January 8, 1993 – They Return

After our long journey back from the United States to India, Maharaj began giving audiences all day to his followers, who flocked to see him. On this morning he appeared early in the “Green Room”—the simple veranda near the langar—and spoke to a gathering crowd which ranged from eminent professors to the lowliest farm workers. We sat together on rugs in the morning mist and listened gratefully as Maharaj taught us about the true understanding of religion. In commenting on the difference between Americans and Indians, he said, “Those people get the point very fast. They are like those who milk the buffalo rather than sucking its blood like an insect with their endless questions.”

After lunch, an apparition appeared: It was Harvinder Singh, Maharaj’s long-time very close devotee, back from the grave. When I was in Gobind Sadan in December for the visit of BBC World Service, Harvinder was dying of extensive cancer. When I went to visit him in his brother’s home, his aura had turned gray, and he could eat nothing. He was simply lying weakly in bed, awaiting death. I asked him if I could read Jaap Sahib for him, and he agreed. As I read it through in English, I was amazed to see the color coming back into his aura.

When I returned to Maharaj in the United States and told him of Harvinder’s condition, he said, “He cannot leave. We need him now for he is very necessary to the mission.” On this day, Harvinder Singh–who had left his aristocratic family long ago to serve Maharaj very faithfully—was smartly dressed, standing holding flowers for his beloved master with barely a tremor, smiling silently with the look in his eyes of one who had seen what lies beyond the curtain.  I was so excited to see him thus that when Maharaj walked into the courtyard, I ran in front of him saying “Look, look, Maharaj!” trying to hurry him toward Harvinder Singh. Maharaj greeted him in a simple way, but the loving relationship between them ran deep. 

Maharaj’s pet name for Harvinder Singh was “Malang,” meaning someone who doesn’t care about anyone’s feelings. He the only person who could always make Maharaj laugh. His deadpan wit was the perfect foil for Maharaj’s humor, and he always understood when Maharaj was making a subtle joke: He was the first to dare to laugh. Maharaj also loved to tease Harvinder Singh. Sometimes Maharaj himself laughed so much when teasing Harvinder Singh that his whole body bounced on his couch. This day he asked me what I thought of Harvinder Singh’s coming back to life. I innocently said I didn’t know whether God wanted him to live or die until Maharaj said he must come back. Maharaj found this very funny, but Harvinder Singh didn’t.

Maharaj had already saved Harvinder Singh’s life at least once before, in the late 1980s. It was rainy season, and Maharaj was travelling to Shiv Sadan, his big farm in Uttar Pradesh. Harvinder Singh had wanted to sit in the car with him, but his seat was pre-empted by Rai Singh, IAS, Maharaj’s devotee. His second choice was to sit in the front seat of the Gypsy jeep following Maharaj, but that seat was taken by Rai Singh’s friend, also a VIP.  Harvinder Singh therefore unhappily sat in the back of the Gypsy along with Joginder Singh. Maharaj’s car soon outdistanced the Gypsy. After they passed Ghaziabad, the speeding Gypsy skidded on the wet road and crashed into a tree. The VIP passenger was killed, and the driver and Joginder Singh were injured. Harvinder Singh was unhurt. He found his turban in his lap and his glasses neatly tucked in his shirt pocket. He got another car, went back to his apartment in Delhi, and went to sleep. When the Gypsy didn’t arrive in Shiv Sadan, Rai Singh asked Maharaj to look in vision and see what had happened. This being before the age of mobile phones, and Shiv Sadan being without even ordinary telephone communications at that time, only Maharaj could assess the situation. When he looked, he saw that he was cradling Harvinder Singh in his arms. Apparently, Harvinder Singh had called inwardly to his guru for help when he saw that a crash was imminent, and Maharaj saved him.