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10

 

them darshan in His room after sunset. The big iron gates were opened and people were conducted into Baba's room in a queue. They were asked to walk past Baba in single file while He sat in His chair. They entered by the front door, walked past Baba and left by the back door. While this darshan went on for over two hours, Baba lovers from Navsari sang bhajans. A few of the Parsee boys who had been shouting slogans approached Baba in the queue when Baba allowed darshan inside His room.

 

Mrs. Khorshedbanoo* Meherjirana Dastur, wife of the Parsee high priest at Navsari, had also come to Baba for His darshan. She was near Baba for nearly an hour. She performed Baba's arti. She begged Baba to forgive Her husband who, though extremely anxious for His darshan, could not come because he was bed-ridden. There were also many more from the Zoroastrian priestly class who had not failed to take Baba's darshan. They had all come with devotion and seemed proud to be in the presence of the One so profoundly revered by the world. Till 9 p.m. we sat near Baba. Baba then asked all of us to leave for dinner and instructed us to come early in the morning.

 

We had made arrangements for dinner for about forty persons at a bungalow behind Meher Cottage. Baba was accompanied by His mandali and about forty lovers from Bombay. Dinner was provided for all of them and yet there was a lot left over. Volunteers from Navsari had dinner and yet plenty of food left over was given to the poor the next day. After dinner, one Baba lover from Bombay accidentally fell into an eight-foot deep hole which had been dug for the foundation of another bungalow. He clambered out uninjured!

 

When we finished dinner, we came to Meher Cottage and were surprised to see that the two nieces of Mr. Sorabji Desai and his old sister of 85 had been asked by Baba to leave Meher Cottage at 9:30 p.m. The three of them sat huddled up in a small wooden cabin adjoining the cottage which was normally used by the night watchman. During the day, Baba had asked them to spend the night in the cottage. The mandali was to rest at night in a bungalow opposite the cottage but instead, Baba asked them to sleep on the veranda. People from neighbouring villages came in a trickle for darshan up till midnight. They stood outside the iron gates and Baba would step onto the front veranda frequently to give them darshan. After midnight, Baba hardly rested on His bed but could be seen walking about in the cottage. Baba had no dinner and all lights were lit throughout the night in the cottage. We left the cottage after dinner at about 11:30 p.m. and went to our Center. We talked of all the happenings of the day and went home after midnight quite tired.

 

By 4 a.m. we were up and getting ready to go to Meher Cottage. Baba had called us early! One of the volunteers reached there at 5 a.m. to find Baba strolling on the front veranda. I arrived at about 5:30 and Baba was looking as fresh as ever. He told me that He wished to visit our Center. I told Him that I had no car but would get a tonga — a horse-driven carriage. Baba agreed. I raced on my cycle to get a tonga. On the way, I told one of the volunteers who was heading for Meher Cottage that Baba was coming to the Center. The carriage having arrived, Baba got into it. Two or three of us also got in and by 6 we were at the Center. By then, volunteers had opened the Center, cleaned and swept it, and made designs with colored powders on the ground in front of the Centre. Baba climbed up the narrow staircase and came into the Center. His eye fell on a life-size photo of Sai Baba of Shirdi. This photo was to be sent to the Sai Baba Centre at Aden. Baba blessed it by touching it. He then sat in a chair and looked around the Center. He seemed happy. Arti was sung and then He got up to go. In the joy of having Baba with us at the Center, we had forgotten one thing. We requested Baba to sit down on His chair for another minute. As soon as He sat down, a string was pulled and a shower of roses fell on

 

*spelled Khorshedbanu in Lord Meher-webmaster-JK

 

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