Interview with Shri Mataji in Vienna. July 9, 1986
Those of us who have not heard or read about Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi could be surprised that the personality of such a stature has not reached their awareness before… And rightfully so – the impact of her work and her contribution to the well-being of humanity as a whole is hard to estimate.
What Shri Mataji did and continues to do relentlessly and tirelessly is helping to bring about our own personal transformation and to raise our awareness to a higher level.
Her discovery of a simple technique to trigger the awakening of the primordial energy, often referred to as “Kundalini”, within each human being has already transformed millions around the world and many more are to come. This simple technique transcends the heights of scientific discoveries and artistic achievements. It transforms our societies on the fundamental level, brings us back to our roots so our future development can be balanced, empowering and harmonious among ourselves and towards nature. It is not a book or a lecture – it is a living process which is waiting to happen within each and every one of us.
Knowledgeable in science, art, politics, economics, sociology, medicine, Shri Mataji maintains that peace in our societies can only be brought about through discovering peace within ourselves. After thousands of lectures and programs, Shri Mataji is leaving us a treasure of knowledge so vast and profound that generations to come will draw wisdom and inspiration from her words. Like a magician with a gentle movement of her wand, she left us examples of what to aspire to. Yet, her ultimate magic, the awakening of our Kundalini energy, leaves us speechless about her greatest stature.
1. Can you speak about your whole life?
I’m a story teller (Shri Mataji laughs) It is something like an autobiography.
2. Can you describe the circumstances during your childhood?
I belong to a family of very enlightened people. My father was a linguist and he was master of fourteen languages. He knew about 26 languages and he translated even Koransharif into Hindi language. My mother was in those days, was a honors in mathematics. So both they were very well-educated and enlightened people.
At the time of my birth my mother dreamed something which she could not explain. But after that she had a great desire to go and see a tiger in the open field. My father was a great hunter, because tigers were a menace in the area where we were living. It was a hill-station called Chindwara. So there was a king who was very much interested in my father.
Somehow or another a letter came that there is a tiger, very big tiger and they are frightened of him that he might be a maneater. So my father took my mother and moved to that place. And they were sitting in what we call as a Machan. Where they built something for people to sit on top of a tree, from where they can shoot nicely. And then my mother tells me that a big huge tiger, of very big size, very beautifully appeared on the field and she felt tremendous love for the tiger.
It was a full moon day and she felt extremely compassionate towards the tiger and when my father raised his gun to shoot, she stopped and she wouldn’t allow him. The tiger went away and he never came to that forest again.
But that made my father think, because he himself is a realized soul. That must be somebody what we call a goddess Durga, who is fond of the tiger must be born to my mother, because the symptoms where rather funny that the lady should like to see a tiger. So he told my mother: “Now are you satisfied?” Because they were struggling with the gun. He said: “Is there of Durga sitting in your womb, that you are trying to protect a tiger?” She said: “Yes, yes stop it now, I won’t allow you!”.
Like that there were many incidents in my life, because I am of a Christian family, Protestants and when I was born my mother didn’t feel any labour-pains or anything just I was born. She did not know how and I had no blood on my body, nothing. I was clean washed that is why they called me as Nirmala.
But my grandmother said that she should be called as Nishkalanka. That means the one which has no spots on her. But that is the name of a man. So they said alright we call her Nirmala meaning the same – Immaculate.
Now all these incidents. And then my father, being a realized soul, he felt tremendous vibrations from me and he felt that this life is great and that she will do something great in this life. I do not know why, but I don’t know if he dreamed or he understood it, but all the time if I remember when he talked to me, he used to say that: “You have to find out the way of giving “en mass” realisation all the time.
As I told you, he was a great scholar of so many things and a very wide read man, so he gave me a good education in religion, in different religions, and also a good education about human beings. What are their problems? Why did they act like this? Why don’t they take to God? Why are they hypocritical? All kind of things he talked to me.
He also knew about Kundalini. But not so much. Of course when I was born, I knew all about Kundalini myself. I knew all about it, from my very childhood. So I was a very aware person – extremely aware. I did not know how to talk to, because – you see – people did not have that awareness, you can’t talk to everyone like that.
