Bal Natu

One day in January [1952], as was His old habit, He casually asked each of the companions his age. Pendu while replying happened to add that he had only four years left to live. Baba looked amused and asked, "Why?" In reply, Pendu related an incident which had taken place in December, 1926.

In that year, under Baba's instruction, a well was being dug at Meherabad. It was between the road and the railway track (and it is still there). Pendu's duty was to empty the leather bucket that was used to haul out the pieces of hard rock and murram (soft rock) from the bottom of the well. While hauling out the rocks, he had to lean forward to pull up the leather bucket. Sometimes, when he happened to look below, he felt as if the gravitational pull was dragging him down into the darkness of the pit. Occasionally, he was afraid that he might fall in and die.

One day when Baba visited the site, Pendu told him about this fear. Baba brushed the subject aside with a casual remark, "Don't fear, Pendu, you won't die for 30 years!" Pendu felt relieved, but whenever Baba asked him his age, he involuntarily recalled Baba's words. The prescribed period was to expire in December, 1956. This was the reason for Pendu's incidental comment while answering Baba's question.

Patiently hearing the whole story, with a swift glance at Pendu, Baba added, "Pendu, you won't die in December, 1956!" But at the same time, He made a sweeping gesture of passing His fingers over His left side. Pendu thought that although the death was averted, Baba's sign might indicate a paralysis of the left side. He, however, did not say anything and Baba switched to another subject.

Nevertheless it should be mentioned here that in December, 1956, Baba met with the second auto accident near Satara (Maharashtra). Nilu, Pendu, Vishnu and Eruch were with Him in the car. Nilu (Dr. Nilkanth) and Pendu were seriously hurt and became unconscious. Nilu died without regaining consciousness. Pendu, as he came back to his senses, found himself in the Civil Hospital at Satara, with a cast around his entire left side, from shoulder to toe. On top of that, because of the injury to his pelvis, his right leg was also placed in a cast. With the slightest movement, Pendu suffered excruciating pain and sometimes even fainted. In a sense, he was dead and yet alive! Thus was Pendu's "sentence of death" reprieved by Baba!

I have specially narrated this episode to show that Baba could be mysteriously precise if He wished to be. And also to illustrate how even the casual gesture of the God-Man has tremendous significance.