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)
10-BHAU KALCHURI (BHAU)
Bhau Kalchuri (January 13, 1926), born Vir Singh Kalchuri, is an Indian author, poet, trust administrator, and one of Meher Baba’s mandali (close disciples). Bhau Kalchuri is also the principle biographer of Meher Baba’s life.
Bhau Kalchuri was born one of seven children to well-to-do parents in a northern Indian village. When Bhau was ten, his father sent him to a district school for a better education, and from then on Bhau excelled in all his studies, completing master’s degrees in public administration, law, and chemistry.
At that time, Bhau had no special interest in spirituality, and in truth, did not understand what it was. Still, he was a devotional soul, and considering this and his studious tendencies, his colleagues and professors had nicknamed him Punditji. Daily he recited prayers with all his heart, but beyond that he knew nothing.
Two months before Baba's arrival in Nagpur, Bhau became restless and lost interest in his college studies. He went to Segaon, Mahatma Gandhi's ashram near Wardha, but was not happy there. Returning to Nagpur, he went to a Ramakrishna ashram, but there too he was disappointed. Thinking he would become a renunciant and live for the rest of his life in the Himalayas, Bhau wrote to a swami in Rishikesh, and the swami called him to Rishikesh on 9 January 1953. Bhau decided to inform his family, and relieve himself of all worldly burdens before joining the swami's ashram.
In the meantime, he had read in the newspapers that Meher Baba was to come to Nagpur. He had never heard the name so did not think it would be worthwhile to wait for him. So, on 25 December Bhau left Nagpur to meet his family, who resided 80 miles away. Clearing up matters for his wife and daughter, Bhau returned to Nagpur on the 30th. There he learned, again from the newspapers, that Baba was to give darshan in Saoner on the 31st. He was surprised, as he was under the impression that Meher Baba had come and gone. He did not know that Baba's programs had been postponed. So, because there was still some time left before he was to journey to Rishikesh, he considered taking Baba's darshan at Saoner. His sister Nira, whom he occasionally visited, lived in Saoner and was known to many people there. (Lord Meher-p-3231-1952)
Bhau decided to go for darshan the next day, taking with him his wife Rama and their seven-month-old baby daughter Sheela.
Meanwhile, at Meherazad, a qawaali program was held on the afternoon Baba arrived. On 25th December 1952, as per His sudden request. Adi Sr. brought an Ahmednagar singer, along with Sidhu. The next day Baba bowed to Kaka, Eruch, Adi Sr. and Don, while Don read out the Repentance Prayer.
Baba left Meherazad for Saoner on 29 December. Adi drove Baba in Sarosh's car, with Eruch and Chhagan. They arrived at Victoria Terminus, Bombay where Nariman, Meherjee, Jalbhai and Gadekar met them. Adi then returned to Ahmednagar as Baba was to take a train to Saoner. The other mandali joined Baba at Karanja, and all reached Saoner, 26 miles from Nagpur, the following evening. As previously instructed, Dhake had brought a select boy and also the boy's father.
For Baba's arrival, Saoner had been transformed into a festival ground. Reception festoons and buntings adorned every corner. Roads were swept and cleaned, arches constructed over them and a huge pavilion erected. Pophali Pleader and his sons, Abdul Majid Khan, Naib Tahsildar (a government officer), and many devotees from the surrounding villages of Ajangaon, Kheri, Angewada, Patkakhedi, Malegaon, Ajni and others were responsible for this marvelous metamorphosis of Saoner.
Baba stayed at the Circuit House and the mandali at the home of Bhawalkar Pleader. His daughter Basumati loved Baba dearly and in her intense devotion had stopped taking food and water. When Baba was in Amraoti, she was brought to him, and he fed her himself.
As Bhau got off the train at the Saoner station and entered the town he surveyed this wonderful scene. Instead of going to his sister's house, he, Rama and their baby went straight to the darshan pavilion. (Lord meher-p-3232-1952)
The message "The Divine Heritage of Man" was read out and darshan started. The people sitting in the queues had to go to Baba by scooting toward him on the ground. When they got to Baba they would stand, and Baba would smile at some, kiss some, and rest His hand in blessing on the heads of others. But when Bhau's turn came and he stood in front of Him, Baba looked in another direction and put a banana in Bhau's hand as prasad, without turning His face to him. Bhau was hustled away immediately, as there was a long queue of people waiting. The crowds were so dense that no person could stand before Baba for more than a few seconds.
Baba, being infinitely mischievous, played havoc with Bhau's feelings. His heart was totally restless and it longed to speak with Baba, but Baba had not even looked at him. Bhau ate the entire banana- including the skin! It was not a banana but a spark of divine fire, and on consuming it his whole being began to burn! (Lord Meher-p-3233-1952)
Bhau had not a clue who the companions with Meher Baba were, and he began asking each, "Are you with Baba?" At last Bhau met some of the mandali, but was told that an interview with Baba was not possible. Savak Kotwal suggested him to write to Adi's office in Ahmednagar. Ranga Rao of Andhra had come to Saoner with his son and Dr. Kanakadandi Suryanarayana of Eluru. Bhau met them, and though they too were new, Ranga Rao assured Bhau he could arrange for him to get an interview with Baba. Gadekar advised Bhau to read Jean Adriel's book, Avatar, and reiterated that an interview at this time was impossible.
The darshan lasted until evening, and when it was over Baba left for the Circuit House, where no visitor was allowed. Until nightfall, Bhau circled the bungalow in an uneasy frame of mind. All ideas of proceeding to Rishikesh were fading; he felt in his heart that the One for whom he had been searching was found.
Late at night he went to his sister's home. She had been worried about him and asked what the matter was. But Bhau did not divulge the reason for his restlessness.
Bhau could not sleep that night. He was about to leave the house at 4:00 A.M., when his sister asked where he was going so early. "For a walk," he said. She wanted to accompany him and her presence prevented him from proceeding to Baba's bungalow. When they returned, Bhau's brother-in-law, Ramlal Singh Gaharwar, asked him, "Why do you look so forlorn? You look positively lost."
"I'm all right," Bhau muttered. "Nothing is the matter with me. I'm just going out for a while."
Unbeknownst to Bhau, Ramlal's father, Maharaj Singh, had attended the Meherabad meeting of November 1952 to prepare for Baba's visit. Nira Devi (Bhau's sister) and Ramlal also had Baba's darshan in Saoner in 1944, but they had never told Bhau about it. Although Bhau had seen Baba's name for the first time in the newspapers, his initial meeting with the Divine Beloved set his heart afire.
Bhau again went towards the Circuit House. Ranga Rao, his son and Dr. Kanakadandi were on their way back to Andhra, but Ranga Rao's son desperately wanted a garland from Baba before they left. Thinking this was a good excuse to have Baba's darshan, Bhau asked Ranga Rao to give him a note, requesting a garland from Baba and offered to take it to the Circuit House. (Lord Meher-p-3234-1952)
Ranga Rao wrote the note, and Bhau went with it to Baba's bungalow.
One of the local lovers was on watch outside and did not allow Bhau to enter. Instead, he took the note from him and went inside, returning shortly with a garland. Bhau got the garland, but without seeing Baba. He left, and on the way picked up and ate any loose petals from the flowers which fell on the road. He gave the garland to Ranga Rao, who said, "Baba is to come to Andhra to give darshan. You should come to Andhra for the program. I will definitely arrange an interview with Baba there."
Bhau also met Babadas, whom Baba had kept on silence. He kept telling Bhau through hand signs to open the book, Avatar, and read certain sections of it. But Babadas did not know English, and no sooner would Bhau open the book and begin reading, than Babadas would motion to turn the page and read there. Then again, before Bhau could finish the passage, Babadas would turn the page and point to another section. Bhau could not meet any of the other mandali because they were all so busy.
Twenty thousand people assembled on 1st January 1953, for another program. Thousands of villagers, from places where there were Baba centers established, had poured into Saoner during the past few days. Ragho Patel, Moti Jagan Patel and other heads of different villages had brought hundreds of people with them for the two days of mass darshan. Saoner was merged in Baba's divine light. It was like Hamirpur all over again, replete with a raging fire which swept through the district and affected every heart.
Bhau tried again to attract Baba's attention while taking darshan, but on that day also Baba did not look at him. Baba's message "The Unquenching Fire of Spiritual Longing" was given, and at the end of the program Baba stated, "Due to the loving labor of Pophali Pleader and Abdul Majid Khan, Saoner is blessed by my presence. I will be leaving for Nagpur tomorrow."
Baba also visited several families in their homes, but because the visits were private, Bhau could not attend. Qawaali singing was held at Abdul Majid Khan's home, and during it Aloba began dancing as if in a trance. He was prevailed upon to stop and was sent back to Bhawalkar Pleader's, where the mandali were staying. (Lord Meher-p-3235-1952)
At last he met Vibhuti, an early disciple who had spread Baba's message throughout India. Vibhuti informed Baba about Bhau's sincere desire, and Baba sent word that Bhau should see Him in the afternoon at Verma's bungalow. Only then did Bhau discover where Baba was staying. At long last he was about to meet his heart's only Beloved face to face.
When Bhau went to Baba's residence that afternoon, qawaali music was being sung. Baba asked him, "What do you do?"
"I am about to appear for the final examination for my master's degree," Bhau said.
"What do you want?"
"To live with you."
"Are you married or single?"
"What is your wife's name?"
"Do you have any children?"
"A baby daughter named Sheela."
"Would you obey my instructions?"
"I have come with that preparedness."
Pankhraj was present and interjected, "Baba, he should know what you mean by obedience ..."
"He knows better than you!" Baba replied sharply. "He's a M.Sc. (masters of science degree)."
To Bhau, Baba continued, "If I tell you to go about naked begging, would you do it?"
"Leaving behind everything, would you be able to stay with me?"
"That is all I wish for."
"When is your examination?"
"Take the exam, and then come to Me wherever I am."
Bhau wanted to join Baba that very day. But he accepted Baba's wish and asked, "Could I attend the Andhra darshan?"
"If it doesn't interfere with your exam, you may come," Baba replied.
Bhau had Baba's order and firmly decided to join Him permanently after his exams. His wife, Rama, 20, had taken Baba's darshan twice in Saoner, and had also come to Nagpur with their infant daughter Sheela. Because of her own firm conviction, she did not interfere in Bhau's decision. (Lord Meher-p-3239-1953)
Bhau Kalchuri passed the examination for his master's degree and, as ordered by Baba, came to Mussoorie from Nagpur. Baba asked Bhau, "Are you firm in your resolve to stay with Me?"
"I am quite firm," Bhau stated. "That is why I have come."
"I am extremely pleased with you. In the darshan programs there were innumerable fishes," He remarked to the mandali, "but only one was caught!"
The next day, Baba called Bhau and asked him, "Are you prepared, on your own responsibility, to do as I order you?"
Bhau said that he was, and Baba continued, "I might ask you to stay here, or might ask you to go from place to place, or ask you to do certain work, certain things. Will you do it willingly?"
"Yes," Bhau replied.
"I might ask you to go to Bombay or to certain places and work with the lepers on My behalf, or go preaching, or go to Badrinath (in the Himalayas) and sit there, or go begging, or go to work as a tongawala, earn money and bring it to Me.
"In short, will you do whatever I ask you to do? I might, after a few months, tell you to go stay with your family for some months; I might ask you to go into business or attend to worldly affairs. This means you will have to do anything I dictate, whether you like it or not, but do it because I ask you to do it. If done willingly, then whatever you do will be for Me; whether good or bad, you will be doing it for Me."
Baba explained that if Bhau did something according to Baba's orders, the responsibility for that action would rest with Baba: "If all my orders are obeyed 100 percent with love, you will be free. (Lord Meher-p-3312-1953)
But if you let your mind come into the picture, it will cause great confusion. The mind is so treacherous that it is impossible to obey. Obedience must be 100 percent."
Baba then related stories about Upasni Maharaj to Bhau. One story was about a man named Taramek, who lived with Maharaj at Sakori and used to look after affairs in the ashram. Maharaj's spiritual mother, Durgabai Karmarkar, was also there, but rarely would she do any work. One day she and Taramek got into an argument. Maharaj told them to leave, because both had a love for money. There was another man named Mahadev. He was a farmer who loved Maharaj very much, and he did nothing but remember Maharaj all day long. One day the question arose at the ashram about Taramek working the whole day, but Mahadev doing no work at all. Maharaj said, "Those who do nothing for years together perform the most arduous work. To do nothing for years is great tapa (penance)."
Baba added, "Jawaharlal Nehru and Churchill, who hold the keys to their nations, do a great deal of work. But Nilkanthwala Mast, who does nothing and remains lying on his cot all day, does infinitely greater work than Nehru!
"What does doing nothing mean? To eat is work, to fast is also work; to sleep is work and to remain awake is work. The remedy then is: Whatever work is entrusted to us, if done according to the wishes of the person entrusting it, we have done nothing."
Baba explained at length about desires, how they are stored in the mind and how the mind generally revolts. At the end, he remarked to Bhau, "Now you will live for Me."
Although Bhau had been called for fifteen days, after three days Baba sent him back home. Baba instructed, "Go back to Nagpur and take complete rest for one month. Thereafter, come to Dehra Dun where I will break every bone in your body!
"Don't think I am sending you back. I will keep you with Me. It is definite." Baba gave Bhau certain instructions, and he and Deshmukh left. (Lord Meher-p-3313-1953)
Meher Baba taught Bhau many lessons of obedience, forbearance, anger to Bhau though self created episodes till Baba dropped His body. Most of these are described as under:
According to Baba's order, Bhau Kalchuri came to Dehra Dun to stay with Him permanently on 8th July 1953. Baba explained to him, "The first order I am giving you is to visit the rooms of the mandali every night and say loudly, 'You fools! Keep silence after nine o'clock!' "
Baba added, "This is only the beginning for you."
Bhau was a newcomer, the youngest of the mandali at 27, and some of the older members had been with Baba since the 1920s. Soon after sunset, Bhau became very nervous (and twice had to go to the toilet!). At last it was 9:00 P.M. and he started out on his "sadhana." He went to every room and, hesitatingly, did as Baba ordered. Nothing happened by his repeating the statement. All the men thought it was a joke and enjoyed it, though they did not know it was Baba's order. But when he came to Kaikobad's room, Bhau saw that Kaikobad was silently praying. Bhau opened the door and shouted, "You fool! Keep silence after nine o'clock!" Kaikobad turned to Bhau with a mingled look of surprise and anger, but his duty being over, Bhau hurriedly slipped away.
The next day Kaikobad told Vishnu, "This Bhau is an absolutely rude chap. Last night when I was praying in my room, he quietly opened my door, came in and said, 'You fool! Keep silence after nine o'clock!' I was, of course, already silent."
"He said the same thing to me," said Vishnu. "He is new and we should forget about it."
"He has a master's degree," Kaikobad continued, "but still is quite a fool. And he has no manners!"
The second night also Bhau repeated Baba's order, again disturbing Kaikobad in his prayer. What could Bhau do? It was his act of "prayer," and he had to do it. Kaikobad, though, again complained to Baba, who withdrew the order. Meanwhile, Bhau was assigned the duties of handling Hindi correspondence, night watch (for a few days), looking after Isa (the troublesome sweeper's son) and most importantly-attending to Nanga Mast. (Lord Meher-p-3361-1953)
Four days after Bhau's arrival in Dehra Dun, this mast of Najibabad (whom Baba had contacted in March) walked more than 62 miles to Dehra Dun. Seeing him on the road, Elcha informed Baba. He was about a mile away, and Baba sent a car to bring him. When he was brought, Baba ordered Bhau, "Serve this mast.
Attend to his wants and look after him well." Bhau had never seen a mast before and he was not quite sure what Baba saw in him. All Bhau could see was a man completely naked, with thick matted hair, covered from head to foot with years of dirt from never washing. After bathing Nanga Mast, Baba showed Bhau the room where the mast was to be kept. The mast was made to lie down on a bed, and provision for his toilet was made. He was like a majzoob, mostly unconscious of his body, though he was often seen wandering about.
After instructing Bhau, Baba returned to His bungalow. Going to His room, Bhau began his correspondence work. After a short while, Baba came back from His bungalow and went straight to the mast's room. Bhau followed and was taken aback by the scene. The mast had moved his bowels, excreting in the bed, and it was filthy. Baba looked at Bhau but did not say anything. Instead, He Himself cleaned the bed and the mast, and Bhau felt ashamed for not being more attentive.
From that day onward, Bhau dedicated himself to the care of the mast, but daily Baba would find some fault with him. The mast would pass stools four or five times a day, and each time Bhau had to clean him and wash his clothes and sheets. Baba would come abruptly to the mast's room, at any time, and would always take Bhau to task for some minor fault.
When Bhau would bring the mast his food, the mast would tell him, "You eat it, you eat it!" It took Bhau a long time to feed the mast; only with great difficulty would he be prevailed upon to eat something.
One day the mast was clean and everything in the room was absolutely spotless. Bhau thought Baba would be pleased at last. But no sooner had Baba come than the mast urinated in the bed, and Baba reproved Bhau.
Usually, the mast had a peaceful temperament, but one night he slapped Bhau soundly. Bhau was convinced the mast must be truly mad.
The next day, Baba asked Bhau, "Speak the truth; what do you think of Nanga Baba?"
Bhau replied, "I have no idea about masts, but this one seems to be quite mad."
"How did you pass your M.A. degree?" Baba asked. "Did you have to bribe someone?)
You have no sense at all. You say he is mad, but I tell you he is a mast, an advanced soul. He is not mad; you are mad!"
Bhau paid more and more attention to the mast, but the more attentive he became, the more Baba rebuked him and pointed out various small mistakes that Bhau would never have thought of. Day and night he looked after Nanga Baba. The moment the mast would urinate, Bhau would clean the bed and change the sheets. The mast would never leave the bed and use the toilet, and though Bhau did his best to induce him to use the commode in his room, he was unsuccessful.
One day something incredible happened. After all the scolding he had taken on the mast's account, Bhau resolved that this day, at least, there would be no cause for Baba to be upset. Very early in the morning he cleaned and scrubbed the mast's room. He put fresh linens on the bed and kept extra bed sheets ready in case the mast spoiled the ones on his bed. Finally everything was ready, and Bhau stood outside the door waiting for Baba to come.
Baba arrived, walked into the room, and Bhau followed. As if struck by lightning, Bhau was dazed by the sight that met his eyes! A part of the wall next to the mast's bed had collapsed. Luckily, it had fallen outward, away from the mast. The amazing thing was that the wall had been in good condition, and Bhau had been standing just outside the room, and yet had heard nothing. Very displeased, Baba asked him, "Did I give you the duty of serving Nanga Baba or killing him? Had the wall fallen inwardly, he would surely have been crushed. Have you no eyes?" Bhau was aghast and could not reply.
"Why don't you speak?" Baba demanded. "Do you want to kill My mast? Is that why you have come here?"
Bhau finally stammered, "It is beyond my understanding. How could such a strong wall have collapsed? It was all right just moments ago."
"If your intellect does not help you, why try to use it? I say he is not mad, so why do you still use your brain and think he is? Now, tell Me how the wall came down."
"I don't know. Such a solid wall could never have fallen on its own, and I didn't hear a thing. I can't understand it."
"Give up reasoning and simply do as I tell you," Baba advised.
Other incidents firmly convinced Bhau that Nanga Mast was not an ordinary man. For example, Bhau had appeared for his college exams, but the results had not yet been announced. One night the mast suddenly said to him, "You will pass." This was astonishing, as the mast seldom spoke, and if he ever did, whatever he muttered or mumbled was totally unintelligible. And Bhau had never mentioned to Nanga Baba that he had taken college exams. The very next day, true to the mast's words, a telegram arrived that Bhau had passed his exams.
Another night, Bhau was sitting by the mast when he said, "You will have a son."
Bhau's wife, Rama, was still in Nagpur with their infant daughter and was pregnant. Four months later, Bhau received a telegram that a son was born to him. Bhau had thought the mast insane, but one day when the mast spoke about the greatness of Meher Baba, Bhau's eyes were opened. After these incidents, Bhau realized that the mast was not a madman. (Lord Meher-p-3362/3/4-1953)
Baba started giving two hours of night watch duty to Bhau in Mahabaleshwar. Krishna would be on watch from 9:00 P.M. to 4:00 A.M., and Bhau from 4:00 to 6:00 A.M. At six o'clock, Rano would come for half an hour. At the time, those on duty had to sit outside Baba's room and be alert and watchful; only when Baba clapped did they enter his room. When their duty was over, they were to lock Baba's room from outside and then leave, handing the key to their replacement.
One night Krishna locked Baba's room and forgot to tell Bhau where he had put the key. Shortly, Baba clapped, and Bhau frantically searched for the key. There was a window which Bhau pushed open and looked inside. Baba gestured for him to come in but Bhau replied, "The room is locked."
Baba again signaled, indicating that he should open the door and come in at once, because Baba wanted to urinate. Bhau replied that he could not find the key, and Baba gestured that he was quite useless and that he was to sit back down. Baba himself got up and took the pan to pass urine. Due to these frantic, tense moments, Bhau was perspiring even in the winter cold.
The episode did not end here. Krishna had told Bhau that he should tell Rano that Baba wanted to be awakened between 6:30 and 7:00 A.M. When Rano came Bhau gave her the information, but she counter-questioned, "Am I to wake him at 6:30 or 7:00?"
Puzzled, Bhau hesitated then replied, "At seven."
When Baba came to the mandali's quarters at eight, He teased Bhau, "I fail to comprehend how you passed your M.A.! You have no sense at all." He then informed the others what had happened during the night, and the other men had a good laugh. (Lord Meher-p-3424-1954)
In April 1954, Bhau was sent on a three-month tour throughout the state of Madhya Pradesh in Central India to give talks on Baba and spread His name. At first, Bhau did not want to go, but Baba stated it was important work, and later, many people became devoted to Baba as a result. Nana Kher accompanied Bhau on the tour.
It was during their journey that the 78-year-old renowned saint of Maharashtra, Gadge Maharaj (who had a large following of his own devotees) came into the love orbit of Meher Baba. Bhau and Nana went to a place where a large gathering of Gadge Maharaj's devotees was being held. Bhau requested that the saint allow him to say a few words about Meher Baba. Gadge Maharaj agreed and told him to wait on the platform. The saint then proceeded to sing a kirtan about God and Lord Krishna, and it went on for several hours.
Bhau began thinking: "This old man has deceived me! He told me I could speak, but he goes on singing! ... Should we leave?" He glanced at Nana, who was also growing restless.
