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4

 

"Baba paused at the doorway and seeing them crestfallen, stated that he would remain only if they would abide by his decision—to which they agreed. First, he took the headman to task for not having kept better order in the village. Some began to feel rather sorry because they felt in their hearts that they were really to blame in the matter. Then he told the dissenters that they must 'Forgive and forget and become one.' As long as they had two 'parties' they never could accomplish this. There was much discussion amongst themselves, and I thought, of course, they were objecting to giving up the two 'parties'; but instead there was objection to eating together, as it had been proposed that a village feast be held. The question at issue appeared that one side would not accept food from the other. In Indian custom, if both parties accepted to eat together, it becomes a bond: the same as in our Christian Bible, it refers to 'breaking bread together,’ as something sacred, but we in the West have lost the significance that the East still has for this rite.

 

“It was agreed finally that if Baba himself would give the food, they would both accept from him and thereby become one family. In this concrete manner, a few days after, Baba thus blessed this flock of black and white sheep, by uniting them from ancient hatred into fellowship."

 

We are told that a few days later, November 26th, all 400 inhabitants of the Arangaon Village, wishing to express their appreciation to Baba and to cement their union by coming to him, arranged a gathering on Meherabad Hill. Up the steep hill they came, at sunset, together with their children, led by their musicians, who kept time in a slow rhythm of dance. Baba was seated on the ground in front of the place where once he had retired in seclusion for a year and where now there is erected, over his cave, a white domed structure. Now returning to Elizabeth's account:

 

"The evening ceremony consisted of a bhajan or sacred recital sung before Baba. Until now, the former 'parties' had kept back one thing, which Baba knew, and that was sitting next to each other in the Temple. Instead, they held their weekly bhajans separately. This sacred song recital in Baba's presence commenced by one of the former 'parties' singing accompanied by bell-like instruments and then, that which had not happened for years, occurred. The other party joined in unison. At this point, Baba, who knows so well the child-like need of the people for a material symbol, gave to the villagers a long shaped drum, which is an ancient sign of 'peace and unity.'"

 

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