The question was, how did I first find out about Baba? It really started with,... I would hike across the mountains to Tassajara Hot Springs. I would go with the manager, the co-owner of Esalen, Dick Price. And particularly during the winter practice period, Tassajara was their mountain Zen Center, which belonged to the San Francisco Zen Center. And their guru was Suzuki Roshi. Suzuki Roshi was a truly great man, a great man, great saintly being.


And it was wonderful. I'd sit zazen, but that never really attracted me so much. I just loved being around him, wherever he was. When we went during the winter practice period, because that's the time when the Zen Center is not open to the public. We came from Esalen, and it was fine with them for us to be there and join them in their practice. And I would Rolf these monks that were living there. It was always an amazing experience for me. These guys had so much anger. It was so amazing for me. It was all unexpressed, because they sit for 10 hours a day facing a wall, with their eyes open.


So, I considered my guru as Suzuki Roshi. He wrote a little booklet called, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. Wonderful little aphorisms of Zen practice. I wasn't looking for any other teacher. This was well into my stay at Esalen. Previous to that I had a Jewish background, but there was no real interest in spiritual stuff. It was really Suzuki that got me interested in some sitting. This was maybe 1961 in 1962. No I came to Esalen in 1965. I went to Israel and to Greece in 1962. And then applied from Greece for the first residential program at Esalen. And that was in 1964. In 1965 I was done with that. I ended up staying.


Rolfing came later. Ida Rolf came to Esalen around 67 or 68. When she was doing her first class, she would not accept me, because I was too disfigured, for her. I had to wait until she would do an experimental program, that involved doing a lot of physiological measurements in the hospital, working on the eight or 10 models that she had, and then taking some more tests and pictures. It was a whole trip. She saw me as the ideal model for someone with scoliosis. She was living with me. I've moved out of the house, to let her in. I offered it to her. She came out there to work on Fritz Pearls. Fritz Pearls was the famous curmudgeon who invented gestalt therapy. Then she fell in love with Big Sur. She wanted to stay around, and so she decided to do a class. It didn't work for me, but she stayed in my place. And so I was at Esalen when she was at Esalen. She would drive north of San Francisco, and I would have to drive north of San Francisco. It was over 100 miles to this mental hospital, just to get the Rolfing. It was insane, but it showed my dedication to it.


It was after that time, but before I went off to England for the acupuncture training. It was after my nine-month internship at Esalen. We didn't have any spiritual interests as such. It was all secular. Nevertheless, it was Esalen bringing out a new paradigm into the world about how to live a more successful life. It was then I discovered Suzuki. I took him as my teacher, although I wasn't all that interested in Zen.


And then, one day, I was doing my laundry at the Esalen community laundry facility. I was alone in there, waiting for my clothes to dry. They have a free box there, and people put their stuff in there. Esalen was really a commune. Nobody tried to owned very much, and we all shared everything. And we never watched television, and we never listened to radio, and we never saw movies or newspapers. And we were doing our own thing, it was that kind of a place. It was all very advanced, really experimental. Lots of different kinds of it psychological programs. I can talk to you about that sometime, it was really fascinating, some of the things that we would do. That we experimented with.


I'm waiting for my clothes to dry, and I reach into the free box for and find a book. The cover had been torn off. I sort of scanned through it. It appeared to be a series of talks, speeches, that had been recorded by this person called Sathya Sai Baba. It said, Sathya Sai Speaks volume 2. It sounded like an Indian guru, and I was just leafing through it. A lot of the words I couldn't understand, but it was obviously talking about something Indian. Occasionally some interesting few sentences also. And so, I'm just scanning through it, but I didn't have much interest in it. Until I suddenly saw the word "Chinese."


This happened after I had gone to England and studied Chinese medicine.


Also, by way of background, when I was 17 I joined the Army at the very end of the war, they sent me to Korea. I was part of the American forces that were disarming the Japanese. We divided Korea and half, with the Russians coming down to the 30th parallel, and we went up to the 30th parallel. That was South and North Korea at that time.


It was before the Korean War. The Korean War happened some four or five years later after I got there. During the time that I was there -- I was in Korea for three years -- they needed some people in Shanghai. There was an American army contingent in Shanghai, and also in Japan. Gen. MacArthur was the head guy in Japan, and brought democracy back to Japan. So, I was sent to China, and spent some time in Shanghai. It was grand, it was just wonderful. But, Shanghai was about to fall to the red Chinese, to Mao Tse-tung. It was still under Chiang Kai-shek, who was head of Nationalist China. The Nationalists went to Taiwan, some two weeks after we left there. After we pulled out, the Chinese Communists came in.


Towards the latter part of my being there, it was just turmoil. People knowing that there was going to be a major shift in government and moving into communist government. Before that it was a very open port, and lots of things were happening in Shanghai. There were more loose women in Shanghai, than probably any other part of the world. There was more money in Shanghai than even in Hong Kong. It was just a major transit center for many people and money things.


