Growth and Consolidation of the Mission
Shri Maharaj Ji's fame increased day by day. Premies throughout India were actively spreading the Knowledge. Several young men were so impressed by Shri Maharaj Ji and his Knowledge that they renounced the world to serve in the ashrams or to spread Knowledge as mahatmas. More than a thousand such youths were prepared to forgo the joys of family life for the sake of serving mankind. They lived a life of austerity and renunciation. Like the monks in the time of Lord Buddha, they took total refuge in the Master. Lord Krishna advised Arjuna to give up ritualistic religion and serve Him, and this is what those young men did.
It would be impossible to include the life stories of all the devotees who have served and are serving in the ashram, so here is a selection.
Mahatma Parmanand Ji has been spreading Knowledge in Kumaon district since 1958. Here is his story:
"In 1953, before I had been initiated, I was involved in an accident near India Gate. I was taken, unconscious, to hospital.
Shri Hans Ji Maharaj appeared to me, bathed in the Holy Light, and said, 'You have neglected the work which you were born to do.'
'A little while later I regained consciousness and asked those around me, 'Did you see the holy man who was here just now?'
They didn't know what I was talking about, so I guessed that he had been visible to me alone and was somehow drawing me towards him. From that time on I felt disillusioned with worldly activities and was unable to sleep. All I could think about was how to find him. It was an obsession, a kind of madness that possessed
me. I visited all sorts of holy men, but none of them could answer my questions satisfactorily. Then it occurred to me that perhaps I might find, in some mountain cave, a saint or master who could show me the way. I decided to resign from my job, and leave everything in three days' time. In the meantime, I met a premie, Balkishan, who had given me a copy of 'Hansadesh' a year previously. I had told him that I thought his Master was in it only for the money. When we met again he was shocked by my appearance, which had indeed changed. I was dishevelled, unkempt and scantily dressed, even though it was winter. He invited me to come to satsang at Jaapath, where a mahatma would be speaking. That same night, Shri Hans Ji Maharaj appeared to me in a dream, emerging from a bluish cave surrounded by light, saying, 'You still don't understand. I am so close to you, yet you think you'll find me so far away.' I asked, 'Lord, how can I find you?' He replied, 'Go to satsang. Then you'll find out.' The next day I went to satsang and heard that Shri Maharaj Ji had arrived in Delhi.
'The next day, at Hari Ram's house in Shakti Nagar, I met Maharaj Ji. He was exactly the same person whom I had seen that day in hospital, He Said, smiling, 'So, you've made it here. Where did you think you'd find me? Do you think that I live in the jungle? You can recognize me only through your inner eye. Then you will see me everywhere.' Receive Knowledge and meditate.'
'I was initiated in February, 1954. I meditated and found perfect peace, In 1958 I attended the Vaisakhi program at Prem Nagar during which Maharaj Ji said, 'He who spreads the light of my Knowledge is my true devotee.' I was struck by this. When I went for darshan, he asked if I wanted to become a mahatma.' I answered, 'I'm not really worthy to do that, but I want to live in your shelter. So I'll do whatever you want. The next day he called me and said, 'Look, I can hire labourers to do other kinds of work, but knowledge can be spread only by devotees. So become a mahatma and spread this Knowledge.' He sent me to Kumaon. At
that tune there were no premies there but by his grace Knowledge started to spread.
'Later on, I again had the desire to sit in a cave and go into Samadhi. I found a spot 12,000 feet up in the mountains. Shri Maharaj Ji came to me in my meditation and said, 'You really are thick-headed. He whom you seek has been born into my family as Satpal. Haven't you recognized him yet? I have brought all the divine powers with me, so what do you think you'll find here?' He told me that Shri Mata Ji is the incarnation of the primordial Divine Energy and that Shri Bhole Ji is Shiva. I left my cave and went back down the mountain. Later, during the festival of Guru Puja, Shri Maharaj Ji asked me, 'Well, what did you find in that cave?' I answered, 'Master, I found you.' Then he said, 'One day the banner of knowledge will fly over every land. Satpal will take this task in hand. People may not now understand the greatness of Knowledge, but the day will come when the world leaders will bow their heads at his feet. The Light of Knowledge will spread automatically. You have golden opportunity now.'
'An acquaintance from Almora accompanied me to Nainital 'to see what your Guru Maharaj Ji is like.' When he came into Maharaj Ji's presence the entire room appeared to him to be bathed in golden light, and Maharaj Ji himself was seated on a golden throne, saying, 'So now you've seen how I am.' This man left the room in tears, saying, 'Your Master really is God in human form.'
'Later, I went to see Maharaj Ji, who said, 'No one understands. They all want something for nothing, yet even if they get it they don't benefit from it. How can you benefit from something if you don't know its value? That can be understood only by right action and right understanding. The Lord belongs to the devotees, no the world, and a devotee is someone who follows his Master's commands and does meditation, service and satsang."
Mahatma Vichalanand, whose former name was Jorawar, has served in the ashram for many years. He relates:
"I was initiated on May 20, 1962 at Shakti Nagar: After receiving Knowledge I went for darshan. Shri Maharaj Ji just stared at me. I felt a strange stirring in my heart. The same thing happened a while later at Satlok Ashram during Vaisakhi. My service at Satlok was ploughing the fields. It often went through my mind: 'Guru Maharaj Ji comes here and talks to others, but never to me. People say that he knows everyone's heart and mind, so why doesn't he acknowledge me? On the contrary he never even talks to me.' I had only one wish that he would say something to me and show me some love.
'One summer's day, while everyone else was resting after lunch, I was sitting in a hut looking through some old books and photos. I went into another hut and sat in a corner to meditate. I was thinking, 'Maharaj Ji, if you'll give me darshan by 3 o'clock, you'll be my Lord forever, and I'll be your devotee. Everyone says that you know everything. If you don't come, then as far as I'm concerned, they're all wrong.' Shri Maharaj Ji arrived at the ashram at 3 o'clock on the dot. He told me, 'It was wrong of you to insist like that. Do you have any idea where I was? Don't do it in future.' After that, never a day went by without my seeing him.
'The ashram owned a cow named Jamana. I used to milk her. Whenever Shri Maharaj Ji visited Satlok, she would give an extra kilo of milk She continued to do this for the duration of his stay, be it an hour or a week. As soon as he had gone, she would produce one kilo less.'
'Several ornamental trees were planted along the path leading to our temple. I was night watchman at the time and had to keep an eye on them during my rounds. One night I felt particularly tired and fell asleep, thinking that no one would dig up the trees now, but that very night they were all stolen. One week later Shri Maharaj Ji visited the ashram. Laila, the ashram dog, somehow got into the car and tried to reach Maharaj Ji's feet. He shouted at her, 'Go away! All you do is eat and sleep! Don't you ever do a scrap of work?' Her ears and tail drooped in shame. That day henceforth,
both she and her mate diligently kept watch and made their rounds all night. They were never seen to sit down for even ten minutes.
'There is a story about Dattatreya, a devotee who learned life's lessons from observing a snake, a cat and a kite, amongst others. In the same way, I learned the meaning of obedience from that dog and from Jamana the cow. I'd had a high opinion of myself but my ego was deflated when I saw the service rendered by those animals."
Mahatma Atmagyanand, formerly known as Ramcharan, lived in Prangarh. He continued serving at Satlok Ashram until the ripe old age of 96. During his lifetime he related this incident:
"One evening I was going home across a field. I was meditating as I walked along. I stepped on a cobra and it bit me. I continued meditating and reached home. My foot had turned blue but I was otherwise unaffected by the poison. That reinforced my faith in the nectar technique."
Mahatma Vichitranand is from Bihar. After receiving Knowledge he was obsessed with the idea of getting his whole family initiated and then spending the rest of his life in the ashram. Then one day he heard a voice from out of nowhere telling him, "Do you think it's up to you whether others get Knowledge or not?" Then he saw Maharaj Ji in meditation. He renounced everything and went to live at Prem Nagar. After doing service for several years he became a mahatma.
Maharaj Ji used the dual method of reprimand and affection to find out a devotee's state of mind. "Once," says Mahatma Ji, "I was ploughing a field at Satlok. Shri Maharaj Ji arrived so I went for darshan. He shouted at me, saying, 'Is that a devotee's duty? Why did you leave your work?' Seeing that I was afraid, he softened and said, 'Would you like to become a mahatma?' I answered; 'Whatever you say.' "
Mahatma Jairamdas Viyogi was a resident of Ratlam, near Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. He says, "I followed one sect after another, until one day in 1961 a leaflet advertising the Vaisakhi festival came into my hands. I figured that the function was being
arranged by a high soul because of what the pamphlet said - 'He, the everlasting Lord, dwells within the hearts of all beings.' I decided then and there to attend the Hardwar program. When I reached Prem Nagar I saw a long line of devotees waiting for darshan. When he noticed me, Shri Maharaj Ji motioned me to one side and invited me to be seated. My manner of dress must have looked rather unusual, because he asked where I came from and how I had come to hear about the program. He also asked me if I'd been initiated by any other Guru. I answered that I had. He then asked me, 'So what do you want?' I replied; 'I want to be initiated by you to get rid of whatever doubts and worldly attachments I have left.' He repeated the question. I told him again, 'I want to be initiated by you.'
'What? By me personally?' Then his expression became quite terrifying and he said, 'Attachment is the root of all evil. Throw him out! Get him out of here! He wants me to initiate him!' I was really upset and confused. Maharaj Ji was furious with me. Some premies who were sitting nearby advised me to do as he said, and leave.
'The next day I took my place in the darshan line. Just as I reached Maharaj Ji he got angry again and said, 'Why does he persist in coming here?' Now I was really scared, but I resolved to stay there, even if it meant starving to death. I didn't touch food for three days, and, in a spot where he wouldn't see me, I just stood and gazed at him. I asked mahatmas to tell me what I had done wrong. Then after three days it was announced over the loudspeaker that Maharaj was calling me. I was afraid but still I went: When he saw he laughed and said, 'So, you get upset over so little! Sukhdev Muni stood for six months at each door of King Janak's palace!' At this, my heart just melted and I fell at his feet. Maharaj Ji sent me to Mahatma Parmanand for initiation. After receiving Knowledge, I went for darshan. Maharaj Ji was in a happy mood and asked, 'You've received Knowledge, so go home now. Do a lot of meditation and tell others about it.' Since then, by his grace, I have been doing just that."
Mahatma Shraddhanand has spent his life in service, managing the ashram at Alwar. Once during a satsang program arranged there, Mahatma Ji brought a lady and her young son to Maharaj Ji. She hoped that Maharaj Ji would bless her son by laying his hands on his head. Maharaj Ji told him, 'So! Are you spreading this kind of superstition? If you think that my touching his head will do him any good then bring him here, but first I'll give you salvation with my boot! Listen, only talk about Knowledge. I'm really not interested in this other stuff. Only meditation gives salvation. Don't lead innocent devotees astray with talk of miracles and magic."
Mahatma Paripurnanand tells how one night, at midnight, Shri Maharaj Ji appeared to me in a dream, wearing a crown and golden robes. His appearance alternated between that of a child and of an old man. He initiated me. Later, when I went to have darshan, Maharaj Ji shouted, 'Get away from me, you miserable sinner!' I replied, 'Master, you can free anyone from their sins, so please free me too.' My premie friend advised me to take Knowledge, so I replied that Maharaj Ji had already initiated me in a drearn. My friend had to believe me when I deseribed in detail the four techniques to him."
Mahatma Albelanand was made a mahatma in 1966, just after Shri Maharaj Ji's passing away. He was assigned to Shahjahanpur with Mahatma Darshananand. He says, "I had no idea how to give satsang. Mahatma Darshananandji asked me, 'If you can't talk about Knowledge, why did you become a mahatma?' I answered that it was Shri Mata Ji's idea, not mine. Sometime later I sat for evening meditation and then fell asleep. Shri Maharaj Ji appeared to me and said, 'Don't you know how to give satsang? I'll teach you.' So all that night he preached to me, and next morning I found that I could remember every word of it. So I also started giving satsang. Mahatma Darshananand and the premies were amazed. Shri Maharaj Ji came to me nine nights in a row. Whatever satsang he gave me I'd repeat to the premies the next day. From that time on I was able to give satsang. Guru Maharaj's grace turned a
dummy like me into an orator! To this day I remember every word he spoke to me in those 'dreams'.
'He told me the story of the hungry jackal: Once a rich merchant died, and his family consigned his body to the Ganges. When the jackal saw the body floating downstream, he was overjoyed and thanked God for sending him a meal. He followed the corpse until it lodged against a bend in the river. The jackal was just about to start feasting on the head when an elderly jackal arrived and said, 'Don't eat him, my friend. He was a really sinful man. He never in his life bowed his head to God or Guru. His head is nothing more than an empty gourd.'
'So the jackal left the head alone. He took out the eyes and started to eat them. The old jackal advised him, 'Don't eat his eyes, because they were never used to see the holy. They were no more useful than the artificial eyes on a peacock's tail.'
'So the jackal forgot about the eyes and started on the ears. The old jackal advised him, 'Don't eat his ears, because they were never used to hear God's praises. They were just holes in which dwelt the serpents of lust, anger, greed and worldly infatuation.'
'So the jackal didn't eat the ears. He started eating the heart. The old jackal said, 'Brother, he was wicked. His heart held no devotion to God. He was little better than a walking corpse. At least after an animal dies its skin or other organs can be used, so animals are thousands of times better than a human being who doesn't meditate and love God."
Mahatma Sukhi Bai relates this important incident in her life: "Once I was very badly injured in a train accident. I was taken unconscious to hospital. When I awoke and saw my pitiful condition I prayed to Guru Maharaj Ji, 'Lord, please take me. It is better to die than to live like this.' I was so badly incapacitated that it looked as if my life was ruined. A little while later I dozed off. Shri Maharaj Ji appeared to me, wearing a crown, and told me, 'I am with you every minute of the day. I care for you as a mother cares for her child. You have nothing to worry about.' My mood changed from despair to hope. After being discharged from
hospital, I visited Maharaj Ji, who said, 'This is your third life. Your first was your physical birth. The second begin the moment you received Knowledge and being saved from that accident was your third lease of life."
Shri Somar Das, a master builder from Doyadih in Bihar, has been serving in the ashram's building crew since 1971. Many years previously, before he'd received Knowledge, he had the following experience:
"I loved to sing devotional songs. Wherever I was at work, at home or at religious meetings, I'd sing. It was so much a part of me that even my dreams would be full .of music and song. One evening I attended a religious meeting in my village. I sang with all my heart and was so absorbed in the music that everyone stopped singing and just stared at me. But I heard a hundred people singing along! I went into an ecstatic mood and fell down semi-conscious. When I reached home, I lay down and just as I closed my eyes my attention was pulled up to the top of my head and
outwards. I saw in the midst of the heavens a huge and marvellous tree laden with leaves and countless fruit. Sitting on the tree was Shri Hans Ji Maharaj (although I didn't know at that time who he was), surrounded by blazing light which spread outwards and covered the sky. I knelt in awe.
'As time passed the experience gradually faded from memory. Many years later, after I'd received Knowledge and moved to Prem Nagar, I saw Shri Hans Ji Maharaj's photograph in the Satsang Hall. I exclaimed, 'He's the one I saw in that vision long ago!' "
Mahatma Baijnathanandji, who is at present in Nagpur, used t serve in the Dehra Dun ashram farm. One night in 1971 he was sitting in meditation at about 9 p.m. when Shri Maharaj Ji appeared and reprimanded him, saying, "What! Here you are meditating while the crops are being damaged!" He jumped up and ran into the fields, where he saw a village woman stealthily cutting grass and sugarcane. When she saw him she ran away.
Shyamlal, who since 1968 has lived and served at Dehra Dun's 'Sant Sadan Ashram', recalls how Maharaj Ji helped him:
"I wanted to go from Shandara to Delhi but found myself short of money. As I was wondering what to do, a gentleman dressed in white approached me and asked, 'What's the matter? Where you do want to go? I told him and he replied, 'Don't worry. Come with me. No one will catch you. But when you get to Delhi wait until everyone else has gone before you attempt to go through the barrier.' On the way he offered me peanuts. After a while I noticed that he wasn't there any more.
'I got down at Delhi and sat on a platform bench. I waited an hour but the crowd didn't decrease. I was afraid that I would certainly be caught. As I looked around I saw my companion coming from the next platform towards me. I had previously checked out all avenues of escape but the iron barriers around the platform were impassable. Yet he walked straight through and said, 'Go the way I came.' There was now an opening that hadn't been there before. I looked behind but he had vanished. It must have been Maharaj Ji in disguise. Since 1968 I've been serving in the Dehra Dun ashram and my only prayer is that I may be allowed to continue to do so for the rest of my life."
Mahatma Avdhootanandji received Knowledge in December 1963. Sometime later as he was meditating he saw "a little star which grew larger as it approached me, filling my entire vision. I saw so much Light that I was afraid, wondering what was happening to me. I called on Maharaj Ji, who immediately appeared in the midst of the Light wearing his crown and holding a flute. I watched him for quite some time. When I opened my eyes
neither Maharaj Ji nor the Light was to be seen.
'I attended Hans Jayanti 1966 in Delhi. I met Mahatma Satyanandji and told him that I had not yet met Shri Hans Ji Maharaj. He took me to Shri Mata Ji and told her that I had come from Nepal for darshan. As I pranamed to Holy Mother I saw not
her, but Shri Maharaj Ji! The premies didn't believe me when I told them I'd just been with Maharaj Ji."
Publications and Literature
Shri Maharaj Ji emphasized the importance of literature as well as satsang in spreading Knowledge. His first publication was 'Hans Yog Prakash' (Union with Light') in 1936. It is a unique work. It was the culmination of years of study, austerities and meditation. It is a true indication of his greatness and universality. He collected selections from all the great saints, sages and philosophers. There are a variety of religious books available, but Hans Yog Prakash deals with all spiritual topics, from the aim of human life to the realization of God, in a single volume. It is like a beautifully arranged garland of flowers threaded on a single string.
Leaving aside the superficial aspects of religions it gets down to the basics of spirituality as presented in scripture. Maharai Ji has extracted the nectar of the world's great religious teachings, including the Upanishads, Gita, Ramayana, Bible, Guru Granth Sahab etc, as well as the saints' teachings on devotion and yoga. It weaves together again the wonderful philosophies which have been fragmented and twisted by sects and religions. Thus, the reader gains a working knowledge of the great universal religious truths. Knowledge, devotion and yoga are discussed in such simple terms that anyone can understand. The ocean of spirituality is contained in this book. It is spirituality in a nutshell.
In 1952 'Hansadesh', a Hindi-language monthly magazine was launched, so that Maharaj Ji's ideas could be easily available to devotees and the general public. Its aim is to present the deepest spiritual and religious mysteries revealed by the writings of the saints, in simple, easy-to-understand language. It exposes the fallacies and hypocrisies perpetrated in the name of religion and offers a fresh outlook and a new awareness of what religion really is.
Founding of the Ashrams
Shahu Balkishan of Nazibabad was a wealthy businessman who had the deepest respect for Shri Maharaj Ji. He owned a building and a pavilion near Hardwar's Har-ki-Pairi. He had on numerous occasions requested Maharaj Ji to establish an ashram there. Maharaj Ji had merely responded, "Who'll live there? I know all about ashrams. They are the root of dissension and strife. Besides, if I don't feel the need for one, because I am only interested in spreading Knowledge, and my mahatmas are always on the move, who'll live there?"
The Honorary Magistrate of Bijnore, Chaudhury Maharaj Singh, also approached Shri Maharaj Ji on several occasions, reminding him that at Balawali in Bijnore, on the banks of the Ganges, there was a lot of land available and it would make everyone very happy if he were to select a site and give permission to build an ashram.
Shri Maharaj Ji was a free soul, indifferent to worldly possessions. He simply said, "My Guru Maharaj Ji told me to spread this Knowledge. You can see for yourself that I don't settle anywhere. I'm constantly on the move. So why do you want to cage me up in an ashram? All this talk of ashrams depresses me. That's why I won't go to Bharatpur. The mahatma there kept on at me to build an ashram, saying that the Mayor had acquired an excellent plot of land near the railway station for 2 million rupees and was building a dharmshala and that he would like very much to talk to me about it. If that 2 million rupees had been spent in propagation, think how Knowledge would have spread! I told Mahatma Ji, 'My work is spreading Knowledge. Even if I were presented with a house of gold, what would I do with it? I wouldn't live in it, and if I asked that man for the money instead, he'd think that I was just money-hungry."
Guru Puja 1940 was celebrated at Garodiya Market. All the premies had gathered there and a fine program was held. Shahu Balkishan approached some of the senior premies, including
Behari Lal, Hari Ram and Yukti Ram to request Maharaj Ji to establish an ashram. This they did, but Maharaj Ji refused to listen.
One day in 1943, Balmukund, Behari Lal, Hari Ram, Om Prakash and others were discussing this topic. They approached Mahatma Satyanandji, saying, "We have repeatedly asked Maharaj Ji to start an ashram, but as soon as we say the word 'ashram' he gets furious. Every time satsang is held anywhere, people ask us where Guru Maharaj Ji lives. Of course we have no answer for that and have to avoid the issue by saying that he is constantly on the move, but that his real home is in the devotees' hearts. People are not going to be satisfied with that, are they? Where will they go to get satsang and Knowledge? So please plead with Maharaj Ji. Maybe he will listen to you."
Mahatma Ji presented his case to Maharaj Ji, saying, "Master, because you don't have any fixed address, devotees have to spend years searching for you. Shankar Lal didn't see you again for 24 years! Where can people go to get Knowledge? Whom can they contact? They wander here and there until finally they get caught up again in worldly affairs and forget. That's why I beg you to open an ashram."
Finally Maharaj Ji capitulated, saying, "As far, as I'm concerned, ashrams are nothing but trouble. However, because you all want it, go ahead and look for a suitable place accessible to everyone."
This made the premies very happy. They checked out a couple of sites in Vrindaban and several in Hardwar. Everyone agreed that the place chosen should be quiet and secluded, yet close enough to Hardwar to allow as many people as possible to reach it.
Finally a site between Hardwar and Jwalapur was chosen where Prem Nagar Ashram stands today. Maharaj Ji approved and sent Mahatma Satyanand and a local Patwari to Hardwar. Mahatma Ji relates, "Guru Maharaj Ji's grace makes everything easy for the devotee. By chance I met a Hardwar bookseller,
Raghunathan Bhargava, who ran a free food distribution centre for sadhus and the poor. He arranged accommodation for me.
'The land we wanted to buy was right on the banks of the Ganges canal, and quite far from the road, which meant that we also had to acquire additional land to provide an access road. Bhargava supplied the name and address of the owner of this land and set up the sale, but at the last moment, the owner, Guru Prashad of Rawalpindi, backed out, saying that the land belonged to his wife and she wanted to sell it only to someone who would plant gardens and hold satsang. I told him that this is what we do. He replied, 'So, I don't have to take anything from you. You can just stay here.' I agreed. When I approached him about registration he told me that the price of the land had quadrupled. He turned out to be most dishonest, but I wouldn't take no for an answer. I even went to Rawalpindi. I warned him that deception doesn't pay, but he evaded the issue. Finally I had it out with him at his relative's house in Delhi. The relative persuaded him to let us have a quarter of the land for four times the original price. The original block was going for 4200 rupees, and he sold us a quarter of it for 5,000 rupees!
