Maurice Frydman [Part 2] - His Life Story - Your Heart will melt

Maurice Frydman was an engineer, humanitarian and a close associate to notable spiritual teachers when he spent the later part of his life in India.

Maurice Frydman was an engineer, humanitarian and a close associate to notable spiritual teachers when he spent the later part of his life in India.

He was a Polish Jew who subsequently converted to Hinduism.
He became a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi, lived in his ashram, and took an active part in India's fight for independence. He was also very close to Nehru.

He was associated with the great spiritual teachers Sri Ramana Maharshi and J. Krishnamurti and a longtime friend to the famous Advaita guru, Nisargadatta Maharaj, who considered him a Jnani. He edited and translated Nisargadatta Maharaj's tape-recorded conversations into the English-language book "I Am That", published in 1973. Nisargadatta Maharaj was by his bedside when he died in 1976 in India.

According to David Godman, Nisargadatta Maharaj, in response to the question "'In all the years that you have been teaching how many people have truly understood and experienced your teachings?" replied: "One. Maurice Frydman”.

Using his engineering skills, he made the spinning wheel that Gandhi himself used. Frydman created several new types of spinning wheels for Gandhi, which piqued his interest in finding the most efficient and economical spinning wheel for India.

He took an active part in India's fight for independence —notably in helping to draft a new constitution for the State of Aundh that became the Aundh Experiment.

Frydman came to India in the late 1930s as a Jewish refugee from Warsaw. A successful capitalist, he was managing director of the Mysore State Government Electrical Factory in Bangalore. Eventually he was won over by Hindu philosophy and became a sannyasi. Frydman was instrumental, along with Gandhi and the Raja of Aundh, in helping to draft the November Declaration, which handed over rule of the state of Aundh from the Raja to the residents in 1938-9.

He visited Swami Ramdas in the 1930s and Ramdas apparently told him that this would be his final birth. That comment was recorded in Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi in the late 1930s, decades before he had his meetings with Nisargadatta Maharaj. He was at various stages of his life a follower of Ramana Maharshi, Gandhi, and J. Krishnamurti.

A senior Indian government official told David Godman in the 1960s that it was Frydman who persuaded the then India Prime Minister Nehru to allow the Dalai Lama and the other exiled Tibetans to stay in India. Frydman apparently pestered him continuously for months until he finally gave his consent. None of these activities were ever publicly acknowledged because Frydman disliked publicity of any kind and always tried to do his work anonymously.

Maurice Frydman - His Life Story:

SOURCE: Ramana Periya Puranam (Inner Journey of 75 Old Devotees)
by V. Ganesan, grand nephew of Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Maurice Frydman was a genius.
He was born in a Jewish ghetto in Poland.
He came from such a poor family, that he tasted white bread only at the age of thirteen.
He could read and write Russian, Hebrew and Cyrillic by the age of ten, and could speak fluent Russian, Polish, French, English and Hebrew.
He stood first in his class right from his school days to the time he was a student of electrical engineering.

An extraordinary genius, he had nearly a hundred patents for his engineering inventions by the time he was just twenty.

At the age of twenty five, Maurice had a strong inner urge to seek God.
In the process, he gave up Judaism and took to Russian Orthodoxy.
He became a monk, leading an austere life in a solitary monastery.
On one of the rare occasions he ventured out, he found himself on top of a mighty waterfall. Here, Satan tempted him by saying, “If you have real faith in Jesus Christ and if you really love the church, jump into this waterfall.”

Maurice, very characteristically, jumped immediately into the deep chasm, wearing his monk´s robe. Would Arunachala let anything happen to him? His robe got entangled in some of the shrubs on the precipice, and he was saved! Proof, that when there is earnestness, a thirst to know the truth, the truth will guide us. All the orthodox dogmas he was practicing failed to lead him to the truth and he became vexed. He sought freedom from bondage of every kind. 

This quest led him to the Theosophical Society and to Annie Besant.

