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.
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. (Lord Meher-p-854-1927)
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. (Lord Meher –p-857-1927)
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. (Lord Meher-p-908-1928)
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." (Lord Meher-p-1029-1929)
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.
Following are the most of his real timed episodes with Meher Baba and Baba’s remarks about Aloba.
|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.
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.
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.
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!"
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. 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. (Lord Meher-p-2258-1952)
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. (Lord Meher-p-2589-1947)
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." (Lord Meher-P-2748-1949)
On 15 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. (Lord Meher-p-2781-1949)
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." (Lord Meher-p-2809-1949)
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. (Lord Meher-p-2859-1949)
Every day from Tuesday, 11 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-(Lord Meher-p-3389-1953)
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. (Lord Meher-p-3600-1954)
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!" (Lord Meher-p-3601-1954)
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. (Lord Meher-p-3666-1954)
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. (Lord Meher-p-3667-1954)
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! (Lord Meher-p- 3673-1955)
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. (Lord Meher-p-3974-1955)
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. (Lord Meher-p-3975-1955)
Baba left Satara for Bombay, early in the morning on Saturday, 13 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. (Lord Meher-p-3713-1955)
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. (Lord Meher-p-3714-1955)
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. (Lord Meher-p-3737-1955)
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." (Lord Meher-p-4115-1956)
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! (Lord Meher-p-4191-1957)
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. (Lord Meher-p-4230-1957)
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." (Lord Meher-p-4468-1958)
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. (Lord Meher-p-4465-1958)
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 16 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: (Lord Meher-p-4466-1958)
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! (Lord Meher-p-4467-1958)
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.4499-1959
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." (Lord Meher-p-4520-1959)
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. (Lord Meher-p-4584-1959)
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. (Lord Meher-p-4631-1960)
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! (Lord Meher-p-4634-1960)
The 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.4196-1957
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.4765-1961
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 (Lord Meher-p-4845-1962)
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!" (Lord Meher-p-5157-1965)
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?" (Lord Meher-p-5329-1968)
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. (Lord Meher-p-5330-1968)
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.
8-ARDESHIR SHAPURJI BARIA (KAKA BARIA)
Ardeshir Shapurji Baria was Baba’s personal valet and travelled with Baba to the West in thirties. Despite his total lack of the knowledge of English language, he had a deep sense of understanding and conveyed his thoughts to Westerners with deep intensity.
From childhood Kaka had been interested in visiting the tombs of well-known saints. While in Nagpur he met Tajuddin Baba, who assured him, "All will be well with you."
He also visited Hazrat Babajan when he was in Poona. Even though he would see her regularly, he would never say a word to her. One day she inquired why he never asked her for anything. He replied, "You are the Ocean and I am but a traveler who has come to drink from the Ocean."
Kaka met Narayan Maharaj as well, who had him sit near him and treated him kindly. Finally he met Upasni Maharaj, and it was Maharaj who actually told Kaka to go for Meher Baba's darshan.
Ardeshir Shapurji Baria, 37, had come to meet the Master at Toka and wished to stay in the ashram. To test him, Baba directed him to do the work of preparing bamboo matting. He was unfamiliar with such work, but Pendu showed him how to weave them and he brought the finished mats to Baba.
After inspecting the mats, Baba put on Baria's chappals and remarked, "Your chappals don't fit me. What can I do? When your chappals are my size, I will keep you with me." Baria was confused by Baba's words. What Baba meant was that Ardeshir Baria was not yet ready to stay with him. So Baria left Toka after some days to pay the price for a suitable pair of chappals for Baba — to "prepare" himself and make his life worthy of staying with the Master.
Ardeshir was later known as Kaka Baria, and became one of Meher Baba's closest mandali, but he suffered two years of testing before he was fit to join the Beloved. Kaka was born in Navsari on 23 February 1891. He studied mechanical engineering in college and worked for two years for the Greaves Cotton Mills of Bombay (the same company for which Chanji had worked). After working for a similar firm in Nagpur for five years, Kaka spent two years at the Tata Iron & Steel Company in Jamshedpur. He had also worked in Iraq as an automotive mechanic. In 1928, when he met Baba, he was living in Bombay and was the owner of several taxicabs. (Lord Meher-p-947-1928)
Kaka Baria arrived at Meherabad on the morning of 19 December, and again expressed his wish to stay permanently with the Master. Baba remarked, "Now I think your chappals will fit me." Kaka was confident that Baba would now keep him in the ashram, believing himself worthy to stay with the Master.
But after two days, just as he was about to retire for the night, Baba asked him, "Why are you going to sleep? Go to Bombay and deliver these copies of the Meher Message to my lovers there." Kaka had to return. This time, too, he could not find a place in the Garden of Meherabad, but the period of testing was only to prepare him for his permanent stay. The pain and non-fulfillment of his desire were necessary steps for that preparation. (Lord Meher-p- 998-1928)
Some of his life time real episodes with Meher Baba and Baba’s remarks are elaborated as under:
Once while in Bombay, Baba suddenly informed Kaka Baria, "I've caught pneumonia! Get some anti-phlogistine [a heated, paste-like ointment] and apply it to my chest." Kaka was quite astonished by this, for Baba looked all right; but he applied it as directed. Two days passed without further incident. Then Bachamai Dadachanji came to see Baba and informed him that two days before, her son Dara had come down with double pneumonia and had been seriously ill. Baba related, "I, too, had pneumonia. If I had not caught it, Dara would have died."
