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(Tantric Bhakta's note: In February or March, 1991, Sadhu Charan Das introduced me to his friend, Baba Sri Pad Maharajji, who was the spiritual leader of Vraj Academy.

Maharajji was also, I found out years later, friends with Beatle George Harrison, and George had not only written about him in the book I, ME, MINE but had also dedicated a song, IT IS HE, JAI SRI KRISHNA, to the Baba, in 1974.)

"Ram Alexander has sent me the following description of

"Ram Alexander has sent me the following description of the passing of this saintly sad- hu:

Sri Pad Baba had been a child yogi often lost within himself in divine mood. He roamed freely around India as a young man filled with God-intoxication. He was closely associ- ated with many holy men and also Anandamayi Ma, who at their first meeting when he was still a boy called him, Chhota Baba, little father. He was particularly drawn to the very young Swiss born Swami Jnanananda (Interview No. 6) who writes movingly and at length about their inseparable early relationship in his inspiring autobiography, "Tran- scendent Journey".

Once on being told that winter was an unsuitable time of the year to pilgrimage to Gangotri as it would be under snow, Sri Pad replied: Real austerity means to be in the hottest place in summer, in the wettest areas during the monsoon, and in cold regions in winter. This was his youthful reasoning typical of his determined temperament. In early middle age Sri Pad became involved with the Vraja Academy which seemed to cramp his original free-wheeling paramahamsa life-style although he continued his ideal of distributing the art of devotion and the preservation of spiritual culture through the subtle charisma of his divine being.

In 1996 he suffered silently from a fatal illness, refused medical treatment, taking water only but meditating most of the day. During his last days he never lay down, and when it was time for him to leave, he remained in the sitting posture. He was 50 years old. His devotees immersed his remains in the River Yamuna at Vrindavan. The river was covered with flowers thrown by chanting devotees in boats. It is said that Baba's face in the sunlight looked beautiful and shone with an ethereal splendour. He had returned home to the River of Love where he had bathed so often for hours on end.

The Academy is now closed, but in the garden some 100 cows are looked after by a Sadhu. "

And here is Beatle George Harrison's tribute to Baba Sripad Maharajji:

"India and in particular my experiences in Brindaban (Vrindavan) inspired me to write It Is He.We went to Brindaban where Krishna lived 4000 years ago. It is one of the holiest cities in India - the whole town is Krishna conscious - everyone, everywhere was chant- ing 'Hare Krishna' and various permutations on that.

It was my most fantastic experience; going to that place was great; Ravi Shankar had arranged somehow that we were to meet Sripad (His Holiness) Maharaj, an ascetic, who spoke some English and who was going to show us around.We arrived there as it weas becoming dusk and somebody ran off to try and find him. It's all so ancient, all these lit- tle streets and old temples. A girl came back and said 'come with us' and we went down to where the river Jamuna used to flow, but now it's changed its course so it's a dry bed.

It was an old Goswami (a spiritual master; one who is in full control of his mind ands senses - Swami means 'teacher' and Go means 'the mind and the senses') 's house we went to. We sat there and had tea and then left after dark.We went off with this man and I didn't know who he was, and we were walking and the more we walked, the more I thought 'God this guy is incredible', everybody was coming up to him, all the time, and touching his feet. He looked like an old beggar; real matted long hair and he wore an old sack robe and had bare feet and all these Swamis with shaved heads and saffron robes were coming and bowing to him and touching his feet.He took us round to every temple in Brindaban and he was known in all of them.

I

was a stiff Westener when we started off, but there was a moment when the atmos-

phere of the place got to me, melting all the bullshit away. I thought about this man a great deal as it became a fantastic, blissful experience for me.Later, they gave us some

rooms and we slept for just a few hours until he came and got us at 4 am to go for the morning Puja (litterally means an offering. It can also mean a temple service as it does here) in the temple. We'd probably only slept for 3 hours but it was the deepest sleep I ever had in my life and all through the sleep I could hear choirs singing.

I still don't know to this day - I don't think it was remples I could hear - I think it was

something else - all through the sleep I was hearing huge heavenly choirs - it was a fan- tastic experience.The next day we went to the garden called Sevakunj famous for Krish- na's 'Lila'. Lila is a pastime, a transcendental activity. (maybe you've seen the pictures of all the Gopis (cowherd girl), the girls, and there's a big ring of them and they've all

got a Krishna each and are dancing in a circle) Krishna always played there; this was the place where he would hang out and dance.

They close this park at sunset until sunrise and nobody's allowed in there at night. The only people who have been in during that time, it has been said, have gone mad or have been found dead. All the birds and animals leave as soon as it's sunset.Inside there is a temple with a big brass bed on the altar, and as each of the different temples depicts a different aspect of Krishna, at this one (because he's been up all night dancing with the Gopis and doesn't get up early), they don't open till about 10am for morning Puja. All the trees, which are so ancient, bow down and the branches touch the ground. Just to walk in that place is incredible.

That morning when we came back from the temple at about 5am, it was still dark, and we sat in a room. Sripad started singing a Bhajan ( a devotional song) to which we all sang the answering part, repeating it over and over. I got blissed out with my eyes shut, and didn't want it to stop, even when I felt I was going to stop, we would keep it going on. In the end when it eventually stopped, the sun was so high; it must have been 9 or 10 in the morning - the time had flown by - fantastic.And so he said to me 'why don't

you make that into a song?'So what I did was take that old chant 'Jai Krishna, Jai Krish- na, Krishna, Jai Krishna, Jai Sri Krishna, Jai Radhe, Jai Radhe, Radhe, Jai Radhe, Jai Sri

Radhe

and then wrote the English words in between the verses.

It Is He was for Sripad Maharaj, a wonderful, humble, Holy man."