| Daze in the Son
volume 1 : A Young Man's Search for the Avatar: part1, part 2 part 3
Keeping Secrets of the Heart
In morning I went for darshan with Baba. He was sitting in his room. He seemed to be angry or perturbed with me. He starts telling me that I must keep the things of my heart secret.
"Sit in the corner and do your meditation, but don't talk of what is happening within yourself to others."
"Does a businessman reveal his financial affairs to others?" he asked. "Does he tell how much money he is making? Do a young boy and girl reveal the intimate secrets of their love to others? In this spiritual line, if you reveal everything that is going on within you to others, all your power will go away."
The translator of this, a devotee named Krishna Shanka Mehta, told me, to illustrate what, Baba meant, to see that Baba was doing so much, going through so much inwardly but not telling anything about it to others, not displaying his virtues or experiences for others to see.
"That is how he became superhuman. If he were telling everything to everyone and everybody, all the power would go away."
This was very strange that this topic should all of a sudden be thrust at me in this way, because just the previous night I had been writing a letter to Glenn, revealing to him some of the experiences I had been having. After writing it I had wondered if I should be telling it. What was the harm? After all, Glenn had lived through my spiritual madness with me, he was one of the only people who might actually understand these things and what they meant to me. But was I bragging? How much should I say to him or anyone?
Later I write to Glenn:
I protested to Baba. Why all this "secrecy?" I told him that in America all my many friends and I talked freely about God and spiritual matters, what's wrong with that?
"No, no," he said, "That's okay. You can give your 'lectures' but about your own inner sadhana you should be silent."
This was so frustrating! In somewhat of a huff I take out my various diary notebooks and hold them up to him. "Should I burn all these?"
"What?" he asks, not understanding.
"Lekhbo na?" (Shouldn't I write my experiences?) If all these inner affairs were so private then this task of trying to describe being with him would be impossible, for who could separate the inner and the outer? Perhaps in my frustration there was some small element of hope that I could get out of this difficult task of writing about all this.
"No, no, no!" he says. "Write! Write a lot!" He tells me that indeed I should write in my diary a lot, but then he reveals that it is he who is writing, not me. He says "One guru! Guru-God, God-guru," and uses the word "shakti" making a sign from his heart to me, indicating that the power to write was coming from him. "Guru will write, Ma will write. Always think "tumi" ("thou") and not "ami" ("I").
When he says this word "ami," "I," he suddenly imitates vomiting loudly. It is a kind of shock. I cannot help but laugh but I see that none of this is theoretical to him, this disdain for the sense of personal ego.
I am greatly relieved about the idea that it is really he who is really doing the writing, as I had been wanting sometimes to want to drop the whole thing. It seemed too much of a burden and responsibility weighing on me in the light of an increasing awareness of the littleness of my powers.
"Good." I said. "I don't want to write it, you write!" I threw the notebooks down in front of him in disgust. I really meant it. I was in no position to write about someone I could hardly fathom.
Baba laughed to have the notebooks thrust in his lap and clapped his hands in delight. "Right! No 'Ami'"
And again he told me. "No kam," (lust) and made as if vomiting. He says that man and woman are one. A young girl happened to be sitting next to us there and he points to her. "She is a girl, you are a boy. Tell me, is there any difference?"
I say "Maya!" (Illusion) and he says
"Right! Maya! No prakrit (female), no purush (male)."
This is like a question I had been thinking about yesterday: Is the Divine Mother of Indian religion different in any way from the Heavenly Father of the west? I ask him this question, in my new and rather awkward and simplistic Bengali.
"In India God is Mother. In America God is Father. Is this two?"
"No," he says. "One India prays to Mother, one America, Russia, Poland, London, prays to Father. Purush (male), Prakrit (female)."
When these two, the man and the woman come together, one child is the result. Out of apparent duality, oneness comes again. He imitates a pregnant lady, he stomach swollen. What is the result? "One Premananda!" and he laughs again.
I write to Glenn:
The Night of Shiva I am Initiated
February 20, 1974
Today is the festival of Shivaratri, the one day of the Hindu calendar devoted to the Lord Shiva. The word actually means "night of Siva," and in fact, the worship is performed at night, all night, on this eve of the new moon.
To be initiated by such a soul as Baba is a big event. I am told by various disciples that sometimes people come year after year requesting initiation (diksha) but Baba says no, the time is not right. On the other hand some who never ask for it get it unexpectedly and suddenly. I had never asked specifically for initiatiion.
In the morning I feel driven to the limit. I feel that I must know. Who is this Baba? Was I crazy to come looking for the reincarnation of a dead saint? Is he really and truly that Ramakrishna? I am bouncing so regularly from doubts to total certainty it is giving me feelings of anxiety and conflict to the point of tears.
In the morning worship I have a recurrent feeling - helplessness. As if there is nothing I can do to become certain about anything, Baba included. I am also having some conflicts coming from the teachings of Krishnamurti and Vimala. They do not place any importance on the idea of guru at all, and here with Baba it is a primary thing.
And yet in that extraordinary and overwhelming dream I had of Krishnamurti he turned into Govinda and danced with me! And Vimala herself had told me "One day Ramakrishna will be your constant companion." So? What to think? The mind was bouncing around like a rubber ball.
It is out of my hands anyway, I think. Don't miss this chance. Life Is offering high help. But what about freedom? What is freedom? Freedom from "I"? I write a letter to Brahmamayi.
In the late afternooon Baba's room has been somewhat cleared out and set up for the doing of the worship to Lord Siva. A table on the east wall holds the Siva lingam and other articals of worship. I am somewhat intrigued with all these details of the puja. What exactly does all this worship consist of?
I resolve to sit and watch the worship and record in a notebook all the details and actions. Then I could do my own puja if I wanted to. But after a while I become completely bored with this activity. I have no idea what is going on or how to record it in writing. There are so many little actions and articles of worship that I give up. (Later at night Baba will be joking about the puja calling it "Maya!") I meditate instead.
I know that my mind has been overtaxed lately. All my efforts are in vain. I keep dying in a surrender wish. I drop all effort. I simply wait. I watch the nothingness go by.
I am sitting in front of the Kall temple. Sivaratri is a rather boistrous evening. I am well aware of Siva's fondness for smoking ganja, or hashish. The hemp plant is sacred to Lord Siva and its leaves are often offered to him when he is worshipped. And on this one day of the year Shiva worshippers throughout India are allowed to partake of this mind altering prasad by smoking the consecrated hemp leaves in a chillum. Occasionally throughout the long night groups of people come dancing along the road by the ashram, or into the ashram courtyard. I realize that most of them are somewhat inebriated and stoned on the ganja.
When these Shiva dancers came by they seemed stoned and raucous. Baba says "Manipura" and points to his belly and imitates the dancers. He means that this kind of intoxcation is down in the belly, the manipura chakra, not very significant.
I Say "Anahata?" meaning the heart chakra and he says "Ah! Bhakti! "
Then he points the vishudha (throat chakra) which brings samadhi, and Ajna, the point between the eyees, and finally Brahma chakra at the top of the head.
The puja continues to go on and Baba is joking about how there is no peace, no shanti, no ananda on Sivaratri. A lot of commotion and noise. This is not his favorite festival. For one thing it is the day that unmarried women bring offerings to Shiva in the hopes of finding a good and potent husband. Baba feels the worldliness of this aspect of Shivaratri
All day long I am remembering visions of this place I must have had before I came - the "library" falls into place. All day confused, aching for Ma, aching to know if Baba is He, and after awhile I just don't care. This lila is too much God given, God directed, I will follow it. God is obviously doing it, On the one hand my Viveka (discrimination) is active, on the other hand I am a child, how can I judge Baba? He keeps winning over doubts by his love and his intimacy and miraculous forms.
As I am sitting on the veranda of the Kali temple in my mood of "letting go," my mind breaks down a bit and starts getting giddy. For weeks there has been so much attention on the idea of getting the vision of the Divine Mother. All this earnestness, longing.
Suddenly I start thinking, "What if I finally did have the vision of the Divine Mother, and she appeared to me as a cartoon character? I crazily thing of Fritzi Ritz from the "Nancy" comic strip. What if Kali finally appeared to me in the form of Fritzi Ritz? This idea completely cracks me up. My mind has indeed been overworking I guess. After all, the Divine Mother could assume any form she wanted, couldn't she? I imagine Fritzi Ritz standing like Kali and am laughing to myself. I can see her serious expression, her hair. She is absorbed within herself. It strikes me as unreasonably funny. Why, of all people, did I choose Fritzi Ritz? Where did she come from?
