AROUND THE WORLD
I Visiting Babaji’s Ashrams around the World on a Motorcycle by Aditya Raj Kapoor 16th July 2018
I am from Mumbai India and have been in the Babaji fold since the age of 16 (in 1972). He has blessed me by turning my life around 360 degrees and then told me so too. In June 2017, I embarked on a motorcycle trip around the world. I did this to see and experience the world for myself. It was always my desire to visit Babaji’s ashrams but I needed help. Shri Alok Banerjee immediately asked the Samaj to help me with details and Sanjeev Sarna promptly sent out emails. My dear friend Raghuvir helped me to connect with many people and make a route-plan. Once on the road on my motorcycle, as I gathered dust, each ashram/centre helped me to get to the next, and the highway was soon filled with Babaji’s devotees accompanying me in thought and action. It was amazing.
I wish to share my experiences of my trip to the Ashrams and Centres. It is difficult to remember all the names of people and places, so please excuse me, if I am incorrect. It is not intentional. I had a plan: I would ring the bell, tell my story to the devotees and then sing a bhajan. I did this at every Ashram and Centre that I went to.
So last summer I was a guest of Puran at Omsk in Russia. He took me to Okunevo, about 300 kms north to where Babaji’s Ashram is. The highway was dotted with strawberry fields. The village is a small collection of houses and the main street is the only street. We stayed in Puran’s house opposite the Ashram. This Ashram is alive and filled with Babaji’s atmosphere. There’s a beautiful temple and lots of devotees living there, some who came to meet me. Other religious faiths have now opened their temples in the village as well and the village itself is now a spiritual retreat as everyone thinks there is something mystical there and all are searching. Most of you will know of the story of how the Ashram came to be, because of the karmayoga of Rajani so I won’t repeat it.
There is a beautiful River Tara behind the Ashram and it reminded me of the Gautama Ganga. After evening Araati I spoke to the devotees about my experiences with Babaji. Some were aware that He got me married in the Ashram and some know that He made me change my career at a young age. A lot knew about my father: Mahatmaji Shammi Kapoor. So, I spoke about my experiences about Babaji’s coming back, since that is what He told me. I will reproduce that at the end since it’s the same thing I told at all Ashrams. The atmosphere was as electric as in Haidakhan and I was very careful not to make any mistakes, so that Babaji would not catch me and scold me! I sang a bhajan: ‘Jai Gauri Shankar, jai bhole nath’. This was taught to me by Babaji one day when I was a bit down with a cold at Haidakhan, when I was young. It still comforts me.
The next morning, we went for a tour to the Devi Lake and it was as beautiful as Russia could get. Evening arti and then more talk and then sleep. The next morning, Puran told me that I have received a letter from an old woman who travels around and she sent it for me! The letter was delivered by someone else and therefore no knowledge of the source, besides that she was a very old woman and a wanderer. On a small piece of paper, in Old Russian (Puran translated), it was written that Omsk will become the biggest center of Faith and Spirituality, so all must help. This is the simplest meaning that I could make out! Indeed, it was quite a shock and made me think a lot about the way Babaji would connect when He wants to. We left the next day with some fond memories and firm friends in a common bond of Spirituality.
Upon return to Omsk, Puran told me that some devotees also wanted to meet me. A dozen turned up and it was an interesting meeting with many Russians. A healthy question and answer session followed and only the waning daylight made us stop. Some had brought tea and coffee and some had brought home-made jalebis! I was overwhelmed with the Russian Bhandara.
After that I travelled West to Zaluchnoe Ashram, near Moscow. Uma Haidakhandi helped me. It’s an extremely cute Ashram, still in the progress of being made, but functional.
Some devotees met me there and I stayed in their house that night. As I walked about the Ashram, I enquired about whether there is a Babaji Kutir. Yes, there is and that was the most completed structure. His room is ready! We went inside and sat around the small room of Babaji. I put my head on the bed as I used to when Babaji was there and I used to visit His Kutir. As I put my cheek to the bed, I felt the warmth of someone who must have just got up! I told this to all and everyone did the same and felt the same. Babaji was with us in Zaluchnoe. It was a moment of Grace!
Poland was a lovely experience with the two Ashrams that I went to. The first: in Makolno, was on a very steep climb. I found it after a lot of riding around. Google maps retired for the day and there were not too many people on the road to ask. It’s just off the main road and is a gravel climb. So, I drove up on my bike and reached the Ashram doors. As I was riding up, I saw a large painted Om on a wall and that told me I had arrived. Finding a plain surface, I parked and went to the metal doors of a compound that I thought housed the Ashram structure, but they were locked. I had made calls to confirm an appointment, but hadn’t got there on time, or maybe I didn’t follow the instructions. Anyway, there was no bell to ring, so I banged my knuckles on the door and kept shouting Jaykara’s in case there was someone was in. No one. So, I sat on the ground and sang bhajans and started my Satsang. I realized it wasn’t my job to get into the Ashram, as long as I reached it. By the way, if someone saw me, I could get into trouble: a biker, in full gear, sitting on the road, outside an Ashram and talking to himself!
