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Glimpses of the God-Man, Meher Baba

MEHER BABA, 1940s

Glimpses
of the
God-Man,
Meher Baba
Volume 1 (1943-1948)

Bal Natu

SUFISM REORIENTED
WALNUT CREEK, CA.

International Standard Book Number 0-915828-12-X


Library of Congress Catalog Number 76-57047
Copyright 1977 by Bal Natu
All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America

To the Loving and Abiding Presence


Of the God-Man, Meher Baba

Contents
Acknowledgments

Introduction

11

Preface

17

1. Tidings of Joy About the God-Man, 1943

23

2. Meher Baba's Headquarters at Aurangabad, 1944

39

3. Darshan Program at Napur, 1944

50

4. My First Visit to Meherabad, 1944

69

5. Meherazad and Meher Spiritual Center, 1945

81

6. Six Months' Stay at Hyderabad, 1945

94

7. Pasarani to Angarishi Pahad, 1945

109

8. A Few Months of Spiritual Relaxation, 1946

127

9. Niranjanpur, the Place of Seclusion, 1946

139

10. Mast Tours of North India, 1946

153

11. Those Who Bear Witness, 1946

168

12. Mast Ashram at Mahabaleshwar, 1947

184

13. First Days of Darshan at Madras, 1947

201

14. Second Day of Darshan at Madras, 1947

212

15. Meher Baba's Stay at Satara, 1947

223

16. Visits to Gujarat and Rajastan, 1947

236

17. First Seclusion on Meherazad Hill, 1947

247

18. Threefold Spiritual Work, 1948

264

19. Visit to Uttar Kashi, 1948

284

20. Meher Baba's Love for Animals, 1948

300

21. Interviews at Meherabad, 1948

313

22. Special Circular for Baba People, 1948

333

23. Good Old Masts of South India, 1948

351

24. Correspondence with Meher Baba, 1948

368

25. To the Girnar Hills in Gujarat, 1948

391

26. At the Close of the Year, 1948

407

Glossary

424

Bibliography

431

Acknowledgments
I gratefully acknowledge with thanks permission to published
material given to me by Adi K. Irani; the Universal Spiritual
League in America, Inc.; Sufism Reoriented, Inc.; Phyllis
Frederick for The Awakener, also Kitty Davy and Delia
DeLeon; and Meher House, Australia.
I would be failing in my duty if I did not mention those who
so lovingly helped me in bringing out this book. I am very
grateful to Eruch Jessawala, one of Meher Baba's closest
disciples, who spared time to read the drafts of my articles. He
directed me in my writing and suggested important corrections.
I also wish to thank my dear friend U. G. Parkhe, who
untiringly did all the typing and kept up my enthusiasm in
completing the book. Adi K. Irani, Meher Baba's secretary and
disciple, was a great help to me at almost all the meetings with
Meher Baba recorded herein. He also permitted me to go
through the files in the record room, and he graciously
consented to write the Introduction. I am grateful to him for his
timely help.
The articles first appeared in Divya Vani, a monthly
magazine published in Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh), for which
I am thankful to the editorial staff. It was a happy coincidence
that Murshida Ivy Duce of Sufism Reoriented gladly agreed to
arrange for publication of these articles in book form in the
United States. I am especially indebted to Margery Rogers of
Sufism Reoriented for editing the articles and preparing the
final manuscript and those who assited

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

her Tracy Craig, Ellen Sirota and Sharon Childs and also
to Ira Deitrick.
I am deeply grateful to Peter Townshend whose generous
contribution made this printing possible.
Bal Natu
Meher Prasad
Kurduwadi, M. S., India
June 7, 1974
Bal Natu

Introduction
What is man?
A state of full and complete consciousness limited by the
individualized human mind.
What is God?
The Infinite Consciousness, unbounded and immaculate.
When the mind with all its thoughts and feelings is effaced,
there is nothing to limit the infinitesimal "drop" of
consciousness and it experiences itself as the "Ocean" of
Infinite Consciousness. This is the very purpose of Creation.
This is the state of Self-realization or God-realization. This final
experience confers complete absorption of the "drop" in the
infinitude of God. Such a one is not aware of the world for
him it does not exist. If by the Divine Will he regains normal
human consciousness and spiritually guides people, he is called
a Perfect Master a Sadguru or Qutub. Thus a man-becomeGod is a Man-God. He is the Individualized Ocean.
Once in a while, however, it is ordained that the Infinite
Consciousness apparently "descends" into the world of Illusion
and assumes a human form to give a worldwide spiritual push
to everyone and everything created. Such a One is known as the
Avatar the Buddha, the Messiah, the Christ, the Prophet. It is
part of the Divine Sport. Thus the God-become-man is the GodMan, the Oceanized individual. Such a recurring Advent of God
is as ancient as

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

Creation itself, so He is called the Ancient One. He comes


amidst mankind to set a noble example of Divine Life and to
reaffirm the faith of man in himself as the potential Infinite
Divine Existence. The Sport consists in realizing this Truth
consciously. The Avatar's presence coincides with a vital push
felt in various fields of life art, music, literature, sports,
science and, above all, spiritual understanding.
In different Advents the man-form changes but the formless
God as the Ancient One remains unchanged. In every cycle the
declaration of His divinity is in conformity with the need of the
time, and His special messages revitalize spiritual precepts. In
the present cycle, Meher Baba has verily proclaimed: "I am the
Ancient One, the One residing in every heart. I was Rama, I was
Krishna, I was this One, I was that One, and now I am Meher
Baba." And in one of His messages He has specifically stated:
"I belong to no religion, every religion belongs to Me. My own
personal religion is my being the Ancient Infinite One, and the
religion I teach to all is love for God. I am the Divine Beloved.
Therefore, love others, make others happy, serve others even at
discomfort to yourself this is to love me."
Merwan Sheriarji Irani, endearingly called by His followers
"Meher Baba," was born of Zoroastrian parents on February 25,
1894, in Poona, Maharashtra, India. While He was studying at
Deccan College in Poona, in May 1913 an old woman, a
centenarian named Hazrat Babajan, beckoned to Him. Like iron
to a magnet, Merwan was drawn to her. She gazed intently into
His eyes, lovingly embraced Him and kissed Him on His
forehead between the eyebrows. What an incredible meeting!
This contact made Merwan experience thrills of indescribable
bliss for a period of nine months and marked the end of His
college studies. In January 1914 Hazrat Babajan, who was one
of the Perfect Masters, made Merwan realize the Infinite Bliss
of God-realization. It was the state of nirvikalpa samadhi.

INTRODUCTION

13

In December 1915 Merwan felt impelled to visit Sai Baba,


another Perfect Master, at Shirdi, fifty-three miles from
Ahmednagar. He prostrated himself at Sai Baba's feet, and as
He got up, Sai Baba looked straight into His eyes and
exclaimed, "Parvardigar!" ("God the Sustainer"). Then Merwan
was inwardly drawn to visit a small nearby temple where the
Sadguru Upasni Maharaj lived. Seeing Merwan at the door,
Maharaj flung a small piece of stone at Him and it hit Him
exactly on the spot which Hazrat Babajan had kissed. This was
the first "stroke of Knowledge" that helped Merwan to regain
Creation-consciousness in addition to God-consciousness
(nirvikalpa samadhi). Later, Meher Baba conveyed:
Babajan gave me Divine Bliss.
Sai Baba gave me Divine Power.
Maharaj gave me Divine Knowledge.
During succeeding years, Merwan continued to visit
Maharaj frequently. Maharaj had moved to Sakori, three miles
from Shirdi. From July to December 1921, He stayed with
Maharaj continuously for six months. At the end of this period,
Maharaj completely unveiled to Merwan His role and status as
the Ancient One. Once, with folded hands, Maharaj said to
Him, "Merwan, you are the Avatar. "
Merwan's Avataric activities commenced in January 1922,
and out of deep reverence, the first group of disciples who
gathered around Him began to call Him "Meher Baba," the
Compassionate Father. The late Saiyed Saheb, an old disciple of
Merwan, was the first to call Him Meher Baba.
Avatar Meher Baba's life had so many phases internal
and external which kept Him engaged in the inner spiritual
work of Awakening. Here, I mention a few of them in their
partial outward expression. In the mid-twenties He opened a
school in the ashram at Meherabad near Ahmednagar, but the
curriculum and the ways in which it was

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

conducted were inimitable. He also set up a free hospital which


afforded a training ground for His disciples to render selfless
service. In the early forties, He distributed with His own hands
food-grains and cloth to thousands of needy villagers, but His
identity was not disclosed. He washed the feet of lepers and
bowed His head on their feet. He once conveyed, "These are
beautiful 'birds' in ugly cages."
Apart from such philanthropic works, Meher Baba's main
concern was to awaken the hearts of mankind, so at times He
toured parts of India to give darshan to the thousands of His
followers who craved for His physical presence. He also visited
the West particularly England, the United States and
Australia thirteen times between 1931 and 1958 to meet His
dear disciples and devotees. All these activities were
interspersed with long periods of seclusion and partial fasts.
And it was amazing to see Him attending to all these programs
even though He had commenced observing silence on July 10,
1925. His silence continued until He dropped His body on
January 31, 1969. From 1927 to 1954 He used an alphabet
board to convey messages and discourses, but from October 7,
1954, on He discarded it and used only gestures and movements
of His hands and fingers to express His thoughts. How, in spite
of His silence, He managed to cope with the enormous scope of
His external work correspondence, interviews, darshan and
sahavas programs, etc. was a day-to-day wonder! He once
stated: "If my silence cannot speak, of what avail are words!
Things that are Real are given and received in silence."
Avatar Meher Baba's work with the God-intoxicated souls
needs special mention. It is an unprecedented phase of this
Advent. Meher Baba referred to these souls as masts "the
men of God." In their intense love for God these persons were
so absorbed in their ecstatic state of consciousness that they had
no thoughts for physical needs and

INTRODUCTION

15

comforts. They were found in secluded places and in crowded


cities alike. Meher Baba visited such sites and places in the
nooks and corners of India to contact them. To clarify this phase
of work I prefer to quote Meher Baba's words: Masts are those
who become permanently unconscious in part or whole of their
physical bodies, actions and surroundings, due to their
absorption in their intense love and longing for God ... The
masts alone know how they love me ... I work for the masts,
and knowingly or unknowingly they work for me." 1 For a
detailed account of this unique phase, I recommend that readers
refer to The Wayfarers by the late Dr. William Donkin.
Meher Baba's life as the God-Man lies far beyond human
understanding, but His life as man was a visible and tangible
expression of His divine Love. His relationships with the
animals and birds were with the same love that He bestowed
upon His followers. In the early days He visited theaters, and
He was especially fond of music and singing programs. He
liked to play games, especially cricket. He also played marbles
and was fond of flying kites. Above all, His sense of humor was
superb, and that helped all who met Him to experience His
closeness and humanity. He was the Perfect Person. His
messages, which reflect His deep love for humanity, drew to
Him a following in all parts of the world people from
different religions and nationalities. All His messages could be
summed up as a universal message of Love.
Bal Natu was in Meher Baba's contact for twenty-five years
and had opportunities to stay with Him for long periods at
Poona and Meherazad, Baba's residence near Ahmednagar. In
this book he has tried to present glimpses of the God-Man from
the year he heard about Meher Baba 1943. I am sure seekers
of God in general, and those who

Meher Baba, Listen, Humanity, p. 260.

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

are devoted to Baba in particular, will happily share with him


the Sport of the Ancient One, Meher Baba.
Jai Baba!
Adi k. Irani
Meher Nazar
Ahmednagar, M. S., India
June 1, 1974

Preface

It was summer 1957 when Avatar Meher Baba directly


instructed me to take down notes of the two meetings held in
His presence. When in the early sixties He permitted His
followers in India to see Him at Poona, He allotted me the
special duty of noting down the explanations that He might feel
pleased to give on different spiritual subjects. I also kept a
diary, recording what transpired during these small and large
gatherings, including the accounts of a few interviews. Some of
these notes were later read out to Meher Baba and duly edited.
This duty awakened in me a great interest in collecting
information about the different activities and phases of work in
Meher Baba's life. For me this turned out to be a very pleasant
hobby.
In January 1969 Meher Baba most unexpectedly dropped
His physical body. There was a feeling in me of something
vitally missing, so I had to find my own way of maintaining
contact with Him. I commenced writing about His life and my
life with Him beginning in 1943 the year I first heard about
Him. There was no fixed plan, and I had no idea that the articles
would be published in book form. I simply desired to share
what I understood of Meher Baba with those who wished to
know more about Him. I claim no authority, and I do not
profess to teach anything to anyone. Meher Baba as the GodMan (the Avatar) drew the hearts of His dear ones to Him as He
alone is capable, and He is still drawing many others in various
lively ways.

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

While narrating certain events, for clarification I have


brought in similar or relevant incidents in Meher Baba's life
which happened either in earlier or later years. As the motive
for my writing is a free exchange of views, of course based on
facts, I have frankly recorded my interpretations, but these
inferences are personal and open to correction. Anyone is free
to have his or her own outlook. What Meher Baba expects of
everyone is purity of heart and honesty in life.
What Meher Baba is, everyone has to find out for himself.
He, however, categorically declared, "I am the Avatar the
God-Man." Instead of saying anything about His Avatarhood
here, I prefer to quote what He said about Himself and the
reactions of those who heard or read about such a claim by Him.
In one message, Meher Baba clearly stated the following:
When I say I am the Avatar, there are a few who feel happy,
some who feel shocked, and many who, hearing me claim
this, would take me for a hypocrite, a fraud, a supreme
egoist or just mad. If I were to say that every one of you is
an Avatar, a few would be tickled, and many would
consider it a blasphemy or a joke. The fact that since God is
One indivisible and equally in us all we can be naught
else but One, is too much for the duality-conscious mind to
accept. Yet each of us is what the other is. I know I am the
Avatar in every sense of the word, and that each one of you
is an Avatar in one sense or the other.
It has been an unalterable and universally recognized fact
since time immemorable that God knows everything, God
does everything, and that nothing happens but by the will of
God. Therefore it is God Who makes me say I am the
Avatar, and that each one of you is an Avatar. Again, it is
He Who is tickled through some and through others is
shocked. It is God Who acts and God Who

PREFACE

19

reacts. It is He Who scoffs and He Who responds. He is the


Creator, the Producer, the actors and the audience in His
own Divine Play. 2
In the light of the above message, I may be allowed to say
that the writing of Glimpses and the responses of the readers
will form a part of the Divine Play of God.
Non-English words used in this book which may be
unfamiliar to the reader are printed in italics. I have defined
some of these words at their first occurrence; however, some
words such as mast, mandali, darshan, prasad, etc., are used
often, so I request that the reader refer to the Glossary.
Words fail to express my gratitude for the unconditional
compassion and love of Avatar Meher Baba, so I offer my
humble salutations to Him with the request that He accept this
book as a token of my "little" love for Him.
Bal Natu
Meher Prasad
Kurduwadi, M. S., India
June 7, 1974
Bal Natu

A message given by Meher Baba during the Mass Darshan Program at


Ahmednagar, India, September 12, 1954. Also printed in The Awakener, vol. 2,
no. 2, Fall 1954, p. 1.

Glimpses of the God-Man, Meher Baba

1
Tidings of Joy About the God-Man, 1943
He Drew Me to Him
"HOW did you come to Meher Baba? What was your
experience of Him?" are questions often asked me whenever I
have the opportunity to meet Baba lovers, particularly those
who are new acquaintances. It is quite natural to ask such
questions of anyone who has had an opportunity, by virtue of
his luck, to come in contact with any great personality, and
especially so regarding contact with the Enlightened One.
The answers may vary with each person in accordance with
his temperament and receptivity. The replies may appeal to
some, and to others they may not. The fact remains that every
person's contact with Meher Baba has a unique personal
fragrance which may or may not be adequately expressed in
words. Words that come with clarity may help others get a
feeling of life with Meher Baba. I do not claim such clarity, yet
I wish, though a bit hesitantly, to recall my life with Meher
Baba, of course with readiness to correct any statements or
information through those who may have better knowledge.
My answers to the above questions are simple. Meher Baba
drew me to Him. My life with Him was His act of compassion
and love, unmindful of my weaknesses. This is my experience.

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


"Why Should I Suffer So Severely?"

Before I relate the incident that drew me close into Meher


Baba's personal contact, I would like to mention briefly my
earlier life, in which His invisible hands and heart were at work.
When I was eighteen years old and studying in college, I felt
deeply impressed by the ethical and philosophical greatness of
Hindu culture. The days I spent in the company of Dr.
Hedgewar, the founder of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
a cultural movement of the Hindus in India were highly
influential in shaping my daily life in the light of the ideal
enshrined in my heart. I joined a band of selfless and honest
workers and participated in the work of organizing the Hindu
society in order to earn a noble and honorable living such as
was intended in the better days of old. All was going well when,
due to overwork and excessive cycling, I had a heavy
hemorrhage from the lungs. In spite of medical care the illness
took a serious turn, and it was declared that I had tuberculosis in
the third stage. I became so weak that for months I could not
even move sideways in bed.
"Why should I suffer so severely?" I asked myself. "Is there
God? And if He is, is He just?" I was thoroughly disturbed by
the conflicts and contradictions within me and around me. After
surgical operations in the Mission Hospital at Wanlesswadi,
Miraj, I felt better physically but the psychological confusion
was still dominant. To add fuel to the fire, and as a bolt from the
blue, my father died unexpectedly and with this the dreams
of my youth for material prosperity and social service abruptly
ended.
Decision to Seek Aurobindo
By chance, my family decided to settle at Kurduwadi (Sholapur
District, Maharashtra). Under the circumstances

TIDINGS OF JOY ABOUT THE GOD-MAN

25

I needed to seek a job, but that was physically impossible.


Confinement at home compelled me to think seriously and
furiously about life, God, and His wonderful Creation. I was
drawn to the literature of saints and Sadgurus of Maharashtra
Tukaram, Ramdas, Dnyaneshwar, Eknath and others. This
reading consoled me to some extent. I was also very much
impressed by the teachings of Ramakrishna Paramhansa. His
simple words, expressing a depth of meaning, brought tears to
my eyes. But my uppermost thought was: "All these Masters
have dropped their bodies. I must meet someone in person who
has realized the Truth. Where to find such a One?"
During this period I heard and read about Shri Aurobindo of
Pondicherry and later about Bhagwan Raman Maharshi of
Arunachalam. They were living personalities. The life of Shri
Aurobindo was a source of great inspiration to me. His life, and
particularly the vision he had in jail about Lord Krishna,
touched my heart. I was so drawn to him that I nearly decided to
visit Pondicherry to request him to accept me as one of his
followers, but the place was far away towards the southeast
coast, a thousand kilometers distant. I used to meditate on Shri
Aurobindo's picture and even celebrated his birthday, all alone
in a field, on the fifteenth of August. Perhaps as a result of this
meditation I felt that in a dream I saw Aurobindo standing on a
hill. But the significance of it was revealed to me later when I
met Meher Baba at Meherabad.
A Miracle!
It was March 1943. Meher Baba agreed to visit Sholapur and
Barsi on the tenth and eleventh of March. People were
permitted to meet Him in silence and to offer their respects. The
news of His arrival appeared in the newspapers and this aroused
a very old memory in me. As a teenager

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

I was traveling with my father in a second-class compartment


on a mail train from Jhansi to Bombay. Meher Baba
coincidentally got into the same compartment with a few of His
disciples, at Deolali or perhaps Nasik Road. I was deeply
moved by His personality but I did not know then who He was.
At Bombay I learned from my father that the impressive
personality was Meher Baba. As the years passed I completely
forgot about that incident. The news in the local papers revived
this memory and I felt a strong pull within me to see Meher
Baba in person, but by this time He had already left Sholapur.
This occurrence, however, was instrumental in kindling the
desire to know more about Him.
Then a "miracle" happened! Miracle in the sense that the
cause of the episode remains unknown even to this date, or else
it is plain coincidence. One of my neighbors, Kakasaheb
Ghatnekar, who was working as a ticket collector for the
Railways, was not much interested in reading. One day,
however, while visiting a hotel near the station, he met a person
who had a new book in his hand. Impulsively Ghatnekar
inquired about the book. It was the life of Meher Baba, written
by Deshmukh in the Marathi language. Ghatnekar asked the
person if he would lend him that book, and strangely enough the
man happily parted with it and left the hotel. They did not know
each other nor did they introduce themselves. My neighbor
immediately handed the book over to me. The man who owned
it never contacted Ghatnekar again to get back his new book.
Thus, in a sense, began my life with Meher Baba.
Correspondence with Meher Baba
After reading the biography of Meher Baba, I felt that He could
be the One whom I should contact. His philosophy and
teachings, from my limited capacity of understanding,

TIDINGS OF JOY ABOUT THE GOD-MAN

27

were in accord with the teachings of the Upanishads and of


Maharashtrian Masters but He was not born a Hindu! And I
was a bit dogmatic in this respect. There would be, however, no
harm in just having His darshan or a formal audience, I felt. I
did not know Meher Baba's address, so I wrote a reply-paid
postcard to: Secretary, c/o Meher Baba, Ahmednagar. It was my
first letter to Meher Baba. In those days He was deeply engaged
in His work with the masts, God-intoxicated souls, hence I did
not receive an immediate reply.
During the fourth week of May 1943 I got a reply from Adi
K. Irani (familiarly known as Adi Sr.), Meher Baba's secretary.
He wrote:
"I showed your postcard to Meher Baba ... You can write to
Meher Baba direct, asking any questions or for any information.
He is very happy and He sends His blessings to you." And I
really felt blessed.
I thought, "What should I write to Him? Am I qualified to
put questions to Him?" In sending the reply to Meher Baba I
wrote that I knew nothing of God and the spiritual Path. Thus
instead of asking Him questions, I wholeheartedly wished to
learn the alphabet of spirituality at His holy feet. Meher Baba
appreciated my reply, but concerning the request to see Him in
person, He instructed me to communicate with Him by the end
of June 1943. I did not miss writing to Him as He instructed.
Condition of Implicit Obedience
In August 1943 I received a letter from Adi K. Irani giving me
the information that a congregation of Baba lovers was expected
to be held at Meherabad in January 1944. He further wrote:
"Those who will be called to attend the congregation will have
already agreed to obey all instructions of Baba. Should you feel
inclined to obey implicitly,

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please let me know earlier so that I may put you up as an


aspirant to be supplied with the necessary circulars. . . Baba
sends His blessings."
I felt a bit puzzled as I read this letter. Instead of just
meeting Him, I was to be invited for a stay with Him at
Meherabad. This was more than encouraging, but the condition
of obedience to Him had to be seriously considered. After much
thought, a reply was sent by me as follows: "Baba, I have not
yet met you personally. I do not know much about your
teachings. I do not have any idea about the nature of the
obedience expected of me. So, however much I wish to see you
and be with you, will it be proper to reply, 'I will implicitly
obey you?' I need your guidance to be honest to my conscience.
Please help me inwardly to arrive at the right decision."
During the previous few months I had become acquainted
with the late R. K. Gadekar, one of Meher Baba's dear disciples,
who lived at Sholapur, about eighty kilometers from my place. I
used to visit him to learn more about Meher Baba. A few days
after posting the above letter I went to Sholapur. I showed
Gadekar the letter received from Adi Sr. and told him the
contents of my reply to Baba. He explained to me how my reply
to Him was wrong. I should instead have willingly agreed to
obey Meher Baba. He added, "Whatever the Master orders is
invariably for the highest good." He told me that I was all the
more fortunate, for Baba had given me the opportunity of
obeying Him before meeting Him in person. So on that very day
I conveyed posthaste to Baba my readiness to obey Him
implicitly!
The next day when I reached my home a letter from Adi Sr.
awaited me. It read:"Baba is pleased with your sincerity,
frankness and purposeful decision which you strive to arrive at
in obeying Him. Baba tells you not to worry about the decision
now. He sends His love and blessings." But

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29

I did not receive any reply to the letter sent from Sholapur.
From this incident I learned that in my life with Meher Baba I
should take whatever decision I honestly felt. Baba preferred
one's honest efforts irrespective of the decision itself.
A regular correspondence continued and I used to receive
replies to practically all of my letters. I was not a poet then, nor
am I now, but somehow I used to compose some lines on Baba's
divinity and mail them to Him. He would convey that He liked
them. What an unconditional love! Regarding seeing Him, I was
asked to wait until the opportune moment. In one of the letters it
was stated: "Baba says that He knows your heart. Baba knows
your feeling full well." I wondered how it could be and, if so,
what could that feeling be! Thus passed the year 1943, the year
that brought me the tidings of joy about the God-Man.
"The Task For Spiritual Workers"
Although I did not participate in any of the external activities of
Meher Baba in 1943, I shall relate briefly what transpired
during that year. This account is based on information that I
gathered later from circulars and books and from those living
near Him. It is an attempt to give an idea about a few phases of
Meher Baba's life.
During January 1943 Baba stayed mostly at Meherabad.
According to the Zoroastrian calendar, February 14 was His
birthday. On that day seven congregations were held at different
places Bombay, Poona, Madras, Nagpur, Sholapur and
Lahore (now in Pakistan). A representative appointed by Baba
read out a special message previously dictated by Him. This
message, with the caption "The Task For Spiritual Workers,"
explained the nature of the work expected of His disciples and
devotees. It also included some practical hints. I take the liberty
of quoting only one

30

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

paragraph and request my readers to refer to the entire message


in the book Messages of Meher Baba Delivered in the East and
West. In the message Meher Baba stated:
"As spiritual workers, you have also to remember that the
spiritual wisdom which you desire to convey to others is already
latently present in them, and that you have only to be
instrumental in unveiling that spiritual wisdom. Spiritual
progress is not a process of accumulating from without; it is a
process of unfoldment from within ..." 3 By the time these
meetings at different places were over, Baba shifted His
headquarters to Mahabaleshwar. Shirinmai, Baba's dear mother,
passed away on the twenty-fifth of February. In March He
visited Sholapur and Barsi at the request of his devotees. On
April 1 a circular was sent to some of His dear ones. Part of it is
given below:
" ... I have finally decided that you should be present in
Meherabad on May 15, 1943 for five days ... You will ask me
no questions but listen to my instructions which will be clear
and precise."
A Meeting at Meherabad
Some of the instructions given by Meher Baba at the time of the
May meeting were as follows. He expected the participants of
the meeting to lead their lives in the light of these directives.
1. Amidst all your duties and attachments let the
background of all your thoughts be the only thought that
God alone is Real and all else is illusion.
2. Infuse into others the idea that the ultimate goal of life is
to know God in His true, Infinite aspect.
3. Think less of yourself and more of others by trying to
make others happy, even if you have to suffer for it.

Now printed in: Meher Baba, Discourses, 3:110

TIDINGS OF JOY ABOUT THE GOD-MAN

31

Some specific suggestions to be carried out for the period of


one month beginning from May 15 to June 14, 1943 were as
follows:
1. Observe strict celibacy even if you are married.
2. Avoid all entertainments.
3. Every morning, the first thing is to be a sincere prayer
from you to God to make you understand Him and His
will.
It was in this meeting that Baba explained, with the help of
colored charts, the process of evolution, reincarnation and
realization. This explanation was later published in book form
on fine art paper. I had the good fortune to receive a copy as a
present. The name of the small book is Divine Theme. 4 When
Baba explained the subject matter, Chhagan, one of His
disciples who was entrusted with the food arrangements, was
not present. After some time he approached Baba and expressed
his unhappiness over being absent when Baba explained the
divine theme. Baba smiled and gestured, "Don't worry. I will
tell you the gist of it." He then conveyed the following sentence
on His alphabet board: "You live in 'water' not knowing what
'water' is! That's all." And He asked Chhagan to attend to his
duties. At times Meher Baba's replies were cryptic. So short, but
so significant!
In the beginning of July, Meher Baba, with a large group,
left for Lahore. This city was His headquarters until the third
week of November. The following mandali, mainly, stayed with
Him: Masaji (Baba's uncle), Gustadji, Kaka, Baidul, Vishnu and
Nilu (Dr. Nilkanth); while Chanji, Dr. Donkin and Eruch would
visit Baba regarding work. Margaret Craske and Irene Billo
were allowed to stay with the women mandali. On the first of
August, Baba called a meeting of the men mandali, but fourteen
members who had

Now printed in: Meher Baba, God Speaks, 2d ed., pp. 234-243

32

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

attended the special meeting at Meherabad on December 27,


1942 were not present at Lahore so a report in the form of a
circular was sent to them. The circular concluded with the
following significant statement:
"I call upon you to be ready to die for God and live as God."
The God-intoxicated Wayfarers
The period of ten years beginning February 1939 has special
significance in Meher Baba's life. This is due to His contacts
with the masts, the God-intoxicated wayfarers. The years 1941
to 1947 were intensely devoted to searching out such Godintoxicated souls from the nooks and corners of India. 5 Usually
Baidul, Kaka and Eruch accompanied Meher Baba on these
hazardous mast tours. During 1941 and 1942 Baba journeyed as
many as 18,000 and 15,000 miles, respectively, in search of
such souls. I will mention some of the contacts made by Baba in
the year 1943.
In February and March Baba stayed mainly at
Mahabaleshwar. From there He visited the southern part of
India to contact God-intoxicated souls. At Guntur He contacted
Nawab Ali Shah, who used to cover his body with pieces of
cloth and rags. He preferred to rest and sleep in a shop selling
charcoal, so you can well imagine how clean and beautiful he
might have looked! But Baba knew the inner richness of his
heart and felt happy in his company. Bhiku Baba, a great mast,
was contacted at Polavaram. This mast lived in a hut and kept
piles of sand by his side. He used to shovel the sand towards
himself with his hands. After some time he would change his
place and repeat the same gesture. That was his fancy. At
Kottalanka, Baidul met a mast, Saiyid Ahmad Ali Shah, who

5 For details concerning Meher Babas work with the masts refer to:
William Donkin, The Wayfarers.

TIDINGS OF JOY ABOUT THE GOD-MAN

33

casually disclosed to him the news of Meher Baba's presence in


the city, although Baidul had not told him this. He was looked
after by a Brahmin. After contacting the mast, Baba left with the
Brahmin a small sum of twenty rupees for the purchase of a
mattress and perfumes for the use of that mast.
"God Is Equal to Meher Baba"
During Meher Baba's stay at Mahabaleshwar, He sent Eruch to
Poona to find some masts in that city. While there, Eruch met
one named Bundle Shah. This mast used to carry a bundle under
his arm all the time and so he was called thus. Strangely
enough, he was also known by the name "Father." Eruch was
trying to persuade him to go to Mahabaleshwar and so invited
him to his house in Poona. He did not tell him anything about
Meher Baba. While seated in the house the mast asked for a
piece of paper. Eruch handed over to him an exercise book. As
the mast opened it, by chance he found a loose block print of
Meher Baba but there was no name printed on it. The mast then
commenced writing endless figures with plus and minus signs
on the back of the picture. This scribbling finally ended with "=
7 = God." Then pointing to the picture of Meher Baba that was
on the other side, he said, "God is equal to Meher Baba." The
rest of his talk was not relevant. Eruch knew that Baba was
generally averse to contacting those masts who at the outset
recognized Him as Meher Baba, the God-Man, so this mast was
not taken to Mahabaleshwar. Later Eruch checked those
numerous figures and, surprisingly enough, found that the final
figure, seven, was correctly worked out.
In April, Baba visited the districts of East and West
Khandesh in Maharashtra to contact some masts. After the
meeting at Meherabad in May, Ali Shah, a most remarkable

34

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

mast, was brought to Meherabad from Ahmednagar. This was


his first contact with Baba. Later on he became one of Baba's
"five favorites." He was a perfect jamali (mild tempered) mast
and had childlike simplicity. Meher Baba treated him as a firstline reserve mast and kept Ali Shah near Him at different
periods to intensify His spiritual work.
Mast Contacts Near Lahore
In July, Meher Baba proceeded to Lahore. He stayed there from
July 7 to November 21, 1943 at 6 Amrit Kuti, Garden Town.
Some masts were contacted at and near Lahore and Rawalpindi.
Baba Hosh was a mast living at Chorkot. When visiting this
place, in addition to the usual mast "experts," Dr. Ghani, one of
Baba's dear disciples and childhood friends, accompanied Him.
Dr. Ghani was not used to the life of hardships encountered on
the mast tours. While returning to the railway station after the
mast contact, a donkey was commissioned to carry two of the
mandali, including Dr. Ghani. Being foreign to the art of
"donkey-drive," both fell off its back. They had to walk very
fast to keep pace with Baba, who was a fast walker, to reach
Khudian Khas railway station in time. As they sighted the
station, they noticed that the train for Lahore was already on the
platform. Baidul ran ahead and requested the station master to
detain the train for a few more minutes. Dr. Ghani, too, had to
run to get into the compartment but then he fainted. This is
enough to illustrate how strenuous the mast tours were. After
contacting a God-intoxicated soul, Baba would be in a hurry to
get back to His headquarters.
The next day Baba visited Kul Mokal to contact another
mast. Needless to say, Dr. Ghani did not accompany the party.
This journey was memorable for the admirable conduct

TIDINGS OF JOY ABOUT THE GOD-MAN

35

of a Sikh restaurant owner, who prepared a good meal for the


group and carried it himself to the nearby railway station where
Baba had stopped. It was nearly midnight, and yet this man was
there to serve them. He refused to accept even ordinary charges
for the meal. This is an example of the hospitality and reverence
shown by Indians to saints and Masters. All enjoyed the meal,
for they were very hungry. Such timely comforts were rare on
mast trips.
A Strange Offering!
A mast contact at Kanganpur was remarkable for quite another
reason. As soon as the mast, Saiyid Rehmatullah Baba, saw
Meher Baba he began to dance, saying, "Come, come here. I am
waiting for you." He made Baba sit on his bed, then he led Baba
into a room in a cemetery and it was a secluded contact.
Afterwards the mast presented to Baba a dirty sack and pieces
of iron and wood. With this "treasure," for whatever was given
by a mast was regarded as a treasure by Baba, the party rushed
to the station to catch the train for Lahore.
At Lahore Baba met a young mast whose father was looking
after him and regarded himself as the "spiritual son" of his own
son. Later Baba remarked, "That was a delightful pair." Baba
gave the pair the name "Bap Dikrawala Mast" which means "the
father and son mast."
One more contact of a different nature took place at Lahore.
Baidul spotted a mast, Nawab Ali Shah, while he cycled
through a suburb named Baghbanpura. The mast held a cryptic
conversation with Baidul. He said: "I want to go to Aligarh city
(perhaps he meant Allah's Ghar, meaning the House of Allah),
but the road is blocked. There is a world-famous Doctor who
has recently visited Lahore. I will ask His permission and if He
grants it I will go." Baidul asked the mast the name of the
doctor and he answered, "Mauni" ("the Silent One"). Thus he
made an indirect reference to Meher Baba's divinity. Some
masts felt Baba's presence before He

36

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

contacted them on the physical plane.


Near Lahore, at Bhat, Meher Baba contacted Baba
Shahabuddin, one of the two seventh plane Majzoobs in India.
Meher Baba first bathed Shahabuddin, who then led Baba to a
suitable place for secluded contact.
At Rawalpindi, Baba contacted two naked masts. One,
Nanga Shah Mastan, had a strange habit of doing all activities
in circles, irrespective of whether he was sitting, standing,
eating or drinking. If given food, he used to squat on the ground
and shuffle around in a circle as he ate. Baba seemed very
pleased with this contact. After the meeting He sat for three
hours in seclusion on a nearby hill. The other naked mast,
named Nanga Khan Mastan Peshawari, was a marathon runner.
Local people offered him food as he trotted past and the mast
ate it as he continued to run. He would run four to five miles at
a stretch. He was born a mast. An important contact at
Rawalpindi was Unti Mai, a mastani, of Company Bagh. She
beckoned Baba to sit near her on a pile of bricks and offered
Him a piece of dry, moldy bread. God knows how stale it was!
Baba, however, accepted the piece lovingly and ate it, too.
Nanga Baba of Jasgiran
In September 1943 Meher Baba proceeded to Kashmir, where
He visited a number of masts. Many of these were contacted
again in 1944, so I wish to present that account later. During the
stay in Kashmir, Baba visited Jasgiran, situated in the hilly part
to the northwest of Srinagar. It stands on the left bank of the
Indus. Here Baba contacted a unique mast named Nanga Baba.
It was learned that he had been sitting on a hilltop for years in a
cross-legged position, unmindful of the seasons or the snowfall.
The most incredible thing about Nanga Baba was his daily diet.
He ate dry bread along with a paste of stone and wood!

TIDINGS OF JOY ABOUT THE GOD-MAN

37

This, in fact, is beyond belief. But Meher Baba and the mandali
were present when this "dish" was prepared for him by his
attendants. Meher Baba was there for about three hours, but He
could not contact this mast privately as he was surrounded by
people all the time. The mast, however, pointed at Meher Baba
and casually remarked, "He is my elder Brother. He adjusts and
protects the whole world."
The journey to Jasgiran had been made through hills on a
stony track with unbridged streams, and Baba and the party
used ponies, but while returning they traveled on foot as far as
Harpalpur. It was indeed a very hazardous journey. Meher Baba
alone knew what sort of spiritual work He achieved through
such mast contacts while undergoing so many hardships. Once
Baba stated that it was mutual help in the spiritual work.
People Fed at Calcutta and Lucknow
From Kashmir, Baba went to Calcutta. In those days Bengal
was hit with a terrible famine. Many people died of hunger. As
a token of love for humanity Baba arranged a feast for about a
thousand middle-class people at 44, Landsdowne Road. At the
same time, distribution of 10,000 chapatis (thin wheat bread)
was organized around the streets. He also donated a substantial
sum for the purchase of two thousand vests for children. On the
way back to Lahore, Baba halted for a few days at Lucknow.
There, again, a good meal was served to 300 poor and infirm
people at Varma Memorial Hall Library. Baba Himself
participated in serving the food and gave each person a rupee as
a present. Meher Baba once explained that when a Perfect
Master gives charity to poor or needy people, the recipients
serve as a medium for the spiritual benefit that accrues to the
world, including the recipients themselves. The work of feeding
the poor appeared

38

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

to be the conclusion of Baba's work with the masts for that


particular year.
By the fourth week of October Meher Baba had reached
Lahore via Kapurthala. Upon His return He dictated a special
circular on October 25, 1943. In this He intimated to His
followers that the trip to Iran would be in March 1944, and the
one-month meeting of His followers which was to be held in
January would instead be from May 15 through June 15, 1944.
By the end of November, Baba had returned to Meherabad and
stayed there until the end of the year. Thus, with a memorable
meeting in May 1943 at Meherabad and a host of striking mast
contacts, mainly in the Punjab and Kashmir, the year 1943 came
to a close.
As for me, I had to wait for about a year for the blessed
moment of my personal contact with Meher Baba. In that
waiting there was a delightful inner ache and exhilarating
impatience, too!

2
Meher Baba's Headquarters
at Aurangabad, 1944
A Memorable Year in My Life
1944 the blessed year! It was in this year that I had the great
good fortune to meet Meher Baba, the Perfect Master, in person.
For me, a major part of this year was a period of reading and
rereading articles by and about Him. The Discourses by Meher
Baba, Vols. 1 to 4, were the books I loved most. These were my
"readers" too, for my reading of English commenced with these
books. Copies of the Meher Baba Journal provided a regular
feast I was much impressed by the series of articles, "Meher
Baba and My Spiritual Path," written by Countess Nadine
Tolstoy. I felt there was a ring of truth in what she wrote; it
struck a chord within my heart. Sometimes the words of the
lovers of God are equally appealing and helpful. I also liked the
articles, "Come and See," by Kitty Davy. The "Diary Notes" by
Baba's dear secretary Chanji (F. H. Dadachanji) revealed to me
the beauty of some facets of Baba's personality so profound
and so powerful His work with the masts was an entirely
new thing to me. This phase of His work remains unparalleled
even to this date.
I was a regular reader of all the eighteen cantos of the
Bhagavad Gita. I read somewhere that if one reads the entire
Gita continuously for six months, one is entitled to

39

40

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

have Divine Knowledge. It was well-intentioned bait. I haven't


had a glimpse of that Knowledge, even now, but I am sure that
this reading helped me to meet Knowledge personified, Meher
Baba.
I also felt inclined to read the literature of Theosophy and
was influenced by the articles and books of Annie Besant. The
talks of J. Krishnamurti made a deep impression upon me
because of the clarity and profundity of his understanding.
Sayings, and particularly the gospel of Shri Ramakrishna
Paramhansa, stole my heart. Dnyaneshwar, Tukaram and
Ramdas, the great Perfect Masters of Maharashtra, sustained my
enthusiasm and search. With the limited scope of my
understanding and reading, I humbly wish to state that the
intricate topics of sanskaras, reincarnation, Maya, ego, etc.,
were not as systematically explained, step-by-step, by others as
by Meher Baba. All this serious reading was not mere
disporting on the superficial level but a dive within myself to
find out the significance of life. A mere triumph of intellect may
lead to tragedy of heart, I feared.
In those days I used to write what I felt to Baba. In a reply
to one letter, Adi Sr. wrote, "Received your loving poem. He
(Baba) is very happy and says that He is with you all the time.
He tells you not to worry about anything. He sends His love and
blessings." My career as a schoolteacher also commenced this
year. The headmaster of the local school sent for me and
requested that I work as a teacher as far as my health would
permit. This was a Baba-sent blessing, a gift of His invisible
grace. In short, all the roads were leading me home, to Meher
Baba.
Circular Issued from Aurangabad
As 1944 began, Meher Baba's headquarters were at Meherabad.
For the first two months He did not seek any mast contacts, but
in March the work with the masts commenced

HEADQUARTERS AT AURANGABAD

41

and by the end of November He had traveled about five


thousand miles, contacting over a hundred masts. During this
year He contacted about three thousand poor people and gave
prasad to each of them.
On February 5, 1944 Meher Baba moved to Aurangabad,
where He stayed with a large group until April 10. In March a
circular was issued from Prem Basera Ghati, Aurangabad. It
contained the following information:
1. The visit to Iran: The passport difficulties not being yet
removed, the Iran visit problem has still remained
unsolved.
2. Rationing: Owing to the recent rationing regulations, the
coming together of 200 signatories has become very
difficult.
At the end of the circular Meher Baba stated:
All the difficulties mentioned above are real in the gross
sense and from the worldly practical point of view and are, as
such, facts without flaw. And yet I, being what I am, who
knows everything and knew all, could have arranged everything
as I wanted. This, therefore, leads to the natural conclusion and
conveys the only meaning that I, myself, created these
difficulties and situations for a further postponement, which has
a precise purpose and definite and predestined reasons behind it
which the fortunate ones alone will know.
A Majzoob-like Primary Teacher
From Aurangabad, Meher Baba visited nearby towns like Bhir,
Parbhani, Paithan and a few other places to contact masts.
Along with this work, Baba also continued to contact incognito
the poor of the land by way of helping them with their primary
needs. In the middle of March, at Paithan, He distributed food,
grain and cloth to 3,000 people. He gave

42

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

three seers of jowar and two yards of cloth to each person. Two
days earlier He gave some monetary help to about a hundred
and one wandering sadhus.
At Paithan, Baba came across a man named Maulvi Abdul
Wahab Mudaris. He was employed in one of the Urdu schools
as a teacher. He was regarded as a holy man, and daily the
school authorities would send someone to request him to come
and at least sign the muster roll. Sometimes his state was like
that of a majzoob. He was taken to Aurangabad, but as they
reached there he requested the mandali to permit him to get
down in the bazaar area, and from there he slipped off to
another village. Baidul had to search for him and bring him to
Baba for His contact. It was noticed that some masts in the
beginning showed willingness to come for Baba's contact, but
on one pretext or another they tried to escape and avoid meeting
Him.
At Bhir, Meher Baba contacted a mast named Chandu Mian
Baba. Baba remarked that he was one of the eighth type of
masts. Baba has classified the masts in eight categories, and the
eighth type represents the ones who are half mad and half mast.
Three-quarters of the masts are in this category. Another contact
at Bhir was Shanta Bai, a good mastani. She kept some dogs
always about her, and, as was common with other masts, she
fed these dogs before she ate. Shanta Bai would usually give
away the costly presents she received. Precious stones for the
masts are as good as pebbles.
Gorab Shah, Shivanand and Vasudeo Swami
By April 10, 1944, Baba had gone to Pimpalgaon, where He
stayed until July 7. Pimpalgaon ashram was later named
Meherazad. Here, Ali Shah from Ahmednagar was brought for
Baba's sahavas for a short period. Soon Baba left Ahmednagar
to visit Jhansi, Gwalior, Khandwa and other places to continue
His work with the masts. At Khandwa, Baba contacted Gorab
Shah, a very good and very old mast.

HEADQUARTERS AT AURANGABAD

43

Normally he did not accept anything from anyone, but as an


exception he willingly accepted the sweetmeat brought by
Baidul, who was sent by Baba. At Borgaon, Baba contacted
Shivanand Brahmachari Swami, an adept pilgrim. To reach this
place He traveled at night in a bullock cart. Shivanand seemed
to recognize Baba as a Perfect Master, and so Baba left the
place quickly without taking any food that was offered to Him.
Generally Baba accepted with pleasure whatever was given by
the masts, but here He did not. Why? When Baba was
recognized as Meher Baba, He left the place at once without
accepting anything, and sometimes even without contacting that
particular mast. Baba once remarked that in such cases His
work would have been made more difficult.
On the way back to Pimpalgaon, forty poor people were
collected in a dak bungalow at Barwaha. Baba washed their feet
and gave some money to each as prasad. A fortnight later at
Narayangaon, Poona District, He contacted twenty four heads
of middle-class families and gave fifty rupees to each person. A
mast from Dhulia (Abdul Khaliq Mastan) who was brought to
Pimpalgaon had a maggoty wound. When the maggots dropped
out, the mast would put them back on the wound. So
unconcerned are the masts about their gross bodies!
During this stay at Pimpalgaon in May 1944, Baba
personally visited Ale to contact Vasudev Swami. Later this
mast was brought to Pimpalgaon. Spiritual practices had caused
the Swami to become God-mad. He wore a saffron colored
garment, and his bedding was scrupulously clean. His
peculiarity was that he never lay down on his back. For sleep,
he would bend his back and drop his head on a pillow. An
uncommon thing about him was his fondness for toys. A
peculiar mast indeed, with a peculiar trait.
A Stay at Raipur
In the second week of June, Baba visited Meherabad to attend a
small group meeting of the mandali to get further

44

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

information about the passports for Iran and the one month
meeting. Tentative decisions were communicated to the
signatories concerned through a special circular.
On the way to Kashmir in the first week of July, Baba
stopped for some days at Raipur. One of His very dear disciples,
Jal Kerawala, was working there as the Food Commissioner.
Baba especially visited this place at his request and in
connection with the probability of inviting the signatories for
the one-month meeting. There was a small darshan program for
which some Baba lovers from outstations had also come,
including Babadas and Vibhuti. These two moved from place to
place to spread Meher Baba's name among the people, but they
found fault with each other about the method of approaching the
masses. Baba said to them, "You both love me. You distribute
the pamphlets of my messages among the people with love. I
wonder how you dare to quarrel with each other! Do what you
feel like doing honestly, but why criticize each other to the
extent of quarreling! Honesty begets humility that refuses to
criticize others. It ungrudgingly works its own way, leaving the
results to my divine will." With these words of advice Baba
made them forget their differences of opinion, and they
embraced each other lovingly in Baba's presence. It was a
happy ending.
Baba stayed at Raipur from July 9 to August 9, 1944. From
here He visited Amravati, Ellichpur, Basim, Badnera,
Dhamangaon, Tatanagar and a few other places to contact
masts. One day He especially visited Dhamangaon to contact
Mungsaji Maharaj. The monsoon was in full swing and Baba
had to wade through the muddy fields for three miles. While
returning, the party had to travel more than fifteen miles in a
bullock cart. Such experiences had to be undergone to realize
what hardships were encountered on such trips. Baba never
showed any concern about the physical discomforts of mast
tours, rather the mandali would find

HEADQUARTERS AT AURANGABAD

45

Him especially cheerful if the contact with the mast was made
to His satisfaction. Baba was happy to have contacted Mungsaji
Maharaj, who later remarked, "Baba is the Emperor."
At Badnera there was a mast named Badri Baba. He would
stand in one place, in one position, even for a day or two at a
stretch. Sometimes he was seen lying in an open place for hours
on end. Baba gave him six cups of milk, which he happily
drank. At Ellichpur, Baba met a mast who used to sit near a
mosque. People kissed his hand as they entered for the prayers,
and every time, this mast would mutter, "There is no one in the
mosque to respond to the prayers!" At Tatanagar, Baba contacted Chuni Shah Baba, who used to consume two ounces of
tobacco every day without expectorating it. In the same town a
good mastani Budhi Mastani lived in a hut, and she chewed pan
(betel leaves) all the time, day and night. She offered pan even
to Baba, who lovingly accepted it.
The Five Great Masts of Kashmir
From Raipur Baba went to Delhi, where He contacted the
spiritual chargeman of that city. This wayfarer used to cover his
face with a veil (neqab) and so he was called Neqabi Hafizji. He
wore clean clothes, which was rather uncommon with the masts.
Baba contacted him early in the morning. Sometimes the masts
were contacted by Him even at midnight to avoid public
disturbance. From Delhi Baba proceeded with a small group of
disciples to Srinagar. He stayed near Shalimar village from
August 11 to September 26, 1944. It was during this visit that
Baba contacted the five great masts of Kashmir.
The first was Nab Saheb of Chhundangam. At the time of
contact the mast put Baba's hat on his head and placed his dirty
cap on Baba's. If a mast was found to be in a good

46

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

mood Baba would happily allow such things. The second was
very powerful, Pandit Kashkak of Mangom. The face of this
jalali mast reminded Baba of Sadguru Upasni Maharaj. The
third was Rahim Saheb of Tulamul. He presented to Baba a
lump of brick. What a present! He was quite an old person. The
fourth mast was Asat Saheb of Wanagam. At the time of contact
he asked Baba to scratch his back. Baba did so, and this made
them both happy.
Before coming to the fifth great mast of Kashmir, I feel it
necessary to give some information about the types of masts
classified by Meher Baba. Here are the first five types: The first
is jalali, hot-tempered or fiery. The second is jamali, mildtempered. The third is mahabubi he wears articles of feminine attire. The fourth is ittefaqi; he becomes intoxicated with
love for God accidentally. The fifth is madar-zad, born a mast.
There is a sixth type of mast which has a fixed number in
each cycle. Baba once remarked, "In this present cycle there are
five masts of this very, very rare type three in India, one in
Egypt and one in Arabia." These are regarded as the highest of
all the eight types of masts. Nur Shah of Chindlur belonged to
this sixth type. He was also the fifth great mast of Kashmir. At
the time of contact Nur Shah gave Baba a cucumber, which He
later ate. It must have had a very, very rare taste, of the sixth
type! Through such visible give-and-take with the masts,
perhaps an invisible exchange of handing over and taking over
spiritual responsibilities was being registered. Only Baba knew.
In the vicinity of Srinagar, Baba contacted about twenty
masts, including a mastani who had the peculiarity of eating
grass. An advanced pilgrim, after being contacted, wrote a letter
to Baba in which he addressed Him as God in human form.
Two more contacts are worth mentioning. Guruji was an old
person and a mast who had a fancy for sweet oil. He often drank
it, and his clothes were saturated with it. How queer are the
responses to external needs of

HEADQUARTERS AT AURANGABAD

47

those who are on different planes of consciousness! Subhan


Mattu was brought to Baba by Masaji. This mast used to
besmear his face with mud and hina a fine Indian perfume.
In Baba's presence Subhan rolled on the ground with the sheer
joy of seeing Him and, most reverently looking at Baba, cried
out, "He is Allah!
The Passing Away of Chanji
During Baba's stay in Kashmir, one of His most dear disciples,
F. H. Dadachanji, alias Chanji, passed away. He was given the
best of treatment at Srinagar under the loving supervision of Dr.
Daulat Singh, but on August 25, 1944, dear Chanji dropped his
body. He had worked strenuously for Meher Baba and His
cause from the day he joined the mandali in 1925. His diary
notes are treasures giving authentic information about Baba's
activities. The major correspondence with the East and the West
was attended to by Chanji very efficiently and to Baba's
satisfaction. Even in trains, he would be seen typing Baba news
and Baba pearls a very loving and energetic person, with a
rock-like faith in Baba's divinity. I had not had an occasion to
meet him, but somehow I feel a great affinity for him.
Meher Baba dictated a special circular that was issued on
December 15, 1944. The gist of the main points follows:
The death of Framroze Dadachanji, one of my most beloved
and intimate disciples, has resulted in my personally
attending to the details of the work connected with the longdelayed one-month meeting. So I have decided to send Adi
K. Irani by the end of this month to the signatories, to
choose finally any one month between February 15 and May
15, 1945.
The circular also contained information regarding Baba's
visit to Nagpur and Saoner in November 1944. The venue for
the one-month meeting was to be Raipur (Madhya

48

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

Pradesh). Before the end of the year, Baba was to visit


Peshawar to stay for a short while in "no man's land" for His
spiritual work.
Peshawar to Aurangabad
By the end of September, Baba left Kashmir. On the twentieth
He reached Peshawar via Rawalpindi. At Rawalpindi He
contacted a mast named Ghafur Rahman. While Baidul was
searching for another mast, a man recognized him and related
that a mast who was contacted the previous year by Baba had
become majzoob-like. He had closed himself in a hut. Being
incontinent wanting in self-restraint for the calls of nature
he was sitting in filth. Baba had given him a watermelon as
prasad the year before. This might have resulted in this changed
higher state. This time Baba did not feel it necessary to contact
him.
From Peshawar, Baba went for a short stay in "no man's
land." Baidul and Kaka Baria were with him. On His way back
to Aurangabad He spent a few days at Agra and Mathura. At
Agra He contacted five masts. This time He missed a mastani
who had been contacted three and a half years earlier. She was
known as Mastani Mai and was living in an old stable near the
Taj Mahal. When Baba and the mandali had reached that place,
they heard a sound like the roaring of a tiger. Getting near, it
was found that Mastani Mai, with her unusually bright face, was
pacing to and fro, roaring. She greeted Baba with respect. Baba
gestured for Eruch to ask her if she was happy at Baba's visit.
She replied, "Very happy." Baba later remarked that she was
really a high type of mastani. Some God-intoxicated souls have
dropped their bodies soon after Baba's contact. Mastani Mai
was one of them. Perhaps the gross body was not strong enough
to contain the bliss of meeting the Avatar God in human
form. Baba reached Aurangabad by October 8, 1944, to join His
group living in Prem Basera Ghati.

HEADQUARTERS AT AURANGABAD

49

Why the Avatar Gets Bound


After reaching Aurangabad, Baba did not undertake long trips
to contact masts; however, in November He resumed His mast
work by visiting Ajanta. There He contacted one very advanced
mast named Mian Saheb, who was about a hundred years old.
He readily consented to the proposal of meeting Baba for a
contact. Some masts, though overpowered with intoxication in
their love for God, were immensely responsive to Baba's
spiritual work, as was Mian Saheb. Baba and the mast climbed
to a room on an upper floor. Mian Saheb requested Baba to
occupy a seat on a sofa. Then the mast embraced Him most
affectionately.
At the time of a mast contact the mandali accompanying
Baba stood away, or at least outside the room. That day they
heard the mast lovingly weeping aloud. Once he cried out in
Persian (as translated):
Of your own, you were free;
Of your own, you allowed yourself to be bound.
This symbolically refers to the Infinite One getting Himself
bound for the betterment of humanity. At Guruprasad in Poona,
Baba once stated, "In Me I am free, but in you I feel bound. In
the Parabrahma (Beyond) state there is no binding; there is
absolute Freedom, absolute Existence. What a sublime state it
is! From that sublime state I have come to your level. Babajan
often used to remark on my having come down from that
exalted state to get myself bound here, quoting to me the
Persian lines meaning: 'Having gained Freedom, you have come
back as a prisoner (to free others).' 6

Manija S. Irani [Meher Babas sister], Family Letter, October 3, 1963, p. 2.

3
Darshan Program at Nagpur, 1944
On the Way to Meet Meher Baba
THE blessed moment of my seeing Meher Baba was drawing
closer. In October 1944 I heard from Pandoba Deshmukh the
consecrated news of Baba's visit to Nagpur. It was to be from
November 11 to 14, 1944. Pandoba was working in a printing
press at Barsi. His faith and love for Baba were most admirable.
He had lived at Meherabad with the mandali during Baba's
Meher Ashram activities the school and the hospital. He told
me many incidents of that period which nurtured my longing to
meet Baba in person. As per the circular, Pandoba was one of
the members who was to attend Baba's programs at Nagpur.
Permission for me to be present at Nagpur and also at Saoner
for all the programs was secured. Accordingly, on November 10
I left Kurduwadi with Pandoba and Bhagat to catch a mail train
at Manmad, bound for Nagpur.
As we reached Manmad, I learned that Baba had already
arrived there with the mandali. The luggage, including many
bags and bedding rolls, was well piled up in the waiting room.
Gustadji was there to guard it. Pandoba introduced me to him. I
knew that he had been observing silence for over sixteen years.
Gustadji, in ultra-white trousers and shirt, a brown-colored
Parsi-fashioned long coat, a black round cap and, above all, his
simple, silent gestures,

50

DARSHAN PROGRAM AT NAGPUR

51

looked like a child in an old form. I preferred to sit silently by


his side in that waiting room. When he went outside, I tenderly
touched the luggage and, finding no one in the waiting room,
reverently bowed down to it. It was Baba's luggage! Just before
the arrival of our train Baba came and sat on a bench at the far
end of the platform, rather a secluded spot. Pandoba told me
that Adi Sr. was sitting by His side. I didn't dare go near Him
and disturb Him. The train arrived. Kaka Baria had come from
Bombay with seats reserved for Baba and the mandali in inter
class, a class in between third and second. We three got into
another compartment. It was very crowded, but even if I had
secured a special berth, I wondered if I could have slept well
because of the joy of being with Baba on that train!
He Looked Like Beauty Personified
The next morning we reached Nagpur. His lovers had gathered
at the station to receive Baba. Deshmukh was the chief host.
Baba was profusely garlanded. He stood for a minute or two at
the door of the compartment. He looked very fresh and radiant.
With His broad, luminous forehead, sharp and pointed nose,
lustrous eyes, moderately flowing hair, and fair skin that failed
to contain His beauty, He looked like beauty personified. The
rose petals from the garlands round His neck were vainly
competing with His complexion. I was lost to myself. In that
madness I felt He looked at me a thin, slim, insignificant
creature in that big crowd and smiled. Amid loud cheers of
"Shri Meher Baba ki jai!" He stepped onto the platform and left
the station.
When I came to my senses, I found that the wallet in my
pocket was gone. I had been prey to a pickpocket! It contained
three railway tickets from Kurduwadi to Nagpur and some
money, too. Someone said, "It's good to lose something

52

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

when you meet a Master!" I was not normal enough to catch the
joke! Our bags and bedding were already placed with the
mandali's luggage, so we passed through the gate of the
platform just as visitors would do, along with the crowd. As I
stood outside the gate I felt a pat on my shoulder. There was a
ticket collector standing by my side. I thought he was there to
ask me for the missing tickets, but instead he said, "Do you not
recognize me?" He was my school friend, whom I thus met
again after a period of about eight years. The moment of fear
turned into minutes of happy reminiscences of school life.
God and Religion
Meher Baba and the mandali were accommodated in K. K.
Thakur's bungalow at Dhantoli, near Deshmukh's residence.
Some of us were asked to stay on the second floor of a nearby
building. I have a weak heart and doctors have advised me to
avoid going up and down stairs, but in my enthusiasm and joy I
forgot all about it. For meals we all had to go to Dr.
Deshmukh's place.
In the evening there was a big public program. It had been
arranged to be given on the premises of Gorakshan Compound,
where Sant Tukdoji Maharaj sang beautiful bhajans which he
had composed. Baba gave a message, "God and Religion." It
was read out by Justice Sir M. B. Niyogi. During Baba's
programs at Nagpur and Saoner He gave eight illuminating
messages. I wish to give just a part from each here and request
my readers to see the original messages in the book, Messages
of Meher Baba, compiled by Adi K. Irani. Baba's first message
said in part:
Dogmas and beliefs, rituals and ceremonies can never be the
essence of true spiritual life. When religion has become
merely a matter of external rituals and

DARSHAN PROGRAM AT NAGPUR

53

ceremonies, it has become a cage for the soul. Nor does it help
very far to change one religion to another; it is like going from
one cage to another. If religion does not help man to emancipate
the soul from spiritual bondage and realize God, it has no useful
purpose to serve. Then it is time that religion should go to make
room for God. 7
God as the Only Reality
The next morning, November 12, I visited Thakur's bungalow.
A bhajan program was going on. It was my first occasion to see
God in human form seated before His devotees, who sang
devotional songs in His praise. All the time, irrespective of the
language and the contents of the bhajans, my eyes were set on
Baba's figure. I was trying to store the form of the formless One
in my heart. In the afternoon Baba visited Ramakrishna
Ashram. Swami Bhaskararanand received Baba. He had first
met Baba in December 1937 at Papa Jessawala's place. He used
to talk with Eruch about spiritual life, and Eruch would tell him
about the life of Meher Baba. The Swami was not convinced of
the divinity of Baba and expressed a wish to get some points
clarified by Baba Himself. But when he had had the opportunity
to see Baba in person, he remarked to Eruch, "I have no more
questions to ask Him, although I came prepared with a long
questionnaire." It was quite natural that he felt honored to
welcome Baba to Ramakrishna Ashram. We moved through the
ashramthe premises were very neat and clean. The
atmosphere seemed to invite the hearts of the lovers of God to
offer their services at the feet of the Lord. Baba looked
especially pleased to visit this place. His message, "God as the
Only Reality," was read

Meher Baba, Messages of Meher Baba (Ahmednagar, M. S., India: Adi K. Irani,
1945), p. 65.

54

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

to the gathering by Justice W. R. Puranik, Vice-Chancellor of


Nagpur University. In this message Baba said:
God-realization is sometimes mistakenly thought to be a
selfish purpose of the limited individual. There is no room
for any selfishness or limited individuality in God
realization. On the contrary, God-realization is the final aim
of the limited and narrow life of the separate ego ... The life
of the God-realized Master is a pure blessing to all
humanity. 8
The Program at the National College
Then followed a program arranged at the National College. In
the evening people crowded in and outside the Hall of the
College. Many collegians were also present. It was a crowd
provoked by curiosity. A local paper had published an article
warning people to keep away from saints and Sadgurus - also
mention was made of Baba's name. The reporter for this
newspaper seemed to be prejudiced against any religious
attitude. To me that was a discomforting situation, for I failed to
understand that life has its own excuse for being either sane or
insane, on different levels, at one and the same time. I had
longingly waited to have Baba's darshan for about a year and a
half, and here some persons were making the worst of this rare
opportunity, so easily had. Later, I noticed that whenever Baba
went out for darshan programs the aspect of opposition would
have some expression somewhere, as if Baba would not feel
happy enough if all went well and fine. Inside the Hall Dr.
Deshmukh performed a kirtan to honor Baba's divinity, while
outside the Hall some collegians made fun of his devotion,
which showed that they were devoid of humanity. "Youth! Let
not thy name be impudence!" I thought. Unaffected, Dr.
Deshmukh boldly continued the kirtan and

Messages, p. 68

DARSHAN PROGRAM AT NAGPUR

55

openly expressed his faith in Baba as God incarnate. Baba


looked nonchalant and happy, for His presence was all
inclusive. Baba's beautiful message, "God and Love," was read
by Advocate Khare and follows in part:
The spiritual Path is like climbing up to the mountain top
through hills and dales and thorny woods and along steep
and dangerous precipices ... If there is one thing which is
most necessary for safe and sure arrival at the top, it is
Love. All other dualities which are essential for the
aspirants of the Highest, can and must come to them, if they
faithfully follow the whispers of the unerring Guide of Love
... If you lose hold of the mantle of this Guide there is only
despair in store for you ... The gateway to this highest state
of being One with God is firmly closed for all who do not
have the courage to lose their separate existence in the
restless fire of Divine Love. 9
The Two Aspects of Divinity
Late on November 13, R. K. Gadekar arrived with his family. I
personally owe Gadekar and Pandoba Deshmukh much for this
memorable and life-giving contact with Baba. Gadekar brought
the news that my mother, with one of my sisters, had left
Kurduwadi for Baba's darshan and they were at Wardha. They
expected me to go to Wardha and bring them to Nagpur. I was
living with the mandali and attending all the programs. Until
this time I had not had an opportunity to introduce myself to
Baba. I knew, however, that when one was with Baba it was a
rule to seek His permission if one had to attend to some
personal affair, so through Pandoba I wrote a note about the
arrival of my mother and Baba permitted me to go to Wardha.

Messages, pp. 69, 70.

56

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

In the morning there were some house visits, and in the


afternoon there was a meeting of the Shri Meher Baba
Reception Committee at K. K. Thakur's bungalow. Baba looked
pleased when the members of the reception committee were
introduced to Him. They were the elite of the city. The
messages given by Baba at Nagpur provided nourishing food
for the minds and hearts of these people and this drew them
closer to Baba in love. Justice Bhavanishankar Niyogi was the
president of the reception committee. It was during this visit
that the Honorable Justice Hidayatulla, who later became Chief
Justice of the Supreme Court, had an opportunity to meet Baba.
Dr. Abdul Ghani Munsiff, one of the mandali, read aloud
Baba's message which explained the two aspects of Divinity,
from which I quote:
There are always two aspects of Divinity, perpetually and
eternally active in the affairs of the world. The destructive
aspect of Divinity as expressed in Persian [Shama-e-Jalal]
means "Self-glorification," and the constructive aspect of
Divinity is called in Persian "Self-beatitude" [Shama-eJamal]. The aspect of Self glorification by God, when it
gets palpably active, entails suffering and destruction on a
colossal scale ... The aspect of divine Self-beatitude, when it
asserts itself, brings in its wake peace and plenty.
In the aspect of Self-glorification, Divinity repels itself
through its own creation, and in the aspect of Self-beatitude,
Divinity attracts or loves itself through its own creation. The
former is a negative method and the latter is a positive
method, and both these methods ultimately are instruments
of divine Wisdom, to rouse humanity to their divine
heritage, which is Self-realization ... My blessings to all
those who heard my message and those who have not. 10

10

Messages, pp. 71, 72.

DARSHAN PROGRAM AT NAGPUR

57

This was indeed a message of "Cheer and Hope to the


Suffering Humanity," as it was entitled. Because of the
prevalent world situation, this particular message appealed to
me deeply and, in a way, helped me to gain a new perspective to
my understanding of the Divine Sport of God, if it could ever be
understood!
In the afternoon, I came out of Thakur's bungalow rather
unwillingly and was trying for a rickshaw to take me to the
station, for I had to go to Wardha. Just then I was accosted by a
man whom I could not recognize at first. He told me to meet the
train on which my mother would arrive at Nagpur. He was one
of my distant relatives. Had he missed seeing me I would have
gone to Wardha, which would have caused great inconvenience
to me and to my mother. I felt that Baba in His compassion
timed this meeting! My life with Baba has many times
demonstrated a chain of incredible coincidences. Perhaps He
had ordained that I should be benefited by all the programs at
Nagpur, although outwardly He did not give any such
indication.
Visit to the Theosophical Society
On the morning of November 14 there was a visit to a branch of
the Theosophical Society at Nagpur. This Society has indeed
done a great work in inspiring and awakening people to
discover the life which lies beyond the ordinary range of the
mind, and to the Truth within. Baba was warmly welcomed, and
during this short visit the Secretary of the Society read a
message from Baba, "The Dynamism of Love":
True Love is very different from an evanescent outburst of
indulgent emotionalism or the enervating stupor of a
slumbering heart. It can never come to those whose heart is
darkened by selfish cravings or weakened by

58

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


constant reliance upon the lures and stimulations of the
passing objects of the senses. But to those whose hearts are
pure and simple, true Love comes as a gift through the
activising grace of a Master.
... Those who have got the courage and the wisdom to
surrender themselves to a Perfect Master are the recipients
of His grace ... and when it comes, it enkindles in the human
heart a love divine which ... enables the aspirant to become
One with God . . . There is no power greater than Love. 11
In the Convocation Hall

The Baba people with whom I became acquainted at Nagpur


were Pankhraj, Kapse, Lokhande and a few others. Pankhraj
had been caught in the divine net two years earlier and was one
of Baba's active workers. When Baba came to Nagpur He gave
Pankhraj a specific duty. Baba had instructed Vishnu to wire
him every day in care of Dr. Deshmukh regarding the welfare of
the men and women mandali at Aurangabad. Pankhraj was to
collect the telegrams and hand them over to Baba. A simple
thing. For three days it all went well, but on November 14
Pankhraj did not get the expected telegram. In the afternoon
Baba called him and inquired about the wire. Baba looked a bit
annoyed to learn that the telegram had not arrived. Considering
Baba's huge correspondence, this telegram was a small affair;
however, I wish to narrate this episode in detail for it revealed
something of Baba's relationship with His lovers and His keen
interest in every instruction that He gave. Baba said, "Vishnu
won't fail to send the telegram." Pankhraj replied, "Baba, these
are days of war, and top priority is given to military and not
public communications." This was his common sense point.

11

Messages, p. 73.

DARSHAN PROGRAM AT NAGPUR

59

Baba persisted, "Go to the post office. Inquire well and


bring me the telegram. There could be a mistake somewhere."
After a short time Pankhraj set out for the post office, and
Baba proceeded to the Convocation Hall with the mandali. The
program in this hall was one of the grand functions in Nagpur.
Justice W. R. Puranik, Vice-Chancellor of Nagpur University,
had arranged this program. Principals, professors, judges,
lawyers and mostly educated people had gathered to hear Baba's
message and have His darshan. Baba looked very radiant
there was a loveliness and beauty about Him. Some prominent
persons were introduced to Baba, and a few delivered short
speeches in His honor. During this solemn program Baba
spotted Pankhraj standing near the far end by the door. He
looked at him and gestured to ask if the telegram had been
received. Pankhraj shook his head to express no. Later in my
life with Baba I witnessed other such silent communications,
which were carried on with the persons concerned without
disturbing the public programs.
During this darshan program the Honorable Justice Sir
Niyogi read Baba's message, "The Unity of All Life," a part of
which is given below:
In the one undivided and indivisible Ocean of Life you
have, through ignorance, created the pernicious divisions
based upon sex, race, nationality, religion or community;
and you allow these self-created divisions to poison your
heart and pervert your relationships ... Slowly but surely
must you imbibe ... Truth at the feet of the Masters of
Wisdom; slowly but surely must you shed prejudices and
get disentangled from the superficial distinctions, ... slowly
but surely must you tread the Path to the formless and the
nameless One ...
When you enthrone the nameless One in your mind-

60

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


heart you do not necessarily put an end to the game of
duality. You have to play your divine role in the drama of
creation without being caught up in duality ... The unity of
life has to be experienced and expressed in the very midst of
its diverse experiences ... All life is One and all divisions are
imaginary. Be ye established in this eternal Truth which I
bring. 12
A Wonderful Way of Replying to a Letter

The program in Convocation Hall was one of the best. The next
day Baba was to visit Saoner. Special cars and buses were
reserved to take the mandali there. After supper Baba called
Pankhraj and said, "Tomorrow I am visiting Saoner. You should
not join the mandali in the morning but come by a later bus
after today's telegram is received."
Then Pankhraj was again called at about 9:00 P.M. for the
same inquiry. In exasperation he answered, "No telegram. I
have made the necessary inquiries. What else can I do in this
matter? I can't help."
At this Baba asked Adi Sr., who was standing by His side,
"Had Chanji been alive to attend to the correspondence, what
would have been his reply?"
Adi promptly replied: "Definitely not like that of Pankhraj.
He would have humbly said, 'I will try once more, Baba.'"
This served as a reply to the letter Pankhraj had addressed to
Baba two months earlier. He had expressed his desire to work in
place of Chanji, who had dropped his body in August 1944.
Baba called Pankhraj near Him and twisted his ear and
remarked, "Do you now know how competent you are for
Chanji's work?"
Pankhraj felt very sorry about his reply but was happy, too,
with that "pleasing punishment" which, in fact, was an

12

Messages, pp. 74, 75.

DARSHAN PROGRAM AT NAGPUR

61

expression of divine intimacy. Was this not a wonderful way of


replying to the letter?
At about midnight Kaka Baria woke Pankhraj up, for he was
being called by Baba. Pankhraj hesitatingly went into Baba's
room but felt at home on finding Baba in a very happy mood.
Baba conveyed through the alphabet board: "Someone handed
over the telegram to Kaka on his way to the bathroom. He
placed it in a drawer of a mirror-stand and then completely
forgot about it. A little while ago when Kaka went there again,
he chanced to open the drawer and found the telegram. Go.
Have a good rest. Do join the mandali going to Saoner without
fail."
In a minute Pankhraj came out of Baba's room wondering
about His ways so exacting, so loving!
Visit to Saoner
It was a pleasant winter morning. A goodly number of cheerful
faces from Nagpur had gathered near Baba's residence. Many
were to follow the One whom they desired to follow for their
whole lives. Fairly early the buses sped for Saoner. On the way
we stopped at Angewada. It was two miles off the main road,
beyond a river bed, so some had to get into bullock carts. The
cow dung-plastered huts looked tidy. Here the simple-hearted
villagers welcomed Baba in an unpretentious way. By the side
of the river there was a small Baba Center. It was named "Baba
Ashram" by Vibhutidas, one of Baba's men. Baba blessed the
gathering and they were all happy. After arti and prasad this
program was over.
Saoner, twenty-three miles from Nagpur, was reached by
10:00A.M. and Baba was warmly received by the crowds, Baba
lovers from villages had specially come in their bullock carts
for Baba's darshan. The crowds were pressing, and so Baba had
to come out of His room often to give

62

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

darshan. Chounde Maharaj, famous for his work of


gorakshan 13 came especially to see Baba and asked for His
blessings. Baba replied: "I am the Power House. The Power
House will never fail provided one is careful about the
connecting wires."
D. H. Pophali, one of Baba's stalwarts and one of His very
dear ones, was the chief host. He is a lawyer there. Even now
the whole family wife, children and grandchildren forms
a devout group with singular devotion to Avatar Meher Baba.
We had our lunch at Pophali's residence. I still remember that
long plantain leaf, which was not a large enough plate for even
the first helping of the delicacies so lovingly prepared. The
whole family treated Baba's visit as a period of greatest
jubilation and good fortune.
Here I am reminded of a small incident related to me by
Shriram, one of the sons of Pophali. Baba had once remarked
that next to masts, He loved children. In the company of
children Baba looked extraordinarily happy. He used to make
jokes and amuse them with playful tricks. Shriram had the good
fortune to be in Baba's company when he was a child. Here is a
trick or game that Baba played with him. Baba held the five
fingers of His right hand in the grip of His left and asked the
boy to find the middle finger, which he invariably missed. Baba
remarked to those near Him, "You seek the true; you come upon
the false. Beware!" Shriram, himself now the father of a few
children, still remembers these words and treats the remark as a
beacon ever guiding his life.
"Unquenching Fire" and "Divine Heritage"
After a little rest Baba paid a visit to Meher Adhyatama Ashram
at Saoner. This was a private program and, as such,

13

Welfare of the cows.

DARSHAN PROGRAM AT NAGPUR

63

Baba lovers of the place had an opportunity to come closer to


their beloved Master. It was a Baba-family gathering. Harkare,
a lawyer in Saoner, delivered a short speech about the activities
carried on at the Center. As he performed Baba's arti tears
rolled down his cheeks. Baba's message, "The Unquenching
Fire of Spiritual Longing," was read out to His devotees:
... The life of desires is always and necessarily constrained
to an unending oscillation between the opposites of joy and
suffering, gratification and disappointment, good and evil ...
But even in the very midst of the tumultuous pains and
pleasures of the ego life, there dawns, in the ripeness of
experience, and through the Grace of the Master, the clear
perception of the utter futility of desires, which seek
fulfillment through the false and the transient forms of life
... This is the beginning of the life of spiritual longing,
accompanied by constant discrimination between the true
and the false ... When the spiritual longing is thus
awakened, it can never be entirely set at rest or evaded. It
becomes an unquenching fire that burns the very roots of
limiting desires ... Thus shall the Pilgrim arrive at his Abode
of Peace through keen spiritual longing. 14
The public program was arranged in a specially erected
pandal in the Municipal School Compound. Thousands
gathered to hear Baba's message. Chounde Maharaj performed a
kirtan. He said:
"In Meher Baba we find the sangan - confluence of all the
world religions."
With deep reverence he prostrated himself before Baba and
implored Him to awaken the heart of humanity. Jal

14

Messages, pp. 76-77.