Between our two blocks was some land belonging to the Muni Mandal Ashram. The head of the ashram, Mandaleshwar Achalanand, also beat around the bush when I approached him. I gave him a piece of my mind, too. Finally he got angry and said, 'This is my land and I won't sell it at any price. What are you going to do about it?' I replied, 'It's your land, you say, but let's see you take it with you! Look at you, an old man about to die and still you don't have any sense. I tried to reason with him, but he said, 'This is all useless talk, and only good for fooling householders.' I upbraided him sharply and left.
'A week later I returned to Hardwar only to discover that the Mandaleshwar had died and his successor had sold the entire block except for the land where our access road was to be. He refused at first to take payment from us, but finally accepted one-third of the original price.
Spread across 15 acres, Prem Nagar today is a holy place, a shrine where pilgrims come to pay their respects. Thousands of devotees come here for the annual Vaisakhi festival in April. Shri Maharaj Ji's encouragement, the selfless labour of thousands of premies and the tireless effort and supervision of Shri Mata Ji have built this ashram. It is situated on Jwalapur Road, three kilometres from the railway station between the three townships of Hardwar, Jwalapur and Kankhal. It is Shri Maharaj Ji's dream come true.
In 1948 while the purchase of the land was being settled, Shri Maharaj Ji told Mahatma Satyanand, "If we manage to get this land, from here to the street we'll construct a long driveway, bordered by beautiful gardens. We'll build seven arches along it. After passing under the seventh, premies will have darshan of their Lord. Over there we'll build a huge satsang hall. Inside will be artistically presented quotations from all the great Masters. Situated in the driveway gardens will be fountains, benches and flowerbeds with all kinds of flowers. The pathway will have raised borders on which will be printed quotations froth all saints and scriptures concerning love, devotion, service, Knowledge, religion, etc. Premies will read these as they walk along, Then they'll purify their minds in the holy stream of satsang and have darshan of the Master."
This ashram has a delightful history. Forty years, ago there were only five acres of rocky scrubland. Nowadays it is as beautiful as a bride in all her finery.
After 1950 the premies got together to level the land and construct a but where Maharaj Ji and some premies lived. This area was crawling with scorpions and snakes, but still Maharaj Ji lived there and worked on the ashram. A few years later a two-roomed house was built for him. Gradually the ashram took shape and premies from all over India would take leave from their jobs and go to Hardwar to lend a hand, taking advantage of a golden opportunity.
Near the main gate was some hollowed-out land. It was also acquired and within a couple of years had been filled in. Here a
stage area could be built large enough to hold an audience of thousands.
Mahatma Dharmanandji was formerly known as Deen Dayal and worked as head gardener at Delhi's Lady Hardinge Hospital. Here is his story:
I received Knowledge in 1944 in Delhi, but I first saw Maharaj Ji at Kankhal. My daughter-in-law, Jamuna, was a devoted premie. One day she informed me that Maharaj Ji was constructing an ashram at Hardwar and wanted me to go there to plan the gardens and supervise their planting. She congratulated me on this great chance to do service and gave me Shri Maharaj Ji's Kankhal address. Kanheya met me at the door and invited me in. Shri Maharaj Ji was upstairs taking a bath at the time. Presently he came downstairs clad only in a towel. He sat down on a string bed. He was still a bit wet from his bath. The drops of water on his long curly hair shone like pearls, or so it seemed to me., He had the physique and bearing of a Yogi.
I told him why I had come. After lunch I went with Mahatma Satyanand to inspect the land. It was rocky and overgrown. There were mounds of earth and big holes all over the place and it was covered with tough undergrowth. After surveying the whole area I designed a rough layout and presented it to Maharaj Ji in the evening. He approved and asked when I could start. He was so awe-inspiring that all I could mutter was 'Yes.'
In those days there was a well and Mahatma Brahmanand used to turn the wheel to draw water. I needed water for the gardens, and wondered how I could bring it from the well. I decided to build a sloping channel so that, as the waterwheel turned, the water would course along it to the gardens. I was very pleased with myself and couldn't wait to show my handiwork to Maharaj Ji. When he arrived I told him, 'I have constructed this ditch and now the water can reach the garden.' I was expecting him to praise me but he didn't even look at my ditch. On the contrary, he said, 'If I had known what a numbskull you are I would have had someone else do it.' I was stunned, and answered, 'Master,
rebuild it however you want it. He dismissed me, saying, 'Oh well, let if remain as it is.'
After he had left, Mahatmas Satyanand and Brahmanand came and told me how pleased Maharaj Ji was. I replied, 'Mahatma Ji, are you joking? He's very angry with me.' Mahatma Ji insisted; 'We're telling you the truth. He even went so far as to say, 'Could you do as well? Could anyone else have done it as well as he did?' Then, it occurred to me that Maharaj Ji had spoken harshly to me only to puncture my pride. I realized that it had all been for the best.
'I used to take leave from my job and go to Prem Nagar to continue my work. Every Saturday I'd go from Delhi to Hardwar and work all day Sunday then come back Sunday night. All day we'd work filling in holes, levelling inclines, hoeing and digging and sending 8 inch scorpions and huge snakes scurrying from their holes. But they never bit us and we never killed them.
'All we ever ate were wild greens and thick chapatties, because there were plenty of vines on that land. The chapatties were as thick as your hand. After a month this began to taste as good as halvah and pourries to us.
'Finally the land was ready and holes were dug for the mango trees. Maharai Ji sent me to Saharanpur to buy saplings and a variety of flowering plants. Before going I informed him, 'I'll do the planting but they'll need water, so please make the necessary arrangements.' 'Don't worry,' he said. I'll take care of it this evening. We planted from sunup to sundown and in the evening it rained enough to water the plants. As the rain got heavier, I ran into the hut. Maharaj Ji said, 'See! I've watered your plants!'
In 1952, three months before Vaisakhi, Shri Maharaj Ji said, 'I'm planning to hold a big festival here. I want you to adorn this ashram like a bride. How much money do you need for flowers?'
I replied, "It's all right. I have enough with me.' Maharaj Ji insisted that I take money from him but I refused, because in those days I had a good income and wanted to donate the flowers myself. Besides my regular job, I had a small nursery business. However,
when I reached home I found that something had gone wrong and the business had collapsed, and now I had no other source of income. Fixing my mind on Shri Maharaj Ji I carried on I bought a truckful of potted plants of many varieties which I had to send to Prem Nagar a week before Vaisakhi but I was so short of money that I had to borrow 40 rupees from Behari Lal. Anyway, I loaded up the truck, paid the driver his 80 rupees and started off for Prem Nagar. I was down to my last 70 paise, which I figured would just about cover the cost of tea on the way. As. I was leaving, my wife complained, 'What are we supposed to eat? Stones?' 'Trust in Maharaj Ji' I replied, 'and make do somehow.'
'Soon after I reached Prem Nagar the postman arrived with a telegram. He asked Maharaj Ji, 'Does anyone named Deen Dayal live here?' Maharaj Ji handed me the telegram and said with a Smile, 'I can't read English, so I don't know what it says! I read, 'Return quickly.' Maharaj Ji gave me 20 rupees and told Kanheya to drop me at the railway station. I was quite annoyed, wondering what had happened. When I arrived home, my wife said, 'Just after you left, your friend Ram Nath the contractor came here. He handed me a cheque for 350 rupees and 750 cash and had me send that telegram, because he needs plants within three days!' I was overjoyed and said, 'Well, now do you believe in Guru Maharaj Ji? He gives everyone what they need?'
'Once I went to Kankhal on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan. I was carrying a small package of tinsel bracelets. When I met Shri Maharaj Ji he asked what was in the parcel. He took it from me and opened it. When he saw the bracelet's he held out his wrist and told me to tie them. He called his little sons Shri Satpal Ji and Shri Bhole Ji and had me tie them too.
'Once I was involved in an accident and my leg was broken in three places. After being discharged I went home and wrote an anguished letter to Maharaj Ji. A few days later he suddenly arrived on my doorstep. My leg was in plaster, of course. I wanted to pranam but he told me not to get up. He came to my bed and put his foot on my head. I said to him, 'Master, I'm told that
this leg won't heal.' He replied, 'Don't listen to such rubbish! Don't worry. You'll be all right.' As he left he blessed me and said, 'You'll be all right, you'll be all right', and within two or three months my leg had healed.
'I remember he said during one Vaisakhi, 'Several rich men have offered to build this ashram, but I'd rather give all of you the chance to do service."
After Shri Maharaj Ji's passing away, Shri Mata Ji undertook the task of completing the ashram. Now Prem Nagar's satsang hall is the largest in Hardwar. It would be hard to find anywhere such a big hall which doesn't have columns.
As soon as a person enters the main gate, he feels an aura of peace and blessedness. He passes under the seven arches, symbolising the seven chakras or centres of cosmic energy in the human body, traversing which the individual's consciousness is united with the Supreme Being, represented by the ashram's Shiva fountain. The tree-lined avenue has raised borders, bearing quotations from great saints and masters. The ashram's beauty is enhanced by a variety of trees and flowers, and approximately 250 types of roses. On the eastern extremity is the Ganges, on the banks of which Shri Mata Ji had bathing steps constructed in 1979. She also constructed in Maharaj Ji's memory an exquisite marble shrine. Even the soil of this singularly beautiful ashram is holy, because every nook and cranny bears the footprints of Shri Maharaj Ji and Shri Mata Ji. Maharaj Ji's voice still seems to ring in the air. Once a person enters this tranquil and fragrant environment he feels that, at least for the time being, he is in heaven. Automatically he goes into an introspective and meditative mood.
A craftsman who worked on the building of the shrine tells of an experience he had there:
"Although this happened several years ago, I still remember it as if it were yesterday. We four had been sent to Prem Nagar to build the marble shrine. I was apprehensive, not knowing what kind of people were there and what went on. We arrived at 7 p.m.
on a winter's evening. We were met at the gate by a mahatma wearing a turban and walking with a stick. I couldn't see him clearly in the dark, but he reminded me of Swami Vivekananda. I told him that Balbir Singh had sent us from Delhi to work on the shrine, so he let us in.
We were allotted Room No. 1. We had dinner and slept. The next morning we started our work. My job was to engrave verses from the Ramayana around the base of the Shrine. From time to time premies would come and chat, observe our work, and talk about Shri Maharaj Ji. During evening Arti I would go and watch them to see what they did, but I didn't mix with them. I was wary of them, being a Sikh and very attached to my religion. Mahatmas would sit with me on the lawn and give satsang but it had no effect on me. One day it occurred to me however, that if I didn't get out of there soon, I'd be converted! Still it was such a peaceful place that I had no wish to leave. I had never seen such an enormous rose garden. It was all as peaceful as could be. I liked to go for early morning walks in the garden then sit by the river.
'One day I was sitting at the shrine, working later than usual. When it became too dark to work I just stood there for a long time, staring at Shri Maharaj Ji's statue, wondering what he was like, this than whose fame had spread so far.'
Early one morning, about 4 o'clock, I felt someone grab my ear and force me to sit up. I opened my eyes and saw Shri Hans Ji Maharaj standing there, dressed all in white. 'Get up and remember the Holy Name!' he ordered. Indeed, I found myself remembering the Name. It was a Name which I had never known before. It was reverberating with every breath I took. I was completely absorbed in meditation. I tried several times to stop but
the experience kept on going and I saw a remarkable vision which I can't describe. I thought that I must be dreaming, but when I opened my eyes it was still there, so I realized that I wasn't dreaming. I sat like that until 7 a.m. I went and told a mahatma all about it and he assured me that it was real, and added, 'You are incredibly lucky. I have never heard of anything like this before.'
'The following day our work was finished and I returned to Delhi. I had received everything I needed."
Indian ashrams are traditionally places where saints and sages practised meditation and where the highest knowledge was passed from Master to disciple. The ashram represents purity, virtue, spirituality, high ideals and sharing of the highest wisdom.
The aim behind setting up an ashram is not merely to provide a retreat, but also a centre of learning, similar to the Christian monastic ideal. Traditionally, students receive initiation, learn to serve selflessly and study the scriptures. Then, after receiving the Guru's blessings, they leave to face life's trials.
Indian ashrams are centres of learning, similar to the medieval European monasteries. Prem Nagar is not just a place to do service. It is also a meditation centre. The Master never forgets the devotee who spends his life in service. In their satsangs, Shri Mata Ji and Shri Satpal Ji Maharaj often mention such devotees. The devotee who is thus remembered by the Master is indeed fortunate. Be he mahatma, ashram resident or householder, the premie who serves sincerely is always in the Master's heart. One Vaisakhi during satsang, Shri Mata Ji recalled:
"One Muslim brother, named Vikram, served for many years in the ashram. His service brought him so close to us that we had complete trust in him. He came to the ashram when Satpal Ji was only six months old.
'When we first bought the land at Hardwar it was dotted with huge roots, and Shri Maharaj Ji gave Vikram the service of digging them out. I wondered how such a skinny man could dig out those huge roots. Shri Maharaj Ji answered, 'He'll do it because that's the service he's been given. If he's weak in devotion he'll abandon the task and leave, but if he's firm he'll carry on and this service will purify him and strengthen him physically, too. I don't think that he is weak. He'll turn out to be trustworthy.' Digging out all those roots made him strong inside and out. He became a master of all trades. There was no service that he couldn't do. He was adept in
construction, carpentry, ironwork and farming. His loving service brought him very close to Shri Maharaj Ji.
'One January day we visited Prem Nagar. Vikram wasn't wearing a sweater and was shivering, although he said that he wasn't feeling cold. Shri Maharaj Ji immediately took off his own sweater and made Vikram wear it. In other words, that devotee had by his service, captured his Lord's heart. Such a devotee is never forgotten, not even for a moment.'
'One of our mahatmas was Daya Bai. She was very active in the Quit India movement. Her husband was a school principal. Her home lacked nothing. She used to eat from gold and silver dishes. When she received Knowledge she told her husband, 'I've found the true Master. What's the use of sitting at home anymore?' She arranged satsang programs and was very active in spreading Knowledge. Her relatives thought that she was crazy. That's the way the world is people think that anyone who follows a Master must be mad, yet they consider themselves to be quite sane! But everyone is mad - some are mad about money, some about husband or wife, some about children.' This world is a madhouse. That is why saints said that being crazy for God is the best kind of madness.
'She herself did a lot of service and she encouraged others to do so. She donated many ceiling fans to the ashrams. Good work is always remembered. She left her body very peacefully and was cremated on the banks of the Ganges at Hardwar. When it was time to extinguish the fire, a gentle rain came out of nowhere and put out the flames. There were no clouds, in the sky.
'So this is how devotees are. People will always remember the great work they do. If a devotee remembers God from the depths of his heart, he never goes astray. You should be inspired by Daya Bai's example.
'We always cherish the memory of devotees who did good work, whereas those who did evil are despised: The Master embraces the devotee who regards himself as the devotees' devotee
and the servants' servant. That's the remarkable thing. He loves the devotee in whom there is no ego or vanity."
On another occasion, before a huge audience at Delhi's Ram Lila Ground, Shri Mata Ji had this to say about the late Behari Lal.
"There were very few premies at the time when Behari Lal took Knowledge. Throughout his life he served selflessly. He would supervise the catering for all the big festivals. As time passed and he became very old I told him to rest, but he would say, 'Mata Ji, I'm still quite strong. I can supervise and arrange everything from my chair. Even though I have to remain seated, I can get a lot done.' Two months before the start of any major festival he would leave home and involve himself in the preparations. This festival reminds me of him. He may not be with us physically, but he is here in spirit. I can see him before me right now. A person's family can forget him after he dies, his memory may fade for them, but the Master always cherishes the memory of his devotees.
'Service is vitally important for spiritual evolution. Shri Hans Ji Maharaj used to remind us how, in the old days, Masters would initiate disciples only after they had served for many years, So that when they received Knowledge, it immediately blossomed in them. A carefully prepared field has greater potential for bearing harvests, whereas seeds won't germinate in an inadequately cultivated field. However, merciful as he is, and because the times are so bad, Guru Maharaj Ji gives Knowledge to anyone who has done a little service and heard a little satsang. If, by merely receiving Knowledge you could control your mind, there wouldn't be any need for service and satsang. So first we initiate you so that you'll believe that this is the real thing. Then you do service and meditation, and if you don't, you won't grow in Knowledge. Tulsidas said that if a devotee doesn't serve; he can't cross the ocean of worldliness. There were always some premies who didn't come to satsang or do service, and to them Maharaj Ji would say; 'Should I coat this Knowledge with honey for you? If you could get salvation and control of mind just by getting initiated, why did great devotees give their lives in service? Were they stupid? Listen!
The more you serve, the better you'll meditate. If you don't serve, how do you think you'll be able to meditate? Only those who lose themselves in service get liberation."
Once a mahatma named Bodhanand Shastri made the mistake of saying on stage, "I've come here to Satlok Ashram to have Maharaj Ji's darshan. That's my service." This moved Maharaj Ji to set the record straight about what constitutes service:
"A devotee, like a servant, is one who serves. First study what the saints had to say about service. Read the stories of the ten Sikh masters. See how they served. So, you think coming here once a year is all there is to service, do you? The path of service is the highest and most difficult. Lord Krishna Himself cleared away dirty plates after the Rajsuya ceremony.
'You should understand how Hanuman got the power to fly. If Hanuman, Lord Rama and Lord Krishna has such power, then you and I must have also. It's said that God is within you like fragrance is within flowers. And it's not just a matter of serving just once. It takes lifetimes of service, but you just concentrate on serving in this life. At initiation you promised to dedicate your mind, body and wealth. What service have you done? It is written,
'Even if you gave everything you owned to the Master, it still wouldn't equal what he gives you', and,
'Even if you give your head in exchange for the Knowledge, it would still be a bargain.'
'Once you've given the head, the body is automatically given, and all our worldly connections are related only to the body. But you people! You'd sit in samadhi in front of the Master and say that you are doing service!'
'Only a few devotees have actually put in the effort to build this stage, and the rest of you are sitting here like lords. It means nothing to you where all this came from and how it was erected.
'The role of a serving devotee is very hard, and one can be a master only after having served. No one can be a father without having been a son. That's the way it is. It's a natural law. First be a
servant, a devotee, then be a master. Now, I'm not saying that you should serve me. I don't need it.
'Everything is expensive nowadays, and you'll say that you are short of money. But I assure you that if you dedicate some of whatever you have in service, it'll be to your advantage. I'll illustrate my point:.
'Once upon a time, a splendid sacrificial rite was held. At the same time elsewhere, there were two starving men. One had not eaten for 24 days and the other for 18. Someone gave some food to the latter, who immediately gave it to the other man, considering his need to be greater. A grain of rice fell on the ground. A mongoose arrived and lay down on that spot, and half his body turned golden. This mongoose happened to arrive later at the abovementioned ceremony which was being held by Arjuna and his brothers. The mongoose rolled in the dust, expecting the other half of his body to turn golden, but nothing happened. So he declared, I've heard so much about the significance of this ceremony but actually it's nothing.' What did he mean? A lot of money had been dedicated in that ceremony but it was from the Royal Treasury, which was filled with other people's money anyway, so it didn't mean all that much. On the other hand, the sacrifice of the man who has little or nothing means a lot, and brings great spiritual rewards.
Your mind will be drawn towards service when you dedicate your physical and material resources. Service is never in vain. If you don't attain perfection in this life you'll be-reborn as a human being next time. Knowledge is eternal and imperishable so you'll get the chance to serve and meditate again. Guru is the Lord of souls, so he again draws the embodied soul to himself and finds a place for it. The disciple who criticizes his guru or who turns his back on service will never get salvation and will have to revolve life after life in the cycle of birth and death. Someone who tries to buy his Guru's affection will be sorry. So don't try. Guru is not interested in your money. He only wants your love.
'Money used in devotion is money well spent. A sensible devotee is he who uses his intelligence in spreading Knowledge. When people high up in the social hierarchy serve saints then humbler folk are inspired to do likewise. A man is ennobled, not degraded, by service. It's very rare to get the chance to serve someone who meditates on the Holy Name.
'You should dedicate your all in serving the Guru, but if you can't, you should at least dedicate ten per cent of your income in service and two hours daily of your time for satsang. If you can't do that much, you won't progress.
'Guru encourages disciples to serve because he knows that it will uplift them. All the supernatural powers are at the Master's command, but instead of using them he gets his disciples to work, because it is for their own good. Just talking about service isn't the same as doing it. When a disciple understands the mercy of the Guru in allowing him to do service, he does it eagerly. Guru's grace is something very great. A true disciple obeys his Master and thereby achieves enlightenment."
In 1958 Shri Maharaj Ji bought land at Muradnagar, not far from Delhi, beside the Ganges canal. Today Satlok Ashram covers 100 acres. In 1965 Maharaj Ji addressed a premie congregation:
'People think that I'm uneducated, but I am master of a science which nobody else in India knows! Look! This is a map of Satlok Ashram, here I am going to build temples of all religions. Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples, Christian churches, Sikh gurudwaras and Muslim mosques will all be there. The world's major religions all believe that God is Light and that His omnipresent Light and Name are within all beings. I'm talking about, the same Light and Holy Name and urge people to know and realize them. Satlok Ashram is being built so that people can take Knowledge and have a practical realization of these universally accepted beliefs. You should all participate in this meritorious undertaking in whichever way you can."
Although religions may differ in external details such as rituals, from the spiritual viewpoint they are all talking about the same thing. Therefore, in order to clarify and focus upon the common factors which unify religions, he wished to build the temple of all religions to foster the spirit of unity and religious tolerance. After Shri Maharai Ji left the world Shri Mata Ji took up the project and is endeavouring to get it realized as soon as possible. The cornerstone has already been laid.
In accordance with Maharaj Ji's plan, the Shri Hans Higher Secondary School was opened in 1969 by Shri Mata Ji. It takes students from Nursery to Grade 12. Thousands of local children have received the benefits of education here. The school lays emphasis on ethical and spiritual education in addition to the regular syllabus.
Besides the school, the ashram maintains a charitable hospital and dispensary, where every day, more than 100 patients receive medical treatment. Shri Mata Ji is keen to develop this facility and extensions are underway. ,
During satsang Shri Mata Ji emphasized the importance of ashrams:
"An ashram is a place where the devotees do whatever service is assigned to them. This is very beneficial for them. Even Lord Krishna chopped firewood for his Guru. King Daleep tended cows. The devotee's body may be mortal but through his deeds he lives forever. Lord and devotee dwell together eternally, in another form. Successive generations revere their memory.
