EPISODE-45-(AFJAL KHAN & BEHRAM (BUASAHEB)

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EPISODE-45

(AFJAL KHAN OF SHIVAJI & BEHRAM (BUASAHEB) OF AVATAR MEHER BABA)

Meher Baba said, “In the past life time, I was Shivaji.” Glancing on the men present, He said, “You were all with Me at the time of Shivaji. Behram was Afzal Khan, the Mughal general, who was killed by Shivaji.” Biographies of Afzal Khan and Behram Hoshang Fardoon Irani (close disciple of Meher Baba) are written below:

Afzal Khan (General)

Afzal Khan (died 10 November 1659) was a medieval Indian commander who served the Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur, and fought against Shivaji. He was killed at a meeting with Shivaji, and his army was defeated in the Battle of Pratapgad.

His name is also transliterated as "Afzul Khan" in the historical records. Ali Adil Shah II, the ruler who appointed Afzal Khan as the general of Bijapur

Afzal Khan was a leading court figure during the reign of Ali Adil Shah II of the Bijapur Sultanate. His steadfast skills and commanding ability led to his popularity and emergence in the ranks of hierarchy. According to legend he was awarded a famous sword known as the Adili, the sword was studded with diamonds. Afzal Khan was also given a popular elephant Howdah named Dhal-Gaj. He headed a personal force of 10,000 soldiers.

War against the Marathas- when the Marathas led by Shivaji challenged the Adilshahi supremacy, Afzal Khan volunteered to the task of defeating the Marathas. According to a Bijapuri legend, he sought a Sufi Pir's blessings before setting out on every military campaign. On such a visit before the campaign against Shivaji, the elderly Pir prophesied that it would be Afzal Khan's last campaign.

In 1659, Afzal Khan led an army of about 10,000 elite troops and pursued Shivaji persistently, inflicting numerous casualties, which forced Shivaji's forces to take refuge in the hill forts. In a bid to force Shivaji to come out in open, he detoured to desecrate Hindu sacred places, including Pandharpur, the most important pilgrimage site in the Marathi-speaking region at the time. Such behavior was unprecedented for the Bijapuri forces, and alienated the local deshmukhs (revenue collectors). He also captured Tuljapur, where his Adilshahi forces razed the statue of the Hindu Goddess Bhavani.

Afzal Khan's initial plan was to invade Pune, Shivaji's original residence. Shivaji knew that he would not be able to defeat Afzal Khan in the plains, and moved to Pratapgad Fort, which was surrounded by the dense forest valley area of Jawali. Shivaji's army excelled in this type of terrain, which made the Adilshahi army's cannons, muskets, elephants, horses and camels ineffective. At the same time, Shivaji had limited stores inside the fort and Afzal Khan's raids had caused terror among his followers. Afzal Khan also attempted to garner support from local militarily independent landlords, who nominally acknowledged the suzerainty of the Adil Shahi. The powerful nobleman Kanhoji Jedhe, who was the most respected deshmukh of the area, supported Shivaji. The deshmukh of Bhor, Khandoji Khopde, an enemy of Kanhoji, became a supporter of Afzal Khan.

Afzal Khan felt that the ensuing battle would cause massive casualties to both sides and eventually lead to a deadly stalemate. He, therefore, sent out emissaries to Shivaji, to lure him down the fort and negotiate peace. Shivaji's council also urged him to make peace with Afzal Khan to avoid unnecessary losses. The two leaders, therefore, agreed to meet for negotiations.

In 1639, Afzal Khan had murdered Raja Kasthuri Ranga after inviting him for a meeting where he could safely make a submission. Therefore, Shivaji was wary of Afzal Khan's real intentions. When Afzal Khan sent his envoy Krishnaji Bhaskar Kulkarni to Shivaji, Shivaji solemnly appealed to him as a Hindu priest to tell him if Afzal Khan was making any treacherous plans. According to the Maratha chronicles, Krishnaji hinted that Afzal Khan harbored mischief. Shivaji then sent his own envoy Pantaji Gopinath to Afzal, agreeing to a meeting; Pantaji's real mission was to find out the strength of Afzal's forces. Pantaji bribed some officials of Afzal Khan to learn that he was planning an attack on Shivaji,

Afzal Khan had originally asked Shivaji to meet him at Wai. Warned by Pantaji, Shivaji insisted that the meeting should take place closer to Pratapgad. Afzal Khan agreed, on the condition that the meeting would be arranged with two personal bodyguards on each side. His forces marched to Par, a village lying one mile south of Pratapgad. A crest below Pratapgad was chosen as the meeting place.

Shivaji set up tents with a richly-decorated canopy at the place, but also placed his soldiers in ambush at various intervals on the path leading to the meeting place.

