25-ARJUN DAGDU SUPEKAR
Arjun Dagdu Supekar was the younger brother of Bala Supekar.
How he was contacted and his interactions with Meher Baba are elaborated as under:
Arjun Dagdu Supekar, drawn to Merwan Seth (Meher Baba), owned a small tobacco shop near the toddy shop. Fond of chewing tobacco and paan, Merwan Seth became one of Arjun's regular customers, buying jarda, a strong type of chewing tobacco. He would sit with Arjun chewing the tobacco and talking to him at length. "How is your business?" inquired Merwan Seth. "Do you make enough money? How is your family? How many children do you want?" and so forth. Arjun was deeply touched by Merwan Seth's sincere interest and sympathy, and eventually confessed that he was barely surviving financially.
Merwan Seth started spending a lot of time at Arjun's shop, buying tobacco and paan for Himself and others. At times He would sing the songs of Tukaram, Swami Ramdas and Kabir, and thus Arjun, a devout Hindu, became convinced that Merwan Seth was a spiritual figure. His heart was fatally wounded by Merwan's arrow of love. Eventually, all of Arjun's family became devoted to Merwan Seth.
Early in the morning on 5th October 1922, Baba told the men He had not slept at night due to a noise in the backyard. "It was as if someone were leveling the ground with a heavy roller," He said. Then He explained that it was a ghost: "This spirit is always with Me, wherever I go. He is one of the ghosts whom Arjun saw outside the hut at Poona. Upasni Maharaj has put him in My charge. Some of you may see this spirit. If it happens, don't be afraid of him — and don't be afraid to move about in the Manzil during the day or at night."
On 11 March 1922, the Hindu festival of Holi was celebrated with a game of atya-patya and later with the burning of a fire in an earthen pit. Baba Himself had earlier brought a large branch of a felled tree in a small bullock cart from Kasba Peth. The wood was placed in the pit and lit, along with twigs and dry leaves. He explained, "The holi is symbolic of the fire of divine love and the wood represents the lower self which is to be burned in that fire."
Early the next morning, Baba suddenly threw Khodu's sitar, Arjun's tambura and a tabla into the dying fire. When asked for an explanation, He replied, "It is an offering." Later He had the ashes buried and small clay models of the musical instruments erected over their "graves." From that time on, the holi was transformed into the Master's dhuni (sacred fire), and the fire was kept burning continuously for many days.
Arjun began keeping night watch at the hut, Baba told him: "Always remain awake and never be afraid of anything." One night Arjun heard the rustling of leaves and was startled. Peering into the darkness he saw two gigantic figures dressed in white robes who suddenly started becoming larger and more ominous, reaching almost 20 feet in height! Arjun was a well-known local wrestler and regarded as one of the strongest men in Poona. But as soon as he saw these two figures, he became petrified and could not utter a sound. At that very moment, Baba emerged from the hut irritated and asked, "What's the matter with you?" Arjun pointed into the darkness, but there was nothing visible. Baba scolded him, "Didn't I tell you not to be afraid when I am here?"
Then He explained, "Those were ghosts who came to Me seeking rebirth. Such spirits of the dead have committed suicide and are unable to take another birth for several centuries. Every night such ghosts come to Me; so never be afraid. They won't harm you." But Arjun's health began steadily deteriorating after this incident. His eyes became yellowish and his face pale, and it lasted until he dropped his body four years later.
Baba relaxed by playing cards with Munshi ji for about an hour. During the game, He suddenly became very displeased with the Hindu mandali and began abusing them. He scolded Sadashiv and Arjun in particular, because they had not finished the vegetable dish which was served at lunch by Chowdhary (the cook) as directed by Baba. In His ill-tempered mood, Baba uttered these words to Arjun, "Your family will perish by plague!" Arjun was trembling in shock.
The next day, on 7th October 1922, true to the Master's words, a telegram was received from Poona that Arjun's nephew had died from the plague. Two years earlier, while playing gilli-danda in the Bhamburda locality of Poona, Baba had foretold that an epidemic of the plague would break out. Most of the Kasba Peth mandali were present when Baba prophesied, "The plague will begin from Bhamburda and, spreading towards Kasba Peth, will gradually engulf the entire city."
Arjun sadly admitted that Baba had privately hinted of this calamity to him a few days before. But that knowledge did little to relieve his present anguish. Some time ago his wife had died, and now his nephew was dead. Arjun had not expressed much sorrow at his wife's demise and, according to the Master's instructions, did not inquire whether he should return home for her funeral. But his nephew's death affected him very much, and he beseeched Baba to allow him to return to Poona for two days
For several days, the men mandali had been talking among themselves about Arjun; they had concluded that the Master loved Arjun more than any one of them. They had observed that when Baba ate His food He would always give leftovers to Arjun, and it was obvious that Baba had established some special bond with him. At the time, however, Baba did not mention anything particularly special about Arjun.
Soon after, a situation arose which revealed how Baba felt about Arjun. One day, when Baba was inspecting the school, he suddenly turned to Vishnu and demanded, "Take that stick lying on the ground and strike Me on the hand with it!" He held out His palm to Vishnu.
Shocked, Vishnu replied, "If you order me to do such a thing, I will commit suicide!"
Baba then said the same to Rustom, who replied, "I would prefer to leave Meherabad than to strike you."
Baba then called Arjun, who was standing nearby. In a most serious tone, Baba told Arjun to strike His hand. Arjun at once picked up the stick and struck Baba.
Baba then explained, "This is love; he who values My word loves Me the most!" Pointing to Vishnu and Rustom, He added, "You love your own feelings and personal fancies more than the worth of My words. This is the reason why I love Arjun more, and even he has only recently begun to understand the importance of carrying out My orders."