I found myself, when I got there, interested in learning more about China. I was guided to the Nei Ching, or "Canon of Internal Medicine," and the Tao Te Ching, the I Ching, all these Chings, which are the ancient wisdom teachings of China. Particularly the Taoist teachings. I'm saying this all by the way of background, to tell you where my head was that.


And so, I'm certainly not interested in an Indian teacher, but I'm looking through the book, and I see the word "Chinese." So I wonder, what does this man have to say about the Chinese. And he's reporting, it was obviously his birthday, because he just said, "that you've all come for my birthday." So it's obviously November 23rd, 1962. And in the fall of 1962, we had the Cuban missile crisis. Which was a major thing for all of us. Particularly for me, because I was part of the Defense Department's effort, at that time, to create ballistic missiles, and missile programs. I was very much aware of some of the targeting that we used, against the Soviet forces.


At that time, we were within 20 or 25 minutes close to a total nuclear annihilation. There were 700 or 800 planes, SAC Strategic Air Force planes in the air, with huge bombs. Each one of their nuclear weapons was between 200 and 500 times the size of the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. They were ready to fly against the Russians invading Berlin, and overrunning Europe. And we had all these missiles also, we had the Atlas and the Titan and the Minuteman missiles which were all intercontinental ballistic missiles. We had all those in place. Many of them were in protected silos. And so, if we were going to bomb Cuba, and the Russians would send off some missiles against us, we were ready to launch over 1000 missiles. It would have been a total gehanna, annihilation.


So I was very much aware of that, and in the middle of the Cuban missile crisis, the Chinese Communists invaded India. It was sort of a border war, but they went deep inside India. Some 30 or 40 miles into India. They overwhelmed the Indian forces, and they could've gone all the way to Delhi. They were in the Indus Plain. As if Kennedy didn't have enough to do, now he would have to deal with China invading India as well.


But India was not really our partner. They were really friends with the Soviets, more than the Americans. Nevertheless, it was a big deal at that time. And so I was aware of all that. Here this Indian guru is saying that you're all very worried about the Chinese. The Chinese, as you know, have invaded our motherland. Many of our sons have fallen. But, realize, that my birthday will not be spoiled by any bad news. In fact it will be rewarded by very happy news. The Chinese can do India and no harm, because India has Krishna on its side. Wherever there is Krishna, there will be victory. And so, already the trumpets of victory will have sounded.


I'm paraphrasing what Swami said. It was something like that.


I was amazed that somebody gave himself a birthday present by claiming he's going to get this whole Chinese army of a quarter million or half 1 million men out of his country? And then I looked on the next page, which was given the day after birthday and he said, "By now you will all know, that by November 22 midnight, the last Chinese soldier was out of India. Man is impelled forward by the asuric Shakti, by the demonic, and the divine will pick him up by the neck and throw him out. And so, we've had definitely and positively good news."


I was reading this, and I was just amazed. Who is this guy, Sai Baba? Now, the funny thing was that this very day, it was a Friday, after months of all kinds of negotiations, we got this Englishman who had been under house arrest in China, which was at this point under the rule of the Chinese Communists.


His name was John Blofeld, Professor Blofeld. He had written many books on Taoist philosophy. We had sent a ticket from Esalen, to him, in China. They gave him a visa and they let him leave, and that very day he was coming to Esalen, to Big Sur. He had arrived at San Francisco. He had an overnight in San Francisco and he came down to Big Sur. He was going to do a workshop that weekend, on Taoist teachings. I planned to go to it.


That first evening he was giving a little bit of a talk on China, on what China was like. He had lived in China for years and years. The Chinese Communists during the Cultural Revolution weren't so happy with him, and he had been under house arrest. Blofeld said that in the West we consider the Chinese as inscrutable. We just cannot understand how they think and what they're about. But you have to realize that the Chinese are deeply enmeshed in their own culture, in their historic culture. And he said that even at the top government places, and among the people running the Army, they will not make a move unless they check with their holy books, such as the I Ching, and the Nei Ching. (21:55, 9:57am)


And so, let me give you an example, he said. In 1962, this is 1968 or so or 1969. In 1962 the Chinese invaded India, and they came in great force. And then, one night, completely inexplicably, they were at the height of their success, their whole army just withdrew back across to China, without having gained anything by their invasion. They didn't get a change in the border, nothing happened. It just couldn't be understood in the West. Why did they do that? Why did they suddenly decide to withdraw?


And he said, "Look in the I Ching." So he pulled out the I Ching, and said we'll look at the quatrain number 63 or something. And he read off something about how the wise man, when he is winning, when he is at the height of his success, always steps back and sharpens his tools. Some sort of silliness by Western minds. He said, this is how the Chinese think. And so, they made their mark, everybody knew their power and what they could do, and they just pulled back.


And I said, "Prof. Blofeld, there is another possibility for what happened. If you allow me, I'm just going to run over to the laundry place and find a book that I read today. It was in the free box." So I got the book, and I showed him, and I said "Just read these paragraphs, and then look on the next page, and read these paragraphs." He was sort of a red-faced Englishman, and his eyes got very big, and he was just reading, and he reads the other thing.


