Premananda's letters to Nellie 6

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October 5, 1976

Dear Nellie,

Thank you so much for writing and for sending the book. I enjoyed it very much. How very strange that when you were first seeing Baba you were also seeing someone who had met face-to-face with Ramakrishna! It is incredible. I am glad, too, that you re-read the "Gospel" and saw Baba there.

I’m sending a letter I got the other day from Baba. The ominous way in which he refers to his health has so upset me I don’t know what to do…just when things had seemed to be going along okay. I have gotten a place for a while with Tom and was looking for work. Perhaps from a sense of pride, I did not want to take all my expenses from you. I felt I must add to it from my own efforts.

Now this letter comes and has stirred up deep fears, anxieties in me about Baba’s leaving the body. I felt what on earth am I doing taking so much time about this when my place is at his side? None knows how long he will stay. What if I get there and it is too late? Then, of course, I remembered that he said his American trip would signal the end of his mission, etc., and I felt I should go immediately, and not having money or work, the anguish has been extremely intense. I can’t get it out of my mind. The picture of him suffering there came to me, and we so far away, and it breaks my heart. I feel stranded and impotent.

When I had first gone to see Baba, I was in a very tender state. I went on the 5th January in 1974. I came back to Jiten’s that night and had a dream. In the dream, I was running through some wide space with a picture of Ramakrishna in my hands, and I was about five years old. I ran till I came to a kind of "edge" where the luminous Mother was waiting, and I held up the picture saying, "Look Mother, look at my picture! See how beautiful he is!" The Mother smiled knowingly and tenderly down at me and then, without a word, waved her hand as if to show me something.

Then I beheld in utter clarity the image of Baba walking near the ashram as I had seen him that day. He was absorbed in ecstasy and light, and it seemed the whole universe was turning about him. This vision was so overwhelmingly beautiful that I forgot the picture in my hand and such a love was in my heart.

I woke up into a totally wakeful state immediately, but the vision of Baba was still with me. I wept and wept like a child, knowing that my seeking was done, that there was no need to seek further, and longing to go back to the ashram as soon as possible.

It was the very next night I had another such dream-vision, and this one was very strange and ominous. I found myself amidst the hustle and bustle of a city, Calcutta I suppose, and I was entering a hotel. For some reason, there seemed to be soldiers willing about. I went to the desk and said, "I need a room. My guru has just died, and I need to stay for a few days." It had the feeling of the future, but I could not say when it was. I went to my room and had a heavy heart. I walked out on a small balcony and looked down at all the people in the street and, suddenly, one old, hunched-over man turned and looked up at me directly and spoke, "Now it is God Himself who will give you peace."

It broke my heart. I awoke again from the depth of the feeling. This time I awoke crying, and it took me some time to orient myself, to understand where and when I was, that I was at Jiten’s and that Baba was still alive—so powerful and clear had been the feeling of the dream. When I finally realized that I was awake and had been dreaming, I still could not stop crying. I couldn’t understand why I had had such a powerful vision. I had only just met Baba and now God was putting me through all the feelings of a time when Baba was gone. My feelings became intense, and I prayed that I could stay with him always. It was hours before the fury of that storm abated, and I could fall again into an exhausted sleep.

I am telling this in greatest confidence, as a son to a mother. These were not ordinary dreams, and I still don’t understand the second one. But I’m telling it because it has returned now to haunt me and to drive every other thought from my mind save getting back to Baba and staying with him. I dread that day in my dream, but it seemed that that vision was given to me then so that I would never be able to forget that Baba would one day leave, so that I would not waste time, nor waste a chance which would never be possible later.

I know you will tell me not to worry, but when I get a letter from Baba about his heart, I cannot help myself. There will be lots of time later for all kinds of things, but there will be not time later for what is possible only now. I keep seeing that hotel and that man in the street.

I don’t know what I thought I was going to do before I went back. The movie cannot be completed for some time as funds and equipment are required. The translations can be done in India. If Baba needs me at his side, I must not be late.

I have written to Baba today, and I shall write to Kanta immediately. I will inquire at the consulate, but I shall probably have to take a tourist visa. I am sure that this time I can extend it. I will wait to hear from Baba or Jiten. If Baba’s state continues to be poor, I think I should just go.

Tom may be able to loan me some money and, perhaps, others will. I will also consider that whatever you give is a loan, otherwise, I don’t think I can take it. This is all giving me great pain. I cannot bear to ask for money. Is it my pride or what…I don’t know. It is this inner feeling of being without money and having no power of my own and not wanting to take money that has been holding me up. It is excruciating and humiliating and brings me to tears.

When the letter from Baba came, I got panic stricken, and realized that if I had to go around and beg, I would do that to get there, and this was a very difficult thing. It is like a battle between love and shame. And I keep thinking of how many years Baba had to beg and never had anything and what it must have been like. So I guess I am thinking that if I could promise to pay everything back I could save my pride that way, but maybe my pride should not be saved. I find myself at the mercy of God, and it is a difficult initiation. Baba’s letter seemed to say "don’t delay!" Now I don’t know what to do.

In thinking all this, I’ve gotten myself all distressed gain. I’ll have to think it out some more and meditate. But I had to let you know what is going on in my heart. I shall write within a few days and, hopefully, have a clearer plan. I am ready to go anytime--Baba’s letter proved that as I would have left that very instant had the money been at hand.

Please don’t mind my being so open. I am just love sick. Maybe if God had placed me in India from birth, and I could have gone to see Baba any time I wanted, maybe I would not have wanted it so much. As it is, I am obsessed, and that though painful at times, is better than the obsessions I see all around me in this world.

I’ll write tomorrow. The money business has made me crazy.