Experiences of Dr. Meher Jyoti with Meher Baba
Ruzbeh N. Bharucha
I had spoken with Dr. Meher Jyoti and the recording had failed but the good doctor agreed to speak with me again. It is strange that whenever a recording has failed and I have done the interview again, more details have emerged, more information has been revealed, more depth has been realised.
“Doctor can we start with the story of your father? All that you told me the other day about how he didn’t believe in Baba and then later devoted his life to Baba and about him writing the Meher Chalisa.”
“Sure. You ask me questions and I will answer.”
“Okay. When did your father first hear about Meher Baba?”
“My father, Keshav Narayan Nigam, was an advocate in Hamirpur. He was a bhakt or disciple of Lord Krishna. All that which Lord Krishna has guided in the holy book Gita, the way to live and love and be, my father would live his life as per these guidelines in the Gita. So my father was a B.A., LL.B and he was an advocate in Hamirpur. Now, there was a devotee of Meher Baba called Baba Das. He used to go from place to place and talk to people about Meher Baba. This transpired in the year 1942. He told my father about Baba and that Meher Baba was Lord Krishna Himself.
“My father obviously did not take this information too well. Baba Das gave my father some photos of Meher Baba. My father threw those photographs on the road. His point of view was that if Meher Baba was an Avatar, why wasn’t He serving the country and fighting for the independence of the country like Mahatma Gandhi who was striving to liberate, our country. According to my father, at that time, Meher Baba was a dhongi, a fraud. My father had a friend named Shripati Sahai Ravat, who was a freedom fighter. The police were searching for him in order to arrest him. He was obviously running away from the police and while running away, he must have heard of Meher Baba and he went to meet Meher Baba. Baba gave him an agya, an order, to surrender himself. Shripati obeyed Baba’s agya and he called a friend of his who worked in the police department and told this friend that, ‘you arrest me, as there is an inaam, a reward, to be received for the person who arrests me’.”
“That is sweet of him.”
“Yes, I thought so too. Anyway, so obeying Baba’s word, this man got himself arrested. Now, my father used to take part in the freedom movement with Gandhiji. He was part of the Swatantrata Aandolan, the freedom movement. My father had gone to jail twice. When my father was in jail, in January 1943 even Shripati Sahai reached the same jail. So he told my father how he had met Meher Baba and on Baba’s guidance agreed to be arrested. He also spoke to my father about who Meher Baba truly was but my father was not impressed even then. Now Baba Das gave my father’s address to Meher Baba’s mandali and to my father’s great irritation Baba’s circulars began to be mailed to his address periodically. My pitaji, father, used to get very, very, irritated when these circulars would arrive to the extent that the moment he would see any mail from Ahmednagar he used to throw the mail or circular straight into the dustbin. Then, in May 1948, it so happened that a circular once again arrived and I guess due to Baba’s grace, for some reason, my father opened the circular and there were a few aagyas, or rules, or do’s and don’ts, mentioned in it. One such aagya was not to touch the opposite sex. Another one was, not to touch money. Both these rules applied for a certain duration of time. Not for life, but for a certain period of time, no woman or money was to be touched.
“My father thought that whoever Meher Baba was, genuine or not, these aagyas made sense and thus there was no harm in following them. He wrote a letter to Baba that, ‘I want to comply with these two aagyas of Yours but my elder daughter who is seven years old, she sleeps with me and is very attached to me. I do not know how I will be able to not touch her. I need Your help for this’. Thus, he asked Baba for help in his letter. Meher Baba loves testing all His lovers. To make matters more complicated, within days, without applying for a job, my father got a call for a new job. My father was certain that he would not take this new job, so he decided to go and tell these people that he would not be accepting this offer. When he went there, something transpired and instead of my father refusing this job offer, he accepted it, then and there, itself.”
“How old were you at that time?”
“I was around four years old. I was born in 1944. This incident took place in 1948. My father returned home after accepting this offer, and as he had to join this new job which was in some other place where he would have to be alone, he sent his family to his village, which is now called Meherastana. It was called Mahewa earlier. In 1952 when Baba went there, a jhopdi, a hut, was made for Him with kacchi mitti, mud. Since then that place has been renamed as Meherastana. Baba had clearly said that ‘this is My house, it is very dear to Me’. That is how the place got to be known as Meherastana. Those days it was in Hamirpur zilla. Now it is in Mahoba District.