He said, "We think the Chinese are inscrutable. But the Indians are inexplicable. And if you get the Chinese and the Indians together, it's all totally incomprehensible."


I said, "it appears to be like that." So that made a mark on me. This Sai Baba is something to remember, I will find out more about him. So the next time I had a chance -- I didn't get to LA very often -- I found out there was a Hollywood Center. I went to the sidebar the center. It seems so strange to me. I couldn't quite get too involved with it. But nevertheless, he was an interesting man, like that.


One day, a woman comes up to me at Esalen, who was in another workshop. And she says, "I heard that you are a pilot. I'm going to be here for a while with my friend who I'm doing the workshop with. Can we go flying together? Let me tell you, that I'm also a pilot. I have a twin engine license. I grew up as part of the Greek monarchy." She was in the palace, I never really understood all of that. Obviously she was an American. She was in the palace. I had met the Queen in Athens when I gave my talk there, some years earlier. She talked of Queen Helena sufficiently to get me to believe that it must be so, that she was an instrument rated twin-engine pilot. And she says that she misses her flying and, "Could we go somewheres?"


I said, "But the little plane I have is just a little bitty thing."


She said, "No, no, no. We will go and rent a real high-class plane. I've got money.


"Fine, let's go."


And so, on a blustery, December day, we went to Monterey airport, and we rented this fast plane with retractable landing gear, and all the complex instruments, and stuff I didn't know half of what was on there. Oxygen, and it was quite a plane. I never even found out how much it was. She was taking care of it. "Fine, we'll just go and tour around a little bit, and maybe go to the Sierras," which are about 100 Miles off. The Sierra Nevada's are always very dramatic. You can fly quite low in those days, now it's prohibited, but you could fly quite low, over the big trees. And then these gorgeous emerald colored lakes up in the high mountains. And the glaciers. It's grand. And to take off from the coast, and spend 15 to 20 minutes up in the air, and then come back, for a 2 1/2 hour ride, it seemed ideal. I was happy to do it.


So we rented the plane, and flew up. I was flying. I was in the left-hand seat which is the pilot seat, and then she was in the other seat alongside. It had two more seats in the back, but but there was just the two of us. And I had been checked out and the plane, so I knew enough about the instruments that they would let me fly.


It was the first time I've flown in a plane with retractable landing gear. It was new stuff for me. It was exciting, I enjoyed it. In original flight training I had learned about it, but I never really had a chance to try it.


So we went flying off towards the Sierras. They are these grand mountains, literally like a tapestry, these huge mountains in front of us. But, what was also happening, was these tremendous clouds going up to 50,000 feet, coming in behind those mountains. And all this lightning, shooting back and forth between big clouds. It was high lightning, sheet lightning, not coming down. So, all this is going on. And it was fascinating. And we could always turn back, we could fly faster than the weather could come in, I figured. We could turn back to the coast if the weather got bad. We hadn't checked the weather, and we hadn't filed a flight plan, which is illegal. But it was just going to be a local flight, and normally you don't need to do a flight plan.


What we didn't realize, was that we were at the center of the storm, almost like an oasis of clear air. There was sort of a big hole in the clouds that were forming all around us. There were literally clouds forming in that area. We could still see ahead of us, but behind us it was socking in.


And so, when it got very turbulent, I said to her, "I think we better get out of this. Just get home." And tried to turn around, but, turning around we were already in the weather, and we had to go on instruments. And there were these tremendous updrafts. I've never experienced anything like that before. I had to put the plane into a dive, and I was still going up. We were going up from about 8000 feet or so up to about 20,000 feet. We needed to get out the oxygen, there's not much air at that altitude. I couldn't get the oxygen to work as I was busy flying, but still trying to get the oxygen masks happening. It wasn't working to try to pull down the masks. And so, I said to her, "I think you are the instrument is it her it him her her him her him her you you him you are pilot among us, you better take over. And we've got to get down." (10:32AM, 32:33)


And she was slumped on the seat in the corner. I'm shaking her, and I can't see any breath. I can't see any life in her. I have no idea if she's alive or dead. She passed out. She was obviously unconscious, but I didn't even know what was happening to her. She had been drinking the night before, and you just can't go up that high after drinking alcohol. I had lived at a high altitude before, and so I was a bit more adjusted to it.


And so, now I was on my own. That was my experience for the next three hours, four hours almost, just trying to stay alive in the storm. It was a storm that happens in California about every eight or nine years. It was one of the worst of them. Just to give you a sense of the ferocity of that storm, when we finally got back to Monterey, over a mile of Highway One was in the sea. You could not go south from Monterey. You had to go across the mountains, way down south and come up from the backside to get to Esalen. It took almost a year before they could repair the highway. But it was that kind of a storm.


And so here's this little tiny plane in that storm. And of course the first thing I did was ask for help. "Mayday, Mayday, aircraft in distress." No response. I tried different emergency frequencies, that I remembered. I didn't know that much. But nobody responded. And there was so much electrical activity all around. There was just lightening all over the place, and occasionally it would hit a wing. You don't have to worry in a plane about lightning, it just goes on. But, nevertheless it's incredibly dramatic when it happens.


