Article selection from “Nanga Baba of Gwalior”, by M.B.V. | Note by H.P.B.
“In a corner of the parade ground of Maharaja Scindia’s force, there lived an ascetic called . . . “Nanga Baba.” . . . He (Nanga Baba) had a few flowering plants set out about his cottage. . . .
“Every now and then the holy man was waited upon by . . . Sobha Singh sowar [who] used to go unnoticed every night with a mussuk (goat skin) full of water to irrigate the plants attached to the hermitage. . . . The Baba knew well Sobha Singh’s devotion, but in order that no one might suspect that he possessed psychic powers, he used to ask his waiters-on—“Who irrigates my plants every night?” . . .
“One night as the sowar was as usual watering the plants, Nanaga Baba, simply to unveil the matter and to properly repay Sobha Sing’s services, came out of his cottage and said—“Who is among my plants disturbing them in the peace of the night?” Sobha Singh, as if thunder-struck, sat down quietly where he was . . .”
[Sobha Singh then stayed with the Baba, in “a peculiar state of mind” for the night, a full day and another night. When the Baba said he should return to his duties, Sobha was afraid that he would be punished for having not seen to his duties the previous day.]
[Sobha Singh returned to his duty, and] “as he entered he asked his joridar [Dalel Singh] . . . what had happened in his absence . . . Dalel Singh was astonished at the question. Calling him a maniac, he said that scarcely an hour had passed since his (Sobha’s) return from his duty . . . Sobha Singh found that something had happened during his absence, and attributed it to the hidden powers of Nanga Baba.
[Soon after] “Sobha Singh became a perfect ascetic by a single glance of Nanga Baba of Gwalior . . .”
Will any of your learned correspondents kindly answer a query suggested by the above narrative, viz.—What was the person or form that appeared and performed the duty for Sobha Singh? By what name may we call this wonderful phenomenon?1
1. By the name Kama Rupa or Mayavi Rupa. An Aryan ought not to need ask that. We know of a case in Europe, related to us by the gentleman himself, where a man was in a trance or semi-trance state for thirty-six hours—one day and two nights. During this interval he appeared—or seemed to appear—at College as usual and continued a lecture he had begun the previous day; taking up the thread exactly where it had been dropped. The gentleman would not believe his pupils’ assurances of this fact until they showed him the note-books in which as customary, they had preserved memoranda of the College lectures to which they listened. Who can tell whether the teacher, who lectured while the gentleman was unconscious, was his physical body, animated by another intelligence, or his Mayavi Rupa, or “double,” acting independently of the consciousness of his physical brain? And this very gentleman, to whom this number will be sent, will, we promise, be mightily interested in the guard-mounting story of Sobha Singh.—ED. [H.P.B.]