Courtesy of MN Collection : Baba at Bindra House, Poona, India Elcha Mistry on Baba’s left

Elcha Mistry, also known as Elcha was Freiny Nalavala’s cousin and he came to know about Baba through her. Elcha saw Meher Baba for first time in year 1951.

Some of his events and conversations with Meher Baba are described as under:

In 1952, during New Life Baba came back to Meherazad and did the final phase of New Life known as Manonash. Then He went to Dehradun again after coming back from West in 1953. During Baba’s nine month stay in Dehradun Elcha became very close to Baba and His mandali because of His humorous jokes which Beloved Baba enjoyed immensely. Elcha was in apple business at Shimla. He was a good honest businessman. Elcha use to visit Meherazad regularly whenever Baba would call him. At times Baba was under immense pressure due to His Universal Work, Elcha was called specially from Simla to change Baba’s mood by his jokes so that Baba work would go light. During Dehradun stay Once Baba asked Elcha to make boarding and lodging prep rations for proposed Mussoorie visit. His arrangements were not up to the mark and this made Baba angry. Baba was upset to this extent that He asked Elcha to stand in a corner with his back towards Baba and not to look at Baba’s face.

Baba asked him to join the Mandali to which Elcha replied that since his sister was dependent upon him because of her ill health, he was unable to join the Mandali. So Baba told him that it was fine and he should continue with his responsibilities.

His life time episodes and conversation with Meher Baba are produced as under:

In 1953, Baba left for Kankhal, where on the riverbank he found another mast, who was a jalali (fiery) type. Elcha inadvertently drove the jeep right up to him. This annoyed the mast so much that he took out a chisel as if to strike him. Elcha sought his forgiveness with folded hands, but this upset the mast even more and he took out another chisel. Elcha was terrified. Baba immediately walked toward the mast, and when Baba smiled at him the mast threw down the tools. Baba’s presence pacified him, and with a piece of charcoal the mast scrawled on a stone the license plate numbers of both the car and jeep. Because the mast had lost his temper and was out of sorts, Baba did not contact him in private and returned to Hardwar.

Continuing their journey, group left Phillaur and drove continuously through the night to Rishikesh. Elcha’s car had another puncture on the way, which had to be repaired in the dark, with only a flashlight for illumination.

Elcha had suggested a cooler and speedy shortcut — but by the end of the drive, they were covered with dust from head to foot, and Gustadji vowed never again to travel with Elcha. According to Baba’s order, none of the men had either dozed or slept. (Baba had given everyone a tablet to help them keep awake.) Those in Baba’s car, which had gone in advance, sensed that something had gone wrong and came back to find them.

In the vicinity of Dehra Dun were four prominent saints: Anandamayi Ma, Sant Ishwar Singh, Sant Mangat Ram and Miran Bhai. Baba wished to contact the first three of these. But because He was about to fast, He decided instead to contact them by proxy. He put His head on Elcha’s feet, and instructed him to go and touch Anandamayi Ma’s feet, and convey His love and blessings to her.

Elcha did as ordered, and afterward Anandamayi Ma expressed her desire to meet Meher Baba. Elcha informed Baba, who sent her this message:

Meher Baba was informed of your wish to see Him. He says that there is no need for you to see Him. If Baba is the Highest of the High, as people say, and is in everything and in everyone, then He is omniscient, and in you also. Even if that is not the case, then there would be no advantage in a meeting with Him. Baba is bowing down to saints, walis, masts, sadhus and the poor equally, and He conveys His love to you. With His love, He sends His salutation to you.

Baba again bowed to Elcha, as proxy, and sent him back to Anandamayi Ma. After bowing to the woman saint, Elcha conveyed Baba’s message. On hearing it, she declared repeatedly, “Namo Narayana! (Obeisance to God Narayan!)”

Elcha said some devotees from Anandamayi Ma wanted to come for Baba’s darshan. Baba warned him, “If anyone comes, that would not be good for you!” adding, “When My work is finished, God will see that the whole world will bow down to Me!”

