Saturday, April 17, 2010

Swami Ramanananda Giri

The news recently filtered down to me that one of my old friends (in all senses of the word), Swami Ramanananda, had passed away in New Delhi. I am guessing that he must have been about a hundred years old. I am basing this estimate on a sporting story he told once me. He said he had played in the final of the 1930 Indian Olympic hockey trials, but missed out on selection because the person on the other team he was marking and competing with was one of India’s unchallenged stars. Since the Indian team of that year went on to win the Olympic gold medal in Los Angeles, an outstanding performance in the trials game might have resulted in a foreign trip and a gold medal.

Swamiji (which is what we all called him in his later years) was born in a part of Punjab that later became part of Pakistan. He studied agriculture at a college in Lyalpur and graduated first in his class. He once told me, with wry amusement, that he won the ‘General Dyer Gold Medal’ for being the best student of his year. He could never use it on his CV because, after the massacre at Jallianwala Bagh that was perpetrated by General Dyer in 1919, General Dyer was one of the most hated figures in India. Prospective employers, he said, would not have been impressed that he had won an award that had been named after a mass murderer.

I first met Swamiji in 1980 when I went to New Delhi to give a talk on Bhagavan’s teachings at a seminar that had been organised to mark Bhagavan’s birth centenary. At some point during the talk I mentioned that Bhagavan did not teach that concentration on the heart-centre on the right side of the chest was a part of the process of self-enquiry. Swamiji took exception to this and at the end of the talk he approached me with the intention of disputing my statement. At that time he was still a ‘civilian’, dressed in a smart suit and a tie. I stuck to my statement, and he responded by saying that he would bring proof the following day.

The next day (it was a three-day seminar) he appeared with an armful of Ramanasramam books, each carefully bookmarked to a page that he said would support his case. I went through them with him one by one, pointing out to him that all the statements he had produced had come from devotees of Bhagavan, not Bhagavan himself. I told him that I felt that many devotees had come to this conclusion (that concentrating on the heart-centre was a part of self-enquiry) and then passed on their opinions as if they had come from Bhagavan himself. I challenged him to find a single citation from Bhagavan himself to support his view, but he couldn’t, because there weren’t any.

He wasn’t convinced and the topic nagged at him for several years. Around 1985 he ended up visiting Papaji. He told me later that, sometime around 1990, he produced the same pile of books, with the same quotations, and tried to get Papaji to back him up. He mentioned the argument he had had with me in Delhi over this point a few years before.

Papaji was a lot less patient that I had been. After a couple of sentences he cut him off, saying, ‘Godman’s right and you are wrong. Just drop it. Self-enquiry is not done by focusing the mind on a place in the body.’

Swamiji told me all this years later when I showed up at Papaji’s satsangs in Lucknow. By that time Swamiji had been associated with Papaji for many years. He first went after reading about him in The Secret of Arunachala by Swami Abhishiktananda. At that time, around 1985, he was living at Ramanasramam. I remember him waving the book at me, saying he had to find and meet this remarkable devotee.

Soon after he met Papaji he decided that he wanted to take sannyasa. Papaji discouraged him, but he went ahead and did it anyway. The first sannyasa guru he approached said he wasn’t old enough, which was odd since he was at least seventy-five at the time. The second one made him chant millions of mantras in an ashram in Uttarkashi before he was willing to impart the necessary initiation. Swamiji accepted the arrangement and spent several months of a very cold winter repeating the necessary number of mantras.

Unfortunately, when he returned to Lucknow with a new name, and dressed in orange robes, Papaji was so annoyed that he had gone against his wishes, he refused to talk to him for almost a year. However, once that period of exile was over, Papaji treated him very well. The two of them came from very similar backgrounds. Both were brahmins from the same small town in Punjab, although they had never met while they were there, both were fluent in Urdu and loved Urdu poetry, and both had a military background. Papaji had had a spell in the army in the 1940s whereas Swamiji, after a period in uniform, moved on to work for the Ministry of Defence, eventually retiring at a level that was equivalent to the lowest rank of general. After his retirement, he worked as an agricultural advisor both for the central government and for various NGOs.

