The first time I met Shri Mataji it was in October 1990, at the airport in Bucharest. Her kind face emanated a tremendous but appealing force. She wore an overcoat of a light brown color and Her head was covered with a scarf. Some of us came forward to kiss Her hand, ignorant of the fact that nobody was allowed to touch the Goddess without Her permission.
I saw Her again in the Palace Hall, on the next two days, when She gave two consecutive talks. The 4,000-seat hall was overcrowded; some people were seated on flap seats. Then we Sahaja Yogis sat on the floor, between the first rows and the stage, creating a cordon around Shri Mataji.
In December 1990, the French Sahaja sangha invited a group of seven Romanians including myself to go to India. After most of the Yogis attending the India tour were already at Pratishthan, we arrived there and were greeted by Shri Mataji. I remember Her staying at the top of an exterior flight of stairs next to a small room between the first and second floors, where She used to stay at that time since the house was under construction. She thanked us for coming. I felt overwhelmed: How could it be possible that God would thank you? On the contrary, we were those who ought to be thankful to Her!
In the first photo, Shri Mataji is on the stairs outside the History Museum, Bucharest, where there was a Sahaja Yoga exhibition, in 1991. She is seen leaving the Museum after visiting the Sahaja Yoga exhibition. It was a big event which was presented on the National TV program and another TV program broadcast through all the country.
Shri Mataji again visited Romania in July 1992. Meanwhile, our collective had become much larger, as could be seen when we greeted Her at the airport. From there, She was driven to Elisabeth Palace, a former royal residence. There She was hosted in the king's apartments. A small group of Sahaja Yogis waited for Her next to the entrance. Shri Mataji stopped in front of a young lady who, very shy, waited behind the others. Mother asked her why she was so sad and the lady answered that the doctors had diagnosed a cancer tumor in her intestine.
Shri Mataji invited the lady inside, like a true compassionate Mother. She asked for a glass of water and charged the water with vibrations, putting Her left hand into the glass. She gave the water to the lady telling her to drink from it because it is good for the left channel. While drinking, the lady was asked to hold her right hand through the open window, driving the negativity outside the house. Mother advised her to take ajwan fumigations at her Mooladhara chakra and to sleep with kumkum on her forehead. She called the lady's husband and told him he had to help his wife. When the patient went for a checkup, the doctor was astonished to see that the tumor had disappeared. The lady lives to this day (sixteen years later).
Shri Mataji sat in an armchair and the leader of France gave Her Feet a prolonged massage. I sat on the floor together with other Sahaja Yogis and absorbed the waves of vibrations She bestowed around Her. A young couple that desired to get married had asked me permission to request Mother's blessing. In my turn, I entered the apartment and humbly asked for Her accord. Then, to my great surprise, Shri Mataji asked me what I thought about this marriage.
The next morning, Shri Mataji consented to pay a visit to an important exhibition we had organized for Her arrival. The exhibition was in the imposing building of the Museum of National History and had been presented by the National TV program while another private program broadcast its own throughout the entire country. Mother stopped in front of a bust of Plato, which was placed among other great realized souls. She said that Socrates had been a great prophet, while Plato had distorted the teachings of his master. After visiting the entire exhibition with great patience, Shri Adi Shakti took rest on a couch and we, Her children, sat on the floor at the holy Feet of our Divine Mother.
After 1992, Shri Mataji gave public programs in Romania every year at the Polyvalent Hall, where every time 3,000 to 6,000 persons received their self-realization. Each year She used to go for shopping, usually in the 'Unirea' (meaning, 'Union,' that is, 'Yoga') supermarket. There She bought crystals, either uncoloured or cobalt colored in blue or red. I think they were for Baba Mama's beautiful collection I had seen during the visit I paid to his house in Nagpur. The building had been designed by Shri Mataji and looked like a palace.
Mother also used to buy many handicrafts. She loved beautiful handmade things: vases, ceramics, tablecloths, high-quality porcelains and dishes decorated with folklore motifs. At other times, She used to buy fabrics for saris, men suits, which She used to ask a Yogi to put on so She could check the size. She would say: this is for X, the other would go to Y, and so on, like a loving Mother choosing outfits for Her children. She would shop for hours, exploring each floor of the huge general store. When She was done, especially with the handicrafts, She left behind empty shelves. The vendors could hardly keep pace with Her, packing. We carried all the packs to the cars outside, following Shri Mataji's Mercedes.
One time, when Mother exited the 'Unirea' supermarket, a group of gypsy women surrounded Her. They had recognized Shri Mataji from the countless posters spread all over the capital. She gave all of them self-realisation by just asking them to hold their palms towards Her and asked me to invite them to the public program that evening. Then, something strange happened. A young man appeared from nowhere and came smiling within reach of Shri Mataji, offering candies to Her from a paper bag. After treating everyone around, he left us without a word, in the same sudden way as he had made his appearance.
