KARNATAKA (CONTACTS)

Hits: 0

HIMACHAL PRADESH (COTACTS)

 

1-ERUCH C. MISRTY (ELCHA)

(Mandali-close disciple)

Elcha Mistry, also known as Elcha was Freiny Nalavala’s cousin and he came to know about Baba through her. Elcha saw Meher Baba for first time in year 1951.

In 1952, during New Life Baba came back to Meherazad and did the final phase of New Life known as Manonash. Then He went to Dehradun again after coming back from West in 1953. During Baba’s nine month stay in Dehradun Elcha became very close to Baba and His mandali because of His humorous jokes which Beloved Baba enjoyed immensely. Elcha was in apple business at Shimla. He was a good honest businessman. Elcha use to visit Meherazad regularly whenever Baba would call him. At times Baba was under immense pressure due to His Universal Work, Elcha was called specially from Simla to change Baba’s mood by his jokes so that Baba work would go light. During Dehradun stay Once Baba asked Elcha to make boarding and lodging prep rations for proposed Mussoorie visit. His arrangements were not up to the mark and this made Baba angry. Baba was upset to this extent that He asked Elcha to stand in a corner with his back towards Baba and not to look at Baba’s face.

Our Beloved Baba asked him to join the Mandali to which Elcha replied that since his sister was dependent upon him because of her ill health, he was unable to join the Mandali. So Baba told him that it was fine and he should continue with his responsibilities.

His life time episodes and conversation with Meher Baba are produced as under:

Baba left for Kankhal, where on the riverbank he found another mast, who was a jalali (fiery) type. Elcha inadvertently drove the jeep right up to him. This annoyed the mast so much that he took out a chisel as if to strike him. Elcha sought his forgiveness with folded hands, but this upset the mast even more and he took out another chisel. Elcha was terrified. Baba immediately walked toward the mast, and when Baba smiled at him the mast threw down the tools. Baba's presence pacified him, and with a piece of charcoal the mast scrawled on a stone the license plate numbers of both the car and jeep. Because the mast had lost his temper and was out of sorts, Baba did not contact him in private and returned to Hardwar. (Lord Meher-p-3283-1953)

Continuing their journey, group left Phillaur and drove continuously through the night to Rishikesh. Elcha's car had another puncture on the way, which had to be repaired in the dark, with only a flashlight for illumination.

Elcha had suggested a cooler and speedy shortcut — but by the end of the drive, they were covered with dust from head to foot, and Gustadji vowed never again to travel with Elcha. According to Baba's order, none of the men had either dozed or slept. (Baba had given everyone a tablet to help them keep awake.) Those in Baba's car, which had gone in advance, sensed that something had gone wrong and came back to find them.

In the vicinity of Dehra Dun were four prominent saints: Anandamayi Ma, Sant Ishwar Singh, Sant Mangat Ram and Miran Bhai.  Baba wished to contact the first three of these. But because He was about to fast, He decided instead to contact them by proxy. He put His head on Elcha's feet, and instructed him to go and touch Anandamayi Ma's feet, and convey His love and blessings to her.

Elcha did as ordered, and afterward Anandamayi Ma expressed her desire to meet Meher Baba. Elcha informed Baba, who sent her this message:

Meher Baba was informed of your wish to see Him. He says that there is no need for you to see Him. If Baba is the Highest of the High, as people say, and is in everything and in everyone, then He is omniscient, and in you also. Even if that is not the case, then there would be no advantage in a meeting with Him. Baba is bowing down to saints, walis, masts, sadhus and the poor equally, and He conveys His love to you. With His love, He sends His salutation to you.

Baba again bowed to Elcha, as proxy, and sent him back to Anandamayi Ma. After bowing to the woman saint, Elcha conveyed Baba's message. On hearing it, she declared repeatedly, "Namo Narayana! (Obeisance to God Narayan!)"

Elcha said some devotees from Anandamayi Ma wanted to come for Baba's darshan. Baba warned him, "If anyone comes, that would not be good for you!" adding, "When My work is finished, God will see that the whole world will bow down to Me!"

Prayers were offered at 8:00 A.M. On the 19th. Baba first bowed to Gustadji and then, with His hands folded, he stood quietly in a reverential mood before Eruch, who read out these lines, dictated by Baba: "My salutations to all the past, present and future Perfect Ones, Qutubs, majzoobs, masts, lovers and seekers of God: I today remember with My love, in accordance to their love and faith, My physically departed following lovers

As the mandali remained standing, Elcha read out the names of the departed ones who loved and served Baba. Baba then laid his head on the feet of each of those present.

