07-ALI AKBAR SHAPURJAMAN (Aloba)

7-ALI AKBAR SHAPURJAMAN (Aloba)

Aloba, Ali Akbar Shapurjaman, was a Persian Muslim and one of the close mandali. He was student of Hazrat Babajan School in 1927.

His most of real life time events and conversation with Meher Baba is produced below:

In 1927, the arrival of the fourteen boys from Persia in July brought in its wake the arrival of many other Muslim boys from Bombay, including eleven-year-old Ali Akbar Shapurzaman, later nicknamed Aloba. Among the fourteen boys from Persia was one also named Ali Akbar, who had a most intense spiritual nature? During this period, this boy began expressing great love and devotion for Baba and was later nicknamed Majnun.

On 12th September 1928, Baba embraced all the boys except Ali Akbar. The boy could not bear this and began crying, resolving to go away, but soon Baba comforted him and he quieted down. It was the pain of Baba’s indifference that Ali Akbar could not bear. The boy was to learn that love flourishes, is nourished and strengthened by the pain of the Beloved’s arrows.

Occasionally, Baba would call some of the boys and listen to them reading their lessons, but he had never once called Ali Akbar Shapurzaman (Aloba). One morning at nine, however, Baba suddenly called him. Seated at the door of the underground cabin, Baba told him to bring his English and Persian books. Raosaheb was also called. Baba asked Shapurzaman to read a sentence, which Baba himself selected, from each book. After he finished, Baba signaled for him to go. No one knew why the Master had done this on this particular day, but at four that afternoon it became clear when Shapurzaman's uncle from Bombay arrived in a tonga and demanded that both his nephew and his son be handed over to him. Thus after being in the ashram for ten months, Shapurzaman left for Bombay.

On 2nd June 1929, Agha Ali and Ali Akbar were conversing with the mandali. Baba called the two boys and reprimanded them for their disobedience. Ali Akbar lost his temper and shouted back. Baba warned him, "If you don't want to remain here, you had better leave."

In reply, Ali Akbar shouted that he was leaving. Baba snapped, motioning, "If you want to go, go! Who cares? When are you leaving?" Ali Akbar remained quiet and Baba then consoled him as well as Agha Ali, "You two don't know how lucky you are to be here. For God's sake, listen to Me. By listening to Me, you will be able to love Me."

A former Meher Ashram boy later known as Aloba was working as a cashier in a Bombay restaurant when one day Baidul happened to walk in. Aloba recognized him but did not speak to him, though seeing Baidul did have an influence on him. He began to think more and more about Meher Baba and one night left his job to travel to Ahmednagar to have Baba's darshan.

Aloba met Raosaheb who told him that Baba was staying in Nasik. Going there, he found Baba at the Sarosh Motor Works office and fell at his feet. Aloba had not seen Baba since the days of the Meher Ashram School in 1927. Baba ordered him to go back to Bombay but to return whenever called by Him. Aloba’s contact with the Master was thus re-established, and Baba usually sent for him on the first day of every month.

One day when Baba came to the hall, He asked Aloba, "Why do you keep staring at Me? Don't stare at Me! Whenever I come here, you always stare at Me." So, although Aloba was sitting opposite Baba, he had to look in another direction. In the course of the conversation, he would try to glance at Baba, but Baba would always catch him, point at him and repeat His instructions. At last, Baba said, "Don't come before Me! Aloba's nature, however, was such that he could not bear not seeing Baba daily, even from a distance. Baba noticed some movement outside the window of mandali hall, and asked Kaka to see if someone was there. He returned, saying it was Aloba trying to peep inside. Baba called him and "broiled" him before the others. "Why did you disobey Me?" He asked. "Why were you looking at Me when I told you not? Baba's brother Jalbhai was present and suggested, "If you don't like him watching You, there is one solution. He should be given dark sunglasses to wear whenever he is in your presence, so that he won't stare at You."

Baba liked the idea and instructed Kaka to buy the darkest pair of sunglasses he could find. Kaka ordered them and they were so dark, almost nothing could be seen through them! Aloba began sitting before Baba wearing the dark glasses. Whenever visitors would come, they would wonder why this man was wearing dark glasses inside the hall, and would laugh at him. Baba would also point out this peculiar sight to them, agreeing how strange a man Aloba was. Little did they know the true story behind it!

Baba said, “Just do as I tell you! By becoming 'wise,' you yourself come to trouble!" Citing the following instance, Baba related:

Once a tipsy man, like yourself, came in contact with the Perfect Master Shams-e-Tabriz, and the man prayed to the Master to guide him on the Path. Shams advised him to do as he told him, without altering his original instructions by using his common sense. But the man could not refrain from doing so. Once both of them came to a riverbank. They wanted to cross the river, but it was flooded. There was no way to go across it.

So the man asked Shams how they should proceed. Shams told him: "Follow me, repeating 'Shams, Shams!' ”And while saying this, Shams stepped into the river and began crossing it. The man followed with "Shams, Shams, Shams!" on his lips.

