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26

 

at this stage, say what the fever is due to. It might turn into anything," said BABA. "All the same, let us make the start and try to carry out the program already chalked out."

 

BABA travelled by car and most of his men by a State Transport Bus especially engaged for the trips to the Samadhi (tombs) and Dargahs (shrines) of Upasni Maharaj, Sai Baba and Babajan. It was past sunset when they arrived at Sakori. Nearly thirty years had passed since BABA'S last visit to this 'cradle' of his spiritual life. What was once practically a desolate spot, detached from the village, had now turned into a fine suburb with temples and houses built around Maharaj's last resting-place. The men and women, all disciples and devotees of the great Master, received BABA with devotion and enthusiasm. Love and reverence sparkled from their faces as they tenderly led BABA over the premises, pointing out the spots that had been once so familiar to him. He bowed down and very reverently touched his head to the Samadhi which he was visiting for the first and last time.

 

It was a tense moment, and many amongst the men belonging to the two Masters-in-One appeared visibly moved, probably due to a flood of reminiscence, particularly those of BABA'S people who had attended the last rites of Maharaj in December, 1941. Immediately after standing up, BABA, pointing to himself and then to the Samadhi, said:

 

"Maharaj is here and not there."

 

When he was shown the neat little building where there once had been a thatched hut, BABA recalled how he and Maharaj used to sit together in that hut at night while others then living there with Maharaj would be asleep. "It was on this very site," said BABA, "that one night Maharaj outwardly acknowledged me to be the Avatar."

 

After accepting the lavish refreshments offered to BABA and his men, the party left for Sai Baba's shrine at Shirdi. The previously commonplace surroundings there were found to be transformed by the erection of huge modern structures, and those who had lived with Sai Baba found it hard to recognize the original sites and scenes.

 

In spite of the late hour, stray visitors continued passing in and out of the temple-like Dargah without recognizing Sai Baba in the person of BABA amongst them. Like other outsiders, BABA and his men also offered their respects at the big marble tomb; then BABA led his party to the small

 

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