” Swami Amar Jyoti “

“ Ram ” ( who later became “ Swami Amar Jyoti ” ) was born on 6th May, 1928, in a small town Larkana ( now in Pakistan ) in Sindh Province of the then India.

His college education was temporarily interrupted by the crisis of the partition of India, in the Year 1947. In the Year 1948 .. refugees were pouring over the border of East Bengal ( now Bangladesh ) into West Bengal by the thousands each day.

Living on a railway platform near the border of India and Bangladesh, he soon headed the entire volunteer corps there, working tirelessly twenty hours or more each day. After about ten months, the flood of refugees subsided and he returned to Calcutta.

He lived in Calcutta. And, later on the outskirts of the city in a quiet ashram, he pursued classical music, sitar, religious studies and prayer. It was during this time that “ visions ” began awakening in him.

In a short while, he “ knew ” his life-work. As he described it, he picked up there from where he had left off in the previous birth.

Very soon, he returned to Himalayas where he lived in silence and meditation for about ten years, one-pointed on the goal of Liberation.

Many places of pilgrimage were visited during those years, walking on bare foot, many miles each day. But a small cave at “ Gangotri ” .. the temple village near the source of the Ganga river .. was the place of his spiritual disciplines, deepest awakenings and, finally, Illumination.

In the Year 1958, taking initiation of “ Vidwat Sannyas ”, at the holy site of Badrinath of Himalayas, he adopted the name “ Swami Amar Jyoti ”.

He descended into the plains of India for his ‘ God- given mission ’ to the world.

Swami Amar Jyoti founded the first Ashram “ Jyoti Ashram ”, under “ Ananda Niketan Trust ”, located in Pune, Maharashtra.

In the Year 1961, Swami Amar Jyoti accepted an offer by one of his devotees to visit the United States.

Eventually, he was persuaded by his disciples to establish an Ashram, and in the year 1974 “ Sacred Mountain Ashram ” was founded .. and in the year 1975 another ashram “ Desert Ashram ” under the name “ Truth Consciousness ”.

“ Swami Amar Jyoti ” constantly reminds us that we are at a break-through into a New Age, where religions will be transformed into direct awakening and communion with our Highest Source.

After four decades of spiritual work and continually travelling, giving satsangs and retreats, establishing Ashrams and guiding innumerable souls to higher consciousness, “ Prabhushri Swami Amar Jyoti ” took mahasamadhi .. conscious release of the mortal body .. on 13th June, 2001 .. in Louisville, Colorado, USA.

” Search for Great Silence “

“ born in Sindh Province ”

I was born in a Hindu family.

As was and is common in India, a Brahmin priest based on the scriptures and considering the day and astrologic nakshatra, etc., chooses a baby’s name according to calculations.

The alphabet stipulated for my name was “ R ” .. thus the family decided to name the baby “ Ram ”.

We lived in the small district town of Larkana ( now in Pakistan ) in Sindh Province of the then India. That was a time when British ruled most of India.

“ Sindh ” is derived from the word “ Sindhu ( Sanskrit ) ”, which means “ ocean ”. It is understood that when Alexander invaded from the West and crossed the Khyber Pass, he reached the Indus, which runs through Sindhu Province from the North, coming from the Himalayas of Ladakh and flowing toward the delta in the Arabian Sea.

Alexander, seeing so wide an expanse of water, took it to be an ocean. As the Greeks could not pronounce the word “ Sindhu ” except as “ Hindu ”, he called the water “ the Indus ”. Later, this name became “ India ”, as pronounced by the British.

During Alexander’s day, there was a great Indus Valley civilization on the river’s banks.

“ childhood ”

“ Larkana ” had a small railway station on the outskirts of the town. Trains ran on coal, putting out a lot of coal smoke. These were narrow gauge lines.

The town was connected with several other villages and towns right up to the port city of Karachi on the Arabian Sea and the Indus Delta.

“ Hollaram ” .. my father .. and “ Totibai ”, my mother .. had already seven children before me, though the first two died in childhood. I was the eighth one.

They were all born, boy then girl, in that sequence. Total born were twelve. There was no family planning or birth control in those days, never heard of. People wouldn’t even think about it.

Father grew from there bit by bit, earning a little more and more and more .. until eventually he came on his own, all self-made. Later, he grew to be one of the best and richest merchants in the district.

When I was born, father was already an established businessman, and considered a very respectable and imposing personality, a moralist to the core, very socially conscious and mostly a quiet person.

I don’t know if he especially read any religious book, but sometimes we had marked that he would take a small booklet out from his personal little wooden box, kept nearby him, and read or write a little bit in it .. not regular Sindhi, which he did not know how to write .. only his ancient native script, probably used in Mohenjo-daro !

