80- SAMPATH AIYANGAR C. V. (Aiyangar)
Sampath Aiyangar (Baba always referred to as Aiyangar) was Beloved Baba’s first dearest Baba lover disciple fro Madras (Chennai) He came to know about Baba in 1927, while serving as Sub-judge in Guntur and started corresponding since then. He was a Brahmin by birth and was a scholar in Vedas, Upanishads and scriptures but his yearning for God was not satisfied.
He remarked “when I heard of Babaji (Meher Baba) and saw His photo my heart involuntarily jumped up. As I meditated on Him, I had peace and thought I became identified with Him and my thirst for God ended.
On the earnest request of Sampath Aiyangar and other lovers Meher Baba visited Madras from 1st to 3rd March 1930. Beloved Baba gave him His personal Darshan in March 1930 and stayed in the Aiyangar’s house at Saidapet Madras. On 2nd March, 1930 Beloved Baba inaugurated the “Meher Ashram” at the property old No. 3, New No. 7, Brahmin Street, Saidapet, (2, 14 Ground Area) bequeathed by Sampath Aiyangar. Meher Ashramam, the name given by Meher Baba Himself and was opened by Him on 2nd March, 1930.He stayed in Aiyangar’s house “Meher Bhawan”. Beloved Meher Baba was also pleased to plant a sacred peepal tree sapling at the premises as the foundation for the Ashramam and centre. Even today (April 2017) Meher Ashramam which is 97 years old spreads Baba’s love and vibrations to all.
Aiyangar’s close lover relationship with Baba relates to the early period from 1929 to 1943 (when Aiyangar expired) and only the old time mandali Dadachanji, Adi Sr. and Jai Bhai were aware of this sacred proximity and have conveyed same to others.
Baba was pleased to stay for total of 10 days in Aiyangar’s house at Madras and gave darshan. Baba also chose to stay in Aiyangar’s Bangalore house at Sankarpuram for a total of 12 days on 8 occasions during 194 to 1938. Regarding His stay at odd times in Bangalore house, He remarked to the family “Should I inform you in advance about My visit to My Own house,” reflects how close Aiyangar was to Baba?
Some of his lifetime interactions with Meher Baba are produced below:
On 2nd March 1930, Sampath Aiyangar made arrangement for a public meeting at Gosehen Hall Madras at 5 p.m. At 9 p.m. There was a business meeting under the patronage of Meher Baba at Meher Bhawan, Saidapet, Madras for formation of ‘Meher League’ for spreading universal brotherhood and publication of “Meher Gazette” as a quarterly journal were approved by Meher Baba. Circulation was over 1000 in December 1930 and sent free to Baba lovers. It was bimonthly at a nominal subscription of one rupee per year from October from 1934 to 1938,
Meher journal took over Meher library with over 400 books and Meher reading room with about 15 magazines became very popular. Social activities like night school for adults, Yoga classes, and welfare measures were undertaken.
In 1934, Aiyangar went abroad to UK, Germany, Estonia and other places and Baba asked him to meet and talk Meredith Starr, Purdom, Brakett and Deshmukh (student), Prof. Rubins in Germany and others, Mary Trueman and other in Estonia,
Meher Baba made 2nd visit to Madras between 17th to 19th February 1934. Baba lovers had the rare privilege of celebrating Baba’s 40th birthday at Meher Ashramam, Saidapet, on 18th February in His divine presence.
Meher Baba made a private visit to Sampath Aiyangar’s residence at 66, 3rd Cross Road, Sankarpuram, and Bangalore on 16th February 1936. Meher Baba had lunch and dinner, allowed group photo.
When Aiyangar expired, Aiyangar’s family received a telegram from Meher Baba while He was in seclusion at Lahore, “Aiyangar has joined Me in infinity”
Beloved Baba stated: “There are also others such as Bua Sahib, Munshi ji, Sampath Aiyangar and so forth who served My Cause with unimpeachable integrity of character before dropping their physical bodies-for each one of them a separate flower is placed in the foundation of the Memorial tower.”
