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14

 

from continuous smoking. I was growing very tired of the scene; I felt that I was riding a seesaw of hypocrisy – reading holy books with one hand, and with the other staying greatly attached to my buffers from reality. Any opening up accomplished through drugs, as regards different ways of seeing, had long been replaced by what had become a constant fog in which spontaneity was an illusion, and an impossibility. I could not do anything because I was so stoned; a self-defeating paradox.

 

At last the boat arrived. We travelled deck-class, a class I was assured by the shipping agents was designed for Asian peoples, i.e., non-whites. I had to sign forms in triplicate stipulating that the company was not in any way responsible for my form or possessions. The journey to Bombay was eight days, approximately 2000 miles through the Persian Gulf and Arabian Ocean, on the deck with a thousand Indians and Arabs. The first night out, we bums sat in a circle and got, as usual, very stoned. Later that evening, lying on the hold on which I had laid my sleeping bag, looking at the stars in their frozen resplendence as we peacefully floated along. I became intensely aware of the complete insignificance of "me" in the cosmic scheme of things, and realized that truly all time is now, and that "later" is also now. This posited for me the necessity of a higher ethos, and that the only act that was of consequence, in our brief stay on this planet, was to love and serve our fellow travelers in consciousness. Then and there, I stopped smoking, and gave away my stash and pipe. The other hitch-hikers couldn 't understand why I stopped, but respected my right to my own madness. I busied myself with reading the Bhagavad Gita and God Speaks , the Gita of this age. Eight long days later, we arrived in Bombay, one month before the sahavas was due to begin. I had thought of going to the mountains to rest, but upon landing in India, knew that there was nowhere else to go and nothing else to do except to see Baba as soon as possible. Later I was to feel somewhat like a fish that had at first been allowed to play on the line, but as I was pulled in closer to the orbit of the Fisherman, it became clear that further resistance was futile, and that indeed I was destined for His net (thank God!).

 

I stayed that first night in Bombay on the floor of the Sikh Temple with about forty other people, and the next morning proceeded to hitchhike to Poona 120 miles southeast. I was given a ride on a truck which was carrying furniture lashed down with tarpaulins – except for one large, comfortable armchair, on which I sat for the entire journey through the plains and ghats on the way south. I arrived in Poona, dropped off my pack at the railway station, and proceeded to see Poona. Eventually, I entered a restaurant to have dinner. While eating, a young man came up to me, enquired as to the purpose of my visit, and upon learning that I had come to see Meher Baba, asked if I knew there was a Baba Center in Poona, a fact which I did not know. After dinner, he took me there, thus fulfilling his part in the odyssey.

 

I entered the small office where some men were sitting, was asked the purpose of my visit, and when I said that I had come for the Sahavas, was greeted with shocked silence. Didn't I know that Baba had cancelled the Sahavas? No, I didn't know. Oh yes, Baba had cancelled it on September 4 (I had left the United States on September 1; I never received any mail as no one knew where I was, and so I had no idea). My initial reaction was one of stupor – and then; you mean I 've travelled 12,000 miles, and there 's no Sahavas? Well, could I see Baba? – oh no, He 's in strict seclusion, and is not seeing anyone. The world, for a moment, stopped turning. I was told that Baba was at Meherazad, about eighty miles away, and I said that I must try to see Him. They replied – oh yes! you try. That evening I was taken to Babajan 's tomb, and also to meet Baba 's brother, Jal. I then returned to the railway station, slept fitfully, and early the next morning wended my way to

 

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