Daze in the Son
volume 1 : A Young Man's Search for the Avatar: part1, part 2 part 3
by Premananda

The Festival of Holi – Dol Purnima

March 8, 1974

Today is the festival called "Holi," or "Dol Purnima," (full moon of spring) and everyone is squirting colored water on each other and exchanging colored powders on each other's head and feet. It honors a similar game that was said to be played by Radha and Krishna in ancient times. It also welcomes in the sweet breezes of the spring season

Baba says this is a happy crazy day. And he tells me that on this very day Ramakrishna went into samadhi, crying. Vivekananda had to hit him to "wake" him up. Ramakrishna had been weeping with love for Lord Krishna.

Today Baba is happy and very tender to me. We sat on the porch in the morning. We are going through some of the proverbs in my Bengali book and he is explaining them. He is amused and happy. Regarding the proverb "Where there's a will there's a way," Baba interjects "You should always say 'I WILL see God!,' don't just say 'I want to see God.'"

Then he called for my flute. I played and he meditated. Was he imagining the young Govinda playing his flute? And then I played guitar and sang Sri Ram, The Black Bee of my Mind, Keshava Kuru, Hare Krishna. Toward the end he became completely absorbed, tears in his eyes. I was feeling that I was with Krishna himself, as if I were coming ever closer and closer to him, toward mergence.

He told me all these activities, like these festivals, are really maya. The actual Radha and Krishna are in the heart. All this outer play and festivity is just a tool to help us realize the truth within ourselves. The spraying of colors and colored powders is done with great respect and love.

Again today he is telling everyone about me, things I did, things I said. He is like a proud parent.

Yesterday and today I am getting a very strong Ramakrishna manifestation from Baba. He keeps telling everyone how Ramakrishna went into deep samadhi on this day. This was photographed and remains the most famous picture of Ramakrishna all over India. This in itself wipes away my ego and leaves me just staring at him in amazement. I had fully believed for the past year and a half that if I ever actually found Ramakrishna I would vanish in my love of him. He accepts every tenderness from me if it is from the heart and sincere. Noon worship and meditation. Then we eat, and after that it is nap time.

At the evening puja Baba's presence seems to pull me inward to the oceanic egoless space everytime I allow it to. I try to persevere in tethering my wandering mind. Tonight I started out scattered, and ended up in deep meditation with bhav coming strong just as he finished.

My doubts are now burning up fast in the blazing rays of his darshan of love and his "hints" are getting more direct. As this happens the relationship is changing to a closeness that seems eternal, to have always been. The more I am convinced it is He, the more my feeling of "me" is dissolved in utter surrender. All the thoughts of my life (past, present or future) vanish altogether in those moments when I perceive in Baba that very Ramakrishna or that Chaitanya.

Even as this is so, I am less and less looking for Ramakrishna in Baba and more just simply seeing that Baba is a direct manifestation of God, by any name. It is as it should be. I wanted to find Ramakrishnna because I believed he was God.

In the evening Baba gave a wonderful long speech about the Dol Purnima festival we had been enjoying all day long. We were sitting with some devotees on the veranda in front of Baba's room. Baba was leaning against the wall. The singers were singing the evening prayers in front of the Kali temple. First I sang some more, and then Baba asked me if there was a new tape. I said yes and again punched the record button. He started talking.

How beautiful it was! He was utterly absorbed, his face was dancing, he was deep into bhava and so unmoving that he got a bad cramp at the end of it from sitting wrong. All along I kept seeing the very being of Ramakrishna shining brightly behind the Baba "form".

As he spoke he went into bhav samadhi with the words just coming in a natural flow, spontaneous and without guile. I saw that Baba was one truth, that God that is in everything. I could feel that he was that God which is within me which means that to realize God would be to be one with Baba.

My joy at these perceptions is inexpressible -- such joy that only silent samadhi seems a sufficient expression or response. No jumping or shouting needed since that joy is already full and perfect. How odd! My mind is slowly and finally beginning to accept the reality of the consumation of my desire. The speech lasted nearly an hour. He is smiling throughout with eyes half-closed. With my growing Bengali vocabulary I can catch a few pieces of it. Much later I make the following humble translation of the whole speech.

(A portion of the tape with subtitles is available at http://www.prahlad.org/holi_rv.htm)

Speech on Holi Festival

On this Dol Purnima Premananda is here, who came earlier. Today is Sri Radha Krishna Dol Purnima's play. Spread out though all the whole of India. The name of this is Holi. The meaning of the word Holi is the name of one demon. As when the devotee Prahlad was thrown into the fire, and when he started doing the Hari Kirtan the Holi demon was burned up, so we burn up the demon, "Holi". In Bengali we call it Buri Purana Chanchor (burning up the old), and in Hindi it is called "Holi". And so today I am saying:

Braje proshidhang
Nobo nitah chaurang
Brajaningananang [...etc.]

This is our play of Radha-Krishna's going to Brindavan, greeting them in love. And so today we have our Holi play. Since that first Radha Krishna lila a great many men and women devotees are playing this game of colors. These colors, what kind are they? Red, yellow, white, many colors -- the main one is the red powder. This that is the Holi play, what is it? Assuming the form of maya we play this holi game. Krishna himself in the paradise of Braja, who stole Radha's heart away, Krishna in Brindavan was playing this Holi play. Who was with him? The boy Rakhal, Dham, Shudam, Boshudam, Madhumangal, and Dwadosh Gopal. Who was among the group of girlfriends? Lolita, Bishaka, Shudevi, Rangadevi, Tungavidya, Chomplkolata, Lobongalolita. This group of eight girlfriends together had played this game of colors, or spraying, or Holi lila. This Holi is in a very high plane of the metaphysical world.

One day Sri Ramakrishna, on this Dol Purnima, became completely absorbed in

samadhi. Why? Because of today's Holi play. If someone would say Krishna's name in front of Thakur Ramakrishna he would go into samadhi just like that. From his eyes tears of love would flow profusely.

At Dakshineswar on this day, this day of "Holi" lila, with the devotees he played in many ways. And he said "Look!, I am a beautiful woman! My one and only man is that very Madhana, the infatuating Sri Krishna Govinda!" So today my Thakur, many times what did he used to do? He would assume the habits and form of a woman. The one and only parampurush (great man) is Govinda. If I go to play that Holi sport in the Brindavan of the heart, then I will get the realization that in my heart, within me, is that radiant original self-born Govinda, the cause behind all causes. And how many kinds of play he is playing with this whole vast earth!

So today we are playing this game of "Holi". And yet the meaning of the word "Holi" is demon. Maya! Thakur used to say "If this play of maya is completed, the Holi demon will be burned up. In Bengali we call this "chanchor". It is a funny thing. But if we think profoundly, if we inquire deeply, we will get the real understanding and feeling about Holi.

Sri Sri venerable Thakur Ramakrishna, on this Holi day, went into deepest samadhi. He was sitting down. The group of devotees all came running to him to give him a portion.

He was sitting with a woman's veil on his head. He was feeling the Holi play of that couple Sri Radha Krishna within his heart. So we play this game in the outher world. This is tamasic. But on the other hand, without the tamasic play, there is no going to the inner kingdom. Thakur used to say "Hey! First play with the doll! By playing with the outer doll, that doll in the heart will wake up!" Worship. Taking any thing at all for worship, meditate. If you do then that worshipful thing in the heart, that inner Parampurush which is gracefully present, then you will discover its mystery (secret).

And so in our Hindu Sanatan Dharma every single thing is spiritual. On the outer level, one type, and in the inner level, another type. For this reason this Hindu Sanatan Dharma is so great. Swamiji, when he went to America, said with a shout, "Our Hindu Sanantan Dharma, its value, its greatness cannot be measured by measuring sticks." You cannot find the limit of the limitless. And so he gave a comparison.

There once was a frog who lived in a well, and a frog who lived in the ocean. The two met each other. The frog from the well said, "Hey brother, how big is the place where you live? Tell me the size of your home."

The sea-frog said, "Brother, first you tell me how big is the place where you live?" The well frog hopped several jumps to show the size. "My place is this big!"

The sea frog said, "Brother, one lifetime will not be enough! Not unless I get endless lifetimes will I be able to show you how big is the place where I live!"

So today the Hindu Sanantan Dharma is a mixture of all religions. In it is Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mussalman, One religion! It has dived into all religions. The Hindu Dharma is: that Paramatma, that Parabrahma, that radiant being, feeling that, realizing that. Today, Holi day, Premananda, American citizen, I am seeing his Holi bhav (feeling). How genuine and beautiful. But .. as Thakur used to say [... ?] (If you don't love someone how can you know them?) So today in this our land of India, Premananda is totally feeling our Holi lila. Ah! How high! How intense his heart. Indeed, this is God's grace.

