My path is the path of Guru Kripa, which means ‘grace of the guru’. It seems like a sort of strange path in the West, but my path involves my relationship to Maharajji, Neem Karoli Baba. The way I do that is that I just hang out with him all the time. I have an imaginary playmate in a way, I mean, he’s dead. He dropped his body, yet he seems so alive to me, because I have invested that form in my mind as an emotional connection to that deeper truth.
Because for me, Maharajji is the cosmic giggle. He is the wisdom that transcends time and space. He is the unconditional lover. He is the total immediate presence.
When I went to India in 1970, I couldn’t find Maharajji, because he always hid in places, or he just disappeared, or nobody knew where he was, because he’d just go off into the woods, or stop a car and get in it and go somewhere. Then word would come that he had appeared in a village and everybody would rush there, and then he’d be gone again. I couldn’t find him anywhere.
So in the meantime I went to a meditation course where I met a wonderful teacher, Anagarika Munindra. I began to taste vipassana meditation, and it was so tasty I asked if he would continue teaching me. He told me he spent the summer up in the mountains, at a little ashram, and if I wanted to be there with a few of my friends, he would instruct us. I was delighted. I still couldn’t find Maharajji, so I went up to that ashram, and I found a building that had no roof on it and no water system. So I hired people to put in a roof and a water system, and we got permission to stay and study.
Later, when I met Maharjji in the spring, I was very proud of myself, because I was really on the path now. I mean, I had my own meditation teacher and I was going to have a summer with him. I told Maharajji with great pride that I had this, and where I was going and he response was, “If you desire.” …It’s a lousy response. I mean, you want him to say, “Good!” because you feel like you’re doing something that is a good thing for a yogi to do. But he was saying to me, if you want to create that reality, if that’s the way you think you’re going to get there, if you desire it, then go ahead.
So, I headed off to Kausani for the summer, and I did a fast. I had all of Maharajji’s pictures on my puja table, and I was alone in the room for those days. After about three or four days, the pictures started to just look like pictures. They didn’t have anything living in them. So I folded them up and just sat in the room, and started to feel the presence, this quality of presence in the room. It was like rapture, it was like you’re in a dark room and you know somebody else is in the room.
One morning I work up and it was like he was gone. I freaked out, I mean, I could feel the absence of that being. I finally quieted down enough to sit there and feel this thing inside of me. I began to feel his warmth, and I realized he had gone inside me. That was the greatest experience- of merging with him – and I sat like that for a day and a half.
Then the fast was over, and I came out and started to eat. Pretty soon I put the pictures back out and I was back with the dualism. I had gone in and out of that space, of that relationship with him, which I have done over these many years.
– Ram Dass