Easter Puja, Shudy Camps, April 1988
Shri Mataji’s car entered the courtyard in the same cloudy English atmosphere that had prevailed all day long. When the car’s door finally opened in the middle of the crowd who were waiting, the cloud cover opened and gently allowed a little space, right by the sun, to salute the meeting of the smiling Mother with Her devotees. It was the first time I saw Shri Mataji. As She slowly made Her way through the crowd, stopping at every step to receive flowers and give a little of Her attention to all, and laughing with the little ones, I could fill my eyes with the reality of Her incarnation. And then, too soon, She was in the house.
Staying behind the crowd of Sahaja Yogis that had accompanied Shri Mataji we now observed that, far from receding, the human flow kept crossing the threshold; people squeezed into the furthest corridors of the house. Shri Mataji had asked everyone to enter, as She wanted to welcome and address them. Hundreds of people! We couldn’t help laughing at this incredible invitation. When would it stop? We went in, amazed to finally get a chance to stand not too far from the entrance door as more and more people squeezed inside. We discovered that Shri Mataji was not in a remote hall upstairs, but just seated there, and we were right in front of Her.
When it became clear that no more movement could take place, there were very few people left outside, and Shri Mataji was staring at us, at three metres maximum. I held a little girl in my arms, who couldn’t otherwise have seen Shri Mataji, and Mother’s eyes looked attentively at all the people. The next day Mother would mention in the puja talk that the Sahaja Yogis were getting younger and younger and She sometimes wondered, ‘Who was the father and who was the son?’
The evening programme was in the presence of Shri Mataji. Zakir Hussein played Djugal bandhi with his brother, Asit Desai and his wife Hema and others were singing the Tulsidas bhajan Thirat kaha jana, and there was a wonderful santoor player too.
The next day, the sun had definitely taken over, and Shri Mataji had to interrupt Her talk as She felt too hot The previous week’s weather had been extremely bad with gales and heavy rains, and it was supposed to get worse by the week-end. As usual the weather forecast had not considered the needs of the divine.
The puja talk, about Christ, was deep but also full of humour. Mother stayed a long time, receiving the gifts and giving Indian names to Westerners. While talking to every person one after the other, She would sometimes stop and stare in front of Her fixedly and you couldn’t avoid feeling that this strong look was addressed to you and you only.
Shri Mataji moved the clouds
The Easter Puja at Shudy Camps took place on Easter Sunday, April 1988, in the back garden of our Divine Mother’s house in the heart of New Jerusalem, under a marquee. Since Thursday Sahaja Yogis had been converging from all over Europe and beyond.
On Saturday morning Shri Mataji arrived in Her car around lunchtime, to be received by everyone standing outside the house in the spring sunlight. The weather, contrary to the expectations of the forecasters, was improving all the time. The following day Shri Mataji explained that She had been concerned that the weather should be good for the puja, since we were all staying in tents, and that She had arranged things in such a way that all the clouds which were supposed to be sitting over England were elsewhere. Later, we looked at satellite weather pictures in the newspapers, and there we could see the clouds, right over Newfoundland just as Shri Mataji had said. She was moved to make these remarks after feeling hot during Her talk, and remarking that the sun would annoy Her unless She talked about Him.
Immediately after Her arrival, Shri Mataji went to sit down in the front reception room and asked everyone to come in. By some miracle we all managed to fit in, there were plenty of us and the room was quite small. Shri Mataji spoke for a little while about Her plans for future events in Europe: marriages in Milan at Shri Krishna Puja, pujas in Europe during the summer and a visit to North America. She also talked about Her house, how the transformations that had taken place were amazing and how the transformations that took place within the Sahaja Yogis were no less amazing. She said we must have confidence in ourselves. She mentioned some miracle photographs that had been taken in Ganapatipule and that She was having developed at the time to show us. In one all the deities could be seen sitting around Her, and in another a light could be seen emerging from the Sahasraras of the bridegrooms at the weddings, the filaments of which traced out our Divine Mother’s name in Arabic script.