Sampath Aiyangar expired on 29th June 1943 due to sudden heart failure in sacred room occupied by Baba during His visit to, Saidapet in Madras. Baba in seclusion at Lahore and sent following telegram to the family, “Aiyangar has joined Me in infinity.”
After Sampath Aiyangar’s demise, Baba was pleased to visit Saidapet, Madras between 2nd to 5th April 1947. Meher Baba had placed Meher Ashramam, Madras at par with the other Ashrams opened by Him and Centers He established for His work.
Sampath Aiyangar was recognized as devout Hindu-Circle Member from Madras, listed at Serial No. 12 of list of 167 departed lovers read out by Eruch in Baba’s presence, the List was prepared by Adi Sr. as per Baba’s instructions.
Aiyangar’s wife Kamlemmah and her sister Rajammah were two unassuming staunch Baba lovers with rocklike faith in Baba as God. They were permitted by Baba to attend the needs of His meals on all the 22 days Baba stayed at Aiyangar’s house in Madras and Bangalore and their Reva laddoo was very much enjoyed by Baba. On all the 22 occasions they willingly played host to al needs of the mandali members.
Following Meher Baba’s exhortations, Sampath Aiyangar had the courage of conviction to break away from conventional traditions and braved the criticism and ostracism from orthodox sections of society by accepting and hailing Meher Baba as incarnation of God. By Baba’s grace Aiyangar was responsible for his entire family members to accept Baba as God-Avatar and now 5 generations of his extended family are in Baba’s flock without a break.
In 1930, Baba decided to proceed to Madras. A telegram was sent to Aiyangar, informing him that Baba was willing to postpone his visit to the Nilgiri Hills and come to Madras if arrangements could be made for him. At the same time, Aiyangar was instructed not to detain Baba for more than one day. He was told that Baba would grant private interviews only to a few close ones and give a general darshan to all. Ramjoo was cabled to inform Vishnu to meet them in Madras.
Baba arrived in Madras on Saturday, 1st March 1930. (K. J. Dastur was already there, as his health had not been good and he had preceded them from Arcot by train.) Baba was received with great love and reverence, and escorted to the Aiyangar family residence, Meher Bhavan, at 26 Brahmin Street in Saidapet, where they were to stay. The next morning, after inaugurating a hall built by Aiyangar opposite his residence that Baba had named Meher Asramam, Baba planted a pipal sapling at Meher Bhavan, thus symbolizing that for generations to come people would find shelter under the cool shade of his love. The Aiyangar family was truly blessed. Baba's happiness filled not only their house, but their hearts as well.
Baba visited the child welfare center overseen by Aiyangar's daughter Lakshmi, where he bathed a child and distributed sweets. He then toured a nearby slum. In the afternoon he visited the homes of K. S. Srinivasan, Mudaliar Vadivelu and Ammal Pankajam.
A large function was held in Madras that evening at Goschen Hall. Dastur delivered a speech in an excited manner. In his fervor, he declared, "We, as Meher Baba's lovers, should be prepared to write his messages in our own blood! Let us kill ourselves in disseminating his divine message among the people!"
Chanji was back after four days. He narrated the results of his search to Baba, explaining that he had not been able to find a place suitable for seclusion, and that Sampath Aiyangar (of Madras) was continuing the search and would soon report the outcome. Hearing this, Baba postponed His departure for Bangalore.
A telegram arrived from Sampath Aiyangar, saying that he was not able to find a place for Baba's seclusion in the south. Despite this disappointing news, Baba went with the group of men and boys from Srinagar to Jammu by taxi at seven in the morning on Saturday, 28th June 1930.
During year 1932, Sampath Aiyangar of Madras was publishing a magazine devoted to Meher Baba titled Meher Gazette. In a letter to Aiyangar on 20th July from Aden, Chanji wrote of some of the highlights of the past months:
Meanwhile Meredith Starr, who had turned further away from Baba, wrote a letter to Sampath Aiyangar in July 1933 and detailed why he had left Baba:
I can no longer follow Baba and desire to sever my connection with him completely. I had my doubts when Baba was in Challacombe and I am now sure of them. My reasons are as follows:
1) Baba is not a Perfect Master or a desirable teacher.
