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Be Here Now 
The Only Dance There Is 
Grist for the Mill 

Journey of Awakening 

(Miracle Of od uee 


By Ram Dass 

A Dutton Paperback 



Text copyright © 1979 by Ram Dass 

Stories copyright © 1979 by Hanuman Foundation 
Photographs copyright © 1971 by Rameshwar Das 
copyright O 1979 by Krishna Dass and Hanuman Foundation 
All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A. 

No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form 
or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording 
or any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be in- 
vented, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a re- 
viewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review 
written for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper or broadcast. 

For information contact: 
E. P. Dutton, 2 Park Avenue, 
New York, N.Y. i0016 

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data 
Ram Dass. 
Miracle of love. 
1. Neem Karoli Baba 2. Hindus in India— 
Biography. I. Title. 
BL1175-N43R35 1979 294.s'6'10924 79-10745 

ISBN: 0-525-4761 1-3 

Published simultaneously in Canada by 
Clarke, Irwin & Company Limited, Toronto and Vancouver 

Production Manager: Stuart Horowitz 
Designed by Jos. Trautwein 

109876 ,43 21 

First Edition 

Maharayi whose presence 
reveals how subtle 1s the path 
of love. 


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RAILROADS Cwith paralle] motor roads) wHHHHik 
BRIDLE PATHS. ......... (Gethia and Bhumiyadhar) 



"When the Flower Blooms 

ix Acknowledgments 
. . the Bees Come" 
Darshan: A Meeting of the Spirit 
Take Chai 
Under Maharajji's Blanket 

Subtle Is the Path of Love 

Faith ... No Fear 

Key to the Mind 

God Does Everything 

The Stick That Heals 

Embodied Spirit 

Maharajji's Teachings: 
About Attachment 

About Truth 
About Money 
About Drugs 
About Meditation and Service 
About Anger and Love 
Like the Wind 
The Family Man 
The Touch of Grace 
Krishna Play 
Take It to Delhi 
The Great Escape 

a, ntroduction 

"When the Flower Blooms . 

IN 1967 I met my guru. That meeting changed the course of my life, for 
through him I came to perceive my life in spiritual terms. In him I found 
new depths of compassion, love, wisdom, humor, and power, and his 
actions stretched my understanding of the human possibility. I recog- 
nized in him an alliance of the human and the divine. 

After our initial meeting I remained in India, as close to him as I was 
allowed to be, for five more months before returning to America. Be- 
fore leaving India I had received his as/irbad (blessing) for a book, which 
until that moment I had had no thought of writing. Back in the West, I 
found many kindred souls open and ready to share what I had received; 
and his blessing and their thirst gave rise to Be Here Now. 

In 1970 I returned to India and remained with him, off and on, from 
February 1971 until March 1972, when my visa expired and I was 
evicted from the country. However, with him or away from him, he 
remained the source and impetus for my spiritual awakening. 



From the beginning, I had wanted to share him with others, but ini- 
tially he forbade me bringing people directly to him. A relatively few 
(several hundred) Westerners nevertheless found their way to him and 
were touched at the core of their beings as I had been. On September I I, 
1973, he died, or, as the Indians would say, he left his body. 

In the succeeding years, I have found that the absence of his body has 
not diminished his influence upon my life. To the contrary, with each 
passing year I have increasingly experienced his presence, his guidance, 
his love, and, each time I have taken myself too seriously, his cosmic 
giggle. This suggested the possibility that others who had never "met" 
him in the body could similarly be touched by him. This suspicion has 
been confirmed by a surprisingly large number of people who have re- 
ported that through books, lectures, tapes, and personal contact with 
devotees, they have experienced him in a way that has graced their lives. 

I speak of him as "my guru," but in fact I never think of him or our 
relationship in such a formal way. For me, he is very simply Maharajji, 
a nickname (which means "great king") so commonplace in India that 
one can often hear a tea vendor addressed thus. 

Those of us who were with Maharajji meet again frequently in India 
or in the West. The conversation invariably turns to recollections of 
him. Story after story pours forth, and each story is punctuated with 
silence, laughter, or expostulations as we savor its depth and elegance. In 
those moments the space becomes rich with the living spirit and we 
know that he is among us. 

In my travels I have now met thousands of awakening beings whose 
open-hearted receptivity makes me want to share the intimacy with 
Maharajji to which stories about him give rise. And yet thus far only a 
very few stories about him, primarily concerning my personal experi- 
ences with him, have appeared in print. It was in order to rectify this sit- 
uation that the present book was undertaken. 

Immediately after his death, I encouraged several Westerners in their 
plan to travel throughout India collecting stories. They were able to ob- 
tain some four hundred anecdotes, but, at the time, they found many of 
the Indian devotees reticent to speak about him. He had always frowned 
upon their talking much about him, and they were still feeling that re- 
striction. In 1976 two of us were again in India and found, to our de- 
light, that many of the Indian devotees—who, of course, had known 
him far more extensively and over the course of many more years than 
we had—vwere now willing to freely share their treasure of stories. At 
that time we collected twelve hundred stories. Since then, with the help 


of another Westerner, we have added an additional four hundred stories 
gathered from East and West, thus bringing the total number of stories, 
anecdotes, and quotations based on interviews with over a hundred 
devotees to over two thousand. 

Of course, even a hundred devotees are altogether but a fraction of 
the thousands who were touched by Maharajji in the course of his life, 
each of whom holds some precious memory and piece of the puzzle. But 
lest we would drown in such an ocean of recollection, at a certain point I 
made an arbitrary decision to stop gathering and begin to organize what 
we already had. 

The devotees whose stories are included are from a wide range of 
social and cultural positions. Interviews were gathered from important 
officials in their offices and from sweepers on the streets. We taped dis- 
cussions of women from the Himalayan hill villages as they squatted 
warming their hands around a coal brazier in the late afternoon. We lis- 
tened to reminiscences in living rooms, streets, temple compounds, 
while sitting around fires under the stars, in cars, hot tubs, airplanes, and 
on long walks. Stories were offered by Hindu priests as they puffed on 
their chi/ums (hashish pipes), by professors, police officials, farmers, in- 
dustrialists, by children and their mothers, who spoke while stirring 
their bubbling pots over wood and charcoal fires. Always there was the 
same feeling of shy joy at sharing such a private, precious memory with 
another. These gatherings to speak about him were indescribably grace- 

Having gathered these stories, our next question was how to present 
this formidable body of material. For three years I had been working 
with this problem, writing and rewriting. My initial effort was more in 
the way of a personal chronology, but I found that such a structure did 
not easily include all the material, and, additionally, it demanded the 
inclusion of much that seemed irrelevant. So I started again, this time in- 
corporating my personal experiences as merely additional stories and 
erouping selected stories around various topical headings. The result is 
the present compilation. 

These stories, anecdotes, and quotations create a mosaic through 
which Maharajji can be met. To hold the components of this mosaic 
together I have used the absolute minimum of structural cement, pre- 
ferring to keep out my personal interpretations and perspective as much 
as possible. 

But this strategy of sharing with you the material in its purest form 
makes precious little compromise for your motivation, for I have ex- 


cluded the usual seductive story lines that would make you want to read 
further. I did not want to manipulate your desire to want to read about 
Maharajji; rather, I merely wanted to make whatever was available to 
me, available to you. As you will see, Maharajji demanded that all of us 
make some considerable effort to have his darshan (the experience of his 
presence). I feel that it is in the spirit of his teachings to demand that 
those readers who would have his darshan through this book make a 
similar "right" or "real" effort Gan the sense spoken of by Buddha in the 
eightfold path and by George Gurdjieff). 

So if you approach this book with the desire to meet him and have his 
darshan in a way that could profoundly alter your life, as it has ours, 
then you will want to work with this book slowly and deeply. I can only 
assure you that in my opinion each story carries some teaching and is 
worthy of reflection. You will neither want to nor be able to read this 
book through from cover to cover in one or even a few sittings. Rather, 
like fine brandy, these recollections must be sipped slowly and the taste 
and aroma allowed to permeate deeply into your mind and heart. And 
remember to listen to the silence into which the stories are set, for the 
true meeting with Maharajji lies between the lines and behind the words. 
For this effort, you will be amply rewarded through meeting a being of 
a spiritual stature rarely known on this earth. 

It is difficult to separate Maharajji and his teachings from the environ- 
ment in which I knew him. His form, in its larger sense, is for me India 
and the beautiful Kumoan Hills and the Ganges—it is his devotees and 
all their tenderness and bickering; it is his temples and the photographs 
of him. His teachings were the love of the Earth Mother that I first expe- 
rienced in the Indian villages—and my dysentery and visa hassles, and 
the sacred cows and the rickshaw rides, the teeming markets and misty 
jungle walks. And yet, while the drama of being with him was played 
out on the rich stage of India, the value of the setting seemed merely as a 
reservoir of experiences through which the teachings could occur. He 
himself did not seem particularly Indian, no more Eastern than Western. 
Although we met him in Hindu temples, he did not seem any more 
Hindu than Buddhist or Christian. 

He used all the stuff of our lives—clothing, food, sleep; fears, doubts, 
aspirations; families, marriages; sicknesses, births, and deaths—to teach 
us about living in the spirit. By doing this, he initiated a process through 
which we could continue to learn from the experiences of our lives even 
when we were not with him. This accounts at least in part for the conti- 
nuity in his teachings that we have all experienced since his death. 


I hope that through working with these stories, you can tune your 
perceptions in such a way as to meet and begin a dialogue with Maharajji 
through the vehicle of your own daily life events. Such a moment-to- 
moment dialogue, carried on in one's heart, is a remarkable form of 
alchemy for transforming matter into spirit through love. 

I have been hanging out with Maharajji in just this way. And I can't 
begin to tell you... 

Soquel, California yee b> Ae => 

March 1979 

DA cknoSfedgemerts 

THE MATERIAL in this volume is culled from over two thousand 
stories about Maharajji gathered during five years from more than one 
hundred devotees. To these devotees who shared their treasured memo- 
ries, I wish to express my deep love and appreciation. Some of them felt 
that no book could or should be written about a being with qualities as 
vast, formless, and subtle as Maharajji's, and yet they contributed their 
stories nevertheless. I honor them for this kindness and I hope that in my 
zeal to share experiences of Maharajji with others who were not fortu- 
nate enough to have met him, I have not misused their trust. 

Some devotees tell me that stories told by other devotees are not fac- 
tually accurate. I have no way of ascertaining the authenticity of any 
single story. All I can report is that those of us who gathered the stories 
were impressed by the credibility of those of us who told the stories. 

Though the responsibility for this manuscript lies so/e/y with me, I am 

delighted to acknowledge a lot of loving help from my friends: 

1. Anjani, foremost among these, donated over four months of full-time 
effort at a point when my confidence in this project was seriously 



flagging. Her love for Maharajji touched this manuscript in so many 

2. K.K. Sah sent me thick letters from India with page by page and, at 
times, line by line suggestions for improving the manuscript and 
avoiding embarrassing cultural errors. His devotion and loving ef- 
forts have fed me greatly. 

3. Chaitanya helped gather stories in 1973 and again with me during an 
eventful tour of India in 1976. He critiqued an earlier form of the 
manuscript, and kindly allowed me to include his poem, "Subtle Is 
the Path of Love." 

4. Saraswati (Rosalie Ransom) toured India and the United States 
with tape recorder in hand to enrich our story library immeasurably. 

5. Krishna Das (Roy Bonney), Rameshwar Das, and Pyari Lal Sah 
agreed to share riches from their treasury of photographs. 

6. Lillian, Sandy, and Jyoti so lovingly typed the manuscript. 

7. Ram Dev, Subrahmanyum and Girija, Krishna and Mira, and Soma 
Krishna provided helpful critiques at early stages of the work. 

8. Bill Whitehead edited this book with a sensitivity both to the devo- 
tee's intimate love of Maharajji and the reader's newness to him. He 
remained patient over three years with what seemed to me like 
changes required from on high, but must have seemed like the mach- 
inations of just another neurotic author to him. 

I anticipate that many of Maharajji's devotees may not find in this 
book the Maharajji that they know in their hearts. I can only beg their 
forbearance, for this book is for those who have never met Maharajji. 
For those who have, no book is necessary. 

At moments the audacity of this undertaking almost overwhelmed 
me. Knowing the way Maharajji works, however, I proceeded with the 
faith that there is no way this book could manifest without his blessing. 

The symbol (Ram), which appears throughout this book, is 
taken from Maharajji's handwritten diary. 

AA moment nith the Beloved 

And the river changes its course. 

a the Bees Come 

WE CAME TO Maharajji's feet, impelled by our yearning for the living 
spirit and drawn by his light. We came from Europe and Great Britain, 
the United States and Canada, Australia and South America. As Herman 
Hesse said of the fellow travelers in hisjourney to the East, each had his or 
her own special reason for making the journey but all also shared a corn- 
mon goal. We came with our varying hues of cynicism and faith, open- 
or closed-heartedness, sensuality or asceticism, intellectual arrogance or 
humility. To each, Maharajji responded uniquely: now fiercely, now 

When the flower blooms, the bees come uninvited. 

tenderly; now through ignoring us or sending us away, now through 
making much over us; now through reading the mind and heart; now 
through playing dumb. He did what was necessary to quiet the mind 
and open the heart so that the thirst that had drawn us all to him could 
be slaked. 

I was traveling with a young Western fellow in India. We had come to the 
mountains in a Land Rover I had borrowed from a friend, in order to find this 



jellow's guru to get some help with his visa problem. I was in a bad mood, 
having smoked too much hashish, been in India "too long," and not 
particularly wanting to visit a guru” anyway. 

[The following ts adapted from the book, Be Here Now. | 

We stopped at this temple and he asked where the guru was. The Indians 
who had gathered around the car pointed to a nearby hill. In a moment he was 
out of the car and running up the hill. They were following him and appeared 
delighted to be able to see the guru. I got out of the car. Now I was 
additionally upset because everybody was ignoring me. I ran after them, 
barefoot, up this rocky path, stumbling all the way. I didn't want to see the 
guru anyway and what the hell was this all about? 

Around a bend of the path I came to a field overlooking a valley, and in the 
field under a tree sat a man in his sixties or seventies with a blanket around 
him. Surrounding him were eight or nine Indians. I was aware of the beautiful 
tableau—the group, the clouds, the green valley, the visual purity of the 
foothills of the Himalayas. 

My traveling companion ran to this man and threw himself on the ground, 
doing dunda pranam (full-length prostration). He was crying and the man 
was patting him on the head. I was more and more confused. 

I stood to the side, thinking, "I'm not going to touch his feet. I don't have 
to. I'm not required to do that." Every now and then this man looked up at me 
and twinkled a little. Hes glances just made me more uncomfortable. 

Then he looked at me and started speaking in Hindi, of which I understood 
very little. Another man, however, was translating. I heard him ask my 

friend, "You have a picture of Maharayi?" 

My friend nodded, "Yes." 

"Give it to him," said the man in the blanket, pointing at me. 

"That's very nice,” I thought, "giving me a picture ofhimself,”” and I 
smiled and nodded appreciatively. But I was still not going to touch hes feet. 

Then he said, "You came in a big car?" 

"Yes." (I hadn't wanted to borrow the car in the first place, not wanting the 
responsibility, so the car was a source of trritation for me.) 

He looked at me, smiling, and said, "You will give it to me?” 

I started to say, "Wha..." but my friend looked up from the ground 
where he was still lying and said, "Maharaji, if you want tt, you can have it. 
It's yours." 

And I said, "INo, now wait a minute. You can't give away David's car like 
that."" The old man was laughing. 

In fact, everyone was laughing—except me. 

Then he said, "You made much money in America?” 


I reviewed all my years as a professor and smuggler and very proudly said, 
"Ves. mn 

"How much did you make?" 

"Well," I said, "at one time"— and I sort of upped the figure a bit further 
to inflate my ego—" twenty-five thousand dollars." 

The group converted that into rupees, and everybody was awed by this 

Jigure. All of this was of course bragging on my part. I had never made 
twenty-five thousand dollars. And he laughed again and said, "You'll buy a 
car like that for me?" 

I remember what went through my mind at that moment. Although I had 
come from a family of Jewish fund-raisers, I had never seen such hustling as 
this. "He doesn't even know my name and already he wants a seven-thousand- 
dollar vehicle," I thought. 

"Well, maybe..." I said. The whole thing was by now upsetting me 
very much. 

And he said, "Take them away and give them food." And so we were 
given magnificent food, and then we were told to rest. Sometime later we were 
back with Maharayi and he said to me, "Come here. Sit." So I sat down 
facing him and he looked at me and said, "You were out under the stars last 
night.”” (This, of course, was the English translation of what he said.) 


"You were thinking about your mother.” 

"Yes." (The previous night a few hundred miles away I had gone outside 
during the night to go to the bathroom. The stars had been very bright and I 
had remained outside, feeling very close to the cosmos. At that time I had 
suddenly experienced the presence of my mother, who had died nine months 
previously of a spleen condition. It was a very powerful moment, and I had 
told no one about it.) 

She died last year.” 


"She got very big in the stomach before she died." 


He leaned back and closed his eyes and said (in English), "Spleen, she died 
of spleen." 

What happened to me at that moment I can't really put into words. He 
looked at me in a certain way and two things happened. They do not seem like 
cause and effect, but rather appeared to be simultaneous. 

My mind began to race faster and faster to try to get leverage—to get a hold 
on what he had just done. I went through every super-CL1A paranoia I'd ever 
had: "Who is he? Who does he represent? Where's the button he pushes to 


make the file appear? Why have they brought me here?” None of it would 

It was just too impossible that this could have happened this way. My 
traveling companion didn't know about any of the things Maharaji was 
saying, and I was a tourist in a car. The whole thing was just inexplicable. 
My mind went faster and faster. 

Uniti then I had had two models for psychic experiences. One was: "Well it 
happened to somebody else, and it's very interesting and we certainly must keep 
an open mind about these things."" That was my soctal-science approach. The 
other one was: "Well, I'm high on LSD. Who knows how it really is?" After 
all, I had had experiences under the influence of chemicals in which I had 
created whole environments. 

But neither of these categories applied to this situation, and as my mind went 

Jaster I felt like a computer that has been fed an insoluble problem—the bell 
rings and the red light goes on and the machine stops. My mind just gave up. 
It burned out tts circuitry, its zeal to have an explanation. I needed something 
to get closure at the rational level and there wasn't anything. 

Alt the same moment I felt this extremely violent pain in my chest and a 
tremendous wrenching feeling, and I started to cry. I cried and cried and cried, 
but I was neither happy nor sad. It was a kind of crying I had not experienced 
before. The only thing I could say about tt was tt felt as y 1 had finished 
something. The journey was over. I had come home. (R.D.)* 

In the words of Dada, "We all think we are chasing the guru, but really, 
you see, he ts chasing us. 

AMT knew about the hardships of India made me sure I didn't want to go 
there, yet in October of 19717 I found myself at JFK Airport with two friends, 
waiting to board a plane for Bombay. A large crowd of our New York 
“spiritual” group had come to see us off, or, as I suspected, to make sure we 
actually got on the plane. We were all three in varying states of panic, 
wondering what we were doing. Both the panic and the confusion were to 
intensify a hundredfold when we actually arrived in India. 

We three, like nearly all the group of Westerners we eventually joined 
around Maharayi, first heard of him through Ram Dass. Yet, though my life 
totally changed after the night I first heard Ram Dass lecture, I did not feel 
drawn to go to India. Partially, the mystique of what going to India 
represented in those days made it seem presumptuous for me to even consider 

* (R.D.) denotes story concerning Rani Dass. 


the trip. Nor was it clear to me that the power of the awakening I had 
experienced was, in fact, a connection with Maharayi—that he could possibly 
be my guru. We had all heard how difficult it was to find him. And what f 
he sent me away as he had others? 

Now, three years later, I was going to India, but I still hadn't the temerity 
to chance rejectton—I was going to see some south Indian saints and perhaps 
later "visit" up north, there seemed any hope of being received. 

Coming off the plane in Bombay, we were met by an airline representative 
(<n Indta, a feat in ttself), who advised us that we had reservations on an 
afternoon flight to New Delhi and that tickets were waiting for us at the 
counter. This was a stunner, but after a twenty-six or twenty-eight-hour flight 
we were too dazed to feel more than mild wonder. After all, we were in 
India—anything could happen here. (Ihis mystery of tickets and reservations 
to Delhi was never solved in any "reasonable" way.) In Delhi, we thought of 
going to the American Express office to ask for messages, as we had planned to 
do in Bombay. After all, since we were here, there must be a message. There 
was: "Go to jaipuria Bhavan in Vrindaban. Maharaji expected soon." It was 
signed, ""Balaram Das." We didn't know who that was. 

We learned that Vrindaban was not far from Delhi and that we could get 
there by an afternoon train. Somehow we never thought of pausing in the 
relative Westernness of Delhi. The message said go and go we did. We thereby 
learned the first great lesson of India: Never travel by third-class unreserved 
coach! It was tile equivalent of a three-hour ride on a New York City subway 
at rush hour, with the addition of sunshine, dust, and engine smoke pouring in 
the open windows. 

Eventually, we battled our way off the train at Mathura, and in the glowing 
dusk of the Indian plain, whose beauty we could not then appreciate, we found 
a bus to take us to nearby Vrindaban. There we were put down in the large 
bazaar of what to all appearances was a thirteenth-century village of winding 
alleys full of people, rickshaws, dogs, pigs, and cows. By now tt was dark and 
most of the tlumination came from lanterns in the shops lining the streets. We 
asked for directions to "Jaipuria Bhavan" in our nonexistent Hindi and were 
directed first up one alley and then down another. It grew later and the shops 
were beginning to close. Our panic grew with our exhaustion and hunger, for 
even tf we came upon the hostel we would not recognize it, for every sign was 
in lind. We began to envision ourselves huddhing for the night among the 
cows in some doorway. 

Then suddenly approaching us appeared a Westerner—someone whom I'd 
met the year before in California. In hysterical rehef, I threw my arms around 
him, but he, an old-timer in India, was totally calm in the face of our emotion. 
Oh, yes, Jatpuria Bhavan was just there, around the next bend. 


During the next few days, the small Western satsang (community of 
spiritual seekers) began gathering at Jaipuria Bhavan, awaiting Maharajji's 
arrival at his Vrindaban ashram (monastery). Many of them we knew from 
America, including the mysterious "Balaram Das," whom we'd known as 
Peter. We heard their stories of Maharajji with relief and anticipation, He 
didn't sound so fierce and terrifying after all. Then word came that he was 
here! The next morning we could go to have his darshan. 

I arrived at the ashram a little late with Radha, nervously clutching my 
borrowed sari and the offering of flowers and fruit. We circumambulated the 
temple and pranammed (bowed) to Hanumanji*, then approached the gate 
in the wall between the temple garden and the ashram, I-low well I remember 
that green wooden door! When we knocked, the old chaukidar (gate-keeper) 
opened it a crack and peered out at us. Then, as each time afterward for as 
long as I was in India, I wondered f he would let us in. But he stepped back, 
pulling the door open for us, I looked through, down the vista of the long 
verandah along the front of the ashram building. At the far end, Maharajji was 
sitting alone on his wooden bed. When I saw his great form, my heart jumped 
so that I staggered against the gate. That first sight of him is still piercingly 
clear in my memory. 

Radha had already rushed through and I ran after her, losing my sandals 
along the way. It was all so simple and familiar—bowing at his feet, giving the 
fruit and flowers (which he immediately threw back in my lap), weeping and 
laughing. Maharajji was bouncing, smiling, and crowing in English, "Mother 

from America! Mother from America!" During that first darshan, though 
Maharajji spoke mainly in Hindi, I understood everything without the 
interpreter who stood nearby. And I recognized the love that had poured 
through Ram Dass, that had irresistibly drawn me to India: Here was the 

Everybody else was all excited, but I was pretty skeptical about the whole 
thing. Still, I was the first one off the bus and found myself running 
immediately into the temple. Even though I'd never been there, I somehow 
knew all the turns to make in order to get to where Maharajji was. As I came 
around the corner he started bouncing up and down and exclaiming all these 
things in Hindi that totally confused me. I came to him and bowed down at his 


* Definitions of Sanskrit and Hindi appear in the Glossary. 



He began to hit me really very hard. I had both a sense of great confusion 
and a feeling of the most incredible at-oneness that I've ever felt in my life. He 
was so totally different from what I had expected yet so familiar at the same 
time. At that moment I felt all the suffering, all the pain from the last several 
years dissolve completely. And though the pain was to come back again in the 

Juture, the love I felt at that moment made tt all a lot less painful later. 

I had heard of Maharayi while wandering in India, and I finally found him 
in Allahabad. My first meeting was in the early morning. Maharaji was in a 
room on the bed, with a Ma (Indian woman devotee) sitting before him on the 
floor. There was fruit on the bed. Then out from under the big blanket came 
this hand. He took some big apples and kept bouncing them off the Ma's chest, 
but she was totally absorbed in meditation. I sat watching, then suddenly 
Maharayi looked directly at me. He was like a tree, so grounded, so organic. 
He flipped me a banana and it landed right in my hand. I wondered what I 
Should do with the banana, a sacred olyect. I figured it would be best to eat tt. 

I had come to India from the United States as a devotee in a very intense 
religious sect—the guru was the guru, the final and great savior. After only 
two weeks in his presence, I was clearly disillusioned about him and began to 
wander about India on my own—still hoping to find the one true and pure 
guru somewhere. Several times in my wanderings someone would tell me of 
Maharayi and that he was nearby. But I would not go, as I felt no particular 
pull. Finally I was down near Bombay, still seeking the true guru, when an 
old friend showed up. He looked so clear and light that before we even spoke I 
determined to go to wherever it was he had just come from. He had just left 
Maharayi in Vrindaban. I packed my bags and was gone that afternoon. 
Twenty-four hours later I was before Maharayt. There were a number of 
Westerners there. Maharayi did not speak to me but he kept looking very 
intently at my heart chakra (psychic energy center in the heart area of the 
body), and what I kept hearing, as a voice within me, was that my search was 
over. I had come home. 


I was sitting for several months in Buddhist meditation in Bodh Gaya. 
About two-thirds of the way through the second month, this funny-looking 
little man started to appear in the upper-right-hand corner of my awareness. 
Every so often he'd smile. I wondered who he was and just watched him come 
and go. Later I began to suspect that it was Maharayi, whom I'd heard about 
the year before. 

Alt the end of the retreat I opened a copy of The Hundred Thousand 
Songs of Milarepa and a picture of Maharayi fell out. When we finally got 
to Vrindaban where he was supposed to be, we found the gates of the temple 
locked. Feeling very sad that I had come all this way only to find the gates 
locked, I went across the street and sat on the culvert. 

A of a sudden I felt as if Maharayi had come leaping over the wall, for I 
was completely surrounded and filled with the greatest love I had ever 
experienced. I burst into tears. People passing by saw this crazy, long-haired 
Westerner sobbing his guts out. They just looked at me and smiled and 
continued on. 

I didn't know what was going on, but I had the clear sense of being home. 
There was absolutely no question that I was exactly where I wanted to be. A 
month before I couldn't have imagined such an experience, but here I was, so 
relieved, so happy. My heart seemed to have burst open. 

Shortly afterward we were allowed into the temple. Maharayi asked me all 
the usual questions, like who I was and where I was from and what I did. 
And then suddenly I found myself bowing, with my head at his fee-—and 

feeling totally right about it. And he was patting me on the head, saying 
something like, "Welcome, glad to see you made it. Welcome aboard."” All I 
wanted to do was to hang onto his feet, and I didn't care at all that this wasn't 
in any way consistent with my self-image. 

My wife had met Maharayi and had come to get me in America and bring 
me back to meet him. When we first went to see Maharayi I was put off by 
what I saw. AL these crazy Westerners wearing white clothes and hanging 
around this fat old man in a blanket! More than anything else I hated seeing 
Westerners touch his feet. On my first day there he totally ignored me. But 
after the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh day, during which he 
also ignored me, I began to grow very upset. I felt no love for him; in fact, I 

felt nothing. I decided that my wife had been captured by some crazy cult. By 
the end of the week. I was ready to leave. 


We were staying at the hotel up in Nainital, and on the eighth day I told 
my wife that I wasn't feeling well. I spent the day walking around the lake 
thinking that f my wife was so involved in something that was clearly not for 
me, it must mean that our marriage was at an end. I looked at the flowers, the 
mountains, and the reflections in the lake, but nothing could dispel my 
depression. And then I did something that I had really never done in my adult 
life. I prayed. 

I asked God, "What am I doing here? Who is this man? These people are 
all crazy. I don't belong here.” 

Just then I remembered the phrase, "Had ye but faith ye would not need 

"Okay, God, I don't have any faith. Send me a miracle.” 

I kept looking for a rainbow but nothing happened, so I decided to leave the 
next day. 

The next morning we took a taxi down to Kainchi to the temple, to say 
good-bye. Although I didn't like Maharayi, I thought I'd just be very honest 
and have it out with him. We got to Kainchi before anyone else was there and 
we sat in front of his tucket (wooden bed) on the porch. Maharayi had not yet 
come out from inside the room. There was some fruit on the tucket and one of 
the apples had fallen on the ground, so I bent over to pick wt up. Just then 
Maharayi came out of his room and stepped on my hand, pinning me to the 
ground. So there I was on my knees touching his foot, in that position I 
detested. How ludicrous! 

He looked down at me and asked, "Where were you yesterday?" Then he 
asked, "Were you at the lake?" (He said "lake" in English.) 

When he said the word "lake" to me I began to get this strange feeling at 
the base of my spine, and my whole body tingled. It felt very strange. 

He asked me, "What were you doing at the lake?" 

I began to feel very tight. 

Then he asked, "Were you horseback ridingé" 

MINT A. mn 

"Were you boating?” 

"No. mn 

"Did you go swimming?” 

"No. mn 

Then he leaned over and spoke quietly, "Were you talking to God? Did 
you ask for something?” 

When he did that I fell apart and started to cry like a baby. He pulled me 
over and started pulling my beard and repeating, "Did you ask for 


That really felt like my initiation. By then others had arrived and they were 
around me, caressing me, and I realized then that almost everyone there had 
gone through some experience like that..A trivial question, such as, "Were you 
at the lake yesterday?” which had no meaning to anyone else, shattered my 
perception of reality. It was clear to me that Maharayi saw right through all 
the tMusions, he knew everything. By the way, the next thing he said to me 
was, "Will you write a book?” 

That was my welcome. After that I just wanted to rub his feet. 

It was in London. I was on a bus with many empty seats. Then an old man 
carrying a blanket got on the bus and chose to sit on the window seat beside 
me, so that I had to stand up to let him in. This annoyed me somewhat, but as 
he sat down he gave me such a sweet, gentle smile that I forgot my annoyance 
and sat thinking to myself, "What a sweet old man." Before the bus came to 
the next stop on its route I turned to look at him again—but he was gone! 

The bus had not stopped again since he had gotten on. How could he have 
gotten off without my standing to let him pass? 

Later I went to India on the advice of a friend who had been there, and I 
saw a picture of Maharayi—at was the same man! I located Maharayi and 
found out that on the day I had seen him on the bus in London carrying a 
specific plaid blanket, a woman in India had given Maharayi just such a 
blanket, which he was wearing that same day. 

THE INDIANS ALSO came to Maharajji with varying degreees of desire 
and readiness. But for them it was different. They had grown up in a 
culture in which holy beings abounded, and the parents of most of them 
had had gurus. For the family, the guru was a combination of grandfa- 
ther, worldly and spiritual guide, and reflection or manifestation of God. 
They often treated Maharajji more as a man and less as a God, and yet at 
the same time they could surrender more easily to him. For them, sur- 
render was not a personal matter of ego as it was for us. In the group of 
stories about initial meetings described by some of Maharajji's closest In- 
dian devotees, both the differences of culture and the similarity of open- 
ing and love are apparent. 

I have known Maharayi since I came into this world. My father and mother 
were both devotees—my father since 1940 and my mother since 1947. Because 


our parents were devotees and because he was always being discussed in our 
Jamily, we were all born devotees of him. 

I forst met Maharayi in Bhowali many years ago, Jt'laharagji frequently 
visited a certain Ma's home there, I told her that I had heard about him but 
had never met him, and I asked her to tell me the next time he came. After a 
week or so Maharayi came at night. In the morning a message came for me 
and I went at once. I found him lying on a cot. He looked at me, then closed 
his eyes for a moment. He knew at once who I was, who I had been before, 
and what I was going to do in this world. In a few seconds, he said, "T am 
very pleased to see you,” which he repeated many times. Maharayi had 
walked from Nainital to Bhowali during the night. He said, "You have 
brought me here! I shall see you again in Haldwani." Then Maharayi boarded 
a bus for Almora. (In those days he traveled mostly by bus, not by car.) People 
warned me not to take him seriously: "Neem Karoh is a big liar. He very 
seldom tells the truth. You can't depend on him:" 

In any case, I went to Haldwani. After a few days someone came to my 
room and told me that Maharayi had come to Haldwani and gave me his 
address. I saw him then and have been with him ever since. 

I ferst met Maharayi in 1950 when I rode with my boss and Maharayi from 
Nainital to Haldwani. My boss, a government minister, was already a devotee 
of Maharapyi's and had offered him this lift. But I was smoking and acting as if 
Maharayi was just another person. In 1958, after the death of my mother, I 
was in Bhowak with my father, on vacation. We spent a night in the 
government rest house there and my father became ill in the night, in much 
pain. They called the Bhowal doctor who gave him an injection but to no 
avatl. The next day, doctors from Nainital came and said that he needed an 
emergency gall bladder operation. That same day I went to consult doctors at 
the nearby TB sanitorium. Preparations were then underway for a puja (ritual 
of prayer) to celebrate the opening of a small Hanuman temple built by the 
doctor there who was a devotee of Maharayi. I stayed on to watch. Maharaffi 
arrived but stayed hidden. I grew curious to meet him. I heard that Maharayt 
had put someone in a trance, so I watched a while from a distance before 


That evening a messenger from the Nainital bus station came to me and told 
me to visit a certain Baba Neem Karol. Since there are so many babas, I 
dismissed the message. But at night I went to the bus station and inquired as to 
who had sent this message, but no one knew. This aroused my curiosity even 
more. | asked where I could find this Baba Neem Karol and went there, 
Maharayi said to me, "Your name is so-and-so and your father is very il.” 

"Ves. mn 

"You thought he might die, but God has cured him. Doctors have told you 
that he should be operated on. But he shouldn't be, He'll be all right,” 

Maharayi gave me two or three mangos for my father, which I fed to him 
and he began to improve. After a few days Maharayi again called me. I went 
but didn't touch his feet. I was planning to return to Delhi and Maharaji said, 
"You're going to Delhi. You drive too fast, Take your father carefully and 
he'll be all right."" This touched my heart and I touched Maharapi's feet. My 

Jjather never had the operation and became very healthy, with no relapse. 

Since I wasn't married, I was living with my brother and his wife. When 
Maharayi came to them I went into the farthest room so I wouldn't have to be 
involved with such people, for I thought, "Sadhus [renunciates] are no good." 
After some time Maharayi came into the room where I was, He walked in, sat 
down, and said, ""Sadhus are no good." After that I just became a devotee. 

ONE OF Maharajji's closest devotees for the last twenty years gives the 
following account: 

In 1935 I was on vacation from school and went to Dakshineshwar on a 
religious pilgrimage. When I reached the place where there were many Shiva 
temples, a man appeared before me whom I had not noticed to be there before. 

"My son," the man said, "You are a Brahmin? I shall give you a 

"T nill not take it,"" I said, "I do not beheve in it." 

"You must take it," he insisted, and so I relented. 

Thereafter, I faithfully recited the mantra daily. Many years passed. 

It was June 1955. I had some close friends who were like members of the 
Jamily. Every Sunday we'd chat in the evening at our house. Around 9:00 
P.M. I saw my wife, aunt, and mother going out. I asked them where they 
were going, and they said just to an adjacent house, that some baba was 


visiting. One of the fellows with me said cynically, "Does he eat? I can 
arrange food for him.” (This felow was a hunter.) 

My wife said, "You should not say things like that.” 

In ten minutes they returned. They reported that he had been sitting in a dirt 
hut with an owl lamp and had told them to go. When they didn't go, he said, 
"Go! Your husband's Bengah friends have come. Go and serve them tea. I 
shall come in the morning.” 

In the morning my wife and I went over together. Maharayi was on a small 
cot in a tiny room. As we entered he sprang up and took my hand, saying, 
"Let's go." We left so fast that my wife had to remove her sandals to Reep up. 
He took us to our own house and said, "I shall stay with you.” When the 
women from the other house came to take him back he would not go. 

Later he questioned me: "You are a devotee of Shiva?” 

"Ves. mn 

"You already have a mantra.” It was at that moment that I realized it had 
been Maharayi who had given me the mantra twenty years before. 


My first meeting with him in Kanpur was short and sweet—perhaps only 
two minutes. I pranammed to him. He asked me who I was and gave me his 
blessing and left abruptly. Where he went, nobody could say. 

I met him again ten months or a_year later in Lucknow. One by one, he 
sent the many people who were sitting with him away until only we three 
were left. Then he asked my sister-in-law, "What do you want?" She said 
she'd come only to pay her respects. 

Then he asked me, and I replied, "I only need your blessings, nothing 

Then he said to my wife, "You have come with positive questions. Why 
don't you ask theme” 

In fact she had come with some questions, which she hadn't even confided in 
us. But she had made a decision beforehand not to ask the questions herself 
She wanted Maharayi to answer them unasked, and she wanted it done in 
private, so she didn't speak. She couldn't answer that she didn't have 
questions, but because of her decision she couldn't ask them. So Maharaji said 
to her, "You want me to answer your questions without your asking. And you 
want me to tell you when you are alone. You are putting a sadhu to a very 
hard test. Lomorrow I will come to your house in Kanpur and answer your 
guestions."’ We sat there a few minutes more and then he said, "Go!" As we 


were leaving a doubt came to my mind that Maharayi had just sidetracked us 
by saying he'd visit us tomorrow and answer the questions. 

Alt about ten o'clock that evening a message came to our house for a 
Maharayi devotee who was visiting us. The message was that Babajt 
(familiar form of Baba) was coming to the devotee's house and he should 
return home right away. We accompanied him. As soon as I pranammed to 
Maharayi, he said, "You doubted my integrity! Never doubt a sadhu—the 
burden is on him, not on you. You have not to doubt." I apologized to him. I 
had indeed doubted. Then he said, "Al right, tomorrow I'll come to your 

So the next morning he came over. As this was his first visit, I really didn't 
know what to do. Others told me that nothing ts to be done—yust provide a big 
pillow on a bed for him to lean on and offer some food or fruit or milk. He'll 
take whatever he feels like. It's his sweet will. 

When he arrived I escorted him to the sitting room. He said, "No, I won't 
sit there. Let the others sit there; you take me to that small room!" I was 
surprised and confused, since I did not know which small room he was referring 
to. He gave a description of the room and walked through the house as f he 
knew where the room was. I was following him, not leading him, in our 
house. He went straight to the room and said, "Here I want to sit." He said, 
"Call Ma" (my wife). She came, and he then answered all the questions she 
had in her mind. "Is there any question to which I haven't replied?” he asked. 
She had to say that there were no more. 

An ICS (Indian Civil Service) commissioner of Lucknow used to drink 
ferociously. The superintendent of police said to Maharayi that they should go 
visit him. Maharayi agreed, and when they arrived the commissioner had a 
bottle hidden behind him. Maharayi yelled from the car, "What's the matter?” 

The commissioner was furious. He screamed at the superintendent: "Who 
have you brought here? He has no manners! Get him out of here.” 

The superintendent opened his holster and was about to shoot the 
commusstoner for talking to Maharayi that way. But Maharayi blew up: 
"What are you doing? He zs a great saint! You see only his outside. I'l 
never come with you again." 

The commissioner later became a great devotee. He would come for darshan 
but sit outside by the shoes for he felt that was his place. He eventually became 
head of the Administrative Officer School in Allahabad. 


He suffered from thrombosis. At the end he suffered great agony but kept 
Ram mantra (repetition of Ram, a name of God) going and was very gay. 
The superintendent was in tears when he visited him near the end, and he 
asked, "Should I call your wife and son?" 

The commissioner said, "No, this is not a time of attachment. At this time, 
all I have to do is remember Ram and Maharajji. Good-bye. We'll meet 
again." And he died. 

I had wanted to meet Maharajji _Jar a long time but could never catch him. 
Finally a friend came and took me in his company car to where Maharajji was 
supposed to be. There were four rooms and Maharajji was in the far room. I 
went in. The minute I entered, Majarajji said, "Get out, you!" 

So I went out and sat down but wouldn't leave. I sat for many hours. 
Finally my friend had to return the car because it was closing time. Although 
my house was quite distant, I was determined to stay and have Maharajji's_full 
darshan. Finally someone took pity and said, "You aren't doing it right. When 
some people start to go in, you go in with them, and if he throws you out, 
wait and try again with the next people." I did so and was twice thrown out. 
Finally, the third time, Maharajji said, "Come sit here. What is your name 
and what do you do?" Then he said, "Okay, now go. 

But I said, "I'm not going. I haven't had darshan yet. I haven't had a 
chance to discuss my problems with you." 

Maharajji said, "Go now and come at 6:00 A.M." So I went home but I 
couldn't sleep, and at 2:00 A.M. I got up and did puja. I was afraid Maharajji 
would leave before I got there. When I arrived at the house at 6:00 A.M. 
Maharajji had already lefi, but they said he would return. After some time he 
did come back and then Maharajji and I spent many hours together. In fact, the 
rest of my life has been spent with Maharajji. 



NOT EVERYONE WHO met Maharajji was "opened" or "awakened" at 
the initial visit. Many came, enjoyed a pleasant visit, and left apparently 
unaffected. They seemed to have "no business" with Maharajji, that is, 
they were either unready to be touched so deeply, or the vehicle of the 
guru or this particular guru was not their way. 

Balaram (to a new arrival on the verandah at Vrindaban): "Have you had 
Maharajji's darshan yet?" 
"T don't know. Is he the fat one sitting over there?" 

THEN THERE were those who while experiencing no dramatic "zap," yet 
responded to some subtle thread that drew them back to Majarajji again 
and again. 

I was astonished to watch the way in which tough people would melt as they 
stayed around Maharajji. 



FOR MANY OF us who were either dramatically opened initially or subtly 
drawn, the desire that became uppermost in our lives was to be with 
Maharajji. We had become "devotees," for when we were with him we 
were experiencing being "at home" in the heart of God. Little wonder 
that his presence became so addictive and that we would leave home and 
go to any lengths to be with this spiritual pied piper who was teaching 
us to dance and play in the fields of the Lord. 

But to assume that just because you wished to be with Maharajji, you 
could be, did not take into account the nature of this man's behavior. He 
moved about unpredictably. And whenever he stayed in any one place 
for even a few days, people would arrive in a continuous stream from 
morning till night. Some came barefoot with naked babies from nearby 
farms; others came by jet and taxi. 

I was standing in the front yard of a humble house in a little village in the 
hills when Maharajji arrived unexpectedly. I was told to remain outside, so I 
had the opportunity to watch the people come. They seemed to appear almost 
out of nowhere, arriving from all directions. They were running, some of the 
women wiping the flour from their hands on their aprons, others carrying their 
babies half dressed. The men had left their shops unattended. Some were 
pulling flowers from the trees as they came to have something to offer... But 
they came with an expectancy, with a joy, with a reverence, that could not be 
mistaken. (R. D.) 

True, many wanted something worldly from the "miracle baba," but beyond 
that they wanted once again to taste of the nectar of being with him. 

MANY OF US vacillated in our reactions to this constant demand upon 
Maharajji. At one moment we saw ourselves and the other devotees and 
seekers as so many vultures around a piece of raw meat or like flies 
crawling over a piece of sugar. At those times we tried to protect him, 
and often we held back so as not to contribute to the scene. 

But at other times we would realize how totally Maharajji had control 
of the situation. When he felt that people were, as he put it, "eating his 
head," he would simply go into a back room and close the door, or send 
everyone away, or get in a car and leave without a backward glance. 
Once, after traveling many months to see Maharajji, we at last found 


him at a devotee's home in Delhi. We were allowed into the back room 
with him for a few minutes and then were sent out to have tea with 
many others. About fifteen minutes later Maharajji walked out of the 
inner room and right by us, not more than two feet from our faces, with 
not the least turn of the head or signal of recognition. He went to a car 
in which a driver was waiting, he got in, and the car left for a destination 
unknown. Such a person was clearly not at our mercy! 

So Maharajji kept continually on the move, in a totally unpredictable 
fashion. Within a temple compound he would move from place to place, 
at one moment freely available, while at the next closeted in some room 
with the door securely bolted. 

Were that his only movement, devotees could settle in near the temple 
and just visit each day and wait for the moments when he would appear. 
But his movement was not limited to a single compound. Rather, he 
wandered from village to village, from the mountains to the plains, from 
one end of India to the other, from temples to private homes to jungle 
ashrams. In the middle of the night he might leave unannounced for a 
destination unknown. Or he might board a train and supposedly be des- 
tined for a certain city, only to leave the train at some other station, 
sometimes so quickly, even as the train was moving, that devotees who 
had followed him were left behind. 

The intense desire of the devotees to be with Maharajji, combined 
with his elusive and unpredictable behavior, gave rise to the most in- 
tricate dramas of hide and seek, labeled by one waggish devotee as the 
"great grace race. 

Being a devotee of Maharajji was like participating in a continuous 
and unending treasure hunt, limited only by economic resources or family 
responsibilities. The pot of gold was, of course, darshan with Maharajji. 
And gold it was! One Indian devotee put it succinctly when he said, 
"Even sexual intercourse with my wife cannot equal darshan with Ma- 


The Indian devotees had an intricate communication system that al- 
lowed them at least thirty percent of the time to trace Maharajji and 
know of his whereabouts within a day of his arrival in any town or 
village. We Westerners were not so lucky, and so we had to use our 
wits, Our intuitions, our cunnine—and our unmitigated gall—to get to 
his feet. Our percentage of success was perhaps not so impressive as that 
of the Indian devotees, but our style and our dramatic entrances and 

exits certainly were. 


I was having Maharayt's darshan and all of a sudden Tukaram walked up. 
I asked Tukaram how he had gotten in and he said, "Oh, 1 jumped over the 
wall.” And I thought, "Oh, God! Well, I won't be here for long.” Then 
Krishna Priya climbed in. The chaukidar saw her clambering over the wall and 
since he didn't want to take the blame for letting them in, he went to tell 
Maharayi. The gate-keeper said, "Baba, these people climbed over the wall. 
I'm sorry. I did the best I could to keep them out."” Maharayi's initial reaction 
to the chaukidar's report was rage: "Get 'em out! Get 'em all out!" I got 
thrown out, too. We Westerners shared the guilt among us. We came back the 
next day for darshan and discovered that overnight the wall had been doubled 
in height. 

WY HEN YOU FINALLY arrived at the right place at the right time and were 
told, "Yes, he's here," and found yourself seated before him, what was 
it like? Even the tongues and hands of the gods and goddesses of speech, 
music, and poetry could not do justice to those occasions. So how could 
I Like the blind men with the elephant, each devotee met a different 

When Maharayt came out you never knew what to expect. He could do the 
same thing a week in a row until you'd think, "Well, he'll come out at 8:00." 
Then he might not come out all day, or he might just go into another room and 
close the door and be in there for two days. You had to learn to expect the 

One day he came out and all he said all day long was ""Thal-Thal, Nan- 
Nan," repeating these words to himself like a mantra. Days went by like this 
and somebody finally said, "Maharayi, what are you saying?” And it turned 
out to be an old Behari dialect and all it meant was "Too big, too big, too 
little, too Little.” When he was finally asked why he was saying this, he said, 
"Oh, all you people, you all live in Thul-Thal, Nan-Nan; you live in the 
world of judgment. It's always too big or too Little.” 

You can never know, as you sit before Maharayt, who it ts that he ts 
working with in the course of a darshan. He may be talking with one person 


while another is being deeply moved in some special way. You yourself can't 
know what you are receiving from him. 


One aspect of being with Maharayi that struck me and a lot of people was 
the multileveled nature of the experience. We would just be sitting with him and 
seemingly nothing much would be happening. We'd be having tea, and 
sometimes he would throw some fruit around, or somebody would come and say 
a few words. It was all very low-key, but we'd be watching everything that he 
would do, taking the most extreme delight in the tilt of his head or the 
movement of his arms. At the same time that we would experience an 
incredible light joy, we'd also have the sensation that we were in the midst of a 

raging fire. 


People are sitting quietly around Mahara, concentrating. Maharayi faces 
the opposite direction of a person when he picks up on a loose thought and 
then he rolls to face the person. With an expression of annoyance and love, he 
raises one finger or shakes his fest. If someone ts meditating, he tweaks his nose 
or pulls his beard. He turns to a person and tells her that she is very good. 
Another he maligns, telling all sorts of bad stories. Again he turns to another 
and says, "Go. You wicked person!” 

AND THE worRDs and apples and tea and silences and laughter were all 
washed in a continuous river of love that poured forth from Maharajji. 
The devotees who "knew" were equally as happy with Maharajji's in- 
sults as with his praise, for it was all palpable love and food for the 

We took our cue in this respect from one of Maharajji's long-term, 
trusted devotees, called "Dada," who served Maharajji with a singleness 
of purpose that awed us. When Maharajji would compliment him, Dada 
would say, "Ha, Baba," meaning, "Yes, Baba," and when Maharajji 
would shout insults at him, sometimes upbraiding him from morning 
till night, he would reply, in exactly the same tone, "Ha, Baba!" Ob- 
viously, fame and shame were one to him, at least when Maharajji was 

the source. No longer could Maharajji get Dada angry or guilty; over 
the years it had all been burned out. For Dada, it was all grace. 


Sometimes Maharayi would talk to one person and everyone else would 
listen, Perfectly content just to be present. 

THERE WAS THE sport of watching the newcomers arrive, skeptical, with 
questions, and then seeing their hearts gently open and their soft, flow- 
erlike quality emerge under the tender care of the master gardener. We 
would sit in those groups as Maharajji turned this way and that, attend- 
ing now to a person at his side and the next moment to a devotee far dis- 
tant who was just entering the temple; and as he changed the mood of 
the group from easy laughter to fierce intensity in a moment and then 
back again. One felt at such times as if Maharajji were the puppeteer and 
we the puppets. 

Maharagt's company was very special. He was always natural, like a child, 
a saint in the traditional manner. He set no conditions nor expected any 
particular behavior from his devotees. He was rarely affected by the outside. He 
could converse with half a dozen people simultaneously with a camera held a 
foot from his face. He had no form. He performed no rituals or puja. He 
followed no orthodox customs such as ritual bathing. Yet his presence was more 
than inspiring, it was enlightening. While meditating in or near his presence, 
even though he'd be talking and joking loudly, one quickly reached the place of 
clear light, a place difficult to achieve without his grace and power. 


MAHARAJJI OFTEN counseled the Indian devotees to sit in silence; just 
to sit, listen, and absorb. But around Maharajji that was difficult to do, 
for there was a continuous and compelling drama going on around 
him: who came, who went; what they said; what food was being 
distributed; who got to sit closest to him; how he was working with 
each person; which person he petted and which he yelled at; how he 
moved about on the tucket. One Indian told us that those of us who 
did not speak Hindi were lucky, because it kept us from getting too 
involved. When there was a little silence or when you could detach 
yourself from the melo- drama, you could just bask in the timeless 
grace of his presence. 

The minute you meet him, tf you are ready, he nill plant himself within 
you—the seed. And time ts nothing. 


You'd forget everything when you were with him. There would be nothing 
but Maharayi—total, effortless worship. That's the real puja. 

Sometimes we would sit up so late at night in Kainchi, talking with 
Maharayi, that we would lose all sense of time until we would hear someone 
taking their morning bath, and we would realize that the whole night was 


It was one of those darshans, where you think somebody must have put 
LSD in the tea. 


We would bask in his radiance. 

Actually you can be more truly with Maharayit when you are away from his 
form. At a distance you can concentrate on him undisturbed. 


FOR OTHERS WHAT stands out is the precious intimacy that comes from 
experiencing another being within the same space that your own being 
occupies, the whisper of a lover who knows your innermost heatt. 

Maharayi never preached, never lectured; he spoke within your heart. With 
him one automatically knew everything. It came through the heart, not by 
reading books. 


Ten or twenty of us would sit in the back of the ashram at Kainchi, talking 
with Maharajji. One of us would say, "But, Maharajji, what about so-and- 
so?" asking some question about God or life. Maharajji would start talking and 
pretty soon everybody would be in tears. Sometimes he'd start talking about 
Christ and start crying himself. 

He and I never really had much going on the verbal level. But inside, I felt 
so much love that I'd hang around; when I'd leave I wouldn't go very 
far—and I would always come back. It was like that with a lot of people. 

Maharajji reached each person's heart in a way special to that person. 

Everyone's experience with him was different. You cannot explain what it is 
like to be with him. It is a thing to be felt in your heart. 


He was so gentle that you weren't afraid of him at all. But sometimes you'd 
think that there must be a lion in there. 

Three odour young Western women were at Krishna's birthday. While 
everyone was singing kirtan in the temple before Lakshmi—Narayan, they 
went over to Maharajji's window, which was shuttered from inside, and began 
softly singing a song about the baby Krishna (an incarnation of Vishnu), 
Devakinandana Gopala. After some time, Maharajji opened the shutters and 
angrily told them to go away and slammed the shutters again. This scene was 
repeated several times while the young women continued softly singing. Finally 
Maharajji again opened the shutters, only this time he had tears streaming 


down his face and he listened in a state of bhava (spiritual emotion)for quite 
Some time. 

Remember where Casteneda talks about stopping the world? Sometimes 
Maharayi would do things to you and you'd feel like he'd just stopped the 
world. Sometimes you'd be listening and sometimes not, and then suddenly 
Maharayi would do something and you'd hang suspended. There was one 
period in my life when I used to keep whole scrapbooks all about horses. No 
one else Rnew about them. And once when my mind was somewhere else, 
Maharayi turned to me and asked me about horses. My mind just stopped. 


Every time my mind wandered Maharayi would catch me. He would never 
miss. When I wavered from the concentration in the least bit, he would catch 
me and put me back. 

Maharayi was sitting on the tucket and he leaned over and kissed Kabir on 
the head. That kiss affected everyone who was there. It made people feel really 
warm inside. 

Every time Mahgrayit would hug somebody, everybody in the room would 
20, "Ahhhbhh . 


AM the love and affection and kindness that came from Maharaji you 
cannot get these from man. 

How can you describe what it was to be with Maharayi? It ts like trying to 
describe the sweetness of a fruit or the fragrance of a rose. 


You never have met one so lovable, so kind, so sweet. How could you not 

love hime? 

You almost wanted to give up your breath to him tf you could. 

Al devotee asked me if I had ever been caught by Maharapt's glance in a 
way that, as he briefly looked at me, I forgot everything but knew only 
Maharapi's love. The devotee said it is a wonderful and rare thing when he 
looks at you in that way, and you are very fortunate tf you can hold his gaze 

in that state. 

He could go through your heart with just a look or a movement. The 
slightest thing could feel as uf it were piercing you. 

I was leaving for Nepal the next day. It was evening and we were sitting in 
the back. of the ashram. Maharayi never actually mentioned my leaving the 
next day because I had received a "quit India" notice, but at the end of the 
darshan he just held my eyes with his. It was the guru's glance, a look of 
absolute, universal, total compassion, it was love beyond words. Not long, but 
just—my being in his being. And that filled me with such—what's the word 
Jor that feeling? —zgrief or longing or. . I felt in that look infinite compassion, 
and even though the glance didn't last very long, its power still comes through 

to me, particularly at very diffecult times. 


I was only about sixteen when I first met M aharajji. It was a bhandara 
east and many people were thee Whe I me him I was filled with such 
hava, transported, it seemed, Y divine love. M aharajji instructed me to serve 
the devotees at the bhandara. There were many to be fed, and we worked long 

hours, but that feeling never left me. 

_ When asked what he experienced on mecting M aharajji, one man replied, "It 
is not something that can bé said. It must be ex perieoad. T he love, the affection, 

the compassion, the grace of knowing him. . ." 


H e would talk, talk with no limit and with no rhyme or reason. If he was 

abusing someone, he would, go on shouting with no end, But he was hearing 
everything, W hat an intoxication! H e would behave like a very abnormal man, 

doing all sorts of nonsense, shouting and abusing. 
But what made you stay there? Y ou wouldn't be conscious of time and space 

Y ou. never questioned where you were or why you were there, D ays and 
months woul pass with him, and they seamed like a moment. Sometimes | 
wasn't aware that | had not eaten of slept for days, and he made me do 
things I wouldn't do in the normal course If I ‘wanted to leave him, hed 

make me stay; if! wanted to stay another night, hed force me to qo. 

H e_was always rattling on like a_ child, talking about this and that, most of 
which wasn't translated. It was like seang a fine foreign movie where you 
don't really need the subtitles! In ssoommee instances he would say a thing 

only once If you didn't catch it, it as gone. 


I was only about sixten when I first met Maharajji. It was a bhandara 
east and many. people were there, When I me him | was filled with such 
hava, ar pat it seemed, by divine love M aharajji instructed me to serve the 
clevotees at the bhandara. T here were many to be fed, and we worked long hours, 

but that feeling never left me. 

_ When asked what he experienced on meeting M aharajji, one man replied, "It 
is not something that can be said. It must be experienced. The love the affection, the 

compassion, the grace of knowing him .. ." 


He would talk, talk with no limit and with no rhyme or reason. If he was abusing 
someone, he would go on shouting with no end. But he was hearing 
everything. W hat an intoxication! He would behave like a very abnormal man, 
doing all sorts of nonsense, shouting and abusing. 
But what made you stay there? Y ou wouldn't be conscious of time and space 

Y ou never Cuestioned where you were or why you were there D ays and months 
would pass with him, and they’seemed like a moment. Sometimes I wasn't aware 
that I had not eaten or slept for days, and he made me do things I wouldn't do in 
the normal course. If I wanted to leave him, hed make mestay; if 1 wanted to stay 

another night, hed force me to go. 

He was always rattling on like a child, talking about this and that, most of 
hich wasn't translated. It was like seaing a fine foragn movie where you don't really 
need the subtitles! In some instances he would say a thing only once If you didn't 
catch it, it was gone. 


One W estemner was sitting in front of the H anuman murti in V rindaban. 
She was very much longing to see M aharajji, but in those days he was refusing to allow 
W estemers in for darshan. She sat there head bowed, singing some kirtan. Just then there was 
someflurry of excitement. She look ed up and there, standing directly in front of her, smiling so 
very sweetly, was M aharajji. Then to her delight he cock ed his head and said in E nglish, "Too 


Several W esterners were recalling M aharajji's "hit parade’ of English phrases. A few 
were: coconut; right face quick, march! left, right, go!; sit down; bus has come sometimes; 
damn fool; oommander-in-chief; thank you; stand up; water. W hen you were with M aharajji 
you talked about what he wanted to talk about. If you started your topic, M aharajji would 
ignore it or change it. 

There was no conversation around Maharaji other than with him. 
Maharajji talked about irrelevancies as if they were very important. 

Maharajji would talk to one and be hitting another and only the one who 
was supposed to would understand. 


Maharajji showed great interest in everything, just like an ordinary man. He had no 
pretensions, yet nobody could decieve him. 

WITH THE Westerners the talk usually induded a series of routines. With many of 
them M aharajji developed special routines, and the partic ular individual would be called 
to the front, day after day, to perform the same dialogue. To one foung woman he would 
ask each day the same questions: "W hat are Indian women like? W hy are they good?" She 
would reply each day with the same answer: "Because they are devoted to thar husbands." 
To another devotee he would ask again and again, "Will you marry?" The devotee would 
always reply, "M aharajji, how can I marry. I'm so useless." 

To another, "W hat is your name?" "Chaitanya Maha Prabhu" (the name of a great 
Indian saint), which M ahar* would then repeat and cock his head appreaatively. | 
He had trained us well as performing humans. One devotee com- mented about all this: 
"Maharajji had his zoo and we were all inmates." | 
And then there was arti, the oremony of light. It isa ceremony for enon the guru. 
flame is waved before the guru, and it is aqom- panied by a chant that 
enundates the guru's many qualitie Under the tutdage of K. K. Sah (one of the 
oy ine Indian ee) we had learned the entire Sanskrit chant and how to 
petorm the ceremony in order to surprise’ M aharajji. 

When we finally performed the arti, Ma- harajji_ was seemingly so delighted that he 
made us perform it over and over again, even though while we did it he talked 
continuously to one or another of those gathered about him. And from that time on, 
wheever a new group of Indian devotees came to pay thar respects we were trot- ted out 
from the rear of the ashram to perform arti and thus show how spiritual the W esterners 
really were. Through these many repetitions we learned much. Initially we had wanted to 
lease and impress Maharajji. Later the prayer became just more spiritual materialism. 
ut through that constant repetition, we came ae how a ritual can take on 
a life of its own and generate a spiritual power independent of the speaific reason for 
which it is bang performed at any one time 


One of Maharajji's devotees was aghty years old and vey spry, like a mountain 
goat. One day he came in for Maharajji's darshan when a young, 


distant relative qf his was also there. The relative pranarnmed to the old 
devotee but didn't get up. Maharagi turned to the elder and said, "Tf you had 
money, he'd get up and touch your feet.” 

Once a devotee wore a new and expensive sari to darshan. Maharapi said, 
"You know, Ma, I went to this wealthy family for a visit, but they wore such 
simple clothes that you couldn't tell the difference between the rich ones and the 
poor ones. So sitmple and clean.” 


One evening, Maharayi was out squatting on a dirty street when along came 
some "immportant™ people—poets, judges, and officials. As they stood around 
Maharazi, he asked them, "Why don't you sit?" With some hesitation they sat 
down on the street. Immediately Maharayi arose. "Okay, let's go.” 

I had purchased some apples in Mathura to take as prasad (an offering, 
usually food, which became consecrated when accepted by Mahara) for 
Maharayt. They were costly and I had hand-picked them. When I offered 
them, Maharaji said, "Put them away. eat them later." I wouldn't do it, 
because of my pride, so I peeled the first and it was rotten, and so with the 
second and third and fourth. Maharayi looked at me and said, "I told you to 
put them away." I discovered later that the other five were fine. 

I was working in Agra and whenever Maharayi came to Vrindaban I would 
take him ten or fifteen rupees’ worth of prasad. I would see others coming with 
so much more that, one Sunday, I felt quite bad because I could only bring so 
little. Monday morning I was waiting to touch his feet before going off to work 
and I thought to myself" With my limits, my ten rupees are worth ten 
thousand of someone else's." Just then Maharayi came out of his room saying, 


"Strange people come to me and offer ten rupees and say they have offered ten 

There was one expression he would never allow me to catch with my 
camera. He'd be sitting normally and then all of a sudden he would straighten 
up and look dtrectly down at you, his eyes wide open and intense. I tried for 
months to catch that expression. I'd take a photograph, but in the time it took 
to advance the reel he'd return to normal, giggling and laughing. He'd look at 
me and smile with delight at my frustration. (I wish I'd had motor-drive!) 

Once he walked over to me and took my bamboo staff and began to do this 
Chaplinesque dance with it. He moved it back and forth as if he had never 
seen a stick before, as |. he were a large monkey. He started playing with it 
and moving it around, then he just threw it away and walked down the road! 
That was the end of that darshan! I was the only one who saw this happen, 

One morning the coals in the brazier in front of Maharayi had gotten really 
low, so they piled some wood on it and of course the wood started to smoke and 
wouldn't light. So Maharayi said they should pour some kerosene on it, which 
they did, but still it didn't light. Big clouds of smoke were coming up. 
Maharayi was leaning forward, looking, and then all of a sudden POW! The 
flames leaped right up to the roof Maharayi jumped back, as delighted as a 
child, giggling and clapping his hands. He was so thrilled. 

One day I got to the ashram very early and I was just sitting over on the 
porch. Some man arrived carrying a gun. Of course Maharayi said, "Bring it 
over. Let me see that rifle." So the man opened up the barrel and checked the 
chamber to make sure it wasn't loaded. Even though it was a shotgun, broken 


in the middle, he wanted to make sure it wasn't loaded. Maharayi took it and 
opened it up, and then he snapped it shut and held it up to his shoulder as you 
would to shoot it. He played a while, opening tt up and snapping it shut, then 
gave tt back to the man and sent him away. After the man had left, he asked, 
"Why does he carry a gune” 

IT said, "I don't know." My standard answer. 

And Maharayi said, ""He carries it because he's afraid of things.” 


In the winter of 1971 it started getting very crowded and Maharayi began 
telling people to go to different places. I was told to go to Puri. He also said I 
could go and see Goenka (a well-known Buddhist meditation teacher) on the 
way back. I had been feeling that I really needed to learn something about 
meditation, so | went to Bodh Gaya and stayed there for forty days. During 
that time my mind was exceeedingly clear, like nothing I'd ever experienced 

When I came back to Dada's house Maharayi was there, I don't know if I 
was experiencing my love for him in a new way or f my heart was closed. 
Maybe both. But all I was seeing was a man doing all these different things, 
and I felt none of that love connection I had felt before. There was a clearness 
and an openness but none of that emotionality and warmth. I stayed there two 
or three days and kept watting for the return of that feeling I'd felt before. And 
I saw all these people opening in a way that I missed. I prayed to Maharayi 
and it still didn't change. 

I decided I'd go to the Sangam (holy place at the confluence of three sacred 
rivers). While I was there, I prayed that after bathing my heart would open 
again. And as I was bathing I felt my heart open wide. I got out and 
everywhere I looked, everything was glowing. I got into a rickshaw to go back 
to Dada's house—and I realized that I had no prasad. And the route from the 
Sangam to Dada's doesn't go by any bazaars. We did pass a calendar walla 
(vendor) with those devotional calendar pictures. I looked at all the pictures but 
they were so gauche. just as I was giving up, I looked down at my feet and 
there on the ground in the dust was a picture of Ram embracing Hanuman, 
which was so exquisite. I bought the picture and went on to Dada's house. I 
was late so I didn't think there would be time for me to reach Maharayi and 
present the prasad. But as I came through the door a path opened up right to 
Maharayt. I was so opened up from the meditation course and the Sangam that 
I gave the prasad without my ego. It was the purest act Pd ever done around 


Maharaji. Something was taking place, but I was not "doing" it. I put the 
picture on the tucket and sat down. Maharajji picked it up and looked at it. 
Tears started corning out of his eyes, and I started to cry, too. Then he stood 
up and stormed out of the room, giving the picture to Dada. A few weeks later 
this picture was up in the Vrindaban temple, right next to the murti. 

The point of the story is that because I was able to do that selflessly, he was 
able to accept it fully. At other times I came with all kinds of prasad and I 
would really want him to accept it in a certain way—and he would hardly 
look at it. I'd polish up the apples for hours, hold them on the bus, say 
mantras over them; I was trying to be pure. But this time I wasn't trying to be 
pure; the purity was simply there. 


"I TAKE THE DUST from the lotus feet of the guru to cleanse the mirror 
of my mind." So begins a sacred ode to Hanuman. Touching, holding, 
rubbing the guru's feet has always had profound significance in the 
Hindu tradition. For out of the guru's feet comes the spiritual elixir, the 
soma, the nectar, the essence of the sacred Ganges River—the subtle 
pran, or energy that heals and awakens. To touch the feet of such a being 
is not only to receive this grace, but it is an act of submission, of surren- 
der to God, for that is what the guru represents on earth. 

But for those of us around Maharajji, the theories connected with the 
spiritual value of touching the guru's feet had little if anything to do 
with the matter. Rather it was the strangest pull of the heart. A mother, 
who with her husband had come to India from the United States out of 
concern for the well-being of her son who was deeply devoted to Ma- 
harajji, stayed on for some time. At the conclusion of her visit she 
reports the following: 

Then as the time came that we had to return to the States, I began thinking 
about the last darshan I would have. I realized that I really wanted to touch 
Maharajji's feet. I didn't know why I wanted to but I did. I figured that if I 
went ahead and did it, it would upset my husband, but I thought, "So it upsets 
him. It is still my decision!" At my.last darshan I touched Maharajji's feet. 

To my surprise so did my husband! 



How vividly I recall, after my first meeting with Maharayt, how all my 
disdain and arrogance disappeared before an almost overwhelming desire 
literally to be at his feet. It was perhaps the second or third visit with 
Maharayi when the opportunity presented itsef. | was watching the man next 
to me. The expression on his face suggested that he was experiencing waves of 
rapture, and as I watched him out of the corner of my eye I felt jealous. We sat 
next to each other, cross-legged, before a large, heavy chest-high wooden table. 
The man, the principal of a school in the vicinity, was probably in his late 
_ fifties. He was dressed in a heavy woolen suit with socks (his shoes had been 
left outside the door of the temple), a tie, a muffler, and, in the fashion 
common to the men of the hill country in this late November, a woolen hat. 
Before us, sitting on the table cross-legged, was Maharayi, well-wrapped in a 
bright plaid blanket, so that only his head showed above the blanket and a bare 

foot stuck. out beneath. It was this foot that was the source of both the rapture 
and the jealousy, for the man was massaging the foot with great tenderness and 
love, and I was yearning to be in his place. How bizarre to find myself sitting 
in a tiny Hindu temple halfway around the world, _jealous because I could not 
rub an old man's foot! 

AMs I reflected on this strange turn of events, Maharayi talked now to one 
and now to another of the twenty or so people gathered in the small room at 
the back of the temple compound. He spoke in Hindi, which I did not 
understand, but he seemed to be asking one a question, scolding another, _joking 
with a third, and giving instructions to a fourth. In the midst of these 
conversations I saw him move ever so slightly, and his other foot appeared 
beneath the blanket just beside me. 

I suspected that only people who had been around him for some time were 
allowed to massage his fee-—and I was the newest corner—but I decided I 
couldn't be faulted for trying. So slowly my hands went up and touched the 

foot and began to massage. But instead of waves of bliss, my mind was full of 
the sharp edges of doubt and confusion as to whether I should use my fingers or 
my palms. Just as suddenly as the foot appeared, it was withdrawn back under 
the blanket. My mind was filled with self-recrimination about my own 

AMs the visit went on, Maharayi took me more and more out of my self- 
consciousness and into a space that had no familiar boundaries. I was 
experiencing waves of confusion, bordering on hysteria. And that was the 
moment the foot reappeared before me. And again I reached for it. But thes 
time my mind was too overwhelmed to analyze procedure. I just clung to the 

foot as a drowning man to a life preserver. (R.D.) 


There was one particular moment I remember in Kainchi. I was sitting in 
Jront of Maharagi's tucket, rubbing his feet for the longest time, wondering if I 
was pure enough to be doing this. Then I went beyond thoughts, going deeper 

and deeper into that love until there wasn't any concern about rubbing 
Maharapi's feet or even my love for Maharayi. I was just "swimming" in his 


Stta would always sit on my right, and being a greedy, obnoxious Leo, I'd 
push my way up front and grab Maharagi's foot. Sita would always want the 
same foot, so I'd have a shoving match with her. She'd say, "Get away from 
here. You don't belong here."" And she'd throw her shoulder down to block me. 
Sometimes Maharayi would give his foot to me and sometimes to her. 

I very rarely touched his feet, because I felt he was too pure. 

WHAT WAS IT about the darshans that captured us? Was it the many 
levels and changes, or the moments of timelessness, or perhaps the in- 
timacy and love? Or was it the talking and chiding and humor, or 
maybe the purity? Then, of course, perhaps it was the touching of the 
feet. Or was it all of them .. or none of themp Was the connection 
perhaps a subjective one, beyond our dualistic experiencing? Maharajji, 
who are your Are you other than our very selves? 

There is no answer. There is no question, really. There is just darshan, 
which is grace. 

Cake Cai 

"Take chai [tea]." 

"But Maharajji, I've already had chai." 

"Take chai." 


"Go take karma [food]." 

"Maharajji, I just ate an hour ago." 

"Maharajji wants you to take kanna now." 


"Maharajji sent these sweets over for you." 

"But I couldn't eat another thing." 

"It's Maharajji's wish that you have these sweets." 

"Maharajji sent me to give you chai." 

"Oh, no! Not again!" 

"Iam only doing my duty. It is Maharajji's wish." 

"A devotee has just arrived from Delhi with a large bucket of sweets. 
Maharajji is distributing it. He wants you to come." 



"Oh, my God, I'll explode.” 

"It prasad." 

"Thank you, Maharajji. (Oh, no, not the apples too!) Ah, thank you, 

While many experienced Maharajji's qualities of timelessness or love at 
darshans, everybody who came before him felt his concern that they be 
fed. Often even before you could sit down he would insist that you 
"take prasad." People just never went away from him hungry. 

I stopped at a gasoline station in Berkeley, California, run by a Sikh fellow. 
I thought I'd practice my Hindi with him. When he found out that I stayed at 
the temple at Kainchi, the first thing he said was, "Oh, you belong to that 
baba. I visited him. He gave me puris [fried bread]. Nobody else gives you 
food just for nothing.” 

MANY OF THE poor people in the areas around the temple or on pil- 
erimages came to depend upon the food that was freely given for their 
sutvival; but for the rest of us, such excessive feeding and continuous 
preoccupation with food seemed to indicate that the food represented 
something more. 

My first impressions focused on all the food that was present. I had just 
come down from Nepal, where I had been on a strict Buddhist meditation trip 
for a long time, and I saw all these people sitting down and stuffing their faces! 
I thought, "Oh, they don't know where it's at. Look at the gluttons!"" Then I 
sat down to eat... and in a few days I was stuffing my face. I had never 
before experienced such a feeling as that. Literally I could not get enough to 

eat. It was as if I were feeding my spirit. 

Fle offered the pera (a sweet) back to me to eat, and oddly enough I turned 
it down. What was in my mind was that I felt completely filled and someone 
else should have it. So he gave it to someone else. 

At another darshan he had filled my hands with peras, which I promptly 
ate. Shortly thereafter he started to give me another huge handful, which I 
turned down, thinking that I'd had my share. An Indian behind me became 
upset and told me I should never turn down Maharayit's prasad, that I should 


always take what he offers to me. Then, of course, I felt bad. Next Maharayi 
offered me another handful, which I joyfully recewed. 

I arrived at the temple in November and lived there continuously until the 
end of March. During all that time I was fed well, daily, and yet not a penny 
was ever asked of me in compensation. | couldn't understand it. Here I was a 
relatively wealthy Westerner, and the Indians had such a hard time 
economically, and yet they would not accept payment. So I just Rept sneaking 
money into the box at the temple. TD.) 


I was trying to hide somewhere around the temple, across the courtyard from 
where he came out the door. And when he came out, I got pushed by the 
people right up to the tucket. I tried ahyvays to be far away and hide myself, so 
when I got pushed near to him I tried to hide behind the column, but people 
pushed me and pushed me. And Maharayi came out. I was scared and crying. 
And Maharaji gave me a pear. When I ate the peat tt made me feel like there 
was water all over inside me. It was like eating love alive. Since that day this 
pear has abvays been in my mind, and nothing has ever matched this feeling. I 
have never eaten another pear since that day. 

One time, when my daughter was young and still with us, we stopped in 
Bhowath en route to Kainchi for darshan. She wanted jelebees (a sweet), but 
there were none. I said, ""When we get to Kainchi, there will be some."" But 
when we got there, we found that it was a Hindu fast day—Ekadashi 
(literally "eleventh day" in lunar month)—and so only boiled potatoes were 
served. As we entered Maharapji's room, to our surprise a man arrived with a 
large basket full of jelebees. 

Maharayi said, "Give some to that girl first,” pointing to my daughter. 

He Knows everything! 


A sadhu once came to the temple and upbraided Maharayi: "You do nothing 

for people. You don't _feed or help people.” 

Maharayi said, "Give him a room and food and money," yet all that the 
devotees felt like doing was beating this sadhu. They got him around a corner 
to do so, but Maharayi yelled at them. After the sadhu had eaten, he became 
very quiet. Maharagi said, '""The thing you people don't understand is that he's 
hungry. He hasn't eaten for three days. What else could he do but what he 

Once I said, "Why do you feed so many people and why so much? I could 
eat four chapattis [fiat, unleavened bread ] and stay alive." 
Maharayi answered, "We have an inner thirst for food. We don't know of 

it. Exven if you don't feel you can eat, your soul has a thirst for food. Take 

THE NATURE OF the food that was served around Maharajji is worthy of 
note, for though it satisfied our souls, our intellects were often appalled. 
The usual diet at the temple consisted of white rice, puris and potatoes 
(both fried), and sweets of almost pure white sugar. The diet was starch, 
erease, and sugar, and much black tea. All the sensitivity that the West- 
ern preoccupation with diet had awakened in us screamed at this diet. 
And yet, this was "prasad." Did you reject prasad, or did you give up 
your dietary models? What did you do when the love came in the form 
of starch, grease, sugar, and tea? Greasy potatoes were one thing; a 
blessing from the guru, however, was an entirely different matter. 

I previously believed that a saint should observe certain restrictions as to 
food. Also, I never took tea or coffee, and I ate a very simple, small det. I 
never took, medicines. I wondered how people could take so many pills. After 
Maharayi left I caught a cold. At first the doctors thought tt was flu, then they 
said it was a more serious disease. So I had to take fifteen pills a day to cure 
it. It was all Maharagz's play. The doctors also told me to put on weight so 
Jrom 6:00 _A.M. to 10:00 P.M. I ate. I wondered how I could eat so much when 

previously I had eaten only two chapattis at a meal. AH my old ideas 


This was similar to what happened when I came to Kainchi, prior to which 
time I never drank tea. On the first day at Kainchi I did not take tt, and on 
the second day when Mahariliji asked me if I would drink tea, I didn't reply. 
The third morning he asked me, "Do you want tea? You don't want it. Here, 
you should drink tea. It's a cold place!” So this time I drank tea, and since 
that day I take anything—tea, coffee, whatever. 

WHEN MAHARAJJI spoke about diet he generally ignored the nutrition 
issues that so concerned some of us, but he did suggest that we "eat 
simple foods." And he also advised us to eat food that was indigenous to 
the area in which we were living. And then to various devotees he gave 
specific instructions about diet, advising one to forego wine, meat, eggs, 
hot spices, "because they lead to an impure heart." Yet to another he 
said, "What is this concern with what is meat and what is not. When 
you can live without meat, well and good. When you cannot live with- 
out it, then you should have it." Some he counseled to "eat alone, 
silently, simply, or with a few people"; to others his instructions con- 
cerned the value of fasts three times a month, although when you were 
around him he interrupted any fast you might attempt. From this confu- 
sion of instructions, most of us came away with the feeling that he was 
counseling us to trust our intuitions rather than get too caught in rules. 
At least, that's what we wanted to hear. 

