I’ve heard the story several times; Ram Dass takes a manuscript of the book to Maharaj-ji, and is told that he cannot print it as is, that there are “a couple” of things that aren’t true. Then the miraculous events that played out to make sure the book hadn’t been printed yet.
I appreciate the story, and the meaning behind it, however my curiosity is so strong! What were the passages that were removed? To be included by Ram Dass and his contemporaries, but to be thrown out distinctly and immediately by Maharaj-ji, they must have some value and be a point of exploration or discussion. Further, as far as I know, this is the only DIRECT input that NKB had on the book, and would be meaningful to me regardless of it’s validity.
I remember what you are talking about and think it was discussed on a Here and Now podcast episode but I cant remember the number. This page from RD’s site goes into it a little, specifically Hari Dass Baba. I havent heard him discuss what the other misunderstandings were.
""I did Be Here Now; I gave a copy to Maharajji. It disappeared into the bowels of his inner world, and then about three months later he called me over and said, ‘Ram Dass, you print lies!’ I said, ‘Maharajji, everything in that book is the truth.’ ‘Nahin! You print lies.’ (This is a set up). He says, ‘You say here that Hari Dass Baba built the temples.’ I said, ‘Well, I understood he did. I don’t know who told me, but somebody had told me, and I put: Hari Dass Baba built the temples.’ So he calls a guy over, ‘Come here. Who are you?’ The guy says, ‘You know who I am Maharajji – I’m the man that builds all your temples.’ ‘Does Hari Dass Baba build the temples?’ ‘No, Maharajji. He helped me pour concrete, but he didn’t build the temples.’ ‘Oh, go away.’
Maharajji said, ‘You said here that Hari Dass Baba went into the jungle when he was eight years old.’ I said, ‘Well, I was told he went into the jungle when he was eight years old.’ He calls a guy over, ‘Who are you?’ The guy says, ‘I’m the head of the Forestry Department of India.’ ‘Do you know Hari Dass Baba?’ ‘Yes, he worked as a clerk in my office until 1963.’ 'Huh, so he went into the jungle when he was eight years old?..’
He had all these kinds of people to prove that all these things were lies. They ended up being two-paragraphs of lies—which were not lies, merely I misunderstood. Somebody had told me these stories and I had printed them, and they weren’t true apparently. Who would know? Would you care? This book is in English, it’s in America. Who’s to notice? Big deal… Maharajji says, ‘Well, what are you gonna do about it?’ I hadn’t planned to do anything about it. I said, ‘Well, I’ll change it.’ He says, ‘You do that. As long as you think something is true there’s no karma, but once you know it’s false and you continue to print it, then there’s karma.’"
When things are removed by a great, it’s likely something best forgotten, but once we know of something, it’s hard to disconnect the feelings of curiosity until it’s satisfied. It’s truly not worth digging too far.
I want to add a note here that I think that Maharaj-ji was not concerned with the specific content of the book, but rather with the intention behind it. He was more interested in the effect that the mistruths would have on people, and whether it would help or harm them on their spiritual journeys.