64

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

Kerawala, Divisional Commissioner, read a message of Meher


Baba's entitled, "The Divine Heritage of Man":
... Man is constantly feeling thwarted and limited; and he is
ever in the clutches of unrelieved agony or suffering,
because, not knowing his own true nature, he identifies
himself with the body or the desires or the limited individual
mind, and thereby becomes a victim to their respective
limitations and sufferings. It is only by knowing himself to
be different from and beyond all these that he can fully enter
the Divine Heritage of the Abiding Happiness ...
The Master does not give to the aspirant something which is
not already within the aspirant in a latent form; he only
unveils the real Self of the aspirant himself and enables him
to come into his own Divine heritage which is rightfully
his. 15
We had our evening meal at the house of another Baba
devotee, Jai Narayan, and left Saoner by 7:00 P.M., reaching
Nagpur by nine o'clock. Some admirers of Baba from Nagpur,
mostly Muslims, had arranged a qavvali program in Thakur's
bungalow, without the consent of the host. But Baba
condescended to be present at the program, which continued
until midnight.
Visit to the Buddha Society
In the morning on November 16, 1944 Baba made two visits,
first to the residence of Justice M. B. Niyogi and the second to
the bungalow of Justice W. R. Puranik. This was the last day of
our stay in Nagpur. Later the same morning Baba attended a
small gathering in the Buddha Society

15

Messages, pp. 78-79.

DARSHAN PROGRAM AT NAGPUR

65

where His secretary, Adi K. Irani, read out the following


message, "The Hidden Treasure of the Self":
There is not a creature but is destined for the Supreme
Goal, even as there is not a river but is on its winding way
to the ocean; but, in the human form alone is consciousness
so developed that it is capable of reflecting and expressing
the glory and perfection of its own true and highest Self,
which is, at the same time, the Self of all ...
One by one, the multicolored attachments to the false have
to be relinquished; and one by one, the sanskaric faggots
that feed the deceptive fires of the separative ego have to be
surrendered in favor of the imperative claims of the
invincible flame of the Truth ... The clouds of sanskaras
have to disappear completely before the sky of
consciousness is illumined by the inextinguishable Light of
God, who is the real Self of all. My mission is to help you to
inherit this hidden treasure of the Self; and all who earnestly
seek it have my blessings. 16
It was the last program during Baba's stay in Nagpur and, as
such, the above was His parting message to His dear ones in
Nagpur.
The Embrace that Covered My Whole Being
Baba and the mandali were to leave Nagpur that same evening.
While we were busy packing, someone came to me and said,
"May I know the railway station where you want to get off to
reach your home?"
"Why, what's the matter?" I inquired. The man told me that
he was in charge of purchasing

16

Messages, p. 80.

66

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

tickets for Baba and those going with Him. He also told me that
a third-class bogie had been reserved for the party traveling
with Baba from Nagpur to Manmad a journey of about
twelve hours. It was a surprise to me. I was to be allowed to
travel with Baba, and in His compartment, too! Hard to believe!
The mandali accompanying Baba were so busy with the
program that I did not find any opportunity to get acquainted
with them. During Baba's programs in Nagpur I moved with
Him but did not approach Him to touch His person, not even to
offer a garland or some fruit. I would mostly sit close by on the
ground or stand in a corner watching, observing His inimitable,
loving movements and the expressions on His divine face in
response to the yearnings of the devout hearts of His devotees. I
had had no personal interview with Baba. But without His
consent, traveling with Him in the same compartment was not
permitted, that much I knew. Then how had this come about?
These were the showers of His grace! What else can be said?
After lunch and rest, I placed my bag and baggage with the
mandali's luggage and felt impelled to purchase a garland and
some fruit to offer Baba. Without telling anyone I left for the
market on foot, not knowing where it was and Nagpur is an
extensive city. I purchased a fine rose garland, some oranges, a
coconut and a lotus. By the time I returned to Thakur's
bungalow I found that the luggage lorry and the mandali's bus
had left. I went straight upstairs to Baba's room. Fortunately,
there He was, resting in a chair, Adi Sr. by His side. Baba very
lovingly looked at me with those deep, luminous eyes and
smiled. He accepted the garland, the oranges and the coconut.
He held the lotus in His fingers and twirled it. He looked very
pleased. He motioned me to embrace Him and then stood up to
leave for the station. I wondered whether He was told that I was

DARSHAN PROGRAM AT NAGPUR

67

missing and hence He waited for me! I did not tell Him
anything nor did He ask me anything, but in that one embrace
He covered my whole being. He told Adi Sr. to tell one of the
Baba workers to take me to the station in a tonga.
On the Train with Baba
Baba lovers from Nagpur had gathered at the station for the
farewell. Some looked deeply affected; a few were sobbing.
Deshmukh, Justice Niyogi, Miss Dinesh Nandini and many
more had come to the station. As the train pulled out we could
see the waving and heard many throats ringing in one voice,
"Shri Meher Baba ki jai! "
In the compartment Baba later distributed fruit to all with
His own hands. He asked some of us to entertain Him with
jokes, and a few sang some songs. I was quietly enjoying this
Baba-family atmosphere. All of a sudden I had a passing
thought, "Why not sing a song to Baba? "
At that very moment Baba pointed at me and gestured:
"Sing one. How did I know what you were thinking about?"
I sang. God knows how it appealed to those present. Baba,
however, made a sign that it was good! To Baba even the
"worst" is but a degree of "good."
Later on in my life with Baba there were other occasions
when He did disclose to me exactly what I was thinking about.
But that was the first incident which enabled me to understand
that He knows.
After some time Baba stretched out on the bedding and
covered Himself from head to foot with a white sheet. During
this period everyone kept quiet. "Is He sleeping or is He
working?" I mused.
We reached Manmad by early morning. Some of us had to
catch the train for Ahmednagar. Baba got off with the mandali
and, after a round of loving farewells, left for Aurangabad. My
first sahavas week with Baba was over.

68

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

From the first day I saw Him at Manmad, He had silently spread
the feast of His love each day until we parted, again at Manmad.
The beginning and the end were at the same place, but what a
difference! The silent, symbolic significance of this occurrence
is still beyond me, but the perfume and the taste of this divine
feast continue to linger in my little heart, even to this day. I felt
deeply satisfied, but there was still a craving for more and more
of Baba's sahavas this caused a pleasant disturbance. The
spring of life that had dried up now began to bubble forth.

4
My First Visit to Meherabad, 1944

On the Way to Meherabad


MEHER Baba's stay at Aurangabad ended on November
27,1944 and He shifted His headquarters to Pimpalgaon
(Meherazad), where He mainly stayed till the end of the year.
On December 1 a circular was issued giving the following information:
(1) The darshan program at Allahabad will be in April

1945.
(2) Six hundred signatories will stay with Baba at
Ahmednagar for one full month in May 1945.
(3) Baba will distribute food-grain worth 10,000 rupees
among the poor people in May 1945.
I personally did not receive the above circular, nor did I
know of the change in Baba's residence from Aurangabad to
Pimpalgaon. I was so absorbed in that blissful week at Nagpur
that I did not even care to write to Adi K. Irani for information
about Baba's whereabouts.
Once after my return from Nagpur I visited Barsi. There I
met V. J. Kher, one of Baba's admirers, and told him all about
that wonderful week spent in the company of Baba. Kher had
met Baba a year before during His visit to Barsi. Being very
intelligent and also a student of philosophy, he went to meet
Baba with a number of questions boiling in

69

70

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

his mind. In Baba's presence, however, he realized the futility of


those questions and felt that Baba's silence pointed at something
beyond the intellect, beyond the mind. He was intent on seeing
Baba again but could not manage to come to Nagpur.
On December 24, the school closed for ten days for
Christmas vacation. Kher came to Kurduwadi. We planned to
visit Meherabad to inquire about the possibility of having
Baba's darshan and the place where we could have it. We were
not pressing a wrong key to give out a wrong note, for we were
not demanding darshan.
Within a few hours we left Kurduwadi and by 8:30 P.M. we
reached Ahmednagar by train. It was getting fairly dark and
Meherabad was about five miles away. The tonga demanded
high fares. We had a tentative thought to stay in the city for the
night and proceed to Meherabad the next morning. Kher told me
that a few months back he had been to Ahmednagar, but instead
of going to Meherabad he stayed in the city for the night. The
next morning by the time he reached Meherabad he found that
Baba had just left the ashram, so we did not wish to commit
that mistake again. We thought of going on foot to Meherabad,
staying there for the night on the veranda without disturbing
anyone, and then inquiring about receiving Baba's darshan the
next morning. We started. First things first, comforts afterwards, was our conclusion.
The Unexpected Happens
I was not strong enough to walk briskly all the way as the
distance to be covered on foot was more than five miles. It was
rather a problem for me, but my dear and robust companion
offered to carry my bag along with his. Thus, with a slow and
steady pace, we were off on our journey to Meherabad. There
were no lights on the road the stars

MY FIRST VISIT TO MEHERABAD

71

lit the way, and love lit our hearts. Time passed swiftly, for the
more we talked about Baba the more "turned on" to Him we
became. Eventually we noticed some electric lights. Kher said:
"Meherabad is a small, primitive place by the side of a
village named Arangaon, and perhaps the ashram is beyond
these electrified buildings."
But as we neared the lights, to his great surprise he found
that this was Meherabad. What a change!
It was about 10:00 P.M. Many people were seen resting on
the veranda and in the rooms. A few were awake but we were
strangers to them. We knew practically no one. "What's this all
about? What should we do now?" I thought.
Just then we met Dr. Ghani and the whole situation
changed. He introduced us to Pendu, the manager of
Meherabad, and in no time he made us feel at home by seeing to
our necessary comforts, including supper and a gadi (mattress).
The whole atmosphere was glowing with the warmth of Baba's
love. I felt as if I was in a wonderland.
Dr. Ghani told us that on December 24, the very day we
arrived, Nariman Dadachanji and Arnavaz were married in
Baba's presence, and the next day was to be the birthday
celebration of one of the women mandali living with Meher
Baba; hence there was the big pandal, the feast and the
electrification. We were told that we would be seeing Baba the
next morning. What else could have made us more happy! Baba
had already been in Meherabad for a few days. We had come
uninvited, and we felt a bit puzzled. We were prepared to leave
Meherabad just after darshan. The next morning people got up
early it was Christmas morning, too. With our tea we had
rava (a sweet dish). If I remember correctly Eruch served the
rava, and he still continues to serve the "Baba-sweets."
Baba came down from the hill early and went to His cabin

72

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

in lower Meherabad. The morning rays of the sun were bathing


the land with tender radiance, and there in the cabin the real Sun
whose light is the light of the Self was silently radiating His
love, ready to attend the programs of the day. Soon we were
summoned into His cabin. Baba looked all love. Without any
inquiry He allowed us to stay at Meherabad for two or three
days, as long as was conveniently possible.
"Have a free mind and be at home," Baba gestured. For us,
it was more than being in heaven. The unexpected had
happened.
A Qavvali Program on the Hill
December 25, 1944 was a festive day. Baba lovers from
Ahmednagar, Poona and Bombay had assembled at Meherabad.
With a carefree mind and a loving heart, I enjoyed the day while
conversing with new acquaintances about the glory of the
Glorious One. A special qavval was invited for this birthday
program. I do not remember whether his name was Peshawari
or he came from Peshawar (now in Pakistan). His program was
presented on the Hill, Upper Meherabad, so that the women folk
might hear it, also. The women were seated behind a curtain. In
those days the women mandali were not allowed to visit the
men's quarters, nor the men theirs.
It was my first hearing of a qavvali. The place, the
atmosphere and the mode of singing everything was new.
But within a few minutes I was won over by the sweet music
and the words, still sweeter. I understood Urdu just a little, and
Persian not at all. Baba expressed His appreciation either by
swaying His head sideways with eyes closed, or by keeping
time and rhythm on the alphabet board with His slender,
delicate fingertips. At times He looked immensely solemn.

MY FIRST VISIT TO MEHERABAD

73

Music is an extraordinary phenomenon and it is rightly called


the universal language. When it is accompanied by ghazals, it
has a divine touch about it. In ghazals, the subtleties of love and
longing for the Beloved, the Perfect Master in human form, as
well as the shades of challenge and utter submission to the
Beloved, are delicately presented. Here, the depth of the voice
of the qavval was vibrant with the significance of the words.
Meher Baba's presence at the program made it all the more
vital. The atmosphere was melodiously vibrant, rippling with
love. No wonder I saw some persons silently shedding tears of
joy. When such singing comes to an end, it does not dwindle
quickly but for days it continues to bubble inside the heart of
the listener. It was so with me, a beginner. This interest later
inspired me to collect a number of ghazals which had been sung
before Baba. It is a ready-made food for the heart, any time.
Dr. Ghani introduced me to the beauty and significance of
ghazals and helped me to develop the right attitude to
appreciate them. Some of us would sit by his bedside and he
would quote line after line in Urdu, explaining them in English.
With his sense of humor he always kept the atmosphere lively.
I do not remember whether Meher Baba explained some of
the lines during the above program, but the two that I could
vaguely recollect are given below. The day of departure was
close at hand and there was a strong desire lurking within me to
prolong my stay at Meherabad. The remembrance of these lines
might have their roots in this feeling:
O Beloved, treating me as a madman, I have been driven out
from the house.
Have not the tiny stars the privilege to keep company with
the Moon?

74

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

During this stay I met one visitor from Nasik. I noticed that
sometimes his eyes would glisten with tears as he looked at
Baba. He knew Urdu well. Once I approached him when I saw
him standing at a distance, lovingly gazing at Baba. During our
conversation he quoted one Urdu couplet meaning:
With your every glance, O Beloved, the lover gets deeply
intoxicated.
I am convinced beyond doubt that there, within your eyes
lies the exciting divine tavern.
I thought that, in a way, through this couplet he explained
his own state of mind.
A Matchless Funeral Service
During my stay I learned that December 1944 had been an
unusual month of light and shade happy and unhappy events
rolled into one. In contrast to the marriage ceremony and the
birthday celebration, some days earlier Gulnar, Adi Jr.'s wife,
had passed away; and also Masaji, Pendu's father, had suddenly
expired. He had been to Poona to fetch necessary materials for
the birthday program to be celebrated on December 25. While
returning to Ahmednagar in a lorry the glare of the sun had a
fatal effect on him, though it was not immediately detected.
Masaji was not alive to attend the birthday program for which
he had worked so hard. Baba was pleased with his services and
took him unto Himself.
A special funeral service took place on December 23, two
days prior to my arrival. It was a matchless event, revealing the
spirit of those who went gallantly through everything for the
sake of their beloved Master. In accordance with Baba's
instructions, a foundation for the column of the

MY FIRST VISIT TO MEHERABAD

75

Memorial Tower was laid near the railway lines. The names of
Baba's dear ones (men only) were to be inscribed on the column
after they had dropped their bodies. A grave was dug, and in
Baba's presence the coffin containing the body of His dear Masa
(uncle), the eldest of the mandali, was lowered into it. The
bedding roll of Chanji, who had expired at Srinagar the
preceding August, was also placed in the grave. Then Baba
dropped rose after rose as Adi Sr. read out the names of those
men who had passed away while rendering a life of service to
Baba and His cause. Margaret Craske, who was present at the
time of this touching scene, related:
Baba himself, looking radiant and beautiful, dropped
rose after rose into the grave, while the name of the disciple
represented by each particular flower was announced, and
Baba, simply shining with love, indicated by signs how
happy he was to think of the love and service these dear
ones had given him over so many years.
It was ... the only funeral service I ever attended in
which death was robbed of all sadness and was given
instead a happiness in the memory of those who had only
lived for Baba. 17
A Message for the Memorial Tower
For the above occasion Meher Baba gave a special message,
part of which follows:
You are today witnessing a solemn occasion of supreme
importance. While the world is feverishly occupied with the
vanishing things of the moment, there

17

Kitty Davy, Twenty Years with Meher Baba, The Awakener, vol. 3, no.
3, Winter, 1956, p. 32.

76

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


are always those who gain a true perspective of life through
the grace of the Master, and these lucky few are ever willing
to make their whole life an ever renewed and ceaseless
dedication to the universal and ageless truth of the
imperishable and undivided life divine. The spiritual
grandeur of those who set aside all thoughts of the self and
make their life an offering to the divine and imperative
cause of the Master is in itself ineffable, but while it
surpasses all description, it is something much more than an
ornament of crowning glory for those souls themselves. A
visible memorial like a tower, which symbolizes their life of
unfailing loyalty and love, can itself become a medium for
inspiring the generations to come.
The Memorial Tower of my departed devotees will be a
reservoir of inspiration and power for posterity. Their
memory is not being perpetuated for their sakes they had
absolutely no desire for fame or name. But their memory is
being perpetuated because it will be an example for those
who are living as well as for those who are to come. The
symbolic representation of these departed souls through
flowers dispenses with the separative burial or cremation
ceremonies, and the putting of all these flowers in the same
foundation is intended to emphasize the truth that though
the bodies of these devotees were different, they were all
parts of the one eternal and indivisible Soul. The Tower will
be in memory of men belonging to different religions and
will, in fact, represent the fundamental unity of all the great
world religions.
"I Am Beyond Time"

Life at Meherabad was more intimate than that I had


experienced at Nagpur. I really felt at home. On a few occasions
we would be sitting near Baba in the hall of the old ashram
building. Till this time I used to read the lives and articles of the
Perfect Masters of the past and their relationship

MY FIRST VISIT TO MEHERABAD

77

with their dear onesnow I had the unique opportunity to


witness, in silence, Perfection in action. It was interesting to see
how Baba used the Roman alphabet board for languages other
than English. In one such sitting Baba conveyed His divine
status through the statement, "I am Infinite." This baffled my
reason. On another occasion, in an informal talk a reference was
made to the delay in the fulfillment of a promise made by Baba.
In answer to this Baba spelled out, "I am beyond Time."
Intellect with all its vanity tried to fit such statements into a
rational form, but the next moment Baba would be so human, so
full of humor, that I wondered what state that could be!
It was winter and so a bit cold in the hall. I went out into the
sun and towards the railway lines. It was an exhilarating and
cool morning. The sky was cloudless, and it was a joy to look at
the hill with green grass adorning it. As I looked at the hill from
the road, for we were not permitted to go up the hill, I was
reminded of a dream that I had had a year previously, before
meeting Baba. I mentioned it earlier. It was in connection with
my meditation on Shri Aurobindo. In the dream I felt that I saw
Shri Aurobindo on a hill. As I woke up I marveled and
wondered if there could be a hill near Pondicherry, where Shri
Aurobindo resided and which is situated on the east coast of
India. Again I had a thought, "Aurobindo has flowing hair and a
beard, too. How is it that he had no beard and instead was clean
shaven?" Yet, I thought then that I had had Shri Aurobindo's
darshan. At that time I had not heard of Meher Baba, but now it
was suddenly revealed to me that in those days of intense
longing Meher Baba made it possible for me to contact Him
through that dream, and the hill I saw was Meherabad Hill. This
strengthened my belief in Baba's divinity, though that was just a
beginning. Indeed, He knew me and loved me before I met Him
or even heard about Him! "He is really beyond Time," I felt.

78

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


He Will See My Full Form

I was to leave Meherabad that day. Kher, my companion, had


already left for Barsi. Before departing everyone would go to
Baba to offer pranams and seek His permission to leave this
was the custom. I had had no personal interview with Baba nor
did I ask for it. To some extent, during those few days I was
oblivious of worldly affairs and duties, so I totally forgot to
convey a message to Baba from one of His devotees, a
schoolboy. He had not seen Baba physically, but one day as he
chanced to see Baba's picture in my room he felt so drawn to
Him that repetition of Baba's name and meditation on His form
became his joy. Because of his simplicity and innocence this
boy began to see Baba's form, but strangely enough he did not
see His face.
During his meditation the boy felt blissfully happy. He told
me about his experience and asked me why he should not see
Baba's full form. He thought that because of my age and my
cupboardful of books, I would know. Spirituality is, in fact,
beyond scrolls and sermons, age and learning. It is a gift,
received unawares. Whatever it might be, I told him two things:
"Do not disclose this experience or any other experiences of
this sort to anyone else. When I meet Meher Baba again I will
tell Him about this, and request Him to bless you that you may
see His full form."
As days passed by, the boy had additional uncommon
experiences, but he kept his word and did not speak of them to
anyone except me. Now it was my turn to tell Baba about his
request, as I had promised.
In the morning when I saw Baba coming out of the cabin, I
approached Him to seek His permission to leave Meherabad
that day. He stopped and gave me a steady look, His face lit up
all the more. With folded hands I told Him about my departure
and added: "Baba, there is a boy who loves

MY FIRST VISIT TO MEHERABAD

79

you very much. He sees your divine form as he repeats your


name or meditates on you, but it is always below the neck. He
misses seeing your glorious face."
Baba inquired, "By what train are you leaving?"
"The afternoon train, Baba," I replied.
As He blessed me He remarked: "Permitted. Don't worry.
Be happy!"
He was about to move ahead. I thought, "Has He no
message for that little loving soul?"
Just then Baba gestured and one of the mandali interpreted
for me: "My Nazar is on that boy. He will see my full form."
Baba conveyed all this in such a natural way, as if He knew
all about the boy. He did not ask me for any information
regarding the teenager, not even his name. I wished to tell Baba
something about the boy but He briskly walked away towards
the ashram building with the mandali.
I reached Kurduwadi that same night. Relaxed in body and
heart, I slept, thinking to convey the good news to that lucky lad
the next morning. To my surprise he knew about my return and
was in my room even before morning tea. With a happy
expression he disclosed to me in his sweet voice, "Early this
morning, for the first time, I saw Baba's form with that divine
face!"
I felt extremely happy and yet slightly shocked. This set me
thinking. I had recently read a book by a French author on
autosuggestion. Had the boy seen Baba's face after I gave him
the message, I might have felt that Baba's suggestion had
worked on his innocent mind. Now the situation was quite
different. Baba had made a silent gesture at Meherabad and it
had miraculously worked before I could convey it to the boy.
Spiritual experience that is vouchsafed by the God-Man ever
stands far above psychological interpretation and, if I may say,
beyond psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.

80

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

Thus ended the year 1944, which altered the course of my


life. The last two months of that year, November and December,
hold such charm and have such significance for me that they
will ever remain fresh in my memory. Words fail to express
adequately the happenings of these two months. Yet, what a joy
to share these experiences with others!

5
Meherazad and Meher Spiritual Center, 1945

Mind, a Marvelous Means!


WONDERFULLY spent were the days with Meher Baba in
November and December of 1944, rich in spiritual atmosphere
and with a real human touch about them. My whole being
wished for a recurrence of that precious period. I intensely
desired and longed for it, even immoderately that was my
weakness, that was my strength. That was my delight and that
was my plight, too, because I had overestimated the worth of
my efforts, rather than Baba's grace and will. It dawned on me
later that on one's own, one cannot approach the God-Man,
Meher Baba. He draws His own, in His own way and time, even
after He drops His body.
I had seen Reality enformed; I had met in person the
Impersonal; and, what a pity, I now wished to measure the
Immeasurable with too unreliable a measure, the intellect! I
wanted to compare the Incomparable with the images I had
formed through thinking and reading, whether right or wrong,
about Reality. This meant that, having seen Him, I had not seen.
This was the state I was in during the year 1945. The mystic
and the skeptic were both wide awake in me. Mind

81

82

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

what a marvelous issue of Maya! It accepts and rejects, lauds


and scoffs, at one and the same time. Some maintain that such
diametrically opposite responses are perhaps stepping stones to
soaring higher in the realm of spirituality. Inconceivable is the
working of the mind, anyone's mind. This reminds me of the
two lines by Francis Brabazon. In one of his ghazals he writes:
To go on or not to go on, equally is disaster;
At this point one is ready to meet the Perfect Master.
In this sense I was fully "qualified" to meet Baba off and on.
But during this year I met Him, or rather saw Him, just once, at
Meherabad in the last week of May 1945; otherwise it was a
blank year for me. But does meeting the Master mean
companionship only on the physical plane? Assuming of the
Avataric form by God is an overture of the formless to quicken
the ways of drawing Creation to Him. But I was not responsive
enough to Him and His ways I had my own misgivings and
waverings, yet He was always benevolent towards me.
A Dream Directs My Life
The days of doubts about His divinity were amply compensated
at night. I would wake up with cool, soothing tears rolling down
unwarranted. Many times I would see Baba in dreams. To talk
of them all would sound ludicrous, even meaningless, to some
people. Some dreams were utterly disconnected and quite
fantastic, but to me they all brought the touch of His presence
which was ever sympathizing with me in my funny venture to
understand Him, the un-understandable.
I used to note down the details of these dreams, with dates
and approximate timings, but after some years I had

MEHERAZAD AND MEHER SPIRITUAL CENTER 83


a fancy that to keep such a record was to feed the egoistic
tendencies. One fine morning I drowned these diaries in the
river, with the feeling that I had done something sacred! But
does the storing or sinking of such things have any value in
itself? The freeing factor is entirely independent. With things
such as diaries and other belongings, can we not remain free
and light at heart in spite of the natural ego-based responses?
Of all the dreams I had, one dream continues to direct my
life even after a long period of twenty-five years. In 1944 I had
just commenced my career as a schoolteacher. A year later I
was asked by one of the guardians of a retarded pupil to tutor
his ward. He promised to pay me good fees. Accordingly, the
boy came and I remember having taught him arithmetic a
few sums from "Profit and Loss," though I neither knew what
real profit was nor real loss! And in one's business with the
Master, the dealings of profit and loss take marvelous and
unforeseen turns. The boy did his assignment and went away.
That same night Baba appeared to me in a dream. He had a
frowning look. He said, "Why do you accept tuition?" Baba's
frowning face had as much meaning and effect on me as His
loving countenance. I was quick in making a decision and
instantaneously replied, "No, Baba, I won't." And with this the
dream ended.
The next day the boy was sent back. Thus ended my first
and last attempt to accept tuition, and the thought of making
money through tutorship terminated once and for all, though
this field seemed to open rosy prospects materially. The dream
definitely revealed to me that my fragile frame would not bear
the extra exertion of tutoring; on the other hand, giving it up
afforded me spare time for rest and Baba work. Meher Baba
once remarked that whenever the Master appears in a dream it
has a significance, though not necessarily comprehensible every
time. It is a vision.

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


Experiences at the Age of Twelve

By the way, regarding the subject of dreams, I wish to mention


a rare type of dream experienced by Elizabeth Patterson. In
1937 when the Western group was living with Baba in India at
the Nasik retreat, Elizabeth narrated the following incident.
When she was twelve years old she dreamed of Baba three
different times in succession, and when she first met Him she
recognized Baba as the one she had known in the dreams. 18
Many Baba lovers all over the world have had, and still have,
different types of dreams of varying significance and creativity.
Indeed, Baba has used and is still using the dream-state of man
to awaken him from his deep slumber and sleep.
The mentioning of twelve years of age reminds me of
another experience, that of Princess Norina Matchabelli. It is of
a different kind a permissible digression, I hope but it
shows one of Baba's divine ways of contacting His people.
Norina writes:
Since my very childhood, I knew of God ... He rescued
me at the early age of twelve, at the time of my emotional
awakening. He came as Jesus Christ and spoke to me.
. . . I met Meher Baba in 1931, and recognized him as
the Christ personified. And when the Master [Baba],
without any reference on my part, told me that he was the
one who came to me in the form of Christ, to give me the
spiritual lead, he established in me the unconditional faith in
him. 19
Many are the illustrations, exquisitely resplendent, of His
time-penetrating presence.

18

See: Kitty Davy, Reminiscences, Part 2,The Awakener, vol. 10, no. 2,
1964, p. 7
19

Princess Norina Matchabelli, Fragments From A Spiritual Diary (New


York: Circle Publication, Inc., 1949), pp. 3-4.

MEHERAZAD AND MEHER SPIRITUAL CENTER

85

The Real Significance of Spirituality


Apart from Baba dreams, sometimes I beheld small and big
stars and designs of light. Such recognitions would be on the
borderline of my dreaming and waking states. Strangely enough
I would be fully awake, hearing and feeling things about me,
but with eyes closed. The moment I opened them, these petty
glimpses would be gone. Infrequently I would wake up to find
that my whole body was throbbing with light shocks similar to
fairly mild electric shocks. These, too, would surprisingly
continue while I kept my eyes closed. Even now I do not
understand what state I was in then. But does it hold much
importance after one's contact with the Master, Meher Baba?
Very little, I think, if any.
I used to write letters to Baba directly in those days, but in
none of my letters did I make any reference to these experiences
not even in talks with Him in the later periods. But I did pray
to Him then that, the sooner the better, I be relieved of such
enticing experiences, and relieved I was. Attachment to the
panorama of sights and lights is a distraction on the spiritual
road. Spirituality does not consist in a change from common
clothes to colored robes, from the usual apartments to caves and
mountains, from normal perceptions to abnormal glimpses and
visions; but it is a life open to God and His will without selfresistance, and that is not very easy at all, though most natural.
Adi Sr. once told me of the following incident. One seeker
asked the Master, "What is the most difficult thing in spiritual
life?"
"To be perfectly human," was the Master's masterly reply.
Has this not a fund of meaning behind it?
To me, Meher Baba's discourses on "The Place of
Occultism in Spiritual Life" showed the way. This reading
helped me to have a right attitude towards dreams, glimpses and
occult experiences. So I neither exaggerated the importance of
my experiences nor condemned them.

86

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

At the end of the series of the above articles Meher Baba states:
To penetrate into the essence of all being and significance
and to release the fragrance of that inner attainment for the
guidance and benefit of others, by expressing, in the world
of forms, truth, love, purity and beauty this is the sole
game which has intrinsic and absolute worth. All other
happenings, incidents and attainments in themselves can
have no lasting importance. 20
Meher Spiritual Center
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, U.S.A.
Meher Baba's external activities of the year 1945 commenced at
Meherazad and concluded at Meherabad, a distance of only
about fifteen miles. But in between there had been intense Baba
activities in the south and north of India. In the first week of
January, Baba received a cable about the passing away of Mr.
Simeon Chapin, father of Elizabeth Patterson. The next day
Baba cabled back to His dear Elizabeth in America: "Your
father has blessedly found a place in my infinite heart."
This was literally true, because the present premises of the
Meher Spiritual Center at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, were
previously owned by Mr. Chapin. The following two extracts,
one from Mani's Family Letter to the West and the other from
an article by Kitty Davy, will make this point clear. Mani
writes:
Baba sent dearest Elizabeth and Norina (Princess
Matchabelli) to the United States from India in 1941, to
locate a site for His spiritual center somewhere in the

20

Meher Baba, Discourses, 2:110

MEHERAZAD AND MEHER SPIRITUAL CENTER 87


United States one which would comply with the five
conditions that He laid down. Two of the above conditions were
that "it should be on virgin soil" and that "it should be given
from the heart." After a considerable search for the ideal site,
the property now known as Meher Spiritual Center, comprising
over five hundred acres and two fresh water lakes adjacent to
the Ocean, came into Elizabeth's possession through her dear
father, Mr. Simeon Chapin. A perfect setting for the establishment of the Center as wished by Baba, it met all the
conditions He had set down. 21
Mrs. Patterson had informed her dear father in advance of
her intention to dedicate this property to the cause of Meher
Baba, and he had readily and lovingly agreed.
About the formal inauguration of this Center Kitty Davy
writes:
The Center was first visited by several of those devoted
to Baba who came down from New York with Elizabeth and
Norina in July 1944. During this visit the property was
dedicated to Baba by those present gathering shells along
the ocean and bringing them to a certain knoll in the woods
and placing them on the ground so as to spell BABA in
large letters. Then each went in various directions calling
loudly the name of Baba through the silent forest of pine
trees and over the rippling waves of Long Lake. 22
No wonder that during Meher Baba's visit to Myrtle Beach
He once referred to this place as "my home in the West." Thus
Mr. Chapin had the unique good fortune to lay the foundation of
Meher Baba's Center in the West, and

21

Manija S.Irani, Family Letter, October 24th , 1964, p.3.

22
Kitty Davy, Recollections, Part 3, The Awakener, vol. 6, no. 4,
Fourth Quarter 1960, p. 23.

88

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

Baba's cable to Elizabeth that her father had found a place in


His heart speaks volumes about this wonderful good fortune.
A Rest House Turns into "Meherazad"
In the beginning of this year Baba stayed at Pimpalgaon (Malvi)
not in the village itself but in a bungalow about a mile away,
at the foot of a hill. This residence is known as Meherazad.
Here I wish to give a short account of how this precious piece of
land was selected for Baba's residence.
Formerly there was a small building on the land which was
used as a rest house. In the early 1920s Ahmednagar
Municipality planned to construct a dam so as to form a lake
near Pimpalgaon to serve as a water reservoir for the sprawling
city of Ahmednagar. This work, and that of the water-pumping
station, was done under the supervision of a special engineering
staff. As it was a long-range work, far from the city, the
Municipality bought this rest house. It was used as the quarters
for the engineering staff working on this site. When the entire
project was finished the bungalow remained vacant for years.
None dared to occupy this solitary, secluded place and slowly it
began to dilapidate. It was proposed that the rest house should
be sold, and the municipal authorities placed an advertisement
to the effect that it was to be sold at auction.
Vishnu, one of the mandali, brought this news to Baba's
notice. He knew that Baba wished to have one secluded spot
near Ahmednagar for a quiet stay and work. Baba was to leave
Meherabad on one of His mast tours. He, however, took time to
pay a visit to this site with Pendu and Padri. Baba liked the
place immensely. Khan Saheb Sarosh Irani, one of Baba's
closest disciples, living in Ahmednagar, was the highest bidder
at the auction. There was a hitch in the

MEHERAZAD AND MEHER SPIRITUAL CENTER

89

Municipal Standing Committee sanctioning this deal, but Khan


Bahadur, Adi K. Irani's father, convinced the committee
members that Khan Saheb Sarosh was buying the property for
Meher Baba's retreat (ashram). He also told them that Baba's
staying at Pimpalgaon would be highly beneficial to the
villagers there. In addition to the rest house, the property had a
motor shed, a stable, a kitchen, an outhouse, and an approach
road of about six furlongs. Khan Saheb Sarosh also bought an
adjacent plot of land, and these two plots now form the present
premises of Meherazad. The transaction was registered in
February 1944, just four months prior to the inauguration of
Meher Center-on-the-Lakes at Myrtle Beach.
During April and December 1944 Baba stayed in this rest
house and did His work with the masts. He brought Ali Shah,
one of His favorite masts, there from Ahmednagar. This was, in
a way, the "house-warming" of the newly purchased sacred soil
and hallowed house.
From 1949 on this whole property, known as Meherazad,
has been registered in the name of Nariman M. Dadachanji, one
of Baba's closest and dearest disciples. Since then Nariman and
his dear and generous wife Arnavaz have been taking great care
to maintain the property and to keep it in good shape for
Baba's use and, from 1969 on, for His people. The hill that
stands behind "Baba House" at Meherazad was called Tembi
Hill. Now it is known as "Meher Baba's Seclusion Hill." For
Baba's use, Khan Saheb Sarosh Irani acquired the top of this
hill, including a right-of-way, on a long lease from the
Government.
A Short Stay in Rusi's House
During January 1945 Baba stayed at Meherazad, and the same
delightful mast, Ali Shah, was brought here for a period of
twenty-five days. Baba worked with him daily.

90

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

During this stay the plan of repairing and reconstructing the


buildings was discussed. As this work was to commence soon,
Baba agreed to stay in Rusi Quettawalla's house in
Ahmednagar. Rustom Jehangir Irani, alias Rusi, owned a cafe
and a general store in Quetta. Baba visited Quetta on work in
the summer of 1923 and 1924. During this period Rustom's
whole family came into Baba's close contact. In the 1930s,
Rustom left Quetta and came to Ahmednagar for a permanent
stay to lead a retired life. One of his daughters, Dr. Goher, after
passing her M.B.B.S. in 1944, worked for some years in
different hospitals under Baba's instructions. She joined the
women mandali residing with Baba in 1947 at Satara. She was
the personal physician of Baba till He dropped His body. Her
services to Baba as a disciple and doctor are unique indeed. It is
because of such past and future close connections that Baba
lovingly accepted the invitation of His dear Rusi to stay at his
house in Ahmednagar. Baba was there from January 31 to
March 9, 1945.
Baba left Ahmednagar in the first week of February 1945 to
visit Jhansi in Madhya Pradesh for mast contacts. There He
contacted, in all, fourteen God-intoxicated souls, including a
mastani named Punjabi Mai. She had beautiful features and
talked sense sometimes, while Allahuddin was a naked mast
rather insensible about his words. Unmindful of climatic
changes, he was seen resting on his back against a wall, gazing
at the sky for years, they said. Baba knows best! Baidul offered
him a cigarette and this brought him into a good mood, and
Baba was happy to contact him.
After returning to Ahmednagar, Baba discussed with the
mandali the subject of the one-month meeting of the
signatories. The decisions made were conveyed to the persons
concerned through a special circular issued on March 1, 1945. It
contained the following statements from Baba:

MEHERAZAD AND MEHER SPIRITUAL CENTER 91


The specific purpose of the meeting is spiritual and until
that is properly served, mere bringing together of a number
of signatories will not have fulfilled the purpose. There are
several difficulties. They must be solved through natural
means. Intervention of my Universal Mind at this juncture is
not appropriate.
Rising above the mental upsets caused by prolongations and
postponements of the one-month meeting can be counted as
solid proof of the soundness of faith in following my
instructions at all costs and sufferings, whether mental or
physical.
At the end of this circular Baba expressed a wish to call a
group meeting of about forty persons, representing the
signatories in different parts of India, on May 23, 1945 at
Meherabad.
Fixing Up a Villa at Hyderabad
Dr. William Donkin was one of the intimate mandali living
with Baba. He was a British subject, so after the commencement of World War II he had to offer his services as a
doctor in the army. In 1945 he was posted at Secunderabad in
charge of a military hospital. Baba instructed Dr. Donkin to find
a suitable bungalow near Hyderabad for His stay with His men
and women mandali. Baba wished to make Hyderabad His
headquarters for contacting some masts in southern India. Dr.
Donkin selected two or three bungalows and wrote to Baba
about them. Baba sent Pendu with certain instructions to
finalize this matter. Pendu saw the bungalows chosen by Dr.
Donkin, but in the light of Baba's requirements he did not find
them up to the mark. So they both moved through the twin
cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. In the part known as
Jubilee Hills, Pendu spotted a new villa nearing completion,
with a well kept

92

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

garden and a small swimming pool. These were items in the


terms stipulated by Baba.
Pendu made inquiries of the owner, who was a prominent
lawyer in Hyderabad. Baba was then informed about the
facilities the villa offered, and He personally visited Hyderabad
to find out if the place was really suitable for His stay and work.
Baba liked the bungalow and asked Pendu and Dr. Donkin to
lease it. The owner was so busy that they could not see him
until late at night. They had a talk about the rent and other
requirements in the bungalow. Then the lawyer instructed his
clerk to prepare the necessary draft of a compliance agreement
concerning the facilities in the villa and the advance money to
be paid.
By the time the men returned to the hotel it was nearly
midnight. Baba looked anxious to hear the report and He asked
Pendu to read the draft. It was in Urdu and Pendu could not read
it, so Baba asked him to find someone in the hotel who knew
Urdu well. Most of the tourists had gone to sleep; however,
Pendu heard some people talking in one of the rooms. He
knocked at the door. A young man opened the door, welcomed
Pendu and asked him to come in and join them in the party and
drinks. Pendu inquired if any of them could read Urdu, and
fortunately one could. Pendu requested him to visit the room of
his "elder brother" in that same hotel. Though drunk, this man
seemed sober enough to read out to Baba the agreement drawn
in Urdu. While listening, Baba gave certain instructions to
Pendu regarding the changes to be made in the draft. Thus a
tipsy man, too, was of timely help to the divine Saki who held
in His eyes the immeasurable love-wine. This account is given
so as to convey an idea of how particular Baba was in selecting
His residence as He moved from place to place. Perhaps every
house or estate where Baba lived or camped has a story of its
own to tell. This episode is given as an example. Baba would
always be in a hurry,

MEHERAZAD AND MEHER SPIRITUAL CENTER 93


or seemingly so; hence He left Hyderabad by the early morning
train for Ahmednagar.
By the first week of March 1945 the arrangements at the
villa in Jubilee Hills at Hyderabad were complete, so Baba
wished to shift His headquarters there with His men and women
mandali. Thus ended the sojourn at His dear Rusi's bungalow.
At present this particular bungalow, with its spacious
compound, is rented by the state government for the office of
the Junior Industries Inspector. Would the staff working there
ever have an idea of the "divine industry" carried on by Meher
Baba through His divine office in that place!
By March 10, 1945 Meher Baba was at Hyderabad.

6
Six Months Stay at Hyderabad, 1945

Masts, the Innocent Eccentrics


HYDERABAD (Andhra) was one of Meher Baba's favorite
places in India. Once He remarked that He liked Hyderabad not
just for its material prosperity but for its spiritual background.
True to this remark, Baba contacted over sixty masts in
Hyderabad, quite a large number. I do not know whether any
other city in India ever exceeded this number of Godintoxicated souls.
In March 1945, Meher Baba and His party left for
Hyderabad to stay in the new villa in Jubilee Hills. Baba lived
there with a group of women mandali, including Mehera, Mani,
Naja, Rano, Kitty, Irene, Margaret and a few others. The
following men mandali were with Him: Gustadji, Baidul, Kaka,
Vishnu, Dr. Nilkanth (Nilu), Dr. Ghani, Adi Sr., Eruch, and
others when they were called. They resided in another
bungalow nearby. Baba lived there from March 10 through
September 6, 1945. During this period He carried out some of
His important mast activities in and around Hyderabad and in
southern India. The following description of the peculiarities of
masts may give some idea about those He contacted at
Hyderabad. 23
Maqdum was an old mast who preffered to put on dresses of
many colors. He was fond of keeping several puppies

23

See: William Donkin, The Wayfarers, pp. 248-255

94

SIX MONTHS STAY AT HYDERABAD

95

around certain localities on a pony, with a kitten on his lap.


Chaman Ali Shah, another mast, was interested in his pet
pigeons. At the time of contact he asked for Baba's umbrella
and it was given to him. He changed his voice while muttering
to himself, so that the casual listener thought that a group of
persons was talking together. Abkari ("Captain"), a mast with a
dark complexion, wore dark glasses that made him all the more
conspicuous. After Baba's contact he wished to be taken for a
drive in Adi's car, and his request was granted by Baba. Shastri
Buva, who was once a man of great learning, became a mast by
a stroke of good fortune and was in the process of unlearning
(involution). Baba liked him and remarked that he was on the
sixth plane of consciousness. One mast (Ahmad Ali Baba)
usually asked for money from passers-by, while Chunu Mian, if
given money, would at once give it away to someone else
standing by. Ghulam Hussein was a mixture of jalali and jamali
types. He wore good clothes and sometimes observed high
etiquette, hence the mandali used to refer to him as "the
gentleman mast." Moeinuddin Baba (Nanne Mian) roamed
through the streets practically naked. At night he would shut
himself in a cage-like hovel, so Baba nicknamed him Pinjara
Walla (pinjara means cage). In fact, the real names of most of
the masts are not known, and in their search for the Nameless
One they never objected to the names by which they were
called.
Children Cheered Rajah Mastan
For the mast work Baba rented a special hall near the railway
station of Khairatabad, a suburb of Hyderabad. Some masts
were taken there for contact. Nuruddin, a tall and lanky mast,
was fond of toddy, and Baba allowed him to visit the toddy
shop to refresh himself. One day when Nuruddin was being
taken to Khairatabad in a tonga, Baba was by his side, with
Baidul and Eruch following them in a rickshaw. On the way
Baidul

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

spotted another mast named Rajiah Mastan. He wore a dirty loin


cloth and a huge turban, and he had a bundle of rags and broken
china plates on his back. He walked like a rajah (king) through
the streets, to the delight of the school children. He had a hole in
his neck of which he was entirely unmindful. As he got into the
rickshaw with Baidul, a number of school-bound children
shouted merrily at him. Baba enjoyed this situation immensely.
Such interesting episodes used to refresh Baba's party in the
hazardous work of contacting masts.
Moeinuddin, a Great Mast and Glutton
I would like to mention the crowning mast contact at
Hyderabad. Saiyid Moeinuddin was the head of the masts there,
the Chargeman. He was a majzoob-like mast of the sixth plane.
He was lame but of a typical jalali type. He loved sweeping the
roads, smoking cigarettes and doing full justice to barfi, a kind
of Indian sweetmeat. Baba contacted him three times. The final
contact expressed His most loving way of responding to the
absurd whims of the masts. Baba waited patiently for about
three hours before the mast would allow Him to feed him. But
once the feeding commenced, it seemed to have no ending.
After consuming a good quantity of food, Moeinuddin asked for
a lot of minced meat and bread, then for a kettleful of tea. This
was followed by consuming his favorite barfi and then smoking
his pet brand of cigarettes. After complying with the rest of his
whims, Baba was happy to contact the Chargeman in the way
He wished for His spiritual work.
Baba's All-knowing Ignorance!
Now, after giving a general account of Baba's contact with the
masts in Hyderabad proper, I wish to describe a few other contacts made in April and May 1945 before He left

SIX MONTHS STAY AT HYDERABAD

97

for the meeting at Meherabad. Baba visited Bidar in April and


contacted four masts. One named Maulana Abdul Haq wore a
number of clothes and a monstrous turban. His appearance
resembled a picture in an advertisement for tires, so Baba
named him "Dunlop." He was an entertaining mast, but a
moderate one. The second contact, Siddiq Shah Majzoob, was a
tall, thin, highly advanced mast of the sixth plane, fond of
chewing roasted grams (a type of legume). His comic
companion was fond of carrying people's luggage, but he would
not accept tips.
Not far from Hyderabad, at Kandahar, Baba contacted a
mast, Fatruh Mian, whose peculiarity was to stand in water for
hours and read aloud the Holy Koran. At first he was not ready
to meet Baba, but his brother pleaded for the contact. The mast
hit his brother hard on the head, laughed loudly and burst out, "I
am ready!" Here Baba got the news that there was one Godintoxicated soul named Nivritti Maharaj in a village seven miles
away. This was enough to tempt Baba to visit that out-of-theway spot. No car or bus had access to the place, so a bullock
cart was hired. It bumped on and on over the uncared-for road.
There being innumerable ditches and dry beds of streams, the
party jolted with the bumping cart which shook the bones of
everyone. On reaching the village it was found that the mast had
just left for an unknown destination, so a quick turn-about was
made on the same "royal road" in the dead of night! Any mast
tour with Baba meant sleepless nights and a host of hardships.
What a lila (divine game)! Baba's love for contacting masts was
divinely human and full of all-knowing ignorance!
Baba's Party Suspected!
Nanded, Udgir and Bhongir were places visited by Baba near
Hyderabad. An incident at Sangareddipet is worth mentioning.
Once again the party had to undergo a racking

98

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

and rattling journey of over twenty miles in a bullock cart, as


the place was in the interior of Hyderabad State. The party
arrived at Sangareddipet at nightfall. Baidul's appearance
resembled that of a Pathan, so the presence of the group aroused
suspicion among the people. They intimated this to the police,
who wished to take the party into custody. Eruch insisted on
seeing the Sub-Inspector, who became thoroughly convinced
that they were real gentlemen. By this time it was quite dark but
Baba insisted on meeting the mast, Abdulla Saheb, and He did
visit him. All had a sleepless night. Baba contacted the mast
again before leaving in the morning and felt happy about it.
They then began the return journey in the same cart, an aching
ride of about six hours. As the party reached Hyderabad Baba
looked tired physically, but His eyes were nevertheless beaming
with radiance, for the contact with Abdulla had been to His
satisfaction.
A Meeting at Meherabad
On May 1, 1945 all the signatories joined Baba in a day's fast.
Baba alone continued the fast for nine days by remaining on
plain water only. This fast was followed by the strenuous mast
tours described above, and by noon on the twenty-second of
May He reached Meherabad to attend the special meeting
previously announced.
At the commencement of this meeting Baba remarked, "God
plays His part in seven stages," and He explained the gist of
evolution and the seven stages of involution. 24 From what we
have gathered from Baba, it seems that the figure seven has a
special spiritual significance. Turning to the political situation
in India and abroad, He said: "Outwardly the second world war
is over, but the inner war still continues,

24

See: Meher Baba, God Speaks, 2d ed., p. 80 ff.

SIX MONTHS STAY AT HYDERABAD

99

rather it is intensified." At the end He stated: "Through natural


and unnatural destruction (and explosions) immense suffering
awaits the world." Has this not come to pass?
During this meeting Babadas, Vibhuti, Dr. Daulat Singh and
Manek Mehta reported to Baba about the work they had been
doing in spreading His message of love. During such hearings
Baba would lighten the seriousness by telling a joke now and
then. In reference to one of His workers He commented: "His
work is indeed good, but the reporting is so confusing that even
God is helpless to understand him!" Another time someone
suggested that the necessary booklets about Baba be printed in
Delhi. Baba, whose wit was gay as a wind and who had a
faculty for a quick twist of words, remarked in Hindi: "Delhi
bahot door had," literally meaning, "Delhi is far away," while
the actual sense conveyed was that the thing in question was not
an immediate problem.
At the end of the first day's meeting it was decided to
circulate to Baba people the following message: "For keeping
Meher Baba undisturbed in His universal work, He would have
no contact with His disciples and devotees till the end of
December 1945, excluding those staying with Him."
On the second day of the meeting, in the course of informal
talk Baba remarked:
Those who stay with me perform neither jap nor tap but
their spiritual worth is much more than those who spend their
lifetime in doing such things. A life of obedience to the Master
is of great spiritual value. After a little pause, He added: "I
would not have served my Master as the mandali are serving
me." Baba then conveyed in a sentence or two what He felt
about each one of the mandali living near Him.
Then the question of calling the one-month meeting was

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

discussed in detail in Baba's presence. The decisions made were


later released to Baba's disciples and devotees through a special
circular.
After the meeting was over Baba especially delayed His
departure in order to attend the wedding of one of His dearest
mandali, Eruch. Baba was personally present at the Akbar
Press, Ahmednagar, where the wedding took place. After
blessing the couple, Baba left Meherabad for Hyderabad to
resume His work with the masts.
A Mast is God Playing a Child
After His return to Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, Baba decided to
visit southern India. He went to Vijayawada, Warangal and
Kazipet, now in Andhra Pradesh. Those who usually
accompanied Baba on His mast tours were Baidul, Kaka,
Gustadji and Eruch. At Kazipeth Baba contacted two masts
named Hyder Wali and Wali Hyder. The first was a moderate
mast, while the other was a divinely-intoxicated wayfarer. The
latter loved toddy best and was indifferent to food. This does
not mean that all who drink toddy in excess are masts!
At Warangal the following incident which is worth
recording took place. Baba usually sent His men to see the
masts before He contacted them. In accordance with Baba's
instructions, Baidul approached a mast named Brahmachari
Mast the celibate. The mast was in a jalali mood and cried out,
"Don't put your foot inside my boundary!" Baidul had to yield.
Then Baba sent Kaka with a message, "We just want to meet
you, that's all." To this the mast replied angrily, "Can't you find
any other man on whom He can throw the burden? I neither
give anything to anyone nor take anything from anyone." So
Kaka, too, had to return unsuccessful. But Baba instructed Kaka
to visit the mast

SIX MONTHS STAY AT HYDERABAD

101

again and to lecture him on being cooperative. The mast


listened to Kaka for some time, went into a rage and blurted out
in an imperative tone, "Leave this place at once!" Kaka had to
retreat.
Baba had told the mandali not to be harsh with the masts,
and He never contacted any mast against his will. Most of them
were very responsive in sharing the spiritual work, while some
vigorously repulsed any overtures. Baba, however, treated all
the masts as His dear children. Is not a good mast God playing a
child?
Exciting Excursion to Khandal
In July 1945 the main places visited to contact masts were
Gulbarga, Yadgiri, Madras and Raichur. At Gulbarga the mast
contacted was Budhi Man, which literally means "an old
woman." He looked restless in his activities but had a mild
temper. Because of his lovable nature he was much respected by
all, and his fancy for traveling by any class in any train was not
objected to by the railway authorities. Another mast at
Gulbarga, Goher Shah, was contacted in a toddy shop. Baba did
not mind visiting any place to meet a good mast.
About six miles from Gulbarga lies a village named Khandal.
Baba went there to contact Guru Appaswami, a naked mast
from Bijapur. Lately he had been seen wearing clothes. He was
fond of roasted grams, which he chewed grain by grain.
Appaswami was so happy with Baba that he would not allow
Him to leave, even after spending a period of two hours in His
company. The return journey from Khandal was made in a
tonga. The road was muddy and bumpy. It was getting darker
and darker and the horse would often stumble on the track, so to
avoid any mishap Kaka and Baidul had to walk ahead with
lighted torches. This is

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

enough to indicate the delights of that exciting excursion!


The Jivanmukta of Tumkur, Yadgiri
From Gulbarga Baba proceeded to Yadgiri where He contacted
the great Ishwar Das Swami, alias Telugu Swami. As Meher
Baba has explained in His book God Speaks, the Majzoob-eKamil or Perfect One experiences nirvikalpa samadhi and his
gnosis is, "I am God." In his God-merged state he is not aware
of Creation at all for him it does not exist. The Jivanmukta
(Azad-e-Mutlak) enjoys sahaj samadhi. He has Godconsciousness with Creation consciousness, but unlike the
Sadguru, or Perfect Master, he has no duty to perform towards
the Creation. In this sense, Baba once remarked that the
Jivanmukta is a "real rajah" who has all-power with unclouded
luminous awareness, but he is not duty-bound. According to
Baba, Telugu Swami was a Jivanmukta.
Telugu Swami lived at Tumkur, a village a few miles from
the railway station at Yadgiri. To reach there the party had to
wade across a knee-deep river. On the way Baba had an acute
pain in His chest and so He had to walk very slowly. Again, in
spite of the cold weather, Baba perspired to such an extent that
His clothes were drenched and they had to be dried in the sun
when they reached Tumkur. Perhaps this was due to some
special work in relation to His impending contact with the
Jivanmukta. Telugu Swami was a tall, stout person with halfclosed, bright eyes. When Baba went near him, the Jivanmukta
appeared exceptionally radiant and "embraced Baba with an
amazing fervor that astounded those who witnessed it." 25 Baba,
too, felt immensely happy and after a short while, without any
exchange

25

William Donkin, The Wayfarers, p. 369.

SIX MONTHS STAY AT HYDERABAD

103

of words, left on foot for Yadgiri. Now there was neither pain in
the chest nor perspiration, which had vanished as suddenly as
they had appeared.
A Rare Occasion of Spiritual Working
This reminds me of a similar happening at Meherabad during
the Meher Ashram days, back in January 1928. One day
Abdulla Ruknuddin Ahwazi, a boy from Iran who had recently
joined the ashram, had a unique experience. He was sitting on
his knees, as is the custom of Muslims, while listening to a
lecture on some spiritual subject that was approved by Baba. All
of a sudden he screamed aloud and all wondered what had
happened to him. The mandali found that Abdulla had fallen
down on the ground unconscious. It was January and the days
were very cold and windy. This news was conveyed to Baba,
who had confined Himself to the crypt, His final resting place.
At that time He was wearing His patched black woolen coat
which is now treasured at Meherabad. He took off this coat and
was seen sweating profusely for a while. He instructed that
Abdulla should be removed to the hospital. The boy was deeply
unconscious of the gross world and was experiencing a state of
bliss. Abdulla, who was once a fanatic Sunni Muslim and who
did not even bow down to Baba for days after his arrival at
Meherabad, was seeing Baba and His divine glory.
While vouchsafing an experience of such a high order,
perhaps Baba's delicate frame was so exerted that the physical
body perspired profusely. Hence I had a thought, maybe right or
wrong, that on certain occasions of His spiritual working the
flame within His frame burned so brightly that the flesh-form
sweated immensely. Baba's meeting with the Jivanmukta of
Tumkur was a similar rare occasion, though of a different kind
than the one described

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

above. When Baba's spiritual work with Telugu Swami was


over He was His lovely radiant self, a picture of good health, on
the way back to Yadgiri. Sometimes such external signs were
noticed as a result of Baba's intense internal spiritual working.
An Instructive Wayward Wading
In addition, I have one more point to relate about my own
personal visit to Tumkur. It happened some years later. Meher
Baba often warned His lovers against visiting masts and saints.
After meeting the God-Man in person such special visits were
not only unnecessary but could be confusing. If such contacts
happened in the course of natural events, Baba had advised us
to pay due respect to the personalities but never to get entangled
in their affairs. To be frank, in spite of this warning my mind
sometimes craved meeting such persons. In this case the mind
argued, "Telugu Swami is neither a mast nor a saint. So why
can't I visit him? It cannot be a breach of Baba's instruction."
As a result of this I visited Yadgiri with one of my elderly
friends, Kakasaheb Ghatnekar. It was the rainy season.
Someone from Yadgiri suggested a shortcut to Tumkur, the
village a few miles away where Telugu Swami lived. The
shortcut proved a wayward march and I had to wade through a
water-logged paddy. I learned that I should not have interpreted
Baba's instruction in the way I did. There and then I decided not
to make any more trips of this kind.
As I reached Tumkur I saw the great Jivanmukta lying on
his bed, nonchalant about being naked in spite of a group of
persons around him. His tall, stately stature, sparkling eyes and
shining skin made a great impression upon me, but it was far
beyond me to understand anything about his spiritual status. I
just bowed down to him, and after a while I left with an
understanding that to judge the spiritual state

SIX MONTHS STAY AT HYDERABAD

105

of a person from external signs was extremely unwise. What


business had I to adjudicate the spiritual standing of others?
A Mast Contacted in a Bank
In the latter part of July Baba visited Madras, where He
contacted about nineteen masts. The first one wore a peculiar
coat and long, loose trousers. He never cared to fasten the belt
and so the trousers would often drop down. This was due to the
state of majzoobiyat that he was experiencing. Another mast
named Ram Swarup Swami was completely naked. He ate
whatever was given to him. Baba fed him near Korrukpettai
railway station (a suburb of Madras) and Baba sat with him
happily for an hour. Maulvi Saheb Mastan, the chargeman of
Madras, was contacted in the part known as Triplicane. A
tireless "scribbler" named Nadan Swami was contacted in the
fruit market. He begged people only for pieces of chalk, which
he stored in abundance.
Mohammed Mastan was a tireless "stitcher." He sewed
pieces of cloth, tore them up and sewed them together again.
Baidul noticed him in the back lane of Anderson Street, and
Baba wished to contact him. So Eruch went into an office,
which happened to be that of a private bank. He told the banker
that his "elder brother" wished to be all alone with Mastan for a
short while. He inquired whether he would permit them to use
the room for this purpose. The banker agreed without argument
and ordered the clerks and the cashier to vacate the room. "Baba
contacted Mastan in the bank office, which was strewn with
money left lying about by the banker and his employees." 26
Quite unbelievable, but all the more true. Baba alone could
create such an atmosphere of confidence!

26

The Wayfarers, p. 294.

106

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

En route to Hyderabad Baba left the train at Raichur. There


He washed the feet of a group of poor persons and gave money
as prasad to each. He returned to Hyderabad by the end of July
1945. With this visit to the southern part of India, Baba's work
with the masts from His headquarters at Hyderabad neared a
close.
Baba Collects Toffees
The villa in Jubilee Hills had a nice swimming pool. It was here
that Margaret and Kitty taught diving to the Indian women
mandali. Each stay of Baba's at different places had some
striking incidents, and Hyderabad was not an exception. Baba's
everyday life was, in fact, an expression of His divine lila. I
wish to narrate two such events, obviously simple yet
intrinsically profound.
Rano Gayley had been staying with Meher Baba in India
since 1937. Once in Hyderabad she had gone out on work with
Dr. Donkin. While returning to Jubilee Hills, Dr. Donkin
casually gave Rano some sweets (toffees) and also gave some to
the men mandali living in the other bungalow. Rano
incidentally asked for some more toffees for Margaret Craske,
who shared a room with her in the villa. With toffees in one
hand, Rano was in the room about to give them to Margaret
when Baba appeared at the door and casually asked Rano what
she held in her hand. Like a guilty schoolgirl, Rano held out her
hand to Baba and told Him that Don had given these to her for
Margaret. Baba gestured, "Did you not think of giving me the
toffees first? Give what you have to me." He put the sweets into
His pocket and walked ahead. He also instructed Rano to collect
all the toffees that were left with the men mandali by Dr.
Donkin. A jealous God! In fact, Baba was fond of distributing
toffees and chocolates, not collecting them. Then why this
collection?
This was the only occasion during the entire stay at

SIX MONTHS STAY AT HYDERABAD

107

Hyderabad that Baba visited Rano's room, and quite at an


unusual time. In those days there were many restrictions to be
observed by the mandali living with Baba. One of them was
that the "indwellers" of the villa were not allowed to accept or
eat anything given by "outsiders" without Baba's permission.
Why Baba had such injunctions we do not know, but one way
or the other He always showed that He knew well if anyone
failed to abide by His standing instructions. How can one ever
hide anything from His omnipresence His most natural state?
Such simple incidents helped Baba people to deepen their faith
in Him. In lila, which means a divine sport, there is nothing
spectacular, yet it touches the deeper layers of the heart
inaccessible to sermons and discourses. And was not Meher
Baba the master sportsman?
A Joke Reveals Baba's Omnipresence
The second anecdote was narrated to me by one of my friends.
It is one of the significant events in his life with Baba. It is of a
private nature, so I refrain from mentioning his name. This
young Hindu Maharashtrian met Baba in 1943. From his
childhood he had had a passion for God. In his few minutes'
interview with Baba he told Him that the world and worldly
achievements held no charm for him and that he craved
illumination. He also expressed his preparedness to leave his
home and join Baba for any work whatsoever. Baba looked
pleased and blessed him. Baba told him to come to Ahmednagar
if and when he should receive a letter to that effect.
After some months Baba did call him to stay near Him, and
later he accompanied the mandali to Hyderabad. Short and well
built, he was fond of having regular kinds of exercise every day.
Some of the mandali nicknamed him "Hanuman" after the deity
of strength and celibacy worshiped

108

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

in the village gymnasiums. He was given the duty of keeping a


watch at the gate of the villa in Jubilee Hills.
One day when Baba was sitting with the mandali in the
villa, all of a sudden He inquired about this young cadet. He
was not at the gate, so someone asked Baba about the message
to be conveyed to the youth. With a smile that always seemed to
fill the heavens, Baba joked, "Nothing special. I wish someone
to perform his khatna (circumcision). Have we a sharp teeth
(knife) here?" This made the mandali laugh and Baba changed
the subject.
When the young man returned he was told that Baba had
inquired regarding his whereabouts. When he heard Baba's joke
about circumcision, which is one of the essential religious
ceremonies for any Muslim, he turned uncommonly solemn and
silent. It had a specific meaning for him.
Baba had asked this young lover to observe celibacy. That
morning as he was having a walk, on the way to the villa he saw
the young, fair daughter of a wealthy Muslim Nawab riding on
horseback. That particular area formed the locale of the wealthy
knights and nobles of Hyderabad State. As he looked at the
elegant damsel he had a thought, "Would that I had such a
partner in life! What if she be a Muslim and I a Hindu. What
harm! I can . . ." When in love, the young mind knows no
impossibilities. Nevertheless, he controlled himself and made
his way to the villa. It seemed that about this time Baba had
made the above joke. It made him feel deep down in his heart
the omnipresence of Meher Baba. To live with Baba was to go
through the constant marvel of being ever exposed to His divine
presence.

7
Pasarani to Angarishi Pahad, 1945

The Passing Away of Narayan Maharaj

MEHER Baba's work with the masts of Hyderabad and


southern India for the year 1945 was over in August. By the
first week of September the six-month lease of the villa in
Jubilee Hills at Hyderabad was to expire so Baba wished to
change His headquarters. The area indicated by Him was WaiMahabaleshwar (District of Satara). Vishnu was deputized for
house hunting. He visited many vacant bungalows, some small,
some big each had its specialties and defects. The main
condition laid down by Baba was that the residence had to be in
a secluded spot, neither too far from nor too close to the city.
After a good search, Baba approved of the "great gate palace"
of a Nawab at Pasarani. This was about two miles away from
Wai, located on the Poona-Mahabaleshwar road. This was
Baba's residence for about three months. With the mandali, He
stayed there from September 8 through December 15, 1945.
During Baba's stay at Pasarani a circular was sent to His
dear ones, and Baba gave the following information about the
passing away of Narayan Maharaj:
The timely recent physical death of Narayan Maharaj (the last
of my five Sadgurus connected with my work) and my going
away to some special far-off place in India, away from the men
and women mandali, during October, November and December
1945 are the leading signs of fulfilling

109

110

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

all that has been promised to the signatories. This tour to faroff places, however, lasted for fifty-two days.
Before giving any information about the momentous and
memorable tour to a secluded virgin area, I feel it worthwhile
and rather imperative to give a short account of the life of
Sadguru Narayan Maharaj. Meher Baba once stated, "What I
am, what I was and what I will be as the Ancient One is always
due to the five Perfect Masters of the Age. Sai Baba, Upasni
Maharaj, Babajan, Tajuddin Baba and Narayan Maharaj
these are the five Perfect Masters of this Age for me." 27
Each cycle consists of eleven ages. The Avatar's Advent is
in the eleventh age of a cycle (yuga). Narayan Maharaj, whom
Baba referred to last in the above, was coincidentally the last to
drop the physical body on September 3, 1945 at Bangalore
(Mysore State). 28
Narayan Becomes God-Realized
Narayan Maharaj was born in June 1885 to a Brahmin family in
the district of Karwar, Mysore State. In his infancy he lost his
parents, Bhimrao and Laxmidevi, so he had to live with his
maternal uncle at Nargund. At an early age, he left the house on
some pretext and his whereabouts remained unknown to his
relatives for about seven years. During this period he visited
Arvi, District of Poona, where he met his "spiritual mother."
Narayan told her that he was her son, and she intuitively felt the
truth of these words. She performed his "thread ceremony."
During his boyhood, adherence to rigorous spiritual practices
and the power of performing a good many miracles were the
two

27

Charles Purdom and Malcolm Schloss, Three Incredible Weeks with


Meher Baba, The Awakener, vol. 2, no. 3, 1955, p. 75.
28

The name of this site has been changed to Karnatak.

PASARANI TO ANGARISHI PAHAD

111

outstanding traits of Narayan's life. Nevertheless these miracles,


like the pranks of an innocent child, were never harmful.
Narayan was the devotee of Shri Dattatraya. Once he felt
impelled to visit Gangapur, a place about 250 miles away from
Poona. It is a great center of pilgrimage for the devotees of Shri
Dattatraya. There he coincidentally met a stranger, an old man
with an exquisitely radiant face. Inwardly Narayan accepted
him as his master, as he would accept sunlight or rain. The
master initiated him into Divinity. Later he asked Narayan to
bring bhiksha food received at the doors of householders
after chanting the name of God. When Narayan returned, to his
great surprise he found that the master, whose eyes seemed
wide with compassion for the whole human race, had deserted
him. He was so impressed with the love of his master that he
resolved neither to eat nor drink until he met him again.
For three days Narayan sat under a tree, waiting and
waiting, wholeheartedly calling his guru. It is said that on the
third night Narayan had a distinct vision in which the heavenly
stranger expressed his perfect happiness at Narayan's devotion,
accepted the bhiksha, bade him eat the rest as guru-prasad, and
blessed him. As he obeyed the command of his master, he felt
that the stranger could be none else but Lord Dattatraya himself.
This final touch brought a matchless mutation of the finite with
the Infinite in Narayan's life. Lord Dattatraya is regarded by the
Hindus as the one ever-present Sadguru who guides earnest
devotees by appearing before them in different forms and
bestows even God-realization on the deserving ones. This
reminds me of Baba's explanation of such an entity known as
Khwaja Kisser in Sufi terminology.
Henceforth Narayan's previous life of devotion, where the
duality of the Deity and the devotee existed, was over. He
became One with God. Baba once explained, "When

112

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

the aspirant (rahrav) enters the seventh plane he takes duality


into Unity. When he comes down again he brings Unity into
duality." In Narayan's case it was ordained that he had to lead
the life of God, as God, and be one of the five-in-one
personalities to play the unique role of placing the "veil" with
which the Avataric consciousness descends in human form.
While clarifying this divine descent, Meher Baba stated the
following:
In the Avataric periods, the five Masters always put this
veil upon the infinite consciousness of the Avatar, because
if he were to be brought without such a veil into the world
of forms, the existing balance between reality and illusion
would be profoundly disturbed. However, when the five
Masters think that the moment is ripe, they remove this veil
which they have placed on the Avataric consciousness.
From that moment the Avatar consciously starts his role as
the Avatar.
The incarnation of the Avatar does not take place unless
it is precipitated by the five Perfect Masters of the cycle.29
A Sadguru Plays a Double Role
When a Perfect Master assumes his office he generally selects a
place where he resides most of his life Sai Baba chose
Shirdi; Upasni Maharaj, Sakori; Babajan, Poona; and Tajuddin
Baba, Nagpur. Narayan Maharaj decided to settle at Kedgaon,
which is about thirty-four miles from Poona. There he built a
fine temple to Shri Dattatraya, a deity with three heads in one,
representing Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. People began to
revere and hail Narayan as Sadguru Narayan Maharaj and he
commenced guiding them in their

29

Meher Baba, Beams from Meher Baba on the Spiritual Panorama, p.30.

PASARANI TO ANGARISHI PAHAD

113

devotion to God. Aspirants began to stay near him and a small


colony sprang up in that barren land. It thrived and flourished as
years passed by. Cleanliness and quietude were the marked
features of this colony, known as Kedgaon-Bet. Bet literally
means an island and this place is surrounded by a rivulet.
To me it seems that Narayan Maharaj played a perfect
double role of Perfect Master and perfect devotee at one and the
same time. Hundreds of religious functions were arranged at
Kedgaon and meticulously performed, quite in contrast with the
activities around Hazrat Babajan and Tajuddin Baba. People
worshipped Narayan as Maharaj; Man-God (Sadguru). With
divine authority he would accept the homage of the devotees,
his own selves; another time he would be seen invoking and
worshipping the Lord like an ardent devotee. Here was the
Sadguru demonstrating the roles of Lord and servant through
divinity in action. Sadgurus are concerned only with awakening
the hearts of the people and are entirely unconcerned with the
outer forms of the activities that are carried out. To them
conventional ceremonies or unconventional programs are just
the same; they are ever beyond both.
In one of His discourses Meher Baba has made this point
clear:
In the performance of his universal work the Man-God
has infinite adaptability. He is not attached to any one
method of helping others; he does not follow rules or
precedents, but is a law unto himself. He can rise to any
occasion and play the role which is necessary under the
circumstances without being bound by it ... To show the
way to Divinity, the Man-God may often play the role of a
devotee ... even after realization, in order that others may
know the way. He is not bound to any particular

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


role ... For him there is nothing worth obtaining, because he
has become everything. 30

Owing to the atmosphere of ceremonial worship, some


regarded Narayan Maharaj as an orthodox person. But it was he
who first discerned the spiritual potentiality of Upasni Maharaj
and directed him to Sai Baba, who was extremely unorthodox
and unconventional in his relationship with his devotees. How
true are Meher Baba's words that Sadgurus are One in consciousness and differ only in functions.
Life as One Whole
Narayan Maharaj was a slim, delicate figure. Outwardly he
seemed to lead a princely life, but there was an air of utter
detachment about him in anything and everything he did. There
was a routine of programs to be followed at Kedgaon. To begin
with, Narayan Maharaj himself would get up as early as 4:00
A.M. He would sit for some hours in an underground room all
alone, immersed in his work.
Meher Baba, too, used to get up fairly early. In the early
days, at Manzil-e-Meem, He had enjoined His disciples to get
up before dawn and meditate regularly. He also explained to the
mandali the special significance of the early hours. In the course
of a talk He once remarked, "It was between 4:00 and 5:00
A.M. that Babajan made me realize the infinite bliss of Selfrealization, and it was the same time when Upasni Maharaj
brought me down to normal human consciousness of the gross
world." In passing I may add here that Meher Baba was born
around 5:00 A.M., so for Baba people this particular period shall
ever hold an unfading fragrance.

30

Meher Baba, Discourses, 3:38, 39

PASARANI TO ANGARISHI PAHAD

115

In the morning hours, after taking Shri Dattatraya's


darshan, Narayan Maharaj would see his devotees. He had quite
a large correspondence to which he personally attended. His
words of blessing had worked wonders, but to relate them
would be a different story altogether. After this he would have
his lunch, which consisted of buttermilk and half-ground boiled
jowar, quite in contrast with the costly clothes he wore. At noon
he would retire from all the activities of the ashram for an hour
or two. In the evenings he would attend the bhajan programs.
On Thursdays, when the procession of Shri Dattatraya was
taken round the temple, Narayan Maharaj would join in singing
bhajans. He had an exquisitely sweet voice, they said. On some
occasions he would join the devotees in indoor games. At times
he would explain the spiritual facts apparently based on the
games played. He often brought home to his devotees that
playing games, shouldering family responsibilities and devoting
oneself to the daily sadhana were not only interrelated but that
they formed part and parcel of life as one indivisible whole. In
summer, he followed a regular practice of offering with his own
hands a delicious cold drink called panhe, prepared from boiled
mangoes, to his devotees.
As one reads about the lives of Meher Baba's Masters, one
is tempted to ask whether Baba derived His love for games and
practice of distributing sharbat to His lovers from Narayan
Maharaj, as His love for qavvali from Hazrat Babajan. Baba had
once conveyed, "The five Masters have brought me down.
Naturally, therefore, the qualities of all the five are in me."
The All-Consuming Fire of Sacrifice
A number of miracles are attributed to Narayan Maharaj. Some
revere him for his demonstration of divine powers,

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

while a few criticize him for the use of powers. Narayan


Maharaj never attached any importance either to miracles or to
the comments of the people. Use of siddhis binds a sadhak to
illusion, but through the Sadguru it helps the unbinding of
karma of the persons concerned. In the hands of a sadhak,
siddhis suppress Divinity, but in the hands of Masters they
express Divinity. In one of His messages Meher Baba stated:
"Miracles are justified ... when they are performed for the
purpose of drawing humanity ... towards the final goal of
realizing God; otherwise they are definitely an interference with
the natural evolutionary process ... Miracles, in the last analysis,
are illusory ... There can be no special point in producing some
petty imitation illusions in the mighty infinite illusion already
created by God." 31 Like Sai Baba, Narayan Maharaj had drawn
many people towards spirituality through the numberless
miracles that "happened" about him, for which his divine
presence was a passive agent.
Narayan Maharaj always instructed his devotees not to pay
any heed to the supernatural events around him; he insisted,
through simple talks to them, on the importance of Nam Smaran
- wholehearted repetition of the name of God. He was not used
to giving long sermons or spiritual explanations, but in the
words he spoke there was an unearthly flavor which appealed
deeply to the hearts of his devotees. He advised people to lead a
spiritual life, an honest life based on what little understanding
they had, and "the necessary guidance will definitely follow,"
he assured.
After coming in contact with Meher Baba, out of
inquisitiveness I once wrote to Narayan Maharaj and received a

31

Meher Baba, Meher Baba on the Fiery Free Life and Seven Other
Messages (Ahmednagar, India: Adi K. Irani, 1952), p.13.

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117

prompt reply. He asked me to remain happy in the remembrance


of the Lord. Perhaps this was his cardinal message to all who
came into his contact.
In August 1945 Narayan Maharaj left Kedgaon for
Bangalore, where special arrangements were made for the grand
performance of most of the religious ceremonies mentioned in
Hindu scriptures, all at one and the same time, but at different
places on the same premises. It was an all-inclusive yajna a
sacrifice. The programs continued for three weeks, during
which hundreds of people from all parts of India participated in
various ways. Thousands of people were fed and received
dakshina at the hands of Narayan Maharaj. As soon as this
grand function was over in all respects, Narayan Maharaj most
peacefully dropped his physical body on September 3, 1945, as
the culminating act of offering himself on the fire of sacrifice.
Was it an emblematic indication that the life of a Sadguru is the
all-consuming fire of sacrifice?
Search for a Secluded Spot
There was a brief break in Baba's mast tours, and within a few
days the mandali felt settled at Pasarani. Vishnu was busy with
his daily visits to Wai for marketing and other necessities. Dr.
Nilu was active in looking after the health of all. In His own
way, Baba had kept everyone engaged in one work or the other.
For His universal work, He was planning for a tour to far-off
places and for finding a secluded spot to use in connection with
a special type of work in seclusion. Prior to this tour He wished
to visit Meherabad. He left Wai on September 18 and stayed for
some days at Meherabad. He made some visits to Pimpalgaon
to look at the reconstruction work on the rest house
(Meherazad). On the twenty-third He was entertained with a
singing

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program wherein Adi Sr. and Sidu sang selected ghazals. It was
good relaxation for Baba. In the last week of September He
returned to Wai.
Just after His arrival at Pasarani Baba sent a telegram to
Eruch at Poona, instructing him to see Kaka Baria at Bombay.
Accordingly, Eruch met Kaka and received a typed copy of
instructions. Baba had asked him to visit Darjeeling in West
Bengal and find a perfect, virgin spot in the Himalayas for
Baba's seclusion work. On the way to Calcutta, Eruch stopped
at Raipur, where Jal D. Kerawala was working as the Divisional
Commissioner. Jal had just returned from Sinhawa, situated in a
mountainous part, and was enthralled by the majestic wilderness
and grandeur of that place. It struck Eruch that this particular
part, yet untrodden by man, might appeal to Baba for His work.
A telegram was sent to Pasarani informing Baba of the dense
forest area and the possibility of acquiring an interior virgin
hilltop for Baba's work. Baba approved this proposal and sent a
reply telegram to that effect to Jal Kerawala. Thus, instead of a
place in the Himalayas, a small hilltop in the mountainous
region of Madhya Pradesh (Central India) was selected for
Baba's work. After making the necessary inquiries Eruch
returned to Pasarani, as there was no need for him to proceed to
Darjeeling.
"Wax-like" Body of Bansi Baba
On October 2, 1945 Baba left Wai for Raipur in a motor car
with Kaka, Baidul, Gustadji and Pendu, and with Eruch driving.
Baba thus commenced His tour to far-off places, and He was
away from Pasarani for a period of fifty-two days. The first
three weeks were devoted to contacting masts in Bengal and
Orissa. From Raipur Baba went to Calcutta, where He did His
work with the poor. Pendu and Eruch

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119

were to select 1,001 lower middle-class people and assemble


them at a central place to receive Baba's touch and prasad.
Baidul was to find the masts wandering in different suburbs of
Calcutta. Kaka and Gustadji used to accompany Baba and
attend to His personal needs.
On October 11, in a dharmashala at Kalighat, Calcutta, the
1,001 persons desired by Baba were brought together. Printed
tickets had been issued to them in advance, to avoid confusion.
The crowd was divided into two groups men and women.
Baba washed the feet of each person and gave him some money
as dakshina, unseen by anyone. He had His own reason for this.
He had ordered the mandali to observe a complete fast until this
program was over. They were not allowed even to drink water.
In Calcutta Baba heard of an adept pilgrim named Bansi
Baba. According to Meher Baba, an adept pilgrim is one who is
on the fifth plane, between the fifth and the sixth, or on the sixth
plane of consciousness. The village of Bansi is to the north of
Calcutta, a bit into the interior region. On October 14 Baba and
His party proceeded to Bansi via Midnapore, Vishnupur and
Bankura. From Midnapore and Bankura, Baba sent telegrams to
Jal Kerawala about the construction work at the "secluded
spot." It seemed that all the time Baba was occupied with His
impending work in deeper seclusion.
Bansi Baba was living a few miles away from Bansi. This
adept pilgrim was believed to be a double centenarian. Age had
reduced his body to skin and bones but had not affected his
spirit, so the spiritual splendor of the place was overpowering. 32
Baba was happy to contact this soul, in a dimly lit room where
Bansi Baba was reclining on a throne-like seat. He was wearing
a brown turban, a short dhoti and

32

See: William Donkin, The Wayfarers, p. 204.

