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3

 

An hour after Baba 's arrival in Pandharpur, Gadge Maharaj, on receiving him at the dharmashala, conducted him by the hand to a raised seat specially arranged for him, and asked him to be seated. Although Baba wanted to sit on the ground on a level with the pilgrims gathered there, he kept his word and acceded to Maharaj's request by sitting on the chair, which made it possible for all to have a clear view of him. Baba's chair was placed within the entrance of the sacred room of Vithoba's temple in the dharmashala in such a way. that facing the gathering, it concealed Vithoba's statue in the background. It was but natural that this statue of Vithoba, worshipped the year round, should lose all importance, when Baba, the living Vithoba, took his sear before it.

 

Pointing to Baba, Gadge Maharaj addressed the devout worshippers of Vithoba, saying he was overwhelmed with joy that day to have Meher Baba sitting there with them and that he wished them all to take darshan of Meher Baba, who was at the "Jagat-Guru" (Master of the World) in the real sense of the word—that he was the One who really served the whole world.

 

Gadge Maharaj urged the gathering to take Baba's darshan whole­heartedly, for Meher Baba blessed them by his very presence there. At this moment, Baba stood up and remained standing for a few seconds with his hands joined in loving salutation to the love of all who sat in deep reverence before him. Baba then seated himself on the steps of the temple, and "bhajan" in praise of Lord Krishna was sung to the accompaniment of the rhythmical clapping of hands. After a few minutes, Gadge Maharaj signaled all to stop. A garland was brought and he garlanded Baba, and, bowing down, placed his head on Baba's feet before the large gathering who revered and loved him as a Saint, some of whom even hailed him as Sadguru. Accepting the homage paid to him, Baba caressed the cheeks of Gadge Maharaj and patted him with great love.

 

Once again the Maharaj addressed the congregation, telling them how people from all over the world sought to have Baba's darshan—how they came from thousands of miles away just to have a glimpse of him; whereas they who were present were truly fortunate in having Baba come from Satara to give them the unique chance of his personal contact. The Maharaj again added with fervor and reverence that they should reap the full benefit of Baba's gracious presence by taking his darshan with faith and devotion. He ended his address by shouting into the microphone, "Meher Baba, ki jai !"

 

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