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38

 

Baba, even if not caring too much for his own celebration, is nevertheless in the happiest of moods, for he sees only the love and joy with which all has been prepared, from the garlands of leaves over the door-way and the colored designs or "rangooli" on the ground, to the simple traditional dishes for this "Festival of festivals." It is only the motive in all our actions that counts with Baba, this we came to know.

 

Baba now calls us to come in turn with our individual plates, and he ladles out a lavish portion of rava giving each, as he does so, a look or a smile. Next, the servants are called to come with their plates. They too have brought from the local village garlands and coconuts for Baba. Lastly, Baba calls for a large container in which to put the remainder of the rava, to take down the hill for the men mandali. No one is forgotten by Baba, and Baba loves to give his men disciples on occasion a treat of a sweet dish, to break their monotonous diet. Only after Baba has thought of all, does he sit down to eat and we do likewise. In less than five minutes, however, Baba is restless to be on the move and down the hill to give his prasad to the men, and we see nothing more of Baba till late after-noon, when we spot him hurrying up the hill, occasionally stooping to pick up a small stone and throw it to the left or right of him, his every step vibrant with untiring energy.

 

Immediately Baba orders lunch to be brought in, the traditional fare of rice, dahl, yogurt and spiced vegetables. Baba serves himself and his plate is put aside. All come forward with their plates and are served by Baba, the while his food is getting cold. After all are served Baba begins to eat and we follow suit.

 

Lunch over, Baba sends all to rest for one hour. Baba, too, ap­parently is resting!

 

Tea time. The bell rings. We assemble in the refectory and see Baba standing beside a cake—a gift from one of the devotees from Bombay, with ten little candles, each representing 5 years. Baba cuts the cake, giving each a slice—and to the children an extra large slice. To me he gives five little candles, bidding me take care of them. After tea, Baba suggests games, jolly, amusing games. In one which I recall, we were divided into groups, each group to work

 

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