So I was regarded as a very joyful person at the same time very serious also, very deep and then I started my studies as a child. I was not very much interested in the studies, though I used to do them very well. But I used to read lives of great men and things like that.
At a very young age I read Bernard Shaw. When people were reading their expectations I was reading Bernard Shaw. But as such I did not have any interest in particular, in reading some text books, because I thought they were childish and there was nothing to be read about it. Then I told my father that I have to do medicine. So he said: “Why?” I said: “Because I have to talk to doctors.” He said: “You have to talk to doctors?” “Yes!”, I said.
But it so happened in my childhood, when I was about 7 years of age. My father was a congressman, he had joined congress when I was 4 years of age. He used to live with a style very westernized – you see. He threw away everything and became a real Indian and started leading a life of a martial. Then he made us study our languages, Sanskrit he made us study in an Indian school not in a missionary school.
Because missionary is very, very unkind. They threw us out of the school, when my father was in the congress. They were against us completely. Then at the age of seven years, I happened to go with my father to Mahatma Gandhi. He was about 70 miles living with us. But the first time he took me down and Mahatma Gandhi, he liked me very much. He said: “Leave this child here!”
So I had not taken clothes or anything to stay there and my father sent to me everything. And he was very fond of me. But I was a little girl. But he understood that there was something about me. He consulted me on very serious problems sometimes, surprisingly. Like one day he wanted to make me a prayer-book alright, so he asked me: “How should I put these series and all that.” So I told him, how to put the series and he put the series in that way.
I used to go back for my school and again to go back to Gandhiji. Every year like that. And he called me Nepali. He gave me a name “Nepali”. Everybody used to call me Nepali that time. Then I grew up with him very intimately, he was a very, very kind person for children.
Otherwise an extremely strict man, with himself and with others, very strict. A big disciplined man. And he would make everybody get up at 4 o’clock, have your baths everything be ready for your morning prayers at 5 o’clock – you see – and he used to walk very fast. I also learned walking fast with him. In his company I had to walk fast.
And he had been extremely loving and a very nice person. And he would listen to me, because I was a child. Supposing I had forced him to eat more or something then he would have laughed and accepted. Very kind person.
But with others, he was very strict and I used to tell him that: “Why are you strict with them too much?” He said: “But you are a little girl, you got up in the morning, why can’t they get up?” I said: “I am little, that’s why I get up, they are big, so they can’t get up.” Like that you see a little child.
Then my father went to jail and my mother also went to jail five times. My father went to jail twice. Once for about two and a half years and he was the only supporting member of the family. By the way we came from a very old royal family, which is called as Shalivahanas. They have a calender also in India.
And then, when they took my father to jail we had to leave our house and we had to live in huts and had all kind of problems. But also me, they pestered a lot because I helped many people there. I joined effort to movement and in a very serious way I became the leader there. But we were young people.
I thought unless and until I take a very positive stand, it may not work out with them. It is not gracious to say how they tortured me. What they did to me. But they really tortured me. I was a young girl of nineteen years that time. It is over now, so it is finished. After that my father went to jail again and then when he came back, he got elected as the member of the central assembly, later on as the constructor of the assembly and then of the parliament.
My brother was also member of the parliament later on, now recently he was the minister in the cabinet. Another brother is a high-court judge in Bombay. They are all doing well despite the fact, that our parents neglected us in a way, because they gave their lives to the country, but that never deterred as from studies and we came up very well.
When I was in 1942 two movement my college justicabled me from the college and threw me out and I had to go to another college to study far away from my house. Then I studied for two years science. Then I did my medical. I didn’t do fully, because just after that the 1947 riots broke out. So college was closed and I did not want to know more, because what I wanted to know, I think to know about it. So I did not need, and I got married.
You must have heard my husband work is now the secretary in general of the International Maritime Organization. He held very high positions. He was also secretary to Shastri who was our prime minister, who was another very great man. But he did not survive long. If he had survived things would have been different, I think, for our country, because he was a Gandhian, out and out Gandhian.
I mean he lived like an ideal Gandhian personality. So that’s how my life went on. But inner being was still seeking the way and methods of giving “en mass” realization.
