Aranvaz was the one of three daughters of Naoroji Dadachanji and Bachamai. Her father was a building contractor and was living in Poona. She was close to her uncle Dadachanji. She was married to Nariman Dadachanji son of Dadachanji. The real stories of her contact and conversations with Meher Baba are described as below:
In year 1929, Chanji’s brother, Naoroji Dadachanji came with his wife, Bachamai, his three daughters, Arnavaz, Roda, and Nargis, and his son, Tehemtan. Baba asked Arnavaz about school and advised her not to study so hard. This was a surprise to Arnavaz who liked school. Naoroji was also taken aback, for he wished his daughter to continue her education. “Baba, Arnavaz is very bright,” he objected, “and my eldest child. If she gives up her studies, it will have a bad effect on my other children; they might lose interest in their education.”
“Have you no faith in Me?” Baba demanded. “Discontinue her schooling for one year and then restart it.” By obeying this simple order, Baba was preparing Arnavaz to serve Him.”
One day Arnavaz was reading a letter from her cousin Nariman, who was studying in England. Baba passed by at that time and asked her what Nariman had written. Arnavaz replied that Nariman was going to Germany from England for a two-year course of study. Baba directed her, “Write to him to return to India immediately!” Arnavaz wrote as instructed and her letter set Nariman’s mind awhirl. He had received a scholarship to study chemistry in Germany for two years, and initially could not understand why Baba wanted him to come back to India so soon. But when the drums of war began sounding, he understood and returned as directed.
The previous year in Panchgani, when Goher had become ill, Arnavaz was very impressed by Baba’s mercy and concern for Goher. But the next day brought quite a different impression. Naja was also very sick at the time and Baba forewarned her, “You will die. Then, tying you up with a long rope, I will lower you down into a ravine where a tiger will come and eat you up! That will solve my problem, because now you are nothing but a burden to Me!”
Arnavaz was shocked at this “cruel” side of Baba’s nature which she had never before encountered. She thought: “Ordinarily, someone who is sick is comforted and consoled to speed their recovery. But, here with Baba, it is just the opposite!”
Baba did not say anything to Arnavaz, as she too was not well. Leading her to bed, Baba urged her, “Take complete rest, and don’t think about anything.” Baba asked Rano to nurse Arnavaz, which deeply touched her. She chided herself: “How stupid to be so doubtful, and to be led astray by the smallest thing! Baba is God, and whatever He does, He does for the good of others.”
During her Panchgani holiday, Baba did not refer to the incident, but on Arnavaz’s arrival in Jabalpur, He one day explained, “I am the tiger and My prey are patients. You are now a patient, and so I will have to …”
“But, I am quite well now,” she interrupted.
“Eat you up!” He gestured. Arnavaz burst out laughing. Baba continued, “I am that tiger which makes its prey come to life by striking it down; and when once alive like this, one never dies!”
During 1940, Baba took the women sightseeing in Amboli to Mahdev Fort, Temple Point, Parvati and Nutt Points and other places of interest. One day, on the verandah of their bungalow, Arnavaz, Nargis, Silla, Katie and others were playing cards, when Baba unexpectedly showed up. He was displeased, and castigated them, “If people see you, they will say that Meher Baba’s followers do nothing but play cards all day! We are in a new town, and just think for a moment what a bad impression your card playing would make on a casual observer. Don’t you donkey-heads feel ashamed? Although I have no objection to it, I have to see to the minutest of things so that unpleasant consequences do not follow.”
So, the women stopped playing the card game and began eating their lunch on the verandah. Again, Baba came and reproved them for not going inside. He ended by remarking, “Margaret will dance on her return to England, and Arnavaz on her return to Bombay. But here, in My ashram, you have to act according to My wish.”
In 1941, Narayan Maharaj came to a suburb of Bombay to give darshan to his devotees there. Nariman, Arnavaz, Nargis, Roda and Bachamai Dadachanji decided to pay their respects to the Sadguru, and went to see him. Inside, they were taken before Narayan Maharaj, who was dressed very simply in a white kafni, pajamas and a sleeveless vest and was seated on a chair, surrounded by a group of devotees. Narayan spoke to them in Gujarati, asking where they had come from and various other questions.