During the fall of the same year, 1992, Shri Mataji blessed Romania again with Her holy presence. She came to Timisoara, where Diwali was celebrated for the first time in a country from Eastern Europe. The puja was attended by hundreds of Sahaja Yogis from Russia and other ex-communist countries, but not so many from the West. We had also invited many Indian brothers and sisters. Only two to three months before the puja, the Romanian authorities decided to impose severe restrictions for admitting people from certain countries, including India, into Romania. All our actions ran into closed gates and we gave up. At that moment, we got a call from Italy, announcing that Shri Mataji also needed an entry visa. We went immediately to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where someone suggested to contact the Indian Embassy.
There we found a fax from an Indian Sahaja Yogi who came forward as guarantor to all the Indians on an attached list including all our brothers and sisters invited to Diwali. With the list favorably endorsed by the Indian Embassy, the same day the Romanian authorities gave their consent to the admission of our invitees. Such a quick and sudden change of attitude just a day before the puja was a real miracle. As a matter of fact, Shri Mataji was a bearer of a diplomatic passport and needed no visa.
Accompanied by Sir CP, Shri Mataji arrived by flight from London to Bucharest and from there took the train to Timisoara. This was the city where the Romanian Revolution had started, making possible the opening of Romania toward Sahaja Yoga. After arriving at the Continental Hotel, where an apartment was booked for the guests of honor, Sir CP shared with us his good memories about his former visit to the Romanian shipyards.
In the evening, after fireworks at the city's stadium, we had the puja and Sahaja Yogis from various countries performed a musical program. Then, Shri Mataji offered presents to each participant (there were hundreds, maybe a thousand) until 6 am. This was another lesson given to us by the Divine Mother: of love and patience. Mother had asked me to tell Her about each lady if they had a long or short hair, so She could accordingly offer them either a hairpin or another ornament. Later on, She told me that women should fasten their long hair. Only the Goddess can wear loose hair.
We returned with Shri Mataji to the palace, where She was staying. I had the courage to present Mother with the manuscript of the 'Bible Enlightened', of which I had just completed the first part. At that time, the book had no title. It was chosen later on by Shri Mataji. She opened the manuscript at a specific page and showed me a mistake I made translating a Sanskrit word. I was amazed: She went directly there! Then She decided the book would be printed in India. I felt extremely happy being thus encouraged to go on with this work. I had finished reading the Holger Kersten's Jesus Lived in India and had some uncertainties.
'Shri Mataji, did Lord Jesus really die on the cross?' I asked.
'Yes,' came Her answer, 'He died, indeed, then He resurrected.' I asked if the Turin Shroud had belonged to Lord Jesus, and Shri Mataji confirmed that fact.
On the day of the public program in Bucharest in September 1994, Shri Mataji was shopping from 10 am to 5.00 or 6.00 pm. The lady looking after Her carried a little basket with a few Diet Coke cans for Her. After returning to the palace where Shri Mataji was hosted, we were surprised to find out that we were neither hungry nor tired. Shri Mataji, as usual, asked us as a careful Mother if we were hungry.
'No Mother, we already had Your vibrations feeding us,' we answered, which was true. And the program was at 8.00 pm! In fact, Shri Mataji had no rest at all before the program. She came at 9 o'clock, allowing us to give the introduction. To us, these prolonged shopping sessions were a lesson of endless love and patience.
When Shri Mataji returned to the palace after the program, She was as fresh as a flower. She either asked to watch the Romanian news on the TV (we learned that this was Her way of putting Her attention on Romania's problems) or desired to watch one (sometimes even two) Indian movies, which She translated for us. We were prepared for this request, having borrowed videotapes from the Embassy of India. One evening, She watched the movie Ghost with us and told us it is realistic in what concerned the ghosts. After the public programs, Mother usually went to sleep at about 3.00 or 4.00 am.
We had rented the queen's apartments for Shri Mataji, in the palace. The furniture was inspired by Persian art, and Mother immediately noticed this and referred to the Parsis in India. A pianoforte was in the living room. After the public program, Mother asked us which bhajan would we like Her to play the piano, and then She started to play. As I was listening to Shri Adi Shakti's interpretation, I fully understood the meaning of the words 'divine music.'
One morning, after breakfast, Shri Mataji told me that I had a hot liver. She called a Sahaja Yogini and asked her to bring some ice cubes wrapped in a towel. She insisted that I should put the ice on my liver, holding it with my left hand while keeping my right hand towards Her.
'Now, it's better,' Shri Mataji said after several minutes, I then realized that we were really cells in Shri Adi Shakti's body and She suffered every time something was wrong with us.
In Romania, the problems came from a religious organization. It so happened that one time they put pressure on the Romanian Government to ban all the 'sects'. When I told Mother about that, She said that this organisation would be exposed and we should not worry, then She gave a bandhan.
'Anytime you have a problem, give a bandhan,' She said.
From that day on the bandhan has helped us many times, no matter how serious the problem was when we brought it to the attention of the Divine.
