Installment 4. The Tramp from Hardwar
15th-18th August 2003, folios 20-24
The five pages of this week’s installment from The Combined Diary chronicle the tramp from Hardwar which was originally intended as a walk all the way to Sakori but which, as this installment relates, was aborted after several days. On August 15th, despite Baba’s continuing dysentery, the party set out walking along the railway lines, arriving on the second day at the major junction of Lhaksar. With difficulty they persuaded the keepers of a local dharmashala (hostel for pilgrims) to accept them, even though, as Zoroastrians, they did not fit into the rather rigidly preconceived categories of either “Hindu” or “Muslim.” The dharmashala was unsanitary, however, and the party quickly repaired again to the train station, where they prevailed upon the station master to allow them to stay for several days in the waiting room. Throughout the trip Baba continued to minister to and bow down to sadhus wherever He encountered them and from time to time would nag and berate the mandali on their indifference to Him and their general selfishness. On August 19th, as prearranged, Vajifdar joined the party at the station, and they decided to give up the tramp and instead to travel by rail to a number of the places of pilgrimage in India, with the prospect of settling down in Arangaon (at Meherabad) in the end.
The Diary continues to be vivid with color and replete with memorable and often amusing episodes. Noteworthy in this week’s selection are the images of Baba and party tramping down the railway tracks under the hot August sun, crossing a clear stream, and taking shelter from the rain in a watchman’s cabin; or again, Baba’s reprimand to the ludicrous sadhu at the train station who pretended to “Ram-Ram” piety all the while ogling the edibles. Throughout this phase Baba continued to derogate Himself, accusing Himself of “khud parasti” or “self-glorification” and seeking humiliation and a fall at the hands of the sadhus.