MEHERJEE ARDESHIR KARKARIA (Meherjee)
Meherjee Ardeshir Karkaria was related to Dadachanji. He was an ardent lover and close disciple of Baba. Being mandali he widely travelled with Baba. In March 1927, Chanji brought his young relative Meherjee from Poona to Meherabad who lived in their same compound in Poona. Meherjee had been induced to come with them on a picnic to Ahmednagar.
The Dadachanji families were Parsis from Bombay, and though it was not customary for them as Zoroastrians, they offered Baba homage by touching His feet. But Meherjee, the son of a Parsi priest in Navsari, folded his hands in salutation from a distance. After Baba inquired about each one’s health, He gestured to Meherjee and asked, “What do you do?” He replied that he was studying science and engineering. Baba inquired further, “What will you do when you finish?” Meherjee replied that he would obtain his Bachelors of Science degree. Baba smiled and asked, “Why don’t you come to My school and work as a teacher?” Meherjee did not seem happy with this, so Baba added, “All right, appear in the exam; but if you fail, come back.” Meherjee did not say anything.
Meherjee Karkaria met Baba in 1927, and for two years he was with Him as school teacher and as one of the mandali. He went Persia, and began Import business. When He departed, Baba said to Him, “Never get disappointed in doing anything, try your best, stick to the job, do it honestly with Me at the back of your mind, and leave result to Me. He took these words to his heart, and he have found that if he adhere to them, and leave all to Him, process may not be of our liking, but ultimately all turned out well. His experience with Baba has proved this.
The same day, Meherjee was depressed because he had been dismissed as Baba’s personal attendant. Baba first teased him, but then He joked with him to appease him. The following night, Baba beckoned him, “Ask of Me whatever you want and I will give it to you. The sky, the depths, the earth, the waters — anything that you may desire. You have only to ask for it.”
Meherjee humbly replied that he did not want anything. Baba insisted, “Oh for God’s sake, ask for something! I am happy tonight and I will give you anything you want.” Meherjee persisted, saying that he did not want anything other than to serve Him well. So Baba reinstated him as His orderly, and Meherjee was satisfied.
In 1928, Meherjee’s father arrived unexpectedly at Meherabad in the afternoon with four Parsi priests. He had heard a rumour that his son had shaved his head and was moving about in a long robe like a sadhu. But when he saw Meherjee, he realized the stories were false. Nevertheless, he told Baba, “Meherjee is my eldest son and I have hopes of his shouldering the full responsibility of our entire family. I therefore wish to take him home.”
Baba replied, “Your son is gold. You may take him with you, but I allow it with a pain in My heart.” Meherjee did not want to leave, but Baba took him aside and consoled him, “Go now. It is My order. I am sending you with My blessing. And remember, even if you leave Me, I will never leave you.”
Baba then asked Meherjee if he loved him. Meherjee replied, “If I did not love you, how could I wish to remain here?”
Baba explained, “Obedience is higher than love. So carry out what I order you to do. Go now, and remember that I am with you.” Meherjee accepted, and with tears in his eyes accompanied his father home.
Two days later, Meherjee returned to Meherabad. He was planning to travel to Persia to work and wished to have Baba’s darshan and permission before departing. The proprietor of a firm had offered him a salary of Rs.60 per month, but Baba advised him not to accept the job. After some days, the proprietor approached Meherjee with an enhanced offer of Rs.100. This time Baba allowed him to accept the job. Before Meherjee departed, Baba remarked, “You may go and I will follow you. My nazar is on you.” Meherjee left for Persia as a lowly employee, but returned to India sixteen years later as a prosperous businessman.
Since 1929, Meherjee Karkaria had been quite successfully doing business in Iran, and had no opportunity of meeting Baba. He had come to India once in 1934 to see Baba, but at the time, Baba was in the West. In 1943, Meherjee again came to Bombay for a visit, and against his better judgment, a friend took him to a palmist. Consulting Meherjee’s hand, the palmist said, “If you are not careful of your business, sixty per cent of your wealth will be lost.” At that, Meherjee sent a cable to his manager in Persia, instructing him to dispose of his business. He then proceeded to Lahore to see Baba.