In the mid-1990s we both found ourselves sitting in the back seat of a car, driving out of Lucknow. Papaji had arranged a picnic a few miles out of the city, and we were following his car. Swamiji dozed off during the drive. He was well into his eighties at that point. Eventually, he woke up and asked me where we were.

‘I don’t know,’ I replied. ‘I have never been on this road before. We are stopped at a level crossing a few kilometers out of Lucknow.’

Swamiji looked around, spotted a couple of landmarks, and then smiled. ‘I know where we are,’ he said. This place is named after me.’

He rolled up the sleeve of his orange robe and showed me the name ‘Mohan’ tattooed on his forearm. Then he pointed to a sign that said ‘Mohannagar’. Mohan was his name before he took sannyasa, and ‘nagar’ is a common suffix to Indian place names, indicating some kind of human settlement. I thought he was joking, but then he told me a remarkable story.

‘I used to work in the military cantonment here in Lucknow. I had been given the job of checking all the government survey maps to ascertain exactly where the military boundaries were. There had been some encroachments on military property, and the army needed to know exactly where its properties were before it could proceed any further.

‘During the course of my work I discovered that an error had been made. There was a village, which everyone thought was outside the military border, that turned out to be just inside it. It wasn’t a case of encroachment because the villagers (and the army at the time) genuinely believed that the village was located outside the army’s property. Unfortunately, this discovery meant I would have to start legal proceedings against the villagers to have them all evicted.

‘Since it wasn’t their fault, I secretly doctored the army maps and records, making it look as if the village was not on army property. I went and told the leaders of the village about it, in case someone in future found out about my fudging the records. I wanted them to know, privately, what the true situation was. Instead of keeping quiet about it, a village meeting was called and a resolution passed to change the name of the village to Mohannagar in my honor. Fortunately for me, no one in the army connected this name change with me and my forged records. I got away with it.’


Me and Swamiji in Papaji's living room around 1994

Although Swamiji had taken sannyasa in the traditional way, he didn’t renounce family life, as he should have done. He had a wife and an apartment in New Delhi. The apartment was in Defence Colony, a part of South Delhi that originally had been set up to provide houses for former military officers. Many former military officers bought land there from the government at a concessionary rate. Swamiji was one of them. Periodically, he left Lucknow to go home and look after his wife, who was housebound and a bit of an invalid. I don’t know if his wife had some dogs, but somehow, every morning while he was there, Swamiji ended up taking several dogs out for their walk. These walks were such a regular feature of his neighbourhood, he became known as ‘Dog Swami’.

Some of the officers in the Colony had a weekly satsang. When they discovered that ‘Dog Swami’ had been a senior military officer, they signed him up to give a talk at their weekly meeting.

Swamiji was an educated and spiritually erudite man. He could have given them a proper lecture in any of the several different languages he was fluent in. Instead, having something of an impish disposition, he decided to be a bit more Zen. He stood up in front of a roomful of very serious ex-officers and announced, ‘My Guru is Papaji, and his teaching is laughter’. That was it. That’s all he said.


Sharing a joke with Papaji at his living room table

Before I continue with the story, I need to mention that Swamiji himself often went into blissful ecstasies in Papaji’s presence. He would make loud moaning and groaning noises, occasionally have fits of giggling, and not infrequently pass out and collapse on the floor. When the morning satsangs took place in Papaji’s living room, Swamiji often took the precaution of spreading cushions around his body in case he fainted and collapsed. He wanted a soft landing. Papaji often made fun of Swami’s rather theatrical swoons, but at the same time he did accept that when they happened, Swamiji was genuinely in the grip of some spiritual force that was making his body behave the way it did. Swamiji once showed me his journal in which he recorded, among other things, details of his experiences. There, he was attributing them to kundalini. Papaji’s responses, which were also recorded in the journal, seemed to support this view.

