The words and apples and tea and silences and laughter were all washed in a continuous river of love that poured forth from Maharajji. The devotees who “knew” were equally as happy with Maharajji’s insults as with his praise, for it was all palpable love and food for the spirit.
We took our cue in this respect from one of Maharajji’s long-term, trusted devotees, called “Dada,” who served Maharajji with a singleness of purpose that awed us. When Maharajji would compliment him, Dada would say, “Ha, Baba,” meaning, “Yes, Baba,” and when Maharajji would shout insults at him, sometimes upbraiding him from morning till night, he would reply, in exactly, the same tone, “Ha, Baba!” Obviously, fame and shame were one to him, at least when Maharajji was the source. No longer could Maharajji get Dada angry or guilty; over the years it had all been burned out. For Dada, it was all grace.
Sometimes Maharajji would talk to one person and everyone else would listen, perfectly content just to be present.
There was the sport of watching the newcomers arrive, skeptical, with questions, and then seeing their hearts gently open and their soft, flowerlike quality emerge under the tender care of the master gardener. We would sit in those groups as Maharajji turned this way and that, attending now to a person at his side and the next moment to a devotee far distant who was just entering the temple; and changing the mood of the group from easy laughter to fierce intensity in a moment and then back again. One felt at such times as if Maharajji was the puppeteer and we the puppets.
Maharajji’s company was very special. He was always natural, like a child, a saint in the traditional manner. He set no conditions nor expected any particular behavior from his devotees. He was rarely affected by the outside. He could converse with half a dozen people simultaneously with a camera held a foot from his face. He had no form. He performed no rituals or puja. He followed no orthodox customs such as ritual bathing. Yet his presence was more than inspiring; it was enlightening. While meditating in or near his presence, even though he’d be talking and joking loudly, one quickly reached the place of clear light, a place difficult to achieve without his grace and power.
– Excerpt from Miracle of Love compiled by Ram Dass