(JATAU OF LORD RAMA & RAMCHANDRA GADEKAR OF AVATAR MEHER BABA)
Meher Baba revealed that Ramchandra Gadekar was Jatau (a bird) in past incarnation. Because he had given his life while fighting with Ravana, he came so close to Him in this Advent. He was also reborn as Shambhaji Bhonsle (eldest son of Shivaji) in mini advent of Meher Baba as Shivaji. Hence this comparison,
In the Indian epic Ramayana, Jatayu-a bird", was the youngest son of Aruna. His brother, Sampaati, has the form of a Vulture and was an old friend of Dashrath (Rama's father). Jatayu tries to rescue Sita from Ravana when Ravana is on his way to Lanka after kidnapping Sita. Jatayu fought valiantly with Ravana, but as Jatayu was very old Ravana soon got the better of him. As Rama and Lakshman chanced upon the stricken and dying Jatayu in their search for Sita, he informed them of the fight between him and Ravana and tells them that he had gone south.
Shambhaji Bhonsle (14 May 1657–11 March 1689) was the eldest son of Chattrapati Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire, and his first wife Saibai. He was successor of the realm after his father's death. Sambhaji's rule was largely shaped by the ongoing wars between the Maratha kingdom and the Mughal Empire, as well as other neighboring powers such as the Siddis, Mysore and the Portuguese in Goa. Shambhaji was captured, tortured, and executed by the Mughals, and succeeded by his brother Rajaram.
Full life sketch of Ramchandra Gadekar and his contact with Avatar Meher Baba is elaborated as under.
Ramchandra Gadekar was son of Kanhoba Rao Gadekar of Ahmednagar. His father made a pair of sandals which was presented to Meher Baba in 1922, while Gulmai presented him when Baba was staying in the thatched hut on Fergusson Road in Poona. There was a spiritual mystery underlying Meher Baba's fondness for this particular pair of chappals
Cobbler's son, Ramchandra Gadekar came to Meherabad on 29 April 1925, for darshan. Baba received him warmly and urged him to stay at Meherabad. Baba also promised him the necessary funds to pursue his education in Poona.
For a long time, Ramchandra had been suffering from acute stomach pains, which no medicine had alleviated. He had come to pay his respects to Meher Baba and also to consult with him about his ailment, which had troubled him for a long time. When he bowed down, the Master asked, "What do you want? Why have you really come to see me?"
At that moment, Ramchandra was overcome by a divine desire that made him forget about his affliction. He spontaneously replied, "Baba, I want God-realization!"
Hearing this, Baba smiled and touched his head, blessing him. Later Baba inquired about his health and advised a certain treatment.
After some months, the stomach ailment disappeared and Ramchandra and his wife became teachers in the Hazrat Babajan School. Later the entire Gadekar family came to live at Meherabad, in one of the small earthen rooms built behind the Mess Quarters. His father Kanhoba also served the Master by keeping those particular sandals repaired. Thus, this ordinary pair of sandals was a precious inner link which connected the Gadekar family and many others to Meher Baba.
1921, Ramchandra Gadekar, who was staying in Meherabad at the time, had recently taken his college exams. On 31 May, Baba informed him, "You have failed in your exam!" The young man was crestfallen and tears welled up in his eyes. To console him, Baba called for sweets and distributing them among all, declared, "This is to celebrate Gadekar's failure in his exams!" But moments later, news was brought from Ahmednagar that Gadekar had actually passed his tests. Gadekar's unhappiness turned into a smile of relief.
Although Gadekar had passed his exams; he was worried about his further studies. On the night of 5 June, Baba advised Gadekar, "Due to worry, this universe came into being. And now man is unable to realize his own Real Self due to engaging his mind in worry. I advise you to be at peace and remain quiet in the face of any agitation, any worry and any calamity. Do not allow such thoughts to enter your mind, but push them toward me, saying, 'Go to Baba!' If you follow my advice, things will turn out fine.
