We resolved to spend the rest of our life in the hallowed sanctuary, Prasanthi Nilayam. The atmosphere was inviting, vibrant with fraternity; felicity, charity and love, unfolding and enfolding. We were glad we had sailed into its calmness and coolness and we decided to drop anchor there. We were only about fifty residents and at the Bhajan sessions in the mornings and evenings, about twenty visitors joined us. On some days, the headmen of the villages around came, with a few farmers to lay before Baba local conflicts for solution, or seek His blessings for ventures in cultivating commercial crops; they led newly bought bullocks so that His Blessings could endow them long life and sound health.

During those years, Baba came down from His room on the first floor usually about four in the evening. It had become quite an unchanging schedule. There were eight tenements on the right of the building, five on the left and a row of six single rooms at the back. These latter were so close to the Mandir that the kitchen smells were wafted into the Bhajan Hall when the wind turned mischievous.

Baba would stand still for a while on coming down, keeping us wondering whither His steps would turn. But, He made up his mind pretty quick whom to bless first. O! How happy He made us! He would enter every home and spend a few enlivening minutes with the occupants. Every noon, we prepared the house for receiving Him. We swept and scrubbed, washed and dusted. Designs were drawn on the floor, greens were hung across the door. There was a chair for Him in every house, artistic and comfortable, placed on a carpet with a low footstool in position. The metal lamp in the tiny altar occupying a niche on the wall or a corner of the only room, was lit and kept merrily burning. Everyone watched without winking for the orange robe and the crown of hair, though He seldom missed a house while on His mercy march, and though one could be certain of His visit to one's place immediately after His leaving the adjacent house.

Ah! That was a knock at our own kitchen door. It is He! He enters our home through that door, with a song designed to sweep our gloom away-a song composed five centuries ago in the Kannada language, so dear to our ears, by Saint Purandaradasa. It began, "Do not doubt the Lord.” The assurance was an admonition.

Another day, Baba ventured into the backyard of the very first tenement of 'Brindavan' and while we were peering into the northern distance to spot him the moment He emerged from the front door of that house and get busy ourselves, he managed to get through their backdoor and walk unnoticed along a narrow gap between numbers six and seven, and slide behind poor innocent me from the south end. He closed my eyes with a quick placement of His palms, in order to grant me the sweetest of surprises. When He asked me, "Tell who?" my reply was a cascade of tears. Childish? Blind man’s Buff, between a thirty and a sixty? Yes, His form was of the evening of youth; but the content was a child, the Child that has come to chide and change, the Child that has come to reveal the hypocrisy of homosapiens and make mankind aware of the humbug he is hugging firm.

This Divine Child applies the balm of cool benediction, with its soothing palm, on our eyes, reddened by envy and blinded by anger. When He closes these eyes, the Inner Eye loses its blinkers; there is no division thereafter—only the vision of Him, who asks each one, all the time, "Tell who?" This child draws us to itself by spontaneous and spotless Love and by its untarnished authentic wisdom.

The human child sees itself as the centre of the universe and the world as an extension of its Being. This Divine Child knows that is so. The human child arrives without the label of a name; we stick one on its brow. Baba, the Divine Child, has announced, "I have no name; I respond to all names.” Baba has declared, "I have no place which I claim as my very own; I belong to all places. I am wherever I am wanted." Children are most concerned with the ‘now'. Baba reminds us ''The past is past. Do not turn back and look wistfully or wailingly on the road you have traversed already." Children do not see the world as fragmented by walls, Chinese, Berlinese, or erected just to tease. They are involved in everything and with everyone. They represent true innocence, love, forgiveness and fraternity. The child has no conceit or contempt of gender. This Divine Child affirms, "Among men, I am man; among women, I am woman. Among children, 1 am a child.” This statement is echoed in the Upanishads which describe God, “You are woman, you are man, you are girl, you are senile leaning on stick.” The human child delights to pour sand through its fingers. This child, I saw, grasped a handful of Chitravati sand; it became a book, the Bhagavad-Gita. Sand coagulated into beads when Baba jogged gleefully on the white beach at Cape Comorin where three seas lap the shore. This Divine Child sat on the seashore near Dwaraka and played with both hands on the sand. An eighteen inch golden idol of Krishna emerged! This Child inspires us to become children again, so that we may be ever with him.

to be continued...