By now, it was midnight. The huge crowd was absorbed in the kirtan performance. Soon after midnight, Gadge Maharaj told Bhau to speak. Bhau spoke for two and a half hours, and later realized that Gadge Maharaj's songs had raised the pitch of the audience to an intense climax, thus preparing them to hear about the Avatar of the Age. (Lord Meher-p-3544-1954)
Baba's dictation of God Speaks to Eruch continued in Satara, and Eruch completed his writing work in July. Bhau, who had returned from his tour at the beginning of July, was given the duty of organizing the material into chapters, and getting the manuscript typed. A local typist was hired, who typed it, working eight hours a day. Bhau would read the material to him as he typed, so the manuscript was finished in about a week or so. (Lord Meher-p-3549-1954)
March 21st 1955, was the Irani New Year of Jamshed-e-Navroz. On this festival, it is customary to have a sweet, cool drink made with milk called falooda. When Baba came to Rosewood, He told Bhau to go back to Grafton to bring the drink for the mandali. Bhau thought some servant would be there to carry the large pot of liquid, but as soon as he arrived, two women servants lifted the pot onto his head. It was so heavy they had trouble lifting it.
Grafton was about 600 feet from Rosewood, and in between was the house of the property manager, Sohrabji Damania. Damania knew Bhau and was friendly with him. Bhau was embarrassed by doing such menial labor, and fervently hoped he would not come across Sohrabji just then. Although his neck was bent, and his shoulders ached under the weight, he was glad that today Baba was kind, in that Sohrabji was not seen on the road. But, just as he was thinking this, Sohrabji appeared from a side lane and offered his namaskar (greeting) to Bhau. Bhau felt ashamed, but Sohrabji did not linger and went on his way. Bhau began thinking that Baba had not only made him labor much, but had also made him face this awkward situation!
He arrived at Rosewood, where Pendu and Eruch lifted the burden from his head. "Was the pot heavy?" Baba asked.
Before Bhau could reply, Eruch interposed, "It is very heavy!"
Pendu observed, "One would break his back were one to carry such a load for long."
Baba asked Bhau, "Did anyone see you on the way?"
"Only Sohrabji," Bhau lamented.
Seeing the expression on Bhau's face, the men burst out laughing, and Baba asked, "Did you feel ashamed?"
"Very much so!"
"How will you obey Me if you feel ashamed by being seen by others? You will act according to the ways of the world and not according to Me. He who has thought for Me does not care for the world! I will see to your sense of shame in Khuldabad."
Baba then ladled out a portion of the falooda into a small pot and told Bhau to take it to Sohrabji. He did so and Sohrabji asked him, "Don't you have any servants to carry such a heavy load?"
We are all servants of Baba," Bhau said. "It is our good fortune that Baba assigns us such work."
When he returned, Baba asked what Sohrabji had said, and Bhau reported it. Baba advised him, "Learn to live like a stone! People trample on it, and in the form of an idol also worship it, but is the stone affected thereby? Not in the least. Whether it is kicked, spit upon or worshiped, it remains unaffected. All of you should consciously be like the stone. You will attain the goal of life if you become like a stone." (Lord Meher-p-3679/80-1955)
Baba's night watchman had to sit outside His room at Grafton and go in when Baba clapped. One evening Bhau went to Baba's room for night watch, and as always Baba warned him: "Don't make any noise; don't make any movement; and keep awake!" Baba would repeat these same three instructions daily. After this, Baba asked Bhau to go out and take his seat. Before leaving the room, Baba's door was to be closed then Bhau sat outside on the chair.
Usually, every 20 or 30 minutes, Baba would invariably clap; but that night He did not clap for two hours. Bhau's legs grew stiff from sitting rigidly in one position and the mosquitoes were biting — but Bhau did not move at all. After two hours, Bhau heard Baba snoring loudly. Thinking that it was now his chance, he began lifting his leg very slowly, without making the slightest noise. But the instant he started to raise his leg, Baba clapped.
Bhau went in, and Baba asked, "Why did you move?"
Stunned, Bhau replied, "My legs had fallen asleep and I was trying to straighten them out."
Gesturing, Baba said, "You moved thinking I was asleep. But remember, even in sleep, My eyes roam over the entire universe. When I can see so far, can I not see you who are so near to Me? Don't ever think that because you are outside, I cannot see you! Even in sleep, I see everything, and I hear even the breathing of a stone! My sleep is conscious sleep."
Another night, the mosquitoes were particularly thick and pestering Bhau terribly. Slowly, he raised his hand to swish them away. Baba clapped just at that moment and rebuked him for moving. While on watch, one had to sit like a statue, and even check the urge to urinate. It was next to impossible to be on watch near Baba; and when, after the accident, the watchman had to sit inside Baba's room, it became even more difficult.
Clapping one night at Satara, Baba summoned Bhau inside, whereupon he made some hand signs. He raised both arms widely, and Bhau thought Baba wanted to embrace him. Overjoyed, Bhau spread his arms to receive the hug. Baba looked puzzled and asked, "What are you doing? I told you to pull the covering over Me, and here you want to sit on My chest!" Bhau suppressed his laughter, and after adjusting the blanket walked out of the room.
The next morning, Baba informed the mandali, "Last night, I was feeling cold and called this man inside to spread my blanket — and he comes to embrace me! I felt so frightened my heart was palpitating!" Baba and everyone had a hearty laugh at Bhau's mistake.
Another night when Bhau was on watch near Baba, this thought came into his mind: "You have to write books." Bhau was startled, but for several minutes kept hearing this sentence repeated over and over. At the time, Bhau could not understand its meaning, and four years would pass before Baba mentioned anything about writing books. Bhau was told only to reply to letters and compose an occasional article or speech. But later, beginning in 1959, Bhau was told to write different books, and Lord Meher is one of those Baba ordered him to write! (Lord Meher-p-3718/9-1955)
Soon after 11:00 P.M., Baba retired for the night. To keep watch by His side, He had organized the mandali into four pairs in one and a half hour shifts: Kishan Singh and Kumar, Nilu and Nariman, Bhau and Adi Sr., and Pendu and Meherjee. The first pair did their duty but they could not follow Baba's gestures and would often disturb Pendu to interpret them. Nariman and Nilu took over, and their hour passed smoothly. Then it was Bhau and Adi's turn, and Nariman and Nilu went to sleep just outside Baba's room. Soon Nilu began snoring. Baba asked Bhau who was making the noise.
Bhau said Nilu, and Baba told him to wake him, which Bhau did.
Nilu indignantly stammered, "What's the matter?"
Bhau said, "You were snoring so loudly, Baba told me to wake you up."
"I am awake, I was not sleeping! Someone else must have been snoring. Why have you come to me?" Bhau went back to Baba and reported what Nilu had said, and Baba laughed.
Then Nariman started snoring and by Baba's instruction, Bhau awakened him also. Nariman protested, "What? I am keeping awake the whole night. How could I be snoring? Have you gone insane?"
Thus Nariman and Nilu went back to sleep and kept snoring, and each time Bhau kept waking them up. Each time, both would claim, "No, we are not asleep. Why are you bothering us?"
Baba found the situation hilarious, but Bhau was embarrassed and at last told Adi, "Both of them are furious with me. Now you go wake them up." And Adi was confronted with the same answers. (Lord Meher-p-3928/9-1956)
From 19th February 1956, Baba left Jal Villa and again began staying at Grafton at Dehradun with the women mandali. Bhau, besides attending to Baba, was still looking after the "needs" of Krishnaji, who treated him like a common servant. Krishnaji occupied a room in Jal Villa, and when Baba ordered the bungalow vacated, Krishnaji ordered Bhau to carry his luggage to Rosewood. Bhau rolled up Krishnaji's bedding, put it on his head and carried Krishnaji's trunk in his hands. Walking to Rosewood, Krishnaji led the way, swinging a walking stick, and Bhau followed him like a coolie.
Nilu saw them and asked Bhau whose luggage it was. Bhau replied that it was Krishnaji's. Nilu became furious and asked, "Are you his servant?"
"Baba has ordered me to do this work," Bhau replied.
Nilu was extremely upset and went straight to Grafton, where he complained before Baba. Bhau was sent for, and Baba asked him, "Why did you carry Krishnaji's luggage on your head?"
Bhau was startled by the question and said, "It was your order, Baba!"
"Yes, it was My order but you have no sense! As long as a flower is fresh, its fragrance lingers and it is to be cherished — but when it dries up, it is thrown away! I gave Krishnaji the chance to remain like a fresh flower, but he could not. Now he is dried up, so throw him out! I will again give him another chance, and if he benefits by My love, he will be fortunate."
Much relieved, Bhau returned to Rosewood, and within minutes Krishnaji began browbeating him as to why he had not yet unrolled his bedding. "Look after it yourself!" Bhau retorted. "I have no time to attend to you."
Krishnaji reported this to Baba, who explained, "Where is the time for Bhau? He works from morning until night. Have pity on him." Krishnaji kept quiet.
Two days later, Baba ordered Krishnaji to get a haircut and shave, and he had to do it.
In Satara, Baba had asked Bhau to grow a (Fu Manchu) Chinese-style mustache, which he had done. Several times, when he went to the post office, people would look at him and laugh. Once someone asked. "Why are you growing this type of mustache? It looks uncouth."
Bhau replied, "I am going to China and I am trying to follow their ways and customs so that I may be accepted as one of them."
"But you don't look Chinese!" the man argued. "What are you going to do about that?" Bhau said, "Well, if my features aren't Chinese, at least my mustache is!" (Lord Meher-p-3947-19567)
In 1956, a strange event occurred in Satara. Baba was on His way from Grafton to Rosewood with Bhau and Aloba, when He saw a fifteen-year-old boy collecting cowdung on the road. Calling him, Baba asked, "What are you doing?"
The lad began weeping. "My family is poor," he said.
Baba instructed him, "Go home and come to Rosewood after washing." The boy left and Baba went to the mandali's quarters at Rosewood.
The boy, whose name was Ismail, came to Rosewood and Baba asked him, "Don't you go to school?" He replied he had quit school.
"If you are sent to a school, will you go?" Baba asked. "We will meet the expenses."
The boy answered, "I don't want to go to school."
Baba asked Pendu to pay the boy one rupee, and taking it, he walked home. After he had left, Baba remarked to the mandali, "The lad seems to be clever. It would be better if he goes to school."
Shortly thereafter, Ismail returned. After inquiry, he said, "I have come back to return your rupee. My mother says not to accept anything without working for it."
"There is not much work here," Baba replied, "but if you agree to study, it can be arranged."
"I told you I don't want to go to school! But if someone were to tutor me here, I will come for lessons."
Baba turned to the mandali and gestured, "Bhau, you teach him and acquire his blessings! At least learn how to do some good for others!"
Ismail chimed in, "If he teaches me, I promise to study."
So Baba gave the duty of schoolmaster to Bhau. Bhau was soon to learn how Ismail, besides being his pupil, also would become his boss! (Lord Meher-p-3907-1956)
Baba said that the boy was clever and He wanted him to study as if he were in school. Baba had ordered Bhau to tutor him, and one day calling Bhau to Grafton, Baba observed, "Ismail is a very good boy, teach him with all your heart. He has studied up to the fourth standard; but see that he passes the matriculation exam within a year!"
This meant accelerating from a fourth grader to a high school graduate within a year! Naturally, this seemed an impossible task to Bhau, but Baba added, "Don't worry about it. I will help inwardly. Just try your best."
Going to the market, Bhau bought books for Ismail and started teaching him. Two days later, Baba told Bhau, "Ismail has no clothes; go to the bazaar and purchase expensive outfits for him, so that he remains pleased and pays attention to his studies. I am helping you so that within one year you will make him pass his matriculation."
So Bhau bought fine clothes for Ismail, and a few days after this, Baba commented, "Ismail's parents are very poor and he does not eat good food at home. When he doesn't have proper nourishment, how do you expect him to apply his intellect? If you want him to pass the matriculation exam in a year, then first provide good food for him."
"How am I to arrange food for him?" Bhau asked.
"How much help I am giving you!" Baba said. "I am telling you to do all this, so that you may enable him to pass the exam in a year. Just approach his parents and pay them every month whatever they spend on cooking food for him. Don't worry about money, I will provide everything needed."
Visiting Ismail's parents, Bhau made arrangements with them to provide good meals, milk, fruits and sweets for the boy, and Baba was pleased. But he further ordered, "Just do one thing more. Go to Ismail's house every morning and bring him to Rosewood for studying, and accompany him back home when he is through. If he falls into bad company, cold water will be thrown on his studies! And if that happens, you won't be able to make him pass.
Daily, Bhau began fetching Ismail and escorting him back to his house in the evenings. Again, after several days passed, Baba reprimanded, "You are not taking proper care of Ismail. It is so hot, and you are bringing him unprotected in this heat! If his health suffers, his studies will be ruined, and you won't be able to help him pass his exam in one year — and that would be disobeying me! Bring him to Rosewood shielded by an umbrella, so that he won't be affected by the sun. What help I am giving you! Do you ever think about it?"
Therefore, Bhau had to begin holding an umbrella over Ismail's head, while the neighbors were wondering why so much honor and respect was being showered on a poor boy who used to collect cowdung! At first, Ismail was studying well, but the more he was pampered, the more careless he became toward his studies — and the more he began arrogantly troubling Bhau.
Several days later, Baba instructed Bhau, "Bring Ismail to Grafton every day. He needs some refreshments to maintain his health and he will also be more attentive to his studies!" So Bhau would take the boy to Grafton, with the umbrella over his head, and Baba would make him sit on the sofa in front of him, while Bhau remained standing. Such was the teacher's condition: the pupil was sitting comfortably on the sofa, and the teacher had to stand before him. Goher would bring a tray full of eatables and a glass of sherbet, and Bhau would offer them to Ismail. And when the boy finished, Bhau had to wash his plate and glass.
This heaping of indulgences on Ismail made a dent in Bhau's forbearance. The room in which Bhau was tutoring him contained a bed, and Ismail would lie down on it. When Bhau would tell him to read, he would say, "Just wait a minute. I am tired, let me rest. I will read afterwards." At times, relaxing against some pillows, he would stretch out his legs, and when Bhau would ask him to be attentive to his studies, he would reply, "You read, I will listen. It is your duty to teach me; continue lecturing for two hours."
The result of all this was that Ismail would not learn anything. Even after hours of persuasion, he would say, "What is there in your teaching?
If Baba's nazar is there, I will learn everything in a second!" Baba would go on praising Ismail and castigating Bhau. This happened almost daily. But Ismail did do one good thing for Bhau. Once he told Baba, "I don't like Bhau's mustache. He accompanies me from my home every day, and people laugh at him!" So Baba immediately ordered Bhau to shave off his Chinese mustache, and that was just fine with Bhau.
Dealing with Ismail was a long lesson in tolerance for Bhau. Had he not been so mischievous, how else would Bhau have the chance to control his temper and learn to keep quiet? Baba had arranged matters with this end in mind, and Ismail played his part to perfection. Occasionally, he would taunt Bhau with such words: "You'd better learn how to teach better! You don't know how to do it. How far have you yourself studied?"
Or, at times, he would say, "Your pulse is in my hands! If I mention one word of complaint to Baba, you will find yourself in an awful plight!"
Thus, during the stay at Satara, Bhau found himself saddled with this "worthy" pupil. (Lord Meher-p-3948/48/50-1956)
After returning from England, America and Australia, Baba resumed his seclusion work in Satara. He stayed at Grafton with the women, but worked at Judge's Bungalow with Kaikobad. The men mandali at Rosewood were under orders not to speak to any woman. One day Baba sent Bhau to the town market to buy brooms, which were usually sold only by women. Bhau looked for but failed to find any brooms being sold by a man. As he was wondering whether to buy some or not, a woman stepped away from her stall or shop leaving her son in charge. Bhau immediately went to him and bought five brooms. He was about to hand over the money when the mother returned. Throwing the money on the ground, Bhau hurried off with the brooms, thus avoiding speaking to the woman. The woman looked at him, shaking her head at his peculiar behavior.
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."4115-1956
From the time Krishna Nair joined Baba during the early 1940s in Bangalore, he had been doing night watch by Baba's side. But from Satara, Baba had sent him back to his home in Kerala. One day in March 1957, at 3:00 P.M. when Bhau went to Baba for his watch, Baba asked, "Do you know Krishna's address?"
Bhau replied, "No, but I have heard he is in Bombay."
Baba looked serious and asked, "I must send him an important telegram. How can it be sent?"
Bhau replied, "Sorabji Siganporia (the secretary of the Bombay Center) may be aware of Krishna's whereabouts. If a telegram is sent to him, he will inform Krishna."
Baba then dictated this telegram: "Don't worry. I am with you. I will never abandon you. Love, Baba."
He instructed Bhau to send it at once. Coming out of Baba's room, Bhau learned that the boy who daily carried messages and mail to Ahmednagar had already left for town. Bhau returned to Baba and informed him. Baba was extremely distraught and gestured, "If he has left, then another boy should have been sent. How can I trust you now? You are useless! You don't understand the significance of my work. I said at once, and I meant at once!"
The fact was that the other servant boys were under Kaka Baria's reign, and Kaka was the type of man who was so strict in his manner with the other mandali that they dared not even talk with these boys.
Baba tore the paper that the telegram was written on into pieces and continued to reproach Bhau. The barrage of rebukes lasted in one form or another until 5:00 P.M., when He dictated another telegram for Krishna: "You are dear to Me. Have courage. Everything will be all right."
Bhau was ordered to send it immediately with another boy. So Bhau asked Kaka to tell another boy to take the telegram to town. "The other boy has gone to bring milk," Kaka snapped. "Do you expect me to take the telegram? Why didn't you send it with the errand boy this morning?"
Bhau returned to Baba and reported that the telegram remained unsent. This further upset him, and for two hours he ranted and raved at Bhau, who had to listen to Baba's tirade of choice abuses. Evening Baba asked for sherbet, which Bhau handed Him in a glass. After taking two sips, he handed the glass to Bhau and motioned to him to drink the rest. Baba's mood suddenly changed. He became jovial, chitchatting and joking.
Baba's strange behavior that evening perplexed Bhau, and when he returned to his room, he made a note of the date and time. The mystery was cleared up a few weeks later when Baba visited the Saint Mira High School in Poona to give darshan. Krishna Nair attended the function, and Bhau spoke with him. Without telling him why he was inquiring, Bhau learned that on the same day Baba had caused such a storm in Meherazad, Krishna, out of desperation, had gone up a mountain to commit suicide. (Lord Meher-p-4150/1-1957)
In 1957, once, Baba asked Bhau to bring Gustadji a plate, and then instructed him to go to his room and write what Baba said was a very urgent letter. Just as Bhau was about to start writing, Baba clapped for him. Pointing to a few crumbs on the floor that had fallen from Gustadji's plate, Baba gestured, "Clean this up or ants will come here." Bhau did as he was instructed. "Now go, go!" Baba gestured. "Finish that letter; it is urgent and most important."
Bhau returned to his room, but hardly had he finished two lines when Baba clapped again. "Gustadji wants a glass of water," he told Bhau. "Bring it for him."
The other mandali were seated in the hall, unoccupied, but Baba had called Bhau away from his work to perform this task. "That old man [Gustadji] is doing this on purpose to harass me," Bhau thought. Nevertheless, once again he did as he was told.
Baba then motioned, "Finish that letter! Hurry! You must complete it before the boy leaves with the mail for Ahmednagar."
Again, Bhau went to his room. But five minutes later, Baba called him to clean more crumbs from under Gustadji's plate. Then he asked, "Have you finished that letter?"
Bhau was so irritated by this time that he blurted out, "How could I finish it, Baba? You keep calling me every two minutes — and Gustadji is just sitting here doing nothing but causing trouble!"
Baba replied, "Is he doing nothing? He is doing much more important work than you! The work Gustadji does by sitting by My side here is such that you can never do it even while working your utmost for Me. The reason is that he sees to My pleasure. You are obeying Me that is true. I asked you to write the letter, and you are complying, but your obedience does not give Me pleasure. He is doing this purposefully because he knows that it pleases Me. Gustadji's obedience gives Me pleasure. He knows what I want and he does it in order to please Me.
"It is My pleasure that he should eat sweets, which he does. It is My wish that he should want something or other from you, which he does. While pleasing Me, he has never had a thought that you are disturbed in your work. If he did that, then he would be keeping your pleasure, not Mine.
He knows what pleases Me, but you don't! You know he is doing all this to please Me. Yet, without having any thought for My pleasure, you on the contrary become angry with him. And you think that you are working while Gustadji is doing nothing, but sitting here and eating sweets. He really works! Whatever work you do is useless. If I do not give any sweets to Gustadji and send them to you with him, he would do it willingly without thinking any other thoughts. This is called work!
"So, he is doing much more important work than you. Both of you are obeying Me 100 percent, but the difference is that his obedience is giving Me pleasure, yours is not." (Lord Meher-p-4192/3-1957)
"The mast never left before, how is it he wandered off today?"
"It is truly surprising," Bhau said. "I looked for him on the road in all directions, but could not find him anywhere. I do not know where he was or how he happened to be coming back."
Baba replied, "You did not pay proper attention to My warnings, and that is why he left. Let this be a lesson to you."
In 1956, one day a mast-like man named Rambhau was brought to Satara from Poona by Baidul. He was not a full-fledged mast, but was somewhat spiritually intoxicated, having a "whiff" of the Path. Bhau was ordered to care for him — to serve him food, make his bed and generally see to all his requirements. In addition, Baba ordered Bhau to wash and lay his head on Rambhau's feet seven times each day.
On one occasion, Baba instructed Bhau, "Today, I will cut Rambhau's hair and bathe him, so have everything ready by 1:30 P.M." Baba warned him three or four times to keep the mast ready and added, "I will cut his hair at exactly 1:30. Be alert and see that Rambhau does not leave the bungalow then."
Rambhau would never go outside; he would always remain seated docilely in one place. Bhau made the necessary arrangements and kept Rambhau ready. But, while he was in the bathroom, Rambhau slipped out of his room and, for the first time, walked off.
Exactly at 1:30 P.M., Baba arrived at Rosewood from Grafton. Bhau left the bathroom and went to Rambhau's room to fetch him. He was stunned to find the room vacant. Bhau had left him alone for only five minutes, never thinking he would behave like this. Terribly distraught, Bhau searched throughout the bungalow compound but could not find him. Baba sent for him and asked, "Didn't I tell you to bring the mast? What were you doing? I am waiting here for you ... Where is he?"
Bhau faltered, "The mast has gone somewhere."
Baba was furious and scolded Bhau, "I warned you repeatedly to be attentive, be very attentive. Still, you did not listen to me. How careless you are! How can I trust you?
You have spoiled my work."
He then ordered, "Find Rambhau and bring him within half an hour or else you will have to pack your things and leave!"
Bhau rode a bicycle and searched up and down the roads, but he could not find Rambhau. Frightened and dejected, he returned empty-handed. Baba was still fuming. Baba sent him out again with Pendu in the car, but they could not locate the mast.
Rambhau had disappeared. Bhau stood guiltily before Baba, feeling the ground slipping out from under his feet. At last, Baba ordered him, "Now, go out on foot. Find the mast and come back with him within five minutes. Otherwise, you will not be allowed to remain here."
