I AM, I AM NOT, I AM Part I
Based on a true life story of a spiritual aspirant who is introduced to the Avatar of the 20th century "MEHER BABA", and his spiritual adventures during the process of involution.
Real happiness lies in making others happyAvatar Meher BabaA true spiritual journey in modern times..........Author: Raj SalviI AMI AM NOTI AMFirst printed in September 2011By Rucha Systems,Nashik,IndiaFor any information on this bookplease contact the author Raj Salviat email: email@example.comNo part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in orintroduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form,or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying,recording or otherwise) without the prior writtenpermission of the author. Any person who does anyunauthorised act in relation to this publication may be liable tocriminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.Canada Office:Salvi Business Group Inc.#2-6573 Humphries CourtBURNABY. B.C. V3N 4K9CANADACopyright @ 2011 Raj SalviAll rights reserved with Author Raj SalviI have come not to teach, but to awakenI am the ancient one.I belong to no religion.Every religion belongs to me.My own personal religion isof my being the ancient infinite one &the religion I teach to all is of love of God.This love can be practiced by anyone,high, low, rich, poor & every oneof every cast & creed can love God.-Meher BabaAbout the AuthorRaj Salvi is a Canadian citizen residing inBurnaby, a suburb of Vancouver, Canada inBritish Columbia. He is a MetallurgicalEngineer from IIT, Powai, Mumbai and a registered ProfessionalEngineer (P. Eng.) in British Columbia, Canada. He also has aMasters in Metals and Materials Engineering from theUniversity of British Columbia, CanadaHe immigrated to Canada in 1989. He has worked both inCanada and the US in the foundry industry. He started hisown business, Salvi Business Group Inc, importing castingsfrom India for US and Canadian markets.During the course of business travel in India he was fortunateto meet many Perfect Masters (Sadgurus). He had a uniquespiritual experience on October 10, 2001 during which his handbegan to write on its own, messages from Avatar Meher Baba(www.avatarmeherbaba.org). The process of automatic writingor auto writing, as it is commonly referred to, has continued todate since October 10, 2001. Teetering on the border of alcoholism,just one message from Avatar Meher Baba to give up alcoholwas enough to take the chip of alcoholism from his being. Rajhas not had a drop of alcohol since the evening of October 10,2001. More than 12,000 pages have been written through autowriting with messages from Avatar Meher Baba for many peoplewho have asked for answers through auto writing. Raj does theauto writing free of charge it is a service he provides because ofhis profound love for God.The book I AM, I AM NOT, I AM contains his personalexperiences of his journey towards God-realization. Thesespiritual experiences continue to manifest themselves in hisdaily life even today.....PrefaceThe purpose of this book is to show a glimpse into how lifeis to be lived in a spiritual manner. Some outcomes may seemoutrageous; however they all have a lesson and a purpose.These aspects are beyond the intellect of the mind tounderstand. The sole goal of spiritual living is to ensure that atall times our actions do not hurt someone and are constantlydirected towards helping others become happy.It is not easy as our Ego or our individual existencesometimes seems at jeopardy. Life itself is an experience andthese occasions are tests put in our path by God to check if wefollow at all times the principle of making others happy. Someare simple, others require complete surrender. The Guru whocomes in the final stage of these experiences, also tests hisstudent to be completely certain that he is ready to acceptcomplete surrender of his Ego to the Guru. Once the Guruaccepts his student, he puts him on the Path to God and theAvatar (God in Human form) who finally hands over theaspirant to that Formless Creator forever (Moksha).This book has been written with a view to give the reader aglimpse of my personal journey on the Path to God. In puttingthis book together many people have contributed directly andindirectly to bringing it to the reader. I would like to offer specialthanks to Dr. Stephen Ogden, Professor of English, Simon FraserUniversity, Burnaby, Canada for editing the book, to my cousinRamkrishna Salvi for preparing the layout of the book and tomy wife, Rashmita and my daughter, Mayura who helped intyping the original writings.I wish the reader to absorb the essence of these experiencesand take whatever principles of spirituality they offer.One who lives for himself is truly dead and onewho dies for God is truly alive.-Avatar Meher BabaCONTENTSChapter 1 Cheating Death Three TimesChapter 2 Real Happiness Lies in Making Others HappyChapter 3 Live Less For Yourself And More For OthersChapter 4 A New BirthChapter 5 Marriages Are Made In HeavenChapter 6 You And I Are Not We But OneChapter 7 Guru Meets His DiscipleChapter 8 Dadas Texas LetterChapter 9 Malang Baba Will Meet You!Chapter 10 Total ObedienceChapter 11 Sister ActChapter 12 Three BusesChapter 13 Go Live Like A KingChapter 14 Implicit FaithChapter 15 How Is Rashmi In London?Chapter 16 Abdul Rehman Babas InvitationChapter 17 This Honor Was For YouChapter 18 He Is Allahs AngelChapter 19 You Are My SonChapter 20 Divine MiraclesChapter 21 Avatar Meher Baba Is GodChapter 22 Of All Games...Chapter 23 Manifestation Of MiraclesChapter 24 Aspects of Spiritual Life10 I am.. I am not.. I am11Raj SalviIntroductionWhat I am sharing with you is not my memoirs, butmy journey towards finding God. I know it soundsvery confusing; however the fact is that God waspreparing me for something right from my childhood.The journey involved sacrifices and acceptances andcomplete faith in God. While I was living throughthese incidences, I was totally unaware then butwhich I now recognize them for what they were tests. He gave me tests some that were simple whileothers that were not.The journey kept moving me from one small townto another, from one school to another, from one friendto another. I was uprooted from one location toanother due to my father, who was a governmentofficial and his job required that he be transferredfrom one place to another. I remember that my earlychildhood up to the age of six was comfortable. Igrew up in district places which had ruralsurroundings and life was simple. Dad would takeme hunting for wild boars and my days passed insimple games like marbles and spinning a car tirearound the house. I have happy memories of those12 I am.. I am not.. I amdays. My elder brother was placed in a boarding school so asnot to disrupt his studies while my father was transferred fromone place to another. I lived with my parents and spent moretime with my mother as she was always at home.I developed a normal deep attachment towards my mother.My father used to tour, sometimes for days together, butwhenever he was around, it was fun. We moved to Bombay,now Mumbai, in 1958. A new phase started in my life where thechallenges increased in magnitude. Life totally changed whenmy mother was initially diagnosed with depression and laterschizophrenia, soon after my sister was born in 1960. Postpartum depression probably caused this condition. My parentsdivorced when I was in my teens and then life got really difficult.I never blamed my parents I learnt to accept every situation forwhat it was a test, a challenge to be overcome. All throughthose years I knew that I was not alone. I knew that theres aforce, whom we may call God, and He was looking out for me,looking after me, providing everything when needed.Education was mostly completed in Bombay, from grade 3 toSecondary School and then Mumbai University and finallyBachelor of Metallurgical Technology from the Indian Instituteof Technology, Mumbai. I married in 1979 and took on theresponsibility of a family man. Usually the journey of the soul,through self-realization (that I am not this body) and finallyGod realization (that we are all part of the universal whole)requires total detachment from all beings and things. I guessGod made an exception in my case - my family is still with me,my wife, daughter, and son this journey of returning to God13Raj SalviConsciousness involves total detachment from all beings andthings. That includes even your immediate near and dear ones.It involves seeing all as One and yours.In this journey, I met a Perfect Master. It is believed that thePerfect Master or Guru finds you when you are ready to take theleap out of this material or gross existence towards Godrealization. I am truly blessed that my Guru found me and guidedme towards God realization. It was as simple as that. Thisjourney started when my Ego (I Am) was at its highest, thenslowly the Ego was crushed by the tests and challenges that lifethrew at me to make me realize that I am not just this body.Finally with the help of the Perfect Master the remnants of myego fell away the veil was removed and my goal in life becameclear. I had moved into the realm of God consciousness. Theepisodes that I am sharing are some of the milestones thatdotted my journey from Guru to Avatar or the Messiah.This journey involved the maximizing of the ego (I Am) andthen crushing it, extinguishing until just a few traces remained(I Am Not) and ultimately evaporating the final remnants of theEgo thereby transforming human consciousness to GodConsciousness (I Am Everything) as the final goal of life.True love is no game of the faint-hearted and the weak; it is born ofstrength and understanding.14 I am.. I am not.. I am1C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RI was born in Jalgaon, a city in the state of Maharashtra,India on October 31, 1950 at 1:55 am. However the clerk whowas on morning duty at the hospital entered my birth date asbeing born last night therefore October 30th. This became myofficial date of birth.My father, a Government officer, used to be transferred fromcity to city that was the nature of his job. I remember movingfrom Nasik, to Malegaon and then to Aurangabad. I was nowsix years old.We moved into a huge government bungalow a remnantfrom the British Raj. I was in kindergarten at the Little FlowerHigh School. The daily routine started around 10:00 a.m. whenmy brother, who was eight years old and I would be dropped offat school in a horse carriage called tonga. Around 12:00 noon,our lunch was brought by my fathers peon (a perk that is enjoyedby high ranking government officials in India). The peon wouldwait until school ended at 2:00 pm and then take us back on aCheating DeathThree Times15Raj Salvi1 Colloquial term used for a person with little authority often assignedunskilled tasks2 A general term used in India by domestic help to refer to theiremployers sonbicycle. I would sit on the bar that connected the seat and thehandlebar while my brother sat pillion.On a particular day, as we were returning home from school,the routine was disturbed.Yusuf, our peon1 said: Move ahead, Baba2? I need a littlemore space to peddle better.I refused to oblige therefore he pushed me a little towardsthe handlebar. The unexpected shove made me lose my balanceand my left foot got trapped in the front wheel of the bicycle. Atthe very same moment, Yusuf reached the top of the steep slopethat led to our home. The bicycle gathered momentum. I howledin pain but Yusuf had no clue to the real reason why I wasyelling. He thought I was angry because he had pushed me.Finally the slope ended and ironically the bicycle came to a stopin front of the Civil Hospital which was on the way to our home.My foot was mangled and the centre bar of the front wheel wasembedded deep into my ankle. Yusuf carried me quickly intothe hospital scared not only at the sight of the blood but of theconsequences of the accident.Seeing the gravity of the situation, the doctor on call, quicklyinjected a dose of Tetanus Toxoid Serum to prevent furtherinfection. The doctor did not have access to an X-ray machine,therefore he cleaned and dressed the wound and sent us home.What happened? my mother queried angrily of Yusuf.She was waiting in the veranda, anxious at the delay and seeingthe bandage on my foot, was hysterical. I was put to bedimmediately.About twenty minutes later, I felt very thirsty and called tomy mother May I have some water please Within ten minutes,I made her a request for another glass of water. No sooner hadI drank the second glass of water, I asked my mother for somemore. My mother, who was sitting by my bed, felt somethingwas wrong. Our neighbor was also a government officer. Mymother ran to him house to check if he was still in as he wouldhave the office his house. As luck would have it, our neighborwas about to leave for work. This was not his usual time but hehad been delayed. My neighbors bungalow and ours were theonly two bungalows at quite a distance from the main city withno mode of public transport. Had our neighbor left in his jeep asper his usual time my mother would not have been able to rushme back to the Civil Hospital.The doctor on call instructed the nurse to hook me up to thesaline bottle as I was extremely dehydrated. He realized that Iwas having an anaphylactic reaction to the serum. A reaction ofthis type can cause death in minutes as the nervous system getsparalysed suddenly, if the antidote is not administered to thepatient. The doctor had not taken the precaution of checking tosee if I was allergic to the serum prior to giving it to me. I wasgiven nearly two dozen injections to stop the reaction; myprogress was monitored before I was sent home. This was thefirst close encounter with death.The following day, I was driven to Jalna, another city closeby, that had a Civil Hospital equipped with X-ray equipment.16 I am.. I am not.. I amMy ankle was x-rayed and it was found that I had multiplefractures and my foot was promptly put into a cast. We returnedhome with my leg in cast from knee down. It was nearly 3months before the cast was removed. And this is when deathmade a second attempt on my life.We had just finished dinner, my mother was clearing thetable and my father was already deep into his work files at hisdesk in the living room. I went to wash my hands in the bathroomwhich was at a lower level to the dining area. Built on grandscale, the bathroom was close to 70 feet by 20 feet in dimension.I climbed down the stairs into the bathroom to wash my handsand kept on playing with the water in the washbasin.My mother shouted Raj, stop playing in the water. Comeout of the bathroom immediately!She had her back to me as I climbed the stairs to the upperlevel. I had barely reached the doorway when there was aresounding crash. A cloud of dust engulfed me from behind.Dust was everywhere and I could not see anything around me.Hearing the crash, my mother turned and all she saw wasthe cloud of dust. She screamed to my father: Raj is trapped!He is dead!I could hear her screams but could not move because therewas no visibility I couldnt see an inch in front of me. It wasabout 10 minutes before the dust settled and some visibility wasrestored and that is when my mother saw me standing in thedoorway, covered with dust but ALIVE!1 A Hindu festival that symbolizes celebrating the victory ofgood over evil as depicted in the epic Ramayana2 A very popular sweet dish from Maharashtra made from milk17Raj SalviWhat had happened was that the entire 70 feet wall hadcollapsed along with part of the roof. I certainly would havebeen crushed to death if I had continued to play in the waterand not heeded my mothers call. I narrowly escaped death thesecond time.It is believed that events normally happen in threes. About15 days after the above episode, it was the festival of Dassera3.Dassera symbolizes victory of good over evil and is consideredto be a very auspicious festival. My father had a holiday andtook my brother and me to the city to purchase some sweets. Lets buy basundi4, my father said.He stopped in front of shop named Amrutbhandar andbought some basundi. We reached home and had it as dessertafter lunch. I was not too fond of sweets in my childhood andtherefore took only a small quantity. My father insisted that theday being an auspicious one, I should take some more.You need to celebrate the two close escapes from death!he said. He did not insist that my brother should have more butforced me to take a couple of extra helpings of basundi. In theend, I ended up having 3 cups of the sweet as a celebration.My parents took us with them to visit some family friends,as is customary during festivals. It was my brother who threwup first and I followed him in a couple of minutes. Sensingsomething was wrong, my parents drove us down to the CivilHospital. We saw hospital staff waiting at the entrance of thehospital and as we reached them, one of them asked: Did you eat Basundi from Amrutbhandar5? My brother5 A famous sweet shop in Aurangabad18 I am.. I am not.. I am19Raj Salviand I were put on stretchers and rushed inside the hospital.I cannot find a vein on this one, Doctor! shouted the nursewho was working on me to hook me up to saline. Suddenlythere were three other nurses working frantically to find a vein.Finally one of the nurses shouted Here I found a vein itwas in the space between my toes! The intravenous drip wasattached immediately.Do you know what happened? my father told us later.While the shop was boiling the milk to prepare Basundi, alizard from the wall fell inside the milk and got boiled, releasingits poisonous toxins into the milk. This was the third closeencounter with death at the age of 6.The infinite truth latent ineverything reveals itself onlywhen life is accepted in itstotality.2C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RThe Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) is one of the premierengineering educational institutions in India. To obtain entryinto IIT is considered an outstanding academic achievement inIndia. Top students from all over the country compete at thejoint entrance examination. I was proud to see my name in thelist of students accepted to join IIT in 1969.The decision to join IIT was totally my own. My father wasin the UK on government business. My mother was in nocondition to guide me as she was suffering from schizophrenia.I had to decide which of the five locations to select - Bombay,Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Madras. I was looking for anopportunity to experience life away from home and thereforeopted to register at IIT, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. I selectedMetallurgical Engineering.A very apt saying comes to mind Man proposes, Goddisposes. On his return from the UK, my father was insistentReal Happiness Lies inMaking Others HappyLord Meher, Volume 15, Page 526220 I am.. I am not.. I amthat I transfer to IIT, Bombay. He felt that I should be close tohim, so that he could monitor me in case of any problems arisingdue to health or otherwise. On the opening day of the 1969 IIT batch of students, therewas a flood of youngsters and their parents at IIT, Bombaysearching for their rooms in the hostels (dormitories). I realizedthat I was probably the only new student who was notaccompanied by either of his parents. My father was totallyimmersed with his work and my mother was too sick.I thought I saw a familiar face in the sea of strangers in thecorridor of the hostel. It was Warty, my 10th grade classmate.Hey Warty, I shouted as he was a few feet away.Im sorry, I cant remember your name he answered.Raj Salvi I said, adding From St. Xaviers High School.Oh, yes, yes, now I remember he acknowledged and thenquickly turned and disappeared into his room.You seem to be the only one here to know my son a femalevoice said.I turned to see an elderly lady standing next to me.Yes, we were in the same class in grade ten I replied.I need your help she added quickly as if making sure thatwhatever she needed to say was done prior to her son comingout of the dorm room.I made sure my son studied at home, so that he could passthe entrance exam for this Institute. Now that he is here alone,he wont have anyone nagging him to study. He is my only sonand I want you to promise me that you will help him in whateverway possible to become an Engineer.21Raj Salvi22 I am.. I am not.. I amHer face shone with the love of a mother and just for amoment, I was jealous for I longed to see that expression on mymothers face too. Amidst the chaos in the corridor, and withoutgiving any thought to my words, I replied I promise.She patted me on my shoulder and turned to go to her sonsroom.My eyes filled with tears for I had just experienced the touchof a mothers love! I made a silent resolution that I would ensurethat her son studied with me and would not fall behind in the23Raj Salviclass academically. Graduation was five years ahead andtherefore it meant that I had given a promise which would takefive years to be fulfilled.When the results were posted at the end of the five-year IITengineering degrees, I was the last student in the First Classcategory and Warty was the first student in the Second Classcategory. We stood next to each other in the line at graduation toreceive our degrees.I had kept my promise to a mother.True love is no game of the faint-hearted and the weak; it is born ofstrength and understanding.24 I am.. I am not.. I am3C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RThe Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, Mumbai, issituated on a thousand acre piece of land nestled between twolakes, Powai and Vihar and surrounded by majestic hills.The natural setting nurtured a variety of organic flora. Irecognized a particular bush. It had dozens of light brown fruitswith dusty powder on it. This was the Khujli plant, a kind ofstinging nettle - the slightest contact produces itching. I collectedthe powder in an envelope.As classes began, I surveyed my fellow classmates and foundmy first victim his name was Roland. He clearly stood out inthe crowd as he was the tallest and possibly the strongest. Beingof smaller proportions and wanting to experiment with thisnatural itching powder, I figured he would be the perfect target.I sat behind him and blew the fine powder into his shirtcollar and neck and then quickly changed my seat. I knew whatthe reaction would be and I did not want to be within armslength of Roland.Live Less For YourselfAnd More For Others25Raj SalviAs expected, he started to scratch his neck, then his cheekand, then his arm. The fine powder was being transported underhis nails and whichever part on his body he touched, thepowder was deposited and the itch would take over. He was soagitated with the itch that he ran out of class in a panic leavingthe rest of the class in bewilderment, wondering what theproblem was. Later that day, Roland came to know of my prank,barged into my dorm room and took my entire stash of theKhujli powder and poured it down my back.Thirty-two years have passed since that incident, and weare still the best of friends.