During their meeting, Baba asked Meherjee, “What have you been doing all these years in Persia? How’s your business coming along?” Meherjee told Baba everything, and also about his recent encounter with the palmist. Baba twisted Meherjee’s ear and said, “You fool! Do you believe in astrology? Palmistry? I myself am God, and God can transform, create and destroy entire planets. Send a telegram immediately that nothing should be disposed of.”
Meherjee wrote the message, and Baba dispatched Vishnu to the telegraph office to have it sent at once. Baba advised him to continue his business as he had been doing, and Meherjee left for Persia. By heeding Baba’s advice, his business prospered more than ever before.
A few years before, Meherjee Karkaria had been instructed by Baba not to sell his business in Iran, but to continue as he had been doing. Meherjee returned to Iran, according to Baba’s advice, and his business was quite prosperous. In 1945, he again visited India and Baba called him to Hyderabad on 23rd June 1945. Baba discussed matters with him, and stated, “Now go back to Iran, close your business down, and move to Bombay. If you don’t, Homai (his wife) will die.”
That was a sufficient incentive, and Meherjee returned to Persia, sold his business as Baba instructed, and landed in Bombay on 2nd November 1945. However, it took a long time for Meherjee to finally wind up all his affairs in Iran, and even after he had settled in India, he still had to go back to Iran on business. Each time he would inform Baba by cable that he was leaving, and each time Baba would give him a fixed date for his return.
Once Meherjee could not find a boat from Bander Abbas to Bombay, and to reach India on the appointed date he sailed by a small fishing vessel. A storm arose during the voyage, and the boat began pitching and rolling from side to side.
The captain said it was too dangerous to go further, and decided they should stop where they were. But Meherjee insisted, “Don’t stop! I have to reach Bombay as soon as possible!”
The captain pleaded, “Dead or alive? If we proceed, we will sink.” The storm continued gathering force and the sea was turbulent, but Meherjee persisted in his demand. Once, he was so forcefully thrown to one side, the platinum ring on his finger broke into pieces. Remembering Baba, he did not lose courage. When the boat docked at the closest port, Meherjee caught another boat bound for Bombay and arrived in time. He experienced Baba’s inner help because of his firm determination to obey Him.
On 1st April 1949, Adi Sr., Nariman, Meherjee and the boy Frenchy arrived in Mount Abu. Adi, Nariman and Meherjee left Mount Abu on 2 April, while Frenchy stayed for a few days more at Baba’s request. Baba traveled to Bombay on 11th April, arriving the next night, and stayed at Meherjee’s house with Baidul and Eruch.
At Bombay, Meherjee and Nariman did night watch for Baba on alternative days.
On 7th July 1949, Baba fasted on tea without milk, taken twice, and two glasses of buttermilk, also taken twice that day. At 11:00 A.M., Kaka came out of Baba’s cabin and wrote on his slate for Meherjee “You will not get such an opportunity again in your live, so make the most of the time at your disposal.
The Meherabad estate had first belonged to Adi Sr. and his father, who had laid it at Baba’s feet. Meherjee became the owner of lower Meherabad, Sarosh of Meherabad Hill and Nariman of Meherazad. But these three men maintained the properties for Baba’s future work and never considered them as their own.
In 1949, one day Baba came in the morning for breakfast and met Meherjee, his wife Homai, and their daughter Pervin. Meherjee’s other daughter, Mehernaz, was an infant, and Baba took her in his arms and played with her for a while.
After the first part of His 40-day seclusion was over, on 24th March 1951, Baba called an hour-long meeting at the seclusion hut. Meherjee and other resident mandali were summoned.
