76-RUSTOM KAIKHUSURU IRANI
He was son of Kaikhushru Irani & Gulmai and elder Brother of Adi K Irani- secretary of Baba.
There are many incidences and dialogues between him and Meher Baba which are elaborated as under:
In 1922, one day, Rustom had an accident while driving his motorcycle. Afterward, in gratitude that no serious harm had been suffered, he walked the considerable distance from Ahmednagar to Sakori to meet Upasni Maharaj. True to Meher Baba's prediction, his father Kaikhushru had been made a Khansaheb. When Rustom related the news to Maharaj, He quipped, "Your father has become Khansaheb, but you took a tumble. One went up, the other came down. It's good that things happened that way." After this, Rustom often visited Sakori with his sister Piroja. Maharaj would affectionately call him Ram and his brother Adi, Laxman (Ram's younger brother).
By Baba's order, during October 1922, final preparations for publishing Upasni Maharaj's biography in Urdu were intensified. By November, advertisement posters and leaflets were printed, and a publishing company named Circle & Company was formed under Rustom's legal aegis. Baba gave specific instructions to the men at the Manzil about the distribution of leaflets and the hanging of posters at different fixed locations throughout the city.
On one occasion, Rustom and Vajifdar approached a lawyer, handing him a copy of Gareebon ka Aasara. After casually glancing through the book, the lawyer asked, "What do you want me to do?"
Rustom jokingly said, "Why don't you buy 100 copies — you can afford it!" The man immediately pulled out Rs.300 from his pocket and handed it to Rustom. Later they learned the man was genuinely interested in spirituality.
For many days, Rustom and Vajifdar walked all over Bombay trying to sell the books. During the course of their daily solicitation, it was recommended that they visit a wealthy merchant who owned a lot of property and managed a successful business. When they went to meet the man at his office, they found him sitting in a small room on the bare floor dressed like a common clerk. They were shocked by the man's humble attire, but he welcomed them lovingly and bought several copies of the book.
In 1923, Rustom had called a bone-setter arrived, but Baba refused to see him. The doctor was paid the 35 rupee fee, but was puzzled, since he had not seen the patient. Rustom and Nervous had been frantic when they brought him to the Manzil, telling the doctor it was an emergency and to come immediately — now he was told that everything was all right. Rustom stammered that the patient felt much better and did not need any treatment.
The doctor responded, "Since I am already here and have been paid, it is better that I examine the injured person. The pain of the injury might lessen for a while, but then again it may flair up, worse than before. And you, yourself, claimed that my presence here was essential and most urgent."
With difficulty, the embarrassed Rustom persuaded the doctor to leave. Baba's foot was soaked in hot water, medicinal turmeric paste was applied, and the toe was bandaged. The tension in the Manzil soon subsided, as if nothing serious had happened. Baba then asked the mandali, "Can any one of you guess what the meaning of this mishap is?" Everyone expressed his own view, but no one's inference was correct.
Afterwards Baba revealed, "You will recall what I have been frequently telling you about Asar being very unlucky and that he will either go mad or die some horrible death." The men remembered, and Baba explained, "This injury and internal shock to Me was due to Asar. I tried intervening on his behalf, but the result is a failure. He is quite unfortunate compared with all of you. Within a week, you will hear something about his tragedy."
Baba then confronted Rustom and Nervous, "Why did you break My order? Why did you send for a doctor?"
Rustom protested, "But Baba, you were in such terrible pain. You said you were dying!"
Baba retorted, "Even if I had died, you should not have disobeyed My instructions! What could the doctor have done for Me anyway? My suffering was the result of My internal work for Asar. It is a question of obedience to My orders. Adhere to My orders and see that in no situation are they ever disobeyed. Only by executing My orders will you keep Me pleased, and to keep Me pleased is the highest service you can possibly render."
The next day, Baba had a private meeting with Daulatmai, Gulmai and her son, Rustom. Baba asked Daulatmai, "Are you willing to marry your daughter Piroja (Freiny) to Rustom?" Daulatmai agreed, as this arrangement had been planned for some months.
Later that afternoon, Baba betrothed Rustom and Piroja (who had also come for the birthday) in Manzil-e-Meem, which gave great pleasure to their mothers.
Later Baba remarked, "After Rustom's wedding I am thinking of moving to some village for a while."
