GROUP-5 (MASTS OF MAST ASHRAMS)
Meher Baba visited so many cities all over great India between year 1939 to 1948 to contact masts. Many masts were contacted by Meher Baba going to the places where these masts stayed but few deserving mast were brought to Baba at particular place to take best care of them according to their whim and fancy and to work with them for His spiritual work for certain period of time. The places where the arrangement for stay of the selected masts was made by Meher Baba were termed as “Ashrams”. Meher Baba opened seven Ashrams between year 1939 to 1947 at following seven places which were run by Baba for His spiritual work with masts and closed down after completion of His spiritual work by sending back to their respective places from where they were brought to following ashrams
- Ajmer-Feb, 1939
- Jabalpur- March and April, 1939
- Bangalore- October 1939 to the end of March, 1940
- Meherabad-Mat to October, 1940
- Ranchi-July, 1940
- Mahabaleshwar, December,1946 to January, 1947
- Satara-June and July 1947
List of masts who stayed in these Ashrams are tabled below. The introduction of these important masts to whom Meher Baba contacted to carry out His universal spiritual work are also given.
LIST OF MASTS IN MAST ASHRAMS
|SL. NO.||NAME OF AMRMASTS AND MAST||PLACE||PAGE NO|
|0||Chatti Baba (refer||Nagapattnam||60|
|2||Qabristanwala ( Socrates)||Ajmer||61|
|5||A high mast of 6 th plane||Seoni||63|
|16||Kabir of Pandharpur||Pandharpur|
1-AJMER ASHRAM AND MASTS
Ajmer was the first Ashram confined to Meher baba’s work with masts as a distinct class. Ajmer lies on the Aravali hills and is renowned in India for the Shrine of Khwaja Moeinuddin Chisti.
In December 1938, Meher Baba set out with a mixed group of disciples on motor tour. They first went to Hyderabad, Jabalpur, Benares, Mathura, Agra, Delhi and then reached Ajmer in February 1939. A compact little house of a local banker was hired for His stay and disciples brought the masts for Baba. The greatest treasure was the incomparable Chacha whose contact with Baba has been described under five favourites. The great mast 6th plea mast Chatti Baba also stayed here with Baba from July 17th May to 16th July 1941.
Mast Mohammad, one of the five favorite masts also stayed with Meher Baba in February 1939.
The other two masts of unusual excellence were Lakhan Shah and Qabristanwala described as under.
Lakhan Shah was a Majzoob-like mast of 6th plane and Baba described him as having 75% Jamali and 25% Jalali characteristic.
In February 1939, Kaka brought him to Baba’s house. Baba shaved, bathed and fed him as soon as he arrived and on the first night he lay down to sleep in Baba’s room. Kaka was asked to keep a watch on Lakhan shah to see that he did not slip away. During the following days he enjoyed Baba’s constant attention and when Baba pressed his feet, he said, “Master does not do that”. He remained with Baba for a week and was sent away and arrangements made with a local man to feed Lakhan Shah every day. In June 1939, he was brought to Meherabad for 15 days stay and was later sent back to Ajmer.
He was little short person in his early fifties and lived in small mausoleum built over grave. He was naked to the waist and was clad in a tattered filthy lungi. He drank the water from gutter and carried an old tin and would ask passers for a coin. He would solicit sweets and food from shopkeepers and householders and would be given whatever he wanted due to the respect of the local people. Because of his comic face and short stature Baba nicknamed him “Socrates” and said that he was a very good mast of the 5th plane. He was brought to Baba’s house at Ajmer by Kaka and stayed with Baba for a week. During these days Baba concentrated most of His energy on “Socrates’.
When the time came for Lakhan Shah and Socrates to be sent away, Kaka was asked to make arrangements for them to be fed twice a day. Socrates had become so devoted to Baba that he was most reluctant to go and begged Baba not to send him away but he was persuaded to leave.
