The Theosophical Society in America


by Alice O. Howell

Originally printed in the Fall 2010 issue of Quest magazine. 
Citation: Howell, Alice O.."Dadaji." Quest  98. 4 (Fall 2010): 153, 159.

alice howellDadaji was the most exceptional Hindu I ever met, and you will just have to take my word for the incredible feats I am about to relate. His real name was Roy Chauderi. He lived the life of a simple householder. He was married, and in India he ran a small toy store. But once a year there would be a special ceremony where, in the presence of hundreds, he would transform milk into an edible solid substance.

            Though I  went to India twice, I never made it to Calcutta, where he lived. We met him in Ventura, California, in 1982. There was a meeting of Indians in a private home. There were only four Caucasians present. We sat in a ring and he gave a lecture. He didn't sound very special, just a dark wavy headed man, but as we bid him good night, he drew me down and whispered, "Come back tomorrow morning early." So, I did. He drew me into a private room and we had a spiritual conversation. Although we'd never met before, it was as if we were continuing where we left off the last time. Then he asked me if I would like to know the name of God? I was to move to another room. 

            This room turned out to be the host's baby's nursery. Besides the crib, Dadaji had a small altar with flowers, fruit, a small oil lamp and a few small ornamental bronze deities. I sat in a chair; he chanted a prayer, then took a small piece of paper and wrote a name on it in red ink. When he handed it to me and I unfolded it, it was totally blank! He smiled. Hypnosis?

            Then he instructed me to return that evening with my husband, Walter. Each of us was to bring a simple sealed jar of water. The trip was about 30 miles, each way, but I agreed. Accordingly, I filled two empty mayonnaise jars and another and we returned.

           The same group was gathered and we were summoned in one at a time. The rest of us meditated silently. When Walter returned, he looked amazed, but I was immediately next. This time, he was seated in a dark room lit by a few candles. Another low altar with flowers and fruit was in front of him. He smiled radiantly and asked for my jar. I handed it to him, determined to watch closely, which I did. To my astonishment, he took the jar, and prayed over it, it started to sweat water on the outside as he rubbed it! Then with a beatific smile he handed it to me, blessed me, and indicated I was to leave.

            When I returned to the group, we sat again quietly. The Indian next to Walter whispered "Open it!" When Walter opened his jar a beautiful fragrance wafted out. When I opened mine another fragrance but different from Walter's! When we came home and opened them again, the fragrances were still there and we had been told, it was safe to sip. I could not help but think of Jesus and his changing the water to wine at the wedding in Cana. This was still possible!

            We soon became good friends, and Walter and  I attended informal gatherings only to discover how loving and humorous he was. He showered us with his books, which I still have. Also a printed portrait framed. He was reluctant on one occasion to have his photo taken. At last, he relented, but when the film was developed it turned out to be that of a holy man with a beard! 

            Dadaji occasionally came to Connecticut, not to far from where we were living in Massachusetts, and we were invited to visit several times. There he would have an audience, one on one. A good friend of mine, who was both a Jungian analyst and Episcopal priest, came to see Dadaji. My friend had been through hell. He had lost forty pounds, and was at the lowest point in his life. He had been kicked out of his professional position having been publicly accused by his angry significant other of sleeping with one of his patients. Not quite true, as she had quit before this happened, but true enough. So he arrived a broken man and went in to see Dadaji. When he came out, his blue denim shirt was soaked in front and the fragrance was overwhelming! Apparently, Dadaji had stroked the front of it and the fragrance came out of his hands like oil. In India, this is called padmagandi,  and other gifted gurus have the same gift.

            As I had had known my friends his angry partner as well, I urged her to visit Dadaji. When she walked down his corridor, he waved and ordered her to stop. He told her, she might return in a couple of years but he could not see her that day. I had said nothing to Dadaji about the situation with either one of them.

            Walter, who was a Reiki practitioner had compassion for Dadaji who was clearly exhausted, so Dadaji agreed to let Walter treat him. It helped enormously and so the two men became dear friends. We were invited several times to visit and had the pleasure of meeting his wife.

            Needless to say, this encounter forced me to rearrange much of my mental furniture! I am by nature a skeptical Scorpio but I now have a true saying by fictional friend Gezeebius: Always keep an open mind and a good crap-detector! This has served me well over the years. 

Dadaji was an extraordinary human being and his teachings were wise and loving. I still hear his laughter and feel the warmth of his hugs. Though he is no longer in the flesh, his spirit, love and teachings continue. He is the one who called himself an anti-guru guru! He told me that everyone has the same access to the Truth. The only problem is that we are unconscious of it, so time is kind by coming in minutes, hours, and days as we live to say "Aha!" In that way, C. G. Jung is saying exactly same thing: the Self knows but it dwells in the unconscious!   I think of this as a candle. Everyone has an individual wick but the flame on every wick is the same flame!


           Imprisoned Splendor   

Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise

From outward things, whate'er you may believe.

There is an inmost center in us all,

Where truth abides in fullness; and around,

Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in,

This perfect, clear perception which is truth

A baffling and perverting carnal mesh

Binds it, and makes all error: and to KNOW,

Rather consists in opening out a way

Whence the imprisoned splendor may escape,

Than in effecting an entry for a light

Supposed to be without.

— Robert Browning (1812—1889), from Paracelsus

Alice O. Howell is an author and astrologer based in western Massachusetts. Her works include The Web in the Sea; The Dove in the Stone; and The Heavens Declare: Astrological Ages and the Evolution of Consciousness, all published by Quest Books.