Meher Baba copyright 1987 Charlie Mills


Lord Meher

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Baba went to Nasik for the day on the morning of 7 October by car with Adi Sr., Chanji, Adi Jr. and Jalbhai. Chanji went on to Bombay to make inquiries about tickets and routes, as Baba was planning a brief trip to the West. Two days later, Rustom, Ramjoo and Adi Sr. were summoned to Rahuri for a meeting with Baba, and arrived late at night on the 9th.

Baba was driven to Meherabad the following morning with Adi Sr., Chanji and Jalbhai for a meeting of all the trustees. A discussion took place about the arrival of the Westerners. An argument ensued about what type of food to arrange, and it was finally decided to serve only vegetarian fare. To make arrangements for their housing, Baba had been to Nasik and instructed Rustom and Freiny about the specifics of this and other matters. The house and 22-acre property that had been acquired in Nasik was called Meher Retreat. Rustom and his family stayed in the large main bungalow at first while a small guest cottage was constructed (or renovated). A separate building with twelve rooms was being built on Rustom's property to accommodate the Westerners.

On Sunday, 18 October 1936, Adi Sr. drove Baba to Bombay, from where on the 20th at 9:00 P.M., accompanied by only Kaka and Chanji, Baba boarded the Kathiawar Mail train for Karachi. (Hindu-Muslim communal riots, that left 60 dead and 500 injured, coincided with Baba's presence in Bombay.) Reaching Karachi two days later, Baba met Pilamai and her family, and his maternal aunt Banu Masi and her family.

Baba and the mandali left Karachi on the 24th on the 24-seat Imperial Airways Hadrian biplane.  It was his ninth foreign journey. Baba's first international air travel proved distressing for Kaka and Chanji who suffered from headaches and vomited during the flight, due to severe turbulence from Bahrain to Basra.

Arriving in Baghdad on the evening of Sunday, 25 October, Baba and the mandali checked into a hotel. The next day they took a tour of Baghdad. On the 27th, Baba visited the shrine of Hazrat Abdul Qadir Gilani — a Sufi Perfect Master of his time.  Baba remained in the Muslim tomb for some time, but made no comment on his work.

News was given to them at the Baghdad train station that there was a breach on the railway line at the crossing of the Turkish border, with no definite information as to when the line would be repaired and ready for travel. This report was, at first, vexing because Baba had planned to proceed to England from Iraq by train. Baba was also feeling ill; his eyes had become swollen and he had severe pain in his molar teeth.

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