Shri Upasni Maharaj's Birthday
The Combined Diary
First ladies, then Ashram boys followed by the mandali and finally the visitors wash Baba's feet in a decorated bathing room set up near the dhuni, folios #2v272-2v277, May 18, 1927.
Rising early the mandali quickly washed and took their morning tea. A grand pavilion hung with bunting, flags, leaves and other decorations had been raised on the site of the former Sai-Darbar. Also a decorated temporary bathing room had been set up near the dhuni where they prepared a Ceremonial Bath for Baba. Various village bands were already sounding the notes of celebration. Guests from Ahmednagar and surrounding villages were gathering, including Baboo and Abdulla from Poona.
First ladies, then Ashram boys followed by the mandali and finally the visitors washed Baba's feet. After he had bathed and dressed he was carried amid "deafening cheers" on Rustomji's shoulders to the pavilion where he took his seat. Arti was performed with "great devotion and enthusiasm" while garlands and flowers nearly covered him completely.
Baba moved his seat to the school where he listened to Adi play the harmonium and sing. The food which had been prepared overnight was served to mandali, boys and visitors alike by prominent residents of Arangaon. By 3:00 PM about four thousand guests had been fed.
A young boy in "pitiable condition" showed up during the feeding. Upon cross examination the boy admitted that he had run away after stealing a small sum of money from his Parsi employer in Poona. Baba advised him to return to his previous employer and confess the "mischief" and seek his pardon. The boy however broke down weeping and after a while Baba fed him a few figs and had him bathed and dressed and fed. The boy, then calm and composed, offered to obey Baba, who decided to let him remain in Meherabad. Abdulla was instructed to visit the boy's previous employer to secure a pardon and inquire whether there were any serious charges against him.
In the afternoon Bhaoosahib sang bhajans to the accompaniment of harmonium and tabla which he played with unusual skill. Baba engaged in "stray discussions" with the guests for an hour or so and then proceeded ceremoniously to the pavilion where Angal Pleader gave a "Puranic Lecture" on the "benefits of close contact with Saints" citing examples from Upasni Maharaj's life. At 7 PM the arti was performed with "showers of flowers" and the rocking of a "small decorated cradle" followed by an immediate rush of devotees to pay their respects to Baba.
Rustomji lifted Baba on his shoulders and placed him in the palanquin. The wildly enthusiastic group, joined at this time by Khan Sahib Irani, proceeded up the hill with cheers, bhajans and music. Arti was performed and the noisy procession returned again to the pavilion. Visitors dispersed.
The mandali and boys took their supper and prepared to enjoy a dramatic performance arranged by Dhakay. He however "pleaded his inability" to prepare the program. At first Baba refused to accept his excuse but after a while he pardoned him on the condition that he tell a "nice long story." As the story was being narrated tea was prepared and served. All retired at 10:30 PM.
Part 149: The Combined Diary
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