Avatar Meher Baba at  Nagpur - 1937.

Meher Baba's Nagpur Visit 

Nagpur is one the Spiritually charged places of Maharastra State in India. This place has paramount importance because it was also the dwelling place of one of the Five Perfect Masters of recent time: Hazrat Tajuddin Baba. It was in 1915 that a young boy named Meherwan Sheriar Irani, after becoming God-realized through the agency of Hazrat Babajan first came to Nagpur to visit Hazrat Tajuddin Baba at Waki-sharif, a place 25 kilometers away from the city of Nagpur. Later this young boy, who was destined to carry out Universal Spiritual work through his silence, came to be known as Meher Baba. While traveling throughout India in search of "masts" ( God-intoxicated persons) Meher Baba came to Nagpur in 1937 on 26th December. (Pictures available from pages 2158 to 2168, 2252,2257, 2258. 2259 of Lord Meher).

 At Nagpur Meher Baba was received by Bomanji, Papa Jessawala and his son Eruch, Jal Kerawala and Dr. C. D. Deshmukh. Baba rode in the Jessawala's family car to their residence called Mary Lodge, where He stayed on this occasion. Gaimai Jessawala and her daughters welcomed Baba, and Baba's Arti was performed. (Mary Lodge was subsequently demolished, but more details of the visit, as well as photographs, are also available in the February 2001 issue of Glow International.) Baba retired to the main bedroom. Dr. C.D. Deshmukh and his wife Indumati, were also staying at the Jessawalas during Baba's three day stay. Dr. Deshmukh had brought his fellow professors and students for Baba's darshan.

 Deshmukh delivered a short speech and Indumati sang Baba's arti. Baba granted an interview to two of Deshmukh's students Sushila and Vimala. Another student named Dineshnandini Chordia was particularly drawn to Baba. Baba ate lunch in his room. At 1:30 P. M. He drove to Dr. Deshmukh`s house. After an hour there, Papa Jessawala took Baba on a tour of Nagpur. On December 27th, in the afternoon, Papa Jessawala drove Baba to Dineshnandini Chordia`s for tea. While passing through the town Baba, pointing to a swimming pool, indicated to Jal that "One day you will swim in the infinite Ocean of Love. I am that Ocean of Love." Baba also remarked regarding the conspicuous consumption, "Lust wants possessions. Love gives possessions." 

A large public darshan was held in the evening at the Jessawala's bungalow. Eruch had previously been connected with the Ramkrishna Ashram in Nagpur. The swami of the ashram was Swami Bhaskaranand and he attended the darshan. Tukdoji Maharaj, a well known Hindu Saint of Maharastra, also attended. Tukdoji sang heartfelt bhajans which Baba greatly appreciated. 


Saint Tukdoji Maharaj of Nagpur.

Later that day, Baba visited the Theosophical Society and an institute for blind boys. To the theosophists who had gathered there Baba gave a message, "I give my blessings to you so that you may long more and more to finally realize the Truth through experience." Jal Kerawala and Eruch both received much personal attention from Baba, which kept them always drawn toward Him. Eruch's plans were to study Engineering in Banaras, but the Master had his own plans for Eruch. 

Baba left Nagpur for Meherabad on December 28th. On November 11, 1944 Meher Baba returned to Nagpur, along with Adi Sr., Baidul, Manek Mehta and Bal Natu. Dr. Deshmukh, Pankhraj, Justice M. Bhawanishankar Niyogi and Justice W.R. Puranik along with hundreds of others, were there to welcome him. November 11th of that year fell on Saturday night, and darshan began on that night at 9:30pm in Gorakshan maidan, where almost thirty thousand people had gathered. When Baba arrived at the maidan he was received by Tukdoji Maharaj, the great saint of Nagpur, who led him to the dias amidst thunderous shouts of "Shri Sadguru Meher Baba Ki Jai!" Tukdoji Maharaj began singing bhajans and looked blissfully filled with love. The darshan continued for two and a half hours, until midnight and people were captivated by Baba's presence. Again on Sunday, November 12th, a great crowd collected in front of Thakur`s house (this time Baba was staying at Thakur's Bunglow, situated in Dhantoli area of Nagpur) calling for Baba. Baba came out and gave darshan for some while. 

Thakur Bunglow, Dhantoli Nagpur. Baba stayed here during Nov. 1944

Then, accepting the invitation of Khan Bahadur M.F.R. Malak, a rich businessman of Nagpur, Baba went to his mansion where notables of the city had gathered. Remaining there for only short time, Baba left at five P.M. to visit the nearby Ramkrishna Ashram.There the Swami Bhaskaranand received him. Justice Puranik read Baba's message,"God AS the Only Reality", which was translated by Deshmukh into Marathi and into Hindi by Manek Mehta. 

