After hours of waiting and watching for Chhagan to arrive, the mandali again falls to guessing about what happened to him,
folios #2v123-2v129, February 11, 1927.

Baba accepted the offer of tea from a Brahmin guest at Chhagan’s sister-in-law’s wedding before making a brief visit to Chhagan’s father-in-law’s house. At 8:15 AM Baba and group, except for Chhagan, started the return walk to Meherabad. Baba repeatedly referred to Chhagan in a “tone” that expressed disappointment that he had left after days of steadfastly refusing to leave.

Giving examples from Ramkrishna, Swami Vivekananda and Gopichand and his wife, Baba pointed out how difficult the “Path to God” is: “It is as difficult as grasping your own shadow…though it is so near to you, still it cannot be grasped.”

Reaching Meherabad around 11 o’clock after a tiring walk in the sun, Baba continued to talk about Chhagan, saying that he was very loving and sincere which made it all the more disappointing that he failed at the last minute despite many warnings. During discussions the thought arose that perhaps Chhagan capitulated to his relatives only to save Baba from their continuing insults and attacks. Vishnoo was dispatched by Baba to Akolner with a message for Chhagan to return to Meherabad after the wedding feast without touching his wife.

During Vishnoo’s absence a select group of mandali discussed with Baba a plan to set aside a separate suite of rooms for Chhagan to live with his wife, who would be brought from Akolner after 10 days. At 1 o’clock Vishnoo arrived with news that their assumption was indeed correct. Chhagan had agreed to stay with his relatives only in order to protect Baba and he would return to Meherabad after the feast.

After hours and hours of waiting and watching for Chhagan, the mandali again fell to guessing and thinking about what had happened. In the evening the Police Chief reported that Chhagan had come to him in Arangaon “a little while ago” and presented his clothes for safe keeping while he — dressed in a mere loin cloth — had left again on the excuse of looking for something that he had lost on his way from Akolner. Baba sent out search parties to comb the area while he departed for Ahmednagar where he had arranged to attend Gadekar’s second marriage ceremony.

When Baba returned at 8 PM, he learned that Chhagan was there and after a “touching meeting” he narrated what had happened to him since Baba’s departure from Akolner in the morning. In an meeting with his wife she agreed to live a celibate life with him “under Shri’s shelter.” Encouraged by his wife’s attitude and by the message he had received from Baba through Vishnoo, Chhagan informed his relatives that he was going to see Baba and that he would return later in the evening. When departing Akolner he was garlanded and presented with “new head gear” by his relatives as customary at a wedding.

While walking back to Meherbad he ruminated over having broken Baba’s order, having caused him trouble and inconvenience and having compelled him to endure insults and humiliation. By the time he reached Arangaon he contemplated suicide. In that frame of mind he presented his clothes to the Police Chief and “set out after a lonely spot.” When he heard a mysterious voice tell him to “check himself” he came to his senses and put the thought of suicide out of his mind. He decided to approach Baba and ask for pardon.

Baba and the mandali unanimously cheered him “the hero of the day” and Baba forgave him his faults and mistakes. Chhagan put his head on Baba’s feet and promised never again “to break even the smallest of his orders;” Baba sealed the promise by applying dhuni ash to Chhagan’s forehead.

Afterward Baba compared the reception he received at Gadekar’s ceremony where many flocked to take his darshan with the events that transpired at Akolner. He also made some critical remarks about the Brahmin priest class.

Part 114: The Combined Diary

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