Hermes 2001 Interview with Gregoire de Kalbermatten – “The Advent” book’s Author – Memories with Shri Mataji
Let’s start with Gregoire’s recollection of his first meeting with Shri Mataji
Hermes: Though many parts of your life are described in detail in your book „The Advent“ I would like to ask you again today: „How was your first meeting with Shri Mataji? Have you always been aware of the fact that She is more than a normal human being and that She was going to become so immensely meaningful for your life?”
GdK: I remember entering in Her house in Oxted. I was in jeans and was wearing an old US Army jacket full of holes. I kissed Her hand and gave Her flowers. She was dressed in white. I felt such kindness and warmth! Interestingly, I remember bowing and looking at the ground. So, spontaneously, She commanded immediate respect. But my heart felt such a relief almost immediately. It is hard to say when exactly I started recognizing Mother but clearly, the heart was faster than the brain. It was greatly helped no doubt by the contagious feeling of lightness and joy, an enveloping feeling of affection and well being that made you feel “I am back home! Home, sweet home!” For the brain, the incarnation of Shri Mataji is such a huge truth that we can absorb it – and communicate it – only on the basis of inner experience. My intellectual understanding was to expand through the discussions during the following days.
Hermes: In that time “at the beginning of Sahaja Yoga“, did you have the great blessing to see Shri Mataji all the time and communicate all your human questions and thoughts to Her? (The questions put by everyone who discovers a new universe within through realization).
GdK: Yes, as a matter of fact, I stayed with Her and later visited Her for about ten days as sir CP was on an official mission at that time. Then, later, back from Kathmandu, I stayed one year in London to finalize “The Advent” and saw Mother several times a week. And She still recalls laughingly that I was bombarding Her with so many questions. But She always replied, steadily, brilliantly. Only slowly did I cool down. In those days she revealed so much and mentioned things that I never heard Her uttering again. I soon found Her so much more knowledgeable, competent and convincing than were any other teachers or gurus I had visited in several countries. She moved with total ease from the most practical and down to earth subject to the highest metaphysical consideration. It was a very special time for the few of us. She fed us so often, keeping us for lunch or dinner.
Sir CP (note: Shri Mataji’s husband was knighted by the Queen of England) was always most gracious when he found us in his home back from his long days of work at IMO, sitting at his table and sometimes wearing his kurtas!
Hermes: How did your life change just after Realization? What had changed in your daily life? Which of the so-called “negative lifestyles” (that are regarded as normal, e.g. disco-life, the drinking of alcohol, etc. these normal habits of western society) did you give up immediately or want to change through this new general consciousness?
GdK: When Mother, years later, at some point, named me leader of the USA for a brief period; She told: “You are quite qualified for this because you know hell best”. 🙂 It is true that before sahaja, I had experimented with many forms of adharma. But I had also discovered their limitations, I mean I felt like the Rolling Stones “I can’t get no satisfaction…” and I was tired to keep trying. So, for me, it was not at all a problem to change my life style after meeting Mother. The way she presented virtue made full sense while the moral teachers of my past could not explain why I should not do something I fancied doing. I had done it all, and I knew it was dust. On one hand, I finally understood from Mother why virtue was good for me. But, on the other hand, I did not know how to purify my attention right away and only meditation did help destroy the addictions.
It is interesting to note that anything, which is against the growth of our deeper Self, alcohol, tobacco, sex projections or work alcoholism etc, has the character of being addictive. When we find ourselves caught within the greater magnetism of God’s love, through Self-realization, addictive bondage is losing its grip on us.
Hermes: (I believe that every seeker had smaller or bigger interesting things happening to him, but for sure there are people/Yogis more able to communicate strength and clarity through their words. Some are talented to touch something deep in human beings. Then words become mantras or poetries and touch the listener in the same way a musician is playing the strings of his instrument…). Would you – through your blessing to have been so close to Her and through being talented to express yourself verbally – be able to tell us a story or a happening that could inspire us Yogis?
