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22

 

Visit to Trimbak

 

Whenever work permitted, Baba took us on excursions to places of interest close at hand. Nasik is one of the sacred cities of India, mentioned in the scriptures of the Hindus as the dwelling place of Rama and his wife Sita during their voluntary exile. Hence on the outskirts of Nasik you find many beautiful spots of pilgrimage associated with Rama. There are also the Pandolina caves where one can see the stone cells hewn out of the rock in the hillside, and at one time inhabited by Buddhist monks. Trimbak, at the source of the Sacred River Godavri, 20 miles outside Nasik, is another of the places we visited with Baba.

 

Later when on tour with Baba through India, in 1940, he made a point of taking us to the great spiritual shrines and temples at Delhi, Agra, Sarnath, Benares and Ceylon. He explained that these places, particularly Benares, were surcharged with a spiritual atmosphere, since great souls such as Krishna, Buddha and even Jesus had been there during certain periods of their lives.

 

"True sanctity," says Baba, "does not lie in the dead walls of brick and stone or even in the waters of the sacred rivers, but in the living beings who fill the environment with the fire of their devotion, love and worship, and in the great spiritual forces released by the Masters during their stay there." An interesting point here is to reflect on what a great number of treasured and holy spots Baba is leaving with us today—to be hallowed by generations to come.

 

To return to Trimbak--we left Nasik early in the morning in three cars. At the foot of the mountain we got out, walked across a wide stretch, and began the climb. Baba led the way up the 700 steps forming the pilgrims' route to the river's source. One or two were carried up on seats swung between two poles. Baba was ever-thoughtful of the less strong.

 

On the way up we passed shrines and little temples. One or two priests recognized Baba. Baba was known wherever he went in the triangle of sacred places, Nasik, Poona and Ahmednagar. This sometimes proved awkward, for it might possibly be a period when Baba was not permitting darshan. Those unaware of this would, following an Indian custom, instantly kneel before Baba, touching his feet with their heads. Therefore, to avoid recognition, Baba would, on such occasions, frequently wear dark glasses and a scarf to tuck up his long hair.

 

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