KAIKHUSURU ESPENDIAR AFSARI (Raosaheb)
Early member of mandali was Kaikhushru Espandiar Afseri, known as Raosaheb. Raosaheb was an Irani who had come to know of Meher Baba from two fellow Persians, Behramji and Ardeshir.
In 1922, Raosaheb had once come to Manzil-e-Meem for the Master’s darshan, but, at that time, Baba was not seeing anyone and Raosaheb had to leave. Raosaheb was bitterly disappointed, thinking: “What is the use of this darbar (divine court) in which no one’s worth is recognized. I am a sincere seeker of Truth, but still Meher Baba refuses me His darshan.” He resolved never to approach Baba again, and his mind harboured this grudge for a long time.
One night, the Master appeared in Raosaheb’s dream and said, “In the court of a Sadguru, one should lead a dog’s life! Even if you are thrown out, you should come back again and again – begging to find the entrance” This dream made Raosaheb extremely restless.
In 1924, Raosaheb met Baidul, who brought him to Baba at the Bharucha Building. Baba asked him, “What do you want?” Raosaheb replied, “To remain in your darbar!”
Baba said, “The time will come when I will call you. Meanwhile, be prepared and keep ready to come to Me as soon as I call. I may send for you tomorrow, after a fortnight, or after four months. Whenever I call, be prepared to come that very moment!” This made Raosaheb happy and now he eagerly waited to enter Meher Baba’s court, forgetting his previous complaint.
A year later, Baba called him to Meherabad and he began living with the mandali. He was doing night duty at the hospital, and he was also given permission to write something about Baba in Persian
Baba later on and was appointed him as teacher in Baba’s Prem Ashram Schools. He dedicated his entire life to Baba.
Afsari Raosaheb K. E. was the Principal of the Hazrat Babajan School and author of a number of books in Persian. His most popular work being “Kashful Heqayeq” an account of Premashram boys
Many of his life time episodes and interactions with Meher Baba are narrated as below:
In Year 1927, Meher Baba directed Raosaheb to write to Baidul who, according to Baba’s order, was still in Persia teaching children. Raosaheb, who was originally from Persia, liked Baba’s idea very much, and Raosaheb wrote as instructed. Ardeshir was sent to Persia to assist Baidul in bringing the boys. All of the children’s expenses in traveling to India were to be borne by Baba.
In Meherabad during the night a new Petromax lantern was lit for the first time, and the mandali and pupils welcomed it with loud whistling and cheering. Coconuts were broken for good luck to inaugurate it, and all celebrated the event. A strong breeze was blowing and Baba warned Raosaheb to look after the new lantern well, threatening, “Remember, if anything happens to the Petromax lantern, I will march out of Meherabad to an unknown destination.”
The next day, Baba ordered Rustom and Raosaheb to accompany Him to Meher Ashram every evening at eight o’clock from the 1st of July 1927, as Baba said He wanted to begin dictating discourses to the students on spiritual subjects. Rustom was to translate the explanations into Marathi and Gujarati, and Raosaheb into Persian.”
Baba directed Rustom to give Chhagan four strokes with the cane. Rustom administered the punishment, and Baba further chastised Chhagan, “Now get out of My sight! Don’t stand around like a statue!” Chhagan left and everyone thought that the matter had ended. But it was not so.
In a short while, Baba sent Chanji and two other men to bring Chhagan back to Him. They searched the premises but could not find him. Baba later snapped at Raosaheb and Meherjee, “Why are you two sitting here? Go find Chhagan!” They began looking for him, eventually checking the storeroom, where they found Chhagan hiding. He was holding a razor in his hand, contemplating slashing his throat. Meherjee and Raosaheb rushed forward and grabbed him just in time. They then escorted him to Baba.
In year 1928, Raosaheb and a few of the boys were called to the crypt. Raosaheb read aloud couplets in Persian from Shams-e-Tabriz. Abdulla, Rajaram, and Lobhaji each lost bodily consciousness that day. Vasant too was crying continuously. About Vasant, Baba remarked, “I will make him a kamal (remarkable, extraordinary) boy in the future Raosaheb was surprised by Chhota Baba’s tears, but when he related the incident to Baba, Baba reiterated, “He does not want to return to the gross sphere, even if it means dropping his body. Explain to him that he should not be afraid of anything. Say, ‘Shree will see to everything. Everything will be all right.’ “He ordered Raosaheb to take Chhota Baba and Rajaram for a fifteen-minute walk.)
Occasionally, Baba would call some of the boys and listen to them reading their lessons, but He had never once called Ali Akbar Shapurzaman (Aloba). One morning at nine, however, Baba suddenly called him. Seated at the door of the underground cabin, Baba told him to bring his English and Persian books. Raosaheb was also called. Baba asked Shapurzaman to read a sentence, which Baba himself selected, from each book. After he finished, Baba signaled for him to go. No one knew why the Master had done this on this particular day, but at four that afternoon it became clear when Shapurzaman’s uncle from Bombay arrived in a Tonga and demanded that both his nephew and his son be handed over to him. Thus after being in the ashram for ten months, Shapurzaman left for Bombay.