In 1923, Rustom was quite upset when he heard about Baba and the mandali's sudden departure from Khushru Quarters. He rode on his motorcycle through the city frantically looking for them. He stopped people on the main road, asking if they had seen a group of men going by. One person told him he had seen a group walking on the Dhond Road that morning. Rustom wasted no time in racing to Arangaon, where he found Baba and the mandali sitting under the neem tree. With tears in his eyes, he asked Baba why He had come there.
Baba replied, "I no longer wish to stay in Khushru Quarters.”
"But what about my wedding?" Rustom pleaded. "You promised to attend!"
"I've changed My mind!" was Baba's curt reply.
"But it was only because of your advice that I agreed to marry in the first place!" Rustom exclaimed. "If you don't attend the wedding, I won't go through with it!"
"What will your family; relations and guests say if you cancel the wedding?" Baba asked.
"What do I care for what they think or say?" Rustom declared. "I am only concerned with you; I am not concerned about others."
Baba was pleased and calmed Rustom by explaining that, though He would not be present at the wedding, He would come later to bless him and Freiny; and He assured Rustom that the marriage was being performed according to his wish. In the meantime, He wished to remain where He was with the men. Baba then sent Rustom back to Ahmednagar with Masaji, instructing him to arrange to forward their luggage and trunks to Arangaon.
While Baba was in Navsari, some people spread the rumor in Navsari that a gang of thieves and dacoits (Baba and the mandali) had come to the dharamshala and that the local community should beware. Rustom had recently arrived from Ahmednagar and Baba immediately sent him to call Sohrabji Desai. Sohrabji was the literary scholar who had co-authored Sakorina Sadguru, the Gujarati biography of Upasni Maharaj, which was being printed in Navsari.
Just after Rustom left, several police officers arrived and began interrogating the mandali. Although the policemen's behavior was rude and insolent,
Rustom returned within a short time. Seeing this well-dressed man with a wealthy demeanor, who responded with quick, impatient answers, the detective found himself in an embarrassing position. Then Sohrabji Desai arrived. He was immediately recognized as Navsari's renowned and highly respected writer. Sohrabji spoke sharply to the officer, declaring, "These men are Meher Baba's disciples, and I have come for his darshan. Why are you harassing them?"
This made the detective apologize. Seeing a man like Sohrabji coming for darshan convinced him that Meher Baba must be a great personality. He asked for forgiveness and requested Meher Baba's darshan, but the Master did not allow it. The policemen then left.
While moving to Hyderabad none of the local followers from Ahmednagar, except Rustom, had been allowed to bid farewell to the Master at the train station. Although Baba had been staying in the dharamshala for the past week, each day Rustom had been sending Baba and the mandali their food prepared at his home. Rustom acknowledged his mistake of being indifferent to the Master's personal needs and was forgiven. Rustom garlanded Baba and gave bouquets to each of the ten accompanying mandali.
Baba and Gustadji looked at several places for quiet seclusion in Akolner but failed to find a suitable spot. Again they searched for an appropriate place of seclusion, and Baba finally selected a piece of land belonging to a retired Brahmin stationmaster. The Brahmin agreed to rent the place — supposedly for a sick man to recuperate his health — and Rustom went back to Ahmednagar to bring a small tent. The next day, Sunday, 2nd December 1923, Rustom returned with the tent and food. The tent was set up on the spot selected, but Baba decided that they should sleep in the open air, though the night was cold. It was bitter cold by early morning and wood was collected to start a fire. After breakfast, Baba expressed that He was not pleased with the location and decided to return to Meherabad. Baba walked the six miles to Meherabad speedily and with apparent joy, in spite of his prolonged fast.
Although Rustom was living with his family in Ahmednagar, he was under Baba's orders and was responsible for handling supply shipments to Meherabad. For some time he failed to send the load of lime on schedule, and Baba became impatient as the work was delayed.
On 17th April 1924, He sent Nervous to Ahmednagar with instructions to fall on his knees before Rustom and say, "On behalf of Meher Baba, I salute you. Please send the chunna cart."
Nervous did it and Rustom in turn told him, "Kindly offer my salutations to Meher Baba 20 times and tell him I was not negligent in sending the cart, since His order to me was I should not hire a bullock cart and our cart did not turn up in time." Rustom, however, soon sent another cart piled with lime to Meherabad.
