DIALOGUE: THE VOICE OF BABAJI
You will not die, should not die and cannot die. This truth, if accepted, will put an end to the materialists’ mad race for power and physical enjoyment and make all seek Babaji, the eternal mystic bliss. You refers to the atman, the eternal Spirit.
“The wise mourn neither for the dead nor for the living. I, you and the assembled kings have lived and will live at all times. Jivatman, the dweller in this body passes through childhood, youth and old age and then with the same ease into another body through the door of death, hence the wise are not deceived by the phenomenon of death.”
“Arjuna! Bear heat and cold and pleasure and pain as they are ephemeral, being dependent on the senses. This serene existence will lead to immortality.”
“The wise know that if Truth is non-existent, it cannot be created and if it is existent, it can never cease to be. It is changeless and pervades the Universe.”
“Bodies die, but the Truth, which possesses the body is eternal and indestructible. This is the Atman. It is without a beginning and an end and unchanging forever. How can it slay or be slain? Don’t dream that you kill
the Atman. It only sheds bodies like worn-out garments and dons new ones. It is not wounded by weapons, burned by fire, dried by wind and wetted by water. On the other hand, it is the being of being, changeless and eternal, as it is beyond the senses and the mind, it is not subject to modification.”
“All that is born must die. Rebirth is certain for the dead. Hence, do not grieve.”
“Some have realized this Atman in all its wonder, some speak of it and others have heard about it. While a few others though told about it, do not understand a word.” (Bhagavad Gita, II.12-37).
Thus, Lord Krishna preached the Gospel of eternal Atman to his devotee Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. If this Atman, the Spark of Divinity in Man, is realized and made the basis of human existence, all sorrows will vanish and nothing but peace (shanti) will remain. When this Jivatman, the human spirit, contacts the Paramatman, the Universal Spirit, It becomes the Holy Spirit or Ghost. If one attains this exalted state, one need not fear death for the Holy Ghost can materialize itself anywhere at will. All this is not fiction. For example Jesus Christ, the Son, came from the Father, the Brahman and arose after the crucifixion, as the Holy Ghost who appeared not only before the direct disciples, but also before other saints, like the well known German Catholic stigmatist Therese Neumann, and Mahatma Ram Das of India. Another eminent incarnation who has attained this State is Babaji, reviver of KRIYA which is yet another name for Raja Yoga.
Yoga is an ancient science of God-realization leading to the union of the Jivatman with the Paramatman. Yoga seems to have been practiced even by the Dravidians, the pre-Aryan inhabitants of India. There is some evidence to show that the Dravidians worshipped the lingam, the symbol which represents Shiva, the third member of the Hindu Trinity, the King of Yogis. Then came the great Aryan invasion. They came to conquer, only to be conquered and to be gradually assimilated. Obviously the Aryans must have learned the science of Yoga from the Dravidians and made their own original contribution to it. There is a clear reference in the Hindu scriptures (Bhagavad Gita, IV.1-2), that Yoga was taught to Vivasvat, an illuminary who passed it on to Manu, the Hindu Moses. He instructed Ikshvaku, the founder of the Solar dynasty and thus, it was learned by succeeding royal sages. As Sri1 Aurobindo has clearly stated, that no nation has or can dominate the world eternally. Time has witnessed the rise and fall of many Roman Empires and in every age some nation or other has been in the limelight. India has had its turn. During such an age, which may be called the satya yuga or Golden Age of that particular nation, the characteristic national traits dominate the show. Yoga must have been practiced extensively though not openly when saintly kings like Rajarishi Janaka ruled the land. But for every day there must be a night and India was soon overwhelmed by a dark materialistic age. To minimize the misuse of the powerful science of Yoga during this time, it was rightly made inaccessible by the great exponents. For sometime it was even lost and had to be revived by a great Master.
In the dvapara yuga, Lord Krishna definitely taught the secret science of Yoga to Arjuna (Bhagavad Gita, IV.27-29). Then came sage Patanjali, who made the science systematic by composing aphorisms, which constitute one of six important systems of Hindu Philosophy. Prophets like Elijah, Jesus and Kabir have used a technique similar to the Raja Yoga of Patanjali, who actually uses the term Kriya Yoga. When India came into her own there was a gradual renaissance and great mystics like Babuji Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Sri Aurobindo, Mahatma Gandhi and Babaji came to the forefront. The contribution of Babaji in this national awakening lies in re-discovering and clarifying the lost technique of Yoga, which he re-named simply KRIYA. This is a precious gem in the crown of India’s cultural heritage.