Now, back to the military satsang. The military officers were understandably bemused by Swamiji’s cryptic, one-line summary of Papaji’s teachings.

One of them tentatively asked, ‘Can you elaborate on that a little?’

Swamiji responded by starting to laugh, giving a practical demonstration of what he was talking about. This increased the already high level of perplexity in his audience. Then Swamiji stopped, perhaps feeling that he wasn’t doing full justice to this practical demonstration of the teachings.

‘It’s not just ordinary laughter,’ he explained. ‘You have to let it take over your whole body. Your whole being has to be consumed by it.’

He then fell into a burst of loud, uncontrollable laughter. I wasn’t there but I was told his body started to spasm in a violent way. Unfortunately, on this occasion, instead of laughing his way into an ecstasy and fainting, he had a minor heart attack and collapsed on the floor. He was carried out of the room and taken to a military hospital where, after a few tests, a pacemaker was installed.

Somehow, this is my abiding memory of Swamiji: an unstuffy and unserious man who, despite being the civilian equivalent of a retired general, was willing to make a fool of himself in public by laughing himself into a heart attack.

After a few weeks of recuperation, he sent a message that he was coming back to Lucknow. I asked Papaji if I should go and pick him up at the train station.

‘Why?’ responded Papaji, apparently with genuine bemusement.

‘Well,’ I said, ‘he has had a heart attack, he has had a pacemaker installed, he’s over eighty years old, and he will probably have a big bag.’

Papaji waved his hand in a dismissive way. ‘There’s nothing wrong with him. He could walk from the station if he wanted to.’

The station was probably about seven or eight kilometers away. I don’t think Papaji was being at all callous. Swamiji, even in his eighties, was remarkably tough and durable. Let me give an example. Papaji’s gate was generally locked. A devotee would man the gate and keep the key. If Papaji wanted to invite someone (or everyone) in, the gate would be unlocked. Swamiji could come and go whenever he pleased, without asking for permission. However, he never bothered to wait for the gate to be unlocked for him. He would stride up to it and vault it in a very elegant way. Even after the installation of his pacemaker, he never had any trouble negotiating the locked gate.

Another example of his toughness: the doctors at the hospital never bothered to inform him that the battery in the pacemaker only lasted about seven years. I think they assumed that he would die long before the battery ran out. When it did finally expire, Swamiji was well into his nineties. Unfortunately, the pacemaker stopped working while he was walking in the high Himalayas, a considerable distance from anywhere that could help him. A helicopter was called in and he was flown back to a military hospital in Delhi to have his pacemaker recharged. As I tell this story, I am counting the years. It’s quite possible that he did another seven years with the second battery and needed that one to be replaced as well. The last time he was in Tiruvannamalai, about five years ago, he managed a pradakshina, and even tried to climb to the summit of Arunachala. That was a trip too far for him, and he had to give it up about a third of the way to the top. He had had two replacement knee operations at this point. These procedures extended his walking life by several years, but the ascent to the summit of Arunachala was definitely too ambitious an expedition for a man of his age.


Massaging Papaji's feet in a devotee's house in New Delhi

In the satsangs that took place in Papaji’s living room in the early 1990s Swamiji would be on call as a kind of in-house pandit. He would sit in a corner, with his back to a bookcase that contained many reference books and spiritual texts. If Papaji needed to look up a story or a verse in a text, Swamiji would find the appropriate book and come up with the necessary information. If Papaji was illustrating what he was saying with a Sanskrit or Urdu quotation, Papaji would often call on him to translate it.

About two weeks before Papaji passed away in September 1997, Swamiji asked for permission to go back to New Delhi to attend to some pending legal business. Papaji gave his consent, but insisted that he be back in three days. Swamiji missed the deadline and ended up staying over a week.

