Symbols of the world's religions



Jean Adriel

On Christmas morning [1935], early, Baba came to our rooms to greet us with a special emanation of love and radiance. Not always does he mete out the same degree of love. He seems at times deliberately to withhold it, as Kabir says:

"My Lord hides himself,
And my Lord wonderfully reveals himself."

But on this blessed morning Baba poured himself out in Christmas benediction upon us all.

Shortly after daybreak, devotees began to arrive to pay homage to the Master, and by ten o'clock the grounds were covered with groups of men, women and children, some of whom had travelled many miles on foot, others by car or train, intent upon seeing the Beloved One. Meeting these ardent followers of the Master, and seeing the deep love and reverence which they lavished upon him, made us marvel anew at our unparalleled good fortune in being the recipients of his intimate care and guidance.

Just before noon, two cars drove up before the community house. A few moments later happy voices and excited greetings told us the English group had arrived. The child-like spontaneity of 'Kimco' — as Baba calls them — especially endears these English disciples to the Master, and his face gleamed with loving welcome.

In the evening about twenty of us sat down to a beautifully decorated table, with Baba at the head. Piled high before him were the gifts which we had unearthed from our trunks in the afternoon and made into un-labeled packages for Baba to distribute. Some, of course, were marked especially for him. He would hold a package in his hand for a moment, as if determining the contents and its suitability for a particular person. Then, with a twinkle in his eye, he would designate the recipient. I recall that a bottle of Chanel No. 5 came my way!

The crowning touch to the dinner was a speech by Kaka, whose droll English was just then in the formative stage. Every moment of the meal was crowned with gaiety and high good-humor, but at Kaka's speech the house resounded with our laughter. Baba prefaced it by telling us that he had heard it read several times but could make nothing out of it except that apparently Kaka didn't think much of marriage!

One would have to know Kaka, or 'hear' him in action to appreciate fully the scene. He smiled good-naturedly at Baba's raillery, but very solemnly, very earnestly and with terrific force — as though he were addressing an audience in a huge colosseum — he delivered his speech while Baba and the rest of us rocked with laughter. We agreed with Baba that it was difficult to know what it was all about. Only occasionally would we hear the word marriage and judging from the violent emphasis he placed upon it, we gathered that he was somewhat dubious of the institution!

Later, after having had our fun at good Kaka's expense, Baba pointed out that we Westerners would be brave indeed if after a few months of Urdu (an East-Indian dialect) we would attempt to deliver a speech to native Indians! We heartily agreed.

In this account of our Christmas day in India may be seen how simple and natural is life with Baba; too 'simple' perhaps for those who have not yet learned how to re-capture the lost joys of childhood. Yet, in the words of the Master, Jesus, we are told that it is just this child-like capacity for acceptance of the simple, unsophisticated joys of life that qualify one for the spiritual Kingdom.


AVATAR, pp. 181-182
1947 © Jean Adriel


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