Soman, Meherjee, Eruch, Irwin Luck, Kutumba Sastri, Baba (Kutumb Sastri standing on Baba’s right)

Kutumb Shastri was the team member of “KDRM”-(Kutumb Sastri, Dhanapathy Rao Naidu, Ranga Rao, and Mallikarjuna). Baba entrusted His work in Andhra to “KDRM”. When Avatar Meher Baba Trust was formed in later years Beloved Baba choose Kutumb Sastri as 1st chairman.

On April 6th, 1959, Baba was driven to Meherabad, where, in the presence of a sub-register named Deshpande, the Avatar Meher Baba Trust Deed was registered on Meherabad Hill.

All ten trustees were present for the registration ceremony on the Hill. They included Kutumb Sastri, who was appointed chairman*, Mani, Ramjoo, Adi Sr., Meherjee, Nariman, Pendu, Vishnu, Padri and Kaka Baria. Approved by Baba, the Trust Deed outlined the purpose and objectives of the Trust, as well as made provisions for the support of those persons dependent on Baba.

*Meher Baba had originally appointed Eruch Jessawala as one of the trustees, but Eruch, for his own reasons, declined to be a member of the board. When the subject of who should be the chairman of the Trust came up, Eruch suggested Kutumb Sastri of Andhra and Baba agreed. Unfortunately, after Baba dropped the body in 1969, a lawsuit broke out between Sastri and the other trustees. Sastri died in 1973 and was replaced by Baba’s sister Mani until 1996.

LORD MEHER, 1st USA ed, vol. 16, p. 5554

Kutumba Sastri

Mallikarjuna Rao, Baba, Kutumba Sastri; Dhanapthy Rao, Ranga Rao – Kutumb Sastri standing on Meher Baba’s left

Some of his lifetime episodes and talks with Meher Baba are narrated below:

On 5th October 1952, Baba held a meeting at Meherazad with six Andhra Baba met with them from 8:00 to 10:00 A.M. behind the Blue Bus. Baba went over His plans, among the six men from Andhra; all were new except for Dr. Dhanapathy. They were highly moved by their first meeting with Baba. Kutumba Sastri, however, could not acknowledge Baba as the Avatar, though his heart was impressed with Baba’s love.

In 1953, Kutumba Sastri had arranged refreshments for the group accompanying Baba, and while the prasad distribution was taking place, the mandali and others had tea. After the darshan was over, Baba lambasted Pendu, who was the tour manager, for this breach of His orders. The fact was that Pendu had been standing near Baba all along and was unaware that the group was having refreshments. But to teach the newcomers a lesson, Baba corrected Pendu and the other mandali severely, whereby all learned that without His consent nothing was to be consumed.

In Nidadavole, (Andhra) Baba paid a visit to the homes of Sastri and Mallikarjuna Rao and met their families. Sastri’s wife and two sons, Bhasker and Krishna, saw Baba for the first time here, and the family was blessed. Sastri had made all the arrangements for Baba, even though he was in financial straits. Baba wanted to give him Rs.500, but he would not accept it. By refusing Baba’s prasad, his condition grew worse. When he realized he had made a grave mistake in not accepting the amount, he was ashamed of his pride. Baba later advised him, “Whenever I give anyone anything as prasad, it should be accepted with joy at once, because it is great good luck to receive prasad from the hands of the Avatar.”

One day, in morning, Baba called Dhanapathy, Dharmarao, Sastri, Arjana Rao and Editha Sathiraju to witness a special event. Baba laid His head on the feet of 56 persons as “representatives” of the 56 God-realized souls on earth.

In the end, Baba created a committee and vested in it overall responsibility for His work in Andhra. There were four members of the committee: Kutumba Sastri, Dhanapathy Rao, Ranga Rao and Mallikarjuna — so Baba named it the K.D.R.M. Samiti (functioning body).

Baba called Kutumba Sastri to Dehra Dun to discuss the Andhra programs. On 26th July 1953, in the course of the conversation, Baba explained to Sastri:

To know God is to become God. So how can you know what a Perfect Master is unless you become one? I may be either the Avatar, a Sadguru or an ordinary man. I may be anything; I am what you take Me to be. If you think I am the Avatar, I am the Avatar; if you think I am an ordinary man, I am an ordinary man. I am That which I am. By being everything, what you think Me to be I am.

