Chapter 25: Mass Darshans In Hamirpur & Andhra
Baba departed Mahabaleshwar for Hamirpur on Monday, 1 February 1954, with nine of the men mandali: Aloba, Baidul, Bhau, Eruch, Gustadji, Kaikobad, Kishan Singh, Kumar and Pendu; Don, Krishna, Nilu and Vishnu were left behind with the women mandali. During this period, Mehera was caring for Sheba, whom she would lead to Baba's room, in his absence, to show the colt that Baba was not there. Mani was doing her correspondence with the West, her small portable typewriter always before her. Goher and Rano managed the household affairs between them, and Naja did the cooking. Meheru would keep busy assisting Mehera and doing various other chores.
From Mahabaleshwar Baba arrived in Poona in Nariman's car, where he was joined by Chhagan, Dhake, Gadekar, Jalbhai, Krishnaji, Ramjoo, Sadashiv, Savak, Sidhu and Yeshwant Rao. Nariman and Meherjee also arrived from Bombay and joined the group at the railway station. The entire group, including Baba, traveled in third class from Poona.
Coming from Nagpur, Nana Kher and Pankhraj joined them at Itarsi. Upon seeing him, Baba immediately asked Nana, "Have you brought food for me?" Caught off guard by the question, Nana replied, "No." Baba became upset and ordered him to get off the train! Nana was about to comply when Baba caught hold of him and said, "You ought to have had some thought for me! You know how much I like your mother's cooking and the chutney prepared by your sister-in-law, but you didn't bring anything. You are truly a simpleton!" Nana laughed and apologized for coming empty-handed.
During the journey, Jalbhai and Dhake kept Baba amused by telling jokes and funny stories, and Kumar would also narrate outlandish tales. With humorous talk or jokes, Baba kept everyone's attention centered on him. Although the outside Baba lovers thoroughly enjoyed this time alone in Baba's company, the mandali were never at ease, because in front of all Baba would chide them, make fun of them, tease and taunt them. Ridicule and reproach filled their lives from the beginning of their discipleship.
After a day and a half on the train, the group arrived at 3:00 A.M. on the 3rd in Orai, where Keshav, Pukar, Hellan, Brahma Dutt and a few other close ones had come to receive them. Baba stayed in the residence of Raja Raghuraj Singh, where he discussed matters first with the Hamirpur workers.