The meeting with J. Krishnamurti impressed him the most.

All these meetings took place in 1926.

Krishnamurti declared, “Truth is a pathless land.” And that truth can be arrived at only by applying oneself diligently without being dependent on any kind of external authority.
This approach appealed to Maurice and he had lengthy dialogues on the subject with Krishnamurti. It is on record that Krishnamurti always obliged Maurice whenever he wanted to talk to him.

Maurice had a seething desire to see God and know the truth, but all the while, from 1928 to 1934, he continued working in the electrical industry. He became the general manager of a well known electrical goods manufacturing factory in France. Yet, his aspiration to know the truth never left him and he started reading the French and German translations of Vedantic treatises like the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita.

1935 proved to be the turning point in his spiritual life.  This was when he started reading Paul Brunton‟s books. The teaching „Who am I?‟ proved to be tremendously enlightening. The teaching that truth exists within oneself, rather than outside of the Self made him turn within. Paul Brunton´s books kindled the burning desire to visit India and meet the living sage, Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.

In all these, providence guided him. The diwan of Mysore (a diwan is akin to the chief minister of a state or even, the prime minister of a country) wanted to modernize his state and was touring Europe and England to learn more about the facilities available in these countries. One day, he visited the factory that Maurice Frydman was in charge of. He was so impressed by Maurice‟s sincerity, application and hard work that he requested him, “Will you please come to our state and advise us on how to develop our state?”

In the 1930´s, India was in a very backward condition and technology had really not found a place here. Maurice shot back characteristically, “My bags are packed, sir. I am prepared to leave for India with you.” Such was the beauty of Maurice.

Maurice Frydman arrived in India, the country of his dreams in 1935. He was put in charge of setting up a big electrical goods manufacturing factory since he was an expert in the field. His aspiration, however, was to meet Bhagavan. Despite his busy work schedule, he went to meet him.

From the very first instance, he was prepared to surrender himself to Bhagavan. He would work day and night at the factory. So much so, he became very successful within a short time. On weekends, he would go to Arunachala, where people would greet him with, “Here comes our Maurice.”

During his sojourn, he would talk to his friends and to Bhagavan, questioning Bhagavan often, and Bhagavan would tolerate it all. Bhagavan was spontaneous and natural, reflecting you like a mirror. When someone was totally immersed in spirituality, he too responded by giving himself to them. 

People in Ramanasramam commented on his frequent weekly visits, “Maurice, why do you not come once a month or maybe once in two months? You have to spend so much to come here.” Maurice would reply, “What can I do? My battery can take only so much. Within a week it dries up. I have to come here every week to be in Bhagavan´s presence and get it recharged!”

Maurice was extremely close to Bhagavan. He gathered as much as he could about Vedanta, had discussions with others and read up as much as possible about the Hindu scriptures. He read that if one wanted final emancipation, one had to take sanyas. He approached Bhagavan and enquired, “Bhagavan, this is what the Hindu scriptures say. Will you please give me sanyas?”
Bhagavan remained silent - but you know our dear Maurice. 
He was persistent in his appeal.

One day, he approached Bhagavan on the hill and said, “Bhagavan, give me sanyas. I want to renounce the world and strive towards enlightenment.” 
Bhagavan, in a very compassionate tone, answered,
“Sanyas is taken from within; not from without.” 
Maurice‟s face fell at the response. 
Bhagavan, like a mother, looked at Maurice and explained, 
“You are already a sanyasin. Why do you want to take up ochre robes?” 
Maurice did not give up. He kept asking Bhagavan for sanyas, and Bhagavan repeatedly answered, “There is no need for sanyas.”

So, what did Maurice with his ingenious, inventive brain do? 
He went to Swami Ramdas - a realized soul - in Anandashram. 
Somehow, he convinced Swami Ramdas to give him sanyas. 
Swami Ramdas gave him the outward sanyas that he so desperately desired. Maurice was given a new name. He was called Swami Bharatananda, which means „one who delights staying in India.‟ 
Maurice became close to Swami Ramdas. 
Once, Swami Ramdas told him, “Maurice, Swami Bharatananda, this is your last birth.” Being a great sage, he could understand the greatness of Maurice Frydman. 

