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39

 

followed, obeyed and adhered to through thick and thin. But never have I seen Him (Maharaj) playing the role of a devotee of His disciple, paying respectful homage almost amounting to worship!

 

This appreciative devotion of Maharaj, availing Himself of the opportunity of Baba's birthday to run down from Sakori to 'Nagar, especially as it were, to give a spontaneous outpouring of His sentiments, cannot but be from an intuitive knowledge that Baba besides being an entire embodiment of Maharaj's Self, is in addition, the possessor of a potent power of world-wide service and spiritual domination!

 
Impressions of Baba's
1937 Birthday Celebration

 

After two years, miracle of miracles, here I am in India with Baba, in the Meher Retreat at Nasik. Every thought has been given for the comfort of his Western disciples so that they shall keep well and become acclimated and be happy, for Baba says, "How can one think of spiritual things if one is uncomfortable and obliged to think of the body?"

 

Friends write and ask if there is a course of study that one follows, or if there are certain books that one should read, etc. There are no studies, nothing of that kind. There is Baba. He awakens something in one so that things that seemed of great importance before, fade away, material wants grow less and less and there remains only a great desire to understand. This becomes paramount, at least so it is with me. I marvel everyday I have been allowed to come, what a privilege to have been here for his birthday celebration.

 

Visitors began to arrive on the 16th of February, 1937, devotees and members of Baba's family. They were all housed in the vicinity, in various bungalows and rest houses. An enormous tent, as large as an acre of land, had been erected, and a special kitchen-tent besides where Brahmin cooks were installed. All was wonderfully arranged, and every day thousands of meals were served to friends and devotees of Baba. Rice, curry and lentils were eaten from plates made of leaves. Everyone sat on low benches, cross-legged in Eastern fashion, and they ate with their fingers, as is the custom.

 

On the 17th more than ten thousand poor people passed before Baba and he touched their feet and then his forehead. This act is called 'Darshana' and, instead of their touching Baba's feet and then their own forehead, Baba himself performed this act of humility, which had a deep spiritual significance known only to him. He handed each person a round sweet made of almonds and, as they passed on each one was given a bundle of a piece of material containing rice and lentil grains, which we Westerners had been preparing for many days previously. This stream of people began passing by Baba at eight in the morning and continued all day until evening, with only short intervals of rest for Baba. It was the fortieth day of his fast.

 

I had never imagined such spectacles of poverty, blind leading blind, lame, deformed, beggars carrying all their worldly possessions with them consisting of bundles of rags and a bowl. There were mothers with large-eyed babies who sat 'broiler fashion' on their hips; most of the babies were naked. Others wore only a loin cloth, some with bushy, unkempt hair, and still others with wonderful faces and sturdy bodies. The lepers were given the same by Baba, only they were segregated from the rest and Baba came forward to them.

 

While this was going on songs of Krishna were being sung, accompanied by drums and a small melodeon. It was all so touching and simple that I cried most of the time. The tent was crowded with people of every kind, rich and poor, all spectators looking at Baba, women in rags and women in beautiful saris, men in turbans or black Persian caps, every kind of costume and headdress, denoting all castes..

 

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