At 7:00 A.M., on 24 June 1953, Baba left for Roorkee (45 miles south), with Hellan driving, and accompanied by Pendu, Elcha and Kishan Singh. In Roorkee, a poor program was held in the dargah of the Qutub Sabir. Baidul was sent in advance to make the arrangements. It was drizzling on the way and the car was also giving trouble. The petrol tank was leaking and much of the gas was lost. Elcha exhorted Hellan to drive fast, but on account of the rain and the road being in a hazardous condition, Hellan could not do so. The car suddenly came to a halt on a flat plain, much to Hellan's surprise because, according to him, there should have been nothing wrong with it. Meanwhile, Baba was often prodding Elcha to ask Hellan why he did not properly test the car in Dehra Dun. Finally, Hellan was able to fix the car and they proceeded. (Lord Meher-p-3341-1953)

Since adopting silence in 1925, Baba had completely stopped touching money, except for handling money when giving it to the masts, saints and poor, and would only do so on these occasions.

In the car while going to and returning from Roorkee, Kishan Singh's singing and Elcha Mistry's humorous conversation kept Baba in a good mood. To add zest to his tales, Elcha would exaggerate them to any extent and make them "spicy." After his return, Baba bestowed a befitting title on Elcha, and gave him the "degree" of Elcha, B.D.L. — Bundle Licentiate.

Later that day, 26 July, Baba played cricket at the men's bungalow with the mandali plus Elcha, Hellan, Kumar, Keki Nalavala, Harish Chander and Kishan Singh. Elcha was made captain of one team and Kishan captain of the other. Baba played on both sides. The game started at nine o'clock, and except for a few, the rest were bumbling participants, some of whom did not even know the rules. Baba batted and bowled with a small kerchief tied around His head, sometimes arguing over a call. Elcha's team eventually lost and Baba gave him two "strokes" on his backside with the bat. Baba decided that they would play cricket every Sunday and their weekly games continued for some time. Both sides would want Baba on their side, since he was by far the best player. At times they would toss a coin to decide the issue. Baba's side inevitably won.

On 20th August 1953, Baba told Bhau, "Since all have to stay awake, perform a play." It was on short notice, but nevertheless Bhau wrote a play based on the Indian story of Durgadas, in which a queen, Begum Gulnar (played by Elcha, dressed as a woman), expresses her love to Durgadas (Vishnu) by catching hold of him and attempting to seduce him. Durgadas spurns her love and she, insulted, threatens to have him beheaded by an executioner (Aloba). The commander of the army, Diler Khan (Nilu), wants to save him and so informs Gulnar's husband, King Aurangzeb (Bhau) of the queen's misbehaviour. Aurangzeb goes to his queen and tells her: "Darling, I have become old and cannot make love to you; yet you should not act in this way. In spite of it, I forgive you."

All the men did justice to their roles, but Elcha and Aloba were the source of the greatest merriment.

Aloba's entry on stage as the executioner was off cue, his sword swinging ferociously at the wrong time. Baba was in fits of laughter.

Elcha forgot his lines and when Bhau recited his lines about his having grown old, Elcha ad-libbed: "You old fogey, why don't you go off into the jungle? ... Why don't you die so I can have some fun!" This made Baba laugh so much His cheeks turned pink. Had Elcha remembered his rehearsed lines, there would not have been as much scope for comedy. Baba praised Elcha, telling him he had enjoyed his part the most!

Baba wished to proceed to Bara Rudka to work with the highly advanced mast Chinta Bhagat. The road to Bara Rudka was ten miles from the nearest town, and being unpaved, it had turned into a quagmire due to recent monsoon rains. It was not a straight road, but had turns and twists leading off to other villages. Elcha, who had previously stayed in the area for a long time, reported, "Baba, it is impossible to traverse this road at night. We will miss our turn and get lost. Sugarcane fields border both sides of the road, and we won't be able to tell which road leads where."

