Note: Some sentences have been edited for better readability. You can listen to the interview here
Rajiv: When did you meet him, in 1978?
Mai: 1978, Yes in November, I think November and at that time Vanaja came one or two months before, Mr Mullarpattan came too because he began to translate, but not regularly. So it is a time when everyone came to just in the beginning.
Rajiv: And you came to India in ?
Mai: I came the first time here in 1978 to Ramanashram.
Rajiv : 1978 only?
Mai: Yes, 1978 and I came in August and I stayed in the Ashram a little bit.
Rajiv: and what brought you to India?
Mai: I read the secret of India, Paul Brunton?
Rajiv: The search in secret India?
Mai: Yes, and in the end they put the address of the ashram, I said I want to work 1 year to help. I met one Canadian lady to whom I said I want to find someone who knows God. I had to go to see Ma(Anandamai Ma) and she said, you stop in Mumbai, I take you to see a sage. I said ok, I am ready to meet. I went to see Maharaj, and I remember very well at 4 o’ clock in the afternoon, I climb up and see people sitting. Maharaj asked, “ where do you come from”, this that, you know because in my heart I love “ Bhagawan”. Bhagwan is my Guru, in my heart. So when you saw another one, you just…..
Rajiv: So, there was nothing happening here? First impression was nothing?
Mai: Nothing. I said I am on my way to see Anandamai for 1 week of Meditation…..Maharaj said- “good, you go, ok”. So, when I left, nothing….so I went to see “Ma” the day after and I went to see ma and I saw ma and in the night I could not sleep. And something in me said, go back to Mumbai, don’t stay, don’t stay here
Rajiv: Where was Ma then?
Rajiv : ok
Mai: So, the day after I just decide just go back to Maharaj and so I went and saw Maharaj and he said, What! What! And I said no Maharaj, I had to be here. So he said ok stay, and I stayed. But with Maharaj, I think it was difficult because the concept of Guru, you know Bhagawan is my Guru, Maharaj is not my guru. But you know we are very human, so we just try to fight inside…
Rajiv: You don’t want to change your loyalty?
Mai: Yes, it’s just, with Maharaj, there is something very strong, I love him but the conflict continued on the time. So whenever I left Maharaj, you know I said, “please allow me to come back, because in my heart I don’t know, shall I go back to Triruvanamallai . Then one day I did Namaste after talk, and I look up, and instead of seeing Maharaj, I saw the mountain!! Really I saw the mountain at Maharaj’s place.
Manpreet: Aurunachal Mountain?
Mai: Yes, Aurunachal Mountain, and that day I said, it’s ok , never fight again, Maharaj and Bhagawan, Same. So I stayed with Maharaj
Rajiv : Wow!
Mai: He is my Guru
Manpreet: Then you got your answer?
Mai: Yes, but no confusion, nothing …no…
Rajiv: You literally say the mountain there?
Mai: I just saw the mountain, and I said the answer is that, but strange now that I talk about that, there is something strange, I saw the mountain clearly, not Maharaj, Mountain!
Rajiv: He used to get angry at all? He used to fire people a lot?
Mai : ohhh , when new people come we love it. because old people we don’t , we just ask questions or sometimes we just sit, no talking.
Rajiv: So when new people came…
Mai: We just very happy because we thought we got new blood…( laughing in the background), new blood so we talk and fight and it’s learning because you know with Maharaj, you had to put questions and answers and not to just sit and Maharaj provoke you to put questions…I love it! I love the way of his teaching, because he just. And sometimes you had questions and if you don’t ask, someone ask the same questions, you had the answer…yes
Rajiv: so there used to lot of fight going on?
Mai: very interesting fight! Very interesting but Maharaj is so strong, so powerful when he destroy you, when he look at you like that, don’t say anything , you just nothing, you gone, so strong but wonderful, but it’s hard, very hard because you go through a lot of things of your concepts of your guru, compare of this and that and Maharaj destroy but there is a lot of joy
Rajiv: Lot of happiness and joy, instead of seriousness
Mai: Yes, and sometimes you left the room you feel light. You have a feeling of floating, so happy. You say why? What it is Maharaj talk. But when you left you said you are grateful because what he said is like a secret, hidden. And he just opens it, simply. No hiding, no secret, no this-that, you had to do nothing. He just shows you what it is. And I feel so grateful, so simple. You know not to make you go through so much hardship. It’s just open. I call it the open secret for me.
Rajiv: He lived a very simple life?
Mai: Yes, but Maharaj is very …ah…he is fire. He’s not quite. Bhagawan is the contrary, love and Bhagawan is..