'Besides learning the lessons of spirituality, devotees learn skills also. Orphans, widows, the poor and the elderly find shelter there. There is a school for the children. Premies learn masonry, carpentry, electrical and other construction skills. If they are assigned to the printing presses they are taught typesetting, printing, layout, binding, etc. Some go on to develop writing skills which they use to make spiritual ideals available to society. Others learn agricultural or horticultural skills.
'The sum total of ashram residents and mahatmas is more than 2000. They lead lives of renunciation and non-attachment. The Indian Government is promoting family planning on a large scale, making use of medicine, operations, etc. We however, show people how to control their desires through Knowledge. This is a very successful method of family planning!
'So ashrams do a lot for people. I don't want people to stay unskilled and ignorant. I want to see them skilled, efficient, wise and spiritual benefactors of society. Our Maharaj Ji inspired us to be devoted, active and wise. This is how society is improved."
Siyaram of Ferozabad relates this interesting incident:
"I attended Vaisakhi 1964 at Satlok. Maharaj Ji said in satsang that the meaning of 'Murad' is 'wish', so anyone coming to satsang at Muradnagar would have all his wishes fulfilled. A fellow premie from Ferozabad, named Khetpal, decided to test this for himself. He was childless, so he prayed, 'Guru Maharaj Ji, please give me a son. Then you may take him back.' I immediately interrupted him, saying, 'What have you done? You've asked for something and then negated it.' He replied, 'Listen, things like that just don't happen. I was only joking.' But Guru Maharaj Ji's words came true. Khetpal's wife had a son, bringing great happiness to the home. However, when the child was six months old, he died. That premie got exactly what he'd asked for, so I told him that there was no use grieving. Then he regretted his lack of faith, saying, 'If I thought that a son really would have been born, I'd never have asked for the second part of that wish. It was wrong of me to doubt Maharaj Ji."
Industrialist Keshay Dutt Dholakundi of Gwalior has been a loyal and devoted disciple of both Shri Hans Ji and Shri Satpal Ji Maharaj. He accompanied Shri Satpal Ji Maharaj on his historic march from Badrinath to Delhi. He has also received civic awards for his services to his city.
Before receiving Knowledge, he was obsessed with money and having a good time. His parents and younger brother had been initiated but he would have nothing to do with it. Anyway, at the
insistence of his parents, he attended satsang. An army officer's wife sang a very sweet devotional song which had a great effect on him. He says, "It jolted my slumbering sense of discrimination, and transformed my attitude. I decided to please my mother by receiving Knowledge and serving Maharaj Ji. She used to tell me that Knowledge was the Truth, to which I'd reply that I would find out for myself who Shri Hans Ji Maharaj was and what kind of power he had.
'At all events, my wife and I took Knowledge together. I saw Maharaj Ji in meditation and also had various glimpses of the Lord's lila. Wishing to see Maharaj Ji in person, I went to Muradnagar, where he'd said that all wishes come true. I was thrilled just by seeing him on stage. I felt that I was in heaven. Very early next morning I stood in line for darshan. The line was very long and it was two hours before my turn came. Just then Maharaj Ji got angry at someone and got up and went inside. I thought to myself, 'Look what a miserable sinner I am! I came so close to his feet yet couldn't touch them.' However, a little while later he reappeared in a happy mood, his face blooming like a rose. He said to me, 'Were you sad because you couldn't do pranam? How many of you have come from Gwalior?' I was in seventh heaven! I was unable to utter a word and just gazed at the glorious splendour of the Master's beautiful face. He very lovingly placed his hand on my head. A mahatma told me to do pranam, and this brought me to my senses. I told Maharaj Ji that only we two had come, and he said, 'You two are quite enough! Do service and give satsang. My blessings are with you.' Indeed, his very presence was entrancing!"
Shri Maharaj Ji at first lived in a small house near Hardwar Railway Station. After buying the Prem Nagar land, he shifted with his family to the Kankhal house, where Shri Satpal Ji Maharaj was born in 1951. About a month after his birth, some premies went to Hardwar to bathe in the Ganges on the occasion of Kartika, and took advantage of the opportunity to have darshan. In the course of their conversation about the newborn child, Shri
Maharaj Ji said, "Now the sun has risen and all the stars will be eclipsed. He'll spread Knowledge all over the world and ashrams will spring up everywhere." Shri Satpal Ji Maharaj was born on September 21st, 1951, the spring equinox. His horoscope shows him to be very pure, devoted to his father, of highly developed intellect and the embodiment of the Yoga of the discerning mind. He would be devoted to the spiritual ethic.
Every year since then, the birthdays of both Shri Hans Ji Maharaj and Shri Satpal Ji Maharaj have been celebrated annually. Shri Maharaj Ji himself told Shri Satpal Ji, "You are perfect. You don't have to become anything. You will complete my unfinished work."
Once, at Kankhal, Shri Maharaj Ji told Kanheya to fill Shri Satpal Ji's bathtub with water. Then Shri Maharaj, Ji started to wash the child himself. Kanheya exclaimed, "Maharaj Ji, let me do it." Maharaj Ji replied, "Oh, Kanha! Don't you realize who he is?" Kanheya answered, "I believe him to be a divine incarnation." Shri Maharaj Ji answered, "The person who serves him is dearer to me than my own life."
In December 1954 a procession for Shri Satpal Maharaj was held, starting from the Red Fort in Delhi. Hari Ram, Behari Lal and the Delhi premies organized it. A magnificent float had been constructed. Shri Maharaj Ji, Shri Mata Ji and Shri Bhole Ji were, to follow in the car. Because of the crowd, the car had difficulty reaching the float. Shri Mata Ji was uneasy at first, but Shri Maharaj Ji only said, "He was born for this. Thousands upon thousands will follow him." He lifted Shri Satpal Ji out of the car and placed him on the float. He blessed him and with his own hands placed a crown on his head.
Sarjawati, a premie from Nazafgarh, had this experience in meditation long before the procession took place: "Shri Maharaj Ji appeared with Shri Satpal on his shoulders, smiling and saying, 'Look! I've brought the Lord here for you. Bow to him!' Shri Satpal Ji put his foot forward and I did Pranam. I asked, 'Is he really the Lord?' Maharaj Ji answered, 'What do you think he is? A
fake? I've brought the true Lord who will enlighten the world!' When, in 1954, I saw the procession I exclaimed to myself, 'Why, he's the one whom Shri Maharaj Ji told me is the Lord!"
Shri Maharaj Ji lived for several years at Kankhal, which is right beside the Ganges. Once the river flooded and the marketplace was four feet underwater. The residents of the area approached Mahatma Brahmanand and pleaded, "Please ask your Maharaj Ji to do something to stop this flood!" Maharaj Ji stepped out of his house and walked barefoot through the market. The floodwaters immediately started receding, and within two days had completely disappeared. This remarkable coincidence was the talk of the bazaar and the general consensus was that the goddess of the Ganges had come to touch Maharaj Ji's feet, and having done that, returned. Although Mahatma Ji refuted this, saying that it was just an act of God, some people had their own ideas.
Shri Maharaj Ji used to amuse himself by setting premies at odds with each other and then watch them battle it out. Kiran Saxena recalls how once he started a quarrel between herself and her friend, Tara. Then Shri Mata Ji stepped in and said, "What are you quarrelling about? He set you up for this, so that he could enjoy a good argument!"
On April 3rd and 4th, a 'Parliament of Religions' was held at Shivananda Ashram, in Rishikesh. Scholars and teachers from home and abroad participated. Shri Maharaj Ji was also invited.
Here is an excerpt from his speech:
"Since yesterday I've listened to every speaker call this function an all-religions conference, but no one has yet suggested how they can all, be united. What is religion? Did you ever stop to consider that, in the same way as the same sun shines upon us all, so there is only one Reality which has always existed, exists right now and will always exist, and which our scriptures call 'truth, consciousness and bliss? Almighty God is described as being the ultimate truth, consciousness itself, and bliss, and is one and the same for all.
'Yesterday a speaker was explaining something by quoting from the Bhagavad Gita. It's not for me to say who is learned in the Gita and who isn't, but in this instance I feel that the speaker hasn't understood the Gita at all, because if he had, he'd have seen that Light which the Gita describes as being brighter than a thousand suns:
'The light from a thousand suns could not equal that Light which Arjuna saw.'
'Only someone who has seen this Light can show it to others. If he is incapable of revealing that Light, yet claims that he understands the Gita, don't you think that he's an impostor!
Suppose I want to learn English and two people offer to teach me. The first has studied English and the second hasn't. Now you tell me, which of them would be able to teach me? Any sensible person would say that the man who has studied the language would be the one to teach me, while the other man who hasn't could never teach me anything in a million years. Likewise; someone who hasn't seen, the Divine Light himself cannot show it to others. So aren't those of you who haven't seen the Light yet tell others to see it, frauds and impostors?
I can see myself in a clean mirror. However, even if I have a mirror and I'm not blind, yet still I can't see my face, what do you think is the problem? You'll say that there is insufficient light or no light at all. Right!
'Similarly, you can't see God because of your inner darkness, even though the mirror of your mind may be clean. God is within you, so any external techniques to reach Him only serve to mislead, not enlighten you, but you can't see God until you can meditate on the Inner Light.
Lord Krishna said,
'Where sun, moon and fire don't shine, there shines the Supreme Light, which is My highest abode. Once the soul reaches that, it doesn't return.'
'The Lord showed Arjuna that place which is self-effulgent Light. We also have to realize it only then will we be able to free ourselves from the cycle of birth and death.
'We all study Gita and recite it to others, but what's the use if we don't make efforts to realize, in this very life, that Light described in the Gita?
'There are basically two types of theology the Muslim-Christian type which doesn't believe in reincarnation, and the Hindu-Buddhist type which does. Now, if there is no such thing as reincarnation, believing in it won't cause it to become a reality, and, conversely, if there does exist such a phenomenon, then not believing in it won't free you from being caught up in it. However, Divine Law is one and the same for all. If you don't see the Divine Light, which the Koran called Noor-i-lahi, while you are alive, how do you think you'll be able to see it once you are shut up in the grave or when your soul ends up in the body of a dog or donkey?
'Last night people were singing the hymn, 'Come to us, Krishna, playing Your flute.' Now, I humbly ask you from where are you asking Krishna to come? Is there any place where He isn't? He Himself explains in the Gita, 'All beings are threaded on Me like flowers on a garland.' So what's the point of the flowers shouting, 'Come, thread, come to us!? God is in your heart. So from where do you expect Him to come? God is within, so the technique to realize Him must also be within.
'People like to go to the cinema. They say that they enjoy themselves. The pleasure is an inner feeling, it isn't a property of the screen or the pictures. Watching the film concentrates the mind, so you feel happy. Whenever your mind is concentrated on something you feel happy. The happiness is not in the objects themselves.
'To realize true bliss you have to concentrate your mind. Cleanse your mind of impurities. All the saints say this. If your house is dirty inside, you'll never get it clean by sweeping outside. You are dirty on the inside, yet you're using techniques to purify yourself on the outside. This won't get rid of your mental
impurities. You have to find an inner technique, one which can purify your mind.
'The scriptures talk about four kinds of speech. Baikhari speech is the speech which we normally use, madhyama sounds come from the throat and paschyanti sounds from the diaphragm. However, only the para or transcendental sound purifies us inwardly and concentrates the mind. The rest are produced externally. You won't see God until you realize the para-sound.
'I. also heard some people chanting 'Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare', claiming, it to be the 'Mahamantra' (Great Mantra) which can liberate the soul. You don't know Truth yourself and lead others astray! What could be more fraudulent than this? The Great Mantra has no beginning and no end. It is the 'Mantra' on which Lord Shiva himself meditates and which he reveals to others for their liberation:
'You yourselves have never bothered to find out what the Mahamantra is. You've never humbled yourselves to ask anyone. Puffed up with pride in your own learning you call anything that comes to mind, the Great Mantra. See how the so-called gurus and mahatmas of today deceive people! Some of them call Aum the Great Mantra and tell others to chant it, yet they never stop to think that all these chants and spells are a product of our speech. They come into existence only when we utter them, and when we stop, they come to an end. So how can they be the Great Mantra?
'I humbly urge you all to know what is the Great Mantra or para-sound, which is the ultimate form of devotion described in the Gita. However, it can't be known without Guru. Who is a real Guru? Gu means. 'darkness' and ru means 'light', so Guru is he who can lead you from the darkness to the Light.
'The scriptures mention four kinds of light - sunlight, moonlight, firelight and Divine Light. Other species can also see the first three kinds of light, but only man can see the fourth type. That is why the Ramayana declares, 'The soul which receives a human body is extremely fortunate, as it is rare even for the gods to
get and all the scriptures sing its glory. It is just right for spiritual practices and is the doorway to liberation.'
You can put all the ingredients for making halvah in front of an idol and invoke the deity to come and cook it, but it won't be able to do so. No creature, whether airborne, aquatic or terrestrial, could cook that halvah. Only human beings can. If you throw food to fish, crows or dogs they will eat it. All creatures can eat, but man alone can cook. Likewise, only in a human existence can the soul meditate on the Divine Light and Holy Word (which is the Great Mantra). Human beings in the past have meditated on the Light, people are meditating now, and people in future will also meditate on it.
'So-called great mahatmas dance around saying, 'Hold on to your foot for Rama, keep one hand in the air for Krishna, and the other on your back for God.' I ask you, is this devotion? Which scriptures ever called this devotion? Could you do this as your last breath is leaving your body? Knowing the Name which is the same for all and which can be remembered all the time, and meditating on it is real devotion.
'The Gita says that those who worship elementals and spirits go to that plane after death; those who worship ancestors go to the ancestral plane, while those who worship the Lord go to Him. So, if while you are alive you haven't experienced God's True Name and Light, how will you be able to go straight to Him when you die? In chapter eight of the Gita, Lord Krishna says, 'At the time of death, he who leaves his body remembering My Omnipresent, Cosmic Form undoubtedly attains Me but
'At death a person will only be able to remember that which has preoccupied him throughout his life. So at all times and in all situations remember Me, and fight. If you surrender mind and intellect to Me you will realize Me.'
The Lord's commandment is, 'Constantly meditate on Me and at the same time carry out your worldly duties.'
'Guru Nanak also says that the Light of the soul is to merge in the Universal Light. If you haven't seen that Light practically while you are alive, do you think that by reading about it you'll be able to merge in it when you die? Guru Nanak also taught his disciples to meditate on the Holy Name while standing, sitting, sleeping or awake, and you'll be successful in all that you do.' We listen to what the saints have said and even quote them, but we don't often wonder, what kind of meditation is possible anytime and in any situation.
'St. Kabir also said, 'You twist a rosary in your hand and mutter with your tongue, but your mind goes in all directions. This is not meditation.' You may well think that twisting a rosary is meditation, but it is not. Kabir further says, 'Ages have gone by twisting rosaries, but still you don't know where the mind goes. Throw away the external rosary and turn the Inner one.' This verse is studied in schools. The usual interpretation taught is 'Throw away the external rosary and divert the mind away from sense-stimulii'. However, the teachers don't ask their students if they have actually diverted their minds, nor can mind be diverted just by saying so, or without knowing what the Inner Rosary is. Devotees use hand-rosaries but they don't know anything about the inner rosary.
'Yesterday a mahatma told us that there is only one religion, which is to leave all religious practices and take refuge in the Lord. The Gita says, 'Abandon all other religions and take refuge in Me, and I Will save you from all your sins.' It's easy enough to say, but I ask you, where do we go to grasp His Feet? God is within the heart. His Light, Form and Holy Name are all within us. Taking refuge in Him means knowing His Light and Name as they exist within you and meditating on them."
Whenever he stayed at Prem Nagar, Shri Maharaj Ji turned everything into an occasion for satsang. He explained the most profound spiritual mysteries to the resident premies and mahatmas in very simple terms.
On one occasion, he taught: "There are four kinds of liberation:
Salok, which means being freed from non-human births and being born as a human being,
Sarnipya, which means associating with the holy and listening to satsang attentively,
Sarupya, which means realizing one's Self by the grace of the Satguru,
Sayujya, which means being initiated by the Guru into the Knowledge of Divine Light and merging oneself with that Light. In that state, all distinctions of meditator, meditation and object of meditation, disappear. Very few are lucky enough to, achieve sayujya liberation."
At this point a premie said, Maharaj Ji, we devotees want nothing more than to always be with you in your embodied form and to serve you."
Maharaj Ji replied, "That's a very noble ideal. Worshipping the Teacher is regarded as being even greater than sayujya liberation. People worship various past masters and construct temples, in their name, but they don't know where those masters are now! Listen, if they taught that 'light merges into Light,' they themselves must have merged in it! When you meditate on the living Master you meditate on all the masters and divine Incarnations, because they are that Light. God's unqualified, formless Energy is reflected in the Guru. That is why it is said that saints are the mirror of the Absolute.
'A premie said to me a little while ago, 'Maharaj Ji, I used to see you but now I don't.' I replied, 'Well, I'm sitting right in front of you. Don't you see me?' He answered, 'I don't mean that kind of darshan, I mean inner darshan. I don't see you in meditation anymore.'
'What confusion! What vanity! You have a bit of experience and you think that you are enlightened. If you could see me in meditation all the time, what would be the need to see me physically? But what you don't realize is that without the physical
Guru Maharaj Ji's grace, how can your inner eye be opened in the first place? Listen! The inner and outer Maharaj Ji's are one. You can only serve the physical Master and it's service that will liberate. When you're enlightened, what service will you do? If you follow your own mind you won't see Me, inside or outside."
Siyaram the churan-seller relates from his own experience how Shri Maharaj Ji looked upon everyone equally. For him there was no such thing as high-born or low-born. He was totally, above such petty distinctions. During one Vaisakhi program, premies from all castes were working together in the kitchen. Ten Brahmin premies starting making a fuss about it, saying, "We are pundits. Do you expect us to eat food cooked by you?" At the time Shri Maharaj Ji was on stage giving satsang. However, he knew what was happening and summoned those ten premies immediately. He gave them a thorough scolding, saying, "Are you trying to cause class tensions among the devotees? In my Court there is no high and no low. Those premies meditate on the Holy Name so they are quite pure:" He then quoted,
"A leper who remembers the Holy Name is of great worth, even though his skin is dropping off. Of what use is a whole and handsome person who, never meditates?"
During Vaisakhi 1952 some local youths armed with sticks stormed Prem Nagar to cause trouble. Shri Maharaj Ji came outside and wanted to know what all the fuss was about. Those
boys jeered at him, saying, You call yourself God, so show us a miracle! Then we'll believe. Shri Maharaj Ji answered; "Look, I haven't set myself up as anything, nor do I perform miracles. My only miracle is satsang, so if you want to listen to satsang go and sit in the audience and I'll show you whatever miracles you like. If you still don't believe me and persist in causing trouble, I'll show you the miracle of calling the police and giving you a taste of jail, because entering anyone's ashram and disturbing the peace is just not proper." They were obviously impressed, because they went to satsang.
Maharaj Ji soon arrived on stage and said, "First listen to what I have to say and then you may ask any questions you like." His satsang was so inspired that those youths listened attentively. Suddenly he stood up and said loudly, "You want a miracle? I'll show you a miracle! I'll transport anyone interested to Paradise, right now! All those who want to go, please raise their hands. The Scriptures say that only a soul which has a lot of merit can go there, but I'll take any one of you there, and you don't even have to leave your body!" Those youths just sat there, staring sheepishly. Amazingly enough, Maharaj Ji waited for five minutes and not one of them raised his hand. Then Maharaj Ji quoted;
'When God summoned him to heaven, Kabir wept, because he knew that no heavenly pleasure could ever match the joy of satsang.'
Then he continued, "I was willing to take you to Paradise but none of you wanted to go. What greater miracle than that could you ever hope to see? You just don't understand the greatness of the saints. You doubt and threaten a real saint, yet revere and serve impostors. Your eye of wisdom has been blinded."
Vijay Singh Prajapat of Ladpur village in Bulandshahr relates an interesting experience:
"I and my wife Bidyapati received Knowledge together. One day after a quarrel, I left home and went to Prem Nagar, where I started doing service. About five days later, Shri Maharaj Ji arrived and asked, 'What are you doing here?' I was thrown right off balance and all I could say was, 'I came here a couple of days ago. I don't have any family.' He smiled and said, 'You also don't have any real sense of renunciation, nor are you devoted enough to live here permanently. Tomorrow you must leave. Your wife will be with you only two more years. She is grieving for you. Whenever she tries to meditate she bursts into tears.'
I didn't go. Three days later he returned and scolded me, saying, 'Your wife hasn't touched food for three days. She's crying on your account, and you're still here! He told a mahatma to put
me on the next train. When I reached home I found my wife lying in bed. She really had not eaten for three days. Everything was as Shri Maharaj Ji had said. Moreover, just as he had foreseen, she died within two years. Really, he did know everything."
Mahatma Satchitananda Bai describes an amazing event which happened at Prem Nagar:
'We were all doing service, constructing a road and filling in holes. Shri Maharaj Ji used to work alongside us carrying dirt and throwing it in the well. We used a bucket to draw water and he would help us. He used to give water to the premies as they worked. Sometimes Maharaj Ji would not let me do it, but would serve there himself.
'One day we expressed the desire to visit Rishikesh, Har-ki Pairi and other places of interest. Shri Maharaj Ji said, 'If I show you all those places right here would you still want to go?' We answered, 'No.'
'A little while later he reappeared, dressed in a yellow dhoti and a garland of flowers, and climbed up on the roof Almost immediately we noticed that every leaf on every bush in the ashram was emitting a wonderful fragrance. Wherever he went, multicoloured light spread out all around. One side of Prem Nagar was lit up with a shimmering radiance and when he turned to the other side, playing his flute, the whole place resonated with heavenly music. Then he conjured up the entire scene of Rishkesh's Laxman Jhular.
Delhi Premies arranged a satsang program at the Constitution Club, which was attended by various prominent politicians: The theme of the program was, 'How can Mankind be saved from nuclear annihilation?' Coinciding with the program was the release of a booklet called 'Atom Bomb', which was distributed to Ministers and Members of Parliament. They were invited to attend the Constitution Club function, to hear about a simple Solution to this problem. Addressing the audience, Shri Maharaj Ji said,
"1 will tell you the solution to the nuclear problem but due to lack of time it will have to be theoretical rather than practical. Today's leaders are much cleverer than me, and they have to bear the entire responsibility for their countries. Still I wish to ask them, 'Are those weapons being manufactured for peace and prosperity's sake?' No! Their sole purpose is to kill people. If you can't give life to a person, at least don't ruin it. A gardener gets angry if flowers are picked without permission, and similarly, God can never be pleased with our mad race to destroy the planet. The Superpowers are engaged in an arms race. What has the world done to them to deserve this?
I can tell you how to avert this disaster. Only saints can show you how to find true peace and happiness. What can an impoverished man offer. others? Our culture and tradition teaches us to feed our guest or neighbour first, even if we have to remain hungry ourselves.