On 17th February 1928, Baba mentioned that two of the boys, Agha Ali and Muhammad Hussein, were almost ready for a spiritual push, requiring only “the last touch.” There was a long discussion with Raosaheb, Buasaheb, and Baidul about these two boys, whose fathers had not yet signed the agreement (regarding keeping their sons in the ashram for a stipulated period of time). Suddenly that morning, Muhammad Hussein’s elder brother came to take him and another boy, Abbas Ali, away from the ashram. Baba became very sad and serious when He was informed, and retired inside, refusing to see any of the visitors and telling all to leave.
Hussein began crying loudly and tried to run away. As the Tonga was about to drive away that evening, the boy jumped down and Raosaheb had to catch him. His brother was angry and beat him severely, making him sit once again in the Tonga.
Breaking down then, Hussein pleaded with Raosaheb, “Please go tell Baba that I am being forcibly taken away. I can never forget Him! Through my tears, I beg Baba not to forget the promise He has given me!” Hussein continued to weep bitterly as the Tonga rode off.
The next day, Haji Muhammad himself came to Meherabad and this time he insisted on taking his son home. Raosaheb spent hours trying to persuade him to let Ali stay, and in the end Haji again agreed to this. Raosaheb wrote out a new agreement, but in the meantime another Muslim arrived to remove his son. After talking with that person for only a few minutes, Haji changed his mind again and said he was going to take Ali home. This enraged Raosaheb who asked him if he intended to break his word. Ali’s father said, “Yes,” and remained adamant. He was not prepared to let his son stay in Meherabad for one more day.
When Ali was informed of his father’s attitude, he took his penknife to his throat and swore, “I will solve the problem. This knife will be the cause of separating me from my father forever.”
Raosaheb described the boy’s state-of-mind to Baba who sent for Ali, and scolded him, “Never think of doing such a thing! If you are taken away, I will either come out of seclusion or close the school.”
Ali’s father, still obstinate, took his son away that day. Ali was quiet when he took his seat in the Tonga. Only his Beloved knew the pain piercing his heart
On 26th February 1928, Baba informed the mandali that He would come out of seclusion sometime that day. He discussed the situation of Ali’s abrupt removal, and a few of the men suggested that one of them go to Bombay and try to convince Ali’s father to allow the boy to return. Baba liked the suggestion and promptly sent Baidul and Raosaheb to Bombay, emphasizing to them the importance of bringing Ali back within seven days.
In the evening, criticizing Ali before the other children, Baba remarked, “These days Ali is more attentive to his studies; he has forgotten Me. He thinks only of his father and longs to be reunited with him.”
Hearing these words, Ali lost control over himself; he felt his heart break and he began weeping. He started running about aimlessly. Baba directed Raosaheb to catch him and bring him back. Baba then held him in His arms, patted and kissed his head, consoling him. But Ali could not help himself and sobbed convulsively for several hours.
At last, Baba touched Ali’s chest with His own head two or three times. Immediately, Ali became quiet and his restlessness subsided. He seemed to be asleep. After fifteen minutes, Baba instructed Raosaheb to try to rouse him, but Ali did not open his eyes or stir. When his eyelids were lifted, his pupils appeared lifeless. He was questioned but he did not respond. Baba himself shook him, but there was no response. Keeping his head on His heart, Baba tried to listen to his heartbeats.
Sometime later, on a sign from Baba, Raosaheb asked Ali, “How do you feel?”
Ali replied in a barely audible whisper, as if speaking from far, far away, “Khush (Happy).”
Raosaheb asked, “What do you see?”
“Baba!” he replied.
Baba had him taken to the hospital where one of the men was told to look after him. That night Baba remained sitting in the upper portion of His room until about two in the morning, and frequently asked about Ali.
As mentioned, Baba selected about 20 boys and kept them with him in His cabin throughout the day. To others, strict orders were given to go to school and attend to all functions punctually, adhering to the timetable on penalty of being sent away.
Raosaheb asked Baba why He showed apparent partiality in the bestowing of His grace on Chhota Baba and Rajaram. Baba replied:
In the case of Rajaram, he tried on his own and got it (divine sight) himself. He tried very, very hard and most sincerely, too, and got it. I myself have not given anything. Actually, it is his destiny, and I cannot interfere. In cases where I Myself have personally given something (such as Chhota Baba), when I cannot interfere for a certain reason, how can I interfere in this case where all efforts were his own?
