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Katie Irani Video Talks
A Brief Biography of Katie R. Irani
Katie Irani was born in her mother’s family home in Ahmednagar, India, in 1920 and passed away in Meherazad, Ahmednagar, India, on 29 May 2009, at the age of 89. Her sister Dr. Goher Irani was born in Quetta.
Meher Baba first contacted Katie and her sister Goher at their family home in Quetta when they were respectively 3 and 7 years old. He would visit their family in Quetta from time to time thereafter.
When Baba asked Katie’s mother how many children she had, and she replied, “seven, Baba.” He told her, “No, you have only five – two, Goher and Katie, belong to me.” Katie and Goher were both members of Meher Baba’s Circle (LM 525, 536, 657).
Katie was sent from Quetta at an early age to Ahmednagar to live with her mother’s family and cousins in Khushru Quarters (later commonly known as the “Trust compound”). There Katie saw Meher Baba many times.
In 1933, after an earthquake leveled Quetta, Katie’s father, Rusi Pop, as he was affectionately called, shifted his family permanently to Ahmednagar. They would frequently visit Baba at Meherabad.
At the age of 18, Katie was invited by Meher Baba to travel with His other Ladies Mandali during the Blue Bus tours.
One of the purposes of the Blue Bus Tours was to contact masts and other spiritually advanced souls throughout India from 1938 to 1941. Katie joined Baba at the beginning of the tours in Dec 1938 in Hyderabad, escorted via train (LM 2339).
During this period, Meher Baba’s group stayed for some time in Bangalore in a mansion near a golf course called the “Links”. While staying here and elsewhere the women would often stage humorous skits for Baba’s entertainment, written and directed by Mani. Katie often assisted Mani with the scripts and was also expert at acting in these skits (LM 2488).
When Meher Baba shifted the Bangalore “Links ashram” back to Meherabad, Katie stayed with His other resident Ladies Mandali in their secluded compound up the Hill near to Meher Baba’s Samadhi.
Katie worked in the kitchen (LM 2699), cooking for the Ladies Mandali for 11 years. During this period, Kitty Davy taught Mani and Katie typing and shorthand, skills Katie would later use while working under Baba’s direction as the personal secretary for more than a dozen Japanese Consul Generals in Bombay.
At one point prior to the partition of India and Pakistan, Baba actually partitioned the Ladies Mandali at Meherabad into separate groups with separate cooking arrangements (LM 3181).
In October 1949, Baba broke up the ashram and began His New Life phase of complete “helplessness and hopelessness.”
Upon commencing with the New Life, Meher Baba sent away all of the more than 30 women who were living in His ashram at that time, keeping only 4 women to join His New Life: Mehera, Mani, Goher, and Meheru.
He sent Katie to live in Bombay at Ashiana with Arnavaz and Nariman. Baba told them that they must accept 100% that they would never see Him again.
During this New Life phase, Baba kept Katie and the other Mandali members who chose to remain with Him, whilst away from His physical presence, under very strict orders. Hence even those who were not going with Him had a “deep experience of the effects of the New Life” (LM 3403).
Throughout the New Life Katie chose to remain faithfully under Baba’s direct orders (“no cinemas, no parties, no socializing, no outside foods,” etc.).
Even before the Diplomatic office was officially established in India, Katie had been directed by Baba to work for the Japanese Consulate in Bombay. Thus she fully participated in the Labor phase of the New Life.
Katie had never liked Bombay, yet she stayed there, and her typing skills came in handy as she continued to do this work for Baba under His orders until her retirement in the mid 1970’s.
Indeed, this Labor phase of the New Life never ended for her. Upon her retirement from the Japanese Consulate in 1978, by Baba’s order Katie re-joined resident Ladies Mandali living in Meherazad.
Katie helped her sister Dr. Goher with the clinic work giving injections, dressing wounds, etc., alongside Pendu and other mandali members and pilgrim volunteers.
Katie was told by Baba to look after His Meherazad kitchen after Naja joined Him, a duty that Katie continued to perform until she passed away in 2009.
Katie often recounted, when describing the impact of Baba’s New Life on her own life, that the initial news of it “was like a bombshell.” After more than a decade of living with Him in the Ashram, she had held the belief that the rest of her life would continue in the same way.
Regarding the New Life, Katie often said that she felt like she had ‘never left it’. Indeed, Meher Baba has stated of the New Life, that it will live by itself eternally, “even if there is no one to live it.”
