Venkoba Rao was one of the close disciples. His life with Meher Baba was a simple story of obedience and love. He was born in Year 1921, at Chikkanacalasay, Kanakpur Taluk near Bangalore. He was third child of Ramchandra Rao and Nasirubai. He hardly studied fourth grade and left school as he was to look after the cattle. He became a shepherd.
Some of his lifetime experiences and dialogues are produced below:
In 1936, Venkoba Rao and his friend Ratnoji left Pune to open tailoring shop. Later he left to Bangalore with half anna in his pocket. He worked as servant for a payment of Rs.3/- per month. His father arranged his job as job as servant in “Govind Rao” Hotel near railway station. Narshimbha Rao, a distant relative of Venkoba also a friend of Gopal Rao who was driver of Meher Baba’s brother –Jal S. Irani. One day Narshimbha asked Gopal Rao to find a job for Venkoba. Gopal spoke to Jal who called Venkoba and interviewed him. He was appointed and Jal gave him the job of distributing pamphlets in Bangalore city. After the foundation laying function was over which Venkoba unaware of did not attend, Gopal said Venkoba Meher baba is giving darshan Go and ask Him.
In Bangalore, Baba has started giving darshan from 18th Dec, to 30th December 1939
On 22th December 1939, Venkoba vent to see Baba at No-4, Palace road. First day Baba did not speak to him but on second day darshan Baba asked, “Will you come to Me, stay with Me and work for Me.” After darshan Baba took him in His car to mast ashram and asked to work as assistant to the mast Venkoba had no education and no money but the sincerity and faith ere his qualification.
In 1939, Venkoba Rao, 18, was at first employed to distribute handbills publicizing the opening of the Byramangala Center. He did not meet Baba until after the ceremony in December and was also instructed to assist in the mast ashram.
In year 1940, one day Baba called the five Bangalore boys and asked each, "What do you want? What do you want to do in life?"
Raju said, "I want to be a farmer."
Kalappa replied, "I want to sell cooking oil."
Amdoo said, "I would like to drive a tonga."
Venkoba Rao said, "I want to go into business."
Krishna alone replied, "I want you, Baba!"
Baba looked at him, gesturing, "I will give you Baba!"
He then informed Venkoba, "Wait for some time before you become a businessman."
Baba kept Krishna and Venkoba Rao in Meherabad and sent the other three boys back home, after making arrangements for them according to their wishes. As it turned out, all three of the boys prospered and became wealthy.
During Lonavla stay in 1942, Venkoba Rao were given the duty of being on night watch, Venkoba Rao by the women's compound. Venkoba would sometimes doze during his night watch duties, and Baba had repeatedly warned him about it. One night Baba called Krishna and motioned, "Go and see if Venkoba is awake or asleep." Krishna left and was horrified by the sight that met his eyes. Venkoba was sound asleep and a poisonous snake was right next to him ready to strike.
Krishna grabbed a stick and struck the snake. This awoke Venkoba, who jumped to his feet. As Krishna was striking the snake, he heard Baba clap. Telling Venkoba to finish killing it, Krishna returned to Baba. Baba asked, "What was all the noise?" Krishna informed Baba about the snake and Baba sent him back to see if Venkoba had killed it.
Venkoba had and when Baba was told, he sent for Venkoba and scolded him, "If you fall asleep again, you will be bitten by a snake! I won't save you next time!"
Another day, in the dry summer weather while Baba was away, the forest in Bhilar caught fire, and the force of the wind brought it near their bungalow. Krishna and Venkoba Rao were trying to put out the fire, but it was of little use against the strength with which the fire was raging nearby. Rano, Margaret and Kitty tied scarves around their mouths and joined the effort, beating back the flames with green tree branches. It was no use. The fire was reaching such proportions that the whole bungalow was about to be razed to the ground. All began calling to Baba for help, and, miraculously, the winds suddenly subsided, and the women and Krishna and Venkoba managed to contain the flames.
After Baba arrived and was informed about the incident, he asked Krishna, "Did you get burned?"
"Not much," he said. "A little here and there."
Baba remarked to him, "Had you gotten burned I would have felt happy."
1941 to 1943, Venkoba was with Baba in all the tours and travels to Ranchi, Ceylon, Calicut, Panchgani, Jaipur, Agra, Delhi, Ambala, Lahore, Multan and Quetta. He was always the night watchman.
In 1944, he was married with Baba’s approval but came to Meherabad as per Baba’s order. In December 1944, Baba approved leave to Venkoba to bring his wife to Meherabad. His wife stayed with woman mandali. Later Baba ordered him to stay 6 months with wife at his home and 6 month with Him. He was asked to look after Byramangala property.
Venkoba was with Baba in all the Blue bus tour to Raipur, Kashmir, Peshawar, Nagpur and Saoner. He went on leave before Baba commenced this tour to Kashmir.
During 1954, It was during this trip that Baba made an unscheduled visit to the Byramangala property, where Baba had once planned a Universal Center. Baba had found it difficult to rest in Mysore because of loudspeaker music from Diwali celebrations going on at the time. Eruch suggested they drive a few hours away to the Byramangala property, where Venkoba Rao had purchased part of the land and was residing. Pendu was sent in advance to arrange it. Venkoba Rao was overjoyed that Baba had come. Baba asked Venkoba Rao why he had not attended the September programs in Ahmednagar. Venkoba replied that he had not received the circular about them. Baba said, "Since you did not come to see me, I had to come to see you!"
Despite heavy rain, Baba walked around the property and to the nearby reservoir. Venkoba Rao expressed his wish to rejoin the mandali, and Baba said he would call him when the time was right.
During 1956, in Satara, preparations for Baba's seclusion were made, and Baba assigned different duties to the mandali. Venkoba Rao was called to Satara and told he would have to stay for one year. He readily agreed. Venkoba Rao was the night watchmen; Venkoba Rao was sent back to his home after only a month.
Before New Life in 1949, Meher Baba wanted to dispose of all property in His name. Out of 574 acres of land Venkoba Rao purchased the 55 acres (Sacred place) for Rs 5500/-. Baba came to Meherabad in 1964. Venkoba’s brother did not properly manage the property in his absence hence Venkoba sold the property with getting permission from Baba to the Chairman of Gram Panchayat for Rs 3500/-and left Bangalore for Ahmednagar with his wife and daughter in 1964.
It was late after 19 years it could be brought back only in 1983 for Rs. 51000/-for establishment of Meher Baba Universal Spiritual Centre.