That very same evening at 7:30 P.M., Deshmukh presented a kirtan recital in the Master's praise at the National College Hall in Dhantoli, which Baba attended with the mandali. The following day was supposed to be a day of rest for Baba, but people nevertheless came to his residence in Dhantoli and would not leave him alone. He graciously allowed them his darshan and casually chatted with them for a while. Baba visited the home of Ramdas Chaurasia in the evening, whose two little boys, Shankarlal and Ganeshilal met Baba. Baba took the children in His arms and put them on His lap and blessed them. Baba's arti was sung and Baba distributed prasad; thereafter, they returned to Dhantoli. 

On November 14th, Baba left at ten in the morning to give darshan at the Theosophical Society in Nagpur. In the afternoon from three to five, Baba gave interviews at Thakur's home. At seven-thirty a program was held in the convocation hall of Nagpur University. On Baba's arrival Justice Niyogi and Justice Puranik garlanded him. Niyogi spoke on Baba's spiritual status and work. Justice Puranik said, "It is the good fortune of Nagpur University that Meher Baba, whose work is to give God-Realisation to mankind, has today come here." The judge was also the Vice-Chancellor of the university and had great reverence for Baba. 

On November 15th, the entire party, including Deshmukh`s family, Pankhraj and other Nagpur lovers, departed for Angewada by car and bus. Angewada is twenty one miles away and the final stretch of two miles is unpaved, over which neither the car nor the bus could travel. Vibhuti had opened the Meher Spiritual Centre in Angewada, where devotees from neighboring villages would come to pray, sing and listen to talks on Meher Baba. The villagers were dancing with joy at having Baba in their village. Baba went streight to the newly founded centre, where Vibhuti performed his arti and Baba's picture was officially inaugurated. After distributing prasad, Baba left for Saoner. Baba reached Saoner at 10 A.M., where again the whole village turned out for his darshan. 

Pophali and another lawyer named P.D.Harkare had made fine arrangements for the function. Baba was taken to the residence of Bhawalkar Pleader. Pophali had done excellent work of spreading Baba's messages and love in the area. As a result almost forty thousand men women and children had come with eager hearts for the darshan of Meher Prabhu-Lord Meher. Baba proceeded to the open grounds opposite the municipal high school, where a gigantic pandal had been erected. Jal Kerawala read out the Master`s message, "The Divine Heritage of Man" and Harkare Pleader repeated it in Marathi.  Baba then declared: "The darshan programs at Saoner and Angewada have touched my infinite heart. I am extremely happy with the love here." It was 10 P.M. at night when Baba returned to Nagpur. 

On November 16th, Baba visited the Buddhist Society in Nagpur that morning. Afterwards, Baba visited the homes of Justice Niyogi and Puranik before proceeding to the train station. All his lovers were there and gave him a rousing sendoff with heavy hearts. 

Baba also visited Nagpur on 15th April 1949 and contacted a mast Amir Hussein who lived in a police Sargent's house near Bornala stone mine. From Nagpur in Jal Kerawala's car Baba began His travel to Seoni, around 150 kilometers from Nagpur along the Nagpur-Jabalpur road during the afternoon. During this journey, which was for contacting masts, Baba visited Seoni, Jabalpur and Mandla. This was Baba's mast contact period during which Baba contacted masts like Magga Shah, Rajiya mastani, Maggu mia at Jabalpur, the very well known persons  like  Dhaniram Dada and Thanthan pal Dada at mandla and Hafiz ji of Mauganj near Rewa. For details of Baba's Mast work in this region please refer to the Mast Work page of TrustMeher.

Baba's next visit to this region was in 1952, when he came to Saoner on 30th December. For Baba's arrival, Saoner had been transformed into festival grounds. Multitudes of people, not fewer than twenty thousand, gathered on December 31st. The skies resounded with victory cries of "Meher Baba ke Jai" and the divine rays of his presence shone on everyone. Twenty thousand people assembled on the next day, January 1st 1953, for another program. After reaching Nagpur on January 2nd, at 9:30 A.M., the first item on Baba's schedule was, as regularly set, the poor program. It was arranged in the large hall of the newly-built Gita temple. After bowing to the poor, Baba went to the Parsi burial grounds at 5 P.M., where he laid a wreath of roses on Jal Kerawala's grave.  Jal Kerawala was a High Govt. Officer and was the key person behind making arrangements for Baba's comforts while Baba's various visits to places like Jabalpur, Nagpur, Raipur where he happened to serve in his official capacity. During Baba's Jabalpur visit in 1938-39, he was the Extra Assistant Commissioner of Jabalpur. Also during Baba's Angirishi Hill seclusion near Raipur, Jal Kerawala looked after every thing personally, and his devotion and love for Baba was immensely  deep.  

Meher Baba then visited the Tomb of Hazrat Tajuddin Baba, where he paid his respects. He went to the Palace of the Hindu King Raja Raghuji Rao Bhosle, where Tajuddin Baba had breathed his last. Raja Bhosle received Baba ceremoniously, and performed his arti. Tajuddin Baba's body is buried in Taj Bagh some miles away, but as the Palace was his constant seat, Raja Bhosle has preserved it as a memorial to the great Qutub. Coming out of the palace, Baba seated himself on the stone upon which Tajuddin Baba used to rest. Baba asked all the mandali to take darshan at the symbolic samadhi. 