GdK: OK, this is an unusual conversation and it did take place. May be the words are not absolutely exact but I remember faithfully the sense of it.
– “…But Mother, this is really an ugly Kali Yuga. Was there other Kali Yugas like this before? – There were many other Kali Yugas before but this is (one of) the worst. – But then, there were also other golden ages before? – Of course, the successions of Yugas, form a kalpa, which is your universe. – When will our universe finish? – If Sada Shiva interrupts it in dancing Tandava. People of God will go back to God and everything else will be destroyed. I do not think it will happen now because of sahaja yoga. – If our universe comes and goes like this, it means there were other universes before? – Yes, many. – But, Shri Mataji, where do all these universes go when they are finished? – They become a Chakra in My Body.”
Believe me, after this answer, no more questions. And the silence was very galactic.
Hermes: Shri Mataji once compared you – in a Virata/Viratangana Puja in the U.S. – with Arjuna, because you went to America to establish Sahaja Yoga over there. She as well said that you fought against the negativity of the country that had been extremely strong at that time. Do you feel like a warrior, like a “messenger of the Divine”, or has it been the love for life and for human beings that kept you going in your task to spread Sahaja Yoga?
GdK: I heard from Indian sahaja yogis long time back that Shri Mataji made once such a comparison but it was long before I went to America. I have Sagittarius brothers in sahaja yoga, such as Philipp or Arneau who could certainly handle the bow better than me. Don’t they look like warriors?
Such words from Mother only express that She is always too generous with all Her children. She is readily pleased and eager to give us all sorts of encouragement. I do not know about the talk you mention. I feel that, in sahaja yoga, our supply of energy and our motivation come from Her love, from giving to others that love we received. This is what makes us go. Also, it is true, there is a battle around us. Bullets are flying. Sometimes they hit. Some of us also die. I lost such good friends of mine, Matthias Kaluzny, a former leader of Switzerland or Bernard Pegaittaz, a dearest brother. When someone falls on the battlefield, all honors go to the ones who have fallen. They go to the paradise of Allah. Both of them had married exceptionally good sahaja yoginis from Germany. They had to look through Shri Yama (note: Lord of Death in Hindu mythology) and know that the husbands they loved are eternal.
Hermes: For sure your function is that of an Ambassador in every sense. You have served as a divine messenger (“Hermes!…”) and initiated Sahaja Yoga in Austria, Italy and maybe other countries and announced Her “Advent”, Her Word. How do you feel now, when you see, how, in what number, Sahaja Yoga has expanded in those countries and how all those seekers finally have found their “home” or their “spiritual path”?
GdK: To be very frank, I do not feel I have done anything for sahaja yoga, or, in any case, not as much as I would have liked to. I am, I have always been, acutely aware of the fast pace at which our civilization destroys itself. I feel the emergency. I know their needs. I know the solution. I cannot communicate it as well, as effectively or as fast as it should be. If I have managed to bring home some seekers, it is a great joy for me, it fulfils my heart, no doubts, but I need to go back to those who are still in the mess, there is simply too many of them still out there in this decaying wilderness. Mother has often teased me because I used to be so worried for the West. Perhaps I need a little detachment about this too. Feeling frustrated does not help.
Hermes: Have you been aware from the beginning of Sahaja Yoga Meditation that one day it will become an actual cultural-religious-movement, or have you been surprised about this development?
GdK: I believe I saw from the very first days the colossal meaning of what Shri Mataji was doing. I recognized She brings the total, the grand revolution, the most radical factor of global change for mankind. The French and Russian revolutions are nothing compared to this! On the other hand, I was looking around me: How on earth and in the heavens are we going to get there? This was the problem and the tension within me! It was like being at the bottom of a huge rock, and not knowing how to climb it. I remember, one day in August 1975, in the house of Shri Mataji in Hurst Green, there were about seven sahaja yogis around the table.
