in the district, Pukar as a militant revolutionary opposed to Him and His lovers, and openly challenged Baba's claim to divinity. Then one day, after he had hurled a challenge at Baba's name, he saw Baba appear before him in answer to the challenge, and that experience totally transformed him from Baba's opponent into Baba's champion. Now when he tries to talk about Baba his voice soon chokes with emotion, and he has to stop speaking and wait for the overflow of feeling to subside before he can continue, and then he can only go on for a little while before it happens again!
Sunday morning at six a.m. we boarded our buses and headed out for Ahmednagar, to take darshan at Baba's tomb and to see Meherabad and Meherazad. We left early to take advantage of the cooler mornings since Ahmednagar is essentially a desert region. When we got there I realized that it could only be through Divine love that Baba could draw the Western women mandali like Rano, Kitty and Elizabeth out to live in this otherwise desolate place. With the small ancient village, the goats, the women carrying vats of water on their heads, Meherabad exists unchanged from 2,000 years ago, or even earlier, and presents an image of what Jerusalem could have looked like in Christ 's time.
Baba's Tomb is a white dome placed on the top of a sandy bill, and against the clear blue sky it looks like the peak of a snow-covered mountain top. One person in the group said that she had always felt a strong inclination to climb to the top of a snow-covered mountain and stand there against the sky, and here at upper Meherabad she felt the realization of that desire; this was the mountain she had been seeking.
We filed into the tomb a few at a time. Some of us were weeping. I felt solemn, and in taking darshan I was aware of a deep sense of Baba's being, but I was not as consciously affected as at the first darshan. After everyone had taken darshan and were gathered around outside the tomb under a sun canopy, Henry Kashouty got out his trombone and began playing Baba's favorite, Begin the Beguine. As the local villagers gathered around and silently looked on, the rest of us sang or hummed along. It was strange but very moving. Begin the Beguine, which Baba said had spiritual meaning, is a romantic song, but played on the trombone it had a mournful tone that lent the setting the quality of an early New Orleans jazz funeral. Here was the tailgate trombonist leading us along the streets of "old town" and playing the sad yet joyous melody that was in everyone's heart.
After the visit to the tomb we went to some other places in the Ahmednagar area where Baba had lived and worked; lower Meherabad where the mast, Mohammed, stays, and the Meherazad settlement where Baba was residing when he left his body (not in a cave as a syndicated obituary said). Lines formed for darshan in Baba's bedroom and some people sat on the floor inside to meditate. (One of the meditators was the fellow who had questioned going to India "to see Baba's bed and the pot that he pissed in." While he was in the room meditating, a puppy dog came up to him and pissed on him!)
After we were entertained at the Ahmednagar Baba Center by songs and dances, the long bus ride back to Poona marked the end of a day that was as significant as it was exhausting. I felt physically, mentally, and spiritually drained by the time we landed at our hotel doorstep.
The next day, the 28th, was the last darshan gathering at Guruprasad, and that evening we were invited by the Poona Baba lovers in town for their regular Monday night meeting. Tuesday was an open day before leaving for Bombay, which turned out to be a gift invitation by the Mandali for final goodbyes at Guruprasad.
Most of us tried to go to darshan without expectations, and indeed it would have been difficult to know what to expect. But being there seemed to bring out the expectations that we held unconsciously as we found ourselves either surprised or disappointed at what occurred.
I found that I went through some strong emotional changes over the course of the week. After the blissful and ecstatic experience of the first two days the rest of the time became a mixed and often hellish existence. Perhaps I expected that the positive feelings of the beginning of the darshan would continue, and this expectation left me unwilling to accept any other kinds of experience. In any event I went through some pain.