Meher Baba letters to Y.L. Muniraj of Jabalpur
HOW AVATAR MEHER BABA DREW ME IN HIS DIVINE NET
By Y. L. Muniraj
I heard the name of Avatar Meher Baba from the Bandellu family, Poona. I did not pay any attention to it. Then in 1953 L. P. Thade (a member of the Poona Bhajan Mandali) visited Jabalpur from Ahmednagar. He told many a thing about Baba and showed me the album which he had with him. I also read the Wayfarers which was in his possession but this ignorant mind could not perceive anything. In the night exactly at 12 he chanted the Jap of “Om Parabrahma Paramatma” for one hour, this being Baba’s order. Just to please him I told him that it was a good thing that he was chanting the name of God, but how was it that He was given the Jap of “Om Parabrahma Paramatma” when Baba is a Parsee. He told me that Baba’s Lovers are from many religions and Baba has said that each should chant that name of God to which he or she is accustomed.
The next day he left for Ahmednagar giving me the invitation to come to Ahmednagar when I happened to visit Poona.
Sometime afterwards my father-in-law died in Poona Camp (his native place) and I went there on 15 days’ leave. After performing the 10th day ritual for the departed soul, I was contemplating the way I should spend the remaining period of my leave, when suddenly Thade’s invitation flashed back in my mind. The next afternoon I reached Ahmednagar by bus. Thade was out on tour, but I being related to the family, his absence did not cause any inconvenience to me. The whole family seemed to be mad after Baba! Amidst all activities they never ceased to speak about Baba. Bhajan (devotional music) appeared to be their chief nourishment. This impressed me a bit. The next day Thade’s younger brother took me to Pimpalgaon where I met Kaka Baria, who prepared tea for us. At that time Baba was not there. Kaka dwelt upon God for a long time and advised me to stick to Baba once for all when I have taken His supporting arm. I mused to myself “I have not taken His supporting arm yet! ”
Then we returned to Ahmednagar. After the mid-day meal we went to Meherabad Ashram, where I met Pendu, to whom I was introduced by the younger Thade. Then we went with Siddhu to see Mohammed (a God-intoxicated soul who was one of the inmates of the Ashram), but he did not come out of his room, in spite of Siddhu’s repeated calls. Siddhu tried his utmost to tempt him to appear. He even told him these people had come all the way from Jabalpur to see him and had brought Shember Podas (a hundred Indian sweets) for him, but Mohammed did not come out. We were disappointed and about to leave when I inwardly prayed to him that I may have the Darshan of Baba. The next moment Mohammed was before us and he said to me in Marathi “Tujha kam fathe jayil” (“Your prayer shall be fulfilled”). He repeated the words three or four times. Then he summered and struggled with many words which in short meant that his name was “Tukaram and that he had been married according to the Hindu rituals. A somewhat strange expression of his was to say that Baba had made him marry a Frenchwoman. (This last can perhaps imply that he was entrusted by Baba to steer the spiritual destiny of the French people. See Wayfarers.) However, Mohammed was not permitting us to take his leave. He began to demand the Shember Podas ! We were very embarrassed but Siddhu managed to strike a compromise between us by telling Mohammed that we had come only to see him this time but when we come next he will bring the sweets. Mohammed went in his room then came out and began to pick at the wall, calling out “Deesh,Deesh .”
In the evening we sent to Adijee’s office (Adi K. Irani), but Adijee was not there. Adijee’s mother, Gulmai, showed us her room. There we saw the photo of Upasni Maharaj, the sack cloth and the cocoanut, which were the gifts of the Perfect Master Upasni Maharaj to Mata Gulmai. By some coincidence, the hair on the chest of Upasni Maharaj in the photo formed an image of Lord Krishna. Mate Gulmai also informed me that a Diya (a lamp lighted in a metal pot with cotton wicks and with butter oil) which was kept burning for many years was finally extinguished by Baba. No soon I entered the room than a strange happiness filled my heart but it ebbed away when I came out of the room.
By this time Adijee had arrived and I was introduced to him by Vaman. When Adijee was told about my visit to Pimpalgaon and he wanted to know as to what Kaka Baria had said to me, I said to Adijee that Kaka told me not to leave Baba once I hold on to Him. Then Adijee explained to me about “holding on to Baba,” in detail.
It was to be like holding on to our father and mother, which is not merely by the hands but by the heart. I do not remember the exact words but I remember that he put the whole thing in a beautiful and lucid way.
A few days afterwards when I entrained for Poona I began to feel as if some very dear, very precious object was remaining behind. Now I know whose love brought me to Ahmednagar and made me aware of the necessity of holding on to His Daaman tightly.