One of the miracle photos described in the story above
A music programme
On Saturday evening we assembled in the marquee and Shri Mataji arrived for a music programme. Nothing but the best for our Mother! We were treated to bhajans from husband and wife Ajit and Hema Desai, who had a very simple and direct style – Shri Mataji afterwards praised the originality of their singing. They sang bhajans by Tulsidas and others, and at Shri Mataji’s request, bhajans by Kabir. Kabir recognized that the ultimate transcended all religious identifications; the others had not managed this, for example Tulsidas only praised Shri Rama. Kabir could see the oneness of all of these incarnations.
Zakir Hussain and his brother Fazal Qureshi performed a tabla duet, which was fast and exciting, and the rapport between the musicians was beautiful. Shri Mataji was very pleased by their playing, and praised them very much after the concert. She said that She wondered if Zakir Hussain was not the reincarnation of the guru of his father, Ustad Alla Rakha, another very great tabla player.
‘He is a Sikh, and a seeker,’ Shri Mataji said; during his concert his Kundalini had risen, and She had felt the difference in his music from then on. He was extremely humble and respectful before Shri Mataji.
May God bless them, they sang so well
The puja took place on Sunday morning, starting about midday, and Shri Mataji spoke to us for about forty minutes. After Her talk the Atharva Sheersha was read, and She was read the text of the Messiah, while Her Lotus Feet were being washed. Then the choir and orchestra assembled to sing the oratorio.
‘May God bless them, they sang so well,’ Shri Mataji said to those on stage near Her. Afterwards She suggested we should hire a hall and give a public performance.
The Viennese had prepared a choral version of some Johann Strauss waltzes, which Shri Mataji had very much enjoyed when She had visited Vienna, saying of Strauss’s music that it was universal music that everyone could understand, bubbling with joy, but they did not get an opportunity to perform this weekend. In 1985 – the tercentenary of Bach and Händel’s births – Shri Mataji had listened to some of their music at the Munich ashram, and had praised both composers very highly.
There were bhajans after the performance of the Messiah had finished, during which time Shri Mataji was receiving presents from the different nations and kindly giving names to a number of children and babies.
In the evening there was a ‘play’ by the little children of the Sahaja Yogis living at Shudy Camps, highly unrehearsed but very sweet, accompanied by an English Sahaja Yogi and your correspondent playing ‘Old MacDonald had a Farm’ and ‘Humpty Dumpty’ on synthesizers. Some sketches followed, with two professional actors portraying in comic fashion a yogi going to India, bestrewn with lemons and chillies, and the chaos of the marriage day but with everyone getting – in the end, after a great deal of mirth – lined up behind the veil opposite the right person. Shri Mataji appeared to enjoy it all very much, and at the end She spoke very beautifully and highly about the Sahaja Yogi children, how confident and innocent they were and how well they had done. By now it was about half past two, and time for dinner, so we took leave of our Divine Mother. The following morning Shri Mataji was seen off by all of us as She left Shudy Camps for Heathrow and India.
Composed for some special occasion
We were at Shudy Camps for Easter Puja, 1988. The music for the puja was the Messiah by Handel. I am a musician and was in charge of conducting it. Every step of the puja – and at that time the pujas were pretty long – corresponded to a different piece of the Messiah, and when Shri Mataji was crowned, at exactly that moment, the choir happened to sing the Halleluiah Chorus, which is close to the end of the Messiah. The Halleluiah was composed for some special occasion, and this was it!
I had sung for God
In 1988, Sahaja Yogi musicians from all over the world prepared to perform Handel’s Messiah, for Easter Puja. Singers and instrumentalists rehearsed in their home countries and finally put this wonderful puzzle together at the Lotus Feet of Our Mother. Being a professional singer, I not only conducted part of the choir rehearsals in Vienna but above all, prepared the soprano solo. During that time, the main question of my life was whether I should take to singing or acting.
We arrived at Shudy Camps, got everybody together and started rehearsals. Another Yogini had also prepared the soprano solo and she sang at a rehearsal, but was rather an amateur. I got very upset, inwardly – how could anyone offer such a poorly prepared performance for Shri Adi Shakti?
Suddenly, earlier than expected, it was announced that Shri Mataji was arriving. Completely caught up in my network of thoughts, grudges and despair, I nevertheless joined the others for the welcome in front of the entrance door.