However, this is not important. If I am Baba, then for My work I need no one. And yet I tell you to be with Me and ask the workers in Andhra to work for Me for four months. If you look back on My life and work, I never have anything permanent.

Hospitals, schools, ashrams were constructed and pulled down, because I have no need of any establishment or organization. Yet I want workers. Why? To make people ready to receive what God will make Me give. The morning sun sheds its rays everywhere, but the sun does not need connection with the whole world. If after 400 or 700 years the world is full of houses and there is no room for its rays to penetrate the world and reach mankind, the sun may then resort to making people remove the roofs of houses so that its full rays may fall on everything and everyone. I want such persons who can demolish the roofs of low desires by spreading My message of love, so that when the time comes — like a cloudless day at twelve noon — people can receive the “rays.”

Do not get involved in controversies, societies, factions, (or such affairs). I wish you to work wholeheartedly as one unit, as one center for four months. Just work and prepare people by informing them of the message of honesty, love and longing for God. Make them enthusiastic so that what God makes Me give in December, they will be able to receive.

Usually, rivers flow into the ocean. But the rivers are now drying up. It is time for the Ocean to “flood” the rivers!

I may be anything, but when you work wholeheartedly, God, Who is everywhere and knows everything, gives you rewards from Him without your asking. Even if I am the Devil, God will reward you according to your work!

God is free, independent; and to know Him, we must work wholeheartedly and with no reservation. One who is free does not like any reservation. If you work for Him honestly, with an open heart, God helps. Don’t become a flatterer and never be dishonest to yourself and others. Be natural and honestly simple. I consider one as My center who loves Me wholeheartedly for the sake of love. God may make Me give that gift which is permanent. Only God is real. God is all Love; God is all Wisdom; God is all Power; God is all Beauty; God is Everything.

Baba concluded with Shastri, by spelling out, “There is only one thing which keeps you away from God and that is lust. There is always ego in that. So lead a pure life.”

In 1954, addressing Sastri, Baba spelled out, “This life is a mighty divine joke. Joke is the very word, most suitable — mighty divine joke and zero. To call it even zero would make it exist.”

Kutumba Sastri presented Baba with a copy of his poetic praise in Sanskrit, and Baba was duly welcomed.

Baba left for Nidadavole, reaching there at 4:15 P.M. Kutumba Sastri and Mallikarjuna Rao had arranged a darshan program that evening to which almost 5,000 came. As usual, Baba’s arti was performed, he was garlanded and his Vijayawada messages read. The following is another message, given at the time, on “Liberation”:

God is eternally free. To realize God is to attain liberation from the bondage of illusion. The greater the strife and the more intensified the struggle to attain liberation, the more the shackles of illusion are felt, as this very action brings greater awareness of the illusion, which then becomes all the more impressive and realistic. All actions, whether good or bad, just or unjust, charitable or uncharitable, are responsible for making the bond of illusion firmer and tighter.

The goal is to achieve perfect inaction, which does not mean merely inactivity. When the self is absent, one achieves inaction in one’s every action. However excessive, karma yoga, dnyan yoga and other yogas can be instrumental in one’s achieving the end to all actions by practicing inaction in the midst of intense activity.

However, the only way to live a life of absolute inaction is to completely surrender to a Perfect Master, so that one dies to oneself entirely and lives only for the Perfect Master, to act and fulfill the dictates of the Beloved One.

My blessings to you all.

After the darshan, Baba visited the homes of Kutumba Sastri and Mallikarjuna Rao, and also the Andhra Meher Center. Introducing a woman at his house, Sastri told Baba, “Her husband has left her; she is most unfortunate.”

To which Baba countered, “Why do you say most unfortunate? She sees God standing before her in person, and is most fortunate. More fortunate than the rishis and munis who are very, very old and long for My darshan.” Addressing the woman, Baba said, “Think of Me and don’t worry.”

Baba and the group left for Amalapuram, and on the way Baba felt hungry. Meherjee gave Him some cheese and crackers, but Baba wanted his customary rice and dal. The car stopped and behind it the bus. Going to the bus, Meherjee asked Chhagan if rice and dal were ready. The dal was cooked, but there was no rice or bread to go with it. Chhagan was cooking for Baba on the journey, and kept all the necessary ingredients with him, but this time neither rice, nor chapatti nor bread was available.