Bhau left and saw Rambhau walking on the road back to the bungalow! Bhau felt a profound relief at seeing him. He took him to Baba immediately, who asked, "Where did you find him?"
"On the road."
"The mast never left before, how is it he wandered off today?"
"It is truly surprising," Bhau said. "I looked for him on the road in all directions, but could not find him anywhere. I do not know where he was or how he happened to be coming back."
Baba replied, "You did not pay proper attention to My warnings, and that is why he left. Let this be a lesson to you."
It was later learned that Rambhau had hidden himself in a public urinal, and when Baba had sent Bhau out again to search for him, Rambhau had just stepped back onto the road. (Lord Meher-p-4118-1956)
Baba reached Ashiana on the 8th, he told Bhau, "Despite whatever I may tell you, eat your meals to the fullest." Bhau did not completely understand what Baba meant, but he said he would. He was only eating one meal a day, as he had to be on watch near Baba from early in the evening until midnight. Eruch, too, would eat only once a day.
The first night, Baba remarked, "Plenty of good food will be available at Ashiana during our stay, so drink only one cup of tea in the morning (at Rupamai's) and then come here to eat." At midnight, Bhau had to trudge almost a mile and a half to Rupamai's, and then return to Ashiana by seven o'clock in the morning.
The next afternoon, when everyone was seated for lunch, Baba sat next to Bhau and asked, "How much are you eating? Your plate is overflowing! Are you a giant? If you eat all this, what will be left for the others?"
Addressing the mandali he continued, "Look how much Bhau eats! What kind of manners does he have?" Baba went on belittling Bhau in front of the others until lunch was over, and Bhau felt very upset about it. Baba's taunts about Bhau's gargantuan appetite became a daily ritual at lunchtime, so Bhau began taking only one slice of bread. Twenty days passed like this, but Baba did not let up for a single day, teasing and harassing Bhau whenever he sat down for lunch. Each day, Baba would come and sit next to him, and unleash a string of comments and criticisms about him and his appetite.
As lunchtime would approach each day, Bhau began to feel nervous, and would while away some time by pretending to have to go to the toilet, coming back to the table only long enough to consume his solitary piece of bread. But Baba would not leave him alone.
Finally, one day Bhau got exasperated. He said to Baba, "From tomorrow, I will not come for food. Give me only eight annas [50 paisa] a day and I will make my own [food] arrangements outside. For the past three weeks, I have been living on one piece of bread, and still you do not leave me alone and keep taunting me that I eat like a giant!"
Baba replied, "What a fool you are! The very first day, I told you that despite what I say, you should have your fill. Isn't that so? But you disobeyed me. You broke my order. And every day, when you were breaking my order by not eating, you were breaking my heart! How hurt I felt when you would not eat well."
Bhau realized his mistake and started eating regularly. Baba continued to taunt him, but was pleased that Bhau now ate in spite of it.
The story does not end here. Six months later, when Baba was again staying at Ganeshkhind in Poona, several Bombay and Poona lovers were called. At lunch, everyone sat down to eat and Baba also took a chair opposite Bhau. In the presence of all, he asked Bhau, "How is it that you eat like a giant? If you do so, others will go hungry!" Bhau acted as if he did not hear him and continued eating, whereupon, Baba commented, "See how shameless this fellow is! I tell him he takes too much food, yet he goes on stuffing his mouth. This is the height of brazenness."
Those present glared at Bhau, but in obedience to Baba, he kept on eating. Baba kept criticizing him, and Sorabji Siganporia looked at Bhau, puzzled by his actions. What could Bhau say? The fact was that by eating once a day, his intake was comparatively less than the others.
Baba left after the meal was over, and the guests asked Bhau, "You are one of the mandali; how can you disobey Baba?"
"I was very hungry," Bhau replied.
"But it was Baba's wish that you should not eat. Would it have killed you to miss one meal? When you cannot do such a small thing, how can you serve Baba properly?"
Laughing, Bhau replied, "I serve only my stomach, and despite how it appears, it really is not against Baba's wish."
In the evening when he went to Baba, Baba embraced him and said, "Today, I am very happy with you. (Lord Meher-p-4210/11-1957)
In 1955, Baba's night watchman had to sit outside his room at Grafton and go in when Baba clapped. One evening Bhau went to Baba's room for night watch, and as always Baba warned him: "Don't make any noise; don't make any movement; and keep awake!" Baba would repeat these same three instructions daily. After this, Baba asked Bhau to go out and take his seat. Before leaving the room, Baba's door was to be closed, and then Bhau sat outside on the chair.
Usually, every 20 or 30 minutes, Baba would invariably clap; but that night he did not clap for two hours. Bhau's legs grew stiff from sitting rigidly in one position and the mosquitoes were biting — but Bhau did not move at all. After two hours, Bhau heard Baba snoring loudly. Thinking that it was now his chance, he began lifting his leg very slowly, without making the slightest noise. But the instant he started to raise his leg, Baba clapped.
Bhau went in, and Baba asked, "Why did you move?"
Stunned, Bhau replied, "My legs had fallen asleep and I was trying to straighten them out."
Gesturing, Baba said, "You moved thinking I was asleep. But remember, even in sleep, My eyes roam over the entire universe. When I can see so far, can I not see you who are so near to me? Don't ever think that because you are outside, I cannot see you! Even in sleep, I see everything, and I hear even the breathing of a stone! My sleep is conscious sleep."
Another night, the mosquitoes were particularly thick and pestering Bhau terribly. Slowly, he raised his hand to swish them away. Baba clapped just at that moment and rebuked him for moving. While on watch, one had to sit like a statue, and even check the urge to urinate. It was next to impossible to be on watch near Baba; and when, after the accident, the watchman had to sit inside Baba's room, it became even more difficult.
Once Bhau quietly sat on the chair in Baba's bedroom, but after a while he felt a tickle in his throat and wanted to cough. Suppressing it, he covered his mouth with both hands, but the harder he tried to subdue it, the more forcefully the urge came. So he took his handkerchief from his pocket and stuffed it in his mouth. It did not help and finally the sound "ummh, umh, uumh," came from his throat.
Baba opened his eyes and acted upset, indicating that Bhau had disturbed his rest. He lambasted Bhau severely. But as soon as he began scolding him, Bhau's chest constricted and in a fit of coughing the handkerchief was spit out of his mouth. Baba taunted him, "Have you come to serve me, or to harass me? I repeatedly told you not to make the slightest sound, but you disturbed my sleep, and now I will not be able to rest the whole night."
Baba went on rebuking him every half hour and then, calling Goher, he complained about Bhau to her. The matter did not end there. Baba sent for Mehera, Mani, Meheru, Naja and Rano, and told Bhau to leave the room and stand outside by the door. This was something new, because whenever Baba spoke with the women, he would always send the watchman far away. This time he had purposely kept Bhau nearby so that Bhau could listen to everything going on inside the room.
"Then why did you make that noise?" "What can I say, Baba? I was about to die!" A look of absolute innocence came over Baba's face. With loving concern he asked what had happened, and Bhau told him how he was trying not to cough but was about to choke. Really?" Baba asked, "Why didn't you tell me this before?" "You didn't ask me and gave me no chance to explain."
"Still you should have told Me," Baba insisted. "Don't you know? You put on this whole show on purpose!" Bhau declared. Baba touched his Adam's apple and gestured, "I swear I did not know anything about it." While swearing, Baba looked most innocent, and Bhau's anger was swept away and he laughed. Baba embraced Bhau and caressed his face. Then Baba added, "Because I love you so much, I harass you so much. This harassment is my prasad for you."
Another incident on night watch taught Bhau an equally valuable lesson
We are all servants of Baba," Bhau said. "It is our good fortune that Baba assigns us such work."
Clapping one night at Satara, Baba summoned Bhau inside, whereupon he made some hand signs. He raised both arms widely, and Bhau thought Baba wanted to embrace him. Overjoyed, Bhau spread his arms to receive the hug. Baba looked puzzled and asked, "What are you doing? I told you to pull the covering over me, and here you want to sit on my chest!" Bhau suppressed his laughter, and after adjusting the blanket walked out of the room.
The next morning, Baba informed the mandali, "Last night, I was feeling cold and called this man inside to spread my blanket — and he comes to embrace me! I felt so frightened my heart was palpitating!" Baba and everyone had a hearty laugh at Bhau's mistake.
In 1956, after returning from England, America and Australia, Baba resumed his seclusion work in Satara. He stayed at Grafton with the women, but worked at Judge's Bungalow with Kaikobad. The men mandali at Rosewood were under orders not to speak to any woman. One day Baba sent Bhau to the town market to buy brooms, which were usually sold only by women. Bhau looked for but failed to find any brooms being sold by a man. As he was wondering whether to buy some or not, a woman stepped away from her stall or shop leaving her son in charge. Bhau immediately went to him and bought five brooms. He was about to hand over the money when the mother returned. Throwing the money on the ground, Bhau hurried off with the brooms, thus avoiding speaking to the woman. The woman looked at him, shaking her head at his peculiar behavior.
In second incident, Baba sent Bhau to post office to send a cable. Bhau was under strict order of Baba not to speak to women. At post office counter one lady asked for pen. Bhau gave his pen to her. Coming back to Meherabad Bhau did not take back the pen from the lady afraid of speaking her by mistake though the lady kept calling to return pen.
So Bhau began to write. He would write in the daytime, and Baba would come to his room and ask him to read aloud a few pages. Baba had given the title as Divya Leela (Divine Game). As it was being read, although it was not very good, Baba would gesture, "Wonderful! Wonderful!"
Once Bhau thought however cruel a man may be, He can't possibly be crueler than Him! Baba knows that I have this trouble, and yet, He is doing this deliberately to cause me more pain. Even an ordinary man would have taken pity on me, but He, being God, has no such consideration."
At that moment, Baba clapped, and asked, "What are you thinking?" "Nothing," Bhau said.
Baba scolded him, "Are you obliging Me by doing this? On the contrary, I am obliging you by giving you this opportunity to serve Me. You frighten easily. This is nothing! Even if I were to cut you into pieces, you should bear it without a word of complaint. Not even a whimper should escape your lips. "This is love. This is service. My real mercy lies in making mincemeat out of you! "This is nothing, not even the beginning!" he continued, "And even then, you complain. You think: 'What service I am rendering!'
"What is there in your service? It has not even begun, I tell you. Were you really to serve me, there would not be any thought of self. How will you serve me when you are having thoughts about your small trouble? You are serving your affliction, not me! This is not my cruelty, but my kindness."
Baba's words convinced Bhau of the meaning of real service, and he could only regret his misplaced thoughts. Baba then sat up and gave Bhau a painkiller tablet. The next day he instructed Goher to give Bhau an anesthetic injection in mandali hall. The procedure was repeated four or five times, every week.
Besides night watch, one day, Baba asked Bhau to write a play and explained its theme. Baba titled it Prem Mahima (The Glory of Love). He gave certain points to be included which Bhau expanded upon. The play was finished while Baba was still at Guruprasad and was read out to him. Baba composed two ghazals to be included in it and these were sent to Rustom Kaka, who was told to begin the meeting at the Ahmednagar Center with the songs.
Once Bhau was with Baba during night watch, Baba would ask about the letters received. One day Bhau answered, "All of the letters seek just one thing — your darshan, and you do not give it!"
Explaining, Baba replied, "My work is different. It is not My work to travel continuously and hold darshan programs simply to allow people to bow down at My feet. It is not my work to give long discourses, to perform miracles, or to attract crowds to Me. I do not come for this. I come for all; I come to awaken all!
"Never before in any age have I given as much darshan to people as I have given during this advent. And still you and others complain! My darshan is something quite distinct."
He continued to explain, "You have no idea what I am really doing. The more you stretch a bow, the greater the distance the arrow will fly and the harder it will hit the target. I am in seclusion now, yes, but I am drawing back my bow farther and farther so that when I release the arrow of my love, it will strike deep and wound the hearts of all. The wounds will make them have My darshan continuously. They will have that longing for Me, and that is My real darshan."
Baba concluded, "I am working in seclusion to give the world my darshan. It is this darshan that will have meaning for those who love and know Me."
In 1969, Baba went on giving him instructions. When He got the jolts, He would stop and lie quiet for a few moments; then He began again. Watching see the Beloved suffering so was the most painful sight of Bhau's life.
Baba instructed: "Write 800 pages. Write in a simple and engaging way. Make it interesting. Make it instructive. Use four types of meters. Include the lives of the five Perfect Masters at the beginning, and also my father's life.
"Save 100 pages for My manifestation. I will give you the meters and also tell you about My manifestation later.
Don't worry. I will explain everything to you."
Bhau listened and did not interrupt. To ask Baba anything at such a crucial moment would only have added to his suffering. Besides, Bhau thought, he would ask Baba for clarification when Baba improved.
It took nearly one hour for Baba to convey what he wished Bhau to write, and in the end Baba added, referring to Bhau's writing in Hindi, "Always remember that I like your writing very much. Even if the world finds fault with it, you should not mind. I tell you honestly, remember it, I like your writing very much. And when I like it, what more do you want?"
In 1958, Bhau came into the pandal and introducing him. Baba complimented him, “He is a hard-working and sincere worker. He is with Mein Meherazad and does many various duties. He works year round and is now in Meherabad to help management.
Baba spent the first 40 days of His seclusion in strenuous activity. Bhau would do night watch. (Lord Meher-p-4455-1958)
Bhau was required to be with Baba from 6:30 P.M. to 6:30 A.M.; and he was not allowed to leave the room even once to urinate or any other purpose. He had to remain with Baba behind closed doors for the full twelve hours. In addition, during the day Bhau had other duties; so during this particular seclusion period of Baba's, Bhau too had practically no sleep. Yet, the marvelous thing was that Bhau would not feel sleepy or in the least tired after keeping awake the whole night.
In morning, Baba would come to the hall to be with the mandali, and if Bhau happened to be in the toilet, Baba would send Pukar to call him. While he was using the toilet, Pukar would deliver this message from Baba: "Baba has come to the hall, but you need not hurry. Take your time." After three minutes, Baba would send someone else with the same message. Bhau would then hurry up, wash and run to Baba. On one occasion, Baba asked, "Did you finish so soon? Didn't I tell you to take your own time?"
"You were sending the same message repeatedly," Bhau replied, "and therefore I came."
Baba gestured, "I did not mean that you should hurry. Now remember, take your time."
The next day, when Bhau was in the toilet, Baba sent the message three separate times and Bhau took his time. After finishing, when he came into the hall, Baba scolded him, "I was waiting for you, and you made me wait a long time! I had some urgent work for you."
Bhau said, "Yesterday you told me to take My time."
Baba replied, "I asked you to take your own time, but you should take your time according to My wish. Honestly, I had some urgent work for you to do today, but now I have forgotten what it was."
Occasionally, Baba would come to mandali hall at 9:00 A.M. when all, including Bhau, had to be up and ready. This was Baba's way: "Take your time, don't hurry — but come soon! Don't rush, but come immediately!" That too while one was on the toilet!
One day Baba came to the hall in morning. He asked whether Bhau was up yet. Bhau was still sleeping and Baba was informed. He gestured to the other men, "Do not make any noise; otherwise, Bhau will wake up.(Lord Meher-p-4456-1958)
He keeps watch near Mme the whole night and he should not be disturbed." Everyone kept quiet and Baba also sat quietly for some time.
After fifteen minutes, Bhau woke up and came out of his room. Baba called him and asked, "Why did you wake up? Were you disturbed?" Bhau told him that he wasn't. Baba then remarked, "Do you know, I was on watch and did not allow anyone to make noise. You keep watch near Me, so I kept watch near you today." (Lord Meher-p- 4457-1958)
As mentioned, during this period of Baba's seclusion, Bhau was keeping watch by Baba all night, and also had various daytime duties to attend to. Even when he tried to get some sleep for a few hours, the loud repetitions the other mandali were ordered to do would disturb him. When he would go for his tea at 9:00 A.M., he would get that which had been made at six o'clock. It was kept aside for him in a mug, and he had to drink it cold. After tea he would sit in the hall before Baba, and when Baba left, Bhau would go to His room to do correspondence or writing work. He could not have his lunch on time at eleven with the other men, because the errand boy from Ahmednagar would leave Meherazad at 4:00 P.M., by which hour he had to have all the outgoing mail ready. After completing his work, he would go for his meal. Baidul was the cook then, and after serving everyone he would keep Bhau's rice and dal aside on an uncovered plate over which, as time went by, flies would hover and land. Such was the food he had to eat.
Once he asked Baidul to at least keep the food covered to avoid the flies landing on it, to which Baidul replied angrily, "This is your reward for not being on time for lunch! You should be regular, and that's why I don't cover your food." Bhau said he could not help being late, as he had to finish work given to him by Baba. Baidul retorted, "For lack of time, would you also stop answering calls of nature? To take food is necessary. I don't accept what you say. I do my duty by cooking and serving food at 11:00 A.M. I have not been given the duty of keeping food aside for anyone." Such were the conditions under which the resident mandali had to pass their days — and it was exactly as Baba wished. This is how the Master, though loving all inwardly, was often ruthless outwardly. (Lord Meher-p-4472-1958)
Bhau's eye problems persisted. Dadi Kerawala was present one day and suggested he apply mustard oil essence which was reputed to be beneficial. Baba told Dadi to procure it (from Bangalore). When it arrived, Baba himself applied it to Bhau's eyes the first time and then told Bhau to apply it every day. It burned so badly that tears would pour forth from Bhau's eyes. He would have to leave the hall, and people would observe his tears and whisper among themselves, thinking Baba was giving him an overwhelming experience of love. This went on for a few days, until Baba stopped him from applying it.
The mustard oil did not help. Bhau was on watch one night, his eyes still terribly painful, when at 1:00 A.M., Baba inquired, "Do your eyes hurt?"
"The pain is too much, Baba!"
Baba sent for the women, ordering Bhau to stand outside the door. He complained to the women, "Bhau is troubling Me a lot; he does not allow Me to rest. (Lord Meher-p-4480-1959)
He keeps complaining about the little pain in his eyes. He does nothing but harass me!"
Goher said, "His eyes really do hurt, Baba."
"So? What can I do about it? Is he supposed to think of my comfort or his? It is his duty to see that I am comfortable."
Baba added, "I am fed up with him! I am so disgusted that I want to send him away. These days he gives me a lot of trouble. Despite my ill health, I meet people all day long. I feel exhausted. Now, at night, he tortures me!"
Mani said, "Baba, don't send Bhau away. Give him another chance to serve you."
"What service will he do? He will kill me! He only thinks of himself." Bhau was listening to every word. Baba sent the women away.
He called Bhau inside and asked if he still had pain in his eyes. Bhau, quite upset, replied, "No!" But Baba gave him some eye drops with his own hands. Bhau said, "It is not necessary."
"Before the women just now, you prescribed some very good medicine!"
"You fool! You have no idea the worth of this medicine. It is priceless and only good luck can obtain it. I have love for you, and because of that, I give it to you. But you don't value my love. You should think that whatever Baba does is for the best. This medicine is being given to you to give you this understanding."
Baba embraced Bhau, and Bhau calmed down. The next day, Baba sent him to a doctor in Poona and arranged for his treatment. But despite the best care, he had no relief. One day, however, after he stopped the treatment, the pain suddenly left him.
On another occasion, Bhau's body and head ached all over with fever. His eyes were inflamed, and his mouth and throat were dry. He was wondering how he would be able to do night watch by Baba's side that night. When he went for his duty, Baba informed him, "My health is very bad today. My head feels as if it is going to burst open from the pain, and my whole body aches. I have a temperature, my mouth is dry and my eyes are burning. Be attentive tonight and press my feet."
Baba had precisely listed all Bhau's symptoms. So what was there to tell him? (Lord Meher-p-4481-1959)
Bhau quietly continued to massage Baba's feet. After some time Bhau's fever lessened and by midnight he felt quite well. (Lord Meher-p-4482-1959)
Once Baba was sitting in Guruprasad with the mandali. Also present were a few lovers from the Poona Center. Bal Natu had delivered a speech on Baba at the center, which all were praising. Baba commented, "Bal Natu is a gem, and see these two (pointing to Vishnu and Bhau), they are coal!"
Those who did night watch near Baba encountered many difficulties while doing their duty. The watchman had to press Baba's legs, which in the summer heat was exhausting. That too, at a constant pressure. If one massaged Baba a bit harder, he would ask, "Are you angry with Me?" If done too softly, He would say, "Are you sleepy?" When not attending to Him, the watchman had to remain absolutely still like a statue. The slightest noise disturbed Baba's rest. It is hard to imagine that even the swallowing of saliva would be enough sound to disturb Baba. To keep watch by Baba's side at night was therefore among the hardest duties of all.
One time when Bhau was keeping watch near Baba, he was wearing a pair of thin pajamas. Baba was lying down snoring. He had reminded Bhau not to make any noise, and so Bhau was sitting quietly.
Suddenly, he saw that Baba's mosquito net was not closed properly, and if it was left as it was, mosquitoes might enter it and bite him. Slowly Bhau stood up, very careful not to make any noise, and he began taking a step toward Baba's bed.
Baba got up and asked, "Why did you move?"
Bhau said, "I did not make any noise, Baba."
He replied, "I heard the rustling of your pajamas." Bhau had a look of amazement on His face.
Seeing his expression, Baba lost His temper. He scolded Bhau harshly and motioned with a disgusted look, "Go back to your home. You can no longer stay with Me. I don't want to see your face ever again."
Bhau pleaded, "Baba, trains are running nearby, buses, cars and trucks are running on the roads. They are making a lot of noise! Occasionally there are even loudspeakers blaring music outside. You do not complain about that noise, but you complain about the fluttering of my pajamas." (Lord Meher-p-4511-1959)
Baba sternly asked him, "Tell Me whether I have chosen the trains, buses, trucks and cars to serve Me, or have I chosen you for this purpose? Whom have I chosen? I have concern with you because I allow you to serve me. What concern do I have with trains, trucks or anyone else?"
Bhau realized his mistake and felt touched by Baba's concern for him and for the privilege he had been given by being allowed to be near Him. (Lord Meher-p-4512-1959)
Once Baba was sitting with the mandali and brought up the subject of the play he had asked Soman to write in Marathi when Baba was at Guruprasad. Interrupting the discussion, Meherdas exclaimed, "Baba, there should be a play in Hindi also."
Baba agreed, "Yes, I want someone to write it in Hindi, but who will do it?" Remaining quiet for a few moments, he then addressed Bhau, "Why don't you write it?" (Lord Meher-p-4573-1959)
I don't know anything about plays," Bhau protested. "I am not a writer."
Baba replied, "This is not my order, but try."
Bhau felt relieved, as Baba had said it was not his order; but in the evening, when he went to Baba's room for night watch, Baba asked, "How many pages did you write?"
