Meher Baba copyright 1987 Charlie Mills


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4566 1959

Chapter 35: Guruprasad, 1960

Guruprasad, Poona

On Saturday morning, 8 August 1959, Baba departed for Meherazad with the men and women mandali in three separate cars. Many Poona Center lovers had assembled in Bund Gardens to bid him goodbye. Baba stopped his car and sat under a huge mango tree (the same one under which Babajan often used to sit), and Jalbhai filmed the scene. Baba's arti was sung. After staying in Poona for five months, Baba bid his lovers farewell, amidst shouts of his Jai!

Baba and the women reached Meherazad at about 11:00 A.M., where Kaka received them. Gajwani had also followed in his car, bringing a new upholstered, high-back chair that he had given to Baba at Guruprasad. The chair was placed in mandali hall and Baba used it until the end. 

The mandali now living with Baba consisted of the following ten men and six women: Kaikobad (68), Kaka Baria (68), Baidul (65), Pendu (56), Vishnu (56), Francis (52), Eruch (43), Aloba (43), Bhau (32), and Meherdas (29). In addition, Pukar (40) was also staying at Meherazad at the time. The six women were Mehera (52), Naja (51), Mani (41), Goher (43), Meheru (32), and Rano (57).

Although other mandali members did not share Baba's physical presence every day, of equal significance were those living at lower Meherabad. Baba visited them on 9 August, the day after his return. At lower Meherabad were Padri, Don, Sidhu, Mohammed Mast and Bhau's family; and on Meherabad Hill were Mansari and Kaikobad's family, comprised of Jalu, Gulu, Meheru and Jerbai Dastur. Adi Sr., Feram, Sarosh and Chhagan were living in Ahmednagar.

Baidul was sent back to Poona on 10 August to recite a prayer at Babajan's tomb for her help in Baba's work.

At Meherazad, a new wooden chowky (guardhouse) was constructed for Baidul to sit in and to remain on watch during Baba's announced period of seclusion. After it was completed, the structure was carried in a procession, with Baba and the mandali accompanying it, and was placed under a mango tree near the entrance to Meherazad. Shankar Bonsle, Bapu Dethe and Madho Gavhane, the Meherazad servants, shouldered the hut, and Meherdas led the parade, uttering: "Hari Baba, Hari Baba! Meher Baba, Hari Hari!" Baba embraced Baidul under the mango tree and directed him to occupy the guardhouse.

One day, after four of the garden boys, Shankar, Bapu, Laxman Bhonde and Madhav Kamble, had brought Baba to the hall in the lift-chair, Baba called them back inside. They were nervous, thinking they had made some mistake. Instead, Baba said, "Today I am so happy with you, whatever you desire, I will fulfill your wish." Each was asked. Laxman and Shankar asked for financial assistance, and Pendu was told to give them the needed amounts. Madhav and Bapu remained silent and shook their heads that they did not want anything.

Baba said, "Since you do not want anything, I will give you something special: mukti."

The mandali began clapping, but the young boys had no idea what Baba meant. ("Mukti" is a common girl's name.) Baba gave each a toffee and told them to leave. Pukar followed them outside, picked them up and began swinging them around. "You are so fortunate!" he declared. Still they could not understand what he meant. They went to the kitchen and told Vishnu what had happened. "This morning Baba has given us a girl named Mukti, but how will we manage her? Please ask Baba not to give her to us."

Vishnu burst out laughing. "You idiots! Mukti isnít a girl; it is liberation, freedom from the endless cycle of births and deaths. That is what Baba has given you."

Baba paid a surprise visit to Khushru Quarters on Wednesday, 12 August 1959 to see Feram, who was suffering with neuralgic pain. Baba advised him about his treatment.  Feram was the "nervous type," and over the years, Baba often had Eruch write reassuring notes to him about his health. In one postcard, when Baba was at Guruprasad, Eruch wrote: "Baba wants you not to fear nor worry at all. All the things that seem to pester, frighten and distress you are all his doing, for your own good. Baba says, 'Nothing can harm my Feram!' "

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