It was very very turbulent. I had my shoulder strap on, not just the seatbelt, but the shoulder strap, because if I just even moved the controls a little bit, the plane would capture a differential wind, and would sort of go off on that side. So it was really a test of flying skills, and it was way beyond me. And I didn't know how I could survive this thing.


At some place along the line, a back window blew out, and there was all the noise of that back window blowing out. There was a sleet storm that we flew through. Then the ailerons, which are what you use to level the plane -- actually the rest of the wing is aluminum, but the ailerons on that plane were some sort of fabric. And the fabric was actually peeling off. And so it took more and more turn of the wheel to stabilize the plane. I was concerned about the rudder in the back. Because there was a line going to the router, and to the elevators in the back that was coming apart. You know you have a horizontal surface and a vertical surface, and you have controls on both of them. Those lines were 100 steel strands wound into a long cable. The cable was made up of individual strands. And so every once in a while, from this continuous movement, there would be a, "Sproing!" And you would lose a strand. Not unlike playing on a violin and one of the strings would go.


It was very dramatic, hair-raising. I had no idea where I was. I wasn't navigating, I couldn't use the navigation equipment. I never even thought of that when we took the plane from Monterey. We thought we were going to fly a visual flight. And so I never even thought of having to know where you are. In those days, there was no GPS, it was all done with radio signals. You had to keep track. I didn't have any ability to take care of that.


And so wherever I was, the storm was just continuing, it had gotten a little bit better towards the end. But I wore out. And the plane was worn out, and we were running out of gas. The gas gauge was bouncing on empty. I knew I'd have to make an emergency landing. It was like a little toy boat in the surf, that kids play with.


I had been calling, "Mayday, Mayday!" About every 15 or 20 minutes, and there was no response. By now, that there was so much noise in the cockpit from the window broken that that I couldn't even hear anything if they did come on, I thought, because the speakers were in the back wall. There were seats in front of it. I didn't have a headset on. I use the speakers in the cabin. And the microphone was on the panel in the front. It was a separate microphone that sits on a holder on the panel. I would pick that up and call, "Mayday, Mayday" and try some frequencies on the radio. But I could hear the noise of the radio, and not any results. So I put the microphone back on the panel.


I'm running out of gas, and I figure I better pull back on the power, so that I would have a little bit of gas left if I have to make an emergency landing. And, if there was a tree in front of me, or rock, I would need to avoid it. I assumed I was over the mountains, but I had no idea. I had flown some flights before, looking for people who are down in the mountains. Rarely does anybody survive those things. You can't really make an emergency landing in the mountains. But you can always try. There's some meadows up there. And so, you tried. And what's more, there's so little air on top of the mountains, that you have to go pretty fast to keep the airplane from stalling. If you have no power, you have to be diving. And so, you have to pull up, at the right moment, in the end. And then the plane flops down, hopefully on the dirt. It's a very difficult situation.


And so, I'm set up for that. I just pulled back, so the thing is coming down in altitude. I was just saying, "Please God," and that must've been the first time I thought of God since I was last a kid in cheder or something. I had become a scientist, I never thought of God. "Please God, I don't want to die. Please help, I don't want to die." (10:57am, 42:12)


It couldn't have been more than 30 seconds after that, that this voice, very clearly came on the radio. "Aircraft in distress, can you hear me? Aircraft in distress, can you hear me?"


This angel has come. It was just so surprising, to suddenly hear a voice after three hours or more. I go to take the microphone off the panel. In the turbulence, the microphone had gotten dislodged. And I saw it down there, wrapped around the rudder pedals. I still had rudder movement, but it was down there, underneath. So, I released the shoulder harness to bend down, and almost immediately the plane went on its back. It didn't quite. And because I had released the shoulder harness I was almost dangling from the lap belt. So I immediately got it back, and I knew that there was no way I could get to that microphone.


So here's this call coming out of nowhere. Of course, I had no idea what anybody could do to help me at this point. I had no power, no gas left, no petrol. Nevertheless, I tried to just fly the plane level, knowing that hopefully I'll come out of the soup at sometime when I could still see something. Maybe I could make an emergency landing.


And this voice came right back on again, and said "Aircraft in distress. You need not answer. If you can hear my transmission, turn 90° to the right, and then immediately come back to your present heading." So that was something I could do, and I did that. I turned it to the right, and back. He said, "I have you in sight, don't worry. I'll bring you in safely into a nearby airport." And then he gave me this continuous instructions on what to do. He said, "You are heading for a bad cell in the storm. You have to go around it. I want you to use your throttle and go to three quarters power." Three quarters power? I mean, I didn't have any gas. You can go to three quarters throttle with no gas, with that bouncing on empty. And I didn't know how much reserves there was in there, probably not any at this point. But he was just so firm about doing this, that I just gave it the gas. And the plane picked up speed and picked up altitude again.


