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13

 

were to keep themselves ready to be with Baba for six hours—from 8 to 11 a.m. and from 2 to 5 p.m. that day. In actuality, Baba went further; he gave them his company for an unbroken stretch of eight hours—from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

 

It must be made clear at the outset that Baba made all communications without the help of his board ( which he has given up since October 7th, 1954). Apart from his vivid hand gestures that are usually fairly easy to interpret, difficult words were dealt with by making use of the lengthy and tedious method of having the alphabet recited repeatedly until the letter, and consequently the words, were arrived at. There was therefore no alphabet pointing, and no "finger-writing." These self-imposed restrictions of communications did not, however, restrain the spirit of bonhomie that usually marks such occasions. Baba was lively and cheerful—nothing escaped his notice, no subject of immediate interest was neglected as too unimportant, no one was spared—including himself—for shortcomings of the moment.

 

A "how do you do" from Baba is inimitable and rarely the same each time. In his love and understanding, concern and frankness, he is father, mother and friend in one—and above and through it all he remains supremely Master. His explanations and remarks, his questions and counter questions, even his admonition and correction, made those present easily forget they had been made to miss their lunch that day.

 

His first question to each that morning was how he had slept the night before. Against the few who had slept well, there were many who for various reasons could not. Baba then `said,' "Worries over personal and family affairs are always there but let worries not worry you for the day ... Keep your ears and eyes wide open .. . you may not get another chance of physical contact with me .. . above all remain cheerful and attentive ... don't yawn; those who appear drowsy will be expelled from the hall ... "

 

The first thing Baba did was to lead all to the nearby bungalow which was prepared for his Seclusion. He showed them around the little room in which he intended to sit for his work, the bedroom,

 

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