“Anyway, my father sent us there. When he was about to leave for his new work destination, a girl from the neighborhood came and put a tikka on his forehead. Knowing fully well that he had taken a pledge not to allow any woman to touch him, he still allowed this girl to apply the tikka. Not only that, he patted the girl’s cheek and removed a few rupees and gave it to her. Thus, he had disobeyed both the orders and his own word to Meher Baba, of not touching a woman and not touching money. By the time he reached Naogaon, the same hand with which he had touched the girl, there was a big boil and it was very painful. He tried to take care of it a lot but it didn’t get alright. The boil became so big and painful that he had to get it operated. He tried a lot to call us to be with him, but for some reason or the other, we just couldn’t reach him. He had to face great difficulty and something within him was certain that all this was happening because he had gone against his own word given to Meher Baba. He had taken a pledge and he had broken it and now he was paying the price of breaking his word to Baba.
“He didn’t know the price to be paid for non-obedience. He had taken his pledge lightly and paid the price. Baba had not forced him to take the pledge. He had taken it on his own. But once you take a pledge you don’t go about breaking that pledge, especially, if you have taken the pledge with Meher Baba. He has no room for disobedience.
“Then when the duration of the pledge of not touching women and money got over my father got alright. Soon thereafter a book titled, Avatar, reached my father. My father was already slowly being drawn towards Meher Baba. When he read the book Avatar he changed completely from within and he accepted that Meher Baba, Himself was truly Lord Krishna. The love he had for Krishna was all directed towards Meher Baba now. He then wrote a letter to Baba stating that ‘I am a B.A., LL.B, gold medalist from Lucknow University and I also have got a distinction in Hindi. I want to translate the book Avatar in Hindi’. Baba gave him permission to translate the book. Please note that till now my father had not met or seen Baba personally. He began translating the book, Avatar. He kept doing the translation and during this time his love for Meher Baba became so intense that he wrote the Meher Chalisa. You can imagine he began to translate a book and wrote the Meher Chalisa without once speaking or meeting or even seeing Baba personally. Soon thereafter what he was eagerly waiting for took place. He got darshan of Baba on 30th August, 1949. After he met Baba, he fell more deeply in love with Baba. He was the Director in this new job and from there he came to Hamirpur as the Secretary of District Board. A few people, I can’t remember their names now, they wanted Baba to come to Hamirpur to give His darshan. Years later, Baba came to Hamirpur for the first time on 18th November, 1952, to meet and bless His lovers. Baba has said that ‘Hamirpur is My heart and Andhra is My mind’.
“Now, Baba had laid down certain conditions of His visit. There was a bridge being made at that time and His first condition was that ‘when I am passing by the bridge no one will join their hands’. The problem was that there was work taking place on the bridge and a lot of people were working there. All those people were aware of Baba’s visit. It was a very difficult task, to make everyone especially the old people there to obey these orders. But with Baba’s Krupa, grace, all went well. When Baba passed by the bridge, everyone stood on both the sides of the bridge, but they had put their hands down. No one joined their hands and Baba’s vehicle passed by,” both of us sighed with relief.
“Then Baba reached Hamirpur. I was eight years old at that time. I remember we all used to run behind Baba wherever He went. Thus, I saw Baba for the first time when I was eight years old. Baba was staying at the rest house in Hamirpur.”
“What did you feel when you first saw Meher Baba?”
“He was very, very, attractive. Very beautiful. He was very beautiful and there was so much of magnetism in Him that we all just wanted to be near Him and touch Him. As we couldn’t touch Him, we used to keep following Him. We would keep following Him wherever He went, like His shadow. Those days, growing girls were to be behind a parda, a veil. My elder sister was behind the parda always and she wasn’t even allowed to come out. My younger sister was too small. I was the in-between sibling, so I used to run around outside, all the time following Baba. Now when Baba went to Meherastana, He had laid down certain conditions from before. Baba had made it clear that ‘wherever I am going to stay, that place shouldn’t be either too close nor too far away from the village. My mandali, should be with Me, and My mandali should also not be too close nor too far away from Me’. My father had begun his research to find such a place. There was a mound and people said that ghosts lived there. No one went there. There was a well there too and the place was filled with trees and bushes. Don’t know why but my father chose that fort to be the place where Baba and His mandali would reside. My father said that a small jhopadi, hut will be made for Baba and He would stay here. All the trees and bushes were cut and the place was cleaned and a small hut or jhopdi was made for Baba. When Baba came to Meherastana, the door wasn’t made for the jhopdi and the mud of the hut hadn’t still dried. It was the month of November but Baba slept inside. The next day Baba praised the hut a lot, He said, ‘this place is very nice, this is My house, though there is lot of pain in My body’.”
