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15

 

who takes charge of this center, explained to me that the five wicks represented air, earth, fire, water, ether. All are subservient to the Beloved. They translated the words of arti, and we had a discussion on the differences between bhajans and qavvali singing. This center began with 25 people and now more than 300 wish to attend, and so they are searching for bigger quarters. Ramakrishna has to work all day at his job, as we do in the states, and still manage all the work in Baba's service done at the center, so things are no easier there than at home. We completed our tour by visiting the temple of Jungli Meharaj*. As it is so difficult for me to remove and put on my shoes with their ankle straps, I could not go right in, but could see very well. A man was renewing a painting of the great saint and it was explained to me that he had extremely long arms and his name arose from the fact that he dwelt in a cave on this site, which was shown me, in a forest or jungle, all of which has disappeared. Darkness having descended, we went back to the hotel.

 

It had been a long, full day, but sleep was denied me. I was very excited from Baba’s atmosphere, and until long past midnight traffic rushed by under my windows, and a loudspeaker employed at some affair at the Aga Khan's palace next door, kept blaring out a repetitive tune into the wee hours of the morning. It was unusually hot there and in Bombay for the winter time, as every one commented.

 

Shortly after 8 A.M. Saturday morning, the 17th, Meherjee drove me over to where Baba stays. Baba gave me some instructions for about 3 or 4 minutes, I had a quick chat with the girls, and was taken out onto the marble piazza to sit near the Master while He received Poona devotees. He had instructed that about 100 people be advised He would see them before He left for Pimpalgaon, but I guess they all called up or went to see every one they know, for hordes of people arrived and stood in long patient lines in the sunny driveways. A comfortable chair was placed for Baba right in front of the doors which lead off the piazza into the house. The only other chair was mine, because my feet injuries prevent my getting onto the floor for any length of time. The piazzas rapidly filled with bhajan singers, sahri'd women of all walks of life, Mandali, etc. A white snowy carpet, about the width of our stair carpets, was spread from the side of the house where Baba meets with His Mandali, around the corner to the front and up to His chair. It was lovingly sprinkled with rose petals and the petals of tuberoses and freesias. Overhead long strands of patiently braided flowers waved. Two cushions covered with flower petals were placed for Baba's feet. An air of suppressed excitement filled the grounds. I was told some eight Maharanis arrived from different states, people came from Calcutta and one Dutch lady, married to an Indian editor, came from South Africa. Sandals were cast off and people pattered around the cold floors in their bare feet unmindful of anything except that they were to see Baba. Most of the women seemed to be bearing a tiny baby and had one or two youngsters hanging onto their skirts. They behaved like little angels, uttering nothing, no crying, tiny hands clasped in the namaskar, waiting for their turn.

 

Baba in His pink coat and white sadra walked the length of the petalled path supported by Eruch's arm, and sat down in His low chair. Although there seemed to be no organization or system, people filed by Him. It was a never-ending source of wonder to me how quickly they could get down on their knees in one movement, or prostrate themselves, with their heads on His feet. Most of them brought an offering — a bunch of bananas, one banana, a single posy, five or six sugar balls wrapped carefully in a paper clutched in a hot hand, a cocoanut. They managed most deftly despite their awed excitement to hand over the offering and put their heads on His feet in what seemed a split second, and Baba as deftly managed to accept, caressing the children's faces, patting this one, smiling at that one. The babies seemed not in the least disturbed to be pulled off mother's hip and in one gliding motion to find their small faces pushed against the Master's feet. Some mothers in their haste literally threw their babies onto Baba's feet, so that I was afraid He would be even more crippled. Eruch was busy removing the garlands

 

*Maharaj is correct. Lordmeher.org page 3788-webmaster, JK

 

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