(2) Baba makes promises like an irresponsible child, and it is quite impossible to trust his word. (For example, he did not speak in America last July.)
(3) He has made all kinds of promises to me and others without attempting to keep them.
(4) According to Western standards, his conduct with women has been extremely undesirable ... He deliberately encourages hysteria in women.
(5) He traveled in China with a European boy [Carl Philipp], which gave rise to scandal. He has become the laughingstock of the newspapers. His Western followers are mainly hysterical women; he has practically no appeal to serious men; and frankly, he is regarded in America as an undesirable adventurer.
(6) I have rarely seen a person more restless than Baba.
(7) I have repeatedly seen him flattering the most impossible people, just because he wanted to get money or other help from them. He told me so and would laugh at them behind their backs. The first time he went to America, his only thought was to get money. He told me that he knew he was acting against the "Great Law."
To my mind, these are serious personal charges. Baba claims that He intends to do all sorts of wonderful things. In spite of all these journeys, He has done practically nothing and has spent some £7,000 (nearer 10,000).
He owes me £400. He has frequently promised to repay it by definite dates, but He has not done so. It was all I had! If you see him, please ask him to repay it.
Even though His claims were ridiculous, Meredith even complained to Scotland Yard. But when an investigating inspector came to talk to Margaret Craske, He candidly admitted that Scotland Yard had found nothing against Meher Baba.
Meredith Starr understood so little of Baba's ways. But for Baba's own reasons, Meredith was the first link between the East and West. Whatever his faults, he will always be remembered as such.
For some time, Sampath Aiyangar had been especially anxious for Baba to come to Madras to celebrate His birthday. Accepting the invitation, Baba left Ahmednagar by bus for Dhond in the afternoon of 16th February 1934, accompanied by Adi Sr., Chanji, Naval, Pendu, Sailor, Sidhu and Dadu. Rustom, Ramjoo and Sayyed Saheb left Nasik and met the group at Dhond, where they boarded a train.
They reached Madras at five in the afternoon on the 17th February 1934, and Aiyangar and others received Baba with great joy and a traditional ceremonial reception. Photographs were taken on the station platform. Baba was then taken to Aiyangar's residence, Meher Bhavan, in Saidapet, a suburb of Madras, where he had stayed on his previous visit.
That evening, Aiyangar's children gathered around Baba, who played with them. Overhearing someone whisper that he (Baba) was fond of children, Baba spelled out, "Yes, because I am but a child. Only after becoming a child did I find it. Not until one becomes a child, can one achieve the slightest spiritual experience. Once one becomes a child, one enjoys the bliss! Nothing worries him- (neither) thoughts, words nor actions."
"What is the cause of ignorance?" someone asked.
"The cause of an individual's ignorance is the result of the evolutionary impressions; and for the collective ignorance [of humanity], the cause is the outcome of the very first Existence.
"All is infinite. In Self-Realization, there is no finite. But as long as you are not individually free from the duality, duality exists. The substratum of all this is love. Love is the one and only thing. Devoid of love, everything is miserable. Love is God and everything that is Real. Lust is perverted love; so it is unreal."
"Is this your message to us?"
"Yes. This is My message to you and to the whole world, also."
After a communal meal, Baba retired for the night at 10:00 P.M.
Baba went for a drive on the morning of 1st May 1934, and strolled in the shade at the extensive Lal Bagh botanical gardens. Meanwhile Sampath Aiyangar's daughter Janaky and his cousin C. V. Ramanujacharlu came to Bangalore from Madras on 1st May, and Baba met them along with the rest of Aiyangar's family at his house. Aiyangar's grandchildren Mehernath and Vasumati were both ill and Baba visited them again, and advised Aiyangar about family matters and personal affairs.
Baba arrived in Madras by train at 7:00 A.M. on 15th February 1935, and was met at the station by Sampath Aiyangar, his family and other devotees. Two hours later, Baba left on the Bombay Express train, traveling in a second-class compartment with Kaka, He arrived in Dhond on the early morning of the 16th.
