2254WARTIME TRAVEL FOR MASTS1942
Before departing, he found the young, naked sadhu-mast and sat with him for half an hour before returning to the hotel. Among the thousands at the fair, this young one was the only real, advanced soul there who made Baba happy. Baba referred to him as a "big saint."
Exhausted, Baba drank only a glass of ginger soda, and then took a hot tub-bath before going to bed. The next morning, Thursday, 1 January 1942, Baba was up by five o'clock, and after tea — in an especially good mood now that his work had been completed to his satisfaction — they left Allahabad by the Bombay Mail train.
The day Baba left Allahabad, his life-size portrait from Meherabad arrived. Srivastava, Babadas, Vibhuti, Narayan Singh, Chaturvedi and Tirthraj Panday actively began their work at the Kumbha Mela. Rano's painting was carried in a large parade accompanied by music, and 8,000 leaflets with information about Meher Baba and his message were distributed. Thousands came to Srivastava's house to take darshan of the painting. They had no idea that the One whose darshan they were now having had bowed down at the feet of thousands of sadhus, and had been in their midst for two days, having clandestinely come and gone.
Baba stopped in Secunderabad briefly for mast work and then continued by train. A touching incident occurred on the train between Secunderabad and Sholapur. Baba was traveling incognito by third class, dressed in ordinary clothes, wearing a Kashmiri-type fur hat and dark sunglasses. The train was so packed that the only way to enter the compartment was through the windows. At one station, an old Muslim with a white flowing beard came running up to their compartment, holding up a five-year-old boy, pleading with the passengers to take him inside. Those inside began protesting, saying it was impossible since they were already so crowded. As the train whistle sounded, the old man became desperate and shouted, "For God's sake, take the child in!"
At this point, Baba ordered the mandali to help the man and lift the boy inside. Amidst loud arguments with their fellow passengers, the mandali did as they were told, brought the boy in through the window, and sat him down next to Baba. The old man ran to the next compartment, and held on to a railing as the train started. At each stop, he would come back to see that the boy was all right.