This script had neither grammar nor prepositions. Only he and his other such colleagues could read or understand it.

“ school days ”

Probably .. at four or five years of age .. I was entered into what they then called “ elementary school ”.

The school was not far from the home and was within walking distance. A group of boys walked together to school, though in the beginning an elder would go with us. The school was in Sindhi language medium and run by the government.

One good thing in “ secondary school ” was when I discovered the headmaster, who was known to our family and a neighbor. He was the best poet in the whole of Sindh, whose poetry and songs were in all the Sindhi text books of the schools and colleges.

I soon became one of his favourite students and he selected me to be in one of his written dramas that played on the school stage once or twice a year. And, he was the one who discovered a good musical voice in me.

At school, I was especially number one in mathematics .. arithmetic, algebra and geometry. Trigonometry was not my forte somehow; so was chemistry. But in physics and geography I excelled. History, though it went fairly well, I didn’t do as well as in geography. However, on the whole, I would stand number one in the class.

At sports, which were more or less compulsory, although I was good at cricket, badminton was my favourite and often I would win in the school tournament.

“ liking for literature ”

The school had its own good library and a small dormitory for students, not many, who came from surrounding areas and rural areas of Larkana. Fees were very reasonable and some of the poor students were studying free.

During those years of “ higher secondary school ”, I had developed a great liking for literature .. beyond the school textbooks, especially of novels and short stories.

Mainly, Sindhi literature was of “ Sufis ” and their poems and songs, some of which our Sindhi textbooks at school contained. Modern Sindhi literature was only the poetry and songs written by “ Sai Bewas ”. If there was any other religious Sindhi literature, I was not aware since I wasn’t open to that at the time.

Sometime later, a few translations began to appear, especially from Bengal, of Rabindranath Tagore, Sharat Chandra Chatterjee and Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novels, and from central India, such a Munshi Premchand and a few others. These were of high quality and I saved money for them with gusto and wanted more.

A few shelves were put inside the think adobe wall and then covered with wooden doors. This was my prize collection. Only two or three translations appeared of Sherlock Holmes. These I did read but did not crave for more.

At that time, I was not open to literature in English. I didn’t know it much anyway except textbooks at school .. which contained poems by Shelley, Keats, Wordsworth.

“ first spiritual opening ”

During secondary school, my first opening happened .. if you call it that, which .. as I looked back after years would be called “ spiritual ”.

I was still a teenager when my elder cousin .. son of a rice merchant .. sort of came into my life. He was already quite religious, wore handspun clothes and was under Mahatma Gandhi’s influence and tried to follow on his ideals.

He believed in the Non-violence Movement, though he seldom took any active part in it. He ran .. almost single-handedly .. a girls’ school up to some lower grades on ideals not only of Gandhiji but based upon the example of Meera Bai, a known saint of the sixteenth century.

This cousin was “ the first vegetarian ” in the family and was given separate quarters in the same building compound, behind my room. Although we met often and were living close by, we had not exactly conversed a lot. He was like an elder brother to me, relatively much older than me. I respected him.

One day, a book in his hand, my cousin came to my room, which was not unusual. He was matriculate and knew English fairly well. He said, that he was reading this book and wanted to share a page or two or more if I wanted. The book was in English.

My English at that time was very, very poor and hardly beyond the text books at school, and I studied those just for exams’ sake. I said, “ I don’t think I can read it and understand beyond a line or two. ” He said the English in that book was very simple. The book was “ In the Woods of God-Realization ” by Swami Rama Tirtha, written early in the twentieth century.

“ Swami Rama Tirtha ” was a sannyasin, poet and Vedantist. Earlier in his life he had been a professor in Punjab. He had been quite well known.

Either my cousin pointed to a page or two or I opened at random, I don’t exactly remember. I tried to read and he helped me to understand it. The gist was .. not verbatim .. that there are circles within circles of our being .. ego ( self ), family, town, province, country, world and beyond to the Real Self.

I could catch some glimpse of it, though not enough at that time. In a way, it clicked somewhere in me, but, I could not fully analyze or grasp it. But it did attract me.

Late 1941 or early 1942, my immediate elder brother, who had married only year or so before, fell sick. First it was taken to be an ordinary illness. A homeopath and later an ayurvedic vaid ( doctor ) were called, as normally we did.

No prominent doctor was left unapproached, but nothing better happened in brother’s condition.

