The sudden death of Mahadevbhai in the Aga Khan Palace, on August 15, 1942, was verily a bolt from the blue, particularly for Ba. So great was her sorrow that, in spite of her participating in the prayers for the peace of the soul of the dear departed with fortitude, her tears did not cease for a long time. When the dead body was removed from the Palace for being cremated, she sat in a chair, a little away from the funeral pyre, and attended the last rites till the very end, even though she was extremely weak at the time. All through, with folded hands, she went on praying, "Mahadev, wherever you be, may you be always happy. You rendered such invaluable service to Bapu." Now and again, however, she also cried out, "Why did Mahadev go away? Why not I ? What kind of divine justice is this ?" After the cremation all the mourners returned to their rooms. But Ba felt all the while that Mahadev's death was, indeed, ominous. "Yes, for the Government," commented Bapu.
This feeling of Ba persisted for days. So one day she said to Sushilabehn, "I think
we are all to blame for Mahadev's death. Bapu started the 'Quit India' campaign
and we all, including Mahadev, were clapped into jail. And now he is gone! I
cannot help, therefore, thinking that we have committed a sin."
Sushilabehn replied, "Ba, why do you say so? Mahadevbhai has made a supreme
sacrifice for the freedom of the country. It cannot be, therefore, called a sin.
And if there is any, it will be on the head of the Government. For, Bapu had not
even begun the campaign when they arrested him."
Ba rejoined, "That is true, because Bapu was still trying for some kind of a
compromise with the Government. But the latter did not give him any chance for a
From 15th August 1942 onward, a third shrine for offering worship was added to Ba's
already two shrines — the Tulsi plant and the image of the child Krishna
in Mirabehn's room — namely, the samadhi of Mahadevbhai. There, too, she
prayed and offered flowers regularly.
Later on, on October 2, was Bapu's birthday. So when Sarojini Devi suggested a small
festival of earthen lamps to celebrate the happy occasion, Ba said to
Sushilabehn, "Do not forget to light a lamp in front of Shankar."
At first Sushilabehn did not quite understand what Ba meant. But presently she realized
what was implied and replied, "You mean, that I should also light a lamp at
"Yes," answered Ba with deep emotion, "Yes, Mahadev's samadhi is for me