Remembrance & Thankfulness
2 A Joy Overflowing – Sampuranand
4 The Living Master – Charnanand
A Joy Overflowing
Sampuranand remembers Shri Maharaj Ji
As a human being I had a natural thirst or feeling that something was missing within me. I tried all sorts of things to quench this thirst. Unfortunately, I was unable to succeed. Feeling worthless, living unhappily, bewildered, I did not know what to do.
Then, all of a sudden, I came to know about Shri Hans Ji Maharaj. I decided to go and see him. As soon as I saw him, something unusual and unique happened within me. I felt full of joy, relaxed; a fountain of love started flowing within me. I had never felt such a love. I had never felt my heart, and in my heart I felt a joy overflowing.
This had never ever happened to me before. Looking at his glorious face, I felt part of him, and that he was mine: my guardian, my father – everything at once. For a few moments, I was in such a state of joy that I forgot where I was sitting. The only thing that was happening was that I was just looking at him and he was looking at me with a glorious, radiant smile.
I was fortunate and lucky enough and grateful that the same evening that I first saw
him, I received Knowledge. The next morning he called me into his room. He gave me a Knowledge review. We then spent the next two and a half hours together alone.
Ever since that moment, I am enjoying my life to the fullest. I don't know … if that moment hadn't happened in my life, by his kindness and grace, who knows where I would be today? In the darkness of this world, suffering all sorts of miseries. It is impossible to find words to express the unending gratitude which I feel for him. In my heart I feel only thankfulness. I am so thankful to Shri Maharaj Ji not only for saving me from misery, but also for giving me a hint of the future.
In 1962, when Shri Maharaj Ji was in Kashmir, he asked me for pen and paper in order to write a letter to his family in Dehradun. I wrote down what he wanted to say to his family, but at the end, he asked if there was some more space on the paper. I told him yes, there was. "Give me the pen and paper," he said, and he started writing. He then gave me the paper and told me to fold it up and mail it.
I took the piece of paper into another room to send it off, but my very human curiosity got the upper hand, and I read the part that Shri Maharaj Ji had written himself. He wrote: "My love and blessings to all my family. Specifically, give my pranams to Sant Ji and tell him I miss him."
This kindness is still taking care of me in all respects in the form of Maharaji today. I feel so much love in my heart for both.
From that time long ago until today, I have been enjoying this life to the fullest, and my heart knows that it has only been possible with the grace of Maharaji.
The Living Master
Charnanand remembers his days with Shri Maharaj Ji and the period of transition from one Master to the next.
Shri Maharaj Ji was completely committed to bringing Knowledge, happiness and joy to all mankind. He was very bold and outspoken and worked tirelessly for this sublime cause throughout his life. He would sometimes shed tears when he would express his deep longing to make this Knowledge available to people around the world. In his eyes all people were alike. He believed in human potential and that, with the help of a competent teacher, everyone is capable of accomplishing the main purpose of life; to discover their true self and attain freedom from misery.
Shri Maharaj Ji had a remarkably beautiful personality. He was divine. His heart was imbued with endless love and kindness. He was patient and loving, caring and compassionate. These were not only his qualities, but his very nature. The first time I saw Shri Maharaj Ji and heard him speak, I immediately recognised who he was and what he meant to me.
He would tell us what inspired him to search for a living Master. When he was very
young he often had profound inner experiences that he couldn't fully understand. When he asked his family members, gurus or learned people for explanations, none were able to satisfy his quest. It was then he began his search for a true teacher.
One day whilst bathing in the Ganges, a strong current carried him downstream and he began to drown. At that moment, he started to express his sadness to the almighty. His sadness was not that he was going to die, but rather that he was leaving this world without finding his true Master. All of a sudden, a light appeared in front of his eyes and he saw a long hand reaching down for him. Within a few moments, he found himself safe on the river bank. He was filled with wonder and gratitude.
Shortly after the incident, Shri Maharaj Ji heard about a great Master named Sarupanand Ji. He desperately wanted to see him, but since it was the rainy season, it was dangerous to travel. However, the longing in his heart to see the Master was so deep that he decided to set out despite the risks.