Prayers were offered, and 19th June 1953, Baba first bowed to Gustadji and then, with His hands folded, he stood quietly in a reverential mood before Eruch, who read out these lines, dictated by Baba: “My salutations to all the past, present and future Perfect Ones, Qutubs, majzoobs, masts, lovers and seekers of God: I today remember with My love, in accordance to their love and faith, My physically departed following lovers.”

As the mandali remained standing, Elcha read out the names of the departed ones who loved and served Baba. Baba then laid his head on the feet of each of those present.

On 24 June 1953, Baba left for Roorkee (45 miles south), with Hellan driving, and accompanied by Pendu, Elcha and Kishan Singh. In Roorkee, a poor program was held in the dargah of the Qutub Sabir. Baidul was sent in advance to make the arrangements. It was drizzling on the way and the car was also giving trouble. The petrol tank was leaking and much of the gas was lost. Elcha exhorted Hellan to drive fast, but on account of the rain and the road being in a hazardous condition, Hellan could not do so. The car suddenly came to a halt on a flat plain, much to Hellan’s surprise because, according to him, there should have been nothing wrong with it. Meanwhile, Baba was often prodding Elcha to ask Hellan why he did not properly test the car in Dehra Dun. Finally, Hellan was able to fix the car and they proceeded.

In 1953, in the car while going to and returning from Roorkee, Kishan Singh’s singing and Elcha Mistry’s humorous conversation kept Baba in a good mood. To add zest to his tales, Elcha would exaggerate them to any extent and make them “spicy.” After his return, Baba bestowed a befitting title on Elcha, and gave him the “degree” of Elcha, B.D.L. — Bundle Licentiate.

Later on 26th July 1953, Baba played cricket at the men’s bungalow with the mandali plus Elcha, Hellan, Kumar, Keki Nalavala, Harish Chander and Kishan Singh. Elcha was made captain of one team and Kishan captain of the other. Baba played on both sides. The game started at nine o’clock, and except for a few, the rest were bumbling participants, some of whom did not even know the rules. Baba batted and bowled with a small kerchief tied around His head, sometimes arguing over a call. Elcha’s team eventually lost and Baba gave him two “strokes” on his backside with the bat. Baba decided that they would play cricket every Sunday and their weekly games continued for some time. Both sides would want Baba on their side, since he was by far the best player. At times they would toss a coin to decide the issue. Baba’s side inevitably won.

On 20th August 1953, Baba told Bhau, “Since all have to stay awake, perform a play.” It was on short notice, but nevertheless Bhau wrote a play based on the Indian story of Durgadas, in which a queen, Begum Gulnar (played by Elcha, dressed as a woman), expresses her love to Durgadas (Vishnu) by catching hold of him and attempting to seduce him. Durgadas spurns her love and she, insulted, threatens to have him beheaded by an executioner (Aloba). The commander of the army, Diler Khan (Nilu), wants to save him and so informs Gulnar’s husband, King Aurangzeb (Bhau) of the queen’s misbehavior. Aurangzeb goes to his queen and tells her: “Darling, I have become old and cannot make love to you; yet you should not act in this way. In spite of it, I forgive you.”

All the men did justice to their roles, but Elcha and Aloba were the source of the greatest merriment.

Aloba’s entry on stage as the executioner was off cue, his sword swinging ferociously at the wrong time. Baba was in fits of laughter.

Elcha forgot his lines and when Bhau recited his lines about his having grown old, Elcha ad-libbed: “You old fogey, why don’t you go off into the jungle? … Why don’t you die so I can have some fun!” This made Baba laugh so much His cheeks turned pink. Had Elcha remembered his rehearsed lines, there would not have been as much scope for comedy. Baba praised Elcha, telling him he had enjoyed his part the most!

Baba wished to proceed to Bara Rudka to work with the highly advanced mast Chinta Bhagat. The road to Bara Rudka was ten miles from the nearest town, and being unpaved, it had turned into a quagmire due to recent monsoon rains. It was not a straight road, but had turns and twists leading off to other villages. Elcha, who had previously stayed in the area for a long time, reported, “Baba, it is impossible to traverse this road at night. We will miss our turn and get lost. Sugarcane fields border both sides of the road, and we won’t be able to tell which road leads where.”