After a while, he noticed that Shams, too, was saying something. Listening closely he heard Shams repeating "Allah, Allah! Allah!" and saw that the river was parting for him. So the man thought: "When Shams is saying 'Allah, Allah!' why should I say 'Shams, Shams?'

And using his powers of reasoning, he stopped the repetition the Master had given him and began saying "Allah, Allah!" and was thus drowned!

Baba concluded, "Aloba, I have told you a thousand times: Do as I say and don't use your discrimination or discretion. You come to trouble by doing so against My orders."

Aloba's nature was such that even when Baba gave someone else an order to do something, Aloba would run to do it himself.

Baba's mood would often be disturbed by this, and He reproached Aloba: "Don't do anything I have not asked you to do. If a snake bites Me, even then you should not come to My aid unless I call you. If I fall out of My chair, you should not come unless I ask you. Even if someone comes and attacks Me — shoots or stabs Me — you should not come unless called."

Aloba was always in such a hurry to carry out Baba's orders that even before Baba had finished giving

Baba reminded him of the verses of Kabir:

If something is given by the Master, on his own, it is like milk;

If asked for, it is like water;

If forced, it is like blood.

This is what Kabir says.

"You think only about pleasing yourself," Baba scolded. "You have no thought of keeping My pleasure. What sort of love is this? Christ had a Judas; don't be one to Me! Sit here for today. From tomorrow, do the japa at the time I have given you."

Aloba and Baidul were good draughts (checkers) players. Calling both, Baba asked them to play. Aloba chose the white pieces and Baidul black. Both would take a lot of time and think carefully over every move, but in their absorption and preoccupation with the game, Baidul would at times move the white pieces and Aloba the black. Baba was highly amused and remarked, "I have never come across such lunatics! They surpass the mad atop Howrah Bridge!"

Baba referred to the story of how two madmen once climbed up the high steel frame of the Howrah Bridge in Calcutta and, from their precarious perch, began playing cards. The police appeared on the scene, but it was a problem to bring them down, as the least movement on the part of the madmen could have meant their imminent fall. The police kept a nightlong vigil, and the next day, somehow succeeded in inducing the two men to climb down.

From that day onward, Baba would give Baidul and Aloba the chance of playing draughts before Him at noon, and He enjoyed watching how they played the game.

After a few weeks, Mohammed began repeatedly saying, "I want to go to Ratnagiri [his home]." Aloba ignored him at first, but kept being pestered by this request.Mohammed Mast had been in Bombay more than a year, in the care of Aloba, who was not having an easy time with him. Mohammed would throw his plate, spoon and glass out of the first floor window of the rooms Aloba had rented, hitting pedestrians below. This problem was solved by putting a screen over the window. The next headache for Aloba was that Mohammed would occupy the sole toilet of the building for four to five hours every morning, and abuse the tenants who would come to use it before leaving for their jobs. Aloba then made a private potty for Mohammed in his room, telling him the common toilet was out of order and being repaired.

Finally, Aloba wrote to Baba, who wrote back: "Send Mohammed to Ratnagiri." It was the middle of the war and very difficult to obtain steamship tickets, but after a few failed attempts, Aloba succeeded and purchased two tickets from Bombay.

On the morning they were to depart, Mohammed began crying, "I don't want to go to Ratnagiri! I don't want to go!"

In 1947, Ali Akbar (Aloba) was among those who had come to the station. When he saw Baba, he suddenly collapsed on the station platform and began loudly shouting Baba's name "out of the joy of Meher Baba's presence." Baba was not pleased. He leaned out of the train compartment window and gestured to Ali Akbar that he would slap Him if he didn't be quiet and calm down. Ali Akbar stopped shouting, but he could not hold back his tears, and some of the other Baba lovers helped him up.

For a long time now Baba had stopped His lovers and mandali from touching His feet, and also from offering salutation with folded hands. Every man was aware of it and was obedient to his wishes. On 18 August, however, Aloba, who was sitting by Baba's chair, silently and quickly touched Baba's feet. No one noticed, but suddenly Baba became very grave. The mandali sat in silence. Without expressing any displeasure, Baba gestured to Aloba to stand before Him without moving. Baba got up from His chair, approached him and bent over to touch his feet. Aloba shrieked loudly and jumped into the air. To save him from falling on the stone flooring of the hall, some of the mandali leapt up to catch him. He landed on and injured Baba's hand. Without drawing attention to his hand, Baba motioned to Aloba to be obedient and stand still. Finally, with Aloba sobbing, Baba touched his feet.

It was then discovered that Aloba's full weight had fallen on the fingers of Baba's right hand. Although first aid was administered on the spot and treatment was subsequently given by Nilu and Don, Baba had to carry His hand in a sling for several days. His fingers became swollen, and for several nights He experienced throbbing pain. It became increasingly difficult for Baba to "speak" through the alphabet board, because it was difficult for Him to move His fingers, and only by painful efforts was He able to sign documents.