Katie was a wonderful raconteur and mimic, and often during her frequent visits to Guruprasad and Meherazad, wherever Baba was staying, Katie would visit on weekends from Bombay.
Katie would regale Meher Baba and the Ladies Mandali with many a remarkable tale of her adventures in the mad world outside of the ashram.
Many of these stories from Katie Irani have been recorded, during her trips abroad, and on Mehera’s porch whilst visiting with Baba’s pilgrims at Meherazad.
During the last few years of her life, Katie Irani set up this video project, recounting tales of her life with Baba, because she felt internally that “He wanted it, for the sole purpose of drawing His Lovers closer to Him.”
Welcome to the Katie Internet Video series! Before her reunion with Meher Baba, Katie Irani initiated this series, by requesting that copies of footage and photos taken during her public talks worldwide be given to her estate (much of this is still coming in, and most welcome.) Katie herself gave the guidelines for this series, including her intention : “I feel that Baba wants this. It will draw people closer to Baba, and also people will come to visit Meher Baba’s Samadhi” located in Meherabad, 7 km from Ahmednagar, Maharashtra State, India. As per her wish, Baba willing, two videos are produced each year, for Beloved Baba’s Birthday and for Christmas. Jai Baba!
Copyright Information About Katie Irani Video Talks.
Copyright © 2011 by Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust, Ahmednagar, India. All quotes of Meher Baba copyright Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust unless otherwise indicated. All photos used by permission of Meher Nazar Publications and the Mani S. Irani (MSI) collection. All rights reserved to the copyright holder.
Part 9: Mandali and pilgrims
Meher Baba stated that Katie Rustom Irani was one of His close Circle and mandali members. Who are the mandali? This video offers responses to this question from V. S. Kalchuri, Chairman AMBPPCTrust and close Circle and mandali member, Meherwan Jessawala – brother of Eruch Jessawala who was also a close Circle and mandali member, and also from a pilgrim who first met the mandali members in 1972, and maintained a close association with Katie Irani for more than 30 years.
Part 8 : KT on Homeopathy
KATIE IRANI tells about how during the Blue Bus tours in 1938-1941 Meher Baba would fill in as a homeopathic “doctor” as needed, taking symptoms and giving suitable homeopathic medicines to His disciples whenever they fell ill during their travels around India. An interview with Meherwan Jessawala provides additional information concerning homeopathic practice and its relation to Avatar Meher Baba.
Part 7:KT Katie works in Goher’s Clinic
At Meher Baba’s request, KATIE IRANI participated in the New Life by living in Bombay and working in the Japanese Consulate for over 28 years under His strict discipline, until she was able to retire at Meherazad. She tells the story of how her sister Dr. Goher Irani called her to retire early and return back into the ashram life, in order to help with the charitable work of Meher Free Dispensary – a free health care clinic – at Meherazad.
Part 6:Blue Bus Tours: Meher Baba Visits Holy Sites All Over India With The Ladies Mandali
In Part 6 video, when prompted by a young pilgrim to talk about Lord Krishna, Katie Irani recounts how during their travels on the Blue Bus Tours, they would often encounter advanced souls…, visit the tombs and shrines of Perfect Masters and Saints…, encounter masts…, as well as visit the sites of two previous Avataric advents : Lord Krishna and Lord Buddha.
Part 5: Singing for Baba… and Katie too! (in English)
Part 5: Singing for Baba…and Katie too! (released for Beloved Babas Birthday 25 Feb 2011) From footage taken a few months before her reunion with Baba (29 May 2009), Katie’s beautiful singing voice was tired, so pilgrims often lovingly sang to her (mid-Feb 2009)…this lively video includes darshan of many beautiful photos of Meher Baba.
Part 5: Singing for Baba… and Katie too! (with Hindi subtitles)
Part 4: “Baba Never Performed Miracles…Yet Miracles Often Happened…”(in English)
Part 4: “Baba Never Performed Miracles…Yet Miracles Often Happened…” (released for Christmas 2010) Eruch Jessawala begins with a narration of his own account as a driver of the Blue Bus for a dramatic 20+ minute crossing over a wooden pontoon bridge crossing the Indus River (in early 1940′s before the partition)…then Katie describes being one of the passengers who witnessed this amazing feat against all odds…although the image of the pontoon bridge given in this video is a short bridge, the actual bridge they crossed was much longer, and their harrowing crossing went on for more than 20 minutes.
