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4

 

The Maharaj then asked some of Baba's men to address the pilgrims and tell them more about Baba and his life, which they did, and intermittently Gadge Maharaj would ask the pilgrims to chant the words "Devki NandenGopala" (Hail Krishna Gopala, the Son of Devki).

 

After about an hour of this program, Gadge Maharaj requested the pilgrims to leave the square and make room for the others patiently waiting outside to come for the coveted darshan of Meher Baba. With great reluctance but with pressure from the Maharaj, they left. As soon as the new hundreds of pilgrims settled down in the open square, Gadge Maharaj exhorted them as he had done those who had come before, to imbibe Baba's presence with love.

 

At about 6:30 p.m., to loud shouts of "Meher Baba, ki jai!," "Gadge Maharaj, ki jai!," the Maharaj led Baba to the car, whereupon the crowd rushed towards Baba to touch his feet. The rush was very skillfully evaded and though many pilgrims did touch Baba's feet, Gadge Maharaj managed to safely conduct him to the car.

 

Baba and the Mandali were driven to another spacious building where arrangements were made for tea. This place was situated in a remote corner of the town, far from the roads that were thronged with pilgrims. The Mandali felt happy to come to this quiet place for some respite after the crowded program of the evening.

 

Soon after Baba's arrival there, Baba-lovers who had come to Pandharpur from different places, gathered around him. Baba was in a very cheerful mood and expressed his happiness to see them again after the meeting at Meherabad on the 29th and 30th of September.

 

After tea Baba asked for musical instruments to be brought in, for he wanted to hear good "bhajans" from his lovers. Baba told them that none of them should sleep that night—the whole night should be spent in the company of Baba and to the accompaniment of music and devotional songs. This did not mean that the program fixed for Baba by Gadge Maharaj was over. While Baba and the Mandali were given a respite in this secluded place, preparations were in progress on the banks of the sacred river Chandrabhaga. Baba was invited to be present late that night at the spot where most of the pilgrims would be assembled to hear spiritual discourses and bhajan by Gadge Maharaj and his devotees. The pilgrims never missed this program. Tens of thousands gathered every year on the sacred day's

 

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