Dara was still quite ill and had a dangerously high fever; the doctors had given up hope. Baba went to see him. The next day Dara's temperature became normal, but Baba was observed to be suffering a high fever. Bachamai asked him, "Baba, why are you doing this? Dara is all right, but now you have a fever. You have taken his suffering upon yourself. Let him die, Baba; you must not suffer!" Baba smiled at the woman's brave words, and was pleased with her love and detachment. (Lord Meher-p-1347-1932)
Kaka Baria did not know English and had entreated Baba not to leave him alone with the Westerners who badgered him with questions about Baba. Once when Baba was having a private interview with someone, Kaka was waiting outside the room. Seeing one of Baba's mandali, several Western women approached Kaka and besieged him with one question after another. Not following what was being said, Kaka was at a total loss and could only think to close his eyes! Thinking that he was meditating, the new lovers were all the more impressed and stood surrounding Kaka. One whispered, "There is some yogic power in him, he must be advanced!" Kaka was sweating from being put in such a very uncomfortable position. Meanwhile the new lovers were waiting to see when he would come out of his "Samadhi." They praised Kaka — while internally he was swearing at them! How long could he stand there like a statue? Fortunately, after some minutes, Baba called him and he went inside. The naïve Westerners were thoroughly impressed, but poor Kaka was bewildered. (Lord Meher-p-1380-1932)
Kaka Baria arrived from Bombay on the 9th. The next day, Baba remarked to Adi Sr., "In the beginning, I thought you and Vishnu were the most obedient, but I now find selfishness in both of you. You were only laboring for spiritual gain and Vishnu for monetary help. Vishnu himself does not need money, but he wants to help others in their studies. He has spent whatever little he had for that and now he comes to me for more.
"I have not yet come across anyone who could serve Me without thought of either spiritual or material benefit. Arjun came closest. He was the best."
Baba then called Kaka Baria and asked, "Why are you serving Me?"
"It is my duty!" Kaka replied.
"Don't you have any selfish motive?" pursued Baba.
"Absolutely not!" answered Kaka.
"Kaka talks like this, but he longs in his heart for spiritual advancement. He does not want anything, but he knows that it is desirable to be here for spiritual progress. This, too, is selfishness! One should serve out of love, and true love is bereft of any thought of gain or worry over risks taken." (Lord Meher-p-1937-1934)
At the end of May 1939, Baba had sent Kaka Baria and Savak's brother Soli Kotwal to bring the sixth-plane mast Lakhan Shah from Ajmer. It was very difficult and required much persuasion to bring masts to Baba, as they would never like to leave their abode, nor would their followers and devotees be happy to see strangers taking away their personal devas [gods]. But due to the Master's nazar, Kaka and Soli succeeded in bringing this saint-mast to Meherabad on Friday, 2 June. As soon as Lakhan Shah arrived, Baba embraced him lovingly. Baba promptly gave him a bath, dressed him in a new kafni and, after feeding him by hand, put him in a separate room. For the next fifteen days, Baba sat with Lakhan Shah in seclusion for inner work, for a fixed time each day. After this period, he was taken back to Ajmer by Kaka. (Lord Meher-p-2012-1939)
On 7th December 1940, at the bungalow, Katie slipped and fell while carrying a kettle of hot tea and got burned when the hot tea spilled on her and Kaka Baria was shaving at the time in his room, and seeing her fall, went to help her. At that moment, Baba appeared and harshly castigated Kaka. He demanded, "Why did you disobey Me? According to the list of orders, touching women is forbidden!" Kaka replied he was sorry; that he forgot, and was only trying to help her. Baba scolded, "Had you taken the order seriously, you would have remembered it. You think you have done a good deed, but you have no idea how much you have hurt Me. Even if Katie had died, you should not have touched her. Then I would have been proud of how obedient you were. But her fall has made you fall, in disregarding My order." Later, Baba forgave Kaka, and commented to the women (without explaining further), "It was a special day today." (Lord Meher-p-2179-1940)
Resuming the meeting the next morning at eight o'clock in the Mess Quarters, Baba spoke about His mandali: Nobody can serve Me personally in the manner in which Kaka has done. His service in this respect is unparalleled. He visited the West seven times with Me and has suffered the severest types of inconveniences. As an orderly, he tops the list; and in mast work he is second only to Baidul. (Lord Meher-p-2481-1945)
On 5th 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. He decided that Kaka Baria would accompany in His New Life among men. (Lord meher-p- 2781-1949)
Kaka Baria, then recovering from a heart attack, was advised by Don and Nilu to rest. But in the intense activity of the preparations of the next phase of the New Life, the companions could not nurse him properly. Baba, of course, was attentive to him, but Kaka was still despondent. One day, in a dejected mood, Kaka suddenly left. He had not a cent with him, but he began heading toward Rishikesh. On the way, he asked a stranger for directions. The man was kind and walked by his side to point out the way. They passed a small restaurant, where the man asked Kaka to have tea. But how could Kaka order it with no money? He politely declined and went on. He drank water by a stream, and after a six-mile walk, sat down exhausted.
In a desperate state, Kaka Baria thought over the New Life conditions and his oath. His despairing thoughts finally forced him to retrace his steps, and he returned to Manjri Mafi that evening. When Baba saw him he remarked, "Where will you go? You cannot 'go'! And you cannot die! You still have a long time to live!" Baba's remarks put Kaka back in good spirits, and Nilu began treating him more conscientiously. (Lord Meher-p-2875-1950)
On 26 April 1950, the companions gathered for a meeting with Baba in which the possibility of starting a business in Delhi was discussed. In the end, Baba came to the many decisions which comprised the New Plan of which Kaka was assigned as under.