Death- It was agreed that the leaders would be unarmed, and each man would bring an envoy and two armed bodyguards: one would be a swordsman and another archer. Afzal Khan's companions included Sayyid Banda, a distinguished military man.

Shivaji, forewarned, wore armour under his clothes and a steel helmet under his turban. He carried a weapon called wagh nakh ("tiger claws"), consisting of an iron finger-grip with four razor claws, which he concealed within his clenched fist. He also carried a stiletto-like thin dagger called the bichu or Bichawa (scorpion). He was accompanied by his bodyguards Jiva Mahala and Sambhaji Kavji.

At the start of the meeting Afzal Khan graciously embraced Shivaji as per custom. According to the Maratha chronicles, he then suddenly tightened his clasp, gripped Shivaji's neck in his left arm and struck him with a kitar. Shivaji, saved by his armor, recovered and counter-attacked Afzal Khan with wagh nakh, disemboweling him. He then stabbed Khan with his bichawa, and ran out of the tent towards his men. The Persian language chronicle by Khafi Khan attributes the treachery to Shivaji instead,

Afzal Khan cried out and Sayyid Banda rushed to the scene and attacked Shivaji with his patta, cutting his turban. Shivaji's bodyguard Jiva Mahala intervened, chopping off Sayyid Banda’s right arm in a quick combat before killing him. This event is remembered in a Marathi language idiom Hōtā Jivhā Mhaṇun Vāchlā Shivā ("Because of Jiva, Shiva lived") Meanwhile, Afzal Khan's bearers placed their wounded leader in his palki (litter vehicle), but they were attacked by Sambhaji Kavji. Sambhaji eventually killed Afzal Khan by decapitating him.

Shivaji then reached the Pratapgad Fort, and signaled his waiting forces hiding in surrounding forest, to launch a surprise attack. Afzal Khan's army was routed in subsequent Battle of Pratapgad, though his son managed to escape. Later, the severed head of Afzal Khan was sent to Rajgad as exhibit to Jijabai, Shivaji's mother.

The story of the encounter between Afzal Khan and Shivaji is the subject of several films, plays, school textbooks and village ballads in Maharashtra.

Personality-Afzal Khan was a powerful man of Afghan descent and was an experienced warrior. He was much taller and strongly-built than Shivaji.

Afzal Khan was known for his physical strength. During his campaign against Shivaji, one of his cannons fell into a narrow ditch near Wai. Eight of his soldiers could not get it out (lack of maneuverable space was one of the causes). It is said that Afzal Khan got the cannon out single-handed. Another instance of Afzal Khan's strength is when he held Shivaji's head in his grip while trying to stab him. Shivaji almost lost consciousness because of the power of the grip.

Aftermath-Afzal Khan's death resulted in the Battle of Pratapgarh, in which the Marathas defeated the rest of his army. Shivaji had Afzal Khan buried with full military honors, as befitting his stature and reputation at the foot of the Pratapgad fort. An annual urs is held at Afzal Khan's mausoleum.

Afzal Khan was succeeded by the inexperienced Rustom Zaman and Siddi Masud. The Bijapuri forces had been completely weakened, and eventually sought the assistance of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. The Adilshahi dynasty of Bijapur did not last long after the killing of Afzal Khan and was eventually annexed during the Siege of Bijapur in 1686.

 Beheram Hoshang Faredoon irani (Buasaheb)

Meher Baba said, “Behramji is the duplicate of Afzal Khan (an enemy general killed by Shivaji). In the same way, all the present members of my circle are exactly as they were during Shivaji's time. (Lord Meher page-750)

Behram Ferdoon Irani, Buasaheb (Behramji) had been in Meher Baba's contact since 1914, He was born 40 days after Meher Baba in the same Sasoon Hospital, Poona and in the same bed and same the nurse attended to his mother’s delivery. And both went to school together. He was one of Baba’s earliest friends. In 1921 Baba tutored him Persian, and he later became his business partner in a Poona toddy shop. He had stayed with Baba throughout the Manzil-e-Meem and early Meherabad years. Baba made these remarks about him to the mandali:

In 1927, under the rules made by Baba, the activities and management of the ashram were to be arranged by Behramji with the help of Pendu, Sidhu and Chhagan. Behramji was to be called Buasaheb, was made manager of Meher Ashram

On 14 June 1928, Baba prepared a timetable for the boys in the Prem Ashram and laid down the usual rules for the mandali concerning every facet of their life. Buasaheb was appointed manager of the ashram. Referring to him, Baba remarked, "Though Buasaheb is reasonable, the tone and the way he talks with people is not befitting. For instance, instead of saying, 'My mother,' he says, 'My father's wife!' He serves me faithfully and with all his heart, but he puts people off by his manner of speaking."