***Life in hostels can be a lonely experience, unless one developsclose ties with your peers who live with you, play with you, andeat with you for five years. There were four of us, Roland, Warty,Panthaky and myself. We gravitated towards each other due toour love for playing pranks. We were of diverse ethnic andcultural backgrounds. Over the next five years, we had some ofthe most memorable times together. Of course, we had ourdifferences at times, but in the end the elastic band of friendshippulled us together again. Even now, when we have crossed 50,we still recall and laugh at the pranks of those years.Sometimes difficult situations bring out the best in us andwe were lucky to experience such an event during our stay atIIT.It was our final year at IIT. We wanted to concentrate on ourstudies and get on with our careers.26 I am.. I am not.. I am The monsoons were upon us on as we began our last year.After a long day at the classes, we trudged back to our hostelwhen we were beckoned by our classmate, Dennis, to go forfootball practice.Roland, Dennis and I, headed to the field in full soccer dress.As we were leaving the hostel, Warty called me and said that hewas interested in ragging1 a boy who lived in his apartmentcomplex and was a freshman. Im not interested in all this now, Warty I replied. I hadenough of this stuff in the last four years.The football practice lasted about 45 minutes and as wewalked past Hostel 4, one of the students shouted,Salvi, come on up, Warty is hereThe three of us started up the stairs to the second floor wherewe saw approximately 100 students lined along the corridor.We cut through the crowd and reached the point where thefreshman was being ragged.Let the action now begin said Mammen. He was with usin the first year and had failed so was still in fourth year. I sawWarty sitting in Mammens room watching what was happeningin the corridor. I was standing next to the student while Panthakyand Roland stood beside me. Use the newspaper as a towel and strip Mammen directedthe freshman student. There was reluctance from him to obey,but he finally realized that he was outnumbered and started tocomply. As he wrapped newspaper around his torso like a towel,his trousers slipped down his ankles. I lit a cigarette and camein front. Suddenly, I noticed that the newspaper was burning27Raj Salviand he was forced to drop the newspaper.Dress up now and go back to your hostel Mammen toldthe student. As he was putting his trousers on, I quickly duckedinto the room and told Warty to talk to the student as he seemedfrightened.Oh! No! If he complains, I will take care of him at homeWarty replied nonchalantly.I decided to catch up with the freshman before he reachedHostel 3 and caught up with him as he was leaving the gate.Are you burnt anywhere? I enquired.He was so frightened that he barely nodded his headdenying any injury.Apply some ointment if there are any burns, I told himand went back up the stairs to join my friends.A week had passed since this incident when suddenlynotices were put up on the notice boards that there had been aserious case of ragging in the Institute and that the Wardens ofall the hostels would address the students after dinner.Raj, dont open your mouth at the meeting the hostelGeneral Secretary advised me quickly.Why should I? I didnt do anything I replied.Please take my advice he added.After dinner the mess lounge was rearranged for the meeting.Lets go and sit in the first row, we dont have anything toworry about I advised. From where I sat, the Warden wasstanding exactly opposite to me as he faced the students. Hewas glaring at me furiously.There has been a serious case of ragging in this campus28 I am.. I am not.. I ambegan the Warden.I tried to imagine what horrendous things someone musthave done to force the authorities to call for a meeting of thismagnitude. The first of its kind in my four year stay at theInstitute. A student was taken from Hostel 3 and burned in Hostel4 the Warden stated, barely controlling his temper.I suddenly realized that this was none other than our casethat was being discussed. Raj, dont open your mouth at themeeting suddenly made a lot of sense.Covering my mouth with my palm, I whispered to Wartywho was next to me,Slowly slide to the end and lets get out of hereQuickly, all four of us walked out of the meeting, even as theWarden hollered,I will personally butcher these fellows periodWe met up outside and decided to take our mattresses andclimb on to the roof and sleep there until the Warden had leftour hostel. He left around 3:00 a.m. As we came down to thehostel lobby, the General Secretary of the hostel met us. Where were you Raj? The Wardens been waiting for youto confess to what you did he said I told you, I did not do anything! I replied and carried on.I suddenly realized that I might be expelled from the Instituteand five years of Engineering studies would amount to nothing.Around 10 a.m. the next morning, the notices went up muchto the anxiety of all students. There were two students fromHostel 4 who had been expelled from the Institute and about29Raj Salvi100 students were fined.Why is your name not among the expelled ones, Raj? theGeneral Secretary asked wondering.I told you, I was not involved.I then analyzed the entire incident at Hostel 4 and realizedthat when I came to the front, the student saw my lit cigaretteand presumed that I had lit the newspaper from behind. Whathad actually happened was that as I did not have a lighter or amatchbox, I signaled to a friend who was standing behind thestudent to light my cigarette. He did and then proceeded to lightthe newspaper from behind. As the student was busyextinguishing the fire behind, the match was passed to Mammen,who then lit the front of the newspaper.The notice gave the names of both the students and askedthem to vacate the hostels within 24 hours. Suddenly the doorsflew open to my room and Mammen and my friend were standingin the doorway, tears streaming down their cheeks.Our lives are completely shattered. What are we going totell our parents who have spent so much money on oureducation? they said with lowered heads.Relax, we will find a solution. Every problem has asolution, I comforted them.I called Roland, Warty and Panthaky to my room.I think I have a solution I said. Do you remember a movie named Stalag 17? I stopped.All of them in the room looked confused, likely wondering whatthat question had to do with the situation at hand.There is a scene where all the prisoners of war are lined30 I am.. I am not.. I amup and the German General comes to address them. He gets upon the pedestal wearing a monocle. Theres a small pool of waterin front of him, below the pedestal. One of the POWs picks astone and throws it into the puddle. The water splashes ontothe monocle and the General demands that the one who did itfall out. Slowly, one by one, soldiers started to fall out fromdifferent lines. The General orders them all to fall backHow is this going to help us? Mammen interrupted.Dont you understand why the General could not take adecision? Because he knew that so many soldiers could nothave thrown one stone, but more importantly, he could notpunish all of them I answered.Do you think that if we all said that we are equallyresponsible being present at the scene, that the authorities willexpel six students at one time? I asked. I was hoping that thefriendship that had developed over the past five years wouldcome into play. We had become more like brothers, than friends.Are you crazy? said WartyImpossible! I cant do this was Rolands responseI too dont agree added Panthaky.I think we can stop these guys from being expelled. Wehave been friends for so long and thats why I suggested thisway. Anyway, the choice is yours. I feel morally obligated totake some of the blame because I didnt make any effort to preventthe incident. Im going to see the Director tomorrow morningand Ill let you all know what happens. I concluded.The next day as I was leaving the hostel to meet the Director,Warty, Roland, and Panthaky joined me.31Raj SalviWe thought about what you said last night and we think itis the right solution Panthaky told me. We were all there and take full responsibility for whathappened, Sir I said as the four of us faced the Director of theInstitute in his office.Do you realize Mr. Salvi that I can expel all of you from thisInstitute along with your other two friends? the Director said.Yes, Sir I replied.We watched in amazement the expression change on theDirectors face. He had tears in his eyes!These are tears of joy, Mr. Salvi. The purpose of these IndianInstitutes when they were created was to foster a spirit ofbrotherhood amongst all the Alumni. What you have done hasproved that it works! You may all leave and within the next 2hours, new notices will be put on the notice boards, said theDirector.As promised, new notices were put up. All six of us wereallowed to attend classes but had to vacate the hostels in 24hours.I learnt that day that one has to, for the happiness of others,be ready to sacrifice everything and that any problem can beresolved with LOVE.The Master helps the seeker in his owninvincible ways, which have no parallel inthe ways of the world. But if the aspirant isto be the recipient of this help, he must makea real effort to surrender himself to theDivine will of the Master.32 I am.. I am not.. I amThe year was 1975 and I had completed my engineeringstudies at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Armed witha Bachelors degree in Metallurgy I took up a job with one of myrelations who had an iron metal casting foundry. About 300people earned their livelihood in this unit. Metals parts weremade from melting iron scrap and pouring into sand moulds.These parts were mainly supplied to pump, automobile andother industries.The work was strenuous. It involved working amidst afurnace that spewed molten metal at 1400 degrees C periodically,fumes, sand, dust an atmosphere that takes a heavy toll onthe body. At the end of a 10-12 hour shift, you are exhausted.The ride home is a one and half hour train ride and then anotherhalf hour bus ride.On this particular day a day that would change my lifeforever I was working on a project which involved being closeto the melting furnace. The constant heat drained the energyout of me.How did you manage to make that experiment4C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RA New Birth33Raj Salvisuccessful? asked my boss, Mr. Ghosh.I was working on the metal composition to manufacture abrake disc for scooters.I guess my knowledge of metallurgy helped me find thesolution, I replied, arrogant of my own abilities. Graduatingfrom an engineering institute like the Indian Institute ofTechnology (IIT) was a feather in the cap. IIT generated a bit ofego in all its graduates, making them feel superior to others.After all, only a few areselected from anationwide jointentrance examination toenter this institute.Hence those who aresuccessful in gainingentry into IIT wereconsidered crme de lacrme.The local train was crowded as usual. I got lost in the massof humanity. After a hard days work, I had to find the energyto stand for one and a half hours, packed tightly like a sardinein a can. As the station arrived, the mass of humanity pouredout of the compartment only to be replaced by another massgetting in, all within seconds. The trains rolled on at 80 mph.Next station is Grant Road, Mr. Ghosh advised meknowing this was the station that I got off to catch the bushome. See you tomorrow, boss! I replied. It was around 6:30p.m.34 I am.. I am not.. I amI waited on the platform for the train to pass. There areoverhead bridges for passengers to cross the railway tracksand I used them regularly. However, this evening I was tooexhausted to climb the stairs to go across the tracks to the busstop. As the trains last compartment pulled away from meslowly, I quickly jumped onto the tracks and glanced towardsthe direction a train would come on the next track. I knew thiswas the fast track used by the express train, traveling at 100mph. I gave a quick glance and stepped onto this track.I realized my mistake immediately. There was an expresstrain on that track heading directly towards me. I had failed tosee it because it was hidden by the train that was leaving theplatform. My exhaustion had reduced my awareness of thesurroundings. I saw the train approximately 10 feet away. Itis over, the thought flashed through my mind. All of a suddena white ethereal form materialized close to me. I felt myselfbeing picked up by the waist and being gently placed back onthe other track. It appeared as if the express train was frozen intime I saw it framed as if in a picture frame. Then I felt theexpress train thunder past me, just a few feet away. As soon asit passed, I turned around to thank the person who had savedmy life. There was no one there!My first thoughts were I should be dead. God, You havekept me alive for a reason. Every action I take from this momenton will be in Your service. The egoistic and arrogant Raj Salvidied at this moment. I dont know when I reached home. I wasshaken by this incident.At the dinner table that night, I told my father that I had a35Raj SalviThe way to remain free fromkarma is to remain completelydetached in service.mind shattering experience. After I had narrated the entireincident, he said, Yes, I believe you. I was astonished. I tellyou less colorful stories and you always disbelieve me, and yetI narrate an astonishing story, and you calmly accept it? Why?Because I have experienced a similar incident in my lifetoo, my father replied calmly. I was intrigued. It happenedin Germany. I could not read German and therefore took awrong entry in the Autobahn. I realized this as the first carcame from the opposite direction and passed me like a bullet. Iknew this was the end. Suddenly a large white figure appearedon the road, picked me up with the moving car and put me onthe right side of the Autobahn. That is why I believe you.I realized then that there is a guardian angel looking afterour family. Someone who made sure that both father and sonhad to be kept alive for some purpose only known to Him!36 I am.. I am not.. I am5C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RRaj! my father called for me in the house. I had just returned to Mumbai following my resignationfrom Business Combine Limited, in Nasik, Satpur industrialestate. After my graduation from The Indian Institute ofTechnology, Bombay in 1974, I had taken a job in this factory.My experience had been in foundry and this being one of theleading foundries in India in the year 1974, I considered myselffortunate to be given a chance to work there. Yes, it was achance especially I had not even applied to get a job there. I hadapplied to ExcellO ( India) for a Sales position that they hadadvertised.There is a marriage proposal for you my father continued Mr Chowgule has a daughter who has made it known thatshe is interested in getting married to you. She saw you inanother wedding lately.Do you know Mr. Chowgule is a rich businessman andhas many companies. You can work in any of them and thusMarriages Are MadeIn Heaven37Raj Salviwont have to look for a job in your life Dad stopped.I was pensive and did not reply immediately. Dad seemeda bit disturbed at my silence. I am not interested in theproposal was my quiet reply.Are you out of your mind? This marriage will make yourlife he retorted. What are you basing you decision on? headdedI had considered that if I marry her, I would have to besubservient to her every wish as they were much richer thanmy family and this financial imbalance would be mostdisadvantageous to me as the son-in-law.I decided to venture out and find a job first (remove theperiod) before I thought of getting married. With this in mind, Ihad applied to several companies in BombayExcellO (India) an automobile part manufacturingcompany, called me for a job interview. As the Vice Presidentwas taking my interview a man suddenly walked in and satdown in the room. He took my resume from the Vice Presidentand studied it. I thought he was probably the President ofExcell O.He asked the VP to let him speak to me.You are a Metallurgical Engineer? he asked meYes, I am I replied blankly, wondering what was this allabout.Would you like to work in a foundry? he asked. Wehave a foundry in Nasik and I might be able to take you there.Would you be Ok to work and stay in Nasik? He enquiredI most certainly would love that I answered without38 I am.. I am not.. I ammoment of hesitation. Metal casting was my passion sincepassing IIT in 1974. I had worked in a foundry in Mulund for afew months and I was fully conversant with the castingmanufacturing techniques.Well then here is my telephone number in Nasik. Whenyou reach there give me a call. My name is Mehta. he said ashe handed me a paper with his number.My father had married again recently after he divorced mymother due to her illness. As I was close to my mother, I wasopposed to my father remarrying The option to leave Mumbaiand go to Nasik was a welcome one for me as this would keepme away from staying with my stepmother.After a four year stay in Nasik and working with BCL asthe foundry was known, I left and returned in