Baba returns

Posted By Author on June 3, 2011

15/11/1967:

At 5 A.M. Nityababu left by bus for Ashram but before that he managed to take twenty-five rupees from Madhu Dey and handed it to me. With Haribandhu both of us reached Matiguri by bus. Took breakfast and resumed the search afoot. We took Kurseong road. Crossed and re-crossed the river, searched tea garden and reached up to Military quarters of Fulbari. Took rest and returned through terai forest. Kurseong was hardly ten miles away.

On return journey we were lucky to get a rikshaw after a walk of about ten miles. Reached Matiguri (Matigada?) and enjoyed fish and rice in a hotel. We were perplexed as to what to do next. By that time a bus arrived and I told Haribandhu that I would return to the Ashram but my other mind was not prepared to leave him alone. I made the final decision and told him to continue stationary vigil on the main road and not to move around. We hurried within two minutes. I ran and caught the bus.

At 1 P.M. the bus arrived at Siliguri. For want of money, walked down to bus stand and caught a bus for Jalpaiguri. It was 1.30 P.M. The bus was more overcrowded than pigs in a marketing van. I was standing sandwiched and unable to move arms to wipe out the dripping sweat percolating in my eyes. Eyes itched and swelled. After a couple of stops I could get a seat. Reached Jalpaiguri at 3 P.M. and caught a bus to Birpada immediately. Ticket was rupees two and annas four. Landed in Birpara in the evening. There I was informed that a bus to Falakata was cancelled. Fortunately on per head basis in one rupee got a seat in a taxi for Falakata. In addition to the driver we were ten passengers sealed compact in the taxi. The gear was between my legs and to change it I had to often lift my legs. In this exercise ultimately I reached Falakata at 8 P.M. The rickshaw demanded more money than I had in my pocket and so walked down to the Shaulmari Ashram.

I was astonished to see horde of people thronged at the entrance of the Ashram. When I reached near, there was an Ambassador Taxi in which Baba was ensconced.  Ashramites had swarmed around the taxi.  Grief was looming large over all.  Gita was standing with Chinu at a distance.  I could read a sense of anguish spawned over her.  Baba had arrived just then and he was still launching his barrage of ire at members.  His anger did not wane. His unmitigated stress and strain continued.  He rebuffed all.  The scenario was grim.  All were tense and dumb.  Anxiety reached its crescendo.  I came to know that from tea garden he walked sixteen miles towards Bagdogra.  There he came across one contractor Mr. Sharma and by telling him, he arranged the taxi and was back at the gate.

All of us goaded him to stay but he was unrelenting in his decision.  He insisted that he would leave for Parshuram in Assam and within a few minutes he would proceed to Cooch Behar.  Then Dinbandhu and I adamantly requested him to get down.  He refused and then I forced him to get down.  He then immediately gave the following extemporary dictation on the spot.

“There is a type of protection which comes in the natural way from ignorance.  If I remain here not only ignorance will give no protection upon the inmates of the Ashram but will throw its worst fury upon them and I am now not in a position at all to give you Divine protection.  Then my remaining here means that all of you will get protection neither from ignorance nor from Divine.  I am not a senseless brute to remain in the Ashram under such circumstances.”

On this I told him not to worry about us.  Whatever would happen we would boldly face it.  I insisted that he was without food since three days and that first he must come in.  He remained silent.  I put him in the taxi and told the Nepali driver Dharma Singh to drive in and stop at the entrance of his quarter.   I sat in the front seat.  Then I made him alight and sent him in.

I then gave a letter to Mr. Dey and told the driver to tender it at Dey’s home on the very night when he would reach Siliguri.  Gobind had left for Dey’s residence at noon with some money in search of Baba and I predicted that Haribandhu and he would be on the futile mission in the early morning.  I then left for dinner at Gita’s place.  She was sullen and grief-stricken with a lost look writ large on her countenance.  She did not speak a word.  I soothed her feelings and encouraged her by taking her side. I expressed my deep anxiety about her and her mother’s incessant humiliation and suffering. She admired my genuine feelings. She knew I was speaking from heart.  She then disclosed the emotional tangle.  Baba wanted that she should admit that she committed a mistake by insisting to abolish alienation of her mother. She bluntly refused to accept the guilt.  She was rebellious and hence the whole tantrum.  I could realize that her tender life and youthful ambitions were recklessly smothered to the hilt.  Of course, there is a limit to forbearance.  Boycott and taboo of her mother was the last straw on the camel’s back.  She then served me the food.

I returned to rest in my hut and sprawled on bed presuming that the storm quailed.  However it was my misapprehension.  The commotion did not subside. Baba told Hira and Kali to get ready.  At 1 A.M. in the dead of night he declared that he would walk afoot towards Cooch Behar.  I gave my blanket to Hira and I did not come out.  I later learnt that others too did not come out.  Without a morsel of food Baba left.  After reaching tea garden Hira and Kali were ordered to return but they defied his order.  They insisted to accompany him at least up to check-post else trouble would shoot out there.  Then in moaning and pathetic voice he said to  Hira , “ ‘Arey’ Hira, I am dying but I am killing you all too.” He suddenly changed his mind and said that he did not tell Ramanidada to take food and consequently he would fast.  He then decided to return to tell Ramani to take food and resume the expedition again.  Under this pretext or reality he walked back two miles and without disturbing anybody went to his Panchvati and slept below the Haritaki tree.

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