Experiences of Vinod Khilnani with Meher Baba
Ruzbeh N. Bharucha
“Who in your family first met Meher Baba?”
“My father first met Him. They were originally living in Pakistan, before partition. My father was always in search of a Master, from the beginning. Though they were very well off, they were landlords and they had a lot of money and land, my father had this intense desire for spirituality and a Guru. He had studied law and he had just started practicing it in Pakistan before partition.”
“What is your father’s name?”
“Prem F. Khilnani.”
“How did he meet Meher Baba?”
“He was in constant search of a Guru. He went to various Gurus but was not satisfied as he wanted a Perfect One. Can I give you a little more detail?”
“Once, Baba had sent Baidul and some other people to contact Masts in Pakistan, in a place where my father lived. They were just looking out for a person who could help them in communicating with the Mast. They arrived at this place and were wondering how to proceed as they did not speak Sindhi and the Mast only spoke that language. By chance, my father was passing by. They called him and requested him to be their interpreter. My father approached the Mast, who told him, ‘why do you approach Me? What do you want out of Me’. The Mast went on to say, ‘I am only a poor fellow, not an educated lawyer like you’. The Mast seemed to know everything about my father. The Masts, as you know, are advanced souls and they can be aware of everything. My father was very surprised as to how did this man who looked like a beggar know all about him? They conversed and the Mast agreed to go along with Meher Baba’s people.
“My father was intrigued and asked Baidul what was going on. Baidul told him about Meher Baba and His mission about contacting these God intoxicated souls known as Masts. My father had heard of Meher Baba’s Name for the first time through them. He wondered that if this Mast was so advanced, how great must be Meher Baba! Meher Baba’s Name got stuck in his head.
“Years passed. His search for a Guru continued. Partition took place and his family shifted to India and both my grandfathers with their families after partition settled in Poona. My dad got a job and began to work as a Railway Magistrate. We had our own rental house near Poona station. His search for a Guru continued. In the meanwhile, my father had heard of Aurobindo Ghosh of Pondicherry and he was very much impressed by Him and he read His books, so, he thought that I have found my Master, I will make Him my Guru. He communicated with the Aurobindo ashram. In Poona, he was once going to some doctor’s place and Baba too had an appointment with the same doctor. While my father was climbing up the stairs to the doctor’s clinic, Baba was coming down the stairs. They just crossed each other and when Baba crossed Him, he felt some Light coming out from Baba. He felt peace within, though they had crossed each other for a fraction of a second.”
“How old was your father then?”
“He was around forty-five years old. Anyway, my father went to the doctor and asked the doctor, who was this Person who just walked in kingly strides down the steps? The doctor informed him that this person was a well known Saint and His Name was Meher Baba. My father had never forgotten about Meher Baba and thus understood who the doctor was talking about. A few days later, my father met Baidul again, accidently in Poona. He was at some friend’s place and by chance, Baidul was already present in the same house and they began to talk. My father told Baidul that he was happy now as he felt that he had found his Guru in Shri Aurobindo. Baidul was a very blunt person and he got a little upset and told my father that he had gone mad. Why was he going all the way to Pondicherry when Aurobindo was no longer alive and leaving Poona, where Avatar Meher Baba lived in the flesh? He told my father that, ‘Avatar Meher Baba is right here in Poona, why do you want to go so far, first go to Baba, meet Meher Baba, if you are not satisfied, then go to Pondicherry’. Thus, he literally forced my father to go and meet Meher Baba. Baba was luckily in Guruprasad as it was summer time. My father agreed.
“My father lived near Poona Station and Guruprasad was not far from his house. Thus, one day, he stood outside Guruprasad and sent a word that he wanted to meet Baba. The person manning the gate told him that Baba was in seclusion and thus meeting Him was not possible. ‘When a public meeting takes place, you come at that time.’ My father thought that, ‘here, I am so keen to meet Him and if He is really some great soul or God then why is He refusing to meet me?’ He would go and stand outside Guruprasad every day, with the intent that if Baba is God, He should be able to feel him and thus call him within. One day, Baba told His people, ‘this man keeps coming and standing outside every day, just call him in’.