Part 4: “Baba Never Performed Miracles…Yet Miracles Often Happened…”(with Hindi subtitles)
Part 3: “KATIE IRANI remembers Helen Dahm (1938-9)” (in English)
Part 3: “KATIE IRANI remembers Helen Dahm (1938-9)” (released 25 Feb 2010) Katie Irani, after living in the Trust Compound in Ahmednagar during most of her childhood years, joined Meher Baba’s Ashram in 1938 at the age of 18 yrs. She lived on Meherabad Hill next to what later became His Samadhi. During 1938 and 1939, Helen Dahm accepted an invitation that Baba had sent to some of His Western Lovers to join Him in India. Baba requested Hedi Mertens (Swiss artist) to assist Helen while Helen painted the colorful murals inside of Meher Baba’s Samadhi. Due to illness (colitis), Helen left the Blue Bus Tours and returned to her native Switzerland. Later in her life, Helen Dahm became an internationally acclaimed artist.
Part 3: “KATIE IRANI remembers Helen Dahm (1938-9)” (with English narration)
Part 3: KATIE IRANI remembers Helen Dahm (1938-9) (with Hindi subtitles)
Part 2: MEHER BABA’S BLUE BUS TOURS (1938-1941) MEMORIES OF KATIE IRANI (in English)
Part 2: MEHER BABA’S BLUE BUS TOURS (1938-1941) MEMORIES OF KATIE IRANI (released for Christmas, 25 Dec 2009) Pilgrims often asked Katie what it was like, what did the women mandali do everyday, while touring with Meher Baba on the Blue Bus Tours. Katie describes her role as a cook, along with Manu Jessawala during these tours, which includes a hilarious episode of the ‘dancing dal’, as well as some insightful glimpses into the spiritual life the women mandali lived with Meher Baba.
Part 1: Little Plays for Baba (in English)
Part 1: Little Plays for Baba (released for Baba’s Birthday 25 Feb 2009, and Katie’s too on 27 Feb 2009) The inception of this Katie Irani internet video series began with an event which occurred during the pilgrim season of 2007-8, when 4-5 Chinese people came and greeted Katie Irani on Mehera’s veranda in Meherazad (12 km from Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India). Katie asked them how they came to know about Meher Baba. With great mutual surprise, they replied, “From you only! We saw you on the internet! So, we came to see His Samadhi, and to meet you!” Katie recognized the value of this exchange, for she had served as a personal private secretary to more than a dozen Japanese Consul Generals in their Bombay office for 28+ yrs. After some reflection, she started to give the stories for her biography as small vignettes, and also started requesting pilgrims to send to her or later on to her estate the photos and footage of her public talks given around the world during the 1990′s. (℅ AMBPPC Trust, Ahmednagar, India MS 414 001) This footage she set up to be used as part of her estate in order to create this ongoing series year after year, for the sole purpose to draw people closer to Meher Baba and to visit His Samadhi here in India. Katie did this because she felt “Baba wants it”. This first video was produced as a loving gift to her for her last birthday, 27th Feb 2009, and released on Beloved Baba’s Birthday. She loved it, and hoped that you would too, laughing heartily throughout and finishing with the endearingly humble query, “do you think anybody will like it?” Katie asked many pilgrims to ‘help me with this project’ in a variety of ways. More than 150 people regularly contribute with donations, or work according to their area of expertise, as well as screening, etc., for this ongoing series. This first video is comical and fun as Katie describes her roles in the plays that Mani wrote for Baba, in which Katie often collaborated with Mani for both the scripting and the costume designs during her 11+ years living in His Ashram before the New Life began. Katie would often reminisce how they would live near the tin shed on upper Meherabad Hill, with Katie cooking in Baba’s kitchen for the 40+ women in what later became known as ‘Mansari’s kitchen’. Mehera would be in the next room (later Mansari’s bedroom) cooking for Baba daily, and Mani would stand in the doorway between the two rooms, talking to both Mehera and Katie. During this time period when they lived on the Hill (1938-1949), Katie and Mani would often discuss together and script the plays and skits to entertain Baba on His return from the extended mast tours. (Katie Irani was born in her mother’s home in Ahmednagar, India on 27 Feb 1920, and joined Beloved Baba on 29 May 2009 at the age of 89+ yrs).
Part 1: Little Plays for Baba (with Hindi subtitles)