A Few Experiences with Shri Babaji
I have put off writing this for many years because my understanding of the many experiences that I had with Shri Babaji keep deepening, even after 28 years. I feel Babaji has been in my life forever; I even used to call my grandfather Baba. I first realized that this ever-guiding Light was Babaji when I read the Autobiography of a Yogi in the mid-seventies. I certainly prayed to Him at that time and true to His promise, I learned He was in physical form in Haidakhan in late 1980. Despite having no passport and definitely not the money, being a single mother with two children, I was on the way to meet Babaji in February of 1981 by some miraculous means.
I did not take the time to write and ask permission to come, as you were supposed to do because I was in such a rush to get there. Once I landed in Delhi intending to travel to Haidakhan from there, I found out one of the reasons that writing was a good idea, Babaji was not at the Ashram, He was in Wape, Gujarat. If I had known this, I certainly would have flown into Bombay (a few hours from Wape) but instead I got to spend all the money I had brought (a big $100) just getting to Him.
I arrived early in the morning at a home with a big yard that had a tent set up with hundreds of people chanting in it. Shri Babaji, in His omniscience, sent an English speaking Italian, Janki Rani, out to greet me and invite me to come into aarati. I was uncertain because I still had my traveling clothes on with my sari (which I heard you should wear around Babaji) in my backpack. Still, of course, I wanted to go immediately so I followed her into the crowd and there we sat while the aarati was being sung. Oh my gosh! I had no idea what the words meant (there were no aarati books at that time) but I knew in my being that these were the most vibrationally powerful words I had ever felt in my life. And then to look up and see my beloved guru, Babaji sitting up on the asan in front of me, it was absolutely overwhelming. I just burst into a mixture of tears and laughter. There was a deep recognition, a feeling of coming home at last, and also some grief that I had to search for so much time. I also knew in a couple of minutes that I never would finish my Masters Degree in psychology that I was working on. Instead I knew I wanted to share whatever this tremendous energy was that I was feeling in Shri Babaji’s presence with other people.
We then began singing the Haidakhandi Bol section of the aarati and people began lining up to have Babaji’s darshan. Janaki Rani leaned over and whispered to me that I could now go up and greet Babaji. I told her I was apprehensive because of not having a sari on. She said that Babaji had given her permission not to wear a sari and she was going to have His darshan, but that I should do what I liked. Well, of course, I could not wait to be closer to Him and I followed her in the long line. When it came time to bow to Him, He roared at me, “You no pranam no sari.” I burst into tears and ran out of the tent. Some kind Indian woman helped me put my sari on and I gathered up courage to go and pranam again. This time He smiled so sweetly at me and asked me my name. I said my name was Deborah. He looked at me with searching eyes and said, “No, you Devi (I had been called Debby all my life and in India the letter “B” and “V” are very close). Then He said, “No, you Ramloti.” I asked Him what that meant, He handed me a sweet and told me to go ask Shastriji.
Shastriji was standing off in a corner. He was a great Vedic scholar and the high priest at all of the ceremonies. He was so close to Babaji, even sleeping in His room, he called himself the shadow of Babaji. When I asked the meaning of my name he said, “Very good name, it means one who carries God inside of them at all times, when you are sleeping, speaking, playing, working, eating….” Needless to say, I was very touched to receive a name immediately from Babaji and such a beautiful one on top of that.
So aartti ended and some food was served. I then get told that since I had not taken Shri Babaji’s permission to come that I now had to ask whether I could stay or would I have to leave. I fell into a fairly large panic at that point, not imagining what I would do in India with no money for the rest of my 30-day stay there. Finally I mustered up enough courage and went and asked Babaji if I could stay. He was, once again, so sweet and said in a moment that I could and He would make arrangements for me in the house where the few other Westerners that were there were staying. I was ecstatic!
I will only share two more instances from my first trip since there are certainly enough stories and lessons to fill up a whole book, which I do plan to write someday.
A couple days after my arrival, I was told we were going on an overnight trip to a holy place by bus. I gathered my things and went out to look for the bus. All of a sudden, I saw Shri Babaji sitting alone in the garden. Now up to this point I had only seen Him surrounded by throngs of people, so I was a bit shocked. I also have to admit that thus far I had shied away and was very tentative about the idea of touching or kissing His feet. I had been so totally indoctrinated before coming to India about all the disease and filth that it seemed dangerous health wise to do such a thing. However, looking at Him, I was just pulled like air into a vacuum toward Him and found myself sitting at His feet massaging them in my lap. How long this lasted, I have no idea, I was in total bliss. I really do not remember anything until we arrived at the holy pilgrimage place and I got down from the bus. It was only on the trip home that I realized that the reason people were not around Baba in the garden the day before was because they were scurrying to get good seats on the bus toward the front because it was a very windy, bumpy, and long bus ride and sitting in the back of the bus could make anyone carsick. So that day in the garden I learned about the energy of the Divine Lotus Feet of my Lord, Babaji and that the bliss I experienced was strong enough to over ride a very arduous bus ride. (I do get carsick easily.)
A few days after that adventure, I was told that Babaji and party were headed for His ashram in Vrindabam which was an overnight train ride away. I was told, once again, that I would have to ask Baba’s permission to go with Him and that at this late date, there would be no decent seats left on the train. This time I felt a little easier approaching Babaji but I had little hope that I would be able to get to Vrindabam, particularly since I had no money left. So I asked Him and was totally overwhelmed with His sweetness and motherly care for me. He said, “Don’t worry Ramloti, I will take care of everything.” And so He did. Next day, with bags packed, I headed to the railway station with everyone else although I had no ticket. Once there, Shri Babaji directed me to get on the first class train with Gaura Devi and Janki Rani and share their compartment. I was elated, particularly because it was right next to Babaji’s compartment, which meant we could go in from time to time and just sit with Him and the devotees that were traveling with Him. As if this was not enough, a few stops later the great saint, Ananda Mai Ma, got on the train with all of her devotees and entered the compartment on the other side of us. Gaura asked if I wanted to go for her darshan. Of course I went and felt her divine love deeply. At the time, I barely knew what a great saint she was and that this was one of the last trips that she made before she left her body. I called this the train of saints that I was blessed to ride on.
These are a few experiences from the first of three visits with Shri Babaji. A few years after He left His body, I moved to Crestone, Colorado to help build the Haidakhandi Universal Ashram. That was in 1986. I still live here and am grateful daily to live at this magnificent home of Shri Babaji and the Divine Mother. For more information about the Ashram you may go to our website at www.BabajiAshram.org.