They reached Bangalore on the evening of 4th January1936, and Sampath Aiyangar and his family was waiting at the station. As soon as Baba's group arrived, people wanted darshan. To end the confusion, all were informed of Baba's strict wish: "No darshan." After eating dinner at Aiyangar's home, Baba returned to the station and continued by train to Mysore.
Leaving Mysore by car at 8:15 that morning, He reached Bangalore three hours later. The Aiyangars graciously received Baba, but according to His wishes, no arti or worship ceremony was performed.
It was later revealed that there was much disagreement and discord among the Aiyangar family — mainly between Sampath and his daughter. Ironically, Baba did not accept any celebration that day, but he did accept their dissensions! He made the whole family sit before Him and urged them to air their grievances among themselves in His presence. He heard the father's side and then the children's. Afterward, He prevailed upon them to live in harmony and brought them together in such a way that amity and love once again prevailed in the family.
In 1936, Sampath and his family said to Baba, "We have received the highest boon on your birthday today and have had the chance of tasting the nectar of your love. We are deeply grateful to you." As a gesture of their gratitude, they beseeched Baba to have both lunch and dinner with them, to which he consented.
In 1937, Sampath Aiyangar, the editor of Meher Gazette, came from Madras to see Baba, but when He arrived in Nasik, Baba had already left. Sampath went on to Meherabad to meet Baba and was informed about Baba's upcoming trip to France.
Sampath Aiyangar's cousin, C. V. Ramanujacharlu, 65, had been in the Master's contact since Baba visited Madras for his birthday celebration in 1930. He had an ardent desire to join Baba and requested an interview. Baba allowed him to see him at Rahuri on 11 April, and when he told Baba how much he would like to stay with him, Baba remarked, "You have come at a very good time.
Come and join Me at once. You will see and know who I am." He returned to Madras, and, after settling his affairs, came to stay at Meherabad on 5 May, Baba nicknamed him Swamiji and assigned him duties in the mad ashram helping Pleader and Baidul. Manek Ranji also assisted Baba in bathing the mad and masts when he visited on the 9th.
In 1938, Baba and the group stayed at Sampath Aiyangar's house in Sankarpuram, and the following day Norina and Chanji were sent to talk with Sir Mirza, who received them cordially.
On 3rd August 1938, Sampath Aiyangar came again from Madras to see Baba. He left the following evening. Rustom had brought Freiny from Nasik and kept her in Upasni Maharaj's room at Khushru Quarters. Baba saw her on the 3rd on his way back to the P.W.D. and told Rustom to take her back to Nasik, at least for a month.
On Sunday, 17th December 1939, the foundation-laying ceremony for Meher Baba's Universal Center was held.
Baba proceeded to break the ground and lay the foundation. Sitting on a special stone seat (which was to be kept as a cornerstone of the future building), Baba rose and scooped a little earth with a special seven-metal shovel (forged at a local workshop) as acclamations in his praise rent the air. Baba struck the earth seven times and sat back on his special seat. The message from Baba was then read out by Aiyangar:
On the morning of the 7th, Baba received news about the purchase price of the Byramangala property. He promptly had a check sent to Sir Ismail to settle the transaction. The next day, Sampath Aiyangar arrived from Madras to discuss the center plan and offer his legal expertise.
Sampath Aiyangar, 55, died in Madras on 29th June 1943. Baba was informed in Lahore, and on 5th July cabled this reply to his family: "He has joined Me in Infinity."
In 1947, after visiting different close ones at their homes that afternoon, Baba went to an institution for abused women and girls run by Sampath Aiyangar's daughter, Lakshmi, where Lakshmi garlanded Baba with two gorgeous garlands of gold embroidery. He then went to the Sun Theatre where a Telugu film based on the life of Saint Tyagaraja was shown. Baba stayed for a little while and then returned to Meher Bhavan."
In 1953, Sampath Aiyangar's daughter, Janaky, came from Madras with her daughter Vasumati and met Baba at Meherabad.