July! Not May!

Remembering Here&Now

Toby recalls an event when he had to replace in a video the word ‘May’ with ‘July’

OK, here’s a little story y’all might enjoy. Near the end, the JG girls got their panties all atwist because during one talk the Infallible Master had mistakenly referred to Master’s Day as falling on May 25th.

Now, of course, every good disciple has–burned into their brain–the unforgettable fact that Master’s Day is and has always been celebrated on the 25th of July. No, this would never, never do, and the task fell to me to substitute the word ‘July’ for the incorrectly uttered ‘May’…in His Master’s Voice…

This was not the first time I had done such audio surgery for one or another slip deemed by someone or other to be beyond the pale.

Usually it was not too difficult to find the correct word or construct the correct phrase from one or another discourse, process it and splice it in more or less seamlessly as ordered. But ‘July’….?


I had no recollection of the man having ever spoken that word, and I had been listening to recorded discourses hours on end for years as I cleaned up and restored them.

I could not start listening to all his recorded words in real time. Impossible. So I went downstairs in Zarathustra and started skimming every page of every book of the most prolific author in history. My only small comfort was that I could skip all that Hindi stuff.

Day after day I skimmed the pages, alpha to omega. No July. I went to Sheela and reported the fact. We had not a single instance of the word ‘July’ spoken by Bhagwan on tape. And I was quite happy about it, because I had found the whole idea ridiculous from the beginning. Let the man be human! Really!

I thought that would be the end of it, and I would be told to go ahead and release the tape, offending ‘May’ and all.

But no.

About a week later I was filming a drive-by with Arpito Hans running sound. As we were finishing, Sheela drove up and said “get in the car, quick!”

I asked where we were going and she said we had to get up to Lao Tzu before Bhagwan arrived back from his drive.

We parked near the big fountain and waited, and soon we saw the Rolls coming up the drive.

As he got out he namasted and started to walk towards the house. Sheela stopped him and said, “”Bhagwan, do you remember what we talked about? Can you say ‘July’?”

His smile faded and he looked confused. Sheela motioned for me to roll tape and she pulled Arpito with his microphone forward toward Bhagwan. Poor Torpedo was totally stiff and his eyes were like saucers. “Just say ‘July'”, she urged Bhagwan.

Slowly he bent down, close to the microphone being held in Torpedo’s trembling hands, and softly but clearly said, “July”. Then he stood up and said with a half-frown, “OK, Sheela?”

“Yes, yes! Thank you Bhagwan!” she said, almost apologetically.

A beautific smile came across his face, and he namasted, turned and glided towards the house.

“How was that? Will it work?” she asked, turning toward me in the back as we drove away. Torpedo looked catatonic sitting in the front seat.

“Sheela, I’m really sorry, but I’m afraid the fountain was just too loud,” I said. “I can EQ it, but no way to get rid of that background sound. I doubt it will work.”

“Oh well,” she said, half sad, half acerbic. “I had the chance. I had to try.”

Of course it didn’t work, so I hit on another idea. No ‘July’, but he had said ‘jew’ and ‘lie’ plenty of times. I grabbed a number of each from different places, recorded them at slightly different levels and EQ’ed them to match the offending word in the discourse. Then I carefully joined them with a razor blade and splicing block (these were analog days; it would be a breeze now), and played around until I found a decent match. Hey, presto!

To me it sounded terrible and looked even worse on the video, but I daresay no one ever really noticed.


Toby became “Swami Santosh Toby” in October 1980 at the feet and with the touch of the Master. He worked in publishing, the theater group and finally in the tape department before being invited for some reason to get his ass over to Oregon, where he seemingly stayed for the rest of his life–but it was really only from November ’81 until December ’85–and where he worshipped at Edison and did some other stuff that he would rather not think about too much. Since then he has been living in Japan and China, playing music, taking pictures and making fractal art. As a day job he works as a cameraman/video editor for a major European TV network, skills he learned entirely at the Ranch.

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