Needles to say, in those days, we were all “new” and there was nobody else. Shri Mataji started putting Her shoes on the table. Very nice and elegant ones, no doubts! But of course we did not know then that Mother was doing it because the vibrations from Her shoes are so powerful. So, I was looking at a bunch of stunned people, sitting around a table, looking at pairs of shoes on the table, and thinking: “Is it with this lot we are going to change the world?” My mistake was to focus on the people, not the shoes. I did not know what shoes can do if these are the shoes of the Adi Shakti. And if the world, indeed, will be transformed, let us handle these shoes with the feelings that (king) Bharat had in handling the shoes of his brother Shri Rama (king and revered deity in the Hindu mythology).
Hermes: Certainly in our life nothing happens by accident. “Non si muove foglia che Dio non voglia” in Italian means: “No leaf moves without God’s will.” In what way does it make sense to you that you and your family are living in Germany at this moment?
GdK: I do not quite know the answer to this question and sometimes, it seems, I am more dealing with Africa than Germany because of the nature of my job. Also, it seems, I do very little for sahaja here. It is a bit of a mystery. Mysteries make life more interesting. But, you are right, it is the second time I am posted in a German speaking country and this is a lot in a short career. When you think about all the postings possible with the diplomatic service or the United Nations, there are many other places I could have gone to. I feel about Germany and Austria as closely linked countries in fate, history and also sahaja potential. Germany is like a residual spiritual power yet to manifest fully. Both Germany and Austria are dynamic principles for the rest of mankind. Mother expressed this when She played with the words Germany and “germinate”, or Austria and “astra”. What I have to do with this is unclear but I feel privileged to be part of it. One of the greatest gift we get from Mother is the friendship we enjoy between us!
- All group photos above are from our Halton/Niagara seminars *
Hermes: Is there maybe a special happening, to say a key happening that you lived with Her /Shri Mataji (giving you the feeling that a new door within opened) and that you would share with us?
GdK: After meeting Shri Mataji for the first time I got my first posting with the UN in Kathmandu, Nepal.
I had spoken about my encounter with Mother to an old friend who was a sort of professional Swiss seeker who, unlike me, had gone to India many times and had met many more gurus. He knew a lot about spirituality…! As he started responding to me, I got confused because it looked like many people are doing what Shri Mataji says She does. I was not so sure any longer She was “the One”. I wrote to Her to tell Her that. She responded sending me a letter that I still have and a picture of Herself. I received Her letter in Kathmandu. The comment on the picture was: “this is Sahasrara, on the top of the Virata, whether you like it or not, whether you can accept it or not.” It was straightforward, it was splendid, it was so powerful. I looked at Her picture. This has been the first and last time I doubted Her.
Hermes: C.G. Jung has said that man encompasses four evolutionary steps, first the emotional and rational levels, then a third, higher level not developed in everyone: intuition. The highest level is the one of spirituality; only people of high evolutionary level can reach it. Thus, through realization we have got an incredible “great gift” from Her. How can one express gratitude for something so unbelievable?
GdK: I think you fully know the answer to this question. We need to pass it on. The Divine is not so interested in our individual realizations. It is interested in a collective process. The time is not to save the few but to transform the many. The dimension of collective consciousness is the true added dimension of Mother’s Advent because divine Incarnations gave realization to individuals before. It did not have a deep spiritual impact on the world. Now we are meant to have an impact. How can we be more collective? Why yogis or yoginis who can do it, do not live in ashrams for a period of inner growth and apprenticeship? I did it 15 years of my life, in Switzerland and the USA. It was well worth it. It helped me to improve myself in ways I could not have done living alone. Ashrams are essential for our collectivities and I am afraid European yogis do not always see the point. Also, for those who have young kids, I have something to propose: The positive experience with my own children, allow me to recommend making use of our school facilities in Rome and Dharamshala. Hopefully, at a later stage, we should have a sahaja school one day for German speaking children from Austria, Germany and Switzerland.
Hermes: Very often books have played an important role for seekers. For example, in all difficult situations of my life a book appeared as if in a miracle, very precious and helping me a step further (Hesse, Jung, R. Maharishi, Gibran). Is it for this reason that you have written a book as well (or even more) ?
