Chapter 13: Nasik & Cannes
Meher Baba's passport, 1937
Before going to Europe, Baba had written to the close Western lovers chosen to come to India that he had bought property in Nasik for their stay. This was made possible by Norina's financial contribution (the money having come from the proceeds of selling her husband's perfume company). In July of 1936, Baba had informed them:
Kaka, the eternal uncle, wishes to deliver his first and last lecture in English. His English is "Cannibal English" which kills one with laughter and eats up one's sorrows for the time being. He has been writing it the last two nights and rehearsing it the last two mornings. Nothing but "You must obey Baba! You must obey Baba!" was the only sound intelligible and which inspired me, the Infinite One, to tell you the few following words:
I have purchased the ideal property in Nasik. It is situated amidst beautiful surroundings with splendid scenery all around. With the Western group in Nasik, the Eastern group in Meherabad and myself in Rahuri, midway between Meherabad and Nasik, these will comprise the nucleus of my activities for the next five years.
The center [in Nasik] will have nothing in common with the accepted notions concerning ashrams or spiritual retreats or the strict, dry, rigid discipline usually governing them. Its special feature lies in its having my personal living guidance, the same as Jesus gave his disciples.
As stated above, although life here would be divested of strict rigid discipline, and yet elastic enough in matters of physical comforts, all the same it would be trying enough in the question of indirect spiritual instructions from me, which might even include external services to humanity, such as nursing the sick or the crippled, helping the poor and destitute. In short, I will personally guide you according to the aptitude, mentality and capability of each. I want all who are dear to me to pass through certain experiences that are necessary.
Be prepared to stay with me in India for a period ranging from one to five years so long as each of you can conveniently stay, taking into consideration your home conditions, family and other attachments. You will need to provide yourselves with traveling expenses in India which will come to approximately six pounds per month for each. And lastly, to live strictly in accordance with my injunctions.
The life in India near me will be most interesting and it will enable you to see my work and share in my work.