The young Prem Rawat was obsessed with flying planes. He enjoys flying and hates rubbing shoulders with the hoi polloi in airport terminals so much that it has moved him to poetry (or at any rate to doggerel) and inspired him to get really passionate in his speeches about flying an aeroplane and then follow up with lame protestations that really there is nothing as valuable as for example "experiencing the energy that is keeping me alive." In August 1972 even though his small group of followers in England were so short of money that he had to live in their rented house he took the first opportunity to learn to fly.
INTO THE AIR
On wings of love
It was August 1972 and there he stood, totally radiant in his Indian whites, in the doorway to his room on the second floor of Woodside Avenue in London with my wife Linda and I before him.
"So you're a pilot."
"Yes, Maharaji. I'm an instructor pilot."
"Does that mean you could teach me to fly?"
"Can you get an airplane," "Yes, Maharaji."
"Can you get one tomorrow?" "Yes. Maharaji."
And so it began in those wonderful English fall days of 1972. My heart would jump for joy and pulse would race as he would drive into Leavesden airport with Peter Lee and Bihari. Off we would go, bouncing down a grass runway and then into the air to Leicester to see the premies, or Cranfield to see an airplane for sale, or just to enjoy the thrill of flying.
Those days will remain forever etched in my memory. The beautiful fall days, the joy of sharing my passion for flying, and most all Maharaji, always smiling, always eager to learn, and always filling my heart with joy.
Of course, the wonderful days and years continued. The airplanes got bigger and faster as the engines changed from one to two and then from piston to jet. Maharaji got more and more pilot ratings and became more proficient in more types of airplanes than those who had the incredible grace to instruct him.
But some things always stayed constant. Maharaji's presence in an aircraft cockpit is like no other. Not only does he easily wear the command and authority of a seasoned captain with grace and style, but he does so with a love, compassion and radiant joy that could only come from one who has given such a perfect gift. And the other constant was that everywhere we went, we arrived into a sea of smiling faces of all nations and places.
All service is wonderful but I will always claim the service I was allowed to do to be the best, because I was able in my small way to assist Maharaji in doing what he loves best: spreading his wonderful gift throughout the world and seeing his premies on wings of love
To go with you on board the chartered jumbo jet for two months to India was never a choice for me. I knew I was going.
To find Maharaji in the early seventies was a miracle. I was totally lost and completely disillusioned. I knew this world had nothing left to give me, and at the age of 20 I had tried it all. When you speak of a child's heart with its innocence and enthusiasm for each new day, this is what you gave to me. I moved from an outgrown "old life" like a snake shedding its skin and with ease I found myself at the airport with you.
When you went on the escalator to the departure gate so did 350 premies. The escalator broke down and you walked up. You sat on a seat at the top of the escalator and we all tried to sit at your feet. Eventually we somehow made it to a departure lounge, you sat down and a cluster of 350 people settled around you.
Hardly anything was said but whenever you smiled ripples of laughter spread out. No one wanted to board the plane. We just wanted to bathe in your beauty. The call to board was ignored and we sat in wonderment and joy. Only with your encouragement did we board. This was my first flight and I never went on another quite like it. India was bizarre, the airport was like a cattle market. To say the least it was wild. We were greeted by the smiling faces of the Indian premies. They garlanded us and said "Jai Sat Chit Anand". This was the only communication. "Jai Sat Chit Anand," smiles over and over again. We then arrived at the tent city at Ram Lila grounds. I thought this was where we were supposed to be for the next two months. I accepted it all; I had no idea where I was going, what I was to learn or experience.
I had experienced my Master and all was well. India was so very strange, spices in the tea, off-white strange smelling bread and salt that was grey, not to mention the toilet arrangements. I realized all those pop festivals I went to were advanced training. Nothing was familiar, only Knowledge. Even time had disappeared. I went to sleep when it was dark and awoke when the sun came up.
I was so very fortunate to spend that time with you. Watching thousands upon thousands talking with you, playing with you, listening to you, being part of your fantasy birthday celebrations. Playing with fireworks, watching you drench premies by the big water tank in Prem Nagar.
I was and am so fortunate and so happy. You gave me back my innocence. You gave to me the feeling of extreme joy and bliss. You gave me my heart. Thank You.
"I have brought something very
beautiful, extremely beautiful. I
have brought this thing from a part
of the world. And this thing is so
fantastic, this thing is so beautiful
that it makes you realize the aim of
your human life, your original aim,
why you came into this world,
Maharaji, November 1971, Central Hall, Westminster, England.