Krishna Das’ Mother Visits India


I was recovering from hepatitis, living in the temple with Maharajji. One day I didn’t feel good, so I stayed in my room all day. The next day I came out and Maharajji said,
“You were sick?”
“Yes, I didn’t feel good.”
“When’s your mother coming to India?”
Excuse me? The next day I got a letter from M.L. at the hotel in Nainital saying that my mother had called and she wanted me to call her. I went to Nainital to make the phone call. She said, “I want to come see you!”
“Oh, really? Okay, I have to ask Maharajji.” Can you imagine how my mother must have felt? I had to ask my guru if she could come see me! I said, “I’ll call you tomorrow.”
I went back to the temple, and Maharajji said, “Tell her to come.”

I picked her up at the airport. I was walking around with long hair, a long red dress, barefoot, and that’s how I appeared at the airport. The whole time she was in India she looked slack-jawed, mouth open in amazement and fear. I had to lead her around by the hand, but she was a trooper.

We went to see Maharajji whenever he would let us come. He was very kind to her, very kind. I had told her to bring the nicest sweater she could find for him. He immediately put on this beautiful cashmere sweater and looked at his Indian devotees, “You miserable people. You live right here, and you don’t bring me anything. This woman brought this sweater from so far away.” This was his way of dispensing love, and they knew it. If you got abused by him, it meant you were really close.

I remember the first time he called me “cunning” – I almost melted down. Now I’m in!

Maharajji said to her, “Will you give him money?”
“Well,” she said, “he should work.”
Maharajji said, “Don’t worry. He will work.” At the time I’m sitting there in a red dress, and I don’t know what he’s talking about. Work?

Maharajji said that I was his son, meaning he wasn’t taking me away from her, but he wanted her to know how he felt about me. It was very beautiful.

On the last day we’re about to get in the car and drive off to Delhi. He was sitting on the takhat; wherever he sat, it felt like the center of the universe. She turned, looked back into the temple, and broke down, sobbing uncontrollably. I had to lift her into the car because she couldn’t move; she was crying and crying. That’s the moment that most of us had, where all the pretense of your life, who you think you are, crumbles and you feel that love in your heart for the first time.

She was going from India to Jerusalem, and Maharajji had given her some flowers to put on Jesus’s tomb. My little Jewish mother. My instructions were that when she left, I was to get down on my knees and do aarti to her, to worship her in the airport. The look in her eyes at that moment, when she was looking at me, was quite amazing. One of the most beautiful moments we ever had together.

She spent her whole life kvetching and complaining and worrying and trying to do good for others – she helped a lot of people in her way. But the minute someone would ask her about her trip to India, she’d do a 180-degree turn, get soft, and go into a whole other space. All the rest of the time, she didn’t seem to have any contact with it, but she felt what it was about. She understood why I was there.

– Krishna Das, excerpt from Love Everyone

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