Surprised, Bhau replied, "Not a single one."
"It was not your order, Baba."
"Yes, it was not My order — but I said to try? That was My order."
So Bhau began to write. He would write in the daytime, and Baba would come to His room and ask him to read aloud a few pages. Baba had given the title as Divya Leela (Divine Game). As it was being read, although it was not very good, Baba would gesture, "Wonderful! Wonderful!"
During night watch at this time, two incidents occurred. Bhau's health too had deteriorated. He was having terrible anal-fistula trouble and could not sit for long periods. There was constant throbbing pain and discharges of pus.
One night, the moment he entered Baba's room, Baba asked him to massage his legs. Bhau sat on a stool by the bed, and Baba lay close to the side. Bhau began massaging Baba, even though the pressure on Bhau's fistula was great. Gradually, Baba would shift to the other side of the bed, and Bhau had to continue pressing. The further away Baba moved the more pressure and pain Bhau felt.
When Baba was completely on the other side of the bed, Bhau picked up his stool and moved to the other side. Baba did not like it and gradually He would move back across the bed. Again, Bhau took the stool to the first side. Finally, Baba positioned himself in the middle of the bed, and Bhau had to bend over and massage his body for a long time, causing the rectal pain to be felt more intensely.
Baba did not let up. He would often remind Bhau, "Use more pressure. Do it harder. Are you sleeping? Don't you have any energy today? Didn't you have supper?"
Thus it went on for four hours, with Baba adding fuel to the fire, and Bhau continuing to massage His legs. Not once did Baba sit up.
In this state, these thoughts came into Bhau's mind: "People call Baba the Ocean of Mercy, but He is the Ocean of Cruelty! (Lord Meher-p-4574-1959)
At that moment, Baba clapped, and asked, "What are you thinking?"However cruel a man may be, he can't possibly be crueler than Him! Baba knows that I have this trouble, and yet, He is doing this deliberately to cause me more pain. Even an ordinary man would have taken pity on me, but He, being God, has no such consideration."
"Nothing," Bhau said.
Baba scolded him, "Are you obliging Me by doing this? On the contrary, I am obliging you by giving you this opportunity to serve Me. You frighten easily. This is nothing! Even if I were to cut you into pieces, you should bear it without a word of complaint. Not even a whimper should escape your lips.
"This is love. This is service. My real mercy lies in making mincemeat out of you!
"This is nothing, not even the beginning!" he continued, "And even then, you complain. You think: 'What service I am rendering!'
"What is there in your service? It has not even begun, I tell you. Were you really to serve Me, there would not be any thought of self. How will you serve Me when you are having thoughts about your small trouble? You are serving your affliction, not Me! This is not My cruelty, but My kindness."
Baba's words convinced Bhau of the meaning of real service, and he could only regret his misplaced thoughts. Baba then sat up and gave Bhau a painkiller tablet. The next day in mandali hall Baba instructed Goher to give Bhau an anesthetic injection. The procedure was repeated four or five times, every week.
Another incident on night watch taught Bhau an equally valuable lesson. One night Baba said He felt hungry. This was not unusual, and chocolates or some other snacks to nibble on were always kept in his bedroom. Bhau brought a tin of chocolates, opened it, and put the lid on the edge of the bed next to the tin. It was dark inside the room, as there was no electricity in Meherazad at that time. The only light source (apart from the flashlight used to read Baba's gestures) came from a kerosene lantern outside a window. The curtain was closed, so Bhau went to open it. As he was opening it, Baba reached for the chocolates without looking at the tin. As He put His hand in the box, the lid was accidentally knocked off the bed and fell on Baba's shin. (Lord Meher-p-4575-1959)
Becoming furious, Baba berated Bhau, "Oh, how hard the lid landed on My foot. The pain is terrible! Have you come here to serve Me or to cause Me pain? How careless you are."
Bhau felt frightened and realized his mistake. Baba continued, "I will not be able to sleep now with so much pain. I cannot bear it!"
Baba did not take any chocolates and continued to scold Bhau for half an hour, using such choice epithets for him as: "ill-omened fellow ... madcap ... fool ... careless idiot ... stupid blockhead," ending with, "You are My enemy; you have come to kill Me!"
Baba then said, "I don't think I will be able to sleep, but I will try." He lay down to rest, but after five minutes sat up again, gesturing, "There is so much pain in My foot, I can't bear it. I can't sleep now. Why are you so careless? What sort of service are you rendering? You are really killing Me!"
Bhau felt repentant and kept quiet. Baba motioned, "I'll try again, but I don't think I'll be able to sleep," and he lay down.
But again, after five minutes Baba sat up and began complaining, "It is terrible, I tell you, terrible! My leg is aching so much, it is now unbearable. It is not possible for me to sleep!
"Have you come here to kill Me? Don't you feel bad about my suffering? Don't you at least repent for your carelessness? Is your heart made of stone? Do you do night watch only to harass Me? You are shameless!" He went on in this vein for about an hour.
Bhau felt miserable, but the lid was so thin it could not possibly have hurt much. Bhau's mind began to work. He started thinking: "Baba says He bears the infinite burden of the world and suffers infinitely. How can He feel so much pain from such a small, practically insignificant injury? Even an ordinary man would hardly have felt it. It was nothing!"
Moments later, Baba sat up again. "What do you gain by tormenting Me?" He asked. "Just answer Me. I suffer so much, and you don't feel it one iota. What a shameless man you are! Now I don't even feel like seeing your face! You have come to kill Me!"
Baba lay down, and Bhau's mind continued thinking: "If He cannot bear this much, how is he able to endure universal suffering, as He says he does? (Lord meher-p-4576-1959)
It is all just words, mere philosophy!"
Bhau had seen Baba suffer continually. He had observed for Himself how, after the second automobile accident, even when grievously injured, not a single sound had passed from Baba's lips. Yet, the human mind is like this: It wanders here and there on the slightest pretext. Bhau forgot everything and began to question Baba's unendurable anguish.
Baba got up and gestured, "Come here, sit down."
Bhau was standing and, because he was upset, he said, "I am all right here."
Bhau sat near him, and Baba explained, "Listen to what I say. What were you thinking?"
"What do you take Me to be? Tell Me."
"You are my Master."
"And what are you?"
"What is the duty of the slave?"
"To please the Master."
"And do you please Me? If you are My slave, it is your duty to serve Me. You should treat Me as you would a tender flower. Have you any idea what happened to this flower when the lid struck it? Its petals were crushed, not from the injury but because of your carelessness.
"Because you have accepted Me as your Master and I have accepted you as My slave, it is the duty of the Master to see that the slave does his duty properly. And because I have accepted you as My slave, I am duty-bound to see that you serve and please Me correctly.
"If the Himalayas fell on My head, what would that be to Me? Nothing. If someone threw a stone at Me, it would not have hurt as much as what happened here tonight. Why do I have this pain? Because of the carelessness of My slave. Because I have accepted you as My slave, I cannot bear the slightest carelessness on your part.
"But instead of thinking that you have displeased Me, you thought only: 'How can he bear infinite suffering?' Have you the least idea of My suffering? Your duty is to serve and please me at any cost, not to think about My infinite burden. It does not behoove you to think like this. By pondering such things, you cannot really call yourself My slave.
"So remember: Your negligence makes Me suffer much more than untold suffering, as I cannot tolerate the slightest carelessness on the part of My slave. And since you are My slave, treat Me as you would a flower." 4577-1959
Bhau cooled down at once, and he repented greatly for his thoughts. To make this lesson penetrate his heart, Baba had spent four hours over this matter. It was a lesson Bhau would never forget. The Avatar's mercy is unimaginable. He is Mercy Personified, and He dispenses only that. (Lord Meher-p-4578-1959)
Bhau had never written devotional songs in his life (he had studied chemistry, agriculture and law in college), and his abilities in these literary pursuits were all due to Baba's encouragement, inspiration and inner help.
One day, however, when Baba asked him to write something else, Bhau protested, "Baba, I am neither a writer nor a poet. I don't know the use of language properly. Why do you give me such work? There are many good writers and poets in India, and if they come to you they would write sublime things."
Baba considered this for a moment and then asked, "Do you know any of these writers and poets?"
"Yes, I have heard of them," Bhau said. "They are very popular in India."
"All right," Baba acquiesced. "Write to them about Me, and if they are interested, I may call them."
Bhau wrote to several well-known poets and writers, and Baba appeared anxious to bring them in his contact. Bhau thought that they would definitely come, because Baba was showing so much interest in them. After a few days, polite letters were received from a few of them. They were read out to Baba and He felt happy to hear them, but He did not give any instructions to be conveyed to them, which disappointed Bhau. Bhau wrote to them on his own and sent them some of Baba's messages.
Again, he informed Baba, "Some of these famous persons will definitely come to you, and if they come they will write sublimely about you."
Baba asked, "Have you got any of their writings?" Bhau said he had a few copies of some of them. Baba asked him to bring them and read them out to him. After he did so, Baba commented, "What is there in these writings? It is most dry! Only the language is good, nothing else. Is there any flow of love? Tell Me the truth, isn't it just words? Never write to them again. They will not come to Me."
He then said, "Do you think I ask you to write in vain? Have you got any idea about your writings? There is a flow of love in it. It flows and flows. Remember that I like your writings. What more do you want?" Bhau kept quiet and continued writing when Baba requested. (Lord Meher-p-4628-1960)
Bhau's anal fistula had become severe. On the 6th, Baba dropped him off at Booth Hospital in Ahmednagar where he was to have surgery two days later. Don attended the operation and looked after him, assisted by Sidhu. Baba also visited the Satha family at Akbar Press at 8:15 A.M. on the 6th, and again at 8:30 A.M. on the 15th, when He also visited Bhau in his room at Booth Hospital. (Lord Meher-p-4633-1960)
In another event, Bhau was keeping watch in Baba's room as usual. A taxicab suddenly pulled up outside. Hearing it, Baba sent Bhau to find out who had come. From it stepped Dr. R. P. Asthana, the principal of Nagpur College where Bhau had gone to school. But neither recognized the other until they introduced themselves. Asthana asked, "Kalchuri, what are you doing here?"
"I am a night watchman," Bhau said.
Surprised, Principal Asthana declared, "A night watchman? What do you mean?" Bhau just smiled and inquired where he was staying. Asthana said, "I am staying at the Agha Khan's bungalow," which was a grand residence.
Bhau asked him to be seated and went to inform Baba, who said, "Tell him to come tomorrow morning at eight o'clock. But since he was your principal, send him to the Agha Khan's bungalow in our car. He will feel pleased that his former student takes such good care of him. Instruct the driver to come back immediately after dropping him there."
Bhau went and told Principal Asthana, who protested, "No, no, that is not necessary.
Bhau would keep watch until midnight, and afterwards. During these days, Bhau felt as if a thunderstorm were bursting over his head. Baba showed His aversion to him and would not allow him to come near Him. At night, Bhau would be on watch, and during the day he would remain in His room writing. He was working on Hindi ghazals at the time (later titled Meher Geet Sudha (Songs of Meher's Wine), but Baba was totally indifferent toward his efforts. Bhau felt as if Baba's days were numbered and His life was coming to an end. All the mandali felt similarly.
Becoming indifferent to all, Baba made them interested in His disinterestedness. The more passive He was, the more attentive they were to Him. On account of His indifferent attitude, the mandali were more determined and cautious than ever in following His behests to avoid the least cause of annoyance to Him. (Lord Meher-p-4722-1960)
At this time, because of the impending sahavas, the mandali's work was increasing. Moreover, due to Baba's constant scoldings, Bhau felt terribly harassed. At night, he was to be on duty by Baba, but even during the daytime he had to be present most of the time in Baba's room. As a result, Bhau had no time in which to do either correspondence or the writing of speeches. Baba was sending Sarosh, Viloo and Chhagan to Uttar Pradesh and other places, to participate in important public functions, and one of Bhau's assignments was to write their various speeches in Hindi.
One day Baba gave Bhau some urgent work to do, but, because he was with Baba in His room the entire day, there was simply no time to finish it. When Baba asked if Bhau had done the work, he replied, "No, I did not have time."
Baba scolded him and later that night, as he was pressing Baba's legs, Bhau was so distressed he thought: "It would be better if I die. I cannot leave Baba because I know I could never be happy without him, but I cannot serve him, either. I don't do anything right, and he gets annoyed with me. It is best I die!"
While Bhau was thinking these thoughts, suddenly Baba sat up and gestured to him, "Show Me how you will walk when you are 70."
Bhau blurted out, "But I don't want to live to be 70! I want to die!"
"But just show Me how you will walk."
So Bhau had to walk back and forth across the bedroom hunched over like an old man.
Baba made him go from one corner to another about four times. After the third time, Bhau began laughing and his depression lifted. Baba remarked, "You still have lots of work to do. You have no idea about it now."(Lord Meher-p-5164/5-1965)
In another incident in his room at Meherazad that afternoon at about 4:00 P.M., Baba remarked to Bhau, "Today, the Ahmednagar people are going to celebrate My birthday publicly. This evening, they are having a big parade through the town. I know they have all worked very hard, and this makes Me happy. I, in turn, want them to feel pleased that the celebrations come off well. But if it rains, then everything will be spoiled! Do you think it will rain?"
Bhau said, "No, Baba, it won't rain! The sky is clear."
"But if it rains, what will happen? Sarosh will be the most upset, because he has worked day and night for the procession. Do you think it will rain? Go and look at the sky."
Bhau went outside to look and came back and repeated the same thing, "It won't rain, Baba”.The sky is very clear. There is no sign of rain. Don't worry, Baba. Just rest now."
Baba lay down and did not reply, but after five minutes he sat up again and asked Bhau to look outside to see if there were any clouds. Bhau looked and reported that there were no clouds. "This is not even the monsoon season," Bhau pointed out.
Baba continued to send him outside every fifteen minutes or so, and when he went to look at five o'clock, dark rain clouds filled the sky. Bhau hurried to tell Baba, who exclaimed, "See! I warned you! Now, what will happen?" and as soon as Baba gestured this, rain started pouring down.
Bhau was stunned. Baba gestured, "Go right now and tell Aloba to ride [on his bicycle] to the pumping station and phone Adi and ask if it is raining in Ahmednagar." Since it was pouring outside, Bhau asked Goher to bring him an umbrella, but Baba gestured impatiently, "Hurry! Go right now!" So, Bhau ran across the compound to the men's side without an umbrella, getting soaking wet. He gave Aloba the message and returned to Baba.
Baba immediately asked him, "Did you tell Aloba to bring the message to Me here after he phones Adi?"
"No, Baba. How could I tell him that? No one is allowed to come to your room unless you call them."
"Go! Go and tell him," Baba said. "I have never seen such an idiot like you!" Again, Bhau had to dash out into the rain and give Aloba the instructions to bring the news about the phone call to Baba's room. Aloba had already left, so Bhau told Meherwan to tell him when he returned.
When Bhau returned to Baba's room, he was drenched and quite irritated, thinking: "What is the hurry about phoning Adi? If it is raining in Ahmednagar, it is raining! What will Baba do about it? Here I am, soaking wet, and I have to sit with Baba until midnight in these wet clothes!"
As Bhau entered Baba's room, Baba gestured, "If there is rain in Ahmednagar, everything will be ruined!"
Bhau replied, "Whether the program there gets ruined or not, My program here is completely spoiled! I am drenched!"
Baba just smiled and gestured to him, "Come here," and taking His own handkerchief, he tenderly and lovingly began to wipe Bhau's face.
Bhau said, "I can do it." (Lord Meher-p-5320-1959)
Jim Mistry and Khorshed had been invited to Meherazad from Bombay for the birthday celebration. One afternoon in the hall, while Bhau was massaging Baba's legs with powder, Jim Mistry said, "Baba, I have brought a special bottle of oil which is very good for massaging."
Baba told him to bring it, and Jim handed it to Bhau. Because Bhau knew that Baba did not like anything greasy, he took just a little of the oil and began rubbing it into Baba's legs. Jim joked, "You miser! Why do you take so little? Use more!"
It was very warm that day, and Bhau was perspiring as he massaged Baba's leg. Jim kept teasing him to use more oil. Eventually, Baba motioned for Jim to come over and instructed, "Now, you massage one leg and Bhau will massage the other." Jim was caught in his own trickery! He was not used to such exertion, and after more than an hour, he was completely worn out. Bhau was accustomed to it, but Jim had never massaged Baba before. Afterwards, he had a good laugh at himself for the lesson Baba taught him. (Lord Meher-p-5324/5-1968)
|During this period, an entire week passed by, during which Bhau had no opportunity to read aloud those letters forwarded to him. On the morning of the eighth day, Bhau took the considerable stack of letters with him into the hall, thinking that that day Baba would hear them and dictate suitable replies.
Baba looked at him and gestured, "Today, I have got a headache; you reply to them."
As soon as he conveyed this, a thought came into Bhau's mind: "What sort of God is He? His lovers are really great. (Lord Meher-p-5347-1968)
|Baba lovers do not want anything spiritual or material from Him; they only want His darshan. And He says, 'No darshan!' Then they expect a few loving words from Him directly, and He says, 'You reply!' "
But Bhau did not say anything, and Baba also did not ask him anything. When Baba retired to His room that afternoon at three o'clock, Bhau followed Him. At one point, Baba asked, "How many letters did you write today?"
Irritated, Bhau replied, "Not a single letter, Baba!"
"Where was the time? I was with you in the hall and when you came here I followed you."
"Yes, you are right. But tell Me, what were you thinking back in the hall?"
"Tell Me the truth!" So Bhau repeated what had passed through his mind — about Baba's lovers being great and only wishing for His darshan. Baba replied, "Yes, you are right. My lovers are really great. But what do you mean by thinking this? You have been with Me for so many years, yet you still don't understand what I am doing for them! If they come to Me, what will they see? This physical form. This is nothing!"
Baba hit His thigh with His fist, the sign He would make for His seclusion work, and gestured, "This is the real thing I am giving them, and you will witness with your own eyes what will happen to those who have not seen Me physically. Although they have not seen Me physically — they are with Me and I am working for them. They are present here." (Lord Meher-p-5348-1968)
During these final months, Baba had also been dictating lines to Bhau to be incorporated into ghazals. On the evening of the 29th, he dictated this line in Hindi, and told Bhau to write a ghazal based on its theme: "What will we live for now, when you have gone away?"
Bhau wondered about the line's meaning. Soon he would understand. This was one of the last lines Baba ever gave Bhau. The hearts and minds of the mandali were focused completely on Baba, but all were helpless before His supreme will. (Lord Meher-p-5395/6-1965
To mark the 38th anniversary of Baba's silence, all His devotees and lovers throughout the world observed silence from midnight of the 9th of July to midnight of 10 July 1963. Those who could not keep silence, due to unavoidable circumstances, fasted for twelve hours, from 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. on the 10th. Not even water was allowed during this twelve-hour fast.
In Meherazad one day, the men were observing silence sitting before Baba in the hall. Through hand signs and gestures, "silent conversations" took place. An amusing incident occurred the previous night. Bhau was on watch. When Baba asked him something, Bhau was unable to make himself understood. Baba was amused at His expressive finger signs and facial expressions, and for fun kept asking him one thing after another. Bhau was a total failure at hand signs and Baba asked, "What would you do if I were to keep you on silence for a long time?"
Bhau did not know which gestures or signs he should make to respond properly.
Bhau tried his best to "say" something with his hands, and Baba enjoyed his predicament. At last, Baba remarked, "I would go mad trying to understand your signs! Are you gesturing to speak or performing some sort of charade?"
As mentioned, Baba did not like any breeze in His room when He slept. Besides all the windows, doors and ventilators being tightly shut, Baba put cotton in his ears before resting at night, at both Meherazad and Guruprasad, to block out any noise. When Baba would nibble on something during the night, He would often give Bhau a little of whatever He was eating — chocolates, cake, cookies or cheese, for example. One night He sat up and gestured, "I am hungry. Give Me something to eat." Bhau brought the chocolate tin, put it on His bed, and went to open the window. Meanwhile, while his back was turned, Baba took out the cotton from His ears. When Bhau came back to the bed, Baba handed it to him. Thinking it was a piece of chocolate; Bhau popped it into his mouth and started chewing. Seeing him do this, Baba laughed and laughed. (Lord Meher-p-5039/40-1963)
It was a scorching summer that year in Poona, and even at night it was hot. On one occasion, while Bhau was on night watch, he was sitting in a corner of Baba's room perspiring profusely; Baba was also perspiring as he lay on the bed. After some time, Baba sat up and asked him, "What are you thinking?"
Bhau replied, "Nothing, Baba," though he had been thinking that it was unbearably hot outside and even more so inside Baba's room. "Why does Baba wish all the doors, windows and ventilators closed as soon as he retires for the night?" Bhau wondered.
Baba looked at him and commented, "I am feeling very cold tonight."
Bhau was taken aback and immediately replied, "No, Baba, it is terribly hot in here!" "I am telling you I am cold," Baba insisted. "It's very cold tonight!" and He repeated this several times.
Bhau argued, "Baba, it is hot. Ask anyone. I am feeling so hot and uncomfortable." Baba kept insisting how cold it was.
Finally, Baba got fed up and asked Bhau, "What do you take Me to be?"
Bhau replied, "You are God."
"You take Me to be God, and yet you do not believe what I say! If I am God, I am the Truth! The Truth can never speak a lie. Truth always speaks the truth.
"If you have this conviction, then you will feel cold, because I say it is cold! I always speak the truth."
And Bhau realized that he had been wrong to argue. (Lord Meher-p-5069/70-1964)
Thereafter, Baba would send the men out of the hall, except for Bhau, who was to write down Baba's dictations. From 21 July 1967, Baba began dictating material to Bhau for a new book, which Baba titled The Nothing and The Everything. Baba told him, "I am giving you ten percent of the book which I wrote in Meherabad during 1955–56... The other 90 percent is in God Speaks." (Lord Meher-p- 5279-1967)
One night during his watch, Baba asked Bhau, "Who is your best friend?"
Bhau replied, "Nana," since he had known Nana Kher since his college days in Nagpur.
"Do you feel lonely here without him?" Bhau said yes.
"Should I call him here?"
"Baba, how can you call him during your seclusion?"
"Never mind that," Baba replied.
The next day in the hall, Baba instructed Eruch to send Nana Kher a telegram, informing him to come and stay at Meherazad. Pendu and Eruch objected, but Baba did not give any further explanation.
Nana Kher arrived on the morning of 28 August, and remained for almost a month. He would keep watch near Baba at night for three hours, and was then relieved by Aloba. It was the first time Nana had been given this duty, and it was Aloba's first time as well. (Aloba continued doing it until February 1968, at which time Baba stopped it.)