Once the initial three days had expired Papaji would ask several times a day, ‘Where’s Swamiji? Why hasn’t he come back yet?’

Papaji seemed to know, to the nearest day, when he was going to pass away, but he never shared that information with anyone else. He wanted Swamiji to be back in time. In retrospect there were several signs and things Papaji said that made us realise he knew what was coming, but at the time we didn’t appreciate the significance of them. For example, a couple of days before he had the stroke that brought about his ultimate demise, someone suggested that something be done at the next satsang.

‘There won’t be any more satsangs,’ said Papaji. Two days later he was unconscious.

Swamiji was still in New Delhi when Papaji had his final stroke and was taken off to an intensive-care unit in a Lucknow hospital. When Swamiji heard the news, he rushed back from Delhi, ran into the hospital, but had to stop at the door that led to intensive care. No non-medical personnel were allowed past that point.

Standing up against the door Swamiji began to shout, ‘Papaji! Papaji! Let me share your suffering! Give me some of your suffering!’

One should be careful what one asks for in these circumstances. Within a few hours Swamiji was struck down with a massive and incredibly painful case of shingles that persisted for well over a year. I remember taking him to Papaji’s cremation a few days later. He had violent stabbing pains in his face every few seconds. None of the pain-killers he tried made any difference. He really did have to endure the suffering that he had asked for. At one point he was seriously considering having an operation that would sever a key nerve in his face because the pain it was giving him was making his life unendurable.

Papaji spent his final days on a respirator. The first time he was revived, he attempted to unplug the machinery, but the doctors prevented him.

On the second and final occasion he asked, ‘Where is Buddha? Bring him in.’

The two foreigners who were present thought they heard Papaji say ‘Where’s the Buddha? Bring him in.’

This was interpreted by many people to be an esoteric final message for devotees. However, when I spoke to Prabhas Jha, an IAS officer who had arranged Papaji’s stay at the hospital and who was also at his bedside when he made this remark, he said that Papaji most definitely didn’t include the definite article in his sentence. Why is this significant? Because ‘Buddha’ was Papaji’s nickname for Swamiji. In Hindi it is an affectionate nickname for old men, particularly those with long beards. Swamiji had a long grey beard, which he frequently stroked. In his house, if Papaji wanted to give something to Swamiji, he would often say to Jyoti, his attendant, in Hindi, ‘Give it to Buddha’. If he didn’t feel like speaking, he would just imitate the way Swamiji stroked his beard, and then indicate what was to be given to him.

My own feeling is that the intensity of Swamiji’s desire to see Papaji in his final days communicated itself to Papaji, even when he was unconscious on a respirator, and made him ask, when he was revived, ‘Where is Buddha? Bring him in.’

These were the last words Papaji ever said. At the time no one connected the request with Swamiji, so he was not sent for. The ‘Buddha’ nickname was a bit of a private one between Papaji and Jyoti. The people who were present at Papaji’s bedside that day didn’t know about it.

Swamiji was very attached to his beard, so it was quite an appropriate nickname for him. To illustrate this I will tell one final story. In the fifty-over World Cricket Cup that took place in the mid-90s, the West Indies team, then one of the strongest in the world, suffered a shock upset at the hands of Kenya, a team that so far beneath them in the rankings, their games were not even classified as official international games. A replay of the game was about to take place on TV when Swamiji was spotted in the garden. Papaji decided to have some fun with him. When he came in, we all had to pretend that the game was live. We then had to coax Swamiji into taking bets on West Indies winning.

Apart from myself, almost everyone else there came from a non-cricketing country. Swamiji initially patiently tried to explain to these poor ignorant people that Kenya had no chance because they weren’t even a recognised cricketing nation. He advised us all to hold onto our cash. Eventually, though, after some persistent cajoling, he was persuaded to part with a large sum of money as a bet on the West Indies. All the money was placed in front of Papaji. Then we all sat back to enjoy his reaction as his team collapsed to one of the most unexpected defeats in cricket history.