But later that same day, Baba pardoned Aloba, urging him to forget the incident and not to blame himself for his reaction. Addressing Aloba, he stated, "Carrying out My orders was the all-important thing. Compared to that there was no importance at all to My falling at your feet.

"How will it be possible for you to accompany Me if you are not fully prepared to completely fulfill the conditions? Possibly one of the conditions may be to the effect that the first thing to be done every morning by the mandali would be to spit on My face or that every morning I will be touching your feet." Baba asked Aloba if he would accept the conditions, and he replied, "It would be a question of going to pieces."

On 15th October 1949, Baba paid a final visit to Meherabad to inspect the traveling kits containing the necessary items to be taken by each of those accompanying Him. It was now decided that Aloba along with other 15 men will accompany Baba in New Life.

Baba meant a certain kind of help (to keep each other's spirits up). For instance, Baba found Aloba helping Gustadji clean the big carpet. Displeased, Baba asked him, "What duty have I given you?"

"To fill water pots and wash utensils," Aloba responded.

"Then why are you dusting the carpet?"

"Gustadji is old and asked for my help; I was only helping him," Aloba replied.

"You were not helping him, but throwing him into a ditch! Don't I know that Gustadji is old? I have given him this work, and he must do it. You do not help him but, on the contrary, harm him. Don't be misguided by him and feel sorry for him. If you make such a mistake, then from January 1st you will have to leave."

After the partition of India, Moradabad had become a hotbed of conflict between the Hindus and Mohammedans. To prevent trouble, the place where they were staying, Ram Leela had been declared out-of-bounds to Muslims.  Aloba, who at that time was still called Ali Akbar, had to fetch water from the well along with the other companions, and one day someone heard his name being called and accused him of being a Muslim. Baba therefore changed his name to Aloba and Ghani's to Ghanoba. Although "Ghanoba" lasted only until they left Moradabad, the new name Aloba stuck with Ali Akbar.

Baba had instructed Aloba to find a man from Ratnagiri to take Mohammed on the ship. Aloba did this. Mohammed left, although he was weeping when he departed. After six months passed, Baba wrote Aloba, informing him to bring Mohammed for a day. Aloba cut out a picture of the mast from the book The Perfect Master, and gave it to a man who then found Mohammed and brought him back to Bombay.

Mohammed was taken to Baba for a day on 9th January 1952; Baba worked with him for a few hours, and gave him a bath and a new kafni. Mohammed told Baba, "I want to go back to Ratnagiri." Although Aloba was by now completely fed up with looking after the mast, Baba ordered him to take Mohammed back to Bombay. Aloba had no choice but to comply. On the train returning, Mohammed gave a lot of trouble and by the time they arrived in Bombay, Aloba was on the verge of tears.

Every day from Tuesday, 11th August 1953, until the 19th, Baba would come to the mandali's quarters and after the utterance of God's name seven times each six men including Aloba. He would put His head on the feet of Aloba and called Allah hu Akbar-

In 1954, while walking down the hill, Aloba would hold an umbrella over Baba's head to shield him from the strong sun. That day, suddenly overpowered by an emotional paroxysm, dropping the umbrella Aloba fell at Baba's feet and clutched them tightly. The other mandali had already gone down the hill, since Baba would usually sit with the Western men as they ate. There was no one else around at the time, and because of his silence Baba could do nothing. Aloba had attached himself to his feet, and Baba could not move an inch! With great difficulty, he calmed Aloba and freed himself.

Aloba lay sprawled in the dust, and after a while, carrying the umbrella, came running after Baba. Baba narrated the incident to the mandali and remarked, "When Aloba was running after Me, I felt afraid and also wanted to run! His love frightens Me!"

In 1954, Adi Jr. was also invited to Satara. When he came to the bungalow in the evening, he asked for tea. Aloba prepared it without telling him that Baba had forbidden him to give it to anyone that evening. As instructed, at 8:00 P.M., Jadhav Qawaal, his companions and the mandali arrived at Grafton. After some initial conversation, Baba stated, "Everyone will be served tea at nine o'clock, and then the singing will start. Has anyone already had tea this evening?"

Adi Jr. said he had. "Who gave it to you?" Baba asked.

"Aloba," Adi replied.

Much displeased, Baba asked Aloba, "Why did you break My order?"

"He is your brother, Baba," Aloba replied.

These words upset Baba even more, and he scolded, "If you think he is so great because he is My brother, then it is better you obey and follow him!

Go and stay with him, not Me!"

Adi Jr. intervened, "Had I known of your order, I would never have asked for tea."

Baba replied, "Aloba gave you tea under the impression that it would please Me. He does not know that he who breaks My order is My enemy! The one who carries out My instructions is My real brother. He who breaks My order can never be a brother of Mine."

Because he was so upset, Baba canceled the qawaali program and ordered the mandali to return to Rosewood. The musicians stood up and repacked their musical instruments, but when they were about to leave, Baba called them back and forgave Aloba. Everyone had tea, and the qawaali singing began and lasted until midnight. Baba enjoyed the singing immensely and listened intently, His mood now buoyantly happy.

