THE SACRED BATH
M. R. Dhakephalkar
On the last day of the Kumbha Mela, Baba, with some of us, His followers, visited Allahabad. There were more than a million pilgrims. Sadhus of all religious sects gathered there. It was a veritable sea of humanity on the banks of the river. Baba wore goggles and a kerchief around His face so that nobody could recognise Him. He did His work for three days incognito, meeting sadhus and bowing down to them. He instructed us to introduce Him as our brother to the enquirers.
We came upon a sadhu, who was engaged in changing a sweet pudding from one pot to another. Baba turned to us and asked, "Do you understand it?"
"Perhaps he is preparing to eat," was our reply.
"No," Baba explained, "he is trying to control his desires in order to annihilate them eventually. Though his mind persuades him to eat it, he is not succumbed to it but controlling his desires."
As we went ahead, there was another sadhu who had besmeared his body with ashes squatting. He was naked and had placed his private parts on his legs. Baba remarked that the sadhu wanted to conquer lust, even if women moved around him.
Then, there appeared a procession of sadhus. The chief of the sadhus was sitting on an elephant followed by a contingent of two hundred naked sadhus wielding swords, guns and tridents singing and dancing. They belong to Naga sect. They took bath in the river at a particular place at a particular time.
We set out on another tour from Meherabad at another time. Baba proposed to contact a thousand sadhus but since he was not well, the work was divided among ten of us and each one was assigned to bow down to a hundred sadhus. We were immaculately dressed in fine suites with shoes on and people wondered to find ten of us running in different directions hunting for sadhus.
It took each one of us more than two hours to bow down to a hundred sadhus of Baba's specifications even though there were hundreds and hundreds of sadhus everywhere on the sands. Our clothes were soiled and dirty and we were completely fatigued and when we reached our residence we were not even able to talk. Baba was pleased with us but remarked,
"What about Me, when I had to bow down to more than a thousand sadhus? In no Avatar has God made individual contact on such a vast scale. By this contact, I have sown the seed of divine love in their hearts and it will flourish to bloom and will create new humanity which will be guided by love, sacrifice, equality, and mutual help.
At 4 o'clock in the evening Baba asked me, Sadashiv Patel and Vithal to go and take bath at the confluence of the Ganges and the Jamuna as that was the auspicious moment of Kapila Shasthi, according to the Hindu Sastras.
One can see clearly the turbid waters of the Ganges and the crystal clear waters of the Jamuna flowing in opposite directions meeting at a point forming a clean line of demarcation. After swimming for some time, we went back to our lodge in the Taj Mahal Hotel, took Baba's darshan and left Allahabad the next day.
IN THE COMPANY OF AVATAR MEHER BABA, pp. 165-166
1992 © M. R. Dhakephalkar