When the Self Prompted His Answers

Papaji and Meera stayed in Karnataka for almost three months. At the beginning of June Papaji accepted an invitation to go to Mysore to visit Mr Neginhal, the Forest Officer who had given him ten acres of land while he was living at Ram Mandir in the 1960s. At the time of the invitation Mr Neginhal was the Chief Conservator of Wildlife for the state of Karnataka. During the visit Mr Neginhal arranged a safari in one of the nature reserves he controlled. Meera describes what happened:

We went to a wildlife park that was somewhere near the border between Karnataka and Kerala. I remember that it was a very remote, wild place. Mr Neginhal accompanied us and arranged elephants for us to ride on. We all had a six-hour elephant ride through the forest. There were many animals to see but the sight that amused Master the most was a group of monkeys stealing eggs out of the nests of some of the birds. The monkeys made their escape by swimming across a river. While they were crossing the river the monkeys held the eggs up in the air to stop them getting wet. Everyone loved the trip, although I think Mukti later caught a case of malaria from being bitten there.

During our stay in Mysore we were visited by a man who said he was the chief pandit of the Maharaja of Mysore. Somehow the Maharaja had found out that Master was a great spiritual being, and that he was in his area. He assumed that this meant Master was a great scholar. The Maharaja passed on this message to his pandit who immediately came to see us because he was having trouble understanding some obscure Sanskrit verses. Master hardly knows any Sanskrit at all, so he couldn’t even read the book that the pandit brought for him. Master didn’t admit his ignorance because he knew the pandit was depending on him to give good answers. Master told him to read the verses out loud, which the pandit did. At the end of the recitation Master opened his mouth and the most beautiful commentary came out. He gave a whole lecture on the verses without understanding a single word of the original text. The pandit was delighted with the explanation.

This was not the first time I had seen something like this happen. I had seen it in the monasteries in Europe, and I had seen it in Rishikesh when Swami Abhishiktananda came to visit us. People would show him obscure or ambiguous passages from various religious works, and Master would spontaneously give beautiful commentaries on them. After spending a lot of time with him, I realised that he had some innate ability to explain or illumine spiritual texts in a way that would satisfy or even inspire devotees who treated these words as holy scriptures. He never read or studied these books, but when he was asked about them, the Self that produced his words would come up with the most marvellous answers. People who didn’t know better would think that he had spent years studying these books.

Though Master could explain texts very well, there were still a few technical, philosophical terms that always seemed to intrigue him. Whenever he encountered learned pandits, such as the one we met in Mysore, he would always ask them for the exact meaning or import of certain words. There was one word, sphurana, that he seemed to be perpetually fascinated by. It apparently means the vibration, radiation or pulsation of the Self, but Master was never content with simple definitions such as these. If scholars were around in the early 1970s, he would invariably bring up the word sphurana and begin a discussion of its meaning. I don’t think he was ever satisfied by anyone’s explanation.

Excerpt From Nothing Ever Happened Volume Two, pages 317 – 319
By David Godman