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costly sandals. With eyes that shone like the morning light and a
fair, unwrinkled skin, he looked like a polished statue. Baba
later gestured that the body of the pilgrim resembled a model of
wax. Because of the peace that permeated the room Baba
remarked that the trouble to reach that out-of-the-way place,
heavy going through flooded rice fields, was amply justified.
Validity of Illusion Challenged!
The party now made an about-turn to Orissa on the east coast of
India. Baba visited Balasore, Bhadrakh, Cuttack and Bilaspur to
contact masts. Baba got wet to the skin by unexpected showers
of rain while contacting a mast at Bhadrakh, though in fact His
love had drenched the soul of the mast with His radiating
presence. At Cuttack, a key city of Orissa, nine mast contacts
were made one worth mentioning was a sixth plane jalali
mast named Mohammed Baba. He wore dirty clothes and would
not allow anyone to remove his treasure-bundles of filthy rags
piled on the shelves. He had been sitting in a tea shop for over
two decades. It was difficult to contact him in his happy mood,
but Baba's tender love made this possible on the third attempt.
In contrast to this, Pagla Baba, a mast of a high type, raised
his innocent eyes and welcomed Baba at first sight. After
paying his respects to Baba he offered Him sweetmeats, too.
But do outward responses of the masts necessarily indicate their
relationship with Baba on the inner planes of consciousness?
Whether they respond well or not, it was just the game of
Divinity, played through the Avataric presence of Meher Baba.
Again, one may ask how it is that the masts trespass against the
laws of nature known to us? Perhaps to relieve the rigidity of
the law of Illusion, Providence itself expresses, through the
lives of the masts, these vagaries which challenge the validity of
Illusion

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121

and reflect the transcendental beauty of eternal creativity.


The Arrangements on Angarishi Pahad
The most significant of Baba's secluded activities was to
commence soon on a hilltop a hundred miles from Raipur, near
a village named Ratwa in Madhya Pradesh (Central India). This
area was formerly known as Tapowan, for in ancient days four
illustrious sages named Shringi, Mnchakund, Kumang and
Angiras had undergone severe penance in this area in their
search for God. The hill connected with Angiras, known as
Angarishi Pahad, was selected for Baba's work. The necessary
orders to the Forest Range Officer at Sitamandi were issued by
the District Forest Officer, with instructions to make the
essential repairs to small bridges and mountain roads. This
helped Jal Kerawala to attend to the needs of the party expected
to stay on the hilltop. In that dense forest infested with wild
animals, a special hut was built on the top of this pahad for
Baba. A small natural cave from which the enchanting beauty of
nature could be seen to the heart's content was by the side of the
hut. There was also another cave with a different approach.
When seated in it one felt cut off entirely from the rest of the
world.
In addition to the main hut, two more huts were constructed.
One was for the mandali living with Baba and the other for the
mast who was to be brought from Ahmednagar. To ward off
wild animals the campfires were kept burning night and day, but
the real protection from them, and also from snakes, was Baba's
divine name. Baba wished to contact 101 masts before going to
this secluded spot. The desired number of masts was not
contacted, so to complete the work, for the "identical cosmic
results," Baba decided to bring Ali Shah, a mast from
Ahmednagar. He wished to

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work with him before He began His seclusion in earnest. By the


time Baba reached Raipur, all the arrangements had been
implemented in accordance with His instructions sent through
telegrams.
A Severe Seclusion Period
On October 31, 1945, Baba and His companions Kaka,
Baidul, Pendu, Adi Sr., Gustadji, Eruch, Jal Kerawala and Ali
Shah, the fifth plane mast reached the top of Angarishi
Pahad. Baba was happy to find His hut so ingeniously built on
the top of a rock by the side of the two caves. He worked here
daily for some hours with Ali Shah until November 4 and then
sent him back to Ahmednagar with Eruch.
On November 5 the seclusion commenced in earnest. Baba
was in the hut all alone from 7:00 A.M. until late in the evening,
immersed in His spiritual activity, which He pronounced to be
very severe and serious. Adi Sr., Gustadji and Kaka kept watch
outside the hut, in turns. The next day, the sixth, Jal Kerawala
managed to bring fifty-one poor persons to Baba on this pahad.
Baba washed their feet and gave them some money as prasad,
as was His usual procedure. On the seventh, after having a cup
of tea in the morning, Baba closed Himself alone in the hut for
the whole day. The eighth was perhaps the severest "working
day." Returning to normal body-consciousness was extremely
strenuous. Adi wrote, "Were it not for the perfect mastery of the
Spirit, His (Baba's) body would have fallen into bits."
On one of these days, as described in The Wayfarers:
Baba emerged, after having sat for many hours in
complete seclusion, his face more drawn and weary than Adi
ever remembered having seen it, and said that a gigantic disaster
would overwhelm the world that would wipe out

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123

three-quarters of mankind. Adi was deeply stirred, not only


by the anguish on Baba's face, but also because he
spontaneously dictated these words immediately on
emerging from his seclusion, as if the work done during that
seclusion had been specifically related to the world ..." 33
Here I wish to bring to the notice of my readers that Baba
later explained that some of His remarks were made in "His
own language" and not ours. So the literal meaning that we are
tempted to derive from such remarks might be misleading.
More about this when we come to that particular circular
regarding clarification of "His own language."
November 12 was the final day of seclusion. Two nights
previously it had started raining. In the words of Adi: "This
(rain) added to the discomforts of camp life. The six campfires
were put out and Baidul, who kept a watch at night, suffered
from severe cold. Beds turned wet, snakes popped out, and the
roaring of the tigers that was silenced only during rainy nights
was adversely compensated by the swarms of monkeys the next
morning." What a sojourn with the Saviour! Baba, however,
was pleased with the work done in seclusion. On the evening of
the thirteenth the party began the return journey to Raipur. On
the way the cars got stuck and had to be pulled out by buffaloes.
At midnight one of the cars stalled in the middle of the forest
road. What a plight!
By the evening of November 14 the party reached Raipur.
After such an arduous journey Baba did not agree to resting at
Raipur. Practically, He knew no "rest" until His body was laid
in its final resting place at Meherabad. Jal Kerawala, who had
arranged everything so well on the top of the hill in the dense
forest, could have provided anything and everything to make
Baba's stay comfortable at Raipur.

33

The Wayfarers, p. 81.

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

But Baba seemed to be in some incredible hurry, at least


outwardly, and decided to leave for Pasarani (Wai) that same
night.
Baba's Return to Pasarani
On the way to Nagpur by train Baba stopped at Jhansi, where
He preferred to pass the night on the railway platform. The
irregularities of the mast tour thus continued. At Mathura Baba
contacted Oriababa, a good mast. Then He extended His trip to
Bina and Sagar. At Sagar Baba and the mandali were reminded
of a remarkable mast whom Baba had nicknamed "MagarMast" a crocodile-skinned mast. He had been contacted five
years before when Baba had a mast ashram at Jabalpur.
Because of utter negligence of hygienic rules, the skin of that
mast became so scaly that it resembled that of a crocodile. Out
of His love for masts, Baba brought him to Jabalpur. Ample
application of oil for some days made his body shine brightly.
Mother knows that the baby is sure to soil his body in his
playful pranks, yet how lovingly she washes the baby clean!
Baba, the Divine Mother, took utmost care of the masts, His
dear ones, whenever they were brought to Him. He knew that it
was, in a way, only a temporary relief to the body, but love
responds perfectly to every need and Baba was Divine Love
personified.
Reaching Lalitpur, the party left the luggage in the cloakroom and visited Tikamgarh by bus. An old mast on the other
side of a century old was spotted. This contact made Baba very
happy. On the return journey the bus failed, the party got
stranded, and they reached Lalitpur by midnight. Baba was in
His best of moods, for whenever He met a real God-intoxicated
soul He felt highly delighted but those accompanying Him
looked fatigued and tired. From Lalitpur Baba went directly to
Wai, which He reached by

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125

November 24, 1945. Thus the year's journey by trains and


buses, over 9,000 miles to contact about 200 masts, was
finished. The mandali living at Pasarani felt exceedingly happy
to have Baba in their midst after such a long time.
One-Month Meeting Postponed Sine Die
Baba did not wish to continue His stay at Pasarani. In the first
week of December He was at Meherabad, and after a short
meeting with the mandali a circular was issued on December 4,
1945. Through it Baba conveyed the following information to
all His devotees in general, and to the signatories in particular:
1) During my stay at Hyderabad I told the mandali that I
shall die spiritually in November 1945. (During this period
Baba was in deep seclusion.)
2) At Angarishi Pahad I suffered so much that it almost
threatened my physical existence.
3) I have decided to culminate the momentum of my
working at my original place, Meherabad.
4) From 1 January 1946 I am going to retire for an indefinite
period in the crypt under the dome on the (Meherabad) Hill
for spiritual relaxation. Hence the oft-postponed one-month
meeting of the signatories is hereby finally postponed sine
die.
5) I may, however, call this meeting at any time. The
signatories will be informed about it ten days in advance.
They should be ready to join the rally, unreservedly, at any
cost or under any circumstances.
Owing to the above decisions, all the men and women
mandali left Pasarani by December 15, 1945 and arrived at
Meherabad for a stay with Baba, but with no definite plans for
the year 1946. To live with Meher Baba one had to try

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one's best to live in the present. In life with Baba one had to be
ready for any change, at any moment, for in the life of the GodMan every moment has a marvelous beginning and ending in
Divinity, free and complete.

8
A Few Months of Spiritual Relaxation, 1946

A Mystery Year!
"1946, a mystery year!" remarked one of the women mandali as
I asked her for some information about this year, and this
comment had a sound reason. From January 1, 1946, Baba was
to retire from His external activities for an indefinite period. It
was a sort of spiritual relaxation. With Baba the time factor was
always unpredictable. Perhaps it was difficult for the Timeless
One to fit His activities into time, so the duration of this
relaxation could be a day or a decade none knew! There
were no whispers about mast tours or reconsideration of the
meeting of the signatories. What next? Such an atmosphere of
uncertainty prevailed, more or less, throughout the year, even
among most of those who stayed with Baba.
During the latter part of this year, Baba moved to a place of
seclusion near Dehra Dun. All correspondence received at
Ahmednagar from the East and West was sent to B. D. (Papa)
Jessawala (Eruch's father), who redirected it to Baba's address.
This address was not disclosed to his disciples and devotees, so
knowing about Baba's activities was out of the question. The
form of God has great significance indeed, but through the
periods of seclusion Baba stressed the greater significance of
His formless presence. Since I

127

128

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

was a new acquaintance to Baba people, the only news I


received was that Baba was immensely busy and darshan was
not possible. I tried to make good use of this time by reading
and rereading the elucidations and expositions given by Meher
Baba on various topics of a spiritual nature. In addition to this,
just the words "God" or "Truth" scattered here and there were
enough to tempt me to read a number of books.
"What Is Philosophy?"
Reading is a risky game of absorbing interest sometimes
clarifying, sometimes confusing. Mere reading, with nose
against the pages, leads one astray. Perhaps it is like moving
vigorously through a dense fog from anywhere to nowhere. But
if the drive is from an urgency of conscience, it is a different
matter. Then it becomes a sport and one is not ashamed to admit
one's failures. I failed to be an average, much less a good,
sportsman. The arena of philosophy is very slippery. Certain
words have such a dubious meaning that understanding
becomes extremely difficult, while through the charm of some
set phrases philosophy entails a peril to take away truth! In this
sense one has to guard against the conclusions at which one has
arrived, for the ever-creative nature of Reality can never be
touched through words. That is why when one learned professor
asked Baba, "What is philosophy?" there was a smile on Baba's
face for a moment, and with a twinkle of gay mischief in His
eyes, He answered, "A simple thing made difficult!" How true!
Truth is strangely obvious and yet mysteriously imperceptible.
Yet I must confess that reading books on philosophy and the
lives of Masters, mostly in my mother tongue, Marathi, had
helped me a great deal. Nevertheless, I found myself in a state
of conflict, not so much

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129

about Baba but about His words. Words meant more to me than
His silence!
A Reply from Adi Sr.
Determined to change my way of life, I made many experiments
with my "self" but the results were far from satisfactory. I
became a bit cynical, though Baba never wanted anyone to
strangle his love of life. I withdrew from the world of
entertainment, which did not appeal to me very much, and
would not join my friends and colleagues on picnics or visits to
the movies. I asked them to leave me alone, and they did. Of
course some poked fun at my misty and mysterious views, but
that did not disturb me in the least. With all my lack of tact, I
felt that mine was not a wrong track. The more I tried to
experiment with life, the more aware I became of my
weaknesses. I felt confused. It was difficult to clarify my
position to myself. I wished to break away from many of my
selfish responses but couldn't.
I was not well acquainted with Adi Sr., Meher Baba's
secretary; however, I took the liberty of writing a long letter to
him portraying my state of mind. Part of his reply is given
below:
... Problems are always multiplied and magnified by the
mind when a sincere soul tries to transcend the mayavic
weaknesses. Facing these problems is not a weakness.
Inferiority complex, lack of concentration, waves of egoistic
failings, lack of confidence in spiritual attainment and in
spiritual poise, in following a particular line of action in life,
is all the play of Maya; and it is bound to come up in its
intensity when one tries to overcome it. ...
According to Baba's teachings, the more a person is

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

infested with thoughts and promptings of weaknesses, the


better an opportunity he gets to spend his past sanskaras.
Impressions could be spent, without future accumulation in
their trend, only if the thoughts of weaknesses are not
deliberately indulged in or put into action. So far as the
body is kept pure from bad motives put into action, man is
saved . . . .
Leave the rest to Baba His grace, His benign
benediction and His blessings. You do not know how it
works. You do not know how it transforms you from inside
out. . . .
With blessings of Baba ever on you.
I am very grateful to Adi Sr. for sending me such timely
replies and also for helping me in many other ways to come into
closer contact with Meher Baba.
"Tell That Fool It Is My Will"
Confusion has to cease voluntarily. This requires grace, or call
it what you may. Mere words on a verbal level do not quiet or
slow down the mind. One in confusion gets steeped in it unless
he gives up all effort of his own and lets God flood his being.
The following anecdote, which Adi Sr. told me later, appealed
to me very much.
One of Baba's closer ones was very earnest in trying to get
over his weaknesses. In spite of his sincere efforts he failed to
act according to his expectations. It was like the forgetful
professor who, while drowning in a swimming pool, failed to
remember that he could swim! When pulled out by his pupils
standing nearby, he lectured on the importance of swimming!
Unlike the professor, this Baba lover was really keen to live
what he believed to be true, but he became very disappointed
and exasperated. In the end he requested Adi Sr. to ask Baba the
reason for such repeated failings.

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131

Adi related the question to Baba. Because of His intimate


relationship with this person, Baba remarked, "Tell that fool it is
my will." This answer is as baffling as it is potent with spiritual
significance. Does it not point out the limits of one's efforts and
the necessity for deeper, unmotivated surrender to the Master?
Getting the opposite answer expected from the Master may
shock one at first, but as it is quietly absorbed, without selfresistance, there is an awakening which enlightens the way of
the seeker.
Baba's Words Cheer and Heal
During this year I continued writing letters to Baba directly, but
without any mention of this phase of confusion. My short letters
would end by conveying my pranams at His holy feet and a
request for darshan if He was pleased enough to grant it. Baba
was in semiseclusion and the letters were read to Him. He was
gracious enough to direct the replies, which conveyed that He
knew well the state of my mind. The following two extracts
from letters received through Adi Sr. brought messages to me
from Baba that filled my heart with courage and comforted me
to a greater extent. Adi wrote:
"Baba is happy and says that He appreciates your love and
longing. He is with you, and you will feel it more and more in
your thoughts and acts. He sends you His profound love and
blessings."
In the other letter he wrote:
"Baba says He has His Nazar always on you, so you should
not worry about anything. Just remember Him always at heart
and do your daily duties, leaving the rest to Him who is allknowing and all-pervading. He sends His love blessings to
you."
Baba's messages or replies, conveyed through His gestures,
sent forth miraculous vibrations, I think. Received

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through letters, they acted as a balm that healed deep wounds of


the mind and heart. The process was sometimes gradual,
sometimes surprisingly quick, but it never missed the mark, for
love never fails. Every time I received a letter from Baba it
filled me with joy, and sometimes I felt like dancing around like
a madman.
"Could You Not Find a Hindu Master?"
I would like to conclude my narration of this phase of
discomposure by relating an amusing incident which I still
remember well. In my attempt to get out of this web of
indiscrimination, I thought it might help me to talk to the
elderly and religious-minded persons of my locale. I also
wished to tell them something about Baba. It was the first time
that I spoke openly to a group about Baba's divinity. After my
first contact with Baba, the books by and about Him were
carried at the bottom of my bag, for I feared that someone might
argue with me or criticize me for following a Parsi! The group I
had invited corroborated my assumption, but thank God this did
not affect me adversely. On the other hand, the meeting helped
me realize that such persons are generally dogmatic and keep all
mental doors closed against any genuine inquiry. They are, of
their own making, the prisoners of their thoughts and
experiences.
The meeting had its climax at the end when I expressed a desire
to perform Baba's arti. One of my friends, a lawyer, got very
annoyed at this suggestion. He got up from his seat and a look
of distress crossed his face as he said, "I can't stay here when
the arti of Meher Baba, a non-Hindu, is being sung." He also
added, "Could you not find any better person from the scores of
Hindu saints as your master?" He would not have objected to
my consulting Dr. K., a famous Parsi doctor in Poona, for
troubles of the heart,

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133

but he had serious objection to my following Meher Baba, the


Enlightened One, born to a Parsi family at Poona, for the
awakening of the heart!
The man was my guest, so I did not argue but pleaded with
him to sit outside the room for a few minutes till the arti was
over. This was accepted, and later I persuaded him to partake of
the refreshments. Good Heavens! He did not object on either
legal or spiritual grounds! While leaving, however, he advised
me to reconsider my choice of masters. He did not know that
my going to Meher Baba was "choiceless." Mind builds high
walls of prejudices that imprison man, but heart does not
recognize such artificial barriers created by human folly, and
Baba's presence had touched my heart.
Contact with the Master
Every phase in life brings in its wake typical experiences of
pain and pleasure that help us to understand it deeply and
thoroughly, and there are innumerable phases. Baba in His
infinite patience is not in a hurry to speed up the journey,
though one finds His helping hand lovingly stretched out here
and there. Now and then His grace opens a window to the
beyond, and that divine breeze is always heartening. As one
comes in contact with the Master, life is quickened. Sometimes
one feels inspired and secure, at others dejected and nervous.
As far as I remember, Kabir, a Perfect Master of the fifteenth century, wrote that one's coming in contact with the GodMan can be likened to the application of soap to clothes dipped
in water. Wholehearted remembrance of the God-Man is like
washing the clothes. Naturally the dirt comes out, and one
wonders if the clothes could have been so dirty! Kabir has also
warned aspirants not to be afraid of such discomforting and
disturbing phases in life. Meher

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Baba, also, has remarked, "As you come in my contact


(personal or impersonal) the good and bad buried deep within
you come out in flashes." It was only with the inner help of
Baba that I could face in myself desires which I had not known
I possessed. Whenever the flashes of "good" and "bad" made
their appearance, it was not smooth sailing. It was delving deep
below the surface as life raced overhead, around and within me.
But is there any depth where Baba's grace cannot reach and
help?
Mast Work at Meherabad
According to a circular issued to His devotees, Meher Baba's
spiritual relaxation commenced on January 1, 1946, but after
just four days He wished to begin His work with the masts,
though moderately. On January 5 Ali Shah, who was ever
available at Ahmednagar and who had previously shared Baba's
manifold spiritual burdens, was brought to Meherabad. Baba
worked with him from nine in the morning until midday for
seven days.
Ali Shah was a perfect type of jamali mast. His simplicity
resembled that of a child. Sitting quietly in a room, he loved to
smoke and smoke, day in and day out. He would smoke
cigarettes down to the very end and so his fingers had big scars
from burns, but he did not mind that. He had never refused to
come to Baba for work. The only drawback he had, remarked
Baba, was that Ali Shah had a sleepy and sluggish
temperament. In other respects he was a jewel among the masts.
After Ali Shah was sent back to Ahmednagar, three masts
were brought to Meherabad from Bhaindar, Kurla and Mahim,
suburbs of Bombay. Baba kept each of them at Meherabad for
four days. Bhaindar is on the seacoast, and the mast from there
lived near the salt pans. Immersed in his masti, once he did not
even leave his hut when it was

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135

inundated with flood waters. Upon seeing this, people built a


new hut on higher ground and the mast agreed to live there. The
mast brought from Kurla had a habit of moving his fingers
unceasingly and shaking his head continuously, a peculiar
restlessness. The one from Mahim was lame and exceptionally
fat. "All these three masts were moderate," remarked Baba, and
hence the work done was not a strain on Him. He worked with
each in His own way and they were sent back to their respective
towns with care and comfort. Perhaps Baba was not in a mood
to contact jalali masts of a high order during this period of
relaxation, but this was only a lull before a stormy program of
mast contacts in the latter part of the year.
Meher Baba's Birthday Message
By the beginning of February the repairs to the rest house near
Pimpalgaon were nearly completed. To avail themselves of that
quiet atmosphere Baba and the mandali left Meherabad for a
stay at Meherazad. Baba stayed in the rest house from February
3 through April 15, 1946. Visitors were not permitted and the
phase of spiritual relaxation continued. In the early years Baba's
birthday was celebrated according to the Zoroastrian calendar,
and this year it was on February 15. Baba lovers from Bombay,
Poona and Ahmednagar celebrated the day with joy and also
with the expectation of having Baba's darshan soon. Baba did
not permit anyone from the outstations to see Him at
Meherazad; however, He released a special message for this
occasion:
Your love, your devotion, your steadfastness amidst storms
of oppositions, self-created or real, is commendable. Your
allegiance to the cause of Truth, for which alone I stand, is
unique.

136

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

Every year that passes brings fulfillment to the


tremendous task of the spiritual uplift of the world, which I
work up dynamically through humanity in their intense
suffering, joy and vigor, because I am the One in all.
Amongst all my previous birthdays, the present one
represents the end of a year full of great upheavals
outstretching from rigorous spiritual activity performed
during my fast, travels, hardships, seclusions and contact of
the poor suffering people and spiritually advanced masts.
Suffering comes and goes, joy comes and goes, pleasure
comes and goes they will demand your utmost patience,
courage, poise, and above all, your love and obedience to
me. Whoever stands for me stands for the Truth, the eternal
light that is forever illumining the hearts of you all.
Through darkness to light, through suffering to
happiness, through chaos to harmony will be the end of the
journey. All sufferings have an end. Spiritual happiness has
no end. It is perennial.
Giving over your goodness, your strength and your
weakness in entire submission to me, you will share my
treasure of happiness. My love and blessings to you all.
Work with the Poor in the Relaxation Period
It being winter, the climate at Meherazad was cool and bracing.
The fields nearby were not under much cultivation then. Only a
man here or a woman there would be seen passing by, so all
around the atmosphere was quiet and peaceful. Meherazad is
encircled by low hills and so it has a glorious sunrise and a
beautiful sunset. Baba would take a stroll, mostly in the
mornings, along the slopes of Tembi Hill. He was fond of
watching for pebbles of varied colors and shapes. As they
walked with Baba, the women mandali used to collect these
pebbles, and Baba looked as delighted as an innocent child and
showed great interest in some of

SPIRITUAL RELAXATION

137

them. Sometimes Baba's pockets would even bulge with this


"treasure." Within a few weeks there was a heap of shining little
stones lying near the rest house. Later this treasured collection
was placed in the foundation of Baba's house the most
adequate use, indeed.
In the month of March there was no special work with
masts, but Baba contacted about 4,000 poor people on March 16
and 17 at Jamgaon, Kolegaon and Mirajgaon, all in the district
of Ahmednagar. Baba took His seat in a specially prepared
room, secluded from the gathering. As the poor people entered
this room in a queue, Baba personally contacted each individual
with love, compassion flooding His luminous eyes. He gave
each person sixteen pounds of groundnuts wrapped up in two
yards of white cloth. In addition, they were blessed with the
look of sympathy that He gave to each. It filled their hearts with
cheer. Some were lame and it was not easy for them to walk the
distance, and they did not know that this pilgrimage was worth
all the pains. There were some blind ones, too. They who were
denied the sight of the blue sky stretching to the horizon, the
moon, the stars and the lovely rose, felt unawares the tender
touch of the Rose of humanity, the Avatar, as they were led to
Baba. As they came out, the joy on their blank faces was clearly
visible. About the lame, the lepers, the blind and the beggars
living in dire poverty, Baba once remarked, "India is
inextricably mingled with the noblest and the saddest to be seen
on earth."
Aside from the distribution of groundnuts to the poor, there
were practically no external activities at Meherazad. Sometimes
it appeared to some of the resident mandali that Baba would
continue this relaxation period indefinitely, for days or even for
months. But one of the mandali, Papa Jessawala, was sent by
Baba to Dehra Dun in northern India, to find a suitable place for
His stay and from which He could contact the masts in Sind
(now in Pakistan), Punjab

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

and Uttar Pradesh areas spiritually rich, with a number of


masts of a high order. Most of the mandali had no idea of this
proposed change of residence nor were they concerned with it.
As one lived with Baba, uncalled-for inquisitiveness dwindled
by itself and one felt happy just to live and obey Baba. What
better state could one aspire to than this, when one had the
unique opportunity of living with the God-Man?
By the end of March, Baba received the news of the passing
away of a dear soul, the mother of Elizabeth Patterson. Baba
cabled His dear Elizabeth, "Your mother has come to the divine
Universal Mother." It is a fact that all the relatives of Baba
people indirectly establish a contact with Baba and are benefited
spiritually. So compassionate is the divine Universal Mother,
Baba!

9
Niranjanpur, the Place of Seclusion, 1946

A Signal for a New Phase


MARCH 1946 passed off quietly at Meherazad. In the first
week of April, Baba received a letter from Jal D. Kerawala,
Deputy Commissioner at Raipur. He wrote that the hut on the
Angarishi Pahad, where Baba did His intense spiritual work the
previous winter, had been completely burned in a forest fire.
Baba smiled meaningfully as this was read to Him, as if the last
stage of the work in hand was entirely over and it was a signal
for a new phase of spiritual activity. By this time Baba had also
received news from Papa Jessawala about the bungalow leased
for His stay in seclusion in the north of India, over a thousand
miles from Ahmednagar.
Meher Baba decided to leave Meherazad for intensified
external activities in connection with His mast work in Punjab,
Sind and Uttar Pradesh. The six months from mid-April to midOctober 1946 was a period of constant travel by rail, bus or any
other vehicle at hand, to contact souls who were divinely mad in
their search for eternal values. Masts are God-intoxicated souls,
and during this period Baba seemed to be mast-intoxicated! He
did not rest well or eat well, but He moved on and on
ceaselessly in different directions to find these wayfarers, to
serve them and to feed them spiritually.

139

140

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

While explaining the importance of mast work Meher Baba


once stated:
When a mast gets walled-in by his own self-sufficiency
and desirelessness, only the Master can draw him out of the
isolation of his choice, by awakening within him an
expansive love that breaks through all limitations, and
prepares him for shouldering the important responsibility of
rendering true service to others who are in need of spiritual
help.
Because of his being stationed on the inner planes, which
are free from the limitations and handicaps of the gross
world, a mast can be, and often is, in contact with a far
greater number of souls than is possible for an ordinary
person ... A mast can therefore be a more effective agent for
spiritual work than the most able persons of the gross world
...
... In a thousand ways, the Master makes an irresistible
appeal to the inmost being of masts, and awakens in them
the undying spring of creative action. 34
In the light of these statements one can in a way sense the
magnanimity of Baba's earnestness in contacting scores of
masts in Sind, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, described hereunder.
The Passing Away of Countess Tolstoy
Just before Baba's departure for the place of seclusion, He had
news from the United States about the passing away of
Countess Nadine Tolstoy. She was one of Baba's dearest
disciples. After a protracted illness, she died in Roosevelt
Hospital in New York on April 14, 1946. Baba cabled to
Princess Norina Matchabelli: "Tell Elizabeth [Patterson]

34

William Donkin, The Wayfarers, pp. 10-11.

NIRANJANPUR, THE PLACE OF SECLUSION

141

Nadine now lives in me, with me and for me more than ever."
Adele Wolkin, a nurse, had been caring for Nadine in the
hospital. In a letter to beloved Baba, Adele wrote: "Tomorrow
(April 17) Nadine will be cremated and her ashes sent to you in
India, her true home. Finally her torture has been dissolved in
you ... Many times it gave me great joy to serve her. And, as
Elizabeth said, Nadine rendered greater service to me by
bringing me closer to you." So radiating was Nadine's love for
beloved Baba, even in her serious illness.
As for me, since hearing about Baba in 1943 and reading
about Him, I felt deeply impressed by the articles of Countess
Tolstoy. They expressed her intense devotion to God in human
form, the Avatar, which I had not expected of a person brought
up in western culture. Would that I had met her! As time has
rolled on I have realized that such distinctions as "East" and
"West" do not exist between Baba people in expressing their
love for the God-Man. Articles by Nadine Tolstoy such as "The
Happiness of Suffering," "Meher Baba and My Spiritual Path,"
and "Who Is That Man?" were published in the Meher Baba
Journal. As one reads these commentaries on the divine life of
the God-Man, they reveal the depth of her understanding and
her unshakable faith in Meher Baba as the Avatar. At the end of
the articles, explaining why she followed Meher Baba, Nadine
very aptly quoted the following short message from Meher
Baba that served as a beacon in her life with Him:
"Serve Him who serves the whole Universe; obey Him who
commands the whole creation; love Him who is love Itself.
Follow Him in every walk of Life." 35
Fortunate was Nadine to love, serve and follow Meher Baba
"more than ever," even after dropping the body.

35

Countess Nadine Tolstoy, Meher Baba and My Spiritulal Path, Meher Baba
Journal, October 1941, p. 685

142

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


The Dream Come True

Countess Nadine Tolstoy met Baba during His first visit to


America in 1931. A Russian, she attended the University of
Petrograd, studying psychology, logic and philosophy.
Afterwards she continued her studies at Lausanne University in
Switzerland and also studied piano, later entering the Moscow
Conservatory. She had mystical inclinations. She had not met
Count Leo Tolstoy, the world-famous Russian writer, and she
was astonished that she saw him in dreams three times though
he was at that time dead. In the third dream a man resembling
Leo appeared to her. He was in a big boat that was approaching
the shore as if to take her along. She later met Count Ilya, Leo's
eldest son, at a friend's house, and the significance of the dream
became evident when she realized he was the man in the boat.
They left Russia in 1917 to live permanently in the United
States, where they were married. Count Ilya, also, met Meher
Baba in New York. About this meeting he remarked to Nadine,
"It is the first time in my life that I meet a man who has Divine
Love." 36 Before his death he experienced a greater spiritual
transformation. In her article appearing in the Meher Baba
Journal in July 1941, Nadine expressed how sorry she felt that
Count Leo Tolstoy had not had the unique opportunity of being
helped by a living Perfect Master.
Meher Baba Revealed as Krishna
Because of deep insight and subtle sensitivity, Countess Tolstoy
had some unique experiences of Meher Baba's divinity during
her first two contacts with Him in the West.

36

Countess Nadine Tolstoy, Those Who Follow the Master, Meher Baba Journal,
May 1940, p. 435.

NIRANJANPUR, THE PLACE OF SECLUSION

143

In her series of articles, "Meher Baba and My Spiritual Path,"


she gave a graphic account of her first meeting with Baba:
A letter came from a friend of mine, Mr. Schloss, who
had an occult bookshop in New York, asking me to come
and meet a Perfect Master who had just come for the first
time to America [November 1931] and was in Harmon in
New York ... The Perfect Master! Immediately I was there
at the appointed time ... My intuition was unquestioning and
sure ... I dragged my broken wings though my feet had
swiftly lifted me up the steps into his upper room. I
remember chanting, "Om." I entered the room.
Deep in the rear, stretched on the couch was that mysterious, long expected Being, the Divine Enigma the
True One!
Simple, light, thin, small, sparkling and youthful, so
unpretentious but strangely mysterious and clear. So different from certain scenic appearances of ascetics . . .
He reminded me of something of somebody I knew
far off, but could not catch the vision. I felt as if he were
challenging my inner memory, and his whole posture and
atmosphere was asking, "Can't you remember? Don't you
remember me in the past?"
One of the first things he spelled out on the board (as he
was silent for years): "It is long since you are waiting for
me. I will help you" beamed at last the saving promise! .
..
Immediate recognition of my soul created a feeling of
absolute confidence. Comforted, I already knew that he is
the True One . . . He was like the shining sun, that we do not
question. He simply and naturally entered into my life and
into my hidden being. Exalted feeling of happiness, uplift
and security lifted "my wings." I was so happy and so
unhappy at the same time. For, as I was then, it was not
given me to enter the closest sanctuary

144

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


of his being. As I left him, suddenly it became clear that
he was Krishna. All the time the image of Krishna was
before me . . . 37
"I Saw" Christ Before Me

About Meher Baba's second visit to America, in May 1932,


Countess Nadine wrote:
Meher Baba returned to New York. This time it was the
greatest feast of my heart ... Unforgettable will ever remain
the divine experience of seeing and contacting him again. I
came in the early morning, hoping to appear at any time of
his calling. I had to wait long hours; but they seemed to me
a granted blessing for I could sit in stillness seeking deeper
communion with him, attuning my whole being for the
sacred moment ... It is very difficult to speak of one's most
sacred moments of life. And it is still more difficult to
express the deep impression of Baba, as I saw and felt him
this time.
I saw Christ before me, as he was seated on the couch in
the expression of all his figure and his divinely lit up face, in
his eyes, beaming love, that no words can describe as they
radiate the flame of his mystical power! ... The climax of
my life, for now I was conscious what his guidance meant to
me. His Christ-like luminous and healing power brought me
to his feet; on my knees, I sobbed in tears of repentance, joy
and gratitude ... As I was all in tears, blood rushed from my
nose, which he instantaneously stopped. He was more a
Christ and a God-Man than a human, so etheric and
luminous as he patted me, comforting and giving peace ...
As the Master gave me the sign to leave, I immediately
stood up and in profound respect to his divinity and in order
to prolong the precious moments so short and so

37

Countess Nadine Tolstoy, Meher Baba and My Spiritual Path, Meher


Baba Journal, July 1941, pp. 507-509.

NIRANJANPUR, THE PLACE OF SECLUSION 145


eternal, I began to leave backwards, looking in his eyes
which were flaming love and light, reaching the deepest
recesses of my being ... He smiled, revealing himself as
Christ. As I was going out, all of a sudden I stopped and
with a great force of inner recognition, spontaneously,
unaware to my own intent, I declared as loud as I could:
"Jesus Christ!" with all the solemnity of those great words.
Something within me recognized in this dear shape of
Meher Baba the incarnation of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. So,
the unbelievable became a revealed fact . . . 38
Aren't these experiences exceptionally sublime? Formerly,
as I used to read or hear about such revelations, my immediate
reaction would be to crave them. But later, with Baba's grace, I
realized that nothing could be more wrong than this. Those who
deserve and are prepared receive such glimpses of divine grace
unasked. Just to desire them vehemently is a sickness of mind
and an insult to God. Life is a mysterious sport of the "Lawless
Infinite." The attempt to narrow it down to suit one's own
thoughts and theories would be folly. Yet life is too strange to
accommodate just any theory or philosophy. Baffling indeed is
the mighty beauty of this game! It is all-inclusive, and more,
too. Perhaps such an attitude could be a healthy opening for
appreciating the sublimity of such exalted revelations, and
Countess Nadine Tolstoy was a noble soul with profound
understanding who gracefully participated in the lila of Meher
Baba.
Meher Baba Reached Niranjanpur
On April 16, 1946 Baba left Ahmednagar to go to the place of
seclusion in Uttar Pradesh. This particular place was not known
to Baba people. Only after Baba dropped the body

38

Meher Baba Journal, July 1941, pp. 510-511

146

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

did I learn that it was Niranjanpur, a small village near Dehra


Dun, where a small bungalow with a fairly good garden was
hired for Baba's stay. The women mandali who lived in
Niranjanpur with Baba were Mehera, Mani, Meheru, Naja,
Kitty, Rano and a few others. It was about this time that
Margaret Craske and Irene Billo were permitted by Baba to
leave India for America and Switzerland, respectively. They
had had the good fortune to live with Baba for over seven years.
The men mandali who accompanied Baba were Vishnu, Dr.
Nilu, Kaka, Baidul, Jal (Baba's brother) and Eruch. The first
two looked after the requirements and comforts of the women
mandali at Niranjanpur. The latter four accompanied Baba on
His mast tours. Soon Jal was replaced by Adi Sr. By the end of
September 1946, Pendu, also, was called by Baba for the
concluding part of His strenuous mast work.
Baba wished to remain absolutely undisturbed during this
period of six months. Those moving with Him were spellbound
by His love for masts and the extraordinary responses given by
the masts in recognition of Baba's divinity. As Baba instructed,
in the beginning of May 1946 Adi Sr. issued the following note
to Baba people in India:
"As Baba is traveling for His work and is not likely to be
stationed at one place, do not correspond with Him till further
notice."
In spite of this outward restriction, calling on Him inwardly
for help was not disallowed. Perhaps such restrictions were
occasions to invoke Baba's guidance, ever so close within one's
heart. In May, Adi Sr. joined Baba at Niranjanpur. In spite of
Adi's note, whatever mail from India that was received at
Ahmednagar, and also the letters and cables which arrived from
the West, was sent to Papa Jessawala at Poona. He redirected all
correspondence in a single bundle to Baba's residence at
Niranjanpur. Thus, every precaution was taken to keep Baba's
activities a

NIRANJANPUR, THE PLACE OF SECLUSION

147

guarded secret from all His disciples and devotees in the East
and in the West.
Baba Grinds Food Grain
On April 20, 1946, Baba commenced his momentous work with
the masts. Baidul, Eruch, Kaka and Jal accompanied Him. By
the end of April He had visited Hardwar, Rishikesh and Panipat.
The first two places abound with sadhus and seekers, and Baba
visited them several times. At Panipat He contacted ten masts.
There was a naked mast near the shrine of Bu Ali Shah
Qalandar. He was blind and Baba was observing silence a
peculiar situation! Yet to ensure the privacy of His work Baba
had a curtain raised at the time of contact. Perhaps with the light
of His presence Baba had lighted the entire being of that blind
mast.
Physical blindness is not a drawback in spiritual
advancement. An old mast named Harihar Baba lived in
Benares. In January 1939 during Baba's stay there He sent Kaka
and Princess Norina to deliver a special message to this mast. In
reply, he very affectionately uttered the word "Meher" three
times. He was completely blind and yet he was the head of the
masts at Benares in Baba's words, the chargeman.
At Panipat two masts aged ten and twenty were of the
madar-zad type, meaning born as masts. The party then
proceeded to Ludhiana in Punjab. Here an adept pilgrim had an
ashram, and after arti he was contacted all alone in his room by
Baba. To meet Dandi Swami, Baba and the mandali had to
remove chappals, shoes, belts, wallets anything of leather
that was about their persons.
At Amritsar, which is famous for the Golden Temple of
Sikhs, Baba met a mast from the Khoja community. In the eyes
of this mast, gold was just a metal. To him "the reed was as the
oak." It made no difference to him whether he

148

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

was lying in a gutter or whether his body was anointed with the
attar (perfume) called hina. Near Phillaur, at Bhatia, lived an
old initiate pilgrim named Amir Ali Shah. He always sat outside
the tomb which he had built for his own interment. Pointing to
the tomb, he would often repeat the words that meant: "Do
good; be good in your short sojourn in this transitory world.
Death is inevitable. It is the end of all things."
At Sangatpura, a village near Phagwara, Baba contacted
Nekishah Baba and gave him food-grain (wheat) and sugar. The
mast asked Baba to grind it on the grinding wheel and then mix
it with water. Baba often complied with the whims of the masts,
so on that day, with the help of Baidul, Baba did this job quite
lovingly. Perhaps He had to repeat this gesture of service after a
period of about twenty-two years, for He did grind the foodgrain in the early years of His stay at Meherabad. Baba added
sugar to the paste and fed Nekishah. In the end the mast offered
Baba a part of it, which He accepted. In the other village
nearby, Khorrampura, a very high mast named Khudai Baba
offered Meher Baba a chair and a cup of tea. In short, Baba's
mast work commenced with a warm, welcome response from
the masts.
The Youngest Mastani and a God-mad Hakeem
Baba reached Lahore on May 7. This was the only place that
could compete with Hyderabad, Andhra, in the number of its
masts. All of them, as many as fifty, were contacted by Baba,
mainly between the years 1943 through 1946. This time about
twelve were contacted. Some masts with a lust for wandering in
their veins were rag collectors, too. Baba Hyat Mast was
contacted under a tree in a public garden it had been his seat
for over two decades. Jaffar Shah had a passion for flying kites,
so at every contact Baba

NIRANJANPUR, THE PLACE OF SECLUSION

149

would present him with some fine ones. This made the mast
quite happy, but Baba was even happier, for then His work
could be accomplished satisfactorily.
Baba contacted a young mastani, perhaps the youngest Godintoxicated woman met during Baba's mast tours in India. Baba
remarked that in spite of her youth and the locality, where she
lived all alone, she was pure at heart and was a good mastani,
too. Moti Baba, another mast, had many bundles beside him
containing almost any nonsense to be found on earth that
was his treasure. He was an adept pilgrim and was much
revered by the people of the town, especially the prostitutes.
About two miles from Sialkot, Baba contacted Kaka Mastan
Shah, who had the habit of piling up chappatis in addition to
collecting bundles of rags and bits of paper. Sometimes he was
majzoob-like and sometimes salik-like. In his majzoobiyat,
which is a state of overpowering passive awareness of God's
presence, Kaka Mastan Shah did not pay any heed to the regular
activities and cleanliness of the body.
Another mast named Kaka Saiyid Mastan was spotted in a
village called Saidanwali. Many people visited him to pay
homage, so a dharmashala was built to house the visitors. After
visiting Jammu and Wazirabad, Baba reached Saharanpur to
contact a few masts. Among them was Behra Sufi, a God-mad
one who used to prescribe Unani medicines as a hakeem
(doctor). And people believed in his diagnoses! An old mast
with very long hair lived in a small tent pitched right in the
street, but people did not object to this. If given food, he ate a
little and threw away the rest. Baba remarked that he was a mast
of the sixth plane.
From Saharanpur, via Lucknow, Kanpur, Deoband and
Chhachhrauli, the party returned to Niranjanpur. After His
return to this place of seclusion Baba did not go out on
extensive tours for some weeks. He visited only nearby places
for His mast work.

150

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


He Danced with Joy Around Baba

Baba paid a special visit to Batala to contact Lahori Baba on


May 29, 1946. This mast was almost naked and lived in a
sweeper colony (a slum). He once had been a first-class officer,
a commissioner, but because of certain revelations vouchsafed
to him, he later preferred to be an humble servant of God. In the
beginning he evaded Baba's contact but "was eventually run to
earth at an octroi. There he sat with Baba for a few minutes, and
then burst out crying and walked away." 39 On Baba's second
visit to Batala the chase went on for about ten miles, but at the
end Baba did contact him in a field and felt immensely pleased
about it. This was indeed a wonderful pursuit by the Master to
overtake a mast!
Among the masts contacted in the bungalow at Niranjanpur
there was an old man not known in that area. The incident was
remarkable, for while two of the mandali were returning to the
bungalow in a tonga, this old man followed them in an
appealing way. This made the mandali accommodate him in the
same tonga, and as they neared the gate of the bungalow where
Baba resided the mast remarked, " 'Gulistan men agaye,'...
meaning ... 'We have come to Paradise.' " 40 The place where the
God-Man stays is no less than the real Paradise.
As Baba came out of the room, the old man approached
Him and began to gaze lovingly at His face. They exchanged
smiling glances. Looking at Baba, the mast felt completely
happy and his happiness seemed genuine and unforced. With
tears of joy welling up in his eyes, he turned to those standing
nearby and said aloud, "Look at this man's face and forehead,
they shine as if the sun were there; can't you recognize who he
is?" 41

39

The Wayfarers, p.207.


Ibid., p.354.
41
Ibid., p.354
40

NIRANJANPUR, THE PLACE OF SECLUSION

151

Baba took him by the hand to the gardener's hut and


remained with him for about fifteen minutes, and the mandali
heard the mast give some hearty, jolly laughs. As they came out
and made their way to the bungalow, the old man picked up a
bell that was used for calling persons from the other wing. He
began to ring it rhythmically and danced in a circle around Baba
to express his deep reverence and joy. After spending some time
inside the bungalow, Baba again sat with the old man for half an
hour. The mast was persuaded, but with difficulty, to accept ten
rupees as Baba's prasad when he departed. Strangely enough,
he asked one of Baba's men to jot down His address for him, but
he never turned up again. Baba did not inquire of him a second
time, and the mandali had not asked him his name. Perhaps that
first and last contact with the God-Man was sufficient for the
mast to be insured guidance on the spiritual path. With Baba,
this was quite possible. Whatever it was, Baba looked very
pleased and remarked that the old mast was a rare mixture of
jamali and mahabubi types and was on the fifth plane.
Chacha Was Laughing All the Time
Baba did not go out of Dehra Dun during June except when He
visited the lovely valley of Kulu to reach Baragran. There He
contacted a yogi. At the very first sight, this advanced pilgrim
gave Baba an incredible, affectionate look and the two sat
quietly for a contact of half an hour in a hut on the bank of the
Beas River.
In July, Baba visited Ajmer, accompanied by Kaka and
Eruch. This spiritually important place is situated by the
Arawali Hills in Rajasthan and is famous for the shrine of
Khwaja Moeinuddin Chishti. Chacha, the seventh plane
Majzoob-e-Kamil, was residing there in a tiny hovel of a room.
Chacha means "uncle" in Urdu, but it seems that he derived this
name from the constant repetition of "cha, cha" ("tea,

152

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

tea"), for he was extremely fond of tea. His real name was Nur
Ali Shah Pathan. He was first contacted in 1939, and people
said that Chacha had his first bath in about thirty years at Baba's
hands. It is not known whether he was bathed again later, so
perhaps this was his first and last bath after attaining the state of
a Perfect Majzoob. Being drowned in Infinite Bliss, he was
oblivious of hygienic needs.
Knowing full well Chacha's fondness for tea, Baba, the
Perfect Master and Servant, approached this great Majzoob
"with a cup and saucer in one hand, and a kettle full of hot tea in
the other." 42 But this time Chacha played a trick! He refused to
have tea and instead insisted on having mutton and bread. It was
given to him. Baba sat alone with Chacha for an hour and a half
while Eruch and Kaka, who were standing outside the room,
heard Chacha "laughing all the time." Baba alone knew what
transpired in this meeting, but as He came out of the room He
looked exceptionally radiant.
With this visit to Ajmer, the first part of Baba's work with
the masts commencing from the place of seclusion was over.
But this was only a prelude to the strenuous tours that lay
ahead, beginning the last week of July 1946.

42

The Wayfarers, p. 89.

10
Mast Tours of North India, 1946

Mast Contact, a Mutual Help


BESIDES being a "mystery year," 1946 was through and
through a "mast year." From January to December 1946, Baba
seemed absorbed in mast work alone. There were no darshan or
sahavas programs, not even a meeting with the mandali. His
only instruction to those near Him was to collect information
about God-intoxicated souls so this year's account could not be
anything but a chain of mast contacts, whether in a remote
village or a crowded town.
Outwardly the procedure of contacting a mast was mostly
the same, but inwardly it had various significant results. Some
years earlier, in January 1939, Baba had visited Benares. During
His stay in the city, He gave a coin to one of the pilgrims and
later remarked that through the medium of that contact He had
raised the consciousness of that pilgrim from the first to the
second plane. This does not mean that every time Baba gave
money as prasad the person was raised to a plane higher. It was
quite possible that by giving a coin He just gave a slight push,
or might even have snatched away some powers of the mast
which were impediments in the spiritual Path. This much was
sure, that whenever Baba contacted the masts it meant help, a
mutual help. Once Baba remarked that the masts helped Him in
His spiritual work as He helped them in their spiritual
unfoldment.

153

154

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

This particular phase of mast work is not very well known


in the spiritual history of either the East or the West. Only the
Avatar, the God-Man, undertakes this work to awaken the
heart of humanity and to quicken spiritual vibrations. The
following remarks of Meher Baba will help us understand His
relationships with masts and saints: "Nothing makes me so
happy as the sight of these real heroes the masts. They are
very useful media for me to work through on higher planes."
During Baba's visit to Spain in 1933, standing in the Cathedral
of St. Teresa in the city of Avila, Baba spelled on His board:
"The saints are like the nerves of my body; they work for me
and I guide their lives." The journeys that commenced from
Niranjanpur in July and August 1946 and spread over the states
of Sind (now in Pakistan), Punjab and Uttar Pradesh were
occasions for Baba to render such help on a large scale.
Talli Sain of Verka
In the last week of July 1946 Baba stayed for some days on the
fourth floor of a small hotel in Hardwar. Many times the
mandali had to go up and down, scraping their sides against the
walls on the narrow staircase. In heavy rains, Baba visited
Rishikesh and contacted many holy men. Two of the mandali
were sent to gather information about the Mela, the fair for
which sadhus gather on the banks of the Ganges. Baba wished
to contact Nanga Baba, who was in the Paramhansa state, but
his residence or whereabouts could not be found. Because of
dangerous breaches on the road Baba had to abandon the plan of
visiting Uttar Kashi, situated at a higher elevation in the
Himalayas. After contacting some sadhus at Hardwar, He
decided to visit Punjab again.
At Amritsar Baba stayed for about a week in the travelers'
bungalow. From this place a period of continual travels

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155

began that had to its credit some most exhausting excursions. At


Verka, a village near Amritsar, Baba contacted a wali of the
fifth plane named Talli Sain. It was quite a sight to see him
walking on the village roads. He would put a slipper on one foot
and keep the other bare. In one hand he would hold a tree
branch and in the other the Holy Koran, covered with rags.
Irrespective of this eccentric behavior he was much respected
by all the villagers. What a joke this soul, who regarded the
riches of the world as trash, was pestered by gamblers for some
hints in laying their bets! He would advise them to lead a chaste
life. If they continued to tease him for "figures and futures," he
would threaten them with a stick and push them into a tonga
bound for Amritsar.
At the first contact, Baba offered Talli Sain some plums but
the wali returned them. This was perhaps a sign that the contact
was not to Baba's satisfaction. Baba contacted him four times in
all. The night prior to the last contact it rained heavily, and as
Baba arrived He found the wali happily sitting in a small pool.
Soon the attendant came and cleared away the water. Baba
found Talli Sain in a good mood and remained alone with him
for half an hour. As they emerged from the hut, both looked
very pleased and the wali led Baba to His seat in a tonga. Baba
remarked that His work with Talli Sain was accomplished to
His satisfaction.
"Don't You Know Who He Is?"
Another day Baba visited Bulandshahar. He had been given
information about an advanced pilgrim living there who was a
married man and worked in the Survey Office. Eruch found him
in his office wearing a torn shirt and an old pair of slacks. He
did not see visitors in the office, but by coaxing he was
persuaded to treat Baba's visit as an exception.

156

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

Baba visited Saharanpur again, a place rich in the number


of its masts. He went to Simla, where the party stayed for three
days. Here Baba met a good Muslim mast who was formerly of
a high jalali type. This time there was a marked change in his
characteristics, for now he demonstrated a jamali temperament.
Baba remarked that such a change in the traits of a mast was
exceptional.
Baba also contacted Aghori Baba at Simla, an impressive
figure with fiery eyes who lived on the veranda of a house
owned by a Sikh. He had piled it up with innumerable bundles
of dirty, frayed pieces of cloth. The Sikh, out of respect for
Aghori Baba, did not dare remove that mass of rags, and he
even set up a ladder to cross this "charged" veranda which led
to one of the rooms of his house. After the contact was made,
the mast looked intently at Baba, who was standing in His usual
pose with feet planted rather wide apart. Baba, too, with eyes
set on the mast, commenced a close and tender observation of
his movements and quaint expressions. The mast smiled
trustfully, for Divinity in human form was standing in front of
him. Aghori Baba remarked to the mandali "Don't you know
who He is? One day you will know who He really is!"
A Mystical Code-Language of Gestures
After returning to Ambala, Baba and His party started on
August 8 for Nahan, via Sidhaura. The only regular conveyance
was one bus a day, for Nahan is a small state. The journey was
through a picturesque valley, but the bus was overcrowded and
the mountainous road was strewn with a number of bridgeless
rivulets, so on that uncomfortable journey there was very little
time to appreciate the beauty of nature. However, that was not
expected on a mast tour with Baba. Near Nahan an adept
pilgrim was sitting naked in a cemetery situated in an awkward
place down in a valley.

MAST TOURS OF NORTH INDIA

157

It was raining as Baba climbed down the muddy footpath, but


He was not ready to wait until the rain stopped. He looked
cheerful and at ease only when the contact with the mast was
over, so eager was Baba to meet His dear children, the masts.
By afternoon the party had returned to Sidhaura. From this
town two remarkable contacts were made. Dinasha was a good
mast, and to find him, Baba and the mandali had to search in
different directions. He was spotted at last, but the contact was
not to Baba's satisfaction. The party returned to their residence
by 11:00 P.M., but before resting for the night Baba gave a
peculiar order. It was nearly midnight, and He instructed two of
the mandali to visit Dinasha at 4:00 A.M. Baba specifically
asked them to observe whether the mast would turn his head to
the right or to the left, or whether he gazed fixedly at them.
Being overtired, the two could not get up before five o'clock in
spite of their good intentions. Baba pardoned them and canceled
their visit to Dinasha. He did not explain the special meaning
contained in the gesture of that mast, but it clearly appeared that
every gesture had a definite significance in relation to Baba's
work. Perhaps it was a mystical code language that expressed
wider communications.
Lord Krishna Served as a Guard
Another advanced pilgrim whose name was Krishna was
contacted near Sidhaura. He was an ex-employee of the NorthWestern Railway and had voluntarily retired from his service as
a guard. This early retirement was for a specific reason. He was
a great lover of Lord Krishna, and once while enraptured in his
meditations he failed to report for duty. The next day he
approached his superior to apologize for his laxity. He was told
that his regular signature of attendance was on the duty register
and the railway servants

158

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

saw him working on the train, as per the roster. The guard was
overwhelmed with joy and gratitude to hear that none else but
Lord Krishna had served as a guard for him. He fought hard to
keep back his tears, but it was futile. The more he tried to check
them, the more they rolled down. A little later he controlled his
sobs and tears, and with a choked voice he said, "Lord Krishna
looked after my worldly duties while I was busy praying to
Him."
At the same time, he intuitively felt that Lord Krishna
revealed to him that if one was wholehearted in one's devotion,
the compassionate Lord ever looked after his household and
worldly necessities. The natural outcome of this event was that
he left his employment then and there, and he also left his house
to spend the rest of his life in devotion to Krishna. It was for
this singular devotion that Baba liked him very much. After
contacting this advanced soul, Baba returned to the rest house at
Sidhaura. With only a few hours' rest the party left by the early
morning train for Hardwar, which they reached by late evening.
Prediction of Jal Tapawasi
Baba stayed at Rishikesh for six days from August 12 to 17,
1946. He had long walks with Baidul, Eruch and Adi Sr. in the
hot sun and the rains to meet masts. Baba visited most of the
ashrams and huts within a radius of twenty miles, because He
contacted sadhus and holy men in addition to masts. Every day
the holy Ganges had to be crossed. Once a trained elephant
offered a timely crossing, otherwise the party would have been
forced to stay overnight on the other bank because of the rising
waters.
The remarkable contact at Rishikesh was Jal Tapaswi.
Although he was over seventy, his hair was still black. A sadhu
generally wears an ochre-colored robe, but Jal

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159

Tapaswi had put on a green kafni. Before contacting this adept


pilgrim, Baba sent Kaka and Eruch to see him and they told him
that they had come from Bombay. He inquired how things were
in that city, and they told him of the riots and disturbances then
prevailing there. He remarked that it was all inevitable, the
result of the working of the Avatar, and that when He will
manifest He will not be accepted in the beginning later,
many will accept Him. Jal Tapaswi also added that three-fourths
of the world population would be wiped out. Jal Tapaswi
literally means "one who practices penance in water." For
several years this adept pilgrim sat on the roof of a temple that
was standing in a river. When the temple crumbled he continued
to sit on the ruins, which were submerged in water. Baba was
very happy to meet Jal Tapaswi, and this adept pilgrim felt
drenched in His splendor and got thoroughly renewed in the
depths of his being.
Meher Baba, the Master of the Universe
Jal Tapaswi's severe penance and his remarks about the Avatar
remind me of another adept pilgrim of Rishikesh named
Keshavanandji. His body looked like a statue in bronze.
Standing naked except for a loincloth and holding a bamboo
staff in his hand, he used to gaze meditatively at the sun most of
the day. In April 1934 Baba had asked one of His disciples
named Pleader to visit holy places and meet the saints of India.
At Rishikesh, Pleader had Keshavanandji's attendant show the
mast a picture of Baba. Seeing it, he raised his luminous eyes,
which were aflame with the longing for union with the Infinite,
and gestured for Pleader to come close. In a soft voice he told
Pleader that generally he did not allow anyone to come near
him, but because of the divinity of Meher Baba, who is the
Master of the Universe and who bears the burden of Creation,

160

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

he had to call Pleader near. In Keshavanandji's lifetime, Baba


did not contact him personally. From such events it seems that
some adept pilgrims knew Meher Baba's divinity without His
physical contact.
There was a seeker who had lived on leaves and roots for
years in his younger days and had a very emaciated body. After
settling in Rishikesh, he locked himself in a room by the
riverside and ate only one chapati and a little dal each day.
Eruch met him after much difficulty and told him that his
(Eruch's) "Father," Baba, wanted to see him. At the time of
Baba's contact, the seeker turned a quizzical gaze upon Him and
harped on one question: "How many sons have you besides
Eruch?" This spoiled the quietness and depth of the spiritual
contact.
Heavily Garmented Rehmatulla and Naked Bhagwan Nath
Baba intended to visit Uttar Kashi, but it was reported that the
track was in very bad condition so this visit had to be canceled.
(It was delayed until April 1948.) The group's "roving mast trip,
without adequate rest and food, proved to be telling upon the
health of all," so Baba consented to hire a house between
Hardwar and Jwalapur for a temporary stay. The house was
disinfected with D.D.T. spray, yet the bugs survived to tease the
mandali and deny them even minimum comfort. It was Kaka's
duty to cook rice and dal once a day for the mandali. Baba was
observing a fast and would sit all alone in seclusion for three
hours every day.
On August 23, Eruch and Baidul brought a heavily
garmented mast named Rehmatulla to Baba. His clothes were
hanging loosely over his frame and they looked torn and dirty,
for he rarely cared to change them. Yet he looked perpetually
happy and his unfading smile was the smile of

MAST TOURS OF NORTH INDIA

161

a soul lost in vision of God. He was on the sixth plane of


consciousness, and about the state of such a soul Baba once
remarked, "He is merged not in God but in 'seeing' God."
Knowingly or unknowingly the mast touched Baba's feet, but
Baba did not like this gesture of reverence. It seems that such an
act adversely affected His spiritual work, so the mast was soon
sent back to Saharanpur.
The next mast, called Bhagwan Nath Kone Baba, was
brought to the bungalow from Pinjaur. He was an avadhoot, an
almost naked mast. He was of a very restless disposition and it
was difficult to ascertain the expressions in his eyes. It was the
occasion of a fair and the trains were overcrowded, but Eruch
and Baidul accommodated themselves with the mast in a firstclass compartment in spite of the "rumblings" and comments of
the passengers. It was an ordeal to get him to Baba's residence,
but Baba was glad to contact Bhagwan and later instructed the
mandali to keep a watch over the mast at night, in turns. In the
morning when everyone was busy with his respective duties, the
mast left the bungalow. He was found again nine miles from
Hardwar, and Baba told Adi Sr. to take him to Pinjaur. Adi was
well versed in correspondence but not in handling masts, and
Bhagwan was so unmanageable that Adi could not escort him to
his destination. Baidul, the sardar of masts, was deputed by
Baba, and upon returning he remarked that it was one of his
most trying journeys. Some masts were more full of pranks than
mischievous children.
Baba Contacts the Poor
On August 27 Baba reached Saharanpur. The next day He
visited a public library with a big hall, which was filled with
men and women of different castes and creeds. In a private
room near the hall Meher Baba contacted fifteen hundred
middle-class and poor people, but His identity was not

162

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

disclosed to them. At the time of contact He gave each person


some money as prasad. Dr. William Donkin wrote about this
occasion:
"At such times, Baba does some spiritual work of inner and
universal significance, and it is for this reason that private
contact with each one is essential. It is, of course, this inner
work that is important, for giving of charity to a few hundred
souls amongst the millions of India's poor is not of much
material significance." 43
In the last week of August Baba sent Adi Sr. to Bangalore
and Ahmednagar for some work. He also instructed Baidul to
visit Hyderabad (Sind), Sukkur, Lyallpur and a few other places
to collect information about masts.
For a period of two weeks commencing from August 29,
Baba maintained a fortnight of strict seclusion at Niranjanpur.
The next two weeks, ending with September 24, was a period of
semi-seclusion. A few masts were brought for Baba's contact at
His residence. Pendu and Adi Sr. arrived at Niranjanpur by the
second week of September, and both of them were sent by Baba
to collect more information about the masts in Punjab and to
wait at Lahore for Baba's arrival, as He planned to visit Sind.
Lal Sain, the Fattest Mast of India
On September 29, Baba, Eruch and Baidul joined those who
were at Lahore. After a sleepless night and an exhausting train
journey by third class the party reached Hyderabad (Sind).
During the two days they spent in the city Baba met eight masts
of high order. Near the main gate of the Old Fort a mast was
seen sitting on a bed, all the time muttering something to
himself. It was learned that he had been occupying the same bed
for the last fifteen years and

43

William Donkin, The Wayfarers, p. 350.

MAST TOURS OF NORTH INDIA

163

had practically not left his seat. The other mast, Zinda Wali,
lived inside the Fort and had not come out of it for the past
thirty years. He was fond of keeping all kinds of pet animals.
Masts are in fact strangers to this world and so their ways
appear strange to us. Mama Mast had a fancy for stitching
pieces of cloth all the time. The fancy of Pir Shah Saiyed was to
dye his hair with hina.
Baba Gokulananda, an advanced pilgrim, was a centenarian
and the oldest mast contacted at Hyderabad. Then there was Lal
Sain Mast, the fattest of all the masts in India. One of the
mandali remarked that his tummy could contain a Baby Austin
car. Dr. Donkin wrote that Lal Sain was so obese that he slept
with his head dropped upon his chest, for he could not lie down,
nor did he ever move from his place, for his size prohibited
walking. He was the last mast Baba met at Hyderabad, and the
contacts made in this great city pleased Baba. He was seen in a
delightfully good mood, and from His cheerful face it appeared
that the strain of contacting masts seemed to Him more play
than work. He perceived the real worth of the souls beneath
those ragged and dirty exteriors.
A Game of Patience and of "Spiritual Chess"
On October 1 Baba visited Sehwan, where He contacted Nadir
Ali Shah, an adept pilgrim, a very good mast of the fifth plane.
Nadir Ali once stood on one foot in a ditch for two years, a
remarkable feat of penance indeed.
His comrade in the same city, Nur Ali Shah Pathan, made
the mandali perform penance, in a different way. From noon
until night the Baba party patiently waited near the mast. It was
very hot and there was a scarcity of good drinking water. Nur
Ali was a famous figure and was usually surrounded by visitors,
and Baba wanted to meet him alone. Baba was not in a mood to
leave and come again, so perhaps that was

164

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

a pretext for silent communication with that mast on a higher


plane. And cannot silence be a meaningful conversation?
Frequently the quick glances that passed between the mast and
Baba had in them a deep, intimate understanding. By ten that
night Baba was able to personally contact Nur Ali all alone. He
left Sehwan by the midnight train for Sukkur, where they
arrived the next morning.
After a hasty breakfast the party started out to find the
masts residing in Sukkur. Adi Sr. wrote about life with Baba on
the mast tours:
"Baba was observed to have known the process of
physical contact (with a mast) effective for His universal
work. That is why He contacted masts by going through the
most uncomfortable journeys to towns, cities and villages,
utterly heedless of sleep, food, rest and baths. No
consideration of any of these was made if one good mast
was to be contacted."
Kazi Saheb of Sukkur was surely a good mast. He had come
from Afghanistan. He had a typical laugh and he seemed to
enjoy singing programs, which was not a common trait in
masts. Qazi Saheb tried to play a game with Baba. But in this
game of "spiritual chess" Baba, by sending the mandali to
different places, eventually "checkmated" him in a college
building. There he agreed to have Baba's contact, which made
both of them happy, and thus ended this game of spiritual chess.
The same day Baba crossed the Indus in a ferryboat to reach
Satbela Island, where He met the fair-faced Swami Hari Ram.
Baba Is "Shahenshah," the Emperor
Baba's visit to Sukkar (Pakistan) brings to my mind an incident
that happened in June 1924 concerning a mastani named Mai
Saheb. She was not directly contacted by Baba,

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165

but like Keshavanandji of Rishikesh, she knew Meher Baba's


spiritual authority as the Avatar. The spiritual link with her was
indirectly revitalized through one of the mandali, Ramjoo. He
has described this episode very well in one of his articles:
During the first two years of my "field-service" with
Baba ... I happened to be in Sukkur, before it became
famous for one of the largest barrage schemes in the world.
It is one of the hottest cities in Sind, wherein Hazrat Bachal
Shah, a Muslim Master, lived his earthly life and died ...
When I went there to pay my respects, the cool and shady
spot was tempting enough, in the sweltering heat, to make
me lie down for a while under one of the trees in the garden
. . . But before I could doze off I had to open wide my eyes
for an old woman moving about the grounds who appeared,
from a distance, to be an exact double of Hazrat Babajan of
Poona. She was about the same height, the same build, with
an identical crown of snow-white curly hair ... This ...
similarity ... made me mark her very minutely from where I
was lying down. All the time she was rapidly going here and
there as if extremely busy ... It was not long before I could
see that, unlike Hazrat Babajan, she had vacant dreamy
eyes, darker complexion, constant restlessness and above all
a habit of loudly muttering to herself. .
By the time ... the sun had gone down considerably, I
preferred to take a stroll by the riverside ... At the end of a
bend in the path, I came across the moving and muttering
old lady. To my utter amazement I found I was looking
down into a pair of most intelligent eyes, fixed in steadfast
gaze into my own without a flicker ... She spoke in the
challenging tone . . . of a sentry in clear Urdu: "Tera Pir
cown hai?" ("Who is thy spiritual guide?") The only
spontaneous word I could utter point blank was, "Meher
Baba." The moment she heard this, she

166

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


said, "Badshah" ("King"), and then after a momentary pause
added, "Shahenshah ("Emperor"). With these two words,
like a flash of lightning she shrank back in her vacant
dreamy eyes and resumed moving about muttering
incoherently. I followed her deliberately and managed to
cross her path twice hoping to hear something more, but she
ignored me completely. For the time being the immediate
surroundings appeared to have passed out of existence for
her. 44

Meher Baba's spiritual work with and through the Godintoxicated souls is indeed a mystery!
Masts Are Immune to Diseases
Rohri is a place near Sukkur and Baba contacted five masts
there. Bhai Chowar Mast lived in the filthiest of surroundings.
Such environment did not and does not affect the health of the
masts because they are immune to all diseases. While clarifying
this point of dirty and filthy surroundings Baba explained:
A God-mad has a clean, pure mind. A God-intoxicated
has a mind, but no thoughts . . . A God-merged has no mind
he is fully merged in God . . .
When the mind does not pay attention to the body, the
body, naturally, automatically survives and looks after itself.
Now because of a kind of universal working on the gross
plane, a sort of automatic attraction takes place, which
causes a man who is indifferent to cleanliness to be attracted
to place himself in dirty surroundings. He does not
purposely choose an unclean place, but tends to gravitate
towards it ... For those who are God-mad, God-intoxicated,
or God-merged, this dirtiness does not

44

Abdul Kareem Abdulla, How I Met Them and What They Told Me, Meher
Baba Journal, January 1939, pp. 73-74.

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167

affect their health, because the mind is not attached to the


body. 45
When Baba visited Bhai Chowar, for a moment His eyes
were filled with overwhelming concern for the dirty
surroundings. Baba spent some time with that filthiest mast in
that "Augean Stable," while the mast looked at Him with
appreciative glances. People did not dare stand near this mast.
They preferred to invite Sant Tukaram, a mast in a majzoob-like
state, to their houses and felt blessed. Alla Bakhsh Mast had a
childlike disposition; Sant Ram was born a mast. Baba met
them all with love in His heart. The last contact in Rohri worth
mentioning was Master Nemraji. He was a majzoob-like mast
between the sixth and seventh planes. Sometimes his eyes
looked visionary. He was so hot-tempered people feared him,
yet because of his saintly personality they revered him, too. His
face resembled that of Chacha of Ajmer, the Majzoob-e-Kamil.
These visits to Sukkur and Rohri completed Baba's work in
Sind and the party journeyed towards Punjab State to contact
more masts.
The life of the God-Man is the creative flame that has set
afire many God-intoxicated souls, in various ways, to be the
Light unto themselves.

45

The Wayfarers, pp. 33-34.

11
Those Who Bear Witness, 1946

Mast Work, a Vital Phase


THE phase of Meher Baba's work with masts, the Godintoxicated souls, needs patient and serious study to appreciate
its depth and dimensions. From the late thirties this phase had
been an inseparable part of His work. Meher Baba served the
masts in many ways. He bathed them, clothed them, fed them,
and He did not mind pressing their feet, an humble gesture by
the Highest of the High. He sat alone with them to give His
spiritual touch. He even cleaned their latrines. This was the
visible and external part of His work, but Meher Baba was
mainly concerned with their states of consciousness. He gave
them a lift, a push, through personal contact.
Once someone asked Meher Baba, "'Why, as you are a
Master and they are so advanced or saints, need you trouble to
contact them in person?' The Master explained: 'They already
know me, but it is for my work that it is needed.'" 46
The phase of mast work was in fact an important and vital
aspect of Meher Baba's inner spiritual work. It ushered new
perspectives into the consciousness of the masts and

46

Elizabeth C. Patterson, Spiritual Journey with a Modern Guru


Baba Journal, June 1939, p.52

168

Meher

THOSE WHO BEAR WITNESS

169

quickened enlightenment and spiritual transformation. Baba did


this by activating latent tender resources in their hearts. At
every Advent of the God-Man this is the pressing need of the
time. It seemed that Baba wanted to marshal these "soldiers of
God" for the gradual awakening of humanity from slumber.
And every time He comes this has been accomplished after a
period of physical and mental suffering, both man-made and
natural.
Once Baba remarked: "I love these Lovers of God [masts];
... they know nothing of the world; they are so blissfully
indifferent even to their bodily needs ... all for their Love of
God, when the whole world craves and cries for Maya (lust,
greed, etc.) and rushes to each other's throats for its
gratification." 47 So mad are the masts in their love for God!
About such God-intoxicated souls one saintly person in India
stated, "If all greatness is lunacy, these are the apostles of
Divine lunacy." By recharging the vital incentives in
consciousness, Meher Baba intensified their "madness" for God.
Kindling a Spark into a Flame
Let us now return to the account of Baba's mast tours. He left
Sukkur (Pakistan) on October 3, 1946, accompanied by Baidul,
Adi Sr., Pendu and Eruch, and they reached Multan (Punjab) the
next day. Baba contacted four good souls. An adept pilgrim
named Hazrat Shadruddin Shah Salik had arranged for the daily
feeding of the poor in the town. He himself subsisted only on
sharbat, a sweet cold drink. Tapaswi Puran Das Mahatma lived
on a fruit diet. In the case of seekers and pilgrims, it was noticed
that some maintained strict rules about diet. Most of them were
vegetarians, but in the case of masts it was

47

F. H. Dadachanji, Notes From My Diary, Meher Baba Journal, May 1939,


p.55.

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

found that they were not particular about the type of food they
ate. They remained absorbed in their love for God and generally
accepted whatever was given to them. Data Fakir Mast was a
good mast who accepted nothing from anyone except his daily
food. In contrast to this, Chup Shah, a religious-minded person
and seeker, collected money from people for the maintenance of
a mosque.
On October 5 Baba was at Lyallpur. Prem Chand was a Sikh
mast. He lived in a dirty room filled with all sorts of rubbish. As
Baba visited this place, His shining eyes swept the entire room
with His warm blessings and then He blessed the mast with His
personal sanctifying contact. Faqir Chand Mast, another mast,
willful in his fancies, rambled about in different localities of the
town and Baba had to rove about Lyallpur to find him.
Hundreds of people have journeyed hundreds of miles to have a
glimpse of Baba, and here He was searching the town to find a
mast!
An Indian Christian mast was very elusive. He resided in a
Christian cemetery in Govindpur. Baba approached him twice,
but each time the mast pretended to be fast asleep. The mandali
asked the devotees of the mast to request him to at least open
his eyes, but he paid no heed. One of them reported that just
before Baba's arrival this blessed soul would suddenly lie down
to sleep. Finding the mast quite reticent, Baba did not contact
him against his will. Baba's contact was a joy for most of the
masts, but it also meant the sharing of some additional spiritual
responsibilities. During Baba's personal contacts with the masts
the deeper levels of consciousness were made to function. It
was like kindling a spark into a flame. With some masts the
flame became unbearable. After Baba's contact a mast living
near Aurangabad cried aloud, "Oh! You have set me aflame.
The burning is intense!" It may be that some masts evaded
Baba's contact for this reason. This particular mast,

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171

in his childlike whim, was not willing to share extra spiritual


liability and, like a loving mother, Baba catered to his vagary.
In the case of Nadir Ali Shah a greater degree of mental
reservation was noticed. In March 1941 Baba was staying in
Quetta. He sent Baidul and Eruch to meet Nadir Ali and get his
consent for Baba's personal contact. The mast lived in a tent
which was always full of smoke coming from the dhuni. 48
Several times they both emerged from the tent with smoky tears
rolling down their cheeks, but they could only convey a clear
"No!" from Nadir Ali to Baba. The mast would often say, in a
mood of abstraction and in a symbolic language, "If He visits,
my boat would be drowned in that Ocean (Meher Baba's
physical presence)." In the end Baba circled round his tent in a
motor car, so perhaps a flame glowed inside the smoky tent and
in the heart of the mast, too.
A Camel Ride to Mitri
By the evening of October 5 Baba reached Khushab and stayed
for the night in a rest house. In the morning He made a sevenmile journey in a tonga to reach Jalalpur. The tonga jolted on
the stony and sandy track and stuck half a dozen times in the
mud of unbridged streams. The mast Kasim Ali Baba was quite
an old man and was credited with having occult powers. It was
not known whether or not he continued to possess them after
Baba's contact. Baba once remarked that masts do not misuse
their powers, though at times, like children, they make a display
of them. As the Avatar contacts a mast, if the situation so
demands, such

48

A fire of a few logs of wood, wet or dry, which some masts and pilgrims in India
are in the habit of keeping burning by their seats day and night.