Life of Kriya Babaji
One fine day in the nineteenth century, a lonely pilgrim was seen frantically climbing the steep cliff leading to an almost inaccessible ledge, in a sacred Himalayan region sanctified to this day by the tapas and presence of great saints. The valiant soul had been searching for months with unabated enthusiasm for his paranmukta, who had conquered time and death. Obviously goaded on by an unseen Force, he managed to scramble to a lofty, flat ledge, where he found his cynosure, an immortal Youth of twenty-five. He was fair-skinned with a beautiful, strong, luminous body of medium height and build. He had long lustrous copper-colored hair, dark calm sparkling yogic eyes and a characteristic broad nose and held a danda (bamboo staff). In short, he was a youthful replica of his favorite and foremost disciple, Lahiri Mahasaya.
The strange intruder entered the circle of devotees, which included Swami Kebalananda and a couple of American saints. He spoke with reverent intuition: “Sir, you must be the great Babaji,” and begged to be accepted as a disciple. The great Master was as silent and as rigid as the rock on which he sat. He was testing the aspirant, but, AUM! it turned out to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. The pilgrim’s patience was exhausted and threatened to commit suicide, if Babaji’s guidance to attain the Divine goal was not to be available to him. “Do so,” was Babaji’s calm, unruffled reply. The worthy aspirant rose to the occasion and jumped down the rocky chasm to meet with certain death. This unhappy development shocked and stunned the group of devotees, as they were not aware of the fact that the Satguru was merely carrying out the ancient rigid
injunction of Yoga, which demands that the aspirant is prepared to sacrifice and dedicate his life for the realization of God through yogic meditation.
“Bring the body,” the command of Babaji broke the grave-like silence of the sacred group. Some hastened to fulfill the order and the mangled mass of flesh and bone lay at his feet.
“Now he is fit to be accepted,” calmly spoke the Satguru and touched the remains with his holy hands. Marvel of marvels! Wonder of wonders! Miracle of miracles! The aspirant sprang to life and fell prostrate at the Lotus Feet of Satguru Deva. “Death shall not touch you again.” He was beaming with love for his new child who had become immortal within a few hours through his Divine grace. It takes generations of sadhana for ordinary folk to attain that exalted level. Babaji seemed to be cruel only to be kind.
“Shifting camp and staff (dera danda uthao),” the musical voice of the Master rang out the familiar command. The whole circle, including the resurrected chela, dematerialized and disappeared from the ledge. This astral means was one of the methods used by Babaji to shift from crag to crag, in the holy region of Badrinath. He has been living here for centuries, as an active witness of the slow but steady evolutionary progress of mankind towards the attainment of perfection through the mystic path of Kriya.
Little was known, of the life of the imperfect physical frame of Kriya Babaji. None before had dared to ask him these trifling, though interesting details. All we were permitted to know is his deep lasting faith in the emancipation of mankind through Kriya. The life history of Babaji is really a history of his global mission, which knows no destruction of creeds, sects or nationalities. In the ninth century, Acharya Shankara, the well-known monist, completed his gurukulavasa under Govinda Bhagavatpada and went to Banaras, the heart of Hindustan. There Babaji materialized to initiate him into the mysteries of Kriya Yoga. (This event was described by the Master himself to Lahiri Mahasaya and Swami Kebalananda).
In the medieval period there was a religious upheaval in India, which culminated in the rule of the Hindu-Muslim emperor, Akbar, the Great. During this era many eminent saints adorned different parts of India. Of these, Kabirdas, the Master Yogi of Banaras, was one. It had been a mystery to the writer, how this saint could have been one of the greatest yogis when his mantra guru was only a bhakta. The fact is, he was initiated by Babaji, in the fifteenth century. All these clearly show that the age of the Master exceeds many centuries.
The nineteenth century was a “red-letter epoch” in the history of India. It marked the beginning of the modern renaissance with the first war of Indian independence. The time was ripe to spread the exalted Gospel of Kriya, far and wide. The worthy soul chosen for the purpose was his favorite disciple, Lahiri, as he called him.