By 18th April 1924, repairs to the Bathroom Building were completed and installation of stone flooring to a verandah in front of Baba's Jhopdi began. Upon inspection, Baba became displeased with Rustom for sending two loads of stone flooring in hired bullock carts and stormed over to the Post Office where the mandali were resting. He disrupted their relaxation, telling them, "If such things continue, I will leave Meherabad and forsake all of you!" Rustom knew why Baba was upset and showed his nervousness. In this way, he learned the lesson that the Master did not like more money spent than was necessary.
The Hindu mandali celebrated Hanuman's birthday on Saturday, 19 April 1924. When the program was over, Gulmai and Rustom arrived with the arti materials. Their late arrival upset Baba, who complained, "Why did you bother to come at all?" Rustom explained that they had had a flat tire on the way. Baba accepted this reason, and then distributed the sweets. He also extended the Hanuman celebration another hour, thus enabling the mandali "time to digest" the prasad.
Later in the afternoon, Rustom brought a horse trainer and, without Baba's knowledge, the trainer mounted Sufi. Baba was furious when He found out and told Rustom, "Sufi was presented to Me, and he is now Mine. How dare you exercise any proprietary right to My things? You should first ask My permission before touching something which belongs to Me!" Rustom begged his pardon and thus became aware of how much the Master loved that horse. Considering that it belonged to his sister-in-law, Mehera, Rustom had told the trainer it was all right to ride the horse; but he realized his mistake.
After a short time, Gulmai and Rustom arrived from Ahmednagar with a bundle of sweets, along with the happy news that Rustom's wife Freiny had given birth to a son that day. Baba distributed sweets among the mandali in honor of the happy occasion, and he named the child Merwan — after himself.
Gulmai and Rustom arrived a short time later, and Baba informed them of His intention of driving to Persia in Rustom's car. Rustom, however, was not enthusiastic about the idea of loaning his car for such a long trip, whereupon Baba showed His own displeasure at Rustom's unwilling attitude. In the afternoon, while the mandali were repeating the seven names of God, Baba was in a very unpleasant mood and sent for Ramjoo. Baba told him to inquire of each man his opinion about the confrontation with Rustom.
Nervous was sent to Khushru Quarters for some work regarding the upcoming celebrations at Meherabad. While there, Khansaheb spoke rudely to him. Hearing of the incident, Baba was very angry and immediately sent for Adi. He told him, "I am most dissatisfied with your father. Any ill-treatment and insult to my mandali is an insult to me! I am seriously thinking of leaving this place now."
Baba then insisted that Adi go ask his father why he had behaved as he did with Nervous. He also instructed Adi to tell his brother and his father not to come to Meherabad from that day on and added that Rustom was free to do as he pleased.
After Adi left, Baba told the mandali to be prepared to proceed to Bombay and ordered Padri to remove the screen door from the Jhopdi. Before Adi could carry out his instructions, he returned saying he had met Rustom on the road coming to Meherabad, bringing fruit for prasad. Adi asked Baba whether Rustom could see him in private. Baba consented and had a long talk with Rustom. Afterward, the decision to leave Meherabad was canceled, for Rustom had promised that his father, despite his rude behavior, would now obey Baba in every way.
Rustom had brought a dog for Baba; but since it was not completely white, it was returned. Sadhu had recently died, and Baba wanted a watchdog at Meherabad to take his place.
Rustom, Gulmai, Adi, and Sarosh were often the victims of Baba's criticism, because among their large family all other relatives were coldly indifferent toward Meher Baba and did not believe him to be a God-conscious Master. Baba, however, was gradually drawing the entire Irani family toward him and wanted to impress upon those opposed to him that he did not need their property or anything else. By occupying their land, he was in fact putting them under a great obligation and doing them an inestimable honor that they could never repay. Amidst all the controversy in their family and hostility from the local Zoroastrian community, Rustom and Adi faithfully served Baba, leaving nothing undone in meeting the material necessities of all phases of life at Meherabad.
For several days, Baba remained disturbed by Khansaheb's attitude and, during the early morning of 24 May 1924, he again mentioned his thoughts of leaving Meherabad. Gulmai and Rustom arrived; Baba promptly informed them of his intentions. The bitter repetition of Baba's complaints against his father annoyed Rustom (who had "already been deluged with such messages from Baba since morning). Unthinkingly, Rustom said something unpleasant. Baba became furious saying he would never return to Meherabad!
