Kris remained in Yelapa for a fortnight and then returned to the United States. But after a few weeks, another American from Tennessee named Bill showed up. Bill was not a hippy – he was more of a ‘hick’. He looked totally out of place in Yelapa, but Narasiṅgha Mahārāja was happy just to have someone around who could speak English. Unlike Mahārāja, Bill was not vegetarian and would regularly go hunting for fish with a large Bowie knife. One day he dropped his knife deep into his leg by accident. There was no doctor, clinic or hospital in Yelapa, so all the local fishermen could do was to squeeze some lime juice into the wound to clean it – the pain was so intense that Bill immediately passed out. The next day, Narasiṅgha Mahārāja and Tennessee Bill hopped on a boat for Puerto Vallarta and hitch-hiked back to California. Things only got worse when on the way they stopped to eat at a restaurant where Bill suddenly developed loose motion and began vomiting all the colours of the rainbow. With no one else to take care of him, Mahārāja was forced to take Bill to the nearest hospital where they bid farewell to each other. The trip to Mexico had not gone exactly as planned…
Narasiṅgha Mahārāja was happy to return to the US, but unbeknownst to him, the Selective Service had delivered another induction letter to his apartment in The Haight demanding that he report to his local draft board, but because he was ‘dead’ he didn’t receive it. They had seen through his ruse and had now placed him on a delinquent list.
Mahārāja travelled to Jacksonville again where he stayed with his friend George who had conveniently broken his leg and was temporarily exempt from any military service. It wasn’t long however until the Military Police tracked him down at George’s house. As the MPs came up the drive, Mahārāja saw them and quickly hid behind the front door. When they rang the bell, George opened the door and told the MPs, “I haven’t seen him in ages – he kinda just disappeared some months ago!” Mahārāja was just behind the door about a foot away from them.
When George had recovered, they hatched a plan to evade the authorities and began moving around the country. At that time, the law was that when you moved to a new town you had to register with the post office. George and Mahārāja would register, and when they figured out when their papers for their pre-induction physical would be arriving, they moved to another place and the government would have to resend the papers to the new address.
They did this for a while until one day, Mahārāja received a letter saying that he must join the military or face severe legal proceedings and possibly imprisonment. Eventually Mahārāja and George concluded that the only way to avoid going to Vietnam legally was to enlist in the Navy Reserves. At that time it was common for young men to evade the draft by preemptively enlisting in military forces that were unlikely to ever see combat in Vietnam, so Mahārāja and George went to the Navy Reserves recruitment centre to volunteer. However, they were told that there were no vacancies left – this meant that they would have to join the Navy proper. The receptionist made an appointment for them to appear at the US Navy Recruiter Centre at 7:00 the next morning. Mahārāja and George however were so tired that the next morning when their alarm clock went off at 6:30, George promptly threw it in a bathtub full of water and they went back to sleep.
The next morning at 8:00am, Mahārāja found a letter in his postbox saying that they had been accepted as Navy Reserves. He quickly woke George up and they ran down to the office to report. The next thing they knew they were being told by an official that they would be seeing active duty. Bewildered, Mahārāja told the officer, “I think there’s been a misunderstanding. I thought this was a pre-induction” to which the officer barked, “No! This is an induction. Your ass belongs to the navy now!” Upon hearing this, Mahārāja turned around, walked out, went back to his apartment with his bag of uniforms and threw them in a dumpster truck.
He was now wanted for draft evasion.
He travelled back to La Honda, where he decided to get his own cabin. Up until now, he had been staying in small apartments packed with people, but he realised that he needed some space of his own to pursue his own spiritual interests.
Narasiṅgha Mahārāja: The cabin was awesome with wood floors and built on the side of a ravine engulfed by redwoods. It was a two story place. I rented the bottom floor. I spent every day sitting in front of the wood burning stove reading ‘Journey to the East’ and ‘Siddhartha’ over and over again — I felt I was going forward and nowhere at the same time.
In La Honda he would wake up early in the morning, meditate, do yoga and he kept to a strict vegetarian diet of brown rice and steamed vegetables.
Everything seemed to be going fine until mid-1968, when he returned to The Haight to visit some friends at their apartment. One evening at around 9:00pm when he was alone, the apartment was suddenly raided by the police and he was arrested.