Living with Baba

Living with Baba

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Hong Kong Airport

We had planned to go to the USA after touring Taiwan. This was, however, not possible as our plan was suddenly aborted by the authorities in the USA. Arrangements were immediately made to fly to Jamaica.

As the next connecting flight was only after eight hours, we waited at the Hong Kong airport. We wanted to arrange a separate room for Baba to rest, while the rest of us would wait in the general lounge area. Baba, however, did not agree to this. He insisted that He would wait with us in the lounge area. Regardless of the practicality of the idea, we felt that exposing Baba to the general public was not a good idea. We still clung to the idea of getting a separate room for Him. But we could not change His mind. He was adamant that He would stay together with us.

Realizing that we could do nothing to change His mind, we located a place in the general lounge with two long benches pushed back to back. We occupied both benches. Baba sat on one side but turned His face towards us. He sat so close to us that it was unimaginable; and that too in a very relaxed and jovial mood. Baba got us in stitches, rolling in peals of laughter at His jokes from the moment we sat down. How many spiritual aspirants are fortunate enough to sit next to their Guru and to experience His fatherly love?

There were altogether eight persons in Baba's entourage, including a family Margii named Dr Pathak. His laokik son is a monk of Ananda Marga. Dr. Pathak is a very nice, jolly person. His responsibility was to take care of Baba's health. After some time, Dr. Pathak quietly excused himself, giving us the impression that he was going to the bathroom. Baba noticed this, and in a low voice instructed Didi Ananda Karuna, "Just follow him from a long distance, as if you are going to buy some drinks for Me."

Didi Karuna quietly followed Dr. Pathak. After awhile she returned and reported to Baba that Dr. Pathak was window-shopping, looking at various items such as pens, cameras, and other consumer goods. We all laughed at this.

In the meantime, we continue talking, killing time at the airport. Baba's talk was humorous and we could not stop laughing. We felt so relaxed. After sometime, Dr Pathak returned. Baba asked him, "Are you okay, Pathak? Such a long time you were in the bathroom!" The cat was out of the bag. Dr. Pathak blushed and sheepishly revealed that he was not in the bathroom at all, but was in fact looking at different items in the shops.

Next, Dada Girijananda took off quietly. As he tip-toed away, Baba signaled Dada Nityasatyananda to follow him. After sometime, Girijananda returned. Meanwhile, Didi Karuna wanted to buy some presents for the children in our children's home in Calcutta. For this purpose, she had kept a little money with Dada Girijananda . She asked him for her money, but he deftly avoided the issue. Didi Karuna tried very hard to get back her money, but to no avail. Desperate, she was almost about to cry. Baba noticed it and asked, "What happened, Karuna?"

She replied indignantly, "Dada is not giving me my money."

Baba then said, "Look, Girijananda. You should not do an injustice to the poor sister." Then, at the same time, He whispered to Girijananda, "Don't give her the money. She may misuse it!"

It was such a humorous drama that we could only laugh. It made us light-hearted and jovial.

The drama was not over. Another episode soon started. Girijananda and I sat on the same side of the bench. We noticed two young girls sitting on another bench a short distance from us. They were both busily chatting and eating ice cream at the same time. As they were too engrossed in their childish chatter, their ice cream started to melt and streamed down their elbows. The girls would then lick their ice cream-smeared elbows clean. I was eager to show this fascinating sight to Girijananda.

But before I could say anything, Baba asked us in Bengali with a grin, "Is it proper to look at the girls in this way?" We felt so embarrassed when He said that.

I can never forget those joyous eight hours with Baba; how melodramatic, how humorous, how close He was to us - sometimes like a friend, sometimes like a father, and sometimes like the omniscient Guru that He is. At every moment He guides us, sometimes sweetly, sometimes sternly. In Bengali, we describe this situation as 'kathore komal', which means to be very hard outside but very soft within, just like a coconut. Really, His infinite grace, His ahetuki krpa are beyond our mortal understanding.