"This world is like a village and all countries are like different families in it We are full of goodwill towards our own relatives but we should go beyond this and see how we can serve others, as one human being to another. We should stretch out our hand to these other families; to share their joys and sorrows. We should forget all about class and race. I ask you to which class did you belong before you were born? What is our duty towards others? If we were to constantly keep these thoughts in mind, how could there ever be a threat to our safety? If the Great Powers were to spend as much money on alleviating poverty as they do on manufacturing nuclear weapons, they would be truly great. The poor would bless rather than curse them.
'Now I'll tell you how to avert the threat of nuclear destruction. First, we should question whether it will actually come to pass or not. If it is a real possibility, we should try to find a solution which will benefit us all If it won't happen, the problem doesn't arise.
'What is a nuclear bomb? It is fire, and should beware of fire. Fires job is to burn. The fire has to be cooled down. Can it be?
Yes! Consider the case of Prahlad. He was bound to a red hot pillar, yet not one hair of his head was singed. The heat was cooled down. Meera was given poison. As she drank it, she remembered the Holy Name and the poison turned to nectar. You've heard all this before, but did you ever try to find out how they did it? How was poison turned to nectar? By the Name of God, and nothing else. These devotees knew the greatness of the Name. Meera acknowledged that it was the Name that turned the poison to nectar. So I'm telling you to know and meditate on this Name, which is within you. If you do, no harm will come to you. Those bombs will explode before they can even be dropped. So what do you have to fear from them?"
A member of the audience who was impressed by this visited Maharaj Ji next day at Rai Bahadur's home. He asked a premie, "If I were to throw burning matches on your Maharaj Ji, wouldn't he burn like everybody cite?" The premie repeated this to Maharaj Ji, who said, "Tell him to come here early tomorrow morning and see for himself. By the grace of my Guru Maharaj Ji, I have perfect faith in the Name, which is so Mighty that I could hold the sun in my hand! What's a tiny box of matches to me?" The premie related Maharaj Ji's message and told him to come the following day between and 8 and 9 p.m. for his practical demonstration.
The next day at the appointed time, Shri Maharaj Ji sat for meditation and waited for that man to come but he didn't have the nerve to show up.
Before the abovementioned conference took place, some premies assembled at Rai Bahadur's house to write invitations and prepare leaflets. They worked, far into the night. Shri Maharaj Ji came out of his, room and sat down with them, saying: "See, you are serving selflessly, without any motive, and you are remembering the Holy Name. When a devotee takes refuge in the Master, and follows his commands, he can become truly desireless.
The confluence of the Ganges and Yarnuna at Allahabad is known as 'Prayag', and the place where it joins the mythical underground stream Saraswati .is called 'Triveni'. From time immemorial it has been the destination for pilgrims, the place where sages, hermits, saddhus, kings and emperors came to worship and perform sacrificial ceremonies. It is regarded as the holiest of holy places. Although it is the seat of Hindu culture, tradition and theology, it is a cosmopolitan city, a melting pot of various religions and cultures. It was also the ideological centre of the Independence Movement. Several great leaders and patriots were either born or lived here. Formerly the city was known as 'Ilhavas', or 'the place where God dwells'. It was changed to Allahabad during the Moghul period. Whatever metamorphoses it has undergone, the fact remains that it is still regarded as the home of the gods. It is still regarded as the cultural and intellectual centre of India, and wields considerable influence. Lord Rama visited there and stayed at the sage Bharadwaj's ashram. Tulsidas and Kalidas lived here. Kabir and Ramananda used to visit here, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu met Ballabhacharya. St. Malukdas was born here. It has also been the birthplace of political giants such as Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, Pt. Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajarshi Tandon, Lai Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi.
Ever since ancient times, the annual midwinter Mela has been held here, The full Kumbha Mela (every twelve years) and the lesser Kumbh Mela (every six years) are held here, and are
attended by millions of devotees.
Shri Maharaj Ji had many devotees in Allahabad; and from time to time would go there for satsang. He attended the 1954 Kumbha Mela, where a premie camp was setup at Jhoosi. He used this campsite as a base for virtually nonstop satsang. A spectacular procession was arranged for him, starting at the Jhoosi camp and winding its way through the main streets of Allahabad. Wearing
his Crown and Krishna outfit, he attracted vast crowds who thronged the streets and overhead vantage points for a glimpse.
Many premies took advantage of the occasion to attend the festival. One of them was a lad called Hari Shankar who loved Maharaj Ji very much. He had wanted to atteud the festival, but his family's financial situation didn't permit it, so he was left behind at home. Heartbroken, he fervently prayed to Shri Maharaj Ji to somehow enable him to go there. The all-knowing Master heard his prayer. Two days later two Mahatmas arrived at his house and said, "You have to come with us to Allahabad. Shri Maharaj Ji has called you." When the boy went for darshan, Maharaj Ji gave him nuts and raisins as prashad and said gently, "Well, Hari, your father returned to Delhi yesterday." The boy replied, "You are my real father. Why should I concern myself with what other people do?"
Premies who attended that festival say that the joy they felt there was absolutely indescribable. Shri Maharaj Ji would sit on the dirt floor of the camp kitchen peeling potatoes with the premies.
One day while he was wandering around the festival site with some premies, Shri Maharaj Ji came across some people singing at the top of their voices, "Come to us, beloved Krishna, wearing your crown!" He stood there watching them then said with a smile, "See how foolish people are They sing themselves hoarse calling on Krishna yet even though he's right here they don't recognize him. St. Surdas was right when he said, 'To whom can I explain these things? Everyone's blind.' They wouldn't know Krishna even if he were standing right in front of them."
Sometime after the event, Maharaj Ji was discussing the Kumbha Mela. He said, "One day a mahatma belonging to another organization visited our stage and asked for permission to speak. I granted it, saying that people here are always eager to hear the Truth.
'He exhorted the audience to practise the prescribed rituals, saying that only then will Knowledge dawn, because just shouting
'Light, Light!' won't give anyone spiritual insight. So we shouldn't go around talking about Light. He tried very hard to convince us but no one listened to a word he said."
Replying to that mahatma's speech, Maharaj Ji said, "You call yourself a mahatma yet you deceive people. If it is impossible to see the Divine or fourth kind of Light, then why is it written in all the scriptures that we can? If there's no way that we can see it, then what's the use of reading the scriptures at all?
'To put it quite simply, the highest thing a human being can do is receive initiation from the true Guru and see the Inner Light.
Guru reveals that fourth type of light. So see it first then meditate on it, then you can worship properly and in full awareness of what you are doing. The Gayatri Mantra is all about meditation on the Light, but just chanting this mantra won't get you anywhere.
'We held a splendid procession. I rode on an elephant. We had trucks equipped with loudspeakers. The mahatmas sat in those trucks and gave satsang. Premies distributed leaflets along the way. A rickshaw went ahead of the procession bearing placards which proclaimed, 'Experience the Light which Lord Krishna showed to Arjuna!' and, 'Know the Holy Name on which you can meditate even while you sleep!'
'During the festival I met a Bengali gentleman who had been an engineer during the British regime. He told me, 'For six years I've wanted to see this Kumbha Mela, because so many holy men come here. I'd hoped that maybe I'd find out from them a devotional path which would redeem me yet be easy to follow. I have never been of the opinion that a ritual bath at Triveni would give me salvation. I came here convinced that I would meet a realized saint.'
'When he heard satsang he knew immediately that he'd found the Truth, and he moved into our camp. After two days of satsang he asked for Knowledge and he and his family received initiation. As we were about to depart for Allahabad City, he told me, 'Maharaj Ji, I can't bear the thought of leaving you. I want to stay with you always. Nowhere else even remotely appeals to me.'
'I asked him, 'You're quite old. Haven't you had any other Guru?' He replied, 'No, but when I was little whenever my mother's guru would visit us my mother would place my head at his feet. When I grew up I believed in Goddess Kali, as do most Bengalis.'
I explained to him, 'Call on that Power however you like. There is only one Supreme Energy which resides within everyone and everything. Knowing this Energy is the real and highest Knowledge. All other types of knowledge are just for filling one's belly! We pray to this Energy, 'You are my mother, you are my father, you are my brother and you are my friend. You are riches, you are wisdom, you are my all, my Lord, to me.' Mother Kali is Herself that conscious energy which dwells within all beings. She is Light."
When, during meditation, he saw Kali in the Divine Light, he told Maharaj Ji, "Master, I want to renounce the world and serve you. I realize that the Light you have shown me is Divine, and without the Guru's grace cannot be known. I know that even if I were to meet Lord Krishna he'd only show me the same Light which you have. Shri Krishna incarnated in a body of flesh, and so have you. How am I to know that you're not Krishna? He showed Arjuna this Light and Indivisible Name. St. Kabir showed this same Light and taught the same threefold path of service, satsang and meditation. I feel from the bottom of my heart that you are Krishna. Nobody else could love us so much.
'Conquered by Bhilni's love, Lord Rama visited her and taught her the nine steps of devotion. You are Lord Rama for us. You've shown us what we really are and we have found heavenly peace. I've met great political and religious leaders but none of them could show me the Light and True Name. Master, I can't offer you anything. Even if the wealth of the three worlds were mine to lay at your feet I could never repay you for the priceless Knowledge which you have given me."-
During one of his Kumbha Mela satsangs, Shri Maharaj Ji said, "If I were a stone and a sculptor made a statue out of me, then
I'd be put in a temple. People would dress me up, stick a flute in my mouth, offer me food and ring bells. Then everyone at this festival would be highly delighted, even though I wouldn't be able to show you the Name and Light about which I am now speaking. Still, pundits and priests would prostrate to me and worship me. However, unfortunately God made me a human being! Those idols you believe in can't show you Light. If you don't believe me, try them and see. I can show you Light, yet you don't believe in me!
'The Lord said, 'I manifest two kinds of natures - conscious and non-conscious. Consciousness is omnipresent and is the activating power in all action. Insentient beings don't move, talk or understand anything. That is why we worship consciousness. Once you get this precious, human body you should believe in consciousness. The Ramayana says that this body is rare even for the gods, to get. Yet we worship deities and consider ourselves lucky to be able to do so. We consider ourselves to be very devoted. Tell me, does that make sense to you? What are you doing, and what should you be doing?
'The human existence is the gateway to three planes. If a person does wicked deeds he suffers, in hell. However, when he realizes the Holy Word and Divine Light - now, it's not just me, but Lord Krishna who says this - he goes to the Supreme Abode, which is Light, from which he never returns to revolve in the wheel of birth and death:
'Where sun, moon and fire do not shine, there shines the self-effulgent Divine Light, reaching which a soul does not return to the realm of birth and death.'
This is liberation, which is realized through the Truth. Some disciples take Knowledge and complain that they are not progressing and that the mind doesn't settle in meditation. They quote the example of King Janak but have they totally surrendered everything as Janak did? No! They merely repeat, parrot-fashion, that they have given their mind, body and possessions to me, yet actually they dedicate everything they have to serving themselves
and their family. They have never served me, even in a dream, nor do they have any desire to see me, so how can they expect to grow in Knowledge? You can only evolve spiritually in a human existence. So you shouldn't waste your priceless human life. Only the extremely blessed souls see God.
'If I dressed up as Lord Rama with a bow and arrow (but couldn't kill Ravanna even if he stood right in front of me) everyone would say that they've had a great experience of darshan. Instead, here I am telling you to realize what Lord Rama was talking about, and you doubt me. You worship Rama and Krishna in your temples and watch the drama of Ram Lila. Why don't you ask the actor who plays Rama if he can reveal to you that Light which the Ramayana says shines 24 hours, or that Name which can be meditated upon even while you are asleep? You believe an idol which can't show you anything, to be God, yet you get confused if I wear a crown! It's remarkable that you think more of an idol than you do of me.
'People think they see, but actually they are blind. They don't use their brains. Krishna is also depicted wearing a crown. He is regarded as the Incarnate Lord because he revealed Light to Arjuna. I'm telling you to see that same Light, and I even show you how, but you don't believe me. St. Tulsidas said that worldly people's vision is obscured by cataracts. People beat away on their drums and sing, 'Come to us, Krishna, come! Ask them from where he's supposed to come. He's in your hearts, my friends! See him there! That's the aim and culmination of human life.
'God is always depicted in human form. People can only visualize Him in a human form, and, indeed, that is how He appears on earth.
Footnote: It is traditional for a king, who is supposed to uphold the ethical and moral traditions of a society, to wear a crown. Similarly, in India, the great Masters who uphold the strict code of spiritual ethics have been honoured with a crown. The Christian scriptures call the spiritual master the Anointed one The ancient sages taught that the Guru should be regarded with the same respect as for God. To carry on this tradition of respect and as a symbol of his spiritual authority, he wears a crown.
You don't understand at all. Listen, I don't ask anything of you. On the contrary, Guru is the giver! He just keeps on giving, asking for nothing in return. He gives you something so priceless that the riches of the three worlds can never match it. I'm willing to serve any intellectual or mahatma who has realized the Name and the Light. The Ramayana and Vedas tell us that a human birth is extremely rare and only in this existence can the soul realize God. Why are the intellectuals and so-called mahatmas of today so blind? That is why they worship matter. Scholars everywhere hold what they call satsang, but what satsang can they give if they haven't realized the Truth (Sat) which is called consciousness and bliss? If they haven't experienced it themselves how can they show it to others? Knowledge of God and satsang go together, and without satsang one can't get Knowledge.
'To whom do people bow nowadays? To a forehead smeared with sandal paste, to matted locks; to a shaven head, to dyed robes. They bow to someone who doesn't see God within yet wraps himself in saffron robes. They bow to someone who doesn't do as the Lord has commanded but worships a stone idol and calls that devotion! Tell me, where in the Ramayana is it written that this is devotion?
'Devotion has nothing to do with mouth, hand or forehead. It is a condition of the heart! Yes, the scriptures do say that Devotion of the heart needs no candles and lamps. The Ramayana says that meditating on the Divine Light which needs neither oil nor wick to shine is real devotion. What can a blind person reveal to others? There are all kinds of teachers each telling you something: different. There is only one sun which shines on us, all The same water quenches everyone's thirst, because these are God's gifts, So how can there be different Gods for different people? No! God is One He also has only one Name. The Vedas, Puranas and saints have said the same thing: that a person whose mind is tuned to the Holy Name does action successfully, while action performed otherwise is in vain.
'People make a lot of noise about action, knowledge and worship. They say first do action then worship. People don't have Knowledge, so how can they know the secret of action? Tulsidasji said that in Kali Yuga there is no understanding of devotion or action. The only refuge is Ram Nam (i.e. Holy Name). Those who themselves don't have spiritual Knowledge yet exhort others to action and devotion are blinded by ignorance. Throughout the ages the Scriptures have glorified the Holy Name, which is the sole prop of the age in which we live. This is the Name which Krishna instructed Arjuna to remember at all times.
'So many so-called 'gurus' are wallowing in ignorance. They will even tell you that guru means someone who can lead you from darkness to the Light of Knowledge. But if you question them they'll tell you to content yourself with pious works because you cannot see that Light which Arjuna saw. They'll teach you some rituals, tantras or mantras.
'However, St. Kabir unequivocally declared, 'All tantras and mantras are false. You can't get salvation without knowing the Holy Name which is the inner essence of everything.'
'As far as I'm concerned, whatever you are chanting is fine, but ask yourself, where does your mind go while you are chanting? Your lips chant something, your fingers turn a rosary, but where is your mind? In the chant or in the rosary? Are you like the typesetter who leaves an imprint where he places a letter? In Delhi I saw a string of light bulbs on a single wire. Only every alternate bulb was lit. Are you like that? Does your mind go round in circles from various chants? Where do you fix it?
'All of them - scholars, academics, 'world-teachers', Bhagatacharyas - are going around in circles. They just pick out any word from the Vedas, call it a mantra and initiate people. It's all a fraud. They are wasting their own time and others. They'll tell you, 'Just repeat Om namah shivai, water peepal trees, offer water to the sun, go to a temple and your mind will be purified. But do they ever stop to wonder which scripture teaches that this is the way to purify mind? The mantra which will control your mind is
not written in any scripture, because it has nothing to do with vowels and consonants. Only the living Master can reveal it to you. You read Ramayana but you don't understand it.
'Guru is God in human form. His words dispel the darkness of ignorance and fascination with worldliness in the same way as the rising sun puts an end to the night. Various objects shine at night but they can't get rid of the darkness. Similarly, none of these tantras and mantras will get rid of your ignorance. Only the Knowledge of Name and Light and the path of devotion taught by the Satguru can do that.
'Without Guru's grace one can't attain liberation, nor can the mind settle in meditation. That is why the living Master is served. So don't put off until tomorrow something good which you can do today. This is the advice which Ravanna gave to Lakshman. We read this in the Ramayana, but when it comes to the noblest action a person can do, we say that we'll do it tomorrow, and meanwhile spend our days shortchanging others and selling them adulterated goods. We don't postpone doing that! You should reason that if you delay in doing something wrong, and you were to die during the night, you'd have the weight of one less sin to carry with you! Or do you consider meditation a spurious action which should be postponed?
'After having received a human life, and the company of saints, the individual who doesn't cross the ocean of worldliness is ungrateful and akin to a suicide case', says Tulsidas. Any action done without devotion is in vain.
'Realize the Holy Name. Realizing God is the one and only religion of mankind. These days the real meaning of religion has been lost. It has been truly said, 'like king, like subjects'. If the people in power don't know what religion is, how can you be expected to know?
'People will label you as Hindu or Muslim according to your hairstyle and dress. That's religion nowadays. Is religion rattling off a few verses of scripture and posing as an enlightened being? If letting your hair grow long ensures salvation, then most women
must be enlightened. Really, God gave you brains but you don't use them! Only direct Knowledge of God will liberate you.
'Everyone glorifies Krishna. Temples and Gita-Institutes are constructed, but who understands what Krishna taught? He, and every other Master for that matter, taught that only human beings can meditate on Divine Light and thus reach God's Supreme Abode. They never said that donkeys or dogs could do it. Realize the Holy. Name and the Light! Only Guru knows how to remove the cataract of ignorance which is obscuring your inner vision. Even Rama and Krishna, whom you revere as God, had Gurus. So receive the Knowledge of Name and Light and make your coming into this world worthwhile?'
In the early years, Shri Maharaj Ji used to stay in Rai Bahadur's house in Pahari Dhiraj, near the Fire Brigade Station on Bara Kambha Road.
One day, Rai Bahadur happened to hear Shri Maharaj Ji's satsang. He requested Maharaj Ji to hold a weekly meeting at his house. At first, he didn't understand Maharaj Ji's cryptic words: When the Master asked him if he had Knowledge, he replied, "What do yonu mean by Knowledge?" Shri Maharaj Ji explained, "Have you ever been shown God as He really is?" Rai Bahadur had to reply that he hadn't. Maharaj Ji continued, "That's what I mean by Knowledge. Experiencing God as He is. People follow the prescribed orthodox rituals and their ideas of God are moulded by tradition. They meditate on things which are figments of their imagination. Every scripture says that God dwells in the hearts of all His creatures, so why do you resort to external methods of worship and meditation? That's how I can say that you don't have Knowledge. If, by the grace of some realized soul, you'll be revealed Knowledge of God's omnipresent Form, you'll be able to meditate on Him easily."
After he received Knowledge, Rai Bahadur became exceptionally devoted to Shri Maharaj Ji, and he asked him to live.
in his house and thus provide the opportunity for service. During the next ten years, Maharaj Ji stayed there whenever he was in Delhi.
After 1950 Knowledge really started to spread far and wide, and in addition to weekly satsangs held in various Delhi suburbs, satsang could be heard daily in more than ten large parks in different parts of Delhi. Branches of the Mission opened all over Delhi, which were the bases in their localities for propagation. Satsang meetings were addressed by mahatmas and huge programs for Shri Maharaj Ji were arranged from time to time. Shri Maharaj Ji also lived for a while at Jagdish Saxena's house in Karol Bagh and then at Hari Ram's place in Shakti Nagar. Around 1960 he bought the modest house at 26/96 Shakti Nagar and settled there. This was the focus for the Delhi premies and a constant stream of them came for darshan.
Knowledge spread in leaps and bounds throughout Delhi and after 1960 Maharaj Ji's fame spread all over India as well. A network of Divine Light Mission branches criss-crossed the country.
Whenever the Master stayed in Delhi for several days at a time, small groups of premies would get together and entertain him with religious dramas. One winter's evening after satsang, Kiran Saxena and her husband Jagdish Chand dramatized the story of Krishna and Sudama. Kiran describes it thus: "I played the part of Krishna and my husband played his friend devotee Sudama. Shri Maharaj Ji gave him the nickname 'Murliwala' because he used to play the flute. Anyway, Shri Maharaj J. was enchanted by his acting and exclaimed that he really looked and acted like Sudama!
'My husband's constitution has always been rather weak. That evening he caught a chill, and by morning had a high temperature. I asked Maharaj Ji if I could take him home, but he told me to call the doctor there. Maharaj Ji had a reservation on the train to Hardwar but he cancelled it and stayed on in Delhi. We stayed in his house for four or five days. My husband's condition
worsened. He became very weak and had long spells of delirium. I informed Maharaj Ji that the treatment wasn't working and that his condition was deteriorating. He replied, 'Well, it's time to call in another doctor!' Off he went, took a bath and changed his clothes and, wearing his crown, reappeared in our room, saying, 'Look! The doctor has come!' When I told my husband that Maharaj Ji had come, of course he tried to touch his feet, but, being so weak, all he could do was fold his hands to show respect. Maharaj Ji told him not to get up. Then he felt his pulse and said, 'Don't worry, you'll be all right. Just take whatever medicine the doctor prescribes.' We did as he said and by morning the fever had somewhat abated. By Maharaj Ji's grace and care he was perfectly all right within a few days."
Premies had unshakeable faith and extraordinary love for their Master. When they were confronted with any difficulty, they remembered him and he never failed to help them. He loved his devotees more than anything else. Not loved, loves. He still protects whomever calls on him. Guru is eternal. That power never dies. Once, some premies told Maharaj Ji that they wanted to celebrate his birthday. He replied, "If you commemorate someone's birthday, one day you'll have to commemorate his death as well, because whatever is born has to die. Guru, on the other hand, is eternal. What has birth and death got to do with him?"
Chaudhury Suraj Mal Tavathya was 7 years old when he first saw Maharaj Ji during a program near Meerut, but it was a lasting impression. He says, "I even remember the song he sang. I can't describe how his face shone at that time. After satsang a villager said, 'Maharaj Ji, if you'll give me Knowledge right now I'll give you 100 rupees!' Maharaj Ji smiled and said, 'My friend, if you think God's price is 100 rupees it means that He can belong only to the rich, and the poor and needy can't see Him. But no, it's never like that. He belongs to the poor and the weak.' Although I didn't get Knowledge until 1962, the image of his wonderful, enchanting face stayed in my mind.
'I had-ten days' leave so I went to Shakti Nagar. When I asked for Knowledge, he smiled compassionately and replied, 'You've been looking for me for a long time. That's why I came here yesterday!' Later he called me into his room and initiated me.
