Babaji at first called me by my name, Sudhir, or just “Professor.” It was in 1961 that one day he started calling me Dada [elder brother]. Others followed, but not my Ma and Maushi Ma. He asked them why they called me by name and not Dada. When they said that a son is not addressed so, he said, “When he is my Dada, he is your Dada also.”
One day I was alone with him and he asked me, “Your friends are not coming now. They must be warning you about the danger of coming under the influence of a baba and being close with him. They love you and therefore they warn you for your own good. Am I wrong?” I had no reply to give. He was right.
I was rather an outsider at the beginning, and I was not psychologically or mentally prepared for the difficulties and disturbances his coming created. I was quite interested in social and cultural life, going to the pictures, making friends, addressing various kinds of cultural gatherings, meetings, debates, and I had a very large circle of friends. They would come and gather together just like members of the family. Now when Babaji began coming, there was no place for them to come and sit. Also, many of my friends did not like the idea. “Oh, you have become the victim of some baba!” When his visits continued, they would say I was wasting my time. In spite of all their solicitations, I could not change my new way of living. I was losing my interest in my old life, but I could not think that Babaji had anything to do with it. For me it was just like dry leaves falling from the tree, without anybody’s hand behind it.
Maushi Ma had already apprised Babaji about the agreement with the contractor and said it was all done by Baba. “I do nothing. It is God who does everything. Thank God for his grace.”
Ma said, “Baba, we do not know God, but we know you. So we are saying that you have done it.” Babaji changed the topic of talk.
A few days after he left, the construction of the house started. It was ready within four months and we shifted to it in the middle of July 1958. Some minor finishing work was being done when Babaji arrived four days later. He was accompanied by three old devotees. He showed them around the whole building and explained all about the house and how it was built. “Red house, red house. Very well- built.” We had never before seen him behave like an innocent little one displaying his excitement.
One day my auntie said to Babaji, “Baba, you love Dada so much. You have built such a beautiful house for him.”
Babaji replied, “Dada’s house? This is my house! Dada is my guest.”
More than two years passed and there were several visits that he made during that period, but his stay never exceeded three or four days at a time. Whenever he came, someone accompanied him. There were no bags to be carried or any work to be done for him. The only clothes he wore were the dhoti and a blanket, or a white sheet to wrap around his body. That was all he used to have with him whether he was staying with a devotee or travelling. Whenever a devotee would make him change his clothes, he would leave the clothes he had come wearing. His food was also very simple and it was easy for his devotees with modest means to feed him. He was not a burden to his devotees; this we could see from the very beginning. It was much later I realized that, although he was never any burden to his devotees, he himself was carrying so much of their burden.
After that time, Maharajji would come to Allahabad for the winter months, and many devotees would come—Siddhi Didi, her husband Tularam, Jivanti Ma, and many devotees from Nainital, Lucknow, Kanpur and other places. Sometimes Babaji would go out for a few days to Benares or Vrindaban or Jagganath Puri. I couldn’t go with him because there were so many people coming to the house and I had to look after them. Very seldom would he take me along. When he wanted to go on a long journey he would ask Didi’s brother, who was posted in Kanpur, to send his car and driver, Brijlal, who was an expert driver and also a great devotee.
Much later in 1964, he went to Jagganath Puri with Siddhi Didi and a few others for a week. One day the car came and the driver opened the gate and shouted at me, “Dada, Maharajji took us to Dakshineshwar, to the Shiva temple, and he said, ‘I gave mantra to your Dada in this temple.'” Then Siddhi Didi and others who were also there narrated the whole thing in detail to us.
Now all this shows that you do not go to him, he comes to you. This was all his grace, I had done nothing to deserve it. I did not know him. I did not seek mantra from him. He caught hold of me and gave me that. Then he came to that house and said, “Henceforth I shall be staying with you.”
-Dada Mukerjee from By His Grace
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