Chapter 15: Seclusion
Meherabad, July 1941
Baba had previously indicated that it was necessary for him to go on a tour for his work, and a one-month journey was subsequently chalked out with Baba specifying the places he wanted to visit. The journey of over 1,000 miles was to be made in the Blue Bus and in cars.
Before leaving, Baba met the inmates of the mast ashram and gave duties to each of the mandali in Bangalore. Naoroji, Padri, Masaji and Murli remained in Byramangala seeing to the work there. Adi Sr. and Ghani were to manage Meher Baba Journal, which they had already been doing with Norina and Elizabeth. Chanji was to handle correspondence, forwarding the mail and other duties. Eruch and Baidul were appointed to look after the masts, Chhagan to cook, and Gustadji, Vishnu, Kalemama, Sidhu and Jangle to do other work in the ashram. Pendu and Pappa Jessawala were in Mandla, and Jal Rusi left for Quetta by Baba's order.
After staying in Bangalore for eight months, Baba left on Monday morning, 1 April 1940 at 7:00 A.M. with the women mandali, Kaka, Don, Nilu and Jalbhai — 40 in all — in three cars (a Buick, an Auburn and an Opel) and the Blue Bus. They reached the dak bungalow at Arsikere at noon.
Throughout the journey, Baba traveled in Elizabeth's Buick with the "invisibles," as the close women mandali were known to the men. Jalbhai drove the Auburn with some of the Western women; Tukaram drove Adi Sr.'s Opel with Gulamasi Satha, Gustadji and Meherwan Jessawala; and Don drove the Blue Bus with Kaka, Nilu and sixteen women. The three men rode in the front seat of the Blue Bus and had been ordered by Baba not to look at the women in the back. Whenever the bus would pull over to the side or stop along the way, Don, Kaka and Nilu would exit from the bus first and then walk straight ahead without looking back until they were out of sight. Then the women would get down.
They left Arsikere early the following morning. Don was still groggy when he woke to resume his duties driving the bus. Baba noticed this and quoted a Persian poet who said, "It takes time for the runner to gain speed; it takes time for the sleeper to awake; and it takes ages for one who has been spiritually asleep to be spiritually awakened."