Baba directed Kutumba Sastri to inquire whether cooked rice could be procured in the next village they reached. At 9:45 they arrived at Bobbarlanka, where the villagers rushed for darshan. Sastri was successful in locating a small restaurant where rice had just been put on the stove to boil. Chhagan began warming the dal, with Meherjee pressuring him to speed up the process.

Baba asked Kutumba Sastri, “Will the rice be ready in five minutes?”

“Baba, it will take at least 20 minutes to cook properly,” he said. Instead of waiting, Baba decided to leave. So Chhagan turned off the stove and they left Boparlanka.

In the car, Baba urged Dharmarao, who was driving, “I am very hungry, so drive faster. Let’s not stop; go straight to Amalapuram.”

Dharmarao did as told, but when they came to the village of Kottapeta, many had assembled on the road. Baba had the car stopped. Some of the local workers approached Baba, requesting, “Rest here for a while; take some coconut water and permit the mandali to have it.”

Baba remained quiet, but Eruch reminded him, “You had sanctioned this in Rajahmundry when the Kottapeta lovers asked you for this privilege.”

So Baba agreed, stating, “All right, let the mandali drink coconut water; but take My car to Amalapuram.

I won’t have the coconut water.”

On reaching the bank building, Baba informed Kutumba Sastri: “This is My last visit to Andhra in this life. No more programs after this, except the one at Ahmednagar on March 21. Then My ‘Real Program’ begins, not this which we see.

The next morning, Monday, 1st March 1954, at 7:00 A.M., while discussing the meeting of workers to be held with K.D.R.M., the Andhra lovers and the mandali, Baba observed, “It would be better if the workers’ meeting is held tonight, as all are to keep awake tonight anyway.”

Addressing Kutumba Sastri, Baba asked, “Would you be able to make the necessary arrangements (for holding the meeting tonight)?

“I want work, and work must be done 100 percent honestly or stopped. Remember, I can work all alone.

“If possible, all small (marginal) and important workers should attend the meeting. I will thrash out every point on how to work because I don’t want these mass darshans and programs merely for name’s sake. If workers love Me but do not work with 100 percent honesty, then they are not wanted.”

Baba repeated, “If it is possible, then arrange the meeting tonight; if not, tomorrow morning. If all cannot come tonight, then they must come tomorrow. I say all this because I will not come here again in this body.

“I have been doing My work all alone eternally — since eternity!” Baba concluded.

K.D.R.M. assured Baba they would see to the meeting arrangements for that night, and inform all concerned through telegrams.

Baba explained in brief about the composition of the group K.D.R.M. and, inquiring about their work, stated:

Last time I visited Andhra I appointed K.D.R.M. as the four pillars of my work in Andhra. K is Kutumba Sastri; D is Dhanapathy Rao; R is Ranga Rao; and M is Mallikarjuna Rao. I know each of you love Me wholeheartedly and work for me wholeheartedly, no doubt. But now I find it must be My own mistake in forgetting that north, south, east and west cannot meet at any point — the four are in different directions. So first let us find out if these four can work together or not as I want. Therefore, pour out your hearts honestly to Me without any curtain. This will make Me say something very original and lasting for all. Do not look at each other or fear each other.

Baba asked Kutumba Sastri to say what he had to say, and when he said that he never made any complaint about his fellow workers, Baba replied, “So you are absolutely satisfied with the arrangement of work of the other three?” Sastri explained that it was not a question of his feelings, but of obeying Baba’s orders. Baba had impressed upon all members of K.D.R.M. to work in unison, but, as Sastri explained, it was found impractical due to three reasons:

First: their living at different places; second: their different temperaments and methods of working; and third: no possibility of consulting with one another. Continuing, he said that he did not like the methods some of his colleagues used to do things: namely, certain lapses on their part, such as failure to keep proper accounts for all financial transactions, et cetera.

Baba then asked the other members of K.D.R.M. in turn to say what they had to say. The discussion that ensued gave an impression that there were deep differences among all four men. All four wanted to do work for Baba with love, but there was a lack of unanimity. Other workers had become totally dissatisfied with K.D.R.M. and bitterly complained about them.

In response, Baba stated:

I, Myself, have not understood what work you are doing for Me. If you are doing only propaganda, it is absurd. I do not want mere propaganda or any kind of false publicity. Never. Love and honesty I want. If you all cannot do that, then stop what you call work. I am quite capable of doing My work. Therefore, today I think we must try to stop this so-called work.