Papaji made no monetary bets, but he did ask Swamiji to wager his beard. ‘If you are so confident of West Indies winning,’ he said, ‘promise to shave off your beard if they lose.’

Swamiji had been willing to bet all the cash he had on the result, but he refused to bet his beard as well. That was the one thing he was not willing to part with.

When the game was over, we confessed to Swamiji that it had just been a sting operation. We donated our winnings to Papaji, who returned as ‘prasad’ to each person the amount that had been wagered.

So, Swamiji, wherever you are now, I hope the cricket is entertaining and the gates vaultable; and that when you fall over with ecstatic laughter you have something soft to land on.

RIP.

16 comments:

Maneesha said...

:) The last story.... of Papaji trying to entice swamiji to bet on his beard was humorous.

The last moments of Papaji's life that you have put here, about asking about a buddha, actually reminds me of the nidagha story that Bhagawan had quoted. In the narration of the story, it is mentioned that the Guru's love towards His disciple was increaing as the disciples love towards his Guru kept increasing, steadily. This point seems to have been demonstrated by the incident.

To me, thsoe momemnts that you have described about him with Papaji holds more important than the rest. Thanks yet again for yet another wonderful post.

Nandu Narasimhan said...

A very touching story.

Thanks, David.

Did Swamiji write any books?

Nandu Narasimhan

SarasMish said...

I remember Swamiji very well.
He was always available to make a translation or offer his help if you asked him.
He was so lovely to my daughter Ruby when she was small.I have a wonderful photo of him carrying her whilst her face was painted in colours.
He encouraged me to be courageous in one particular incident that is a long story but he was ferocious with his encouragement.I was taken aback and felt like he had bestowed a gift upon me.
About 7 years ago I saw him in Tiruvanamalai. He was in the ashram but apart from that he told me he was going around to the various satsangs of various people including foreigners.I remember he came to a satsang of Indian Mira. He had bad feet at that point and it was quite a walk. It came up in conversation and he said to me " I like to go along and see what people have to say, It's always good to keep an open mind. You might learn something".
I was so impressed by this and it stuck with me.

God bless you Swamiji it was a pleasures and an honour to know you.

Anonymous said...

David,

Thank you for the post on Swami Ramanananda.

2 queries for you:

Papaji’s daughter Ms. Shivani Sharma, in her “Interview” in the Mtn Path Jan-Mar 2010 issue says about him, “... he was a devotee of Ramakrishna Paramhamsa before coming to Bhagavan Sri Ramana”. In ‘Nothing Ever Happened’, only in vol I, you have mentioned just 2 stray instances where Papaji was reading some material on Sri Ramakrishna and was impressed with some of his home-spun illustrations. But certainly no inference can be drawn that Papaji was a “devotee” of Sri Ramakrishna. So what would be the accurate picture ? Did Papaji consider himself to have been a devotee of Sri Ramakrishna earlier ? Did he read all his books etc ?

And secondly, it is curious to read that tho’ he had a large immediate family of his own, only 2 foreigner-devotees were present during his last moments at the hospital in LKO. Were his family members all absent from the scene towards the end ? His sons, daughter, his second wife etc, where were they all ? Were they living separately ? What about all the “enlightened” Indian devotees whose stories you have related in the book ? What about you yourself ?

Please forgive the candid questions and my ignorance. You had written at the end of ‘Nothing Ever happened’ that you would write additional material on Papaji’s last days, but I have not read anything further, and am quite unaware of any details of Papaji’s life & times other than what is mentioned in your 3 vol set.

Many thanks

UV

David Godman said...

Anonymous

I think the information about Papaji being a devotee of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa is not correct. I have no idea why his daughter made this statement. I spoke to him extensively about his life and he never once mentioned having had any particular attraction to Ramakrishna.