In 1927, Baba proceeded to Ahmednagar to attend Ramchandra Gadekar's wedding. Baba had been waiting for Chhagan, who had not yet returned from Akolner. But as it was getting late, He left with the mandali for the wedding, where He was received with the greatest reverence. Kanhoba Rao was overwhelmed with happiness. The guests rushed to the Master for his darshan, leaving the marriage ceremony which had already started. Baba was covered with garlands, and the guests shed tears of joy. Most of those invited were from the lowly cobbler caste, and they were deeply moved to have such an illustrious guest. It was Kanhoba's first opportunity to entertain the high-caste Brahmins among Baba's mandali, and they were treated to a lavish feast. Kanhoba was very touched when he noticed that Baba was wearing the sandals he had made in 1922 when Baba stayed in a hut along Fergusson Road in Poona
In 1927, a tragic event at Meherabad afflicted one of the teachers. Ramchandra Gadekar and his wife Yashoda had come to live at Meherabad where both served as teachers in the schools. Baba had given Gadekar orders not to touch his wife. Yashoda would rise early in the morning and work all day. She was very devout, and in obedience to Baba's instruction, she would recite his name many times in the small room where they lived. But after nine months, Yashoda became extremely distraught. She fought badly with her husband and late one night, ran away and committed suicide by jumping in a well near the railway tracks.
In 1929, On Wednesday morning, 12 June 1929, Gadekar arrived bearing flowers and sweets with the happy news that he had passed his B.A. exam. Gadekar was sure had failed, even though Baba had assured him he would pass.
In 1930, Gadekar had also come to Nasik and invited Baba to Sangamner, where he was now working. He introduced his fiancée, Gunatai, (either on this visit or another) and Baba agreed to come to Ahmednagar to attend their wedding. Gunatai and Gadekar had met when they were students in Poona. They were later married in Ahmednagar, and Baba attended their wedding along with the mandali.
Among teachers in the school at Meherabad, Ramchandra Gadekar was the one who worked most tirelessly to disseminate Meher Baba's name and messages to people wherever he traveled. He would light Baba's lamp of love in new vicinity, and this was the reason that for years Baba wore the sandals made by Gadekar's father Kanhoba. Those hand-stitched sandals were the medium through which Gadekar and his family were kept at Baba's feet forever.
In 1937, travelling on the same ship was Ramchandra Gadekar, the son of the humble cobbler who was deeply connected with the Master. Gadekar had won a government scholarship to study education at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Actually, Baba had informed Gadekar in advance that he would be travelling to France on the Strathnaver, but he had instructed Gadekar not to tell anyone. So when Gadekar's wife Gunatai and their two children saw him off in Bombay, they were delighted to see Baba and the mandali on board. To Gunatai, Baba remarked, "Do not worry. I am with your husband."
In, 1944, after some time, Gadekar was transferred from Sholapur to Ahmednagar, where he and his family lived in Mutha's Bungalow. The family kept one room reserved specially for Baba. As the house was situated on Station Road, Baba would stop there on his way to Meherabad, but he would not inform them in advance of his visits. Once Gunatai complained to him saying, "Baba, why do you come so unexpectedly, without informing us? The house is in such a mess at times. If we knew you were coming, we could keep everything in order."
Baba smiled, gesturing, "Is this your house? This is My house. Do I have to inform you when I come to My own house?" They showed him to His room, and Baba was pleased, but remarked, "Do you want to keep Me locked up in only this one room? I want to go to each and every room." Even the kitchen was not left out of his inspection tour.
In 1948, in a lighter vein, Baba asked Gadekar, "Do you fight with Gunatai (his wife)?"
"Never, Baba” She fights with me!" he insisted.
"She is teaching you forbearance. You are in her debt."
In 1953, Ram Chandra was hired to teach bharatanatyam (an ancient form of dance) to Dhanapathy's daughter. Ram Chandra had composed the words and melody of the line, "Namo Meher Baba, Avatar, Namo Dev Deva" during the November 1952 gathering at Meherabad. When Bhaskara sang it at this time before Baba, Baba interrupted and inquired as to who had written it. After the song was over, Baba instructed Dhanapathy and the Hamirpur lovers to write down and memorize the prayer-song. This line was sung all over Andhra during these programs, and is still sung to this day.