After some minutes of conversation, Arnavaz wanted to see Narayan Maharaj’s reaction to, or comments about, Meher Baba. She broached the topic: “You know, Narayan, my paternal uncle (Chanji) is staying with Meher Baba.”
Oh, is that so?” he remarked.
“He has been staying with Him for the last 20 years in His ashram.”
“Where is His ashram?”
After some moments, Narayan said, “They say He does not speak …”
“Yes, that’s right,” Arnavaz answered.
“You should know, Maharaj.”
After some moments, Narayan said, “You (Meher Baba’s devotees) should make Him speak! Why don’t you make Him speak?”
Arnavaz did not know what to say to this, so she kept quiet. Narayan then said, “Make Him speak with the intensity of your love!”
At one point, Baba decided to move His seclusion towards Maharashtra and sent instructions about hiring bungalows. This was arranged in Lonavla. So Baba with the men and women mandali entrained for Lonavla on 10th September 1942. The women in Lonavla numbered about 30 because of the later inclusion of Arnavaz and others.
The formal engagement ceremony between Nariman and Arnavaz Dadachanji was held before Baba in Prospect Lodge on Monday, 21st December 1942. Both families were present, and Baba Himself put a gold ring on Nariman’s finger and one on Arnavaz’, uniting them in his love. They garlanded Baba together.
After 1939, Baba had stopped staying at Arnavaz’s parents Naoroji and Bachamai Dadachanji’s house in Bombay, although He would pass through Bombay occasionally. In the past, when He was staying with the Dadachanjis, He would always sleep in a particular room and He had told Naoroji to keep it for Him. From then on, Bachamai kept an oil lamp burning there throughout the day and night.
When in Lonavla, Bachamai asked Baba, “When will You come to Bombay again?”
Baba replied, “When Arnavaz and Nariman have their own house there, I will come and stay with them.” Later it will be seen how this came to pass.
In year 1944, news of Chanji’s death pained Baba’s lovers in the East and in the West. He was the one who kept them informed of Baba’s current activities. Solely due to Chanji’s efforts, many, many people from Bombay had come into Meher Baba’s contact. When they learned of his demise, they were deeply saddened. Bachamai, Arnavaz, Nargis and Naoroji were especially grief-stricken.
Arnavaz and Nariman were also called to Aurangabad in October 1944. Arnavaz was still feeling depressed over her Uncle Chanji’s death, since she was particularly close to him. She asked Baba, “Why did you have to take Chanji Kaka from us? We loved him so much.”
Baba replied, “Why do you grieve for Chanji? You feel his loss, I know, but do you have any idea what a tremendous loss it has been for Me?” Arnavaz realized the truth in Baba’s words and accepted it as his wish. Baba consoled her, “He was not just My follower – He was My friend
Calling Nariman and Arnavaz Dadachanji from Bombay, Baba discussed their upcoming wedding plans, advising them to get married in December. When both agreed, he remarked, “The month is mine, the date is yours. Fix any date that is suitable.” Arnavaz chose the 21st of December, to which Baba consented.
On the same evening of 9th December 1944, Nariman, Arnavaz and the 86 members of their wedding party from Bombay arrived in Ahmednagar. The next day, Baba went to see them and gave darshan.
On 21st December 1944, Nariman, 31, and Arnavaz, 26, were married with grandeur at the Ahmednagar agyari (fire temple). That evening, Baba called the newly-married couple to Pimpalgaon. Arnavaz’s sister Nargis and their mother Bachamai accompanied them. He lovingly congratulated the couple, and then took Bachamai by the hand and showed her around the Pimpalgaon estate.
Baba asked, “How do you like it here?”
Bachamai replied, “Very much.”
“After some time, I will keep you here forever,” Baba remarked. This surprised Arnavaz, as her mother had not been well, and had a family to look after besides. But two years later, when Bachamai breathed her last, Arnavaz understood Baba’s promise.