Rustom went to Ahmednagar to consult his father about the transfer of the property and returned the next day with the news that he was not willing to transfer it — even to Adi's name. He had declared, "Why should Baba consider me so untrustworthy as to ask me to transfer the place to Adi?"
Baba again sent Rustom to Ahmednagar to talk with his father; Ramjoo followed after a while to help persuade Khansaheb. They both returned with a letter from Khansaheb in which he had written: "I am willing to do as Meher Baba requests regarding the property. I ask his forgiveness for some misunderstanding when I replied to his request the first time.
After consulting, Rustom and others about preliminary arrangements to drive to Quetta by car (with the rest of the mandali following by train), Baba decided definitely to leave for Quetta. He deliberately teased Rustom by advising him to keep his car available and have it serviced, because the very next morning He might start on the long journey. Rustom was informed that Sarosh would drive his car to Quetta and then return it to Ahmednagar.
On 13th April 1925, Baba was about to proceed to Bombay. A villager from Walki, named Peeraji, came to Meherabad anxious and frightened. He had been bitten by a rabid dog. Baba canceled his trip and took the man to Dr. Karkal, telling him to provide Peeraji with the best treatment. Rustom was then sent to Walki to find out if anyone else had been bitten.
Rustom found out that the dog had run away and no one else had been hurt. Baba lovingly consoled Peeraji, and the next day had him transferred to the Ahmednagar Civil Hospital. Baba made all arrangements for Peeraji's care and told him not to be afraid; assuring him he would be well treated. After some time, Peeraji returned to his village hale and hearty. From such endearing incidents, the simple farming villagers came to love Meher Baba devotedly, knowing that they would be looked after by the Master.
There were two men in Arangaon who worked extracting peanut and safflower cooking oils. Once these two villagers came to Baba with the complaint that their relatives were refusing to take part in a wedding feast at their house, because, according to Baba's orders, no mutton was to be served.
Baba sent Rustom to explain the purpose of this order to the relatives, but they were adamant. Finally, Baba had to personally intercede. Only after His intervention did the relatives accept His instructions and participate in the feast of vegetarian food.
In 1926, a "triangular" cricket match was played between three teams, headed by Baba, Rustom and Chanji, and at its conclusion prizes were handed out.
Colonel Irani blamed Baba saying "It is all self-advertisement! A show of false spiritual greatness!" These bitter remarks set off an unpleasant argument between the mandali and the antagonistic visitors. The mandali stopped arguing when the Colonel and Kapadia claimed that Zoroaster, Buddha and Christ were simply ordinary men whom legend had made great.
Despite all this contention, the visitors still wanted to meet the Master. Baba would usually come out of His quarters early in the morning, but that day He arrived unusually late at 10:30. But when Rustom asked the men to kindly take off their shoes before entering Baba's room, they were insulted and abruptly left — despite having waited for three hours! It was not in the Colonel's nazeeb (destiny) to meet the Meher Baba face-to-face — then or ever.
A game of cricket was played by the mandali later on, with Jalbhai and Rustom as the captains of the two teams. Baba played on both sides. A meeting of the Circle Committee was held, and it was decided that Naval become Rustom's assistant superintendent.
Rustom asked, "That is all true but what will the world say about you and your actions for closing everything down so abruptly and leaving all in the lurch — most particularly the destitutes and needy, whose hopes rest on you and your support?"
The world will have much to say about the abrupt closing of all these charitable institutions. Worldly people will say that it was no good of me to have closed them, leaving the poor, the destitute and other dependents in a condition of helplessness. But the people of the world have little idea why I did all this on such a grand scale only to close it down so abruptly. But to us Sadgurus this "opening and closing" is a game, though there is a great significance in it. These institutions, as you are all aware, were of no particular use to Me. I only used them as a means for promoting the spiritual advancement and giving a push to a number of men of the circle who deserved and were prepared for it. My object and purpose is now fulfilled, and so I have closed them.
For instance, do you know how this bell is made? First of all, a clay or earthen mold is prepared, and then the oxide of brass in liquid form is poured into it. When the liquid oxide cools and solidifies, the brass bell, now fully prepared, is drawn out and the clay mold is either broken or thrown away, as it is no longer required. The purpose for which this clay mold had been prepared was to give the required and proper shape to the bell. And when the bell itself is completed, of what further use is this mold?
