It was evening time in Vrindavan as I went to take my final darshan at Maharaji's ashram, before returning to Delhi. I entered room #7, where Dharm Narayan ji, Maharaji's youngest son resides these days. Guru Dutt ji was sitting on a chair alongside Dharm Narayan ji's thakat. I had been staying at Ganga Ram/Patrick's home in the neighborhood and he had accompanied me.
Dharm Narayan-ji speaks little English (though he understands more) so we converse in Hindi. I asked if I could present a question that perhaps he could answer and I welcomed Guru Dutt-ji to also freely comment on the subject.
"I can give an example of the problem and the question will arise on its own," I said.
"Take as an example, Maharaji's ashram in Taos. And I, along with a cadre of near & dear devotees have concerns about specific aspects of the operation of Maharaji's ashram in Taos. And for instance, if I spoke directly to a respected and experienced board member about my concerns, I am told 'It is all Maharaji's lila.' In this manner, any and all concerns are dismissed.
"My question to you is, What does this mean, 'Maharaji's lila?'"
"That is an error," Dharm Narayan-ji, immediately responds. "There is a distinction between Maharaji's lila and our responsibilities and obligations."
Guru Dutt-ji embellished on the dilemma by describing examples of the dynamic at the Taos ashram that he had observed, first hand, during his extended stay a few years back.
Dharm Narayan-ji continued, "Take this ashram as an example. Maharaji left his body here in this ashram. Maharaji presides here. His lila is happening here. It is ongoing and yet all the details of running the ashram need to be attended to. It is my responsibility to be sure that Maharaji's ashram is operating in the right way. That becomes our obligation, our seva, to attend to the various aspects of ashram life."
Guru Dutt-ji translated his words, in eloquent English, so Ganga Ram might also understand that it is our dharma to serve. "Maharaji's lila operates in it's own realm and his lila does not absolve us of our obligation. It is we who are responsible to give attention to all the aspects; to be sure Maharaji's ashram is properly maintained. It is imperative," he concluded.
"It seems to me, if ten of you agree that something needs to be changed, it should be changed," Dharm Narayan-ji added, before we continued on to another topic.
Sankhat Mochan Hanuman Mandir
Neem Karoli Baba Ashram
January 26, 2006