Loan of Rs.16, 000 handed over to Kaka Baria on May 1, 1950, to be utilized as follows:
Food amount from May 1 to the end of October 1950 — 2,585
Already paid to the ladies for food of Vishnu and Baidul (or Eruch) for May, June and July — 300
Servants' salaries for six months — 150
Pocket money at ten rupees each for six months — 660
House rent with light and water bills for six months — 300
Shop rent with light and water bills for six months — 510
Rohtak Building rent, bills and commission to agents for six months from the date of occupation — 4,340
Business investment — 5,000
Shifting [moving cost] from Manjri Mafi to Delhi — 1,000
To transport belongings of companions from Meherabad to Delhi — 1,000
Emergency — 155
Total Rs. — 16,000
Kaka is to keep aside for six months the following amounts, which will help early repayment of the loan of Rs.16, 000:
Rs.150 per month, paid by the ladies as salary for Eruch, Vishnu and Baidul
Rs.100 per month as rent, paid by the ladies from August 1950
Seventy-five percent net profit from the New Plan group earnings
Seventy-five percent of amounts sent by companions of Plan One-C and Plan Two;
Whatever is saved from the allotted amounts of rent, shifting (relocating), luggage expenses savings and Don's furniture sale. (Lord Meher-p-2919-1950)
The talk was interrupted by loud shouts from Kaka Baria who was in the compound adjoining the hall, giving instructions to the servants. For the past two days, Kaka had been busy making arrangements for the day's celebration. Baba informed them, "Kaka has had three severe heart attacks and was thought to be dead at the time of the last one. Who would now think that he could have been so seriously ill once upon a time?"
Kaka used to refuse to go to the West with Me, as he did not know much English. Finally, he agreed to come with Me on the condition that I always keep him near Me.
During one private interview in London, Kaka had to wait outside My room. Some of My women followers surrounded him and wanted to speak with him. The thought of talking to them in English panicked poor Kaka, and to escape from the situation, he resorted to a wonderful stratagem: he closed his eyes, folded his hands and stood quite still. This strange sight drew more women around him, who called out to the others to come and have a look, for they thought Kaka was in some sort of samadhi! Kaka was watching them from the corner of his semi-closed eyes and praying fervently to Me to end the interview so he could come and be with Me. Five, ten, fifteen minutes elapsed but the door did not open. No longer could Kaka stand the strain of his self-imposed samadhi, so he suddenly opened his eyes, bowed to all those present and walked out of the house into the street below. (Lord Meher-p-4894-1962)
In 1959, Kaka Baria suffered a heart attack, and Padri was called in the evening to stay at Meherazad to help look after him. Meherdas was ordered to be with Kaka at night. Baba reassured the men that Kaka would be all right. "He won't die now," He stated. (Lord Meher-p-4580-1959)
In year 1963, Kaka Baria suffered from uremia. With Baba's consent, Adi induced Kaka to be admitted to Booth Hospital, on 31 May. According to Baba's instructions, Padri went to stay in Meherazad to oversee the property. Baba also specified that if Kaka should die, he was to be buried in Meherazad among the six mango trees behind Eruch's room.5010-1963
In 1965, Kaka Baria had had to be hospitalized after suffering a stroke. He was admitted to Booth Hospital on 14 June 1965 by Padri and Adi. Baba was informed that it looked as if Kaka would die. Baba, in fact, sent instructions about Kaka's burial at Meherazad, but added, "It would be better if Kaka passes away after I return from Poona." Surprisingly, Kaka recuperated, and on the 26th was shifted to Gulmai's room at Khushru Quarters where he stayed for a week until Baba returned to Meherazad. 5160-1965
Kaka Baria became seriously ill again on 8th August 1967, He was unable to pass urine and Dr. Southwell was brought to Meherazad on the 9th to examine him. Sidhu was also sent for from Meherabad to attend Kaka for a few days. (Lord Meher-p-5166-1965)
By 1967, Due to uremia, Kaka had trouble speaking coherently. He would become confused and say the wrong name for things. For instance, he would repeat anda (eggs), and Pendu would hand him a matchbox, knowing that is what he meant. Baba would ask him who the men were and he would call Aloba Kakri (Cucumber). Bhau he called Choowa (Mouse), and Pendu Lassan (Garlic). Within a few moments, when Baba asked him again who they were, he would give entirely different names.
Before sitting in the lift-chair, Baba would ask Kaka the garden boys' names, and each time, Kaka would say something different. Baba would tell Francis to remember these names and when he came to the verandah of the house, Francis would loudly repeat what Kaka had said, so that Mehera and the other women inside could hear and enjoy Kaka's latest christenings. Kaka's incorrect pronunciation and the way in which he said it kept Baba amused, and it became a source of merriment to all the mandali. One day, perhaps only half-joking, Baba remarked about Kaka's speech, "This was the language people used to speak 1,000 years ago, and Kaka is remembering it!" (Lord Meher-p-5291-1967)
Kaka had already had four heart attacks, beginning in 1950 during the New Life. In 1965 he had had a stroke, and in 1967, he suffered a very severe fifth heart attack. Goher, Aloba and Bhau attended to him, but Kaka was not an easy patient to nurse. He was a fastidious sort of person, very fussy about things being kept in his room just so, and would not listen to his attendants. One night Goher came to Baba's bedroom and pleaded, "Baba, Kaka's condition is serious. He should be removed to the hospital. He can't be saved now!" Bhau agreed, but Baba replied, "If he cannot be saved, and you think his time has come, then it's better he dies here at Meherazad than in the hospital. But I tell you, he won't die now."