He was becoming a skeleton .. knees stiffened, and he lay in bed twenty-four hours. In between, father came once or twice and stayed there. He was nearly heartbroken. His son’s illness began to affect him and he fell sick too.

By now all avenues were, as if, closed. Father’s condition, too, went down and was deteriorating. One day, he called his eldest son near him and told him quietly that he felt his end was near, but he would like to die in his hometown of “ Larkana ” and not in Karachi, especially near his ailing son.

In the meantime, the eldest brother was called from Karachi to attend father’s last days. Mother was devastated, as was everyone, including the uncles’ families, relatives etc.

On the funeral day, as was the custom, if was arranged for a certain ceremony.

Many hundreds came, as if the whole town .. relatives, friends, business contacts, etc. Eldest brother, being all the time with father in business and home, knew father’s contacts, but this was more than that.

Brother had to return to Karachi to look after the nearly dying brother. In those days, as per the custom, a widow had to remain at home for a year after the death of her husband. But since mother was older and her ailing son was in Karachi, it was taken easy by all when she too returned to her son. It was obvious to everyone. I returned too, and maybe one or two more.

“ first act of charity ”

Since there was no college in Larkana in the year 1946, I had to be sent to Karachi and also live in the students’ hostel (dormitory) just opposite the college.

Since my special aptitude was towards philosophy and literature and not to science, I entered the Arts College ( Humanities ). The only subject I missed very much was mathematics, which was not a part of the Arts. There was no choice; I had to accept it.

In the hostel, I had a room-mate who was a brilliant science student. We became good friends. But this was the first time I was away from our family after living constantly with them for sixteen years !

The hostel gate, which was quite big, of iron, with spikes up top pointing upward, used to be closed at a certain time in the night about 9:00 pm. The compound wall was of stone and quite high. This particular day I had gone to see a movie. I didn’t think of the timing and when I returned, the gate was shut as usual. I didn’t want to wake up the gatekeeper and wanted to avoid the news to the superintendent, who could then take action against me.

Eventually, I did succeed and came inside. My roommate was awake and remarked that perhaps I had gone to a movie. I said “ yes ” and we talked about it a little; then I went to bed.

While lying there, I couldn’t sleep somehow. I searched my mind as to why ? Then I remembered that on my way back from the bus stop after the movie on the main road, when I came to the foot-path of our college where it was dimly lit and a quiet area, a side street, I had seen a beggar or a poor man lying on the footpath covered with a thin sheet.

It was winter and cold. While lying down still, I saw that I had two blankets, though normally I used only one. I tried to sleep but no luck. I thought .. at least I have a room with a cozy bed, etc. The poor man had hardly anything and was sleeping under the sky. I quietly got up so that my roommate wouldn’t notice.

Quite silently, I walked downstairs with one blanket in my hand. Outside in the compound, crossing the gate and spikes again was a problem, but so what under these circumstances!

Cautiously I climbed over the gate, then went on the opposite footpath, spread the blanket quietly on the man who was on the footpath, and returned in the same way.

Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal to do, even before others, but in my case it was the first act of ‘ charity ’. I had never done this before on my own.

“ something more to know ”

I was an undergraduate .. short of graduation. Two years of college I finished, then I left. At that point I saw .. it’s no good.

I thought, there should be something more to know than a ‘ graduation ’ would give me. I’m not blaming the college. College is good for certain things, but I felt I was not going anywhere. What shall I gain ?

I was a very brilliant student. Number one. Even then, I thought .. this is no good for me. I wasn’t a dull student, by God’s grace. And, I loved studies .. my home-work was number one. I didn’t want friends ; I hardly had any. I was busy with studies and studies and music.

As a matter of fact, in those days the first sentence that came to me was .. “ Why don’t I go around the world and read the open book of the world ? ” That was my own sentence at the time, when I was just eighteen. I left home at nineteen.

The very first thought that came to me .. “ I have to know myself, and let me read the open book of the world. That’s my great knowledge. ” And that I did .. social work, helping the poor, working with refugees I did for some time, about two years.

But then also, I saw that helping the miserable, the refugees .. and I was hardly nineteen or twenty at that time .. was tremendous work. Even then, I got the answer that if I have not solved myself, if I have not known myself, how can I help others ? That was my second discovery.

“ meditation in Himalayas ”

Even though it looks great to help poor people, the destitute, and refugees, still I wasn’t satisfied.

Then, I left for the Himalayas for meditation. And that gave me all the answers.