On January 3rd, a children's program was held in the Gita temple. Sherlekar had arranged it and almost fifteen hundred school children had Baba's darshan. In the afternoon, a large darshan program was held in the Gita temple. The program was exclusively for women, and many came. In the evening, a mass public darshan took place in the same temple. During the Nagpur stay, Baba and the mandali's food was coming from Nana Kher's family house and was daily being delivered to where Baba was staying. Kaka Sherlekar also invited Baba for food, and one day Baba went to his house for a meal. 

 Geeta Temple, Subhash Road, Nagpur

Pankhraj was staying in Qr. No D/12/4 , Govt. Staff Qrs., Amravati Road, Ravi Nagar, Nagpur, which was allotted to his wife who was working in the Education Dept. at the DPI office. Meher Baba's visit to Nagpur was scheduled and Pankhraj obtained Baba's agreement to pay a visit to their quarters to bless their residence. Baba instructed Pankhraj that He wanted rest and no one should be told about the visit. Pankhraj agreed and reached the place where Baba was staying to escort Him there. 

To their surprise, when Meher Baba reached Pankhraj's house the news had some how already spread that Meher Baba was visiting the place and several persons had already gathered and were eagerly awaiting Him. Baba smiled at Pankhraj who had promised Baba a good, quiet rest in his house. Regardless, Baba happily came to the house and was welcomed. Meher Baba gave darshan to the gathering of persons accumulated there and also allowed His prayers and Arti to be performed. 

Meher Baba stayed in Pankhraj's house to distribute prasad, and then proceeded. During Baba's visit, Pankhraj's son Anand was nearly one year old and was taking only milk. Mrs. Tara Pankhraj's fantasy was that Anand should start  eating solid food from Baba's hands. During this visit, at Dr. Kher's house at Nagpur when all gathered for darshan, Baba called her near and lovingly gave the child prasad with His own hands as a divine blessing, as his "Annaprashana." 

Baba nicknamed Pankhraj's son Anand "Little Gustadji." This witticism was a reference to the marriage ceremony of Anand's parents (Pankhraj & Tara) that Baba had previously performed, in 1952 at Panchgani,  in which Gustadji had been substituted as a proxy for Tara, since she was unavailable at the time, while  Baba wanting to perform their wedding, given the reason that this gathering was for men mandli only. Gustadji played the role of proxy Bride in this ceremony, while Pankhraj was real groom. Baba always remembered to mention this trick in His correspondence with the Pankhraj family. This Little Gustadji often went to darshan programs of Meher Baba along with his parents. Once during 1957 on the 18th of March when Pankhraj had been to Sakori to meet Baba, at Sakori this Little Gustadji was even allowed to sing Baba's Arti in Marathi in the presence of Baba. Pankhraj had the opportunity to be with Baba during the Andhra tour program from 18th to 20th January 1953. Photographs of Pankhraj and his family, as well as versions of the proxy Bride and other stories, are available in most of the reference books about Baba's life and work. 

Baba also visited the residences of Bhatia, Kapse, Chourasia, Solav, and Dr. Deshmukh in Nagpur. Baba again gave darshan on Sunday January 4th, in the morning. Baba came, bowed down to the gathering and Mr. Kamath, an important social worker, read out Baba's message. Swami Bhaskaranand from the Ramakrishna Ashram was also present, along with the mast Kuttawala (the Dog- keeper), who had inexplicably shown up and sat down directly in front of Baba. Earlier the same day January 4th 1953, Baba had visited Matru Seva Sangh, an obstetrics hospital where Indu Tai Deshmukh worked, to see Mira, the daughter of a local lover named Pillay. This girl was staying in room number seven, the same room where Sheela Kalchuri had been born six months before. Years later a plaque was installed by the Deshmukhs to commemorate Meher Baba's visit. Leaving Nagpur, Meher Baba boarded a train for Allahabad at about 5 pm, on Sunday, amidst tumultuous acclamations from a vast crowd gathered to see him off at the Railway station, and left Nagpur. 



Baba on Swing Nagpur - 1930



Darshan Program at Nagpur, 1944  

(Reproduced from Glimpses of the God Man - by Bal Natu. With kind permission of the Sheriar Press)

On the Way to Meet Meher Baba

The  blessed moment of my seeing Meher Baba was drawing closer. In October 1944 I heard from Pandoba Deshmukh the consecrated news of Baba's visit to Nagpur. It was to be from November 11 to 14, 1944. Pandoba was working in a printing press at Barsi. His faith and love for Baba were most admirable. He had lived at Meherabad with the mandali during Baba's Meher Ashram activities — the school and the hospital. He told me many incidents of that period which nurtured my longing to meet Baba in person. As per the circular, Pandoba was one of the members who was to attend Baba's programs at Nagpur. Permission for me to be present at Nagpur and also at Saoner for all the programs was secured. Accordingly, on November 10 I left Kurduwadi with Pandoba and Bhagat to catch a mail train at Manmad, bound for Nagpur.