My father said: “Before you do not develop this technique of giving “en mass” realization do not talk about religion. Let nobody know that you know anything about it, because they will crucify you or….” He was rather worried that people won’t understand, or you may write another Bible or Gita – no use.
First of all you must give them realization. If they get their realization then they will realize that there is something about it, about this human awareness. For example, he always used to give an analogy. Supposing we are born on the tenth storey and everybody is on the ground. You must at least make them climb two storeys so they know that there is something above. Otherwise no use talking about it.
And he said: “This is the mistake between the saints and the incarnations was, that they never realized that these people are still on the ground. They have to still enter into the medium. So that is what you have to be very careful that first of all you must give realization to them.”
So I was seeking the ways and methods, working it out inside myself through my own style of meditation in the sense that I would work out all the permutations and combinations and when I met one person then I would see what problems that person had, how you can overcome it, like that I would try to study that person internally.
And I went to many people to find out, but I found they were great hypocrites. I saw so many of these Gurus, most of them. When I saw them, I was surprised they were all hypocrites. Money making and also. I went to Rash Neesh also to see him and he said that I should come to his program. I did not know what sort of man, because he was talking about Gita and I thought he might be knowing something about it.
I went there but my husband said: “No, I won’t allow you to go to this program. So he arranged his own…….. There I could see all the things which were going on. And that is the day somehow or another I said: “I must open the last chakra!” So the last chakra was opened and I saw the Kundalini, which is the primordial force within us, which is the Holy Ghost within us, rising, like a telescope opening out. And then I saw the whole thing open and a big torrential rain of beams started flowing through my head all over.
I felt I am lost, I am no more, there it’s only the grace is there, that is there. I saw it completely happening to me. But I was amazed that when I went to Rash Neesh, because he forgot even to say good bye, because he never realized what had happened or anything, so I was surprised, I said: “This man doesn’t know anything about God!” and then I discovered that they are all hypocrites and they are telling lies.
So in 1970, 5th of May this happened and just after that we had a very big lecture in Carnagy Hall. This is a very big hall and thousands of people had come and I told them very frankly that these are all thugs and hypocrites, some of them are demonic, some are evil people. I told their names everything. I told them: “Do not go near them!” There were some foreigners also.
And there were so many others whom I told these things very clearly and they got frightened. They said: “You should not say like this. They will come and murder you.” But nobody did anything and nobody even went to the courts. And that’s how they try to bring bad name to me. They paid money to the newspapers to publish things against me, because I said: “You cannot pay money!” So they thought that I was trying to harm them by saying such a thing that you can’t take money in the name of God.
If it is a job you can do it, but Gods work is not a job. And the struggle started from the day I started giving realization. And I started with one lady who got realization first. Then we got about twelve people who got realization. In two years got only about 14 people realization. Then gradually when 14 people got realization then many others started getting realization.
But I started also curing people, because that was helping a lot. Then my husband got elected to this post and we had to come to London.
So when I came to London we had one program. So the Indians abroad are not so much interested in God, they are more interested in money. So none of the Indians stayed there. They all run away and only the foreigners who were there, were about seven hippies and so I had to work on them – seven hippies – for four years I was working on them to give them the realization. They were difficult, their liver was bad, their head was off, terrible time. But in between I used to go to India.
And in India also the work was done. For three month always I have been in India. So we started working in the villages, specially surprisingly were my forefathers were ruling in that area. There we started moving in a very big way. And there then we started taking the people from India.
And some people came from Australia to India, like that and the work started moving in those directions. Gradually the work improved and people found that this is the way we can transform ourselves. Many people were taking drugs, or alcoholics or mad people all kinds of people. They felt better and they got cured. It was established that Sahaja Yoga is something very important.
Now, when I travel all over the world first my husband used to pay for everything, wherever I went he had to pay – any expenses he used to do for me. Gradually now this people pay for my travel, but otherwise they do not have to pay for anything else. That is how we started our work. There was lot of opposition and the media-people would never understand it. Because it was not such a sensation as you can say, nothing to people feel exited but in a way it is a very great thing, because this is the solution of the whole world, one should try to do it.
Then we had very great people who came to Sahaja Yoga, like we can say the main high court judge, who is now the president, who has given Nicaragua some judgment and many lawyers and even barrister. We have one barrister here from Algeria and doctors and then they took over and they started helping me out how to propagate Sahaja Yoga.
