Gulmai K Irani Wife of Kaikhushru Irani

(Wife of Kaikhushru Irani Khan Saheb)

[Adi’s mother] Gulmai was an emblem of silent suffering. She was of a very quiet temperament. She had a delicate fair body but a stout heart. She was born in Bombay and her father was a carpenter. She had one sister and one brother. She could not easily mix with people, having led the best part of her married life almost by herself and her children, to whom she could not give what she wanted. She had to depend on other members of the joint family for food, clothes and all other necessities of life for a number of years. This, coupled with her nature of not depending upon others and her deep affection for her husband and children, could not let her live happily. Deep inroads of suffering were created in her finer mettle and thus there was a growing dissatisfaction with life and surroundings. Nothing that she wished for, nobly and helpfully for her children, she could do, as she was always heard to say, without stretching her hand to a family member for a coin or a word of sympathy, despite the fact that her husband was the main source of initiative and energy for the roaring business which was built up by him out of almost nothing.

My father was known for his loud thinking and vigorous activity, which enabled him to make a good name and earn money in Ahmednagar, but he sadly lacked in giving attention to his wife and children, which he ever wanted to do but could not. Gulmai suffered at his hands indirectly and everything that seemed to others to go well came to a break.

I am certain that God’s ways are unknown and the ways of Perfect Masters are unfathomable. Upasni Maharaj gave a break to her worldly suffering by diverting her care and attention from her home to Sakori and Meher Baba later restored her to her home and family with a broader vision, a greater love and a stronger mind. During this period of transition, she became so deeply and intimately devoted to Meher Baba, that she was always prepared at Meher Baba’s word, not only for any sacrifice of herself and her possessions, but also of her children and their possessions.

Her love for Meher Baba became the mainstay of her life, which became the source of inspiration to all the members of the joint family to gradually and surely follow her footsteps. Once drawn to Meher Baba, a person becomes so much sheltered under the ever-open wings of His Love that all persons or circumstances by which he is drawn become insignificant, in spite of the fact that their memory remains ever fresh.

All Gulmai’s trouble at home cannot be attributed to my father or to the other joint family members. It was partly due to her aloofness from all family activity, in which she found herself misplaced. She did not participate as she was supposed to, and so felt herself neglected by others. But this did not rob her self-confidence and peaceful nature which she always had, and which attracted family members for her quiet advice and strength during grave personal crisis. Frail in body, she looked like a rock in a storm, impressing the family members with her inner strength and understanding on personal matters. She had less of worldly knowledge but had a deeper sensitivity and appreciation of human suffering that would sometimes get her into hot water with others. Her single-minded devotion to Meher Baba was exemplary. This was in no less measure due to Meher Baba giving her the exuberance of His love and affection as a mother. The name Gulbai was turned into Gulmai by Meher Baba.

THE AWAKENER MAGAZINE, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 4-5, ed Filis Frederick

She was Mother of Adi K. Irani and Baba called her His spiritual mother. She was associated with Baba for long time. Many of her events and dialogues with Meher Baba are produced below.

Gulmai, was one of Upasni’s disciples was a very special woman. She was wife of Kaikhushru Sarosh Irani, a prominent businessman and civic leader in Ahmednagar. Gulmai was then 36 and the mother of four children. Married at an early age, she had encountered many problems in her life and, prior to meeting Maharaj and had been depressed and unhappy at her joint-family home.

During August 1919, Gulmai’s sister Soonamasi and her husband Kaikhushru Beheram Irani came to Ahmednagar from Bombay to visit their relatives. Kaikhushru Masa, as he was known, was a successful jeweller and an ardent lover of God. About eight years before, he had been to Shirdi for Sai Baba’s darshan. It was at Shirdi that he had learned of Upasni Maharaj and had gone for his darshan at the Khandoba Temple. Later, he became a regular visitor to Sakori, where he met Merwan Seth and immediately recognized the divinity manifest in him. Kaikhushru Masa tried to persuade his sister-in-law Gulmai to accompany them to Sakori, but she refused because she felt her husband would not like it.

When Kaikhushru Masa, Soonamasi, and Gulnar were present before Upasni Maharaj, they spoke to Him about Gulnar’s rash, and then about Gulmai’s devotional nature and her family problems. Gulnar explained to the Sadguru, “My sister-in-law is very depressed and alienated; she faces oppressive conditions in her husband’s joint-family household. Could you draw her to you like you have drawn us?”