2-JABALPUR ASHRAM AND MASTS
(March and April 1939)
Meher Baba visited Jabalpur in January 1939 and again in March 1939 and it was during the 2nd visit that Mast Ashram was established. It began about halfway through March and continued till early part of May. Its most active period seemed to have been in March and April 1939.
The chief characteristic of this Ashram was that except for Mohammad, who stayed for entire period of Baba’s sojourn, all other masts save 2 or 3 were kept for a day or two only.
New comers tousled heads and bearded faces were cropped close with clippers and after bath, a new Kafni would be given for their use. They would then be fed by Baba and he would sit with them in silent conference.
Gulab Baba of Ellichpur was brought to Jabalpur mast Ashram on 17th March 1939 with some difficulty by Kaka and Jalbhai. After persuasion he agreed to have his hair cut and be bathed and clothed by Baba. He was fed in a room behind closed doors but he rushed out in frenzy after some time. Baba asked Kalka to take him back to Ellichpur. He was high 6th plane Mast. His description is also given under subhead Group 3 (Advance Souls) at page-45
Khala Masi was an old lady, a highly advanced mastani Chhagan Brought her from Seoni, and she seemed to have recognized Baba’s spiritual greatness, for as soon she saw him she rose and embraced Baba lovingly, and then pressed her temples with her hands, which is a gesture that a woman offers only to those she loves. She was bathed, and fed by Baba and he sat with her alone for some time. She said to Baba, “You are the Ocean, give me a few drop from it to drink.” Her description is also given under subhead Group 3 (Advance Souls) at page-xx
DADA MAHARAJ OF AMRAOTI
Dada Maharaj was an aged mast of 6th plane more than 80 years old. He was so frail that he had to be carried. He was held in high esteem at Amraoti. He used to carry a big bundle with a hat on top of it and would refer to them s his parents. He was brought to the Ashram for one day.
This mast was contacted by Baba in Sager on 13th March 1939 and was brought to the Ashram by Baba and Kaka. He stayed for about a week. Baba gave the name Magar Mast (Crocodile Mast) because his skin wax covered with hard, rough scales that reminded about the skin of a Crocodile. Baba used to rub oil into his skin every day and in a few weeks his skin became supple and healthy. He was a very good mast in a majzoob state.
A HIGH MAST
A high mast (name not known) whom Baba contacted in Ujjain a few weeks before was brought to the Ashram. He was an important mast of 6th plane and made indelible impression on those who saw him and was about 50 years old. He stayed in the Ashram for about 10 days and after Baba’s work with him, Chhagan took him back to Ujjain. He sat at the side of a street with a huge mound of rags, and bits of paper, 3 feet high, and went on tearing them to shreds.
Meher Baba and party stayed in Jabalpur from 19th December 1938 to 15th January 1939 and from mid March to 15th May 1939. The Mast Ashram was most active in March and April 1939.
3-BANGLORE ASHRAM AND MASTS
(October 1939 to the end of March 1940)
A large square white house stood in a large garden overlooking the golf links was taken for Baba’s stay and the house was known as ‘The Link’. Baba and his party reached this place in Bangalore early in August 1939. The mast Ashram grew slowly in October 1939.
Following mast were contacted and brought to this Ashram.
Chatti Baba also came to Bangalore Ashram on 1 st December 1949 and stayed her till April 1940 and left for Meherabad thereafter. His description is also given under subhead Group 3 (Advance Souls) at page-xx
Mohammad also moved to This Ashram in August 1939 and stayed till April 1940, when the Ashram was shifted to Meherabad. His description is also given under subhead Group 3 (Advance Souls) at page-xx
He had no connection with the Ashram but was the first to be contacted by Meher Baba in Bangalore. He was the spiritual chargeman of Bangalore at that time and was brought by Kaka to “The Links’ where Baba stayed and made his way to Baba’s room. He picked up Baba’s Shawls and alphabet board and looking at Baba said suddenly “Now my account is closed”. Baba wanted to feed him but he refused but agreed to come to next day from a meal for Baba’s hands. At his request he was taken back to his place. The next day Kaka went to him and asked him to come and reminded him of his promise to be fed by Baba. He refused to come and gave a gentle kick to Kaka and abused him. Chaddar Baba never met Baba again.