172

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

powers automatically merge into His Being, and the "toys" are
taken away from the child for his own benefit.
The journey to the second village visited, Pail, was equally
uncomfortable, about twenty-eight miles in a cramped and
crowded bus. A mast named Sain Fazl lived atop a small hill
two miles off the road. He was naked but usually kept a blanket
on his person. He had renounced his house and had been living
there for four decades. He was honored by Hindus and Muslims
alike.
After meeting these two God-intoxicated souls, Baba left for
Bikaner via Lahore and Bhatinda. The railroad ran through a
sandy desert in Rajasthan and no good food was available at the
stations. On October 10 Baba reached Bikaner and moved
through the city to contact about ten moderate masts.
By evening the next day Baba and His mandali arrived at a
small railway station named Narayanpura, four miles from a
village called Mitri. Baba permitted the hire of a camel to cross
this stretch of desert. He rode the camel for a very short period
and then asked the mandali to ride in turns. They hesitated to
take a seat on the camel's back when their Master was walking
along by its side, but Baba told them to ride and they had to
obey Him. It can well be imagined how much they enjoyed that
ride! Lakshman Das, an adept pilgrim, lived in a temple at Mitri
he had been staying there for about fifty years. In spite of his
age, his eyes had retained the luster of youth. With fair face and
a fairer heart, he welcomed most cordially the fairest flower of
humanity, the God-Man, to his residence. The mandali moved
aside as Baba entered the room of the saint. Lakshman Das felt
overjoyed and a sudden rush of tears filled his eyes. He
reverently responded to the personal touch of the Master. Baba
immediately left Mitri no stop, no rest. The strength
contained in His delicate frame was a constant source of
wonder.

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173

Fazl Shah Acclaims Meher Baba's Avatarhood


Bharatpur was visited to contact a salik of a high order, Pir Fazl
Shah, but it was learned that he had left for Kotah. Baba told the
mandali that this salik, like Lakshman Das, was an adept
pilgrim. At Kotah, Fazl Shah greeted the party with much
warmth and respect. He shot a delighted glance in Baba's
direction and seemed really pleased. Baba smiled back at him
with his compassionate eyes. Fazl Shah only offered Baba a
chair, a spontaneous recognition of divinity in human form. He
seemed emotionally overwhelmed and could not conceal his
feelings. Within a short time Baba and the salik entered another
room which was spotlessly clean. At the end of the contact, as
they came out of the room Fazl Shah's eyes were filled with
unshed tears of joy and he said to Meher Baba:
"No one, until you came, has touched my heart with the
arrow of Divine Love. You have the power to destroy and flood
the world; no one fully knows the limits of your greatness; you
are the spiritual authority of the time, and if I were to die I
would take another body to be close to you." 49
He insisted that Baba should drop him a letter after He
reached His headquarters safely. How strange! He asked one of
his devotees to write down his address and handed it to Baba.
What do the extemporary remarks of an advanced soul like Fazl
Shah indicate? Perhaps these can be treated in general as the
audible signs of Meher Baba's working with the masts, and in
particular as the unreserved response given to Him as the
Avatar of the Age.
Baba then proceeded to Etah by bus, via Kashganj. One of
the masts at Etah was extremely fond of pan (betel leaves). His
face was stained with red lines made by the juice of chewed
pan. He roamed the city constantly and contacting

49

William Donkin, The Wayfarers, pp. 281-282

174

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

him was not easy. With much difficulty, he was finally spotted
and was cordially coaxed to Baba's contact. It was a happy
meeting. Shah Saheb Maqbul Mian Budaunwala, a good mast,
was typically indifferent to his bodily comforts. Once he met
with a car accident, but he did not allow anyone to treat his
fractured limbs. Later one of the wounds turned septic and was
filled with maggots. When Baba contacted him the wound was
still there, unhealed, haphazardly covered with a dirty bandage,
but the mast appeared to be unaffected by it.
I would like to mention here two more incidents of this type.
A majzoob-like mast at Quetta used to chew stale bones and his
body was covered with innumerable lice. He would neither try
to get them off nor even kill a single one. There was another
mast at Rajkot (Gujarat) whose body was swarming with
millions of flies and it was difficult to even have a look at his
face. These two masts seemed entirely unconcerned either by
the lice or the flies. Does it not show that the flame of love
within the masts was an antidote for all disease? True, the life of
a mast is a challenge to our hygienic conceptions and perhaps to
medical knowledge! Every time Baba passed by the tent of the
mast at Quetta in 1924, the mast would gaze vacantly at Him.
When Baba entered the tent once the lice-covered mast
embraced Baba with startling ferocity. Was this not a matchless
meeting?
The Perfect Master Procured from Nowhere
Mathura was the last place visited during this mast tour which
had commenced on September 29 and ended on October 14,
1946. At Mathura there was a mast named Inayatulla. He was
an old, dwarfish person but quite "tall" spiritually, for he was
the head of the masts there. During every visit to this holy city
Baba invariably contacted him.
Recognition of Meher Baba's divinity by one spiritually

THOSE WHO BEAR WITNESS

175

advanced soul named Brahmanandji was a striking affair. In his


youth this adept pilgrim was on a high rung of the ladder of
learning. Now he was to be seen sitting on top of bundles of
filthy rags. Far beyond the riches of the world, he now held in
his heart a peerless treasure, love for the Lord. He lived in the
stable of a dharmashala by the side of the river Jumna. As Baba
approached him for personal contact, Brahmanandji looked at
Him intently in great reverence and love, as if his whole being
went out to Him. His face beaming with ecstatic delight, he
opened his heart, saying, "Behold, how devoted love draws the
Lord Krishna to me, the Perfect Master is here." 50 And then
what a surprise! He put his hand below the filthy pillow and
produced a new copy of the book The Perfect Master by the late
Purdom, first published in England in 1937. How on earth he
could conjure up such a spotlessly clean copy remains an
enigma to this day!
"Here Comes the Flute Player"
Brahmanandji's reference to Meher Baba as Lord Krishna and
to His divine love reminds me of a similar amazing event. In
January 1939 at Agra, Baba stayed in a bungalow near the Taj
Mahal. From Agra Baba and His group of eastern and western
disciples visited Brindavan, near Mathura. This particular place
is very closely connected with the lila of Lord Krishna. While
going from place to place in tongas the group came across a
tiny, happy-looking fellow who outwardly appeared to be mad.
Baba deeply enjoyed and appreciated the graceful response of
this queer-looking fellow. Elizabeth Patterson wrote a fine
account of the episode in one of her articles:

50

The Wayfarers, p. 307.

176

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


The quaint town of Brindavan seems in harmony with
ancient pastoral times, and even today cowherds are
plentiful, while the traditional monkeys roam about the
streets. As we approached the place along the river where
Krishna had played with His gopis, a youngish man wearing
what resembled a fool's cap sat on the steps playing his
flute. So sweetly he played that one was attracted to this
court's jester, and the ancient "Flute Song of Krishna." ...
The moment the man noticed Baba, he stopped his playing,
and in a voice loud enough for those with the Master to
hear, he said, "Here comes the Flute Player," which is the
other name for Krishna.
All the time we went around the small town, this
mendicant followed Baba or ran ahead and, just around the
bend of the street, we would hear his flute sounds. It was
like a haunting melody. He didn't want money, he didn't
want anything, and when he passed, several people smiled,
thinking him to be a "fool," with his dancing steps and flute.
Towards the end, he seemed to become almost ecstatic, and
the attendant with us, thinking he was annoying us, tried to
drive him away with his stick. Upon this Baba immediately
protected the flute player and gave the attendant to
understand that he liked it. ... Baba informed us that this was
the man for whom He had come that day and that he was a
highly evolved soul ...Just before returning to the bus,
extraordinary greetings, or, how to describe it, signals went
on between Baba and this mendicant ... As Baba drove away
in the bus, we saw the ecstatic figure dancing on tip-toe, like
the "Pied Piper of Hamlin," and waving his flute in the most
rapturous manner. 51

During this "move-together" Meher Baba allowed this little


mast to hold His hand and walk with Him some distance. A
very natural and lively contact. Baba also remarked

51

Elizabeth C. Patterson, Spiritual Journey with a Modern Guru, Meher Baba


Journal, June 1939, pp. 54-55.

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177

that he was one of His real lovers. Marvelous are the ways of
Baba in meeting and helping the lovers of God in their merry
march to see Him as He really is, their own Self.
Azim Khan's Explicit Proclamation
Azim Khan's recognition of Baba's divinity was of a direct
nature. He was the only mast who wore khaddar hand-spun
cotton cloth. In India in those days khaddar was worn mostly by
the political workers of the Indian National Congress. Formerly
Azim used to move about naked in the streets. He was a mast of
a high order. As per Baba's instructions Baidul found out where
he resided. Upon seeing Baidul, the mast welcomed him,
saying: "Come. What can I do for you?" Baidul felt quite happy
to hear this so he openly put forth the request: "My elder brother
(meaning Baba) wants to see you. Should he come here?" To
this Azim Khan immediately replied, "He is my Father. It does
not behoove me to call Him here." Baidul reported this to Baba,
but He decided to visit Azim Khan. No sooner did the mast see
Meher Baba than he spontaneously called out, "You are Allah,
you have brought forth the creation, and once in a thousand
years you come down to see the play of what you have
created." 52 The sincerity of his voice and the urgency with
which he spoke were deeply striking. They smiled at each other,
an intimate and affectionate smile, and the contact was over.
This particular mast tour came to a close with this unique
contact of Azim Khan on October 14, 1946, and Baba returned
to Niranjanpur. Baidul, Eruch, Adi Sr. and Pendu, the four
witnesses to the extraordinary declarations of Pir Fazal Shah,
Brahmanandji and Azam Khan, were sent back to Poona and
Ahmednagar for some other work entrusted

52

The Wayfarers, p. 307.

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

to them. Adi Sr. later wrote an account of these mast tours


which was circulated among Baba people. I quote a few lines
from Adi's report:
The history of different masts and adept pilgrims with
regard to their age, confinement and austerity may sound
exaggerated. Achievements such as long life, without its
care, and regular and prolonged confinement at one place
are a matter of secondary importance. The masts get these as
a matter of course in their spiritual unfoldment ... The
momentous mast contacts are brought about by Baba with
hurried and speedy movements. The process seems like
drawing out the whole being of the mast and wielding it into
a course of humanised and harmonised action. It is too
baffling a sight to see and too complicated a process to
imagine. Who but Baba can know why He contacts masts
and what the results are? Our descriptive attempts are too
feeble to depict the truth.
Christmas Gift of "Silent Revelations"
Meher Baba stayed at Niranjanpur till the end of November
1946. From mid-October onwards there were no special tours,
but some masts, mad persons and the poor were brought to His
residence for His contact. Ali Shah of Ahmednagar was taken to
Niranjanpur for four days, from the second to the fifth of
November. On November fourth Baba bathed and clothed seven
lunatics, and the next day He contacted seven poor persons and
gave prasad of fifty rupees to each. It was noticed that Baba
generally concluded some of the important phases of His mast
work by serving and feeding the poor.
From May 1946 on, correspondence with Baba from His
disciples and devotees in India had practically stopped. Those in
the West were only permitted to write to Him

THOSE WHO BEAR WITNESS

179

about important matters in connection with the work He had


entrusted to them, and during the last part of His stay at
Niranjanpur Baba attended to this correspondence. There was a
cable that stated: "Norina's condition is crucial. Needs your
guidance." Baba dictated the reply: "My eternal love and
infinite blessings." As this message reached Princess Norina she
began to feel better, and one of His dear ones cabled back to
Baba: "Received needed advice. Love." Baba's cables and
telegrams have helped hundreds of His lovers, each in a
different way.
There was a letter from Jean Adriel. She wrote that she was
sending fifty copies of Silent Revelations. This was a pocketsized book containing excerpts from the silent discourses of
Meher Baba, compiled in love by Alexander Markey. In the
forward Markey stated:
The age of the intellect has had its day. The greater age
of the heart is at hand; and the Master of Silence is its
Avatar. He brings to mankind, at the moment of its deepest
despair, the divine certainty of redemption.
To partake of it, all we need do is to remove the sandals
of materialistic taint from our unsteady feet, discard the
garment of intellectual conceit, robe our feeble shoulders in
the mantle of penitence, and enter the sanctuary of spiritual
readiness in childlike humility and gratitude.53
An appropriate comment on Baba's discourses, for Meher
Baba's words awaken the heart by illumining the intellect.
These books were expected to reach India by December 1946
by sea mail. Jean and Alexander had especially sent them in
advance as a Christmas gift for Baba and the mandali. The
books were duly received, and Baba was quite

53

Alexander Markey, Silent Revelations of Meher Baba (Hollywood: The New Life
Foundation, l944), p. 12.

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

pleased with the work done by His two dear ones in the West.
The Aga Khan's Bungalow at Mahabaleshwar
On November 24, 1946 a letter of instructions was sent to the
following nine persons: Kaka Baria, Papa Jessawala, Baidul,
Khak Saheb, Pandoba, Vibhuti, Babadas, Sadashiv Patel and
Pophali. They were each to find one mast or saint living in
whichever area was allotted to them, and to ascertain if he
would be ready to stay near Baba for forty days from December
15 on. The lease on the bungalow at Niranjanpur was to expire
by the end of November, and Baba also wished to change the
locale of His work with the masts. With this plan in view Baba
instructed Eruch, who was in Poona, to hire a bungalow in the
district of Poona or Satara. Through Adurjee, a house agent in
Poona, Eruch acquired the Aga Khan's bungalow at
Mahabaleshwar as Baba's next headquarters. Mahabaleshwar is
a hill station, 4,500 feet above sea level in the district of Satara,
Maharashtra State. The estate had a very spacious compound
and was surrounded by tall, massive trees that echoed all day
long with the singing of birds. On some occasions jackals or
even panthers would be seen slinking by on the jungle side.
Baba had visited many, many places to meet masts, but after
a few years He wished to keep some near Him for special
spiritual work. This brought forth the idea of having a mast
ashram. In a way this phase had its origin in the late thirties at
Rahuri, near Ahmednagar. Rahuri ashram was mainly for
lunatics, hence it was called the "Mad Ashram," but one or two
God-intoxicated souls were also inmates. The first mast ashram,
however, was at Ajmer and was set up in February in 1939.
During a later period similar ashrams of long or short duration
were established at Jabalpur,

THOSE WHO BEAR WITNESS

181

Bangalore, Meherabad and Ranchi. Baba wished to continue the


same type of activity at Mahabaleshwar. There was also a mast
ashram at Satara for two months in 1947, thus in the phase of
Baba's work with masts there were these seven ashrams.
Meher Baba and His mandali left Niranjanpur by the end of
November 1946 and reached Mahabaleshwar on December 4,
where He stayed for about six months. Mahabaleshwar being a
hill station, the climate was extremely cold. It was often noticed
that Baba's visits to the best of the hill stations were out-ofseason, and the major portion of His stay at Mahabaleshwar was
no exception. Baba's life was a movement of the Spirit to fulfill
the spiritual need of the time physical comforts were no
urgent consideration. None of the nine persons who received the
circular letter mentioned above found a mast or a saint to bring
to Mahabaleshwar by December 14. A fresh attempt had to be
made, so the work of the mast ashram did not in fact commence
until the end of December.
The Promise of the God-Man
By way of concluding the account of this year I will relate a
small incident with regard to a letter received in the last week of
December. It was from a schoolteacher about Baba's assurance
for a stay near Him.
In 1945 Baba had stayed at Pasarani, a village near Wai. At
that time a schoolteacher named Bhave had been there for
Baba's darshan. At the time of parting Baba gave him some
fruit as prasad and gestured: "These are for you. Share these
with my love. I will call you someday to Meherabad for a short
stay."
Bhave had had no news about Baba for over a year. When
he heard of His being at Mahabaleshwar, quite close to Wai, he
wrote a letter to one of the mandali: "Shri Meher

182

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

Baba was to call me for a short stay near Him at Meherabad.


Some say that He does not keep His promise! Apart from this,
will I be permitted to have at least a glimpse of Him, in the near
future?"
Bhave's desire to have Baba's darshan had a specific reason
it was reverence, and gratitude, too. After his first meeting
with Baba in 1945 he was stricken by plague. He had a very
high fever and there was a big tumor in his armpit. There had
been some fatal cases in the neighboring area, but somehow
Bhave felt sure of his recovery. He had a strong feeling that
since Meher Baba was to call him to Meherabad, he must
survive, and he did! Perhaps Baba's promise was meant to give
Bhave strength to bear the forthcoming personal calamity.
Words and gestures of the God-Man constitute mystical
symbols. They vaguely express to us the descent of His
infinitely patient compassion and help us in all aspects of life.
To interpret a gesture of love this way or that is to distort it in
its totality.
Bhave was and is a student of hypnotism. In the late sixties
he published a book on this subject in Marathi. In the book he
mentioned how he had been successful in helping some students
in his school to develop a sharp memory. This was achieved
through the suggestions given by him, based on his experiments
with hypnotism. He gave me a copy of this book to present to
Baba. It was my thought that Meher Baba, being the Master of
all such "isms," gave Bhave a suggestion and a push in that very
first meeting at Pasarani, concealed in a rosy promise! It all
happened in the natural course of darshan and in full
wakefulness. The God-Man helps, heals and redeems all those
who come to Him, not through conditioned influence but
through the unbounded spontaneity of life Divine. The promise
of sahavas made to Bhave was only the outermost expression of
His love. Meher Baba's one promise to all mankind is the
promise of Self-realization. It is for the

THOSE WHO BEAR WITNESS

183

fulfillment of this promise that He comes amongst us age after


age.
Meher Baba, however, did give Bhave a chance to be at
Meherabad for a short stay in September 1954, as promised, but
only after a long period of eight years. His words come true, but
in His own way and in His own time!

12
Mast Ashram at Mahabaleshwar, 1947

The Unpredictable Whim of God


GOD is unpredictable, but the God-Man is even more so. I had
had no opportunity to be near to Meher Baba since December
1944. The Baba circulars of 1945-1946 brought no hopes of
meeting Him, but all of a sudden in the year 1947 the tidings of
joy came. Unfathomable and concealed are His ways! Baba
awakens by giving darshan, but He awakens as much by
delaying or even denying it. Life is strange and will ever be so.
Unexpectedly a cloud of sorrow looms, and unawares a
delightful sunshine disperses it. Happiness seems to stand on
one bank of the river of life, and as we reach there, it
mysteriously jumps to the other bank with a mischievous smile,
signaling and cheering us to a fresh bid!
Life is pain, life is pleasure, but it is never static, never stale.
It continually moves between the two opposites, and through
life, the law of karma works. It is the outcome of the original
Whim of God to achieve perfect balance in this mighty Illusion.
In its perfection, life would express creative beauty and everrenewing freshness. Meher Baba once remarked that it is all
implied in that beginningless, unpredictable Whim. How well
one knows it! How miserably one fails to live up to it!

184

MAST ASHRAM AT MAHABALESHWAR

185

The Human Form, the "Scion of Light"


Meher Baba has specifically stated that it is only in human
form, on this planet, that one can step onto the spiritual Path.
Could this be an achievement of a single lifetime? I had quite
strong doubts about life after death, but living scepticism is
better than dead presumptions born of fear and traditions. It was
not good just to lose myself in some kind of philosophy and
wordy, logical and metaphysical exhortations regarding
different scriptures which failed to satisfy me. I neither allowed
myself to be bound by set themes and theories, nor did I
condemn any. For me, that was a welcome release, so I read
with an open mind the series in Meher Baba's Discourses,
"Reincarnation and Karma." It added to my understanding a bit,
which, I must confess, was quite shallow. However, I had
vaguely felt that the human form is the "Scion of Light" or the
"Priceless Pearl."
The words of the God-Man have a magnetic effect. He has
no opinions He knows. He is the incomprehensible Beyond,
the non-inferable Sentience. He reveals the limits of words, and
as they graciously come from Him with natural ease they emit
the perfume of His wisdom. They stir something within you,
and the awakened heart releases an intelligence which is
superior to calculating and bargaining reason. A free meditation
on the words of the God-Man is a tie that links you to Him.
But is it as easy as that? Not for me. I must admit that the
weaknesses in me did not leave, particularly the emotional part
of me. Nevertheless, the heart and the mind were geared to a
new level. Heart leaped forth to love Baba, not so concerned
with the interpretations of His discourses; mind with its
computing strategy was after the survival of life and proofs of
Baba's divinity. The tussle

186

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

reminds me of two lines composed by one of Baba's dearest


disciples, Francis Brabazon a ghazal read to Baba three
times successively and the lines as far as I remember them
are:
Love delights in poetry and parables, of itself it is sure;
Mind demands the prose of logic, because it is insecure.
And I, being more mind than heart, read with great interest
and many mental comments Meher Baba's Discourses,
including those on reincarnation.
Reincarnation and Karma
Karma means the continuity of the action of cause and effect,
arising from the impressions deposited in the mind by any
thought, feeling or action. The working of the law of karma, as
explained in detail by Meher Baba, helped me to maintain poise
and peace, not only on the intellectual level but also on a much
deeper one. In those days I would often ask myself, "Why
should I suffer? And why so severely?" The study of the
Discourses made me put a counter question: "Would it be just,
to have favors throughout my life?" God shakes one, through
pleasures and pains, until one submits to His will voluntarily
and happily, as a sunflower turns towards the sun. This delicate
performance is gracefully achieved through the ingenuity of the
law of karma. The time at which this fact begins to be
appreciated varies widely with different individuals according
to their spiritual needs, which are not necessarily similar.
Meher Baba stated the following about reincarnation and
karma:
In the successive incarnations of an individual soul,
there is not only a thread of continuity and identity ... but
there is also an uninterrupted reign of the law of cause and
effect through the persistence and operation of Karma . . .

MAST ASHRAM AT MAHABALESHWAR

187

The intermittent incarnations in the gross world are only


apparently disconnected. Karma persists as a connecting
link and determining factor through the mental body [mind],
which remains a permanent and constant factor through all
the lives of the soul ... 54
... Before Karma is created the individual has a sort of
freedom to choose what it shall be; but after it has been
delineated it becomes a factor which cannot be ignored and
which either has to be expended through the results which it
invites, or counteracted by fresh and appropriate Karma.
Fate, however, is not some foreign and oppressive
principle. Fate is man's own creation pursuing him from past
lives; and just as it has been shaped by past Karma, it can
also be modified, remoulded and even undone through
Karma in the present life. 55
A Dive into Life Divine
I did not accept Meher Baba's words as mere comforting
answers to my questions; they were and are entirely different
from armchair rationalizing opinions. Mind is often tempted to
withdraw from the immediate present and gets lost in the hopeland of "future." The words of Meher Baba help one to have
alert acceptance of things and events as they are. One accepts
oneself for what one is, whatever it be. And therein lies the
never-fading glory and strength of His statements. About the
law of karma that directs each and all to the "Purposelessness in
Infinite Existence," Meher Baba said:
The law of Karma is, in the world of values, the
counterpart of the law of cause and effect which operates in
the physical world. 56

54

Meher Baba, Discourses, 3:83-84


Ibid., pp. 87-88.
56
Ibid., p.89.
55

188

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

If a person has done an evil turn to someone he must


accept the penalty for it and welcome the evil rebounding
upon himself. If he has done a good turn to someone he
must also receive the reward for it ... What he does for
another he has also done for himself although it may take
time for him to realise that this is exactly so. The law of
Karma might be said to be an expression of justice or a
reflection of the unity of life in the world of duality. 57
The life of the reincarnating individual has many events
and phases. The wheel of life makes its ceaseless rounds,
lifting the individual to the heights or bringing him down
from high positions. It thus contributes to the enrichment of
his experience. Ideals left unattained in one life are pursued
further in the next life; things left undone are finished; the
edges left by incomplete endeavour are rounded up; wrongs
are eventually set right. The accounts of give and take
between persons receive renewed adjustment by the
repayment of Karmic debts and the recovery of Karmic
dues. At last, out of the ripeness of experience and through
the dissolution of the ego-mind, the soul enters into the sole
unity of Divine Life. 58
Baba Gestured a "Lie"!
While dealing with the topic of reincarnation I shall mention a
remark made by Meher Baba and a short explanation given by
Him in later years.
In the summer of 1959 Baba was staying at Guruprasad in
Poona. My school had a long vacation, and Baba permitted me
to stay with Him for six weeks. On some afternoons He visited
Bindra House, where the Jessawalas resided, and the mandali
used to accompany Him. Previously Baba had advised a
maidservant of the Jessawalas to give up the habit of petty
thefts. Finding that she had again succumbed to

57
58

Discourses, 3:90-91.
Ibid., pp. 96-97.

MAST ASHRAM AT MAHABALESHWAR

189

the same weakness, He called her near. The delightful


expression on His face vanished and with a stern look, He
gestured: "If you commit a theft again, you will be born as a pig
in your next life!" In India pigs are regarded as the filthiest of
animals. The very thought of becoming a pig greatly upset her,
and with an expression full of remorse she promised never to
repeat her old habit.
As soon as the girl left to do some household work, Baba's
face looked aglow, with a glitter of delight about it. He turned
to the mandali standing near Him, including Francis Brabazon,
who had recently come from Australia for an indefinite stay
with Baba. With a sparkle in His eyes, He quickly gestured,
"Once you get a human body, there is no retrogression, no
returning to the animal form." Without any further comment He
changed the subject.
I gathered it was only to help the maidservant that Baba had
gestured a "lie"! His life ever functioned beyond the
conventional ideas of good and bad, right and wrong. In the
literature of Hindu saints and masters I had come across some
stories of animals and birds having been human in past lives,
and vice versa. Devoid of its proper context a remark from the
Master, particularly with a view to personal application, may
not be taken literally, aside from its immense personal appeal!
Mind, Its Appearance and Total Disappearance
On an earlier occasion Meher Baba had explained:
Hindus believe in the process of reincarnation;
Christians and Muslims do not. Hindus exaggerated and
over-emphasized this theme; others treated the subject as
blasphemous. When Krishna explained reincarnation, it was
in context with the gross body. When Jesus and Muhammad
remarked, "There is only one birth and one

190

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


death," it was in reference to the mind. The very first
separate appearance of the mind is the birth of an individual,
and its total disappearance, rather annihilation, is death.
Mind is born once and it dies once. In the light of this
understanding, what the Hindus, Christians and Muslims
believe is true.

Meher Baba has skillfully blended Vedantism, Mysticism


and Sufism like "beads on one string." With inimitable grace He
has linked the aspects of Truth revealed in His past Avataric
forms.
In His series of discourses on reincarnation and in the
Divine Theme 59 Meher Baba has explained in an appealing way,
with the help of charts, the journey of the soul to the Over-Soul.
At the occurrence of the Whim (Lahar) in the beginningless
beginning, the one indivisible Over-Soul gets seemingly divided
into an infinite number of souls. This commences the first
process evolution of consciousness and the simultaneous
collection of impressions (sanskaras). The evolution of forms
pre-stone forms to human form is the by-product. The
evolution of consciousness is complete when the soul attains
human form. Henceforth the soul has to reincarnate again and
again to spend the impressions (sanskaras) gathered in the
process of evolution. The same soul is born as man or woman,
belonging to different races, nations and religions. This is the
second process, or reincarnation. As the tight twists of
impressions become loosened, there begins the third process,
realization, or the involution of consciousness. When all the
impressions have been spent or wiped out, the impressionless
consciousness gives the soul the experience of its unity and
identity with the Over-Soul. From the outset, the soul exists in
the Over-Soul, unconsciously; now it experiences the

59

See: Meher Baba, God Speaks, 2d. ed., pp. 234-243.

MAST ASHRAM AT MAHABALESHWAR

191

Over-Soul consciously. In fact, the lila (divine sport) of evolution, reincarnation and realization is a three-in-one process in
the eternal Now.
Thus the birth, the life and the passing away of a being is a
marvelous voyage of the soul from the unborn to the unknown.
And during the visible part of this enigmatic sojourn, the law of
karma is the compass and wheel that steers the soul on the
uncharted ocean of life. Of course I do not wish to force my
findings on others. It is left to readers to perceive the truths
revealed through Meher Baba's Discourses. I will close this
topic with a remark from Meher Baba:
"The so-many deaths during the one whole life, from the
beginning of evolution of consciousness to the end of
involution of consciousness, are like so many sleeps during
one lifetime." 60
A Stable Turned into a Mast Ashram
Now I turn to some of the events in Meher Baba's life during
the year 1947. From Niranjanpur, the place of seclusion near
Dehra Dun, Baba and the mandali went to Mahabaleshwar in
December 1946. There He stayed in the Aga Khan's bungalow,
Florence Hall, which had a very large compound. By the side of
the main building there was a big square stable with a
corrugated roof. A huge teak door was its only entrance. Baba
asked His mandali to repair and clean the stable. Utilizing tattya
and bamboos, He then had it partitioned into about eighteen
small rooms. Baba wished to continue His work with the masts
in this stable, and He commenced this phase in the last week of
December 1946.
The first mast whom Baba contacted was Ali Shah, one

60

God Speaks, Chart III facing p. 102.

192

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

of His favorites, ever smoking, ever smiling. In addition, Baba


had other masts and also some mad persons and destitutes in
this ashram. So this was a triple ashram for masts and mad
and disabled elderly persons. The main work with them was
done in January 1947.
For the first two weeks Baidul was in charge of the ashram
management, looking after the various requirements of the
ashramites. Next came Kaka Baria and B. D. (Papa) Jessawala.
Baba's work with these inmates would begin at 8:00 A.M. First
He would bathe some of the masts. Then He would closet
Himself with some of them for the silent conferences. The big
door would be closed and none of the mandali would be
allowed to remain inside the stable. At 11:00 A.M. Baba
Himself would distribute food to all these "guests." Some masts
He fed with His own hands. He once remarked, "In bathing
them I bathe myself; in feeding them I feed myself." This
outward routine continued, more or less, until the last week of
January 1947. After this Baba closed this mast ashram.
By the way, I would like to mention that this particular
stable has a special importance for many Baba people. On
October 16, 1950, when Baba was in the New Life, He allowed
His disciples and devotees to assemble at Mahabaleshwar for
His sahavas. The gathering was held in this very stable, and
here Meher Baba delivered the unforgettable "Baba's Sermon."
He personally handed over a copy of the sermon to everyone
present and instructed each one to meditate on it daily.
Silent Dhondi Bua and Laughing Kabir
The mad and the destitute in the ashram need no special
mention, but some of the masts were noteworthy. One was
Dhondi Bua, a mast of the fifth plane brought from Wai, a
nearby township. He was of a jamali nature. Occasionally

MAST ASHRAM AT MAHABALESHWAR

193

the ripple of a frown would cross his face, though there was
"the light of a smile in his eyes," and at the corners of his eyes
there were delicate crow's feet. One would often notice a
puzzled look on his wrinkled face. His voice was exquisitely
sweet and inviting. He wore a loose long coat with sleeves that
reached below his fingers. It looked queer, and the pockets
often bulged with sundry odd things. Baba like him very much
and remarked that Dhondi Bua was on the verge of entering a
majzoob-like state. He was kept in the ashram for over three
weeks.
Kabir was another interesting mast. He was from
Kurduwadi, and I used to see him rolling in the streets or lying
near the urinals with a peculiar delight about his face. Baidul
took him to Mahabaleshwar. Kabir had the loudest laughter!
When outside of the stable, he laughed and laughed so loudly
that the leaves on the trees around were drowned in it. It seemed
that he laughed whenever there was a welling up of his love for
the Beloved, God. On the other hand, his skin, or rather his
entire body, looked very dirty. Two uneven rows of misshapen
yellow teeth added to his exterior ugliness, but in spite of this
"there was a sense of some inner luminosity to which his outer
shell did the poorest justice." 61
Kabir had a habit of making signs in the air. While having
his meals, he would roar with laughter at each morsel. It was
said that at Pandharpur, as he lived near a cemetery, he ate even
the remains of corpses! So oblivious was he of the things he
consumed! He had a strange, ecstatic look. Dr. Donkin wrote,
"Kabir was a source of amazement to all, for never had one seen
quite so strange an intermingling of an inner brilliance with so
repellent and bestial a shell." 62 Kabir was kept in the ashram for
ten days.

61
62

William Donkin, The Wayfarers, p. 143.


Ibid., p. 143.

194

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


Shah Saheb, the Smoker, and Jumma, the Docile

Shah Saheb was perhaps an emigrant mast from Africa. He had


almond-shaped eyes and muttered incomprehensible phrases to
himself. At first he was seen either sitting quietly, gazing
absentmindedly at almost anything, or resting flat on the ground
swathed in a blanket. He was such a chain smoker that even his
body had the peculiar rank smell of tobacco. Sometimes he
looked dazed and sometimes he seemed quite happy with
himself and his life in the ashram. When the ashram was closed
he was very reluctant to leave Baba's atmosphere, and as an
exception Meher Baba allowed Shah Saheb to stay on until He
shifted His headquarters to Satara.
Jumma was born a mast. He was from Baramati, a
prosperous township in the district of Poona. In a mast of such a
type, madar-zad, the love for God is an untutored and inherent
flowering. Jumma had some traits of a jamali mast, too. He was
very docile and seldom spoke unless spoken to. Tall and slim,
with very supple joints in his arms and hands, his movements
resembled "the writhings of a snake." He was in the ashram for
about ten days. Incidentally, I will mention here that after over a
decade and a half, without giving me the name of this mast but
just a bit of a description, Meher Baba sent me a message to
contact Jumma, feed him and then report on the matter to Baba.
This was my only direct participation in Baba's work with the
masts. More about this when I come to that incident.
An Adept Pilgrim from Bhor
The other two masts brought to this ashram were Pahlwan and
Vasudev Swami. "Pahlwan" means a wrestler. He was quite
young and would perform physical exercises at the slightest
suggestion. He had a very good physique indeed,

MAST ASHRAM AT MAHABALESHWAR

195

but worldly things least interested his mind. As regards the


physical body, Vasudev Swami was his opposite. He cut a
pathetic figure he could not walk and had to be lifted by
someone for the calls of nature. He had a plaintive voice, the
result of the agonies he bore. In spite of these tribulations, he
had a child's great liking for toys. He also showed great delight
in wearing valuable rings. The villagers of Ale, where he lived,
respected him and looked after his needs because his "madness"
had a divine touch about it. He was God-mad. His delicate
physical frame could not bear the cold of Mahabaleshwar and
so he was sent back within a few days. Pahlwan, however,
stayed on for a period of three weeks. Through different types
of masts, and the mad, Meher Baba carried on His work on
different levels of consciousness. Perhaps it was for this that He
had such varied types in the ashram.
The visit of an adept pilgrim to Mahabaleshwar in January
1947 is worth mentioning. Eruch brought him from Bhor, about
forty miles distant. He told this pilgrim that he was being taken
to his (Eruch's) elder brother. To this the adept pilgrim promptly
replied, "Not to your elder brother but to Meher Baba, who has
in Him the whole universe." He further remarked, "He is this
world, that which is above it, and below it; He is in me and in
everyone." 63 After reaching Mahabaleshwar, Eruch told Baba
about this incident and He decided not to keep him in the
ashram. Baba did not even see him personally that was not
necessary. The next morning after breakfast he was taken back
to Bhor, where he was known to the people as Bhorwala Baba.
He left the ashram in a delightful mood. Perhaps in his higher
state of consciousness he was "seeing" Meher Baba all the time.
Sometimes Baba personally contacted the adept pilgrims who
had recognized His divinity as the

63

See: The Wayfarers, p. 144.

196

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

Avatar of the Age, but in some cases He declined to meet them.


This much we know, and nothing more.
Meher Baba kept Himself busy the whole day with the
activities of the mast ashram. The schedule during such phases
of His work was of clock-like precision. When He was in the
company of the masts, one could almost sense the vibrations of
compassion and peace flowing from Him into their dazed
beings. For about a month He personally fed them with His own
hands and also from His inexhaustible spiritual granary. On
January 28, 1947 Baba offered His services to a score of poor
people, and the ashram at Mahabaleshwar for the masts, the
mad and the destitute was closed.
Avatar, by Jean Adriel
Being engaged in mast work, Baba was not in a mood to give a
special birthday message for the year. According to the
Zoroastrian calendar it was on February 15 in 1947. Baba lovers
at different places in India and abroad celebrated the day as a
private function. The following two cables from the West were
received by Meher Baba:
Our hearts sing "Happy Birthday to You." Beloved, in
Spirit with You, [we are] always longing [for] reunion with
You.
Glad You were born that we may be reborn in Love.
Malcolm Schloss celebrated Meher Baba's birthday in San
Francisco, California. It was a lovely evening, and the small
group that gathered there felt Baba's presence.
It was in this blessed month that Jean Adriel published
Avatar, The Life Story of the Perfect Master, Meher Baba. She
dedicated the book "To the living Christ Whose beauty the

MAST ASHRAM AT MAHABALESHWAR

197

very heavens cannot contain, but Whose presence may be found


in every humble, loving heart." Jean Adriel very skillfully
propounded the advent of the Avatar, Meher Baba, and a few
phases of His work. In India the book was well received by
Baba people. Keshav N. Nigam, editor of Meher Pukar, was so
impressed that he translated Avatar into Hindi. In casual talks
some Baba lovers, particularly from Andhra Pradesh, expressed
to me with a feeling of gratitude the spiritual debt they owe to
Jean Adriel for writing Avatar. With apt references to her
personal experiences, she has very frankly and lovingly
presented some of Meher Baba's ways of cleansing the heart of
its blemishes and filling it with subsequent ecstasies. I, too, read
the book with great interest. It was delightful and creative
reading. Her writing reminded me of Meher Baba's words
addressed to her one day in 1937. While explaining to Jean
about the "inner drawing and withdrawal" of the divine
presence, Baba dictated on His board:
It is my way of working. I draw you to me, and I push you
away; then I draw you closer and push you farther away, until,
at last, I draw you so close that you become one with me,
forever. 64
Meher Baba in His omnipresence plays the game of hide
and seek with every individual, through triumphs and through
tragedies, in a fascinating way!
On a Mission to the West
In December 1936 Meher Baba invited about fifteen Westerners, mostly from America and England, for a stay in India,
for five years if He so desired. Princess Norina Matchabelli,
Countess Nadine Tolstoy and Mrs. Elizabeth

64

Jean [Adriel] Schloss, The Master at Work, Meher Baba Journal, October
1939, p. 17.

198

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

Patterson were among those invited. In June 1941 these three


devoted disciples were sent to the United States on an important
mission to establish a Meher Center there and to prepare the
ground for Baba's fourth visit to America. After reaching the
States, Norina felt a deep and definite call from within to speak
to people about Meher Baba and His mission. Through her
stirring appeals some spiritually minded persons were greatly
touched and felt convinced of Meher Baba's divinity, and some
had wonderful experiences as they listened to her talk. Adi K.
Irani wrote: "For five years, Norina Matchabelli carried on this
... mission, until she got the Master's order to cease to work
through the spiritual light-motion, since it had fulfilled its
purpose; and she was summoned back to India in 1947." 65
Nadine Tolstoy was observing silence during the last period
of her stay in India. After her return to the West she became ill
and later passed away in April 1946, to live "more than ever" in
Baba's Being. Elizabeth Patterson successfully established
Meher Center-on-the-Lakes at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina.
Some Baba people in America had not seen their beloved
Master since January 1935. They were anxiously awaiting His
next visit, which was overdue. There were also those on the
West Coast who had heard of Meher Baba through Norina,
Elizabeth and other Baba people. They were eagerly looking
forward to their first meeting with Baba in 1947; however, as
Baba was deeply engaged in His special mast work in India, He
postponed His visit until 1948.
A Special Message for the Westerners
In March 1947, Meher Baba conveyed through a special message His decision to postpone His visit to the West. He

65

Princess Norina Matchabelli, Fragments from a Spiritual Diary (New York:


Circle Production, Inc., 1949) pp. 14-15.

MAST ASHRAM AT MAHABALESHWAR

199

called Elizabeth and Norina back to India after circulating this


message to His dear ones in the West:
The world is now drawing very close to the great upheaval . . . This upheaval will entail great suffering to
humanity, but this suffering will work a profound change of
heart and will sweep the world clean for the new and vital
phase that must follow . . .
I know how patiently many of you who have not seen
me for several years have been awaiting a reunion, and I
know there are also many devoted souls who are eagerly
looking forward to meeting me for the first time.
I want all of you dear ones to endure the extra period of
separation with a courageous patience and in spite of your
disappointment, to continue and persevere in your present
work and faith until I come. You must rest assured that I
shall come and should always remember that in spite of this
temporary separation from my physical presence, my real
and infinite presence is eternally with you. 66
There were more changes in the above plan, and Meher
Baba visited the United States not in 1948 but in April 1952.
"May God Save Us from This Soul!"
In addition to the foregoing message, the following two cables
were sent in March 1947 to some of Baba's disciples in the
West. Whenever Baba was not in seclusion, He would attend to
the correspondence received from His followers spread over the
world and would dictate replies to guide them. To one of them
He cabled: "Wait, see and decide as you think best. Love." To
another: "Try to overcome

66

Kitty Davy, Recollections, The Awakener, vol. 6, no. 2, Summer 1959, p. 12.

200

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

the possessive instinct which predominates lust and greed."


Except for a few standing orders, Meher Baba encouraged His
followers to exercise the dictates of their conscience and His
help consisted in its unfoldment. The words sent would be
instrumental in this vital functioning of the heart, backed by
reason.
One of Baba's devotees in Madhya Pradesh (India) was
repeatedly writing, rather pestering Baba with a number of
letters requesting Him to relieve him of his financial burden. In
such matters Baba had directed his followers to face the
situation bravely with all honest efforts humanly possible, and
then to allow the will of God to take its course. It is also a fact
that if one remembers Meher Baba wholeheartedly in the
darkest hours of his life, one receives help from the most
unexpected quarters. In reply to the volley of letters sent by this
devotee, Baba, whose humor was like a whiff of fresh air,
joked: "May God save us from this soul!" He, however, directed
a cheering reply and sent him His love-blessings. And Baba's
blessings, aglow with His love, have been a tower of strength to
His devotees.
By this time I had learned from Pandoba about Baba's
forthcoming visit to Madras, on the southeast coast of India. "At
last, after a period of two years, Baba has graciously
condescended to see His devotees good news! Shouldn't I try
to be present at Madras?" I thought. It was a slender chance, no
doubt, but it was a chance, and I could not afford to miss it. The
very thought offered partial comfort. But it did not remain
partial, for by the end of the month I received a letter containing
permission for me to attend the darshan programs at Madras. It
was the blessed beginning of recurrent contacts with the Master
in the year 1947.

13
First Day of Darshan at Madras, 1947

Meher Ashramam, a Flashback


IN April 1947, I visited Madras with Meher Baba. It was quite a
long journey by mail train. A fair number of years have rolled
by, yet a few of the recollections are surprisingly vivid. They
generate a marvelous power that magically bridges the span of
time, helping to bring back those lovely moments of divine
companionship, so fresh, so living! But before I begin that
account, I must mention the Baba work done in that area by one
of His near and dear disciples, C. V. Sampath Aiyangar of the
Madras Judicial Service.
The city of Madras gave Meher Baba a resounding ovation
for the first time in the early thirties. It was a spontaneous
gesture on the part of the public. After this visit on March 1 and
2, 1930, the atmosphere of the city vibrated with Baba's name.
The entire visit was a glorious success, mainly due to the
devoted efforts of Sampath Aiyangar, and it was during this
time that Meher Ashramam had its inception, in Baba's
presence. Meher League had the objective of promoting
universal brotherhood and had Baba's sanction. K. J. Dastur and
Aiyangar were the presidents. Baba asked His devotees to meet
together at least once a week for meditation and a free mutual
exchange of thoughts and feelings.

201

202

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

A decision to publish the Meher Gazette as a quarterly from


Madras had Baba's approval. Sister V. T. Laxmi was to be the
editor. During Baba's short visit to the city, a cosmopolitan
dinner was arranged and there were some house visits, too.
Baba also paid a visit to the Baby Welcome Centre, bathed a
child and distributed sweets to all. On the way to Saidapet
where the Aiyangars resided, Baba sanctified an area named
Paracheri (a slum for the so-called depressed class) where the
pariahs lived. Baba had a chat with some through gestures, and
He tasted rice water in one of the huts. He did not ignore
meeting an ailing devotee named Pankaja Ammal. He consoled
her and gave her some flowers as prasad. Later she passed
away peacefully with Baba's name on her lips, offering her
heart as a flower at His holy feet. After a public meeting in
Goschen which was very well attended, Baba left Madras the
next morning.
The first issue of the Meher Gazette was published in June
1930. Meher Ashramam continued to render services to the
depressed classes. From the very beginning Baba upheld that no
particular caste or religion is exclusively superior. In a special
message to the Meher Gazette He stated:
"Though creeds and theologies are many, religion is,
strictly speaking, One; and this one religion includes ... love
for God and longing to realize the Truth. In order that this
religion may be applicable to all, class-caste tyranny and
priestcraft must be eradicated root and branch."
Sampath Aiyangar did his best to live his life according to
Baba's message. But by 1947 when Baba visited Madras again,
Aiyangar had dropped his body to rest eternally in his Master's
Being. Yet Mrs. Aiyangar and their two daughters, V. T. Laxmi
and K. Janakey, tried their utmost to make Baba's stay at Meher
Bhavan quite comfortable for Him and creative for His
devotees.

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203

"Bhagwan (God) Is Never Lost"


After closing the mast ashram at Mahabaleshwar in January
1947, Meher Baba broke His long spell of public withdrawal by
giving darshan to His devotees and the people at Madras. The
request of the southerners was strong and intense and Baba
asked them to fix a date in the near future. Just as the planning
was going along well, some disturbances broke out in the city.
In March V. T. Laxmi sent Baba a telegram stating that the
holding of a public meeting or congregation in the city of
Madras was prohibited by order of the Police Commissioner.
Baba was on the point of canceling His visit when a second
telegram arrived indicating that Baba's visit would be
considered most timely in those troubled days. The situation in
the city was returning to normal, and Meher Baba agreed to
visit Madras. The people were to be allowed to have His
darshan at the place of His residence, Meher Bhavan, 27
Brahmin Street, Saidapet. When this decision was conveyed to
the Baba people at Madras, in a telegram of welcome to Baba
they stated: "Delighted. Deeply grateful to you. Awaiting your
august arrival on April 2, 1947."
Baba left Poona on the Bombay-Madras Express on April 1.
Kaka Baria, Jal (Baba's brother), Dr. Ghani, Dr. Donkin, Adi
Sr., Ramjoo, Meherjee, Pendu and Sidu accompanied Him. The
train arrived at Kurduwadi at nine that night. It was the first
time that the people of this place had Meher Baba's darshan
rather, just a look through the window at that radiant figure as
they folded their hands in namaskars. Two devotees from Barsi
named Bhagat and Bhagwan had come to Kurduwadi to join
Baba's party, but Bhagwan was found to be missing. We
searched for him in the waiting room, along the railway lines
and the platforms, shouting aloud, "Bhagwan, Bhagwan," but in
vain. When this news

204

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

was conveyed to Baba, He remarked, "Don't worry. Bhagwan


(the word literally means 'God') is never lost!" The second
devotee, Bhagat, was asked to return to Barsi. Later it was
learned that when Bhagat came to my house to take me to the
station, Bhagwan, who was an illiterate streetcobbler,
inadvertently got into an earlier train heading towards Sholapur
(Madras side). At the next stop Bhagwan realized his mistake
and got off the train at Sholapur. He, too, was asked to return to
Barsi.
At Kurduwadi I managed to get across the crowded platform
and sneak into a compartment near to Baba's. The annual
examination of the school was drawing near but the Headmaster
kindly sanctioned the leave; and my colleagues perhaps
sanctioned my madness in "running after" Meher Baba. At
Sholapur, Limkar joined me as a compartment companion.
Bubbling with Baba love, he was good company though at
times it was boring to hear him talking excessively. Again I had
to give a patient ear to the poems he had composed on Baba.
When the train reached Adoni, it was a delightful morning
with a soft blue sky and it was pleasant to get out onto the
platform. Limkar and I moved towards Baba's compartment and
stood at a distance where we could just have a look at Baba's
radiant face, so tender, so compassionate! The sun had peeped
above the horizon and poured in through His window, joining
us in this morning marvel. By nightfall the train reached
Madras. As per previous instructions, no special reception like
the one at Nagpur in November 1944 was held at Madras
Central station. Only the host received the divine guest.
Under the Same Roof with Baba
Soon we found ourselves in Meher Bhavan. There was a big
hall on the second floor for the mandali, and the adjacent

FIRST DAY OF DARSHAN AT MADRAS

205

room was reserved for Baba. Within a few minutes Baba arrived
in the darshan hall on the first floor. He stopped there and met
His dear ones who had come from outstations. Minoo Kharas
and Adi Dubash from Karachi were also present. Baba asked
them to attend all the programs, but for their lodging He
remarked: "Only those who have come with me are to stay in
Meher Bhavan." They happily obeyed Him and made the
necessary arrangements.
About Limkar, Baba joked: "The number of his relatives in
Madras exceeds the number of my devotees! " He warned
Limkar that if he had come especially for Baba's programs, he
should not go to see his relatives. Limkar could not overcome
the temptation. He visited his relatives, had a bad fall and
limped for days. Maybe it was a warning for him to be more
careful about the words of the Master, even a casual remark.
My turn was last. "Must I leave this place?" a wave of
doubt came rolling in. But before I could say anything Adi Sr.
intervened and said something in Gujarati, and Baba signaled
me to stay on. My heart chuckled at the prospect of living under
the same roof with the Master. The next day Baba asked Minoo
Kharas and Adi Dubash to bring back their baggage for a stay in
Meher Bhavan. Baba showered, and still showers, His grace on
us, but not necessarily when we expect it!
Darshan in Meher Bhavan
By morning on April 3 a band squad was in attendance at the
gate of Meher Bhavan. They played sweet music to announce
the commencement of the Baba program in Madras. Here are
some of the details as far as I remember them. A difference here
or there in the sequence of events is possible.

206

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

Darshan was to commence at 8:30 A.M. in the welldecorated hall on the ground floor. Baba's seat was in a corner
facing the main door, and darshan was permitted from a little
distance. No one was allowed to touch Baba's person, so to
avoid such a disturbance a special seat had been designed. I do
not recall that Baba embraced any of His devotees during those
two days. Regarding the darshan program, Dr. Donkin wrote:
People streamed through the room in thousands Baba
sitting in the corner on a monstrous throne with a sort of
seven-headed cobra over Him and a peacock at either side.
This weird and wonderful throne was covered by silver
paper of various colors, and Baba had to amble in and out of
it at the beginning and close of each darshan session.
. . . People really were moved by Baba; people would
stand with rapt expressions on their faces, looking quite lost
to everything and some would stand with eyes closed and
tears tumbling down their cheeks. 67
Manek Mehta had come from Bombay with a large group,
and he stayed in one of the suburbs of Madras. This group of
men and women would sit before Baba's seat and sing bhajans
during darshan hours. Some of the songs were composed by
Manek on Meher Baba's divinity. I remember the following two
songs:
"Meher muze pyara duniyame tuhi hamara" meaning,
"Meher is my loved one. In the world You are the only One, all
in all." The second song, in Gujarati, was: "Sadgurabahu bhayo
chhe, Tuasam bijo na koi," meaning, "There have been many
Masters, but You are the One without a second."
As the songs continued, one after another people passed in
a line before Baba's seat, taking His darshan. Sometimes

67

Kitty Davy, Thirty Years in the Service of Meher Baba, The Awakener, vol. 9,
no. 3. 1963, p. 15.

FIRST DAY OF DARSHAN AT MADRAS

207

Baba would cast a glance of appreciation at the singer or gesture


a sign of approval. A few songs of Mirabai and Kabir were also
sung.
I had a short but instructive talk with Minoo Kharas. In a
small bag he had all the five volumes of Meher Baba's
Discourses, also a few booklets on Meher Baba which had been
published. His study of Baba's literature, including statements
made by Baba at different times, had been intense. He told me
that when one was in Meher Baba's sahavas (company), one
should concentrate exclusively on Him. It was he who first
suggested to me that I write my impressions of my visits and
meetings with Meher Baba in diary form. Minoo first met Baba
at Nasik in January 1932. No sooner did he see Meher Baba
than his heart acclaimed, "Here is God in human form for whom
I have been searching all these years. Now my search for the
Master is over." From that very first meeting Minoo inwardly
dedicated his very being at the holy feet of his beloved Master,
Meher Baba. Minoo's rock-like faith in Baba's divinity is
remarkable. He had flown from Bombay to Madras to be in
time for the darshan. Malcolm Schloss from California was also
given permission by Baba to attend the programs in Madras, but
somehow he could not get "on the wing."
Spirituality Cannot Be a Monopoly
When the rush of people had lessened, Baba moved to the
premises of Meher Ashramam. There a pipal tree grew which
had been planted in commemoration of His visit to Madras in
March 1930. By this time it had grown into a huge tree. Baba
sat under it and some beautiful pictures were taken. Baba-work
under the auspices of Meher Ashramam, including services to to
the poor and depressed class people, formerly was carried on in
this compound. Baba had appreciated selfless social service of
this type. His

208

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

message for the "oppressed and the depressed" was as follows:


To believe today in birth and profession to be
necessarily the basis of any difference as between man and
man is to insist upon living in the past and remaining dead
to the present. Cleanliness of mind and body, which is
practical spirituality, has never been and can never be the
monopoly of any one particular class or creed. It should be
aspired to by everyone and could be acquired by anyone
man or woman.
Man-made differences, like all other things made by
man, take no time to change with the changing times. Rights
must be restored and will be restored, but responsibilities
have also to be shouldered. It is indeed great to be a man,
but it is far greater to be man to man.
Irrespective of the birth-labels and belief-tables, I give
my blessings to all those who feel themselves to be
oppressed, depressed or suppressed, from any cause
whatsoever.
During the two days' visit to Madras, Meher Baba gave a
message to a small group, a part of which is given below:
The institution of slavery in the Middle Ages was
already bad enough, but the irresponsible slavery of the
Industrial Age is worse. The most cruel and destructive
form of slavery is an intellectual bigotry of possessing the
monopoly of Truth, exclusive of others.
Intellect is, so to say, reserved by nature for man, but
however keen and quick it may be, it will always remain
just one of the stepping-stones to Knowledge. Like
everything else, intellect can be used as much as misused or
abused. The deeper the intelligence, the greater the responsibility for discrimination between essentials and nonessentials.
May you succeed in transcending the limitations of
intellectual understanding . . . My blessings to all.

FIRST DAY OF DARSHAN AT MADRAS

209

Meherjee's Meeting with Meher Baba


In Meher Bhavan my bedding was facing Dr. Ghani's in the
opposite row, so I could hear or overhear many things, jokes
and Baba anecdotes, that he told to those around him. Like
Minoo Kharas, Meherjee Karkaria was a new acquaintance,
though I had no personal talk with him then. I was told that he
first saw Meher Baba at Meherabad in the Meher Ashram days,
as far back as 1927. It was just a coincidence that he had
accompanied Chanji (F. H. Dadachanji) on a weekend to
Meherabad. Baba lovingly inquired about Meherjee. After
getting his degree in science, Meherjee wanted to go to
Germany to study pharmaceutical chemistry. Baba casually
said, "If you pass this year, continue your studies; if not, come
to me at Meherabad." Meherjee never expected a failure in the
examination. But "luckily" he failed and did go to Meherabad,
where he taught the boys in the ashram school. He was just
twenty then. When the school was closed, at the request of
Meherjee's father Baba permitted him to leave Meherabad but
remarked to him: "You may leave Meherabad, but I will not
leave you!" Meherjee has been one of Meher Baba's dear
disciples ever since.
I also heard an unusual incident from Meherjee's life which
revealed one of the aspects of Baba's all-inclusive knowledge. I
wish to narrate it, for some may find it interesting. It is
connected with horoscopes and the influence of stars.
The Master's Words Rule Out Prediction
In the early thirties Meherjee Karkaria left India for Iran on
business. After over a decade, he visited India again in 1943. At
that time Meher Baba's headquarters was at Lahore, hundreds of
miles to the north of Bombay. Before

210

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

proceeding to Lahore, Meherjee met some of his acquaintances


in business and there arose an amusing episode about
astrological predictions. One of his friends asked Meherjee to
check his "fortune" from his horoscope. He advised him not to
speculate too much on war money it was during World War
II. Meherjee was impressed and got his horoscope from his
father, who was residing at Navsari in Gujarat. After going
through the birth chart, a famous old astrologer predicted that
Meherjee should discontinue his particular line of business, and
it would be best for him to sell all that he had at the market rate.
Meherjee felt convinced and cabled his office in Iran to act
accordingly, and then he left for Lahore (Pakistan).
Meherjee was meeting Meher Baba again after a period of
eleven years. Baba very lovingly embraced him and inquired
about his life and business in Iran. Meherjee concluded the
whole account by relating how he sent the cable from Bombay
about selling all his goods. Baba called him near, twisted his ear
and remarked: "Do you believe in stars or in me as God?"
Meherjee's prompt reply was: "I have full faith in you as God in
human form." At that moment Baba asked him to send a fresh
cable to his office, canceling the previous instructions. Later
Meherjee reaped a considerable profit in that enterprise. After a
few years he wound up his business in Iran and left that country
for good. Just after his return to India he had the good fortune to
join Meher Baba as one of the mandali on His visit to Madras.
Leaving aside whether or not Meherjee's horoscope was
correct or incorrect, I personally do not feel that Meher Baba
was either for or against any branch of science, for He is life
itself in all its aspects. Perhaps He wanted us to understand the
right place of various theories in formulating action in our lives.
We have to guard against letting the supernatural element affect
our daily lives. Such intrusion can tempt one to make a fetish
out of anything, and gradually

FIRST DAY OF DARSHAN AT MADRAS

211

one can lose self-confidence. Would you believe that one of my


friends wore caps of different colors in response to the
forewarning of the stars! To me, this incident in Meherjee's life
indicates that in one's life with the Master, if one has an
unswerving faith in His words it acts as a supervening law. I am
not an adherent of astrology, but I do feel that no honest
investigation of life should be treated either with undue
prejudice or excessive enthusiasm.
We had a good chat among ourselves in Meher Bhavan
about Meher Baba as the Avatar and His lilas. It seemed an
unendingly delightful occupation, but to recount all of it would
be an outright digression. Personally, I found that Dr. Ghani
was a storehouse of many, many significant Baba events and
that whenever possible I should not miss his company. The hall
was quite close to Baba's room and word came that He had
retired. It was a signal to switch off the lights, and we rested on
our beds with the sweet memories of the day leading us to sleep.
Thus ended the first day of our stay at Meher Bhavan, Madras.

14
Second Day of Darshan at Madras, 1947

A Stream Running Down the Mountain


THE second day of the darshan at Madras was, and still is,
precious to me. It was breakfast time on Friday, April 4, and the
mandali were going down the stairs. I saw Baba standing in the
doorway, looking at us lovingly as we passed by. When I was
about to start down, Adi Sr. called me. I entered Baba's room
and found Him sitting in a chair. Without any introduction He
gestured:
"You will have liberation (Mukti)."
This spontaneous assurance lifted me to a new dimension. A
feeling of timelessness crept over me, perhaps for a few
seconds. I was brought to my senses when Adi Sr. continued to
convey Baba's "say":
"But let your love flow on ceaselessly, like a stream down
the mountain on its way to the Ocean. Obstructions there will
be, of pleasures, of pains. Pass by these as passing phases.
There will be flowers and thorns by the bank and in the flow.
Do not get attached; do not get affected. Go on and on and let
the stream become a river. Doubts may assail you, selfcomplacency may lure you, but with love in the heart, roll on,
flow on to me the Ocean. Worry not, fear not. I am the
Ocean of Love. Now, go and have tea."
The instruction about tea made me aware of the room I was
in. It is difficult to say what I felt at that moment. It

212

SECOND DAY OF DARSHAN AT MADRAS

213

is something beyond me and I cannot put it in black and white.


The words, if expressed, might turn into barriers. It is too sacred
to talk about. Perhaps everyone who came into Meher Baba's
contact had such sublime moments. I wonder whether I had tea
or nectar that day!
The morning darshan hours were crowded with eager faces
clamoring to have a glimpse of Baba. Manek Mehta and his
party from Bombay again entertained Baba with devotional
songs. Behind me stood a painter trying to draw Meher Baba's
picture, a vain attempt to portray Him as He looked. Baba
signaled one person to come closer to His seat from the darshan
queue. I felt a bit curious as to why this particular person should
be called near. As he was leaving the hall I approached him and
found that he was observing silence. I did not know Tamil and
so no further conversation was possible. I just felt that his
inward sadhana drew him even outwardly closer to Baba, the
Indweller of all.
Love the Finest Give and Take
After lunch and an hour's rest, the program of visiting a few
places in Madras commenced. Baba, accompanied by us all,
reached a Center which seemed to be a boarding school for
girls. V. T. Laxmi, who was associated with vigilance and
women's social welfare, was in charge of the Center. She placed
on her dear Master a beautiful garland of gold embroidery,
perhaps a specialty of South India. Baba, resting under a tree,
looked very radiant as He blessed the girls who filed past Him
in a queue. A part of His message is given below:
Love for God, love for fellow beings, love for service
and sacrifice in short, love in any shape and form is the
finest give and take. Ultimately, it is love that will bring

214

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


about the much-desired leveling of human feelings all over
the world, without necessarily disturbing the inherent
diversities of details about mankind
It is infinitely better to hope for the best than to fear the
worst. Time is as much made out of the nights as out of the
days. The world is approaching a glorious dawn once again
in its inevitable course of ups and downs. My blessings to
all.
Meher Baba Remembered His Dear Archangels

Wearing that glittering garland, Baba got into a car and it sped
to M. Vadivelu Mudliar's house. The whole family beamed with
joy at Baba's arrival. While the arti was being performed, Baba
held a skein of cotton yarn in His fingers. He looked deeply
absorbed. When the arti was over, one of the devotees offered
Baba a garland of sandalwood shavings and the fragrance filled
the room. Calling Dr. Donkin, who was a bit late for arti near to
Him, Baba took off the two garlands and handed them over to
him, along with that skein of cotton yarn. Baba instructed
Donkin to send these as His prasad to Mary and Will Backett in
England. Mary had a special message from Meher Baba. She
was to hold the skein of yarn in her hand "for a while when she
gets it, and thereafter keep it in a safe place and not use it for
anything, ever."
Baba used to refer to Mary and Will as His dear archangels.
This "celestial" couple met the Master in London in April 1932
at the house of Kitty Davy's parents. Baba, in a way, celebrated
at Madras the fifteenth anniversary of these meetings by
remembering them and sending the gift of garlands. Strangely
enough, by the end of the next fifteen years, after fulfilling the
appointed task, they left their physical bodies to be with their
dear Master "for all time." At the first contact, Will received
prasad at the hands of

SECOND DAY OF DARSHAN AT MADRAS

215

Meher Baba which healed him physically and mentally, and


Mary had an uplifting touch. It is quite delightful to read in their
own words the account of their first meeting with their beloved
Master.
Healing Prasad and Uplifting Touch
In his diary for the year 1932, Will Backett wrote about this
memorable event:
. . . I had felt that I wished to make Baba some offering
as a greeting when meeting Him for the first time. I knew
that flowers were often given in His own country, but had
little means for a suitable offering after a journey from the
country which left little time, before reaching the house.
Almost impetuously, I stopped before a greengrocer and
chose a few grapes a mean enough offering truly, for the
fruit was small and not attractive. In its little brown bag, it
seemed meaner than ever, and quite unworthy, but I just
poured my love into it by mental effort, for not yet had the
wellsprings of love for Baba been opened in my heart, to
flow spontaneously to Him of their own force.
Had Meher Baba shown me more at that time of His own
inner nature, which the future has revealed, I could not have
borne it, I know. Clumsily, it must have seemed, did I offer
Him the fruit, while my friend was recounting my physical
weakness to Him. Looking back, I can see how alert He
was, though with quiet composure he detached a grape from
the bunch and handed it to me before my eyes could follow
the movement properly. My friend, who knew what was
intended, told me that Baba wished me to eat it, saying that
he had truly charged it with His healing power and love, and
so I obediently followed His direction and ate the grape at
once, slowly, almost like one in a dream, without
comprehending fully that which the passage of years now
makes plainer. With

216

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


that belessed fruit came the commencement of a return to
health, which other methods up to then had failed to give.
And gradually energy has returned, though perhaps of a
different character than before. 68

Mary Backett wrote her impressions about her first meeting


with Baba as follows:
We first met Baba at a friend's house in London. He was
seated in a small room at the top of the house, surrounded
by some close devotees. They did not hear me enter, but
Baba sprang up, with the agility, power and grace that
characterize all his movements, and came quickly forward. I
was astonished and touched that he should rise to meet me,
as I had intended to do homage as best I knew.
He looked at me earnestly and I at him, and I knew he
was reading my very soul. He then signed to me to sit
beside him on the low couch or bed and took my hand with
that gentle touch we all know so well. Immediately I felt a
great upliftment of consciousness, such as I had never
experienced with anyone before. I had been searching and
reading deeply for many years and knew that now I had
found the Master, and that the long search was over ...
My whole being was raised and spiritualized, and filled
with peace and joy. He gave me more, far more, in the space
of three minutes, than I had gained in thirty years of earnest
seeking . . .
I knew who Baba is. It was the great event of my life to
meet Him. 69
After receiving the parcel of garlands, Will wrote to Baba:
"Accept our devotion and love, with all their limitations,
perfecting their imperfections with Thyself" And

68

Kitty Davy, Thirty Years in the Service of Meher Baba The Awakener, vol. 9.
no. 3, pp. 3-4.
69
Mary Backett, Impressions, Meher Baba Journal, May 1940, p. 421.

SECOND DAY OF DARSHAN AT MADRAS

217

Mary expressed her feelings thus: "Keep us ever more close in


Thy Heart and give us strength on all planes to be faithful and
loving channels, for all Thou wouldst have us to do." Baba had
indeed many, many ways of contacting His dear ones and many
more means of retaining and recharging the link. His was the
life of unbounded compassion.
Spirituality Covers All Life
From Vadivelu's house, on the way to Saidapet, we were taken
to a matinee movie. All the seats in the balcony were reserved
for Baba people. The owner of the theater had requested Baba
to view this picture, a film based on the life of a lover of God, a
mythological story. It was in Tamil and so we could not follow
the conversation. After some time we left our seats in the
balcony for the cars, which were waiting outside to take us to
Meher Bhavan. When we arrived there we found that the
arrangements for the public darshan program were complete.
Soon the road was overcrowded with people men, women
and children. To pacify the darshan-hungry crowd Baba stood
up, His regal face beaming with love. He folded His hands to
the people in a way, to His own selves in the crowd. He
dictated on His alphabet board:
"I am very happy to see you all. Every one of you is in one
form or the other of the Divine manifestation. You are all in me;
I am in you all. The only way to realize God is through love."
For the public in general there was a special message,
"Resuscitation of Religion," in which He stated:
The urgent need of today to resuscitate religion is to
dig it out of its narrow and dark hidings and coverings and
let the spirit of man shine out once again in its

218

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


pristine glory. The most practical thing to do in the world is
to be spiritually minded. It needs no special time, place or
circumstances. It iS not necessarily concerned with anything
out of the way in anyone's daily life and day-to-day routine.
It is never too late or too early to be spiritual.
It is just a simple question of having a right attitude
towards lasting values, changing circumstances, avoidable
eventualities and a sense of the inevitable. Spirituality is
neither restricted to nor can it be restricted by anyone or
anything, anywhere, at any time. It covers all life for all
time.

Today, from morning right up to late night, there was


program after program. It was an unforgettable sight to see
Baba, with that compassionate poise and delightful equanimity,
accommodating Himself to the needs of various persons.
Significance of Washing the Master's Feet
We were to leave Madras on April 5, 1947 by the morning train,
so we all got up pretty early. As the time for Baba to leave
Meher Bhavan was drawing close, a few of the family members
looked sad and were in tears. Generally Baba did not allow
people to touch His feet, but as recognition of His love for the
late C. V. Sampath Aiyangar, Baba even permitted the family
members to wash His feet with milk and honey. A rare
privilege! Meher Baba once explained the symbolic significance
of this act of worship:
The feet, which are physically the lowest part of the
body, are spiritually the highest. Physically, the feet go
through everything, good and bad, beautiful and ugly, clean
and dirty, yet they are above everything. So, spiritually, the
feet of a Perfect Master are above everything in the
universe, which is like dust to them.

SECOND DAY OF DARSHAN AT MADRAS

219

When people come to a Perfect Master and touch his


feet with their heads, they lay upon him the burden of their
sanskaras, those subtle impressions of thought and emotion
which bind the individual soul to recurrent earthly lives.
This is the burden which Jesus meant he would assume
when he said, "Come unto me all ye who labour and are
heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
A Perfect Master collects these sanskaras from all over
the universe, just as an ordinary person, in walking, collects
dust on his feet. Those who love him deeply ... wash his feet
with honey, milk and water, representing different types of
sanskaras, and place at his feet a coconut, which represents
the mind and symbolizes their complete surrender. 70
Baba did not invite us to wash His feet so I was just a silent
spectator to this hallowed act of worship. Baba looked delighted
as well as solemn and seemed so absorbed and so alert to
everything at one and the same time. Except for a few, the local
Baba lovers were not asked to visit either Meher Bhavan or the
railway station that morning. Baba's words of farewell to His
dear ones in Madras were:
"I am always with you, still I have been very happy for
the days you have been with me. You may feel that now I
am going away but you should never find that I have gone
away. It is for you to hold on to me now and forever. On My
part, I and my love will never leave you here or hereafter."
Perfect Forgetfulness to Conscious Powerfulness
One bogie (carriage) was reserved for the Baba party on the
Madras-Bombay Express, and in the morning we

70

Manlcolm Schloss, The Feast Day of a Modern Christ, Meher Baba Journal,
February 1942, p. 208.

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boarded the train. It was a unique experience to travel with


Baba, for now one felt more at home with Him and His moods.
As the train left the station a basket of fruit was unpacked, and
Baba began to throw the fruit as prasad to those in the
compartment. Sometimes He looked in one direction and threw
the fruit in another, so we had to be alert to catch it. If someone
dropped the catch he had to go near Baba, return the fruit and
wait for the next chance. It was indeed a fine indoor sport!
Limkar, who was traveling in the same compartment, tried
two or three times to read some of his poems to Meher Baba
they were based on His divinity. Baba was busy with some
other work so He gestured, "Limkar, I know the contents of the
poems before they are composed." Looking at Dr. Donkin and
pointing at Limkar, Baba remarked in a lighter vein of His
inimitable humor, "Don, I have explained eight types of masts
in The Wayfarers. Here is the ninth type!"
After some time Baba was in the mood to give a discourse
through the means of His alphabet board. I was all ears and
eyes, for it was the first time I ever saw and heard Baba giving a
discourse. Jal was reading the board. Dr. Ghani repeated the
sentences aloud in English, with an on-the-spot translation into
Hindi so that all the members in the compartment could hear
well and understand Baba's words. Mainly the discourse
clarified the three states of consciousness:
1) The sound sleep state of perfect forgetfulness.
2) The awake-dream state of increasing helplessness.
3) The Real-awake state of All-powerfulness.
In the beginning Baba explained how natural is the pull
within our consciousness to retire into deep sleep, and how vital
is the drive to wake up and aspire for an expansion in
consciousness. He lucidly explained how God, the
incomprehensible, plays the indescribable game of waking

SECOND DAY OF DARSHAN AT MADRAS

221

Himself to His own infinite wakefulness, latent in the original


sound sleep state. This is effected through the process of
increasing helplessness, which in the end becomes unlimited.
This absolute helplessness of itself is turned into Allpowerfulness.
Baba's gestures and facial expressions, His rhythm and
pauses as His fingers moved on the board, presented a
marvelous sight, so vivid in memory to this day! At the end of
the discourse, I vaguely gathered that the timeless transmutation
of infinite Unconsciousness into infinite Consciousness is a
phenomenon of which the Beyond-Beyond State of God is
neither aware nor oblivious! It is really the Beyond, untouched
by any experience! The magnitude of the subject matter made
my mind silent. I looked out of the window at the fast-moving
trees and fields and at the sky and horizon, wherein the
reflection of the Beyond was manifesting in one way or the
other. What an astounding Beyond with an endless variety of
splendor about it!
The Internal Journey with the Master
After the discourse Baba wished to retire from the mandali for
His work. Some of us found an unoccupied first class coupe on
the train, so it was reserved for Baba. As He left the carriage He
instructed Dr. Donkin to occupy His seat until He returned. We
did full justice to the lunch so lovingly given by our dear host at
Madras. Baba made a few visits to our compartment and asked
some of us to tell Him a few stories or jokes to relieve the
burden of His work. Then He gestured to Sidu, who is a ready
qavval-in-waiting, to sing a ghazal. The substance of the Urdu
lines, as per my limited understanding of the language, was as
follows:
"Love is a strange binding! It binds and unwinds. The more
you bind yourself to the Beloved, the greater the freedom
(unwinding) you have. But such love is very, very

222

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

rare. In fact, love is an ocean of fire that you have to cross to


meet the Beloved."
By evening Baba had returned to His coupe with Kaka
Baria, Adi Sr. and Dr. Donkin. In the early morning the train
reached Kurduwadi, the station where I had joined the Baba
party. Leaving those who were in the compartment, I stepped
down onto the platform. The window of Baba's coupe was open,
and I saw him preoccupied and absorbed in His work. Even in
that "unseeing state," He gave me a look of compassion for a
second and I felt satisfied. I did not dare go near Him to offer
namaskar, for I feared that it might draw a crowd to Baba's
coupe and thus disturb Him in His work. I left the railway
station with heavy steps and mingled feelings of joy and
sorrow. The happy moments of sahavas are surrounded by
unseen tears of separation! It was a pity that the journey ended
so soon, but once begun, does the internal journey with the
Master ever end until final union?

15
Meher Baba's Stay at Satara, 1947

"Baba is Fire"
MEHER Baba returned to Poona from Madras on Easter
morning, April 6, 1947 and proceeded to Mahabaleshwar. The
mail that was awaiting His arrival contained a few cables and
many letters. One of His dear ones from the West Coast of the
United States, who had not yet met Him physically, expressed
her feelings in the following words: "Longing for you, my
Beloved. Your blessed feet are the kiss of God on earth." Baba
sent His love blessings in return, and also what sort of
awakening through the inner planes, we do not know. A short
poem, or a chant, which is given below was read out to Baba.
As He heard the lines, He seemed delighted and tapped the
alphabet board rhythmically, expressing His happiness.
Om to the North, Om to the South;
Only one Name shall cross my mouth.
Om to the East, Om to the West;
We know the Name that we love best.
Om, Om, Om, Abba, Abba, Abba;
Holy, Holy, Holy, Baba, Baba, Baba.
Like a child, Baba appeared very pleased to hear such simple
poems composed in different languages by His dear ones. Baba,
also, though rarely, composed poems in various languages,
rhyming simple words

223

224

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

Once, with reference to the responses received by Baba


lovers who remembered Him wholeheartedly, Baba remarked,
"Baba is fire." He was in a jovial mood and dictated some lines
through His board. The poem thus composed is given below:
Baba Is Fire
When you feel cold
And sit near the fire,
It drives out your cold
And makes you perspire.
When you feel hungry
And cook on the fire,
It gives you your food,
For which you aspire.
But if you, like a fool,
Try to play with Fire,
It may burn you so badly,
That would make hell admire!
After a two or three-day stay at Mahabaleshwar Baba
planned to spend a score of days in seclusion at Purandar, a fort
connected with the life of King Shivaji (1630-1680 A. D.)
situated on the top of a mountain over four thousand feet high.
This plan was set to work before leaving for Madras the
beginning of April, and the mast Ali Shah was taken to the fort
on April 10. There were unusual showers and a great gale raged
for a week. Baba worked with Ali Shah until April 19 and then
moved to Ajinkyatara Fort near Satara. He stayed there for five
days and spent many hours all alone in a lonely part of this
ruined fortress. At the end of April, He returned to
Mahabaleshwar.
Mast Ashram at Satara
By the last week of May 1947, Baba had shifted His headquarters from Mahabaleshwar to Satara, where He stayed

MEHER BABAS STAY AT SATARA

225

in Mutha's newly built bungalow with the women mandali.