Of course, I can help him and give him a push and do him much good, but I am only afraid for his health, for he may drop the body at any moment, which is not desirable. He must remain conscious as much as possible, and that is why I am feeling much concerned in his case, too.
In such cases, one may either drop the body, go crack(ers) or the curtain (veil) may be opened. The curtain must be opened by his own efforts, as he himself tried to see without My interfering. To others I may give (divine sight) I can help them. (Even in these cases, too, I can’t interfere for two days at least). Anyway, if Rajaram dies, even now or afterwards also, he will be in Me. I have already tried in his case two or three times to bring him to the proper conscious state, but seeing his already too weakened body, I had to give up.
That same night, after almost everyone had gone to bed, Ali’s father showed up and asked to see his son. Raosaheb discussed the matter with him late into the night, but the father would not listen and insisted on taking his son away. Out of sheer exasperation, Raosaheb blurted out, “All right, for God’s sake take your son away! You have no idea of the great pains Meher Baba and the officers of this school are put to on account of your son. None of us has anything to gain by keeping Ali here; on the contrary, it is for his own good that we have been trying so hard to convince you.” Raosaheb stood up to leave when Ali’s father called him back and agreed to sign a letter allowing Ali to stay in the school for one more year.
At Meherabad, the residents in Toka were divided into three sections under the management of Buasaheb, Raosaheb, and Rustom. Buasaheb was in charge of the boys of Meher Ashram, Raosaheb of the Prem Ashram boys, and Rustom of the mandali.
On 4th September 1928, at four o’clock on the afternoon He allowed them to dress Him as a local farmer. The children wrapped a long, white dhoti around Baba, made Him wear a silk coat and wrapped a rose-colored turban on his head. Baba then took his seat in the rickshaw and was pulled by the boys and the mandali to the banks of the river at five o’clock.
Photographs were taken by Raosaheb. Baba looked as if He were calling the world to join Him in the boat. Age urged one and all, “Sail with Him across the river of life to the Eternal Shore! Who has the courage to heed the Captain’s call? Who has the heart to transcend his own mind?
Although Ramjoo had stopped keeping a diary (as he had done during the period of Manzil-e-Meem), he now began thinking of collecting all the stories relating to the miraculous events surrounding the Master and ashram boys. During this time, as if reading his inner thoughts, Baba sent Raosaheb to tell Ramjoo, “Baba wants you to write the adventures of Agha Ali.” This was later developed into his book Sobs and Throbs, which was based on diary notes then being kept by Chanji.
On 21th February 1929, Baba selected five men to be writers — Dastur, Chanji, Manekar, Ramjoo, and Raosaheb (who had recently returned to Meherabad from Persia). A committee was established and came to be known as the Divine Knowledge Publishers, with an office in the tatta lecture hall on the hill. Each of the men was given a separate room in which to write. Baba ordered Raosaheb in Persian. Two o’clock in the afternoon was fixed for the committee to meet with Baba and receive his advice about their respective writing projects. But, as it turned out, during this entire period, they had the chance of seeing Baba only twice.
During March and April 1929, many of the mandali were sent to different places for work. Raosaheb were sent to Bombay to arrange for printing their writings; Baidul and Ardeshir were also later sent to Bombay to sell Raosaheb’s Persian book The Revelation of Truth, as soon as it was printed; Buasaheb was sent home to Poona.
The next day Ali Akbar was also disobedient, but this time Baba scolded the boy. Later, Ali Akbar refused to eat his lunch despite Baba’s persuasion. After a while, though, he sent this message through Raosaheb: “Baba, I seek your forgiveness for troubling you. I am sorry. I will now behave myself and won’t give you any further trouble.”
On the 5th, portions of Raosaheb’s Persian book Kashful-Haqayaque were read aloud, including a passage about Shams-e-Tabriz. About searching for God, Baba commented, “How can you search for something which you haven’t lost?”
Of the mandali, as noted, only Raosaheb was permitted to sit near Baba in the cabin with this group of boys. Baba expressed His pleasure with Raosaheb’s service and further instructed him to remain inside the crypt-cabin with Baba,
Due to the downpour, Baba and His group could not leave Guna as early as planned and left around 11:30, reaching Shivpuri in about two hours. In Shivpuri, they went to see Sakhya Sagar Lake, and Raosaheb took out a pair of binoculars and began scanning the scenery. Baba snatched the binoculars away and ordered Padri to throw them into the lake.
Upset, Baba slapped Raosaheb so soundly that Raosaheb’s face turned red and he began shaking. Baba directed him to abandon the journey and leave the group. Raosaheb was overcome and he momentarily lost his temper. Baba rebuked him, “Despite My warning, you have allowed your langoti to slip.” Then winking, Baba joked, “Better pull it up; if it slips any further, people will laugh at you!” Raosaheb forgot his anguish and burst into laughter.
