Shri Maharaj Ji in Bombay
From 1960 Shri Maharaj Ji started spreading Knowledge in Bombay, the largest commercial centre in India. During the remaining years of his life, his fame spread quicky all over the metropolitan area, as well as to the neighbouring cities of Poona, Nasik, Ahmedabad and Baroda. Mahatma Ramanandji was one of the first mahatmas to be sent to Bombay. Mahatma Ji, from a high Brahmin family, has been spreading Knowledge throughout India since 1956. An energetic and disciplined mahatma, he automatically impresses everyone he meets. This simple and straightforward man was the first mahatma to be sent to Bombay.
He was acquainted with Kedar Kandelwal, an Alwar merchant with a business in Bombay. He stayed at his house first and from them started distributing literature and giving satsang. The first person to take Knowledge was a Marwari lady, Gita Bai, and gradually the other members of her family followed suit. By Maharaj J's grace and the mahatmas' hard work, Knowledge started spreading quickly throughout Bombay. Bombay is also the centre of much religious activity, and many gurus and mandaleshwars are active there. They know how to give eloquent discourses on Gita and Ramayana. Into this city, whose residents are sure to be impressed by intellectual sophistication, came Shri Maharaj Ji's simple saddhu, who stressed only one thing: "If you want to hear lectures about Gita and Ramayana then go to the other gurus, but if you want to know what Lord Krishna revealed to Arjuna, then by Guru Maharaj Ji's grace I can show you this True Name and Form of God which you so far have been seeking in temples and holy places. I myself am from a Brahmin family, I've done all the rituals and recitations that
you do. But, can you honestly swear that you have seen the Divine Light? Have you ever meditated on that Name which can be remembered constantly?" Mahatma Ji's artless and sincere manner impressed people and one by one they came to him for initiation. A merchant's wife, in Nimanbari took Knowledge and started holding regular satsang meetings at her home. Naturally the new premies wanted to meet Shri Maharaj Ji. Mahatma Ji relayed their request to Maharaj Ji, who accepted.
A premie who accompanied Shri Maharaj Ji to that program gives this eye-witness account "Shri Maharaj Ji left for Bombay by train on 12th January 1961 at 4 p.m. Thousands of premies saw him off at the station. At various stops along the way, devotees had gathered for darshan. We premies on the train spent a very blissful trip talking about Maharaj Ji and singing his praises.
The train arrived on time the next day. A huge crowd had turned out to welcome the Master. Premies had arranged accommodation for him at Kopar. Satsang programs were held both there and at Bhanushali every day, from 14th to 20th. Extra satsang was held from 5-7 p.m. at Madho Bagh and on 21st and 22nd January at Ville Parle. The programs were attended by local dignitaries, such as the Speaker for the State Parliament, Shri Pagai, the Mayor of Bombay Shri V.L. Desai, and the former Governor Shri K.M. Munshi. At the Bhanushali program the audience was moved to tears as Maharaj Ji recounted the glory of India.
The remarkable thing about the Bombay programs was that, although huge audiences attended, they listened very quietly and attentively. Maharaj Ji was very impressed by their respectful attitude and praised them to the hilt.
'I was lucky enough to hear virtually non-stop satsang there in Bombay. On 23rd January an aged gentleman received Knowledge and became a mahatma the same day. Another gentleman, from Gujarat, a well-off businessman, was so impressed that he renounced worldly life and became a mahatma. He went to preach in Nasik."
Gita Bai, the first Bombay premie, recalls, "I used to pray first thing every morning, 'Lord, You are the Beloved of Your devotees. As Krishna, You visited Vidur's house and ate banana peels. O Lord of the forlorn! When will You visit my house? On that hallowed morning I will adorn Your holy feet with the flowers of my love and veneration and count myself blessed.'
My golden opportunity came in 1961 when my revered and holy Master Shri Hans Ji Maharaj arrived for the first time. The beloved Lord, in the shape of my Master, was my honoured guest and the thirst of lifetimes was quenched.
