After I gave up school, the first job I took in the Ashram was as an electrician. My boss, Bula-da, came from Calcutta. There he had been a professor. He was a distant relative of C.R. Das, the great politician. When he came to the Ashram, the Mother told him to go and study electricity. He was at that time forty-five years old. So at that age he had to study electricity.
Once he told us something very funny. One day he was summoned to Sri Aurobindo's room. Sri Aurobindo had a kind of table fan. Sri Aurobindo said to Bula-da, "Is there no way, no way at all, to reduce the speed?" Bula-da saw that the fan was going at the highest speed. With such compassion and affection, he told us, "My Guru did not know that you can have different speeds!" Then he showed Sri Aurobindo how to lower the speed.
This was my first boss. When I came to America, he used to pray every evening to Sri Aurobindo. What for? For me to get the Nobel Prize in literature. He said, "If you get it, it will help both the Ashram and you."
One day Bula-da sent me to the main power house to deliver a message. It was about two and a half miles away, so I went there by bicycle. In the Ashram, some bicycles were kept for the workers; they were common bicycles.
I cycled to my destination. When I arrived, I locked up the bicycle and took the key out of the lock. I entered into the power house and gave the gentleman in charge the written message from Bula-da. After ten minutes, everything was settled and I was about to start the return journey. I tried to open the lock using the same key, but the lock would not open. With this kind of lock, you had to insert the key, then press something. It would click and then lock. For opening, again you had to use the key and press something.
For half an hour I tried so hard to open the lock! I tried in every human way, but it would not open. Other people saw that I was having difficulty and they came to assist me, but they also could not open it.
Now I was in serious trouble because of this stupid lock. If I could not open it, I would have to start walking two and a half miles back to the Ashram, or else I would have to take a rickshaw. I did not know what to do. I could easily have left the bicycle there and come back with a locksmith to break the lock open. But I did not want to break it.
Many years before, when I was thirteen, during my meditation, I entered into the very high consciousness of the Mother and She said to me, "Whenever you are in trouble, serious trouble, just invoke me. I will be there to help you."
Now I was in trouble. So I said to myself, "Let me see if what the Mother told me is my mental hallucination or if She really told me She would help me." So I said to the Mother in the inner world, "You told me that whenever I am in trouble, if I invoke You, You will come to my rescue. Now where are You?"
The Mother replied in the inner world, "Did you invoke me?"
I said, "I am now invoking You."
Believe it or not, I did not even put the key properly inside the lock. I put it just a little inside, and it opened up! It did not go the whole way—I did not turn it even—and the lock was completely unlocked. So the Mother's promise to me was not my mental hallucination.
First I was struggling and struggling. Then, when I completely surrendered to the Mother, it just opened. This is what is called "kept promise". Such faith I had in the Mother! Again, if the lock had not opened, the human mind will say that Her promise to me was all my mental hallucination. Outwardly, the Divine Mother did not make that promise. The second thing is that I could have become angry if She failed to keep Her promise. The third thing is that I could have said, "The Divine Mother has far more important things to do than opening up a lock. Why should She be responsible for my bad luck? This kind of thing is so unimportant."
But it stopped there; the lock did open. Some spiritual Masters promise to their disciples that whenever the disciples are in trouble, they have only to invoke the Master and he will come. Babaji is one of those. And these Masters do appear, covering hundreds of miles in their subtle body.
Babaji's story I am sure you know. Babaji said to his dear disciple, Lahiri Mahashoy, "Whenever you are in serious trouble, just invoke me and I will appear." Babaji was at that time in the Himalayan caves. Soon afterwards, he asked Lahiri Mahashoy to return home to his family. Lahiri Mahashoy was on his way home and he stayed with some friends on the plain in Bihar. They were talking about spirituality. Lahiri Mahashoy's friends were expressing doubts about the occult powers of the present-day spiritual Masters.
Lahiri Mahashoy said, "There are Masters today who do have occult power. I can bring one here right now from the Himalayas." Everybody laughed. This happened in the evening. Then Lahiri Mahashoy asked his friends to leave the room and he began to invoke Babaji most soulfully. Babaji came in his subtle body because he had given his disciple the promise. Lahiri Mahashoy's friends did not know who it was. Babaji's face was very unfamiliar to them. They said, "Who is this sadhu?" When Lahiri Mahashoy explained to them that it was his Master Babaji, these same friends were so proud of Lahiri Mahashoy that he could bring his Master from the Himalayas. But Babaji was furious with his disciple. "This kind of fun you are having? You have to prove to people who are not at all spiritual, people who are undivine, that you can do this?" he said. Then he continued scolding his disciple mercilessly. Finally, he said, "From now on, I will never come to you at your request. I shall come to see you only whenever I feel like it."
Lahiri Mahashoy and his friends had been eating papadams or something like that. Before he left to return to the Himalayas, Babaji also ate a papadam and enjoyed it.
After that incident, Babaji started coming to Lahiri Mahashoy only when he wanted to see his dearest disciple. But his compassion was such that, after some time, he broke his own iron rule and he did come to see Lahiri Mahashoy whenever Lahiri Mahashoy invoked him.