One day, while Bhagavan was coming down the hill, Maurice came and stood in front of him, dressed in the ochre robes and beads of a Hindu monk. Maurice was rather anxious because he wanted his master to approve of what he had done. Seeing him, Bhagavan started laughing. Then, Bhagavan smilingly said to his attendant, “Hey, he looks like a buffoon in a circus.”

Maurice understood. All his life he had been a true sanyasin from within. Consequently, his attachment to wearing ochre robes continued only for a few more years. That is what Bhagavan meant when he said, “Sanyas is to give up attachment,” because Maurice never had any kind of attachment.

Even while working in the factory, Maurice led a very austere life. He refused to accept his monthly salary of three thousand rupees - an incredibly huge amount in those days. He declined the amount, saying, “I do not want it. Give it to the workers fund.”

As for sleeping, once the shops closed for the night, he slept on the porch of one of the shops. And what did this big boss, this top man working at the factory have for lunch? While all the other workers trooped into the dining hall to eat the lunch that they had brought from home, Maurice would stand at the dining hall´s entrance, clad in his ochre robes and with his begging bowl in his hands. This was in the spirit of a true sanyasin. The workers, who loved him very much, would first put something in the begging bowl before going into the dining room to eat. Not only that, Maurice stitched his own clothes. He wore only khadi pyjamas and kurtas made out of cloth from the yarn that he himself had spun on the charkha, a traditional, Indian spinning wheel. Even his footwear was stitched by him! He led a remarkably simple life, but he was happy and content. He didn’t gloat about his way of life or relent from it - he was just tremendously happy.

Maurice´s association with Bhagavan remained close and regular. Just like the child questions the mother, so too, Maurice put forth a lot of incisive questions to Bhagavan on the practical aspects of sadhana. It was not to satisfy his intellectual curiosity that he asked them. Bhagavan would patiently answer his questions. Maurice used to record these exchanges and then show the record to Bhagavan and get it corrected. This was later published as Maharshi‟s Gospel on the occasion of Bhagavan‟s sixtieth birthday in 1939. From that year onwards, this book has been guiding true seekers.

Even today it remains a beautiful guide for serious seekers. I always recommend three books to sincere seekers for study - The Maharshi and His Message, Words of Grace and Maharshi´s Gospel.

It was during such close interaction with Bhagavan, that Maurice wrote a series of moving verses. Bhagavan read them with great interest. In two of these verses Maurice says: 
“So long I have been on this stage to please thee.
My eyes are blinded by the light of thy play.
My ears are deafened by the rolling thunder of thy laughter.
My heart is turned to ashes by the flame of real sorrow.
My lord, to please thee I have made a fool of myself.
And now I am unable to stop the agony of the play.
My lord, drag me down from this stage.

Master, I have forgotten the way in and the way out.”

Bhagavan was happy to read through the verses. He said that this was exactly what had been written by Appayya Dikshitar, a sage who lived several centuries ago. His verses in Sanskrit were written on palm leaves and many people were not aware of them. Bhagavan said that Appaya Dikshitar‟s verses describe the situation of the court dancer performing in the presence of the king. She cannot stop dancing unless it pleases the king to tell her to stop. The dancer´s limbs may ache but she cannot stop of her own accord. She cries, “Oh lord, I am weary of the many births and deaths that I have endured. One glance from you, oh lord, is sufficient to put an end to this dance of birth and death and grant me release.”

Bhagavan paused before saying,
“Maurice Frydman belongs here.
Somehow, he was born abroad but he has come here again.
Otherwise, how is it possible for him to compose verses similar to Appayya Dikshitar?”

