Legacy YM

Chapter 5 - A "Perfume Saint" Displays His Wonders

40

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."

I did not have this wisdom of Solomon to comfort me; I gazed searchingly about me, on any excursion
from home, for the face of my destined guru. But my path did not cross his own until after the
completion of my high school studies.

Two years elapsed between my flight with Amar toward the Himalayas, and the great day of Sri
Yukteswar's arrival into my life. During that interim I met a number of sagesthe "Perfume Saint," the
"Tiger Swami," Nagendra Nath Bhaduri, Master Mahasaya, and the famous Bengali scientist, Jagadis
Chandra Bose.

My encounter with the "Perfume Saint" had two preambles, one harmonious and the other humorous.

"God is simple. Everything else is complex. Do not seek absolute values in the relative world of
nature."

These philosophical finalities gently entered my ear as I stood silently before a
temple image of Kali. Turning, I confronted a tall man whose garb, or lack of it, revealed him a
wandering sadhu.

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"You have indeed penetrated the bewilderment of my thoughts!" I smiled gratefully. "The confusion of
benign and terrible aspects in nature, as symbolized by Kali1, has
puzzled wiser heads than mine!"

"Few there be who solve her mystery! Good and evil is the challenging riddle which life places
sphinxlike before every intelligence. Attempting no solution, most men pay forfeit with their lives,
penalty now even as in the days of Thebes. Here and there, a towering lonely figure never cries defeat.
From the maya2 of duality he plucks the cleaveless truth of
unity."

"You speak with conviction, sir."

"I have long exercised an honest introspection, the exquisitely painful approach to wisdom.
Self-scrutiny, relentless observance of one's thoughts, is a stark and shattering experience. It
pulverizes the stoutest ego. But true self-analysis mathematically operates to produce seers. The way
of 'self-expression,' individual acknowledgments, results in egotists, sure of the right to their
private interpretations of God and the universe."

"Truth humbly retires, no doubt, before such arrogant originality." I was enjoying the discussion.

"Man can understand no eternal verity until he has freed himself from pretensions. The human mind,
bared to a centuried slime, is teeming with repulsive life of countless world-delusions. Struggles of
the battlefields pale into insignificance here, when man first contends with inward enemies! No mortal
foes these, to be overcome by harrowing array of might! Omnipresent, unresting, pursuing man even in
sleep, subtly equipped with a miasmic weapon, these soldiers of ignorant lusts seek to slay us all.
Thoughtless is the man who buries his ideals, surrendering to the common fate. Can he seem other than
impotent, wooden, ignominious?"

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"Respected Sir, have you no sympathy for the bewildered masses?"

The sage was silent for a moment, then answered obliquely.

"To love both the invisible God, Repository of All Virtues, and visible man, apparently possessed of
none, is often baffling! But ingenuity is equal to the maze. Inner research soon exposes a unity in all
human mindsthe stalwart kinship of selfish motive. In one sense at least, the brotherhood of man stands
revealed. An aghast humility follows this leveling discovery. It ripens into compassion for one's
fellows, blind to the healing potencies of the soul awaiting exploration."

"The saints of every age, sir, have felt like yourself for the sorrows of the world."

"Only the shallow man loses responsiveness to the woes of others' lives, as he sinks into narrow
suffering of his own." The sadhu's austere face was noticeably softened. "The one who practices
a scalpel self-dissection will know an expansion of universal pity. Release is given him from the
deafening demands of his ego. The love of God flowers on such soil. The creature finally turns to his
Creator, if for no other reason than to ask in anguish: 'Why, Lord, why?' By ignoble whips of pain, man
is driven at last into the Infinite Presence, whose beauty alone should lure him."

The sage and I were present in Calcutta's Kalighat Temple, whither I had gone to view its famed
magnificence. With a sweeping gesture, my chance companion dismissed the ornate dignity.

"Bricks and mortar sing us no audible tune; the heart opens only to the human chant of being."

We strolled to the inviting sunshine at the entrance, where throngs of devotees were
passing to and fro.

"You are young." The sage surveyed me thoughtfully. "India too is young. The ancient rishis
3 laid down ineradicable patterns of spiritual living. Their hoary
dictums suffice for this day and land. Not outmoded, not unsophisticated against the guiles of
materialism, the disciplinary precepts mold India still. By millenniumsmore than embarrassed scholars
care to compute!the skeptic Time has validated Vedic worth. Take it for your heritage."

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As I was reverently bidding farewell to the eloquent sadhu, he revealed a clairvoyant
perception:

"After you leave here today, an unusual experience will come your way."

I quitted the temple precincts and wandered along aimlessly. Turning a corner, I ran into an old
acquaintanceone of those long-winded fellows whose conversational powers ignore time and embrace
eternity.

"I will let you go in a very short while, if you will tell me all that has happened during the six
years of our separation."

"What a paradox! I must leave you now."

