This photo, above, was taken at Shri Mataji’s Birthday Puja in Mumbai on the 21st March 1977 when my brother Pat, Douglas Fry, Tony Panayioutou, I and three others went to India for three months. This was the culmination of the tour.
We had been to several pujas during the three months but this was the most powerful. The puja was held in a grand hall in Mumbai, and there had been a public programme there as well either the day before or a few days before. It had a stage and we sat on the stage at the public programme with Shri Mataji and some of us spoke a few words as the ‘foreigners’. At the puja Shri Mataji was not on a stage but in the body of the hall, because we were brought forward to Her after the puja as She often had happen.
‘Where are the foreigners?’ She would say. She was surrounded by people, it seemed to me, not separate or on a platform.
When we set off to spend three months in India I had this illusion that we would come back perfect. The reality was that when Shri Mataji called us to bow down and go on Her Feet we were all in such a state that She really had to correct us, and it was a very humbling experience. But the first faltering steps of starting to perhaps grow a little, once you glimpse the immensity of the mountain you are attempting to climb, you may feel unworthy and certainly question your pompous ideas of yourself, but also a tiny little voice inside recognises with relief that all the rubbish you identified with as ‘you’ was not you at all and had to go.