Shri Mataji arrived, beaming as always, but I stood back, as I was so caught up that I did not feel anything. I was swept along with everybody else into the large tent where Shri Mataji took Her seat and started to talk. I cannot even remember what She said, and was unable to stop my thoughts and emotions. After a while Shri Mataji went up to Her room, and we all went out.
And there it happened, when I stepped over the threshold of the house: in a split second all my grudges, despair, and defiance disappeared, like a dark cloud that had been in front of the sun and was dispersed, leaving the sun in its full brightness. It had all been Maya. Detached, I could now approach the other musicians with a light heart and we continued rehearsing. The next day it was decided that I should sing all the soprano solo parts.
When I was a child I had always wanted to sing for God. I sang in church, but never knew if I was heard. Now I was very excited. Only once during the performance did I get tears in my eyes and my voice nearly failed, but was carried by this gentle wave, and could perform for the Goddess. From that day on, the question if I should become a singer or an actress was equally dissolved.
I had sung for God.
Our small simple wish was realised
In May 1988, Shri Mataji came to France and we had a puja in Melun near Paris. At that time, my sister Sita and I were teenagers and were living in a town 400 kilometres from Paris. We came with some other Sahaja Yoginis by car. That was our second puja with Shri Mataji and it was fantastic. Shri Mataji asked for young girls to perform the puja and Sita and I could go on the stage to do the puja to the Devi. In France, we were very few teenagers at that time. Shri Mataji asked us to use our whole hand, not only one or two fingers, to paint Her Feet with kumkum, and then to apply this liquid kumkum on our palms. It was so light, we had no thoughts and only pure joy.
At the end of the puja, the ladies we came with left the tent where the puja was hosted, right after the aarti, and while Shri Mataji was still on the stage. They made gestures in our direction to ask us to collect our luggage and go with them. With a sad heart, pulling our ears, we obeyed them because we were young and if they wanted to leave, what would we do? When we were outside, we took our bags and waited on the side of the road leading to the tent, and the ladies who had called us disappeared somewhere.
We could hear the cheers, and the crowd shouting, ‘Jai, jai, jai!’ We were so disappointed because we were missing all this and we could not say goodbye to our Holy Mother. Then the most unexpected happened. A car came our way, and as it came nearer we realised it could be Shri Mataji’s car. When the car reached us, yes, Shri Mataji was there in the car! She had a large smile and waved us good-bye through the window. I was so extremely happy that I jumped in the air and did a big wave back, while my sister bowed in namaskar. But the yogini who was standing with us, one of the people who had driven us and asked us to leave early, did not see Shri Mataji! Our small simple wish was realised and we felt so happy. It was for us really which filled our life for weeks together with light, happiness and vibrations.
The first time I ever met Shri Mataji was when She gave me my name. I was called Paul. Shri Mataji asked me to go on the stage. It was early May in 1988, in Italy. I sat down in front of Her and She asked what my name was and I told Her.
‘Oh, Paul,’ She said, and went into meditation. She closed Her eyes and stayed like that for a minute. For me it was eternity. It was difficult for me to keep my eyes open. Then suddenly She said, ‘Oh, Pranava!’ I didn’t understand what this meant. ‘You like it?’
‘Oh, yes, yes, I didn’t understand,’ I said. I didn’t realise this was my name and meant for me. She said it is like a mantra, both for me and for others when they say it because it means vibrations, chaitanya.
Peace for my country
On the first Friday of May 1988, yogis were preparing to go to Rome for Sahasrara Puja. Inside myself, I had put various desires to Shri Mother to be answered by Her. Then on the Saturday, Mother talked to the leader, who passed on to me that I had the answers to all my desires, by Shri Mataji.
The next day a beautiful Sahasrara Puja was enjoyed and then on the Monday afternoon a public programme was held with Mother in attendance. The hall was packed with yogis and new people, many of whom She gave self realisation to. At the programme’s end, She asked those who desired to shake Her hand or speak with Her to come forward. A very long queue formed of new people. I had a strong desire to go forward and thank Her for whatever She had done for me, but stepped back to let the newest ones go forward. Before She began to meet anyone, She looked around and Her eyes lit on me.