He was delighted to hear the teacher speak about the Knowledge with great conviction and authority. Shri Maharaj Ji was really inspired by Sarupanand Ji, and he humbly asked for Knowledge, but the teacher suggested that he come again and listen to more satsang. On hearing this, Shri Maharaj Ji at first became upset and disappointed. After travelling so far to see the Master, still he could not get the Knowledge. He was afraid that if he demanded the Knowledge, the Master might never give it to him. Realising that Knowledge was truly the gift of the Master, he accepted his advice and returned home.
Shri Maharaj Ji later attended another programme and received the Knowledge that was to become the total focus of his life. On his homeward journey, he started thinking that Knowledge was too simple. The teacher had not given him anything: neither a mantra, nor a rosary, nor even a book to read. Nevertheless, he had been shown the way to go within. When he arrived home, he opened a book of songs written by Brahamanand. His eyes fell on a particular song which he had read many times before, but he had never understood its true meaning. Now, for the first time, the essence of the song became clear. He was astonished and realised that the clarity was due to the miracle of the Knowledge. He began practising the techniques of Knowledge with great inspiration and became deeply absorbed in the experience.
From his own realisation, Shri Maharaji Ji gained implicit faith in Knowledge. He became so inspired that he made up his mind to dedicate his whole life to propagation. When Sarupanand Ji saw this enthusiasm he allowed Shri Maharaj Ji to travel around India speaking about and giving Knowledge to interested people.
One of Sarupanand Ji's students, Lala Bihari Ji once recounted how very dear Shri Maharaj Ji was to his Master. Whenever there was a programme, Sarupanand Ji would ask him to give satsang. He always enjoyed listening to Shri Maharaj Ji and admired him for his boldness and clarity. Shri Maharaj Ji was the only one who had the ability to convey his Master's message in a very simple and direct way.
A few days before Sarupanand Ji passed away, he called Lala Bihari Ji and some other premies and said, "After me, all of you should stay in touch with Shri Hans
(Shri Maharaj Ji) and serve him as your living Master. In him alone will remain my grace (Ruhaniyat shakti) and the ability of the Satguru to impart this Knowledge to other human beings."
When Shri Maharaj Ji heard that his Master had left his body, he immediately came back from his tour to attend the funeral. Later on, he found out from Lala Bihari Ji and other premies that it was his Master's wish for him to continue spreading Knowledge. Due to their traditional religious concepts, other mahatmas of Sarupanand Ji did not acknowledge Shri Maharaj Ji as their Master, because he was a householder. Therefore Shri Maharaj Ji had to start everything from scratch with the help of a few premies.
Soon after he became the Master, Shri Maharaj Ji started travelling from village to village, and city to city in different parts of India. Most of the time he was using buses or trains and occasionally he went on foot. Sometimes he would get so totally absorbed in propagation that he would even forget what time he was expected to come home.
Shri Maharaj Ji always liked to talk to people about Knowledge in a very simple and direct way. Often he would feel sorry for all the people who were being misled in the name of God realisation by various gurus and teachers. Shri Maharaj Ji used to emphasise the importance of the living Master of the time. He would say that no matter how many scriptures one reads, or how many rituals one performs, Knowledge of the inner self can only be imparted by the true Master of the time.
On one occasion, a professor asked Shri Maharaj Ji, "Would it be possible for the people in the future to receive Knowledge by loving and worshipping your image?"
Shri Maharaj Ji answered, "No. Neither my statue nor my photo can reveal Knowledge to people. Only the living teacher is able to impart this Knowledge. There is no other way to attain it."
Knowledge was the greatest thing to him. He always used to say, "No one is dearer to me than the person who helps and facilitates my work of making Knowledge available to the people." This really inspired me to be part of his work wholeheartedly, because I wanted to be very dear to him.
My introduction to learning English began with my very first flight, which took Shri Maharaj Ji and myself from Bombay to Delhi. He asked me to have the breakfast that was being served. Since he was not taking it, and I was not accustomed to those surroundings, I expressed my hesitation. He insisted, however, that I should eat.
