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34

 

good one; and the other was an evil one; then who am I?" Sai Baba replied: "You are beyond both these; you and I are one; and all this wealth belongs to us."

 

Some experiences disturbed Maharaj profoundly. At times, Maharaj inwardly felt like a woman and spoke and acted as if he was a woman. When Maharaj became UNMATTA (unconscious of the body) he went completely beyond the sense of comfort and discomfort, good and evil, agreeable and disagreeable. One day he bathed with his own hands a leper and washed his dirty clothes. Once, Maharaj embraced a dead horse and spent the whole day with him, although the body of the dead horse was all the time being devoured by birds. Sometimes children and ignorant persons used to trouble Maharaj; but his patience and forbearance were unfailing. The external behaviour and talk of Maharaj often seemed to all appearances to be like those of a mad mast.

 

Maharaj thus went through many phases of consciousness and occult experiences during the period, which he spent in Khandoba's temple. From the point of view of bodily life, the stay in Khandoba's temple of Shirdi was for Maharaj a severe ordeal of all kinds of sufferings and trials; and from the point of view of inner life, they marked the different stages through which the Grace of Sai Baba led him to spiritual perfection and God-realization.

 

Sai Baba at times sent some of his disciples to Maharaj with the express injunction that they should look upon Maharaj as their Master. It was towards the end of this period in Khandoba's temple, when Maharaj had become perfect, that Meher Baba first came into contact with Maharaj. The history of this incident as well as of the later developments in connection with the nature of the spiritual help which Meher Baba received will be narrated later. It throws considerable light on how Meher Baba's exalted God-consciousness was gradually adjusted to the requirements of the mundane world, through a long period of seven years, during which Meher Baba remained in contact with Maharaj.

 

One of the frequent visitors of Maharaj was Dr. Pillay, to whom Maharaj once predicted the last Great War, one year before it started. After the completion of four years at Shirdi, Maharaj quietly left Shirdi with Dr. Ganapatrao, at twelve o'clock in the night, without informing any one about it. None but Dr. Pillay was present when Maharaj left Shirdi on the 15th of August, 1915; and though he stayed back at Shirdi, he kept the

 

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