Upasni replied, “Do not be so worried about her. I will do the same for her as I have done for you. You and she, as well as the whole family, will come to Me. Have faith and come to Sakori as frequently as you can. Your skin disease — and her depression —will disappear.”

Upasni then told them that they were welcome to stay the night in Sakori, but Gulnar wanted to return to Ahmednagar. However, on their way back they were stranded near a river which had flooded. Thus, instead of being in the ashram of a God-conscious Master, they had to spend the night in a donkey stable! When Gulnar returned, she was happy that she had met the impressive Sadguru, and she told Gulmai about the trip, and urged her to make it a point to meet Upasni Maharaj soon.
Soonamasi longed to take her sister Gulmai to Sakori before she and her husband left for Bombay. For two weeks she pleaded with her sister to visit the Sadguru, but Gulmai refused. Finally, Gulmai agreed and was accompanied by Kaikhushru Masa, and Mr. and Mrs. Bekhoda Faredoon Irani, acquaintances from Poona. They reached Sakori around noon and saw Upasni Maharaj’s humble thatched hut situated among thorny, scraggly bushes with a small temple nearby. A few paces away was a pipal tree, under which two young Persian men were sitting. Gulmai approached them and Kaikhushru Masa and Bekhoda started a conversation. Bekhoda’s wife whispered to Gulmai, “Do you know who that is?” Gulmai shook her head, no.

“Do you know Sheriar Moondegar of Poona?” Bekhoda’s wife asked.
Gulmai said, “Yes, Sheriar is related to my father and came to my wedding (in December 1896).”
Bekhoda’s wife explained, “That is Sheriar’s son, Merwan, (Meher Baba) and the other is his business partner, Beheram. They own a toddy shop in Poona. They are Maharaj’s bhaktas (devotees).”
Gulmai replied, “I have heard that Sheriar has a son who is insane and abstains from eating meat, fish and eggs. Is he the same son?”
Bekhoda’s wife said, “Yes. However, wait till you hear Him sing. He sings beautifully.”
“I would like to hear Him,” Gulmai said. “We will ask Him to sing later.”
In the meantime, Merwan Seth (Meher Baba) had been explaining to Kaikhushru Masa and Bekhoda how He had met Upasni Maharaj. He was telling them about Upasni’s great fasts and penances, when the Sadguru called to see them. All went inside Upasni’s hut. They bowed to him and Maharaj asked Bekhoda and his wife where they came from, to what family they belonged, et cetera. They answered him, then he remarked sternly (in Marathi), “This family life is all filth! Lifetime after lifetime is wasted in this way. If one wants to purchase wheat but inquires at a cloth shop, the shopkeeper will say, ‘No grain is available here; you can only buy cloth here.’ Similarly, you will only get from here whatever I have.”

Upasni Maharaj asked each about matters pertaining to them personally. As soon as Gulmai had entered his hut, she was astonished to find that the near naked Master was the same figure who had appeared to her recently in a vivid dream. She listened intently to his words as he spoke of God, the spiritual path and the need of a Perfect Master. Gulmai was impressed with Upasni Maharaj, and she immediately felt comfortable in his presence, as if she had found an old friend.
Gulmai spontaneously said, “Maharaj, you have what is not available elsewhere. I want only that!”

Upasni then told them to have their lunch and rest. They were to meet him again in the afternoon. As they came out of the hut, they found Merwan Seth (Meher Baba) waiting for them. He helped them take their parcels to the Maruti temple nearby and then said that He would return at three o’clock to take them to Upasni.
After lunch, Merwan Seth arrived and narrated how He had met Babajan and Sai Baba. When Merwan Seth (Meher Baba) started to take the group to Upasni, they told Him that they had heard that He sang beautifully and asked if He would sing one song.

Upasni called each person individually. Gulmai’s turn was last. As she approached the door, conflicting emotions overwhelmed her; she wondered how to unburden herself to the Sadguru. Merwan Seth (Meher Baba), who was standing near the entrance, urged her to go inside and reveal unreservedly whatever she had in her heart and mind. Gulmai, after gaining her composure, wondered how Merwan Seth (Meher Baba) had known what was going on inside her. She entered Upasni’s hut but was at a loss as to what to say. As soon as she started to speak, tears came.