Because he fed us all so unstintingly with love and attention, as well as 
food, we sought ways to reciprocate. Yet his life was so simple that 
there was nothing to give, so most people brought flowers or food, 
especially fruits and sweets. These he would then distribute by his own 
hand or touch the food and then have it distributed. Such touching, or 
blessing, by such a being as Maharajji, converted the food vibrationally 
from a physical material into prasad. In the absence of the physical form 
of such a being as Maharajji, food is offered in the heart and the mind of 
the devotee before partaking. If food is offered purely, the beings to 
which it is offered accept an essence from the food. Then we eat what is 
left, which has become prasad. In the West, this would be similar to our 
saying grace before eating. 

Maharajji also showed a continuous concern for the quality of the food 
that was being distributed from the kitchens at the temple. He would 
call the cooks and examine the food. If it was poorly made, he would 
yell if it was unnecessarily extravagant, he would yell. 


When I was living up on the hill in that little kati (hut), Maharayi would 
send me away with a box of food every evening. But when he gave tt to me he 
always checked the entire box, putting his hands all through it. 


Maharayi would tell the Mothers that the vibrations with which food was 
cooked could definitely affect your state of mind. He would say that f you truly 
made your food prasad, tt would purify you. But even a very pure man, if he 
ate_ food that was prepared without proper consciousness—that food would create 
confusion in his mind. He said that eating purely prepared food made a yogi 

Alt the market I bought some clusters of green berries to give to Maharaj. 
They were kind of dirty so I very carefully washed them. Then I put them 
back into the bag. But you know how i is with Indian bags. It broke and the 
berries fell all over the ground, so I carefully washed them again, berry by 
berry. It took a long time. Finally I brought them to Maharayi; everybody 
else, of course, had also brought fruits. But the minute I put them down 
Maharayi appeared very excited. He spread them all out very carefully, studied 
them, ate many of them himself, and distributed the rest as something 
particularly precious. I felt that he sensed the love and care with which I had 
prepared the berries. 


For some time, Maharayi would eat only the food prepared by one particular 
Ma. She told me that if one day she was too busy and someone had hetped her 
with it, he would refuse to eat it. She said that she would sometimes lie to him 
just so he would eat the food—she would say that she had cooked the _food by 
herself without help. Still he would push tt away. He seemed to be able to feel 
the difference. 



My Brahmin grandfather took his food alone, as was the tradition. The food 
was specially prepared for him by my wife. He had started to eat when 
Maharayi arrived, so father ordered more food prepared. My wife wanted to 
give Maharayi a special item of food that she had made for grandfather, so she 
gave some to Maharayi, Father got angry. 

"How can you give Maharayi other than freshly prepared food?" he asked 
wy wife. 

Then Maharayi called him and said, '""The freshly prepared food was eaten 
by the sadhu. The special food offered out of such pure love was eaten by 

MOST OF THE time Maharajji ate alone and distributed all that we devo- 
tees brought to him. But it was each person's dearest desire, when we 
brought the fruit or other food that Maharajji eat some of it himself. 
And when he did, it felt like such a precious moment, one in which 

Maharajji had accepted a token of your love. 

Once when I brought a soft apple and peeled it and cut it up and held it up 
before him as I had seen the Indians do, he reached down and took a few pieces 
Jrom my hand... and I experienced that ecstasy you might feel tf a wild bird 
or deer had come and eaten out of your hand. (R.D.) 

Maharayi was sitting in the back in Kainchi, by the showers, late one 
afternoon. We were offering him pomegranate seeds, most of which he was 
eating one by one, others he was handing out to the people around him. One of 
the Indians started giving him some of them back to him. Maharaji continued 
eating them obliviously and passing them out. The next thing you knew it had 
developed into this great little game. People were passing the pomegranate seeds 
under the tucket, passing them back so that I could Reep giving him more. He 
ended up eating all the seeds, though they had recirculated several times. We 
shared the delightful conspiracy of feeding and 'fooling" him. 



I purchased a dozen oranges to take to Maharayt. We arrived at the tiny 
temple where Maharayi was visiting and where many Indian devotees already 


had gathered and were crammed into his room. As soon as our presence was 
made known, we were pushed to the space just in front of the wooden table on 
whith Maharayi sat. I offered the oranges to him. There was already much 
fruit and some sweets on the table. But then something happened that surprised 
me. Maharayi started to go at my oranges as if he had never seen food before. 
A\s each orange was opened he would grab it and eat it very rapidly. And 
before my eyes he consumed eight oranges. I was being fed the other four, at 
Maharayt's insistence, by the school principal. 

Later I asked KK, a close Indian friend, about this peculiar behavior. KK 
explained that Maharaji was "taking on karma" from me and that this was 
a technique by which he often did that. (R.D.) 

THE MEANING OF "taking on karma" is that a very high being, such as 
Maharajji, can work with subtle vibratory patterns and can take from 
devotees patterns with which they have been stuck for this lifetime or 
many lifetimes. For example, such a being could take away your sorrow 
or your ill fortune. 

This process, which is a familiar one among Indian saints as well as 
sorcerers and medicine men from many parts of the world, can be done 
in a variety of ways. Often the medicine man works with a lock of hair 
or the feces or urine of the person suffering the effects of some negative 
forces, either inside or outside themselves. In India, such karmic healers 
often work with things the devotee gives them. Shirdi Sai Baba, a very 
great saint of India, would ask his devotees for azuvas, small coins worth 
less than a penny. These he would handle continuously until he had ex- 
tracted the negative condition from the devotee into himself. This nega- 
tive material he then could release from himself by other yogic pro- 
cesses. Another well-known guru in India asks his devotees for cigarettes 
and smokes from morning till night, year in, year out, often three or 
four cigarettes at a time. Maharajji's way was to eat the karma, and he 
seemed to have no limit to his capacity. One woman, a long-standing 
devotee, told the following story: 

Once in Bhumtiadhar, where Maharayi was staying the night, we had all 
taken our evening meal and had retired at 10:30 P.M. Around 1:00 A.M. 
Maharayi started yelling that he was very hungry and that he must have dal 
(lentils) and chapattis. I awoke and reminded him that he had already eaten. 
But he insisted that he must have dal and chapattis. Who can understand the 
ways of such a being. So I woke Brahmachart Baba (the priest) and he built a 
_fire and prepared the food. It was ready about 2:00 A.M. and we watched 


Maharayi consume the food with great hunger. Then we all retired again. At 
about 11:00, the next morning, a telegram arrived saying that one of 
Maharapt's old devotees had died down on the plains (about 150 miles away) 
the previous night at 2.00 A.M. When the telegram was read to Maharapyi he 
said, "You see, that's why I needed chapattis and dal."" This aroused our 
curiosity, because we didn't see at all. We pressed him but he would say 
nothing more. Finally after two or three days of our persistence he said, "Don't 
you see? He Ithe man who had died | had been nishing for chapattis and dal, 
and I didn't want him to carry that desire on through death for it would affect a 
future birth.” 

SoMETIMES WHEN visiting homes he would come to the door and say he 
was very hungry and ask if he could eat. In very poor homes where 
there might not be any food, he would just say he was very thirsty and 
ask for water. 

In Lucknow, Maharayi took some public-works officials in a car to the 
poorest part of town where these officials do not take proper care of the roads 
and sanitation. From one of the shacks he called forth a Moslem (whom 
Maharayi called "a Musselman") and they embraced, and then Maharaji said, 
"T'm very hungry.” 

"But Mahara, I have no food.” 

"Ap! Wicked one! You have two rotis [flat bread I hidden in the roof!" 

The man was surprised that Maharayi knew, and he got them. Exven though 
Maharayi and the officials had just eaten, he ate one with relish and handed 
the other to the officials including the Hindu Brahmins, who would never eat 
_food prepared by a Moslem, and said, '""Take prasad!" 

When Maharayi came to the Lucknow temple for the last time, he would 
say to each person who came (if he or she could afford to do so), ""Go! Get 
sweets,’ and when they would return with sweets, he'd distribute them, almost 

jifteen hundred rupees' worth that day. One doctor bought a thousand rupees' 
worth of sweets, and the personal problem causing him concern was solved. 

IN THE PERIOD between 1939 and 1949, when Maharajji would come into 
a town such as Nainital, all the women would prepare food in the hope 
that he would come to their homes. They did it out of a mixture of lov- 


ing service and the feeling that it was a blessing to feed such a saint. And 
KK, who followed him from early morning until late at night, once 
watched him consume twenty full meals in one day. Another reported 
watching him take ten meals in a row. And if you have been to India and 
understand the graciousness of the Indian home, where the guest is 
treated as God, you will appreciate the immense portions and the persis- 
tence in feeding. An Indian meal is more than ample for a normal human 

But perhaps Maharajji's immense capacity represented something 
other than dietary requirements. 

One morning Maharayi said to the people at the ashram, "You people can't 

feed me or take care of me. I'm going to Ma. She'll feed me." And he left for 
the ashram of Ananda Mayee Ma, a great woman saint of northern Indta. 
During the entire trip he was saying, "She'll feed me. I'm going to see Ma. 
She'll feed me." Then he burst into the darshan room like a child of five, with 
his blanket flying in all derections. She was sitting there and he was saying, 
"Mal! Feed me. Feed me, Mal” She exploded in laughter. A huge meal was 
brought to him and the two of them passed tt out to all the devotees. 

AGAIN AND AGAIN Maharajji enjoined us to "feed people." His concern 
was not merely for his own devotees but with all people who hunger. 
He would say, "God comes to the hungry in the form of food." And to 
the cooks he would say, "Making food is a service to God. People need 
food to stay alive." 

He used to say that you should serve everything, every creature. "It ts all 
God's creation. Serve everyone, whether he be a dacoit [thief] or anything 
else. If he comes to you hungry, give him food." So often he said, "Fveryone 
has a right to be fed.” 

MAHARAJJI'S OWN BEHAVIOR set a dramatic example for us. Besides 
feeding all who came to have his darshan, he was continually arranging 
for large bhandaras (celebrations consisting of mass free feedings for all 
corners, including the wealthy, the poor, the beggars, the lepers). The 
people were fed when they arrived, for Maharajji instructed, "A starving 

person should not have to wait. Such a person should be fed when he is 


At these great bhandaras, which often served a thousand or more, 
many devotees would vie to help in the preparation and distribution of 
the food. Here judge and merchant, teacher and politician, could all be 
found peeling potatoes, stirring the huge pots, or ladling out the salva 
or rice with huge spoons. 

The Kumbha Melas were even more festive occasions. These are gath- 
erings of hundreds of thousands of sadhus, saints, and seekers who come 
from all over India in order to bathe in the confluence of three rivers— 
the Ganges, the Yamuna, and the Saraswati, an underground spiritual 
river, at an auspicious astrological moment. It is like a huge spiritual fair 
that goes on for a month or more. At the melas Maharajji's tent usually 
served 2S0 to goo a day for at least a month. That is a lot of potatoes to 
be peeled! 

During these celebrations Maharajji demanded hard work of the devo- 
tees, and many saw these experiences as training in discipline. One devo- 
tee describes the experience this way: 

Alt the mela, they prepared \hichri (a rice and dal mixture), but the serving 
spoon was very heavy and soon the servers, growing tired, began to serve only 
small portions. As a result, the beggars would stand in line again and again to 
get enough to eat. Finally one of Maharayt's devotees got very angry and just 
then Maharayi arrived from Chitrakut (a place sacred to devotees of Ram). He 
yelled at them all and said they could not serve food with anger and that they 
should give plenty to everyone. 

ANOTHER, pointing out that the devotees were not even praised for 
working hard, said: 

No matter how hard people worked at the melas and bhandaras, Maharaji 

would say, "You people are playing and going about doing nothing. You are 
always sleeping.” 
ALTHOUGH PEOPLE WERE continually bringing food to Maharajji, which 
he distributed, sometimes there were more to receive than there were 
givers. It was at these times that the discerning eye caught Maharajji 
manifesting what is known as the "séddhi [power] of Annapurna." An- 
napurna 1s the Goddess of Grain, the aspect of the Divine Mother that 
feeds the universe. One who has Annapurna's siddhi can keep distribut- 
ing from a store of food, yet it will remain full. 


On a feast day at the temple when I was quite young, they were giving out 
special sweets. Maharayi gave me a small leaf cup of these sweets that he had 
been Reeping especially for me. Then he said, "You give those sweets back to 
me.’ So I gave them to him, because I had such faith in him. He just put the 
leaf cup under his blanket and began distributing those sweets from under his 
blanket. I don't know how he did it, but he gave a handful to each person in 
that huge crowd of at least a thousand people. I was so surprised. I couldn't 
understand how he could be distributing so many more sweets than the number 
of sweets I had given to him, so, being just a kid, I stuck my hand under his 
blanket and took out the leaf cup to see. Maharayi turned to me and satd, 
"Now the magic is finished.” 


AA man brought some oranges to Maharayi and put them in an empty basket 
by his side. Maharayi started giving the oranges to the people in the room and 
then to others in the temple. The man had brought eight oranges, and 
Maharayi gave out forty-eight. 

Alt the meta, many came to the tent and Maharayi told us to prepare tea for 
all those people. INo one wanted to tell Maharayi that they had run out of 
milk, Finally someone did, and Maharayi said, "Go and get a container of 
water from the Ganga and keep it covered with cloth."" All that day and until 
midnight that night, there was plenty of good tea with milk. 

Maharayi called me over to sit with him while he was throwing prasad 
(food offerings). He was eating small biscuits from a small plate with only a 
Sew biscuits. Maharayi started giving me biscuits, taking them out of the biscuct 
plate with his hand. He kept taking more out, until both my hands were full 
and I couldn't separate them because of the amount of prasad. Erarher I had 
been upset observing Mahara, thinking, "prasad should be given, not 
thrown." He knew that, and this 1s why he called me back and started giving 
me prasad into my hands, 


M aharajji once called me in A llahabad to tell me he had come down 
to V rindaban. W hen I arrived at the V rindaban ashram, there were 
only a few people there. O ne woman came for darshan, bringing a bag 
of wonderful apples. Y ou can't imagine how hig and luscious-look ing they 
were, M aharajji began distributing them and I thought surely he would 
give me one as well. But he didn't. H e gave a few to the other devotees 
and the rest he gave back to the woman. She wouldn't give me one, atther. 
Oh, how tightly she tied them back up in her bag! 

Shortly afterward, M aharajji crossed the yard and went into a room 
alone and sat on the tuck et in there. Then he called mein alone I don't 
know from where it came but he put his hand down beside him on the 
tuck ¢ and handed me an apple-even bigger, more luscious than those the 
woman had given him. A nd then he handed me another apple. I don't 
know where they had come from because I had seen for myself that he 
hadn't kept any from the woman! 

I was accompanying M aharajji from A llahabad to V rindaban b 
train, when in the station, before we boarded the train, I saw the loveliest 
large juicy oranges. F or a moment I was tempted to stop and buy some 
but I passed by. O nce we were in the train, my attention was diverted just 
for a short time, and when I looked again at M aharajji he had beside 
him such a huge bask et of oranges! I don't know where they had collie 
from, but they were better than those I had seen in the station. 

W hen M aharajji handed me one orange | zt it in the right 
breast pocket. The second orange | put in the lett breast pock et. T hey 
created such bulges that 1 looked like a woman! Then he handed mea 
third, which I put in one pants pocket, and a fourth, in the other pock et. 
A nd he kept on givingme more sothat I had to catch then in uy 
shirttails front and back. Hegaveme so many oranges! could hardly 
move! I started giving these sweet oranges out to others, saying "This is 
the best prasad I have to offer today." To this day 1 don't know how 
he came by those oranges. 


Alt the Kumbha Mela in 1966 Maharayi was sitting on the bank of the 
Ganga with two or more sadhus. He told us to bring him a lot of Ganga 
water. He held it for a few minutes and then told us to distribute it. It was 

TO ALL BUT the closest devotees, Maharajji tended to mask these powers 
and would often use a cover story to make it appear as if he had nothing 
to do with the additional food. 

When Maharayi established a Hanuman temple on a site that had previously 
been a burial ground, a great bhandara was held to set free the "wandering 
spirits."" Late at night it was discovered that the ghee (clarified butter) had run 
out. The man in charge of stores went to Maharayi and told him that there 
was a shortage of ghee, although many people were still coming to be fed. How 
were they to provide? Maharayi replied, "Go there and check among the 
empty cannisters! You'll find somewhere a full tin.” Although the man knew 
that they were all empty, as he himself had checked and counted them, he 
went. And, indeed, he found a full tin there among the empties. 

One man stayed with Maharayi for many years as a sort of attendant, He'd 
keep Maharaz's clothes, help him bathe and fetch water, and so forth. He 
performed much service and slept at Maharapt's feet to be always nearby. His 
practice was to Reep fast on Tuesday, taking only milk. On one Tuesday, 
Maharayi offered him food but he refused, saying he'd take milk. The whole 
day passed and he wasn't given any milk. 

Late at night Maarayi asked him if he'd eaten or drunk milk. He said no, 
he was fasting, but milk he'd had. Maharayi said, "You're lying! Tell the 
truth! No one gave you milk.” Maharayi's shouting woke the ashram, 
Maharayi questioned the cook and found that no one had remembered to give 
him his milk, and by now none was in the ashram. Maharayi got up and went 
to his room. He called the man in and told him to lock the door. Maharayzt 
asked the time, it was after midnight. Maharayi said, "You haven't eaten all 
day. It's after midnight. Can you eat now? It's Wednesday." The man said he 
could. Maharayi reached into his dhoti (cloth used to cover lower part of a 
man's body) and took out five parathas (fried bread) and two types of 
vegetables. Maharayi said, "It's God's prasad, Ram's prasad." The man 


started to leave so he could eat it outside, but Maharayi stopped him and told 
him to eat it there. When he was finished, Maharayi produced a small amount 
of khir (a sweet rice pudding). This the man also ate and then started out of 
the room to get water. Maharayi again stopped him: "Where are you going? 
Here's water." Water was kept near Maharagt's bed for his use in the night, 
but the man wouldn't use Maharayi's vessels. Maharayi poured the water into 
his mouth. Then Maharayi told him not to tell anyone about the evening. 

OFTEN THIS PROCESS of disguise would involve incredible abuse and 
yelling at devotees (shifting attention, as any good magician would do), 
thus creating in them great guilt, as if it were their own sloppiness that 
had led to the misplacement of the food. Later he would be very tender 
with them, and they sensed that he had used them but not abused them. 

One time they ran out of ghee at Hanuman Ghar, and Maharayi asked a 
devotee, in secret, to get some water in a bucket and put it in the woods. Then 
he said, in his usual direct manner, "I have to go piss," and he went out. 
When he returned, he was yelling. He went over to a sadhu and berated him 

for not watching the supply. He said thieves were going to steal the ghee. 
"Look," Maharayi said, "they have put a tin of ghee out here in the woods." 
And they brought in the bucket filled with ghee. 

A devotee was serving at a bhandara at Kaincht. They were starting to run 
out of malpuas (sweet purts), as the feast had continued for ten days. When 
the people came, they began to give them chapattis and dal, but no malpuas. 
Then sixty or seventy women arrived from distant villages, not just to see 
Maharayi but because they desired malpuas. Maharayi said, "Give them 
mabpuas."’ A devotee told Maharagyi that there were no more, and Maharaji 
upbraided him, saying, "You are a thief. There were plenty of malpuas. 
You've stolen them. Take the keys from him. I don't want him in the temple 
anymore. He should not have the Reys to the storeroom. He has probably 
hidden the malpuas somewhere."" When someone checked the storeroom, there 
were plenty of malpuas. Later Maharayi was so loving and tender to the 
accused devotee. 


I was in Allahabad with Majarayi at meta time. Maharayi said there were 
some Ma's who had come from Nainital and added, "Let's go to the meta 
grounds and find them." We took a taxi, which Maharapji dismissed once we 
arrived. It was dark. and many thousands of people were crowded there. 
Maharayi sent me and a friend to look, but we were fearful of losing him, so 
we made only a cursory inspection and rushed back, saying that we could not 
Jind the Ma's. Finally Maharayi said he would go. In the third tent that he 
investigated, he found them just as they were finishing a puja to Maharagi. 
They had been doing this puja every day for thirty days, hoping for his 
darshan. This was the final day. They had even made an image of Maharagji. 

Maharayi walked in and stood at the back of the tent, then he brought the 
Ma's to another devotee's house and sent us out for milk and sweets. We were 
students and did not want to spend all our money, so we said to each other, 
"After all, how much can a Ma drinké" We brought small amounts of sweets 
and milk, for which Majarayi berated us and threw us out. We sat on the 
porch, repentant. Later he called us into his room and asked, "Do you think I 
needed you to get sweets?" And there in the room were buckets and buckets of 
sweets, and Maharayi made us eat and eat. 

THE RETIRED superintendent of prisons of Lucknow, a very old and 
respected devotee, tells of his experience with Maharajji. The story is 
very special in that it reflects the faith of his wife, which was sufficient to 

allow her to let Maharajji's siddhi of Annapurna work through her. 

He would put you in the wrong, catch you unprepared, then help you. One 
night in Nainital we had returned to our house for the evening meal, after 
having been with Maharayi much during the day. There were four of us, and 
my wife had prepared just enough food for our family. Then my small 
daughter heard Maharayi passing by on his way from the government house 
and she went out and said, "Maharaji, we live here. Come to our house.” 

I called her and said, "Don't bother Maharayi. We have been with him 
much today."" Also I realized that we had only a little food. 

But Maharayi said, "No, I must go to your house,” and he came in, 
bringing about twenty people. After a very few minutes he said to me, "These 
people are hungry. Gwe them food." I wouldn't say no because I knew his 
strength, so I went toward the kitchen. Maharayi yelled, "And hurry up!" In 
the kitchen I whispered to my wife the dilemma we were in. We had only 
enough vegetables in the small pot for the four of us, and the market was far 
below and already closed. 

My wife, who had more faith than I, said, "Don't worry. Maharayi will 


take care of it. Here, take this small pot (which she had covered) and don't 
remove the cover to look inside. And there ts a large serving spoon. just serve 
the people and I nill make the puris." I did as she said, not looking inside. I 
knew it was going to be very odd. 

To each person I gave one or two large spoonfuls, then asked each, "Do 
you want more?” Some said yes and I gave it to them. Everyone got as much 
vegetable and purl as they wanted, 

Maharayi was smiling. Then he said, "Everyone has taken. Everyone ts 

full. This is a very big feast.” 

A numer oF stories of the "early days" have filtered down about Ma- 
harajji. How much ts fact and how much fiction is uncertain. Here is a 

delightful example: 

The village children of the area often came to the lake, herding their cows 
and goats. One day, seeing no one around, they hung their lunch bundles in 
the low-hanging branches of the trees and went off to play. They returned to 
find their lunches missing and Maharayi sitting contentedly under the tree. He 
smiled at the children, and in exchange for their food he pulled purls and \addus 
(a sweet particularly favored by Hanuman) from under his garment. The 
children ate to their hearts’ content. 

a oe Wabarajji’s Blanket 

THE WAY IN WHICH guru and devotee relate to one another varies 1m- 
mensely from devotee to devotee. In the holy books it is said that a dev- 
otee might see the guru in the roles of father, mother, child, friend, mas- 
ter, lover, or God. And there were devotees who saw Mahar* in each 
of these ways. But the essence of the way in which Maharajji's Indian 
devotees felt toward him is perhaps better captured by the word baba 
than by the term guru. Baba can mean "grandfather" or "elder." It is a 
term of respect used with either an older person or a spiritual person. 
The sadhus, or wandering renunciates, of India are usually called baba, 
and so is the old street cleaner. Its softness and familiarity better capture 
the quality of the play between Maharajji and his devotees. 

FOR some of them, he was seen primarily as the grandfather of the fam- 

The fatherly affection he'd give can't be gotten from anyone else. 



FOR OTHERS their "baba" was their dear friend: 

When you love somebody you play anything with them, That's what I did. 
I never thought differently. 

We'd travel together often and just talk, about this and that. 
FOR MANY he was a wise advisor: 
Pd just come, ask him my questions, and go. 
TO SOME he was just another saintly sadhu: 
He was just an ordinary baba. He'd come often, and we would give him a 

little sweet or a glass of water. He'd sit on a bare cot. And we felt so much 
bloated with pride because "we fed a baba today," 

My family has always had saints ike Maharayi connected with them. 
BUT FOR many he was a guardian angel, as if from another realm: 

While with him I abvays felt protection, from anywhere, from all things. 

Maharayi picks us from one spot and places us at another. 

Whenever we feel difficulty from any ordeals in our Life, we always 
remember him. Then he always helps us, either directly or by giving some 
strength to others to help us. 


AND FOR some, God: 

Whoever had his darshan, even from behind, ts saved. 


Maharayi ts the havan (sacrificial fire) accepting and burning my Rarma. 


He's beyond anything you could say of him. 
You see, he is God. That's of course who he ts. 

ALL THESE categories are too specific. Really, for most devotees he was 
now one and now another of these, or he was all of them. Quite simply, 
he was their "baba." 

I didn't care about his miracles. I only knew that he was my baba. 



One woman never thought of Maharayi as a great saint with powers. He 
said that he didn't have them, so she believed him. She thought of him as a 
saintly, good, and kind person, who gave her love and affection and peace of 
mind. Her husband thought that Maharayi was God himself In Maharapt's 
presence both of them would forget their problems. 


I have never been afraid of him. Never. It was not out of fear of him that I 
was tense and alert around him—but out of fear for him. For instance, tf you 


have a flower garden and are caring for tt, you are not afraid of the flowers but of 
the horse and the cow who may trample or eat tt or of the gardener who may 
Jorget to water it. I was afraid, you see, that someone's carelessness might cause 
him inconvenience or pain; like your mother would feel f you came home from 
school and she was not there—she'd worry about who would feed and take care of 
you. It was like that. 

AMONG THE Westerners there was also considerable heterogeneity in the 
ways of seeing Maharajji and being with him. Although many of us had 
extremely intimate relations with Maharajji, nevertheless, the more for- 
mal term "euru," with its emphasis as a vehicle for spiritual liberation, 
would seem a more appropriate label than "baba." Because gurus were 
not commonplace in the culture from which we had come, we tended to 
invest more heavily in the guru mythos. We didn't particularly want a 
erandfather or another friend. We wanted God or at least a divine inter- 

mediary. And that's how most of us saw Maharajji. In these quotations 
some differences among us become apparent: 

(One Western devotee speaks to another.) I didn't need to be around him a 
lot. It was okay for everyone else who had to be around him constantly. I 
think that my traveling with you was good because you were a perfect 
complement to me. You had to be near Maharayi, you had to sit at his feet; 
you had to pick up every Little detail, hear every little story. And I really 
loved that; tt was really beautiful—but for me all of that got in the way, that 
was not what I needed. I just needed the essence, the seed, the feeling. 


I remember one day we had eaten very well, as usual, and we all napped 
afterward. But there was a feeling of what the Sufis call bataka (blessing or 
Spiritual power). When we woke up we were disoriented, but it felt so 
delightful. A. lot of the real work for me was in that feeling I got after 
coming and taking prasad and relaxing. It was in this way that I experienced 
the actual baraka, or blessing, taking place. 



I was crying all the time because Maharaji wouldn't take me to him, inside 
his arms, into the temple and fly me up into the sky. After that first contact 
with him I became extremely eager, almost crazy, to be inside his blanket. 

So I always tried to bargain, to find some way that I could get him to take 
me. And I realized very quickly that there was no way to do anything that 

could make him take me. 


I never felt that the words were really important. The true guru is within. 
And Maharayi was a manifestation that I needed to see in order to understand 
that truth. 



Because of the longing for him and the sense of being in the presence of my 
own divine holy God-Mother—I always felt Maharayi to be as my Mother; 
Maharani was like the Ma for me. Maharapt's relation to God was totally 
internal and subtle. 

It was just so fine to be who you are—to be yourself. The playfulness was so 
infinite, the heart-opening so wide. 

IN THE FOLLOWING comparison between the behaviors of two of the dev- 
otees, another dimension of difference becomes clear. 

When Devotee A was in the temple it was predictable that if any 
Westerner were allowed near Maharajji, he would be the one. There was 
no limit to the ingenuity he employed to remain in Maharajji's presence 
for every possible second. If Maharajji told people to go away, A would 
be the last to leave and then might go immediately around the back of 
the building, pick a flower off a tree, and arrive from the other side, as if 
he were just arriving for the first ttrme. When others were being told to 
go, he would often hide so as to avoid being included in the expulsion 
edict. It developed into an elaborate game, in which Maharajji was a par- 

A was a master of his game. He seemed to have a special sense that 

told him where Maharajji would be any moment, and he managed to be 
there, waiting. Others tried to compete in this game but none ap- 


proached A's totally one-pointed (or, depending upon how you saw it, 
totally selfish) behavior. Others were hampered by guilt or compassion 
for others—feelings which, if mentioned, elicited only an un- 
comprehending look from A. 

Devotee B was an entirely different story. If Maharajji sent us to help 
in the kitchen, B would remain peeling potatoes long after others had 
given up and drifted back to Maharajji. He would stay until the last po- 
tato was peeled and then look for more work. Although he had been 
trained as an attorney in the United States, his service and humility at 
the temple were so outstanding that soon he was in charge of kitchens 
and storerooms. He remained in the temple performing the purest ser- 
vice for five years, until he was evicted by the government. No job was 
too menial and there was no evidence of personal pride about his humil- 
ity, nor any effort to get attention for his work. It was truly as if he 
came closest to God through his service. He hardly ever came near 
Maharajji, and when he did it was usually only to touch his feet and then 
go back to his duties. 

Devotees like A often infuriated other devotees because they seemed 
to be monopolizing Maharajji, while devotees like B aroused respect and 
sometimes guilt in others. Yet intuitively we knew that each in his own 
way was a pure devotee, and Maharajji obviously loved them both. 

As varied as were all the ways of seeing and being with Maharajji, so 
were his reactions. He responded to each according to his or her capacity 
to absorb. In the infinitely changing nature of Maharajji's behavior, each 
person found what he or she needed. Because he stood nowhere he was 
like a mirror, showing each devotee the baba or guru that they pro- 
jected. Often with one act he fed simultaneously the disparate needs of a 
dozen devotees. 

Who can say with these saints? They are like the sky. Maharajji's mind 
was completely clear. He would seem to have no thoughts; only that which 
Bhagavan (God) willed would come into his mind, Like a cloud it would 
come and then—whup----oh, such action that thought would produce! And 
again, like a cloud it would pass. His mind was always clear. 

He used to speak to the devotee according to the person's own depth, 
according to what line of devotion the person was .following, 




Tf you were clever or deceptive Maharayi ignored you, but tf you were 
simple and open he'd help you. 



Maharayi, when he liked a person, expressed tt from the heart. When he 
didn't want to see the face of a person, he would cover his face with a blanket. 


Maharayi did not reveal himself to everybody. He could see into the soul of 
a person; where we would see a nice sort of chap, he would see the person's 
inner workings. Lo some people he would just give prasad and send them 



Whether a person had been with Maharayi for twenty-five years or was a 
rank newcomer, all were given the same consideration. There were no 
javorites, and no one was indispensable. 

On one occasion a caravan of army trucks stopped at the gate, and hundreds 
of soldiers came and stood in line. Maharayi was talking to a farmer sitting 
beside him. One by one the soldiers and officers came forward, bent over and 
touched Maharagt's feet, looked at him for another moment, and then turned 
away. That experience was all most of them seemed to want. But every so 
often one would come forward who seemed different perhapsseeming to have 
a bit more light or perhaps seeming to suffer more. Many times I watched as 
such a person bent forward. Maharayi would hit him on the head, or give him 
a flower, or interrupt his conversation to say something to him, such as, "Your 
mother will be all right," or "You shouldn't fight with your superiors," or 


"You love God very much " We could see only the tiniest fraction of what 
Maharajji saw. 

The soldiers wanted pictures of Hanuman (the protecting deity of the Indian 
army) and of Maharajji, to carry as protection in war. Maharajji said, "The 
army has good and simple and spiritual men." It was not as if Maharajji were 
"deciding" to do this or that; rather, the nature of the seeker was eliciting from 
him, as from a mirror, this or that response. (R.D.) 



The first time I saw Maharajji was at a meta, and I was asked to come to 
Chitrakut. The first thing that impressed me was that he was like a mirror. In 
Chitrakut there were so many people and they were talking about all his 
doings, and I was never interested but said that I thought he was like a mirror. 
When they then told Maharajji, he was very happy to hear that I thought this. 


I would talk with Maharajji about all matters, including such things as 
science or humans going to the moon. He was like a mirror; he had nothing to 
do with any of it. But he showed interest, and the next time you spoke of it he 
would follow what you were saying. He used to say, "I remember 

MAHARAJJI DID not seem to be "deciding" how to react to any devotee 
and in fact advised others to... 


NEVERTHELESS, when pressed, he could "explain" his behavior: 

Once I was chastising Maharajji for giving photos to people who were 
worldly and didn't care about him. He said, "You don't understand me. If I 

*This quote, and those set in this manner throughout the book, are direct quotes of Maharajji. 


tal a man heis a great bhakta [devotee], I am planting a seed. If a 
let alneady has the seed planted and growing, why should I plant 

I said, "Y ou are telling these drunk ards, liars, and daovits that they 
an real bhak tas. T hey will just go home and carry on thar old 

M aharajji said, "Some of them will renenber what I said of them, 
and it will make then want to develop this quality in themselves. If ten 
out of a hundred are inspired in this way, it is a very good thing," 

A devotee once said to M aharajji, "M aharajji, why do you tell people 
to do something and then blame them for it?” "If1 tell them to jump 
off le should they do it? I just tell them what is going on in thar 

ALL OF THIS seemed to be a process Hae rote 
was ng devo- tees in the service of the awakening of one 

W hen the Indians were feeling resentful of the W esteners, M aharajji 
would say, "T hey are very sincere and very ae and that's why I love 
them. T he W estemers all test me. Y ou [Indians] all have blind faith." 
M aharajji oonnocee said of the W esterners, "F or W esterners, just 
being in India is a form of renunaation. T hey have given up so much to 
be here. O noe they believe, they believe fully, with thar whole hearts and 
souls, lik e children." 

NOT ONLY DID his response differ from person to person, but 
it varied over time for each individual as well. It was as if each 
time you came before Maharajji were the first time. And if the 
same conversation hap- pened again and again, which was often 
the case, it was because the dev- otee remained caught in the same 
place, visit after visit. But each time the devotee would let go of 
the aspect of his thinking and behavior in which he or she was 
stuck, then he or she would find a whole new Maharajji. 

One of Maharajji's favorite styles of dealing with devotees, 


the Indians, was abuse. And he was a master of it. Most of the West- 
erners did not understand Hindi well enough to appreciate the peppery 
language Maharajji used, and most of the translators took it upon them- 
selves to clean up his language for him. The Indians had become accus- 
tomed to his way of talking and actually interpreted it as a form of en- 


Maharayi always hit the people he liked. 

If he called you names, like saying you were wicked or depraved, you knew 
he liked you. 

He'd abuse people, calling them troublemakers, telling them they danced 

naked, drank too much, were rowdies or sherabis (winos). 

A relative used to give me trouble all the time, but I would say nothing. 
Troubled, I went to Maharayi and he knew right away, saying that this man 
was bothering me. He said, "It 7s good if somebody abuses you, good in a 
spiritual way also. _A person progresses f someone abuses him. Don't be 
worried. A day will come when this man will come and bow his head before 

One day it happened. He came to me, saying, "I made all these mistakes; I 
gave you unnecessary troubles...” 

BESIDES THE abuse there was a great deal of teasing and chiding. 

"Dada has his God today! Tea and cigarettes," said Maharapi to Dada, 
who only laughed. 


Dada used a corner of his own dhoti to wipe Maharapi's mouth. Someone 
criticized Dada and said he should not do this. Then a woman brought muitk 
and there were a few drops around Maharayt's mouth after he drank. 
Maharayi turned to Dada and asked, "Why are you leaving this?” and 
grabbed Dada's dhoti himself to wipe his mouth in front of everyone. 

One woman laughingly remembered the intimate friendship she had with 
Maharayi. She told how he loved to tease and "pull people's legs."" She 
described how he would play in this way with the Westerners. Before a large 
group of Indians he would ask them some questions, and they would give some 
reply. Then Maharayi would turn to the woman and wink, saying in this way, 
"See how native these people are; they don't know anything.” And the 
Westerners would be taking everything he said as deep mysterious truth, while 
he laughed at their simple innocence. 

Al family came for the darshan of Maharayt. They had bought a box of 
sweets for him in Nainital, and during the drive to Kainchi they began saying 
to each other how much they would like to sample a sweet or two. Finally they 
did so and then rearranged what was left so tt would not appear that one was 
missing before the box was presented to Maharayt. Immediately Maharayz 
recoiled and refused even to touch the box. "Take it away, take it away, it ts 
contaminated! Throw it out! Let the dogs eat it! No, the dogs wouldn't even 
touch this it 1s polluted. Throw it out!" 

There was a sweets-maker who used to come to Maharayi full of devotion 
and bring many sweets for all whenever he visited. Maharayi praised him and 
rewarded him. After some time he began to become inflated with pride and self- 
importance. One day in particular, after an absence of some time, he brought a 
prasad—a small box of sweets, half the size of what people usually bring—and 
this from a sweets-maker. Maharayi looked at him askance, emptied out the 


sweets, and gave the small box to a devotee nearby and said, "Don't give him 
a big box of puris. Here, put some puris in this instead." 

"Would you like to drink this water?” Maharayi asked me. It was unclean 
and from a Moslem source. He knew I was a Brahmin and would not drink it, 
and he never forced me against my nature. Often he would say to people, 
"Offer that to S,"" knowing I would not take it. Then Maharayi would say, 
"No, don't give it to him, he won't take i.” 

I had been in Bombay on a religious pilgrimage, where I stayed with a 
Jjamily in their home. The head of the family had to take a drink of alcohol 
every evening for his heart condition. He offered me some, and I ended up 

getting quite drunk on Scotch. 

Later, when I returned to Mahara, he was talking to me about a sadhu 
who had gone to America. Maharayi asked, "What do they feed him in 

"T don't know, Maharayi, but I'm sure it's very pure food.” 

"They feed him milk," said Maharayi, 

"That's good." 

"Do you know what they put in the milke” 

He leaned forward and said to me in a mock conspiratorial voice, "Liquor!" 


ey pel! 

"Oh, no!" I exclaimed as though he had just described the most horrendous 
breach of behavior. 

To which Maharayi replied, "Oh, yes," and looked at me significantly. 

I broke up. He had just nailed me to the wall. (B.D.) 

ONE OF THE beauties of the relationships between the abusing, chiding 
Maharajji and the devotees was that many of them weren't afraid to fight 
back. And he seemed especially to enjoy those who stood up to him. 


I was able to speak in this brutal way because, knowing him since I was 
six, I never reflected about the respectable way to talk with him; there was no 
feeling of "bigness" or "elderness" between us. Once, for example, he was just 
pulling on my nose and I said to him, "Don't do that! If you can make it 
longer, then you can do it; otherwise, don't touch my nose." 

Maharaji said, "Okay, I won't touch it. But I can bless you on the top of 
your head." 

I said to him that whatever he did with me, he must do in the right way. So 
he patted me on the head. This was the way I could talk to him. This is what 
I am missing these days, since he left his body. 


The last time I saw Maharajji was in Vrindaban. We had traveled since 
early morning to get there and arrived shortly before noon, but he didn't come 
out of his room until after 3:00 p.m. When he emerged he immediately began 
yelling at me, telling me to go away, saying that he didn't want to see my face. 
"Jao [Go]!" 

I yelled right back at him, asking what had I done to him. I had traveled all 
morning and waited all day to see him and this was his greeting. "No!" I said, 
"IT won't go." 

He kept on yelling and finally called the chaukidar to throw me out. The 
chaukidar came, hands folded, speaking politely but persistently. I yelled at 
Maharaji: "just let me see how this man will touch me! How he will throw 
me out! I won't go." 

You know, finally Maharajji called me to him. He patted me on the head 
and said a few mantras, just as he had done the first time I saw him. Now he 
was smiling so beautifully. He told me that his shakti (spiritual energy) would 
always be with me and that now I should go. By then I was filled by him, and 
I said that he didn't have to tell me to go. I was leaving on my own now, 
because I had received his darshan. 

My mother is a great devotee of Maharajji, and she even rebuked Maharajji 
when she thought it proper. Maharaji said of her, "See, she can do this. Only 
people with a pure heart can do such things!" Then again, sometimes 


Maharayi rebuked her for coming. "Oh! Why have you come? You should go 

home. You've come without the permission of your son!” 

I never knew who Maharayi was. Once when I wouldn't leave, Mahara 
said, "You have eaten my brain. Please go from here." Maharayi would insult 
me: "'Go away. I won't talk to you.” I would reply, "I won't go until my 
work ts done." 

I didn't want to go to Madras nith Maharayt. He asked me to go, but I had 
no clothing. Maharayi said he was going, and I said I would only go to the 
station and say good-bye. So I went inside his railroad coach because I wanted 
to pranam. But he just wouldn't talk to me; he turned away and wouldn't even 
look at me. I wouldn't get off, and after the train started, Maharaji began 
laughing. Then I had to go with him. 

In those days Maharayi never stayed too long in one place—seldom more 
than two or three days—so I wasn't able to get his darshan more than a few 
times. Then I left Kanpur for Calcutta for twenty years, where I was very 
busy and had no connection with Maharayt. When I returned to Kanpur I 
remembered Maharayi, wondering where he was and growing annoyed at 
myself for not seeking him. I left my meals for two months. My wife asked me 
why I was angry, why I wouldn't eat grains, but I never told her the reason. I 
was deeply annoyed with myself. 

Once in Allahabad a man asked that I have the darshan of a very good 
saint. Without knowing the saint's name, I was taken to Dada's house. 
Maharayi saw me and said, ""Why have you not eaten your meals for two 

IT rephed, "Why have you not given me darshan? I may be mad, but you 
are a saint—you shouldn't be mad." Like a child I spoke very rudely to him. 

Someone asked me, "Are you going to have a fight with Maharayie” 


I said, "Y es, of course. W hy shouldn't I fight? H eis like my father and I his son. 
W hy shouldn't we fight? D on't interfere." 

M aharajji said, "Please don't interfere. H eis my very old devotee." 

T he people went away and M aharajji turned to me and said, "N ow go home | will come 
to your house tomorrow morning and I'll take my meal there." 

I said, "A Il right, when you take your meal at my place, only then will I start taking 
grains. p you don't come, I will not." 

M aharajji said, "C ome tomorrow." 

I said, "No, M aharajji. I have no reliance on your words. Y ou tell me to come for you 
tomorrow, but you may not be here then. Then what will my position be? I won't go. I'll sleep 
tonight here on the verandah or on the grass." 

M aharajji said, "N o. T here's no place for you to sleep here." 

I said, "It doesn't matter, M aharajji. I'll sleep outside the gate on the public road with 
one or two bricks for a pillow. Then in the morning I'll catch hold of you." 

Maharajji said, "Oh, no. You must rey on me I will definitely go with you. Y ou 

Maharajji insisted, giving me his firm word. He then sent someone after me to drive me 
home. This man asked me to wait for half an hour. | sat down. Several people who had 
overheard my discussion with M aharajji told me that M aharajji often gives a blank check that 
is never cashed. H e may or may not come 

I told them that I would come the following morning, and if M aharajji didn't come with 
me, I would take the oath that I would not even drink water until he came. 

A sI was saying this M aharajji immediately came from inside "W ait, wait. I'll go with 
you just now." 

W edimbed into two cars and drove to my house, arriving at about deven at night. N o fresh 
food was available, but M aharajji ate of the leftovers from dinner, taking a little of whatever 
was offered. He said, "I've taken. N ow you eat. Start eating grains and don't fast." T hen 
he left. T his is the story of M aharajji's blessing upon me. By and by it increased. 

OFTEN THE quality of the play between Maharajji and devotees 
was truly childlike. 

Maharajji would plead with me like a spoiled child. "Oh, Ma, please sing 
bhajan [devotional song]." He would quote the song, "A well without 
water, a cow without milk, a temple without a lamp, so is a man without 


It was the day of Rakshabandhan, the day of tying protection ribbons on the 
wrists of your brothers. Earlier, I had bought ribbons for my brothers and for 
Maharajji as well. I left the ones for my brothers at home but had Maharajji's 
in my purse. I'd never spent this day with Maharajji and I very much wanted 
to tie the ribbon around his wrist, but I felt shy doing it in front of so many 
people. When we were alone for a moment he let me tie it on his wrist. Just 
then someone came into the room and Maharajji said to him, very shyly, 
"Mother is tying the Rakshabandhan." 


Maharajji had been in his room all morning, giving darshan to many people. 
After many hours Dada whispered to Maharajji, as a father to a child, 
"Come, Maharaji, you have been in here all morning and have never once 
gone to urinate." 

Maharajji put the blame squarely on Dada's shoulders: "It's all your fault. 
You didn't remind me!" 

Maharajji once seemed to make a great effort to pick up a dead fly on a piece 
of paper. Finally he held it out for Dada to take. As Dada reached for it the 
fly flew away, and Maharajji said angrily, "I went to all that trouble, and 
you let it go!" 

"Baba" said Dada, "it was in your hand, not mine." Maharajji just 

In 1968, at Kainchi, Maharajji would spend most of the day sitting on 
Dada's bed. He would say, "Dada keeps awake, so I must stay up, too." At 
3:00 A.M. he came to Dada's room, knocking. "You wake me, so today I 
wake you!" 


"But it's 3:00 A.m.," protested Dada, "and I wake you at 5:0so."" Maharajji 
just laughed and came in. 

Once the Ma's came to Maharajji, saying, "Maharajji, come take your 

"Go away," he replied. "I don't want to. Come, KK, we'll go to 


Maharajji was lying down, sick with a cold. Mrs. Soni, who had never seen 
him lying sick like that, rubbed his feet and said, "Oh, Maharajji, your feet 
are so cold." 

"Are they, Ma?" He was like a little child. 

It was a new moon, which is auspicious to see. So just as one would with a 
child, she said, "Maharajji, come to the door and look at the new moon and 
you'll be better." 

"Will I, Ma?" She helped him to the door, coaxing him. "Ma, I don't see 

"There it is." 

"Where, Ma?" Finally: "Oh, I see it." 

Then she said, "Now you'll be all better tomorrow." She helped him back 
to bed, and the next day he was better, 

One devotee said that although she had a camera she had never taken 
pictures of Maharaji. She would lend her camera to others. One day it was 
loaded and in her possession. She was alone with Maharajji and decided to try 
to take pictures. 

"He tried to pull my leg. You know—posing this way and that, turning his 
head to the right, the left, pretending to meditate. It was such fun." She 
pointed out several photos of Maharajji, now on the ashram walls, which were 
taken at the time. 


Only we were allowed to be with him at all times—while he was eating, 
bathing, or going to the latrine. He was so delightful! Sometimes he was like a 
small child—so playful and joyful. Sometimes he would seem so helpless. 

A man would come to Kainchi dressed in his camouflage jungle clothes and 
tell Maharajji stories of his hunting exploits. Mahrajji called the man "hunter' 
in English. The man once skillfully described crawling stealthily through the 
grass in search of a tiger, slowly parting the grass ahead of him as he crawled. 
As he related the incident he acted out his part. All this time, Maharajji sat in 
seemingly rapt attention, with apprehension proper to the mood of the story. 
"Then suddenly," said the hunter, "there in front of me was a tiger!" 

At this, Maharajji leaped backward on his tucket, just as a child would do. 
Maharajji was so gleeful at such a good story. 


_ Once when Westerners arrived Maharajji yelled with childlike delight, 
Here they come! They've come to see me." 


THERE IS A LONG history of Maharajji's association with dacoits, or rob- 
bers. To the extent that a person had a pure or spiritual spark, Maharajji 
would point to it and fan it—regardless of the person's social status. At 
the same time, he did not condone thievery, and he dealt harshly with it 
when it came to his attention. Besides meeting the lawless element of so- 
ciety in jails, which he often visited, he met them on the road in cul- 
verts. In his earlier days when he wandered the jungle, the huge ditches 
under the roads that were designed to hold the monsoon rains served 
well as shelter in the night. And here he found individuals who became, 
in One way or another, his devotees. 


Maharajji slept in many culverts. So did dacoits. They would go in and 
push aside the cobwebs and all. There is one huge culvert near Mathura under 
a bridge where robbers go and await their prey. Maharajji would stay there and 
the dacoits would say, "Baba, are we going to get any money tonight? You'd 
better say yes or we'll kill you." 

Maharajji says that's why he knows all the bad guys. 

Dacoits would get free education in Nainital. The children would come to 
see Maharajji, and Maharajji would say of their fathers, "Their hearts are 
pure sometimes." Someone showed Maharajji a picture of a dacoit with 
rudraksham beads (sacred beads of Shiva). "How sincere," Maharajji 
commented. "He did bad things but he was pure in his duty." 


A policeman lead a captive through town and was being very cruel to him. 
Maharaji said, "Don't do that." 

The policeman was very abusive to Maharajji, but Maharajji replied, "You 
should be more kind. You never know when you will be in the same position." 

The next day the policeman was arrested for bribery and taken in chains 
through the town. 

Maharajji was visiting a jail during Ram Lila (a festival during which the 
Ramayana is enacted daily), and the inmates were acting out the Ramayana, 
dressed in appropriate costumes. The jail superintendent was arrogantly telling 
Maharajji who was in prison for what and for how long—even while the 
inmates were enacting characters from the Ramayana. The superintendent's old 

father came, and Maharajji had him do arti to the fellow who was playing 
Ram and also touch his feet. This humbled the superintendent. 


Al woman and her sister were taken by Maharayi to visit a juvenile jail in 
Bareilly. The convicts had constructed a dais for Maharayi to sit on, but they 
were required to remain some distance _from him, They sang kirtan, with folded 
hands. Maharayi gave some money to the superintendent for sweets for 
everyone but told him not to tell where the money had come from. As they 
were leaving they saw some young boys, sitting in their cells. 

One of the women with Maharayi asked, ""Maharayi, can't you do 
something for theme” 

Maharayi was in tears. "Do you want to take that responsibility?” 

Once Maharayi was arrested as a loiterer and put in jail. Three or four 
times during the night he unlocked the cell to go out and urinate, much to the 
perturbation of the jailer, In the morning, the jailer told his superior of the 
trouble Maharayi had caused him. The superior realized who Maharayi was 
and apologized, brought him food, and let him go. He became a great devotee 
of Maharayjt. 

Maharapi frequently used the expression "Central Jail” in reference to his 
body and to the ashrams. Maharayi used this expression even before I became 
superintendent of police of the Central Jail. Maharayi used to visit an Anglo- 
Indian devotee who was in the Fategarh Central Jail. While visiting J's home, 
Maharayi would ask for prison food and they would serve him the prisoners’ 

Jare. He would eat wu, then visit the prisoners. A_few of these people, who were 
Jrom all walks of life, even considered themselves devotees. 

Dada and Gurudatt Sharma were with Maharayi in a jeep on their way to 
the temple at Bhurniadhar. As they drove up to the temple they saw some men 
who were apparently trying to break in. Maharayi grew very excited and said, 
"They're after Hanumanji! Let's go! Let's go!” 

The dacoits ran off down the road. Maharayi jumped out of the jeep, 
dropped his blanket, and took off down the road after them, running full speed. 


Dada and Gurudatt Sharma tried to keep up but kept getting in each other's 
way, and by the time they caught up with Maharayi he was already returning. 
He was laughing and happy. "I chased them, Dada. I scared them! I yelled so 
loud that they peed in their pants. I did good, Dada. Didn't I do goodé" 

r1 y 

Once an inspector who had been accused of taking a bribe, the Central 
Excise Commissioner, and Maharayi were sitting together. Maharayi asked 
the inspector, ""You take bribes, don't you?" 

The man trembled and wept. Maharaji asked the Commissioner, "He will 
be thrown out and go to jail?” 

The boss rephed, "I don't know.” 

Mahara then said, "If he's thrown out, his children and wife will die.” 

The man was acquitted. Maharayi would get people to make confessions 
publicly, and thereby clear their conscience, and then he would seek compassion 

Sor them. 

It was a hot summer night and Maharayi and some devotees were sitting 
outside on the lawn at D's house. Maharayji was sitting in the only chair. All 
the members of the top-class gentry encircled him. I sat at a distance, watching. 
Then two people came, one dressed in the traditional formal attire of an 
advocate and one in a dhot. Both pranammed and took a seat beside me, but 
Maharayi ignored them and talked to those in the circle. The two newcomers 
were very impatient and the advocate wanted to leave. I felt much trouble in 
them, for tf you are before a saint, why run? The advocate pressed the man in 
white, who stood up and got Maharagt's attention. He said he had a request. 

Maharayi said, "Go on.” 

He continued, "My friend [advocate] ts in great trouble." 

So Maharayji said to the advocate, "You are not an advocate, are you?” 

He replied, "True, I am not.” 

Maharayi asked, "What ts your trouble?" 

The man couldn't answer but his friend in white said, "He was involved in 

"Did you not commit murderé” asked Maharag. 



"Was not the murder arranged by you?” 


Maharayi looked as if he were viewing a slide before his eyes. Maharayi 
said, ""What harm did he do you? Was he not a simple and honest mane” 

"Yes, but he was a hurdle in my way.” 

Maharayi said, "He had three or four children. It is a heinous crime. Are 
you not sorry?” 

"Ves. mr 

"You will not do it again in your life?" 

Now you can go,"" Maharaji said. 

The man in the dhoti asked, "Will he be acquitted?2" 

Maharagi said, "Yes, he will be pardoned.” 

Maharayi said to the murderer, "Think of the man's wife and helpless 
children. Who will look after them?" The man was trembling. 

"Look after the children,” Maharayi continued, "and help them, and you 
will realize later what you have done."" The judge for the case had already 
written a decision, but late at night he got up and changed the judgment 
to acquittal. 

During Maharayi's absence a number of bags of cement were stolen from the 
Vrindaban ashram. As soon as he returned he called for the gardener. 

"How many bags of cement did you steale” 

"No, Maharaji, I didn't take them.” 

"Tell me," Mahara continued, “how much money did you get for 


Maharayi stood up and slapped the gardener on the face so hard that he fell 
to the ground. Then Maharayi walked away, leaving him there. Five minutes 
later, Mahara inquired of others, "How ts he now? Call him.” 

The gardener again came before Maharaji. 

"Did you steal them? How many rupees?” 

The gardener confessed and satd that he received 250 rupees for the cement. 

Maharayi turned to the man in charge of the ashram accounts and said to 
him, "Give him another 250 rupees," and to the gardener, "INow, go!" 

The gardener was fired and sent away. Some time later he returned and 

touched Maharagt's feet and begged to have his old job back again. 


Maharayi said, "You've come back! This time I'11 put you in Central 

The gardener was sent to the Lucknow temple, where Mahotra, a retired 
prison offictal, was the manager. 

A\ policeman and a dacoit were both visiting Maharayt. Each was massaging 
a leg. Maharaji said to the dacott, "There is a bounty out for you and anyone 
who brings you in gets a reward, isn't that true?” 

"T don't know, Maharaji," the dacoit replied. 

Then Maharayi turned to the policeman, "Do you recognize hime" 

"No, Mahara." 

Such was his play. 

5 ‘ “ig : RAS ah NR Ok * x 
en eT SAMAR ANS So Son * x 


Sublle “s Che Path Of Po Ao 

When Maharajji gave one American devotee the name of 
Chaitanya Maha Prabhu, he told him that his name meant 
"consciousness of God within the heart." Later Chaitanya wrote a 
poem that delicately suggests the precious moments and feelings we 
shared in Maharajji's presence. 

You move through woods 
before you reach the temple 
and cross a flowing stream. 
Gentle, so gentle... 
Perhaps he's there; 
perhaps not. 
Either way you're sure of sweets, and other nourishment 
that promises so much. 
Alnd like your dreams 
not even sleep ts required; all ts provided free. 
The only limitation 1s—doubt-- 
nothing else. 79 



For here there ts no need of you; you are free 
to come and go. Free to see 

all that was once relation 

wander in a place beyond your expectation. 

How can anyone describe what happened? 
I never asked any questions. 
Didn't relax. 
It's not as if I suddenly became a child. 
When others sang 
I'd catch my hands 
and watch. 
Tf you asked I'd have to say 
nothing happened—nothing at all. 
I don't know how much was prepared 
before I came: 
He merely looked at me . 
and, like the nind, 
was everywhere 

He was the edge of cliffs 

biding me to leap. 

The leap itself 

its river-sound and rock space. 

Fear he was, and longing 

the hesitation, trust 

the standing still. 
And no matter where I fall 
he holds me. 


True, tt ts strange 
to inhabit the earth so lightly, 

to have one's proper name 
drop away 

like a leaf you hid behind... 

to have a new name tremble awkwardly 
over your lips . 

to find the voice behind the lips 
suddenly singing. 

It's hard being dead 
at first, when the world no longer seems strong 
enough to hold you 
and you long to know the time, what 
day it ts, 
his name. 
He zs tender with you then, and all doors 
are open to you. 
He Lets you go on wishing 
your own wishes; nothing is required. 
You are free 
to test your world 
like a broken toy 
against his playful emptiness. Perhaps 
this 1s all you need, a contrast 
with your world... 
some sweets, a place to be, a show to watch 
FEnough—to be no longer who you used to be 
But subtle ts the path of love. 

No answers and no questions. 




Each day with him has its own momentum. 
The only thing missing ts a beginning. 

The change can be total. 

Here where love is 

stronger than electricity, 

and candles burn more slowly 

than the candles you know. 

Here, where days neither begin nor end—qutet days, 
neither inside nor out, neither with others 

nor alone. 

So simple. So strange. 

Being free to go, you're drawn to stay. Still, 

he may not look at you for months. Never ask 
your name or offer another to you. 

Your anxious hands may never catch 

the fruit he throws so quickly without seeing you. 
His feet may seem too close to the earth 
for you to kiss—no matter. 

Als you remain with him you 

Grow used to the stars and 

rise dark, mornings so you can hurry to him. . 

‘Those things that combine to distract you will vanish 
in_your readiness to be always in his presence. 

The shame it evokes, and the hope, 

are the lovers you _first 

spy on. He lets you watch them create each other 
while he just lives there in such sweetness 

that their differences commuingle in hes light. 


And soon, their power over you 

fites like fruit from his open hands, and 
they close forever 

over what you thought you were. 

Here in this orchard of the heart 

he feeds you all you bring him, 

though you may never realize how. 

So stmple, so strange. 
And still you think, 
Have I tricked myself again? 
What do I want, 

and why? 
What keeps me here— 

7s this his so-called power? 
Tf only I could leave, I would. Perhaps, 
I've strayed among the cliffs too long— 
perhaps, I'm lost... 
What's happened to my future? 

This isn't what I want 
or ws wt? 

So stmple. So strange. 
He sat upon a wooden bed and looked 
unreal and far away. 
When I first saw him 

I looked at him 

he didn't look at me. 
I made no difference in his world. 
Everything was new to me then 

even his elbows made me laugh. 




And his loving eyes gazed openly 
into my hidden world. 
Asking nothing, being all. 

Those were the graceful days. 

We did nothing at all. 

He used to say we were good for nothing 

but the five-limbed yoga: eating, drinking, sleep, 
gossip, and moving about. 

Alone among friends 

we ate with our hands 

and tossed our leaf plates in the river. 

How lke himself 
he was 
opening doors 
sitting where he sat 
walking here and there 
saying what he pleased 
laughing when he laughed 
and we laughed with him. 
Letting all distinctions, like the future, 
which before had moved so restlessly ahead, 
conform to the folds of his blanket. 
So much 
as being with him 
his presence being all. 
"Don't throw anyone out of your heart,” 

he said. "Love people and feed them.” 


So semple. So strange. 

He let us walk with him and hold his hand. 
Put flowers on our heads and pulled our beards. 
He'd send us away 

and call us back, married us 

and named our children— 

Who could he be? 

Oh, what a funny old man 

his clothes were falling off. 

We came to be here now 

and he said, "Come back tomorrow." 

What «s it that touches the purest secret in us 
L et us enter 
where all ts distance? 

Is ct truth 
so familiar tt seems to live alone? 
—the tense urge that lovers are. . 
the space between two thoughts... 
a letting go... 
The gift 
flowers endlessly... 
forever turning us toward love's beginnings 
to where 
we 10 longer are. 
Only absence left 

to remind us. 


Thoughts arise and pass away. 

There ts nothing I can do. 
No thoughts 
no deeds 

CAN Save Me. 

I sing. I dance 
with hands held high in adoration. 

I play my part... all other roles 
being taken; 

the unseen and the seen. 

So tt has been. 

So at nill be. 

Al trusting heart 

consumes all Les. 

O Beloved, 
there are no distinctions, 
the whole universe 1s strung upon you. 
This garland I place at your feet— 
let me give you flowers... 
my child, my lover, 
you cold old stone 
monkey Man... 
There is nothing I can do to touch you. 
SZ, I well. 
Brother among brothers 
sister father friend, 
why pull your blanket from my hands? 


To help me ts such a trifling matter. 
The pain ts too much to bear. 

But I bear i. I bear all. There ts nothing else. 
let me give you flowers . . 

Forever let my love be unfulfilled 
Forever let me yearn for you 

Can I ever forget that I never remember you? ° 
Subtle ts the path of love. 

So semple. So strange. 


ar aith Mo S ear 

ALL THE COLORFUL melodrama that transpired wherever Maharajji went; 
all the various ways the devotees thought of and reacted to Maharajji, 
and his many faces in response; the anger and abuse, the chiding, the 
tenderness—all of this filled the time and space when we were around 
him, and yet... we knew that this was a part, but not the essence, of 
the relationship. It was not acts or words or opinions, but something far 
more subtle that Maharajji was transmitting to us. It was deep within 

ourselves that Maharajji was gently transforming us. 

There was no aspect of life that was not touched by him. 


You know, you could go to Maharagi filled with many problems. You'd sit 
with him a while and they would all be solved. 



He would create an entire situation just to teach you. He never gave lectures 
or taught from scriptures, but he taught through incidents and situations. 

Maharajji guided us on all /evels—spiritual, mental, and material. He gave 
instructions in how to raise children and in being a good marriage partner and 
in business. But these were not specific rules or instructions. He guided by 
changing the heart. 

I was invited by a group of high-powered folks at Esalen to join them in 
studying with a Sufi teacher in South America. I was very uncertain about the 
whole matter, so I wrote to KK in India and asked him to find out from 
Maharajji whether I should go to Chile for these studies. Then the answer 
came back from KK: "Maharajji says that you can go and study with a Sufi 
saint if you desire." 

As I read the letter something happened in my heart and I suddenly felt 
absolutely certain that I didn't want to go, and so I didn't. On my next visit to 
India, when discussing this letter with KK, he told me, "When I asked 
Maharajji, he said, 'If he wishes, let him go ...' And then he said, 'Why 
would he want to go?' But then quickly he added, 'Don't write that last part 
in the letter.’ " (R.D.) 

IT WAS AT THIS deeper level that we felt Maharajji to be the shepherd and 
ourselves to be a part of the flock. Through this unspoken process we 
developed faith where previously there had been fear. Our faith was that 
in the midst of the changing uncertainties of the universe, if we kept 
Maharajji in our hearts, if we just stayed under his blanket in trust, then 
it would be all right. 

Devotees who had been with Maharajji for many years often reflected 
a fearlessness in the manner in which they lived, as the result of their 
faith in his protection. Some he specifically taught to be fearless. 


Mahara once called me over and said, "Ram Dass, you are to fear 

nothing.’ (R.D.) 

Once, when my _finances were in disarray, Maharaji came to my place and 
said I should not have anxiety. I said to him I wasn't calling for any 
anxtety—though I was indeed anxious. "No, no, no. You should not have 
any anxiety." 

It ts strange. | am still that same person, but even in a crisis I feel it will be 
set right sooner or later. Maharayi does it: I have had no anxiety. 

My wife says, "You are completely changed. Fiven serious matters you take 

He didn't say that he would do so, but at that moment he took my anxiety. 

Maharayi had taken all my responsibilities on his shoulders. He told me, 
"Don't be afraid of anything. NNo one can do anything against you!" When he 
was physically before us we were not so courageous, but now I am more 
courageous day by day. Now his power ts working. Now I see him in dreams 
but only for a moment. I have faith that he ts working for his devotees. 

KK had much fear—suppression of the soul. Maharayi said, "You are 
afraid. You are so simple and they are clever and they fool you. You are afraid 
of Brahmins. But you will not be afraid of anybody.” 

KK replied, "For this, I want the grace of your blessing.” 

Then Maharayi patted him on the back two or three times, and after that 
everyone noticed a change in KK. 

One time I was reported to the officials for packing underweight fruit boxes. 
I was innocent, but the charge had me worried. Maharayi chastised me: 


"Coward! Never be a coward! Be brave! Coward! Why do you fear? Don't 
you know me? I am with youl” Then he reminded me of how Ram protected 
his devotees, He said that he too would always protect his devotees, Even if 
they committed hundreds of murders, he would give them conaplete protection, 

THERE WAS no dearth of examples, for those who needed them, to dem- 
onstrate that faith in Maharajji was well placed. 

Well, I was staying in Kaincht. I went to Maharayi and said, "Now I 
have to go. It 1s my fruit season and I have to be there. Otherwise I will incur 
a great loss," 

I am a worldly man, you know. My fruit must be picked and sent off to 
Bombay and such places. Every day I remained in Kainchi, tt was getting riper 
and would soon be too ripe to send away. 

Maharayi said, "INo, no you nill stay here, You will go tomorrow.” 

Fifteen days passed in this way. Then, finally, Maharayi said, "Tomorrow 
I will send you. Be sure about it.” 

So the next day I came here and the fruit was all overripe. I thought, 

"Well, Maharayi has given me a loss." All the fruit was overripe, and I could 
only send it off to the local markets at Kanpur or AHahabad—not to Bombay, 
where we got better prices. 

And what happened? There was a great slump in the market! Those people 
who had sent their fruits to Bombay, Calcutta, or Madras couldn't even make 
up the freight charges! And I, who had sent my fruit to local markets, got more 
than my expectations. I had been so very much annoyed with this Mahara 
who had unnecessarily detained me in Kaincht. Who knows his works? 

The enemies of a certain family had for some reason surrounded the family's 
house and locked them inside for three days and nights. If they stayed inside 
any longer they would starve, and tf they went outside they would be beaten by 
these wicked ones. While the family inside was discussing their dilemma, they 
heard some shouting at their door: "Open up! Open up! Come out and fight! 
Are you caste or are you cowards? Come on!" They peeked outside and saw 
Maharayi waving a stick and shouting. They all grabbed sticks and ran out to 
Maharayt. When the attackers saw the family armed with sticks and being led 
by this fat man, they ran away, 

Maharayi then said, '""Telephone so-and-so and so-and-so, Tell them that I 

am here." 


Within half an hour, police generals and government ministers were sitting 
in the living room of the man's house. Thereafter the attacks on the family 

AA man's eight-month-old child was standing on a thirty-foot balcony. A 
servant and the child's brother were there playing with a kite when the child 
fell to the marble floor thirty feet below. The mother tried to catch the child but 
couldn't. The child didn't move, but still there seemed to be no broken bones. 
Suddenly the child laughed, and the doctors could find nothing wrong at all and 
said that this was tmpossible. Some days later, Maharayi came to their house 
and said, ""You were worried. You still didn't realize who you have on your 

shoulders, protecting you. The baby didn't fall on the ground. It fell on my 


While in Madras one day, Maharagji said, "IT want to show my eyes to a 
good doctor. Who is a good doctor here?" I told him that there was a specialist 
nearby. Mahara said, "Al right. I'M show my eyes to him." That evening 
I found that this doctor was out of town, so I fixed an appointment with 
another specialist for 10:30 in the morning. 

When I explained the situation to Maharayi, he asked who the other doctor 
was, and when I told him his name Maharapyi said, "Nay, nay! I want to see 
the first doctor, not this other one." 

Maharayi told me to come to him after three days. This was a long time and 
I was impatient. After two days the first doctor had returned, so I made an 
appointment for Maharaji. | went immediately to the Aharmashala (hostel) to 
tell him, but Maharayt's luggage was just being carried out. When I told him 
the doctor had come, he laughed and said, '"Today I'm going to 
Rameshwaram.” He refused to let me accompany him. 

Nearly a month later, on my way to Bombay, I broke my spectacles. A 
specialist there made new spectacles for me, but nithin five minutes of putting 
them on I got a serious headache. The spectalist checked everything and said 
they were all right but it would take a few days to get used to them. 

I returned to Madras, but I still couldn't put on those specs for more than a 
jew moments. I decided to show them to a specialist in Madras and wondered 
which one I should go to—the first doctor or the second. Now, the second was 


very quick and always available, while the first was very busy and one had to 
wait for hours to see him. But I remembered what Maharayi had said, so I 
made an appointment with the first one. When I told my son, he asked to come 
along for a check-up. The doctor tested my eyes and found that the new specs 
the Bombay doctor had given were the wrong prescription. That was corrected. 
When he examined my son's eyes he found the cornea was torn—serious 
enough _for an immediate operation. Although he missed his _final examinations 
at college, my son's eyes were saved. This ts what Maharapi's Vila (play; 
game) of a month earlier had been about. 

A devotee from Allahabad said he had met Maharayi forty years before. He 
was traveling at night and he had become totally lost, when he suddenly saw a 
cave with a light in tt. As he approached the cave he discovered Maharayi 
sitting there. Maharayi gave him food and after the meal said, "You are lost. 
Go in that direction." In about fifteen paces the devotee suddenly saw the 
village. But when he turned around, the cave and the terrain of the cave were 
no longer there. 

Mahara often called one devotee, a poor man, to accompany him on long 
pilsrimages. The devotee always agreed nithout a complaint, although he often 
had to borrow money to finance these trips. Once Maharayi asked him to come 
to Badrinath. Before leaving, the man pointed to the small picture of Maharaji 
on their puja table and told his wife that of for any reason she wanted to 
communicate with him while he was gone she should address herself to 
Maharayt's photo, since the two would be together..A_few days later, high in 
the Himalayas, Maharayi suddenly turned to this devotee and said, "Why 
have you come here?” 

The devotee replied that he had come at Maharagji's request. 

Maharapyi said, "At your home there is no dal, no flour, nothing. Your wife 
zs very worried because there is nothing to eat and you are far away. You 
should have at least provided bread for them to eat!" 

But Maharayit's presence had an intoxicating effect upon people. Their 
worries vanished and they felt that he was taking care of everything for the 
best. Ha Y an hour after he had berated the devotee for leaving his wife without 
food, Maharayi shouted out, "Food has come! They have got food. The 
Kashiniri mother gave tt to them. Don't worry.” 


When he returned, the devotee questioned his wife. She said that when the 
food had finally run out she had gone to Maharagi's picture and told him that 
there was no more food in the house. Within a few minutes a rich neighbor, 
who treated her like a daughter, came to the house nith bags offlour, rice, dal, 
and so forth. She went to the picture and thanked Maharayji. 


Once Maharayi saved me from a snake bite. I was passing the winter in a 
tiny room in Hlaldwani, where I was talking with someone, when suddenly I 
left off in mid-sentence for no accountable reason. I turned around and looked 
into my room. It was very strange. A snake was crawling into the room, and 
once inside it crawled under a gunny sack. I thought: Why was it that I turned 
around just then? It must be Neem Karok Baba's doing (even though, 
physically, Maharayi was hundreds of miles away). I also thought that tt must 
be a potsonous snake. Otherwise there would be no reason for Maharayi to 
Show it to me. I very carefully put the snake in a cannister and released it 
outside. About five years later, I was complaining to Maharayi that he wasn't 
helping me in any way or protecting me; I was having too many troubles. 
Maharayi said, "Why? I saved your life once. I saved you from the snake." I 
had known in my mind that he had done it. Such things do not happen by 


One dark, rainy night at Kainchi, Maharayi woke up several devotees and 
said there was a jeep half a mile up the road that was stuck. He said to take 
tea to the passengers. The devotees went running because he told them to 
hurry. Maharayi wanted them to go up where there was no path. They found 
the jeep with four women and a man, stranded there with no blankets. 
Maharaji sent even more devotees up to the jeep, saying to them, "That tea 
will be cold. Bring them more tea." When the people were finally brought to 
the temple, Maharayi said, "I used to visit the home of these women thirty 
years ago and they gave me a blanket and were kind." He gave them blankets 
and they remembered him from before. 

Normally when Maharayit was away, he would send his blessings from 
where he was, He wouldn't go to the phone. But while I was away for six 


months in 1967, he visited my family in Kanpur practically once a month. 
While I was in Germany, my colleague and I were thinking of buying a car 
Jor the time and selling it later. We'd already decided on the car, which we 
were determined to buy on Sunday. On Saturday we didn't normally get any 
matl delivery, but this day before the sale a letter came from my wife. She 
said, "Maharapi has come today. He says that you are going to buy a car and 
that you shouldn't do that. If you have any such intentions, Maharayi's orders 
are to give them up." I told my friend that the deal was off and that if he 
bought tt I wouldn't travel with him. 

How did Maharayi do this? He came one morning to visit my family and he 
asked my wife to write that letter. He said, "He'll do something foolish! 
Forbid him!" He went away and after two hours came again and asked her if 
she had written the letter. She hadn't. He said, "Well, I'm going to stay here 
until you write that letter and post tt. Otherwise tt will be too late." Only 
when it was posted did Maharayi leave. It could have reached us on Monday, 
but it came in time. That was the first and last time the mail ever came on 
Saturday afternoon. That was his grace. But why did he bother to come all the 
way from Kainchi to tell my nife? If he wanted, there were enough people 
right in front of him to bother with. Why did he think of me? 

Once in Haridwar, a man was bathing in the river and lost his footing. The 
man was tossed about and carried in a whirlpool like a log. He was quite a bit 
older than his wife (he was fifty-two and she _fifteen when they married), who 
was much devoted to him. After taking Maharayi's name she jumped into the 
river and pulled her husband ashore. When they went to the place where 
Maharayi was, people there told them that Maharayi had been impossible and 
very abusive and would not let anyone near him. The woman went up and 
gently tapped at the door. He sweetly asked her in and inquired after her nose 
ving (which she had lost in the river). (Ihe loss of a nose ring 1s a bad omen 
for an Indian woman, suggesting her husband's death.) When her husband 
came along, Maharayi said, "You were going down the river like a piece of 
wood being whirled around." Apparently the changes in Maharayt's behavior, 

the abusiveness, had been involved in saving the man. 

Maharayi takes care of all his devotees in so many ways. One day a devotee 
was on his way to Kainchi and en route stopped at a roadside food stand and 


ate some fried pakoras. (In those days, he ate pakoras every day.) When he 

arrived at Kainchi, the _first thing Maharayi said was, "Do you eat pakoras? 
You've been eating those things for a long time now! Why do you eat them? 
You'll ruin your stomach." From that day onward, this devotee never again 

ate pakoras from the bazaar. 


AA woman devotee was sitting in the corner of the room near a strange man. 
Maharayi said to her, "Come sit here. The bad karma of other people can 
affect a person.” 

Al doctor from Bombay who attended many VIPs, including Nehru, was a 
somewhat stiff person (though he often gave massages to others). Another 
devotee was present when the doctor was visiting Maharayt. Maharayi saw the 
doctor coming and went into another room. He satd, "I'll not see him." Then 

Jrom the other room Maharayi yelled, "You couldn't save Nehru. What's 

The doctor said, "When I gave him the massage he got better, but then his 
nerves got very bad." The other devotee asked the doctor if he had traveled 
outside India. 

"Yes, for twelve months attending VIPs.” 

She asked him how he knew Maharaj. 

He replied, "I never believed in saints. In the Independence movement of 
1942 I was a revolutionary and there were orders out to shoot me. I was in 
Kanprayag, near Badrinath. I was at a small dharmasalla, and while I was 
bathing Maharayi was upbraiding a swami nearby. As I passed by, Maharayi 
caught hold of me and said, "You are hungry. Go into that room.’ In the room 
there were two leaf plates of fresh purls and potatoes, which Maharayi told me 
to eat. When I finished all I could eat, Maharayi said, "Take more with you. 
Now run. Within an hour the police will be here. Go to Tibet. But don't go 
by this route, go by that one.’ But I had some doubts about Maharayi and left 
a friend behind to watt and see. In an hour a district superintendent of police 
who knew Maharayi came with a search party inquiring for the doctor. 
Maharaji asked him, 'Who would come at this hour?’ And as they started to 
proceed toward Tibet, Maharayi warned them not to: "This is the season for 
avalanches, and f you go on an avalanche will kill you. Go back." So they 
went back.” 


One day, when Maharayi was at a village near Neeb Karori, a woman 
came to get water from the well. Maharayi laughed. When a devotee asked 
why he laughed, he said that the woman and her husband lived in a village 
three miles away and in six hours her husband was going to die from seeking 
this same water that she was fetching. ""He zs going to become thirsty and he is 
going to go to the water jug and be bitten by a cobra. But, Maharayi added, if 
the devotee wanted to, he might be able to save him.” The devotee immediately 
sent two or three men, who ran all the way and stopped the man just as he 
was going_ for the water. Indeed, there was a cobra there and the man was 

A\ forester from Agra came to Kainchi en route to Calcutta, and Maharayi 
told him, "Don't leave today.” 

"But Maharagi, I have to go. I have an interview.” 

Maharapi insisted. The forester was sulky but didn't go. The next day in 
the papers he read that India's worst train accident in living memory had 
involved the train he would have been on. 


In 1943 Maharayi came to Fatehgarh, where there was an old couple whose 
son was away fighting in Burma. When Maharayi came to their house they 
gave the little they had to Maharayt. They had only two cots. Maharayi sated, 
"TH sleep now.” They gave him one of the cots and a blanket. The old 
couple stayed up the whole night watching Maharayt. He was groaning and 
moving in the bed until 4:00 AM. At 4:30 Maharaji became quiet; then he 
took the bedsheet and wrapped something in it. He told the old man, “It's very 
heavy. Don't try to see what's in it. You should throw ut into the Ganga 
where it 1s deep. INo one should see you or you'll be arrested.” As he was 
taking it to the Ganga he felt it and it was full of bullets. 

When he returned, the old man was told by Maharaji, "Don't worry. Your 
son is coming in a month.” Whenthe son came some weeks later, he said he 

had almost died. His company hdd hen ambushed by the enemy and by chance 


he had fallen into a ditch. Al night, bullets were flying left and right. At 4:00 
AM. the Japanese saw that they had killed everyone, and so they retreated. At 
4:30 the Indian troops came. The son was the only survivor. (It was the same 
night Maharayt had visited the parents that this ambush occurred.) 

One day Maharayi asked to be driven from the plains to the distant 
mountain town of Bhimtal. He went straight to a devotee's house and told the 
people there to go to the old pilgrimage rest cabin at the Shiva temple and 
bring back whomever was staying there. For years no one had stayed in the 
dilapidated rest cabin, so the devotees thought tt very unusual when they found 
one of the doors locked from within. They knocked and shouted but no one 
answered. Then they returned and reported to Maharagjt. 