My laughing spell is broken suddenly by Baba calling me. He comes and brings me by the arm into his room where the worship of Siva is going on. In a rather quick transition from the ridiculous to the sublime I realize that this is to be my actual initiation. It has come quite unexpectedly. No mention had ever been made as to when it might occur, and I myself had never asked Baba for it. All of a sudden it was happening.
Baba takes the rudraksha beads from around my neck, the ones he had given me before, and blesses them. He puts sandalwood paste on the them and does some japa with them, and then gives them to Siva. He tells me step by step what to do.
He takes some honey and puts it on my tongue, to purify it for receiving the manrta. Then, using the the hard stem of a leaf, he writes the mantra in Bengali on my tongue three times. Then he wants me to verify that I have understood what he has written. He asks me what it was, and I tell him the mantra, "Om."
Then he cups his hand and leans over and repeats it in my ear in a long loud kind of whisper.
Now the guru fee must be offered. He tells me that because I do not have much money he himself will give me the money for the guru fee.
Has gives me a ten paisa coin and tells me to offer it to Siva. Before I do this he holds the ten paisa coin right in front of my face and looks at me as if it is very important that I understand this. He says emphatically, about the coin, "maya!" He gives the coin to me and then I give it to Siva.
Next he tells me how to do the mantra on the beads. Throughout all this I am submissive, like a child. It is all just happening by itself, by some grace, by the same destiny that brought me here. He blesses me with mantras, putting his hand on my head.
Then we go out to the hom fire that has been going all day outside. On the way out he pauses in the doorway and says to me quietly and almost sheepishly: "I am Siva."
Out at the sacred hom fire Baba hold my beads, doing Japa on them and telling me how to throw the various offerings into the fire saying "Swaha!"
Then he tellls me to go right to sleep, which I do. Om is in my mind. There is a faint anaesthetic buzz.
February 21, 1974
It is the morning after my initiation. I awake in a strange state, as if during sleep I had forgotten I was even here. I seemed surprised when I woke up. I feel normal at first but then this deep peace comes over me. It is subtle, but certain.. As I am bathing I notice that my body feels incredibly pure. Also I am especially hungry.
During morning puja I try out the japa. I tire of it after awhile. My senses turn off and I drift into a sweet deep meditation, like an ocean of peace. Thoughts are coming but they do not distract from this. Baba has to call me out of it.
We have tea. Baba is beaming. Some worldly type cinema music is playing on loudspeakers outside and Baba refers to it by holding up his hgnd like a cobra striking. I laugh.
I ask Baba "What's wrong with the index finger?" The night before he had shown me that the index finger is not to be used when doing japa on the beads.
"That finger is a ghost!" he says and laughs.
Baba goes outside his room and I stay and talk with a young devotee who has come, Deb Kumar Chatterjeee It is a wonderful talk. As we talk I begin to notice that subtle oceanic feeling is shining still. Baba's force is saturating me. I notice that I keep drifting off into this wordless feeling, oceanic, transparent. Is it any wonder? What to do? Love Baba.
I listen to my "Mother Song" on the tape, Divine. The words of that song which I wrote have become true. What is happening? It is as If I no longer care about who is Baba. I just love him and give myself to his care and accept my dharma.
At morning darshan Baba told me to write the Sivaratri story. He says "Sivaratri" and sticks out his tongue to show what he means. "OM?" I say, and he gives a sign to show he means much more than that. Love pulled me over doubts. The final move of yesterday was utter giving up.
Twelve PM Baba fixing up his room again after the puja stuff has been removed. He hangs a picture of Vishnu up top, and under that a picture of Chaitanya, and under that his own picture. I place Ramakrishna's picture in the frame with his own picture and he says "Right."
Jiten has come. I felt a great love between us, He is going to Calcutta and weeps at Baba's feet as he takes permission to leave.
12PM Baba is hanging picture for worship. (diagram). Is mother answering my request for some definite clues? Last night I gave up and just waited. My heart was aching. No words to talk to Baba with. I resolved to write him a letter. I realized many things.
I had jumped into the river. I just trusted God. Gave up? Died? Heart and throat were positively aching. Bhav and longing, anxiety, unknowing was coming in waves through the heart.
The feeling of the ocean of peace shines all day, the body fades in stillness. I talk with Mr. Pal and he tells me the story of Shiva's benevolence. Shiva is satisfied with simple humble offering. Even if you give him a common leaf as offering he will grant your boon.
It reminds me of last night. Shiva is satisfied with very little, Mr. Pal says, and I think how Baba held the meager ten paisa in front of my face saying "Maya." And again when he gave the mantra he said "Ami Shib." (I am Shiva). Now it is 2AM and I'm all confused again.
The new moon worship of Kali goes on nearly all night. It is the most important night of worship for Baba. Many trays of fruits and sweets are prepared for offering to the goddess.
During the worship I have a vision of my own mother as Divine Mother. I realize that Kali is there in every mother in the world. I weep and weep at her feet, and I wish the highest blessing on her. Bhav comes in deep breaths, the culmination of the day. Light and love. Worship is 10pm to 2AM Baba sitting with the shiva stick, looks like Shiva worshipping Kali. Mantras lull me into a trance. Body suffers some from sitting so long but eagerness to stay with worship is strong.
At the culmination of the worship, I am told by a disciple, all the doors of the temple are closed and Baba makes a small cut on his arm and offers his own blood to Kali. I am amazed to hear this. Afterward he comes out and puts a bit of the blood on the forehead of those who are still awake.
I fall into a deep sleep.
February 22, 1974
I Awaken from a deep sleep. As usual lately there is a kind of disorientation in the morning. The peace of the place, the bight sun, Baba's presence soaks me up later. Doubts disappear if I sit and make the mind quiet. Very tired. And Baba is in pain from piles and wind. He asks me about the hemmaroid medicine, if it is OK and shows me the problems.
After worship I lie down on porch at 3PM He calls me into room to lie down. I sleep till 5PM Deep nap, I wake like a spaced child, I circle Hanuman for 20-30 minutes. Waves of Bhav. I am thinking that all is gone, God must come, guru or no - even still Baba's grace is incredible. Baba comes, we go round the Hanuman worship is a deep egoless space now almost every night, Japa or no japa. Ocean of living nothing. I am always incredulous how very hidden Baba is, here in the middle of nowhere, sitting by Hanuman. His life is so simple and alone, how few people are around. And he just worships. Regularly like clockwork.
He is having trouble, constipation and gas pain very bad. At night, after puja, after food, he tells me that Lokon has been bitten by a snake. He doesn't mean a real snake. He means that he is feeling "I am a yogi. I am a priest." Maya! He is talking about this with someone, and then he and I go into the Kali temple. There is the evening kirtan going on outside.
I point to the image of the mother and I say "Kothay Ma, ekhane?" (Where is the mother, here on the altar?)
Baba points to my heart and says "No, mother is here!
"Is this mother on the altar maya?" I ask.
He say "Yes." Then he goes out to tell everyone what I said. (He is always doing that, e.g. when a big worm came in my room and I told him It was a "puka bandhu", a worm friend, he told everyone about that). I feel relieved to hear him so flatly say that the image Mother is maya. I see his worship is utterly inward -- the outer "mother" is for the lower mind.
Meditation is easy and sweet. OM taking root. I see in meditation what Baba said about the "Om Ma" mantra. It become A U MA U MA U MA, The breath is in a loop like a figure eight. Om sound is a vibration, a rippling roar connected with the breath loop of in and out. In and out is one continuous waven not two.
Yesterday's post-initiation state was just like Ramakrishna's descriptions of the world appearing to look like it is made of molten silver, transparent consciousness within which transparent silver shining images are floatingthe insubstantial Ego fades, the world fades.
After worship Baba shows me his hemmoroid problem. It is amazing because I had been wishing for the kind of intimacy which certain of Ramakrishna's disciple used to serve him. He defers more medicine until tomorrow. We talk about the constipation etc.
I said to Baba if Guru is God and God Guru then God has constipation. Baba laughs and laughs, utterly delighted.
More and more I "remember" this place and see that Baba is he of my LSD vision. It seems as if I have seen this place before, long ago or in a dream.
Baba is In an incredible mood this morning, Shining with clear transparency and jovial childlike spontaneity. I go with Mr. Pal who has invited me to partake of some special fig juice. I don't want to leave Baba, but Pal insists and I go.
When we get to his house I wait outside while he goes in. I hear him yelling and screaming with his wife for some time, quite a fight, and finally, after dragging me there, he tells me his wife threw out the juice thinking that it had spoiled. I go back and Baba and I sit for tea after puja. He asks me "How was the fig juice?"