Raosaheb brought a young Kashmiri boy named Pandit Mohammed Dukandar. Earlier that day Pandit had ardently requested Baba’s darshan. Baba called him and observed, “His heart is pure; he is clever and innocent.”
On 11th August 1929 at eight o’clock morning, Baba and the mandali hurriedly departed from Harvan, thereby eluding another long procession of farewells from the villagers. They traveled all day and stopped at a rest house at Banihal at 5:40 P.M. where Buasaheb and Vishnu cooked rice and dal. Baba too broke His fast and joined the mandali for dinner. Raosaheb (who was out of sorts and refused to eat) took the first shift of night watch from 10:00 P.M. until midnight, and Chanji did the remaining watch from midnight to 4:00 A.M.
On 3rd October 1929, Baba decided to leave for Isfahan. Three cars were hired. Baba ordered that the cars follow closely behind one another, but due to a disagreement between the drivers, the three cars took off in three different directions! Except for the car carrying Baba, the other two cars developed mechanical trouble and broke down after going a short distance. Thus, another transportation arrangement had to be made. To accommodate the mandali and the group’s luggage, a truck was hired. Baba continued to travel by car with Raosaheb and the three boys. Baba reached Isfahan on 15 October after eleven days of driving, and stayed at the Asre Talai Hotel.
The journey was resumed the following day, but again after driving only a few miles, the radiator began boiling over. Hafizji was at his wit’s end by this time. He tried to repair the damage, but his mind was despondent and, being superstitious, he was afraid. When Raosaheb approached Hafizji to comfort him, the driver suddenly remembered what was wrong and told Raosaheb (who spoke Persian), “Now I understand why all this has happened. It is so clear to me now! I have broken my promise to your Master. Before leaving Baam, I loaded two gunnysacks of almonds on the bus, contrary to His orders. How am I to ask for His forgiveness? I am ashamed of my ignorance and folly. Kindly pray to Him on my behalf to forgive me.”
Raosaheb sympathized with the man and told him, “I warned you that bad luck accompanies those who break their promise to Meher Baba, but you failed to heed my advice. I will take you to Meher Baba and entreat Him to forgive you.”
Raosaheb took Hafizji to Baba, who forgave him.
Baba then made these pronouncements about the men mandali accompanying him:
“Raosaheb is our general manager, handling everyone with firmness.
In the interim, Raosaheb arranged for a quiet rest house on the outskirts of town where they stayed. They bathed for the first time since leaving Isfahan a week ago. Soon after, a discussion took place about returning to Meherabad. As a substitute for Agha Ali, Baba wished to travel with another Persian boy of good character, whom Raosaheb went in search of and found.
Gesturing to Chanji and Raosaheb, Baba motioned, “Now, you two, stop worrying! Go with this gentleman to the British Consul and give him the letter immediately.” At ten o’clock that night in the bitter cold, they approached the consul’s deputy and handed him the letter from the Governor of Duzdab. Yet when they returned, Raosaheb and Chanji were restless the whole night and woke up at four o’clock, anxious to finish the job.
They arrived at the consul’s residence in the early hours of dawn and furnished him with full information about Baba and the other men, explaining to him that Baba’s departure that day was imperative. After making them wait, the consul called them into his office at eight o’clock. He was not completely satisfied with the letter of recommendation from the Governor, and he placed it on his table. Exasperated, he said, “At least tell me who you people are!” (Lord Meher-p-1116-1929)
They left Lahore at 6:45 A.M. on the 14th by train. Baba had not eaten for two days due, he said, to indigestion. When food was ordered, Masaji also did not eat. Baba asked him the reason and Masaji replied, “You have taken nothing for the past two days and again today you are not eating. I do not have any appetite when you go hungry.”
Turning on Raosaheb and Buasaheb, Baba criticized, “Did you hear what Masaji just said?
Listen and remember it well; it is an example to be followed. Because I do not take food, Masaji also is not eating. Meanwhile, you two are devouring it like animals! When you are devoid of all feeling for Me, why do you continue to stay with Me? What is the point of calling yourselves My disciples?”
Buasaheb felt so bad he didn’t eat the meal, and Chanji also threw his portion away. On this occasion Raosaheb and Buasaheb kept quiet, bearing the painful sting of Baba’s remarks. One more blow to the minds of the mandali was felt, as the Master shot another arrow into their hearts.
On 20th December 1929, Baba went to Meherabad with the mandali. In Ahmednagar, many devotees gathered for His darshan at Akbar Press. After two days, Baba and the mandali returned to Nasik with their trunks and belongings. Baba put a new bedroll aside, remarking, “This is for Agha Ali.”
He then turned on Raosaheb, scolding him bitterly, “It was you who made Ali run away! You envied him and wished him to leave. You always picked on him and were at constant loggerheads with him. Now that he is gone, you must be feeling pleased. He left because of you — jungli! You have failed to think of My work. You have no idea how much My work suffers because of Ali’s absence.”