Gulmai had other miseries besides her unhappy home and alienation from the Zoroastrian community due to her intense interest in spirituality. She had developed pustules all over her body and was afraid it indicated some disease. She had thought of telling Maharaj about it but was embarrassed. However, when he pointedly looked at her from head to foot, she told him of her ailment. Maharaj assured her that it was nothing serious and would disappear. Then Upasni called Durgabai, and said, “This lady is miserable. She is unhappy at home, and has an affliction because of her unhappiness. Explain to her that I know everything, so there is no need to tell me anything.”
Gulmai fell at Upasni Maharaj’s feet and begged him to accept the surrender of her body, mind, progeny and possessions. She burst into tears again as she narrated how difficult her life had been. Finally, she beseeched Upasni to allow her to stay with him permanently at Sakori. Upasni Maharaj explained that she could not do so:
Maharaj added, “Your Zoroaster is here. I am closely linked with Zoroastrians and, in the future, they will flock to me in large numbers.”

He told her many other things and then concluded, “Go back to your husband and family. Nagar is quite near. Whenever you feel it necessary you may come here. You are welcome here. You may come alone also. You may see me as often as you need. However, a continuous stay with me in this rustic area as you desire is not advisable considering your present circumstances. Do not worry about anything; my nazar (sight) is on you.”

Gulmai accepted Upasni Maharaj’s instructions and came out of the hut to find a group sitting under the pipal tree listening to Merwan Seth (Meher Baba) tell stories about Sai Baba, Babajan and how Lord Ram’s birthday was grandly celebrated at Sakori. Gulmai sat down and listened.

The Ahmednagar group left Sakori by tonga in the evening and came to the railway station at Chitali; Merwan Seth and Behramji accompanied them by bullock cart. As the baggage was being unloaded, all sat among a grove of trees. Merwan Seth pulled out a book on God and started to read. Calling Gulmai, He handed her the book and told her to read it at home.

Some time passed and Gulmai again visited Upasni Maharaj. After taking his darshan, she offered puja to him in a devout manner. Upasni inquired about her health and then said, “Since Sai Baba dropped his body, his devotees, both Muslim and Hindu, have been transferred to me. They expect my attention, so at times I have to beat them.
During her frequent visits with Upasni Maharaj over the years, Gulmai never gave up hope of living in his ashram at Sakori. While there, she and Merwan Seth (Meher Baba) often met. He revealed to her His spiritual experiences, which convinced her beyond doubt that He was, in fact, the chargeman (spiritual heir) of Sadguru Upasni Maharaj.
During one stay with Upasni Maharaj for twelve days, Gulmai had to bear austere hardships, and was even severely slapped by Maharaj. Explaining to her what she was undergoing, Merwan Seth assured her, “You are very fortunate. By withstanding these tests, you are the first woman to have been granted the grace of a Perfect Master such as Upasni Maharaj. You passed through these hardships brilliantly. It is a blessing if a Sadguru beats a person; you are indeed blessed. Babajan also beats people with a stick.”

Before Gulmai left Sakori, Upasni Maharaj told her, “People like holy places where there are big and beautiful temples — important and influential persons throng there. That is a common occurrence. But to come to this barren place with love and devotion, and serve the Master wholeheartedly with full faith is real. What is there in Udwada? There is fire, but here burns the living fire! Real pilgrimage is at the feet of the Perfect Master.”

Since 1919, Gulmai had been a regular visitor to Upasni Maharaj’s headquarters at Sakori, where she had met and talked with Meher Baba many times. She had also gone to Bombay for the Dassera program. Gulmai and her husband Kaikhushru, 42, had two sons named Rustom, 20, and Adi, 16, and two daughters Piroja, 9, and Dolly, 7. Adi had seen Baba at Sakori a few times, when he had visited his mother there. Adi was studying at a Parsi boarding school at Panchgani. He initially went to Sakori only at his mother’s insistence as her escort, but when he saw Maharaj, Adi spontaneously fell at his feet.

Maharaj told them, “I have poured my entire spirituality into Merwan. You must stick with Him through thick and thin. I am now an empty vessel.”
Gulmai’s contact with Meher Baba increased during 1920, as she came to Sakori more frequently. In December 1920, Meher Baba asked her if she would like to accompany Him to Nasik. She agreed and returned to Ahmednagar to prepare for the trip. After a few days, Baba showed up at her home in Ahmednagar and was welcomed to stay the night.
It was during this occasion that Baba commented to Gulmai’s husband Kaikhushru that he would one day become Khansaheb (an honorary title conferred by the British). Kaikhushru took it as a joke. Baba repeated His prediction in all seriousness, and a year later the distinguished title was conferred upon Kaikhushru.
To Gulmai, Baba remarked, “You will be like Babajan.”