I was now receiving the Life Circulars from Adijee and then I received the circular No. I8, which was about the coming Meherabad Meeting on 29th and 30th September 1954. At that time I was under severe financial strain, but the desire to go to Meherabad for Baba’s Darshan was also very powerful. (The distance between Jabalpur and Ahmednagar is approximately 600 miles). I was required to send R. 22/—before 1st August 54, as per Life Circular No. I8, which I could not afford to. As the time drew near I did collect some money, but this was not sufficient. But some friends who were railway ticket checkers helped me to go to Manmad. At Ahmednagar Thade came to my help and we reached Meherabad on 28th, by 4 p.m. It was raining in torrents and non-stop. Baba sent a message to the devotees in charge of the meeting arrangements, telling them not to feel worried about the rains and everybody to take Anacin at the time of retiring.
In the morning of the 29th Sept. 54, Baba arrived and his car stopped by the cabin. He came out of the car and quickly went into the cabin. It was as if a lightning flashed for a moment and I had just a glimpse of it from behind. Baba did not appear to me as he appeared to look in the photo-prints.
Then Baba came to the Pandal, where I had the first full view of Him. When Baba’s eyes fell on me I bowed down my head in salutation. Baba has a way of looking which made me feel that He was looking at me, while the person just behind me or even a hundred yards behind me, night have thought just the same thing in relation to himself. Baba then embraced everyone on the left side. If someone happened to embrace Baba on the right, he was told that the embrace was cancelled and he then was given an embrace on the left side.
In the afternoon Beloved Baba himself served us the mid-day meals, giving us puris. (Indian chapati prepared in butter oil.)
When He approached me He paused for a second, then gave me the “Maha Prasad.” While Baba had paused I began to wonder how I, a sinner, had come here and how did I dare to receive the Mahaprasad.
After meals Baba sat down on the ground before the Ashram and then He asked Madhusudan to sing Bhajans. I was deeply impressed by the Bhajan. “Bolo Jai Jai Bolo Dekhu Meherba Aye” I pondered if God has come again. Sometimes I would look at Baba’s feet for I had heard that the mark of a Lotus is found on God’s feet. The next day Baba took us all up the hill where he had his own tomb constructed. Baba stood by the side of the tomb and told us not to dash our foreheads against the ground? only to pay our respect. In the afternoon Baba imparted to us His “Final Declaration” which was interpreted in Hindi, Marathi and Telegu. During the “Declaration” there was a pattering of rain drops on the Pandal and Baba pointed towards it. I now feel that this was symbolical of what Baba had then declared. After this Baba gave to each of us His “Prasad” and bid us farewell.
Now the problem of my return fare popped in my mind! I had borrowed some money from a friend, but it was not sufficient to cover the expenses. Then I purchased a ticket up to Manmad only and entrained deciding to forget the actual problem for some distance at least. As soon as I entered the carriage, I met a head ticket collector who had also been for Baba’s Darshan. Thus the rest of the difficulty was solved by this unexpected help and I was able to return to Jabalpur without further inconvenience. I was pondering over the incalculable way in which Baba drew to Him and ultimately gave me His “Darshan”, His “Embrace” and ”Prasad” and also kindled in my heart a flame which knows no extinguishing!
During the Sahavas Congregation 1956, one devotee had offered Baba a “Crown of Flowers.” As soon as Baba wore this “Crown” he appeared to me as Lord Krishna; whoever has taken Baba’s Darshan as Lord Krishna would have found this scene mere than satisfactory. Now I could not control my feelings when I looked at Baba. Baba left the Pandal and went to the Ashram Hall. As soon as Baba was seated in the Ashram Hall I went and sat near him. My desire was to be photographed with Baba in this posture and my desire was fulfilled. The photograph was taken with myself sitting near the right hand of Baba.
Baba had once said to one of His devotees, “It was nothing short of weakness on My part as Krishna to have convinced Arjuna by exposing My identity as Paramatma through Vishwaruup Darshan.” In this incarnation too Baba has revealed Himself to many as Rama, Krishna, Jesus, etc. (Also see Wayfarers, “Those who bear witness.”) Who will calculate then His moments of weakness in this incarnation? One thinks of the days of Kauravas and Pandavas when He brought about the epic battle of Mahabharata, by dint of a broken promise apparently of no consequence. But in this incarnation, such broken promises have soared up to the limit. No one can dream what He is going to do with the world this time.
My prayer at His Divine Feet is that I may be able to hold on to His Daaman till the end of my life.