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30

 

PART FIVE: GREAT GATHERINGS AT NAGPUR .

 

Until recently BABA has never entered the shrines of saints and Masters. When in the past he went with his men on special pilgrimages, he would send his men in to pay their respects and offer prayers, while he remained outside. Nagpur therefore witnessed an unprecedented event when after finishing the `Poor Service' on January and, the day of his arrival, BABA led his men to the Parsi A'ramgah (cemetery) and with his own hands placed a wreath on the grave of Jalbhai Kerawala who had passed away at Nagpur practically on the eve of BABA'S Fiery Free Life. Later in the course of his "talks" with visitors BABA referred to Jalbhai with the comment, "He lived for me and died in me."

 

Considering all the public and private engagements crowded into that short time, it is hard to believe that BABA stayed at Nagpur for only three days (January and to 4th). For BABA, January 3rd at the Gita Mandir in the city was a busy day indeed. Within easy reach of all, this newly built temple is ideally located for the masses. Besides its main hall being large enough to accommodate a big concourse, it is open on three sides with space enough for thousands to come together.

 

The program in the morning was reserved for school children. About fifteen hundred under twelve years of age had been mustered into groups under the guidance of their teachers. Before the routine of bowing down, the reading of a special message and the distribution of prasad, BABA moved about amongst the children, patting a boy here, smiling at a child there and evincing keen and lively interest in the performance of their drill and various other physical exercises which were prepared in .his honour. One of the groups acted in a playlet based on one of the numerous stories about Narad Muni, the great and lovable saint in Hindu mythology. It was just like BABA to squat informally before this group so that he could fully enjoy their play and this unceremonious action on BABA's part helped much to put the youngsters at their ease and thus put on a good performance.

 

It was almost an hour after the play was over when that particular group of boys took their turn in filing past BABA in order to receive sweets from his hands. The boy who had played the leading role caused everyone to laugh heartily when he approached BABA jauntily with his costume and false mustache still on. The laughter turned to surprise when the barely ten-year-old boy, and possibly millions-of-years-old soul, tried to whisper

 

 

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