Three other bungalows were also rented one for the men
mandali; the second for Dr. Donkin and Dr. Ghani, who were
working on the final phase of the book on masts, The
Wayfarers; and the third bungalow, because of the masts who
were brought there, can well be referred to as the Satara mast
ashram. Baba had sent letters of instructions a month earlier to
some of His devotees and disciples to bring certain types of
masts to Satara by mid-June. For one reason or the other most
of them did not succeed in bringing any masts. Only Minoo
Kharas brought two masts, Babaji and Payaji. They were of the
moderate type, and Baba sent them back to Karachi after three
days.
The mast ashram at Satara rested mainly on two powerful
pillars, Ali Shah and Chacha of Ajmer. Ali Shah was ever
available for Baba's mast work. The arrival of Chacha made the
ashram activities very significant and vibrant spiritually, and he
stayed at Satara for about five weeks. He was a seventh plane
Majzoob, experiencing the "I am God" state in which "I" is
neither the subject nor "God" the object; it is BEING what
Reality eternally IS.
With great difficulty Baidul brought Chacha from Ajmer to
Satara on June 3. After his arrival this great Majzoob occupied a
seat in the corner of a room in the ashram, and he practically
did not leave this room during his entire stay. He would sit for
hours and hours on just a strip of matting, occasionally
changing to a place a few yards away. About Baba's contacts
with Chacha, particularly during this period, Dr. Donkin wrote:
Each day, Baba spent most of his time plying Chacha
with tea and food, or sitting with him in silent conference.
During these weeks, after sitting for an hour or two with Ali
Shah, and particularly with Chacha, Baba would emerge
with face pale and tired, and often with clothes

226

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


drenched in perspiration. It seemed as if, in his silent
conferences with these great masts, he had to focus the rays
of his infinite power through the lens of his body and his
body felt the strain. 71

Baba generally bathed and shaved the masts living in the


mast ashram, but Chacha flatly refused to be bathed. Only after
great persuasion by Baba and the mandali was he amenable to
the removal of his filthy clothes. It was a sort of miracle that in
spite of his living for over two decades in an unclean hovel with
such dirty clothes on his body, he kept robust health. On July 10
he was sent back to Ajmer with Baidul.
Ali Shah was the first and last inmate of this mast ashram.
He was the "opener" and the "bat-in-hand" to return to his
pavilion at Meherabad. The Satara mast ashram was closed by
July 13, 1947.
Circular Regarding Correspondence and a Fast
On July 1 a circular was issued which banned correspondence
with Meher Baba it was mainly for His lovers in India. Only
telegrams were permissible in serious matters.
Prior to this circular a letter from one of His dear ones was
read to Him. The person concerned had landed himself in great
difficulties and felt tortured. In directing the reply to this letter,
Baba remarked through His alphabet board: "You are not the
cause of your difficulties. Baba Himself is the cause of the
world going wrong or right." Baba, however, pacified him by
conveying at the end: "Don't worry. Everything will be all right
with you. My love to you." Baba's words of love were of great
help to that troubled soul in giving relief from the pressure of so
many

71

William Donkin, The Wayfarers, p. 91.

MEHER BABAS STAY AT SATARA

227

worries. It gave him the understanding that Baba was with him
in all events, wrong or right. Meher Baba is as much the cause
as the effect, for He is the undivided life of humanity.
On July 10, as per the circular letter, Baba people were
asked to observe a fast for twenty-four hours beginning at 7:00
A.M. Perhaps it was a beginning for subsequent years when
either fast or silence was observed by Baba lovers all over the
world on this blessed Silence Day.
Arrival of Elizabeth and Norina
In March 1947 Meher Baba had sent a special message of cheer
and hope to His dear ones in the United States. It was circulated
to them through Elizabeth Patterson and Norina Matchabelli.
After completing this work, these two devoted disciples left for
India and arrived on July 13, 1947. Norina had been ill for a few
months, so a separate bungalow was rented at Satara to
accommodate them comfortably. Adi Sr. was entrusted with
driving the two women from Bombay to Satara, and he arrived
with them at the appointed time. It was a long-awaited meeting.
Baba looked at Elizabeth and Norina with those ever-young
eyes which had the splendor of the Beyond, and the years of
separation passed into unreality. Kitty Davy, one of the women
mandali living at Satara, wrote a beautiful account of this
incident:
Norina, before leaving New York, had been very ill with
a heart condition. Picture Baba, standing on the doorstep of
the Satara house as Adi's car arrives, bringing Norina and
Elizabeth from Bombay. Baba's encompassing embrace, that
wipes out time ... his welcoming smile that uplifts the heart .
. . . his unmatched tenderness as he helps Norina up the
steps . . . his subsequent care and attention throughout the
two years she remained

228

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


in India, appointing Dr. Goher to look after her ... these are
incidents one always remembers.
Baba had arranged a separate bungalow for Norina and
Elizabeth . . .
Dear Kaka was the Major Domo in Norina and
Elizabeth's bungalow ... Norina, with her wonderful sense of
humor, remarked, when she found they were in a separate
bungalow and not with the girls, "We, who came from the
West with all our worries and troubles, seemingly had to be
put into spiritual quarantine for a period."
Baba put Norina on silence for the first six weeks after
her arrival. 72
Meher Baba's Sense of Humor

In the summer of 1947 Dr. Goher Irani joined the women


mandali permanently residing with Meher Baba. She was given
the duty of attending to Norina's health as her personal
physician. Baba used to visit the bungalow, though not daily.
One day after meeting Elizabeth and Norina He came to Goher's
room, but she had gone out. There was a small picture of Baba
in a frame which she kept on her table. Baba put it in His
pocket. As Dr. Goher hurried to meet Him, He asked her,
"Where is my picture that was on the table?" Not finding it in its
place, Goher searched for it in different places in the room.
Baba enjoyed the fun and skillfully put the small frame back on
the table and stood aside. After a time Goher noticed it at its
original place and cried out: "There it is, Baba! How could I not
see it before, I wonder!" Baba smiled, a glitter about His face,
His eyes shining all the more with a glow of mischievousness in
them. He then revealed the secret!

72

Kitty Davy, Recollections, The Awakener, vol. 6, no. 2, Summer 1959, p. 14.

MEHER BABAS STAY AT SATARA

229

On some days when Baba did not visit this bungalow there
would be a little message of a line or two for Norina from Him.
One such message was: "Do not mind one percent even if you
do not sleep for seven days!" Another: "You can see me, be
near me, but do not talk to me." During the stay at Satara, Baba
once had an outing to Ajinkyatara with the women mandali,
including Elizabeth and Norina. On another occasion He took
them for a picnic along the bank of the river Krishna. In such a
lively and playful atmosphere, Norina regained her health and
was able to walk to the residence of the women mandali without
any difficulty.
Meher Baba's sense of humor and His playful nature had
greatly helped His devotees and disciples feel their closeness to
Him. Some people doubt and even debate over the merits and
demerits of the sense of humor noticed in Perfect Masters. For
us it is as much a part of spiritual growth as is the regular
sadhana. It eliminates negative projections like dejection or
indiscriminate rejection. It keeps the mind alive to take things
and events as they come, expected or otherwise, with ease and
composure. Baba showed us that life devoid of humor is living
lacking in humanness. In its absence the devil in man gets the
better of the angel the carefree, singing spirit.
"I Am on Fire I Am Aflame"
On August 10, 1947, Meher Baba's next tour to contact masts
commenced. First He visited Aurangabad and renewed His
contact with the two great masts named Mai Bap and Captain
(Qutub Shah).
Mai Bap was first contacted in May 1939 when he was
brought to Khuldabad. Baba bathed him, clothed him and fed
him. After a while the mast shouted out all of a sudden: "I am
on fire; I am aflame!" In January 1942 when he was

230

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

contacted for the second time, he sat alone with Baba in a room
but suddenly rushed out, saying aloud: "A nail has pierced me
and I cannot bear it." Such remarks from the masts symbolically
refer to the suffering entailed in sharing the spiritual work given
by the Avatar of the Age on the inner planes of consciousness.
After this contact:
. . . Mai Bap was taken back to his home and Baba told
Kaka to bring him daily for seven days. Mai Bap, although
he had not been present when Baba gave these instructions
to Kaka, told Kaka a few minutes later, "I will come with
you for seven days," and then touched Kaka's palm with the
back of his hand, which means a dud promise! Next day, he
refused to come with Kaka, and Baba, therefore, went to
him every evening at his own house. 73
This time, in August 1947, Baba just renewed the old link
with Mai Bap, who perhaps was more cooperative than before.
Captain was an old, short fellow with dirty clothes, but he
was a majzoob-like mast of the sixth plane. Baba felt very
happy to have contacted these two highly involved souls.
From Aurangabad Baba proceeded to Parali (Vaijinath),
where an advanced pilgrim named Tulsi Maharaja was
contacted. Then via Tuljapur Baba went to Hyderabad, now the
capital of Andhra Pradesh, and there He contacted six masts in
all. Only one, Murshad, was a new contact. After visiting
Zahirabad Baba returned to His headquarters at Satara by midAugust.
With this short mast tour to Hyderabad, the stay at Satara
came to a close and arrangements were being made for the
whole group to stay at Meherabad. During Baba's stay at Satara,
many persons asked Him, through the mandali, for

73

The Wafarers, p. 198.

MEHER BABAS STAY AT SATARA

231

a public darshan program. He generally consented to have such


a program by the time He was about to leave a certain place.
Accordingly, about this time, too, Baba condescended to give a
few hours' darshan for the people residing near Satara. Only a
few Baba people from outstations were permitted to come. Adi
Sr. informed me in advance about this and I decided not to lose
this chance, although it might be for only a few hours. At the
time of this darshan program at Satara on August 24, Mauni,
one of my friends and one of Meher Baba's dear ones, had the
opportunity to meet Baba for the first time and get His
instructions concerning meditation. I wish to narrate in detail
how I came to know Mauni, and about his first meeting with
Meher Baba at Satara.
I Meet Mauni in a Train
In those days I had some contacts with a socialist group through
an organization called Rashtra Seva Dal. It had a kala pathak (a
band of singers and actors) that entertained people and at the
same time tried to inculcate love of the nation and humanity at
large. I knew very little about playing the harmonium, but being
a schoolteacher I could not refuse to play it if the pupils and my
colleagues in Rashtra Seva Dal so requested. One such function
was arranged at Modnimb, a nearby place. The program was to
commence at ten o'clock in the evening.
The moon was slowly rising on the horizon, lighting the sky
with silver. Most of the party had left earlier, and I hurried to
catch a train in order to be in time for the cultural program at
the village fair. The train whistled and started as I took my seat.
I found myself facing a young man with long black hair and a
beard, on the opposite seat. Since returning from Madras after
spending some days in the divine sahavas of Meher Baba a few
months earlier, I had

232

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

been so infused with enthusiasm that I could not let any


opportunity go by to tell others about Baba. I did not care
whether people heard me with mere curiosity or otherwise. How
could I now miss such an opportunity to give the news about
Baba to that bearded soul!
"Where are you going, Swami?" I asked conversationally.
He just raised his finger, gesturing "a distant place." I gathered
that he was observing silence, and this made me all the more
communicative. The Swami, or Mauni, as he was observing
maun (silence), took out his small slate and a slate pencil. He
wrote out his replies for me, and I think it was a queer
amusement for the other passengers in the crowded
compartment. Our conversation continued. After a while I asked
him:
"Mauni, you have roamed enough from Hardwar to
Rameshwaram, from the north to the south of India. Has this
itinerary served its purpose? Do you wish to move about
continuously from place to place?"
To this Mauni replied, "Perhaps. I am a seeker after Truth,
but I am still groping."
I found him honest and sincere in his replies, so I said to
him further, "I, too, have not realized the Truth, but fortunately
I have met the One who knows it, and who is the Truth
(Reality) Himself."
"Who is he?" he inquired eagerly.
I did not tell him Meher Baba's name. In my experience,
orthodox Hindu sadhus and Muslim fakirs disregard the status
of spiritual personalities from other religions, and Meher Baba
was born to a Zoroastrian family. I simply replied, "We will talk
about the Enlightened One if we happen to meet again." By this
time the train had reached Modnimb, where I had to get off.
Reluctantly, we had to cut short the conversation so I asked him
for his address and, coincidentally, learned that he lived in
Kurduwadi, as did I.

MEHER BABAS STAY AT SATARA

233

Mauni Accompanies Me to Satara


After a few days I met Mauni in a temple and had some
conversations with him about my association and contacts with
Meher Baba. With an open mind he expressed his earnest desire
to have Baba's darshan. He was sincere about wanting to see
God in his heart, as well as in human form as the God-Man. As
chance would have it, I got the news from Adi Sr. that Baba
would give a few hours' darshan, at Satara. Hearing this, Mauni
prepared to avail himself of this opportunity, and riding on the
crest of a lucky wave, we left for Satara.
It was August 1947. Norina Matchabelli and Elizabeth
Patterson were staying in the special bungalow in the camp area
at Satara. I think the darshan, program was arranged to be in
this bungalow, which was surrounded with blooming trees and
flowers. We reached Satara shortly after noon. The darshan was
to commence at 3:00 P.M. As we alighted from the bus it began
to drizzle slightly, but then delightful sunshine spilled a delicate
glow over the trees and plants and the distant hills. It seems that
rain showers have some mystical connection with Meher Baba's
programs! By the time we reached the bungalow, the hall was
packed full. Baba, with a garland of roses, looked very beautiful
and graceful. He had stretched out His legs, and heaps of
garlands were lying by the side of His seat.
A Coconut Represents Spiritual Truths
I entered the hall and stood with Mauni at the back of the crowd
near the doorway. Baba spotted me and signaled for me to come
near. He inquired about our journey to Satara and made us sit
near Him. I introduced Mauni to Baba. People were coming in a
queue to take Baba's darshan. They brought garlands and fruits,
and Baba gave each a smile

234

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

or a pat. A small bhajan group was singing devotional songs.


As the program was going on I told Baba that Mauni had been
observing silence for years. This pleased Baba, and He made a
sign of touching the forehead with His fingers, meaning that
Mauni was fortunate. Mauni expressed a desire to have a picture
of Meher Baba. At once one of the mandali brought a fine
picture and Baba gave it to Mauni.
After a while Baba took a coconut in His hand, and looking
at us both, began to explain its symbolic significance. Catching
some threads of the coir, Baba gestured: "This is like a gross
body." Tapping the hard shell, Baba conveyed: "This is like a
subtle body, and the inner white kernel is like a mental body."
Then shaking the coconut a bit, so as to refer to the sweet water
inside, Baba concluded: "That is I, Baba, Truth."
He conveyed all this through such sweet and eloquent
gestures and with so few words, as He alone could do. Then
Baba gave the coconut to Mauni and told him to place the Baba
picture that had just been given to him against that coconut,
using it as a stand. He told Mauni to concentrate on that picture
for half an hour after midnight every day. Mauni was pleased
so pleased that tears of joy at having met the Perfect Master
sparkled in his eyes. It was his first contact, and his sincere wish
was lovingly responded to. Baba asked him to continue this
sadhana of meditation for six months and then to inform Him
about it.
"Do Sincerely What Is Told"
After some time Mauni was tempted to ask Baba a question
about his diet. "Are there any restrictions about food? Am I to
fast for some days during the period of six months?" Mauni
wrote this on a slate and I read it out to Baba. There is a
tendency in man, myself included, to show off indirectly his
ability or virtue to others, even when he has the good

MEHER BABAS STAY AT SATARA

235

fortune to come in contact with a Perfect Master, who knows


everything. It is a trick of the mind to express its sense of
separateness in a respectable way. But on the spiritual Path one
has to understand the ways of "me" and "mine" and to efface
them, rather than nourish them. Upon hearing the question,
Baba looked a bit indifferent and said, "What has fasting to do
with what I have told you to do? If you so desire, you can please
yourself You can take food seven times a day or fast for seven
days! It does not matter in the least whether you take only milk
and buttermilk or exclude them outright. Do sincerely what is
told that alone matters."
We sensed that it was rather silly to put such questions to
Baba. Realizing the mistake, we kept quiet for the rest of the
period and tried in silence to absorb and enjoy as much of His
presence as possible.
The program was over by 6:00 P.M., but we still lingered in
the hall. We were standing by a door leading to the veranda
when Mauni felt a soft, loving pat on his back. He turned his
head, and to his surprise he found that it was Baba, who had just
passed by him while going to the next room. The endearing
ways of Meher Baba's intimacy were so numerous! We did not
stay overnight at Satara but returned straight to Kurduwadi,
carrying the delightful lingering fragrance of that sahavas
evening with Meher Baba in our hearts.
Meher Baba and His men and women mandali left Satara on
August 27, 1947 and stayed ten days at Meherabad.

16
Visits to Gujarat and Rajasthan, 1947

"Strange Disease" of the God-Man


BY the end of August 1947 Meher Baba was at Meherabad it
was the first fortnight of Indian independence. India, divided
into Bharat (India) and Pakistan, had obtained freedom on
August 15, 1947. This moment had been most anxiously
awaited. It was a period of great jubilation, unfortunately
extremely short-lived, for immediately after this followed a
period of bereavement due to mass evacuation, looting and
slaughtering of man by man on the borders of Bharat and
Pakistan. The sad part was that it was all done in the name of
religion and nationalism.
It had been noted that during the Avatar's incarnation as
Meher Baba, whenever there were such critical or crucial
periods in the contemporary history of humanity, Meher Baba's
body had to bear the brunt and overnight He would fall sick
with some strange ailment. Baba seemed subject to this "strange
disease" from the beginning of His Avataric work to the
dropping of His body. The period of August and September
1947 was no exception. Upon Baba's arrival at Meherabad in
the last week of August, He suddenly had a severe attack of
bronchial pneumonia and had a high temperature. The happy
mood in which the mandali had seen Him at Satara completely
vanished, and He looked very tired and weak.

236

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237

In spite of the ban on correspondence during this period,


some Baba lovers could not refrain from writing to Baba,
requesting Him to end this horrible homicide on the borders.
Some Baba people in India felt that life was being shaken to its
foundations, for basic values of culture were at stake.
Perhaps my personal reactions may give an idea of the
storm raging in the hearts of others. For me it was a tense period
a mad, mad whirl that led me to a stormy sea, and I feared
that I might jettison the values so fondly cherished since my
contacts with Meher Baba. Every day the dreadful stories that
flashed through the newspapers upset me and made me sick
with horror. Mass suffering on the boundaries of India and
Pakistan affected me deeply. It all kept my mind feverishly
occupied. Coercive forces of communal hatred and
embitterment were let loose. Those who were spared from this
ghastly fate by a freak of chance were suffering equally. I did
not write to Baba, but the trend of my thoughts made me doubt
my own conclusions. The old mistrust of spiritual values
reinfested my mind and attempted to play its game of deception.
Try as I would, I could not get a clue or directive to act upon.
"Nobody Suffers in Vain"
"Who is responsible for all this? God or man or karma, or
what?" I thought. This attitude changed the course of my
reading. I glanced through some books on socialism, and during
a return trip from Bombay I had communist literature, with
pictures of Lenin and Stalin, in my bag. It was an added
inducement, but that reading did not offer bread to my hungry
soul. Again, to be frank, I was biting off more than could be
chewed, much less digested. I also wished to meet Mahatma
Gandhi, but he had left for Noakhali in East Bengal to subdue
the wave of fanaticism. I wrote to

238

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

Acharya Vinoba Bhave, the founder of the Bhoodan movement


in India. He granted my request to stay a few days in the
ashram at Pavnar near Sevagram (Wardha). This short stay
enhanced my regard for Vinoba Bhave, but somehow I felt that
I must turn to Meher Baba only. His luminous presence, with its
moon-like silence, had touched the deeper recesses of my heart
and it retrieved me from waywardness.
After one comes in contact with Meher Baba not
necessarily in person but when the "heart clicks" a new sport
awaits you. Baba shakes you, your thoughts and feelings,
perhaps violently, thus helping you to shed the peripheral view
of life. The inside is revealed, the good and bad in you come
out, and a thrilling romance with the Divine is ushered into your
life. Through triumphs and penalties you learn to express what
you are, to do what you can, and to leave the rest to the GodMan. In the end He awakens you to an understanding of your
potentialities and limitations for service and the part you have to
play in this world.
I am reminded of two incidents in my life with Meher Baba
when I saw Him suffering for His love of humanity. In 1956,
after the auto accident at Udtara near Satara, Baba's pelvis and
entire right leg were put in a plaster cast. Later the cast was
removed and the leg was put in traction, with weights attached.
In spite of all possible medical care, the pain in the hip joint was
excruciating. One day Baba "traced with His finger a little circle
on the spot of the fracture and then making a wide circle in the
air, gestured to say, 'the suffering of the whole universe is
concentrated on this little spot. This is a tangible expression of
the universal suffering I bear.'" 74
This was the period when the Hungarians were struggling

74

Life Circular no. 33, December 21, 1956.

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239

hard for freedom in Europe. In that fight "many were lying


wounded and helpless on the roads, away from loved ones ..."
and in this context Meher Baba had remarked, "Nobody suffers
in vain . . . Man unknowingly suffers for God [Self-realization]
and God [the God-Man] knowingly suffers for man [betterment
of humanity]." 75
The second incident occurred during my stay with Meher
Baba in the late sixties at Meherazad. I was there during the
winter vacation of my school. As usual, Baba came to the
mandali's room in the morning. As the pain in His hip joint was
still very serious He could not sit on a chair for very long at a
time, so He wished to rest on the hospital bed that was by the
side of His seat. As Baba instructed, Eruch continued reading
aloud letters received from Baba lovers in the East and West. In
one of the letters the writer, who was from the United States,
seemed very perturbed over the burning problem and precarious
situation in Viet Nam. This person expected a reply from Baba
on this point. Baba rarely commented on political matters
except to make a few general statements. That day in replying
to that particular letter He just gestured, "Everything happens by
the will of God and is necessary.He stressed that Eruch should
underline the word "necessary," perhaps to denote that it was
absolutely necessary for even the God-Man to suffer severely
even up to the end, the great event of dropping the body. To
me, Baba's remark did not indicate mere fatalism and was not
an indication to either justify human weaknesses or glorify
virtues. It was rather a suggestion to act every moment in
accordance with the deepest promptings of the heart, without
unnecessarily brooding over the past. Understanding things as
they are does not necessarily mean that one should continue
with them as they stand.

75

Life Circular no. 32, December 6, l956.

240

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


A Visit to Surat (Gujarat)

On August 11, 1947 Meher Baba sent out a special circular to


His disciples and devotees residing in the subcontinent of
undivided India. He enjoined them to remain loyal and faithful
to the government wherever they decided to stay as citizens
India or Pakistan. On August 15, engaged in His work of
contacting masts, Baba was traveling in a car under difficult
circumstances. He was fasting throughout the period of that
particular mast tour, another strain on His body in addition to
the journey through heat, rain and flood. Floods necessitated
long detours and delays, which brought great pressure on Baba's
health. By the time He reached Meherabad from Satara He
began to suffer physically, the outward expression of His inner
suffering.
By the first week of September 1947, the essential repairs to
the rest house at Meherazad had been completed. On September
10, Baba, with a small group of men and women mandali, left
Meherabad (Arangaon) and commenced His stay at Meherazad
(Pimpalgaon-Malvi). On instructions from Meher Baba, special
arrangements were made at Meherabad in August for the
permanent residence of the mast Ali Shah, fondly known as
Bapji, one of the delightful favorites of Baba. With Mohammed
(Tukaram Chavan), another favorite, Bapji lived there until he
dropped his body on December 27, 1956.
Manek Mehta of Bombay arranged a darshan program at
Surat (Gujarat) for Meher Baba, to be held during the third
week of September. The dates for the program were undecided
until the eleventh hour and it was on the point of being
canceled, but eventually Baba did visit Surat. There had been a
little opposition from some students of the Parekh Technical
Institute who were ill-informed about Baba.
Kaka, Adi Sr., Pendu, Gustadji, Baidul, Eruch and a few

VISITS TO GUJARAT AND RAJASTAN

241

more of the mandali accompanied Baba on this visit to Surat.


Arrangements were made for Baba to stay in Mr. Vakil's
bungalow. The public program of darshan was held in a
spacious hall and was very well attended, particularly by
educated people. Meher Baba's loving, radiant presence
silenced the mischief-mongers and the entire event was carried
out peacefully. In a special program arranged for the Parsi
(Zoroastrian) community, Manek Mehta and Burjor Mehta
delivered fine speeches on Meher Baba's divinity, and Baba
gave a special message for His Zoroastrian followers, part of
which is given below.
The Flow and Spirit of Love
As a born Zoroastrian, I can well imagine your elation to
find me amongst so many of you here, who, like myself,
also happen to be Zoroastrian by birth; but having realized
once and for all the Truth, which is the goal of all life and
the end of each and every religion, I have thereby
transcended all religions. To me, therefore, every religion is
equally an approach to arrive at the same infinite Ocean of
love and bliss.
Selfishness is the root cause of all troubles. It is all the
more dangerous because under the subtle influence of
selfishness, the worst evils are apt to assume false colors of
chivalry, sacrifice, nobility, service and even "love." Of all
the forces, that which can best overcome all difficulties is
the love that knows how to give without necessarily
bargaining for a return. There is nothing that love cannot
achieve and there is nothing that love cannot sacrifice. Pure
love is matchless in majesty, it has no parallel in power and
there is no darkness it cannot dispel. It is the undying flame
that has set all life aglow.
The light of love is not free from its fire of sacrifices.
Just as it can never be too late or too early to learn to love
for the sake of love, there can be nothing too small

242

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


or too big to be sacrificed or sacrificed for. The flow of life,
the flow of light and the flow of love are as much in the
drop as in the Ocean. The smallest thing is as big as the
biggest, and the biggest thing is as small as the smallest. It
all depends upon the particular yardstick with which one
measures.
My blessings to you, one and all.
Touching Evidence of Selfless Service

After the program at Surat, Baba proceeded on to contact masts


in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan instead of going back to
Ahmednagar. Kaka, Baidul and Eruch accompanied Him, and
the rest of the mandali returned to their respective duties.
Upon reaching Baroda, Baba contacted two advanced souls
named Chambu Shah and Saiyid Badruddin Rafai Shah. The
latter had confined himself to a second-floor room for over
thirty years. He ate only once a day, but when overpowered
with the welling up of his love for beloved God, he would not
eat for days. Whether taking his food or going to bed, he was
always seen fully dressed, as if ready to attend some function
that was his peculiarity. Badami Bapu was an initiate pilgrim
who had left his job to lead a spiritual life.
From Baroda Baba went to Ahmedabad, where He
contacted four God-intoxicated souls. Badshah Bapu sat with a
tin pot before him as his constant "companion," so Baba
nicknamed him "Tinpotwalla." He was plump and short but,
spiritually, perhaps quite tall inside. Barashid Mastan had a
jalali temperament and the contact with him was not to Baba's
satisfaction. Two other moderate masts also had Baba's blessed
touch.
Baba arrived at Abu Road by the last week of September.
Owing to His poor health, it was suggested that He should have
a good rest at Mount Abu, a nice health resort. Baba

VISITS TO GUJARAT AND RAJASTAN

243

consented to visit the hill station that was a few miles from Abu
Road, but most of His time was spent in contacting the
advanced souls, sadhus and seekers who resided nearby.
Meher Baba's work with the masts seemed to be an
inseparable part of His creative life of love. Despite physical
exhaustion and suffering, He did not discontinue meeting these
wayfarers, the lovers of God. He wiped out stagnating
deficiencies and toned up their hearts for the unfoldment of
higher consciousness. The masts bathed in His presence and
smiled and felt blessed, not knowing what Baba had to suffer to
be near them! Was it not touching evidence of His selfless
service, so rare and matchless? About the mast work Baba once
remarked: "It is the process of uncovering . . . the original
primal source within the individual, which opens the true,
creative state of being and it is a pure state of the Self within
each." 76 And to achieve this work of untying the mental
complexes and setting right the eccentricities in those dazed
souls, Meher Baba never spared His body.
The first mast contacted at Abu Road was Khuda Bakhsh,
who had observed silence for forty years. He was very fond of
tea, as most of the masts in India were, and ate very little.
Chawandi Maharaj, a yogi from Dilwara on Mount Abu, was a
good contact. The place where he resided was in a way ideal for
spiritual discipline it was a quiet spot with picturesque
scenery all around. Maharaj was seated in front of a small grotto
with twin brooks of cold crystal water on either side. Aghori
Baba from Oria, a nearby village, lived in a cave with nothing
special about it. He was indiscriminate in his ways of living. He
would eat anything, stale or dirty. It seemed that in the flow of
creative joy and new light the mast overruled the normal
standard of good and bad.

76

Countess Nadine Tolstoy, Meher Babas Work with the God-Mad Men, Meher
Baba Journal, July 1940, p. 551.

244

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

After contacting a few more seekers and moderate masts, Baba


left Abu Road on September 29 and returned straight to
Meherazad.
Presenting an Alphabet Board
During the above tour it was brought to Baba's attention that a
towel of His had inadvertently been left in the bungalow at
Surat. Baba asked Eruch to write to Adi Sr., who was at
Ahmednagar, to inquire about it at Mr. Vakil's bungalow. He
was also instructed to give it personally to Baba when He
returned to Meherazad.
This reminds me of another incident in 1947. In April Baba
stayed at Meher Bhavan in Madras. Later, the host wrote to
Baba that a family member found one of Baba's handkerchiefs
in the room where He had stayed. In this case Baba permitted
His dear ones at Madras to keep it as His gift. Baba was very
particular about even such small matters!
At Meherazad, at night Baba retired to one of the rooms in
Ratan Gyara's house, which was in a nearby field. Norina,
Elizabeth and other women mandali occupied the main rest
house. A few of the men mandali stayed in the low, unfurnished
rooms outside the compound walls. Although Baba slept, or
rather rested, only a little at night in Gyara's house, by morning
He would appear fresh and would return to Meherazad to attend
to His work. He did not have a bath every day, but in spite of
this, He always looked radiant and as fresh as a baby! Perhaps
He had embraced this quality of Hazrat Babajan, one of His five
Perfect Masters.
In early October 1947 I wrote to Adi Sr., inquiring about the
possibility of having Baba's darshan. Adi replied that I could
see Baba for a minute or so only, if I agreed not to ask any
questions of Him, just receive darshan. I did not

VISITS TO GUJARAT AND RAJASTAN

245

hesitate to accept this condition, and one fine morning Adi, in


his blue Chevrolet, took me to that holy place, Meherazad. A
few months earlier, during a train journey with Baba from
Madras, I had watched Him giving a discourse from His
alphabet board, and I saw Him using it again at Satara. On my
return to Kurduwadi, I thought of presenting a good alphabet
board to Him during my next visit, so I got a small board of
teak, strong and durable. It was polished well and then the
letters were painted on it.
When I was called to Baba's room at Meherazad, I had this
board with me. The room was quite small and faced the
compound wall. I stood just by the door and offered my
respects. As far as I remember, Baba had on a yellowish silken
coat. It was so becoming to Him that I personally felt it matched
His golden complexion more than did the pink coat which He
later wore during darshan tours. Sitting in the chair, His legs
apart, He looked radiant and graceful. His presence had a charm
which ever remained indefinable. As I folded my hands, He
smiled and gestured, "Do you know that I have been to Surat?" I
nodded in affirmation. Baba continued, "I wished to call you
then, but there was no time to inform you in advance." I never
expected that Baba would ever think of me as one to be
included in the group going with Him to Surat. I felt greatly
touched by that intimate thought of Baba's.
I then presented the new alphabet board to Baba. Kaka Baria
took off the blue cover, and Baba expressed His happiness and
gestured that it was a very nice board. I felt proud. Again
folding my hands, I left the room with the happy thought that
Baba would one day use it. After a few days Baba remarked to
the mandali about the teak board, "It's a good one and well
polished, but quite heavy. And you know, if I get a whim to
whack any of you with this board, as is my old habit, it would
be an additional botheration to me!" Needless to say, it was
never used.

246

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


The Alphabet Board, A Close Companion

There is another incident relating to the alphabet board. Once


one of Meher Baba's very near and dear disciples presented a
durable board to Baba. It was a metal plate, with clear block
letters. Baba appreciated the spirit and devotion of the one who
presented it, but later, with reference to the shining edge of the
metal, Baba joked, "If I use this board, people would liken it to
Sudarshan Chakra!" (one of the shining weapons, a disc, in the
hand of Lord Vishnu, the Sustainer). Perhaps the joke implied
that if a hit from the teak board would cause Him some
botheration, the metal board might even involve Him in
litigation!
Meher Baba's alphabet board was a light piece of plywood
with a sheet of paper pasted on it printed with the alphabet and
numbers. Sometimes He used the board as a toss to decide an
issue; sometimes He twirled it lightly between His fingers.
During musical programs He would tap on it rhythmically. In
the early days if Baba noticed that one of the mandali was
inattentive or dozing in His presence, a hit with the board would
do the needful! Baba began to use the board to convey what He
had to say in the first week of January 1927. Twenty-eight years
later, on October 7, 1954, He discarded the board for good. In
the years between, the board had the privilege of being Baba's
close companion, as was the flute with Lord Krishna.
Baba stayed at Meherazad until October 15, 1947, then left
again for Rajasthan to resume work with the God-intoxicated
souls.

17
First Seclusion on Meherazad Hill, 1947

Qabrestanwala, the Cheerful Socrates


AVATAR Meher Baba's work with the masts will remain
inimitable and paramount in the spiritual history known to man
divine Love playing the servant through Meher Baba. He
poured out love and compassion to the hearts of those Godintoxicated souls and helped them arrive at inner harmony, alive
with creative expression of life. He kindled in them the higher
faculties and released fresh energies. Countess Nadine Tolstoy
wrote that the awakening of the heart is the main key to spiritual
evolution, and Meher Baba was the master Awakener.
To continue His divinely ordained work with the masts after
a fortnight's stay at Meherazad, Meher Baba journeyed to Ajmer
and arrived there on October 17, 1947. He contacted a few
masts, including a mastani who was sitting under a sack awning
near the station.
The mast Qullar Shah was of the fifth plane, the first
brought to the mast ashram in Ajmer in 1939. At that time he
used to reside in a tiny mausoleum (qabar), so he was known as
Qabristanwala. He used to drink dirty water from the city's
drainage. Masts have flouted the basic precepts of hygiene
without ill effects, for theirs is a different world, a different state
of consciousness. Qabristanwala was a short, stout person, and
because of his facial appearance,

247

248

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

Baba nicknamed him "Socrates." By virtue of being free from


any presence, he looked cheerful and happy all the time. Prior to
this mast's first contact with Baba, Kaka Baria had to crawl into
that dark mausoleum to persuade him to get into a tonga. After
reaching the mast ashram he willingly stayed for a week, and at
the end Baba had to induce him to return to his tiny cell. By
October 1947 he had shifted his residence to a small mosque
nearby. This time the contact with this highly involved soul,
though short, was to Baba's satisfaction.
Chacha, the Divinely Absorbed
No one expected Baba to forget Chacha during this visit to
Ajmer. Baba wished to sit alone with Chacha in silent
conference in his dirty hovel near the hallowed shrine of
Khwaja Moeinuddin Chishti. Chacha, in his divinely absorbed
state, felt Meher Baba's personal presence and welcomed Him
with his wondrous solemn eyes. Baba gave him a cordial smile,
and the contact commenced. Chacha had a pleasant, clear voice.
This time, in addition to the demand for cha (tea), he often
asked for pani (water). He was so persistent about drinking
water that Baba had to instruct one of the mandali to engage a
special person to fetch water. This time the contact lasted for
four hours.
Meher Baba once explained in Sufi terminology the spiritual
state of a real Majzoob like Chacha:
"A true Majzoob a God-merged soul on the seventh plane
is . . . a wali; and also, in the sense that he enjoys the blissful
intoxication of a God-united soul, he is also a mast ... A
majzoob, however, although he is automatically both a wali and
a mast, is never a salik.
". . . in the majzoobiyat of the seventh plane wilayat and
masti are already there, but not suluk. " 77

77

William Donkin, The Wayfarers, p. 27.

FIRST SECLUSION ON MEHERAZAD HILL

249

From another angle, the Majzoob-e-Kamil passes from the


sensations of flesh to the Reality of Spirit. He enters Light to be
Light itself, which he already was, but now he consciously
knows it and merges in it, so he is called God-merged. On the
other hand, for the purpose of discharging Divine duty, the
Sadguru, or Perfect Master, having become Light, also has the
consciousness of tribhuvan -- the Majzoob entire creation of
Maya, His own Shadow.
One of the two seventh plane Majzoobs mentioned by
Meher Baba was Chacha, and the other was Baba Shahabuddin
of Bhat, whom Baba contacted only once, in July 1943.
After contacting his loving children, the masts of Ajmer,
Baba turned to His work with the poor. A group of poor persons
was collected and Baba gave each one some money as prasad,
the external sign of an inner contact.
Recurrent Visits to Chambu Shah
Meher Baba, accompanied by Baidul, Kaka and Eruch, reached
Baroda on October 22, 1947 to resume the contact with Chambu
Shah. Baba's visits to this particular mast indicated His patience
and perseverance in accomplishing His spiritual work with such
highly involved souls. Baba used to cater to their whims and
caprices, for He often remarked, "These are my dear children."
Some of these children the masts were patient and
obedient, others haughty and naughty. Baba, however,
showered His love equally upon them all. In the case of
Chambu Shah, like a loving mother Baba kept up all the
appointments at particular hours as the mast desired. Chambu
Shah stayed in Motiwada, a part of Baroda. He was residing in
the house of one of his devotees, who was a landlord. The mast
was a wali on the fifth plane, and it was rather difficult to
predict what these comrades of God, i.e., walis, would ask their
friend, the God-Man.

250

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

At the time of the contact on October 22, Chambu Shah first


asked for cigarettes and tea. Then he had a whim to plead for
clothes a lungi and a shirt. When these were brought and
presented to him, strangely enough he took out a few clothes,
including a turban, and requested that Baba wear them at some
future time. Then he looked at Baba's face and entreated Him to
visit the house at 5:00 A.M. the next morning. A few masts had
tried to evade Baba's further contacts, but Chambu Shah was an
exception. He invited the God-Man back, with readiness to
participate in His universal work. When the Baba party reached
home, Baba wore Chambu Shah's clothes for a while. How
strange He must have appeared in that unusual attire.
Next morning, with Baidul and Eruch, Baba visited Chambu
Shah's residence at 5:00 A.M. as he had wished, but the mast
would not let Baba in for the contact. Baba had to wait outside
for an hour until the mast was in a good mood to receive Him.
At the end of this second meeting, Chambu Shah requested that
Baba drop in again at 2:00 P.M., so that same day Baba again
sat alone with the mast the third visit. At the close of the
contact Chambu Shah took a fancy that Baba should revisit him
at 5:00 A.M. the next day. He also expressed a desire to have
more clothes a bandi (waistcoat) and a coat. Early the next
morning he seemed pleased to receive the clothes but wished
Baba to repeat His visit at 2:00 P.M. Baidul pleaded that Saheb
(meaning Baba) had to leave Baroda, but the mast insisted on
the meeting. Thus, from October 22 to October 25, five in the
morning and two in the afternoon were reserved for visiting this
uncommon mast.
When the contact was over on October 25, Baba sent Eruch
to Chambu Shah to convey clearly that Baba's work with him
was finished and that He had to leave Baroda. Chambu Shah
appeared pleased at this. His eyes blazed as

FIRST SECLUSION ON MEHERAZAD HILL

251

he chuckled contentedly and said, "Give my greetings to Saheb


(Baba)." Then to Eruch's surprise the mast returned all the
things he had asked for and been given by Baba, and he
instructed Eruch to return them to where they had been
purchased. Chambu Shah's wish was carried out literally, and
the dirty clothes he had given to Baba were put into a tin and
carried to Meherazad as a prized possession. It is interesting to
note that at the commencement of one of His seclusions, Meher
Baba especially put on these clothes and wore them for some
time. Wonderful was Baba's relationship with the masts and
theirs with Him.
A Mast under the Gunny Covering
A seeker named Narayan also had Baba's contact at Baroda. If
anyone paused near him, the seeker used to repeat in a deep, full
voice one phrase, "Sat bolo " ("Speak the truth"). This reminded
the mandali of a very high mast named Ram Baba, contacted at
Hardwar in 1941. Sitting naked on a heap of rubbish, he kept a
skull by his side. He used to ask visitors to spit in it, and later he
gulped the expectorations! Usually he was heard singing
devotional songs in praise of Lord Ram, but if anyone stood
near him, his only counsel would be, "Beta, bachan pal" ("Boy,
keep the promise").
On October 26, Baba gave some money to a group of thirty
persons, and with this distribution, the stay in Baroda was over.
Meher Baba and His disciples reached Ahmedabad on
October 28. All the old contacts with God-intoxicated souls
were renewed. A new mast named Arab Shah was spotted near
the Parsi dharmashala. For a number of years this mast had not
stepped down from the platform on which he lived. Two strange
things were noticed about him practically no one had seen
his face, and he always kept his entire body covered with a
gunny cloth (coarse jute sacking). Food as

252

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

well as water was offered to him under the gunny covering. He


was seen sitting on the platform throughout the day and night.
He did not lie down to rest, so he had his sleep, if any, in the
sitting posture. Meher Baba contacted him at night.
After finishing His work with the masts of Ahmedabad,
Baba decided to spend the night on the railway platform. It was
a noisy and disturbing place, as all railway platforms are, and
the mandali had to practice the art of sleeping in a sitting
posture, like Arab Shah. Such discomforts did not affect them if
they found Baba's face radiating satisfaction after contacting a
mast of a high order. Early the next morning Baba contacted
Arab Shah again, offered him tea, then they left for the return
trip to Baroda.
Return to Meherazad
A rest house at Baroda had been reserved in advance. Ali Shah,
alias Bapji, was brought there from Meherabad. Twice a day
Baba sat alone in seclusion for some hours with this jamali
mast, then after a few days Bapji was sent back to Meherabad.
During Baba's stay at Baroda and Ahmedabad, an "all well"
telegram was sent to Him every day from Ahmednagar,
conveying the welfare of the mandali at Meherazad. In a way,
the two words of the telegram helped the mandali maintain their
close contact with Baba. By November 16, 1947, Baba had
returned to Meherazad (Pimpalgaon).
Beginning in November, Meher Baba was apparently
engaged in a special type of work. Adi Sr. had been instructed b
beforehand to keep Gyara's house ready for Baba's stay, to serve
as a resting place for the night. The house was quite close to
Meherazad. On November 7, He visited the men mandali
residing in the rooms outside the compound of the
main building at Meherazad. The women mandali

FIRST SECLUSION ON MEHERAZAD HILL

253

who lived inside were not allowed to see Him even from a
distance. For them He was so close, and yet so far away.
The Film Project Avatar
Since May of 1932, which marked Meher Baba's second visit to
America, He had showed great interest in having a film made
which would reveal spiritual truths. During succeeding years He
gave considerable attention to those who were entrusted with
this work. Circle Productions, Inc., brought out two booklets
(screenplays), but they were not published as they were not
meant for circulation. One, "How It All Happened," was written
by Karl Vollmoeller and was based on ideas given by Baba. The
other booklet, "This Man David," 78 was penned by Karl
Vollmoeller and

78

As I read the booklet, the last paragraph of this screenplay, also written under the
instruction of Meher Baba, especially arrested my attention. The pertinent part of the
text is:

Today if you come to Middlesville you will see the treeask anyoneand they
will tell you about this tree, the strange tale of how. just a few months ago a Man
(David) was lynched and how the next day the branches of the tree shaped
themselves into a profile of the face of DAVID LORD, and you will look up, and you
will see the face, molded by some Great Sculptor.
This reminds me of Lord Meher Babas image---His face with a scarf across the
foreheadwhich appeared at Meherazad on the audumbar tree which is outside the
window of Meheras room. It was noticed by her one evening in July 1969, a few
months after the Avatar had dropped His body. The face is a natural formation in the
bark, untouched by hand, and appears slightly raised as in a sculptured plaque. Once
while having a stroll in the Garden of Allah at Meherazad, Baba pointed at this
particular tree and remarked, I like this tree, without disclosing any reason. In
January 1972, at the time of writing this footnote, the image on the tree is as clear as
it was in 1969, in spite of the natural changes taking place in the bark. Since the face
first appeared on the tree trunk, in place of the scarf across the forehead, a crown has
become prominently visible.
I present these facts to the readers and leave it to them to feel the significance of
these events in their fullness.

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H. S. Craft. The scenes in this screenplay were to be


photographed according to Meher Baba's instructions. I do not
know whether or not Garrett Fort from Hollywood, who was the
producer of famous pictures like The Invisible Man,
Frankenstein and The Last Patrol, was also taking part in this
project. He was closely connected with Meher Baba and His
work. However, the distinguished personality Gabriel Pascal,
the director of renowned pictures like Pygmalion and
Cleopatra, had made a special trip from the United States to
Switzerland to discuss some important matters with Meher
Baba in connection with film work. After 1936, it seems that for
over a decade there were no special efforts made to film the
screenplay.
By 1946, Jean Adriel, the author of Avatar, was working on
this project with Alexander Markey's help. Later she sent two
versions of the manuscript, with personal comments, to India
for Baba's approval.
In the winter of 1947, Baba sent the following cable to Jean
regarding these two versions: "You say first not acceptable to
the West; mandali (we) say second not acceptable to the East.
Therefore, write for the first and last time something that will be
acceptable to both."
The subsequent screenplay was written by Robert Claire in
collaboration with Jean. Avatar was the suggested title of the
film. Gabriel Pascal was then working on a project to bring out
a film based on one of the dramas by Bernard Shaw and even
wrote to Baba about this enterprise. Apart from this, in his letter
dated October 21, 1947 to Meher Baba, Pascal expressed a
desire to arrange the shooting of the film Avatar in Italy. This
project, however, was afterwards completely given up.
Meher Baba in His lifetime showed intense interest in
different matters at different times. Each time it seemed that
nothing interested Him more than that particular phase of work.
After some days, months, or perhaps years,

FIRST SECLUSION ON MEHERAZAD HILL

255

the activity would be entirely put aside with perfect detachment.


Baba's main concern was not the outward working of the
project, for that only served as a scaffolding to further His
mission of spiritual awakening through those who came into
His contact by way of the project. Whatever He did, His
attention was total and His response most natural and hence
perfect. God, who becomes enformed as the God-Man out of
spiritual necessity, quickens life in all its aspects.
A Simple Significant Gesture
During the days of petrol (gasoline) shortage in India, Adi Sr.,
who stayed at Ahmednagar, would visit Meherazad in his car
once a week, on Sundays. On November 23, 1947, I had an
opportunity to accompany him to Meherazad. It was so very
pleasant to be in that peace-vibrating atmosphere again. Baba
was in the same room where I had met Him a month earlier. To
say He looked beautiful would be an understatement I found
Him more radiant and graceful than I had imagined. I was
instructed not to touch His person. This time I presented two
notebooks to Him. They contained a Marathi translation of
questions answered by Baba which had been in the Meher Baba
Journal. Meher Baba's Discourses had already been translated
into Marathi by Deshmukh and Mrs. Indumati Deshmukh, so I
chose to do this job. For me it was a sort of meditation on Baba
and His teachings. Baba asked me to read a page from one of
the notebooks. The expression on His face showed "well tried."
He asked me to hand over the notebooks to Adi Sr., and that
was the end of the matter and my interview with Him. I folded
my hands to offer namaskar. Baba gave a pleasant smile, and by
way of a gesture put three of His long, delicate fingers on His
heart. Unawares I said, "Yes, Baba," as if I understood what He
meant.

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As I stepped back, I wondered what that simple gesture


implied. Did Baba mean that He ever resides in my heart? Or
did he wish to console me that I had a place in His heart? Was it
an indication that what matters is the language of the heart and
not what I read to Him? I was sure that the gesture was not to
indicate just the lub-dub of the heart, that most marvelous
electromuscular pump encased in the pericardium. Did the three
fingers point out that He is, in fact, beyond the three bodies and
the three worlds? At the same time I felt that this would be a
far-fetched connotation. One thing I gathered was that Meher
Baba emphasized the importance of purity of heart, the seat of
spirituality. I do not know why I said, "Yes, Baba," and yet He
looked pleased at my madness! Whatever the interpretation, the
incident provides a good theme for meditation even to this day.
Meher Baba's simple gestures have sometimes revealed the
treasures hidden in the heart, and His Silence, the immensity of
His presence.
Seclusion on the Hill
By the beginning of December 1947, preparations were being
made for Baba's work in seclusion on Tembi Hill, which rises
behind "Baba House" in Meherazad. Sarosh Irani, one of Baba's
dearest disciples, was successful in securing the top of the hill
from the government for a nominal rent on a long lease. Padri,
the engineer, was at work fixing the cement-asbestos siding
sheets for the hut at the summit of the hill. The roof was
covered with Mangalore tiles. The other hut was erected lower
down, on the shoulder.
In the evening on December 5, Baba and a few of the
mandali ascended the hill. December is cold and windy, and it
seemed incredible that Baba's delicate body could withstand so
many uncomfortable seasons, all for the work

FIRST SECLUSION ON MEHERAZAD HILL

257

which He alone knew. The mast Ali Shah was brought from
Meherabad and was kept in the hut built on the shoulder, and
Baba occupied the one at the summit. A small tent was pitched
for the mandali.
Beginning December 6, Baba did His work in seclusion for
ten days. Most of the time He was alone in His cabin, but daily
He sat alone with Ali Shah for three hours in the morning. Baba
came down the hill on the morning of the seventeenth; however,
His work with Ali Shah continued for two more days and then
the mast was sent back to Meherabad. This hill is now known as
"Meher Baba's Seclusion Hill" and has become a place of world
pilgrimage. At the end of 1951 the structures on the hill were
removed and made into a single room on the Meherazad
premises. Baba stayed in that room for some days at the close of
the New Life, and later He asked Eruch to occupy it.
Baba Attends to Correspondence
In between His mast work and the seclusion periods, whenever
Baba had a bit of leisure He would attend to the letters and
cables addressed to Him. To a few of His closer ones He gave
instructions about even their day-to-day activities, including
visits and journeys. For example, He sent the following cable to
Delia DeLeon in the West: "Only if you want to be in England
return there; otherwise remain in Panama. Eternal love blessings. Baba." He directed Norina to send the following cable to
Milda Charlton: "Come if you can, otherwise don't worry. Baba
blesses you all the same. He is everywhere."
Baba reassured one of His devotees with the words, "My
love for you will ever be the same as it was before." A contact
with Meher Baba was a relationship with the movement of
unconditional love. One of Baba's dear ones in the West who
had stayed with Him in India wrote a letter relating

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

inability to visit Him. It seemed that the person was grieved


over missing a chance for the Master's sahavas. Baba's quickwitted and consoling reply was poured into the following four
lines:
"Your letter of love gave both pleasure and pain.
Joy, because you always remember me; you have always
been mine.
Pain, because physically you cannot with me remain;
Nevertheless my love in you always will shine."
The words from the Master have a unique quality of
radiating His presence and serve as a medium of silent
communication with Him.
It had been a long time since Baba had met His devotees
who lived in nearby places like Poona and Bombay. There were
many requests for darshan through letters, and some sincere
appeals were made through the mandali. In response to these,
Baba consented to hold a small gathering at Meherabad in the
last week of December 1947. I had no inkling of this program. I
casually wrote a letter informing Baba of the ensuing ten-day
Christmas vacation of the school, and a few more lines which I
do not recall. To my surprise, on the sacred Christmas morning
I received a postcard from Adi Sr. by express delivery. It
brought me tidings of joy. Adi wrote, "Baba was very happy to
read your postcard ..." The God-Man reading my letter
simply unbelievable! But in His matchless compassion,
impossible is made possible. Adi continued, "You, by yourself,
may go to Meherabad to stay for three days December 29, 30
and 31, 1947. Baba will be there during those three days." You
can well imagine my joy, for this gave me the chance to
participate in an unexpected sahavas with Baba. I felt it was a
passport to a different land altogether.

FIRST SECLUSION ON MEHERAZAD HILL

259

Needless to say, I availed myself of the opportunity vouchsafed


through that blessed postcard.
Heartache of a Lover
This was my third visit to Meherabad. In the morning,
December 29, I saw Baba walking briskly towards the old
ashram building and then to His cabin. On the way, a pair of
luminous eyes met mine and I felt blessed.
Work on the foundation of the new ashram building, as is
seen today at Meherabad, was being supervised by Kalemama,
one of the mandali. Many merry faces were about, and to me
Meherabad wore a gay and festive appearance. Baba called
different persons to His cabin. Some gave Him a report of their
work and got further instructions from Him. There were some
personal interviews, also, for He was the compassionate
confidant in whom His devotees trusted without reservations or
fear. He was to them father and friend, mother and Master, all in
one. By late afternoon, a mattress had been placed in the hall,
covered with a clean white sheet, and a few cushions were laid
by its side. Musical instruments tabla and harmonium
were placed by the wall. I learned that Baba was to visit the hall
to meet new arrivals. When He entered, He looked preoccupied.
Some offered their pranams to Him, and a tired smile played
over His face. He sat on the mattress and stretched His legs. At
His signal the musicians began to play some of His favorite
notes, and to the delight of us all, the sadness on Baba's face
disappeared. He looked refreshed and radiant. A local qavval
named Babu sang some songs.
Baba then asked Dattu Mahendargee, who assisted Adi Sr.
in his office, to sing. After playing a few notes on the
harmonium, Dattu looked at Baba and tears rolled freely down
his cheeks. Dattu had been one of the boys in the

260

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

Meher Ashram. Baba did not look pleased at this sentimental


outburst. He remarked:
"One should not shed tears even if the head is to be cut off,
and you are shedding tears in my presence! Outwardly, always
look cheerful. Inwardly, if you so wish, you may shed tears,
even without a break!"
Dattu tried to check himself and with a choked voice sang
one of Fani's fine ghazals. It commenced with a line, "Duniya
kya meri bala jane!" ("How will the world ever understand my
heartache!") After describing the ecstasies and tortures of the
heart, the poet conveyed at the end:
"There was a time, O Beloved, when I used to shed tears
profusely;
Nay, my heart ceaselessly bled at your remembrance.
But now, what a pity, I have not the slightest pulse of love
beating in my heart.
The eyes crave to shed just a drop or two of tears for you,
but in vain!"
Baba seemed to appreciate the last two lines. He asked
Dattu to stop singing and repeat the Urdu text of those lines.
Baba remarked, "A lover of God has to go through so many
incredible states!"
The Urdu ghazals have a quality of their own which
expresses the ecstasies and heartaches experienced by lovers in
their madness for the Divine Beloved. Meher Baba especially
liked ghazals composed by Ghalib, Jigar, Asghar and a few
others, including Seemab and Dagh.
"What Is Mind? What Is Heart?"
The next morning, December 30, I saw Mohammed the mast,
half bent, engrossed in searching with vacant eyes for
"something" on the ground. He looked pleased at Dada's

FIRST SECLUSION ON MEHERAZAD HILL

261

arrival (Mohammed always referred to Baba as Dada). Baba


fondled him and a delightful expression lit his face. He had a
standing inquiry for Baba. As he stammered to voice his wish, it
was a struggle for him to push out the syllables that seemed to
gag in his throat. The blocked words finally came out in the
form of his usual request. "When will you take me to Falance
(France)?" In 1937 Mohammed had been taken to France, and
ever since then he had had a fancy to revisit that country. On
behalf of Baba, Baidul replied, "We have placed an order for a
chartered ship. When it arrives on the Indian coast we shall sail
out on our voyage to France." I was told that this answer had
been given many, many times, and every time Mohammed
looked perfectly satisfied.
In the evening we sat around Baba. I do not recall how the
subject was raised, but Baba put two questions to us all:
"What is mind? What is heart?"
It set us to thinking. Some tried to express what they felt on
the spur of the moment. Dr. Deshmukh, Dr. Nilu, Dr. Ghani,
Adi Sr. and others of the mandali tried to answer, each in his
own way. Baba appreciated the replies, and at the end He
dictated the following on His alphabet board:
"Feelings at rest and thoughts at work is mind. Thoughts at
rest and feelings at work is heart."
Baba did not wish to add any more words to this laconic
remark. He looked at the gathering, smiled, and put aside the
board. It was a signal for no more discussion and that the
subject was dismissed.
This reminded me of an incident I read about in the Meher
Baba Journal. One morning Baba casually put a question to the
mandali:
"Where is God?" And after getting their replies, He
remarked:

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

"God is where you . . . are not . . . Where you . . . are, God is


not." 79
In informal meetings, Baba did not like to give long
explanations. Perhaps He expected us to discover for ourselves
the deeper significance of His statements, for personal findings
have greater influence on our thinking and living. From Baba's
remark I gathered that the so-called difference between mind
and heart was to classify the functions of self-consciousness, the
impressioned life of every individual.
The Ghadi That Counts
On the last day of the year there was a remarkable qavvali
program. A qavval named Narsing from the State of Hyderabad
gave a unique performance in the durbar (court) of the GodMan, Meher Baba. With a style that was his alone and with
meaningful refrains of ghazals, he entertained Baba with Urdu
and Persian songs a rare treat. The sweet, soft blends of
ghazals, accompanied by the resonances of tabla and
harmonium, filled the atmosphere with a melodious charm.
Narsing also sang some familiar, favorite airs to keep the
listeners who did not understand Urdu in the spirit of the
occasion. For persons like me, such a program provided an
opportunity to sit before the God-Man for hours. I felt happy,
for I had Baba to feast my eyes upon to my heart's content.
Baba sometimes looked here and there at the assembly of His
lovers with those shining, powerful eyes, and all seemed held
by them.
Baba carried His tender humor with Him everywhere, and
the programs were no exception. A witticism or pun would
make us feel more intimate with His humanity. That

79

F. H. Dadacanji, Notes from My Diary, Meher Baba Journal, September 1939,


p. 63.

FIRST SECLUSION ON MEHERAZAD HILL

263

day someone brought to Baba's notice that as Narsing had


commenced his journey to Meherabad, he lost a few of his
belongings. To this the qavval added, "The last thing I lost was
my ghadi (watch)."
The word ghadi in Hindi has a double meaning a watch,
or a moment. Baba made a pun on this word and remarked to
Narsing, "You have lost that ghadi (watch), but you have gained
this ghadi (this moment, the opportunity to entertain the GodMan). Not that ghadi but this ghadi counts. That ghadi was
quite insignificant, but this ghadi holds immense significance.
Time will reveal it. Don't worry, but rejoice." Baba, however,
arranged to pay Narsing an additional sum to replace the lost
belongings, over and above the remuneration which had been
fixed for this program.
By 11:00 P.M., all the programs of this get-together were
over and the buses were ready to take the visitors to the station
or to town. I purposely hesitated at getting into the bus, but as
they moved out I felt that I had failed to follow Baba's
instructions to the letter. I had been asked to stay at Meherabad
until December 31, and now I would be there still on January 1,
1948. In a way I was disobeying Baba, so I could not sleep but
only wept. Mentally I asked Baba's forgiveness a number of
times.
It was fairly early the next morning when I saw Baba, His
head covered with a scarf, coming toward the old ashram
building. I approached Him when He was about halfway. I
looked at Him in an appeal, but I could not speak. Baba patted
me and led me to a room. Somehow I managed to relate the
details of my lapse. He gestured, "Now forget about it
completely. I forgive you. But henceforth be careful in
observing the instructions." As He conveyed this, I noticed an
unusual flash of sternness in His eyes, along with the usual
glow of compassion. In one's life with the Master, obedience
matters most this was the lesson I learned on that New Year's
morning.

18
Threefold Spiritual Work, 1948

The Tripartite Phase


AVATAR Meher Baba adored the God-intoxicated souls, the
masts, He loved immensely everyone who came into His
contact, and He was intensely devoted to the service of the poor.
In the year 1948 we find a delightful blending of this tripartite
phase of His work.
The journeys to contact masts extended from the Himalayas
in the north to Madras in the south, and from Calcutta in the
east to the Girnar in the west. After washing and bowing down
to the feet of the poor in Ahmednagar district, Baba distributed
over four thousand bundles of food-grain to them. He once
remarked about this method of contacting the poor: "Nothing
makes me happier than opportunities to bow down to God in all
these forms."
The formal opening of the Baba House at Meherazad and
the new ashram building at Meherabad took place in 1948.
After the middle of the year there were small-scale darshan
programs at Meherabad every month. Above all, this year
marked the active participation in Baba's great spiritual work by
His lovers in the East and West. This participation lasted for
around two months, twice for about two weeks each time, and
we do not find anything like this in succeeding years.

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THREEFOLD SPIRITUAL WORK

265

The Sufi School in America


Significantly, the beginning of the year 1948 marked a short
visit to Meherazad by Mrs. Ivy Duce and her daughter
Charmian. They had left America toward the end of 1947 with
the specific intention of meeting Meher Baba in India. From
childhood, Mrs. Duce had had a religious mind which was
sorely tried as she worked with the Red Cross in France during
World War I. Later, she met Ada Martin, the Murshida of the
Sufi Order in America. The Sufi message was first delivered to
the West in 1910 by the great mystic and musician Hazrat
Inayat Khan of Baroda. He later appointed Ada Martin of San
Francisco, whom he lovingly renamed Rabia, as Murshida.
Hazrat Inayat Khan passed away in 1927, so Rabia Martin, who
believed in the spiritual hierarchy, was in search of a Qutub, or
Perfect Master. She heard of Meher Baba in 1943 through
Norina Matchabelli. Dr. Abdul Ghani Munsiff, one of Baba's
intimate disciples, corresponded with her about Sufism in
general and Meher Baba, the Perfect Sufi, in particular.
Murshida Martin felt so convinced of Meher Baba's divinity
that she expressed her readiness to place her Sufi school under
His guidance. She expected Baba to visit the United States in
1947, but Baba changed the plan and postponed the visit.
The Sufi Order under Meher Baba's Wing
Dr. Allan Y. Cohen writes:
"Murshida Martin carried out her dedicated work until
1947, when she dropped her body after appointing Ivy O. Duce
as her successor. Murshida Duce was quite aware of the
spiritual hierarchy and the necessity of an illumined or a Perfect
leader of the Order. Not experiencing illumination or
Perfection, she naturally turned to find the Qutub. Of course,
before her death, Murshida Martin told Murshida

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

Duce about Meher Baba. Murshida Duce was determined to


meet Him.
"Murshida Duce first met Meher Baba at Meherazad in the
first week of January 1948. Immediately struck with the
conviction that Baba was the Qutub, she posed to Him the
problem of her leading the Sufi Order in the West, which she
was reluctant to do. At that time, Baba told her that this was her
destiny, that he confirmed her title, and said that He wanted her
to continue the Sufi work; that as long as she remained honest,
He would do her work for her; that He would protect her
students from her making any mistake with them, and that He
would protect her from taking on any of their karma. The next
day, Baba told Murshida Duce, You have to go home and
reestablish this work all over again, and I want it on a safe,
sound and stable basis so that it will last six hundred to seven
hundred years. (Until Baba comes again.)" 80
Reorientation of Sufism
A few years later Meher Baba reoriented Sufism. With reference to this "reorientation," I will quote the following
statement which Baba made in America at Myrtle Beach, South
Carolina. On June 17, 1952, He dictated on His alphabet board:
"Meher Baba is equally connected with Islam and its
Sufism, Christianity and its Mysticism, the Orient and its
Vedantism, broad Buddhism, practical Zoroastrianism, Jainism
and many other such isms which all speak the same divine Truth
and lead to the same divine Goal. Meher Baba is also detached
and above all these divine paths. He has

80

Allan Y. Cohen, Ph.D., Meher Baba and Sufism Reoriented, Inc., Sufism (San
Francisco: Sufism Reoriented, Inc., 1971), p. 28.

THREEFOLD SPIRITUAL WORK

267

to awaken the followers of these paths to the real meaning of


these isms, in their true spirit, by reorienting these isms, and in
this capacity He has reoriented Sufism in the charter to be
universally adopted."
The details of the reorientation of Murshida Duce's Sufi
Order contain instructions regarding the principles, practices
and corporate organization of the Order. In November 1952
Meher Baba sent His document from India called "Chartered
Guidance from Meher Baba for the Reorientation of Sufism as
the Highway to the Ultimate Universalized." Sufism Reoriented
has verily rendered great service to the cause of disseminating
Meher Baba's message of love and truth to English-speaking
people by publishing His books, such as God Speaks, Beams,
Discourses, and Life At Its Best.
Thus in the first fortnight of January 1948 the seed of
reorientation was sown by Meher Baba. During this short stay
at Meherazad, Murshida Duce had the conviction that she had
met the Perfect Sufi, God in human form, Meher Baba. She and
Charmian left Ahmednagar in the morning on January 12 in
Adi's car, driving to Poona to catch a train for Bombay, and
from there she returned to the West.
For all, Meher Baba is, indeed, One in all and All in all. Dr.
A. Ghani Munsiff wrote: ". . . Meher Baba . . . on all counts, is
the spiritual index of the time and if looked at dispassionately is
assuredly the common denominator, who can be approached
and claimed by all, without loss of prestige cultural or
religious." How true!
A Circular Containing Five Orders
On January 21, 1948 a special circular was issued wherein five
orders were stipulated by Baba. All His followers were given a
choice of observing any one or more or all of the

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

orders for a period of twenty-five days, provided he or she


could do so without jeopardizing household responsibilities, job
or business affairs. Baba was very practical and yet very
particular in asking His dear ones to follow the instructions. It
had been the experience of many Baba people that a sincere
desire and a suppliant heart made things favorable, whether at
home or in the office. Observance of the orders was to
commence February 1, 1948. They were:
1. To take one meal a day, and tea or coffee only twice.
2. To observe silence.
3. To feed every day one poor person with one's own hands,
a different person each day.
4. To abstain absolutely from any sexual relations whatsoever.
5. To meditate one hour each day.
Baba's followers were asked to think thoroughly about the
orders and then inform Baba of their decision before February
1. They were to fill in the slip attached to the circular, stating
the number of the order or orders which they wished to observe,
and sign it.
The Westerners received this circular in the last week of
January. Since there was little time, those in America, England,
Switzerland, France and other countries informed Meher Baba
of their decisions by cable.
On the East Coast of America a group of stalwarts in New
York was carrying Meher Baba's message to sincere seekers.
On the West Coast, Malcolm Schloss and Jean Adriel in
California had been instrumental in bringing earnest souls to
Baba. The day Malcolm received the circular, he held a
meeting. Coincidentally, Margaret Craske, one of Baba's dearest
disciples, arrived in Los Angeles for a week's stay, on detached
service for a ballet theater. It was a happy get-together.
Malcolm wrote a very promising report about the responses of
the group. By the way, I may mention that Baba liked to read or
hear Malcolm's letters, but his hand-

THREEFOLD SPIRITUAL WORK

269

writing was so peculiar that one of the mandali had to go


through it patiently and type it out for easy reading.
Inquiries About Observing the Orders
Many people expressed their feelings of joy and gratitude for
this Baba-sent opportunity. One from the West wrote: "My
heart rejoices that during these twenty-five days of February, I
am to be a part of your great spiritual work. It's a privilege and
honor to be included in this spiritual undertaking." Some
expressed their heartfelt thanks to Baba for this unique
participation in the divine discipline, collaborating with the
Master in His work, in however small a degree.
There were inquiries regarding the meaning of the orders.
One person asked if "tea" meant breakfast! Baba conveyed:
"Tea means plain tea, that's all." Some wrote letters to Adi Sr.
requesting that Baba clarify the order about feeding the poor.
Baba explained: "You have to feed one with your own hands as
a mother would feed her own child." Personally, I interpreted
the order to mean serving food to the poor with my own hands.
One of my friends felt that I was wrong in my interpretation,
and in the first week of February, without my knowledge, he
wrote a letter to Adi about the order. Adi brought the matter to
Baba's notice. I received an unexpected postcard from Adi Sr.
with Baba's instruction to "continue serving food to the poor as
you seem to have been doing." Replying to a letter of mine, Adi
wrote: "Baba is too benign to mind seriously any shortcomings
in us provided we are prepared to obey Him implicitly and
wholeheartedly. Of course, we must try to get over the
weaknesses, but on no account should we brood over them."
Baba allowed a few individual exceptions to the general
rules. Ruth White from America wrote: "In our place no

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one is hungry or without food." She sent tins of food a soy


bean product reinforced with powdered vegetables and vitamins
to be fed to the poor in India. The tins were accepted, as that
was the only way for Ruth to observe the third order.
Try Your Best
The house where I stayed was quite small. I was trying to
observe all the five orders, including that of silence, so I
preferred to pass most of my time on the enclosed veranda of
my neighbor. Even there, a few distant acquaintances dropped
in to see me in my "dumb state." It was a test to remain silent,
but the humor of the situation brought in joy which my heart
savored to the full.
One of the boys who had stayed in Meher Ashram at
Meherabad, from May 1927 through 1929, wrote to Baba about
his inability to observe any of the orders for the first few days.
At that time, only letters regarding the orders were brought to
Baba's notice. Adi Sr. replied: "Baba read your letter and felt
displeased; you, who have been connected with Baba since
childhood, ought not to have treated the circular so lightly. But
now, anyway, Baba is glad that you have realized your
mistake." In a sense, Baba's love was very personal. Once He
accepted anyone as His own, the sincerity of that person would
please Him and any negligence would displease Him. Baba
often remarked: "Try your best and do not worry over the
results."
Regarding the fifth order, a few devotees asked if they could
conveniently divide the hour of meditation into parts. Baba
made it clear that it had to be done at a stretch. As for remaining
celibate, one of my friends later related to me how sorry he felt,
for his wife failed to cooperate with him. Poor soul!

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First Phase of the Tripartite Work


Meher Baba entered upon His tripartite spiritual work on
January 18. That day He started taking one meal a day and tea
twice, and He continued this until February 25, 1948.
The first part of the work was related to mast contacts. Baba
had Ali Shah brought to Meherazad from Meherabad, and silent
sittings with this unique fifth plane mast continued for ten
consecutive days. There was in him an appealing restlessness
and poise peculiar to those in love with God. He received
Baba's divine presence in the spirit of innocence, and it was a
benediction in disguise for his intoxicated and dazed being. He
would stop talking as abruptly as he had begun. He did not
speak much but he had an unspeakably soft voice, for the sweet
glance of God had pierced his heart through and through. No
wonder he has been the first in many phases of Baba's spiritual
working. At Mahabaleshwar some months earlier, while
standing before Meher Baba, Ali Shah mumbled, "Bolenge,
bolenge, lekin kab bolenge malum nahin" ("He will speak; He
will speak, but when He will speak is not known"). The depth
and profundity of Meher Baba's silence was and is beyond the
understanding of the saints, also. At Meherazad, Baba sat with
Ali Shah daily for three hours each day. On January 27 Baba
bathed him and the next day sent him back to Meherabad.
A sanyasi (mendicant) and a seeker were then brought from
Poona. The sanyasi was sent back the next day. The seeker
presented a pathetic figure. Baba shaved and bathed him. After
the bath he was given new clothes to wear and he looked a
changed person. This seeker generally preferred to sit in the sun
for most of the day. Baba sat alone with him for an hour in the
morning and for a few minutes in the evening. On January 30, a
Muslim who appeared to

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be mad was brought to Meherazad from Ahmednagar. After the


regular procedure of shaving, bathing and presenting new
clothes, he was sent back to the city. The seeker was sent back
to Poona on February 3. Ali Shah was brought again on the
morning of the fourth, and with this contact Baba completed
that phase of His work with masts.
Kumbha Mela, a Retrospect
The second phase of Meher Baba's tripartite work was to
contact sadhus at Allahabad they had assembled there for the
Ardha Kumbha Mela (fair).
A few years previously, before Baba began His work with
the masts, He had visited the Nilgiri Hills in the south of India.
While there, he casually remarked that He intended to contact
about seven thousand sadhus in one day, which was a surprise
to those who were with Him. Later He commenced His work of
contacting masts. In 1941 the occasion of the Allahabad Maha
Kumbha Mela had provided an opportunity for the fulfillment
of Baba's wish. The Kumbha Mela is connected with the
astronomic positions of the different signs of the zodiac in
relation to the sun, and it also has some mythological
background. This is the greatest fair held in India at
Allahabad, Hardwar, Ujjain and Nasik. Meher Baba decided to
visit Allahabad the end of December 1941 for the purpose of
contacting the seven thousand sadhus.
At Allahabad, the main place of pilgrimage is at the
confluence of two rivers, the Ganges and the Jumna. It is
believed that the mythical Saraswati river also joins the flow, so
it is called Triveni Sangam (the confluence of the three).
According to the Indian almanac, the day of the new moon in
the month of Magh is the momentous occasion when

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thousands of sadhus and pilgrims dip into the holy current


during the stipulated time. This is believed to be beneficial
spiritually.
Baba reached Allahabad in the morning on December 29,
1941. First He went around the Mela grounds that stretched for
over two miles on the sands of the riverbanks. At sunset, He
commenced the great work as he coincidentally encountered a
sadhu whose beaming face failed to hide the exuberance of his
heart. He was intently gazing at the setting sun, shouting with
joy, "Jap! Jap!" ("Meditate! Meditate!") He had put on Indian
clothes and on his head was an old British sofa (pith) hat
perhaps this combination was a symbol showing that Meher
Baba's work of spiritual upliftment was intended for both East
and West.
The second contact was a young, handsome person,
completely naked, his body covered with sand and dust. This
was a mast whose like the mandali had not seen before. His
eyes looked alive with joy and he seemed absorbed in
communion with God. But when from a distance of about fifty
feet he saw Baba, the divine Beloved, he began to dance,
gracefully moving his hands. Suddenly there came over him a
rushing emotion that engulfed his being, and he sat down. Baba
quickly walked up to him and extended His hands. The sadhu
got up and gazed at Baba dumbly. Baba looked immensely
pleased and embraced him most lovingly, unmindful of the dirty
body of the sadhu. Baba later remarked, "Just as the state of the
soul's union with the Oversoul is beyond the realm of
understanding, so also is the state of this perfect lover of God
indescribable." After contacting over three hundred sadhus,
Baba returned to his residence. During the next day, from six in
the morning until nine at night, He completed the Herculean
task of contacting seven thousand sadhus, as He had earlier
indicated He would.