“Because there was no door and due to the cold wind?”
“Yes, I assume so; though He didn’t say anything about the door. Baba reached here on 21st November and on 23rd November, outside the jhopdi, there was a ground or maidan and people had gathered there. Baba met those people and began to ask them, ‘what do you think of Me?’. After the person would reply He would ask another person, ‘what do you think of Me?’. Each person would reply according to his belief. One man said, ‘Baba I want to believe that You are an Avatar but I am not being able to’. Someone said, ‘I keep You in great regard and as a great Hasti or power house’. Baba said, ‘you don’t worry, if you believe that I am on a high pedestal or I am a great soul, then believe that I am the highest of the high, (ooncha maantay ho to theek hai, sabsay ooncha mantay raho), when you find someone higher and greater (ooncha) than Me, then you leave Me and go away to that person’.
“Baba was clear that He should be served lunch at eleven. My pitaji looked around and decided that it was nearing eleven and around five to six people were left to take Baba’s darshan, so he heaved a sigh of relief. In his mind my father sighed saying, ‘I have got saved’. He did not want to disobey Baba ever again. But as soon as my father had this thought, Baba left the other people, looked at my father, lifted His finger, pointed out to him, and asked him through gestures, ‘you tell me what do you think about Me’, (tu bata tu Mujhe kya samajhta hai). My father replied that, ‘to explain what I think about You Baba would take time and it is already time for You to have Your lunch’. Baba said, ‘no problem, I will eat food later, you tell Me first what do you think of Me’. It was then that my father recited the Meher Chalisa before Baba. After hearing the Meher Chalisa, Baba put His hand on His heart and said through gestures that ‘this has touched My heart. It is very good’, and He asked through gestures, ‘have you written this?’. My father replied, ‘Baba You have written this?’. Baba again asked, ‘have you written it?’. My father said, ‘nai nai Baba, You have written it?’. Then Baba looked around at the people and the mandali who had gathered there and said through gestures, ‘whatever he has written in this Meher Chalisa, I am all of that. He has written only the truth. All that he has asked for to be granted in this Meher Chalisa of Mine, I give him all of that’.
“Have you ever read the Meher Chalisa?” She asked of me. I wanted Mother Earth to open and sort of gulp me within.
“No. I haven’t read the Meher Chalisa, but I know of it.”
“There is a verse in the Meher Chalisa, I will recite it for you. ‘Chahu nahi jagat ka vaibhav riddhi siddhi nahi chahu.
Duniya daulat maal khazana, Tumhi pai thukrau.
Chahu sada saloni moorat, yahay dekh harshau.
Isko dhyau, isko gaoo is par bali bali jaoo.
Shravan sunay to naam tiharo, rasna tuv goon gavay.
Chod jagat kay fanday manuva, ek tumhi ko dhyavay.
Baso mor nainan mein aisay tumahi chod nahi aur na lakhai
Surat ek rath Meher naam ki doojo aur na sai.’
Then later in the Meher Chalisa, it is written,
‘Tu hi Brahma, Tu hi Vishnu, Shiv anadi Tu hi mein janu.
Tu hi Indra, Brahaspati Tu hi, Tribhuvannath Tumhi ko manu.’
English translation of the above passage from the Meher Chalisa which is translated by Mani and Eruch:
I do not want the renown of the world,
I long not for the occult and supernatural.
This world’s treasures and possessions
I would spurn for the dust of Thy feet.
I long ever for Thy beloved Face
To see it is my joy.
On it I meditate, in praise of it I sing, and
I offer my obeisance to it
in the offering of my self.
If my ears may hear, let it be but the sound of Thy Name.
If my tongue may speak, let it be but to sing Thy praise.
Let my mind relinquish the snares of the world
and be engrossed only in Thee.
So dwell in my eyes, Lord,
that I may see none save Thee.
Sweet is the continuous uttering of Thy Name: “MEHER”!
There is naught else but Thee.
Each time I am born,
may I find, O God-Man, Thy Form,
then, with my devotion and service unto Thee
at last fulfilled, be re-absorbed into Thy Formlessness.
Then later in the Meher Chalisa, it is written,
Thou art Brahma; thou art Vishnu.
In Thee I recognize the beginningless Shiva
and Indra and Brahaspati.
