From an atheist to a Baba follower

When most devotees mourned Baba’s death, a hardcore follower of his from Australia chose to celebrate.

Well, that’s not to say Mark Houlahan, a former chemical engineer from New South Wales, Australia, who had quit his job and sell off his entire property for Australian $10,000 to meet the Baba at Puttaparthi way back in June 1993, danced and partied after hearing the news. In reality, he celebrated the teachings of Baba.

Houlahan claims that when he was meditating before Baba’s photograph last Thursday morning, Baba predicted his death. “I was stunned to see the Baba announcing his death to me and I begged him not to leave us,” Houlahan told Deccan Herald.

At first, the Aussie says, he cried like a child but later resigned himself to the inevitable. Baba ‘spoke’ to Houlahan again at 4:30 am on Sunday, three hours before his death, according to the devotee.

Houlahan’s arrival in India was rather abrupt. He had heard about Baba but being an atheist, disregarded every kind of spirituality.

One day at office, Houlahan experienced ‘unusual anxiety and depression.’ He came home and meditated and heard Baba asking him to come to India, Houlahan claims.

“Thank you, but I’m busy,” Houlahan had replied to Baba. Curiosly, he had decided later to meet him.

The Australian married an Indian-origin Englishwoman, Rita Patel, who bore him two children – Jasmine (14) and Joshua (9) – and is pregnant with the third.

Houlahan is about to finish his 200-page memoir titled ‘Unveiling the illusion’ to be published in six weeks. He started writing the book 18 months ago as ‘commanded’ by Baba. “English was my worst subject and I always struggled to write essays. When Baba asked me to pen down the memoir, I said ‘No way, that’s impossible’,” Houlahan adds. He did start writing, at night after giving up alcohol. And the words came pouring out.

Houlahan defends Baba’s miracles, claiming they were “something to get people’s attention and to give a deep message.”

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