'There was such magic in Maharaj Ji's satsang that a rich merchant who heard the satsang and read the pamphlet 'What is Truth?' offered to buy up all the literature at our bookstall and distribute it free. He said that the pamphlet had really opened up his eye. Maharaj Ji replied, 'Money dedicated in spreading Knowledge is money well spent. If you really want to do that, well and good. Or you could get it printed in large quantities and distribute it all over Bombay.'
'Satsang aside, a stream of people came throughout the day to meet Maharaj Ji. Knowledge spread quickly in Bombay. Mahatmas and Bais were sent to give satsang at various places."
Mahatma Ramanandji gave Knowledge to a Gujarati lady. She had a marvellous experience of Light and even after she'd gone home all she could see was Light, whether her eyes were open or closed. She returned to Mahatma Ji saying, "My head feels as if it is about to burst! All I see is the Light, wherever I look. I can't sleep, I can't do anything!" Mahatma Ji wondered what kind of lila was going on. He thought, "I've given Knowledge to thousands of people, but I've never seen anything like this.' The lady returned several times to him, saying, MahatmaJi, I'm going crazy. Please turn it off." Mahatma Ji decided to write a letter to Shri Maharaj Ji. After he had written a couple of lines, he heard a knock at the door, and there stood Maharaj Ji!
Mahatma Ji, much relieved, said, "Lord, you've done me a great favour by coming here. I was in a dilemma."
Maharaj Ji asked, "Well, what's wrong?" Mahatma Ji told him the whole story and meanwhile the premie herself had arrived. She pranamed to Maharaj Ji and prayed, "Master, please take this Light away! My head is bursting!" Maharaj Ji said, "Just look at this! Everyone wants to see such Light and you want me to take it away. Very well, turn your right ear towards me." He blew into her ear. The Light faded away and she returned to normal. This happens to meditators who have a good stock of merits from previous lives. When they take 'Knowledge the mind becomes introverted and tremendous physical and mental changes take place. People practising other disciplines can be harmed, but Guru Maharai Ji's grace removes all potential dangers and difficulties on the path. That is why it is said that without Guru's grace a person can't succeed in Yoga or meditation. The natural Name is already within everyone and when a person finds it his 'spiritual door' is opened. If this door is open, the person is most fortunate, and if it isn't, the no matter how wealthy, good-looking or majestic he may be, his life is in vain.
Once a premie asked Maharaj Ji, "Is this Name God?" Maharaj Ji explained, "The huge banyan tree comes from a tiny seed. At first nothing is visible in this seed but everything - leaves, branches, trunk, flowers, etc. is contained in it. When it is planted in fertile ground, it germinates and a shoot appears and gradually that seed turns into a huge tree. It bears a fruit and more seeds. So it with God and the Holy Name. Guru. Maharaj Ji sows the seed of the Name in the field of the devotee's heart. It manifests itself through meditation. So God is within. the Name and God is the Name. It's a matter of experience and is realized through meditation. But, if you don't meditate, how will you understand?"
After Bombay, Maharaj Ji held programs in Nasik. Tec first was held at the Military Centre and was attended by thousands of soldiers and civilians. A premie who accompanied Maharaj Ji relates, "It seemed as if Lord Krishna himself was onstage teaching the lessons of the Gita.
The second program was held near a Sikh gurudwara, and the Sikhs were afraid that it was meant to oppose them, but when Maharaj Ji started talking about the true Guru, true devotion and Satnam, quoting Guru Nanak to illustrate his point, they all came out of the gurudwara to listen, and some, who were interested in realizing for themselves this Name which they call Satnam, later received Knowledge. Actually, people from a cross-section of society received Knowledge."
Maharaj Ji said in Nasik, "The Lord said in the Gita: 'I don't take on anyone's good or bad actions, everyone has to suffer or enjoy the consequences of his own deeds.'