Thakur used to say, our mind is a fly. That fly sits on rotten putrified things, then again, flying up, it sits on the top of the Narayana Salagram stone, where the sandalwood paste and the tulsi leaves are offered in worship. And, again this fly goes off and sits on filthy excrement or dung. Our mind is like that fly. On the other hand if this mind is brought under control... [ .... ?] Indeed all are Hindu! No one is not Hindu! Today in the presence of Premananda, I have spoken this little bit on the topic of "Holi".

Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Ramakrishna.
Ramakrishna Ramakrishna Ramakrishna trahimang,
Ramakrishna Ramakrishna Ramakrishna pahimang.

I bow to the feet of that most venerable Thakur Ramakrishna. He went into samadhi on Holi day. And how much abir, sandlewood, and other kinds of things the devotees offered to him. He was sitting under a veil. After that, calling Naren, he said "Oh Hey! Naren, I am Radha! Give me some vermillion to wear on my forehead!" Ah-ha! What an exalted state! Radha Krishna lila. Sweet Holi lila. How sweet! That is why he said:

Madhurang, madhurang, madhurang Krishna.
Madhurang, madhurang, madhurang Krishna.
Madhurang, madhurang, madhurang Krishna.

Exceedingly sweet, is it not, this that is ours? Right in front of us the sweet month is coming, the month of Chaitra. A new fresh springtime, the eleventh month of the Bengali year. The springtime. Sri Krishna, taking all his friends and followers (retinue) played this Holi sport in Brindavan. This is the benign breeze, the arrival of the new spring. Moreover, facing us is the sweet month. Its name is Chaitra. Indeed it is God's kindness, compassion.

So today, sitting in this Holi, if we think, we will understand our mind, our life, our body. The boys are doing alot, smearing colors, smearing the red powder on each other, intoxicated by the festivity. Tell me, isn't it beautiful? It is all one, not two. This is great. The "Holi" play is a blissful happy festival. In every house, in every village, in every province, in every place they are playing the Holi play. Ramakrishna, Ramakrishna, Ah-ha!

At Dakshineswar, on one side there is the Mother's temple, on another side, the temple of Radha Krishna. Thakur, sitting in the Nath Mandir, in the imagination (having a beautiful face), sitting by the Ganges, he saw this great thing (truth).

This day is our great wealth (glory). The wealth that is outside, this is lost, destroyed. But ths other wealth will never be destroyed. Why? As in the Satya Yuga there was Narayan, and in Tetreya [sp?] Yuga there was Ram, and in Dwapor [sp?] there was Krishna, so in the Kali Yuga there will be Kalangkya [sp?] Avatar. Or Sri Chaitanyadev, appearing, raising the Hem Donda (golden scepter) in his hands.. do you know what his dictum was?

(Sings): Hari bol, Hari bol, Hari bol, mon amar! (Oh my mind, sing Hari, sing Hari!) The golden scepter raised in his arm, intoning the name of Hari, janama Hari (stealing my birth), karma Hari, (stealing my actions), [..?] Hari (stealing speech). Stealing everything.. that's why He is called "Hari". So Thakur, or Chaitanyadev always said:

Kothay he hridoynotho, ekbar ashi dao he dekha.
Amar antore boshile Prabhu, Ami kobo duti kotha.
Kothay he hridoynotho, ekbar ashi dao he dekha.
Ashitechi feeray guray, tumi to deke feeray,
Mohr koto mormo betha.

Kothay he hridoynotho, ekbar ashi dao he dekha.
Amaro duhkha kahini, tumi ki kobhu jononi,
Jeler shuno bosho kothay.
Kothay he hridoynotho, ekbar ashi dao he dekha."

Sri Thakur Ramakrishna has gone. Again, our Chaitanyadev, raising the golden scepter in his arm, in the dress of Radha, on Holi day, adopting the attitude of a female companion of Krishna, dancing, became completely intoxicated. So today on our "Holi" topic, this little bit.. just so much as He has by his grace make me speak, so much I have spoken. Because I have no power whatever to make a speak. Because that which he makes us speak, that we speak. Didn't Tulsidas say:

"Bhat ke acha bolne chalna, bora ke acha chup.

Bhek ke acha borosha badur, aj ke acha du."

Perhaps I by my mouth I have spoken a lot but Thakur has said, "Hey, listen! That which is spoken by mouth has no power. That which is useful (powerful) cannot be spoken in words." If there is a strong work (shakti kaj), that cannot be revealed by words. Speech is one of the senses. When we are merged in that great state, when we re seeing that great radiant truth, absorbed in samadhi, then... That is beyond the range of speech. Speech has lapsed (is dead). Basha, pasha. ("Words are dice-play"). That's what speech is.

But on the other hand, there is a need for speech. Why? As, if you give manure to a plant, it will become strong, in the same way this "Sat Upadesh," (the teachings of truth), "Sat Sanga," (the company of the true), "Sat kotha" (telling the truth), "Hari Kotha" (talk of God), "Govinda kotha" (talk about Govinda), and all other kinds of "Mahapurush kotha" (talk about great men). Listening to that ..

Our mind, which is a drunk elephant, which is unsteady, this mind will become still, at peace. When the mind becomes still, then there is no need for any more speech. So for the stilling of the mind there is Sat Sanga. For this reason Tulsidas has written something more:

Sadguru pao, beda batau,
Gyan kori upadesh.
Koila ki moila bhoray,
Jut kore Ag porobesh.

When our discrimination will wake up, then there will be complete absorption in love. Then our inner impurities, our inner darkness, our inner blemishes will be completely melted away. Then there will be "Holi." Yes, then there will be Holi. The meaning of the word "holi" is "ho-li". And we are swinging Bhagavan in the cradle. The swinging of the samsar maya. This toy swing that we push, in that swing we are really swinging God. Today we are playing Holi! What wonderful fun!

Here Bhagavan has told us about Holi. Sri Krishna by his own mouth, calling everyone has said "Come, come! Everyone come quickly! We will play this game of colors." Syringe, colors. What fun play! See what an amusing game samsar is playing. How much they are playing the color game.

Sometimes we are laughing, sometimes we are crying, sometimes thinking, and again sometimes attacked by disease. We lie down, call the doctor, and again after a time, we are finished! Brothers, friends, one's own people come, tie up the catuli [ the cot for carrying the dead to the fire]. And when they take one away, what do they say? "Hari bol!" Ah! What sport! This play of samsar is the Holi play. Whatever you can play, play. Keep your aim on the root, that beginningless beginning, Govinda. Keep your aim on the Lord, Govinda. Then your Holi play will be "ripe". This is not Holi. In this outer world it is the Holi of the inner world. The Holi demoness, Maya! That "me," "me" is maya, the silver (?) demoness. She is devouring all, she must be burned up. Burn it up, that we must do. then Holi will be realized (attained).

As Sri Krishna, coming to Nandalal, drinking from the Putna [sp?] demon's breast.. if it was a demon, so what? She held Sri Krishna to her breast and died. When her body was set on the funeral pyre, then from her body there came the smell of sandalwood, and the smoke, that flame of the fire, what a beautiful scent of sandalwood went rising up. Garga Rishi was asked by the group of cowherds, "Thakur, this is a demoness. What is the reason for such a beautiful scent of the wind?" Then Garga said, "Oh, don't you know? Taking Gopal to her breast, she has given up the body. Her whole body, fanned by the vernal southern breeze, has been changed into sandalwood.

And so in our Hindu community we give our children names like Ram, another we name Narayan, another Govinda, or Keshav, or Gopal, and so on. Why? [ .... sanscrit] So that at the time of our death we can one time remember and say the name of God. This is japa-tapas. [....?]. This was the real reason. That when the time of departure comes, when we are seized by death, if we then fall into a lapse [..?] then we will not be able to say his name.

And so Thakur used to say, "Oh practice, practice! If you practice, then at that time, in a time of need, you will remember. Nitai used to say that too. [..sanscrit] If you don't practice, why will you remember at the last hour?

(End translation)

Later I asked Baba who spoke all this.

He said "Thakur Ramakrishna is speaking, I am not speaking."

How completely at rest he seemed to be even though the words were pouring from him with great intensity. The words seemed to come from beyond him, from that wide and starry space I have been tasting by Baba's grace.

The form. What is the form? I perceived a bit of Baba's essense, that is, I looked beyond his form somehow. The form was shining golden, but transparent - the true Baba is an infinite presence, the life universal, the God divine!

