Chapter 34: Total Seclusion
From July 1958, Meher Baba began a series of seclusions, which would last on and off until the end of his life. The current seclusion, begun on Monday, 14 July 1958, was distinct from all those previously undergone. During this "total" seclusion, Baba completely severed his connection with the outside world of his lovers. All incoming and outgoing correspondence was banned. In addition, Baba kept his Meherazad and Meherabad mandali completely separated from each other; no one was to step out of the limits of his or her respective areas. Even when Adi Sr., Baba's official public secretary, was called from Ahmednagar to Meherazad, he was only to speak with Kaka Baria and could not meet any of the other men.
Before starting his seclusion on the 14th, Baba distributed many of his used sadras and coats among the mandali and staff. He then instructed the men: "From now until the end of November, I do wish that there be no occasion for me to become angry or dissatisfied with any of you. Don't say anything that may displease or upset me. Do your duties faithfully and remain happy in all circumstances. Have love between yourselves and do not bring up complaints against each other. When I am engaged in doing my mast work, you should be particularly quiet at that time. By following these instructions you will help me."
To the women, he stated: "These four and a half months from 14 July will be the most intense phase of my inner working, which will accelerate after the 21st [July], and its universal effect will be tremendous."
Again he repeated, "The time is very near."
The first 40 days of the seclusion, from 14 July to 22 August, was deemed by Baba to be a special period. During these 40 days, Baba had instructed Eruch in Meherabad, Sam Cohen in America and Francis Brabazon in Australia to fast. They were allowed a seer and a half of milk per day and in the course of the fast were advised to repeat God's name. Various other orders were also given.
For the first 40 days, Baba asked the Meherazad men mandali (Aloba, Baidul, Kaka, Kumar, but not Bhau who was doing most of the nightwatch) to repeat each day the same phrase that had been sent to some of his lovers: "Beloved God, Thy Will has come to pass in that all our Baba has declared will soon come to pass this year."