'We are experiencing the results of our previous actions now, and we will experience the results of our present actions in the future. Farmers harvest whatever crops they sow, and the next harvest is determined by the kind of crops they plant.. The body is the earth and the soul is the farmer, and whatever the farmer decides to plant determines the next harvest. People pray to deities for release from the various physical, mental and spiritual sufferings, but, as St. Tulsidas said: 'Even if it were possible to churn water and extract ghee, or oil from sand, it is absolutely impossible for the soul to cross the mortal ocean without meditating on God.' The way to get rid of all sufferings has been described by the saints of all ages:
'Meditation brings joy and banishes sorrow,
So meditate and merge in God.'
If you meditate you will indeed experience the highest joy, so meditate on the Holy Name if you want liberation. If you want to see God, then meditate on His Name. As Guru Nanak said, it is Kali Yuga, so meditate on the Holy Name. Plant the seed of the Name. Wheat, chickpeas or any other seeds must be sown at the right time, but you can 'plant' the Name anytime and it takes root immediately in the field of the heart. The Name, to meditate on which you were born in this world as a human being, is revealed by a true Master. So weed yourself of all vanity, dedicate yourself body and soul, and harvest the Wealth of the Holy Name. That Name is in your heart, but without the grace of a saint you can't realize it.
'Mohammed in his time revealed the True Name of Allah and through his messengers, propagated it. Jesus Christ revealed this Word. The saints and prophets of every religion taught meditation on the same Name, but because people don't have a practical experience of the Truth, they think that there are many Names for God.
'Ravana taught two basic truths - if a good thought enters your head, put it into action immediately, because who knows if the chance will come again. On the other hand, if you think of doing something bad, postpone it. Suppose you get the idea of killing someone and you postpone it until the following day. If you die during the night you will be spared the terrible consequences of a terrible action. The highest action anyone can do is to be devoted to God and to serve the Master. If you postpone doing this, you're the one who'll regret it."
B.S. Dhiman, a Nasik premie, who works for the Government Printing Office, says, "In 1961 I saw Shri Maharaj Ji for the first time, on the platform of Nasik Railway Station. As soon as he stepped down from the train, a huge crowd of people surged like a tidal wave towards him. I stood back and watched it all. As Shri Maharaj Ji passed me I bowed to him. He threw a garland on me and told me to come with him. A Sindhi premie had provided accommodation at his home in Gandhi Nagar. A crowd of thousands was waiting them to welcome him. I was totally astounded by the size of the crowd. A few days later, Mahatma Sukhanandji initiated my wife and me. Soon afterwards, about 25 premies made plans to go to Hardwar on the Punjab Mail. I filled out quintuple forms, but the clerk said that I wouldn't get any berths. Three days later I went to check and was told that 12 berths bad been allotted. As for the remaining twelve, I would have to get special recommendation from the General Manager in Bombay.
The next day I went back. The clerk called me aside and asked,
'What's your connection with the G.M.? You've got all 25 berths!' I figured that this was Guru Maharaj Ji's doing and answered, 'I don't know your General Manager. My Master, for whose darshan we are going to Hardwar, has 'recommended' me!'
'Something equally surprising happened on the return journey. We broke our journey at Agra for sightseeing. We then booked our 25 berths on the Punjab Mail and filled out the forms in quintuplicate. Again we were told that it was difficult to get even one berth, and we were asking for 25! The next day there was no news from Agra and we were worried. Nevertheless, we went to the station on time, and just as the train pulled in a conductor called out, 'Dhiman and party - 25 berths!' The premies began to dance and sing for joy because for us it was a miracle, but one which we thoroughly understood.
'In 1963 Maharaj Ji came to Nasik with his family. He stayed four days at my house then rejoined Shri Mata Ji and the children at Gandhi Nagar. Maharaj Ji gave satang in his room until 2 am. Then he told me to sleep on the verandah and make sure nobody came into his room. As he was closing the door he again said that he himself would open it when he was ready. I woke with a start at 5 a.m. I temporarily forgot his agya and opened his door. What I saw dumbfounded me. Shri Maharaj Ji was lying Mete in the form of a child! I was afraid and shut the door. Shortly afterwards, he opened the door and, seeing my fright, laughed and said, 'So, you're already awake?' My heart burst with love."
