Raghu meets Babaji
The first week I was in Herakhan, I did not see anything in Babaji, His devotees or the temples there. I was thinking negative thoughts most of the day about everything there, but somehow I stayed and more surprisingly, in hindsight, Babaji let me stay even if I was not participating in Karma yoga, pranaams, dressing properly or many of the other customs we have in Herakhan. After about a week I became aware of the negativity in my mind, that nothing and nobody had a chance to penetrate this negative screen through which I saw everything. In retrospect this was perhaps my first miracle there: to become aware as a separate person of my mental limitations. I was wondering why I had not left yet as I had no limits to my time, place or money and could go anywhere I pleased. I contemplated that I was actually on a sort of spiritual research trip, and even though I did not recognize anything I thought I was looking for, I did see I was in a beautiful place in nature and these people with their shaven heads were actually friendly, even if they were not appearing all that smart to me. I decided to give it a chance and try to be open; to find out what this Babaji was all about and what moved these people…….
I started to walk around with interest and discovered the ashram shop: A small place with some prasaad, a few things to eat and some malas, lunghis etc. I saw how the girl there, Letizia was living there in the back of the shop in a nice clean space with a small temple next to her simple bed. I commented to Letizia that she had a nice set up here in the jungle. She became instantly sad and told me that her visa was finished and she had to leave to go back to Italy the next day. “If you like it so much perhaps you can ask to Babaji if you can do this because after me there is nobody to take over”. That seemed a very interesting idea to me and the job was also appealing. It was also a good opportunity to talk to Babaji about something which had not really happened yet. I found Him in the garden all by Himself and I walked up to Him and said that I was in the shop and this girl told me that there is nobody to run the shop after she leaves tomorrow.”If you need I can help and do this job.” I had hardly finished the sentence when Babaji answered with a loud “NO!”. I thought ….well, no need to get excited, I did not really care much, and thought He had some other plan and I started to walk away. Then he said: “Hey you, you think you can get all these things for the shop from Haldwani?” That I had not considered, that busy funny town some 25 Kilometres thru the jungle and riverbed, and thoughts like this passed quickly through my head while He was looking at me, waiting for the answer. Before I realized I answered, “I can try”. Babaji laughed and said, “OK you try”.
I went back to see Letizia and told her about the outcome. She told me she would go to Babaji in the morning to give Him the final accounts and the money from the shop and it would be good for me to be there. So we did this the next day and Babaji accepted the money from Letizia and put it in His pocket. I started wondering how I should buy things for the shop the next day. Then Babaji asked me “Do you have money?” All my alarm systems went off and my suspicion that it was all about the money in this place was going to be answered now. Reluctantly I said yes, I do. Babaji said then, “You put your money in and start with 1500 rupees”. I was very suspicious and did not answer. Vishnu Datt Shastri, Gaura Devi, Lok Nath and Letizia were all looking at me to hear what I would answer. I stayed silent and looked back at everybody until Babaji said in the sweetest voice: “But when you leave I will give you your money back”. I checked again the faces of everybody as they became witnesses in this deal and I said OK.
That same day I went to Haldwani with Letizia, and Muniraj guided me to some shops. The following day I was back in Herakhan beginning a new life.
Day by day I sank in deeper by listening to the stories from all these people who were there. Being in the shop, I met them all……
Weeks went by and I became very attracted and focused on Him but still did not trust Him yet. I was maybe already 3 or 4 weeks in Herakhan when one morning I woke up with wonderful strong sensations inside me which I did not recognize. At a certain point in the morning, while standing in the shop, I notice that an image of Lord Shiva hanging on the wall in the shop was looking at me, like really looking! Then I also noticed a picture of Guru Nanak, the Guru of the Sikh religion which was hanging there, was also looking strongly at me. I could feel it inside. There were also pictures of Babaji looking at me as well. All of these eyes looking straight at me gave me a very strong sensation which at that moment fused my whole logical thinking. At first I thought it was Babaji’s presence in those pictures but that changed quickly, I felt that He was inside of me altering my perception. All of a sudden everything the pictures, the walls, everything around me including my own body and mind, became somehow connected to this one source of energy, which I translated as Babaji……I stood there motionless in the middle of the shop viewing all these things inside and around me, in total amazement. When slowly my mind came crawling back in, I realized that this was my version of what all these people were experiencing, and what I was singing in the aarti and reading about in the books on Babaji. Completely engulfed with these divine sensations I felt I had to do something.
I closed the shop and went looking for Babaji and found Him sitting on the swinging chair in the kirtan hall. I then made my first pranaam fully from my soul, heart and mind. Until that day Babaji had named me ‘shopper’ when He called out for me. When I looked up at Him after that full pranaam, He looked at me and said: “Your name Raghuvir, your name now Raghuvir Charan”.