But he held me by the hand, forcing out tidbits of information. He was like a ravenous wolf, I thought
in amusement; the longer I spoke, the more hungrily he sniffed for news. Inwardly I petitioned the
Goddess Kali to devise a graceful means of escape.

My companion left me abruptly. I sighed with relief and doubled my pace, dreading any relapse into the
garrulous fever. Hearing rapid footsteps behind me, I quickened my speed. I dared not look back. But
with a bound, the youth rejoined me, jovially clasping my shoulder.

"I forgot to tell you of Gandha Baba (Perfume Saint), who is gracing yonder house." He pointed to a
dwelling a few yards distant. "Do meet him; he is interesting. You may have an unusual experience.
Good-by," and he actually left me.

The similarly worded prediction of the sadhu at Kalighat Temple flashed to my mind. Definitely
intrigued, I entered the house and was ushered into a commodious parlor. A crowd of people were
sitting, Orient-wise, here and there on a thick orange-colored carpet. An awed whisper reached my ear:

"Behold Gandha Baba on the leopard skin. He can give the natural perfume of any flower to a scentless
one, or revive a wilted blossom, or make a person's skin exude delightful fragrance."

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I looked directly at the saint; his quick gaze rested on mine. He was plump and bearded, with dark skin and large, gleaming eyes.

"Son, I am glad to see you. Say what you want. Would you like some perfume?"

"What for?" I thought his remark rather childish.

"To experience the miraculous way of enjoying perfumes."

"Harnessing God to make odors?"

"What of it? God makes perfume anyway."

"Yes, but He fashions frail bottles of petals for fresh use and discard. Can you materialize flowers?"

"I materialize perfumes, little friend."

"Then scent factories will go out of business."

"I will permit them to keep their trade! My own purpose is to demonstrate the power of God."

"Sir, is it necessary to prove God? Isn't He performing miracles in everything, everywhere?"

"Yes, but we too should manifest some of His infinite creative variety."

"How long did it take to master your art?"

"Twelve years."

"For manufacturing scents by astral means! It seems, my honored saint, you have been wasting a dozen years for fragrances which you can obtain with a few rupees from a florist's shop."

"Perfumes fade with flowers."

"Perfumes fade with death. Why should I desire that which pleases the body only?"

"Mr. Philosopher, you please my mind. Now, stretch forth your right hand." He made a gesture of blessing.

I was a few feet away from Gandha Baba; no one else was near enough to contact my body. I extended my hand, which the yogi did not touch.

"What perfume do you want?"

"Rose."

"Be it so."

To my great surprise, the charming fragrance of rose was wafted strongly from the center of my palm. I smilingly took a large white scentless flower from a near-by vase.

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"Can this odorless blossom be permeated with jasmine?"

"Be it so."

A jasmine fragrance instantly shot from the petals. I thanked the wonder-worker and seated myself by
one of his students. He informed me that Gandha Baba, whose proper name was Vishudhananda, had learned
many astonishing yoga secrets from a master in Tibet. The Tibetan yogi, I was assured, had attained the
age of over a thousand years.

"His disciple Gandha Baba does not always perform his perfume-feats in the simple verbal manner you
have just witnessed." The student spoke with obvious pride in his master. "His procedure differs
widely, to accord with diversity in temperaments. He is marvelous! Many members of the Calcutta
intelligentsia are among his followers."

I inwardly resolved not to add myself to their number. A guru too literally "marvelous" was not to my
liking. With polite thanks to Gandha Baba, I departed. Sauntering home, I reflected on the three varied
encounters the day had brought forth.

My sister Uma met me as I entered our Gurpar Road door.

"You are getting quite stylish, using perfumes!"

Without a word, I motioned her to smell my hand.

"What an attractive rose fragrance! It is unusually strong!"

Thinking it was "strongly unusual," I silently placed the astrally scented blossom under her nostrils.

"Oh, I love jasmine!" She seized the flower. A ludicrous bafflement passed over her face as she
repeatedly sniffed the odor of jasmine from a type of flower she well knew to be scentless. Her
reactions disarmed my suspicion that Gandha Baba had induced an auto-suggestive state whereby I alone
could detect the fragrances.

Later I heard from a friend, Alakananda, that the "Perfume Saint" had a power which I wish were
possessed by the starving millions of Asia and, today, of Europe as well.

"I was present with a hundred other guests at Gandha Baba's home in Burdwan,"
Alakananda told me. "It was a gala occasion. Because the yogi was reputed to have the power of
extracting objects out of thin air, I laughingly requested him to materialize some out-of-season
tangerines. Immediately the luchis4 which were present on
all the banana-leaf plates became puffed up. Each of the bread-envelopes proved to contain a peeled
tangerine. I bit into my own with some trepidation, but found it delicious."

46

Years later I understood by inner realization how Gandha Baba accomplished his materializations. The
method, alas! is beyond the reach of the world's hungry hordes.

