A Round Trip Ticket To Ride

By Parvati Markus

I’ve been reading Be Love Now and I love the way Ram Dass is revisiting his early experiences with Maharajji, looking back at the beginning, filling in the blanks in between the layers of the stories we’ve heard before. When I think about those first awful weeks after his massive stroke, when we didn’t know how much brain function he would recover and the prognosis looked grim, and then read the way his memories pour out in the new book, I’m so grateful for the round trip Ram Dass been able to make.

He talks about the six months he spent at Kainchi after first meeting Maharajji and how they seemed like “one timeless moment.” I understand. I also keep revisiting the time I spent in Maharajji’s presence. And revisiting is the wrong word for a timeless experience that lies at the core of who I am and who I’ve been for the last four decades—a devotee of Spirit who tries to live with no “scruple of change” as the drama plays itself out. Rereading Be Here Now, and first reading Be Love Now, is like having a round trip ticket to ride once again the waves of love and surrender, joy and despair, of that timeless moment.

Like Ram Dass writing his new book, I’ve been immersed in the past. I’ve started archiving the stories of those of us Westerners who were with Maharajji during those few brief years in the early 70s before he left his body. Looking back four decades, what is amazing for all of us is how vividly that time stands out. We may not remember everything he said, or the exact progression of whether it happened in Kainchi or Brindavan or Allahabad, but the feeling, the space, the connection is always there—timeless.

What can erase from memory the greatest love story of your life?

One of the things that those of us who kept journals during our time with Maharajji did was to write down quotes that were relevant to us. I don’t have a lot of words today. Instead, here’s a quote I’d written in my journal back then.

“When love beckons to you, follow him, though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you, yield to him, though the sword hidden amongst his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him, though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, so shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.”

–Gibran, The Prophet

This post originally appeared at www.ramdassnow.org, where 13 bloggers are reflecting on their journeys with Ram Dass.

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