In 1929, Baba sent Buasaheb went to the Persian Consulate to obtain visas in the mandali's passports; he mentioned the difficulty Meher Baba was having in obtaining a British passport. The Persian Consul himself suggested Baba declares himself to be a Persian subject, having been born to Persian parents. Baba did so. He went to the Persian Consulate on Thursday, 12 September 1929 and easily obtained a Persian passport by giving his thumbprint.

On 24 September 1929, once Baba began goading Buasaheb. Once while Baba was teasing him, Buasaheb, in his vexation, said something regrettable, and Baba advised him, "Learn to swallow your anger.

Try to remain cheerful in all circumstances. Try to be humble and don't ever answer me back. "These sharp arrows of Mine are very good for your spirit; the wine is hidden in them. You have been My companion the longest. Have courage; it is because of your courage that I am going to Persia (Buasaheb's birthplace). Keep Me pleased and remain content that you do so. I have to retire in seclusion for four months, after which we will have to travel around the world."

Baba then gave these special orders for the men to follow:

No one should talk about me, either on the ship or in Persia. None should distribute any books, photographs, or lockets without my permission. No one should come to know of my presence, as that would disturb My seclusion. After my work is done, I Myself will speak and inform others. Remain quiet and continue doing as I order until then.

Before having received these instructions, Buasaheb had given Dastur's English booklet on the Meher Ashram to a fellow passenger. The next day, Chanji found out about it and informed Baba, who was furious with Buasaheb. Chanji managed to get the booklet back from the man, but on account of it, two or three other persons came to the cabin for Baba's darshan.

In 1930, Buasaheb had been appointed the manager of this journey, supervising the men and boys. Preparing to leave, Baba instructed Buasaheb that some of the group were to go by bus and some in advance by car. Buasaheb was about to ask Baba who should be seated in the bus and who in the car when Dastur entered the bus and the car left without him.

Baba was highly annoyed. He ordered all to wait by the bus until those in the car came back. Baba began scolding Buasaheb, blaming him for what had happened. "Why did you break My order? Why didn't you ask me about it before the car left?"

Before Buasaheb could answer, Baba slapped his own face violently on both cheeks and his expression turned grave. He stated, "When the Master has to punish himself for the faults of his disciples over their irritated with Buasaheb, Baba demanded, "Come and stand before Me! Why are you hiding behind the others?"

Completely despondent, Buasaheb replied, "I no longer wish to remain with you, Baba. I will go away at any time, without informing anyone. Either grant me full authority so the others will obey me, or relieve me of this duty of being manager." "You want to be so superior! If you want to go — GO!" Buasaheb was on the verge of tears and replied meekly, "You never even inquired about what happened."

In 1929, once, Baba sent Buasaheb, into the town in search of a "good boy" who would attend to Baba in his special work. Buasaheb found three boys in Duzdab and brought them before Baba, but Baba glared at him and did not find them suitable for his purpose. However, he fed the boys and gave them new clothes, and then sent them back. After Baba did this several times, the following heated confrontation ensued between Him and Buasaheb:

"Jungli, why do you bring boys like yourself?" Baba asked Buasaheb caustically. "For God's sake, bring me a good one next time!"

"Searching for them is a great headache," Buasaheb answered. "I selected the best youths I could find. What am I to do if you don't approve of any I bring?"

"Animal that you are, you bring only animals! Don't you feel ashamed to show me such beggars?"

Exasperated, Buasaheb burst out, "Now I don't want God or the world! I can't bear this life under you; I am leaving!"

"Wherever you go, I will be there too! Show me the place where I am not! Fool that you are, go and see for yourself; you will discover what I say is true."

"Baba, I am terribly harassed. I cannot bear your taunts and teasing any longer," Buasaheb pleaded.

Baba then replied, "I get angry because of you; your ways cause Me anger. How could I be angry without reason? Now that I am angry, you should try to pacify me. But no, you people get upset by the smallest things, so I have to console you — and that makes Me angry again. Your duty is to serve Me; but on the contrary, it is I who serve you! What is the purpose in staying with Me like this?"

Baba then explained, "My work is to wound and kill you gradually, but what am I to do when the wound makes you fret and fume?

Should I stop wounding you? I try to appease you; I give you explanations. I give you courage. I have to wound you, so I want you to be brave enough to bear it. But you remain impervious to my mercy."

After Buasaheb calmed down, Baba discussed his future plans with the mandali. He informed them, "I have now decided to proceed directly to Nasik. I will remain there in seclusion and Buasaheb will be My mujawar (personal servant), with incense burning all the time!"

On 17 March 1930, Buasaheb scolded a boy named Ramu for some mischief and twisted the boy's nose when he did not listen. Ramu complained to Baba, who told Vishnu to twist Buasaheb's nose for breaking His order against physically reprimanding the boys. Buasaheb became very upset and that night quietly left without telling anyone, and began wandering the streets.

