Using Shri Mataji’s photo in relatively unfavourable circumstances
By – Linda Williams | Sahaja Yogini
There has been a lot of discussion on various groups about the situation where by some people conduct Sahaja programmes without using Shri Mataji’s photo. This was my little comment: Using Shri Mataji’s photo in relatively unfavourable circumstances
I was in Cape Town in 1989, during the apartheid era. We had a public programme, about thirty people came, and about twenty of them wanted to go on with Sahaja Yoga afterwards. I said we needed to find a room for us to meet. One lady came up to me and kindly offered, “I’ve got a big room we can use on the top of my house”.
She was a Muslim, and lived in the Indian area, as in those days there were different living areas for different racial groups. This was very good because by going there we were breaking the curse of apartheid, since many of us were of white European origin.
When we got there I had a photo of Shri Mataji, and a candle and after the meeting the lady said it was alright for us to come back to the house for more meetings, but better not use the photo, because it was a Muslim household and her husband was a strict Muslim and would not approve, even though he did not come to the meetings. I said it was better to use the photo and so we did, carefully and cautiously, for a few weeks. About a month later I went back to England and saw Shri Mataji and asked Her about this and She said it was important to use the photograph.
Now we move nine years forward to 1998 and I was working at Vista University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, running the university writing centre. Shri Mataji had given me Her blessings before I departed to South Africa in 1989, for the very purpose of spreading Sahaja Yoga there.
Many a times I felt completely supported and protected by Shri Mataji and She kept opening door after door to make it possible for me to spread Sahaja Yoga in a rather difficult atmosphere. My job meant I met lots of students from different faculties, because I was correcting their essays and other assignments. Vista was a totally black University, all the students were either Zulu, Xhosa, etc, but a lot of the lecturers were white.
The head of my department one day said to me, “Linda, the Students Christian Association want you to lead a prayer meeting to help them pass their exams.. Please don’t refuse to do it, because a white person has never been asked to do it before. If you do it, it will be very good, and if you don’t it will be very politically incorrect. I know you are not an official Christian but do your best.”
So I went to the meeting. About two hundred very committed Christian students attended in a big lecture hall. I stood on the lecturer’s dais with a picture of Shri Mataji (the Shri Dhanvantari picture, larger than A4 size) which I put beside me on the dais, facing the students. I told them I wanted to share with them a very beautiful experience of the awakening of the Holy Spirit.
“You all know the bit of the Bible where the Spirit was likened to a mighty rushing wind. I cannot promise a mighty rushing wind, but maybe some of us will feel a cool breeze.”
I pointed to the picture of Shri Mataji and said, “This lady taught me how to awaken the Spirit, She comes from a Christian family and one of Her brothers is a bishop.” (please note I did not use the word Yoga because the students had been told by their priests that yoga was evil).
Then I asked everybody to put their left hand out on their knees , palm upwards, and the right hand on their heart and to say to the Eternal Mother within us, “I am the Spirit, because we know the Spirit resides in the heart.”
Then I said, “We need to let that Spirit come up to the top of the head, so put the right hand on top of the head and say – please awaken that Spirit within me, please let the Spirit come to the top of the head. Then raise your right hand above your head and some of you may feel a cool breeze, that is the cool breeze of the Holy Ghost. “
Then I had them put the left hand above the head to feel it, then both hands on the knees, palms upwards and told them to put their attention on the top of their heads. Of course all the time they had their hands towards Mother’s photo.
Many students felt the cool breeze. I told them to do this at home before they started studying. I spoke a little bit more about Shri Mataji, pointing at the photograph, and Her connection to Mahatma Gandhi, who they all knew about and admired. A lot of them came to me later and said how helpful the technique was.
I know I moved the goalposts a bit by giving realisation when I had been asked to lead a prayer meeting, but it just shows that you can give realisation using Mother’s photograph to a group of very extreme Christians if one does it tactfully. I see no reason why people conducting stress management programmes etc. cannot use Mother’s photo in a similar way, i.e. by showing people the picture and explaining She was the founder of the technique.
Author Linda Williams
Linda Williams spent a fair amount of her childhood reading, painting and reading about fantasy realms. She grew up in the English countryside and from her late teens traveled widely and lived in a number of different parts of the world: India, Europe and Africa.
She survived the hippy days, married, had children and went on seeking answers to the perennial questions in such varied locations as British universities, Himalayan villages, and South Africa during the struggle against apartheid. She eventually found what she was seeking, in the person of an extraordinary lady, who gave her a profound inner awakening and understanding of subtle subjects. She has lived in India for nearly ten years, and has an intimate knowledge of Indian history and legends.