Without The Guru by Mike Finch
Grace: Chapter 10 Excerpt
TALKING WITH MAHARAJI
I remember clearly the essence of that first talk I had with Maharaji. As we exchanged pleasantries, it became very apparent very quickly that he did not know me or where I lived. That was no surprise. But as we talked, and I explained that I lived in Exeter, England, and described the house that I lived in, he seemed ignorant of the most elementary geography.
What was beginning to bother me was this: I had understood the basic fact that this spiritual path I had chosen, of being a disciple of Guru Maharaji, depended upon the obvious fact that he was, not just a guru, but the Guru — the Satguru in fact, the Lord. I had chosen the path of surrender to the Lotus Feet, in that by surrendering my life to him, I would trade my no-good mind for his Grace, the power that would enable me to realize God, and reach the very summit and goal of human existence.
In order for this to happen, I had to receive the Grace. And the Grace came from him. Not from him in some abstract sense, but from him personally, directly, in his human form. So my question became: When I was back in England, in my house in Exeter, Devon, England, in my bedroom on the top floor at the front, for instance, how did he know where I was to send me his Grace? He did not even know there was a city in England called 'Exeter', let alone which house I lived in, and where my bedroom was.
When I had finished explaining my predicament, he responded with an analogy. He was sitting on my Indian bed (a 'charpoy', a basic frame with strands of jute stretched tight across it — no mattress or springs, but surprisingly comfortable). He was dressed all in white, Indian style, with sandals highly decorated with jewels (or at least colored glass, but probably jewels or semiprecious stones). He was accompanied by the premie who a day or two previously had told me that God had made the right hand for eating, and the left hand for 'unclean' activities.
Maharaji's analogy was this: Think of Guru Maharaji's Grace as like the sky. The sky has the property that wherever you are on the face of this earth, and you look up at the sky, you see it as a hemisphere above you, with yourself at the center. No matter where you go, you are always at the center of this half-sphere of the sky above you. In the same way, you are always at the center of Guru Maharaji's Grace, and Maharaji as a person does not have to keep track of you and single out your whereabouts — it is all automatic.
I thought this was a good analogy, and it does answer the question as to what he was claiming. The sky he said was 'Guru Maharaji's Grace'. He was claiming that he was, if not God, then God-like, having control of the Grace that a person needs to realize the ultimate in their lives, and allowing his devotees access to it through his kindness and mercy. Of course, I had heard this many times from his followers, both in India and back in England; but now I had it from his own lips.
The claim might be clear and unambiguous, but was it true? This was the crux of everything: Was this twelve year old Indian boy, a little chubby even then, with bad skin but an air of mystery about him, truly an incarnation of God? Or failing that, at least God's broker or representative, who had the power to command God's Grace to search me out wherever I was on this planet, and enter my heart and transport me out of the realm of mundane existence? If he was, then nothing else mattered. If he was not, then I was wasting my time.
I cannot remember the actual words I used, but I remember stating my point clearly: Everything depends, Guru Maharaji, on whether you really are the Satguru, True Guru, and are able to channel your Grace into my life or not. How can I know for sure?
He gave an answer which startled me. He said that the Guru is known by his gift, and that when I take the Knowledge, which is his gift, then I will know who he — the giver of the gift — truly is. I was scrambling around in my mind to make sense of this was it some sort of Zen koan or insoluble riddle to free me of my doubting mind? Slowly it dawned on me that he did not realize that I already had the Knowledge!
Well, that pretty much answered my question — he was supposed to be the Satguru, the Lord, who was able to look after his devotees, and give them his Grace, but he did not even know who his premies were! What did that say? I felt as if I were torn in two — one part of me that had traveled so far, mentally and physically, to see him, and lay my mind at his feet; and one part of me that was still thinking clearly and had decided that whoever this person was, he could not be the Lord, not the True Guru.
So I smiled weakly, and told Maharaji that I had the Knowledge. I presumed to point out to him that he had said that having Knowledge would make me sure that Maharaji was the one and only True Guru. But I did have the Knowledge, and I was still not sure.
He got up from my bed and started to go out. At the door he turned, and said briskly that I obviously did not understand Knowledge properly, and that I needed a Knowledge Review.
* * *
A day or two later I was summoned for a review of the Knowledge. I was ushered into an upstairs room in the annex behind the kitchen. There I found Maharaji sitting on a low chair, and around him were all the famous premies and mahatmas of that time. There was Sampurnanand, a mahatma originally from Kashmir, who was very close to Maharaji and played a big role in Maharaji's early years in the West. There was Bihari Singh,
Without the Guru
who had a large moustache, and who was reputed to have been a bandit before being saved by Shri Hans (Maharaji's father); he was Maharaji's companion and factotum until the 'Holy Family' split up in 1974. There was Maharaji's next oldest brother Rajaji. There was a very old Mahatma called Satyanand, who was reputed to have been a mahatma of Maharaji's father's guru, another Satguru called Sarupanand. There was Ramanand, who was a particular friend of the 'Mahatmaji' who had given me Knowledge in London. And several others, whose names I can no longer remember.
It was quite a circus in fact, and I was the main attraction. It consisted primarily of the same sequence of events as when I had been given Knowledge originally in London. We went over the same four techniques, explained in a similar way. It was Mahatma Ramanand who squeezed my eyes this time, and it hurt just as much as in the original session. Several years later, Maharaji started emphasizing that the eyes were only to be lightly touched — I heard a rumor that it was because of several premies getting detached retinas from squeezing their eyes too hard, though I never verified it; perhaps it was just the danger of that happening.
As I have written in a previous chapter, the first two techniques involved your arms being lifted and stationary throughout each technique. This could cause fatigue and muscle strain, so as a result we often used a wooden T called a '''beragon'. You placed the stem of the T on the ground between your legs, and rested each elbow on the ends of the crossbar of the T.
When I was practicing the second technique (the Music) my arms were obviously shaking, and Maharaji picked up a decoratively carved beragon and told me to use it. When the review had finished, he told me I could keep it, which I did, for several years. Back in England I often told other premies that it was Maharaji's own beragon, which made them full of wonder and jealousy.
In the mid-1970's I was told that I was too attached to it, and that I should give it up like a true surrendered devotee. I gave it to a premie named Colin.