Then, accompanied by the men, Baba went to Rosewood, where the qawaali program continued. At 1:00 A.M., Baba told Aloba to prepare tea, and after a while, Baba went to him in the kitchen. Seeing Baba, Aloba was overcome with emotion and held him tightly. Later, while listening to the Qawaal, Aloba went into frenzy. "Kill me!" he told Baba, so moved was he by the Qawaal words and music. Baba took his hand and held it tightly, gesturing for him to calm down. The mandali had to restrain and remove him from the room. Bhau and Meherjee were told to take him to Jal Villa, where he was made to lie down. Meherjee then left for Rosewood, while Bhau stayed with Aloba. The qawaali function continued until 4:00 A.M., after which Baba retired to Grafton. Meherjee, Nariman, Adi Sr., Adi Jr., Waman, Bal Natu and the others departed for their respective homes, and Baba's special 40-days' activities began.

One morning in mid-February 1955, after Aloba had escorted Baba to Jal Villa, he spotted Harish Chander Kochar on the roadside. He had come from Dehra Dun. Aloba was surprised at his appearance and asked Kochar why he had come.

"I want to see Baba," Kochar said.

"But Baba is in seclusion seeing no one," Aloba replied.

"His love has drawn me. I just want a glimpse of Him, nothing more. Where is he staying?" Kochar asked.

"I cannot tell you, it would be breaking his order. You should go back."

Kochar persisted, "I won't disturb Baba, and I only want to see him from a distance."

Aloba's heart gave in and he said, "You promise, only from a distance? Then stand where you are. In the morning, He comes by this way. This is the route He takes every day, so stand under this tree and you will see Him."

Aloba did not tell any of the mandali or Baba what had transpired. The next morning, Aloba was again chosen to accompany Baba from Rosewood to Grafton. As they were walking along the main road, Baba saw Kochar. He stopped, turned to Aloba and asked, "Why has he come here? Who told him I pass this way?"

Aloba confessed but rose to Kochar's defense, saying, "Baba, he has come all this way out of love for you."

"Has he come because of love?" Baba asked, extremely displeased. "All right, I will show you what sort of love he has!"

Baba took Kochar to Jal Villa, where he asked him, "Why have you come here?"

"Your love drew me to you, Baba."

"Now that you have seen Me, you may go. I am in seclusion and do not allow people to bow down to Me."

Kochar then said, "Baba, I am much troubled with litigation. There are six court cases against me. They haunt me day and night; I cannot sleep. Please do something!"Baba turned to Aloba and gestured, "See his love!

The next day, Bhau and Aloba went to Grafton to escort Baba to Rosewood. On the way, Baba casually asked Bhau, "What did you have for dinner last night?"

For a few moments, Bhau could not remember what he had eaten, and then he told Baba. Baba was highly displeased, "Why did you eat at Sushila's? You have disobeyed Me."

"There was no order about eating out," Bhau protested.

Aloba intervened, saying, "Yes, there was! I never take food at anyone's place."

Baba castigated Bhau bitterly as they walked to Jal Villa. Vishnu was just about to leave for marketing when Baba called him. Baba accused him, also, of disobedience, but he, likewise, gave the same reply as Bhau. Aloba, however, insisted there had been a breach of obedience, that Baba had given orders not to eat out. Vishnu became angry and told Aloba sharply, "You are lying!"

Baba took Aloba's side. This emboldened Aloba and he replied, "It is not me, but you who are a liar!"

A heated war of words was exchanged between Aloba and Vishnu, and Baba thoroughly enjoyed the altercation. In his fury, Vishnu told Aloba, "If you utter any more lies, you shameless Irani, I will give you a good kick!"

"And do you think I won't retaliate?" Aloba shouted. "I'll crack your skull!" Turning his back, Vishnu stomped away and left on his bicycle for shopping in the bazaar.

Baba again blamed Bhau. "It is your entire fault!" he said. "You are the cause of this quarrel. Because of you, it took place. You do not obey. Aloba obeys Me." Feeling encouraged and proud, Aloba said, "I am very angry with Vishnu.

Let us face each other, man to man, and fight it out!" Baba sent Bhau to Rosewood to call Pendu, Eruch and Nilu, who were told what happened. They agreed that there was no order not to eat bhajiyas or not to eat out.

After a long debate, Baba remarked, "Such things give Me a headache. I permitted you to go out, and now, whether you are right or wrong in what you say, it has become a major headache for me."

All of the mandali replied, "So we won't go out."

"I don't mind if you go out, but I don't want any headaches. How to insure this?"

Eventually, the permission was rescinded, and this was what, in fact, Baba wanted all along! He did not like the mandali moving about freely and wished to cancel the privilege.

Baba complained, "How troubled I am now! Aloba is so infuriated he wants to fight Vishnu. If his temper does not cool down, there will surely be a fistfight. This is the result of my allowing you to go out. Now, how should I deal with Aloba?"

Eruch suggested, half-joking, "Send him to Mahabaleshwar for a few days where it is cool. He will also cool down by then."

