One day in 1968 Maharaji sent word that a group of nine of us would go for a ride in the Land Rover. After one stop at an apple orchard, we went up into the mountains to a rest house owned by the forestry service. The servants there obviously were expecting us and were delighted at Maharaji’s presence. Maharaji went immediately into the building, which appeared to consist of one large room, and Gurudatt Sharma went inside with him. We all sat out on the lawn, then Gurudatt called me. I ran in and found Maharaji sitting on a tucket and I knelt at his feet. Only the three of us were present. Maharaji looked closely at me, then closed his eyes for a moment and said, “You make many people laugh in America.” I thought of my lecture style, which consisted of much humor, and I replied, “Yes, I guess so.”

“You like to feed children.”

(H’m. That was a strange one.) I love to cook for people and I certainly like children, so I said, “Yes, I guess so.”

Then he reached toward me and tapped me three times on the forehead. The next thing I recall is Gurudatt Sharma leading me by the arm out the door and the brilliance of the light outside. A few minutes later we all piled back into the Land Rover and returned to the temple.

What was that all about? Was it an initiation? What had happened to me? I recalled the story of Ramakrishna touching Vivekananda on the chest with his foot and putting him into samadhi, until Vivekananda yelled, “But what about my family?” – for they were dependent upon him. At that point Ramakrishna removed his foot and Vivekananda returned to normal consciousness.

Was this a similar event? Many months later, in a letter to me in America, Hari Dass said, “That day you were in a very high state. When you came outside, tears were streaming down your cheeks.” I don’t remember that at all.

Over the years since then, I have asked many devotees about that incident but have never received a clear answer. Some say it was a boon; others pointed out that Maharaji was in the habit of masking important initiations so that they looked like nothing had happened. Another devotee told me that the guru could awaken the kundalini energy in a devotee with a touch. The matter is still not clear. At the time it only seemed to increase my confusion – but that was Maharaji’s way.

– Ram Dass, excerpt from Miracle of Love: Stories about Neem Karoli Baba