I tell him I went with him but that there was no juice. "The Juice was maya!" I say and Baba roars with laughter.
Apparently his ailments are alleviated today. He is in a jovial mood. We are eating moori (puffed rice) and he calls the moori "God!"
Next he tells me he wants to go to America and become a houseboy. Mimics houseboy work. Asks me how much he can make doing "service". Says he has no degree, no M.D., no B.A., no M.A., so he can't work in an office. Some girls come in for darshan and he is telling them about me. He asks me if my body is angry, the food is bad, there is no good bathroom and so on. I say no, those things are maya.
Soon he starts singing "Keshava" which I sing with him slowly and Prem rushes to his heart. He gets that look on his face of inexpressibility, and waves his arms. Then he sings "Hari Bol" slowly and filled with love. The whole room seems transformed, clear with consciousness. He looks at me with incredible love.
Then we sing "Sri Krishna Chaitanya" and he melts. Then Hari Narayana. "All is maya!" he says, almost yelling. He pounds on the objects nearby, and on his own body and says "Maya!" and pretends to vomit. Puts his hand to his heart and becomes still after mimicing throwing all maya away. It is as if wisdom is coming from a child. I am happy seeing all this and I clap my hands. As he sings the mind becomes so clear I feel I can see Ramakrishna shining.
I ask him "Is Prem maya too?" He says "NO, no Rama is maya", etc. He goes through all the foms of God. "Puja (worship) is maya" and so on.
"But Prem is not maya." He concentrates in his heart, mimics weeping to show about Prem and says "Bas." (That's enough. Love is all you need).
It reminds me of a spell of laughter I had last night before sleeping as I realized how Baba is going through all the "maya" of worship and festivals and yet has a certain distaste for it all because it is all illusion.
Baba's one action of vomiting seems to have penetrated and stamped itself on my being. His wideness of application (calling everything maya) makes meditation deeper and purer. Silence of the self is the space needed for the advent of God, The Self is not silenced by the self, it must spontaneously, motivelessly cease to move and act. The coming here, death in Delhi, leaving Chandernagore -- all is part of this process of throwing away the crap. Laying down the life. Dying-into the kingdom. What to do? All I can think now is the beauty of God and to praise love and worship him all the day.
Today Baba said "Beshi choto Ganja," (You are smoking too much). I said "Why?" He said "God." I laughed.
I write to Glenn:
He was so absorbed in love this morning. A very high spiritual mood. How strange. The other day I was thinking of Ramakrishna's vision of his Baul incarnation. The wooden sandles, the stone bowl, the beard, the hookah. And I wondered about the hookah. There was the broken stone bowl, the beard, the robes of a monk, the wooden sandals. But where was the hookah? Baba smoked common bidis, not a hookah.
All of a sudden today a man brings a hookah for Baba! How odd! I watch as he unwraps it for Baba from its packaging. There is a oblong body made from a coconut shell, a wooden tube rising out of that, and a clay bowl on top to hold the tamak. Tamak is a sweet smelling mixture of tobacco and spices which is smoked in the hookah. The coconut body is half filled with water to cool the smoke, and a reed tube is inserted by which to smoke the mixture.
My amazement is considerable. Just the previous day I had wondered about the signs and wondered why there was no hookah. The next day it arrives.
Here is the text of Ramakrishna's prediction which had so fired my imagination and devotion to finding the Baul incarnation. Ramakrishna is here called "the Master."
I take an afternoon nap and awake at 5PM from wet dream. This is the first in ages. I feel utter despair and embarrassement though it is pemeated with stillness, and peace.
Baba comes in mood of loving friend and watchful protector.
"What's the matter?" he says. I feel despair and can't tell him. He tells me to sleep earlier at night. I get up and go for a smoke, go to circuit but a tearful anguish start to overcome me. He calls. I go lay my head on his lap.
I tell him through Mr. Pal who has stopped by about the wet dream. Baba is concerned, perhaps simply by my candor, but tells me not to worry or think about it. Mr. Pal says it is, natural. They give me milk. I say I want Baba to take away my lust and he says "Right' ."
Later he seems concerned. (Hari, Ganga Babu present). Tells me (over food) to go slowly and steadily in the spiritual line, otherwise I will fall down. Says other things but Hari can't translate pooperly. I feel like crying. He gives his darshan.
I sing a few things, "Dub dub" and then we have meditation, deep and quiet. Later Baba puts me in the Kali chamber alone and I weep and talk to God. I howl. I feel exactly as I did when a little boy. I feel I can't bear not being able to express myself and God is the only one I can talk to.
I feel confused. I talk intimately in my prayer. If I can't speak to guru because of the language problem then I can speak directly to God and that feels good. The vision of the Son rises in my heart. I melt. The Son is so sweet. Love for Baba is reaching an intensity of the same order.
Baba comes in with Hari, Ganga Babu and flowers. We escort them on their way home. Coming back with Baba we sing Hari Narayana walking together. I see the fence and remember a long ago dream with Jerry. The library is also clearly the same - I have seen it before. I have seen this whole place before somehow. It flls me with wonder.
I have a heavy heart in morning. I feel confused. So much prem is coming, I feel like crying. I can't talk to Baba, can't find God. The oceanic light is fading into the confusion of before and I am tired. Mr. Chandan comes. I keep wanting to run away and cry. It is that Son of God feeling, as if I can almost feel Him near.
I have a feeling of utter despair at not being able to communicate with Baba. I feel as if I can't stand it. Choking in throat, heaving love in heart. NO WAY TO EXRESS either my love or my confusion or my questions.
I feel as if I don't find God soon I will just die. I feel as if I must go directly to God to communicate my feeling. I am sobbing with my picture of Ramakrishna.
Baba asks if I want food. I say no with mock anger. I guess I feel betrayed because NO ONE seems to see or care about my anguish over the language barrier. I burst into tears. It is a combination of longing for God, seeing God in Baba, and being unable to express myself. Utter sobbing. Chandan's daughter comes in.
"Why are you crying?" she asks. Through her (and Chandan) I tell Baba it is because I can never understand Baba or talk to him. Baba melts with love to learn the source of my sorrow.
He tells me through Chandan "Your feelings are due to Prem. There is no need of physical talking." He tells Chandan to say, "You are nearing the goal, so Baba speaks directly through his gaze and psychically. Baba will give understanding not through mere talk."
Baba poses in mediation, silent. "God doesn't speak in mere words."
I get reassured but I still feel difficulty holding my feelings in check. Baba helps me wash my face and himself wipes my eyes. He serves me food like a mother, then goes to eat.
I feel better that at least this inexpression problem is expressed, but I know that the Prem will continue as I feel at the end of my road and rope. No God, no life. How can I return to America without getting established in God? What is there to return to? I am in no man's land.
Baba takes rest. Talks to them about me. Keeps telling the Puka Badhu story. I go to sleep. Baba gets me up after awhile and says "din no nidra" (not to sleep in the daytime). Chandan reiterates the reassurance that the verbal teaching is just for beginners. He says Baba will know all your inner feelings, there Is no need to express verbally. Baba and I walk them to the rickshaw. We sing "Keshava Kuru" at the fork in the road. Baba puts on the hom ashes on Chandan's forhead as he takes leave.
Baba and I walk around the village on the way home. We stop to pet a baby cow, Baba telling me that everything Is God, and everything is maya. We stop at a man's house who has a broken leg. Baba blesses them there. Stop at another house of "man with B.A." and he blesses them. Baba talks to lots of people briefly on the way. He is taking extreme care to make me feel happy.
We return. I cherish a desire to wash his feet since I have been thinking of Jesus. This is fulfilled sweetly and without words as Baba allows me to wash his feet after our walk.
I go to circle but he calls me back to ask if it is okay just to rub on the Preparation H medicine (or does he have to use the applicator). I reassure him. He tells me to go circle.
I do Hari Narayana mantra silently. My reason and intellect are getting lost in him. I am loving him so much I am dizzy with it. A baby nearby starts crying, having lost sight of its mother. I go to it and try to comfort it and then finally I take it to its mother.
Baba sees this incident and later comments on how the only thing that would stop the baby's crying was to be put in its Mother's arms. It fills me with joy to put the crying baby in its mother's arms since it seems a perfect symbol of my own self these days. Baba is literally putting me in the Mother's arms.
Other notes: Lately I frequently see Baba is the LSD vision God. Today Ramakrishna's birthday.
My morning state is good. Easy meditation, deep, no desire of action. I am to go back to Chandernagore to Jiten's house later on. In the morning a man comes to the ashram, P.S. Mukherjee. He tells me some things.