"His going alone is not safe," Baba replied seriously. "In his excited condition, he is liable to do anything."

The result was that Eruch accompanied Aloba to Mahabaleshwar for a short stay. This entire episode was nothing more than an excuse for Baba to stop the mandali's going out of Rosewood — and the ruse worked quite well.

Baba left Satara for Bombay, early in the morning on Saturday, 13th August 1955, accompanied by Eruch, Pendu, Bhau and Aloba. On His way, Baba stopped for a while at Gadekar's home in Poona (at 24-B Bombay-Poona Road). Jalbhai was there waiting to proceed to Bombay and joined them.

Because of his duties, Bhau had not been able to have his tea in Satara before leaving, so Baba asked him to have it at Gadekar's. Gadekar's wife, Gunatai, served tea to all, after which Baba had a few words with Gadekar in a separate room. Gunatai had also prepared food which she offered to Bhau. Remembering Baba's orders, Bhau declined, but Aloba willingly accepted and ate it. When he was doing so, Baba appeared and reacted angrily. He rebuked Aloba severely. "Do you never get the food that you are eating here? In Satara you claimed that you never took food at anyone's place. You complained against Bhau for eating bhajiyas at Sushila's. Now I know the real reason why you said it.

You didn't complain because My order had been broken, but because you didn't get any bhajiyas! At the time you professed to show your honesty; now you eat like a pig!" Thus for quite some time, Baba hammered Aloba.

Arrangements had been made to hold the qawaali program in the west room of the Meher Retreat building. Aloba used to go into an emotional frenzy upon hearing qawaali singing, so to be on the safe side, Baba told Baidul's son-in-law, Pesi, to look after him. But when the music started, quite the opposite happened. Pesi himself lost control, and Aloba and others had to hold on to him. Later, when Baba asked why Aloba had not gone into a paroxysm of weeping, as was his custom upon listening to a Qawaal, Aloba explained that at the time he was not looking at Baba, and that was why he was saved from his own emotions.

In 1955, Bhau also had the duty of bringing flour from a nearby mill. One day Aloba complained to Baba that the flour from the mill was not of good quality. Baba told Bhau, "What Aloba says is true. Go to another mill to have the flour ground." Aloba showed him another flour mill two miles away. Bhau had to walk there carrying the heavy sack of wheat on his shoulders.

There was not the least difference between the flour ground in the two mills, and Bhau soon brought this fact to Baba's attention. Baba said, "What? There is as much difference between them as between the earth and the sky! It is my wish that you get the flour ground from this new mill. So why do you insist there is no difference? Why consider the flour? Have regard for my wish."

Tin 1957, 75 days of special work began; but, for Aloba and Bhau it was mostly 75 days of torment! They were the prime targets for Baba's taunts; Bhau at night and Aloba during the day. If, while Baba was in the hall, Aloba was seen anywhere near it, Baba would call for Him and harshly rebuke him. He would say: "I told you not to let Me see your face for 75 days. So long as I am in the hall with the mandali, stay inside your room. Don't do anything outside and stay away from the hall." But every day, the same thing would happen: From the door or window, Baba would see Aloba, and the arrows would begin to fly. The fact was that Baba wanted to see Aloba, and would create such circumstances forcing Aloba to come out of his room — and then Baba would take him to task.

Aloba's nature, however, was such that he could not bear not seeing Baba daily, even from a distance. Baba noticed some movement outside the window of mandali hall, and asked Kaka to see if someone was there. He returned, saying it was Aloba trying to peep inside. Baba called him and "broiled" him before the others. "Why did you disobey me?" he asked. "Why were you looking at me when I told you not to?"

Aloba pleaded, "My heart was thirsting for sight of you. I could not help myself."

Baba turned to the mandali, completely fed up, and asked, "Now, what should I do with him?"

Baba's brother Jalbhai was present and suggested, "If you don't like him watching you, there is one solution. He should be given dark sunglasses to wear whenever he is in your presence, so that he won't stare at you."

Baba liked the idea and instructed Kaka to buy the darkest pair of sunglasses he could find. Kaka ordered them and they were so dark, almost nothing could be seen through them! Aloba began sitting before Baba wearing the dark glasses. Whenever visitors would come, they would wonder why this man was wearing dark glasses inside the hall, and would laugh at him. Baba would also point out this peculiar sight to them, agreeing how strange a man Aloba was. Little did they know the true story behind it!

Mention has been made about Aloba's dark glasses. Baba had forbidden Aloba to come before him for six months, as even the sunglasses did not prevent Aloba from "staring" at Baba, or so Baba claimed. But hiding here and there, as Baba would come and go between his house and the hall, Aloba missed no chance to have a fleeting glimpse of Baba whenever he could, and Baba would daily catch him. It went to such an extent that Baba ordered Aloba to stay in Bombay for a month. He reprimanded him, "Go and remain there for one month, because you are making Me angry every day, which is not proper. Put your bags in a bullock cart and go to Ahmednagar in it. From there, leave immediately for Bombay by train. I will call you back after a month."

