alongside of him. And yet in his talking before the group he seemed as forceful and as powerful as a lion. His talks had a fire to them that usually brought forth a jubilant chorus of "Jai Baba!" This striking combination of the lamb and the lion which I saw most clearly in Adi, seems characteristic of all of the mandali.
In his talk before the group he made the rather startling comment that we, the Western Baba lovers, knew Baba as well as he did. To me this indicated two things. One is the humility of Adi, who has lived so closely to Baba all these years and yet feels that his knowledge of Him is no greater than a lover who has never even seen Baba's physical form. Secondly, and this supports the accuracy of Adi's humility, is that Baba's essential nature cannot be grasped by any mortal human, no matter how much intimate contact they have had with him.
One would expect that the Mandali, through their day-to-day association with Baba, would have some special knowledge about his work, or have some privileged information that the rest of us wouldn't have, but this does not seem to be the case. On the question of Baba breaking his silence, the Mandali seem to have a variety of personal theories, not necessarily in agreement with one another, just like the Westerners. In a get-together later on in the week someone asked Eruch how soon he thought it would be before Baba broke his silence (which assumes that Baba has not), and in answer Eruch quite sincerely asked the questioner what he thought about it. Then Eruch went on to say that for himself he misses Baba's silence; he misses Baba's silent presence at Guruprasad Hall. It was a very poignant reply.
Following these talks, the taking of darshan at Baba's chair was begun by Mehera. She came up to the chair and bowed down at the base of it, as if she was bowing at Baba's feet, and then placed her forehead to Baba's sandals. When she finished and moved away from the chair there was a long interval until one of the Westerners finally followed her example. While following Mehera's lead, each person nevertheless took darshan in his own individual way. Some got down on their knees, others lay out full in front of the chair, some rested their head on the seat, and so forth.
This was certainly unusual for many of us, although it is quite a common practice in the East. As I sat there waiting my turn I wondered if this was not a bit too ritualistic for us, and perhaps even out of character with Baba's own naturalness. But I was struck by the free flow of tears of several of us who had gone up, with some breaking into sobs right at the chair.
As my turn drew closer my heart started beating so hard that it seemed to be a hand knocking at a door to gain entrance. I did not understand why I should be so frightened about this. But was it fright? I walked up to the chair and kneeled down, and I was overwhelmed. There were several strong physical sensations, one of which was the knocking, which was supplanted by a kind of fire that rose up within my chest and seemed to spread to my mind, my consciousness. Baba was in the chair! No visions, I did not see him, but I knew that he was there.
I found it to be an incredible experience, and for me it was the essential fulfillment of the whole darshan trip to India. It made me know clearly, at last, why I had gone. It was the apex of the feelings that had built up in me from the moment of landing in India. Here at the base of a seemingly empty chair, Baba showed me Who He was. I would almost call it supernatural, but in a deep sense it was the most natural thing that ever happened to me. A Sufi type of phrase created itself in my mind: "When the oil of mind is touched by the fire of love there is consuming heat and light."
At some point the physical became more purely mental, or spiritual, and I keenly felt the relationship of the lover to the beloved. Someone else said that he felt like a son at the foot of a loving father. Truly, "The lover assumes many forms in order to catch the eye of the beloved."
It was an experience in which all ego seemed to be stripped away by a blast of pure love from Baba's furnace, and in this intense blaze the heart blossomed like a flower. This is the heart response that many have found with Baba. Once he shows it to us, it is much easier to