the summer of1978 back to Mumbai. It was April and the city was hot andhumid, compared to the cool and pleasant hill station likeweather of Nasik This weather had been idle for binges ofdrinking and I had got addicted to liquor. I would drink a wholebottle of rum at one sitting and with no addition of water orCoke (otherwise sounds like you were having drugs!) Off coursethe loneliness in a small town like Nasik pushed me towardsaddiction to liquor.Coming back to Mumbai meant staying with my father andmy stepmother for the first time, after my four year stint in Nasik.I knew it was going to be difficult to adjust to the newsurroundings in the house. I was told that the only place for mein the house was in the balcony, where I could keep my bagsand bed. Fate had wanted to test me again and again .My step39Raj Salvibrother was married and with two bedrooms there was no placefor me especially as my younger sister was also staying there.I felt that I had to move out of this situation and launch outon my own. I contacted my mentor in the foundry Mr. R. R.Salvi who was also looking for an alternative to the consultancyhe was forced to offer in Sangli. Jointly with my close friend inNasik Mr Merchant who had a non operative foundry unit, wejoined hands and restarted the foundry in 1979 which is stillworking thirty years later..Marriage was now on my lifes agenda. I was close tobecoming thirty years of age. My career was on its way as apartner in this foundry at Nasik.Do visit my family every week when I am in AmericaRaktim said to me, I dont want my parents to miss their son.My close friend was leaving for bachelors studies in USA , andwanted me to fill in the void that he was creating in his parentslife. I promise you I replied as Raktim bid us goodbyes andvanished from our view to board the aircraft at Santa Cruzairport in Bombay.I was in IIT first year when in 1969 when Raktim left for theUSA. Without fail I would visit his parents whenever I couldand ensure that my promised was honoured. At times I had tointervene in the their family problems. I was practically a familymember in my friends family. He had an elder sister who wasmarried and staying near Calcutta. His younger sister Rashmitaand younger brother Rajat were staying with their parents.My moving to Nasik in 1974 made these trips less frequent.40 I am.. I am not.. I amHowever whenever I came to Mumbai from Nasik I visitedthem and ensured that his parents did not feel the loss of theirson. It was one of those days that I arrived at my friends house.It was evening and only his parents were there. His Dadwas sitting with his head in his hands.What happened? I asked him. I was expecting some badnews and braced myself for it.Oh nothing, its not working he said in a quizzicalmannerI was lost at this answer. What was not working? Iquestioned as he continuedShe does not approve any of the boys I show her he added I now understood that he was talking of Rashmitasmarriage. I felt bad for my friends dad who was getting closerto retirement and this was a big responsibility as a father hehad to complete. The age of parental arranged marriages hadnot yet gone from India. Putting myself in his shoes , I felt thepain of a father .Rashmita and I were married December 1979 in Mumbai.She had done a Bachelors in Arts from Elphinstone College inBombay and had done a few jobs in the local offices. Honeymoon was in Nainital and when we returned wehad to move from my in laws place.I had no place to stay after my marriage and my Dad wasaware of my predicament. I have arranged a place for both of you to stay. It is a twobedroom apartment in Juhu right on the seashore. Anacquaintance of mine has offered it to both of you as an in41Raj Salvibetween arrangements till you find a more permanentaccommodation my Dad told me as he handed me the keys.This is wonderful Raj. I understand that there areBollywood filmstars residing in this building. Rashmitaremarked.One day my dad informed me that his friend had offeredme the place for a small sum of Indian Rupees two hundredthousand. The actual cost of the apartment was close to 5 timesthat price at that time in 1980.Lets buy it Rashmita saidStart packing, we will go and stay in a shanty, if neededbut I dont want this apartment as a charity from my dadsfriend. He is going to use dads position in the governmentoffice many times over for this favor. I blew the idea off.We moved to a one room accommodation in New Bombayand stayed in a low income neighborhood.This room accommodated a small kitchen and a toilet apartfrom a cupboard and a bed we had of our own.One particular day it rained heavily in the month of June,and when we returned to our shanty we found that water hadcollected up to the level of the bed mattress. Due to the floodingthe cockroaches had all climbed onto the walls. I knew thatRashmita was extremely frightened of them.If you want you can go to your parents house to sleep. Itold Rashmita adding If God wants to test me I will acceptHim in whatever condition. He wants me to sleep here tonightand I will. If you pass this test He will show you good times, Ipromise I said.42 I am.. I am not.. I amBefore Karma is created, theindividual has a sort of freedom tochoose what it shall be; but after ithas been accomplished, it becomes afactor, which cannot be ignored andwhich has either to be expendedthrough the results, which it invites,or counter-acted by fresh andappropriate Karma. I am not going to my parents house. I will sleep in thesame bed ,so what if it is soaked, there is some patch where it isdry Rashmita repliedI knew He had given me a partner that He had chosen. Yes,marriages are made in heaven.43Raj Salvi6C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RRunning a small scale industry in Mumbai was a toughendeavor especially since the foundry was located in an areawhere the infrastructure was inadequate. Raj, will you help my cousin Vijay start his factory inTitawala? asked my friend, Pankaj. Why dont we meet yourcousin and go from there? I replied.The history of the factory was that it had stopped productionfor six years; however, the Union made sure the workersreceived their wages. Moreover, as the management had madeprovision for living quarters in the factory compound, theworkers were occupying the factory premises for six years.I would like you to meet my father, Vijay told me. Vijaysfather was a frail, elderly gentleman who had difficulty walking,even with the support of a cane. Mr. Salvi, I spent my lifebuilding and running this factory to bring it to what it is now.My son, Vijay, is not capable of running the factory. I am nowtoo old to go the factory every day. I need someone who can runYou And I Are Not WeBut One44 I am.. I am not.. I amthis factory, he pleaded.Why dont you go to the factory, Vijay? I asked. I amafraid that the workers will beat me up. I will come withyou, I replied.The next day Vijay, Pankaj and I went to the factory, locatednearly 100 kilometers from downtown Mumbai. As we walkedfrom the local station, I could see the look of apprehension onVijays face. I was cracking jokes to keep the atmosphere lightand free from tension. The factory was massive and the squarefootage was close to 40 acres. As we entered the gates, theworkers stood up as if threatened by our intrusion.I could see the cobwebs on the machines and a generalsense of despair in the air. I slowly moved away from Vijay andPankaj and walked towards a group of workers who werestanding and watching us. How are things here? I casuallyasked to break the silence. Are you an engineer? asked one ofthem who was eyeing me closely. Yes, I replied. The lastengineer who came to start the factory was murdered at therailway station, he mentioned nonchalantly. Thank you forinforming me. I am now forewarned and hence forearmed. Justmake sure you are not the one I have to kill, for whosoever triesto kill me will die first, I guarantee it!The purpose of my strong words was to deter any of theworkers from taking me for granted. I was soon to galvanizethe workforce which was not used to working for the last sixyears. I had to enforce discipline immediately. Within the next15 days, the production had started in full earnest. I spent mostof my time directing the work activities while Vijay looked after45Raj Salvithe administration. Being a metallurgical engineer, I wasguiding the melting-in-charge on how to control the metalchemistry. The person concerned seemed to come from a verypoor background and was obviously not educated. Yet he wasable to inform me some metal characteristics just by observation.It had taken me 5 years at IIT to acquire this knowledge, whereashere was a person who was teaching me someone with noformal engineering knowledge! I developed a profoundadmiration for this person.Will you come to my house for lunch, he asked me oneday hesitatingly. Sure, since you are inviting me, I will surelycome. Tell me the date and time, I said. The following week ona holiday he invited me to his house which was in the factorycompound itself. All the workers were staying in a little ofcolony of huts. However, this persons hut was a little distanceaway from this colony.He was waiting at the factory gate to receive me and takeme personally to his home. As we entered his hut, I saw that itwas pristinely clean and whatever little possession he had,were arranged properly. The food was delicious and I couldsee that his wife had taken the pains to cook up a good meal.As I came out of the hut, I was met by a group of workersfrom the factory who lived in the colony of huts. Do you knowwhose house you went? they chorused.Sure, he is the melting-in-charge person in our factory. Ireplied. I was aware of what the workers were waiting for meto say, however I was waiting to hear it from them.Do you know that he is an untouchable?They expected me to jump at this admission. I know that,I said calmly, without any expression.And yet you ate at his house! We are Brahmins, and youdid not come to our house to eat, the man said.I pointed to the melting-in-charge person and said, Heinvited me to his home to have lunch, and therefore I went.None of you invited me to your home, therefore how could Icome?46 I am.. I am not.. I amSpiritual freedom is won by ones self forones self, through watchful and unfailingwar against the false self. Those who wouldbe soldiers in the cause of truth have tohelp others not only in launching upon thethrilling enterprise of attaining victory overoneself, but also in every step they taketowards attainment; there is no other way ofsharing their burden.7C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RRashmita and I were married in 1979 and our first daughter,Poonam was born in July 1982. She was like a ray of sunshinein our lives. The small scale foundry unit that I had started hadteething problems that was a drain on our finances. In short,life was tough.Much to our horror, Poonam became critically ill when shewas a month old. We rushed her to intensive care. The diagnosiscame in that she had septicemia which had caused her internalorgans to fail and that it was just a matter of hours before shedied.I sent Rashmita away with her family while I waited atPoonams bedside watching as she struggled to breathe. Atthat moment, I said to God: I have never asked you for anythingin my life but I am going to ask you something now. You gaveme this soul to look after but now You are taking her away. Iwant this same soul back again. Poonam died a few minuteslater.Guru Meets HisDisciple47Raj Salvi48 I am.. I am not.. I amRashmita gave birth to our second daughter, Mayura, in1983. She was about two months old when we left her with myin-laws to attend a wedding in Pune, a city about 200 milesfrom Mumbai. At the reception hall, Rashmita and I werestanding to one side taking a break from meeting all therelations.I noticed my maternal aunt coming towards us with agentleman in tow. The tall, slim gentleman was dressed in asafari suit (a fashion statement in the 80"s in India) came straightto me and slapped me on the back saying What? You have adaughter, right? She has a slight projection in front of her leftear. Your first daughter has come back to you. Take good careof her. And then he smiled. I vaguely remember my auntintroducing him as Dada Maharaj.I was so stunned by what he had just said that I felt as if theground had disappeared from beneath my feet and I wasstanding in mid-air. I couldnt believe what I had just heard.No one knew of my conversation with God at Poonams bedside not even Rashmita. How did this man know?Dada Maharaj then said: I will meet you again when thetime is right. And then he walked away with my aunt.The next question that came to my mind was What didhe mean by projection in front of Mayuras left ear?I turned to Rashmita and told her about my conversationwith God the night Poonam died. And when I asked her aboutthe projection, she was equally surprised.There was an eclipse during the pregnancy and motherhad asked me to lie still in a darkened room and think of only49Raj SalviOne who lives for himself istruly dead and one who diesfor God is truly alive.God until the eclipse had passed. I was not to touch anythingor do anything. I put my mothers superstition to the test andhad pinched the skin in front of my left ear. Mayura has a smallprojection in front of her left ear in exactly the same place that Ihad pinched.For the next five years, I tried to get in touch with DadaMaharaj but was unable to do so until he called me to meet himin 1988.50 I am.. I am not.. I am8C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RWhen we are born into this world, our soul is encased in abody and through this body and its senses we become aware orconscious of the world around us. This concept of our beinghas also been expressed by great souls like the Greekphilosopher Plato and the English poet William Wordsworth.The soul in its journey through multiple realms of Creation,picks up impressions or experiences. The Soul can be comparedto a car that has started on a long journey, the driver isConsciousness. As the car starts on the journey, it stops atvarious locations and the driver interacts with different placesand people some are pleasant experiences and some are not like the dirt that splashes on the body of the car. Theseimpressions then get attached to the Consciousness.Each individual soul has emerged out of God consciousnessand having separated itself from God Consciousness, issearching for its own identity in the gross world. The soul startsits journey through several realms of non-human existence likeDadas Texas Letter51Raj Salvistone, metal, plants, insects, fishes, birds and animals. Byexperiencing each realm, the soul comes to the conclusion thatit is not part of that realm this journey takes millions of years.After the animal realm, the soul reaches the human realm.Upon acquiring a human body, the Consciousness now needsto remove all the impressions it has gathered on its journeythrough the realms so that it can begin its journey back to theGod Consciousness and merge into it. For the merger to happen,the soul needs a Perfect Master to clean the soul of itsimpressions and send it back on its homeward journey to Godwhere the soul merges back into God Consciousness. The soulhas finally reached Home.The God Conscious soul can return back to the gross worldhaving both God Consciousness as well as humanconsciousness. These are the Perfect Masters who come to showthe way to the other souls who wish to go back to GodConsciousness. Perfect Masters have spiritual powers andhence the ability to remove the impressions on the soul.All Perfect Masters have gone through the cycles of birthand death and finally attained God Consciousness. Thegradual death of desires leads to this state of God Consciousness,where all activities of life are conducted only by using thelanguage of the heart, which is Divine Love.The Guru is the Perfect Master and since theirConsciousness is at both levels, they are able to control whogets to meet them, at what time and which location. I met Dadaat the US embassy in Mumbai after a five year separation.Subsequently, we met on several occasions and each meeting52 I am.. I am not.. I amwas a lesson in itself.Raj, I want to meet your Dada Maharaj tomorrow saidKumar.Kumar was my neighbor at Konkan Bhavan where we livedafter the birth of Mayura. Kumar was also my batch mate fromIIT.Our new neighbor is an engineer said Rashmita as soonas I entered our home one day. In a city like Mumbai, one doesnot concern themselves too much with neighbors. Where is thetime? For me relaxation was a luxury as my days and sometimesnights were preoccupied with running the foundry.One day as I was unlocking the door, I noticed that myneighbors door was open. I saw a man sitting inside andimmediately recognized him as Kumar from my IIT days. Werekindled our friendship and whenever the opportunity rose,both of us would sit and drink. He had children who werearound the same age as Mayura and our wives seemed to getalong. My conversation would often gravitate towards DadaMaharaj. But Kumar showed no interest whatsoever.Since we had left IIT in April, 1974, Kumar had gone to UKand completed his Masters in Welding Technology. Afterspending several years in Cameroon, he had accumulated asizeable amount of savings and had come home to India.I have applied to all the major companies and should begetting a job any day Kumar remarked sipping his glass ofrum. I have the qualifications, he added.Two months passed and Kumar was still jobless. Hissavings were depleting and he seemed quite desperate when53Raj Salvihe said he wanted to meet Dada.Why dont you meet me tonight at Shivaji Road, I said,and we will go and meet Dada.No, I am coming with you right now. I will be with you theentire day, he stated. There was a hint of panic in his voicewhich prompted me to askIs everything alright Kumar?What am I going to feed my children tomorrow Kumarwhispered.I had no idea that Kumars financial situation haddeteriorated to this level.In that case, you can come along with me and we willmeet Dada at 9:00pm tonight.Kumar shadowed me the entire day.Is Dada Maharaj in? I asked as the door opened.No, he has gone outMy heart sank for Kumars sake and I am certain thatKumars did too.I mean, he will be back in half hour the lady at the dooradded.Relieved we climbed down the stairs silently and spent thenext half hour in silence waiting for Dadas return.Bring him inside, Raj. He is the last person I have to meettoday Dada remarked letting us in into the apartment. As weentered, he continued, So you are not getting a job? You willnot get a job. Dada finished the sentence and turned to talkwith his son.Hearing these words from Dada crushed Kumars world.54 I am.. I am not.. I amHe had come with so much hope that Dada would show himthe way but instead he had dashed his hopes in one shortsentence.You should be fasting on Saturdays Dada quicklyaddressed Kumar before continuing his conversation with hisson.What is fasting? Kumar whispered to me.Before I could explain to him, Dada said, Yes Raj, tell himwhat fasting is. He has never fasted in his life. Am I right,Kumar?Yes Kumar sheepishly replied.As I was explaining the process of fasting, Dada got upand bent down to Kumar in an attempt to touch his feet.Please do it for me if not for yourself. Just for three Saturdaysand you will see a miracleSeeing this humble gesture, I realized the love that a PerfectMaster expressed for everyone.The minute I saw Dada Maharaj, my stress disappearedKumar expressed as soon as the door shut behind us.That is the sign of a Perfect Master. Whenever one is intheir presence all fear, worries, stress disappear. They act like asponge absorbing all the worries troubling you. After emptyingyou of all your problems, they fill you with a sense of wellbeing, I said.During our way back home we decided that we would visitthe shrine of another Perfect Master, Sai Baba of Shirdi.Three weeks passed since we had met Dada Maharaj.Raj, look what has happened Kumar shouted from across55Raj Salvithe open door.Today is Monday and I have calls for job interviews fromalmost all the companies I had applied to