My life with Meher Baba – by P.G. Nandi
I was optimistic and a happy-go-lucky person from my boyhood. My early life was not smooth and rosy, yet I never felt disheartened at my failures and adversities. I saw many deaths in our family. When I lost my mother quite early in my life, I depended upon my Auntie who brought me up with great love and affection.
Later my father died and I depended upon my uncle, elder to my father. I could not finish my graduation in the college due to lack of money. I sought for a job which was very difficult during the thirties – a decade of economic depression. at last I got a steno – typist job without any remuneration for six months. After this apprentice period I was paid Rs. 5/ per month as my hand-expenses. So I could eat monkey-nuts now, as my Tiffin, which was an improvement on a glass of drinking water as my Tiffin. I had two increments in two years and my pay rose to Rs.15/- per month.
When I sat for a competitive examination in the Posts and Telegraph Department for the job of a Telegraphist. I was successful and selected for training for one year for a stipend of Rs.30/- per month. After one year’s training and a few months in the Calcutta Telegraph Office, I was transferred to Chittagaon (Now in Bangladesh), for a pay of Rs.55/-. Many friends advised me to give up the job as Chittagaon was being bombed regularly by the Japanese after the fall of Rangoon during the second Worlds War.
Being adventurous, I did not listen to them and duly joined my duty. In spite of daily bombing at aerodrome of Chittagaon, life continued to flow smoothly and in two years I appeared for another All India competitive examination on the Telegraph Engineering side as a departmental candidate. I became successful in the examination and was selected for training for a few months at Jabalpur in 1944. After training I was posted back to Calcutta as Engineering Supervisor. in 1948, I was transferred back to Jabalpur.
In 1949 (January 19) I got married. Within two years of my married life I came to learn from a doctor that she was suffering from Mitral stenosis of the heart and that she should not conceive at all. The days of pleasure had gone and the nights of sorrow came in. Within a few years after my marriage, my uncle, auntie and many cousins left this world leaving me alone in this world. I had to depend entirely on my wife, the center of my joys and sorrows. After seven years I was transferred to Calcutta.
In 1960, again I was transferred to Jabalpur. After one year, on the 1st June 1961, my wife had a paralytic attack and she expired next day in the Victoria Hospital after 12 years of our married life. This was the greatest and rudest shock in my life because I loved her too much. The more she suffered, the more I loved her. Never did I hesitate to sacrifice my comforts and pleasures to make her happy and smile. She also loved me much more then anything in this world. Our two souls were, as it were, moulded into one.
After this blissful union, her physical separation, caused by cruel but merciful death, was an anti-climax in the drama of my life. I was a millionaire but became penniless over night. Who would guide me in my difficulties, console me in my afflictions and caress me in my psychological breakdown ? As a result, I lost my balance of mind and I wept and wept and wept foolishly, perhaps to lighten my agonies. I gave up all games and sports, I gave up the company of all friends and well-wishers who advised me to marry again or to take “diksha” under some “Guru”. I shunned the society and became self-centered.
I did not marry again for biological needs and for the company when there is none else, because I felt I had loved my departed wife once for all and surrendered to her for ever. I did not take “diksha” under some Guru, because I felt if I am true and honest, ” Guru” would come to me instead of my going to him. In this mental state I passed my days and nights. Mechanically I was going to office and coming back. I was taking food from a nearby hotel and never cared for my health so as to die early to meet her in the next world. Keeping myself shut within four corners of the room, I wept bitterly for her. But any amount of weeping did not make her return to me nor did I die to meet her eternally. What a predicament !
One night, when my cup of sorrow was overflowing, I prayed to God from the core of my heart in this manner; “O God”, I never prayed to you, I do not know whether you exist at all, but people say that you do exist and that you are the only dependable one for those who had none in this world. Perhaps I have come to this stage of my life, If so, please help me and guide me for the rest of my life and reset my upset life”.
At that very moment there was a knock at the entrance door the the house. I wondered who could knock when I deliberately shunned all friends. Anyhow, I opened the door and allowed in a gentleman of younger age with whom I was acquainted several months ago.
He was the friend of the son of one of my colleagues. The son shared a room in the house when his father made over the house to me on my transfer to Jabalpur, and his transfer to Calcutta. The young gentleman enquired about the whereabouts of the son of my colleague and also casually asked me how I was passing my days after my dear wife’s death. On my reply that I was feeling lonely and miserable, he offered, on his own, to lend me two books so that I might pass my days peacefully and perhaps seek solace in life by turning over to the spiritual side.
On my further query about the authors and contents of the book he disclosed that there was one booklet on the miracles of Sai Baba of Shirdi and the other book was “God Speaks” by Meher Baba. On my further enquiries about the identity of Sai Baba and Meher Baba, he replied that he was a devotee of Sai Baba and that he knew nothing about Meher Baba. He further added that he had purchased the book “God Speaks” but could not finish it as it was very difficult to understand. He then promised to send those two books, the next day.