On 27th January, Maharaj Ji was to leave Nasik for Bombay as this is the easiest route to Baroda, where a program had been arranged. The Bombay premies requested another program and even though he was pressed for time and had had virtually no rest, Maharaj Ji consented and a program was arranged at Ville Parle on the 28th. The program was duly held and the same night Maharaj Ji left for Baroda.
Speaking on the Ramayana, he said "People think that the 'Mahamantra' which Lord Shiva reveals to souls at Benares is this:
(The Name which pervades every being and in which Yogis merge themselves, cannot be equalled, even by thousands of other names.)
But this is not the real Mahamantra because it has a definite beginning and end. 'Maha' means great, and 'mantra' means that which controls the mind. But the above mantra is neither the greatest not will it control the mind. The Name which resides within every being is equal to thousands of others, as Tulsidas explained, 'The Natural Name is equal to thousands of others, and is remembered by Shiva and Parvati. Due to it Lord Shiva is the abode of blessings and happiness, even though he looks inauspicious.' Lord Shiva taught Parvati the single Name which is equal to thousands of others. Everyone chants names with their mouths, but Lord Shiva instructed Parvati to remember the Name deep within herself: So where is the agreement between what Lord Shiva said and what people do? If Ram-Ram is believed to be the Name equal to a thousand others, then what's the value of all the other names which people remember? But people repeat whatever they like. What do they know of the importance of saints and satsang? They get deceived in the same way as they deceive. Tulsidas also said, 'The results of satsang are immediate. One dip in it is enough to turn people of crow-like natures into swans. This is nothing to be surprised about, either. The glory of satsang is no secret.' Ajamil and Ganika remembered the Holy Name and attained the supreme state. But people now don't know the greatness of the Name. They are led astray by people like the editor of the Kalyan Press, who write rubbish like 'Repeat any name you like, as they are all names of God.' They even change the meaning
of verses such as
(Valmiki meditated on the reverse Name and became one with God.)
They don't understand what is meant by 'reverse Name' and write that Valmiki meditated on Mara-Mara. But such blind fools don't think for a moment that Tulsidas could just as easily have said that we should meditate on Mara-Mara. Thus they lead people astray. They even leave out verses whose meaning they don't understand! If you could achieve liberation by chanting any name; then what is the need for the Guru? This man is himself preaching his own opinions, and telling others to chant mantras, yet says that one doesn't need a Guru! They are all messengers of Death, sent to mislead people into wasting their precious human life.
'If chanting Ram-Ram leads to liberation, then parrots in their cages chanting this should also be free, and if this is so, then what is the uniqueness of the human body? Why did Lord Rama stress the importance of having a human life and not wasting, it? Was he talking in vain? No, not at all! St. Kabir also said that the thousands of worldly names for God won't liberate you. Only the True Name can do that, and it is known only by following the Satguru. Parrots can't chant this Name. Only human beings can know it and meditate on it. No name or mantra or tantric spell has ever succeeded in controlling the mind, nor will they. That is why Kabir called them all false. If liberation is attained through any mantra or name what was the need for Lord Shiva to spread the 'Mahamantra? Because this is the only thing which can control the mind and liberate the soul.
'Many people call Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare the Mahamantra. But the title 'Mahamantra' is given to the mantra which is beginningless and endless. Says Kabir, the Primordial Name is the root and all other names are branches. No one can cross the worldly ocean without knowing this Name.' St. Brahmananda sang,
Meditate on the Name of God.
It is the Deliverer.
It sustains everyone,
And is the Divine Dispenser.'
This Name is already within everyone, so that is why it is remembered internally.
