Though Papaji always maintains that he has no miraculous powers, it cannot be denied that seemingly miraculous things happen around him. I have talked to many of his old devotees and from them I get the impression that in the late 1960s and early 1970s extraordinary, inexplicable phenomena were happening in his presence almost every day. This is Meera’s account of two such events:
We were living near Mahesh Yogi’s ashram, camping under a huge tree. There were caves nearby which we also used occasionally. Sita, Joachim and a few others would come and join us there for a few hours every day.
At that time we were living on a diet of broken wheat. We ate it almost every day, cooking it with water over a wood fire. It was a big job getting the wood dry because the rain could start and stop at any time. Since it was the middle of the monsoon season, it usually rained at least once every day. When we started cooking there were only the two of us present, so I only put a little broken wheat in the pot. I had just got the fire going when there was a heavy downpour that drenched us and extinguished the fire. We ran for shelter under the tree. As we stood there, waiting for the rain to stop, we were joined by Joachim, Sita and a few other people who had walked from the town.
After the rain had stopped, I realised that we had no more dry wood stored anywhere. I told Master, who replied phlegmatically, ‘Well that means no food today. Throw the wheat in the Ganga because it won’t keep till tomorrow. It has been soaked so it will ferment in the water. At least we can give the fish something to eat.
As I approached the pot, I noticed that steam was coming out, and when I took the lid off, I found the wheat had cooked itself during the rain. It had only been on the fire a few seconds when the rain came down.
I showed it to Master who just laughed and said, ‘Very good, we can serve it to our guests’.
I obeyed, thinking that I would have to serve very small portions because I had originally only put in enough wheat for two people. However, when I served the food, there was a full portion for everyone, with plenty more left over in the pot. During the meal an Indian couple who were returning to Rishikesh from a walk in the mountains saw us eating and came to join us. Master invited them to eat and two more full portions were found in the pot.
There is one other story that I remember from this period. I think it happened a few days before or maybe a few days later. Master and I had gone for a long walk along the banks of the Ganga. Eventually we stopped and started to make preparations to cook our lunch. I noticed that Master was looking a little tired so I started hunting around for a nice flat stone for him to sit on while we prepared the food.
Since there was nothing suitable on the beach, I went down to the edge of the Ganga to see if there were any suitable rocks that were slightly submerged in the water. As I stood there, peering into the water, a wooden stool floated down the river and beached itself right in front of us. It was the perfect size for Master to sit on.
I laughed and called out, ‘Ganga has sent you a stool to sit on!’
Master looked and agreed that Ganga herself had found out about our needs and had supplied us with a seat. Though it was an unwieldy object to carry, we took the stool home with us and presented it to Master’s mother on our next visit to Lucknow. She preserved it in her puja room as Ganga prasad.
Most people who were around Papaji for any length of time in the late sixties or early seventies can relate similar stories. I will just cite one more which came to my attention recently. Arno Wehmeier, an Australian devotee whose story will appear later, told me that while he was staying in Hardwar with Papaji, Meera tore her clothes. She requested Papaji to buy a needle and thread while he was out walking with Arno. Papaji forgot and on his return Meera mildly scolded him for not remembering. Arno recalls what happened next:
Papaji and I were sitting on the floor, cross-legged, facing each other. Meera, who was in an adjacent room, was calling through the open doorway, telling us both off for forgetting the needle and thread. Papaji’s hands were resting on his knees with the palms upwards. As we sat there a needle and thread just materialised on the palm of one of his hands. The thread even matched the colour of the torn cloth. Papaji grinned and chuckled for a couple of seconds and then gave me the needle and thread to give to Meera. As I walked across the room he put his finger to his lips to indicate that I shouldn’t tell her where it came from.
Papaji never made any attempt to produce these phenomena; they just seemed to happen by themselves. Though he has given no rational explanation for all these strange, miraculous occurrences, he did make the following comment a few years ago.
I sometimes wondered why all these strange things were going on around me. I didn’t think I was in any way responsible for them. Then one day I thought, ‘Maybe I have some subtle unconscious desire for things like this to happen, because whatever appears in this world is a manifestation of one’s desires’. I didn’t want to have such latent desires, so I made a firm resolve.
I said to myself, ‘I don’t want these things to happen around me any more’. After that they didn’t happen so much, and eventually they stopped.
Excerpt From Nothing Ever Happened Volume Two, pages 70-73
By David Godman