I was in the army. In November 1962 during the Indochinese War, our tank battalion was sent to the border. The Chinese had blocked our path by blowing up bridges. They started firing at us. My companions abandoned their tanks and fled for their lives. I stayed on in my tank alone, firing as long as my ammunition lasted, all the while meditating and remembering Shri Maharaj Ji. A little while later I heard over the wireless that a cease-fire had been declared. I believe that it was Maharaj Ji who made me stay inside the tank. I returned safe and sound while all my companions had been shot down as they fled."
Whenever Kamla Bai tells the story of how Shri Maharaj Ji saved her life, she can't help crying. She says, "How could I ever forget his wonderful love?
'Before I received Knowledge I used to have the greatest respect for my sister-in-law. She held a strange fascination for me. It was as if I were under her spell. After initiation I began to take more and more notice of Shri Maharaj Ji and she turned against me. When she realized that I was no longer under her influence and followed the guidance of someone else, she started poisoning her brother's mind against me, and said that I was visiting other men. He forbade me to go to satsang but I sneaked out anyway. When he found out, he was furious. He called me immoral and a disgrace to the fainily. He said that he would get rid of me. So saying, he poured kerosene over me and set fire to me. Just as the kerosene was igniting, Shri Maharaj Ji appeared and put out the fire with his own hands. When my husband realized that I would not burn, he begged forgiveness. I was admitted to Lady Hardinge Hospital. None of my relatives bothered about me. Only premies visited me. One night in my sleep I heard a premie saying, 'Here, take this prashad. Maharaj Ji has sent it to you.' I stretched out my-
hand and someone put pourries and sweets in it. I sat up but no one was there. Choked with sobs, I started to meditate on Maharaj Ji.
'My father-in-law also used to harass me, but after he died, his spirit appeared to my husband in a dream and warned him not to interfere with me, because I was following a true Master."
Mahatma Angira Bai, who is nowadays spreading Knowledge in Sikkim, was born in Kankhal, Hardwar. She says, "However, because I was young and ignorant I never recognized Maharaj Ji, although I saw him several times in Kankhal. I just, assumed that he was a big businessman! When I got married I moved to Delhi. One day I happened to see him as he was passing by in his car. Light was pouring out of him and filling the whole car! Then I understood that he must be a great master.
'Mahatma Purnanandji gave me Knowledge in 1951 but because I could relate more to Mahatma Ji than to Maharaj Ji, I decided that Mahatma Ji was my guru. But Guru Maharaj Ji knows everything, because a little while later he singled me out from a group of premies and called me into his room. He reinitiated me.
'I sometimes saw him as a child, sometimes as an old man. He could change his appearance to play with the devotees.
'Once my husband poured boiling water over me and my whole chest was burned. Soon afterwards I found out that Maharaj Ji had arrived for satsang in a nearby park. I raced there and as soon as he glanced at me my burns were completely healed. He has appeared several times when I've been in trouble, and saved me, although I often haven't recognized him at the time.
'Once I was very ill. My husband didn't bother about me once. I lay in bed thinking, 'My Lord is testing the, otherwise why am I suffering so?' Then one morning a few days later, a Brahmin came to my house and said, 'You look very ill. What's the matter?' I told him and he gave me some medicine. I felt much better. Three days later I discovered that the 'Brahmin' had been Maharaj Ji!"
Hazari Lal relates, "In 1953 there was a terrible flood and a railway bridge 100 km. outside Delhi had been rendered unsafe. I was part of a gang of labourers sent to repair it. We were crossing the river in a boat when a sudden storm blew up and the boat started sinking. The boatman shouted, 'Save yourselves if you can!' I jumped out but got sucked into a whirlpool. As I was going under, I saw a man dressed in white with a radiant face. He picked me up as a mother picks up her child and carried me to the riverbank, then disappeared. This happened before I received Knowledge, by the way. Time and again his glorious countenance seemed to appear before my eyes, and I developed a strong faith in God.
'In 1965 some premies gave me satsang and took me to meet Shri Maharaj Ji. As soon as I saw him I recognized him as the one who had saved my life three years earlier. I couldn't take my eyes off him. When I bowed to him he smiled and looked at me thoughtfully. Then I wasted no time in receiving Knowledge."
Mrs Tara Devi of Trinagar relates, "One day in 1963 as I was cooking, the cottage next to mine suddenly caught fire. I hastily evacuated all my belongings, but my hut and others were spared. I thanked Shri Maharaj Ji from the bottom of my heart. A few days later some premies told me that Maharaj Ji wanted to see me. He asked me what had happened so I told him the whole story: He said, "See, because of one devotee, many houses were saved."
Kripal Singh of Bijnore was sleeping on his thatched roof when a sudden squall blew up, tearing off a neighbour's roof and threatening to dump it on his house. However, somehow or other, it landed in a tree and he was unharmed. He said to himself, 'Guru Maharaj Ji has gone to a lot of trouble today to save me.!' He recalls that several times, when neighbouring houses caught fire, his was unharmed, much to the surprise of the whole village.
Mahatma Akhandprakashanandji relates what happened when he was preaching, in Muzaffarnagar district: "In a local village lived a carpenter who was very devoted to Shri Maharaj Ji.
Once his son was possessed by an evil spirit and became very ill. The spirit said through him, 'You have stopped worshipping me so I'll kil this boy and take him with me.' Shri Maharaj Ji at that time was at a satsang program in Panipat, so the boy's father went there and begged him to put an end to their misery. Shri Maharaj Ji started shouting at him so loudly that the premies waiting for darshan dropped their prashad in alarm. Meanwhile, 50 Miles away, the evil spirit vacated the boy's body, shrieking, 'I'm on fire! Leave me alone! I'll never come here again!' By the time the boy's father had returned, his son had fully recovered."
Mulyabai of Gwalior is very poor. She recalls how Shri Maharaj Ji helped her in distress: "I was employed as a farm labourer. We were busy harvesting. Suddenly, I fell very ill and had to stay in bed for 4-5 days. I remembered my Lord and prayed, 'I'll lose my pay. How will I make ends meet?' Shri Maharaj Ji appeared in my dream, blessed me and said, 'Don't worry. You'll be paid the full amount.' I didn't really believe that, because if I didn't sign the daily register I wouldn't be paid. At the end of the month we collected our wages. The clerk told me, 'The register shows that you came to work every day. You'll get a full month's wages.' I couldn't believe it! Who had signed in for me while I was ill? Immediately I remembered Guru Maharaj Ji's blessing and I inwardly thanked him with all my heart"
Ram Singh Chauhan recalls, "Once I needed 5000 rupees. I asked Shri Maharaj Ji, but he said, 'I'm not running a business here!' I replied by quoting a line from a hymn: 'There is no giver like you and the whole world begs from you.' He answered, 'It's good to see that you have such faith.' The next day a wealthy businessman visited me and handed me 5000 rupees, saying, 'Do what you have to do and pay me back later.' My joy knew no bounds. It happened to be the day of Id, the Muslim festival, and some Muslim friends of mine were celebrating it. I told them, 'Today I'll offer Allah something? I bought a box of the finest sweets and went to Shakti Nagar. Shri Maharaj Ji took one and gave one to me as prashad, asking, 'Well, is your business taken
care of?' I humbly replied, 'We poor people are lucky that you are here. If we can't get anything done now, when will we?"
Shri Jagram, who is these days a Police Superintendent in Haryana, has long been a devoted disciple of Shri Maharaj Ji. He recalls, "Maharaj Ji had an extraordinary charisma. He could just attract people. Whenever I was in his presence I would feel remarkably exhilarated, almost, one could say, intoxicated. Once I was going by car to satsang. A devotional song - 'There is no one for me but Giridhar Gopal' - was playing on the radio. Listening to it I went into deep meditation and totally lost myself in the vision of Shri Maharaj Ji. When our car reached our destination, my companions shook me and interrupted my meditation. I sighed, 'How could you do this to me? You've brought me back from heaven to hell.'
'Some time ago I was stationed at Karnal as an inspector. The widow of a military serviceman was being harassed by her brother-in-law because of some land. She filed a complaint at our station. One officer after another was assigned to the case but justice was not done and she was very dissatisfied. Finally in desperation she approached the Superintendent and pleaded with him, 'For the last time I beg you to help me. I've heard that your Inspector Chaudhury Jagram is very honest. Please let him investigate. If he judges me to be in the wrong, I'll resign myself to it and not bother you again.' The Superintendent handed the case over to me. I went to her village incognito so that I could find out the truth for myself. Her brother-in-law was a very influential man in those parts. His word was law in that village and he had spies all over the place. When he found out that a police officer in disguise had arrived to investigate, he sent his henchmen to kill me. This was in 1965 during the Indo-Pakistan War. He spread the rumour that I was a Pakistani agent and sent his men after me. They beat me up so badly that they assumed I was dead, so they threw me in a well. The news spread like wildfire, through the village and when the widow heard about it she came to the well. She recognized me, raced to the nearest police station and reported the whole thing.
The Sub-Inspector there happened to be a. colleague of mine. He and several constables hastened to the village but in the meantime the woman's brother-in-law had hauled me out of that well, thrown me on to the back of a camel and was taking me away from there, no doubt to finish me off once and for all. He was apprehended by my friend the Sub-Inspector and so I was saved. While, all this was going on, I had an amazing experience. Shri Maharaj Ji accompanied me in the form of a radiant child who looked exactly like Shri Satpal Ji Maharaj, and it was he who protected me. Those gangsters were amazed that I could've survived such a beating. They wondered what Power was prptecting me. My Superintendent told me that he would file charges- against them, bin I replied that He Who protects had saved me and that I had no desire for vengeance. Besides protecting me, Guru Maharaj Ji heard the plea of that poor widow. The Superintendent decided that she had full rights to the disputed land. He summoned the brother-in-law and warned him in no uncertain terms that if anyone in that village ever bothered her again, he would not get out of it alive."
Mahatma Akhandprakashanandji relates the following incident showing how Maharaj Ji protected him:
"In 1964 Mahatma Atmagyanand Ji and I were sent to Muzaffarnagar. One day as we sat on the outskirts of a village, a man came up to us and told us all about the place. He informed us that a certain Chaudhury Harvansh was very devoted to God and would help us in our work. We visited him, but as soon as we started talking about Knowledge and meditation he flew into a rage and ran inside to get a stick to beat us. We thought, 'That's it!' and started meditating on the Holy Name. Just then a Muslim neighbour of Harvansh's, who'd been working on his house, came over and said to Harvansh, 'Before you beat them up, you'll have to deal with me first! Let's see you try!' They started fighting. We intervened and said, 'Why are you arguing, on our account? We're leaving!' So Guru Maharaj Ji protected us through that neighbour.
'The villagers told us, 'It's amazing that he spared you. He's never
Yet let any saddhus escape without a beating: We replied, 'We have a very powerful protector!"'
Dhandevi of Pakbara, in Muradabad district, recalls, "Once my little son fell very ill. At that time Vaisakhi was being celebrated at Hardwar. I bought some medicine prescribed by a doctor. Then it occurred to me that I should not waste time with the medicine but take my son to Shri Maharaj Ji. I felt sure that he'd be able to cure him. I immediately caught a train but just as we reached Prem Nagar my son went into a coma. I was desperate and asked various people to take me to see Maharaj Ji, but no one paid much attention. Finally I approached a mahatma, who made fun of me, saying, 'Look! She's just arrived and is already making a fuss! She wants everything all at once!' But Shri Maharaj Ji heard my prayer. He had seen everything and scolded the mahatma, and said, 'Send her here.' I bowed and placed my son at his feet. He told us to get up, and I said, 'How can he stand up again?' But Maharaj Ji picked him up himself and dropped some water into his mouth. Then he said to me, 'See, he's laughing! Here, take some prashad and go rest.' Then my son fully regained consciousness:"
Sargeant Tej Singh of Bharatpur is in the Army Medical Corps. He says, "I received Knowledge in January 1960. I felt great peace and joy, but wondered how I'd be able to meditate, as I was, very sickly. I suffered from hereditary spherocytosis caused anaemia and frequent fevers. The army doctors had tried everything, but it seemed that I was a hopeless case. In 1966 I had to undergo a dangerous operation. As I was lying on the operating table prior to being put under anaesthetic, I prayed to Maharaj Ji, 'Lord, it's hard to get a human birth in the first place, and I've been lucky enough to find you. Who knows if I'll see you again? There's a good chance that I won't survive the operation.' As the anaesthetic began to take effect, I heard a voice saying, 'Do you have firm faith in Guru Maharaj Ji?' I replied that I did. Then Maharaj Ji told me, 'Don't worry. You'll soon recover.' Then I lost
consciousness. I survived and recovered so quickly that even the doctor was amazed. I've enjoyed good health ever since."
Banwari Lal from Resham Majri, Dehra Dun, was riding his bicycle to Prem Nagar to attend Vaisakhi 1964. He swerved to avoid an oncoming car and was hurled into a ditch. But, by Maharaj Ji's grace, neither he nor the occupants of the car were hurt in what should have been a fatal accident. Later, in satsang, he was amazed to hear Maharaj Ji describe the entire event saying, "It would've looked bad if a devotee on his way to satsang were hurt in an accident!" Then he said, "When a devotee belongs to the Lord, the Lord Himself becomes his!"
Describing an amusing incident, Banwari Lal says, "I and two others went to Maharaj Ji's house at Dehra Dun for darshan. We were given a room in which to rest. Later that evening a premie brought three glasses of milk for us. We drank and drank, but the glasses remained full. When we just couldn't drink any more, we prayed, Lord, forgive us, but we don't understand your lila. Then we continued drinking and this time the glasses were emptied?'
Ram Gulal Singh of Kunhera village in Bijnore had a very personal experience of Maharaj Ji's omnipresence:
"One day, about 25 years ago, during the Indo-Pakistan War, a friend and I were travelling by train to Darbhanga in Bihar. My friend told me that two men in our compartment were Pakistanis and reported the matter. The station master, however, wanted to detain us also. Luckily the two suspects were apprehended by some other people so we were released. My friend was unwell at the time and had a bottle of medicine in his pocket, which fell and broke as we entered the waiting room. 'I picked up the pieces and went outside to throw them away. It was midnight and my action aroused the suspicion of a bystander who asked me what I had thrown away. I told him, but he didn't believe me. He went to the police and accused us of being Pakistani agents also. He claimed that I had been sneaking around in the middle of the night poisoning the water supply of the trains and was seen throwing away a broken poison bottle. The police surrounded us and interrogated us. We told them our story but they didn't believe us. Then I noticed an out-of-the-way water pump and asked to be allowed to get a drink of water. When I reached the pump I called on Maharaj Ji with full concentration. He appeared in front of me dressed like a police officer and asked what had happened. I told him the whole story. He reprimanded the policemen and said,. 'They are innocent citizens. What do they know about Pakistani agents!'
Shri Maharaj Ji was very partial to the poor. One day an old lady waved a ten-rupee note in front of him, saying, 'Take this, sir.' She said it three or four times. Finally he turned to her, took the money, tore it to shreds and burned it. The premies nearby were so alarmed that some of them dropped the fruit or flowers which they were holding. Seeing their fright, Shri Maharaj Ji's heart melted. He picked up the fallen fruit and started eating it. He explained, "Maybe you think that I don't have any money. Well, I'm not money-hungry. All I want is your love. I prefer poor people because they donate their hard-earned money in service. Now, this old woman is very rich. She's treating me as if I'd never seen a ten-rupee note in my life! I really don't like the way such people make a big show out of donating money."
Shri Maharaj Ji loved his devotees like a father loves his children. Shrichand Jogi recalls an incident at the home of Hari Ravi: "Shri Maharaj Ji asked me what I did for a living. I told him that I beg. He simply said, 'Beg if you have to, but don't use trickery and lies to get money out of people.' Previously I had done just that, but he showed me the proper way."
A New Delhi preinie, Devi Ram, says, "Shri Maharaj Ji fulfilled my every wish. I got whatever I asked for. He always helped me." Another Delhi premie, Ramdas Marken, said, "Maharaj Ji's satsang cleared up any doubts that may have been lingering in my mind. Listening to his satsang was a great pleasure
for me. During satsang he would look each premie straight in the eye so that they would listen attentively. He would radiate love as he spoke. Quite often, he would keep on speaking until two or three o'clock in the morning."
The spreading of Knowledge took a more organized turn with the formation of the Divya Sandesh Parishad ('Divine Light Mission'). Once, a large program was organized at the Gita Institute in Kamla Nagar, during which Maharaj Ji said:
"People generally regard God in one of two ways - as unmanifest and undifferentiated, or as manifest and qualified. Swami Dayanand was of the opinion that God is without form and unmodified, and beyond the reach of senses and imagination. However, even though He is invisible and beyond mind and intellect, He has been realized by devotees down through the ages. How? He definitely can't be known by means of mind, intellect or senses. It's also just a concept to say that He is without form if you haven't had the experience. You can say that He is experienced in the state of Samadhi. Now, Samadhi means the union of meditator, process of meditation and that which is meditated. The eight steps of yoga are yam, niyam, asap, pranayam, pratyahar, dharana, dhyan and samadhi.
'The seventh step is meditation. So if God is formless, how can you meditate on Him? You may try to conceptualize Him as something very subtle, like the sky. However, the sky is qualified. Its colour is blue and it is associated with sound. So if you try to substitute the Unconditioned with the conditioned, you'll actually be meditating on the conditioned! So how will this enable you to meditate on the Absolute, Formless God? You're still meditating on something within the realm of Maya. So where should the mind be concentrated? If you don't know, you won't be able to concentrate, so how can you reach the state of Samadhi? Furthermore, until you reach this State how can you say that God is formless and unconditioned? So that's the mistake people make when they speak without the authority of practical experience. Embodied devotees worship an embodied deity. In other words,
we see all kinds of statues in temples. Priests tell us to come and view the Lord. However, Lord Krishna himself said in the Gita, 'Arjuna,you cannot see My real Form with your ordinary eyes. I will give you the Eye of Knowledge. Then you will see Me as I really am.' So if we can't see God through our physical eyes, what is it that priests are showing us in temples?
'There is a hymn by a devotee who believed that God is unconditioned and formless:
You are present in the idol and in the flowers,
So how can. I offer God to God?
You don't possess arms, chest, feet or forehead,
So where should I adorn You?
You are ever-pure, unmodified and omnipresent.'
If God has no senses, how can He hear your prayers? So let go of your petty arrogance and selfishness and realize the Truth, then judge for yourself what Reality is and how God may be known as He is.
'God is Almighty, omnipresent and the source of all virtues: He is the Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer of all worlds and is the Lord of all. It is He who does everything. It is His power which enables the sun to illumine the world. The moon and the stars shine by His Light. Air and fire are energized by His command. In short, God is not separate from His qualities. The quality and its possessor must be one and the same, but only seem separate when we talk about them. It is only a verbal distinction.
'For example, the sea is not separate from it's waves, nor is the sun separate from sunlight. Is atomic energy something separate from the atom? No. The atom and its energy are the same. Fire has two characteristic qualities: light and the energy to burn (heat) and they can't be separated from the fire. Likewise, the universe is the expansion of God; and He is contained within it. The huge banyan tree is contained in a tiny seed, and as the seed expands to become a growing tree it permeates the entire tree. God pervades everything in the same way. The world is ephemeral and unstable. It is
changing every second. The phenomenon which never changes, which is homogenous and which can never be increased or diminished, is what we call God, Allah, Ishwar, Paramatman, Wahe Guru, etc. That Energy condenses itself into atoms to build the universe, and that same Power splits atoms apart again. Can the atoms ever be separated from their energy? How can a pervaded object be separate from its pervader? So people say God is formless but they don't know anything about God or His Energy.
'You read Gita and Ramayana and revere them, but because Your eye of wisdom and knowledge is closed you don't understand what you read, so you are not getting the benefits from them that you should. So how will you acquire wisdom? St. Tulsidas said that without satsang it's virtually impossible to have the discerning wisdom which will lead you to perceive Truth. 'Without God's grace you won't meet a true saint; without a saint or Guru you can't receive true Knowledge and without Knowledge your devotion will be only imitation.
'You will suffer or enjoy the results of your good and bad actions after you leave this body. For example, one horse is harnessed all day and has to suffer the whip, while another creature of the same species lives in a fine stable and attendants are employed to look after it. Or take another example; a stray dog is kicked around and beaten with sticks, while another dog sits with a king on his throne. Naturally you'll say each got the rewards of his previous deeds. So we can infer from this that we will suffer the results of actions done in this life in our future lives. On the other hand, the results of satsang are immediate. The Ramayana says that satsang is so powerful that crows are changed into cuckoos and cranes into swans. In other words, a transformation of character takes place. The crow's voice is harsh and unpleasant, while everyone likes the cuckoo's voice. If someone who doesn't know what he is talking about and simply caws like a crow listens attentively to satsang, his cawing will be changed into the sweet voice of truth. Crane-nature will be changed into swan nature. If you mix water and milk, a crane will either drink the mixture or
leave it, whereas a swan has the ability to separate them and drink only the milk. So if a person dives in the Ganges of satsang he can extract the substance of life, leaving aside the superficial and non-essential. The greatness of satsang is no secret.
'What a wicked person Valmiki used to be! He used to rob and murder travellers. However, he was transformed by satsang and merged his mind in meditation. Satsang is that which reveals the Truth. Just talking and listening is not satsang. Telling stories of saints and masters without knowing the Truth they revealed is not satsang. Ordinary people don't have the key to unlock the secrets hidden in these stories.
'Once Narad, the story goes, visited Lord Vishnu in Vaikunth. Lord Vishnu greeted him and enquired about his travels. Narad said, 'Lord, I've been travelling around Earth. I've
found that a man who doesn't have a wife, children, money and home is miserable, yet those who do have all these are extremely miserable. One person is indulging in pleasures is unhappy, while another is unhappy because he doesn't have access to these pleasures! Everyone is miserable there. Is there any way to make Earth people happy?'
'Lord Vishnu answered, 'That's a very noble thought. There is a way.' Then he taught Narad the Satyanarayan technique and said that whoever practised it with faith and devotion would get whatever he wanted in the world and after death would achieve the highest state.
'Narad went to Kashi. The first person he instructed in this secret was a brahmin beggar, who consequently was showered with wealth and good fortune. The next initiate was a woodcutter who also attained great happiness. On the other hand anyone who misused the technique or disobeyed Narad's teachings got nothing but trouble.
Priests today tell these stories so why don't people become happy? The reason is, that they don't know what it was that Lord Vishnu taught Narad. They only tell stories about it 'Satyanarayan' means the True Name which dwells within all
beings'. Anyone who meditates on that is freed from misery and death.
'Our mythology describes a struggle between the gods and demons for a jar of Nectar which emerged from fourteen jewels. The gods took the jar and ran away with it. During their flight, the Nectar fell upon four places - Nasik, Allahabad, Ujjain and Hardwar. People visit these places but they don't find any Nectar there. They don't experience it just by listening to tales about nor do the storytellers. So where is that Nectar? You had better think about it while you are still alive. Actually Nectar is a property of that all-pervading Name. If you meditate upon it you will experience Nectar and become immortal.