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Second Visit to Kumbha Mela

Meher Baba left Meherazad for Bombay on February 7, 1948,


with a few of the mandali where they boarded a train for
Allahabad to contact a number of sadhus. It was the period of
Ardha (half) Kumbha Mela, and in honor of this periodic
astronomic occurrence, hundreds of sadhus of different sects
sanyasis, bairagis and some others had collected and
camped at different places over an area of three miles on the
banks of the Ganges and the Jumna. This was Baba's second
visit during the Kumbha Mela.
At the touch of dawn on February 9, Baba and the mandali
left their quarters for the Mela grounds. Over a million pilgrims
and thousands of sadhus had flocked together. The different
camps of the sadhus were known as akhadas. Some sadhus had
matted and braided hair reaching right to their knees; some had
topknots, and some were clean-shaven. Some, especially the
mahants (the heads of ashrams) wore rich and costly clothes,
but most had plain white or ochre colored kafnis, and a few had
no clothes at all. Some were short and plump, some tall and
thin, some strong and hefty, and a few were lean and emaciated.
Some had applied vermilion to their foreheads, while the
foreheads of others gleamed with different colored powders and
pastes. Most of the bairagis had ash-daubed bodies.
Through different sects, the ancient Indian culture has
provided a variety of traditions and rituals that aim to invoke
real devotion to God. But the rituals, instead of making things
easy, often make the heart hard and unreceptive. When followed
blindly, the outward forms of the rituals are prone to invite
deception. You can put flowers in a vase but not the fragrance!
Rituals of some kind seem necessary, but ritualism becomes a
hindrance. In fact, one has to discover for oneself the way of
life as a wakeful meditation to make God one's constant
companion. In spite of the kaleidoscopic

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275

pomp and show of different sects at the Kumbha Mela, there


were some spiritually advanced souls and many spirituallyminded persons assembled on this occasion. So it was a fair
field for Meher Baba to give a spiritual push in that religious
atmosphere. He also remarked that from the days of old,
Allahabad has been known for its spiritual atmosphere.
Contacting Sadhus and Masts
Baba made a rapid survey of the Mela grounds that morning
after reaching the main premises. The mandali were acquainted
with the location of different camps or akhadas. At Baba's
discretion, He was taken to the entrance of the different camps.
The mandali stood at the gates and Baba moved briskly in the
soft sand to contact the sadhus. He had to bend down in quick
succession to touch the feet of each an ordeal for His delicate
frame. Selection of sadhus was left to Baba's on-the-spot
discretion. Some were moving around, some were squatting,
some praying, others resting. Baba moved like lightning
through the camps. Some of the sadhus were greatly impressed
by Baba, for He carried some incredible power in His presence.
But by the time the amazed sadhus regained their senses, Baba
had gone far ahead, perhaps even out of sight. Within three
hours Baba had touched the feet of about four thousand sadhus,
and by ten o'clock He declared that His work at the Kumbha
Mela was over. He also remarked that He felt happy to have
contacted seven really advanced souls among the sadhus. He
looked fatigued but soon felt fit and fresh as ever and expressed
a wish to contact some masts in the city.
In Allahabad Baba contacted four masts. Vishwanath was
adept in closely imitating the sounds of the harmonium and
tabla. This mimicry pleased Baba as much as it did the mast
himself. Shah Saheb had a gypsy streak in his blood. He

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roamed about the city with a book under his arm and glasses
well down his nose. The glasses were used neither for reading
nor for better vision it seemed that he was just fond of
wearing them. Baba also contacted the naked Qamruddin Mast,
who loved dogs as pets. About each of these three masts Baba
remarked, "A good mast, a good contact." Sheikh Mardan
smoked excessively and was a moderate mast. He, too, was
blessed with Baba's touch. Then, having completed the great
work at Allahabad, Meher Baba left that same night for
Bombay.
The Great Masts of Bombay
En route to and returning from Allahabad on February 7 and 11,
Baba passed some hours in Bombay. He had, in fact, gone
through this city a number of times, but these two short stays
have a special significance. With His first group of mandali,
Baba had stayed at Dadar in Bombay at Manzil-e-Meem from
June 7, 1922, to March 25, 1923. During this period He
contacted some advanced souls in Bombay, then there was a
long break in this type of work, which was resumed by Baba
after twenty-five years when He contacted some high masts
there. In a way, it was a Silver Jubilee celebration of His stay at
Manzil-e-Meem.
Baba reopened His mast work on February 7, 1948 by
visiting a unique God-intoxicated family of seven sisters and
two brothers, all of whom were born as masts and mastanis.
The family lived in Mahim, a locality near the shrine of
Maqdum Shah. The eldest brother, who lived a normal enough
life, was able to provide for and attend to the material needs of
his wonderful brothers and sisters. The mastanis never came out
of the house but could manage to cook food and wash the
clothes. One of the brothers had shut himself in a room and the
food plates had to be pushed inside. The other, Ali Asghar,
lived on the veranda formerly

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he had been very aggressive and kept in chains. At the time of


Baba's contact he was quiet, and he looked very filthy. He
belonged to that holy band for whom even any filth was a thing
of beauty. It can well be said that he was fond of filth, for if
sweets were offered to him, he would not eat them unless they
had been plastered with some sort of dirt. Baba visited the
house and was with Ali Asghar for some minutes.
Baba then motored to the southern part of Bombay -Colaba
to see Pathan Baba. This mast had a stately bearing, and with
his long, white flowing hair and beard, he was an impressive
personality. His peculiarity was to anoint his hands and feet
with a paste of flour and butter, and his choice of a seat was
behind the Municipal Conservatory Carts and just by the public
urinals. How these souls could live in such reeking places for
years, God alone knows! Pathan Baba was on the fifth plane,
and Baba remarked that he was three-fourths salik-like. Prior to
this visit, Baidul had tried to take him to Meherazad for Baba's
contact, but Pathan Baba knowingly turned his sparkling eyes to
Baidul and replied, "I am always with Him (Meher Baba); let
Him be here once." In fulfillment of this wish, Baba visited him
twice on the same day.
When they returned from Allahabad on February 11, the
Baba party arrived at Bombay early in the morning. It was a
long, tiresome journey, but at the station itself Baba expressed a
wish to contact Umar Baba, a mast of the sixth plane. He was in
a complete majzoob-like state and resided in the old graveyard
(qabrestan) on Grant Road. During the day the mast could be
seen pacing to and fro like a restless tiger. When Baba reached
the graveyard, it was still dark and Baidul had to wake the
mujawar (attendant). From his wide experience Baidul had
learned that the attendants knew the ways to bring masts into a
good mood. Often this way of approach had worked well to
save time. Baidul asked

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

the mujawar to persuade Umar Baba to sit with Meher Baba for
a secluded contact. Soon the mast drew himself up to his height,
glanced at Baba and agreed to the contact. This significant silent
meeting with Umar Baba must have been very satisfying, for
Baba looked extremely happy and seemed to radiate cheer all
around as He came out.
Baba then contacted three more masts in different localities
of Bombay, and without having had a good rest, He
immediately left by car for Meherazad and arrived there before
evening.
A Choice for the Mandali
In the early years, Meher Baba's birthday was privately
celebrated according to the Zoroastrian calendar. Some Baba
devotees used to inquire of the mandali the date of Baba's
birthday, which varied every year on the English calendar. In
1948 it was on February 13. When replying to the loving
inquiries, Baba was pleased to add a line by way of a message:
"Here, there and everywhere, my love and blessings."
Because the Baba House at Meherazad was to be
reconstructed, by February 15 Baba and all the men and women
mandali left for a stay at Ahmednagar in Rustom (Rusi)
Jehangir Irani's bungalow. Soon one more bungalow adjacent to
this house was hired it was on the premises of an old ice
factory. Baba broke his partial fast of forty days on February 26.
While attending to correspondence, He dictated the following
cable to Delia DeLeon: "If your coming to India in July is
difficult, cancel coming. We will meet sometime, somewhere."
Delia, however, managed to visit India in July with Jean Adriel.
The great Indian leader and father of the Indian nation
Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated at Delhi at 5:30 P.M. on
January 30, 1948. He had been on his way to the prayer

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279

ground at Birla House. According to Hindu funeral rites, after


the period of nationwide mourning, his ashes were immersed in
the confluence of rivers at Allahabad (incidentally, following
Baba's sanctifying visit to that place), and newspapers published
special articles on Gandhi's life and work.
Gandhi first met Meher Baba in September 1931 on the
steamer Rajputana he was on his way to London to attend
the Indian Round Table Conference. Baba always praised
Gandhiji's sincerity and honesty in life. In February 1948 in an
informal sitting with the mandali, some articles on Gandhiji's
life were brought to Baba's attention. He casually remarked,
"People regard Gandhi as a mahatma. What do you take me to
be? And do you wish to hold on to me till the very end?" He
also added, "If any of you really feels confused or disappointed
(over my status), he would be rendering me a great service by
leaving me. I want you to be honest to yourself and to me. I am
what I am, what I really was and will ever be. So once and for
all, think well before you decide." He instructed each of the
mandali to give Him a written and signed reply.
Baba Is All in All
Some of the mandali's replies to this choice are given below:
Norina: In you . . . I believe. For you, I am ready to live and die.
Elizabeth: One thing I know: if you had not come into my life
there would have been no other Master for me. Having
come, there is no other way for me.
Kitty: Your love brought me to you, your love has kept me with
you, and your love will bind me to you till the end.
Rano: The one certainty in my life is you, beloved Meher Baba.
I am yours and always will be yours.

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Kaka: Happen what may, I will always stay with Baba, I say.
Feram W: Baba is BABA, so there is nothing to be said.
Pendu: I know one thing that I have to serve Meher Baba.
Padri: For me, Meher Baba is God. I am born to serve Him.
Vishnu: To me, Avatar means God. Meher Baba is God.
Nilu: I do not doubt the Avatarhood of Meher Baba.
Sarosh: Philosophy or spirituality is not my line. The only one
to whom I bow down with open heart, as God, is Baba.
Jal S.: I shall stick to Meher Baba till the end.
Meherjee: I have totally surrendered to you. I will never leave
you.
Nariman: Beloved Baba, I had pledged to be yours and for you
forever.
Adi K.: Meher Baba is the Avatar. I am dedicated to Him and
will continue to serve Him till the very end.
Eruch: For me, Baba as BABA is all in all.
It was this deep, unshakable conviction that Meher Baba
evoked in the mandali which had helped them to lead the life of
literal obedience to Him as God in human form.
Personally, I hold Gandhiji in high regard his faith in
God and his sacrifices for the country were matchless. His
autobiography Experiments with Truth, his utterances and
explanations about the importance of remembering God and the
significance of prayers in everyday life, had influenced me to a
considerable extent. When I heard the news of his assassination,
I felt very ill at ease, for his violent and brutal death upset me
considerably. I remember it was a Friday. In some way I was
reminded of the life of Abraham Lincoln. Coincidentally, just a
day after this tragic event, I commenced observing silence as
per Meher Baba's circular. Reading Baba's words of wisdom
poured sunshine into the dark, confused chamber of my heart,
and I felt much relieved. When one comes into contact with
Meher Baba,

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281

one's love for the great personalities of the world slowly gets
transformed in love for the God-Man, who is the One in all and
who represents the Divine Life.
Distribution of Bundles at Katol
After the first two phases of His tripartite work, Meher Baba
commenced the third phase, connected with the poor. At the
beginning of January 1948, the mandali at Meherabad were
given the duty of tying up bundles, each one containing eight
pounds of jowar (millet) wrapped in a yard and a half of white
cloth. Within a month, more than four thousand bundles were
bound and neatly stored in a room at Meherabad. Baba
instructed some of the mandali to select different parts of the
economically undeveloped areas in the district of Ahmednagar,
and through local contacts of responsible persons and social
workers, they delivered over four thousand tickets to needy
persons, irrespective of caste or creed. The word "prasad" was
printed on each ticket. These individuals were instructed to
collect their prasad at selected places on different dates. The
name of Meher Baba was not disclosed they were under the
impression that a wealthy philanthropist was offering the foodgrain to them as charity.
The work commenced on February 16 with a visit to Katol,
which lies at the foot of the Western Ghats eighty miles to the
north of Ahmednagar. The advance party reached the town
fairly early. In the compound of the dak bungalow there were
giant mango trees, under which the invitees began to gather in
groups. In one of the corners, water was being warmed for
washing the feet of the poor. Meher Baba arrived by 8:00 A.M.
Each person was first led to the bathing room and asked to stand
on a low stool. With one hand Baba poured a mugful of
lukewarm water over the feet as the other hand swept over
them. One of the

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mandali, sitting at the exit, would dry the feet with a soft towel.
Some of the mandali then requested that the people sit in lines
to get the bundles of grain. When Baba had washed the feet of
all the ticket holders, He went into the next room where the
bundles were piled, occupying a seat midway between the
narrow corridors by which the villagers were to enter and leave.
None of the mandali was allowed inside the room Baba
distributed the bundles in absolute privacy. Over a thousand
people were benefited and blessed at Baba's hands.
Just Like Christ
Baba paid a visit to Parner, twenty-five miles to the west of
Ahmednagar, on February 18. Here it had been arranged to do
the work of distribution in the local primary school. The
procedure of washing the feet of the poor and giving out the
bundles was outwardly the same as at Katol, but one small
incident is worth mentioning. "While waiting for the washing of
feet, one of the crowd an old man in rags was overheard
to say in English (pointing to Baba at work), 'Just like
Christ.'" i 81 It was very rare to find English-speaking poor
persons in the Indian villages.
On February 20 Kharda was visited, a remote village to the
southeast of Ahmednagar, where the school again provided the
place for the work. Two days later a similar program was
arranged in a refugee camp at Visapur. The people were mostly
from Hindu families from Sind who had migrated to India from
Pakistan. At Visapur, the secret somehow leaked out to the poor
that a saintly personality was going to wash their feet prior to
their being given the prasad. The refugees argued that, in fact,
they should be allowed the privilege of washing His feet. When
Baba arrived

81

William Donkin, The Wayfarers, p. 402.

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283

He was told of their intention. He canceled the program and


instead donated a goodly sum as a contribution toward the camp
welfare fund.
About eight hundred villagers were collected on the
premises of Meherazad on February 29, and they received
bundles from Baba's hands. One humorous event in the solemn
program gave Baba a hearty laugh. An elderly person, after
receiving prasad, very gravely blessed Baba. Later Baba
remarked with a smile, "For a long, long time I have been
wanting someone to bless me!" His humor was a delightful,
inseparable aspect of His life.
To compensate for the work that He had expected to do at
Visapur, Baba instructed the mandali to choose some other
place, so Vambori, twenty miles off to the north, was selected.
On March 7 Baba visited the village and completed the
distribution of the four thousand bundles of grain to the poor. At
the four villages He also gave money as prasad to more than
two hundred people. Thus the tripartite work of forty days,
which had been expected to be finished by February 25, was
concluded ten days later. Meher Baba once remarked regarding
such work: "As Baba I gave; as the poor, I received." His is the
non-dual life a life of love that knows no separation.

19
Visit to Uttar Kashi, 1948

Ordained Mission of the Avatar


AS one reads the account of Meher Baba's contacts with the
God-intoxicated souls, the masts, at the outset as well as in
retrospect one comes upon a phase unmatched in spiritual
history. The work seemed so simple in its outward expression,
yet in effect it was profoundly deep so visible, but
abundantly penetrating. Especially in the forties, the work with
masts was "the must" in Meher Baba's life; it far outweighed
other phases to which He gave attention. The inner life of the
mast tendered a mystery, and so the channels through which
Meher Baba reached his dazed being were inherently mystical.
Baba underwent great inconveniences and hardships to reach
the places where they dwelt. With ease of manner and the gentle
love that was evident in Him, He carried on His divine work as
an ordained mission that none can take over until the Avatar
again becomes enformed. This Advent occurs when humanity
feels adrift and is in need of the Star to sail by on the shoreless
sea of life.
India, Nearest to the Creation Point
Masts, with their mysterious states and peculiar traits, as
explained by Meher Baba, are mostly found in India. Very

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VISIT TO UTTAR KASHI

285

little is known about them in other countries if anything, it is


in the form of distorted interpretations. Why should such Godintoxicated souls be found in India mostly? It is a fair question.
Instead of attempting to answer it myself, I will quote two
paragraphs from The Wayfarers, perhaps the only book on the
masts:
A person of inquiring mind may wonder whether masts
may be found in other parts of the world, and if they are not,
then why it is that India alone is gifted with such souls.
Baba, in explaining this paradox to his disciples, told them
once that India was nearest to the "creation point," and was,
therefore, the most significant country in the world in the
realm of spirituality. It was for this reason, he explained,
that there were very few masts outside India, and none in
Europe or the Americas, although there were mystics, saints
and God lovers there. He told them, however, that there
were a few masts in Arabia, a few in Egypt, a very few in
Iran (mostly in Meshed and Tabriz), and a very few in Tibet.
It is, therefore, not surprising that in the western world
there are, as far as I am aware, no traditions about these
God-intoxicated souls, and that when a Westerner is
confronted for the first time by the eccentric characteristics
of a mast, his reaction is, quite possibly, one of incredulity
and even abhorrence. 82
Meher Baba did not feel it necessary to explain much about the
subtleties involved in His work with the masts. Again, there was
no rigid method employed in contacting them except that He
expected them to be in a good mood at the time of His meeting
them. Some high masts were contacted only once, while a few
had recurrent Baba contacts. Sometimes there was a seeming
regional concentration, as in Hyderabad and Baroda and the
states of Uttar

82

William Donkin, The Wayfarers, p. 32.

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

Pradesh and Punjab. In 1948 this was also the case in Bombay.
Baba paid a visit to that city in February 1948 and revisited it in
March to contact those comrades of God, the masts.
Masts of the Multifarious City
Immediately after the tripartite phase of forty days mentioned
earlier, Baba recommenced His work with the masts in full
swing. He visited Poona on the first day of March to contact
Shastri Kher. This advanced pilgrim chose as his residence the
open space near the vegetable market in the heart of the city.
Once he had been a shastri, meaning well-versed in the
scriptures, and his knowledge had attracted crowds of people to
him. Later he discarded the load of learning, and the God-Man
felt impelled to visit him.
The second series of mast contacts in Bombay commenced
March 15, 1948. The first one was Haji Nur Ahmad Baba, a
Pathan in his sixties. He, like Shastri Kher, had once been a
religious teacher. All of a sudden he realized the worthlessness
of the intellectual approach to God. It was at this propitious
moment that he was hit with the arrow of God-love. The impact
was so tumultuous that Nur Ahmad began to roam naked in the
streets. What blessedness to get lost in the wonder of that
blissful Presence!
Meher Baba referred to this type of mast as "ittefaqi. He
explained: "An ittefaqi is a mast who, without any love or
longing, becomes suddenly, and accidentally, intoxicated by
Divine Love ... The dominant mood or behavior of an ittefaqi at
the very moment of becoming intoxicated by Divine Love,
colors all his subsequent behavior as a mast." 83 At the time of
contact Nur Ahmad was at Kurla, a suburb of Bombay, and he
was held in great reverence by his kinsmen, the Pathans.

83

The Wayfarers, p. 30.

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In all, Baba contacted eleven masts in Bombay. Shah Saheb


was an advanced pilgrim. He always preferred to move about
and wore a long black kafni. One mast located in Bhendi Bazar
was a great pan chewer, and the red spittle had colored his
clothes to a large extent. He had remarkable eyes. They
reflected a blending of sights of the far-off horizon and the
heaven within. The naked Dhuniwala Baba was unmindful of
the seasons that passed. All day long he sat by the fire of the
dhuni. Ahmad Mastan was a good mast. He was always seen
with a gunny sack around his belly he had, in his masti given
up all other "worldly riches." Saiyid Nur Ali Shah, with rings on
all his fingers, was in the habit of constantly murmuring
something to himself or to others. At the time of contact, Baba
seemed to enjoy every bit of his nonsensical talk. It is said that
the irrelevant words of masts sometimes display mystical
foreknowledge, though rarely. Nuruddin Mast Baba, swathed in
dirty rags, roamed about everywhere in the city and slept
anywhere he liked. Another mast, Ali Hussein, would sit
silently at different places, gazing mostly at the blue sky as the
years passed by.
After contacting these diverse types of masts in the
multifarious city of Bombay, Baba returned to Ahmednagar.
But within a week He left this headquarters for an extended
tour, to visit the eastern and northern parts of India in search of
God-intoxicated, God-communed and God-absorbed souls.
Calcutta, the Eastern Gate of India
The main target on this tour was a visit to Uttar Kashi in the
Himalayan region. Gustadji, Kaka, Baidul, Chhagan and Eruch
accompanied Baba. On the way to Calcutta the party stopped at
Ambikapur (Madhya Pradesh), where Baba was received with a
great ovation by Jal Kerawala, who held a high government post
as Commissioner at Ambikapur. I never had the opportunity to
have an intimate

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talk with Jal Kerawala, but he was one with whom I wished I
had some acquaintance. With his noble face, he looked so
personable that one could not but grow fond of him. He was one
of Meher Baba's endearing disciples, and he was also one of the
few persons whose residence was visited by Baba during the
mast tours. This tour was no exception, and Baba stayed at
Ambikapur for a day and even agreed to hold a small darshan
program.
On March 30, 1948 Baba arrived at Calcutta, the eastern
gate of India. There He boarded a train for Dacca, then the
capital of East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. But as the train
reached Rana Ghat, the frontier station, Baba decided to change
to a train that would take them back to Howrah (Calcutta). The
mandali dared not question Baba about this. They knew that
they had to play their parts blindfolded, as it were, with the
conviction that the God-Man knows best. This apparently
indecisive and restless mood of Baba's continued even more
during His stay in Calcutta until the first mast had been
contacted.
An Out-of-the-Way Condition
By the time the return train reached Calcutta it was seven thirty
in the evening and Baba consented to stay in a hotel for the
night. Eruch knew the hotel where Baba had lodged during their
last visit, but this time Baba put forward an out-of-the-way
condition. He proposed that His room should be at the end of a
corridor and that there should be a vacant room between His
room and the mandali's. It was expected that the manager of the
hotel would not charge the party for the vacant room. Eruch was
entrusted with this task. To his surprise, he found that one hotel
had three vacant rooms on the fifth floor. He told the manager
that his elder brother (Baba) was very sick and was in need of a
quiet atmosphere, so the manager agreed to give them

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the requested accommodations. Eruch had to spend more than


an hour on this hotel hunt. When the party arrived from the
station, the mandali, though exhausted, felt happy that Baba had
gotten the rooms He desired.
At midnight Baba complained that the banging away at
anvils in a nearby workshop caused too great a disturbance.
Eruch, who was the night watch, went down the five flights of
stairs and implored the proprietor of the workshop to
discontinue the clanging, for the sake of his elder brother who
was very ill. The man consented to stop the noisy work. After
an hour or so, Baba, who had a very sharp ear, detected some
soft movements in the adjoining room. He told Eruch to inquire
of the manager regarding this breach of promise. Eruch was told
that a respectable couple had unexpectedly arrived at the hotel,
and as the room was vacant and the Baba party was not paying
for it anyway, the room was given to them. On his way back
Eruch knocked at the door of the occupants and explained to
them about the delicate health of his elder brother, and they
agreed to be as noiseless as possible.
The Master, the Wisest of the Wise
A few minutes passed and there was a tap-tap on the door of
Baba's room. Baba looked irritated, and Eruch opened the door.
He found a waiter with ice water! Perhaps the waiter mistook
the room and it was intended for the newly-arrived couple.
Whatever it was, by this time Baba firmly announced there
would have to be a change in hotels. He gestured, "I cannot bear
this commotion. We must move on to some quiet hotel." After a
certain point, none of the mandali would argue with Baba.
Being convinced of the spiritual burden that Baba bore for
humanity, they kept quiet and humble, whatever He did or
ordered in His agitated moods.

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Eruch woke up the mandali resting in the other room and


conveyed Baba's decision to change their hotel. Without raising
any objection, they all started packing up the bundles of
luggage. Gustadji, who had been observing silence for over two
decades, began to convey something to Eruch through gestures.
Eruch, in exasperation, said, "God bless me! I have to attend to
two 'dumb' persons!" Just at this moment Baba stepped into the
mandali's room. Looking at Eruch, He gesticulated, "Am I
dumb?" Eruch felt very sorry. He apologized, and Baba smiled
away the remark.
Half asleep and half awake, the party descended the stairs.
At the time of settling the bill there was some haggling at the
counter. The man at the desk wondered at the behavior of this
group, for they seemed to come from noble and respectable
families. While the luggage was being loaded into tongas, the
proprietor of the nearby workshop recognized Eruch and said,
"You asked me to stop the noisy work of molding the iron. I
agreed to it for the sake of your sick brother. Now you are
leaving the hotel at such an odd hour! How wonderful!" What
could the mandali do except apologize again and again to
appease the man? Perhaps Baba, who was sitting on the back
seat, enjoyed this joke.
Because of Baba's strange condition regarding a vacant
room, it was difficult to get the required accommodations and
the cabs moved on from hotel to hotel. At last, by 6:30 in the
morning the party was lodged in a hotel. The previous night the
mandali had had no supper, so Baba allowed them to have a
fine feast and all felt refreshed. But within two hours, Baba, on
one pretext or the other, wished to change the hotel again. Why?
He had His own reasons, that's all.
This incident is given in detail to show that while engaged
in His spiritual work, sometimes Meher Baba would be, to all
appearances, extremely restless. The mandali

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accompanying Him had to bear the brunt of His moods in the


form of inconveniences, but with a cheerful spirit. Only after
contact of the first mast in Calcutta did Baba's mood begin to
show signs of His usual calm and gay nature.
Here I am reminded of two couplets that Dr. A. Ghani
Munsiff once explained to me. The lines were in Urdu, and a
free interpretation follows:
However humiliating it may appear, in the company of the
Master the real life lies in annihilating your ego the
center of intellectual reactions.
Whatever the Master does, do not question His wisdom. He
is not mad but the wisest of the Wise.
He is that moth (paravana), God in human form, through
whom, strangely enough, the flame (Shama), the Light of
lights, is revealed.
Oh, worldly wise, you have no idea of the life of Love
which includes infinite contradictions!
Contacting Masts in Calcutta
In the morning on March 31, the first mast Meher Baba
contacted was Mastan Shah. He was a rough, tough person with
the sunburned skin so common with the masts. He would loiter
in the locality known as Central Avenue, muttering. Words as
they come from masts do not make sense to us, but in some
cases they sound like notes from a deep bell, with pleasing
intonations. Baba appeared happy with this mast contact and
there was a marked change in His mood. Ramdas, Samsher
Data and Rahim Shah were old and moderate masts. It was said
about Sufi Saheb that for over a decade or so he did not sit or
even squat but either walked or remained standing. At the time
of Baba's contact, however, there had been a marked change in
his outward behavior. He preferred to stay in a tiny room, where
he sat all day.

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On April 1, Baba woke up very early and resumed work,


contacting a mast at 4:00 A.M. The next was a moderate mast,
Abdurrehman, who was very fond of cats and dogs. Shah Jehan
was a high mast of the fifth plane. He had beside him heaps of
dusty, musty books only good as junk. The room had no
windows, and any possible ventilation through the door was
blocked by a thick curtain. It can well be stated that the life of a
mast is not a life of stoical suffering or self-denial but of Godreliance. Divine Providence alone protects them. Baba visited
last one God-intoxicated soul who was abnormally fond of
sweet oil. His body was smeared with oil and his clothes were
drenched with it. He drank oil with fervor in the ample quantity
of sweet drinks. In short, the mast looked very filthy. Baba sat
alone with him, and the quiet appeal made in silence had a good
response. The mast beamed with joy, and Baba also looked
happy and remarked that it was the best contact in Calcutta.
With this meeting Baba's work in that great city and His restless
mood, too, were over.
Seek God with Intense Longing
By evening the Baba party boarded the Doon Express at
Calcutta, West Bengal, for Hardwar, Uttar Pradesh. They
reached there on April 3, 1948, and Baba wished to proceed to
Uttar Kashi, a sacred place in the hallowed Himalayas four
thousand feet above sea level. It stands on the banks of the river
Bhagirathi, which further downstream is known as the Ganga
(Ganges). From days of old this center of pilgrimage has been
regarded as the reputed seat of Sanskrit learning. Its religious
atmosphere has become sanctified by the advanced souls who
have dwelt there over the years. At present, buses can take one
right to this place, but in 1948, to reach Uttar Kashi pilgrims
had to go on foot

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293

or ride on mules from Tehri Garhwal. The road was very unsafe
and unprotected.
At Hardwar, Kaka and Chhagan were entrusted with the
work of buying provisions for the journey to Uttar Kashi and
back. With Baidul, Gustadji and Eruch, Baba set out to look for
advanced sadhus and the masts. As they were moving through
the crowded lanes, Baba pointed out an old man in rags sitting
on a wooden platform. He told Eruch to ask this person about
the masts in Hardwar. After collecting the information, the Baba
party went on. Soon it was noticed that the man in rags was
following them. Finding him rather persistent, Baba asked one
of the mandali to ascertain the reason for his pursuit.
At first the man responded by saying, "I am in search of the
Master, the Sadguru." In the next breath, directly addressing
Baba with all humbleness, he said, "I feel you are my Master."
He gazed at Baba and waited for His answering look. Baba
appeared pleased at his frank remark, and the man was
overjoyed. Baba blessed the old man and asked him to love God
with intense longing and He would help him. After contacting
some masts and sadhus in the city, Baba Himself reopened the
topic of the old man and praised how silently and deeply he
longed for the sight of God. Just then the same old man
reappeared. Baba called him close and gave him three oranges
as prasad. Baba again advised him, "Seek God within you, with
ever-increasing love. One day you shall see Him. My
blessings." Meher Baba's name was not disclosed to this old
man, but His august presence did what was needed.
A Teenager Athirst for God
While moving incognito through all India, Baba had blessed
and guided many a sincere soul. Rarely was His

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identity disclosed. Here is the story of a teenager who had left


his home to find a Sadguru of his own choice. It was in 1942,
the year when Meher Baba traveled over fifteen thousand miles
from Rawalpindi (now in Pakistan) to Tanjore (Tamilnadu) to
contact about two hundred masts. In June 1942 He was at
Rishikesh, which is about ten to fifteen miles from Hardwar.
Baba was then staying with His eastern and western disciples in
the bungalow of Rani Singhai in the area known as Swarga
Ashram, a sort of forest ground. In those days, in this particular
location there were some huts in which sadhus lived and
practiced sadhana (discipline). One day while returning to the
bungalow, Eruch noticed a handsome boy about fourteen years
old lying in one of the dilapidated huts. Eruch remembered
Baba's instruction to find one ideal boy for His contact, so
naturally Eruch asked Baba if He would visit the hut. Baba
agreed and accompanied Eruch there.
Baba instructed Eruch to ask the boy his background and his
intentions in being there. The boy spoke in Hindi and told Eruch
that he was from Ambala, where his parents resided. Because of
an insatiable longing to see God, he felt impelled to leave his
home and decided to live in Swarga Ashram. Eruch asked him
if he had a Master. The boy answered, "No. There are many
auras who only talk, and the mere words mean nothing. I
earnestly desire a Sadguru who knows but does not speak." At
this Eruch gave him some information about Meher Baba and
His silence. The boy said, with dignity, "Yes, I have recently
heard about Meher Baba. I also learned that He is residing
somewhere in the neighborhood." He added, however, "But
Meher Baba is too great to accept me."Just then Baba came
forward, and it was the most delightful moment in that young
boy's life. There opened up within him a great awareness, and
the beats of his own heart convinced him of Baba's Godhood.
He knew that God was compassionate,

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295

but now he was even more sure. When one is sincerely


receptive to the will of God, he finds a shower of grace pouring
upon him.
The Four Orders
Meher Baba conveyed through gestures that He was ready to be
the boy's Master but he would never see Him again in His
physical form. If he was willing to abide by this condition, Baba
wished him to obey four orders during his lifetime. Then would
come a timeless moment, Baba assured, when the boy would
find God in his own heart as the eternal Companion. Without
any hesitation whatsoever, the boy happily consented and Baba
stipulated the following four orders:
1. In your entire lifetime, never touch a woman with the
intention of lust.
2. Constantly and earnestly crave to realize the divine
Beloved God.
3. Don't touch money. Beg for your food.
4. Repeat all the time, "Om Hari Narayan." (Baba had asked
the boy his choice for repeating the name of God, and he
chose this. Baba confirmed this as a guru mantra.)
The meeting was over. Baba smiled and thus assured the
boy of His inner help. The teenager smiled with Him,
expressing that he would wholeheartedly abide by Baba's orders
to his last breath. Baba left the hut, and the boy, with all love in
his eyes, continued to watch Him until He was out of sight, for
he was not to see that beloved form again. The next day Baba
sent the boy a photo-medal (with Baba's form engraved on it)
and a small booklet which gave information about Baba's life. A
mat was also delivered to him, along with some flour to be
eaten as Baba's prasad. The boy felt overwhelmed with these
gifts. He continued to live in

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

the woods of Rishikesh, famous for black scorpions and


poisonous snakes, but now he was all the more fearless, for he
had taken refuge in the omnipresent and omniscient God-Man,
Meher Baba. Wonderful were Baba's ways in meeting and
guiding His dear lovers, and after the dropping of His body, His
ways continue to be even more incredible and full of grace.
Seekers and Pilgrims of Uttar Kashi
After a very short stay in Hardwar, Baba reached Rishikesh on
April 4, 1948. Nine porters were hired to carry the luggage of
the party to Uttar Kashi via Tehri Garhwal, the last outpost for
bus traffic. Tehri was a town lying in a hot, steamy valley, and
the track to Uttar Kashi was narrow and rough. It was traversed
at one's peril. The walk often raised blisters on the toes, and in
summer the sun beat down on one's back. In short, it was a
hazardous and wearisome march, but contacting the love-thirsty
seekers and pilgrims of Uttar Kashi was the need of the time.
On April 7 the party set out on foot from Tehri Garhwal.
The first stop was the forest bungalow at Syansu, and the
second was the Kali Kambaliwala Chetty (dharmashala) at
Dharasu. Baba reached Uttar Kashi on April 9, and all made
themselves comfortable in Birla House, a massive
dharmashala. The "divine outings" to contact pilgrims and
sadhus commenced the next day.
Falhari Baba was an initiate pilgrim. He subsisted only on
fruit, flowers and roots. He wore just a loincloth, irrespective of
the cold weather in winter. Ramanandji, another advanced soul,
went a step further he used to remain naked all year round.
He was also observing silence. He lived in a hut a few miles
away but visited Uttar Kashi to collect his daily bread.
Ganganand Maharaj lived in Kailas Ashram. His room was
quite dark, but this advanced soul, who was

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fairly old, spent most of the time reading one book or another.
Baba liked Ganganand and so paid him a second visit. The old
man looked overjoyed and his happiness was redoubled.
To contact some other seekers, Baba had to tread narrow
footpaths over hills and through valleys. Among the ten seekers
and sadhus contacted at various places was a centenarian named
Mangalgiri Maharaj. "His back is so bent and his body so thin
that when he squats his head almost touches his feet." 84 This
visit of Baba's made Mangalgiri feel that his long life was
amply rewarded and that he was blessed.
Loving Gestures of "Flying Kisses"
A contact with a mast from Bengal who had decided to stay in
this far-off place should be mentioned. This God-intoxicated
soul, Nirgunanandji, was in his eighties. His face, or rather his
whole frame, was as wrinkled as a walnut. His shabby clothes,
seemingly unwashed for days, showed signs of long use. In
spite of his age, his blithe spirit and energy were admirable. He
lived in a small, low room in the Durga Devi temple.
Welcoming Baba, the mast personally led Him to the room. It
was late evening and darkness prevailed inside, so
Nirgunanandji lit a match and began to look at Baba the
Light enformed. Beholding the divine luster on Baba's face, he
seemed immensely delighted. Baba joined him in his gay mood
perhaps for Baba this was the last and the most pleasing
contact of the day.
By daybreak the next morning Baba was once again visiting
huts and cottages to contact ardent aspirants and God-mad
masts. Vishnu Datt Digambar lived in a nearby village

84

William Donkin, The Wayfarers, The Work of Meher Baba with Advanced
Souls (March to May 1948), p.11.

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

named Tilot. He was an outstanding personality, and Baba


remarked that he was mast, saint and child rolled into one. It
may be that as a mast he wore no clothes, as a saint he was
observing silence, and as a child he begged for food at one of
five houses, and only at those five. He ate with pleasure
whatever he received. Baba gestured that he was a mast of a
very high type. They seemed extremely happy to meet each
other and it was a comfort for them to be in each other's arms.
After the meeting, as Baba departed, the mast made very loving
gestures of "flying kisses" towards Baba. To witness such love
signals was an unforgettable sight.
The Rich Spiritual Inheritance of Uttar Kashi
On April 12 Baba visited a seeker named Ramanandji. He had
long, ash-daubed hair. Being naked, he was also known as
Nanga Baba. The last meeting, but not the least, was with
Devigiri Maharaj. In a way it was the first and the foremost
contact of an advanced soul in Uttar Kashi, because while
journeying by train from Calcutta to Hardwar, Baba pointed out
at Benares a venerable old man in ochre-colored robes who was
flanked by two young sanyasis. Referring to him, Baba
remarked, "A very good soul." He then asked Eruch to make
inquiries about the man. It turned out that he was from Uttar
Kashi, where he had an ashram, and he was on the return
journey. Owing to the request of some of his devotees, Devigiri
Maharaj left the Doon Express at Ayodhya. However, perhaps
as wished by Baba, he returned to his headquarters in time to
receive the blessed and redeeming touch of the Real One to
whom he was wholeheartedly devoted, albeit under a different
name and in a different form. Because of the presence of such
rare souls as Nirgunanandji, Vishnu Datt, Devigiri Maharaj and

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a few others, Uttar Kashi maintained its rich spiritual atomsphere.


On April 13 Baba left Uttar Kashi. By the eighteenth He had
reached Agra, via Delhi, and He remained there for three days.
The main motive, of course, was to meet masts and feed them
with His love. A few seekers, also, had Baba's heavenly and
healing touch. One prominent mast was Majzoob Baba. He
considered himself to be the emperor of Agra, but his choice of
residence was close to the mental hospital! Baba told the
mandali that in spite of his nonsensical talk and his seat near the
asylum, he was a good mast. Haji Baba lived in a mosque and
was fond of giving away money whatever he had at hand
to the people. He referred to his room in the mosque as a tavern
and to himself as a drunkard. He meant that the wine he had
was the wine of love for God.
By April 22, 1948, Baba had returned to Ahmednagar, and
He brought with Him a lively, appealing creature. In succeeding
years it reminded the mandali of those thrilling and perilous
outings near Uttar Kashi in search of earnest seekers and
spiritually advanced souls.

20
Meher Baba's Love for Animals, 1948

Bhuti Joins the Baba Party


WHEN Meher Baba set out from Ahmednagar on March 25 for
the memorable and significant tour to Uttar Kashi in the
Himalayas, five of the mandali accompanied Him. When they
came back, there had been an admirable addition a blinking
black puppy, lively and light-footed. How did it come to join
the party? In the course of visiting the hilly region of Uttar
Kashi, Baba had to walk for miles over narrow footpaths a
few of the trails at higher elevations were steep and perilous. On
one such walk, the puppy was purchased for five rupees from a
Bhutani trader. While returning to Birla House, where the party
was staying in Uttar Kashi, Eruch had to carry this smart, tiny
dog over his shoulder in a sling.
While climbing along a dangerous narrow track on a high
range, the party came to a deep valley and had to cross over on
an improvised narrow bridge made of bamboo sticks. It was
hardly a foot wide. On such a risky crossing it was dangerous to
have anything unsteady on one's back, so Eruch felt compelled
to let the pup loose. As it followed them, the puppy just missed
a fall and somehow clung to the edge of the rock with its little
claws. Fortunately it could be rescued, and this lucky, fluffy
rolypoly continued with the Baba party right to Ahmednagar.
Baba personally

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MEHER BABAS LOVE FOR ANIMALS

301

looked after it on the journey. It was first named Gol-Gol (gol in


Hindi means "round"). Later it was named Bhuti, 85 as it came
from pedigreed stock in Bhutan, a small state to the north of
India in the Himalayan region.
Beautiful Bhuti, a Dutiful Watchdog
In due course Bhuti grew into a watchdog. She had a collar of
soft, long black fur which made her look very graceful. She
developed a shapely body and her gait was elegant, like a
dancer's. But with all her beauty of form, she was a terror to
strangers and intruders trespassing on the Meherazad premises.
In the early fifties when Baba would go out on mast or darshan
tours, Bhuti would be the trusted watch at Meherazad and the
companion of Kaka Baria, the manager of the Meherazad estate.
Bhuti had a peculiar way of guarding the premises at night.
She would begin her rounds at the main gate and bark loudly for
a minute or so. Then with measured strides she would go to the
other corner near the well and growl. In this way she would
finish the other two corners, rest for some time, and then repeat
the round. Perhaps she had evolved her own Code of barking!
In those days the farms and fields around Meherazad were not
inhabited as they are at present. In the daytime few men or
cattle would be seen moving about in the fields, and this being a
semiforested area, a fox or a hyena would sometimes sneak into
the Meherazad compound. Bhuti had fought with and killed
more than a score of hyenas. She would lift the dead animal and
place it before Kaka's door as a trophy.
Whenever Baba was away on tour, someone had to report to
Him on the welfare of the resident mandali at Meherazad,
including Bhuti. Bhuti loved Baba very dearly,

85

She was called Booty because she had brown paws.

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

and the pictures of her taken with Him remind us of those


lovely days when she lived and played with the God-Man. It
was a perfect companionship. Baba once stated that when God
becomes man to give a spiritual push to mankind in His divine
status as Avatar, he simultaneously becomes a perfect friend for
each and every species in Creation. When Bhuti died, she was
buried on the Meherazad premises, the place she had guarded so
well and loved so deeply. Baba was the first to cast some
flowers and earth over her body. Indeed, Bhuti was a blessed
soul.
Chum Resigns to the Master's Will
Reference to Bhuti's life in the company of Meher Baba summons to mind Baba's tender affection and sympathetic admiration for the animal world. His love for pets demonstrated a
remarkable aspect of His life. In different periods He had
different pets with Him. He had a deer named Lily, a pair of
bullocks named Raja and Vazir, a camel named Bhola, monkeys
named Lucky and Jhampoo, a mynah bird, a parrot, a peacock
named Moti and pigs named Nutty and Gutty. He also loved
cows and had a water buffalo named Masi. He had a mare
named Sheeba. Baba paid personal attention to the needs and
feeding of each animal. His coat pockets, which sometimes
bulged with letters from His dear ones, would also overflow
with carrots when He visited Sheeba. He once observed, "I love
animals. They are a part of my Creation." Nevertheless, it seems
that Baba loved dogs most. He had pairs of dogs named JingoBingo, Raja-Rani and Sunny-Bunny. I will give a short account
of a few of the dogs prior to 1948 who had the good fortune to
be in His company.
Chum was brought to Meherabad as a pup, received from a
Baba family at Akbar Press in Ahmednagar, a place Baba often
visited, beginning in the early thirties. Somehow or

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303

other, He liked this pup and very carefully and lovingly brought
it up, at times feeding it with His own hands. Soon it grew to be
a big dog. Baba's arrival at Meherabad was an occasion of great
delight to Chum. He had a huge, handsome frame and would
play with Baba while keeping his forelegs right on Baba's chest.
In short, Chum seemed to be Baba's favorite chum. He was also
the trusted watchdog on Meherabad Hill.
In August 1935, Baba returned from Mount Abu and the
Ambika Hills in Rajasthan. On His arrival He wished to
continue His seclusion in the cabin that was specially built on
Meherabad Hill. Chum would lie at the door of the cabin, and
no one dared to enter the room and disturb Baba. When the
period of seclusion was over, Baba would visit the kitchen for
lunch and Chum accompanied Him. Even there he would not
allow anyone to be near Baba. Baba casually remarked that as a
watch at the door of the cabin, Chum had had an uncommon
experience. Baba did not disclose the nature of the experience,
but He said that it had made Chum overfaithful in not allowing
anyone to go near Him. Baba soon broke him of this habit. One
day when Baba's sister Mani visited Him, Chum tried to pounce
on her. At this, Baba got up and gave Chum a light drubbing
with a small stick that lay at hand, and all the time Chum kept
his head bent down towards Baba's feet. Perhaps he was bowing
down to Him as an act of confession for the crime committed. It
was all in the spirit of complete resignation to the Master's will.
Chum's attitude and behavior vividly brings back to my mind
one of the significant and suggestive discourses given by Baba.
Stone Stage, Worm Stage, Dog Stage
Once Meher Baba was asked about the principal mental stages
through which His lovers have to pass in order to

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see Him as He really is. Upon hearing the question, Baba broke
into a gay smile at first, but because of the profundity involved
in answering, He then looked solemn. With a tender, beautiful
radiance on His face, His eyes glowing with benevolent love,
He conveyed:
I am the eternal Beloved, drawing the infinite number of
lovers to Myself in infinite ways. So they have experiences
of innumerable types; they have to pass through endless
stages. However, for the sake of intellectual understanding,
these can be broadly divided into the following three stages:
The first is the stone stage. One feels unconsciously
drawn towards God or the God-Man. Here, the initiative is
entirely with me. One feels attracted to me as a particle of
iron to the magnet.
The second is the worm stage. Herein the mind
constantly wriggles like a worm. The person worships me,
yet sometimes disbelieves me. He adores me; he distrusts
me! Doubts and devotion go together. The pull of love,
however, prevails in the end. In this phase, various types of
impressions are executed.
The third is the dog stage. The dog has absolute faith in
the master. He just moves with his master here, there,
anywhere. In a sense, he has no will of his own. He only
knows to follow the master without ifs and buts. Once a
lover arrives at this stage, he is blessed.
Meher Baba's beloved pet Chum literally demonstrated the
third stage mentioned above until the end of his life, when he
died of cancer. Befitting the faithfulness he had shown, he was
buried on Meherabad Hill. At present we find his little tomb
under the banyan tree, by the side of the tomb built in the
memory of Meher Baba's intimate ones who have dropped their
bodies while serving Him as the eternal Beloved.

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305

Lovable Kippy and Worthy Warrior


Kippy was Elizabeth Patterson's pet Boston terrier. In July 1937
Meher Baba stayed with His eastern and western women
mandali in the Villa Caldana at Cannes on the French Riviera.
During this period Kippy was privileged to be near Baba for a
long time and have prasad at His hands. In November, Baba left
Cannes for India and Elizabeth was asked to return to the
United States. Irene Billo from Switzerland, who was to visit
India shortly, was asked to bring Kippy with her. Later she
related that after Baba's departure from the villa, Kippy got on
Baba's seat on the sofa and rarely left it for three days. Kippy
sorely felt the separation from Baba she was one of His
lovable pets.
Warrior, another dog worth mentioning, was a black
Alsatian. In 1941 Baba's life consisted mostly of a long period
of seclusion. In August that year He confined Himself in a small
room on Meherabad Hill and no one was allowed to enter. The
room had only a small slit through which Baba would hold out
the alphabet board and convey instructions to Vishnu, who was
entrusted with the work of attending to urgent correspondence.
In those days only the worthy Warrior was allowed into Baba's
room and to sit or rest in His physical presence. By the time this
phase of strict seclusion was over, Warrior fell sick. In spite of
the best of treatment, he died within a week or so. Finding one
of His dear disciples almost in tears over the loss of this favorite
pet, Baba conveyed to the mandali: "Warrior was a fortunate
dog. During the phase of strict seclusion, I wanted the company
of a faithful soul other than human in my room. Warrior
fulfilled that exigency as was expected of him. Now his work is
over and he is gone. No one should feel sorry for his death. He
is fully rewarded. Henceforth he will not incarnate as an animal
but as a human." Today we find the small tombs of Kippy and
Warrior in line with Chum's.

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"Love Life in All Its Forms"

Some may be interested in knowing more about Meher Baba's


relationship with animals, so I will add a few excerpts from
letters on the subject. In 1957, one of Baba's dear followers
from the West wrote to Him about the ill treatment given to
dogs in India. She also wished to know Baba's attitude toward
animals. Deshmukh was asked to reply to her letters, based on
some points given by Baba. These replies were read to Baba at
Guruprasad in Poona before they were mailed to the lady. Some
of the remarks are given below:
I have noted with much interest and great concern your
comments about the general treatment of dogs and other
animals in India. I must frankly concede that dogs are not as
well looked after in India as they are in the western
countries, but it is partly a side effect of the general low
economic standard of living in this country. To regard the
condition of dogs as indicative of the Indian attitude would
surely be misleading. There is in the heart of Divinity a
thought for all that breathes bird, animal or man. Beloved
Baba, in His impersonal aspect, is concerned not only with
the well-being of man, but also with that of all other forms
of life.
According to Him, all animals, and even plants and
trees, are an inalienable part of the larger brotherhood to
which we all belong. As a natural corollary of this, we have
to be affectionate and considerate toward birds, animals,
etc., not out of any sense of duty or even obligation, but out
of the spontaneity of recognized values. Thus, according to
beloved Meher Baba, love for animals or birds would be
more than sympathy or consideration. It is a natural
coordinate of acknowledged kinship with them. To deny
love to birds or animals is, according to

MEHER BABAS LOVE FOR ANIMALS

307

Him, to repress one's own divinity. Beloved Baba's often


repeated mandate to humanity is: "Love life in all its forms."
I now come to another of your important questions,
"What is Meher Baba's attitude toward animals?" Beloved
Meher Baba is God, and, as such, experiences Himself in all
living beings, including birds, animals, vegetables, etc. We
cannot adequately raise any question about what God's
attitude is toward animals. God cannot take up a specific
attitude in relation to His Creation, because He has Himself
become that Creation. Since beloved Meher Baba is an
incarnation of God, there can be no question of His taking
up any attitude toward any forms of His own being.
However, many persons would be interested in knowing
how beloved Baba treats animals. In this respect, all who
have had the opportunity to be with Him have invariably
observed that He loves birds and animals as much as He
loves human beings. He often feeds them with His own
hands, gets all their ailments attended to by competent
doctors, and looks after them with the same parental care
and love which we find expressed in relation to those
humans who have the good fortune to come within His
personal environment.
Having said all this in favor of kindness to animals, I
think it might be advisable to sound a note of warning
against the possibility of making an "ism" out of it ... From
the point of view of evolution, the vegetable kingdom may
be regarded as offering itself for the use of animals, and the
animal kingdom as offering itself for the use of mankind.
We could not pitch "animalism" against "humanism." But
this is just to bring out beloved Meher Baba's dispensation
of the only Truth, which leaves no room for separative
thinking and requires us never to forget the inviolable unity
and the inalienable divinity of life in all its forms.

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


Maharaj, an Animal-Mad Mast

Meher Baba returned from the tour of the eastern and northern
parts of India by the end of April 1948. During the month of
May, He stayed mainly at Ahmednagar, with some short visits
to Meherabad and Meherazad. In May Babadas brought a mast
from Nagpur to the ice factory bungalow where the men
mandali resided. His name was Maharaj. Maharaj means
"Emperor." It is also a term used to express respect for a person.
People in India generally refer to a sadhu as Maharaj. The
principal characteristic of this mast was his deep love and close
sympathy for animals. Some animals develop strange affection
for humans, but here was a mast who had an unusual fancy for
animals.
Maharaj was over eighty years of age. His beard was
completely grey but the hair on his head was black. At Nagpur
he used to keep over two dozen dogs around him. After his
arrival at Ahmednagar, on the very first day as he returned to
the bungalow from roaming about the roads, he gathered around
him a few cows and half a dozen dogs. The animals followed
him in response to some inner appeal, and their number
increased as the days passed by. During his six-day stay,
Maharaj spent most of his time under a tree near the bungalow.
He seemed genuinely happy in the company of the animals. His
favorite occupation was to feed these dumb souls with food
supplied by Baba. Around him lay buckets of fodder for the
cows and plates ready for dogs. Some saucers with crumbs of
bread in them were seen hanging from the branches they
were meant for birds. The animals would fondly lie and rest
around him, without any reservations.
One bullock showed special affection for Maharaj. William
Donkin wrote, ". . . there was one spirited brown and white
bullock that would lick him all over with his tongue. The mast
would screw up his eyes when his face was being

MEHER BABAS LOVE FOR ANIMALS

309

licked, or would lie supine between the forelegs of the bullock


while the front of his body was licked from head to foot. He
seemed, indeed, to take pleasure in these abrasive yet loving
baths, for while they were in progress he would lie with his eyes
closed and his hands behind his head." 86
Baba remarked that Maharaj was a freak mast of a high
order. He was very cooperative in Baba's spiritual work. As the
mast did not eat on his own, Baba would feed him daily with
His own hands, morsel by morsel. As he was being fed, the
mast would lift his eyes to Baba's and then would hastily look
away. On May 14, Babadas was asked to take Maharaj, this
animal-mad mast, back to Nagpur.
A Girl Meets Her Beloved Father
Meher Baba's visit to Uttar Kashi in the month of April 1948
kept Him away from his headquarters for about a month. During
this period, mail was regularly received at Ahmednagar. In
accordance with Baba's standing instructions, many of the
letters were attended to by the mandali concerned. Some letters
required Baba's special attention they were kept aside. The
letters of those who had recently heard about Baba and who had
written to Him were especially brought to His notice. By way of
illustration, I wish to cite here the case of a young girl who
heard of Baba in 1948, and how Baba responded to her lovingly
to help her develop the right attitude toward life. In this respect,
a few fragments from the letters may reveal something of this
beautiful relationship.
The girl was residing at Poona. She was of a religious mind.
By chance she heard about Meher Baba and was

86

William Donkin, The Wayfarers, The Work of Meher Baba with Advanced
Souls, (March to May 1948), p. 15.

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

greatly impressed by His mission of awakening the heart of


humanity. She felt deeply drawn to Him and decided to write
directly to Him. Of her own accord, she addressed Baba as her
beloved Father, and in her loving letter she requested that He
free her from the fetters that bound her to this mayavic world.
She also expressed her intense desire to have His darshan. This
letter was read out to Baba, and He permitted her to see Him in
the month of May 1948 in the ice factory bungalow at
Ahmednagar.
With great joy she came to Ahmednagar to meet her
beloved Father, Baba. With a deep feeling of delight, her spirit
seemed to leap out to kneel at Baba's feet and she tried to pour
out her aspirations. Baba sat silently, His eyes gleaming with
light. In the end He gestured, "I know, I know." Baba's
compassion drew out in her a fresh quality of faith, and with
fresh enthusiasm she began to think about and meditate on her
beloved Father as much as she could. It was a great joy to her.
This first contact with Baba set all her pulses throbbing
Godward. Clearer became the call that lay within her heart. She
developed a great interest in reading the available books by and
about Meher Baba. The small book Divine Theme, with its lucid
explanations of the charts contained therein, impressed her the
most. On some occasions, she began to feel the divine brilliance
enveloping surrounding objects.
The girl wished to convey her jubilation and exuberance to
Baba. In one of her letters she wrote, "Father, I feel the presence
of God, but how will I see Him?" As Baba heard the contents of
the letter, He seemed pleased and gestured, "A lucky one."
After her regular morning meditation one day, as this lucky one
rested on her bed, half asleep and half awake, she had a
remarkable experience. About this she wrote: "Beloved Father,
one day in my half-awake state I saw my subtle body going up
and up, crossing rivers and jungles. It darted faster than the
fastest train. In the beginning

MEHER BABAS LOVE FOR ANIMALS

311

as it was going up, my gross body lay on the bed enjoying a


delightful breeze. But as the subtle body continued to soar
higher with greater speed, presently my gross body felt that it
was going to fall down from the cot where I was resting. In my
attempt to prevent the gross body from falling down, I woke
up." In reply to this letter, Baba conveyed by way of a hint that
it was just the bare beginning of a long, long journey.
Celibacy and Married Life
As the girl felt more intimate with Father Baba, she asked His
counsel on the problem that girls of her age with spiritual
inclinations have to face. With overflowing love, she wrote to
Baba: "Is it necessary for a girl to marry when she finds that the
marriage is based more on money than on pure love? Can she
not live alone and lead a pure life, relying on the grace of the
Master? Can a girl get Self realization?" In another letter she
mentioned a conflict that caused confusion in her mind. She was
prepared to renounce this world, if necessary. She stated: "Dear
Baba, sometimes I get such a strong feeling that I should leave
my home and go to some quiet place for meditation. Would that
be good? But at the same time I remember your words, 'Be in
the world but not of it,' and I stay back."
After Baba's return to Ahmednagar from one of His mast
tours, Adi K. Irani sent replies to the girl based on Baba's
instructions: "Baba says that a married life strictly in adherence
to one partner is not bad; but a single life, with the grace of the
Master, replete with aspirations Godward, is infinitely better...
Baba told me to inform you that constant remembrance of the
One, whom you consider to be your Master, will go a long way
toward lessening the mental tension and bringing about peace of
mind. He wishes you to know that not by leaving the world and
your dear ones

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


will you be able to progress on the Path. It is only by living
in the world and trying to develop as detached an outlook on
life as possible that you will gain equipoise and make real
progress ... Baba desires that you remember Him always, in
good times and in bad times, and thereby increase your faith
in Him, which alone will make you impervious to the ups
and downs of life ... Baba sends you His blessings, which
will impart to you strength, patience and courage." Meher
Baba's words of advice have brought about many changes in
outlook in the lives of His dear ones.
About the problem of sex and married life, Baba stated:
"Promiscuity in sex gratification is bound to land the
aspirant in a most pitiful and dangerous chaos of
ungovernable lust ... Sex in marriage is entirely different
from sex outside marriage." 87
"Just as the life of celibacy requires and calls forth the
development of many virtues, married life in turn also
nourishes the growth of many spiritual qualities of utmost
importance ... The path of perfection is open to the aspirant
whether in celibacy or in marriage, and whether he begins
from celibacy or from marriage will depend upon his
sanskaras and karmic ties." 88 ". . . it should be borne in mind
that the life of freedom is nearer to the life of restraint than
to the life of indulgence (though in quality it is essentially
different from both)." 89

Meher Baba has come amongst us to quicken this understanding which will lead us all to the life of freedom, beginningless and endless.

87

Meher Baba, Discourses, 1: 146.


Ibid., pp. 145-146.
89
Ibid., p. 144.
88

21
Interviews at Meherabad, 1948

Sadguru's Grace, the Matchless Choice


ONE of my friends, an ardent Baba lover named Mauni who
was keeping silence, had first met Meher Baba at Satara in
September 1947, as mentioned previously. At that time Baba
had given him a six-month sadhana, which he sincerely
practiced. During that period he had some blissful visions of
Baba. As he went out for walks in the morning, he would see
Meher Baba's smiling face keeping him company. Once he saw
Baba's full form. It grew so tall that it almost touched the skies,
then vanished. Perhaps that was an indication of Meher Baba's
all-pervading presence.
After the period of six months, Mauni began to inquire
about the possibility of seeing Baba again. In February 1948, I
conveyed to Baba, Mauni's earnest desire to see Him for the
second time. Adi Sr. asked me to visit Meherabad with Mauni
on May 15, 1948. Later, I received a telegram to the effect that
the date fixed for the visit had been changed to June 1, 1948,
and accordingly, we arrived at Meherabad a day early.
Next morning Baba arrived at Meherabad from Ahmednagar. It was such a joy to see Him moving around on the
veranda of the new ashram building. In one of the rooms
adjacent to the hall, a green carpet covered the floor. Facing

313

314

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

the door lay a mattress covered with a spotless white sheet.


Soon we were summoned into the room. Dr. Abdul Ghani
Munsiff was with Meher Baba. We offered our respects, and
Baba motioned us to sit down. It was the first occasion I had to
sit so close to Baba, on the same carpet with Him. I was
delighted but felt a bit shy, too.
At Baba's behest I related to Him in a nutshell Mauni's
wholehearted efforts to abide by His orders. Baba expressed His
happiness and dictated on his board, "What I heard just now has
made me happy. Tell me, Mauni, what you want." Dr. Ghani
read Baba's board, and I conveyed it to Mauni in Marathi.
Mauni felt greatly elated. He took out a piece of slate from his
bag and wrote on it, "Sadguru kripa" ("the grace of the Perfect
Master"). As I read these words, Baba's smiling face wore a
profound expression and He spelled, "What a wish! Even seeing
God is less important than the grace of the Perfect Master. But
mind, grace is not a cheap thing. It's a rare, spontaneous
happening. It is an unconditional benediction. To receive it, you
have to prepare yourself to obey me one hundred percent. Are
you ready? Wholeheartedly?"
A Meat Dish and a Bottle of Wine
At Baba's words, Mauni moved his fingers over his neck,
meaning that he was ready to cut his throat if so ordered. At this
Baba replied, mostly through His lively gestures, "But that is
very easy! I am not asking you that. Cutting one's throat,
leaving family and home, are very easy things compared to
obedience of my orders, which may at the outset appear very
simple. Are you really ready to obey me! Think well before you
say yes." Mauni, with a new-born ardor, moved his head from
right to left, meaning yes. Noticing this, Baba conveyed, "If so,
for one month begining

INTERVIEWS AT MEHERABAD

315

tomorrow, have a non-vegetarian dish every morning and


evening." As I translated these words in Marathi, there was a
marked change on Mauni's face which reached the climax as
Baba added, "and a bottle of wine at noon."
Mauni is an ascetic type. He wears just a long dhoti, and his
needs are few. As far as possible, he does not allow people to
touch his body only when he visits Baba places or Baba
lovers are these restrictions not literally observed. He has only
one meal a day, and no tea or coffee. He does not like to drink
water at public places. With such a background, the very
thought of having a non-vegetarian diet shocked him deeply. He
appeared to be very confused. Casually, perhaps purposefully,
Baba changed the subject and began to discuss other matters
with Dr. Ghani. Was it a pretext to provide time for Mauni to
think for himself and decide? Mind is very tricky indeed. It does
not admit an open defect it is adept in wearing veils and
putting forth excuses.
Mauni, instead of frankly confessing his inability, wrote on
his slate, "Baba, I keep no money. I am a poor person. How can
I buy a meat dish and pay for a bottle of wine every day?"
Hearing this, Baba solemnly replied, "That is your lookout! You
agreed to obey me one hundred percent, and I have given you
the orders. Just tell me if you can follow them willingly or not. I
know that in this state of Maharashtra there is prohibition and
wine cannot be had without obtaining a permit on medical
grounds. If you obtain wine in some other way and drink it, you
will be put into jail. But that is your problem." Mauni appeared
even more puzzled. At this juncture Baba added, "However, as
you have expressed your inability about money, I assure you
that it shall not be your problem. I shall arrange for it. But is
that the main issue? Be frank. Say whether you are ready to
obey me voluntarily and happily."

316

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


Hesitation in a Decision

Mauni did not know that until 1932 Meher Baba did not allow
His mandali to have eggs, so they could not even eat cakes or
chocolates. Because of that restriction, during Baba's first visit
to the West the mandali who accompanied Him had to appease
their hunger mostly with bread and butter, and it was winter.
Nevertheless, Baba gradually granted them permission to have
eggs, and after a few years, fish and meat if they so desired.
There was no "must" regarding diet from Baba, except on
grounds of health. It is not the diet that necessarily binds, but
the thoughts of superiority and spirituality which are generally
associated with it do bind. Deep down in Mauni's mind there
might have lurked such thoughts. Perhaps it was to work on
deep layers of impressions that Baba gave such orders. What
Baba expected was one hundred percent dedication of the
actions good or bad to Him, with no reservations. Was
such a state essential for the descent of Sadguru kripa?
Whatever it might be, Meher Baba, as the master psychologist,
always knew the best way.
After Baba's assurance about money, there was a fresh surge
of thoughts in Mauni's mind. He was on the point of conveying
yes, but just then Baba intervened and explained, "Remember
one more thing. Ninety-nine percent readiness with one percent
hesitation is not desirable, much less expected. In that case it
will be better for you to express an honest no. The obedience
has to be unadulterated, total. Be frank; be quick. There are
others waiting and I have to call them."
Now there arose a fresh countercurrent of thoughts in
Mauni's mind he felt nearly lost in that tempest. Presently, he
nodded no. Baba flashed one of His old, penetrating looks at
him and conveyed through the board, "Did I not tell you that
you have aspired for the best, but that it

INTERVIEWS AT MEHERABAD

317

is not so easy? Yet I am happy that at the end you have been
honest enough to express no. Now forget completely these
orders. Here are some fresh ones for you which you must obey.
No choice. For one year, go on a pilgrimage, visiting the holy
places in India. Don't ask for money; don't touch money. Be
careful not to touch any woman. In trains or on crowded streets,
if you happen to touch any woman, remember your dear
mother. Beg for food; don't cook food. Take darshan of saints
you meet, but don't run after anyone."
He Knows His Game Well
Mauni felt relieved and very happily agreed to obey Baba's
orders. He had been, in fact, leading such a life for years. Fasts,
physical hardships and travel were no problem for him. At the
end, Baba blessed Mauni and conveyed, "When you finish with
the year's itinerary, come and see me." We folded our hands to
Baba with due reverence and left the room.
We then had a discussion as to whether it was right on
Mauni's part to convey "no" regarding the non-vegetarian diet.
"What on earth led me to such foolishness?" Mauni thought. He
felt that it was just a test and he had miserably failed. He
realized that whatever order the Master gives brings the highest
benefit to the person concerned. We agreed on this point, and I
was to tell Baba that Mauni was ready to obey the first set of
orders.
We were about to reenter the room when impulsively I felt
that before going inside to Baba, it would be advisable to tell
one of the mandali about this situation. I do not recall the
person to whom I told this, but I remember very well the gist of
his reply: "Past is past, and that game is lost! With the Perfect
Master, every moment has an ever-renewing significance. As
for eating meat, even if Mauni is now

318

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ready to devour a live lamb, Baba should not be expected to


reconsider the matter! In a way, that would be against the spirit
of the next orders." He further explained, "It was Meher Baba's
wish that Mauni ask for Sadguru kripa, and it was equally His
wish that Mauni prefer the second set of orders. Everything
happens according to the divine will of Meher Baba. He knows
His game well. It holds a deeper significance of which we are
not aware."
Dislikes Bind As Much As Likes
The above explanation was enough for us to drop the idea of
seeing Baba again, and the next day we returned to Kurduwadi.
To Mauni, it was nothing to make preparations for a year's
journey to holy places in northern and southern India. He had
only to pick up an extra dhoti and a begging bowl. Money he
already had none. He was also to continue observing silence. He
in fact enjoyed a hard life in which everything was taken in the
spirit of sportsmanship.
Regarding diet, I am reminded of an incident at Guruprasad,
Poona, when I had an opportunity to stay with Baba. Every day
after lunch Baba would ask us what we had and how it tasted.
Once He casually put a question to me, "Do you eat meat? Are
you a non-vegetarian?" I replied, "Baba, mine is a buffer state.
Personally, I do not relish meat. I prefer a vegetarian diet." Baba
smiled and indicated, "Some make much about diet. Everything
has its merits and demerits."
It is true that what comes out of the mouth matters more
than what goes into it, yet it is hard to disbelieve that diet and
drinks do not influence one's thoughts and feelings. I have an
acquaintance for whom spirituality without eggs and meat is far
too primitive, whereas one of my friends holds a view that even
the sight of meat defiles spiritual life.

INTERVIEWS AT MEHERABAD

319

Personally, I think that one should cautiously discriminate


between the pampering of palate and the needs of the body.
Whatever be the diet, it should keep the body light and
consciousness fresh and alert. Once when Baba was sitting with
a group of His closer ones, He conveyed, "Here are some who
dislike meat, and here are others who like it the most. Dislikes
bind as much as likes. My concern is to free you from both.
Love alone frees. But where 'self' is, love is not, and where 'you'
are not, Love is." Meher Baba's words are as fresh as blooming
roses, though they were conveyed years ago.
"I Am the Real Businessman"
Besides Mauni's meeting with Baba on June 1, there are a few
other incidents which remind me vividly of that blessed day. It
was the first occasion for a newly formed Baba group at Poona
to have Meher Baba's august darshan. I noticed that the persons
in this group represented different religions. H. E. Hakim, the
head of the group and a double graduate, was a Muslim. I
vaguely remember that there was also a Christian youth. On an
earlier visit, we had exchanged views on the beginning of
Creation. By the end of the conversation, it was difficult to
know who was more confused. We dropped that subject and
turned to the weather from heaven we landed on the gross
plane! Even to this day I do not dare talk with anyone on the
subject of Creation.
As I sat in the Hall at Meherabad, a person in his early
forties was by my side and he talked fluently with me in
different languages. Later he asked me to guess his religion, but
I failed. He was Mr. Aaron, a Jew. There were a few Parsis
(Zoroastrians), and the rest of the lot consisted of Hindus. Most
of the visitors, excluding a few businessmen,

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belonged to the middle class, serving in some of the offices in


Poona.
After consenting to this darshan program, Baba sent a
telegram through Dr. Ghani to inform those who would come
from Poona that Baba had agreed to give a few minutes'
interview to each. This made them all the happier. After their
arrival at Meherabad, Baba commenced meeting the Poona
group, one by one. As each entered the room for his personal
interview, Baba would greet the person with His wordless,
lovely smile which wiped out bitterness and sorrow from the
heart. To one of the visitors, a cloth merchant, Baba suggested
that he repeat any one name of God 7,000 times a day without
fail. The person somehow feared that his family and business
responsibilities might cause a lapse in carrying out the Master's
order. Such a breach he regarded as the greatest sin, so he
frankly expressed his inability to carry out the order.
When the master gives any instruction, He definitely confers
power on the person to carry it out in spite of himself. So Baba
had a meaningful smile as He conveyed to the person, "All
right. Forget about 7,000 times. Can you do it 700 times? At
least do not forget to repeat the divine name 70 times a day,
without an exception." The visitor of course very lovingly
agreed to this. In a playful mood and with a bit of humor in His
eyes, Baba added, "You are a businessman and you did good
business with me, too. But mind, I am the Real Businessman!"
"I Draw My Dear Ones to Me"
Tejumal was in his late fifties and a bit crippled. Years earlier
he had read The Perfect Master, by Purdom. It created in him
an intense desire to meet Avatar Meher Baba in person, but at
that time he was living in Sind, hundreds of miles from
Ahmednagar, so he could not avail himself

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321

of the opportunity to see Baba, the Word made flesh. Partition


of India into Bharat and Pakistan in August 1947 brought him
to Poona. There he gathered more information about Baba and
His activities. When he learned about the darshan program, he
decided to join the group in spite of his ill health. Thus, June 1
turned out to be the most sanctifying day in his life.
At the time of his personal interview, Baba gestured, "Any
questions?" Tejumal answered, "No questions, Baba. But I
implore you to bless me with your love." Baba looked pleased
with his attitude and conveyed, "A fortunate soul." After some
informal and personal talk, Baba instructed Tejumal to repeat
the word "Baba" for five minutes every midnight for a
stipulated period. Tejumal willingly agreed. A deep look passed
between the two, Baba smiled, and the interview was over.
After his return to Poona, Tejumal wrote to Adi Sr. about the
observance of Baba's order, his personal experience and its
interpretation. In reply to this, Adi wrote: "In regard to the
repetition, it would be in one's interest to understand that in so
far as the Master's instructions go, they should, as far as
practicable, be followed literally. What is needed most in
spiritual enlightenment is the grace of the Master ... It does not
mean that your own tastes should not be encouraged ... They
may be striven for, but whatever comes to you from the Master,
after a depth of longing, should be regarded as a potential to
take you towards the finale of all spiritual experiences."
It goes without saying that Tejumal followed Baba's
instructions and reaped a rich spiritual harvest. In the case of
spiritual experiences, the fact seems to be that Baba has first to
lay His finger on a person's heart under the pretext of His glance
or gesture or a simple instruction, and then a remarkable change
takes place. In the case of some who have not met Him
personally, just hearing His glorious

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name or the sight of His pictures has worked wonders. In this


sense, perhaps, Baba used to remark, "I draw my dear ones to
me, in my own ways."
An Uncommon Phone Call
One of my close friends, Laxminarayan B. Thade, had Baba's
first physical darshan on June 1, 1948. He was in his early
twenties, a science graduate, and served as a clerk in one of the
government offices. In late 1947 he attended a meeting in the
East Lodge of the Theosophical Society in Poona, where the
late R. K. Gadekar, one of Meher Baba's dear disciples,
delivered a talk on "Meher Baba, the Awakener." It aroused
considerable curiosity in Thade, but his mind rebelled against
regarding Meher Baba to be the Avatar as were Rama and
Krishna. It seems strange, but a chain of coincidences
commenced that day. In this run of luck, when he visited his
grandfather Yellappa (Dada), he found a Marathi biography of
Meher Baba written by Deshmukh. After reading the book,
Thade felt himself suddenly and deeply drawn to Baba, though
he could not precisely fathom or unravel the reason for this
inner pull. After that he did not miss any meeting that gave
information about Baba and His life Divine.
When Dr. Ghani Munsiff, with the help of some Baba
people in Poona, arranged the above-mentioned program at
Meherabad, the date of darshan was first fixed for May 15,
1948. Unfortunately, by that time Thade had fallen sick with
typhoid. He felt sorely grieved at missing the rare chance to
meet the Master. "I must be a first-rate sinner," he thought, for it
was then physically impossible for him to accompany the
group. Within a few days, however, the news came that the date
of darshan was changed to June 1. Thade felt greatly relieved,
but then another difficulty cropped up. He was a newly
appointed clerk, and in his

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323

illness he had exhausted all the leave to his credit. His


immediate supervisor seemed unwilling to sanction even one
day off. What a pitiable predicament!
At this point, a miracle, if one may use that word, occurred.
A few days prior to the darshan, Thade's boss had an informal
phone call from one of the superior officers. He suggested that
if anyone in the office wished to visit a saintly personality, he
should not, as far as possible, be refused leave. Casually, the
boss inquired if there was anyone in his section who wished to
visit a saint. When Thade had asked for leave, he had not
disclosed his intention to visit Meher Baba at Meherabad. Now
he felt bold and proud enough to reveal his purpose, and he was
all cheers when his supervisor very happily sanctioned the
leave. Thade learned later the reason for the change in attitude,
but even to this day, he does not know who talked with his boss
on the phone and to whom he owes the divine debt. At any rate,
he got the leave and with great joy joined the party going to
Meherabad, his heart singing. June 1 marked the most eventful
day in his life and opened a splendid spiritual avenue.
"Be Good to Others"
When Thade was ushered into the room for his interview, Baba
made him sit very close, almost touching the low mattress on
which He had His seat. Baba flashed His usual smile upon the
young man, and Thade felt that it filled and lit the room with
heartwarming love. In Baba's presence he felt like shedding
tears of unspeakable relief. Baba asked him through Dr. Ghani
if he had read any of His literature. When Thade mentioned the
names of some books, Baba seemed pleased. With an air of a
proud father, He communicated to Dr. Ghani, "Look, he is so
very young and yet he has read the books about me. He loves
me." Thade

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

could hardly restrain his tears of joy at these words of


unexpected admiration.
In these moments of felicity, Thade remembered his dear
father and mother and had a passing thought, "Would that they,
too, were here." Just then Baba conveyed the following, "You
are blessed. Your parents, too, are blessed. Don't worry about
them. They will share your happiness." Thade was thoroughly
taken by surprise at this incidental remark. The statement about
his parents has come true, word for word at present, all their
children (now graduates) and grandchildren are active members
of the Baba family, and they lead their lives with deep
conviction in Meher Baba as the Ancient One.
At the end of the interview, Baba asked Thade if he had
anything to say. The young man gathered courage against his
shyness and said, "Baba, at present I am serving in a
government office. I have passed my B.Sc. examination. Should
I leave the services and return to college to get a Master's
degree in science?" Dr. Ghani read the reply: "Do whatever you
feel best, but do remember one thing. Be good to others and I
am always with you." As Thade rose, he looked down at Baba's
holy feet and felt like touching them, but everyone had been
forbidden to do so. Unawares, his heart silently "rolled out" of
his bosom to lie at Meher Baba's feet permanently. After his
return to Poona, Thade was soon posted as the superintendent of
the boys' hostel, where he had ample opportunity to be good to
many students by revealing Meher Baba's name to their
blossoming hearts.
"I Sign on the Heart"
By late morning on June 1, the interviews were over. It was premonsoon time, but the humid weather was made cooler by the
morning wind that accompanied Baba's arrival.

