I said, “Baba, nobody can replace you, but I promise you that I will try hard not to miss you.”
But the man arrived the next morning.
The first awakened man who recognized me was Magga Baba. The second was Pagal Baba, and the third was more strange than even I could have imagined. Even Pagal Baba was not so mad. The man was called Masta Baba.
Baba is a respectful word; it simply means “the grandfather.” But anybody who is recognized by the people as someone enlightened is also called Baba, because he is really the oldest man in the community. He may not be actually, he may be just a young man, but he has to be called Baba, the grandfather.
Masta Baba was superb, just superb, and just the way I like a man to be. He was exactly as if made for me. We became friends even before Pagal Baba introduced us.
I was standing outside the house. I don’t know why I was standing there, at least now I can’t remember the purpose; it was so long ago. Perhaps I was also waiting, because Pagal Baba had said the man would keep his word; he would come. And I was certainly curious like any child. I was a child, and I have remained a child in spite of everything else. Perhaps I was waiting, or pretending to do something else, but actually waiting for the man, and looking up the road – and there he was! I had not expected him to arrive this way! He came running!
He was not very old, no more than thirty-five, just at the peak of his youth. He was a tall man, very thin, with beautiful long hair, and a beautiful beard.
I asked him, “Are you Masta Baba?”
He was a little taken aback, and said, “How did you know my name?”
I said, “There is nothing mysterious in it. Pagal Baba has been waiting for you. Naturally he mentioned your name, but you are really the man I myself would have chosen to be with. You are as mad as Pagal Baba must have been when he was young. Perhaps you are just the young Pagal Baba come back again.”
He said, “You seem to be madder than me. Where is Pagal Baba anyway?”
I showed him the way, and entered behind him. He touched the feet of Pagal Baba, who then said, “This is my last day, and Masto” – that was the way he used to call him – “I was waiting for you, and getting a little worried.”
Masto replied, “Why? Death is nothing to you.”
Baba replied, “Of course death is nothing to me, but look behind you. That boy means much to me; perhaps he will be able to do what I wanted to and could not. You touch his feet. I have been waiting so that I could introduce you to him.”
Masta Baba looked into my eyes…and he was the only real man out of the many whom Pagal Baba had introduced to me and told to touch my feet.