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30

 

although the road was fairly good, the merry streams we crossed had no bridges so we forded through their gravel beds. Alongside were natives performing their early morning ablutions in picturesque fashion, and their bright saris were being washed at the same time.

 

“Quite unexpectedly we arrived at a high gate of rattan with stone posts, just off the road which led through the small village of Rahuri. A sound from our horn and the gate swung open in welcome, disclosing a bungalow on either side and soon we saw Baba on a porch, surrounded by the men of his 'mandali.' He wore his usual white robe over which was a worn-looking reddish jacket. His beautiful glance drew all together in close harmony. Among the disciples present, most of whom had been with Baba for years, were Vishnu, Pendu, Padri, Sarosh, Rustom, Kaka, Ramjoo, Adi Senior, Gustadji (who had been silent since 1927), Ravsab, Baidul, Dr Ghani (who had been a schoolmate of Baba's), and Pleader who had lived silently in one room for almost five years, existing only on milk).

 

"Baba had put Pleader, a tall fine-looking man in charge of the Ashram which, at this phase of Baba's work, is being conducted for mad men, who are spiritually advanced.

 

"After smilingly introducing Norina and myself to the disciples assembled, Baba led us further into the property where the mad men were congregating under a spreading mango tree. From among a number of mad men brought to him, Baba had selected a few whom he terms 'God-mad.’ These are advanced souls whose spiritual yearning and practices had led them out of the normal state. Baba pointed out to us, as we looked around, that this one was on ‘the path'; that one had a slight breeze of spirituality blowing through him; another was quite mad but harmless: and the young fellow who started to beat on a tin can, as on a tom-tom, was very good but 'goofy.' Baba told us that he loved them all very much, and indeed when we saw him embrace these ragged, world-ridiculed men, the beautiful scene of St. Francis embracing the leper came to our minds with all its touching realism. We witnessed the dull-eyed, dark piece of humanity called 'Goofy' turn his face up to the Master's and an unforgettable expression came to life and glowed in his eyes, like the primordial divine stirring in a piece of mud. His wits were completely absent, only the clay of humanity was there, yet we could indeed envy this creature who could so directly use his intuition that he perceived Baba in his 'radiant state.' 'Goofy's' blurred eyes caught the vision as a mirror reflects

 

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