Ivy O. Duce

In the early days, it seems that one of the mandali, Dr. Deshmukh, was very interested in details of the spiritual path and hierarchy — especially as they had to do with occult experiences.

The other mandali were not interested in such things, preferring to concentrate on loving and obeying Baba, and so they decided to play a practical joke on Dr. Deshmukh.

At that time Dr. Deshmukh was living away from the ashram. One of the mandali sent him a letter stating that Baba had said that on June 26 at twelve noon the mandali would all be given a spiritual experience.

Dr. Deshmukh looked forward to this experience and tried to prepare himself for it, but June 26 came and went and nothing happened.

At last he decided to visit Meherabad to find out what had gone wrong. The other mandali really had him pegged, because they sent someone to meet him who said, "Ah, Dr. Deshmukh, I'm so glad you came. On June 26 all the other mandali became masts, and you and I are the only normal ones left, so we must take care of the others. There are two things strange abut them: first, they behave crazily, just like masts, and secondly, whenever Baba is around, they behave perfectly normally."

When they arrived at the ashram, Eruch was bent over with a sheet over his head and a lighted candle balanced in the palm of each hand, and he was moaning loudly. Pendu had an enormous bird's nest made of straw on his head, and another of the mandali was going around the room turning people upside down and shaking them. As soon as he saw Deshmukh, he immediately turned him upside down and shook him.

Then suddenly someone said that Baba was coming, and things returned to normal. Eruch threw off the sheet, Pendu removed he bird's nest, and so on. Baba walked into the room, winked, and said to Deshmukh, "Don't worry, I have something special planned for you, too."

But none of the mandali had told Baba about the practical joke!

HOW A MASTER WORKS, p. 510-511