Baba asked Baidul if he could lead him there. Baidul assured him that he could and added confidently that they would reach the mast's abode that night. Elcha pleaded, "Baba, don't listen to him. I know this area. Baidul will only make us wander about in the fields." Baba told Baidul to lead the way, and by going left and right, then right and left with Hellan driving, he took them straight to the mast's place. When they reached it at eleven o'clock in the night, Elcha was so impressed that, as a joke, he stretched out on the ground before Baidul in obeisance and said fervently to Baba, "I thought he was a fool until now, but every one of the mandali you have selected is a gem! Some are well-versed in one thing, some in another, but none are like Baidul. He has a nose like a compass!"

"Only if you find me intimate with him," Baba replied, adding, "Take Elcha (Mistry) of Dehra Dun. I feel absolutely free with him, but if he is not prepared to sacrifice all, then he is not in the mandali."

About Elcha Mistry of Simla, Baba stated, "He is a great humorist and to some extent lightens My universal burden by making Me laugh." Baba recounted one episode: "Once Elcha told Me that in Simla, potatoes and apples of superb quality grow in abundance. When I asked him how big they were, he replied that each potato weighs 20 seers ([40 pounds) and a pair of apples 10 seers! I asked him to send Me a parcel of apples, which he did through someone. When it came, it was difficult to tell if they were apples or apricots — they were so small!"

Baba then stated, "Although I enjoy Elcha's jokes, every moment My Universal work goes on."

At one point, Elcha Mistry told Baba, "Last night I dreamt that I was back in Simla, and on awakening this morning I found that I was in Meherabad. Because I am now back in Meherabad from Simla today, I should also have Baba's embrace!" Baba smiled and embraced him.

Elcha had thought of another clever ploy to receive Baba's embrace. He said, "Baba, I have heard from a very reliable source that if you give me an embrace again today, all your physical suffering will disappear."

Baba's quick retort was: "I love My pain more than you!" Still, He embraced Elcha.

Baba said: Elcha by his jokes and witticisms, lighten this burden and I relax. These are the things that give Me relaxation. But, whether burdened or relaxed, I play My role equally well. Burden or relaxation makes no difference to Me, for I am beyond all this.

Baba then repeated what He had told the first group about enjoying the lively company of Dhake and Elcha and their good humor. He also stated, "I enjoy playing marbles, flying kites, watching cricket, playing cards and gilli-danda. I have not come only for such play; I have come and taken this body for other purposes. I am the Ocean of Mercy, Compassion and Love.

Baba continued, "I enjoy humor. I enjoy jokes. Here is Elcha Mistry whom I have told you about. He makes Me laugh whenever I am engrossed in my Universal work. I have not lost My sense of humor. I even enjoy others cracking jokes about Me."

After lunch, Baba stood in the doorway of His Interview Cabin leaning on His canes, and observing the scene a few moments before going back to the pandal. Rawal happened to walk by and Baba joked, "Elcha told Me that your screw was loose. Is this true? How old are you now?"

Rawal, however, in one of his usual over-emotional outbursts, declared, "Baba, I only want to die at your feet!"

Baba asked, "Then who would look after your family?"

"I leave it to you, Baba."

"Thanks," Baba replied drily.

When Elcha Mistry arrived for a two-month stay on the 2nd, Baba remarked to him, "I am unwell; still I have come among you." He then stated, "Elcha, I am God. There is not the slightest doubt in my being God. I am 100 percent God!"

Elcha affirmed, "You are God, and I accept you as God from the bottom of my heart."

Baba had been advised to sit in the sun for a little while each day, so on 25 December, Adi Sr. sent his revolving office chair to Meherazad on Bhagirath's truck for Baba's use. Elcha ("Beggar Boy" as he was fondly referred to) entertained Baba and the mandali with jokes and tall tales. (Lord Meher-p-5108-1964)

Eruch Mistry, Elcha was often called “Court jester”. An honest man, he devoted himself totally to Baba and regaled him with jokes and quips.

 

 

Hits: 0

KARNATAKA (CONTACTS)

 

1-A DRIVER

(Bus driver)

Baba left Horikan for Mangalore on the afternoon of 7th March 1949. They continued and began ascending the Agumbe Mountain on some of the worst roads they had ever encountered. Not only was the road steep and full of hairpin curves, but it was so narrow that only one vehicle at a time could pass.

Just as the mandali's bus was going around a curve, the bus suddenly began sliding backward. No one knew what to do, but they began to repeat Baba's name. The driver lost control of the steering wheel. The bus rolled backwards over a small stone wall separating the road from a deep valley below. Crying out, "BABA! BABA! BABA!" all were certain the bus was about to crash and they would die.