Keeping Arnavaz and Nargis in Pimpalgaon, Baba sent Nariman back with Bachamai. On the 22nd December 1944, Baba left with the women to stay at Meherabad, where a unique event took place the next day.
After their marriage, Nariman and Arnavaz were instructed by Baba to remain in Ahmednagar for a few days more. Baba would occasionally send for Arnavaz to come to Pimpalgaon. She was not well, however, and was having trouble sleeping. One day Baba called her to Pimpalgaon and told her to go and sleep. Every five minutes, he would go see if she was asleep yet. Baba’s constant visits kept Arnavaz awake in his remembrance, but finally she did sleep.
In year 1945, Nariman and Arnavaz then left to take up life together in Bombay. At that time, it was next to impossible to find living quarters in Bombay due to the war. But shortly after they arrived, by Baba’s nazar, they managed to rent a spacious apartment in a building called Ashiana in the affluent Breach Candy locality. Baba had indicated in Lonavla, in 1942 that He would visit Bombay again only after Nariman and Arnavaz secured a home of their own, and His words seemed to be some form of invisible aid!
Baba gave Nariman and Arnavaz instructions about installing a headstone over Chanji’s grave in Srinagar, Kashmir. They went to Srinagar eight months later, in August 1946, to pay their respects and were there when the stone was laid. It had been prepared in Lahore and was taken to Srinagar by Babadas. The simple monument read:
Framroze H. Dadachanji (Chanji) an ardent and a very close disciple of SHRI MEHER BABA of Ahmednagar — Deccan.
On 14th March 1948, Baba traveled to Bombay by car driven by Adi Sr. with them were Jalbhai and the Pimpalgaon women mandali. The women stayed with Arnavaz at her and Nariman’s apartment, 69-C Ashiana.
Leaving Poona the same day, Baba arrived in Bombay and stayed at Nariman and Arnavaz’s apartment, Ashiana, where He handed over the key of Meherazad to them. The property was now legally in their possession, but neither Nariman nor Arnavaz ever considered it as such. Taking it to be Baba’s home, they accepted full responsibility for looking after it.
On 21st March 1952, was the first day of Baba’s Complicated Free Life? On that day He proceeded to Meherabad in Adi Sr.’s car with Nariman and the women mandali and Arnavaz came in Nariman’s car.
Because the house was located near a busy road, Baba did not wish to stay there any longer and he decided to leave with the women for Ashiana. When Baba arrived, he scolded Nariman and Meherjee, “You have no consideration for me! You don’t care about me. I wanted a peaceful place, and you ignored my wishes and are inattentive. Last night was my crucifixion!”
So Meherjee, Nariman and Sarosh immediately began searching for another place. Nariman and Meherjee found an empty, newly-built three-room cottage 35 miles away on Marve Beach. That evening, Baba and the women moved there. Baba liked the place very much. It was quiet, and he and the women took long walks on the beach in the morning and evening. The local residents were fishermen, and Baba would watch them in their fishing boats and was quite happy with the idyllic surroundings.
The darshan at Ashiana was a wonderful occasion, affording a chance for the Master’s old and close lovers to have His intimate contact for the first time since the New Life began in 1949. Goher’s sister Katie had been residing in Nariman and Arnavaz’s apartment since the beginning of the New Life.
In year 1954, Nariman and Arnavaz Dadachanji had come from Bombay for a few days and had brought mangoes. Baba distributed one mango each to Baidul and others, telling them to save it and eat it the following day. Baba sent for Krishna, who, when he walked in, looked like a corpse. His eyes were white. Handing him a mango Baba ordered him, “Eat this immediately!”
The group continued to Bombay. Reaching there in the afternoon, Baba stayed at Ashiana. Nariman and Arnavaz had made the best arrangements for Baba and His men.
Nozar’s Irani, pilot (Son of Jim Mistry) died in air crash. Baba told Arnavaz, “Remember Me while breathing your last!” They left consoled and at peace. Naoroji’s second son, Dara, had gone to Hyderabad to bring the body, which was found five days after the crash in a decomposed state. It was buried in Secunderabad after a military salute, and no religious ceremony was performed. When Baba was informed, He sent this telegram
I have physically lost My gem, Nozar, and Nozar has gained Me spiritually by loving Me to his last breath. Let us be brave and not selfish but rejoice in Nozar’s bliss. Such souls are instrumental in showing us how to love and be worthy of the Beloved.