earlierWhat Dada had promised had happened.Dada had left for Texas and had given me the address towrite to him if it was urgent. I thought this good news shouldbe relayed to Dada immediately.Kumar, here is Dadas address in Texas. Write to him Isaid, handing him a piece of paper.A couple of days later an Kumar came to meet me with anenvelope in his hand.Just look at this! he said handing me and envelope.The top of the envelope read Kumar, New Bombay. Therewas no formal address and no postage stamp. It was fromDada in Texas and it was a reply to Kumars letter. But onlytwo days had passed since he had sent the letter. How couldDada have received the letter and also sent his reply in such ashort period of time?Read the line where Dada has written Keep fasting onThursday as you have decidedI dont understand, didnt he tell you to fast on Saturdays?I asked.Yes, but because we went to Shirdi on Thursday, I told mywife that henceforth I will fast on Thursdays. How did Dada inTexas know about my conversation with my wife? Kumarquestioned.Both of us had no clue. We just accepted that with DadaMaharaj there were no conventional answers. We had no56 I am.. I am not.. I amanswers to what had occurred. We realized that applying logicfrom our engineering background seemed futile in trying toexplain the phenomenon that occurs in the spiritual realm.If you do wrong, think Babais doing wrong. If you get apain, think it is Baba having apain. If you do all thissincerely, you will knowsomething and forget yourselfand do all for Baba.57Raj Salvi9C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RActivities had begun in earnest now that I had received thevisa to go to Canada as per Dadas directions. However, therewere a number of loose ends to be tied up. Rashmi ShellcastFoundrys suppliers had to be paid off, preparation for the tripwas to be started, relatives to say goodbye to, etc.In India, when one undertakes a long journey, or leavingones country to go to a foreign place, it is customary to visitreligious places to pay ones respects and to obtain theblessings of the Almighty for the new life ahead.Vijay, I feel I should visit Haji Malang Babas Dargah atKalyan. He seems to be calling me. I told my friend.Well, if you want to go, lets go. I know the way. Vijayreplied.We boarded the local train at Kurla Station. As usual, thelocal train was crowded and we had to push our way into thecompartment. The train ride was approximately an hour toKalyan Station. It was around 9:30 a.m. and the station wasMalang Baba WillMeet You!58 I am.. I am not.. I amcrowded. Haji Malang isa 300 year old dargah atKalyan, in Mumbai,where Baba AbdulRehman Malang has beenburied. A dargah is ashrine built over the graveof a revered religiousfigure, often a Sufi saint.Haji Malang was a Sufisaint who had come toIndia in the 12th centuryAD from the Middle East.The dargah is located halfway up the mountains. Toreach the Dargah, youhave to climb steps carved into the side of the hill.Vijay and I made our way towards the exit when suddenlya man, who was coming from the opposite on the platform,stopped directly in front of me and said:.Malang Baba will meet you! Before I could react to hisremark he had disappeared into the crowd.Vijay and I started to move along with the mass of pilgrimswho had come to pay their respects. There were all types ofpeople some looked affluent, some poor, young and old. Wewalked on the dusty footpath heading towards the toweringhill.The Dargah is on the top the hill and there are many steps59Raj Salvi you sure youcan do it, Vijaysaid as wetrudged oversmall boulders.I knew thatthe road to PerfectMasters is never asmooth one. Thisone was certainlyrough. My mind was locked on Vijays statement whichtriggered memories of my trek to the origin of the GodavariRiver near Nasik. I had gone with a group of my colleagues tosee the spot on top of the Trimbakeshwar Mountain where theriver originates.Lets climb to the top rather than take the 700 steps, saidGaneshan. All the rest of my colleagues were excited while Iwas frozen hearing those words. I suffered from vertigo fromchildhood. Sarthy, stay close to me, I whispered to my friend.Before we started the climb, I spoke to the group, If any onedislodges a stone from above, please yell stone! so thatwhoever is below will hear and take precaution.After about 15 minutes of climbing, Sarthy remained closeto me and the rest of the group was above us, out of sight. Isuddenly heard the dreadful word stone! My heart frozewith fright and as I looked down and saw the drop, my legsfroze with fear. I could hear the stone rumbling as it gatheredmomentum. The fear in me was building up as I noticed that Ihad about a foot clearance before I could see the boulder.Raj move! You are in line with the boulder, Sarthy shoutedbreaking my thoughts. He was to my right about 15 feet awayand could see the line of the boulder and my position. Duringthose days I used to open the innings in cricket and alwaysused the principle of moving away from the line of the fast ballrather than ducking down. It dawned on me that this was asimilar situation and I had to be quick to miss the boulder. Ihad my eyes glued to the point where I anticipated the boulderto appear.Suddenly I saw it - it was the size of a watermelon I threwmy head to one side and the boulder missed my head, grazedmy thigh and hurtled down, nearly a 1000 feet to the ravinebelow.You could have been killed! Sarthy shouted. As he camecloser I explained to him my vertigo problem.Why are you sitting down on the step, Raj? Vijay brokeinto my reverie. I cant make it to the top to Babas Dargah. I am afraid ofheights. I will take Babas blessings from here. You go up andbring the Prasad for me.Are you crazy? Baba has called you and he will take youup and bring you down safely. Vijay was annoyed. It dawnedon me that what he just said was true. Baba would protect me ifI put my full faith in him.We quickly reached the top and found a huge crowd ofpilgrims between rows of shops selling tea, snacks, flowers,etc. We paid our respects to Baba Malang and it was now time60 I am.. I am not.. I am61Raj Salvito go back home.I was worried about the climb down as the steps were barelysix feet from the edge of the mountain. I knew my legs wouldfreeze if I looked down as the drop was almost 3000 feet.Suddenly, a small child took hold of my hand, turned,walked a few steps with me down the hill.Baba will meet you the words were still fresh in my mind.Vijay, look what is happening, I whispered to Vijay asthe child took hold of my hand. But even before Vijay couldregister and look in my direction, the child had vanished intothe crowd.Perfect Masters can come in different shapes and forms tomeet you. It is we who cannot see them in all.The Master helps the seeker in hisown invincible ways, which have noparallel in the ways of the world. But ifthe aspirant is to be the recipient of thishelp, he must make a real effort tosurrender himself to the Divine will ofthe Master.62 I am.. I am not.. I am10C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RMost of the episodes occurring with Dada in my life did nothave a logical explanation. I am convinced that through allthese exercises, Dada was preparing me for the spiritual pathwhich would finally culminate with the Avatar taking over.It was a routine call to Dada Maharaj, the time was 9:30pm. I was at my in-laws home and Rashmita was playing withour daughter.I dialed Dadas number and waited for the phone to beanswered. I heard Dadas wife at the other end.You are Raj speaking right? I have been told by Dada totell you that you should immediately proceed to see your motherand she hung up the phone.I was quite startled. Seeing my startled expression,Rashmita asked:What happened? No one picked up the phone?Dadas wife picked up. But I dont understand how sheknew that it was me on the phone?After I told to Rashmita what Dadas wife had said, sheTotal Obedience63Raj Salvireplied, Well, you know that we have to go immediatelyWithin 15 minutes of the conversation we were on the road toSangli, a city about 300 miles from Mumbai.For the last 40 years, my mother has been suffering withschizophrenia. She lives with her stepbrother and his family ina small village called Digraj, which is 5 km from Sangli, in theprovince of Maharashtra. Medical treatment has not helped,and as we headed to Digraj, all sorts of thoughts flashed throughmy mind. Had something terrible happened to her? Was thisgoing to be the last time I would see her? I was sure Dada hadseen something bad and hence was giving me this opportunityto see my mother.As we reached Digraj, we both walked from the bus stop tomy mothers house.This is a surprise remarked my mothers brother seeingus standing in the doorway.Is my mother ok? I asked.Why do you ask? Did you hear something was wrongwith her from anyone? he questioned.***My mother spent her life in one corner of the olddilapidated fortress that had been home to her for the past40 years. Seeing the living condition of my mothers family,one could never imagine what her antecedents had been.Her family had been Chieftains in King Shivajis armyand the title of Sardar had been bestowed upon them. Herancestors on King Shivajis orders had attacked the Moghul64 I am.. I am not.. I amEmperor Aurangzeb in the Deccan Plateau. In the darknessof night, they attacked Aurangzebs tents. However, he hadalready moved to a different location. This daring deed wasrewarded with the title of Himmat Bahadur. The spoils ofthis adventure were passed on to them by Shivaji Maharaj.Unimaginable amounts of gold, diamonds and rubies wasbrought back to Digraj. However the sudden recognitionand prosperity had made my mothers ancestors arrogantand it is believed that one of her ancestors had ordered ahouse servant to be whipped to death for spreading thefamilys secrets. The servant pleaded innocence but his pleaswere ignored. Just before dying he cursed that he woulddestroy the entire lineage for this injustice. His spirit stillhaunts the fortress today.The family has gone from riches to rags. They are literallysitting on top of the entire gold, diamonds, rubies whichwas the reward given to them, buried safely below them. It isbelieved that the spirit of that servant stops anyone trying toreach that treasure. But that is another story.***Raj come here! my mother called out of the room whereshe lives. I saw her sitting there with a faint smile on her faceas if she was part of this entire episode of making me come tosee her.I suddenly realized that Dada had just tested my totalobedience to the Master. There has to be immediate execution ofhis command. It is very akin to a command given to a soldier65Raj SalviAll over the world, man burieshimself in egoism andmulticolored attachments to thefalse, depriving himself of theintrinsic and self-sustainedhappiness that does not wane. Heseeks happiness through theperishing and transitional, andinvites upon himself the sufferingsof closed consciousness. One mustcontact the ocean of unfading blisswithin, and be free of the limitingduality of I and you, to unveilthe perennial spring ofimperishable sweetness which iswithin each and all.from the commander. The Guru wants total and unshakablefaith and obedience before he takes you as his trainee and showsyou the way to God.66 I am.. I am not.. I am11C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RWork at Business Combine Limited Foundry in Nasik, asmall township about 200 miles northeast of Mumbai, washectic. We were the primary factory in India producingSpheroidal Graphite Iron Castings. We were all proud of thefact that we were one of the leading companies in Indias thatcontributed to its economic progress.I had been given the opportunity to look after the sales andengineering development of the castings on an all-India basis.I was determined to put in maximum effort and do my job to thebest of my ability. My daily routine was to arrive an hour earlierthan my scheduled time, go through all my mail and thenhandwrite my replies on paper for each customer. I wouldleave the replies attached to the respective letters and leavethem on my secretarys desk. I would then go off to the shopfloor in the foundry to look at the development aspect of thecastings. I would return back around mid-day to sign the letters. On one particular day my routine was broken. As I enteredthe main office I saw my secretary, sitting alone with her headSister Act67Raj Salvion the typewriter. I walked into my office, surprised at seeingher at work so early in the morning. I settled down to startanswering my mail.May I talk to you now, Sir? it was my secretary standingat the door with tears streaming down her cheeks.She was one of those people who always had a smile ontheir face and seeing those tears made me realize somethinggrave had taken place.I want to commit suicide she softly whispered.I was immediately alert.I want to hand in my resignation she added.Please close the door and sit down. I said.As she sat down, I enquired furtherTell me what the problem is?The problem is my life at home she answered Everythinghere is fine. In fact, coming to work is the best part of my dayshe said with tears still flowing from her eyes. I have twinsisters who are younger than me by nearly 15 years. When theywere born my father had a stroke and could not work anymore.So in order to keep the family going, I stopped going to schooland started to work. Now, both my sisters have grown up andgraduated in Arts and are working in good jobs. They areprettier than me, and earn more than me, so my mother is alwayssiding with them in arguments.Thats normal, miss I interrupted.Yes Sir, but recently they have started a new campaignagainst me. Whenever we all sit for dinner they take away foodfrom my plate saying that this is from their earned money. I just68 I am.. I am not.. I amcant take this kind of humiliation any more. It would be betterfor everyone if I killed myself rather than go home today and sitat dinner with all of them.Are there no male members in your house? I enquired.My father is too old and moreover is disabled, and mybrother does not want to get involved she replied.How old is your brother?Hes working with Kirloskar Tractors as an AssistantManager It struck me strange that her brother was matureenough to handle factory affairs but yet was totally incapableof running his own home. He was my best option, I decidedafter hearing her story. Taking his contact number at thecompany, I added Give me 12 hours to solve this problem. Ifafter that I do not have solution you are free to do whatever youwish.I was hoping deep in my heart that I would still be able tosee her back at her desk in the morning smiling as usual.As I opened the door, most of the office staff was gatheredoutside my door. The expressions on their faces ranged fromsly insinuations to plain curiosity.Whats going on, Mr. Salvi?, asked our PersonnelManager, in a tone of voice that was both crude and offensive.Get your mind out of the gutter, I said. I was in factdoing your job! The other got the message from my tone andgot back to their desks.May I speak to Mr. Avinash I asked the receptionist atKirslokar Tractors. She paged him and he came on the phoneby the reception.69Raj SalviAvinash speaking.My name is Raj Salvi, I work at Business Combine whereyour sister works. In fact, I am her supervisor. I need to meetyou this evening for an urgent matter concerning your sister.Can we meet at Mazda Restaurant? I will be there for dinner at8:00pm and will be seated at Table Number 7. Please meet withwithout fail.There was a brief silence on the phone. I will come hesaid and then abruptly hung up.That evening I was waiting at Table Number 7 when at8:00pm sharp, Avinash joined me.This morning your sister confided in me that she wants tocommit suicide. She cant take the situation at home anymore.Look Avinash interjected, I have a lot of responsibilityat work, so by the time I come home I want peace and to be leftalone. I eat my dinner, leave the house and come back onceeveryone is asleepI thought, here was a man who did not understand thathaving an old, sick father meant that the responsibilitiesnaturally passed on to him as the eldest male in the family.You cannot run away from the problem I said Whatabout your father?Well he is too old and cannot do anything to control thethree of them Avinash informed me.Can we go now and meet your father? I asked.Avinash agreed and after paying the bill at Mazda, wecaught a rickshaw to where the Kale family lived.Nasik is a place of pilgrimage for the Hindus; the place70 I am.. I am not.. I amwhere the heroes of the epic Ramayan were exiled. There areseveral ancient temples along the Godavari River which startsat the top of Mount Trimbakeshwar. The Kumbh Mela which isa gathering of the sadhus (religious ascetics) occurs in Nasikevery 15 years. These sadhus bathe in the Godavari River inthousands during a particular time of the year and day. Severalpeople even lose their lives in the stampede which occurs.My secretarys father was a devout Hindu and looked afterthe upkeep of some of these older temples. It was a summerevening, the river bed was dry, so I asked Avinash if he couldbring his father to the river bed so that we could sit on thestones and discuss the problem without risking anyoneeavesdropping.I waited patiently on the rocks for them to come. I couldsoon see them coming in the darkness. Avinash was assistingan old man wearing a dhoti and a white shirt with glasses. Theman could barely walk. I greeted them in the semi darkness, thenearby streetlights allowing us just enough light to see ourfeatures.I am a tired man. I cannot interfere in their fights. No onelistens to me he was crying loudly, obviously feeling helplessat seeing his family being torn apart. Avinash watched as hisfather wept openly in the cool night air, it was almost 1:00am atthis point.That is the very reason I have been pushing Avinash totake on the responsibility before something terrible occurs inyour family. We have only a few hours to solve this problem Itried to impress upon them the urgency of the situation to71Raj Salvigalvanize Avinash to take the matter into his hands and resolvethe situation.Sir, I am so happy that you solved the problem last nightmy secretary beamed, as soon as I entered the office at 7:00amthe next day.I didnt solve it. I just met your brother and father. It is theywho have solved it I replied wanting her to know that it washer family that had helped her. So what was the solution? Iasked, wanting to know quite eager to hear what her brotherhad done.Avinash came home and woke my sisters and mother andtold them they had to pack their bags and leave the houseimmediately she was bubbling with excitement.In the middle of the night? I asked unable to comprehendthe harsh and sudden decision taken by Avinash. They are now staying in a hostel she concluded.Later on I crossed the sisters and mother several times inthe city streets. I could see in their eyes as we crossed each otherthat they were aware that I had something to do with theirsituation.Several months passed after which the mother and twodaughters came home, apologized for their behavior and thingsbecame happy once again in their household.The only Real Renunciation is thatwhich abandons, in the midst ofworldly duties, all selfish thoughtsand desires.72 I am.. I am not.. I am12C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RThe burden of running Rashmi Shellcast Foundry at Rabalevillage on Thane Belapur Road had taken a toll on my health. Ihad already had a minor stroke and was lucky to have escapedit. Life was extremely difficult with the monetary problemslooming heavily each month.One day Vijay, my friend who stayed on the 4th floor of ourbuilding, told me that his wife Sarita used to go into a tranceand could see the Goddess, Sai Baba and other spiritual souls.He had advised me to keep a tray containing a blouse for a sari,a coconut and other traditionally used items for performingpuja (ritual)to the Gods.It was one evening when the doorbell rang and I opened itto find Sarita standing outside as if she were sleepwalking. Shehad never entered our house, which was on