Suddenly, the bus came to a complete halt. Gasping (some were on the verge of fainting), no one could explain how the bus had stopped rolling backwards. Only Baba's nazar had saved them; otherwise, the bus would certainly have rolled off the cliff and plunged to the valley below.

After carefully getting out, they saw that half the bus was hanging over the cliff! There was nothing to suggest why it had not continued over the cliff. It was both astonishing and inexplicable! Some of the mandali began to weep, thanking Baba for having his nazar on them. Vishnu cried out, "Baba has saved our lives today! Let us all shout his Jai!”

Baba instructed the men to pull the bus back onto the road, and he stood nearby and personally supervised. After much effort by all, the bus was pushed back onto the road. This was more dangerous than it sounds, because there was the possibility of the bus sliding back again and dragging some of the men over the cliff with it.

Afterward, they stopped at a waterfall, washed their faces and refreshed themselves. (lord Meher-p-1149-1930)

 

 

2-AMDOO

In 1939, Baba assigned Jalbhai the duty of finding and bringing suitable boys to him for his work. Daily, Jalbhai would bring a boy or two whom Baba would usually keep for a short time and then send back to their respective homes. But, of the boys found by Jalbhai, Baba chose four to be kept near him for an extended period. Amdoo was one among four Baba gave him hem work in the mast ashram.

One day Baba called the five Bangalore boys and asked each, "What do you want? What do you want to do in life?"

Amdoo said, "I would like to drive a Tonga." (Lord Meher-p-2111-1940)

 

 

3-AMIR AHMED B. S.

Baba and His group arrived in Shimoga from Bangalore in morning. They were received by B. S. Amir Ahmed and his brother. These two brothers had met Baba in Bangalore and invited him to Shimoga, so Baba had included the stop on his itinerary. Baba was taken to see the site of a gold mine they owned, and he indicated to them where to begin digging.

The brothers (with Ghani's personal guidance) had made good arrangements for Baba's group, and the town’s people of Shimoga came for darshan. Baba did not really wish to meet anyone during the tour, but he granted the sincere prayer of both brothers. Darshan was given to the local people, and a group photo was taken. (Lord Meher-p-2093-19405-

 

 

CHAKRAVARTY M.

  1. Chakravarty, the man who wanted to see Baba in Bombay but missed Him. He came to Bala Bungalow for darshan on 9th March 1936. Baba permitted him to see Him for one minute from the adjoining room. After he had Baba's darshan, Chanji talked with him and found out he was an influential person. Chakravarty assured Chanji he would secure a better place for Baba's ashram after conferring with the Maharaja of Mysore and his dewan(chief minister) Sir Mirza M. Ismail. (Lord Meher-p-1702)

 

6-DAUGHTER OIF VENKOBA RAO

On 30th August 1964, Venkoba Rao, his wife, and their young daughter were permitted to have Baba's darshan. Venkoba Rao was a former night watchman from South India. He had been called to Ahmednagar in January to discuss the disposal of the small portion of the Byramangala property, which he had purchased in 1949. Baba had given his permission and the property had been sold. At Meherazad, Venkoba Rao laid the proceeds (Rs.2, 500) at Baba's feet, and Baba kept Rs.1, 000 for his work and returned the rest to Venkoba Rao as prasad. (Lord Meher-p-5086-1964)

 

8-DR. JAMSHED D. PATEL

On the 6th, Dr. Jamshed D. Patel of Bangalore and Mr. N. Pestonji came to see Baba. In the course of conversation with them, Baba said:

"Although I am in seclusion and keep silence throughout, I am now very busy working internally for future developments. You will see the upheavals that will take place very soon. The war will take a very serious turn, bringing untold misery and ruination all around."

Pestonji interjected, "Mr. Sumner Welles (U.S. Undersecretary of State) is trying to negotiate for peace; let us hope that he will be successful."

Smiling, Baba made a play on words, "It is like digging a well in summer! (Meaning something unfruitful). Nothing will come out of it. The world will soon plunge into the throes of a war never before seen or heard of."

"But Baba, what about the thousands of lives that will be lost?" asked Pestonji. "Can't they be saved?"

"The war is necessary. All this destruction will purge the world of dirt; cleanse it of filth so that a new order can be established.

"There are millions and millions of holes in my body because of the suffering of the world. But because of my infinite bliss and power, I can withstand it.

