SARASWATI: At one point Maharajji jaoed us from Vrindavan. “Go away. Go to Allahabad. Go to Benares, go to Chitrakut.” He was naming places. I had of course read Autobiography of a Yogi. I recalled that when Yogananda’s guru sent him away, he didn’t know what to do, so he sat under a tree and waited. I didn’t know what to do either. I had no money whatsoever, so, like Yogananda, I went and sat under a tree and waited. Not long afterward, one of the women said, “Hey, we’ve got an extra ticket. You want to come with us to Benares?” That was the opening for getting to Benares, Allahabad, Chitrakut—those places he had mentioned.
Chitrakut is where I took personal vows as a renunciate, a sadhu. I was at a little temple by the river, doing my puja, when an Indian man rushed up to me and said I had a sister there. Uma was staying on top of a hill by a little temple, just a little place, no murti, and she was really sick. That was the beginning of my close connection with her. I modeled my own renunciation on hers. What her vows were I would take as well. She gave me the daring to give up everything, start walking, and not to ask for food or lodging or money . . . to focus on being in the Presence. Ask for nothing; it must all be offered. The strength comes from within.
My feet cracked open, so they bled. I got infections on the tops of both toes, so I packed them with “sandalwood to keep them from getting worse. I accepted only one meal a day because that’s what Uma did. She had lice in her dreadlocks; I didn’t do dreads, and I covered “my hair at all times. I used neem branches for a toothbrush. I didn’t ask where to go but accepted suggestions. I stayed no more than three days in a place and didn’t keep any possessions.
At one point I was in a remote Hanuman temple outside of Khajaraho with all those carved erotic statues. I was getting ready to move on, as I’d been there my allowed three days. As I was sitting on the steps of the Hanuman temple, Ravi Das walked up out of the blue and for some reason he had all my mail. I “read the letters in order: “Your grandfather is sick. Your grandfather is very sick. Your grandfather has died. You have inherited a thousand dollars.” A sadhu had inherited money? Well, that had to be dealt with. Now I had to go to Delhi. In Delhi I ran into satsang who told me Maharajji was back and giving darshan. Even though I was a renunciate and had given up gurus, I at least had to pay my respects. And that brings us to that picture, because that is me at the first moment of coming back. That was the end of my wandering sadhu days.
Excerpt From: Markus, Parvati. “Love Everyone.” HarperCollinsPublishers
Videos of devotees in this book included in this category: Satsang Videos.
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