In the book “By His Grace,” Maharaj-ji says something to Dada that I often ponder: “Nobody comes to me for my own sake; everybody comes for their own problems.”

I sometimes ask myself, “Are you following Maharaj-ji for what He can do for you or for what you can do for Him?” This line of questioning reminds me of a story about Jesus and His cousin, John The Baptist.

Jesus’ mother, Mary, and John’s mother, Elizabeth, were pregnant at the same time. The scripture relates in Luke 1:39-45 that Mary visited Elizabeth and that “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”

These two babies had incarnated together before. At least three times, Jesus tells us that John The Baptist was Elijah reincarnated (Mark 9:13, Matt 11:13:14, Matt 17:12-13) – Jesus was a reincarnation of Elisha. They were relatives and, even more, spiritual brothers across lifetimes. John incarnated to announce the coming Messiah, His cousin Jesus.

The love between them is as close as it gets.

Not long after John baptizes Jesus and God confirms Jesus as His son, John’s disciples leave him to follow Jesus, starting with Peter and Andrew (John 1:35-42). Then, as a result of John speaking publicly against the immoral marriage of King Herod to his brother’s wife, Herodias, John finds himself in prison.

In Luke 7:18, while incarcerated, John sends messengers to Jesus to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Recall that John is the reincarnation of Elijah, the individual who has proclaimed for years that Jesus is indeed the Messiah, culminating in Jesus’ baptism. Yet, in prison, John finds himself in despair, doubting and wondering, “If you (Jesus) are the Messiah, why am I still locked up in this unjust situation?”

Through the messengers, Jesus replies to his cousin in Luke 7:22-23 saying, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” Then Jesus ends his message to John with something most puzzling at first read: “Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

What was John to glean from this answer while sitting in prison? How does one stumble on the “account of Jesus”? Let me paraphrase it for you – “Yes, John, I’m the Messiah. I’m doing everything you prophesied and dreamed I would do. But I’m not coming for you – don’t lose your faith over what happens next.”

“Don’t stumble because of what you think I SHOULD do.”

A short time later, at the request of Herodias, John is murdered on a whim, decapitated, and his severed head is placed on a plate and paraded before everyone at Herodias’ birthday party. Jesus never saw or spoke to John again.

Imagine this – you live in the forest as an outcast to society, eating locusts and bucking the system for God, challenging church leaders, and being persecuted. Then you spend years announcing the coming Messiah (a blood relative, your cousin), baptizing Him yourself. You send multiplied thousands of followers His way and lose your own disciples. What’s your reward for this faithful service? You get your head chopped off at the request of a harlot. What a blessing! (said with heavy sarcasm)

Not in any way what we could call a joyful ending.

Upon hearing the news of John’s death, Jesus immediately leaves the crowd and grieves (Matthew 14:13). The scriptures tell us, “He wanted to be alone.” Even though Jesus knew what would happen, losing your best friend and cousin to such a situation seriously sucks.

Why do I ponder this story often? Because of what Maharaj-ji said to Dada – “Nobody comes to me for my own sake; everybody comes for their own problems.”

Why do I serve God? Do I treat the Divine like a cosmic slot machine, constantly putting in coins (spiritual practice, prayers, tithes, service, etc.) in hopes of a big payoff? Right now, at this moment, am I writing this story for selfish reasons? Or is it for you? Or is it for Baba?

I’m involved in a painful personal situation that has gone on for almost two decades. Even today, there seems to be very little hope of resolution – circumstances seem to indicate only more pain and tragedy ahead. Some days, it’s challenging to function due to the grief it causes. Most days, I cry a little during my morning meditation to relieve the stress. What if I die and it never comes to closure? In my final moments, will I shake my fist at God and tell Him to go f**k Himself? I hope not…

I hope I remember Jesus’ words – “Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

Initially, I came to God, Jesus, and Maharaj-ji for purely selfish reasons – just like Baba told Dada. All these decades later in my spiritual journey, I wonder how much I’ve “grown up” in my faith. Really – for whom am I doing it? For me? Or for the Divine?

What if Maharaj-ji never answers another of my prayers? How about if I find out tomorrow I’ve only thirty days to live and nothing I’ve planned to accomplish with the remainder of my life will ever occur? Imagine that shortly in the future, I lose everything – wife, children, finances – poof! All gone, just like Job. Would I still be on the internet saying, “Praise Baba anyway!”? If I find myself in prison staring down a guillotine, would I still believe Maharaj-ji is a Miracle Of Love?

When I ponder all these questions, the thought that comes in response is: “What else is there?” Would I be better off if I “stumbled” in my faith due to circumstances and threw every reference to saints out of my life? Is there some belief system that would give me more internal peace and clarity than having Maharaj-ji as my Guru?


Rain or sunshine, rescue or no rescue, pain or pleasure, He’s still my Bright and Shining Star. I never heard any advice more sound than “love everybody, serve everybody, and remember God.”

After studying the lives of Jesus, John the Baptist, Maharaj-ji, and innumerable saints, I have faith that the Divine will right every wrong – in this lifetime or a hundred from now. Even after experiencing decades of pain, I still believe He’s trustable. Even amid ongoing distress, I still believe the Divine will cause everything to work together for my blessing (Romans 8:28) in this incarnation, and every one still yet to come. I believe Baba is working all circumstances together for your good and the spiritual well-being of us all.

No matter what pain you are experiencing today, know that you’re not alone. Baba is there through every trial and tribulation, our souls safely in hand. Maharaj-ji says, “There will be times when my devotee is in pain. Know that the tears he sheds are mine. The pain is an inevitable part of the journey, but it will not last.”

Baba has you and me, and He’s never letting go.

Believe that and be blessed!

In Christ together,

Ram Ram!