REMINISCENCES, part 4:
A FEW SIPS OF LIQUID
My body was then very lean, but also supple, and I was constantly and energetically active. From four in the morning even in the severest cold I would move about in my thin mull sadra (robe). Those who did not know me well at that time might well have considered me very quick-tempered, for suddenly, with or without provocation, I would beat anyone at hand.
In those days most of the mandali were hefty, robust young men. Several of them were good wrestlers and some were seasoned athletes. But when I would start for a brisk walk, the majority would have to run to keep up with me. Sometimes I would ask them all to press collectively on my whole body with all the force they could exert. Within a few minutes they would be breathless and drenched with perspiration without having fully satisfied me.
One of the group had the physique of a giant, but once in a certain mood I knocked him down with a single slap. Another had to have a doctor treat his ear because of a blow I gave him. One of the mandali used to go into hiding at once on such occasions and would not emerge again without asking others if my mood had changed.
[On one occasion the mandali and Baba were sitting together in good spirits in the big upstairs hall in the Manzil-e-Meem, when Baba suddenly seized a plump fellow of about two hundred pounds, dragged him like a rag doll to the edge of the stairs and flung him down. The place rang with the crashes as the heavy man rolled and stumbled to the bottom.
Baba then struck another of the mandali a sharp blow on the forehead, stepping back with a smile as if nothing had happened. Both of the victims of the sudden outburst were quizzed with considerable concern by Baba as to whether they had suffered any injuries, but neither was any the worse for the squall.
Aside from these unpredictable moments of violence, Baba always appeared to be busy with various duties aimed at the physical, mental, moral and spiritual welfare of the mandali. In his usual candid fashion, Baba closed his own and the mandali's reminiscences of these early years with the unarguable statement, "When the money was finished we came over to Arangaon."
Then for more than a year and a half, to the end of 1924, Baba moved almost constantly with the mandali about the country, once going as far as Iran. Occasionally on arriving at some new place Baba would say that they were going to settle down there for a long time, but no sooner had the mandali finished the preliminary arrangements than Baba would start them on the move again. It was a period of hard labor for the mandali, great privation for Baba and fatiguing travel by third class rail or foot over great distances for all. ed.]
For various spiritual reasons, and due to the nature of the work I was then doing, I was unable to eat regularly. Practically speaking, therefore, I was fasting almost all the time. For months I would take no food or drink except at intervals of thirty-six or more hours. At times I also subsisted for a week or two at a stretch on a few sips of liquid such as tea, milk or dal soup. I did not fast for the sake of fasting, and I suffered and felt weak, just as any ordinary man who fasts.
actions: This "jalali" (fiery) phase is not uncommon among Perfect Masters. The recipient of the apparent anger understands it to be of spiritual benefit and a blessing to him. BACK
LISTEN, HUMANITY, Appendix II, pp. 250-252, ed. D. E. Stevens
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