More letters from India 10
by Premananda

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February 22, 1974

Dear Mom and Dad,

Time is going by very sweetly here, and I am very happily getting from it just what I wanted and more. Under Baba’s magic guidance and loving care, meditation is getting easier and makes more and more sense. How amazing he is! Like a child sometimes, other times like a giant of incredible strength. I am utterly frustrated with my diary since I cannot seem to describe his. He is like a magic person who is forever changing and presenting a whole new impression all the time. I guess I have become like the bee—it flies all around till it comes to a nice flower, but when it sits on the flower and is sipping honey, there is no need to go anywhere else. Despite the rather austere conditions of this village life, I am too enchanted to leave. There is a peculiar feeling I have had these last days—as if I had seen this place before. One part of the ashram I remember from a dream I had, another building I had also seen before I came. It is very strange. The whole inner story of how I got here is very amazing, which I shall write down in a book someday. Apparently there is such a thing as destiny—that is certain kinds of events are predetermined. It is the web of karma and just as scientific as anything else, only our vision is too puny to understand the laws at work. This whole universe is much more miraculous than we realized. Well, this is my ninth day at the ashram. Baba keeps worrying about my being able to live without all the Western conveniences, but he is pleased that I can stay here. The other night was Sivaratri, the night of Siva. The people stay up all night worshipping Siva who is the sleeping god, the god of destruction, the meditating god, the Formless Absolute. At the completion of a universal cycle, he comes and destroys everything and then the whole universe sleeps. Kali, which is the whole visible material creation, that is, the illusion called Maya, is Siva’s wife. Which means that the formless aspect of God is inseparably and inexplicably united with this whole changing world of forms—Well, it gets rather deep, but anyway, there was this Siva puja and Baba gave me a mantra since it as an auspicious night. He gave the mantra by writing it on my tongue, which is what Ramakrishna used to do. I was very glad, and it has made meditation easier. If a person is a real guru, they can help you in a way that is truly extra-sensory. Since I know so little Bengali, I am glad that Baba’s teaching is beyond the realm of words. Last night was the night of Kali, which is Baba’s own special day of worship. It went on till about 2 a.m. and was very solemn. In the beginning of it, I had a vision of prom which was very strong, in which I realized what Ramakrishna was always saying, "Every woman is a manifestation of that supernatural Divine Mother." I wondered if Mom was thinking of me then because this feeling was so strong, and I could see her very well. (In my "mind’s eye," that is.)

I don’t know what will happen. Baba is like a child about decisions. He may go to the South or to Hardwar, and I’ll go with him, but we won’t know till the last second what he will do. He depends entirely on his inspiration regarding where to go and what to do. I shall apply next week, I guess, for a visa extension of one month to give some time in case we travel. His health is also not good. Who knows? Jiten has gone to Delhi for a few days. His three boys are taking part in an annual art competition there. They are very talented artistically. How that family loves me! They give me so much love when I go there that I feel like I am swimming in it. Such humble, simple people. Nor will Jiten take a single penny from me, nor will Baba. They who are poor don’t want and won’t take money. Baba says "money" and then mimics vomiting and says "maya!" (illusion). He says "give me your heart." And at Jiten’s, they all say "give us your songs" and come around at twilight as one big family, and we sing together some of the names of God.