The love of Babaji for Lahiri Mahasaya was deathless and deep. In one incarnation, Lahiri spent many years with his Master, mainly in the cave of Drongiri Mountain, but was forced by his past actions to shuffle off his mortal coils and lose sight of his Satguru. Babaji, being a perfected Being, was able to follow him, even in the life beyond death. After guarding him like a mother cat through thick-and-thin, he had the joy of seeing his disciple complete the torturous womb-life and be born, as the baby of Multakashi and Gaur Mohan Lahiri, in the Nadia district, Bengal on September 30, 1828. He was named Shyama Charan Lahiri. When he buried himself in the sands of Nadia, at the age of four in the vesture of a yogi, his guru in life, death and after was watching him. Thus, for more than three decades, Babaji guided and patiently waited for his beloved disciple to return to his fold. Even his cave, asana blanket and bowl were kept clean by his unexcelled Satguru!
After thirty-three years of worldly family life the great moment arrived. At that time Lahiri Mahasaya was working as a government accountant in the Military Engineering Department at Danapur. Babaji tapped his superior officer and a telegram was sent from the main office transferring Lahiri Mahasaya to Ranikhet, a new army post in the Himalayas. With a servant, he took thirty days to complete the arduous journey of five hundred miles by tonga. Fortunately, the office duties were light and he had ample time to roam in the sacred jungles, in quest of great saints. One afternoon when he was rambling, he was surprised beyond description to hear a distant voice beckoning him by name. Walking quickly he climbed Drongiri Mountain and reached a level clearing where he was welcomed affectionately by a stranger, who looked physically to be his mirror-image-reflection. He rested in one of the tidy caves, but was not able to recognize his saintly Host. Many years of separation and layers of new experiences had formed a thick overburden on his past memories.
References to his favorite woolen-seat and the familiarity of the grotto did not help him. Finally, he was struck gently on the forehead and at once the delightful impressions of his previous birth came to the forefront. With joy, Lahiri Mahasaya recognized Babaji, who narrated how he had followed him all these years.
Obeying his Guru’s mandate, he drank a bowl of oil and retired for the night to the rocky bank of the river, Gogash, where he was not at all affected by the biting Himalayan cold, the waves of the river or the howling of jungle beasts. At midnight, a companion guided him with warm clothes to a grand palace especially materialized to appease and quench his subconscious earthly desire. There, surrounded by other disciples, he was initiated into Kriya Yoga by the great Babaji, in whose very hand burned the initiating sacrificial fire. After dawn, when he said that he felt hungry, he was asked to close his eyes. On opening them, he found that the marvelous palace had vanished and the party was seated near the same old caves. Babaji ordered him to put his hand into a magic bowl to get the food he needed. When he searched for water the same bowl met his needs.
The same day, as he was seated on a blanket, Babaji blessed him. By touching his head, Lahiri attained the bliss of nirvikalpa samadhi, which lasted for seven continuous days. On the last day, he fell at the feet of his Master and craved for permission to stay with him always. Babaji persuaded him to return home to lead the life of an ideal householder yogi with inner renunciation. Babaji spoke to him at length about his responsibilities as a Guru of Kriya Yoga. The rigorous condition of complete inner renunciation, in order to receive Kriya initiation, was emphasized. At this stage, the softhearted Lahiri Mahasaya pleaded for relaxation of this safeguard. Babaji was kind enough to permit him to give initiation freely, to all humble seekers. Next morning, the fortunate disciple half
heartedly took leave to fulfill the mission. The Master consoled him by consenting to come to him, whenever he was called.
Lahiri was welcomed at the office after an absence of ten days and soon a letter from the head office re-transferred him to Danapur, referring to the first transfer, as a mistake. The kriyaban (Kriya yogi) alone knew the driving force behind these events. On route to Danapur, he spent a few days with some Bengalis at Moradabad. The host lamented on the absence of real saints in India and with too much zeal, Lahiri Mahasaya narrated his recent experience in the Himalayas. It was dismissed as daydream and so, to convince them, he decided to show them his Master. In a lonely dark room with two blanket seats, he prayed to Babaji who came with an angry look, as he had been summoned for a trifle.