On morning, of 28th January 1956, Baba left Meherazad for Bombay with several of the mandali; they arrived in Bombay that day and stayed with Nariman and Arnavaz at Ashiana. The next day Baba proceeded to the Bombay Central train station, where He boarded a train for Navsari with ten of the men
On 1st October 1956, Baba fasted again without water for 24 hours. Two days later, on the 3rd, He left for Bombay in Nariman’s car to contact masts. They stayed at Ashiana, and Baba saw no one except Nariman.
In year 1957, one day, at Ashiana, Arnavaz was feeling indisposed and Baba told her to take Anacin before sleeping. When Arnavaz was about to retire for the night, she remembered about the Anacin, but by now, it was too late to go out and buy some, as all the shops were closed. There was some in the house, but it was in the room which Baba was using, and it was unthinkable to disturb Baba once He had gone to bed. Eruch, however, told her he would go inside and get some for her, so that she would not break Baba’s order.
Eruch carefully pried open the door and slowly went inside. Baba was snoring loudly. Picking up the bottle, Eruch left without making any noise whatsoever. He proudly handed the medicine to Arnavaz, and congratulated himself on his cleverness in being able to steal something from under God’s nose.
On the afternoon of 1st November 1957, while Baba was resting, the doorbell rang. Arnavaz answered it, and outside there were three disciples of Mirchandani, the man who claimed to be but who was not a real saint. They demanded to see Baba and said it was an order from their Master (Mirchandani) to bring Meher Baba to him since Baba had promised to visit him. Arnavaz explained that Baba was resting and no one was allowed inside. She tried to send them away, but Baba clapped and asked who was there. She informed Him, and He instructed, “Ask them to go. They should tell Mirchandani to come and see Me here next month.” But the men refused to leave, and finally Baba permitted them to come inside.
One of the men had been waving his fingers trying to hypnotize Arnavaz, and seated before Baba he started doing the same thing to him. Arnavaz thought: “These crazy people are trying to hypnotize the Avatar.” One of Mirchandani’s followers, Alu Khambatta’s relative, had previously been in Baba’s contact. Baba gave him a handkerchief and, fortunately, he later left Mirchandani
In year 1958, Baba had sent word beforehand that He would not be giving darshan, and that no one should come to see him at Ashiana except for those few He called. Once, when Baba instructed Arnavaz that no one should know that He was in Bombay, one day the doorbell rang. Standing at the door was Baba’s old disciple Kharmen Masi.
“Don’t tell her I am here and drive her out!” Baba ordered. “Tell her to go away.”
Kharmen Masi was as dear to Arnavaz as her own mother, so she wondered how to accomplish this. Then Baba said, “Okay, tell her I am here, but she must go away.” Arnavaz did so with a heavy heart, and Kharmen Masi dutifully obeyed. Five minutes later, Baba told Arnavaz to call Kharmen Masi, who was overjoyed to have Baba’s darshan.
Nariman, Arnavaz joined the group for a few days at Mahabaleshwar in April 1958, along with Katie and Jim Mistry.
In year 1959, prior to Baba’s arrival, Arnavaz and Nariman had renovated their apartment. It was painted, new curtains and drapes were added, and an air conditioner was installed in the room Baba used. Everything was done in a hurry, and Baba arrived soon after the work was finished. Baba admired the new decor and asked Nariman how much he had spent. “Seven thousand rupees,” he replied.
You have spent so much for Me?” Baba asked.
Arnavaz replied, “It was our pleasure, Baba.”
Baba looked pleased, and after walking through all the rooms, He came and sat in the dining room and asked for a bottle of soda water. Arnavaz had forgotten to buy some, though she knew at the time Baba drank only this. She sent Homa to bring some as quickly as he could, but unfortunately, he had difficulty locating the brand Baba preferred and took quite a while to return.