Thou alone art Lord of the three worlds.
“Then Baba said through gestures, ‘whatever he has asked for in this Meher Chalisa I have given it to him. All that he has said in this is the truth. I am all of that’. Baba loved the Meher Chalisa so much that Baba heard the Meher Chalisa twelve times in His lifetime. After Baba dropped His body on the 31st of January 1969, Baba’s body was kept in the crypt for seven days. On the seventh day, i.e. 7th February 1969, just before closing Baba’s Samadhi, His prayers were conducted, then my father sat there inside the Samadhi and recited the Meher Chalisa before Him and then the crypt was closed. Baba liked it so much that Eruch and Mani did the English translation of the Meher Chalisa. The book was published in such a way that in accordance to every verse, Baba’s photos are printed. One side the Hindi version is printed and on the other side the English version is printed with photos. Have you seen the book?” she inquired of me.
I wanted Mother Earth to now cover the hole dug for me.
“This was printed during the East West gathering in 1962. Anyway, Baba was so happy with my father that on 22nd March 1953, it was Ram Navmi on that day, at Dehradun, He called my father and with His own hands, Baba gave him an appointment letter and appointed him as the Chief Worker of Hamirpur zilla. Baba then visited Meherastana again in February 1954. On that trip, Baba had said through gestures that, ‘I will rest the night in My house, Meherastana. I will not eat food and I will not give darshan’. His lovers had heard about this trip and they had gathered to see Him. When Baba saw all these people gathered on both sides, Baba told my father through gestures that, ‘I had said that I will not give darshan, then how come these people are standing here’. My father told Baba that ‘all these people know that You will not be giving darshan but they are standing far away only to have a glimpse of You’. Baba became very happy and said that He would give darshan to all those who wanted to get His blessings.”
“Baba would change His mind often, right?”
“Yes, my father was prepared for last minute changes in Baba’s plans. He was aware that Baba could change the schedule on the spot, so he had already made preparations for everything. Baba sat and gave darshan. Then in between the darshan, Baba said, ‘I am very hungry, I want food in half an hour’. My mother was called and my father told her to prepare food for Baba in half an hour. Now, in those days, in a small village they used to cook food on fire burnt from the wood and dry cow dung cakes, which took a long time just to light. Also they did not have the comfort of a pressure cooker in those days. Strangely the food got prepared exactly in half an hour, all with Baba’s Grace. He only makes everything take place the way He wants. When Baba gives an order and one simply obeys, He makes it happen. Baba liked to eat dal chawal (lentil and rice). After food, Baba through gestures said, ‘I will do jagran at night (keeping awake all through the night) and let all My lovers and the workers come and attend it’. So, in a matter of a few hours, He had changed His mind, thrice. He gave darshan, ate food and did jagran till four thirty at night. That night, around 12.50am Baba called my father and told him through gestures that, ‘do you know what a big blessing I am going to give you today’. My father told Baba, ‘no Baba how can I know?’ Baba pointed at His writing board and with His fingers pointed to alphabets which read Avatar Meher Baba Ki and after indicating Jai He lifted His hands up. He did this thrice. Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai. This was the first time Meher Baba declared Himself as the Avatar and He did so in Meherastana. After that Meherastana became quite famous. There are many international lovers of Baba who visit Meherastana. Baba had said that, ‘I will come here after seven hundred years and this house and place will become a very big Tirthsthan (place of Pilgrimage).”
“In those days Meherastana was such a small village, there were no facilities to stay. Lovers had to face a lot of problems to organize a stay there. Now you go to Merherasta and see how well developed it has become.”
“What about your other family members? Were they Baba lovers too?”
“We were four brothers and five sisters. Out of which two sisters and all four brothers had passed over. Three brothers were elder to me and one was younger than me but they all passed over. My mother truly was devastated and she would cry for her dead children all the time and also cry wanting another son. In 1952, when Baba came to our home, at that time both my mother and father together did Baba’s Aarti. Baba told my mother, ‘I am very happy today, ask for whatever you want.’ Everyone including my father thought that my mother would ask for another son but my mother said, ‘Baba I don’t need anything, we have got You, all I need is Your love (prem) and my devotion (bhakti) towards You, nothing else’. Baba became very happy. After that we never saw our mother crying for a son. This was her love for Baba and Baba’s grace towards my mother. She never ever cried for a son again. I still remember that incident and always remember the love my parents had for Baba and the love which Baba had for all of us.