Maharazyi left that house and went to see another devotee, where he again 
sent people to the rest house with instructions not to return without tts 
occupant. They caused a great commotion at the door until finally an old man 
opened the window. He tried to send the devotees away but they persisted, 
until finally the man and his wife were taken to Maharayt. Immediately 
Maharayi started shouting, "Do you think you can threaten God by starving 
yourselves? He won't let his devotees die so easily. Take prasad!” He called 
for puris and sweets, but the man refused them. Mahara insisted, and finally 
they both ate. 

The couple had come from south India on a pilgrimage to Badrinath and 
other holy places. They were from a very rich family but had decided to leave 
home and family behind to devote their remaining years to prayer. They had 
resolved always to pay their own way and never to beg. As they were 
returning from Badrinath, all their money and possessions had been stolen. 
They had only enough money for bus fare to Bhimtal, where they found the 
deserted rest cabin. They resolved to stay there and die, since that seemed to be 
the Lord's will. They had been locked inside without food for three days before 
Maharayi forced them out. Maharayi insisted that they accept money for their 
trip back to Madras. They said that they would not beg. Maharayi said they 
were not begging and they could mail the money back when they reached home. 
They accepted the money and were sent off. 

O Kabir, why be afraid of anyone when the Lord Himself protects you? 
What does tt matter f a thousand dogs bark fiercely when you are seated 
on an elephant? 

Key Co Che CW ins 

STORIES SHOWING Maharajji's deep concern for his devotees and his pro- 
tectiveness of them also suggest awesome powers of mind. It seemed as 
if he knew everything about his devotees, whether we were near to him 
or far away. It is little wonder that we could become fearless, knowing 
that he was literally watching over us. 

I was with Maharaji during the time of the partition and there were so 
many refugees from Pakistan that there was hardly a space to place a foot. 
Maharaji and I were picking our way through the crowd, and one woman 
came and bowed before him and requested that he come and bless a newborn 
baby some distance from where we were. Maharaji agreed. 

Further along, the same woman was complaining bitterly of the destruction 
of Lahore. Maharaji immediately chastised her with a rhetorical question: 
"Didn't that saint in Lahore tell you six months ago that this was going to 



Sometimes when many people came to him he would relate each person's 
personal history, including what their forefathers had done, as if he had been 
well acquainted with that person for a very long time. 

Stnce Maharayi would sometimes not let us Westerners come to him until 
the afternoon, one morning a group of us went to visit the tiny ashram that at 
one time had been the residence of another great saint of that area, Sombari 
Mahara. It was a good visit. Ein route back in the forenoon, we encountered a 
hill that the WW bus just couldn't climb with all of us in it, so we got out to 
push—that 1s, all of us except for the tyo young women in the party, who 
didn't bother to get out. 

We easily got the bus up the hill, but I was rankled by the _fact that the 
young women had not helped us. I was too well-bred to say anything; inside 
though, I was angry and remained silent for the remainder of the drive to the 
temple. As we entered the temple Maharayi said, "Ram Dass is angry.” But I 
had hidden it well and everyone disagreed with Maharayi and said that, on the 
contrary, | had been very pleasant. But Maharayi was not to be deterred. 
"No," he said, "Ram Dass is angry because the young women wouldn't get 
out and help push." (R.D.) 

Once when Maharayi was sitting in a room with no windows, he said, 
"Oh, so-and-so 7s coming just now!" Within a few moments, this person 
entered the room. 

Maharayi told me all sorts of things. He said, "You have been playing 
hockey with the Mother." He was referring to the fact that I had been at Sri 
Aurobindo's ashram for a while and had played hockey with the Mother. 


In the 1940s a Moslem ICS (Indian Cwil Service) officer's son who was 
studying in England had had a heart attack, and his mother had gone to see her 
son there. Maharayi was visiting the house of a devotee who never asked 
anything of Maharayt; but in this case he asked Maharayi about the boy, as 
they were family friends. Before he could put the question to Maharaji, 
Maharayi said, "What? He's asking about that boy who is studying in 
England. What do you want to ask? The mother has gone there. You've seen 
her off at the airport. As soon as she arrived the son began to improve.” Then 
Maharayi got up and said, "Let's go. This ts how the mind travels." (It was 
confirmed later that the boy did begin to inmaprove once his mother arrived.) 


Maharayi asked a man if he'd ever before seen such a place as Kainchi—so 
beautiful and peaceful and ideal for meditation, with its mountains and river 
and forests. The swami replied that he'd once seen a similar place in Kandy 
(S77 Lanka). Maharayi, who had never been there, surprised the man by 
describing that place, down to the smallest details. 

Our eldest daughter had appeared in some competitive examinations for 
employment in the government of India. After the exams we went to see 
Maharayi in Vrindaban. As we were pranamming to him, Maharayi addressed 
her and said, ""You have spotled five of your exam papers!" 

She said, "Yes." 

Maharayi said, "Don't worry. You'll stall come out successful and you'll get 
your job.” 

Alnd she did. 

Ouria mily ts large but not rich, yet with his blessings we've been carrying 
on quite well. I got my job in the bank by his grace. After I had my job 
interview I went to see him. He told me all the questions I was asked and said, 
"You'll be selected.” In fact, I had come out at the top of the List. 




Maharayi turned to me one day and said, ""Do you still send money to that 
Benares pundit [reigeous scholar] 2" 

"Yes, Mahara, I do," I replied. 

Maharayt had never met this pundit nor had I ever told Maharayi that I 
regularly sent money to him. This pundit was a reciter of the Ramayana and 
he lived off donations from his listeners. Maharayi knew all things and he 
would look after people he'd never met. 


AA devotee who worked for the railroad brought a couple for the first time to 
see Maharayi. The wife was told by Maharayi in private, "You have been 
supporting a poor ten-year-old child. That zs very fine of you to do."" When 
she came out of the room she was quite astounded, because no one, not even her 

husband, knew that she was supporting the chitd. 

Before we eat we offer our food to a picture of Maharayt. Once my wife 
forgot to put salt in the curry. "I forgot, but Maharayi will forgive me.” 
Fifteen days later, Maharayi came and my wife sat at his feet. The first thing 

he said to her was, "You gave me curry without salt." 

One of the young men from a family in Kanpur was in the military fighting 
in the China War. The report came that he had died and the brother came to 
tell Maharaji. Maharaji said, "No, he has not died." No one believed 
Maharayi, and the widow married again in six months and the file of the war 
department was closed. After some time, the man returned. 


In 1968, after I had been at the temple for some time, I had to go to Delhi. 
At that time, I was trying to be a very pure yogi. In Delhi I did all my 
business with dispatch and then had time for a vegetarian lunch before returning 
to the mountains. At the end of the meal I was served two biscuits with tea. I 
didn't think they were proper yogi food, but they were cream-filled and I 
couldn't resist. But since I was barefoot and in my ulfie (sadhu clothing) and 
was being treated as a sadhu even in the restaurant, I ate the cookies 
surreptitiously. Upon my return to Maharajji his first words were, "How did 
you like the biscuits?" (R.D.) 

Since I was one of the few Westerners who spoke Hindi, he'd talk with me. 
Sometimes we'd gossip, and he'd pull one or two dazzlers, He'd mention 
somebody that I'd never mentioned to anybody else and say, "What was the 
story with this person?" I'd do a double take! And he'd laugh and giggle and 
then look at me and smile. Much of the time when I was sitting with 
Maharajji I would find myself turning into a giggling idiot. I'd roll around and 
sometimes virtually fall over, and he'd give me a great big hug. 



NOT ONLY WAS Maharajji watching over us, but he could easily see 
within us as well. And that was quite a different matter. 

To realize that someone has access to the secret compartments of your 
mind is unnerving. It gives rise to a type of intimacy that is unparalleled 
in most of our human relationships. Those of us who are close to an- 
other person often sense what the other is feeling. When we have come 
to know the way another thinks we may even be able to guess what is 
on his or her mind. But there are so many tiny, subtle thoughts; and 
many of these are censored almost the moment they come to mind 
because they would be socially unacceptable or even unacceptable to our 
own conscious image of ourselves, To realize that someone has access 


even to these thoughts immediately puts you at an extraordinary 
disad- vantage, as if your opponent had broken your code. You are so 
vulnerable. But of course it is also incredibly exciting to meet 
another con- sciousness in such an intimate way. And with Maharajji, 
added to this was a quality of unconditional love corning from the other, 

as if he were saying to you, "I know all about you and I love you. 

"" The most praiaus things abaut Maharaji @nna_ be deaibal in staie-lik e massagneg his 
aa ee ee héd pull my hand away; and the, 
T wall rantea my mind héd put my bak. In t. le was he waild tai 


The first time my wfe ma Maharaji was ammg a aond at the India Had. Maharayi 
had na spoken Bie and afta’ sane time she was thinking that she shaild be hane 
preanng ta fa me wid she dd aay day at that time Maharaji was 
distributing swets and suddenly he tumal to her and said. "Y aa go hane non. Y aur husband 
is waiting fo his taa"” Whe I first was new to him, he had just had his had shavel 
and eee ee oe his had And ae 
darshan, — shartly afta that, he tak me into his ram. Giggjingand lauging he sat of 
dablal we and in so dang preatal me the es his head Thee was nahing I 
auld do but to kiss it, T reogizal at that manent that my deire was bang 

I dwos takel to Mahagji in my mind Whe he was anbarrassing sandaty 

I'd think, "Oh, Mahargi, da't do that." Than héd lak at meand repad so I 
knew he was hang me 


One day when I was sitting by the tucket waiting for him to come out and 
give darshan, the thought occurred to me that I would lke to have my heart 
beat at exactly the same rate and same time as Maharagt's. Just as soon as I 
thought that there was a great commotion from within the building, a slamming 
of doors, and suddenly Maharayi burst through the outer doors onto the porch. 
He briskly took his seat on the tucket and sat directly in front of me, his chest 
only some six inches away. I could feel my heartbeat and remained in constant 
consciousness of my heart beating in tune with his for some time. Although 
Maharayi was lively and talked with many people, he Rept his body turned in 
this position close to me. Then my mind began to wander—and immediately 
Maharayi flipped around so that he was sitting on the far side of the tucked, 

facing away from me. Stunned, the thought flashed through my mind, 
"Maharagi, if that really happened, look at me." Quick as a flash he glanced 
directly at me and then away once more. He didn't look at me again for the 
rest of the darshan. 

Maharayi played with my desires so subtly. I might spy an apple on his 
bench before he would appear for darshan. And I'd think how much I'd like 
that apple and how long it was since I'd had an apple. Then Maharayi would 
appear and he'd seem to make a point of throwing me that very apple. But of 
course he would be throwing other devotees other pieces of fruit, so you could 
never be sure. I'd always just think, "Isn't that interesting?” 

Once when I was living high up in the hills behind the tenaple, where tt 
was very cold, I heard from some newly arrived devotees about a space blanket 
used by the astronauts that was very warm and weighed only a few ounces. In 
my cold hut I kept thinking about how nice tt would be to have such a blanket. 
The next morning I came to the temple and was having tea with another 
devotee, who was cleaning out his rucksack. He threw this thing at me and 
said, "Here, why don't you take this? It's a space blanket that I never use.” 
When such things kept happening to me, I thought that of Maharaji was going 
to gratify all my desires I ought to start asking for more important things, like 
a little compassion. 


In Bareilly Maharajji said to come to the station in the morning to meet 
him. There was a large flood and I thought, "Maharajji won't come, but I'll 
go to the station anyway." Maharajji came, however, and the first thing he 
said was, "You were thinking I couldn't come because of the flood." 

If I would think to myself that a fellow devotee was less of a saint than he 
thought himself to be, Maharajji would immediately ask me, "So-and-so isn't 
as much of a saint as he thinks he is, is he?" 

I told my wife I didn't want to go see Maharajji, because he'd only say to 
take prasad and go. But she insisted. That day he didn't ask me to go. I hadn't 
taken food but he let me stay until 11:00 P.M. As everyone stood up, 

Maharajji said, "From today, don't tell anyone I don't allow you to sit here." 


I was sitting there praying for an opportunity to get away from the satsang 
to do some sadhana (spiritual practice), when Maharajji said, "Go to Nepal." 
It turned out that my visa had expired the day before. 

Sometimes you'd be sitting behind him and he would appear unconcerned 
with you. Then some thought would arise in your mind and he would answer 
you directly or make some gesture or say something to someone else that would 
be an answer to the thought. Sometimes he would be in the room with you 
talking seriously, and in mid-sentence he'd turn around, open the window, and 
begin to talk to another person outside about what was on his mind. 

Maharajji could give you a whole teaching just in a glance. You'd be sitting 
there, going through some incredible suffering in your mind. He would just 


look at you and your whole being would change. I don't know f he was 
actually doing anything or whether it was just the way he looked at you, but 
you knew that the universe was right and that you were taken care of. At other 
times you'd be going off on some mental tangent, when with just the slightest 
glance from Maharajji you would be totally demolished. 

A husband and wife tell the following story: 

HUSBAND: I was working in Calcutta in the smallpox program. It was one 
of those times when I was having a tiny pang of remorse. I went through the 
streets of Calcutta and I saw all the beggars, thought about their suffering, and 
as usual got into my argument with God about suffering. "It's really not 
necessary," I kept telling him. 

At that time I was reading the Phaedo, Plato's account of Socrates' death, 
which ends with Socrates and his disciples discussing whether Socrates should 
postpone taking the hemlock, and Socrates says to bring it in, because it doesn't 
make any difference. The disciples are all crying and he tells them, "Listen, 
there are only two possibilities: either there is something after death or there is 
nothing after death. If there is nothing after death, then thank God at last I'm 
going to get a good sleep. And if there is something after death, then at least I 
have the chance of having a good conversation." Then they brought the 
hemlock, which he took and died. 

So I reasoned that if Socrates, in all his wisdom, at the time of his death 
didn't know the nature of life, then I really shouldn't feel so despondent that a 
simple soul like me didn't understand. Thus I was consoled. 

WIFE: At the same time my husband was in Calcutta, I was in Delhi 
looking for Maharajji. We finally found him at the home of the Barmans in 
New Delhi (this was his last visit to New Delhi before he left his body). We 
were sitting with him in the afternoon on the same day he had arrived. 
Maharajji looked at me and simply said, "Socrates." Later on that same day 
he looked at me again and said, "Socrates." 

I discussed this with the devotees accompanying me, trying to figure out what 
he had meant. Perhaps it was that I looked or thought like Socrates, but we 
couldn't quite figure it out. My husband came home from Calcutta, and after 
telling him that I had seen Maharajji I said, "You know, he said the strangest 
thing to me and we still don't understand what it means. He looked at me and 
called me 'Socrates.' What do you think it means?" Then my husband told me 


what he'd been thinking and we figured out that it was ex a the same day 
my husband just described. D ada said, "Mind reading and teling the future 
and knowing who was coming and so forth-such things were always 
happening around M aharajji. T here was nothing speaal about them." 


THIS AWESOME capability of knowing the human mind allowed M a- 
harajji not only to know the thoughts and acts of others but to be able to 
enter into the mind of another person and bring about change from within. 
Maharajji once told me "The key to the mind is in my hand and I can turn 
it in any direction." - 


D uring the English ocupation an Englishman had reserved a first-dass 
compartment on the train, and when he went to his compartment he found 
Ma aralh there. He went to the conductor and said that there was a very 
disreputable looking man in his compartment and would they please remove 
him. The conductor came and looked and said, "I'm sorry. That's a saint 

and I can't remove him." 

So the Englishman, now even more upset, sent, for the chie conductor. 
W hen the chief conductor came, he said the same thing, So at the next major 
station the E nglishman decided to remove the man himself, but the minute 
he went into the compartment he forgot his anger and mission and sat 
quietly and peacefully for the rest of the trip. Finally Maharaji said, 
"This is my village,” and the train was stopped and he and his party got 
off. I think it was he who made me go with him. I used to go with 
him but I never wanted to go. 


The Ma's, as they were called, were women whose greatest pleasure was in 
taking care of Maharayt. Once a doctor had said Maharayi should take certain 
pills at 10:00 A.M. On this particular morning the Ma's brought the medicine 
ten minutes late. Maharaji saed fiercely, "If you people don't take better care 
of me, I'M turn your minds against me" which was the worst threat he could 

I was the station master at Mount Abu and Maharayi had promised to come 
there sometime. When I was off duty tt was my policy never to go into the 
station. But this one day I had been in a long conversation with a friend, and 
as I left I wanted somehow to break my policy by cutting through the station in 
order to save time getting home. Just as I got into the station and was rushing 
through, the Bombay Mad arrived, and there was Maharayi tapping at the 


Al number of us Westerners were meditating together at a Buddhist ashram in 
Bodh Gaya. After a time, some of us were ready to take a break and go on to 
Delhi, several hundred miles away, to celebrate Shiva's birthday. One of the 
women in the group, who had come to India overland by charter bus, reported 
that the bus driver wanted to hang out with us, too. So thirty-four of us left 
Bodh Gaya and met the bus in Benares and started to drive to Delhi. 

One of the men in the group, Danny, had left the courses briefly in the 
middle to visit Allahabad, in order to experience a Kumbha Mela. He had 
returned deeply impressed and bringing us each small medallions depicting the 
monkey, Hanuman, which he had purchased on the mela grounds. 

When tt turned out that the bus route went right by Allahabad, Danny 
pressed us to visit the mela grounds. I protested that the mela was now over 
and it would just be an empty piece of riverbank. But he pointed out that it 
was one of the most sacred spots in India. Some of us were tired, for it was 
only our first day out in the world after such sustained meditation practice, and 
all we really wanted was to get to the dharmasalla where we planned to stay 


overnight. The thought of even driving the few miles out of our way to get to 
the river was not appealing, and yet it was a very holy place. I weighed the 
merits of the alternatives and finally agreed that we should go to the river for a 
brief stop to watch the sunset. 

A\s we approached and drove down into the meta grounds, which were now 
quite deserted, the driver asked where he should park. Danny pointed to a 
place that he said was near a Hanuman temple and also was the spot where he 
had purchased the small medallions. 

As the bus was pulling up to that spot, someone yelled, "There's 

Sure enough, walking right by the bus with Dada, there he was. We all 
scrambled off the bus and rushed to his feet. I was having a hysterical crying- 
laughing fit. | remember kissing his feet in bliss and at the same moment my 
mind being aware that the spot of sand on which he was standing smelled 
strongly of urine. 

Dada later told us that as the bus came into view, Maharayi had said, 
"Well, they've come.” 

Maharayi instructed us to follow them, and the bus followed the bicycle 
rickshaw to Dada's house on the suburban street of this great university city. 
Within minutes we were given food, and arrangements were made for us to 
lodge at a nearby estate with another devotee. I was told that since morning the 
servants had been preparing food under Maharapt's orders in anticipation of our 
coining. But if that were so, which of us thought he was making a decision in 
the bus about whether to visit the meta grounds? Apparently all was not as I 
“thought” it was. (R.D.) 

Onxy MAHARAJJI_ knew why he remembered whom he did when he 
did. Apparently, however, it was not all in his hands, for many devotees 
found that by thinking about him, they drew his attention, or even his 
physical presence. 

Said one Ma, "Tf the devotion is strong enough, the guru is drawn by the 

AA Frenchman was staying in Ananda Mayee Ma's ashram and asked MT 
about this Neem Karok Baba, wanting his darshan. 1-IR] sated that if he were 


to remember Maharajji for only ten minutes, Maharajji could be there. The 
Frenchman closed his eyes and repeated "Neem Karoli Baba, Neem Karoli 
Baba," and after ten minutes, unexpectedly, Maharajji came to Ma's ashram. 
He went over to the Frenchman and asked, "Why are you remembering me? 
I've come. What do you want?" 

I was in the habit of arising at around 2:00 A.M. and sitting up a while in 
meditation. I told no one of this activity. One morning as I came for darshan, 
the Ma's rushed over to me in great glee, all talking at once. What they were 
telling me was that in the middle of the night, as they were sitting with 
Maharajji, he had turned to them and said, "S [referring to me] has just 
awakened. She is thinking of me very much." 

One day I came from Snowview to Tallital, hoping to see Maharajji. I was 
wondering how I could find him, since sometimes he stayed in one house, 
sometimes in another. Just as I passed by the house in which he was staying, 
someone came out and caught hold of me. Maharajji knew that I was coming 
and sent this person to intercept me and bring me to him. 


One Tuesday morning I planned to visit Maharajji at Kainchi, but a call 
came for me and I had to go to Nainital for business. I figured I could still take 
the last bus to Kainchi, but when the time came I missed the bus. At about 
8:00 P.M.1 got a lift to Bhowali, but by that time there was no way to get to 
Kainchi. I felt some depression and went home. I was thinking in this way 
when there was a knocking at my door. I told my son to tell whomever it was 
that I was tired and to ask their name. Just then I heard some shouting: "I am 
Baba Neem Karoli!" This was about 9:00 P.M. Maharajji told me, "You 
always bother about this and that! Why are you bothering?" He took his 
dinner at my home and then got into the jeep and returned to Kainchi. 


Lhe acting superintendent of police, hearing that he was not going to be 
confirmed, was very upset and decided to resign. At about 8:00 PM. he was 
with his wife when an orderly came and said, "There is a man outside sitting 
on the road, calling for you.” He knew tt was Maharaj. 

Maharaji said to him, "You were crying. You were thinking of resigning. 
How foolish.” 

An old man who for years worked as a prison guard became extremely w. 
Alt one point, his doctor gave him only twenty-four hours to live, but the man 
remembered Maharayt, meditated on him, and refused to die. On the third day, 
Maharayi arrived in the city and went to the home of another devotee. He said 
to him, "There's an old man living near here. He's thinking of me very much 
and he's very sick. We must visit him." 

Upon entering the sick man's room, they found him in very grave condition. 
Maharayi placed his foot near the man's head. The dying man pranarnmed to 
Maharayit and then left his body. 

Maharayi said to the other devotee, "He was remembering me very much. 
Darshan was given, then finished! The end!" 



Woaerever MAHARAJJI was, there was chaos and confusion. Sometimes 
two people were sent to do the same task, other times one was sent to 
undo what the first was in the process of doing. Maharajji would tell one 
person one thing and another something opposite; when confronted 
with such inconsistencies he would deny all. Such confusion served a 
number of obvious purposes. First, it veiled his powers so that no one 
could be quite certain what had just happened. And the confusion also 
allowed each person to hear what he or she needed to hear from among 
the conflicting bits of information. Such inconsistencies served to loosen 
the minds of those devotees with problems of rigid thinking. From 
another point of view one could understand the confusion as a reflection 

of the fact that Maharajji was not just one person. As a mirror, he was 


the reflection of whomever was thinking upon him, and he was con- 
scious on many planes at once. Thus, one statement, such as "I can do 
nothing," might be followed moments later by the statement, "I hold 
the keys to the mind. Everyone is my puppet." Appreciating this dimen- 
sion of Maharajji made one delight in the confusion. 

Two long-time devotees were told that they would be able to find Maharayi 
at a certain temple on the banks of the Ganga. They went there tmmediately 
and found him. He acted as if he'd never seen them before. "Who are you? 
Where do you come from? What work do you do? Why have you come here?” 
he inquired of each of them. They patiently answered him until finally he said, 
"Sit down!" 

Maharayi was never in bondage to anything. He wouldn't follow 
suggestions and would do the unexpected. If I asked to stay longer, for 
example, he would get up and go. 

Maharayi would make predictions or say something of personal import in an 
off-hand manner, in the middle of a political discussion. Often his predictions 
wouldn't come true. If you wanted a specific prediction from Maharaji, he 
would often be vague, and he'd never give an explanation for his predictions. 

Anything you can say about him—you can also say the opposite. 

One time in Vrindaban Maharayi had called us all over, and I was at the 
Jront of the pack as we ran across. Entering the room ahead of everyone else, I 
felt as if I'd caught him unawares. He saw me and got embarrassed. It was as 

if he'd been caught doing something he shouldn't have—as f he were in the 


cookie jar! He was looking so guilty, and I was trying to figure out what it 
was I had caught him doing. Finally I just gave up, he must have been pulling 
another of his tritRs. 


Once some devotees were with Maharayi at the Ganga, and they proposed 
to Maharayi that he bathe there. He protested, but they urged him and finally 
succeeded in lowering him into the water from their boat. Maharayi at first 
acted like he was drowning, then suddenly he began to swim around the boat. 
Later, in recounting the incident, Maharayi told everyone that they had tried to 
drown him. 


Once in the middle of the night at the ashram we were awakened by shouts 
and the sounds of footsteps. People were running to and fro and lights were 
going on all over the place. We stuck our heads out the door to discover that 
Maharayi was up. He wanted rotes. Then he screamed, "There's a snake in 
the Mothers’ room!" And when they went to check it out, what they found 
there was a rope! 

Alt Kainchi he had this simple tittle room, which we used to call his 
"office."’ There was a window with shutters on the inside that he could open, 
where he'd often sit, looking out and giving darshan. Sometimes he would 

jump around in that room like a monkey in a cage or press his face to the bars. 
AAt other times someone would come to the window to see him and he'd just 
slam the shutters closed. 


He'd start off a conversation saying one thing, and then by the end of the 
conversation he'd be making the opposite point. He once told one Western 
devotee about smoking dope. He said to him, "You like smoking charas 


[hashish]? That's good; Shiva smokes charas. That means you like Shiva.” 
We were all really thrilled to hear this, but then he started to turn it around, 
saying, "What's better that you do, smoke charas or eat food?” About five 
minutes later he satd, "Don't smoke!" 

Once he said, "Oh, it's very nice and peaceful here in Kaincht. When you 
come here you can really get peace. Shanti milta-hai /Peace is found]." 
Then a few weeks later some truck went by on the road and he said, "Oh, this 
Kainchi, so noisy—no peace here, ashanti."" He'd gone from shanti to ashanti 

(not peaceful) in the same place. 


It was sometimes very hard to figure out what Maharayi was saying. Often 
he'd repeat the same word about five times. One of his favorite things was 
saying the same thought over and over again, just rewording it different ways, 
drilling it into your head. If tt was something about someone getting married, 

for example, he'd say, "You got married, didn't you? No, you didn't. Did 
you? You did.” He'd go on like that, back and forth. It was the same way 
he'd play with things: He'd pick up something, turn it over, flip it back over, 
then flip it over again. He'd do the same thing with words—he'd take a 
sentence and turn it around (and your head with it). 

One morning, Maharayi greeted his devotees with complaints of a very sore 
knee. Some devotees took. him seriously and they suggested various cures. 
Others took the complaint lightly and told Maharayi to cure himself since he 
was the cause of his complaints. Nevertheless, oils and balms and conapresses 
were applied to the area of pain, all to no avail. Maharapi insisted that these 
remedies wouldn't work, and what was needed was a certain medicine he'd once 
seen in Dada's home. He called it the "moustache-man medicine," and twirled 
his moustache to indicate tt. He said it was the only medicine that would work. 

All this meant nothing to this devotee, who couldn't recall any moustache- 
related medicine in his home. Later in the day the devotee went to the bazaar 


to buy supplies for the ashram. While in the pharmacy he noticed a piture of a 
moustachioed man on a small box containing Sloan's Balm, a heat producing 
medicine. He purchased it and gave it to Maharajji. Maharajji shouted, 

"That's it! The moustache medicine! Put it on!" Moments after the balm was 
rubbed onto his knee, Maharajji announced that the pain had vanished and that 
now he was fine. 

Janaki and Draupadi were sitting before Maharajji, and Maharajji turned to 
Janaki and asked, "Who do I like better, you or Draupadi?" 

Janaki said sweetly, "Why, Maharajji, you love us all the same." 

Maharajji replied, "Nahin [No]! I like Draupadi better!" which of course 
upset her a great deal. She got up and walked out, heading for the Vrindaban 
bazaar, in order to run away! What kind of guru has preferences? While she 
was in the bazaar she realized that she couldn't run away, after all. Wanting 
to do something nice for someone, she bought a little brass murti of Hanuman 
and returned to the temple and put it in her room. 

Immediately afterward Maharajji caught her and asked her, "Where have 
you been? What have you been doing? What did you buy?" She told him 
about the little murti. He told her to bring it to him, and when she did he 
handled it a while and looked it over and then told her to give it to me! I don't 
know if she had meant it for me or if Maharajji initiated that. The very day 
after I'd privately wished for a little Hanuman murti, I was given this one. 


I'd be alone with Maharajji in his room and I'd want everybody to share 
this experience, so I'd say, "Maharajji, they'd really love to come in." 

He'd say, "Should I let them in?" 

I'd say, "Yes. Let them in." 

He'd say, "Go bring them in." Sometimes he'd say, "Nahin! You just be 
here." Or he'd say something about all of them being badmash (rascals). I'd 
argue with him that they were not all badmash, that some of them were 

confused, just like me. He'd say that that was true, then add, "Nahin, they're 
all badmash." 


Alt the time of the big ha van, the fire ceremony, many people said they were 
going to fast, but after two days they ended up not fasting. And all of those 
who said they weren't going to fast, ended up fasting. 

One time in Allahabad a Sikh family had arranged to feed all of the satsang 
at their home and entertain us for the afternoon. I wanted to stay behind with 
Maharayi, so I went and hid up on the roof where nobody ever went. 
Everyone was rounded up to leave for the outing, and after they were all gone, 
I was really afraid. "Oh, what's Maharaji going to do when he finds I'm still 
here?” I thought. I asked Didi (Dada's wife) what Maharayi would do when 
he found this out. 

She said, "Oh, you better talk to Dada." 

So I went to Dada: "Dada! I don't know what Maharayt's going to do.” 

He replied, "Who does?" 



Cs ~ ot ae © veep thing 

IN THE TRADITION of the great yogis of India, Maharajji's powers ex- 
tended far beyond the realm of knowing the minds of others. A profu- 
sion of miracles poured out of him, and though he threw dust in our 
eyes with denials and confusion, we were still allowed to sense this ex- 
traordinary process. But as astonishing and dramatic as such phenomena 
were, they were not, in the eyes of the close devotees of Maharajji, the 
essence of the matter. Maharajji himself was the miracle. Just being 
around him made the commonplace seem miraculous, and, conversely, 
the miraculous came to seem quite ordinary. Yet when devotees gather, 
itis still the miracle stories that come most readily to their lips. Perhaps 
this is because such stories are "tellable," while the ocean of love, the 
tenderness, and the healing compassion with which Maharajji—like 
Christ—worked his true wonders upon us, these are ineffable. 

What were these miraculous powers about? Perhaps they served the 
function that the great saint Shirdi Sai Baba, who used miracles in an 
outrageous fashion, attributed to them: "I give them what they want, so 
they will want what I give." All the miracles concern the physical uni- 
verse, the world, the material plane, but the essence of the business that 



we have with such beings as Maharajji is of the spirit—which is far 
beyond such miracles. Miracles are only the unexpected; and in the spirit 
there is no expected—so there is no unexpected. 

This is how Maharajji became known as Neem Karoli Baba, which 
means the sadhu from Neem Karoli (or Neeb Karori). This was many years 
ago, perhaps when Maharajji was in his late twenties or early thirties. 

For several days, no one had given him any food and hunger drove him to 
board a train for the nearest city. Wizen the conductor discovered Maharajji 
seated in the first-class coach without a ticket, he pulled the emergency brake 
and the train ground to a halt. After some verbal debate, Maharajji was 
unceremoniously put off the train. The train had stopped near the village of 
Neeb Karori where Maharajji had been living. 

Maharajji sat down under the shade of a tree while the conductor blew his 
whistle and the engineer opened the throttle. But the train didn't move. For 
some time the train sat there while every attempt was made to get it to move. 
Another engine was called in to push it, but all to no avail. A local magistrate 
with one arm who knew of Maharajji suggested to the officials that they coax 
that young sadhu back onto the train. Initially the officials were appalled by 
such superstition, but after many frustrating attempts to move the train they 
decided to give it a try. Many passengers and railway officials approached 
Maharajji, carrying with them food and sweets as offerings to him. They 
requested that he board the train. He agreed on two conditions: (1) the railway 
officials must promise to have a station built for the village of Neeb Karori (at 
the time the villagers had to walk many miles to the nearest station), and (2) 
the railroad must henceforth treat sadhus better. The officials promised to do 
whatever was in their power, and Maharajji finally reboarded the train. Then 
they asked Maharajji to start the train. He got very abusive and said, "What, 
is it up to me to Start trains?" The engineer started the train, the train traveled 
a few yards, and then the engineer stopped it and said, "Unless the sadhu 
orders me, I will not go forward." Maharajji said, "Let him go." And they 

Maharajji said that the officials kept their word, and soon afterward a train 
station was built at Neeb Karori and sadhus received more respect. 

Whenever Maharajji left Allahabad to go to Vrindaban there was always 
such a procession—sometimes as many as eighteen rickshaws full of people 
going to the train station! One time we were all lined up and the procession 
began. I directed the drivers to go the shortest route, but Maharajji intervened 


and insisted they go the long route. Many devotees were gathered along that 
route, all of them hoping for one glimpse of darshan as he was leaving. These 
last darshans delayed Maharayi, and Siddhi Ma and the Mothers with whom 
he was to travel were all on the train. 

It was my pleasure in those days to attend to such matters as reservations, $0 
I was busy seating the Ma's and seeing to their needs. Maharayi was still 
outside of the station with the devotees when the engineer and the conductor 
signaled for the train to start. I thought, "Oh, my God. What will happen? I 
myself will stay on the train with the Mothers. I can't let them go on alone.” 
But for a full four minutes the engineer struggled with the train but couldn't 
make it budge. Strolling slowly with his devotees, Maharayi came onto the 
platform. As he boarded the train, he shouted at me in Enghsh, "Get out!” As 
soon as Maharayi took his seat the train began to pull away. 


One time Maharayi asked me to make reservations for two first-class, air- 
conditioned places on the train leaving that very day! All the officials told me it 
was completely booked from Calcutta to Kalka (the east to west coast of India). 
Still, to be prepared, I bought two unreserved tickets. I was sure that I was 
wasting our time and we'd have to cash them in. Maharaji walked into the 
station, walked slowly along the platform, and stopped, stolid, at one spot. 
When the train pulled in, a first-class, air-conditioned car was stopped directly 
in front of Maharayt. | had watched how he chose that very spot to stand tin, 
so I asked the conductor, who happened to be standing right there, for two 
berths in that car, and he said, "What! Are you crazy? This train is full from 
Calcutta to Kalka!" 

AMt that moment I lost my assurance and looked over to Maharayi. He 
merely raised one finger and said quietly, "Attendant." 

So I went over to the car attendant and asked again for two berths, and he 
said, "Yes, yes, there is room for you. You see, a party who was reserved 
clear through had to get off at Mogul Serai to attend to unexpected business. 
There are two berths vacant in this car." It was the car directly in front of 


One day, Maharayi and his driver were going from Bareilly to Kainchi. 
They arrived at Kainchi and, a little later, others arrived and said, ""You can't 
have come that way. The road has been washed out for four days and there has 
been no traffic, not even trucks." The road continued to be impassable for two 
more days. 


Maharayi was going to Kashmir in a car, when the clutch started to slip. 
We were in a small village with no repair facility and the driver was afraid to 
go on because of the mountainous road. .A supposed mechanic was found, but 
the more he tried, the worse the clutch got, until it wasn't working at all. I 
asked Maharayt what to do and he said to stop a truck and have the truck tow 
the car. AL the trucks, however, were going in the opposite direction. I 
reported this to Maharayi, who rephed, "Oh, these Brahmins are so stingy, 
they won't put up enough money to hire a truck to pull the car." (I had a 
thousand rupees to put up, which was enough.) Finally I got a bus that would 
pull the car. I bought a rope and we were just leaving when a bus came from 
the other direction warning that there was a bus check-stop ahead, so that the 
bus shouldn't try towing the car. It was dark by now, and there were no 
hotels, so I went to Maharagji and said, "Here are the choices: We can sit in 
the car all night long like this with no blankets; we can get a truck to tow us 
back; or we can go on (this last choice implying that we would have to depend 
on Maharagjt's powers, since the clutch was now gone). 

Mahara said, "Let's go on." 

A the way to Srinagar there was no occasion to stop or use the clutch, and 
we never even needed gas. This of course was impossible by normal means. 


Alt a mela, Maharayi kept telling people that the Ganga (Ganges River) 
was not really water but milk. One day Maharayi and several others were out 
on the river in a boat, and the devotees were eager to experience the truth of 
Maharayi's words. They said nothing, however. Maharayi told them to get a 
iota (water pot) of Ganga water and cover it. When he poured it into glasses 

Sor them, it was the sweetest milk. Since there were other devotees back at the 
camp, one of the people in the boat thought he'd take some back for them, but 
Maharayi grabbed the devotee's glass and threw it angrily into the Ganga. 

Maharayi once strengthened the faith of an Indian sadhu, who also was 
called Ram Das, by demonstrating his powers for him. Maharayi said, "Look 
here, Ram Das, I'm disappearing, see?” He took a small stone and struck it 
against his body. Ram Das couldn't see Maharayi any more. Then Maharaji 


said, "Now, see. | am reappearing,” and Ram Das could again see him there. 
Maharayi repeated this three or four times. 

Once a party of fifty or sixty Congress politicians were going to see 
Maharayt. He was staying at Hanuman Ghar. From there the road could be 
seen for a long way, so he knew they were coming. Maharayi suddenly got up 
and went down the hillside. Accompanied by an Indian sadhu, Ram Das, he 
walked to a small Devi temple. When the party arrived they inquired about 
Maharagit's whereabouts. They were directed down the path. Maharayi and 
Ram Das had sat down in front of the temple. The Congressmen also came to 
the small temple, and though they stood in open land about six feet away, they 
couldn't see him or Ram Das. The men were standing practically in front of 
them, saying to themselves, "Where 1s Neem Karol Baba?” Maharayi had 
become invisible and he had made Ram Das invisible. 

Now Ram Das was habituated to hashish and had the cough that naturally 
accompanies this. He had a spasm and wanted to cough. He couldn't stop it, 
but he feared that tf he coughed these people would hear and naturally guess 
that Maharayi was there. Maharayi said, "Don't mind. Cough as much as 
you like,” so Ram Das coughed loudly and got relief. But these men heard 
neither the talking nor Ram Das's coughing. The Congressmen gave up their 
search and went away, and only then did Maharaji reappear. 

During a journey a horse started acting up, endangering its riders. Maharayi 
went up to the horse and spoke to it: ~ Look here, brother. Let them get down 
now. Let them down. Do you understand?” The horse immediately became 
guiet. Ihe devotees stepped down and the journey was continued on foot. 

An army colonel approached the gate of the army camp and found Maharaji 
Ling on the ground directly in front of the gate. When ordered to move, 
Maharayi replied that it was God's land and he was with the CID (Central 
Intelligence Department). The colonel became outraged and told the guards to 
move Maharayi and jail him in the army stockade. Some hours later the 
colonel, after having been out, once again approached the gate. Again he found 


Maharayi lying before the gate. The colonel started to yell at the guards for 
Jatling to carry out his orders, but they assured him that they had done as he 
had directed. A check of the stockade revealed that Maharayi was still there. 
After that the colonel became a devotee. 

Maharaji and some devotees spent the night in a dharmasalla on the way to 
Badrinath. Maharaji sent the entire group out of his room and forbade them to 
enter during the night. They had seen a big cobra on Maharagt's bed. In the 
morning Maharayi came out with the cobra and shooed tt away. Sometime 
later, in Kaincht, Maharayi was told that a cobra was in the ashram. He made 
a hue and cry "Cobra is here, cobra is here!" 

A\ devotee remarked to him, "What ts this? So much concern for a cobra 
now. What happened when you slept the whole night with a cobra? Now 
you're making such a commotion!” 

"You wicked person! Go away!” Maharayi rephed. 

Maharayi was in Benares with the police superintendent, a devotee. They 
were going over to a sadhu camp on an island in the middle of the Ganga, and 
the superintendent said, "We'll take a boat." (in Benares, the Ganga is over a 
mile across.) 

Maharayi countered, "No, we'll go in the water." 

The superintendent couldn't swim and protested, "Maharazji, it's over our 

Maharayi replied, "just put your hand on my shoulder.” So they waded 
into the river, and the next thing the superintendent knew, they were on the 
island. They returned the same way. 

Alt our house, after the third or fourth day following Maharagjt's visit, my 
wife heard, "Keep some water for me in the night," coming from near the 
picture of Maharayt. One night she forgot, but later she awoke very thirsty 

and then remembered to put some water by the picture. In the morning the 
glass, which she had covered, was nearly empty. 


There was a party going to Vasudhara (near Badrinath), where the Ganga 
starts, but one Ma was sick so the group wouldn't take her. As the party left 
to 20, the Ma was bewailing her fate, and Maharaji came and said, ""Y ou 
want to see Vasudhara." He touched her hand and said, "INow walk out on 
the porch." She did so and what she saw was Vasudhara. She was in ecstasy. 
It turned out later that the party couldn't reach Vasudhara because of a 
roadblock. When they returned she told them that she had been there, but of 
course they didn't believe her. She described it in detail, and an old guide who 
had been there before corroborated her description. 

Word reached Maharayi from the pujari (priest) in Kanpur that the new 
murtt, not yet consecrated, had been broken. Maharayi and some of us 
immedtately set out for Kanpur, driving all night. I felt that by this intensity 
Maharayi was teaching the discipline of sticking to something: There was to be 
no sleep until Ram's work was done. I tried to slow Maharayi down, however, 
by quoting the proverb, "Don't travel at night and don't be idle at noon." 

Maharayi said, "The same principle doesn't apply in every situation.” 
When we arrived we found that the murti was no longer broken. Then 
Maharaji told a story of the saint, Ramakrishna, in which the Durga (an 
aspect of the Divine Mother) murti had been broken and Ramakrishna did pupa 

to tt and sang to it, and soon wt was all fixed. 

Al man was trying unsuccessfully to dig a well on his property and finally 
sent his son to Maharayi for help. Maharayi came to the farm, urinated, and 
left, saying, "Tell your father to try again." Indeed, a well was found, which 
7s Still gushing today. 

Alt a certain meta a flood destroyed a bridge which kept collapsing every 
time they tried to rebuild it. ‘The organizer of the meta came to Maharayi for 


help and Mahara said he would bless the bridge, but the man insisted that 
Maharayi come to the site of the bridge itself Maharayi stood there for a while 
and the flood waters began to recede. Soon the bridge was reconstructed and the 
meta turned out to be one of the most peaceful ever. 

People often gave Maharayi blankets. One time when he was through with 
a blanket it suddenly became much smaller, and he said, "Why are you giving 
me these blankets that are too small2" 

Maharayi and a devotee had settled in for a journey in the first-class 
compartment of a train. The devotee felt it would be safer if Maharayi held the 
tickets until the conductor came, so he gave them to Maharayit. Maharayi 
looked at them and said, "What is this for?” and threw them out of the 
window of the moving train. The devotee was shocked but said nothing. As 
Maharayi continued his conversation, the devotee was worrying about the 
tickets and the conductor. Finally the conductor knocked on the door and asked 
to see their tickets. The devotee hesitated a moment and then told Maharayi 
that the conductor wanted to see the tickets. Maharayi reached out toward the 
window and then handed the tackets to the devotee. He laughed and said, "Ts 
this what you were worried about?” 

In 1958, I was acting as the leader of the "Landless People” movement. I 
was arrested and charged nith four counts (1) inciting a riot, (2) trespassing, (3) 
attempted murder, and (4) obstructing a government servant ftom discharging 
his duties. I was assured by Maharayi not to worry, that it would turn out all 
right; but in 1964 I was convicted and sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. I 
immediately appealed the decision. 

I was not worried, but my relatives were quite upset and insisted I again go 
to Maharayi about the case. Maharayi assured me once more that all would 
turn out okay and added that when a particular judge, whom he named, was in 
offece, then the decision would be reversed. (Lhe name given was not that of 


the present judge.) The present judge was, in fact, soon transferred, but the 
replacement was also not the one Mahara foretold. The case was being 
argued and was to be completed by the end of a particular day. I thought to 
myself, "Flow could this be?" It was a cold, drizzly day and the sun had set 
and there were still several hours of arguing left, so the judge postponed the 
case until the next day. On that day one very important paper was 
inexplicably missing without a trace, so that the case could not be _finished. The 
Judse ordered a further postponement until the paper could be reconstructed, and 
the reconstruction took three years. By that time, now 1968, the judge whom 
Maharayi had named had been put in that office. The case was dropped under 

his decision. 

I was visiting a saint in the south of India who was known for manifesting 
many things. As I was getting ready to leave he said to me, "Do you want 
something, Ram Dass?" 

"No, Babaji, I don't want anything.” 

"Here," he said and held out his hand palm-upward and started to move it 
in a slow circular motion. I was still sitting at his feet so that my eyes were 
close to his hand, and I watched like a hawk for the least trickery, careful not 
to blink. But much to my amazement there appeared to be a bluish light on his 
hand, which turned into a medallion. The whole business was confusing to me: 
Why did he do this? 

I later heard that Maharayi said of such miracles: "There are those siddhis 
(powers), but they shouldn't be used much. They reduce spirit to magic."” And 
he said of such saints: "Let them play. Some saints of the south are very much 
after miracles."" (R.D.) 

Once in Vrinclaban before Guru Purnima Day (a day honoring the guru), 
Maharayi was feeding us by hand. One by one he would feed us each a pera. I 
tried to feed him one, too. Qf course he didn't eat sugar, but I was insisting, 
with the thought that this was also prasad. ""You must eat it, please eat it." So 
he pretended to eat tt. 

But Naima caught him: "You didn't eat it, Maharayi."” He looked guilty, 
as if to say, "Oh, you caught me." There it was in his hand. He'd palmed it. 
That precipitated wonderful play, as he went into his whole magician act: 


"Which hand is it in? Ha! You're wrong, it's in this hand." I don't think he 
was even using his powers for this game. He really was palming wu, hiding it 
in his blanket, and using sleight of hand—all tricks that any magician can do. 
But he was saying, "See! See! I'm like Sai Baba. I can make it appear; I can 
make it disappear. I can do anything. Magic! It's magic!” 

We were in a car with Maharayi in Bombay. He was directing us to drive 
through small streets, until finally we came to a house. A Ma ran out and 
touched Maharagt's feet. It so happened that one of my colleagues had been 
ureing me to ask Maharayi about the Satya Sai Baba miracles and Maharayi 
had been ignoring the question. Now, some time later in this house, Maharayi 
said, "Mother, they think manifesting things is so great. Give us some 
murtis."" And in her hand suddenly there were these little murtis of Krishna. 
Szddhi Ma wrapped two of them in her sari, and when she got home she 
discovered three of them there. 

About the miracle babas Maharayi would say, "What ts this? This ts all 
foolishness." He could do miracles, but the greatest miracle was that he could 
turn one's heart and mind toward God, as he did for me. 


Maharayi was actually the biggest saint. He had done all the yogic 
austerities. There are saints in India, very aged ones, who almost never give 
darshan to people. Except for the few to whom they are kind, these saints 
cannot be seen. Sometimes they take the shape of a tiger or a monkey or a 
beggar. You can only have darshan uf they want to give it to you, not 
otherwise. Lhe true devotees of God never wear saffron, carry malas (prayer 
beads), or put on sandalyvood. You can't know them unless they want it, and 
then you can only know them as much as they allow. 




THERE WAS still another group of devotees, many of them among the 

longest-term associates, who didn't conjecture about Maharajji's identity 
at all. 

You can't try to understand Maharaji. You can only put him on as you 
would a pair of shoes or a prece of clothing and feel him. 


I asked a devotee, "Wasn't your wife surprised when you didn't stop and 
talk to her?" 

"No, never. When we are with Mahara, we never think rationally about 
things. She just knew I was with Mahara.” 

It is extremely difficult to catch hold of him. 

I know nothing about such things. I only know that he ts my baba. 

ALTHOUGH MIRACLES wete commonplace around Maharajji, they were 
rarely discussed during his lifetime. The devotees knew, in no uncertain 
terms, that he did not like these things talked about. When various devo- 
tees would sit around and discuss his miracles, Maharajji would call 
them over and berate them and say, "You are all talking lies!" 
Maharajji said that God loves everything and he (Maharajji} does 
nothing, and if people wrote about him, millions of people would come 

to bother him, drawn only by rumors of miracles. 


In 1963 a man collected stories about Maharajji. Maharajji said, "You want 
to bring disgrace? Burn them!" He burned them. 
Another devotee wrote an article, and Maharajji tore up the manuscript. 

Someone asked Maharajji if he'd allow some pictures to be taken. Maharajji 
said no and expressed his disapproval. The man pressed Maharajji until finally 
he ceased to resist. The man snapped three or four photos. When the roll of 
film was developed, these three or four frames were completely blank. 

If you happened to see him perform some miracle, such as producing puris, 
he would tell you not to tell anyone. "I tell you, it will be bad for you. Don't 
tell anyone." 

One time the car in which Maharajji was riding ran out of gas in a place 
where there was none to be had nearby. Maharajji instructed the driver to put 
water in the tank and continue. Then he firmly warned the driver never to tell 
of this incident for as long as Maharajji was alive. Maharajji said that f the 
man told, he would contract leprosy! It was some three years after Maharaji 
left his body that the man first told this story. 


MAHARAJJI"S STRATEGY obviously worked, for he was known to 
those he chose to be known to, yet unknown to the population at large. 
As an example, the Illustrated Weekly of India did an entire issue 
concerning In- dian saints, past and present. Hundreds were listed, 
yet in the entire magazine he was not even mentioned. Perhaps that was 
the greatest sign of his power. 

When the Westerners started to come to Maharajji, he changed. He 
began to allow photographs to be taken and even gave his blessings for a 
book, Be Here Now, which allowed millions of seekers in the Western 
world to hear of Maharajji and his powers. Why he changed is not 
known. Perhaps he was preparing his legacy. 


Apparently .Maharajji did not transmit to his devotees any of the pow- 
ers that he manifested. Perhaps he felt similar to Shirdi Sai Baba, who 
said, "I don't give them powers because I don't want them to lose their 
way." Rather than any siddhis or yogic powers, Maharajji gave us more 
basic things: faith, loving hearts, and an acceptance of the reality of the 
Divine. At the same time, he recognized that some of the devotees had 
desire for such powers, and he enjoyed playing with those people. 

In 1967 Maharajji asked me, "You want to fly?" I had a pilot's license at 
the time, and though I knew that this wasn't what he meant, I said somewhat 
facetiously, "I already can fly, Maharajji." 

Maharajji ignored my response and said, "You want to fly. You'll fly." 

It was not until 1972, over four years later, while working with a mantra 
under the direction of a swami, that I experienced astral flying. (R.D.) 

One of the first things he said to me in 1967 was, "You know Gandhi?" 

"IT know of him, Maharajji." 

"You should be like him." 

Just by saying that, he started in me a train of righteous power fantasies that 
went on for years. Only recently have I come to see Gandhi in terms of 
compassion rather than power. Maharajji's statement made me do much work 
on myself. 

To add a bit more fuel to the fire of these attachments of mine, one day 
Maharaji asked, "Did you have tea at Nixon's house?" I was puzzled, for 
the question was without a context. But then I remembered that the 
Englishman who had settled in Almora many years before, who was known as 
Krishna Prem and was considered by many Indians to be a saint, had 
originally been named Nixon. I asked Maharajji if it was this Nixon to whom 
he referred. 

"No, the one with the big white house in America. The one with the house 
bigger than Muktananda's." 

There was no mistaking it now; he meant the president. "No, I never did." 
Then thinking maybe there was a confusion of generations, I added, helpfully, 
"But my father has." 

"Weren't you in Mr. Nixon's house and he gave you tea and was very nice 
to you?" 



"Oh." Nothing more. Just another little suggestion that perhaps I was to 
play in the halls of worldly power. 

And another day he spoke again about the presidency. This time he said, 
"You know, Lincoln was a very good president.” 


"Yes. He was a good president because he knew Christ was the real 
president. He was only acting president.” 

"OP. mn 

"Yes, he was very good. He helped the poor and suffering. He never forgot 


Then he asked, "Did you know Lincoln?” There was an embarrassed 
silence, for everyone present knew of that "impossibility." Then Dada told 
Maharayi that I couldn't have, since Lincoln died in 1865. It was explained 
as if to a child. But all of us knew that Maharayi never said things tdly. 


The head of the state police of Uttar Pradesh, the largest state in India, had 
come for darshan and was sitting at Maharayi's feet and rubbing his legs with 
obvious devotion. I was called to join them, and Maharayi introduced him to 
me and asked me whether the police in America were like the police in India. 
As I looked at this superintendent of state police rubbing Maharayi's legs I 
could only laugh at the comparison. I satd that the police in America had great 
power and often forgot they were the servants of the people. And I added that 
it would be unlikely for the head of any state police to kneel and rub the feet of 
a holy man. Maharayi then introduced me to the policeman, saying, "This ts 
Rani Dass. He is going to bring the police of America to God." I had to 
laugh. Now he was tmplying future powers even greater than my fantasies. 

It was also around this time that Maharayi started calling me Samarth Guru 
Ram Dass. In the past he had called me by one name or another (¢,8., 
"Tsha"—yjesus—or Kabir), each for a few weeks. Each time a new name 
appeared, albeit briefly, I would make inquiries as to the nature of the person 
who had become my namesake and would try it on for size. Jesus I already 
knew about. Kabir was a great saint, a very poor weaver who preached the 
unity of all religions and was legendary _for his outspoken beliefs in God. His 
poetry was already much revered in my heart. At first it seemed that Samarth 
Guru Ram Das must refer to the Sikh Guru Ram Das, but then I found a 
book that described a Samarth Guru Ram Das, who was guru to King Swat 
in the thoos and had constructed many Hanuman temples. The name Samarth 


meant "all-powerful" and there are many stories of his miraculous powers. He 
lived in a mud hut next to the king's palace. The king was highly regarded for 
his concern for his subjects and for his generous feeding of the poor, but 
apparently now and then his ego got the best of him. When this happened the 
guru would do things like splitting a rock in which there were many tiny bugs 
and asking the king, Who was feeding these bugs? This realization of the 
triviality of his own efforts would again humble the Ring. 

I tiked this name, and while I wanted all the powers Maharayi seemed to be 
alluding to, | knew that if he gave me those powers I would indeed get lost in 
them. Now and then, however, Maharayi would set me up for an experience 
that, by allowing me to help him, showed me that the true powers poured forth 
when one realized, "I can do nothing; God does everything.” 

On one occasion Maharayi said to me, "Hari Dass is in America. You Reep 
him there for _five years." 

I knew that Hart Dass had only a three-month visa and that to get a 
permanent visa—that ts, to become a registered alien in the United States—ais 
no easy matter. So I said to Maharayi, "I can't do that. I have no political 
power in the United States." 

But Maharayi would not hear my reply. He just repeated, "You keep Hari 
Dass in America for _five years. I kept Bhagavan Das here for seven years." 
The implications of this made me laugh. Here was Maharayi, who had all 
kinds of powers, making this absurd comparison. My power within the United 
States government was absolutely zero, so again I protested. But he was 
equally adamant, so I satd that I would certainly work on it. 

Al few days prior to that conversation, a Westerner from Los Angeles, whom 
I had never met before, came to Nainital to see me. I explained to him that my 
guru was nearby and took him to see Maharayi, who gave him the name 
Badrinath Das. The fellow was very taken with Maharayi and genuinely 
appreciative that I had arranged the meeting. On his last day in Nainital, 
which was the day after the Hari Dass conversation with Maharayt, Badrinath 
Das thanked me again and asked me if there was anything he could do for me 
in the States. I asked him, "For instance, whaté" and he told me that he was 
a successful lawyer in Los Angeles. At the moment I could not think of any 

friends who were in trouble, but I thanked him for the offer. Then as an 
afterthought I said, "I have a family full of lawyers, but the only legal thing I 
need now ts to get Hari Dass Baba a long-term visa in America,” and I 
explained to him Maharagjt's orders. 

Badrinath Das said, "Gee, it's funny you should need that. My brother-in- 
law happens to be the director of the Western United States Office of 
Immigration, and we should be able to arrange it with one letter." And so it 
was done. When Hari Dass came to the immigration department for an 


interview, his folder had special VIP stickers on it, and his alien visa was 
granted with no difficulty. 

Obviously Maharaji had known how it all would happen, but instead of 
bringing it out with Badrinath Das himsef, he let me help him. 

But while with one hand Maharajji played with my desires for worldly 
power, with the other he subtly uprooted them. One day while I was sitting 
with Maharajji and KK, many CID (Indian Intelligence Agency) men came 
to have Maharajji's darshan. They were in attendance upon Indira Gandhi, 
who was visiting nearby. After they left Maharajji said, "What good is all 
that? A king can only order his men to obey, but a saint can order wild beasts 
and animals to obey and they would do so also." 

Between this belittlement of a worldly king, the Samarth Guru Ram Das 
stories, and Lincoln's appreciation of who the real president was, Maharajji 
impressed upon me the very real limits of the worldly power that most humans 
seek. These teachings have continued to work upon me since that time. (R.D.) 

AMONG THE THOUSANDS of seekers who came to Maharajji's feet were 
many men and women of worldly power, either political or economic— 
even though Maharajji made light of worldly power. Sometimes Ma- 
harajji avoided them, and at other times he seemed to go out of his way 
to help or guide them. 

Maharajji was staying at the home of the superintendent of the Agra Central 
Jail when he unexpectedly got up and left for another place. He told them that 
a wealthy importer was coming to bother him. A few minutes after Maharajji 
had left, a limousine drove up and a large man approached the house, laden 
with prasad. 

Maharajji tried to avoid at least two or three governors who wanted to see 
him. But one of the governors arrived unannounced. Maharajji said, "Tf he is 
that keen to see me, how can I stop him?" 

Maharajji was involved in politics to the extent that it served his devotees. 
He would say, "Yes, you'll become governor," or, "You'll become vice- 
president of India," and so forth. 


Once the nife of Vice-President Giri came. Maharayi refused to see her, 
although he had announced that she was coming before she actually arrived. 
"Give her prasad," he said. 

The governor came along with his son, and though Maharayi was resting 
they bothered him anyway. When Maharayi spoke with them the governor 
asked tf Girl should contest the election for president. 

Later Giri himself came with four other men. Maharayt saw him alone for 

jifteen minutes. After that Giri left, went back to Delhi, and announced his 
retirement as vice-president. When asked why, he said, "Tt is the soul's voice 
telling me." He then entered the race for president of India. 

Before the votes for the presidential election were counted, Maharayi 
exclaimed, "Giri has won." And he had. 

Maharayi never wanted any publicity and he always tried to avoid VIPs. 
He Rept away from devotees who became important. They would often tell me, 
"He used to visit us often, but now that he has placed us on the throne, he has 

forsaken us. He won't come any more. I wish he hadn't put us there. At least 
we would be able to have his darshan.” 

India's Prime Minister Nehru flew into the Calcutta airport one day en 
route to Assam. An airport conference was held for the press, attended both by 
reporters and by government officials. As Nehru spoke, another plane landed 
nearby and passengers disembarked. A few minutes later, Nehru noticed that 
his audience had shrunk and some of the people had made their way to the 
newly arrived plane. Nehru questioned his advisors, the closest of whom was 
an old devotee of Maharayt. He told Nehru that Baba Neem Karok was on 
that plane and the people were rushing to have his darshan. Nehru expressed 
great surprise and said, "India ts fortunate indeed if there exists a saint so great 
that people will leave their prime minister to see him." 


Shortly after the outbreak of the India-China war in 1962 the military 
commanders of India advised Prime Minister Nehru to order a total evacuation 
of New Delhi, as a Chinese invasion appeared tmminent. Understandably, 
Nehru was very reluctant to issue this order. During the long history of India, 
Delhi had been abandoned several times in the face of a military takeover, and 
on each occasion tt foretold the defeat of the country. Nehru's generals, 
however, advised him to issue the evacuation order nithin twenty-four hours to 
avotd catastrophe. Nehru was desperate. He even asked his chief minister, a 
long-time devotee of Maharayi, to contact Maharayi for advice. The minister 
told Nehru he had faith that Maharayi knew everything and if Maharaji 
wanted to give darshan he would come. He satd that Maharayi would never 

fail to answer someone's call of it was sincere. In any case, Maharapjt's 
whereabouts were unknown to the devotee. That same evening, Maharaji 
telephoned and said to the devotee, Nehru's minister, "Tell him not to worry. 
Everything will be all right. They've already begun to retreat." The next 
morning, the top military brass told Nehru that during the night the enemy had 
retreated through the mountain passes and the fighting had subsided. 

For a long time Prime Minister Nehru had expressed the desire to have 
Maharagi's darshan, but Maharayi always managed to avoid seeing him. One 
day a close friend of Nehru's who was also a devotee of Maharayi appeared to 
convince Maharayi to meet him. Maharaji said he'd come to the prime 
minister's residence, but he warned that there should be no ceremony or fanfare 
on his behalf. 

During Nehru's last days, Maharayi used to say, "Nehru is a good man. 
He worships God internally. He doesn't make much of it.” 

Mujib's brother came. This man did not know if his brother, Mujib, was 
living or dead. Most people thought he was dead. But Maharayi said, "Don't 

worry. Your brother will come and he will come like a king.” And so he did, 
to lead the formation of Bangladesh. 


One day an ordinary man came to see Maharapi, simply in order to have 
his desire fulfilled: He wanted to be a minister. Maharayi said, "Okay, you 
will be a minister. Take prasad and go." One day many years later I was 
alone with Maharayi in the room at Kaincht. For hours we were alone there 
together and he was deep in some samadhi (spiritual trance) state, when 
suddenly he called out a man's name. Fifteen minutes later a car with a flag 
drove up to Kainchi with some government minister. I told Maharayi, who 
said to give him prasad and then call him in. 

That man came in and said, "Maharagjt, once I met you. You told me that 
I would become a minister. Now I have become a minister. It ts due only to 
your grace. Before taking the post, I felt I should come here and take the dust 
of your lotus feet. So I have come here for your darshan. Then I will assume 

my post.” 

ONLY NOW AND then did Maharajji discuss politics at all. Usually he 
didn't seem to be particularly interested in worldly affairs unless pressed 
by his devotees. Often his perspective on the issues of the day seemed 
cosmic and frequently amused. 

One day in speaking with a Western devotee, Maharayi inquired as to 
whether the scientists were now planning to send a rocket ship to Mars. When 
the devotee told him yes, they were, Maharayi laughed and laughed. 

Al politician said to Maharagi of his own work, "We are doing so much for 
the people.” 

Maharayi replied, "Where is your green revolution?” referring to the 
drought. ""You think you can do everything. You can do nothing. Only God 

can do." 

Maharaji, though he expressed favor for India's independence, said, '"The 
British were good at heart." 


Twenty-five years ago a few of us were sitting with Maharaji, and he said 
about the Pakistan-India partition, "You will see, one part of Pakistan will be 

with India." 

In 1962, during the India-China war, I told Maharajji, "Chinese forces 
have entered Assam. Our forces have acted like spectators. If they continue not 
to fight, the Chinese will come to the plains." 

Maharajji said, "Nothing will happen. China will retreat. India is a place 
of rishis (sages) and self-sacrifice. Communism can't come." 

"But, Maharaji," I continued, "why have the Chinese forces come ?" 

"just to awaken you," he replied. 

They were speaking of a possible Communist takeover and Maharajji said, 
"No! No, Communism can't come here. All the people are religious-minded 
and devout. Communism comes only to those countries where there is no faith 
in God. In countries where there is religion and it is being observed, no 
Communism can come." 







ALTHOUGH MAHARAJJI protested that only God could do, that he could 
do nothing, many of the devotees saw in him an identity with God. 

There are so many classes of saints and sadhus. Maharajji was the saint of a 
different nature, which is called advait vad: There is only God, I myself am 
God and all things are my own heart and soul and God is present everywhere. 


Maharayi was a follower of advait vad. He saw his own soul in everybody. 
For him it was all One. 

Maharayi was like Krishna: Sometimes he was like God and sometimes he 
was like an ordinary person. 

Outwardly he is a man, but he ts not a man. He used to talk here but he 
was somewhere else. Fle can cause his atma (spirit) to enter into any person at 
any time to get his work done. His body was burned and can't return, but his 
atma can come in any form. In a dream he told me, "You can have my 
darshan but not in this form!” 

He was so much a part of our lives that we didn't realize when we were 
with him the extent of his powers. He veiled his greatness. We never collected 
anecdotes because we thought he would go on forever. 

A very learned sadhu came to visit KB at his home. For hours every day the 
two discussed philosophy. The sadhu said that the universe is still ruled by 
sages, celestial beings who form a hierarchy ruled by the Supreme King. He 
said that the earthly play and the earthly rulers were under the control of these 
eternal sages. He proceeded to describe the Supreme King and his behavior. 
KB was shocked. The sadhu had described Maharayi perfectly. Sometime later 
Maharayi came to KB's home, and upon seeing the sadhu's photograph on the 
wall, Maharayi became furious. "How did you get that photo? Where did you 
meet that man?" he shouted. "You wretch! You talk too much and you force 
other people to talk." Maharayi left, leaving KB more curious than ever. 
Some years later, KB spoke with Maharayi about dharma (spiritual way of 
life) and rulers, ever Reeping in mind the mysterious revelation of the sadhu. 
Referring to King Janak, the mythical sage-king of ancient India, he asked 


Maharayji whether janak was the last of such enlightened rulers in the world. 
Maharajji replied, "No, no! There is still such a king of the world today. 
There's a king of the whole universe, greater than Janak." 

A sadhu in Bombay gives descriptions of the saints who are in Siddha Loka 
(highest spiritual plane) and says that Maharajji is sitting naked upon a white 
stone in the snow above us all. 


One summer evening we were sitting around Maharajji, who was lying on 
his back, seeming very far away and blissful. I was holding his right hand and 
quietly began to study the lines on it. Maharajji roused a little and in a 
faraway voice asked me what it was I was seeing in his palm. I told him, 

“ Maharajji, it says in your palm that you will have God's darshan." Like a 
small child with an air of delighted secrecy, he whispered to a nearby devotee, 
"Oh, they have found out!" 


Brahmachari Maharaj was a great saint, highly revered in the Kumoan 
Hills. When he and Maharajji met, Brahmachari Maharaj did dunda pranam. 
It was a hot day, and Brahmachari Maharaj sent Tewari to get water for 
making a lassi (a drink of churned yogurt, water & sugar). Brahmachari 
Maharaj drank water only from a distant spring, so Tewari was some time in 
getting the water. When he returned, Brahmachari Maharaj berated him: 
"You have no insight. You don't understand. This is no ordinary saint. 
Maharajji could drink tap water. It doesn't matter for him." 


Once Maharajji arrived in Lucknow and met Shri Brahmachari Maharaj. 
After a brief greeting they entered an inner room and bolted the door. When 
ifteen or twenty minutes had passed the door opened and Shri Brahmachari 


Maharaj came out, his face shining. He stood silently, smiling. Maharajji 
could be seen inside the room in a peculiar mudra—his entire body appeared like 
a round, soft body. He came out almost at once, and his body appeared to be 
very reddish in color. For a few silent moments the two saints stood together, 
then Maharajji left. 

When Gandhi was shot and all were crying, Brahmachari Maharaj asked, 
"Why is everyone crying?" When he was told, he said, "There is only one 
being in India who could bring him back to life and that is Neem Karoli 

Maharajji fed puris to a visiting swami from Sivananda ashram and told 
him to sit in the cave behind the temple. The swami, however, felt very 
attracted to Maharajji and soon returned to him. Maharaji then sent him to sit 
tinder the big tree, a position from which he could watch Maharajji. In front of 
his eyes, the Kainchi scene transformed into the Sivananda ashram in 
Rishikesh and Maharajji became Sivananda. Then MaharajjilSivananda 
walked up to the swami and said, "Do you think there is any difference 
between us? Are we not the same?" 

The swami said, "You are there in that form, too. You are really only he. 
You are deluding me in this form." Maharajji said nothing in reply. He only 


I have yet to find another man at this stage. One can go up quite all right, 
but it is very difficult to reach the highest realization and come back to the 
physical plane. Maharajji seemed to be on all planes at once. That is the 
highest state. 

I treated him as an ordinary sadhu until I realized who he was. 


Che Stick Chat Heals 

MAHARAJJI OFTEN UTILIZED his awesome powers to spread an umbrella 
of protection over his devotees. Nowhere was this more apparent or 
breathtaking than when it involved the healing of a devotee's illness. For 
some devotees the healing took place with a touch or a glance or a word; 
for others he prescribed medicines. Some stories reflect just how unusual 
these medicines were. To other devotees who came to him with ill- 
nesses, he implied that he could do nothing and sent them to doctors or 
to special temples to be cured. But when the situation demanded it, and 
the devotee's faith was strong, Maharajji seemed to effect cures at great 
distances, via telephone or even in dreams. When confronted with his 
miraculous healing powers, Maharajji denied all. All he would say at 
these times was "Sub Ishwar hai. [It's all God]." 

After one of Maharajji's long-time devotees had a serious operation, 
Maharajji remained in her house for nine days. Someone asked him why he 
was staying so long when usually he never stayed more than few days in any 
one place. Maharajji replied, "Why do you ask? You're not the one who has 
to feed me. Why are you worried?" On the seventh night the woman had a 



relapse. The doctors treated her with sleeping pills, saying that she should rest, 
but all to no avail. She could not sleep. Her husband informed Maharayi, who 
said, "Don't worry, I'm coming." Finally, several hours later, he went to her 
room where he rebuked her soundly for not going to sleep as the doctors had 
ordered. Then, lifting his right leg, he touched his big toe to her forehead and 
within seconds she fell into a deep sleep. When she awoke she was well. 


A devotee was admitted to the hospital for an operation. The doctors said 
that he was dying of cancer and that an operation was his only chance of 
survival. His family went to get Maharayt's blessings. Maharayi said, "Go 
ahead with the operation. He can't have cancer. He'll be all right after the 
operation." For two or three days the man was near death. Maharagji sent 
some prasad to him with a Mother, who stayed at his bedside for two days. 
The operation was ped'Ormed and no cancer was found. Cancer had shown up 
on the tests, but by the time of the operation it had disappeared. 

Once a Harvard professor and his wife came to visit Maharayt. The wife 
was an artist and she sketched a likeness of Maharayi as she sat before him. 
That night she became violently Wl, shaking with fever and coughing blood. 
This was extremely unusual, as she was a very healthy woman. It was also 
unfortunate because they were on a tight schedule and had planned to leave that 
day for Delhi. When word of her ness was taken to Maharayi, he replied, 
"She will go to Delhi today.” But the doctor came and said she would have to 
be transported to better lodgings and that it would be at least a week before she 
could travel. They bundled her up to take her to better lodgings and passed by 
the temple en route, so they stopped the car. Everyone went in to pay ther 
respects to Maharayt, including the sick woman. The closer she got to him, the 
better she felt——and when she was directly in front of him, she felt completely 
well. He was beaming at her. She took out her sketch of him and he wrote 

ow (Ram, Ram, Ram) all around the edge of the drawing. 


The daughter of the police inspecto;. of Rampur was dying of typhoid, and 
the only treatment they had in those days was to take away all food. They 
hadn't fed her for about forty days, so she was on the very edge of death. A 
letter came from Rampur to Nainital asking Maharajji to come and give 
darshan to the girl. Actually, the day before the letter arrived, Maharajji had 
said, "Come, we have to go to Rampur." They went. In the bedroom he said, 
"They are starving my daughter. What's going on! I'm very hungry. Make 
me food." Then he ate and said to the girl, "They are starving you. Here, eat 
this chapatti. Get up and eat this." She managed to get up and eat a bit of it. 
Then he said, "I'm tired. I have to rest. You sit in the chair and I'll sleep on 
the bed," The girl did as he instructed. For about an hour he was completely 
silent, apparently asleep. Then he got up and left, and size recovered. 

One of the Ma's was having back trouble during a pilgrimage. She had a 
dream of Maharajji and vibhuti (ash from sacred fires, commonly used for 
healing), but she was rubbing it on his back, which was hurting him. The next 
day another Ma said, "We have some vibhuti from Maharajji. Let us rub it on 
your back." They did, and she improved and continued the pilgrimage. 

There was one woman who was pregnant, but all the doctors told her that 
it was an irregular pregnancy and that she would not be able to carry it to 
term. Then she had Maharajji's darshan. He just looked at her and said, 
"Thik ho jaega [It will be all right]." She carried the baby full term and gave 
a normal delivery to a perfectly normal child. 

When R's daughter was only one year old, she tumbled out the window of 
their home—a thirty-foot fall. She was unhurt, and the next day, having 
received word that Maharajji had come to Kainchi, they took her to him. 
Maharajji said she would be okay. When this same little girl was two, she 
again tumbled thirty feet—out of another window in their home. This time, 


also, she was unhurt and again Maharayi had just come to Kainchi, so instead 
of taking her to a doctor they took her to Maharaji, who casually said that 
she'd be okay. This same incident was repeated a third time when she was 
three. This time the girl herself remembers. She said, "I remember the falling. 
I felt as if I were floating down," This time when they took her to Maharaj, 
he said to her parents, "I won't let her die.” 

A\ devotee's son was very sick and he asked his mother to give him some 
vibhuti from Maharayt. Then he fell asleep and dreamed that he kept trying to 
dive into a lake and Maharayi kept pulling him out. When he awoke the 
illness had passed the point of crisis. 

My wife had paralysis of her eye and mouth, and it became so bad that she 
wanted to commit suicide, but she was very young. 

We slept in two cots. One night we both saw Maharapyi at the same time, 
3:30 AM. My wife asked me to get up and arrange tea for Maharayt. I got up 
but there was no one there. Neither of us could sleep, so we had tea ourselves. 
Suddenly I looked at my wife and saw that her face was again moving and her 
eye was blinking. The doctor later said, "This 7s impossible. God has done 

Several days later Majarayi came at 6:00 AM. and asked, "'What happened 
Zo your wye?" AL her luster had returned. We have seven children now. 

My mother had a dream in which a sadhu was wounded in the head and she 
put something in his mouth that Maharayi had given her. She awoke upset at 
such a strange dream. Hari Dass came to our house the next day to get food for 
people at the temple. The food was not ready, so Hari Dass was told to wait. 
He went down to the bathroom and then passed out on the stairs coming up, 
hitting his head which bled badly. My father arrived and, finding Hari Dass 
on the stairs, called my mother and together they brought him up to a bed. He 


was unconscious and there seemed little hope, but my mother remembered her 
dream and got some vibhuti that she had obtained from Maharajji. She placed 
it in Hari Dass's mouth and he got up within half an hour. 

R's wife was dying and she needed surgery. None of her special blood type 
was available, even in Bombay. She went into surgery saying Maharajji's 
name, and to the surgeon's surprise it was almost a totally bloodless operation. 
She later said that she had experienced going to a plane of consciousness where 
Maharaji had said, "Take her away. She'll stay there." 

Dada's nephew was dying of smallpox and apparently the last moment had 
come, for the body had been moved from the bed to the floor. It was suggested 
that a drop of water from the Ganga, with which Maharajji's feet had been 
washed, be placed in the boy's throat. When this was done the boy sat up, and 
by the next day the smallpox was gone. 

At that same time, many miles away in the hills where Siddhi Ma was with 
Maharajji, suddenly Maharajji developed these spots all over his body. Since 
smallpox was not frequently seen in the hills, the hill people were not familiar 
with what it looked like. They got lotion and treated it as an allergy. By the 
next day the spots were gone and Maharajji said, "That was wonderful lotion. 
What could those spots have been? I must have been allergic to something." 
Only much later was it ascertained that the boy's cure and Maharajji's 
"allergy" coincided. 

Maharajji was giving darshan in a small room of the ashram, when a 
disturbed-looking man came in. Maharajji at once started screaming at him and 
held out his hand toward him. The fellow mumbled and shook his head, but 
Maharajji kept demanding something from him. Finally the man reached into 
his shirt pocket and pulled out a tiny bird with a stick through its chest. It 
looked quite dead. Maharajji took the bird, still yelling at the crazy man, and 


pulled the stick out of the bird's body. He then gave the bird to the pujari, 
saying, "Take it out and give it water." As the pujari took it and headed out 
the door, the bird flew out of his hand and away. 

One evening in Agra Maharajji came to our house. He began to walk up 
and down the verandah, this way and that, again and again. It appeared to us 
that he was taking on someone's pain. After a few hours he sat in a chair and 
asked for some hot tea. The phone rang. Devotees from Lucknow were trying 
to locate Maharajji. They said to tell Maharajji that there had been a two-and- 
a-half-hour operation on one of his devotees, a poor seventy-six-year-old 
woman from the hills, and that it had been successful. In his way Maharajji 
had been with her throughout the operation. He appeared upset all during this 
time. When the call came he expressed great relief. 

My wife had known Maharajji since her childhood and her whole family 
had been devotees for a long time. I did not meet him, however, until 1962, 
when I had an operation on my lungs. I was in critical condition. My wife 
spoke to me then about Maharajji and I was remembering all that I'd 
previously heard about him and was praying to meet him before my death. On 
that same day Maharajji came to our home, approached my bed, and blessed 
me. From that day my health began to improve, and the illness has never 

returned. During every visit thereafter Maharajji told me that my health would 
be fine. 

Yudisthra had brought Maharajji to Bhumiadhar in a car, Yudisthra went to 
take a bath in the waterfall. He came running back and told Maharajji that he 
had been bitten by a snake, then he _fell down unconscious. His hand had 
become blue black. Maharajji told Brahmachari Baba to spread a blanket and 
put Yudisthra on it. Then Maharajji told him to get a glass of water, which 
Maharajji then held in his hand under his blanket. Maharajji was shouting, 
"He has been bitten! What will happen?" The man remained unconscious. 


After a few minutes Maharajji gave Brahmachari Baba the water and told him 
to rub it over the place where the snake had bitten the man. As soon as he 
started to apply the water, Yudisthra regained consciousness. In another hour, 
he was well again. 

Once when I was a child I was very, very sick with a high fever. My 
mother telephoned Maharajji and he came right away. He just laid his hand on 
my head and the fever left me. 

In 1964 I suffered a heart attack. My wife was very worried, but I felt a 
calm assurance in my soul from Maharajji that I would not die. 

Early one morning, five young men came to Kainchi. They waited 
nervously for Maharajji to make his appearance. As soon as he emerged from 
his room he questioned them. They answered that they were Moslems from a 
nearby city. Their close relative was dying and had asked them to go and 
request Maharajji's blessing. Maharajji asked his attendants for some water, 
which was handed to him in a plastic cup. He raised it to his lips, whispering 
something, then he blew into the water and gave it to the boys. He told them 
to return at once to the sick man and to make him drink it. "Thik ho jaega 
[He'll be all right]." 