Lahiri Mahasaya apologized and entreated him to stay to create faith in the minds of these folk. The kind Master consented, but stated that he would come thereafter, only when needed and not whenever called. One member of the party called the luminous Figure mass-hypnotism, but this doubt was cleared, for Babaji allowed them to touch his sacred body and he ate halva before he left. Needless to add, this incident led to a revolution in the outlook of the spectators.
Lahiri Mahasaya lived for years in Banaras without much publicity, in order to discharge his duty. Disciples and devotees gradually streamed into his residence to sit at his feet. Thus, came Maitra, Abhoya, A. Gafoor Khan, Brinda Bhagat, Swami Bhaskarananda Sarasvati, Balananda Brahmachari, the Maharajah of Banaras and his son, Maharajah Jotinra Mohan, Abnash Babu, Sri and Srimati Bhagavati Charan Ghosh, Kashi Moni, Swami Keshabananda, Panchanon Bhattacharya, Swami Pranabananda, Rama, Ramu, Swami Yukteswar, and a host of others, too numerous to mention. He even initiated a fervent devotee in a
vision, as the latter was not able to come to Banaras. Thus, during the modern age of the Indian renaissance, the delightful Ganga of Kriya flowed from Babaji in the Himalayas into the human habitat of misery and pain.
During this period Lahiri Mahasaya met Babaji several times. This is a rare privilege enjoyed only by two persons so far. During Prayag Kumbha Mela, he wandered among the sadhus criticizing the “mental hypocrisy” of a begging monk. Soon after, he was surprised to find the great Babaji washing the feet of an anchorite and proposing to clean his vessels later. Thus, he was taught the great lesson of humility. One night Kriya Babaji was seated with Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Kebalananda and other chelas round a blazing Vedic fire. Suddenly, he struck the bare shoulder of a nearby disciple lightly with a burning log.
Lahiri Mahasaya: “How cruel!”
Babaji: “But for this, he would have been burned to death according to his prarabdha.” The omnipotent Master placed his healing hand on the burned shoulder and thereby saved him from painful death. All glory to the grace of Babaji!
Brahmacharini Shankari Mai Jew, a disciple of the great siddha Trailanga Swami, was on a visit to Lahiri Mahasaya at Barackpur, near Calcutta.Quietly Babaji entered the room and conversed with them. Suddenly at midnight, Lahiri Mahasaya ordered the recluse, Ram Gopal Mazumdar to go alone and immediately to the Dasasamedh ghat in Banaras. The command was carried out promptly. Ram Gopal sat at the secluded spot, and after a while was astonished to find a huge stone slab open, revealing a hidden cave, from which Mataji, the ecstatic sister of Babaji, stepped out through the yogic process of levitation. Soon after, Lahiri Mahasaya and the Kriya Paramguru materialized. All three prostrated at the feet of Babaji.
Babaji: “Propose to shed my form and plunge into the Infinite.”
Mataji: “Master, (entreatingly) I have glimpsed your plan. Why should you leave your body?
Babaji: “Because it makes no difference to be visible or invisible.”
Mataji: “Guru Deva, if it makes no difference, please do not discard your form.”
AUM! The beloved Master consented to retain his physical body which would be visible to a selected few only. Thus, a first-rate crisis in the history of the Kriya movement was staved through the intervention of the holy sister. Jai Mataji!
After the conversation, the great Master pacified the frightened Ram Gopal. Then the three past-masters levitated and left for their respective destinations. On returning to Gurudeswar Mohulla lodge, Ram Gopal was surprised to hear that his Guru, who was fully aware of the night’s interlude, was also physically present at home discoursing on immortality, to the other disciples. He became aware that Lahiri Mahasaya had attained the lofty state of being present in different places with two bodies at the same time.
One of the important disciples of this Kriya Guru was Swami Pranabananda, who was able to unite with Brahman through the intercession of his master. Later, he attained the Universal vision and developed the yogic power of being present in more than one body, at different places. Finally, he shuffled off his mortal coils at the appointed hour by second Kriya and as already announced enjoyed a brief period of Bliss, before being re-born. A few years after his new birth, he joined the immortal group of Kriya Babaji.