And he gave me some directions on how fast the fly, and at what altitude to fly. But they were kind of directions you give to a kid who had never flown before, and that found himself in an airplane. He would say, "On your gauge, which is the speed gauge, go where the yellow meets the green." That kind of talk. "And on the altitude meter, fly where the two dials lineup, 10,000 feet." That kind of talk. And it was just great for me, because I was worn out.


And so, I did is said, and he kept on this constant communication. He said, "You're flying over eastern Nevada." Eastern Nevada was 400 miles away. How did I get there? "I'm going to take you into an airport. I'll just vector you in, to the airport." It sounded like a ground controller who was very, very kind and considerate and compassionate.


I did like he said. He kept saying, "Don't worry, don't worry. You'll be okay." It was very encouraging. After about 10 minutes of this--it was a long time when you don't have any gas, I think it must've been around 10 minutes--he said, "Pullback on your throttle and set yourself up for a descent."


He told me how and where to fly to in altitude, and he said, "Just stay on your present course, and you'll find in three or four minutes you will come out of the overcast. You will be lined up with the runway in the distance. If you can call them on the radio, declare an emergency. Go straight in." Which is unusual. Normally you don't do a straight-in approach. If you're in a foreign airport,  so-called, one that you haven't been to before, you're supposed to make one turnaround, go around once. "Just fly in, and goodbye, and good luck.” He said, “My voice will now be fading out, with this transmission, and that will be the end of it, but you’ll be fine. Keep going." 11:17AM, 48:36


(Editing since 12:09 pm, now 12:22, 48:43


And so, it was just like he said, I didn't hear from him again. A few minutes later, I suddenly came out of the clouds. I was just dazzled by all this white. The world was white. While I was up there, it had snowed. It was solid white, and the sun was shining. And the reflection from the ground was dazzling. Off in the distance, over the nose of the plane, I could see what appeared to be a landing strip.


By this point, there was no turbulence and I could release the belts. With my foot, and reaching down, I could undo the microphone. I called the tower and announced myself and declared an emergency. And the tower operator said, "Where did you come from? How did you get here? I said, "Well, I've got to land, I'm low on gas."


He gave me the clearance for an immediate landing. He said, "Boy, you can thank God that you're alive." He said, "This airport was closed." This guy was so surprised, he was talking to me on the radio. He said, "This airport was closed just 10 minutes ago." So when that voice came on the radio, the airport was closed. And I guess, the storm just blew by for a time.


They sent a Jeep out with a snowplow in front of it, to make a few passes down the runway. It was just a small airport. There was a lot of snow. That snow plow was still at the other end of the runway when I came along. The tower man had to tell him to stay off the runway so that this plane could land.


And I'm coming in, and at the last moment I see that there was a clearing on the runway. I didn't have to land on snow. So I put the wheels down. That's a 10 or 15 or $20,000 decision, whether you land flat on the snow. Because if you land with wheels on the deep snow, you ground, and it can blow up on you. You sort of pancake it. But that's a big decision on an expensive airplane. I put the wheels down and landed. It wasn't a very good landing. I bounced a little bit. And this gal, who I hadn't even thought about for a long time suddenly says, "What happened?" She's alive! She's back among the living. It was such a drama.


Coming down to the end of the runway, I just started pulling off the runway, and the swirl of snow, just like the storm came back again. With his big swirl of snow, I couldn't see anything, and all you can do is just get the wings turned around. So that you're into this wind that was suddenly happening. Because otherwise it would pick up a wing, and we would be on our backs. I just got it around, and then, blup, blup, blup, the last drop of gas. Now, later on, we knew it was Swami, and it's sort of his signature. Everything goes to the last second. But the synchronicity of that was just amazing. We literally ran out of gas, right there on the runway, and that Jeep came in and told me into the tower area.


We were there for, I think three days, two or three days. There was a motel nearby. It was horrible. It was just kind of an out-of-the-way place. I didn't like this lady at all. And so I didn't want anything to do with her. And I thought she was a fake anyway. She said she was a pilot but she never showed any sign of it. She had the hots for me. And I didn't want anything to do with her.


Maybe it was two days later. We got out to the airport, and the plane was filled with snow. We got a mechanic to replace the cable and the ailerons. He didn't have anything else to do there were no other planes flying.


The storm came back again. Nevertheless there was a break for us. So when there was a break in the storm, we just took off. We headed south. We couldn't go back west, to the coast, there would've been no way because of the weather, all around us. But it was clear going to the south. And she said, why don't we go to Mexico? That's 1000 miles away. Why don't we go to Mexico? I know of a yoga Academy there, where we could stay at. In Tacati, Mexico, I think it's about 80 or 90 or 100 you didn't need passports to go to Mexico. Miles from the coast in Mexico, over the border.


And so we flew down to Imperial, California, which was nearby. We rented an old car, and drove to Tecati. In those days, you didn't need passports to go to Mexico. You needed a driver's license.


So we went, it was all one big adventure at this point. I was on Esalen time, which means you're open to anything.