Bhagavan made Maurice continue his dance by not asking him to come down.
As we are going to see, he had to continue performing on the world stage because he was a karma yogi who still had a lot of good deeds to perform. So, Maurice flowed along with the state of things and continued working busily in the factory. Apa Pant, the prince of Audh, who had studied in England, was sent to the Maharaja of Mysore for training in the art of governance. In the course of his training, he was asked to visit the factory in which Maurice was the managing director. When he went to the factory, Apa Pant, himself a calm and collected person, could not help being drawn to Maurice‟s brilliance and dedication. Likewise, Maurice too took a great liking to Apa Pant and started guiding him spiritually. He also impressed upon the young prince, the need to focus on development in the villages of his state and to take science and technology there so that life became easier and smoother for the peasants. Apa Pant then told Maurice, “Please come to our state and stay there for at least five or six months and guide us.”

One fine day soon after this, the prince found Maurice in his palace. Maurice told the prince, “I have come to you. I have resigned my job in Bangalore. I would like to serve the villages of the Audh state!” The poor prince (poor, not literally) did not know what to say. He could only say, “This state cannot afford to pay an engineer like you.” Maurice, in his very characteristic manner said, “I will sleep on the floor in that room. Just give me an Indian desk to work on. I have got legs to walk and I will take you on my walks. We will both work together in the villages of Audh. Now, if you could give me some food, I am hungry.”

Maurice was always telegraphic, but very, very clear!  
Wherever he was, Maurice remained in correspondence with Bhagavan.
We have to understand that inside he was all the time in the presence of Bhagavan.
In one of his letters to Bhagavan, he wrote,
“The Maharshi is with me not only when I think of him, but also when I am not thinking of him. Otherwise, how do I live?”

Apa Pant and Maurice started working together. You will be surprised to know that Maurice´s office was under the shade of a huge tree in a village. He lived in the villages he visited and worked very hard for them. Maurice heard about Mahatma Gandhi´s deep interest in bringing decentralized democracy into the villages in order to empower them. He set out to meet Mahatma Gandhi to learn more about the process. Mahatma Gandhi took to Maurice immediately; he addressed Maurice only as Bharatananda; everyone in his Sevashram addressed him in the same manner. Gandhi found that Maurice was not only a hard worker but also an inventor who was using the Indian charkha. By way of blessing, Mahatma Gandhi asked Maurice, “Why do you not invent something by which we can produce yarn more quickly?” Maurice immediately invented a new charka called Dhanush Takli. The extraordinary thing about the new invention was that one could produce three times the yarn with the same energy that was spent on the traditional charka. Mahatma Gandhi was, needless to say, extremely pleased!

Whether Maurice was with Bhagavan, Mahatma Gandhi or J. Krishnamurti, his method of first questioning, experimenting and experiencing the truth at every level, and only then accepting and following it, remained the same. Such was his nature. This is exactly how he led the seventy five villages that he was reforming. He loved the poor, uneducated villagers and was so compassionate towards them that they felt purified in his presence; in fact, they addressed him as „Swami‟. Maurice was successful in his venture in the villages and very soon the whole of India became aware of the kind of life Maurice was leading. By this time, Bhagavan and Mahatma Gandhi had dropped their bodies. This was a great setback for Maurice but he decided to rededicate himself to the cause they had taken up because he felt he was still on stage and had to play the outward game.

Maurice went to Varanasi to stay in the Krishnamurti institution there. He implemented the reform programmes in the surrounding villages. Krishnamurti‟s followers were also great admirers of Buddhism since the teachings of the Buddha and Krishnamurti were similar in many aspects. Senior followers of Krishnamurti like Achyut Patwardhan became very close to Maurice. This also happened to be during the Tibetan turmoil, when the communists in China were in the mood for seizing power. When Maurice heard about the tumult, he swung into action because at that time Apa Pant had just become the governor of Sikkim. Without wasting time, he immediately went to Sikkim and met Apa Pant.