Meher Baba said that Chaddar Baba was on the 6th and had come to him for the spiritual push and that he would die shortly, 18 days after this meeting Chaddar Baba passed away.
He was brought to Bangalore Ashram on 10th October 1939 from Belgaum by Pendu and Nilu with great difficulty. He was a typical Jamali mast of the 6th plane. Baba once told in admiration of this mast that with one slap he could raise you in an instant to the 6th plane. He loved flowers (hence his name) and slaked lime which he could chew for hours, mixing it with sugar. At first he refused to be bathed by Baba but eventually agreed and always remained standing for hi bath. He also declined to be shaved. He stayed here till April 1940 and later sent back to Belgaum in June 1840.
Chinnaswamy was a mast of the 3rd plane. Meher Baba first contacted him in Trivandrum I January 1940. Baba liked him so much that He brought him to Bangalore Ashram on 10th January 1940. He had a passion for chewing pan and drank his tea hotter than anyone could bear. When he smoked, he would put the burning end of his cigarette in his mouth and would extinguish it by masticulating the burning stub.
He was a great lover of Music and would often sing and dance and in midst of dancing would sometimes soar into spiritual ecstasy and fall senseless to the ground. Despite his age, Chinnaswamy was as mischievous as a 10 year boy. He was sent back to Trivandrum in March 1940 after Baba completed His work with him.
Shariat Khan was contacted in Chikmaglur by Baba and brought to the Dak bungalow in Hassan. He was brought to the Ashram on 20th January 1940 and was later taken to Meherabad in April 1940. He never let off talking, singing or dancing from time to time he awoke till he rested at night and kept Ashram lively. He was a young person; short and neat of built and always wore a shoddy old fez cap. He always kept repeating ‘Shariat’ and that became his name. He was docile and affectionate and was always perpetually in good mood and lost his mood only a couple of times. He was an entertaining Mahbubi mast.
Ramshish was brought to the Bangalore Ashram from Mangalore on 17th October 1939 and left for Meherabad in April 1940. He had very little body sense and allowed himself to be shaved and bathed by Baba. He had a good voice and attractive smile. He was a moderate mast.
Ghafur Saheb of Madras was a good mast and is peculiar as rare mixture of the Jalal and Mahbubi types. He was an old man who had bangles on his arms and wore a piece of women’s bodice. Baba contacted him in Madras in September 1939 and asked Adi Sr. and Kaka to bring him to Bangalore by car. He stayed in Bangalore for only one day when baba asked him to be taken back to Madras immediately. It seemed that a number of Pathans who respected Ghafur Khan were angry at his disappearance and were pacified only after he came back.
The Bangalore Ashram was closed back at the beginning of April 1940 and was opened again in Meherabad in May 1940.
4-MEHERABAD ASHRAM & MASTS
(May to October 1940)
Meherabad Mast Ashram was in effect the Bangalore Mast Ashram which was transferred to Meherabad early in 1940. For 2 to 3 weeks the inmates were installed in the quarters on Meherabad hill and those in charge set about making the place suitable for Baba’s work. The five principal masts from bang lore Ashram, Chatti Baba, Phulwala, Shariat Khan, Mohammad and Ramshish-were settled in the various small rooms. A special room was prepared for Baba in the rectangular shed so that He might live closely in contact with these masts. Baba arrived in the 1 st week of May 1940 and worked daily with the masts.
During first few days he came to bathe the masts at 5.30 a.m. and thereafter He began to come earlier each day and eventually settled down to a period of arriving at 12.30 a.m. midnight to start the morning’s work. This was at time when Chatti Baba was bathed with 150 to 200 buckets of water.
Early in June a break occurred, for Phulwala was sent back to Belgaum and Baba paid an unexpected visit to Calcutta and met the great 6th plane Jalali mast Karim Baba. In July 1940 Baba went to Ranchi for 3 weeks and masts of Meherabad Ashram were taken there and Karim Baba was brought here from Calcutta. Ranchi Ashram in effect was only a phase of Meherabad Ashram.
