A Yogi Encounters Modern Science
In the year 1960, while I was again staying with Kailash Pati in Ranikhet, he told me about his guru, Narayan Swami, and suggested I travel to meet him at Vard Court Hill, sixty miles away. I decided to make the trip. For three days I walked all alone, and had no food, only water. On my way to see Narayan Swami, I stopped at Pando Kholi Hill to see a renowned swami in the area named Pahari Baba. This saint was over 150 years old!
When I reached Pahari Baba’s tiny hut, I saw three people from the West talking to him. They had him hooked up to an electro-encephalograph (EEG), which traces the changes in electric patterns in the brain. They also tried repeatedly to take photographs of him with their cameras, but the shutter, which, up till then, had been working flawlessly, wouldn’t work. Finally they pleaded, “Please, Swamiji, let us take at least one photo!”
Swamiji then said, “You told me that your science is ‘top notch’—at the leading edge of modern technology. But I say to you, India’s yoga science is far above that. And what have you been able to accomplish here?
”Well,“ he continued, ”all right. You may take one photograph only.“ Thus, they were able to do so — one only!
They then asked him please to sit still, so that they might get a reading of his brain waves. ”Well,“ he said smiling, ”try it if you like.“ We looked at the screen only to find the lines dancing about as if in glee! The patterns should have been moving up and down at an even rate. Obviously, this swami was having fun with them.
”This shows you how far behind the yoga science you are, with your toys!“ he told them happily, noting their astonished faces.
In a final attempt to get a clear picture of the brain waves of this most unusual man, they asked him, ”Please, allow us one more time to see your brain moving — but in a regular pattern!“ Swamiji laughed and said, ”All right.“ He entered a trance state. Not a sign! Not a brain wave at all!
The scientists were astounded. ”How is this possible?“ they cried. Swamiji answered, ”I was not in my body that time; therefore, there were no waves. Practice yoga, and you too will eventually be able to reach this state.“
He made a further comment: ”Your science can destroy life and demolish material objects. The yoga science can destroy, then re-create them at will.“ He continued, ”For example, look at that tree. I can burn it to ashes, then give it back its life as before. Your science cannot do that. Study yoga! Our science not only gives results; it is also of practical benefit to the world.
“You are studying effects,” he concluded. “What you must do is study causes.” The men asked him to bless them; he replied, “The Lord will bless you.”
I stayed there one hour. I told him then about Kailash Pati, and said that I was on my way at his instruction to see Narayan Swami. First, however, I asked him for a few words of spiritual advice. He told me to meditate every day, and to think of God always, putting Him first in everything I did.
“Do Kriya three or four times a day,” he added, “and think of the Divine at your Kutastha (spiritual eye) at the point between your eyebrows. Speak the truth always; hate no other religion, for all are the same.”
He gave me this illustration of the truth that is central to all religions: “If you place a red light bulb in an electric socket, it will appear red. If you replace it with a yellow one, it will appear yellow. A blue one in the same socket will appear blue. The electric power itself has no color, but its appearance changes according to its outward manifestation. God, you see, cannot be merely defined — as those scientists would like to do! He must be realized.
”God bless you,“ he concluded. ”Divine Mother bless you.“ I left at noon on the fourth day for Narayan Swami’s ashram (located in a place called Bharat Codé) in a greatly uplifted state of mind. When I arrived there, Narayan Swami made the unwelcome announcement that there was no room there for me, and that I must leave. I persisted.
”Namo Narayan,“ I said. ”I am coming from your disciple, Kailash Pati Maharaj. It was he who sent me to you.“ The saint studied me for a few moments, then concluded, ”All right, come in.“ I touched his feet, and he blessed me, then gave me a small room to stay in. He himself had eaten nothing for six days, as the nearest place to obtain anything was ten miles down the mountainside. He didn’t consider it worth his while to travel so far merely for food!
I talked to him about Master. He listened attentively, then said, ”Men like that come to earth from the stars (that is, from infinite consciousness), when God wants them here to teach those who will listen.“
I had grown sleepy. Swamiji said, ”Go take rest. But do not come out of your room after midnight. Many tigers pass this way.“ After midnight I looked out of my window, and saw ten or twelve tigers and their cubs playing with Swamiji on the ashram grounds! As they started to pass near my hut, Swamiji told them, ”Don’t go near there!“ They stopped at once. Swamiji then patted them like kittens. At dawn the following day, after Swamiji and I had meditated together, I asked him if I might come that evening and pat the tigers, too. For, I said, I also loved them.
Swamiji looked at me and said, ”Yes, you have love, but only 60%. You must increase your love another 40%. Then you can pat tigers. Otherwise they will make you into a sandwich! Tonight, however, you can watch again from your window.“
At midnight the same thing happened: The tigers came; Swami came out of his room and talked to them, then he patted them while they rolled at his feet like adoring cats. Swamiji found that some of them had brought him a few rabbits to eat. He scolded them, saying to take them away. ”Don’t bring me fresh kills,“ he admonished them. At this, they slowly turned away, as if regretting the scolding, and left.
The next morning I asked the swamiji, ”How is it possible for you to do that, and not for me? I love them much as I would pets. I so wanted to come out of my room while watching you with them! But I had to obey your orders.“ He answered, ”Love is a very strong power. With love you can do anything you want. But, my dear, you must increase that power in yourself. Love God and Guru. In time, you too will be able to do anything you want.“
On the third day there, someone came to receive formal blessings from Swamiji, and brought him many delectable foods for which we were very grateful. I ate with Swamiji, and he blessed me. Soon after that I left the ashram for Ranikhet, then back to Delhi.
Upon arriving in Delhi, I again went to Anandamoyee Ma’s ashram. So many devotees were surrounding her! But she recognized me in the crowd and said, ”How are you? Come and sit near me.“ Then she started singing, ”Haré Krishna, haré Krishna, Krishna Krishna, haré, haré! Haré Ram, haré Ram, Ram Ram, haré, haré!” What blissful days those were!
She told me to come to her Vindhyachal ashram, near Benares, in approximately three months’ time. She said she would tell a disciple to call me and let me know when she was there.