the ground floor ofthe same building. She brushed past me into the house as if Iwas not even there. She proceeded into the living room and satdown in a lotus position, cross-legged on the floor. Her bodywas shaking. My wife, realizing what was happening quietlyentered the living room.Three Buses73Raj SalviRaj have you got the tray ready Vijay asked me as he raninto our house.Yes, I have everything as you said I replied.Sitting cross-legged in front of his wife, Vijay asked her ifeverything was alright in the room.No, I am displeased said Sarita, her voice very differentfrom the one I was used to hearing. It was as if something orsomeone had taken over her body.Raj has no belief in me she confirmed.I was shocked, for exactly at that moment, I was thinkingthat this was all a drama orchestrated by Vijay.There is the Goddess Durga on her tiger in that corner andSai Baba is walking in the kitchenWhat should Raj do to reduce his problem in the factory?Vijay asked Sarita.He should take a coconut in hand and go around thefactory from the outside three times, and then three times insidethe factory. He should then bring it to his house and move it inevery room and finally break it on an intersection where threeroads meet. He should make sure not to look back at thecoconut.All of this must be done on the next Amavasaya she added.Amavasaya in the night when the sky is without a moon.Suddenly there was a stream of red vermillion powder flowingout of Saritas yellow sari. It was collecting on her lap as she satcross-legged. I could see that this was no hoax. Nearly threehandfuls of this powder collected and stopped just as suddenlyas it had started.74 I am.. I am not.. I amSarita seemed to show signs of tiredness as she sat sweatingprofusely. My wife had put the blouse and the coconut in Saritaslap, and applied the vermillion powder to her forehead as asymbolic act of worship. Sarita was locked in the lotus positionwith her joints stiff. My wife tried to free Saritas legs, but to noavail.A half an hour had passed until Sarita was back to hernormal self. She had no recollection of what had just happened.She was a person who had no belief whatsoever in Gods andGoddesses. Vijay, on the other hand, was fully into rituals andworshipped the Goddess with all his heart.Amavasya is only two days away Raj, Vijay remarked.Two days later, Vijay met me at the factory, and we hadboth forgotten about the Amavsaya day. We were busy chattingin the bus, on the way home when Vijay suddenly rememberedthe importance of that particular day. We realized that we onlyhad approximately 45 minutes left, before nightfall, and westill had catch a bus to Vashi, catch another one to the factoryon Thane-Belapur Road, then after visiting the factory, catchanother bus back to our house in Konkan Bhavan. On a normalday, this trip would require 4 hours of travel time. It seemedimpossible, but Vijay insisted we had to try.We had hardly been at the bus stop for two minutes, whenthe first bus came. We got on it and were on our way to Vashi.The ride took about 15 minutes and once we reached Vashi wejumped off the bus and pushed ourselves into the waiting busfor Thane, which would take us to the factory.The bus was over full as we pushed ourselves inside. The75Raj Salvibus conductor insisted the man behind us to get off the bus andhe did. The conductor closed the doors and said,I have been waiting the last 15 minutes for this fellow toget off the bus, now I can leave!It was unusual that the bus driver was arguing with thisman for 15 minutes and pushed him off the bus but allowed usto board the bus. It would appear that some divine force was atwork. Once we reached the factory, we took the coconut outsideand inside the factory three times and stood to catch a third busto our house in Konkan Bhavan. There was only twenty minutesleft before Amavasya ended.This is going to be impossible Vijay said.Well, we never thought we would make it to the factory soquickly I repliedBut this bus only comes every half hour, and then theresa 15 minute journey. This is why its going to be before Vijaycould complete his sentence, a car with a driver stopped infront of us.Do you both want a ride to Konkan Bhavan? the driverasked.Without answering we told him to make it as fast as hecould. We had reached our building complex in ten minutes,and thanked the driver and asked him as we got outWhere did you want to go?I really dont know he said as he began to drive away.Coconut in one hand, I ran inside my house into every roomand raced to find an intersection where three roads met.Come with me Raj, I know where it is Vijay said as he76 I am.. I am not.. I amTrue bliss can come only to one whowould take courage in his hands, andbecome free of all attachment to formswhich are nothing but the illusions ofduality. Only then can he get unitedwith his true Beloved, who is God theeternal and the abiding truth within allforms, including his own body.pointed to the closest intersection.There was less than a minute left as I smashed the coconuton the ground of the intersection and did not look back to seehow the coconut broke.Later Vijay had told me that it was unbelievable, as thecoconut had shattered into nearly a hundred pieces. Whatcaused it to shatter in that manner was not something I couldcomprehend nor did I want to know.Events in my life changed; the factory was sold and I wasasked by Dada to prepare myself to go to Canada.77Raj Salvi13C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RKumars first meeting with Dada Maharaj was a memorableexperience. During the final stages of that meeting, he askedDada whether he could also help with his sisters marriage.Kumars sister was at that time 32 years old and it wasdifficult to find a suitable groom for her, especially because ofher age. India had the age old tradition of arranged marriageswhere the horoscopes of the boy and girl were matched topredict a perfect union. She was working at a bank and thatwas definitely an additional benefit for anyone thinking ofpursuing marriage with her.Not today, first let me deal with your case, and then wewill solve your sisters case Dada told Kumar as we wereabout to leave.A few months rolled by and Kumar again raised thesituation of his sister.Lets go meet Dada Maharaj again for my sisters caseHe and I went to meet Dada at his home at Shivaji Park.Raj, you must go and bring Kumars sister to me; I need toGo Live Like A King78 I am.. I am not.. I amsee her. Dada told us.Kumar had described his sister as being very adamant andshe was not an impressionable person who could be easilyconvinced to accompany us back to Dadas house.I have an idea Kumar, why dont we meet your sister alongwith both our wives? Perhaps that will put her more at ease Isuggested.We decided to meet the next day at a restaurant for breakfast.Why not give it a shot, pleaded Rashmita. Dont youwant to get married? Dada will certainly find a solution sheadded After much convincing and cajoling, Kumars sisteragreed to come with all of us to meet Dada Maharaj.I am happy that you decided to come to see me Dadabegan I say this because you only have one more chance inyour life now to get married. We are all working on making theboy ready. You will have to do one thing on your part. Kumarssister looked a bit apprehensive.You have the influence of Mars in your horoscope, whichplaces hurdles for getting married. In order to reduce thisinfluence you will have to fast every Tuesday for 26 weeks.With this discussion we left Dadas house. I was in the processof immigrating to Canada. I spoke to Kumar only a few timesbefore I left India. He mentioned to me that his sister was fastingas per Dada Maharajs instructions.It was almost two years later the caller ID on my telephoneflashed an incoming call from Chicago Do you remember me?said a female voice on the other side of the phone.I am sorry, I cannot place you I responded.79Raj SalviI am Kumars sister she replied.You are calling from Chicago, not Mumbai right? Ienquired.Yes, I got married three months ago to a man from Chicago,and here I am now. I wasnt too surprised to hear what shesaid because I had implicit faith in Dadas words. There is noquestion of an error.Do you remember he said that we are making the boy?she said excitedly.Yes, I do remember that conversationWell, my husband was in the process of getting a divorcefrom his first wife. I believe it was this process that Dada meantwhen he said he was making the boy ready she explained.After his divorce was finalized, he came to India looking to getremarried. His parents approached mine and we went and metDada about this boy she continued Dada told my parents What are you thinking about? Thisis the boy we have made for your daughter. He told me to goand live with him like a King. I could not understand whatDada meant by live like a King I thought he made a mistakeand meant live like a Queen instead she said. Maybe Dadameant that I added.No, Raj we bought a house in Chicago, and the name ofthe street we live on is King Street! Dada was always right.The words of Perfect Masters are always in the form of ariddle. The messages given are hidden between lines and theanswer occurs to you when the event happens.80 I am.. I am not.. I am14C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RI was excited to leave Bombay and go to Canada to start anew life. This was my first trip abroad. I was also very consciousthat this huge step in my life was for no particular purposeexcept to obey the Gurus orders. I knew no one in Toronto that was the doorway to Canada. I knew no one in Torontoexcept for a fellow Indian, Prakash Mody who I had metfleetingly in Bombay. My family was not coming with me. I haddecided to go ahead, secure a job before bringing my familyover. I left Bombay with only $2,000 in my pocket. It wasFebruary 10, 1989 when I landed in the early morning atTorontos Pearson International Airport. Prakash met me atthe airport and dropped me off at the fully furnished onebedroom apartment in Scarborough as per my request.The next day I opened the blinds of my apartment on the 8thfloor and saw a blanket of snow for the first time in my life. Itwas also bright and sunny, similar to Bombay. I saw a coupleof people walking on the footpath below, all huddled up inovercoats, ear muffs, woolen caps, and gloves. I stood thereImplicit Faith81Raj Salviwondering why anyone would be so overdressed for such asunny day. Wearing a half sleeve shirt, I walked into the loungeto find a few people wearing similar heavy clothing as I hadseen earlier. I wondered if these people realized that it was abeautiful sunny day. They stared at me as if I was a freak ofnature. I boldly walked past their stares, opened the first of thedouble doors and as soon as I pushed the outside door, the coldbreeze cut into my chest, like a hot knife through butter. I jumpedback into the lounge. I hurried back through the lounge withmy head down, not wanting to meet the mocking gazes of allthe people. I reached my room, started the television and onsoon found out that the temperature was -32 degrees Celsius.Welcome to Canada I thought to myself as I dressed myselflike the people in the lounge.That night as I returned home from searching for a job, I fellon the ice and literally saw stars as I lay on the sidewalk. As Ilay in the snow, I wondered if I would be able to walk to theapartment building. I realized I had no medical insurance andvery anxious about medical bills. I was on a very tight budget.I was not used to working phones which is a luxury in Bombay.I was lonely and soon racked up a huge telephone bill by talkingto my family in Bombay. A big mistake! I had not anticipatedthat finding a job would be so difficult. During the three weeksI searched for employment, I received rejection after rejection.Very few companies recruited during winter, I soon found out.The one activity that I looked forward to during the weekwas the weekend lunch at Prakashs house. I was able to talk tosomeone and exchange ideas.What made you come to Canada? Prakash asked.Well, Dada Maharaj, my Guru that I had told you about,asked me to go to Canada. So I am here I explained.But you dont know anyone here, dont have a job, yourfamily is back in India. How long do you think you canmanage? he enquired.As long as Dada wants me to was my reply.I am certain Prakash thought I was a fool and that I wasbrainwashed by Dada.Getting back to my apartment, I realized that it was difficultfor most people to put all their faith in one person; to jump intothe unknown without any analysis of its consequences. Therelation of a Guru and his disciple is one in which the discipleexecutes the orders immediately and implicitly.As per Dadas instructions, I had done my work byapplying to potential employers at the foundries. However, Iwas running out of funds and if I did not get a job in the nextweek, I was going to be evicted from my apartment. The situationforced me to call Dada Maharaj in India.Yes, Raj how are you? Dada asked as if he had no clue ofmy stay so far in Canada.I am fine Dada. Its just that there are no jobs here. I amtrying my best but my Indian qualifications are not recognizedand I am running out of money I whined. Its okay, you aregoing to get a job in three days. I know you have $400 in yourpocket and that is enough for this week As soon as I had putthe phone down, I rang up Prakash and told him the goodnews.82 I am.. I am not.. I am83Raj SalviNow that Dada has told me that I will get a job, I have nomore anxiety I said I was sure that Prakash was thinking thatliving alone was getting to me and that I was heading towardslunacy. The following three days, I visited potential employers,only to be rejected by each one of them. It was about 8:00pm onthe third day as I sat on my sofa looking eagerly at the phone.Was Dada wrong? I had done everything that was required ofme. The phone was my very last hope of getting a job.At 8:07pm the telephone rang, the voice on the other sidesaid, I am Rick Brown, the owner of Brown Foundry. I receivedyour application for a job and I need someone. I want you tojoin us. Where can I fax you the appointment letter?I gave Rick the fax number of the building office and once Ihad the appointment letter in my hands, I went back to myapartment and called Prakash.You realize that today is the third day since Dada told meabout getting a job? I asked him.Sure Prakash said expecting to hear news that Dada waswrong.Well, you should leave whatever you are doing and comehere. I have the appointment letter in my hand Prakash rushedover to see the letter.Your Dada must be God himself he remarked.Now you know why I believe in him. On his orders I haveleft everything and proceeded to Canada I worked at BrownFoundry for a year; by this time my family had joined me. Thecold was extreme in Ontario, so I decided to move to Vancouver,British Columbia. Yes, do go to Vancouver, it is your last stop.84 I am.. I am not.. I amBut not until I tell you to go Dada advised as I spoke to him inBombay. The telegram arrived a few weeks later from Dada,giving me the go-ahead to proceed to Vancouver.The intellect of most persons isharnessed by innumerablewants. Such a life is, from thespiritual point of view the lowesttype of human existence. Thehighest type of human existenceis free from all wants; and it ischaracterized by sufficiency orcontentment.85Raj Salvi15C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RHello Salvi a voice asked my father as he and I walkeddown Rajabali Patel Road in Breach Candy, an affluentneighborhood in Bombay. I recognized the voice; it was myfriend Prakash calling out to my father. I could see the angeron my fathers face feeling insulted at being addressed in sucha disrespectful manner. What uncultured friends you haveRaj he glared at Prakash as he passed him on the road.Prakash was the son of a businessman who had come toIndia after being evicted from Uganda during the regime of IdiAmin. Many Indians left Uganda with barely the clothes ontheir backs. His father had put all his resources together andstarted a plastic slipper factory. Prakash was in the ninth gradewhen I first met him. He had this strong obsession, almostbordering on madness, to act in Bollywood films. He wouldstroll down roads singing film songs, imagining a camera wasrolling. He would grab an unknown girl on the street and dancewith her. The girl would be mortified and invariably end upHow Is Rashmi InLondon?86 I am.. I am not.. I amcrying on the side of the road. I would always tell him to walka few feet ahead of me, out of pure embarrassment of hisbehavior. I was amazed at his self confidence Prakash wasabout 4 2" tall, stocky and weighed around 80 kilograms. Atthis young age he had also started to lose his hair.My father, a senior government officer, had friends whowere influential Bollywood directors. My father set up anappointment with one of them at my insistence. I accompaniedPrakash to this audition and we became the best of friends. Inoticed another side to Prakash he was always ready to cometo anyones rescue. He always made himself available ifsomeone required any help. This was a rare quality and onewhich I did not see in my other friends.I remember one instance when Prakash was up to his tricks,dancing and singing on the streets imitating a famousBollywood actor. There was an upscale restaurant calledSizzlers on Breach Candy frequented by Bollywood stars.Hearing the commotion outside, Shashi Kapoor, a famous actorin those days, came out of the restaurant to see what washappening. Prakash calmly told him, You of all people shouldnot be asking me this question. I am imitating your brother,Shammi Kapoor he added. Shammi Kapoor was also a famousmovie star who had perfected the hip gyrations of Elvis Presley.Have you met my brother? Shashi Kapoor asked Prakash. Ihave never met him, but I see him on screen almost every day.Prakash replied.Come with me in my car, I will take you to himI could see the happiness on his face as Prakash sat inside87Raj Salvithe car and sped off with Shashi Kapoor to meet his idol,Shammi Kapoor. This was probably the best day in his life.Soon Prakash left for London permanently. The Indians inUgandan all held British passports and therefore immigratingto London was not a problem. He returned to India periodically every five years. I had moved residences but he managed totrack me down and we renewed our old ties. He had met severalBollywood stars in UK and some of them were his close friendsnow. He often stayed with Salim Khan, a famous screenwriter,and I would often visit him there. Soon, Mr. Khan and I becamefriends, especially since we both loved to drink.Prakash was unhappy in UK and was looking to settledown in life. He was looking for a Bollywood film star to marry.Prakash, why are you spending so much money trying tofind a girl here? Why not marry someone in UK of Indian origin?I asked him once.Raj, you do not know those girls. They are not my type!he retorted.We were having this conversation on way from the airportwhen I realized that I should take Prakash to Dada Maharaj. Iwas certain that he would know exactly whom Prakash shouldmarry.I have someone who can tell you who your future wifewill be without error I said.Sure, if you say so Prakash replied wearily after the tenhour flight from Heathrow to Bombay. It was 7:00 am as I rangDadas doorbell. Before going to Dadas house, I had instructedPrakash not to lie to him or use his film dialogues when88 I am.. I am not.. I amconversing with Dada., Raj, ask your friend to come in Dadasaid as I touched his feet in reverence. Prakash of course justproceeded to sit on the sofa even before Dada could take hischair. Tell me in a jiffy, I have no time for people like youPrakash began as soon as Dada sat down. I have come hereonly because Raj brought me here. I have seen many gurus likeyou Hearing these words my heart sank. I wondered if I haddone the right thing to bring Prakash to Dada. I was annoyed athim for continuing his film dialogues in spite of my request.Well, if you have seen so many, then why not see one more?Dada replied coolly. How is Rashmi in London? Dada asked.Prakash almost jumped to his feet quite taken aback at