At the home of some devotees in Lucknow Maharajji was giving darshan to 
a large crowd. Outside Maharajji's room a sadhu recited the Gita in a loud, 
punditlike voice while the man of the house cared for his sick cat nearby. 
Maharajji shouted to his devotee, "What are you doing with that cat?" The 
devotee explained that since the cat was extremely ill he was warming it in the 
sun, and, further, he thought of taking it to the vet. "It's a fact of nature," 


Maharajji said, "that cats don't usually need doctors. She's the property of 
Mother Nature; she'll be all right." He took a small sweet, saying, "Give her 
this." Although the cat was so ill that it wouldn't even drink milk, it ate the 
sweet without hesitation. A minute later it leaped up and jumped on the sadhu, 
interrupting his recital. Then it bounded away. When the devotee came back 
into the room, Maharajji said, "Your cat is all right now? Animals cure 
themselves. When they're sick, they won't eat food. They'll find herbs and eat 

In Lucknow a woman suffering from high blood pressure called her husband 
at the office and said she was feeling giddy and asked him to come home, as she 
couldn't reach a doctor. When he got there, she was still unable to reach a 
doctor. They were wondering what to do when the telephone rang and it was 
Maharajji calling from Agra. He said, "You are worried about your wife's 
high blood pressure? Don't worry. Nothing is wrong with her. Give her a 
glass of water." 


One morning at 4:00 A.M. when Maharajji was staying at my house, he 
said, "Come on, let's go." ) 

I said, "Maharajji, I'll get my car and take you. 

But he said, "No, I will walk." 

So I got my sandals. Maharajji went barefoot. I didn't know where we were 
going, but I always entrusted myself to Maharajji because, even if he said he 
didn't know where a place was, he knew. Often Maharajji would ask, "Do 
you know where such-and-such is?" I'd say no and then he'd take us there. So 
I surrendered myself to him. 

We went into a slum. Maharajji came to a shack with only a windowlike 
door, which he pushed open and looked inside. There, a young boy of about 
twelve was lying on a cot, very sick. Maharajji said to the boy, "Get up, you 
aren't sick." As soon as the boy was able to get up and lean against the wall, 
Maharajji lay down on the bed. At this point, the old, blind grandmother who 
was taking care of the boy awakened and asked, "Who is there?" 

I answered, "A mahatma _ great soul ] has come." 


M aharajji asked her, "H as he been feverish with chills for two week s?" 
She said yes. 

T he boy probably had typo’ fever. T hen the Ma was uncomfortable 
because she had nothing to offer M aharajji. M aharajji saw this and spied an 
old can with water in it. "Ma, have you got some pani (water)? I'm very 
thirsty." She was happy to have the opportunity at least to give water. He 
drank deeply and then offered the container to me but he knew would never 
drink from it, and I said no. We let then, and the boy recovered. 

Ram D ass gave a talk in Ohio in 1972 or 1973. A boy who attended the 
lecture that night got on the first plane the nex morg, ew from Cleveland, 
Ohio, to N ew Y ork, to London, to N ew D elhi, where he got in a taxi and 
rode up to Kainchi. L ess than thirty-six hours earlier he had heard Ram D ass 
talking about M aharajji. H e walked into the ashram. H ¢ had taken of his 
shirt, since it was so hot, and I could see that on his chest he had a bad rash. | 
welcomed him and asked him where he had come from, and he told me his story. 
Then I asked him why he hadn't treated his rash. H e explained that all the 
medical authorities had told him it was incurable hed tried injections and 
salves, and nothing had work ed. 

I said that that was silly-it was just tinia corpus, which is really vary easy 
to cure. I said that, in fact, D warka was going to N ainital and he could get the 
sulphur tar to cure it and could bring it back that night. Then ina few 
days the rash would be gone A nd hesaid tome, "I heard Ram Dass just 
two days ago. A nd now I've met D octor A merica (M aharajji's nickname for 
me) and I'm herein M aharajji's ashram. A nything you say!" His eyes were 
as big as saucers, 

D warka brought back the sulphur tar. I showed the boy how to use it 
and told him the rash would be cured in justa fewdays. He agreed to use 
it and said he was on his waytoBadrinath that day for a week. And 
he went off to the chai stall. 

I got to thinkingthat it had been a longtime since I'd practiced 
medicine and I was a bit rusty. 1 went to where I was staying and checked my 
medical books about this disease that had just diagnosed. I realized that 

I had diagnosed the wrong disease. The treatment I had given him 
was absolutely useless, so! raced down to the chai stall, just in time to see 
him get on the bus and be gone 


| felt very bad. By musdtagnosing his disease, not only had I failed as 
Maharagt's representative, but I'd sent the boy off with a useless 
medicine—and when he came back, he was going to think that all the people 
around Maharayi were fools and incompetents. The week that he was gone 
was just awful for me. I had done something terrible. 

Alfter a week passed he came back. | saw him from across the ashram and 
ran out to him and said, "I'm sorry!” 

He said, "Sorry? Look!" He opened his shirt and his chest was completely 
healed. Not even a scar. It was all gone. I didn't understand, but I knew it 
wasn't the medicine that I had given him. 

I went to the window of Maharayt's room we called the "office," and I 
said, "Maharayi, thank you. You cured him.” 

He said, "Sub Ishwar hai [It's all God]." 



AA woman devotee was sick from eating too many pickles. She loved them 
but had a bad stomach and couldn't digest them, so when she'd eaten mango 
chutney, the next morning her stomach was bad. Her husband told Maharaji 
that his wife was sick, so Maharayi came running with something wrapped in 
a piece of paper. We all thought that he had brought some secret herb or 
ancient remedy. Mahara opened up the packet and handed the contents to her 
husband: a cellophane-wrapped tablet of Gelusil! 

I had discovered that I had diabetes and wasn't supposed to eat anything 
spicy, starchy, greasy, or sweet. Right after that, I went to Kainchi for the first 
time and was served a big plate of puris cooked in grease, some halva, and 
some spicy potatoes—all precisely the things I shouldn't eat. The doctor had 
told me that if I ate such things I could get very very wl. I thought about what 
the doctor said and looked over at Maharayi, who was twinkling. I was trying 
to decide whether to have faith in the doctor or faith in Maharayt. (At that 
time I didn't even know if he was my guru.) It was my first day "on the job" 
as Maharagt's devotee. 

I finally decided to eat the food. In fact, I was so hungry I ate two big plates 
of it. Every day thereafter, I would come and stuff myself After a few weeks, 
I went to Nainital and had my blood-sugar level tested. It was down to 


borderline low. The doctor said, "I don't understand how this could have 
gotten so low so quickly. This doesn't make sense.” 

I said, "Well, I think I know what happened.” 

My mother was wl. Many doctors had seen her and had said she was septic 
and must go to the hospital. My mother, who ts very orthodox, did not want 
to g0. I wrote to Maharayi and he asked me to take her to a homeopath whose 
name he gave me. My mother was cured. However, the old homeopath, who 
had never met Maharaji, said, ""So many are sent to me by this Maharayi and 
no matter what medicine I give them, they are cured, even when the disease ts 
chronic. I don't know how it ts done!” 


One time while I was staying at Kainchi, my wife came for Maharayt's 
darshan, though I didn't know she had come. In those days she was feeling 
great pain in her heart. Whenever she would go up or down the stairs, her 
heart would start palpitating. She would come to me, weeping, thinking she 
was about to die. But, putting my faith in Maharayi's power, I had no worries 
about her and never spoke of this to Maharaji. 

This day, she came to Maharayi herself and told him. Immediately 
Maharaji called out, "Where is he? Call him!" I came, and he said, "What? 
She is il and you don't care?” He went on talking like this. I didn't reply 
because | knew that whatever you are thinking, he knows and he replies to 
your thoughts as f you had spoken them. You think and he talks. 

I was thinking, "Why should I do anything—it ts all in his hands." 

He replied out loud, "No! There is a doctor—go to Agra. He ts a heart 
specialist. He ts a great disciple.” Then Maharayi turned to one of the Ma's 
standing by and said, ""Tell him how I sent your relative to him. This doctor 
is a great saint.” 

She said, "When I showed the doctor the letter that Maharayi had sent us, 
he came running to treat my relative at the house.” 

Maharayi said, "And what happened?” 

"Well, in only two or three days she was all right.” 

"Just see! just see!” Maharaji exclaimed to me. "He is my great disciple. 
You go! Tomorrow, you leave this place. jao! Go! If you need money, I will 
give it to you. You must go!" 


I didn't say anything. I just thought in my heart, "Well, Maharaji, you 
are so great. I have no need of going there. You are God. You can cure her.” 
He immediately repled to my thoughts, "No, no, you must go! Badmash! 
This ts my order!" I kept mum. He said, "Don't you know? The doctor is a 
great saint. The moment she has his darshan she will be all right. You see his 
grace, you go to him, there nill be no need of medicine. You see him. She will 
be all right. You go! Tomorrow you will have to go! Don't deny it!" I had 
been thinking that I would not go. "What? You don't obey my orders? Obey 

my orders! You are very wicked. You have to go." 

Well, I was thinking, it 1s a great trouble to me—but he says I have to go, 
and so I must go. The next day, I thought he would direct me to go, but he 
didn't say anything about it. He said, "Well, come here, sit beside me. How 
many people are coming to the tensple? Give them prasad, give them whatever 
they need." But he didn't say anything about going to Agra. From that day, 
even till now—eight years—my wife has had no pain. 

IN HIS EARLIER years, in some of the villages on the plains of India, 
Maharajji became well-known for his curing of insane people. In those 
days many such people would be brought in chains to Maharajji to be 
helped. In the later years he would do much less of this and often had 
such people taken to a temple known as Bala Ji Hanuman—yet still, with 
a word or a glance or a pointing of the finger, he could straighten that 
which in the mind was crooked. 

An Indian man had brought his widowed mother who had been emotionally 
and physically destitute since her husband's death. She had been a devotee of 
Maharayi for many years but it seemed she saw him only rarely, so her son 
brought her to Maharayi hoping that this would help her. When Maharayi 
came out, I was troubled to see that the man and his mother were standing way 
in the back and that all the area near Maharaji was taken up by the young 

I got up the nerve to be a busybody and ask people to move aside so that 
these people could come forward. People did move, instantly. Then Maharayi 
took the widow into the small room, where she stayed with him for some time. 
She came out a different person, really radiant. I was impressed by that, and 
her son and granddaughter were very moved, too. 


One of the Westerners became quite manic. He stopped sleeping and began 
walking through the town naked, stealing things, and acting irrational in many 
ways. Finally he took off in a taxt, with only a shawl wrapped around 
himself, to go see Maharayi at a temple some two hundred miles distant. When 
he arrived he entered the temple and walked toward Maharagi. As he 
approached, Maharayi held up his index finger, and the man later reported that 
immediately wt felt as tf all the incredible high energy with which his body had 
been charged for days, giving him the feeling that he had supernatural powers, 
was drained out of him instantaneously. He recalls being angry with Maharayi 

Jor taking this energy from him. 

Many years ago in Neeb Karori village, crazy men were sometimes brought 
to Maharaji, bound in chains. Maharazji used to say, "Free them and Reep 
them near Hanumanjt.” He would take a small bamboo stick and proceed to 
hit them on their heads. Then he would ask, "Are you all right?” They 
would say, ""Yes."" Then Maharayi would ask them to do some work, saying 
something like, "Bring a stick of tarmbans [cactus plant]."" When they would 
bring it, he'd say, "Now it's all right." They were allowed to stay for a day 
or two and then he would ask the people who brought them to take them back 

Many years ago, a Mohammedan lived behind the place where Maharayi 
was staying. They loved each other very much. One day, two crazy men were 
brought there and Maharayi said to the Mohammedan, "You make one of 
them all right and I will make the other one all right." The one who was with 
Maharayi became all right within a short time, but the Moslem took some time 
and his man was still not all right. The devotees were sitting there watching. 
Maharayi called the other crazy man over to him and hit him gently on his 
head, and then he too was perfectly all right. But Maharayi said, "Oh, the 
Mohammedan did it first.” 


I was with Maharayi when he went to the sanitarium to visit the principal's 
younger brother, who had gone insane. He was brought into the room in chains 
and his unfocused eyes were rolling around in his head. Maharayi stood in 
Jront of him talking to him. Suddenly the man fell to the ground at Maharayi's 
feet and was perfectly sane. The man was able to answer all questions. Later 
he was released, although it wasn't to be his last bout with mental illness. 


Once a Western devotee stood before Maharayi in a rage of defiance. He 
was drug-intoxtcated and came to believe that he himself was Jesus Christ and 
that Maharayi needed to repent. Before many other devotees there, this fellow 
shouted his defiance. Maharagi silently engaged the fellow's gaze for a few 
moments, with a look of openness and compassion. The man still continued hes 
tirade, so Maharayi nodded his head and then told some devotees to throw him 
out. Fiven after he was outside, Maharayi sent more devotees out to be sure 
that he had gotten on the bus and left town. (Later, when asked how he had 

felt during this time, the man said he felt engulfed with Maharagt's love and 
was expecially touched that he would send people out to help him board the 

MAHARAJJI DID NOT heal all who came to him with illness or who 
prayed to be healed. Why some were healed and others were not was 
known only to him. Sometimes he would apparently lessen the illness 
but leave the individual with some of the suffering. His comments at 
these times suggest that Maharajji's healing acts were intimately related 
to the karma of the individual—that often it was necessary for the person 
to suffer part or perhaps all of the pain of the illness. While most people 
do not want to suffer, Maharajji now and then reminded his devotees 
that suffering brings us closer to God. 

When my daughter was born she was very sickly. I took her to an allopath 
and to an ayatved (doctor of herbal medicine), but no one could help. I took 
her to an astrologer, who said, "She has three planets indicating death. If she 
lives past two-and-a-half, then bring her to me for her chart. Now it ts 
useless."" Then I brought her to Maharayi and asked his help. Maharaji just 
bent his head down on his arm and hid his face for some time. For about five 
minutes he concentrated. Then he picked up his head and said, "Don't worry, 
she'll be all right." After that darshan, my daughter caught pneumonia—again 


and again—but she lived. She is now six years old. I don't worry about her. 
What comes now is karma and we must deal with it. 

One of Maharajji's devotees was seriously poisoned. He was suffering 
gravely and no one expected him to survive. Maharajji said, "You have to be 
satisfied with that little bit of suffering. You have to take on some of it." In 
other words, his suffering would have been worse but for Maharajji's grace. 
But indeed he survived. 

My elder sister has always been very sickly, with various maladies. 
Maharajji told her that it couldn't be helped—that she must somehow work off 
past samskaras (karma). He told her to keep her mind always in devotional 
thoughts or she would lose everything. 

Maharajji asked an Indian girl four times, "Do you like sorrow or joy?" 
Each time the girl answered, "I've never known joy, Maharajji, only sorrow." 
Finally, Maharaji said, "I love sorrow. It brings me closer to God." 

I got avery bad arthritic pain for the first time on a Saturday. By Sunday, 
after Maharajji had departed for Agra, the pain had stopped. In the winter it 
came back again very intensely, but I didn't do anything for it. I want to keep 
the pain to remind me of that day. It was the last darshan I had of Maharajji. 



AGAIN, FOR REASONS Known only to Maharajji, sometimes he would 
seem to bargain with death and push it away from one of his devotees, 
while at other times he would not intercede and the devotee would die. 
Because Maharajji knew the time of each person's death, but hated to be 
the bearer of bad news, he would often be absent at the time when one 
of his devotees must die. In some cases, when pressed, he gave a subtle 
clue, but often it was merely his absence that was the clue for the devo- 
tees who had come to know his ways. 

Once a neighbor lady came to my wife and said she was going for the 
darshan of another local baba. She asked my wife to accommpany her, so Wy 
wife went along. The neighbor showed her hand to the baba, as he was 
considered an expert in palmistry, astrology, and such things. But the baba 
said, "I don't want to see your hand; I want to see her [my wife's] hand,” 
She didn't want to show it, but he insisted and he told her that she would die 
in six months. My wife told this to Maharayi, who immediately exclaimed, 
"Sub gulat [Tt's all wrong Why did that baba say that? Will you not die? A 
time nill not come when you will die? Everybody will die! Why didn't you 
say to him, 'What—wnill you not die? Are you immortal?’ He will also die. 
Everybody will die. Why does he say such things? It's very bad that he says 
such things. Wicked!” Then Maharaji narrated another story about a saint. I 
was there to hear it. 

"Well, there was a saint. A woman came to see him, Her husband had just 
died. She bowed to his lotus feet, and he gave her his blessing and told her that 
she would have five sons. She said, "But Maharaj, I have come to you because 
my husband has just died. How nill I have five sons?’ The saint replied, 'I 
have told you that you will have five sons and I will Reep my word.’ And her 
husband came back to life." Then Maharaji said, "And I will do the same 
thing. Since I have given my word, I will complete it. You will not die. You 

will live for seventy-five years. Don't be worried.” That was eight years ago. 
She ts still ahve. 

Maharayi was walking by a place where a palm reader was working. And 
the palm reader, in reading the palm of one of Maharayt's devotees, said that 
he would die in three days. The devotee was of course very upset. But 
Maharayi said, "He's so smart. But what that fool doesn't realize is that it is 
he who is going to die in three days." And he did. 


I was in a boat with Maharajji and he told me to jump in the water. I was 
afraid and said, "Maharajji, I can't swim. I'll drown." 

Maharajji pointed to a high bridge and said, "If the right time has not come, 
you could jump from that bridge and not die." As he said that I felt great faith 
and jumped in, and it was only up to my waist. 

There was a peddlar who lived in Ram Ghar. He became very ill and the 
worried family took him to a local baba for help. This baba said the man 
would die very soon but that he did have some medicine that might save him. 
The family then also consulted Maharajji, telling him of the first baba's 
verdict. Maharajji responded quickly, "Nonsense! He will live to be in his 
eighties. That wicked baba just wants to scare you so he can sell you his 

The husband of a sick woman went to Maharajji, and Maharajji made a 
stick in a certain way and gave it to the man with instructions to put it under 
his wife's pillow. He did this and soon she got better, but when they looked for 
the stick it was missing. The husband, who was now greedy to have the stick, 
went to Maharajji and told him the stick was missing. Maharajji said, "You 
have your wife. What do you want with a stick?" Later the mother of another 
man became ill, so the man went to Maharajji and said, "You gave so-and-so 
a Stick to heal his wife. Will you give me a stick to heal my mother?" 
Maharajji said, "She was a young girl and I saved her. Your mother is an old 
woman and she'll die." And she did. 

My father had a series of operations, and before and after each one 
Maharajji visited him. The last time he became ill, however, Maharajji didn't 
come. We knew that his life would soon be over. Maharajji came after his 


The same thing happened to my mother. Wizen my mother became wl, 
Maharayi came to Kanpur but didn't visit our house, though he would always 
visit us when he was in town. She died. Two days later, Maharayi came to 
the house and went to the prayer room where a photo of my mother was Rept, 
Maharayi started weeping like a five-year-old child. Weeping, weeping, 


After Maharayi's death something happened that brought me to him. My 
young brother-in-law, dying of cancer, was down at the cancer research institute 
in Bombay, away from us all. The doctors wired us that he would die that 
very day, that he was in the absolute, final stage of cancer. We were all very 
sad. I went to jaunapur (Maharagi's new temple in New Delhi), thinking 
that tf Maharayi ts really as great a saint as they say, he could help us. Out of 
the merit of his own tapasya (austeriies) he could help us. So I went and 
prayed for three things: First, I prayed that my brother-in-law's life be 
extended for two more months. I wouldn't ask for a cure (what is ordained 
must be; a ravaged body must die), but an extension could be granted. Second, 
I asked that he die here, surrounded by his family. Third, I asked that he have 
a peaceful death. 

Next we heard from Bombay, and they said he'd had a remission and was 
released from their care. He flew immediately to Delhi to join us. Here, the 
doctors examined him and declared him fit enough to return to work! Well, this 
remission lasted for two months and one day, until he got sick again and died 
peacefully, surrounded by all of us. Why did he get that one more day? He 
went to Maharagji's temple on the last day of the two months and received 
prasad, That prasad saved him. He couldn't die on the same day as receiving 

When it came time for my father to die, Maharaji said to him, "Ask me for 

Father said, "I want nothing. I've lived my life. Now I want to die by the 
Ganges at Kashi [Benares ]." 

Maharayi said to him privately, "You must live one more year. You will 
die by the Ganges but not at Kashi." 


One year later, at Dharagan on the Ganges where I had a new house, my 
father said, "You have a house in Dharagan, but you don't know how 
unfortunate it is for you.” That was when he visited in July. He died there in 

In 1951 my father, the district magistrate, was ill and in great pain. He'd 
had a ninety-nine-degree temperature for thirty days. Four days before he died, 
Maharagi came and brought him four roses. To my father he said, "You'll be 
okay." To me he said, '""The body has to finish.” 

ALTHOUGH ALL these incidents concern Maharajji's devotees, his healing 
energies extended far beyond them. In the following story about Su- 
brahmanyum—Dr. Larry Brillant, a Western physician who was 
brought to Maharajji by his wife, Girija—we catch a glimpse of how 
Maharajji worked indirectly. In this case he worked through Subrah- 
manyum and the World Health Organization of the United Nations to 

speed the eradication of smallpox. 

The first thing he said to us as we walked in and sat down was, 
"Doctor—Doctor Americal How much money do you have?” 

IT said, "Oh, Maharagi, I have five hundred dollars.” 

"No, no, no, really—how much money do you have?” I insisted that this 
was all I had. He said, "Yes, yes, yes, that's in India. But how much money 
do you have in America?” 

I thought about tt, and I confess to being a bit concerned that this was an 
appeal from him for money for some temple, and I said, "I have only five 
hundred dollars back in America,” which was true. Then I hastened to add, 
"But I also have a very big debt from medical school. I had to borrow a lot of 
money to go through medical school, and even though I have a thousand 
dollars, I owe a lot more than that.” 

He said, "What? You have no money? You are no doctor!” It sounded 
exactly like something my mother would say. He looked at me and laughed and 
laughed: ""You are no doctor. You are no doctor, you are no doctor, U N O 
doctor, U N O doctor "I didn't understand what he was saying. Then he 
said, ""You are going to give vaccinations; you will go to the villages and give 

"You want me to give a shot to someone here?” I asked. I didn't understand 


what he was instructing me to do. Fuverybody else understood except me. 
Finally he looked at me and said, "Doctor America—UNO doctor. United 
Nations Organization doctor. You will work for the United Nations. You are 
going to go to villages and give vaccinations." 

In fact, I had made a very casual inquiry of some acquaintances who worked 

jor WHO, the World Health Organization, but they replied that WHO was 
not hiring anyone at all. Meanwhile, over the next few weeks Maharaji was 
always asking me, "Did you get your jobe” 

I'd always say, "INo, Maharayi,” and quickly drop the subject. 

One day Maharayi said to me, "Go to WHO. You'll get your job." So 1 
went to the WHO offices in New Delhi and saw the man to whom I had 
originally spoken. He was very friendly but pointed out that WHO had no 
openings, and, in any case, they only hired expert consultants from medical 
schools and institutions outside India. Then he said, "But there is one 
program. If they could ever do anything, it would be really nice, but it's 
doubtful they will be able to achieve their goal, because it's so difficult. It's the 
smallpox program. The Indian government right now is adamantly against 
expanding the WHO program to fight smallpox. They have other problems, 
such as malaria and family planning. Smallpox ts not their highest priority. 
But I'1 take you to see the French doctor, Nicole Grasset, who directs that 

We made an appointment to see her and then I returned to the home of two 
of Maharayi's devotees, the Barmans, and borrowed Barman's suit and bought 
a terrible tie. I ted my hair into a pony tail and hid it under a white shirt. My 
costume was bizarre and il-fitting and Nicole realized at once that I was just 
another hippie. She sated, "T'm sorry. We really don't have a job. But it's 
awfully nice to meet you.” 

So I went back to Maharayi and he again asked, "Did you get your job?” I 
said, "No, Mahara. Let's just cut this out." 

Two more weeks passed, and Maharaji looked at me and said, "Go back to 

I took the bus-train—bus-rickshaw trip back. to WHO, Once more I talked to 
my acquaintance, Ned, and this time I filled out a different type of form, typed 
it a bit more properly, and sent it in and spoke with Nicole on the phone. Of 
course there was no job there. 

The next week Maharayi asked if I got my job and then asked me to call 
Nacole. It was getting embarrassing. This time I called her from Vrindaban. 
Again she told me there was no expansion of the smallpox program, no 

possibility of hiring American doctors—but she thanked me for continued 
interest in the work. 


Sometime later Maharayi suddenly called me and said, "Immediately! Go to 

I took a train and went immediately to WHO. When I walked in the door 
there was another man there. He said to me, "What are you doing here?” 

I gave my usual line, "I've come to WHO +0 work for the smallpox 
program. My guru told me I would work for WHO." 

I went up to Ned's office again and telephoned Nicole. She said there was 
still no expansion of the smallpox program, but that something had happened 
that day: the chief of the global smallpox program had come from Geneva. She 
suggested I come to meet him. I went to meet him and of course he was that 
man in the doorway whom I had just told I would be working for WHO—and 
it was his program I was going to work for. He interviewed me and wrote a 
“note for the record”: "This young man seems to like foreign cultures and will 
probably do very good international work someday. However, he has no 
experience in public health, no training past internship, and I wish him good 
luck in the future. We have no job for him.” What he said to me was that 
WHO could not hire me for several reasons: Furst, I had no public health 
training. | had never even seen a case of smallpox. Second, because of political 
tensions, the Indian government preferred at that time not to have Americans 
working in India. Third, they had not yet really geared up the program for 
smallpox eradication in India. Smallpox had been eradicated in all but four 
countries, but the strategy was to work on the other three first and then come to 

That was it. He added that there was a smallpox program in Pakistan, and 
if that interested me, I had best give it some more thought. 

I paused and sheepishly said, "I'm going to have to ask my guru.” 

I went back to Maharayi. When he asked if I got the job, I said, "No, but 
there's a possibility of a job in Pakistan.” 

He yelled back, "No! I said India!" So I telephoned back to WHO and 
told Nicole my guru insisted I work for WHO in India. 

That must have amused her, but she was polite as usual and thanked me for 

After two months of this, Girya and I were exhausted and frustrated. We 
decided to take a vacation from i all in Kashmir. As we were leaving the 
ashram, I called Nicole at WHO and told her our plans. "Tf by any chance a 
Job comes through,” I said, "please call me in Srinagar." 

"You know," she said, "a very strange thing just happened. I suddenly had 
this inspiration. I don't know—maybe it's your guru or something like that, 
but can you write?” 

"Yes," I said. I'd edited some medical journals. 


"Well, you know we can't really hire you as a smallpox doctor, but if 
you're really that determined to work for WHO, maybe I could hire you as an 
administrative assistant." 

"Look, anything. Maharayi said I'm going to work for you and I'm going 
to 20 to villages and give injections. He's never been wrong.” 

She changed my application from that of a doctor to that of an administrative 
assistant and sent a telegram to D. A. Henderson, the program chief in 
Geneva, Switzerland: "I'm going to hire Brilliant."" She suddenly really 
wanted to hire me and put the application through. Sill WHO had not created 
a post in her unit. 

After our vacation in Kashnur we returned to Kaincht and Maharapt's first 
smiling question: "Did you get your job _yete” 

"No, Maharayi. It's really very complicated."” Again he had me go back to 
Delhi. It was ten times now that I'd gone back and forth, like a yo-yo, each 
time putting on Barman's suit and that awful tre. 

When I got to WHO I found that my application as an administrative 
assistant had been approved, but that I would still have to pass a security 
clearance. Fuvery American working for WHO must have one. When I got 
that piece of paper for a security clearance I knew this was the end of the game. 
There seemed no chance in the world that I could get a security clearance. We 
had been part of the left-wing antiwar movement in the States; I'd been a 
leader of a radical organization, the Medical Committee for Human Rights. 
There was absolutely no chance for a security clearance. 

I came back to Kainchi feeling terrible. I explained all this to Maharayi and 
said that there may have been a lot of stumbling blocks up till now, but this 
was the last straw. 

Maharayi said, "Oh. Who ts the person who is supposed to give you this 
Jobe” I couldn't remember precisely who, but I mentioned that Henderson was 
the boss. Maharayt pretended to be a real fakir (sadhu). He sat up straight and 
put his blanketed atta up before his face and asked, "How do you spell his 
name?" I started spelling it. "Wait," he said. And then he began repeating the 
letters slowly in a deep voice. He peeRed out at me through his fingers, which 
were covering his face, laughing all the time. He continued spelling the name 
and he pretended to go into a trance, always peeking at me to be sure I was 
watching and properly wupressed, but giggling as he did so. 

Alt the same time, in Geneva, Dr. Henderson was attending a cocktail party 
at the American Embassy. The American ambassador and the surgeon general 
were there. The surgeon general asked Henderson how the smallpox eradication 

program was going. Great,” said Henderson. "We have thirty-four countries 
cleared and only four are left.” 


"Are all the countries helping you?” asked the surgeon general. 

"Yes. Russia's given us vaccine. Sweden's given us a lot of money. AL the 
countries are helping.” 

The surgeon general asked, "What about America? What are we giving 

"Well," said Henderson, an expert in getting support for his program, "not 
so much.” 

"What do you need?” 

Henderson replied, "I don't know how I got into this, and I don't know 
why we're doing tt, but we want to hire this young American doctor who has 
been living in an ashram in India. We've never done anything like that before. 
And the kid can't get a security clearance.” 

The surgeon general of the United States said, "Security clearance? What 
does he need that for?” 

Henderson replied, "Every American, in order to work for the United 
Nations, has to have a security clearance.” 

The surgeon general said, "I didn't know that. Who gives him the 

Henderson said, "You do." 

"T do? Give me a napkin and tell me what the kid's name is." He took a 
cocktail napkin and wrote, "Brilliant—okay to start work." He gave the 
napkin to Henderson, who telegraphed WHO in New Delhi that I'd been 
cleared to work. 

The next morning Maharayi called us into his “office.” He was being too 
mice. Laughing and smiling, he had tea and jelebees brought in, and he hugged 
us. We were rubbing his feet. It was so blissful. Then suddenly Maharaji 
said, "Okay. Time for you to go.” 

We thought he meant to leave the ashram. 

We stood up and pranammed and then walked out and around the corner, 
and just as we approached the gate to the ashram the postman came with a 
telegram from New Delhi: "We have been notified today that you have 
recewed a US security clearance. Come tmmediately to WHO—New Delhi to 
begin work." 

So I went to WHO and began work as an administrative assistant. During 
the week. I worked in Delhi, and on the weekends we came to the ashram to be 
with Maharayi. I remember one darshan in the back at Kainchi, where we 
talked for three hours about smallpox. It was the most horrid disease I had ever 
seen. He told me everything about it: where tt was located in India, where the 
bad epidemics were, what the seasons were, what the transmission cycle was, 
what places we would have trouble with—everything about the epidemiology. 


He knew much more than I knew, even after I'd worked with WHO for about 
three months. I asked him, "Wil smallpox be eradicated?" I remember his 
answer because I wrote it down: "Smallpox will be eradicated. This 1s God's 
gift to mankind because of the hard work of dedicated medical scientists.” 

Alt the WHO office I was occasionally assigned to write up the operational 
plans, since my native language was Enghsh. Maharayi would help to 
organixe the whole plan. Because my source of information about conditions in 
India was, well, so direct, shall we say—and because Maharapi's advice was 
so pod—t began to get more and more responsibility. Still, after about a month 
of this I was not feeling that Maharayt's prediction had come true, because I 
still wasn't going to the villages to give vaccinations. There was as yet no such 

The project slowly moved to the point where we were about to go into the 
field. September was to be the first month. Some of the staff would go into the 
field, but not me, of course, since I was just an administrative assistant. I was 
to stay in New Delhi and mind the shop. However, it so happened that two of 
the Russian doctors who were to be assigned to an area where Maharayi had 
lived for a long period were held up by Soviet government formalities. There 
was this Wank spot on the map--and there was just nobody except me who 
could be sent there. 

I was sent out of the office and into the villages. The jeep that Girya and I 
drove had a big picture of Maharayi on the dashboard. Often when we went 
into a civil surgeon's office and told him about the importance of a serious 
smallpox program, he would say, "Yes, yes, thank you for coming. Now 
please leave. I've got so many other problems.” Then, because of Indian 
courtesy, he might walk us out to our jeep—and he'd see Maharazi's picture on 
the dashboard and ask us why we had it there. "Oh," I'd say, “he's my guru. 
He told me to go work for the United Nations. He told me smallpox would be 
eradicated. He told me this is God's gift to mankind through the hard work of 
dedicated medical scientists." And then the civil surgeon might say, "Oh, 
please come back into my office. Take teal Since smallpox ts going to be 
eradicated, how shall we get organized?" It kept happening like that. 

Every time—simply because Maharayi had said smallpox would be 
eradicated, and because all the Indian officials had heard that anything he said 
came true—they took our work seriously and put other things aside to help us. 

Often, skeptical WHO or Indian officials said to me, "Look, you 
understand India. You may eradicate smallpox everywhere else, but you Rnow 
India will never eradicate smallpox. It's just not possible.” But when they 
heard what Maharayi had satd, the Indian officials would often completely 

change their opinions. 


Soon we were assigned to areas that were selected because of the negative 
attitudes of the local doctors. We talked about Maharapyi's prediction. Some of 
the officials remembered when the Chinese invaded India in 1962 and 
Maharayi had said the Chinese troops would go back to China by themselves. 
Alnd so these doctors would change their attitudes and motivate their people to 
do tremendous work, and soon smallpox would be beaten in their area. The 
effect of this was that, although 1 knew very little about smallpox or the UN 
system, every time 1 was sent to a difficult area, through Maharapi's grace 
smallpox would disappear. 

WHO kept sending me to strange and remote places. 1 thought perhaps it 
was just in Uttar Pradesh that I had such luck, but in January 1974 they sent 
me to a remote part of Madhya Pradesh, to a place that just happened to be 
part of the Shandol District—Amarkantak!—Maharayt's old sadhu stomping 
grounds, which at that time was experiencing the worst epidemic in India. 
Nearly everyone in the district had known Maharaji, and when they learned 
that he had said smallpox would be eradicated, they cooperated and, despite 
their earlier skepticism, mounted a tremendous campaign in the remote hills. 
The epidemic was over! 

People within WHO began to ask me about Maharayt. Nicole, my boss, 
really opened up to Maharaji in a beautiful way. First of all, she did think 
Maharayi had somehow influenced her to hire me. Second, since she always 
asked everyone's advice before making difficult decisions, she got in the habit of 
asking us, when we'd go to see Maharayi over the weekends, what he would 
advise about specific problems in the eradication program. He would send his 
advice back. through us. His answers were full of wisdom on every level, 
practical as well as spiritual. Many smallpox workers began to respect him. 
Members of the smallpox staff had a quality about them that was different from 
any other group I met in the UN program: they were very inspired, We talked 
freely about Maharayi, as they were all devout indwiduals. 

It took only two years of intense effort to conquer smallpox in all of India. 
When we started in 1974 there were 180,000 cases with 30,000 deaths in only 
one year. A total of 400 epidemiologists from 30 different countries and 100,000 
Indian workers worked in a frenzy of compassion and commitment. Everyone 
in India had said it could never be done— even many WHO offictals—but 
Maharayi said it could be done. He said it was God's gift to mankind, and it 


© mbosies O pivit 

PERHAPS NOTHING concerning Maharajji is more mind-stretching than 
the manner in which he related to the physical universe, especially to his 
own body. Although at first glance his seemed like an ordinary human 
body—and he seemed to go out of his way to prove that it was—there 
was ample evidence not only that it was not ordinary but, indeed, ex- 
traordinary beyond comprehension. 

Perhaps most subtle was the attractiveness of his body. Although a 
passerby might have described him as a short, rotund, elderly gentle- 
man, another look and such a description would have become irrelevant. 
There was a quality to Maharajji's body that made it compellingly at- 
tractive to us devotees. Most of us could be fulfilled hour after hour just 
by gazing at this form. 

When I think of him now I remember his handsnotjust holding his hands 
but watching the way they moved. His fingers were very flexible yet full of 
strength. When he was not using his hands they were completely relaxed and 
open, completely flat. The tips of his fingers had an unusual shape. More than 
his face, I remember his hands. 



He was spontaneity itself. He would assume amazing postures. He flowed 
like the Akash. He seemed totally fluid. Hes flesh had an amazing quatity to 
it; it had a glow and a softness that was unusual, like a baby's skin. 

Sometimes the beauty of his body was so startlingly radiant it took your 
breath away. In the July heat of Vrindaban before Guru Purnima Day, he 
came out wearing only a white dhots, and all I could think of was the 
description of Hanuman in the Ramayana: "A body shining as a mountain of 
gold. ." 

I always expected to see him wrapped in his blanket. One day I came 
around the corner into the room and there he was, with only a sheet around hes 
waist and legs. It was one of the most shocking things I had seen in my Life, 
though it wasn't frightening. I don't know why. I'd seen photographs, but I 
wasn't prepared for seeing the vastness of who he was. 

Another time I saw him sitting outside on the tucket with just a sheet around 
his waist. This time he seemed to me to be like an infant. Here was this 
massive being who looked like a delightful little baby, wrapped in his diapers 
and playing. 

My mother and aunt snuck into Maharagi's room when he was out taking a 
bath. They caressed his blanket and put it to their faces. Afterward they could 
only talk about how it smelled like a baby's blanket. 

Alt times he seemed fat and at other times thin; sometimes tall and sometimes 
small, now heavy and then again light. And his joints didn't function like 
ordinary joints. 


Not only did he outrageously manipulate his own body, the one with 
which we were familiar, but he apparently took on other bodies at will. 

Once I was alone in the night with Maharayi. We were in Vrindaban. He 
said to me, "Okay, you take me for a walk.” 

Maharayi has such a massive body, and I said, "Mahara, how can I take 
you for a walk?" 

But he insisted. I put out my hand, palm-up, and he put his force full- 
weight on my palm. I said, "Maharaji, you are too heavy.” 

He sad, "Ts tt so? Then you put me somewhere.” 

So I found him a place to sit for a while. Then he said, "INow, you take 
me again.”” And this time, I found he was very light. Much lighter than a 

From that day onward, the feeling that he is walking beside me ts still there. 

When he would appear in a village in his earlier years, he would often just 
play with the children, showing them incredible feats with his body. Every 
joint seemed as f it were not interconnected. I would never have believed tt. 

Twenty of us were present when, to entertain the children, he brought his arms 
over his head from back to front without unclasping his hands. 


Once a famous orthopedist was visiting Maharayt. Maharayi showed him 
the way the right joint of his right arm could move in a very unusual way. 
The doctor examined it carefully, for he had never seen such a thing. Then he 
said, "Well, as a child you must have broken the joint and it never healed.” 

"Oh," said Maharagji, as f impressed. "Well, what about this one?” And 
then he did the same thing with the other arm. 


When they wanted to make the murti of Mahara after he left his body, 
they came to me asking for some photo of him—the best one for a murts. I told 
them that I had known Babayji for so many years and had many hundreds of 
photos, no two alike. And Babaji himself—sometimes he was short, sometimes 


very fat, sometimes quite slim. I have never been able to know which was the 
real Baba. You could give him any form you liked, but he could not be 
captured. He was like the air. 


The teenage daughter of a devotee sometimes stayed at the temple overnight. 
She watched Maharayi frequently and finally said to him, "Maharaji, during 
the day when all the people are around you seem so helpless and old. But at 
night, once the gates are closed, you are running about. How come?” 

Maharayi laughed. 

Mrs. Soni once visited Maharayi and he was not looking well. "Maharaji, 
you are not looking well at all,” she saed. 

"Aren't I, Mae" And then he did something with his body and he suddenly 
looked radiant. "How do I look now, Ma?" 

"You look much better, Maharayi.” 

Al family was at the temple with their old grandfather. When they came 
before Maharayi he pointed at the grandfather and said, "We've met before.” 
But the grandfather said he didn't think so. He was quite sure they had never 
met, but Maharayi was insistent. Finally Maharayi closed his eyes for a 
moment and then said, "Don't you remember? You carried my sleeping roll at 
the railway station.” 

Alt first the grandfather just thought Maharayi had mistaken him for 
someone else. But then he remembered that when he was eleven or twelve he 
had been on a bicycle trip with some schoolmates. His bicycle had broken down 
and his companions had gone on without him. He needed a few rupees to get 
the bicycle repaired but had none, so he went to the ratlway station, thinking 
that perhaps he could make believe he was a porter and carry someone's bag. 

The problem was that he was very small, so the bag would have to be very 
light. He stood near the first-class carriages. Suddenly a man got off the train. 
He was wearing a suit and shiny shoes and a derby hat. He had a blanket rol, 
which he entrusted the boy to carry to a home at the edge of town. The roll 
was very light, but when they arrived the man gave the boy five rupees (much 


more than the job was worth) and told him that he could come back and visit 
the next day tf he liked. But the boy took the money, got his bicycle repatred, 

and went on his way. He never went back. 

Once a beggar boy came to our hotel. We gave him some food but the boy 
wouldn't leave. Finally he asked for a toy and we turned him out. Later, 
Maharayi said, "I came to your hotel but you turned me out.” 

There were two sisters who revered Maharayi very highly. One of them 
went into the toilet and came out in an ecstatic state, saying, "I just had 
darshan of Maharayi in the bathroom!" This was at a home far from where 
Maharayi was at the time. The other sister rushed into the bathroom and what 
she found there was a huge cobra. 

Once when CS was washing Maharayi, he was thinking about 

Gorakhnath, who had no real body but would manifest different bodies. CS, 
meanwhile, was soaping and washing Maharayi and kidding with him, but 
this was in his mind as he was doing so. As he went to tie the dhoti on 
Maharayi, he experienced that there was nothing within wt. And at the moment 
he had this thought, Maharayi turned and yelled at him, "Get out, get out, 
I'L tie my own dhot.” 
THE EXTRAORDINARY postures into which Maharajji placed his body 
were no more random than anything else he did. Some of his older dev- 
otees got quite proficient in reading Maharajji's body language, for 
many of the positions were actual mudras (statements in form) that gave 
blessings, activated certain powers, or brought about certain changes in 
the environment. 

Szddhi Ma was holding a picture of Maharayi in which he ts ling on his 
side, a classic pretzel, with one hand on top of his head. She satd that this 
mudra of hand on top of head means: "Don't worry about anything. I've got 
everything under control." 


SOMETIMES HIS devotees apparently pulled upon him from two places 

that were quite distant from one another. At such times, rather than 

disappoint anyone Maharajji would demonstrate one of his neatest tal- 
ents—that of appearing in two places at once. 

Once Maharajji went to a barber to have his beard shaved. As the barber was 
working, he told Maharajji that his son had run away some time ago and that he 
did not know where he was. He was missing him terribly and worried about him. 
Maharajji's face was only ha f shaved, the other half still lathered up, but 
Maharajji insisted that he must go out just then and urinate. He returned 
shortly, the shave was finished, and Maharajji left. The next day, the barber's 
son returned to his father with a strange story. He had been living in a town over 
one hundred miles away, and the day before, this fat man, whose beard was only 
ha f shaved, had come running up to him in the hotel in which he worked. He had 
given him money and insisted that he return at once to his father, by train that 
same night. 


While staying at a devotee's house Maharajji asked to be locked in the room. 
The windows were barred and the door locked from outside. (Rooms in Indian 
homes often have heavy bars on the windows to keep the wild monkeys from 
coming in. They also have independent slide bolts on both the inside and outside 
of the door. Thus, if they are locked from the outside, they cannot be opened 
from within.) A short while later a devotee arrived, asking where Maharajji was 
going. The host said, "What? He's locked in the room." 

"That's impossible. I just saw him on a rickshaw going toward another area. 

My sister, at that time, received Maharajji at her door. "I want khichri. I'm 
not feeling good so I'll only eat khichri," he said, 

Meanwhile, at the host's house, they opened the door and found the room 
empty, but none of the bars had been tampered with, so they locked the room 
again. After about an hour, they heard some sounds from inside the room. They 
opened the door and this time found Maharajji inside. 

Maharaji appeared at 3:00 4.m. in the room of an old woman in her locked 

house and said, ''Why are you bothering me, Ma?" She had been praying to 
him at that time. 


Devotees had just conapleted the building of a new Hanuman temple for 
Maharayi in Panki, near Kanpur, and the time for the official opening 
ceremony was near. Maharayi was staying in Allahabad and had told 
everybody that he wouldn't personally attend the function. On the morning of 
the opening of the temple, Maharayi went into his room in Allahabad and 
asked to be left alone for a few hours. He was locked in from the outside. The 
next day some devotees arrived in Allahabad to give out some of the prasad 

Jrom the puja in Panki. They gave some to Maharapt's host and they described 
the colorful puja and bhandara. They said that everything had gone off 
perfecth,; Maharayi even came, despite his having told everyone in advance 
that he wouldn't. 

"That's impossible!” said the host. "Maharayi was here in Allahabad the 
whole time." 

"Well, he was also in Panki. He was at the temple from eleven to twelve 
o'clock,” they rephed. 


While visiting in Kanpur, a Nainital devotee had Maharayi's darshan. As 
he was leaving, Maharayi gave him a message to deliver to the temple upon 
his return to Nainital. The message was that they should expect Maharayi 
within a fortnight. When he got to Nainital the next day, the devotee went 
straight to the temple before going to his home. He wondered why so many 
people had come to the temple when Maharayi was away. He overheard them 
say that Maharayi was inside one of the rooms. 

"T can't believe it,” he said. "I just saw him yesterday in Kanpur. It's 

"No, Baba has been here for fifteen days,” they told him. 

"But I've brought a message from him in Kanpur. He says that he won't be 
here for two weeks."" The devotee approached Maharagit's room. "Babaji, 
what ts this?” he asked. 

"Hap! Get out! Go away! Don't tel anyone anything. You're telling lies!" 
Maharayi shouted at him. 


A\ devotee of Maharayi lived in Agra and hadn't had Maharagt's darshan 
Jor a few years. Upon hearing that Maharayi had come to New Delhi, the 
mart talked with Maharayi over the phone. 

"Why haven't you come to Agra? You haven't given me your darshan in so 
long. May I come to Delhi?” 

Maharayi rephed, "No. Don't come here. come to Agra." 



The man couldn't accept Maharayi's word so he begged for permission to go 
to Delhi, but Maharayi insisted that he would visit the man in Agra. The 
devotee then hung up the phone, and as he turned toward the door he saw 
Maharaji standing there. The devotee fell at Maharagt's feet. Maharaji 
talked with him for three or four minutes then left to return to Delht. The man 
again phoned the hosts in Delhi and they said that Maharayi had just gone to 
the bathroom a few minutes before. Then immediately afterward they said, 
"Oh, here he ts now." 



Once at Neeb Karori a man wanted to travel with Maharayi to Vrindaban, 
and Maharayi didn't want to go. Maharagi said, "Lock me in this room. I 
have work to do." When the man returned from Vrindaban, he reported that 
he and Maharayi had had a wonderful time together. But when the room was 
opened, Maharayi was still within. 

A\ devotee who was attending Maharayi was once thinking of how 
Maharayi could be in more than one place at a time. Three times Maharayi 
said to him, "You go out and see what's going on in the other rooms." Finally 
the devotee went out into the hall. There were six rooms in the house and he 
saw Maharayi coming out of every one of them. 

AA devotee had to leave the Hanuman temple at Nainital, where Maharayi 
was staying, to go to the plains on business. As he left he was sad, thinking 
that Maharayi might not be at the temple when he returned and that it would 


be a long time before he'd be with him again. He was on a train that had 
stopped to take on water at a small station. Someone came to him and said, 
"Look over there. There's Neem Karol Baba." The devotee thought, "This 
7s strange. I left him in Nainital.” He went to the other end of the platform 
and found Maharayi sitting there surrounded by devotees, behaving as usual. 
The men talked with Maharayi and also with the other devotees, and after a 
while Mahara said, "Go back to your train. Otherwise you'll be left behind. 
It's about to start.” 

After finishing his business, the devotee returned to Nainital and found 
Maharayi still there. Maharayjt hadn't left the temple the entire time. 

My mother once saw Maharayi in two places at once. She was in 
Bhumtadhar walking toward him when suddenly she saw another Maharayji, 
the same as the first. One was sitting on the roadside, the other in the forest. A 
jew moments later, one form disappeared, and she spoke to the "remaining" 

form of Maharaji. 

On January 14, 1965, in the clothes closet of the darshan room in Dada and 
Didi's home, some footprints appeared on the wall, which they interpret to be 
Maharayt's and celebrate yearly with a bhandara. When they confronted 
Maharaji about the footprints, he said, "I came, but Didi caught sight of me.” 

Once Maharayi was resting, and the Ma's sitting in the room had the 
sensation that Maharayi was not there. When they felt his energy return, they 
asked him where he had gone. He laughed, and when they said he could go to 
America without a plane, he upbraided them and laughed again. 

Once I was having lunch in America with a Nobel Prize winning physicist. 
He asked me about Maharayi and I proceeded to share a number of stories with 


him. He found it all fascinating and could allow for the truth of all of wt, until 
I got to the stories of how Maharayi could appear in two places 
simultaneously. To this the physicist replied, "That's impossible. The basis of 
physics is that something cannot be in two places at once.” 

"But you see,” I said, "Maharayi did it anyway.” (R.D,) 

THERE HAVE BEEN no explanations from Maharajji himself about the 
play of his body. However, this story suggests another reality in which, 
at least to Maharajji, it made perfect sense. 

Once when we were in the mountains during a very cold spell, Maharayi 
put on nine sweaters. Later, at bedtime, he said, "You people think I do this 
for worldly reasons. Don't be silly," and he took off all the sweaters and the 
blanket and slept all night with nothing on. 

ONCE YOU CAN allow for these phenomena that Maharajji manifested 
with his body, it is difficult to return to your concept of him as an ordi- 
nary mortal. But he put up a good fight to convince us of just that. He 
demonstrated some vanity, illness, aging (though the stories below 
suggest some confusion on that), and, ultimately, death. But for the 
devotees, all of this was just more of his play. 

When Maharayi visited us on one occasion, he noticed a picture of himself in 
which he ts laughing and in which his beard is quite long. He began abusing 
me, asking me why I hadn't told him his beard had grown so much, Why 
hadn't I had him cut it?""Now," he said, "it has ruined the whole picture!” 

During an evening darshan in Kainchi Maharayi had been in the back with 
the Ma's, who had just finished doing puja to him. He came out and sat on 
the tucket. He looked perfect: the most handsome, regal being. He had just 
been shaved and had a perfectly centered, round yellow tilak (marking of 
religious significance) on his forehead. He sat down like a king and we sat 
before him in silence for a long time. He seemed to be saying, "I'm so good- 



In an elevator in Bombay Maharayi looked at himself in a mirror and 
smoothed his moustache. 

About two weeks after we got to Kaincht Maharayi said, "Doctor, I have a 
headache," so I ran to the back rooms where I had my medical supplies and 
pulled out aspirin with codeine. I was thinking, "Now, really, do I want to 
give this man codeine?" He was, after all, an old man, and I didn't know 
what his response would be. As I was fumbling nith my vials, Maharayi sent 
me a message that he didn't want a pill; he wanted an ointment. At the time I 
really wasn't very big on ointments, and all I had was pills, so I had to tell 
him that I didn't have any ointments. 

Chaitanya came to the rescue, though, with some Exssential Balm, a 
Chinese ointment that comes in a small, tightly sealed red container. Being 
very happy that a Western doctor had managed to get some balm for this poor 
old man who had a headache, I raced back. to Maharayi, tripping over the 
devotees sitting in front of him, lunged over to him, and handed him the little 
container. And he satd, "Oh, doctor! Your medicine ts so good! This is 
wonderful. This is exactly the medicine I wanted!" He looked at it and tried 
unsuccessfully to open it. (He didn't have that much patience with these kinds 
of things.) 

Then, putting the closed container on top of his head, he satd, "Doctor! 
This medicine is so good. It's wonderful. It's taken away my headache 
completely. Oh, doctor, you're such a wonderful doctor! You're so good. Your 
medicine 1s wonderful. Everything is perfect. My headache ts completely gone.” 


One day Maharayi complained that he had a cold and needed socks and 
medicine. KK laughed and said, "Oh, Maharapji, there is nothing wrong with 
you. Why do you try to fool simple people like us?” Like a child, Maharapji 
laughed as if he had been caught at a trick, and soon he was better. 

In Vrindavan Maharayi was really sick. He'd been taking heart medicine for 
two years, because he'd had several heart attacks. Sometimes when he was sick 
he would call for me, and one such day we entered to find him sitting on his 
tucket. In front of him on the tucket was the largest handkerchief I've ever 


seen, with which he kept blowing his nose. He was a very funny caricature of 
a man with a bad cold. 

He said, "Oh, doctor. I'm terribly sick. Won't you give me some 
medicine?" I said, "Yes, Maharayi,” and I asked him about his symptoms. I 
decided he had a cold, so I ran out to the bazaar and brought back, in three 
separate packages, homeopathic medicine, ayurvedic medicine, and Western 
medicine. I pointed out each one to Mahara: "Here's the homeopathic 
medicine. Here's the ayurvedic medicine. And here's the Western medicine." 
(Lhe latter was Vitamin C, aspirin, and Dristan.) 

He threw aside the homeopathic and ayurvedic medicines and said, "This ts 
the medicine I want."" And he gobbled up the Vitamin C, the aspirin, and the 

Very often he'd say to me, "You know, Western medicine ts very good.” 
Alnd he'd call me Doctor America. 

A\ doctor who had met Maharayi at least twenty-five years earlier came to 
visit the baba. After fifteen minutes, Maharayi said, "I have a pain, doctor. 
Will you massage my leg?” The doctor began massaging, using oil, and then 
said, "I've seen many old people and they stiffen, but there is no change in 
your nerves. In fact, your body seems younger than when I knew you in 
19 4? Rs 

Maharayi said, "Go! These doctors are fools. After all, one is born, he has 
to die..A saint told him about nerves. What does he Rnow about nerves?" And 
Maharayi sent the doctor away. 

AA woman once told Maharayi, "My relative's wedding is approaching. 
Maharapi, you'll have to attend." 

Maharayi said, "T'll go to it,” and he did—but not in his usual shape. He 
told her at the wedding that he was very hungry, and when she asked what 
he'd like to eat he replied, "Khir, khir, nothing else. Bring khir.” She brought 
khir and when she went to bring some more, he disappeared. Sometime 
afterward, when she again met Mahara, she rebuked him for not attending 
the wedding. 

He shouted, "No, no! You fed me khir yourself. But you didn't bring me 

khir a second time, so I ran away. I had you there!" 





At Neeb Karori, a Ma came to clean out the underground cave in which 
Maharajji spent much time in seclusion in those days. As she entered, 
Maharajji was sitting there with snakes wrapped around him. She told him she 
would not come in if the snakes were there, and she ran out of the cave. He 
called out to her not to worry, and as he stood up the snakes disappeared into 
his body. 

Once when we were in the forest in the dead of night, I said to him, "Show 
me God." 

He said, "just rub my belly." I got tired because it kept growing bigger and 
bigger, until it seemed like a mountain. He was snoring and the snore sounded 
like a tiger. It was just play, but if you were testing him he wouldn't show 
you anything. 

Sometimes when Maharajji lay on the tucket it was too small; at other times 
he was like a shadow, or a very small child under the blanket, 

When you walked with him he was sometimes huge and sometimes little. 

Before there were buildings at Bhumiadhar, there was just a little outhouse. 
Maharajji once needed to go to the bathroom, so Siddhi Ma obtained water in a 


Tota from a nearby house and waited outside. When Maharayi came out she 
saw his huge form and _felt literally the size of a fly in relation to him. 

A\ devotee once told me that Maharayi always became very small whenever 
he stood before the Hanuman murti in Vrindaban. Of course, I then desired to 
see this phenomenon but said nothing of it to anyone. One day, just after 
lunch, when Maharayi usually rested in his room, I was standing alone before 
the murtt. lo my great delight, Maharayi arrived at the temple to take 
Hanuman's darshan. We were both leaning against the rail and he caught my 
attention nith an intense stare, and as I looked at him he became smaller and 
smaller—each form fading out as a smaller form appeared. It looked very 


Maharayi once said, "I am coming to America.” 

The Westerners asked, "In our hearts?” 

"Nay," he replied, "In a body. Will you take me to America? Where will 
I stay?" 

Once as Maharayi was leaving my house I was afraid he'd fall (he was an 
old man), so I caught his arm. He took my hand and pressed with such force 
(yet without showing any sign of exertion) that I was about to fall down. 
Then I realized he was not an "old man.” 

In 1962 an old woman came for darshan of Maharayt. When she saw him 
she exclaimed, "How can Neem Karol Baba be alive? He must have died a 
long time ago! My father was a devotee of Neem Karol Baba, and my father 
said he knew Baba for forty years before that. I am seventy-three now; I last 
saw Baba when I was seven and he didn't look any different from the way he 

looks now." Maharayi upbraided her and wouldn't let others speak with her 
after that. 



Maharaji once said, "I used to come here to see that fakir who rides on a 
horse, that Gorashin Baba." (Gorashin Baba lived some three hundred years 


Once in Lucknow an eighty-year-old Moslem arrived, who said he had 
known Maharayi as an adult since he himself was ten or _fifteen years of age. 
Maharayi said, "Don't believe him!" Another man of over eighty years said 

he knew Maharayt almost seventy years before, when the man was twenty 
years old, and that Maharayi had given him his blessing to take his first job. 

Several people were once discussing a saint who had lived some five hundred 
years earlier. Maharayi said, "Oh, I knew him.” 

In 1961 Maharayi made a pilgrimage to Chitrakut with several devotees. 
While there, he stood on the banks of a river and kept shouting across ut for a 
certain Gopal, a shepherd. Over and over he would call for him. No one knew 
of such a man, but Maharayi said that Copal was a friend of his who would 
bring him many things. After much inquiry, it was discovered that four 
generations back there had been such a person who was devoted to such a 
guru. Copal's grandson was eventually found, and he was a very old man. 

To one old woman who was confused by seeing Maharayi unchanged after 
so many years, he said, "Ma, I was dead. I have been reborn in the hills.” 

(Aauuog Aoyy) seg euysuy 

WM afarajji’s caching 
A bout Attachment 

MAHARAJJI GAVE NO formal teachings. Yet his every manifestation— 
every word, glance, gesture, movement—taught those of us who were 
open to him in ways that often bypassed our intellect and were heard di- 
rectly by our hearts. 

Many topics came up in Maharajji's dealings with his devotees: truth; 
money and poverty; anger; drugs; sex, family, and marriage; pilerim- 
ages, rituals, saints, and sadhana; service and surrender; and, of course, 
love. In Maharajji's infiniteness we found messages about all these mat- 
ters—messages to guide us, not always without confusion, on our jour- 
ney back home to God. 

Because Maharajji, in his mirrorlike way, responded from moment to 
moment to those around him and to their unique karmic predicaments, 
someone seeking a general teaching about a topic through a collection of 
his utterances and the stories about him would undoubtedly be confused. 
At one moment he would say one thing and a moment later the reverse. 

But each person was on a different stage of the journey and thus 
needed a different teaching. And in this river of contradiction that 
flowed from him, in these teachings that are no teachings, there is more 
profound guidance than a simplistic "do this" and "do that." There is 
the continuous reminder of the existence of the spirit—and that what ap- 
pears to us in this world is not as it seems. 

To see, to hear, even to know about such a being who is "in the 

world but not of the world" is more than teaching; it is grace. 


Maharajji was talking in a room with only a few people, and to one man 
the talk appeared meaningless. He said, "Babaji, you should give instructions 
and lessons to people." Maharajji didn't answer. "Sometimes," the man went 
on, "give us answers and teach us something." Again Maharajji didn't answer 
him. The man repeated his statement a third time. 

Obviously irritated, Maharajji shouted, "What are the instructions? What is 
this? What are the lessons? This is all foolishness! Lessons!" Turning to the 
men standing there—one was a goldsmith, one a shopkeeper, one a clerk, and 
one a teacher—Maharajji asked each how he would pass the following day. 
Each man gave a similar reply, saying that he would go to work as usual, 
would pass the day in his habitual manner. Maharajji said, "So many people 
are here and they'll all do what they have to do tomorrow and they have all 
preplanned it. What's the use of giving a particular teaching? You'll do what 
you want. So what are teachings? There is no use forcing anything on 
anybody. No matter what I say, you'll still do what you want to do. Yet you 
want me to dictate something. These teachings have got no meaning. There is 
no use in teaching people. It is the Almighty who teaches everybody—they all 
come well taught. There is one Supreme Teacher and he has taught everybody. 
Teachings are nothing. One who poses as a teacher does so only to satisfy his 
own ego." 

In 1970 or 1971, K complained, "Maharaji, I have been with you all this 
time and I haven't learned anything." 

Maharajji replied, "All right, tell you." But he always avoided telling 

Once a Mother came to Maharajji and said, "Maharajji, you always talk 
about worldly things—how many children, how much education, which job, 
how much money. Why don't you teach us about Brahm [the Formless]?" 

Maharajji said, "Okay, teach you." The Mother went off to do her 
work at Kainchi, and when it was time for the last bus to Nainital she was 
making her pranams and was going to the bus. Maharajji asked her, "Now 
you are going?" 

She said, "Yes, I have to attend to my family, prepare meals and all." 

Maharajji said, "Listen, don't go just now. I'll teach you about Brahm. 
You sit here." She insisted she had to go home and look after her family. He 


said, "No, no. teach you about Brahm. You sit here. Don't go home 

"How is it possible? I must go." 

"But first you wanted Brahm, and now you ask how it is possible ?" 

After she left, he said to me, "Look at her. First she was talking about 
Brahm and now she is thinking about home. One person cannot do two things 
at one time. Brahm is not a thing, a toy that you can play with. You have to 
sacrifice something." 


Maharajji always allowed people to do what they wanted, and would seldom 
tell anyone not to smoke or drink. He never lectured a person but would 
arrange the circumstances whereby he or she would want to give up a habit. 

When asked about the process of devotees giving up their desires, Maharaji 
would say, "When the time is right." 

In compassion for the smoking habit of one devotee, Maharajji would stop 
the car while they were traveling on the pretext of needing a drink or to 
urinate, thus letting the devotee have time to smoke. 


M had a betel (leaf chewed for digestive purposes) habit but would chew 
only the finest quality. Once, when I was going to Nainital, M gave me two 
rupees for betel, and Maharajji found out about it. The next morning a lady 
brought betel for prasad to Maharajji (not a frequent occurrence). "What's 
this?" Maharajji asked. "Oh, betel. M! Here is your betel!" And every day 
during M's stay at Kainchi, a different person would bring fresh betel as 
prasad. Maharajji had never ordered it, but in its natural course it was brought. 

On M's final day he went into Maharajji's room and found him waving a 
flower, which M thought Maharajji would give him for his wife. M invited 
Maharajji to come to his home on the plains, and Maharajji said he'd come in 
November and bring all the Westerners. "Where will they stay?" 
asked Maharajji. "How will you arrange for their food?" And M replied, 
"They'll cook their own." With tears in his eyes, Maharajji sent M away, 
without giving him the flower or the now-customary betel. A few moments 


later, someone came in the room with sweet betel. Maharayi called M back: 
"M, here's your betel for your journey."’ Then Maharaji gave him sweets, 
Jruit, and the flower for his Ofe as well. 


Regarding one devotee's habit of drinking liquor, Maharaji commented, 
"What friends do ts all right.” 

One day in Vrindaban, Dada was so busy serving that he could not find a 
moment free to sneak a smoke. Maharayi turned to him and said, "You go and 
take your two minutes and finish," and made as f he were smoking. 

Maharayi said of people who had bad habits, such as smoking, drinking, or 
even eating fish, eggs, or meat, "They have their habits. They enjoy them. 
Why should I stop them?” 

NONATTACHMENT FOR sense-objects is liberation; love for sense-objects 
is bondage. Such verily is knowledge. Now do as you please." This 
quotation from an ancient Hindu text, the Ashtavakra Gita (XV:3), most 
succinctly conveys Maharajji's teachings about attachment. He showed 
in his own life that what pleased him was to have nothing to be attached 
to and thus be free to be with God. In his earlier years he had wandered 
about wearing only one cloth, carrying a piece of broken clay pot that 
served both as a water pot and an eating dish. In later years he still wore 
only a simple dhoti, but with a blanket, and now and then an undershirt 
or sweater or socks in the freezing mountain nights. The rooms in which 
he stayed were a stark reminder of nonattachment. There was only the 
tucket and a water pot. Nothing else. 

He reminded us to be unattached to things, to people, to our work, 
and even to righteousness. Some he goaded to more and more renuncia- 
tion, while others he counseled to be patient and gentle in the process of 
becoming free. 

MAHARAJJI QUOTED: "Aye thet Hari bhajan koo, oothan lage kapas [I 
had come to realize God and sing his praises, but as soon as I came out 
of the womb I began collecting cotton fruit (the fruit that when ripe and 
good-looking distintegrates at the touch)]." 












Maharajji said to Dada, who was the head of a family of devotees, "You 
have become entirely mine. What is family to you? You are a fakir. You need 
only two chapattis a day and those I will give you. What is attachment for the 
saints and mahatmas?" The family became upset at this, but Maharajji said 
that if Dada realized the truth of what he said, then there was no need for him 
to leave them. 

Maharajji said to a devotee, "Why are you attached to this cat? I keep 
telling you to give up all attachments and still you are attaching yourself to a 



I was sometimes busy tending to the orchard. One day Maharajji said, 
"Well, that orchard belongs to me. You work like a manager. It is my 
property. A manager has no attachment. The moment he is turned out from a 
place, he will just go. So you live like a manager." 

Maharajji told me the following story: "Saniarth Guru Ram Das was the 
guru to the king and lived in a small mud hut next to the palace. One day the 
king came out of the palace and did obeisance to the guru. Then the king 
handed him a scroll in which he had bequeathed all his kingdom to the guru. 

The guru took the scroll, read it, accepted it, and then said to the king, "Now 
you run it for me!" (R.D.) 

Maharajji asked one old devotee with a big pocket watch why he was so 
attached to it. The devotee threw the watch against a stone and broke it. 



Once a sadhu offered me some land that he had, so that I could have an 
ashram for fellow Westerners. I asked Maharajji about it. He said, "He wants 
to give you his attachment. It's not a pure gift. If it were pure he'd just give it 
to you instead of talking about it." (R.D.) 

He kept admonishing me: "Ram Dass, give up attachments." I often tried 
to put the onus on him by replying, "It's all your grace." But he was 
reminding me that I had to make the effort, for he just kept repeating, "Give 
up attachments. You should have no ashrams. No attachments of any kind." 

Once Maharajji was reiterating to me for the hundredth time that I should 
give up attachments. I told him that another teacher had told me the same 
thing. "Does he have desires?" asked Maharajji. 

"Yes, I think he still does," I replied. 

"Then how can he free you of desire?" (R.D.) 

Kali Babu told Maharajji of a utensil made of various metals that was good 
for keeping water and was supposed to make you healthy. Maharajji hounded 
him until he finally had such a utensil made. Maharajji used it all day, 
drinking water. Then he told Kali Babu to lock it up overnight and that he 
would use it again the next day. Suddenly Maharajji said, "What? Am I 
getting attached? Give it away." 

One devotee said, "Was he involved with worldly matters? I don't think he 
had attachment .for anything or anybody. He was just a mirror of your 





Maharajji was totally unattached. From the moment he left Hanuman Garh 
temple he never repeated its name; from the moment he left Kainchi temple he 
never turned to look back. "When I have left, I've left," he used to say. 



I had purchased a mohair blanket for Maharajji in Australia and was very 
excited about giving it to him. When the day for the presentation came, a 
group of us were ushered into the small room we humorously called his "office" 
and we knelt before him, Somewhat pridefully I placed the blanket on the 
tucket next to him, and we all waited for whatever lila would follow. It would 
be fun to watch him put it on and maybe he'd give us his old blanket, or ,. 
There were a thousand maybes. But none of our speculations prepared us for 
his actions. First he ignored the blanket, then reached down and with three 

fingers picked it up as if it were a dead animal. He brought the blanket across 
in front of him and gave it to a woman in our group who had come to meet 
Maharajji for the first time. Then he turned to me and said, "Was that the 
right thing to do?" We were all stunned. 

It took me a moment to reorient, to appreciate what he had just done, Then 
I said, "Perfect," (R.D.) 

One devotee said that Maharaji did not need anything and didn't like to 
receive gifts. 

Two long-time devotees were told that they would be able to find Maharaji 
at a certain temple on the banks of the Ganga, so they went there immediately 
and found him. He acted as if he'd never seen them before, A few minutes later 
Maharajji suddenly got up and said, "Let's go! Let's go!" The three of them 

ran until they found a tonga (horse carriage), which they boarded and 
continued on their way. While they were riding along, the two devotees asked 


Maharajji why he had run off so quickly. "Don't you know?" he replied. 
"That rich lady is coming to see me. She has an English blanket that she 
wants to give me, but I don't want it. Just then a limousine passed them by, 
going in the opposite direction. Maharayji laughed and said, "Look! There she 
goes now!" 

As a special gift for a holiday, a devotee worked long and hard making very 
beautiful garlands out of silks and satins, made to resemble flowers and leaves. 
When he presented them to Maharajji he tried to slip one garland over his head 
but Maharaji adamantly refused to allow this. He said, "Take these away. 
They were made for the world to admire." 

One devotee observed that it was not what you gave Maharajji but the spirit 
with which you gave it. He could delight for a long time in something so 
simple as a leaf, if you gave it to him from your heart. 

Late one night Maharajji gave me this big Kashmiri apple, I had missed 
supper for some reason that night and I was hungry. As I was walking up the 
trail I thought about eating the apple. Apples are juicy and clean, and 
anything clean in India is important. I also thought about how there are no 
stones in an apple (something you can appreciate after you have eaten rice with 
stones in it). Just the fact that something can be born without a stone in 
it—there's a nice quality to it, kind of friendly. 

When I finally reached the kuti the desire had become manifest, something 
really tangible, We tend to think that a desire is somehow much subtler than a 
table, but at that time it struck me that desire was the most real thing in my 
universe. Suddenly I understood about the process of bringing what's called 
prasad, or a git, to a saint. In the Gita it is said that f you offer only a 
flower in the heart of devotion it's like the purest et you can give. At that 
moment I wanted to offer the desire as my prasad. 

I saved the apple, and the next day, because I came to the temple earlier 
than most people, I put my apple on the tucket. In the course of the morning, 


before Maharajji came out, many people arrived and soon the apple was buried 
under other fruit, flowers, sweets, and so forth. But I kept my eye on the 
apple. About a half hour later Maharajji came out, shuffled through all these 
offerings, pulled out my apple, and flipped it to me. 


Once I was feeling damned frustrated and I told Maharajji that I didn't want 
to remain in the world, that I just wanted to be a sanyasi (renunciate). 
"You can't be a sanyasi just now. Look at these people here," Maharajji 
said, indicating the Westerners sitting all around. "These devotees here have 
enjoyed the material life up to the limit—and you haven't yet. If you became a 
sanyasi now it will be very difficult for you. You should first taste these things, 
and then you can leave them." 

I was just saying to Maharajji that this maya (worldly illusion) is very 
difficult to transcend, My father was a devoted bhakta all his life and still he 
would worry about the health and welfare of his children. So I said to 
Maharajji, "This maya is very hard to overcome." 

Maharajji said four things to me: "Maya? Kya hai? Kahan hai? Nahin hai 
[Maya? What is it? Where is it? It is not]!" That was all. Such a peculiar 
day that was. 


Maharajji would sit out in the back in his chair, looking up at the hills, 
saying, "Look at those trees on that mountain. Who waters them? Who takes 
care of them? Those are the assurance that God exists for people. Those are 
what people can look to, to know about God." 

Maharajji had no inhibitions. He would sit sweating in the dirt. "It's 

Mother Earth I'm sitting on and I'm made of earth," he would say. "Every 
land is God's." 




A devotee asked, "How can I be unattached if I have a baby?" and 
Maharajji replied: "just have faith in God and remember God and it will 
happen gradually and you will be living unattached like the lotus flower." 


Once Maharajji called a young Western devotee into the room with a local 
sadhu. The girl was dressed in a nice sari and was wearing jewelry, the sadhu, 
in typical sadhu dress. Maharajji pointed to the Westerner and said, "She's a 

The sadhu objected: "How can she be a sadhu? See how she is dressed." 

Maharajji rebuked him and said, "She doesn't care for any of these things. 
It doesn't matter to her whether she wears silk or rags. She will even wear 
diamonds. She is not attached to these things. She has no lust, greed, anger, or 
attachment. She will wander about all her life. She has no home in the 

Then he sent the girl out of the room. 



N bout C uth 

IN TRYING TO understand Maharajji's teachings about truth, one would 
have to decide whether what Maharajji did or what he said was the more 
accurate reflection of those teachings. On the one hand, he was con- 
tinually instructing devotees to tell the truth, no matter what the cost. 







A man came to Maharajji, and Maharajji asked him for some money for 
bricks for an ashram. The man said he had no possessions and went away. 
Later he came rushing to Maharajji, saying his shop was burning and that he 
would be ruined. 

"I thought you said you had no possessions!" 

"Oh, Iwas lying .. . 

"You are lying now. Your shop is not burning." 

The man went away and returned to his store—and found that only one bag 
of chili was smoking. 

I had given the first copy of Be Here Now to Maharajji when it arrived. 
He had asked one of his devotees to put it inside his room, and I had heard 
nothing more about it. Five months later I was called from the back of the 
temple. When I arrived at Maharajji's tucket he was holding the book. His 
first comment was, "You are printing lies." 

"IT didn't realize that, Maharajji. Everything in the book I thought was 

"No, there are lies," he said accusingly. 

"That's terrible," I said. But I was confused because I wasn't sure whether 
he was serious, so I asked, "What lies, Maharajji?" 

"You say here that Hari Dass built the temples." 

"Well, I thought that he did." 

At that point Maharajji beckoned to an Indian man who was sitting nearby 
and asked him, "What did you have to do with the temples?" 

'T built them, Maharajji."" Maharajji looked at me as if this proved that I 
had lied. 

Then Maharajji said, "And you said Hari Dass went into the jungle at 
eight years of age." Again he called another man forward, who ascertained that 
Hari Dass had worked as a clerk in the forestry department for some years. 

All I could lamely say was, "Well, someone had told me that he went into 
the jungle when he was eight years old." 

Again and again Maharajji confronted me with things I had said that were 
not true. 


Finally Maharaji said, "You believe everything people tell you. You are a 
simple person. Most Westerners would have checked. What will you do about 
these untruths?" 

My mind spun. What could I do about it? The first printing of thirty 
thousand was already in the stores and certainly couldn't be called back, but 
Steve Durkee had written that they were about to print another thirty 
thousand. So I said, "Well, I could write and have the les deleted for the next 

"Fine. You do that. It will hurt you if you are connected with hes." And 
with that he turned to other matters. I surveyed the damage in the book and 
prepared a letter for Steve at the Lama Foundation in New Mexico where the 
book was published. It would only be necessary to delete two entire paragraphs. 
Although the changes seemed of minor importance, I considered Be Here Now 
to be Maharayt's book, and if Maharayi wanted it changed, it had to be 

About two weeks later I received the reply from Steve, who said that the 
changes couldn't be made in the next printing. When he received my letter at 
Lama, which ts up in the mountains north of Laos, he had just returned from 
visiting the printer in Albuquerque. On that visit he had arranged for the 
reprinting, and the printer, as a favor, was going to rush the job and put it on 
the press the next day. The press would print, cut, and assemble the entire 
book in one continuous process. Steve had then done other business for two 
days on the way back to Lama, and though he hadn't spoken to the printer 
(because there are no phones at Lama), he was sure that the job had been done. 
But he assured me that the changes would be made in the following printing, 
which would probably occur in three or four months. 

With the letter in my phola (shoulder bag) I took an early morning bus to 
Kaincht. As I entered the temple, Maharayi yelled, "What does the letter 
say?” It always struck me as humorous when he did that, for if he knew there 
was a letter he obviously knew what tt said. He just wanted me to tell him. So 
I reported, and when I had finished he said, ""Do it now." I repeated the 
explanation patiently about the Web press and that the changes couldn't be 
made for these thirty thousand copies. And he repeated, "Do it now." I 
explained that it would mean throwing out all thirty thousand books and a loss 
of at least ten thousand dollars. Maharayt's retort was, "Money and truth have 
nothing to do with one another. Do it now. When you printed it first you 
thought it was true, but once you know it isn't you can't print les. It will hurt 

Well, if Maharaji wanted it changed now, then that's the way i would be. 
It would mean the loss to Lama of all the profits, and they weren't going to be 
overjoyed about that; but, after all, the entire sum of money came from 


Maharaji anyway. Although it was not yet 9:00 AM., Maharani sent me from 
the temple, telling me again to "Do it now.” 

I thumbed a ride back to Nainital and cabled Steve with the new 
instructions. About a week later I recewed the reply from Steve. He reported 
that the strangest thing had happened. When he had gone to the post office, my 
cable was there, and in the same mail was a letter from the printer. It seems 
that immediately after Steve had left, he had proceeded as promised to put the 
plates for reprinting the book on the press. But the printer found one plate of 
one page---t full-page photograph of Maharayi— missing. So he went to the 
files, thinking he would get the original and make a new plate, and much to 
his surprise he found that the original of that page was also missing. Not 
knowing what to do, the printer pulled the job off the press and was holding tt 
Jor further instructions. So, Steve concluded, it took only a phone call to 
change the two paragraphs, not ten thousand dollars as I had feared. I rushed 
back to Maharaji with the news, but that day and the next he never gave me 
a chance to speak. (R.D.) 

When Dada's sister-in-law was visiting, Maharapyi called me up to his 
tucket in her presence, pointed at this woman, and asked me if I "remembered" 
her. In truth I did not, but it seemed like something of a faux pas not to 
remember, so I smiled Rnowingly as though I did. Maharayi smiled as though 
he accepted this and said, "Yes, she ts Dada's sister-in-law." 

Then that insidious "cleverness" took over and I reasoned to myself that if 
she was Dada's sister-in-law I had probably met her in Allahabad where Dada 
lived, so I said, "Oh, yes, we were together in Allahabad." 

To which she said, "No, we never met in Allahabad. We met here in 
Kainchi last spring.” I was caught red-minded. Maharayi turned to me and 
held up that finger which, in this case, clearly Meant "Caught youl Watch it!” 

