One day Maharajji asked me what I did in America. He meant specifically how I earned my money. I told him that my present monies came from the sale of hashish in Canada. I said that I sent it to friends there, concealed in the covers of Ramayanas and Gitas. Thereafter my presence was demanded from time to time, usually when very important devotees were having his darshan, such as senior government officials.
When he first heard about the Ramayana scam, he seemed momentarily shocked. After all, I reasoned, this was both a crime and perhaps also a sin; minimum it was disrespectful to the Hindu holy books. But moments later he seemed somewhat delighted. Thus the routine between us was perfected. Like a trained monkey I would approach his tucket when summoned, and do pranam. Usually he was surrounded by well-dressed English speaking devotees. They would translate to me from his Hindi.
After a few preliminary questions about devotion and meditation, to which I gave suitable answers, he would pose the question as to how I would earn my money. Here I was, an almost twenty-two year old westerner, wearing Indian clothes, speaking some Hindi, and modestly knowledgeable about Hindu practices. When I gave Maharajji the set answer to his question, outlining very briefly the Ramayana business, the Indians would react very politely. Perhaps it was not such a sin after all, or perhaps no one would react in his presence. Whatever the case, Maharajji would inform them that these westerners were “SO SIMPLE … THEY WILL CONFESS EVEN THEIR MOST HEINOUS CRIMES!” He would laugh, and after giving me his most loving and heart-melting smiles, give me a gentle “JAO!”
That Maharajji would let us gently come to our own conclusions over time, rather than commanding us to change our ways overnight – was one of his greatest qualities. It’s not human nature to change one’s moral or ethical nature in an instant like a light switch going from off to on. It was always about planting the seed of realization that would mature naturally over time; a genuine change of heart that would allow a devotee to see for himself the right path. He knew how to teach right from wrong, without ever withholding his love.
Buy this book at Amazon: Barefoot in the Heart: Remembering Neem Karoli Baba: Neem Karoli Baba