This is Indra Devi's place, at her center. It was dark at that point. We looked around, and wondered, where are the people? It was a big house, and the front door was unlocked. It was ajar. We went through the front door, and there was nobody inside. We kept walking, and we saw a big hall, where there were a lot of yoga mats. And obviously there had been some people there, you could see some cups and things and personal stuff that people had to do their practice. But there weren't any people. So we kept looking around to see if anybody was around.


We noticed at the far end of the hall, there was one of these glass doors, frosted glass. There was a light moving. You could see a light moving through the frosted glass. We went there, and opened it up. There must've been 30 or 35 people, in the air. They were doing the aarati at that moment. And one person was waving the camphor lamp, in front of a picture that they had. And then turning around, and everybody took some of the light.


I looked at the picture, and the picture was just so strange. The eyes, you could just see the circle around the sides. And that was it, of the picture. All the rest of it was covered with dust. And good heavens, they're worshiping somebody up there, but they don't even bother to clean off the picture? We were just looking in, and somebody opens the door. Somebody took an envelope, and went out and collected the dust. And then passed it around to everybody, and everybody put some of it in their mouth. It was so strange.


This woman, she came around to us, where we were standing by the door and offered, "Here, have some of this." What was happening to me, because I was just worn out from all of this to begin with, I'm just looking at those eyes. I'm a scientist, and I'm not usually amazed at things. Even there, I wasn't particularly awestruck by any of this. But something about those eyes, they just really moved me. I didn't know who this person was, but something was very powerful in just looking at them.


And I had some idea that this had some relation to that voice over the Nevada desert. It was obviously a ground controller. I didn't mention, that when I got back to file a report about how you happened to be there. The airport just opened, and along came this little plane. Where did it come from? I said, "Well, there was a ground controller that vectored us here."


He said, "There are no ground controllers. There are no air traffic controllers anywhere near here." He said, "How could they even have seen you?"


I said, "Well, he saw me. He must've had a radar."


"There are no radars. This is a huge Indian reservation here, going for 100 miles." He said, "There's nothing out there." He said, "I don't know how you got here. But somebody is caring for you, not something that we know about." He said, "Anyway, you don't have a transponder aboard. They can't really see you unless you have a radar transponder." Probably the plane had it, but I didn't turn anything on. I didn't know anything about it, or where it was. There was no radars anyplace nearby.


And so I inquired of one of the people in Tecati, "Who's the picture there?"


And they said, "This is Sai Baba.”


I said, "I know all about Sai Baba. He's the one who threw the Chinese out of India." That was the connection, with the book. They asked, "How did you get here?"


I told them a little bit of the story. How we got lost in the storm, and this voice came on. They said, "It had to be Baba. It just had to be Baba."


So, now it was, go see him. It took another year or two before I got to India. When I got to India, the warden of the Brindavan boy’s college hostel came up to me. He found me, he said you must be Al Drucker. I said, “Yes.”


He said, “Would you kindly write an account, of how Baba saved you in that airplane over the mountains?”


I said, “How do you know about that? I haven't talked about that.”


He said, “Baba told us. We go in there in the evening, and one time, He said, “I've just saved this American who was flying around for his pleasure. Up there over the mountains. And I had to go and do my duty.”


He said, “Would you write this story?” (1:02:40, 1:11 pm.)


(11:00 am 1:02:40) And so I wrote this story for the monthly magazine of the Brindavan college. Or maybe it wasn't a monthly, maybe it was for a yearly thing that they do for Baba's birthday.


So, that was how I came to Swami, years earlier. Then I came back with Indra Devi. I join her group for Maha Sivarathri, one February. That's when Wilma was on the flight also. We got there towards the end, close to Maha Sivarathri. Swami was having a big meeting in the Poornachandra Auditorium. There must have been close to 100,000 people at the ashram. The Poornachandra holds about 35,000 or 40,000 people. But all the doors, the garage doors were open. The people were outside, it was very thick with people. These were mostly Indians. There were very few westerners in these days. And so, they were all sitting on top of each other.


Indra had arranged with the office that we could come inside the auditorium. We had permission to be inside and towards the front. When we got there there was no way to get to the places we were supposed to sit, because of all these people crowded together.


On the men's side, there were four or five of us in the group. The seva dals got behind us, and they pushed. We were stepping on people, and there was no room. Nevertheless, they kept pushing from behind us. They would say, "Sai Ram, Sai Ram.”


Of course the people were facing away from us, we were coming from behind. At first they were jolted by it and little bit surprised, but then they would turn around and they would see a bunch of westerners coming, and make room. And they were also going, "Sai Ram, Sai Ram.” And to me, because I was still jetlagged, and the numbers of people in India, starting at the Bombay airport and then here, the big crowds. Suddenly I felt I was back in Nazi Germany. And this was the Hitler youth in behind us. And these people were saying, "zig heil, zig heil, zig heil." It was a remarkable déjà vu for me.


And when we got inside, there were these massive flags, there must've been 100 flags. I guess they were flags of all the countries that had bothered to vote tees, or that had Indians living there. But there were all these flags up there on the platform. There were these banners around the back, "Today, India will lead the world." Al, you will have to insert the German words, this program won't let me, and I don't know the spelling besides. "Today, Germany, tomorrow the world."