When Baba asked Arnavaz again for soda water, Arnavaz looked flustered and explained that she had forgotten to buy some. Baba remarked, “You spent Rs.7, 000 for the whole apartment, and you could not remember to send for two annas’ worth of soda water for Me?” This was a lesson to Arnavaz not to neglect anything, big or small, for the Master.
The same day, Baba remarked to Arnavaz, “Why did you spend so much on the apartment because I am never going to come back to Bombay again.” Arnavaz said, “Baba, You are here now and that is all that matters to us.”
March 15th was Arnavaz’s birthday. Baba had planned to leave the day before, but because of her birthday, He postponed His departure until after lunch. That day, Arnavaz was busy serving food to the mandali. Baba went and sat alone in the living room in an armchair. Arnavaz saw Him and rushed to ask whether He wanted anything. “No,” He replied.
“Baba, you are all alone here,” she said.
“It is all right,” He motioned to her. Arnavaz stood looking at Baba “sitting like a king,” she remembered, but He seemed sad. After a short silence, Baba gestured again, “Arnavaz, I will not come back to Bombay again.”
Baba had not mentioned this to Nariman and as Baba was leaving, Nariman embraced Him and said, “Baba, come back soon.” Baba looked serious and paused. He quickly took a few steps backwards and again embraced Nariman. Arnavaz was watching and realized that Baba, by stepping back and again embracing her husband, was fulfilling his wish to have Baba “come back soon.”
Baba’s 66th birthday was celebrated with great pomp on 25th February 1960. An automobile 1956 model blue DeSoto Nariman and Arnavaz had purchased as a birthday present for Baba and wished to contribute its entire maintenance costs. Baba accepted their loving and practical gift and then went for a short drive with Homa. Until this time Baba had been using Nariman’s Ambassador.
On the birthday of Mehera in 1963, Baba indicated He would go to His room to rest for a few minutes, during which time each could go and refresh herself. It was the women’s day that day, so eight of them, including Arnavaz and Perviz Godrej, carried Baba in his chair to His house. They were afraid of jerking the chair and thus causing Baba more pain, but Baba assured them He was comfortable and not to worry. He even insisted on being carried up the steps.
Janet McAlpin had found out about Baba in Australia from Oswald Hall. She was visiting India with a college student group, in early February 1964. She contacted Nariman and Arnavaz in Bombay. Messages were sent to and from Meherazad about her meeting Baba. Since Baba was in seclusion, permission to see Him was not granted, though He hinted that He might see her in April (but this did not occur). Instead, Baba sent her instructions to go have His darshan at Mehersthan in Andhra, where He stated He was always present.
Aranvaz had a heart attack and her husband went to Baba and told him of her illness. Baba confronted him not to worry but spend time for his salvation. Aranvaz recovered but later the husband died. Aranvaz accepted it as her love for Baba.
About Arnavaz, Baba remarked, “Here is another jewel. She is the wife of Nariman Dadachanji, and all the family are My lovers for the last 20 years.”
Aranvaz Dadachanji and her husband Nariman devoted themselves totally to Baba’s service. After Baba’s dropping His Body both of them lived at Meherazad. Nariman dropped his body in 1974, while Arnavaz continued to live with mandali.
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.
- Adele Wolkin
- Anita de Caro
- Aranvaz Dadachanji
- Delia De Leon
- Dolly Irani
- Elizabeth C. Patterson
- Enid Corfe
- Gaimai Jessawala
- Gulamasi Satha
- Gulmai K Irani
- Gulnar Sukadwala
- Hedi Mertens
- Helen Dahm
- Irene Billo
- Ivy Duce
- Jane Barry Haynes
- Jean Adriel
- Jeanne Shaw
- Kakubai Deorukhkar
- Katie Irani
- Kharmen Masi
- Khorshed Irani
- Kitty Davy
- Manu Jessawala
- Margaret Craske
- Mary Backett
- Nadia Tolstoy
- Nonny Gayley
- Princess Norina Matchabelli
- Roshan Kerawala
- Shanta Devi
- Shirin Sheriar Iran