The tenderest sweetest expression crossed his face, as if his face were being moved by the higher force itself - his face became a window to God. How beautiful it is for me when I gaze at Baba and all thought of Baba or Ramakrishna or anything is wiped away and I see only God the Father!! Oh Life! Thank you. Thank you very much.

Today I mentioned my desire to make a film of Baba. We were talking about the Kali yuga. Baba calls it the "Bhut-yuga", age of ghosts.

It is before nap time and I am fanning him with a hand fan. He is saying the whole earth now is "not right", that people are like dogs, or rakoshes (demons). All is maya, illusion, desire for money, and so on.

I told him about wanting to make a film of him. I said of Ramakrishna we have only a few still photos. He said yes, and was pleased. He was also talking about a new guest room for me, friends, Athena, etc. to stay in. It made me happy. Also talking about not going anywhere which made me happy since I just want to stay with him. After the evening tape he told the others about the film idea. I said I don't know how it will happen, he just pointed to God. (In 1976 this dream came true when we made a video tape of him talking and playing with the disciples at Athena's house in Brooklyn.

March 9, 1974

Who can write this lila? Now my heart is relaxing somehow and flowing to Baba like a river. The more I perceive his Godhood the more I throw myself before the door of his heart. What was unbelievable at first is becoming seen as fact. Oh the joy of the surrender! The wanderer's return! The prodigal son. The sweet smile of my Beloved Lord melts all difference and heals my soul.

Today was "chamber day," meaning there is a long line of people waiting to see Baba, to tell him their troubles. I do japa and meditation.

The woman devotee called "Niba" comes. She is wonderful chatterbox of a woman and she chatters my ears off telling a quaint story about worshipping some pebbles of lava. Then she lost them, and then later they returned. And so on.

At evening puja at Hanuman temple, sitting with Baba, I get absorbed again and feel the oceanic presence, weeping with love of Baba. I fall in his lap at the end of the worship and we just weep.

Ganga Babu comes and meditates in the Kali chamber afterward. Very deep. I sing Hari Narayana with the kirtan singers and the shakti (power) is very strong. When I come back to Baba he is in deep meditation. I meditate, lose body feeling, see his form fade into light. Ocean of love, ocean of love.

March 10, 1974

Awake 6 AM after dreaming. Short meditation. I am to go to Jiten's house again today. Baba does a fast puja. I take leave by holding his foot on my head. He blessed me tenderly. I come to Chandernagore. Ma, Miru, Tubulu are at sister's and arrive at 12 or so. Sweet scenes of family love. The boy to come to see Alpona for marriage doesn't show up. I read some Vivekananda but only the book of his letters really interests me. There he seems more human and seems to express his feelings more directly. The other books are more ponderous and formal. I decide I had throw them all aside and just have this one book of his letters. There his love and friendship shine. There too is his real feelings about the east and the west. When he is in America he talks about the virtues of India, and when he is in India he scolds them, extolling the virtues of the western lands. It is a kind of schizophrenia I have been through many times myself.

March 11, 1974

Chandennagore. I awake peacefully and feel Baba's presence. I sit awhile. Later I go to Chinsura Police station to try to get some headway on my application to extend my three month visa. There is some irritation in me about everyone's slowness. The D.I.'s office is very nice. Tells us to go back to another office in Calcutta. Says I will be allowed to stay after saying that extension is prohibited, i.e. hears the whole story and says by God's power they must give.

I get uplifted to see that this official is a devoted person. "Don't you have any faith in this guru-baba?"

"Yes," I say.

"Then certainly you will get it."

Next the officers make me sing a few songs in Bengali. The sight of a white western sahib is novel and fascinating to them. I consider that such a thing would never occur in America. In India religion touches the soul of everyone, even the police.

I come back to Jiten's and go to the bank to cash checks. This is a seemingly endless process of going to various desks where huge tomes are stacked up, bound together with string.

I take a nap. At evening meditation. I call on Ramakrishna feeling very restless for Baba. Changes are very evident since I first came here. Tonight I feel pain in my heart from separation from Baba. How I love him! He has stolen my heart away.

Dreamed of Krishnamurti and Vimala. Krishnamurti was very old. He went for a walk with us in park. Compassion I embrace Vimala, pranam, talk, etc. Wake up not knowing where I am.

March 12, 1974

Horrible day. I go to Calcutta to Chandran's office who is to help me with visa. He refused to call Gopal Dal Nag for me. I go to the passport office, it is hell there. I leave Chandran's office angry and go to Jiten's office, then to ashram. I am feeling pain in my heart, pain all over, frustration, contempt for disorganized government, everything. Why doesn't God help? Where is guru?

When I come to the ashram and Baba is not there I get depressed horribly. 5pm-8pm. Baba finally comes and everything is okay again. Asks me about the days experience. He tells me not to get angry. Says "shanti." (peace)

Baba imitates how I should respond when talking to the government people: "Yes sir, yes sir, right!..." He tells me to go to back to Chinsura but not to get angry if my request is not granted.

He says I will go to America and he will be in my heart. He will give me the strength to gather my circle of friends and bring Baba's blessing to them and so on. And he says that after six months or a year I will come back for a longer while. He will take care of the money part. His love so mysteriously wins me back.

I tell him I get angry at God himself, holding my fist up to heaven. He says it's alright to get angry at God, but not to get angry at people! He tells how Swamiji used to get angry at God.

He sooths my heart, gives me faith by the sureness of his gaze, the solidity of his being. I play the comet song for him and tell him it is his song. I play the tape Vimala's had made for me and Baba loves it. I try to tell him what Vimala said to me. She had told me "One day I think you will find that Ramakrishna will be your constant companion."

Baba says "Right." Next he mimics his "God-telephone." This is when he puts three fingers on the floor for the connection and "calls me up" in America. "Hello? Premananda? Ah...right!...henh...ah ha...etc." "Hello...Jiten?...etc." I am laughing and clapping.He can be such a jokester that all sorrow is forgotten.

March 13, 1974

I go to Chinsura for the last futile time and return. When I come back to the ashram in the rickshaw I am stunned by the beauty of the stars overhead. I feel good that things are settled.

When Baba sees me he lights up. I pranam to him and hold my head at his feet and we embrace. He is overflowing with sympathy over my visa troubles. He knows I am only going through all this because I cannot bear to leave him and go back to America.

He touches my chin and kisses his hand several times. I explain how things went and he says, "right." He says that he saw that before that I would stay 3 months, go back to U.S., then come back for a longer time.

I call him "dushtu guru," (naughty guru) for letting me go through all this. He laughs and says Naren (Vivekananda) was like that. I say guru saw the whole thing, why didn't he tell me, dushtu guru.

I tell him about meeting the nice guy at the office and he is pleased. We go in for tea and plan the remaining days of my visa on the calendar. Joya's daughter Alpona helps him with the English numbers.

He goes on to tell me many things. He says the great Indian Sanatan Dharma (eternal religion) still exists in India but is now almost extinguished by the darkness of the Kali Yuga.

The whole India now is rakosh (demons), dogs. Does incredible demon and dog imitations. He say that everywhere all is now money and greed. Religion has become mostly fear and superstition. Tells me he doesn't want to go anywhere - all demons.

I keep asking why? He says the sanatan dharma will go to America, India doesn't care about it much anymore. Shows a mixture of despair and disgust.

I have an extreme sense of deja vu at one point. We crawl over and look at the Ramakrishna picture on his table. We are examining the male-female aspect and he shows me on himself the right and left sides of his body, mimics the picture carefully.

I look up to the picture and POW! Déjà vu! Oh yeah! I remember all this. It WAS seen before, the whole thing. The backyard beyond, the yellow light, the Ramakrishna picture. What magic. The deja vu lasts powerfully and I watch it in wonder. Baba goes on into yoga meditation, the male- female. I can almost see it. He begins to weep, then comes out into that frantic state, looking around in amazement. He looks at me, an incredible darshan, and he starts weeping. I fall into his lap and bends over me weeping

It brings on a flashback. Earlier on the porch when I first came back and called him a "naughty guru" he laughed and got high, made a sort of a sweet "self-conscious" giggle, and fell into my lap, his head in my lap, all affection. I bent down and embraced him and he made a contented hum.

I told him I love him very much and it affects him deeply. He sits up, close to weeping. "I will live in your heart," he says, I will go with you." He says this with such heart felt emphasis, so choked with emotion it penetrates deeply into me. He seems to want me to know and/or believe this and by the tender love vibration with which he says it I believe him.

