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15

 

When I first got to the site, things were nothing like ready, but on returning at 10:30 a.m. good progress had been made. In the middle was the brick work for the raised dais, on which Baba was to sit and the outlines of the central building in chalked stones: a bamboo leaf canopy covered this over, and around at a distance of 45 feet, were 10 or 12 tents opposite the Dewan, who was in the West, and there were four entrances at the cardinal points of the compass.

 

All was very gay, with leaves, flags and flowers; the site was lovely too, with hills to the West, with granite outcrops, and a green valley with trees between. The projected lake (a proposed reservoir for the district from the river when dammed) is to the east, over the shoulder of a small hill, which is on the site. This reservoir will be completed in 2 years. It is a bit like parts of Scotland.

 

At 2 p.m. I went over to the "Links" by Baba's order, to take the ladies to the site, and Baba asked if all was progressing well. For the function He was dressed in a white dhoti affair, and a very old, very patched coat, that must once have been a sort of brick red; but it suits Him and looks good.

 

I got to the site at 3:45 p.m. with the women, and as soon as we stepped from the bus, a youth came up with a pamphlet, saying we ought to hear this other side, and urging us to read it. It was re-prints of old "John Bull" articles. Later Dr. Ghani told the District Commissioner about this distributed pamphlet and the D.C. told the police to tell these men that this was a private affair, on Baba's own private land, and if they did not stop distributing pamphlets at once they would be under arrest. They therefore sat in the audience and behaved themselves. Adi, Sr., pinched some of their pamphlets from their car, and got a boy to burn them.

 

Baba came up in the car at 4:34 in Elizabeth's Buick, with four of the "boys". A band greeted Baba and before He came, two singers praised Him with songs, and also Mysore State. One singer was a real card; huge and fat, with drooping moustache, like a cheerful edition of Beramshed in spectacles, and a lofty turban on the top of his head.

 

Baba walked along to the dais, with Jal and Kaka behind Him, and we all waited 10 minutes for the Dewan, who was a bit late, as he had to come all the way from Mysore City; Baba still in His old coat. After the Dewan arrived, a schoolmaster read a poem in Persian, which no one could hear. Then followed speeches by Aiyangar and his daughter and Chakravati, who spoke of the help the State was giving to Baba, and compared it to the help the Rajahs had given in history to the saints, and to Pirshe Rajah of Mysore who had helped Shankaracharya etc. This pleased the Dewan a lot, in view of the opposition.

 

Before the speeches, Beramshed garlanded Baba, and then led Him to the foundation seat, upon which He sat and scraped up a little earth, with a spade made of seven metals. This seat will be in a corner outside Baba's central building for all to see in future years. Baba finally blessed some ladhus (sweet balls) which Vishnu brought to Him, and were then distributed to the crowd of villagers. All the invitees then went to the refreshments, and Baba drove off. Baba Das, a man here, invited the opposition to tea in the tent. Fireworks ended the show as the sun set. I took the ladies back on the first trip, then the Mandali in two journeys, the last at 10:30 p.m. Between the last two trips, Baba called me over to look at Baidul's eldest daughter, who had stomach pains, nothing serious though. Baba was pleased with the success of the show.

 

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