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46

 

roofless walls, with improvised covering and mounds of rubble bordering the narrow, twisting streets where an open gateway sometimes led into a deserted courtyard, giving access to an inner room.

 

Here and there, a narrow passage threaded its way between gloomy walls to yet another one-room home where Baba was welcomed with arti and garlands.

 

Sometimes, the approach was decorated with tiny flags or the pathway bordered with colored chalk patterns, and there were eager faces at doorways to gaze at Baba while the more venturesome bent to pay homage by touching His feet, for He checked no one.

 

Tethered goats and bullocks, startled by the approaching throng, seemed to turn to gaze at Baba in His progress, and wayward donkeys, with here and there a scurrying, diminutive hen, completed the picture of village life stirred by Baba's advent. Once He did pass by an open doorway and then returned, to enter and find His way through the semi-ruined courtyard into another darkened door, where an old man and his feeble wife and a younger woman were preparing arti, which Baba allowed, accepting their gift of a cocoanut, the symbol of their complete surrender, of body, mind, energy and soul. It was indeed a touching, sacred sight to witness such devotion, and Baba's blessing and Love, as man and wife helped each other prostrate before Him.

 

In other homes which we entered with Baba, a garlanded picture of Him and of other Masters decorated the walls of the single room which .sometimes lacked a couch, that otherwise seemed to be the sole furniture.

 

As the door opened, shining brass water vessels, reflecting the light, broke through the darkness, while the eye, now accustomed to the prevailing gloom, could trace the low roof. Women had spread their saris on this special occasion on the floor, a pathetic witness to love abounding, awakened by the Grace of the Master and sustained by those united with Him.

 

Baba also stopped at some of the street corners where special welcomes were prepared in the open. But the crowds pressed so hard upon Him in the narrow, twisting lanes that He had to stop sometimes for us, for He wanted us always near Him, to see the people's daily life. At one crowded spot, He cleared a space and disclosed some grain on the ground, as if recently threshed. It looked like a small millet, the staple food of the people, which the women bring to Meherabad from miles around to have it ground in a mechanical mill Baba has provided at a nominal charge.

 

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