Breath Of India - Elizabeth Owens Excerpt: Breath Of India - Elizabeth Owens

Receiving Knowledge from Mahatma Fakiranand

While having lunch, I saw Mahatma Ji Fakiranand walking around. I approached him to ask if he would give me Knowledge. He smiled and said, yes. Then he asked when we were leaving and I told him Friday. He nodded, knowing he only had three days to fulfill my request. Okay, now I had committed myself. I was going to receive Knowledge. Helen and I rested for the remainder of the afternoon after having lunch.

Later that afternoon, Maharaj Ji invited all of us for a private visit. This gave us the opportunity to present him with his birthday gifts. My present was a copy of four of my books. He is an avid reader, as is Shri Vibhu Ji, although I questioned whether he would actually read any of my books, given the subject matter. He is so evolved from me that what I write about is mundane. But I never before had to figure out what to give a Spiritual Master for his birthday. I thought, perhaps this is an original gift.

When I presented Maharaj Ji with my gift, I told him I had purchased three of his books and I thought they were written to be easily understood. He seemed pleased by that. Tim later told me that he probably enjoyed hearing that comment because how many authors critique his work? Probably none.

Everyone chatted with Maharaj Ji briefly after presenting their gifts. I think I only said what I mentioned previously about the books. I never knew what to say to him. He usually wore a serious expression and is so highly evolved, I felt like a mere flea in his company.

While walking to the auditorium, Tim informed me that when I was seated directly in front of Maharaj Ji, the soles of my feet were pointing towards him, which is an insult. That comment knifed right through me. I was upset to the core of my being at the thought I had unintentionally insulted Maharaj Ji. What was worse, I knew better. I had read during my research somewhere that one does not direct the bottoms of the feet towards holy people because it is perceived as an insult. I had insulted Maharaj Ji! Great heavenly days, I was mortified! How could I have been so stupid? I didn't have to stretch my legs out in his direction, for crying out loud. What was I thinking?

After we were seated in the same location as the previous evening, I leaned across Dr. T toward Tim. I told him he should have signaled me at the time my errant feet were pointing in the wrong direction. Then my eyes welled up with emotion. Tim said that Maharaj Ji wouldn't have been insulted because he realizes that Westerners do not know the customs. But my emotions were running wild by then, given the surroundings, my heightened sensitivity and over the thought that I could even for a mere second have insulted Maharaj Ji.

Vibhu Ji was seated alone on the stage giving satsang. He spoke in Hindi, so we could not understand what he was saying. Afterwards, his parents entered and were seated amid praising from the audience. Then came the news that Lakshman had arranged for us to present garlands to the holy family, like the others had done the evening before. I was a little hesitant and still felt emotional, but I agreed to do it. It's an honor, how could I not do this?

A gentleman on the stage introduced us by name as foreign visitors, and then Lakshman led us outside and around to the back of the stage. We each were given a garland and told to walk out onto the stage and put the garland around one member of the holy family. We were at the opposite side of the stage from last night so we couldn't follow what they did previously. I was really intimidated. Heaven forbid I commit another faux pas.

Breath Of India - Elizabeth Owens

I certainly did not want to present a garland to Maharaj Ji under the circumstances. So I walked out there, number three to go, feeling like, this is not where I want to be. I chose Mata Ji since she was closest and I felt a bit more comfortable going to her rather than having to cross in front of Maharaj Ji to get to Vibhu Ji. She smiled at me, such a pretty smile, and I dropped to my knees so I could touch her feet with my hands. At least that's what I think I did, although it could have been my forehead. After she smiled I sort of forgot everything. I wanted to leave the stage. Talk about feeling intimidated!

I felt such a rush of relief to be back outside. A couple of us then walked around and back inside to our seats. Once seated, I looked at Maharaj Ji and sent him a very sincere apology. I kept mentally sending out, I am so sorry to have unintentionally insulted you.

Our translator this time for Maharaj Ji's satsang was Lakshman. He did a beautiful job conveying the inspirational words that Maharaj Ji delivered to us. After he spoke, music was again performed and the audience stood to dance. Our little group danced somewhat, but I sat it out. Arti was the final activity. The lights were turned down and several Mahatmas were seated on the stage facing the holy family with their trays and candles. About six Bai Jis were seated on the floor in the center, directly in front of the audience, facing the holy family. It was all so lovely with the candles flickering, lighting the darkness. Symbolic as well, I think. Our Satguru leading us from the darkness into the light.

