulled us into thoughtless awareness at that moment. I remember the cup just as vividly.

We served Shri Mataji lunch that day, and it was a very unusual situation because the kitchen was three floors down in the basement. We were running up and down, trying to serve Shri Mataji chicken and carrots. Of course, the conditions and the circumstances were totally inappropriate, but She was completely gracious about all our efforts. We were very young at the time and I had no understanding of how to host even a normal person, let alone Shri Mataji Herself.

Shri Mataji asked if She could have some time alone to rest, because there was a public programme that night. Because of this, we went out together with the other Sahaja Yogis and sat on Boston Commons. I learnt about shoebeating and we talked about the vibrations of Boston.

When we came back in, Shri Mataji was reading The Advent.

‘Oh, I’ve never read it. It’s not bad,’ She said, which was a big surprise to us because. I had learned a lot about Sahaja Yoga by reading that book.

That evening we went around the corner to a church and in the basement Shri Mataji gave a programme. She gave self realisation to about forty people and again I was feeling vibrations very, very strongly, just to verify the experience I had had in the afternoon. In those days Shri Mataji would Herself walk around the whole hall and work on people individually. She did that on that evening, and then She walked back to the apartment and Steve and I walked with Her.

‘Get married, because you both have Left Nabhi,’ Shri Mataji said, and subsequently we did.

That is the end of my recollections of Shri Mataji’s first visit to Boston, a one day trip up from New York, which She was visiting at that time.

Kristine Kirby

The energy was so tremendous

After Shri Mataji’s first visit to Boston in 1981, the following week we travelled down to New York to participate in the public programmes that were being held there, and also a small puja that was held in a yogi’s home in Staten Island. That had tremendous vibrations.

At the end of the puja, it was one of those situations where the people present could not absorb all the vibrations from Shri Mataji, so about six ladies went into Her room and, as She rested, we took vibrations from the chakras on Her body with the left hand placed on the chakra and the right hand ventilating away. The energy was so tremendous coming from Her body. I remember that it felt almost like an electric current. Gradually, it put all of us completely to sleep. We all slowly drooped, until we were completely asleep on the floor.

Kristine Kirby

She teaches you with sweetness

In my first two weeks’ experience of Shri Mataji, She was giving programmes in New York in 1981, September. I began to see so many things around Her. You can’t imagine the auras that She has around Her, the halos and huge lights and all the deities. I didn’t know what it all was to begin with. Eventually, I approached Shri Mataji and I explained to Her that I saw all these things.

‘From this moment on you will no longer see them,’ She said. She touched my Agnya and I never saw those things again. But this situation gave me a perspective that, although there are a lot of tests, I knew who She was. This supraconscious experience had given me an insight, at least brief, and I could not be deviated from the path.

They say that every seeker has to get to see his guru, and I had to get to see my Guru Mata, who is the best of all gurus, because She teaches you with sweetness and not with the whip.

Michael Petrunia

*Editor’s note: on a number of occasions Shri Mataji has said if we see colours and lights like this, we are a little off centre. On one occasion She did, however, say that at least we knew Who She was when we had these sorts of experiences, as was the case here.

The gifts of Shri Mataji to the American seekers

Shri Mataji found us in September 1981. There were so many gifts Shri Mataji brought to us in New York in those earliest of days. We had a new family all over the world, brothers we were not supposed to be too familiar with, ‘It upsets them,’ Shri Mataji explained, and sisters we were supposed to bond with. I smile now, although did not understand then and was a bit dubious to begin with, that I would never be alone again. She held nothing back and my children adored and recognized Her.

Shri Mataji asked us right off not to ‘make a mythology of Her’. She alerted us about forgiveness, and the past being passed. She let us sit at Her Feet for hours on end and invited so many people to join us there, other tenants in the building, our friends, Her New York City friends, Her older brother and his friends, new immigrants from Russia and India, and local teenagers.

Our flat at 215, West 92nd Street, in New York City became the Sahaja centre and hosted activities and meetings three times a week for three years. I have a nice brochure from that time we used to post and give out. We took pictures and kept a file of names, two more children were born to me there, and the collective love was palpable and vital, if still awkward and slightly dysfunctional.