As we reached Manmad, I learned that Baba had already arrived there with the mandali. The luggage, including many bags and bedding rolls, was well piled up in the waiting room. Gustadji was there to guard it. Pandoba introduced me to him. I knew that he had been observing silence for over sixteen years. Gustadji, in ultra-white trousers and shirt, a brown-colored Parsi-fashioned long coat, a black round cap and, above all, his simple, silent gestures, looked like a child in an old form. I preferred to sit silently by his side in that waiting room. When he went outside, I tenderly touched the luggage and, finding no one in the waiting room, reverently bowed down to it. It was Baba's luggage! Just before the arrival of our train Baba came and sat on a bench at the far end of the platform, rather a secluded spot. Pandoba told me that Adi Sr. was sitting by His side. I didn't dare go near Him and disturb Him. The train arrived. Kaka Baria had come from Bombay with seats reserved for Baba and the mandali in inter class, a class in between third and second. We three got into another compartment. It was very crowded, but even if I had secured a special berth, I wondered if I could have slept well because of the joy of being with Baba on that train!

He Looked Like Beauty Personified

The next morning we reached Nagpur. His lovers had gathered at the station to receive Baba.  Deshmukh was the chief host. Baba was profusely garlanded. He stood for a minute or two at the door of the compartment. He looked very fresh and radiant. With His broad, luminous forehead, sharp and pointed nose, lustrous eyes, moderately flowing hair, and fair skin that failed to contain His beauty, He looked like beauty personified. The rose petals from the garlands round His neck were vainly competing with His complexion. I was lost to myself. In that madness I felt He looked at me — a thin, slim, insignificant creature in that big crowd — and smiled. Amid loud cheers of "Shri Meher Baba ki jai!" He stepped onto the platform and left the station.

When I came to my senses, I found that the wallet in my pocket was gone. I had been prey to a pickpocket! It contained three railway tickets from Kurduwadi to Nagpur and some money, too. Someone said, "It's good to lose something when you meet a Master!" I was not normal enough to catch the joke! Our bags and bedding were already placed with the mandali's luggage, so we passed through the gate of the platform just as visitors would do, along with the crowd. As I stood outside the gate I felt a pat on my shoulder. There was a ticket collector standing by my side.

I thought he was there to ask me for the missing tickets, but instead he said, "Do you not recognize me?" He was my school friend, whom I thus met again after a period of about eight years. The moment of fear turned into minutes of happy reminiscences of school life.

God and Religion

Meher Baba and the mandali were accommodated in K. K. Thakur's bungalow at Dhantoli, near  Deshmukh's residence. Some of us were asked to stay on the second floor of a nearby building. I have a weak heart and doctors have advised me to avoid going up and down stairs, but in my enthusiasm and joy I forgot all about it. For meals we all had to go to Dr. Deshmukh's place.

In the evening there was a big public program. It had been arranged to be given on the premises of Gorakshan Compound, where Sant Tukdoji Maharaj sang beautiful bhajans which he had composed. Baba gave a message, "God and Religion." It was read out by Justice Sir M. B. Niyogi. During Baba's programs at Nagpur and Saoner He gave eight illuminating messages. I wish to give just a part from each here and request my readers to see the original messages in the book, Messages of Meher Baba, compiled by Adi K. Irani. Baba's first message said in part:

Dogmas and beliefs, rituals and ceremonies can never be the essence of true spiritual life. When religion has become merely a matter of external rituals and ceremonies, it has become a cage for the soul. Nor does it help very far to change one religion to another; it is like going from one cage to another. If religion does not help man to emancipate the soul from spiritual bondage and realize God, it has no useful purpose to serve. Then it is time that religion should go to make room for God.[i]

God as the Only Reality

The next morning, November 12, I visited Thakur's bungalow. A bhajan program was going on. It was my first occasion to see God in human form seated before His devotees, who sang devotional songs in His praise. All the time, irrespective of the language and the contents of the bhajans, my eyes were set on Baba's figure. I was trying to store the form of the formless One in my heart. In the afternoon Baba visited Ramakrishna Ashram. Swami Bhaskararanand received Baba. He had first met Baba in December 1937 at Papa Jessawala's place. He used to talk with Eruch about spiritual life, and Eruch would tell him about the life of Meher Baba. The Swami was not convinced of the divinity of Baba and expressed a wish to get some points clarified by Baba Himself. But when he had had the opportunity to see Baba in person, he remarked to Eruch,

"I have no more questions to ask Him, although I came prepared with a long questionnaire." It was quite natural that he felt honored to welcome Baba to Ramakrishna Ashram. We moved through the ashram—the premises were very neat and clean. The atmosphere seemed to invite the hearts of the lovers of God to offer their services at the feet of the Lord. Baba looked especially pleased to visit this place. His message, "God as the Only Reality," was read to the gathering by Justice W. R. Puranik, Vice-Chancellor of Nagpur University. In this message Baba said:

God-realization is sometimes mistakenly thought to be a selfish purpose of the limited individual. There is no room for any selfishness or limited individuality in God realization. On the contrary, God-realization is the final aim of the limited and narrow life of the separate ego ... The life of the God-realized Master is a pure blessing to all humanity.[ii]

The Program at the National College

Then followed a program arranged at the National College. In the evening people crowded in and outside the Hall of the College. Many collegians were also present. It was a crowd provoked by curiosity. A local paper had published an article warning people to keep away from saints and Sadgurus - also mention was made of Baba's name. The reporter for this newspaper seemed to be prejudiced against any religious attitude. To me that was a discomforting situation, for I failed to understand that life has its own excuse for being either sane or insane, on different levels, at one and the same time. I had longingly waited to have Baba's darshan for about a year and a half, and here some persons were making the worst of this rare opportunity, so easily had. Later, I noticed that whenever Baba went out for darshan programs the aspect of opposition would have some expression somewhere, as if Baba would not feel happy enough if all went well and fine. Inside the Hall Dr. Deshmukh performed a kirtan to honor Baba's divinity, while outside the Hall some collegians made fun of his devotion, which showed that they were devoid of humanity. "Youth! Let not thy name be impudence!" I thought. Unaffected, Dr. Deshmukh boldly continued the kirtan and openly expressed his faith in Baba as God incarnate. Baba looked nonchalant and happy, for His presence was all inclusive. Baba's beautiful message, "God and Love," was read by Advocate Khare and follows in part:

The spiritual Path is like climbing up to the mountain top through hills and dales and thorny woods and along steep and dangerous precipices ... If there is one thing which is most necessary for safe and sure arrival at the top, it is Love. All other dualities which are essential for the aspirants of the Highest, can and must come to them, if they faithfully follow the whispers of the unerring Guide of Love ... If you lose hold of the mantle of this Guide there is only despair in store for you ... The gateway to this highest state of being One with God is firmly closed for all who do not have the courage to lose their separate existence in the restless fire of Divine Love.[iii]

The Two Aspects of Divinity

Late on November 13, R. K. Gadekar arrived with his family. I personally owe Gadekar and Pandoba Deshmukh much for this memorable and life-giving contact with Baba. Gadekar brought the news that my mother, with one of my sisters, had left Kurduwadi for Baba's darshan and they were at Wardha. They expected me to go to Wardha and bring them to Nagpur. I was living with the mandali and attending all the programs. Until this time I had not had an opportunity to introduce myself to Baba. I knew, however, that when one was with Baba it was a rule to seek His permission if one had to attend to some personal affair, so through Pandoba I wrote a note about the arrival of my mother and Baba permitted me to go to Wardha.

In the morning there were some house visits, and in the afternoon there was a meeting of the Shri Meher Baba Reception Committee at K. K. Thakur's bungalow. Baba looked pleased when the members of the reception committee were introduced to Him. They were the elite of the city. The messages given by Baba at Nagpur provided nourishing food for the minds and hearts of these people and this drew them closer to Baba in love. Justice Bhavanishankar Niyogi was the president of the reception committee. It was during this visit that the Honorable Justice Hidayatulla, who later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, had an opportunity to meet Baba. Dr. Abdul Ghani Munsiff, one of the mandali, read aloud Baba's message which explained the two aspects of Divinity, from which I quote:

There are always two aspects of Divinity, perpetually and eternally active in the affairs of the world. The destructive aspect of Divinity as expressed in Persian [Shama-e-Jalal] means "Self-glorification," and the constructive aspect of Divinity is called in Persian "Self-beatitude" [Shama-e-Jamal]. The aspect of Self glorification by God, when it gets palpably active, entails suffering and destruction on a colossal scale ... The aspect of divine Self-beatitude, when it asserts itself, brings in its wake peace and plenty.

In the aspect of Self-glorification, Divinity repels itself through its own creation, and in the aspect of Self-beatitude, Divinity attracts or loves itself through its own creation. The former is a negative method and the latter is a positive method, and both these methods ultimately are instruments of divine Wisdom, to rouse humanity to their divine heritage, which is Self-realization ... My blessings to all — those who heard my message and those who have not.[iv]

This was indeed a message of "Cheer and Hope to the Suffering Humanity," as it was entitled. Because of the prevalent world situation, this particular message appealed to me deeply and, in a way, helped me to gain a new perspective to my understanding of the Divine Sport of God, if it could ever be understood!

In the afternoon, I came out of Thakur's bungalow rather unwillingly and was trying for a rickshaw to take me to the station, for I had to go to Wardha. Just then I was accosted by a man whom I could not recognize at first. He told me to meet the train on which my mother would arrive at Nagpur. He was one of my distant relatives. Had he missed seeing me I would have gone to Wardha, which would have caused great inconvenience to me and to my mother. I felt that Baba in His compassion timed this meeting! My life with Baba has many times demonstrated a chain of incredible coincidences. Perhaps He had ordained that I should be benefited by all the programs at Nagpur, although outwardly He did not give any such indication.

Visit to the Theosophical Society

On the morning of November 14 there was a visit to a branch of the Theosophical Society at Nagpur. This Society has indeed done a great work in inspiring and awakening people to discover the life which lies beyond the ordinary range of the mind, and to the Truth within. Baba was warmly welcomed, and during this short visit the Secretary of the Society read a message from Baba, "The Dynamism of Love":

True Love is very different from an evanescent outburst of indulgent emotionalism or the enervating stupor of a slumbering heart. It can never come to those whose heart is darkened by selfish cravings or weakened by
constant reliance upon the lures and stimulations of the passing objects of the senses. But to those whose hearts are pure and simple, true Love comes as a gift through the activising grace of a Master.

... Those who have got the courage and the wisdom to surrender themselves to a Perfect Master are the recipients of His grace ... and when it comes, it enkindles in the human heart a love divine which ... enables the aspirant to become One with God ... There is no power greater than Love.[v]

In the Convocation Hall

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

Baba persisted, "Go to the post office. Inquire well and bring me the telegram. There could be a mistake somewhere."

After a short time Pankhraj set out for the post office, and Baba proceeded to the Convocation Hall with the mandali. The program in this hall was one of the grand functions in Nagpur. Justice W. R. Puranik, Vice-Chancellor of Nagpur University, had arranged this program. Principals, professors, judges, lawyers and mostly educated people had gathered to hear Baba's message and have His darshan. Baba looked very radiant — there was a loveliness and beauty about Him. Some prominent persons were introduced to Baba, and a few delivered short speeches in His honor. During this solemn program Baba spotted Pankhraj standing near the far end by the door. He looked at him and gestured to ask if the telegram had been received. Pankhraj shook his head to express no. Later in my life with Baba I witnessed other such silent communications, which were carried on with the persons concerned without disturbing the public programs.

During this darshan program the Honorable Justice Sir Niyogi read Baba's message, "The Unity of All Life," a part of which is given below:

In the one undivided and indivisible Ocean of Life you have, through ignorance, created the pernicious divisions based upon sex, race, nationality, religion or community; and you allow these self-created divisions to poison your heart and pervert your relationships ... Slowly but surely must you imbibe ... Truth at the feet of the Masters of Wisdom; slowly but surely must you shed prejudices and get disentangled from the superficial distinctions, ... slowly but surely must you tread the Path to the formless and the nameless One ...

When you enthrone the nameless One in your mind-heart, you do not necessarily put an end to the game of duality. You have to play your divine role in the drama of creation without being caught up in duality ... The unity of life has to be experienced and expressed in the very midst of its diverse experiences ... All life is One and all divisions are imaginary. Be ye established in this eternal Truth which I bring.[vi]

A Wonderful Way of Replying to a Letter

The program in Convocation Hall was one of the best. The next day Baba was to visit Saoner. Special cars and buses were reserved to take the mandali there. After supper Baba called Pankhraj and said, "Tomorrow I am visiting Saoner. You should not join the mandali in the morning but come by a later bus after today's telegram is received."

Then Pankhraj was again called at about 9:00 P.M. for the same inquiry. In exasperation he answered, "No telegram. I have made the necessary inquiries. What else can I do in this matter? I can't help."

At this Baba asked Adi Sr., who was standing by His side, "Had Chanji been alive to attend to the correspondence, what would have been his reply?"

Adi promptly replied: "Definitely not like that of Pankhraj. He would have humbly said, 'I will try once more, Baba.'"

This served as a reply to the letter Pankhraj had addressed to Baba two months earlier. He had expressed his desire to work in place of Chanji, who had dropped his body in August 1944. Baba called Pankhraj near Him and twisted his ear and remarked, "Do you now know how competent you are for Chanji's work?"

Pankhraj felt very sorry about his reply but was happy, too, with that "pleasing punishment" which, in fact, was an expression of divine intimacy. Was this not a wonderful way of replying to the letter?

At about midnight Kaka Baria woke Pankhraj up, for he was being called by Baba. Pankhraj hesitatingly went into Baba's room but felt at home on finding Baba in a very happy mood. Baba conveyed through the alphabet board: "Someone handed over the telegram to Kaka on his way to the bathroom. He placed it in a drawer of a mirror-stand and then completely forgot about it. A little while ago when Kaka went there again, he chanced to open the drawer and found the telegram. Go. Have a good rest. Do join the mandali going to Saoner without fail."

In a minute Pankhraj came out of Baba's room wondering about His ways — so exacting, so loving!

Visit to Saoner

It was a pleasant winter morning. A goodly number of cheerful faces from Nagpur had gathered near Baba's residence. Many were to follow the One whom they desired to follow for their whole lives. Fairly early the buses sped for Saoner. On the way we stopped at Angewada. It was two miles off the main road, beyond a river bed, so some had to get into bullock carts. The cow dung-plastered huts looked tidy. Here the simple-hearted villagers welcomed Baba in an unpretentious way. By the side of the river there was a small Baba Center. It was named "Baba Ashram" by Vibhutidas, one of Baba's men. Baba blessed the gathering and they were all happy. After arti and prasad this program was over.

Saoner, twenty-three miles from Nagpur, was reached by 10:00 A.M. and Baba was warmly received by the crowds. Baba lovers from villages had specially come in their bullock carts for Baba's darshan. The crowds were pressing, and so Baba had to come out of His room often to give darshan. Chounde Maharaj, famous for his work of gorakshan[vii] came especially to see Baba and asked for His blessings. Baba replied: "I am the Power House. The Power House will never fail provided one is careful about the connecting wires."

D. H. Pophali, one of Baba's stalwarts and one of His very dear ones, was the chief host. He is a lawyer there. Even now the whole family — wife, children and grandchildren — forms a devout group with singular devotion to Avatar Meher Baba. We had our lunch at Pophali's residence. I still remember that long plantain leaf, which was not a large enough plate for even the first helping of the delicacies so lovingly prepared. The whole family treated Baba's visit as a period of greatest jubilation and good fortune.

Here I am reminded of a small incident related to me by Shriram, one of the sons of Pophali. Baba had once remarked that next to masts, He loved children. In the company of children Baba looked extraordinarily happy. He used to make jokes and amuse them with playful tricks. Shriram had the good fortune to be in Baba's company when he was a child. Here is a trick or game that Baba played with him. Baba held the five fingers of His right hand in the grip of His left and asked the boy to find the middle finger, which he invariably missed. Baba remarked to those near Him, "You seek the true; you come upon the false. Beware!" Shriram, himself now the father of a few children, still remembers these words and treats the remark as a beacon ever guiding his life.

"Unquenching Fire" and "Divine Heritage"

After a little rest Baba paid a visit to Meher Adhyatama Ashram at Saoner. This was a private program and, as such, Baba lovers of the place had an opportunity to come closer to their beloved Master. It was a Baba-family gathering. Harkare, a lawyer in Saoner, delivered a short speech about the activities carried on at the Center. As he performed Baba's arti tears rolled down his cheeks. Baba's message, "The Unquenching Fire of Spiritual Longing," was read out to His devotees:

... The life of desires is always and necessarily constrained to an unending oscillation between the opposites of joy and suffering, gratification and disappointment, good and evil ...

But even in the very midst of the tumultuous pains and pleasures of the ego life, there dawns, in the ripeness of experience, and through the Grace of the Master, the clear perception of the utter futility of desires, which seek fulfillment through the false and the transient forms of life ... This is the beginning of the life of spiritual longing, accompanied by constant discrimination between the true and the false ... When the spiritual longing is thus awakened, it can never be entirely set at rest or evaded. It becomes an unquenching fire that burns the very roots of limiting desires ... Thus shall the Pilgrim arrive at his Abode of Peace through keen spiritual longing.[viii]

The public program was arranged in a specially erected pandal in the Municipal School Compound. Thousands gathered to hear Baba's message. Chounde Maharaj performed a kirtan. He said:

"In Meher Baba we find the sangan - confluence of all the world religions."

With deep reverence he prostrated himself before Baba and implored Him to awaken the heart of humanity. Jal Kerawala, Divisional Commissioner, read a message of Meher Baba's entitled, "The Divine Heritage of Man":

... Man is constantly feeling thwarted and limited; and he is ever in the clutches of unrelieved agony or suffering, because, not knowing his own true nature, he identifies himself with the body or the desires or the limited individual mind, and thereby becomes a victim to their respective limitations and sufferings. It is only by knowing himself to be different from and beyond all these that he can fully enter the Divine Heritage of the Abiding Happiness ...

The Master does not give to the aspirant something which is not already within the aspirant in a latent form; he only unveils the real Self of the aspirant himself and enables him to come into his own Divine heritage which is rightfully his.[ix]

We had our evening meal at the house of another Baba devotee, Jai Narayan, and left Saoner by 7:00 P.M., reaching Nagpur by nine o'clock. Some admirers of Baba from Nagpur, mostly Muslims, had arranged a qavvali program in Thakur's bungalow, without the consent of the host. But Baba condescended to be present at the program, which continued until midnight.

Visit to the Buddha Society

In the morning on November 16, 1944 Baba made two visits, first to the residence of Justice M. B. Niyogi and the second to the bungalow of Justice W. R. Puranik. This was the last day of our stay in Nagpur. Later the same morning Baba attended a small gathering in the Buddha Society where His secretary, Adi K. Irani, read out the following message, "The Hidden Treasure of the Self":

“There is not a creature but is destined for the Supreme Goal, even as there is not a river but is on its winding way to the ocean; but, in the human form alone is consciousness so developed that it is capable of reflecting and expressing the glory and perfection of its own true and highest Self, which is, at the same time, the Self of all ...

