Previous Page
Table Of Contents
Next Page

 

14

 

Early Saturday morning Nariman and his brother-in-law escorted me on the train to Poona. It took 4½ hours to make the 120 miles because of the many stops. Just before arrival I saw what looked like a ghost walking down a street and was told it was either a real Sadhu or an imitation one — his body covered with white ashes and his face streaked with painted lines. On arrival Meherjee Karkaria drove us over to the mansion of the Maharanee of Baroda*; which she had turned over for Baba's one month of rest. Mehera, Manija, Goher, Rano and Khorja greeted me, Meheru being in Bombay for medical care where I had seen her. Five minutes rushed by and I was taken to Baba. He was sitting with a large group of Mandali — men who had been close to Him for many, many years — all of whom were introduced, and it was a great pleasure to see in person people like Pendu and Vishnu, Baidul who used to arrange all the mast trips etc., about whom all of us have heard. Baba looked radiant, eyes sparkling, and I felt relieved that He was so much improved after His month in Poona, although I was not sure but what He had, as He can so easily do, turned on His special incandescence for the occasion. Mani later said she thought He had, because He really has suffered so much during the seclusion. Five minutes fled by and after advising me that I could watch Him for four hours the next morning, I was whisked off to the Wellesley Hotel for luncheon. The girls were as beautiful and aglow as ever, trying hard to inquire about every one in the states and I told them and Baba that I was sure every one would have loaded me with messages of love had they known I might be there. They all sent loving greetings to all Baba lovers, while I was busy consuming half a papaya Baba had ordered for me.

 

At three o'clock dear Adi, who had come over from Ahmednagar, and Ramjoo came over and for 1½ hours we discussed the intricacies of Indian copyright laws, translations, Baba's books and such business. There was no opportunity to say more.

 

At five Meherjee picked me up for a little sight-seeing trip. We first had tea with his family and it was a joy to meet his wife Homai again, remembering her great kindness to Charmian and me in 1947. The daughters are growing fast, one working towards her M.A. in sociology and the teenager, Mehernaz, aiming to be a surgeon! Pervin has great artistic talent as well. Tearing myself away, we drove over to Babajan's tree, which is partly enclosed by a shrine where Babajan's body lies; past St. Vincent's school which Baba attended; to Baba's boyhood home where His brothers Jal and Beheram showed me the tiny meditation room (almost a cell) where Baba used to dash His dear head against a rough stone in the ground when His spiritual agony became almost too much to bear. A khujee tree branched over a big covered well, its brown fruit being shaken by myriads of chirping sparrows who all seemed to be singing praises. Beheram showed me his photographic lab, a small space entirely blocked out from light and air, and I felt contrite thinking of him laboring there on photos for us in the sweltering heat. His leg is now better. The women of the household all were on hand to greet me with warm, hospitable embraces and handclasps. Not for a moment was I allowed to feel a stranger — we were all one in our love for the Beloved. All too soon we dashed off to the Jessawala home where many were gathered. "Papa" Jessawala was recovering from an operation on his eyes but inquired about many names known to him. Naja, from the Meherabad ashram of old, was there, where she helps to cook for Baba. After a cold fruit juice we then went to the Poona Center. People who could make it on such short notice gathered, and the little group who always do bhajans there and lead the arti, brought their instruments and sang and played. I cannot say they did it for me, for of course it was for Baba, but they illustrated how they praise Him and it made me wish mightily we were less inhibited in the states and could beat our drums and sing lustily of our love and adoration. I feel sure it would banish our frustrations far better than sleeping pills and tranquilizers! The arti, which the Parsees pointed out to me is a Hindu custom, was most interesting. A brass dish, looking like an old-fashioned candle-holder, held five small lights made by a wick inserted in a tiny ball of gee. It was waved in circles before Baba's picture. Ramakrishna,

 

*Guruprasad

 

Previous Page
Table Of Contents
Next Page