In Allahabad, Maharayi caught me in what we in the West call "a little 
white lie."" We were gathered around him, and in the group was an important 
official of the state supreme court. For the first time in all the years I had been 
with Maharayt, I heard him telling the official what an important person I 
was in the United States, that I was a professor and wrote books. All of that 
seemed so irrelevant when I was around him, and it sounded strange to hear 

him plugeing my Western social-power virtues. When he stopped, the supreme 

203 court offical said to me "I am honored to meet you. Perhaps you would 
like to visit the supreme court." 
T he dual fact that I came from a family of lawyers and that I was in India in 
order to immerse myself in the spirit, made the entire prospect of such a visit 
unappealing to me A nd ye, he was an important person and I couldn't just 
say what I had been thinking, So! said, rather ambiguously, "That would be 
very nice At that, the offidal said, "W ould tomorrow at io:00 A.M. be 

I was HapPet and I could think of only one way of escape. I said, "W ell 
have to as my guru. It's up to him." 

So the offidal asked M aharajji, and he answered, "If Ram D ass says it 
would be nice, he should go." A nd then he looked at mein a way that could 
only be interpreted as, "G ot you again." 

T he story of the next day's events shows that even simple people like me do 
learn. I visited the court with this gentleman, and in the course of the visit we 
stopped in the chambers of the law review, where the lawyers all hang out. It 
was at the time of N ixon's dramatic approaches to China. W hen all these 
lawyers saw an A merican with this important offical they surrounded me and 
questioned me about N ixon's China policy, which was of considerable concern 
to India. 1 gave as erudite an answer as my reading of the situation would 
allow. That evening when I was onoe again at darshan with M aharajji, 
another dignified-looking gentleman, who turned out to be the leading lawyer 
in the aty, took me aside and asked if I would be willing to address the 
Rotary Club and the Bar A ssodation. I got a sinking feeling that f 1 didn't 
watch my step I would be on the creamed vegetable circuit of India. A nd 
remembering the entrapment of the day before I said, "I'd prefer not to speak 
before ather of these groups, but of course] will do whatever M aharajji says." 
So the lawyer pleaded his case before M aharajji, and Maharajji seemed 
delighted at the invitations. He kept repeating then to all who would listen 
as if to imply that such invitations were a major coup, a great break through, 
and very important. | in to feed betrayed by Maharaji. The 
M aharajji turned to me and ask ed, "W hat are you going to speak about?" 

I thought quickly and grasped at the only assocation that came to mind: "I'll 
talk about law and the dharma." 

"A hal" said M aharajji, "and will you talk about Christ?" "Of course’ 
"A nd Hanuman?" 

"Certainly." "A nd me?" "A bsolutely." 
By this time the lawyer was looking a little grem about the qills, and he 


interjected, "Well, we thought he might talk. about Nixon's China policy, 

Maharayi looked shocked. "Oh, no! Ram Dass could not do that. He can 
only speak about God.” 

The lawer then backed off, saying, "Well, that wouldn't be quite 
appropriate. Perhaps I can gather a few lawyers at my home to talk about 
God," Needless to say, he never did. I had learned my lesson. Maharaji 
would back. me up when I spoke the truth, no matter how difficult it might be, 


IN CONTRADICTION TO all of these teachings, however, Maharajji 
frequently lied. Because of this, when Maharajji predicted something no 
one knew whether it would actually happen. Although his lying was 
pointed out by those in the local communities who did not like him (and 
there were a number, because he was so outspoken), such inconsistencies 
made no difference for the devotees. For us, perhaps the lesson was that 
a free being has his or her own rules; but until you are free, you'd best 

tell the truth. 

Maharayi would usually agree to any request from a devotee. People 
Jrequently invited him to come and bless their homes and to partake of the food 
prepared by the family. He would inevitably agree to all these requests, yet 
more often than not he wouldn't go. 

When questioned by one of his devotees about his habit of making and 
breaking promises, Maharayi replied, "I'm just a big har!" 


A\ devotee asked Maharayi why he always told nice things to people, or 
predicted a bright future, when in fact he knew that the opposite would 
happen. Maharayi replied, "Do you expect me to tell people that their loved 
ones will die? How can I do that? All right, since you advise me, from now on 
I'l answer people frankly." A while later, a woman came for his blessing that 
her husband get well. Maharaji shouted at her, "Mother, why have you come 
here? Your husband ts at home in bed dying and in a coma. He can't be saved. 
You should go!" Shocked and hurt, the woman left. Maharaji was equally 
blunt with a few more people. Then he asked the devotee, "How can you 
expect me to be blunt nith people? How can I hurt their feelings?" 


Maharajji would lie to someone so as not to hurt their feelings; but then he 
would tell the truth in some other way. When K asked about his sick mother, 
Maharajji said, "Who will feed you if she is not here? She will be around for 
a long time." But then Maharajji called a specialist from Agra and had her 

The specialist said, "This woman cannot survive more than twenty-eight 

This surprised the doctor because he had never used that number, saying, 
rather, a month or two. On the morning of the twenty-ninth day she died. K 

felt that Maharajji brought the specialist as a hint. Saints give clear hints, but 
we can't always understand them. 

Maharajji would say something and later, if he contradicted himself and the 
contradiction was pointed out, he would say, "I didn't say that." 

I wrote for Maharajji's blessing just before I was to take an exam. "Will I 
pass?" I asked him. But there was no reply. I failed. Heavy with the weight 
of my first failure, I ran to Kainchi and found Maharajji smiling. I told him 
that I had sent many letters and he hadn't answered. 

He replied, "You wanted to know. I can't speak a lie, and the fact was very 

"Shall I appear for the exam again?" I asked. 

He replied, "Yes, this time nobody will stop you." 

I passed. 

Once two men came for darshan. As they stood before Maharajji, telling him 
all sorts of glorious things about themselves, he grew increasingly more 
impatient. When they reached a stopping point, Maharajji gruffly sent them 
away. As they were walking away, he turned to us and said, "They stand 
there telling me lies—they were trying to fool me! Don't they know that it is I 
who am fooling the whole world?" 

OV Cout WM oney 

** ANCHAN [GOLD]," Maharajji would say and shake his finger. 

That and sexual desire were the two main obstacles to realizing God. 
Again and again Maharajji warned about these fatal attractions, these 
clingings; but how few of us could hear him. He referred to the 
Western devotees as kings. Most of us had come from comfortable 
economic backgrounds and so we knew that financial security would 
not in itself bring libera- tion from suffering. To know such a thing 
was a great step forward onthe path. Many of the Indian devotees had 
known only financial hard- ship and deprivation, and for those people 
it was often hard to hear that 

wotldly security was not one and the same as freedom. Yet there were 
some devotees who, though they had never tasted of material security, 
seemed to have no concern with such matters. It was as if they were 
truly born for God. 

To each person Maharajji reacted in a different way about money. To 
those for whom the attachment to gold was not the primary obstacle, he 
never mentioned the subject. With others he talked about money all the 
time, awakening in the devotee both paranoia and greed, rooting out, 
perhaps, the sticky karma of that particular attachment. Most frequently 



Maharajji seemed to be suggesting that people keep as much as they 
needed to maintain their responsibilities to body, to family, and to com- 
munity, and distribute the rest to the poor. He kept reminding us that if 
we did that and trusted in God, all would be taken care of. 

Sometimes he gave us a rupee or two, which seemed at the time like 
he was giving us a boon of future financial security. Some of the devo- 
tees held on to those rupees and have never since known financial need. 
Others gave the rupees away immediately to the first begger they met; 
those devotees have not known need, either. Such a boon is known as 
the "blessing of Lakshmi [the goddess of wealth]." Such a blessing was 
clearly Maharajji's to bestow. 

In 1969 I wrote to KK, asking if I could send some money to Maharajji. 
The answer from Maharajji, delivered to me in a letter from KK, read: "We 
do not require any money. India is a bird of gold. We have learned 'giving' not 
‘taking.’ We cannot attain God as long as we have got attachments for these 
two: (1) gold (wealth) (in Hindi, ‘Kanchan'), and (2) women (in Hindi, 
Kamini'). No two swords can be put into one sheath; the more we sacrifice 
(tyaga), the more we gain... ." 


A tiny, gnarled old woman came for Maharajji's darshan. She was, I think, 
from one of the local farms. Tottering up onto the porch, she touched 
Maharajji's feet with her head and sat down. Then with much difficulty she 
unknotted the end of her sari and took from it some crumpled rupee notes and 
pushed them across the tucker toward Maharajji. I had never seen anyone give 
Maharajji money and I watched with some discomfort, for this woman was 
obviously as poor as the proverbial church mouse. Maharajji pushed the money 
back at her and indicated that she was to take it back. With no expression she 
reached for the money and started to put it back into her sari. The full meaning 
of the situation escaped me, for I understood too little of the culture to 
appreciate what was happening. 

But then Maharajji seemed to have a second thought and demanded the 

money back from the Ma. A gain with arthritic hands she untied the corner 
of the sari and handed him the bills. T here were two one rupee notes and 
one two-rupee note (four rupees are worth about forty US omts). M aharajji 
took them from her and immediately handed them to me | didn't know 
what to do. H eel was a "rich W estemer (in India even poor W estemners 
are "rich W esterners" because of the relative values of the economies), with 
a private car (a rare lux ury in India) and traveler's checks. I just couldn't 
adoept this money. But when I tried to hand it back to the woman, 

M aharajji refused to allow it. I was told to keep it. That night I put 
the four rupess on my puja table and reflected on them for a long time but 
no great clarity was forthcoming. L ater, one Indian devotee told me that | 
should hold onto the money, that if 1 did I would never want. D uring that 
period an old Sikh couple had tak em to visiting me at the hotd. T hey ran 
a tiny dried fruit store and were obviously ey poor. Y et each time they 
came they brought me offerings of dried fruit, kneeled at my feet, and told 
mein great detail of thar hardships in life. W hy they had taken it into 
their heads that I could hap them, spiritually or materially, I have no idea, 
but they k eot coming. 

T hen one day they told me that due to illness they must leave this 
ae and move to the plains, where ther finanaal predicament was going 
to be, if anything more precarious. | felt that I wanted to give than 
something tor thar journey, but anor came immediately to mind. T hen I 
thought of the four rupees. I got one of the rupees and ex plained to them 
how it had come to me and that if they held on to it, everything would be 
all right with then. T hey left N ainital and I have not heard from then 
since. | still have three of the rupees. A nd thus far I've always had more 
than enough money. (R.D.) 

DS said that he had always kept all the money M aharajji gave him, 
which amounted at one time to over two hundred rupees. I hen somehow it 
was all stolen from his home 

A fter that, whenever M aharajji oe him money it would be with the 
added admonition not to lose it. DS took out an envelope from a_hiding 
placein his home and showed it to me Inside was a small pack é of 
rupee notes-tens, fives, twos, and ones-all of them stapled together many 
times over. 


Maharayi pulled two rupees out from underneath his blanket and stuck them 
in my hand. He satd something I couldn't hear when he put them in my hand. 
I didn't have them very long. I gave one to the Tibetan mandir (Zemzple) in 
Manat, and the other I gave to a beggar. 

I don't know where he would get it, but he used to give me money. One 
time he was about to give me a great deal of money when I asked why, since I 
was earning enough, and he was a sadhu. If he gave me this surplus, then I 
might take it to go to the movies or go drinking. "Would you like that?” I 
asked him. 

"No," he said, and so he didn't give me the money. 

Once he gave me five rupees, and my sister thirty, which he said to Reep 
with us. She Rept the money but I gave mine away. I told him I would not 
Keep these things. 

Once, shortly before he disappeared, he gave me a hundred-rupee note. I told 
him I didn't want it, but he said I should keep it; and when I again refused, 
he said, "Okay, then I'll Reep it." I don't know how it happened, but after I 
left I found the one hundred-rupee note in my pocket. 

During Swami N's first darshan, Maharaji gave him ten one-rupee notes 
and told him to keep them as prasad. Swami Rept the money in his purse, and 
from that day he has never been without sufficient money. Hes purse alvays 
has more than enough. 


He gave me the two rupees. That was the only time he gave me anything 
apart from the laddus and prasad. I remember the two rupees distinctly, being 
astonished and worried because I didn't know what to do with them. "What 
am I going to do now?" I thought. "What's this money for?” 

One day this man came to my house to have the darshan of a sadhu staying 
there. He spotted the photo of Maharaji that I keep there and said, "I know 
him. | know him,” and began to relate the story of his darshan with 

He had been a young boy and very bitter at the world. One day he had gone 
to an old Shiva temple, and there in the compound Maharayi was sleeping. 
(Lhe man gave an accurate description of Maharayi—lying on the ground, 
wearing only a dhoti, and covered with a plaid blanket.) Maharayi had sat up 
and at once commanded the boy to bring some milk for him. The boy became 
angry at this baba for treating him like this. Maharayi pulled thirty rupees 

from under his blanket and told him to buy the milk with it. The boy ran out 
with the money and came back with half a kilo or so of milk. He pocketed the 
change and Maharayi never asked for it. He left with the money, which was 
much needed by his family. Maharayit knew better than to ask if he needed 
money or to give him a gift. The boy was too proud, so Maharayi tricked him 
into taking the money. 

One time when we were all living in Kainchi Valley, Balaram asked 
Maharayi f we should request money from anyone to fix up the house. 
Mahara said yes, that we should write to Harinam. I wrote the letter on an 
aerogram, which we showed to Maharayi before sending. Balaram folded it up, 
sealed it, and mailed it, and when Harinam rephed, he said he'd send 
money—and that he thought it had been nice of us to enclose the two-rupee 
note, but why had we put it there? We had not put any two-rupee note in that 
letter, and as far as | Rnow, Maharayi never mentioned it. This was one of 
the little money tricks he liked to play. 



Recently I was confronted with the problem of which medium to use for the 
construction of the meditation hall at Maharagjt's temple near Delhi. On the 
way there one day I met tyo men who introduced themselves as architects. I 
became interested, so I asked what sort of work they were doing. They replied 
that they were designing a five-star hotel in Patna. This told me that they must 
be good, so I asked them to stop for ten minutes at the tenaple to give me their 
advice on my problem. When they saw the temple and the pictures of 
Maharayi one man exclaimed, "So this ts where the ashram is! I know him. 
He ts the cause of my life!" I asked him to explain what he meant. 

He said that when he was young, his family had taken him to see 
Maharayi. Maharayi had turned to him and asked, "What's the problem? 
What do you wante” and the boy had answered, "Money." 

Maharayi then pulled a ten-rupee note out from under his blanket. Everyone 
laughed at the incident and after a while they all left. The boy's family then 
suggested that they all go to the movies with the prasad money, but he refused 
to part with it and has Rept it to this day. Money has come to him whenever 
he needs it. If he has needed ten thousand rupees by evening time, it has been 
put into his hands by the afternoon—all this from the faith derived from only 
one or two darshans. 

The architect volunteered to help design the meditation building _free of 
charge, in thanks to Maharayji. 

Once when V was to return home, he found that he was a little short of 
money, so he made arrangements to borrow two hundred rupees and then went 
to Kainchi to pay his respects to Maharayt before leaving. Maharayi blessed 
him and sent him out. Then he called V back and said, "You've changed your 
program. You're not going to Lucknow. You're out of money. You are short 
two hundred rupees." Maharayi called for the pujari who had the keys to the 
temple box, but the pujart was at the bazaar, along with the keys. Maharayi 
sent V to go and pray to Hanuman, then immediately called him back. 


Maharayi reached inside his blanket and pulled out two hundred rupees. VW 
asked how he got the money, and Maharayi said that when V went out to see 
Hanuman, someone came into the room and gave it to him. 


When I was young I had no money with me, but Maharayi Rept insisting I 
had plenty. My father and I were in the vegetable business, and every time I 
would bring vegetables, the full price was never paid. What Maharayi gave me 
I accepted, but I just didn't tell my father because he would be angry. But I 
never could be sure how accounts balanced. Once I even said, "Maharapi, this 
zs very Little money that is coming for the food I brought.” 

Maharayi said, "It's all right. Take it." Another time he said, "You shall 
have a house."" And later, "Give it all away."" Now I have a house and two 
shops. I'm a vith man, due to Maharaji. 

KK had prepared a pattal (leaf plate) of sliced fruit for him, and as he was 
talking to Maharaz, he held out the fruit and Maharayi would eat a little bit. 
Maharayi called me over from where we Westerners were sitting. "Bring that 
Peter over here,” he said. (This before he'd given me my name.) He said, 
"What would you give me?” 

I said, "Baba, I'd give you everything I have.” This had something to do 
with his previous conversation, when he'd called me over to make a point in 
the conversation he was having with these Indians. 

He turned to the Indians to say something like, "Do you see this? Did you 
hear thaté” Then he scooped up the apples from the pattal that KK was 
holding, and with his hands he lowered them into my hands and said, "With 
these apples, I'm going to give you many dollars.”” He said "dollars" in 
English. (The Indians later said to me, "Do you know what he said? Do you 
know the blessing you just got?!"’) 

I answered him, saying, "Maharayi, what kind of wealth? AH I want ts 
spiritual wealth.” 

And he said, "Nahin! Bohut dollar [INo, that's not what I mean]" Jan.” 

You can see how that blessing ts not inappropriate to my becoming a doctor, 
since everyone thinks that doctors get a lot of money. If I do become wealthy as 


Maharayi said, what I would like to do ts start some businesses that would 

employ a lot of the satsang (fellow devotees). 


There was a shopkeeper in Kainchi whose daughter was to get married soon, 
but he did not have enough money for the wedding. Maharayi told him not to 
worry, in three days he would get plenty of money. Three days later there was 
a landshde and the road was blocked, and all cars and trucks had to stop there. 
Whatever grains and foodstuffs that he had gathered in preparation for the 

marriage ceremony were consumed by these people, and in this way he got a lot 
of money. 

Maharayi used to stay in Kanpur for a few days at a time. There lived one 
of the wealthiest men in India, whose whole family were devotees. Maharayt 
had never come to their home, a palatial mansion, and on one of his visits they 
insisted he come. He came with a crowd of people. The family did puja and 
then served a magnificent feast of many rare delicacies. They tried to instruct 
Maharayi as to what to eat first, followed by this, then that. Maharayi put 
everything—sweets, curries, fruits, vegetables—ainto one bowl, mixed them 
together, and ate. When he was finished he took the wealthy man's driver, of 
whom he was very fond (who had also driven him to Amarkantak, a trip of 
many days), and drove away. Maharapyi said to him, "Now let's go to your 

The driver, who lived in a slum hut in a very poor section of Kanpur, 
couldn't believe Maharayi, but he was insistent. Upon reaching there, 
Maharayi said, "I'm hungry. Bring me food.” Being very poor, they had 
nothing in the house. The family had already eaten and preparing rotis would 
take time. Maharayi said, "No, there's eur [crude brown sugar] in that jar. 
Bring it to me!" They went and found the gur and Maharagji relished it. 


I once complained that Maharayi only visited the rich; then he took me to 
live for several days with the cobbler in a poor small room. Although we were 

very cramped, Maharayi was happy. 

He seemed to be happiest among the poor people. With them he would get a 
Soft, happy quality in hes face. 

Maharayi said to a complaining devotee, "You don't have money in your 
destiny, so what can I do?” 

A\ rich man who had come for darshan was asking Maharayi to give him his 
blessings in order that he get wealthy. This 1s what Maharayi said: "Look, 
you're already stinking rich. I'm not going to give you any blessings that you 
get rich."" This man wanted blessings to be as rich as Tata (one of the richest 
men in Indta). 

Maharayi started to tell the story of Birla (another very wealthy Indian). 
Birla had been an ordinary guy who also had gone to his guru and asked to be 
made the richest man in India. Hes guru had told Birla to watt and serve, so 
Birla started serving his guru—cleaning the shit, washing the dhotts, this and 
that. Years and years passed but still his guru made no mention of giving him 
the blessing of bottomless wealth. For ten years Birla had faithfully served his 
guru, never again mentioning his desire. 

One day the guru called Birla in and said, "Okay. Here it is," and he took 
a tota and urinated in it. '""Take this tota of piss. Cover it and get on the train 
to Calcutta. When you get to Calcutta, get off the train. When you get off the 
train, drink the piss. This ts the blessing.” 

So Birla faithfully obeyed. When he got to Calcutta, he drank the urine, 
which by that time had miraculously transformed itself into nectar, so I presume 
he didn't have to gag. One thing led to another, and he became the richest man 
in India. 


After hearing this story, the rich man said, "Maharajji, Maharaji! Let me 
drink your piss!" 

"Nay, nay, nay, nay. I won't give you any piss. 

"Anything, anything! Give me your piss!" 

And Maharaji said, "Oh, no. I won't bless you for wealth. I will only 
bless your grandsons. I won't bless you. You've already got enough." 

"Okay, okay. Do it. Do it. Anything." 

This went on until Maharajji finally relented and said, "I won't give you 
any urine—I'll give you a piece of roti." Maharajji then asked us, "Has 
anybody got any roti? Anybody got any roti?" I had earlier gotten a little piece 
of roti; I had taken a bite out of it and kept the rest in my hand. I gave my 
h4f-eaten piece to Maharajji, who blessed it and gave it to the rich man. 

He exclaimed, "Oh, this is the greatest thing." He was delighted. 

Then Maharajji went on to something else, and while he was talking, 
another devotee turned to the rich man and told him the bread was juth 
(unclean, impure, filthy, contaminated) because I had eaten some of it. All of 
this going on behind Maharajji's back. The rich man gave the roti back to 
me—roti blessed with millionairehood! I ate it! 

Maharajji always told me to spend my money: "Spend it. Don't save it. 
Keep the money flowing. Give it to the needy. Spend it." 

When I first met Maharajji I was out of money, and my plane ticket back to 
the West was to expire within a week. But believing that "Clinging to money 
is a lack of faith in God," I stayed on. Nearly two years passed, during which 
time all was provided for me, but I never actually had any money. Then I 

found out that I had inherited a thousand dollars, I immediately offered it all to 
Maharajji in my heart and had the money sent to India. As I was leaving for 
Delhi to pick it up, I asked what I could bring Maharajji. He asked for 
twenty brooms and several tins of milk powder, and as I was walking out the 
door he called me back in and asked me to bring him a blanket. The blanket 
was the first thing I bought with the money. 

When I returned to Kainchi, every day Maharajji would ask me for some 


amount of money or other, as would the Westerners I would always give. It 
was not my money. Then, when it was nearly gone, all but one twenty-dollar 
traveler's check, Maharayi told me not to cash tt. About a week later he sent 
me to Nepal and asked me to stay there for four months. 

Of course I now had no money. He asked a few people to give me 
money—altogether maybe five hundred rupees—and sent me off. In Nepal, 
while traveling with a companion, I lost all my rupees. We Rnew tt was 
Maharapi's doing, and as we walked back to the hostel a small boy came 
beaming up to us, asking tf everything was all right, just the way Maharayi 
does. We both felt it was he. At the hostel I rediscovered the twenty dollars, 
and with that we returned to Kathmandu. It was in Kathmandu that we 
learned Maharayi had left his body. 


During the summer in Kausant, one of the Western devotees told me that he 
wanted to give some money to Maharayt. He had earned and inherited quite a 
bit of money and had been very generous in a quiet way, helping out various 
members of the satsang who had used up their own funds. He asked me how 
much I thought he ought to give to Maharay. 

"Why don't you give all your money to Maharayi?” I suggested. "Since 
you say that your only concern ts that your money be used consciously—and if 
Maharayi ts your guru you must accept that he ts more conscious than you 
are—obviously he should decide what to do with your money. If he thinks you 
should be responsible for it, he'll give it back to you.” 

But the devotee didn't see it that way and so he gave Maharaji about two 
thousand dollars. Now in our daily visits Maharayi Rept querying me as to 
what I thought he should do nith the money—Did I think it should be 
returned to the devotee or not? 

Although I didn't understand the implications of any of this, I urged 
Maharayi to return the money to the devotee—mainly, I think, because I felt 
the gift reflected a lack of faith. The money was returned at that time, but I 
don't know what finally happened... (R.D.) 

I do. The following year, when this devotee was about to leave India, he 
wanted to try once again to give the money to Maharayi. In Delhi he changed 


his remaining money into rupees and gave it to me, as I was staying in India. 
I agreed to try to give the money once again and, if tt was not accepted, to 
eventually return it to him in America. I took the rather large bundle of rupees 
back up to Kainchi and discussed the matter privately with Dada. Some days 
later as the satsang were about to leave for the bus back to Nainital, Dada 
announced that I was to remain in Kainchi for the night. This produced quite a 
stir, since it seemed that some mysterious spectal privilege was being 
conspicuously bestowed. I was no less mystified than anyone else, as by now I 
was used to carrying the bundle of rupees around and had virtually forgotten 
them. After evening darshan and supper, when we had all retired to rooms for 
the night, Dada appeared, flashlight in hand, to escort me down to the 
darkened temple. There, it seemed to me that I heard the soft breathing of 
sleeping Hanuman while I slowly stuffed rupees through the narrow slot of 
the donation box. 

"Serve the poor,” Maharaji said. 
"Who is poor, Maharayie” 
""Fxveryone ts poor before Christ.” 


It was the meta. Maharapi had a tent there and prasad was being 
distributed all the time to all the devotees who came. People were preparing 
food from eight in the morning until two or three in the afternoon. The biggest 
millionaire in India arrived, and Maharayi immediately yelled, "Go away! I 
don't want to see your face! Get out! You go away!" 

The man said, "Well, Maharayi, I have come with these two bags of flour 
for you to give to the poor, in your bhandara. Please accept.” 

Maharayi yelled out, "No! Go away! Don't show me your face. Don't 
come here.” 

When that man still didn't go away, Maharayi stood up and went away 
himself. Still the man didn't go. He followed Maharajji, saying, "Oh, 
Maharazji, give me some teachings. What should I do?" 

Maharayi replied, "What teachings should I give you? Will you follow me? 
[f I give you teachings, will you follow me?” 


The man Rept mum. 
Maharayi said to him, "Whatever wealth you have, you give it to the poor. 

This is my teaching. Will you follow it?" 


Again and again Maharayi reiterated that one should not be attached to 
money, because tt just causes trouble. He was fond of telling the story of a man 
who made much money, whose son became so greedy for the money that he 
came to his father with a gun demanding some of it. Then the father said, 
"Take tt all.” 

I had seen again and again in America how much trouble money made in 
families and what greed and bitterness could exist between a wealthy father and 
his children—all over money. Although I didn't feel that way toward my 
father, I wasn't oblivious to the fact that someday, at his death, I would inherit 
much money. Then one day Maharayi called me to him and asked, "Your 
father has much money?" 

"Yes, Maharaji." 

"He zs going to leave it to you?" 
"A share of it he will leave to me." I thought of the pride my father had in 

remembering his own earher financial hardships, due in part to his father's 
untimely death, and how he had built,financial security so that none of his 
children would ever face what he had faced. 

"You are not to accept your inheritance." 
I had never even considered that. Knowing that I would not have personal 

use of this money has affected me much to the good. And since that time my 
father and I have become much closer. (R.D.) 


J's brother was told by Maharapi to give all his money away. He said, 
"No, Maharaji, what about my family?” 

Maharaji said, "You'll have so much more. Give it all to me. Give it to 
Sometimes Maharayi would send a message to Haldwani asking _I's brother 
to get him railroad tickets, but the brother would hide so he wouldn't have to 
get the tickets. Finally Maharayi said, "l'm making my grace toward J. You 


are greedy. Now you'll suffer." At the time, ] was poor and all the rest of the 
brothers were rich. But now 7 1s doing well and the one brother has lost his 

business and has nothing. 


In earher years Maharayi had spent time wandering with a sadhu. Later the 
sadhu started to hold on to money and entrusted some to one of his devotees to 
hold for him. Maharayi came to the devotee and persuaded him to use half the 
money for his daughter's dowry. When the sadhu heard this he was angry with 
Maharayi. Then Maharayi ts supposed to have said, "You are ruining 
yourself. Get rid of it all." The sadhu saw that he had indeed gotten caught, 
and he started a huge fire and burned all his possessions. Maharayi said of 

him, "He was a good sanyasi.” 


One day when I was alone with Maharayi and a translator, Maharaji was 
warning me about money. "Money is all right for a gtihastha (householder) but 
it 1s worst for a yogt. Money ts your enemy. You should not touch money.” 

I asked him if it wasn't all right to Reep enough money for one's daily 
needs. He said that that was all right: '"Keep only as much money as is 
necessary for your needs and distribute the rest." Well, such an instruction gave 
me all the latitude I needed, for who defines "needs"? 

Soon Maharayi returned to our earlier conversation about my having money. 

"Money is your enemy. You should not touch it.” 

"But, Maharayt, isn't it all right to keep enough for daily needs?” But this 
time he answered, "No! Money should go around a saint, not through him.” 
He had just filled in the loophole. 

When I returned to the hotel that night I reflected that these new instructions 
required some action, at least the beginning of some experiments with money, 
so I decided to try for a tame literally not to touch money. By not having 
money in my pocket there would be the opportunity, each time I would usually 
reach into that pocket, to become conscious in the use of money. But on the 
other hand, I reasoned, I didn't want to become financially dependent on 
others. The Indians for the most part could not afford it and neither could most 
of the Westerners. So, as a first experiment, I turned over to one of the 
Westerners all my money, and he became my "bag man." He would pay bus 


fares and so forth. While I appreciated that this was not the spirit of 
Maharayi's instruction, it would at least adhere to the letter of the law, "You 
should not touch money." Of course, I knew Maharayi meant something more. 
I'm still learning about it today, seven years later. (R.D.) 


When the engagement of one family's son was settled, they brought sweets to 
Maharayt. Maharayi said, "I was just remembering you. Good you came. So 
your son ts engaged, and you got money from your in-laws. Uncles and aunts 
each got a hundred—what about me? How about a hundred?” 

I frst heard Maharagi's name about ten years ago in Kanpur. They said 
that he was a very high-class mahatma and that he knew everything. A friend 
told me of his darshan with Maharayi: "I have seen him. He has some power 
or some ghost in his hand. This is how he knows everything. It's not a 
spiritual power but some ghost or something.” 

There were some influential businessmen who went to Maharayi, and he 
told them to buy a certain type of goods and sell them. In one day, each of the 
three men made twenty-five or thirty thousand rupees. They thought that if 
they stayed near Maharayt, he would let them know how the market was 
going to behave. They went to him and he asked, "Did you make some 
money?” Each answered with the amount he had made and then asked 
Maharayi for further instructions. 

Maharayi said to a devotee, "What will be the result f everyone comes for 
money? These Kanpur industrialists are bad. They'll give me trouble.” Then 
Maharayi said to one, "Okay. You've got thirty thousand rupees. Tomorrow, 
bring three thousand for me." To another he said, "You bring fifteen hundred.” 
To the third, "You bring twelve hundred." They all agreed but never 
returned, thinking he was corrupt. Maharayi was not anxious about money, 
but he wanted to have hes life free from those speculators. Of a fourth man, a 
relative of mine, Maharayi asked that he bring nine hundred rupees. The next 
day the man returned. Maharayi asked, "Did you bring the money?" 

"No, Maharayi, I haven't brought i,” he replied. 

6 aPby aes 

"Maharayi, I come here to take something, not to give." 


"Oh, you come to take, not to give. All right, come on. I don't want 
money. Let those other people not come."" My relative became a devotee. 


Once the Queen of Nepal came, as her husband was very much devoted to 
Maharayi. She presented Maharayi with many things, but he said, "No, 
distribute it among the people."” He grabbed me and said of her, "There ws big 
money there. Shall we get some?" 

IT said, "Yes."" We both laughed. Such was his humor. Usually people only 
report Maharayt as saying that he never touches money. 

Maharayi once said, "The money you earn should be straight. What do you 
want—to bring a bad name to me?" 

AA sadhu who was visiting the temple upbraided Maharayi for having 
temples and being attached to possessions. He sat on the tucket with Maharayt 
and was very fierce. Maharayi just listened and Rept the devotees who were 
present quiet. .A Little later the sadhu brought out a shaligram, a special stone 
used in doing puja to Shiva. Maharaji said to the sadhu, ""You will give it to 

"But Maharayi, I need it for my puja.' 

Then, playing into the sadhu's accusation that Maharayi was a materialist, 
Maharayi said, "You will sell it to mee” 

"Oh, no," said the sadhu. But Maharayi finally convinced the sadhu to sell 
it to him for forty rupees. And the exchange duly took place. 

Then Maharaji said, "Give me your money.” 

The sadhu took out the forty rupees and begrudgingly gave them to 
Maharayi. But Maharayi said, "No, give me the rest of it."" The sadhu 
brought out several hundred rupees and gave them to Maharayi, protesting all 
the while that this was all the money he had, so how would he live? Maharayi 
took the rupee notes and threw them into the brazier that was burning before 
them. The notes were consumed. The sadhu was very upset and admonished 
Maharayi for burning the money and protested that now he would starve, and 

Alt this point Maharagi said, "Oh, I didn't realize you were so attached to 
the money."" And with that he took a chimpter (a set of tongs), reached into 



the fire, and began pulling new, unburned rupee notes from the _fire until he 
had returned all the rupees to the sadhu. After that the sadhu did not sit on 
Maharajji's tucket any longer—but at his feet. 


SE SGinge aks 

DN bout DP eugs 

IN INDIA THERE is a long tradition of the use of charas. Smoked in a 
chillum and mixed with tobacco, charas is used extensively by a large 
percentage of the millions of wandering sadhus. For those who are fol- 
lowers of the god Shiva, smoking 1s part of the religious ritual. For 
others of a devotional bent, it is used to accentuate the emotional fervor 
of the devotional practices. 

In his earlier years, when Maharajji was also a wandering sadhu, he 
undoubtedly sat in the jungle around many a fire with other sadhus and 
may or may not have used charas himself. And in his later years, al- 
though he himself did not use such things, he was supportive of those 
who did. In many instances he helped sadhus to obtain charas or arsenic 
(another substance used, in tiny doses, by sadhus). He took a dim view, 
however, toward the use of hashish by householders (1.e., those with 
families), often directing at them a stream of abuse, or at least kidding 
and constant prodding about the matter. He said that it made them 
forget their responsibilities. For the Westerners he generally discouraged 
the use of such drugs as hashish and opium as means for altering con- 
sciousness ("Food is the best intoxicant," "love is the best medicine"). 



However, to some of the Westerners who were genuinely pursuing the 
renunciate life of the wandering sadhu and who were habituated to 
smoking hashish for devotional practices, he did not discourage its use. 
While charas was a product native to India, LSD was not. Because so 
many Westerners had experienced the awakening of the spirit through 
ingesting LSD, it was inevitable that Maharajji and LSD would someday 
meet. And this meeting produced, over a six-year period, much lila. 

Maharayit knew I smoked—he knows everything. But Maharayi never told 

me to quit this habit, never said itt was bad, never said anything about it. 

Sometimes other babas and I would be in my room below the temple, 
smoking chillums. If Maharayt would come by, he would never come into the 
room when we were smoking. Sometimes he'd pass by the doorway and mutter 
loudly to whomever was with him, "Let those sons-of-bitches (literally, "sons- 
in-law" be!" and pass on by. 


Maharayi would even obtain charas for me. If a man came to Maharayi for 
darshan, Maharayi would ask him to hand over to me whatever charas he had. 
Maharayi filled many people's desires in this way. Whether it was charas, 
money, sweets—whatever they wanted—Maharayi would be the agent to 
procure wt for them. 

Oftentimes at Kainchi, tf a sadhu who was a chillum-baba came for 

darshan, Maharayi would send him to the back of the ashram to smoke with 

I have seen Maharayi give hashish to people with his own hands. 





In his earlier days, Maharajji frequently visited a certain sadhu at his dhuni 
(open fire) outside the city of Aligarh. This sadhu habitually smoked charas 
and ganja (marijuana), along with any other intoxicant he could find. One day 
he showed Maharajji a new drug that he said gave the most intense and blissful 
intoxication. Offering some to Maharaji, he warned that only the smallest 
amount was needed, but Maharajji took the whole piece and swallowed it all. 
Moments later Maharajji fell unconscious and collapsed. The sadhu knew the 
remedy for overdose—four kilos of milk—and when this was brought from the 
bazaar he poured it down Maharajji's throat. Maharajji revived and sat up. 
Seeing the sadhu seated across _from him, Maharajji slugged him in a moment 
of fury. "You tried to kill me! He poisoned me! Hap! Wicked person," he 
shouted as he ran away. 

A sadhu named N Baba, who usually lived beyond Bageshwar on the 
glacier side, considered Maharajji to be his guru and would sometimes visit 
him. Maharajji would offer him a place on his bed, but the sadhu always sat 
on the floor. The sadhu ate arsenic to keep out the cold. Five or six years 
earlier, the baba had come for a visit and Maharaji asked him, "N, what do 


you eat?" and the sadhu replied that he ate arsenic. Maharaji said, "Let's 
see,’ The sadhu took out of his bag enough to kill two people. Maharaji 
grabbed it and ate the whole thing. Everyone was shocked, but Maharayi only 
asked for a glass of milk. He showed no effects. 

One day Maharayi was walking alone along the Ganges. He encountered 
some sadhus in their small kutis there. They asked him who he was, where he 
stayed, what and where he ate. Maharayi explained that he was just a 
wanderer with no home, that he stayed where he could and ate when food was 
available. They asked him to come stay with them a while. "Will you feed 
me?” he asked. They told him of course they would, so he sat with them a 
while. A sadhu came along and began preparing a chillum for everyone. It was 
passed around, and when i was offered to Maharayi he became very abusive, 
calling them bums and fakes and accusing them of trying to ruin him and of 
ruining themselves. Then he stormed away. Shortly afterward another sadhu 
came into the kuti and asked them if they hadn't been able to recognize 
Maharayi. What kind of sadhus were they if they couldn't even recognize a 
siddha mahatma (highest saint) who visits them personally. They mumbled, 
"How could we recognize him, the way he behaved!” 


Some of the Westerners had another kind of drug karma, for they had been 
involved in smuggling hashish. When Maharayi found this out, he embroiled 
them in a complex smuggling operation that necessitated their being away from 
the temple and thus from his presence for long periods of time. 

The proceeds from this venture were to be used for charitable purposes. 
Offering now to God the results of what they had done previously for personal 
gain was a powerful lesson, which they appreciated. However, they were very 
unhappy at being banished from the gatherings around Maharaj. 

That their guru should be countenancing and even encouraging such activities 
led them into deep reconsiderations of their own models of good and evil. Hzs 
involvement also led to a bravado in the operation for they felt that with his 
protection they could not get caught. However, when tt occurred to them that it 
was not necessarily Maharayi's way to interfere with Rarma, and that it might be 


their Rarma to go to jail, the unique exhilaration was lost. By the time they had 
jinished the project they had had more than enough of these wWlicit activities. 


In 1967 when I first came to India, I brought with me a supply of LSD, 
hoping to find someone who might understand more about these substances than 
we did in the West. When I had met Maharayi, after some days the thought 
had crossed my mind that he would be a perfect person to ask. The next day 
after having that thought, I was called to him and he asked me tmmedtately, 
"Do you have a question?” 

Of course, being before him was such a powerful experience that I had 
completely forgotten the question I had had in my mind the night before. So I 
looked stupid and said, "No, Maharayi, I have no question.” 

He appeared irritated and said, "Where is the medicine?" 

I was confused but Bhagavan Das's suggested, "Maybe he means the LSD." 
I asked and Maharayi nodded. The bottle of LSD was in the car and I was 
sent to fetch tt. 

When I returned I emptied the vial of pills into my hand. In addition to the 
LSD there were a number of other pills for this and that—dzarrhea, fever, a 
sleeping pill, and so forth. He asked about each of these. 

He asked if they gave powers. I didn't understand at the time and thought 
that by "powers" perhaps he meant physical strength. I said, "INo." Later, of 
course, I came to understand that the word he had used, "siddhis,"" means 
psychic powers. Then he held out his hand for the LSD. I put one pill on his 
palm. F:ach of these pills was about three hundred micrograms of very pure 
LSD—a sold dose for an adult. He beckoned for more, so I put a second pill 
in his hand—six hundred micrograms. Again he beckoned and I added yet 
another, making the total dosage nine hundred micrograms—certainly not a dose 
Jor beginners. Then he threw all the pills into his mouth. My reaction was one 
of shock, mixed with the fascination of a social scientist eager to see what would 

He allowed me to stay _for an hour—and nothing happened. Nothing 
whatsoever. He just laughed at me. . 

The whole thing had happened very fast and unexpectedly. When I returned 
to the United States in 1968 I told many people about this acid feat. But there 
had remained in me a gnawing doubt that perhaps he had been putting me on 


and had thrown the pills over his shoulder or palmed them, because I hadn't 
actually seen them go into his mouth. 

Three years later, when I was back in India, he asked me one day, "Did 
you give me medicine when you were in India last time?” 


"Did I take it?” he asked. (Ah, there was my doubt made manifest!) 

"T think you did.” 

"What happened?" 


"OA! Jao!" and he sent me off for the evening. 

The next morning I was called over to the porch in front of his room, where 
he sat in the mornings on a tucket. He asked, "Have you got any more of that 

It just so happened that I was still carrying a small supply of LSD for 
“just-in-case,"' and this was obviously it. "Yes." 

"Get it,” he said. So I did. In the bottle were five pills of three hundred 
micrograms each. One of the pills was broken. I placed them on my palm and 
held them out to him. He took the four unbroken pills. Then, one by one, 
very obviously and very deliberately, he placed each one in his mouth and 
swallowed tt—another unspoken thought of mine now answered. 

AAs soon as he had swallowed the last one, he asked, ""Can I take water?" 

"Ves. mn 

"Hot or cold” 

"Tt doesn't matter.” 

He started yelling for water and drank a cup when it was brought. 

Then he asked, "How long will it take to act” 

"Anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour.” 

He called for an older man, a long-time devotee who had a watch, and 
Maharayi held the man's wrist, often pulling it up to him to peer at the watch. 
Then he asked, "Will it make me crazy?" 

That seemed so bizarre to me that I could only go along with what seemed 
to be a gag. 

So I said, "Probably." 

And then we waited. After some time he pulled the blanket over his face, 
and when he came out after a moment his eyes were rolling and his mouth was 
ajar and he looked totally mad. I got upset. What was happening? Had I 
misjudged his powers? After all, he was an old man (though how old I had no 
idea), and I had let him take twelve hundred micrograms. Maybe last time he 
had thrown them away and then he read my mind and was trying to prove to 


me that he could do it, not realizing how strong the "medicine" really was. 
Guilt and anxiety poured through me. But when I looked at him again he was 
perfectly normal and looking at the watch. 

At the end of an hour it was obvious that nothing had happened. His 
reactions had been a total put-on. And then he asked, "Have you got anything 
stronger?" I didn't. Then he said, "These medicines were used in Kulu Valley 
long ago. But yogis have lost that knowledge. They were used with fasting. 
Nobody knows now. To take them with no effect, your mind must be firmly 

fixed on God. Others would be afraid to take. Many saints would not take 
this." And he left it at that. (R.D.) 


When I asked him if I should take LSD again, he said, "It should not be 
taken in a hot climate. If you are in a place that is cool and peaceful, and you 
are alone and your mind is turned toward God, then you may take the yogi 
medicine. (R.D.) 




Once a Westerner asked me to translate for him. He wanted to ask 
Maharaji how he could help his friend back in America. The friend was in a 
very confused state through so many LSD trips. Maharajji said to tell the 
friend to remember God all the time. 

I had brought a picture with me of a boy who had died in America under 
strange circumstances. In 1968 he had come to see me in New Hampshire and 
had become one of my first students of yoga. He would come and visit each 
week and he immediately absorbed everything I shared with him of what I had 
learned in India. I had eventually wanted to send him to Hari Dass for further 


training, but he had preferred to go to live in a cave in Arizona to continue his 
sadhana. I had taught him all I could, but he wrote me letters and checked in 
every few months during the winter of 1968169. 

I didn't hear from him for a while and later learned that he had died in the 
cave. His mother had shared with me his final diary entries, which were most 
unusual. I suspected that the final diary entry had been written while he was 
under the influence of LSD. The story was that he had been found dead with 
blood coming out of his nose and that there was blood on the wall. Perhaps he 
had been doing pranayam (yogic breathing practice) and had burst a blood 
vessel. The entries were as follows: 

Ramana Maharshi and my guru are both navigating 
my maha samadhi...noworry...lam in 
infinite bliss... and will guide you from within 

... write Ram Dass and tell him the good news that 
I have no longer to undergo sadhana. . . am there. 
... Love, love. ... I know what is happening, 
also the guru is with me inside... know that I left 
the body completely identified with Jesus. ... Jesu 
esta conmigo. Yo estoy en sucorazon. .con 

I had promised his mother that when I was next with Maharajji I would 
ask him about her son. At the appropriate time I fetched what had been his 
high-school graduation picture and handed it to Maharajji. He peered at it 
closely and then said, "He's not in his body." 

"That's right, Maharajji." 

"He died from taking medicine," 

"Aha, I thought so." (This implied to me that he had not indeed entered 
true samadhi but had probably done pranayam while on LSD.) 

But then Maharajji, apparently understanding my doubts, said, "No, it is 
all right. He will not take rebirth. He finished his work. Now he is one with 
Christ. He loved you very much. He cried about you." Maharajji was silent 

for some time and then he added, "You should tell his mother she should not 
worry. He is with Christ. He is watching over her. He finished his work." 
(Maharajji had quoted exactly the words of the diary, and he had showed me 
that under certain circumstances LSD could be the vehicle for returning to 

God.) Then Maharajji sat silently with eyes closed. The moment was one of 
great power. (R.D,) 


One morning a number of us who had taken acid decided to break 
into the ashram early and get front-row seats, so we all went tramping 
through the potato patches, over the stream, and across the wall. We took 
our morning baths amid calls of "Sitaram |salutation using the names of 
Sita, Ram's consort, and Ram]!" put on our fresh clean clothes, and got 
our front-row seats in front of the tucket. 

We got centered, did our meditations (or whatever else one does while 
waiting for Maharayi to come out). We were all lined up, tripping; I was 
sitting at one of the short ends of the tucket. All of a sudden the door burst 
open—bam—and there was Maharayi in a brand-new psychedelic 
blanket that one of the devotees had given him. No one had time to leap to 
his feet. He was just suddenly there, twinkling like a star. Everyone was 
trying to get up and he just kicked his way through, sat down on the bench, 
and ignored us all. 

He just sat there, occasionally looking at someone, then he'd continue to 
look at the sky. But he went down the line, checking everyone out, 
sometimes for no more than an instant. That lasted for about ten minutes. 
He had come out early—and when the rest of the ashram realized that he 
was out, and came running, he returned immediately to his little room. 

I'd find the scene really indescribable when we were with him while 
tripping. The experience of seeing him sitting there, looking and talking, 
was as if there were nobody there at all. It was nobody playing a game of 
being somebody! That morning [described above by another devotee | was 
incredibly blissful; that whole day was like that. 

Alt the time of that acid trip |see above], D had gotten Maharayi a new 
blanket—blue and yellow and red and green. I have a photograph of that 


colorful blanket. A. lot of people were stoned on acid, sitting around the table 
waiting for him to come out of his room. He almost leaped up on the table 
when he came, he had so much energy. Out he came! There he was! He poked 
some woman right in the front row in the chest and said, "Do you like 

LSD?" It was the first thing he said. He started laughing, and soon everybody 
was laughing. Then he got serious. Everybody started crying. It was as if he 
were pushing our buttons. At one point everybody was crying, and he satd, 
"What's all this crying? I can't stand crying. Stop all this crying!" 

ONE DRAMATIC LSD incident profoundly offended the sensibilities of 
Maharajji's Indian devotees. A young Westerner had taken LSD and had 
come to the temple with only a shawl wrapped around him. Then, as 
Maharajji was walking, holding the arms of two devotees, the young 
man came up behind Maharajji and attempted to embrace him from the 
rear. As he raised his arms to do this, his shawl covered the heads of the 
devotees and at the same time revealed the young man's nakedness. This 
incident, which might have seemed scandalous to an onlooker, was seen 
quite differently by the young man himself, as is indicated by the fol- 
lowing dialogue between himself and another devotee, who had been 
present at the time of the incident. 

5: Well, you know my own experience with your trip that day was 
watching you grab Maharayi from behind... 

R: Yeah, I wanted to kiss him. I wanted to hug and kiss him. 

S: And Maharaji was laughing. You had covered Dada's face, and whoever 
else was walking with Maharayt, with your red blanket as you reached over to 
grab him from behind. You were naked under the blanket. Maharayi was all 
giggly and twinkling, wagging his head. When he went alone into his room, 
you went off to pranam to the sweeper... 

R: He was the lowest guy in the ashram and he was there, on my way out. 
I was such a nobody I didn't even have a body. And this guy was God! 
Standing there with a dirty broom, he had nothing—and I had to pranam to 
him. The sweeper was only about twelve, you'd never notice him. He was 
always there, but really he was invisible. 

S: While that was going on, Maharajji was in his room, locked in there 
alone but laughing a lot. I happened to be right there at the window. 


Maharayi was asking us all, "What happened? Why is he like that? What did 
he do?” I said, "Maharag, I don't know."” Then Maharaji said, "He ate too 
many jelebees."" Then he started about LSD, asking "Do you take it? Do you 
take it? Do you take it?” to all of us outside his window. There was one 
Westerner who said proudly, "Yes, I do.” 

Then word came back that you had nothing on at all. There was silence for 
a while. Then, as we were all looking at Mahara, he leaned right up against 
the screen of his window, looked straight at an Indian devotee, and said, 
"Naked!" The shocked devotee put his hands over his crotch and hunched over 
a bit, exclaiming, "Maharayi!" 

You were sitting outside, singing with everyone. Dada looked out and 
exclaimed, "There he is! It's him!" Maharayi looked and said, "I don't 
know. I don't think so. I don't think that's him." This went back and forth 
for quite some time. Dada would say, "I know it's him. I'm sure it's him.” 
Maharayi just would not recognize you. Finally, after about twenty minutes, 
Maharayi said, "Well, maybe it is him."” And then he called you over and 
told you to leave. 

R: Yes. It was translated as "Maharaji says you're wicked, and you must 
leave right away." I said, "Okay, Mahara," but I don't see how it could 
possibly have upset him. I saw him that day as very loving, all the way 
through. When I was being carried out—I couldn't walk, I had no legs—I was 
in complete bliss. I felt as if I were being carried by angels. There was so much 
love all around me that I didn't feel any confusion. 

5: About a month later you came back to the ashram for the first time after 
the acid trip. AH dressed up in a dhoti, with a vest, you came and joined the 
satsang, sitting outside the window, singing. 

R, I don't know what he called me, because my Hindi was really poor then. 
It was something that he always called Dada. Something like badmash but 
dfferent. He said, "Fool! Jao!” And it blew my mind. I was so hurt. It was 
like the rejection of the ultimate lover; i was really painful. I staggered out of 
the ashram, thinking, "He can't do this to me. I'm going to come back a 
million times." But the incident created in me the desire to change mysef. I 
started feeling guilty for things I'd done when I was two years old. I was so 
full of remorse at what a badmash I was that I felt a kind of determination to 
win his love back. 

When I finally did get back in, after I went to Lama Govinda, I came back 
in with Anata. (This was not long before Maharayi died.) Everyone was 
sitting around and he was giving darshan. I was so afraid that he was going to 
throw me out, but I appeared very calm. He looked right at me and said, "Did 


you come with her?” I said, "Yes." And he said, "You came from Lama 
Govinda." "Right." Then he said, "How long,” and he rolled his eyes back 
and looked away—and all of a sudden he whirled back and looked right at me 
and said, "jao!l"” And then some guy right behind me jumped up and ran 
away! I realized that he'd yelled it right over my head. Then he looked at me 
and laughed! I was forgiven. After that he looked at me several times and just 
laughed, It was just bliss! 

Alfter this incident Maharayi started saying, "I.SD causes one to become 
naked and dance around.” And he called us all together in the back of the 
Kainchi ashram. We were all sitting around in a big circle; there were perhaps 
thirty-five Westerners there. Maharayi went around to each person, naming 
them by name and asking, "Have you ever had LSD?" And everyone said, 
"Yes, Maharayt.” Every person. (There was in fact only one of the group 
who hadn't had LS D—a Frenchman who had lived in Israel for some time,) 
Maharayi thought about it for a while. He was just sitting there, meditating on 

Later that day four young men came to the ashram. They'd just come. 
Maharayi said, "Doctor!" I went into the office and he said, "Four young 
men have come. Go to the gate and evict them from the ashram, because they 
have taken LSD." I went to the gate of the ashram and I said, "Um, hello. 
Have you guys, by any chance, taken LSD?" 

The four of them said, "No, we've never taken LSD." 

And I said, "Excuse me. Let me go check." I kept them at the gate and 
went to see Maharayi. "Maharayi, they've never taken LSD." 

He said, "Go kick them out of the ashram. They've taken LSD." 

I went back and asked them again. I said, “Maharapji says you can't come 
in. You have to leave the ashram. You've taken LSD." They argued very 
vigorously. They said they'd never taken LSD. I went back to Maharayi and 
pleaded for them. I said, "Maharaji, all of us have taken a lot of LSD and, 
really, I've taken quite a bit! We've all had quite a bit of LSD." 

Alnd he said, "Those four boys have taken LSD. Go kick them out of the 
ashram. That's an order!" So I went out and kicked them out of the ashram. 
They never came back. I don't understand anything about that incident! 


KK once had the desire to try LSD but felt it only proper first to ask 
Maharajji's permission. When he put the question to Maharajji, Maharajji 
replied, "What? Is something the matter with your mind?" 

D\ bout CW cSitation Ars inden 


MAHARAJJI OFTEN spoke about the value of meditation as a 
spiritual practice—and he himself appeared to be in a meditative state 
much of the time—yet he made it difficult for most of us to meditate 
while in his presence. But when we did, the effects were indeed 





Maharajji would sometimes say, "What do I know? England is so far off" 
But sometimes he'd talk of England as if he'd been there. M asked him for a 
portion of the power that enabled Maharajji to see as far as England and 
farther. Maharajji laughed and said, "No. Gradually and by practice you can 
get that. It is not impossible; regular sadhana and putting up with any 
difficulty you come across." 

M started doing puja and meditation as instructed by Maharajji. Maharajji 
had given him a mantra and told him to start any way he wanted; it didn't 
matter. After some time, when M and Maharajji were traveling by horse- 
drawn carriage, M asked Maharajji about the wandering mind during 
meditation: "It won't stand on one point; but many ideas come in. What do I 
do?" Then suddenly a small child ran across the road and the driver pulled the 
reins to stop the horse just in time to save the child. Maharajji said, "Like 
that," pointing to the driver holding the reins. "As the mind will travel here, 
there, and all directions, you should always try to pull it to one point. You 
should center it with continuous practice, then automatically it will go to the 
one point on which you want to meditate. Ultimately, after years, the mind 
becomes quiet." 


One time he called me into his "office" in Kainchi and had me sit up on the 
bed with him. I was under the impression in those days that meditation was 
"something," and here I was with the guru. It was, I thought, time to 
meditate, to really "tune in." Not with words, but with, well, nonreaction, 
Maharajji kept breaking down these false concepts of meditation. Each would 

fall away until finally there was nothing left and I was just sitting there, 
feeling nothing transcendental, only emptiness. At that point, as soon as I got 
it, he jao'ed me. 

All the time he was talking to you he was in meditation. You just felt it. 

When Maharajji sat with us we could see that he was in a deep state of 
samadhi. With a nod of his head he was off to a distant place; another nod, 
and he was back again. We always felt this way about him, that he could be 


anywhere. This 1s what we saw; despite the fact that he totally hid 
himself, we couldn't hebp but see it. 

We were once in the back of the ashram after everyone had been sent away 
for the day. The sky was very beautiful redand purple. Maharayi was 
definitely in a samadhi. It was not a silent one, but it was surely some sort 
of samadhi. As he leaned way back he said, "Are there skies like this in 
America?” And, somehow, I knew that there would be some connection 
with this moment when I was back in America. Today I thought of that. 
On one occasion, KK invited me to join him and his cousin ML in an 
evening drive out to Kainchi to deliver some lamps and supplhes that had 
been purchased at Maharagi's instructions for a forthcoming holiday ritual. 
This opportunity was a delight, for never, when Maharaji was present, had 
I been allowed to be at the temple at Kainchi in the evening after the gates 
were closed. 

It was a quiet time of deepening dusk and all was gentle and silent. 
Maharayi was sitting alone on his outdoor tucket when we arrived. ML 
and I joined him while KK went about his business of storing the things 
that we had brought. For once there was no banter or conversation of any 
kind. This was what I had really yearned for—the opportunity to meditate 
in Maharayt's presence—tfor the constant drama of words and apples that 
usually surrounded Maharayt kept all consciousness focused on the physical 
plane. Although the yearning to meet him on the other planes was always 
strong and persistent, when the drama was in progress I lacked the 
discipline to ignore it thoroughly and draw my mind within, to focus on the 
ajna (third eye) in such a way as to bring consciousness to other planes. 
Now all was silent; this was the opportunity. \ sat in the lotus position 
and brought my attention to my forehead. Almost immediately I entered 
into deep meditation and felt the physical plane drifting away. At this point 
I was vaguely aware that Maharayi had suddenly lain over on his side and 
was snoring. I recall a vague surprise, because from the position he was in it 
seemed obvious that he was not really asleep. There was little time to reflect 
upon this, however, for suddenly my body was shaken by violent and 
powerful shocks of energy, which literally made my teeth rattle. The 
shaking seemed to grow in intensity and the focus on my forehead faltered 
as the attention was drawn 


down to the shaking body. Immediately Maharajji sat up, turned to ML, and 
said, "Ask Ram Dass how much money Steven makes." 

I heard the words from a great distance and also heard ML's reply that he 
didn't want to disturb me because I was meditating. However, Maharajji 
insisted, and ML gently shook my knee. I could feel great resistance in me to 
"corning down" and I tried to come down just enough to answer, "thirty 
thousand a year," hoping to be allowed to go back "up." But once down, the 
experience was over. It was, however, enough to show me that my discipline 
of mind wasn't sufficient to work with the huge energies that Maharajji could 
release in me with but a snore. 

Shortly afterward we were "jao'ed," just at the corner of the temple I 
looked back. There sat Maharajji in his blanket in the darkness, immobile as a 
statue. There was something unearthly about him at that moment. It wasn't 
the Maharajji of the warm intimate moments; it was the remote Shiva who sits 
atop Mount Kailash in eternal meditation. This was that aspect of Maharajji 
which, like the Himalayas, seemed vast and impersonal and touched a place of 
great depth and innocence within me. This was the force that drew me. It was 
love beyond love. (R.D.) 



When I was a little child he used to cover my head with his blanket. I used 
to get some sort of vibration—from head to toe I would shiver. You can call it 
sensation, but sensation is a cheap word for what I felt. I cannot express that 

One Ma was talking about wanting to go to Chitrakut. Maharajji said, 
"You want to go to Chitrakut," and he grabbed her by the wrist. The next 


thing she knew, she was in Chitrakut. Then, back at the temple again, she 
was groggy for eight hours. 

Alt the meta, the first time Maharayi put Gurudatt Sharma into samadhi 
they had to watch him carefully, because he was in so much ecstasy they were 

afraid he would fall into the frre. 

I put my hand on his head when I was bathing him, and my whole body got 
charged with electricity. 

On our way to Jageshwar we stopped in Almora, and Maharayi asked me 
to meditate. I experienced the sensation of flying and thought of Mount Kadlash 
before I lost consciousness. After some time I returned to normal waking 
consciousness, and we continued on. Later my wife and others reported having 
seen Maharayi and me in Delhi at that exact time. They wondered why we 
had left so quickly. 

During one of his visits to our ashram, Maharayi asked one of his devotees 
to meditate. Ihe devotee sat down and immediately went into samadhi trance. 
Maharayi asked the ashramites to look at his eyes and to shake him back to 
life. They tried without success, because he was like a stone. After ten or 

jifteen minutes, Maharayi turned to the devotee and shouted loudly, "Get up! 

Get up!" Immediately, the devotee opened his eyes and got up. Maharayi had 
never touched him. Later Maharaji asked the swamis of the asham, "Do you 
sit in meditation? Can you sit like thate™ 


Maharayi's process of teaching concentration and meditation was unique. 
He'd somehow shake you out of it the moment you began to feel some pleasure. 
I once asked him why he'd stopped my samadhi, and he answered that the 


mind has its limitations, that I was in a physical body, and that these things 
are achieved slowly, slowly—otherwise I'd become a lunatic. He understood the 

capacity of your body. 

Maharayi never allowed meditation on him when I was in his presence. 
Even now the worst mischief will disrupt my meditation _ I try to concentrate 
; J 
on him. But there is no dearth of bliss for me. 

Maharayi often foiled our attempts at meditation. Many times when we'd be 
sitting there, someone would start meditating and Maharayi would send over 
his two "meditation spoilers." One was his driver and the other a little boy 
who was the driver's friend. He would send them over to shake people out of 
meditation. One time we were all sitting there and he said, "Okay, meditate,” 
and after about a minute he started telling jokes and making everyone stop. 
Another time Maharayi called us into his office and told us to start singing. We 
started singing but no one was really into tt so after a while it died down, and 
then he yelled from the other room, "Keep singing." We picked it up again 
and it died down again, and he yelled, "Keep singing."” And finally after 
about three hours the singing caught on and got really great. When it ended 
everyone just naturally fell into meditation, and as soon as that happened we 
heard from the other room, "Take dinner," and we were all ushered into the 
other room. We were never able to cling to that meditation space. 


I valued meditation very highly, so when I found out that an essence 
meditation teacher was going to spend the summer rainy season in Kausant, a 
small remote village in the Himalayas, I made elaborate plans to join with 
three other Westerners for a quiet, intense summer of practice. When I told 
Maharayi of my plans, all he would say was, "Tf you desire.” Then he said, 
"Gol I'l call you." 

The house in Kausani was perfect, and we settled in with great delight, our 
summer meditation fantasy seemingly assured. We dug a totlet, took turns 

fetching water and cooking, gazed blissfully at the Himalayas, and awaited the 

arrival of our teacher, Anagorika Munindra. 


It was at the beginning of the second week that we heard a few Westerners 
had arrived in the village and were staying at a small hotel below. We all 
agreed that they shouldn't be invited up to our house, for we should protect this 
space for the work we would commence with Munindra's arrival. But the 
Westerners continued to arrive in Kausani, and they were not at all pleased to 
be excluded from the mountaintop. After all, Maharayt had told them to come. 
He had said, "Go be with Ram Dass in Kausani. That's a beginner's course. 
Not for Ram Dass." 

I was furious. Maharayt knew we wanted to be alone, yet he had 
deliberately sent what now amounted to twenty people. We decided to stick to 
our original plan, no matter what! 

But we had underestimated the extent of IV laharagt's lila, for on Friday of 
the second week a letter arrived from Munindra: "Due to several administrative 
matters I must take care of here in Bodh Gaya, I shall be unable to come to 
Kausani this summer.”’ There went the fantasy. Once we had surrendered the 

fantasy of a quiet summer of meditation, we joined with the other Westerners 
who had arrived in the village, moved into an ashram across the valley, and 
had a productive and intense summer ashram experience. 

We returned to Kainchi at the end of die summer, at the call from 
Maharayi. As we came before him for darshan he was laughing. He sazd, 
"Ram Dass teacher, Ram Dass teacher. Buddhist teacher never came. Ram 
Dass teacher, Ram Dass teacher,” and he cackled and pulled on my beard. No 
doubt about it—the events of the summer had not been just a chance misfiring 

of our plans. There was a paw in the pie. (R.D.) 

Maharayi had instructed me to be by myself and not to speak. much. He had 
also told me to focus upon my ajna and think of him; so one summer when we 
were in Kausant, some fifty miles from where Maharayi was, I remained in 
my room alone, fasting for five days. | had many pictures of Maharayt with 

Als I was beginning this retreat, I read a story from the Mahabharata about 
the Pandava brothers, of whom Arjuna was the most skilled. The brothers, so 
the legend goes, were jealous of Arjuna's skill and asked their guru why he 
was so much more proficient. The guru said, "There ts nothing so special. It's 
just that he wants it more than you do." To demonstrate, the guru gave them 
the task. of shooting the eye of a bird with their bow and arrow. Arjuna did the 
task. easily. Afterward, the guru asked each of the brothers what they had seen. 


One described the tree on which the bird sat; another described the bird and its 
coloring. When Arjuna was asked, he said, "I see the eye of a bird.” 

I wanted to see Maharayi the way Arjuna saw the eye of that bird. I needed 
only to make Maharayi my meditative focal point, for focusing on Maharayi 
would simultaneously focus the eye, the mind, and the heart. After a day or 
two, the pictures of Maharayi seemed to lose their value and I put them all 
away, yet I felt Maharag's presence in the room. By the fourth day I felt him 
so close that it was as if he were standing right behind me. 

The fasting made me emotionally very sensitive, so when I began to feel that 
he was no longer behind me and absent from the room I became very upset. 
Then I realized that the absence was of Maharayi as a separate entity; for 
what had happened in the course of those meditative days was that Maharayi 
had come closer and closer, until he had gone inside of me. I felt alone; not 
lonely, just alone. It was a feeling of strength and clarity and fullness, but also 
of aloneness and silence even in the presence of sounds. It was a little like being 
the last person on earth. When I finally emerged from the room and was with 
people again, the feeling slowly left me; but I now knew that in the path of 
merging with Maharayi lay my freedom. (R.D.) 


WHEN ASKED WHY he was surrounded by so many badmash, Maharajji 
said, "Only sick people come to a doctor." And like an old and trusted 
family physician, Maharajji was available day and night for his devotees, 
and he made "house calls." Thus Maharajji's own behavior was a perfect 
model for that sadhana he most encouraged in his devotees: selfless lov- 
ing service. For the householders, who composed the largest percentage 
of his devotees, Maharajji did not generally encourage severe austerities, 
nor extensive meditation practice, nor complex rituals. Rather, he 
guided us to karma yoga, a way of coming to God through living life as 
an act of devoted service. In this way Maharajji mirrored the teachings 
of the greatest devotional literature, as in the Ramayana, the Bhagavad 
Gita, and the Bible. But Maharajji made it clear that hard work alone 
was not the essence of the matter. Rather, it was work carried on with 

remembrance of God; that is, work done with love in the presence of 
God's grace. 


One man worked so hard in the ashram that he almost never had 
Maharayt's darshan. But late one evening it so happened that, one by one, all 
the devotees left and Maharayi was alone on his tucket. The man then went 
over to sit with Maharayt. Maharayi appeared surprised, since the man never 
seemed to have time to have darshan. So Maharaji said to him, "What would 
you like?” 

The man merely answered, "Atma-gyan [knowledge of the self].” 

Maharayi replied, "Service to all is atma-gyan." 

Maharayi would sometimes quote the Gita about purifying the heart: "You 
can get one-pointedness through work, the Gita says and then you get insight.” 


"Did Maharagi give you any special teachings?” 

To this, Brahmachari Baba smiled sweetly and said, "He taught me 

We were all silent for some time after that. 

Maharayi asked HC how he thought a man succeeded in the world. HC 
said by diligent, sincere work. Maharayi countered, saying that God's grace 
was also necessary. Without God's grace no amount of hard work will succeed. 


Once I asked Maharayi how it 1s possible for a man to remember God all 
the time. He told me the story of Narada (the celestial sage) and the butcher: 
Vishnu (one of the aspects of God) was always praising the butcher and 
Narada wondered why, since the butcher was always occupied and Narada 
spent twenty-four hours a day praising Vishnu. Vishnu gave Narada the task 
of carrying a bowl of oil, full to the brim, up to the top of a mountain, without 
spilling a drop. The task completed, Vishnu asked how many times Narada 
remembered Vishnu. Narada asked how that would be possible, since he had to 


concentrate on carrying the bowl and climbing the mountain. Vishnu sent 
Narada to the butcher and the butcher said that as he works he is always 
remembering God. 

Maharajji said then, "Whatever outer work you must do, do it; but train 
your mind in such a way that in your subconscious mind you remember God." 

Maharajji had often instructed me to remain alone, to have little to do with 
people, and at the same time to serve and feed people. Once I was staying in 
my room because he had said I should eat alone and not spend time with 
others. That night a Western couple had a fight, and later Maharajji looked 
accusingly at me as he asked them, "Where was Ram Dass? Why wasn't he 
there to help you?" (R.D.) 

I asked Maharajji about my sadhana, and he said, "To serve human beings 

is the only way for your salvation. You need not do dhyan (meditation) or 
puja. Serve all living beings." 




Maharajji, how can I know God? 
"Serve people." 

ed Bae 

Maharajji, how can I get enlightened? 
"Feed people." 


Maharayt, how can I raise Rundalini? 

"Serve and feed people.” 

Maharayi opened us to the true joy of service as a way of being with God. 
It's interesting how critical people get around us because they don't understand 
why we work so hard, so joyfully. 

Maharayi allows you the privilege of doing his work. 

Said one devotee, "It's an honor to be allowed to serve Maharaj. 

Noor Auger Dus Love 


MAHARAJJI REACTED in a variety of ways to those of us plagued by 
anger; and all of those ways sooner or later brought the anger to the sur- face 
and helped us begin to let go of it. Sometimes a devotee would become 
the object of a continuous barrage of abuse from Maharajji. The abuse, 
coupled with the underlying love, was a great panacea for even the most 
hidden and deep-seated anger. For others it seemed as if situa- tions just 
developed around Maharajji that forced anger to the surface like a badly 
inflamed boil. And at just the right moment, Maharajji would be there 
with the necessary word or glance to release the anger— and the necessary 
cup of milk to soothe the soul after surgery. 

For two years, Maharajji made Dada do many things as part of the temple 
management that he avoided at home. And throughout, Maharajji would abuse 
him to his face and behind his back, from morning until evening. In the course 
of this training Dada learned to control his anger. After two years Maharajji 
asked Dada's wife if he got angry anymore, and she replied, only very rarely. 



Maharajji told Dada that if he were Dada's wife, he would have thrown 
Dada out a long time ago. 

Maharajji turned to Dada and said, "You are a fool." Dada agreed. Then 
Maharajji said, "You are not a fool." Dada agreed. 

That Dada had become quite philosophical about Maharajji's abuse of him is 
evident from a conversation between them. There was a constant sound of 
gunfire nearby and Maharajji asked, "What is that?" 

Dada answered, "They are just _firing blanks, Baba." 

"What do you mean, blanks?" Maharajji asked. 

"That's what you do, Maharajji," Dada answered. 

"Oh," said Maharajji, "I also go on firing blanks," he said delightedly. 

"Dada is a master of arts," said Maharajji. 
Dada replied, "And you are a master of abuse." 

When Maharajji was so bad that he made the Ma's cry, he said to them, 
"Only if you are strong enough to hear my abuses can you face the world." 





One day when we Westerners had been sent to the rear of the temple 
grounds, as was usual during the day, I decided (for sentimental reasons) to go 
upstairs in the building I had lived in in 1967 and sit in my old room. One of 
the windows of this room looked over the wall into the front part of the temple, 
which was othernise not visible from the back. As I idly looked out one of 
these windows, my attention was caught by a sight that transfixed me at the 
window but also made me stand well back, so that I could not be observed from 

Down below, at the window of Maharayi's room, a devotee who worked in 
the temple and served often as our translator was crying profusely. He was 
obviously talking to Maharayt. Then he got up and walked back toward the 
rear of the temple, still in tears. When he was gone from view, Maharayt 
appeared in his doorway and came out into the courtyard. He stood looking like 
a mad lion or elephant, and though I couldn't hear him it was obvious that he 
was yelling and turning this way and that with great fury. Everyone in the 
Jront courtyard seemed to be cowering. It didn't seem "dharmic" to me. 
Maharayi had, after all, specifically said to me that a saint never gets angry. 

Feelings of betrayal rushed through me, for here was Maharayi obviously in 
a rage. So he wasn't a saint either. What kind of guru was this? He said one 
thing and did another. I myself now became enraged and felt, for the first time 
since 1967, my heart turning cold toward Maharayi; and the thought came to 
me that apparently I'd have to leave Maharayi and go it alone. I stumbled 
back downstairs, deeply disappointed, and sat with the others but said nothing. 
Later I learned that right after the scene that I had witnessed, Maharayi 
apparently walked back into his room, called Dada, and in a very 
conversational tone asked, "Did Ram Dass see me get angry?” Dada said he 
didn't think so. But Maharagi insisted that I had and sent him back with a 

When Dada found me sitting sullenly, he said, "Maharayi wants to know if 
you saw him get angry.” 

"Yes," I said. 

"Well, he said to tell you that if you have any questions they will all be 
answered later." And he left. 

Al few moments later the crying devotee appeared, bag in hand, to tell us 
that he had been banished from the temple, supposedly, as we later learned, for 
letting forty pounds of potatoes go bad in the storeroom. He said tearful good- 
byes and left. Now this fellow was not particularly competent, and though he 
was sweet he was rather a nuisance. Normally I would not have been unhappy 
to see him go, for he was constantly trying to ingratiate himself with the 
Westerners. Under these circumstances, however, I suddenly felt compelled to 
support the underdog. I got up and followed him out to the front of the temple. 


Just going out to the front unbidden was already an act of insurrection. And as 

thes crestfallen fellow was leaving the temple gate I purposely went up to him, 
embraced him, and gave him some money and a note with my address in Delhi 
of he needed anything. Then as he left I walked defiantly back through the 
temple, like the showdown scene from the movie High Noon. Everyone 
realized that I had sided against Maharaji. 

AM day I waited, but no clarification was forthcoming. As usual, we were 
not called to the front of the temple until a few minutes before the departure of 
the last bus. At the time one of the couples was having some marital 
difficulties, and Maharayi spoke directly to them. He said they must see God 
zn each other and give up their anger. I sneered inside, remembering the scene I 
had just witnessed. Then he paraphrased the words of Kabir: "Do what you 
do with another person, but never put him out of your heart,” and as he spoke 
he looked directly and forcefully at me. The words burned into my heart and I 
heard them in a moment as applying to the married couple, to Maharapt's 
behavior with the devotee, and to my own reactions to the scene I had 
witnessed. Once again I had gotten caught in the mellow-drama and had 

forgotten to remember the tlusion—and behind it, the love. He never said 
anything else about this incident, which made what he did say all the more 

AMt times Maharayi's behavior reminds me of a story Ramakrishna tells of a 
saint who asked a snake not to bite but to love everyone. The snake agreed. 
But then many people threw things at the snake. The saint found the snake all 
battered. "Tl didn't say not to hiss,” said the saint. 

I was getting so angry at Maharayi because I was sick of hearing him say 
that I was good. I was so tired of the words, "Bohut accha."" Once he went on 
Jor ten minutes telling this man how good I was, and I just got up and left. I 
could hear him screaming this "bohut accha" like a mantra as I walked away. 
I went back and sat by the havan, and Maharayi later came back there and 
called me over. I was still angry. I was thinking, "Why can't he leave me 
alone; I want to sit here by myself!” But I went over anyway. And he said, 

"Oh, no. She's angry. She has to drink some milk." So he had some milk 
brought and I had to drink tt. 


Whenever I would get very angry, Maharayi would have someone bring me 
warm milk, or sweets, or some cardamom pods to chew. He said these things 
Soften anger. 


I once found myself becoming very angry while at Maharapi's temple. Most 
of the anger was directed against my fellow Western devotees. Although there 
were perhaps some justifiable reasons for the anger, the fever pitch to which it 
had risen at the end of the two weeks was surprising, even to me. It was at 
that point that I walked to the temple and arrived late. 

AM the Westerners were sitting in the usual row on the porch, on the 
opposite side of the ashram courtyard from where Maharayi was sitting. From 
here they could watch him from a distance while they were taking prasad 
(lunch in this case). When I arrived and sat down, one of the Westerners 
brought over a leaf plate of food that had been saved for me. And at that 
moment the fury broke and I took the leaf plate and threw wt. From across the 
courtyard, Maharayi watched. 

Almost immediately I was summoned to his presence, and I crossed the yard 
and knelt before him. 

"Something troubling you?" he asked. 

"Yes," I said, looking over at all the Westerners. "I can't stand adharma 
(those behaviors which people manifest that take them away from God). I can't 
stand it in them (pointing to the Westerners), and I can't stand it in me. In 
fact, I can't stand anybody at all except you.” And as I looked at him, I felt 
that he was my only safe harbor in this darkness of my soul, and I began to 
cry. INo, not just to cry but to wail. Maharayi patted me vigorously on the 
head and sent for milk, and when I could see through my tears, I saw that he 
was crying, too. 

He fed me the milk and asked me if I loved him. I assured him that I did. 
Then, when I had composed myself sufficiently, he leaned up close and satd, 
"T told you to love everybody.” 

"Yes, Maharaji, but you also told me to tell the truth. And the truth is that 
I just don't love everybody." Then Maharayi came even closer, so that we 
were practically nose to nose, and he said, "Love everyone and tell the truth.” 

The way he said it left no doubt about the way it was to be. For a fleeting 
moment I had an image of a casket-—apparently symbolic of my death—but it 


was shaped in a way that was unlike my body. It seemed representational of 
this conversation in which, in effect, | was protesting that, who I thought I 
could not love everyone and tell the truth, and Maharaji was saying, "When 
you finish being who you think you are, this ts who you will be. When you 
die you will be reborn to love everyone and tell the truth." 

Then he said, "Sometimes the most anger reflects the strongest love." 

Looking across the yard at those Westerners, toward all of whom I self- 
righteously felt anger, I saw suddenly that the anger was at one level, while 
tmmedtately beneath that, at a slightly deeper level, was incredible love—tyo 
planes of relationship in which a person might say, "I love you but I don't like 
you." And tf Maharagit's instructions were to be carried out—and there was no 
doubt that they were, for he was my guru for better or worse—the anger would 
have to be given up to make way for the love. 

Then Maharagi offered me a bargain: "You must polish the mirror free of 
anger to see God. If you give up a little anger each day, I will help you.” 
This seemed to be a deal that was more than fair. I readily accepted. And he's 
been true to his end of the bargain. (R.D.) 

I was once very angry at another devotee in the ashram, and I went directly 
to Maharayi, who was sitting on a stone by the roadside, for help. I knelt 
before him and put my head at his feet. He placed his hand on my head and 
Rept me in that position for the entire darshan. When it was time to go, he 
helped me up. My knees were bruised and deeply marked from the coarse 
gravel I had been kneeling on. I had not felt tt the entire time. My anger was 


A. young fellow once came and Maharayi asked him how he was, and he 
said, "Oh, Maharaji, I've overcome anger." Maharayi said, "Oh, very 
good!" and kept praising him. 

Alt the time, there was another fellow present who had been asking 
Maharayi for many years to come to his house, but Maharayi had never come 
because the boy's father didn't believe in sadhus or saints. But now Maharagi 
turned to this boy and said, ""Do you still want me to come to your house?” 


The boy said, "Yes, but let me arrange it with my father.” Maharayi said, 
"Go and then we will all come." The visit would mean, of course, that the 
place of honor in the house would be given to Maharayi so the father would 
have to sit someplace else. 

