Once I had a fight with Swamiji (Swami Sathyananda Saraswathy). Swamiji told me that he was coming to Bombay. At that time I had a lot of friends in very high places. But I never used to ask any help from them. You know that in this Ashram I have done everything without asking for any help from anyone. If someone helps or doesn’t help they are both equal to me. I see no difference between the one who is giving me and the one who is taking from me. On the contrary if someone gives me something I give him some nice abuses and a good push in return so that he will know the price of trying to helping me. Swamiji had told me never to spread my hands before anyone. Once, a fakir went to a king’s court. Everyone told him that the king was very generous and would definitely give him some gift. In the palace he saw the king praying to God and asking Him for wealth, land, power, etc. The fakir thought, “This is not a king. This is a beggar. Why should I beg from another beggar? If I want to ask for something I will ask directly from God.” But Swamiji told me “Don’t ask even from God. Keep trying until you fall down in exhaustion. Then the Mother will come and pick you up.” When a child is hungry he does not cry separately for food and separately for water and separately for milk, he just cries. Everything will be understood and provided by his mother. Sometimes it even goes further than that. Someone comes and starts crying his troubles to me. I think, “I have nothing to give. This fellow is also in a bad situation. So I will just listen and let him be like that only.” Then the Mother says, “Who are you to ‘no give him’? Ok, I will give him.” Then she gives him. This has happened many times.
So Swamiji was going to come and I had no money in my hand. I had many friends but they were not in the spiritual field. They were in some other field. So I never approached them regarding Swamiji’s visit. I somehow managed to book two gardens for two meetings on two days. Then I informed everyone and arranged for a grand reception. At the last minute Swamiji said that he was not feeling well and so he could not come. Everything was cancelled. After some time Swamiji again said that he would be coming to Bombay. The date was fixed and I made whatever arrangements I could. At the last minute Swamiji again said that he was not well and everything was cancelled. The third time Swamiji assured me, “This time it will not be like the last two times. I am surely coming.” I went and met K. Munshi, publisher of Bhavan’s journal. I started talking to him and soon I came up to his level. He became very impressed with me. I told him about Swamiji’s visit and the need for a hall. I said that I was looking for a free hall since I did not have money to book one. Immediately he offered to give his own hall free of cost. Through similar efforts I managed to arrange for eight to nine halls in order to hold a string of meetings where Swamiji would speak. At the last moment Swamiji said, “See, the work here is at a point where I cannot leave it. My health is also strained. So don’t make any further arrangements. When I can come I will just come there directly and then we will see what can be done.” I did not say a single word in reply. I just remained silent. After some time Swamiji put down the phone. Then I put down the phone.
I decided to leave Bombay. I knew that Swami Chinmayananda was working somewhere in the Himalayas amongst the Adivasis. I was not going to go to Swami Chinmayananda. I am not the type to leave one Swami and go to another. But I decided that I too would go to the Himalayas and work for the upliftment of the Adivasis. My only implement would be a broom. I would beg from the people and give help to the poor tribals. Thinking this I went to the Samadhi Nityananda Swami and sat down for a few moments. I suddenly heard a voice in my head saying, “Go back to the place where you came from.”
I got up and went to the office of friend of mine. We used to be classmates and that time used to fight a lot with each other. However, after I had taken to the spiritual line he started showing the greatest respect towards me. I drank a cup of tea at his office and was planning to leave straight for the Himalayas from there. That moment my friend’s telephone rang. It was Swamiji on the line. He told my friend, “One bearded fellow is missing from the Ashram for the past four days. Have you seen him?” My friend said, “He is sitting right here.” Then Swamiji said, “Ok, then give him the phone.”
I took the phone and Swamiji started saying, “Oh, there is so much tension and trouble here. On top of that I am not feeling well. Things are so difficult. Your situation is not so bad. At least you have friends over there who can give you a cup of tea. I am totally fed up with the condition here. I am thinking of burning the whole Ashram and going away to the Himalayas. But then I think: what is the use of going anywhere? Wherever I go my fate will follow me. A man’s fate is written before he is born. So it is better to remain here. What is your plan?”
Swamiji had just exposed my entire plan. What could I say? I said, “Swamiji I have no plan.” Swamiji asked me, “Then what are you doing there in that office drinking a cup of tea? You have a very big plan.” Then in a very understanding tone Swamiji said, “It is better not to have any plan. Our only work is to make ten people say the name of the Divine Mother. The rest of the things will be taken care of by the ‘pot-bellied one’” – that is Ganesha – “or else the monkey will do it” – that is Hanumanji – “otherwise the Buddhi (old lady) will do something” – Swamiji used to call the Divine Mother as Buddhi. Finally, in a very low and respectful tone Swamiji added, “If none does anything then Gurudevan is there, no?” Swamiji has no fear of Ganesha, Hanumanji or the Divine Mother. He is in awe of only one person and that is Bada Gurudev. Tears began to flow from my eyes. I used to wear a ‘Jhubba’ with pockets at that time. I took out a handkerchief and wiped my eyes. My friend did not know what conversation was going on. He had seen me sitting and talking very determinedly with my legs crossed. When I began speaking with Swamiji I immediately uncrossed my legs and sat up straight. With his every word I was becoming smaller and smaller. Finally, I shed tears. Seeing me, my friend too began to shed tears.
After that I began roaming about everywhere teaching people how to chant the Lalitha Sahasranama. I used to carry a cloth shoulder bag with me. In that I would keep a photo of Swamiji, a copy of the Lalitha Sahasranama and some literature about Swamiji and our Ashram. It was my mobile Ashram. I never slept in anyone’s house. I had a train pass and would sleep in the train while going from one station to another. I never drank even a cup of water from any house where Swamiji’s photo was not there. Swamiji gave me a good scolding for taking such a vow. He told me that the photo was in my bag so I should take out that photo, do Pooja, and then take food and water. That was a solution to my vow. Of course, I later on left all that rigidity. I organised many mass Archanas in many places such as Vajreshwari and Mahalaxmi temple. During that time I met ‘Mausi’ and through her I came to Vasai.