In the same way, My working in Meherabad with these institutions of charity was only a means of carrying out My plans to give salvation and a spiritual push to some persons, which purpose being served; I closed all of these charitable institutions. What do the world and its people understand of this spiritual working? They mistake this earthen mold for the bell itself, that is, they take the means for the original. And thus they consider My maintaining these institutions — which are only the means — as My real original mission and duty, which is not the case.
The real and main duty of a Sadguru is to burn up and destroy all the sanskaras of his devotees and bhaktas.
During 1927, Daulatmai and Mehera had been taken to Poona as Daulatmai wished to donate her property to Baba and some of it was in Mehera's name. Rustom escorted them to the Poona Registrar's office, where Mehera signed the required legal documents. Baba and all returned to Meherabad the same night after a few flat tires on the way.
Rustom expressed this point of view: "This charitable, spiritual school will create a good impression on people and Baba's name will spread far and wide. There may be many able and learned persons who would be ready to serve for free in return for the sahavas of a Sadguru. But the question is, how can we create faith in them that Baba is a Sadguru? For this, Baba Himself should work internally. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to find good teachers."
It was settled that, at first, the teachers would be paid, and gradually, selfless persons who were seeking Truth should be found who would be willing to teach without wages.
Baba seemed to accept Rustom's view, as He nodded in approval and agreed to hiring teachers. Of course, as with everything Baba did, His primary reason for keeping the children and teachers at Meherabad was for their spiritual benefit. It was His intention that the teachers should not come for the sake of money, because those who only worked for money would not be serving with all their heart. And, according to His casual remarks, from a spiritual standpoint it appeared that if the staff was paid, it would "nullify" the benefit Baba intended to bestow.
Meanwhile, Rustom was helping his father, Khansaheb, in his various enterprises. The family already owned the Sarosh Motor Works, an automobile garage, and Rustom took Padri and Ghani to the inauguration ceremony of their "Radio Set" agency.
Rustom had also been in touch with Krishna Jagannath Thaly, a Bombay author, publisher and spiritual seeker, who, since 1912, had published a series of books on saints in India (Shri Santasangha Pustakmala). Sai Baba, Narayan Maharaj and Upasni Maharaj had been featured in his books. In 1927 Part Four was published, and short biographies of Babajan and Meher Baba were included, along with their photo. It was the first English publication in which information about Baba appeared.
Padri's mother Freiny Masi met Baba at Meherabad on 7th August 1927 and informed Baba that Colonel Irani had had their younger brother Rustom committed to a mental asylum. Baba assured Freiny Masi that there was nothing serious about Rustom's temporary mental condition — but that if he was left in the asylum he would go insane! Baba had a letter written to Dinshaw M. Irani to use his influence to have Rustom released.
Baba had chosen Rustom to go to England to bring some boys back to India. On 7th March 1928, Baba gave final instructions to him about his trip, telling him, "You may go to as many cricket and football matches as you like; you can go to the cinema. Just accept all the invitations that come your way, and speak about Me to those you meet. Then My work will be done." Rustom left Meherabad that evening and sailed from Bombay three days later. He was the first of the Master's mandali to contact the Western world.
As Rustom was preparing to sail to America, Baba cabled him on 16 April 1928: "Don't worry. Don't bring boys. Return." No sooner had Rustom received this telegram than three British parents he had contacted agreed to send their sons with him to India. But now, according to Baba's order, Rustom could not take them. He left his address with them, assuring them he would write soon.
One individual who met Rustom in London and assisted him in searching for suitable pupils for the school was Meredith Starr, whom Rustom met at an afternoon tea party he had been invited to. Meredith had been interested in spirituality and Eastern mysticism for many years, and when he saw someone from India in attendance, he went over and spoke with him. Rustom, as instructed, told him about Baba.
In 1928, once, Rustom's car with Baba and the mandali was overloaded, carrying ten persons and a heavy amount of luggage piled on top. On their way back, the car abruptly stopped while ascending the mountainous pass near Khandala and it began rolling backward down the steep hill.