Finally, the whole party went and Maharayi sat on the tucket belonging to 
the boy's father. Then Maharayi leaned over and looked the father in the eye 
and said, "You're a great saint." But in Hindi he used the very personal form, 
which you use only to very intimate friends and to people in the lower caste. 
So it was really an insult to use that form to the old father. The old man got 
upset but held himself together. A little time passed and Maharayi leaned over 
again and said, "You're a great saint." By this time the father's face got red 
and he was getting worked up, but he still Rept control. A few minutes more 
went by and Maharayi leaned over and said the same thing again. This time 
the father completely lost tt. He got up and started screaming at Maharaj, 
"You're no saint, you just come in and eat people's food, you take their beds, 
and you're a phony." 

AMt this point the young fellow who had overcome anger leaped to his feet, 
grabbed the father by the collar, and started shaking him, saying, "Shut up, 
you don't know who you're talking to. He's a great saint; tf you don't shut up 
I'll &e// you.” 

Alt this point Maharayi got up, looked around bewildered, and said, 
"What's the matter, what's the matter, don't they want me here? We should 
go—they don't want me here.” So he got up and started walking out, and he 
turned to the young fellow as he was going out and said, "It's very difficult to 
overcome anger. Some of the greatest saints don't overcome anger.” 

The fellow said, "But Maharapi, he was abusing you.” 
"That's right, he was abusing me. Why were you angry?” 


MAHARAJJI LOVED TO have the Sunderakand chapter from the Ra- 
mayana read aloud. At one point in the story, a message is brought to 
Sita (wife and devotee) from Ram (husband and God), from whom she 
has been separated. Ram is telling of his torment in being separated from 
such a pure devotee: "One's agony is assuaged to some extent even by 
speaking of it; but to whom shall I speak about it? For there is no one 
who will understand. The reality about the chord of love that binds you 


and me, dear, is known to my soul alone; and my soul ever abides with 
you. Know this to be the essence of my love." When this section was 
read, tears would roll down Maharajji's cheeks, and often he would 
become immersed in a state of bliss. 

It was just this quality of love that bound us to Maharajji. Within and 
beyond the apples, the kindnesses, the kidding, the comings and goings, 
the abuses, was the love. Now and then he spoke of love, but always, he 

is love. 

One devotee said, "He knows the language of our hearts.” 

Maharayi would quote Kabir: "Tt is easy to dye your cloth, but it is hard to 
dye your heart.” 

Oneevening in Kainchi one other devotee and I were sitting with 
Maharayt. The other devotee was reading the newspaper to Maharayi in a 
dull monotone. I thought to myself, "Mahara, how can you bear this boring 
man? Why do you put up with him at all?” Slowly, I began to experience the 
most incredible love welling up in my being, greater and greater love until I 

felt my heart would burst. Just then Maharayi sinaply put his hand on my 
head, and the sensation stopped. When I tried once more to recapture i, I 
couldn't. I looked up at Maharayi and he was smiling at me, filled with 
compassion. I felt ike weeping. 


I desired to have Maharayi come to visit my home but kept putting off 
asking him. I had told Dada of my desire, hoping that he could help me to 
invite Maharayt. I had just met Maharayi for the first time a few weeks 
before. One day I was standing outside the window where Mahara was, 
when he called me in. Just he and Dada were in the room. As I entered, I felt 
myself transcend into some other state of consciousness and was aware mostly of 
a great opening in the region of my heart chakra—but it was as a gaping, 


empty blackness. I could barely see with my eyes or hear with my ears, and 
I'm sure my mouth was hanging open. My eyes went unblinking. 

The two were talking. Maharajji would look at me and speak to Dada, and 
Dada would translate what was said. Maharajji was saying he couldn't come 
visit me because the people in the village where I was staying were all very 
wicked and they had no love for him. Then he sent me out of the room. 
Afterward, when I returned to my more habitual consciousness, I felt as though 
Maharajji meant that he could not come visit my heart, as it was filled with 
worldly desires and had no room for love of him—and that as a result of that 
darshan, he had cleared out my heart so that he indeed could come flooding in. 








Such peace and love I never got from anyone in the whole world, not from 
mother, not from father, not from wile, not from anybody. Extraordinary. 






When asked to relate some stories of Maharaji, a devotee said, "I've been 
with him only a short time (twenty-eight years), so I don't Rnow any stories. 
What therefore can I tel? AHI know ts that he gave my family a special kind 
of love, which, because tt lies beyond words and form, cannot be expressed. 

"Why do_you love me?" Maharayi asked a woman. 
"T don't know, Maharayi.” 
Maharaji repeated his question again and again. Finally he said, "You love 

me because I love you.” 

Al devotee asked, "Will our love for each other intefere with our love for 

Maharayi replied, "Tf love is pure, tt interferes with nothing.” 

AL Western devotee of Maharayi went to have the darshan of Deorta Baba, a 
reknowned and respected saint of north India. When the devotee returned to 
Maharayi, she told him that the saint had said Maharaji was an incarnation of 

"Why, that wicked man! What does he know? Who does he think he is?" 
shouted Maharayi in response to the compliment. 

Said one devotee, "Maharaji was love incarnate. No religion, only love." 


Al devotee asked, "What do we do if we feel darkness or separation?" 
"Tf you love God enough, there will be no separation," replied Maharazi. 
"Tf you love all, there can be no demon." 



What if you fear God more than you love him?” asked a devotee. 
"Pear of God ts just another kind of love," answered Maharaj. 



Vike Che Wins 

MAHARAJJI WAS MOVING, always moving—from one city to another, 
from one house to another, from one room to another, from one posi- 
tion to another. Until the final years of his life he was in continuous 
movement. Like a river. Or, as he said of himself, "I am like the wind. 
No one can hold me." 

There was no way to capture Maharajji—he had much guile in escaping. 
When Maharajji was in a group and wanted to leave, he would say that he 

needed to go to the bathroom, and he'd run away. Later we old devotees 
figured out this ruse and he had to find new ones. 

I think I cried and laughed—and sang—all the time I was with him. I saw 
him seven or eight times in 1965, never for more than a day at a time and 
always in a different place. He operated differently back then. He was 
traveling back and forth across northern India from Calcutta, but he would be 



off like a thief in the night in a devotee's Mercedes. He just never stayed 
anywhere for long. 


Whenever Maharajji would get out of the car, his eyes would be incredibly 
open, sparkling. Everyone said that when he traveled in a car, he'd be very 
attentive, hanging halfway out the window, looking at everything. And when 
he'd get out of the car, his eyes would be wide open, looking around at 
everything. I remember Dada once laughing about a car ride with Maharajji. 
Dada said that Maharajji just wouldn't stop talking—wanting to know 
everything, asking about everything—yust like a child. You had to give him 
total, constant attention. And he would give step-by-step instructions to the 
driver, all along the way: "Turn right, turn left, turn around, go back." 

We left about two hours early to catch the train. Still, he said, "Oh, we're 
going to be late, we're going to be late! We should have left earlier!" 
Maharajji was talking like that constantly—"Oh, der ho gai, der ho gai it's 
late, it's late!" This time he was just frantic. Everyone was sitting there, 
unable to say anything. Maharajji was saying, "We should have gotten our 
tickets earlier. We won't get on the train. __." It was so funny! We got there 
about an hour and a half early. 

HC said that on the long train rides when the Mothers were traveling with 
Maharajji they would often sit around him. Maharajji would sometimes sit on 
the floor of the private compartment and they would chant for hours in rhythm 
to the clacking of the train. One favorite (which even now I've heard a Mother 
reciting as she worked) is from Kabir: "Dina Bandhu, Dina Nath, Mere dare 
sere hath [Compassionate friend, compassionate Lord, my puppet strings are in 
your hand]." 


Maharajji was right next door to us on the train. Around three o'clock he 
came pounding on our door, hammering on it with both fists. I knew 
immediately it was he. I leaped up and threw open the door to find Maharajji 
was standing there with his arm along one edge of the door and his other hand 


on his hip. He said, "Kya time ho-gaga [What time is it]?" It was almost 
time (3:30 _A.m.) for us to get off. In Mathura station everyone was asleep on 
the floor, and as we stepped among the sleeping people, Maharayji said, "Sub 
sota hain [Everyone's asleep]. Sub sota hain." He Rept looking back and 
forth, saying it over and over. "Lyon [Why ]? Why ts everyone sleeping?” 
Shiv Charan said, "Baba, it's 3:30 in the morning. Bohut der ho gai [It's 
perry late} nace 
I was thinking, Well, we're all asleep, you Rnow how it is. Asleep in 
iMusion. It was a beautiful moment. Especially beautiful was his waking us 
up. That was the only time that ever happened to me. Maharaji wakes you 
up with "Let's go!” 


Maharayi would often have tickets purchased for one destination and, then, 
knowing that the devotees would wire ahead, get off at a station preceding that 
stop. Maharayi would say about Ananda Mayee Ma, another great saint 
whose travel schedule was published and who always had crowds around her, 
"It's terrible what her devotees do to her, Reeping her locked up within the 
eight gates," referring to the way in which they Rept her a captive of their 

Maharayi ts like Ganga: It flows down to Haridwar and they build a 
pilsrimage center, but the river 1s not concerned about the pilgrimage center. It 

just flows on. At Allahabad the same thing, and again at Benares... 

Maharayi was visiting the city of Bareilly when a devotee told him that he 
had to go to England for a few days on business, and he asked Maharagi to 
accompany him there. Maharayi said, "Let's gol” They went by air and spent 
three days in a good hotel. After three days, Maharayi insisted that they return 
immediately to India. The devotee argued that his work wasn't finished. He'd 
need only two more days. Maharayi said, "No, let's go."" Then a telegram 
arrived saying that the devotee's wife was very il. They left that night. 
Afterward, when asked about the trip, Maharaji would laugh and say, "I 
went. I drank milk. and ate fruits.” 


Maharayi once accompanied his devotee, the Indian ambassador to Saudi 
Arabia, on a Haj, a pilgrimage to the sacred Moslem shrine at Mecca. They 
flew from India to the capital city, Jeddah, and stayed in the Indian embassy. 
From there they visited the sacred places of Islam. Maharayi later told people 
that when some Moslems discovered he was a non-Moslem, he was beaten. 
"Then I came back right away," he said. 

A\ guard who was in charge at the Indian-Tibetan border said at one point 
that Maharayt had crossed the border, gone into Iibet, and returned. 

Who can say why he goes to these places or what he does there? 

I had become very comfortable in the hotel in Nainital. I had my "cave'’—a 
small room on the top floor where, with Indian prints and holy calendar 
pictures, some books and candles and incense and a heater, I had made a cozy 
retreat into which I anticipated burrowing for several months. But when it was 
finally "just right,” the edict came from Maharayt: ""Tell Ram Dass he should 
go now. He shouldn't stay so long in one place. He can return again." The 
next day we left for Delhi. 

At other times he'd say, "The whole universe is your home." And: "Al 
are your family."" Once when we wanted to stay with him he said, ""Y ou don't 

need to stay here. The light zs everywhere.” (R.D.) 


Previously, before Kainchi was built, Maharayi used to visit Nainital 
Jrequently. He often came to our home in the government house either in a car 


ora dandi (hitter). A the family, neighbors, and many Nainital devotees 
would gather. Maharayi would eat a meal, then go. Whenever he came, there 
was a sort of bhandara. Food was prepared and people brought sweets and so 
forth. In those days he was alvays roving about—sometimes in Nainital, 
sometimes Bhowal, here, there. People were always after him, taking him 

Maharayi came to_Ajmeer to my father's house. He said, "Give me a dhoti. 
I want warm water, and I want dal and chapattis. eat them in your 

Mrs. Soni first met Maharayt when she was only about twenty-four years 
old, She was very shy. Maharayi was at a neighbor's house, and when she 
went for his darshan she brought along her three toddlers. As soon as she 
entered, Maharayi said, "T'm going to your house."" She Rept quiet. In her 
heart she didn't want him to come, because she felt too shy. Other women 
urged her, saying that people begged him to come to their home and he 
wouldn't come, and here he was asking to come to her home. Still, she didn't 
want him to come. Finally Maharayi said, "Get up! Let's go!" and off he 
went to her house. Fortunately it was some feast day, and she had prepared the 
traditional foods, Maharayi ate everything he was offered. 


In speaking of the yattas (pilgrimages), R said that Maharayi would always 
sneak away to visit devotees when traveling in the south. He said Maharayi 
would never speak of them. "He has devotees everywhere. You can't know 
how many and where they all are.” 


I ferst met Maharayi in about 1930, when I was a schoolboy. Father was a 
great devotee. Maharayi visited our family in Faizabad (near Ayodhya). After 
my father's retirement, I became superintendent of police of jails. Maharaji 
would come visit wherever I happened to be posted—Asgra, Bareilly, Kanpur, 
Lucknow, and so on. One room in our home was always Rept vacant for 
Maharayi. From the 1930s on, I detected no drastic change in Maharagt's 


appearance. We prepared his favorite foods daily—tloki (squash) vegetable, 
mung dal—in case he should come. When Maharaji didn't come, we would 
take it as his prasad. 

For more than twenty-five years Maharayi visited our home in Lucknow. 
He came at least once a_year, for a few hours or a few weeks. He was both 
guru and grandfather to everyone in our family. All the children were born and 
raised under his guidance. He referred to them as his own children, and they in 
turn were very free with him. 

It was such a pleasure to take Maharayi to a house. He didn't neglect 
anyone in the house—he would play with the kids . . 

I asked what i was like to be a child around Maharayt. She answered, 
"Oh, he became a child himself. It was so wonderful. I used to bring him milk 
and press his legs. | would just sit there by the tucket. We never knew when 
he would come to our house or when he would leave. He would just arrive. 
Sometimes he would leave in the middle of the night, and so, in the morning, 
we would look into his room and it would be empty—except for devotees 
sitting there."" And she laughed, especially as she thought of the devotees 

waiting there. 

Maharayi seldom used to stay more than a few hours in any one place. 
Sometimes devotees would press him into staying overnight or even a few days 
and he would relent. When he finally left the place, he would heave a deep 
sigh of relief and say, "Oh, I've come out of the jail.” Maharayi once stayed 
for six days in the home of a devotee. When he left he said, "Oh, today 
the force of desire has released me. That fellow had locked me behind bars." 

Once we invited Maharayi to visit our house, and he said he would come. 
We made our house ready, cleaned it, and laid out the special things for his 


vistt—prasad and all. For five days we waited for him but he never came. 
Later when we saw him again we asked why he hadn't come, and he said, "I 

didn't feel like it.” 

AA man said to Maharayi, "You've promised for years to visit my home and 
you have never come. I'm not going to come to see you anymore, because you 
won't visit my home," 

Mahara said, "Oh, I didn't understand! It's your home. I had thought it 

was my home and so I didn't need to visit." 

In 1937 Maharayi came to the home of a family of devotees. He paced up 
and down the verandah for a while, then looked into the big room that was the 
ofjece of the head of the family. He asked that the office be vacated. "You take 
another room—leave this one for me."" He remained in the room for three to 

four months, coming out only for an hour, both morning and evening. He 
allowed no one to come in. 

Maharayi would suddenly appear at a devotee's house, any time, day or 
night. Once in the middle of the night in the early 19405 he came pounding on 
the door of a devotee's home. He roused the man of the house and told him he 
was being chased by other devotees. They would leave him no peace and so he 
was asking for shelter. The man said, "How can I help you? They will come 
here as soon as they miss you.” 

"Tt will be all right," said Maharayz. "T'1l hide under your bed. Lock the 
doors and nindows, give me a mat and a blanket, and when they come, tell 
them you haven't seen me."’ The man did as he was told, and when they came 
he abused them soundly for waking him, and then he angrily sent them away. 
Maharagi slept under the man's bed, pulling the bedsheet down to the floor to 
hide himself. The man awoke at 4:00 AM. and not seeing Maharapi, he 
looked in another room and then another. Although the doors and windows 
were still locked, Maharayi was nowhere to be found. Later he learned that 
Maharayi had returned to the house from which he had escaped the night 
before. Concerning the locked doors and windows, Maharagji only said, "Oh, I 
didn't want to disturb you.” 


Maharayi would take to the shortcuts and jungle roads whenever he had to 
hide from his followers. There remains no culvert in the area under which he 
has not passed at least part of a night—espectally those between Gethia and 
Bhumiadhar, because he used to run away from Nainital to Gethia every 
night. Back and forth he went. He would make devotees anywhere, and 
anyone would be turned into a devotee in this art, he was an expert—but 
when the time came to leave, he'd leave his new devotee. 

Alt Bhumiadhar, after everyone had gone to sleep, Maharayt would go out 
to the road and sit in the middle of it with two or three people. As others 
would awaken, they would join the group. Then Maharayi would have them 
stop a truck, and he'd hitch a ride a few miles down the road and the process 
would start all over again. 

Brahmachari Baba began reminiscing about Maharagt's exploits in the 
Kumoan Hills. He gestured enthustastically, pointing out places in the vast 
panorama before us as we sat below the Bhumiadhar temple. He spoke quickly, 
one description following another: "That's the tree he used to sit under before 
there was ever a temple here. It was like a darbar (a Ring's court). So many 
people came to see him. We would walk all over these hills, never staying long 
in any one spot. Maharayi would sleep anywhere. He'd le down on those 
cement pilings by the side of the road to sleep and would tell me to stay 
awake. If I happened to drift into sleep, he would immediately chastise me and 
then go back to sleep. This would go on for days on end. He wouldn't let me 
sleep and we'd travel everywhere. Wherever he went, so many people would 
gather and trail along. The Mothers would come whenever they could. ‘I here 
were many feasts because of the Mothers.” 


I had been given an inside room in the home where Maharayi and I were 
visiting. Late in the evening Maharayi said to the older couple whose house it 
was, "What are you doing letting a young man sleep inside there? How do 


you know what they are like? These days, you cannot trust young people." So 
they finally moved me to an outer room. About two hours later Maharayi came 
and woke me, saying, "We must go quietly so they won't awaken." He 
explained that this was why he had had me moved to an outside room. 
Maharayi would insist on opening the doors, so that they wouldn't squeak. 

We went down the road in the dark, holding hands. We came to a crossroads 
where a rickshaw walla was asleep. Maharayi started to cajole him sweetly to 
take us in the rickshaw, but the walla refused. After some persuasion he finally 
agreed, and then Maharayi started to barter about price, one anna at a time. 
The walla finally agreed to make the ride for twenty-six annas. It took at least 
twenty minutes. Finally Maharayi asked me to get down and wait while he 
and the walla went on farther. Maharayi went to some house and then returned 
and had the walla take us to the train, which was just ready to depart as we 
got there. At the station, Maharayi gave the walla his blanket and a tota and 
twenty or thirty rupees. The rickshaw walla cried. 


Maharayi was in the hills going from one place to another when a devotee 
from Almora found him. He said that Maharayi had stayed away from their 
place for so long, and now that he'd been found, he wasn't going to let him go 
so easily. He took Maharayi home, fed him and gave him a room upstairs, and 
said he was locking Maharapyi in the house for the night so that he wouldn't 
run away. After the family had gone to bed, Maharayi said to JB, "Let's go!" 
Maharayi had ]B take off his dhoté and tae one end to the house and throw the 
other out the window. First Maharayi, then ]B, climbed down and ran away. 
Outside the city they came upon a small hut with a small lanap burning. 
Maharayi knocked and a little old lady answered and started abusing Maharaji 
for coming so late. She said that she was expecting him hours ago and had food 
all ready at that time. Maharayi went in and ate. 


He was a nomad, you see that. He would go on roaming about. . He 
would visit the devotees. You don't go to him. He comes to you. 

“DS IVT vk 

Che Samity Man 

ALTHOUGH HE MOVED about constantly, Maharajji was still a family 
man on many levels, though preeminently it was God's family with 
which he identified. 



The way in which Maharajji said such things often conveyed the im- 
pression that he, who intimately understood reincarnation, was sharing 
with us a literal truth about our relationships with one another across 

On the more mundane level, Maharajji was very much like a grandfa- 
ther, especially to the Indian devotees. And as such he frequently gave 
counsel about family matters. The gist of this counseling was clearly to 
keep the family unit strong by properly honoring the roles involved. 




Maharajji most often instructed women to be loyal and patient, that this is 
what kept the marriages together, no matter whether a man was bad or good. 
For example, a wealthy family came with a modern daughter dressed in a pants 
suit (unusual in India), who had left her husband. Maharajji said in front of 
everyone, "Yes, he was wrong, but you shouldn't have been so impatient and 
gotten so angry." Maharajji was very hard on the young woman. He felt that 
if cultural changes occurred such that women no longer held the family together, 
all would be lost. He said, "This is why we don't have divorces." 


"You don't even care about your old father," Maharajji said to a devotee. 
"Every day you should take sweets to your father. If a man has a father and 
mother, he needs no God. It is easy to pray to a murti but hard when the 
murti speaks back." Then he made the man hold his ears (an Indian form of 
promising, similar to "cross your heart") and promise that every day he would 
attend to his father and bring him sweets. The next evening the father came to 
Maharajji. "What is this?" Maharajji said, "Your son loves and serves you 
and you do nothing for him. You should make your son a new suit. He is your 


Maharajji said that mothers were next to God, and he made them in this 
form in order to share himself, because only God and mother can forgive all 

(The mother of one of the Western devotees visited India and was asked 
what she experienced with Maharajji.) 

I felt that I had a certain "status." The word status is such a negative 
word in my life that I hate to use it, but I guess perhaps it applies. There was 
some kind of respect because I was a mother, which I felt was accorded to me 
by Maharajji. I had never gotten this from anyone else, certainly not in 
America. It was very nice. 


I know that Maharajji also gave such respect to Krishna Das's mother. The 
sanctity of motherhood was emphasized. All women are mothers. Intellectually 
I have felt that there are good mothers and bad mothers and the fact that you've 

given birth to someone doesn't really say much. Yet, with him, the feeling was 

If my mother did not have her cloth over her head, Maharajji would say, 
"No, Ma. That is not the way," and he'd fix her cloth. 


Often I would see old women feeding Maharajji directly. He said, "I can 
feed men, but women must feed me because all women are the Mother." 

"You are angry with your wife. You do not treat your wife well. She is 
Lakshmi! You should not treat her so badly," said Maharajji to a devotee. 

M's son in law went to Kainchi to have darshan, but Maharajji wouldn't 
talk to him. Finally he asked, "Where is my daughter? You've come alone to 
enjoy the hills. Go back and bring my daughter!" The son-in-law left and 
returned later with his wife. 

WITH INDIAN YOUNG people his relationship seemed to be more that of a 
grandfather, guiding in worldly matters yet still touching with the spirit. 

Maharajji would come and sit in my room, and I'd never go there because I 
was afraid he'd tell everything and I didn't want my parents to know. 


K played like a child when she was with Maharajji. Though she had loving 
devotion to him, Maharajji chastised her, saying, "You don't read the books, 
and then you get angry with me for your bad marks in school." 


Maharajji told a student to worship his mother every day if he expected to 
pass exams. He didn't do so; nor did he pass the exams. 

The son of one of the Ma's said that Maharajji always gave him worldly 
rather than spiritual guidance when he was young. He said that he had not 
been interested in spiritual things then, but that now he has some spiritual 

feelings and remembers Maharajji often. 


Some students came and looked at Maharajji with cold expressions and 
started to go away. Maharajji called to them and said, "You are enjoying in 
your way, and I in mine." Though they wanted to leave the temple, they 
were reluctant to go. They wandered around confused. After some time, they 
came back for another darshan. Now their faces were softer and more animated. 
His work with the heart was so subtle. 


Maharajji spent some time at our house in Haldwani when I was nine or 
ten. Whenever I would come in, he'd say, "My daughter has come, my 
daughter has come." The day he left I was very sad; he wouldn't even look at 
me. That night I was so upset that I couldn't eat supper. At 4:00 A.M. there 
was a knock at the door. Mother saw that it was Maharajji and let him in. He 
told my mother, "I came back just for my daughter. You have four chapattis 
and some vegetables that she didn't eat. Bring them and we shall eat together," 


An old man was brought to Maharajji for the first time, but he hadn't 
wanted to come. As he came in Maharajji said, "Stop beating your son so 
much. It is not going to make him any better." The man had in fact been 
beating his son a great deal. Only his wife had known, and after he left 
Maharajji he chided his wife for telling. But she hadn't. When he then went to 


slap his son, he would hit him once and then find himself slapping his own 
Jace. This continued until his own face was black and blue. After that he 
stopped beating his son. 

TO THE ELDERS who were living with their children, Maharajji often 
repeated: "Maun! Naun! Kaun!" which translates as "silence" (i.e., don't 
erumble or complain); "Salt" (.e., don't point out faults or make judg- 
ments, such as, "there is not enough salt in the food"); and "cornet" 
(don't interfere in family life. Stay out of the world and in the corner). 

Maharajji often played the role of arranger of marriages. Of the few 
who already seemed married to God, he was protective, helping them 
escape the parental pressures to marry. But for most, he encouraged and 
even bulldozed them into the marital state. 

Rabu said that he wouldn't marry, but when Maharayi told him he had 
been saving this girl for him for five years, Rabu married her. 

One of the Ma's sons was adamant about not getting married, and the Ma 
came to Maharayi for help. Maharayi met the son on a bridge and put a 
blanket over his head, then said, "He'll get married. He's now prepared.” 
And he did marry. 

Maharayi once told a devotee to call his neighbor over. She was a doctor, a 
Christian woman whose husband had died, leaving her with three young 
daughters. As soon as she came into the room, Maharayi said, "Your daughter 
hasn't been married yet? You met an eligible young man in Kerala? Hzs family 
wants twenty thousand rupees? You can't give twenty thousand." She replied 
that this was so. The next day Maharayi again called her. "Now you should 
go. Approach the boy's family again. They won't ask for money. Give them 
whatever you can. They'll accept.” She went to Kerala. The boy's father 
explained that money wasn't important, that what they wanted was a good 
wife for their son, and the wedding was arranged at minimum cost to the 


A traditional Indian woman and her daughter, both obviously disturbed, 
were waiting for a moment alone with Maharajji. But just as they arrived, 
Maharajji said in front of everyone, "Look, she should marry the dark one 
because she isn't very pretty. Your daughter isn't pretty and if one who isn't 
pretty marries a handsome man, he'll always have eyes for others. Let her 
marry the dark one." MS, another devotee there, was so embarrassed for the 
women that she said in her mind, "Oh, Maharaji." 

My aunt had pock marks and wasn't very pretty. She was sad because she 
had not married. Maharajji said to her, "You are mine," embracing her. Filled 
with bliss, she no longer desired to marry. Then a month later she became 
engaged to a very nice man. 


In my youth I had taken a vow not to get married, from the day my aunt, 
who had raised me, died. My family tried to get me married, but I was 
adamant. When I was between the ages of twenty-five and thirty, Maharajji 
would tell me not to get married and told people that I was tubercular or had 
cancer, and that I was dying. In my thirtieth year, Maharajji asked me, "Do 
you want to get married?" 

"No," I answered. Maharajji then admired my shirt and asked to have it. 
He asked what sort of shirts I had before I started college, and I replied that I 
had only one old, torn shirt, but it served the purpose. Maharajji then asked 
how many I had now, and I said twelve. When asked why I had so many, I 
replied that as a teacher in public school, I had to maintain a certain code of 
dress or I'd be fired. Maharajji said, "No, no it is not this. Now you want to 
get married. You could have done with one shirt. If I ask you to marry, what 
will you do?" I told him, in that case I'd have to marry, but the responsibility 
would be Maharajji's. For eight days Maharajji continued to press for my 

On the eighth morning, Maharajji set off to catch the train. On the way to 
the station, he turned off the road to a young woman's house and beckoned the 
to go in with him. There was kirtan going on and Maharajji was sitting in the 
puja room. I was called in and so was the young woman. Maharajji asked if 
I'd marry this girl, but I refused. Maharajji said, "If I ask you to?" I replied 
that the responsibility would be Maharajji's. First Maharajji said, "I'll not do 


it."" Then he said, "All right, all right. I'l solemnize the marriage!"" He put 
tilaks on our foreheads and said, "There, I've got you married! Do you accept 


Later Maharayi said, "Don't think that I or you have done this. God plays 
the Lila in his own way. INo role of mine, none of yours. It was to happen!" 
My wife and I have been very happy, for over twenty-five_years. 


Stddhi Ma one day described the marriage lila of one of Maharagz's long- 
time devotees. On the very day of this man's marriage (which Maharayi had 
arranged and insisted upon, to the man's objection), the man sat before 
Maharayi and would not leave him. But Maharayi insisted so forcibly that at 
last the man was taken and dressed in groom's garb and seated on a horse for 
the ride to the bride's home. As he was riding through the jungle he spied 
Maharayi wandering there, and he leaped off his horse and ran to him. Again 
Maharayi forced him to return and continue with the marriage. (Ihe man, 
whose children are now being married, reports that this marriage was a 
spiritual boon and freed him from many misconceptions. Only after marriage, 
he reports, did his sadhana truly begin.) 

On hearing this story, another devotee told of a man whose marriage was all 
arranged, and on the wedding day the groom's procession passed by Kainchi. 
The groom saw that Maharayi was there and so stopped off, with the intention 
of obtaining his blessings before continuing on. Lo his surprise, Mahara 
instead detained him, refusing to let him continue to the bride's home. And the 
man never married. 

ALTHOUGH MAHARAJJI was formal and traditional in his reactions to In- 
dian marriages, he obviously recognized vast cultural differences in the 
marriage mores of his Western devotees. Some he pressed continually to 
marry, asking them again and again and offering to them as a partner, 
one choice after another. In a few instances he took two relative 
strangers and announced that they were now married or should marry. 

Sometimes Maharajji talked about a certain union so much with two 
potential partners that they psychologically accepted the match as a fait 
accomph. Then Maharajji would never mention the matter again and the 
marriage would not happen. Sometimes, when such an arranged mar- 
riage didn't seem to "take," he dissolved it with alacrity. 


Three times, Maharajji asked me if I wanted to get married. The first time 
was with Ian. Every evening after darshan we'd walk the two miles up that 
beautiful Kainchi Valley to our houses in Ninglat. Ian was such an astral 
being that when I was with him everything was magic—roses and winged 

fairies. One night when Ian came over to my house there was just a lot of 
sexual energy in the air. I turned it away since it really wasn't the time or the 
place. But after he left my whole body was alive with desire. I just lay there 
with it and tried to think of Maharajji. The next morning the minute I entered 
the temple for darshan, Maharajji called me right into the room, where he was 
sitting with Dada. Maharajji asked me, "Do you want to get married?" 

TI said, "No." 

He said, "Do you want to many Ian?" 

"No, no." I wasn't horrified; there was simply no question in my mind. I 
hadn't even made a connection between this darshan and the night before. 
Maybe there wasn't one. But as Maharajji was asking me he looked deeply at 
me, as if to study my whole being, and then he turned around to Dada and 
said, "She's very good." And then he hit me on the head and said, "You're 
very good. Don't get married. Jao." I started to get up and then he said, "Sit 
down." He hit me on the head again and said again, "You're very good. 
Don't get married. Jao," and again another time before I left. 

The second time he asked me whether I wanted to get married was after I 
had hitchhiked from Vrindaban to Kainchi with Carlos Vishwanath. It was an 
overnight trip and we had slept on the platform of some train station. When we 
arrived in Kainchi, Maharajji pulled me into his room right away and asked, 
"Do you want to marry Vishwanath?" Again, there was no question in my 
mind. So Maharajji said, "Accha, good. Don't get married. Jao." 

The third time occurred when another devotee playfully said to Maharajji, 
"Saraswati isn't married yet. You haven't-married her off yet. You should 
marry her to Ravi Das [Michael]." 

Maharajji said "Accha? That's very good. Bring her here." When I 
appeared he asked me, "Do you want to marry Ravi Das?" The devotee 
started laughing. 

I said, "But Maharajji, he's like my father." So Maharajji said, "Accha, 
very good. Don't get married," and he sent me out again. Then he called in 
Ravi Das and asked him the same question about me. Ravi Das's reply was, 
"Maharaji, I only want to marry you." 


Maharayi kept asking me YI wanted to marry. I kept answering that I only 
wanted to marry him. Then he'd say, "But how can you fulfill your desires y 
you marry me?” 

We had a saying in those days: "Don't bring your date to see Maharazji, 
because he might marry you off.” 

During my first darshan with Maharayi, I walked in with an old friend of 
mine I'd known in America. Just as we neared the gate, the friend grew 
Jrightened and said, "I can't go in there with you. We have to go in alone. He 
might marry us.” 


When Maharayit arranged the marriage off and K, he told them that 
marriage was nothing to celebrate. Marriage, he said, meant that you were 

Jettered by the feet to the world. 

MAHARAJJI WAS A family man at yet another level, although most of his 
devotees never heard about it during his lifetime and did not believe it 
when they did hear. Apparently he was betrothed at the age of eight, 
before running away from home to become a sadhu. Although he never 
returned home, the woman to whom he was betrothed as a child per- 
formed much tapasya and prayed that he would return so that her life as 
a woman could be fulfilled. He did return temporarily and fathered two 
children with her, although he never remained with the family as a 
householder. Yet the family, which now includes several grandchildren, 
reports that Maharajji always watched out for their material comfort and 
always arrived to fulfill the ritualistic functions demanded by his role as 
father and head of the household. They all consider him primarily as 
their guru. 

Che Couch Of Grace 

IN INDIA, WHERE there is no social security for old age, one's sons be- 
come one's security. "When a man and a woman marry, the wife comes 
to live in the husband's home, so that he remains with his family. Thus 
to Maharajji came many people who yearned to have a child, and most 
particularly a son. Maharajji was known to be able to make fertile the 
unfertile and to determine the sex of a child. Most often he didn't inter- 
fere, but every now and again he granted what was considered a great 

When my wife and I started our family we had three daughters. This was 
not of concern to me, but my own mother became very anxious for a grandson. 
Maharajji told me that I would have a son. I said that I didn't wish for a son, 
and he said, "You don't wish for a son, but your mother does. Now you will 
have sons. Many sons. If you wish for sons, you will have them. If you wish, 
you will have sons and sons and sons." When my wife was again pregnant, 
about seven months, Maharajji was in Kainchi and he said, "Well, Siddhi 
Ala! Shiv Singh has a son! A son is born there." But he was not born yet. 

Two months later our son was born. We put him on Maharajji's lap: 
"Maharajji, this is your fruit." 



He blessed the boy and said, "You will have sons now. God has no scarcity 
of sons in his regime. You will go on producing sons now. Now, no daughters. 
Sons and sons.” 

You need not necessarily have faith to receive grace. Mahara once said to a 
tourist couple who had come to Kainchi from eastern Uttar Pradesh, "You 
have three daughters. You want a son. All right. Bring me ten bags offlour.” 

"Maharayt, how should I send it? I'm from far away,” 

"T know you are from far away. Go to Haldwani to this shop and they'll 
arrange wt.” 

The man went to the shop and arranged that ten bags off lour be sent. The 
total cost was such that he had only enough for gas and expenses to get home. 
They later had a son. 

Al lawyer and his wife who had not had children came to Maharayi for 
help. He gave the man a guava and said to give it to the wife and they would 
have children. The man thought how his brother's five children seemed as 
though they were his own. What did he really need children for? So he put the 
guava on his puja table. A month later he gave the guava, still in perfect 
condition, to a friend who also had no children. The couple ate it, and now 
they have three children. 

Al man who had no children came to Maharaji, who said, "You build a 
well here at the temple and you will have children." So it happened. I met 
that man's son, who himself now has two sons. Maharayi had told the father, 
"You construct a well and your boat will keep floating,” meaning that the 

jamily line would go on. 

Once a chauffeur was driving Maharayi up to Nainital to visit some 
devotees. When he came to a steep hill the chauffeur debated with himself 
whether to push the car to excess, in order to make the hill. He didn't want to 
break the car, but because he had Maharayi in the front seat he decided to try 
it. When they arrived, Maharayi said, "You don't have any children.” 

"No, Maharaji.” 
"How long have you been married?" 
"Nineteen years.” 

"Here, eat this apple. You'll have a child." 


Ten months later his wife had a son. The chauffeur said, "For such a little 
thing, Maharayi would do a big thing.” 


BUT IT WAS NOT only for children that Maharajji bestowed his touch of 
erace. His touch healed, brought economic prosperity, and spiritual 
erowth as well. 

A very il relative, a young boy who had been quite strong, had been 
committed to a hospital, and his situation deteriorated to the point where doctors 
gave up hope for saving his life. When Maharayi came to the hospital room he 
touched the boy on the head and remained with him for a short time. The 
hospital staff and patients assembled to have Maharayi's darshan, so Maharaji 
distributed prasad and left for Kainchi. The boy began to recover immediately. 
It was like a second birth for him. 

The brother of said, "We were doing kirtan and we expected (who drank 
to excess) to come and quarrel with Maharayt. He came rushing toward 
Maharayi and from the first touch of Maharayi he was changed. He stopped 
drinking, and hasn't drunk since, and that was some years ago. 

Mrs. P said, "I didn't want to go see any gurus, and so decided I'd just go 
and take pictures, but I arrived to find that the door wasn't open. Later 
someone told me just to walk, up and down in front of the door and Maharayi 
would open it. Suddenly Maharayi opened the door and said, "Go away!" 

I replied, "T'm not going.” 

"Oh, my goodness, you are a very stubborn woman. What do you wante" 

I rephed that I wanted a photo. He satd all right, but I replied, "No, you 
have to come outside. It's too dark in the room.” 

Maharayi replied, "The photo will come out." I argued with him, and 
Maharayi again said, "You are very stubborn. Do you want to become a 

IT said, "Feven in my dreams I couldn't become a doctor, because I am such a 
second-rate student.” 

Then Maharayi touched me on the head and spoke some mantra. Shortly 
after, I was admitted to medical college where I got top distinctions. 


A\ certain man was staying in the ashram whose wife had recently died and 
whose business ruined. Maharayi called for this distressed man and asked him 


to play his flute. The man played "Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram," and 
Maharajji sat still, with tears flowing from his eyes. Maharajji took the man 
alone into a room, and when the man came out he was happy. He said that 
Maharajji had touched his foot to his head. Maharajji told a devotee to give the 
man some money and send him home. Maharajji's blessings have sustained the 
man and his family ever since. 

One day in 1968 Maharajji sent word that a group of nine of us would go 
for a ride in the Land Rover. After one stop at an apple orchard, we went up 
into the mountains to a rest house owned by the forestry service. The servants 
there obviously were expecting us and were delighted at Maharajji's presence. 
Maharajji went immediately into the building, which appeared to consist of one 
large room, and Gurudatt Sharma went inside with him. We all sat out on the 
lawn, then Gurudatt called me. I ran in and found Maharajji sitting on a tucket 
and I knelt at his feet. Only the three of us were present. Maharajji looked 
closely at me, then closed his eyes for a moment and said, "You make many 
people laugh in America." 

I thought of my lecture style, which consisted of much humor, and I replied, 

"Yes, I guess so." 

"You like to feed children." 

(H'm. That was a strange one.) I love to cook for people and I certainly 
like children, so I said, "Yes, I guess so." 

Then he reached toward me and tapped me three times on the forehead. 

The next thing I recall is Gurudatt Sharma leading me by the arm out the 
door and the brilliance of the light outside. A few minutes later we all piled 
back into the Land Rover and returned to the temple. 

What was that all about? Was it an initiation? What had happened to me? I 
recalled the story of Ramakrishna touching Vivekananda on the chest with his 
foot and putting him into samadhi, until Vivekananda yelled, "But what about 
my family?" _ for they were dependent upon him. At that point Ramakrishna 
removed his foot and Vivekananda returned to normal consciousness. 

Was this a similar event? Many months later, in a letter to me in America, 
Hari Kass said, "That day you were in a very high state. When you came 
outside, tears were streaming down your cheeks." I don't remember that at all. 

Over the years since then, I have asked many devotees about that incident 
but have never received a clear answer. Some said it was a boon; others pointed 
out that Maharajji was in the habit of masking important initiations so that 
they looked like nothing had happened. Another devotee told me that the guru 
could awaken the kundalini energy in a devotee with a touch. The matter is 


still not clear. At the time it only seemed to increase my confuston—but that 

was Maharayi's way. (R.D.) 

I had been teaching in America but felt that my impurities were 
contaminating my teaching, so when I came before Maharayi in 1971 I asked 
that he make me pure enough to serve him in sharing the dharma in the West. 
AMt the time he hit me on the head and said, "You nill be."" That seemed like 
a true boon and I accepted it as such. But some months later when I was still 
in India I continued to be aware of and often overwhelmed by my impurities. 
So again I asked Maharayi to make me pure. At that time he looked me over 
carefully and said, "I don't see any impurities.” 

Well and good for him to say that—after all, he saw God in everyone—but 
I wasn't satisfied. I wanted to feel pure. At any rate, I persisted in 
complaining. Then one day I was called into a back room, into which I had 
never been before, where Maharayi remained at night. Maharayi was on his 
tucket and S. L. Sah, who was a great Ramayana student and had become my 
deep friend and trusted teacher, was also present. Maharayi asked me what I 
wanted, and I said that I just wanted to be pure enough to serve him. Then he 
went under his blanket. There were strange movements under the blanket 

followed by some snoring. I felt deep peace, and curiosity as well. Then he 
came out from under the blanket and tapped me on the head and said, ""You 
will be.” Later, SL. said that under the blanket Maharayi had been doing 
mudras (specific tantric body movements designed to bring about certain effects). 

Shortly before that incident Maharayi was reported to have said to KK 
about me, "I'm going to do something for him." Perhaps this was another of 
those underplayed initiations. Nobody seemed to know; Maharayi didn't say; 
and I still felt tmpure. 

On the last day I was with Maharayi, I said, "Maharaji, you promised me 
that I would be pure enough to do work in the West and I don't feel that I 

Maharayi looked mildly interested in that observation, then handed me a 
mango which he had been holding and said, "Here, eat this.” 

I had often heard about Maharayi giving boons to people, sometimes by 
means of a piece offruit. At the first opportunity I went into the latrine to eat 
the mango so that I wouldn't have to share it with anybody. I debated whether 
to hold on to the seed to get more mango boons, but finally I discarded that 
plan as being too "clever." 

It 7s now six years since that day, and slowly, very slowly, the inypurities 

are falling away. ID.) 


IT sEEMS AT ONCE surprising and obvious to note that Maharajji was 
quite different in the quality of his relationship with men and with 
women. With men he hung out and gossiped, scolded, and guided—as 
friend, father, and sage. With the women, on the other hand, in addition 
to those roles, he seemed frequently to assume roles like that of Krishna 
(one of the forms of God in the Hindu pantheon), as child and playmate 
and lover. Such play on Maharajji's part of course created some conster- 
nation and confusion among devotees and also grounds for criticism on 
the part of people who did not like or trust Maharajji. But for the 

women devotees who were directly involved with Maharaji in this way, 
his actions served as a catalyst to catapult them to God. 


Once, when Maharayi was entering a room, the Mothers decided to hide 
behind the door so he wouldn't see them. He said, "Where are they? How 
could they leave? How can they leave me? They cannot leave me. How can I 



go on? How can I bear to be without them?” He was trying to pull on a sock. 
Finally they had so much pity, they rushed out to him. 


When Maharayi went to another plane of consciousness and came back, the 
Mothers would kid him like a daddy coming home from work: "What have 
you brought us, Maharayie" 

Several mothers went to the temple for darshan, only to find Maharayt and 
a male devotee sitting behind a barbed-wire fence. Maharayi said to them, 
"Oh, you women say that Baba is nothing and only has his feet rubbed by 
women—but now you see you can't get behind the mire.” The man was 
rubbing Maharayt's feet and began reciting a verse from the Ramayana, One 
Ma answered his song with another verse from the Ramayana. This pleased 
Maharayi and he asked them to come closer. Then the Ma said, "You have 

come as an incarnation in mortal form into the world for us!” 

One man said, "My wife just wanted to sit and be with Maharagi. She 
didn't want to talk. She was too shy.” 

R's wife was very reluctant to speak of Maharayi and her feelings about 
him. But she had a loving look on her face, and with her eyes and small nods 
she responded to comments. When asked if Maharayi ever seemed like her own 
child, she looked especially warm, and she nodded, smiling. 


We'd be sitting outside and Maharaji would pull my hands under the 
blanket and make me massage his legs, almost pulling me under the blanket. I 
loved touching him, but I was not sure how far you can go in touching 
Maharayi. I'd be working on his feet and calves, and he'd grab my arm and 
pull my hand up to his thigh. So I'd do his thighs for a little bit and then my 
hands would start wandering down to his calves again, because all of a sudden 
I'd look around and see all these people staring at me. An Indian woman 
would be gasping, and I'd get real embarrassed, so I'd start working on his feet 
again. Then his hand would come shding down and grab mine and pull it up 

He would often perform this puzzling ritual with me. And if I tried to 
explain it to myself, no sooner would I have the thought than he'd turn to me 
and yell "Nahin!" and then go on with his conversation. 


One Indian widow who had no children came to Maharayt, worried about 
who would take care of her. Maharayi said, "Ma, I'l be your child."” She 
started to treat him like a child and then he said, "You know, Hariakhan Baba 
used to suck the breasts of women. I'l sit on your lap.” And he sat on her lap 
and he was so light and small, just like a child. He sucked on her breasts and 
milk, poured out of them, although she was sixty-five. Enough milk came from 
her to have filled a glass. After that she never missed not having children. 


I felt a great deal of fear of Maharayi and experienced a kind of 
awkwardness with him, wanting so much to do the right thing yet afraid that I 
wouldn't know what that was. He called me into his room in Kainchi one day. 
(Of course it always happened on the days when you really needed it.) He had 
me close the doors. He was up on the tucket, I was sitting on the floor, and he 
leaned down to hug me. I reached out to hug him back and he meant for me to 
come even closer. He said, "Come closer, come closer, you're not close 
enough." And he just lied me off the ground, onto the tucket, and into his 
arms. le put his arms and his blanket all the way around me. He absolutely 
covered me with his blanket and with his being. He swallowed me whole! I 


melted—all my fears, all that stuff totally vanished into the sea of Maharajji. I 
was completely out of my body, totally immersed. So that's how he answered 
all those questions: Just by one hug! 

I was kneeling before Maharajji when he grabbed at my sari and started 
pulling at it. Then he was holding my breasts and saying, "Ma, Ma." I felt 
for the first time as if I were experiencing an intimate act free of lust. 


There are stories about gurus doing things with women. But somehow 
around Maharajji there was a feeling of such purity that people could tell me 
anything he had done, and it never shook my total trust in him at all. It was 
clear that he needed nothing; he had no desires of his own. 

I believe that he would do things with women for whom the sexual part of 
their lives was not straight. In retrospect, it looks as though it served a very 
direct function for them. 

We were singing in front of Maharajji and I was massaging his arm when 
suddenly a sexual thought with regard to him came to my mind. I was 
embarrassed, because he was looking into my eyes. So I immediately quit 
massaging his arm and started writing Ram in Hindi with my finger on my 
own arm, over and over again—still holding his gaze the while. At that point 
the thought faded. Maharajji reached over right then and pulled gently on the 
ring I was wearing at the time in my nose, turned my head sideways, and 
pointed out my nose-ring to an Indian nearby. "See," he said sweetly, "she's 
very good." 


The first time he took me in the room alone I sat up on the tucket with him, 
and he was like a seventeen-year-old jock who was a little fast! I felt as if I 


were fifteen and innocent. He started making out with me, and it was so cute, 
so pure. I was swept into it for a few moments—then grew alarmed: "Wait! 
This is my guru. One doesn't do this with one's guru!" So I pulled away 
from him. Then Maharayjji tilted his head sideways and wrinkled up his 
eyebrows in a tender, endearing, quizzical look. He didn't say anything, but 
his whole being was saying to me, "Don't you like me?" 

But as soon as I walked out of that particular darshan, I started getting so 
sick that by the end of the day I felt I had vomited and shit out everything that 
was ever inside me. I had to be carried out of the ashram. On the way, we 
stopped by Maharajji's room so I could pranam to him. I kneeled by the tucket 
and put my head down by his feet—and he kicked me in the head, saying, 
"Get her out of here!" 

I was unable to move for the next three days, but after that I felt perfectly 
well again. And I had worked through a lot of my reactions to that darshan: 
revulsion, confusion, and so forth. 

That was the first time, and I was to be there for two years. During my last 
month there, I was alone with him every day in the room. There was a 
progression of comprehension. He seemed in one way to be turning me into a 
Mother, helping me to understand that sex is okay. Sometimes he would just 
touch me on the breasts and between my legs, saying, "This is mine, this is 
mine, this is mine. All is mine. You are mine." You can interpret it as you 
want, but near the end in these darshans, it was as though he were my child. 
Sometimes I felt as though I were suckling a tiny baby. Although he didn't 
change size physically, he seemed to become very small in my arms. It was a 
beautiful transformation. 


Maharajji had called me into the small room in the Kainchi ashram and 
asked me to sit on the tucket with him. He then began calling me "Ma, Ma," 
and said to me, half in English, half in Hindi, "Meri Mother, meri Mother." 
As he did so, it seemed as if his body had shrunk to the size of a baby's in 
diapers before my very eyes. I held him in my arms and rocked him like a 


I was sitting on the floor looking at Maharayi and he was on his tucket 
looking back at me, when he started talking to me in a way that I could 
understand totally everything he was saying. Then he pounded on the tucket, 
because he wanted me to sit up there with him. And I was trying to figure out 
where to sit. How were you supposed to sit on the tucket with him? He 
pounded on the tucket closer to him, and so I moved over a little bit and then I 
decided, well, go for broke, and I sat right in front of him, cross-legged. I was 
understanding everything he was saying, but as soon as my mind would start 
working, naturally I wouldn't understand anything. 

Then he kissed the palms of my hands, grabbed me, and pulled me toward 
him, hugging me. The famous hug. Then it was as if I were looking through 
his eyes. I could see everything in the room, including everything behind me. I 
seemed to be sitting inside him, totally immersed inside him. I don't know how 
long we were in there. 

Maharayi westteonly being I've ever met who would seem to do anything 
to get you free. It wasn't as if he had an image to maintain; his teaching was 
beyond any form or structure. Exvery other teacher ts either a Hindu or a 
Buddhist or something else, but Maharayi wasn't like that. 

Just before Maharayi left his body an old woman came to the temple with 
her children and grandchildren. She put her hand on Maharayi's head and gave 
him a blessing of very long life. She did tt twice in Sanskrit: "May you be 
blessed with many years of long 4fe." 

Maharayi was crying. "Did you hear what she said, did you hear what she 
said?” His delight was that of a child. 


MAHARAJJI OFTEN SPOKE to the male devotees about women. Through 
many conflicting statements he seemed to be spelling out a most subtle 


One of the cosmic questions he asked me, totally out of the blue, was, 
"What is a woman?" 



About a school for girls being built, Maharajji commented, "Educate the 
girls and they will educate society." 

ON THE One hand, he said: 






WHILE, ON the other hand, he also said: 




PERHAPS IT was a matter of, "If the shoe fits... 

Once a devotee expressed his feeling that it was embarrassing to have such 
attractive women around, and Maharayi rephed, "Your vision should be 


A\ devotee was embarrassed when Maharagyi came to his room at the 
university and discovered a pin-up calendar on the wall. Maharayi asked who 
she was, and the devotee said no one, going to turn the picture to the wall, But 
Maharayi stopped him, saying, "She's a Ma. Don't dishonor her.” 


I had almost no sexual thoughts the whole time I was in India. It wasn't 
being suppressed, it just wasn't pertinent at that time. When we'd go back to 
the hotel, I wouldn't spend much time with other people. I didn't notice women 
as women at all, though perhaps some of the men did. 

I don't remember Maharayi doing the kind of teachings with men as he did 
with the women. I don't remember any direct sexual teachings. He would talk 
about women and gold a lot; about how lust was poison, and how one of the 
greatest poisons for yogis was lust. 

When I was in the middle of an affair with a man I was traveling with, 
Maharayi put a quick stop to it. The first time we saw him after the affatr, 
Maharayi told us to be brahmacharya. 


Usually since I spoke Hindi we would just rap together about this or 
that—sort of "man to man," And often he'd let me take photographs. 
Sometimes, though, he'd just reach down and pull me up into him, into the 
Cosmic Hug. 


One morning after I had been physically intimate nith another devotee, we 
were with Maharayt. Not expecting to be with Maharayi so soon, I felt much 
guilt in the close juxtaposition of the two events. Maharayi pointed to this 
other person and said to me, "To that one you are giving your best teachings.” 
Then he told us to be brahmacharya and he turned to other topics. I was left 
guessing. I.D.) 

AMt all the temples, women and men slept separately unless they were 
married, One night Maharayi sent one married couple and a single man and 
woman to stay at a two-room forestry guest house we sometimes used. I 
assumed that the Westerners would apprectate the temple policy, the women 
sharing one room and the men another. (At that time I was feeling responsible 

for the Westerners’ behavior.) The next morning I found out that a man and 
woman had slept in each room. I was angry with them and told them that they 
were insensitive to this culture. We were all immediately called to Maharayi, 
who asked how everyone had slept, and, turning to the people who had stayed 
at the guest house, he asked them who had slept in what room. They told him 
and he simply said, "Very good.” 

Maharayi repeated a number of times, "Ram Dass should not touch women. 
Women are like a snake for Ram Dass." Apparently he was well aware that 
I, for one, could not see all women as the Divine Mother; in fact, my own fear 
of women had led me to seek out relationships with men. His warning didn't 
help in this matter. 

But his strongest injunction, which he repeated over and over again, with 
much finger-pointing, was, "Ram Dass, kanchankamini /go/d and women].” 
Each time Maharayi would say this phrase—often used in the literature and by 
other saints such as Ramakrishna to warn people about the pitfalls of 
attachment to sex and money—I would review the ways in which I was still 
clinging to those desires. And though the desires were deep, deep within me, it 
was apparent that they were on a collision course with the desire for 


enlightenment and that sooner or later they were bound to lose. But I guess I 
was (ame?) like the abbot of a monastery who prayed, "God, let me be free of 
desires so I can be like the desert fathers—but not just yet." I wanted to play 
with the sex and money just a bit more. 

But Maharayi wouldn't relent. Often I would be called from the back of the 
temple compound many times a day. Exach tame I would kneel before Maharayi 
and he would look pointedly at me and intone "Ranchankaminti," and then 
send me back. It almost sounded as if he were warning me about something 
specific, but at that time I interpreted it as a general admonition to get on with 
it. I tried a variety of ways to free myselftrom the bonds of lust. I offered the 
lust into the fire in various rituals and asked God through a variety of religious 
metaphors to take this attachment from me. But apparently I was not ready to 
be free, for the attachment to these desires remained. 

In 1974 I met a woman spiritual teacher who explained to me that she was 
sent by Maharayt (astrally) to help me with my inner work. The major part of 
our work together turned into sexual tantric practices. It proved very helpful in 
loosening the bonds of attachment to desire with which I had been struggling. 

In the course of our work together she seemed to have a difficult time staying 
in her body. Her consciousness Rept floating away. Because it had been 
suggested that the precious metal gold would help to "keep her down," I 
decided to buy her a bracelet and ring of gold. It was in the jewelry store that I 
recalled Maharayt's repeated admonition to me about "women and gold.” 
Shortly afterward I felt that much of my fear of women had been dissipated 
through this relationship, allowing my attachment to lust to be loosened so that 
I would get on with my spiritual journey, and I Left those teachings. It felt like 
Maharayt's ,grace had brought me to this woman, and it was through his grace 

that I left her. (R.D.) 

Maharayi once visited us while a sculptor was staying in our house. AH 
over the living room were huge sculptures and paintings of nudes. I was a bit 
concerned that Maharayi might not like them and wanted him to go straight 
into the bedroom, but he sat on the sofa, looked around, and admired 
everything. He said, "How wonderfull These are good." He began to talk like 
a connoisseur, putting me at such ease that I forgot all about the nudity. He 
appreciated, admired, and asked questions about the art pieces. "Where does the 


wood come from? How do you do it? At what time do you do it," and so 
on. Maharaji could fit into any situation. 


Cake Or eo Dells 

THE EVER-50-subtle relationship between the guru and the devotee is 
much dependent upon faith. The deeper the faith and trust the devotee 
has in the guru, the more readily are spiritual qualities awakened in the 
devotee through the guru. 

In the spiritual literature, the true surrender is spoken of as the surren- 
der that is no surrender. That is, one opens—through faith and trust—to 
a method such as a guru only when such faith resonates with truth at the 
depths of one's being. Then there is a readiness for such opening. If one 
is still rooted only in intellect or emotion, any act of surrender is but 

another act of ego and can, based on misjudgment, lead to horrendous 
consequences. So one cannot choose to surrender to the guru. But when 
the devotee and the guru have met at the depths of being, then such sur- 
render is not actually surrender to another person but, rather, surrender 
to one's own God-natute. 

There is a story concerning surrender- told by Maharajji's devotees 
about another saint, Sombari Maharaj, very highly regarded by Ma- 
harajji, who had lived at an earlier time. 

It seems that he gave one of his devotees two potatoes and instructed 



him to eat both of them. The instructions were very firm. The man 
went down near the stream and began eating one of the potatoes. 
Shortly thereafter a very poor old man came along and begged for the 
other potato, saying, '"You have food and I have none." The devotee 
could not refuse and so he gave the second potato away. When he re- 
turned, Sombari Maharaj abused him roundly for not doing what he had 
been told. The harangue ended in, "So it was not your Dhagya [more 
than luck, perhaps destiny] to take the second potato." Later the man 
became very successful in the world but not successful in his final spiri- 
tual efforts in life—for that was the second potato. 

Such a story, which seems to pit charity against surrender to the guru, 
is a hard teaching indeed. However, we must learn finally to surrender 
self-conscious charity in order to become charity itself. 

Some of the stories concerning the total faith and resulting surrender 
of the Indian devotees around Maharajji are awesome indeed, and some 
of their failures of faith are equally awesome. Maharajji didn't make it 
any easier for any of us devotees, because he continually sowed seeds of 
doubt about himself to undercut any flickering faith we might be devel- 
oping. Still, we watched as our doubts became consumed into an ever- 
deepening trust. He seemed to be leading us to the realization, once 
expressed by Ramana Maharshi, that "God, Guru, and Self are One." 
Thus we found that trust and opening to Maharajji led us only to a 
deeper part of our own beings and a deeper faith in ourselves. 


I recall once bringing to Maharayi a new Westerner, someone I liked and 
whom I wanted to be impressed by Maharayi—that is, | wanted Maharayi to 
do his "tricks." Maharayi looked at him and said, "You come from Canada?" 

"No, Mahara. I come from the United States.” 

Maharayi nodded as tf he had now placed him and said, "You have three 

"No, Maharagjt, I'm an only child.” 

By this time I was getting very uncomfortable. But Maharayi Rept it up, 
guestioning him incorrectly about his journey and his work and then dismissing 
us. The fellow looked at me as he left, and said, with slight pity, "I'm sure 
your guru is very nice."” He never returned. (R.D.) 


We were in Delhi in the fall of 1972 at the home of the inspector general of 
forestry in India, a long-time devotee of Maharayt. Many people were coming 
and going, among them a woman with a slightly haughty air. When she 
arrived she pranammed to Maharayi and then said, "You remember me—we 
met at so-and-so's house.” 

MAHAR4I: "Eh [What] ?" looking confused. 

WOMAN: "Oh, Maharaji, you said this and that. You must remember.” 

MAHARA4YI: "Kya [What] ¢" 

The woman was miffed because she had come with important friends and 
was clearly trying to inapress them. Finally she and her party left. Maharayi 
sat up immediately and told us about the woman's father, grandfather, marital 
situation, and biography. 

Maharayi said to a nineteen-year-old boy who had come with his family, 
"You failed, you failed.” 

"No, Maharayi! I didn't fail! I got a second.” 

"You failed. Do you think a second is any good?” 

Then Maharayi added, "INo, you didn't fail, you got a first, but you don't 
deserve wt. You are failing because you are arguing too much with your father 
and mother instead of studying, and you don't deserve it but you got a first. 
But from now on, you must study.” 

Maharayi was very fierce. Mrs. Soni, whose friends these were, was very 
embarrassed because she knew the results had already been published in the 
newspaper and that the boy had recewed a second and that these were final 
results. The embarrassment of your guru making a mistake (seemingly) ts 
torture. The family all thought that Maharayi was a nice man, but the boy 
himself was condescending about him. Mr. Soni sent a driver to take the boy 
and his parents home, and when the driver returned he had a note saying that 
the impossible had happened: Four exam papers had been recalled and the boy's 
paper had been regraded—he had received a first. 


Maharajji once said to me, "A very high woman who loves you much ts 
coming to India." I thought about that and became more and more confused, for 
the only high woman I knew who loved me was Caroline, the woman with 
whom I'd been living prior to coming to India, and she certainly was not 
planning such a trip. There was nobody else. What could this mean? Was 
Maharajji fallible? Had he simply made a mistake? It was not until 1970 that 
the matter was cleared up, when Caroline admitted that she had in fact traveled 
to India while I was there in 1968 but had visited temples to study architecture 
and hadn't wanted to bother me. (R.D.) 

On my second visit to India in 1971 I had met Maharajji at Allahabad. 
After a few days he sent us on to Delhi. As we were leaving, Maharajji said 
to me very quietly, "I'll meet you in Vrindaban." He didn't specify when, and 
I didn't ask. After all, f he said he'd see me in Vrindaban, then he'd see me in 

We spent about a week in Delhi and then decided to go on a pilgrimage of 
Shiva temples in the south. This trip would take us through Vrindaban, where 
we could see Maharajji and get his blessings. 

We left Delhi and stayed the night in Mathura, preparatory to seeing 
Maharajji in Vrindaban the next day. With much fruit and many flowers we 
arrived at the temple in the early morning. The pujari explained that 
Maharajji wasn't there and it was not known when he would arrive. Even 
knowing of Maharajji's notorious reputation for unpredictability, I was 
disappointed, for he had said, "I'll meet you in Vrindaban." And I knew that 
by the time we returned from the south sometime in April, Maharajji would, 
in all likelihood, be up in the mountains, since the plains in which Vrindaban 
was located would already be turning unpleasantly hot. What could he have 

At the temple that morning I was sitting listening to some old women 
carrying on the continuous chant of "Hare Krishna, Hare Rama" that was 
heard there from early morning until late evening. A small bird flew overhead 
and dropped a piece of straw, which landed on my lap. Perhaps that was 
Maharajji and he was giving me a gift. Or perhaps I was once again just 
grasping at straws. 

After offering the fruit and flowers before the murti of Hanuman, we went 
on our way, and at the end of the pilgrimage we proceeded north. On the 


journey a great dialogue took place as to the route we should follow: If we 
were to go to the mountains to Nainital there was a direct route; but to go via 
Vrindaban was more circuitous, requiring an extra day. We were now well 
into April, and most likely Maharajji would be in the hills. But then, he had 
said he would see me in Vrindaban, and I could still taste that disappointment 
when we didn't find him there on the way south. I was in favor of going 
directly to the mountains, but I was outvoted and we went on toward 

Again we spent the night at Mathura and the next morning brought fruit 
and flowers, though this time in slightly less abundance, because our 
expectations of finding him were weak indeed. We dallied in the marketplace to 
enjoy freshly squeezed fruit juices and finally, at about eight-thirty, headed for 
the temple. When we arrived it seemed ominously deserted. We parked before 
the main gate and went in. The pujari met us. After we pranammed to him we 
asked if Maharajji was here. 

"Oh, no," he answered, "Maharajji hasn't been here for weeks. He's 
probably up in the mountains now. He's not here." Our collective heart sank, 
but we offered the fruit and flowers to Hanuman, and after no more than five 
minutes in the temple we hastened back to the car, thinking that if we drove 
without stopping we could be in Nainital by evening. Just as we were closing 
the car doors, a small Fiat sedan raced down the road and stopped next to us. 
The driver looked vaguely familiar, and next to him sat Maharajji, who got 
out of the car and walked into the temple without taking any notice of us. 

We rushed over to the car to find Gurudatt Sharma, Maharajji's frequent 
traveling companion, sitting in the back. Sharma-ji is usually friendly but quite 
tight-lipped about Maharajji's business, but we did manage to extract from him 
that they had been in a distant city the previous evening. At 2:00 in the 
morning, Maharajji had awakened him and the driver and said, "Come on. 
We must hurry. We have to be in Vrindaban." They had driven all night and 
arrived in Agra at about 7:00 a.m. Then Maharajji said, "We still have some 
time. We can visit so-and-so." And after a short visit, again Maharajji rushed 
them on to Vrindaban. After all, he said he'd see me in Vrindaban. (R.D. ) 


I don't go to other saints, since I have got Maharajji. I don't need anyone. 


Tf you remember Maharayi, nothing bad can happen to you. If you forget 
him, you may have fear. 

Maharayi was in a car and they came to a bridge. Coming the other way 
were these oxen pulling carts of sugar cane, completely blocking the bridge. 
The driver slowed up, but Maharayi said, "Why are you slowing upe” 

The driver replied, "Well Maharayi, I can't go through.” 

Maharayi told him, "Gol" The driver protested, and Maharayi replied, 
"Close your eyes and go!" So the driver closed his eyes and pushed on the gas, 

and when he opened his eyes there they were, on the other side. 

Whoever came near him, he graced. If you had pure faith, he'd do whatever 
you needed. 

It was he who forced the faith upon me, not me who gathered i. 


Shiv Singh was to go home from Kainchi one afternoon, but Maharayi said 
not to go. The next day he again told him not to go, and again the third day. 
"Dada, what should I do?” asked Shiv Singh. "I have a contract outstanding 

for an apple orchard. It's very competitive. There 1s one lakh of rupees 
involved. If I do not go, I won't get the orchard." For five or six days 
Maharayi kept him in Kainchi. Shiv Singh again spoke to Dada: "Now the 
contract ts lost,” but he did not have the courage to tell this to Maharaji. 
Maharayi finally chastised him: "You have left home for so many days. 

You must go and do some work." Maharayi made Shiv Singh feel guilty for 


loitering. He left and four days later he returned, happy. In the 
interim, there had been a hatlstorm: Some damages had brought the 
price of the orchard down to half the original price, and Shiv Singh 

had bought it. ti 

Tf you have any needs, don't ask man for help; ask directly to 
Maharayt. Maharayi will do everything. 


On a train she took to come for a visit my sister-in-law spoke of 
Maharayz to the women sitting near her. One south Indian woman got very 
excited and insisted on coming home with her to meet him. She was a very 
mysterious, high-soctety lady. She behaved as though she were one of our 
family and would even go into my wife's room and take her good saris to 
give away to other women. The woman stayed with us some seven days, but 
still Maharayi had not come, so she went to Kaincht. When Maharayi 
_finally came to our house, she was with him. The Nainital devotees and 
also the Lucknow ones where she had visited all complained how she had 
moved in on them and given away their valuables. Maharayt asked why I 
had allowed her to stay at my house. I said that Maharayi had sent her. 

Whoever Maharayi sends ts welcome in my home—I cannot turn away 
Maharayt's guests. Maharayi denied sending her. I countered, "How could 
she have come without your knowledge?" (How could she? Maharaji 
knows everything, it is his house. Of course he had sent her!) 

This Maharayji did not deny but countered instead with, "But she gave 
away your valuable things!" 

I replied, "They could not have been so valuable, so necessary, if we no 
longer have them. They must have been useless things, or we would still 
have them—1s that not true?” Maharayi remained silent. What could he 
say? The other devotees were surprised that Maharayi acknowledged that 
he is aware of and responsible for all such things. 


Once there was a departmental exam in my office. I was forty-three years 
old and felt that I was too old to try, because I didn't want to fail in front of 
my family. The first paper I did half-heartedly and spoiled it. Maharajji was 
not here. When I returned from the examination, Siddhi Ma was standing on 
the porch of Dada's house, and I knew Maharajji had come. I went in to see 
him and put pen and pencil at his feet. Maharajji said, "Are you appearing for 
the examination?" 

"You'll pass." Before the second exam, Hubba and Maharajji were on the 
roof I told them I was appearing in a second exam. I was weeping. "Why are 
you weeping ?" Maharaji asked. 

"Tam afraid offailing." 

Maharajji sat us down and said, "You'll pass." 

Then Hubba said, "Co. Have faith." 

But in the exam there were five questions and I spoiled four-and-a-half. 
After the third paper I saw Maharajji. He asked me how well I had done. 
"Immensely good," I lied. I thought, "How is it possible that I can lie to 
him?" Three months later the results came down and I had gotten through. 

A man had an abscess on his eye that even surgery couldn't cure, but he later 
told Maharajji, "When I read the Chandipath (a book of mantras about the 
Mother), the eye healed on its own." 

Maharajji acted with disbelief, saying to the Mothers and everybody, "Do 
you believe that he just read the Chandipath and the abscess healed? Do you 

believe that? Is that possible? Could that have happened? Ma, what do you 

Again and again over the years, Maharajji has taught me to have faith that 
he will guide me through my own heart. I need only listen to that higher 
intuitive sense. That's when I feel him the most. Here is an example of how 
he taught me this: 

Among the sadhus in Vrindaban was a handsome young sadhu who spoke 


some Finglish and who had befriended many of Maharagi's Western devotees. 
He would take them on pilgrimages around the town, showing them out-of-the- 
way temples and special holy places. In the evenings the Westerners sometimes 
joined him for chanting. I was invited time and again, but I felt no desire to 
participate; being near Maharapi each day was enough for me. The rest of the 
time I was content to wander about and think of him and what had transpired 
during the visit that day. 

But this young sadhu Rept sending messages inviting me to the gatherings, 
which I Rept declining. One evening a Westerner arrived bringing a leaf 
plate full of food that the sadhu had sent to me. This attention made me 
uncomfortable. I felt distrustful of his motives, and simultaneously I felt 
distrustful of my own motives in distrusting him. Perhaps I was inwardly 
competitive with him. 

Soon afterward we were all told to go to Allahabad, a city some two 
hundred miles distant. There we were housed in a devotee's home and each day 
we visited Maharayt, who was staying at Dada's home about a mile away. 
On one occasion three of us arrived at Dada's home in a rickshaw. The house 
was surrounded by a fence with a gate and outside the fence was a single tree. 
A\s we drove up, sitting under the tree was the young sadhu from Vrindaban. 
The two Westerners who were fond of him jumped off the rickshaw, ran up, 
and pranammed to him. After I had paid the rickshaw, I came up to the gate. 
Alt this moment the sadhu rose and we bowed to one another. I couldn't 
understand why he was sitting outside the gate. If he had come to see 
Maharayi why wasn't he inside with the many others? Perhaps he was of a 
sect that could not enter a home. Or perhaps he needed to be invited in. Now 
that he had stood, was I supposed to invite him in? I couldn't very well ignore 
him, zo in, and leave him there. And yet something in my heart—that same 
discomfort I had had about him back in Vrindaban—held me back from inviting 
him. My distrust of his purity made tt tmpossible for me to bring him to 

We stood there facing each other and I was transfixed by indecision. ‘Then 
suddenly an Indian man emerged from the house and with much honor and 
delight welcomed the sadhu and took him inside. Immediately I concluded that 
this sadhu was indeed pure and that my reticence was my own impurity, and so 
I skulked into the house and sat in the front room, haf-heartedly singing with 
the others. The sadhu was nowhere to be seen. Shortly afterward I saw him 
among the singers and then I didn't see him anymore. My own heart was 
heavy with guilt for allowing my own competitiveness or whatever tt was to 
parade through me as an intuitive reflection about another's impurity. 


Then I was called back to the kitchen area, where Maharayi sat surrounded 
by Indian devotees. I fell at his feet and he hit me on the head and said to the 
Indians, "Ram Dass speaks well, he's a good lecturer, but he doesn't 
understand people.” These words were translated and I realized that Maharaji 
was not going to let the scene that had taken place outside pass unnoticed. I 
could only agree with him and wallow more and more in my guilt and feelings 
of impurity. Again and again Maharayi repeated the same statement, that 
though I could speak well I was no judge of other people. Everyone agreed and 
looked at me with loving pity. I agreed again and again, most wholeheartedly. 
Finally, when Maharayi had milked the moment for all it was worth, he said, 
"Yes, he does not understand people. He would have brought that sadhu 
inside. And that man is not pure—he wants things of his devotees."" And with 
that he gave me a fierce hit on the head and laughed delightedly. My head 
spun, and through the clouds of guilt, self-doubt, and self-pity, suddenly came 
the brilliant sun of comprehension. Maharayi was, in his inimitable way, 
telling me that this time I had been right. He was teaching me to trust my 
heart. ID.) 


Maharayi used to quote from the Ramayana, where Ram says to a devotee 
"Friend, why are you worried? Surrender by my power all thoughts to me, 
and all your priorities will determine themselves." He quoted this the day he 
left Nainital for the last time. 

An important man came to see Maharayi but kept checking his watch 
because he had a meeting with a minister of finance, Maharayi Rept delaying 
him and the man grew more and more nervous, Finally, when he would 
undoubtedly be late, Maharapyi let him go, and the man rushed to the place 
only to find that his meeting had been postponed. 


Usually when Maharajji stayed at my house for seven or eight days, other 
devotees would also be there, but this night there were none present. It was 
midnight, and I was tired, but Maharajji still wanted to talk so I was pressing 
his feet. Then he started to snore. I thought he was asleep and I decided to go 
to my bed. I quietly started to get up, when out of his snoring he said, "Suraj, 
where are you going?" So I sat down again. Again and again, the same thing 
happened. Finally, I determined not to go to sleep but to stay all night. At that 
moment, Maharajji said, "Suraj, go and sleep." 

I was once in the state of mind that I was going to do whatever Maharajji 
said, as a sadhana. Instant obedience to his word! At the time I was living up 
the hill behind Kainchi. Since it was twenty minutes straight up to a small 
village there, I always had to leave darshan early so I could get up before dark 
when the snakes come out. Once we were all sitting around Maharajji, in a 
wonderful, loving darshan. The bus had not yet come. And Maharajji turned 
to me and told me, "Jao." Here I was in strict obedience, yet it was still light; 
all the others were still there, and he was telling me to go immediately up the 
mountain. I was very slow to leave that afternoon, and he was watching my 
struggles with twinkling amusement. 

At Dada's house Maharajji was telling us all to go to different places. 
Sitting in front of me was Vishwambar, with whom I'd been spending a great 
deal of traveling time, even prior to coming to India. Maharajji told 
Vishwambar to go to Benares. I didn't want to go there because I wanted to 
spend some time alone. But when I came up, Maharajji said, "Go to Benares." 

I said, "Couldn't I please go to Ayodhya?" 

He said, "No, go to Benares." I was so foolish that I thought I could still 
go to Ayodhya, even though he specifically told me not to. I went to the train 
station and got a ticket on the Faizabad Express, which goes to Ayodhya. I 
rationalized that since it is kind of a triangle, I could go to Benares by way of 
Ayodhya. I got the ticket for the train that was to come in on track io at 3:00 
p.m.1 went to track io in plenty of time, but when, by 4:00 p.m., no train 
had come, I decided to question somebody. The conductor said that the 


Faizabad Express had come in on track 8 today; tt had been announced in 
Hindi, which I don't speak. So I'd missed the train. 

Just as I was standing there wondering what to do next, a train pulled in 
behind me. I turned around to look at tt and saw, on the side of the cars, 
"Benares Express." So I went to Benares. Now Benares ts a pretty big place, 
with lots of hotels, but I went to a cheap one recommended by a friend and 
checked in, and as I sat in my room, I heard someone singing the Chalisa 
(hymn to Hanuman). It turned out to be Vishwambar. So I surrendered to 
that, and we spent a week together, during which we were very close. 


We were in Delhi at a party held at the home of the Sonis, who were old 
devotees of Maharayi. Mr. Soni was the head of the forestry department of 
India, and the party had not only devotees but people from the government and 

family members as well. It was an old-style cocktail party, and Mrs. Soni was 
passing a tray of canapes. As she came up to me, she said, "I had a dream the 
other night and I woke up from it and knew that Maharayi wanted me to tell 
you something.” 

"VY ese" 

And then looking at me with her dark beautiful eyes, and speaking in a 
manner and tone that was completely out of context of the cocktail party, she 
said, with the deepest intensity, "You know, Maharayi demands complete 
surrender.""_A moment later, as if waking from a dream, she sweetly asked, 
"Won't you have one of those canapes? They are especially good." And she 
moved away. (R.D.) 


We were up in the mountains visiting with Maharayi at Kainchi, The 
eight-year-old VW bus was doing yeoman's service each day, moving the 
Western devotees from Nainital down the mountain to Kainchi each morning 
and back up each evening. Soon there were too many for the VW and some 
had to go by public bus, but still tyenty or so managed to squeeze in the VW 
or on the rack on top, and, as VWs do, it smiled gamely and did its thing. But 
one day, just at the town of Bhowal, the VW stopped. It wouldn't start 
again. So we left it there and the next day told Maharayt. And he said, 


"Takeit to D dhi." A ll theway to Dedhi, a hundred and ninety miles 
away? That seemed absurd tome Couldn't someone local fix it? All he 
would say was, "Takeit to D dhi." 

That evening back in N ainital | spoke to the Sah family who 
owned the hotel. They knew of a mechanic, and I arranged for him to go 
and see the car. A day later he looked at it but could not start it. So 
again I told M aharajji and again he raterated, "Take it to D ahi." Tha 
I told him that in A mora, thirty miles away, was a G erman economic 

roject and they used V Ws and had a sevice man. Maybe! could get 

im to come over. M aharajji said, "Take it to D ahi." I wrote to Met lein 
A |mora asking them to contac the G erman repair center, and after letters 
back and forth that took the better part of two weeks, it became clear that 
no incntive would get the mechanic to come to Bhowali and that ae 
weren't even interested in looking at it if I got it toA lmora. I tol 

Maharajji all this, and you can imagine his response. "Take it to 
D dhi." 

So again I went back to the mechanicin N ainital and again he went 
tolook. This time he got it runningand drove it up to N ainital, but 
on the outskirts of town it stopped and he could not get it going again. 
E nthusiastically, I reported this progress to M aharajji, but his instructions 
had not changed. 

It was now more than four weeks since the break down and it became 
evident that the N ainital mechanic just couldn't fix the car. Since there 
was nothing else to do, it was decided to "takeit toD ahi." A truck was 
rented, complete with Sikh drivers, and the car was loaded aboard. W ith 
Krishna D as as passenger, they left for D ahi. Krishna Das told 
hair-raising tales of the journey— of the drinking and of moving the V W 
from one truck to another, and so forth— but finally it wo to the repair 
man at Ddhi. TheV W was rolled off the truck and the repair man 
walked over, oped the engine compartment, took one look, connected 
one wire and the car started and ran perfectly . 

