Introduction to the 3rd installment of The Combined Diary
Baba’s journey in search of sadhus, inaugurated in the opening pages of the Combined Diary, continues in this next section, a ten-page “chapter” bearing the title “Calcutta and Hardwar.”
The third installment encompasses folios 15-19; next week, folios 20-24 will complete this chapter.
Embarking on the plan finally resolved upon in Madras, on 9th August 1924, Baba and the three remaining mandali Gustadji, Behram, and Padri set off by train toward Calcutta. After finding rundown accommodations there, they toured the by taxi city.
On the next day made their way to Dakshineshwar, the village outside Calcutta that was home to the great the Perfect Master Sri Ramakrishna Parmahansa and His famous disciple Vivekananda.
This was Baba’s first visit there; it is interesting to note that He returned there almost every time He visited Calcutta. After paying their respects at the Ramakrishna math (residence) along the Hoogly river, Baba and party encountered a Ramakrishna devotee in a small mandir (temple) nearby, and Baba gave him some instructions.
On August 14th Baba and the mandali set out by train from Calcutta toward Hardwar, Hari= God, dwar= doorway, literally “God’s Doorway”, an important holy city where the Ganges issues from the Himalayas onto the plains of north India. From there they traveled by car to Rishikesh, [“Country of the forest Sages”], another holy city in the Himalayan foot hills. Baba took this opportunity to contact many sadhus and lepers by bowing down to them. Then the party returned to Hardwar,and began preparations for the prospective long “tramp” to Sakori.
The first page of this week’s selection, folio 16, contains a few Gujarati words, that you will see in the 9th, 8th, and 7th lines from the bottom.
The first phrase translates, “Salaam to you, Meher Baba!”
The phrase that follows translates: “O Peston, Rustom [these are evidently the names of the speaker’s Parsi companions], meet Meher Baba, do salaam to Him.”
The grammatical forms used here are somewhat rude and abrupt, creating the comical effect that the writer of the Diary alludes to. In recent American slang it might have sounded thus:
“Yo! Amigo! Meet the Man! Do salam to this Meher Baba-Dude!”