themention of Rashmis name. I could see his eyes fill with tears.Do you know Rashmi? he asked Dada in a softer morerespectful tone.Yes, I also know her mother and father. Her father sits in acorner scared, while her mother shouts like this Dada imitatedher voice.Yes, yes thats her Prakash moved around, agitated.Listen to me, when you go back to UK, do not even enter herhouse. Because the next cup of tea the mother offers you willhave poison in it. Please do this for my sake. Dada pleadedwith Prakash. Also, forget the film industry and stick to thecar rental business, you will prosper in this business Dadaadvised Prakash as he got up to bid us goodbye. Out of respectfor the Guru, I bowed down and touched his feet. As I movedaway, I was surprised to see Prakash touch Dadas feet too. Hehad developed a sudden respect for Dada Maharaj. Is he a89Raj SalviGod? Prakash asked me as soon as Dada closed the doorbehind us.During my next meeting with Dada, I was advised by himto stop seeing Prakash and to never bring him to his house. Itis not that he is bad. It is just that he is at a lower level ofconsciousness and if you try to pull him up to yours it willnever happen. He will only pull you down to his level Thewords still ring in my ears. It has been twenty years since mylast meeting with Prakash.As long as man remainsignorant of his divine Self hemay as well be a stone; a manlives and a stone exists, andboth remain equally ignorant.90 I am.. I am not.. I am16C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RPrior to immigrating to Canada, someone had given me abook on Satam Maharaj, who was Dada Maharajs Guru.I decided to read this book, which was in Marathi, a locallanguage of the state of Maharashtra. Even though I was alocal of that state, I was rather weak in the language. I had beeneducated in English medium schools run by the Jesuits whohad come as missionaries to India. And also all of us spoke inEnglish at home therefore my fluency in my own native tonguewas quite rusty. However with great effort, I finished the book.The book was a biography of Sadguru Satam Maharaj. In ithe spoke of his experiences of living with a Perfect Master how their mere presence cleansed your soul. Satam Maharajhad a Guru named Abdul Rehman Baba. I learned that Babahad the power to disappear and reappear in his physical body.He could therefore walk through solid barriers. His generaltemperament was fiery and he was known for often hitting hisdisciples. The hitting was in fact a blessing in disguise. WhenAbdul Rehman BabasInvitation91Raj Salvithese Perfect Masters perpetrated this kind of harsh behavior,they were in fact hastening your spiritual progress.I learned that Abdul Rehman Baba was buried in apredominantly Muslim area of Bombay. I decided that on mynext visit to Bombay, I would make it a point to visit the dargahwhere the body of Abdul Rehman Baba was buried. I was intwo minds about whether I should discuss my desire to visitthe shrine with Dada Maharaj. I decided that I wouldnt disturbDada for such petty matters surely he would agree. Within afew months, I was in Bombay. Prior to leaving Canada, myIndian friends warned me of the dangers of drinking water inIndia.This is your first visit to India after staying in Canada fora year. You must remember that your immune system hasweakened. Do not drink any water except Bisleri bottled water.As the living conditions in the Canada are more hygienic thanIndia, the bodys natural resistance to bacteria had lowered.Satam Maharaj had a Guru named Abdul Rehman Baba.92 I am.. I am not.. I amThus, visiting tropical countries like India with lower hygienicstandards, the potential for falling sick was very high. I assuredeveryone, including Rashmita, that I would take utmost care.Upon landing at Bombays Shivaji Chatrapati InternationalAirport, I heard the sounds, felt the heat and smelled the familiarodors of India. A friend who picked me up at the airport had alarge bottle of Bisleri ready for me, and I felt safe knowing I hadwater for the next couple of days.The following day, I caught a taxi to Mohammed Ali Road.Can you please tell me how to reach Abdul Rehman Babasdargah? I asked a passerby in the crowd.You see those erected arches? Walk beneath them and thearches will end at Babas dargah. Today is his Uroos* hereplied and carried on with his work.I did exactly what he had told me and found myselfultimately facing a small structure in front of which there wasa crowd of a couple of hundred people. They were all prayingon the street facing Babas tomb. Surprisingly there was no oneinside the tomb.Thinking that it was all right to enter the dargah, I tookpermission from the person who looks after the tomb.Remove your footwear and cover your head before youcome inside he advised. Following his instructions, I enteredthe tomb and touched Babas tomb with reverence. After all hewas my Gurus guru, and therefore he was similar to a grandfathers grave.* Urus: commemorating the anniversary date of a Muslim Saint who leaveshis body for heavenly abode93Raj SalviAs was the custom in the dargahs of Muslim saints, I askedthe person to cover the tomb with a blanket made of flowers, astandard custom of Muslim worship.Sit down and pray the caretaker instructed me.The inside of the Dargah had marble floors, as were thewalls. In the middle of the room was the tomb with the body ofAbdul Rehman Baba. The dargah emitted a strong floralfragrance coming from several flower woven sheets drapingthe tomb. I sat down facing the tomb with my back against oneof the walls. Within a few minutes the caretaker offered me aglass of water, as is the ritual. I took the cup but suddenlyrealized the words of my friends back home Do not drink anywater except Bisleri.What was I to do in this situation? I definitely could notdrink the water. I had to throw it away without the caretakerseeing me do it. Where could I throw it? There were no plantsaround and spilling it on the floor, he would be sure to see it.Suddenly it dawned on me that I was such an idiot. Here I wassitting in front of Abdul Rehman Babas presence, the one whohad infinite power and I was doubting a glass of water.I am drinking whatever you give me. I have faith that youwill look after me I spoke silently to Baba. Then, without anyhesitation, I drank the glass of water.After sitting for another couple of minutes, I came out of thetomb. As soon as I was on the road, the people who were prayingoutside surrounded me. I was terrified that I had broken somereligious tenet.You are not a Muslim one said, while another asked94 I am.. I am not.. I amSelfishness and lust for power tend to drag mantowards brutality, which he has inherited fromhis evolutionary ancestry or acquired duringerroneous searching through his incarnations.But there is within man the inextinguishablelight of Truth, because he is essentially divine inorigin and being.How did you go inside?I asked permission from the caretaker in the tomb Ianswered. No, I am not a Muslim, I am a Hindu. I have comefrom Canada where I read about Baba and have therefore cometo visit his dargah I was explaining to the crowd, hopingthey would allow me to go on my way.Dont you see that we are all praying from outside? Doyou know that only those whose heart is pure will be allowedentry into the dargah by Baba today, since it is his Urus. Youare a very fortunate person.I thanked Abdul Rehman Baba from the bottom of my heartfor this invitation to be with him on this special day. I neverexperienced any ill effects from the tap water that I had in histomb.95Raj Salvi17C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E R I had completed three years in Canada.The year was 1991.A feeling of seeing Mumbai again crept deeply in my heart.I would like to visit Bombay I spoke to Dada on the phone.When are you coming? Dada enquired.It was mid July and I thought with the monsoons in fullswing, going now would be a waste of time and money.Bring a raincoat, it is raining here in Bombay. That wasDadas way of telling me what I was thinking.Ill probably be coming in December.No. December will be too late Dada replied.When would you like me to come, Dada? I asked.Tomorrow, Dada was matter-of-fact.Okay I said, without a moments hesitation.Dada said I have to leave tomorrow I told Rashmita.Well, then you have to leave tomorrow she answered.She knew of Dadas powers and no longer doubted his words.This Honor WasFor You96 I am.. I am not.. I amThe next day I went to our travel agent and booked myflight and went to the foundry to tell Ray Nye that I was leavingfor India.Sure Raj, but before you leave tell the workers what theyneed to do while you are away Ray said.As I entered the factory one of the workers called out to mesaying Raj, can you please tell me why this casting wasrejected?The 35 pound casting was on a table which was aboutwaist high. I turned the casting to observe the other side, whensuddenly it slipped off the table and fell directly onto my leftfoot. I was wearing steel toe boots, but it struck the laces. I felt ashooting pain and watched in horror as my foot started to swell.You will have to stay tonight in the hospital while we putthe preliminary plaster on your foot. You have multiple fractureson your foot and the x-ray also showed previous fracturemarks the doctor at St. Mount Joseph Hospital advised.I removed my flight ticket from my pocket and said Doctor,I have to be on an airplane to India tonight at all costs.You cant do that. Without proper treatment, gangrenewill set in by the time you reach India he warned me.You can do whatever you need to medically prop up myfoot. I have to leave for India tonight I told him stubbornly.The doctor walked out of my enclosure in the emergencyroom and soon returned with two of his colleagues, one of whomappeared to be the orthopedic expert.You have broken your foot near the ankle and if gangrenesets in by the time you reach India the doctors there will have to97Raj Salviamputate at the next joint, which is your left knee theorthopedic surgeon said.I have to go tonight, at any cost. I am ready to take theconsequences even if it means my leg has to be amputated fromthe hip. I replied.The three doctors probably thought I was crazy. The doctorwho attended me first said that I would have to sign a releaseform absolving the hospital from any responsibility in case anycomplications arose from my decision.I am ready to sign any papers you want me to. I willcertainly not hold any of you responsibleHaving signed the release form, I left the hospital in crutches.The whole incident had happened so quickly that I did nothave time to inform Rashmita.What happened? Your foot looks terrible! Are you stillgoing?Of course, I have to, I said.My foot was swollen, black and blue, and incredibly painfulby the time I landed in Bombay. Hobbling on my crutches Ireached the immigration area to see my friend Vijay looking outfor me.Are you crazy coming with a broken foot to Bombay inthis weather? he hollered above the noise.Dada Maharaj asked me to come I said as we entered thewaiting car. Rashmitas mother and younger brother live inMumbai and I went to their apartment.The following day, I went to meet Dada at his residence.I am happy that you have come. Tomorrow is a very98 I am.. I am not.. I amimportant day. Tomorrow is Guru Purnima (full moon nightwhen Indians ask for the blessings of their Gurus) and I wantyou to come to Chembur where the puja (a Hindu ritual ofshowing devotion) is being held. It begins at 10:00 am.Dada, you look so weak. Why dont you see a doctor? Iknow some good ones here since my brother is a doctorYou do not know any doctor that can take care of me nowDada replied casually.After Dada passed away, I read in his autobiography thatPerfect Masters sometimes take on the sickness of their devoteesto cure them and in the process harm their own health..Dada, can I take your photograph? I said as I held thecamera.No not today, I will be ready on the last day before you goback to Canada. Dont forget to bring your camera on that daysaid Dada.When I reached the venue the next day, I found there wereabout 500 people already present. There was a huge portrait ofSatam Maharaj and Dada was doing his Gurus puja. He thensat on a sofa. Dada was wearing his favorite cream safari suit.He positioned himself in the middle of the sofa and relaxed. Weall stood, holding flower garlands in our hands. Nearly fiveminutes had passed and no one had taken a step to garlandDada. I was on crutches as Vijay stood next to me holding theflowers we had brought for Dada.Why doesnt anyone start the puja? I whispered to Vijay.My foot is hurting just standingWhy dont you start? He has called you from Canada for99Raj Salvithis. He wont say anything to you Vijay replied softly.Hearing these encouraging words, I hobbled to Dada andsaidMay I garland you, Dada?What were you waiting for? Everyone wants to go home,so start quickly for this honor was for you only Dadamentioned softly as I began garlanded him and touched hisfeet.The day I was supposed to go back to Canada, I rushed tomeet Dada. One took the Gurus blessing before embarking onthe trip back home to family.Did you bring your camera? Dada questioned as I satdown. He was all dressed up and sat in his favorite chair athome. After I had taken the pictures, Dada suddenly asked me,Do you remember where I first met you, Raj?Sure, at my cousins marriage reception in PuneNo, I mean the first time I met with you alone. That wasour first meeting Dada said.Oh, at the US Embassy in the early morning I said.Yes Dada smiled You must have wondered why I calledyou so early? I wanted to see your face. Once I saw you, I knewI would get my Visa that day Dada trailed off and suddenlyasked me,Are you ready to go to USA?Well, you tell me if I have to go Dada I said.Of course Dada said, trailing off again. Raj, yesterdaySatam Maharaj had come and met me. We sat discussing asyou and I doing right now. He asked me to give up all the100 I am.. I am not.. I amthings in my life at this stage. My wife and my children, and ifI was willing to do that he would give me the power to heal,Dada was pensive.So what did you tell him, Dada? I asked.I told him not in this lifetime. So he asked me to comeback Dada finished, adding You better go now or your bagswill not get packed.I touched Dadas feet and headed back home to Canada.My foot had healed by then. I did not have to put it in a cast. Myfamily doctor assured me that there was no permanent damageto my ankle.In the spiritual life there is noroom for compromise.101Raj Salvi18C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RNyes Foundry was located in downtown East SideVancouver. This foundry was nearly hundred years old andthe city had sort of grown around it. Near the foundry wasOpenheimer Park, populated by people addicted to drugs andthe homeless. Adjacent to the factory was a store which soldelectrical goods. At this store, worked a salesman who told mehis name was Moe. During my breaks, I would visit Moe at hisstore. Moe was from Fiji and had been in Canada for nearly 15years, and as such he was my advisor about all thingsCanadian.What I really dont understand is why you came to Canadawithout any plan or money? You are lucky that you have thisjob at Nyes otherwise things would have been even moredifficult for you and your family Moe said one day.I have a Guru named Dada Maharaj who advised me tocome to Canada and I am here on his directive I said.For the next several months I proceeded to discuss thecircumstances which led me to come to Canada. I was sure MoeHe Is Allahs Angel102 I am.. I am not.. I amwas finding it quite unbelievable as I told him of the instanceswhich convinced me that he was a perfect soul and to have fullfaith in him.Nearly a year had passed when one day as I reached Moescounter he said, Raj, can I speak to your Dada in Bombay?Sure, I have been telling you that it will be an incredibleexperienceActually, I have a problem and since you say that he cantell and see everything, I would like to talk to him todayHere is Dadas number in Bombay. Whatever you discusswith him or whatever he tells you, do not tell me as it is personalbetween you and him I said.But Raj there is a problem Moe called out as I was leavinghim holding Dadas number in his hand.I retraced my steps and enquired further.Well, my name is not Moe he said and then kept silent.Then what is your name? I enquired naturally.My name is Mohammed Suleman. I am a Muslim. YourDada is a Hindu. He may not talk to me Moe said.Dont worry Moe. Just talk to him. Religion does notmatter. I said as I turned and walked back to the foundry.Raj, this is Moe a voice on the other end of the phone saidas I was awakened at 2:00 amMoe, whats the matter? Its 2:00 am. Were going to meetin the morning as usual. Is it that urgent? I asked only halfawake.I just spoke to your Dada in Bombay. He is Allahs angel.In five minutes he told me what I had always prayed to Allah.103Raj SalviHe even told me that the piston rings of my car were damaged.Raj, my mechanic told me the same thing this evening. Howcan a person in Bombay, who has never seen me or my car, tellme the same thing? Moe said excitedly.I will explain to you tomorrow, Moe. Sleep for now I saidand went back to sleep myself.The following morning when I saw Moe, he was grinningfrom ear to ear.Do you know what happened? He said not waiting foran answer from me. He then proceeded to tell me about hisphone conversation from the previous night.Raj just gave me your number today Moe had said toDadaNo, you asked him today. He has been telling you aboutme for a year now Dada had replied.Moe looked back at meand said, Then he took me on a tour of my new home,describing each room as if he was walking in my home. I thinkthat your Dada is a part of God, who is here on Earth. How elsewould he know all these things? Moe asked.Dada is a Perfect Master or a Qutub as you would say inIslam. He has Infinite knowledge and also has the power to seethe Film of Your Life as he calls it. He always tells me that hesees all our lives as clear as you see a television screen. Do youthink you could go wrong if I were to ask you whats happeningon a television show? In that same manner, Dada cannot gowrong because he can see it with his own eyes. There is zerochance of error I explained.I always prayed to Allah to give me someone who wouldguide me in this life Moe added. He has sent your Dada asHis messenger.Moe would phone Dada daily to speak to him. One daywhen I rang Dada he said,Your friend Suleman seems to have gone mad. Tell himnot to waste his money calling me every day. He says I amAllahs angel Dada said laughing.104 I am.. I am not.. I amThe Master is the very source ofpurity and to set ones heart on theMaster is beginning of self-purification. When the disciple haswhole-hearted devotion for theMaster, he is opening himself forthe reception of the Divine Lovewhich the Master pours on him: andall his weaknesses are consumed inthis fire of Divine Love of which hethus becomes the recipient.105Raj Salvi19C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RSuleman insisted on talking to Dada everyday and as permy request, he was no longer discussing with me whattranspired between them. We discussed spirituality and theincidents that I had experienced. One day, quite out of the blue,Suleman said to me,Raj, why dont you ask Dada for his power?I was quite stunned to hear those words. The thought hadnever crossed my mind to ask Dada, my Guru, for anything.Desires of any kind, whether material or spiritual, are stilldesires. The cause of all unhappiness is desires as they arenever-ending. As soon as one is satisfied, you experiencehappiness. However, soon after, other desires take the place ofthe one that has been satisfied and one experiencesunhappiness again. If one can conquer ones desires, an entirelifetime of happiness is within ones reach.Moe, I cannot ask him for that. I dont even want it. If Dadawants to give me his power, he will. If not, it is okay with me Isaid. Moe, why dont you ask Dada for the power? EspeciallyYou Are My Son106 I am.. I am not.. I amsince you speak to him daily I added.No Raj, I dont think I am ready Moe was quite certainthat he would not know what to do with such power if it wasgiven to him.A few days later, Dada telephone me and said, Raj, askme whatever you want.This was the first time my Guru had called me and not theother way around. It did not strike me at that time as odd.I dont want anything Dada I said. I was sure that Dadahad heard the conversation between Moe and me about theclairvoyant power.No, I must give you something today Dada soundedadamant.Well, Dada if you must, please give me your blessings Ireplied.That is always there. After all, you are my son Dadareplied and hung up.My life is complete I told Rashmita as soon as Dada hungup.When a Guru acknowledges his disciple as his son, thedisciple is truly blessed for it shows that the Guru has acceptedthe disciple.Within a few days after this call, I received another callfrom Mumbai. It was my friend Vijay. It was December 19, 1991.Raj, I have bad news for you. Dada Maharaj is no morewith us. He left for his heavenly abode. Vijay told me.The last call from my Guru suddenly made sense. Dadaknew that he had was going to drop his body and wanted to107Raj Salvigive his final acceptance. I knew in my heart that Dada wouldalways remain with me and therefore I did not feel sad to hearthe news. Dada will always be in my heart, mind and soul.The only Real Renunciationis that which abandons, in themidst of worldly duties, allselfish thoughts and desires.108 I am.. I am not.. I am20C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RDivine miracles are generally attributed to Avatars,Sadgurus, or Realized human beings.