Being creatures bound by time and space, our spiritual journeys often extend over many years, highlighted here and there by just enough memorable experiences to reassure us that, yes, we’re still on track.
Maureen can no longer recall what prompted her desire, back in the 70’s, to shave her head and move to the Himalayas. But since she was a young mother with 2 babies, she could not give in to this urge. In 1981 she read Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda and was so moved by the account of Babaji, that she would have left for India on the spot, had it not been for her family. Instead, she set up a tent in her back yard and did a two-week retreat there. In 1984 she was going through a divorce, and even though some grieving was inevitable, the kind of deep, heart-wrenching grief she experienced for months seemed unexplainable. In retrospect, she now realizes that this phase coincided with Babaji’s Maha Samadhi.
In order to heal, she attended an LRT week-end with Sondra Ray the following year (1985). When she heard that Sondra was going on her yearly pilgrimage to Haidakhan she felt an enormous pull, as if someone had hooked into her 3rd eye and was reeling her in. She recognized the name of Haidakhan and Chilianaula with the white marble temple from Yogananda’s book, but had assumed that they were a mystical places. Now that she realized that they were real, nothing could stop her. She was going! She called her friend William and asked if he wanted to come along. He did.
All along Maureen had assumed that Babaji was still in His body. Only while walking up the riverbed toward Haidakhan did she learn that He had left a year earlier. Her first reaction was one of anger at herself, for having “blown it”, for having missed her chance. He was the reason she had left her children and come this far, now she was not sure why she was there. On the third day Ramloti, who had organized the trip, gave the participants of the group a chance to visit Babaji’s room, allowing two of them in at a time, just for a few minutes. But Maureen in deep meditation was so overcome by a feeling of love that she could not move. She felt totally transfixed, bathed in a soft pink light, and, in a vision, she saw herself in a red sari washing Babaji’s feet, serving Him. Immersed in this love she could not move, and she is forever grateful that Ramloti let her stay.
Maureen’s connection to Babaji was so strong that 2 years later she went to India again. She began crying uncontrollably in Haldwani, already deeply moved by the thought that she was going “home” to Haidakhan. And no sooner had she arrived there, than she rushed down to the river to have her head shaved.
One day, while walking the village trail behind the ashram, she sat down on a wall and prayed “Please Baba, I want to see You!” The answer she heard in her head was “I’ll be the next person you’ll see on the trail.” That sounded promising, but also improbable, so she quickly forgot about it. Soon she met a girl, about 14 years old, clean and well-dressed, with beautiful long hair, and while they communicated for a while, one in Hindi, the other in English, she fell into total bliss. Then, pointing to a fork in the trail, the girl indicated that Maureen should take the high road. She did, and after a while it suddenly occurred to her that she had just spoken with the first person encountered on the trail! She rushed back, but the girl had disappeared. She knew then that she had met Babaji. His message to her was simple, always take the High Road, and remember, I could be the next person you meet on the road.