LAXMAN GANGADHAR JANGLE or Jangle Master of Arangaon (Meherabad)
Laxman Gangadhar Jangle was resident of Arangaon and was employed by Meher Baba in 1939 for purchase of good required for Mandali going to Ahmednagar. He was young just 28 years. Later He and is whole family became devoted to Meher Baba.
Following the narration of Mr. Ramesh Jangle about his father
Laxman G. Jangale came to Meherabad in 1938, at the age of 23. Baba and the mandali had decided to advertise for someone to help with the marketing for the ashram. Jangale applied for the job and was hired. He and his wife became devoted to Baba and raised their five children in the Family Quarters compound. They lived closely there with others in Baba’s circle: Siddhu and family, Chhagan Master and family, the Savak Kotwal family and the Kalchuri family.
Jangale was always known as “Jangale Master,” as the term “master” was used for teachers or for those in charge of marketing. He continued to do the marketing work for the ashram throughout his life with Baba. During the New Life meetings in 1948, Baba said that Jangale Master was one of His mandali. Jangale Master served Baba at Meherabad for the rest of his life, well over 60 years, and is buried in the Men’s Cemetery at Lower Meherabad between Aloba and Bhau.
When Jangale was first hired, his salary was 20 rupees per month; when his wife Mukta joined him, Baba raised it to 30! In the beginning their possessions were few. They had one or two kitchen utensils, an empty ghee tin for boiling water, and they slept on gunny sacks on the floor. Jangale Master learned from Vishnu, Siddhu and Chhagan Master the job he was to do and the ways of Baba and the various mandali members. He traveled to Ahmednagar bazaar by tonga (horse cart) each day. Every morning he would report to Baba about the previous day’s bazaar work and what he was to undertake on that day. Gently he was molded into the service of the Master.
Jangale Master asked Baba’s permission to go into the “milk business,” which Baba granted, and the family kept a couple of cows and a couple of buffalo. Mukta began to learn sewing from Nergiz Kotwal. There was no tailor in Arangaon at that time and Mukta eventually conducted a small tailoring trade. Jangale realised there was a skill to cutting the cloth to fabricate clothes, so during his marketing excursions he would visit his friend who was a tailor and he learned from him how to cut. At night Jangle Master would cut, and by day Mukta would stitch, making ends meet, quite literally.
The story of sewing machine is a touching one. When Jangale’s youngest sister was to be married, his father contacted him and asked him to borrow 300 rupees “from your boss.” Jangale Master went to Baba. “Baba, my sister is to get married and my father is requesting Rs. 300/-/
Baba hesitated, “I don’t know if you will return it to me.” Jangale Master assured him he would, and produced a note written by his father, stating that he would return the amount within one year. Vishnu read out the note in Marathi to Baba. Baba asked Pendu, “Shall we give it?”
And Pendu answered, “Yes, Baba, he is promising. He will give it back.” So Baba said Ok, and He gave Jangle Master the loan.
After a year, Jangale Master received the money from his father and took it to Baba, saying he was repaying the money loaned for his sister’s marriage. Baba said, “I don’t remember that.” And He asked Pendu, “Did I give him money?”
Baba mused, “What shall we do?” Pendu didn’t say anything. “OK,” Baba said. “Keep this money as my prasad. Don’t give it back to Me.
At home, Jangale Master discussed the money with Mukta. “This is Baba’s prasad; we must use it well.” They decided to buy a sewing machine. They got a second-hand one for exactly Rs. 300. The little tailoring business was a great help to their family, along with the milk sales. Later when Jangale Master and Mukta’s eldest daughter was to get married, Baba asked Jangale, “Do you have money? Can I help you?” And Jangale Master answered, “Baba, I have saved money. Because of the sewing machine we purchased and the cows we keep, we have saved enough money. Thanks to You, I have enough to take care of all the children.” Mukta Jangale’s sewing machine (bearing a new table top), kept all these years by the family.