Baba asked Meherjee to read out the clippings from different newspapers about Jal Kerawalla. Baba stated, “Jal obeyed Me 100 percent without any complaint and with absolute faith. Indeed, such obedience and faith is rare.”
Meherjee Karkaria returned at the end of April 1953, and came to Mussoorie.
Meherjee was called to Mahabaleshwar for a few days from 17 April 1954. On the 29th, Baba left Mahabaleshwar and group for mast work in Dharwar. They traveled in Meherjee’s car, which had been sent from Bombay. On 14th May 1954, Baba and the women mandali, proceeded to Bhilar near Panchgani in Meherjee car, and after a three-day holiday there, they returned to Mahabaleshwar.
Adi Sr. brought Meherjee, Vishnu and Irene Conybeare to Satara on the 4th 1956. Baba also indicated that Meherjee would accompany Him to the West in the first part of July 1956.
Baba embraced Clarice and Ena and urged them to be happy. Meherjee drove them back to their hotel. Later, Baba questioned him about what they had said in the car, as if he wanted to know if they liked him and were impressed and satisfied with their visit. He told Meherjee, “I wanted them to be here and that is why they came. I love both very much.”
For Meherjee, Baba’s “work” involved many lessons in humiliation! For example, although it had been announced that the plane was to land in Dallas at 1:00 A.M., a few minutes later, Baba directed Meherjee to go ask the stewardess when they would be landing. After another ten minutes, Baba told him to go ask again. This happened several more times and Meherjee said, “Baba, she will wonder if we are mad or jungli (uncouth, ignorant)!” However, Baba had His own reasons and told him to ask, and the woman would always smile, give a courteous reply and not be annoyed at all.
Once, during another plane flight, everyone was sleeping after dinner. The stewardesses were also tired and were dozing at the rear of the plane. Baba instructed Meherjee, “Go and ask our stewardess when I will get breakfast.”
“But she is resting,” Meherjee said.
“Wake her up and ask her.” Meherjee had to obey. Smiling, the young lady said that breakfast would be served in the morning. When he returned and told Baba, Baba gestured, “I am feeling hungry. Get me something to eat now.” Meherjee had to go back and wake up the lady again, and she gave him some cereal and coffee. Baba hardly touched it, just crumbling a little of the food between His fingers. And Meherjee was further embarrassed to have to return the tray like that — practically untouched.
At other times, in the middle of the night, Baba would tell the mandali to go to the stewardess and ask when she was going to wake them up and when they were going to arrive at their destination. “But, Baba, she is sleeping,” they would say. “Call her!” they were ordered.
“Miss, miss, our boss wants to know when we will get to Los Angeles,” for example. Surprisingly, the mandali found that the stewardesses were never angry about it. Baba had His own reasons for doing this. By waking someone up, He was giving the blessing of his contact to that person.
Baba and the mandali boarded their flight on Qantas Airlines on 14th August 1956, departing from Australia to return to India. After the plane touched down in Darwin and Jakarta, they landed in Singapore at 2:00 P.M. on the 15th, where they were to spend the day and night in an air-conditioned room at the Raffles Hotel. Baba was not in a good mood. Nilu was on watch near him at night. Baba had the air-conditioner in his room turned off, and every ten minutes kept sending for Meherjee, Eruch or Adi. He remarked that their plane might be delayed due to the Suez Crisis, but the mandali thought that highly unlikely.
During the night he was very restless and instructed Meherjee, “Go and inquire what time breakfast is served in the morning.” Meherjee reported that it was not available before six o’clock. They were to leave before this, and at 4:00 A.M., Baba sent him back to try and arrange something to eat before they left. Despite his efforts, he failed.