'People think that R-A-M is the Name of God. Couldn't have Tulsidas said straight out that 'Ram' is the Holy Name? Hindus have remembered 'Ram' only since his birth in Treta Age. Krishna came later, in Dwapar Age, and only since then have people chanted 'Krishna Krishnaa'. Only since this time have temples been dedicated to them and statues of them worshipped. People don't stop to wonder which name was remembered before the advent of Rama and Krishna. The devotee Prahlad lived before Rama time. So on which mantra did he meditate? On which name did the sages of Satyuga meditate and teach others? Bhilni had been a devotee long before she met Lord Rama. Her guru was Matting Rishi, who lived and meditated in the jungle before Rama was born. So which name did he reveal to her? If the Name is a common thing, why did Tulsidas write, 'How can I sing the glory of the Name? Even Lord Rama couldn't praise it adequately.'
Satgurudev left Baroda on 31st January for Ahmedabad and gave satsang there for three days. Some Muslims also attended satsang and Shri Maharaj Ji explained that if a person sincerely wants to meet Khuda (God) he has to take the shelter of the Auliya (spiritual Master), who shows the true path to Allah. The aspirant has to break through the barriers of sectarianism and realize God within the shrine of his inner Self. Those who limit themselves to glorifying certain sects or religions can never realize God.
Dr. B. S. Rathore and his wife, Jebel Bai, have been active premies from the start. Jebel Bai recalls, "After I had received Knowledge I meditated every day. However, it surprised me that whenever I would meditate on Light, a man dressed in white would appear. I thought that he was trying to disturb my
meditation, because as yet I had not met Maharaj Ji. But once I saw him clearly I realized that he was the one whose picture I had seen in the room when I received Knowledge.
'Since childhood I had read scriptures and counted rosaries. Once, while I was turning the rosary it occurred to me that although I had spent a long time worshipping and turning rosaries, Lord Krishna had not appeared to me. I'd heard that he gave darshan to Meera Bai, so why not to Jebel Bai? This thought upset me greatly. Then after receiving Knowledge I saw Maharaj Ji in many ways. My mind became pure and peaceful. Shortly afterwards, Dr. Rathore also received Knowledge."
A friend of theirs, Dr. Sohan Lal, who didn't have Knowledge, accompanied them to Satlok Ashram for Vaisiikhi. After seeing Maharaj Ji he said, "He definitely is a divine Power. How radiant his face is! I saw rays of light streaming from it and I was seeing him for the first time. But divine personalities are not ordinary men. He's the reason why so many people have come here." Even though he saw Maharaj Ji from a distance, he experienced that spiritual charge.
Dr. Goyal, of Bombay Hospital, once carried out some tests on Shri Maharaj Ji and was astonished. He said, "I have examined thousands of prominent people but this was the first time I'd ever seen anyone from whose every pore light just streamed out. When I touched him I felt an inexplicable joy. In his presence I felt myself to be his servant, not his doctor." The result of serving a great soul was that Dr. Goya became recognized as the leading heart specialist in Bombay. Shri Maharaj Ji was very pleased with his care and treatment.
"One day," says Jebel Bai, "He took Mme sightseeing. We were heading towards the Gateway of India when he suddenly went into a meditative state. Presently he openedhis eyes and said, 'Let's go back.' Dr. Rathore said, 'But we're nearly at the Gateway of India.' But Maharaj Ji insisted, so we went back home, only to find hundreds of devotees waiting outside for darshan. When they spotted Maharaj Ji their faces lit up like closed lotuses coming back
into bloom. While he was giving darshan, Shri Maharaj Ji said, 'See, Jebel, these premies have come a long distance to see me and they have to return. They have come just to see me.' It was those premies' love that had drawn him back. Devotees are happy only when they see the Lord, and likewise the Lord is happy only among his devotees. The bond between them is one of soul.