Gulmai doubted that she would ever be on the same level as Hazrat Babajan and said so. Turning to Babu Cyclewalla, who was seated beside him, Baba pointed to Gulmai, and repeated emphatically, “It is a fact. You are like Babajan!”
The next day Baba left for Poona with Babu Cyclewalla, but did not take Gulmai with him. Accompanied by Gustadji, his mother Memo, and one of her lady friends, Baba and his company traveled to Nasik via Bombay. In Nasik, Baba, Memo, and her companion stayed at Sayyed Saheb’s family house. After several days, the ladies returned to Poona while Baba and Gustadji traveled to Ahmednagar. They stayed at Gulmai’s home, and on the next day Baba asked her to accompany him to Sakori for a week until the Hindu festival of Sankrant. She agreed.

At Sakori, Baba showed Gulmai the room that Upasni Maharaj had designated for him, saying she could keep her luggage there. The room had not been swept, and Gulmai cleaned it with his permission. Afterward she went to visit Durgabai. At dusk, Yeshwant Rao Nandram Boravke, 30, one of Upasni Maharaj’s close circle members, arrived and stayed with Baba until he was to meet with Upasni.

In 1921, one day Pilamai and Gulmai were sitting near Meher Baba, and He asked Gulmai to sit closer, saying, “Sit here, Mother. I have something I want you to understand. Every Sadguru has a spiritual mother; Durgabai is Maharaj’s. Narayan Maharaj and Tajuddin Baba have one also. Similarly, all Perfect Masters have spiritual sisters, too. Likewise, you are My spiritual mother and Pilamai is My spiritual sister; I have a past link with both of you through many lifetimes. I am telling you the fact that I am your son; and Pilamai, I am your brother. You are most fortunate.”

Taken aback, Gulmai replied, “I know nothing about spiritual facts. I am not equal to even the dust under your feet. I am not worthy of anything spiritual. I am a simple woman — quite tired of life — with the one desire to stay near Maharaj always, to serve him and die at his feet.”

Baba looked at her seriously and declared, “I am Maharaj, and Maharaj is Myself! Only the bodies are different. I am his son. Do as I tell you.” (Gulmai was ordered by Upasni to always bow to his wish, so she accepted what Meher Baba had declared.) Later He confided in her, “You and your whole family are dear to Me, and there is a certainty of our staying together in the future. Even if the whole world goes against Me, you and your family won’t leave Me.”

Several days passed and Meher Baba was sitting under the canopy of the Hindu temple in Sakori with Durgabai and Gulmai. Paintings of different Hindu Gods had been hung inside the canopy. He began telling them the story of Sudama, a devotee of Krishna. When Baba finished that story, Gulmai asked for another, and Baba replied, “How can I explain everything?”
Gulmai pleaded, “Baba, you know everything.”
Baba smiled and then said, “When one visits Bombay, one goes to some particular place. One does not see every nook and corner of the city. Why I don’t explain everything is similar to this.”
After a week, her husband Kaikhushru arrived to take Gulmai home. At noon, all gathered for lunch in Pilamai’s room. Baba also came and sat down to eat. Gulmai remembered that, being Sunday, it was her one day per week to fast. She got up without eating. Baba remarked, “Never mind. Have lunch.” Because it was Upasni Maharaj’s orders, she politely refused.
Baba insisted that she should eat. The tussle reached Maharaj’s ears and he ordered Gulmai to eat. The incident served to demonstrate to Gulmai that it was Maharaj’s wish that she defer to Meher Baba’s wishes in all matters. After lunch, Baba took Kaikhushru aside and began giving him spiritual explanations and telling stories about Maharaj. In the evening Kaikhushru and Gulmai returned to Ahmednagar.