At the end of July 1940, Meher Baba returned to Meherabad along with inmates of the Ranchi Ashram. However Karim Baba was sent back to Calcutta. After Karim Baba left, Arjun the long haired, long nailed mast from the mad Ashram was brought the hill and stayed with Baba till the Ashram was disbanded in October.
The remaining inmates of the mad Ashram were brought up the Meherabad hill and were housed with Chatti Baba, Shariat Khan, Mohammad and Arjun. The Meherabad Ashram was disbanded in October 1940 and the next Ashram was established only after 6 years in Mahabaleshwar in December 1946.
Ali shah of the 5th plane mast of Ahmednagar was brought for one day on 29th May 1943. In 1946, he was brought for 7 consecutive days from 5th January for Baba special work with him between 9 a.m. and 12 noon. More of his description is available under subhead Group 2 (Five favourite masts) at page-34
Chatti Baba the 6th plane mast of Nagapattnam was continuously staying at Meherabad from May 1940 to October 1940 and was important for work with him. His description is also given under subhead Group 2 (Five favourite masts) at page-xxx
Mohammad, the 5th plane mast also stayed in Meherabad ashram from April October 1940. His description is also given under subhead Group 2 (Five favourite masts) at page-xxx
Karim Baba, the 6th plane mast of Calcutta stayed here from 1 st to 16th August 1940 was sent back to Calcutta after Baba finished his work with him. His description is also given under subhead Group 2 (Five favourite masts) at page-xx
Phulwala, 6th plane mast from Calcutta stayed here from April 1940 to June 1940 His description is also given under subhead Group 3 (Bangalore Mast ashram) at page-68
Ramshish, from Mangalore stayed in mast ashram for few weeks during April-June 1940. His description is also given under subhead Group 3 (Bangalore Mast ashram) at page-69
Shariat Khan of Chilmanglur stayed in this ashram from April 1940 and was sent back to his place on 26th October 1940. His description is also given under subhead Group 3 (Bangalore Mast ashram) at page-69
After Karim Baba left, Arjun , the longhaired and long nailed , one of few real mast was brought up to hill, and stayed with Baba until the ashram was disbanded in October. His description is also given under subhead Group 3 (Ajmer Mast Ashram) at page-58
5-RANCHI ASHRAM & MASTS
In July 1940 Meher Baba went to Ranchi for 3 weeks stay. There were only 4 masts in Ranchi Ashram and 3 of these were brought from Meherabad-Chatti Baba, Mohammad and Shariat Khan.
Karim Baba was brought here from Calcutta and he was the most august and kindly of all God-intoxicated souls brought closely in Baba’s contact and because of His presence, the Ranchi ashram deserved to be recognized with the other Ashram.
6-MAHABALESHWAR ASHRAM AND MASTS
Meher Baba and His group stayed at Mahabaleshwar in February –March 1943 and again from 4th December 1946 to 25th May 1947.
From 20th December 1946 to 25th January 1947 there was a triple ashram on small scale for 3 different types
- Mast and advanced souls
- Destitutes and infirm
Baidul was in charge of the ashram for first 2 weeks and later was under the combined management of Kaka and Beheram Shaw Jessawala. A large house was taken in Mahabaleshwar which lies 4500 feet above sea level on the crest of Western Ghats. A square stable built about a Courtyard with a high corrugated roof and high stone walls. About 100 yards from house, served the needs of an ashram.
On 20th December 1946, man named Bashir who was mistaken for a mast was brought here. Ali Shah was soon brought from Ahmednagar and spent his time smoking packets of cigarettes. Other masts were brought later.
Baba’s principal work began between 8 and a.m. certain ones would be bathed and new arrivals would have their head and face shaven and after removing their filthy clothes, they were given a clean Kafni. For an hour or so, Baba would then closet himself with Ali Shah and with other masts and the massive doors of the stable would be closed during this period.
