31-DATTU MAHENDARGE (Dattu)
Dattu Mehendarge was one of student of Prem ashram established by Meher Baba in year 1927. When the Meher Ashram (boarding) school first began, there were ten students and Dattu Mehendarge was one among others. Dattu was the main worker in the office with Adi and helped in daily correspondence.
Some of incidents which took place between Dattu and Meher Baba are elaborated as under:
In 1927, once, Baba called all the boys and berated Adi in front of them. He made Adi stand before Him and He said, "He is My brother, but he is a thief! He ate an onion without My permission." Baba signaled to Dattu, Adi's closest friend and roommate, to step forward and spit in Adi's face. Dattu was so taken aback that he did not know what to do. Baba snapped at him to do it.
Dattu stepped forward nervously and did as instructed. Adi was absolutely humiliated. ("You can imagine how I felt," he recalled years later. "I wished the earth would open and swallow me up.") But Baba consoled him, "Now you have become My brother. Those who obey Me are related to Me and not otherwise."
In 1928, Baba sent for the Prem Ashram boys to come to the Manzil. (It had been a long time since He had called them after dinner.) Baba and the boys enjoyed them. Baba allowed the boys to bow down to Him and each sat quietly afterward close to Baba. One boy, Vasant, continuously stared at Baba and Dattu, sat with his head on Baba's knees.
Meher Baba transferred fifteen of the boys from the Prem Ashram back to Meher Ashram leaving eighteen boys in Prem Ashram including Dattu. Dattu's younger brother Pundit wept profusely, pleading his usual case: "Give me one last chance. You are God, and I am but a little boy! Why be so harsh with me?" And he was therefore included among those remaining in the Prem Ashram.
In year 1929, Baba stated, "If they remain celibate and don't marry, it would really be for the best. They are the future workers of this Path. If boys like Dattu and Vasant are forced to marry, everything will go kaput!"
In 1938, Dattu Mehendarge arrived for a board meeting of the Meher Mandali Maintenance Trust from 10:00 A.M. to noon. Dattu was a former Meher Ashram student. At Baba's request, Sarosh had given him a job, working at Sarosh Cinema. Baba now wished Dattu to remain with Him in Panchgani, to help with typing and correspondence. Later Dattu worked at Khushru Quarters as Adi Sr.'s clerk.
In 1939, Dattu Mehendarge (who had come to stay in Bangalore to help in the office and Journal work) asked to be allowed to see a good picture (film) once in a while, and so Baba gave him a book filled with "pictures" of saints to look at!
In 1945, at the Mess Quarters, Baba spoke about His mandali. He said One of My most intimate disciples who is very dear and near to Me is Dattu Mehendarge. He has been rendering great service to Me, their Master.
In year 1945, Pendu was the manager at Meherabad, and handled all the money and kept accounts. On one occasion, Dattu showed Pendu's account book to Adi Sr., who complained to Baba about the accounts not being regular. So Baba sent for Pendu and criticized, "Your accounts are not correct."
"They're perfect!" Pendu protested.
"Every item in the account should be listed separately," Adi pointed out.
"Do banks have different coffers for their money?" asked Pendu. "The money is kept together and accounts are written separately. Similarly, I too have kept the accounts separately."
His reasoning upset Baba who said, "You are quite loyal and none can ever doubt your faith; but you don't know the first thing about accounting! What Adi says is true."
Baba went on lambasting Pendu in front of everyone and Pendu grew very angry. But he stood still listening to what Baba was dictating.
Afterwards, Dattu came out of his room and Pendu followed him. Catching hold of him he said, "You're the cause of all this trouble," and he gave him a hard slap. Baba overheard him and called them back. He severely scolded Pendu and ordered him to touch Dattu's feet.
Pendu did it, and forgiving him, Baba explained, "Dattu is not the root of the quarrel; it is the wrath of everyone! If there is no anger, there is no quarrel. You have dedicated your whole life to me and have been serving me for years with all your heart. But up to now you have failed to dedicate your anger to me. If you do it, you will be unequaled!"
Dattu entertained Baba with singing for three hours on the night of Saturday, 22nd September 1945, and the next morning, Baba and Adi Sr. drove back to Pasarni
1st August 1949, was a red-letter day in Meherazad. All the Meherabad mandali, as well as other Meherabad residents, including Dattu were to be present at Meherazad before seven o'clock that morning. No one was to eat breakfast or take tea before arriving. All the men and women had been observing silence for one month, and they were to break it in Baba's presence when He stepped out of seclusion.
Dattu Mehendarge, Meher Ashram boy worked in Adi Sr.'s office in Khushru Quarters, Ahmednagar. In Adi's absence during the New Life, Dattu was put in charge of the office. In Adi's absence, both Waman and Dattu remained strong links in Baba's cause in Ahmednagar.
In year 1955, Dattu Mehendarge stopped working for Adi Sr. in August, and Feram Workingboxwala took his place.
Dattu Mehendarge was a good singer and sang two ghazals that Baba and the audience appreciated.