Raosaheb, Buasaheb and Chanji did their best to obtain visas, but despite their best efforts, by Saturday afternoon of the 9th they had only succeeded in getting visas from the Persian Consul. They had yet to procure British visas for entering India, and the British Consul’s office closed at 1:00 P.M. that day. Baba wanted to leave on Sunday. To obtain travel documents at such short notice was not an easy task; but relying on Baba’s inner help, they entered the consul’s office. They were under strict orders not to disclose Baba’s identity, so the information they gave was deliberately vague. Failing to get satisfactory replies about the party’s avocations, the British Consul refused to issue their visas back into India. Baba was most disappointed when He was informed. Soon after, He sent Raosaheb and Chanji directly to the consul’s residence, but again they returned without the visas.
Baba became upset. For the fourth time He asked them to approach the British Consul. They hesitated and Baba scolded, “If you don’t want to carry out My wishes, what is the sense in remaining with Me?”
Raosaheb replied, “It is not a question of following orders, Baba. We have to work according to the ways of the world for those affairs connected with it. We are told not to disclose your name and all this difficulty is due to that; but we continue to carry out your wish faithfully in this respect.”
Baba declared, “You are both quite useless, and it is better if you are more attentive to worldly ways. What harm is there if you are driven away from the office? Forget the ways of the world and keep My wishes in mind. Do I not understand all this? Am I mad? What is there in doing something easy? Your manliness will shine forth, if according to My order, you do something impossible! True discipleship means complete and implicit obedience to the will and word of the Master.”
Baba sent Raosaheb to Bombay to see Agha Ali’s father. Raosaheb was informed that Ali was unable to return from Persia, because his mother was unwilling to send him. (The father also demanded some payment in advance.) Raosaheb returned to Nasik on 13th March 1930, and a telegram was sent to Ardeshir in Persia saying that if Agha Ali was not allowed to return to India, Ardeshir should return.
Narayan Maharaj had come to Nasik to attend the wedding of one of his devotees on the morning of 18th March 1930. Rustom informed Baba of his arrival, but Baba only remarked, “I send My love and blessings to Narayan.” Rustom, Pendu, Raosaheb, and Naval decided to see Narayan Maharaj without first seeking Baba’s permission. Upon seeing Narayan, Naval asked him if he could bring his family to meet him, but Narayan refused as He was leaving Nasik soon.
Shortly after they returned to Sarosh Motor Works, a violent argument ensued between Naval and a business associate. It was a terrible scene. Naval had to be physically restrained, but he still managed to injure his leg in the scuffle. When Baba found out that they had gone to pay their respects to Narayan Maharaj, he called Raosaheb and reprimanded him:
Why did you go to see Narayan Maharaj without My permission? And if you wanted to go, why go when I am right here in Nasik? It is a general rule that devotees of one Master do not go to another without permission, particularly when they are staying in the same place.
Not one of you knows why. Two Masters, though they are internally one, cannot be served. If you say you have no Master except Me, then why should you go to another at all, especially while I am staying here? It is against the law. It is not a small mistake; it is very serious. That is why I did not give permission when Rustom told Me about the marriage, and sent only My blessing. But none of you could understand this, and the result of your disobedience was the rowdy and troublesome scene unnecessarily created at Sarosh Motor Works when you returned. If this fight had not occurred, all of you would have died! Learn a lesson from this and take it as a warning.
Baba called all the mandali and had a serious discussion about the state of his financial affairs. “We are short of funds and meeting expenses will be difficult from now on.
What should we do?”
Raosaheb spontaneously offered to go to Bombay to raise the money. “Splendid! It is a very good idea,” Baba gestured. “But will you be able to return by tomorrow? You must return within 24 hours.” Raosaheb assured Baba that he would definitely return in time.
Raosaheb promptly left for Bombay, but was unable to return to Meherabad the following day. Baba was impatiently waiting for him and inquired frequently about him.
On the third day, Raosaheb returned, but Baba was not at all pleased to see him. Scowling, Baba asked, “Why did you fail to show up yesterday? Why did you disobey Me?” Raosaheb could not say anything, but silently placed a huge bundle of currency notes at Baba’s feet, thinking this would please Baba.
But, on the contrary, Baba instructed Chhagan, “Pick up that money and burn it!” Chhagan took it — almost Rs.5, 000! — and did as he was instructed. Raosaheb was aghast — as were the other mandali.
Baba explained, “You thought that I would be pleased at seeing the money. What value does money have for me? Even if you place the treasure of the whole world before Me, it is nothing but shit to Me! You broke my order! I would have been pleased had you not brought the money and returned the day I wished. How can you know what pain you have caused Me by breaking My order? I don’t want lucre; I want love!”