All four members of K.D.R.M. were asked, “Do you think I am unjust in dissolving K.D.R.M.?” They each replied no.

Baba then decided: “K.D.R.M. be dissolved. Centers be dissolved. Every true worker becomes a Baba-center! And for God’s sake, for Baba’s sake, be aware of money. One pie (cent) taken from others (under false pretenses) makes one die a million deaths!”

Baba further stated:

I know definitely I love Andhra, and the people of Andhra have expressed their love in a way as to touch my heart. Every one of you who is here tonight loves me. So I feel very happy. The unique love expressed by all of Andhra during all the small and big [darshan] programs has touched me very deeply.

Now, once again, I will confess before God, Whoever He be, our weaknesses on behalf of you all, as the Eluru people were not here when I confessed the first time tonight. After the confession, if you really love me even a little, I want your hearts toward one another to be clean. Forget your past differences, clean your hearts, and live for Baba, if you love Baba.

After this reading, Baba Sastri of Andhra sang some shlokas in Sanskrit from the Bhagavad Gita in which Krishna says: “Age after age, from time immemorial, for the destruction of ignorance, for the preservation of Truth, I have taken human form.”

When he had finished Baba remarked, “You speak as if you are swimming in mid-ocean, attacked by sharks!” Baba wryly observed, “I have created everything, and yet I do not know Sanskrit. I just nod my head as if I understand.”

Baba wished to express through hand gestures, it was decided to hold a sahavas in the month of November 1955. There would be four groups divided linguistically — Gujarati, Telugu, Hindi and Marathi — each staying at Meherabad for one week. Accordingly, those concerned were informed, and the mandali’s correspondence expanded. Baba originally decided to invite select lovers in four groups of 150 persons each; but the number later increased as more requested permission to come, which Baba allowed. To meet the sahavas expenses, money was requisitioned from selected persons, not from all. However, in the end, there was a shortage of Rs.5, 000. This required amount was made up by Dr. Kanakadandi and Kutumba Sastri of Andhra.

Kutumba Sastri requested that Baba introduce His mandali members, and although Baba Himself did not like the idea, He asked the mandali, turn by turn, to stand up when their name was called, and introduced them as follows:

Gustadji, Kaikobad, Don, Kaka Baria, Padri, Pendu, Vishnu, Jalbhai, Shatrughnan Kumar, Adi Sr. Dhake, Savak Kotwal, Nariman, Meherjee, Sidhu, Chhagan, Aloba, Bhau.

Baba said to Kutumba Sastri

Pay attention! This is the time. After this, there will be no chance left. What do you all mean by Baba work? That someone should be sent out tom-tomming that Baba is the Avatar? Or is there some other way you want to propagate my cause? Let your life be a living example to others that you love Baba. Then, it will be impressive to others. Tell others about My life and discourses, but never exaggerate! Let miracles have no connection with me. You say Baba is the Avatar; but if anyone disbelieves you, do not get sulky or angry. Try to explain calmly and with love. You can do all this if you have the proper desire and enthusiasm. Then I will wash your feet! Do this with your love.

Baba said: Kutumba left his home for My work immediately after his young brother had died in the house. Kutumba, as the elder brother, did not even wait to perform the funeral rites demanded by custom. When questioned by visitors, the family replied by repeating what Kutumba Sastri had told them: that the man loved Baba and had merely dropped the coat of his gross body. Kutumba had felt certain that his young brother would have wanted him to go ahead with Baba’s urgent work, at once, because he had always looked upon the service to Baba as infinitely more important and rewarding than any ritual.

In 1958, addressing the four chief workers of Andhra Pradesh — Dhanapathy Rao, Kutumba Sastri, Ranga Rao and Mallikarjuna Rao — Baba stated, “Kutumba Sastri is most reliable. Before meeting other workers, I want to meet with all four of you together. I am glad to see you four together.” Baba embraced them again and informed the sahavas group, “These four are the big workers of Andhra Pradesh.”

Calling Dhanapathy Rao, Kutumba Sastri, Ranga Rao and Mallikarjuna Rao to the dais, Baba asked each man His age and then remarked: “My connection with Andhra is very old. During this time, My Avatar hood, Andhra has become an independent state. Besides Andhra, My connection is with the whole of South India. I don’t mention this to please or humor you, but I am telling you the truth. This is the reason why you people love Me.”

