AFTER TWO WEEKS along the Italian Riviera, Baba entrained with all from Santa Margherita to Venice on August 17th. (1932). Kitty was supervising every detail of their journey. They changed trains in Genoa, and Enid Corfe joined them in Milan. The compartment was packed, but they arrived safely the next morning in Venice, where they checked into the Hotel International. Baba asked everyone to rest after bathing, but no one felt like resting. As they discussed matters, Baba instructed that they take particular care to stay with him as much as possible during the next two days in Venice. They promised to do so.
They visited Saint Mark’s Square at 11:30 A.M., and at the suggestion of the gopis, it was decided to enter the church. Outside, Baba explained the church’s architecture and its spiritual significance. He had them count and write down the number of pillars, domes and arches, which came to exactly one hundred and twenty. Baba indicated, “This church is one of the four great spiritual centers of Europe. The whole structure corresponds to the Avatar’s twelve disciples of the inner circle and one hundred and eight disciples of the outer circles.”
Baba then revealed, “I was here as Jesus with two of my apostles one month before my crucifixion and sat on the exact spot where Saint Mark’s was later built.” Baba entered the church with the men, but rules barred the women from entering.
They then returned to the hotel for lunch and went again to Saint Mark’s Square at four in the afternoon. At the request of his lovers, their photographs were individually taken with Baba feeding the pigeons.
When they arrived back at the hotel, however, Baba was in an obviously unhappy mood. He gathered the group together and asked, “Why did you break a promise?” They were taken aback and looked to each other to realize their mistake. Baba continued, “I instructed you to be with me continuously, yet while returning to the hotel, you lingered behind to see the beauty of Venice and the lovely things displayed in the shop windows. You did not care about my instructions. I had to send someone back to call you more than once.
“How many times have I told you to be in the world yet not of it? But the world has so much attraction for you that you even neglect my wishes. And we have so little time left together!”
Baba’s rebuke brought tears to his gopis’ eyes and the pain of disobedience to their hearts. He then lovingly explained,
“Don’t worry now and keep happy. But do not repeat such mistakes. To have attraction for the world is like taking poison, and I save you from its pernicious effect by making you drink salt water!” By salt water, Baba meant their tears.
Continuing, Baba related, “I have scolded the mandali in India so much that one of them, R., once swallowed a glassful of poison. The doctors observed that he would die within five hours. I went and lambasted him to such an extreme that he became quite angry. After reviving him thus, I advised him to take a glassful of salt water. This made him vomit up the poison and he was saved from the jaws of death.
“I know everything. And knowing everything, I work according to my own ways. Really, nothing makes me pleased or sad. I knew R. was not going to die, yet played this game to save him from death. I am never concerned or affected by anything. I have a universal mind and enjoy infinite, eternal bliss every moment. This bliss counterbalances all the suffering I have taken on myself. I am beyond everything and not attached to anything, so delight and sadness do not affect me as they do you.”
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 5, pp. 1699 – 1701.