'Lord Krishna opened Arjuna's eye of Knowledge and showed him His Cosmic Form. If your Divine Eye is closed, how will you see God? You can't see Him with your physical eyes. People these days twist rosaries and chant- 'Ram-Ram,' 'Om namah shivai,' etc. but did you ever wonder what is that Name, by remembering which Hanuman had even the Lord at his command? You won't be able to realize God's Power until you know this Name. That is why I keep telling you to find a real master who can show you the Holy Name and Divine Light. Then you'll see God within and you'll understand how He is unconditioned and how He also manifests with attributes. If this Knowledge could be revealed to you just by reading scriptures, why do those same scriptures glorify the Guru? Knowledge is impossible without Guru."
Untouchability and caste was one of the most controversial issues of Shri Maharaj Ji's day. Here is what he had to say about it
"Karpatriji is a very well-known religious teacher these days. He says that untouchables should not be allowed in temples, because they defile them. But the Ramayana says that Hanuman became so pure and holy that he had even the Lord at his command. If someone of such humble birth could be purified by the Holy Name, can't untouchable's also be purified by worshipping God? To help a man up after he has fallen is to be
truly humane, not to kick him when he's down. We call those who clean up after us low-born and vulgar, but mothers clean their babies after the baby has dirtied itself, so why don't you call them untouchables? In God's sight all are the same, so who are you to decide who is high and who is low? God's Holy Name is the redeemer of sinners. If God's Name is not holy, then how can the most vile and degenerate of sinners ever hope for redemption? How could they ever be uplifted? The Name of God is revered by all religions as holy and sacred. If, by his entry into a temple, an outcaste or low caste person could defile God, then he is greater than God because he has been able to make the Holy unholy and the Pure impure.
'Lord Rama visited Bhilni's humble hut and ate fruit which she had already tasted. Was the Lord contaminated by that? Well, all of you who believe in Lord Rama! What's happened to your brains? If you and your priests and teachers behave like that, is it any wonder that these people become Muslims or Christians? If you won't let them into your temples, what else are they to do?
'You call them 'untouchables' because they clear up dirt, but you're the ones who produced that filth!
'Some teachers call themselves World-Teachers (Jagatguru). Why? They are guru to a few Indians so they presume to call themselves World Teachers. Actually, the Jagatguru is the person who has the power to redeem the whole world not just Hindus, but Muslims, Christians, everybody. Guru is God in human form. But the custom nowadays is to make some object, such as a flag, a guru. Intellectuals claim that a human being can never be a guru. However, gu means darkness, and ru means light. Guru dispels the darkness and reveals the Light. A flag can't do that, so why make it your Guru? But you don't believe in the living Master and worship a flag or a book.
'I'll give you an example from the scriptures. The sage Bharadwaj's son was opposed to regarding any human being as a guru. He started practising austerities on his own. Indra tried his best to make him understand; but the boy wouldn't listen. One
day, Indra disguised himself as a Brahmin and sat by the river throwing sand into the water. The boy saw this and exclaimed, 'Hey, Brahmin! What are you doing?' 'The 'brahmin' answered, I want to build a bridge.' The boy was amused and asked, 'Did a bridge ever get built like that? That sand can't withstand the current. It'll be just washed away.'
'Indra replied, 'Right! A bridge isn't built by throwing sand into the water, and likewise, Knowledge is impossible without a guru."
Satyadevi, a Delhi premie, experienced the power of satsang: "One day, in 1956, I decided to go to satsang, which was being held at Company Bagh from 5-7 p.m. I prepared dinner and put it aside.
'Some time after I'd left, my husband came home. Not finding me at home, he found out from the neighbours where I'd gone. He came to Company Bagh, took the key from me, and went home. After dinner, he locked the door and went out somewhere. When I returned home to a locked house, I was in a fix. My three children were crying for dinner. I sat on our roof and started to do meditation. Then it occurred to me to break the lock. However, when I went downstairs I found that the lock had already been opened! So I went inside and fed the children. That night, Shri Maharaj Ji appeared in my dream, saying, 'Come to satsang every day. No one can stop you.' "
Ramphal, a retired postman from Rohtak, says; "In my village every month, on the night of full moon, people belonging to various religions would gather together. On one such occasion they started debating and I spoke about Guru and Knowledge, basing my argument on the scriptures. Various people challenged me but by Guru Maharaj Ji's grace I won. That same night, while I was in deep meditation, Shri Maharaj Ji appeared in the Light and said, 'You dimwit! Don't demean Knowledge.by arguing about it with fools. You can't wash coal white even if you use a ton of soap! If people are not willing to listen to you, then give satsang to the trees and the birds!"
On 27th March, 1954, Divine Light Mission organized an 'All-Religions Conference' at Delhi's Constitution Club. It was attended by representatives of various sects and religions. The Secretary of D.L.M., Rai Bahadur Gaya Prashad, said, "This conference has been arranged under the auspices of Divine Light Mission, which has actively been serving the public for a long time now, by arranging satsang programs and functions. We believe that religion is something highly beneficial to everyone, so why do people fight so much about it? We sent invitations to many prominent religious and political leaders, several of whom said that they would attend. Others replied that due to prior arrangements they couldn't come, and some, even asked for donations! It's disappointing that an organization which is holding such a conference should be asked to send donations before invitees attend!"
After the other participants had addressed the audience, Yogiraj Shri Hans Ji Maharaj said:
"Three points are under discussion here:
1. Which religion benefits everyone equally? Which religion can everyone believe in?
2. How and when can a person see the Divine Light described by all the Scriptures?
3. Which is the easiest method, common to all religions, of stilling the mind? What is the only Name which can concentrate mind?
'Why was it necessary to convene this conference? So many major religious leaders and scholars do so. I met some Russians who informed me that they don't believe in any form of religion. When I asked them what they did believe in, they answered that they believe in peace. But you have to understand what is peace and how to get it. We feel peaceful if we get a glass of water when we are thirsty, food when we are hungry, or employment when we are looking for work. Peace is dear to us all. However, there are two kinds of peace - external and internal, or, in other words, temporary and lasting. Food, clothing and shelter will give
temporary feelings of peace, but won't get rid of mental anguish. Religion is the prescribed action necessary for achieving eternal peace. A son's duty is to obey his father. A father's duty is to steer his son along the right path. A husband's duty is to protect and care for his wife, and the wife's duty is to serve her husband in any way she can.
'These days, politicians say that we shouldn't bring religion into politics. This means that Krishna was wrong to instruct Arjuna in spirituality in the midst of battle.
'There is no real religion nowadays. People have forgotten what religion really is. For Bombayites, Bombay is their religion. For Lahore residents, it's Lahore. For Christians, religion means believing in Jesus Christ, for Muslims it's believing in Mohammed and for orthodox Hindus it's worshipping idols and reading Vedas. But no one stops to wonder why so many religions exist in the first place. What is the origin, the seed of all religions? Where do they all come from. I preach the True Dharma, the universal religion which embraces all mankind.
'Because of his devotion to Truth, a celestial plane came to take Harishchandra to heaven. He said, 'I have to repay a debt to my employer. I'll go to heaven only if he can accompany me.' The angels turned to his employer and said, 'You actually don't deserve it but due to his righteousness you can come too.'
'That man said, 'I keep pigs. Only if they can come with me will I go. The angels then said to the pigs, 'How could you ever hope for such a fate? Anyway, because of Harishchandra's piety, you can come too.'
'The pigs asked, 'Will we get swill to eat in heaven?' The angels replied, 'In heaven everyone drinks Nectar.' The pigs refused, saying, 'Then heaven's not the place for us!'
'The point of the story is that a person who walloWws in sensuality like a pig in filth regards liberation as nothing, and will risk his life to get the petty pleasures of the World."
Although Maharar Ji used to travel a lot, giving satsang in towns and villages, still the Delhi premies were fortunate enough
to have him with them most of the time. He himself had no idea of time. He enjoyed himself only when he was with his devotees. Shri Mata Ji says, "He was like a stranger to his own family. I and the children would pine for months to see him. When he finally did come home it was like a festive occasion for us. He was like a guest in his own house. He'd ask, 'Why do you always make such a fuss over me when I'm home? Aren't I just another member of this family?' I'd reply, 'If you are a member of this family, why don't you celebrate family occasions with us? You're just like a guest here. You stay for a couple of days then you're off again. You'd rather be with your devotees than with us.'
'I asked him, 'Why do you wear that crown and Krishna outfit?' He laughed and said, 'You don't understand! I dress up because it makes the devotees happy. Then they see it all in meditation. Whatever I do is because the devotees wish it. I don't have any desires of my own.'
'I'd often complain, 'You're never home and you've dumped the children in boarding school.' Once, little Satpal Ji said to me, 'Mummy, you've left me in this boarding school and I'm cut off from your love.' So out of affection and pity I gave him some pocket money. When Shri Maharaj Ji found out he said, 'Is this your love? Do you think that I don't love him? Couldn't I have sent him money? That's how children get spoiled. Do you think he's the only one in that hostel? Don't other kids live there too? Don't their parents love them? In any case when children grow up they have to stand on their own two feet and get over their emotional attachment to their parents."
Shri Maharaj Ji laboured indefatigably. Shri Mata Ji recalls, "One day, during Guru Puju 1966, I went into Shri Maharaj Ji's room and told him that some premies had requested darshan and charnamrit. He surprised me by saying, 'Why don't you give them darshan and charnamrit? After all, you are their Gurumata.' I replied, 'There's a lot of difference between your charnamrit and mine.' He answered, 'What are you talking about? What's the difference between you and me?' I said, 'Maharaj Ji, if something
should go wrong you'd say, 'Well, you started giving people your charnamrit.' He replied, 'That's where you're wrong. You have to take the lead in spreading Knowledge. You must start looking after these devotees. I want you to go everywhere, give darshan and satsang. You'll have to do it sooner or later!"
There was always a stream of premies coming in and out of the Shakti Nagar residence. Once Mahatma Anandi Bai went there to inquire when Shri Maharaj Ji was expected in Delhi. Mahatma Satyanand told her, "Send a telegram and call him!" Bai Ji says, "I burst into tears. I couldn't sleep the whole night.' All I could do was cry. The next morning I went again to the residence. Mahatma Ji said, "Maharaj Ji arrived last night at 9.30 and was asking about you. It looks as though he received your telegram!"
Parmeshwari Devi had a brush with death: "One day I became very ill. Five yamdoots (angels of death) wearing long robes, came to take me away. I started crying, but they insisted, saying; 'We won't leave here without you. Come along.' Suddenly Shri Maharaj Ji appeared and told them, 'No, she's not going yet.' The five replied, 'She belongs to us.' Maharaj .Ji told them, 'I'm her Guru, not you. Leave her alone."
Karma Singh is a police inspector. He and his family are Sikhs. He says, "When I received Knowledge, my family opposed me, saying, 'No Sikhs belong to that organization. Your Guru is a non-Sikh.' Anyway by his grace, my wife and daughter finally received Knowledge. One day when we went for darshan at Shakti Nagar Maharaj Ji said, 'Now you are real Sikhs. Guru Nanak Dev had a beard and I don't. That's the only difference between us.' This cleared up my wife's doubts and my whole family became very devoted to Shri Maharaj Ji.
'One day some premies who had gathered at Shakti Nagar were singing devotional songs. The neighbours objected. At first Maharaj Ji told them to stop singing. As soon as the neighbours went away, the singing started again. The neighbours returned and warned them, 'You people are really annoying us.' When they had gone, Shri Maharaj Ji said, 'Right. Tomorrow I'll show them who
I am.' The next day, a Sunday, he dressed up in his crown and Krishna outfit and, flute in hand, started dancing down the street. He danced as far as the intersection. All the neighbours were staring at the spectacle. Then he climbed on the roof. He played one note on his flute and started dancing again. We were amazed to see all the neighbours dancing on their roofs!"
Purn Babu, an accomplished violinist, used to play violin at satsang programs. He had a very practical experience of Maharaj Ji's grace: "One day I was involved in an accident and broke my right hand. The doctors told me that I would never play violin again. I was in despair. That same day Maharaj Ji visited me and said, 'Don't worry. Your hand will be all right by Guru Puja. In fact, I want you to play at that program. You'll play like Tansen and Ravi Shankar!' I went to Guru Puja and, at Maharaj Ji's command, started playing. 'To my great surprise, I played better than ever!'
'Shri Maharaj Ji's prophecies always came true. In 1960 at Sapru House I played at the same program as Ravi Shankar. There was a gap in the program, so my violin teacher told me to play a solo. I went on stage and played. The audience called for an encore! I recalled what Maharaj Ji had told me several years before. He had assured me, 'Whenever you remember me, I'll come to you, and no one will be able to stand in your way.'
'I had a strong desire to travel overseas. This wish also came true. A patron took me abroad, at her expense. We toured many countries and several concert recitals were arranged for me. On my way back to India, I suddenly found myself thinking how nice it would be to run into Shri Mata Ji or Shri Bhole Ji, as at that time they were overseas. How lucky for me that Shri Mata Ji was returning to India and happened to be sitting in the seat in front of Mine! She talked with me throughout the journey."
Once at Shakti Nagar, Maharaj Ji said, "Even after receiving the true Knowledge, you have to practise it and develop indifference for worldly things. Don't think that you can reach Samadhi all in one go. That's dangerous. If your car is travelling at
90 m.p.h. and you suddenly apply the brakes, the car will overturn and be smashed to pieces. There's a saying, 'Slow and steady wins the race'.
If a gardener tends his plants, they bear fruit at the right time. He first plants the tree, waters and fertilizes it, and when necessary weeds it and prunes it. He protects it from extreme heat and cold. Then when Nature decides that the time is right, the tree is covered in fruit. The tree doesn't blossom the same day you plant the seed. You have to be patient. People take Knowledge and come back the next day saying that they are having difficulty meditating. You are initiated so that you can begin the process of tuning your mind to the Knowledge. But even before that, satsang, service and getting into a routine of meditation are necessary. You become like the company you keep. What your friends say sticks in your mind. You always think about whomever it is you serve. If a person has spent his life serving his family and continues to preoccupy himself thus after he receives Knowledge, can he all at once, bring his mind under control? Following the Guru's commands tames the mind. For example, you want to stand up but I tell you to remain seated. On that occasion you have conquered your mind. Commands are given to disciples and if a person can't obey them he is not a disciple nor can he ever conquer his mind. Some people are afraid that if they get involved in service and devotion, their worldly affairs will suffer. But devotion never adversely affects anything. People who think like that shy away from service and never understand its sweetness. Devotion is something eternal and immortal. St. Kabir said, 'Nothing done in the way of devotion ever goes astray. Even if it takes a hundred lifetimes, you will reap the rewards."
Jeet Singh Jaggi of Bhimtal (Nainital) describes Maharaj's mercy:
"I arrived in Delhi on 11th April 1962 and spent the next three days living in parks and attending satsang. The first day's program was at Ramlila Ground, the second at Nicholson Park and the third at Ajmal Khan Park in Karol Bagh. On the 14th I went to Shaktinagar. The darshan line stretched down the stairs and along
the footpath. Slowly it inched forward and I found myself at the door of the room where Shri Maharaj Ji was sitting. That room had two doors, an entry and an exit. Premies were admitted one by one. Two premies sat at Maharaj Ji's feet taking offerings and giving out prashad. Being slow-moving and passive by nature, I took rather a long time bowing. Suddenly someone pushed me to one side. I felt another push and found myself outside the room, without having been able to do pranam. I was very angry, but as I glanced back inside, what did I see? No room, no doors, no premies, but open grounds with a satsang stage and Maharaj Ji beckoning me towards him. As I approached, that scene disappeared and again I was back in the room with two doors and the two premies. Shri Maharaj Ji held up his hand to halt the advancing line and asked me where I was from and how long I'd had Knowledge. Then he chose a big red apple and gave it to me, saying, 'You must be hungry. Eat this then drink some water. Don't go home alone - there must be some, other premies from your district.'
'My heart burst with happiness. I met two mahatmas from Ramnagar, near Nainital, who came up to me of their own accord. How can I describe Shri Maharaj Ji? He was the ocean of love and mercy."
In November 1961 the premies arranged a huge 'Peace Conference' at Gandhi Grounds in Delhi. Shri Maharaj Ji announced that if world leaders would experience the Divine Light and Holy Name within themselves and if governments would assist in spreading this Knowledge, not only would world peace become a reality within a single year, not only would all mankind be united, but a tremendous transformation of human consciousness on a global scale would take place.
On November 16th and 17th a giant procession wound its way through the main streets of Delhi. More than 50,000 people assembled to hear him speak on 18th and 19th. Religious teachers and leading intellectuals from all over India addressed the
conference. Also participating was an American cleric, who said, "I'm ashamed to say that, even though I am a disciple of Christ, I haven't seen the Divine Light about which He spoke. Only now do I realize that I haven't understood the real essence of Christianity."
A leading English daily, 'The Statesman', reported on the procession:
"A huge congregation, including more than 200 saffron robed saddhus, gathered on 19th November at Gandhi Grounds. The purpose of this conference was not just religious. It was to discuss how mankind may avoid the annihilation which now looms large. The conference has been arranged under the auspices of Divya Sandesh Parishad.
'Speaking from a flower bedecked stage, these saddhus threw light on the causes behind the frightening world situation. They claimed that the United Nations and. world leaders are incapable of averting disaster. They further claimed, 'We can establish peace within one year, because peace is a personal matter, and peace is attained by individuals. Just halting nuclear tests or holding disarmament conferences won't bring about peace. War begins in man's mind and peace can only be brought about by a fundamental transformation and improvement in human consciousness, and this in turn can happen only when an individual sees the Divine Light and meditates on it.
'They further said that going to temples and mosques is unnecessary for this. What is necessary, however, is meditation on one's real self. The Inner Light has been described in world seriptures such as the Bible, Koran and Upanishads as eternal and self effulgent. It has the ability to purify the human heart. A person who meditates on this Light will not be harmed by nuclear blasts. They claimed that one and a half million Indians have already experienced this Light.
'More than 10,000 people, of whom a large proportion were women, sat quietly beneath a canvas canopy, gaily decorated with lights and bunting, and listened attentively to the mahatmas and
spiritual Master Paramsant Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj, who had just arrived from Hardwar.
'Thousands of disciples from all over India are participating in this two-day conference and are being accommodated in more than 100 giant tents especially erected for this event. Delegates include people from all walks of life, including a senior district official, several police superintendents and inspectors and officers of the Central Investigations Department, as well as humbler members of the public."
The same newspaper reported on November 20th:
"Three thousand men and women, whose aim is to establish world peace within a year, paraded in a huge procession through the streets of Delhi on Thursday and Friday, holding aloft silk banners and distributing leaflets. They did not shout slogans of any kind, nor did they denounce anyone. They did not solicit funds in any way. Participants from various parts of India, dressed in their regional costumes, added a dash of colour. A large company of saffron-robed saddhus walked along quietly. When asked their objective by press reporters, they politely refused to break their silence.
'Women sang hymns from Ramayana and Gita. The really impressive thing about this procession was that, in contrast to political and other types of processions held in Delhi, there were no outbreaks of violence or trouble. Whether or not the organization's patron, Paramsant Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj, the Convenor of this conference, can achieve world peace in the space of a single year, there is certainly no doubt that there was perfect peace and accord among his disciples. Their way of living in the tent city at Gandhi Grounds was exemplary. Loving service is the basis of their tolerance and endurance. Those among them who are barbers by trade cut hair free of charge. Those who know how to cook, especially the ladies, prepare the meals under hygienic conditions. A free canteen is operating and no one is seen taking more than he needs. This tent city appears in many respects to be a
holy city where pilgrims and saddhus bask in the sun and absorb the peaceful atmosphere.
'Paramsant Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj directing the world's attention to the possible extinction of mankind, said, 'Peace and happiness are mind related. They are not acquired through money or material possessions. The only way is through stilling the mind. Since this is something internal, it is foolish to search for it outside. Mind is concentrated by meditation on the Divine Light which shines in the innermost self. Remembering God's True Name purifies the mind. This Name, which pervades the entire animate and inanimate creation, can be remembered continuously. It is not something verbal. It cannot be written in any language. It has the inherent ability to purify the mind. It can immediately transform a person. It makes pacifists out of the most aggressive and violent. Meditation on it replaces anger, violence and hatred with feelings of real love and equanimity.
'A flame is necessary to light a lamp, and surgical instruments are necessary for an operation. Similarly, a living Master is necessary for imparting the Knowledge of Holy Name and Divine Light.
'The first and foremost step towards world peace is for the individual to take refuge in a living realized Master, please him, and with his grace and assistance, experience the Divine Light and constantly Meditate on the Holy Name.
'Unlike the guest speakers, Maharaj Ji did not just offer concepts and wishful thinking to the audience. His discourse was solidly based on practical knowledge of spirituality and psychology. One and a half million people throughout India claim to be having a practical experience of that Divine Light and Name. The delegates who flocked to Delhi are living proof of that.
'So if world leaders sincerely want to establish peace in the world they should come to the Master and experience this Light within themselves, then in planned fashion disseminate this Knowledge, said Shri Hans Ji Maharaj. Then world peace is possible. Otherwise, destruction is inevitable."
Here is an extract from Shri Maharaj Ji's speech of 19th November, 1961:
"Religion protects devotees and is the source of indescribable joy but people don't understand what religion really is. Spurious and false religions have cost millions of lives. These religions have turned men into enemies, yet still people believe in them. What passes for religion nowadays neither protects anyone nor gives everlasting peace. Recitations and lectures are held all over the place. People study Granth Sahab, Koran, Gita and Bible. Stories are told from the Ramayana. But I want to ask every one of you. What is your state of mind while you are doing all your fasts and rituals, pilgrimages and prayers, chants and sacrifices? They are not the way to concentrate your mind. Lord Krishna said that someone whose mind is not under his control is neither a yogi nor a sannyasi. There is a Punjabi saying, 'If you've conquered your mind, you've conquered the world.' Saints and mahatmas have always said that none of these external practices will control mind.
'Our Mission's main objectives and, indeed, the ultimate religion of man, is this: to show people the universal, as well as easiest, method of conquering the mind. Once you have conquered your own mind you have conquered the, world. This technique is not at all related to any external practices. It is already naturally existing within every Hindu, Christian, Muslim and Sikh. It is glorified by the Vedas and every other great scripture and it is this technique which all the saints and Divine Teachers have urged man to know. I can show you this technique, practically. When people hear this they demand, 'Well, tell me what it is!. But revealing Knowledge just like that wouldn't be to anyone's advantage. If it were, I'd tell you right now. The process of revealing and realizing Knowledge is described in all the scriptures. Only a sincere aspirant should be initiated and so that people can turn into aspirants we arrange these programs. The Gita, 4:38, describes how to receive Knowledge:
'Go to a realized saint, prostrate to him, serve him sincerely and guilelessly and ask for Knowledge.'
