H.H.Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi talks about meeting the eminent Sanskrit translator, Juan Mascaro (1897-1987), probably in 1980:
... there was one called Mascaro fellow, he has translated Gita into English, is a very wonderful person. ... Now he is no more. He lived near Cambridge. I went to see him, he was very anxious to meet me and when I went there you’ll be amazed, he did my aarti, and he said a mantra in Sanskrit that “Oh God, you have come to my house! What have I done in my previous lives that you are in my house?” Such a beautiful poet, you see, and he said in Sanskrit language, he was a master of Sanskrit. So I asked him, “From which book you have taken this couplet?” He said, “I’ve composed it myself.” So beautiful it was, and then he said certain things from Gita and all that.
And he said, “Mother, I don’t know you might be …” He was very old that time. He was eighty years of age. ... He said, “Mother, maybe you might be able to change these English, but I don’t think I’ve done anything. Even when I translated Gita they are just reading only. Reading Gita, that’s all. So what’s the use of my translation? Just like Bible. Now they are reading word by word Gita. So, finished! What’s the use of doing this work?” And he was so disappointed with the whole thing.
So he said, “What will you work out? How will you work out?” I said, “All right, I’ll try.” He said, “Of course, you are there; you are an Incarnation.” He just recognized me. “I know you’ll work it out.”
He wrote a very nice letter to me also and then he died. But such a nice man and he suffered a lot. Nobody tried to understand him. He said, “I talked to so many scientists and things and they’re absolutely useless and very superficial. So I don’t think in this country of England you’ll be able to do much, is a very superficial country.” There were at least twenty English Sahaja yogis with me sitting there listening to it. He said, “They are extremely superficial, this language is superficial, they don’t know about anything about Spirit or anything about Kundalini.”
And he was a very well read man, very deep person, and he told me that while he was studying gradually he felt this Mahasaraswati principle, the way he didn’t say Mahasaraswati, but he felt there must be subtler knowledge. So he took to books like Gita, this, that, and then suddenly he felt that it’s all reading again. It’s just the same like translation and specially when he translated Gita he was amazed that people were just reading it like Bible then.
Then he said that “Mother, I don’t know how but one day I was praying to Mother Mary and to the Holy Ghost and I got my realization.” So he was a realized soul and he saw me in dream, you see. He said, “In dream you came and gave me realization.” It’s surprising. He saw me in dream and he got … There’s another few people who have got it, but specially him. I was so surprised so when I arrived in his house he recognized me immediately. He said, “ I saw you in my dream. You came and gave me realization, you awakened my Kundalini and you gave me realization.” So you can imagine that this gentleman was so beautifully placed, so subtle, he was that at the Agnya point. He just got the dream and he got realization. And he said, “All the knowledge is now revealed to me so much more.” And then he sat down with me. And he said, “Can you stay for some time?” I said, “I am now going away.” But at least for five hours he was talking to me. He was not tired, he would not leave me. Such an old man was sitting at my feet. I was telling him, “You sit on the chair.” “No, I’m very good. I’m very much all right, you sitting there.”
(extract from Talk at Shri Mahasaraswati Puja, Auckland, New Zealand, 23/2/92)
I went to see Mr. Mascaro. You might have heard his name from Cambridge. Oh, the love and everything, the way he surrendered himself and he said, “Mother, the one who can see can only see. How many can see you? Can they see you?” I said, “I'm sorry not so many. I'm sorry for that.” He said, “I have a friend who has a Nobel prize and he has got developed this thing and he's got a Nobel prize. But he's so blind, he's so blind! He doesn't know, “Who has given you this power? How has he got this? Who has made this universe? He doesn't know. But how can you talk to him?” I said, “He'll come. He'll come when, when he will be there. Then they start thinking, 'Oh, so many have gone. Let's also follow.'” But the transformation is the only way which is the most convincing.
(extract from Talk at Public Program, Birmingham, 9/8/80)
You have read Gita, translated by people who are not realized souls. The one I met recently was Mascaro, he is a realized soul and he was very different. He has written many books. He translated Gita and Dharmapada and all that and he said, “Mother the one who knows, knows." He recognized me, no time because he is a realized soul. [He said in Sanskrit] "the one who sees can see." The first thing he said was, “How are you going to?” I said, “All right, I’ll make them see.” Krishna did not do that. That’s six thousand years back. That was the situation. But today is not. It is the all-pervading power of Divine Love.
(extract from Talk 'Light of Truth', Brighton, 19/7/80)
A contemporary account of the Cambridge meeting:
I was a seeker for as long as I can remember. When travelling in India I found some books translated into English by a Cambridge University Professor named Juan Mascaro. These books not only made the most sense to me, but also gave me such joy that I could not put them down. They were the Dhammapada, the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads.
About a year after getting self realisation from Shri Mataji in Caxton Hall in London, in October 1979, my wife and I were living in Cambridge and we attended a lecture given by Juan Mascaro. As soon as he walked into the room and began reciting passages from the Gita and Upanishads in Sanskrit, the whole room lit up around him.
When Shri Mataji came to Cambridge some time later for a programme, in June 1981, it was only natural that I would want Mr Mascaro to meet Her, so I arranged a meeting that would occur the day after the programme, at his house. As it turned out an interview for Shri Mataji had been arranged in the morning with a lady from a local BBC studio, and it went on much longer than we had anticipated. Afterwards we got caught in a traffic jam, all of which resulted in Shri Mataji's desiring to have a nap before departing for Norwich, a city some sixty miles northeast of Cambridge, where we had arranged another public programme that evening. Shri Mataji seemed to sleep quite soundly and we knew it was inauspicious to wake Her.
'I slept so soundly, it must be quite late,' Shri Mataji said when She awoke. I replied that it was, and that we would not have time to go see Mr Mascaro. 'Better go and phone him,' She said. I could feel his sadness and disappointment over the phone but we agreed to make it some other time. When I reported back to Shri Mataji, She said 'Well, he is an older man, better phone him again and tell him I will come'. By this time my emotions had gone through the entire spectrum and I reported back to Mr Mascaro. I couldn't tell whose relief and joy was the greater – his or mine!
When we all arrived at his very humble thatched cottage in a small village about ten miles from Cambridge, he was standing in the doorway with a single, beautiful white rose that he had picked from his garden. To our amazement and delight he began to sing the ancient shloka that we Sahaja Yogis were very familiar with, as we used to sing it to Shri Mataji following the aarti at pujas! There were no dry eyes that observed that scene, I can assure you. After presenting Shri Mataji with the rose, he invited Her, then us, inside and what was to follow was even more amazing. The vibrations in the room were so strong that I envisioned the walls of the house collapsing from the power of it. It was as if a long lost son finally had found his Mother.
At this point any hope of getting to Norwich anywhere near the scheduled meeting time was so far out of the question that I almost thought about calling the hall to tell the caretaker to put out a sign saying that the meeting was cancelled. I was resigned to fact that we were going to be very, very late and that if anyone did show up they would have left hours ago. The drive to Norwich was very beautiful but normally it would take between an hour and a half and two hours. In the car, on the way to the meeting Shri Mataji made this statement.
'It's very rare that a great scholar should also be a great realised soul.'
I do not know how long it actually took us to get to Norwich that day, but I do know two things: that the meeting was scheduled to begin at 7 pm and as I opened the door to let Shri Mataji out of the car at the front entrance to the hall, the clock on the church tower across the street began to chime seven times!
'How many times do I have to tell you people that we are not bound by time?' joked Shri Mataji.