Kaka's condition deteriorated and he grew so weak he could not even raise his hand. On Baba's instructions, Eruch, Pendu and Bhau lifted Kaka and carried him inside the hall. He was made to sit next to Baba, and Baba asked for a cup of water and gave it to him to drink. Kaka sipped it slowly and within half an hour he became quite active. He looked around the room, became attentive to what was going on around him and went near Bhau and slapped him on the head. He then stood up, left the hall, and went to the kitchen, where he ate his lunch and washed the dishes. Then he made his bed and began doing his own regular chores. No one could believe it! The man who could barely move and whose heart continued missing beats was moving about quite normally now. It was as if a dead man had come alive! From that day in 1967 onward, until Kaka died (on 27 February 1969), he never again required any medical attention and did his own chores. And he kept slapping Bhau! He was like "Baba's toy" and in His love had become like a child.
Demise: 27 February 1969
9-ASPENDIAR RUSTOM IRANI (PENDU)
Pendu, Aspendiar Rustom Irani, was the first cousin and has been close to Baba since childhood. He was a part of Baba’s mandali since Manzil days. He was assigned the job of construction and making arrangement of stay for mandali, Baba’s and darshan programme which he performed in all sincerely.
His some of real time incidents with Baba and Baba’s comments about him are elaborated as under:
Dr. Karkal was deeply impressed with Baba's acts of compassion and became very drawn to the Master. He worked selflessly in treating patients at the hospital and those afflicted with eye ailments, which were frequently found among the schoolboys and the other dispensary clients. Pendu was the doctor's assistant. (Lord Meher-p-662-1926)
In one of incident in 1927, Pendu had a quarrel with Ardeshir (Kaka Baria). It was Baba's order that everyone should drink tea from his own cup and eat from his own plate. One day Bapu Brahmin went to Ardeshir for tea with Pendu's cup, as he was delayed in taking the boys to the school. Ardeshir refused to serve him and put Pendu's cup away, keeping it on a shelf. Bapu informed Pendu about the incident.
When Pendu went to Ardeshir and asked why he did not give tea to Bapu, Ardeshir reminded him of Baba's rule not to use another's cup. Pendu then inquired why he did not return his cup. Ardeshir said he was not going to return it, which irritated Pendu. Buasaheb came along and sided with Ardeshir. A heated quarrel took place and Pendu shouted in sheer exasperation, "You Persian Iranis really are Jungli (uncouth, ignorant)!"
This remark upset Buasaheb who complained to Baba, adding that it would not be possible for him to act as manager any longer with an assistant like Pendu. Baba called Pendu and Ardeshir. Pendu explained that they always used each others' cups and plates, so why was it that only today Ardeshir refused to serve tea to Bapu in his cup. Baba turned to Ardeshir and asked, "Why do you use others' plates and cups?" Ardeshir brazenly replied that it was untrue, that he never did.
Hearing this blatant lie, Pendu lost his temper and picked up a ladle lying nearby to strike Ardeshir. Baba's brother Beheram interceded and grabbed the ladle from Pendu's hand. Baba became very upset with Pendu for his obvious intention. He scolded Pendu severely for losing his temper, but after a few minutes, Baba in a calm manner explained to Pendu, "It is not befitting to get so angry. He who fails to control his temper is a weakling. To conquer anger is true courage. A commander of an army may rule the entire country, but he may not be able to control his own temper." (Lord Meher-p-851-1927)
Pendu had been coughing for many days. On 7th January 1929, Dr. Sathe prescribed some medicine for him. Baba's brother Beheram, who was the compounder, mistakenly added some hydrochloric acid while mixing the medicine. When Pendu swallowed the mixture, he felt as if his throat was on fire, and his condition became serious. Baba immediately had Adi drive Pendu to Sassoon Hospital in Poona, Nusserwan and Dr. Sathe accompanied them. The doctors there were prepared to operate on Pendu's throat.
When this news was conveyed to Baba, He lost his temper and began flinging things about. His terrible mood lasted for half an hour before he became calm again. The next day,
On 8th January, a telegram was received that Pendu's operation had been averted. Nothing serious had happened except that the painful burning sensation continued. Beheram did not disclose his mistake but Baba found out about it later. (Lord Meher-p-1007-1929)
On 22nd June 1932, after an eleven-day voyage, Baba and party landed in Shanghai, China, where they met Herbert and Jalbhai. They reached Nanking the next morning. Pendu and Gustadji were waiting on the platform to receive Baba. (Lord Meher-p-1446-1932)
In 1938, Baba called Pendu and said in a very serious tone, "I am giving you two more weeks to complete the work. It must be finished by August 25. I will have no place to stay. I am being evicted from the P.W.D.! So we have to come to Meherabad. I am coming on the 25th whether you have finished or not!"
Pendu looked somewhat worried and Baba urged him, "Be brave! Don't feel dejected or despondent with difficulties and inconveniences. Face it all — that's manliness, that's heroism.
"I don't like things to go smoothly or easily," Baba continued. "There is no credit in doing things easily. One must experience resistance, difficulties, and pass through awkward situations. These are real tests and bring out the best and worst in men. The more opposition you have from maya, the more you should resist and face it with fierce determination. Don't feel anxious. Do your best."
Pendu accepted Baba's terms and thought: "If I work wholeheartedly, Baba will surely help me." He agreed to do his best, but added, "Baba, I will finish everything by the date you wish, but you must also agree to one condition: Don't come here before that date! Each time you come you add to my work!" Baba smiled and extended his hand in promise, saying He would come at eight o'clock on the morning of the 25th.
|The work on Meherabad Hill now had a definite deadline. Pendu arranged a day and a night shift, and had a tea stall opened to keep the workers (mostly from Arangaon Village) fortified. Pendu himself brought his clothes and bedding up the hill and never came down, even once, during the ensuing two weeks. He stopped taking baths and his meals were sent up to him. Everything was done at a breakneck pace. (Lord Meher-p-1934-1938)|
In 1939, One day, Pleader could not hide his dejection and frustration of attaining God-realisation. In response, Baba called Pendu, and asked Pendu in front of Pleader, "How long have you been with Me?"