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325

When the session was over, there was plenty of laughter and
lightheartedness amongst us all. In Baba's sahavas, minds were
unburdened of so many worries. At the time of the interviews,
Baba said little to them but each one felt astonished at the
intimate relationship that developed as a result of the few
moments passed silently with Him the Silence in action. Was
there a new cultivation in the inner life of each? Quite possibly.
In the case of some visitors a few embarrassing incidents had
happened prior to their meeting with the Master, but after
meeting Him, the situations changed and they began to perceive
order in disorder. After lunch the party left Meherabad for
Poona, with the exalted memory of precious moments spent in
the company of the God-Man.
Suffused with Baba's glance of compassion, which had been
like a shower of love upon him, Thade later tried to contact
various people to learn of their life with Meher Baba God in
human form. He approached practically all of the men mandali
with a small, pretty, card-size album and requested each to write
a few lines about Baba what they take Him to be and what
they personally feel about Him and sign it. During one of his
next visits to Meherabad, Thade held this album before Baba
and very lovingly implored Him to sign on the first page. Baba's
eyes looked brilliant and shone with wisdom and compassion.
Through His meaningful gestures, He conveyed, "I sign on the
heart. When you first met me I signed on it. What need is there
to sign on this paper?" Indelible words of the Eternal One!
Self-Destroying Rage
I wish to conclude the narration of this blessed day with the
account of Kishan Singh's interview with Baba. He is one of
Avatar Meher Baba's dear ones and had the enviable

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

good fortune to stay with the Master for many days at a stretch
and maintain a day-to-day diary of that period. In 1953, Baba's
headquarters were at Dehra Dun for over nine months. During
that period, one of the two bungalows occupied by Baba and the
mandali was Kishan Singh's residence, so he had Baba's
sahavas practically every day. However, for his first glimpse of
the God-Man he had to pass through a crisis touching his faith
in life. He had Baba's first darshan on June 1, 1948. As these
"firsts" are closely linked, the account of how Kishan Singh
came into Meher Baba's contact deserves to be mentioned.
In the late thirties some of his personal problems became so
acute that he had to undergo a crucial phase. He became
morbidly depressed and apprehensive. The restlessness was so
terrible that he became possessed by self-destroying rage. There
has to be winter before spring sets in!
He had first read Meher Baba's name in 1937 in the Tribune,
a daily published in Lahore (Punjab-Pakistan). It was a short
report on the lectures given by Princess Norina Matchabelli and
Deshmukh about Meher Baba. Kishan Singh got the impression
that Meher Baba must be a very great saint and that He
belonged to a Parsi (Zoroastrian) community. That was all. For
months afterward he did not come across any further news of
the Master in any other daily. No books on Meher Baba were
available to him.
In the early forties, in spite of a good post in the government
office, certain problems entailed great mental strain which
became unbearable. He feared a total nervous breakdown.
Under these circumstances, one morning in 1941 he
remembered Meher Baba all of a sudden and felt that Baba was
the only one capable of giving him relief from that state of
intense agony. In the first part of that year, Baba visited
Rajasthan and Baluchistan (Pakistan) and for over a month His
headquarters were at Dehra Dun. Soon, however, he left for
Meherabad for work connected with the masts. At

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327

this time Kishan Singh was at Rawalpindi, but somehow he got


news of Meher Baba's stay at Dehra Dun. Thinking that Baba
would be there, Kishan Singh in his desperate state impulsively
decided to take the long journey by train to Dehra Dun. There
was no one to compel him except himself. He resolved to meet
Meher Baba and surrender to Him or else throw himself into the
Holy Ganges a self chosen watery grave.
The Waiter with a Baba Button
After reaching Dehra Dun, Singh inquired of local people where
Meher Baba's residence was, but they did not know. It was
Sunday. On the spur of the moment he remembered that Baba
was born of Irani (Parsi) parents. He visited one Irani hotel,
where he met a young man who looked like a waiter.
Impatiently, Kishan Singh asked him if he knew where Meher
Baba was. The boy gave him an address and even showed him a
Baba button (locket) on his coat. It was the first time Kishan
Singh had seen his Master's smiling face. Overjoyed, he hurried
to the address, but to his utter surprise he found that it was
incorrect. He inquired about Meher Baba at the house, but
instead of giving any clue, the man living there started jeering at
him for having come so long a distance to Dehra Dun in search
of a Parsi, disregarding the many Hindu saints and sages. There
was no time to spare to convince the man, so Singh made his
way back to the hotel, looking in vain for the boy who had
given him the address. He approached the manager, who told
him that there was no such waiter employed in his hotel. Kishan
Singh wondered who he was.
He felt dejected and very confused. With some hesitation he
contacted a Parsi gentleman, who welcomed him and gave him
the right information about Meher Baba. He offered Singh a
printed pamphlet containing Meher Baba's

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

message and directed him to write for particulars to Adi K. Irani


at Ahmednagar.
The young man's locket and Baba's message bestowed a sort
of consolation, but at the same time the devil began to play his
pranks, quoting the Bible and reminding Kishan Singh to be
true to the resolve he had made when leaving Rawalpindi to
end his life if he failed to meet the Master and Singh arrived
in Hardwar in a state of utter indecisiveness. He visited the bank
of the Ganges with the thought of suicide lurking in his mind.
The hope of Baba's immediate darshan had left him. It was a
shock to him, and although he felt greatly annoyed, somehow
he managed to control himself.
There by the river, most unexpectedly, he saw a person who
had great affection and love for him. "It's a day of surprises," he
thought. With the idea of avoiding this friend, he ordered a
tonga, but the person had spotted him and hurriedly got into the
same vehicle. Though Kishan Singh did not disclose his
intention freely, his dear friend guessed that he was very much
overpowered with unwanted emotions and so skillfully tried to
pacify him. Sympathy is never one-sided, and Kishan Singh,
was, in a way, won over. With deeper trust in Meher Baba and
relying more on His merciful ways, he left Hardwar for
Rawalpindi.
Distant but Momentous Darshan of the Master
After reaching home, Kishan Singh wrote a letter to Adi Sr.
asking him for some books on Meher Baba and, above all,
earnestly requesting Meher Baba's darshan. After a short
period, he received some Baba literature. Reading brought him
the tidings of hope and a new way of understanding life. As the
correspondence continued, he received happy news about the
possibility of meeting Meher Baba in person, but this program
was later canceled and

INTERVIEWS AT MEHERABAD

329

he was asked to attend a congregation of Baba people at Lahore


(Pakistan). There he personally met Adi Sr., and the free talk
they had was of great help to him. His heart was incessantly
clamoring for Meher Baba's darshan, however. Agog with this
thought, he became prey for a fakir who duped him for over one
hundred rupees the man promised him Meher Baba's
darshan in a dream! With increasing eagerness, appeals for
darshan were made to Baba, but Adi, for one reason or the
other, had to ask him to wait for the opportune moment.
From one of Adi's letters Kishan Singh got the information
that Meher Baba was staying in Jubilee Hills at Hyderabad, now
the capital of Andhra Pradesh. He thought of making a fresh
attempt and sent a telegram directly to Meher Baba requesting
Him to grant darshan. He expected to get a reply at his address
in Delhi, so he left Rawalpindi and waited for a couple of days
at Delhi. Then he could bear the delay no longer and proceeded
to Hyderabad, hundreds of miles to the south. After reaching
this great city he encountered many difficulties in getting to the
mandali's quarters. The place was quite new to him, and Jubilee
Hills was an extensive area with bungalows spread wide apart.
Vishnu, one of the mandali, met him and lovingly inquired
about him, but when Kishan Singh opened the topic of Baba's
darshan, Vishnu was entirely uncompromising. He tried to
dissuade Kishan Singh from expecting darshan, even though he
had journeyed over a thousand miles. Baba was on a ten-day
fast and He especially wished to remain undisturbed during that
period. In the course of the conversation, it was disclosed that
Kishan Singh's telegram had been received with garbled words
and was sent back to Rawalpindi for confirmation, hence there
had been a delay in sending the reply to Delhi. The telegram
was the bearer of a golden summons that Meher Baba would
permit him

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

to be present at Meherabad on May 25, 1945. But in the


meantime, Kishan had left for Hyderabad. His long leave was to
expire by May 25 and the service rules did not permit him to
extend it. Hundreds of miles stretched between Rawalpindi and
Meherabad, which was a genuine difficulty. Vishnu dared not
ask Baba to grant darshan, so he suggested that Kishan Singh
write a note which he would bring to Baba's notice, if possible.
Vishnu left for Baba's bungalow and Kishan Singh, with a
mixed feeling of fear and delight, awaited the decision.
To his great delight, Vishnu brought the news that Meher
Baba would allow darshan, provided he did not enter the
bungalow. He was to have a glimpse of the God-Man from the
gate of His residence, a distance of over three hundred feet.
Kishan Singh readily agreed to this, as it was darshan and not
distance that mattered to him. Baidul took him to the bungalow
and instructed him a number of times not to bow down his head
to Baba by way of paying homage he could, at the most, fold
his hands. Kishan Singh was not in a mood to understand such
details. No sooner did he see Baba standing on the veranda than
he prostrated himself on the ground at the gate, unaware of
himself. Baidul got annoyed and helped him to stand erect.
Meher Baba's brilliant eyes had a magnetic effect on Kishan and
in that state of ecstasy he somehow folded his hands. He was
overwhelmed with joy by Baba's radiance and His love, so
tender. After a minute or so, Baba clapped, meaning "time's
up." Kishan Singh felt that the time was over practically before
it had commenced. The darshan left him dazed. Was it a
dream? He rubbed his eyes to be sure that the Light he beheld
was no illusion.
He was brought to his senses as Baidul admonished him for
disregarding the Master's instructions. Kishan Singh could not
understand why Baidul or Vishnu made so much of Baba's
orders, when the Master Himself was all love and

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331

all kindness. He did not know then that the smallest instruction
of the Master had to be literally followed, as it had its own
bearing on His spiritual work. As they reached the mandali's
quarters, there was a message from Baba. He sent His blessings
to Kishan Singh, who was then asked to have lunch with the
mandali and to leave Hyderabad by the first available train.
Interview, an Unforgettable Event
Meher Baba's darshan had a penetrating effect on Kishan
Singh. He made up his mind to retire from government service
at the earliest moment, to live a life dedicated to Meher Baba
and His cause. He wrote to the Master: "I have decided to
dedicate my life to you and serve you, but my inner self is not
ripe to receive you. Let me drink a drop of Thy compassion."
In May 1947 he was asked to bring two masts from
Rawalpindi to Mahabaleshwar, near Poona. He could not
succeed in this undertaking, so in a letter to Baba he expressed
his deep regret over this failure. Eruch replied: "Baba says you
need not worry for not having been able to bring the masts.
Later on, an occasion may arise when you will be able to render
Him important seva (service). Till then, go on with your present
services in the office."
The occasion hinted at did occur, though after a period of
some years. In the summer of 1948, Baba agreed to give
audiences to His dear ones from the outstations. Kishan Singh
was informed about this. With great joy he reached Meherabad
on May 31 to meet the Master the next day. It was a longawaited and momentous meeting indeed, overdue.
As Kishan Singh entered the interview room, he
experienced a unique quality of love in Meher Baba's presence
and saw a radiant halo around His face. During their

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

talk, Baba intimately inquired about the long journey by rail and
his health physical and mental. Kishan Singh availed himself
of this opportunity to open his heart to the Master. He was
caught off guard when Baba put to him a direct question: "What
do you want?" He replied, "Is it for me to say what I need? My
Master is to decide what I should have." Baba looked serious
and conveyed, "The Master knows everything. But He wants
you to reply to the question." At this Kishan Singh humbly
answered, "Then, please bless me with love, and devotion at
your lotus Feet. Will you not, Baba?" Baba just smiled, His eyes
glittering, but did not say anything. Perhaps the silence meant
something deeper. With a rare feeling of jubilation, Kishan
Singh managed to leave Baba's presence, and shed tears of joy
later, all to himself.
Thus this day of interviews, June 1, brought tidings of new
life to various souls eager to meet the Master. In Him they
sought the consolation of Life. During these short interviews,
Meher Baba's silent presence with its non-verbal
communication awakened their hearts. He used the board
sparingly, but when He did, it seemed that what He had in mind
swept His fingers along as they gracefully moved over the
letters. These simple words and instructions followed His dear
ones like sweet hummingbirds singing the notes of the moments
spent in the company of the God-Man. Such were interviews
with Meher Baba, whether at Meherabad or Meherazad or
Myrtle Beach. An interview with Avatar Meher Baba was an
unforgettable event.

22
Special Circular for Baba People, 1948

Visit to Baroda and Ahmedabad


AFTER the refreshing day of interviews on June 1, 1948 at
Meherabad, Meher Baba wished to resume work with the masts,
a profound and mysterious phase of His life. The masts
outwardly appeared to be extremely dirty, adamant and
unhygienic. Some people, not without reason, regard them as
mentally deranged, beyond any treatment. But are not
appearances often deceptive? We have to be careful. Let not the
shell decide the pearl! The precious pearl in these dirty molds is
their undaunted love for God, the Beloved, and naturally the
only cure and restorative for them is through the contact of the
One who is one with God. Their ways of living are queer and
unpredictable because theirs is not the mind-made passage of
definite plans or conclusions. They keep themselves forever
open to the will of God. They are the free people. Theirs is the
heart-led track, mostly off beat, on the expanse of life. That is
why in the company of the Avatar, who is Life itself, they felt
relieved and secure in His embrace. Just as a botanical preserve
is maintained in some parts of a country, I feel that India is
divinely ordained to be a spiritual preserve composed of the
masts of various traits repellent or pleasant, distressing or
delightful.
The first week of June 1948, Meher Baba left the head-

333

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

quarters at Ahmednagar for a short tour to visit Baroda and


Ahmedabad. Baidul, Eruch and Gustadji accompanied Him. At
Baroda, He renewed contacts with the two great masts of the
city Chambu Shah, a fifth plane mast, and Rafai Shah. This
time Chambu Shah was accessible without much difficulty. It
was to Rafai Shah that Baba wished to present His coat, and He
held it in His own hands until the mast willingly slipped it on.
From Baroda, Baba moved north to visit Ahmedabad, the
capital of Gujarat, with a short break at Nadiad to contact
Janakidas Maharaj. On June 10 the main contact was Jagannath
Maharaj, who had a spacious ashram on the outskirts of
Ahmedabad. Jagannath's original place of residence was not
known one fine morning he had visited Ahmedabad and
people began to treat him with respect. As time passed, he
founded an ashram. By the time of Baba's visit on June 10, he
had two hundred cows and had opened a free kitchen for Hindu
sadhus and Muslim fakirs. Though Meher Baba's identity was
not disclosed, Jagannath Maharaj somehow sensed His spiritual
greatness. He very lovingly and cordially received Baba and
they embraced. Jagannath offered Baba packets of fresh rich
food and a few shawls, one for each of the mandali.
Baba stayed in Ahmedabad for two days and contacted
about ten masts. Baidul and Eruch collected information from
local people about these God-intoxicated souls, and Baba spared
no pains to meet them. Mohammed Hussain was spotted in a
urinal enclosure, where he happily passed most of his time.
There he ate and rested, too, undisturbed by the stench.
Previously he must have stayed in different parts of India, for in
his unconnected talk he used many different Indian languages.
Karewala was a mediocre mast who enjoyed wearing iron rings
on different parts of his body common with the masts.
Majzoob Shah sat quietly in a shrine and had to be fed by
others. Some masts ate

SPECIAL CIRCULAR FOR BABA PEOPLE

335

whatever was offered to them, a few demanded food whenever


they liked, and occasional rare ones were fed by their majawars
(attendants), morsel by morsel.
Catching a Bus Provided a Dramatic Situation
During this stay in Ahmedabad, Baba contacted a few seekers
also. One of them was a schoolteacher. A contact with an
advanced pilgrim named Baitullah Shah was well remembered
by the mandali not as much for the pilgrim himself but for the
incredible incident connected with the visit. This person had a
greying beard that shadowed his otherwise youthful face. He
used to offer prayers to Allah five times a day, and every
invocation kept him busy for two hours at a stretch. On Fridays
he would read the Koran continuously for sixteen hours. Baba
and the mandali reached the suburb of Ahmedabad where
Baitullah Shah resided. They found the pilgrim engaged in his
prayers, hence Baba decided to visit him the next day and Eruch
and Baidul hurried ahead to reserve seats in a bus. Baba, too,
walked briskly, but Gustadji, because of some physical ailment,
proceeded slowly and easily. Baidul gestured to Baba that the
bus was about to start, and Baba clapped His hands and
gestured for Gustadji to walk quickly to be in time for the bus.
"Gustadji broke into a trot . . ." and the dramatic situation that
followed is well described by William Donkin.
But first, the following information regarding the political
situation that prevailed in those days in the state of Hyderabad
has to be explained. In August 1947 the British regime in India
was over. With the departure of the British, the internal
problems of some former states ruled by rajahs (kings) became
acute when a few tried to claim their sovereignty to rule. The
Nizam of Hyderabad, a Muslim ruler, was one of these. In
support of his claim, an organization under the name of
Razakars was formed. It was headed by

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a fanatic Muslim lawyer. The members of this organization, the


Razakars, started harassing Hindus in the state, looting their
properties and even kidnapping the children and women. The
news flared up in the papers, particularly in the adjoining parts
of Maharashtra and Gujarat, and people began to look down on
the Razakars with great disdain. An Arab from the organization,
who was also known to people by the word "Chaous," was the
most detested for his inhuman and brutal activities, so much so
that the very word "Chaous" evoked ill feelings, as the word
"murderer" does.
To continue with the incident: "Gustadji broke into a trot at
once, but did so at the very instant that a small boy was coming
towards him. This boy was somehow seized with the idea that
Gustadji was running at him, and he uttered a yell of terror and
turned on his heels and fled in front of Gustadji, screaming as
he ran. Bystanders saw, as they thought, an innocent child being
chased by a wicked little man in a black cap, and one or two
shouted, 'Chaous' ('Arab') and to shout this word at this time
was as much as to shout 'murder' . . . Gustadji [was] intent only
on running and thus utterly unaware that a score of people were
girding up their loins to pounce upon him. Baba, however, the
Master of every man and every situation, made a lightning
signal to Gustadji to stop still in his tracks, which he did at
once. This freezing of Gustadji allowed the onlookers to see not
a villain, but a man clearly more incapable of violence to the
innocent than the very child who had fled from him. The critical
tension having been thus relaxed, Eruch and Baidul dissipated
what was left of it by explaining with vigor that Gustadji was
neither killer nor Arab, but simply a man running to catch a
bus." 90
"Those who know Gustadji's amiable face and figure

90

William Donkin, The Wayfarers, The Work of Meher Baba with Advanced
Souls, (June to August), p. 4.

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337

the kind of face Rubens would have loved to paint may


wonder how on earth Gustadji could be mistaken, even for a
second, for an Arab out for blood." 91 But was not life with
Meher Baba unpredictable?
A Month of Observing the Order
An important period for Baba people all over the world
commenced on June 21. About a month earlier, on May 4, 1948,
a circular had been issued to all in the East and the West. It
contained the information that Meher Baba would be engaged in
a special type of spiritual work from June 21 to July 20, 1948.
All His disciples, devotees and followers, both men and women,
were to carry out any one of the following five orders for a
period of one month:
1. Observe silence.
2. Fast, with one meal a day. Tea or coffee to be taken only
once during twenty-four hours.
3. Feed a different poor person every day with your own
hands, morsel by morsel.
4. Repeat orally every day, 100,000 times, any one Divine
Name cherished by you.
5. a) Do not touch or carry money.
b) Do not touch any member of the opposite sex, excluding
children under seven.
c) Do not hit anyone under any circumstances, even in jest.
d) Do not insult or abuse even when provoked.
Every Baba follower was free to select any one of the five
orders, but once it was decided upon, he was expected to follow
it literally and without any compromise. Those in India were
asked to communicate their decisions to Meher Baba by May
21, while those abroad had until May 31.

91

Ibid., p. 3.

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

Most of the acknowledgment slips from the United States,


England, Australia and other countries were received in time.
To some of the Westerners, this was an opportunity to write
directly to "Baba Dearest" and send their hearts' love, and also
to request the privilege of meeting Him in person. In England,
Will Backett did most of the work of informing Baba followers.
The head of the Sufis in Australia was F. E. von Frankenberg.
He had formed a small group interested in Meher Baba. Francis
Brabazon, Ena Lemon and a few others were members of this
early group. About ten persons from Australia sent in their
willingness to follow Baba's orders.
In one of his letters, Frankenberg requested that Baba clarify
the spiritual significance of the circular. The reply sent to him
through Dr. Ghani stated: "To try to understand a Perfect
Master from a limited, egoistic human standpoint is a sheer
impossibility. By one action of His the Master perhaps serves
many purposes on different planes. The only thing worth doing
is to carry out the Master's behests most sincerely."
Malcolm Schloss from the West Coast of the United States
wrote that he had a dream about the Master (Meher Baba), who
conveyed to him that He was busy working hard for the spiritual
upliftment of humanity. Malcolm wondered what the
significance of the dream could be. Coincidentally, that day's
mail brought him copies of the above-mentioned circular, which
was a comforting corroboration. Malcolm distributed the
circulars to the Baba people in California. Over a hundred
disciples and followers from the West were in readiness to join
Baba in this divine vigil.
"Worry Not Over the Past"
Meher Baba had mentioned in the circular that He should not be
disturbed in His special work by any correspondence from his
people until July 20, 1948. Nevertheless, letters

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339

concerning the five orders were brought to His attention. After


sending in their choice, some Baba devotees sought His advice
on practical problems they faced while carrying out the orders.
The first order was to observe silence. The number of
participants was small and they did it sincerely. The second was
a partial fast and a cup of tea or coffee. One devotee unwittingly
joined his friends in drinking lime juice. He felt very sorry for
the breach of the order and he wrote to Baba, who pardoned him
and asked him to continue the partial fast in right earnest. He
was also to be on guard and not commit the mistake again.
There was one who inquired about the size of the cup, and
Baba, with gay mischief in His eyes, gestured, "Any size, but
only one cup a day and no more!" In an earlier period, some of
the devotees had been asked to observe a fast once a week.
During this June July period, the previous order was suspended.
A young Baba lover informed Baba that in the beginning he
used to have some slices of bread with his tea as "a part of the
morning tea." Later on he felt that it was not literal obedience
and wrote to Baba about it. The reply conveyed, "Worry not
over the past. Be vigilant in the present. Commit not the same
error again."
The third order concerned feeding the poor. One of my
friends, who had agreed to abide by it, fell sick. The poor man
who was brought to his house refused to be fed morsel by
morsel, but my friend's health did not permit him to go out in
search of other persons, even on the successive days. Baba
directed him to try as best he could and leave the results to His
divine will.
Repeating the Divine Name
The fourth order was to repeat one name of God 100,000 times
a day. At the outset, one of Meher Baba's devotees did not
realize the time required for it. On the very first

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

day he discovered that it was impossible for him to exceed


25,000. He frankly confessed his mistake and with great
remorse begged Meher Baba's pardon. Baba seemed touched by
his words and asked him to repeat the cherished Name only
15,000 times a day, and also added that if he carried out this
new order, Baba would consider the number equivalent to the
one originally required. Some persons felt a bit confused over
selection of the Divine Name, as no specific name was
mentioned in the circular. One of Meher Baba's very dear ones
wrote to Him: "I believe Om refers to 'the Nirguna -- the
Formless', whereas Meher Baba signifies 'the Saguna Godin-human-form state'. Since the day I heard about you I have
adopted 'Om Meher Baba' as my divine mantram." In later
periods, I have come across some Baba people who repeat, as
and when time permits, the Divine Name of God. I feel that
wholehearted remembrance is more important than the selection
of the name. In fact all those who repeat the cherished name are
invoking the same Infinite Consciousness that periodically
becomes human in the form of the God-Man, the Avatar. One of
Meher Baba's devotees inquired if he could repeat in his natural
course of breathing the Sanskrit word "So ... ham,"meaning "I
am That," as the cherished Divine Name. He was permitted to
do so. Here I am reminded of an incident in the late sixties
when Meher Baba Himself demonstrated silently to one of His
lovers how to repeat "BA . . . BA" as one inhales and exhales.
But this has to be done, He especially mentioned, in a very easy
and delightful manner. BABA, the unique Divine Name!
A group of four women in Bombay decided to repeat the
Divine Name 100,000 times, and they carried out the resolve
successfully. As they were closely associated with Meher
Baba's women mandali, Baba got this news and felt pleased. By
the end of the first week, the group was specially ordered by
Baba to observe silence for a week. They

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341

gladly did so. The third week they were instructed to feed one
poor person a day, and at the end they were asked to observe the
partial fast. A lucky group indeed. During this period, Dina, one
of the women, had a remarkable experience. One day she
suddenly became deeply unconscious and remained so for a
long time, so long that the outward symptoms of "death" were
noticed by her friends, including a doctor. They felt greatly
concerned and wholeheartedly called on Meher Baba's help.
Soon the "patient" awoke as if from a deep, rather too deep,
sleep, but with the experience of a rare ecstatic calmness.
A Delightful Trial
The fifth order was a composite one with four injunctions. One
was: "Do not touch money; do not carry money." One
businessman could not decide whether in the literal sense of the
order he could handle bank drafts and checks or not. Adi Sr.
conveyed to him that the signing of checks or drafts was
permissible. Another one, who had to handle money as a part of
his duty, was exempted by Baba from that restriction during
office hours. He was instructed to carry out faithfully the rest of
the injunctions contained in the order. I, too, was observing the
fifth order. As a teacher, I had to collect the fees of my class, so
I used to ask one of the pupils to count the money. He happily
did so, and then he would hand over the amount to one of my
colleagues, who would credit it in the office. While teaching the
mixed class of boys and girls, I had to be attentive that while
distributing or accepting notebooks I did not touch any of the
girls. The problem of using the cane was easily solved by not
carrying it in the classroom at all, but I had to be mindful of not
hitting anyone lightly, even in jest. Because of my nature, it was
not so difficult for me to check myself in using harsh language
in my dealings with the

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pupils. I personally wished that all these injunctions should be


observed without letting the pupils know that I was carrying out
Meher Baba's order. It was a delightful trial. Of course in many
ways, at the opportune moments, Meher Baba's inner guidance
saved me from slips. It was indeed a game of meditation,
wakeful and lively.
One woman, a Baba devotee from Bombay, expressed her
inability to follow any of the five orders because of certain
household responsibilities. Another was expecting a baby
during that period. Baba sent His blessings to both of them and
exempted them from observing the orders. In short, any honest
difficulty was lovingly considered by the Compassionate
Father, Meher Baba. There was no monotonous regimentation
in the observance of these orders. I had been sent some extra
copies of the circular and I informed my friends about it, but I
never insisted they fill in the acknowledgment slip. The few
who did are Meher Baba's followers to this day, with deep
conviction in His divinity. Can you command a bud to bloom?
Coming to Meher Baba is a spontaneous response of the heart.
To me, the issuing of that circular was a call of Love to those
who wished to follow the One who was and is Love itself.
Extreme Prejudice Against Meher Baba
Every circular issued had drawn new persons to Meher Baba.
The experiences of the old and new Baba followers, whether
pleasant or trying, as they observed Meher Baba's order,
definitely linked them closer to His universal heart. Instead of
relating the experiences of so many Baba people, I will give an
account of one person who had not until then met Meher Baba
physically. He had no faith in Baba's Avatarhood and yet had
agreed to abide by one of the orders. The experiences of others
who did believe in Baba's divinity can well be guessed.

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343

Keshav Narayan Nigam is one of Avatar Meher Baba's very


dear ones. He has a B.A. (Gold Medalist) and is a law graduate,
also. He relinquished his position to serve Meher Baba's cause,
and at present he is the editor of Meher Pukar, a Hindi monthly
dedicated to spreading Meher Baba's message of Love and
Truth. Since July 1954 it has been published at Hamirpur. In the
early forties Keshav was a staunch follower of Mahatma Gandhi
and a sincere devotee of Lord Krishna. He first heard of Meher
Baba in 1942 from one of Baba's devotees named Babadas.
Once during a casual talk Babadas said to him, "Meher Baba is
Lord Krishna, who has come down on earth in the form of
Meher Baba." Keshav smiled ironically and scornfully turned a
deaf ear to this statement. Babadas gave him some beautiful
pictures of Baba and some literature about Him. Keshav did not
care to read a single page, so biased was his attitude. Out of
extreme prejudice, he threw away the Baba pictures on the
public road, to be trampled by people. With such scorn and
malice was Meher Baba received by Keshav, who later regarded
Him as the only Beloved, the eternal Avatar.
In 1943, Keshav Nigam was put in jail on political grounds.
He was among those patriots who were staking their lives for
the independence of India. In jail he met Shripat Sahai, one of
his old colleagues, who brought to him fresh news about Meher
Baba. In 1942 Shripat Sahai had absconded in connection with a
violent political movement. From a young age he had also been
interested in ashtang yoga and would practice yogic exercises
daily. In the period of hiding, one of his friends, noticing his
spiritual temperament, told him to meet Meher Baba. Baba was
in partial seclusion at Meherabad, but He granted darshan.
During the meeting Baba asked Sahai to relate the main
incidents in his life. After hearing all that was said, Baba
blessed him and assured him of guidance on the spiritual

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Path. He also asked him to end his underground activities and


surrender openly to the authorities, leaving the results to His
divine will. In that short interview with Meher Baba, Shripat
Sahai felt so convinced of His divinity that he proceeded
straight to Hamirpur, informed the District Superintendent of
Police and willingly began jail life. Sometimes he would tell
Keshav about Meher Baba's Avatarhood, to which Keshav
never agreed. Instead, there would be a hot discussion in which
Keshav always asserted that Meher Baba lived idly, without
doing anything, and took pleasure in declaring Himself to be the
Avatar.
Light Dawns on Keshav Nigam
After some months most of the political prisoners, including
Keshav, were released from jail. He went to Hamirpur to live.
In spite of his antagonistic views about Meher Baba, he
continued to receive Baba circulars from Adi K. Irani. Being
prejudiced, he would throw them into the wastepaper basket
without opening them. In May 1948 he received the circular
about Baba's five orders. This time, through an inner urge he
opened it, and read it, too. He did not find anything inconsistent
in it. On the contrary, the contents somehow appealed to him.
Meher Baba had asked His people if they would follow
willingly any one of the five orders for a period of one month.
Keshav somehow felt impelled to fill in the acknowledgment
slip, expressing his readiness to follow the fifth order. At that
moment, his biased attitude vanished and he wrote the
following letter to Baba:
Revered Shri Meher Babaji,
At last your light seems to have dawned upon me. I paid
no heed to your circulars prior to this. But now I sign the
fifth order of your circular most voluntarily and

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345

the above order shall be followed by me, literally, most


faithfully, and without any compromise. I have a daughter
about eight years old. I do not know how I would be able to
avoid touching her, as she remains with me for the major
portion of the time when I am at home. I rely on your help
in this matter.
Part of the All-pervading Soul,
(sd) K. N. Nigam
This short letter linked Keshav to his Beloved, Avatar
Meher Baba.
Violation of the Master's Order
At this time Keshav quite unexpectedly received a call to the
post of Director of Public Information in the newly formed
government of Vindhya Pradesh. He had neither applied for the
post nor had he expressed a desire for it, so the appointment was
a great surprise to him some of his close friends had
recommended him. As a lawyer, Keshav had a good practice in
Hamirpur. He was about to refuse the offer, but it seems that the
divine will inwardly persuaded him to accept. He acceded to the
proposal on June 21, 1948, the first day of observing Meher
Baba's order. This decision had a far-reaching effect in his
personal life, too, for on the day he began his duties, his ties
with politics ended for good. He never reentered the political
field. To meditate on Meher Baba and to serve His cause
appealed to him the most for the rest of his life.
Keshav had sought Meher Baba's help in keeping his
daughter from touching him during the stipulated period of one
month. His reliance on Baba worked out in a wonderful way.
Keshav's new position necessitated moving to Nowgong, and
for one reason or another, his wife and daughter were not able
to join him before July 20, although

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they wished to. But Keshav failed in his pledge to Meher Baba
to follow the order faithfully and without compromise. It so
happened that while departing for Nowgong, he knowingly
allowed a girl over seven years of age to apply tilak (red powder
on the forehead, which is regarded as auspicious and a happy
farewell), as was the current custom. He lovingly caressed this
girl, which was against the spirit of the order. He also touched
money and carried it on his person on his journey to Nowgong.
The worst part of the affair was that he knowingly violated
Meher Baba's order. He did not know then that he was playing
with fire.
After a few days an abscess developed on Keshav's right
palm, the one which had fondled the girl and handled the
money. The abscess turned septic and there was a huge swelling
right up his arm. The pain was so severe that the abscess had to
be incised. Even after the operation the pain did not subside, but
now it helped Keshav to remember Meher Baba intensely and
wholeheartedly. The wound healed slowly until the last date of
observance of the order, and then this strange suffering ended.
It has been noticed that if one forgets to observe the order of
the Master in spite of the best of efforts, the ill effects are
practically nil, for the Master's all-pervading presence is full of
compassion. But to disobey Him purposefully is definitely
harmful physically and spiritually as it indicates a
deliberate attempt to go against the divine will. This does not
mean that the Master is a despot or dictator, but it seems a fact
that His order releases specific power for the spiritual
advancement of that particular person. But if in place of
cooperation and obedience one tries to go against the "current,"
one is bound to invite suffering. In a sense, that, too, is the jalali
aspect of His compassion. Every moment of ours is a leap into
the unknown, a vague attempt to find one's Self. An order from
the Master, which is practical and practicable, directs one's

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347

journeying toward Him, the Self of all. He is the divine director!

Keshav Nigam Translates Avatar into Hindi


It was during this period that Keshav received a letter from Adi
K. Irani requesting him to honor, by paying the eleven rupee
fee, a registered-mail parcel containing the book Avatar. Adi
also wrote that the book was sent on the express wish of Meher
Baba and mentioned that a wish of the Master has a deeper
significance. For the moment, Keshav failed to sense any
significance in Adi's letter. Instead, the old mistrust of Baba
flared up in his mind. He thought that Baba and Adi were
befooling people to exploit the credulous for money. After a
while he realized his folly, and on the last day of the stipulated
period, July 20, 1948, he gratefully paid the postage due.
Thus the first and last days mentioned in the circular made
remarkable changes in Keshav Nigam's life with Baba. The
book Avatar was instrumental in developing in him an
invincible faith in the Avatarhood of Meher Baba. He felt so
impressed by the book that he asked permission from Jean
Adriel to translate Avatar into Hindi. It was later published as a
series in Meher Pukar, the Hindi monthly, for the benefit of
Baba lovers who could not read English. In short, every circular
issued from time to time during Meher Baba's lifetime was an
occasion for Him to bestow His grace, love and compassion on
His dear ones spread all over the world.
Tea Flavored with Rusted Tin
In the last week of June 1948, Meher Baba left Ahmednagar for
a short tour to contact masts. He first visited Nasirabad, a place
over three hundred miles north of Ahmednagar. It

348

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

was a special trip to see Jhipra Baba, a mast contacted about


five years earlier. This particular mast was first an ittefaqi but
later developed characteristics of jalali and madar-zad types.
Such a change is not common with masts, so Baba had put him
in the category of a "freak mast" of a high order. Repeatedly,
Jhipra Baba would partake of just a little of the food offered to
him, then throw away the rest and simultaneously demand
more; he would take just a puff or two of a cigarette, then lay it
aside and ask for another a peculiar characteristic.
From Nasirabad, Baba journeyed towards Bombay. En route
He contacted a mast who always repeated aloud just one word,
"karak," which meant anything or nothing. He was named
Karak Mastan. It was difficult to know whether some masts
were Hindus or Muslims, and this was true of Karak Mastan.
The resident mast at Meherabad is a Hindu, although he is
known to everyone by the name "Mohammed." But has masti
the intoxication of love for God any connection with socalled religion?
Baba reached Bombay on June 30. The monsoon was in full
swing. On that night the rains did not come in a gentle
downpour but lashed the city in torrents, yet by early morning
Baba was ready to go out to meet Marhatan Mai, a mastani who
lived near Carnac Bundar Bridge. As Baba, Baidul and Eruch
reached this place, they found the old woman, in her late
seventies, soaked to the skin, nonchalantly lying under a tree.
Her uncared-for hair looked like a solid thatched roof over her
head. She was offered nice hot tea. She directed that it be
poured into her old, rusted tin pot, and then she drank it. What
flavor it must have had was beyond comprehension! Then Baba
visited Kolaba to contact Ramdas Maharaj, who originally had
lived in Sind (Pakistan). After the partition, hundreds of Sindhi
Hindus migrated to India, and with them they brought Ramdas
Maharaj, whom they loved and revered dearly. Meher Baba
described him as a rare type of dnyani salik.

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349

Meher Baba Ate the Powdered Leaves


In the afternoon on July 1, the Baba party visited Mahim where
the family of madar-zad masts and mastanis lived. Ali Asghar,
the gem in the family, was an advanced majzoob-like mast first
contacted in February 1948. At that time Baba had offered him
a cigarette and had been with him for some minutes. This time
Ali Asghar bluntly refused to see Baba, for it was a period when
he was experiencing a strange phase of masti. He had not had
food for days and had not slept for many nights. After Baba's
arrival the mast closed the door of his room, so through the
window bars the mandali entreated him to let Baba in for the
contact, but in vain. Even after they waited and implored him
for over an hour and a half, the mast would not budge but
clearly expressed that Meher Baba should leave the house. Baba
had never contacted masts against their will. He at once left the
place but conveyed that it was extremely necessary to contact
Ali Asghar as soon as possible. The party returned to
Ahmednagar by July 2, 1948.
When he left Bombay, Baba instructed a few of his disciples
to meet the eldest brother of Ali Asghar and get regular
information as to whether the aggressive mood of the mast was
over and if he would permit Baba's contact. After a week, a
telegram from Bombay was received conveying good news
about the required change in the mood of the mast. The next
morning, Baba and the same mandali left Ahmednagar and
reached Bombay by early afternoon. He instructed His party
that in order to maintain the link with His last visit to Ali
Asghar on July 1, the same route and routine should be
followed. This was done, and the party reached Mahim
accordingly. Upon visiting the house, it was noticed that the
mast was still unwilling to receive Meher Baba's "spiritual
touch." Again, a good many appeals were made through the
window. After half an hour, Ali Asghar came out of his
confinement and Baba sat alone with him

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for a secluded contact. What transpired in the meeting the


mandali did not know, but when Baba came out He looked
exceptionally radiant and pleased. The mast, as he walked out,
went into the next room, picked up a pair of big scissors and
snipped off seven small leafy sprigs of a mulberry bush. He
somehow bound them into a little bunch and presented it to
Baba. Perhaps this was a spontaneous gesture of love, an
outcome of the significant contact. Then, patting Baba on the
back, he muttered, "Now you can go." What a wonderful
meeting.
After this contact the Baba party left Bombay for
Ahmednagar. Baba gave the precious mulberry bunch to Eruch
and instructed him to keep it well preserved, leaf and stem. On
the way back, Eruch left the train at Bindra House, Poona,
where his parents stayed. He put the seven sprigs into a small
pot. As the leaves dried up, he collected them and kept them
safe Baba's instructions had turned these leaves into a
treasure. A few days later, Baba asked Eruch to visit
Ahmednagar and bring the sprigs and leaves. When this treasure
was placed before Baba, He looked immensely delighted. He
instructed that the leaves be powdered, and later He consumed
them. The seven stems were preserved as a souvenir of His
meeting with Ali Asghar. What love for the masts what
mystical give-and-take!

23
Good Old Masts of South India, 1948

Baba Alone Is
MEHER Baba's meeting with Ali Asghar at Bombay on July
12, 1948, seemed so satisfying that He did not leave Ahmednagar again for mast contacts until August 10. A period of
special working by Baba was over by July 20. A few days
earlier, two of Baba's western disciples, Delia DeLeon and Jean
Adriel, arrived in India. Their last stay with Baba had been in
1937 at Cannes on the French Riviera. A decade had passed,
and after such a long time they were naturally eager to see the
Master when they arrived in Bombay on July 15. They were
warmly received by Baba's people. Although they were anxious
to reach Ahmednagar as soon as possible, they were told Baba's
instructions: They were to be at Meherabad on July 19 and they
would not see Baba before August 10. Thus, out of their threemonth stay in India, three weeks were to pass without seeing
Baba! The Master has His own ways of arousing and
composing the feelings that lie deep within.
In accordance with Baba's wish, the two women reached
Meherabad on the nineteenth, and Kitty Davy disclosed the
happy news that Baba would see them on July 23. A joyful
surprise! To make it more marvelous, Baba paid a special visit
to Meherabad with Mehera and Mani a day earlier, to meet
Delia and Jean. Delia has recorded her impressions

351

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

about this trip to India, and particularly this first meeting with
Meher Baba:
July 22. The great day dawned, a lovely sunny day. The
ashram had been like a beehive from 5:30 A.M. Garlands
were made and rooms cleaned. Everyone put on their best
clothes. At 9 A.M. we heard the car coming up the hill, so
we all lined up at the gate. Jean held a mauve garland and I
a white one. The car stopped and out came Mehera and
Mani, but no Baba. Our hearts sank, but they smilingly told
us He had stopped off at the men's quarters down the hill.
The car went back, and five minutes later Baba appeared at
the gate. He held out His arms and a beaming smile
appeared on His face. We ran to embrace Him, and the years
fell away and all our problems and heartaches. Time stood
still here was Reality. Only those who have had the
felicity of being thus embraced can understand the
extraordinary feeling of happiness it brings to be thus
enfolded in love. He walked towards His room, and at the
steps, Masi was waiting to perform the ceremony with the
coconut symbol of sacrifice.
We were told to come in with Mehera and Mani. Baba
said He was so happy to have us with Him. We would stay
at Meherabad for six weeks and during that time we were to
rest, eat, not worry, and think of Him, and when we moved
to Pimpalgaon we would be kept busy all the time. He said
He was very, very tired with the weight of the universe on
His shoulders; but soon that would change, and also
conditions in the West. He continued, "Everyone is Baba,
everything is Baba, and everywhere is Baba and all else is
zero." He intended going on two mast trips. He was really
happy with the masts, but the six weeks we were at
Pimpalgaon, He would be with us all the time. Discussions
of work would take place from August 1. All the other
women were then called, and He jokingly asked if I still
liked eau de cologne. This recalled

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my previous visit to India when I was always using it,


owing to the very hot weather.
Baba walked around to inspect our quarters, and with
that sweetness so characteristic of Him said we were to have
everything we really needed. He showed us the inside of the
dome [the present tomb] which had been built over the spot
where He had stayed seven months in seclusion, taking only
coffee. He inspected the rest of the ashram, embraced us
and drove off. We stood outside the gate and watched the
car disappear. 92
Mehera, the Chosen One
Delia continued:
Not having seen Him for so long, we noticed quite a
change. Physically, He looked more powerful, and though
the love and humor were still in evidence, we felt that the
emphasis was on the impersonal aspect of God. His hair was
less thick, and His face seemed very suffering at this period
of working, though full of power. With the exception of
Mehera, all were told that they were not to touch Baba.
Some say that spiritually Baba works on all femininity
through Mehera, and others say that she represents His
feminine aspect. Certainly He has always said that while
others are very near and dear to Him in varying degrees, she
is the Chosen One, the purest of the pure.
After this meeting I felt so calm and happy. A feeling of
peace pervaded my being as if a benediction rested on my
head. I knew it was right for me to be there at this moment
but not before. I just had to be plunged more deeply into
Maya and come to terms with certain aspects of myself. Had
not Baba written to me during the war: "You are nearer to
me where I want you, than if you were

92

Kitty Davy, Recollections, The Awakener, vol. 6, no.2. 1959, p. 28.

354

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


next to me physically where I did not want you. When we
meet again you will be a changed Leyla (the Persian name
Baba gave me meaning Faithful One), and yet the same." 93

The significant statement of Meher Baba quoted above by


Delia revealed to me, and may reveal to some Baba people, a
secret why only a few persons were allowed to stay with
Baba for their lifetime, some stayed for intermittent periods,
many just had a glimpse of Him and the remainder did not see
Him physically. This does not mean that all those who stayed
with Him were spiritually more advanced, while those who did
not were spiritually backward. Whatever was in His divine plan
has come to pass. And what else could be His perennial plan
than to enkindle the latent spark of divinity in each at the
ordained time, befitting the sanskaras of each? Nevertheless,
we are all equidistant from the Center Baba, the Infinite.
Meher Baba, the Real Refuge
On July 20, 1948, hundreds of Baba's followers concluded the
period of observing one or more of the orders in the circular
previously mentioned. Now they felt all the more eager to meet
Baba in person. Requests and appeals for darshan started
pouring in through letters and through the mandali. Baba,
however, permitted only a few persons, mainly from Poona and
Sholapur, to be with Him for about an hour at Meherabad.
Those a long distance away were not summoned. The day set
for darshan was July 23.
Once a person had received Baba's darshan, he would feel
greatly drawn to Him and wish to see Him again and again. At
least I felt that way. After five days with Him at Nagpur

93

Kitty Davy, Recollections, p. 28-29.

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355

and staying under the same roof with Him at Madras, I was
always anxious as to when I would see Him next! Baba's
presence exerted a pleasant pull over my entire life. As far as I
remember, during the years 1947 and 1948 I did not miss a
single opportunity and fortunately they were many of
being in His company, whether for a few days or a few hours. I
particularly remember July 23, 1948, however, for it gave me a
passport to see Baba on any day.
By the third week of that July, I had learned that a small
group of Baba people from Sholapur, eighty kilometers south of
Kurduwadi, was to visit Meherabad for Baba's darshan. I wrote
to Adi Sr., who directed me to contact the group leader at
Sholapur I did so by letter and asked about the possibility of
my joining his group en route to Ahmednagar. I also put in an
application to the Headmaster for a day's leave. He did not
approve it, on the grounds that a school inspection was due on
any one of the coming days. He was newly appointed and I was
not well acquainted with him, so I did not tell him that I wished
to visit Meher Baba but just said that I had some urgent work
and would he please grant the leave. My last words ended on a
pleading note, but he flatly refused. Something inside me
crumbled and it was hard to pull myself together. "Will I not
have your darshan, Baba?" I implored inwardly.
The passenger train carrying the Sholapur group was to pass
through Kurduwadi at midnight. Greatly disappointed, I went to
the station to bid farewell to my friends and to request that they
convey my salutations to Meher Baba. As I told them of my
inability to join them, they expressed regrets at my bad luck in
missing the august darshan of the Master. When the train was
about to start off, one elderly person in the group spontaneously
said, "The Headmaster has no right to deprive you of the
blessed darshan of the Master. Is a day's work at school so
weighty

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

and the opportunity to meet Meher Baba so petty? Get into the
train. Is not Baba capable enough to convince your boss ?"
Just then the train whistled and I impulsively got into the
compartment. As we moved out, I shouted to one of the railroad
employees, whom I chanced to see and who knew my mother,
to tell her of my departure for Ahmednagar. As the train sped
on, thoughts of school and home were brushed aside and the
delightful prospect of seeing Baba made me immensely happy. I
had no ticket, no money, and just the ordinary clothes I was
wearing, but that did not worry me. My friends were there to
help, but above all, confidence in Meher Baba was my real
refuge.
An Hour of Darshan at Meherabad
At Dhond junction we had to change to the train for
Ahmednagar. By early morning I was able to send from Dhond
a telegram to the Headmaster regarding my absence, and there
we met the Baba bhajan party from Poona, led by the late R. K.
Gadekar. It was an added joy to hear them singing so
devotionally, even in the train compartment. Because of some
mechanical fault, the train stopped that day just in front of the
Meherabad ashram, which is neither a flag stop nor even a level
crossing. With cheers of "Meher Baba ki jai, "we left the train.
Upon hearing the cheers, a few people from the ashram came
out to receive us and give us the good news that Baba had
already arrived from Ahmednagar. The handshakes and
embraces continued until we reached the main building.
We were asked to assemble in the hall at Lower Meherabad
by 9:00 A.M. One or two benches near the doorway were
reserved for the women. Baba arrived with divine decorum and
took His seat in a corner, facing the big picture of Him that we
find today in the hall. To see Baba was

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357

to see beauty enformed, and as He sat there, He looked radiant.


In His vibrant presence, our senses were made active and alert,
particularly seeing and hearing. Every eye was on Him to catch
His loving glance or gesture. He had a handsome countenance,
with delicately chiseled lips. One may state that He had a
charming Persian heritage a straight nose, thin and shining
skin and a broad forehead yet He appeared to belong to no
race in particular. His eyes seemed to pour out a soothing
radiance. They had a quality of timelessness reflected in them,
hence they seemed so knowing, yet so oblivious, as well, of
everything.
The visitors paid their homage to Baba. A few garlanded
Him. No one was allowed to touch His feet. I had nothing
tangible to offer Him. From a distance I folded my hands, but
Baba was busy with someone else. For a moment I thought,
"Has He ignored me?" The next thought was, "Whatever Baba
does has deep significance!" When all were seated, we chanted
in chorus the divine names of God: Hari, Paramatma, Allah,
Ahuramazda, God, Yezdan, Hu. In 1941 Baba had given these
names to His devotees for repetition. Our chanting created a
heartwarming atmosphere, and despite efforts for self-control, a
few sobs escaped now and then from persons such as Gadekar.
While we were in the hall, someone told me that the author
of Avatar was sitting among the women mandali. I glanced in
that direction, but since I knew none of them, I derived only
slight satisfaction in the thought that I had seen the author of
such a beautiful book on Baba. Jaju, from Sholapur and an
adherent of Gandhi, spoke a few words about Baba's divinity.
As he delivered his speech, jubilation sounded in his voice and
occasionally it flashed in his eyes. In all, it was as lovely an
hour of delight and darshan as one could hope to experience. At
10:00 A.M. Baba returned to His cabin and later proceeded to
Rusi's bungalow, His residence in Ahmednagar.

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


Permission to See Baba Any Day!

During our short visit, someone from the group had hurriedly
conveyed to Adi Sr. how I had gotten into the train on the spur
of the moment upon hearing Jaju's words, without previously
informing the Headmaster or my family. Adi wrongly presumed
that I had hesitated to come until receiving Jaju's consent, when
his letter to me had only said to contact Jaju for the details of
this visit to Meherabad. Somehow he felt himself responsible
for my plight and was sorry. He had to leave Meherabad with
Baba so he had no time to speak to me, and I left Meherabad
with the group that same day by the afternoon train.
The next morning, July 24, Adi reported to Baba about my
inconvenience. Baba, in His compassion, granted me the one
to whom He had not directed a single gesture during the hour of
darshan longstanding permission to see Him any day. Adi
wrote me the following lines about this incident:
"I am so sorry you were put to great inconvenience and
discomfort in coming over to Meherabad for darshan on
July 23. I seem to have made a mistake in informing you
that you should contact Jaju and come with him. This
morning I informed Baba everything about this. He
answered that from now on you are free to come and see
Baba whenever you like . . . So far as Baba's darshan or
sahavas is concerned, you have your contact directly
established and are given liberty to come for darshan any
time you like. The only thing you must do is inform us of
your coming two days before your arrival. Baba sends His
dear love and blessings to you."
This letter was a surprise, a sweet surprise! Baba was clearly
conveying to me that I had established a direct contact with
Him. What a consolation and good fortune. Baba could use any
situation for the showering of His grace. As

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359

I look back, I find that Baba did not deny me darshan or


sahavas even during the periods of His strictest seclusion,
including the one prior to the dropping of His body. In a way,
the most precious and delightful days of my life in the company
of the God-Man owe their origin to the passport given to me in
that letter, which is a part of my personal Baba treasure.
On my return to Kurduwadi, before going to class on July
24 I approached the Headmaster to explain the circumstances
affecting my decision to go to Meherabad. I feared that he
would be angry with me and that I would find him in a bitter
fury. But as I entered the room, I was amazed to hear him say,
"I received your telegram. You were absent in spite of my
explicit refusal to grant leave. But this is enough to explain that
you had a very strong reason to leave Kurduwadi!" My spirits
rose as he concluded, "I officially sanction your leave. Go and
attend to your work." He did not know anything about Meher
Baba, nor did he ever ask me why I had been to Him. He was
not in the least interested in saints and Masters. His unexpected
acceptance revealed to me an outstanding aspect of Meher
Baba's help through those who do not know Him. Was it at the
same time that Adi Sr. referred my case to the Master? I do not
know, but any time can be Baba time!
Masts Present Loaves and Mangoes
During the last week of July and the first week of August 1948,
Baba paid some visits to Meherabad. On August 5 Elizabeth
Patterson, who had been to the United States, returned to India.
Baba was mostly busy with the Westerners, perhaps in
connection with the Myrtle Beach Center and His impending
visit to the West. With the usual mast team, He left
Ahmednagar by August 9 to contact the masts in the south of
India. Baba's favorite areas for contacting

360

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

God-intoxicated souls were in the north of India He would


be visiting the southern part again after a period of three years.
Baba's work in contacting these souls in different parts of India
was not indiscriminate travel it was to help them in their
journey of the heart to the innermost Being. In these meetings,
the masts would perhaps stare at Baba, trying to feed their
hearts upon His divine face. Some gazed intently and intensely
at Him and seemed merged in the sight. Words seemed
unnecessary. Silence prevailed and there was free expression of
love between the lovers and the Beloved.
Baba was in Madras on August 10. A mast named Kalgiri
Pir lived in a Parsi's house in Royapuram, a suburb. At the time
of contacting him in 1945, he had given a loaf of bread to
Baidul this time he presented Baba with two fresh loaves of
bread, but they were wrapped in dirty paper. Unmindful of the
outer covering, Baba consumed the loaves to the last crumb.
The next contact was Maulvi Saheb. He was regarded as the
chief of the masts in Madras. At the end of the secluded contact,
he presented the Master with six mangoes which lay by his side.
Unfortunately they were not very sweet, but Baba relished all of
the fruit and asked the mandali to preserve the skin and stones.
After the group's return to Ahmednagar, Baba instructed one
of His men to plant these stones in seed boxes and He
personally watered the seedlings. Later, these were transplanted
into open ground on the premises at Meherazad, and they have
yielded much fruit. I found them a bit sour but quite tasty.
Regarding such offerings from the masts during this trip, Baba
mentioned that it was His last visit to contact certain masts for
His work, so they were expressing their love through such gifts.
On the same day that Baba ate the loaves and mangoes, He
contacted three more masts. One was Ghafur Saheb, who had
some traits of a mahabubi type. There are not many masts of
this kind, and Baba explained their characteristics: "A

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361

mahabubi mast invariably wears some article of feminine attire,


such as a few bangles, a ring on his finger, earrings, or an old
choli (a kind of bodice) ... is always cheerful, and though he
sometimes talks at random, he never (in contradistinction to a
jamali mast) speaks in riddles ... He loves pan, and is
moderately fond of tea ... and he is fond of dancing." 94
Moti Baba, the Great Mast of Negapattam
The next day Baba visited Moti Baba, who was residing in the
house of a leather merchant. It is interesting to note how Kaka
Baria and Eruch first met the mast at Negapattam. In 1939
while Baba was staying in Bangalore, He wished to have a mast
ashram, so He sent the two stalwarts, Kaka and Eruch, to find
inmates for this particular ashram. It was the rainy season, and
it rained particularly heavily in the south so that the roads were
submerged. With great difficulty the two men reached
Negapattam to see Moti Baba, who was a well-known figure
there, and at sundown they joined a group of persons who were
eagerly waiting for him at his place. As Moti Baba arrived, the
gathering became silent. This great personality of the sixth
plane glanced at the assembly with his sparkling eyes and then
took off his outer clothes, for they were quite wet seven
coats and seven trousers. Then the people commenced paying
homage to him. After some time, Kaka and Eruch offered due
respects to the mast and put forth their request that Moti Baba
accompany them for some days. They did not mention Meher
Baba's name, but the mast spontaneously answered that since he
had just returned from the Man who sent them, it would not be
necessary for him to accompany them to Him.
When Kaka and Eruch returned to Bangalore, they

94

William Donkin, The Wayfarers, pp. 29-30.

362

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

related to Baba the account of their tour, including the meeting


with Moti Baba. Upon hearing about it Baba decided to visit
him, and His first contact with Moti Baba was established in
November 1939. Baba washed his feet, offered him food and sat
alone with him for His spiritual work. In those days Moti Baba
mostly wandered in the city in the daytime. Sometimes he
would be seen enjoying a bundle of beedies (bidis, country
cigarettes). By 1948 he preferred mainly to sit in a room and
would be seen shuffling playing cards. When Baba visited him,
Moti Baba agreed to Baba's contact without any hesitation, and
it was to Baba's satisfaction.
While the Baba party were visiting a few more masts in
different parts of Madras, one was spotted roaming about the
city holding glowing joss sticks (agarbattis) in his hand.
Another one named Ashaq Mian was quite old. Three years
previously he had been seen with a number of dogs around him,
but this time he was dogless. "Nevertheless," Baba remarked,
"he is one of the good masts."
Chatti Baba, One of the "Five Favorites"
From Madras, Meher Baba moved on to the south and stopped
at Trichinopoly. There He contacted an old Pathan who used to
sleep near a graveyard by the side of the road. He was over
eighty but had an exceptionally clear and melodious voice. In
all seasons he liked sharbat, a sweet drink with flakes of ice.
Baba contacted him at night. The place was quite out of the way
and it was pitch dark. Vishnu, one of the mandali and a new
addition to the usual mast party, stumbled over something and
fell flat on the road, knocking out one of his teeth. It was a longstanding reminder for Vishnu of Baba's visit to that old Pathan!
To be with Baba on the mast tours was an ordeal of one kind or
another.

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363

From Trichinopoly, Baba journeyed towards the end of the


Indian Peninsula to visit Tiruvallur, near Negapattam. The visit
had a special purpose to bring about the final contact with
Chatti Baba, a most delightful and remarkable mast of the sixth
plane. He had stayed and traveled with Baba from November
1939 to September 1941.
Chatti means a small earthen pitcher. As this mast
invariably kept a pitcher with him, he was known as Chatti
Baba. He also carried a bundle of rags known as mutha in
Tamil, so to some he was known as Mutha Baba. He was fondly
remembered for his pleasing smile by those of Baba's people
who knew him. He had a childlike disposition, and because of
his innocence Baba's love flowed out to him freely. He was one
of Baba's five favorites, so I will give a brief account of his life
with Baba prior to this final contact in August 1948.
On the previously mentioned tour of Kaka and Eruch in
1939, they had also met Chatti Baba. He could then be seen
lying happily by the side of a highway near Negapattam. People
showed great reverence for him, and as they fell full length
before him he would give each a pinch of dust which they
applied either to their foreheads or to their hair. At that time the
mast would smilingly say in a low voice, "Po, Anna, po" ("Go,
Brother, go"). A tonga owner named Sardarsaheb who
accompanied Kaka and Eruch on this tour requested in Tamil of
Chatti Baba that he accompany them. But the mast gently
replied, "I have work to do with my children here. I may go
with them after a few days."
Chatti Baba's Bath, a Prodigious Performance
The foregoing hint of Chatti Baba was enough for Meher Baba
to make the trip from Bangalore to that distant city. After much
persuasion, the mast was finally won over and got a taxi bound
for Babas residence. From the very

364

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

beginning, Baba's relationship with Chatti Baba outwardly


consisted of giving him profuse baths. Baba would lovingly
soap and rinse the mast's body, and then bucket after bucket of
water followed and was tossed over his head. Chatti Baba sat on
a low wooden platform, chuckling merrily. The number of
buckets of water would range from fifty to two hundred, thus
each bath was a prodigious performance. Sometimes after the
bath he would be found pouring handful after handful of dust
over his head, and he wore his hair long! Noticing this strange
fancy, Meher Baba instructed one of the mandali to put over a
dozen buckets of dust from the road into Chatti Baba's room. In
contrast to this mast, Ali Shah, who was also one of the five
favorites, was rarely bathed by Baba. Various were the ways of
the God-Man as He played tenderly with the love of these souls,
madly in love with God.
It is worth noting that the baths did not affect Chatti Baba's
health he did not catch cold. Later, in Jaipur (Rajasthan) in
the bitter cold of January when people preferred having two or
three blankets at night in order to sleep well, this memorable
mast would sit in the yard in open country under the starlit sky
and happily murmur, "How cold! How nice!" The bodies of
masts are strangely marvelous, perhaps governed by
supervening laws. As for these baths, it is interesting to note
that for a period of one week it was Meher Baba's turn to have
baths at the hands of Chatti Baba. And Baba, although not used
to having His head bathed every day, complied lovingly with
Chatti Baba's wish as the mast tossed buckets of water over His
body.
After Chatti Baba's initial stay at Bangalore (Mysore),
which lasted for over five months (1939-1940), he moved with
the Baba party to Ranchi (Bihar) and then to Ceylon for a stay
at Kandy. From there he accompanied Meher Baba to Dehra
Dun (Uttar Pradesh) and Ajmer (Rajasthan).

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365

In September 1941 when Baba's headquarters was at Panchgani,


Chatti Baba expressed an intense desire to return to Negapattam
by sneaking away towards Wai, so Baba made the necessary
arrangements to get the mast back safely and comfortably to the
place of his choice.
During Baba's visit to Negapattam in August 1948, the
mandali found Chatti Baba about twenty kilometers away from
the city, nonchalantly lying in a field with his head resting on a
bundle of rags. They were seeing the mast after six long years,
and they noticed that he looked older and not really happy. Was
he sorrowing for something? Did he know that it was his final
physical contact with the God Man? Baba seemed quite pleased
to meet this great soul of the sixth plane again, and He praised
highly Chatti Baba's love for God. After this meeting, Chatti
Baba dropped his body, to live eternally with Beloved God in
perennial union. Meher Baba once stated that those on the sixth
plane of consciousness usually realize God at the time they drop
their gross bodies.
Two Yogis Ilai Swami and Prasannanand
Meher Baba left Tiruvallur by train for Avanashi, where lived a
great yogi known as Ilai Swami. Although he was past eighty,
he looked quite healthy. He rarely had a bath, and it was said
that he drank water very seldom. After having his food, he
would wipe his hands along his body, particularly his hair. The
nails of his fingers and toes were inches long. It was a surprise
that at least he wore a loin cloth. His body was a challenge to
the laws of hygiene. In appearance he looked filthy, but his
innocent and carefree attitude toward uncleanliness created
affection for him. His outer sheath belied his exalted inner state.
Baba was so pleased to meet him that after the contact He gave
a coconut to each of the mandali to celebrate the happy
occasion.

366

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

Then the Baba group left for Tiruppur to meet Prasananand


Swami Guru. He, too, was a yogi, but he was also a
householder. While offering prayers he would nearly lose gross
consciousness. As they asked the way to Swami's residence, the
mandali met a half-crazy old Brahmin who told them that he
knew the way well. Hearing this, Baba gestured that the old
man should somehow be accommodated in the tonga. A
madman leading the God-Man! After they reached the place, it
was learned that the yogi had commenced a forty-day fast in
seclusion. Eruch approached the young disciple of the Swami,
explaining that they had come from a far-off place and that his
"elder brother" should be allowed to meet Prasananand Swami.
The talk at the outset did not seem to produce much hope.
Comic Incidents in Spiritual Work
While Baba and the mandali were standing outside Swami's
house, they were surrounded by a group of inquisitors. The
mandali did not know Tamil and most of the people did not
know either English or Hindi. While they were somehow
conversing, one of the mandali noticed that someone had placed
a hand on his shoulder and was at the same time trying to take a
ten-rupee note from his pocket. He was detected in time, and a
few in the crowd suggested that the young man should be
handed over to the police. Baba, however, called the youth to
Him, gently twisted his ears, and conveyed through gestures
that he should not steal. It was a lucky act of pilfering to end in
a direct touch of the God-Man and divine exoneration. Baba
then gave him the ten-rupee note and told him never to steal
again.
While this was happening outside the house, the half-crazy
Brahmin sneaked inside to the crypt where Prasananand was
staying. The young disciple was with Baba's party. There was
no one near the yogi, so the Brahmin

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367

scribbled note after note in Tamil and passed them through the
door-slit to him. Meher Baba's identity had not been disclosed
to anyone, but the old man pleaded vehemently that the visitors
might meet the yogi. By the time Baba had told the young thief
to go away, the Brahmin appeared and announced that he had
been successful in convincing Prasannanand to give darshan to
the visitors. As Baba entered the inner courtyard, the yogi came
out of his cell and they sat quietly and silently near each other.
Thus Baba's object of contacting Prasannanand was fulfilled.
The mast tours had hardships but their own comic incidents and
uncommon events, too.
By the third week of August 1948, the proposed work of
that tour came to a close. With the significant and memorable
contacts of masts and yogis in the south fresh in their memories,
Baba and the mandali returned to Madras to board a train for
Ahmednagar. During a short stop in Madras, Baba took some
time to meet one of His dear children, a God-intoxicated soul
named Ramdas Swami. He had been continuously sitting in the
open under a tree for over two decades. At last his penance and
austerity were rewarded by the visit of the God-Man. In this
way Baba's mast tour to the south of India ended, and He
reached the headquarters at Ahmednagar by August 18.

24
Correspondence with Meher Baba, 1948

The Opening of Baba House


FOR about two months from the third week of August 1948
there was no plan to go on a mast tour, so Baba invited the two
visitors from the West who were residing at Meherabad, Delia
and Jean, for a stay with Him in a bungalow at Ahmednagar.
Mehera, Mani, Norina, Elizabeth and a few others were already
there. About this time Baba was informed that construction of
the Baba House at Meherazad (Pimpalgaon-Malvi) was
completed. Someone suggested having the housewarming
function hosted by Baba Himself. He agreed, so on August 27,
1948, the women disciples and devotees from Meherabad and
Ahmednagar, and a few from Bombay and Poona, were
especially called for this occasion. It was a very happy gettogether in Baba's love. By morning all had assembled at the
Rest House at Meherazad Baba House was built at its rear
side.
The winter morning warmth was quite pleasing, and the
wind wafted the fragrance of flowers in bloom from a little
garden supervised by Kaka Baria. (Later the gardening work
was directed by Mehera.) Baba used to call it "The Garden of
Allah." Baba walked with ease and grace through the garden,
and as He reached Baba House, a silver key was handed to Him.
He looked pleased and unlocked and opened the door. Baba was
led to a beautiful

368

CORRESPONDENCE WITH MEHER BABA

369

couch inside the house where Gulmai, mother of Adi Sr., garlanded Him, and a chorus arti in Gujarati was sung. Coincidentally, according to the Hindu calendar it was Gokul
Ashtami Day the birthday of Lord Krishna. Was it symbolic,
to indicate that Baba House was to be the Brindavan of this
age?
As wished by Baba, Kaka Baria had prepared a short speech
befitting the occasion, but none of the men mandali was
allowed inside the houses or the garden. In those days the men
disciples of Meher Baba were not allowed even to look at the
women mandali who permanently resided with Him,
particularly Mehera and Mani, so Kaka's speech was relayed
from the men's quarters. Kaka wished that all should love and
obey Baba wholeheartedly in all matters, big and small. At
11:00 A.M. the women who had assembled perched on the lawn
for lunch, which was served on big banana leaves. The
Westerners, also, ate in Indian fashion. It was a lovely sight.
Baba's regal and upright figure, clad in a white sadhra, moved
through the rows. He would ask one if she liked the lunch; to
another He would gesture to do full justice to the special dish. It
was a simple way of conveying His intimacy. By afternoon
everyone returned to Ahmednagar. The day was indeed
memorable for those who participated in this function.
In 1949, as wished by Baba, the entire property known as
Meherazad was transferred to the name of Nariman Dadachanji,
one of the intimate mandali. Baba presented to him and his dear
wife Arnavaz the silver lock and key of Baba House. The
blessed couple always regarded these things as a souvenir of
love from this hallowed dwelling.
Nariman, the Owner of Meherazad
It was Nariman's wish from the beginning to maintain Meherazad as an ideal place for Meher Baba's quiet

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

spiritual work, and he did this to Baba's entire satisfaction. Baba


often conveyed to the resident mandali, "The united love of
Nariman and Arnavaz for me is matchless." In January 1969
Meher Baba dropped His physical body to live in the hearts of
His lovers. This was a vital incentive for His devotees spread
over the world to visit Meherazad, and this quiet residence
began to buzz with Baba boys and girls from different nations in
the East and West. In view of this changed situation, Nariman
renovated the old building and erected a few new constructions.
Nariman's love for beloved Baba helped him keep up the
beautiful atmosphere of Baba's residence.
What made Nariman do all this so unselfishly? It was his
acceptance of Baba as the God-Man in a simple and natural
way, as the sunflower accepts the sun. He once remarked, "I
met Him, fell in love with Him, and I followed Him." This
happened when he was quite young, an incident as far back as
1928. After finishing his school's final examination at Karachi
(Sind), Nariman visited Bombay to meet his family in Rustum
Bagh at Byculla. Because of Nariman and Arnavaz's uncle,
Chanji (Meher Baba's secretary, Framroze H. Dadachanji), all
members of the family had been drawn into close contact with
Baba. During Baba's visit to Bombay in 1928, Nariman had the
blessed fortune to meet and stay with Him for about two weeks.
From the beginning, Chanji showed great love for and interest
in his nephew Nariman, who in return had great love and
reverence for Uncle Chanji.
Nariman secured a First Class in the school examination,
and he retained the honors until the end of his college career. In
1931, when beloved Meher Baba was at Karachi in the Cliftan
Beach area, Nariman had another opportunity for a fortnight's
stay with Him. In a way this was a quiet, close sahavas a
silent participation in any work whenever possible. Nariman
never had any questions to ask

CORRESPONDENCE WITH MEHER BABA

371

Baba about spirituality. He was blessed with the gift of faith,


and he only wished to serve Baba as much as he could. In
college he was regarded as one of the brightest students. During
his stay at Benares, he was once captain of the university cricket
team. He played tennis well and was equally good at chess.
These interests helped him to be good company for Meher Baba
in many ways at different periods. He was the top First Class in
B.Sc. and also M. Sc., so he was awarded two scholarships to
continue his education abroad. He had to make a choice and
decide whether to enter a university in the United States or the
United Kingdom. Finally he selected Manchester and sailed for
England in 1937.
In the same year, 1937, Meher Baba stayed at Cannes on the
French Riviera for about five months. Baba cabled Nariman to
come to Cannes for a stay of two weeks. Baba was slowly
revealing to him the different aspects of His work. In due course
Nariman finished his education in England and obtained a M.
Sc. in Technology. He also earned a merit scholarship that
entitled him to study in Germany for the next two years. He
wrote to Arnavaz his intended partner in life about his
plan to go to Germany. It was May 1939, and Baba's
headquarters was at Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh). When Arnavaz
was reading Nariman's letter, Baba unexpectedly came in,
looked over her shoulder and asked her the contents. Upon
hearing it, He asked her to convey to Nariman the following
instructions: "Don't proceed to Germany. Return to India immediately."
Nariman had in mind starting a good business in colors and
chemicals in Bombay. He had been counting on gaining some
practical experience and guidance in this matter during his stay
in Germany. When he received the letter from Arnavaz, at the
outset he felt a bit hesitant, for he would have to forego the
scholarship if he canceled his

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

visit, but the next moment his love for Baba made him change
his plans. He contacted a shipping company to book passage for
India, but he was informed that he would have to wait about six
months. It was difficult for him to while away such a long
period, but he was helpless. Then suddenly World War II broke
out, on September 3, 1939, and what a coincidence within a
fortnight he got a letter from the shipping company stating that
a berth was available and would he like to sail for India?
Nariman jumped at this Baba-sent opportunity and reached
Bombay. Had he visited Germany as planned, it would have
been impossible for him to leave until the end of the war in
1945.
After his return to India, Nariman did become a
businessman. At the same time, his visits to Baba became
frequent. By the time Chanji dropped the body, Nariman
Dadachanji had become one of the active mandali members. In
a sense, the nephew succeeded the uncle. Nariman and Arnavaz
were married in Baba's presence in December 1944. Their flat
"Ashiana" at Breach Candy, Bombay, became Baba's stopping
place and resting place while passing through the great city
either for mast work or His visits abroad. Sometimes He
especially visited Nariman's home and stayed for some days.
Ashiana was also a beacon for Westerners visiting India to meet
Meher Baba. In later years Nariman retired from business but
was all the more active with Baba work, staying for prolonged
periods at Meherazad, the residence of Avatar Meher Baba. 95
Hafiz, Meher Baba's Favorite Poet
At the beginning of September 1948, Baba and a small group of
mandali left Ahmednagar for a stay at Meherazad. Baba
expressed His intention to make this place His permanent

95

Nariman dropped the body on July 2, 1974.

CORRESPONDENCE WITH MEHER BABA

373

residence for all the years to come. Formerly during His short
stays at Meherazad, for a night's rest and work He either went to
Ratan Gyara's house in a nearby field or occupied one of the
rooms near the quarters of the men mandali. But now every
night at Baba House He began going upstairs there are two
big rooms there and a spacious gallery facing north. Baba
usually occupied the room at the west end, and in the adjacent
room, as per Baba's instructions, one of the men mandali
invariably kept awake and attended to Him whenever He
clapped. Even after the second auto accident in December 1956,
Baba preferred to be carried in a sedan chair to the second floor
of Baba House. From then on, the night watch was allowed to
be in His room. After a decade or so, Baba agreed to repeated
requests made by His personal physicians, Dr. Donkin and Dr.
Goher, and in 1959 He consented to stay in the room on the
ground floor, now known as Baba's bedroom or resting room. It
was in this room that He finally dropped the form He had
donned for this Advent. The upper two rooms of Baba House
have some memorable and interesting incidents connected with
them which will be related in due course. In September, Mehera
and Mani, Meheru and Goher resided in Baba House, while
Norina, Elizabeth, Jean and Delia stayed in the Rest House, now
known as the Cottage. In the evening Baba generally called
them all into the sitting room. Sometimes He wished to hear
humorous stories or jokes. Some selected books, generally not
of a serious type, were read aloud to Him. Once, however, He
asked Delia to read The Hound of Heaven. In a lighter vein,
Baba remarked later, "If I can stand Delia's reading, I can stand
anything!"
On some occasions, whether He was with the men or
women mandali, Baba would ask someone to read the odes of
Hafiz, translated into English. Sometimes Dr. Ghani read aloud
to Him the original lines in Persian. Hafiz was Baba's

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

favorite poet. In His boyhood Baba had heard His father


repeating in his melodious voice the couplets of Hafiz. He
listened to the lines so attentively that He could repeat some of
them word for word. From the very beginning Baba felt greatly
drawn to Hafiz because of his skill in using choice words and
the meaning conveyed through them. Hafiz (his first name was
Shamsuddin) came from Shiraz in Iran, and as he had learned
the Holy Koran by heart, he was known as Hafiz Shirazi. Baba
told us that he was not only a perfect poet but also a Perfect
Master. The book in which his couplets are compiled is known
as the Divan-i-Hafiz. Some regard him as the greatest lyrical
poet, but in his ghazals he has symbolically and allegorically
described the experiences pertaining to the different planes of
consciousness.
Hafiz (1320-1388) was the son of a coal merchant. During
His stay in Guruprasad, Poona, in the summer of 1963, Baba
conveyed the following information about Hafiz to His
devotees. Hafiz's favorite occupation was to hear and read the
life stories of the saints and Masters, but in his twenties he fell
in love with a beautiful girl from a wealthy family. Hafiz had an
ugly countenance and there was little possibility of winning her
love, so he practiced a certain penance for forty days to evoke
the blessings of God. At the end of the stipulated period, it is
said that the Archangel Gabriel appeared before him. He told
Hafiz to ask for any boon. Hafiz, overpowered with the beauty
and elegance of the Archangel, forgot to ask for the hand of the
girl in marriage. Instead he thought, "If Gabriel is so beautiful,
how much more beautiful and gracious must God be!" So,
unawares, he asked for the bestowal of God-realization. No
angel can grant this favor, hence Gabriel directed Hafiz to Attar,
a Perfect Master. Hafiz wholeheartedly served him for forty
years, and at last by the grace of the Master he became Godrealized.

CORRESPONDENCE WITH MEHER BABA

375

Baba always rejoiced heartily while listening to the couplets


of Hafiz; and occasionally He would explain a line or two to
divulge the depth of meaning contained in the couplet. He loved
Hafiz dearly. A day prior to the dropping of His body, Baba
expressed His wish that the drawing paper on which three
couplets of Hafiz were written in Persian, along with the
English translation, be brought from the sitting room of the men
mandali to His room in Baba House. Today we find this paper
framed and displayed on one of the walls in Baba's bedroom at
Meherazad. Baba often expressed through gestures, "Hafiz as a
poet is unique, matchless." And with a slight change we might
say, "Meher Baba's fondness for Hafiz was matchless! "
The Inception and the Termination of the Sufi Circle
In the latter part of 1948, the men mandali who resided mainly
at Meherazad were Kaka Baria, Gustadji, Baidul, Dr. Nilu,
Vishnu, Jal (Baba's brother) and Dr. Ghani. Those staying at
Ahmednagar and Meherabad would visit Baba regarding work.
At this time Baba had already commenced dictating God Speaks
on the alphabet board to Dr. Ghani, who was one of His close
disciples and well-versed in Sufi literature. During this period,
one of the main events was the inception of the Sufi Circle in
India. It was founded on September 8, 1948, under the
patronage of Meher Baba. Adi K. Irani was nominated as the
secretary-general. Dr. Ghani and a few Baba devotees from
Poona were permitted to establish the head office of the Sufi
Circle for India at Poona. A young postgraduate teacher was the
vice-president. Within a short time, reports reached Baba that
the members of the Sufi Circle at Poona were not zealous
enough in propagating the Sufi work. Baba always expected
wholehearted dedication in any work connected with Him

376

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

and not haphazard loyalty. The mandali, also, felt that work
under Baba's patronage should not be carried out with halfhearted allegiance. Baba seemed displeased with this matter.
Of the God-Man it is said, "He is interested in everything
but not concerned about anything. The slightest mishap may
command his sympathy; the greatest tragedy will not upset
him." 96 In the case of the Sufi Circle, a few ordinary incidents,
if I may say so, apparently annoyed Baba, the God-Man. I will
outline only one such event. Baba had instructed one of the
office holders at Poona, a teacher, to dedicate all his spare time
after school to the work of the Sufi Circle. The teacher was
privately coaching some pupils at home in school subjects, and
he had a good income. To obey Baba literally, he had to forego
these extra earnings, so for some days he was a bit hesitant over
this point. Generally Baba would not ask anyone to work for
Him. But if someone expressed readiness and offered to serve in
His cause, He would not tolerate fragmentary obedience. The
person concerned failed to understand that following Baba, the
Compassionate One, might entail a bit of daring but never any
loss. Sometimes it had even proved profitable materially. In
connection with this I wish to mention a contemporary incident.
Baba had entrusted some work of translation to one of my
friends, who also was a teacher. He, too, was asked to
discontinue private tutoring, which he did immediately. After
some months, he was unexpectedly selected by the managing
committee of the school as the Headmaster. It might be chance,
but it is a fact, and thus the material loss was amply
compensated. At any rate, the Poona Baba devotee's response to
Baba's instruction was not total. Besides, it was brought to
Baba's notice that there were some

96

Meher Baba, Discourses, 3:15.

CORRESPONDENCE WITH MEHER BABA

377

"creaks and cracks" in the constitution of the Sufi Circle. Being


engaged in some important work, Baba had no time to spare for
these matters, so with Baba's permission the founding members
of the Sufi Circle in India called a meeting on October 19, 1948.
After free discussion, four resolutions were passed. The first
was: "Resolved unanimously that the Sufi Circle be and is
hereby dissolved." It functioned only about forty days.
It is really difficult to fathom the meaning of the activities of
the Master. One sees so many stars in the sky, and unwittingly
how easily one miscalculates the distance and the quality of the
radiation of light. So in a sense, having seen the stars, one has
not seen them. Is not the same folly committed while witnessing
and judging the doings of the God-Man? To us He is infinitely
close and also infinitely remote, hence sometimes we may be
right and at times utterly wrong. Nonetheless, I have tried to
present the outward aspects of an incident connected with the
Sufi Circle. It may not necessarily have any cause-effect
relationship. At the final meeting it was also made clear that
anyone who felt deeply interested in Sufism would be permitted
by Baba to work as a free-lance Sufi. Adi Sr. and Dr. Ghani
wrote the necessary letters to persons concerned in the West.
Later during His visit to the United States in 1952, Meher
Baba reoriented the Sufi Way in the West, and now Sufism
Reoriented extends the hand of help to those who are interested
in that Path. All Ways are His ways. Sanskaric inclinations and
one's capabilities direct and determine the path one has to tread.
The God-Man, whenever He comes amongst us, revitalizes all
the Paths according to the needs of the time. He belongs to all
and is also above all. He is not only with us, but one with each
one of us. No Path is superior or inferior. If ever He likes any
"Way," it is not a condemnation of another Way. In February
1964 Baba

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

sent the following short, meaningful message to Sufism Reoriented:


All Paths are mine,
And all lead eventually to me.
But the shortest Way to me
Is the No-Path of self-annihilative Love.
Consider the World as a Toy
In the months of September and October Meher Baba did not go
on any mast tours. Almost every day He took time to attend to
correspondence. During this period, as was His method after
hearing letters or the contents of letters, He generally conveyed
a sentence or two on the alphabet board or through familiar
gestures by way of directing the replies. One of the mandali
Vishnu, Ramjoo, Dr. Ghani or Adi Sr. would then answer
accordingly. Some important replies were read to Baba before
they were posted. The few words from the Master conveyed
through these letters have lighted lamps of understanding in the
hearts of despairing souls. His short and simple messages
poured in upon His followers a love that brought to them a new
vision of life. Baba seemed to enjoy hearing the letters from His
dear ones and liked replying to them, though occasionally He
seemed to grow weary of it. Of this correspondence, particularly
from India, Adi Sr. had the lion's share, hence I will present
some replies sent through him. They represent different types of
communication with Baba.
Some months earlier Baba had given His consent to a youth
who wanted to visit Iran and settle into a business. He was the
son of one of Baba's disciples. The climate of Iran, however, did
not suit him. He fell sick and the rosy prospects of the business
did not materialize. He informed Baba about this state of affairs
and Baba replied, "Don't

CORRESPONDENCE WITH MEHER BABA

379

lose heart; find good medical treatment. Get well and return to
India." At the end of the letter Baba added the following lines of
cheer:
Now listen my boy
It's good to be full of joy.
Consider the world as a toy
Stick to Baba as a gloy (glue).
Soon this young man returned to India from Iran, hale and
hearty, and joined the Indian military service, from which he
eventually retired as a commissioned officer.
Longing for Baba's Sahavas and Guidance
During Baba's earlier visits to Nagpur, a schoolboy who had
been blessed by His glance developed a great love for Him.
Often he would be seen thinking about Baba, whether at school
or at home, with tears of love which seemed uncontrollable
trickling down his cheeks. In the beginning the boy was
permitted to stay near Baba for a few days, and he wished to
live permanently with the mandali. Baba, however, asked him
to complete his education. Later on he accepted employment in
one of the government offices. The boy, now a grown man, was
always longing to leave his job to be in the company of Baba,
and the life of a householder held no charm for him. In August
1948 he wrote to Baba: "Will you kindly grant me the privilege
of staying with you for a few days? ... If I fail to hear from you
within a reasonable time, I shall be a victim of constant
restlessness which may disturb the tranquil state of my mind."
After two days, he wrote again, "Unless and until I hear
from you a definite time when I shall have your sahavas, it will
be difficult for me to check myself and so the state of

380

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

restlessness which I experience may result in madness. I know


not what I will do then. Perhaps I may leave my family and go
wherever I like ... Adi K. Irani in that case will be nominated to
claim the provident fund." After Baba's return from a mast tour
He heard the contents of the above letters, or rather the notices
served upon Him! Since He was very busy, Baba had no time to
grant the request of this devotee, so Adi Sr. replied: "Baba
appreciates your feelings and sends you His love and blessings."
These few words of consolation pacified the tormented heart of
the lover, and he continued to serve in his office with a more
balanced mind. In his intense longing he had composed some
songs on Baba's divinity in Hindi and Marathi. These are now
sung in Baba meetings.
To another Baba lover whose family problems were critical,
Adi Sr. wrote: "Baba says, 'However much the circumstances be
oppressive or depressive, you should learn to take them easily. I
am with you.'" Baba's remembrance and blessings offered him
timely help, and after a successful career in the police
department, he retired as a deputy superintendent. To one of the
devotees who felt confused over a problem, Baba dictated just a
sentence: "Act as you think best." And even before the letter
reached that person, Baba's inner help was on the way to guide
the conscience of His devotee.
Yearning for Real Darshan
A Baba devotee named Vaidyanath lived in Bombay. He used
to read the Bhagavad Gita (The Lord's Song) daily. One day
after the regular reading, he commenced his usual meditation.
After some time, he saw amidst great splendor various grades of
beings. They had on strange, shining ornaments and held queer
weapons. The "long-armed, vast-bosomed and tremendoustoothed" figures frightened him, but some forms were very
handsome and graceful.

