I came to India In 1998 for the Kumbha Mela, the largest gathering of humans on the planet. I brought a couple dear friends, new to India. The Mela was held in Hardiwar on the banks of the Ganga river. My friends were soon daunted by the crowds and chaos around Haridwar (and Kumbha mela is India amplified!) I evacuated them to Rishikesh, a more peaceful and natural holy place about an hour up the river, where the Ganges spills out of the Himalaya.
They begin a study of music and I went looking for the Spirit. I was walking a magic path up the river and saw a rainbow parachute on the far bank at what seemed to be some ashram.
Investigating, it turned out to be Saccha Ashram and the Parachute shaded the outdoor satsang of Shantimayi, a western Guru appointed by the Master of the Ashram, Hansraj Maharajji.
I was a bit of a spiritual orphan. I didn’t feel to give satsang myself but wanted to immerse in high vibes and chanting kirtan. I started going to ShantiMayi. Kirtan was phenomenal and spiritual vibrations were real. I never met her master whom was quite sequestered and hard to see.
I returned to Rishikesh in 2007, it was to be my new winter home for many years to come. I returned to the Saccha ashram and resumed attending Satsangs. ShantiMayi organized a trip to the Allahabad Kumbha Mela in 2008, I went along, and somehow connected with the other primary western teacher appointed by Maharaj ji, Prem Baba, who was also an ayahuasca shaman from Brazil. His Brazilian followers also had amazing music and the vibes resonated with a magical sparkle of high Spirit and the spiritual aroma of the rainforest.
I began to attend both of their Satsang meetings once back in Rishikesh. It was a practice generally discouraged but they tolerated it in me, I believe because they were tuned into what was right for me over what their general feeling of how things ideally should be. I still hadn’t met their master, or even seen him. Appointed to teach many years earlier by H.W.L.Poonja Ji, I started a few weeks of giving satsang in the yoga hall on top of my hotel.
One day Prem Baba brought his Guru, Maharaj ji, in for a brief talk on a special holiday. I couldn’t sense a great power from him but I did catch his frequency and determined to tune into the vibration of this man who shaped and hosted two special teachers and their special groups of Spirits (Sangha), and who fed all the poor people in the village who would come for meals, every day of the week.
Soon I did ceremony for myself and focused on his frequency I had tasted earlier. In contrast to the subtle vibration I felt in person, the “Inner Maharaj ji” bowled me over in a flood of Spiritual Light. Nothing subtle about it, it was a cosmic portal of power, one that nourished the local area and the larger sphere with Light and Love.
The next day I set to out to meet Maharaj ji and somehow got an audience. His heath had been shaky for a long time and he wasn’t giving teachings or allowing people to sit with him in general. It was said he spent his time on the inner realms working on the planetary upliftment rather than grooming disciples. My experience of him made that quite believable.
I explained my experience to him. He said he wasn’t accepting new disciples but because I found him such a manner, he would initiate me. I told him of my satsangs and asked if I should continue them. He exclaimed “Be Free!” That was music to my ears. I wasn’t really wanting to be ruled under a guru’s orders.
I wanted the connection to lineage because lineage carries protection, power and blessings through a spiritual teacher and if I was going to do that work, I wanted that to offer. The other lineage i was authorized by, Poonja Ji, didn’t, at least on the outside, have a lineage narrative. Ramana Maharshi never appointed anyone. I think the power was indeed there, but, being the spiritual orphan that I am, it felt ok to hold two lineages in any case. I needed that affirmation as well because my most major spiritual awakening was not without illusions so I became very mindful of checking myself.
He told me I would have powerful experiences with him as ShantiMayi had, and as Prem Baba had with him and with the Daime (ayahuasca). I was surprised he was liberal enough to include that medicine with such respect. His support was reiterated in the future as well.
He asked me how long I would be in India. I told him I had to leave in 8 days. He told me to come every morning to his room for 15 minutes for 8 days and he would “Make me fit” before I left.
For the next 8 days I came to his room at the appointed time and sat on the floor in his small room. He would sit up and pretty much we would just be deeply, deeply be present with each other, eye gazing. I don’t remember even talking during these sessions although we probably did at rare times. After each session, during the ensuing day, I could feel strong rushes of energy coursing through my body all over in flushes. At the end of the week, I felt as if my whole energetic realm within had been cleaned and renovated. I would use the word “empty” but it would fail to convey the fullness that remained in the silence and inner space.