He says "No one can see the magnitude of Baba unless Baba himself reveals it to them." Later he says Baba is "miserly," meaning that he has the vision of God but reveals little of it to others.. We sit in front of the temple and Baba and I sing. Baba is weeping with love. He shakes himself sometimes (Why? To stave off his samadhi, his fervor?)
I sing a few songs. Baba puts his hand on my knee and pats me. I kiss his hand. He weeping. It is creeping over me, the inevitable conclusion, the focus point of all the events, the reassurance yesterday that Baba knows all my inner thoughts.
Baba looked at the pictures of some of my friends. He told about Michael. Said "tratak", etc. "siddhi" (he will become perfect). Number two Glenn, three Marvin, (What is this maya?) He concentrates on the picture of Marvin. He tells me that being with someone like Michael cleared my imperfections. He says "Vivekananda must be born in America." He tells me to tell Mike my realizations
I wash Baba's toe which he had hurt on a pipe. He does the flower ceremony. This he does anytime something is in question. He puts the flower on top of the mother's image and then sits and watches how it falls. Somehow he can tell by how it falls, soon or late, whether the thing in question is auspicious or not. He says he won't go to Chandernagore today with me.
I see he is worried about it and tell him that his form will stay and he will go in my heart, He gets happy, I have food and rest. Again he tells me to eat slowly. The guru is in you, he says, always think when you eat that you are feeding the guru. When I am getting ready to go he blesses me in the hall. He gazes straight at me standing on one leg. The recognition is growing. each time my thought reaches the Son of God idea he looks away and says "Bas!" (enough). Also yesterday at the fork in the road this happened.
be awake during sleep, to understand, therefore the dream as it is being dreamt. Silence.
Before I leave I bumped my head coming out of the storage room. Baba was behind me and coming out he bumps his head too. I exclaim my concern (strangely my bump had no pain whatsoever) and Baba just says you hurt-I hurt. We are not two, but one. I stroke his head. I wonder, did it just happen or did he do it on purpose?
Yesterday on the porch Baba tells a man to ask me what my mother said before I left. I tell them she said "I hope you find what you're looking for." He says, I think you have found it and I agree. Recognition growing that this is indeed whom I was looking for.
Baba is very tender as I take leave. He gives me the cloth to take as I desired. Gives me the sweets, a letter, a flower from his heart to show that he is going with me. Blesses me and I prostrate before him as per his instruction. He makes me take my shoes.
My last view: he is standing there saying, "Thank you, thank you very much," I suddenly remember the dream I had at Hunger Mountain of Ramakrishna saying these very words in the same way. The evidence is building to the breaking point somehow.
I leave. Sweet feelings. I come back to Jiten's absorbed. There is joy on returning to my 'family', sweet greetings. And there is a letter waiting for me from Srinivasan:
I nearly swoon. I feel it Is Baba's grace. I eat and tell them some stores of what has happened. I keep drifting into silence. Srinivasan's letter keeps ringing through me. His words that Baba " in my humble experience, is no other than Sri Ramamkrishna. I sing songs. Ma comes. I sit alone in bed before sleep and tell the whole story to God. "You were there all the time"
I speak thus and am weeping for over an hour or more. Then deep sleep. I wake to my brothers and the joy of their love. What is the difference that creeps over me? Consumation of the first part of my purpose? Finally someone has said the words which confirm my suspicions. Now with the road ahead be unobstructed by doubts?
February 26, 1974
I awake to my brothers. A joyous reunion. Sleep was the deepest I have had in a long time. A certain burden of uncertainty was lifted. I begin to see that my madness was not madness at all but the strength of surrender to the Lord's call and guidance. As a result there Is a relaxation throughout the system and a new strength coming. I felt Baba's oceanic presence last night very much. I read Krishnamurti today and find no conflict. It all amounts to ego-death.
Mind-silence is the gateway to the other dimension. I am still getting as I have all week the passing feeling of somehow knowing all this from before. The places, the feeling, the path. Fantasies of the future are getting less.
Baba is much with me as he said he would be, so a faith is growing. I guess that he will guide me my life-long. With a confirmation growing the possibilities of things miraculous opens. i.e. if this whole journey has actually been true then anything is possible.
In talking to him last night in my tearful rapture, I saw that he had been guiding everything all along. My anguished aching desire to know Baba's real nature reached a peak of utter howling during the last few days. Now after Srinivasan's letter, all the events that have happened will begin to be seen in a new light. My surrender will grow. Mind will be able to concentrate on living in the egoless state or the Prem state rather than be wasted in doubts.
Reading Krishnamurti today: Meditation is not an experience. It is the emptying of the mind of all contents, which is the past. Ending all illusions which means the mind is completely still. This is attention, looking without the observer, the past, the me. Also to
February 27, 1974
I awake late. Last night I couldn't sleep. I talked to myself again. I was overcome by a rush of wanting to go back to see Baba immediately. Jiten had told me Baba said not to let me come alone. The feeling that he is Ramamkrishna keeps creeping over me and at the same time a relaxation of my previous intense struggles.
I wrote to Srinivasan and told him a little of my journey, thanked him for his words. I wrote a poem called "The Son!" Today I rested deeply, sleeping two hours.
In the morning Jiten asked me, somewhat excitedly, who had named me Billy. He said Vivekananda was called this as a small child. He said that he had talked with Baba and Baba said I was Vivekananda. And for Jiten not to let me go anywhere alone.
This news of being Vivekananda flipped me out. Somehow I wished it were not told this. I don't believe it and have been thinking Baba is just crazy on this account but I don't know anything. I liked it when he dressed me up as Nitya. Now I'm all crazy over this. Jiten said you even look like him. I would rather be nothing. Very disturbed somehow. Maybe it is no accident that Vivekananda was my least favorite of all Ramakrishna's disciples.
Jiten said Baba was weeping for me, feeling alone. This touched my heart and made me want to return. I feel like I will stay with Baba till my visa expires. I am puzzled about my disturbance. It seems like madness. As if I had followed my mad fantasy to the point where it became real to the extent that I had dreamed it, but now I am in it and being pulled along beyond my expectation. On a point like this can Baba be wrong? And mad? Its ridiculous to think I was Vivekananda but is it any more mad than thinking Baba was Ramakrishna? It seems I have felt like all of them, even M. which I didn't like because the responsibility of the diary is too much.
Oh! Just give me God! I don't want all this ego-identification. The confusion. I came to get rid of identity, not to gain new images and fantasies. Some great change is coming. I want the Lord now, not the play. The nitya, not the lila. Oh why did he have to say a thing like that? What a burden. Whom can I appeal to for truth? I am alone.
Miru's prospective husband's people came today. It is a kind of "shopping trip," examining the possible bride to be. In the end I guess she was considered a bit too dark of skin color. I am all tired. A wasted day but deep rest after a struggle that has lasted nearly a year. I am thinking about that day I packed up all my stuff and Swami Vivekananda's picture came all alive. I was weeping then about the love between Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. That is what I really wanted. And now here I am.
That night we have a spirited satsang. I had come in, Jiten and wife and Miru were looking at my alter and saying how beautiful. They are very friendly but since Baba's statement about Vivekananda they are almost an awe.
I thinking wait a minute this is ridiculous. Now I am trapped in a mad dream which is out of control. I wanted Baba to be Ramakrishna, but I did not want to be anyone special. We are singing bhajans but I am really longing for that samadhi, that peaceful space again. I am restless for it.
Now I plan to return tomorrow with Miru. Hardly soon enough. I am anxious to begin some new leg of my adventure. I want to dive, dive dive. Who cares about this maya? If my destination has proved true then God is and has been doing all, all along.
I return to ashram with Miru in a strange mood, 11:30AM. Miru has been a godsend to me because of her good English speaking abilities. She tells me many things about life in Bengal, the customs, the people whom I am with.
Some transformation creeping over, or is it a temporary thing? I get reabsorbed in the deep egoless space when I return. It is like magic. It made me realize how scattered my mind had gotten at Chandannagore.
I slept by Baba in the afternoon. He was on mauna, or vow of silence. He follows this every Thursday. This made me feel distant. I slept briefly and I then fanned him while he slept for over an hour. I kept thinking "Is this really He?" but the peace descended, though the mind was babbling its confusion. I circle Hanuman. Very spaced out, not the tears but the OM, the ocean, that pure feeling lightening the body.
The thing about Vivekananda is still bothering me. I eat and Baba asks why my face is so drawn and small. I hadn't realized that it was and this statement took me aback. As I thought about it I saw the confused state I was in. Before, with my yearning, I had something steady, but now with these two rash statements having hit me (Srinivasan's letter and the comment about Vivekananda) I was swimming in confusion more than ever.
