Sketches of Ranjit Maharaj

Hi Steve,
Following your special request, here are my other sketches of Ranjit Maharaj.  The portrait was commissioned by a devotee quite a while ago, but – oh dear! – all my attempts were unsuccessful as far as he was concerned.

I went to sit with Maharaj in Mumbai one January day in 1999, while Ramesh Balsekar was having his afternoon snooze.

GALLERY – sketches of Ranjit Maharaj


Ranjit Maharaj began to teach at 70 years old, after his co-disciple Nisargadatta Maharaj – (Ramesh Balsekar’s guru) – passed away.  Ranjit and Nisargadatta had inherited the spiritual lineage of their guru Siddharameshwar Maharaj, in the early 20th century.

Nisargadatta – a quick-tempered cigarette bidi vendor in Mumbai’s red light district – held vehement ‘socratic’ dialogues in his room.   Ranjit was a bar tender and accountant, with an old fashioned elegance of manner.  On their retirement, both taught a pure Advaita or non-dual philosophy: “I am That” … “You are already That” … but Ranjit’s way was more traditional.  Their teaching attracted many westerners.



15 January 1999 – Rob Durkee and Ranjit’s other disciples found their Shepherd.  I like seeing their Shepherd, his mother-Goddess gentle nobility.  When he started talking I couldn’t understand a word, and was hot and uncomfortable in his crowded room.  But I am moved at the depth and intensity of the shepherding these lambs receive.   Gently reared in the USA and tossed into Girgaum Village curry-pot in the noisy heart of Mumbai, they are homed and centred and advised how to live in dedication and service.  The devotees live and travel together – the very opposite of “adrift”.



I remember Girgaum a little – an Indian village in the middle of the city, an oasis, a coterie sufficient to itself;  a labyrinth of colourful old buildings, fretted balconies, and flying kites.

Ranjit lived in Room 45, Narayan Building on Dubash Road – a crumbling tenement in the congested locality.  We climbed to his landing. Mildewed windows framed a sudden rooftop vista, occupied by rasping old crows and wheezing sparrows.  Each floor was a busy village street – the childrens’ shouts, the washing hanging out across the landings, the births, the dramas and the deaths.  In the midst of this teeming life, the devotees waited quietly at a door, to kiss the feet of their guru inside.  I see the shining cookpots in his room;  and garlanded pictures of his guru on the sweating walls.

16 January 1999 – Thoughts:  split second, deep sleep, eyelids flicker as I dream mountains and rivers thousands of millenia old:  babies are born – it goes on for ever.  The view of God is already here.  It keeps still with God, and is dynamic for the dreamer.  That is why you are not God, because you would be bored!

Ramesh in meditation..

While attempting to resolve this drawing of Ramesh, a thought arose – because a peaceful expression appeared – something beautiful, even if the likeness is not quite right – “Do not take the sage/Guru for granted.” 

I realised suddenly how this life style takes in visits to supreme Teachers and Gurus as a matter of course – that were so longed for – and now complains about having to travel and the disagreeableness of Indian city life!   But – it says – “Take care of this accessibility to the Sage.


Nisargadatta Maharaj

Nisargadatta Maharaj





My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link – posts on Master R

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address

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