“Baba was in seclusion but He still called my father inside. Baba was seated in His own side room in Guruprasad. Very lovingly He embraced my father, made him sit, asked everything about him. He felt peace in Baba’s company and was drawn to Him. Baba took a lot of interest in my father and his family. He asked him various personal questions but my father who was an intellectual wanted a proper conversation about God and spirituality. Baba told him that, He was getting ready to go to the West, He said, ‘when I come back, we will revive the contact’. He told my father, ‘you be in touch with Me’. He suggested three books for my father to read in the mean time, Listen Humanity by Don Stevens , Avatar by Jean Adriel, and The Perfect Master by Charles Purdom. Knowing that my father had the desire to keep seeking and implying that he had found what he was looking for, Baba said, ‘and no window shopping in the meantime’. This statement became one of Meher Baba’s instructions to close ones in the future: once you take Baba as your Master, you do not need help or contact with other Masters. My father took that instruction very seriously until the end of his life.
“This is how my father met Meher Baba. My father felt very attracted towards Baba and he kept in touch with Baba. The contact slowly grew. Baba took a lot of interest in my father. Then, my father was transferred to Nasik where an old Baba lover, Minoo Bharucha, used to live. Initially, Minoo had been a follower of Upasani Maharaj of Sakori who directed him to Meher Baba and he became a staunch follower of Meher Baba. He was heading an electric company. Baba told my father to be in touch with Minoo Bharucha to learn more about Him. I remember, as children we also used to go to Minoo’s house. He and his wife were very loving people. Very kind people. My father would talk to him about Baba and try to know more about Him. Baba began to prepare my father through Minoo Bharucha. My father began to feel great attraction and love for Baba and then He forgot about searching for a Guru as he had found Meher Baba. Then, finally, Baba told my father to get transferred to Ahmednagar.”
“What about your mother? When did she meet Baba?”
“That is a very interesting story about Meher Baba and her. My mother’s name was Girja Khilnani and she was also very religious minded. Her father was a very spiritual minded man, and through him and his entire extended family, they were attached to a lineage of a family Guru for generations. She had a craving to see God. As a small child, she used to ask her parents, ‘if God is so powerful, He is everywhere, why can’t we meet Him, why is He hiding?’ She never got a satisfactory answer. Then, one day, she said, ‘I will directly communicate with God’. She wrote a letter to God stating, ‘God, if You are really there then I want to meet You or You come and meet me’. As a small child, she wrote the letter and she dropped the letter in a mailbox. She thought that God would receive her letter. She was a child and she did not tell this to anybody, not even her parents.
“Now, when Baba took interest in my family, He told my father to bring his wife too. Initially, my mother refused, she said, ‘no, I have a Guru, I am not interested in a new Master, I will not come’. Baba insisted. He told my father, ‘tell her that I am not calling her to make Me her Guru, I just want to meet her. I am inviting her’. So, she agreed. Every summer, wherever we were, we used to come to Poona because of the holidays and luckily Baba too would be in Guruprasad during the summers. As I have told you, my father was in the Judiciary, so he was transferred to different places. Initially, he was in Karjat, which is a small place between Poona and Bombay, then, he was in Poona where he met Baba (in 1958) and then he was transferred to Nasik.
“How old were you when all this was going on between Meher Baba and your mother?”
“I was around eight years old. My father took my mother to meet Baba. She was not keen and I think the first time she met Meher Baba in Guruprasad was around 1959. She came in front of Meher Baba and Baba told her through gestures, ‘You wrote a letter to God saying that you wanted to meet God. Well, I am that God who received your letter and that is why I have called you’.”
“Yes. My mother had completely forgotten about this letter. As a child, she had written that letter and not told anybody about it. Then, God reminded her. She had no answer.” Vinod chuckled.
“So what was your mother’s reaction on meeting Meher Baba?”
“She was impressed by Him but she could not believe that He was some holy Man or that He was God. You see, Baba was very jovial, kind and dressed like a common man. He was not like a typical Guru. Once, when doubt cropped up in my mother’s mind while she was seated in front of Baba about His Godhood, He immediately asked her, ‘what are you thinking?’ She was very shy and she didn’t answer. Baba then asked her, ‘who are you?’ She did not understand Baba’s sign language. Eruch translated it to her, ‘Baba wants to know are you a man or a woman?’ So she said, ‘of course, I am a woman’. Baba said, ‘how do you know that you are a woman?’ There was no answer. Baba said, ‘you are a woman and you know it, you won’t say that you are a man or an animal or something else. In the same way, I am God, I know it. Therefore, I say that I am God. Suppose somebody asks who is your husband? You will say that he is a Judge because he is actually a Judge. Similarly, I am God, whether you believe it or not, anybody believes it or not, I know, therefore, I tell everybody that I am God’. That is how, slowly, He convinced her. In a short while, she fell for Him and then she accepted Him.
“We came to Nagar as Baba had told my father to get transferred to Nagar, in 1962. In Nagar, he couldn’t find a suitable house. We had to look for our own house. Baba said, ‘stay in My premises in Khushroo Quarters’. Baba got it repaired through His secretary, Adi K. Irani and He told him, ‘give the premises to the Khilnani family, I want them to stay here’.”
“How old were you?”
“I was around twelve years old.”
“Obviously, you had met Baba before that?”
“Yes, I had met Baba. I don’t remember the very first time when I met Baba. I always try to recollect but I don’t remember. We must have seen Him in Guruprasad but my memory of Him starts from the year 1962 onwards, when we began to live in Khushroo Quarters. Baba took a lot of personal interest in our family. Adi Irani actually objected to Baba, he said that, ‘they are not Parsis, they are absolutely new to You, why are You bringing them so close and making them stay here?’ Baba said, ‘no, this is My order. You repair the place’. The place was very nice. It had three to four rooms, in the center there was open space, and at the backside there was a kitchen.”
“Which is the first meeting of Baba that you recollect?”
“Baba used to come and visit us. My memory of Him starts from there.”
“When Baba would come to Khushroo Quarters, what would He do?”
“He used to talk to us like a family member, inquire about our health, our studies, everything. One important thing which I remember is that whenever Baba came, He used to ask my brother and me, ‘who am I?’ We would say, ‘Baba, You are God’. We had heard our parents talk about Him constantly. Whenever we met Baba in Meherabad or in Meherazad, He used to ask us children, ‘who am I?’ and we would always say, ‘Baba, You are God’. He would say, ‘do you really believe this or you are just saying it?’ I think Baba gave us that conviction and faith slowly, by making us repeat and asking us every time about His Godhood. We were small, we were not exposed to any religion or Guru or God. Thus, from the beginning we had slowly built our faith about Baba being God. We had no difficulty in accepting that He is God. He enforced the idea every time, whenever we met Him. Always, the first question to us was about His Godhood.”
“What did you feel about Meher Baba?”
“Initially, we felt that He is one of our family. He is like a head of our family, like a grandfather. We felt attracted towards Him, we used to like to go and be with Him. He used to hug us, embrace us. Show a lot of love, concern and treat us like how our elders would treat their younger ones in the family. He would inquire about everything, from studies to health to food, everything.
“One day, there was a small incident in school. In Nagar, there was only one school, a convent. In school, they used to tell us about Christ and tell us that Christ is God. Once, I asked Baba that, ‘we know that You are God but in school they tell us that Jesus is God. So, I am confused regarding who is the real God?’ Baba said that, ‘Jesus was and I am and We are the same’. He gave me that reply. It was such a short and sweet reply but I still remember His words; ‘He was and I am’.
“We slowly completely accepted Him as God. He occasionally called us to Meherazad. He was most of the time in seclusion. We could not meet Him whenever we wanted to meet Him, though we were so close. From 1962, His seclusion got more and more intense. He had given us permission to write letters. He told my mother, father and us children too, that, ‘you can write to Me anytime, if you have any problem, you can communicate with Me’. My mother actually wrote every fortnight about everything going on in her life. Whatever problems she had, whatever she wanted to ask. Like a child writing to her father she wrote to Baba. He had told her, ‘I am your real father and you will ask Me, write to me whatever you want to write about’. My father and we also would write to Baba. On our birthdays, Baba would send us a telegram, can you imagine? I have those letters and telegrams preserved. ‘Love and blessings to Vinod’ and below that on the bottom it is written ‘from Meher Baba’. We would write some poems or something or the other in our reply.”
“Your father then settled down in Nagar?”
“No. It was a Government job. Normally, after three years, everybody would get transferred. Luckily, my father did not get transferred and we stayed in Khushroo Quarters till the year 1966. He was due for a promotion as a District Judge. Somehow, there were delays, some problems and my father was worried. Once, he asked Baba that, ‘Baba, my promotion is due but it is not happening’. Baba said, ‘why are you worried, you are close to Me, you are with Me, why do you worry about this worldly promotion? Be happy and why do you bother?’ As a human being, naturally, he wanted a promotion internally. Baba consoled him. He quoted some couplets to him and tried to console him. Baba said, ‘your letter will come and when your letter for promotion comes, you send that letter first to Me without opening it. I will touch it and send it back’. Some months later, my father got the promotion letter at the end of the year 1966. He was transferred as a District Judge to Alibaug, a district near Bombay. Now, he was promoted. He was allotted a big bungalow, a car, a driver and all such facilities were given to him. We all shifted to Alibaug.”
“How did you feel leaving Baba?”
“We felt very bad, especially my mother, she felt horrible. She told Baba, ‘I don’t want to go, I want to be near You only’. Baba said, ‘I am everywhere, am I not there? I am with you there also, so you have to go’. We went. My mother was internally very unhappy in Alibaug. She used to write to Baba all the time that, ‘I want to come back, bring us back to Nagar’. There was another problem of no English medium school in Alibaug. So, we could not study well. There was a Marathi medium school and somehow, we managed with the help of some special teachers in English. My father asked for a transfer after one year stating that the education of his children was suffering as we could not cope with Marathi medium. In the meanwhile, Baba told him, ‘get yourself transferred back to Ahmednagar’. My father said, ‘how can I come back? I have already spent four years, they won’t give me the same station back’. Baba said, ‘I will help you, you try to remain with Me, near Me, till I am in the body’, He told my father to try. My father tried and you won’t believe it, again we were transferred back to Ahmednagar in the beginning of 1968. I was in the tenth, SSC, at that time and there would have been a problem if I had been in Alibaug. Baba’s timing was so very right and we were transferred back to Nagar. We were allotted the District Judge’s bungalow in Ahmednagar. It was a big bungalow. It was in the year 1968. Baba’s health during that time was not good, He was in seclusion, so we hardly met Him because we could not go there. He called us once or twice but He never came. We were close to Him and that was what mattered.”
“When you saw Baba in 1968, when His health was not good, what went in your mind?”
“Outwardly, we couldn’t judge so much. His health was quite bad, He was suffering a lot but when we were in His presence we could not see that much pain because in the presence of His devotees or followers, He used to change. Even the mandali used to say this in Guruprasad. We never felt that He was in so much discomfort as He never showed it to us. Outwardly, He was the same. He was a little weak but we never thought that He will leave us so soon.”
“You were fifteen or sixteen years old.”
“Yes, I was going to enter college. Once, I had asked Baba when He was inquiring about our studies as to what should I study? I was not able to decide what stream of education I should pursue. I had asked Him earlier too and He had told me that He would reply to this query later. I asked Baba again and then in January 1969, I got a letter from Baba, Eruch used to write all the letters while Baba dictated via sign language. The letter arrived around the 10th of January, 1969 and we were in Nagar. I was to join college and I got this letter from Baba. Eruch wrote that Baba has remembered you and you had asked Him once what you should study and Baba has said that He will be happy if you do post graduation in chemistry. I had to decide and Baba’s answer came at just the right time. I took chemistry and I did post graduation later on. His health was not good but still He remembered.”
“When was the last time you saw Baba?”
“He would call us to Meherazad but the last time I saw Him was at Dara and Amrit’s wedding. Baba conducted that wedding in December 1968. Mehera mai’s birthday and Dara-Amrit’s wedding.
“Amrit is from Dehradun and she is the daughter of Shatrughan Kumar who was another famous Baba lover. His story is also similar to my mother’s story. He had challenged God when he was in prison. He didn’t believe in God but he challenged God and said, ‘if God exists, I should be released from prison at six in the morning, the next day and if God, You release me, I will become Your slave’. He was wrongly put in prison. It’s a famous story. He didn’t know about Baba, he didn’t believe in any God. He just in general challenged God and the next day at six in the morning, the guards came and said that, ‘we have an order that you are free now’ and he was released from jail. This is a very famous story, it is written in many books. He didn’t know who that God was and he then met Baba in Dehradun later on and he dedicated his life to Baba.”
“You met Baba last in December 1968.”
“Yes. Baba had invited us for the wedding of Dara and Amrit. There was a small function, party, songs and all. That was the last time we saw Him. Baba was sitting on the porch but He never allowed anybody to come near Him. From a distance, we folded our hands and greeted Him.”
“You were obviously present during the time Baba dropped His physical body.”
“Yes, we would take darshan at the Samadhi. All the seven days when Baba’s Body was kept, we went and paid our respects.”
“How did you feel?”
“Actually, we could not believe that Baba had left us. He is God and God can never die. God is immortal. We could not accept or believe how this could have happened and we were absolutely shattered. We could not accept or believe that He had dropped His physical body. All us children would ask their elders, ‘Baba is God, how can God die, God can never die’. They would tell us, ‘He has not gone, the body has gone’, they would try to explain to us but most of the kids were shell shocked. We thought that Baba would indefinitely stay in the body.”
“How did your parents take Baba leaving His physical body?”
“Parents too were absolutely shocked. It was very hard for them. Baba had given indications before that, ‘I am not this body’ but nobody paid attention to that statement. The message sent to everybody during that time was that, ‘Baba is in everybody’s heart now’. After some time of Baba dropping His physical body, we started feeling more close to Him. We felt that now He is with us eternally and He is more close to us now. We were very close to the mandali because we met them very often, especially Eruch and Mani. Sometime before Baba dropped His physical body, He introduced Mehera to everybody. That was the first time my father too met Mehera. Baba knew that now He had to move on physically, thus, He introduced Mehera to the men mandali. That day, my father had come home and told my mother, ‘I think something is wrong, Baba is preparing to go and therefore He has exposed Mehera before the men’. He was a wise man, my father.”
“When you saw Mehera Maa what did you feel?”
“We knew that She is a special soul. We just wished Her and She was also very exclusive and very shy. She was close to my mother. My mother met Her regularly. My mother often wrote letters to Her. We didn’t pay much attention.”
“Your parents were Baba lovers till the end?”
“Of course, till the very end. My father was then posted to Satara in the year 1971. Will you believe it that we stayed in the same house where Baba was staying when He was in Satara? Earlier, it was a private bungalow and then it was taken over by the Government and converted into a District Judge’s bungalow. It was known as Mutha’s Bungalow. Now also, it is the District Judge’s bungalow. We were not aware of this but when my mother showed Mehera the picture of the house, She told us that this was the very bungalow in which Baba had stayed for some time with the mandali in Satara.”
“Was Baba very strict?”
“He was not strict with us. With us, our family, He was very loving and kind and not at all strict. Yes, there were two incidents with my parents when He showed His displeasure or anger but on the whole He was very loving and very caring.”
“It’s been over fifty years since Baba dropped His body. What do you feel about Him now? Do you feel that your love for Him has grown more?”
“Yes, of course. It has grown and it is growing continuously and He is transforming us through the inside. He is working on us internally. He used to work internally with everyone. He said that, ‘I am establishing external contact for creating internal links. Once, internal links are established with Me then there is no need for external contact’. I feel that our four years where we were so physically near Him, He laid the internal links with Him. Those internal cables established were so strong that it has sustained us till now. Our love and faith has kept increasing for Him all this while. He was transforming us internally all the time and taking us closer to Him and detaching us from the world and from Maya. He is still doing this more and more.
“He told me to pursue Chemistry which I did and I completed post graduation and I got a job in a textile laboratory in Bombay. It was a very secluded kind of job but I was an introvert and I didn’t interact much with many people. This job suited my nature perfectly and Baba was aware of this when He suggested that I pursue chemistry. Yes, it was not a very prosperous career. Monetarily, it was not very remunerative thus, everybody insisted that I leave this laboratory work and get into marketing to better my prospects. I did a diploma in marketing and later on I switched my job to marketing. My nature was not suited for this new profile but still for better prospects, I made the switch. Very soon, I realized that I missed my earlier job at the laboratory. That job suited me just fine. I like being on my own and not having much interaction. In my earlier job, I had free time to read Baba’s books and internally be with Baba. I changed my job but it was a failure. It didn’t suit me at all. I returned to my laboratory job. I realized as to why Baba had wanted me to work in the laboratory in the first place and thus, I remained in this field till the end. I worked and eventually retired from the job. I was a technical executive in Hoechst Dyes and Chemicals. It was a German company. I loved my job.
“My wife, Asha Banga/Khilnani had a very good job. She was working in ONGC and she earned well, thus, even monetarily, Baba took care of us. She was from Dehradun and she was also a Baba lover. We met in Meherabad and later got married. She died very young. She just suddenly died. A great shock, Baba gave me.”
“At what age did she pass over?”
“She was only forty-two years old. She died very young and she was at the peak of her career. In 2001, she just suddenly died. We were in Bombay. It was a great, great shock. It was a terrible blow to me from Baba. It completely changed my life. My relatives and friends, those who knew that we are following Meher Baba, all scorned me for following Meher Baba. They said, ‘how could your Guru do this to you all? How come He could not protect you and your wife? At this age, He has given you such a drastic shock. He took her away’. I knew that Baba had His reasons. I was devastated for over a year and it was a very hard time for me.
“I wasn’t earning too well and my wife’s income stopped. My daughter was very small and it was a very tough time for all of us. It was horrible. Somehow, Baba helped me recover internally. He was with me every moment and it was His Will and now, she is with Him. He gave me tremendous internal support and helped me to recover from this tragedy.”
“Had your wife met Baba too?”
“She had not met Baba. She came later on into Baba’s fold. We met in Meherabad near the Samadhi. Life moved on. My mother looked after my daughter. When my daughter grew up, she found a Baba lover, an American boy in Meherabad. Now, she has settled in Myrtle Beach. Baba took care of every small thing. Baba made sure that He was and is the priority of our life. He controls our lives and we could feel that. He never made us go astray or away from Him.”
“What was your age when your wife passed away?”
“I was around fifty years old. I am now nearing seventy years. Thus, this happened nearly twenty years ago. I still remember those days of her passing away. I still remember her dearly. Life was going on so very smoothly. Suddenly, this blow came and Baba brought me to the ground.”
“He picked you up, He gave you the strength to rise?”
“Yes. I would often ask Baba, ‘why me, why did this have to take place?’ Slowly, He answered all my questions internally and He gave me proof that He was in complete control of all the incidents taking place and that it was His Will and that it was for my good, it was for her good and it changed the direction of my life. I had no interest in the world and I got more into Baba.”
“What about your father?”
“My father had already passed over. My father was a great influence on me. My father was also a very controlling man. He decided all the matters in the house, everything was completely under him. He died in the year 1997. He always said that he wanted to die in Meherabad near Meher Baba’s Samadhi. That was his wish. It happened just that way. In the year 1997, he had a heart attack, just after the Amartithi’s main programme. He was outside Meher Baba’s Samadhi and he fell down unconscious. We took him to the local Nagar hospital and on 3rd of February, 1997, he passed over. He had already told us to do his cremation in Meherabad and put his ashes around Baba’s Samadhi. He had told us, ‘this is my wish that you put my ashes on the path leading to the Samadhi and around Baba’s Samadhi’. He always wanted pilgrims to walk over his ashes to get to Baba’s samadhi.
“What about your mother?”
“Mummy passed over in the year 2008.”
“You mentioned about how Baba showed His presence to you when your wife passed away. Could you mention one or two instances where He showed His presence?”
“I remember, once, I told Baba in desperation that, ‘Baba, You have left me. You are angry with me and You are not with me now. Give me some proof’. My wife had not passed away at that time. She was in coma. I wanted to be sure that Baba was with her. I told Baba, ‘give me some indication that she is with You because I don’t know if she remembered You at the end’. Baba has said that, ‘take My Name at the end, so that you will come to Me’.
“This thought would bother me that had my wife remembered Baba, the last thing before she went into a coma? She died soon thereafter and this thought kept bothering me. My wife and I would go for walks in the garden near our house. Once, after she passed over, I went for a walk in the garden. She was very fond of green colour and she loved wearing green coloured clothes. That day, I was really sad and missing her and worried whether she was with Baba and suddenly, a green butterfly passed by me and I told Baba, ‘if she has come to You, give me some indication through this butterfly. Let that butterfly come again near me and take rounds two or three times around me’. In a matter of some time that is exactly what took place. The green butterfly came back, took three rounds around me and then went away. I had not expected Baba to perform any miracles and give me proof. Baba always said that, ‘I do not perform any miracles and don’t expect any miracles from Me’. I had just told Baba, ‘I will feel comforted to know that she is with You and You have taken charge of her’. The butterfly took three rounds of me and then flew away. Whenever I remember her strongly, I see a butterfly around me, till today.
“Once, I told Baba, ‘I am very happy that my wife is with You now, Baba, but how do I know that You are with me, Baba? Give me some proof that You are with me’. That very moment a Temple bell nearby began to clang loudly. Then, I told Baba, ‘sometimes, I feel very low and I feel that You are not with me. Please let the Temple bell ring every time I feel like this. That way I shall be reassured that You are with me’. You won’t believe this but whenever I feel low, I hear the Temple bell ring. For me, that is Baba saying that ‘I am with you’. Once, I told Baba, ‘I am far away from home, thus, there are no Temples nearby. Are you still with me?’ Seconds later a gentle breeze started blowing and caressed me in its embrace. That was again Him making His presence felt. This has happened many times and still happens. I have never told anybody about this before as I think it is a very personal thing. You have asked me, thus, I have told you.”
“Is your daughter a Baba follower too?”
“Oh yes. My father would tell her stories of Baba. She also became a complete Baba girl from childhood. She has complete faith in Baba. She works at Meher Baba’s Myrtle Beach Center and thus she is in Baba’s atmosphere all the time. She is very happy now and she is completely in Baba’s atmosphere. She is very happy there. She is very far from me but Baba detached me completely so that all my attention is now only on Him. I have no interest left.”
“So, now are you settled in Meherabad or in Mumbai?”
“I wanted to buy a house here in Meherabad, so when I got free of all my responsibilities, I bought a house in Meherabad in 2012-2013. Now, I am in Meherabad most of the time. Baba is in complete charge of everything happening in my life, internally and externally. He never allowed anything else to become more important than Him, so that my attention is not drawn anywhere else but to Him. I feel that He took care of that.”
“He is a very possessive God.”
“Oh, yes. He cares about our spiritual growth and not about the worldly things. He knew that the death of my wife was spiritually good for her and for me. It completely changed my life, my priorities, my thinking, everything changed. My faith in Him increased. I have no other interest left now.
“Before I end, there are two things which I forgot to tell you about Baba. When we were staying in Khushroo Quarters, we made a small Center in our house for Baba. Bhauji’s family was our neighbour in Khushroo Quarters. Mehernath too had made a small Center for Baba. So, we had a challenge between us as to who will make a better Center for Baba and whose Center would Baba prefer. We were children. So, Mehernath and his sister along with his friends got to work and so did we! We both had many rooms so we both converted a room into the Center, decorated it, put Baba’s picture. We invited Baba. Baba came over. We had tied a ribbon to the door and made Baba cut the ribbon and inaugurate the Center. Mehernath did the same. I remember, Baba sat in our Center and we sang, ‘Tum hi ho mata, pita Tum hi ho’. We had invited our friends for the opening. Baba was very happy. Baba later on went to Mehernath’s Center. We asked Baba quietly, ‘Baba, which Center do you like more, this one or that?’ Quietly, Baba told us individually, ‘I like your Center much better but don’t tell the other party’. Similarly, when Mehernath asked Baba, Baba said the same thing to him, ‘I like your Center but don’t tell them (which is us)’. Baba was very mischievous and humorous. There are many such humorous incidents in my parent’s life which are published in a book called Journey to God written by my mother Girja Khilnani. I will give you that book.
“My parents were very different kind of people. My father was intellectual and my mother operated from the heart. Hence, they had many differences. They were not getting along well. My mother was a spendthrift and my father was cautious about money. Whatever money my father would give mom for the month, she would spend it in fifteen days and then she had problems for the rest of the month. She spoke about this to Baba. She wrote to Baba that my father was not keeping her happy and he was not giving her enough money. My maternal grandfather was also aware of this and was unhappy about what was going on at home. He knew that we followed Baba. Once, he wrote a letter to Baba on his own that, ‘my daughter is not happy with Prem. He is not keeping my daughter happy and they follow You and as You are their Guru, You kindly intervene’. Baba wrote a letter back, saying, ‘don’t worry, she is My daughter now, you don’t worry at all’.
“Another issue was that my father was very possessive of my mother and would not let her go wherever she desired. She wanted to go to Bombay and Poona to meet her relatives or attend various functions, marriages etc. He didn’t allow her to go anywhere, she complained of this too to Baba. Baba would then call them separately to Meherazad, close the door, tell everybody to go out, only Eruch would be inside as an interpreter and Baba would sort out their differences. Baba would fix the amount as to how much money my father should give my mother every month and since she was a spendthrift, He would tell her also to spend the money wisely. He would tell her, ‘obey Me. If you love Me, you must love and please each other’. He would tell them that by loving, pleasing and adjusting with each other, ‘you are loving Me’. Both of them loved Baba in their own way. Thus, to please Baba, they would please each other and their life continued smoothly. Baba called them many times to have such talks.
“Baba would reply to the letters in which He would state, ‘My first instruction is to please each other, adjust with each other, give in to each other, by doing that you are pleasing Me, obeying Me, and loving Me’. Baba would even tell my father to let my mother go for certain functions and also refuse my mother to go for certain functions. He would decide everything that went on at home. He loved us so dearly. He was our family. He was and is everything to us.”
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