I told him if he doesn't come with me I will die. Hearing this he gets serious and says "No!..not!" But he knows I am joking. This whole tender scene made everything okay. I know his love, what more do I need?

Back in his room, Baba is weeping and saying Ramakrishna several times. Looks all around. Before he had gone into this samadhi and bhava I had said I wanted a picture of him like the pose in the Ramakrishna picture. I arrange his clothes etc. and he sank into it. Finally he shakes his head to come out of it and lies down and weeps. I stroke him, amazed. Is this God weeping for God? I am comepletely moved. Before, after the deja vu, I kept beholding him as Ramakrishna. One thing in the deja vu was the picture combined with the real thing. This is none other than Ramakrishna! How do I know? He reveals himself somehow, but with evidence which speaks to a particular soul. He does not yet reveal himself to mankind. (All rakosh anyway).

Baba sits up after weeping. Crawls over to the bed. He touches the fan half-consciously, (doesn't know what to do). I take the clue and fan him. He starts talking about different qualities - I forget what - mostly I am beholding his light. I can tell by my own feeling and by watching his graceful stillness that he has almost no body consciousness at this point.

Soon he starts singing, "Tumi nara, narayana..." He becomes childlike mad love sweetness beyond telling. Food comes. I start eating but he starts singing again and I lose most of my body feeling in rapt love-attention, amazed and more and more amazed at this continuing and increasing flow of Ramakrishna manifestation.

It is perfect now. His eyes half or almost closed, sweet intoxication. He stops occasionally and says the words of the song in a sweet simple childlike heartfelt way. I can't eat. He stops and says how crazy he is. He is completely intoxicated with bliss, which I feel as well just watching him.

Joya, Lokon, Noyen, Alpona are also watching. He addressing the Mother a lot in song. He sings something with repeating Radha Krishna. Radha is the tongue. He points to his tongue. Krishna is the eyes. He moves his hand saying "Ami-tumi, tumi-ami," (I am you...you are me). I feel an electrical bhav in my body, frozen by these rays of love. The father is shining! The father is shining!

Somehow I finish my food. After that he goes into the woman thing, wears his cloth like a Sari, comes out on the porch and talks to Alpona like a woman. She is just laughing so hard!

Last night my tender long weeping prayer of "anger"' explaining my anger to God, all fulfilled today. Conflict ended. Baba said "right" and manifested so strongly. Much blessing the whole day. I just accept the fact that my visa will not be extended.

March 14, 1974

I come back from a day in Calcutta trying to reserve tickets. Tentative results. As I get to ashram I felt again that no matter what my sorrows are they are inevitably lifted somehow every time I get back to Baba.

I lay my head in his lap and suddenly feel how weary I am and how much I love Baba. Love! What a wonderful power. Power enough to sweep aside the joys and sorrows of all this maya and open wide the heart to the ecstasy of union!

He inquires about the day and I tell him somehow. I am almost beyond caring what happens. We have tea with Ganga Babu after I give Baba milk powder and fruits etc. and he helps me wash my feet and hands. The pain in my heart that I felt during the day begins to turn to bhava. I marvel at the change in state whenever I get back to the ashram. All pain vanishes in samadhic bliss. The ashram is an oasis of peace and love. Troubles seem to fade as I approach the place. It happens every time.

Afterward we go into Kali temple and Baba puts on flowers. I sitting quietly, my tiredness makes stillness come easy, and bhav makes the body vanish. As he puts the garland on Kali all of a sudden tears come and pour through my heart. It is a combination of my days of suffering, the tender sweet pain of having to leave, the love of Baba and the sense of God's wide presence all around Baba.

Oh how I love him and the unseen One he is manifesting! The love comes in wave upon sweet wave to sooth my heart. As he worships I see strongly that being of my vision of '66 facing forward with his gaze looking out upon the void, all maya to his back, bathed in pure light, yet contemplating that which transcends light itself.

His aloneness in these moment of worship forever touches my heart. I weep to watch him sitting, the single one, the brave one who has conquered maya, the glorious one who humbly shines with a light divine. My breath comes in an even gentle heaving in this ecstasy. All the maya of these days makes me long to flow into the one, to leave the ego, the cause of multiplicity, and be one with that Lord. Various aspects of God flow through my mind but inwardly my unity is reaching for the unqualified unity of God. Oh! Baba! How beautiful you are, my Ramakrishna!

Baba turns when he finishes. Ganga Babu starts talking to Baba. Both have eyes closed, and me gazing at Baba who seems to be bathed in a golden light which at times nearly wipes out his form. Baba sinks into bhava deeper and deeper as Ganga Babu's talk becomes ecstatic with truth and love. Sometimes Ganga Babu reaches out and strokes Baba. At first it seems that Baba doesn't want words at the moment, but Ganga Babu's words are like a symphony of the soul - they flow like a running river to the ocean and as I gaze at Baba I feel my heart ceaselessly rushing toward him like a river into the sea.

Tears flow like rain. Occasionally the sobbing comes. I keep seeing the '66 vision Baba surrounded by the void-light. I see him utterly in stillness and my own body becomes still. Oh Ramakrishna! Oh God-form! I see both the form of Baba and sense through the quality of the stillness of the form the formless one who is manifesting. Once Ganga Babu puts his hand on my knee, another time on my back. It is the love disciples of this guru have for each other. We are all going through the same thing in our own ways.

After awhile, after a vain attempt to leave the temple room, Baba, whose bhava has deepened to deep samadhi, starts talking, sometimes looking at me. What did he say? He was talking of me but I don't know what.

He told Ganga Babu about my seeing rakoshes in government places, dogs everywhere, himsa (violence), etc. He tells Ganga about how I bewailed the loss of dharma. Soon he is weeping and on the verge of sobbing.

When he tells about how I said "dushtu guru" and "Why didn't you tell me not to go since you knew the outcome already?" my heart just breaks. He is weeping for me, this God divine, Oh! Lord! The look on his face, it is Ramakrishna, it is God.

Once he says "Ramakrishna," and about how I only wanted to see Ramakrishna, and I sob. A heaving wave of love, of recognition, of miracle-fact. Ganga Babu's hand on my back, affectionately stroking me, my body gone, the vision before me, now even more than Ramakrishna, verily the Father, our long-suffering creator, the infinite one!

Oh weep my heart and soul at the feet of the Lord! I fall forward, still sitting, and weep at his feet, sobbing with love -- not pain, though the weariness of all the ages of man seems to be aching in my heart, yet it is love that I weep, for this being is perfect and shining and weeping with perfect love.

Oh breathless wave of union! Oh Beloved! As Baba was talking to Ganga Babu at times his face pleading like one pouring out his sorrow to a friend, yet it was my sorrow he was pouring out, my heartache aching in his heart. Oh the love, the love on his face, in his tears, in his tone of voice, choked with deep feeling. As if he is pleading for me. Where is my sorrow now?

I would suffer anything for this one. I would lay down my life in an instant. I will keep going. I am Simon throwing down my net. I am John with head bent low of Jesus' breast. The blood! I remember it from my 1966 LSD vision. It is life universal! It is the soul of God. The vision-Baba looking out upon the starry void of his creation and showing me his jeweled matchbox filled with nameless nothing. lt is all here! I am yours, Oh infinite morning, I am yours.

March 15, 1974

Deep sleep. Awake exactly at five of seven as usual, though I fall back to sleep for a half hour. In the morning I sit outside the Kali temple and Baba talks to the people.

I sit and write to Kanta Devi. Baba looks at pictures of my friends and shows them to others, talks about my troubles. Dictates the letter, listens to the Vimala tape, calls for the Chidananda picture, much more. At puja Baba is weeping and weeping - talking to the Mother in glorious tones - gets so high! Bubbling with joy, his very body seems to be unsolid, as if floating in another dimension. He forgets the holy water when going over to the Hanuman temple, laughs, says he doesn't know what he's doing -- walking around in ecstasy.

At the Mother puja as well he was the same, his actions seemed absent minded, as if he didn't care about "doing" anything. At Hanuman he sings. "Ramakrishna" etc. After the Hanuman puja I have an impulse to sing. Within minutes he says "How is your "guitar-friend'?" I sing quietly on the porch while he talks to someone. Then he sings that song he sang the other night - "Tumi nara rupi, narayana, doya kore darashana.." and I accompany him and improvise. We both get high. Hom, puja, eat, sleep. Later I find out that this was a song that Ramakrishna used to sing to Vivekananda.