But it so happened that those two books were not received next day. I was eagerly awaiting the books which did not reach my hand till the elapse of three weeks. After this period of waiting I was thinking about these books while I was at office when suddenly a peon of the office brought those two books to me. I was amazed. On further queries I came to learn that the young gentleman, who visited my house that momentous night of sincere prayer to God, actually presented those two books next day, as promised, to one of my officers while in the South Indian Club with a request to make over the books to me. But is so happened that the officer completely forgot to hand over the books to me in the office and remembered them after three weeks.
After all the books were received. The booklet was finished in no time. When I opened the book ” God Speaks”, I saw the picture of Avatar Meher Baba reclining on a tiger skin and fell in love at first sight. I thought within myself if I were to have a Master in my life I would prefer Him as He looked most divine with a compassionate smile on His face and most modern without any beard, most suitable to the modern age. Slowly I started going through the book without understanding its deeper meaning. But, since it is a story of the Creation explained in a scientific manner and since I remembered my cousin’s advice to go ahead even if I had not understood in the beginning, I continued to read the book with difficulty and came to the end in a few months.
This reading, however, had a healing effect on my mind and increased my hunger for reading and knowing more about Avatar Meher Baba. But no one could supply me with any information regarding His whereabouts. In this way many months passed away without the young gentleman turning up again to take back the book “God Speaks”.
It so happened that one day one of my student- colleague (J.D. Raje) who was transferred to Calcutta and came to Jabalpur in connection with his sister’s marriage, paid a visit to my place to renew old acquaintance and saw the book “God Speaks” on my table. Immediately he exclaimed tauntingly, “Oh, you have also become a “Chela” of Meher Baba”.
I explained to him the circumstances under which the above book came into my possession and enquired whether he could throw light on Meher Baba. He then invited me to come to his place in the evening so as to introduce myself to his brother-in-law Mr. R.P. Pankhraj who was the local Secretary of the Avatar Meher Baba Jabalpur Center.
This chance meeting with dear Pankhraj opened a corridor to the world of Avatar Meher Baba, and I came to learn more and more about Baba. Dear Pankhraj informed me that Baba was in “Seclusion” and that he would inform me about His Darshan program when ever He decided. Meanwhile his library of books by and on Avatar Meher Baba were flung open to me and I gradually enriched myself with all external knowledge about Him and ultimately installed Him in the throne of my heart with the firm conviction that He can be none other than God (Antaryami-Indweller of heart) who immediately responded to the sincere prayer of my heart by providing me with His most important book “God Speaks” and secondly, by creating an opportunity for a chance meeting with dear Pankhraj, the master key to open the door to the spiritual world of the Avatar.
Thus my revered Master entered my life in 1962 graciously but unceremoniously, without doing any sadhannas required of me. I lost the temporal companion of this life in the form of dear wife, but gained the constant companion in the form of Avatar Meher Baba for all lives to come.
In the merry month of May, 1963 Beloved Baba decided to give “Darshan” at Guru Prasad in Poona and I merrily accompanied dear Pankhraj to have His “Darshan” for the first time in this incarnation of my life. He sat on the only chair and we the Jabalpur Group – sat on the floor of the Guru prasad Hall along with hundred others. He appeared to me just like the rising sun – crimsoned, radiant and resplendent. He announced by the gesture of the fingers of His hand that He would break His silence in ten months hence. Then the “darshan” started.
First the ladies finished their turns and we all watched. Then the turn of the Gents came and our group the rearmost got the first chance from the rest. Dear brothers R.K. Upadhyaya and Shri Awate was in front of me while dear Pankhraj, standing near, was introducing Jabalpur group to Beloved Baba. When the turn of Shri Upadhyaya came, Beloved Baba enquired of him if he had composed any new song and if so, he could sing the same in front of the mike. So, Mr. Upadhyaya started singing a new song to his Beloved while the line of darshanites stopped during singing.
This opportunity brought me almost to the threshold of the Beloved and sat a few feet away from His glorious lotus-feet. At that moment a chance thought occupied my mind to look intently on the signs and emblems of conch, flag etc. on the sole of His lotus-feet which I understood Lord Krishna possessed in His incarnation. But Beloved Baba was sitting with His left leg over His right thigh with sole of the left leg turned one right angle away to the left from the line of my eye-sight.
But it so happened that the moment the above thought possessed my mind, Beloved Baba immediately changed the angle of the sole of His lotus-feet towards the line of my eye – sight as if in response to my thought. Immediately I realized that Beloved Baba had caught my thought as I had read earlier in several books on His life story and admonished myself for such foolish thinking and I intently gazed upon Him without any whisk of thought whatsoever.
At last my turn came to have His darshan after the singing was over. I put my forehead on the hallowed lotus-feet of the Beloved without any knowledge of His instruction not to touch His lotus-feet. But Beloved Baba did not object to this while dear Pankhraj was introducing me to Him.
Beloved Baba out of great compassion touched both the cheeks of my face with His palms and lifted me up, like a grandfather lifting his grandson, and intently looked into my eyes. But He did not embrace me as He did in the case of other souls. Thus the Darshan-Diksha was over.