The different sensory stimuli to which man reactstactual, visual, gustatory, auditory, and olfactoryare
produced by vibratory variations in electrons and protons. The vibrations in turn are regulated by
"lifetrons," subtle life forces or finer-than-atomic energies intelligently charged with the five
distinctive sensory idea-substances.

Gandha Baba, tuning himself with the cosmic force by certain yogic practices, was able
to guide the lifetrons to rearrange their vibratory structure and objectivize the desired result. His
perfume, fruit and other miracles were actual materializations of mundane vibrations, and not inner
sensations hypnotically produced.5

Performances of miracles such as shown by the "Perfume Saint" are spectacular but spiritually useless.
Having little purpose beyond entertainment, they are digressions from a serious search for God.

Hypnotism has been used by physicians in minor operations as a sort of psychical chloroform for persons
who might be endangered by an anesthetic. But a hypnotic state is harmful to those often subjected to
it; a negative psychological effect ensues which in time deranges the brain cells. Hypnotism is
trespass into the territory of another's consciousness. Its temporary phenomena have nothing in common
with the miracles performed by men of divine realization. Awake in God, true saints effect changes in
this dream-world by means of a will harmoniously attuned to the Creative Cosmic Dreamer.

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Ostentatious display of unusual powers are decried by masters. The Persian mystic, Abu Said, once
laughed at certain fakirs who were proud of their miraculous powers over water, air, and space.

"A frog is also at home in the water!" Abu Said pointed out in gentle scorn. "The crow and the vulture
easily fly in the air; the Devil is simultaneously present in the East and in the West! A true man is
he who dwells in righteousness among his fellow men, who buys and sells, yet is never for a single
instant forgetful of God!" On another occasion the great Persian teacher gave his views on the
religious life thus: "To lay aside what you have in your head (selfish desires and ambitions); to
freely bestow what you have in your hand; and never to flinch from the blows of adversity!"

48

Neither the impartial sage at Kalighat Temple nor the Tibetan-trained yogi had satisfied my yearning
for a guru. My heart needed no tutor for its recognitions, and cried its own "Bravos!" the more
resoundingly because unoften summoned from silence. When I finally met my master, he taught me by
sublimity of example alone the measure of a true man.


Chapter1 - My Parents and Early Life
Chapter2 - My Mother's Death and the Mystic Amulet
Chapter3 - The Saint With Two Bodies
Chapter4 - My Interrupted Flight Toward the Himalayas
Chapter5 - A "Perfume Saint" Displays His Wonders
Chapter6 - The Tiger Swami
Chapter7 - The Levitating Saint
Chapter8 - India's Great Scientist, J.C. Bose
Chapter9 - The Blissful Devotee and His Cosmic Romance
Chapter10 - I Meet My Master, Sri Yukteswar
Chapter11 - Two Penniless Boys in Brindaban
Chapter12 - Years in My Master's Hermitage
Chapter13 - The Sleepless Saint
Chapter14 - An Experience in Cosmic Consciousness
Chapter15 - The Cauliflower Robbery
Chapter16 - Outwitting the Stars
Chapter17 - Sasi and the Three Sapphires
Chapter18 - A Mohammedan Wonder-Worker
Chapter19 - My Master, in Calcutta, Appears in Serampore
Chapter20 - We Do Not Visit Kashmir
Chapter21 - We Visit Kashmir
Chapter22 - The Heart of a Stone Image
Chapter23 - I Receive My University Degree
Chapter24 - I Become a Monk of the Swami Order
Chapter25 - Brother Ananta and Sister Nalini
Chapter26 - The Science of Kriya Yoga
Chapter27 - Founding a Yoga School in Ranchi
Chapter28 - Kashi, Reborn and Rediscovered
Chapter29 - Rabindranath Tagore and I Compare Schools
Chapter30 - The Law of Miracles
Chapter31 - An Interview with the Sacred Mother
Chapter32 - Rama is Raised From the Dead
Chapter33 - Babaji, the Yogi-Christ of Modern India
Chapter34 - Materializing a Palace in the Himalaya
Chapter35 - The Christlike Life of Lahiri Mahasaya
Chapter36 - Babaji's Interest in the West
Chapter37 - I Go to America
Chapter38 - Luther Burbank -- A Saint Amidst the Roses
Chapter39 - Therese Neumann, the Catholic Stigmatist
Chapter40 - I Return to India
Chapter41 - An Idyll in South India
Chapter42 - Last Days With My Guru
Chapter43 - The Resurrection of Sri Yukteswar
Chapter44 - With Mahatma Gandhi in Wardha
Chapter45 - The Bengali "Joy-Permeated" Mother
Chapter46 - The Woman Yogi Who Never Eats
Chapter47 - I Return to the West
Chapter48 - At Encinitas in California
Chapter49 - The Years - 1940 - 1951

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