Raosaheb sought Baba’s forgiveness. Baba consoled him and then advised, “Always follow My orders. If you grant Me this gift of obedience, no other gift, however valuable, will compare to it.”
On the 6th, Padri and Vishnu brought in a bundle of clothes belonging to the deceased Sadhu Christian Leik (who had died six months before), and Baba distributed the garments among the men. Baba offered a pair of trousers to Raosaheb, who reluctantly said that he had enough pants. His reply displeased Baba, as it was only an excuse, because Raosaheb did not like the idea of wearing someone else’s clothing. Baba angrily ordered him, “Put those trousers on right now!”
Raosaheb replied that they were too small. Baba gestured, “Even if they don’t fit, when I offer you something, you should accept it humbly. You people have to learn humility! Don’t answer back like that! Don’t go on repeating, ‘This is useless … That is not right.’ Why are you so proud?”
Irritated, Raosaheb left Baba’s presence in a huff. After a short while, Baba sent Chhagan with a garland of flowers for Raosaheb. This enraged Raosaheb even more and he exclaimed to Chhagan, “Pir, wali, Sadguru, murshid! All have left and only Baba remains, but He is beating us with brooms today. Has it affected us in any way? We are still as we were.” (Raosaheb’s comments meant that, even though they had accepted Meher Baba as the sole spiritual authority, He would goad His disciples like this, which they had to endure.)
Chhagan returned and informed Baba about what Raosaheb had said. Baba sent for Raosaheb and reprimanded him, “You animal, why is there so much pride in you? What do you mean by saying such things? No one has left! All Sadgurus are where they were. It is you who are leaving them. It is no use throwing dust at the sun! It will hurt your own eyes. If you strike glass on a stone, it is the glass which will break into pieces — not the stone.
“It is not easy using a broom! If I don’t use it, how else will your anger be removed? When I use my broom, you have seen how all your dirt (lust, greed and anger) is swept away.”
Raosaheb clarified his feelings, “I have no objection to putting on anyone else’s clothing, but from childhood I have been taught that it is wrong.”
Baba again scolded him, “You fool! It is for this very reason that I have spent so much time with you. Jungli ! Idiot, you should accept what the Master says! You are not required to think about it.
“This is the reason why priests have such a firm hold over the minds of common people; to eradicate this hold is most difficult. You have been with Me for so many years, and see how firmly your upbringing is still rooted in you. If you don’t listen now, you will be born as a frog in your next birth! Now will you listen to Me?” This comment made Raosaheb smile and he apologized for his behavior.
During 1939, while Vishnu and Raosaheb were at Harvan, Baba went sightseeing in Srinagar with Chanji, Ali Akbar, and Tulsi. They walked around the city streets and bazaar. Baba spotted two Kashmiri boys named Rehman and Adam, whom He immediately liked and had brought back to His residence. There, Baba began cooking cabbage and the boys were amazed to see “a guru” doing such work. Baba admonished them, “Never feel ashamed to do any useful work.”
Raosaheb and Vishnu arrived with Pandit. After meeting with the boy for only a short while and instructing him to meditate, Baba sent him back to Harvan. The men were amazed that Baba’s work with the boy was finished so quickly.
There were now three men and three boys as Baba’s companions: Chanji, Raosaheb, Vishnu, Ali Akbar, Tulsi, and Adam; Baba had decided to leave Rehman behind. The journey was scenic but not pleasant because it was terribly hot. And there were so many mountainous curves that all, including Baba, felt dizzy.
At two in the afternoon, the taxi got a flat tire. While standing under a tree, Baba surprised all by suddenly motioning to Raosaheb to persuade Adam to go back home. Raosaheb tried, but the unhappy boy did not want to leave. Adam was taken with them to Jammu where he was again told to go home and given train fare. But the clever lad stealthily followed Baba’s party to Sialkot, traveling in another train compartment. Baba spotted him. With much difficulty, Raosaheb managed to persuade Adam to go back to Srinagar.
Raosaheb wondered moodily why Baba put him to so much trouble over these two boys. He was noticeably very upset. Baba called him and explained:
There are two main things in this Path for devotees or aspirants to remember: first, carry out every word of the Master. Second, do not feel disgusted or depressed with the result or outcome of any work, however negative it might appear, or feel upset about any taunts of the Master. For example, you did your utmost with all your heart to bring the boy Pandit to me against great odds and, though the result has turned out well from your point of view, it is not satisfactory, considering all the costs, labor and trouble incurred. You fail to understand why all of this should have been undergone.
