18 Jan 2012
January 18, 2012

Babaji's Footprints

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A young Englishman named Lawrie once stayed in Babaji’s ashram at Hanumanghar for about a year. He had been interested in India’s spiritual heritage and had come to India to learn about it. He had met Babaji, secured his grace, and was allowed to stay in the ashram, studying with Haridas Baba.

One day some devotees were talking to Babaji about Lawrie and his spiritual practice. Babaji said he would soon be going away—his “maya ” was coming and would take him back to England. Some days later, Lawrie’s lady friend, Susan, arrived in Nainital. Babaji told Didi that they would be visiting Allahabad and would stay in the house for some days and she should arrange for them.

Didi arranged a small room for their use. When she had opened the door to fix up the room, she found that one wall was full of footprints. She was astonished to see them and was convinced that they were Babaji’s. Many devotees came to see the footprints and believed them to be Babaji’s, but could not understand what they indicated.

A few days later, Lawrie and Susan arrived. Every attempt was made to make their stay comfortable, but there were some difficulties about their food. Lawrie was used to pure vegetarian cooking, but Susan was not. She complained to Didi directly that she was losing her health because her food was being neglected. This was hard for Didi, who had taken so much care with all the arrangements. Tears came in her eyes.

Shortly after, a devotee came with his car. He had received a phone call from Baba, asking him to take Lawrie and Susan to his house for a few days. They had been “transferred.” Babaji arrived after a few days and consoled Didi. He explained that Lawrie and Susan were old friends who were planning to marry. When Lawrie did not return from India, Susan came to bring him back. They had no money and didn’t know what to do.

They were given the passage money. On the day they were to leave, Babaji left for Chitrakut with some devotees. He told me to accompany Lawrie and Susan to the station that afternoon. With tears in his eyes, Lawrie begged to be excused for all their lapses.

The devotee in whose house they had been staying also came to the station and then gave me a ride home in his car. We sat on the porch and he told me about the strange behavior of his guests. They had stayed in their room all the time, bolting it from inside. This created some suspicion in his mind. It was the time of the Indo-Chinese
conflict and he thought they were spies, transmitting radio messages from the closed room. When he made that statement, I could not listen to him any longer. He had his tea and prasad and then left.

Soon after, another car pulled up with Babaji in it. He sent the people who had come along with him into the house, and he came and sat with me. He asked about the whole episode. “You went by rickshaw to the station? Did Didi accompany you? They went in the car? What did Lawrie say?” All these things he recounted to me, rather than asking. “How did you return? You came by car? It was good of him to bring you home. You-must have offered him tea and prasad.” These were all preliminaries. “You were talking? What was he saying about them? Why did he go away so early? Weren’t you talking to him?”
After repeated inquiries, I had to disclose that man’s suspicion about Lawrie and Susan being spies. “You became angry with him because you did not believe that? Why didn’t you believe him? Why?”

After that kind of hammering I said I was annoyed because I could not imagine how a person who claimed to be a devotee could think that Babaji would put him in such a dangerous situation. I said to Baba, “You knew everything about them and you could not do anything that would create trouble.”

He was stroking my head while I was talking. When I stopped he laughed and said, “Do you think that everyone is a fool like you? There are wise people who look at things differently.”

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  • http://www.pattiecanova.com Rev. Pattie Canova

    Ram Dass- your book HOW CAN I HELP changed my life. I was in Seminary looking for a credential and your book was required reading. In the midst of reading your work, something happened. An opening? A shift? I don’t know and not knowing is fine as it simply was in all its ineffability. I hated the god that was brought to me by erroneous teachers, no matter how well-meaning… and i found something else in your book. Thank you. I experience your tapes on dying with those dying. How you finally went the distance. Isn’t that the goal for us all? To be WILLING to go the distance/beyond resistance/HOME. I thank you. in peace with Grace, pattie (rev. patricia canova)