I was lucky that at the age of eighteen or nineteen I got this hunger for searching. I have sometimes regretted .. not now, earlier .. why didn’t I start searching when

I was aged five. I sometimes asked myself .. “ Why at ‘ eighteen ’ ? Why not when I was ‘ five ’ or ‘ six ’ ? ”

At one point of time, I could have entered politics in India. Up to that point, I had no revelations about myself and my mission. Now, this should not mean that I was ignorant .. there is a stage where these things open up naturally. When the Prophets, Self Realized Beings or high grade Masters take a five-elemental body, some of the limitations and conditions of the Earth and body do play on them from birth. Then at the age of five years, ten, fifteen or twenty, they get revealed. The age is not the same in all.

When I left home, renounced .. as we call it .. my idea was not clear why I was leaving ? However, one thing was clear .. I was never confused.

At that time, I was not confused. I just had .. I’ll relate to the present .. the thought that I love people in general and I want to do something for them.

Buddha’s sentence, “ To help the whole of the miserable mankind ” was uppermost in me.

I was not thinking spiritually, politically or socially ; I was just doing it smoothly and peacefully. I had no struggle in me at all. I did not go through that at all. It was smoothly revealing or unfolding in me, creatively.

“ diffident mother ”

I renounced home and came to Calcutta in Bengal. Before leaving home, my earthly mother tried her worst and best to keep me from going, not only because she was attached .. that’s apart.

She had ten, twelve children, I think. Normally, they would have liked me to run a business with my brothers, earn money and make a home. And my mother, though she was a pious woman, was not out-and out for her children renouncing and leaving her. She was not ready for that.

So when mother tried everything to keep me with her, “ Whatever you need : it you want to distribute money to poor peopl

I told her, “ No ! I’ve not come on to Earth only to help poor people. That may be a good action, but I’m not born for that. “

“ prayers and meditation ”

During that time, I had started taking some music lessons, like sitar and so on, just to find the way and cultural side. All this happened within a few months.

And in the same time, I had started praying. Nobody had told me, but on my own, morning and afternoon, I would say very brief prayers and then meditate.

When I first got realizations of “ visions ”, they were unasked for, unpracticed, unheard of and not taught by anyone. That was when this body was hardly nineteen or twenty. I was in the suburbs of Calcutta. I had not gone to the Himalayas yet.

In Calcutta, at that time I was going to a part-time job to earn my bread and butter. I had not become a mendicant yet. I used to go every week to “ Belur Math ” on the Ganges to the Ramakrishna Mission Headquarters.

By this time, I had learned Bengali. I used to learn sitar. Going to a job a few hours was more or less philanthropic .. to help poorer people, educate them and so on.

I had a room-mate who was a Bengali. He used to go to his office, a British jute mill, I think. No one taught me Yoga or Meditation, nor was I seeking. A few scriptures I was reading, that was all. But daily, though not exactly as a routine, when I used to come back in the evening after work, my habit .. before eating .. was to do a few minutes of prayer to “ Maa Kali ( Divine Mother ) ”.

I knew no “ pranayama ” at that time .. nothing, and there was no prescribed prayer. I had no desire to fulfill or wish to ask of Divine Mother .. “ give me this, this, this, this ”.

Renunciation was an integral part of my nature from childhood, but I did not know this at the time. So I did not think it was proper to ask Mother to give me anything, from any angle, neither health nor money nor peace .. nothing of that sort.

Peace I had, so there was no problem. The only thing I remember is that I just innocently said : “ Mother ! Make me good so I do not hurt anyone and I do good to others. Make me purified. May I remain truthful… ”

A few things I spoke like that, not a madeup prayer. I asked her to make me truthful and purified so I would not harm anyone and I would do good to others. I spoke about the same prayers, just that kind of small talk to the Mother.

“ first spiritual experience ”

On that particular evening, when my friend was cooking outside, I prayed to Mother and my eyes were closed, and all of a sudden something lifted in me, raising my inner .. what you may call .. Consciousness or Energy.

The VIBRATIONS began to lift up inside me and gradually this body became lighter, joyful, and somewhere inside my head, a solid but astral form .. the embodiment .. the figure of Divine Mother was descending, full with Light !

It was a golden bluish light, but the formation was Divine Mothers’. And I did not ask for her to appear. I was just praying, “ Make me good and harmless and truthful and loving ” .. and she came herself !

All of this happened in just a few seconds or a few minutes, I cannot even describe ! Inside I was feeling my whole body and head lifting up somewhere.

At first, there was a little awareness that my friend was cooking outside, but that also got transcended. I was not asking for these things .. you know .. Mother just gave ! And her full figure descended actually .. all joy, Light, this, this, this. It all happened in a few minutes !

I opened my eyes and I could see the whole walls and everything .. Light shimmering. Everywhere, LIGHT was shining !