- Meher Baba..Lord Meher..p958It was late-September when I received an email fromRanjana, my cousin Ranjits wife. She knew of my relationshipwith Dada Maharaj, having heard of the various situationsregarding Dada. The email indicated that Ranjana had found abook on a mothers communications with her deceased son.The book, was titled Sounds of Silence by Nan Umrigar, andshe was wondering if I was interested in reading it.Within a week I was reading this book at my house inVancouver. I found it captivating and read it from beginning toend in one sitting. I felt after reading this book that AvatarMeher Baba was God himself.The book dealt with Karl Umrigar, one of Indias top horseracing jockeys, dying on April 1979 in a race at the MahalaxmiRace Course in Bombay.Divine Miracles109Raj SalviThe loss of her son left his mother, Nan, devastated. In anattempt to get in touch with Karl she began to learn Auto-writing to communicate with him. During these writings, Karlindicated that his mother should love Avatar Meher Baba,whose body was buried in Meherabad, near Ahmadnagar. Ifelt a deep desire to go to that place after finishing this book.You must read this I told Rashmita as soon as shereturned from work. Once she had completed the book, Rashmitainsisted that I try out auto writing myself. She tried to convinceme that with the spiritual experience I already had, it would beeasy for me to start doing it myself.Soon after, on October 10, 2001 at 10:05am to be precise, Ifelt someone grab both my arms from behind. I was all alone inthe house as I sat in front of my computer, so it seemed reallystrange. I could feel the pressure of the fingers on both arms butcould not see anyone. I was literally pulled out of the chair andmade to sit on the dining table with a pen and a pad of paper.Suddenly, my hand started to feel a force pushing at theelbow and it controlled the movements thereon. The first wordwas Meherbaba. Having read about Karl, I asked if it was Karlcommunicating.The second word was again Meherbaba. I told myself thatit could be Meher Baba himself, and I asked for confirmation.This time Meherbaba Ashirwad was the writing. Ashirwadmeans a blessing.The next word was alcohol. I realized that Meher Babawanted me to stop drinking. I was an alcoholic for the previous15 years, and often found myself drinking a bottle of rum every110 I am.. I am not.. I amday. This was always an issue with my family, who dislikedmy behavior when I was drunk. My daughter, Mayura, oncetold me Do you want us to remember you as a drunk whenyou are gone? Even this cryptic remark had no effect on mydrinking.Do you want me to leave it? I asked Meher Baba.Yes was the next word written on the page.That evening when my family came home, I showed themwhat had happened that morning.So are you going to drink tonight? Mayura asked,observing that I had not touched the Rum bottle that night.What is drinking? I dont even remember it. It is as if achip from my brain was removed and thrown away I saidwithout any desire to have a drink that night.It has been over ten years that I have left alcohol. Not asingle drop of that substance has crossed my lips since thatday.The following days, there were more writings on a dailybasis. Once when the writings went on for nearly two hours,Ifeel asleep and the pen fell from my hand. Apologizing toBaba, I got the following lines immediately __ Raj go andtake a walk on the seashore.I burst out into laughter alone atthe dining table,wondering at Babas sense of humor. Duringone of the days of writings, there was an explosion of thefragrance of roses in the room as Baba was writing.. It was asif I had over my head a hundred dozen of roses. I was certainthat God himself was going to materialize. Slowly thefragrance receded.111Raj SalviIn spiritual life there is no room forcompromise.112 I am.. I am not.. I am21C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RIn the spiritual sphere there are many unexplainedphenomena that occur. Some of them defy explanation and arebeyond the realm of human intellect. We may try to find alogical explanation to the event but we never fully understandit. Our ego refuses to believe that which our intelligence cannotunderstand. When you take a step back, its the occurrences ofunusual incidents that strengthen our belief in the existence ofGod.Soon after October 10, 2001 when Avatar Meher Baba startedcommunicating with me through auto-writing, He wrote oneday that Mr. Railkar should be told to come to His Samadhi. Iwas quite taken aback as I was aware that Mr. Railkar was anardent devotee of Balaji of Tirupati. Knowing Mr. Railkars personality, I was sure that hewould not go to Babas Samadhi in Ahmednagar. Besides, Mr.Railkar was extremely occupied with people calling him dailyfor psychic advice.Avatar Meher BabaIs God113Raj SalviVijay, I received a strange message from Baba today Isaid over the phone to Vijay in India. Baba has written thatMr. Railkar should come to his Samadhi. Do you think you canpass this message on to Mr. Railkar?Raj, you know how Mr. Railkar is regarding visiting areligious place other than Tirupati?All I need you to dois to give Mr. RailkarBabas message Ireplied.Vijay hesitatinglyagreed to do so.It was close to sixmonths before I couldmake another trip toIndia. I met Vijay and assoon as he met me he insisted that I contact Mr. Railkarimmediately as he wanted to talk to me urgently and wasimpatient to meet me.When are you coming to Pune? Mr. Railkar asked me onthe telephone.Tomorrow I replied.Then please come to my house. I need to meet you rightaway he replied.The next day during the bus ride to Pune, I wondered at theinsistence of Mr. Railkar to meet me..I would like to meet Mr. Railkar I told the receptionistwho booked his appointments.114 I am.. I am not.. I amDo you have an appointment? she asked me routinely.No, Mr. Railkar wants to see me I said.She went inside to speak to Mr. Railkar and I was usheredin to meet him almost immediately much to the chagrin of thecrowd waiting to meet him. These were folks who had madeappointments days in advance to meet Mr. Railkar. And I amsure they were not pleased to see me taken to Mr. Railkar withoutan appointment.Close the door behind you said Mr. Railkar. He stood upand went inside through a side door. He quickly returned withhis wife, son and daughter.You all must meet Raj. He was the one who told me aboutAvatar Meher Baba Mr. Railkar addressed his family. I musttell you what happened after Vijay gave me your message. Itold him that I would never visit any other place of pilgrimageand hung up the phone angrily. In all my life till today, I haveonly been to Tirupati. I pay my respects to Balaji of Tirupatitwice a month he said.Tirupati is a place of pilgrimage in the south of India, thehome of the Vishnu Temple from ancient times. Millions ofdevotees visit Tirupati to pay homage to Vishnu of the HinduGodhead Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, The statue ofTirupati or Vishnu, as He is called in South India, is deckedwith a black robe lined with gold strips.I had expected such a reaction, but was eager for Mr. Railkarto continue his story.Less than a week after Vijays call, I found myself with myentire family standing in line to enter Babas Samadhi he115Raj Salvipaused.What made you change your mind Mr. Railkar? I askedcuriously.Raj, I did not change my mind. I had absolutely norecollection as to how we all reached Meherabad. While waitingin line, I was praying for forgiveness from Lord Tirupati for Ihad no intention of coming to the Samadhi. As I reached theentrance of the Samadhi, I touched my head to the marble slabout of respect and there was Meher Baba himself standing erectin front of me dressed like Lord Tirupati!Mr. Railkar continued Baba said to me He is Vishnu, I amalso Vishnu. It does not matter where you go.116 I am.. I am not.. I amIf you do wrong, think Baba is doingwrong. If you get a pain, think it is Babahaving a pain. If you do all this sincerely,you will know something and forgetyourself and do all for Baba.Baba showed his Universal Form to Mr. Railkar remindinghim that God may be worshipped in any form but the ultimatetruth is that God is One.I am profoundly moved by what happened that day. headded I would like you to take my son to Babas Samadhi. Hehas graduated with a degree in Computer Science and he needsa jobMr. Railkar, there are people lined up outside waiting toask you similar questions about their childrens lives, I replied.Yes, I know, but I am nothing and Avatar Meher Baba isGod Mr. Railkar said.117Raj SalviLets play cricket my elder brother Dilip would yell in theevening , when as kids, we returned home from St. XaviersHigh School situated near Metro Cinema in Bombay. The yearwas 1965.Every evening it was a ritual to play cricket in the back yardof the bungalow that we lived in near Nariman Point in Bombay.These are governmental bungalows that were given to highranking government officers. As my dad was one, we had theprivilege of living in one of them.We played cricket with friends from the neighboringbungalows as well as others. Imaginary wickets were drawnon the car garage wall with a chalk, so it was always acontroversial decision when it came to getting bowled. The ballsused were tennis balls and it was never clear as to when theyhit the wall wickets and whether one was bowled or not.We used a method of drawing numbers as to who wouldbat. What was normally done was that one of the players would22C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E ROf All Games...Of all games I love cricket the most- Meher Baba, Lord Meher p5549118 I am.. I am not.. I amwrite in a random fashion numbers up to the number of playerswho had come to play that evening. He would then cover itwith the bat and draw lines to correspond those number whichwere hidden under the bat. Each of the players had to put hisfinger on one of the lines and after all the players had chosentheir lines, the bat was lifted showing the numbers each playerhad selected.We are not going to play was a common retort when Ihad chosen by default the first number to bat. The reason forthis reluctance from other players to play whenever I got theopening batsman number was that in order that there shouldbe no controversy in whether I was bowled, I had developed abatting style of not letting the ball hit anywhere in the area ofthe 3 stumps drawn in chalk on the wall behind the batsman.This had led me to perfect this technique and it made me adifficult player to get out. I would be able to bat out the remaininghours of daylight which was available for us to play. Thus therest of the players would not get any batting that day. Justbowling and fielding was not as much fun as batting.We played cricket in the dry summer season on Oval Maidanin Bombay. During the cricket matches I would be the wicketkeeper stationed behind the wickets. It was a position whichrequired constant alertness and agility to every ball bowled.Just like the opening batsman who faced the new ball and itrequired the similar response. Both were specialized positionsthat few could accomplish with a high standard of perfection.Both required the awareness that the team performancedepended on them. The opening batsman had to ensure that119Raj Salvithe innings got off to a flying start and that this meant the otherbatsman did not have to worry of a big score. The wicket keeperhad to make sure that the catches were not left for it meant thebowlers would have to keep working more to get the other teamout. I was in 7th grade when this accident took place. I was thevice captain, wicket keeper and opening batsman. I had wonthe toss and put the opposition team to bat. The first ball of thematch was on the middle and leg stump and as the batsmancame directly in line of my vision of the ball, I was unable to seeit. Out of my intuitive reaction I moved to the leg side of thebatsman to collect the ball, figuring that if he missed the ball thebatsman was out. If it came down the leg side I would collect it.The batsman lifted his leg and let the ball come straight to me. Itwas something I had not figured that the batsman would do.Before I could react the ball had struck me on the left eyebrow.There was a noise of my eyeglasses shattering.Someone call an ambulance I heard the yell as I slowlycame out of my temporary blackout.I think I am ok I said, moving my hand to my face. It wasfull of blood. I realized that I had been hurt badly and that I mayhave lost my eyesight. Close your eyes the paramedic wassaying as he bandaged my eyes.I used to wear glasses from 6th grade and the ball had struckthem and splintered .There may be bits of glasses in his eyes I heard someonesay. remove the bandages slowly he added. As the bandageswere removed, I saw that it was the doctor who was instructingthe nurses.120 I am.. I am not.. I amThere, all the pieces are removed from your eyes. You arelucky that they did not damage your eyes.You should not be playing cricket with glasses. the doctoradvised as I left with some stitches in my left eyebrow.For several years, the fear of the cricket ball kept me awayfrom this wonderful game . When I joined IIT, I decided toovercome this fear. I started to keep wickets and be the openingbatsman. Cricket was a game of my passion and I would not bekept away from it. I represented my department and hostel incricket when in IIT.During my 4 years at Nasik I started a cricket league andalso formed our company team. I was the Vice Captain, wicketkeeper and opening batsman.You will stay at the wicket till the last ball is bowled duringthe 50th over I would tell myself as I took my position at thewicket. I always wanted to make sure that the team was placedin a strong position to secure a win! My childhood technique ofnot letting the ball hit the wickets stood well in doing the samein an actual cricket match. I had become a difficult batsman toget bowled.I remember in particular a match at HPT against the IndiaSecurity Press from Nasik Road.We are going to lose today, Raj I heard Surrinder, myCaptain tell me as we met at the playground.It was a hot summer day and it was not conditions onewould love to play a game of cricket.Why dont we tell them that we are conceding the matchI told my captain.121Raj SalviRaj, they have a player who plays for the State he repliedI am going to win this match alone, I saidWe won the toss and elected to bat, and Surrinder came tome and said Raj, pad up. You are openingNo I will go when their state player comes to bowl, Ireplied as per my plan of action.The necessary changes were made in the batting order andI went to bat as soon as their best player came to bowl. I stoodapproximately two feet away from the front batting crease, as Itook my stance to bat.You cannot stand there snapped the opposition wicketkeeper.I can stand wherever I want. There is no rule as to where Ihave to stand. I replied with an air of disgust at his intervention.From the corner of my eye I saw the wicket keeper signal thebowler to pitch it over my head.Dont worry you will not be able to collect the ball if itpasses me . I am also a wicket keeper I told their wicket keeper.122 I am.. I am not.. I amAs I had anticipated their State level bowler was puzzledat this unexpected occurrence of a batsman standing at thevery spot that he was planning to pitch the ball. I had learnedthat he bowled off spinners which needed to be pitched at thevery spot that I was standing in order for them to be effective ingetting me out. The next four balls either went for 4 byes or hit tothe boundary. The bowler stopped bowling after his first overto me.As our team came out to field, I was no longer wicketkeeping in this match.I will open the bowling today I said to SurrinderRaj, can you bowl, especially since you have always beena wicket keeper was Surrinders doubt.What difference does it make, you have already writtenoff the match I replied and took the new ball from him. As Iheld the new cricket ball for the first ball of the innings, I was atthe top of my run-up.How do I hold the new ball to bowl a question arose inmy mind. During my childhood I used to have a hobby of cuttingcricket pictures from magazines and making albums by stickingthem with glue or rice starch. One of the 5000 pictures came inmy mind. One was of Freddy Trueman, the England fast bowlershowing how to grip the first ball of the match.The first five opposition batsmen were send back to thepavilion by me. The batsman who represented the state wasdismissed by me on an out swinger bouncer . His catch flew topoint where our HR manager took a brilliant left handed divingcatch.123Raj SalviSir that was test class catch I yelled as I ran to congratulatehim.What do you mean, I have represented India in cricket hereplied. However, I have not seen a bowler ,having played inAustralia, West Indies and England, who can put so much fireand wants to kill the opposing team he added. He was notaware of my Captains discussion regarding this match.Although we lost the match eventually, to me it was a victoryof having tried my best and then accepting the result. One has tostrive to do the best and if we still fail, the reason why it happenedso is not our concern. Our duty is to aim for excellence in the workin front of us. Work in itself is the true worship of God.After one of the cricket matches in Nasik, wherein I haddone exceptionally well both as wicket keeper and openingbatting ,as I was packing my cricket gear, I heard a voice behindme say I saw your wicket keeping and also your openingbatting in this match. It was a total stranger remarked to me. Iam a cricket scout for the Indian team and would like you toattend a test team probables camp at Malegaon for 3 monthshe added. I had played in four matches all fifty overs from thefirst ball bowled to the last one of the match. Thus, I had been inthe local Nasik news papers for sometime. I was thrilled at theoption to play for India.As I told this news to my boss at BCL he replied,I am sorry,you cannot go, for you are hired to make metal castings not toplay cricket. My dreams of playing cricket for India wereshattered at that moment.In the summer of 2007, I started a cricket club in Burnaby,124 I am.. I am not.. I amCanada with the name of IndCan Cricket Club and we have 33members. During one of the Meher Baba gatherings inVancouver, Canada in 2008, a close associate of Meher Baba,was the chief guest. During his visit to our house he was talkingon how Meher Baba had a deep interest in cricket. He informedus that Baba was earlier Vice-captain in his school team.What position did Meher Baba bat I asked him.Baba was opening batsman and wicket keeper he repliedand carried on his reminisces of Meher Babas life. The role ofVice Captain seemed akin to the Avatar or Messiah, Who alwaysexpresses His wish to love the Father in Heaven or the Captainof the Universe. The opening batsman symbolizes the First Soulin the Creation and the wicket keeper is akin to the Keeper ofthe Universe.The intellect of most persons is harnessed byinnumerable wants. Such a life is, from thespiritual point of view the lowest type of humanexistence. The highest type of human existence isfree from all wants; and it is characterized bysufficiency or contentment.125Raj SalviWhat we term as coincidences are only those acts whichare already destined to happen and are planned by the Creatorfor a greater purpose that we cannot even fathom in our wildestimagination. Every incidence is so carefully planned andexecuted that only the Almighty in his power can make ithappen so.The writing with Avatar Meher Baba had proceeded dailyfor abut a couple of weeks when suddenly one day HewroteCome to My Samadhi I will wait for you at the entrance Iquestioned in my mind :How will I recognize you? TheSamadhi is in India where at such places more than 50 peopleare found at all times. I was conversant with Shirdi where there23C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RManifestation OfMiraclesI manifest the infinite powers in the form of miracles, but onlyfor the spiritual up-liftment and benefit of humanity and allcreatures.