Symbols of the world's religions



William Donkin

As they were walking back to the bus stand to return to Ahmadabad, Baba's veteran disciple Gustadji became mistaken, for a few terrifying seconds, for one of Kasim Razvi's Arabs. Those who know his amiable face and figure — the kind of face Rubens would have loved to paint — may wonder how on earth Gustadji could be mistaken, even for a second, for an Arab out for blood.

One must remember, however, that this particular time was one when nerves were on edge from the Karakoram to Cape Comorin, for it was the time of those warning sparks that preceded the detonation of the Hyderabad squib. It was, perhaps, an adventure that bordered upon the ridiculous, but one that might have led to a paroxysm of violence when one remembers that there was an incident about this time in which several people lost their lives, because a stranger took a short cut across a space where some children were playing an informal game of cricket.

Baba and his men, as we have already said, were making their way back to the bus stand. Eruch and Baidul had gone ahead to get seats in the bus, Baba came next, and Gustadji, whose legs do not now carry him as fast as he would like, was fifty yards or so behind Baba.

Baba, having seen that the bus was about to start, turned and clapped his hands at Gustadji, following the clap with a signal that he should come quickly. Gustadji broke into a trot at once, but did so at the very instant that a small boy was coming towards him. This boy was somehow seized with the idea that Gustadji was running at him, and he uttered a yell of terror and turned on his heels and fled in front of Gustadji, screaming as he ran. Bystanders saw, as they thought, an innocent child being chased by a wicked little man in a black cap, and one or two shouted "Chaous" (Arab) — and to shout this word at this time was as much as to shout "murder".

See then, Gustadji, intent only on running, and thus utterly unaware that a score of people were girding up their loins to pounce upon him. Baba, however, the Master of every man and every situation, made a lightning signal to Gustadji to stop still in his tracks, which he did at once. This freezing of Gustadji allowed the onlookers to see not a villain, but a man clearly more incapable of violence to the innocent than the very child who had fled from him. The critical tension having been thus relaxed, Eruch and Baidul dissipated what was left of it by explaining with vigour that Gustadji was neither killer nor Arab, but simply a man running to catch a bus.

The account of this little contretemps may seem a divergence from the subject matter of these pages, but I have felt justified in including it because it helps to convey the flavour of these tours with Baba. They are not, as you see, dull and solemn pilgrimages, but are made of the very stuff of life itself.

An incident like this shows, what is more, how a Divine Being goes about in secret amongst sinners like you or I, how he does the most ordinary things, and how he plays, on the face of it, the most ordinary parts in the farces and melodramas of our lives. His love for us is indeed more than we can ever understand.


1949 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust


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