GdK: Probably the most impressive book I know is the Bhagavad Gita. Sorry, but after my realization my reading has dropped dramatically. Because, living knowledge is to be transferred in a living manner, by direct interaction, whenever possible. This is why also, if people get their realization through the internet, they need to interact with us; we need to exchange, feel love, manifest emotional intelligence. By the way, Shri Mataji told Philipp and I at the Shiva Puja that we need new ideas to spread sahaja in Germany. Maybe we could have a new web site constructed to give realization and contact us. Not so explicit as our site but as a sort of “Mystery Spiritual Discovery Channel”.
Hermes: Aesthetics. Because you have an outspoken sense of aesthetics – what do you think about all those “empty models of beauty” in this society? What can we oppose to this as Yogis?
GdK: In Kali Yuga (Sanskrit: “Dark Age”), people who are ethically rotten can be extremely good looking. In Satya Yuga the physical beauty will reflect the inner beauty (as it happens already in all of us after Pujas or in the realized children). As a corollary to this trend, perverted or negative people will look ugly. And this will be a sorry day for the devil: if Mephistopheles cannot look sexy, who will he still entice? With two horns coming out of his head, he might no longer be the prince of seducers. Faust will relax and Gretchen will sing a bhajan. When evil will be shown for what it is, it will be finished because it is intrinsically ugly. The crux of abolishing Kali Yuga is to restore aesthetics and beauty to dharma. Replacing flawed attractions and addictions by divine magnetism. This is what aesthetics is: an aspect of divine magnetism and it was always so, as we can see in the great masterpieces of the world’s cultures.
Otherwise, as far as aesthetics is concerned, I refer you to “Mani”, the shop of Rossella. Mother wants us to enjoy and reward handicrafts to maintain creativity and beauty on this earth. Our money should express love and appreciation for the work of real people, creative craftsmen, who put their lives and emotions in beautiful objects. Let us no waste all our resources on plastic affluence, purchasing mass made goods and techno gadgets produced mechanically; where is love left in these exchanges? Love is the stuff with which the walls of the New Jerusalem are made. We must build our city with it. It must penetrate economic life, which is so devoid of it at present.
Hermes: (Before Sahaja Yoga, as a Hatha Yoga teacher, I learned that meditation is the highest „state“ of Yoga. I was very young at that time, and every pupil at the school had some “guru” in India. I haven’t been able to go to India because of my son, but again and again I thought: “If in my life I need a Guru, “he” will appear…”). They say that it is not us who seek the Guru but that it is the Guru who is seeking us (even if it looks different!) – what is your opinion?
GdK: You are right, She (Shri Mataji) found us. She picked us up, one by one and this is also why we should trust ourselves. After all, who are we to doubt Her choice? No matter how messed up, confused, hurt or sick, She chose us! Doubting ourselves is the most widespread weakness of the yogis to day, I think. We should focus on this and get rid of it. Remember the agenda? The Germination Force does not spring out of doubts.
Hermes: What do you think of the new media of the ether: Internet, electronic mail etc.? And what of Hermes as Sahaja Yoga magazine for the German speaking countries? (Any suggestion for improvements?)
GdK: The Akasha (ether) is a new battlefield and the Rakshasas have occupied it faster than us. A bunch of truly pathetic people – I know them personally- have tried to use cyberspace to defame sahaja yoga. They have neatly packaged a lot of lies and falsehoods but, in our age, package matters. We need to reverse this trend. All my younger brothers and sisters who are more savvy than me on this new field should develop ways and means to conquer cyber space and reach the seekers from there. As far as Hermes is concerned, I feel it is extremely important to use German media for German speaking people. I would hope that German news reach Austrians and vice versa.
Hermes: Gregoire, thank you very much for this interview!
Interview Hermes-editor: Mara-Madhuri, Berlin | Translation in German: Gudula, Berlin
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