Meher Baba copyright 1987 Charlie Mills

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2589FINAL MAST WORK: PRELUDE TO THUNDER1947

Accordingly, on Wednesday, 17 September 1947, Baba drove to Bombay with Sarosh, Kaka Baria, Norina and Elizabeth. There they were met by the other mandali who were to accompany them: Adi Sr., Baidul, Eruch, Kaikobad, Gustadji, Pendu, Padri, Ramjoo, Rusi Pop, Jalbhai, Pappa, Meherjee, Nariman and Sadashiv Patil. All boarded the train at 8:30 that evening and left for Surat.

Ali Akbar (Aloba) was among those who had come to the station. When he saw Baba, he suddenly collapsed on the station platform and began loudly shouting Baba's name "out of the joy of Meher Baba's presence." Baba was not pleased. He leaned out of the train compartment window and gestured to Ali Akbar that he would slap him if he didn't be quiet and calm down. Ali Akbar stopped shouting, but he could not hold back his tears, and some of the other Baba lovers helped him up.

The Kotwal family was living at Meherabad in the Family Quarters at this time. Savak Kotwal's son Adi had contracted typhoid and appeared to be gravely ill. As Baba was about to leave Meherabad for Surat, he calmly heard the news and instructed Nilu and Don to stay behind and look after the child. Both concluded that there was little hope of his survival, and the boy's mother Nergiz began making preparations for his funeral.

But the Lord of Compassion was about to turn his key. On the way to Surat, at every station he directed Baidul to get down and inquire whether any telegram had been received about Adi's death. None was ever sent, and the child slowly recovered. Baba's insistent inquiries had saved his life.

A few Bombay lovers also journeyed to Surat for the darshan program, as did some Bombay Parsis who were adamantly against Baba — due to Colonel Irani's influence. By creating opposition, however, they were unknowingly helping to establish faith in the hearts of others. For in fact, some of those who had come to oppose Baba, left with their hearts at his feet. There was also a hostile element in Surat itself, and some of those people joined forces with those from Bombay in opposing Baba.

Baba arrived in Surat at five o'clock on the morning of 18 September. From the station, he was paraded in a beautifully decorated convertible automobile to the home of Sohrab Vakil at Bibini Wadi, where he was welcomed by an enthusiastic crowd. The opposition forces that had collected to shout slogans against him were outnumbered by his devotees. Amidst the crowd, here and there, a few people whispered against Baba, but not one had the nerve to come out openly with their criticism. When Baba arrived at his home, Sohrab Vakil was ecstatic. He could not control his emotions, and tears of joy streamed down his cheeks.

A large crowd of Zoroastrians had gathered at the Parsi dharamshala and Baba went there to deliver this message to them (drafted in advance by Ramjoo):

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