CORRESPONDENCE WITH MEHER BABA

381

In his letter to Baba the devotee likened this experience, though


very remotely, to the visions of the Universal Body as explained
in the eleventh chapter of the Gita. Vaidyanath had not
personally seen Baba, but he felt that the above vision was
vouchsafed to him through His grace. He wrote a letter of
gratitude, also expressing his earnest desire to have Baba's
darshan. Baba looked pleased as He heard the contents of the
letter. The devotee, however, was asked to wait for an
opportune moment to meet Baba in person. Some people met
Baba and craved for visions, and here was one who had a
profound Baba vision and was longing for His darshan!
Joseph, a Christian youth, also lived in Bombay. He was a
regular reader of the Holy Bible. Over a year earlier when he
met Baba, he was blessed by an interview with Him. Baba
explained to him the way he should live and lead his life. It
seems that from that very first meeting, Joseph accepted Baba
as the Father. In one of his letters to Him in 1948 he wrote: "I
am very happy because I look at the world in the way I have
been taught by my Father. I read the Holy Bible every day. Now
I am learning anew the meaning contained in it. I wish to have
your darshan, but if you command that it won't be possible
soon, I will have nothing to say about it." Baba appreciated
Joseph's suppliant understanding and conveyed to him His fond
love. Since Baba has dropped the body, the same kind of "Baba
willing" understanding can be seen in some of the visitors from
the West young boys and girls who with great love visit
India to pay their homage at Baba's tomb. And to me, Joseph
seems to be the forerunner of this band.
A devotee named Chavan resided at Karad in the district of
Satara. He was deeply impressed when he met Baba. At the
time of darshan, Baba casually conveyed that seeing Baba in
person was not His "real darshan" it was something quite
different. After returning to his hometown, Chavan thought
seriously about Baba's statement. Feeling

382

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

very restless, he wrote to Baba that he wished to fast unto death


for Baba's real darshan. Baba sent him a telegram: "I know
your love and longing, but don't fast without my permission."
Finding him very sensitive and earnest regarding the subject,
Baba called him to Ahmednagar for an interview. He asked
Chavan to follow certain instructions. He was also told to visit
the important holy places in North India and also to pay homage
to any saints and sages whom he might meet. The pilgrimage
and contacts with holy persons helped Chavan to understand the
profundity of Baba's real darshan. It was not a question of
having a deep yearning or fasting unto death, he learned. Such
an experience, as any other deep experience, is an act of grace
of God or of the Perfect Master. Baba had such winsome ways
of bringing home the lesson which He wanted one to learn.
The World, a Wondrous Prison
One day a letter was received from a prisoner who had been
sentenced to a life term. As this young man was not permitted to
leave the prison grounds even on parole, he begged Baba to
visit the prison. He was feeling very nervous and very excited
over trifling matters. To get over this mental weakness and
agony, the only remedy, he thought, was to have Baba's
darshan. To Baba, it made no difference whether He visited a
prison or a palace. He once conveyed that the whole world is a
wondrous prison and that all those who live in it are spell-bound
prisoners. In this sense, are not all of us the captives of Maya?
We free ourselves from certain environments which we call
"bad" to get bound in fresh enclosures which we term "good."
We do not know the art of total living. Meher Baba stated,
"Instead of meeting life and all that it brings without
expectation, entanglement and shirking, the mind creates a
standard whereby

CORRESPONDENCE WITH MEHER BABA

383

it divides life into opposites, one of which is regarded as


acceptable and the other as not acceptable." 97 The breaking of
life into compartments is an impediment to honest inquiry about
Life, the one indivisible whole.
In those days (1948) Meher Baba was engaged in special
spiritual work and was not in a mood to grant darshan or make
visits for darshan programs, so He sent a short but suggestive
message to this imprisoned sorrowing soul. He dictated the
following lines on the alphabet board:
I love saints as much as I love sinners; I love you. It is
never too late or too early to love God. Think as much as
you can about me [Baba], And as little as possible about
yourself.
The message provided great solace and help to the young
man. After some years, Baba took time to visit that prison. The
government authorities gave Baba a warm welcome. The main
gate and the visiting room were decorated with bunting, and it
seemed a festive occasion for the prisoners. Perhaps this visit
was an excuse for Baba to contact "the despised ones." Thus the
prisoners had a rare chance to be in the company of the real free
man, who recurrently gets himself bound to free man from this
incredible prison, the world. At present, the above-mentioned
Baba lover is a free citizen and a changed man with one-pointed
devotion for Baba, the Compassionate Father.
Responsibilities Must Be Adequately Shouldered
Baba lovers from different places in India used to write to Baba
for His guidance and blessings. Time permitting, the

97

Meher Baba, Discourses, 1: 92-93.

384

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

necessary replies were sent based on Baba's personal


instruction. One of His devotees named Bhargav found it hard
to conduct joint-family life. He had in mind leading a secluded
life in some far-off place. He approached Baba through a letter
to ask the way out. Adi Sr. wrote in reply: "Baba tells you that
in the world of miseries and sorrows, whatever duties you may
be doing you should stick to, and stand by those who are near
and dear to you and depend on you. You should follow your
avocations but should not worry over the results. You must
perform the worldly duties but dedicate the results good or
bad to the divine Will. You should not be swayed by
happiness or sorrow in contemplating constantly on the
transitoriness of things. In the continuous remembrance of God
you should try to develop a detached outlook on life. Repeat
throughout the waking state any one name of God that you
love." Some were given the choice of repeating the name of
God they loved, while Baba specifically asked some to repeat
His name. To Him, however, this made no difference. Literally,
advice from the Master may not differ much from that of a
scholar, but the former, being alive with love and wisdom,
carries a special power and perfume to the receiver, who feels
strengthened and refreshed.
In another case, Baba had allowed one of His devotees from
the south to stay for a short period in the ashram at Meherabad.
After his return, he resumed his duties, but it was learned from a
letter sent by his wife that he was not discharging his family
duties very well. He had seen Baba's work with the poor, but he
had caught the wrong notion. After receiving his pay, he began
distributing it to the poor and neglecting his family. He forgot
Baba's words: "Don't imitate me. Obey me." His wife
complained to Baba about her husband's attitude. Adi Sr. wrote
to him the following: "Your frequent roamings with beggars
(and sadhus), disregarding

CORRESPONDENCE WITH MEHER BABA

385

your duties to your wife and family, and spending money on


them whom you call 'Baba,' thereby causing hardships at home,
is the last thing I could expect of you who call yourself a Baba
devotee. Do you mean to say that whomsoever you call 'Baba'
you really have the experience of seeing as Baba? Or do you
really mean that you intelligently try to look upon everyone as
Baba and strive to have the experience of Baba living in every
heart? If the latter is what you are attempting, you should know
that Baba exists in the hearts of all and not particularly in a
certain beggar to whom you choose to give at cost to your wife
and children. Can you not see that Baba is also in the hearts of
your family? Besides, you are bound to them by the ties of
matrimony, the responsibilities of which you have to bear. With
best wishes and Baba's blessings to you and yours."
In addition to these words of advice, Baba made arrangements to send him every month some monetary help as prasad,
but in his wife's name. Being the Compassionate Father, Baba
guides and helps, and waits until one behaves oneself.
The Three Types
In those days a few devotees printed pamphlets containing
Meher Baba's words of wisdom and distributed them among the
people. One such pamphlet contained Baba's laconic
explanation about the three types of disciples, seekers, yogis and
resigners:
I. Three Types of Disciples:
1) Those who give and never ask.
2) Those who give and also ask.
3) Those who do not give but ask.

386

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


II. Three Types of Seekers:
1) The inspired ones.
2) The inspired ones who are intellectual.
3) The intellectual ones.
III. Three Types of Yogis:
1) Those who long for the Goal and shun powers.
2) Those who long for the Goal and also for powers.
3) Those who do yogic exercises merely for powers.
IV. Three Types of Resigners:
1) Those who are so completely resigned to the Will of
the Master that even the question of how, why, or when
never enters their minds.
2) Those who do what the Master asks, sacrificing
everything and not asking for reward, but doing it under
the compulsion of surrender to the Master's will.
3) Those who do what the Master asks at all cost, but
expect reward. 98

One of the Baba people named Babadas distributed copies


of this pamphlet in Nagpur. All those who sincerely read it
naturally tried to find out the category to which they belonged.
One of the elite of the city, who had been fortunate enough to
welcome Baba at his house in November 1944, incidentally
received this pamphlet. The message set him to thinking rather
seriously and he wrote to Baba, "May I know what category I
belong to, and to improve myself, what steps should I take or
adopt? I want your guidance in this matter." He also wanted to
know if the pamphlet was given to him especially at Baba's
instruction, which it was not. It was meant for general
circulation. Baba did send him His love and blessings, and
under Baba's

98

Meher Baba made some alterations and additions to this informal discourse, and
later it was included in The Everything and the Nothing (p. 16), first published in
Australia.

CORRESPONDENCE WITH MEHER BABA

387

general instructions, Adi Sr. wrote to him: "To be conscious of


what we lack is good. To become conscious of what we can
become is better. To dwell constantly upon the spiritual Goal is
best. But to have wholehearted devotion for the Master is love
par excellence ... [Then] all the knots of commission and
omission are undone and the gush of His blessings at the
appointed time floods the being with the never-lost love of
God." This pamphlet thus helped some to have a new
understanding and was instrumental in sending Baba's indelible
blessings to one of His devotees in Nagpur.
"How Many Such Daughters Do You Want?"
Here is another incident connected with a Baba pamphlet,
though the printed matter was not a message from Baba but was
a poem on Baba by one of His lovers from Nagpur. The poet,
Sulay, first had Baba's darshan in 1944 at the branch of the
Theosophical Society in Nagpur. During Baba's visit, His
special message "The Dynamics of Love" was read to the
gathering. As he heard it, Sulay felt that in the form of Meher
Baba he was beholding Love personified. He looked at Baba,
and there stretched an eternity between them. At this meeting,
everything he had planned to say to Baba vanished from his
mind except one personal sorrow. Sulay had had a daughter
about six years old who was extremely dear to him, but she had
suddenly passed away. In his first interview he told Baba about
the sad and untimely death of his daughter. Baba sympathized
with him but casually put a question to him: "How many such
daughters do you want?" Sulay felt confused over the question
and kept quiet. Baba switched to another subject, and the
interview was over.
Some months later Sulay took a position in a school for

388

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

small children (kindergarten) run by a foreign mission. His duty


was to teach fundamental lessons in Hindi. The children were
mostly from well-to-do families. In their company, he nearly
forgot the sorrow caused by the demise of his little one. One
day while he was teaching the lesson, he noticed that the faces
of the girls in the class remarkably resembled the countenance
of his darling daughter only the dresses marked a difference.
This experience continued for some days as he taught.
Eventually he realized that this was in fulfillment of the
question that Baba had put to him. This little incident sowed
deep in him the seeds of conviction of Baba's divinity, and he
wanted to lead a life dedicated to Baba and His cause.
Later on Sulay had an urge to visit Pandharpur, one of the
famous places of pilgrimage in Maharashtra. He commenced
this long journey of over a thousand kilometers in his bare feet.
During the course of his walk, a certain dream was repeated
several times in it he saw a well by a road and one small hill
on the other side. The route of his pilgrimage took him to
Ahmednagar, and as he reached this city, he decided to visit
Meherabad, for he had not seen it before. When he approached
the ashram, he at once recognized that the well and the hill were
identical with those he had seen in his dream. It was thus
symbolically revealed to him that the real place of pilgrimage
was none other than Meherabad. He was overjoyed to learn that
Baba was there, but He was to go into seclusion the next day.
Sulay was permitted to meet Him. In an informal audience,
Baba conveyed to him: "As you have come to Meherabad there
is no need for you to go to Pandharpur or any other place of
pilgrimage." After Baba dropped the body, the tomb on
Meherabad Hill has become a sanctuary for pilgrims from all
over the world, for the form of the holiest of the holy of this age
is laid to rest there.

CORRESPONDENCE WITH MEHER BABA

389

Meher Baba, the Absolute God


Sulay very gladly accepted Baba's instruction and decided not
to proceed to Pandharpur. Some experiences that he had during
the journey, including the recurring dream, were instrumental in
the flowering of the seed of conviction in his heart that
Meher Baba is the only one to worship and to whom to pray. On
the way back to Nagpur, he stopped at Nasik for some days.
During his stay he had occasion to meet Ramjoo, one of Baba's
closest mandali. He heard from Ramjoo some Baba anecdotes
a few full of fun, a few fiery, a few very interesting, and a
few incidents which had been quite trying. This contact helped
him to love Baba more and more. He also developed high
regard for Ramjoo and treated him as a close friend. Sulay
composed some fine poems in Marathi on Meher Baba, the
God-Man. In 1948 he tried to offer his prayers to Baba through
the following stanzas in English:
Prayer to the Absolute God, Meher Baba
Thou who art Absolute, supreme, sublime,
Master of destiny beyond space and time.
Light of the Universe, life's central Sun,
Incomprehensible, all things in One.
Light Thou my pathway and teach me to know,
That Thou art the source from which all things flow.
That whatever exists whether good or ill,
Proceeds from the law of Thy infinite will.
And sooner or later must return to Thee,
Death-purged in the waves of Eternity's sea.
Endow me with love, in faith make me strong,
And instead of a dirge, let my life be a song.
Till Thy Spirit divine in the innermost soul,
Flames like the torch and illumines the whole.
Thenceforth from earth-life to be free in its flight,
To the effulgent radiance of supernal Light.

390

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

He sent a typed copy of these verses to Ramjoo, who suggested a slight change, not in the poem but in its title: "Prayer to
the Absolute God in Meher Baba." Sulay thought that Baba, as
the God-Man, is Absolute God Himself, so he did not feel like
complying with the suggestion. He wrote to Ramjoo, "When I
was at Nagpur, do you remember that I put a question to you,
'Where is Meher Baba?' You replied, 'Jahan ke wahan,'
meaning, 'He is where He ever was.' You also quoted a couplet
which conveyed that He (Baba) was, is and will be the same
One. Do not these references made by you then mean that
Meher Baba is the Absolute God? . . . Will you please excuse
me for my inability to change the title? Thanking you ..." I do
not know much about poetry, but I was acquainted with Ramjoo
and Sulay, both of whom were strong characters, very frank and
loving, but they would rarely compromise on the views they
held. I have used this example to show that in spite of
differences of opinion in expressing feelings about Baba who
in fact is beyond any expression cooperation and friendship
in His cause should remain unaffected, as it was between
Ramjoo and Sulay.
In September 1948 the above poem and its Marathi version
were sent to Baba. Baba asked one of His educated, Marathispeaking devotees to read both poems. After listening to them,
Baba didn't say anything about the title, but He granted Sulay's
request for permission to print the stanzas for general
distribution to the public, including Baba people. Baba
generally allowed His lovers to express their devotion to Him in
their own ways, provided they were sincere and honest in what
they said and did. Perhaps this is the best way to make one learn
anew what he should. Is not honesty in expression the keynote
in spiritual life? Honesty in its finer quality affirms without the
intrusion of any sense of achievement and leads one to God, the
Absolute.

25
To the Girnar Hills in Gujarat, 1948

God to Man and Man to God


THERE were no mast tours in October 1948, though by the
beginning of November plans were being made to visit Gujarat.
Delia and Jean were to leave for the West by the end of
October. Delia writes in her notes, "When the . . . day of our
departure arrived, Baba said we were not even to shed a tear, as
we would be seeing Him again whatever happened. So Jean and
I left after a three months' stay, happy with Baba's promise and
ready to do the tasks allotted to us. Having gained an added
insight into Baba's working and his technique of changing
plans, building and destroying [the 'scaffolding'] when the work
is finished, we returned to the West, strengthened and recharged
with Baba's unfailing love." 99 Delia was asked by Baba to
establish a Center in Great Britain with the help of the Baba
group in England. "It was to be run in conjunction with the
parent league in America." 100 On November 27 such an institution was established and the following persons were office
holders: Purdom, Chairman; Delia DeLeon, ViceChairman;
William Backett, Secretary and Treasurer.
This was the period when Baba kept the mandali at

99

Kitty Davy, Recollections, The Awakener, vol. 6, no. 2, Summer 1959, p. 32.
Ibid., p. 32.

100

392

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

Meherazad and Meherabad busy participating in His work of


"activity" and "inactivity." The external life of intense activities
and the quiet stays of immense inactivity are the two aspects of
the indivisible, awake-life of the God-Man, ever at work
giving as God and living as man. Those who stayed near Him
were trained to lead a life as wished by Him. We find a passing
reference to this phase in one of Baba's messages, sent about
this time to one of His dear ones in the United States. Baba
stated, "God is very natural, I would say very human, and one
who finds God as He really is, becomes as natural as God
Himself. To achieve that: (1) Amongst the complete activity
shall always be a period of complete inactivity. (2) One must
reach a state beyond desire; when one does not want anything,
he has everything." 101
Meher Baba's Discourses, volumes 1 to 5, were already
printed and published in India. On October 25 a meeting was
held to discuss the subject of reprinting them in the West.
Purdom was asked to edit the Discourses. He was allowed to
make linguistic changes in order to make the original
Discourses more readable to Westerners, without excluding the
stories, similies and examples. He was to write an introduction
to this edition. Norina, Elizabeth, Dr. Deshmukh, Dr. Ghani,
Adi Sr. and Ramjoo freely discussed this matter in the presence
of Baba. It was during this meeting that Meher Baba suggested
a new title for all of the discourses, which were to be compiled
in one book God to Man and Man to God.
The book was published by Victor Gollancz Ltd., London,
in 1955. Meher Baba's discourses will ever be of great help to
sincere seekers of Truth. Purdom at the close of the introduction
wrote, "These discourses cover a wide field, but they begin and
end with the reader himself . . .

101

Kitty Davy,Recollections, pp. 32-33.

TO THE GIRNAR HILLS IN GUJARAT

393

This therefore is not a book for those who do not want to be


disturbed and who propose to go on living as they have always
done . . . Baba invites those who listen to him to do the
impossible because only the impossible has divine meaning ...
He invites us to be different, looking at each other with different
eyes, taking up our work each day with a different impetus and
vision from what we have hitherto known, so that we can say as
once was said in the world, 'The Father who dwelleth in me, he
doeth the works.' Baba's awakening power is to enable us to
experience that our true human being is divine." 102
Baba's discourses provide an opportunity to readers to gain
much through a clarity that is so essential in this enigmatic
world. An understanding of Baba's articles develops the ability
to take things as they are, in their natural course, with ease and a
sense of humor, too. One thus begins to understand one's part in
this grand Game of God.
Besides the content of the edited discourses, the very title of
the book holds profound significance. Some years ago during a
stay in Poona in the company of a friend, I happened to visit
coincidentally a saintly person. I found him sitting calmly and
devotedly before a life-size picture of his Master. I was
introduced to him as one of the Baba people. He asked me
incidentally to relate to him, in a nutshell, Baba's philosophy. I
quoted Baba's words: "A simple thing made difficult is
philosophy!" As he heard this, he laughed heartily. I added,
"Sir, what you ask me to state is beyond me. I, however, feel
that the title of one of His books represents the crux of
philosophy, the way of Life." "What's that?" he inquired
eagerly. I replied, "God to Man and Man to God. ""Marvelous!
How true!" he exclaimed. Baba, with simplicity, always
maintained the profundity of spiritual Truth.

102

C.B. Purdom, God to Man and Man to God, p. 13.

394

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


Infants Are the Epitomes of Purity

In the last week of October 1948, Baba consented to bless a


function connected with the opening of Babawadi. The word
Baba in the vernacular means a father, as well as a baby.
Babawadi means a school for "babes," or children. One of the
founders of this institution was Goma Ganesh, a postgraduate
and a Baba devotee. He had met Baba first in July 1925, a few
days prior to the commencement of Baba's silence. He had not
conversed with Baba but had heard Him speaking with Arjun,
one of the intimate mandali. He was especially intent on
listening because he knew that Baba was to begin observing
silence soon. He recalls that Baba's voice was exceptionally
mellow and deep-toned. This early period of contact with Baba
inspired him to write in Marathi a small booklet named
Satsamagam. It was a short biographical brochure on Baba and
was published on Baba's birthday in 1926. Goma Ganesh served
as a teacher for some months in the school at Meherabad. He
composed some stanzas in Marathi in praise of Baba, and they
were recited by the boys in Meher Ashram. Perhaps this love
for teaching and coaching children continued and blossomed in
him as he joined hands in starting Babawadi in Ahmednagar.
Coincidentally, at that time Baba was not engaged in mast tours,
so He accepted the cordial invitation extended by Goma Ganesh
and agreed to be present at the inauguration of Babawadi on the
morning of October 25. The following message of Baba's was
read out at the function:
. . . Selfless work, as you all know, has many aspects in
the social and political field. Each aspect thereof, though
tinged by a particular cultural background, has its own merit
and consequential reward.
But the work relating to the welfare of babies is in a
class by itself. Babies and infants everywhere in the world

TO THE GIRNAR HILLS IN GUJURAT

395

are the very epitomes of God's purity and innocence. They


are guileless and helpless and yet they desire and expect
nothing. Why do men see and recognize the enemy and the
criminal outside? Because the so-called enemy and the
criminal are already within them. Babies have no criminal
or enemy within and therefore see none outside.
I am also called "Baba," which endearingly means a
baby, and, in fact, all God-realized souls are
unsophisticated, like babies. I, therefore, see and enjoy my
purity and colorlessness in the unselfconscious ones, the
babies.
This is what is real selfless service, when you are
serving the little selfless ones, and this is tantamount to
rendering service directly unto God. The Biblical statement
"and whosoever shall receive one such little child in my
name, receiveth Me" bears out what I have said . . .
The above message brings to my mind one more incident of
the same kind that took place some years earlier. Meher Baba's
love for little ones was strikingly sublime. The work connected
with the nursing and education of the children evoked a special
response from Baba. One of His followers named Dixit was a
pioneer in the educational field at Kolhapur. He was one of the
founders of a reputable institution, the premises of which were
known as Tapovan, the forest school where boys were expected
to practice tap (the penance) of learning. As early as 1930,
while visiting the southern part of India Baba stayed at Tapovan
three times. The news of His second visit had been received in
advance, so He was accorded a rousing welcome by pupils and
teachers alike. Baba stayed there for two days with Chanji,
Vishnu and a few others of the mandali. He mixed freely with
the boys and played cricket and hockey with them. He spared
time to give a talk to the boys, of course through the alphabet
board, on the importance of daily meditation. To the teachers,
He later discoursed on the subject of "I

396

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

and the Creation." In honor of this visit, the staff and the boys
arranged to plant a mango sapling in front of the seat occupied
by Baba.
Tapovan, later also known by the name of Vidyapeeth, had
only primary and secondary classes. In 1942, Dixit and his other
associates were successful in receiving a special grant, and in
addition a gift in the form of a building from the city
municipality, to start a Montessori school. He conveyed this
happy news to Meher Baba and implored Him to be present at
the opening ceremony. The mango tree planted in 1930 had
borne good fruit. The work connected with the welfare of the
children was dear to Baba's heart, but at this particular time He
was engaged in work with babies of another type the masts.
Are not the masts, though man grown, quite childlike? On
Baba's behalf, Adi Sr. was sent to Kolhapur with a special
message, which was read out on September 18, 1942:
One can render unselfish service in the domain of
culture. The form of service that a Montessori school takes
has a practical value. It deals with infant nature in the prime
of its development. Their carefree hearts reflect qualities
that are divine by their restless pranks and blissful for their
innocence. It is to see how far you can make use of this
"divinity" in man, expressed through the child-God. A little
patience, a little kindness, infinite [great] understanding and
sweet love are the only things by which the teachers can
repay for having received the usefulness [opportunity] of
human service at its purest.
The God-Man Remains Wakeful in Sleep
At the beginning of November 1948 Baba set out on a mast tour
in Saurashtra, a part of Gujarat. Baidul, Kaka, Gustadji and
Eruch, the regular mast team, accompanied Baba. In addition to
this group, for this visit Baba also asked Adi Sr.,

TO THE GIRNAR HILLS IN GUJARAT

397

Nariman, Meherjee and Chhagan to go with Him. The night of


November 2 the party reached Junagadha, one of the famous
towns in Saurashtra. Behind this township stands the wellknown Datar Hill. Baba's intention was to stay on this hill in
seclusion for two days. The party decided to camp for the night
in one of the shrines in Junagadha. It was dark, and the mandali
cleaned a small room with the help of a tiny broom and a dim
lamp. This was to be Baba's bedroom. Outside there was a
bench of concrete the mandali thought that it could be used
by those on the night watch. As they had reached the shrine
after hours of tiring train travel and felt fatigued, a good supper
and rest were much needed. Baba assigned the timing for the
disciples to attend Him in turns at night.
Gustadji, the silent disciple of the Silent Master, was to
attend Baba from 3 A.M. on. When he commenced duty it was
quite dark and cloudy, and he leisurely took his seat on the
bench. After some time, he wished to urinate. He was entirely
new to the place, so instead of groping here and there, and also
to be close enough to hear Baba's call a clap he thought of
moving a little away to the rear side of the bench. He got up,
unbuttoned his long coat, untied the cord of his trousers and was
about to step behind the bench, confident that he would not be
needed since Baba was snoring. Just then he heard Baba's clap,
His signal to call in the one on night watch. Hurriedly Gustadji
rearranged his trousers, buttoned up his coat and went inside.
Baba inquired why he did not come at once. Gustadji had to
explain through gestures the reason for his late arrival. Baba
gestured back, "All right. For the present, I do not want
anything. But be seated on the bench I may call you any
time." As the mandali were trained to a life of obedience to
Baba, poor Gustadji had to curb the urge to empty his bladder
and sit quietly on that cold concrete bench. After

398

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

an hour or so, Baba clapped and Gustadji instantly opened the


door and stepped in. The Master looked pleased and gestured,
"Happy with your promptness. You can now ease yourself if
you want to." By this time the sky was clear and fair. Gustadji
looked carefully behind the bench, and to his amazement he saw
the reflection of the stars. "Is that water or land?" he wondered.
There was, in fact, a lake by the side of the shrine. A few hours
earlier Gustadji had not suspected its existence in the darkness
of the night. Had not Baba clapped in the nick of time, Gustadji
would have fallen into the water and been in great danger of
drowning. Being silent, he would not have been able to call out
for help. The God-Man's omnipresent attention saved him from
this mishap.
In a few instances when the mandali had heard Baba
snoring, they were surprised to find that in spite of this, He was
aware of what was going on around Him. The sleep of the GodMan cannot overlap His real state of everlasting wakefulness. In
His so-called sleep, He just rests His body. In the course of time
He drops the body, but His ever-luminous wakefulness
continues of itself to watch and guide those who love Him and
are working in His cause.
The Greatness of the Girnar Hills
The next day, November 3, Baba contacted two masts in
Junagadha. Jina Sain was in a majzoob-like state. It was
reported that a few years before he would stand all night in
water and meditate. Now he was found lying unconcernedly
under a tree. The other mast, Munga Sain Mastan, was
experiencing a deeper state of majzoobiyat. He rarely spoke and
had to be fed by others. He just looked at Baba with all the
tenderness of his heart, a unique communication

TO THE GIRNAR HILLS IN GUJARAT

399

where words dared not disturb the dignity of silence. Baba liked
Munga Sain and wished to keep him near during the period of
seclusion on Datar Hill in the Girnar Ranges. On the top of this
hill there is a samadhi, said to be that of a God-realized soul
named Bapuzamil Shah Datar. It is also said, however, that he
once entered one of the caves on this hill and disappeared.
People believe that his spiritual presence is still felt and that he
guides sincere aspirants in their internal journey to God.
Baba and the mandali trudged hundreds of steps up to reach
this samadhi on the summit. Munga Sain, the mast, was carried
in a sedan chair. During the two-day seclusion Baba sat alone
with this mute mast in silent conferences. Baba was observing a
fast, but he regularly fed Munga Sain with His own hands. At
the close of the seclusion period, the poor living near and about
this hill were called into the shrine and Baba offered some
money to each as prasad. Perhaps it was a pretext under which
Baba established with these forlorn souls a spiritual contact that
would guide them on their way back to Him. On Datar Hill the
Baba party also came across a band of sincere aspirants, and
Baba praised their life of exemplary simplicity.
By November 6 Baba was back in Junagadha. The following day the party scaled another summit of the Girnar Hills.
There Baba sat alone for hours in one of the caves named after
the sage-king Bhartruhari. With reference to the spiritual
atmosphere of the Girnar Hills, Baba stated that every Avatar
born in India has visited this area. In favor of the surcharged
atmosphere, a tale has been carried to this day that in olden
times some aspirants would fling themselves from one of the
high crags down into the deep dale below. This was not
undertaken out of despair or depression. It was carried out as
"the climax of a most solemn and splendid ceremony." And
down the cliff, their bodies

400

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

would be devoured in no time by the lions for which these


jungles are still famous.
A Silent Emanation of Spiritual Perfume
In addition to the Girnar area, Meher Baba has mentioned two
more places in India that abound in spiritual atmosphere
Rishikesh and Benares. In the summer of 1941 Baba's
significant statement about Rishikesh was: "Of all the places of
pilgrimage in India I like Rishikesh ... It is one of the best
places in the world for its spiritual atmosphere." Regarding
Benares, the following is the gist of what Baba conveyed to the
mandali. "Since times of old, there have been many saints and
sages who lived here and practiced penance and meditation.
Some Sadgurus (Perfect Masters) stayed here. It is due to these
advanced souls and the Perfect Masters that this place is
surcharged with spiritual vibrations. True sanctity does not lie
in the dead walls of brick and stone or the waters, but it is due
to the great spiritual personalities who stayed here and filled the
environment with the fire of their love and in the great spiritual
forces released by the Masters. The Avatars Rama, Krishna,
and even Jesus had been at Benares during certain periods of
their lives."
After recharging the spiritual atmosphere of all the
important places in India, Avatar Meher Baba at present silently
but powerfully emanates an all-inclusive spiritual perfume from
the tomb on Meherabad Hill. Hundreds who visit the tomb bear
testimony to this supernal occurrence.
"How Can I Let the God-Man Go?"
By November 11 Meher Baba was at Delhi and contacted two
masts and two mastanis. One of the masts, who was quite old,
always preferred to keep his whole body covered with

TO THE GIRNAR HILLS IN GUJURAT

401

a blanket. The only bait that induced him to uncover his face
was offering him pan. The old mastani lived in such a tiny hut
that one wondered how she could manage to get in and out of it.
The next day, Baba visited two centenarian sadhus who had
undergone severe austerities.
November 12 was regarded as one of the more eventful
days because of Baba's contact with a remarkable mast named
Amanullah Kabuli. He was a type by himself, a mixture of jalali
and jamali qualities. His responses and states alternately
changed from salik-like to majzoob-like. Baba felt pleased to
have a secluded contact with this rare type of God-intoxicated
soul. At the close of the meeting, the mast inquired of the Baba
party where it was proceeding. Baidul told him that they were
bound for Ajmer, whereupon the mast expressed a desire to
accompany them. It was one of Baba's ways that He expected a
happy parting with the masts. Through Baidul He gave
Amanullah a ten-rupee note and asked him to make his own
arrangements and happily allow the party to take leave. When
Baidul cordially pressed the mast for such oral permission, he
gave Baba a pleading look and replied, "When the God-Man is
standing in front of me how can I let Him go?" Baidul,
however, tried again to seek his consent. The mellowed heart of
the mast filled to the brim with love, and he spoke, "All right.
He may go, but I will send Him (Baba) such love-cables that
they will drag Him to me." Hearing this, Baba gestured. "In that
case I am sure to come." With these words of assurance, the
mast felt overjoyed and began to quote some lines from Urdu
and Persian couplets, all in praise of Baba, the God Man. At the
end, the mast held Baba's hand with great fervor and was almost
in tears. Baba's divine glance had surely touched the tender
chord of his consciousness. It was a touching farewell. Meher
Baba's relationship with the masts and their love for Him is
beyond description, in fact beyond words.

402

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN


The Master Fed by the Mast

Baba was at Ajmer on November 14. The next day he paid a


special visit to the illustrious shrine of Khwajasaheb to contact
Chacha, who was resting majestically in his hovel. Chacha, as
Baba had explained, was the real Majzoob who was conscious
of nothing except himself as God. From Ajmer the party moved
on to Baroda. The purpose of visiting this city was to renew the
link with Chambu Shah, a typical mast of the fifth plane. His
peculiarity was that at every contact he asked Baba for new
clothes and gave Baba his torn, dirty clothes, with a request that
He wear them. Baba invariably complied with this. Later all
these clothes were carefully packed and preserved in metal cans
at Meherazad. Baba made a special trip to Khambat from
Baroda to visit two God-intoxicated persons. One had several
cats and dogs as pets. The other mast was seen most of the time
circumambulating the fortress wall, a strange restlessness that
kept him roaming and roving, mumbling and singing, perhaps
till his last breath. How could the fire of love allow a mast
either work or rest? Viramgaon lay to the northwest of
Khambat. A mast at this place, Haji Ahmed, regularly visited a
pond at night and sported in the water. He remained naked, day
and night a grown man-child.
Baba, still in Saurashtra, moved on to Morvi, a beautiful
town on the banks of the river Macchu. Here an eminent mast
lived whose name was Majzoob Ali Shah. He should not be
confused with Ali Shah, the loving and quiet mast of
Ahmednagar. This majzoob of Morvi was short and fat.
Immersed in majzoobiyat, he sat looking nowhere, yet waiting
with some aloofness for God knows what. Perhaps it was for his
meeting with the God-Man. He seldom spoke unless spoken to.
At times, after warbling a word or two he would slip into a
strange remoteness, off from the world

TO THE GIRNAR HILLS IN GUJARAT

403

in a domain of delightful ecstasy. With a cluster of long hair and


a beard, he seemed to have an aristocratic bearing. Sometimes
he would open a tap which was by his seat and enjoy the flow
of water ceaselessly rushing out. His face failed to hide his
restlessness. While sitting or eating, the same temperament
would manifest itself. At the time of lunch or supper he would
mix all the dishes into one hash. He would eat a little and
distribute the rest among those near him.
It was about midnight when Baba visited this stately
spiritual personality. On seeing Him at a distance, the mast
exclaimed in loud voice, "The real Fakir." Fakir generally
means a poor mendicant, but in Sufi terminology the term "real
Fakir" means a Perfect Master. At this time the mast had just
finished his meal, and so whatever was left over he commenced
giving to Baba and Baidul. At the end he even offered water to
Baba. Chatti Baba was the only mast who bathed Baba, and Ali
Shah of Morvi was the only majzoob who fed Baba. In spite of
His compliance, Baba did not find the mast in a good mood for
a quiet contact. All of a sudden Ali Shah started walking to and
fro in the room. This ended by 1 A.M. and he then told the
visitors, except the Baba party, to leave the room, and he asked
Baba for a pica-worth of dates. Baba was exceptionally
particular in catering to the wishes of masts, and prior to the
contact He sent one of the mandali to fetch the dates. In the
dead of night they were purchased and given to the mast.
Majzoob Ali Shah felt satisfied, and Baba happily sat with him
for a secluded contact. The nature of such work Baba alone
knew, but it must have been an amiable affair because Baba,
with His men, left Morvi in a merry mood.
At Rajkot on the way back, Baba asked the mandali to
invite a hundred and fifty poor persons, and He very lovingly
offered prasad to all. At Ahmedabad He contacted over a
hundred sadhus in the ashram of Jagannath Maharaj.

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

In addition, a few masts and yogis were also blessed with Baba's
physical touch. A mast named Majnun was grey-haired and had
closeted himself in a shrine for about thirty years. A yogi named
Harihar Maharaj had been standing for years on one leg. He
generally kept his face covered to ward off inquisitors. It
seemed that he had mastered the art of taking rest and sleep in
the standing posture. From Ahmedabad the party left for
Bombay. The mandali felt tired from lack of good food and rest.
They had had no time to wash and put on clean clothes, but
thoughts of such things would occur to them only when they
commenced the return journey.
"Where Is That Dumb Fellow?"
An unusual gale of great velocity hit the land while they
journeyed back to Bombay. Trees were uprooted and a few fell
across roads and railway tracks. The heavy rain that followed
dislocated railway traffic and created breaches in the tracks. The
train that was carrying the Baba party towards Bombay had to
stop close by a jungle near Nadiad, and its schedule was
declared "indefinitely late." The mandali with Baba had accommodated themselves in a small third-class coupe, generally
reserved for the servants of those traveling in the first-class
compartment. This composite bogie was the first behind the
engine. Baba wished to have tea. The engineer (engine driver)
was a Parsi gentleman, so Eruch approached him and asked in
Gujarati if he could spare some good water, to which he replied,
"Very gladly." The Baba party had tea and the mandali
commenced playing the card game of La Risque with Baba. The
engineer heard this respectable group of Parsis speaking in
Gujarati and felt drawn to them. He peeped in, and as a gesture
of friendliness joined them in the game of cards. Baba had put
on a coat and also a cap that covered

TO THE GIRNAR HILLS IN GUJARAT

405

His long hair. He played the game with such ease and grace that
the engineer had not the slightest hint or sign that Baba was
observing silence. But he did detect the silence of Gustadji and
would refer to him as a muga a dumb fellow. After the game,
Eruch prepared rice and dal for Baba on a mini stove that the
party used to carry on such trips. The repairing of rails
continued throughout the night.
Gustadji from an early age had been leading a simple life in
the company of Perfect Masters like Sai Baba, Upasni Maharaj,
and now Avatar Meher Baba. He was not used to the ways of
the civilized world, which out of necessity demand considerable
haste. By early morning the next day, as is the custom in Indian
villages, Gustadji, with a tumbler filled with water, proceeded
to the nearby jungle to move his bowels. About this time an
"All Well" signal was received by the engineer and he whistled
to warn the passengers to get into the compartments. He then
learned that Gustadji had gone out, hence he whistled and
whistled at intervals. But Gustadji had no idea of this. Again
and again the engineer leaned out from his seat to inquire of
Eruch, peeping from the next window, "Where is that muga
the dumb fellow? Has he come? Is he deaf too?" After some
time Gustadji appeared on the scene, walking leisurely, but
finding no passengers standing outside of any of the
compartments, he somehow realized the situation. As he
hurried, he lifted and waved his tin tumbler at the engineer as a
signal to wait awhile. The engineer felt very amused at this
gesture and particularly at the expression on Gustadji's face,
which reminded him of an innocent child about to miss a bus.
Eventually Gustadji got in, many eyes from the many windows
focused on him, and the train moved on. It goes without saying
that Baba enjoyed the fun immensely.
I have recorded this incident in detail to show that the

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

engineer, who mixed freely with the mandali, detected


Gustadji's silence but he did not even guess that Baba, with
whom he participated in the game of cards, was also observing
silence. One could be with Baba for hours without any
impression that He was observing silence.
This reminds me of another incident where Baba's silence
was detected and evoked an unexpected response. This also
took place on a railway journey. Baba was on one of His mast
tours. The compartment in which the Baba party was traveling
was not crowded. Two elderly ladies were sitting on the other
side. During the journey they saw Baba using gestures to
convey some instructions. The conversation was either in
Gujarati or English. Baba's personality naturally arrested the
attention of the two ladies and they closely, though not directly,
watched Baba's gestures. One of the venerable old ladies
conveyed with motherly affection to her companion, "How
proud a mother would be to have such a robust and handsome
son. But what bad luck that he is dumb!" Some of the mandali
overheard this remark, spoken softly in Hindi. When they told
this to Baba, He had a lively laugh.
Returning to the account of the tour in Gujarat, the train left
Nadiad by sunrise, but as it neared Bombay, it was detained
again at Bassien. A part of the railway track was submerged in
water. Once more they had to wait a long time. Baba reached
Nariman's flat Ashiana in Bombay twenty-four hours late.
From Bombay the party proceeded straight to Meherazad by
car. The mandali looked quite tired but Baba appeared fresh and
cheerful, for any "expedition" to contact good masts was the
work He loved most.

26
At the Close of the Year, 1948

Baba, the Spiritual Physician


IN November 1948 Meher Baba was away from Meherazad for
over three weeks and there was a lot of mail awaiting His
attention. After His return from the mast tour of Gujarat, there
was no travel until the end of the year. Each day a few of the
mandali would either read out or convey the gist of
accumulated letters to Baba and receive His special instructions,
if any. Adi Sr. often went to Meherazad from Ahmednagar to
attend to correspondence. A few excerpts from letters received
and the replies sent, mostly about this time, are given below.
A devotee expressed his feelings: "Baba, I am extremely
steeped in domestic affairs. Bless me, that I not forget you.
Neither should you forget me! Your obligations in times of
distress are unfathomable and beyond human admiration." Baba
assured him of His loving help. A letter portraying the agonies
of a devotee was read out to Baba. To this person in great
distress Baba conveyed, "Happiness and suffering in life do not
last long. Remain calm and patient while experiencing these
ups-and-downs in life. I am with you." During this year Baba
remained mostly either in seclusion or busy contacting masts. A
devotee from Calcutta inquired of Adi Sr. about the nature of
Baba's work in seclusion and the subsequent result. Adi frankly
replied, "The result to my knowledge is known only to

407

408

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

Baba. He will go on working spiritually towards the ending. He


does not give out or predict future events . . . Strange are the
ways of the Master!"
Aside from being the spiritual Guide for all times, Baba
sometimes was a physician, too. I noticed Him recommending a
certain patent mixture for varied stomach complaints, but His
prescription, I think, was more for the soul than for the physical
body. It was a personal help that brought about spiritual results.
One of the old devotees of Baba once told me that during the
Meher Ashram days at Meherabad, Baba allowed some of them
to press His legs and feet at night. Once Baba noticed that
Madhavrao, while attending to this service, often scratched his
own waist. He wore his dhoti very tightly and so had a
ringworm right around his waist. Baba asked him to apply a
common ointment that was easily available in Ahmednagar. To
the surprise of Madhavrao, it worked wonders and he was
completely cured. Later he incidentally advised his friend to use
the same ointment. The man, however, was astonished to find
that it did not help him in the least though he had just a small
patch of ringworm. Madhavrao did not then realize that Baba's
external "treatment" for anyone was an excuse for Him to effect
a spiritual corrective.
By the end of the year 1948, Baba sent the following
"prescription" to one of the dear ones in Karachi: "Stop taking
vitamin A. Don't take food that increases fat. Eat oranges and
lettuce profusely. Report your condition after one month." It
was observed that if Baba gave some such instructions to
anyone, He was very particular about the "check-up." Even in
the later years, Baba's practice of prescribing medicines to some
of His dear ones continued. It was surely a pleasing way to pass
on His spiritual aid. By the way, I may state that I was also one
of His "patients."

AT THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR

409

Reply to a Spiritual Riddle


The mail often brought a variety of communications.
Sometimes the contents would present a contrast. One wrote to
Baba for His blessings on the occasion of the naming ceremony
of his grandson. A letter from another devotee conveyed
information about the passing away of a dear one in the family.
Baba, to whom births and deaths were like the wakings and
sleeps of the one indivisible Life, had a word of cheer or
comfort for each. A letter here or there would appear rather
amusing. A few months earlier, a devotee from north India, who
perhaps regarded Baba as the divine employment officer, wrote:
"I pray at your feet for a proper job in accordance with my
qualifications." After some months, finding himself still
unemployed, he sent a telegram: "Pray at your feet Godrealization." Perhaps he thought that it would be easier for Baba
to give him God-realization than a job! Baba generally smiled at
such communications, but even then one would notice a flash of
compassion in His eyes, a gesture to help such persons work out
the inevitable karma. Baba really lives with those who, in
whatever way, remember Him.
Amusing correspondence such as the above brings to my
mind an incident that took place a decade later. Generally Baba
did not expect the mandali to acknowledge such letters.
Sometimes, however, He showed interest in replying to even a
strange query. During my stay with Baba in Guruprasad, Poona,
one of my duties was to read out to Him in the morning the
correspondence written in Marathi. In a letter addressed to
Baba, a devotee from Baramati quoted a few lines of poetry by
one of the saints in Maharashtra. The rhyme contained some
specific yogic terms. It was a sort of spiritual quiz and Baba was
requested to clarify the meaning. Hearing the letter, instead of
conveying anything

410

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

with reference to the knotty point quoted, Baba simply asked


me to inform this devotee to ask a Baba lover at Sholapur for
the necessary explanation.
The same day in the afternoon as Baba was having a stroll
on the long veranda of Guruprasad, He casually asked me if I
had finished replying to the letters. When I answered in the
affirmative, Baba specifically asked me if I had answered the
question about the spiritual riddle. I just smiled, but Baba
looked rather displeased and repeated the same question. I
answered, "Baba, the person at Sholapur whose address you
have asked me to convey, Anna Jakkal, died long ago." At this
Baba gestured, "What have you to do with that? Do I not know
it? I know everything. Tell me why you did not send a reply." I
felt guilty for not being literal in my obedience to Baba. I
immediately brought a postcard and replied as instructed. Only
when I read the card to Baba did He leave for His resting room
in the western wing of Guruprasad.
I do not know whether the devotee wrote to the address
given or not. After some days, however, I met this person from
Baramati during the darshan hours at Guruprasad, but the topic
mentioned in the correspondence was never referred to in our
conversation. After that time, while attending to correspondence
addressed to Baba, I learned that His instructions alone mattered
most. Baba's ways of dealing with His lovers were surprisingly
personal and direct.

Phase of Contacting the Teenagers


Youth is full of vigor and vagaries; it holds energy in abundance. Youngsters are eager to express themselves and in this
process are not mindful of whether they are helping or harassing
others. But they have an open mind, too, and are ready to invite
a transformation in their lives, provided the appeal is humane
and not condemnatory. Baba's relationship

AT THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR

411

with His young devotees was jovial and loving. One of the
teenagers in a Baba family at Bombay wrote a letter to Baba
expressing remorse about some mischief he had done and also
asked Baba's advice on certain other points. The following reply
was sent to him by one of the mandali: "If you were
mischievous in a good way, Baba has nothing to say. But a
display of ego, use of bad language and insults to elderly people
are not desirable. Baba, however, wants you not to bother about
what has happened but henceforth try as far as possible to
behave yourself He has His nazar on you, and in His
remembrance you will gradually overcome your weaknesses . . .
As for learning to ride a motorcycle, and going swimming,
Baba has no objection provided you are careful and not so hasty
as to lose presence of mind when confronted with unexpected
situations. Be careful, be confident. Remember Him. Don't
worry. . ."
Apart from such personal guidance to those in Baba
families, Meher Baba maintained contact with teenagers in a
special way, as a part of His internal work. (Little is recorded of
this particular phase, which commenced with the opening of the
Hazrat Babajan School at Meherabad in 1925.) Baba spent
considerable time in silent conferences with the masts, and He
similarly spared time, though much less, to be in the jovial
company of different teenagers in different years. Like
contacting the masts, the company of these boys served Him, in
a way, as the "scaffolding" for His inner spiritual work. Baba
seemed to have worked on certain spiritual forces through such
contacts, though the process involved or the results thereof were
not disclosed by Him. In spite of the great concern and affection
that Baba showered on these youngsters, with a few exceptions
they did not necessarily continue to come into Baba's recurrent
contact by attending different programs held in later years.
Perhaps through them something deep was

412

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

sown in the hearts of the young which needs time to germinate


and blossom. As for this phase of work, I will narrate two
incidents, one occurring in India and the other in France.
Ismail and Ibrahim were two brothers living in Poona.
Sometimes Baba especially sent for them and they were asked
to follow certain instructions. After the partition of India in
August 1947, this family moved to Karachi in Pakistan. One of
Baba's dear ones living in that city was asked to look after the
needs of this family, especially the two teenagers. In the middle
of 1948 Baba expressed a wish that these two boys should visit
India and stay near Him or wherever He wished them to reside,
provided they were ready to extend their stay in India to five
years. If they were not in a position to fulfill this condition, they
were not to come and not to worry. The boys wished very much
to go to India, but because of visa difficulties they had to cancel
the visit.
A few months later in the same year, Baba sent another
message to His people in Karachi to try again and obtain visas
for as many days as was permissible and send these boys to
Ahmednagar as soon as possible. This time the matters moved
speedily, and to save time in response to His message, Baba's
men booked tickets for these two boys on the first available
plane flying to India. The plane, however, did not land at
Bombay on schedule. Baba felt very concerned, and a telegram
was sent to Karachi with the necessary inquiries in this matter.
By the time the message reached Pakistan the boys had arrived
in India, so another telegram regarding their safe arrival was
duly sent. Baba could seemingly be very ignorant, but this could
never detract from His Knowledge, His All-knowingness. The
two boys did get the privilege of being in Baba's company for
some days, and then they were sent back to Pakistan.

AT THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR

413

Whenever such young visitors stayed near Baba, He paid


greater attention to their needs than their parents did. He would
see that their health, education and any future prospects were
not ignored. At the time of parting, Baba generally very
lovingly offered them something as prasad, either in cash or
kind.
Search for the Ideal Boy
This phase of work was carried on even during Baba's visits to
the West. For instance, during Baba's 1937 visit to Cannes in
France, He expressed a wish to invite as a guest some vital,
good-natured boy from Europe who would stay at Cannes. The
problem, particularly of bringing him to stay with an Indian
Master, was not an easy one. After due inquiry, Dr. William
Donkin was deputed to visit the Spanish Refugee Association in
Paris. Because of the political situation prevailing in Spain, the
association was located in France. Dr. Donkin was successful in
winning the authorities' permission to release a teenager to
accompany him to Cannes. The boy did not know either English
or French well. Owing to the new environment, he felt rather
nervous. Baba wished that the boy should feel at home and
remain cheerful, so Sam Cohen taught him the languages while
Countess Nadine Tolstoy initiated him into music lessons. Baba
instructed Dr. Nilu to look after the health of this young visitor,
and He Himself took time to play games with him and "worked"
in His own way. Baba expected the boy to be vital and jovial,
but the young Spaniard was of a quiet temperament. The boy
was taken back to Paris at the close of Baba's stay in Cannes.
By this time the situation in Spain had considerably changed,
and the boy soon returned to his homeland. Baba has not
explained the significance and subtleties of His work in
contacting teenagers, but as I do not wish to leave unrecorded
this

414

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

typical phase in Baba's life, I have narrated just the visible portions of these incidents.
The introductory part of this phase consisted each time in a
search for an "ideal boy." There are some interesting stories
connected with this search, but to relate them here would be a
digression. Nevertheless, I remember another incident which
may be regarded as indicative of the closing of this particular
phase. In April 1955 there was a meeting at Rosewood in
Satara. At that time Baba's brother Beheram brought for the first
time copies of a special Baba picture. It was developed from a
group photo of His school friends, all teenagers. In this picture
Baba was seen squatting on an old striped carpet, and on His
chest a small medal was pinned to His long black coat. Holding
the picture between His fingertips, Baba showed it to us and
casually conveyed, "I was in search of a perfect boy like this.
Good that I found him!" Then He switched to some other
subject. Whether He was joking or was serious I cannot say, but
it was noticed that after that, the phase of searching for the ideal
boy gradually came to a close.
In Quest of Light and Love
By the time Meher Baba had concluded the search for the
perfect boy, it was observed that coincidentally in some parts of
the world the younger generation developed interest in spiritual
life and commenced a search for a Perfect Master. Was it the
result of Baba's work the phase of contacting teenagers?
Whatever it may be, I feel it fitting to quote here Meher Baba's
words of wisdom released in His later years especially for
groping youngsters in quest of Light and Love. The following
message, under the caption "Meher Baba Has Said On Drugs,"
was edited and compiled from Meher Baba's statements by one
of His close disciples, Francis Brabazon:

AT THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR

415

No mind-changing or consciousness-expanding drug can


help [even] one step on the way to the inner Self because
mind does not have to be changed nor does consciousness
have to be expanded, for as soon as the soul emerged from
the process of evolution as a human being it had full
consciousness full, fully evolved and complete in every
respect and it cannot be "changed" or "expanded," increased or decreased.
What has to happen now in each one is that mind has to
be emptied of all the impressions which color consciousness
and cause one to identify oneself with what one is not. You
do not have to become better or bigger, you have to become
that which in Truth you are. There is no short-cut to the
Beloved except that which is through the grace of the
God-Man or one of the living Perfect Masters.
Drugs, any drugs, can be used beneficially for specific
medical purposes, but for spiritual progress they are not
only useless but are positively harmful. The experiences
they give are but of the shadows of shining Truth; and
although some of them are not habit-forming, one becomes
addicted to the experiences of the false imagination they
give.
To attempt to approach the Creator of universes and the
Beloved of hearts through drugs is to mock the majesty of
God and insult your own intelligence. The ancient, beautiful
Self of each of us can only be realized by loving Him with
all the love one has pure, simple, unconditional love.
Pure love which gives without bargaining is the greatest
of all forces for overcoming every difficulty on the way to
Truth; it is unparalleled in power, untiring in persistence and
matchless in patience and endurance, and so there is no
darkness it cannot dispel.
Everything has its price. The price for entering the Way
is that you will keep straight ahead and not go off on side
excursions; the price for obtaining the Beloved's presence is
that you cease being present to yourself; and

416

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

the price for actual sight of Him is that you see nothing else
but Him.
The little God of dreams locked in a pill
is not the God of love and universal will.
The little God of dreams which dreams sustain
is not the God who lives in lover's lane. 103
"Will You Willingly Frequent Places of Prostitution?"
To resume the account of the year 1948, Baba continued to stay
at Meherazad. Some of the men and women mandali resided at
Meherabad (Arangaon), a distance of about fifteen miles, so
Baba paid them regular visits. He wished to keep Meherazad as
a secluded residence. Whenever He granted permission to
devotees to see Him, the meeting place would be Meherabad
and not Meherazad. In the month of December there were two
small darshan gatherings at Meherabad, one on the seventh and
the other on the twelfth. For the first program, a person came
from Poona who had met Baba on past occasions. This time he
came especially to have a short interview with Baba. He was a
religious-minded man. Such types of people generally hold
strongly conventional ideas about spirituality and attach very
special importance to the outward forms of rituals and
disciplines. When one has the rare opportunity of meeting the
Master face to face, however, one should unburden oneself of
all dogmas and be receptive to His guidance, whatever it may
be. The Master knows the secret of wiping out vitiating
complexes, but to be eligible for His help, one has to offer
oneself diligently to His compassionate call for obedience.
This particular person pleaded that Baba help him lead a
real spiritual life. Upon hearing his request, Baba

103

Meher Baba Has Said on Drugs (Beacon Hill, N.S.W., Australia: Meher House
Publications, 1973).

AT THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR

417

appeared very pleased. After some formal inquiries He


solemnly asked this person an unusual question: "Will you
willingly frequent places of prostitution in Poona, if ordered?"
The man looked quite puzzled. He tried vainly to smile and
inquired of Baba whether He was joking. He had read a good
many books on religion, but nowhere had he come across such a
strange spiritual discipline. He tried to tell Baba that he was
really in earnest about his request and that he was not after
material enjoyment but spiritual bliss. Baba, to whom the
deepest layers of consciousness were an open book, assured him
that nothing was conveyed in jest. This made the man all the
more confused. He made a fresh attempt to argue with Baba, but
in the end he nervously expressed his inability to carry out
Baba's instruction. Poor soul he failed to understand that
what Baba really expected of him was not visits to the brothels
but an intensity of surrender to Baba's will. Those who failed in
total dedication to Baba, He generally asked to please
themselves. In this case Baba asked the man to visit holy places
in different parts of India. During these travels he was not to
carry money with him, and he was to be careful not to touch any
woman. He happily agreed to this. Baba then fixed the date of
his departure and warned him to commence the pilgrimage on
that particular date. Some days later, this man sent a telegram to
Baba stating that owing to some personal difficulties, the date of
leaving Poona had to be changed. To what extent the person
faithfully and literally carried out the rest of Baba's order, I do
not know. It is, however, clear that he did not comprehend the
rarity and potency of the Master's orders.
The next year, 1949, Baba left Meherazad for the New Life
and all correspondence with Him was completely stopped. No
one was allowed to meet Him. He returned to Meherazad in
December 1951. Some months later when one of Baba's
mandali visited Poona, news reached his ears

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

that the above-mentioned person had commenced visiting


brothels and had ruined his life by contacting the worst type of
lustful impressions. Perhaps he had tried to play with fire. Had
he agreed to carry out Baba's instruction, it would have been a
different story. "Doing" anything under the express order of the
Master is "non-doing." Under such conditions, the inexorable
law of karma works but it does not create impressions that bind
the soul. Baba's first question to him was incidental and strictly
personal. I am sure it will not be misunderstood. Baba always
held high the dignity of married life and warned all against a
life of promiscuity. In later years, the two injunctions that Baba
repeatedly stressed for those in quest of Truth were: "No drugs;
and no sex outside of marriage."
The Devil of Doubt
The second darshan program was on December 12, 1948. From
the beginning, Baba was benevolent in allowing me to be
present at most of such gatherings. With His inner help I was
able to attend though sometimes unwarranted difficulties
arose. Some memories connected with such short stays near
Baba in those early days are vivid and lively. But to be frank, it
is difficult for me to recollect the month and the year. At any
rate, I am sure I was at Meherabad on December 12. I still
remember what a happy time I spent with Dr. Ghani. Once he
read to me some lines from his ghazals. As I did not understand
Urdu, he used to explain the meaning in Hindi and English.
These ghazals were compiled in a small booklet under the title
Hosh-mad-hosh. I will give a free rendering of some lines from
the ghazal entitled "Saki. The poet wrote: "O lover, as a rule
no unwanted person can enter the lane of the Beloved. In case
anyone sets his foot unawares in this lane, it is difficult for him
to get away from it. This (Saki's) is the school the like

AT THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR

419

of which you will not find anywhere. The lesson you once learn
here cannot be forgotten. It is rare fortune that you come across
a tavern of the Saki the Wine-seller. Drink to your heart's
content. If the glass is broken, do not hesitate to drink by
handfuls." What a marvelous lane, an incredible school and a
wonderful tavern! I feel that these lines portray the atmosphere
of those small Baba gatherings held at Meherabad.
On the morning of the twelfth, Baba and a few of the
mandali arrived at Meherabad from Meherazad and the whole
atmosphere seemed to radiate His divine presence. Once during
the day I saw Baba sitting on a chair in the open courtyard near
the ashram building. A well-dressed group of His devotees
men and women who had come from outstations were
standing in a queue to meet Him. Some of them held in their
hands nicely wrapped packets to offer Baba. In spite of the
unconditional love that Baba showered on me, it was my
weakness, rather the result of my inferiority complex, that
sometimes I had a thought, a doubt, that Baba was more in
favor of the rich. Influenced by this misunderstanding, I picked
a small cluster of tulsi a wild but sacred shrub with small
leaves and joined the line.
With a look of unhurried awareness of the depth of
everyone's devotion for Him, Baba was greeting each one in the
queue. He patted some on the back, kissed a few children, and
smiled at the rest as they moved closer to His chair. There was a
quality of heavenliness in all His gestures. Yet how strange that
in such a blissful atmosphere my mind was still possessed by
the devil of doubt! As I approached Baba, I bowed down and
offered Him that bare bunch of leaves. He accepted it
gracefully, as if He had received something very valuable. I
have noticed that sometimes a simple offering made Him beam
with animated appreciation. He looked at me and then handed

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GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

these leaves to Kaka Baria, who was standing by His side, as


though for safekeeping. He must have read my stupid thoughts,
and yet He so lovingly accepted the leaves. I felt ashamed and
pitied myself. Baba's response of love, however, warded off this
constricting doubt and it did not return.
I was convinced that Baba is for everyone. He has His own
ways of meeting His dear ones on their own levels. He is for the
rich and for the poor. He is for the learned and for the ignorant.
Once someone questioned Baba in the same vein of doubt that I
had had, and He conveyed: "Don't see how I behave with the
rich or the poor, the mad or the masts. Don't try to fathom the
Unfathomable; do not judge me. Love me." Baba's words
remind me of the lines of Hafiz. In one couplet Hafiz says:
"When you are with the Beloved, beware. Every moment in His
company is a crossroad that may lead you close to or away from
Him."
A Humorous Coincidence
Prior to Baba's long stay at Meherazad, the men and women
mandali who constantly moved with Him from place to place
did not live together but in two different houses, and the two
quarters would not be very close to each other. At Meherazad,
however, Baba asked the men to occupy the small, improvised
rooms adjacent to the compound wall.104 In those days, as per
Baba's instruction, the men disciples were not allowed to meet
or even greet the women permanently residing near Baba. Dr.
Goher, who joined the women mandali in 1947, was an
exception. She was the link between these two groups. While
sitting with the men mandali, if Baba wished to convey
anything

104

The rooms were unfurnished and had a low roof of old corrugated iron sheets.
There was no lavatory, no kitchen, and not even a bathroom.

AT THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR

421

to the women inside, Kaka Baria would ring a bell and Goher
would come to the gate to get the message. Even the gardening
work inside the compound wall was done only by the
maidservants. Though a doctor and Baba's untiring personal
physician, in the beginning Dr. Goher was allotted many sundry
duties except medical ones. Dr. Goher commented later,
"Maybe it was to take away the pride of profession!" By the end
of 1948, Baba's brother Adi Jr. brought some Manila ducks to
Meherazad and Baba wished to keep them, so a small tank was
built in the garden that suited them well. Dr. Goher was to look
after the ducks. Besides, she had to take care of other small
poultry. What a spiritual discipline to follow after meeting the
Master! So instead of reading any books or journals on medical
subjects, she had to study books on poultry farming.
Baba rarely granted any interviews at the Meherazad
quarters. In December, however, He made an exception. One
morning He was seen sitting in Kaka Baria's room with a
learned person from North India. Baba was explaining to the
visitor the planes of consciousness. After elucidating the main
characteristics of the first six planes, He was about to comment
upon the seventh plane. Just then, not knowing that Baba was
giving an interview, Dr. Goher appeared at the door and broke
in sharply: "Baba, the wheat husk for the chickens is out of
stock. Can I ask the servant boy to get another bag?" Baba,
whose sense of humor was as spontaneous as that of a genuine
comedian, smiled at her and good-humoredly gestured: "We
were about to 'step' onto the seventh plane and you brought us
right down to the gross plane!" Goher felt a bit nervous, but in a
way she was duty-bound, too. The person who attended daily to
the marketing was about to leave for Ahmednagar, a distance of
about ten miles, and it was time to give him the list of articles to
be purchased for the day. To order any new or extra things,
Baba had to be informed. It was His specific

422

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

instruction. Thus obedience to Baba's order incidentally brought


about this humorous coincidence. How the scholar related
Baba's explanation about the planes and Goher's inquiry about
the wheat husk is a different matter, but I do remember that
Baba enjoyed the fun of the situation and in later years
sometimes referred to this incident and gestured: "To me husk
or heaven makes no difference. What I liked most about Goher
was her sense of duty in obedience to my order."
"Don't Worry Be Happy"
During this month, similarity in names created some slight
humor. Minoo (Kharas) from Pakistan requested that Baba grant
darshan to a small group of Baba lovers from Karachi. Baba
instructed Adi Sr. to send a telegram of approval. In the haste of
attending to so many details, Adi Sr. unwittingly thought that he
was to inform Minoo Pohawala another Baba lover from
Karachi and acted accordingly. Naturally the telegram
caused short but sweet confusion, but soon the mistake was
rectified. Minoo Kharas and other Baba stalwarts from Pakistan
duly arrived in India. They had Baba's enlivening darshan at
Ahmednagar on the last day of the year in Khushru Quarters,
now known as Meher Nazar. There was silence in the room, and
all gazed at Baba's radiant face. Everyone paid homage to Baba
and He accepted their love with a beaming smile. When this
informal meeting was over, everyone was exceedingly happy.
They had journeyed for hundreds of miles to see Baba just for a
very short time, and they would have been only too happy to
extend their stay, but Baba had asked them to leave
Ahmednagar the next day, January 1, 1949. They were happy to
obey Him.
At such small gatherings of Baba lovers, there would not be
any discussions on metaphysical or spiritual subjects.

AT THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR

423

Baba's presence was enough for His lovers. Baba would


generally make inquiries about the journey and their health. His
robust sense of humor would keep the atmosphere light and
lively. With an open mind the visitors would absorb His divine
presence and accept lovingly His words of advice. The gist of
what He generally conveyed to His dear ones can be summed
up in the following simple, yet deep and potent, statements:
Do your best and leave to me the rest: Don't worry, be
happy.
Go happily. Take me with you.
Be in the world but not of it.
Don't lose heart but keep me in your heart.
I am nearer to you than your own breath.
Remember me and I am there with you, and my love will
guide you.
I am the divine Beloved who loves you more than you
can ever love yourself.
I love all and all I want is love.
I am Love.
With such loving and encouraging words of advice conveyed by Avatar Meher Baba through His loving gestures to a
small gathering at Khushru Quarters, the year 1948 came to a
close. There was, however, no indication of His incredible New
Life of "hopelessness and helplessness" that commenced ten
months later.
Glory to the God-Man, the Ancient One, the eternal
Beloved!

GLOSSARY

Abba: Father.
adept pilgrim: A person either on the fifth or the sixth plane of
consciousness or in between them.
advanced pilgrim: A person either on the third or fourth plane of
consciousness or in between them.
Ahuramazda: Almighty God.
Allah: The Muslim name for the One God.
arti: A traditional Hindu ceremony performed in the worship of
gods by moving a lighted lamp, camphor or joss sticks
circularly around the idol. In the case of Meher Baba, His
lovers did not necessarily follow this conventional ceremony
when the arti (song or songs of dedication) was recited or
sung.
ashram: A place of retreat.
avadhoot: A spiritually advanced person who generally wears
no clothes.
Avatar, an: An incarnation manifesting a specific divine quality.
Avatar, the: The incarnation of God in human form. The GodMan, Messiah, Christ.
bairagi: A mendicant with long matted hair and ashes smeared
over the body.
Bhagavad Gita: Lit., "Song of the Blessed One." A section of
the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, consisting of a colloquy
between Krishna and Arjuna on the eve of battle.

424

GLOSSARY

425

Bhagavan: The Supreme Being. The God Vishnu (The


Sustainer). A revered person.
Bhagwan: See: Bhagavan.
bhajan: A devotional song, or the singing of devotional songs.
bbiksha: Charity, alms. Anything received by one who goes out
begging, especially for food.
chapatti: Flat wheat bread.
chappals: Sandals with straps passing over the instep but not
around the ankle.
dak bungalow: A post (mail) station, or traveler's rest house,
located originally on post roads
dakshina: Acting to the satisfaction of. Colloquially, a holy gift
given or received in the form of money or kind.
dal: The pigeon pea. Also, any pulse or split grain.
darshan: Formal audience. The appearance of the Master to
receive homage and to bestow blessings on devotees,
sometimes in the form of prasad, q.v.
dharmashala: A free shelter for travelers.
dhoti: A type of loincloth.
dhuni: A ceremonial fire fueled by faggots or sandalwood and
ghee, known as a purifying fire when lit or used by a Master.
durbar: An audience hall graced by a king or a Perfect Master.
fakir: One who lives the life of poverty, in the spiritual sense. A
mendicant.
gadi: A seat or throne. A mattress.
ghazal: A short love-poem. An ode. A special poetic
composition in Urdu or Persian.
gopi: Lit., milkmaid. A woman companion of the Lord Krishna.

426

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

gram: The chick-pea. Also a type of bean.


guru: A spiritual preceptor or master.
Hari: Lord.
Hu: Lit., He. God.
ittefaqi: A mast who has become God-intoxicated accidentally.
jalali: Glorious. Related to the masculine or outgoing principle.
Fiery or hot tempered.
jamali: Beautiful. Related to the feminine or receptive principle.
Quiet or mild tempered.
jap: Repetition of a name of God or other sacred word.
Jivanmukta: The Liberated Incarnate, i.e., God-realized and in
the body. A Perfect One.
jowar: A grain sorghum, also called guinea corn or Indian
millet.
kafni: A body-length lightweight cotton garment. A long robe.
Kamil: Perfect.
karma: The law of action and reaction. Fate. The natural and
necessary happenings of one's lifetime, preconditioned by
one's past lives.
ki jai: Lit., victory to. Used in the sense of "Hail to."Jai in a
greeting is used in the sense of calling on the name of the
Avatar, or in remembrance of the Avatar, e.g., "Jai Baba!"
"Jai Ram!"
kirtan: The singing of devotional songs, accompanied by music,
interspersed with explanations on spiritual subjects.
Krishna: The Avatar whose history is told in the Hindu epic
poem, the Mahabharata.

GLOSSARY

427

Lahar:. Lit., a ripple, wave, fancy, whim. The Whim of God


which caused the Creation.
Lila: The "Divine Sport" of God. The "game" which God plays,
which manifests the Universe.
Lungi: A loincloth.
madar-zad: Born a mast, q.v.
mahabubi: A mast who wears articles of feminine attire.
mahatma: Lit., a great soul.
majzoob: Lit., absorbed in. One who is absorbed in a plane of
involving consciousness. Also, sometimes used to denote one
who is God-merged (more correctly called Majzoob-e-Kamil).
majzoobiyat: The state attained upon God-realization.
mandali: The intimate disciples of a Sadguru (Perfect Master)
or Avatar (God-Man).
mantra: A sacred name or phrase given by a master to his
disciple to be repeated as a spiritual discipline.
Manzil-e-Meem: Lit., the House of "M." The residence which
Meher Baba used for work with his mandali in Bombay in
1922-1923.
mast: (pronounced "must") A God-intoxicated man on the Path.
mastani: A God-intoxicated woman.
masti: Lit., intoxication.
Maya: Lit., illusion. False attachment. That which makes the
Nothing appear as everything. The root of Ignorance. The
Shadow of God.
mayavic: Arising from Maya; illusory.
Mukti: Liberation. Release from the cycle of births and deaths
(i.e., reincarnation).
namaskar: Adoration or greeting. A salutation, bow, or
obeisance.
Nawab: The title of a Muslim prince.

428

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

nazar: Lit., sight. The Master's protective glance or watch.


nimaz: Prayer.
nirvikalpa samadhi: The "I am God, state of the Perfect One.
Divinity in expression.
Om: God. Also, the first Word, the primal sound at the
beginning of the Beginning of Creation.
pahad: A hill.
pan: Betel leaves.
pandal: A shelter erected on upright poles supporting a roof of
bamboo matting or cotton cloth. A large, open-sided
temporary pavilion used for meetings.
Parabrahma: The Supreme Spirit. God.
Paramhansa: A Perfect One, who is sometimes "drowned" in
God and sometimes also conscious of Creation.
pranams: Salutations.
prasad: Lit., anything that is first offered to God or the Master
and then distributed in His name. A small gift, usually edible,
given by the Master as a concrete expression of His love;
when swallowed it acts as a seed which will eventually grow
into full-blown love. A gracious gift of the Master.
qavval: One who sings qavvalis.
qavvali: A special type of spiritual song, usually in Urdu or
Persian, intimately addressing the Beloved, sung to
spontaneously improvised music.
Qutub: Lit., the hub or axis. A Perfect Master.
Rama: The Avatar whose life is the subject of the Hindu epic,
the Ramayana.
rava: A sweet dish.
rishi: Lit., seer. An inspired sage or religious poet. One to
whom the Vedas were revealed.

GLOSSARY

429

Sadguru: A Perfect Master. A Man-God.


sadhak: One who practices sadhana.
sadhana: Practice, striving, endeavor.
sadhra: A thin, ankle-length muslin shirt.
sadhu: A pilgrim. An advanced soul. A mendicant.
sahaj samadhi: The effortless divine state of God-consciousness
with Creation-consciousness. Divinity in action.
sahavas: Lit., close companionship. A gathering held by the
Master so that His devotees may enjoy His company, i.e., His
physical presence.
salik: One who consciously has divine experience of any of the
six planes.
samadhi: Trance, induced by spiritual meditation.
Contemplation, leading to rapture. The tomb of a saint or
Master.
sanskaras: Impressions. Also impressions which are left on the
soul as memories from former lives, and which determine
one's desires and actions in the present lifetime.
sanyasi: One who has renounced the world.
sardar: A chieftain, leader or commander.
seer: (also, ser) A unit of weight of a little over two pounds.
sharbat: A sweet cold drink.
shastri: One who is well-versed in the Hindu scriptures or
shastras.
Shiva: The Destroyer, in the Hindu trinity Creator-PreserverDestroyer.
siddhis: Occult or psychic powers.
Sufism: The mystic discipline which has its roots in the Middle
East. Its origins are lost in antiquity. It is known to have
existed at the time of Zoroaster and was revitalized by
Muhammad. It exists today in all parts of the world.
tabla: A drum.
tap: Purificatory action, penance.

430

GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN

tattya: A reed mat.


tonga: A horse-cab.
tribhuvan: The triple sphere. The created universe.
Urdu: The official language of Pakistan, written in Arabic
script, and also spoken in the northern part of India.
Vishnu: The Preserver, in the Hindu trinity Creator-PreserverDestroyer.
wali: Lit., friend. A friend of God; one who has wilayat. More
specifically, a fifth plane saint. walla (or, wala): A suffix
denoting an agent, doer, owner, possessor, keeper or
inhabitant.
wilayat: Lit., friendship (with God). The state of a soul on the
fifth or sixth planes.
Yezdan: Almighty God.
yoga: Lit., union. The method and practice leading to conscious
union of the human being with the Divine Principle.
yogi: A soul who is traversing the spiritual Path. One who
practices yoga.
yuga: A cycle of time, of about 700 to 1400 years' duration,
which begins whenever the Avatar appears.
Zoroaster: (also, Zarathustra) The ancient Avatar who lived in
Iran, one of the earliest of whom we have records.

Bibliography

Jean Adriel, Avatar Berkeley: John F. Kennedy University


Press, 1971.
Meher Baba, Beams from Meher Baba on the Spiritual
Panorama San Francisco: Sufism Reoriented, Inc., 1958.
Discourses 6th ed. in 3 vol., San Francisco: Sufism
Reoriented, Inc., 1967.
God Speaks 2d ed. rev. and enl., New York: Dodd, Mead &
Co., 1973.
Life at Its Best San Francisco: Sufism Reoriented, Inc., 1957.
Listen Humanity New York: Colophon Books, Harper &
Row, 1971.
The Everything and the Nothing Berkeley: The Beguine
Library, 1971.
William Donkin, The Wayfarers San Francisco: Sufism
Reoriented, Inc., 1969.
Purdom, God to Man, and Man to God London: Victor
Gollancz Ltd., 1956.
The God-Man Crescent Beach, S.C.: Sheriar Press, Inc., 1971.

431