A bullock cart was hired from the village and Aloba's luggage was placed in it. With a heavy heart, he left. But after going two miles, he stopped a boy and sent Baba this message: "My living now is of no use. I will put an end to my life."

Reading it, Baba called him back and harshly took him to task for threatening to kill himself. Dhake had come to Meherazad that day from Ahmednagar. Winking at him, Baba asked, "Now what should I do with Aloba?"

Dhake replied, "His message is proof of his trouble-making intentions. The police should be called to arrest him."

Baba asked Aloba, "Are you going to Bombay or should I turn you over to the police?" Aloba agreed to go, and left.

The fact of the matter was that Aloba often used to ask permission to visit Bombay; while staying in Satara, he went many times. Previously, he had owned a restaurant in Bombay, which he sold during the final stages of the Satara residence, but perhaps some "link" was still left over somewhere. It was this attachment which Baba wished to snap once and for all, because, after returning, Aloba never again talked of going to Bombay.

Previously Baba had forbidden Aloba to stare at him, to the extent that for one period, Aloba had been made to wear dark sunglasses in mandali hall. During this period also, each day, Baba would catch Aloba "staring at Him." Baba would reprove him severely, and then have the Prayer of Repentance recited. Aloba would be sent to his room, where he would weep copiously. After sometime, Baba would send Pukar to see what he was doing. Then Baba would call him back in the hall.

In order to avoid staring at Baba, Aloba began sitting with his back to Baba. Baba asked him why he was behaving so strangely. "Can't you sit normally, facing Me like the others, without staring at Me?"

Later, Baba commented to the mandali, "This man stares at My photo all night and that is why he has the habit of staring at Me. I am sure if I ask him to hack his body into pieces; he will carry out My order. But he cannot obey small orders!"

The next day, Baba told Aloba to change his position in the hall and sit farther away. But when Baba caught him glancing at him sideways, after scolding him and then forgiving him again, Baba pleaded, "Can't you help Me even a little? You love Me; but help Me in My work!"

Baba's daily castigation of Aloba for staring at him went on. It went to such an extent that it became difficult for Aloba even to glance at Baba. On account of this, Aloba was so distressed that he found it impossible to sleep. One day Baba remarked, "You are growing old. Why do you look so tormented?"

Aloba now pleaded, "I am unable to follow your smallest instruction, which causes you to get upset. Because of it, I cannot sleep at night."

Baba corrected him, "Why use your head? Just do as I tell you! By becoming 'wise,' you yourself come to trouble!" Citing the following instance, Baba related:

Once a tipsy man, like yourself, came in contact with the Perfect Master Shams-e-Tabriz, and the man prayed to the Master to guide him on the Path. Shams advised him to do as he told him, without altering his original instructions by using his common sense. But the man could not refrain from doing so. Once, both of them came to a riverbank. They wanted to cross the river, but it was flooded. There was no way to go across it.

So the man asked Shams how they should proceed. Shams told him: "Follow me, repeating 'Shams, Shams!' ”And while saying this, Shams stepped into the river and began crossing it. The man followed with "Shams, Shams, Shams!" on his lips.

After a while, he noticed that Shams, too, was saying something. Listening closely he heard Shams repeating "Allah, Allah! Allah!" And saw that the river was parting for him. So the man thought: "When Shams is saying 'Allah, Allah!' why should I say 'Shams, Shams?' "

And using his powers of reasoning, he stopped the repetition the Master had given him and began saying "Allah, Allah!" and was thus drowned!

Baba concluded, "Aloba, I have told you a thousand times: Do as I say and don't use your discrimination or discretion. You come to trouble by doing so against My orders."

Aloba's nature was such that even when Baba gave someone else an order to do something, Aloba would run to do it himself. Baba's mood would often be disturbed by this, and He reproached Aloba: "Don't do anything I have not asked you to do. If a snake bites Me, even then you should not come to My aid unless I call you. If I fall out of My chair, you should not come unless I ask you. Even if someone comes and attacks me — shoots or stabs Me — you should not come unless called."

Nevertheless, one day in the hall when Baba was adjusting Himself in the chair, thinking Baba was uncomfortable; Aloba leapt up to offer Baba a pillow for His back. "Why have you come near Me?" Baba asked, annoyed. "You have spoilt My mood!"

Aloba was always in such a hurry to carry out Baba's orders that even before Baba had finished giving them — without listening fully to the instructions — he would start to execute them.

One night Baba dictated these lines to Bhau:

We walked so fast that even while nearing the Goal

We could not check our speed and went past it!

Again the following day, Aloba committed the same error and these lines were read to him, after which Baba remarked, "This is your state!"

Another hapless incident involving Aloba concerned the repetition of the invocation that Baba had given the mandali during this period. Aloba's time for doing it was when Baba was with the other mandali in the hall. This prevented Aloba from being with Baba there, a source of great distress to him. Once Baba sent for him, and with the audible repetition on his lips, he came. Baba insisted, "Stop the japa, sit here and go on looking at Me.

