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 67

 

enjoyed, in the woodcarving and colour-decoration surviving in the ruined temple and other buildings, for the countryside was then much more fertile than it is now. The present population of about 2,000 lives in the ruins. The Western Gateway still stands with the shrine of the Monkey God, the protector of the town, outside it.

 

Arriving at the village, we found throngs of men, women and children crowding the narrow streets in anticipation of Baba's visit. "Avatar Meher Baba Maharaj ki Jai" rose from their lips in a grand chorus of welcome, and they pressed forward to garland Baba and prostrate themselves at His feet. In no time He was covered with garlands of jasmine and roses, which he kept on for hours, in spite of the intense afternoon heat. He led us in turn through temples and houses, introducing us to various families of His devotees, including so-called "untouchables," with comments on their poverty, on His love for them, and on their devotion for Him, all of which were abundantly evident. He had said to us in the morning that He was giving us the "Last Drink" instead of the "Last Supper." This procession through Arangaon village reminded some of us of Jesus walking through the Galilean villages with the people crowding upon Him, touching Him, and bringing their children to Him.

 

At every turn our hearts were warmed by simple, natural, spontaneous expressions of genuine love, both human and divine. It seemed as if a river of love were losing itself in an ocean of love, and only boundless love existed. Incident after incident occurred which touched us deeply. In one of the simple, crude houses into which Baba led us, a very old man prostrated himself full length on the dirt floor in front of Baba, sobbing with devotion. Baba lifted him gently, and embraced him. In the crowded streets, as Baba moved forward, followed by throngs of people, women set down their children at the side of the street and dashed out to touch His feet as He passed. One had a garland that she wanted to present, and desperately tried to reach Him without success, until He turned, stopped, and reached out His hand, and accepted it, moving swiftly on again.

 

After about an hour and a half of successive visiting, garlanding, and giving darshan, Baba gathered us around Him in a small enclosure, where three young girls danced for Him to the accompaniment of music from a harmonium, bells and drums. Following this, Baba gave prasad and darshan to about 200 people. Then the procession through the town was resumed,

 

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