But it was a difficult task in the west. Of course in India it is spreading very fast in the villages, but the city people in India also the people are westernized and they will start analyzing. They don’t know much about our past, they don’t know anything about our heritage that we have our Kundalini.
But some people do know about Self-realization. But these Gurus could not stick on in India because nobody would accept them. So they all run away abroad. And that was something a blessing for me also, because I did not have to fight them there. And it started working out and then people found that it helps in every way and they found so many miracles about it and that’s how Sahaja Yoga was settled quite a lot.
But still I would say that we have not been to certain countries so far and in the west, I would say that so much work has to be done there, because as soon as you start any work in any place first of all they want me to cure people and to help them with cure. Now if I pay attention more to that then the main work is to create doctors out of everyone that is neglected then you become unpopular. They think: “Oh, she’s not sympathetic”, this and that.
But now as we have everybody can cure now everyone. I don’t cure anyone directly. But they don’t like it, they want I should be there and their ego to be pampered and all these things are there, it’s rather difficult. We are not running any lecture like we should please others, sort of things, not that, but whatever is reality. If a person has intelligence, pure intelligence, he can see that this is something very different.
And for that one has to understand that you cannot force on anyone that you get your realization in the same way you cannot force me that I give you realization, because if does not work, it does not work, it’s such a living force. And that upsets them very soon. I feel that the way this industrial revolution has come in the west. People have lost their knowings perhaps they are so confused with all these gurus coming down here confusing them and all kind of new things coming. They don’t know where to look.
Unless and until you get your evolution completed. Unless and until you reach that absolute state of understanding the chaos will remain.
So one has to try to get to that. But one must understand: You cannot pay for it. There is no effort. After getting realization they feel so satisfied, they forget about it. But after that you must know how to give it to others. As Christ has said: “The light which is enlightened you do not put it under the table!”
That’s how what happens that, though I give realization to some hundred people, only out of them five, six will come forward to help us out. But still I must say, a lot of work has been done. Especially Austria. I am very proud of Austria, and the way they have never given me any problem, never – very good people have come out of Austria. Very balanced, level headed people. Very level headed.
They are not extremists, they don’t go to extremes, so there is no fanaticism about them. They are sensible people. And something so lucky that Austria was found out. Because I never expected that in Austria there will be so many people. But somehow – like water finds it’s own level, Sahaja Yoga finds its own level. We just come down to Austria. We haven’t been to Norway, to Sweden, to Denmark, Finland. I visited those places, because of my husbands job but I have not …….
Now we have sixteen centers in Australia. And Australia is a very progressive Sahaja Yoga thing. We have got schools now there. They are running schools and the teachers are extremely well-behaved and visionaries and they look after the children very well. The government people sent somebody for observation and they have remarked that whatever they proclaim that’s what they manifest. And they have given good certificates to us.
But the greatest achievement on the outward life is this that Cambridge University has accepted Sahaja Yoga for research work with respect. By one doctor Lee who is doing the research about Sahaja Yoga in Cambridge University – he is already doctor. And there is another great thing has happened in Delhi University that the Delhi University has accepted that a person can do, only a doctor can do a P.H.D. of we can say a doctorat in Sahaja Yoga and he gets the highest degree, called the doctor of medicine. And perhaps after some time they will allow anyone to do that. This is about the medicine part of it.
In agriculture we have done lots of research by say, we have somebody here, an expert of agriculture. He has also done a lot of research and he found out that with vibrations he started after realization. If you vibrate the water and if you water the plants with that then sometimes you might get even ten times more breed that’s what they did in India. In one of the agriculture universities. But here also they found out that there is tremendous difference between the growth of an ordinary plant.
Another thing that I found out in agriculture that if you give vibrations, then even an ordinary cow can give lot of milk. But if you have hybrid cows than you see it’s not good for the brain, because a person who takes hybrid milk also, gets hybrid. I mean his brain gets little wobbly. So better to have a pure milk from a cow which is not been put to this kind of an experimentation.