This was my first spiritual experience in this present life. My “ close encounter ” with Divine Mother and light and everything .. tremendous, tremendous. I was not ready for that, in a way, but I took it in good stride, I think. What happened

that night changed my life, in the sense, and soon after, the next year, took me to the Himalayas.

“ so many stories ”

There are so many stories : Once, I was drowning in the Ganges in the suburbs of Calcutta. It was daytime ; nobody was there. The Ganga is one or one and a half miles in width at that spot.

I was not a swimmer even, but I tried to swim to the other bank. I didn’t even reach the mid-stream, but it was sufficiently deep that I would drown. I lost all my strength; could not swim more. I wanted to come to the bank but couldn’t. In a way, I gave up. I was going down. This was the fifth death experience in my life. The last one was, of course, in the Himalayas.

You may believe it or not, but I said, “ Mother, I’ve heard so many stories and things about me in horoscopes and so many things I’ve seen. And this is the way it’s going to end ? ” I just said that and she pulled me out ! It was ten o’ clock in the morning. Her temple was hardly a quarter mile away .. Maa Kali’s Temple, Dakshineshwar. She pulled me out and I was coughing and coughing

“ stay at Rishikesh ”

That same year, I was staying at Rishikesh on other side of the Ganges, which is certainly Vedantic-Bhumi .. “ Land of Vedanta ”.

I had only one book at that time, Gosh’s life story of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the original Bengali book. There was a small picture of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s ecstasy on the wall, not framed even, and no other picture in my room. I had just torn it from a book and put it up.

The whole day I would be Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ! This was in the Year 1955, I think .. I am not good at particulars.

For some months, I was soaked into Jesus Chirst. I got fascinated and thought .. I know him somehow. And so, I got into him. Then, I bought other books about Jesus Christ. I was not thinking of Christianity .. nothing to do with that. I thought

He was well-known to me .. I’m familiar with Him ! And for a few months, we were one !

“ I was in the Astral Plane ”

I would get up at one or two o’ clock in the early morning, make my tea in a broken aluminum pot, on a wood fire, and then sit in meditation. And one morning, long before the Vedantic .. “ Mahavakya Realization ” .. all of a sudden, my body lifted .. not physically .. astrally, of course. I didn’t know even where I was going. I was in the astral plane, as if, and seeing all the stars and skies and things like that. My body was in the cave .. I wasn’t practicing these things, everything just happened. I didn’t know where I was going .. but energy was rising up. It wasn’t that early experience in Calcutta; that was different.

This was in “ Gangotri ”. All of a sudden, I began knowing .. through which stars I’m going, and the Indian word came to me : “ swarga ”, which means HEAVEN. I reached there. I wasn’t wishing for that ; it happened. And so many things I saw .. heavenly, celestial !

Then, I entered a chamber and there .. I wouldn’t say who she is .. one lady said, “ Stay with us. ”

I was travelling in those heavenly, flowery, celestial gardens. And all of this was happening while I was meditating, not asleep. I was walking, smilingly and very joyfull. I liked the place.

And there was some Celestial Music, an instrument something like a ‘ harp ’ that they had, but they were talking in Sanskrit. I am not a scholar of Sanskrit .. I don’t know much .. but in that kind of vision, I was understanding and speaking Sanskrit .. as much as God’s language in heaven would be !

So, I came back to that chamber, which I won’t describe how heavenly it was .. very heavenly, not only architecturally. It was very beautiful, very celestial, with “ gandharvas ” and all conversing God’s language, “ Sanskrit ”. And, they were giving me a very high post to be there. And that goddess said, “ Why don’t you stay with us ? ” I said, “ No ! I have to go… I’m ‘ Nachiketa ’. I won’t stay here .”

Not that I disliked it. I just thought .. what shall I do here ? It’s a place of pleasure, that’s all. Then they allowed me to go.

And, I still remember, I descended through the same stars, the same way back to the cave, and lodged in my physical body and opened my eyes. I was sitting in meditation, back to the body ! I got up, had a second cup of tea.

There were many more experiences like that…

“ great silence ”

Since ages .. or thousands of years .. these discussions have been there. Each holy man in Himalayas is and was a character by himself. They just do not care for the world .. nothing.

Some have practiced the GREAT SILENCE and some have achieved it. It is beyond hypnotism or self-pacified mind. It is something that they work upon .. “ to be paripoorna ”. In the perfect stillness of the mind thoughts create bubble-like vibrations.

I’ve gone through this GREAT SILENCE.

With all the vicissitudes, crises, depression, sadness, everything .. I’ve not lost it. It doesn’t leave you ever. It’s just glued in.