Without washing or having tea, Baba and the mandali came down to the lobby at 5:00 A.M. to go to the airport in a BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) bus. There were two buses parked and Meherjee escorted Baba into the first thinking it would leave sooner. No one else was in the bus as the driver had not come yet. Adi’s mood was spoiled because of no breakfast, and Baba too was taking the other three men to task for various things that were annoying him. It was then learned that the first bus was not proceeding to the airport. Baba was highly displeased with Meherjee for making him sit in it. Boarding the second bus, they reached the airport and departed for Colombo
Due to the Suez Canal Crisis, they were informed that planes from Colombo to Bombay had been canceled. Baba asked the mandali, “Do you think Me mad because of My behavior last night?” They realized that by becoming angry, Baba had averted a much worse situation, as the Suez Crisis proved to be a minor affair.
Vishnu had departed for Poona on the 1st for some work, and Baba told him to join them on their return to Satara on the evening of the 2nd. Meherjee was called to Satara from Poona on the 1st and instructed to bring several crates of soda water. It was Baba’s standing order for him to come to Satara by bus. But because he had been told to bring the soda, Meherjee drove to Satara in his new, imported Chevrolet. When he arrived, Baba was furious with him. “Why did you break My order and come in your car? Send it back to Poona immediately.” So, Meherjee sent the car back with the driver and he stayed the night.
Leaving the Bombay airport, Baba and the mandali drove to Ashiana. After having tea, Baba, Eruch, Nilu, Meherjee, Bhau and Ismail drove to Satara in Meherjee’s car and arrived the same day. A telegram had been sent from Bombay to the women in Satara — but it reached them only an hour before Baba did.
On reaching Satara, Baba inquired about the telegram Meherjee had sent. When he heard that it had not been received, he was greatly perturbed and scolded Meherjee, “Why didn’t you do as I told you? Where is that telegram now?” Meherjee acknowledged his mistake and regretted trying to save a little money. He departed for Poona the next day.
In Jalgaon, after working with a few more masts, Baba went to the dak bungalow to rest for the night. After dinner, He uncharacteristically poured a little brandy for each man. Baba then began to smoke a cigarette a mast had given him earlier in the day. Calling Meherjee, Baba handed him the cigarette, indicating to him to take a few puffs. He then motioned to him to throw it away and never smoke again. Meherjee, being from a strict family of Zoroastrian priests, had never tried smoking, so this proved to be his first and last cigarette — given to him by Baba!
In 1959, for treat, Deshmukh wished to give ice cream to the mandali and Baba permitted it. Meherjee was there and Deshmukh asked him how the brand Kwality ice cream was rated. Meherjee reflected, “If you order Kwality ice cream, your skin will be peeled off (meaning, it will cost a lot, because it was one of the best brands). You’d better order a cheaper variety for so many.”
Deshmukh considered this and said, “You are right. I don’t want to spend so much.” He brought another brand of ice cream, which Baba distributed to all.
Dada Vaswani had many followers, all of whom Baba allowed darshan. Baba appeared to be in a happy mood. Homa was to drive Baba back to Ahmednagar in Meherjee’s car. Meherjee’s wife brought the car to Saint Mira High School and handed the keys to Homa, who locked the car. Baba was occupied with giving darshan, and Homa was gazing at him as if entranced. Joy and happiness prevailed in this pleasant atmosphere. Seeing Baba’s smile had a wonderful effect.
Suddenly Homa remembered the keys and discovered he had locked them inside the car.
He became nervous, went to tell Meherjee. Meherjee told Homa to go quickly to his house and bring a duplicate set. The darshan was about to end. Homa took another car and was able to return just as Baba was stepping out of the hall. Baba left with the mandali in Meherjee’s car for Meherazad, and remarked on the way, “No stool, no urine, but the work done was quite good!”
Baba was in a cheerful mood, and when informed of Homa’s blunder, he remarked to him, “I am so happy today that I forgive you. Now, drive fast.”
Baba said to Irwin that “I want you to be here every morning at 7:30 A.M. Meherjee will pick you up at your hotel and you will stay with Me during the day. He will take you somewhere for lunch and bring you back, and you will remain with Me until I dismiss everyone. After that he will take you for dinner and show you a different part of Poona each day.” Baba then instructed Meherjee to take Irwin to Babajan’s tomb that evening and to other places of interest on subsequent days.