He told Apa Pant, with gusto, “You are going to be of great use to me! We have an important mission to accomplish here because we have to save His Holiness the Dalai Lama, all the old Buddhist manuscripts and thousands of Tibetans.” Characteristic of him, Maurice immediately took Apa Pant to Delhi to meet Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India. Maurice, the diligent worker, already had by this time the road map to successfully carry out the rescue plan. Both Maurice and Achyut Patwardhan related to me how they had worked a plan for the escape of His Holiness.

It was eventually the blueprint laid down by Maurice that Nehru followed in getting His Holiness out of Tibet. They fed the Chinese government with wrong information on the flight of His Holiness and ultimately the Indian government acted in a contrary manner. The day His Holiness escaped to India, so did hundreds of fellow Tibetans. His Holiness came with many old Buddhist manuscripts, now preserved in the museum in Sarnath. Thus, thousands of priceless manuscripts were saved from the destructive hands of communist China. When the Dalai Lama entered India, Maurice planned it in such a manner, that Achyut Patwardhan would meet the Dalai Lama and give him the details. Yet, there is no mention of Maurice in any of the books related to either the Dalai Lama‟s escape or the smuggling in of Buddhist manuscripts from Tibet.

I have never seen a person as self effacing as Maurice.
Similarly, there was no mention of Maurice‟s name in the Maharshi´s Gospel originally; only now is his name being mentioned.

At the time of the Tibetan struggle, Jawaharlal Nehru very bluntly said, “My hands are tied.” Maurice immediately travelled all over India, spending his own money, in order to find refuge for hundreds of Tibetan refugees. Maurice sought cooler places for the refugees and established five settlements. If the Tibetans enjoy a peaceful existence in India today, it is because of this Jewish mystic saint, whose name is not mentioned anywhere!

Discovering the capability of this man in bringing a semblance of order even in the most chaotic situations, Nehru requested Maurice to take over the khadi movement. It had initially been started by Gandhi, but was later in total disarray. This meant that Maurice had to go to Mumbai. Here, he stayed with an old friend of his, Miss Petite.

Bhagavan gave me the opportunity to meet Maurice in Mumbai.
I had earlier met him at the ashram in the 1960´s during the rare visits that he made. Again, I met him when I went to Mumbai in the 70´s to collect funds for the advertisements for Ramanasramam´s journal, The Mountain Path.

Maurice then told me, “While your body is engaged in running the ashram, your heart should be totally settled in that pure awareness of truth.
Never miss that, whatever you are doing.”

We used to have beautiful private conversations. Once, Maurice confessed to me in all seriousness, “The burning regret for us is that probably full advantage was not taken of those happy and precious days when Bhagavan was with us physically - eating, talking, laughing and openly available to us all. Reality was there in abundance in our midst for the taking, and anyone could take it. But, we enclosed ourselves in our false humility, in procrastination, and false excuses. We took therefore, a cupful, when the ocean was at our feet!”

On yet another occasion, he prodded me on, just to give me a push: 
“See, Bhagavan is not the person. He is the teaching. As the teaching, he is fully available to you. In addition to whatever work you are doing, plunge within and taste awareness inwardly. That awareness is our Bhagavan.”

Maurice used to take me for long walks in Mumbai. He would tell me, 
“I will not provide you with a car; I will not even take you by bus; you have to walk wherever you go, along with me. Are you prepared?” With hands folded in a namaste, I would answer, “Would I hesitate to be in the proximity of the truth of reality?”
Maurice was a spiritual giant, but physically he was less than five feet tall. 
Surely no one would hesitate to walk next to him! 

On one of these walks, Maurice said, “Ganesan, today I am going to take you to the place where I met a simple man selling beedis.”
As we were walking towards the place, Maurice narrated,
“I saw a group of people smoking beedis; they were relating their woes of life. This simple man answered them exactly in the manner of Ramana Maharshi. Had Ramana Maharshi spoken in Marathi, it would have been the same! I stopped in my tracks and listened intently. It was astounding to see an ordinary man selling beedis talking so spontaneously! I started going to the place every day and noting down what he says. I would then go home and translate all the questions and answers into English.”

