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6

 

The next day, the 18th, was the actual day on which Baba's birthday was celebrated. There were fresh arrivals of Baba's devotees and the destitute had all gone on their way. The ceremony of washing Baba's feet began. Hundreds passed by him for this devotional act, including ourselves. Then each in turn passed by and offered leis of jasmine and roses which were placed around Baba's neck, and he gave them his benediction, either in embracing them or touching them with his hand. Flowers were immediately removed and placed to one side. A great cloak of jasmine and roses was thrown about his shoulders, a custom at Muslim marriage ceremonies, but here signifying Baba's state of Divine Union. He sat on a low couch facing the people, while on the platform stood many men who had been with Baba for years, young and old, strong and indefatigable in their devotion to Baba and untiring as nothing is too much for them to do for Baba. I shall never forget the expressions of love on the faces of these people. There was a great deal of singing and dancing; people from Ahmednagar danced a strange, savage dance with sticks having metal pieces attached giving the sound of bells. There was devotional singing with drum and cymbal accompaniment. A singer, considered one of the finest in India, Master Krishna, sang most beautifully accompanied by two strange large instruments called sitars and drums. The whole day passed like a dream.

 

Although this was the first time I had witnessed a ceremony of this kind, I did not feel strange or out of place. It all seemed right as it should be, and although it happened but a short time ago, it already seems like a beautiful strange never-to-be-forgotten dream.

 

The world seems indeed far away. I long for the day when I shall be allowed to help Baba. I am only learning my A-B-C's in this all-important school of spirituality, but whatever there is in me that is of any use, it belongs completely to Baba, to do with as he wishes, as I belong entirely to him.

— NASIK, 1937

 

 

This is the first of a series of articles by various people on how they met the Master. Manuscripts are invited from all of you. Send them to the Editor, c/o The Awakener, 215 East 66th Street, New York 21, N. Y.

 

    Note: Ruano, Baba's "eagle," passed away February 8, 1956. Baba cabled: "My eagle has not died, but ever flies in My kingdom."

 

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