Mai: Silence and it is different, the personalities. But I think you better ask Mr. and Mrs. Gaitonde and Vanaja and all the Indian person because they understand much better than us.
Rajiv: Like Bhau Shetty , you know who used to be with him all the time.
Mai: oh yes.
Rajiv: 1960’s onwards, 1965 onwards, you talk to him also?
Mai: ah yes,
Rajiv: But everyone adds a different color you know to it?
Rajiv: So everyone’s important, all colors are important
Rajiv: You got angry with him anytime?
Mai: mad at him, no you don’t dare because if you get mad at him, he will throw you out. What you want is to stay, so you be very quiet and you know, because Maharaj, you never know with him. You climb up (where satsang is held) and he would say “you go”. You have to go.
Rajiv: Aacha, he does that?
Mai: So many people crying, because they want to stay and some people come especially for Maharaj, and after 2-3 days, he would say “go”. And people would be like, what, go?
Manpreet: No explanation?
Mai: no explanation, go and sometimes Maharaj would say, “How long are you here”? Oh 5 days- 7 days, he would say, “ ok you can go now”, and people would cry. So with Maharaj you never know. Sometimes, with 15 days he would say, “it is enough, you have to go”. Maharaj knew what is there between him and this person sitting, why he asked him to go, because sometimes you cannot take more. Strange! What Maharaj said, I have some experience but the most difficult is when he asked you to go. People crying and they dont understand
Manpreet: So you never faced as such experience, Maharaj must have told you as well?
Mai: Oh yes, Maharaj asked me once to go because I was not well. I sat in the corner and suddenly he saw me and said, “You have to go? And I said where to go? My home is here, where to go, you know, no I don’t want to go. And Maharaj said “you are not well and you have to see the doctor, so I went to see the doctor
Rajiv: Ok (laughing at the background)
Mai: And he never threw me out (smiling)
Rajiv : never threw you out
Mai: and I never tried, I don’t say anything, quietly …laughs, but you feel very great, every day you come, it’s a joy and twice a day. The early morning it depends, if you come, for some Maharaj would ask them to come, so you have to come and at that time you clean the whole altar and the things. Maharaj was very strict.
Manpreet: Did he ever ask you to come in the morning? How was your experience then?
Mai: Yes, he asked me to come. In the beginning he didn’t ask me to come, but I used to come and see what others would do. Anna, Holly and others were there. They would take down the altar, and Maharaj was very strict. Later he asked me to come. Also, we had to clean the table below the alter?
Rajiv: the silver one?
Mai: Yes, he asked, “you done this”? Yes, I said I did Maharaj. Everything must be really clean, every day. And his bed has to be folded because he sleeps there. So in the morning every day you have to fold the bed and put the way the cushions is …very particular about the way things were. When we used to leave at 12pm, few people would stay and make the bed and unfold it for Maharaj because the room was very small. You had to do this otherwise no place to sit. You fold the bed and you put in the corner and we use the space during Maharaj’s talk and in the night, before leaving unfold the bed. This was done every day. There was one “Holy”, she stayed in the night with Anna to take care of Maharaj in the night. But Holy she took care of Maharaj with Anna, Anna is the old man. But later Holy had to leave, so Maharaj asked another Indian lady, if she can come to take care of Maharaj. However, this lady couldn’t because she used to work so Maharaj asked me to come and do the things.
Yes Maharaj- I said, I try and I came and did things for him.
Rajiv: I think lastly he wasn’t able to walk, I think Vanaja had stayed back for some days. There was one lady who used to take care of him, when he couldn’t walk
Rajiv: It was in the last 5-10-20 days, it was difficult for him to walk?
Mai: Yes, but how to say, I left 4 days before he …..
Rajiv: took Samadhi?
Mai: I had to go, my visa had finished, passport finished and 1 year ticket finished. I had to go
Rajiv: Did you go back to France?
Mai: Yes and Vanaja sent me the telegram the day Maharaj left
Rajiv: Did you cry when you heard it?
Mai: Oh yes, but the day I left Maharaj in the afternoon, I remember he was downstairs and he was lying down and few people were around, massaging him and I just went and said Namaskar, and said time to go and that’s all and I turned and went. Someone told Maharaj, that I will be leaving, my last day, so Maharaj called me back and I came and suddenly Maharaj extend his hand and wanted to shake my hand! I look at his hand. It felt so like a king want to shake his hand with me, like a GOD, it’s just so grateful. I put my right hand and I put on my head and I said Namaskar and I go and it was the last time I saw him.