Several months passed. But when Gulmai went to Sakori and invited Upasni Maharaj, he instructed, “Make a seat for me and place my photograph on it. This will be tantamount to my coming in person.” Gulmai was not satisfied and requested that Maharaj come himself.
The Sadguru refused, but when her husband Khansaheb himself came to Sakori and entreated Maharaj to come, he relented.
Baba and Gustadji were in Sakori at the time. Three days later, Maharaj sent word with Gustadji that he intended to come in two weeks. “Before I come,” he ordered, “keep a room clean, put a pot of fresh water there and place a coconut on it. Keep a light burning inside at all times. The water should be changed daily.”
Gulmai did as instructed. Gustadji came two days in advance of the opening ceremony to instruct and assist her in preparing for Upasni Maharaj’s arti and puja. A car was hired to bring Maharaj. Rustom and Adi drove in it to Sakori. Durgabai accompanied Maharaj. The automobile stopped in front of the Irani’s new house and Upasni descended. He was garlanded with flowers, offered a coconut, and welcomed inside. Everyone present took his darshan.
The Irani family was wealthy and the housewarming ceremony was elaborately planned; many from the town were invited. Before the ceremony took place on 26th July 1921, the orthodox Zoroastrians and some of Gulmai’s own relatives again strongly objected to a Hindu guru cutting the welcome ribbon. Gulmai, however, refused to relent and insisted Upasni Maharaj be given the honor. The ceremony proceeded as Gulmai had planned.

Some of Maharaj’s devotees had come from Poona. His Hindu devotees were accommodated in a Hindu neighbour’s home where Maharaj had his meals with Durgabai. The others ate with Khansaheb and his family. Maharaj and Baba stayed at Sarosh Manzil for seven days as honoured guests of the family. Baba guided them in the performance of Upasni’s arti in the morning and evening.

The entire week resembled a joyous wedding occasion. Bhajans were sung nightly. Gulmai’s son Adi would play the harmonium and Baba would accompany him on the dholak and sing in a melodious voice.

“Go and give tea to Merwan,” Upasni would tell Gulmai during the programs. “His throat must have become sore from singing.” Maharaj was most particular about his favorite disciple.

“See, Merwan never eats,” he remarked to Gulmai one day. “A little while ago he took a cold bath but He puts on the same dirty clothes! Go give Him some of Rustom’s clothes.” She did so, but Baba refused them.

On this occasion, Gulmai wished to offer Maharaj a small amount of money she had saved from her household budget. She placed the packet at Maharaj’s feet. He did not touch it, but instead beckoned for Baba and told Gulmai, “This is my boy, Merwan (Meher Baba). He is very good. He looks after my needs. You may give the money to him and he will do what is needed with it.” So Gulmai gave Baba the packet.

Afterward Baba met in private with Gulmai and Khansaheb and told them, “Whatever Maharaj does is for the ultimate good. He has been perfected; he has the consciousness of God. Maharaj’s mind is universal. You must try to help his work. You have come in his contact due to your past connections with him.

“You have been to Sakori; there is no lodging in the village. Those who go there find it difficult to stay. There is a need for a few rooms to be constructed for people to take rest, if the money can somehow be raised.”

Gulmai asked how much money, and Baba replied, “Two, maybe four thousand rupees.” Gulmai discussed the matter with her husband, and Khansaheb agreed to help.
Another day, Baba called Gulmai and her husband to Upasni Maharaj’s room, where He suggested that, in honor of the Master, a day be set aside to celebrate. The idea was discussed and Baba suggested that it be on Maharaj’s birthday in May at Sakori. “I will let you know how much money to collect,” Baba said, “and everything will be done by you.”

Before leaving on the eighth day, Upasni Maharaj went around the old and new house, in each and every room, and instructed Gulmai to sprinkle water from the pot placed in his room in both houses. He then said, “Place the pictures of all gods in this (Maharaj’s) room. Do not place anything else there. Keep it as a prayer room.” The car arrived.

All present took Maharaj’s darshan as the car was loaded. Gulmai began wrapping up the gunny sacks which Maharaj had sat on, but he told her to keep them.
Upasni Maharaj, Durgabai, Baba, Khansaheb, Gulmai and her sister Soonamasi got into the car. The rest followed by train. On the way, when someone mentioned those going by train, Maharaj made a significant pronouncement. “The Sadguru is like the engine,” he remarked. “If the compartments are joined to him, he takes them to the destination desired. Similarly, join your compartments to Merwan (Meher Baba) and He will carry them to their respective (spiritual) stations.”
He added, “When I provide Merwan with the engine, your prophet Zoroaster will manifest!”