'In 1963 certain opponents of Maharaj Ji conspired to defame him. They filed false allegations with the intention of disgracing him in Court. At that time Shri Maharaj Ji was in Bombay. We admitted him into hospital so that he wouldn't have to appear in Court. When he asked, 'Why have you dumped me here?' we replied, 'Maharaj Ji, a summons has been issued for you from Delhi Court.' Maharaj Ji said, 'But I'm not ill, and when the doctor comes and examines me he'll know that there is nothing wrong with me and it'll look as if I'm faking it.' He was admitted in the morning and the doctor will to come in the evening. Mahatma Ramanandji stayed in Maharaj Ji's room. A couple of hours later, Mahatma Ji heard groaning. He jumped up and asked Maharaj Ji what was wrong. Maharaj Ji's tongue was extended, his eyes were bloodshot and his body was burning like an oven. The doctor came and took his temperature. It was 104. We couldn't sleep the whole night for worry. We told the doctor that Maharaj Ji had to go to Delhi because of a Court summons. The doctor wrote out a medical certificate and said, 'He can't go anywhere in this condition,' "
Maharaj Ji was ill for about a month. Sometimes his condition would worsen and his eyes would be totally bloodshot. When he finally recovered, Mahatma Ji asked him, "What happened to you all of a sudden? You were sleeping soundly that first day there."
Maharaj Ji explained, "While I was lying there, I prayed to my Guru Maharaj Ji, saying, 'My reputation is in your hands now. People have filed false charges against me. I'm not sick. These premies will send a false medical certificate. The whole thing is lies!' As soon as I lay down again my fever began and that is why I
am this state. Guru Maharaj Ji saved my honour by making me really ill." Some premies suspected that someone may have cast a spell on Maharaj Ji. A pundit was consulted who said, "Definitely - someone has done something to him. He'll only recover when the spell is lifted and you perform the crossroads ritual." The necessary ingredients were purchased and the pundit taught us the mantra which was to be used. Mahatma Ramanand, being a Brahmin by birth, took this task upon himself. The ingredients were put in an urn which had to be placed at a crossroad at midnight. Mahatma Ji asked, "Who will come with me?" but everyone was scared. Finally he said quite crossly, "Look! I'm coming too! Do you think a ghost will eat me?" At last he and another mahatma were ready to go. It was raining heavily and a strong wind was blowing. Just as Mahatma Ji was leaving the room, a sudden gust of wind slammed the door loudly, and Maharaj Ji groaned. By now, Mahatma Ji was trembling, too, and wished that he was back inside. Summoning up his courage, and remembering the Holy Name he made his way to the crossroads while the other mahatma held up an umbrella. They placed the urn at the crossroads and carried out the ritual according to the pundit's instructions.
When they returned, Maharaj Ji asked, "Well, were you scared?" Mahatma Ji admitted that he had been. Maharaj Ji said, "So that's all your faith amounts to! You were afraid to go as far as the crossroads, yet King Shivaji didn't hesitate to bring lioness' milk for his Guru. How much faith he had!"
While Maharaj Ji was in hospital, the Bombay premien got a chance to serve him, but at the same time, their faith was tested. Dr. Rathore and Jebel Bai were new premies, and Dr. Rathore worked in the hospital where Maharaj Ji was being treated. His friend, Dr. Goyal, whose experience of Maharaj Ji was mentioned earlier, said, "It seemed to me that his body was not solid at all, but a mass of energy, Light just streamed from him. I never used to
have much faith in God, but, having seen Maharaj Ji, my faith is renewed.
While in hospital, Maharaj Ji would describe amazing events to come. Once during satsang he said, "The thought crossed my mind: 'Guru Maharaj Ji, why am 1 suffering like this?' Then Maharaj Ji appeared to me and said, 'Devotees always suffer. Look what Prahlad had to bear. But don't worry. No harm will come to you.' And truly, he protected me in very way. The case against me fell through. Those people had to apologize publicly, and I didn't even have to appear in Court once! Listen, my friends! Maharaj Ji continues to look after me!"
After a month in hospital," says Jebel Bai, "Maharaj Ji was very weak, but within a couple of months had fully recovered and his appearance was as sparkling as before. We saw him assume different forms. Sometimes he looked likes child, sometimes like a robust young man, and sometimes old. His appearance changed from one to another like sunshine and shade.