Surendra, Papaji's son, was in Germany when Papaji passed away. Surendra was the one person who should not have missed Papaji's death because he was present at the famous palm-reading episode in the 1950s.

For those who are not aware of the story, I will summarise it briefly. Surendra had just left college and was helping his father out with his mining business in northern Karnataka. Papaji took him to see a palm-reader and deliberately gave him misinformation to see how good he really was.

He said, 'I found this boy wandering around. He is an orphan. I think I can get him a job in one of the local hotels. What do you think? Is it a good idea?'

The man looked at Surendra's palm and said, 'This boy's father is not dead. He is a jivanmukta, and he is quite close to where we are now. The father will die when this boy is in his ...... year.'

Papaji told me that the palm reader was not a jivanmukta himself, so he could not have spotted Papaji on that account. Papaji and Surendra never revealed what the correct number was at the end of the prediction. I asked Surendra once, while Papaji was still alive, whether the date was still in the future, and he said 'Yes,' but wouldn't tell me when it was.

When Surendra asked Papaji whether he could go to Germany in August 1997, Papaji looked at him with some surprise and said, 'Don't you know that year it is?' The reference was to the prediction.

Surendra replied that he was aware of the significance of the date and promised to be back in time. Unfortunately, he had miscalculated the date and thought he had more time to return. Papaji passed away while he was in Germany. Surendra flew home immediately on hearing the news and arrived just in time for the funeral.

After the funeral I asked Surendra if the palm-reader's prediction had been correct, and he admitted it had been. He said that it had been his own fault for not doing the arithmetic properly.

He also told me - and I was not aware of this before - that he thought that Papaji somehow knew that this man was a great psychic.

He told me, 'I was dabbling with palmistry myself at the time. I think my father wanted to take me to a real psychic palmist just to show how good a real one could be. I think his idea was to put me off studying palm-reading, and it worked. I knew I could never be as good as this man, so I lost interest.'

David Godman said...

Anonymous (2)

When Papaji was admitted to intensive care, the hospital said that only two people could have access to him. Yamuna, a German woman who was his personal doctor, and Bharat Mitra, an Israeli who was the manager of Satsang Bhavan, designated themselves for this job. The other man I mentioned (Prabhas Jha) was a devotee who had previously been a director of that particular hospital. As a courtesy, he was also allowed to enter when he visited. All three were present when Papaji was revived on the two occasions he regained consciousness. For the rest of the time he was drugged and unconscious on a ventilator.

So far as I am aware neither Surendra nor Sivani was informed that their father was in a critical condition in an intensive-care unit. I don't know if this was deliberate or just an oversight. Neither was happy that they had not been informed in time to make a final visit to the hospital. Sivani was in New Delhi and Surendra was in Germany. Meera, his second wife was in Belgium. I don't think she was informed either.

Many of those who were not allowed in to see him camped in the grounds of the hospital, waiting for news. On most days (Papaji was there for about a week) up to a hundred people would be on the hospital premises, waiting for updates and news. I stayed in Lucknow since it was clear that no one was being allowed in to see him.

I don't think most of us realised how serious it was until the last couple of days. Papaji had been seriously ill many times, including a couple of severe diabetic comas, but he had always recovered.

This time, though, was different. After he had collapsed in his home, a specialist who was consulted said that he would die within a day unless he was admitted to a specialist intensive care unit. He was unconscious when he was removed from the house, so he was not aware, when he was revived for the first time, where he was and what had happened to him. Prabhas Jha explained the situation to him.

Papaji attempted to handle a pair of scissors which were offered to him to test the extent of the damage to his nervous system. When he realised that he was paralysed on one side, Papaji decided that he no longer wanted to be in the body. He attempted to unplug himself from the life-support machinery, but the doctors prevented him. He was put back on his ventilator and given drugs to render him unconscious. He died, unconscious, in the hospital, about a week after being admitted.

His body was cremated on the banks of the River Gomti and the ashes were immersed in the Ganga a few days later by Surendra, his son.

