Memories of our Divine Mother: 3. THE FIRST PUJAS

The Great Adi Shakti Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
The Paraclete Shri Mataji
1) Pat Anslow said:

We had no idea about pujas

We had no idea about pujas. She had to bring a brahmin in to do the pujas. Mother would give him Realization and would ask him to do this, that and the other, but we would just sort of sit there while he went through the mantras and do everything. And when the time came for the aarti, we didn't know it, so we had this record of this Indian movie and it had a picture on the front of an Indian girl smoking a cigarette and it was about some Indian girl who had gone to America. She had got lost and had then realized the error of her ways and had sort of come back to being an Indian. And we would solemnly get out this record and put it on the record player and play it and clap while it played. It was the music of"Sabko Dua Dehna," but it was the original aarti. That was a puja. We didn't know how to do pujas. We didn't know how to do anything.

Pat Anslow

2) Malcolm Murdoch said:

Mother used to teach those protocols

Mother used to teach those protocols, you know. She used to tell us which hand to do, how, you know, when we were to put this on. So She would lead the puja, wouldn't She?

Malcolm Murdoch

3) Gail Pottinger said:

She would be directing the whole thing.

She was always stopping people and saying," No, the mantra's said like this and you got the pronunciation wrong.”So throughout the pujas, She would be directing the whole thing.”And we'll have water now. We'll have this now, We'll have that now.”And really, if Mother hadn't been there directing the puja, we'd probably never have completed it, would we?

Gail Pottinger

4) Djamel Metouri said:

Can you just come over we'll have a puja?

My first puja was a Guru Puja [in 1977] and I remember once I was at work and then suddenly Jane [Brown], Gavin's wife, phoned me and said can you just come over. We'll have a puja. I didn't know what a puja was. So I came down. We were something like eight or nine people and there was a pujari, an Indian pujari. His name is Satpal. We haven't seen him for a while now. Anyway, this puja was" " I didn't know what it was" " this was the first time that I was seeing a puja. I just sit down and, for someone that is coming from an Islamic background, I guess it all feels and looks quite new to us, you know.

Djamel Metouri

5) Pat Anslow said:

The first Guru Puja

You know that Guru Puja? That was the first Guru Puja, in Gavin [Brown]'s flat. There is a picture of Mother with some roses, holding some roses. I remember giving Her those flowers and saying," Mother, be careful, there are thorns in them.”And She said," I have to take the thorns, too.”And She took them and then She said," Can you tape record this, My talk?' And that was the first time I remember Her giving a formal talk. And I remember thinking," What is the point of taping it? We are all here.”Shows you how aware we were of what was going on.

Pat Anslow

6) Djamel Metouri said:

I remember it was my first Guru Puja in 1977

We had a large piece of paper with"Charlie Chakra"drawn and we were offering this rice and flowers to each of the chakras, saying mantras on each, for each chakra, you know. And that puja, interestingly enough, was just a small puja, in a way, because we were only nine or ten people, but there is a picture of Mother who is holding the flowers between Her Feet.

I can't say it was the first, but I remember it was my first Guru Puja in 1977 with just ten people as opposed to two thousand or three thousand today. And this was just happening in the lounge of Gavin Brown's house.

In fact, in a way, that puja was done differently from the way we do it today, which is we do the puja directly to the Goddess and we wash Her Feet. At that time, we did wash Her Feet, but at the same time we were actually using this"Charlie Chakra"chart, actually doing offerings to the various chakras.

But, in any case, there were other pujas which took place during that summer. One of them was in my house, when She came to St. Albans. It was a Shri Krishna Puja and we washed Mother's Feet and we had a puja the way we do it today, but with perhaps not all the ingredients, you know. We were not" " it was not a fully fledged puja, as we see today.

Djamel Metouri

7) Maureen Rossii said:

We just didn't have a clue

At Her house [near Oxted in Surrey, England, there was a puja]. At one stage She took us outside in the evening, into the garden and we had a havan outside and She was trying to clear us and trying to clear us and we all stood there and suddenly She said something like"That's it.”And this huge wind came up and disturbed all the leaves and you just felt like the disciples gathered around Christ. She worked so hard all the time on us" " no matter what. She tried everything to try and clear us out.