After we arrived in Delhi and I was sitting with him in his room, he said to me, "Do you know why I insisted you should eat on the plane?" I replied, "No." Then Shri Maharaj Ji explained, "In the future you will travel to the west to give Knowledge to people; that is why I wanted you to become accustomed to these surroundings." I was elated as well as amazed when I heard this and I humbly asked him, "Shri Maharaj Ji, how will it be possible for me to go to the western countries if I cannot speak English?" He replied, "Know that when the trust and effort are there, the grace of Satguru can enable a blind person to see clearly, a mute person to speak eloquently, a deaf person to hear a celestial symphony and a cripple to climb high mountains."
That episode inspired me to learn English. Later when Maharaji sent me, with his
blessings, to England in 1969, I knew that Shri Maharaj Ji's prediction had become true in my life.
Shri Maharaj Ji always spoke about Maharaji with so much love, admiration and confidence. He truly knew who Maharaji was going to become. Therefore he sent him to an English school to gain a good command of the language. From time to time he would declare, "The one who is going to disseminate Knowledge around the world is here among us."
Maharaji was uniquely special among Shri Maharaj Ji's children. As long as Shri Maharaj Ji was speaking, Maharaji would enjoy playing, but as soon as Shri Maharaj Ji left the stage, he would come and sit on Shri Maharaj Ji's throne, give satsang, dance and make people dance as well. One day, Shri Maharaj Ji said to Mata Ji, "Look at your youngest son. He is so extraordinary; of all your children, he is the only one who always sits on my throne."
When Maharaji was about five years old, we would find him sometimes sitting still with closed eyes early in the morning on the veranda of the residence. Sometimes he would come to our rooms early in the morning and knock at the door and say, "Wake up. Practise Knowledge." We would arise, open our door with so much delight and request him to come in and practise Knowledge with us. At that time I would sometimes open my eyes and look at him. I always found him sitting quietly, deeply absorbed within himself.
From his earliest age, I have witnessed Maharaji's amazing ability to inspire people
to appreciate the gift of life and to enjoy it to the fullest.
On one occasion an elderly gentleman, well versed in the scriptures, came to see Shri Maharaj Ji. Shri Maharaj Ji asked me to meet with him. When I started talking with him, I found out he was not really open to listening but only wanted to debate. At that moment Maharaji came and sat on my lap – he was only six years old at the time – and began listening to our discussion. At one point he interrupted us and asked the gentleman, "How old are you?"
"Seventy-five," was the answer.
"Have you realised your true self?"
"No, not yet."
Then Maharaji said to him, "You've no right to argue with this mahatma because he is talking to you about something he has realised in his life by Shri Maharaj Ji's grace. Your mind is filled with book learning which has not brought you any direct experience. My advice is that you should waste no more time and receive Knowledge, because you are already old enough and you don't have much time left." After saying this, he asked me to go with him. When I came back to the room, I found the gentleman sitting quietly. The gentleman asked me, "Who was that boy?" I told him he was my Master's youngest son. He said, "I never met anybody in my whole life who could make me feel so humble and speechless. He asked me such a direct question that I had to be sincere in my reply and admit that I had no realisation of my true self." At that time I really witnessed Maharaji's amazing ability to evoke such a deep longing
in people's hearts. That gentleman went on to listen to satsang and then later to receive Knowledge.
Shri Maharaj Ji soon began giving some clear indications that he was recognising the special capabilities of his youngest son. Once when I was with him in Bombay, he asked me to write a letter to Mata Ji to express his concern that he could not attend the Guru Puja festival that year. He wished Sant Ji to sit in his chair and for the premies to celebrate the festival with him.
Later on, when Maharaji was only seven years old, he arranged a programme in Dehradun for Shri Maharaj Ji who was travelling at the time in Punjab. Maharaji sent a mahatma with an invitation for Shri Maharaj Ji to attend the programme. When the invitation was delivered, Shri Maharaj Ji turned to the mahatma and said, "I don't need to be there because Sant Ji is there and he will take care of everything." But then, he reflected for another moment and was so moved by Maharaji's request, he said to himself, "I must go. I don't want to hurt Sant Ji's feelings because I love him so dearly!" He cancelled his schedule and left in the middle of the night for Dehradun.
Shri Maharaj Ji was really pleased with the way Maharaji had organised the programme. Such was the care and attention to every detail that later on organisers in India tried to follow this example.
