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STUDENTS' PROJECTS > BA AND BAPU > Ba's initiation into the Ashram life
24. Ba's initiation into the Ashram life
In 1924, in the Satyagraha Ashram, at Sabarmati, one night Ba was rather late in reaching Bapu's room to massage his head with oil. For, she had been delayed in the kitchen after the usual hour by her preparing some food for the journey for her son, Ramadasbhai, who was going away that night. When asked the reason for her being late, she told Bapu all this, adding that she could not depute anyone else to do the job as none was nearby at the time. Bapu, then said to her, "You are already so much overworked, because you take on too many things,—preparing food in the kitchen, looking after the visitors, spinning cloth for yourself, etc. Over and above all this, you must now also prepare special food for Ramadas to take on the journey. But should you do all that ? I ask. For, if you go on doing such things, there will be no end to them at all. For example, tomorrow you may find that someone else is going out on a journey, like Tulasi going to Nepal, Surendra going to Delhi, then you will do likewise for them, too."
Ba replied, "Of course not. But Ramadas is my son, that is why I did not mind even being late for massaging your head. Further, it will not be possible for me to cater to every one's special requirements. But you are no doubt a Mahatma and all here are like your own sons to you. However, I am not as yet a Mahatma. This does not mean that I love the others any less. But truth to tell, they are not to me like Ramadas. So can I not occasionally prepare some special food for him? You are, indeed, very hard on me, even in such small matters."
Bapu rejoined, "Well, all this is worth thinking about. However, will you please tell me where we are sitting at present?"
Ba: "In the Satyagraha Ashram."
Bapu: "But why are we here? Why did we sell our house in Rajkot and come away to this Ashram?"
Ba: "So that we all, brothers and sisters, may together serve our country."
Bapu: "Then do those who have come here from distant places, look upon us as less than their own parents?"
Ba: "Certainly not. They love you and me devotedly, indeed, and for you particularly they have abounding affection. They have given up their all, in order that under your inspiration and guidance, they may learn how to serve India wisely and well, according to their capacity."
Bapu: "Then just think, under these circum­stances what our duty towards them is. It is quite natural for a mother to love her own child more than others. So in a way there is nothing wrong in your loving Ramadas more. But all that would have held good if we were still living in Rajkot and Ramadas, Devadas and others were entitled to a share in the paternal property. But this Ashram is for Satyagrahi workers. Therefore, Ramadas, too, should live like others. Then how is it that you consider those, who look upon you as more than their own mother, less than Ramadas ? Remember, the whole world is watching us and is expecting great things from us."
Ba listened to all this calmly and with great attention, and remained quiet.