A fter that the term that came to be synonymous with my lack of 
surrender was, "Take it to D dhi." (RD ) 


JUST AS ONE tells a child not to do something even 
when the conse- quences of the act are all too obvious, 
so Maharajji would warn or in- 


struct people about this or that. But as the child insists on doing the act 
and one watches the inevitable effects that follow the cause, so Ma- 

harajji's devotees would often ignore his words and Maharajji would 
watch ... and allow. Now and then he would say, "I told you so." 

Once Maharayi upbraided a man who had just come to visit a friend at the 
temple, telling him to take food in his truck and go home immediately. The 
man's feelings were hurt because he thought Maharayi was insulting him. It 
was late at night so he slept in his truck outside the temple. When he got 
home, he found that his house had been robbed during the night. 

When Maharayi and a party of devotees were staying in the holy town of 
Chitrakut for a month, he took them one day to the hut of a sadhu who lived 
on minute quantities of a rare jungle root. He never ate food. Maharayi asked 
the sadhu for a piece of the root, and the sadhu offered a tiny piece. Maharaji 
shouted, "Don't be so stingy. Give more. I know you've got more."’ The 
sadhu gave two large pieces of the precious root. Maharayi broke these into 
many small pieces and gave a little piece to each devotee except one, whom he 
told that the root would do him great harm. The devotee pleaded for just a tiny 
piece of what was now Maharayt's prasad, so Maharayi relented and gave him 
a plece. 

That same evening, Maharayi and his devotees sang Rirtan—"S1ri Ram Jai 
Ram, Jat Jai Ram.” Maharayi sang the loudest. The devotee who had been 
warned not to eat the root became violently ill, left the party, and went to his 
room. After a short time, Maharaji came to the devotee's room, pulled him to 
his feet, and brought him back to the kirtan. He again felt sick and returned to 
his room. Maharaji again came and brought him back. The Rirtan went on 
until the early hours of the morning. By this time, most of the devotees had 
fallen asleep, but Maharayi continued to sing. Finally Maharayi allowed the 
sick, devotee to return to his room and fall asleep. When he awoke, he found 
Maharagi sitting beside the bed. "Are you all right now? I told you not to eat 
the root. When I was sick, you slept all night; when you were sick, I stayed 
up all night praying.” 



Late one night at the Kumbha Mela in Allahabad, Maharayi was in his 
tent giving darshan. The next day was the most auspicious time of the decade 
to bathe in the Sangam. Maharapes devotee, a police official, was placed in 
charge of security and crowd-control for the millions of people. This night he 
was with Maharayt, when suddenly Maharayi got up and said, "Let's go." 
Late at night they drove Maharayi to the train station, where they waited for a 
west-bound train to come. The policeman and others tried to persuade 
Maharayi to stay for the auspicious day. Maharayi said he wouldn't and told 
them to be very careful the next day, for there was going to be a catastrophe. 

Maharayi left and the people returned, having taken his words lightly. That 
morning at 4:00 A.M. at the Sangam, thousands of people were thronging to 
bathe at the spectal moment. _A parade of naga babas (naked sadhus) was going 
in when the masses of people in the back started surging forward and the people 
in front were blocked by the parade barriers. Many were killed and hurt in the 


Once in Lucknow, Maharayi suggested that several devotees accompany him 
to visit someone who lived in another part of the city. Maharayt suggested that 
they walk, and immediately they set off; but at the first corner the devotees 
sighted a horse and carriage and suggested that they ride. Mahara refused, 
saying, "I won't sit on it." The devotees insisted, arguing that there was no 
other conveyance available and that their destination was far away. Maharaji 
relented and sat on the seat facing the back; the driver and the two devotees sat 
in the front. 

The moment the horse was prodded to start, it jumped up on its hind legs, 
lifting the front of the carriage. Since Maharayi was in the back he easilt 
stepped off onto the road. The horse continued to rear and kick, nearly turning 
the carriage over and terrorizing the passengers in the front seat. Maharayi said 
to them, "I told you that we shouldn't sit on this Conga. You wanted to get on. 
Now do you want to get off?” 

I had the good fortune to encounter Maharayi at Ganj in June 1963. When 
he inquired about me, I told him that I was coming from Rishikesh and was on 


my way to Vrindaban. Then he said, "Your Gurudev [guru] is sporting verily 
like the Lord of Vrindaban himsef. But he will be stopping all that soon. You 
take your guru to be the Lord himself, don't you? Go back now." And he 
arranged money for my journey, but I didn't quite understand. Only after 
several days did I learn about the illness of my holy master from an English 
daily. Immediately I rushed back to Rishikesh, and within a fortnight of my 
arrival, Gurudev attained mahasamadhi (died). I later had occasion to meet 
Maharajji, and he asked me whether I had gotten back to the ashram in time. 
And I gratefully said yes. 

HAR, who had developed cataracts on his eyes, went to see Ananda Mayee 
Ma, who told him that he should go to Aligarh to have them operated on. But 
when he saw Maharajji in Lucknow, he was told to go to Sitapur and have 
the operation there. HR followed Ma's instructions, had the operation, and lost 
his sight in both eyes. Afterward he would still come to visit Maharajji, who 
would say, "Why did you go to Aligarh when I told you to go to Sitapur?" 

At the time of my wedding, I came to Maharajji and he asked me how I 
would proceed there. I told him by bus, but he countered, "No, take the 
train." I was stubborn, for there was a wedding party and all the plans had 
been made, so I refused. Then Maharajji asked me for the bus route. He 
requested that I change the route and stay overnight and tell him exactly the 
time I would leave in the morning. I did as he said in following these plans, 
but still I went by bus. During the bus trip, the bus rolled over twice, and 
though there were loose metal trunks rolling around inside, no one was hurt. 
We all had to climb out the driver's window. When we returned, Maharajji 
sent a jeep and welcomed us. 

One devotee said, "If you are in the presece of a saint, it is very difficult. 
If you disobey him, there is definite suffering." 


I recall one day being with Maharayi when he was told that someone had 
used his name to raise money for a school that was not a pure venture, 
soliciting the money without Maharagt's permission. H7s reaction was vividly 
burned into my consciousness and has given rise many times since to images or 
nightmares. He said, "I shan't do anything to him. But for what he has done 
he will whirl around the universe for aeons.” 

Al man who had served Maharayi became arrogant and humiliated some of 
Maharagt's devotees. Maharayi was so angry he just sat there huffing and 
making growling sounds like a monkey. He called the man into his office, and 
the next thing people saw was this large man being thrown out the door, 
landing five feet away on a stone. The devotee failed to appear to do anti, as 
he had done previously. The next day, Maharayi was out on the road when a 
car passed with the man and wife inside. She pranammed but he wouldn't 
look. It ts said that Maharayi commented sadly, "He will never come back to 
me." Later the man took to drink. 

Al hunter had made fun of Maharayi to his friends, saying that he could get 
some meat for the baba, though he knew that he was vegetarian. Later, when 
the hunter's friends became devotees of Maharaji, the hunter tried to see 
Maharayi. But for five years he never was able to be at the right place at the 
right time, although his wife and children had had darshan. Finally one of the 
Mothers who stayed with Maharagi interceded, and Maharayi said, "Al 
right."" Then he was able to find Maharaji. 

Many years ago, at one annual meta in the village of Neeb Karori, a baba 
got angry and cursed Maharayt. Maharayi had showed him up by pouring a 
continuous stream of milk from a tota. The following year a cyclone came to 


the village as a result of the baba's curse, and every year after there was a 
storm. But the villagers knew that if they took Maharajji's name, nothing bad 
would happen. Maharajji, it is said, cursed him: "God will punish you by 
cutting your tongue in pieces." A few years later, that baba was found dead in 
Farrukhabad with his tongue cut. 


One day at Neeb Karori a man came to Maharajji complaining that he had 
no son. He promised to have a temple built and a well dug, and Maharajji 
indicated that God's blessings were with him. After the birth of a son the man 
did nothing. Maharajji commented, "What do I have to do with this matter?" 
Soon after, this man's house burned to the ground, destroying all his 
possessions and money. 

An old man in a town where Maharajji had been staying had become blind. 
People were talking to Maharajji about healing, and Maharajji said, "Samarth 
Guru Ram Das cured his mother from blindness, but there are no saints like 
that anymore." Then Maharajji asked for a pomegranate, had it squeezed, and 
drank the juice. He then put his blanket over his face and they saw that 
underneath there was blood coming out of both his eyes. Maharajji told the 
blind man that if God restored his sight he should retire from business and 
devote his life to spiritual pursuits. The man's vision was restored shortly 

The doctor came and examined the eyes and said, "This is impossible! Who 
did this?" They told him it was Maharajji and the doctor rushed to the railway 
station to find him. Maharajji was already aboard the carriage and the doctor 
jumped on and pranammed, and Maharajji kept saying, "This is the doctor 
who cured the man's blindness. He is a very good doctor, a very good doctor." 
But after three or four months, the old man couldn't resist and went back to 
work and almost immediately lost his vision again. 


Al large number of Westerners were being housed in an empty house 
belonging to one of the Indian devotees. We filled tt with our bodies from wall 
to wall. Each day we would make our way to Dada's house where Maharaji 
was staying, there we visited with him and were lavishly fed with meals, many 
sweets, and much tea. But then Maharayi stopped seeing us. Exach day we 
would go to Dada's house and be fed; but without Maharagi's darshan, tt lost 
the source of the appeal. Although I loved being with him, I didn't mind so 
much for mysel-—but there were many Westerners who had just recently arrived, 
and a number of them had not yet even met Maharayt. Day after day they 
waited, following us from house to house, but I could see that soon they would 
tire of this game and leave. However, there was nothing I could do. 

Then one day I was called to Maharagi's room and told, ""Ram Dass, 
commander-in-chief, don't bring anyone here tomorrow until six at night.” I 
had my orders, and when we returned to our quarters I announced that we 
would not go to Maharayi the next day until six. The next evening all the 
new people and most of the old devotees arrived, as ordered, at six. We found 
that some of the old devotees had ignored my instructions and arrived at four. 
These people had been fed; but more important, they had had a long visit with 
Maharayt. And when we arrive at six, though we were fed, we were not 
allowed to visit him. 

Late that evening I was again called in to see Maharayt. This time he 
seemed angry with me and said, "Ram Dass, today people came at four. 
Tomorrow I don't want anyone to come until six."” Again when we returned 
to our quarters I made his wishes known, specifically making them clear to 
those who had ignored me. 

The next day i was worse. Not only did the original miscreants go at four, 
but now the mutiny was spreading, and other old devotees joined them. At six 
I arrived with the new devotees, who still assumed that my orders were to be 
honored, and a few of the old devotees who were sticking with me. And again 
we were faced with the same situation. The group that went at four got a long 
darshan with Maharayi and we got none. I was beginning to get angry. 

The next day no such instruction was forthcoming, and we all came early 
but we were Rept singing in the living room while Maharayi stayed with the 
Indian devotees in the kitchen. After some time a message came that Maharaji 
would see the women, and they all rushed out of the room to have his darshan. 
After some time, during which we were to continue singing, a message came 
that half of the men were to come for darshan. Of course, all wanted to go, but 
the meek and the righteous and some of the newer people remained behind with 
me, weakly carrying on the singing while we jealously listened to the laughter 
and talking in the other room. 


Then the message came that Maharayi would not see anyone else that 
evening. And I became furious at this arbitrariness. That some of the new 
devotees who were kind enough to wait should not have darshan seemed grossly 
unjair, and I sought out Dada and expressed my perturbation. My anger was 
not masked, and Dada said, "I think you'd better tel Maharayi yourself.” 

"T will,” I said. 

Dada went into Maharagi's room and soon I was called in. There were only 
the three of us. Maharaji looked at me and asked, "Kya?" 

I knew of course that he knew what was in my mind, and I was in no mood 
for games, so I said, "Maharaji, you know my heart.” 

But he wouldn't be deterred from having me explain, and he just reiterated, 

I said, "Maharaji, you aren't being fair.” And I proceeded to tell him of 
these new devotees who couldn't see him. When I finished my explanation I 
sat back on my haunches, waiting. I guess I felt I deserved an explanation and 
was waiting for one. After all, Maharayi wasn't living up to the rules in my 
guru guidebook. 

He looked at me quizzically, looked at Dada as f he didn't understand, 
then he reached forward and gave a yank at my beard and said, "Ah, Ram 
Dass is angry.” That was all. And then he looked directly into my eyes and 
we held the gaze. 

During those moments I saw clearly my predicament. Maharayi had not 
acted "rationally" or at any rate "fairly," and he wasn't apologizing for it, 
either. I had a choice. I could get up and walk out of the room and leave him, 
in which case I would be left with my righteousness—but no guru. Or I could 
surrender to his trrationality and unfairness, knowing that he knew and I 
didn't. I bowed down, touched my head to his _feet, and surrendered again. 


FOR THE WESTERNERS, the "play" with Maharajji frequently focused 
around matters of visas and permits. As guests in a county already bur- 
dened with millions of hungry people, we low-budget spiritual seekers 
were not the most desirable component of the tourist population. So we 
spent significant amounts of time every three months in out-of-the-way 

villages and cities, ferreting out friendly immigration officials who 
would extend our visas. 

Maharajji was a court of last resort, who, if the chips were down, 
might send us to some devotee somewhere, perhaps a police chief in one 


city of a government minister in Delhi, and mysteriously the visa exten- 
sion would appear . . ;usually. But sometimes Maharajji would send a 
devotee here or there and nothing would seem to work. Maharajji 
would thus seem totally ineffectual when pitted against the stony resis- 
tance of the visa department, and the devotee would be shipped back to 
America or else off to Nepal to reenter India at a later date. 

The visa dance just seemed to enhance the doubt and confusion as to 
the relative powers of the worldly versus the spiritual kings. Most of us 

saw it, however, as more of Maharajji's playing with our clinging and as 
one more situation in which we had to learn to surrender. 

When I asked him what to do about getting a visa, he first told me to go to 
Kanpur. Then he said, "No, don't go to Kanpur. Go to Mathura. No, go to 
Lucknow." He told me three different places to go in about two minutes. Then 
he said, "It doesn't matter where you go, because they're going to throw you 
out anyway’ —which, of course, they did. 


Once I became worried about my visa and started to press Maharayi. He 
was in the “office” and Dada and I were talking to him through the window. 
I Rept asking, "Where shall I go? It's almost expired. Where shall I go? What 
shall I do?” Maharayi wouldn't tell me anything, but while I was pressing 
him, he just put his head in his hands. Dada could see what was happening 
and he whispered to me, "Get out of here. Leave right now or he may send 
you back to America. Get away from the window." 

Later, of course, it all worked out—one of those miracle stories of just 
catching the train as it was pulling out on the last day of my visa; being told at 
the visa office tt was impossible to renew; my bursting into tears; and the 
officer saying, "There's one thing I can do." I stayed on in India _for two 
years. As the Tao Te Ching says, "In action, watch the timing.” 


When I came to Maharayi I had overstayed my visa three months. But 
everything just flowed. I didn't have any problems at all with the visa office. 


It was time once again to apply for a permit for a six-month extension for 
the VW bus. The first six-month pernut that I had obtained, the previous 
spring, had been a week-and-a-half's worth of hassle and had cost hundreds of 
dollars. Now the VW was tared, and so was I, and I wanted just to give it to 
the Indian government. But Maharayi would not hear of tt. Rubbing my nose 
in my material attachments, he Rept insisting that the permit should be 
extended. So I found myselffighting with the ministry of finance to Reep a car 
that I didn't even want. And explaining to them that I was doing it under 
orders of my guru found me few sympathetic listeners. The permit extension, 
which normally might be expected to take a few days, took almost three weeks. 
It required no less than twenty-three signatures, the final one being that of the 
minister of finance himself. That meant a member of the prime minister's 
cabinet had to sign personally to allow me to keep one battered 1964 VW bus 
for six more months. Of course, this was in addition to the duty that had to be 
paid, which by now equaled the value of the car. 

During the first few days, I used reasoning and firmness and ‘justifiable 
anger” as the tools to make the system spit out the permit extension. But none 
of that worked. Once, after getting up and storming out of an office with an 
exit speech about "no way to treat a guest in your country" I went back to my 
hotel and realized that by blowing up I had just lost a point, because there was 
no way around that particular office. So the next day I had to go back and 

Alnd so it went. Once, the person whose signature was needed was attending 
his nephew's wedding for a few days; at other times the application paper had 
been misplaced, or they couldn't agree on the tax, or I needed two independent 
assessments of the value of the car... It was necessary to go to the offices each 
day or the application would get lost in the bowels of that huge bureaucratic 
monster already totally constipated with folders and papers ominously piled 

Jrom floor to ceiling. There was no way to leave Delhi. 

What a teaching about possessions! No matter how convenient the car might 
be, it certainly wasn't worth all this... car-ma. I could hear Maharaji 
laughing at my "pile of bricks." 

There was, however, an interesting serendipitous teaching in all this. While 
we waited for the clearance for the car we were staying at a delightfully 
run-down, sem-hippie hotel. At first we lived out of our backpacks, expecting 
each day to be free to leave Delhi and get back to a "holy place."” But as the 
days went on in this exasperating process, we began to settle in. More and 
more Westerners passing through Delhi found their way to our room until, each 
day, there would be a satsang of thirty or more of us, and we would chant and 
meditate and talk about the spirit. Soon people were bringing Indian bedspreads 


as wall hangings, and pictures and fruit. The wife of the owner of the hotel 
was even preparing ghee for our puja lamps. Finally we were so much in the 
Spirit that it no longer mattered if we ever left Delhi. And at this point, my 
visa application was filed, the permit for the car came through, and we were 

free to leave for Vrindaban. (R.D.) 


MAHARAJJI BEGAN his spiritual work very early in life. He told one dev- 
otee that as a small child of seven or eight he would skip school to go 
into the jungle to do tapasya. Wisps of information suggest that he had 
been born into a landed family who lived in a stone house, but that he 
had left the security of his home very early to wander about as a sadhu. 

During those years he traveled about dressed in only a single dhoti, 
and he took his food and water in a discarded fragment of a broken clay 
water jug, which he wore on his head like a cap. At this time, he was 
known as "Handi Walla Baba [the baba with the broken clay pot]." 

At some stage, he passed time near Aligarh and Manpuri, where he 
performed spiritual practices by sitting for some time in water. The local 
residents knew him then as "Tikonia Walla Baba." (‘"Tikonia" means a 
trianeular-shaped reservoir.) Probably about this same time he began to 
pass time in the town of Neeb Karort (from which he later got the name 
by which we knew him). There he stayed for some time in various un- 
derground caves, coming out sometimes during the hot season to sit in a 
ring of fire in the hot sun. 

It was not until the 1930s that he began to appear regularly in villages 



in the foothills of the Himalayas and northern plains. Early on, he would 
play with the children and then disappear into the woods. Later he 
started to allow Indian householders to take him into their homes to feed 
him. These people were quick to recognize an extraordinary presence in 
him, and they began following him for his spirit and healing powers. 

He was often seen visiting temples dedicated to the deity Hanuman; 
later he instigated the building of many such temples by his devotees. He 
seemed to be on a continuous religious pilgrimage and encouraged 
others to visit the holy shrines around India. His special affinity for 
Hanuman and Rain was reflected in his continuous repetition of these 
names of God and in the stories he both told and asked to have read to 
him. Yet despite his predilection for Ram and Hanuman, he honored all 
aspects of God and found the true spirit in all forms of worship. 

Obviously he had undertaken severe austerities during his own sad- 
hana. Yet he later said that such practices were not necessary. He hon- 
ored those who undertook such practices but for the most part en- 
couraged his devotees to feed and serve people, live dharmically, and, 
above all, to remember and love God. 

MAHARAJJI'S SADHANA prescriptions were tailor-made for the individual 
devotee to whom they were directed. 

AMt one point I asked Brahmachari Baba if Maharayi taught him tapasya, 
and I gave examples of the tapasya Maharazi is said to have done himself, 
such as sitting up to his neck in a lake and sitting in the summer noonday sun 
surrounded by four fires. Brahmachari Baba immediately said, "No. Only 
ordinary things such as various yoga-asanas [postures] and meditations and 
pranayams.” With a little more questioning, he said, "Maharapi told me to be 
maun /szlent/. I was silent for three years... after that Maharapyi told me to 
do the standing tapasya—that is to say, I must never sit or le down, but remain 
always on my feet. This I did also for another three years. I performed this 
tapasya at Bhumiadhar before the temple complex was built. I had a special 
contraption to support my body for sleep. Sleep would come and my legs would 
swell up very big. Maharayi also told me to be phalahati /to eat no grains, 
only fruits and vegetables]. This I did for some eight years.” 

For many years before I met Maharayi I was searching, going here and 
there, studying this and that. I began following strict yogic 


codes—brahmacharya, 3:00 4m. risings, cold baths, asanas, and dhyan. It was 
during a period when I had given up coffee and tea that I met Maharayi. Tea 
was being offered to all of us, and I didn't know what to do. I said nothing but 
did not accept a cup of tea, and Maharayi leaned over to me, saying, ''Won't 
you take tea? Take teal You should drink the tea. It's good for you in this 
weather! Take tea!" So I drank the tea. With that one cup of tea, all those 
strict disciplines and schedules were washed away! They seemed meaningless 
and unnecessary; the true work seemed beyond these things. Now I do 

whatever comes of itself. 

When some devotees questioned him about hatha yoga (physical method of 
attaining union with God), Maharayi told them: "Hatha yoga is okay if you 
ave strictly brahmacharya. Otherwise it 1s dangerous. It 1s the difficult way to 
raise kundalint. You can raise Rundalini by devotion and by feeding people. 
Kundalini does not necessarily manifest as outer synaptoms, it can be awakened 
quietly." To another one he said, "If you are going to stand on your head, 
take butter. If you eat impure food, don't do the headstand. Impure food goes to 
the mind and affects it.” 

Some Westerners who come to Kainchi from Rishikesh practiced the whole 
hatha yoga regimen, swallowing dhotis, putting string up the nose, and so 
forth. Maharayi urged them to stop being so fanatic about that, saying, "I did 
all those things myself. It's not the way.” 


Maharayi used to say that equanimity in every aspect of Life will take you to 
the higher path. He would say that the ogres who follow the left path, eating 
human flesh from dead bodies at the burning ghats and other polluted foods, if 
they concentrated on God they were therefore not corrupted. Physical corruption 
can be there, but what ts tmportant ts the mental state. 




A Western devotee thought she wanted to take Sanyas (renunciation), and 
Maharajji instructed her to gather all the accouterments. She got the cloth, had 
it dyed orange, and got a mala, sandal paste, and stone. After she had all the 
tools and had prepared herself emotionally, Maharajji never mentioned the 


Reading the Gita in front of Maharajji, a devotee paused and asked 
Maharajji to tell him what was the quickest method to see God. Maharajji 
laughed and asked the man if he knew how to swim, and the devotee replied 
that he did. Maharajji said that, in that case, he should bind his arms and legs 
and tie himself to large boulders and throw himself into deep water. "Then 
you'll see God right away." Maharajji laughed. Becoming more serious, 
Maharajji continued, "Arjuna never saw God in that way. I've never seen 
God. He cannot be seen with these two eyes. Only after years of practice and 
hard work can you hope to see him." 




We Westerners would pass the day pursuing our usual pastimes—eating, 
sleeping, drinking tea, gossiping, and moving about. Maharajji often jokingly 
listed these _five behaviors as all that Western devotees were good for. Actually 
we also meditated, studied, sang kirtan, and washed clothes. 


ATHOUGH MOST of us considered our primary spiritual method to be 
our relationship to Maharajji as our guru, he seldom admitted it. He 
continued to throw dust in our eyes. 

Maharaji always kept telling me that other people were my gurus. At first 
I took him seriously. But finally I'd just say, "Maharajji, they may be 
upa-gurus [teachers along the way], but you are my Sat Guru [ultimate 
guru]. You are my guru whether you like it or not." He just laughed. (R.D.) 

"How do I know f a person is my guru?" a devotee asked Maharajji. "Do 
you feel he [guru] can fulfill you in every way spiritually? Do you feel he 
can free you from all desires, attachments, and so forth? Do you feel he can 
lead you to final liberation?" 

Asked to tell how he had met Maharajji, a devotee smiled with amuse- 
ment and answered in this way: 

Once a Bengali gentleman I met at a meta was having visions of a baba 
every time he took a bath in the Ganga, and he was looking for this being at 
the meta. "He is my guru," the man told me. The Bengali described the baba, 
and I showed him a picture of Maharajji. The Bengali said, "That's the one." 
It was arranged for him to meet Maharajji some time later when Maharajji 
was in town. The Bengali gentleman came before Maharajji and asked 
Maharajji when Maharajji and I had met. At first Maharajji didn't answer. 
Finally, after the man had asked several times, Maharajji said, "We have been 
together for innumerable lives." Later, Maharajji asked me, "Was that the 
right thing to say? Isn't it true?" 




The first time I saw Maharaji a disciple had brought him here. I came to 
Maharajji for his blessing for some illness and I said, "I'll make you my 

Maharaji replied, "But I'm not your guru. By God's grace, you will be all 
right. Your master is someone else." 

The next day I asked Maharajji who my guru was, saying I was anxious to 
meet him. I said to him, "If you can make me healthy, you must be my 

Maharajji said, "No. I'll make you healthy. Just pray to God. Your master 
is another—Swami Sivananda." I went to Rishikesh and met Sivananda. I 
told him what Maharajji had said and Sivananda accepted me as a disciple. 

There was a great mahatma who had spent thirty years in a cave in the lion 
pose (on his knees, back arched, tongue protruding, eyes crossed). When I saw 
him I told him that Maharajji was my guru. He said that Maharajji is a great 
mahatma, but made it clear to me that Maharajji never keeps disciples. When I 
asked Maharajji if a certain sadhu was his disciple, Maharajji said, "What are 
you talking about? Of course not. This is a personal matter. It is a result of 
one's own yearning to become a siddha mahatma." 

Although he wouldn't admit that he was our guru, now and then he'd say 
something that made it pretty certain. Once he said to me, "Stay in the ajna 
chakra [point between the eyebrows] and think only of me." (R.D.) 

MAHARAJJI AGAIN and again sent us on specific pilgrimages. For us, it 
often felt as if we were merely being sent "away," but perhaps there was 
more. Pilgrimages to holy places have never played a very large part in 
American life. A few Christians and Jews have visited Jerusalem, and 
some followers of Islam have made the pilgrimage to Mecca. But while 
we often do not call them "holy places," many of us have received spiri- 
tual sustenance from such places as the Lincoln Memorial and from trips 
to the mountains and oceans. In India, pilgrimages to holy temples and 
places of great spiritual power have always played an important part in 


cultural life. For people who have families and jobs and thus cannot live 
in spiritual retreats, the most usual forms of spiritual practice are doing 
charitable acts and making pilgrimages. And Maharajji very much en- 
couraged such pilgrimages through example and instruction. 

When Maharayit and Dada were walking along the meta grounds, Maharayi 
said, "Saints have been coming here for thousands of years. Dada, take the dirt 
and touch your head.” 


We were going with Maharayi to Chitrakut. As we entered the boundaries 
of the sacred place, Maharaji sat down, looked around, and said, "This is the 
place where Ram and Sita moved here and there." After he had moved a little 
further over the dry earth, a thorn pierced Maharapi's foot. He bent down and 
pulled out the thorn, saying, "Many such thorns must have pricked the Lord's 
feet.” He said this in such an emotional way that it brought tears to the eyes of 
all the people there. It was just a small thing but so charged as to affect 
everyone very deeply. Later, when we had all returned to our senses, we 
laughed at our tears, unable to understand what had brought them on. 


Maharayi once told a devotee to be sure to take off of his shoes in holy 
places because the vibrations of a place can thus be transmitted up through the 


Before meeting Maharayi, I had made a pilgrimage to Amarnath Cave in 
Kashmir. In this cave there is a lingam (phallic symbol of Shiva) made of ice 
that changes its size in relation to the cycles of the moon. The cave ts 
supposedly left over_from a previous yuga (age), hundreds of thousands of 
years ago, and in it Shiva and Parvati (his consort) stayed. It was a rainy day 
when we got there, and I was so saddle sore from two days’ climb on a horse 
that I didn't feel anything. Much later, in discussing pilgrimages, Maharaji 

said to me: 


"You went to Amarnath Cave?" 
"Yes, Mahara.” 

"But you didn't understand it.” 
"No, Maharayi.” 

"You will.” (R.D.) 

Accompanied by the Mothers and a few devotees and servants, Maharayzt 
stayed in the Amarkantak dharmasalta for eleven days. Each morning after 
breakfast, they went to the various sacred places in the area—the temple, 
Kapildhara, Dudh-dhara, Sonmuda, and so forth. Often they wandered in the 
jungle, and Maharayi would visit with an old sadhu who lived there alone in a 
cave. The sadhu had a white beard and long jetta (matted hair) and 
extraordinarily long fingernails. He prepared rotis and fed them to Maharayt 
with his own hands, along with fresh milktrom his cow. Maharayi 
commanded everyone to bathe in the sacred reservoir of Narmada Mata. He 
then took. off his clothes and, holding the hand of a devotee, submerged three 
times under the water, shouting, "It's very cold, very cold!" as he came up. 
He immediately threw his blanket back on. 

MAHARAJJI USED names to awaken us to our deeper selves. First we 
were Joan, Jeff, Joe, Danny, and Barbara—and then we were the whole 
Hindu pantheon. 

The naming of the Western devotees reflected the difference in Maharagji's 
lila with men and women. While many Western men were given Das 
[servant] names—such as Ram Dass, Krishna Das, Balaram Das—as fat as 
we know, no women were called Dasi, the feminine counterpart. Nothing 
Maharayi did was without meaning, yet the subtlety of this distinction 1s hard 
Zo interpret. 

Women were instructed to perform acts of service as frequently as were the 
men, and regardless of the individual name given, Maharayi often called each 
woman simply, ""Ma."" Whatever our ages or conditions, we became Mothers, 
the role that has always encompassed loving service. 

Yet perhaps that was not the aspect he wished to stress most; perhaps we 


most needed to see ourselves as goddesses, as the shakti whose first service 1s to 

her lord—who is God. 

One day during a period of confusion, I was complaining that Maharayzi 
was ignoring me and that he was never going to give me a name. Balaram got 
very excited and said, "Oh, ask him, ask him. Lots of people ask him. I'M ask 
him for you. This is a good excuse for you to be with him, a good excuse to 
talk to Mahara.” Even though I thought I should wait until he gave me a 
name, | asked Balaram to feel it out. 

The very next darshan, Maharayi said, "She wants a name." I was so 
embarrassed, that I no longer wanted a name—lI just wanted to run and hide. 
Then Maharaji gave me a name, saying ""Rukminil” He said it very harshly, 
and I was very cool to tt. It just wasn't right. I felt he hadn't given it freely, 
that he'd been pushed into it. I was very upset. 

I didn't tell anyone about it, and I was really unhappy for a few days. 
Maharayi of course sensed my confusion about i, called me into the room, 
looked at me, and with such sweetness said, "Mura, Mira." I wanted to melt. 
The name sounded like music to me. 

When he gave me my name, I felt it as a sort of thorn. It was on a day when 
I was feeling full of self-pity and out of place in the satsang. He gave me the 
name, "Priya Das," beloved server. I alvays _felt that a lot of it was in 
response to my own state of mind at the time. 

One day Hart Dass wrote on his slate that Maharayi had given me the 
name Ram Dass. I asked tf this was good. He said yes, that it was a name for 
Hanuman and meant "servant of God." Since then I have found that name to 
be very much a reminder of my path that I am slowly growing into the name. 




I was standing alone by Hanuman when Maharajji appeared around the 
corner of the temple. Leaning on the railing next to me and looking at me, he 
said, "General Mahavir Singh," and disappeared. I was stunned. 

One morning a _few days later we were all out on the road, where the 
pavement was all hot and sticky. He came and sat down, so everyone else sat 
down next to him and got their nice clean clothes completely filthy—a number 
of people experienced considerable anxiety about that—and in the midst of 
talking with people he turned around and looked at me and said, "What's your 
name ?" Rather sheepishly, I answered, "General Mahavir Singh." He looked 
at me and crooked his head and smiled. And he said, "Nahin! Ab se, Krishna 
[No! From now on, Krishna]." Then he paused for a moment and said, 
"Krishna Das." 

FOR MAHARAJJI, remembering God and repeating a name of God was 
the royal way. God was always just a breath away and appeared again 
and again on Maharajji's lips. 







Once a devotee asked Maharajji what mantra he should use. "The mind 
can't concentrate. Use any mantra—use it, use it," repeated Maharajji. 


Maharayi taught me the utter simplicity and the power of mantra by actually 
immersing me in a situation and then rescuing me with God's name. So that I 
would not miss the teaching, he would repeat tt three times. For example, one 
morning as I sat before him, massaging his feet, I found myself suddenly in the 
depths of depression and remorse. It was so unexpected that I was totally 
caught up in it, neither questioning tts source, nor seeking to transcend tt. 
Then, from within me, as fit were the voice of another, I heard the quiet 
repetition of God's name. In my desperation I latched on to it, and to my 
surprise the depression lifted and all was as before. I sat quietly massaging his 


Then, once again, I was plunged into a state of anguish, and again I was 
consumed by it. Once again, as the voice from within began to repeat God's 
name, I latched on to it and the depression lifted. I laughed within myself at 
the strange occurrence, only to find myself yet again deep in suffering. ‘This 
time, however, I turned immediately to mantra. I no longer identified with the 
mind state, for it was like a passing cloud. As I repeated the mantra in my ear, 
I looked up at Maharayi. He was smiling, twinkling at me. Maharayi used 
this same silent technique of teaching to show me not to tdentify with sexual 


Around 10:00 Am. a man came to my home and said that Maharayi was 
calling me from the Ganga, and I tmmedtately went to find him, accompanied 
by a young boy. At the Ganga some devotees said he'd gone for a walk toward 
the Sangarn and had been gone for two hours—too long for such a short walk. 
They said he must have returned to my house. I said, "No. He sent for me to 
come here. He must be here.” After some time the boy begged me to give up 
and return; twice he did this, and both times I insisted we continue. The third 
time, I felt in a quandary. I could neither go forward nor turn back, Out of 
concern for the boy I could not continue, and out of desire for Maharayi I could 
not turn back. I stood helpless. 

Just then the boy called out, "There he is!" And there was Maharaji in a 
boat just beside us on the Ganga, with two other men. The boat came ashore 
and Maharayi got out and questioned me about the entire story, asking for all 
the details. Then we walked to where the other devotees were standing. Once 


there, Maharajji sent them all away except for me. He again questioned me for 
every detail of the story receiving the summons, coming to the Ganga, 
walking along in search, the boy's pleadings—but this time Maharajji insisted 
that I tell him what was in my mind at the moment of quandary with the boy. 
I replied, "Why, I turned to saying Ram, Ram." 

Immediately, Maharaji leaned over and whispered in my ear, Vust take 
Ram's name and all desires will be fulfilled." He had created this entire 
situation to teach me that! 

I would sit in meditation saying the name of Ram into the night. One 
morning at darshan, Maharajji was giving out prasad. It had been so long since 
I had gotten any that I had almost given up even thinking I would get some. 
Somebody was passing it out and he dropped some in my lap, and Maharajji 
said, "Give her more, give her more. She should have more because she says 
Ram, she says Ram. She's taken the name of Ram." I was so happy because 
he knew! He really knew! 

When I was eighteen I asked him to give me a mantra. He said, "What! I 
don't know anything about these mantras. I only know Ram." Then I handed 
him a photo of himself and he wrote "Ram" all over the back of it. Such 
personal acts were so special. Look! I carry it with me all the time. 

He gave mantras to my wife and children before me. When he gave me a 
mantra I thought to myself, I won't take it because I'm not fit for it; I'm too 

full of sin. 

Thad a shirt that Sihu embroidered with RAM RAM RAM all around the 
collar in purple thread. I was alone at the tucker and Maharajji came out in the 


middle of the afternoon. He saw this shirt and grabbed it. "Look at this!" he 
said to some Indians who had come for darshan. "Look at what's on his shirt! 
It says RAM RAM RAM RAM RAM RAM RAM." Then he chided the 
Indians, "India's really good for him! Why don't you people like India? Look 
at how good it is for him! It says RAM RAM RAM RAM RAM. He came 
all the way from America! It says RAM RAM RAM RAM RAM. Why 
don't you like India?" 

I can't resist telling of the time Maharajji told Naima and me to go around 
the back at Kainchi to where some young naga babas were—and to do _full 
dunda pranam to them. At that time, we were both wearing special Ram 
tilaks. There were some five sadhus hunkered around a fire and smoking a 
chillum. It was very smoky and their naked bodies—but for langotis (loin 
cloths )—were ash-covered. They took very little notice of us, even as I 
performed dunda pranam. What they were saying among themselves was that 
all you needed was to take Ram's name and you would have no difficulties in 
this life. The example one of them gave was of plunging into the icy cold 
water of the Ganga up at Gangotri. All you had to do was take Ram's name, 
and it was not difficult at all. All the babas were wearing the same tilak that I 
was wearing. 


Maharajji sent a baba to get malas in the market at Vrindaban. This baba 
scolded a certain devotee, saying, "You are a haughty one. I bought malas and 
now you think Maharajji will put one on you." Then Maharajji said to this 
devotee, "Take a bath and do puja." Maharajji then put a tilak and rice on 
the devotee's head with his own hand and put a mala around his neck. The 
devotee said, "Now, Maharajji, you must give me a mantra." Maharajji did. 

There was a Ma who in her youth was devoted to Ananda Mayee Ma. 
After some time, she met Maharajji and became very close to him but was 
confused as to who her guru was. Maharajji came to her in a dream and gave 


her a mantra. She was in bed and had to get up and write it down. He said, 
"This is a mantra from Ma." Later, Ananda Mayee Ma confirmed that it was 
the right mantra. 

Annapurna had the desire to be initiated into a mantra by Maharajji. 
Maharajji arranged a whole ceremony, initiating her. formally: a mantra, a 
mala, all of it. 

After Maharajji had left his body a devotee had three dreams. In the first 
one, Maharajji gave her a mantra. In the second dream he told her how to use 
the mantra with OM (the cosmic syllable) on the inbreath. In the third dream, 
after the June feast, he said that she had worked very hard and had done more 
than she should have. 


Maharajji spent long periods inside his room during the last two years. He 
wanted to hear God's name both inside and outside all the time. We used to 
spend time with him in the room. Everyone thought that we must be having a 
good time, but actually he was mostly silent, with closed eyes, listening to the 
Westerners singing kirtan outside. Now and again he would open his eyes and 
look around. "Anything to say? Do you have any questions?" he'd ask us. 
Then he'd again drift back to this other plane. 

On Krishna's birthday celebration in 1973 all the Westerners fasted and did 
kirtan. At midnight they did anti to Maharajji. Through the closed window he 
kept telling them to "jao." Still they stayed, singing sweet kirtan. Finally he 
opened the window and tears were streaming down his face. He sat still and 

listened for a long time. It began to rain, as if God were raining down 
flowers—a very auspicious sign. 



M aharajji had a pat chanting the Shrimad Bhagavatarn (one 
of the great holy books) daily at the temple for a month. I couldn't 
understand what he was chanting, but I could feel the pundit's 
devotion in my heart. E very now and again he would intersperse the 
story with a few refrains of the H are Krishna mantra. M aharajji 
asked me, " W hat is he sa ng "M aharajji, he is saying H are 
Krishna, H are Rama." "A h!" M aharajji was delighted. "Ram 

D ass has heard the essence." (R.D .) 

_ While! was touring with a swami in southern India, he had 
given me mantra diksha (initiation) for a oy powerful Shiva 
mantra that he said would give me vast wealth and vast power. | 
was fascinated and did the mantra day and night for many weeks, 
A sa result of the mantra I began to travel outside of my body. Five 
years earlier, M era had asked me if] wanted to fly and 

redicted that I would, and now I found myself *flying out of my 

ody. Sometimes when doing the mantra I would be taken out of my 
body and onto another pals where I would meet the swami. A fter 
this had been going on for over a month, I was in a cave in Surat, 
meditating. But I couldn't stop doing the mantra. I was once again 
ta of my body, ay es time on the astral plane! was 

rqught to a room where M aharajji was sitting. 

T Was ecstatic and rushed to his tee. He sat’on his tuck Gi... 
wrapped in a blanket. Then he pulled the blank et up over his 
face and heard him blow three times as if extinguishing candles. 
I fat simultaneously, with each blow, my body inflate as if it were 
an inner tube at the air pump in a filling station. A t the condusion 
of the third inflation, the some disappeared and I found myself 
once again back in the cave... but the mantra was gone— not in 
the sense that I couldn't remember it but, rather, because it had lost 
its compelling quality. It no longer possessed me I no longer had 
any desire to repeat it. M aharajji had taken it away. (R.D.) 


One woman devotee did mantra from childhood. Fifteen days before 
Maharajji left his body, he called her in and said, "Here is a new mantra. Do 

"Maharajji, how can I change now?" 

He said, "Touch my feet." Since then she has done only that new mantra. 

In 1968 when I was leaving for America, Hari Dass gave me his mala that 
he had worked with for years. The beads were large and dark from handling 
and were made from the stem of the sacred tulsi plant. At the time, he told me 
that Maharaji had given him the beads many years earlier. Oh, how I 
treasured those beads! I wore them daily and slept with them at night, using 
them as a constant reminder of the Shri Ram mantra that was at times like a 
lifeline connecting me to the spiritual oxygen I craved. 

And then one night in 1971 when I was back in India, a group of us were 
walking up to the Hanuman Garh temple, which is about a mile from 
Nainital, where we were staying while visiting Kainchi. We had various 
drums and cymbals and were chanting as we went. I was playing a set of 
cymbals, and apparently the cymbals caught the string of the beads and broke 
it. It was evening and in the darkness I failed to notice as one after another of 
the beads fell along the wayside. When I did finally notice, twenty or more of 
the sacred number of one-hundred-and-eight beads were missing. I was heartsick 
and searched the next day along the road but found none of the beads. 

I had never seen big beads like those before and didn't know how to go about 
replacing them, so I asked Maharajji. First he denied ever having given them 
to Hari Dass, though I didn't believe his denial; then he said those beads were 
no good anyway. He said I could get the right beads from Sita Ram Baba in 

In Allahabad many months earlier, Maharajji had instructed me to see a 
holy man named Sita Ram Baba, of whom I'd never heard. Apparently that 
had been a foreshadowing of this moment. 

I had never visited Ayodhya, the seat of Ram's kingdom, and the thought of 
getting "special" beads from a "special" baba at the instructions of the guru 
was the delight of a spiritual materialist (like me). 

Within a day I was on a train bound for Ayodhya. 

The first matter of business upon arrival was to _find the right Sita Ram 
Baba. Maharaji had said he was old, so it should not be too difficult. But as I 
roamed the streets in the tonga with my bad Hindi, it was not so easy. After 


several hours I was directed to a house a mile or so out of town. A fellow in 
his twenties standing at the gate said that Sita Ram Baba was his uncle but 
was taking rest—perhaps I could come back later. But, like Hanuman, I was 
not to be deterred and said that I would sit outside until he would see me. It 
was very hot outside but my resolve was firm. 

Apparently the boy told his uncle, for within a few minutes I was ushered 
in. Sita Ram lay on a hammock, and he was very old indeed. His nephew said 
he was one hundred and twenty-eight years old and he looked every day of tt. 
His skin was transparent and his hands skeletal and his voice but a whisper. 
He acknowledged knowing Maharayi and said that I could return at sundown. 
I was disappointed for I was eager to get the beads and get back to Maharayj, 
and it almost looked as if Sita Ram was too old and feeble to help me anyway, 
but there was nothing to do but wait. 

So I left, deciding to visit the famous Hanuman murti in Ayodhya. But as 
the tonga started down the street and had gone perhaps _fifty meters, I looked 
back, and there was Sita Ram Baba literally running after the tonga. He 

jumped aboard and said we would get the beads now. I was delighted yet 
concerned lest the ride be too much for the old man. Now that he was up and 
moving, however, he seemed to be stronger and filled with more life force. 

But the next disappointment came when we arrived at the shop where the 
beads were supposed to be. It was closed. He said there was nothing to do but 
return in the evening, so we turned to go back to his house. But about a 
hundred meters down the road we met the shopkeeper, and Sita Ram prevailed 
upon him to return to the shop. Once at the shop, I felt the goal was in sight. 
The shopkeeper showed Sita Ram Baba several malas, but in each case, though 
I thought them beautiful, Sita Ram Baba rejected them as not "the ones.” 
Then he spoke at length to the shopkeeper, who suddenly lit up and went to a 
desk and opened a tiny drawer that was in a dusty and unused corner. I was 
thrilled, for tt was just like all the occult books had said such things occurred. 

But the beads he brought out were cheap-looking, garishly painted in orange 
or green, and had been crudely carved with Sanskrit symbols of Sita and Ram 
on each bead. I had seen such cheap beads in many places and was always put 
off by them. But Sita Ram said that these were "the beads" so I bought three 
strands for about fifty cents each and smiled gamely. Then I returned Sita Ram 
to his house, thanked him, caught the afternoon train, and returned to 
Maharagyt's feet the next morning. 

When I arrived, Maharayi asked about the beads and I laid them before 
him. All he said was, "Those aren't the beads. I'll have to get them for you 
myself.” But he never did. (R.D.) 


IN INDIA, RITUALS have always played an important role in 
maintaining the spirit. But too often these same rituals stifle the very 

spirit they are designed to preserve. For Maharajji, rituals were to be 
honoted yet kept in perspective. 

Ail fire ceremony was to be held at Kainchi, with Maharayi present in the 
temple compound. I decided to sit through the entire nine-day ceremony to see if 
I could erase my past reactions to ritual (which were primarily negative) and 
open my heart to this process. For tf Maharayi was instigating this, there must 
be a good reason for it. 

The major participants in the ceremony were two Brahmin priests and two 
laymen-householders, both of whom were old devotees of Maharayi. The days 
wore on slowly. It was hot by the fire, and the repetitiveness, the heat, the 
fatigue, the intensity, and the visual power of the scene slowly opened me 
emotionally, until I felt as tf that edifice were a spaceship carrying all of us 
within it higher and higher. 

During the first six days, Maharayi never attended the ceremony but was 
constantly apprised of its progress. On the seventh day, when the ritual had 
truly taken on a life of its own for me and had begun to hold me deeply, he 
suddenly started to yell from the opposite side of the commpound, where he was 
sitting. It seemed that he was calling in a strangely jarring manner to one of the 
householder-laymen who was a major participant in the ritual. Por almost seven 
full days these four men had been going without stop and here was Maharayi 
disrupting the entire process. Seemingly without a second thought the devotee got 
up and went to Maharayt. My concentration was broken, so | followed after 
him to see why Maharaji had called this man from the ceremony. I found the 
man handing out prasad, small packages of purls and potatoes, to the local 
children who came every day to the temple to be fed. There were dozens of 
other devotees who could have done this, but Maharapi chose to call this man. 

Later, still confused and somewhat resentful toward Maharayi for disrupting 
what had finally become a sacred ritual for me, I spoke to the man who had 
been called away. He simply said, "Maharayi is beyond all ritual.” (R.D.) 

We were attending a yagna (fire ceremony), though we always preferred 
contact with Maharayi over all these rituals, because his darshan ts the greatest 

SADH AN A 343 

puja. But he would always tell us, "Go there, you devil, wicked man, leech!" 
And whatever he really wanted was not difficult for us to do. He asked one 
devotee if he'd like to sit in the puja, and the man replied that he'd rather not. 
Maharayi said, "You are a miserly fellow. All those pundits are there and you 
think you have to pay them. Not I'l pay them." This touched the man's 
heart, and the next morning he took his seat at the yagna. Offerings were 
being made to the fire, with chants of "Swaha!l Swahal” "Hap!" Maharaji 
shouted. "What does this swaha, swaha do for them? Go out and distribute the 
food! What is the use of throwing things into the fire?” 

He was always very considerate with everyone. Although he never told 
anyone to g0 do puja or rituals, he encouraged them to do wt Y~ it was their 
habit. I regularly did some puja in the morning, but when Maharayi came to 
visit, serving him became the puja. But every day Maharayi would leave the 
house in the morning to visit the home of other devotees or on some walk, thus 
giving me time to do my puja. 

I used to keep a complete fast on the day and night of Shivaratri (day for 
honoring Shiva), not even taking water or even sleeping. I would stay up the 
whole time doing puja to Lord Shiva. One year by chance, Maharaji came to 
Nainital the day before Shivratri, and we ended up at the home of one devotee 
who had prepared special food for Maharayt's visit. Maharayi told everyone to 
eat, and when asked why I wouldn't eat, I said that it was a fast day. He 
said, "Why fast? Carry on! Fat!" I told him that I would eat only with his 
permission. He said, "Yes! Eat!" then I took food from him. He said, "You 
do your puja now.” I asked for his blessings to go, but he replied, "No, you 
do it here here, in front of me." I started my puja. 

Maharayi sat there talking and people kept coming and going. Three or four 
people who had never recited these prayers before were so charmed that they 
also began to recite. Maharayi turned to me and said, "Oh, you are just 
showing off. What ts the use of fasting and all these rituals? The Lord ts 

within you. You can't remember him until his grace is there. If his grace ts 


there, everything is there. Always remember him and try to acquire him. And 
if his grace is there..." Then he sat still for two-and-a-half hours. The 
whole atmosphere was charged. Each year I had been very fastidious about that 
particular day, fasting, praying, and so forth, but this time he broke that. 

On other occasions he wouldn't allow me to do my puja. I told him that I 
wouldn't do it if he wouldn't allow me, but that I also wouldn't eat until the 
puja was done. Then he shouted, "Close the door, you wicked man! Finish 
your puja! What is this puja and this troubling the Lord? Praying and fasting ? 
Can't you remember the Lord for a second? What good is this puja? I don't 

Every morning and everting at the temple, rituals would be performed that 
included the use of a red paste and grains of rice. After the ceremony the pujari 
would place a bit of this paste and a few grains of rice in the middle of each 
person's forehead. The high point of the ceremony for the old priest would be 
the placing of the tilak on Maharajji's forehead. Maharajji would of course be 
talking to people during the whole process and, invariably, just as the old 
pujari would apply the paste with great seriousness and concentration, 
Maharajji would turn his head to talk to somebody else and a smear of red 
would go completely across his forehead. The pujari just could never get 
Maharajji to sit still for the rituals. 

EQUALLY AS IMPORTANT as fire ceremonies are the ceremonial baths in 
the sacred Ganges River. Maharajji disrupted even these. 

Two old men were en route to the Ganga at mela. It is considered a very 
holy thing to bathe in the Ganga at this time. Maharajji commented, "No, 
take your bath here. Everywhere is the Ganga." 

Once a devotee was on his way to the Ganga to take his ritual bath, when 
he encountered Maharajji. Maharajji sent him back without his bath, saying, 
"Serving people is better than a ritual bath in the Ganga." 





THE LESSONS Maharajji taught about rituals, like so much of his teach- 
ing, were fraught with the paradox that outdistanced the rational mind. 
He seemed concerned that the rituals be done properly, yet he broke all 
the rules. But as one devotee said, "When there was work, he would set 
aside the rituals, and the minute the work was completed, he sent you to 
do puja." But perhaps he also broke the rules, such as upsetting that fire 
ceremony, to show people that the thing itself was not the ritual but the 
spirit: Do the ritual to tune in, but don't get caught. 

There were two old men who, having raised families and done their duties, 
had taken sanyas and were wandering about on foot. They spent many months 
at the Kainchi temple, and Maharajji had them singing "Sita Ram" for several 
hours each morning. When it was time for them to leave, Maharajji called 
them in front of him and, in what appeared to be outrage, yelled at them for 
beating an iron pan in_front of the murtis during arti. (In the scriptures, iron is 
not to be used in the temples.) Maharajji told them that they didn't know how 
to behave properly and so he threw them out. As they turned to walk away, 
Maharajji broke into a grin and sang in a high falsetto voice, sweetly, "You 
beat the gong, and I threw you out." 

A man brought in his baby for Maharajji's blessing, but all Maharaji did 
was to pat the child on the head. The man was angry and said he wanted 
Maharajji to perform the proper blessing ceremony. Maharajji retorted that he 
didn't know that ceremony, that he'd blessed the child, and ff the man wanted 
the proper ceremony, he would have to go to someone who knew it. 


Once the Westerners had prepared to do a great puja to Maharajji, planning 
to wash his feet in all the proper ingredients in order to make amrit. They had 
divided up the tasks among them and were quite excited about it. When 
Maharajji came out he was wearing socks. He made them perform the 
ceremony using his index finger instead. 

When Maharajji's Vrindaban temple was completed, he told B to be pujari 
there. The young boy was not a Brahmin (as priests traditionally are) and 
knew nothing of pujas and rituals. Maharajji called in a pundit and told him to 
teach the boy the prayers. Then Maharajji sent him to the bazaar to buy a 
sacred thread and tulsi beads. Maharajji put these on him and told him to do 
the puja to Hanuman, that now he had become a pukka pujari (first-class 

Maharajji had gone out one day, and J, the man who had built the temple, 
came and questioned B as to his caste, his knowledge of Sanskrit, and so forth. 
B answered that he was not a Brahmin but a Thakur (a lower Hindu caste). J 
was upset, and just then Maharajji appeared and called him away. J 
complained to Maharajji, and in the big hall in front of many people a 
discussion followed. Maharajji then asked B if he knew Sanskrit; if he could 
read the Bhagavad Gita. B said no and Maharajji retorted "Don't lie." 
Maharajji told J that B knew the eighteen chapters of the Gita by heart. J then 
asked to hear chapters eleven and twelve. Maharajji threw his blanket over B's 
head and hit his head a few times. Then B began to sing the Gita in the best 
Sanskrit, impressing all the Brahmins. J broke down and threw himself at 
Maharajji's feet. B remained pujari for a year and a half. Although he never 
again recited the Gita, when that boy would perform a puja he was in such 
communion with God that much peace would come to all. 

AS A PROTECTOR of the dharma, Maharajji not only kept devotees from 
getting lost in the rituals, but also he was quick to point out spiritual 
deception, fraudulence, and materialism when he would find it. 

Once at a meta, Maharajji and a devotee passed a sadhu sitting as f in deep 
meditation, with a Iota next to him. Maharajji said, "He's a deceiver." He 
told a young boy to steal the sadhu's iota. As soon as the boy took the iota, the 


sadhu came out of meditation and jumped up. Maharajji yelled to the boy, 
"Drop it, drop it, or he'll beat you." 

"Come on," said Maharaji to a devotee. "I'll show you a very big 
mahatma. You'll have darshan [here he was being sarcastic] of a very great 
saint."" Maharajji and the devotee traveled by car to the ashram of this baba, 
and Maharaji led the devotee to a young man clothed in saffron silken robes 
and smoking a cigarette. When this man saw Maharajji, he threw his cigarette 
away and pranammed to him. They sat down and the sadhu went into his 
room and brought out a very expensive blanket. (Maharajji was wearing an 
old, very plain blanket.) The sadhu removed Maharajji's blanket and wrapped 
the new one around him. 

"What's this?" asked Maharajji. 

"It's a new blanket, a very beautiful, expensive one. That millionnaire's 
mother came and gave it to me. It was kept for you, Maharajji. Here it is. It's 
a most excellent blanket. Don't give it to anyone." 

Maharajji didn't take a second to get up. He threw off the expensive blanket 
and said, "You are a sadhu? Can there be distinctions between blankets? This 
is good and this is bad? A blanket is a blanket!" 

He snatched his old blanket and said to the devotee, "Come on. He's a 
sadhu and he sees a difference in blankets. What can he see in men?" 
Maharaji left for the car, mumbling, "What's this? Hap!" They got into the 
car and drove away. Maharajji was very different from the ordinary sadhu. 

A devotee was describing some dishonest sadhus. Weeping, Maharajji said, 
"Look what they have done in the name of dharma." 


One person loaned some two thousand rupees to a sadhu and it was not 
returned. Maharajji said, "When you loan money to a saint, don't expect to 
get it back." 



Staying with V's cousin was a big sadhu from Lucknow, who was reputed 
to be very clever and to be able to make predictions by looking at the palm of 
one's hand. V showed his hand to the sadhu, who predicted good things but a 
short life, no more than sixty to sixty-five years. V wasn't happy. Later 
Maharayi asked him what had happened, saying, "Don't he, tell me. You 
think your age will only be sixty-five. No. no. I'M tell you——not less than 
eighty-five. Whenever sadhus come, show them great respect and feed them uf 
possible. But don't let yourself get too involved with them.” 


Maharaji spoke of a companion from his early days: "He was so high, yet 

his maya was so strong.” 

The chief of police of Kanpur, a devotee of Maharaji, came to Maharayz 
one day with a warrant for the arrest of a baba, who was also very fond of 
Maharayi, on charges of desertion from the army and ilicit dealings in 
Kanpur. Maharagi told the police chief not to serve the warrant. After all, the 
man was now a sadhu and shouldn't be held responsible for desertion. 
Maharaji later scolded the baba: "What are you doing? You pretend to be a 
sadhu and yet you are still doing this business. Leave it." 

The baba left Kanpur for Nainital, where Maharayi was also going. With 
his very imposing figure and a beautiful singing voice, the baba quickly 
gathered a following from whom he collected a lot of money. Maharayi called 
the baba to him and rebuked him, telling him to leave tt all and run away, but 
the baba continued to use and manipulate money and power. He married twice, 
leaving children with both women before running away from them. Until that 
time Maharayi had been kind and sympathetic toward him, always asking how 
his "swam" business was doing. At this point, however, Maharayi rebuked 

him for his lecherous activities, and the baba, breaking with Maharaji, never 


Traveling in the south Maharajji and SM came to an ashram, and 
Maharajji went into a gate and saw a Krishna murti under a tree, not being 
properly cared for. He said, "You stay, but I am leaving. A murti is the same 
as the living God and it must be treated that way—I don't want to be where 
somebody thinks that they are higher than God." 

BECAUSE THERE WAS SO much spiritual fraudulence all about, Maharajji 
was joyful and honoring when he found people of pure spirit. 

One devotee said that every time they passed a temple while driving in a 
Jeep, Maharajji would stop the jeep and pranam, and for every sadhu that 
passed, Maharajji would bring his hands together too, under his blanket. 

I took some swamis, including a famous singer, to have Maharajji's darshan 
in Vrindaban. Before I could introduce them, Maharajji said, "I know them. 
Call them here. They must have some tea. He wants to sing bhajan." I had 
never told Maharajji about this famous south Indian singer, who was 
accompanied by five south Indian women. Maharajji called for tea, then took 
me alone into his room and said, "He's very good. Would it trouble him to 
sing for me? His singing would give me great pleasure. Would it trouble him to 
sing kirtan?" 

I replied, "Baba, what trouble would there be in your place?" 

Maharajji came out and asked the swami to sing. The swami sang some 
bhajans about Radha (Krishna's beloved and devotee) and Krishna. He felt a 
strong connection to Maharajji. "Now you are tired," Maharajji said. "You'll 
eat sambar and rasam [southern food] here! Mas! You'll make food here?" 
Maharajji laughed. The women couldn't understand Hindi. "Speak up! Tell 
me! Will you come here every day for meals? Sambar, rasam daily." 

I told Maharajji that we couldn't stay in the ashram since we wanted to 
move around and visit the temples of Vrindaban. 

"Accha! Then do this—come every day and take prasad here!" 

We came to see Maharajji daily, and each time he tried to fill us up with 


prasad. He took special care of this swam, saying, "He's a very good 

mahatma. This sort of saint you won't meet.” 

Swami Sivananda was considered one of the great saints of India. He left 
behind him many disciples and a great ashram in Rishikesh. Maharayi would 
now and then visit the ashram unannounced. Each visit, some incident would 
occur that would be long remembered at the ashram. Sometimes the head of the 
ashram would prepare food for Maharayi with his own hands. Once Maharayi 
called for a swami who was very old and revered. This swami honored only 
the memory of the great Swananda and would not even bow to anyone else. 
Ass he came near Maharayi, Maharayi shouted "Veda Vyas [a great historical 
saint in India ]! Veda Vyas has come!" At this, the swami's entire demeanor 
changed and he did full dunda pranam before Maharayt. In some deeper way 
they recognized one another. 

FOR THE HIGHEST SAINTS MAHARAJJI held the greatest reverence and love. 
When one was privileged to hear him talk of such beings, it was like 
hearing him speak of members of an intimate and loving family. Just the 
quality of his voice as he spoke or remembered or reflected conveyed the 
depth of the connection. He spoke this way of such as Christ, Ra- 
makrishna, Hariakhan Baba, Tailanga Swami, Shirdi Sai Baba, Ramana 
Maharshi, Nityananda, Ananda Mayee Ma, Sombari Maharaj, Deoria 
Baba, and Sivananda, among others. 

A\ picture of Shirdi Sai Baba was given to Maharayi and placed at his feet. 
Maharayi immediately sat up and took up the picture. "It doesn't belong there. 
He was a very good baba,"" Maharayi said and put the picture by his head. 

There was a great saint named Gangotri Baba who lived permanently on the 
snows of Gangotri in the Himalayas. Maharayi was known to visit with him. 

One can't say who was whose devotee. Beyond a certain point, the behavior of 
saints 1s inexplicable. 


Once in Allahabad, the head of a five-hundred-year-old Gorakhnath sect, 
begun shortly after the time of Shankara, came to see Maharayi, and 
Maharayi made Dada and others touch his feet. The man was very humble 
and said, "Here I am before the saint of saints and you call me saint." 

Maharaji once said, "Once I was going by Ramana Maharshi. He got up 
and tried to follow me but I ran away.” 

Maharayi said I should not go alone to the Kumbha Meta. I was with him, 
holding onto his blanket so I would not get lost..A ragged mart came up to 
Maharayi and put his arms around him in a very familiar way. They began to 
dance, arm in arm, singing "lillyri" over and over again. It lasted about two 
minutes. It's the only time I've seen Maharayi dance. I tried to touch the 
man's feet because I had heard that Hanuman and other great rishis attended 
the meta, but I could not touch them. It was such ecstasy that I couldn't. Then 
the man disappeared. I have always regretted not forcing myself to touch him. 

Maharayi had gone through Beharyzt temple and out the back and into a 
house, where he asked for food. In the street someone was yelling, "One roar 
and Maharayi called him in. It was a sadhu who only begged for two rotis a 
day. Maharayi asked him, "Where is your roti?” Maharaji took it and ate it. 
Maharayi said the man was an Iraqi who had come to Vrindaban forty years 
ago, but the man didn't seem of this world to the devotees who were present. 




Once a sadhu came into the temple carrying a trident and covered with ashes 
(which are characteristic of Shiva). Maharajji ran right up to him and did 
obeisance, and the man disappeared. 

Another time, a man came late at night and asked for a lantern at the temple 
gate. Dada went and gave him the lantern because his car had broken down, 
and then the man came back and returned the lantern. The next day Maharajji 
said, "Did you invite him into the temple for food?" They hadn't. He said, 
"You fool! Don't you know who that was? It was Sombari Maharaj [a saint 
long deceased ]." 

KKworked hard at the bhandara. Maharajji later told him he had had the 
darshan of Sombari Maharaj there. KK was angry because he hadn't realized 
it. Maharajji said, "Why should you know?" and the anger disappeared. 

Maharajji went with one of the Ma's to visit a new murti of Vaishnavi 
Devi being installed, and it was still in the packing case. Only the face 
showed. Maharajji talked to the murti and the Mother clearly saw the murti 
blink. That is the true consecration. 

Rabu was sick and had lost his voice. Maharajji told him to do Devi puja 
(prayers to the female aspect of God) to Durga for four days. As the last line 
was recited, Maharajji opened the window and called out, "I've told the 
Mother [Goddess Durga] and all will be well with you now." 


MAHARAJJI'S LOVE of Christ was unearthly. When he was asked, "Who 
was Christ?" Maharajji answered: 





You never knew what a devotee's statement would evoke. A boy came one 
time and asked, "Maharajji, did Jesus really get angry?" 

As soon as Maharajji heard the word "Jesus," tears came to his eyes. He 
was sitting up when the question was asked, and he leaned over on his elbow 
and tapped his heart three times with tears coming down from his eyes. There 
was total silence for a moment. Maharajji had brought the reality of Christ into 
everyone's consciousness, and he said, "Christ never got angry. When he was 
crucified he felt only love. Christ was never attached to anything; he even gave 
away his own body." And at that point everyone was crying—we had gone 
through the complete Passion of Christ. And all of a sudden he sat up and 
said, "The mind can travel a million miles in the blink of an eye—the Buddha 
said that." 

"Why was Christ so maligned?" Maharajji was asked. 
"It is so with all saints, but they see only love in everyone. You should not 
speak, hear, or see evil. You should see love everywhere and in everyone. See 

the good in all." 


Maharajji once went to Catholic mass and took prasad there. Maharajji, [, 
and BD were all in Lucknow on Christmas morning and decided to go to 
Jesus' puja. As they approached the church, Maharajji had BD go in first (as 
he was a Westerner). Maharajji was of course barefoot, wearing his blanket 
and dhoti. BD knelt down before the font of holy water and someone there 
sprinkled water on his head. I and Maharajji followed this example. They 
attended the ceremony, and when time came for Communion, they received the 
Sacrament in their hands. 

Once a devotee asked Maharajji how Christ meditated. Maharajji sat up and 
closed his eyes for some time. Tears began to stream from his eyes as he sat in 
silence. Then Maharajji said, "He lost himself in the ocean of love." 

MAHARAJJI HONORED purity of spirit, no matter what the tradition or 
lineage. He kept drawing us back from our concerns about individual 
differences, back beyond the forms, with his oft-reiterated remark, "Sub 
Ek [AII one]!" 









A Moslem devotee invited Maharajji to attend a religious festival at his 
home. The whole family and many of their friends gathered together to sing 
Sufi songs and to hear readings from the Koran. Many Moslem mullahs 
(priests) and scholars attended the festival to perform the rituals and read the 
scriptures. When Maharajji arrived, the devotee escorted him to the place of 
honor in front of the scholars. They immediately ceased their singing and 
complained to the host. They said that they couldn't continue the rituals in the 
presence of a Hindu. Maharajji verbally abused them for their prejudice and 
narrow-mindedness. He quoted from the Koran and from some great Sufi poet- 
saints on the oneness of all religions. Maharajji asked for some prasad. When it 
was brought he distributed food, sweets, and money to the scholars. Happy 
again, they started their chanting. Maharajji accompanied them for many 
hours, singing "La Il Aha El Il Allah Hu." 





OF ALL THE holy books in India, the Ramayana was by far Maharajji's 
favorite. And within the Ramayana he was particularly fond of the 
chapter entitled 'Sundarakand."' 

In Lucknow this old man always came to see Maharajji, and Maharajji 
would always ask him to recite from the Ramayana. "Sing this part! Sing the 
part where..." and so forth. The man would sing and Maharaji would eat 
his meal. Maharaji would never sniff or anything, but tears would stream 
down his face like a child. The Sundarakand was his favorite part. 

When the Ramayana reading was in Kainchi, he'd open his window just a 
little to listen to it. 

THE SUNDARAKAND concerns the exploits of Hanuman, an extraordi- 
narily charming, wise, powerful, and loving monkey whose sole preoc- 



cupation was to serve God in the form of Ram. Maharajji never tired of 
hearing and repeating the adventures of Hanuman as described in the 
Ramayana and in a special prayer to Hanuman, the Hanuman Chalisa. 

Maharayi used to quote from the Ramayana such things as, "I bow down to 
Hanuman, whose praises can only be sung by Ram. The stories of Ram are so 
beautiful that the birds of doubt are chased away." 

He loved to hear the Hanuman Chala sung by the Westerners early in the 
morning. He was very happy with it, and in the middle he'd start joking and 

make everyone laugh, 

From the very beginning, he loved the Hanuman Chalisa very much. In the 
early days, when a big mob gathered, he would tell them all to sit down and 
recite the Hanuman Chalisa. When they were all involved in it, he'd get up 
and go somewhere else. 

TO BEIN Mahatajji's presence when such stories were repeated seemed 
to turn these stories into an awesome living truth. 

Ordinarily when we read the Hanuman Chatsa, nothing particularly struck 
us. Sometimes Maharayi would say, "Ts it written that Hanumanji will live 
forever... that he was for all time? How?" Maharayi would say only this 
much and put everyone into a thoughtful state. Maharayi put a spark to the 

Once when we were sitting with Maharayi at Dada's house, a devotee was 
reciting from the Ramayana. Tears streamed down Maharag's cheeks, and 
then he went into a very blissful samadhi state. We were all overwhelmed by 
the quality of the moment. When the reading stopped Dada suddenly got up 
and led Maharayi into the other room and closed the door. 

MAHARAJJI NOT ONLY honored the story of Hanuman but over the years 
had encouraged devotees in many places in India to construct temples for 
the honoring of Hanuman. Some of these temples are small and located 
in devotee's homes, and others are large public ones to which hundreds 
come each day. It is not possible to determine how many temples were 
constructed at Maharajji's inspiration, if not his direct instigation. For 
someone so aware of the pitfalls of ritual, it seems strange that in his 
later years he should be so identified with temples. However, everything 
connected with the temples, starting with the very construction, held 
subtle teachings. Every temple involved much drama of one kind or 
another about such aspects as the acquisition of land. And these difficul- 
ties embroiled many devotees in processes that in each case intensified 
their own ultimate faith in the spirit. 

The big temple at Nainital ts constructed upon a spot where previously there 
was dense jungle, inhabited by wild animals. Part of the place had been used as 
a burial ground for very young children (who are not cremated). Local people 
believed the site to be haunted by ghosts. When Maharayi visited the place and 
indicated that he wanted to build a temple there, the local officials put up a lot 
of resistance. INobody thought that a Hanuman temple could ever be built there. 

Maharayi just camped by the side of the road. Each day many devotees 
would walk out to the spot to be with him. Slowly, slowly the vibrations of 
the place changed. Once he pointed to a mule shed, which was the only 
structure near there, and said, "Here there nill be a big temple and people will 
comefrom all over the world to it." Fxveryone laughed because it seemed 
absurd. Then after some time, Maharayt had Hari /ass Baba bring to the 
place a small murti of Flanuman that he had made, and it was duly installed. 
That was the beginning of what ts now a large temple complex on the top of a 
high hill to which people come from all over to have darshan. 

The large Kainchi tenaple is built at a spot where Sombari Maharaj, a great 
saint of that area, had lived in a cave. The cave still remains at the back of the 
temple and there ts a strong feeling of continuity of spirit there. 

Once Maharayi, Stddhi Ma, and Jivanté Ma went at night to the site that 
was later to become the temple at Kaincht. While the Ma's sat by the roadside, 
Maharagi crossed over the river and didn't come back for four or, five hours. 

When he did, he said, "I hear the sound here. We shall have a temple.” 


When Maharayi was asked why he didn't build an ashram at a particular- 
holy place, he answered that it was not for such as him to do. This was a very 
old, old temple site. He would not want to disturb the vibration already set up. 


In our city, the place where the temple now stands was where people would 
relieve themselves. It was very dirty. Maharayi came, blew a conch shell to 
purify the place, and stayed there. People gathered and cleaned it up and built 
a temple. 


Maharayi frequently used to visit the old Hanuman temple in Lucknow, 
situated on the banks of the Gomati River. The temple was built before 1960 
by a devotee of Maharayi at his request. Maharayi would sit there and give 
darshan, and though the temple became famous, puja and bhandara to celebrate 
its opening were never done. Once M asked Maharayi about this, and 
Maharayi rephed, "INo, no. Not this temple. We'll have a bigger temple.” 

One day while driving Maharayi to someone's house they passed by an old 
bridge which was being replaced by a big new one. Mahara pointed toward 
the bank where the construction was going on and said, "There we'll have our 
temple!" There was no question of doing anything. Later, when driving to 
Kanpur, Maharayi suddenly shouted, "A wonderful temple has been designed 
in Lucknow." 

Two years later there was a change in government and an old devotee 
became minister of public works. He came to Maharayi and suggested that the 
old temple was too small. Maharagi said, "As you like.” A few days later the 
man came by nith a fine model of the present temple. Maharayi said, "Yes, 
make it." 

When the new bridge was completed, the old one was abandoned. At the 
same time, the river began to consume the old temple. The government 
suggested destroying it, but Maharaji said that a temple shouldn't be destroyed, 
that nature should run its course. 

The government bought the temple for thirty-five thousand rupees as 


compensation. Maharajji asked the minister how much the new temple would 
cost, and he said eighty-five thousand rupees. When asked where the balance 
would come from, Maharajji said, "It will be made!" Six months later the 
government had given most of the money, and the owner of the contracting 
company offered to pay the balance. Then the temple was built on land that 
was also given by the public-works minister. Two years ago the Gomati 
flooded and took off the back half of the old temple complex. 

THE MOST IMPORTANT teaching of these temples, however, is that they 
all contain statues of Hanuman. These statues, constructed of stone or 
cement, were invested through prayer, mantra, and chanting with the 
spirit of Hanuman, and thus they became murtis and were treated in the 
same way that one would treat the actual Hanuman. 

As the years passed, Maharajji came to spend more and more time at 
these temples in the course of his wandering, and this tended to 
strengthen an association in the minds of the community between Hanu- 
man and Maharajji. This association went back to the earliest stories 
about Maharajji, far predating the construction of the temples. 

Exactly what the association between Maharajji and Hanuman is, 
plays endlessly in the minds of devotees. He talked about Hanuman con- 
tinuously and named many of us with one or another of the names used 
to refer to Hanuman, including those names of God to which the word 
"das [servant of]" was attached; and he instructed many on the path of 
service and devotion that would bring them ever closer to Hanuman. 

A man asked Maharajji, "What should I do for sadhana?" Maharajji said, 
"Don't bother your head about that, just keep repeating Ram as Hanuman 
did." This man was an old devotee, now retired from his livelihood work. 


Some DEVOTEES regard Maharajji's focus on Hanuman as due to Ma- 
harajji's being a member of a traditional devotional sect in India, in 
which the relation of devotee to God is like that of servant to master— 
with Hanuman the perfect embodiment of that form. This sect focuses 
its devotion upon Hanuman, the monkey-God depicted in the Ramayana 
as serving God (in the form of Ram) with totally concentrated one- 
pointedness. His exploits, which reflect this devoted service, bring him 
into such intimacy with God that he becomes known as the "breath of 
Ram itself." 


Other devotees see the deep intimacy that was often evidenced in 
Maharajji's dealings with Hanuman as reflecting a bond between them 
far transcending the usual devotional forms. 

When Maharajji was staying at Neeb Karori, it is reported that he spoke to 
Hanuman directly, as if he were right there. 

Maharajji would visit an ancient (eight-hundred or thousand-year-old) 
Hanuman temple at Aliganj in Lucknow. He would sit there under a giant 
shade tree near Hanuman for long periods. 

There used to be treacherous landslides along the ridge that later became the 
Hanuman Garh temple site. Maharajji told K that all this would stop when 
Hanuman came; he would protect the place. Since the temple was built, there 
have been no more landslides. 

Maharajji invited a famous pundit to come to Kainchi and recite the Shrimad 
Bhagavatam. This man was used to reciting before large and very receptive 
crowds, and he complained to Maharajji that on this occasion he had to recite to 
only a few illiterate villagers. Maharajji gently rebuked him and said, "Don't 
worry. Hanumanji is listening," 

A forest fire in the hills came dangerously close to the temple but stopped just 
at the perimeter of the grounds. Maharajji said, "The monkey army protected 
us. They put out the fire." 


AMt the consecration of the Hanuman murti at Kainchi, Maharaji stayed 
away most of the day. Late in the afternoon he said to a few devotees, "Let's 
0 have darshan of Hanuman. Get a pail of milk. We'll sive him some milk.” 
A\ crowd started to gather around the room, but Maharayi had the door closed, 
with only three or four devotees inside. 

One of the devotees thought, "I have always wanted to see how a murti ts 
fed. mn 

AAs the devotee thought this, Maharagi turned and said, "F:veryone turn 
around and face the wall and close your eyes."" They all did this, but the same 
devotee wanted so badly to see that he thought of opening his eyes anyway. As 
he thought this, Maharayi said, "And tf you open your eyes you will be 
blinded." Suddenly they all felt a change of energy in the room. They 
experienced through closed eyelids a brithant light and heard the sound of 
drinking. When they were allowed to turn around they found the pail empty, a 
tiny puddle of milk on the floor, and some milk dripping from Hanuman's 
mouth. Maharayi told them to collect the milk on the floor and give i out as 
Hanuman's prasad. 

MAHARAJJI OFTEN told the following story, which some devotees 
sus- pected was about himself: 

In a small village there was a tiny Hanuman temple to which the local 
people would come. The practice ts for a devotee to bring some sweets and offer 
them to the murts by giving them to the priest, who then takes the sweets into 
the room or alcove where the murti is and draws a curtain. Then he offers the 
sweets to the murti with appropriate mantras. After this the priest usually takes 
a few of the sweets and sets them aside to be given later to the poor 
neighborhood children. The rest he brings back to the devotee-donor as prasad, 
which the devotee then eats as a blessing from Hanuman. 

It so happened that the old priest in this village was called away by illness 
in his family, and he left a young neighborhood boy who loved to be around 
the temple to take care of the temple while he was away. Soon some devotees 
came and brought sweets, and the boy took them as he had seen the priest do 
and went behind the curtain. Even though he had never been with Hanuman 
when the curtain was closed, he offered the sweets to the murti. But Hanuman 
wouldn't take them. The boy became upset and demanded that Hanuman take 
some of the sweets. He even picked up a stick and began to beat the murta. 
Suddenly all the sweets disappeared from the dish. The boy returned to the 
devotees, joyfully explaining that Hanuman had accepted their offering. The 


devotees, who were used to receiving back. a portion off their gift, concluded that 
the boy had decided to Reep all their gift _for himself, and beating the boy, they 
sent him away. When the old priest returned and was told about this incident, 
he said, "All my life I had hoped to become pure enough so that my offerings 
would be accepted by Hanuman. But I never was. This young boy had that 
purity and was so blessed.” 

On Maharayt's last day at Kainchi, he stopped for two minutes in front of 
Hanuman and folded his hands. He was wearing only a dhots. It was 
completely silent. This was only the second time, said one long-time devotee, 
that he had ever seen Maharayi do this. The other time was at the consecration 
of the murte. 

FOR MOST OF us, however, the link we experienced is even more in- 
timate than these stories suggest. For us, Maharajji 7s Hanuman. 