“ Ramana Maharshi ” was like that. He had reached the Great Silence, definitely.

And so, when you come to these practices in Himalayas .. or wherever .. there are no exceptions in this. We normally think, even if we are not attracted or repulsed, but what if this thing happens or that thing doesn’t happen ? Then what ? At times there are exceptions, but these Sages will not say that.

“ Something greater ” is there ! God’s creation ! The SAGES see the bigger panorama. They work from there, here, wherever they may be .. under a tree or in a cave. These Earthly things are .. to them .. very tiny, insignificant, and not worth tension.

The modern man would not like to hear this, but they keep quiet.

So, when this state of Great Silence comes, nothing in the world .. profit or loss .. nothing is bothering or not bothering ; nothing is mine or not mine, nobody is enemy or friend.

You take away their bowl, their blanket or whatever they may have .. and they don’t become bothered about it.

“ akhanda dhyan ”

Day and night they meditate what they call “ akhanda dhyan ”.

“ Akhanda ” is “ non-fragmented or continuous ” .. not only continual. Continuous meditation, they practice, to get into this GREAT SILENCE.

And whenever these SAGES practice this for one year, ten years, this birth, they’re lost into that. They have nothing to do in Himalayas; nobody bothers them. If they want to eat they will come to the charity kitchen at 11:00 am., take a few pieces of unleavened bread and thin ‘ dal ’ soup, like yellow water. If they don’t go at that time, they don’t eat. It doesn’t matter.

Oxygen and Sunshine are there and they are connected with their heavenly bodies in such a way that they get nourishment from ethereal prana.

In “ akhanda dhyan ”, whether the SAGES sit down to meditate or lie down as if to go to sleep, or walk to the Ganges for bathing, all the time they are meditating. They do not talk to anyone.

When you reach that GREAT SILENCE .. so placid and stabilized .. you never lose it again, whatever else you may do or not do.

If you remember in some depictions of Krishna, where he is in the battlefield with the two armies arrayed against each other and he is the charioteer of Arjuna’s chariot, in spite of war ranging all around .. the great Mahabharata, one of the greatest wars ever fought .. in these scenes Krishna is relaxed and smiling. He sees the things and does what is needed. He only could do this if he had reached the GREAT SILENCE, not otherwise.

“ satisfied with my Enlightenment ”

As far as the purpose of my coming is concerned, I was not conscious of that. I didn’t plan in myself through personal desire or future planning. It was totally a Godly calling from when I was in the Himalayas up to the year 1959, when I lost the spirit of working among the people or among the world, even in India. That was the culmination. Spiritual seeking was over for me .. no craving, no desires, nor any thought of things. Even the thought to do good to others, to help or serve others, lost meaning for me and I had concluded, in a way, that all searching was finished for me.

I was fully satisfied with my Enlightenment, with my Peace and Joy, which I realized, so unbound and unlimited and infinite that to bring in any sort of desire, small or great, would be to ruffle that infinity, to make it limited.

I fought to keep it so pure and untouched that even a tinge of mental-activity should not come into it. With this view, I had ascended to the higher altitudes of the Himalayas, the forests where even other people or mountaineers did not go. Without any kind of provision or pre-planning, I was lost in those mountains and valleys at altitudes of more than 15,000 feet above sea level.

For about six or seven days, I was in that wandering. Of course, many wounds and cold and rain and hunger .. all these things were with my physical body, but I was not consciousness of this then. I was in a sort of giving up of the body, without food or any kind of other requirements of the physical sheath. And on the sixth or seventh day evening, I fell unconscious.

I don’t know how much time passed but when I came out of it I saw the world in a different sense, a calling inside that I should come back to the world although my personal search was over. I knew I was fully satisfied, in peace and joy, but that this should be shared with people and other creatures, because “ Oneness ” means “ all together ”. I knew that I could not separate myself from other souls.

“ everything should be shared ”

We are seemingly so many multitudes of people and animals and trees, but Spirit lies in everybody, God is in everybody, and our satisfaction or anything should be shared with others.

Our perfection should be demonstrated or lived before others. And what we realize or acquire should be shared with our brethren.

I was thirty years of age when I got this calling .. I felt that I still had ample time, a big span of life left to do work for others. And this voice .. this LIGHT .. was so clear that there was no room for doubt.

On the seventh or eighth day, I came down to the lower altitudes of 10,000 feet, but then found myself .. in a sense .. crippled.

My whole body was wounded in those mountain heights and I was totally changed due to that intense cold and hunger and thirst.