However, Maurice was ridden with guilt because he had not sought the permission of this person. He informed the man what he had been doing and read out all his writings, translating them into Marathi.
The man was delighted and told Maurice, “Go on recording, go ahead!”
This was later published as I am That - 
a publication that shook the entire spiritual world.
This man was none other than Nisargadatta Maharaj. 

Later on, after I had met Maharaj, I told Maurice,
“Whatever you say is absolutely true. I can feel Bhagavan´s presence in his presence. The teaching of Bhagavan comes from him spontaneously.”

Maurice always used to encourage me, “Come on and narrate to me the dialogue that you had with Maharaj.” He would add, “Being a spiritual seeker, associating with sages and saints will deepen your understanding; it will help you go deeper and experience it. Reading improves only intellectual understanding. This experience oriented understanding will happen, whether you have understood it or not, only in the presence of realized masters.” 
Saying this, he encouraged me to go to Maharaj. 

I was unable to be with Maurice Frydman in his last days.
But I was happy to understand from a devotee of Bhagavan who was also Nisargadatta Maharaj´s devotee, that Bhagavan himself looked after him. The devotee told me about a nurse in Mumbai who normally charged a huge fee for her services. This nurse had a dream, in which a sadhu wearing only a loin cloth told her very clearly, “My devotee is suffering. Go and attend on him.” The sadhu also gave her precise directions to reach Maurice´s residence. The nurse went to the place described in the dream the next day and found Maurice Frydman in bed. Miss Petite was older than Maurice and she too was helpless and unattended. The nurse immediately offered her services. Maurice´s austere attitude would not allow him to accept her services and so he refused. Disappointed, the nurse was leaving the room when she saw a picture of Ramana Maharshi there. She turned to Maurice and exclaimed, “This is the sadhu who appeared in my dream.” Maurice, visibly moved, said, “So, my master has come to look after me.” The nurse served him till the end. Apa Pant, who looked upon Maurice as his guru, was present during Maurice‟s last days. I would like to quote Apa‟s own words: “The sage is dying,” whispered a soft voice over the phone from Mumbai. “The sage is asking for you. Apa, come as soon as you can.” When I arrived, Miss Petite, the doctor and the nurse complained to me that Maurice was refusing to eat and take medicine. They implored me to make Maurice eat and take medicine - as if anyone could make Maurice do anything that he did not want to! There he lay in his familiar room, with everything meticulously clean and in its proper place. As I approached him reverentially, he shouted, „Apa, who is dying?‟ The next day, he drove everyone out of the room, ordering them to leave him alone with me. Then, he said beautifully, „Apa, I hear music. I see the bright light. Who dies? No one is dying. This diseased body is keeping me away from that harmonious beauty. Do not let them keep me in this body. Go now in peace.‟ The next day, we were all at his bedside as he breathed his last. Three breaths, “Hari Om, Hari Om, Hari Om,” and he was gone.

Nisargadatta Maharaj was also at his bedside, so I asked him, „Maharaj, where is Maurice going? What is happening to him?‟ Maharaj replied, „Nothing is happening. No one is dying, for no one is born.‟ Then I asked him, „Then why this sorrow, this emptiness, this loss, Maharaj?‟ Maharaj graciously turned to me and said, „Who is feeling the sorrow? Who is feeling the emptiness? Who is feeling the loss?‟ I remained silent.

Within hours, in the presence of Nisargadatta Maharaj, the remains of what we called Maurice Frydman were consumed in the fire. The remains had returned to their original order. The great devotee, Maurice Frydman, had returned to the source, Arunachala. 