Some of his encounters with Meher Baba are described as under:
During 1939, the number of residents at Meherabad having greatly increased with Baba’s return, it was difficult for Vishnu alone to do all of the shopping for daily provisions at the bazaar, since he also had other duties. So an advertisement was placed in the newspapers to hire someone full-time to do the marketing. Applying for the job, Laxman Gangadhar Jangle, showed up at Meherabad. Baba asked him, “What are you doing nowadays?”
“I’ve failed in the matric exam and am planning to take it again,” Jangle said.
“If you want to come and work here, you will have no chance of studying further.”
“If you give me the job, I will stay.”
Baba hired Gangadhar, and he and his family moved to Meherabad. Jangle had come seeking employment, but was inwardly drawn to the Master, and stayed in Meherabad thereafter assisting Vishnu and Sidhu with the marketing and doing other odd jobs.
On 6th October 1939, Jangle with Masaji, Ghani and Pendu moved to Bangalore, arrived by train on with the remaining trunks, furniture, dispensary equipment, animals and other items from Meherabad. Now all of the Meherabad residents were with Baba in Bangalore.
In 1940, Baba arrived at Meherabad. Meherabad, once again, reflected its glorious atmosphere after ten months of Baba’s absence. By now, all the masts from Bangalore, the zoo and the mandali including Jangle had returned to Meherabad. Jangle — had been given other duties
In 1944, once Masaji slept that night, and the next day after lunch went to his room to take a nap. At 1:30 P.M. Jangle came to ask about purchases to be made in the bazaar. He knocked on the door but there was no answer. Slowly opening the door, he saw Masaji’s head lolling a little over the edge of his bed. Jangle called him — but Masaji was sleeping the sleep of death. Jangle shouted for Pendu, and he, Padri, Nilu and Vishnu came running. Nilu felt Masaji’s pulse, but could do nothing and said it was heart failure. A doctor from Ahmednagar was summoned, but Masaji had already passed away.
In 1945, in the afternoon, the mandali were divided into two teams and a volleyball match was played at Meherabad. Annasaheb Kale was the referee, Sailor the captain of one team, and Sidhu of the other. Jangle was on Sidhu’s side with others
Jangle and his family stayed In the Family Quarters near Arangaon Village along with were Savak Kotwal, his wife Nargis and their daughter Hilla, their other two children. In 1948, arrangements for these five women to remain on Meherabad Hill were fixed. Jangle Master, who was residing in the Family Quarters compound near Arangaon, was appointed to look after them and do their marketing.
During the stay in Ahmednagar in 1948, Baba would visit Meherabad occasionally, and also go to the Family Quarters near Arangaon to see those close ones residing there. There were four families staying at the Family Quarters: Savak Kotwal’s, Chhagan’s, Sidhu’s and Jangle’s. Whenever Baba returned from a tour, these families would sweep and clean the compound and keep everything in order, waiting for him. On this occasion, when Baba visited them after His tour to the Himalayas, Nergiz Kotwal remarked, “Baba, so long we have been waiting for you.
Baba then warned, “My decision, and the decision you all will take today, will be irrevocable and binding for all times. Those who do not take it 100 percent seriously will have to bear the consequences.”
Those to whom the conditions had not been given were afterwards made to take individual oaths to carry out the arrangements decided upon; these included Sidhu, Jangle and Jamadar. Jangle was to attend to the necessities and requirements of the women staying on the hill; and Jamadar was to be the night watchman on the hill.
During 1953, Jangle with other mandali men remained in Meherabad. Residing on the hill were Mansari and Kaikobad’s family.
On Monday, 25th November 1957, Meheru Damania and Burjor Mehta were married in Ahmednagar. Jangle came from Meherabad to attend.
During this period of seclusion of 1958, Jangle Master with his family and others stayed in Meherabad living on Meherabad Hill.
On Wednesday, 31st January 1968, Baba called the few individuals to Meherazad. Jangle was one of them.