Amar Puri Baba forced a smile as I performed my omkars and placed dakshina under his foot. I put my forehead on his feet and I felt his little tap, an espresso hit of shaktipat, where my neck joined my head. And then Kedar Puri walked me over to the tomb and left me there.
Since I couldn’t see anything, I used my sense of touch to locate myself in front of the earth rising in a mound. I performed my omkars and then rested my hands on the grave as if it were Hari Puri’s feet. I repeated my guru mantra and imagined his blessings coming up from the earth below. Hari Puri Baba had been entombed in salt, sitting in samadhi with a rosary of rudraksha seeds in his right hand.
Crickets and other insects buzzed about in the oppressive atmosphere. I had the sense that an unseasonal storm was brewing. “What now, Guru Ji?” I asked out loud.
But it wasn’t the sudden explosion of thunder, nor the crack and flash of the lightning that followed, that startled me. I jumped back when the lightning revealed the ghost of a scowling Hari Puri Baba sitting on a throne. A sharp pain shot through my body as my coccyx connected with the sharp corner of the unfinished brick wall surrounding the tomb. My knees buckled and I fell back with a grunt.
One of Amar Puri’s devotees approached holding a lantern above his head and hung it from a branch. The ghost of Hari Puri Baba was still visible, but now I realized that it was a white marble statue of him.
I told myself to calm down. The wind caused the lantern to flicker, and as it did so Hari Puri appeared to blink his eyes several times, turn his head, and change his expression. I saw anger, happiness, sarcasm, love, and heavenly bliss as one expression morphed into the next.
“I’m trapped in this statue, child,” he said to me inside my head. “Do you think this damn thing looks anything like me?” he asked. “Free me,” he commanded, but I was clearly talking to myself.
I studied the statue. Now its expression was frozen and did not look happy to me. “Should I have another statue made for your tomb?” I asked him.
“Yes, that would be good for starters,” he said.