The mandali became frightened, fearing the car was out of control. Rustom applied the brakes, but they failed. The car was rapidly rolling backwards, about to plunge into the valley below! Jalbhai and another man jumped out and began shouting about the oncoming cliff. Rustom loudly called out Baba's name. Baba, who was in the front seat, then leaned heavily to one side and firmly pressed his hand on the steering wheel, The car came to a sudden halt.
The mandali were amazed. How the car stopped remains a mystery to this day. Rustom embraced Baba sobbing, with tears of gratitude and relief streaming down his face. Everyone thanked Baba profusely for saving them from certain death. The rest of the mandali got out of the car and managed to traverse the ghat by pushing the car up the hill. After the ghat was crossed, the car started again and they continued on.
Rustom went for a swim across the Pravara River, but in midstream he became exhausted and began choking. Within moments, Baba, followed by some of the mandali, walked rapidly from the ashram to the river. Baba pointed to Rustom, who was about to go under the water. Without hesitating, Sohrab Hansotia jumped into the river and brought him to safety on the bank. This was another occasion when Baba saved Rustom, for if Baba had not suddenly appeared, Rustom would have certainly drowned.
As in Meherabad, the residents in Toka were divided into three sections under the management of Buasaheb, Raosaheb, and Rustom. Buasaheb was in charge of the boys of Meher Ashram, Raosaheb of the Prem Ashram boys, and Rustom of the mandali.
Once a week Pesu would go to Ahmednagar for marketing, and would always dress in torn clothing. In spite of Rustom's constant pleading with him to wear better clothes, Pesu refused to change his attire, even thought Rustom offered to pay for the material and tailoring charges. One day Pesu went for a swim in the river and left his tattered clothing on the bank. On Baba's instructions, Rustom snuck up and tore his clothes even more. When Pesu came out of the water and found his clothes in shreds, he wrapped a towel around himself and ran to Baba. At the time Baba was serving lunch to the boys. Pesu could not contain himself and said, "Baba, Rustom ..."
Baba interrupted him and asked, "Why didn't you bring lemons from the bazaar?"
Pesu again tried to explain what Rustom had done, but before he could continue, Baba asked the same question. This exchange was repeated two or three more times until at last Pesu walked away. Afterward Baba burst out laughing with a big silent smile, and all the rest thoroughly enjoyed the joke.
Rustom was a capable manager, to whom Baba had given management of all the ashram affairs while in Toka, leaving every decision to his discretion. Rustom had to use his own judgment and was even forbidden to ask Baba for advice in any instance. On the 5th, Baba reaffirmed Rustom's responsibility, "It is your choice.
You may serve Me or meditate on Me." Rustom replied that he preferred service.
Afterward Baba explained to the mandali and boys about meditation:
Meditate on Me to such an extent as to forget everything else. Be merged in me. Pleader, though he is fasting and meditating, is still not merged in me. Meditate spontaneously like the inhalation and exhalation of your breath which goes on automatically — like the tick, tick, tick of a clock. While sitting, eating, drinking, studying — amidst every activity — meditate on Me naturally. Meditation with the help of mercy leads to the Path; with the help of the Master, to samadhi. But without grace, such meditation is not possible.
In 1929, Baba went to see the Pandu Lena Caves in Nasik that evening. Liking the place very much, he remarked, "This place is most suitable for the boys' meditation." Baba asked Rustom to seek the Collector's permission to use the spot. But when Rustom inquired, he found out that the place was outside the Collector's jurisdiction.
The next day, Baba visited two more shrines in the hills some distance from Nasik. One was a Jain temple, and since it was under a trust, it too was not available for the purpose of meditation. The other shrine connected with Lord Ram was on a very steep hill. Legend had it that Ram had stayed at this place during His advent. Finding that no steps led up to it, however, it was thought to be too hazardous to climb.
That evening Rustom took Baba to see the Gangapur Waterfalls. There Rustom confided to Baba his desire to make a movie. "The idea of a film has been in my mind for a long time," he said. "I've met Dadasaheb Phalke (a director) and he is willing to help with the financing. My idea is to portray spiritual themes through films, something the public has never been exposed to before. It will also be the best medium for spreading your teachings throughout the world." Baba liked the idea and permitted him to pursue it. Rustom was greatly encouraged and the mandali were excited about the plan.