"Suppose you have a boil on your finger which is septic. You do not cut off the whole finger because of it! You bear it because the finger is part of your body. In the same way, I consider all as mine and I suffer, but I do not destroy myself and slaughter all. I put up with it and suffer because all are a part of my Universal Body."

Patel and Pestonji became close friends of the mandali in Bangalore and would regularly visit them, even after Baba's departure. (Lord Meher-p-2085)

 

9-DR. S. RADHAKRISHNAN

On 9th February 1936, the politician Dr. S. Radhakrishnan came to see Baba with two other retired V.Subrahmanya Iyer and Wadia also professor of philosophy of Mysore University.  Radhakrishnan had come to know about Baba through Dr. Deshmukh in Nagpur and learned of Baba's presence in the area through Iyer, who was one of Baba's neighbours. Kalemama informed them that Meher Baba was now in seclusion and would not be granting interviews until his seclusion ended in June. They left.

Radhakrishnan never came again for Baba's darshan, though he was interested in Baba and was later given a copy of God Speaks. After he became President of India during the 1960s, he would hear about Baba from Delhi Baba lovers, Mona and Manohar Sakhare. They would keep Radhakrishnan informed about Baba's activities and play Baba's arti for him on their record player. (Lord Meher-p-1968-1936)

 

10-DR. SHIVRAO

On 18 May 1940, Dr. Shivrao came from Bangalore to stay at Meherabad. At first Baba told him to stay for one year, informing him that to receive what he wished for, he must cut all ties to his family and the world and remain fasting and in seclusion. But after a few days Baba sent him back to Bangalore. (Lord Meher-p-2107-1940)

 

11-IYER V. SUBRAHMANYA

On 9th February 1936, the politician Dr. S. Radhakrishnan came to see Baba with V. Subrahmanya Iyer the retired vice-chancellor of Mysore University. She learned of Baba's presence in the area through Iyer, who was one of Baba's neighbours. They were that Meher Baba was now in seclusion and would not be granting interviews until his seclusion ended in June.  .

In 1938, Meher Baba was in Mysore. Subrahmanya Iyer an influential individual came into contact with Baba. He and Mirza Ismail were now asked by letter to find a suitable spot where Baba could establish a center or ashram. Their reply was received in Panchgani assuring Baba of their cooperation, and a few weeks later Chanji and Pendu were sent to Bangalore, where Chanji met Sir Mirza on 17 April 1938. (Lord Meher-p-1911-1938)

 

 

13-KITTU PURNA

Baba was not meeting the public in Bangalore but on 12th November 1939, He made an exception. He granted a few minutes of darshan to Indian Kittu Purna, a former student at Oxford. Baba told them to come back after a month, when He would answer any questions they had.  (Lord meher-p-2407)

 

14-KRISHNA P. NAIR

(Mandali)

Refer- Fortunate Soul Volume 2 SL.No-63

 

15-PESTON JI N.

On the 6th March 1940, Mr. N. Pestonji of Bangalore came to see Baba. In the course of conversation with them, Baba said:

"Although I am in seclusion and keep silence throughout, I am now very busy working internally for future developments. You will see the upheavals that will take place very soon. The war will take a very serious turn, bringing untold misery and ruination all around."

Pestonji interjected, "Mr. Sumner Welles [U.S. Undersecretary of State] is trying to negotiate for peace; let us hope that he will be successful."

Smiling, Baba made a play on words, "It is like digging a well in summer! (Meaning something unfruitful). Nothing will come out of it. The world will soon plunge into the throes of a war never before seen or heard of."

"But Baba, what about the thousands of lives that will be lost?" asked Pestonji. "Can't they be saved?"

"The war is necessary. All this destruction will purge the world of dirt; cleanse it of filth so that a new order can be established.

"There are millions and millions of holes in my body because of the suffering of the world. But because of my infinite bliss and power, I can withstand it.

"Suppose you have a boil on your finger which is septic. You do not cut off the whole finger because of it! You bear it because the finger is part of your body. In the same way, I consider all as mine and I suffer, but I do not destroy myself and slaughter all. I put up with it and suffer because all are a part of my Universal Body."

Patel and Pestonji became close friends of the mandali in Bangalore and would regularly visit them, even after Baba's departure. (Lord Meher-p-2085)

 

 

16-PROFESSOR WADIA

On 9th February 1936, the retired vice-chancellor of Mysore University and a professor of philosophy, and Professor Wadia, of Mysore University, to whom Kalemama informed them that Meher Baba was now in seclusion and would not be granting interviews until His seclusion ended in June.  (Lord Meher-p-1698)

 

 

18-RAMANNA B.

