Previous Page
Table Of Contents
Next Page

 

14

 

 

Notes from a Diary: Hamirpur, 1952

 

by I. H. CONYBEARE

 

Large letter MY BOAT arrived at Bombay from London on the fourteenth of November, 1952. It was my third voyage to India . M. met the ship, and it was nice to know that BABA had already arrived, having traveled all the way by tedious bus journey, making three stops to visit the tombs of Sai Baba, Upasni, and Babajan. He had had a sleepless night, but I was very glad to see that he looked a lot better than when in London last summer.

 

Baba was staying in the flat of one of his close disciples, as it was the fifteenth and the first day of the "Fiery Life," I understood "a few people" were coming in the afternoon. However, it had got around Bombay that BABA was here, and instead of a few, all the afternoon people came in single file, in and out of the room. Garland after garland arrived, to be put around BABA's neck, and as they were taken off, more would be heaped on BABA, till he was almost smothered! The heavy scent of the flowers in the hot overcrowded room began to affect me after about two hours, and I was relieved when BABA told me to go.

 

I was much gratified to learn that I was to accompany BABA on the first days of his "Fiery Life" tour, but a little consternated to discover that I would be the only woman, and a Westerner at that. However, I was sent ahead with M. and traveled first class. The journey took over twenty-four hours to Kanpur , a very dirty, large manufacturing city in the north. We spent the night in the station rest rooms, as we had to meet BABA'S train early the next morning. It was distinctly cold, for in that part of India in winter time it is often bitterly cold at night, while hot during the day's sun. The station was crowded, as every place is crowded with humanity in this densely over-populated country. The people wore the scantiest clothing, and most of the women only had cotton saris. I wondered at the resiliency of their constitution.

 

At last BABA arrived, for the train was late; the party had traveled third class and were grimy and tired. Third class in an Indian train is an ordeal at any time, but life with BABA is no sinecure, and the men closely associated with the Master's routine work have to live the hardest and simplest lives. BABA came up to the rest rooms, and I was surprised that his first remark

 

Previous Page
Table Of Contents
Next Page