David Godman said...

Over the weekend I received several emails and Facebook messages, thanking me for writing about Swamiji. I checked the stat counter that is linked to the blog and found that about 150 new people who had never visited my blog before had logged on in the last two days and headed straight for the Swami Ramanananda page. All, I suspect, would have been friends of his from his years in Lucknow.

If you are new here and knew Swamiji, feel free to post a comment here. It would be a nice tribute to him to have a few more appreciative comments on display.

Sridhar said...

Namaste David
A very enchanting biography of Swamiji- Nothing like the story of devotees of devotees of Bhagwan when one needs a whiff of peace amidst turmoil.
The story of Swmaiji taking pain from Papaji reminds me of something I read in "Living by the words of Bhagwan".Shri Annamalai Swamy seemed tohave had a severe stomach pain and problem that suddenly stopped when Bhagwan attained Mahasamadhi. It may be possible to surmise that some of Bhagwan's body's ailments worked themselves out of those of devotees body who probably voluntarily wanted it.
Many thanks for writing this.
It gave me immense joy toread.
Many pranams
Sridhar Aravamudhan

gus said...

i just came across this:

http://tinyurl.com/22k3mr8

Swamiji makes an appearance at about 45 seconds into the video, but when I went back and looked again I realized David was here too (right in the beginning)!

Anyway, cheers!

David Godman said...

Thanks Gus, I haven't seen that video for years.

There is one more Swamiji story that I would have included in the post had I remembered it while I was writing.

Swamiji wanted his body to be thrown in the River Ganga when he died, and he decided I was the person who should be entrusted with the task. He gave me Rs 300, which was the 1995 price of a return taxi fare to the nearest stretch of the Ganga to Lucknow.

I thought this was a ridiculous suggestion when I first heard it. I visualised myself being arrested for murder as I dumped his body into the river. Apparently, though, it is quite normal for sadhus' bodies to be disposed of in this way, but I doubt that many foreigners are seen driving up to bridges in taxis and dropping dead bodies over the parapet wall.

Swamiji assured me that nothing would go wrong so long as his body was wrapped in the traditional orange robes of a sannyasin. It occurred to me at the time that anyone who committed a murder in that part of the world could dispose of the body simply by wrapping it up in an orange cloth and throwing it into the Ganga.

Fortunately, I never had to put his theory to the test since he was still alive and healthy when we parted company after Papaji passed away. I returned his Rs 300 with a sense of relief. It wasn't a job I particularly wanted, but I would have done it had the circumstances demanded it.

gus said...

Swamiji sounds like he was quite the fellow. Thanks for bringing him to life through these stories (especially this last one).

i2iwmn said...

Swamiji's presence is inextricably woven into my memories of my time with Papaji in Lucknow. I often found myself in view of him during satsang and when something was particularly touching me, I would find myself looking over at Swamiji and seeing the same thing reflected in his face. He seemed to be my touchstone and I experienced a recognition and kinship of the heart with him. He would greet me and I found his eyes to reflect great depths of love. He would ask, simply: Are you enjoying? I was. And will always treasure my time with him. Love to you, Swamiji!

Srinivas said...

Dear Godman,
Can we have some of your responses to Indian life? I mean things like Liberalisation,Commmunal tensions, Bollywood....
I ask because your life and attitudes are so fascinating!
Srinivas Rau

Arjuna Ardagh said...

Swamiji, oh Swamiji
Dear Dear old friend. We shared many great moments together. thank you for your wonderful friendship!

Dr. J said...

David,

I am new to this site though not to Papaji, to whom I have been introduced by my teacher Gangaji.

Your stories about Papaji and his beloved friend Buddha touched me to the core of my being. The Joy, the Love and the Grace that your words point to melt me completely. Through you I see them both side by side laughing and playing with each other Now and forever more.

For this Satsang that you offer I am truly grateful.

Best Regards,
Yigal

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