I felt a bit angry, oddly enough, as if I were a toy of some kind, as if had fallen into a part in some game. I felt as if I had no freedom. So many conflicting feelings.
When the serving girl came in, I had a series of nightmare flashbacks to Baba's "marriage test" at Chandernagore, where he had said that I would marry an Indian girl and reduced me to tears. What if he pulls that again? This thought sent me into a tailspin.
At least before I knew were I was at. I was me, I had traveled to find Ramakrishna, I was on my own adventure, I was finding out, etc. But I did not want some great new identity thrust on me! Now, suddenly, I don't know anything again. Is all this predetermined? Is all this completely out of my control? Is it some kind of divine play? What can I do? I want to believe my Baba is the reincarnation of that wonderful dead saint, but it has turned around and bit me in the backside.
About being Vivekananda I cannot accept it. It seems crazy. Besides, I don't want any veil over me. I want out of this maya. I want God-consciousness, I want love, I want Ramakrishna, but no new ego-identity. I want less and less. Oh! this has blown my mind. Baba asks me to sing, then he instructs more about OM.
I am frustrated because there is no translator. I am sitting in Baba's room, spaced-out and sad, helpless to speak my feelings or clarify anything. Baba comes in and frizzles my hair. Then he sits in front of me like a child. With his hands he seems to measure the distance between my heart-throat, heart-navel, feels my breath. What is he doing?
Then he holds my hand and starts playing some kind of hand game with me. His enthusiasm and the way he moves soon has me laughing and forgetting my earlier sorrow. And he says something about how Ramakrishna and Vivekananda used to play this hand game together. He laughs like a child, and claps his hands with glee when I "win". (His strength is incredible, I discover). We go to sing the evening prayers. We sing "Hari Narayan," then the Ramayana prayers at the Hanuman temple.
Earlier, walking away in a crazy mood, he had said to me via Miru, "Aren't you going to sing? You never sing any songs anymore!"
Flashback. While I was sad before, Miru and Baba were talking about me. Food, sleep, etc. I sort of gave up? I felt I had given all to God in this mad quest, now it was up to him to clarify a few things. I was in no position to do it myself. I knew this was called tamasic bhava: the disciple make demands of the guru. This whole sadness sequence started with his remark about my face. As if I had done something wrong which was ridiculous. So I didn't even watch them to try to catch the meaning. I gave up.
After kirtan I come in and eat, and then rub his legs. I can't understand my own feeling tonight - sort of a shyness on the one hand, mixed with a very strange kind of anger - the way one gets angry with someone one loves beyond all speaking, anger which can never even get off the ground-- as if I feel frustrated knowing Baba can put me through almost any kind of twist and turn and I'll still wind up coming back to his feet with my tears of love.
There is only forward. Delhi consecration, death all are behind me. Oh! Lord! Enough of this cat and mouse game! Reveal yourself!
I awake after good sleep but I am still confused, asking in my heart for God. I don't know what to do. Baba is in a very good mood.
He says, "You are late with your pranam?"
I say "You're always brushing your teeth or bathing, how can I pranam?"
At tea he searches my eyes. I am sad I can't meet them. He is joking. I am reading Upanishads while he combs his hair.
He says no, and throws the book down. I show him the word OM in the book. He puts it down again. Shows me OM on his body. I think he is the living truth itself, but how can I ever get it?
Afterward, before lunch, I sing some songs for Baba. (Hare Satia, Narayana Hari, Keshava, Chaitanya, Dub Dub). Baba gets ecstatic, gives me several looks of heart melting bhakti. This singing cleared the choking longing I had been feeling before.
After puja Baba is standing on porch. He tells me direcly "You are Vivekananda!"
I say no, I don't want to be. I eat. Baba is joking and calls the whole place "Food Ashram," "Money Ashram" meaning people come and give money and get sacred flowers. He calls the temple his "Doctor Chamber" where the "patients" come to find out their fate or to have their fate changed. He is crazy today. Sleep. I get letters from Jeff and Rick Dryden.
10PM- The lila goes on. Incredible. Baba's love flowing like a torrent. It is making me strong somehow, though not in the ego sense. It is beyond my mind's fathoming. Somehow I play my part, I don't know how. Tonight I play guitar with the singers and do kirtan.
Baba was in his room talking to Ma, Miru, and an old lady, an old man. I come in and he says "Sit down. Say something."
I am taken aback and don't know what to say. I am still in a daze. Baba gives instruction: The passions must be given up, the maya must be vomited up, one must meditate.
Baba reads from a book about the requirements for sadhana: purity, yearning for God, strength, practice, etc. He pantomimes each thing. He is very intimate and patient in his attempts to bridge language gap.
He tells about reading books too much. They heat up the brain. Too much thinking. He reminds me that Ramakrishna couldn't read. No M.A., no B.A.
He says "Ami choto chele." (I'm just a little boy) showing a small size with his hands and bowing humbly and cutely like a child. "l'm just a small child."
I show him the book "Thakur" by Pranab and he says "No right! Life. no right." There are some mistakes in that book apparently. He tells me to write about him. Something about showing to my friends. I discover Pranab wrote it mostly by himself.
I also discover Mrs. Hart tried to give Baba car, a watch, a jewel ring, all of which he gave away. He has also been repeatedly telling me about the film-cinema thing. The white light is the reality, the shadows on the film are the illusion of maya.
I awake after only five hours sleep, 2AM to 7AM and I am tired all morning. Japa at ten. Baba is busy in Chamber all day, seeing the many people who have come for his blessing.. A boy comes with terrible pain in his eyes.
I watch the people come. Some of their faces, their humble seeking is very touching. I watch one encounter before the boy's turn. Baba is asking the person questions and doing some kind of Indian style horoscope, even palm reading etc. By now I realize these are really for the benefit of the person. Baba needs no such tricks to divine the fate of anyone. He just sees it in their countenance and on their faces.
My mind is over-busy today and straining. Too much effort. After my nap I feel better.
Jiten comes. He tells that Mrs. Hart is expected to come on the 23rd. I massage Baba feeling like God is far. I do not even feel the longing, so I am frustrated since when I came at least I had longing. But this today is mostly mind chatter. My faith remains.
After we have our evening puffed rice Ganga Babu comes and he and Baba talk deeply in soft tone. He loves Ganga Babu very much. Baba goes into an exquisite shanti ecstasy and all my thoughts and doubts etc. are again wiped away by looking at his shining light.
My ego goes blessedly away for awhile. I melt with love for him. I see the Lord shining there. It is beauty beyond telling - beauty in which the seer vanishes in the beauty itself. My body became perfectly still and relaxed. I was seeing Ramakrishna and more. Baba is speaking from such a depth. My tears came gently, the quiet ones.
Baba was talking something about no "I" and I could feel my own "I" vanish in the joy of witnessing his glory. It was the glory of triumph over the "I". Space and time seemed unreal - only the presence was real and in that presence there was no I and no Baba, only HE, the all-pervading space of God
Oh, I heard the silent chorale of his angels there! My heart flowed to him. I longed for death into his being. He finished by saying that all the talk he could give me was only maya- then he went into his Ramakrishna pose, made a silence sign, and showed that the real communion is in this kind of stillness and wordlessness.
My heart is hush to speak the beauty of my Lord! We walk Ganga Babu to the road and Baba calls me over and points up to the moon. I don't understand what he said, but he said something about how Ramakrishna showed Vivekananda the same thing. He showed Vivekananda their own two faces in the moon.In the face of his love I am reduced to nothing?
Good sleep for a change. Misty morning, the sweet smell of the country. Baba is in a good mood though he got little sleep due to his heart trouble, despite taking a full Calmpose pill (diazepam) last night.
Morning tea. The conversation is our impending visit that day to Baba's other ashram in the village of Kuldanga. It is called "Sadhanashram." Baba is still asking me for the 3rd or 4th time whether we should to to Sadhanashram by rickshaw or by car. Knowing that money is an issue and the rickshaw is cheap I suggest rickshaw.
Baba plays the tape of last night of the conversation with Ganga Babu and gets into such a sweet mood from it. Everything is maya, he says.
There are two visitors here, Nitai and someone else. Mr. Pal comes and asks for a cigarette. My mind is quieter today, tending toward the oceanic. Baba's theme must be penetrating as all the previous intensity of eagerness toward the Lord is now tending toward removing ego consciousness.
It is exasperating but the main thing is always Baba's face, his expressions, and how to write these? I do what I can with my camera from time to time, to capture his incredible expressions and the luminous quality of his eyes.
