Premananda to Yogananda 5

arrows2.jpg (6463 bytes)

February 18, 1974

My dear friend,

I’m writing by the light of a kerosene lamp at the ashram of Baba. I’ve been staying here for about five days and shall stay past Sivaratri next Wed. I sleep here in the back of the Kali temple.

My heart has been going through the most tempestuous storms, from utter bliss and rapture to the agonizing depths of God yearning. What a crazy lila! Changes are being wrought through mother’s grace. Not much chance of getting it into words. I’m trying to keep a diary but the things which happen are very hard to write about. Baba hinted that I should write but I said to him that it was too big to write about, the things I feel, the impressions I’ve had and I said " Mother will have to do it." He said "Right!" one of his few English words.

My lack of Bengali language brings me to tears sometimes. Truth flows out of Baba’s mouth but I can catch very little literal stuff which is what writing is but who cares about this anymore. Mother is supreme and if she wants anything done through this child she will find a way. Death is a strange thing, I guess dying is life’s biggest lesson. Well, who knows what the ego is? Baba says "Maya!" and then imitates vomiting complete with sound effects. He does it so that I really feel like I want to vomit my maya/ego and be done with it.

[Just was interrupted in my writing by a pukha, a slug-like creature, in fact two of them about to crawl onto my Ramakrishna photo. I called for one of the {?} ma’s that attend to Baba - but Baba himself came to get rid of the things. It is super village here - remote. Yesterday during Puja a huge spider walked into the small temple, almost the size of a tarantula and today there was a lizard sporting about the images on the altar.]

Quiet again. Crickets chirping. If the ego died, life would just flow. Universal life would flow through the individual creature undistorted, unlimited. The individual would rejoin the universe!! Baba has been teaching me with his very life. He worships Kali and Narayana and Siva and Vishnu and Hanuman but all his "instruction" to me is toward the formless God. As long as there is any ego, he says, God will be there in some form or other. When the ego is completely removed, God is alone in His formless state. Of course we know this already in words, but when he gives expression to it I can see he has realized it.

There is no describing him briefly. One wonderful thing is that Bramacharya has set in since before leaving America and by Baba’s grace will most probably become steady and unbroken. Did I tell you how he wanted to smoke the money I tried to give Him by rolling it into a cigarette form? He was collecting money for the festival (which festival is a long story in itself) and I threw in the money. He gave his cloth full of money to someone and sat down on the ground with me like a child and wanted to smoke it all up. I later learned that when he was given ten ten-rupee notes by Mrs. Hart, his first American devotee, he actually did smoke them all, one by one. The other day someone brought him ten rupees as we were sitting down in his humble, bare crumbling-apart room for tea and he picked it up and waved it at me saying "Maya! Maya!". Then he bent it into a sort of cobra shape and made it dance at me like a cobra about to strike.

Maybe I will write his life story. One small one has been done. It is incredible. When he was born they thought it was a still-birth and threw him away in the bushes. Later a Sadhu came and found him and pressed his head somehow to bring him to life. Rather odd. My knowledge is all gone out the window.

Enough - I’ll tell more later. I’ll probably be trying for the month extension of my visa. Sadhana is life itself. To the seeker of God they are the same. All life is Sadhana. Baba tells me to do 10,000 Hari Narayana’s a day. That will help wipe away the "I". Mother has blessed this journey. It is turning out to be total Sadhana and total guru kripa.

Well friend, the way is not easy. Even today I was weeping bitterly in deep sorrow over a small misunderstanding with Baba. The heart gets tender like a child’s heart and wide open to both the heights and depths of life. It is no whim to seek God. It is no casual "groovy" affair. As Vimala says " It is very dangerous to play with truth." The ego must be shaken to its very foundation. Humility born from a motive will not do. The humility must be the fruit of the ego’s destruction, its utter annihilation upon the altar of Oneness. Then who is there to seek, and what to find? Who can understand the complex web of destiny? God is a madman enjoying a make-believe universe by forgetting what he really is and loosing himself in a billion dreams at once. But actually he never forgets. He makes his make-believe dream creatures forget that they were ever real. The play goes on but from our point of view its disgusting. Maya! GOD IS! As Baba says, if there was no God, there would not be any of this Maya. No light - no shadows.

Well - anyway, I can’t tell this stuff too much. That is, I have to be careful these days since I don’t want ego to get hold of this stuff and ruin it. I will be very happy when I can see you face to face again. Who knows about the future? Is there one? This saturn cycle seems to be having the desired effect. God is GOOD.

March 6 - found this letter in my stuff - the lila goes on. More soon - I’m going to apply for visa extension tomorrow so I can go with Baba to Madras early April. Baba is both a madman and a child. Premananda says "Hush" The bee is drinking the nectar of the flower of love! Ah! Behold! What a rapturous silence fills the air!" Perhaps my Sherlock Holmes work here is nearly finished.

Love, Bill