Go on! Set aside my pleasure and please yourself!" Thereupon, Aloba began a long rigmarole of how he could not stand to be so isolated from Baba.

Baba reminded him of the verses of Kabir:

If something is given by the Master, on his own, it is like milk;

If asked for, it is like water;

If forced, it is like blood.

This is what Kabir says.

"You think only about pleasing yourself," Baba scolded. "You have no thought of keeping my pleasure. What sort of love is this? Christ had a Judas; don't be one to me! Sit here for today. From tomorrow, do the japa at the time I have given you."

Folding both his hands, Baba then warned him, "For God's sake, from tomorrow don't make Me angry with you."

Baba stretched out his hand to give a copy of the 16th October Life Circular to Kumar, but Aloba jumped up to take it. This made Kumar laugh, much to Aloba's chagrin.

Baba now turned on him, correcting Kumar, "Don't laugh at others' mistakes. All commit mistakes. This is a contravention of my order not to hurt the feelings of others. You laughed at his error and hurt his feelings."

Baba then asked Aloba to remain in his room from the next day onwards, so that he might not commit any mistake in Baba's presence and put himself up for further ridicule. Baba cited this verse of the poet Jigar:

Love, thy name is annihilation! Don't seek life in love;

Take His will as your pleasure; don't look to your own!

From the following day, Aloba began staying in his room, but he felt miserable not seeing Baba. Baba called him and, to console him, explained:

Baba added: "Service is supreme! Aloba has so many ways to serve me. Still, why does he insist on being in my presence? If I permit him to sit here, unlike you, he would go on breaking my orders, thereby causing Me pain. If he is not dear to me, why do I keep him so near? I can keep him away from me at a distance within five minutes. Although he causes me such distress, I do not keep him apart. In that case, I know, he would not be able to live without me."

Thereafter, Baba allowed Aloba to spend some time every day with him, and with Baba's permission he started reading the Master's Prayer to him. After a few days, however, Aloba also began singing a prayer in praise of Baba. Stopping him, Baba stated: "Don't bring up something new. Why I did not like calling you to me was that you always bring up something or other and prove a burden to me. The members of my mandali sitting here are no dearer to Me than you whom I permit to sit before Me. They do as I tell them, which is a help to Me in My work, and thereby My load is lessened. As for you — you increase My burden!

Once all the men had finished taking darshan, Aloba approached. Baba admonished him, “has any of the Meherabad mandali come here for darshan? Aloba shook his head no. “Then why have you?” Before he could reply, Baba remarked, “Aloba is a truly sincere lover of Mine, but he has so much love that e forgets to obey My orders!”

One day Kumar told Baba that Aloba and Baidul were good draughts (checkers) players. Calling both, Baba asked them to play. Aloba chose the white pieces and Baidul the black. Both would take a lot of time and think carefully over every move, but in their absorption and preoccupation with the game, Baidul would at times move the white pieces and Aloba the black.

Baba was highly amused and remarked, "I have never come across such lunatics! They surpass the mad atop Howrah Bridge!"

(Baba was referring to the story of how two madmen once climbed up the high steel frame of the Howrah Bridge in Calcutta and, from their precarious perch, began playing cards. The police appeared on the scene, but it was a problem to bring them down, as the least movement on the part of the madmen could have meant their imminent fall. The police kept a nightlong vigil, and the next day, somehow succeeded in inducing the two men to climb down.)

From that day onward, Baba would give Baidul and Aloba the chance of playing draughts before him at noon, and he enjoyed watching how they played the game.

A similar incident once took place with Aloba. Aloba was called from Meherazad, and one day Baba asked him to wash his glass. When he went near the table to take the glass, Baba made a sour face and remarked, "My God, what a smell! Don't you ever take a bath? You stink! What a dirty man you are."

He asked Ramjoo to smell Aloba, and Ramjoo replied, "Baba, I feel like vomiting! Even for a minute, I cannot stand to be near anyone who smells as bad as he does." (Some new persons who were also in the hall took the incident seriously and thought Aloba really smelled.)

Baba then asked Bhau, "Does your sweat smell?" "Yes, Baba, it does."

Baba motioned to Ramjoo to smell him and judiciously He reported, "The smell is there — but less than Aloba."

Baba took Kenmore and the mandali to the main house to listen to records. He remarked, “Aloba will bring you all down! He will be enacting the role of Adolf Hitler. At 1:30 P.M., all the men assembled in the hall. Aloba had strung a curtain across it, operated by a rope. Behind it, he had arranged an artificial microphone. Maps hung behind him, and other material had been placed on a table. A large Nazi swastika flag was draped over the table. Aloba then entered, made up to resemble Adolf Hitler. He began "broadcasting" a speech to his troops in Arabic, Persian and English. Baba and all were delighted with Aloba's enthusiastic performance. He immersed himself in the role, and did all the sound effects himself — a marching band, whistling bullets, bombs exploding, and so forth.

