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21

 

The second point Baba stressed was our being prepared to stay five years. This Baba called a matter of great importance. During our first month in Nasik we did not live harmoniously together, and this hindered Baba's work, so this was his ultimatum to us—his first, but not his last! "Either you must live harmoniously together and help Baba in his work, or the ashram must be disbanded, and Baba must do his work alone."

 

We all individually had to answer the two foregoing questions. Of course, Baba said that he would infinitely prefer that we stayed and helped him, but if we could not follow the above two conditions (stay five years and live harmoniously), then it were better to say goodbye, and, Baba added: "I have not yet started the work. The thorns are waiting to prick you. I am talking plainly to you, and don't answer without thinking. Once agreed and spoken, your promise must be adhered to." "There are bound to be differences, but one or the other of you must give in. I don't mind crises. I don't mind chaos, but I do mind disharmony. At present I have to spend my time patching up, drawing you together on a common ground, instead of spending it for the work and pushing you forward. I tolerate everything, so you must do the same."

 

"Be tolerant with everyone and when you feel like rising up in a fury and having an argument with your adversary, say, 'I am here for Baba and Baba wants, above all else, harmony.' You will feel excited, jealous, proud at times —all these qualities are there. What I say is, 'Give in, in spite of them.' It is easier to go through fire than to give in."

 

Needless to say, each in turn gave their promise to Baba to do their best —to live harmoniously together and to give in on points of difference, and to stay for five years or longer, if asked to do so. Baba smiled. He was very happy that all accepted the conditions under which we could stay. Some had feared Baba might be sending us all back to Europe as he had done after three weeks on our first trip to India, in 1933.

 

What was the thorn—"the Big Thorn?" Baba never explained. I think one of the thorns was the thorn of separation, which remained throughout our stay in India. From Nasik some returned to take up life again in the world, and so it has been ever since, until today there remain with Baba, out of the large numbers he called to his ashram, just a handful—the permanent ones, as Baba recently called them.

 

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