SWAMI PARMANANDA

SWAMI PREMANANDA

(Yogi from Dehradun)

In Dehra Dun, a seeker from Uttar Pradesh called Swami Paramananda unexpectedly arrived, requesting an interview with Baba. Formerly, he had been a professor of English, but he had left his position to pursue a life dedicated to finding God. Baba allowed him to come inside and Paramananda bowed down to him.

Baba inquired, "How did you happen to come here?"

Paramananda replied, "I heard of you during a visit in Uttar Kashi and felt drawn to meet you. I have resolved to give up all worldly attachments and lead a life under your spiritual guidance."

"There are many gurus and teachers here and in Rishikesh," Baba pointed out. "What made you come to me?"

"I feel that you are the One who can lead me to the Goal," he replied.

"Many come to me seeking material gains, relief from physical suffering or for a suitable wife or husband. I am happy that you have come solely for spiritual guidance."

Baba continued, "You want to stay with me, but that is not easy — it requires great daring. And above all, those who stay with me have to obey me implicitly."

The swami replied, "I am ready to obey you."

Baba instructed him to sit outside the room for fifteen minutes to reconsider. Paramananda did so, and when he returned he said, "My decision to obey you remains unchanged."

Baba looked very serious and spelled out, "Remember one thing carefully. It is easier to sit naked on a snowbound peak of the Himalayas doing meditation, japa and tapa [repetition of God's name and penance] than to live with me and obey me implicitly!"

Baba then stated, "Listen attentively. There are three orders that I want you to follow: For the present go back and stay wherever you want to, but without fail come to see me after exactly one month. During this month, read my books and messages, and do not touch any woman.

"Will you do it?"

Paramananda said yes. "One more thing," Baba added. "When you come back after a month, come alone; do not bring anyone else with you."

Paramananda gladly agreed and left. How well Paramananda obeyed these three seemingly simple orders will be seen.

During this period, Babadas asked for a few days' leave to return to Nagpur, and Baba granted him permission.

He left on 28 March 1953 — sadly never to return. His head was shaved and his beard clipped, because Baba wanted him no longer to pose as a saint.

That day, referring to the humiliation Baba had to face, he stated:

This humiliation has to come. I will be beaten, slapped and kicked, and so will the mandali. I will later die as the result of injuries received. Then two things will happen: defeat and hesitation. The hearts of those who love me will waver, but when I break my silence everything will change. God will do as He has ordained. I feel 100 percent sure of it today. God's work, God will do.

SWAMI PARMANANDA

yogi

A monk from India named Swami Paramananda, 47, arrived to meet Baba, accompanied by his niece and three of his students. Paramananda had come to America in 1906 as the youngest disciple of Swami Vivekananda and three years later founded the Vedanta Center in Boston.

During the interview, Paramananda invited Baba to visit the Ananda Ashram in Southern California, a retreat he had established as an extension of the Boston Vedanta Center in 1923 on 120 acres of land. Baba replied, "It is not possible on this trip. When I visit America again after six months, maybe I can." The niece also requested that Baba come to California, promising to prepare Indian food for him. Baba smiled, gesturing, "After six months."

Paramananda had brought a bottle of honey for the Master and after he presented it to him, Baba dictated, "There is nothing but for one, infinite Existence, and I am one with it. I continuously enjoy eternal bliss and see myself in everything and in everyone.

"Mere intellectual conviction is not enough. Reality is a matter of illumination, inner sight and experience. All this is within you; but for that, 'death' is necessary — to become dead to maya in order to be born in Reality."

After hearing this, Paramananda put the several books which he had written about spiritual knowledge on a nearby table. The monk had intended to present them to Baba but realized the foolishness of his idea. He said, "Even though I have philosophy and may be able to explain things to others, all these [books] are worthless pieces of paper unless Infinity is experienced." Humbly he said, "This I have not attained. I require a Sadguru like you, Baba, and your grace. I bow before you. Push me forward, Baba!"

Paramananda then prostrated himself before Baba, who placed his hand on the man's head, blessing him. The monk then turned to his students and said, "One can never attain spiritual perfection without a Guru. Meher Baba, being a Perfect Master, finds the content of these books playthings. What we discuss with the intellect, this bliss Baba is constantly experiencing." Paramananda was an accepted spiritual leader of several hundred American Vedantists. By declaring this, his followers understood the spiritual status of Meher Baba.