On 17th November 1929, Baba with Rustom and others went to Tapovan, a forested area near the outskirts of Nasik where people have meditated and performed penances and fasts for centuries. There Baba stated, "Due to My spiritual work, I wish to be free from all responsibilities for some time, especially from financial matters. If anyone can shoulder this burden, it will be helpful to My work." Rustom had opened a branch of Sarosh Motor Works in Nasik and presented a plan to employ all the men in the garage. Baba agreed and proposed that the schoolboys be trained as automobile mechanics, as well.
In 1929, Rustom's movie theater was nearing completion, and Baba arranged for the men mandali to move to Nasik and live in the theater.
Baba with a few of the men left by car for Jawhar on 28th December 1929, in the afternoon. Rustom, who was driving, had to drive through densely forested ghats. Highway robbers hid in the woods and at one point, a band of them tried to stop the car. Rustom refused to stop, accelerating past them and reaching Jawhar safely.
The next morning on their way back to Nasik, near the village of Dahanu, a girl about twelve years old, carrying a water jug on her head, began to cross the road as their car was approaching. When Rustom blew the horn, the frightened girl panicked and ran across the road right in front of the car, which hit her. Horrified, Rustom screeched the car to a halt. Miraculously, the girl was not hurt and only the water jug was broken. Baba called her to Him and embraced her lovingly. Seeing this, Rustom wept. Falling at Baba's feet, he burst out crying, "Baba, you have saved Me! There was no hope that the girl would escape uninjured. By your nazar, she was saved!" Baba nodded in confirmation.
The girl was from a poor family. She was taken in the car to her house and compensated for the broken jug. She was also given money to buy a new dress, as the one she was wearing had been torn. Since his identity had not been revealed, the girl's parents had no idea who Baba was, though they looked at him intently. Unknown to them, Baba sanctified their hut by entering it and sitting on the earthen floor for a while. After this incident, Baba and the mandali drove back to Nasik.
After Baba met Rustom, Adi drove Him back to Gyas Manzil. There, Baba directed him, "Be back at twelve sharp!" Adi agreed and Baba again warned him, "I have some important work, so be sure to return by noon."
Adi drove back to Rustom's garage, where Rustom asked him to drive some General Motors officials to the travelers' rest house. Adi thought there was still plenty of time so he agreed, but Rustom kept talking with the men. Adi finally insisted, "We must leave now, as I have to pick up Baba at twelve o'clock."
In 1930, Dhake, Pendu and Rustom were at the train station to receive group. Rustom had begun a fast seventeen days before (on the day Baba left Nasik for his tour), and He now broke it in Baba's presence.
On 28th February 1931, Baba performed the opening ceremony of Rustom's new movie theater in Nasik. At the hands of the Master of the Universal Cinema, the Circle Cinema was officially declared open. A Charlie Chaplin comedy, Shoulder Arms, and another film were shown.
Several of the men were employed at Rustom's theater: Beheram was the projectionist, Buasaheb was the cashier, and others were apportioned different duties without wages. Rustom had agreed to provide their food, but he had gone so heavily into debt financing the theater that, at times when insufficient revenue was generated to meet operating expenses, arranging for the mandali's food became difficult.
After a four-day trip to Bombay with Rustom, and others Baba returned to Nasik on Saturday, 18th April 1931 and convened a meeting of the mandali the next morning on the stage at Circle Cinema. "I am leaving Nasik to remain in seclusion somewhere," He explained, "If I am to open My mouth (break my silence), I will come back in October; if not, I will remain in seclusion for an indefinite period. So it is better for you to understand your responsibilities, live for Me and keep My pleasure."
Rustom said, "If all cooperate with me, this difficult time for me will pass." The mandali consented to cooperate with Rustom and stay in Nasik during Baba's seclusion, and Baba was very pleased.
Correspondence had been exchanged between Gandhi and Baba while the Master was in America. Rustom and Ramjoo had been instructed to meet Gandhi, who expressed his desire to see Baba as soon as he returned to India. Baba had indicated that He too wanted to see Gandhi. The political and social situation in India had become intense; Gandhi was expected to be arrested by the British for political agitation. A meeting was quickly arranged.
On His return to Nasik, Baba then visited Rustom's house and met with Rustom's wife Freiny and her mother Daulatmai. There, Baba relaxed and played with Rustom's children. Rustom's daughter, Meheru, was about four years old at the time, and it was noticed that Baba would often kiss her. Baba left at noon on 12 June in Rustom's Nash, (car) and was back in Meherabad in the early evening.
