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16

 

from Baba's neck when they piled up to His chin, and occasionally getting a chance to mop Baba's brow with a handkerchief. Adi pointed out to me a few people, such as Dr. Ghani's widow and son. The pressing crowds made the air suffocating and Baba finally had to go inside for a moment and exchange His drenched sadra for a fresh, dry one. I also was called in to have a chapati and a cup of tea with the girls, but before it was hall consumed Baba summoned to come out again. Bhajans filled the air and finally the arti was performed. This time I noticed there were seven wicks, and a lovely girl in white circled it just in front of Baba, while everybody sang this hymn of worship.

 

At five minutes before noon Baba announced that He could only be with them five more minutes, and as suddenly, all sense of order or propriety ceased. The only simile I can think of is bargain day at Macy's basement — the crowd swarmed, jostling and perspiring in a mad effort to gain their most coveted possession: a chance to kneel at the Master's feet and adore Him. There was no prasad, they did not want anything; a warm current of love poured out of them; they expected nothing — no healings, solving of problems. One thing and one thing only was uppermost in their minds: to adore the Master — to look upon His beloved face. My mind travelled back to American meetings, the critical appraisals, the hope of help, intellectual curiosity, the desire to love whole­heartedly but a certain inhibited ability to do so, the tear of exposing our budding emotions and hearts newly made to live again. I have heard people of the world criticize Baba for not doing more for India. Such as what? More gadgets, more plumbing; mundane palliatives. What have these to do with the Kingdom of God which He establishes within us. He had one short conversation — with the Dutch lady. He knew she had been travelling all around and asked her: "Which place do you like best?" "The Himalayas", she replied, "I love the Himalayas." "And what about that other place, the one in your heart where God dwells, don't you love that?" asked Baba. "You should go within you and focus on that place. All that you see in the Himalayas — in other parts of India — right here in front of you (waving His hand at the grounds and crowd) they are all Maya — look inside of you for what is real and lasting."

 

Nariman had told me another Baba gem: some one asked Him about renunciation and Baba's reply as nearly as I can remember it was: "It is silly to give up the world. As long as you live in it with love, honesty and service (He especially stressed honesty), that is all that matters. These three things are internal — the world is outside of you, so why try to give up what is already external! Live where God puts you, rich or poor, and do your best."

 

Humbled by what I had seen of the very pure love we all aspire to, and filled with its contagious quality, I was drawn indoors with Baba. The crowd was barely restrained from rushing in, and a young boy of perhaps twelve or so made such a racket that Baba allowed him to run in and present his garland which probably cost more than the family could afford and which he was determined to see arrive at its destination, the neck of the Beloved. Beaming, he exited, and I could see Baba was very fatigued. "Baba, I thought they would smother you or maim you!"

 

"Oh, this is nothing," Baba smiled and gestured. "You should see a real darshan, such as the Andhra one you have witnessed on film. The Mandali are always afraid for my life, the thousands of people press so hard to get near me." In the afternoon Baba was to receive some more close disciples from Poona (how close, I thought, — from Madras or Ceylon this time?), but it was time to take my tearful leave, and amid a round of embraces, and admonitions from Baba to give all His devotees in America His dearest love, I rushed off to get my things at the hotel. I was sorry to miss Francis Brabazon who was even then on the high seas. He has just finished another book which was being read to Baba and which the Mandali acclaimed as being his finest work —just wonderful.* I also was told that Phillip Dupuis was en route and that Alexander Markey was dead.

 

Meherjee took me to Bombay by car, accompanied by his two daughters. It took us from 1:30 until 7 P.M. because of road repairs, herds of bullocks, overturned trucks piled

 

*Stay With God

 

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