The Lanckorona Ashram, owned and run by Radha and Paramanand, is lovely and looks over the village. It is fashioned like a retreat and I stayed a few nights here. We did Havan. A social group from England came over to stay and it was a nice exchange of ideas. Paramanand and Radha and their daughter Jadwiga made me feel so comfortable and welcome, I almost felt like staying a month! They run the property like a B&B, with a special area for Babaji and its activities, which really is an extremely sensible approach.
Aditya’s yatra continued to Germany, Italy, USA, Bali and India. See next Journal 19 for his on-going story. Here follows an account of some of his experiences with Babaji.
I Satsang with Babaji:
Babaji used to often say that the highest form of worship was Satsang, since it involved the communication of Truth to other people. Even Gods stopped to listen.
The first time I went to Haidakhan upon the invite of Babaji, was in 1976, winter. In a few days of my reaching there, He took me to Sati Kund and told me the entire story of my life. He initiated me into spiritual practices, which would unfold as I matured, (most are still unfolding!). I was of course stunned. I was just 19 years and he predicted my marriage and so many other personal things. All have come true. I was married in the Ashram in Haidakhan, eight years later. At the time, he had pointed to the hill where the Cave/Gufa was and said I will get married here. It was later that the Gufa side was developed and the nine- temples were built there. This was a shocking introduction to Babaji. It unnerved me and I was ready to run away. On the same day, after Sati Kund, he took me to the Gautami Ganga and asked me to drink the water along with him. He crouched and drank like an animal, from his mouth. I went a bit downstream and followed in the same style. Very scary. Then he made me sit in front of him and he looked deeply at me. So I thought, let me ask him a few questions and I did. I asked Babaji, when he will come back. He said, in 50 years. So, I calculated from 1969, which was when he appeared for the second time. When I thought this, at this very point, he looked away, as if the discussion was over. This is amazing, because here He was alive and how could I ask him about His coming back, when he was still alive and in front of me! And I had ask him such a profound question, a young unschooled boy, not yet a follower. If I spoke like this to my father, he would have probably slapped me.
On the same trip with Babaji in Haidakhan, after the evening bath, he often used to call me into his Kutir and give me prasad. At one such meeting he asked me to look outside his window and said the Dalai Lama has come and if I wanted to meet him. I thought he was joking, because the window overlooked the river from the hilltop and there was no one there, unless he was flying or levitating. I got scared and said I didn’t want to meet him and went away as soon as I received the prasad. Then on my next trip, once when I was shirking away from Karmayoga and in the chai-shop, he came and caught me by the neck and took me to the temple area and scolded me. He told me to do Karmayoga. Then immediately, he asked me if I can see the helicopter above. “It’s the Dalai Lama”. Do I want to meet him? This was my second trip; I was wiser, so I let it pass and I said I will do Karmayoga and ran away.
Later on the same trip, as I started believing in Babaji, I once saw him start to come up the stairs after the evening bath. I was at the top of the stairs, so I decided to wait for him and sat down looking at him walking up. He walked so slowly, testing my patience surely. I waited. When he came very near, I got up in respect and he asked me what I was doing there. I said I was waiting for him. That was the truth. He looked lovingly into my eyes and said, “At least there is somebody waiting for me”.
Time flowed on and His predictions stood the test of time and all have come true, with some yet unfolding. Fifty years from 1969 is 2019. As the time approached, things started to fall in place and I decided to join the dots. So a few years ago in 2013, when I became a biker, I decided to take my wife, Priti on a bike ride to Dharamsala to meet H.H. The Dalai Lama. I got an appointment and we met him. My wife knew why we were meeting him: we had a mission. H.H. The Dalai Lama blessed us and hugged us and gave us a short talk on Indian philosophy. Not knowing how to ask him, I fell at his feet, caught his ankle and said that until he tells me where my Guru is, I won’t leave his feet. He was shocked. I started crying like a child. I was 57 years old. I knew this was a make-or-break moment. There were security guards around. My wife started crying. We folded our hands, pleading for an answer. He picked me up and calmed me down. He asked me what the matter was. I briefly explained it all to him. He called his secretary and asked me to sit with him and give him the details. His Holiness said he will let me know in five days. After completing this meeting, we went to the secretary’s room and told him the story of Babaji. The secretary was also amazed and said he will get back via email. Five days later I received the email and it said that my Guru is born as a boy in the same place He left His body and is a ten-year-old. I await His Ministry.
Aditya Kapoor, Goa
The unabridged article may be read at: