Ruzbeh N. Bharucha
The first time I saw Avatar Meher Baba’s photograph was at Dr. Meheru Vagchhuipwalla’s clinic. An elderly man, with a broad smile, hands folded, as though in prayer or beseeching all of mankind not to worry and be happy. Often when I used to sit in her clinic, waiting for our turn, I would look at Him and no matter how tired or troubled I was, I couldn’t help but smile back at Him and I would often tell Him, ‘You keep smiling while I have the shit kicked out of me’.
One day Meheru asked me to place an advertisement in one of the Zoroastrian newspapers. It was The Avatar’s Birthday and it was a simple advertisement wishing Him and seeking His blessings. Financially I wasn’t doing too well those days but for some reason I didn’t have the heart to take money from her and I lied to her saying that the publishers didn’t charge me anything. She loved Meher Baba with all her pure heart. Her love for Him was humbling. It was obvious when you heard her talk about Him.
So around twenty years ago by default I wished Avatar Meher Baba a very happy Birthday.
About seven years later once again by default, I landed up being commissioned to write a book on the paranormal. Now when I look back, I realise that there are no defaults or coincidences. If somebody is truly daft, like me, the Cosmos has to rub his nose into the ground, to create circumstances to bring about change or to put the buffoon on the path.
It was then that I met Vira Kheshvala, a medium to Avatar Meher Baba. The first day I met her, she looked at me and said, ‘Are you not too young to write about the paranormal?’ and I told her ‘I do not know about being young or not but I know one thing, I am certainly not too young to be bankrupt.’
The next week she called me over and said she had communicated with Meher Baba and He had informed her that as she and her group of mediums weren’t taking the responsibility of writing a book about Him and the paranormal, He had sent me to write the book and that is how The Last Marathon came about.
So for nearly a year, every Wednesday evening we all used to assemble at Frenny aunty’s house, and via the planchette communicate with Meher Baba. Often I had to bunk the séance and thus I was called by Meher Baba, ‘His absconding author’.
It was during this period I not only researched about Meher Baba, Guru Nanak, Kamu Baba, Swami Narayan and my Boss, Baba Sai of Shirdi, but also completed the book and as I was any way researching on the paranormal, I wanted to know if this was mumbo jumbo or the real stuff, so I began to channel Baba Sai. I remember once I was going through a truly disturbing period. I had been told a number of not very pleasant things by very close family members. I was trying my best to keep my chin up and not slide into depression. That night I sat, while the hyperventilating family, the extrovert tortoise and a temperamental dog slept, I sat looking into the sky (in Mumbai it gets difficult to look at the sky, so let me rephrase, I sat looking at the sky through various buildings and neon signs) when I picked up a book on Meher Baba.
I looked at Him and He looked back. The hurtful words were playing havoc within me and I softly told Him, ‘Do you agree with what all these psychos have accused me of….am I all that they say?’ And then I opened the book. There was just one sentence on that page and all it said was, ‘I know who you are and you have a special place in my heart…believe no one as you are mine’.
I read this line and shut the book and tears began to flow and I cried. I think after years I must have cried loudly and then my blasted dog came and began to chew my ankle; the mutt.
The first time I went to Meherabad, I had gone in a bus, packed to the gills mostly with members of my community; lots of laughter, food and abuses. The next day was Meher Baba’s Day of Samadhi. I remember seeing the flag fluttering from afar. There was no place in the old dormitory. Thousands of devotees were present. We got down from the bus and stood in a line to pay our respects and our surrender to The Avatar.
It was cold and as usual I hadn’t packed right. So our group waited to reach The Samadhi and I could hear whispering around me, some spoke about food, some about the cold, some about how they should have booked in advance. Then I saw a number of buses enter and park. Devotees from Andhra Pradesh had arrived. Most of them were poor and so much in love with Meher Baba that I felt humbled in their company. Imagine driving all the way from Andhra Pradesh, in buses, that only Meher Baba’s Divinity could have held together, leave aside traversing such a long distance, absolute basic travel conditions, and they stood in the line and all of them were in prayer. Babies in arms, old people, handicapped, pregnant mothers, and they stood quietly and prayed.
I entered the Samadhi cottage and He took my breath away. It was a surreal feeling. It always is a surreal feeling. It is always silent.
Even amongst so many people there was silence. Of course I don’t believe Meher Baba would have wanted a grave like silence. If He insisted on silence, I am certain He meant silence of the mind, heart, lower energies; some caretakers can go absolutely out right nuts, trying to maintain silence; I mean a child is a child. To expect a child to be silent is something Meher Baba would have voiced His opinion in a very unbiblical manner. That night I sat in the open, seeing thousands of devotees sitting and praying and suddenly I was asked if I would volunteer for an hour or so. I agreed.
I was taken to the cottage next to His Samadhi, where the hospital stretcher on which He are placed and other of His personal effects are carefully preserved. All I had to do was to let a family enter, and after they had paid their respects, allow the next family to enter. That’s all.
I began to do so. I would welcome them with ‘Jai Baba’ a phrase I use for Baba Sai and Meher Baba. After a while something strange happened. The poor people began to touch my feet. I nearly had an out of body experience. For the life of me I couldn’t understand what was happening. I looked around for help. I saw other volunteers, and they were official volunteers and nobody touched their feet. Why would these poor people touch my feet? I was far younger to most and it kind of overwhelmed me.
After an hour or two, an official volunteer came over and thanked me and I found a place under the sky and sat down. I had a few people who I knew and I guess they too had noticed the poor touching my feet. I inquired if this feet touching stuff was customary and one old man looked at me and said something which I will never forget. He said that, ‘These poor people who are here haven’t ever been treated with love and respect by our so called class of people. Seeing you treat them with so much love and respect, they could only show their love by touching your feet.’
Imagine going through life being treated without respect and thus the slightest sign of love and respect makes the poor feel obligated to touch the feet of a perfect idiot.
Thus, on that day, nearing dawn, on January 31st , exactly thirty years after Meher Baba took Samadhi, without speaking a word, He taught me the importance of Oneness, love, humility and respecting all; but as is His style, in complete silence.
Avatar Meher believed and demanded two things from His disciples and those who claimed to belong to Him. First and foremost, complete obedience. His word was the law. His philosophy was simple. An Avatar or a Perfect Master knows what is best for His or Her child, not only for this life time but beyond the beyond. There are no ifs and buts where surrender is considered.
As Baba Sai of Shirdi in channeling so often has said that, ‘One cannot be partially pregnant, either, you are or you are not, thus, Faith and surrender too can’t be done in measures. Either you have faith and surrender or you don’t.’
Thus, Meher Baba who was tenderness personified would not expect anything but complete surrender and obedience. He was a hard taskmaster. His inner circle, called the Mandali, who lived with Him for over forty years, did not have it easy. If He said wake up at four and have a cold water bath in winter and then set a timetable of dos and don’ts, either you obeyed or then you were free to get on with your life, and come and visit Meher Baba as a normal devotee. A devotee lives in the world, with The Master or Avatar, as an integral part of life. In the five course meal, The Master is one dish. May be the most important dish but there are four other dishes….family, career, social obligations and friends, dreams, desires and aspirations…..thus for a devotee a Master is all smiles, tenderness, calmness, and softness. The Avatar or Master is aware that in the scheme of things the person has his or her plate full and still clings on to The Master, due to love, faith or fear. Most often that is why the devotees always feel that The Master is gentle and like a loving, kind parent or grand-parent. Most books written about Avatar or Masters is for devotees and usually written by devotees.
For a disciple if life is a five course meal, then the Master is all the five dishes. Or there are no five dishes, there is only one dish, often cold and uncooked, and sometimes most delicious, all meant for the highest good of the disciple. For a disciple, life begins and ends with The Guru. No ifs and buts. His or Her word is the law and commandment. If the disciple isn’t staying with the Master then too, The Master is the ‘be all and end all’; there is nothing beyond the Master, everything revolves around The Guru.
But, if The Master or Avatar is in the body, and the disciple is one of the inner circle, then for the disciple there is no family, career, likes, dreams, aspirations, wants; there is nothing but The Master. His or Her word is the law. The disciple has left the world to follow and merge with The Master. Here, at times The Master will be more tender than the morning dew drop and at another time be far more hard than steel or the strongest blasted metal discovered or not discovered by mankind. Sometimes like a glass of cool water whilst walking through the desert and sometimes like hot ember under your feet. Often The Master might appear even cruel, like a tyrant, but if The Master is genuine, then The Master comes from mercy…hard love…knowing what is best for the child or lover or disciple.
Meher Baba is The Avatar, so He took surrender to another level. The hardship that His inner circle experienced itself can fill a volume or two. Like all Masters, Meher Baba, before He decided not to speak any more, had a vociferous vocabulary of swear words. He could abuse them and next minute pamper them, love them and drive them up the wall, embrace them and thrash them. What He expected out of them was humanly not possible and often exasperating. He would test them, say one thing and then say something which was completely the opposite, hours or months later. He would make them work to build a building and drive them up the wall and be merciless Himself, and just when everything was virtually complete, abandon the building and move lock, stock and barrel to another place. No explanations given. But the fact that the inner circle gave up family, comfortable lifestyle’s, name, society, money, repute, everything, to follow Him for the rest of their lives, shows how much they loved Him and recognized who He truly was.
Remember Meher Baba never stopped anybody from maligning Him. He stopped His lovers from defending His name. He would never say a word against anyone who thought ill of Him or abused Him. He said one needed ‘negative and positive’ to light a bulb and thus the negative was as important for The Light to spread. Articles were written ridiculing Him and He would smile and say even the one slandering Him was doing His work. It was all well for Him but His inner circle found it hard to take it in such a Christ like manner. Not only was He being maligned but they were being ridiculed too.
Then, the need to travel in the most basic way, always third class (in those days there was a third class compartment which was also called as ‘cattle class’ by many people). Meher Baba always travelled in the most humble manner even though sometimes there were people who were willing to sponsor a more comfortable manner of travel. He travelled the length and breadth of the country and the world, but always in the most poorest of manner and then His need for all to fast or observe silence.
Thus, one needed to completely annihilate one’s ego and one’s upbringing and one’s way of thinking if one wanted to be with Meher Baba and be in His inner circle. Remember, most of the people who belonged to His inner circle were educated and from the middle or upper middle class families. They were well read and also were people of the world, but they readily gave up everything to follow Baba and His word.
So when the Bible says, first there was the Word, I guess it means that first there was Obedience and surrender.
Along with complete surrender Baba expected complete and selfless love. His disciples and inner circle obviously loved Him to an extent that nothing and nobody mattered but Him, but Meher Baba expected even His devotees to selflessly love Him. He was clear about one thing. He wanted nothing and nothing at all but selfless love from those who followed and worshipped Him.
Even here, He didn’t make it easy for anybody. He was clear that He wasn’t in the body to perform miracles. The greatest miracle is to love The Avatar or The Master or The Creator (whichever name one chose to call Him or Her) without seeking anything in return. If only you can love your Master without wanting anything in return, not even liberation, and love Him or Her because you truly love The Master, then that love is noble and selfless. If there is an iota of want in that love, then it’s like mixing a drop of lime in milk; the milk curdles; and hope you like lots of cottage cheese.
That is why He operated mysteriously and mystically and behind the curtain. Unlike Baba Sai of Shirdi and Tajuddin Baba, who went about creating miracles countless times a day without an iota of fuss or false grandeur. The departments and memorandum of understanding are always different for Masters. Some operate behind the scene, nobody but a handful of disciples are aware of The Master and some out in the open, Temples, adulations and all; thus the portfolio and the working manual is different from Master to Master.
Meher Baba was clear, if you loved Him, except for annihilating your ego, clearing your Karma and giving you God realisation, don’t expect anything else. During His last public appearance, which I think it was the East and West meet, He had made sure pamphlets and letters were sent out to His lovers, through which He made it clear that if anybody came to see Him for better health, the poor bastard would fall more ill. If anybody came for money, bankruptcy would result. Only come because you love Meher Baba and want to see Him with and through love. No ifs and buts. Don’t come otherwise. Just come because you can’t love and live without seeing Him.
He performed innumerable miracles but never openly. So many people have been put on the Path that it is unimaginable. One must know that He had educated people from all over the country and the world as His children and He had lepers and the poorest of the poor as His children and devotees.
All He wanted was love and devotion. He spent countless days and nights in isolation. He always said His main work took place in other dimensions and when in isolation. He went without food for weeks and months and lived in the most basic and humble habitations, the weather irrespective. He worked and toiled ceaselessly but nobody really could fathom His greatness or intensity or His Godhood.
Before He took Samadhi, He suffered for seven days and nights. The spasms lifted His body which made it mandatory for four men from the inner circle to hold Him so that He was not lifted off the bed. He called it His crucifixion.
To stop speaking for forty four years of one’s life; not say a word even when He went through two major accidents (which He had forewarned His believers and followers) that left His body handicapped and battered; never to speak when He had the most beautiful voice and commanding diction; no longer to sing when He could mesmerize the very Angels Themselves is not something for the mere mortal; only The Avatar can do all this and that to happily, jovially, and still be able to bring out volume after volume of books on the esoteric nature of spirituality and the very essence of creation and the how and why of spiritual and paranormal life.
I don’t think there is any Avatar or Master who has given such intricate details on life and beyond the beyond and the very nature of Creation, the way Meher Baba has.
Another fascinating thing about Meher Baba is that The Perfect Masters, Gurus, Saints, Sages, Masts, all recognised Him as The Avatar. All spoke most highly of Him. For Them it was clear, whether it were The five Perfect Masters (Sai Baba of Shirdi, Baba Jaan, Narayan Maharaj, Tajuddin Baba and Upasani Maharaj) or the God intoxicated Men called Masts (who rarely spoke to anybody, but when They came in the presence of Meher Baba, praised His Divinity). They all recognized Meher Baba’s Godhood.
But people doubted Him and Laughed at Him. He was so accessible most often that even His devotees did not truly grasp who He was and is and will be so eternally. So often even His disciples and inner circle forgot His Godhood and Divinity and thus, often Meher Baba had to remind them, ‘I am not this body I am The Avatar’.
I guess when you are not dressed in the uniform of spirituality, when you play and joke and interact with one and all; when there is no pretense; no false grandeur; when you are cleaning the toilet and building a cottage; when you are like one of them; people don’t take even The Avatar seriously. One needs to live in the Himalayas, speak seriously, don’t cohabit with too many people; create a mysterious vibe about you, materialize diet coke from the air, then, maybe people begin to take The One seriously.
According to Him, Zarathustra, Abraham, Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Prophet Mohammed were Avatars. Meher Baba all His life, I feel had to remind people who He was, The Avatar, not because He cared for adulation but because He wanted His people to take solace and advantage of His proximity; to drink from the spring of Godhood.
Even now, how many people in India know of Meher Baba and worship Him? Does He have Temples everywhere? And this is the same Hasti or Personality who was praised by every living Master and Perfect Master of His time as being The Avatar, God in Human Form.
One must understand one thing clearly that, even when Lord Rama was in the body, except for a few Sages (some say seven Sages, while some say twelve) nobody recognized Lord Rama as an Avatar. Of course the greatest tragedy was that even Lord Rama was unaware of His Godhood. Lord Krishna too was known as an Avatar while He was in the human body. He had to convince Arjuna of His Godhood by showing Arjuna His Divine Universal Swaroop or Self. Jesus Christ was scoffed at and eventually crucified because He revealed that He was The Son of The Lord. All these Spiritual Rockstars were not recognized or worshipped then, when They were in the human body, but centuries later, we all accept Their Godhood.
Similarly with Meher Baba, a time will come when the world will realise who He truly is. Anyway enough of my ramblings.
So who is Avatar Meher Baba?
Meher Baba’s Father, Sheriar Mundigar had spent His entire life in search of God and His own spiritual evolvement. He had travelled to India (which included the country of Pakistan, which was a part of India then), Afghanistan and His own land Iran. Born a Zoroastrian, He had lived and travelled and yearned to be enlightened.
One day out of sheer frustration He decided to do what numerous seekers had tried and most of them had failed. He drew a circle around Him and sat down. It is said that if you say your prayers, voice your affirmation, draw a circle around yourself and sit for forty days, without food and water, not stepping out of the circle, your greatest wish and desire is fulfilled.
The seeker goes through various stages of discomfort and hallucination and visions which force the seeker to step out. Meher Baba’s father sat in the circle for thirty days and eventually He could not remain in the self enforced circle. He went to quench His thirst and fell down unconscious.
A voice woke Him up telling Him that what He sought He would receive through His son. Sheriar felt He was still hallucinating as He had no intent of marrying. But some time later He married Shireen the daughter of His sister’s very close friend. There was a big age difference but They lived happily and humbly. They settled down in Poona, now known as Pune.
Merwan was the second of seven children and was born on the 25th of February, 1894. He was into sports and games and loved detective stories and did well in studies too. He was nicknamed Electricity due to His vibrant nature. To help the poor He and His group of friends would bet on horses, win money and help the poor. That is why Meher Baba all His physical life loved cricket and horse racing. In fact when Karl Umrigar, the talented young jockey passed over, Meher Baba embraced Him in the spirit world and even now Karl communicates with various mediums, serving and loving Meher Baba.
One day when Meher Baba was in college, a Muslim Fakir, a Perfect Master, called Baba Jaan beckoned Him. She, who never liked anybody touching Her, hugged Merwan and for the next seven to nine months, Merwan spent hours sitting near Baba Jaan.
Often Baba Jaan would ask Merwan to rub or scratch Her back for hours. One day in January 1914, while He was about to leave for home, Baba Jaan again hugged Merwan and kissed Him on His forehead (on the Third Eye Chakra). She told Him, ‘Merwan, You are My beloved Son who will shake the world and do immense good for all humanity’.
For the next nine months Merwan behaved like a zombie, completely or partially unaware of His surroundings. What Baba Jaan had done was initiated the ascent of God Realisation and Godhood in our Avatar Meher Baba. She had made a hole in the wall that separates Godhood from the state of duality, revealing His God Consciousness. It was an excruciating painful process and Meher Baba used to bang His head against the wall or on the floor with the pain. His father understood the signs but His mother thought Baba Jaan had done some black magic on Her Son. She would go Her mother with the intent of fighting with The Queen Jaan, but forget in Her presence Her grouse and sit for hours discussing Iran, reach home and realise ‘what the….’.
As Merwan began to slowly get used to the tearing of the veil of duality, He began to spend time with Baba Jaan and She sent Him to Tajuddin Baba and Narayan Maharaj, both Perfect Masters. They both greeted Him with garlands and roses and treated Him with such love that all those who were physically present witnessing this, were shocked at the way The Perfect Masters greeted this Young Man. Each of Them helped The Avatar’s descent into the confines of a Man.
Before Merwan was kissed by Baba Jaan, He was a Man unaware of His Godhood. Baba Jaan initiated the process of His Godhood…God in human form and Tajuddin Baba and Narayan Maharaj accelerated the process, Each One giving Him help and power that was needed.
Eventually Baba Jaan told Merwan that She had given Him everything but the final key was with Baba Sai of Shirdi, as He was the Head of The Five Perfect Masters. He holds the Supreme Power.
When Merwan went to meet Sai Baba along with His friend, they reached Shirdi at night and He was stopped by muscular men who were instructed to let Baba Sai rest as He was exhausted by the multitudes of devotees thronging to meet Him and get blessed by Him. When Baba Sai was told by Merwan’s friend that Baba Jaan had sent Merwan to meet Him, it seems Baba Sai said, ‘No, no, no, it’s not yet time’. He seemed very agitated.
But the next morning He was calm and when He saw Merwan, who prostrated Himself in front of Our Sai, Baba Sai saw Meher Baba and uttered the word ‘Parvardigar’ thrice, which means God and the Sustainer of Creation. Saying these words Baba Sai gave Meher Baba, Supreme Power.
From there, Merwan was directed inwardly by Baba Sai to go and meet Upasani Maharaj, who was living in the Khandoba Temple according to the wishes of His Master, Baba Sai. The moment Upasani Maharaj saw Meher Baba, He threw a stone which hit Meher Baba on the exact spot where Baba Jaan had kissed Merwan.
Thus, Upasani Maharaj concluded what was started and worked upon by the other Four Perfect Masters. The stone hitting Meher Baba accelerated the process of Godhood in body consciousness and it was then that Meher Baba became conscious of all spheres including that of the physical.
Meher Baba spent seven years with Upasani Maharaj regaining all wordly consciousness, while retaining consciousness of Creation and God Consciousness.
According to Meher Baba, Baba Jaan blessed Him with Infinite Bliss, Sai Baba with Infinite Power and Upasani Maharaj with the Infinite Knowledge of God realisation. “There are Five Perfect Masters who sustain Me from eternity. In every age, when I come, They sustain Me. Sai Baba made Me what I Am; Babajan made Me feel what I Am; Upasani Maharaj made Me know what I Am. And what I Am, I Am!”
In 1921, a group of youngsters deeply in love with Merwan formed His Mandali. They lovingly called Merwan, Meher Baba. The Mandali left their family and comfort and surrendered to the Will and Love of Meher Baba. A year later, Meher Baba and His Mandali lived in a home naming it Manzil-e-Meem (House of the Master) in Bombay (Mumbai).
The followers realised how difficult it was to surrender to The Master. Meher Baba was a hard taskmaster and it was here that the men were separated from the boys. Those who survived the ego crushing, pride numbing, small self annihilating experience remained with Meher baba all their physical life.
In 1923 or so they all moved to a beautiful place a few miles away from Ahmednagar and called it Meherabad meaning The Master Flourishes Always. It was during this period that Mehera Maa too reentered Meher Baba’s life and would be Radha to the Modern Krishna.
Life was hard. Water was always scarce. The funny thing was that the Mandali had to face severe water problems but if farmers came from far pleading for water and rains, Meher Baba would bless them and their water scarcity issue would be over. They would come to thank Baba and the Mandali would look on aghast that all Baba had to do was bless them with water and lo there was water, but they had to go through excruciating discomfort without water and The Master would smile and bear the discomfort too but there would always be a shortage of water. This is Meher Baba. He never made His life easy and those who loved Him realised that in one lifetime every karmic debt of theirs would be squared up, but there would be no comfort but yes, they would always have The Master with them going through the same or more discomfort along with them.
On the 10th of July, 1925 Meher Baba began His silence which ended according to certain members of the inner circle a day before He took Samadhi. His logic was simple. He had come countless times and spoken and spoken but nobody truly heard Him. This time He would make His lovers hear Him loud and clear through the power of silence. For a while He used to write. He gave that up and began to use the sign board and eventually gave that up too and used sign language. The strange thing was that His followers understood everything He spoke silently. The power of silence is louder, clearer and permanent.
He opened various institutions but after a while would shut them, as His logic was clear. The work done on the physical plane was a mini model of the larger work being done by Him in the spiritual and paranormal arena. If that was completed He had no interest in being tied down to anything. He didn’t care for what anybody thought about Him. He was only interested in the complete wellbeing of all of Creation.
His seclusions began. He would fasts for months living in a small cage or hut, without water, electricity, not coming out, doing His work in various planes. At the most He would have one cup of tea in the whole day and fast like this for months. All the while His Mandali were given orders to do certain work, or fast or serve and He expected His orders to be obeyed.
In the 1940’s He began to work with Masts or God Intoxicated people. To the lay person They look like mad men but in reality They are so intoxicated with the love for God and dwelling in that love that They have lost all grip on physical duality and reality. They were like the most talented musician who has lost His senses to play music but still lived in the world of ethereal music. Meher Baba would bring Them down to a state where They could use Their powers in helping Him in His astral and causal spiritual work. It was like channelizing Their raw power into constructive use. The Mast would and could get violent or abusive, but a whisper in their ear, that Meher Baba had called Them, and They became like sheep and would praise Baba to one and all. They recognized His Godhood.
Baba would bathe Them, feed Them, nurture Them and then spend hours and nights sitting with Them and doing His work with Them. His favourite Mast was called Mohammed who took Samadhi in 2003. I was fortunate to meet Him and spend half an hour with Him. I remember being told that He could be really temperamental but for some reason when I met Him, He held my hand for a while and smiled. His hand felt as smooth and cold as a slab of marble. He even allowed Himself to be photographed with me and another friend. I wish I still had that photograph.
Baba also spent lot of time taking care of lepers. He would bathe them, wash their feet often, dry their feet and kiss their feet and present them with clothing and blankets and food to eat.
He travelled the length and breadth of the country and went to America and United Kingdom, where He courted by Hollywood too and He remained who He was, calm, jovial and always clear that the purpose of mankind was to help those in need and seek their own realisation.
In 1949, He embarked on a journey called The New Life. He selected twenty followers who were called companions to join Him on a journey of complete hopelessness, helplessness and aimlessness. During this period of a few years they begged for their food and lived and travelled like paupers. He did this to share the suffering of countless poor people all over the world. If the Avatar starves, countless eat. If the Avatar is homeless, innumerable are sheltered. If the Avatar is naked, limitless are clothed. I wonder if the twenty companions really knew how privileged they were. But there was only one rule. The Boss is always right and must be obeyed no matter what.
He had also made it clear to all His followers all over that, if, by chance they would meet Meher Baba, they should turn and walk away. Not to talk to Him and not to try and help Him and ease His discomfort and the most important rule for those who had joined Him was that all should be in a state of complete acceptance of all the circumstances and situations in their new life, be in a state of perpetual cheer and happiness no matter how harsh or humiliating the difficulty or experience. He wanted to teach the world that even if one was the poorest beggar, one could still live with joy, happiness and dignity.
The darn Giants have gone.
He ended the New Life with a complete exhausting phase of seclusion and then once again entered the public glare and meeting His devotees and travelling.
He had two major accidents. He had told one and all that His blood has to spill on foreign land and in India. The first accident took place in America, bang center of America, Oklahoma, where seconds before the accident Baba seemed to be directing the entire event. He was thrown out of the car and landed on His back on a ditch with blood flowing from His broken nose, a broken arm and a leg while Mehera Maa was hurt the most with a very severe gnash on Her head. Doctors were surprised She lived through the accident.
The second accident took place in 1956 while after watching a cricket match He and His few inner circle people were returning to Meherabad. Baba seemed to be aware both times of the looming accidents as His mood before the accidents was intense and somber.
Fifteen miles outside Satara, just minutes before the accident His fingers were at work, His face serious. The car seemed to lose control and there was a major collision. Baba was covered in blood. His hip bone was fractured, His tongue was torn, and there were bad bruises on His face and legs. But when Vishnu, one of those who was least hurt in the car went towards Baba, he saw a brilliant light emitting from Baba’s face. As though some very important work had been accomplished.
“I have never in my life seen such utter radiance and luster as was on Baba’s face then! He was like a King, a victorious King who had won a great battle. Lord Krishna must have looked like that in his chariot on the victorious battlefield. The radiance was blinding! I could see nothing else, not the car, nor the surroundings, only Baba’s face in glorious triumph!”
Eruch, Pendu and Nilu, Baba’s inner circle, had been thrown out of the car. Nilu died and Pendu was unconscious with his leg broken. Nilu had always told Baba that he wanted to die in Baba’s presence and his death should be quick. So be it.
Obviously Baba had taken on immense suffering of all mankind, but remember, those who had vowed to love and follow Him too had partaken in the universal work. Many times people assume that if they are travelling or living with the Master they are protected and secure. The damn fools. Once the Master enters your life your real problems start, as the Master is only interested in cleaning us up. He is The Biggest Dhobi.
Baba never really recovered after the second accident. Though the doctors were sure that He would never walk again, but our Avatar did walk, but always with a limp and His physical body deteriorated after that, but He was happy. A very important work had got accomplished.
He had warned all about this accident jokingly saying that they may all die in a few days. Nobody took it seriously.
Strangely, after this accident, a short while later, two of Baba’s close friends and spiritual brothers passed over, Saint Gadge Maharaj who loved Meher Baba immensely took Samadhi and six days later Mast Ali Shah left His body.
Often people would ask Baba as to how to live a life that would not add on more Karmic baggage and also free oneself from Karma and bring about liberation and merger with Him, The Avatar.
He would say the simplest way was to take His Name (or one’s Master’s Name) fourteen times every day, ‘Not more, not less than fourteen times. Then you will come to Me. Even fourteen times is difficult’.
He meant to take the Name fourteen times, with complete love, devotion and surrender was difficult for most people.
“If you cannot do this, then do this much. When about to breathe your last, repeat My Name, and come to Me. This too is hard to do unless you start repeating it or loving Me from now on, every second of your life. If you do not do it, you will not be able to remember Me in your last moments. Even if this is not possible, there is a last recourse which might help you. It is to do selfless service for others, as I Am everywhere, in all and in everything. Service for the sake of service is selfless service. If you do this, under all circumstances and regardless of what happens, it will bring you to Me.”
He was also of the opinion that God can forget the most horrendous sins but there is one thing even God cannot forgive. “Remember one thing: God is all-merciful. He is eternally in bliss. He cannot forgive one thing, and that is posing. Being a scoundrel, if one pretends to be a Saint, God will not forgive it.”
In 1969, after the midst of January His health began to slowly deteriorate. He was already aware of His passing over as He had jokingly told His Mandali if it was fine if He gave Darshan to the thousands of His disciples and devotees lying down with head slightly raised. There was a big gathering taking place in some time and all were worried if He would be able to stand the strain of such exertion. Nobody realised that eventually He would give His Darshan lying down, head slightly raised, in a state of Samadhi, just a few days from then on.
The spasms began. They sometimes went on for hours with seconds or few minutes of respite. His body would virtually be lifted off the bed. His inner circle was with Him and nobody could see the pain. He would keep reminding the Mandali that He was not the body but He had to take the pain and suffering of all His children. He said to them that as Christ He was crucified once, but in this present form as The Avatar, He was being crucified countless times in a day.
But strangely when Mehera Maa would come to see Him, Baba would be all smiles. No spasms during Her visit to Baba. The moment She would leave, the spasms would start. It was as though He did not want Mehera Maa to see His suffering, but His suffering too was at His beck and call. He had already passed Mehera Maa the message, ‘Mehera be brave’.
Also as usual when the doctors would walk in He seemed fine. This was a trend through the two accidents too. When the doctors would enter, He was fine. The moment they left, the pain would begin. It was as though He wanted to suffer unhindered.
It seems Baba uttered two words in these seven days and they were “Yad Rakh…” which means “Always Remember…” and He gestured “I am not this body.”
In the morning, on the 31st of January, 1969, hours before He took Samadhi, Baba called for the board on which Baba’s favourite poet Hafiz’s three couplets were written.
I am the slave of the Master
who has released me from ignorance;
whatever my Master does is
of the highest benefit to all concerned.
Befitting a fortunate slave,
carry out every command of the Master
without any question of “why” and “what.”
About what you hear from the Master,
never say it is wrong;
because, my dear, the fault lies
in your own incapacity to understand Him.
Baba’s body was kept in the Samadhi House, open for seven days. Thousands of His followers came to have a last glimpse of their beloved Avatar. The trains passing by would sound their horn in honour of the Silent One.
He had kept His promise of giving His Darshan to His lovers, lying down, head held high.
Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai.
Be blessed always.
Ruzbeh N. Bharucha