I felt so happy with His Divine touch on my face which was beyond words. I felt like a weightless man walking on air, delightfully and like a bird, care free, dancing from tree to tree. One brother of our Jabalpur group commented upon not having the embrace of Beloved Baba which was the most desired during “Darshan” but I kept silent thinking within myself that Beloved Baba had done what He knew best at that moment.
After three days of Darshan program I returned to Jabalpur along with the group with an outlook of mind completely changed. I became my old self again – a happy – go – lucky person. The prison of self-centeredness was broken open and I rushed to my friends and well-wishers from door to door only to announce that “I was the happiest man in the world”, which I claimed as a bachelor. But there was a difference. Earlier the claim was based on ignorance but now it is based on knowledge of certainty that I am connected to the source of all happiness.
The clouds of sorrow had disappeared and the sun of bliss appeared gloriously in my life when I dreamt the following dream one night, in which Beloved Baba gave me divine embrace.
Beloved Baba was sitting cross-ledged with His open body without any garment but with a tuft of sacred thread slung over His shoulder just like the Brahmins. I became a small baby in His lap. Just like mother He was caressing me to His breast with His two hands clasping me tightly. After this deep embrace He asked me to comb His hair which was lightly sparsed. While combing, the tooth stuck on the pulp-skin and blood cosed out. I became frightened. Baba said, “Don’t worry, Bring tincture Iodine”. The dream broke.
This is how I came in contact with Avatar Meher Baba in this incarnation of my life.
– P.G. Nandi-
Baba’s Telegram to Nandi
By the grace of Avatar Meher Baba, the writer used to conduct regularly every Friday evening “God Speaks” – classes in his rented residence at Wright Town, Jabalpur, sometime in the year 1966. One Mr. Dutta, a colleague of the writer, used to attend this class while he was staying with the writer before he was allotted a govt. quarter. When Mr. Dutta shifted to his allotted quarter in the P & T residential campus, he shared this quarter with one Mr. Roy holding a responsible post in the University of Jabalpur. Mr. Dutta did not bring his family expecting his transfer soon and Mr. Roy was a bachelor.
One day Mr. Dutta brought to the notice of the writer that Mr. Roy was suffering from insomnia and pleaded with a fervent request whether he could help Mr. Roy in any way from this pitiable plight, thinking that the writer had some spiritual power. The writer did not know Mr. Roy at all. Out of human consideration, the writer requested Mr. Dutta to ask Mr. Roy to attend the Friday “God Speaks” class, so that Beloved Baba might help him if He so wills!. But Mr. Roy did not attend the class, though requested to so.
A few days later Mr. Dutta again requested the writer in the office to do something for Mr. Roy, whose condition was getting worse day by day. Then the writer thought for a while and then agreed to meet Mr. Roy after office hours, i.e. after 1700 hours. The writer in the meanwhile decided to enact in such a manner as to make Mr. Roy happy so that his disturbed mind might be soothed to tranquility. Accordingly, the writer along Mr. Dutta went after office-hours to meet Mr. Roy in the P&T campus quarter. The moment the writer met Mr. Roy, he embraced him and kissed him, as if a long lost friend had been found out. Immediately, Mr. Roy exclaimed that he wanted to ease himself and ran to the toilet leaving the writer wonder-struck. (Much later he admitted one day that he felt an electric shock while the writer embraced him, though the writer was completely unaware of this fact and was not invoking the help of Avatar Meher Baba during this enactment). He returned from the toilet and prepared cups of tea for all and the writer began his acting again through lively conversation with him, quoting sometime Rabindranath Tagor’s relevant poems pointing to the futility of unhappiness when man himself is a source of happiness. Mr. Roy was himself a literary man and hence his cultured mind might have been touched through the writer’s joyous and hilarious enactment exhibiting mirth and merriment and upholding the motto “Sorrow for Tomorrow”. After about two hours, i.e. about 1900 hours the writer left for his own residence.
Next day when the writer attended office, Mr. Dutta reported to him that Mr. Roy had a good sleep last night after about a fortnight. The writer listened , smiled and forgot about the incident. When the writer returned to this residence after office hours, Mr. Ram Pankhraj, Secretary of the Avatar Meher Baba Jabalpur Center, came running to him with a telegram dated 20.03.1966 from Avatar Meher Baba as follows:-
0 1940 52 AHMEDNAGAR 19 19
NANDI CARE PANKHRAJ SUNDERBHAVAN
= I AM PLEASED WITH YOU LOVE
MY LOVE BLESSING TO YOU = MEHER BABA
The writer felt amazed at reading the text of the telegram, which was received for the first time since he came in contact with Beloved Baba in 1963, and also noting the timing of the telegram which was 1940 hours. Then he realized that he was not acting, but Beloved Baba Himself was acting through the medium of the writer. Meher Baba alone choose His medium fit for the occasion when He condescends to help a soul in a pitiable plight in His own way in His own time. This fact was confirmed later by Shri. Adi. K. Irani, Baba’s Secretary when Mr. Roy wrote to Beloved Baba about His timely help through the medium of the writer.
– P.G. Nandi-
Letters from Meher Baba