In 1955, Joining his hands, Baba offered his namaskar to Gadekar. Taking advantage of Baba's mood, Gadekar broached another subject: "I am now 51 years old, and there are four years left before I retire with my pension. I would like to resign at once and stay with you."
Baba replied, "Up to the 15th of February 1957, just obey Me, thereafter, I will call you to stay with Me for all time." Baba's words came true, as readers shall see—but not in the way that Gadekar could have imagined.
In year 1958, It was becoming obvious that Gadekar's health was deteriorating. Gadekar was diagnosed as having Hodgkin's disease, with two cancerous tumors under his armpits. Gadekar, however, continued to brood and began having trouble sleeping at nights
In 1959, Gadekar and Gunatai came to Meherazad to see Baba on the morning of Thursday, 12 February. Gadekar had grown weak and was suffering terribly. Weeping, he cried out, "Baba, cure me. I want to go to different places to spread your love."Baba had Goher give him seven sleeping pills for seven days. He was also suffering from asthma, so Benadryl syrup was given to him. Despite Goher's clear instructions to take only one tablet before sleeping, the next morning Gadekar swallowed all seven sleeping pills. When it was discovered, Baba called him and asked why he had made such a stupid error. Goher then gave him some apples, and Baba kept him seated beside him. This seemed to mitigate any adverse reaction, because the tablets apparently had no ill effect on him. Soon after, Gadekar's worries left him, his mood changed and he appeared happy.
Baba consoled him, "Don't worry; you will be all right soon. You have devoted your whole life for My cause, and I am pleased with you." Sending him out of the hall with one of the mandali, Baba informed Gunatai, "Gadekar will come to Me soon, so serve him well. Keep him as cheerful as possible. Whatever is going to happen will happen. You should not worry. Keep your head cool and give him as much rest as possible."
On Saturday, 7 March 1959, Baba departed for Bombay with his group. They halted in Poona for two hours to have lunch and tea at Guruprasad but before taking any food or rest, Baba went to Gadekar's residence with the mandali to inquire about his health.
"How is your pain?" Baba asked him. "How do you feel?"
Gadekar said, "Because you have come to see me, I don't feel the slightest pain."
"Today is Maha Shivratri (a Hindu holiday in honor of Lord Shiva) and Shankar in person has come to your house to see you. Repeat My name day and night. Go on doing it."
Gadekar wept tears of joy. After embracing him, Baba returned to Guruprasad. It was to be the last time Gadekar ever saw his Beloved.
On 12 March 1959, news was received that Gadekar had died in Poona at midnight at the age of 55. He had been sitting on his bed repeating Baba's name when his heart suddenly stopped. Baba sent this telegram to Gunatai:
Gadekar was dear
Now he has come near.
Inform all not to fear.
But to love me with cheer.
Baba added: "Be happy that Gadekar enjoys My Company forever."
On the same day, Gadekar's ashes were buried at lower Meherabad. Baba himself lowered the box of ashes into the grave and covered it with earth. He scattered flowers on top, as did the mandali present, and garlanded the grave. Turning to Gunatai, who had come with the ashes from Poona, Baba remarked, "Gadekar is free; he will not take birth again (for a long time]. He is very fortunate that I, with My own hands, have placed the box containing the last remains of one of My dear ones in the grave. He will only come back with me after 700 years, when I return as the next Avatar."
Baba said that Gadekar is a person who comes to tears by talking of the good qualities of others. I won't talk much about him. He is a smiling Buddha (he was rotund in shape) and a bhola bhakta (guileless devotee). He has passed through ups and downs, but he has never left Me. Although he has all along been serving Me, he told Me yesterday that it is a great pity that he does not get opportunities to serve Me.
Baba had worn born for many years the sandals sewn for him by Gadekar's father, Kanhoba Rao are preserved in the museum at Meherabad.”
Interpretation: Baba said, "Any animal coming into contact with the Avatar's body gets a human body in its next birth." When the Master (Avatar or Sadguru) touches the dead body of an animal, the animal gets human form in next lives.