And then there was a big picture of swami, hanging from the ceiling, right over his table, or desk. And carved on the table is the swastika. Behind the table, they set up a floral gate that Baba would walk through. And it says on it, "Work is worship." Al, you will have to insert the German words. On every concentration camp, "Work will make you free." The Nazis used that. You could see it in Auschwitz. Or Treblinka, Buchenwald, or any of those places. And who else would sit under his own picture, but Adolf Hitler.


It was amazing to me. And then Swami came through, and there's this tremendous upwelling of emotional outburst. Swami is here. The only thing like that I'd ever seen was among the Germans when Hitler came to our town. Everything reminded me of Nazi Germany. I felt like I was in the wrong place. Is there anyway I can get out of here?


And then Swami started giving his discourse. And the first thing he said, was "You are all Aryans in my army." You can look up the talk and see exactly what he said. Aryans are the noble race. They are what the Germans called the "..." the noble race.


It was a remarkable experience for me. And then Swami had the bhajans afterwards. He went and sat in this chair that was set up for him. And on the bottom of the chair, it said "SS". Sathya Sai. Of course for me, it all made sense, it was all consistent with my experience.


But Baba said something during that talk, which never left me. He said the bird of liberation flies on two wings. Viveka and Vairagya. Separating the real from the unreal, the truth from the untruth is the single most important thing that you can do. You have to constantly look around, and see if you see anything true. And if it isn't true, then it's untrue. And you have to deny it's truth. Because then it's untrue. He said if you do that long enough, you will free that one wing. He said, you can't fly with one wing, you need two wings. And so, the second wing, and he was quoting Shankara, "Brahma, Sathya, Jagat, Mithya".


Of course, I didn't know what it meant, but I had a little piece of paper with me, and I wrote it down. "Brahma, Sathya, Jagat, Mithya." Brahma, the ultimate, God, is true, Sathya. Jagat, the world, is Mithya. It is neither true nor untrue. It is a combination of both. It is essentially not true. It has truth within it, but it is also mostly not real. But then, Shankara said, but, the reality is that Jagat, the world, is Brahman, is God. It was 180° from what just got said. The world is not real, God is real. But, the world is God. So, that's the two wings, that you need to fly. And so, that's never left me.


It was a very important breakthrough for me spiritually. Viveka is discrimination, Vairagya is detachment. What you detach from, is the idea that anything can exist without God. There is no existence but God. So, the world itself, if you think of the world, has to be God because all there is, is God. There is something superimposed on it but that doesn't change what it is. Then, you fly off. That is the bird of liberation. It goes to the mansion of liberation.


And he also said if you want sweet water you've got to dig deep. Diamonds don't grow on trees. You've got to dig for them. You can go around the field and make 100 shallow holes, but none of them will give you water. You've got to go deep. He said, come and investigate this avatar. Come close, because you will not discover truth by looking from afar.


There were a number of things like that. I was very perceptive. I was very keyed up. "..." "The walls have ears". That was the thing in Germany. And so you have to constantly pay attention to everything. I was very vigilant, which of course is one of the teachings. To be hypervigilant everything. That's the CIA.


So, they put me into a room with a little Indian man. He was a very poor man. He had a little bath on the floor. I was surprised. I was told that we would be with some westerners in a room. But, I was put into this room. There was a little straw mat on the floor. And the little valise, it looked cheap and poor. And there was this man, this little guy, older than me by a maybe 15 or 20 years. He was an older man. And, he obviously didn't speak English. The rest of the room was empty. And like the other Westerners with all their baggage, I was coming with all my stuff.


I took the other portion of the room, and we nodded hello. Sai Ram. This went on for two days. He would sweep up every morning, and clean the bathroom. I didn't have to do anything. I figured he was probably some villager. On the third day, I'm getting up in the morning to go to Darshan. He says, "Excuse me, brother. There will not be any darshan today."


I said, "You speak English?" It was a total surprise to me.


He said, "Oh yes." He spoke this very fine, Queen's English. A British accented English.


I said, "What's happening?"


He said, "Baba went to Anantapur, to visit the girls college. They are building a new building there. He will be back this afternoon for darshan.


I said, "Oh, great. Then, will you sit down and tell me your story?" This is remarkable. His parents were both killed during that time when a lot of Indians protested against the British. They were part of an event in some stadium, and the British came in with tanks and submachine guns, and then killed over 1000 people. So, he lost his parents, and he was orphaned at that time. He was raised in Mahatma Gandhi's ashram. He was a Gandhi person. He went to school there, and he went to college even in India.


The ashram decided to send him to England for his postgraduate work. This is a villager, who had woven his own cloth. This was before the war. He he went to the London School of Economics. It was a fine school, and he was doing his PhD dissertation. When the war broke out, all communication with India was lost and his funds were cut off.


He had to get several jobs. He had a job as a waiter that went late into the night. It is room was on the seventh floor of a building in a London slum, a garret apartment. He said, "As soon as I got into bed, and did a little bit of work on my dissertation, the air raid sirens would go off. I had to get down into the shelter with all the screaming people and kids." He said, "I was just going crazy. I could keep it together. To hold these jobs, and do my work in a foreign country. It was just hard."