“Baba saved two people from dying (jeevan daan) in front of me. One was my aunt, my mother’s sister, who had got typhoid and the doctors had given up hope. When Baba was told about this, He said through gestures, ‘come on, let’s go and see her’. Baba usually did not go to people’s houses. As soon as Baba reached her place, my aunt after doing pranam to Baba told Him, ‘Baba I am in a lot of pain, heal me please’. Baba indicated through gestures that there was no hope, may be one percent chance of survival. Baba told her, ‘just think of Me and when you can’t speak aloud, just look at My photo’. My youngest uncle was an Ayurvedic doctor and Baba told him to prepare some mixture and to give it to my aunt. ‘Take My Name and feed this to her and she might be saved, though 99.9% there is no hope’. My uncle, an Ayurvedic doctor was aware that the mixture prescribed for the patient by Baba, logically would harm my aunt but so great was his faith in Baba that my uncle kept feeding her what Baba had prescribed. His other doctor friends, when they were told that she would get cured by feeding this mixture which was recommended by Baba, told my uncle, ‘that even if she is not dying, by feeding her this, she will die for sure’. My uncle and aunt had faith and she got cured. After that they had three children and she was well until she fell ill at the end of her life and passed over on 30th March, 2017.
“Another uncle of mine, my father’s brother, had leprosy (kod) and he had a big wound on the left side of the body above the heart. There was an operation to be performed. Also because of the leprosy (kod), his skin used to shed so much that there would be a pile of skin which had shed, next to his body and the body had shrunk. The doctors had given up hope on him too. My uncle said that, ‘if I have to die, let me go and take Baba’s darshan’. He called my father and went along with my father to Meherabad to take Baba’s darshan. No one used to sit beside him. He used to sit alone and isolated. When he went there, Baba through gestures asked, ‘who is he?’ and my father said that, ‘he is my brother and doctors given up hope, so before dying he has come for Your darshan’. Baba told my uncle, ‘when I come to Meherastana, you do a fast for twenty-four hours and then the very first thing after the fast, you come and meet Me’.
“My uncle agreed. They returned. When Baba went to Meherastana after sometime, my uncle did the twenty-four hour fast and met Baba after the fast in Meherastana. Baba gave him an apple and my uncle followed whatever instructions were given to him by Baba. His body would usually emit stench but from November his body began giving out much more than normal stench. Then in mid-February, one morning when he woke up, his skin had become completely normal. In disbelief he kept scratching his skin repeatedly and it was completely normal. He had been cured.”
“Baba has saved these two people in our family in front of my eyes. Like them there must be countless people whom Baba has saved.”
“Did you meet Baba often?”
“When Baba used to give darshan in Guruprasad, we used to all go to meet Him. It was in 1959 that Baba had started giving darshan in Guruprasad. Baba used to be in seclusion a lot and thus getting His darshan was a blessing to us all. Whenever there was an announcement for darshan, my father would go for it for sure. They booked tickets and all lovers from Hamirpur went to meet Baba. We were not rich. Money was always an issue but we borrowed money and went for Baba’s darshan and took everyone else too with us.
“I remember in 1959, when we went, I recited around ten to eleven stanzas of the Meher Chalisa before Meher Baba. In reality I cannot for sure remember exactly how many verses were recited, because whenever I was with Baba, the impact was so great, that one forgot everything else, as though the mind became blank. Whenever I went for Baba’s darshan, I did not have my hosh (senses). All the time when Baba pulled and drew me to Him and embraced me or caressed my face, I have no real memory of those occasions as I would just get overpowered by His love, beauty and presence. I mean, when I saw others being blessed or caressed or embraced by Baba or Baba was caressing somebody’s head or cheeks or kissing that person, I remembered everything, but as soon as my turn would come, at least I would go all blank.
“So we met Baba in 1959, in 1961 and then in 1962 we went for the East West Gathering. For the East West Gathering, one entire special train was reserved by us and we all went. Imagine an entire train reserved and filled especially for us Baba lovers. We did darshan of Baba for four days in this gathering. Then in 1965 we had darshan of Baba for six days. After that Baba went into a very difficult seclusion period. That period really took a toll on Baba’s health. He rarely met anybody.
