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2

 

coaxed Him to accept their offering. It is also believed to have given advice to those who have fervently sought guidance from their Lord.

 

Twice a year, people from all over India with faith and devotion flock in hundreds of thousands to this place of worship. It is to this place that Baba lovingly consented to pay a visit at the request of Gadge Maharaj; but, Baba made it clear to the Maharaj that, though he would gladly go to Pandharpur for the day, he would not give darshan to the masses there as he had to the masses at Ahmednagar on September 12th", and added that his going there would be tantamount to Vithoba Himself going to Pandharpur to take Vithoba's own darshan.

 

Early in November, Gadge Maharaj fixed the date and time, inviting Baba to Pandharpur from the afternoon of November 6th. 1954, to the afternoon of the next day; the 6th and 7th of November being the two important sacred days of pilgrimage; thus the people pouring in there by the thousands would find themselves blessed to have Baba's darshan.

 

Accordingly, Baba went to Pandharpur from Satara on November 6th, and reached there by 4 o'clock in the afternoon. He then sent word to Gadge Maharaj that Vithoba, in person, had reached Pandharpur and was completely at his disposal for the full period of his stay of twenty-four hours; and, that Vithoba would do exactly as the Maharaj desired him to do. on condition of course that the Maharaj did not ask him to break his Silence or use the alphabet board, which he had stopped using since the 7th of October, 1954. Also, the Maharaj must not request him to take food or sleep that night because he had decided to take neither food nor rest, but to make himself available, as much as possible, to the pilgrims there.

 

On hearing that Baba had arrived, Gadge Maharaj at once prepared to receive Baba at his own dharmashala— a spacious building built to accommodate and give shelter and comfort to the thousands of pilgrims who come to Pandharpur.

 

Gadge Maharaj had assembled as many pilgrims as could be accommodated in the open square in the dharmashala. He made them sit in an orderly fashion so that all could easily see Baba, even from a distance.

 

*At Pandharpur, Baba gave in to the wishes of the Maharaj and allowed the people to take his darshan. However, whenever the crowd surged forward too close to Baba, the maharaj would immediately put a stop to things and did not allow further taking of darshan .

 

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