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he falls'. Indeed, it is by the magnetic charm of their devotion that 'homo sapiens' is not completely debased. In her own gentle manner, she said. ' i just finished cooking for the children. Pray, serve yourself for this once", and lapsed into, what I know now in retrospect to have been, prayer to Baba.

You see, there were four younger children, two of them twins hardly six months old. But my mind and heart had become dry, no thought or feeling for any one, not even Baba!

So I betook myself to the kitchen to eat! I sat with a Thali' before me and mechanically served myself some rice. Before I could bring myself to eat, while sitting and staring at the rice vacantly, I became schizophrenic, as it were, one part of me questioning the other, "Look, what are you trying to do? there lies your first-born son dead and you are going to gorge yourself". This shocked me into realising how perfectly horrid of me it was. I turned to look in the direction of the bed in the front room which was in line with the kitchen. It was then that my eyes beheld the wonderful form of Baba. Was it a mere vision, a figment of my imagination? I shouted to my wife with head still bent, "Kamu, look out and see who has come". Reacting to the frantic urgency in my voice, she looked up and glanced at the gate. At once, as if touched by a live wire, she sprang up; and, as if that was the consummation, she was devoutly praying for she exclaimed "Amma Nayana/ Baba Vachcheru!" (Oh! at long last Baba has come!).

Actually, neither of us had seen the Satcharita portrait of Baba by then. Our puja portrait showed Him sitting crossed. However, in His inscrutable Wisdom, He had

led us intoo buying at a 'me/a' a few months earlier, a wood-cut portraying Him in five different poses, including this one, we were able to recognise Him at once.

Now I felt sure it was He. I was back in my senses. My heart was full of gratitude to Him for coming in the nick of time, and saving the situation. Else, in my forsaken condition, with no thought of Him or for Him, I might have polluted the food before me. In this new found happiness, I reverentially took the thali up to Him and put the rice in the lifted 'biksha-paatra', He received it with His beatific face and went away. No word was spoken. Indeed, there was no need for any.

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