Michelle York here,
I have been posting to this blog of 'words
heard' by Guruji for quite some time now. I decided to put down some
things I remember about Guruji..I will continue to post them as they
This photograph by JohnPaul Douglas
down a dusty road in Haradwar, on our way to the Ganges River, 2 Indian
men were walking behind Guruji..they said to each other in Hindi, "Look
at that fool...Painted on!" (referring to the tattoo on the back of
Gurujis' head)..Not knowing that Guruji spoke and understood
Hindi..Guruji asked me to go to the food vendor and get a cup of
water..Guruji went to the men and pored the water over his head, rubbed
it and said in Hindi, "Painted on? I don't think so!" Whenever we saw
the men again they were very respectful and offered their pranams to
I was sitting in the backseat of the
van that we used to travel in when we were in India. We went through a
small town and had to stop momentarily for the traffic. Across the
street (a very wide street) a well-dressed Indian man was standing,
eating at a food stall..He had his food just about at his mouth when he
caught a glimpse of Guruji in the front seat of the van...the food
stayed there in his hand while his mouth was wide-open in astonishment
at what he was seeing.
When Guruji took
Sanyas in India the Pundits who performed the ceremony said to him
afterwards.."Oh Swamiji, how are you going to go back to America and
live..You have done something so powerful this taking of Sanyas.
find it so hard to believe that in 25 years of traveling the planet
only 2 people have ever asked Guruji about the tattoos on his
forehead..or why he did it. One girl said, "Oh, I would never ask him
about them..they seem so personal." His response when he heard this was,
"If they were personal, I would have tattooed them on my ass!" A great
man, one evening..walked across the street from where we were sitting
and asked if he could shake his hand and said, "I am so glad to see you
walking around on this planet." Me, I would have chased after him when I
saw him and asked him things like, "What do the tattoos mean? (They
must be very special & important for you to tattoo them on your
forehead for everyone to see.) Why did you do it? How do you live with
that?" But that's just me..
Once we were listening to a 'shock
jock' on the radio..(This was about 20 years ago..before computers and
we have never had a TV.) He was interviewing someone who was talking
about how committed he was to whatever it was he was committed to..The
'shock jock' said to the guy, "That's bullshit!..If you were really
committed to it you would have tattooed it on your forehead!!..
Guruji & I were in Australia last time we met an old friend of
Gurujis' that hadn't seen him in a long, long time..Discussions went on
late into the night and the old friend said to Guruji, "But you can't be
the Guru..You don't fit the mold!" "Exactly, that's right, I don't."
was the reply.