Halfway to Sakori the car got a flat tire. Everyone got down and sat under a tree while it was being repaired. After reaching Sakori, Khansaheb wished to return to Ahmednagar immediately but it rained heavily. They could not return as the roads were flooded. Arti was held in the evening. Baba sang and played the drum. Gulmai was tired and lay down in a corner near the temple. Khansaheb and Baba sat talking. Seeing her asleep, Baba took a blanket and spread it over her. Arti was performed as usual that evening and Baba sang and accompanied Himself on the drum.

Indicating Gulmai, who was nearby, Upasni said, “This is Gulbai (Maharaj’s name for Gulmai) from Ahmednagar; she is also a Zoroastrian. Make friends with her and cool your temper. Later when you see Merwan (Meher Baba), don’t pester the boy with questions. Talk with Him cheerfully then depart.
“Dear lady, you are fortunate to have Him as your son, and it is because of your good past lives. What can I do about Him? You must encourage Him to follow the spiritual path. Don’t throw Him into hell (worldly life)! He will get married one day.”

From the money that Khansaheb and Gulmai had raised, construction of a rest house and an ashram compound was underway in Sakori. A temple was also being expanded and a permanent canopy was being erected for arti and bhajans. One mason was in charge of the work and Upasni’s men and women disciples worked under his supervision. Durgabai would drive the bullock cart while the other women carried ghamelas filled with stones, lime and earth. Upasni would assist the mason on finishing touches, and Meher Baba would also lend a hand, while Gulmai assisted Durgabai in her work.

After evening arti, all Upasni Maharaj’s men and women disciples, including Baba, would sing bhajans into the night. In his room, Baba taught Gulmai certain spiritual songs which she would write down. Two of the songs were: Love’s path is very difficult and O Lord, why have You played the flute?
Gulmai would practice these songs with Baba until about nine o’clock, and then she would retire with Durgabai.

During this period, Meher Baba did not close His eyes and seldom would lie down for rest. Upasni Maharaj would come to His room and beckon Him, “Come Merwan, come.” They would sit alone in Upasni’s thatched hut near the village’s crematory grounds, where Baba would note down on paper whatever the Master dictated. Baba kept these notes in a wooden box in His room. Upasni would continue for hours dictating point after point and Baba would go on writing until midnight, or even past two o’clock. No one knows what was written.

Durgabai would always stay awake waiting for Baba to return to His room. She would keep food ready for Him in case He felt hungry. At that time, Durgabai was also Upasni’s most trusted woman disciple and loved Baba profoundly. She was the only person at Sakori to whom Upasni revealed, “Merwan is the Avatar.”
During the day, Durgabai also cooked Baba’s meals. He would come to the kitchen or her quarters and insist that Gulmai eat with Him. He would shower his affection on Gulmai and insist that they share the same plate; usually He would eat only a few morsels and make Gulmai finish the meal. Baba would ask for food at any odd time, and if, for some reason, there was any delay, He would not eat it; that is why Durgabai always kept food prepared and was ordered by Upasni to be always ready to serve Baba’s needs. Usually, when walking back from Upasni’s hut late in the night, Baba would not ask for food, even if He were hungry and had not eaten all day, because Gulmai would be asleep in the kitchen with Durgabai. In the morning Baba would affectionately tell them, “I went to bed hungry as I did not wish to disturb you.”
Baba was handed a tambura (a stringed instrument) by Arjun (Baba’s close disciple) and joined the group in singing a bhajan. Afterward, He gave the tambura to Gulmai and told her to play; but as she did not know how, He showed her.

After the bhajans, the Master took Gulmai inside His hut and had her sit on a wooden crate, while He sat on the floor near her. She felt awkward sitting like this and started to join Him on the floor. He stopped her and, holding her hand, said, “I want you to know that you are My mother; I am your son. We are connected from the very beginning; I have taken birth through you in past lives. I have much work to exact from you in the future. A day will come when I shall elevate you.” He then placed His head on her shoulder, and they sat quietly together for a while.

At noon, Baba’s uncle Faredoon Masa brought dal and one large, flaky paratha (thick chapati) cooked by his wife Dowla Masi, which all enjoyed. Baba introduced Gulmai to the men who were present and spoke about the meaning of the circle of a Master. Afterward, He handed Gulmai the tambura and again they sang a song together.

When Gulmai’s son, Adi, arrived in the evening from college, Baba called for the sitar from Khodu’s house. He told Adi to play it while Gulmai sang. She could not sing loudly, but He told her, “Never mind, your voice has dard (pain), which even well-known singers do not possess. It is a natural gift.”