“I remember I did my Ph.D in accordance to Baba’s orders and with Baba’s permission and approval. In fact every decision that dictated my life took place only after Baba’s approval and instructions. My education, job, marriage, everything has happened only the way Baba had ordered for us. I wrote letters to Baba, in which I would write everything, even jokes and Baba replied to them. I was always certain that Baba was watching over me. I knew that Baba is always with me. Yes, I forgot to tell you, that my father got Parkinson disease in 1965. Baba called my father on 16th and 17th of April, 1967. When my father went to meet Baba on these days when He was called by Baba, my father had told nobody about his illness but when he met Baba, he was shocked to see that in front of the mandali Baba had stretched my father’s hands in front of everybody and Baba’s hands were shaking a lot. Then Baba through gestures said, ‘these hands have done a lot of My work and now this is the condition of these hands’. Then Baba stretched out His hands again and said, ‘one day I will make his hands like these’ showing His own hands, which meant Baba’s hands. Baba also told my father to take the best medication but nothing would cure it. Baba took care of him till the end.
“So let me tell you about those days when I was doing my Ph.D. Baba had instructed me as to what to do. Those days my father had left everything, as he was completely lost in Meher Baba. He had also resigned from his post at the District Board. The other officers had conspired against him, because till the time he was around there was no chance of anybody taking any bribes. Though my father had won that battle, he was tired of the world and its politics. One day, he told Baba that, ‘I cannot put my mind to anything, I just want to work for You’. Baba said, ‘theek hai, intizar karo’. (Fine. Then wait.) Our financial condition got very bad. Our childhood passed with a lot of financial strain. Everyone used to make delicacies during festivals, but in our house nothing was made but nothing changed our love for Baba. Other Baba lovers used to send things over to our house to take care of us and then food was made at home. There was a lot of poverty. A lot of years passed by like this, amidst this time my elder sister got married, only after my father took a loan. Then Baba called my father and told my father that, ‘I will give you three hundred rupees as prasad (blessings). This is not a salary this is My prasad’. Baba began sending three hundred rupees every month. In those times three hundred rupees was a lot of money.”
“In 1954 it was a lot of money. Then slowly Baba made the three hundred to two fifty rupees. Then instead of every month, Baba used to sometimes send it once in every two months, sometimes once in six months, till one day the money stopped coming to our place completely. When the money stopped, we again came into a lot of poverty. I had to pass my twelfth standard and come to Lucknow University. My father didn’t have money. I always stood first and my name would come in the merit list and I used to get scholarship at that time. I got scholarship in the university too but our financial situation was very bad and my father had to keep taking loans and give us money. I remember when I was in the university Baba had through correspondence inquired as to where did the money for my expenditure come from? My father told Baba that, ‘I keep taking loans and that is how I meet the expenses’. Baba also inquired as to how did my father manage the wedding of my sister. He wrote to Baba that he had no option but to take a loan and get her married. Baba inquired about every detail. As to how much loan had my father taken and how he intended to pay it back. My father was the Editor of Meher Pukar which is published from Hamirpur. He had started Meher Pukar and was also its Editor. Baba told my father to take hundred rupees for bringing out Meher Pukar. Baba asked my father if the expenditure would be looked after in hundred rupees. My father replied that in hundred rupees it wouldn’t be possible to take care of all the expenses as my younger sister too had started residing in the Lucknow University hostel and I too was studying there and staying in the same hostel. Educating two daughters simultaneously was expensive even in those days. Baba then decided to increase my father’s remuneration to one hundred and fifty rupees for editing Meher Pukar. This was a very good sum in those days. When I completed my MSC, I thought that I will not do my Ph.D, but instead start working as we needed the money. I got a job as a lecturer in the Government College. My father wanted that I complete my Ph.D but I was certain that I needed to work to improve the financial condition of my family. Eventually my father told me that before I take up the job, I must get Baba’s permission, as He was the one who decides everything for our family. I wrote a letter to Baba stating that I wanted to work as the financial condition of my family wasn’t good but my father was against this decision of mine as he wanted me to pursue my Ph.D. We got a reply from Baba. My father informed me that, ‘Baba wishes that you do your research because in this, is your spiritual progress and growth’ ”
“What was your research paper?”