'Maharaj Ji wanted to return to Delhi. He stayed here for an extra day but didn't give darshan. I told my husband, 'Tell Maharaj Ji that you couldn't get a ticket for him so that he'll have to stay and give us darshan. Dr. Rithore refused, saying, 'I can't lie to Maharaj Ji.' So off he went to try and secure a plane ticket. Meanwhile, Maharaj Ji called me and said,"Listen, Jebel, don't try to stop me. I thought that Doctor Sahib must have told him what I'd said. Then he said sternly, 'Who are you to stop me? If I can't go by plane I'll drive or walk! I have to go. Other devotees are calling me: You're not the only ones, you know!"
Harilal Maurya of Rohi, Varanasi, was in Bombay in 1965. His factory was on strike, so he passed his time going from saddhu to sadhu. He says, "I always carried a book of St. Brahmananda's hymns in my pocket. I particularly liked these two hymns - Day and night turn the heart's pure rosary,' and 'O saddhus, I have seen a great wonder!' No one could explain what they meant. One saddhu told me that only someone of the stature of a Satguru could explain these highly mystical poems. It seemed there weren't any
real saints left in the world. Then by chance I heard Shri Maharaj Ji speak at Azad Maidan and was amazed when he started discussing those very poemsl He added, 'I can reveal that same wonder!' My hopes rose. I followed the premies back to the dharmshala where they were staying. I saw Maharaj Ji dressed as Krishna. As I sat in my corner, I thought to myself, 'He's a human being but he's acting like the Lord!' That very moment Maharaj Ji glanced at me and as his penetrating gaze rested on me I heard a voice from within saying, 'He who is playing that part is indeed Krishna!' Tears came to my eyes and I regretted that thought, and wasted no time in receiving Knowledge."
Pushpa Muraka received Knowledge but at first her family wouldn't let her visit Maharaj Ji. However, whenever he was in Bombay he would drive past her house so that she could come downstairs and have darshan. She says, "I can never forget the love he gave us. He was prepared to put up with anything to give his devotees darshan."
Durga Beim, who received Knowledge in 1964, recalls, "Shri Maharaj Ji was the Incarnation of Love. Love just radiated from him. His eyes would fill with tears of love. When I would recount his glory back home in South Africa, my listeners would also weep.
'I followed many gurus before I met Maharaj Ji and received true Knowledge. I used to belong to the Kabir and Guru Kutti sects. Swami Visheshananda, Guru Nityananda, Gita Bharti and Swami Sivananda were also my gurus. They instructed me to chant Gayatri and other mantras, but these didn't give me peace of mind. So I started searching for the True Name. At Gita Bharti's place I met a premie who told me about Shri Hans Ji Maharaj. After listening to a few days of satsang I received Knowledge and started serving mahatmas.
'I attended the 1965 Vaisakhi at Satlok Ashram. Maharaji Ji came on stage and said, 'A lady called Durga from South Africa is here. She sings very well. She should mcome on stage and sing, because nowadays it's Durga Puja season as well!'
'I hesitated, because I didn't know any Hindi songs - only Gujarati. While I was standing onstage wondering what to sing, this song just came out of my mouth - Yeh prem soda bharpur rake Guradeva tumhare charanon mein. After I had finished singing, Maharaj Ji had his photo taken with the Maharani of Jaipur on one side and me on the other. The next day he called me and asked, 'Well, what do you think of this Knowledge? Do you understand or not? I replied, 'I'd chanted a lot of mantras but I've only just discovered what spiritual Knowledge really is!'
'After Vaisakhi I spent a few days at Dehra Dun. Maharaj Ji gave very inspiring satsang and told mahatmas, 'I know who this soul is.' Later he called me into his room and said, 'The whole world lacks peace. The world is on fire and Knowledge is the only way to extinguish the flames. So go to South Africa and give satsang. When you find worthy aspirants, give them Knowledge. Knowledge has disappeared from the rest of the world. It is essential that people be reawakened.' He gave me satsang for an hour and then called another person into the room. He then told me, 'Now I want to see how you'll give Knowledge. Initiate him.' I replied, 'Maharaj Ji, I'm too shy to do that in your presence. I've sat with mahatmas many times during Knowledge sessions so, by your grace, I know how to give Knowledge.'