‘You, come here,’ She said. I went to Her Feet and Shri Mataji hugged me warmly and held me. I felt it was the love of a real mother and incredible vibrations surrounded us. The leader was sitting beside Mother and translating. She then looked at me.
‘It is your time to ask if you have any desire,’ She said. It came to my mind that I wanted peace for my country, Iran, which had been involved with Iraq in a war that had been going on for ten years with great destruction to our people.
‘I want peace for my country,’ I answered.
‘You can have peace.’ This was a spontaneous request, not planned or even thought out beforehand from among the other desires I had previously put to Shri Mother, which were more personal. Following that, She began to receive new people and the yogis began to prepare to return to their cities after the wonderful weekend with their Mother.
Less than a month after this had happened, the news came out that the war had stopped between Iran and Iraq. So I had this desire fulfilled by Shri Mataji and the people who knew about what had happened in that public programme rang me in congratulations for Mother’s work.
A moment of ecstatic joy
The puja near Barcelona in May 1988 took place on top of a hill, with little more than one hundred Sahaja Yogis.
A miracle happened during the puja and was mentioned by Shri Mataji Herself. Balloons had been tied in rows above the Sahaja Yogis’ heads. When Shri Mataji said it was our vibrations that made the balloons move, my sceptical mind started looking around to see where the wind was coming from. It was windy in this mountain landscape and if you looked at the far off slopes you could see the trees moving strongly, but I then looked at the little trees around the yard and nearby where the puja took place, and they were absolutely still. It would have been impossible for the balloons to move as they did without the little trees around the house moving too.
On Saturday evening, after Shri Mataji individually addressed several people, we listened to the Spanish yogis’ bhajans and ended up dancing in front of Mother in this tiny chalet’s hall. It was an exuberant moment of ecstatic joy that must be remembered to this day by everyone who was present then.
The first puja in Barcelona
We began to sing the 108 names of Shri Mataji, Tere hi guna gate hai, during the puja.
‘Who knows the meaning of these names?’ Mother stopped the music and said,.
Reply: (silence). Then She asked to read the names with translation into Spanish, and asked me to read them constantly looking at and referring to Her. The experience was so incredible that when Mother at the end of puja, very pleased, offered a ‘boon’ (you can ask Me whatever you want), I asked for the boon of learning the names by heart.
The all-knowing Mother
In June 1988 I returned to London from India after living there for six years. Before leaving I had made an arrangement with the Sahaja Housing Co-op that if I ever wanted a room at Chelsham Road, which was my house, I could have one. When I returned I discovered it was difficult to get anyone to live there, but one family had agreed to do so, with their five children and a nanny. However, that didn’t leave any room for me and my children.
I was worried, because I had very little money, nowhere to live and needed to put the children in school. I decided to send a letter to Shri Mataji and managed to give one to someone who was to seeer Her that evening.
The next day I went to see one of the leaders. I was in his flat and as I was speaking about my problem the phone rang. It was Shri Mataji and She asked to speak to me, although She did not, in human terms, have any way of knowing I was there. She went through the requests I had made in the letter, one by one, as if She had it in front of Her, and said it would be good for the children if I went to live at Shudy Camps, because the schools were better there. I assumed She had received my letter. That evening I again saw the man to whom I had given it and thanked him for delivering it.
‘Oh no!’ he said. ‘I forgot all about it!’ and pulled it out of his pocket.
One time Shri Mataji said that really we should not speak in Her presence, and if we knew who She truly was we would not even stand.
It’s not real rain, it’s vibrations
One time there was a leaders’ meeting in Austria, and we were all sitting in the room with Shri Mataji. It started to rain outside.
‘Look at the rain,’ Shri Mataji said. We looked at the rain, but we didn’t hear anything. Then it started to rain more. ‘It’s not real rain, it’s vibrations,’ She explained.
We realised this, because there was no sound.
The other end of the world
I was in Austria and Shri Mataji was in Australia. I had to get a very important decision from Her concerning a law case, and I was trying to call Her.