“Chemical investigation of Indian medicinal plants. Baba was clear that my spiritual progress lay in the path of doing my research. Now when Baba had decided something for me, I had no option but to drop the idea of getting a job. His wish was our command. I began my research. My boss troubled me a lot but ironically it was this same boss who got me attached to a person, who is now my husband. My, to be husband began guiding me and after a fortnight of him beginning to guide me, for some reason I confided about my situation to him. I told him about the financial condition at home and thus it would be very difficult for me to do my Ph.D, and that the scholarship which I had received was due to get over soon. I told him everything. I still don’t know why I confided everything to him. I am sure it was Baba working through me. After I confided in him, something strange happened; he proposed marriage. Back home, my father wanted me to get married and had sort of chosen a boy for me. He as usual asked Baba and Baba wrote back asking, ‘does he have a head?’ My father innocently replied that, ‘Baba he is doing his Ph.D so he must be having a head’. Baba rejected that boy and then Baba sent me a letter stating that, ‘your father has taken permission for your marriage from Me, but if there is anything you want to say then write to Me without any hesitation’. I didn’t write anything, as I didn’t want to get married at all. I wrote to Baba that, ‘I am dependent completely on You, whatever is Your wish, I will do only that’. I left it to Baba.
“So this man who was guiding me barely for a fortnight proposed marriage to me on 19th January, 1969. I told him clearly that marriage is not in my hands nor in the hands of my parents, it is in the hands of Meher Baba. I had told him about Baba and our connection. I told him that I will write a letter to Baba asking about this and all else was in His hands. My father had already told me that in case I fall in love or a boy proposed to me, then first write to Baba. Whether I wrote to my father or not was secondary. Baba should be told first as whatever Baba would say we would abide with that completely. I wrote two letters, one to Baba and one to my father stating everything that was going on in my life and about this boy who had proposed to me. Baba sent a telegram, I received this telegram on 26th January 1969, five days before Baba took Samadhi, which stated that, ‘Baba accepts this proposal of Dinesh Kumar and He gives His permission for this marriage’. One telegram came to me and one telegram reached my father. Strangely my letter which I had sent to my father had still not reached him, so he didn’t understand what was going on. On 31st January 1969 Baba left His body. I think I must have been the last few who received a personal message from Baba before He dropped His body. Days before Baba dropped His body He still took care of me.
“We got this telegram and a few days later Baba dropped His body. There were no more details discussed with Baba about the same. When my husband’s father got to know about this, they thought that this was just a casual love affair. My father-in-law told my husband that, ‘if you want a Ph.D girl, we will find a Ph.D girl for you’. My father realised that the boy’s side were not too keen on this marriage so he told me that, ‘we will wait for one year because it is Baba’s order and if in one year this marriage doesn’t take place, then we will see someone else for you’. But strangely for some reason my husband’s father decided to call my father and meet him. With Baba’s grace all went well. Our marriage took place on 28th February 1970. As you can see, my childhood, education, marriage, everything took place only under Baba’s guidance.”
“I will tell you one more experience of mine. Baba was still in the body, I was doing my Ph.D during that time and it would get very late. Sometimes I would be working till nine thirty at night in the laboratory. I wouldn’t get a rickshaw to return back. I decided to learn to ride the cycle. While riding the cycle, I always had faith (vishwas) that Baba was with me always and He would help me and thus I never feared anything. I used to take the cycle through crowded lanes and roads. The truth was that I was a very, very, very, bad cyclist. I really didn’t know how to ride a cycle at all. I struggled to get on it and keep my balance. I could never understand when and how to even press the brakes. I wrote a letter to Baba that I am riding a cycle. The reply came stating that, ‘Baba wishes that you ride the cycle carefully and place your hands on the handle’. This was because I would remove my hands from the handle and the handle would turn around anywhere it felt like. Baba knows everything!” she exclaimed. “People held the cycle and then made me climb on it. In these conditions I used to ride the cycle. While riding in this way I banged into a buffalo, I banged into a motor car, I banged into every single thing I could possibly bang into,” for a while we both kept giggling.
