Struggle continues

Posted By Author on April 28, 2011


Got up early.  It was drizzling and yet I completed the daily chore and took bath.  I finished breakfast.  Baba was deeply engrossed in his thoughts and walking up and down outside his fencing.  He shrewdly limped occasionally to invite our attention.  He then demanded pieces of iron bars to put on stones to make a big furnace.  As they were not found Ramanidada got his share of Baba’s castigation. There was one burnt picnic-chair.  I dismantled the iron rods and furnished it to Baba.  That time he already lit fire in his hut and was boiling his clothes and shawl and bed sheet.  I knew they would not dry in the moist weather and worried as to what he would use at night.  Boiling was essential to remove contamination when he was out in the jungle and also to get rid of those tiny bugs.

Baba came out and guided us all except Dibenbabu to assemble in his hut. Ramanidada, Gita, Chinu, Dipali and I went to his hut.  It was difficult to accommodate as all his belongings were lying helter-skelter.  He then dictated a very long letter of instructions to Ramanidada in Bengali and told him to send a copy of it to Rajat and Gyanbabu in Ashram.  Its meaning in brief was that by virtue of our flaws, follies, and failings we threw a spanner in his work and as a result of which his body was beleaguered with resultant deterioration.  That between 14th and 20th September they should receive Ramani and girls on Dun Express at Haridwar the moment they received telegram.  Then they should make an arrangement of a rented house in Banaras and stay there.  He then replaced Banaras by Jagannath Puri. {Near Netaji’s birth place Cuttack)  Ashram at Shaulmari was to be dismantled.  Baba himself was responsible to wash off all debts. That he would give a statement, which should be published in newspapers etc. He specifically instructed to burn photos of Gita, Dipali and Chinu that were snapped by me.

As we came out Baba followed us and he again extended the dictation of his letter to Ashram.  In addenda he directed them that in on-going income tax investigation they should not disclose names of Dhiren and Durgaprasad Chakraborty.  If need be the cashbook might be altered and written afresh.  Then he turned to me and said in Hindi,” At the time of accepting money they were given a promise to maintain secrecy assuming that they did not want to let each other know about extending loan to Ashram but now I understood that it was their black money.  In spite of that he asked for Chinu’s photographs, took them to his hut to burn and told me too to burn her photos at Amravati.  Gita dashed in and secured all the photographs intact.

He again came out with two ‘Shashas’ (cucumber) plucked from a vine on his wall of hut.  He told me to take one and handover other to Diben.  In his presence I gave mine to Dipali telling her that I would eat it during meal.  On this he irritatingly piqued in Hindi, “You see all things from worldly point of view.  Is there not meaning behind it when I say, take just now.” I immediately went and gave one cucumber to our lame duck and was returning with a thought hammering my mind, as to what was divine in eating it immediately.  I felt it was height of imposition because basically I am skeptic.  Baba then ushered Gita and me in his hut.  He plucked one cucumber and gave it in Chinu’s palm and kept his finger on her little breast.  He murmured something, which was inaudible.  Then he took it from Chinu’s fist and handed it over to me telling to divide into four pieces for all four of us.  With Gita I came out.  I felt that in his very act he was dramatic and imposing.  He wanted to wield enormous clout on all of us by his occult and inexplicable acts.  However his puerile pretence was not much effective upon me at least.

Ramanidada was copying Baba’s four-paged Bengali letter.  He was exhausted due to writing.  I took rice at 2.15 P.M. Baba arrived with his letter for publication regarding loans.  Ramanidada’s copies were yet to be completed.  Baba took his utensil, went in and scrubbed and washed it and brought it back.  Dipali in her lame Hindi in the meanwhile commented that Baba knew all sort of work. (Wo sab janta hai)  He arrived.  The post used to be open only up to 3 P.M. and it was impossible to catch it within time.  Ramanidada then begged him not to post letters.  He showed an apparent anger but he too wanted to do the same.  He then cancelled the mission.  He remarked that it would be too much to for me to go to Okhimath in rains.  I thanked God for condoning my excursion and exertion. He told me to change my dress.  I came to my hut and took much needed nap as stomach was growling.

When I got up it was raining heavily.  I was astonished to see Baba and Ramanidada near my hut.  They were busy in their routine experiment of feeding excessively grown vegetables costly in market, and wheat flour to cow in incessant rain.  I also went there and amusingly watched the feat.  Baba said to me that cow had become fat and that these people were not taking her good care.  She would now give more milk. I raked my brain and thought that costly food, which at times was not available to us, the cow was ruminating it. She was bound to be fat and us to become skeletal.  What else would happen?  Was it not penny wise?  Probably he read my thought and told me that whenever I would go to Okhimath, I should procure four liter milk from Bachan singh preferably on credit and convert it into Chhana and that all of us should enjoy sweets.  He apparently thought that when the cow was given delicacies we too should have them.  I bluntly told him that I would not indulge in buying on credit.  He came back to normalcy.  His derogative anger petered away.  Then both of us went to watch turbulent flood. We had to speak loudly due to din of the turbulent river. I ventured to propose him my departure on 29th so that I would be able to prefix two holidays and that I would leave the letter of authority to encash T.M.O. with Dasmana at Vidyapith.  I pointed out that the suggestion was due to unpredictable stay of all of us on the island.  He then politely permitted and discussed as to which flower plants I would carry home.  He knew my love for gardening.  He also proposed to carry vegetables, which I denied due to overburden.  Then we moved around the garden and he showed plants to be carried by me.  This was so because he said when I would leave he would remain closed and hence he acquainted plants to me.  I knew he would not remain confined, as his love for me would compel him to come out to see me off.  Again he took me on a second round and showed live grafted plants of roses, dahlias, chrysanthemum and plants of marigold, etc.