Meherjee became a partner with Dadachanji in his business. However was mostly with Baba on Mast trips and doing various tasks for Him, and in 1959 Baba directed that partnership be dissolved.
With Baba’s permission Meherjee started a hand-paper making factory. From the beginning he encountered many difficulties, and nearly five years the business was running at a loss. Yet Baba assured him often, “Don’t worry. I am with you. Even if water comes to your nose, it will not enter in your nostrils, and you will not sink.” Even at the point when the business was still losing money, Baba said, “Don’t worry. Do not lose courage; it is going to be very big, – in fact so big that you will not be able to cope with the work.” And as He said, by His grace the business has so flourished that His words of assurance so many years ago was constantly with Him.
The difficulties were many in the beginning. In purchasing land for the factory, He did not need a great space, but to obtain some at right place. He was forced to take five acres, much more than he needed, and that too it was the site of an old quarry. Yet at the time Baba assured him that land would prove to be “Raw gold”. Then the dams of the Poona water supply burst, supply was therefore cut-off and water was essential for filter paper-making process. He could not obtain water elsewhere, and so, although the factory site was nothing but rock, in disruption he hired a drilling machine with an operator and pointing to spot directed that operator take Meher Baba’s name and start drilling. We got the water at three and half a feet! It was by His grace and blessings-nothing else! When we continued four inch bore to seventy five feet, and He then had a constant supply of 30000 gallons a day, amply for our requirement.
The need in India at that time was for filter papers, and they were only obtainable at high cost from overseas. But the technology to make them was not available in India. So with Beloved Baba’s name on my lips, he experimented and again by His grace we developed over six to seven years almost sixty types of filter papers, all without foreign know-how. Baba expressly desired that he should give work to as many unemployed people as possible. So He had that time eighty women working there, many of them widows and therefore destitute.
On 20 June 1963, Baba visited Meherjee’s filter paper factory, White Cloud. Afterwards, he went to the new house which the Harbs had built on a nearby hill. Baba also went to Meher Villa, Meherjee’s home, before returning to Guruprasad.
For the most part, Baba kept Himself secluded in Guruprasad, not allowing any outsiders to come and see Him. However there was no ban imposed against visits from Meherjee and few others. But most of these men had jobs, so they came only on Sundays, when Baba would also call lovers such as Madhusudan, Ramakrishnan, Pratap, Narendra, Kisan, Kamble, Shinde and Pote to play card games. So the atmosphere at Guruprasad that summer was quiet and peaceful, as Baba’s seclusion work continued.
During this period, Baba gave Bhau one hour, from 3:00 to 4:00 P.M., in which to do writing work, and so while Bhau was writing, Meherjee was instructed to be on watch near Baba.
One day Meherjee came out of Baba’s bedroom and walked straight past Bhau to Eruch. Bhau saw Him but thought He had some message to deliver and would be coming back. After a few minutes, Baba clapped and Goher rushed to Him. “Where is Bhau?” Baba asked, “I sent for him. Why hasn’t he come?”
Goher told Bhau, and he entered Baba’s bedroom. Baba was displeased and asked, “Why didn’t you come? I have been waiting for you. Didn’t Meherjee tell you I wanted you right away?”
“No, he did not,” said Bhau.
Baba sent for Meherjee and asked him, “Why didn’t you tell Bhau to come to Me?”
“I forgot,” Meherjee replied. “But it was Bhau’s responsibility to ask me why I left your room early.” Baba agreed and scolded Bhau for not asking Meherjee about it. From that day onward, the moment Meherjee came for his duty, Bhau had to wait outside on the verandah and go to Baba the minute Meherjee left.
Baba had promised Ramakrishnan that He would bless the Poona Center when the building work was completed, and directed him to arrange the inauguration in a simple and quiet manner because of Baba’s seclusion. The meeting hall being built could comfortably accommodate 700 people, and bathrooms and toilets were also provided, as well as an office and a room for Baba to rest in. The work was finished and all arrangements for its opening done.
