awaiting their turn to greet the Master. Baba was seated in the center of a large couch facing the crowd. Behind Baba was Eruch; also, Meherjee, Adi, and other mandali stood there to help. I was permitted to sit on the floor at the left end of Baba's couch. A hushed and expectant air prevailed as the musicians started their first artis. Darshan was about to begin.
Baba stopped the music and signaled the women and children to come to Him. In bright saris, single file, they took their happy turns. Each knelt, prostrated or bowed to Baba, offered their tokens, and embraced Him. All had a garland, fruit, nut, message or other token. The children clamored gleefully around Baba's legs and lap. About every 15 minutes, Baba would stop the line, have the devotees sit down, and direct the musicians to play for 10-15 minutes. Baba seemed enraptured in the music which He directed like a symphony with His lightning, hummingbird-like finger motions. The voices of the singers rose in ecstatic songs. But the happiest person in the room was the person first in the stopped line. She or he had an extra dividend of a period to sit at the feet of the Master!
After the arti Baba usually translated the message. Obedience to Baba, love, service, honesty were the main themes. The line of devotees would arise and proceed past Baba. At frequent intervals Eruch had to remove the pile of garlands from around Baba's neck to save Him from being smothered in flowers. Also, he wiped the perspiration from Baba's brow. (The flowers and other gifts were passed through a curtain to other mandali).
At nearly 11 o'clock the approximately 500 devotees had paid their respects to Baba. They left the room with fond last looks at the Avatar. Some small groups had the privilege of one more moment with Baba.
My last moment was also special. With Adi and Meherjee beside Him, Baba looked full into my eyes and told me to take His love to all.
Nariman gave me three large photographs of Baba for Murshida, Fredella, and Elizabeth Patterson. With the photographs under my arm, I said farewell to as many as possible and returned to the hotel. Following one last glance around the town and Deccan College, where Baba studied, I lunched, packed, and took the train with Homa to Bombay. Our journey, including a brief stop at Homa's home, was pleasant. We had a pitcher of tea at the airport and shook hands "so long" at the Customs gate. In a few hours I was in Tehran ready to resume my duties.