Maureen Rossi

8) Djamel Metouri said:

That was more like a real puja with the amrit

And later on we had another puja in Her house, and that was more like a real puja with the amrit and all the elements and so on. That took place during a seminar that we had in Her house around September 1977. That was in Hurst Green in Oxted. And I remember very well because, even Kevin, which is Pat's son, was there. He was quite young.

Djamel Metouri

9) Pat Anslow said:

Mother had to do everything for us

There were just half a dozen of us at that first puja. Kevin, my son, was there. He used to misbehave and I used to get furious with him and Mother used to take him away from me and calm me down and look after Kevin. No, Mother had to do everything for us. We just didn't have a clue.

Pat Anslow

10) Kevin Anslow said:

Closeness and intimacy

The house in Oxted that Shri Mataji had" " I remember things attached to landscapes and environments quite a lot. I remember in Oxted, the sort of closeness and intimacy, Her relationship with the early Sahaja Yogis. It is something that the earlier Sahaja Yogis talk about quite a lot. For example, we would have ajwan and She would get under the sheet with everybody and all the Sahaja Yogis would be coughing and spluttering and She would say," What's wrong?”She would be completely unaffected.

Kevin Anslow

11) Marilyn Leate said:

I remember feeling clueless

The first puja to Shri Mataji which I ever attended was Guru Puja 1978. It was performed at a hall in Finchley, North London. Resident Indian people did most of the preparation. They were touchingly hospitable and I remember feeling clueless in the light of their humble Indian hospitality and culture. She called all of us very new people to do Her puja and put the born-realized at the front. This included a little Dutch boy and myself. She told us that ours was a double responsibility. Then we did Her puja with the other new people behind us. They put their hand on our shoulders or upper arms, so we were all connected. We didn't really know what we were doing and Shri Mataji instructed us step by step through the foot washing, the amrits, the kumkum paint, the sandal oil and the flowers. At the end, people came rushing through, trampling over us and stepping on our hands to get their photographs of our Mother.

Marilyn Leate

12) Linda Williams said:

One moment of glory for a gallant flower

One year Mother stayed in London for Christmas. It snowed on Christmas Eve and Mother said it was because Kevin [Anslow], Pat's son, had wanted a white Christmas. We had planted a sunflower outside the kitchen window at Chelsham Road [ashram] and, as the months went by, it got taller and taller, but never seemed to form a flower. As December approached, I began to wonder because sunflowers are frost- tender and are usually dead by October or November and this was in 1980 or '81, before the greenhouse summers and climate change had started. By mid-December the plant still wasn't dead and started forming a flowerhead" " again quite extraordinary in the dark, cold depths of the English winter. On Christmas morning it blossomed, even though it was snowing. We picked it and put it on the top of the Christmas tree in the room where Mother came for the Christmas Puja" " one moment of glory for a gallant sunflower. Mother had often passed the flower when it had been growing, as in those days She would come to Chelsham Road once a week or so.

Linda Williams

13) John Glover said:

She was reading us so deeply

I remember there was this Christmas Puja and it was early on because I came at the end of '79 and this might have been '80 and Mother gave a lot of presents. I can remember that the puja at that time was quite a difficult and often painful business. The spirit loved it, but everything else screamed and squealed and stamped its feet. I remember She gave these presents and somehow, when I went up there, it was as if She could only see vibrations. She was so lost. She was in such an amazing state, She was looking at people and it was almost as if She didn't know who they were, but She knew much more than who they were. And She was reading us so deeply. And She gave me three presents, three presents, and I was amazed, but what do you do? They were just handed to me. And I remember walking home from there, back to where I lived, quite late at night and feeling Her love. She had given me these things which were somehow so symbolic and, of course, I still have them.