“One by one, the multicolored attachments to the false have to be relinquished; and one by one, the sanskaric faggots that feed the deceptive fires of the separative ego have to be surrendered in favor of the imperative claims of the invincible flame of the Truth ... The clouds of sanskaras have to disappear completely before the sky of consciousness is illumined by the inextinguishable Light of God, who is the real Self of all. My mission is to help you to inherit this hidden treasure of the Self; and all who earnestly seek it have my blessings.”[x]

It was the last program during Baba's stay in Nagpur and, as such, the above was His parting message to His dear ones in Nagpur.

The Embrace that Covered My Whole Being

Baba and the mandali were to leave Nagpur that same evening. While we were busy packing, someone came to me and said, "May I know the railway station where you want to get off to reach your home?"

"Why, what's the matter?" I inquired.

The man told me that he was in charge of purchasing tickets for Baba and those going with Him. He also told me that a third-class bogie had been reserved for the party traveling with Baba from Nagpur to Manmad — a journey of about twelve hours. It was a surprise to me. I was to be allowed to travel with Baba, and in His compartment, too! Hard to believe!

The mandali accompanying Baba were so busy with the program that I did not find any opportunity to get acquainted with them. During Baba's programs in Nagpur I moved with Him but did not approach Him to touch His person, not even to offer a garland or some fruit. I would mostly sit close by on the ground or stand in a corner watching, observing His inimitable, loving movements and the expressions on His divine face in response to the yearnings of the devout hearts of His devotees. I had had no personal interview with Baba. But without His consent, traveling with Him in the same compartment was not permitted, that much I knew. Then how had this come about? These were the showers of His grace! What else can be said?

After lunch and rest, I placed my bag and baggage with the mandali's luggage and felt impelled to purchase a garland and some fruit to offer Baba. Without telling anyone I left for the market on foot, not knowing where it was — and Nagpur is an extensive city. I purchased a fine rose garland, some oranges, a coconut and a lotus. By the time I returned to Thakur's bungalow I found that the luggage lorry and the mandali's bus had left. I went straight upstairs to Baba's room. Fortunately, there He was, resting in a chair, Adi Sr. by His side. Baba very lovingly looked at me with those deep, luminous eyes and smiled. He accepted the garland, the oranges and the coconut. He held the lotus in His fingers and twirled it. He looked very pleased. He motioned me to embrace Him and then stood up to leave for the station. I wondered whether He was told that I was missing and hence He waited for me! I did not tell Him anything nor did He ask me anything, but in that one embrace He covered my whole being. He told Adi Sr. to tell one of the Baba workers to take me to the station in a tonga.

On the Train with Baba

Baba lovers from Nagpur had gathered at the station for the farewell. Some looked deeply affected; a few were sobbing.  Deshmukh, Justice Niyogi, Miss Dinesh Nandini and many more had come to the station. As the train pulled out we could see the waving and heard many throats ringing in one voice, "Shri Meher Baba ki jai! "

In the compartment Baba later distributed fruit to all with His own hands. He asked some of us to entertain Him with jokes, and a few sang some songs. I was quietly enjoying this Baba-family atmosphere. All of a sudden I had a passing thought, "Why not sing a song to Baba? "

At that very moment Baba pointed at me and gestured: "Sing one. How did I know what you were thinking about?"

I sang. God knows how it appealed to those present. Baba, however, made a sign that it was good! To Baba even the "worst" is but a degree of "good."

Later on in my life with Baba there were other occasions when He did disclose to me exactly what I was thinking about. But that was the first incident which enabled me to understand that He knows.

After some time Baba stretched out on the bedding and covered Himself from head to foot with a white sheet. During this period everyone kept quiet. "Is He sleeping or is He working?" I mused.

We reached Manmad by early morning. Some of us had to catch the train for Ahmednagar. Baba got off with the mandali and, after a round of loving farewells, left for Aurangabad. My first sahavas week with Baba was over.
From the first day I saw Him at Manmad, He had silently spread the feast of His love each day until we parted, again at Manmad. The beginning and the end were at the same place, but what a difference! The silent, symbolic significance of this occurrence is still beyond me, but the perfume and the taste of this divine feast continue to linger in my little heart, even to this day. I felt deeply satisfied, but there was still a craving for more and more of Baba's sahavas — this caused a pleasant disturbance. The spring of life that had dried up now began to bubble forth.


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

[ii] Messages, p. 68.

[iii] Messages pp. 69, 70.

[iv] Messages, pp. 71, 72.

[v] Messages, p. 73.

[vi] Messages, pp. 74, 75.

[vii] Welfare of the cows.

[viii] Messages, pp. 76‑77.

[ix] Messages, pp. 78‑79.

[x] Messages, p. 80.




For information on Nagpur Center please write to Jayant Patrikar 

For information on Nagpur visit www.Nagpurkhoj.com 



Compilation by TrustMeher

No part of the information should be reproduced without prior permission. Excerpts from the Glimpses are reproduced with kind the permission of the Sheriar Press. All quotes of Avatar Meher Baba copyright of Avatar Meher Baba Trust, Ahmednagar. (MS), India.