I awake from my nap at five. There is a letter from Srinivasan. Baba sits on steps of Hanuman and reads a letter from "Brahmachari School". We go for a walk out through the fields. As always when walking with Baba I get a feeling of Jesus bhakti, the feeling of walking in the footsteps of the great on. And I get high on the sheer beauty of the fields and the wide sky overhead. We sit on a stone bench out in the fields. Baba tells my story to two guys who are there. We walk back and do the Hanuman worship. After puja I sing Kandana for Baba. I sing with the Kirtan group, Hari Narayana, and an incredible strength is flowing through me in kirtan, obviously Baba's shakti. Very sweet and very strong. Play flute, eat, sleep.

March 10, 1974

It is a big day. We are to leave today for the journey to Baba's birthplace, Purushottampur in Orissa state. We are up at six and Baba does a very fast worship in the Kali temple. By eight o'clock we leave for Howrah station and the train that will take us south.

Our rickshaw is driven by Biral, a name which means "cat." Many different people say goodbye to Baba...(Where are you going?) Some were just coming to see him. They give their sweets and incense. We sing Hari Narayana all the way (with occasional interuptions) and it goes into perfect-fifth harmony after a short while. My heart flows. I have the river feeling again, as if Baba is a giant ocean and my heart's love is a river. I guess it is as I told Glenn - all my life I was just looking for something perfect to love.

We get to the local train station and a man waits in the line for us to get our tickets. Baba is talking to devotees and strangers about me our trip, etc.

We wait on the platform for the train to Howrah and again a crowd gathers. Having missed one train we wait for the next and it turns out to contain several of Baba's devotees who are of course delighted to see him. One, the one who brought the boy with the eye-pain, has his face transfigured by the joy of seeing Baba here by happenstance.

At Howrah a number of people come up and pranam (as they have all along the way. One man goes after batteries. Baba seems detached from the wide maya though utterly attentive to immediate details of karma. Finally we get on the train and go.

The train arrives late due to chain-pulling at every stop where ticketless travelers get off before the actual station. Baba is not feeling too well. We arrive in Jajpur about nine in the evening. There is a rush getting out of the train. We get on a bus. Baba gets some bananas. lt is a 40 minute ride to Belissa. We get out along the road, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, and Baba talks to a guy in a little lamp lit hut by the roadside for directions. First the guy doesn't want to help but finally he shows us the path we must take. Baba gives him some paisa. We start off down the path and ask directions again at another house. Yes, we are on the right road.

We walk and walk through utterly peaceful areas. The stars are magnificent up above, sweet infinite silence all around except for the singing of crickets and frogs.

Baba says, "Oh, Premananda! Look! One universe, one earth, how beautiful it is, isn't it?" All the way Baba is talking creerfully to keep everyone's spirits up. Keeps asking each person if they're okay. It is late, dark, and a long walk. Our destination is indeed a very remote village. Baba sings Hari Narayana.

We turn off the road. We had stopped at a house where a guy took two bags and showed us the rest of the way. We come to a river which we must cross by wading. How sweet! Peaceful night, cool refreshing water flowing over clean sand. We come finally to the house.

Along the way, before the river, Baba asks me: what's the purpose of comihg here, that is, why did you decide for us to come? I get angry.

"I only go where Baba goes," I say. I never decided anything. This little statement gets under my skin since I didn't know it would be so hard and for Baba's sake I would have said to stay if I had known. But Baba probably just joking and would have done it no matter what I said. He is just teasing me.

Baba is angry when he arrives. There are no arrangements ready, he is very tired, but I begin to wonder if this "anger" he sometimes displays isn't all just a front. It always seems to be a joking, harmless anger. I am exhausted to the core yet there is a deep peace throughout.

We wash our feet and some of the household member fan Baba while we rest. Food is eaten and I finally go to sleep. It is very deep sleep. I dream of Vimala. One thing I remember from this dream is that she says "Why don't you admit that you want money to carry out your work?" There is another where I meet with several other devotees of Baba and they are ecstatic and one lady speaks about money. l have the feeling of joining them. Don't remember more of dream yet there was much more with Vimala.

Swimming with Baba
March 17,1974

Purushottampur, Orissa, Baba's birthplace. I have some irritation in the morning since I don't know where to pee or wash myself and Baba is all freaked out saying first one thing and then another. They are all laughing. Shows me where to pee but the "crowd" comes along which makes me feel altogether helpless. Is there never any privacy in India?

Then Baba says come for a walk after telling me I can wash in the room. And finally I burst out, "I just want to wash!" Baba slaps his knee laughing at my outburst. He seems to enjoy my getting frustrated and mad. Tells Miru to give me water, but I decide to just go to the river and wash myself there.

We walk to the river, Baba, Jiten and I. Baba shows me the place where he was "thrown away" as a baby and then we walk down to the river. There is lots of sand, a sand bar. Baba shows me where his parents were cremated and I take a picture of him there making pranam to the memory of his parents.

Baba goes into the river for a bath and I follow. He laughs delightedly as I approach him waist deep in the water. The pleasantness of the whole scene wipes away my irritation and frustration. I throw water at Baba playfully and he laughs happilly. He embraces me gladly.

He calls for my towel and a girl brings it and we bathe. I am just wearing my underwear. The water feels unbelievably good. He does tratakam on the sun, shows me to press my eyes and see the "jyoti" (light). Blesses me there in the water, his arm upraised, and Jiten takes a picture. We take some more pictures there.

We come back and eat. Baba is irritated at the household that things are all disordered. The moori isn't right, the floor is dirty, and so on. He looks at the cross I gave him. I ask him where that bible is that I gave him, knowing he had given it to someone.

I ask him if I should give away the mala he gave me. He says No, no, that guy is going to return the Bible when he has read it. Baba imitates "I'm going to get angry" and I stick my face up close to his in imitation of strength in the face of anger (go ahead!) and he laughs and says something about "bandhu" (friend) and shakes hands with me. He is so spontaneous that one never knows what is going to happen.

I say God is my bandhu (friend) and I embrace him and he laughs and gets ecstatic. Looks up at pictures on the wall. We sit on the porch while he dictates his life stories to Jiten. Baba makes a one hour speech, which I tape and title "Purushottampur Speech."

Then we go for a walk to see the village school which has been named for him. I take a few photos and then we come back for the noon Hom fire. I photograph the ceremony, the first chance l've had to do it where the lighting was any good. It is in the worship room of his fathers house and the light coming in through the open door give beautiful images of his worship.

After sleep we go for a trip to Jajpur, walking to the river and wading across and taking rickshaws from there. Baba is high the whole trip, the beauty of the walk to the river. We meet one of Baba's childhood friends. Baba is now like a little boy having a good time. I take a few photos. The yellowish-orange pre-twilight light, the balmy air. The river and its clean sand beach, the quiet end of day. Ecstatic beauty. We come to the rickshaws which Baba starts calling "helicopters."

"Come," he says, "sit down in the helicopter."

We go. The ride is ecstatic. The colors brilliant. The green rice fields, red sand roads, blue sky with orange sun going down. We sing Hari Narayana and I zoom toward bhava samadhi feeling Baba's presence and love and I am just overwhelmed with love for him. That feeling again from when we were swimming in the river together.

I say to Baba "All mantras are a river and Om is the ocean."

Baba says "Right! The other mantras all are maya, unnecessary. Om is everything."

I ask him if in samadhi there is Om or just nothing. He says "Om is there, Om is God." I nearly faint with love now and then, the two of us in the rickshaw in splendid surroundings.

I feel that choking feeling in my throat a lot and it becomes difficult to keep the chant going. I see that two directions exist there, samadhi and weeping. One can weep endlessly, or one can go beyond that.

All along I am seeing all the beauty and thinking of filming things with Baba and then this vision starts flowing through my mind of Kalki Krishna. I see Baba on a white horse and me leading the horse along the roads, singing the mantra and collecting people. I think of Vimala. I wonder if I will come back again. The Kalki vision grows. I wonder if Baba would let me film him on a white horse.

The vision of Baba as Kalki persists. I see the coming disaster days, animal-like scramble for food in the darkness of world ignorance and the Lord come to separate the wheat from the chaff. I see that the whole thing could be filmed as a prophetic movie with interwoven stories of these blessed by Kalki when he comes. The whole vision makes me ecstatic (we are singing all the while) and I feel I will melt, burst, die with love of Baba. I feel his is all through me.

The Kalki vision makes me ask him, "Will a new Satya Yuga come?" He says, most definitely will come. And then he says something about America. He talks about Om and I see the vedic period as the recurrent point in a circle where the wisdom is so intense that the need for so many God-forms drops.