Putting His two forefingers together, Baba had told Bhau, "When Nana comes, you two do everything together. Take walks together, eat together, be with each other at all times." Bhau followed Baba's instructions and became Nana's constant companion, but after some time Bhau became fed up because he had other work to attend to and Nana was always by his side. Soon, Bhau was sorry he had ever mentioned Nana's name to Baba! (Lord Meher–p-5281-1967)
Baba also sent Chhagan to two other "Meher Melas" in Uttar Pradesh, one at Bagda and another at Khandarka, and later Baba sent him to Kanpur for Baba's birthday celebration. Each time, before Chhagan left, Baba would call him to Meherazad to read out the Hindi speeches prepared by Bhau. Chhagan would read them in the hall, before both the men and women mandali. It was a pastime for Baba, but for Bhau it was one more additional duty. He had to do night watch, the Hindi correspondence, be present with Baba in the day, write speeches for Sarosh and Amar Singh Saigal and then Chhagan, besides working on other writings.
One day in mid-November, Baba asked Bhau to write ghazals. Bhau replied, "Baba, it is not possible to write ghazals in Hindi. They can only be written in Urdu or Persian."
Baba said, "What do you take Me to be? I am Ustad (the Master)! I taught Ghani to write ghazals, and I will also teach you. But first, try."
So, Bhau tried and wrote almost 200 songs in ghazal form (which were later printed as Meher Geetika). Baba liked them, but noted, "These are songs, not ghazals. I will teach you when we're in Guruprasad next summer." Meanwhile, Baba instructed Bhau to translate Don's The Wayfarers into Hindi, and Bhau began this work.
Baba had actually paved the way for Bhau to write ghazals seven years before when he dictated two ghazals in Hindi to him in 1960, but at that time Bhau never thought Baba would ask him to compose them.
At Meherazad, Baba had instructed Bhau to translate Don's book The Wayfarers into Hindi, but as he had little or no time to do it there, once they arrived at Guruprasad he began this work. Baba did not wish him to translate the book literally, as He felt it was too matter-of-fact an account, but He wanted a complete written account filled in with more details, of His mast work. After discussing it with the mandali, however, it was decided to translate the book as it was and then to write a supplement of Baba's contacts with masts and the poor after 1948, updating the book to the last mast contacts during the 1950s and 1960s.
One day in April 1968, at 3:00 P.M. Bhau went to Baba's room as usual to keep watch near him until 8:00 P.M. Baba's room was suffocatingly hot. Stepping into it was like walking into an oven or sauna.
Every ventilator, window and door was tightly shut, as Baba had instructed. Baba sat on His bed in His underwear; His chest was bare, perspiration dripping from His forehead and arms.
Baba was in a splendid mood. As He had previously hinted in Meherazad, He informed Bhau, "Today, I will teach you how to write ghazals."
Bhau stood before Him sweating profusely and did not say a word. He had protested against writing ghazals before when the subject had first come up, and he was still working to complete the "ghazal-like" songs he had written.
Baba complimented him, "You have written with all your heart and the songs are good, but I want you to write ghazals and today I will teach you. I am going to give you one line and I want you to repeat it to the rhythm I will beat on My thighs."
So saying, Baba dictated this line in Hindi: "Now My heart is terrified even to hear the name of love."
Bhau began repeating it aloud as Baba played a rhythm with His fists, pounding His thighs like a tabla. Standing before Baba, Bhau repeated the line over and over again in Hindi. "Now my heart is terrified even to hear the name of love ... Now my heart is terrified even to hear the name of love ..." Half an hour passed, but Bhau did not understand what Baba meant.
Bhau was perspiring; Baba was also perspiring. Still Bhau had no idea what Baba was trying to make him comprehend. So he said, "Baba, I don't follow, please don't take this trouble for me. You are already burdened with seclusion work."
Not once stopping his constant rhythmic pounding, Baba only gestured, "Continue."
Bhau repeated the line again for another half hour, but he still had no notion of the poetic meter Baba was trying to convey. Again he pleaded, "Baba, it is too hot in here! Now, please stop!"
Baba again gestured, "Continue." And once again for another fifteen minutes, the sound of Baba slapping His thigh to Bhau's repetition of the same Hindi line went on.
Finding it monotonous, Bhau became more and more exasperated during this final fifteen minutes. He found it hard to concentrate because of the oppressive heat. Baba, too, was wringing with perspiration from the exertion. It had now been going on for an hour and fifteen minutes.
Bhau could not contain himself any longer and blurted out, "Baba, please stop now; I cannot follow anything!"
This time Baba looked at him in disgust and stated, "You are useless! Go sit down." And he lay back down on his bed and continued to pound his thighs with his fists, as if he were playing a tabla.
Bhau sat in the chair feeling both foolish and sorry for having failed and for having displeased Baba. Then something wonderful happened. As he was sitting in the chair, all of a sudden it was as if a breeze of understanding blew across his mind — instantly he knew what Baba wanted! He understood how to write ghazals — the meters and style.
Immediately, without saying a word, Baba sat up in His bed, and snapping His fingers said, "Compose, compose!"
Within half an hour, Bhau composed the first ghazal of what was to become the book of ghazals titled by Baba, Meher Sarod.
He read it out, and Baba was quite pleased. He embraced Bhau and assured him, "Yes, this is what I want. Now, I will continue giving you one line or so every day, and you should continue composing in this way."
Every day for two months, Baba would give Bhau one, sometimes two, sometimes many couplets from which to compose ghazals. Sometimes when Baba was in the mood, He Himself would compose the entire ghazal. At times, He would describe a story, such as about Sar Mast, Majnun & Laila, or Farhad & Shirin, or give Bhau points which He wanted him to versify. And each day when Bhau would go to Baba in the afternoon, Baba would inquire, "How many ghazals did you write today? Read them out."
Some of the ghazals were composed in Baba's room itself. At times, Bhau would be so absorbed in his thoughts after Baba had given a line that when Baba would gesture for water, Bhau would walk over to get it, but then forget what Baba wanted. He would stand there and look at Baba, thinking of the ghazal, and Baba would laugh and gesture again to bring the water.
Baba would sometimes ask Bhau to repeat a certain line, or sometimes the entire poem. Often Baba would embrace and kiss him, and gesture, "Do you know, have you any idea what you have written? How touching it is?
You have no idea how sublime it is — how high, how deep! You have no idea what you have written! Your writing flows; it flows like a river!" (Lord Meher-p-5330/31/32/33-1968)
Once, Bhau was with Baba during night watch, Baba would ask about the letters received. One day Bhau answered, "All of the letters seek just one thing — your darshan, and you do not give it!"
Explaining, Baba replied, "My work is different. It is not My work to travel continuously and hold darshan programs simply to allow people to bow down at My feet. It is not My work to give long discourses, to perform miracles, or to attract crowds to Me. I do not come for this. I come for all; I come to awaken all!
"Never before in any age have I given as much darshan to people as I have given during this advent. And still you and others complain! My darshan is something quite distinct."
He continued to explain, "You have no idea what I am really doing. The more you stretch a bow, the greater the distance the arrow will fly and the harder it will hit the target. I am in seclusion now, yes, but I am drawing back My bow farther and farther so that when I release the arrow of My love, it will strike deep and wound the hearts of all. The wounds will make them have My darshan continuously. They will have that longing for Me, and that is My real darshan."
Baba concluded, "I am working in seclusion to give the world My darshan. It is this darshan that will have meaning for those who love and know Me."
Still, as His lovers went from place to place spreading His message, a greater and greater number of letters were received from people asking for darshan. Baba would hear these letters as they were read aloud in mandali hall, those in English and Gujarati by Eruch, and the Hindi ones by Bhau. Those in Persian were read by Aloba.
An entire week passed by, during which Bhau had no opportunity to read aloud those letters forwarded to him. On the morning of the eighth day, Bhau took the considerable stack of letters with him into the hall, thinking that that day Baba would hear them and dictate suitable replies.
Baba looked at him and gestured, "Today, I have got a headache; you reply to them."
As soon as he conveyed this, a thought came into Bhau's mind: "What sort of God is he? His lovers are really great. (Lord Meher-p-5347-1968)
January 24th was also Francis' birthday and he received an embrace from Baba. During Bhau's watch on the night of the 24th, Baba gestured to him, "Listen carefully to what I say. I am giving you very important work. I want you to write My biography in verse." As He was gesturing, Baba would get frequent sharp jolts, and Bhau's heart broke at seeing His suffering while He was straining to communicate.
Bhau pleaded, "Baba, don't say anything now. You are in terrible pain. Wait and tell me when you are better."
But Baba went on giving him instructions. When he got the jolts, He would stop and lie quiet for a few moments; then He began again. Seeing his Beloved suffer so was the most painful sight of Bhau's life.
Baba instructed: "Write 800 pages. Write in a simple and engaging way. Make it interesting. Make it instructive. Use four types of meters. Include the lives of the five Perfect Masters at the beginning, and also My father's life.
"Save 100 pages for My manifestation. I will give you the meters and also tell you about my manifestation later. Don't worry. I will explain everything to you."
Bhau listened and did not interrupt. To ask Baba anything at such a crucial moment would only have added to His suffering. Besides, Bhau thought, he would ask Baba for clarification when Baba improved.
It took nearly one hour for Baba to convey what He wished Bhau to write, and in the end Baba added, referring to Bhau's writing in Hindi, "Always remember that I like your writing very much. Even if the world finds fault with it, you should not mind. I tell you honestly, remember it, I like your writing very much. And when I like it, what more do you want?"
This scene in Baba's room on the night of 24 January 1969, will always was before Bhau's eyes; he alone knows this story of tears. Meher Darshan (the biography in Hindi verse) and Meher Prabhu (the biography in Hindi prose) are the results of Baba's final instructions given then. As Bhau later recollected: "It was his wish that I write it, and by doing so, I have fulfilled his last orders to me." (Lord Meher-p-5391/2-1969)
Baba repeated this to Bhau on several occasions during these last days. While Bhau was on watch, Baba explained, "John was the youngest of Christ's disciples. Christ used to kiss and loved him dearly. Similarly, I love you. I love all, but this is my personal love."
On the afternoon of 30 January, Baba did His Universal work as usual. Bhau was with him in his room, and had to beat Baba's chest with his fists as he had been instructed. After this final day of working, tears flowed down Baba's cheeks. Baba looked up at Bhau and then drew Bhau to himself and embraced him. Baba looked completely exhausted and in anguish. His body had been broken into pieces, crushed after being ground in the mill of the forces of creation's universal suffering.
On the 30th, Baba dictated four prescient lines to Bhau, which Bhau often quoted in the months after Baba dropped His body:
Sab ke sab khamosh the
Aur mae uchal ke kood gaya
Kuch nahi ke madhyam se
Sab kuch nikal ke reh gaya
(All were silent.
And I jumped up and leapt away.
From the Nothing
Everything went away.)
Later, Baba began moving His fingers to give Bhau another line for a ghazal, and was overtaken by a terrible spasm. Bhau pleaded with Him, "Baba, please do not dictate anything now. You are in too much pain. Give me when you are feeling better." And Baba stopped.
After a short while, Baba sent for Eruch and gestured, "My condition is serious."
Eruch said, "We feel that also, Baba, but we are helpless against your will."
Bhau was feeling bad that he had not been able to strike Baba's chest that afternoon as forcefully as Baba wished. To console him, Baba asked Eruch, "How do you find Bhau?"
"Bhau is matchless," Eruch replied. Baba gestured for him to leave. (Lord Meher-p-5398-1969)
Bhau Kalchuri was a relative latecomer to Meher Baba’s circle, meeting Meher Baba in 1952 and joining him permanently in 1953 at the age of 27. He served Meher Baba in various capacities including as his night watchman. Meher Baba gave Bhau several writing assignments, many of which he completed only after Meher Baba died in 1969. In 1973 Bhau became a trustee of the Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust. Today he is its chairman and oversees all operations at the trust office in Ahmednagar and the trust mandated developments at Meherabad, India.
Kalchuri is best known for his exhaustive biography of Meher Baba, Lord Meher (also known as Meher Prabhu), a twenty volume 6,472 page chronicle based on diaries kept by Baba’s followers from as early as 1922, as well as recorded interviews. He is also author of Avatar Meher Baba Manifesting and The Nothing and The Everything, a book on spiritual mechanics based on notes given to him by Meher Baba. He has also written several plays and books of verse. Bhau writes in Hindi and English.
Bhau Kalchuri was one of the most publicly accessible figure in his life time. Kalchuri had given talks all around the world on the life and teachings of Avatar Meher Baba, and published online periodical Awakenings. Starting in 1985, he had made extensive speaking tours both inside and outside of India, predominantly the United States, but also many trips to Europe and Australia. He had been interviewed in both press and radio.
He published following English books
Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher, the Biography of the Avatar of the Age, Meher Baba. Bhau Kalchuri, Manifestation, Inc. 1986. 20-volume biography taken from numerous diaries and personal interviews conducted by Mr. Kalchuri.
>Meher Baba’s New Life
>Avatar of the Age Meher Baba Manifesting
>While the World Slept (>The Nothing and the Everything
>Let’s Go To Meherabad)
>Mastery in Servitude
>Ocean Waves, Volume I and II )
Hindi books published by him are as under.
Divya Leela (play)
>Jai Meher (play)
>Meher Jyoti (Flame) (songs)
>Meher Leela (biography of Meher Baba up until 1965 in verse)
>Prem Mahima (The Glory of Love) (play)
>Vishvas (Faith) (play)
You Alone Exist (prayer)
11-ERUCH BEHRAMSHAW JESSAWALA
Eruch B. Jessawala, primary interpreter of Baba’s signs and gestures, as the “Tongue of God” was well known for his deep understanding of Baba’s life and work and hundreds of seekers came to hear him speak of Baba.
Eruch Behramshaw Jessawala (October 13, 1916 – August 31, 2001), born in Bombay, India, was a close disciple of the silent Indian master Meher Baba, and one of His mandali. Eruch was also the primary interpreter of Meher Baba’s alphabet board, and later his unique sign language.
Eruch was born in Bombay to Zoroastrian parents, Beheram and Gaimai Jessawala. His father Beheram was an engineer with a high post in the Indian government in Nagpur, the capital of central provinces at that time. Due to constant relocations of his father, Eruch was placed in an orthodox Zoroastrian boarding school in Nasik, India at the age of 6. When his father eventually bought an estate, Eruch was transferred to a Catholic school at the age of 8 where he excelled as a student, eventually planning to study engineering like his father.
Due to family pressures, Eruch married his cousin Khorshed Damania on 25th may 1945, at Ahmednagar, which was attended by Meher Baba but according to Baba’s orders, soon after the wedding, he joined Baba permanently and never lived with his wife.
Eruch’s wife Khorshed became involved with Gangaram Mirchandani, who claimed to be a guru. Mirchandani was the same "bogus saint" who had sent three of his followers to confront Baba at Ashiana in Bombay in 1957. Baba forbade Khorshed from visiting Bindra House and also wished that the four Akbar Press families not get involved with this so-called guru.
According to Eruch the first time he remembered meeting Meher Baba was in 1925 at the age of nine on a trip with his family to Ahmednagar.
In August 1930, at Nagpur, Meher Baba stayed at Pappa Jessawala’s house. He told Gulmai that, “Eruch is My Son. I will give you another.”
Once in Nagpur, Baba cautioned all not to disclose His identity to anyone. Gaimai asked what she should say if someone inquired who he was. "Tell them that I am your elder brother Merwan," Baba replied.
Baba informed Gaimai that in the morning before Eruch went to school and after returning in the afternoon he should first meet Baba. Eruch was also to have his meals with Baba. Being a teenager, Eruch found this irksome and would deliberately hide and depart for school without seeing Baba. In the afternoons, Baba would stand outside in the yard by the gate, waiting to catch Eruch. For the first few days, Eruch was caught and had to spend the afternoon and evening playing games with Baba.
On the third day, Eruch was more cautious. Cycling home from school, he saw Baba from a distance and thought: "There He is again; He'll spoil my evening fun." To avoid Baba, Eruch quietly entered the house through the back door. After having a snack and changing clothes, he went out. Eruch did not want to spend his free time being with Baba, preferring instead to participate in football matches with his school teammates.
When he returned, Gaimai asked why he had not come home from school that day. Eruch explained that he had been home, but snuck off to play. Gaimai scolded him, "This is not good. You don't realize how blessed you are. Baba was waiting a long time for you. He is Zoroaster!" she exclaimed. "He is our Prophet returned! Do you not know that?"
Although religious by nature, Eruch was skeptical of what his mother said and remained unimpressed by his mother's words. Eruch had more of an interest in Jesus, having attended a Roman Catholic school in Nagpur. He did not yet realize that all Avatars are one and the same. Eruch thought to himself: "How much better it would have been if I had been born at the time of Jesus. I would love to have been by his side. Will that day ever come for me?" Little did he know that Christ had heard his longing and was waiting to play with him each day.
Sometimes at night while sitting on their respective beds, Baba and Agha Ali would have fun by throwing pillows at one another. When Gaimai saw this, she was shocked and corrected Ali, "Have some respect for Baba; don't behave like this with him!"
Baba intervened and, in turn, corrected Gaimai, "The boy does it to please Me, and to keep My pleasure is to respect Me. If, despite My telling him to do so, he did not, that would be showing disrespect for Me." This sort of familiarity with Ali had its effect on Eruch; it taught him to be frank and open-hearted with Baba at all times.
On one occasion, Baba opened Eruch's clothes trunk. He took out a shirt and pair of pants, held them up to examine them and motioned to Gaimai, "I must have clothes like this prepared for Agha Ali." Gaimai immediately sent for her tailor, a Gujarati man who was very old and partially blind. Baba himself explained to the old man about sewing suits for Ali, and Gaimai gave him silk fabric that had been meant for Eruch. (Lord Meher-p-1196/7-1930)
Eruch was studying in college and would visit Meher Retreat with his family. On one occasion, Baba introduced him to his Western lovers. Baba asked him, "What do you want to become?" Eruch replied that he wanted to study engineering at a college in Benares.
"What will you do by becoming an engineer?" Baba asked. He sent for Kaka and spelled out to Eruch, "Kaka was quite a big engineer in the Tata Company. Ask him what he did after becoming an engineer."
The mandali were expert at catching Baba's hints and would say anything to please Him in a ruse. Taking the hint, Kaka said, "Engineering is totally useless! One may follow any vocation in the world, but to become an engineer is a sin! I was faced with so many difficulties in my job I wanted to die.
There is no worse profession on earth than engineering!"
Baba then asked Eruch, "Did you hear what Kaka says about engineering? Why don't you become my engineer instead?" Eruch replied that he would see what happened.
Eruch was very strong physically. One day in Nasik, Baba asked Eruch to massage His legs. While Eruch was rubbing the muscles, Baba asked, "Do you know everything?"
Eruch answered proudly, "I have learned many things."
"Do you know how to swim?" Eruch said yes.
"Will you swim in My ocean?" Eruch burst out laughing.
Baba then directed him, "If you know everything, repair my chappals and bring them back within three minutes."
One of the leather straps had come loose and Eruch took the sandal, thinking: "If I don't stitch it in time, Baba will claim I was only boasting." He approached Freiny and asked if there was a sewing machine in the house. She pointed it out, and Eruch proceeded to begin repairing the leather strap.
Freiny's children Meheru and Naggu watched noisily as Eruch fixed the sandal. Eruch told them to be quiet. He sewed the sandal and went back to Baba in seven minutes. Baba examined it and gestured, "Good, but you took so long."
"The proper tools were not available," Eruch replied.
Baba congratulated him on doing a good job and then asked, "Do you know carpentry? Tailoring? Cobblery as well?"
"Yes, I do," said Eruch. "My parents have taught me many things." Baba appeared pleased and praised Eruch's abilities.
While staying at Nasik, Baba called the Jessawalas to Rahuri on 26 April and showed them the ashram and explained his work there. When Baba bathed the masts, he kept Eruch by His side. (Lord Meher-p-1881/2-1937)
In Bangalore, Baba had sent a telegram to Nagpur instructing Eruch Jessawala to meet Him in Panchgani. Eruch's father Pappa Jessawala was on tour when Baba's telegram arrived and Eruch's mother Gaimai told him to leave immediately. Eruch was working in the garden at the time and casually replied that he would start the next morning. It would take time to wash and get ready. But Gaimai urged, "Baba wants you immediately! Does immediately mean tomorrow?" While this exchange was occurring, a second, identical telegram from Baba arrived instructing Eruch to start for Panchgani at once!
Gaimai said, "I was telling you to go, but you would not listen. Now leave immediately!"
Eruch did not wish to upset his mother, so he promptly left for the train station and arrived in Panchgani the next day, 29 April 1938, along with Jal Kerawalla. Baba was waiting for them. He was pleased to see Eruch and remarked, "You came at once!"
Eruch said, "You asked me to leave immediately, so I did."
Baba asked about his family and then motioned to the mandali to leave and spoke privately with Eruch using His alphabet board. Eruch could read the board without difficulty, which was surprising for someone without practice. Baba said, "The world and its affairs are all illusory. Only God is real. Only God exists and everything else is transient!"
Baba continued, "Conditions in the world are going from bad to worse, and the outbreak of war is definite. Everything will be chaotic and millions will die. It will not be due to hate and hostility between mankind, but will be due to 'I-ness.' "
It is all a divine game!"
Baba then asked, "What are your plans?"
Eruch said that he had sent his application to Benares University to study engineering.
Suddenly, Baba posed this question, "If I were to ask you to leave everything behind — your studies, your friends, your property, your family — and come and stay with Me, what would your answer be?"
Eruch replied, "By your grace, anything is possible."
Baba smiled broadly and said, "Fine. Come on 1st August." Eruch nodded his consent and Baba told him to go. After bowing down, Eruch was just leaving the room when Baba clapped and called him back. "Would it be possible for your whole family to leave everything and come to Me?" Baba asked.
Eruch gave the same reply: "By your grace, anything is possible."
Baba said, "Ask your father whether it will be possible and write Me a letter. If he agrees, leave everything, and bring your father, mother, sisters and brother to Meherabad on August 1st of this year."
At the time, Eruch had no idea why he had committed himself, or how he would be able to fulfill his promise and dispose of the family's possessions in such a short time. There was the question of their house, their property, his sisters' marriages, his younger brother Meherwan's schooling — and, most important of his entire father's permission.
Baba said, "I am the Ancient One. Your decision pleases Me more than you can know. You should stick to it at all costs!"
Baba then asked, "If I tell you to lead a tiger by its ears, would you be afraid?"
"If you tell me to, and if I meet a tiger, of course I will do as you say," Eruch replied.
Baba beamed, and said, "Instead of that, have your supper and spend the night in My cave in Tiger Valley. If a tiger comes to the cave, do not be frightened. In the morning, leave straight for Nagpur without seeing Me, and come with all your family to Meherabad on August 1st."