Sometime after I was appointed the leader of Romania, Shri Mataji permitted me to give a massage to Her Holy Feet, using eucalyptus oil. She had taken rest on a sofa and during the massage She fell asleep like a baby, holding Her arms above the head. I felt like the vibrations became stronger than before and realized that even while sleeping, Mother worked on us. On another day, I was given the opportunity to massage Shri Adi Shakti's Lotus Feet during a puja, in Bulgaria I think.
To go to Sofia, we had to fly by Air Bulgaria. We had a big surprise finding how small their aircraft was, with only two dozen places. A short ladder gave us access under the tail of the plane. Shri Mataji made no comment. On such a small toy plane, we expected to have a very bumpy flight, especially on a hot summer day, with ascending and descending air streams due to convection. The presence of Shri Adi Shakti allowed, however, the airplane to hover as smoothly as a car on a modern highway. After that, She traveled between Bucharest and Sofia by sleeper train.
In December 1995, at Ganapatipule, the country leaders were asked to see Shri Mataji. We entered the villa and sat around Her on the terrace floor. I offered a freshly printed copy of Bible Enlightened to Mother's Holy Lotus Feet.
'Only you could have written this book,' Shri Mataji told me, and I was aware that no one else had heard this. The sun went below the horizon and a power failure turned the villa into a total darkness. We stayed like that for about ten minutes, but to me, it seemed an eternity spent in the Kingdom of God. The world around ceased to exist.
On August 2nd, 1996, Shri Mataji was invited to give a talk at the Ecological University in Bucharest. She was greeted by the President of the University, a member of the Romanian Academy and several deans. Mother was invited to the Principal's office where She stayed long enough to not disappoint the hosts.
At the end of Her conference, the President of the University presented Shri Mataji with the Diploma of Doctor of Cognitive Science of the University. It was an impressive moment and the audience applauded for a long time. Mother left the stage, passing by the audience and, halting before a man I had never met before, She smiled.
'How do you do?' She asked him.
Leaving the university, Shri Mataji expressed Her wish to see the city. We realized why: elections were coming up for the President and the Parliament of Romania. On the previous day, we had presented Her with photos of the two leading candidates for the presidency, and She made a comment about one of them—the person who was elected as president. From the car, we had shown Shri Mataji the main institutions: the Parliament, the Presidential Palace, the headquarters of the police and the Secret Service, the Palace of Justice, and others.
After the public program in the Polyvalent Hall, Shri Mataji stayed for a while on the stage. A Sahaja Yogi came to me, saying that a general of the army, the department head of the Central Military Hospital, had asked for the favor of being received by Shri Mataji. She sent him word to come to the Elisabeth Palace next morning at 9 o'clock.
The next morning, I was very surprised to see that he was the gentleman Shri Mataji had asked, 'How do you do?' Mother had just had Her breakfast. The general waited patiently and had brought a rose for Her. I already knew him by reputation from a Sahaja Yogi, who told me he was a proud man. Here he had turned into a different man — timid, apprehensive, like a child before his mother.
Shri Mataji asked me to show him into the living room of the royal apartment where She was hosted. The general entered hesitantly, offering to Shri Mataji the flower, which had meanwhile withered. Mother was seated on a couch, surrounded by thousands of flowers brought by the Sahaja Yogis. She graciously accepted the modest flower and kept it in Her hand during the entire meeting which strongly impressed him. Shri Mataji invited him to Vashi to meet Dr Rai. He was extremely happy and the next January went to Vashi for two weeks. Later he wrote the foreword to the Romanian translation of Dr. Rai's book.
Shri Mataji decided to go shopping. At the bottom of the stairs, a young newspaper woman asked Her for an interview. She was even more emotional than the general. When She was asked about the future, Shri Mataji answered that it does not interest Her because She knows it. This statement became the title of the article which the lady published. She later became a Sahaja Yogini.
After the 1997 Diwali celebration, Shri Mataji sent word for me to come to Her apartment at the 'Palácio de Seteais' at Cintra, Portugal. 'Seteais' means 'Seven Sighs,' evoking the Holy Breeze nourishing the seven chakras. She asked me if I intended to go on the India Tour and my answer was negative. After She asked me about the Romanian collective, She again asked the same question. I hesitated to answer. She said that many beautiful temples would be seen during this tour.
'You would not pay for the tour, I invite you,' She added, noticing my hesitation, and guessing the real reason of my incapacity to go to India. The tour that year was amazing, including Delhi, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Madras, Cochin, Bangalore, and Ganapatipule.
In 1999, in Turkey, I asked Shri Mataji for permission to leave Romania and live with the rest of my family, in the United States.
'You may go now, Sahaja Yoga is established in Romania,' She smiled at me and said.
When I arrived in America it was the spring of 2001. The same year, I attended the Shri Krishna Puja at Canajoharie. At the end, She offered presents to the American leaders. I was also called on the stage, and Mother gave me a wonderful painting by Roybal.
'I know you appreciate arts,' She said. To me, this was a kind of 'Welcome to America.'