-Meher Baba,Lord Meher,p4220126 I am.. I am not.. I amare thousands of devotees of Sai baba,at most times.I will wear a green shirt with red spots was His reply. Thissufficed for my reasoning that I would be able to pick this personin the melee if required. The next few days that was all thatBaba repeated in His writings. I did not have the slightestknowledge how and when I would go to His Samadhi inAhmadnagar.My business of importing metal castings for a client inSeattle was just picking up. The dies were being designed inPune and sample lot was supposed to be produced and shipped.It was already more than two weeks behind schedule. Myconstant phone calls were answered with promises and morepromises of sample supplies.Raj where are my castings which you had promised twoweeks back? Mark, who was my client, was phoning fromSeattle. I am sorry Mark I have not been able to get them as yetready I replied. Well looks like you have blown the orderfrom me Mark was quite straight in confirming If I do not getmy castings in another week I will have to find another sourcehe concluded.As I placed the phone back on the cradle my wife Rashmitaremarked What did Mark say? I told her verbatim all thathad transpired in my conversation with Mark. What I wouldsuggest is that you should go to India and follow it up yourself.Those people are going to ruin the business before it starts shesaid.I had shown what Baba had written about coming to HisSamadhi everyday and she had not remarked that I should go127Raj Salvito India because He was calling. If I had told her that it was Hiscalling and that I should go she would have said that I wasgoing to India to have fun. I suddenly realized that Baba hadbrought about the result in a different manner. He had madesure that I would be at His Samadhi in 10 days after His call!!On November 2001 close to a month after the auto writingwith Avatar Meher Baba had started, I was in India. Landingin Mumbai, I proceeded the next day to Pune where my cousinwas looking after the manufacturing activity of the castings. Irealized that the work would take longer than one week thatMark had allotted. I made a quick call to him and informed himof this situation. He was happy that I had taken the trouble togo to India to follow up on the work.He gave me the extra time required in completion of thesample lot. Again Baba had made the arrangement that wouldbe of the highest benefit.This is what has happened I told my cousin explaininghim the entire history of how the writings had started and howBaba was calling to His Samadhi. Can I ask Baba for someanswers? my cousin asked me casually.Sure, its very simple a process. All He has asked is to takeHis name in my mind and apply the pen to the paper and Hetakes over my consciousness. Although I know the words andsentences a few seconds before they appear on the paper, Icannot change the same by my mind or will. I have to be abystander as the pen brings forth the words that had passedmy mind I informed him of the process.He asked for a few answers from Baba which were his128 I am.. I am not.. I ampersonal problems for which Baba gave the answers and askedhim to come to His Samadhi too.Bring flowers and a coconut to My Samadhi Baba wrote to mebefore he stopped.Ahmadnagar is only about two and half hours by roadfrom here. Tomorrow morning we can leave with my wife andreach by afternoon at Nagar he remarked. That would bewonderful I mentioned. He has also called you to HisSamadhi and that will be fulfilled too I said. Early morningwe started off for Ahmadnagar in my cousins car. The three ofus which comprised of my cousin, his wife and me were excitedat the prospect of the entire thing. Would the man in the greenshirt with red spots be there for us to see? was the primaryquestion in all our minds. We discussed this issue as we droveto Ahmadnagar. I had purchased the coconut as He had asked.It was a hot day in November and as my cousin anticipated wereached Ahmadnagar by 2PM. Where can we find MeherBabas Samadhi? I asked a vendor who was selling fruits onthe road.Just follow this road straight for the next 5 kms and youwill see a board on the left which says Meherabad. The Samadhiis on the opposite side on the top of a hill he replied.The country side was barren and a few bullocks wereploughing the fields. The area seemed parched for rains. Thehouses were small flat roofed indicating lack of rains in theregion. As we drove a few kms we found the sign indicatingMeherabad on the left. There seemed a railway line going acrossa path which led to a hill on the opposite side. Asking a few129Raj Salvilocal villagers of a place called Arangaon we proceeded to arailway crossing gate which was manned. Luckily the gateswere open and we crossed over to the other side.A long winding road took us to the top of the hill where theSamadhi lay. There were clear boards showing the path on theroad. It seemed to be all well managed.We stopped the car at the sign indicated for car parkingand still could not see the Samadhi anywhere. There was anarrow indicating the way to the Samadhi. The path wasalongside a stone wall which was at least 10 feet in height.I forgot the flowers that Baba had asked I told my cousin.I saw a small tree with beautiful yellow flowers in front of amonumental structure made in stone and having a dome. TheSamadhi! There was no one to be seen; and there was an eeriesilence in the afternoon. Silence, total silence greeted us. Isuddenly realized that along the wall there was a Caucasianman in a green shirt sitting, legs stretched, and his head restingon a pillar which was the entrance to a walled area. The man inthe green shirt was waiting at the entrance!!I must go to the Samadhi first! I thought. Let me pluck someof these flowers, for if He is God it does not matter which flowersI bring for all of them are His! I justified as I plucked two yellowflowers and proceeded to the entrance of the Samadhi.Inside the Samadhi was Babas marble tomb stone with theengraving I have come not to teach but to awaken. The tombstone was covered with roses and garlands of flowers put onthick cloth covers which covered partially the tomb stone. Iplaced the two yellow flowers in that lot and touched the coconut130 I am.. I am not.. I amto His tomb and bowed down touching my head to the Samadhi.As I came out and glanced in the direction where the manin the green shirt was sitting I found to my surprise that therewas no one there. Had I imagined the man? I questioned myself.Did you see a man in a green shirt sitting just now next tothe pillar of the entrance there? I asked my cousin.I saw him too he repliedI did not see anyone there remarked his wifeWere both of us imagining things I wondered. There wasanother Caucasian person who was handing out the prasad atthe Samadhi. The prasad comprised of a moon crescent shapedhard candy made of sugar and orange juice.Jai Baba! he remarked as he handed me the Prasad. Hehad a brown beard which was long and he looked and soundeddignified.Was there a man in a green shirt sitting there just now? Iasked him pointing in the direction of the place where I sawhim last.He is one of us he remarked and sat down.Hardly had he said so, I saw the man in the green shirtcoming up the hill towards the same place he was sitting. I wasnow determined to meet and speak to him.As I came close to him I saw the two large red spots on hisshirt pocket. They were the logo of the clothing company of hisshirt.Can I have a picture with you? I asked him abruptly.Why with me, take out with Baba he replied pointing tothe Samadhi I want it with you I informed him.131Raj SalviI will not allow you to do that he replied Moving towardsmy cousin and his wife who were observing from a shortdistance I informed them of the reluctance of the green shirtman to take out a photo with me. The person had already settledback in the same posture that he was sitting when we first sawhim.I realized that there were several structures inside the gatedarea which could be seen from the Samadhi. I was curious tosee them while I was here.Can I go and see those structures I asked the beardedgentleman at the Samadhi Surely you can see them. Ask theman in the green shirt to show you around he replied casually.Back to the green-shirted man! Why not, I thought. Certainlyall he can do is refuse us as he did for the photos.Can you show us the structures in this area? I asked him.Of course, I will. Come with me he replied rising up fromthe sitting posture.This is where Baba used to stay and have His meals. Thisis where he met with outsiders he said indicating to the flatwooden bed that had a white sheet on it as if Baba had justgone out for some time and will be back.Behind was a black stone wall with white chalk filler inbetween and it was angular, not straight!! The wall made mejump!It was the same wall that I dreamed often of having seen inchildhood. It was etched in my memory and I could not placewhy and where I had seen it before. This was that wall.We stayed in a place called Malegaon and often my father132 I am.. I am not.. I amwould go to Pune on his official government work. We had topass Ahmadnagar and he had brought me to meet Baba alongwith him in 1955. I was just 5 years old! At that age the conceptof a wall is that they were always vertically straight. I hadfound that this one was different. It was one side of a waterstorage tank. I had not been able to remember Baba but Iremembered the wall behind his sitting place.Baba has his waysand they are always different and unique!!As he showed the library and the museum, he said ItsoverIts not over I repliedWhat do you mean? he expressed a little annoyedI need a photo with you I saidI told you I wont allow it. What is the reason you want thisphoto with me? He questioned me There is a reason and henceI am asking I added. I have come from Canada today and thisis my first visit to the Samadhi Tell me the reason he reiteratedI cannot tell you the reason for Baba wont like it IansweredWell then I am sorry I cant help you he was matter of factI have done whatever is in my power, Baba, I was pleadingmentally with Baba. I have no other option but to show him thewritings. My decision not to show him the writings was basedon the fact that he was an outsider who might ridicule theprecious writings of Baba that I had taken to the Samadhi.I opened the book with the writing where it was written ofthe green shirt and red spots I was about to show him the page133Raj Salviwhen he suddenly grabbed me in a steel band-like hug. I couldnot believe what was happening.Next he was rubbing his face against mine and I was lostand helpless Finally Raj you have come to My Samadhi! Themessage is simple. It is only Love. Dont complicate it. Babawas speaking through the green shirt man. There was noAmerican accent as Baba spoke through him.He then posed for the photographs and once thephotographs were taken, the American accent suddenlystarted!Look at what is written about the green shirt and red spotsin this book I told the man in the green shirt.Forget your experience. I could actually feel Baba usingmy body. This dirt! My life is complete! he remarked slappinghis right hand on his left wrist.Do you know who I am? he asked meNo I repliedI am one of the trustees here. I dont need to come to theSamadhi these days. In fact my work today is to be at Meherazadwhich is 22 kms from here. Today when I got up I felt the urge togo to the Samadhi and I have been sitting from 9:30 in themorning till now which is close to 3 in the afternoon! I waswondering what was happening. I did not have lunch andhere I was sitting alone. Now it all clear !Oh about this shirt, twice I removed this shirt thinking Iam not going to wear this shirt today and yet here I am with ithe added as he started walking away from us towards theSamadhi.134 I am.. I am not.. I amWhat happened yesterday? Nothing. Whatwill happen tomorrow? Nothing. All happensnow . . . the eternal NOW from thebeginningless beginning to the endless end.He had no recollection of having taken out the photos!Was this a coincidence or had Baba having planned it alland executed it with the total perfection that Only He can do! Inall that happened everyone had benefited. He does everythingfor the benefit of all concerned.135Raj SalviTo begin with the word Spiritual which is used thesedays is hardly understood by most people. As it indicates ithas everything to do with the SPIRIT or the SOUL. When theConsciousness has exhausted the realm of the PHYSICAL worldmigrates into the Soul. Thus all its internal desires of thePhysical world vanish and it attains a peaceful state of Bliss.This is the state where neither happiness nor sadness isexperienced by the Consciousness. Happiness or sadness aremomentary states whereas when one attains Bliss it is an eternalstate of the ConsciousnessLife is an enigma which only a few souls are able to decipherin a single lifetime. Those souls are already prepared to be onthe Path and reach the glorious destinations of Self Realization( I AM NOT) and God Realisation(I AM). This is the destinedgoal of every soul, but those few are destined to achieve it inthis lifetime. Destiny is thus the Will of God, Who decides thePath of every soul. My escaping sure death in coming front ofthe fast train in Mumbai and realizing that I was saved for a24C H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RC H A P T E RAspects of Spiritual Life136 I am.. I am not.. I am136higher purpose to serve God. Also the escape from death threetimes during my childhood were destined to happen, so myConsciousness would be used to spread the word of God.Sacrifice is a primary requirement of working for God. Onesown happiness has to become secondary when the happinessof others is in consideration. What it achieves is that ones ownself begins to take second stage and gradually one forgets onesown self entirely leading to a state of Bliss, as the desires of theSelf vanish with the vanishing of the Self in its entirety. Thusthe dying of the False Self( Ego) will lead to the Real Self ( God)living forever in you. These aspects were brought out in the IITincidence and also in the arranging of my marriage.The law of karma operates in our daily lives and marriageis the karmic package which removes the impressions printedon our consciousness during our journey through the variousrealms of the Gross world like trees, metals, birds etc. TheSanskaras ( impressions) created on our soul during this journeyhave to be removed by experiencing the opposite reactions ofthese impressions. Thus the positive impression of anyimpression has to be annihilated by the negative impression ofthe same impression. A person who has murdered someone inany lifetime has to experience being murdered by the sameperson in another lifetime so that both annihilate the impressionof murder from their souls.Once the impressions are almost removed completely theGuru meets the aspirant on the Path( Guru meets his disciple).As human consciousness we are able to remove only someimpression with our own efforts. The final deep impressions137Raj Salviare possible to be removed only with the help of a Perfect Master( Sadguru). It is similar, if you undertake a journey of a 1000miles in a white shirt, it is bound to be soiled at the end of thejourney. In order to clean one washes this shirt in the homewashers. However some spots are not completely removed inthe home washes. In order to remove these final spots has tosend it to a laundry. When the shirt comes back it is sparklingwhite. The Guru is the laundry who removes the final deepimpressions of the soul and makes it clean again to go backhome to God and merge with Him and attain the I AM ( all)state of Consciousness. My interactions with the Guru and totalobedience to his commands(This honor is for you) made himaccept me as his son ( You are my son).Life here is temporary and unfortunately most human donot know the purpose of life itself. The prime purpose of life isto Love God and as Avatar Meher Baba has said the 1) Lovingothers and caring for them indicates you are loving God2)Being happy in others happiness and sad in others sadnessmeans you Love God 3) Accepting whatever God does to youand so on. Life is like a hotel room concept. One occupies theroom for the period one has paid for it and then has to vacate it.Some other person occupies this room when it is empty. Thingsin life which belong to you will one day belong to someone elsewhen one dies. The period of occupation in case of a hotel roommay be 5 days or 10 days whereas in life it may be in a fewyears..70 or 80.Consciousness evolves on this journey through life andafter meeting the Guru begins its journey homewards stepping138 I am.. I am not.. I amup the planes of consciousness ( Kundalini). The seven chakrasin the human body are the planes of consciousness. Uponreaching the 6 th plane one is able to see God by the use of thethird eye which is the eye of the Soul. This clear vision of theGod head is seen on arriving upon this plane of consciousness.Having been in the Gross world, for millions of years , theconsciousness has forgotten how it looks. When it sees the faceof God it cannot fathom that it is seeing its own reflection ratherthan a separate entity.I hope you have enjoyed reading this version of the bookand hopefully have gathered some seeds which will germinateinto a tree and finally a forest of Love for others....which is theonly emotion one has to finally have after the elimination ofanger ,greed, hatred, jealousy and lust which are all attachedto the False Self ( IAM). God is Love only and Love only in you,makes you God ( I AM)!!!Spiritual freedom is won by onesself for ones self, through watchfuland unfailing war against the falseself. Those who would be soldiersin the cause of truth have to helpothers not only in launching uponthe thrilling enterprise of attainingvictory over oneself, but also inevery step they take towardsattainment; there is no other way ofsharing their burden.139Raj SalviBefitting a fortunate slave carry outevery command of the MasterWithout any question of Whyand WhatAbout what you hear from theMaster, never say it iswrong because myDear the fault lies in yourown capacity to understand HimI am a slave of the Master,Who has released mefrom ignorance,Whatever my Master doesis for the highest benefitof all concerned -HafizBefitting a fortunate slave carry outevery command of the MasterWithout any question of Whyand WhatAbout what you hear from theMaster, never say it iswrong because myDear the fault lies in yourown capacity to understand HimI am a slave of the Master,Who has released mefrom ignorance,Whatever my Master doesis for the highest benefitof all concerned -Hafiz