“Once a car was coming in great speed and I collided with it. He was on the wrong side of the road and I neither knew how to apply brakes nor get down the cycle but that day, somehow, I don’t know how, I managed to apply the brakes and got down from the cycle. So, when the car collided with the cycle, my cycle broke and I was shivering and my hands were shivering too. People from my office rushed to help me. Even the police came and said that, ‘this boy has killed ten people like this until now through accidents. This girl is lucky that she has survived and lived. She is a very intelligent girl that she applied the brake and got down, otherwise she would have been cut into pieces’,” she laughed for a while. “They didn’t know that this girl didn’t know how to apply brakes nor get down and that only Baba had saved me. I wrote about this incident to Baba. After that time whenever I was on the cycle, I observed that it was as though an unknown power would turn my handle whenever it needed to be turned. I still didn’t know how to apply the brakes and I didn’t even have a bell on my cycle. I used to shout hato hato (move move) but by the time the person ahead understood to move, I would have already banged into something. I wrote to Baba that ‘an anjaan person is as though pressing the breaks of my cycle or turning the handle and saving me from accidents’. Baba was family and I know that in this world no one loves me more than Baba. Whatever Baba says, we have to obey it under any and every given circumstances and conditions. Obedience to orders was so deeply ingrained in my mind that I truly do not even know how to disobey or refuse His words or orders at all. Even now Baba’s words and philosophy guide me and now I am the President of the Avatar Meher Baba Cosmic Foundation. We print books written by Meher Baba, those books that Meher Baba has gotten written by His lovers and other books written by His lovers too. Till now there is no Avatar who has ever written books and made others write books on divinity. We print and publish these books. We have compiled notes and letters and written information which has been given by Baba in books too. These are treasures given by Baba to all of mankind for eternity.”
“Yes for sure.”
“You know my real name is Sushma.”
“So then Baba changed your name to Meher Jyoti?”
“No. When my father became a Meher Baba lover after that he kept two names for all his children. One name to be called at home and one name for school. Then eventually I was known as Meher Jyoti everywhere.”
“Had you met Mehera Maa?”
“Yes, I have met Mehera mai and Mani aunty. I have met everybody in the mandali. Mehera mai would meet us all very sweetly as though we are Her family whom She is meeting.”
“How did you find Mehera Maa?”
“She was very simple, the way you and I appear but there was tremendous amount of love within Her. I felt tremendous love from Her but to tell you one thing, the amount of love I have felt from Baba, I did not feel that much of love from the others. The love I felt from Baba and for Baba, I did not feel that from or for anybody else. Meeting them was very beautiful but nothing compared to meeting Baba.”
“When Meher Baba dropped His body and you told me that you all rushed to Meherabad, what did you feel when you saw Him laid down in the crypt?”
“We reached from Hamirpur on the 6th of February 1969 and on 7th February Baba’s crypt was closed. On the 6th and 7th of February, 1969 I got the opportunity to fan my beloved Baba’s body. Baba’s Feet were placed facing the door of the Samadhi. I used to descend two to three stairs and go down to touch my head at Baba’s feet and fan Baba’s body. When I fanned Baba’s body, on both the days I experienced as though my feet were placed on open electric wires. My entire body felt extreme strong electric waves entering it. This was my experience there.”
“What about your father.”
“His entire life was only Meher Baba. In 1987 in the month of February my father dropped his body and went to Baba. Every year he used to go to Meherabad for Baba’s Amartithi, Baba’s Samadhi day. That year i.e.1987 too he had gone in a bus to Meherabad to pay respects at Baba’s Samadhi. The last four years he used to travel to Meherabad by bus otherwise he would always take the train. That year, in January 1987 he had gone to Meherabad lying down in the bus. On 4th February we returned from Meherabad. As soon as we returned my father got very high fever. On 8th February he passed over. On 9th February 1987 we took his body to Meherastana. Behind Baba’s cottage or jhopdi in Meherastana, my father’s body was kept. The love my father had for Meher Baba was so much that he took part in the jagran on that night even after dropping his body in this way. People visit my father’s samadhi whenever they go to Meherastana. You remember Baba had done jagran at night, at Meherastana, so every year on the night of 9th and 10th February, jagran takes place, in the memory of those days spent with Meher Baba. Lovers from various places gather there on that night every year. Those who have experienced Baba’s love, one cannot forget Him ever. To tell you the truth even till now I don’t feel that Baba has left His body or left us. The kind of sorrow or dukh which one feels at such a time, I didn’t feel that dukh at all.”
“Because you felt that Baba was still with you?”
“Yes. I felt that He was still with me and after over fifty years of Baba dropping His body, I still feel that Baba is with me. Guiding me and loving me.”
Be blessed always.
Ruzbeh N. Bharucha
I would like to believe that every word that has poured forth, has come through the unbound grace, love, mercy and compassion of Avatar Meher Baba. I would also like to thank my sister Jennifer Bharucha, Jimmy Khan, Mehernath B. Kalchuri, Roshani Shenazz and Jennifer Keating, who have been instruments chosen by Baba, with whose help these interviews have been made possible. I would also like to thank Jimmy Khan and Cyrus Khambata for their invaluable editorial inputs. Be blessed always. Jai Baba.
Ruzbeh N. Bharucha