At about 11 a.m. Baba would sit on the low stool and distribute the plates containing food to the inmates. Ali Shah was always fed by Baba about 10 a.m. An early supper between 5 and 6 a.m. was also served by Baba himself.
Ali shah of 5th plane mast of Ahmednagar was prominent person among the inmates of the ashram, he being the one of favourites of Baba. More of his description is given under subhead Group 2 (Five favourite masts) at page-xx
Pahlwan of Ahmednagar was brought the delight of Ashram. He was 25 years old and his nature was that of an affectionate child. When told to do anything he would repeat the order word for word several times, He was helpful and kind to all. He was in the Ashram for 3 weeks.
Vasudevswamy was a tiny old yogi from Ale who was brought to the Ashram for a few days stay. His spiritual practices had caused him to become God-Mad. Both his legs were bent up and he had to be lifted by 2 persons for his bath and other daily functions. He kept with him dolls and broken toys. He always spoke in Marathi and would quote from Shastras.
DHONDI BABA OF WAI
Dhondi Bua a mast of 5th plane from Wai was the most interesting and was about 50 years old. He wore an old dhoti and shirt and a cotton coat with sleeves so that his hands were hidden. There was a small quantity of coins in one of his pockets and he had habit of giving few annas to anyone who took his fancy.
KABIR OF PANDARPUR & KURDUWADI
He was in the ashram for 10 days in January 1947. He used to live in cremation ground of Pandharpur. He was given a shave and bath by baba and also a new Kafni. He had the loudest and most raucous laugh one had ever heard for about 30 times a day.
JUMMA OF BARAMATI
He had been a mast from birth –madar-zad type –with some characteristics of a Jamali and was brought to Ashram in January 1947. He was originally contacted by Baba in 1943 in Jalgaon. He was 25 years old and was docile and cooperative and was mostly silent and utterly lost in his divine intoxication.
BHORWALE BABA OF BHOR
He was an adept pilgrim and was brought from Bhor by Eruch to meet his ‘elder brother’. But he rejoined that he was being taken not to Eruch’s brother but to Meher Baba. At the Ashram Eruch told these things to Baba who decided not to meet Bhorewale Baba since he had already recognized Meher Baba. He sent supper to him and after night’s rest and breakfast, Bhorewale was sent back to his place.
SHAH SAHEB OF PANCHGANI
He was a mast of 8th type–partly God-Mad and partly mast. He was interesting because he seemed to feel the importance of Baba and was reluctant to leave. He was about 35 years old but one remembered him particularly for a strange deep voiced laugh that he would utter every few minutes for no obvious reasons. When the mast ashram was disbanded in January 1947, Shah Saheb was kept on and later moved to Satara when Meher Baba went there in June 1947.
The relationship of Baba with masts was a matter between Him and them. Like an ice berg we see only one eighth that stand above surface of the ocean and the submerged seven-eighths, the real mass of the thing, is hidden from our eyes.
7-SATARA MAST ASHRAM AND MASTS
On 25th May 1947 Baba and His party left for Satara, famous for its connection with great founder of Maratha Empire. As soon as Baba arrived a small mast ashram was established in a separate Bungalow where a few masts were brought for contact.
Ali Shah of Ahmednagar was brought to Satara on 28th May 1947 and stayed till 14th July 1947. Baba began His silent daily work with him.
Chacha the Great 7th plane Majzoob was brought from Ajmer by Baidul. He stayed in the ashram for 5 weeks and it seemed as if Baba’s whole attitude to His mandali and the world at large was dependent upon His work with Chacha. Baba was really happy to work with Chacha and He told Baidul that for this work Chacha was as good as hundred ordinary masts. He was sent back to Ajmer on 10th July 1947.
PAYAJI & BABAJI
Two other masts known as Pataki and Balaji were brought from Karachi. They were moderate mast and were sent back after 2 days as it seemed Baba proffered to concentrate his forces on Chacha and Ali shah.
The Satara Mast ashram came to an end after the departure of Chacha and Ali Shah.