My wife had met Maharajji and had come to get me in America and bring me back to meet him. When we first went to see Maharajji I was put off by what I saw. All these crazy Westerners wearing white clothes and hanging around this fat old man in a blanket! More than anything else I hated seeing Westerners touch his feet.
On my first day there he totally ignored me. But after the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh day, during which he also ignored me, I began to grow very upset. I felt no love for him; in fact, I felt nothing. I decided that my wife had been captured by some crazy cult. By the end of the week I was ready to leave.
We were staying at the hotel up in Nainital, and on the eighth day I told my wife that I wasn't feeling well. I spent the day walking around the lake thinking that if my wife was so involved in something that was clearly not for me, it must mean that our marriage was at an end. I looked at the flowers, the mountains, and the reflections in the lake, but nothing could dispel my depression. And then I did something that I had really never done in my adult life. I prayed.
I asked God, "What am I doing here? Who is this man? These people are all crazy. I don't belong here."
Just then I remembered the phrase, "Had ye but faith ye would not need miracles."
"Okay, God, I don't have any faith. Send me a miracle."
I kept looking for a rainbow but nothing happened, so I decided to leave the next day.
The next morning we took a taxi down to Kainchi to the temple, to say good-bye. Although I didn't like Maharajji, I thought I'd just be very honest and have it out with him. We got to Kainchi before anyone else was there and we sat in front of his tucket(wooden bed) on the porch. Maharajji had not yet come out from inside the room. There was some fruit on the tucket and one of the apples had fallen on the ground, so I bent over to pick it up. Just then Maharajji came out of his room and stepped on my hand, pinning me to the ground. So there I was on my knees touching his foot, in that position I detested. How ludicrous!
He looked down at me and asked, "Where were you yesterday?" Then he asked, "Were you at the lake?"(he said "lake" in English)
When he said the word "lake" to me I began to get this strange feeling at the base of my spine, and my whole body tingled. It felt very strange.
He asked me, "What were you doing at the lake?"
I began to feel very tight.
Then he asked, "Were you horseback riding?"
"Were you boating?"
"Did you go swimming?"
Then he leaned over and spoke quietly, "Were you talking to God? Did you ask for something?"
When he did that I fell apart and started to cry like a baby. He pulled me over and started pulling my beard and repeating, "Did you ask for something?"
That really felt like my initiation. By then others had arrived and they were around me, caressing me, and I realized then that almost everyone there had gone through some experience like that. A trivial question, such as, "Were you at the lake yesterday?" which had no meaning to anyone else, shattered my perception of reality. It was clear to me that Maharajji saw right through all the illusions; he knew everything. By the way, the next thing he said to me was, "Will you write a book?"
That was my welcome. After that I just wanted to rub his feet.