‘Shri Mataji is asleep,’ they said. I knew She would go to the airplane right after that and it would be too late for a decision from Her. So again we tried to reach Her, and again they said, ‘She is sleeping.’ I knew She would wake up and then go to the airport, and I knew I had to catch this moment when She was coming out, because everyone would be busy, and no one would go to the phone to call me in Austria to say that Shri Mataji was leaving at that moment.
I tried several times, but with no success. Then I just sat back and said to myself, ‘OK, Shri Mataji, just let me feel when You are ready,’ so I waited. All of a sudden I was so blissed out, so drenched in vibrations that I almost forgot to call. I pulled myself together and called.
‘Yes, Shri Mataji is just going out now, hold on,’ they said, so I was able to talk to Her on the phone. She was in Australia and I was at the other end of the world, and just on vibrations I got the ten or fifteen seconds where I could reach Her.
Immediately I was thoughtless
In 1988, Shri Mataji was to leave Vienna airport at 1.00 or 2.00 pm. I had to work that day, but I managed to be there at l.00 pm exactly.
I saw a very big crowd of yogis sitting around our Holy Mother, who was talking. I knew my vibrations were too much on the right and I didn’t feel so good, and all the others were in joy and peace. I just sat down and a storm of vibrations entered my body through my hands. Immediately I was thoughtless and full of joy as much as the others.
Just one simple glance of my Mother and the whole world changed.
An internal relationship
I came to Sahaja Yoga in 1986 and started attending programmes. I don’t know why, but while listening to Shri Mataji’s talks, I got into the habit of translating Her words into German, in my head. It now seems a strange, strenuous mental activity, but it must have really helped my attention, because I had to be very alert, translating every sentence.
Eventually I had the honour of translating Shri Mataji’s talks for many years in the German speaking countries: Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Translating Shri Mataji’s talk on the stage was always a wonderful experience. I always tried to make sure to ask Shri Ganesha for help so that I would ‘hear that which is true’, that people would ‘hear not my voice, but the wisdom of God’, as in the translation of the Ganesha Atharva Sheersha.
In 1988 I translated several public programmes in Vienna, and also one in Graz. Shri Mataji never spoke to me directly, or even looked at me. I really was hoping for some sort of acknowledgement, or reassurance from Her, that I was doing the right thing. On the last day in Graz, just before Shri Mataji was leaving to go to the airport we were waiting to say good-bye to Her in the ashram. By that time my heart was so full of joy, and I felt Her love so strongly inside me that it did not matter, that She went past me without acknowledging my presence. I was just grateful for everything I had experienced by Her grace, and full of gratitude in my heart. But then, to my complete surprise, as She already was seated in the back of the car, She saw me standing, and called me up, so I went to the car and She spoke to me through the window, and, to my embarrassment, thanked me, so of course I thanked Her. This incident taught me how the relationship with Shri Mataji is always an internal one, and not external.
I had similar experiences at several other times, while greeting Her and presenting a flower to Her at airports all over Europe. Every time when I felt a strong connection with Her, when I felt Her love inside me, She would greet me, smile at me, or ask me a question.
Conducting a huge orchestra
Being on the stage with Shri Mataji, as the translator, while She was conducting public programmes was an amazing experience. Looking at the audience from the stage it felt like Shri Mataji with Her words and small gestures was conducting a huge orchestra of hearts and minds. Her talks were dramatically structured so they would touch all the issues necessary, answer all unspoken questions in the audiences, soothing emotions, preparing the people for the experience of self realisation.
Sometimes people could write down questions so She would answer them on the following night, but my experience was that Shri Mataji was responding directly to people’s thoughts and feelings, even when there was no opportunity to do this. This became apparent many times. I recall one public programme in Vienna, where some of my old friends and acquaintances came to attend, and some of them had HIV, because of drug use. In this programme She responded to the silent questions in the audience, and spoke at length about AIDS, which She only did at very few occasions.
After the official part of the public programme with music, a talk and the self realisation exercise, Shri Mataji would usually stay on and people would queue up at the stage to meet Her personally. This most fascinating part of the whole evening was watching Her interacting with seekers, answering their questions and working on their problems. She never became tired or impatient with anybody, even after spending hours and hours working on people. Sometimes there were quite mad people coming up to Her, but Her patience and compassion for everybody was unlimited. She only ever focused on the Kundalini of the person, completely oblivious to their outer appearance, and even the most bizarre behaviour.