The brochure for the first New York programmes:

Shi Mataji’s advice

I had been nurtured by outspoken pioneer grandmothers, whose pithy adages were pointed, useful and sometimes unexpected so I was delighted to hear Shri Mataji’s adage like statements that held us accountable. My children know them by heart:

‘Don’t waste.’

‘What your country wastes you must retrieve and restore.’

‘Husbands, take care of your wives.’

‘Wives, take care of your children.’

‘Serve the men folk first; Western women don’t know how to handle their men.’

‘Do not become fanatics – I eat meat, sometimes.’

‘Respect your children and listen to their stories. They are love. Remember they are My children first, and everyone else’s children are yours as well – yelling at them defeats you. Teach them how to self-correct by putting down their egos in front of My picture, and their Spirit will spontaneously rise.’

‘Say: pay attention to your Spirit. You are the Spirit and that is the most important thing.’

‘God created man in His image and I created you in Mine,’

‘You are in My body. I love you all. You are all special, no favourites.’

‘Love each other because it troubles Me when you don’t.’

Shri Mataji told us, first thing when She came in 1981, both in New York and Los Angeles, that ‘Shri Krishna must stop playing His tricks!’ We collectively quivered because even though we had no clue about what She meant we knew She had meant it. She reminded us that we were lucky to have a Mother as a guru, and many of us humbled down in our desire to please Her. She explained Her divine politics by stating that sometimes She has to ‘appease the deities.’ I proudly showed Her the artistic rendering of my astral body and Shri Mataji firmly said, ‘I want you in your (normal, physical) body.’

I was raised as a Christian, but found it all a confusing ritual. I asked God to give me truth and freedom. ’Be still and know that I am God,’ was the only sure comfort zone. All that ended abruptly when Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi came to find me. I asked Her why She wore a red dot on Her forehead.

‘In remembrance of the blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,’ She replied. She loved Him every day to remind us to too, with a very big dot.

Judy Gaddy

*America is the Vishuddhi chakra of the world, and Shri Krishna rules this chakra.

Thank you for pleasing Me

In New York, in 1981, we made a list of topics that we should bandhan, things that we thought we needed to bring to the attention of God, to be addressed. Innocently and exuberantly we spun impure and immoral institutions purporting to be in charge of Christianity, the Mafia, abuses such as alcoholism, incest, racism, ignorance and poverty, etc into God’s attention, knowing in our pure childlike hearts, and having no doubts, that all the sorrows would be revealed and healed in Her perfect time. This was not a ritual and we only did the bandhan once.

One day, a year later in 1982, while having a quiet chat with Shri Mataji in my bedroom, I asked Her how She did it. Sweeping Her right hand up the centre of Her body, She made a spinning circle just above Her forehead.

‘I put it in My attention and it all works out,’ She said, and then added, ‘I am hungry, and I have a taste for sausage.’ This was permission to prepare the only thing I had in the fridge.

‘Shri Mataji, how may I please You?’ I asked.

‘Thank you for pleasing Me,’ She replied.

Judy Gaddy

The perfect housewife

Shri Mataji had gone to the States to do some public programmes in New York and elsewhere. However, Sir CP had some extremely important guests – Arab heads of state – and he asked Mother to come home from New York to arrange a dinner. She immediately cancelled the New York programmes and flew home on the next plane in time to prepare the reception and dinner.

Shri Mataji always miraculously had time for us, and the local Sahaja Yogis were invited round to Warwick Road to spend a bit of time with Her. It was the first time anyone had videoed Shri Mataji and we watched the tape of a programme She had conducted in the USA. Mother watched too.

In 1981, Shri Mataji came back briefly from a visit to the USA, and the local Sahaja Yogis were invited round to Warwick Road, Earl’s Court, to spend a bit of time in Her presence. It was the first occasion anyone had videoed Shri Mataji and we watched the tape of a programme She had conducted in America. Mother watched too.

‘This Mataji, She is good on the video, isn’t She?’ Shri Mataji said, in all innocence. It was so candid, so sincere, I realised She is much, much more than the Shri Mataji we see. She was watching a part of Her vast being on the TV.

She spoke about a number of subjects, and one was astrology. She said it was a good thing to know one’s sun sign and rising sign, and to look with all honesty at one’s star chart. She gave a little example against Herself.