Before leaving the following day, Baba told Gulmai to come back to Poona for His birthday. Adi was instructed to visit every evening and to spend every Sunday at the hut. When Gulmai returned to Poona a day or two prior to the birthday celebration, Baba told her to join the men mandali when they visited Babajan in the evening. It was Gulmai’s first meeting with the ancient woman Qutub, whom she had heard was greatly revered by many in Poona. As Gulmai was about to put her head on Babajan’s feet, Babajan stopped her, crying out, “You are dragging me to sin!”

This startled Gulmai. Babajan patted Gulmai’s head and embraced her, speaking softly, “You are My mother, too.”
In March 1922, Gulmai returned from Ahmednagar for Baba’s darshan. Outside the hut, Baba presented her with a photograph of Himself and declared in the presence of all,
“Gulmai’s connection with Me is very old. She is My spiritual mother.” Tears of joy welled up in Gulmai’s eyes. Then He asked her, “I want a promise from you today. Will you give it?”

Gulmai replied, “I would offer my very life to you.”
Pleased, Baba then said, “Give Me your son, Adi, and your daughter, Dolly. I want them free for My own purposes. Fulfill your parental responsibility by arranging (your other son) Rustom’s marriage soon. Later arrange (your daughter) Piroja’s marriage.” Gulmai accepted His wish and, without consulting her husband, Kaikhushru, she gave her promise that Adi and Dolly belonged to Him. She could not deny His request. The spiritual mother is she who does not care what others do or say, and never hesitates in fulfilling the Beloved’s slightest wish. Because of her love for Baba, Gulmai’s relatives were to harass her terribly, but she always remained staunch in her faith in Baba.

Upon leaving, Gulmai presented Baba with a pair of sandals specially stitched by a cobbler in Ahmednagar named Kanhoba Rao Gadekar. Baba accepted them with deep appreciation, immediately putting them on. From that day on, He wore no other sandals for years. If any repairs were needed He would call Kanhoba to do them.
On another occasion, Gulmai came to Poona with her son, Adi, to meet Baba at Vithal’s house. Baba was relaxing and conversing with a few persons. Noticing her in a distressed state, He called her upstairs. Gulmai’s hand was paining; she was tired and had a severe headache. When Baba inquired what the trouble was, Gulmai claimed, “It is only a slight headache.”

Baba replied in Gujarati, “Why do you make such a painful face? This is just the beginning! I will make you eat grams (chickpeas; a poor person’s diet)! Are you tired even before the game begins?”

The next evening, Gulmai and Adi were sitting in the hut with Baba and talking about why he had chosen this site along Fergusson Road. Baba revealed that long ago, when the area was a jungle, a great sadhu had inhabited the spot where His hut stood.

Meanwhile, Adi (later known as Adi Sr.) became romantically involved with Naja Irani’s daughter, Freiny. The young woman loved Adi and wished to marry him; but Gulmai soon found out about it and immediately informed Baba.

Soon after, Baba met Freiny, her mother, Adi and Gulmai. He told the young lady in a gentle manner: “Forget about Adi; he belongs to Me. Even his mother has no claim on him. It will not be good for you to marry him. You would not be happy. But with My nazar, you will marry a rich man and be very happy.”

Freiny wept but accepted the Master’s decision.
Gulmai had explained to Naja Irani about Baba, and had urged the woman to talk openly with the Master about her problems. She was skeptical, though, and said, “I have one or two things to discuss with Hm. If he gives me a satisfactory reply, I will believe in Him and even sweep His hut.” Since Naja was a wealthy woman, her promise was even more significant because such persons never did such menial tasks.

One day, when Naja was dropping Gulmai at the hut, she approached Baba and said, “I wish to go to Iran and perform certain Zoroastrian rituals. I also want to get my daughter married there. If this is fulfilled, I will serve you and sweep your hut every day.”

Baba and Khansaheb, however, persuaded him to do so. Then, with much resistance, his gunny sack was removed and he was dressed in new clothes. A pink turban was placed on his head, a white dhoti was wrapped around his waist, and Baba then persuaded Maharaj to put new sandals on his usually bare feet. Sandalwood paste and vermilion were applied to his forehead, and Maharaj was garlanded profusely. Afterward his puja and arti were performed by his Hindu devotees with all the Zoroastrians participating. Gulmai was instructed by Baba to wave the arti tray in front of Maharaj; this was followed by devotional music and bhajans. Afterward, a large photograph of Maharaj was displayed in a palanquin and taken through Sakori village in a grand procession accompanied by bhajan-singing and a band.