After spending the night in the cave, Eruch departed for Nagpur. When he told the family what had transpired, they were overjoyed. Gaimai was especially pleased, as she had longed to stay with Baba for years. She said, "How lucky we are that Baba himself — the Avatar! — is sending for us!" (Lord Meher-p-1918/9-1938)
Fulfilling his promise, Eruch brought his family from Nagpur to Ahmednagar on Monday, 1 August 1938 to join Baba's ashram. Pappa Jessawala had come with them also and, after discussing all the arrangements with Baba, Baba sent him back to Nagpur on the 5th. He still had another year of service before he retired with a pension, and Baba advised him to complete his obligation and join Him after one year.
Before he left for Nagpur, Baba joked with him, "Pappa, I wanted Eruch to be with Me from his childhood, but you would not part with him. But had you turned him over to Me at the time, I would have had to look after his upbringing and studies. So, I thank you for giving him to Me now and saving Me all the trouble. It has lightened my burden considerably."
After settling in, Baba instructed Eruch to help Chanji with his correspondence work. He was also to hold the umbrella over Baba when Baba walked up and down the hill. Eruch's brother Meherwan and his cousin Dadi, who were both small boys, stayed at lower Meherabad with the men. Eruch's mother Gaimai stayed with the women mandali in the P.W.D. bungalow along with her daughters Meheru and Manu.
The only "thorn" in the whole affair was that Baba had told Eruch to bring his automobile along with them when they came. Since Pappa Jessawala also needed the car in Nagpur, Eruch explained to Baba that his father had insisted on keeping the car for at least another six months.
Baba was not happy about this and remarked, "This will always be a blemish on My heart."
At the time, Eruch did not understand Baba's comment. But eighteen years later, after the automobile accident in 1956 in Satara in which Eruch was driving, Eruch recalled Baba's words and thought that the accident related in some way to his not obeying Baba in 1938.
Shortly before coming to Baba, Eruch had two significant dreams. One night he dreamed that Baba had come to his house and began moving about freely. He told Eruch, "Stop everything and come!" Baba made Pappa and Gaimai stand before Him. He gave two children into their custody and started to leave. Eruch said quickly, "There is a lot of milk in the house; it will spoil."
Baba spoke in the dream, "Throw it away in the gutter and after cleaning the pot, come to Me!"
Sometime later, Eruch had another dream. He was driving a car with Baba by his side. Baba was elbowing him, urging him to drive faster. He accelerated, but still Baba wanted him to drive faster. A sea loomed large in front of them and Baba told him to drive into it! In the water, Baba still insisted that Eruch drive faster, which he did. Eruch was sweating profusely and, after driving very, very far, he saw a white building before him. Baba signaled to park by the side of the building, and with much difficulty he did. But the car got trapped in the sand. Here his dream ended.
The strange dreams stayed with Eruch for many days and helped him maintain his resolve that since he had come, he would stay with Baba permanently. (Lord Meher-p-1930/31-1938)
While Eruch was preparing to study engineering, Meher Baba called him to Panchgani and asked him, “Will you leave everything and come to be with Me?” To this Eruch answered, “By your grace anything is possible.” Thus Eruch Jessawala joined Meher Baba as His disciple in 1938 at the age of 21.
There had been many times conversation with Baba as He was the interpreter. Many episodes are humorous, interesting and carried spiritual messages. These are elaborated as under.
Baba stopped in Secunderabad briefly for mast work and then continued by train. A touching incident occurred on the train between Secunderabad and Sholapur. Baba was traveling incognito by third class, dressed in ordinary clothes, wearing a Kashmiri-type fur hat and dark sunglasses. The train was so packed that the only way to enter the compartment was through the windows. At one station, an old Muslim with a white flowing beard came running up to their compartment, holding up a five-year-old boy, pleading with the passengers to take him inside. Those inside began protesting, saying it was impossible since they were already so crowded. As the train whistle sounded, the old man became desperate and shouted, "For God's sake, take the child in!"
At this point, Baba ordered the mandali to help the man and lift the boy inside. Amidst loud arguments with their fellow passengers, the mandali did as they were told, brought the boy in through the window, and sat him down next to Baba. The old man ran to the next compartment, and held on to a railing as the train started. At each stop, he would come back to see that the boy was all right.
Observing the old man's anxiety, Baba ordered the mandali to make room for the man inside. After much trouble and more vociferous complaints from the other passengers, the mandali succeeded in pulling the man in through the window. He squeezed in next to Baba and put the boy on his lap.
In the course of conversation with the old Muslim, the mandali learned he was from Gulbarga, and asked, as was their habit, if he knew any masts or saints thereabouts. The man was surprised by their question and asked, "Why do you ask about saints? People go to a saint with two distinct objects: either for obtaining wealth and prosperity, or for God. Which do you seek?"
Eruch explained, "We are Parsis from Ahmednagar, but spiritually-minded and interested in saints."
Hearing that they hailed from Ahmednagar, the old man reproached them, "What? You say you are Parsis from Ahmednagar and you do not even know about your own great saint who lives near there, named Meher Baba? Why are you running after others?"
The mandali, in order to avoid disclosing Baba's identity, had to pretend they knew nothing about Meher Baba, and casually asked who he was.
The man laughed derisively at their ignorance, and chided, "Why he is a very, very great saint of a high order. He is worshiped by thousands of all communities. I can't believe you have never heard of him! I myself have been to see him at His ashram at Meherabad twice, but was not fortunate enough to have His darshan. Once, He was away in a foreign country, and once He was in seclusion. But I am determined to pay My respects to Him before I die," he added, "and take my whole family to him.
"At least once in my lifetime, I must have the good fortune of seeing Him. I strongly suggest you go to Him if you are interested in spiritual personalities."
At this point, the train stopped at Gulbarga, and the Muslim got down, thanking them for making room for himself and the boy. After he had left, Baba asked if they had any of His photographs with them. Eruch pulled a copy of Meher Baba Journal from his bedding roll. Baba bowed His head to His own photograph, and sent Eruch with the journal to give to the man, with these words, "Tell him who his companion on the train has been, and that I bless him and his family.
Now there is no need for him to visit Meherabad."
Eruch caught the old man outside the station as he was about to board a tonga and handed him the journal. When the old man saw Meher Baba's picture in it, and Eruch revealed Baba's identity to him, he exploded in anger. He loudly abused Eruch for having kept it a secret all this time. Eruch tried to explain the Master's reasons for not seeing anyone and traveling incognito, saying, "You are so blessed to have journeyed with Him for an hour when hundreds of His followers thirst for His darshan, which He does not allow even for a moment."
But the man would not listen, and cursed Eruch and his entire "younger generation." The man explained how restless he had felt in the other compartment, and that was why he kept returning to theirs, somehow irresistibly drawn to be near Baba after having longed for His darshan for so many years.
Eruch ran back to catch the train, and the old man ran after him. Eruch jumped on board. The man saw Baba leaning out of the window, without his dark glasses and hat, as if waiting for him. The old man bowed his head to Him, and Baba placed His hand on his head in blessing as the train pulled away. (Lord Meher-p-2254/5/6-1942)
In December 1943, an Irani came to Meherabad and wanted to place Rs.500 at Baba's feet. Baba did not accept the money, but the man entreated him again; so Baba motioned to him to give it to Eruch, remarking, "You (Eruch) must hand over this amount to a family who is very poor, but who cannot beg.
You will come to know the whereabouts of such a family in a natural way."
Baba had agreed to give darshan in Poona at the end of December, and Eruch was sent there in advance. Eruch had had no time to look for such a family in Ahmednagar, but when he went to Poona, taking the Rs.500 with him, he began his search. One day he was sitting in a shop sipping sugarcane juice. He overheard some of the other customers talking among themselves. One said, "What wonder of God that the very rich have become the very poorest, and the very poorest have become the very richest."
The shopkeeper nodded in agreement and said, "I know of a man in Bhor who is most faithful. Previously, he had a good job as a head-clerk. But he was fired from his job. He was not afraid to pursue justice, and had a reputation for being absolutely honest. His superior, who would always accept bribes, was jealous of him and somehow downgraded him, making him a pauper. The poor man has two daughters of marriageable age, but he is now penniless, without proper food and clothing."
After the customers left, Eruch took down the man's name and address and went to the town of Bhor. When he reached the house and saw the family in their miserable condition, his heart reached out to them. The daughters wore tattered clothing, and their small house was in a dilapidated condition. Seeing Eruch, the daughters were afraid, as he was dressed in khaki, and they thought he was a military officer or policeman. One daughter burst out, "We have done nothing wrong; for God's sake, leave us alone."
Eruch calmed her, "Don't be afraid, sister; I have come to help you. My elder brother has sent me to give you aid."
The other daughter pleaded, "My father is unemployed. He is out at the moment but will return at night. Please come tomorrow as we won't be able to pay the debts."
"I have not come to collect any debts," Eruch tried to explain. "I have come to present him with a gift from my elder brother. Please tell your father to be here tomorrow."
Eruch returned to Poona, and the next day went back to Bhor where he met the father. He informed him of his mission and the man asked, "Who has sent you?"
The man wept and disclosed, "Brother, Had you not come today, I would not have been alive tomorrow! I had decided to commit suicide. How long am I to continue carrying the load of these marriageable girls when I am up to my neck in debt? You can see for yourself our condition. We badly need clothes and other goods. But God is the Ocean of mercy! It is for our own good that He has kept us this way."Eruch could not reveal Baba's name. "By the guidance of God, my elder brother has sent me. Oblige us by accepting the money." Eruch then touched the man's feet according to Baba's instructions, and handed him the money.
Folding his hands to the devout man, Eruch left. Such was Beloved Baba's play! He is the Protector of everyone at every moment, and nothing is hidden from him! (Lord Meher-p-2391/2/3-1943)
In 1944, one day, Baba sent a telegram to Eruch in Poona telling him to come to Pimpalgaon. When he arrived, Baba instructed him to sleep close to Him in His room. Eruch did not believe in ghosts, and although Baba had explained to him many times about disembodied spirits, he found the whole idea hard to swallow.
That night, as Eruch was sleeping, he woke up and felt some heavy pressure on his chest, as if someone were sitting on his chest trying to choke him, although he could see no one. He struggled to free himself from the invisible intruder, but was unable to and could not utter a sound. He tossed and turned on the floor, sweating profusely, and Baba watched the struggle from his bed. After a short time, the spirit departed, and Baba asked, "Now, do you believe in ghosts?"
Eruch had learned his lesson and said, "I certainly do now." The next day, he was sent back to Poona. Baba had called him only to give him this experience. (Lord Meher-p-2404/05-1944)
One particularly significant contact in Rishikesh was a highly advanced soul called Jala Tapasvi. This great yogi wore a green kafni and sat on the roof of a ruined temple which had once stood on an island in the Ganges River but was now submerged. When Kaka and Eruch first went to him, they introduced themselves as Parsis from Bombay, and the yogi at once asked, "How are things there?"
"There are constant riots and disturbances," Eruch replied.
Jala Tapasvi surprised them by stating: "It is natural and indeed inevitable.
It is all the work of the Avatar, who is now in form.
"How can we find the Avatar?" Eruch asked.
"No one knows Him," the yogi said, "but He is already born. I know it. He moves amongst humanity incognito, unknown. People like Gandhi, the great men of the world, the so-called leaders, may be famous and even worshiped by mankind, but they are mere playthings in the hands of the Avatar. They are like kites, the strings of which are held firmly in the Avatar's grasp, and he controls them as he wishes.
"Hitler shook the world — everyone says so. But it is the Avatar who worked through him."
"When will the Avatar manifest?"
"After 22 years (1968). These wars and disturbances will continue until then, and three-quarters of humanity will be wiped out! This narakwasi (hell-like) world will continue, and then a swargawasi (heaven-like) world will be born. For how can people of hell co-exist with the residents of heaven? Seventy-five percent of the present world will perish and the remaining one-fourth will be absorbed in the qualities of a New World, where peace and happiness will reign."
Jala Tapasvi concluded: "Like other Avatars before Him, He will be ridiculed by the majority of people, and His real fame will only spread after His death when He will be recognized and worshiped as the Savior."
As usual, Eruch and Kaka had not once referred to Meher Baba, but when Jala Tapasvi later saw Baba in a house in Rishikesh, he cried out: "The Avatar has come!" Baba was happy with the contact.
There were many strange characters in Rishikesh, but one whose name is not recorded is noteworthy, though contact with Him was not to Baba's satisfaction. He was a foreboding, strange recluse who was well known but whose whereabouts in Rishikesh no one dared to divulge for fear of being cursed. Eruch, after much inquiry, found this recluse who had closeted himself in a hut on the riverbank in Rishikesh. When the recluse asked who he was bringing, Eruch replied, "My father." Baba arrived, but the contact was not to his liking, because during it the recluse pestered Baba with inane questions such as, "How many sons besides this one (Eruch) do you have?" As a young man this seeker was said to have wandered through the jungles for years living only on leaves and roots before settling in Rishikesh. He was emaciated since he ate only one chapatti and a little dal daily; nevertheless he was a forbidding character if angered. (Lord Meher-p-2541/2-1946)
Meherjee thought Baba would as usual travel in a third-class compartment, which was always overcrowded and would make the long journey particularly uncomfortable in the intense summer weather. He asked Baba if he could reserve a clean, first-class, air-conditioned compartment for Him and the mandali, and after much persuasion, Baba had relented. Baba sat in the cool compartment for a while, and then asked Eruch, "Don't you feel cold in here? I feel very chilly." The mandali were enjoying the journey for a change, but they asked Baba what He wanted. He instructed, "Go and tell the conductor to turn the air conditioning down a bit. Otherwise, you will all catch colds."
So Eruch approached the conductor, but the conductor replied, "Nothing can be done about it. It is on automatic; the temperature cannot be adjusted manually."
Eruch returned and informed Baba, who asked, "Can't they turn it off? Quick, go tell him to turn it off."
Eruch left, and the conductor turned the air conditioning off. Because the compartment was air-conditioned, it was airtight, without any external vents, fans or operable windows. It was the month of April, and the heat became intense. Without the air conditioning, the compartment soon turned into an oven!
Eruch felt so uncomfortable that he took off his clothes. The air was so stifling that everyone felt as though they were about to suffocate. Baba, on the other hand, was quite comfortable, and did not seem in the least affected.
Eruch thought: "Compared to this, third class is much better. At least it is airy."
Meherjee had purchased first-class tickets for Baba's comfort, but now he regretted doing so as the "comfort" turned into the severest discomfort imaginable. Thereafter, no one ever mentioned air conditioning to Baba again. (Lord Meher-p-2574/5-1947)
Baba and the mandali spent the night at the railway station, as they were to leave early the following morning. Here a memorable incident took place. Baba and the men would always carry their bedding rolls with them, and at the station they spread them out on the ground at the end of the stone platform. One of the mandali was to keep awake on night watch, but that night the sentry must have been feeling drowsy, because all of a sudden Baba started shaking Eruch awake.
Eruch awoke, startled. "What's the matter?" Baba pointed to a man sleeping beside them. The man had slipped under their blanket and was effectively using it to hide himself. Eruch shook him and asked, "Who are you?" But as soon as Eruch touched him, the man jumped up and ran away. When he did, the police were heard loudly blowing their whistles and chasing after him. The man was a thief and had slipped in between them seeking to disappear from the police.
Unknowingly, the thief had sought God's protection — and even if he was later caught, he had already had Baba's shelter! (Lord Meher-p-2601-1947)
Baba left for Baroda on the morning of Wednesday, 29 October 1947, and another amusing incident occurred on the train. Baba, Baidul, Eruch and Gustadji found themselves in a small third-class compartment which was empty. Everyone was pleased at this lucky turn of events, as whenever possible Baba preferred to have the compartment to himself so that he could relax and express himself uninhibitedly through gestures, without being concerned about drawing attention to himself. But unfortunately, just as the train pulled out of the station, a Congress leader stepped in.
Baba was not at all pleased to have a stranger in their midst and motioned to Eruch to get rid of him. Eruch pleaded, "Sir, the next halt is only ten or fifteen minutes away. When it comes will you please oblige us by finding a seat in another compartment?
The train is not crowded and we would prefer to be alone. We are traveling a long distance and are tired."
"Why, is this compartment reserved?" he asked.
"No, it is not," Eruch replied. "But we prefer to spread out, and you will be equally comfortable in another compartment."
The man became arrogant and rude, and began arguing loudly, refusing to move. Baba signaled, "Stop arguing with him. Just observe silence, talk with each other through signs and laugh uproariously. If he asks you anything, ignore him."
Gustadji, who was under orders not to converse in sign language while traveling, to avoid attracting attention, was now freed of this longstanding restriction, and he plunged into animated "conversation." Baidul and Eruch were familiar with his signs, and they also began using them and laughing loudly.
The politician looked puzzled and asked Eruch, "Where are you going?" Eruch looked at him and turned away without replying. He asked Baidul, and he too turned his face. "Where do you live?" the man questioned; but no one paid any attention to him and they kept up their sign language among themselves.
At the next stop, probably thinking he was in the midst of a bunch of lunatics, the man rose to leave the compartment, and summoned a coolie to remove his luggage.
Baba gestured to Eruch to shake his hand, thank him and help him out. So Eruch got up and helped the man down with his trunks and bid him farewell with a "Thank you."
They settled back to resume their journey in privacy, and Baba remarked, "Serves him right!" (Lord Meher-p-2602-1947)
Once Baba sent Eruch for certain work to Ahmednagar, asking him to return to Pimpalgaon by seven that evening. When Eruch had not returned by that time, Baba became restless. He would send Krishna every two minutes to see whether he had arrived. Baba was very uneasy and got angry with Krishna for no apparent reason.
Eruch had been late in leaving Ahmednagar and was driving swiftly toward Meherazad. On the way, he found the nallah (riverbed) flooded due to the monsoon rains, and cars and buses were stuck there. Paying no attention to the warnings not to cross the canal, Eruch plunged the car through the stream. He managed to drive across, though he got completely soaked. He arrived safely at Meherazad, and as soon as he drove in the compound, Baba calmed down. Eruch was called, and Baba asked him, "Why are you late?"
Eruch was weeping. He said, "Baba, I forgot."
"Why didn't you forget yourself?" Baba fumed. "Why did you forget My order? If you die, I will have to answer to Pappa!"
Once, Baba asked Krishna, "How do you find Eruch?"
Krishna replied, "He is a very good man."
Baba stated, "He is not only very good, he is a gem!" (Lord Mehher-p-2603-1947)
India and Pakistan had been partitioned, and civil chaos, riots, mayhem and confusion were rocking the country. It was no time to be traveling. Hindus and Muslims were massacring one another indiscriminately. Many had been slaughtered in trains. At times, train compartments were full of corpses being taken to distant places for burial or cremation.
Nevertheless, the Lord of Creation chose to travel at this time for His work. From Raigarh, Baba proceeded to Calcutta, arriving on the 30th. They caught the first train to Dacca, at that time the capital of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). But when they reached the Pakistani frontier station of Ranaghat, Baba got down and announced that He was returning to Calcutta. The mandali were astonished. He was going back after having just left! Baba's original intention had been to contact masts in Dacca, but who can grasp the Master's inner work? His inner work was complete the moment He set foot on Pakistani soil and there was no need to go further.
So, according to His wish, they entered a small carriage adjacent to the engine. It was completely empty and Baba was in an exceptionally good mood, apparently because of some success in his inner work. But alongside the good mood was the inevitable strain of working, and so he suggested, "To lessen the burden, let's play cards; but see that no one enters our compartment."
They began playing, and at the next stop when Eruch got down, he saw that the other compartments were rapidly filling and there was now the danger that others would enter theirs and intrude upon their privacy. He drew Baba's attention to this, saying, "It's time we roll up our bedding and prepare for the rush." But Baba gestured to him not to worry.
Before they arrived at the next station, Baba remarked, "I will lie down like this," and He stretched out on the wooden bench covering Himself from head to toe with a sheet.
Keeping motionless, He looked like a corpse. After they arrived at the station, passengers rushed to enter their compartment. Eruch stood by Baba's "body" with folded hands and a mournful look on his face, and the people thought that someone had recently died. Regretfully, they backed out of the compartment, not wishing to have as a traveling companion a dead body rotting in the heat. They naturally assumed that a Pakistani had been murdered and that his relatives were taking his body somewhere for burial.
The train began moving out of the station and the "corpse" rose from the dead and gestured, "Good trick, wasn't it?" In truth, Meher Baba was a living corpse; Avatars and Sadgurus are "dead" to the world at all times! (Lord Meher-p-2634/5-1948)
They returned to Calcutta at 7:30 that evening, and began to inquire about checking into a hotel. This was not as simple as it sounds. While returning on the train Baba had stipulated that he wished to have a room at the end of a corridor, and in addition there should be a vacant room between his room and the mandali's. After a long, tiring search they found a hotelkeeper at the Great Eastern Hotel who agreed to these conditions.
They settled in, but at midnight Baba complained of noise coming from a nearby workshop. Chhagan was keeping night watch and Baba directed him to tell Eruch to go down and ask the men to stop working, because his elder brother, who was "sick," needed quiet. The workers agreed to stop and Eruch returned. But in an hour, Baba complained to Eruch, "There's noise coming from the next room. Go see if the manager has broken his promise and allowed someone to stay in it."
Again Eruch went down the five flights of stairs, and indeed the manager had allowed two unexpected late arrivals to occupy the empty room. "After all, you are not paying for it," he reasoned. Baba was displeased but directed Eruch to go tell the couple to make as little noise as possible.
After a few minutes someone knocked on Baba's door. Eruch opened it and found a hotel waiter with ice water. He had mistaken their room for the couple's next door. This too irritated Baba. He scolded Eruch, "This is the last straw! I cannot bear all this commotion. Couldn't you find one decent hotel in all of Calcutta? We must move to another hotel that is quiet.
Again Eruch went down the five flights of stairs, and indeed the manager had allowed two unexpected late arrivals to occupy the empty room. "After all, you are not paying for it," he reasoned. Baba was displeased but directed Eruch to go tell the couple to make as little noise as possible.
I cannot work in this atmosphere with these constant disturbances."
Eruch woke up the other mandali and everyone started packing. Eruch had more to do than the others, since he had to pack Baba's personal belongings such as his clothes, towel, soap, razor, et cetera, as well as his own. When he was in the middle of packing, Gustadji came over and started asking him questions — by making hand signs, since he was on silence. Eruch felt annoyed but answered as best (and briefly) as he could.
They found another hotel and checked in, but again Baba began complaining of noise and stated they should go somewhere else. "There will be noise in or around any hotel in the city," Eruch said. "If you want a quiet place we will have to go to the suburbs."
Baba agreed. "We'll have to go by train," Eruch pointed out, "and to go to the station we will have to hire a tonga or taxi. They will charge us a high price, as it is the middle of the night."
But Baba replied, "It does not matter; we'll go by train."
So once more, Eruch had to pack everything, and with the luggage they proceeded to the train station — some half asleep. They reached the suburb of Howrah and checked into a secluded hotel. Baba liked it and Eruch again started to unpack his things.
