The brilliant Sikh Commissioner in Meerut, the administrative center for this area about an hour’s drive from Shiv Sadan, has been to Maharaj six or seven times, but he says, “The meetings have thus far been fairly perfunctory.” He seems to be longing for a deeper connection with spiritual truth.
We met him in the dark recently at Pir Sahib’s place, and he said he would like to talk with me further since I’m the author of college textbooks on religions. One of our Shiv Sadan sevadars made a programme to take me to Meerut to see the Commissioner today, but we were a bit late in our schedule, per Indian standard time. With something rattling under the Maruti, the sevadar pushes it as hard as he dares on very bad back roads. Seven kilometers from our destination, he points out that we have only seven minutes until our appointment. He also notices that the temperature gauge is almost all the way to the right on HOT. He declares faithfully, “Maharaj, you want us to get to this meeting on time, so you will keep the car cool.” At once the gauge drops to the left. As we watch in amazement, it drops steadily until it is at midpoint between Hot and Cold. It turns out that the radiator is broken, but we are spared at this time by His grace.
The Commissioner had said that he would see us at 2:00; then he would have another meeting at 3:00. We arrive precisely at 2:00, and then wait in a cold reception area for twenty minutes with nobody paying much attention to us. The Commissioner’s PA, wearing fur hat and thick jacket against the cold, deals silently with a great stack of mail. All sorts of important-looking people appear, and they are all told that the meeting is at 3:00.
When at last we are called into the Commissioner’s plush office, he scowls at the sevadar with me and says, “You are late. I had to let other people in ahead of you since they were waiting.” The sevadar explains that we were not late. I say nothing, but immediately launch into giving him Gobind Sadan materials.
He asks me, “What was your initial impression of Baba Virsa Singh?” I say that such figures are very rare—that the Light has spoken to us in human form only a few times in human history, and I list a few prophets (Jesus, Mohammad, Sikh Gurus, Lord Krishna). “I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to meet and serve this Power directly. I can’t even look at him—in meditation or in person, there is only the Light of God.”
He asks when I first became aware of this Light. I tell him of my near-death experience, in which I first met Maharaj Ji in his invisible form. He wants to know what that Presence was like, and was it a form? “It was a Being, whose nature was absolute, unconditional Love, but it filled the room. It had no boundaries.”
“What was your first impression on meeting Baba Virsa Singh?” he asks. I reply, “It was exactly that same Presence that was with me in the hospital.”
After asking more questions about me and my books, the Commissioner begins to ask questions about himself in roundabout ways. Maharaj inspires me to say that what I see in him is greatness of heart that goes way back into the past and stretches ahead far into the future. That greatness, Maharaj tells him through my mouth, carries with it a great responsibility, for he has come to earth on God’s mission. All the while, the Commissioner’s face and heart have been opening, like a flower.
Eventually, he feels safe enough to hesitantly reveal a mission given to him by Guru Gobind Singh: to write a book about Guru Gobind Singh’s spirituality. I enthusiastically support this idea and urge him to come tell Maharaj about it and take his blessing. Maharaj says that much has been written about Guru Gobind Singh’s battles, but very little about his spirituality.
Then the sevadar tells the Commissioner and his wife story after story of Maharaj’s miracles. When the wife says that she has difficulty in sitting for meditation since her mind wanders, the sevadar tells her that Maharaj says, “You come to class for the first time and immediately expect to be given a PhD? Come to school for 15-18 years, and then maybe the degree will be granted to you. To concentrate the mind is PhD level. Just start, even if it is only for 10-15 minutes a day.”
Time passes. The Commissioner has taken us into his elegant residence, given us tea, and brought in his wife, who then gave us coffee as well. We have had photostats made of Surendra Nath’s Jaap Sahib translation for them, for they have each read it only once since Maharaj told them to. He had given this translation to the Commissioner when they met in Lucknow, but he seems to have misplaced it.
Ultimately we spent two and a half hours with the Commissioner, who never went to his 3:00 meeting. Finally he had to excuse himself at 4:30 for some other engagement. Before we left his office, I asked the Commissioner for his impressions of Maharaj. He said these words into my tape recorder:
“I first met him about five years back. I have had occasions to have his darshan I think 7 or 8 times. The first thing which struck me was an extremely elevated simplicity, if I may say that—extremely elevated simplicity. I would also confess that on occasions, because you know one has what one may call ‘the arrogance of intellect,’ my mind has wondered, ‘How can a person who doesn’t read be so wise?’ But then I very, very quickly realized that was an extremely myopic way of looking at things. His simplicity, and also, I think, a very, very transparent generosity—there was a very largeness of spirit that one saw. Though I would also say that my interaction has been, so far, somewhat perfunctory. I really haven’t had that level of communion to express my true feelings, but I would say that he is an extraordinary individual. He exudes love. His quotations of Gurbani are very relevant to the point that he makes. And all that he says bears the stamp of sincerity. It is so genuine, so that appeals to one.”
All the while—until he had to prepare to go on to his next appointment and redon his public mask—the Commissioner was very open. Before we had left Shiv Sadan, Maharaj said to me, “Some people’s hearts are full of lockers.” I replied the obvious: “But you hold all the keys, Maharaj. You can open all the locks.” And he does.