Hanuman's qualities are described in the various texts about him as 

I bow to the son of the wind-god, the beloved devotee of Sri Rama, the chief 
of the monkeys, the respository of all virtues, the foremost among the wise, a 
fire to consume the forest of the demon race, possessing a body shining as a 
mountain of gold and a home of immeasurable strength. (Lulsidas, Sri 
Ramacharitamanasa, Englhsh translation [Gorakhpur, India: Gita Press, 
1968], pp. 595-596) 

Who ts this monkey Hanuman? Rama let him loose in the world. He knows 
Rama and Rama knows him. Hanuman can break in or break out of 
anywhere. He cannot be stopped, like the free wind in _flight. Hanuman can 
spot a tyrant, he looks at deeds not words and he'll go and pull his beard. 
Disguises and words of talk. cannot confuse a mere wild animal... . 
Hanuman will take your sad tune and use it to make a happy dance. Strong ts 
his guard... the Son of the Wind. (Widlham Buck, Ramayana [Berkeley: 
University of California Press, 1976], p. 427) 


Hanuman is no monkey, but some god in the form of a monkey. No one can 
equal him. He ts brave and kind, self-radiant, a befriender of the meek, strong 
and intelligent, and a knower of time and place (adapted from Tulsidas and 

HANUMAN MUST be reminded of his own powers, for he has no self- 

"Lasten, O mighty Hanuman; how ts it that you are Reeping mumé?_A son 
of the wind-god, you are as strong as your father and a storehouse of 
intelligence, discretion, and spiritual nisdom. What undertaking in this world is 
too difficult for you to accomplish, dear child? It ts for the service of Sri Rama 
that you have come down upon earth." The moment Hanuman heard these 
words he grew to the size of a mountain, with a body shining as gold and full 
of splendor as though he was another king of mountains. (Lulsidas, p. 593) 

You assumed a tiny form to reveal yourself to Sita—then became tmmense 

and terrifying to burn Lanka. (Hanuman Chala) 

"But my son, all the monkeys must be pygmies like you, whereas the 
demons are mighty and great warriors. I have grave misgwings in my heart on 
this score," said Sita. 

On hearing this the monkey revealed his natural form, colossal as a 
mountain of gold, terreble in battle possessing great might and full of valour. 
(Iulsidas, p. 608) 

He entered the grove, ate the fruit and began to break. down the trees. He 
later said to Ravana, "I ate the fruit because I felt hungry and broke the 
boughs as a monkey ts wont to do.” 


Ravana laughed and said, sarcastically, "We have found a most wise Guru 

in this monkey!" (adapted from Tulsidas, pp. 610-614) 

HIS APPETITE for love is insatiable. 

Sita, the Mother of the Universe, wishes to feed Hanuman because of her 
intense love for him. Hanuman begins to eat. And she keeps cooking more and 
offering more and he Reeps eating more until the pantry 7s empty. She borrows 

food and cooks more, but he keeps saying, "More, Mother, more!" Finally her 
mother-in-law brings trays of cooked food to help her out, but Hanuman won't 
eat it even though it 1s brought out by Sita. With his discriminative power he 
knows the difference and says, "No, Mother, this is not cooked by your hand." 
(a folk tale) 

Hanuman's eyes filled with tears as he recalled the Lord's virtues. He ever 
enjoyed the nectar of the Lord's story. His only desire was to be allowed to 
remain as a devotee of Rama. Again and again the Lord tried to raise him up; 
he, however, was so absorbed in love that he would not rise. When Rama 
asked him what he wanted, Hanuman answered: "Grant me unceasing 
devotion, which ts a source of supreme bliss.” 

Ram answered: "So be it." (adapted from Tulsidas and Hanuman Chatsa) 

Hanuman says to Ram: "A monkey's greatest valour les in his skipping 
about from one bough to another. That I should have been able to leap across 
the ocean, burn the gold city, Rill the demon host and lay waste the Asoka 
grove was all due to your might; no credit, my Lord, ts due to me for the 
same.” (Tulsidas, p. 620) 

Then with his sharp fingernails Hanuman tore open his breast and pulled 
back the flesh. And see, there was written again and again on every bone, in 


jine little letters. . Rama Rama Rama and in his heart were Ram and 
Sita. (adapted from Buck and Tulsidas) 


Hanuman, all joy comes to those under the umbrella of your grace, and 
the work. of the world, however diffecult, 1s made easy. (Hanuman Chala) 

Then lke a storm Hanuman drove away low spirits, like a light he brought 
courage. (Buck, p. 223) 


To me who was being drowned in the ocean of desolation, dear Hanuman, 
you have come as a veritable bark. (Tulsidas, p. 607) 

By Your very sight, O dear monkey, I have been absolved of all sins. 
(Lulsidas, p. 600) 


"0, Hanuman." 

"My King.” Hanuman knelt before Rama. 

Rama said, "As long as men shall speak of you, you will lve on earth. No 
one can equal you. Your heart ts true; your arms are strong, you have the 

energy to do anything. You have served me faithfully and done things for me 
that couldn't be done.” 

"It's nothing,” Hanuman said, "I am your friend, that's all."" (Buck, 
p. 426) 



SM today, high in the pine forests lives Hanuman. He will always be 
listening wherever Ram's name is spoken; he will listen endlessly to his old 
adventures and his own true stories. So take care. He ts here. (Buck, p. 432) 

HOW LIKE MAHARAJJI all this is ... Maharajji who playfully gathers 
and throws fruit; whose extraordinarily long-armed body changes shape 
and size, at one moment becoming tiny as a mosquito and at another, 
vast as a mountain of gold; who moves continuously from place to place 
with surprising agility and awesome strength; who is a vast ocean of 
compassion for his devotees; who does not seem to know or acknowl- 
edge his own extroardinary powers; but who never forgets his total love 
of Ram. 
As the devotees see it . 

One day I was sitting with Maharayi on a wall near the Kainchi temple. A 
pundit was reciting from the Ramayana to a nearby audience, when I suddenly 
became very uneasy. Maharayi grabbed me by the hand and took me over to 
the Shiva temple and we sat down in front of tt. I looked at Maharayi, but 
what I saw was a huge monkey. That's all I remember. Others recall that at 
that moment we both disappeared. Several hours later Maharayi came walking 
back into the temple, yelling, "Where's Dada? Where's Dada?” A search was 
started and I was found upstream along the river, just coming back into 
consciousness. I don't remember anything else. 


Maharayi says that all the stones in Chitrakut are like precious jewels. SM, 
however, said, "Why collect stones, when you have Maharayié" Just after that 
conversation, Maharayi was at the temple and had gone to the bathroom. 
Afterward SM helped him wash his hands. As he walked away there was an 
imprint of his wet foot on the small stones there. She collected these and put 
them in her sari. When her daughter came, SM told her to take them back and 
keep them at the house. Some days later she returned home and opened the box 
where she Rept the stones. On each stone there was some tmprint of Hanuman. 
Her husband didn't believe her so he got a magnifier and, sure enough, there 
they were. Later the box and stones all mysteriously disappeared. 


One day Maharayi was in his room while Dada was in the kitchen. 
Maharapi yelled, "Dada," and Dada ran to the hallway and found Maharaji 
standing outside his door with no blanket, his dhoti hanging down in the back 
like a tail. His body was of tremendous size, filling the hall. Dada fell at his 
feet and Maharayi went back into his room. 

Once many people were sitting around Maharayt. He seemed to be in an 
exalted state, and a small girl was there sitting at his feet. Suddenly she began 
to weep. People asked her why she was crying. She said, "I can't say! I just 
saw Ram and Sita there inside Maharagt's chest." She then proceeded to 
describe the garments Sita wore and how they looked. Maharayi Rept silent. 

Seeing Maharayi would put some devotees into samadhi, others would then 
ask him to put them into it, too. Once when this happened Maharayi got 
angry, but later, during his bath, he started to scratch his back, and those 
devotees saw fur on his back. and heard him growl like a monkey. They were 
all filled with ecstasy. 

A\ certain man, every time he came near, would take one look at Maharayi 
and pass out cold. When they would revive him, all he would say is, "AM I 

saw was a huge monkey.” 

"Maharayt's body pulsed with Ram," said a devotee. 

On one occasion, one woman said to her husband, "I hear something in the 
next room." Their bedroom was near the room that they keep for Maharagji, 


but at this time he was not staying there. They went in to see what was 
causing the noise and found tracks just like Maharayt's footprints, all the way 
up the wall to the ceiling. 

SM said she once saw Maharapt's body with Ram written on every cell. 

Maharayi was once in Haridwar and planted himself on the doorstep of a 
sanyast. This fellow developed a dislike _for Maharayi and unsuccessfully tried 
to chase him away. One day the sadhu was preparing some very fine sweets 
with raisins, almonds, and so forth. Maharaji was watching and making 
comments. The sadhu said that he wouldn't share them and told Maharaji to 
go away, but Maharayi stayed right there. When the sweets were ready, the 
sadhu went to the Ganga to bathe, leaving Maharayi to guard the house. 
When he returned he found most of the sweets gone. Maharaji said that they 
looked appetizing, and so he had to try one; they were so good that he had 
Rept eating them until they were almost gone. 

Dada, a professor of economics, described how he graded exam papers until 
late at night in his study at home, then went to bed. The house was securely 
locked and Maharayi was several hundred miles away. When Dada awoke in 
the morning, he found scrawled across the top paper the words rri~ 
(Ram, Ram, Ram). It was apparently just Hanuman at play. 

Sou: devotees not only saw Hanuman in Maharajji, but heard him as 

Alt a reading of the Ramayana, when the reader asked what section he 
should recite, Maharayi said, "Recite the part where I am talking with 
Vibhishan.” (It was, of course, Hanuman who spoke with Vibhishan.) 


Once in the midst of a discussion about the Kainchi temple, Maharajji said: 
"Do you think I'm collecting properties and becoming a landowner? I have 
absolutely no attachment to anything. I could leave everything just as I did 
Lanka." (In the Ramayana, Hanuman burned Lanka. ) 

Once, at Dada's, Maharajji was feigning sickness and had the doors of his 
room locked from outside. Later he was seen running down the street. When 
questioned about how he had gotten through the locked doors, he said, "The 
monkey became as small as a mosquito and flew out the window." 

"Maharajji, you can do anything. You are Hanuman." 
"I'm not Hanuman. I can do nothing ... lam everything. I can do 
anything for anybody." 



Hanuman, bestow your grace upon us, 
Divine Guru 
0, Son of the Wind, reliever of suffering, 
embodiment of blessings, 
live always in our hearts. 
Hanuman Chalisa 


a aahe ite 

Krishna Das (Roy 


I had heard about him in America and saved my money so that I could make 
a pilgrimage to India to meet him. I arrived at the temple with fruit, which 
somebody had told me to bring as an offering. The gatekeeper let me in to the 
back, where I saw him sitting on a wooden bed, wrapped in a plaid blanket. 
There were a lot of Indians and Westerners sitting on the ground around him. I 
was a little nervous so I went along the side of the courtyard up to the bed and 
put down the fruit while he was looking the other way. I bowed the way I 
saw someone else doing tt, and when I raised my head he was looking right at 
me. Exverything just stopped for a minute. Then he said, "jao!l" 

My Hindi was poor but I knew that word! It was the one I used to get rid 
of the beggars who had crowded around me in Delhi. It meant "Beat itl" or 
"Get away!" 

I was stunned and went through disbelief, embarrassment, anger, and guilt. I 
didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Here I'd come all this way from America 
and the first thing he'd said to me was "Beat it!" But then I thought, "Okay. 
You know best." And he threw me back one of the pieces of fruit and said 
"Jao" again. Only this time it was okay, this time I heard something else. It 
wasn't "Get lost!” but "Everything's fine. I love you. Go.” 



Now I can see that it all happened in those few minutes. He did whatever 
needed to be done; I got what I needed to get. All the times afterward when I 
was with him were wonderful, but they were just frosting on the cake. 

THE VARIATIONS IN Maharajji's use of the word "jao" were infinite— 
from a bellow (sometimes preceded by "Ap [You]!”" for the recalcitrant) 
to a tender, "Jao, Ma..." as he gently patted a woman devotee bow- 
ing at his feet. 

Usually as devotees would come before him during the day, he would 
hand them a piece of fruit or some sweets, or ask them a question or 
two, and then jao them. Others would be allowed to sit with him while 
he gave darshan off and on through the day. It is interesting that a word 
seeming to imply rejection—"go away''—could be said with so much 
love that it came to mean "go with blessings" or "go with grace" or "go 
with my love." 

There was jao to another part of the ashram; jao to take food or rest; 
jao to go carry out some indicated duty or service; jao that might be 
postponed, if one could think of a good question—or even ignored, if 
some distraction occurred, such as new arrivals. There was the jao of 
disgrace and banishment for some misdeed (often followed by a giggle 
once the culprit had passed out of earshot). 

The word became Zen-like in its all-encompassing quality and, when 
roared inexplicably at first sight of a devotee entering the ashram, totally 
Zen in its effect. 

Jao could be for a moment or forever—to the nearby city of Nainital 
for the night or, most dreaded by the Westerners, maha-jao (great jao) to 
America. Jao could even be questioned, if one was willing to play that 
perilous game. For a jao might be disputed successfully; but also a jao of 
a week to go visit Holy Benares might, on the response of a groan, be 
transformed to a jao of a month for a pilgrimage to Rameshwarem at the 
southernmost tip of India. Never was it simply "Go!" but always, "Go 
with love." 

We were sitting on the hill opposite the ashram with some binoculars 
watching Maharajji, who was sitting on the roof of the building in the back of 
the ashram compound. We saw an Indian man who was trying to be with 
Maharajji sneak up along the stairs, hold his head really low, and rush across 
the roof toward Maharajji. And even from that distance, though we couldn't 
hear, we could certainly see the jao and the man go right back down again. 
"Oops, there he goes!" We were up there smoking dope and eating yogurt and 

Jao! 375 

having darshan with binoculars. W hen M aaa found out that 
* ae pang watched with binoculars, he look ed through then and 
e lik ed them. 

W ed be sitting with M aharajji and hed tell us all to go, and 
I'd be the only one to get up and p My whole training was to do 
ust what the teacher said. Then I'd be the only one outside = 

verybody else would be inside laughing and talking with him as if 
he had never ue Chaitanya used to brag about how many 
jao's he'd survived, like battle scars. But I had a very hard time 

earing the jao and not leaving. Then I would hide behind = 
something and see if he really meant it. L ater | saw that sometimes 
he'd say it to you and you knew he meant it; other times he'd say it 
and it wasn't the same. 

-_ Once M aharajji was jao'ing us all to D elhi for a week to hear 
Krishnamurti, or "Ram-M urti" as M aharajji would call him. | 
didn't really want to go, so 1 was hiding out, but as I came around 
a pillar | ran right into M aharajji, who was standing there alone. 
He looked at me and his whole body started to shake and he let out 
dleep sobs: "O h-ho-ho-ho," as if he were wrack ed with grief, crying 
crocodile tears. A nd he a sobbing out the words, "D ahi, D ahi." 
Of course! burst out laughing and ended up going to D dhi. O ne of 
the things Krishnamurti said with great soul-force while we were in 

D ahi was, "I abhor all gurus!" Perfect! 

A ftter a month on pilgritnage in southemn India, we returned to 
A liahabad in the early morning hours, antidpating another long 
gentle round of being with M aharajji. W hen I came into his room 
at 6:30 in the morning his first words were "Has your visa bem 
"T don't know, M aharajji. 1 made application." "No, it hasn't. 
jao! Go to D ahi.’ 
"N ow?" I was a bit taken aback to be thrown out before I'd 
even been welcomed home. 
"Go by the 9:30 train this morning." 
O noe this devastating piece of business had bean transacted, 
M aharajji 


became tenderness itself, rolling around on his tucker, handing out the 
rudraksha beads we had brought from Rameshwarem temple, and playfully 
pulling my beard and patting me. Although I tried to get him to change his 
mind about sending me away, I found myself back on the train at 9:30. 

In Delhi Maharayi had arranged for me to receive help from a minor offictal 
in tile government. And so began another round of entanglement in bureaucratic 
red tape. The prospects seemed to go from bad to worse. Earher in the fall I 
had tried to take care of the visa extension with KK, up in the mountains. He 
had arranged for me to speak with the head of the visa bureau in that 
community. Those proceedings had gone awry and now made the work in 
Dethi more difficult. These machinations with KK, more or less behind 
Maharapt's back, were not ignored by Maharaji, who kidded me mercilessly 
about how KK was now my advisor, my guru, and tf I had not tried to get the 
visa done through KK, everything would now be all right. 

AAs the end of February approached and the visa situation looked hopeless, I 
suddenly recalled the previous February when I had first seen Maharayi on thes 
visit to India. "How long do you want to stay?” he had asked. 



"You mean next month?” 

"AL right, a year from March.” 

And now, early in March a year later, despite all the apparent attempts of 
KK and Maharagi to help me, I received my "quit India" notice from the 
government. There was no doubt about tt: Maharayi was using the government 
to do his dirty work. AMI could do was laugh and surrender once again. He 
had covered every angle. 

Generally I tend to cry in the presence of purity or dharrna. I'm not quite 
sure why that ts, but the feeling ts that such purity ts too much to bear. I also 
cry when I am ecstatically happy and, in rare instances, when I am very 
depressed. At the leave-taking from Maharayi I cried and cried, and, again, 
I'm not really sure why. Mrs. Soni felt great concern about my crying and 
said, "Don't cry. You will be able to come back—won't he, Maharayie" 

Maharayi said, ""He can come in a year... or six months." But I wasn't 
really crying because of sadness, tf anything it was from joy, for Maharayi had 
instructed me that serving people was my dharma. My work was clear. And he 
seemed to be telling me to get on with it. 

Maharayi said two more things that day that I can remember. First he said, 
"T will abvays be in communion with you.” And the second thing was "yao." 


JAOQ!. 297 


Within a month, I went back to America, with absolutely no regret. I was 
really happy to be going. Maharaj could give you that kind of energy, so that 
you really didn't mind leaving, so that you were really exuberant about going. 



Che Creat © scape 

WHAT WAS TO be Maharajji's final day at Kainchi was spent in darshan, 

kirtan, and prayers. Both Indian and Western devotees were gathered. 
Maharajji was asking after everyone at the temple and elsewhere. Twice 
he put one of his Indian devotees into samadhi and brought him out of it 
by throwing his blanket over the man's head. At one point he said to 
those gathered, "He is your guru. He is young and I am old. He will live 
and I will die!" Everyone laughed. He then had the Westerners sing to 
Hanuman. There were tears in his eyes. The Indian women did arti 
before him, and one and all received a tilak upon the forehead. 

Then he went to bathe and eat and hinted that he was leaving for four 
ort five days. When he came out of his room he went to the temple and 
paused before the murti of Hanuman, holding his hands together in 
pranam silently for two or three minutes. Again he stopped and honored 
each of the muttis at the temple in turn. While crossing the bridge out of 
the temple compound he met an old devotee who was a photographer. 
Maharajji gave him an old photo and told him to copy it and distribute it 
freely. He instructed that the daily feeding be stopped and the Mothers 
taken to Nainital. Then he said softly, "Today, I am released from Cen- 



tral Jail forever." As he approached the car that was to take him to the 
station, the blanket slipped from his shoulders to the ground. A devotee 
tried to put it back on, but Maharajji said, "Leave it. One should be at- 
tached to nothing." Others folded it and placed it in the car. 

Just at the moment when he sat in the car, an old woman arrived from 
the nearby village of Bhowali. Maharajji said, "Ma, I've been waiting 
for you." He touched her on the head and said, "I'm going."" He was 
gay and full of humor. 

The driver of the car was another old and trusted devotee. He reports 
that during the ride to the railway station, he became aware that Ma- 
harajji's feet had become extremely big. "I was afraid," he said. 

Maharajji kept saying to him, "What is destiny? What is going to hap- 
pen? Tomorrow we don't even know." They got to the station early for 
the train, so they sat in the car for two hours. Maharajji pointed out a 
beautiful rainbow and said, "Look at that natural beauty. How beautiful 
is God's creation, man can never make anything so beautiful." 

Tickets had been purchased to Agra for him and for Ravi, a young 
devotee. On the train Maharajji did not close his eyes all night and kept 
waking the devotee and saying, "I'm not tired, talk with me." Ravi 
asked him to drink the milk which the Mothers had sent in a thermos, 
but the milk had turned bad. "Throw it out,"’ Maharajji said, '"Throw 
the thermos out, too." Ravi didn't want to, but Maharajji did so him- 
self, saying, "Throw it out, I will not need it anymore." He spoke of 
many things and many people through the night. He said, "I've come on 
earth only for the spreading of dharma." 

When they reached Agra, Maharajji jumped from the train while Ravi 
trailed behind with the baggage. Instead of following the platform, Ma- 
harajji jumped from it easily, crossing six sets of tracks and jumping up 
on the main platform. Ravi caught up with him at the ticket-taker who 
had stopped Maharajji for his ticket. Then Maharajji bargained with 
various rickshaw drivers: one wanted three rupees (about thirty cents), 
which Maharajji argued was too much. Finally a price was fixed and 
they set out, only Maharajji knowing the way. En route, Maharajji 
pointed out a house and said, "Their son has gone to America and the 
family feels very sad. Sons don't serve their fathers anymore." When 
they arrived at the house, he told Ravi to give to the rickshaw driver the 
milk bucket filled with Ganga water that Maharajji always carried with 
him. Again he said, "Have no attachment for anything." 

Except for one hour when Maharajji went to see a heart specialist (he 
had complained of pains in his chest), he remained at S's house from 6:00 
A.M. to 9:00 P.M. that evening. The specialist said that Maharajji's heart 


was fine and that he just needed rest. At 9:00 P.M. he left for the station 
to meet the train that would take him back up to the foot of the moun- 
tains at Kathgodam. He was accompanied by young Ravi and another 
devotee, D. After some time he told Ravi to go and sit in the next com- 
partment. Ravi went there but was thought to be a thief by the oc- 
cupants, who yanked the chain and had the train stopped. Ravi was 
taken up and placed in the police van that was a part of the train. Ravi 
persuaded the police to ask Maharajji at the next station if Ravi was with 
him. Maharajji was very loving to Ravi and said, "We'll get off at 
Mathura and I'll make a call to the DIG [Deputy Inspector General] and 
set things straight." At Mathura, not far from Agra, they got off the 
train. Some people bowed to him. He then sat down on the steps of the 
station after leaning against the outdoor latrine. D went to get a taxi, 
while R waited with Maharajji. 

Maharajji then lay on the steps and began convulsing. His eyes were 
closed and his body was cold and sweating. D fed him some pills and 
Mahatrajji said, "Turn off the lights." He asked for water and to be taken 
to nearby Vrindaban. He was carried by stretcher to the taxi and laid 
across the back seat. During the ride to Vrindaban, Maharajji seemed 
unconscious for most of the way, though now and then he mumbled 
things they could not understand. They took him to the emergency 
room at the hospital. In the hospital the doctor gave him injections and 
placed an oxygen mask over his face. The hospital staff said that he was 
in a diabetic coma but that his pulse was fine. Maharajji roused and 
pulled the oxygen mask off his face and the blood pressure measuring 
band from his arm, saying, '"Bekar [useless]."" Maharajji asked for 
Ganga water. As there was none, they brought him regular water. He 
then repeated several times, "Jaya Jagadish Hare" [Hail to the Lord of 
the Universe]," each time in a lower pitch. His face became very peace- 
ful, all signs of pain disappeared. He was dead. No one at the hospital 
had recognized him. The hospital staff left the room. Ravi and D carried 
Maharajji out and placed the body in a taxi and took it to the Hanuman 
temple. (Ut was about 1:1 5 on the morning of September I I.) 

HC said that in September 1973, shortly before Maharagi's mahasamadhi, 
he felt such a longing, such a craving to go see Maharayt. He and his wife 
went to Kainchi just two days before Maharayi left. "Tt was no strange 
thing—not a miracle," he said of this coincidence. But he said that when he got 
there, it made him think very deeply. The experience was "exceptionally 
something else."" 

During this visit, Maharayi foreshadowed his leaving by saying to him, 


"Ask whatever you want—then I am going to go."" HC said that all that was 
in his mind evaporated. He asked nothing, nor did he catch the hint. 

Oh, Maharayi told us all that he was going to leave this world. One time 
he satd to us that when he leaves, he will leave us all laughing! Then he said 
that when he leaves Siddhi Ma, he will leave her weeping. As he said this, 
Stddhi Ma began weeping so much. But Maharaji said she shouldn't 
worry—he wouldn't let anyone harm her, that she would become radiant with 
his love. 

Ai friend of HC"s said that Maharaji also clearly hinted to him of the 
coming mahasamadht. Maharayi said to the man, "What can I do if God calls 

me backe”' 

It 7s D's feeling that for the past two years Maharayi had been almost 
constantly in deep samadhi and completely forgetful of the world. The functions 
of talking and behaving with people were going on automatically while 
Maharayi wasn't in this world. He was forgetful even of the body's necessity 
to urinate and would pass all day without doing it. Then he would finally be 
reminded and would run, sometimes urinating as he ran. His dhota and blanket 
weren't tied properly. Formerly, they were so neat and tight. 

On the Saturday before he left, he told me, "This ts the ghost plane. 
Everyone has to die. People weep for their selfishness. Fxven the dying person 
weeps for his family. These are nothing, this is foolishness.” 



Mrs. S was very worried about Maharagt's heart condition, so B got 
Maharayi alone to ask about it by flooding the car's carburetor when just the 
two of them were in tt. Ae said, "Maharagi, the car ts flooded and it will take 
one of your miracles—or I'll ask you a question and {you answer it directly, 
maybe the car will start. Are you really sicke” 

"No, I'm not.” 

B then said, "Do me one favor. If you are, will you tell me?” Maharapi 
put his hand on B's head. 

Exactly one month before Maharayi left his body, he said to a group, "My 
heart stopped last night."" He satd this twice, but someone giggled, which made 
B angry so he didn't pursue the matter. Then Maharayi said it a third time, 
but there was so much activity going on around Maharayi that B could not 
discuss tt. Then B had to go to Europe. He returned a few days before 
Maharayi left his body. He planned to go for darshan when he remembered 
that he had promised to do something for another man, and he thought to 
himself that tf Maharayi could do service for thousands, then he could serve this 
one other person. He went and served the other man instead of going for 
darshan, and so he didn't see Maharayi before the mahasamadhi. 

That last day, Maharayi allowed everybody to wash his feet and drink as 
much as they liked of the remaining water. He was very pleased. Then he 
said, ""l'm not going today." But after a half hour's rest, he said, "INo, I am 
going. Get the car." Then I said he had to check Maharagt's pulse, and 
Maharayi said, "Are you becoming a doctor, too?” I checked it and found no 

He said to Maharayi, "Maharaj, if you keep playing tricks. - 

Maharayi rephed, "All right, fifteen seconds and no more." This time the 
pulse was perfectly normal. That last day, he was very happy and joyful, 
guite contrary to other times, when he would leave a place without appearing 
to know anyone. 

I and D were talking to each other, saying, "He's too happy. This zs 

Maharayi said, "When you go to your house, you are happy.” 



One day in 1971 or 1972, Maharajji was presented with a diary. From 
that day oll, he wold fill two pages with handwritten "Ram" each day. 
ty ril _.." He asked that the diary be kept in his room. From 
then on he was left alone for an hour each morning while he wrote in his 
diary. When he traveled the diary went with him. By September g, his last 
day in Kainchi, he completed the entry, then proceeded to date the next page 
September 10 and wrote "Ram" on it. Finally he wrote September 11 ona 
clean page and did not write any "Ram" there. He then gave the book to SM 
and said to her, "Now this is your book. You write in it." 

B had made a tape of Maharajji chanting, but Maharajji said, "You aren't 
to let anyone hear it for two years." That was exactly two years before he 


A few days before Maharajji left Kainchi he said to SM, "The temple must 
be inside the ashram." 

She said, "You don't need another temple. You have five temples here 
already." He just laughed. Now the Samadhi temple fills the courtyard where 
the Westerners used to sing kirtan to Maharajji. 

On the morning of September 8, Maharajji called for me and we talked 
privately for three-quarters of an hour on various subjects. After that I saw him 
again at four o'clock in his room with two or three others. He was saying to 
us, "All those who come into this world must go. Nobody will stay here. They 
must go. Knowing this, why do people at the time of death go "Whoooo, 
whooooo" (he feigned great weeping)? Why do they cry? They should go 
gladly. They should go laughing. They shouldn't cry." After some general 
talk he said, "Now I shall go. I won't stay and I won't give darshan anymore 
to anyone." 

One devotee asked, "Maharajji, where will you go that we people will not 
be able to get your darshan?" 


"Oh, too far! Too far!" Maharajji replied. 

"Where?" the devotee asked again. 

"Oh, there... near the Narmada River," Maharajji said. (The Narmada 
River starts in Amarkantak, traditionally from the throat of Shiva.) The bus 
driver came shortly after that to take away all those people who lived 
elsewhere. Some man had just arrived and asked for a private darshan, but 
Maharajji said, "Baba Neem Karoli is dead! Who will you talk to now?" 

The man laughed and said, "All right, you order me to go then I will, but 
I'll return at eight in the morning and talk with you then!" 

Maharaji said, "All right. You come. If I'm alive, I'll talk to you." 

Outside in the courtyard the Westerners were singing and had begun to shout 
in unison the traditional salutation, "Sri Sri Sri One Thousand Eight Neem 
Karoli Baba Santa Maharaj ki jai!" Inside, Maharajji commented, "Baba 
Neem Karoli is dead! Now their voices will have to reach there," he said, 
pointing heavenward. 

Maharajji said to me, "Dada, I shall run away. What is attachment, to a 

Just a few nights before he left his body, there was a lot of activity in the 
ashram. He was jao'ing everyone. I was over at Hanuman, just singing for a 
while. When I looked around, everyone else had left the temple. Maybe they'd 
all been jao'ed, or had gone to the back of the ashram, but the temple was 
empty. I looked and saw Maharajji sitting there; nobody else was around. 

I went up to him and pranammed, and of course he jao'ed me. But I have 
never gotten such a sweet jao. It was the sweetest jao in the world. He 
called me "my daughter"—"hamari beti." And his look was just like pools 
overflowing with love. 

"My daughter..." I could barely get up to my feet. It took a few minutes 
to get up. He didn't say jao again, just gave me that through-and-through look 
of total compassion. I felt that during those last few days he was taking on a 
great deal of karma. You could see so much anguish in his face. 

It was strange those last few days. An Indian man used to come and do 
pujas, and he'd pass out while singing Ram. Maharajji was in the man's room 


one afternoon. There was such a crowd that I couldn't really see what was 
going on, but I could hear the man screaming in anguish: "Nath! Nath [Lord! 
Lord]!" I didn't know what it was. Perhaps he had some inkling of what was 
shortly going to happen. Maharayi was just sitting there while the man was 
screaming. You knew something was happening but of course you would never 
admit the possibility of what it really might be. 


Dwarka Sah asked me if I had been in Kainchi for the last darshan, and as 
I hadn't, he told me some of his personal experience that day. After Maharagjt 
had gone into the "office" for rest, Dwarka, feeling very heavy with sleep, had 
fallen asleep outside the door. He was suddenly awakened by Maharayi 
bursting out the door. Maharayi called to him, ""Dwarka! Stand up!" 
Maharaji took his hand, and another devotee, R, took Maharagt's other hand. 
Together the three of them walked to Hanumanyt's temple, where Maharaji 
stood in silence, hands folded in pranam, for a full two minutes. During this 
time his blanket fell off, and Dwarka picked it up and rewrapped it around 
Maharayt. Maharayi then went before Lakshmi-Narayan, and then before 
Shiva, standing again in silence for a long time before each temple. Then he 
began walking swiftly out of the temple grounds, and as he was crossing the 
bridge his blanket again fell off. This time he would not allow it to be put 
around him. He got into a waiting car and took Ravi with him, leaving 

Dwarka behind. 


When we parted, Maharaji said to me, "If I don't meet you in this form, 
I'1 meet you in another form.” 

In the summer an ayurvedic doctor from Delhi had come to visit Maharayi 
and to spend two weeks at Kainchi. Even before he was, fully unpacked, 
Maharayi sent him home with no explanation. Maharayi had five boxes of 
apples put in the man's car and said, "Go immediately.” The man was 
confused and angry. Maharayi also said, "This is the last time I'll see you.” 


Back at home the doctor received an unexpected opportunity to earn seven 
thousand rupees during the week when he would have been away. But he was 
afraid he was going to die, since Maharayi had said that he would not see him 
again, so he wrote his will and arranged all his affairs. Then in September, 
when he heard that Maharayi had died, he said, "Good." Later, when he 
went to the Delhi temple, he fainted, because he saw Maharayi in place of the 
Hanuman murtt. This happened to him twice. 

Alt the last group darshan he was sitting up on the tucket, rocking back and 
forth as f to get up, and we'd all think, "Oh, no, don't get up"; then he'd sit 
back down and we'd all think, "Oh, good." When he'd start to leave again, 
we'd think, "Oh, no! Don't go!"" When he'd sit back down, you could just 
Jeel it in the air "Oh, good, he's going to stay a while!" It was a long 
darshan. When he finally left there was something very reluctant about the way 
he walked. And I remember that we were just exhausted after that darshan. 

Alfter that darshan the focus of Draupadt's movie camera swooped up to the 

sky, to the top of the temples, which expresses the tmagery we were left with 
then. You wanted to throw your hands up. It was intensely joyful, yet totally 
exhausting. After that it was very, very quiet. I rarely slept in the afternoon, 
but this time we all slept. We awakened to find that Maharayi had left. I 
think Janaki said she saw him pranam to the murtis before he left. 
AFTER HIS DEATH in Vrindaban, Maharajji's body was placed on a large 
block of ice on a verandah of the ashram. In the evening it was paraded 
through the streets in a litter atop a car. Thousands watched the proces- 
sion, which was complete with brass band and processional lights. At 
about 9:00 pm., in the courtyard of the temple, Maharajji's body was 
placed on the funeral pyre. 

Translation from Vrindiban newspaper, September 12, J973: 
The cremation ceremony of the earthly body of the famous and "wonder-work- 
ing” saint, Baba of Neem Karoh, was performed with all the necessary 
religious ceremonies at his dwelling place, the ground opposite to the Sri 
Hanuman temple. 


While he was going from Agra to Nainital he suddenly became unwell, and 
after that he died of heart failure. 
Before the cremation, the dead body of the baba was carried in a procession 
in a decorated carriage in the city. The question of the place where the last rites 
should be performed was solved by the Pagal Baba (Sri Lila Nand Thakur), 
who said that Vrindaban ts the king of holy places. _He further said that there 
cannot be any better place than this. The old Mother who came from Kainchi 
ashram insisted that the cremation take place either at Kainchi or at Haridwar. 
The pyre remained burning up until three o'clock in the morning. By then a 
good number of devotees had reached there to pay their last homage. There was 
deep sorrow in the ashram and the devotees Rept coming. 
The president of the Al India Congress Committee, Dr. S. D. Sharma, 
reached Vrindaban at 6:00 A.M. and remained sitting near the cremation place 
for quite some time. He has been a devotee of the baba since 1957. He has 
advised the ashram people to collect the literature regarding the baba's life and 
activities. A committee has also been formed. September 22 has been fixed as 
the date of the community feeding. The ashes have not been put into the 
Yamuna. They nill be buried in his Samadhis. Some of his ashes have been 
preserved for tmmersion at several places of pilgrimage. 

There zs a controversy about the age of the baba. People say that his age 
may be between 250 and 300 years, 

The inhabitants of Vrindaban were alvays against him. They ahvays 
addressed him by the name of "Chamatkari Baba [miracle man].” 

As soon as his American devotees heard the news of his death, there were a 
number of telephone calls from that country. 

Big officials of India are coming to Vrindaban to pay homage. 

He numbered us in a certain way. We got to Vrindaban about 8:00 P.M. and 
they were just coming back from the parikrama (circumambulation of 
Vrindaban). That was when I saw his body on top of the car. And they 
brought it down for everyone to take a last look before putting him on the 
pyre. We all went to touch his feet. Something about it seemed really removed. 
It didn't feel like anything had changed—whatever had happened with his body 
seemed unreal. 

I think it was just that sort of numbness that he put on us. You'd feel 
terribly sad and you'd cry, but there was some part of you that couldn't really 
believe it. But after time passed, you'd start to realize that though Maharaji ts 


still with us, his body was gone. At that time, though, even the tdea that his 
body was gone wasn't real. 

For the procession through the streets, Maharagt's body, covered with 
flowers, had been placed on the luggage rack on top of a 1955 Plymouth. As 
the car passed through the narrow streets, people threw coins from the windows 
of the houses along the way. Children ran after the car, catching the coins or 
retrieving them from the roadway. There was a loud band playing. We _felt 
numb in the midst of the confusion. But just as the car went by us, we spied in 
the rear right-hand-corner window, three decals: one of Mickey Mouse, one of 
Donald Duck, and one of Goofy. Seeing them changed the entire meaning of 
the occasion. We recalled how our friend Wavy Gravy had always said that 
death was Donald Duck. It felt as if this was Maharagi's secret message to us. 

One old devotee spent the night sitting beside the fire in which Maharagt's 
body was burning, singing "Shri Ram, Jai Ram" at the top of his lungs. He 
said he saw Maharayi sitting above the fire and on each side of him were Ram 
and Shiva. They were pouring ghee on his head so that he would burn better, 
while overhead were all the devas (gods) throwing down flowers. Everyone 
was so happy! 

Al Ma saw Maharayi sit up in the fire and look at her, pointing while 

leaning on his elbow in his characteristic way. 

I've experienced the deaths of people close to me before, but this was really 
different. Maharagt's presence was just so much stronger. We did the 
parikrama around Vrindaban that evening and the next night, too, but we 
were suspended in some way. I couldn't eat or sleep. It was the strangest thing. 


I was hanging there, waiting for him to come back, waiting to see him walk 
down the street or sit on his tucket. 

S said it was Maharayt's lila that nobody around him at the time he died 
could realize that f they had spoken with true heartfelt devotion to him, "Get 
up, Maharayi, you are not dead,” he would have done so. 

THE NEWS OF Maharajji's death came with extraordinary swiftness to 
those of us who had left India, and the reactions were as varied as to any 

other part of his lila. 

During the summer of 1973 I was staying at my father's farm in New 
Hampshire, and was there in September when the telegram arrived. My father 
and my stepmother, looking rather concerned, met me when I returned from 
shopping in the village. Dad said, ""This telegram just came from India. I 
don't understand it, but I copied it down word for word as the operator gave it 
to me." 

YAt 1:15, September 11, Babaji left his bojhay [sic] in Wrindaban. 

The telegram went on with further details. My father asked, "What does it 

"Tt means," I said, "that Maharaji died.” 

They tmmedtately tried to console or at least commuiserate with me, but their 
words seemed strangely trrelevant, for I felt absolutely nothing—neither sad nor 
happy. There was no sense of loss. Perhaps I was just numb. A couple with 
marital difficulties were waiting for me, so I went and sat with them and 
helped them unwind the tangled thread of their loves and hatreds. FExvery now 
and then in the midst of the discussion, my mind would wander and I'd think, 
"Mahara isn't in his body. Isn't that strange," or "I wonder what will 
happen now?" But I pushed such thoughts aside and forced my consciousness 
back to the task. at hand, for, whatever was to come, there was no sense in 
stopping service to others. 

Throughout that day and many times thereafter I remembered the words of 
the great Ramana Maharshi. He was dying of cancer and in the past had 
Shown power to heal others, and his devotees were now begging him to heal 
himself. He Rept refusing, and they cried, "Don't leave us, don't leave us,” to 
which he replied, "Don't be silly. Where could I go?” 

After all, where could Maharayi go? I had him in my heart. I had been 


Living with him moment by moment and yet not nith his physical presence so 
did it really make any difference? I wasn't sure. 

When the couple left I started calling other devotees in the United States and 
Canada and asked them to call others. It was agreed that those within a radius 
of three or four hundred miles would join me in New Hanapshire. By the next 
noon some twenty of us were gathered. It was a peculiar meeting. We were all 
somewhat dumbfounded by the news and many were crying, but at the same 
time we were happy to be together and felt Maharajjt's presence very strongly 
with us. We cooked a big meal, which we ate around the fire. But before the 

food we went up to my room to sit before the puja table and meditate and do 

While all of us sang the ancient Sanskrit prayer, we took turns offering the 
light (in the form of a candle flame) by waving it before Maharagi's picture. 
After my turn I went to the back of the group and watched. In the reflection of 
the candlelight I looked at the faces of my guru brothers and sisters and saw 
their expressions of love and the purity of their hearts. And finally I was able 
to cry—not out of sadness at the loss, but rather because of the presence of that 
pure and perfect love that is Maharayi and which I felt in this gathering of 
hearts. (R.D.) 


I rapidly went through many reactions when I got the news. One of them, 
strangely enough, was, "Oh, poor Maharayi.” My very first reaction was 
grief, which was cut immediately with the realization that nothing had 
changed. ("Grief for whaté”") Then I went through all the rest of the reactions, 
like, "What's it all about? If he's not in a body then why am I? Why am I 
still playing this game, which is all centered around him. If he's gone, I don't 
want to play anymore.” 

When he left his body I was way off on Mount Shasta, somewhere alone in 
the woods. There was another person there whom I had met at darshan. When 
Maharayi left his body, the word spread fast, so that we all knew about tt. 

The man had gone into town to make a phone call and had _found out and come 
to tell me, even though I was way in the woods. And I've talked to a lot of 


other people who were in America at the time, and they had similar 
experiences; wherever they were, they found out almost immediately. 

That summer I spent traveling around, still reorienting myself to being back 
in America. The first of September I came down to San Francisco from British 
Columbia to visit my Sufi family of previous years in California. Within a 
day or two I started to feel vaguely il and wondered if I was having some sort 
of recurrence of the hepatitis that had sent me home from India. But there was 
no fever, no trace of jaundice, in fact, nothing—l just felt terrible. Since this 
was the home of Saul, who was a hhakim (healer), I received every loving 
attention and was put to bed. Then after about a week, my “illness” 
disappeared as mysteriously as it had come. Two days later, a close Goarubahin 
(Gura-sister) phoned. "T'm sorry to be the one to tell you," she said. 
"Maharayi has left his body." 

Alt that moment I felt only chagrin and amusement—he's run away again! 
"That fucker!" was all I could say. 

Als I hung up the phone, Saul came in the front door. "Maharayi has left 
his body," I told him. 

"Praise God!" he cried and gave me a great hug. 

It's hard to explain how the news affected me. It was similar to the way you 
feel when you get ripped off in India: Instead of feeling perturbed, angry, or 
sad, you feel relief, because it allows you to accept something that's happened. 
Later there were other feelings. 

Before he left his body, I had a really strong sensation, which came one time 
in Brindaban when Maharayi was sending everyone away. Just before he 
“jao'ed” everyone, he explained that we were all just worshipping a clay pot. 
"What will happen when the clay pot breaks?" he asked. He was sending 
everyone to different places, people were crying, and I felt that Maharayi 
wanted just to split, that he was finished with the body. I felt like it was going 
to happen that day, so when it did, it didn't come as a surprise to me. It was 
too strong a thing to have an outward reaction to. 

THE BURNING OF Maharajji's body happened so quickly after his passing 
that few devotees had been able to get there in time, so many of them 


planned to attend the funeral bhandara to be held in eleven days in Vrin- 
daban. About thirty Westerners decided to fly to India for this ceremony 
and for a later one, to place some of the ashes at the Kainchi ashram. 

In Vrindaban hundreds had already gathered by the time we arrived from 
America. The immensity of the love and openness of all the devotees was 
awesome. All the petty differences between the devotees from the hills and those 
from the plains were forgotten, as were differences between East and West. Al 
the jealousies and judgments that we had had toward one another, which 
Maharayi created and exacerbated at every turn, showing us again and again 
our petty reflections in his big mirror, were gone for the moment. We shared a 
common loss, and, more important, we realized that we had all been privileged 

to have had the recognizable darshan of God on earth. (R.D.) 


One of the amazing things that happened was at the funeral bhandara, the 
final Vedic ceremony, about eleven days after death, in which traditionally the 
soul has passed through all the bardos (planes of existence) and ts free. 

They had covered over the entire courtyard with tents and at one end had 
built a small platform on which they were going to light the sacred fire. Just as 
they were lighting the fire, out of the clear blue sky, from the east, came this 
big black cloud. And it came fast. As it was approaching, the wind was getting 
more intense and the canvas roofs began flapping. I remember thinking at that 
time, "'Maharayi, if this is a sign from you, tt just isn't enough,” thinking 
that if he were going to come in some other form, I still wanted total 
immersion, total darshan. 

The cloud kept approaching and the wind got stronger and stronger, and 
suddenly we were in the midst of a violent windstorm! The canvas was ripping 
in shreds, the supporting poles were snapping in two, the sacred fire was 
leaping high into the air. It was so exciting, so ecstatic, that people were 
leaping up and down, hugging each other and crying. It was recognized very 
guickly as Maharagyt's blessing. Then, after the storm passed by and things 
were going to go on, I was so filled with excitement that I went rushing into 
one of the rooms in the back. I don't know why I went there, but as I rushed 
in I awakened Molly Scott. She'd just arrived, never having seen Maharapji 
alive. I burst in, filled with the excitement of this storm, waking her up. She 
told me later that she woke up at that moment with an entire song, melody and 
Lyrics, in her mind. "There is no death. I feel you all about me. In every 
breath, I'll never be without thee. In my heart, in my mind, in the flower, in 


the child, in the rain, in the wind [etc. —each verse is different], you are born 
anew. You are born anew." This is the song that came from that storm. 

MAHARAJJI HAD So often spoken to us about death that we had his 
own words to work with. 



Maharajji used to say that bodies should be cremated because it minimizes 
the craving of the soul to get back into the body. The last possession has been 
given away. 


Maharajji once asked a devotee, "What is this body? What is it made of? 
What happens when you die?" Then he answered his own questions: "The 
body is made of five elements. The body dies but not the soul. Atman, the real 
man, does not die." 



Maharajji would say, "When the time will come," in reference to his death. 
But at other times he would say, "Am I going to die? Never! I don't die." 

THERE WERE ALSO many stories about the way in which Maharajji had 
foretold or reacted to the death of his devotees in the past. 

Maharajji said a woman in Almora would die, but her doctor, also a 
devotee, insisted she was in good health. Maharajji and the doctor went to 


dinner at her home. She went into the kitchen during the meal, choked, and 
died. Maharayi cried and cried. 

Once Maharayi and Mr. Tewari were talking on the parapet at Hanuman 
Garh. Maharayi looked up above him and closed his eyes for a moment and 
told Tewari that a certain old woman devotee from down in the plains had just 
died. Then he giggled and laughed and laughed. Tewari, who had known 
Maharayi for many years, was taken aback and said, "You butcher! How can 
you laugh at the death of a human being?” Maharayi looked at him in surprise 
and said, "Would you rather have me pretend I'm one of the puppets?” 

Once Maharayi said that we are on a long journey, birth to birth to birth. 
The people we meet in each birth, we are predestined to meet. 

It is also predestined how long you will be with a person, so you shouldn't 
get attached to trying to keep together or feel sad at loss. Realize that you will 
one day be separated, and then you will avoid that feeling of pain. 

Maharapi was sitting with some devotees when he suddenly asked, "Who 
has come?” 

"Nobody, Maharayz." 

"Yes, someone has come.” 

AA moment later, the servant of one of his devotees arrived. Before the man 
could say anything, Maharayi said, "I know he's sick but I won't come." The 
servant was astonished because the man had taken sick just a few minutes 
before and had sent the servant to get Maharayz. Everyone encouraged 
Maharaji to go, but he adamantly refused. Finally he said, "Here, take him 
this banana. He'll be all right." The servant rushed home with the banana, for 
all knew the power that Maharayi often invested in a piece of fruit. The 
banana was mashed up and fed to the man. Just as he finished the last bit, he 


A\ lady took Maharayi to her unconscious husband and asked him to place 
his hands on her husband's head. Maharaji hesitated and asked what she 

"Your blessing!" she replied. 
"You want me to give a blessing?" He repeated this question three times, 
stalling for time. "Mother wants me to give a blessing. What should I do?" he 
questioned a nearby devotee. The devotee encouraged him to give the blessing. 
"All right, — give blessing."" Maharayi got up from his chair. At that 
moment, the lights went out and the whole house became dark. The lady rushed 
away to fetch a lantern. Maharayi turned to the devotee and said, 
"When God has given darkness to this house, how can I give lighté" Then he 
ran from the house. The lady caught him. He said, "T'l come again. I'll come 
again."’ And he left. The man died that same night. Never before had 
Maharayi taken so long making arrangements to give a blessing. The man was 
meant to die and his wife was trying to force Maharayi to give a blessing that he 
might live. 

One old forestry man came sobbing to Maharayi and said, "My son has died 
and what did you do?" Maharayi said the son had cancer and it was God's will. 
"But you could have saved him," the man said. 

"What God wills must happen,” said Maharayt. The man left and 
Maharagi said, "When somebody has done wrong, the Rarma must come back 
—maybe the father or his children, but someone must pay.” 

MAHARAMI'S REFUSAL to interfere with the karma of death was ap- 
parently not without exception. 

I was sitting with Maharayi late at night by the side of the road near the 
Bhumiadhar temple, not far from Nainital, when up the road came a very 
strange-looking man covered in rags and ashes. He started to shout abuses at 
Maharayi, so I thought he must be drunk. He Rept accusing Maharayi of giving 
too much protection to his devotees. "This time,” he shouted, "you have gone 
too far! In six days, I will have him." Maharayi seemed very excited and told 
me to go to the temple and fetch food for the stranger. I ran to 

get it and as I was coming back, the man walked across the road and seemed to 
rise up into the air and disappear. Maharayi was shouting, "See where he has 
gone, see where he has gone!" But I couldn't see him anywhere. Maharaji 

then told me that the stranger was Death. Six days later one of Maharapjt's 
closest devotees died. 

AND YET HE himself had chosen to die, as he had lived, in a form which 
reiterated again—nothine special. 

He did everything according to nature. A child stays, a young man moves 
about, an old man stays. He did, according to the laws of nature. If he wanted 
to, he could do, but I don't think he changed nature for himself. When he was 

sitk, he asked about medicines; when he was tired he used to rest. When he got 
old he died. 

Krishna Das (Roy 


Maharajji went to the Shirdi Sai Baba temple in Madras. He sat there 
quietly. A woman with a baby sat crying before a picture of Shirdi Sai Baba, 
who had left his body many years before. Maharajji said, "You know what 
she is doing? She is asking him to cure her child, and he will do it because a 
guru never leaves his devotees. A guru is indestructible, immortal, and immune 
to old age and death." 

WF DEVOTEES WHO knew Maharajji and were familiar with his lila are 
none too sure exactly what happened on September H. We know a 
body was burned, but we are uncertain as to which of Maharajji's bodies 
it was. Perhaps he had just made a thought of himself solid, so that it 
could be burned. He taught us not to trust our senses and minds regard- 
ing him, and we have learned our lesson well. Now we are wary of ac- 
cepting even the reality of a cremated body. Thus it is not too surprising 
to many of us when stories start to appear suggesting that all is not as it 

A few weeks after Maharajji's mahasamadhi, a stranger came to the 
Hanuman temple in Lucknow. He questioned the priest about the beads he 



wore around his neck, and the priest replied they were tulsi beads that 
Maharayi had given to him. The stranger said that he knew Maharayi and 
thought that he was a great soul. He asked to be shown around the ashram, 
and upon entering the bedroom kept ready for Maharayi, the man pointed to an 
urn sitting on the bed and inquired about it. The priest realized that the man 
didn't know about Maharayi's mahasamadhi. He told him that the urn 
contained ashes from Maharagt's cremation. The man was shocked and he said 
that this was tmpossible, since he had just seen Maharayi a few days earher in 
Amarkantak. He satd that Maharayi had worn only a burlap sack around his 
waist and no other clothing. Maharayi had told him that he had left his blanket 
in Kainchi and that from then on he wouldn't wear expensive dhotis. He had 
said that ashrams were prisons and that they caused attachment to creep back 
into the minds of sadhus, who were supposed to have cleansed the mind of 
attachment. Maharayi had said that he had run away from the ashrams and 
that he'd never return. From now on he would live in the jungle and have time 
to sing and pray without disturbance. 

The priest was taken aback by the man's revelations. A moment later he 
turned to question the stranger and he discovered that the man had disappeared. 

Maharayi told me two or three years ago that he would bring me three 
things. He didn't, and I never reminded him because he does what he does. I 
never asked him anything. Whatever he did for me came from his own mouth. 
The three things that he wanted to give me were: rudraksha beads from 
Pashupatinath, a Shiv-lingam from the INNarmada Ruwer, and a special conch. 

After Maharayi's death, a sadhu came and gave these to me. He said, 
"These are being sent for you."” This young sadhu came three times. The last 
time he made it clear: "Everything is being done according to the orders of 
Baba Deem Karol!" Outside of these three visits, I never saw him, and he 
came only to this house. 

I never searched or inquired after the sadhu. If we inquire, that means there 
7s curiosity and that we want something, and that 1s not our duty. Whatever 
Maharagi ts doing, he ts doing. The sadhu came to me and fulfilled the words 
uttered from Maharayi's mouth. I suppose that it is he. Since that day I am 
confirmed that he 1s with me. 

You and I have some thoughts, and a third person fulfills them. How ts it 
possible? That power ts working. The sadhu hardly looked twenty-one or 
twenty-two years old. He last came ten days ago, in the morning. A great fire 


was raging out of control and I was rushing down the path when he came 
walking up. He sat in my office and I called for tea. I told him about the fire 
and even though the smoke could be seen from the house, he wouldn't allow me 
to go. 

I told the sadhu that Maharajji used to behave like this. He bowed his head 
and smiled. I thought that most likely he was Maharajji and that's why he was 
smiling. I told him that I had to go to the fire, but he wouldn't give me 
permission. Then he told me, "I have sent Pawanasuta (a name of Hanuman) 
there. He will control it. Hanumanji is there. Don't worry." About twenty- 
five minutes later the fire was extinguished. He said, "You can go if you 
want, but the fire is out." I went to the fire and he went another way. The 
fire was out. 

Prior to that day he had come before the Kumbha Mela, after which he had 
told me that I'd get darshan. He wore Hanumanji's clothes (red)—one dhoti 
and a small blanket. I told him that if Maharajji would give me darshan, he 
would have to tell me that it is he. Maharajji, I said, had never kept anything 
secret from me. I finally made my implication clear and the sadhu said, 
"Everything is being done under his orders." If it is he, he should make it 

One family had been in the habit of making khir and placing it in a small 
room before the picture of Maharajji. Once, several years back, the niece had 
found the khir dripping down the picture, starting at Maharajji's mouth. Now, 

some time after he left his body, khir was again made and left before the 
picture. Later the family found that three fourths of it was gone and that the 
spoon had been used. The room is so situated that no one could have been in it 
without their knowledge. 

A young fellow came weeping from Masiribhad in Rajasthan and when 
questioned, said he had just been told that Maharajji had left his body two 
years previously. But he didn't understand how it could have been two years 
before, since only three months earlier Maharajji had arranged for the marriage 
of his daughter and had come to the wedding. 


Dada does puja to Maharaji each day by creating an extraordinary floral 
offering on Maharagt's tucket. On many days, after the puja is prepared and 
the room vacated, Dada returns to find indentations of footprints on the 
bedspread and some disarray. Maharayi has come and accepted the offering of 


One devotee, while reading the Ramayana on the occasion of Ram's 
birthday, felt Maharagt's presence. The next day when she opened the book, 
the name Ram was written in, just where Shiva says to Uma (his consort), 
"t's all illusion except the name of the Lord." 

In August 1977 I had walked to Kainchi from Nainital, since the rains had 
washed landslides onto the road. When I arrived, Siddhi Ma told me of a baba 
who had just left fifteen minutes before, who she said was so much like 
Maharayi in behavior and speech and feeling. He looked to be about sixty 
years old and very tall, over six feet. I stayed in Kainchi for some time and felt 

Jjatth that somehow I would get a ride back to Nainital. Maharayi brought me 
to Kainchi and he would care for my return. At the gate I got a ride in a white 
car. Less than two miles up the road I saw a tall sadhu. I stopped the car and 
touched the baba's feet, saying nothing. The baba said, "We didn't meet at the 
temple and so we have met here." I enjoined the baba to come to Nainital, 
and, despite his protests of much business on the plains, he came. That evening 
at my home the baba asked a young boy if the boy recognized him—but he 
didn't wait for an answer and went on talking. Everyone who met the sadhu 
remarked how very much like Maharayi he talked and laughed. As the sadhu 
was leaving he told me not to try following him, that I wouldn't be able to. 

One night three of the workers at the ashram stayed up late talking about 
Maharayt. Around midnight they went to sleep. K slept on the verandah of 


the Hanuman temple, the chaukidar across from Maharapt's room, and the 
cook outside the kitchen. 

Some time after 1:00 _A.m., the chaukidar was awakened by crying sounds---a 
male vowce—inside Maharapt's room. Yet the room was locked from the 
outside. He was very frightened and so ran to K for help. K was in a deep 
sleep and only after they had poured cold water on his face did he awaken. K 
said he felt, upon awakening, as though he had the strength of fifty men. They 
told him of the crying sounds and he felt completely calm as they were telling 
him, He said that as he stood outside the locked room, listening to the sounds, 
he felt no fear whatsoever—he knew with his whole being that tt was all right. 
He felt that inside that room was Hanuman (which to K is synonymous with 
Maharaji), So they didn't unlock the door to look inside. 

NOW MAHARAJJI comes in visions to many of the devotees. 

There was a fairly wealthy man in Gujarat. He gave all his money away to 
his daughters, came to Vrindaban, saw the Hanuman murti, and said, "I'm 
never going to leave here.” He became a cook in the ashram. He was the most 
sincere, simple man imaginable, working from early in the morning until late 
at night, scrubbing and cooking. He had never seen Maharayi but was deeply 
devoted to him and told one of the Westerners that several times he had seen 
Maharayi (in a transcendent form) in the ashram. 

One such time it had been late at night and he was still working in the 
kitchen. When he had finally finished his work, he just felt like sitting for a 
while before the samadhi. While he was sitting there, he had felt someone tap 
him on the shoulder. Turning to see who it was, he had beheld Maharaji 
standing behind him, wearing a blanket but glowing in radiant white light. He 
fel down at Maharagt's feet, and Maharaji touched him and made him cry. 
He said that there were two other occasions when Maharayt had come to him 
in this way. As this man was telling the story, he was crying and went over to 
the spot on the ashram grounds where he saw Maharayi. "He was right here! 
IT saw him right here.” 

One woman devotee was staying in the ashram after Maharayt's mahasamadhi. 
Around 3:00 4m. she awoke and went out of her room, and there, in a huge 
form, at the entrance of the inner room of Maharagji's samadhi temple, was 
Maharayi himself. Such a huge form! She was in a state of ecstasy on seeing 
him and rushed back to her room to get karm-kum (red powder) to tilak him, 


When she returned outside he had vanished, but she was stall in such ecstacy 
that she went over to the temple and wrote ""On Ram" on the wall of the 
samadhi building. It was just the ordinary Rum-kum they use every day to 
write on the samadhi—and then they wash it off daily. But this time it didn't 
wash offand it 1s still there. You can see it, and it's been over three years 
since she had this darshan. Whenever I return from a visit to Vrindaban, she 
inquires if tt as still there. It alvays ts. 

The day of Indra's mother's death was about a_year after Maharayji left his 
body. She spent all afternoon at Kainchi talking about the flower Maharayi 
had given her when she was sick, which disappeared when she got well; how 
Maharayi had named her children; and so forth. Exarher in the day she kept 
asking, "Do you think anyone could see Maharayi's large form and continue to 
live?” That evening she was sitting with the other Mothers in Maharayt's 
room and suddenly she leaned over toward the bed as uf she were doing a 

pranam—and died. Her fingers were still doing her beads. 

After Maharagi's mahasamadhi, a woman from Allahabad wanted to have his 
darshan. She was in Haridwar in bed with her husband when suddenly she sat 
up and started to speak incoherently. '""He's come, he's here.” She got very 

frightened and then she said Maharaji laughed and asked, "Why are you 
getting so frightened? Didn't you desire to touch my feet and massage my body 
like you used to?” 

In 1976 a devotee who had come to the temple wanted to go in to 
Maharayi's room, but the keepers wouldn't let him in. He started looking 
around for a key when he heard Maharapt's voice saying, "What nonsense are 
you doing? This 7s not the way. So-and-so ts here. He will open the door,” 
Just then that person came and let the devotee in. 


A local baba, when helping with the building of a temple for Maharayi, 
wondered how it would be built. Then he had a vision of Maharayt piling 

stone upon stone and saying, will build the mandir.” 

After Maharayi died, a man and his family were passing by the temple, 
when their car broke down. They asked to be put up for the night. Just at this 
time, there was much concern at the temple as to where money would come 
from for the samadhi temple. AH that night the man cried and felt he must 
do something for this temple. The next morning he gave all the money needed 
for the murtz. 

My husband feels Maharayi talks to him all the time. Once he told my 
husband to get land and build a house; another time he told him that the local 
baba at the temple had no rice. My husband went immediately with supplies 
and found that, indeed, the baba had no edibles in his house. 

FOR OTHER DEVOTEES, Maharajji comes in dreams. 

One afternoon in May around two o'clock, a year or so after Maharagjt's 
mahasamadht, I was deeply asleep in my room at the ashram. In a dream, 
Maharayi came to me and slapped my face five times and yelled at me to wake 
up immediately and water the trees in the ashram because they were dying of 
thirst. I indeed woke up immediately and my cheek was red and stinging as if 
it had just been slapped! 

Maharayi gave darshan to my wife in her dreams. He said that he was 
living in America now and that he was also working in a factory in Feradabad, 
where my brother ts ailing. 


Once I had a dream, after Maharajji's death, in which he was taking me 
higher and higher into the sky. I was growing afraid and I said, "Maharajji, 
now I want to go back." 

He said, "No." But I was so afraid. Then he said, "Okay, then you go 
back." And as soon as he said that, I woke up. 


One night I dreamed that I was sitting with Maharajji again. All the Ma's 
were around, and I was just crying there at his feet. The next day I wept from 
love the whole day long. 

EVEN WITHOUT encounters on the physical plane, visions, or dreams, 
most of the devotees continue to feel Maharajji's presence and protec- 
tion. But why should that be surprising? After all, Maharajji had again 
and again assured us that he would always be in communion with us 
and that we didn't need to be with his physical body. 

One afternoon I was sitting across the temple courtyard from Maharajji. He 
was surrounded by devotees who were massaging his feet, laughing and talking 
about this and that, and sharing fruit and sweets. As I watched, the scene 
suddenly appeared to become static, as if I were watching a tableau. I felt a 
remoteness from it all. In my mind I thought, "My relationship with 
Maharajji is not in time and space. I don't need to be at his feet in physical 
form. It wouldn't really matter f I were to never see him again. He is in my 
heart." Just the thought made me feel guilty, but at that moment it all came 
back to life and I saw Maharajji turn and whisper to an old Indian devotee 
standing at his side. The man immediately came rushing across the courtyard, 
came up to me, and touched my feet. Then he said to me, "Maharajji told me 
to come over and touch your feet. Maharajji said, Ram pass and I understand 
each other perfectly. His heart is open.'" At that very moment I knew that 
Maharajji had freed me from attachment to his form. (R.D.) 

Once in Allahabad, Maharajji said to M Ma, "I must go. I have much 
work." She replied, "What work have you to do?" 
"IT have plenty of work to do, but I'll come soon." 


Four months passed and he had not returned. The Ma's were talking about 
how Maharajji was not truthful. When they saw Maharajji again, the Ma's 
told him, "Baba, you speak lies." 

"Why, Ma?" 

"You said you would come, and it has been almost five months." 

"T never speak lies. Where could I go? Iam always here with you. Believe 
me, Mother, where could I go?" 


MS and I were discussing stories of how Maharajji is said to be alive and 
well in a rejuvenated body, that of a youth in Amarkantak. He said that 
actually what is important is to know that Maharajji is guiding us each 
moment. "I really mean that. I know it sounds like sweet poetry to speak in 
this way, but he is with us all the time. I say it from my heart." 

When he was in a body, I was always visited by him in dreams. Even now 
he comes in dreams, but they are not so vivid unless he has to instruct me in 
something. In the mornings when I sit close-eyed, I feel that he is in front of 
me. That used to happen and it still happens. I don't attach great importance 
to whether his body is there or not there. He is everywhere. When you 
meditate on him and think of him, he must come. He has always been here and 
will always be. There is no need to go anywhere special to find him. All 
places are equally good. 

From the first time I sat with him, I didn't have to be around him long 
before he was in my heart. He is in my heart all the time. I don't have a lot of 
pictures of him around. I don't often talk about him. He's still here—not in 
words, but in a feeling. 


For months on end I'l forget about Maharagt's leaving his body, and then 
I'1/ have a very powerful experience of his presence. But I don't try to Reep 
him in my mind anymore, which at one time was one of my practices. Yet 
sometimes spontaneously, or as a result of some input from somewhere, a real 
experience of his presence arises. And in that way, for me, it seems to be more 

a matter of grace. 

Maharayi has been coming to me lately—as the father, which ts exactly 
what I need now in my life. He comes as a huge teddy bear, who throws his 
arms around me and loves me in a very physical way—caressing and 
hugging—in a way that I've never known in my life before. 

Still he 1s doing his work. We needn't do anything. Our problems are being 
solved by him. Physically we can't see him, but if we think and meditate, he is 
always with us. In my case 1 know that everything ts being done by him. Still 
today if I have any problem, I meditate on him and he does tt. 

Just a few days back I was riding the bus from Bhowah to Nainital. As I 
was sitting there by the window I felt the warmth of Maharayz, as f he were 
sitting beside me. I went into some sort of trance and was talking to him. It 
wasn't until the bus pulled to a stop with a jerk that I realized I was having 
this trance. 

My wife is from the Punjab and they greatly believe in family astrologers. 
Our astrologer satd that her fifty-ninth year would be very difficult. A few 


weeks ago it began and she was not feeling well and was worned. 
While moving a packet of ash and flowers that had been given to 
her by Maharayi three years earher at a yagna (he had scooped up 
the ash himself) she opened it and found inside a pearl ring she had 
never seen before. (It 1s believed that if you have a moon affliction in 
your horoscope, a pearl will help you.) Mahara is there, so why 
worry? He will take care of everything. 

Just coming to visit the temple brought me back into his presence. 
Later, as we discussed this, one of the Mothers told me that 
Maharayi had said, "When a saint leaves his body, the temple 
becomes his body.” 

This year when I walked back into his room in Vrindaban, just 
as I crossed over the threshold, I felt as though everything I'd done 
in the last four years was irrelevant and meaningless. It was the 
same experience as having one of Maharagi's slances—ait would 
bring you to right here, right now. 

During the return trip to India that I made this winter, as I was 
walking into the back part of the Vrindaban ashram, I was filled 
with the awareness that all the things I'd done over the entire past 
_five years, including those that would be considered adharmic, were 
absolutely insignificant, I've read this in the scriptures, of course, 
but this was the experience—re-experience, I should say—that 
wizen you turn your heart totally to God, everything ts forgwen, it 
is absolutely nothing. And that's what I felt when I went in there. 
I just sat for a long time in Maharayt's room. It felt as though the 
shaktt from Maharayt's tucker were pouring off the blanket and 
into my heart, as if I were literally bathing in it, drinking the 
coolness of tt. 

One cannot understand what he is. Physically he 1s not here, but he 
as listening to everything. 


It is very disturbing, you see. I start talking about Babaji and then it feels as 
if he is here or something. What can be done? 

MAHARAJJI, LIKE THE wind, belongs to no one. People who never knew 
him when he was embodied also report seeing him in visions and 
dreams, sensing his presence, and feeling that they are called by him. 
Obviously his ability to touch people is not limited by physical contact. 


There is no way to generalize how it has been for the devotees since 
Maharajji left his body. Each of us has gone on with life. Some of us 
cling to the memories of the form, the stories, the photographs, the rit- 
uals, the names, and each other. Others among us have let the form go, 
knowing that we need not necessarily cling to Maharajji, because he 
clings so strongly to us that, even if we tried, we could not forget. The 
legacy that he has left each person who acknowledges his existence is a 
faith deep within the heart. He reawakened that faith through mirroring 
for us a place in ourselves so deep that we rarely, if ever, had touched it 
before. It is a place of light, in which we truly share the brilliant, won- 
drous loving-living spirit. And seeing such a light has made it all dif- 

Before I met Maharajji I was doing the same things I do now but out of 
orbit. He got me into orbit. 

I have seen the best entertainment. So I don't get any pleasure from the 
things of this world—fancy foods, cinemas, adventures, I have no will for 
them. One friend invited me to see the cinema in Nainital. I said, "Why? I 


have seen the biggest cinema here. That Nainital cinema will bore me. The 
biggest entertainment is Maharagi." 

BY LEAVING us with so few guidelines that are free of confusion, so few 
practices, he has protected us from getting caught in more superficial 
levels of our being. For example, we cannot hide in righteousness, be- 
cause he was a rascal—nor can we hide in rascality, because his every act 

was dharmic. In no form can our egos hide, for Maharajji is always 
there, like Hanuman, to "spot a tyrant and pull his beard." 

Sometimes I have flashes of tt. I keep a couple of little pictures of Maharayi 
around the house. Every once in a while, when I'm rushing through 
things—like I'll get up late and have to rush to work, so I'll go speeding 
through the house—every once in a while he'll jump out and grab me. Either 
lll see the picture and I'll think, "Whooo, right! Don't worry, I still 
remember’ —or I won't see the picture but I'l have some kind of flash, like, 
"What are you doing? What's happening? Are you still there? Where are you? 
What's happeningé" 


When I was a young kid, I abyvays dreamed of becoming a racer—cars, 
motorcycles, or whatever. And after Maharayi died, I began to race 
motorcycles. | would concentrate my energies on driving as fast as I could, but 
all that time I couldn't forget! No matter how fast I'd go, in a motorcycle or 
even in a plane, beyond that there is still the speed of light, and if you go that 

fast you don't exist anymore. That speed I could never reach. And that ts the 
speed of Maharayt. He ts like the speed of light. 

Now the stories have been told, the form has come—and gone. And 
here we are, you and I and Maharajji, each just as real as our minds and hearts 

At this moment, as I write these words, I am here. 

At this moment, as you read these words, you are here. 

In this "here" that we share, beyond time and beyond space, 

Maharajji is. Always. 



I am like the nind 

No one can hold me 

I belong to everyone 

INo one can own me 

The whole world ts my home 

A are my family 

I Live in every heart 

I will never leave thee. 
—from the words of Neem 
Karol Baba, known as 
"Maharayi," adapted by 
Jat Gopal 


(Page numbers of first mention follow each term.) 

adharma (255) unspiritual way of life 
advait vad (140) non-dualism 

ajna (241) third eye 

akash (172) celestial sky 

amrit (328) nectar 

Annapurna (47) Goddess of Grain 
annas (44) small Indian coins 

atti (29) worship ceremony of light 
ashanti (117) not peaceful 

ashirbad (xi) blessing 

ashram (6) monastery 

atma (141) God within 

atman (353) God within 

ayurved (158) doctor of herbal medicine 

baba (12) title for an elder or holy man 

badrnash (118) rascal, troublemaker 

baraka (58) blessing 

bardos (393) planes of existence 

betel (189) leaf chewed for digestive 

Bhagavan (60) God 

bhagya (302) destiny 

bhajan (6g) devotional song 

bhakta (63) devotee 

bhakti (259) devotion 

bhandara (27) feast 

bhava (25) spiritual emotion 

Brahm (188) the formless (Brahma 
creative aspect of God) 

brahmacharya (295) celibacy 

Brahmin (12) priest class in Hindu 
caste system 

chai (37) tea 

chakra (7) psychic energy center in the 

chapatti (40) unleavened flat bread 

charas (I I6) hashish 

chaukidar (6) gate-keeper 

chillum (xiii) hashish pipe 

chimpter (222) tongs 

crore (212) ten million 

dacoit (46) bandit, thief 

dal (44) lentils 

dandi (267) litter, palanquin 
darbar (270) a king's court 
darshan (xiv) spiritual meeting 
das, dass (332) servant 


dasi (332)female of das (servant) 

devas (389) gods 

Devi puja (352) worship of the Divine 

dharma (141) spiritual way of life 

dharmashala (93) hostel, especially for 

dhoti (50) c/oth used to cover lower part 
of a man's body 

dhuni (227) camp-fire 

dhyan (248) meditation 

diksha (339) initiation 

dunda pranam (2) full-length prostra- 

Durga (127) aspect of the Divine 

Ekadashi (39) lunar fast-day 
fakir (166) sadhu 

ganja (227) marijuana 

ghee (so) clarified butter 

grihastha (220) householder 
gur (214) raw brown sugar 


guru (xi) a “berated being who serves as 
a doorway to God 
Gurubahin (392) guru sister 

Haj (266) pélerimage, especially to 

hakim (392) healer, doctor 

halva (47) grain dish made of wheat, 
ghee and a sweet. 

Hanuman( = perfect servant of God 

FLnumanji (6)familiarfortn of address 
of Hanuman 

hatha yoga (327) physical method of 
achieving union with God 

havan (7) smaller sacrificial fire cere- 
mony, especially in a home 

jao (67) go 

jelebees (39) fried sugar syrup 

jetta (332) long, matted hair piled on the 

jhola (201) shoulder bag 

juth (216) empure, dirty 

Kali Yuga (140) Dark Age 

kamini (208) women 

kanchan (207) gold, wealth 

kanchanka mi n (297) gold and women 

kanna (37) food 

karma (44) effects of previous actions 

karma yoga (246) using effect of previ- 
ous action to attain God 

khichri (47) r7ce and lentils 

khir (51) sweet ricelmilk pudding 

kirtan (24) group singing of devotional 

Krishna (24) an incarnation of Vishnu 

kumbhak (259) _yogze method using 

Kumbha Mela (47) a great spiritual 
fair held every twelve_years 

kum-kum (403) colored powder for 
making tilaks 

kundalini (177) spinal energy 

kuti (42) but 

kya (303) what 

laddus (53) sweet favored by Hanuman 

lakh (212) ode hundred thousand 

Lakshmi (208) Goddess of Good For- 

Lakshmi-Narayan (24) Narayan is an 
aspect of Vishnu, Lakshtni ts his 

langoti (337) Loin cloth 

lassi (142) churned yogurt drink 

lila 94) pla 

lingam &3) phallic symbol 


loki (268) squash 
Iota (124) water pot 

Ma (7) mother maha-jao (374) great 
Jao Mahatajji (xii) great King 
mahasamadhi (316) completion of the 
Jinal incarnation of a realized being 
mahatma (1 52) great sou/ malas 
(130) prayer beads malpuas (51) sweet 
Jried bread mandir (210) temple 
mantra (12) method of yoga using 
repetition of words 
maun (326) s/ent 
maya (196) clusion 
mela (47) fair, gathering 
mudra (175) method of yoga using 
bodily form or gesture 
mutti (28) consecrated statue 

naga baba (315) naked sadhu 
nahin IS) xo 

Om (338) the cosmic syllable 

pakoras Coz) Jritter 

pani (153) water 

parathas (50)fried frat bread 

parikrama (388) circumambulation 

pattal (213) af plate 

pera (38) a sweet 

phalahari (326) det of vegetables and 

pran (33) psychic energy 

pranam, pranammed (6) bow 

pranayam (232) yogic technique in- 
volving breath control 

prasad (30) consecrated food 

puja (u) prayer ritual 

pukka pujari (346) ferst-class priest 

pundit (104) reLgious scholar 

puris (38) fried flat bread 

Radha (349) Krishna's beloved and 

rakshabandhan (10) protective ribbon 

Ram (32) an incarnation of Vishnu 

rambans (157) cactus 

Ram Lila (73) celebration of the life of 

Ram mantra (i 5) repetition of the name 
of Ram 

rasam (349) south Indian food 

rishts (140) sages 

roti, rotis (45) 

rudraksha (73) seed used to make 
prayer beads 

bread (same as 

sadhana 08) spéritual practice 

sadhu (12) renunctate 

samadhi (139) spiritual trance 

sambar (349) 4 south Indian food 

samskaras (159) karmic effects of previ- 
ous incarnations 

Sangam (32) confluence of three sacred 

sanyas (328) renunciation 

sanyasi (196) renunciate 

Sat Guru (329) supreme guru 

sati (295) wee, consort 

satsang (6) community of spiritual seek- 

shakti (67) Psychic energy 

shaligram (222) stone used in rituals 

shanti milta-hai (117) peace 7s found 

sherabis (64) »inos, drunkards 

Shiva (12) the destructive aspect of God 

Shivaratri (343) holy day honoring 

Ship-lingam (400) phallic symbol of 

Siddha Loka (142) dwelling place of 
highest celestial beings 

siddha mahatma (228) highest saint 

siddhi (47) psychic power 

Sita (257) Ram's wife 

Sitaram (233) mantra using the names 
of Sites and Ram 

tapasya (162) austerities 

Thakur (346) a lower Hindu class 

tilak (280)forehead marking of religious 

tonga (194) horse carriage 

tucket (9) wooden bed 

tulsi (346) sacred basil plant 

tyaga (208) sacrifice 

ulfie (1°5) sack-like robe 

Uma (402) Shiva's consort 

upa-gurus (329) spiritual guides other 
than one's Sat Guru 

Veda Vyas (350) a great Indian saint 
vibhuti (147) sacred ash 

wallas (32) vendors, proprietors 

yagna (342) a major sacrificial fire 

yatra (267) pilerimage 

yoga-asanas (326) yogic postures 

yogi (42) one who seeks union with 

yuga (331) age 

miracle of loves 

There can be no biography of him Fads are lew stories many 
He seems to have been known by afferent names in many 
loy=]ats¥@) mul are] oy=Mur=] 0) eor-lalalem-laleme)tst-) 0) e\-t-1a/alemealnelele|amaroM\icr-l8<) 
His Western devotees of recent years knew him as Neem 
Karoi Baba but mostly as Maharaj' — a nickname so 
(oxo) gavanro)aye)r=(exsmlam lacelt-lmeat-lme)al-me) i= mer-lamalct=|mr-mcct-MY-70(e(0lE 
addressed thus. Just as he said he was nobody 

He gave no (fcsoourses. the briefest, simplest stones were 
his teachings Usually he sat or lay on a wooden bench 
wrapped in a plad blanket while a tew devotees sat around 
him Vitors came and went they were given food a few 
words, a nod, a slap on the head or back and they were sent 
away There was gossip and laughter lor he loved to joke 

Orders for running the ashram were given usually,m.a 
lel=1xe) ale mv{=)| Wr-\eicesstomm aro mere)aalelelelare 
Sometimes he sal in silence, 
absorbed m another world to 
Val (ei amn’\Z=merel6}(olmalo)mie)i(e)wmelent 
CHiss and peace poured 
(ole) Viale) amels) 

Who he was was no more 
idarclaMlalcm=».4e\-/a(>/a(ec-me) malian 
the nectar of hts pres- 
ence, the totality of his 
UES aTe\ VAL Com als) 
plant blanket