At 8 P.M. Ramanidada and I were called by Baba in his hut.  He then finally decided as to how to expend my incoming amount of rupees three hundred and twenty five by T.M.O.  He dictated a list of items to be purchased and revised and re-revised it.  It included rice, wheat flour, pulses, salt, edible oil, matchboxes, candles, torch-cells, etc.  First he told me to get these things but afterwards told to give the list to Shyamlal and also authority letter to him informing him to deduct his fifty rupees and bring the goods from Okhimath.  Fifty rupees were to be sent to Gyanbabu at Ashram.  It all totaled to rupees two hundred and twenty five.  Then he enquired whether I would be able to send some amount to Gobind at Calcutta.  I expressed my inability.  He inundated me with queries of amount of loan incurred at Amravati and I could not answer in detail to his barrage of questions.  He then himself estimated it to be more that twenty thousand rupees. I agreed with him.

Interjecting laughter he told that he was going to shower scathing ire on Shyamlal when he would arrive. He then related an anecdote.  There was a ‘Sadhu’ near Gaya.  His disciple went to collect ‘bhiksha’ (not begging).  One owner of a shop of sweets rushed on him to beat. The disciple silently returned swallowing all invectives and insult. He related the incident to his Guru. The Guru questioned him as to why did he not get off on him.  By not doing so the disciple brought a grim fate, misfortune and destruction for the shopkeeper.  When both returned to the shop to save the shopkeeper from Divine decree of his ruination due to his folly of violating ethical norms during demand of alms, they were late. The boiling ghee on a furnace caught fire and burnt the whole shop in which two of his sons succumbed.  The moral of the story was that to avoid our downfall by Divinity he had to become angry with us. It was for our safety and welfare. Everything was beyond figment of my imagination.  He often demonstrated extreme harshness followed by resilience and compassion.  It was perplexing combination indeed.  He was radiant and emphasised, ”Remember Suresh, those who can pay full attention of both brain and heart alone can stay in my closest association. Secondly, even if I rebuke heavily for slight mistake, in the heart they should not feel anything that they are unnecessarily rebuked. They must completely submit otherwise they cannot live with me.”

My mind was melee of rioting thoughts.  I examined difference between dead and fools vis a vis me.  I did not want to mortgage my brain.  I was the last person to give up reason and logic for any material gain.  I did condescend and resolved to remain at an arms distance from this great but whimsical personality of the century. I realized that whosoever came near him it did portend misery, suffering and disturbance of peace of mind like him.  Till date he had incurred debt of more than hundred lakh rupees.  Yet the budget was often awry and difficult to resurrect.  One time square meal was a problem at times. Scarcity was a common phenomenon and frequent forced fasting was not uncommon fate. There was no planning.  No permanent housing, no food, no provision for future, unbridled expenses, generous charity, and liberal spending on postage, libel suits, and journey of members. There was no source of earning or any substantial work.  Many who came in his contact gave up house, land, service, and domestic life shirking responsibility of family. They were under heavy burden of debts and constantly suffered.  Baba’s aim was to serve the suffering humanity and remove their suffering. But the section of humanity, which came in his contact, he made them suffer more.  Unless he revealed his identity nothing substantial could be done and he would not pull out his magic wand because Chinu’s birth gave him a big jolt and emaciated him beyond recovery. Even Ramanidada inadvertently confessed this.  All hopes were belied, future plans became topsy-turvy.  I made up my mind to go home.  It would be better to maintain love and affection from distance. Whatever adventure or folly I committed was enough.  In spite of all this in the heart of heart I felt he would bring money from abroad, probably I.N.A. treasure invested in Philippines or U.S.A. through Field Marshal Terauchi?  I admired Baba’s courage even in this sink or swim situation, which he was pulling on for years.  I rummaged as to why Baba of his own accord opened the Pandora’s box.

I was shaken from reverie when Baba said, “Suresh, if not full amount we will get at least twenty five lakh rupees so that we can wash off fifty percent amount of debt of those who are in urgent demand.  After that I shall vanish for two months.”  His dubious promises were not uncommon to all of us.  He was always hazy, flickering, wavering, hesitant and pessimistic and yet he would swing to exuberant optimism dictating future plans.  Then again he would thaw and reject to take mantle of work.  The situation was always piquant and I wondered how much physical and mental agony he was able to bear.  His irritating nature was the result of this immense pressure and suffering and destruction of his role to emerge as great saint..  Even if he was caged I quaint quandary he was not ready to accept defeat but he never had lust for power or wealth.

Some times I was dejected due to quixotic feeling that I was vainly trying to discover Noah’s Ark or Yeti, chasing Eldorado, locating Atlantis or searching Loch Ness.

When Ramanidada and I left his hut it was full of his scattered bare belongings.  There was no bed sheet or rug to sleep and that worried me.  I came to Ramanidada’s hut, had a chat with ladies. I was melancholy mood. I took some rice and curd.  We saw Baba proceeding towards the river in his torchlight.  Ramanidada detained me as he predicted that Baba would call us again.  After waiting for some time in candlelight I went to my hut and served food to Diben. My cotton rug became wet due to percolating rain from profusely porous roof. At night cold seeped in my bones and I shivered. My temperature rose and then I sweated a lot.  I felt too much exhausted.  The whole night I was uneasy and restless.

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