Arriving in Mysore on the night of the 31st January 1936, Baba and His group went directly to the bungalow owned by Mr. B. Ramanna at Vani Vilas Mohalla. It was later called, irreverently, Bala (Headache) Bungalow.  (Lord Meher-p-1697)

 

19-ROSE

(Nurse)

She was a nurse in Mysore Hospital where Mani was she had an emergency ear-operation in 1936. Mani described about this nurse in her word as written in book “Lives of Love” by Judith Garbett,

In the days after her surgery Baba came every day and tenderly fed her drops of soup from a teaspoon at first, then later tiny pieces of apple until she was well enough to eat.

Naja stayed in Mani's room to look after her. As Baba wished His identity kept secret, Naja and Mani were told not to tell anyone who He was. Even then the nurses were greatly drawn to Baba without knowing why.

A nurse asked one morning "Who is this Baba?"

Naja replied, "The patient's brother."

"And why doesn't He speak?" persisted the nurse.

"Oh, He's very shy!" said Naja.

Every morning as Baba's car pulled up, it seemed that all the nurses would be on the landing in order to have a glimpse of Him coming up the stairs. Then again they would come into Mani's room whenever He was there, on some pretext or another, just to see Baba.

One nurse popped in, her eyes on Him, asking "Is my thermometer here?"

Naja said to Mani in her resounding "stage whisper": "She never takes your temperature so how could she leave the thermometer here?"

Nurse Rose, who worked in the nursery, would come pitter-patter into the room with each of the day's newborn babies. Without a word she would hold it out before Baba. He would silently take the baby on His lap and "talk" to it in gestures and smiles, taking quite a bit of time with each one. This went on every day while Naja and Mani looked on.

One day Mani counted twelve newborn babies that Nurse Rose brought to Baba one after another. So many were brought that Mani and Naja began to feel very impatient and thought there would be little time left for them to spend with Baba.

But He expressed no impatience whatever, and gave the full measure of His love and attention to each of these fortunate babies. (Lives of Love, Mani, Part 2, p. 9)

 

20-SIR MIRZA ISMAIL

Sir Mirza Ismail was Dewan of Mysore state. He arranged the sale of farmers land for present MSUBC and helped to get Byramangala centre established as per Baba’s wish.

Events unfolded with Mirza Ismail were as under:

When Meher Baba was in Mysore in 1936, He had come into contact with Sir Mirza Ismail, the Dewan (Chief Minister) of Mysore state. They were now asked by letter to find a suitable spot where Baba could establish a center or ashram. Their reply was received in Panchgani assuring Baba of their cooperation, and a few weeks later Chanji and Pendu were sent to Bangalore, where Chanji met Sir Mirza (on 17 April 1938).

Upon receiving the Dewan's letter that a site had been selected, Baba expressed a desire to visit the place, which surprised Norina and Elizabeth as they never expected Baba to establish a center so far from Meherabad. They hoped Baba would change His mind, as He so often did. Mentioning this very trait of His, Baba observed, "It is one of the great wonders of the world that those who apparently make the most changes, are the most unchanged or unchangeable! (Lord Meher-p-1911-1938)

On 15th April 1938, Chanji and Pendu had been sent by Baba to Bangalore, Mysore and Madras on to discuss with the Dewan, Sir Mirza Ismail, the possibility of opening a center in Bangalore. After meeting with Sir Mirza, they returned to Panchgani on the 22nd. Hearing their report, Baba expressed his desire to personally confer with Ismail and inspect the possible sites. He left Panchgani the following afternoon with 4 of mandali. They drove to the Poona railway station and boarded train in the evening for Bangalore.  They arrived on the evening of 24th April 1938, and just as they stepped off the train, nature greeted Baba with a heavy shower of rain.

Baba and His Group left Sholapur on 9th August 1939 in the morning and reached Bangalore four days later on 12th August 1938, in the evening via Satara, Kolhapur and Harihar The next day, Sir Mirza Ismail suggested that Baba establish His ashram in Bangalore. If Baba chose to do so, he said, Sir Mirza would donate a piece of land for the ashram. He immediately took Baba to a parcel of land at Byramangala, 22 miles from Bangalore, and Baba, after seeing the place, which he liked very much, accepted his offer. The Links bungalow, owned by Ismail's brother on Sankey Road, High ground, in Bangalore was rented and Baba and the women moved into it on the 14th.