Dawn was just breaking when Gustadji approached Eruch and began making hand signs in front of his face. The day's — and night's — weary labor had shortened the fuse on Eruch's temper and he angrily exploded, "Am I supposed to unpack Baba's things or read your damn signs? My God, I am trapped between two dumb mutes!"
Baba had just entered the room and heard his remark. He demanded, "Am I dumb?"
Pointing to Gustadji, Baba said, "He may be dumb, but I am not!"
Eruch apologized but lamented, "The whole night has passed unpacking and packing our things. It is good I have the strength to do it. But how in the hell am I supposed to understand Gustadji's signs in the dark? He has time to make signs only when I am preoccupied with something else. One person who does not talk is enough for me."
Referring to Gustadji, Eruch remarked, "I do not like having to attend to this other dumb mute!"
"Why do you repeat 'dumb mute'?" Baba asked. "He who can speak but does not is not dumb! (Lord Meher-p-2635/6-1948)
When Baba was out looking for masts on Mukamma Ghat in Batanagar on 1st April 1948, an amusing incident took place. Baba was conversing with Baidul, Chhagan, Eruch, Gustadji and Kaka. As Gustadji was keeping silence, he was "talking" with his fingers, and Eruch, who was the most adept at putting his gestures into words, was interpreting for Baba. Because Gustadji had enjoyed a bumper breakfast that morning, he was in a good mood and his fingers moved rapidly.
Nearby a policeman was observing this odd exchange and became suspicious. He asked everyone to accompany him to the police station. Eruch asked what they had done wrong. "This man is not speaking but making signals and I am suspicious of him. You'll have to come with me to the station to be interrogated." The policeman thought there were some secret coded messages being passed between Baba and Gustadji by signs. Due to the bitter relations between India and Pakistan at the time, even the smallest, most trivial incidents were viewed with apprehension.
Eruch assured him, "We are Parsis, and this person is dumb and therefore was speaking through signs."
Gustadji's feelings were pricked by this repeated remark and he gestured to Eruch, "Why do you always call me 'dumb'? Am I dumb or observing silence?"
Eruch did not pay any attention to him and continued talking with the officer, but Baba snapped at Eruch, "What is he saying, what is he saying? Why don't you tell Me what Gustadji is saying?"
When the policeman saw that there were two "dumb" persons in their group, he became even more suspicious! Eruch, with difficulty, persuaded him of their innocence and the man left.
Now an argument ensued between Eruch and Gustadji. Gustadji asked again, "Why do you always call me dumb?"
"Had I not said you were dumb, you would have been locked up in jail!"
"So what?" Gustadji said. "That would have been better than being insulted!"
Baba continued goading Gustadji and at the same time demanding that Eruch interpret his gestures. Finally, Eruch got so exasperated he told Gustadji, "Pardon me; henceforth I will never call you dumb again."
But this was not the end of their confrontation. Baba continued to encourage Gustadji to keep on talking, and he went on making more and more signs which Eruch not only had to "listen" to, but also interpret and repeat. At last Eruch got so fed up with Baba siding with Gustadji, that he exploded in sheer anger and said something disrespectful to Baba.
After a little while, Baba asked, "Do you know how much you have pained Me?"
Eruch had cooled down and answered, "I did not mean it. Others have used much stronger language than I did. You did not feel so pained then."
"You have no idea how much you have shocked My heart! Listen to this story and you will realize why I feel so deeply hurt." Baba then recounted:
A woman in a village once cohabitated with a man who was not her husband and the people came to know of it. It was the custom then to punish such a crime by making the adulteress sit in a circle. Every villager would then pick up a stone and strike her.
The woman was made to sit in the town square and the villagers began stoning her one by one. When the woman's daughter's turn came, she could not bring herself to stone her own mother. Instead, she picked up a rose and threw it at her.
But the rose wounded the woman much more than all the stones combined, because it came from her daughter, one whom she dearly loved and had raised so tenderly.
Similarly, others' "stones" do not hurt me as deeply as your rose. (Lord Meher-p-2637/8-1948)
After His mast contacts, Baba went to a small railway station near Calcutta on the night of 1st April, to proceed via the mail train to Hardwar. The station was crowded, and to get seats in third class with all their baggage was impossible. So it was decided that Baba, with Eruch, should travel with the baggage by first class, and Gustadji, Chhagan, Kaka and Baidul by third class. Eruch was serving as Baba's personal attendant then and so was to be by His side at all times.
Gustadji conveyed, "I will help by loading the luggage in the compartment," and so he too was taken with Baba into first class.
When the train arrived at the platform, there was the usual scramble for accommodation, and Eruch efficiently made Baba sit in the first-class coupé and briskly loaded their luggage inside. Thereafter, by flashlight, he signaled the other mandali at the other end of the platform that all was well and that he was boarding the train. The train started and Eruch began arranging the luggage in the small compartment. After a few minutes, Baba asked Eruch what happened to Gustadji. Eruch looked throughout the train and, failing to find him, thought he had been left behind. He replied, "He must be back on the platform. What should we do now?"
"Don't worry," Baba gestured.
"But he is old and on silence," Eruch protested. "He'll have a hell of a time making himself understood."
"From the next station, send a wire to the stationmaster and Chhagan will go back and bring him," Baba ordered.
A noise like the squeaking of a rat was heard and Eruch switched on his flashlight but could not discern anything in the darkness. In those days the trains had no electric lights and the compartments were dark at night. Again the sound was heard and Eruch searched their compartment but found nothing. Noticing that there was an empty seat, he thought that perhaps a fellow passenger had gone to the lavatory, but he could not locate the latrine. He then realized that the toilet door was completely covered by their baggage. He began shifting the luggage and Baba asked, "Why are you doing that?"
"The door to the lavatory is blocked," Eruch replied. "It is just possible the other passenger is inside."
Eruch moved the obstructing luggage away, and to his surprise found Gustadji sitting inside. Baba chided Gustadji, "Wherever you go, you always go to the toilet first. How much urine do you pass in a day? You came along to help load the luggage and you instead get locked in the loo!"
Gustadji replied, "The urge to piddle was uncontrollable. Had I helped with the bags I would have stained my pants." And Baba and Eruch could only laugh at Gustadji's serious expression. (Lord Meher-p-2638/9-1948)
In Haridwar, when Baba was to contact other masts, His gaze fell upon an old man dressed in rags. Baba sent Baidul to elicit information from him about the whereabouts of masts, and on Baidul's return they walked off. But the old man was magnetically drawn to Baba, and followed them down the street.
On Baba's instructions, Eruch asked him the reason why he was following them. The old man replied, "I am in search of a guru, because Kabir has said that without the help of a guru, God is not experienced! I am now old and afraid I may pass away without realizing Paramatma." Looking at Baba, he continued, "In you I see the man fit to guide me on the Path."
Baba smiled and, speaking through Eruch, advised the man, "Try to love God more and more — so much so that you feel like a fish out of the ocean whose only desire is to return to the ocean." (Lord Meher-p-2641/2-1948)
As usual, whenever Baba would arrive in a village or small town, a crowd gathered to have a look at the strangers. As Eruch was busy talking with a devotee, a man with a palsied arm stood next to him and put his other arm lightly around Eruch's shoulder in a gesture of friendship — or so Eruch thought. Eruch was carrying a wad of ten-rupee notes in his upper pocket, and though he did not see the act, he heard a crisp sound, turned quickly and saw the man holding two notes in his hand. Because of the crowd, Eruch did not say anything, but he caught a firm hold of the man's wrist and dragged him behind the house, determined to give him a few hard slaps for picking his pocket. He raised his arm to strike him when suddenly someone caught his arm from behind.
Turning around, he saw it was Baba.
"What are you doing?" Baba gestured.
"This rascal pinched Rs.20 from my pocket!" Eruch responded.
Baba looked at the man. "Did you do that?" He caught hold of his earlobe (the usual punishment for children) and, pinching it, warned him, "Never, never do that again!"
Baba turned back to Eruch and motioned, "Give him back the money. It is meant for those who need it. Had he not needed it, why would he have stolen it?" Eruch hesitated, but Baba repeated, "Go on, give it to him!" (Lord Meher-p-2666/7-1948)
Baba would not permit the mandali to open any of the windows or ventilators, because his sensitive sinuses could not bear the slightest draft. When their small compartment grew unbearably hot, Eruch took off all his clothes. He began gasping for air in the stifling coach and looked like a naked mast covered with sweat. The compartment became like the black hell hole of Calcutta!
Baba appeared to be sleeping, and Eruch took the opportunity to go to the toilet, where he turned on the tap. He was so desperate for a bit of fresh air, he stuck his head down the "toilet" — a hole open to the tracks beneath the train — to breathe. When he returned, Baba had covered himself with blankets and still seemed to be resting, oblivious to the heat. (Lord Meher-p-2668/39/40-1948)
On Monday, 22 September 1947, Baba left Baroda for Ahmedabad. The train compartment was extremely crowded and Baidul had to sit on the floor by the door. When the train halted at Nadiad, Baidul moved in front of the exit. Suddenly, someone pushed the door open, but as the compartment was already overflowing, Baidul quickly closed it, pushing the man out.
The man slipped and nearly fell, but was not injured.
Two policemen appeared and told Eruch, "Come out at once; you are under arrest." Eruch looked incredulous and asked what he had done. "You pushed the mayor out of the train!"
"Who says I pushed him?" Eruch demanded, "And why was the mayor trying to enter from an exit door"? He should have come through the proper entrance. Let him prove I pushed him out."
The mayor appeared and addressed the other passengers: "Brothers and sisters, you are all witnesses of what happened. This man threw me out! Judge for yourselves. Let there be no injustice done. Let not barbarism triumph by giving your testimony."
Eruch spoke in his defense: "Fellow passengers, you know that there has been rain, and there is mud everywhere. Had the distinguished mayor really fallen, his clothing would have gotten dirty. Look for yourselves. His clothes are quite clean without a spot on them. You may come to your own conclusion."
The mayor indignantly sat in another compartment and the two policemen entered Baba's compartment — already holding 84 passengers but designed for only 50. The train started as the policemen began collecting statements from everyone. It went on the whole night and when the train arrived in Ahmedabad, Baba and the mandali got down — with the charge against Eruch still unsubstantiated.
After completing his mast work in Ahmedabad, on the evening of the 23rd, Baba went to the station to catch a train for Mount Abu. Since there was plenty of time before the train was due to arrive and Baba was completely exhausted, he wished to rest for a while. However, the platform was full of people, so he could not rest there.
Baba climbed the railway bridge to see if he could find a quiet spot on which to lie down. He noticed a garden nearby, and when Eruch went to check it out, he found that it was a public works storehouse. Eruch asked the watchman for permission for them to rest in the shade a while, but he said, "This is a restricted area; no one is allowed inside."
Entreatingly, Eruch told him, "We only want to lie underneath a tree before our train comes. I promise we will not be in your way. We are very tired and will leave after a few hour's rest."
The watchman reluctantly agreed and Eruch gave him a generous tip.
Baba and the men carried their luggage to the garden and spread themselves out in the cool shade under a tree. Baba washed his face and hands. The men, after taking off their clothes, went to sleep. Since it was very hot at the time, they all slept in their underpants. Soon after, the official storekeeper himself showed up and asked the watchman, "Who are those people and why did you allow them to camp inside? Who will be responsible if anything is stolen?" The watchman implored his pardon, but harshly reprimanding him, the official said, "Your service terminates as of tomorrow. You're fired!"
Baba was listening to all this and he woke Eruch and said, "Go and find out what the trouble is." Eruch ran half-naked to the guard, but the official had already left.
The watchman told him everything and Eruch consoled him, saying, "Don't worry, we'll do something." Eruch, still in his boxers, then went to see the official storekeeper in the dak bungalow and told him in English, "It was not the watchman's fault. We were wrong to seek shelter here. He at first refused us entrance, but we persuaded him to relent.
"I am the son of a boiler inspector [a high government position] and all my companions come from good families. We will leave the garden now, but please do not dismiss the watchman because of us. We were simply lying under a tree and never stepped foot in the store."
The official said, "You may rest there as long as you like. I was just threatening the man to keep him on his toes so he won't permit anyone else to enter the premises. I won't sack him, don't worry."
"Then kindly accompany me and assure him of that," Eruch requested. "He is so afraid, and my elder brother won't be able to rest so long as the man keeps worrying."
The storekeeper took Eruch back in his car to the garden. Pretending to reprimand the watchman, he said, "If this ever happens again, I will dismiss you from service, but today you're forgiven. Just remember not to let it happen again; otherwise, you'll really lose your job."
Thus everything returned to normal, but the Lord of the universe could not rest undisturbed, even under the shade of a tree. Perhaps his fatigue was a pretext to contact the kindly watchman and his stern boss. (Lord Meher-p-2952/3/4-1947)
During stay in Vengurla, he again wished to contact the fifth-plane Lala Mast. The mast was living far away in an isolated area, and Baba asked Eruch "Isn't there any shortcut?"
Eruch reported, "There is an inlet, but it is full of brackish water. It would be difficult to cross, and it smells awful. There are tiny canoes that ferry passengers, but it is rather dangerous."
"We'll take the shortcut," Baba decided. "Why spend an hour driving this long, zigzag way?" They left the car, and Baba walked with Eruch to the inlet.
Eruch told the young fisherman's son plying his canoe that he would be paid well, but that he should be extra careful taking them across. The boy agreed, and scrubbed his boat well for the distinguished gentleman. Baba took off his coat and, handing it to Eruch, stepped into the hollowed-out palm tree canoe wearing only his sadra. Eruch was carrying a satchel containing a water bottle, soap, a towel, washcloth, and so forth. While traveling with Baba to contact masts, these things were necessary to wash the mast, and clean the often squalid area where they stayed. In addition, the bag carried sweets, clothing, cigarettes, paan and other items a mast might ask for.
Eruch got in and the canoe pushed off. But after going some distance, the boy's friends, who were swimming alongside, began teasing the boy and roughhousing. Suddenly, the canoe overturned, and Baba, Eruch and the boy were thrown into the water. The channel was not deep, but Baba had gone under and Eruch had to dive down and pull Baba to the surface. They had to wade through the dirty water to reach the other side. Eruch held the bag in one hand and with the other helped Baba across and out of the smelly water. Their clothes and the bag were drenched.
After being helped up on the bank, Baba turned to Eruch and said something to him which he never forgot: "Just as you have helped me out of this dirty water today, so also one day I will help you out of the filth of maya!"
Baba sat down and instructed Eruch to go bring his other clothes from the bungalow.
Eruch protested, "How can I leave you here alone?"
But Baba insisted, "Don't think about it; go and bring a change of clothes for me."
Eruch returned to the dak bungalow and asked Goher for clothes for Baba. "Where's Baba?" she asked.
Thinking quickly, Eruch replied, "With the mast."
Eruch brought the clothes, and Baba changed into them behind a bush. He instructed Eruch to wash his dirty clothes and hang them in the sun to dry, so that when he would give them to Goher, she would not be suspicious. They then went to Lala Mast's isolated hut, and Baba was pleased with the contact. (Lord Meher-p-2693/4/5-1949)
In new life at Benaras on the first day, they halted in the compound of a school at a place called Shivpur. Here Baba sent Babadas and Eruch out begging. Eruch first approached the hut of a very poor old woman, but she had nothing to give — not even a little flour. Yet she told Eruch to wait, and borrowing some flour from a neighbor, lovingly gave it to Eruch as alms. How fortunate was this poor woman! The God-Man had sent his companions to beg at her door, and she did not fail to give him something, even if she had nothing herself. (Lord Meher-p-2844/5-1949)
Traveling farther south, Baba and his companions arrived in Madras, where a thorough search was made to locate more families. Three destitute families were found, and Baba washed their feet and gave Rs.500 to each family.
On one occasion, Baba was sitting at a place in Madras, when he suddenly gestured that he felt thirsty.
He sent Eruch to buy coconut water. While doing so, Eruch overheard some people discussing an unfortunate family. Eruch asked a paan wala if he knew of any needy families in the area. The paan-seller informed him, "In Gudur there is a family who was once quite well-to-do, but they are now in such a miserable condition they cannot even afford food and clothing. The man used to be a wealthy merchant and was having a palatial bungalow constructed. Suddenly his business plummeted and the building contractor, taking advantage of his situation, began looting him. The result was the contractor himself became the owner of the building, and the family now occupies a tiny hut, where they live in squalor."
Eruch repeated the story to Baba, and Baba became anxious to proceed immediately to Gudur. Two hours later, they caught the first train there. When they arrived, Eruch went ahead from the station to find the family in a suburb called Old Mambalam. He came to a large house and knocked on the door. A well-dressed man appeared, and Eruch asked for the man whose name he had taken from the shopkeeper. "I am that man!" the head of the household replied. This surprised Eruch, and he thought the search had been in vain. Still, he said, "I have heard that the former owner of this house was once very wealthy but is now a pauper. My elder brother has come to render him some help." The owner did not reply, but his young son who had been standing behind him said that the man he wanted resided in a hut in a nearby alley. The man Eruch had been talking with was the person who had taken over the house from its original owner. Surprisingly, their names were almost the same.
The boy showed Eruch to the other man's hut. It was Diwali, the colorful festival of lights, but outside the hut, not even one light burned. Eruch tapped on the door of the hovel, and a young girl in a tattered sari cautiously opened it. It was dark inside. Only a tiny light flickered in front of a glass case housing a tall idol of Lord Krishna which, even in his destitution, the man had saved. The poor man was sick and lay on a cot in the corner. His wife was seated on another cot in the one-room shack.
The girl had been praying to Krishna. Eruch inquired of the girl about the man, and she quietly answered, "He is my father, but he is ill. My mother too is indisposed. Why have you come here?"
"I came to know about your father's plight, and my elder brother has come to help him," Eruch explained.
"We have nothing with which to repay a loan."
"This is not a loan," Eruch quickly explained. "My elder brother wants to give a gift of love, and if your father accepts it he will oblige us."
The girl burst into tears. She turned to the statue of Krishna and uttered: "My Krishna, my beloved Krishna — how merciful you are! I have only just prayed to you and you have answered so soon. You are merciful, my Lord, most merciful!"
At this, Eruch's heart too was full, and tears came to his eyes. Eruch told the girl, "My elder brother always first washes the feet of the receiver and then lays his forehead on them. Warm some water; meanwhile, I will bring him from the train station."
Eruch went back to the station and, accompanied by Baba and Pendu, led them to the hut. Baba washed and put his head on the man's feet, handing him Rs.500. The girl was overcome and wept. "My Krishna, my Krishna," she continued to cry. "My merciful Krishna!"
Age too was touched. "Krishna was present in physical form — but the Lord did not linger!" Finishing his work, Baba immediately departed by tonga. After some distance, it was discovered that Baba's coat had been left behind in the hut. But Baba indicated to Eruch and Pendu, "Forget about it! Let my coat stay with them. I am extremely happy with the work that has been done." (Lord Meher-p-2951/2/3-1950)
From Madras, Baba and the men entrained for Hyderabad, where they stayed for nine days. In an Idgah (Muslim place of worship), Baba sat in seclusion for half an hour one day. There, while the men stood guard, Baba again took off his clothes and sat naked, wearing only a loincloth. In this manner, Baba's langoti life continued.
In Hyderabad, eleven destitute families were found in need of Baba's love-gift. Baba gave Rs.500 to three Muslim families, and the same amount to five Hindu families. Three other families received lesser sums from Baba.
One interesting incident of these contacts was when they heard of a former prosperous nawab (Muslim prince) who had fallen victim to a wretched plight.
Previously, he had been so rich that when he traveled, a special saloon for him was attached to the train, and at the entranceway of his splendid home elephants were kept chained. Yet his sudden misfortune had reduced him to a pitiful state — selling beedies and matches on the street, and he had no place where he could call home.
Eruch began a search to locate this former prince in the Mud Fort locality of Hyderabad. The man was well known, but since he was without a place of residence, he could not easily be found. Eruch at last approached the proprietor of a small shop who said, "He is here, lying sick on the verandah." Eruch went to him. He was lying on a broken-down cot, which someone had given him. Nearby were a few matchboxes and beedies piled on top of an empty wooden crate — the extent of his worldly possessions. His wife had gone to a free municipal dispensary to bring medicine.
Eruch left at once and brought Baba, Pendu and Baidul. Eruch gently told the man, "My elder brother has come to help you. He will give you a good sum as a gift of love, and we will be grateful if you accept it."
Suspicious, the man asked, "From where have you come, and why do you wish to help me? With what motive?"
"Please do not ask such things," said Eruch. "Accept the gift as God's mercy; that is all we ask."
After much persuasion, the man agreed. Baba was in a hurry to finish everything, but Eruch said, "Baba, let's wait until his wife comes. There are many people about and someone might steal the money."
Baba replied, "Yes, money is such a thing that people in his condition cannot afford to be careless with it."
Baba approached the man to wash his feet. The sick man wanted to get off the cot and stand up. Although he was told not to do so, he would not hear of it. Baba washed and placed his forehead on his feet and gave him Rs.500 as his love gift.
Seeing the stack of notes, the man was so overcome he fainted. Seeing the man fall, the people who were watching began verbally abusing Baba and the party. They charged that because of the presence of Baba and his men, the man had become more ill and died.
A ruckus was raised. As a crowd gathered around them, Baba, Pendu and Eruch lifted the man and laid him back on the cot, and Baba began fanning him.
"Inform the police immediately!" The crowd demanded. "These are dacoits! They have poisoned the poor nawab! Don't let them escape!" Eruch tried to pacify them, but to no avail.
At this point, the wife returned with the medicine. Seeing her husband unconscious, she started weeping and wailing. Loudly she shrieked, "I have been deprived of everything in this world! Only my husband was left with me, and now you have snatched him away!"
Eruch tried to calm her, "He will come around soon; he's not dead. Do not be distraught. He has been given a large sum of money. See that it is kept safe and spent on his treatment."
The man slowly opened his eyes, and tears flowed. "Why do you abuse these good people?" he asked his wife. "These men are the angels of God! Do you know what they've done?" The woman started offering her thanks for the timely help.
Eruch told her, "It is God's grace. Thank Him!" Baba had quickly slipped out the door so suddenly; some still thought he was in fact guilty of a crime.
Tremendous efforts were involved in seeking out such families; inquiries were made on all sides. To contact them and help them was difficult, but the God-Man's love is great for those who really suffer, and he himself underwent much hardship to find and help them.
Those who received monetary help were informed that what was given to them was not given as charity. It was a gift to them so they could rehabilitate themselves and regain their material stability. In accordance with the fulfillment of the objectives of the New Life, Meher Baba's name was not disclosed to anyone, so that the recipients could not make obeisance to him- (Lord Meher-p-2953/4/5-1950)
Arriving Bombay at Bindra Baba directed Eruch to take a bath. Eruch insisted, "You should bathe first, have your lunch — then I'll have mine."
