72-NANA KHER

72-NANA KHER

Nana Kher, 28, of Nagpur was a friend of Eruch’s. He had been interested in spirituality from childhood, particularly the stories of Ram and Krishna. He heard of Baba in 1941 from Deshmukh (then his professor of philosophy) and from that time on had been yearning for darshan. But when Baba’s darshan program was held in Nagpur in 1944, Nana was working in Poona and had no knowledge of it.

Many of his real time incidents and dialogues with Meher Baba are written below.

In Poona, Eruch told him of his forthcoming marriage and added, “If you attend it, you will have Meher Baba’s darshan.” So Nana came to Ahmednagar to attend the function. The first time he met Baba was on 27th May 1944, the evening before the wedding, when Baba paid a visit to Akbar Press.

Baba called Nana into His room. Eruch, Jal Kerawalla and Jalbhai were present. Baba asked him, "What do you want?"

"Spiritual freedom," Nana replied.

Baba looked highly pleased and asked, "Would you follow My orders?"

"I am fully prepared to do as you say."

Baba instructed, "Fast every Sunday during the day, and at 7:00 P.M. have a full meal after feeding a beggar with your own hands. Repeat My name for fifteen minutes daily in a closed room, and lead a simple, pure life." Nana was grateful for Baba's orders and Baba asked him, "Is there anything else you want to ask?"

Nana reluctantly said, "My parents want me to marry. Should I?"

"What is the hurry?" Baba asked. "Wait for two years and then I will tell you what to do."

Baba and the group arrived in Madras on the night of the 2nd April 1947. They stayed in Aiyangar family's house, Meher Bhavan, in Saidapet. From Nagpur Nana Kher and others came

Although Baba did not meet the public during His stay in Madras, He did have interviews with His intimate lovers. One was with Nana Kher of Nagpur. A few years before, in 1945 at the Damania and Jessawala wedding in Ahmednagar, Nana had asked Baba about his own possible marriage, and Baba had informed him he would instruct him after two years. Now, in Madras, Baba broached the subject again, reassuring Nana, "If you want to marry, then marry. I give you My permission and blessings."

"I will do as you say," Nana replied.

"Have you ever committed any sexual act with anyone?" Baba asked.

"Never!" Nana answered.

"Then why don't you marry Me?" Baba advised. "If you have sexual thoughts, don't worry; but do not put these thoughts into action."

Despite the ardent desire of his parents, Nana never did enter into wedlock and devoted himself entirely to Baba's service.

On 15th December 1948, Nana Kher of Nagpur and Was Deo Kain of Delhi were brought to Meherazad. Nana Kher had repeatedly requested to stay with Baba. He had recently heard from Babadas that Baba was looking for lovers who would be prepared to go to foreign countries to do His work. Nana told Baba this, and Baba asked him, "Would you be able to do anything I say?"

"Anything," Nana replied.

"Would you kill your father?"

"I would do anything you told me, Baba."

"Are you prepared to undergo life imprisonment for My sake, to suffer physically and mentally for the rest of your life? Will you do that for Me?"

Nana answered affirmatively, and Baba asked about his activities in Nagpur. Baba then ordered, "I want you to go back, and return here within two months with four lakhs (400,000) of rupees."

"All right," Nana calmly replied.

"From where will you bring it?" Baba asked.

"I will beg!" Nana declared.

"Who would give you alms? I have a better idea," Baba teased. "Rob a bank and give Me the money. Then surrender to the police and accept your guilt.

You will be sent to prison, and there you will be able to remember Me more. Could you do that?"

Nana assured Baba that he was prepared to do so, and he was told to go. But soon Baba called him back and ordered, "Don't do that. Instead, go home and sell your half-interest in the chemist shop (his family pharmacy). If you want to dedicate yourself to My cause, you must be free from any personal liability. Give the money to your mother. Thereafter, on the 1st of April (1949) walk here from Nagpur, wearing only a loincloth and nothing else. Don't keep a pie (penny) with you, and beg for your food. Would you do this?"

"Yes," Nana assuredly replied.

"If your parents won't allow it, what will you do?"

Nana remained quiet, and Baba warned, "Do nothing against your parents' wish. Explain to them lovingly, but do not argue with them. And then come and stay with Me permanently." Nana returned to Nagpur and, as expected, his well-to-do elderly parents (his father was a judge) were shocked. They did not think it was proper for their son to go on a begging tour, and they forbade it. His father wrote to Baba, and Nana also informed Baba accordingly. Baba ordered him to continue living with his parents.