"Since 1922," Pendu replied.
"What do you want from me?"
"Then why are you with Me?"
"To serve you, to see to your pleasure and to do as you order."
Sending Pendu away, Baba reprimanded Pleader, "Pendu has been with Me for so many years, and you know how hard he works for Me. Still, in return, he wants nothing! You, too, should create that mental attitude which will bring you, unasked for, that which you desire!" Baba then sent Pleader back to Bombay after giving him certain instructions. (Lord Meher-p-2023-1939)
In 1945, Pendu and Don went to meet the landlord. He was a lawyer, and was entertaining guests when they arrived. They talked with him, after which he drew up an agreement in Urdu. Pendu returned to the hotel late at night, and Baba asked, "What does the agreement say?"
"It is in Urdu," Pendu replied. "I can't read it, but he prepared it according to our terms."
"But we must know exactly what it says. If it has not been properly drawn up, there will be trouble later."
It was quite late, most people were asleep, and who was Pendu supposed to find to translate the document? He left, and as he was walking around the hotel he saw three Muslims sitting in a room drinking wine. Pendu asked if anyone read Urdu, and one of them, rather drunkenly, answered, "Come, friend, I am your servant — at your command, ready to obey. What have you brought?" Pendu took him to Baba. He staggered in, grandly shook hands with Baba, and began reading the agreement out loud with dramatic flourish.
Baba was amused and entertained by his performance. He would indicate to Pendu to tell Him, "Read it again, read it again!" And the drunken Muslim would begin once more and falter through it. After reading the full text several times and shaking hands with Baba, he staggered out.
As he was leaving, he said, "If my services are required further, don't hesitate to call me." After he left, Baba had two or three corrections made, and the next day the agreement with the lawyer was executed. (Lord Meher-p-2461-1945)
In another incident, Pendu as the manager at Meherabad handled all the money and kept accounts. On one occasion, Dattu showed Pendu's account book to Adi Sr., who complained to Baba about the accounts not being regular. So Baba sent for Pendu and criticized, "Your accounts are not correct."
"They're perfect!" Pendu protested.
"Every item in the account should be listed separately," Adi pointed out.
"Do banks have different coffers for their money?" asked Pendu. "The money is kept together and accounts are written separately. Similarly, I too have kept the accounts separately."
His reasoning upset Baba who said, "You are quite loyal and none can ever doubt your faith; but you don't know the first thing about accounting! What Adi says is true."
Baba went on lambasting Pendu in front of everyone and Pendu grew very angry. But he stood still listening to what Baba was dictating.
Afterwards, Dattu came out of his room and Pendu followed him. Catching hold of him he said, "You're the cause of all this trouble," and he gave him a hard slap. Baba overheard him and called them back. He severely scolded Pendu and ordered him to touch Dattu's feet. Pendu did it, and forgiving him, Baba explained, "Dattu is not the root of the quarrel; it is the wrath of everyone! If there is no anger, there is no quarrel. You have dedicated your whole life to Me and have been serving Me for years with all your heart. But up to now you have failed to dedicate your anger to Me. If you do it, you will be unequaled!" (Lord Meher-p-2483-1945)
In 1945, at Calcutta, on the 9th, In Pendu and Eruch contacted three officials who greatly facilitated their task: the mayor, an executive officer and a former health officer of Calcutta. With their help, they managed to secure facilities in a dharamshala in Kalighat locality for a day, erect partitions in it for Baba's work and have a tent pitched. A secluded area for Baba to distribute His prasad was provided, and the premises were swept and cleaned. In addition, 1,001 needy persons — 601 men and 400 women — were contacted and instructed to be at the dharamshala early in the morning of the 11th. By dawn of that morning, Eruch and Pendu were at the dharamshala, distributing printed tickets to the 1,001 men and women who had come. The mandali had been instructed to fast the entire day. Baba arrived, and the proceedings began at eight o'clock. (Lord Meher-p-2501-1945)
In 1947, one day during this period, Baba went to Meherabad to meet the mandali residing there. Deshmukh had come for a visit. While sitting in the old Mess Quarters, which the mandali still used to sleep in, Deshmukh raised a wary eye toward the dilapidated ceiling and said, "Baba, I'm afraid to sleep here. Any minute the roof will come tumbling down.
You should allow the mandali to repair it."
Looking up as if noticing the dilapidated condition of the building for the first time, Baba nodded that he was right. Calling Pendu, Baba asked, "How much would you need to fix the ceiling?" Pendu, knowing Baba's habit of telling them to pull down one building to use its material for another, replied, "Baba, it's quite all right as it is. We do not want it repaired."
"But the ceiling might fall on you any minute," Baba replied. "You might all die."
"Then we die," Pendu shrugged. "Your nazar is there. Nothing will happen."
But Baba kept insisting and finally asked Pendu, "Tell me what you want."
Pendu replied, "We need a brand-new building. This one is too old to be repaired, and besides, we are now so many, we need more space — not only for the mandali but for visitors as well. All these years we have been staying in buildings made of kutchera (rubbish, trash). We need a pucca (solid) one now."
"I'll give you Rs.2, 000," Baba replied, having in mind a building of bamboo sheets and a tin roof.
"It is all right, Baba. We prefer to stay in the old building," Pendu replied. "We like it."
"All right, I'll give you another Rs.1, 000," Baba offered. Pendu kept saying no until Baba sanctioned Rs.10, 000 for the work.
