605THE SILENCE BEGINS1925
The next day, Baba visited Shahane's house and explained about freedom, writing out this story:
A parrot was free from birth and could fly from one tree to another. It could eat the fruit it fancied, and after eating in Ahmednagar, it would fly as far as Bombay to let loose its droppings. Although free from birth, it had no idea what freedom was. It always asked, "What is freedom?" and cried out, "Free me! Free me!"
Pointing to his brother Beheram, Baba continued:
A philosopher such as Beheram told it, "Brother, you are already free." But the parrot had no idea of its freedom and so Beheram said, "All right, I will show you what freedom is. First, come to me and submit yourself to my care."
The parrot was intelligent, so it flew to Beheram and said, "I am now in your hands. You can wring my neck or you can give me the experience of freedom."
However, Beheram put the bird in a cage. In a few days the parrot found it could not fly or eat the fruit it liked, nor could it sit in its favorite tree. It was shut up — locked in a cage. The parrot thought, "I used to be free." At that moment it had the experience of freedom which it had lacked before. It knew freedom only when it had become imprisoned.
In a similar manner, every soul is God and free, but since one was free from the very beginning one has no idea of the soul's freedom. To have it, one should allow oneself to be caught by a Sadguru. One should give one's neck into the Sadguru's hands so that he may keep one locked up — under his orders and discipline — and give the experience of the soul's real freedom.
That morning, Baba had become annoyed with his young attendant, Bal, and appointed Louis Nelmes to take his place for the day. This was a ruse on the Master's part. Nelmes' health had weakened during the month he had been staying at Meherabad, because of the austere diet. In addition, for the past several days, Nelmes had been suffering from a septic wound on his leg and had been receiving treatment in the hospital. During the next three days, Nelmes' condition worsened.
Baba himself complained of a backache and had a high fever. On the night of 26 July, Nelmes, too, had a high fever.