Moreover food also, if you eat hybrid food it’s not very good for us, for that spoils our nerves I think. But ordinary seeds you cannot use, because they have weakened and they cannot reproduce. So, when we vibrate them, they produce very well, just like – better than even sometimes hybrid things and the food tastes very well, and it doesn’t give those complications.
So this can help in agriculture in India and the government has allotied us a lot of land where we are going now to experiment and we are going to start experimentation there to show that how we can use this. But many farmers who are Sahaja Yogis have done a lot of job and they have discovered that even animals and this what you call farming, everything is helped very much by vibrations.
So it improves the lives of people. We have on the other side, social side, I can tell you that we have marriages, international marriages. We arrange international marriages between people, they have to know each other and they are together and first of all they are together for one and half month with us on the tour.
They can see each other and the marriages are fixed and we have seen that such marriages are extremely successful. 99 % marriages are successful. Once in a while maybe a mishap but mostly there are no divorces that take place. Once in a while, if it’s not successful we have no objections to divorce also.
But mostly they are successful and they get children who are very intelligent and who are themselves born-realized children mostly. So the problem is much less and the family life improves. The quality of life is 1000 times better. People are very joyous, happy, they do not complain and they enjoy life and they give to others. They share what joy they have.
3. What do you think are the important points in the education of children? What is important to be given to the children?
First if they get realization. If they are already born realized no problem, but if they have been given their realization then they will start to see things from a different level. They become the Spirit. So their self respect awakens. Such children behave in a very dignified manner. They talk in a very elderly manner. They see solutions of all kinds and they are tremendous beings. But we have to guide them properly by our own behaviour.
How we behave, the greatest thing is how we behave that’s how the children like. We put the children to some tests how they are. We find out if they have any physical problems, we cure them. If they have mental problems we cure them. If they have any other problems, social problems or anything, we try to help them out. So that basically if a human being is alright in childhood then fundamentals are alright for the child.
The foundation is laid down then to build a child up in a good quality is not difficult. So now we find like great artists are there. There are great musicians. At a very young age, they have started playing violin. I mean suddenly they have become dynamic also and very humble. They are very humble and self respected and very well behaved.
Surprising how the atmosphere is and how it works out. And the other day a lady asked me about the women then I told her that a woman’s power as a mother is very great. She felt hurt about it and I did not mean that you should be just a mother. She is a mother, means she is compassionate. She is kind. She is not aggressive like men. That is a very big quality that is a very big power in a woman, that’s what I was suggesting. That that is what we have to have. Is not to compete with men. This is Madness. To compete with men, and to go about like that.
So we have to understand that life has to be enjoyable. Life should be a blessing, not to be a misery. We create our own miseries by these false ideas by our own conflictions, we have in our mind mental projections we have in our mind or our own obstinacy, whatever it is. All these things can be cured if you take to Sahaja Yoga, because you become a balanced person, level headed, mild person and you become a witness. The whole thing becomes like a show, like a drama and you become fearless, you start seeing the whole thing like a drama. This is what a human being has to achieve.
We talk of peace, we talk of no war, we talk of many things like this, atomic bomb, this and that. All that is not going to work out. Only what is going to work out is the transformation of human beings. If the human beings are transformed things will work out absolutely first class. Not only that, but that they will enjoy the bliss of life.
We are missing the point all together. This is a very important thing that human beings must say one thing: “What have you achieved out of all this?” Just for a minute to stop and think.
4. What are the causes of illness?
The physical, mental, emotional, all illnesses are caused by the imbalances that live within us. By our extreme behaviour. And supposing, say now cancer. Cancer is caused by the over activity of the sympathetic nervous system. Supposing a person is a very sad person, he cries and weeps and all the time feels guilty and thinks he is the worst person ever born. He has committed so many sins and all sorts of nonsense. Then he goes to the left side, according to us, and crosses over to the collective subconscious area and there, according to us, what they call as Protein 58 and Protein 52.
Doctors call it that way, but we call it as the dead souls. They exist there and they catch hold of you and they trigger the cancer. But supposing by any chance you can bring the attention fully away from that in the centre. You can get cured. So it is the centres within us which are subtle, which are basically seven centres. There are many others, but basically seven. If you can put them right you cannot have any sickness or illness of any kind.
5. Can you explain. You said, that your parents supported you very much in your learning and in your studies? Is it correct?
