scrubbing and washing takes place under their hanging sari, which they know how to move and carry masterfully.
On a hill an old Hindu temple stands under some old trees in the middle of a circular boundary wall. A cornice of 64 Devas - sculptures of ancient goddesses - encloses the whole under the stone walkway. Unfortunately these beautiful sculptures have all been damaged at some earlier time. I have taken good photos, even of the inside of the temple. In the year 1926 everything was flooded. The river, now about 30 meters wide, went from about 30m and became a lake of 20 miles width! (about the width of the Rapperswil in Zurich!)
Since Christmas is not celebrated here, and since Hedi had to sleep in the women's bungalow, I was alone downstairs in my sleeping quarters among the men. I have thought of every single person back home, or rather I have tried to put myself in contact with them. From some of them I received a more or less definite answer.
For tea Baba had sent us a small cake, upon which was written in sugar: Baba is love.
After two days of staying in Jubbalpore we drove 64 miles here to Mandla. Here the same holy river Nurbudda*, although nearer its source, is much wider, i.e. 150 m. wide. It flows peacefully along among stones and sedge, where goats are grazing. On the banks are standing many small elevated temples. In a few places steps lead down to the water, in which, as in Benares, holy baths are taken.
Here in India one senses how rivers, temples and people have a spiritual connectedness. The whole country is saturated with temples, holy graves and signs of God, to which the people have a living relationship (flowers are everywhere), so that one can understand that in this milieu is the cradle of all religions and the backdrop for a new Avatar.
Early this morning we drove (Chanji, Gustadji and I) in a tonga to Shastra-Dhara. This means "thousand waterfalls". The river floor consists of wide bands of rock, and at high water the river falls over the ribbons of rock in a thousand places. Two temples are standing there, both are not decorated inside, except for the Maha-Deva symbol. The smaller temple has been hewn from a cliff. Chanji explains: if the intellect stiffens, it is like a curtain between man and God, standing in front of the vision of the heart. If intellect is permeable, then it can serve the understanding and clarification. "The higher the tree, the more it is subject to the storm." “The higher the position, the more the responsibility." Baba, for example would not "show" a reporter (lots of them ask) his work in the Mad-Ashram. This was actually undertaken for the purpose of a spiritual mandali. Then others joined those: Baba is now occupied with the development of his Circle.* "He needs special types for his work. Even the separation of males and females is part of the development of discipline." His exact purposes we do not know. But since he has no ego, everything serves his spiritual mission.
The day after tomorrow we go "home" again, to Jabalpur, then it will be my hour to depart.
There are still two interesting episodes from Mandla to relate. Hedi received a letter from a girlfriend in Zurich, who among other things wrote that a close family member was in the hospital, just skin and bones, had been taking for the last three weeks neither natural nor artificial nourishment, and one didn't know whether she might survive. Since the air letter had taken six days, I didn't know if the person in question was even still alive. In my anxiety I went to Baba, who had me read out slowly the relevant section of the letter. While I was reading he was into the distance, then smiled, and said: "Don't worry, everything is OK." On the one hand I was happy about this answer, and on the other hand as an intellectual European still a bit anxious. Therefore I asked Baba whether I could send a telegram with return answer, which he smilingly agreed to. The very next day the answer came, everything was OK. (But after my return home I learned that the patient had been for some five hours “on the other side" so-to-say, had been quickly operated upon and had recuperated nicely in just a few days, so she had, at the time of my question to Baba, already been saved.) On the automobile journey back from Mandla to Jabalpur we four were driving at a terrific pace in order to catch up with the bus which had left with the others two hours earlier. Baba had gone in the first bus. Near to a small village in the jungle
*The British Raj called it the Nerbudda River; In Gujarati it is The Narmada River -webmaster
**see Vol. 19, No. 1, The Awakener.