I was working in a health food store in Los Angeles in the summer of 1971 when a customer told me that a young guru was coming to LA and that I should check him out. At first I was very skeptical since I heard so many people who claimed to be teachers but had nothing practical to give. When I got to the Wilshire Ebel Theatre 1 felt even worse because there were so many people recognized from the spiritual scene in LA.
All of the speakers were interesting and I felt that perhaps there was something here after all. When Maharaji came my heart exploded and I knew that he was the one I had been searching for. He wasn't like anyone I had ever heard or seen. This young man knew and spoke from a place of experience. He came from the heart and he spoke to my heart. I knew from the very first second that my life would be changed and that I wanted his Knowledge more than anything.
At the end of the talk Maharaji invited everyone who wanted Knowledge to come to the house where he was staying, Alta Loma Terrace. My friend and I took the bus the next day and were talking about Maharaji when we were interrupted by another passenger who introduced himself and explained that he had overheard u talking about Maharaji. It seems that he had received Knowledge in India the previous year. He urged us to get Knowledge no matter what. He got off the bus and I never saw him again. After we had climbed hundreds of steps to the house at Alta Loma Terrace, I entered to catch the end of Maharaji's talk. That evening Maharaji spoke again, and I was sure I wanted the Knowledge. I asked a girl who seemed to know something how I could get the Knowledge. She said to ask Maharaji.
Maharaji was in his room so I knocked on the door. I told Maharaji I had heard him speak earlier and the day before at the hall and I wanted Knowledge more than anything. He told me I would have to be patient and wait until the following day. Maharaji kept his word and in steaming hot room in the Hollywood Hills on a July afternoon I received that precious gift. Maharaji and his Knowledge have been, are and always will be my life. It has been an incredible adventure, a life filled with love and fulfillment.
It was 7 November, 1971, when I had the great good fortune and grace to have received Knowledge. I had been involved in the practice of yoga. It was during these moments I said: "Please reveal yourself to me. I know in my heart you are here on earth - reveal yourself to me, please." About a week later, in a local newspaper on the second page was a photograph of Maharaji.
I was taken aback. I knew in my heart, this was the one and only Master. I called Hunter College where Maharaji was speaking and they told me he had gone back to India. I asked if there was a place in New York and they gave me an address over a bar. This did not deter me. I was thirsty for the truth.
I went and met an instructor who said to me that the darkness could never reveal the light. I knew this man knew something. He said: "Do you want this Knowledge?" I responded: "I've been waiting ages and ages for this Knowledge." He said: "You stay." The following day I was in a Knowledge session with 90 other people. I was both crying and laughing at the same time: tears of joy, laughter of the heart.
I have always told you that you are always giving me everything. What do I give you? I only have love, just love to give you. And how do you respond? You give me love. Your love for me is absolute, wonderful.
In 1972, I was Maharaji's driver in New York. The fun and joy I experienced were beyond me. A 44-year-old and a 14-year-old boy: he was the man, I was the child. One of the great moments of joy was when Maharaji called me at home and sang to "Mr Malfitano". So much love. I could no doubt write a book about the many experiences I have enjoyed over the years: the most wonderful, joyful, infinite, glorious, blissful enjoyment of Knowledge.
Maharaji, I humbly thank you for this treasure, this truly "White Stone". Once again in New York this last time, you invited me to see you backstage at the programme.
I was just so happy to see you again. My heart's love to you, Maharaji.
My introduction to Maharaji was in a restaurant in Afghanistan, back in 1970, when Sandy Collier wrote his Dehradun, India address in my address book. Sandy and her companion Ron Geaves, were on their may overland back to London, after having met Maharaji and received the techniques of Knowledge. Of course, I just filed this impression away and continued my overland journey to India.
I was 22 years old. I had left America when I was 20 and set out on my odyssey which would three years later, end me up in India, at the doorstep of Maharaji's home in Dehradun. There was tons of synchronicity in the story. Not only meeting Sandy and Ron, but during my travels in India I kept bumping into "sages" who would tell me in their consultations with me that I would find what I was looking for in Dehradun.
Finally, my travels landed me in the lower Himalayan village of Bageshwar. I was on my way to Lake Mansorovar in Tibet, but the Chinese occupation stopped me in Bageshwar. There, in a temple one rainy day a strange saddhu opened up his metal suitcase, pulled out a poster of Maharaji in shining crown and red velvet coat, and said I should go to Dehradun.