Yes, of course!
6. Is it normal that the parents support their child in a form like this?
In India all parents support their child.
7. And you can learn everything what you want to?
Yes, yes, I mean that is true. But the basic thing is: Parents are very benevolent to their children, very kind to their children. And to them the child’s education, the child’s upbringing and the child’s life is very important. That’s why we know they are so we depend on them, they look after us and they are very wise people. They sacrifice everything for us. So whatever they say, we think it’s nice and by doing this, we have not lost anything so far.
In India if you find Indian children, when they came abroad they always stop. They are very obedient children and they behave very well. We don’t have all this problem. Teenage-problem, homosexuality, we don’t know even these problems. Because we are so close with the parents all the time. They all the time watch us we don’t have drug problems. None of these – only in the cities little bit it happens and it disappears. Because parents are all the time with their children. They live together, the whole family lives together.
And not only with the parents, but all the relations and all the people in the village and in the city everyone knows each other. Such a joyful system we have, that we do not normally fall, sort of go to wrong ways and methods and we do not become obstinate also.
8. But you grew up in a Christian family! It’s not a normal situation that Indian people are Christian?
Yes, I know, I was born in a Christian family deliberately, because I personally think that protestants are the greatest fanatics. They are very sophisticated, their fanaticism is in their brain. Nobody can make them out that they have fanaticism, that they are very great fanatics, the greatest of all. But that times were very enlightened people they understood Christ very well.
They say, I told you about Paul when I was ….. First time I took the Bible in the hand and I asked my father: “Who is this Paul?” He said: “It’s an imprudor, forget it, don’t believe him at all.” So they understood all these things very well because my father was a realized soul like Khalil Gibran.
If you read Khalil Gibran he says the same thing about Paul, the same thing. So if you are an enlightened person you see the essence of everything. Whatever religion you are born, you don’t ignore any other religion, you try to learn about other religion and then you find the essence is the same in every religion.
What is there to fight? And that’s how you belong to no religion, you belong to every religion that’s what happens. But my parents were very enlightened people I must say, and I was very lucky to choose them as my parents.
9. You have been an enlightened child – is it correct?
Yes, I have been born as an enlightened child.
10. You don’t feel sometimes very lonesome, because all the others are different?
No, No. If you know how to share with others. Actually I was like a mother to them from my very childhood. When my father and mother went to jail, I was about 5 1/2 years of age. So I had all the duties of the house in my little frock and I used to get all the duties like the grandmother. I never felt lost. My life on the whole is very collective on temperament I am extremely collective. I can live anywhere, I can sleep anywhere and I can live in the jungles, I have no problems or that I am extremely collective.
I was expressing my temperament from very childhood. I was very friendly with all the people from that area where we were living and my mother was known as Nirmala’s mother. Father was known as Nirmala’s father. So they said: “We have lost our identity because of her.”
So I was a very friendly person. I never felt lonely and when I am with myself I am never lonely at all. I enjoy myself very much.
11. When you have been to that ashram with Gandhi. What were your impression, you remember about Gandhi?
Oh, Gandhiji was a tremendous man and I used to learn a lot from him. He was not at all hypocrite that’s one thing. And he was not like politicians who say something do something wrong. He was very outspoken and always he put himself on the testing point. And he used to confess if he made mistakes immediately. One very great incident I remember when I was a small child. They were having a meeting together and we girls were there sitting, only giving them water and things to all the people. People were there like Jawaherlal Nehru and Mollana Azad. All these people were sitting there. They were discussing something and then suddenly Mahatmaji Gandhiji said: “I was very late, we will have lunch here.” So they said: “Yes we will have lunch here.”
They had to go to the guest house which was far away. So Mahatmaji Gandhiji asked for “Baa”. She had gone out. So he got up, he had a key with him always of the store-room, he opened the store and he asked the people who were in charge of cooking to measure everything according to the people there are, properly everything. And then they measured it out everything was done.
Then he put the key back and then he went and sat there nicely. So these people said: “Bapu, we did not know you have to take so much troubles. You see to go all the way and looking for her. It didn’t take much time, about 15 minutes, but still. So he said: “What do you think?” This is the blood of my country, I cannot allow it to be wasted.