You did your best and in your efforts underwent untold suffering; then, on top of that, I let my arrows fly at you! I took you to task, taunted and abused you, and this has made you feel fed up. This last pricking from me drove you to desperation. That should not have been. What do you know of my pricking you with thorns in spite of all your wholehearted efforts, of which I am fully aware? How could you fathom the underlying object of my piercing you with thorns? I have special reasons for doing it, which you can never understand. You naturally think that I suffer and that is why I taunt you, but this is a great misconception on your part. I give you the opportunity to serve, and through these sharp arrows, teach you the lessons of how to serve the Master. Could anyone imagine what an opportunity it is to serve me, which you are now fortunate to have?
I may scold you as much as I like, but if your conscience tells you that you have done your best, then don’t lose your temper nor be depressed, however much I criticize and taunt you. These pricking words have some great motive behind them. Therefore, swallow [your thoughts] and suffer everything quietly. You should not be annoyed, but remain in a good mood and be cheerful, despite your brain reeling. Your very wrath shows that you still lack something in carrying out my wish! However I may taunt, hurt or harass you, bear it all like a stone and be conscious only of serving Me.
That is what is desired.
In following My orders, put up with the whims and fancies of the boys, and never think what sort of humbug is this! When you think such things, you are at fault. What you are doing is not service to the children; it is service to me! The best service you can render consists of complete obedience to me.
There is a secret behind all these affronts; My bitter words contain sweetness within. So continue tolerating all unconcerned; and enduring everything, try to be happy. Be in a good mood and cheerful, even when contrary thoughts assail you. I only want this much from you.
Baba’s continual search for the “ideal boy” also bothered Raosaheb. The mandali were frustrated in their attempts to find such a boy, because after finding so many boys, Baba sent them all back. Baba explained:
Behind this work of Mine, there is a great mystery. Through these boys, I forge links and work for chosen Prem Ashram boys who are now away from Me. This work of preparing certain boys is a self-imposed extra duty, over and above My work of preparing the circle (for Realization). For that special duty, I opened ashrams for the children, prepared them and selected a few boys. But what would happen to them after the ashram was closed? They could not just be thrown away, discarded or set aside! Something had to be done for them once they came under my spell [nazar]. To do that, it was necessary for some of them to stay near me.
The best efforts were made at the sacrifice of so much expense, time, energy and labor to bring the boys near me. But due to the parents’ or guardians’ objections and other problems, they could not come to me. The cases of [Agha] Ali and Vasant are typical examples and are self-evident. Since they could not be brought to me by direct efforts with their parents, another way — an indirect method — was resorted to by calling other boys, keeping them with me and connecting their links with those few select boys of the ashram who are physically away. This is why I spent thousands of rupees for so many boys, over and above the trouble to myself and to the mandali. Each was kept for a few days, given good clothes, food, and even pay; but each was sent away after some days.
No one could understand this. That is why all My mandali — even the best and oldest of them — laughed at and actually ridiculed My work with these boys, which appears to them as something quite strange, even without any sum [meaning] or substance. But my purpose was for the forging of links with the best of My selected boys who are now away from me. No one will ever be able to grasp the significance of this work, as it is universal in its aspect. I am discussing this matter with you now, but how can you know what I am doing in the universe at this very moment?
To make it clearer to you, through the boy Pandit I established Ali’s link. I did so during my first visit to Kashmir, when Pandit abruptly appeared on the scene uncalled by Me. Pandit approached Me on his own with love and full devotion; he actually wished to stay with Me. Although all other direct efforts of Mine failed to bring Ali back from Persia, after our return from Kashmir, correspondence began with Pandit — Ali’s link — because Ali could not be brought through our direct efforts with his parents. When this failed, we tried through his indirect link of Pandit, and when contact was again made with Pandit in Kashmir during our last trip, Ali returned soon after. That is why I went to Kashmir, traveling so far, spending so much money and “wasting” so much time!
You feel that for such a small thing a lot of expense was incurred, a long journey was undertaken and all were put to trouble. But, no, this was not a small thing! Because you cannot follow it, you think it is of no consequence. If you had the slightest real understanding, you would realize that this small thing was as great as raising the Himalayas!
Baba’s lengthy clarification quieted Raosaheb’s mind. He repented for his unbefitting attitude and sought Baba’s pardon.
On Monday, 1st June 1931, accompanied by Agha Ali, Chanji, Buasaheb, Raosaheb, and Gustadji, Baba left Quetta by train for his third visit to Persia. The route chosen was again plagued with trouble and hardships.
On the 18th, while they were eating lunch, Baba commented to Gustadji, Chanji, and Raosaheb about the mandali:
Members of My mandali are of three types: The first group is like milk mixed with salt; the second is like milk mixed with dirt; the third is like milk and sugar. Milk is comparable to love, service, devotion, obedience, et cetera — attributes which every one of the mandali has for me. But alongside these qualities, there is contrariness in their behavior.