One time in Amsterdam a couple came up to Her, both dressed very inappropriately. Mother did not even flinch, and spent quite a long time with them. On occasions, for no apparent reason She would call somebody forward from the crowd. Once in Graz She noticed a very old man in the back, and asked us to bring a chair so that he could sit right at the front. Shri Mataji would never leave until everybody had been attended to, even if it was long after midnight.
Back in the hotel, or ashram, wherever She was staying She would continue working on people, and giving advice to people and yogis who had problems or questions, or people who came to Her for curing. I think it was in Graz when She worked on a woman in a wheelchair, and this woman said it was the first time she could feel her legs again, after a long time. Unfortunately I don’t think she carried on with Sahaja Yoga, or adhered the advice Mother had given her. But Shri Mataji showed unlimited compassion, patience and never ending love. She only ever slept a few hours, and while we were elated but also exhausted after the few days She spent with us She went onto the next place, and did it all again for years and years, without ever having a break.
June 1988: Austria (email report)
Shri Mataji gave a very powerful talk before the Ekadesha Rudra Puja in Mödling began, in which She touched upon many subjects. She pointed out that in past times there had only been one rakshasa at a time to be dealt with, but that in modern times, ‘They are like mosquitoes’, so many of them.
At one point in the puja one of the other musicians leaned over and hissed ‘Phil!’ and gestured to me to accompany the mantras being said, on the harmonium. At first I wasn’t convinced, but then I thought, ‘Why not?’ and started to play. At that moment our Divine Mother looked up to see who it was and blessed me with a big smile! Songs were sung after the mantras had been finished – the puja was quite long, about three hours or so – and then Shri Mataji remained on the stage to receive the presents from the different countries.
In the evening was a public programme in Vienna, in a large and pleasant hall in the city centre. The Viennese had conceived a new way of holding programmes; first there was some music from some of Vienna’s classical musicians, then a general introduction setting Sahaja Yoga in the context of modern seeking, then some more music during which Shri Mataji arrived. She spoke for quite some time, and after Her discourse most of those present received theirs self realisation. Shri Mataji left shortly afterwards to return to the Melichargasse ashram.
On Thursday evening the second Vienna public programme took place, much as the previous evening’s, in front of a full audience of several hundred people. Shri Mataji stayed on to talk to the new people, remaining on the stage until 1.00 am. The bhajans group went back onto the stage and sang. Shri Mataji really enjoyed this, so did the public and the rest of us. It’s the first time that bhajans have been so integrated into a programme. A team from Austrian TV was also present, and they filmed both Shri Mataji’s talk and a few minutes of bhajans.
On Friday morning, we packed our things and waited for Shri Mataji to leave, after which a group of us had the great privilege to accompany Her shopping in the centre of Vienna. Shri Mataji was shopping, particularly for fabrics and She also bought some ties for Her husband. In fact there were so many of us accompanying Her that most of us had to wait outside the shop while She went inside with a few leaders.
Friday lunchtime it was time to leave Vienna and head south for Graz, near the Yugoslav border, where we had the privilege of lunching with Shri Mataji in a beautiful farmhouse in a village where She was entertained by the Viennese string players. She talked to them about classical music, particularly Mozart, and then about Indian music. She poured scorn on some pop music. Her husband had once pointed out to Her, on the TV, some pop star called John – ‘No voice. Like a buffalo’. Shri Mataji was served Chinese food here, and enjoyed Her stay in the farmhouse so much that She decided to return there to rest all day Saturday before flying back to London.
Friday evening the public programme in Graz took place; perhaps two or three hundred new people plus a good number of Sahaja Yogis. As before the introduction was partly spoken and partly musical – we had a most receptive audience – and Shri Mataji arrived to the singing of ‘Mahishasura Mardini’. She was seated regally in the centre of the stage, surrounded by flowers and saris. After Her talk and the giving of realisation we resumed the bhajans and also sang two Spanish songs, and the public loved them.