A plan for a new hall at Meherabad was drawn up by Pendu, Padri and Kalemama. It was to be quite large, 126 feet in length by 40 feet in width, and Baba gave his approval. Application for formal permission to build it was submitted to the authorities in Ahmednagar on 26 October 1947, and construction began soon afterward. The building material came from a military auction held at the time. (Lord Meher-p-2597-1947)
On 9 December 1947, the youngest boy, Raja, fell ill with malarial fever, and Pendu duly informed Baba that Murli was treating Raja homeopathically. But on receiving the news, Baba dispatched Adi Sr. to Meherabad with orders to see the child personally and report his condition back to Pimpalgaon.
Pendu informed Adi that Murli was treating Raja, and the fever had come down. Adi reported this to Baba, who sent this warning back to Pendu the next day: "If anything happens to Raja, I will take your life and you will be doomed forever!"
Therefore, Pendu had a physician from Ahmednagar summoned, who after examining the boy said, "He is quite all right, and there is no need for further treatment."
Pendu conveyed this to Baba, who remarked, "Raja should be treated like a raja [king]!"
Although Raja recovered, the mandali had to be careful with him and remain attentive to him night and day. (Lord meher-p-2606-1947)
In 1949, Pendu, being the manager of Meherabad, was extremely busy throughout this period. The burden and pressure to sell everything at lower Meherabad had fallen on his shoulders. In the short period of time at his disposal, he had to sell the lands, dispose of the cows, buffaloes, bullocks, utensils, furniture, and so forth. It was quite difficult to sell about 100 hundred acres of land, even at a low price of Rs.20 to 40 per acre; but by Baba's nazar, Pendu managed to wind up all these dealings in the time Baba wished. (Lord Meher-p-2756-1949)
In 1950, Pendu and Murli had brought to Motichur Raja, the English bull, harnessed to pull the bullock cart. Baba wanted the bull to be given to a goshala (cowyard) to be bred. Kumar, who happened to be in Motichur at the time, suggested that it should be given to Mirabehn, Mahatma Gandhi's English disciple, who was running such an institution nearby. It was named Pashu Lok (Animal World). Baba agreed, and asked Pendu to stop at Mirabehn's place on his way back to Manjri Mafi.
Pendu accordingly visited Mirabehn's vivarium near Motichur. She was willing to accept Raja, even though they had stopped using English bulls for breeding purposes. Pendu asked her to send someone to Manjri Mafi to take Raja away on the 10th, and she consented. (Lord Meher-p-2903-1950)
On 17 March 1950, accompanied by Baidul, Eruch, Gustadji and Pendu, Baba proceeded to Saat Sarovar, where he completed His work by bowing down to 400 sadhus and holy men before evening. (Lord Meher-p-2894-1950)
In an interesting incident while walking along on their way back to Motichur, Eruch and Pendu noticed two crows mating. Eruch mentioned it to Baba, and added, "It is said that anyone who sees crows mating will die."
"After how long?" Baba asked.
Making light of it, Eruch said, "Within a day. Now both of us won't be alive tomorrow."
"My Kumbha Mela work is pending, and if you both 'cross over,' what will happen? Is there no remedy to save you?"
"There is one way out," Eruch joked. "If any of our relatives or acquaintances is informed of our death, we will be saved."
Baba took him seriously. "All right. Both of you go back to Hardwar immediately and wire Keki Desai about your demise."
Their joke was backfiring. What would Gaimai say when she received the news that her eldest was dead? What would Naja say when she heard that her brother Pendu was dead? But they had to carry out Baba's instructions. They walked to Hardwar and sent a cable that they had perished.
The next day, Baba told them to send a second telegram that they were alive. As it turned out, Keki received the second telegram first, and therefore did not take the first one seriously when it arrived.
Although the crow superstition is prevalent in India (and also its "remedy"), Pendu and Eruch did not believe it; they had only broached the topic to amuse Baba. But the tables were turned and the joke was on them! (Lord Meher-p-2895-1950)
In April 1950, one of the Old Life devotees who took this idea to heart was Gustadji's nephew, Rustom Sohrab Hansotia, 35, who had first met Baba in 1944 at Meherazad. After thoroughly studying and pondering over Baba's circular, Hansotia decided to join Baba in the New Life. He had a good job in the railway department at Ratlam. After quitting it, he arrived in Manjri Mafi on the morning of 18 April 1950.
Pendu met him in the compound and explained that Baba was not giving interviews, or granting darshan to anyone. Hansotia said that he knew all that, because he had memorized all the conditions and different plans, but he was firm in his resolve to join the New Life that very day.
Pendu informed Baba, who advised, "Tell him, I will be holding a meeting of the companions by the end of April, when the whole New Life situation and other developments will be discussed. Rustom's case will be considered. Meanwhile, he should go back to his home and await my decision, which will be mailed to him along with my instructions."