I returned to South Africa and spread Knowledge in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Natal. A Gujarati academic, who gave Gita lectures, was impressed by satsang. He met me and said, 'It seems that you have brought some yogic powers with you from India.' I replied, 'Not yogic 'powers, but Guru Maharai Ji's grace and blessings."
Maharaj Ji's last great program was the 'Yagya for World Religion and Knowledge" in Bombay during January 1966, at Azad Maidan (Freedom Grounds). It was the largest program ever arranged by the Bombay premies and preparations were made at the national level. Maharaj Ji said several times that anyone who missed this event would regret it. Many people from other states attended. Mahatmas publicized it all over Bombay. An enormous
crowd assembled to hear Maharaj Ji speak. Heads of various religious groups presented their ideas. On the final day of the program, the Governor of Maharashtra, Dr Chariyan, gave the Chairman's Address. The Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Mr Vishwanath Das, was also present.
Addressing the huge audience, Shri Maharaj Ji said, "I am the complete Incarnation, having come with 64 divine powers. Listen, all of you stumbling in the darkness of ignorance! You are totally confused about what religion is. Intellectuals and scholars with their grandiose interpretations have led you all over the place. So come to me! I'll redeem you. I'll give you the true Knowledge and free you from all worldly bondage and attachments.
'Don't waste your rare and God-given human life in worldly indulgence! Only Guru Maharaj Ji can liberate you from the bonds of death!
'Never mind. If you fall, you can stand up again. Don't be afraid. Just keep on going, no matter how many times you may stumble. Once you have turned to me and taken refuge in me, your salvation is assured. All you have to do is firmly attach yourself to the Holy Word. I myself will draw you upwards. Meditate on this Divine Light and Holy Name. I've closed the doors of hell for you!
'The true Guru is he who can explain what religion really is. Religion means seeing God face-to-face and knowing His eternal Name. The one who can reveal such Knowledge is the Perfect Master, the Satguru. No one else in this world apart from him is perfect."
To mark this occasion, a spectacular procession was held in which thousands of people participated. Maharaj Ji wore his crown and golden robes and rode in a huge carriage. He made Shri Mata Ji wear a crown and seated her beside him. He seated Shri Satpal Ji Maharaj on his other side, and blessed him. This was Maharaj Ji's indication to the premies that Shri Mata Ji and Shri Satpal Ji were the same as he himself and were to be venerated as such. Kishan Singh Chauhan of Ballabhgarh, dressed as Hanuman, stood
behind Shri Maharaj Ji. The procession was certainly a sight worth seeing.
Maharaj Ii stayed at Pushpa Muraka's house, and the out-of-town premies were accommodated elsewhere. Maharaj Ji was not happy with this arrangement and said, "Why did you separate me from my premies? I'd rather be with them! I'm happy only when I'm with them." A few days later Maharaj Ji got ready to return to Delhi. Jebel Bai recalls,"I wanted very much to prepare some holy water (charnamrit) from Maharaj Ji's feet and worship him at the same time. One of the mahatmas scolded me, saying, 'So, you think you're a great devotee, do you?' I stormed upstairs in anger and burst into tears. Soon Maharaj Ji called me inside and said, 'Why are you crying? Go ahead and make charnamrit.' I replied that I had sent the ingredients home, thinking that I wouldn't get a chance. So Maharaj Ji told me to come back in the morning before he left.
'The next day at 6 a.m. I arrived at Pushpa Muraks's place. Maharaj Ji came out of his room and sat down on a chair. He said, 'Jebel, whatever you have to do in the way of worship, do it right now. You won't get this chance again. You won't see these feet again!' And that is exactly what happened. A few months later Shri Maharaj Ji left his mortal body. I can still hear him saying, 'Jebel, whatever you have to do in the way of worship do it right now. You won't get this chance again. You won't see these feet again!"