One night, the air raid sirens went off. He said, "We had heavy curtains on the windows anyway. No light would've shone through. I just turned off all lights, and climbed into bed. The Germans never hit our area anyway. They were going after that part of London."


He was in his bed, trying to get to sleep, when he heard someone coming up the steps outside and in the hall. It was this clunk clunk clunk going up, and then a heavy knock on the door. "Open up! I know you're in there. Open up!"


So he got out of bed and opened the door. He said, this big helmeted air raid warden shown his torch into my face. He said, "You heard the air raids sirens. You have to come down into the shelter."


I said, "Can I put some clothes on?"


He said, "There's no time." And he just pulled him in his pajamas out of the room. He was sort of clambering down the steps following this big man, going two or three steps at a time, and he was trying to keep up. Down below, just immediately next-door was the shelter entrance and the air raid warden just pushed him into the shelter and close the steel doors. The warden stayed on the outside. He said, then there was this massive explosion. It was almost within seconds or minutes of him getting into the shelter. He was so embarrassed, being in his pajamas. There was this big explosion, and then there were no lights, and people screaming. It took almost 2 days he said, for them to dig us out.


When he got out, there was just the frame of the first two or three stories of the building still standing. It was sort of got it. His place was gone. He said, that worked and saved my life. And he undoubtedly died, because the explosion came soon after, and the warden was on the outside. And so he always felt badly because he had caused the death of this person.


And so, years later, he gets his PhD from the London School of Economics. He is given a job with the central government of India. He works his way up to becoming a minister in the central government. He went to Madras on official business. He said the governor, and the chief Minister, all came to the airport. He said when somebody, a high official of the central government comes, they all turn out. It's the courtesy of greeting someone who has come to a state that normally doesn't have that kind of attention.


And so they were in this convoy of cars, with the police chief in front. Going from the airport to the Government House, in Madras. Suddenly, the whole cavalcade of cars got slowed down, and there were just so many people in the streets. And he turned to the chief Minister, who was sitting next to him and said, "What's going on?"


And the man said, "A guru, not from these parts, from Telugu country, Andhra Pradesh has come, and when he comes, about 1 million people show up. There's going to be a talk in a park nearby here, and it's about this time. There's going to be a lot of foot traffic. We'll just be moving very slowly through it."


"And who's the guru?"


"Sai Baba."


“Of course, in the north, we've heard of Sai Baba. We knew that he died in 1918, and the word is that he had come back.” The short of it is that... one of the seva dals, of Baba's people had come to the limousine where he was sitting. He knocked on the window, and this man rolled down the window. The seva dal said, "Are you Sri Gokhale?"




"Sai Baba is calling for you. We you please come with me."


"Calling for me?"


"Yes, he's calling for you. Come with me."


He was just so intimidated by that, that he told the governor and others in the car, that "I'm going there." They all decided to go there. And so the whole party walked off to this meeting place. They went up on the stage. Baba showed up, his car actually drove up. Bob comes straight to this man and says "Ah, good that you have come. I've been waiting for you."


"You've been waiting for me? You know me?"


"Know you? Do you remember the air raid warden?"


"The air raid warden? The war with Pakistan?" Then he remembered, when he was a young man in London, during the blitz, the air raid warden who saved his life.


Baba said, "I was the air raid warden. I came up to save your life. And I have saved you many times since then." And he mentioned one thing that happened during the last war with Pakistan. This man had an official car, and he was driving it, and the car went off the road, and tumbled down the mountain. He and his wife were in the car, and they were thrown clear. They walked away, and that car was just a ball of steel. He couldn't even get his wife's purse out, it was so mangled. And Baba told him about that time, when he saved his life. He said I have saved your life many times. So now, you will come and be with me. You will retire. You don't need to do any more with this government. You come and be with me, and live with me and my ashram. And so he said, here I am. I've been here a number of years. And I'm very very happy. And so immediately, I put it together with my experience with the SS Colonel.>


"Know you? Do you remember the air raid warden?"


"The air raid warden? The war with Pakistan?" Then he remembered, when he was a young man in London, during the blitz, the air raid warden who saved his life.


Baba said, "I was the air raid warden. I came up to save your life. And I have saved you many times since then." And he mentioned one thing that happened during the last war with Pakistan. This man had an official car, and he was driving it, and the car went off the road, and tumbled down the mountain. He and his wife were in the car, and they were thrown clear. They walked away, and that car was just a ball of steel. He couldn't even get his wife's purse out, it was so mangled.


And Baba told him about that time, when he saved his life. He said I have saved your life many times. So now, you will come and be with me. You will retire. You don't need to do any more with this government. You come and be with me, and live with me and my ashram. And so he said, here I am. I've been here a number of years. And I'm very, very happy. And so immediately, I put it together with my experience with the SS Colonel. And so, Baba takes care of his devotees. I didn’t know I was a devotee at the time.


That’s the introduction to Baba.