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16

 

devotees, both old and new, for His divine company or "sahavas," was breaking His year of seclusion begun in February, 1956, to be with them all for a short interval on His round-the-world "sahavas tour." As Baba had said when leaving America in 1952: "It is your love which will draw me back to the West." And now our Divine Guest, accompanied by four of His men disciples from India, was about to arrive!

 

Most of the group stayed on the upper observation deck eagerly searching the sky for incoming planes. But several others, having discovered on which side of the field Baba's plane would land, were already out on the "apron," some with loaded cameras, ready to take Baba's picture as He stepped on to American soil.

 

Word came that the huge silvery PAA plane just landing was "The Rainbow" at last! Excitement surged through the crowd on the observation deck of the airport. All strained their eyes to see Baba through the tiny windows of the plane. But it was too far away and taxied out of sight behind the airport. It was exactly 7:05 A.M.

 

Those out on the field, however, were lucky enough to catch Baba's first happy smile and wave of greeting to His followers through the plane window. The little group waved their arms in joyous response and watched with tear-filled eyes as Baba came down the gangplank wearing His pink jacket and white sadra. He flashed them a loving, radiant smile as only Baba can do. The long-awaited One had come!

 

The crowd of devotees upstairs now surged down to await Baba outside the Customs room. But it was over three-quarters of an hour before they caught the wonderful glimpse of the pink jacket and Baba's hand waving in greeting above the heads of the other travelers. As Baba was the guest of two spiritual organizations in the United States who were sponsoring His visit, Ivy Duce, as representative of one and Elizabeth Patterson as representative of the other, were allowed to go inside and greet Baba.

 

At last Baba and party emerged from Customs into the waiting circle of His devotees. Immediately He was surrounded by them, almost, one might say, "drowned" in them, and at once He began to embrace each one individually. Going to His oldest disciples first, He greeted each one of the group, as well as those who had never met Him before. A garland of red, white, and blue flowers was placed around Baba's neck as is customary in the East. Cameras clicked to catch this quiet, yet momentous arrival of the Avatar in the United States.

 

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