We go to visit some temples. I cannot go in as these are orthodox temple and I am not technically a Hindu. We talk to the gatekeeper or priest about it. Jiten and Miru go in but Baba and I sit in the rickshaw. He does not want to go in if I cannot go it. I say I don't care about it anyway, Baba is my temple.

We stop at a market for some things. We go to visit an officer of some kind, a friend of Baba's I guess, but I don't understand much of what is said.

Baba Makes a Disturbing Statement

Getting home we sing. Later Baba, talking to Jiten, makes a statement that upsets me. He says something about Ramakrishna is born but is just a six year old child now and will manifest himself later on. I don't know how to take this. Just when I am seeing Baba so clearly as Ramakrishna he makes a statement that suggest he is not. I weep at night in confusion and prayer and get almost no sleep.

March 18, 1974

I awake and go for my bath in the river again. I pranam Baba at river's edge as I catch up to him. He says something about Vivekananda and slapping. He makes a mock slap at me. I return the gesture. We bathe.

But I am still feeling disturbed about his remark last night. I don't know how to bring it up. I long for some kind of explanation of his remark about Ramakrishna being a child somewhere. It has thrown me into despair. I have tested him for three months and have become convinced that he is none other than that great soul.

We Go to the Brahmachari School

We come back and the schoolteachers and all the school children have come. Baba talks to them for awhile and asks me to take pictures but there is not enough light there. After talking to the teachers on the porch Baba comes into the room where I am sitting and asks me if he should go to the school or not. Apparently there has been some disagreement or something which I don't understand anything about.

I just say to him "Well, if you don't go there how do you expect the children to go there?"

He accepts this. He says to me that if I will go to the school then he will go. Not otherwise. This is a crazy position for me to be in, but off we go to the school. All the children are lined up neatly in their best dress. They yell, "Sri Sri Swami Prahlad Chandra Brahmachari ki Jai!" They put garlands on Baba and on me. I take some pictures at the school.

I walk over to Baba and see that he is weeping over the whole thing. We go into the building. He is weeping more now and I begin to sense how deeply it is hitting him, though I don't exactly know what his feeling are. Jiten tells me as we approach the school that someone had accused Baba's brother Kaka Babu of taking money and so Baba wouldn't go to the school for three years. This is the first time in three years since he has set foot there.

The children all crowd in the room and Baba sits down. Weeping he puts his head down on the table in front of his chair. Sits up and shakes it off. Tells me I will make a speech. He wants a bidi, sends Jiten. We go out and walk around a bit. Baba goes to pee. Jiten and Miru come, Baba smokes. We go back. Baba gives a speech, which is taped. Miru speaks, then another guy says some words. Baba's body is shaking a bit as he talks. The students listen attentively to Baba and myself but not to their own teachers.

As we had come to the school grounds and again into the room Baba made a point of making me precede him. He was serious in saying he would only go to the school if I took him there.

The despair I had felt from the night before was temporarily suspended during this event, such as when Baba wept on my shoulder before his speech.

My Crisis of Faith

But afterward the disturbance started to return. Was Baba telling the truth? Can he do otherwise? Then has my whole lila here been a gigantic hallucination? Or is he only testing my faith in him? If he is not Ramakrishna then how could God have deluded me so?

My faith should have held me firmly but I was so tired and in pain and the mere prospect of everything turning out false, of having a web of maya thrown over me, or of having to wait four years, etc. was too much.

Eventually I went into the room longing to be alone and lay down and l became absorbed in speechless despair. Who could I appeal to? As before it seemed that God alone could resolve my conflict and he seemed to be keeping silent. The whole pageant of my quest flowed before my mind's eye. I felt so weary. as if I could go no further. I had done all I could to sacrifice my very life, to consecrate it to the feet of this whom I believed by intuition, discrimination, power and love and signs from God to be thc very incarnation of Sri Ramakrishna and now he himself had said no, I'm not he, he will show himself in four years! Oh! the pain in my heart was unutterable.

I just lay there in shock. Baba came in to ask me to take the food which was being brought in the room. I couldn't move. I felt as if I were dead. I couldn't speak. They tried to rouse me but I couldn't respond.

Baba said, "samadhi," but I doubted that very much. The the very mechanism of action seemed to have died. I felt helpless. Only when Baba said through Jiten, that he wouldn't eat if I didn't eat did I have a motive stirred within me. He was as tired or far more so than I and I wanted him to eat. I had no hunger myself.

I got up, somewhat sullenly and sat down. The food looked silly. I couldn't imagine eating. He watched me and urged me all the way. At one point he said, what's the matter? All I could say is I have a pain in my heart. I felt angry in a number of directions. Why can't he just know what is wrong and make things clear. My mind is so confused. Why won't he just tell me the truth one way or another? Are you Ramakrishna or are you not?

I eat a bit. Very sad. An incredibly bad state. I can see the cause of it, it is just very painful.

After eating what I could I sit on the bed. Where can I turn? What can I do. There is nothing. I feel like dying.

Baba leaves, telling a young boy to fan me. I don't like it and ask the boy to stop. He won't stop so I go outside and sit. The boy comes back and gets me but starts fanning me again so I leave the room again.

This time Baba himself comes and brings me into the room and tells me to lie down. I sit on the bed feeling a point of utter helplessness. I can't go on.

The scene. Husband and wife. Baba comes in and sits on the bed with me. I refuse to lie down. I feel a heaving wave of love- despair in my heart and throat. At this point I am beyond reason altogether. If I could have reasoned then I would have seen that his previous night's remark was a small thing in the light of all that has happened, but reason was gone. It was the whole wave of my Journey hitting me in the heart. All the accumulated suffering, the longing to clutch the Lord, the longing for the Lord's love, and the accumulated pain of being unable to express anything or understand (language), the isolation from the very object of my quest. The soul's impasse. Of course it was crazy! The whole thing has been crazy.

The wave of despair breaks and I weep. Baba fans me. This has an odd effect. ln the midst of this deep sorrow/despair I feel it is bad that he should fan me, it is taking too much from him. I reach up and grab the fan to stop him and actually start laughing as I feel the silliness of myself. Guru fanning disciple!

He says no, "I am you and you are me, I am you and you are me."

The wave hits me again. Some self pity is there, but also the pain which comes from being empty of all power, frustrated beyond possibility of self repair, throwing oneself on the father's lap. I want to confront him and ask the question I have been struggling with for so long: Are you Ramakrishna?

Baba wipes my tears with his handkerchief. He doesn't ask what's wrong exactly but continues to fan and try to calm me. Certainly he must see the whole thing. This bhava is basically God longing colored by the confusion warp in the lila caused by his remark.

I feel my utter foolishness was in blaming him. His remark was perfect innocence. I failed to see that the pain within my heart was my own well of longing and confusion. His remark only punctured the dam. The pain was mine, and not caused by him.

Throughout this I continue to feel a kind of obstinate resolve not to speak. My feeling is let God diagnose the baby's ills if he is so all- knowing. I have put forth my whole effort to express myself to unlistening people and to understand their speech and it all just leads to confusion in these last very critical days.

Suddenly Baba lies down on the bed and tells me to lie down beside him. I don't get it at first. He then says that this is how Ramakrishna and Vivekananda used to lie down together, side by side.

Then he says, "I am Ramakrishna and you are Vivekananda." Now my ridiculous mood vanishes. Is this not a contradiction of what he said last night?

"You are Ramakrishna?" I say.

"Yes, I am Ramakrishna," he says in perfect alert innocence, like a child playing, looking up at me from where he lay on his bed, me sitting beside him.

"And you are Vivekananda." I protest that last night he said that he wasn't.

"When did I say that?" he asks and tells Jiten to come in. I tell him what he said last night, that Ramakrishna was a child that he would come in four years, etc.

I do not remember how these statements were resolved. Only that when Baba understood what had been bothering me he did a very strange thing.

He suddenly got up and was saying, "I am Kali, and you are Siva, I am Kali, you are Siva," and he put his right foot on my chest, me lying down. The sudden change to this playful mood was disorienting further.

Then he wanted me to do it to him! I got up and put my foot on his chest as he lay beneath me and I roared with mock ferociousness. Somehow he turned everything around and my mood vanished and I began to feel stupid for getting so upset. Then he left the room. Those viewing this scene were absolutely shocked that the disciple should touch the guru with his foot. In India this is a terrible thing!

I got up and went into the other room where Baba was llying down. I saw that he was upset. Jiten was there and translated. Baba started weeping. He then gave me straight forward the deepest lesson of my entire life.

He said that if what I wanted was to find someone who would say in no uncertain term that they are Ramakrishna I could go to Calcutta and find alot of them. He said he had a scrapbook somewhere of lots of people who claimed to be the incarnation of Ramakrishna.

