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My thoughts reverted to what Baba had told me of Jean's passing, and I began to consider that the ants might also have mates whom they would miss, if one day they should fail to reappear. Suddenly I remembered what I had learned in the early days of my spiritual quest - that insects were under the domination of a Group Spirit. I found myself facing and addressing the Group Spirit of the ants.
"I will make a compact with you," something within me said. "If you will keep the ants on the floor - if you will see that they do not climb up the walls
and into my chest of drawers, or wardrobe, or bed, I will not molest them."
From that moment, not an ant appeared above the level of the floor - from that moment, I didn't kill one, intentionally, and any that were unintentionally crushed were mourned as much by me as by their fellows.
And - though this may not be in any way connected - Baba called me, after I had made and carried out this compact, to say that Jean, instead of dying, would suffer a complete collapse.
Perhaps the incidents are unrelated. Perhaps, on the other hand, Baba permitted me to make what he once called "a gross exchange," when, in the early days of the ashram, he sank a bicycle in one well to save one of his disciples from drowning in another.
In any event, he taught me – "not through words or explanations," - the virtue of harmlessness, and showed me the power that even a slightly purified heart and mind can conquer over inharmonious conditions.
Talking to Baba outwardly is a rare thing. Communing with him inwardly is a constant delight. By this I do not mean he is remote - on the contrary - but he has, as he once said, "the bad Avataric habit of attending to every detail" himself - and there are many details to be attended to in the ashram at Nasik. The management of the household is important, as it is a part of the execution of the trust which was established before we came to India and under the terms of which we live. The physical, mental and emotional health of the sixteen transplanted Westerners is another vital consideration. The progress of each individual's work must be reviewed. Any inharmonies must be adjusted. Which does not leave much time for private interviews.
Occasionally Baba will say, as he did on his last visit - "Today I will see you each alone for fifteen minutes." But only occasionally. And often the fifteen minutes dwindles to five. And then, with Jean and myself, Baba will say, "What is there for us to talk about?"
And it is true. Our problem is one problem - realization. The ego - our one real barrier - is not eliminated by conversation; it can only be dissolved by divine love, which is, on the one hand, silent, profound, inexpressible - and, on the other, practicable and manifest. Baba awakens and stimulates this love in us, in ways most often imperceptible, as we earn the right to receive it. Little by little we, who are all too human, become merged in his divinity and ultimately, we become divine.
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