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24

 

Baba wired back: "Unless all come, I will send all back to the West." Of course, all did manage the journey—except N. G. who was on a 40 days' fast and whom Baba had previously ordered not to come.

 

Were we pampering our egos!--not liking to get up at midnight and drive for five hours along bumpy, dusty roads in the heat. Baba must have known. How poor was our understanding of the " Pearl" that Baba offered! Later we learned to keep going until we felt like dropping and left it to Baba to say "stop."

 

Picnics with Baba at Happy Valley and other delightful spots remain today some of our most cherished memories. We ate, we played games, told amusing anecdotes. Baba might be in the mood for a serious talk, but mostly he wished us to be happy, just in being with him, and not always yearning for spiritual d iscourses. He wished us to breathe in his atmosphere and keep silence with him.

 

He might ask one to read aloud or put on a record. Baba would sit relaxed, often with his eyes closed, and, as Mani expressed it, "His fingers moving rapidly as though he were writing or sending messages, like they do in code." One learned to appreciate that when Baba appears most idle, he works hardest! On such occasions we had ample opportunity to "let go" and relax, but at any odd moment he would pounce on one with the question, "What are you thinking about?" If you said, You, Baba!" he beamed. If you answered, "Nothing, Baba," he beamed, too. I wonder now if he believed you! Can one think of nothing?

 

Visit to Rahuri

 

We had our first insight into Baba's special work for suffering humanity when he took us from Nasik to his "Mad" ashram at Rahuri. Here we watched Baba with his group of God-intoxicated souls, of whom some were lost on the Path—Baba playing with them, laughing with them, and embracing them fondly, and attending to their daily needs and comforts. You felt Baba's infinite love and interest in each individually, and his obvious happiness in their midst. Some were sleeping, some just sitting drawn within themselves in contemplation, while one or two were dancing and making strange sounds on home-made instruments.

 

Baba leaves implicit orders for those in charge during his absence — the watch-words being, patience, kindness and persuasion, but never coercion.

 

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