In 1931, Vishnu and Rustom were already in Bombay. They had been informed to come from Nasik to meet Baba. Chanji informed Rustom that he was to accompany Baba and a few others to England. Rustom was told to come and see Baba immediately.
In 1932, of the early foreign trips Baba made, this was the only one in which Chanji did not accompany him. As Baba set sail for Europe, Rustom had been ordered to sail to Los Angeles by way of China, to do certain work in Hollywood. Rustom left on 2nd December 1932.
After meeting with Ambedkar in Bombay, Baba returned to Nasik. Within a few days, He sent Rustom to try to see Mahatma Gandhi in Yeravda Prison, Poona where he was incarcerated. Rustom was not successful, because individual interviews were not permitted at the time.
In 1933, Rustom suggested taking preliminary steps toward the fulfillment of his film project by engaging the mandali's help. Baba liked this idea and decided that Beheram and Pendu should learn how to operate a motion picture camera, and Jalbhai should study acting.
A trial film of a silent comedy was to be shot before Baba left. Plans were made for Pendu and Sidhu to travel throughout India, filming different locales, thus having scenes which would later be used in Rustom's film as required. (This idea was later dropped.) Pendu was to learn film developing, as well as to order and manage whatever stock was required for the film work.
In 1935, Rustom returned to India from New York and met with Baba in Bombay that afternoon. They had a long conversation about Rustom's trip and the film work in America. After Rustom informed him in detail of what had happened,
In 1036, Rustom brought a new Pontiac and drove Baba in it to see a film (Shanghai) at the Plaza Cinema in Dadar.
Baba stopped in Poona on His way back to Panchgani, where He met Rustom and others at Baba House. The opening day box-office receipts of Rustom's film had been disappointing, but Baba consoled and encouraged him.
Rustom met Baba at Khushru Quarters on 22th January 1938, at Meherabad. Rustom was staying in Bombay, where he was working on his film project. Baba was very pleased with the successful progress of Rustom's film, which Ramjoo had seen and praised to Baba. Baba assured Rustom of His financial help in two of his further ventures (through a gift from Elizabeth), and agreed to come to Bombay to support Rustom's distribution efforts.
Rustom had been instructed to meet them in Shanghai, but when they got off the ship, he was nowhere to be seen. Worried, they searched up and down the wharf went to the General Post Office and finally to the Cook office, where by sheer chance Rustom appeared. Rustom had arrived from India two days before, but he had misplaced the name of their ship. He had spent a frantic two days awaiting Baba's arrival, doing everything he could to obtain information. His funds were completely depleted and he was about to wire Ramjoo in Nasik. He was overjoyed and relieved beyond measure to see Baba, who said it was His key that had drawn Rustom to the Cook office just in the nick of time.
All had lunch in their cabin and then went around Shanghai, visiting the hotel where Rustom was staying. Baba gave Rustom instructions and booked His passage to New York and Hollywood as His representative to supervise the work with Norina and Elizabeth on the screenplays This Man David and How It All Happened. Before Rustom departed, Baba exchanged overcoats with him, Baba wearing Rustom's and giving Rustom His coat, which Baba said would keep Rustom safe. Rustom was concerned about his family and Baba promised to look after Rustom's children.
Baba had been very happy to meet Rustom and have him travel to America for the film work, but the next day Baba's health suffered, with bad "palpitations" of the heart. He was very anxious to return to India, and constantly discussed the possibility of flying back to India after a week's stay in Hong Kong.
Rustom brought Freiny to see Baba at Meherabad on 22th June 1936, she had refused to eat or drink anything in Nasik. She was kept at the Family Quarters, with Nilu and Masaji attending to her. Baba personally spent a few hours a day with her for two days. Rustom returned to Nasik.
News was received at this time from Nasik that Rustom's wife Freiny had gone on a hunger strike, because she was still so upset with Baba for not including her in the tour with the other women. Freiny had stopped eating and drinking, and threatened to fast unto death until she was permitted to see Baba. Baba was therefore forced to leave his important mast work and travel to Nasik from Jabalpur in the hot summer weather.
Baba was not pleased. On 15th March 1039, He remarked, "Jesus was crucified once, but I am crucified every day — every hour!"