More letters from India 6
by Premananda

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January 18, 1974

Dear Mom and Dad,

My Indian life goes on at a sweet and gentle pace, and I am thankful beyond measure for the kinds of experiences this journey has given me. How completely different than the first time! I am feeling absolutely no urge to travel for I have such a rich and intimate contact with all that is truly India just where I am. It is Baba I have come to see, and it is near Baba I want to stay. Through his blessing, I have been "taken in" to the hearts of many and have been having a taste of a dimension of India that most tourists never get to feel. The utter love which these simple, common people possess is truly amazing, as is the extent to which a very noble and ancient ethics enters into every aspect of their daily life. They will time and again go out of their way to serve me, so much so that I am sometimes a bit embarrassed, and certainly always deeply touched. I protest and protest and try to do everything for myself, but they step in and explain, "To us it is God himself who comes in the form of a guest, and it makes us happy to serve Him."" Unspoiled by luxury and conveniences, undistorted by such madness as day-long television, amusing themselves heartily with simple games and basic human interaction. They all strike me (those I am in contact with) as being somehow innocent, like children and yet with a strength of a kind of natural wisdom. This is not to say all India is like this, for I have been brought among very good and intelligent people. But it puts a new light on things, particularly on America. Not a negative light, just a new understanding of what has been sacrificed for the sake of ease and comfort, of what the machines have taken from man.

When I first met Jiten he insisted that in coming to his house I must feel like one of his family—I must be as his younger brother—and that is exactly how they have all made me feel.

Baba came here for two days and gave me some instruction. His eyes are unlike any I have seen. They shine with love. When I am with him, the whole world seems to be shining. It is clear that he is one in millions and that this rare good fortune is to be treasured. He likes me to chant for him and makes me sing something for every new person who walks in. He is one of only three people in my life I have met whom I am convinced have directly experienced that Reality called variously OM, Brahman, God, Truth, etc. Such is my good fortune. Books can teach next to nothing about it, but a man who has realized it and lives it teaches with every breath. He has merged into it and lost that source of misery that we call "ego." Nothing is left but a kind of fountain of utterly unselfish love. How rare! Once one has seen such an utterly unselfish love. How rare! Once one has seen such a person, one can no longer doubt that there is a higher dimension of consciousness that human beings are heir to, if only they would want it enough to seek it.

Baba took me traveling with him for a day to Rishra, nearby. We went from house to house collecting rice and things from his devotees for the upcoming festival. He is much worried because due to food shortages, people are being less than generous and eight to ten thousand people are expected to come to the affair. I am anxious to see it.

My little brothers are very attached to me. We play Frisbee outside with a Frisbee Athena sent them and have music and changing every night. Last night all the neighboring children came, and we sang outside at twilight. How beautiful it was to see all their sweet, smiling faces singing with joy! The little one, Titu, is my foremost Bengali teacher, very patiently telling me the words for things and helping me to learn the Bengali alphabet (e.g., {Bengali writing} "Jaemon, Karma, Taemon Phal" "as you sow, so you reap"). I try to study a little everyday to use the little Bengali I have learned as much as possible.

Tomorrow we will go again to the ashram to see Baba. Of course, I want to see him as much as possible before I have to come home. I will go also again to Ramakrishna’s room at Dakshineswar. If possible, I will also go to his birthplace at Kamarpukur.

I have sent one roll of film to GAF from here just to see if it gets through the mails, so perhaps you will get a few slides. I am reluctant to send more till I know it gets through. I’m hoping to hear from you soon. Please convey my love to all at home.