Rising early the next morning, Baba woke the mandali and inquired the whereabouts of Buasaheb. They could not find him and informed Baba that he was missing. Baba sent Ramjoo and Raosaheb to search for him. Finally, finding him at a teashop, they brought him back, and Baba remarked, "Last night I had blisters on my tongue and lips, and I was suffering greatly because of them.

In 1930, Buasaheb remained in seclusion in Baba's cave in Tiger Valley in Panchgani since 21 June.

On Saturday, 28 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. Buasaheb was the cashier.

In 1931, one day a person who was familiar with Baba came to him and poured forth his tale of being reduced to poverty. Baba frankly explained to him, "I have no money at all. My mandali go hungry and I myself am looking for someone to arrange for their food. My mandali consist of such gems that they consider it an ordinary thing to sacrifice their lives for my cause."

The man remained quiet and then went away. Sending for Buasaheb, Baba directed him, "Follow that man and give him Rs.100." Buasaheb looked astonished and said, "Day and night we rack our brains trying to make ends meet! And you want to give him Rs.100?" Baba exclaimed, "Pay him Rs.200!"Buasaheb was taken aback, but he wisely kept quiet. He thought: "Knowing Baba, if I say anything more, the figure will jump from Rs.200 to 500." So he prudently exited and gave the man Rs.200.

In 1934, Baba proposed that Buasaheb build a hotel in Nasik, but Buasaheb said he had no funds to invest.

Buasaheb returned to Meherabad on 15 February 1934 from Persia. His sudden departure from Nasik the previous year had caused a lot of inconvenience for the mandali, so no one spoke to him when he returned. As he looked from one to the other, they would turn their faces away. He had also left matters at the Circle Cinema in a mess, which added to the bitter feelings of the mandali.

Of his own accord, Buasaheb had done Baba's work of spreading His name and message in Persia. But Baba had never asked him to go there, nor liked it that he left his responsibilities in Nasik. Baba met him and told him to rejoin the mandali. When Buasaheb refused, Baba directed him to go to Nasik and become a partner in Sailor's tea stall (next to Circle Cinema) and a new restaurant to be opened. So Buasaheb left, though in his heart he suffered banishment and exile as he obeyed Baba. After a while, Buasaheb eventually resettled in Poona and managed a restaurant there. Although he no longer lived with Baba and the mandali, he remained in close contact with Baba and would come to Meherabad from time to time.

In 1938, Baba again reminded Buasaheb, "Your connection with me is very old, and I wish that you now permanently come and stay in Meherabad. You have been with Me from the beginning; I no longer wish you to continue to reside in Poona. You won't have such an opportunity again in this life!" Buasaheb declined Baba's offer, mentioning his business which he had started since leaving Baba. Baba also wanted Sadashiv to move to Meherabad but he, too, pointed out some household difficulties that prevented his moving. Baba again emphasized to both men, "I am giving you the chance of a lifetime! Return to Poona and, after thinking it over, write Me your decision." Both left, but sadly neither wrote back to Baba and they never did come and live with Him again as He wished.

In 1939, Baba again tried to induce these two early followers to come and stay with Him and the mandali, and was particularly anxious to have Buasaheb with him. Buasaheb, however, pleaded business commitments, whereupon Baba offered to take the complete financial burden upon himself and free Buasaheb of any monetary responsibility. An agreement to this effect was even drawn up, but Buasaheb later backed out of it and it was torn up. In light of subsequent events, it was an attempt by Baba to save Buasaheb.

Buasaheb was living in Poona. On Wednesday, 1 May 1940, he was involved in a fatal accident while riding a motorcycle. A car shot out of a side street and struck him; he was thrown over his motorcycle and died instantaneously, on the street, from a brain concussion. He was 48 years old.

Buasaheb (Behramji) had been in Meher Baba's contact since 1914, when he was tutored by Merwanji (Meher Baba) in Persian, and he later became his business partner in a Poona toddy shop. He had stayed with Baba throughout the Manzil-e-Meem and early Meherabad years. Baba made these remarks about him to the mandali:

Baba said, “Behram (Buasaheb) was one of My nearest and dearest disciple, unconsciously when alive was One with Me, and now that he has left the body, he consciously enjoys that blessed union with Me!”

With Buasaheb's death, the practice of issuing circulars to Meher Baba's disciples and devotees in India and abroad began. Before 1940, Baba's orders and various messages were being conveyed to his lovers through correspondence or typed copies. But after Buasaheb's death, they were conveyed through printed circulars. 

Baba stated, "Buasaheb was a Chinese emperor in a previous life, and Jalbhai was his wazir [minister]. Both were opium addicts — and its effect is still there!"