In 1060, once in the hall, Eruch was reading a letter to Baba in English. When he finished, Baba asked Kaka, "Did you understand it?" Kaka shook his head no. Baba remarked, "You are illiterate; how could you understand English?" Then He indicated to Aloba, "From today, teach this jungli English!" Aloba was elated and went after Kaka with such a vengeance that poor Kaka was really in trouble. Aloba would make him write one word a dozen times, and according to Baba's behest, Kaka would do it silently without a word of protest, and actually try to remember it. If, unfortunately, Kaka forgot the word, Aloba would have him repeat it again and again and write it over many times. Thus, this "play" went on for several days until Baba stopped it.

Baba said "The disease from which Pleader is suffering is due to My wish, and it is for his own good." Baba called Aloba to recite this verse from Hafiz:

God says that I prosper My enemies and butcher My friends!
And no one has the right to speak against it or question why it is so!

In 1961, Baba made Aloba sit on the verandah and told him, "If Moorty comes inside, stop him at a distance." Moorty would accept the mail from the postman at the gates and bring it in, but Aloba would run and take it from him. If Moorty came with the excuse of conveying some message or information, Aloba would ask what it was.

Vishnu's cousins, Vishwanath Haldankar and his wife Indu, came to Guruprasad one day. Moorty thought this was his chance to cross the gate. Happily he entered the precincts to give the news, but Aloba stopped Moorty and he himself went to inform Vishnu.

Hearing Aloba, Pendu came outside to the gates and explained to the couple about the restrictions against darshan. They insisted on seeing Baba. Becoming fed up with their resistance, Pendu returned inside and the Haldankar sat down under a tree. Moorty was anticipating that surely Baba would call them. But after waiting a few hours, the couple became frustrated and left. Vishnu, too, did not come out to see them and Moorty lost his chance.  Still he waited patiently near the gates two or three days, trying to devise a means of entry. All his efforts were in vain. Worn down, he returned to Kharagpur, realizing it was far wiser to obey Baba's behests and come only when called.

In 1962, during East West gathering Aloba recited three Persian couplets by Hafiz, which were translated by Baba:

Obey the Master implicitly and willingly, then that solves all your difficulties.

What you hear about a Perfect Master, never say it is wrong, Because, My dear, the fault lies in your own incapacity to understand him.

I am the slave of the Master who has released me from ignorance. Whatever the Master does is of the highest benefit to all concern

In 1965, the war between India and Pakistan had not yet come to an end and was a subject of daily discussion in Guruprasad. Aloba, being both a Zoroastrian and a Muslim, would gaze heavenward and utter, "Ya, Baba, save Pakistan!" Hearing him, Baba asked him, "Why do you pray like this?" Aloba replied, "I can't explain it; the prayer just comes out of my mouth!" Baba scolded him, "Look at this man! He lives in India, every day he eats food from India — still he prays for Pakistan!"

In 1968, strict injunction against anyone entering the premises was imposed by Baba that year. The following two incidents will give some idea of how strict.

As mentioned, Nana Kher and Aloba would take turns being on watch during the day and keeping a vigilant eye on the gate to the bungalow, so that no one might inadvertently walk inside. One day some women happened to come, but Aloba went to the gate and prevented them from opening it. They earnestly requested Baba's darshan. Aloba pleaded his total inability to help them and asked them to go away, but they refused. At last, they asked him to show them a way whereby they could see Baba from a distance. Helplessly, Aloba suggested that the next morning at 10:00 A.M. they should stand by the gate, since at that time, after completing His work, Baba would walk on the verandah while going from His room to the hall.

As Aloba was talking with them, Baba inside His room instructed Bhau to call Nana and Aloba immediately. Bhau came out and saw that Aloba was near the gate. Bhau called him, and Aloba, along with Nana, came to Baba. Baba inquired about the slight delay, and Bhau explained that Aloba had been standing by the gate. Baba asked Aloba what had happened and then questioned, "What did you tell those women?"

Aloba told the truth, and Baba was furious. "Have you no thought about My instructions?" He fumed. "My lovers thirst for My darshan, and still I do not see them. And here, instead of helping Me in My work, you are proving a hindrance!"

Baba ordered Nana to spit in Aloba's face, which he did. Both were told to leave.

After some time, Baba called Aloba back again, and forgiving him warned, "Never do it again! Always be attentive to My pleasure; don't bother about the pleasure of others!"

Another episode likewise illustrates how seriously Baba wished his orders enforced that year. One day a swami came for darshan. Aloba, Nana and Eruch prevailed upon him to give up the idea of meeting Baba and leave, but he would not budge. In fact, he demanded, "So long as I do not have Meher Baba's darshan, I will not leave!"

Eruch tried to explain to him at length, but the swami was obstinate. It was time for Baba to go to the hall, so after allowing him to meditate there for some time, Eruch, Aloba and Nana had to bodily lift the swami up and carry him outside the gate and lock him out.

In July 1968, Aloba was given night duty watch at this time, and he did them until Baba dropped the body, at first for four hours a night and later for six hours.

Demise -13-8-2012