If you approach in this manner, I'll definitely give you Knowledge. Shri Krishna initiated Arjuna, showed him His Cosmic Form, and told him to meditate continuously. If my initiation isn't like this, then definitely don't believe me. But you have to do something to receive Knowledge. First you have to let go of your ego and concepts and take refuge in the living Master.
Sukhdev Muni was said to have been a yogi from birth, but to receive Knowledge he had to go to a Master, in this case, King Janak, who didn't initiate him right away. He kept him waiting six months at each gate of his palace. He didn't receive Knowledge until he was egoless. I address a question to philosophers and intellectuals the world over. If you haven't realized this Knowledge, who's going to suffer? Just studying books and delivering lectures based on concepts and philosophy doesn't make anyone a realized soul. Vice-President Radhakrishnan is a very highly regarded scholar and intellectual and is an authority on the Gita. I sent him a letter in which I posed the question, 'What is the Rajvidya, the 'Sovereign Science', which Lord Krishna revealed to Arjuna, and how can we see God's Cosmic Form?' He wrote back that a person should lead a religious life and that's all that is necessary. That's the state of knowledge and philosophers today. He explains the importance of pious behaviour, it gets printed in the newspapers, and that's it. Is that enough to make people walk the strait and narrow? Will that change people's character immediately? People talk about righteous conduct but they don't tell us how to turn an unrighteous man into a righteous one. No one needs to be taught how to fall, but he needs a ladder to climb up again. How can people ennoble themselves? They have degraded themselves, so how can they pick themselves up again? 'Dishonesty, deception and corruption are rife. People are characterless. Everyone knows that our sojourn in this world is only a brief one. We all want to live in peace, but what is real peace? How can we get it? No one can tell you that. I asked the Russian Ambassador if he believed in God. He replied, 'I don't, but my mother does.' I asked him if he believed in peace, and he answered
that he did. I suggested, 'What you call peace, we call God, because God is peace. Peace, bliss and God are synonymous.'
'Once I met Shri Prakash, a very learned man who was active in the Independence Movement. He told me, 'I thought that Independence would usher in a golden age for us, but it's turned out exactly the opposite. The situation is getting worse day by day.' I replied, 'And why not! The intelligentsia don't know the Truth nor act upon it, and think that lectures alone can change people. How can that be? Only when the eye of wisdom is open does discernment dawn on a person. Then he can follow true religion and work for his soul's salvation. Only then can he bring cheer and prosperity to himself and others. You sow the seeds of hatred. To win votes you propagate class discrimination. Then you say that we should do away with the caste system. Tell me, how can it happen? You don't harvest mangoes by sowing cactus.'
'I also had an interview with Pant Ji and Jagjivan Ram Ji (who were from opposite ends of the social spectrum). I told them, 'You want to get rid of the caste system. You both are Federal ministers. Marriages can take place between equals. Why don't you set an example and unite your families through marriage?' They merely laughed. Is that the way to get rid of caste? Just laugh it away? Listen! You people talk about the Kingdom of Rama being reestablished here. What about the teachings of Rama and the example that he set? He bypassed the ashrams of the great rishis and visited Bhilni's crude hut, where he ate berries which she'd already sampled.
'I've met most of our top leaders and members of the intelligentsia and I'd hoped that, maybe what I say would sink in, that they'd be interested in Knowledge and practise it. This would be for the common good because people always follow the leader. How quickly Buddhism spread once Emperor Ashoka became a disciple!
'I went to offer these politicians something, but they, being greedy for money and fame themselves, thought that maybe I
wanted something from them! I once met V.K. Krishna Menon.
In those days he'd address the U.N. for hours on the Kashmir problem. During our conversation I broached the topic of spirituality which, after all, is my field, by saying, 'There are three
kinds of light, which everyone can see. However, how can we see the fourth kind, which is called 'Divine Light? He laughed and said, I'm afraid you've come to the wrong person. You should talk to Radhakrishnan. I have no interest at all in these things.' See how mistaken he is! If the nation's leaders don't understand the significance of human life, what hope have the masses got? There's a saying: 'Like king; like subjects'.
'Someone wrote me a letter urging me to spread the message of non-violence. I just don't shout 'Non-violence! Non-violence!'
I spread Spiritual Knowledge. All these Mahatmas propagate non-violence wherever they go. I know how to change violence to nonviolence. I have the technique. All these premies from Bihar used to eat meat and fish. Their local mahatmas gave them Knowledge and they stopped eating flesh even before they'd met me. I never told them to do it. They just naturally developed an aversion for these things.
'A huge conference was held recently on the topic of non-aggression. The President and Prime Minister attended it, and so did several foreigners; but apart from lectures and speeches, there was nothing else to it. Will a mere speech make people non-violent? Is this all it takes to establish peace, in the world? I was also invited, but wasn't given a chance to speak, because they knew I'd let the cat out of the bag!
'Our Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, is doing a lot for this country. Once, before Independence, I met him through one of our Mahatmas who'd been an army captain. I gave him satsang. He told me 'I'm too busy serving my country and trying to make it free. Why don't you go and preach in the Marketplace? I'm sure people will know something good when they hear it.'
A wise farmer doesn't just scatter seeds in his fields, nor does, he plant seeds in July-August. First he ploughs the land
thoroughly and sows the seeds .at the appropriate time. Aspirants who come to us first must hear sufficient satsang and are initiated only when they have a proper understanding. If an initiated devotee practises meditation, he'll feel peace. You can see for yourself how peaceful it is here.
'Politicians themselves don't have peace of mind, so how can they bring peace to the world? They don't have the means to do it. Our leaders are stockpiling weapons just like other countries are doing. But will peace come as a result? Will dam-building, increased grain production, industrialization and space flight bring peace? If it were possible, then definitely it would've happened by now. These things increase tension and unrest. These external things actually rob a man of his peace. Peace is something internal, and is achieved by proper concentration of mind.
'Our President says in his speeches that without spiritual Knowledge peace won't come to the world; but what is spiritual Knowledge? Just talking about it or writing about it doesn't mean that people will get it.
'Four 'graces' bless the human being. The first is God's grace which gives us the human body in the first place. A lot of people think that a human birth is the result of previous meritorious lives. But if God hadn't designed the human frame in the beginning, where could it have come from? We are human beings now. When did we accumulate the prerequisite good merit? Someone has just completed an elephant life, another a lion life, or another an incarnation as a dog. What action in those lives could possibly have entitled the soul to a human life? Those species are only for enjoyment or suffering. Only a human being can create karma. So it is by God's grace that the soul gets a human body.
'The second grace is the scriptures, which keep us on the right track. It's the scriptures which tell us, 'Without God none can cross the ocean of mortality, even if he be equal in status to the Creator, Preserver or Destroyer'. A human being may have these powers, but still without Guru he won't get liberation.
'This Holy Name is so powerful that even the most evil person will be purified and redeemed by meditating on it. Hanuman meditated on this Name and so had the Lord at his command. This Name can't be written or read. People think that this Name is Ram. They're not using their brains. The Ramayana tells the story of Valmiki, who previously was known as Ratnakar, a dangerous bandit who lived before Lord Rama's time. Once he met a saint who took pity on him and revealed the Holy Name to him.
Ratnakar absorbed himself in meditation and the bandit turned into a sage of the highest order.
'What's the use of just studying scriptures? You have to realize the Name and Light which are within you If you are studying, scriptures but die in the same state of unawareness, what's the use The scriptures are screaming at you to find the living Master, because without him you'll never discover the True Knowledge.
'The third grace is the grace of the Guru. The Ramayana says, 'Obeisance to the Guru, who is an ocean of mercy and God in human form. His Word dispels the darkness of ignorance as sunbeams dispel the night.' Only the sun has the power to turn night into day, and only the Guru's Word can dispel the darkness of attachment to the world. What is this Word? It is realized in the depths of the soul.
'God is within you, but you can't see Him, so your life is passing in vain. You are like a man who has cataracts.'
'People say, 'Meditate on whichever name of God you like, because all roads lead to the same place. All rivers flow into the sea, so chanting any name will lead you to God. But that's wrong! You can't meditate on these other names all the time, even while you are awake. You definitely can't remember them continuously while you are asleep or dreaming. They are not the real Name: They are mental fabrications.
'The fourth is the soul's own. Lord Krishna said that the human mind can be the cause of either bondage or liberation. It
can be its own friend or its own enemy. The person who doesn't strive for liberation while he has a human body is his soul's worst enemy. If, he receives Knowledge but doesn't practise meditation, he again has to go through the process of transmigration. A real human being is he who actively pursues the path of liberation.
'We need these three to be alive - .a head of state, a doctor and a spiritual Master. A living leader, such as our Prime Minister, can help you with your material difficulties. What help can a former king or administrator give you? So what will you get from worshipping him?
'Secondly, we need a living physician to cure us. Will a patient be cured by seeking help from a dead physician or by praising him? Only a living doctor can cure us.
'Thirdly, we need a living spiritual Master. Jesus Christ and Mohammed were great Masters. They gave Knowledge to the people of their time. Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, Lord Buddha and Guru Nanak were able to explain spirituality to people. But they are not here now to enlighten us. We can only read their scriptures. Only a living Master can reveal living spiritual Knowledge. But we should also know how to, recognize the true Guru. Gu means 'darkness' and ru means 'light'. Guru is he who turns darkness into light. Lots of people complain that they have a guru but they don't see Light. If night doesn't turn into day when the sun rises, then when will it? If you have a guru but are still the dark, when will your darkness turn to Light? The Guru is he who has himself realized God and can make others realize Him. There are plenty of gurus around. People call these imposters, who give you a necklace to wear or a mantra to mutter, or who recite Scriptures and perform rituals, 'Guru'. But the scripture clearly state that the Satguru reveals the Inner Light and shows the disciple how to merge his mind with the Holy Name. He is not just someone who speaks from a stage. He imparts practical realization as well of the Name and Light which will liberate you. Liberation is not easily achieved, no matter how many methods you may try. The way to
prevent mental fluctuations from arising is to discover the object of meditation revealed by the Master and meditate on that. I'm showing people how to realize the Divine Entity within themselves. Wonderful communication facilities are available to us today, but they are misused. Of what advantage is a radio to people? A few vulgar songs and that's all. But if radio were used as a medium for satsang and devotion, not only our country, but the whole world would benefit enormously. But who thinks of spiritually-beneficial things? I would like to have the chance to give satsang on radio. Within a short time a change would be noticeable. I wouldn't say anything against the government. I don't wish to get involved in politics.
'Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh suggested that I run for Parliament. I replied, 'I'm already called 'Maharaj'. I don't need to stand for .election.' I've already initiated political leaders, such as Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh and Dr. Rajendra Prashad. I've given satsang to Subhas Chandra Bose. I've never stopped working for the good of this, country. I firmly believe that the world has always looked to India for spiritual inspiration and still does. It will continue to be so. Only spirituality can uplift India. Slavishly imitating other countries will never make India great."
Shri Maharaj Ji visited Aligarh district several times. Knowledge spread not only in the city itself, but throughout the surrounding countryside. Following their Guru's example, mahatmas travelled throughout the area on foot, putting up with all kinds of difficulties as they spread the Master's message in village, town and city.
The first Aligarh premie was Pandit Damodar Das, who was very devoted. His mother died in 1948, at 6 p.m. He told his fellow disciple Chiranjilal that he would not dispose of the body until Shri Maharaj Ji arrived. His neighbours ridiculed him, saying, "He's completely nuts about this Hans Ji Maharaj!"
He sat for meditation. The next morning at 4 a.m. Shri Maharaj Ji arrived in a horse-drawn cart and called out, "Damu, come here! Where's that Damu?" Chiranjilal woke up and was astonished to find Shri Maharaj Ji outside. He ran and told Damodar, who rushed outside. Shri Maharaj Ji give him a thorough scolding, saying, "Now shall I take away the corpse for you? Should I do your duty for you? Listen, do you know how far I had to come once I got your call?"
Kiran Saxena's mother was a resident of Aligarh and a neighbour of Pandit Damodar Das. The two families were in frequent contact. She used to ask Damodar, "Why have you put that man's picture instead of God's on your altar?" Damodar answered, "He's my Guru, and Guru is God in human form. It is written, Guru is the Preserver, Guru is the Creator, and Guru is the Destroyer. He is God in human form."
Kiran's mother used to make fun of him, saying, "How can any man be equal to God?" Once her son fell ill, and no treatment seemed to be effective. In desperation she asked Damodar Das for his advice. Naturally he told her, "If you sincerely and humbly pray to Guru Maharaj Ji, he can do anything." She replied, "If your Guru can cure my son, I'll believe him to be God, and worship and serve him to the day I die." It so happened that the boy recovered. She then trusted Maharaj Ji implicitly from that day forth.
Vidya Devi, an Aligarh premie, used to worship gods and goddesses. She would eat only after reciting the Gayatri Mantra and reading from the Gita. After receiving Knowledge, she immersed herself in meditation. She recalls, "My youngest son objected to my going to satsang, but when he received Knowledge he totally changed. He then told me, 'Mother, go to satsang every day, because this Knowledge is the real thing.'
'Once Guru Maharaj Ji visited our house. My joy knew no bounds, he asked me to sing a devotional song. Then, after dinner, he prepared to leave. I and my family ran after him. As he got in the
car I started crying and asked him when he would return. He answered, 'Where do you think I am going? I'm always with you."
Mahatma Girjanandji was a resident of Mansingh Sarai, Aligarh. He left his wife and children to become a mahatma, but the problem of getting his daughter married continued to plague him. His wife told her troubles to the other Aligarh premies, especially Ramesh Chand Saransh, who was in charge. Mahatma Ji also continued to worry about his family. One day he mustered up courage and told Maharaj Ji all about it. Maharaj Ji replied, "Do you think that you are the only one who can arrange this marriage? Do you think it can't happen without you?" A little while later the marriage was finalized, but a few details remained to be worked out. The local premies came to the rescue and the girl's marriage was celebrated with much pomp and festivity. The neighbours were astonished and said to one another, "Well if you want a grand wedding for your daughter, become one of Shri Hans Ji Maharaj's mahatmas! The wedding will take care of itself!" Sometime after the wedding the Aligarh, premies brought the bride for darshan. Shri Maharaj Ji said, "God can do anything. All He needs is your
In 1958, Ramesh and some other Aligarh premies went to Hardwar for Vaisakhi and at the same time asked Maharaj Ji to send them a Mahatma. That same evening during satsang Shri Maharaj Ji said, "Premies keep asking me to send mahatmas, but mahatmas don't grow on trees!" Just before returning to Aligarh, Ramesh went to take leave of Maharaj Ji. and apologized, for bothering him. The Master smiled and replied, "There's no need to apologize. You ask for mahatmas. If you were to ask for me then I would come too!" Of course the premies were delighted.
A satsang program was held on 27th and 28th October, at the Aligarh Ramlila Grounds. During his satsang, Maharaj Ji sang a sang which began: 'You've received a precious jewel but you don't realize its value'. Then he continued:
''What is this jewel? You must have heard of the Kohinoor diamond. It's supposed to be the most valuable diamond in the
world. The British stole it from India. They cut it in half to adorn the crowns of their King and Queen. It's not even something which can be eaten! It's just a stone which shines in the dark! It neither nourishes the body nor cures diseases. Yet men are posted to guard it day and night. In spite of all their efforts to keep the diamond, look at how many monarchs have had to leave it behind! How many kings have come and gone, whose treasuries were full of diamonds, pearls and precious stones! But sooner or later they all departed empty-handed. What use are those jewels to them now? Actually, the human body is a priceless jewel. It's the real philosopher's stone. You can make with it as much gold as you like. Only once you've got this body can you hoard diamonds and pearls. Elephants also get decked out in jewels and the finest fabrics, but what good does it do the elephant? Human life is regarded as the best of all.
'Gods and demigods can't eat the sweets you offer them, let alone cook them themselves. Try it and see for yourself. So it's a pity that, in our ignorance, we waste our human existence, which even the gods long to have, on building up family and possessions. The human life is meant for meditation and liberation, and not using it for this purpose is tantamount to suicide. It doesn't matter how prominent they were, everyone who came into this world had to leave it, and all their wealth can't guarantee them a human life next time. In our day and age also there have been eminent judges, businessmen, kings, emperors and noble people like Mahatma Gandhi. All had to go. Mahatma Gandhi was able to evict the British froth India without having to resort to violence. One word from him was enough to collect millions of rupees. How many homes were destroyed, how much innocent blood was shed in the cause of freedom. But even this wasn't sufficient to bring about the hoped-for 'Golden Age', or Ram Rajya. Gandhi died without seeing this dream realized. All the wealth in the Treasury couldn't save his life, because a human body is something that you cannot buy. It isn't bestowed as a result of any good deeds that you may have done either, although many people seem to think so. They're
not really to blame, because if a blind man says that he can't see anything, he's quite right in saying so, while if a sighted man says that he can see, he's also correct. No man, no matter how great, made this universe. Mahatma Gandhi didn't make it. It was created by the primordial Energy of God. If this Energy hadn't designed our body, how else could we have got it?
'Nevertheless, the human form of life is the only one in which you. can create karmas. Animals can't do this. But people don't understand. They read about it, but they don't think deeply.
'We have all enjoyed in other bodies, or suffered, according to our previous actions, but this present life is for devotion, worship and meditation. You will automatically suffer the consequences of your actions in other life forms, but this human life is meant for meditation, for remembering God's Name.
'That's why the song says, 'Now this jewel has come into my hands. Now you have the chance to know God's true Name and meditate on it. You definitely have to leave the world someday. Don't forget that. Profit and loss are in God's hands - you and I can't do anything about it. Mahatma Gandhi used to say that he'd live to be 125! But death caught him unawares. If he'd known in advance he could have prepared himself by doing puja or meditation. King Parikchit had seven days to prepare himself for death (after being cursed by the sage's son. He handed over his kingdom to another and sat beside the Ganges. 88,000 sages gathered to hear Sukhdev Muni's satsang. Parikchit asked Sukhdev, 'I have only seven days to live, so please tell me how I can achieve liberation in such a short time.' Sukhdev replied, 'Your Majesty, seven days is quite enough. If a person remembers God with his last breath he is free from the bondage of future births and deaths and is liberated.' So the king devoted the precious little time he had left to meditation and satsang. You also have to die one of these (seven) days, so disentangle yourself from the world and devote yourself to God and meditation.
'Death has caught hold of you; who else but. Guru can save you now?'
'Only Guru can protect you. True Knowledge has always been given by the Satguru alone. He releases you from your sins. Without him you can't achieve salvation or have the practical revelation of the soul and God. Great heroes and extremely rich people have lived in this world but only the person who follows the true Guru and devotes himself in service achieves the state of liberation. Guru is the bestower of liberation. Those who oppose him or are indifferent are bound to be involved in something worldly, because devotion to Master and devotion to matter don't mix! If a person is attracted to maya, then sooner or later he will fall from devotion."
Ramesh Chand recalls, "On the evening of the 28th, a certain element who were envious of Maharaj Ji's increasing popularity came to disrupt the program. About 9 p.m. they started causing a commotion. Premies sent me to ask Maharaj Ji to come on stage. I relayed the request, but Maharaj Ji refused saying, 'It's nearly 10 O'clock. I gave satsang last night and the premies have had darshan.' When I requested him again, he exclaimed, 'Listen, if I go and people throw stones at my car, it won't bother me, but you premies won't be able to tolerate it and there'll be trouble. Then what will you do from then on? Spread Knowledge or squabble? If I don't turn up tonight, people will say that I was afraid and ran away. So what? Krishna ran away from battle seventeen times. This is nothing new.' Even, so, I pleaded one more time. Immediately he started scratching vigorously and said, 'Just look at my hand!' I saw that his whole body, not just his hand, was covered by a rash. I said, 'You can't go out in the night air in this condition. Cover yourself and lie down. I'll bring some medicine.' At 11 p.m. satsang ended and the mahatmas came back to my house. I went upstairs with some homoeopathic medicine but I found that Maharaj Ji was completely all right and was asking the mahatmas about the program. He gave us satsang until 1.30 p.m. and then departed for Delhi.
'One year, Maharaj Ji's program, was held during the 'Numaish' season - the time of year when the circus comes to town and carnivals and exhibitions are held. Maharaj Ji went to see the circus. Afterwards he gave the circus people satsang and asked them, 'What is the Light (Noor) of Allah?'
'Maharaj Ji was giving darshan and the devotees were filing past.' He spotted one man whom he told to leave the line and stand to one side. He stood there for quite some time. As the darshan line was coming to an end, the man started trembling and said, 'Maharaj Ji, please forgive me. I am nothing but a common criminal. I came here with evil intentions. I was talked into it by some people who gave me a dagger and sent me here.' He gave Maharaj Ji the dagger and fell at his feet, weeping bitterly. Maharaj Ji explained, 'Brother, we all have to die sometime, so why load yourself up with sin?' He gave the man some prashad and advised him to change his attitude."
Ramesh continues, "There was a premie called Babulal who had doubts about Shri Maharaj Ji and the Knowledge. He wrote down his questions on a piece of paper and took it with him to the Vaisakhi program at Hardwar. During his satsang, Maharaj Ji answered all Babulal's questions. Babulal was very pleased but thought to himself, 'I'll only believe 100 per cent when Shri Maharaj Ji performs a miracle.'
'The next day at noon Maharaj Ji set out for a walk from the fountain to the main gate. A lot of premies followed him. On the way he pointed upwards to a beehive swarming with bees, and said; 'What would they do if we disturbed them?' Everyone, including Babulal, laughed. The next day Maharaj Ji again went for a walk. He stopped beside the same tree and pointed upwards. This time there was no sign of the hive or the bees. This astounded Babulal and his faith was cemented.
'On one occasion Shri Maharaj Ji was at Nandigarhi near Hathras. Nearby is a small-village, Sandila. Chandadevi, a premie from Sandila requested Maharaj Ji to visit the village. He arrived there the following morning in a bullock cart, accompanied by
premies and mahatmas. At 2 p.m. he said, 'Okay, let's go back to Nandagarhi.' Premies wondered, 'How can we possibly, travel in such heat?' Maharaj Ji told them, 'Listen, just tell everyone that I'm coming, too.' He sat in the cart and off they went. A premie had brought an umbrella to shade Maharaj Ji, but the Master said, 'Close that thing. What good will one umbrella do?' As soon as the premie closed the umbrella, the sky clouded over and a cool breeze started blowing. Singing and playing devotional songs, they continued on their way.
'Once I went to Dehra Dun to have darshan and to fix a date for a satsang program. The date was decided and Maharaj Ji said, 'I've done something for you, now you do something for me.' I said, 'just name it.' He gave me an order slip and said, 'Go to Hardwar and give this to Mahatma Satyanand. Tell him that the cement he ordered is waiting at the station for him.' I did this and Mahatma Ji said, 'I've only just placed the order. It wouldn't have reached the office yet. How can the cement have possibly arrived?' Still he went to the station and produced his slip. The clerk confirmed that the cement had been delivered and Mahatma Ji was amazed."