John Glover

14) Douglas Fry said:

She was looking at the vibrations

There was a Christmas Puja, which was one of the early ones. It was at the Temple of All Faiths in Hampstead and Shri Mataji, for myself, She gave me a picture and some of the other older Sahaja Yogis, She had different things. But what She had done" " there were a lot of Mr. CP's old" " and I say"old"In inverted commas" " ties and She had wrapped them all up. And they were all wrapped up in exactly the same way. They were all different, but they were all wrapped up the same way, so there was no way of knowing any one from the other. So Shri Mataji was giving these packages out. And She gave one to somebody and then off he went and She gave a couple more out and then She said," No, don't take that one. Give me that one back, please.”And then She gave them to this other fellow. And then She gave him another one and he opened it up and it matched the suit he was wearing exactly. So it is amazing, Shri Mataji wasn't looking at the person, She was looking at the vibrations and She knew that the vibrations were incorrect, so She put them right. That's the way it worked out.

Douglas Fry

15) Douglas Fry said:

Reading the praise of the Goddess

One time when we had a puja, the puja sort of started in the morning and went on through the whole of the day. And one particular puja, one of the very early pujas, we had a havan outside and we had this book of the thousand Sanskrit names of the Goddess. This was, I believe, actually the first puja in praise of Shri Mataji and was at Her house at Parklands, Hurst Green. We were sitting round there putting stuff on the havan and Shri Mataji was actually reading the names of Herself. As She pointed out, She said," This is very strange because you've got the Goddess reading the praise of the Goddess, which is rather unusual.”Because She was the only one who could read them. But whilst we were there" " and it was really cold outside, it was late in the year" " and the whole sky opened up like a great big halo above us. The sky was quite dark, but there was a whole light patch above where we were because the vibrations that were given out had sort of caused the sky to open.

Douglas Fry

16) Linda Williams said:

I thought there was something wrong with the camera The first puja we had at Chelsham Road was the Bhoomi Puja, the puja to bless the house. As the housewife, I was honoured to be called to actually offer the different items to Mother in the porch of the house. I was heavily pregnant with my second child at the time. Mother stood in the doorway and I offered the rice and other things to Her Feet. Everyone else crowded round in the hallway and garden. After we had finished the short puja, Mother told us to bury the offerings on the right of the doorway, between the door and the window.

About a year later I was taking some photos of the children who were sitting on the front door step in one photo and standing on what was then a little lawn in front of the window by the door in the next one" " the strange thing was that when the photos were developed, there was a bright light coming out of the ground where we had buried the offerings. At that time, we did not know about miracle photos and I thought there was something wrong with the camera.

Linda Williams

17) Kay McHugh said:

Like it was a feast

We used to give, really, very poor meals to Mother in those days [at the the pujas in England] and She was so gracious. She ate everything.

Kay McHugh

18) Linda Williams said:

She always said how nice they were.

Linda Williams

19) Kay McHugh said:

Yes, She did. And I used to think," Really?”because it would be gluggy old grey rice and She'd act like it was a feast.

Kay McHugh

20) Linda Williams said:

Their hearts and chakras were clean

We had a puja. Before this I had one of the first of many lessons. The [Chelsham Road] ashram was a bit of a tip and I got everyone running around cleaning it up. When Mother came, She took me aside and was not pleased. She said it was just the supraconscious bhoots in me that were making everyone run around and tidy up and that" " whereas I was clean outside" " my chakras were filthy inside and, although the Sahaja Yogis' ashram was a bit untidy, their hearts and chakras were clean. But maybe one good thing can be told. After the puja, we would all take turns to go up to Mother. One by one we would kneel in front of Her with our forehead on Her Feet and She would often work on us. As I knelt at Her Feet at that first ever puja, She told me that I would one day give Sahaja Yoga to many, many others. That promise, which has indeed come out, sustained me through all the hard times that came later.

Linda Williams

21) Djamel Metouri said:

She saw our conditioning

When you come to Sahaja Yoga, and it happens to almost everyone, you tend to bring your own religion with you. And you want to sort of shift Mother's attention towards your own religion because somehow you want to be patted on the back and you want Mother to say to you," Oh, how nice of you to talk to Me about your Islam"And so on.