It took me one month to recover and then I came down to the plains of India. Six months I loitered in some parts of India, South India especially, because that was the portion I had never visited.

“ Jyoti Ashram, Pune ”

Beginning of Year 1960, I came to the state of Maharashtra, the city of Pune, which was meant for my headquarters. I didn’t go to anyone for any help or any demand but things happened, as if pre-planned .. well, planned by God.

Not only finances, not only men, but also the choice of spot for the “ ashram ” .. the choice of the doctrines or beliefs and many such things that otherwise are the outcome of the intellect or the thinking of the mind .. all these came to me quite intuitively. And up to now, I never thought about these matters.

“ visiting United States ”

After an year of working in India, collecting some young men and old men of real simple and pure spirit who wanted to dedicate themselves for Light and wisdom, heavenly prayers and divine joy, we gathered about ten people as inmates for the “ ashram ”, and many others came as daily and occasional visitors.

After getting some satisfaction working in India, the calling went on that .. simultaneously I should take this to other Nations too, and the United States was the first among them.

Of course, questions were raised in India about this, but intuitively, I felt the reason was because the United States .. because as far as “ spirituality ” is concerned .. and among the Nations other than India .. stands first, at least in spiritual hunger !

This brought me to the United States. The arrangements were always done by God. I never exerted my brain for it. I never exerted my physical energy for that. All things happen by themselves. And, when I went to United States .. you may say quite unknown in the social or human sense of the term .. I found in three months that I had more than a thousand friends, real ones, which I can call friends .. not only known people, not only acquaintances .. not only those hungry for spirituality, but really ones who were, as if, waiting for some message !

I don’t mean ‘ my ’ message. I don’t put it in that way. Call it a message of the Divine .. a message of God .. a message of Truth. People are ready if we can really give them the right spirit.

I angered my mother, displeased her .. angered my brothers and sisters, my friends, my father and the principals in college. I displeased everyone… I didn’t do what they wanted me to do.

You see how “ bad ” I am ! I forsook all duties toward my parents, my brothers, sisters, friends, countrymen, my college studies, everything.

I became un-social. I became inhuman, inconsiderate, ungrateful, unthankful. I didn’t keep up my promises… I was ready to go to hell and then it dawned upon me that there is one place where I can escape from both these duties and hell.

I told God, “ If you are in the hell, I will go. If you’re not there, I won’t go. ”

“ Well ” ! He said, “ First I’ll punish you for having been ungrateful and unthankful

to all those who did good to you .. the parents who bore you, fed you, educated you .. the friends who loved you ”.

I had spent so much money and didn’t give anything back to my parents.

He said, “ First, you’ll be punished for a few years. Meditate. Pray. Eat only once a day. Remain in a vow of silence. Sleep a few hours in the night, not in the daytime. Don’t talk to anyone. Don’t write to anyone. Don’t keep money in the pocket. Don’t ask anything from anyone unless it comes to you unasked. Don’t live ‘ here ’ .. don’t live ‘ there ’ .. don’t stay in one place. ”

So, all these “ punishments ” he gave, and after a few years, I was all alone, penniless .. neither here nor there.

And I said, “ God, what next ? You have punished me, now what else ? ”

He said, “ Well, this is it. What else do you want ? ”

I said, “ But I have not received what I wanted. ”

“ What do you want ? You have never asked me ! ”

I said, “ Yes, I’ve forgotten all these years to ask from you what I wanted. I was busy with paying the debts back. Now the debts are over, the obligations and duties are over. The punishments are over. So what next ? ”

God again said, “ You never asked me. ”

I said, “ Yeah, I told you in the beginning that I want to know my Self. ”

He said, “ Okay, start knowing about your Self now ”. That was how it all started.

After “ hell ”, it became “ heaven ” ! Angels came. Fairies came. Beautiful celestial music they would sing for me on instruments. Celestial flowers they would bring with flights in the air and sky, heavenly things with twinkling lights and many, many beautiful colors not of this Earth !

Then, God said : “ Now you are in Heaven. ”

I said, “ Yes ! True, but that’s not what I want. ”

He said, “ But you seem to enjoy it ”. I said, “ Well, you gave me punishments and I accepted it. Now, you have given me enjoyments and I’m accepting it. What else ? Am I lost ? ”

Then He said, “ No ! What do you want ? ”

I said, “I have told you ”.

