By the Grace of our Divine Mother, the Shri Rama puja was celebrated on Sunday at the Centre International des Avants, an old hotel on the hillside above Montreux, overlooking Lake Geneva. Shri Mataji arrived on Saturday morning from Bombay, to be met by two leaders at Zürich airport. They flew on with Shri Mataji to Geneva Airport, where Shri Mataji was met by hundreds of Sahaja Yogis, all crowded into the small arrivals hall and holding flowers. Smiling, Shri Mataji walked through the mass of yogis, accepting flowers from each person present. She was so fresh and radiating joy that you would not have believed that She had just had a fifteen hour journey from Bombay, including two late planes and a missed connection in Zürich. As Shri Mataji moved about the terminal building She was followed by yogis singing Kundalini, Kundalini. Everything was remarkably peaceful; the terminal staff and the policemen appeared to enjoy the whole thing, or at least not to be bothered. Shri Mataji then left for Les Avants, with a fleet of cars following.
An hour and a half later, we all arrived, to find that our Divine Mother was not yet there. She had stopped on the way at a motorway service station overlooking Lausanne, for some refreshments, and someone in the car with Her later told us how in the car they had been playing a cassette of songs, with Shri Mataji translating all the words for the people accompanying Her in the car. Shri Mataji finally arrived about an hour later, to the strains of Swagata Agata Swagatam and more offerings of flowers, and went up to Her room to rest.
In the evening it was suddenly announced that Shri Mataji was coming down to the dining room to have dinner with us. Since the dinner was in two shifts of which we were on the second, we were a bit disappointed that we would not immediately be seeing Her, until someone suggested that Shri Mataji should be entertained by music during Her meal. So in we trooped, clutching harmoniums and various others holding tablas, tambourines and bells, and sat down on the parquet floor in front of the table at which our Beloved Mother was sitting taking Her meal in the centre of the large, bright and airy semicircular room, surrounded by tables which seemed to radiate away from Her at which Sahaja Yogis were dining. She smiled at us, and we started to sing and play the old favourites. From time to time Shri Mataji would comment on how a song should be played, how for instance just after climaxes in a bhajan there should be a moment of silence before the music takes off again. When the shift came to an end Shri Mataji told us that we should now take our food, and we were replaced by other groups of musicians who came together informally from a number of different countries – France, Spain, Austria and Germany. The music went on for the whole of the second serving of the dinner.
Next morning the Sahaja Yogis assembled in the puja hall, a long, narrow hall, but from which everyone could see clearly our divine Mother on the stage. A beautiful set had been constructed on the stage. Shri Mataji was to be seated on a golden throne about six feet with red silk cushions, whose legs were supported on carved kneeling lions. Behind Shri Mataji’s head was a large silver disc again inlaid with beads and brilliant as it reflected the video lights. Over the throne was hung a beautiful golden canopy, with a silk cloth draped over the back of the throne. Shri Mataji later commented how comfortable the throne was. To either side of the throne were marble pillars, actually made of covered wood, but very realistic; Shri Mataji said, smiling, that She was surprised that there was so much marble here! Behind the throne was a cotton screen behind which would be seen a ‘forest’ of bamboo shoots, back-lit, to symbolize the forest from which our Divine Mother was emerging after the fourteen years exile.
Shri Mataji entered the puja hall majestically, to music from the film Chariots of Fire. She spoke before the puja about the qualities of Shri Rama: ‘sankoch’ or the formality of the heart, being extremely diplomatic. He was born of the Solar dynasty and is on the right-hand side of our subtle being, and so was extremely mild to counteract its excesses. He controls the inner workings of a number of organs in the head such as the eyes and the lungs and the certain aspects of the throat. Shri Mataji talked for nearly an hour, and then the puja got under way. At the climax of the puja, a golden crown was presented to Shri Mataji. Visually the puja was extremely dramatic and magnificent. For aarti we sang Raghupati Raghava instead of the more usual Sabko Dua Dena. In the evening Shri Mataji was so kind as to join us again for a session of music and poetry. Arneau had written a number of beautiful poems and we combined these poems with live music and a slide show. Shri Mataji enjoyed it very much, particularly the poems.
Next morning Shri Mataji left for Geneva about lunchtime. A few of us were on hand to say goodbye to Her, standing in waiting holding the bamboo shoots which the previous day had been on the stage, to make an arcade through which our Beloved Mother passed on Her way to the car. That evening was the first programme in Geneva.