We leave for Sadhanashram. It is a beautiful day, wind blowing gently. We walk across rice fields on old dusty paths to meet up with the two rickshaws that will take us to Kuldanga. I take a few pictures of Baba smiling and walking. These pictures will later become famous and precious among the devotees.
I am ecstatic while walking. My love is made wide and high by the scenery, the wide blue sky, my saviour walking steady and simply. A stream of God-love and praise flows through my brain, time stands still, my longing seems fulfilled.
I feel I am walking in the footsteps of the Son of Heaven. As if Jesus had just said: "Throw down your nets and follow me. I will make you fishers of men."
My love that hour knows no bounds, nor does it get limited to this walking form of Baba - it seems through Baba to embrace the whole day. I am simple, empty like a child, open, heart flowing to both the visible and the invisible Lord.
After we rendevous with the waiting rickshaws we journey through the village country by rickshaw, I soaking up impressions of rural lndia, the people by the wayside, children playing, the cows, the chickens, little tiny villages apparently in the middle of nowhere.
Alternately walking and riding. Baba points to the road -"Indian roads are not right!" At last a tire blows out and we must stop to repair it. Baba is puzzled. He says that the Mother's morning flower said it was okay to go by rickshaw, and then he gives me a look as if to say, "Who can comprehend it?"
After many hours we reach the ashram at Kuldanga. Baba spent many years here doing intense sadhana and he takes me to his room. This is a new room, his original room reduced to ruins nearby. I look at the picture of him on the simple altar there as a young man.
Showing me around he gives me an amused look and says, "Phooaw!" as if to say, how ridiculous this ashram, all maya! big deal! Indeed there is not much there, a Kali temple, a kitchen room.. He shows me his old hut and laughs and laughs mimicing how it is all broken down. He used to do sadhana there long ago. He is in a happy mood. I goto look at the images in the temple.
The Kali image in the temple is a life-sized realistic statue with blood all over, bloody heads hanging from her hand and around her neck. I am shocked by it. It is Kali in her terrible scary form.
I come out and mimic to Baba the ferociousness of the Kali and Baba bursts into roaring laughter and also mimics it - "Whoo-ah!"
"I don't look at it," he says, "I don't want it. My Kali is a little one," showing with his hand how big. Indeed, the image of Kali that Baba worships is called Anandamayi, the blissful form, Kali as the granter of boons.
Back at his room he tells me "No murti (form). Shiva and Kali are not two." He points to the wall writing "Om" and says, "Bas (enough) No forms, OM." Tells me all this like an intimate dear friend. I found out later that he had insisted that no elaborate altar be built in that room, just a simple OM sign painted on the wall and the single picture of himself.
In the evening we do kirtan walking around a small tulsi tree in a pot which has been placed in the center of the ashram courtyard. This is after impressing on me that God has no form. He points to it and laughs and I say, "That little tulsi tree is God?" and he says "Yes, God!"
The kirtan is spirited and spontaneous. At the end he is quaking through and through. I just keep surrendering into his love. Then the evening worship follows. Deep meditation, silent and empty, no effort to be still. I keep on drifting into a state beyond myself in which I am watching all within in a detatched way.
The theme of my meditation seems to be: no "ami" (ego), just Om. lt is death! Meditation is the ending of the "me." We have some puffed rice after worship. There is a cozy picnic feeling. He tells me not to smoke on the ashram grounds so I go out to the road.
In the evening there is a "meeting" with the Sadhanashram people. Baba again shows me the full moon again, and I still don't get what he is talking about. At the meeting I sit by him and he talks to the people.
I can only catch that it is about the proper ashram attitude, etc. Something about the Navaratri festival. He seems almost to be scolding them He is animated, absolutely strong and almost fierce although not exactly angry. Mighty and firm in his expression.
His speech seems again to be just spontaneiously flowing from beyond him, instilling the people with ideals. I watch him. I see my Ramakrishna. It all ends up in a big arguement, the outcome of which, one guy tells me, is that they will stop the Navaratri function.
Meanwhile I am dropping thought somehow, going into the ocean of silence, the sense of a real presence beyond the occasional spluttering of my "me." It is sweet shanti. Impersonal, steady, amazing.
There is no urge to weep with emotion this night for it is there in its complete fullness. No chaos of thought. It feels as if samadhi is not far off.
I am thinking of Ramakrishna and Vivekananda and suddenly Baba slaps my knee and holds his hand there firmly. I snap out of my state with a jolt and experience slight disorientation as if I don't know what to think or how.
He gazes at me and I meet his gaze -- I try to steady myself and look beyond his form to the unseen God I know dwells there. I give up thought and ego as if I were rushing toward him to union. It lasts a minute perhaps. He closes his eyes. Pats my knee several times with pleasure as if to say, yes, yes, yes.
He has a headache so I massage his head and neck. We play some of the tapes we have been making. I continue to meditate.
Later we have some food at the nearby house of Molina's family, although Molina is not there. I do not know nor guess that Molina will one day play a big part in my life. We sleep in Baba's room. He helps me set up our two mosquito nets.
I awake instantly after a super-deep sleep to Baba's intonation of "Om." As has happened many times before he seems to waken me from inside myself somehow, as if he has truly taken residence in my heart.
I have my morning "bath" in the woods. Baba shows me the "paikane" (latrine) they have dug for me in the woods. One for me and one for him. He says "Guru God, God Guru," to explain why we do not use the same one. Guru's latrine is for guru only.
As usual there is the noon worship and hom fire.
After the worship Baba is sitting outside the ashram gate on a cloth,combing his hair. A bench has been put there for me. It is the courtesy everywhere to offer westerner a chair or bench. They seem to believe "sahibs" are not capable of sitting cross legged on the ground.
Baba calls for the tape of he and Ganga Babu talking. A crowd gathers around. We listen to the tape. I am preoccupied at first but then I notice that Baba is weeping at different things on the tape and getting indrawn, occasionally sobbing with feeling. My attention goes to him, the bhav starts in my heart and grows . People are listening intently. Baba periodically looks up. The guy sitting next to me moves and I move closer to Baba. It gets deeper and deeper.
My gaze fixes on him. It is like being with Ramakrishna! There are intense moments of communion. He looks up at me and his eyes are like no eyes I have ever seen anywhere! Oh Lord! What love!
His expression is one of a man about to drown, but it is God he is drowning in. He throws his eyes up to heaven, then again looks at me. He rolls his eyes, looks up again, and sobbing looks at me.
I become intoxicated with love of him. He is looking at me directly, weeping, I nod my head, yes, yes, yes, I know, I feel it, I love you, love God. He closes his eyes. This exchange seemed like a direct communion. All through it my heart's love is flowing. One thought, behold the Son!
It was as if the crowd vanished. Was Baba inhibited by the crowd? No, he was going beyond maya. What a tenderness I felt. The day vanished in that bright shining light of his love.
An old man devotee standing nearby quietly said "bhava samadhi". The tape ended and I shut it off. The ensuing quiet seemed to pass through Baba and I noticed he was no longer moving at all. His legs were crossed, his left arm over the back of the chair, his right arm in his lap.He was in deep samadhi.
I sat looking, entranced for a few moments. Then it occurred to me that he might fall so I got up and stood behind him gently supporting him. He stayed that way for awhile. I sang "Hari Bol" very softly. How wonderful I felt. It was truly Ramakrishna I held. I felt like petting him but I didn't.
He came out of it after shaking for awhile. He came out with a sort of startled jerk or two as if suddenly regaining body consciousness. He looked around, saw me there. I stroked his back lovingly. He wanted his towel which I went to wet, but he said no and came and lay down on the ground with his cloth under his head, still in a slight swoon. We exchanged looks. a warm happy glance: everything is OK.
I overflowing with love. He sits up and I brush off his back. He looks at me. I reach for him. There is a world of words in that look of recognition. His eyes are wet and full of love and an "it's all God" kind of fullness.
I reach for him somehow and he embraces me. It is a very strong and long embrace. Then he laughs at his intoxication and says' "l'm a monkey!" He looks up at the crowd that is staring at him and he mimics a monkey, Asks for a bidi. He often asks for a smoke to help bring him back into the sensory realm again. I get his comb. He is talking normally but seems to be glowing.
There was another event before the Hom fire when Baba talking to the priest of the ashram, standing just outside the ashram gate. Baba seemed to be scolding the priest. The Priest (pujari) was just looking down at the ground and toward the end he seemed to be experiencing something intense but withheld feelings. He could not look at Baba. The words seemed to flow from Baba in an electric flow. After the Hom fire the pujari fell at Baba's feet weeping bitterly, uttering something through his tears.