‘I am a Pisces, the fish,’ She said. ‘Now fish usually swim away from trouble, but do I swim away from trouble? No. So you must face yourself.’ Shri Mataji went on to talk about the different signs and the main thing was that every sign has a positive and a not so positive side, and one must try to recognise and overcome any shortcomings inherent in that sign.

For example, Sagittarius is the man with the arrow. An arrow goes straight to the point, Shri Mataji explained, but on the other hand it gets stuck in and can’t easily be withdrawn. So if you are Sagittarius, either rising or birth sign, be aware of this and don’t get too stuck into things, because that is a tendency. Then there is Taurus, the bull, the most earth-bound sign, and if you are Taurus the negativity will stick rather easily, because of this, so one must shoe beat if you think there might be bhuts bothering you. On the plus side, the bull is the vehicle of Lord Shiva, the Most High, so you can become the vehicle of the Spirit.

Some signs are easier for Sahaja Yoga than others, Shri Mataji explained, but that is only a relative thing. For example, Libra and Gemini are a bit difficult because they are air signs and also double signs, therefore ruled by the intellect, so it is difficult to let go and surrender. Scorpio, Shri Mataji said, can be good, because it is the sign of rebirth and resurrection – Lord Jesus was born under Scorpio, (at the time of Diwali, not in December. She said He could never have been a Capricorn). But we humans must watch out – the scorpion has a sting in its tail. Aquarius is good.

The next day Shri Mataji returned to America.

Linda Williams

Editor’s note: On another occasion Shri Mataji said that one should not put too much attention on astrology

This is why you came to America

I got my realisation from Shri Mataji in 1981 in Los Angeles and I just met Shri Mataji by accident. She was so pleased. I was not getting the vibrations and She put both Her Feet on my hands for a few minutes and then I got the vibrations.

‘This is why you came to America, to get it,’ She said.

‘Why couldn’t I get it in India?’

‘No, you had to come to America to get it.’

I had worked in the Shipping Corporation of India for ten years, Shri Mataji’s husband’s corporation. I knew She was giving realisation, but I didn’t get a chance to have the realisation in India.

‘Why don’t you go to Texas?’ Shri Mataji told me, just out of the air.

Within a month, everything worked all right and I have been in Texas since then.

Mangal Singh Dillon

A brief stop in Vancouver 

Shri Mataji first came to Canada in the fall (autumn) of 1981, in early October. She held a public programme in Kitsilano High School and some forty to fifty people came. It was a brief stop in Vancouver, following an earlier visit to the east coast of the USA. The people who attended that programme didn’t stick on for long but a yogini who had come with Shri Mataji stayed for three months and gave realisation to a good number of people, among them four of us who travelled to India in January of 1982 for the India Tour, and we are all still in Sahaja Yoga.

Lori Wills

A letter to Shri Mataji

When I first came into Sahaja Yoga in 1981, in Canada, I got my realisation and they gave me a photo of Shri Mataji. I went to my room and meditated. I had a very strong conviction that I was meditating to Shri Mary, who I had prayed to all my life. Now I felt I had a connection, and felt this extremely strongly and for the first time felt a strong spiritual awareness – including the cool vibrations. I sat down and wrote a letter to Shri Mataji who was in England.

‘Anything You want me to do, I am willing to do,’ I wrote, because all my life I had wanted to change the world. For the first time I had found something which looked as if it would do that, and was going to work.

When I got to Britain a couple of months later, I discovered I was well known because Shri Mataji had taken the letter and shown it to all the Sahaja Yogis there. She was saying that people had been in Sahaja Yoga for so long – a year or five years, and they still had not said that to Her, and here was this boy in Canada who had just come in – and look at his letter.

Patrick Redican

Shri Mataji was playing with the sky

One day some of us went to meet Shri Mataji at Heathrow Airport. Shri Mataji was coming from America with Hari Jairam.

As we were approaching the airport, we noticed that the sky looked unusual. It was a sunset, but a sunset such as I have never seen before. The sky was of so many different colours, with such breathtaking intensity, that we were stunned. The colours kept changing very fast and they were in front of us, behind us, just everywhere. It was a feast to the eye and a masterpiece of artwork. Hari told us later that when the plane was circling the airport, Shri Mataji was playing with the sky.

‘Should I add some pink here and some yellow there? What do you think?’ She asked Hari, and Mother was moving Her hands and the colours were changing all the time.

Grazyna Anslow