Calling the Andhra leaders, known as K.D.R.M., to the hall, Baba asked them point-blank, “Is there cooperation and love among you?”

Dhanapathy, Ranga Rao and Mallikarjuna replied affirmatively, whereas Kutumba Sastri could not make up his mind because Baba had asked them to be honest and sincere in their response. In the end, Kutumba Sastri said there was no problem.

Baba then told them, “Remember one thing: The time has come. After one year, this body will definitely drop. During this period, show your mettle. This is the time. Millions in the world will do My work when I am no longer here. There is no doubt about My being God Personified. Have love between yourselves and then spread that love to others. I know about your family, financial and other troubles. There is nothing more to tell you. The cloud is near to bursting. As soon as I return from America, you will find what I say has come to pass. Do not tell this to others in the sahavas.”

Baba concluded, “This body of yours is a temporary phenomenon. You cannot come to terms with it. But on this physical plane, if you are near me, it is a great thing.”

When Kutumba Sastri was translating Baba’s words into Telugu, Baba interrupted, asking, “I was listening to what Kutumba Sastri was saying. But I fail to understand why the word garu is always coupled to My name?”

Sastri explained, “In Telugu, the word Babagaru is the same as Babaji.”(The suffix ji is a term of respect in Hindi.)

Baba proceeded: “Neither Meherabad nor Meherazad is in My name. Only the site of My final resting place remains in My name.

“Now the Parvardigar Prayer will be recited. It is (also) called the Master’s Prayer, and no one should say it out loud here. During the prayer, forget everything else and concentrate on the words of the prayer and on Me.”

Don then read the prayer, which Kutumba Sastri rendered in Telugu, Keshav Nigam in Hindi, and Dhake in Marathi.

Baba then declared: “I am the Ancient One, and I have the divine authority to forgive anyone of anything!”

On 6th April 1959, Baba was driven in Meherjee’s car to Meherabad, where, in the presence of a sub-register named Deshpande, the Avatar Meher Baba Trust Deed was registered on Meherabad Hill at 11:45 A.M. All ten trustees were present for the registration ceremony on the hill. They included Kutumba Sastri, who was appointed chairman, Mani, Ramjoo, Adi, Meherjee, Nariman, Pendu, Vishnu, Padri and Kaka. Approved by Baba, the Trust Deed outlined the purpose and objectives of the Trust, as well as made provisions for the support of 41 persons dependent on Baba.

In year 1960, Kutumba Sastri brought Swami Satyaprakash Udaseen from Andhra to Baba during this time. Swami Satyaprakash also became a devoted follower and, a year later, began editing and publishing an English periodical about Baba, titled Divya Vani (Divine Voice).

During 1962, Kutumba Sastri’s son, Bhasker, was working in Adi’s office, and, as mentioned, his marriage had been arranged with Usha Kulkarni. The day after the play, their wedding took place in the Ahmednagar Center. Afterwards Kutumba Sastri, Bhasker, Usha and their relatives went to Meherazad, where Baba blessed the couple. Usha sang a song before Baba, who was pleased by her efforts. He advised the young couple: “Love each other and love Me with your combined love.” The Sastri family then happily returned to Ahmednagar.

On 12th March 1963, Kutumba Sastri, his son Bhasker, Adi, the Khilnanis and a Chief Justice named Chainani and his wife met Baba at Meherazad. Baba gave them a short discourse on love being the only way to realize God, and the necessity of having the courage to live with one’s life on one’s sleeve, “which only one in thousands has,” Baba noted.

In 1963, Kutumba Sastri was leaving shortly on a lecture tour of South India. Baba urged him not to hesitate to openly declare that Meher Baba says He is the Avatar of the Age. “Declare this undauntedly before all,” Baba told him, “Even at the cost of receiving a beating or putting your life in danger!”

In 1965, Baba said: those leaving today, irrespective of the group they may belong to, should have darshan today. After them, the rest should come in their respective groups, while the group head will introduce each one to Baba. Jal will introduce some of those lovers from Andhra who had helped financially in the completion of the Avatar Meher Baba Poona Center Hall.

On 13th October 1968, in the morning, Baba held a meeting to inform His main workers of His decision to give darshan the following year from 10 April to 10 June 1969 at Guruprasad. Besides the resident men mandali, the following men were called to Meherazad. They were Kutumba Sastri and Swami Satyaprakash from Andhra Pradesh.


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