Nana Kher of Nagpur had orders to fast every Sunday and feed a poor beggar. Availing himself of the chance, he had written asking what he should do if he fell sick. Baba simply advised him, "In that case, do not fast and don't even think of feeding a beggar." (Lord Meher-p-2942-1950)

Nana Kher related, "While Baba was standing on the verandah saying goodbye, and we saw an unusual glow and radiance on his face. He was very, very happy. As we departed, we could see this glow and radiance even from a distance." (Lord Meher-p-2947-1950)

On 30 June 1951, in the morning, Baba took the group in two buses to the scenic Usman Sagar (lake). Baba also met individually with a few of his lovers that day. Nana Kher told him, "I wish to stay with you."

"Would you do as I tell you?" Baba asked.

"Assuredly!" was his quick reply.

"From tomorrow, start drinking two bottles of wine and eat one kilo of mutton," Baba ordered. "Would you do it?"

Although Nana, being a high caste Brahmin, had never touched wine or meat in his life, he agreed to obey. Baba then related to him, "I am very pleased with you, but continue to stay at your house, and never touch wine or mutton!" (Lord Meher-p-3001-1951)

On 19th October, 1952, Nana Kher and others were called to discuss the darshan programs in Nagpur and Saoner. Sherlekar was given overall responsibility for seeing to all arrangements.

Baba then asked Nana Kher of Nagpur about several of his monetary matters, and told him to make up his mind so firmly that nothing would upset him. "But again, that is impossible," Baba remarked. "In case you have a zalak (glimpse of God), only then is it possible. But it is better that one should not worry, for all is zero."

The music program ended at five that afternoon. Baba asked all to wash their faces and hands again, and the names of God from the four different religions were repeated. As Baba got down from His gaadi, He turned to Nana Kher and asked, "Why are you growing a beard?"

Nana answered, "My beard is so tough, letting it grow is easier than shaving."

Baba teased him, "It is good that you did not get married, because your wife might not have liked the sight of a bearded husband."

While leaving the hall, Baba urged all to have a good rest and keep well for the coming three days.

Nana Kher's brother, Vinoo, had come to Meherabad for the first time. On seeing him, Baba remarked to Nana, "What a beautiful soul! Nana, your brother is quite a good man and I like him very much."

In 1953, during the Nagpur stay, Baba and the mandali's food was coming from Nana Kher's family's house and was daily being delivered to where Baba was staying.

He was not eating at anyone's house, but he once went to see the Kher family at their residence. There were so many dishes for lunch that Baba complimented Nana's mother, Godubai, "My belly is full just looking at them!"

Then, examining every dish minutely, He inquired, "Why hasn't Asha (Nana's sister-in-law) prepared chutney? Where is she?"

Godubai explained, "She specially came from Amraoti for that purpose, but because she is having her period, she is weeping." (In India, it is an age-old custom that when a woman is menstruating she keeps herself aloof and does not touch anyone, much less cook.)

Baba sent for Asha and asked her, "What do you take Me for?"

"Paramatma," she said.

"Yes, I am Paramatma. I am the Ocean which has within it both good and bad. The ocean is never polluted if filth is thrown in it, nor does it ever give out fragrance if it contains sandalwood. The ocean is infinite. It always is as it ever was.

"I contain within myself both your good and bad actions and keep you clean. I am infinitely pure and purify every bit of dirt in My Infinite Ocean. So, dedicating both good and bad to Me, everyone should become pure.

"To Me, you are never unclean. Go prepare and bring My chutney. I am waiting for it."

For Asha, it was a wondrous thing, as she had been brought up in an orthodox, traditional manner. Baba's love took firm root in her heart, and she prepared the chutney with much love — which Baba ate with zest, praising her all the while.

During travel from Delhi to Madras by train, according to instructions, Nana Kher met the group at the Nagpur station at noon with lunch for Baba. Pointing a finger at Babadas, Baba asked Nana, "Who is this fellow?" Nana could not recognize a clean-shaven, well-dressed Babadas, so Baba told him who it was. Baba remarked to Nana, "Come with us; we will see about the ticket." Nana was only too willing; but just as the train began leaving the station, Baba changed His mind and decided that he should get off.

Baba decided to fast for seven days from 10th July 1954, and chose seven others to fast with him including Nana Kher. Subsequently, Baba broke His fast on the 13th July, and ordered the others to stop also.

Nana Kher's mother, Godubai, had come from Nagpur, and Baba asked her what she wished for. "Nothing except your love!" she said. In fact, she had come again with the firm resolve to ask Baba about Nana's marriage. She had been thinking about this the whole time while coming on the train, and again in the pandal as Baba was giving darshan. But when she stood in front of Baba, she forgot all about it — and only remembered on the train while returning. She now accepted that it was not Baba's wish that her son marry. This was true, and so Godubai would continually "forget" to bring up the subject with Baba. Thereafter, she never mentioned it to Him — nor did Nana Kher ever marry.