We saw Shri Mataji at the airport where She took a seat towards one end of the concourse, and the two hundred or so Sahaja Yogis – nearly all Austrian – sat around Her on the floor. She spoke to us about the need to be diplomatic with people coming to Sahaja Yoga for the first time; how we should speak to them gently and not hurt them, we should speak discreetly and sweetly and not use ‘the language of chakras’ too much to discuss whatever problems they might have. Then Shri Mataji listened to a few songs sung by some Sahaja Yogis, Her name was taken for the last time with a loud ‘Ki jai!’ and the Divine Mother left for England.
Companies should make their workers’ lives better
In 1988 I was writing a small thesis for my degree in Austria, and was able to ask Shri Mataji what companies should do with the profits. Shri Mataji said the companies should reinvest most of the money into the workers of the company. They should see the workers’ children get education and should take over the social responsibility of the workers. Not to give them the money, but to make their lives better.
Her words are truly mantras
In Vienna I was fortunate to be able to arrange an interview with a young journalist from a major newspaper, and he wrote a very nice article about Shri Mataji. After that I drove in the car with Her to the public programme.
Ever since I was a teenager I had wanted to be able to be funny, however this always came out wrong. Sometimes I used to say things that I thought were funny, but people understood them in a completely different way. In the car with Shri Mataji, we talked about that journalist.
‘Shri Mataji, he said that You must be a very kind and wise person,’ I jokingly said, and She laughed. I could not believe it; I had just made Shri Adi Shakti laugh! It was one of the happiest moments in my life. And from that day on, things have changed and occasionally I have been able to make people laugh!
It shows that Her words are truly mantras, and even Her laughter can change the course of things – reverberating in the universe.
Seminar at Shudy Camps, 18th June 1988
The leader of my area of France called one evening in the middle of the week to say that a seminar was going to take place for the English collective in Shudy Camps the following weekend, and Shri Mataji had invited Sahaja Yogis from other countries too. On the Friday night, our two cars full of yogis and yoginis were the very last allowed to board the night ferry at Calais.
On Saturday afternoon we were asked to get ready as Shri Mataji would come soon. She talked briefly and then led a guided meditation, the way we used to do in public programmes, but She gave it with specific attention to the whole world, and prayers to collectively enlighten the qualities of each chakra up to the Sahasrara. It was an extremely deep meditation for all present, a memorable experience which is available on tape.
You can have that one
On one occasion we were shopping for saris with Shri Mataji. She wanted to give them as gifts. One particular pale green sari had caught my attention, and later on when we took all the shopping back to Shudy Camps, Mother was sorting through the bags, She took that same green sari and threw it over to me.
‘Here, you can have that one,’ She said.
Annie, are you better?
In 1988, at Shudy Camps, it had not been one year since my realisation and I had a bad pain in my Left Swadishthan.
‘If you get the chance, ask Shri Mataji what to do about it,’ Marilyn Leate suggested.
I felt I would never dare ask Her. The day after Diwali Puja in Shudy Camps, Shri Mataji and a few of us were sitting outside Her living room. Mother asked if any of us had any questions and most yogis asked for advice or whatever. I was trying to hide behind someone as I felt shy.
‘You there, ask what you want to ask,’ I heard Shri Mataji say. Everyone turned to me and I knew She was talking to me. She asked me to come close to Her and I explained what was wrong, then Shri Mataji asked me a few questions and told me what to do.
A few days later She was leaving for India. We were all waiting for Her to arrive at London Airport, and I remember being in meditation with my attention on my heart. Mother arrived, walked towards the group where I was standing and stopped in front of me.
‘Annie, are you better?’ She said.
I looked behind me, wondering, ‘Who is this Annie Mother is talking to?’ Then I realised it was me Mother was talking to. All I could think of was, ‘How does Mother know my name?’
To express the love for the Divine through their writing or art
There was quite a large landing outside Shri Mataji’s rooms at Shudy Camps, more of the size of a reception room, so a lot of work went on there, for example the packing of puja presents and other things, which on one occasion were being carefully wrapped and boxed to be shipped to India. Mother used to sit near the door to Her rooms and supervise, very informally. I was mostly downstairs in the kitchen. During that time I had one big question in my mind, which was whether I should give up with my university studies, because there were so many obstacles. I felt stuck with my thesis and did not see how I could carry on.