Maharaji had invited his school teachers as well as many prominent people from the city to this programme. It was held in a beautiful park on a summer evening. The moon was full and the environment was so pleasant. During his discourse,
Shri Maharaj Ji called Sant Ji to the stage to speak.
I still remember the essence of Maharaji's message, delivered both in English and Hindi, to the people of India that night. He said, "How long are you going to depend on foreign aid? You have plenty of resources to develop your country. All you have to do is educate your people and work together. Other nations have developed their countries, you can also do so. But do not forget the Knowledge and the teachings of the great ancient sages who were born in India. Material developments alone cannot bring true satisfaction and happiness in human life. You have to combine knowledge of the inner self with modern technology."
While Maharaji was speaking, I was looking from Shri Maharaj Ji to Sant Ji and I found Shri Maharaj Ji expressing so much joy, admiration and delight. It was very inspiring for me to watch seven-year-old Sant Ji speaking in both English and Hindi with great confidence, clarity and relaxation in front of Shri Maharaj Ji and the audience. My eyes were filled with tears of joy. After Maharaji finished talking, Shri Maharaj Ji placed garlands around his neck and spoke of him proudly. He said, "Physically he is quite young, but his soul is great. One day he will shine before mankind like the sun in the sky. He is undoubtedly going to make this Knowledge available to the people of the world. I admire him, not because he is my son, but because of his great wisdom and ability."
Less than a year later, in 1966, Shri Maharaj Ji left his body. Because I already had some recognition of Maharaji from my own experience and from Shri Maharaj Ji's
indications, the transition was very smooth for me. I continued to feel the presence of the Master in Maharaji. I remember thousands of people gathering in Prem Nagar to express their deep love and gratitude and to honour Shri Maharaj Ji's sweet and profound memory. Some were crying, some were confused and others were asking who was going to guide them in the future and who would shower them with that tender love and care.
Recognising the sadness in the hearts of the people, Maharaji stepped forward, sat in Shri Maharaj Ji's chair and began speaking, "Dear premies, I feel clearly that it is the grace of Shri Maharaj Ji that inspires me to speak to you. I love Shri Maharaj Ji very dearly. I am determined and committed to make this Knowledge available to people throughout the world, according to Shri Maharaj Ji's wish. If you want to be a part of this work, you are most welcome. If not, you are free to do whatever you wish. Don't think that I am taking advantage of this opportunity to be your Master. I have his grace to reveal this Knowledge to people throughout the world."
I saw Maharaji turning people's tears of sadness into joy, confusion into clarity and despair into hope. We all immediately recognised the manifestation of that Master revealing his glory, love and care, in a new form. We fell at his feet in tremendous delight, reverence and enthusiasm. At that time I said to myself, "If Maharaji could touch people's hearts so profoundly under these challenging circumstances at such a tender age, then what will he be able to do when he grows older?"
Soon after Maharaji became the Master, he attended a ten-day event in New Delhi
thousands of people who came with enthusiasm and curiosity to see Maharaji and hear him speak. The mayor of Delhi was also there to welcome him. Maharaji spoke with such confidence and clarity that everyone was very impressed. More than a thousand people received Knowledge during that event. From that time onward, Maharaji started holding programmes in different parts of India. Everywhere he went there were thousands of people attending his public events, and within a few years he took his message to the rest of the world.
I had a wonderful life with Shri Maharaj Ji for almost 17 years and I enjoyed myself to the fullest. His kindness, love and Knowledge have an imperishable significance in my life. I hold him very dearly in my heart and revere him with deep love and gratitude. And now I am extremely thankful to Maharaji for allowing me to be the recipient of his never ending love and encouragement. I continuously rejoice in practising Knowledge, participating in his activities and watching his boundless glory and magic unfold. He is the dearest one to my heart. By his constant efforts and grace, so much has transpired over the last 30 years. He has spoken to millions of people and bestowed the highest gift of Knowledge upon hundreds and thousands thereby transforming their lives.
Maharaji is the first Master who has taken this Knowledge to all human beings on every continent. I have neither the words to express my admiration for how completely he has fulfiled Shri Maharaj Ji's wishes, nor the words to express how magnificently he keeps the process of Knowledge so alive, simple and directly enjoyable.