Adamant, Hansotia was reluctant to accept this so easily and argued with Pendu. Pendu urged him again and again to obey Baba. Hansotia then expressed his desire to see Baba — just a glimpse of his faces "even from a distance." Pendu informed Baba, who came out and waved to him from a distance, and Hansotia then returned to his home in Ratlam. (Lord Meher-p-2914-1950)
On Wednesday, 24 October 1951, Baba left Khojaguda Hill (near Hyderabad) in the afternoon to start out on the last foot journey he would ever undertake. A bullock cart was hired to carry the remaining luggage down the hill, and Pendu drove it
Pendu had been instructed to keep a bag full of loose coins ready for Baba to hand out to poor people he met on the way. But that day, Pendu kept the money with him in the bullock cart, as Baba had already left. Soon he came to a nallah (riverbed) full of water. He sent the bullock cart across it, and Pendu crossed by another way, to avoid getting wet, thinking he could catch up with the cart on the other side. But by the time he reached the other side, he could not find it. Since the money bag was in the cart, he became anxious and started running. A large snake was passing through the grass and, fortunately, Pendu saw it and jumped over it unharmed. After covering about a mile, he met Baba and the men, and Baba inquired about the bullock cart. Pendu said he was trying to find it, and ran off in another direction. He was able to locate it and sighed with relief when he saw that the money bag was intact. (Lord Meher-p-3010-1951)
For Baba’s Manonash work in August 1951, Eruch, Pendu and Baidul found a hill known as Khojaguda, eight miles from Hyderabad. On top of the hill was a cave adjoining the tomb of Hazrat Baba Fakruddin, a Muslim saint. Below this cave was another naturally carved beautiful cave with a ledge inside. And below it was a Hindu temple.
Baba liked the place very much. He chose the second cave for his work, keeping the upper one as a place for rest and for sleep. He commented, "At the top, a Mohammedan tomb; at the foot, a Hindu temple; and in between, my cave for my great work which will end in either utter failure or great victory!"
Pendu put up a door of bamboo matting at the entrance to the cave, and made the cave above into a bathing room. (Lord Meher-p-3044-1951)
In 1952, before traveling to America and Europe, Baba had sent Eruch and Pendu on a speaking tour of different places in India, such as Andhra Pradesh in the south, Hamirpur in the north, Delhi, Allahabad, Nagpur and Saoner in the central provinces, and elsewhere. They had even carried Baba's message of love to Karachi in Pakistan. The gatherings were not open to the general public, but were meant only for Baba lovers and those genuinely interested in spirituality. Before addressing each meeting, Baba instructed Eruch to repeat: "O God, Baba is sending us both (Eruch and Pendu) in Your Name, and Baba and we ask that Your Will be done in this work." (Lord Meher-p-3133-1952)
One day in January 1952, Meher Baba casually asked each of the companions His age. Pendu while replying happened to add that he had only four years left to live. Baba looked amused and asked, "Why?" In reply, Pendu related an incident which had taken place in December, 1926.
In that year, under Baba's instruction, a well was being dug at Meherabad. It was between the road and the railway track (and it is still there). Pendu's duty was to empty the leather bucket that was used to haul out the pieces of hard rock and murram (soft rock) from the bottom of the well. While hauling out the rocks, he had to lean forward to pull up the leather bucket. Sometimes, when he happened to look below, he felt as if the gravitational pull was dragging him down into the darkness of the pit. Occasionally, he was afraid that he might fall in and die.
One day when Baba visited the site, Pendu told him about this fear. Baba brushed the subject aside with a casual remark, "Don't fear, Pendu, you won't die for 30 years!" Pendu felt relieved, but whenever Baba asked him his age, he involuntarily recalled Baba's words. The prescribed period was to expire in December, 1956. This was the reason for Pendu's incidental comment while answering Baba's question.
Patiently hearing the whole story, with a swift glance at Pendu, Baba added, "Pendu, you won't die in December, 1956!" But at the same time, He made a sweeping gesture of passing His fingers over His left side. Pendu thought that although the death was averted, Baba's sign might indicate a paralysis of the left side. He, however, did not say anything and Baba switched to another subject.
September 5th was Pendu's birthday. That evening, the mandali were sitting in Rosewood wondering how to celebrate it. Their daily fare consisted of plain rice and dal in the afternoon, and a vegetable and chapatti in the evening. Since nothing special could be cooked without Baba's permission, food was not considered. Instead, they decided to enact a humorous play for Pendu.
Unannounced, a servant from Dr. Fernandes appeared carrying a box full of freshly made sweets. He inquired, "Where is the Doctor Saheb?" Nilu and Don were pointed out, but the man said, "No, no, the other doctor who visits the civil surgeon." Since no one knew of Baidul's secret activity, they did not know whom he meant. At that moment Baidul entered the room, and the man said, "Here is the man. I wanted this doctor. His treatment has proven beneficial to my employer's son. He has sent this for him."
The quantity of sweets was sufficient for everyone, and Pendu's birthday was joyously observed. (Lord Meher-p-3718-1955)
In 1956, Eruch was apparently driving too fast, because Baba warned him to slow down. They drove on and neared Udtara, twelve miles from Satara, where Baba had played cricket with the mandali and other lovers a year and a half before. Baba pointed ahead to the spot and recalled the day. Baba met with the second auto accident near Satara (Maharashtra). Nilu, Pendu, Vishnu and Eruch were with Him in the car. Nilu (Dr. Nilkanth) and Pendu were seriously hurt and became unconscious. Nilu died without regaining consciousness. Pendu, as he came back to his senses, found himself in the Civil Hospital at Satara, with a cast around his entire left side, from shoulder to toe. On top of that, because of the injury to his pelvis, his right leg was also placed in a cast. With the slightest movement, Pendu suffered excruciating pain and sometimes even fainted. In a sense, he was dead and yet alive! Thus was Pendu's "sentence of death" reprieved by Baba! (1956)
On Sunday, 3 February 1957, Pendu was brought to Poona by ambulance, accompanied by Sidhu and Aloba. He was taken to Silver Oaks to see Baba, and when Pendu saw a few close lovers from Bombay and Poona who were visiting, he was overcome and wept. Baba came out in His wheelchair to see Pendu; He joked and chatted with him and thereby gave him courage. "We will both be up and walking together," Baba assured him.
"But you suffer it all in silence," Pendu commented.