After our food we take a nap. When Baba showed me his old wrecked hut there was a huge spider web and Baba said the web was maya and the spider was God.
Going to sleep at night, Baba takes all his medicines. It is a very tender scene, like two buddies. I am utterly exhausted although since the deep meditation I am not feeling much body consciousness. I fall asleep immediatcly. I dream of Vimala and Baba. I don't remember much but a strange part where Vimala says about me: "No, he is mine," and Baba laughs.
Maybe this is just a lingering sense of a remaining split allegience in the subconscious which can only exist as long as I am not 100% sure that Baba is Ramakrishna. Somewhere below the surface I still am not convinced totally though my surface mind is well satisfied.
I Meet Ganga Ma
March 4th 1974
After our nap again Baba seems to wake me up as if from the inside. We pack our thing and leave the Ashram. It will be a four hour ride in the rickshaw to get back to Ramanathpur.
On our way out of the town of Kuldanga we stop at the house of a woman devotee named Ganga. There I watch while she enacts a ritual I find deeply moving. She has prepared brass plate, water bowl, and has apparently been waiting for us. She seats Baba in a chair before here and proceeds to wash Baba's feet with her hair! Then she gives him coconut water to drink. It somehow seems like a scene from centuries ago, or timeless.
We get home to the ashram after riding quite a while in the moonlight. We salute the deities. I fan Baba while he talks to two devotees who have come. Baba is telling his life story. Later on Baba asked me several times if I wanted to go stay at Sadhanashram. I said no, I want to stay here at Ananda Ashram.
Joya Ma, always knowing my heart, teasingly asks me if I would want to stay at Ananda Ashram if Baba is not there. I say "No Baba, no Ananda Ashram!" Everyone laughs.
Before going to sleep Baba and I have another laughing spell about the horrendous Kali image at Sadhanashram. Baba is telling Lokon about my reaction to it. I say that the Shiva under Kali's foot is in pretty bad shape, and mimic that bloody Kali stomping all over him.
Baba just roars with laughter. Nothing is quite so wonderful as the laughter of this God-man. Just as his every word has a certain power, his laughter too has a kind of special power of its own. It seems to ring through my very soul as a kind of highest blessing. It has a fullness that is truly psychic in nature. Sometimes I feel that if I could just make Baba laugh once in awhile, that will be perfect happiness and perfect sadhana in itself. There has been no conflict or tension in two days. The ego is getting lost in Baba's love and in love of Baba. Viveka, discrimination, is alive, but Baba always wins. There is no describing the Lord.
I awake at 7AM as usual. Baba is hurting. I roll up the strands of his hair that fall out while combing. People do this and keep the hair as a kind of blessing or talisman. He tells me to do ten thousand "money", 100 malas. Peace is with me but I want to keep going.
I do japa for one and a half hours and then meditate for another hour. I get into tamasic bhakti state: Why don't I see him? Why does the ego persist? My mind keeps being boggled by so many things. I feel angry at God. I don't know what else I can give but the love is there so what can I do?
I get angry unto tears, like a child who has been promised sweets by his father but is impatient when he doesn't get them right away. Saying, what do you want God, my blood? Okay, I'll give every drop but just absorb me in your consciousness. Give me union! Give me union! I am angry at that God who is the best treasure in the universe, but who chooses to hide himself, ever keeping us deluded so that his game can go on.
After sitting there from 10AM to 1PM Baba comes in and says "Oh Baba!"
He had told me to do japa and then forgotten that I was there! He comes over and puts his hand on my head and one leg up on the other and gives his blessing saying "Om shanti."
He introduces some people who have come, but I couldn't care less. I am absorbed in this silent feeling. I don't feel like moving. Later Joya Ma brings me food. I say I won't eat until Baba eats. She insists. I say no, I won't eat. I feel an angry strength about it. Finally Baba comes in and gives me a "look" which seems to say, it's all maya-food, eat a little anyway.
He smiles a grin like isn't this whole play crazy fun! He melts my silly game with a single ray of love. I agree to eat after he eats some of it himself, but it takes me awhile to move my body. Later that night Baba gently informs me that Joya Ma cries if I don't eat.
After eating I fall asleep. lt is hot, sweaty, flies buzzing around. Baba comes in after his "chamber" work. He sleeps too.
I wake up and go out to circle the Hanuman temple. We have tea, I do more circles. Then Mr. Pal comes over. He invites me to come and see the saint later at his house. I ask Baba through Pal about getting my visa. Plans are made simply for me to go tomorrow to Chandernagore and meet Baba Thursday in Rishra. Tik. Baba stands there and starts singing "Hari Bol." I look at him lovingly and sing with him. What a mad God-man. He wins me everytime with his love and God-madness. Melts away all doubts everytime. How can I stay angry at him? It's ridiculous.
This child-man seems to own me. Is my ego dying into love of him? He tells me through Pal that my heart is a garden and God is the gardener. "Kunja" is the whole chest (draws a big circle on my chest) and "kanana" is the heart (makes a dot on my heart).
I say about the garden: "And Prem is the flower," and he says yes, "one prem, phule" and then, through Pal, that without the water of the tears of love that prem flower will dry up and die.
I circle Hanuman and then the "saint" comes. He is the official family guru of the Pal clan and his name is Tokkananda. He is a tall thin man with glasses on and wearing the orange robes of a sadhu. I go over and Mr. Pal tells me who it is, this is the one who was expected. I gather that he is very highly respected to a great number of people in the village. Everyone seems excited that he has come.
Suddenly I see Baba bowing down to this guy. I am taken aback and amazed. I had wondered if there ever people that Baba bowed down before. This guy accepts Baba's pranam without returning it. They greet as each other as old and beloved friends. I can feel the enthusiastic rush of love between them. Baba starts going toward the deepest bhava. He is all humility, reverence and love. He seems to be bubbling, as if he cannot express it. This is the one of Baba's many moods that touches me most deeply, this absolutely genuine humility, in which it really seems as if he is being nothing. Bubbling blissful and happy, yet humbly withholding himself, playing the beggar with utter sincerity. (I saw it at Choto Babu's house).
I make my pranam to the swami. He guy tells me something about a penpal he had named B.G. something-or-other, and every American he sees now makes him think of this penpal he had 30 years ago.
He and Baba go into the Kali temple to talk and I hang around the door to watch. They are sitting in front of the goddess and talking and holding hands. Baba is telling him briefly about me, my having come, and about Kanta Devi and Mrs. Hart, etc. and both of them are gushing with warmth. Baba is rapidly heading toward absorption in bliss. It is an ecstatic reunion of two lovers of God.
After a while they finish and Baba stretches out his arms to embrace the Swami. They come out of the temple. All the children are rushing about underfoot and taking the dust of the Swami's feet in an excited swarm.
I think, what a strange thing. Here is this Ramakrishna standing in all humility watching while they flock to this other guy. To my own eyes the genuine greatness is there in the place where it is hidden. I get confused by this as to what's what, but Baba's mood of humility touches me more deeply than anything. At Baba's sign I take the dust of the Swami's feet and he says, "I'll see you again, but only God knows where or when."
The Swami leaves and then suddenly everyone is gone, the whole crowd that had been gathered around is just sort of swept away in the Swami's trail. Only some some singers have stayed. It is strange, I think to myself, how all the people are hankering after the other Swami, who does not interest me at all.But because he has an education, and has made a name for himself, and has many disciples, they all flock to him.
I look up at Baba who is standing on the porch. I notice his bhava is deepening. He has that wild look as when he is about to be overwhelmed. He is saying, over and over, "Jaya Ramakrishna! Jaya Ramakrishna!" with deep choked feeling. I stand up and go to him, partly protecting, since his mood is rapidly going toward another loss of control, and partly because my own feelings have been deeply stirred.
I just go to his right side and hold him dearly. He draws his head against mine and the mood deepens. He is saying "Ramakrishna, Ramakrishna" again and again, half weeping, half struggling to maintain himself, holding the porch pole for support. He looks up, looks all around the ashram courtyard and says, "Everything is Ramakrishna!"
My love knows no bounds. I feel that just to be standing here touching this amazing being is God's great gift to me. His whole frame is trembling and shaking, occasionally stiffening slightly as it did at the Satyanarayana festival when he went into nirvikalpa samadhi. We are standing there like two lovers in the most tender posture, my whole being as a totality flowing to him.
The singers take leave after witnessing this scene and Baba bows before them. Is he seeing that they are God? His bowing to them is the essence of that humility which utterly tugs at my heart. Throughout he is occasionally sort of muttering to himself. Joya Ma comes and makes him sit down and I stroke him as he recovers. I circle some more around the Hanuman temple, keeping an eye on Baba. He is still inebriated, crying a bit, looking up at Hanuman with childlike utter devotion. Deep meditation follows.