I look around at each one and find that all are not equal. When I seem to be sad and suffering much, some feel deeply for me, some take it lightly or indifferently thinking that I am the Perfect Master and can withstand all that, and some are of the opinion that I purposely create all these complications and difficulties that cause me so much strain and suffering. I know well that all of you have love, devotion and faith in me, but I behave differently with you because of your varying behaviors.
You people (mandali) should only pay attention to your duties. By creating different circumstances, I afford you the opportunity to serve Me, but you spoil the milk by mixing salt or dirt in it, i.e., when you disobey My instructions. Continue putting sugar in the milk to make Me happy. Always keeping Me happy is to mix sugar in the milk!
One night at Rahuri, Raosaheb was on duty sitting outside Baba’s quarters. Baba had ordered him not to allow anyone to enter, but after some hours Raosaheb left his post momentarily to ease his bladder. Just then, Ghani, who had been away for a few days, came to report his arrival to Baba. Ghani walked into Baba’s room, not knowing that Baba was working. He was stunned when he saw Baba’s pained expression. Baba began trembling violently for several minutes. Ghani later described, “Baba looked more ghastly than I have ever seen him before.”
Baba was furious. He scolded both Raosaheb and Ghani and explained, “When I was interrupted while I was doing My Universal work, I took the entire shock of it on Myself. Otherwise, Ghani would have been killed instantly!”
Around this time, Raosaheb became so ill that on 2nd October 1936, Vishnu had to take him to Ahmednagar for treatment. Ghani left the same day for Bombay to purchase construction material. Pleader returned to Rahuri on the 4th accompanied by Kaikobad, with two more inmates. Baba told Pleader that He would be benefited tremendously by the work Baba had assigned him of bringing masts and mad for the Rahuri ashram. “Do your duty conscientiously,” Baba told him. “You will get what you want in this life — conscious experience of God (not like a majzoob) — and it may come at any time.
Arriving at Rahuri, the group met the mandali — Ghani, Vishnu, Pendu, Padri, Raosaheb, Baidul and Nilu. After they toured the ashram and saw the mad and masts, Baba discoursed about selfless service:
As an object lesson to others to render service to humanity, I myself serve others. In the ashram [school] at Meherabad, I wanted My Brahmin devotees to serve the Untouchables. For that purpose, I personally served the Untouchable boys, bathing them and washing their clothes. When I asked My Brahmin devotees to assist Me, they did, for they loved Me. In true service, there must be no lingering idea that one is free to yield service or refuse it. One must feel that one is not master of one’s own body, but that one’s body is the guru’s and exists merely to render him service.
A week later on 22nd September 1938, Baba further wrote to Raosaheb:
I love strong men. Strong in mind, strong in heart, and strong in spirit. (Body does not matter.) So those whom I love, I want them to be strong. I love you, so I want you to become strong. So I always warn you, threaten you, to keep away from weaknesses.
Why don’t you like my taking interest in you? Does it mean that because you are physically away, you are no longer Mine?
You always childishly say, “Baba is all-knowing, all-powerful and whatever bad or good we do is by His will …” Well, if that is so, then all the suffering and happiness is also by Baba’s will. Why then are you not satisfied with your lot? I want you to know once and for all I love you, and that whatever I do is for your ultimate spiritual good.
As I said in My last letter, I definitely guarantee that you won’t suffer physically as you did last. Also, you won’t become blind! But if you break my order the suffering will come on me! So be brave and try not to break the order. Try to be here on the 24th and 25th. If not, at least on the 25th.
And positively bring the udley (ideal boy) with you! The boy required should be alert, bright, intelligent, quick-moving, and above all pleasing in appearance. But don’t bring any Chinese or Japanese ones like you did the last time.
Raosaheb later wrote to Baba that he was feeling very depressed. He claimed he had lost his blind faith in Baba. Soon after, Baba sent him this brief message:
I am glad your blind faith has been shattered, because now a “full-eyed” faith will take its place!
In year 1940, Raosaheb arrived with a friend, but they were not permitted darshan due to Baba’s seclusion. They left for Bombay with Sarosh, despite Pendu’s advice to Raosaheb to remain as Baba might call him. Soon after they departed, Baba sent for Raosaheb, Pendu and Baidul, indicating that he wished to give Raosaheb some important work, but he had already left.
One of Baba’s early mandali members, Raosaheb Afseri, had moved to Lonavla from Bombay in January 1942. He was given the opportunity of serving Baba by arranging for both the men and women mandali’s food during their stay. He was overjoyed to be in Baba’s proximity again, as he had been feeling sad during his past many years of separation. After some time, the mandali began cooking for themselves.
At Baba’s request, Raosaheb recited a couplet of Hafiz in Persian, which was also translated into English, Telugu and Gujarati. The meaning of it was:
How can you tread the path of Truth unless you step out of the boundary of your own nature?
About Raosaheb Afsari, Baba remarked, “He is an old, old friend of Mine in a new disguise. He loves Me intensely.”
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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