The Christ-like life of Lahiri Mahasaya was drawing to a close. Kriya Mulaguru chose Sri Yukteswar, one of his foremost disciples, to carry on the mission and make preliminary preparations for spreading the Kriya Gospel of Happiness to the West. Encouraged by Lahiri Mahasaya, Yukteswar was attending the Prayag Kumbha Mela in January 1894 and feeling disgusted with the noise and the assemblage of inferior sadhus, who he thought were wasting their lives, unlike Western scientists. Just then a strange saint with bright yogic eyes and a circle of impressive disciples called and embraced him, on the bank of the very low river Ganga. This saint was Babaji himself, who did not reveal his identity, to make the visitor quite at home. He hinted that Sri Yukteswar would one day
become a samnyasin. (As years rolled past, this came true). Then he taught him to behave like the mythical, swan (which drinks milk discarding the water), instead of blaming the whole congregation of mela sadhus for the faults of the many.
Now, the conversation drifted to the age old problem of mysticism. This activity is better known as the East-West conflict. Babaji with his international mission, spoke with great emotion on the need for harmonious development of the Orient and Occident through Kriya Yoga. He promised to send a disciple who will be the first missionary in the modern age to carry the message of Kriya to the West and also asked him to write a small book on the basic unity of Hindu and Christian Scriptures. With a parting message for Lahiri Mahasaya, the memorable meeting ended.
It was a red-letter day in the history of the Kriya movement for on that date the master plan was laid for spreading Babaji’s Gospel of Happiness, to different parts of the world. All glory to the Kriya Satguru and his mission. The very next day Sri Yukteswar sped to Banaras, to narrate the wonderful encounter to his Guru with the message: “Tell Lahiri that the stored power for this life now runs low; it is almost finished.” The moment these apparently enigmatic words were uttered, the great nishkamya karma yogi severed all connections with the world and became a pale statue. Death like silence reigned supreme for three long anxious hours before Lahiri Mahasaya regained his usual cheerful countenance. The hour of departure had not yet come, as the vital energy was only almost finished.
Meanwhile, Sri Yukteswar received the greatest surprise of his life, to hear from his Guru that the Kumbhmela sadhu was none other than the Savior, Babaji. He hastened to his Serampore residence to write the divine book, The Holy Science, with his first melodious Sanskrit verse comparing the essence of the Vedas and the Bible. Once he completed his pleasant task, he went to bathe in the Ganga. Silence was the order of the day. On his return home, he could even hear the swish-swish of his wet clothes. Something goaded him. He turned around to find the immortal Babaji and his associates seated beneath a large banyan tree near the riverbank. The Savior welcomed him, as he fell prostrate at his feet full of excitement, but politely declined the invitation to visit the
Serampore hermitage. Sri Yukteswar hurried home to get some sweetmeats for the distinguished visitors, but when he returned they were nowhere to be found. The group seemed to have vanished into thin air. Some months later, he failed to see the great Babaji hiding behind the sunlight, near Lahiri Mahasaya’s room at Banaras. The Guru then tapped his forehead, making his gaze faultless for a while and Yukteswar beheld the ever-youthful Paramguru. At first, remembering his grievance, he did not bow at his feet. But the unflattering explanation that followed satisfied Yukteswar and he knelt to pay his respects. The loving Satguru patted him on the shoulder. Soon after this incident, at a specified hour in 1895, Lahiri Mahasaya shed his body.
The heavy responsibility of the Kriya Mission was borne by Swami Yukteswar. After waiting patiently for years, he was immensely glad to welcome and train his chief foreordained disciple, Paramahansa Yogananda Giri, who was drawn to his harbor of peace by an irresistible magnetic Force. The stern Yukteswar made him get a University degree through miraculous means, thus equipping him for the future missionary work in Western Countries. After years of gurukulavasa and sadhana, Yoganandaji attained the Cosmic Consciousness through the grace of his master. Through that grace, he founded a large Yoga school at Ranchi, Bihar in 1918 to teach Yogoda, his unique system of mystic, mental and physical development. Meanwhile, Swami Yukteswar established a number of Sadhu Sabha centers and thereby kept the torch of Kriya burning along with his worthy disciple.
