Kainchi Leela

Neem Karoli Baba Maharajji

I was introduced to Siddhi Ma by my aunt and was given permission to stay at the ashram even though I had made no prior arrangements for staying.

I didn't even realise what a huge priviledge this was and that not many are given it.

Siddhi Ma placed me in a room which I shared with Marilyn Miira Pranno who has become a dear satsangh friend.

My days at the ashram were euphoric and I was so consumed by the meeting of so many satsanghis who shared my love for Maharajji that the temple routine went by me quite unnoticed.

I had not realised that a maha arti had been scheduled to close the Navratri celebrations at Kainchi.

On my last night at Kainchi I went to retire into my room around 10 pm but try as I did I could not work the combination lock to open.

I had been having trouble with the lock and decided to seek Miira's help with it as she seemed to know how to work the lock better. I found her sitting at the havan and singing. I went and joined her in the arti singing deciding to leave when she was ready to retire.

I expected she would leave in another 15-20 minutes as Miira liked to be up early for Siddhi Ma's morning darshan. However, an hour later I found that Miira was showing no signs of leaving. That's when she told me about the overnight maha arti which she wanted to participate in! Then it dawned on me that that was what Maharajji had planned for me. He wanted me at the havan singing the maha arti and I had foolishly thought of going to bed early!

We stayed up all night singing our hearts out....breaking for spicy, sweet, milky tea under the starry night sky in Kainchi....sheer magic. Maharajji's parties are like no other!!!! By 5 am my throat had packed up and I could stay up no longer. Miira obligingly opened the room lock for me and I crept into bed to sleep and Miira returned to the maha arti. I found myself wide awake and completely refreshed with just an hours sleep and made my way back to the arti but found myself getting a little restless and distracted by 10 am.

I was to leave for Nainital that morning and the pragmatics of that began to occupy my mind. I was getting impatient and wishing the arti would get over when suddenly the conch shell ( shankha ) was sounded and something within me collapsed and I broke down weeping uncontrollably. I managed to control myself for a few seconds while I did arti to Maharajji and then broke down weeping again and had to be escorted out of the havan.

Just as suddenly as I was in the grips of this hysteria I was suddenly out of it and rapidly found myself composed and quite calm. I have no idea what happened or why it happened. I left Kainchi very high and very confused.

From Rachna Jhala, London, UK