1755NASIK & CANNES1936
She was a former businesswoman and was then working as a freelance photo-journalist. Although Marie had corresponded with Baba, after meeting him she decided not to stay in Nasik, as she had become uneasy about what living conditions would be like there. She was afraid that life in an ashram would mean a loss of her privacy and individuality. Because she was once wealthy and had been exploited, the Duchess suspected Baba of being "like Rasputin" when he advised her to abandon her plans to travel in India and come instead to Nasik for a rest, inviting her to help with the magazine he intended starting. Marie mistrusted Baba's intention and mistook this as his attempt to launch a project using her name. Failing to see the great opportunity before her, the Grand Duchess stayed at Bhandardara for only four days and traveled in other parts of India, but she was never to be in Baba's contact again.
Garrett was full of questions about what constituted spirituality, renunciation, and the spiritual path. On Thursday, 17 December 1936, Baba stated to the group, while directing his comments to Fort:
Divinity is not devoid of humanity — it lifts mankind to God. Nor does spirituality necessarily imply the renunciation of worldly activities. True spirituality signifies the internal renunciation of mundane desires. Mere external renunciation — asceticism — does not lead to spirituality.
Perfection is not perfection if it tries to escape from entanglement by shrinking from the dual expressions of nature. The Perfect One must assert his dominion over all illusion, however attractive and however powerful. A Perfect Being functions with complete detachment in the midst of the most intense activity and in contact with all forms of life.
Baba would ask individuals to tell amusing stories and Garrett was pleasantly surprised at Baba's keen sense of humor. Baba smilingly reminded him, "Divinity includes all that is beautiful and gracious. How then could you expect a Perfect Being to be devoid of a sense of humor?"
Satisfied, Fort replied that he understood.
When the Westerners had first arrived at Bhandardara, Baba had instructed each person to go off alone for five to ten minutes and sit in a relaxed position, attempting to make the mind utterly blank. On the 17th, he stated, "Don't think of anything — not even of me!" Calling their attention to the water flowing over the dam, Baba said, "If you find it difficult to stop the flow of thoughts, listen to the water flowing over the rocks. But be sure you are thoroughly relaxed."