At night Baba talks. Tells me that he is a fool. He says that the other Swami (Tokkananda) has a B.A., M.A., but that he, Baba, has no education. I am entranced again. The samadhi bhava was another upheaval of my day. We put the picture of Ramakrishna onto the picture of him that is in his in his room, tucking it to the corner of the frame, and he says "Right." At first I put it onto the picture of Chaitanya, but he says "niche", below, on top of his). It is as if he keeps giving the gentle affirmation of his identity because he cannot never say it directly. Is this a divine game?
The Life is the Teachings
Baba tapes a short message, "Guru-God" to Athena and Philip on the cassette tape recorder they had sent. He starts talking a bit about his life. I say that I want to get many tapes and record his "Upadesh", his spiritual teachings.
But he says that his life story is his upadesh. He says that Ramakrishna's life story is itself one big upadesh, one Upanishad.
"New Upanishad!" I say.
He says "Yes, new. One Jesus Christ life story, one upadesh."
Then he points to himself, saying, "Jiboni - Upanishad." (He says just these two words, "jiboni," "Upanishad". He does not say "amar jiboni," or My life story).
He indicates that these great ones did not write books. Their lives were their books. It was others that wrote the stories of their lives and these stories became the holy books. Did Jesus write any book? Did Ramakrisha write any book? They lived a certain way and their lives were their book.
Then he starts telling me the story of his life. He tells in animated pantomime with few words. The intimacy between us is growing very intense. The more I come to see that this really seems to be him, the more we are like one being, divided only enough to enjoy each others' existence.
In the Kali temple at pranam time Baba showed that his heart, his health, was not well, there were palpitations, and so on. Then he said "maya." I indicated the body is maya. He said "No maya, no rupa (form)," as if in answer to my anger of the day. Take away all the maya and there is nothing but the formless One. As long as God is incarnated in a body he suffers maya.
Baba tells me that his mother was really his first guru, because she was always telling him to call on God. They were completely destitute when he was a boy. They had no money. His father was a yogi. He mimics perfectly the utterly pathetic state they were in, no food, clothes, begging. He is a perfect actor.
When he was 7 his mother said "Go beg." When he was sixteen his father hit him with an ax for stealing a mango from a neighbor's tree. He shows me the scar which is still there, several inches long, on his hip. His mother had tried to stop the father saying, "No, don't do it," but the father pushed her aside. Blood poured out. Baba acted all this out for me perfectly.
At night Baba calls me over to show me a shadow. There is no light except that of the full moon, which is bright, and Baba points out a shadow being cast on the ground and wall. He moves his hand in the moonlight to show me that he is talking about the shadow. He tells me that the shadow is like maya. It is blocking the light. The illusory life of maya is the shadow blocking the fullness of the light of reality.
March 6, 1974
In the morning Baba is proudly telling others about how I didn't want to go to see the other swami last night, that I only wanted to stay with him. He sends me off to Chandernagore with great tenderness and love. I have another reunion there with my Bengali "family." The children are pleased. Jiten tells me the story of how he first met Baba and how Baba's healing of Tubulu gave him faith in the higher things.
Tubulu very tender toward me so I tell him to look at Ramakrishna up close 5 or 10 minutes every day and he agrees. After hearing Jiten's story it is clear that Tubulu is Baba's.
March 7, 1974 Calcutta Chaos
I go to Calcutta with Jiten for an intense fiasco in the matter of trying to extend my visa. It is an exercise in nothingness, a journey into hell. I want so much to stay with Baba some extra time. I would stay with him for the rest of his life if I could. But to get even a month or two extension of my visa seems impossible, I do not know why.
I had to stand and walk nearly four hours straight. The crowded train to Howrah, the horrible overpacked bus, a long walk to the American Consul, nothing. We go to Indian security, nothing. Go to Superintendant of Police, nothing. Heat intense. The city is a total chaos. Throughout I follow Jiten blindly, mildly annoyed that all this wasn't prevented by the one obvious phone call.
I am annoyed at the buses, the insanity of conditions in this place. How do they bear it? Finally we go back to Howrah Station. I read Time magazine. They argue and finally get confirmation from an official who happens to be booking something. I burn gently, disgusted with maya and indifferent to my fate. On the bus back to Howrah I nearly wept, it was so fruitless, suffering pointlessly all day for absolutely nothing. Yet I kept thinking of Om and Brahman and Baba.
Baba at Rishra
Finally we take the train to Rishra where we are to meet Baba. There is a festival going on at the house of a devotee. Twilight was coming down and I was feeling fairly "thin" and brave and intent, and so on. I am still feeling something of my day's pointless pain, yet I feel must keep going ever onward, and endure what must be endured.
Baba sees me coming before I see him. He is sitting on a chair near the kirtan stand. He stands up and makes the Ramakrishna pose. I make the sign of the snake to indicate what kind of day I had. He looks startled. Jiten and I pranam. I sit next to Baba.
He is all love to me, pets me as he hears the sad story of my day, his body trembling occasionally. My heart is full with love, the emotional choking feeling coming occasionally when I let my mind rest on Baba for awhile. Other than that, as soon as I got back to Baba presence I was in the ocean again, my mind so sweetly sick of the outer realm it naturally drifted inward. Baba's grace is flowing. He has taken a glass of water and is holding it in his hands. He holds it for at least five minutes, then he finally gives me some to drink, and even then won't let me drink more than half. He puts his hand on my head several times.
All suffering seems to life whenever I return to Baba's presence. It is useless to complain about what has happened because being with Baba again makes it all recede into the background.
As I sit there I know he is all to me. I am utterly lost in his love like the fly who falls into the sugar syrup. I feel so happy being back with him.
I say "Calcutta is no good!"
He says, "I never go there! Maya!"
I am so tired tonight I can't possibly find words to describe the tenderness of this particular reunion. He was showering me with love, and for my part, after the experience of the day, I was just dying at his feet, losing my separate nature in the golden beauty of his being.
Is Mother removing my veil of doubts at last? After two months of this, as Glenn put it, "Sherlock Holms" work? Baba talked over plans with Jiten while I drifted into myself and gazed at the moon. There was a large crowd all around and nearby the kirtan singers were chanting and singing the holy name. Finally Baba went for kirtan.
How can I ever describe what followed? It lasted for over a half an hour. It was, in fact, a witnessing of what one of Ramakrishna's devotees had called "The Master's Wonderful Dance." I was so transfixed at Baba's singing and dancing I don't know what happened.
Baba rolled in the dirt, dancing intoxicated, stumbling at times, at times the movements seemed like a spontaneious perfect rhythm symphony of God-love. There was sweat on his brow, he was oblivious, his looking at me. I tried to join in but finally I just had to watch and couldn't sing any more. My body couldn't move I was so enthralled. It removed my doubts.
At the end Baba was standing, exalted, and passed into nirvikalpa samadhi, his body and mind unconscious to the outer world. The devotees, again, seemed to have known this was coming. They swoop him up, carry him off, fanning him and singing the holy word "Om!" in his ear to bring him around. After about ten minutes he starts to regain awareness of the world again. He doesn't know what's happening at first. He looks around questioningly to those nearby. I massage him lightly and he smokes and has some water. These bodily activities seem to bring him down to earth again. He is cold and puts on a cloth, disoriented for awhile. His mind still goes back into the ongoing music occasionally.
Later we go into a devotee's house for some food. They have made a place for Baba to sit on the bed, and are preparing various foods. Baba is telling me I must wash my hands before eating, something I am always forgetting, but then he gets up from the bed and takes me by the hand. He leads me toward the back into a little bathroom and then washes my hands himself! He is cleaning my hands with his own hands under the water spigot. He does this so tenderly and lovingly that I am deeply moved. It is so clear that he means me to understand something by this gesture, that it is not only my hands that are being cleansed. The guru is cleansing the disciple completely.
Then we go back to the other room and he feeds me the things they have prepared, again with his own hands. He sitting on a bed, I sitting near it, using it as a table. I weep with love. I see him sitting there above me, the room all golden light. He is utterly radient with love. Oh Son of God, it's you, the eternal one himself! I am dissolved in love. He keeps feeding me apples. He discards the orange after testing it himself. It is not good enough to give me. He eats practically nothing himself, and gives me the food from his own plate too.
This day is engraved on my heart. From the worst maya to the very best, I have seen everything today. I am too tired to write more. We come home by car. Me holding his cane, crying with love and ego loss.