"Word is nothing," he told me. Does God have any need to go around saying "I am God?"

He was crying and saying over and over "I will never say it, I will never say it." But in my foolishness I had made him say it and I was beginning to feel terrible.

He said that if I wanted to see God I should stick with him, but that if I just wanted someone who said "I am Ramakrishna" I should go. He said he knew a few who claimed to be Ramakrishna and he would take me to them.

He was crying. Over and over saying, "Bolbo na, bolbo na, bolbo na," -- "I won't say it, I won't say it ..."

I told him I understood now. I was feeling terrible ashamed and stupid. I suddenly realized the truth of what he was saying and how stupid was my desire to have him say it directly to me.

He and I both calmed down after a while and later we went for a walk along the riverbank. Baba was in a good mood but I was feeling terrible. I was ashamed of my stupidity, my silly trival desire. He seemed amused at my shame and seemed to understand it and made no effort to lift it. He let the whole thing sink in deeply. I pondered my foolishness and stupidity for hours.

March 19, 1974

I had a good sleep. Baba was in my dream somewhere. Even so I am still feeling ashamed because of my lack of faith and doubt I had had. It was as if I had squeezed something out of him which was a sacred trust of silence, yet I was glad because he had spoken the very words I wanted to hear. How could I have been so stupid to demand that he say in words "Yes, I am Ramakrishna?"

I am exhausted from my heart having been wrung in a thousand ways. But I am captured. I must go on.

Miru tells me how all the people here want money from Baba. Then, somewhat secretly, she leads me to some inner rooms of the house to meet the woman who was Baba's wife. This is a story too long to recount here, but I meet her. She gives me the kiss with the hand. At nap-time I can't sleep. I go to the nearby Shiva temple to pray, do japa. Leaving is a difficult hassle. I take a picture of Baba at the Shiva temple.

We Leave Purushottampur

Again we wade through the beauty of the river. At the train station there is quite some trouble getting a seat on the train. I get angry when some people push Baba aside trying to get on the train.. Protectively I push them back, angry that they don't respect a holy man.

Baba is in an unbelievable mood as soon as we get on the train and get settled in seats. His love just flows. He talks to everyone, makes friends with everyone. The result being that due to his innocent friendliness our seats are assured thereafter.

The train starts after much noise and Baba and I both flip out singing Hari Narayana. I had been wondering before if it were all right to sing on the train and Baba started up. Pure union. Like the Sivaratri sensation only now there is the golden sense of union with Baba.

Both of us are now crazy with love. We sing harmony. I perceive a space beyond the space-time of maya in which we are one being yet a separation remains for the pure joy of being aware of the union. The space is inexpressible. I can feel Baba's incredible power to communicate to the soul. As I feel this I perceive it is his will and grace, no action of my own other than attentively moving with it. Though we are both looking askance, inwardly, in the golden space, we are facing each other. My total being fills with and gets swallowed in sheer anahata-visshuda joy of communion. Very happy. We pause and start again and then talk. Baba is in sweet ecstasy and I am playing along, both of us children in the light of God's name, both mad with love.

I say to Baba: "This is a Narayana train!"

Baba laughs, "Yes, he says, one Narayana ghari!"

Where is it going, I ask.

He tells me about the river again. The whole of maya is a river flowing into the ocean of OM.

I ask "Is this train going to the Om ocean?"

"Yes!" he says "Om sagar." Ah, very good! We both laugh. The movement oi the train is indeed Om-like. Baba talks. Talking about maya and "ami", the "I".

I suddenly say, spontaneously, "Ami hote chai na, tumi hao Bhagavan." Which translates roughly to "I don't want to be, God, YOU be."

Baba flips out completly, he loves it. He tells it to everyone around several times, somewhat like a proud mother telling of her child's first words.

He sings it. He tells me to write it down, but my bag is too full, so he says "tak" (leave it). He says he doesn't know any English, only "Thank you, very much," and I say no, you know alot, and I get him to explain "Not pice, single mind one is" which it one of his English sayings which always comes out sounding like: "Nothing by single by one to is."

He falls into my lap crazily and lovingly. Everyone laughs and laughs at his "saying" and I say I will write that in my diary. "Today Baba gave teaching 'Nothing by single by one." That is when he fell in my lap.

Again we laugh about "Kali yuga = Ami-rica, Satya yuga- Tumi-rica."

Finally some people hush us up as it was time to sleep on the train. It was a wave of Joyous union. Baba somehow sweeping away all maya of separation from my heart and mind to show me we are one and that oneness is God's inexpressible being. On that Narayana train my Joy knew no bounds for I disappeared in Baba's love. Oh sweet one! Oh Hari! Can words speak that love? That love erases the lover! The bliss of God is in the loss of ego! Oh Baba! Jaya Guru! Jaya Ramakrishna!

We talk, and then sleep. The lesson of Purushottampur is clear in my heart. Who cares which dead person someone might have been? God is just self evident in the avatars and the names of them are insignificant.

Back at Ramanathpur

At night Baba tells one guy that when I leave he will be bedridden such will be his sorrow. He will cry.

"You are my husband" he says, going off to the paikane, singing' "l'm the wife, you're the husband. Everyone is laughing at him.

I go to Air India. Two hour wait. Have an amazing conversation with the ticket lady, Illa Mukherji. She says she is interested in religion, wishes she had seen Vivekananda, thinks maybe Ramakrishna is around and only waiting to manifest himself. I give her Baba's name and address and she says she's very happy to have it. We talk about philosophy etc. for about 35 minutes. She likes Aurobindo and shows me a blessed picture. I tell her about Baba etc. I feel a ray of light when even in this business office someone likes God things.

March 21, 1974

Morning. Baba suggests I go get my Delhi ticket. A guy writes a note from Baba and Baba gives a flower for Illa. Does it all so carefully I feel somehow all will be right. l'm glad he said to go get ticket since it worried me.

Horrible day. Pana Kole goes with me. Calcutta's misery descends on me like a fiery sword. Indian Airlines office, then Air India. Illa reads the note. Tickled, glad, but laughs. No luck, says to come back. No reservation. We leave. Some despair sets in. I go for tapes in the market place. The whole thing starts to be like a cross. What is it? I see the aching mass of Calcutta and feel its incredible agony all through my soul. I see the whole screaming seething ocean of sorrow which is maya and am so disgusted and sick of it I get kind of shocked into a silence.

We go to Howrah again, by rickshaw - the pageant of suffering. At the station the guy leaves for home. I stand on the balcony outside Jiten's office and weep. The whole thing of my suffering is now hitting me in the belly and heart. I want to scream. It is as if the whole suffering in all the maya is hitting me. Feeling the whole pain of the world mixed with my personal agonizing situation --visa expiring, no reservation, leaving Baba. I suddenly understand about Jesus, incarnations, Baba bearing the suffering of the whole world. The thought of the trouble of booking a seat, and what to do if it fails is so horrible I keep thinking I will just run away to Rishikesh and fast until I die or something. I feel I can't bear anymore of this. Having come for Baba's companky and having to spend the time in a Demon Land in a helpless state of humiliating suffering. I am mad at the God who allows such a horrible thing and mad at him for keeping me away from Baba in these precious days and mad at him for still hiding behind the veil after I have thrown my whole life on his lap.

Yet as ever I am without choice. Anger comes and goes but it is the impotent rage of a desparate child. In the midst of this sorrow I keep resolving to go back and throw all this aching confused despair at Baba's feet. It strikes me many times: who is this Baba for the sake of whose darshan and companionship I am willing to go through all this? At the very time I feel weakest and the agony of the whole world seems to be shooting through me in heavy scream-like waves I marvel at this seemingly new strength within with which I can bear it.

Though I feel pushed to the edge of my capacity, yet my mind keeps awake and tries to have faith. Though I firmly resolve to return to the ashram and confront Baba somehow with this "sacrifice" I am feeling, yet when I return to the ashram as always the sorrow is utterly lifted. How hopeless! How sweet! That balcony scene I can hardly recollect, much less describe. I was like an animal which goes mad from a pain it can't escape, yet strength came from somewhere to bear it and to use it to create a certain indelible impression in the psyche for the development of vairagya. The maya-vomit thing, the hopelessness of trying to "fix-up" the outer world, the uselessness of relying on anyone for anything except as far as it is God-given and comes without asking.

I read the Upanishads on the train. There had been communist parades all day. As soon as I get close to the ashram the horrible thing starts lifting, so by the time I get back there is peace and love for Baba. I tell Baba about the pain I felt and I feel it again. He understands, says don't do it. Shanti. Baba gets the story of the ticket from Pana Kole. Plans are set. He indicates he knew I wouldn't get the second ticket today.

