An Old Lady Remembers Maharajji from Long Ago
While prasad was being given, he came to his room, sat on his bed and asked for the door to be bolted.
The room was already full. Many ladies had been waiting for him in his room, not in the hall in front of everyone.
Loud talking and laughter could be heard from within the room.
I was busy with some work when one lady came and almost dragged me to his room, saying that there was so much fun to be had.
He was on his cot in his favorite posture - head resting on the upraised palm of his right hand and the left hand dangling and making gestures.
There was an old lady, past seventy, arguing and refuting Baba's words.
Baba was talking loudly: "Mother, I was dead, I was dead, but afterwards I was reborn in the mountains. I am not that Baba whom you had seen before. I am not that Baba." But she could not be silenced. Everyone was looking toward her and asking her to talk.
She said, "I belonged to a village in the Farukhabad district. My father had some landed property and we were well off. My parents were great devotees of Baba and he used to visit our house. I got married and went away from my village, which was the last time that I met him before today. He was already an old man, older than my father, and my father said that he had been visiting our house for twenty-nine years continuously. My father used to say that twenty years back he looked as old as he did when I saw him in my childhood. I saw him last when I was about nine and now I am seventy three - more than sixty years ago. That was why I said that a man who was that old back then could not live for so many years more."
Then he flung his question to her. "Ma, you are telling me that you saw me in the same state of health and age as your father had seen me twenty years before we first met. And then you say that you see me now as you had seen me sixty years back. How could this happen? Has my age not increased? Tell me, tell me, how could this be so?"
After the repeated questions she came out with her firm and emphatic reply: "No, you have not increased in your age." He pressed her how could she say so, how could she? Then she said, "The age of people like us increases, people who are getting nearer to their death, but not those who are not to die. You are not to die like us, so how could your age increase?"
Everyone sat silently. Someone came to remind Babaji that he was late for his food, and my Maushi Ma added that no one would eat so long as he had not taken his food. Hearing this, he sent everyone away. Everything was nicely timed. The sitting ended because it had served its purpose, so the talk of his food came.
We came out of his room. The lady was ready to leave but we persuaded her to stay a little longer, as we wanted to hear more. I narrated to her and to Shukla and a few others there how I came to know of her. I had heard about her from our friend, Dr. Singh, a devotee of Baba. He used to visit us, and in 1962 he came to meet Babaji thinking that he was here. He could not see him because Babaji had left that morning, so he sat with us and started talking. He had wanted to come much earlier but had been delayed. A neighbor had come to visit him and his wife with one of their guests. Dr. Singh told them that he was late, but his wife could visit with them as he had to leave to meet Babaji, They asked him which Baba, and when he took Babaji's name the lady who had come as their neighbor's guest blurted out, "What are you talking about? Neem Karoli Baba must have died long back. This must be an impostor taking his name. I last saw him more than sixty years back and then he was already old. How can an old man live for so many years more? He is not the real Neem Karoli Baba." That lady belonged to Farukhabad district.
Hearing the story, we wanted to know more about Babaji from her, so we asked Dr. Singh to try to bring the lady here. In case she did not agree, we would go to her. Two days later the doctor came to report that the lady had left the very next morning after his visit to us. I remembered that incident, and when I saw her today, I wanted to hear all she knew about Babaji. We talked with her for some time and then she went away.
A nice sitting was going on in Babaji's room. He had just finished his food. The mothers were sitting with him and talking. Then Maushi Ma spoke out. "It was good that you had your lesson. Whenever we say something which you do not want us to talk about, you stop our mouths. We cannot argue with you or speak out what we have in our minds. Today you did your best to stop her from talking, but you could not do that. You want to hide everything from us, but she leaked out some of your secrets. How correct she was when she said that we people get old and are carried nearer to our deaths, but age cannot mean anything to men like you. If Baba becomes old then to whom can people like us go? Baba is actually Bhagwan, God. God never gets old. We know this, and today she has said this to your face."
Then Babaji came out with his rejoinder. "Maushi Ma, you could not understand fully what she was saying. What was its real significance? No mother looks at the age of her son. Her son may be advanced in age, but she treats him as a young one, and this has been the case with her also. Every mother blesses her son with the same prayer, 'May you remain young! You also do the same for your children. She has not told you anything new. You have not understood her correctly."
When he stopped, Maushi Ma said, "You might say anything, but we know she was right. When we ask you something not to your liking, you concoct all kinds of stories to gag us, but today you had your lesson. Why did you not tell her what you are telling us now?" She stopped after scoring her point. Then Babaji made his remark, as if in sheer helplessness, "You are all in the same group, acting together as one. How can I make anyone understand me?"