I asked Diana about taking inoculations and about the baby's shots. To my amazement, she replied, "I am not giving any shots to that baby. If you think I am going to throw all those germs into her body, you are mistaken. Besides, Baba will watch over her, right through."

I looked at her, and couldn't believe what I was hearing. I glared at her and could hardly restrain myself. I stumped around the room; I thought I was going out of mind! India is full of diseases and a big cholera epidemic is prevalent! I picked up the phone and called my doctor to confirm my sanity. After my conversation with him, I felt fully assured and convinced that I was married to a mad woman.

Bombay was a very big disappointment for me—flies, insects, dirt. I thought: 'Here I am, with a fifteen month old baby (no shots) exposing to all this, and every time, inoculation is mentioned, she tells me about this Sai Baba Character, watching over all of us!' We decided not to spend time in Bombay, but, continue our trip on to Bangalore and rest there, for a while.

The trip to Puttaparthi was enjoyable. The countryside, with its reddish brown clay, sprinkled with trees had a peaceful effect. Not much was said in the car, as I was absorbed in the beauty and stillness; even the engine of the car hummed to a musical key of peacefulness. But, the village outside the Ashram gave me a shock! How can I get my child out of here, that was the problem for me...As we climbed the steps to our room, Diana's mother, who was there already, gave us a greeting that would make an usher at a funeral look positively joyful! We unpacked our things and Diana suggested we go upon the top of the Hill to have cigarettes, as you were not allowed to smoke on the Ashram grounds.

As we climbed up, my mind kept pounding the thought, "What am I doing here? What has Diana talked me into?" Pamella, the girl we had met at Bangalore, was there on the top of the hill, having a cigarette. I sat myself on a rock that made me the pinnacle triangle; as we talked. Pamella was confirming my thinking about this Place, Diana forged on like a Christian warrior trying to convince me that the battle in the mind was worse, and had to be won first.

“How can you speak for other people?" "What is crazy for you, may .......”

My heart stopped. For, Lo! Behold! Over Diana’s right shoulder, a RAINBOW started to appear!

Both the girls were staring at me, waiting for the completion of my sentence; I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. “Diana!” I said, “Look over your right shoulder.

She turned slowly and said, "My God!"

Pamella was bewildered.

“What was wrong?”

Diana turned quickly and said. "Joel was going to ask Baba, if He is God, give him a rainbow. And, look!”

The three of us stared; my eyes began to fill with tears.

“Look," I said, "the sun is shining. How can that be?"

We watched a rainbow go straight up, never curving, and in a matter of seconds, it had reached its peak, and as quickly as it grew, it dissolved itself from the bottom up.

I could only say, “I got goose bumps all over my body.”

Pamella said, "Me, too!"

We all sat in silence! Only the distant voices of the children could be heard. The warmth of the sun could be felt on the stillness of the breeze. How long we sat there, I can’t recollect, as I believe I was in a state of shock.

But, eventually, some one broke the spell and we decided to return, down the mountain.

That evening, we went to the temple, to see Sai Baba. As we reached the temple, Diana's mother told me to go to the right, and to the front of the temple. "For God's sake, take off your shoes," she shouted, in a loud whisper. I proceeded to take off my shoes and walk towards the front of the temple. To my amazement, before me sitting in yogi style, was a large group of men. Fifty feet away, were the women, similar size, group and posture.

I smuggled myself down, amidst a group of men. I felt conspicuous, as it was evident that I was a westerner by my skin colour and clothes. My eyes began to wander, and I felt terribly out of place, like a man in the theatre about to witness a play that he would not understand. The quietness was unbelievable; one could hear the cooing of the pigeons and a bell ringing in the distance, which I finally pinpointed to be around the neck of an elephant, as it rang at the peak of its pendulum swing.

As the curtain began to rise with the moon, there, before me, at a distance, appeared the glow of an orange robe, filled with a strong body, the head hallowed with electric hair! Slowly the figure approached the men's section; there must have been 20 or 30 men seated before me. Before I knew what was going on, He was standing before me; as He bent down and put His hand upon my shoulder, I heard His gentle voice say, 'How are you? CHARACTER!"

I was stunned. I was completely bewildered. Character? The very word, I had used so often, in derision, about Him?

(to be continued...)

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