Well, I may be crazy, but I'm not dumb. This time I went straight away. I landed on Maharaji's front porch with a letter of introduction the saddhu had given me (he turned out to be one of Maharaji's travelling instructors).
I waited for Maharaji to come home from St. Joseph's Academy, where he was attending 5th grade. He was 12 year old. I was extremely nervous, and wanted to run out the gate. Finally a car came screeching into the gravel driveway.
Soon, Maharaji appeared, having changed into his white kurta and pajama outfit I came to love so well. He sat down in front of me and asked, "What do you want?" My answer was what seemed like an infinity of crying. While I wept, Maharaji listened. I really felt I was telling him my whole story in tears, and that he was listening. Finally. when I subsided, he said, 'Ok. Your room is up there. Take rest and we will talk more later." And all he went back inside the residence.
So began my one month stay with Maharaji. In that time I had the chance to talk with Maharaji almost every day on the porch after he came back from school. I argued and argued. Maharaji loved and loved. Finally, I was melted and began to feel optimism ad hope re-enter my life.
Then it was school vacation and Maharaji was scheduled to go to Delhi and Chandigarh to give public talks there. I worried and worried as departure preparations were going on. Finally Maharaji told me I was going along. We drove to Delhi where I got to see Maharaji speaking before almost a million people at a huge outdoor programme. To put it mildly, my mind was blown. There he was really telling it like it was giving such love that I just melted.
I asked for Knowledge that night. Maharaji told me I had to wait, that I wasn't ready yet. The next day we drove to Chandigarh and one again I saw Maharaji offer great clarity and insight to large numbers of people as well as being able to heap tons of love and fun at the same time. I asked for Knowledge again that night. This time Maharaji said yes.
The next morning Sampuranand took me to a private room and showed me the techniques of Knowledge. The only problem with receiving Knowledge was that when we got back to Dehradun Maharaji told me it was time to go to Prem Nagar ashram and learn about service.
I was not pleased to leaving the residence, but Maharaji came often to visit and there was a lot of preparation going on for the Peace Bomb programme in November, 1970 at India Gate, Delhi. That is how I learned about service.
There were a group of Westerners coming overland by van that had received Knowledge in London. Maharaji asked me to look after their needs. I was also doing public relations in a tent on the India Gate grounds. This was the most amazing event of Maharaji's I have ever been.
The group of westerners ended up being two vans full of miscellaneous nationalities. We all went up to Prem Nagar ashram and had absolutely incredible days with Maharaji.
You could tell Maharaji enjoyed the unruly Westerners, who would greet his arrival on the roof where he would come to talk to us and answer questions with wild whooping enthusiasm. We would ask lots of questions, and Maharaji enjoyed that. He kept telling us that he was going to the west soon.
A lot of people went back to their various countries to prepare for him. But still I could not leave. The idea that Maharaji, still in school, would leave to travel in the West seemed a remote possibility.
Finally, in April of 1971, I left. I had been with Maharaji for ten months. The rest is absolutely incredible. Barely did I arrive back in Washington, DC., get together with others in Los Angeles to start the first center, when we got the news Maharaji was going to be in London on 17 June.
With Gary Girard, Sita Ram, Suzy Whitten and others, we scrambled to get everything ready. As soon as the correct visa was granted, Maharaji arrived on 17 July 1971.
It would take a book to tell all the stories of those early days. Maharaji spoke every day, sometimes twice a day. He was invited to every burg and hamlet, and he went. He did a programme in Morgantown, West Virginia, simply because one man. Richard Fredericks, called him and said he was doing alternative service in the military and couldn't get to Maharaji, "could Maharaji please come to him?"
So Richard arranged a programme at the University of West Virginia, and Maharaji came, stayed at his little apartment, and spoke to an overflowing hall. It was like that everywhere Maharaji went. People were literally hanging off the ceiling. Maharaji was incredible.
He was able to deliver his message, prepare people to receive Knowledge, while at the same time allowing a huge number of people to experience the intoxication of the environment he creates wherever he goes. I feel truly fortunate to have met Maharaji and to have been the beneficiary of all his love. I love you Maharaji, and you will always be the one that breaks my heart.