(Feb. 1958) Now we have finished with spirituality for the day. Let us come back to the worldly plane a little. The time is now 10:45 A.M. It has come to my notice that last evening there was confusion and dissension over the twenty-four persons to be chosen to wash my feet and the placing of love-offerings at my feet tomorrow (the birthday celebration). I have a solution for both matters and I think it will satisfy every one of you.
For many years, the lovers of the neighboring village of Arangaon walk on foot to Toka, forty-five miles from here, at the confluence of two sacred rivers, and bring back river water. As they walk back, they carry the heavy water vessels on their shoulders hung on bamboo poles. They fast on liquids only and keep themselves clean by bathing in the river. Some of them are Harijans. They have been doing this every birthday of mine, and usually I am not here on my birthdays. They sprinkle the sacred water on my photographs and at other places associated with me, and return to their homes and worship my pictures. When I happen to be here on my birthday, I allow them to come and pay their respects to me. But these villagers walk every year to Toka and bring back the river water, whether I am here or not.
Tomorrow, we expect these villagers back with the water from the rivers at Toka – about a dozen persons, perhaps more. Pendu has been instructed to send them here with the water to this meeting pandal. I will then take the water and wash my own feet – do my own pada-puja (feet worship) (1) with my own hands. Thereafter, all of you may take that water as prasad. Apply it to your forehead, drink it if your love demands and use it in any way you like. This will be tantamount to everyone of you washing my feet, as I am in everyone. I hope this satisfies you all.
Baba continued to explain:
For the second matter of love-offerings, I have one solution. Those who have intended or decided to lay cash money as a love-offering at my feet should keep to your decision of parting with the money, whatever each decides to give (one hundred, fifty, ten or one rupee). None should change his or her amount. Don’t try to decrease the amount or try to increase it now. But do not place the money at my feet tomorrow. Utilize it in purchasing books and pamphlets sold outside the pandal, and distribute the books to others at your respective centers.
Those who can afford should buy as many copies of Listen, Humanity as possible. For example, anyone who wants to place a hundred rupees at my feet may buy four copies of Listen, Humanity and distribute them to others who cannot afford to buy them, or place them at the disposal of others, such as in libraries in your towns or villages and thus spread my messages. The books are to be given free to others. Those whose cash offering is small should buy smaller books or photographs, et cetera, and distribute them to others.
There is another small book, Life At Its Best. Adi says a number of copies have arrived at the Bombay docks and are expected soon. I have asked that when they arrive, copies should be sold at the nominal cost of 1.50 rupees each, and all of you may purchase as many copies as you can and distribute them.
Those of you who cannot afford even a small sum of one rupee should not worry. I want the offering of love tomorrow. Those who buy the books should not keep them idle, but should see that they are circulated or distributed to as many people as possible in your hometown.
Now we have disposed of two main matters concerning tomorrow’s program . . .
Eruch informed Baba that, during the recess, some had expressed their dissatisfaction through notes about Baba’s decision that they buy books with the money they wished to place at his feet. Thereupon, Baba stated that they could do as their conscience dictated, but under no circumstances should they offer him jewels or gold ornaments. Baba again emphasized that there was no necessity for the gifts in the first place, stating, “I will be fully satisfied with honest love and deep devotion on the part of those at the sahavas.”
Foot Note: Regarding the worship of a God-Realized person’s feet, refer to The Nothing and the Everything, pages 302–303
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 15, pp. 5342 – 5343 & 5348.