He said, “ Why didn’t you reject it when I gave you heaven ? ”

I said, “ I didn’t reject it because you gave it to me. ”

He said, “ Yes, true, but you were enjoying it. Now you are putting it on my head that I gave it to you. You seemed to be quite happy with those things. ”

I said, “ Well, I was happy, but that doesn’t mean I was wanting these things. I don’t want this celestial music and dancing and beauty and space and multitudes of colors and all these different plantes. ”

God said, “ What do you want then ? ”

I said, “ I want to know my Self. ”

He said, “ Okay, now ‘ hell ’ is over ; ‘ heaven ’ also is over. See if you want anything else. ”

You know how the judge asks the murderer for his last wish before he is to be executed ? God asked me that way. He said, “ Hell is gone ; heaven is gone. Any final wish you have ?? ”

Further, God asked me, “ What do you want now? Hell is done; heaven is done. ” I said, “ I want to be one with you. ”

“ What a great demand ”, God said, “ You’re very clever ”. I said, “ I want to be one with you. ”

I didn’t say, “ I want to be a slave or stay at Your Feet, not out of arrogance. I thought .. there’s no joy in just remaining at Your Feet… I want to be one with YOU. ”

And God replied, “ Not yet ”. When he said that, I thought .. “ What deficiency is there still in me ? ” He said, “ Find out ”.

In the meantime, another three or four months passed away.

I was in the Himalayas then. There was no electricity, no roads, just wooden bridges on the streams and the Ganges River. And, nobody goes out in the night because it can be dangerous sometimes .. animals, cold, etc.

Well, one night I took a bold step. I came out of the cave. I went to that Great Sage, “ Ramanand ”, my last Guru.

So, after three or four months, one night, I went to that Himalayan Sage. He was, by then, about 148 years old ! I used to be in quite a touch with him ; he was a Great Sage. At that time, he was living for forty or fifty years or perhaps more years in the Himalayas. He used to stay there year-round in the snow.

He was living in a small cabin with no carpet or furniture. And in the night, when nobody travels, I went to him.

He was waiting, sitting near the fire inside the cabin. He said, “ What’s the problem ? ” I didn’t tell him what God had told me.

I said “ I’m suffocating. What to do ? Something is yet in me that is obstructing me from becoming ‘ One with God ’, and without that, I have no satisfaction. ”

I told him, “ I have wept ; I have laughed ; I have meditated. I have forgotten everything ; I don’t need anything. The Earth is gone ; the veil is gone ; good and bad are gone ; sin and virtue are gone ; hatred, prejudice ; attraction and repulsion are all gone. I do not find what is remaining, but God says, ‘ Not yet ’. ”

He looked at my face. He was a Realized Soul. Really big eyes he had .. a tall figure, at six feet.

I told him, “ My heart does not crave for anything except that I want to be one with Him. I feel joy. I’ve got beauty. I’ve got powers… but.. ”

Occultism was in my power at that time, though I didn’t use it, ever. I didn’t need it. I’ve never used occult powers ; they never did attract me.

Maha Yogi Ramanand looked at me for a long while. Then he said, “ Don’t you understand this simple factor ? ” I said, “ For four months I’ve been trying to… ” He said, “ It’s very simple. Try to find out why God told you, ‘ Not yet ’. ” It was a tortuous sensation. The Sage was smiling and I knew it was simple, but I was not catching it.

Then, he looked at me, his eyes were like fire. However, he was very loving to me. I was like a small kid next to him. I was looking at him with tender eyes and he was not fierce but very stern, and light was projecting through his eyes to me. I thought he was doing something to me but it wasn’t that.

He said, “ Do you know what is separating ‘ you ’ from ‘ God ’ ? Don’t you understand this ? How can ‘ God ’ tell you this ? You want to be One with Him while wanting to retain yourself ! You don’t want to merge that. You don’t want to be lost in God.

“ Had you wished that, He would have, there and then, blessed you! You said, ‘ I want to be One with You ’, but you didn’t wish that you should not exist and only God exist ! The ‘ two ’ cannot exist. You have to be lost in Him ”, and he just penetrated his eyes through me.

I was lost. I became unconscious. I was there .. how much time, I don’t know.

I got REALIZATION in his cabin, actually. That was the only thing that was separating me and God would not tell me. He does not ‘ tell ’ you, only your ‘ EGO ’ is in the way. We have to merge in Him. And when we merge, our existence is gone, like the traffic merges when it comes into a freeway. It loses its existence.

That was the simple factor I was not understanding, and even God would not tell me. “ I want to be one with you ”, meaning .. there cannot be ‘ two ’. It is very simple logic, like “ two plus two is four ”.

The Sage said, “ You want to exist and be ‘ One with God ’. How can that be possible ? ‘ Both ’ cannot exist simultaneously. You have to perfectly merge and be an instrument of God, simply be gone. ”

That was the whole enigma in the end.

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