Breath Of India - Elizabeth OwensWhen everything ended, we picked up our sandals and made our way back to our rooms. What an experience!

Upon rising in the morning, I looked out the window. It was like a Tsunami swept through the ashram compound, taking with it all the tarps, poles and other paraphernalia that were necessary to provide comfort for the attendees. I discovered that even on our floor, the brightly colored and patterned cloth that had been hung to divide large areas into several smaller rooms had disappeared in the blink of an eye. It was like discovering a whole new floor! Everything was wide open now.

And then it rained. Helen said that every year, the day following the close of the birthday celebrations, it always rains. Sure enough, it was raining, cleansing the ashram so it could return to normal.

Everything seemed to have wound down to a gentle hum. So many people had apparently left during the night and now the rest were leaving from the grounds during the day. There was an entire shift in energy within the ashram to that of something more restful, more normal.

When I saw Albert and Dr. T. I asked them if they wanted to receive Knowledge? Yes, both said that was their desire. So I informed them that they needed to ask to receive Knowledge because they did not know that was necessary. Both asked to receive Knowledge from Mahatma Ji Fakiranand. Now there were three of us. We have all had sufficient satsang, so we would begin the training.

We met each day in the morning and evening to learn the techniques for meditation and to practice the meditation. The first session began at 10 a.m. with satsang, followed by instruction, and ended at 3 p.m. The three of us made our dedication and received His grace from Satguru Shri Satpal Ji Maharaj through Mahatma Ji Fakiranand while the four Premies from Mexico, Tim and Helen witnessed our initiation. This is a life changing experience, very personal and secret.

When Mahatma Ji touched the top of my head, I felt the grace from Maharaj Ji flow throughout my entire body. We were being baptized into our new spiritual life and thus beginning a spiritual transformation. It was what I had wanted and anticipated, so I was thrilled to my core being.

Mahatma Ji asked me if I saw the light and I answered, yes. At first I saw a little pin prick of light, then it grew to lots of lights. Symbols followed, and then I saw a large silver light coming in from the left which grew into a giant jewel with many facets. The facets turned into colors. This was like nothing I had ever seen in previous meditations. Normally a teacher will instruct students to visualize a bright, white light, the brightest light they have ever seen. But there was no visualization involved. I saw with my third eye, as clear as clear can be. Nothing could compare in my past meditations to this experience. It was real.

Breath Of India - Elizabeth Owens Later, Mahatma Ji asked me if I heard anything, and I answered, yes. At first it sounded like flies buzzing, then frogs croaking. I could hear talking in a language I didn't understand coming from my left, which I presumed to be Hindi. Then I saw Maharaj Ji was the one talking. Temple bells chimed.

Thereafter in our sessions, nothing so dramatic occurred when I was supposed to hear. All I heard was a stringed instrument being played badly. As for seeing, further meditations revealed a brilliant light in the center that opened up suggesting to me that there was something beyond to see. It seems that we are usually more proficient in one or the other and I guess I am meant to see rather than hear.

These were my personal, individual experiences and are not meant to suggest that this is something someone else should use as a measure. I have always been taught that we should never compare ourselves to another. Each of us responds individually and receives in a manner we can best understand. Every person who receives Knowledge will do so in a manner that is perfect for him or her.

Afterwards, I was feeling so peaceful and blitzed out from the initiation and meditations. I was blessed to be in the presence of such a holy man as Mahatma Ji Fakiranand and to be receiving Knowledge through him in particular. He has been a Mahatma for forty years and has given Knowledge to over one hundred thousand people. I am in love with him, spiritually speaking.

I looked forward to having the opportunity to touch his feet every time I was in the room with him, which we did in the beginning and at the end of each session. It was an honor. We also touched our foreheads to the floor in front of a large picture of Maharaj Ji at the beginning and end of each session to show respect and love for our Satguru. Mahatma Ji Fakiranand did a full body prostration in front of the picture every time. He is supremely devoted to Maharaj Ji. That in itself was awe inspiring. He truly is a saint.

We were instructed to meditate twice a day for an hour and told that the more we meditate, the more we will gain. It is very important in the beginning to keep a regular meditation schedule to enhance our development. Synchronicity of occurrences was to be expected. Being a vegetarian was also stressed because it makes one lighter when meditating. Mahatma Ji Fakiranand asked the question, "Why would you want a graveyard in your stomach?" I loved that! I made a mental note that when I got home to share that question with my vegetarian employee. Now we would have a phrase to counter those who think it's weird to be a vegetarian.