Once, I went to Nisargadatta Maharaj´s house because he had asked me to stay with him. I stayed there for eight days. In the morning, from eight to ten, he would ask me to be seated while he did pooja. There were photographs of saints such as Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, the Buddha, Jesus Christ, Ramana Maharshi, and yes, even Maurice Frydman, in his room. Maharaj would apply sandal, vermillion powder and perfume to the photographs and garland them. As he was doing this ritual one day, I was asking myself, “Why is he doing this?” He turned to me and said in a compassionate tone,
“Maurice Frydman was a jnani. He was a saint, a sage.”
This is undeniably true.

Maurice Frydman has blessed us all by bringing to us the essence of the teachings of Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta Maharaj.

How fortunate we are to be able to share the life of such a great person, a person who wanted to remain unnoticed and unseen.

So much so, that the first edition of The Maharshi‟s Gospel compiled by Maurice did not even bear his name!

We sincere seekers of truth must cling to him in our Heart.

Maurice Frydman (Maurycy Frydman or Maurycy Frydman-Mor in Polish), aka Swami Bharatananda (1901 in Warsaw, Poland 9 to March 1977, India), was an engineer and humanitarian who spent the later part of his life in India. He lived at the ashram of Mohandas Gandhi and took an active part in India's fight for independence—notably in helping to draft a new constitution for the State of Aundh that became the Aundh Experiment. He was a Polish Jew[5] who subsequently converted to Hinduism.

Frydman came to India in the late 1930s as a Jewish refugee from Warsaw. A successful capitalist, he was managing director of the Mysore State Government Electrical Factory in Bangalore. Eventually he was won over by Hindu philosophy and became a sannyasi. Frydman was instrumental, along with Gandhi and the Raja of Aundh, in helping to draft the November Declaration, which handed over rule of the state of Aundh from the Raja to the residents in 1938-9.

He became acquainted with one of the sons of the Raja of Aundh, and was well regarded by the Raja himself. According to the Raja's son, Apa Pant, "Frydman had great influence with my father, and on his seventy-fifth birthday he said, 'Raja Saheb, why don't you go and make a declaration to Mahatma Gandhi that you are giving all power to the people because it will help in the freedom struggle.'"

As a sympathizer with the Indian independence movement, the Raja accepted this idea. Frydman wrote a draft declaration, and the Raja and his son, Apa Pant, travelled to see Gandhi in Wardha, where the Mahatma drew up a new constitution for the state. The constitution, which gave full responsible government to the people of Aundh, was adopted on 21 January 1939. This "Aundh Experiment" was a rare event in pre-independence India, where the rulers of princely states were generally reluctant to give up their power. After some initial hesitation among the populace of the state it proved to be very successful, lasting until the merger of the princely states into India in 1948.[7]

While in India, Frydman became a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi and lived in his ashram, where he made the spinning wheel that Gandhi himself used. Frydman used his engineering skill to create several new types of spinning wheels for Gandhi, which piqued his interest in finding the most efficient and economical spinning wheel for India.[8]

He was close to Nehru, and was associated with Sri Ramana Maharshi[9] and J. Krishnamurti. [10]

A longtime friend to Advaita guru, Nisargadatta Maharaj, who considered him a Jnani, Maurice Frydman died in 1976 in India, with Sri Nisargadatta by his bedside.[11] Frydman edited and translated Nisargadatta Maharaj's tape-recorded conversations into the English-language book I Am That, published in 1973.

Frydman helped Wanda Dynowska, a Polish theosophist who came to India in the 1930s, to establish a Polish-Indian Library (Biblioteka Polsko-Indyjska). The library holds a collection of books aimed "to show India to Poland and Poland to India", containing translations from Indian languages to Polish and from Polish to English. During the 2nd World War he helped with the transfer of Polish orphans from Siberia, displaced there by the Soviets after their annexation of Eastern Poland to Siberia in 1939-1941. They were moved from Siberia via Iran (with the Polish army of Gen. Władysław Anders) mainly to India, Kenya and New Zealand. After 1959 he helped Wanda Dynowska with Tibetan refugees in India.


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