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Baba Muktananda's Birthday

He Filled My Heart With Joy

by Swami Kripananda

Toward the end of 1973, I left Gurudev Siddha Peeth to return to the United States in preparation for Baba’s Second World Tour in 1974. I resumed my teaching duties at the university for a while to earn more money. During the first part of Baba’s tour, I was in California and Baba was in New York. I was missing him terribly. One day there was a squabble in the department where I worked. I returned to my apartment completely fed up. I threw myself down on the bed and cried out, “Baba, Baba, Baba!”

At that instant, my vision shifted. As I looked out of the window, I saw all the same things that I always saw—neighboring apartments, trees, flowers—but I saw them in an entirely new way. I saw that what those things were and what I was were essentially the same—we were all tiny bubbles on the surface of a vast ocean. We were all made of the same subtle substance, which wasn’t really a substance at all but Consciousness. I saw that there was no “me,” as I had always known and identified myself—a woman, a university professor, five feet eight inches tall, and so on. There was no “me” to have any sort of problem. I plunged into a deep state of ecstasy.

Though I couldn’t hold on to the immediacy of that experience, it permanently altered me, making me feel lighter and more detached. The occasional brouhaha at the university no longer bothered me. I was something other than what I had thought I was. I began to understand, on a deeper and more vital level, the Truth about the nature of the Self that Baba was talking about.

Several months later, Baba returned to California for his birthday. A huge celebration was held in the ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. I drove up in great excitement, eager to see Baba again. When I reached the hotel, I saw that the ballroom was packed and the long darshan line stretched out the door and down the hall. It seemed unrealistic to expect any kind of personal exchange with Baba that evening. I joined the end of the long line.

However, as I finally approached the head of the line, Baba saw me coming. He pointed at me and began to imitate me—the exact way I had cried out to him that afternoon several months earlier. “Baba, Baba, Baba!” he cried in falsetto. “That’s how you call me!” Then he doubled up with laughter. This so completely blew my mind that I threw the bouquet of flowers I had brought for him into the darshan basket, banged my head on the floor at his feet, and went vaulting out of the room.

Suddenly, I heard that I was being called back. Several people were running after me, saying, “Baba’s calling you! Come quickly!”

Baba motioned to me to sit on the floor at his side. With immense love, he took my hand in his, looked at me with great compassion, and said softly, “Everything is all right now, isn’t it? You feel okay now, don’t you?”

“Yes, Baba,” I stammered. “Everything is fine.”

Then, still holding my hand, Baba began to chat with me. He told me about the people who had come to see him that day and what they had talked about. I was overwhelmed by his love—with all those thousands of people there, he took the time for one devotee whom he had heard cry out to him in a moment of anguish. By doing so, Baba filled my heart with joy.