Baba replied, "You will be all right and walk again, but I will not be able to walk normally again ever. My hip joint, too, will never be normal."
After having a checkup at the military hospital, Pendu was driven to Ahmednagar, where he stayed with the Satha family at Akbar Press to recuperate. The plaster casts were removed from both legs, but Pendu, too, could not yet stand. Aloba was appointed to look after him, and treatment was arranged. A month later, Pendu was sent to Meherabad. (Lord Meher-p-4146-1957)
During July 1957, the impending sahavas congregation was discussed, and Pendu became the target of Baba's "arrows." Although Pendu was still unable to walk unassisted, without crutches, Baba would often harshly criticize Pendu for not paying full attention to all the necessary arrangements which had to be made for the sahavas.
One day Baba called Pendu, Padri, Vishnu and Don to Meherazad to discuss the sahavas. Baba was in a serious mood that day. Pendu stumbled into the hall, sat on a chair, and Baba asked him, "Did you sleep last night?"
Pendu replied, "How can I sleep? I've got terrible pain; I cannot sleep, I cannot eat properly. It is unbearable for me!"
Baba scolded him badly. "Have you any shame? You think of your own pain, do you ever think of Mine? You suffer for yourself, but I am suffering for the whole universe! What will happen if you die? Nothing, Have you any idea of how much pain I have? How much I suffer? And still, I see to every small detail. You remain lying in bed and have nothing to do all day long!
This time, I, Myself, will look after all the arrangements and will not require your help.
"Go on, relax at Meherabad," Baba taunted, "This time, you won't be given any work! You are most selfish. I don't want to see your face! Get out of here!"
Pendu burst out weeping, but it did not stop Baba's onslaught, and he castigated him further. Distraught, Pendu returned to Meherabad with the others. When he began weeping, Jim also had tears in his eyes over Pendu's pitiable condition. But after Pendu left, Baba told Jim with a smile, "In order to become infinitely compassionate, I have to become infinitely cruel." (Lord Meher-p-4190-1957)
On 3rd April 1962, soon after their arrival, in the evening, Pendu had much pain passing urine and was admitted to the Jehangir Nursing Home. He had to have a prostate operation, but when the surgery failed to relieve his condition, he was operated upon a second time. This operation failed as well, but fortunately the third attempt (on 9 May) was successful. As Meherwan Jessawala pointed out, "It was so obvious that such a capable surgeon would not fail three times. All these procedures were extremely painful for Pendu, and it looked as if Baba was making Pendu share in the suffering that was always the lot of the mandali who were with Baba."
So during Baba's stay in Poona, Pendu had to remain in the hospital, with Aloba and Meherdas attending to his needs. Don also stayed in Poona to oversee Pendu's treatment. (Lord Meher-p-4793-1962)
In an interesting episode, on his return to Meherazad, Baba expressed His dissatisfaction with Padri and his management of Meherabad. Pendu and Padri were old friends, and Baba remarked, "No one is allowed to visit Meherabad, but the relatives of Padri's servants Nana and his wife Tani go there. This is not good, and Padri should be informed about it."
Addressing Pendu, Baba reprimanded, "Why haven't you mentioned this to Padri? Are you afraid of him?"
"I am not afraid of even his father!" Pendu declared.
The next day, Padri was summoned to Meherazad and Baba asked Pendu to tell him, "There is a ban on any outsider entering Meherabad. Why do you allow Tani's relatives to come there?"
Padri replied, "Tani stays in Meherabad all day long, and those in her household come to see her about work."
Pendu said, "If anyone comes to meet you, he is made to stand near the dhuni platform, where you go to speak with him. Can't Tani walk to the dhuni to meet with her relatives?"
Baba agreed. "What Pendu says is true. This partiality is not good. If Tani wishes to see anyone, she should meet them at the dhuni."
Padri said, "All right, from now on I will send her there."
Pendu continued, "If Tani is in Meherabad throughout the day, where does she bathe?"
"In the mandali's bathroom?"
"Look at this!" Pendu declared, "Is the bathroom meant for the mandali or for Tani?"
Baba commented, "Pendu is right. Tani should not bathe there. She has a house in the village and can bathe before coming to work." Padri acknowledged the validity of this point also.
Pendu continued the interrogation, "Nana and Tani are cultivators. Where is the thrashing yard for their grain?"
"In Meherabad," Padri answered.
"This is too much!" Pendu declared, "Are Nana and Tani your servants, or are you theirs?"
Baba remarked, "I did not know of this. Padri, what are you doing? I don't like it at all! It is good Pendu is bringing this out into the open. Reflecting on it, he has been unable to sleep at night because of it. This is why I have called you. Remove Nana's thrashing apparatus from Meherabad!" Padri agreed to do so.
Continuing, Pendu probed, "Where are Nana's oxen kept?"
"In Meherabad — but only when the grain is thrashed," Padri answered.
Pendu remarked to Baba, "Padri has become the king of Meherabad! He does what he likes there!"
Padri could be short-tempered. Upset, he retorted, "I will stop it all! If you want, I will also drive Nana and Tani away!"
"It will be better if you do so," shouted Pendu. "What a mess you have created!"
Baba was quite pleased with Pendu and instructed Padri, "Do not dismiss Nana and Tani, but stop everything else."
This incident is an example of obeying the Master's wish. Although close friends, Pendu put all his heart into scolding Padri, as Baba wished. Such incidents often occurred among the mandali. Baba would purposely create the friction. It was all to keep his pleasure, to help his close ones to burn up their attachments, and master perfect obedience. The same was the case with the women. Yet the clashes flourished against a background of amity in an atmosphere where, despite their personal differences, all resided as one family. (Lord Meher-p-4812-1962)