When I returned to India the following Winter. I felt to take formal initiation from Him into the lineage. There’s a ritual where you bring flowers, fruit, money and a gift and receive blessing, connection and a mantra. I got a marble plate from my friend Manoj’s shop with Ganesh painted on it. I’m a Ganesh fan and Ganesh is very appropriate for embarking on a new journey.
He accepted the gift and asked me a question from which he gave me a mantra. I could tell it was simplified, probably for the sake of foreigners, and after the ceremony I forced myself to go back and ask for an adjustment as my Sanskirt education rubbed at me. He was actually pleased by that and amended my Guru mantra to the one I requested. He never asked me to repeat it or do any practice with it as he did with most people.
He just asked me if I could meditate two hours a day. I told him probably if I could meditate one hour in the morning and one at night. He granted me that “Ok, you only have to meditate one hour a day!” So funny, with Maharaj ji you could kinda negotiate terms. He Took the Ganesh plate and put it on his small altar and told me to reclaim it after a week or so (thus blessing it) I never felt to ask for it back so it stayed there for years until his death in 2011. There’s a story about the play of this gift and of images that I will share elsewhere on this site.
I told Shantimayi and Prem Baba of my initiation and authorization to teach. Prem Baba suggested to let it unfold organically which was how I expressed intending it. ShantiMayi was skeptical as Maharaj ji was an old man, and I was whatever Karl Baba is. So I went back and clarified with him to remove any doubt that I was authorized to teach by the lineage.
Teaching was something I very rarely did formally, over years spending winters in Rishikesh, I gave a couple series of satsangs. I did give spiritual workshops at US festivals and write on social media. Basically, I tried to share wisdom without accepting any of the trappings of “teacher or guru, and the responsibility, surrender and commitment that came with that. I honor Prem Baba, ShantiMayi, Mooji Baba and the other teachers connected to my lineages that they did surrender to such service and how many thousands they have benefitted.
The Lineage has a specific mission, serving the planetary awakening under way, with the intention of lessening the great growing pains associated with such transformation. I’ll tell this story more soon.
I took literally that Maharaj ji told me to “Be Free” and didn’t feel the universe demanding anything of me. Given that freedom, what would I do? Poonja Ji himself never allowed any groups to form around him until the final years of his life. Felt like wisdom to me. I wanted every deeper inner peace and to let my love flow and to have an adventure traversing life on this planet, and I did that fully, really fully. (the adventure part that is) I didn’t want anyone to see me as “other” even in an exalted sort of way.
My relationship with Maharaj ji manifested magically and poetically. What we shared was mostly on the inner plane. One time when I think I needed some kind of sign, of acknowledgement from him, his inner message was it would be on the holy day of Holi. When the day arrived, I arrived at the ashram just as he was walking from the temple to his room. I kneeled at the gate and he placed his hand on my head as he went by. I felt a very strong bolt of energy from him on my head, it almost crackled. One of his teachers came to be afterwards and said “He blessed you! I could feel it!”
I’ll convey some other stories elsewhere in this site.
Once time after my initiation and cleansing, I noticed pains in my neck that were chronic had disappeared. I asked him if he did that healing and if it cost him anything. He told me not to tell anyone and that it only cost him a bit. I’m telling this now as his body isn’t present to demand miracles from anymore. He had lamented that he had this great gift of light but people kept coming to him for blessings like money and children and worldly things.
When Maharaj Ji died October 23rd, 2011 his room was made into a meditation shrine. He was buried in the saintly tradition where his bed used to be. The energy was so powerful in that room and some sensitives I bought there expressed Mahajaji communicating with them there after his death. I also got to retrieve my Ganesh plate from his room and exchanged it for a nice Ganesh replacement.
Ultimately, the Spirit I connected to with Maharaj ji was beyond himself and was the spirit of all. I Love him and call on him and the lineage for blessing and protection at times when I stand in that role but mostly let this Spirit be integrated within me, as Me.
I took the image of him here. He liked it and had me distribute it to everyone in the ashram. When I took it, he was lying in bed, physically weak. Indian tradition doesn’t much like such images as they want the Guru seen powerfully. But taking it I was connecting to the very gentle but infinite light within his earth body.
The Bottom Image is a collage I created of the Saccha lineage in vivid style.. There’s a big framed print of it sitting on his chair in his room/shrine. I created it under his direction and there’s a whole drama to tell about that I will share sometime.