Baba asked Baidul if he could lead him there. Baidul assured him that he could and added confidently that they would reach the mast’s abode that night. Elcha pleaded, “Baba, don’t listen to him. I know this area. Baidul will only make us wander about in the fields.” Baba told Baidul to lead the way, and by going left and right, then right and left with Hellan driving, he took them straight to the mast’s place. When they reached it at eleven o’clock in the night, Elcha was so impressed that, as a joke, he stretched out on the ground before Baidul in obeisance and said fervently to Baba, “I thought he was a fool until now, but every one of the mandali you have selected is a gem! Some are well-versed in one thing, some in another, but none are like Baidul. He has a nose like a compass!”

“Only if you find Me intimate with him,” Baba replied, adding, “Take Elcha (Mistry) of Dehra Dun. I feel absolutely free with him, but if he is not prepared to sacrifice all, then he is not in the mandali.”

About Elcha Mistry of Simla, Baba stated, “He is a great humorist and to some extent lightens My universal burden by making Me laugh.” Baba recounted one episode: “Once Elcha told Me that in Simla, potatoes and apples of superb quality grow in abundance. When I asked him how big they were, he replied that each potato weighs 20 seers (40 pounds) and a pair of apples 10 seers! I asked him to send Me a parcel of apples, which he did through someone. When it came, it was difficult to tell if they were apples or apricots — they were so small!”

Baba then stated, “Although I enjoy Elcha’s jokes, every moment My Universal work goes on.”

In 1958, at one point, Elcha Mistry told Baba, “Last night I dreamt that I was back in Simla, and on awakening this morning I found that I was in Meherabad. Because I am now back in Meherabad from Simla today, I should also have Baba’s embrace!” Baba smiled and embraced him.

Elcha had thought of another clever ploy to receive Baba’s embrace. He said, “Baba, I have heard from a very reliable source that if you give me an embrace again today, all your physical suffering will disappear.”

Baba’s quick retort was: “I love My pain more than you!” Still, He embraced Elcha.

Baba said: Elcha by his jokes and witticisms, lighten this burden and I relax. These are the things that give Me relaxation. But, whether burdened or relaxed, I play My role equally well. Burden or relaxation makes no difference to Me, for I am beyond all this.

Baba then repeated what He had told the first group about enjoying the lively company of Dhake and Elcha and their good humor. He also stated, “I enjoy playing marbles, flying kites, watching cricket, playing cards and gilli-danda. I have not come only for such play; I have come and taken this body for other purposes. I am the Ocean of Mercy, Compassion and Love.

Baba continued, “I enjoy humor. I enjoy jokes. Here is Elcha Mistry whom I have told you about. He makes Me laugh whenever I am engrossed in my Universal work. I have not lost My sense of humor. I even enjoy others cracking jokes about Me.”

After lunch, Baba stood in the doorway of His Interview Cabin leaning on His canes, and observing the scene a few moments before going back to the pandal. Rawal happened to walk by and Baba joked, “Elcha told Me that your screw was loose. Is this true? How old are you now?”

Rawal, however, in one of his usual over-emotional outbursts, declared, “Baba, I only want to die at your feet!”

Baba asked, “Then who would look after your family?”

“I leave it to you, Baba.”

“Thanks,” Baba replied drily.

In 1960, when Elcha Mistry arrived for a two-month stay on the 2nd, Baba remarked to him, “I am unwell, still I have come among you.” He then stated, “Elcha, I am God. There is not the slightest doubt in my being God. I am 100 percent God!”

Elcha affirmed, “You are God, and I accept you as God from the bottom of my heart.”

In 1964, Baba had been advised to sit in the sun for a little while each day, so on 25 th December, Adi Sr. sent his revolving office chair to Meherazad on Bhagirath’s truck for Baba’s use., Elcha (“Beggar Boy” as he was fondly referred to) entertained Baba and the mandali with jokes and tall tales.

Eruch Mistry, Elcha was often called “Court jester”. An honest man, he devoted himself totally to Baba and regaled him with jokes and quips.

alphabet board in braile

Courtesy of Glow Magazine – Spring 2008 p.13


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