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24

 

We have noted that Baba will frequently tell you the worst news first and then lighten your heart later. He watches your reactions to see if you have learned to be a rock unmoved by all exterior events, good or bad.

 

Thus, to our surprise and joy, three or four months after Baba had shifted to Pimpalgaon, he began calling those still in Meherabad in twos and threes to spend two weeks with him in Pimpalgaon. There he would take us for walks over the surrounding fields where we collected variegated colored stones, treasuring those pointed out by Baba, and bringing home particular ones in the wheelbarrow for the garden. Another time Baba took us up a nearby hill to Gorakhnath's shrine, a much revered Master, and to the top of his own hill. Occasionally we all went to an early cinema at Sarosh's movie theatre in Ahmednagar, where a private showing would be put on for Baba and his group at 7 a.m. To be at the cinema at 7, we would have to be up at 4 to be ready to leave when the bus came at 6 a.m. to fetch those from Meherabad as well.

 

You can imagine the joy and happiness we felt when called by Baba for these short periods. Baba was not unmindful of how we felt at being separated from him, and, if we could appear with happy faces, then we knew Baba was pleased.

 

Baba did not stay for any length of time in Pimpalgaon. After a few months he was off again all over India on mast work. Occasionally he would send for one or two from Meherabad to join him. I remember a delightful two weeks in Simla, in northern India, and another two weeks in southwestern India on the sea. Here Baba would take us to the beach, and, while he paced up and down the beach, we would enjoy a good swim, while following him with our eyes. The primary reason for Baba's visit to both these places was, of course, his mast work."

 

And then, in 1946, came another change. Irene Billo was sent back to Switzerland, and a few months later, Margaret Craske to England. Others of the Indian group were sent home. We were growing fewer in number. Would it ever be our turn, we would ask each other?

 

Alas, three years later, in 1949, came the realization of Baba's own words concerning all his ashrams: "I create them for the purpose of my universal work only to repeatedly dissolve them once their purpose has been served."

 

In July, 1949, Baba entered his "Great Seclusion" and fast of 40 days, during which he spent many hours in the old "blue bus," now anchored in the compound at Pimpalgaon. When he came out of seclusion, he announced the phase of his "New Life"—the closing of all ashrams and the sending back into the world, of 90% of those in the ashrams. Baba was fulfilling his earlier message given in Nasik, 1937: "Every one of you has to help in My work and be in touch with the world and at all times be in inward communication with Me as the Infinite Being."

 

Later, we came to realize that all work is his work, as he said.

 

Some of us were sent to Bombay to work as teachers or do secretarial work, while a few

 

*Described in "The Wayfarers" by Dr. William Donkin

 

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