For December meeting, Nana Kher and Bhau were to make sure the kitchen, latrines and bath rooms were kept neat and clean. Baba had sent word with Eruch that everyone should be given two Anacin tablets upon arrival.

Nana Kher had typhoid and his brother, Vinoo, and nephew, Bal Subhedar, brought him to the meeting tent in a car. He was made to sit on the platform with his brother and nephew to care for him. Baba's order was that even if anyone was ill he should participate in the meeting. And although Nana had a temperature of 105° F, he was brought to the pandal.

In October 1954, Nana Kher was still ill with typhoid, and Don was treating him. Since the mandali were to leave for Satara, Don advised that Nana be sent to the Ayurvedic Hospital in Ahmednagar. This was done, and Bal Subhedar continued to look after Nana. After Nana was a bit better, He left for Nagpur on the 8th October.

For sahavas programs were in the final stages. On 27th October 1955, Baba had been driven to Meherazad from Satara, and from the following day, He began visiting Meherabad daily.  Cooking arrangements were the responsibility of Chhagan and Shahastrabudhe (of Mahabaleshwar), aided by Nana Kher."

Baba said: "Those who do My work are My mandali. If we were to list their names, it would fill a volume. There is Ramjoo, Kishan Singh, Nana Kher and Feram Workingboxwala.

On 8th November 1956, a telegram was received in Satara about Sheela. Bhau did not inform Baba because there was a ban on correspondence during Baba's seclusion. But that day at 5:00 P.M., Baba called him to Grafton and asked if any letter or telegram had been received. Bhau said one from Rama had come. "What does she say?" Baba asked, and Bhau told him.

"Send a telegram immediately to Nana Kher to arrange for Sheela's medical treatment."

"Everything will be done there [at Rama's parents," Bhau protested. "Why should Nana be troubled?"

This upset Baba so much, He picked up His sandal and threw it forcefully at Bhau. "Why this talk of trouble to Nana instead of simply following My order? Aren't you ashamed to speak like this to Me? Who is sending a telegram to Nana, you or I?"

In 1958 darshan program, embracing Nana Kher, Baba stated, "He is from Nagpur. There is no silent worker like him."

On 11th April 1959, Baba visited the Poona School and Home for the Blind in Koregaon Park. Baba gave this message, which Nana Kher read out:

People generally think that the blind are unfortunate. You may also sometimes think so. But it is people with eyesight who are really unfortunate. They think that all the things they see are real. But they do not see God, Who alone is real.

All those who do not see God are blind. The only thing worth seeing is God. So even those who have physical sight may be more blind than those who are physically blind and love God within.

Today, I embrace you with My love so that someday you may have real Sight and see Me everywhere.

5th June 1960, was the largest public darshan in summer. An estimated 10,000 persons poured into Guruprasad seeking the God-Man's touch. Nana Kher from Nagpur came for darshan with many other VIP’s.

In 1963, Nana Kher arrived from Nagpur and stayed with the men mandali at Guruprasad, until Baba left at the end of June. Occasionally, Nana Kher would write down what Baba dictated. On 30th and 31st March, Baba explained about the "weaknesses" of each of the past Avatars, and also about two ways of realizing God:

Each year Nana Kher would come from Nagpur for three months to reside at Guruprasad with the mandali. This arrangement continued until the end of Baba's life, whenever He resided in Poona.

On 6th May 1965, the final day of darshan, Baba entered the side room at 7:05 A.M. Eruch showed him the first three copies of the Marathi translation of The Everything and The Nothing, which Indumati Deshmukh, Nana Kher and Dinkar Dhage of Nagpur had done together. Baba signed each of the copies.

On 10th July 1967, Baba instructed His lovers to celebrate His silence anniversary and Baba sent following message to Deshmukh, Nana Kher and the Nagpur group,

My love blessings to all those who in celebration of My silence anniversary celebrations are enjoying the beauty of silence and who, in silence, are awake for the attainment of the destination of the pilgrimage of life.

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 28th August 1967, 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.

Baba continued His work for five weeks — from 21st May to 27th June 1968 — working half an hour daily. For more than a month, during the latter days of Baba's stay in Guruprasad, He would call Bal Natu and Nana Kher to His room for half an hour at about 7:00 P.M. every evening to listen to them recite the Marathi poems of Professor A. N. Deshpande, head of the Department of Marathi at Nagpur University. Nana Kher had told Deshpande a year or so earlier about Baba, and although Deshpande had not met Baba, he was extremely drawn to Him after reading Baba's books. Deshpande had corresponded with Baba and had sent him a copy of his poetry booklet Nave Manache (New Mind) Shlok (Shlokas for a Modern Age).

To entertain Baba, Nana Kher and Bal Natu twice staged amusing skits