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40

 

May you feel the love of God as you enter,
And enjoy the love of God while you stay.
May you build within yourself its habitation,
And take the love of God with you away.
May you find here the solution to your problems
Through the wisdom that is born of holy love.
May the peace that comes from holy understanding
Descend upon you like the holy dove . . .

 

I lay awake far into the night, impregnating the atmosphere of the room with a multitude of beautiful things, all of which, long unrecollected, seemed suddenly to well up from the depth of my subconscious. Finally, I fell asleep.

 

The first few weeks of our life at Nasik were, in accordance with Baba's orders, days of rest, acclimatization and adjustment, not only to our new surroundings and the new atmosphere, but to each other. It must have been toward the middle of January that Baba called me to his little house one day and spelled out on his alphabet board, "I must tell you in confidence that Jean will die. Tell no one what I have told you, not even Jean. Only I want you to be prepared."

 

Jean was my wife, who had been ill most of the time from 1931, when we first met Baba, until just before we had started for India in 1936.

 

"All right, Baba," I replied. "Thank you for telling me."

 

Jean and I, whose first meeting in the fall of 1928 had been like taking up the thread of an infinitely old relationship, had enjoyed unbrokenly, since then, the most beautiful companionship. Our life together had been a constantly unfolding spiritual adventure, blessed with alternating periods of what the Christian mystics used to call "consolation" and "desolation", but moving always onward toward our common goal of Self-Realization and union with God.

 

Both of us knew, from deep inner experience, that the life of the spirit continued long after the cloak of the body had been laid aside. Both of us believed that what is vital in any relationship endured forever, and was unaffected by the dissolution of the physical vehicle. So, if the time had come for Jean to withdraw to a subtler world, I could not, would not, try to hold her, for her sake or for mine. Baba knew that, without my telling him.

 

"Nevertheless," I thought to myself, as I walked away, "I shall miss the outer companionship."

 

It was just about this time that my "Cell of Self-Knowledge" began to be invaded. The spotless, new cement floor, which was mopped every morning and scrubbed once a week, began to be covered with masses of moving black things - ants. I reacted in characteristic Western fashion, promptly killing them. I might have saved myself the trouble - for everyone I killed, six others appeared to carry off the bodies of the hapless victims.

 

I began to wonder what they came for. I had no food in the room to attract them. I couldn't imagine what else might interest them. And where they came from was a mystery - no thin black line moved from door to door, or window. Finally I discovered that they were coming through tiny little cracks that had been left between the blocks of cement when they had dried, and I had the cracks plugged.

 

For a few days the "Cell of Self-Knowledge" was antless. Then the ants began to appear again. I discovered, on investigation, that the holes were also there again! "Could they have set their engineering corps to work upon the floor with some kind of tiny drills?" I wondered. "That quality of intelligence and that sense of organization;" I ought to myself, "deserve a better end than casual extinction at the hands of an impatient Westerner, who, after all, is the real interloper. The ants were here before I was. I am invading their habitat, not they mine."

 

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