After seeing the Byramangala land, Norina became completely involved in setting up plans for the ashram. On the evening of 19th August 1939, Sir Mirza came to the Links and sat on the floor before Baba. Baba sent for Norina to come at once. At the time, Norina was in the midst of sweeping her room. When she received Baba's message, she ran to Him with a broom in one hand and a bucket in the other, wearing an old, tattered dress. She felt awkward and embarrassed when she saw the Dewan and Baba said, "Meet Princess Norina Matchabelli." She felt hurt that Baba had not warned her to clean up.

Sir Ismail, on the contrary, was impressed at the sight of someone of Norina's stature carrying a broom! He remarked to Baba, "Your love is wonderful! An educated Western woman from a wealthy background doing this sort of work? Marvelous! She could engage dozens of servants, but it is your love that makes her sweep her own quarters. It is her luck to wield a broom in your court!" Tears welled up in Norina's eyes on hearing this, and wiped out the hurt she had felt.

After Baba's arrival in Bangalore, His attention focused on two things: His mast work and the establishment of a Universal Spiritual Center. As mentioned, the site for the center was selected at Byramangala, 22 miles from Bangalore and three miles from the Bidadi railway station. More than 560 acres of land were purchased, and plans for erecting nine separate structures were drawn up, containing 350 rooms. A committee consisting of Norina, Elizabeth, Pappa Jessawala, Adi Sr., Ramjoo, Chanji and Jal Kerawalla was formed to oversee the financial and other aspects of the center.

The foundation-laying ceremony was initially fixed for the 25th of October. But the local farmers requested that the ceremony be held after harvesting the crops on the Byramangala property, even though the property no longer belonged to them. October 25th was also the day of convocation at Mysore University, with which some of Baba's followers were involved. Therefore, the ceremony was postponed until the middle of December. The land had belonged to about 40 farmers and the government, and its purchase had been greatly facilitated and quickened through the influence of Dewan Mirza Ismail.

On 13th August 1939, Sir Mirza Ismail suggested that Baba establish His ashram in Bangalore. If Baba chose to do so, he said, Sir Mirza would donate a piece of land for the ashram. He immediately took Baba to a parcel of land at Byramangala, 22 miles from Bangalore, and Baba, after seeing the place, which he liked very much, accepted his offer. The Links bungalow, owned by Ismail's brother on Sankey Road, High-ground, in Bangalore was rented and Baba and the women moved into it on the 14th.

 

21-SYED RASUL ARIF

On 17th December 1939, the foundation-laying ceremony for Meher Baba's Universal Center was held. The program began at 4:30 P.M., when the head of the reception committee, Pappa Jessawala, garlanded Baba on His arrival. In the Master's honor, Syed Rasul Arif recited a poem in Urdu

Baba proceeded to break the ground and lay the foundation. Sitting on a special stone seat (which was to be kept as a cornerstone of the future building), Baba rose and scooped a little earth with a special seven-metal shovel (forged at a local workshop) as acclamations in His praise rent the air. Baba struck the earth seven times and sat back on His special seat. (Lord Meher-p-2057)

 

22-VENKATAPATHAIYA

(Attorney)

Chanji arrived in Quetta to see Baba on 22rd March, 1941, and showed Baba some recent critical articles about him, which had appeared in the Gujarati newspapers (most likely written by Colonel Irani and Venkatapathaiya, the Bangalore attorney). Baba directed Chanji to ignore the inflammatory articles and keep quiet. (Lord Meher-p-2207-1941)

 

23-VENKOBA RAO

(Mandali)

(Refer –Fortunate souls-volume-3 Sl. No. 89)

 

24-WIFE OF VENKOBA RAO

On 30th August 1964, Venkoba Rao, his wife, and their young daughter were permitted to have Baba's darshan. Venkoba Rao was a former night watchman from South India. He had been called to Ahmednagar in January to discuss the disposal of the small portion of the Byramangala property, which he had purchased in 1949. Baba had given his permission and the property had been sold. At Meherazad, Venkoba Rao laid the proceeds (Rs.2, 500) at Baba's feet, and Baba kept Rs.1,000 for his work and returned the rest to Venkoba Rao as prasad. (Lord Meher –p-5086-1964)