One day I woke up late and realised that not only I had missed morning meditation, but also that Shri Mataji was sitting on the landing and talking to all the yogis who had gathered there. I quickly got dressed and ready, but feeling quite embarrassed about having overslept, sat at the very back, and would have never dared to draw any attention to myself, thinking I had missed the one opportunity to ask the question which was burning on my mind.
Shri Mataji called me up to the front and asked me questions, so I got to discuss my problem with Her. I was working on a thesis about the German Romantics, and this caused everybody to laugh, because Shri Mataji earlier had dismissed the English Romantics, Lord Byron in particular.
She was very positive about the German Romantics. I don’t recall Her exact words, but She said something like that they wanted to seek or express the love for the Divine though their writing or art. Following Her advice eventually I finished it and presented it to Her after a puja, maybe Sahasrara Day 1995.
The Light of the Koran
I started writing The Light of the Koran, Self Knowledge through Sahaja Yoga, in 1988 and tried to get some information from Shri Mataji. She had told my husband and I to write the book and had spoken to him about it right back when we were in London in 1986. But he was so busy, and we never had time to do anything. Eventually I started, as it seemed a good thing to do for Sahaja Yoga, but did not want to make mistakes, and felt the best was to ask Mother Herself to give us some ideas. It didn’t work out like that at all!
‘If you want some information, ask Rustom (Burjorjee),’ Shri Mataji said at the Sorrento Puja in May 1989, because in those days he was in Saudi Arabia. ‘He will be able to give you some information about Islam.’ So I wrote, but did not get any reply. The way Shri Mataji helped through those three years of writing was quite amazing. She would come in dreams.
‘Don’t put your husband’s name, put a pseudonym.’ Shri Mataji said when She spoke to me in a physical form.
When we started there was nothing about me in the book. But a few months before the publication Mother asked me to write an introduction, because, She said, I had to talk about my own seeking, and it would be credible.
When Shri Mataji came to Paris, which She did every year at that time, somehow every time I would be asked to cook and look after Her. I thought, ‘Why me?’ but later I understood, because every time She came I had a few questions about the book to ask Her.
Whenever I asked Her a question She would give me a cryptic answer. She wanted me to find the answer myself! So I stopped asking Her questions but still had them. During the three or four days She was in Paris, She Herself would come up with the subject, and give me my answer.
One particular question I had was about the houris, those ladies that men would meet when they go to heaven. Shri Mataji said that I should talk about the houris in my book. Next time She saw me She asked if I had talked about the houris and I evaded the question a bit, because I hadn’t. She said I should explain that the houris are the Sahaja Yogis. But I didn’t know how to express this concept. Finally, She again came to Paris and asked if I had talked about the houris.
‘Well, a little bit,’ I said.
‘It’s easy,’ She replied, ‘when you are realised, you become pure men and pure women. You are so pure you become like houris.’ The answer was obvious.
I gave the book to Mother once it was translated into English, and She said that everything was fine. At one stage during the writing, I had got really down, and thought, ‘Oh this is just a stupid woman with an ego writing’. So I asked Mother if I should continue writing the book. She looked at me, very shocked.
‘Of course!’ She said. After those years of work on writing the book, Mother stopped coming to France so much and I stopped seeing Her. But whenever She did come She would say just a few words about a verse in the Koran, or whatever I needed to know, and that was enough. She was giving energy for the whole year, to carry on. It was so important.
You didn’t have to worry
Shri Mataji was leaving our ashram in Paris in 1988. The first car had left for the airport to check in Her luggage, and She came down the stairs, and slowly said good bye to everyone, and it took some time.
We eventually arrived at the airport and the flight was waiting for Shri Mataji to leave. She went to Her seat and we left, perhaps three quarters of an hour late. The staff of Air France, and especially the captain, were not happy. When we arrived in Munich, Shri Mataji left Her seat last and smiled at the captain.
‘You see, you didn’t have to worry,’ She said.
The captain had announced that the flight, which lasted two hours, had arrived a quarter of an hour early.