Maharaji had instructed me to be by myself and not to speak much. He had also told me to focus upon my anja and think of him; so one summer when we were in Kainchi, some fifty miles from where Maharaji was, I remained in my room alone, fasting for five days. I had many pictures of Maharaji with me.
As I was beginning this retreat, I read a story from the Mahabharata about the Pandava brothers, of whom Arjuna was the most skilled. The brothers, so the legend goes, were jealous of Arjuna’s skill and asked their guru why he was so much more proficient. The guru said, “There is nothing so special. It’s just that he wants it more than you do.” To demonstrate, the guru gave them the task of shooting the eye of a bird with their bow and arrow. Arjuna did the task easily. Afterward, the guru asked each of the brothers what they had seen. One described the tree on which the bird sat; another described the bird and its coloring. When Arjuna was asked, he said, “I see the eye of a bird.”
I wanted to see Maharaji the way Arjuna saw the eye of that bird. I needed only to make Maharaji my meditative focal point, for focusing on Maharaji would simultaneously focus the eye, the mind, and the heart. After a day or two, the pictures of Maharaji seemed to lose their value and I put them all away; yet I felt Maharaji’s presence in the room. By the fourth day I felt him so close that it was as if he were standing right behind me.
The fasting made me emotionally very sensitive, so when I began to feel that he was no longer behind me and absent from the room I became very upset. Then I realized that the absence was of Maharaji as a separate entity; for what had happened in the course of those meditative days was that Maharaji had come closer and closer, until he had gone inside of me. I felt alone; not lonely, just alone. It was a feeling of strength and clarity and fullness, but also of aloneness and silence even in the presence of sounds. It was a little like being the last person on earth. When I finally emerged from the room and was with people again, the feeling slowly left me; but I now knew that in the path of merging with Maharaji lay my freedom.
~Ram Dass from Miracle of Love: Stories about Neem Karoli Baba
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