Shyam Lai, who for many years now has been known as Mahatma Prem Vivekanand, relates, "In 1955 I spent a week at Prem Nagar but didn't get to see. Shri Maharaj Ji. I was very dejected. I had to leave because of urgent business at home. All I had with me was 30 paise. I bowed to a photograph of Shri Maharaj Ji and put the money in front of it. I was wondering how I would reach home, but left it up to Maharaj Ji to look after me. I walked to Jwalapur Station and sat down on an embankment. I thought about returning to Prem Nagar. Presently a stranger came and sat down beside me. We engaged in a little small talk. Then he asked me to mind his luggage while he went to buy a ticket. He soon returned and said, 'Come on, the train is due.' I replied, 'You go. I don't think I'll be able to catch this train.' He said, 'I've also bought a ticket for you. See, I have two! I know you, although you don't know me.' So we ended up travelling together and he bought
me meals and refreshments all along the way. I felt greatly indebted to him, so when we reached Aligarh I invited him to dine at my house before going home. I reached home and sent someone to pay the rickshaw driver. Meanwhile, the stranger had vanished. We looked everywhere but couldn't find him. I had the feeling that it was Guru Maharaj Ji who had seen me home safely."
Before becoming a mahatma, Shyam Lalji was in charge of the premie volunteer corps, who supervised the facilities and crowd control during programs. He recalls,
"I was standing near the stage, wearing my volunteer's sash. Maharaj Ji asked me what it was. I told him and he said, 'Are you a volunteer too?' answered, 'Yes.' He said, 'Well, what are you doing here? Go and stand at the back! I did so.
'A Muslim premie, who had just been initiated, was singing a Muslim devotion song - 'You have to show me the Light of Sinai', and pointed towards Maharaj Ji. Then I saw a radiant light surround Maharaj Ji and spread out all over the stage. After it had faded I wondered if my eyes had been playing tricks on me. However, when I asked some other premies if they'd noticed anything unusual, they replied that they'd had the same experience.
'On another occasion Maharaj Ji called me in my capacity as the leader of the volunteers and said, 'Tonight you have to make sure that no one can enter or leave the satsang area.' I picked my most trustworthy volunteers and told them that on no account were they to leave their posts. -
'Shortly afterwards, Maharaj Ji came on stage wearing his crown and the audience went wild with joy. The poor volunteers on duty said to me; 'What should we do? If we go for darshan we'll be disobeying Maharaj Ji, but if we stay where we are we'll miss everything and be miserable. All I could say to console them was, 'If Guru Maharaj Ji knows everything then he'll hear your prayer.' Just then Maharaj Ji told the audience, 'Sing some songs. I'll be back soon.' He left the stage, still wearing his crown, and went to each one of the volunteers and gave them darshan."
The Aligarh Show is attended by huge crowds every year. Maharaj Ji's satsang was always held at this time, and it became an annual event, too. One year, after the program, the premies asked Maharaj Ji to come and see the Show, as it is renowned throughout India. Maharaj Ji was in a lighthearted mood and agreed. Wherever he went, people stared at him. A couple of Aligarh premies were showing him around. First of all they visited the Hall of Mirrors. Maharaj Ji sent everyone into fits of laughter by pulling funny faces in front of the mirrors. Then he visited the other exhibits and sideshows. He watched a young man perform daring feats on a motor cycle and mused, "Just see the risks people are prepared to take, just to fill their stomachs." A premie asked, "Is it possible to meditate even while doing what he's doing?" Maharaj Ji replied, "Why not?. It all depends on practice and how much meditation you've already done." Another premie said, "This year the Show has been unique. Usually it rains on the closing day but today is the last day and nothing has happened!" Maharaj Ji said, "It's not far off!" And indeed, the sky soon became cloudy and within an hour it was pouring with rain.
One year, the Holi Festival was celebrated at Modinagar. A platform was constructed, from which Maharaj Ji threw powder dyes and water on the crowd below. Jagdish Jindal from Delhi recalls; "I sneaked in under the platform and had a good shower in the holy water coming from his feet. I drank some, too, and was in ecstasy. Overcome with a sense of love and gratitude for my Master, I grabbed his feet. As I did this, his anger burst on my like a bomb: 'Idiot! What do you think you're doing! What if I fell …!' The premies trembled. Maharaj Ji left the stage and went into his room. I thought to myself, 'Is this all I get for my love and reverence?' When Maharaj Ji came out of his rooom in the evening,
I apologized. He replied, 'Do you think that 'devotion' which knocks me over would please me? Think about it"
Mr Jindal, who works for the Delhi Metropolitan Corporation has been a devotee for many years. He says, "Shri Maharaj Ji was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I have
never met anyone who could come anywhere near him. The first time I saw him it seemed the most natural thing in the world to prostrate to him. Although this was the first time I'd met him in this life, I felt as if I'd known him for a long time."
Shanti Devi from Modinagar says, "Whenever Maharaj Ji travelled between Dehra Dun and Delhi, he would stop for a while at my house. His love for my husband and me was very special.
However, my father-in-law was against him and would scold me, 'You're giving everything in the house away to those saddhus!'
Yet, towards the end of his life a miraculous event happened which changed his mind totally. He told me, 'I apologize for speaking ill of your Hans Ji Maharaj. He really is a very great soul. I don't know how I could have been so wrong.'
'When I first received Knowledge I was obsessed by the thought: 'How did Mira Bai make Lord Krishna appear to her?'
One evening I went into my room to sing Arti. Suddenly the room was full of light and there stood Shri Maharaj Ji wearing a crown!"
During a program at Bulandshahr a brahmachari (one who has taken the vow of celibacy) came to hear satsang. After he received Knowledge, he was given the traditional yellow robes of the brahmacharis. It went to his head and he started to think of himself as a great devotee. He was able to give satsang in three languages - Hindi, English and Sanskrit. Sometime later, during the first night of the Bulandshahr Guru Puja, Shri Maharaj Ji told him to give satsang. He stood up and spoke in three languages. The second day, Maharaj Ji again told him to give satsang, but he found that he couldn't say a single word. Shri Maharaj Ji said, "Brahmachari Ji, you are a very learned scholar, so say something! What do people like you understand about the grace of the Guru! Puffed up with your intellectual vanity, you think you're the one who's: doing everything!"
Uttar Pradesh is the largest state in India. Shri Maharaj Ji's Knowledge had reached_ every district in U.P. and satsang
programs were often held in its capital, Lucknow. The Lucknow daily, 'Navjivan', described the program held on 27th February, 1961, thus:
'A two-day function has been arranged by the Lucknow branch of the Hardwar-based Diva Sandesh Parishad, headed by Paramsant Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj. Addressing the audience, Shri Hans Ji Maharaj said, 'Man, through his science, has extracted more and more secrets from the womb of Nature and has put them to work in inventions that are surprising even him. Even though man has control over the resources of Nature, he still lacks mental peace. He has forgotten the very basis of life itself.' Quoting from different scriptures, he declared that the source of true peace and happiness, which people try to gain through external means, lies within human beings themselves. The mind is something internal, and the way to control it; which is meditation on the Divine Light and True Name of God, is also within, but one can't experience them until the Divine Eye is opened, and only a true saint can do that.' Speaking out against parochialism, Shri Maharaj Ji advised people to decide on the path to salvation and translate it into action in their daily lives.'
Another large program was held on 2nd and 3rd December.
The 'Navjivan', which is the paper owned by the Nehru family, carried this report in its 3/12/61 issue:
'Today the founder of Divya Sandesh Parishad, Paramsant Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj, headed an enormous procession arranged by the Parishad. Approximately 1,500 people - men, women, boys and girls from all parts of India participated. These people, dedicated to the cause of serving humanity; wore Divya Sandesh Parishad sashes and held aloft posters of past saints and masters. Mahatmas riding on elephants and horses carried 'True Name' and 'Divine Light' flags. A special attraction was the City Montessori School students' band. A special Carriage had been constructed for Shri Hans Ji Maharaj. He halted at certain intervals to allow townspeople to offer flowers at his feet.
Footpaths and buildings along the route were thronged with spectators.
'The procession ended with a public program at Aminabad. Shri Mahavir Prasad, M.L.A. presided. On the first day of the two day 'Assembly of Saints', arranged by the Divya Sandesh Parishad, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians sat together to try and learn from Maharaj Ji's speeches the secret of human unity. Shri Han' s Ji said that people seek Khuda (Persian for 'God') and Ishwar outside when in fact He dwells within everyone. Like all other natural phenomena, the way of devotion is one and the same for all mankind. We should shun groups which try to fragment society in the name of religion. During his 'Chairman's Address', Shri Mahavir Prasad praised Shri Hans Ji Maharaj's philosophy, which, if followed, he declared, would put an end to mutual animosity and also make individual, liberation possible.'
The English daily, 'Pioneer', carried this article in its 4/12/61 issue:
'Addressing the audience at the 'Assembly of Saints' arranged by the Divya Sandesh Parishad at Animadhaula Park today, Shri Hans Ji Maharaj said that the source of real peace is within every human being. Neither national unity nor world peace can be established through materialism. Peace and equanimity are related to Spirit. Peace is impossible for the person whose Spirit is not still and tranquil. Politicians and royalty scoff at this basic fact and this is the reason why the world is still very far from its goal of peace. He said, further that inner peace comes only from experiencing the Divine Light personally. The goal of Divya Sandesh Parishad is to open the Third Eye of mankind and show everyone the Inner Light. 'For the Parishad, national unity is not just a theory, but will occur of its own accord as the Knowledge of the Divine Light spreads. By revealing this Light to people of all castes and creeds, and thus threading them on the string of brotherly love, the Parishad was presenting a practical example of national unity.'
Shri Ram Babu Saxena, a former resident of Lucknow, is a very senior devotee who has been serving in Shri Maharaj Ji's
ashrams for many years. He received Knowledge in 1948. Strangely enough, although he had been visiting saddhus and mahatmas since childhood, it was through his mother that he received Knowledge. She told him; "Son, why go here and there getting involved with these saddhus? Right, here in our neighbourhood is one of Shri Hans Ji's mahatmas, who can reveal the true Knowledge and can show you God within yourself." Ram Babuji says, ''That surprised me. At first I thought that some saddhu or other had duped her, but I was impressed by her staunch faith. I received Knowledge on 1st January 1948. I saw a radiant figure dressed in white in my meditation. The mahatma said, 'He is our Guru Maharaj Ji. He dwells in every heart and through his Yoga-maya (power of illusion) comes into this world to liberate souls.' From then on I was obsessed with the idea of seeing Maharaj Ji.
'One of my school teachers told me that he had seen Maharaj Ji, dressed in a crown, and the yellow Pitambari robes of Krishna, in a procession at Allahabad Kumbha Mela. He added, He is a matchless personality.' I first saw Maharaj Ji during Vaisakhi at Prem Nagar. He was as shning in the flesh as he had been in my meditations.
In 1956 a satsang program was arranged at Piwari, village in Badaun district. It was held outside the village in a park and thousands of people came. Maharaj Ji arrived in a bullock cart. It was a dry and scorching day in May. The road was unpaved so dust was billowing all around the cart. Maharaj Ji looked just like the full moon in all its glory, sailing through silvery clouds. Simple accommodation was provided in the form of a rather basic, but spotless, whitewashed hut. Maharaj Ji cheerfully stayed in this humble dwelling in the middle of summer. He gave satsang and darshan for two days to the premies, most of whom were poor. His love for the poor was phenomenal. Their pitiful circumstances would cause his heart to melt in compassion and his grace and darshan would help them overcome their difficulties. That is why Guru is called Hari - the Vanquisher.
'One day in 1958 Shri Maharaj Ji arrived unexpectedly in Lucknow. He stayed at Suraj Rani Vanchu's home in Kesarganj. This old lady had an extraordinary love for him. When she found him there she was transported with joy. She cooked curry for him but absentmindedly put in too much chilli pepper. Maharaj Ji ate it and gave some to Mahatma Madhodas, saying, 'Give her some of this as prashad but don't say anything.' The old lady tasted it and her nose and eyes started watering. So Spicy! She went to Maharaj Ji and started weeping, saying, 'Maharaj Ji, I made a mistake. I was so out of my senses! How on earth did you eat it?' Maharaj Ji said, 'The tears that came from eating it were tears of love. You ate it and cried tears of love, too!'
'Maharaj Ji's darshan was magical. I'm sure that it improved my eyesight, which had always been very weak. That's why I stared at him unblinkingly. The other premies thought it a bit weird, but I saturated Myself with darshan. Just as gazing at the rising sun is good for the eyes, so gazing at Maharaj Ji strengthened my eyes. Indeed, he was like the rising sun for me.
'Premies enjoyed his love, but I also enjoyed his reprimands! Once he was angry with me, and as I was bowing to him he kicked me in the lower back. It was definitely a unique experience. Firstly, it cured my chronic back pains and secondly, increased my ability to sit longer for meditation. When I first received Knowledge I had been barely able to sit to meditate. I couldn't even sit long enough to finish a meal!"
Once satsang was held at Banali Dari, Lucknow. About 500 people walked from Patna to participate in the prograrn. St Kabir said, "Go on foot to see a saint. Every step you take is equal to thousands of Yagyas." Shri Maharaj Ji also said; "The further you go for satsang, the more you will benefit from it"
He continued, "Satsang is most essential for self-transformation. It can change even the worst sinners. The results of satsang are immediate. It was satsang that changed the bandit Ratnikar into the saint Valmiki. You should go to satsang, serve Guru Maharaj Ji with your body, mind and resources, and
meditate on the Holy Name. Then you will reap the benefit. Think of service, satsang and meditation as a tripod. If one leg breaks, the whole thing is useless.
'A lot of people think that if they get involved with service and satsang their worldly affairs will suffer. Not at all. A person who devotes himself sincerely to God never suffers in any way. Prahlad was devoted to God and ran into opposition from his father, who tormented him in every way, but nothing could unsettle him. This is the glory of devotion.'
Samadhi results froth merging the mind in the Holy Name. The joy of samadhi is indescribable. It is the 'light merging into the Light'. The Name can take the mind to the highest stages of consciousness. A kite flies with the help of a string. It is lifted aloft by wind currents. In the same way, with the help of the Holy Name, the mind soars , above the six lower spheres - bhuah, bhuvah, swahah, mahah, janah and tapah to the seventh, saryam, the abode of truth, the ultimate. I wear myself out telling you all this over and over again, simply so that you may understand and make a success of your precious human life. Human beings can do anything. This is the karmayoni, the form in which we can work to determine our future. So wake up! Think! We see people dying every day. We also don't know when our turn will come. Then what good will remorse do you? St. Kabir said that this body is like a glass jar. If the jar breaks, everything slips from your hands. So don't put off until tomorrow that which you can do today. St. Kabir also said, 'You say that you'll do today's work tomorrow and when tomorrow comes you postpone it again. Before you know it, you've missed your chance.'
'Meditation means joining your consciousness to God. Parents hold their baby's hands as they teach it to walk. Whoever becomes mine, I'll definitely take safely across, whether I hold his hand or he holds mine.
'There is no such thing as ignorance. It is simply the absence of Knowledge. Yesterday I was absent, but today I am present. So where has my absence gone? There is no such thing as absence.
I exist, I have form and personality. Similarly, darkness is the absence of light. There is no such entity as darkness. Darkness automatically disappears for the person who receives Knowledge and Light from Guru Maharaj Ji. He lights the lamp within you. I unlock everyone's inner door and place the luminous jewel of the Holy Name in their hearts, so that they see Light inside and out.
'First you should listen to satsang. Secondly, you should think about it and decide whether or not it is the truth. Realize the truth and put it into action. Meditate on it non-stop."
At this point, a woman in the audience started making a noise. Maharaj said sharply, "Look, I'm telling you how to meditate constantly and how to devote yourself to God, but people don't understand. You can chatter at home, but the chance to hear satsang is, rare! Lord loves His devotees. He is in their power. There are the trios I of Beloved-devotee-devotion and. Knowledge-knower-known. But if you don't know God's true Name, how can you meditate land devote yourself to it? Only a person who devotes himself is a devotee. Devotion doesn't come from mind-bending exercises. People nowadays are caught up in mantras, tantras and books, and are impressed by totally false definitions of the Unmanifesr and Manifest Forms of God. They don't know anything! They follow like sheep and believe whatever they hear. This is not idle condemnation. It's something to think about. What is the Essence, the Indivisible and Imperishable? Something indivisible can never be divided. If it could be, then how would it be 'indivisible? Indivisible is the Name, and the mind can't be controlled without it. St. Kabir said: 'If you don't know the Name, your mind stumbles in ignorance. If you don't find the Name, the way out of transmigration, you'll keep on revolving. You twist the rosary with your hand and mutter with your mouth, while your mind flies in all directions. This is not meditation.'
'None of our learned academics or philosophers can explain this couplet of St. Kabir's:
'You've been turning rosaries for ages, but still you don't know where the mind goes. Throw away the external rosary and turn the inner.'
What is the rosary of the heart? Similarly, our leading intellectuals deliver fine speeches on Ramayana, but they don't know the meaning of this single line of Tulsidas':
'The soul, being part of God, is imperishable.'
Can any intellectual explain to you how the soul is a part of God? They are only interested in external rituals and ceremonies. Prominent swamis tell you to meditate on a stone and say that it will open your inner vision. Shame on people who are not interested in seeing God within themselves and allow themselves to be so misled by selfish crooks that they believe pebbles and stones to be God! My friends, first you should see for yourself, then believe what a guru says. Think first, then tell me honestly, where does your mind go while you are doing puja and all the rest of it. Meditation is supposed to concentrate and still the mind. If these external methods don't do that, then what's the use of practising them? The Knowledge which Guru Maharaja Ji reveals is eternal. It can never be destroyed. The Name which I reveal has not been made up by anyone. It makes Brahma, Vishnu and all the sages what they are. It is the True Name, Satyanam, Akhand, Nam, (indivisible Name) Pavan Nam (Holy Name), Ram Nam. With my Knowledge you can understand all scriptures perfectly. It unravels all their mysteries. Take Knowledge and see! You'll also be able to understand what all the saints and scriptures are saying. I don't give any mantras. I give you a direct experience - the same Knowledge which Rama, Krishna, King Janak and the ancient sages revealed. The rest is up to you. If you want to realize it, providing you stay in this body long enough, you can do it. On the other hand, you can get involved in the false and unreal, if you
so desire, but you're the one who'll suffer. If you realize the Truth it will be all the better for you.
'Religious teachers and intellectuals tell you that Aum is the Name of God, But Aum is a verbal sound, while the Holy Name is said to be beyond speech. Because Aum is verbal it can't be chanted at the very last moment of life. At that time, only the letterless Name can be recollected, because it is beyond speech.
'There are four kinds of light - sunlight, moonlight, firelight and Divine Light. The first three kinds can be perceived by all creatures, but only human beings can see the fourth. The Vedas call it Bhargo, the Upanishads call it Jyoti, the Gita calls it Paramdham, (the Supreme Abode), the Bible calls it , Light, the Koran, Noor,. The Ramayana calls it Sahaj Prakash, or Param Prakash, and the Granth Sahab, calls it Chanda,. But is only described by the scriptures. These are only writings, whereas the actual Light is within you, and the one who can show it to you is called 'Guru'.
'Lord Krishna explained in the Gita that nothing done in the way of devotion ever perishes, so even if you don't achieve liberation in this life, you'll be reborn as a human being to carry on your devotion and thus attain salvation. To such a person all opportunities are easily available in the next birth.
'You all know that now we are suffering or enjoying the results of previous actions. Everyone is aware of his present actions. The future is based on the present. A person can determine his present actions.The future is based on the present. So a person can determine his own future. That is why I am advising you to dive into Knowledge and devotion, because it will improve this life of yours and the next."
When in Lucknow, Maharaj Ji used to stay at Rameshchand Gupta's house. A branch of Divya Sandesh Parishad was opened there. Previously the family's financial situation had been quite strained. Mrs, Gupta recalls, "At first we lived in a rented house. One day Shri Maharaj Ji arrived unexpectedly and I had no food at all in the house. As I was wondering what I could offer him, he
opened a package and said, 'What's wrong? Don't you have anything to eat here? Don't worry, I'll give you something.' He gave me delicious parathas and fried vegetables. Since that time we have never been short of food. His grace has provided us with enough for our own family and for any mahatmas who come here. He has made this prayer of Kabir's come true for us
'0 Lord, just give me enough to feed my family. May I not be hungry and may no saddhus ever go away hungry from my house.'
Once in Lucknow a premie presented Maharaj Ji with a carefully-wrapped package of banana peels, saying, "Please accept these. I know that you are fond of banana peels. In Dwapar Age Vidurani offered you some." Maharaj Ji exclaimed, "What? You're just showing off and calling it devotion! At the time when Vidurani offered banana peels by mistake to Lord Krishna, He was not aware of what He was eating, nor was she aware of what she was offering. Oh my what a situation that was! Both were so transported with love that they forgot themselves. On the other hand, you are well aware that you are offering peels and I am also. So tell me, can you really offer them or I eat them?"
Once Maharaj Ji was going via Lucknow to Patna. The premies had not been informed, but one very devoted premie dreamt about Maharaj Ji who told him by which train he would be arriving the next day. That devotee told all the other premies. Some didn't believe him, but many did and arrived at the train station with flower garlands. When the train pulled into the station the premies were amazed to see that Maharaj Ji actually was on the train. He stood at the compartment door and gave darshan to everyone. The atmosphere of rejoicing spread across the platform and, hearing the premies' shouts of praise, the other passengers stood up to have a look at Maharaj Ji. The premies were all in tears, and out of their minds with joy. Maharai Ji asked, "Who told you that I was coming?" They replied, "We got your telegram!" Maharaj Ji said, "What? I didn't send any telegram." The premies
said, "We got your 'inner telegram' of the heart." Maharaj Ji just smiled. Shortly afterwards, the whistle blew and the train started moving! The premies stood behind on the platform and gazed at the train until it was out of sight.
Rani Bibu recalls, "One night after satsang, Maharaj Ji was talking to a few premies. He said, 'There was a premie called Dhannumal from Sindh who loved me very much. Sometime in 1944 or '45 he moved to Lucknow. I don't know his address. Find him and invite him to satsang.'
'Some of us were out selling books. We just happened to go towards Maviya and just happened to notice a three-storey building with the name plate 'Seth Dhannumal'. We knocked at the door and a tall, strapping elderly gentleman opened it and asked, 'What do you want?' We told him that we wanted to meet Seth Dhannumal. He said, 'I am he.' We said, 'Your Guru, Shri Hans Ji Maharaj is here in Lucknow and was asking about you.' He was astounded and, exclaimed, 'What? Is Hans Bhagwan really here?' This was the first he'd heard of him in 14 years. He was overjoyed and hugged us. He started crying and said; 'It is his infinite 'grace that he remembers an insignificant devotee like me after all these years. The next day he arrived at Kesarganj. As soon as he saw Shri Maharaj Ji he fell at his feet, weeping. Shri Maharaj Ji told him to stand up and patted him consolingly on the head.
Maharaj Ji had a great love for his old devotees. He never forgot their service and love and at the right time would appear to give them darshan and satsang.