During this period in Hyderabad, Rano Gayley, whose eyesight was poor, was suffering discomfort, so one day she asked Baba’s permission to buy new glasses. Baba advised, “Buy the spectacles, but don’t spend more than you absolutely have to.” Rano went to an optometrist, and after giving her an examination, he asked for a large fee. This was a dilemma, because Baba had told her specifically not to spend more than necessary. She told the doctor, “Look, don’t charge me more because I am a Westerner and my old glasses are expensive. I have become poor and don’t have much money.” It surprised the man, as Westerners had never grudged paying his fees before. But Rano continued bartering and thus reducing the amount, until finally, she ended up paying only the cost of the new pair of glasses.
Dr. Donkin had escorted her in the tonga, and on the way back he bought some toffees for the mandali. He offered some to Rano, but she politely refused. When he persevered, she took a few, as she knew Margaret Craske was fond of them.
When they got back home, Rano went to her room and handed the sweets to Margaret. Baba almost never entered their room, but that day for some reason, he suddenly appeared right at that moment. Rano tried to hide the toffee, but Baba asked what was in her hand. “Toffee,” she said.
“Why did you bring it?”
“To give to Margaret.”
“For Margaret, and not for me?” Baba asked with a pained expression on his face.
“I didn’t buy it,” Rano explained. “Don gave it to me.”
“How much has he bought, and for whom?”
“One tin for the mandali.”
“Go and bring it from Don, and give it to me.”
Rano brought the tin and handed it to Baba. Baba then ordered her, “If anyone ever gives you anything, first give it to me.”
Baba then went to the mandali and asked Donkin, “Do you bring something for the mandali off and on?”
“No, not really. Only today, I bought some toffee. Vishnu, however, did not accept it without your permission. The tin was kept by your chair, until Rano took it away.”
“These people [meaning the mandali] are sitting on my chest,” Baba joked, “and if you continue giving them sweets, they will become fatter and really crush me. I want to make them as thin as air by beating and beating them.”
Baba then asked, “Do you know the story about Nilu and the box of sweets?” Donkin did not, so Baba narrated:
Nilu is very, very fond of sweets. He pines for them night and day. One day in Meherabad, I told Pilamai to fill a tin with cow dung and wrap it up like a gift. She did it quite well, and taking it, I went to the mandali.
Nilu’s mouth watered on seeing the parcel. I called him and told him how much I loved him, how dear and special he was to me. I said that he was to open the tin, keep half the sweets for himself and distribute the rest among the mandali. With a happy heart, he started to untie the package. But finding it full of cow dung, he was taken aback and his face went pale.
I told him: If you turn white on seeing the contents of this, remember the whole world is like cow dung. When you realize it, your attachment to the world will pale. Just as you threw away the cow dung, you will one day say good-bye to this world and its affairs.
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 8, pp. 3050 – 3051.