On 1st May 1964, for the first time since His arrival in Poona that summer (other than going to the doctor’s office), Baba stepped out of the confines of Guruprasad and was driven to the Avatar Meher Baba Poona Center at 441/1 Somwar Peth. Because of his strict seclusion and the consequent ban on all programs and darshan, no public celebration was permitted by Him. Only close lovers and their families were invited. But they, in turn, brought relatives and friends, so the number increased to more than 500 people.
Meherjee’s daughter, Pervin, drove Baba and the mandali to the center, where they arrived. The assembly of lovers heartily hailed Baba as his car reached the gate. The car was driven to the verandah outside the main hall, which was decorated with Baba’s seven colors as depicted in his flag.
As soon as Baba stepped out of the car, the president of the center, Sadashiv Patil, garlanded Him. With a smile, Baba embraced him and then approached the door of the hall, where Meherjee presented him with a tray containing scissors and the key. Taking the scissors, Baba cut the seven-colored ribbon fastened across the doorway and then unlocked the door with the key.
In 1968, one exception to “visitors” was an eccentric Irishman, named Dennis Kirkpatrick. He was a tall man in his late fifties. His father had been a prominent civil surgeon in a Poona hospital. Kirkpatrick was well-educated and had stayed on in India after its independence. He had held a post as a secretary and rector in a church, but had fallen on hard times. He was now living hand-to-mouth alone, and resembled a beggar. He was about to be evicted from a small, ramshackle room next to Guruprasad where he had been staying, because he could not pay the rent. Because the landlord had shut off the water to his room, Kirkpatrick would walk to Guruprasad every day, collect water in a small brass bucket and carry it back to his room in the blazing hot sun. Baba noticed him and instructed Meherjee to help him financially. Baba remarked that he was like a mast.
Kirkpatrick saw Baba several times during Baba’s residence at Guruprasad. Baba would ask him, “Are you happy?” Sitting on his knees, the Irishman would silently gaze up at Baba and nod.
One day Baba asked Kirkpatrick, “Do you have everything you need?” Kirkpatrick said that he did. Baba turned to Meherjee and directed him to continue to give him a monthly allowance.
Meherjee made a face of disapproval. Seeing his expression, Baba corrected him, “Say yes, happily; otherwise, don’t agree! You have no idea what you were to gain in this. I will pay him, don’t think about it!”
Meherjee protested, “But Baba, I did not say no.”
Baba corrected him again, “You have so much money, yet you think even this small amount is too much. I did not ask it for Kirkpatrick’s benefit. I am giving you the opportunity of serving me; you don’t realize it.”
Meherjee handed Kirkpatrick the amount and began seeing to his welfare.
On 13th October 1968, at 8:30 A.M., Baba held a meeting to inform His main workers of His decision to give darshan the following year from 10th April to 10th June 1969 at Guruprasad. Besides the resident men mandali called to Meherazad, Meherjee with others came from Poona.
On 20th December 1968, Meherjee brought Dr. Grant again with Dr. Ichaporia to give Baba a second blood transfusion. Baba was cheerful in His presence and also explained several spiritual subjects to him. Baba remarked, “I am the Expected One who will also be the Accepted One while I am yet in this body. All will know Me when I manifest, but those who know and love Me now are the really fortunate.”
References/Images from: Various Lord Meher volumes, discontinued website's ambprasarkendra & love-remembrances, images and dates, stories etc from respective copyright owners websites or publications used with permission - i.e. In His Service, Glow International, MeherBabaTravels, MSI and MNP Collections, from AvatarMeherBabaTrust, BelovedArchives websites and from various other website sources, Books, journal etc. More information where ever available with us like letter scans, stories etc are added. Kindly feel free to Contact us with any updates, photos or corrections etc.
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