A Future in the Hills

Dr A.J.Ventroy, a famous physician from France, was interested in the spiritual life and came to India via Sri Lanka in 1950.

He was initiated by a guru at Varanasi and renouncing the world, he became known by the name Vijayananda.

In his book, In the Steps of the Yogis, he wrote about his own experiences of Maharajji and narrated this lila :

"While I was watering plants one day, I saw Baba coming into the ashram with someone. He was telling him about me, saying that I was English. By "English" he meant a "foreigner", the word used for foreigners in common parlance in the Hindi language. I had heard of Baba as his name was often mentioned in the ashram, but I had never had his darshan. Hence I could not recognize him."

Baba was well received and all the swamis in the ashram were called to have his darshan in Annapurna's temple. Looking at me, Baba said, "He is a saint. He feels at home here now, but he will go to the hills." At that time I had no intention of going to the hills. I wanted to complete my sadhana in that ashram. Two years after this event, in 1959, I had a desire to visit the hill town of Almora. After roaming about in the hills for many months, I returned to Kashi ashram, but the unpolluted mountain environment attracted me. In the beginning of the next year I went back to those hills and stayed there. I was greatly impressed by the truth of Baba's words about me at our first meeting."