Page 30

(Joanna Tompkin.) The living room had been set up with Bhau's recliner chair, high speed internet connection to broadcast his weekly chats, and Indian TV satellite channels. Bhau used the living room as his office, TV room, and meeting room for giving talks. He ate on a TV tray while watching Indian movies or soaps. Due to his health and difficulty in moving about, Bhau never left the property for 40 days and only left the house for short walks or to give a talk at the Meeting Pandal if over 100 people were there. Otherwise all the talks and visiting was done at the house and this worked really well. He gave 9 talks at the pandal during the 40 days and over 50 talks at the Caretaker's House. Almost everyday Bhau gave two talks - one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Sometimes 40 or so people would be there, sometimes only 10. It was an intimate time with Bhau that was reminiscent of past days when there was a free exchange of conversation, jokes and a flow of stories. He felt free to change the schedule whenever he needed and we would slide the starting and ending times of the talks accordingly, Bhau was in an excellent mood and his health steadily improved. The difference in his health at the beginning and end of the 40 days was remarkable. The arrangement of not traveling or moving around enabled him

to conserve his energy for sharing Baba with us. He was especiallypleased to see so many of his former hosts and friends come to Meherana from all over the U.S. Seeing and spending time with them went a long way towards easing his disappointment of not being able to travel as he used to. Meanwhile, the accommodations for everyone else were more basic. We stayed in tents or tent-cabins and took bucket baths. Others stayed in Mariposa at hotels or Bed & Breakfasts. Some stayed the entire 40 days, some stayed a ~----week or two, and some came on the weekends. In addition to those who stayed overnight, we were surprised by the numbers of day visitors that came from the San Francisco and Sacramento areas. All the meals for everyone but Bhau were prepared in the new open-air Sahavas kitchen. For large meals, we ate in the Pandal but during quieter days we set up tables to eat in the kitchen and spent most of our visiting time there. We referred to this arrangement as "the family kitchen." Everyone was given cabinet & refrigerator space for their food and they prepared their own breakfast and lunch. Chai and dinner were joint efforts. Since Bhau's talks were in the morning



and afternoon it left us plenty of time to have a leisurely dinner together sharing stories and talking amongst ourselves in the evening. Bhau's team either ate with us or we sent food up to them if they were too busy to come to the family kitchen. Bhau preferred to eat by himself on a TV tray while watching Indian soaps or videos as group meals were too exhausting for him. The kitchen arrangements did not always go smoothly, and we learned a lot about group living. But, overall we had a great time with many delicious meals and I have some really lovely memories of being at table in the family kitchen sharing food and stories. Those who stayed for most of the time had reflective discussions after the completion of the 40 days and we came up with some solutions for a more efficient organized group kitchen for the future. Besides living with Bhau on the premises, one of the best parts of the 40 days was going to Babas Cabin everyday and taking walks around Meherana. Early in the morning I would wrap up warmly and go to Baba'sCabin. Always upon entering the Cabin I experienced the feeling that Baba had been waiting for me. Those twenty minutes each morning transformed the rest of my day. Except during the Spring Sahavas,we didn't set any official times for Arti and prayers and each spent time in

Love Street Lamp Post 1st Qtr 2010  

AMBCSC ARCHIVES Rare Print Literature Publication