The Heart of the Matter
November 17, 2015
Popping the Question

3046926.jpgWhen I was 24, I received Knowledge from Prem Rawat, known at that time as Maharaji. It was, you might say, an initiation, a direct experience of the life force inside me, what exists beyond identity -- who we are behind the daily drama of our lives and all our seeming differences. The highest common denominator. Home, sweet home. The beginning and end of all journeys. The source!

Yes, I got a peek under the Big Top and felt as good as I could imagine a human being could feel. Doubts? Fears? Worries? Gone beyond beyond. If I was an Olympic diver at that moment in time, it would have been a perfect 10. No splash. No waves. Nothing but net as they say in the NBA. Perfect. Everything was perfect. And if anything wasn't perfect, that was perfect too. Questions? I didn't have any. None.

Except for one.

You see, at that time, I was in the third year of a relationship with a woman I loved -- a woman I imagined was going to be my wife within a year or two. But after receiving Knowledge and really getting into it, I started wondering whether marriage, for me, was the right thing to do. Doubts started creeping into my mind. Questions began bubbling up. Would marriage be a distraction? Would I end up "stuck in maya", "off the path", or otherwise screw up the beautiful opportunity to deeply explore the experience that Maharaji had shown me?

Hands of Light.jpg

Confounded, I began asking Maharaji's "senior students" -- people I assumed were wiser than me. But nobody knew. Though each person was extremely effusive in their responses, everyone gave me a different answer, fully confident they had just resolved my confusion.

Nothing at all having clarified, it dawned on me that there was only one person I could ask and that was Maharaji himself. Yes, of course! But...um...er... I had no idea how to get to him, me being from the boonies, knowing no one close to him, having no clue about the proper protocols, and was literally out to sea, living on an island as I was at the time.

Still the question burned inside me. Somehow, I HAD to find him. I had to ask my question.

So when I found out, a few weeks later, that he was going to be speaking at an event at Hunter College in New York City, I decided to make the six-hour journey from my home on Martha's Vineyard with the woman in question and three of my friends.

Maharaji, that night, as always, was a total delight -- uplifting, inspiring, funny, and deep. An absolute breath of fresh air.

When his talk was over and the hall emptied out, I find myself standing in the middle of the street, when a complete stranger walks over to me, and in a very quiet voice, tells me exactly where Maharaji is going to be the next day and when -- an estate in Old Westbury. Then he walks away.

My heart is pounding. I can't believe my good fortune.

When my girlfriend and the rest of my friends find me, I tell them the good news, but they just look at me as if I'm insane.

"I can't believe you believe that," one of them says. "Do you know how many rumors are flying around the place? You just can't believe anyone who walks up to you on the street. We're going back home, dude. You ready?"

Ready? Yes, I was. But for something other than going back the way I came.

So I went about my business of finding a ride to the home I grew up in, which, as fate would have it, was just five miles from where Maharaji was supposed to be the following day.

When I got to my childhood house, later that night, I knocked on the door, fully expecting my parents to answer, but no one was home. So I did the only thing that made sense -- walk around to the back of the house to my old bedroom and jiggle the window like I used to every time I forgot my key. Voila! The window opened. I hoisted myself up, let myself in, and slept in my old bed. In the morning, I let myself out the front door, and hitched to the address the guy gave me last night on the street in front of Hunter College.

When I arrived, the place was buzzing with 75 people also hoping to see Maharaji. For a few hours, we sang songs, walked around, played frisbee, and waited, craning our necks every few minutes in the direction of the house where he was staying.

And then, maybe three hours later, someone starts rolling out a long red carpet on the manicured lawn, someone else trailing along behind and carrying the most beautiful chair I had ever seen. This could only mean one thing -- Maharaji would soon be on his way. And he was. Fifteen minutes later, this 14-year old boy starts making his way to the chair now positioned just 20 feet from where I'm sitting.

He sits, smiles, surveys the crowd, and asks if there are any questions.

But I do not raise my hand, ruled by the thought that my question is absurd. Meanwhile, Maharaji is responding to pretty much anyone who raises their hand, continuing to ask "Are there any more questions?"

Finally, I raise my hand.

"Maharaji," I blurt, "can a devotee be married and still be a devotee?"

He throws his head back, his whole body shaking with laughter, then he snaps his head forward as if shooting some kind of invisible arrow in my direction.

"Look," he says. "Even Lord Ram was a husband and a father of seven. I care about your soul. I don't care about your body. Your body can be anywhere. Next!"

Simple. So simple. Everything was so simple. And spacious. Very spacious.

Maharaji was not telling me what to do. Nor was he telling me what not to do. He was just speaking the truth -- the kind of truth around which everything revolves. This wasn't about right and wrong. This wasn't about good or bad. This wasn't about philosophy, spirituality, karma, lifestyle, religion, or decision making. This was about the experience of being fully alive, the off-the-grid, totally free, unhinged, unhampered, whirling dervish sweet spot of pure and perfect presence.

Pressure off, drama diffused, my question answered far beyond the place I was asking it from, I ended up choosing to get married. The marriage lasted four years. Then I took a 16-year break and got married a second time. That marriage is in its 24th year. My relationship with Maharaji, now known as Prem Rawat, is entering it's 44th year.

If I had a bottle of champagne at this precise moment in time I would pop the cork and pour a drink for everyone -- the guy on the street in front of Hunter College, my friends who drove back to Martha's Vineyard without me, Ram, his children, my parents, whoever left the window open to my old bedroom, both wives, my kids, you, your wives, husbands, children, and friends with all their questions and everyone else on planet earth who has ever longed to experience something timeless and pure.

Hey, with all those people, I'm guessing the bottle I'll be pouring from better be a big one. No worries. It is. Actually, it's beyond big. It's infinite.

May the bubbles tickle your nose. May our glasses clink in space. May we laugh for a billion years. And no matter what shape our life takes or who we share it with, may we enjoy it to the max. Here. Now. In this moment.

What Question.jpg

One minute video

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at November 17, 2015 04:48 PM

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Remember me?


Welcome to Mitch Ditkoff's blog about what's really important in this life: Peace, gratitude, love, joy, clarity, and the effort required to wake up and smell the roses. Enjoy!

   Contact me   
© MITCH DITKOFF