So Baba had his bath and food and ordered Eruch again to go and bathe. Eruch replied, "After I've given you the Hewlitt's Mixture [for digestion], I'll go."
"Don't worry about that, just have your bath; I'll take the mixture myself," Baba insisted.
Gaimai intervened and disapprovingly corrected her son, "Why don't you do as Baba says? Go have your bath."
Eruch left reluctantly, and Baba went to take his medicine. Manu, Eruch's sister, said she had a bottle with her, and she would bring it. "Do not bring it — it's here," Baba replied. He opened his traveling bag, but when he took out the bottle, it slipped from his hand and broke into pieces. Sitting down, Baba began picking up the glass and Gaimai came running, and insisted that she would clean it up.
Returning from the bathroom, Eruch remarked sardonically, "I knew something would happen! That is why I did not want to go for my bath."
"Go away!" Gaimai scolded. "What does it matter if a thousand bottles are broken?" Baba kept quiet and looked guilty, as if he had been caught committing some transgression. The fact was, Baba did not wish Eruch to go for his bath, and Eruch knew it. The broken bottle was his ploy to teach Eruch to follow the dictates of his heart.
But the episode did not end here. A few drops of the medicine had splashed on Baba's coat. "There are spots on my coat," Baba complained. "What will Mehera say?"
"Don't worry, we have another coat," Manu said.
"I do not want another one," Baba insisted.
Turning to Eruch, Baba was plaintive. "What should we do now? What will Mehera say when she sees these stains? How pained she will feel when she finds I've been wearing a coat that has been soiled. You know how very particular she is about my clothing."
Eruch said, "It's all because I went for my bath. I do not know how I let you convince me." Baba laughed and Manu hurried in carrying a similar coat. Baba put it on, so the stained one could be cleaned. He then went to Baba House. (Lord Meher-p-2982/3-1948)
Eruch and Baba rode in the front seat, and Vishnu, Pendu and Nilu at the back. On the way, Baba instructed Eruch to drive slowly, since he wanted to reach Satara in the evening and there was plenty of time remaining. Pendu explained: "Every time Baba left for somewhere, he used to tell Mehera what time we would be back. In this way, the women were free to do their own work. Otherwise, they would be anxious, not knowing what time Baba would be returning. So that day Baba had told them, 'I am coming back this evening, but not before six.' We had no idea what time Baba had given to Mehera. Baba liked fast driving, to reach soon, so Eruch used to drive fast."
When there were only a few miles left to Satara, Baba asked Eruch the time. Baba said he must not reach before six. Eruch stopped the car under a tree and said, "Let's rest here. We'll play some cards or a game to kill time, because it's too near now and we'll reach before six."
Baba said to continue, so Eruch began driving very slowly. Baba didn't like it. "What's the matter with you?" he asked. "Why aren't you going fast?"
Eruch replied, "You asked me not to reach before six and you don't want to wait here."
"No, drive as usual."
Baba had moved from the front to the back seat, changing places with Vishnu and Pendu. At 5:05 P.M., fifteen miles outside of Satara, Baba had the car stopped and switched places again; he again sat in front with Eruch, while Vishnu, Pendu and Nilu were at the back. Baba's fingers were working continuously, indicating his serious mood.
Eruch now 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.
At 5:15 P.M., almost directly opposite where they had played cricket, as Eruch was reading Baba's gestures, the steering wheel suddenly and inexplicably went completely out of control. The car swerved, dashed against a stone culvert and landed eventually in a shallow ditch on the other side of it. All the men in the car, including Baba, were seriously injured. Baba was bathed in blood, his tongue was torn, his hip bone fractured, and he had abrasions on his forehead, nose, cheeks and legs. (Lord Meher-p-4231/2-1956)
Early in the morning of Tuesday, 25 February 1958, the men and women at the sahavas began meditating and singing devotional songs and the arti — illuminating Meherabad with the light of Wine. To take Baba to the pandal, an open convertible car had been procured for the occasion and was also decorated in the shape of a boat. It was driven by Laxman Malvade of Arangaon. The entire sahavas group walked about half a mile up the Ahmednagar road to receive Baba. The Arangaon villagers formed into a long procession of singing and dancing. The Arangaon lovers had returned from Toka with the sacred river water, and the entire atmosphere reverberated with hearty shouts of Baba's Jai!
Meanwhile, at Meherazad that morning, Baba had not cleared his bowels. After driving some distance in the car, Baba indicated to Eruch that he had to use the toilet. "Should we stop at Adi's [Khushru Quarters] on the way?" Eruch asked.
"No," Baba gestured. "Just hurry and drive straight to Meherabad."
Again on the way, Baba indicated he had to go to the toilet urgently. "We can stop at Akbar Press," Eruch suggested.
But again Baba said no. "On reaching Meherabad, I will proceed straight to my room and use the potty there; don't allow anyone to come inside."
Eruch was driving as fast as he could, but at 7:30 A.M., about a third of a mile from Meherabad, they were met by the cheering and cries of Baba's lovers, who had come forward to receive him. Eruch blared the horn, telling people to move out of the way; but the only response he got was: "Avatar Meher Baba ki jai!" And again and again, louder: "AVATAR MEHER BABA KI JAI! AVATAR MEHER BABA KI JAI!"
Baba's car was surrounded. Eruch went on honking and shouting for people to please move and allow the car to proceed, but Baba gestured to him to keep quiet and not mar their enthusiasm. "Once in this life, they get such an opportunity," Baba remarked. And the car inched its way forward. The greatest joy for the lovers was thus a torture for their Beloved! 4326/7-1958
After an hour halt in Cairo, they traveled on. There was a scheduled four-and-a-half-hour layover in Rome, where they were to change planes. Baba asked, "What are we going to do for three or four hours?" Don requested that the pilot radio ahead for a room in the Rome airport in which his patient could rest during the layover. Speaking in Italian, Don impressed them that he was a British doctor in charge of a very important person. He was under the impression that a room would be given at the airport. When they arrived, they were met by two attendants with a wheelchair who insisted on escorting Baba, though Eruch said he would push the wheelchair. They did not speak English, and only Don spoke Italian. They wheeled Baba onto a platform outside, and while Don went to check about the room, the mandali heard an ambulance coming, its siren blaring. It pulled right up to Baba. Two men very gently but firmly put Baba on a stretcher and loaded him into the ambulance. Eruch verbally protested against what they were doing, but because of the language barrier they did not understand what he was saying. Eruch jumped into the ambulance next to Baba and they were driven to a hospital three miles away.
Baba was taken to a room in the hospital and a doctor came to examine him.
Eruch tried to explain, "He is not a patient! We only wanted a room in which to rest until our plane leaves. We have to catch a plane in a few hours, so we must be taken back in time." After taking Baba's temperature, the doctor and nurse left, and Baba motioned to Eruch to lock the door. They had a wash, and Baba laid down on the bed and covered himself with a sheet. Don, Nariman and Adi arrived, and after a couple hours they returned to the airport.
Baba was still in the wheelchair when he expressed an urge to urinate. There were no toilets nearby and, besides, the wheelchair would not fit into the toilet stalls. Eruch (who always carried an aluminium cup for such purposes) told the other mandali to occupy both side-booths of a telephone booth while he wheeled Baba into the middle one. They did so, pretending to talk on the telephone as Eruch lifted Baba, who urinated into the cup, which Eruch emptied into a toilet.4355/6-1958
On 27 July 1961, Baba and a few of the mandali paid their respects at Babajan's tomb. Gajwani and Siganporia had a two-hour audience with Baba on 1 August. Adi arrived that same evening.
During those days in Poona, Eruch used to spend the day at Guruprasad and return to Bindra House in the evenings. Baidul would also stay with his family at night. Naja would always stay at Bindra House to cook, as food for Baba and the women came from there. The men's food came from Jal Dorabjee's guest house. Once Eruch brought mangoes from Bindra House. They were delicious, but the next day Baba complained to him, "The mangoes are sour."
Eruch replied, "They are sweet, Baba. I bought them myself after tasting them."
Sending for Mani, Baba asked her whether they were sweet or sour.
Mani answered they were somewhat sour, and Eruch could only remark, "Well, perhaps they are."
One day Baba remarked to Eruch about his mother and sister, "I was thinking of calling Gaimai and Manu to Guruprasad, but after consulting the women, they said that if I called them, I would have to call others also." Eruch kept quiet and Baba added, "I am so guileless! All are fooling me!"
Eruch replied sardonically, "You are not guileless, Baba, but ghag [cunning]! You are ustad [masterful]!" Eruch's remarks made Baba laugh.4768/9-1961
Eruch and Don Stevens had gone out for a walk, as they would do every morning, but the Ahmednagar group had arrived fifteen minutes early. By the time Eruch and Don returned to Meherazad, Baba was already with them in front of mandali hall.
"Where have you been?" he asked Eruch, his eyes flashing with anger. Eruch explained. Baba asked, "But why weren't you here when the singers arrived?"
Eruch said "The program was to start at ten o'clock, and it is only a quarter to ten now."
"You should have been here," Baba insisted. "You should know what I want." On and on, Baba reprimanded Eruch. Don was mortified. "Good heavens, what have I gotten poor Eruch into," he thought, as it was Stevens who had wanted to go out that morning, despite Eruch's misgivings. "I really ought to bear some of the weight of this debacle," he thought to himself.
Just as he had this thought, Baba turned on him and gestured, "Don, you have ruined my day!"
To have the Avatar himself say this to him was more than Don could bear. Something "absolutely snapped, broke, foundered," inside him. But just as he knew he could never feel the same again, Baba looked deeply, quietly, steadily at him for five seconds, snapped his fingers, pardoning him, gesturing, "Don't worry. Let's have a good time."4786-1962
Baba said “Eruch is with Me, he loves Me, he works for Me wholeheartedly, but even for him it is not easy to obey Me.
Eruch interjected, "I just tell Baba we are helpless in this and all other matters. I found that out during my long stay of many years with Baba. I thought obedience was easy; but I did not know Baba would say 'Get up' and 'Sit down' at one and the same time! So I tell Baba: 'I am absolutely helpless. I cannot obey you, I cannot love you!' "
Baba commented, "Eruch loves me very much. He is my right hand; but obedience is a terrible affair. The apostles of Jesus also knew how difficult it was to obey him."
Eruch added, "We cannot please Baba even with obedience; so it is not obedience. Yet to please him is the aim of everything we do." (Lord Meher-p-4843-1962)
A curious encounter occurred before leaving Hyderabad. Eruch visited the police commissioner's office and submitted a letter stating that Meher Baba intended to travel by foot from Hyderabad to Ahmednagar and requesting the police to inform other officials along their way, so that the group would not be stopped and unnecessarily inconvenienced for verification of their identity by the local police.
The commissioner, S. N. Reddy, invited Eruch to his house for tea, and Eruch, surprised by the invitation, accepted.
At his residence, Police Commissioner Reddy left the room and returned with an old framed photograph. It was the photograph of Baba as a young boy with his high school cricket team. Reddy said he was a member of the team and said, "Tell Baba that I always remember him from our school days." The necessary documents were promptly prepared and sent out. From then on, not only were Baba and his men allowed to travel freely in every town in the area, but also in every obscure outpost the local police had been informed not to stop them. (Lord Meher-p-3007/8-1951
The 30th October 1951, Baba sat in seclusion for half an hour in a Muslim dargah in Gulbarga, and thereafter contacted a saint and a mast.
Baba wished to give money as "love-gifts" to 101 needy families in Warangal, and he sent Eruch in advance to contact the headman of the village. The headman owned a shop, and opposite his was another shop. Unbeknownst to Eruch, there was a bitter rivalry between the two shopkeepers. As Eruch approached the headman's shop, the other shopkeeper called him over and asked what he wanted.
Eruch explained his purpose and the second shopkeeper told him, "There is no necessity of meeting him. I will arrange everything." He then drew up a list of 101 families who had once been farm owners but, as their land had been confiscated by the government, were now on meager government pensions of Rs.20 to 25 per month. The shopkeeper handed the list to his servant, who accompanied Eruch to distribute passes among the listed families.
Meanwhile, the headman came to know of the matter and, out of spite, informed the police. Two constables came to where Eruch was distributing tickets. One constable, noticing that Eruch was poorly dressed and unshaven, arrogantly demanded, "Come over here. What are you doing?"
"Be civil," Eruch replied. "I am not a thief. You are a public servant. Why behave in such an insolent manner?"
The policeman said, "Come with us to the police station; our inspector wants to speak with you."
I have no time," Eruch answered. "Send your chief here. I have not broken any law. If he will not come, I will see him after finishing my work."
So both constables returned to the police station.
While Eruch was on his way to the second shop with the head person of each needy family, a police inspector with the two constables confronted him. The headman, pointing to Eruch, told the inspector, "He's the ruffian!"
Eruch then began to understand, and going to the second shopkeeper asked him, "What's going on here? Is there some enmity between you and the headman?"
"That is true, but it is not my fault," the man replied. "Though I do not do anything to provoke him, he is jealous of me."
Eruch asked, "Then would you have any objection if our program is carried out at his house? My elder brother would first come to your shop, and then distribute his love-gifts to the families selected at the headman's house."
The shopkeeper said, "I would not mind at all. I only wish that your work be done." Eruch complimented him for his cooperation and approached the headman.
The police inspector intervened and asked Eruch, "What is going on?"
Eruch said, "You will come to know."
He then requested that the headman set aside a room for the work, and a room was put at his disposal. Baba came from Gulbarga that same day, 30 October, with Pendu, Gustadji and Baidul. Without his identity being disclosed to the local people, Baba began his work with the poor of this village. One by one they stood in line, and touching the feet of the person representing each family, Baba handed each Rs.50.
The program had a harmonious ending. The headman felt ashamed that he had tried to stop Eruch and repented for his behavior. After the program, Eruch asked the police officer, "Have you anything further to ask?"
The inspector said, "I apologize. All these complications arose because of the rivalry between the two shopkeepers."
Because of the political unrest in the Hyderabad area at that time, and to avoid any trouble along the way, the police had been informed in advance of Baba's foot journey. Eruch asked the inspector, "Have you had any special circular from your commissioner regarding the movements of Meher Baba in the area?"
"As a matter of fact, yes, we have received it."
It was Meher Baba who distributed the love-gifts; but please do not tell anyone," Eruch revealed.
The police inspector took it as his good fortune to have been able to see Baba from a distance. (Lord Meher-p-3011/2/3-1951)
Baba spelled out, "They are those intimate ones who all along and even now are prepared to sacrifice their all in all for Me. The one who gives his life to me, who listens to me and is ready to obey me, who does not ask for any kind of reward, nor care for the result, whether he is ruined or he prospers, who takes my pleasure as his pleasure, but at the same time whose intimacy I also feel, such a one is a mandali member."
Eruch then asked, "Does one have the right to call himself one of the mandali if he himself feels intimate with you, regardless of the period of his connection with you, whether one year or 30 years?"
"Only if you find me intimate with him," Baba replied, adding, "Take Elcha [Mistry] of Dehra Dun. I feel absolutely free with him, but if he is not prepared to sacrifice all, then he is not in the mandali."
Eruch asked for a more clear-cut definition, asserting that only those whom Baba felt to be in the mandali were so, and no one had the right to assert that he was in the mandali. Baba replied, "The feeling should be present on both sides."
Baba asked Harish Chander Kochar, "Are you in the mandali?" Kochar replied that he felt at home with Baba, and Baba stated, "This is true. I also feel at home with you, but are you prepared to sacrifice all for me willingly? Are you prepared to do any day what I tell you without hesitation, even if I ask you to cut your daughter Raj's throat? Will you do that?" Kochar said yes, and Baba assured him, "Then you are in the mandali."
Baba concluded, "Intimacy on both sides is absolutely necessary. On one side, I must accept him as one of the mandali, and on the mandali's part honesty is needed." (Lord Meher-p-3445/9-1954)
While showing them the room he would sleep in during His seclusion at Meherazad (Pendu's room), Baba asked Eruch to narrate an incident that had taken place at the time. According to Eruch, he was on guard that night when Baba was inside the room. He had orders not to open the door unless Baba clapped, and if He did clap to come immediately. Eruch was sitting outside with a lantern and a flashlight. At 2:00 A.M., he saw a snake, trying to slide under Baba's door. Eruch pinned its tail with his flashlight. Just then, Baba clapped. Had Eruch obeyed Baba's orders and opened the door immediately, the snake would have entered the room. So Eruch waited until the snake slid away. He then entered the room, and Baba asked the reason for the delay. Eruch told him, and he simply smiled.
"But," added Baba, "I always say when there are conflicting orders, always obey the first order." (Lord Meher-p-3570-1954)
It happened when Baba first moved to Satara. Baba had sent for Meherjee's car from Bombay, which his driver was bringing.
Some distance from Satara the car met with an accident, and the driver was seriously injured and rushed to the hospital in nearby Wai. When the news reached Satara, Eruch hurriedly dressed, while Baba started distributing sweets to the mandali. Baba called Eruch to receive the prasad, but he retorted, "Am I to eat sweetmeats when that poor fellow is dying there?" Baba kept quiet and simply handed him his portion.
After Eruch's departure, Baba remarked to the other mandali: "Such sentiments should have no place before my orders. What value has they against My wish? My pleasure is something different, and it is a great thing to remember it. Can anyone be as mindful of others as I am? Everything is in My hands, and all is well if my wish is carried out."
When Eruch and Pendu arrived at the hospital they found that the driver had been well looked after. (Lord Meher-p-3711/2-1955)
Once, Eruch had been sent to Ganeshpuri in Gujarat to convey Baba's message to Saint Nityanand, and also to Bombay to deliver the same message to Mangharam Mirchandani, a bogus saint. Mirchandani had come to India from Pakistan after Partition and was thought to be a saint, but he was deceiving innocent people. He had been the chief speaker during a recent celebration of Baba's birthday in Bombay. But when Eruch conveyed Baba's message — to the effect that "all advanced souls are Baba's beloved children, the rivers flowing into the Ocean which he is" — Mirchandani reacted angrily and began vilifying Baba terribly. When Eruch reported this, however, Baba was not upset by the abuse of this so-called saint. He had his own reasons for contacting Mirchandani. (Lord Meher-p-4119-1956)
Once in a darshan Program Eruch was interpreting Baba’s gestures, a beautiful lady came before Baba, seeing most beautiful lady Eruch had unwanted feeling, Baba asked Eruch is she not Beautiful? Eruch was caught behind. Baba stopped the lady and said; this is My Beauty all over you see. This physical beauty will fade away by time but My beauty is eternal.
Once darshan program was on and one Major tried to put forth his wife near Baba out of turn. Eruch pushed her and she fell on someone nearby. Major got angry and stared Eruch in anger. Baba immediately ordered Eruch to go to Major and bed an excuse for his mistake. Major cooled down but boasted others that Baba’s disciple has asked him for forgiveness. After the program referring the said incident Baba discoursed, “Ego is hydra headed, if one head another comes up.”
In 1956, Eruch, while in Poona received this telegram from Mani: "See Sant Vaswani. Tell him all about Baba and say he is one of Baba's beloved, precious children." Accordingly, Eruch met Sadhu Vaswani on the evening and told him about Meher Baba. Sadhu Vaswani was extremely happy to hear that Baba had remembered him and that he had sent His love. He asked Eruch to convey his heartfelt invitation to Baba to visit his school in Poona, and Eruch assured him that he would convey the message to Baba.
As directed by Baba, Eruch went to Mangharam Mirchandani and asked him if declares himself God then pronounce that “I am the Lord of Universe”. If he (Mirchandani) could say so he (Eruch) will bow down at his feet. Mirchandani tried but instead of taking His name Mirchandani pronounced, “I Meher Baba is the Lord of universe.”
On 12 th September 1963, Eruch was admitted to Booth Hospital in Ahmednagar, where the following day he underwent surgery for fistula. After a two week stay in the hospital, he returned to Meherazad on 25 th September.
The draft was sent to Adi's office for typing and printing. After it was dispatched, many telegrams and letters began arriving, and Baba would dictate replies. He would often bring up the subject of "the Great Darshan" to be held next summer. One day he punned, "In March, you all march to Poona."In October-1963, Eruch tried his best to dissuade Baba from sending out the circular, because he felt it would be impossible for Baba to give darshan, considering his precarious health. But Baba was adamant and replied, "I will give darshan; I want them to come. Send it." Eruch obeyed.
On one occasion, Eruch pleaded, "Baba, why not just let there be darshan every day? There will not be that mad rush or circumstances which are so oppressive for us all, and naturally it will not be as tiresome for you. When thousands come, the mothers have to stand in the queue for hours in the hot sun holding small babies and fruits that get spoiled by the time they reach you. And all the time, you will be concerned about where will they stay at night, how will they pass the night, how will they return home, will they get seats on the train. Why all this?
"Why not give darshan every day? We will fix the time each day when darshan will be available, and we will not need to bother about their lodging. Let them come every day. It will be so much easier," Eruch concluded.
Baba replied, "That time will also come. Not now though, but after we come back from Poona. There will be darshan every day, but only after we return." (Lord Meher-p-5362/3-1968)
On 9th January, 1969, Baba told His brother Adi Jr. “Eruch is My Peter. Peter renounced Jesus but Eruch will not renounce Me.” Eruch loves Me very much. He is My right hand; but obedience is a terrible affair. The apostles of Jesus also knew how difficult it was to obey Him."
Baba said, “Eruch is with Me, he loves Me, he works for Me wholeheartedly, but even for him it is not easy to obey Me.”
Once Baba said about Eruch “If I ever personally like the company of anyone it is that of Eruch. He is most reliable”.
Baba’s great love for Eruch is reflected in following words:
“Do you know How very important Eruch is for My work. By remaining by My side He serves Me 24 hours a day, keep watch by My side, reads My signs and gestures, looks after My smallest chores & in addition tackles correspondence. Now days I ask Eruch from his free and frank opinion whenever I am in doubt about My dealings with others.”
Meher Baba was silent for 44 years, from 1925 until his passing in 1969. Eruch Jessawala was Meher Baba’s main interpreter, interpreting both his English language alphabet board and later his sign language. Eruch Jessawala also dictated from the alphabet board Meher Baba’s major book God Speaks, wrote the ninth chapter of that book working from a chart by Meher Baba under Baba’s direct supervision, and wrote the book’s conclusion. Eruch’s stories of his life with Meher Baba were also published during his lifetime.
Eruch survived Meher Baba’s death by 32 years, continued to live at Meherazad and worked for the Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust in the trust office in Ahmednagar until his own death in 2001. He continued to be an inspiration for followers and disciples of Meher Baba from the east and west until the end. Eruch was well known for his acute talent for telling stories of Meher Baba’s life, and his books are taken from those accounts.
His literary works include “That is how it works” and “Stories of Life with Meher Baba”