In 1920, Yoganandaji accepted an invitation to attend, as an Indian delegate, the International Congress of Religious Liberals of America, in Boston. This invitation followed a mystic vision directing him and so he made arrangements to attend with the permission of his Guru and the financial aid of his father. On the eve of his departure, he prayed for hours with staunch determination, to receive divine permission for this move, so as not to be lured by Western materialism. Just when he was about to break down physically, in the literal sense of the term, somebody knocked on his closed door. It was none other than the Kriya Mulaguru himself, who read his thoughts and assured him: “Our Heavenly Father has heard your prayer. He commands me to tell you: Follow the behests of your Guru and go to America. Fear not, you shall be protected.” After lifting the prostrate saint, he spoke about his life and the future of the Kriya Mission. Yoganandaji, in a fit of emotion, tried to follow Babaji repeatedly, contrary to his advice, but failed, as an invisible Force glued his feet to the floor. Promising to take him some other time, Babaji left with an affectionate benediction.
Happily, Paramahansa Yogananda Giri left the shores of India, in August, as the first modern Kriya missionary. After speaking at the Congress on the Science of Religion, he worked hard for years in humble surroundings to build the modern edifice of Kriya. As a result of his Herculean labors there are ninety branches all over the world – 26 in USA., 3 in Canada, one each in Cuba and Hawaii and 8 in South America and Africa, 6 in Mexico, 2 in the Philippines, 22 in India, 16 on the continent of Europe and 4 in the British Isles. The world headquarters at Mount Washington Estates, 3880 San Raphael Avenue, Los Angeles 65, California, USA, publishes ‘Self Realization Magazine,’ and the Eastern parental headquarters ‘Yogoda Sat Sangah,’ Dakshineshwar, near Calcutta, distributes fortnightly Yogoda lessons for students. More than three hundred
thousand have been initiated so far.
In 1935, in response to the mental call of Swami Yukteswar, Yoganandaji left for India passing through different countries on the way. He toured India as well, spreading far and wide the Gospel of Yogoda and collecting material for his magnum opus, ‘Autobiography of a Yogi.’ Mahatma Gandhi became his disciple. He was anxious to meet Babaji again, but the Savior sent word through Swami Keshabananda, while he was wandering in the Himalayas that he will meet him some other time. On March 9, 1936 Swami Yukteswar passed away at the age of 81, handing over the mantle to Paramahansa Yogananda Giri, who re-organized the global Kriya movement on this earth, while his Master carried
on the work in Hiranaya loka. In late 1936, Yogananda returned to America and served the cause of Kriya with unabated vigor for more than a decade. Towards the close of 1951, there was talk of his returning to India, a second time. But during the first half of 1952, the Kriya movement unexpectedly received a severe blow when Yoganandaji, who had been leading a secluded life of sadhana for months, stepped out to participate in the reception given to the Indian Ambassador in America. He suddenly collapsed and his physical body, which did not decompose even after twenty days became the sensation of sensations in America and elsewhere! He belonged to the galaxy of saints like Sri Aurobindo and Saint Bernadette.
Verily to compensate this great loss, Babaji decided to evolve a mahasaya out of a neglected, but able, experienced journalist. There is no word like impossible in his dictionary. This interesting event narrated in the following pages will not only be familiar to the mind of occultists, but also provide ample food for reflection to others.
The Birth of a Mission
‘No. 9, Boag Road’ by Sri V.T. Neelakantan is a book on Satguru Rama Devi. The writer was about to pen the note in the M. O. for the above publication. A thought crossed the mind: “Is it not high time you share your mystic treasures with others?” He did. Instead of “Dear Sir,” “Dear Atman” was used, and “Ever your Self ” replaced “Yours.”
The windup, of the note made an impression on V.T.N. (Sri V.T. Neelakantan) who visited 1-1 Arulananda Mudaly Street, San Thome Mylapore, Madras, in person. A strange invisible force drew us together. Frequent visits and hours of clarification on mystic subjects followed. He developed a regard bordering on respect.
One day he asked for books on mysticism. He received ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ by Paramahansa Yogananda. This created a minor revolution in his mind. He became a devotee of Kriya Babaji frequently uttering his Name.
A leading surgeon, related to V.T.N. (by previous birth), was dressing his operated leg wound in his nursing home free of charge, but was scolding the patient daily for not attending to his health, without considering his poverty. One day the lalita shashranamavali of the doctor was unbearable, and V.T.N. left the place in disgust never to return for dressing thereafter. In spite of the deep leg ulcer, he had enough burning mystic enthusiasm to walk all the way from Egmore to San Thome to attend a group meditation, as he did almost daily. But on this day he was exhausted and he sat on a wayside concrete bench in the Marina praying: “Babaji! will you give me enough strength to fulfill this pilgrimage?”