Regarding all the suffering, I ask Baba why is God such a bad Mother that she can't give her children food. He says that there is but the people don't get it because of the rakoshes. He asks if he should go to America with me. I say yes, America is a new holy land, he says right.

We tape Hari Narayana and a Hindi tape for Vimala. All through the speech I feel that space again in which we are one. I see many things, particularly that Baba is beyond his form. I see "myself" in him, I see the golden shining one, the '66-vision Father talking out of the depth of the void. Baba looks more familiar than ever. I sort of swim in him, tired as I am, I flow into him for an hour. I feel a meaning exists in this speech, it is a pure lila, a karmic cue ball.

After I eat Baba gives me Hom ashes to take home, flowers, etc. I'm sad but I feel I am in his hands and he keeps talking definitely about America so I regain faith in the ticket thing. I guess perhaps he does know the future. Talks about Athena's strength and determination in getting to Purushottampur the year before and compares it to my visits to Demon land and says "pass", which, though I resist the idea of testing somehow, makes me very glad. Baba is taking every effort to make my leaving painless and to "induce" himself in me so that I will feel his presence in me. All this whole thing has been 1) Overwhelming love of my parama bandhu, my lover, my "wife". That he called himself my wife was realized today as a sign of madhura bhava. 2) Out of love, surrender of ego self. 3) Death 4) Wider life in lila --acceptance of whatever role God chooses us to play. Like loving someone so much you Just want to follow them around all the time. Following God around. Accepting his lead. 5) Loss of ego boundry --oceanic consciousness, impersonal, yet encompassing and embracing all angles of all personal lila.

Awake with sharp pain in my belly and body, feeling as if trucks had run over it. Previous night I had wept and wept with love for Baba and with the whole mysterious force of my saga, the sorrow of the world and my joy in melting with love into the guru. I see all in him. In these last days he has been revealing himself to my soul somehow and the blazing beauty of his sun-like countenance makes me weep and drown in love. The thought of whether he is Ramakrishna or not has faded a great deal because I simply see God there, tbe unqualified one, the oceanic omni- presence who appears to us with the form which our heart longs for. I feel the whole two weeks of misery in the world alternating with the joy of his darshan at night has been a kind of test. I pushed myself to the limit for him and what happened? More and more love. Love that doesn't care what the beloved does. Love which does not want anything but love. Love which can bear all things and only be strengthened by hardship. And last night, knowing it was the last night, I seemed to melt altogether in a sobbing which seemed to come from a depth as deep as Baba himself.

Prem, oh prem! Ocean of prem! Prem for God, for the guru who reveals that God in himself and in the disciple -- prem for the One, the Om, for which this whole fragmented maya of my personal nature wants to die and be reborn, to be transformed by the master's will. Oh Baba! Not only are you Ramakrishna, sweet child, sweet beloved, you are Brahman himself! Test me as you wish, it is thee I want! Thee alone, Oh Brahman, oh life universal! I said in my heart in a moment of great love that for the love of the avatar I would descend into hell itself, and that is where I have been. And I ask for nothing but love of Thee, love which leads to union and melts the heart into oneness! Om is the angels and beyond the angels.

All morning my heart was shaking with the trembling thought of leaving. Baba was sweet, and kept repeating the details of my program. This morning finally he gave assurances that Illa Mukherji would sign the ticket and all would be well, and I perceived that he knew all along how everything would turn out. Why did I have to go through all that?

I pack. Mr. Pal tapes a thing. I pranam the temple deities and take a picture of Baba - it is not a good one I fear. Though there is no longer any doubt about his presence staying with me, yet I can feel the tears in my heart welling up. At one point Baba did a guru puja. I held a mala of flowers while he told me some mantras to say, bit by bit, and the tears started welling and running down my face. Baba seems to be shining with tenderness and strength. I put the mala on his neck. The choking feeling in my throat is intense and my very being vibrates with an oceanic love of God and this God- form before me. Beyond all words is that love. It rushes like a mighty river to the sweet sea of God's being. Then my deep wish of the past weeks is fulfilled: they bring Ganges water and flowers and I wash Baba's feet and place flowers on them and the tears are streaming. My heart seems to be heaving and exploding. Baba seems to be hurrying me along as if he knows that if I linger too long over these symbolic rituals I will be so absorbed that I will be weeping utterly out of control. Two malas were given, one to Kali, one to Vishnu, then another on Baba's own person. This last he gave me at the end. Outside, later, I take photos of a group, including Joya Ma, and then some men come up and put a flower mala on my neck. Baba says something which I don't understand. He tells someone to tell me. "Baba says to tell you that they are presenting you with the 'library'." What? What does that mean?

Baba starts rushing me along. He says he is going to Doctor Babu's house because Bhavananda is not well. So he is getting all dressed up to go which is somohow impressed upon my consciousness as a very symbolic detail, as if he were physically showing me that he is going with me, but it is a subjective impression. I go to pranam Joya Ma, she starts weeping -- the tenderness deepens my mood. We embrace, weeping. I pranam to the whole ashram in the dust. Baba comes over, "Hey, what's this crazy one!"

I get up. He is saying "Go, go," and others are hurrying me. I feel all liquid and light and trembling with that poignant mixture of deep affection and sorrow of leaving. In all my life I never felt such a parting sensation. Not for anyone. I know we are one, yet my heart is about to break. I start away. "Are you going?" I ask Baba. Unclear. He goes a little way. (Before, at night, he said tomorrow, pack your stuff, pranam and go) but just now I have been thinking that he will go to the road. Now I see it is not so. I will leave now. The moment hits me. I go to Baba and fall at his feet clutching them to the top of my head. My heart breaks. I feel a force, a tangible wave of love-devotion vibration running from the top of my head to his feet. His legs are shaking and he is exclaiming "Oh! Oh-oh!" He taps me to get up. I am weeping now, the full flow of the river. I get up and he embraces me, both of us crying. This is the closest I have ever felt to Baba. Before he embraced me on the second darshan and wept, and again at Anacoot samadhi, but I was not weeping. Now it feels as if our souls are one. This embrace and these tears nearly wipe away the outer world altogether. He tells me to go --"The train! The train!" and I stagger off, swimming in the prem I feel for the Son of God. After five or ten minutes my heaving breath slows down and I start thinking again.

At the airline office there is a high vibration. Final release from my anxiety. Illa thanks me for the Prasad but says the news is not good. My heart starts sinking momentarily but I recover. Baba's assurance was definite. The morning flower to the mother, which Baba had so tenderly asked the Mother for, was in my pocket, saying that I would get to Delhi and America alright. My fear was quieted and I witnessed. A man comes to help. They ask about the date. I go through the conflict, the visa, etc. and they phone. Tense wait. Finally it comes through from Pan Am, like a heavy weight off my heart. All friendliness at counter. She signs over the ticket from Air India to Pan Am and Pana Kole and I walk to Pan Am. Walking over I am drawn again into the Bhav of the morning. Who is this Baba. the love for whom is so much flowing that I feel like I am in heaven even on these Calcutta streets. My heart flows golden supreme to his sacred feet! I am reborn! I am in His eternity.

Chanderagore - Brahmanic ocean prevails. After kirtan, egoless awareness. No sleep. The mood of leavlng is descending on me making me anxious to try to catch the fleeting memories of these three months of lila.

At night Miru shows me that a candle burned Swami Chidananda's cloth up in front of Sarada Ma. She has bought a new cloth. Says God wanted it. Then tells me the negative of Baba I had wanted was lost by Bubu in a library book. Affects me deeply as only today I had tried and been unable to get a good picture of Baba . She is very upset and I ask her how she could have lost it and question her if everything possible was done to find it. In the morning she tells me she had a dream in which she saw the book where it was and shows it to me. Tells me tears can do anything. She had been crying over the loss.

March 24, 1974

Awoke at five and dozed off again briefly. Had slept on bench at airport. Jiten watching my stuff. We had to come at night as there was a taxi strike due. Jiten-- how faithful! What a servant to his guru! Again and again I am nearly moved to tears to see his devotion. Though his wordly affairs give him no peace, yet his steadfast devotion will give him possession of the prize in the end. How deep is his love of Baba! Airplane, no hassles. As I took off it hit me. I was softly singing Jaya Guru to myself and the actual fact of leaving Baba hit me in the face and the wave of tears came. He is with me in thc plane. He must come! It is love, that's all. He will come, and he will always be there.

A Young Man's Search for the Avatar: part1, part 2 part 3