(December-1946 to January 1967)
Meher Baba and His group stayed at Mahabaleshwar in February –March 1943 and again from 4th December 1946 to 25th May 1947.
From 20th December 1946 to 25th January 1947 there was a triple ashram on small scale for 3 different types
- Mast and advanced souls
- Destitutes and infirm
Baidul was in charge of the ashram for first 2 weeks and later was under the combined management of Kaka and Beheram Shaw Jessawala. A large house was taken in Mahabaleshwar which lies 4500 feet above sea level on the crest of Western Ghats. A square stable built about a Courtyard with a high corrugated roof and high stone walls. About 100 yards from house, served the needs of an ashram.
On 20th December 1946, man named Bashir who was mistaken for a mast was brought here. Ali Shah was soon brought from Ahmednagar and spent his time smoking packets of cigarettes. Other masts were brought later.
Baba’s principal work began between 8 and a.m. certain ones would be bathed and new arrivals would have their head and face shaven and after removing their filthy clothes, they were given a clean Kafni. For an hour or so, Baba would then closet himself with Ali Shah and with other masts and the massive doors of the stable would be closed during this period.
At about 11 a.m. Baba would sit on the low stool and distribute the plates containing food to the inmates. Ali Shah was always fed by Baba about 10 a.m. An early supper between 5 and 6 a.m. was also served by Baba himself.
Ali shah of 5th plane mast of Ahmednagar was prominent person among the inmates of the ashram, he being the one of favourites of Baba. More of his description is given under subhead Group 2 (Five favourite masts) at page-xx
2-ALI SHAH (Refer*Group-3)
Pahlwan of Ahmednagar was brought the delight of Ashram. He was 25 years old and his nature was that of an affectionate child. When told to do anything he would repeat the order word for word several times, He was helpful and kind to all. He was in the Ashram for 3 weeks.
Vasudevswamy was a tiny old yogi from Ale who was brought to the Ashram for a few days stay. His spiritual practices had caused him to become God-Mad. Both his legs were bent up and he had to be lifted by 2 persons for his bath and other daily functions. He kept with him dolls and broken toys. He always spoke in Marathi and would quote from Shastras.
4-DHONDI BABA OF WAI
Dhondi Bua a mast of 5th plane from Wai was the most interesting and was about 50 years old. He wore an old dhoti and shirt and cotton coat with sleeves so that his hands were hidden. There was a small quantity of coins in one of his pockets and he had habit of giving few annas to anyone who took his fancy.
5-KABIR OF PANDARPUR & KURDUWADI
He was in the ashram for 10 days in January 1947. He used to live in cremation ground of Pandharpur. He was given a shave and bath by Baba and also a new Kafni. He had the loudest and most raucous laugh one had ever heard for about 30 times a day.
6-JUMMA OF BARAMATI
He had been a mast from birth –madar-zad type –with some characteristics of a Jamali and was brought to Ashram in January 1947. He was originally contacted by Baba in 1943 in Jalgaon. He was 25 years old and was docile and cooperative and was mostly silent and utterly lost in his divine intoxication.
BHORWALE BABA OF BHOR
He was an adept pilgrim and was brought from Bhor by Eruch to meet his ‘elder brother’. But he rejoined that he was being taken not to Eruch’s brother but to Meher Baba. At the Ashram Eruch told these things to Baba who decided not to meet Bhorewale Baba since he had already recognized Meher Baba. He sent supper to him and after night’s rest and breakfast, Bhorewale was sent back to his place.
7-SHAH SAHEB OF PANCHGANI
He was a mast of 8th type–partly God-Mad and partly mast. He was interesting because he seemed to feel the importance of Baba and was reluctant to leave. He was about 35 years old but one remembered him particularly for a strange deep voiced laugh that he would utter every few minutes for no obvious reasons. When the mast ashram was disbanded in January 1947, Shah Saheb was kept on and later moved to Satara when Meher Baba went there in June 1947.
The relationship of Baba with masts was a matter between Him and them. Like an ice berg we see only one eighth that stand above surface of the ocean and the submerged seven-eighths, the real mass of the thing, is hidden from our eyes.