And I think once when Rustum [Bujorjee] was in the Middle East, whenever he came back, he used to say," Why don't we do namas at the end of the puja or something?”And then Mother said one day," All right, it is good to want to do namas, but namas was something that you did when you didn't know God.”You know, you had to do some practice" " something that would probably bring you closer to God because you didn't know God.”But now you know God. God is in front of you. You don't need to do namas any more.”

This is not to do with what Mother said in the very early days. It was something that She said much later on, maybe 1984, 1985. She started talking about it. Maybe She talked about it. She didn't insist on it in the beginning. Why I say this is because certainly events happened several years later, then they relate to a whole period of time where She might not say anything.

She saw us for many years in Sahaja Yoga and, in a way, She saw our conditioning. She saw our attachments to various bits and pieces here and there. She saw how we try to bring various bits and pieces from our own country.

Djamel Metouri

22) Felicity Payment said:

You could feel Her presence

Later on we started to have pujas at institutions, you know, proper, like hotels or conference places. But in the beginning, in those first two years when I came [1979 and 1980], most of it was in people's houses. I know we had a lot of pujas in Brighton in Pamela [Bromley]'s house and I can remember being in the house with Shri Mataji. It didn't matter if Shri Mataji was upstairs or in a different room, you could feel Her presence, that She was in the house and it would make you" " you would become much more conscious of your behaviour of what you" " I felt myself" " of what you said or even what thoughts you allowed to pass through your mind. Sometimes you would feel it wasn't right to have a certain thought, it was most dangerous for you because you were in the presence of the Goddess.

Felicity Payment

23) Chris Marlow said:

It was just recording

After the Ganesha Puja in Brighton, there was quite a big gathering and Shri Mataji was working on somebody and She wanted some honey to vibrate for clearing people's Agnya. And someone had a very posh pot of honey, which had been bought in a nice health food shop.

Chris Marlow

24) Vicky Halperin said:

The reason why I remember it so strongly was that I bought the acacia honey. I bought the food that was used for the catering from Paul [Winter]'s house and we had been to the wholesalers and various places and the honey was acacia honey.

Vicky Halperin

25) Chris Marlow said:

Shri Mataji said," No, this is no good. This is acacia honey and acacia is the tree that Christ was crucified on and it's also this horrible spiky thorn thing.”

Chris Marlow

26) Vicky Halperin said:

When Shri Mataji made this comment about the honey and the acacia, I had the most extraordinary pain through my foot, really sharp like a nail going through my foot. And She said," What's the matter?”It was like the crucifixion, like a nail in my foot. I somehow didn't feel guilty. It was just recording.

Vicky Halperin

27) Chris Marlow said:

So I nipped out the back and went down to the local corner shop and got a pot of Gale's Honey, brought it back and that got presented to Shri Mataji and She said," Oh, this is fine.”

Chris Marlow

28) Ray Harris said:

Just to get heart out of them

I don't know why this was. I ended up in the front being dressed as an Indian in a dhoti and She had this material She wound round and round and round me and I ended up with these big trouser type things. What are they called? Just dhoti, yes. She was showing us how to do it.

She spent ages and ages with us because in those days, although there were less people, it was less formal. Pujas were quite short. Although the pujas we did ourselves are very long, the pujas She did were actually quite short and they still are. But She used to spend whole evenings with us, just trying to get us to entertain ourselves and that, I think, was one of the things She used to do. She used to do all kinds of funny things to make us laugh, because we were quite miserable all the time. That was one of the things, dressing people up, making them do things, just to get heart out of them.

Ray Harris

Related Articles:
Memories of our Divine Mother Shri Mataji 1
Memories of our Divine Mother Shri Mataji 2
Memories of our Divine Mother Shri Mataji 3
Memories of our Divine Mother Shri Mataji 4
Memories of our Divine Mother Shri Mataji 5
Memories of our Divine Mother Shri Mataji 6
Memories of our Divine Mother Shri Mataji 7
Memories of our Divine Mother Shri Mataji 8
Memories of our Divine Mother Shri Mataji 9
Memories of our Divine Mother Shri Mataji 10
Memories of our Divine Mother Shri Mataji 11
Memories of our Divine Mother Shri Mataji 12
Memories of our Divine Mother Shri Mataji 13

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