Gulmai, however, did not join the procession. Frequently, Baba emphasized to her, “Do only what I tell you to do here. And do exactly as I tell you to do.” This was irksome to her because she felt he was saying it in an attempt to distance her from Maharaj, whom she loved deeply. After the procession left, she sat alone weeping under a tree, depressed and confused over what she mistook to be rivalry in the guru’s darbar.

Soon Maharaj approached and sat beside her. Gulmai told him what Baba had said, and he explained: “Difficulties have to be faced in every noble endeavor. God has two wives: one on this side, another on that side. One wife faces difficulties bravely and goes on; the other creates difficulties and always complains.
“We must go forward, facing any and all opposition. Difficulties will always be there. We must bear suffering patiently and do our duty without caring about anything else.”

The return of the palanquin was welcomed with flowers and coconuts. The photograph of Maharaj was placed on a gaadi (divan) Gulmai had brought from Ahmednagar, which was decorated with cushions and silk sheets. The feast was served to all the guests by Maharaj himself.

Gulmai had been permitted to visit Manzil-e-Meem several times prior to the following incident. Once, after Baba had returned from Ajmer, she had gone to Bombay in response to a telegram informing her that her father was seriously ill. Gulmai arrived in Bombay at nine in the evening, consulted with Baba at the Manzil and then went to Parel where her father lived. He passed away the next morning. While the funeral prayers and rites were being performed, she received a message from Baba to come to him. She went as soon as the body had been taken to the Tower of Silence for the dead and, after seeing Baba, returned home to Ahmednagar.

Sometime later, her daughter Dolly’s navjote (Zoroastrian thread ceremony) was performed in Parel. In the evening Baba and the mandali were invited to celebrate the occasion. Gulmai’s brother, Dr. Minochershaw Irani, had been ill and was to have an operation soon and wished to consult Baba about it. Baba informed him that there was no need to be concerned and that he would recover. Despite the Master’s kindness, Minochershaw had no faith in Baba and spoke against Him to his sister and others.
Because of her faith in Meher Baba as a Master, Gulmai also continued to be harassed at home by her in-laws, also, who did not believe in His divine attainment. When the situation became intolerable, Gulmai would weep while secluding herself in a special prayer room where Upasni Maharaj had stayed while visiting her. One day her in-laws ridiculed her terribly. On that very same day, at Manzil-e-Meem, Baba told Adi and Gustadji that He was very angry with Adi’s father, and that Gulmai would be coming to see Him within eight days. And she did arrive exactly on the eighth day.

On one occasion, while Gulmai was present, Baba turned to Gustadji and said, “As I see all things, My heart sinks!”
Gulmai requested a clarification, but Baba refused to explain Himself. He then asked her what she had been doing on a certain day in the recent past. She remembered that it was the day when she had wept while looking at His photograph. She tried to evade a reply. He gazed at her and asked, “Were you looking at My photograph?” She nodded affirmatively, and then He asked, “How many tears did you shed on My behalf!” She evaded His eyes and kept her head bowed.
Her son, Adi, interjected, “That was the same day when Baba told us that He was very upset with Father.”
Baba smiled at her, softly saying, “I see you in Adi’s eyes. He is the frame, and you are the image inside.”
The following day was Id, a holy day in honor of Prophet Muhammad, and a celebration was held. Munshiji brought a white kafni with lace for Baba to wear. The Master looked magnificent in it. Seeing Gustadji’s torn shirt, Baba told Gulmai to repair it, but Gustadji would not let her. Baba later told her, “Never mind what he says. If you sew for Gustadji, it is tantamount to doing service for Me.”
After a few moments of silence, Baba asked Gulmai, “Do you know what I did just now?”
She said no.
Baba said, “No one knows what I am doing even at this moment.”
Gulmai answered, “Nothing of what you are doing is apparent to me.”
“It is My work which no one can understand,” He replied.
On one occasion, while placing His hand on a light switch, He told Gulmai, “Look, the bulb is connected by a wire to the switch.
I just press the button, and there is light. Similarly, when the Perfect Master presses the button, the spiritual mother will have illumination! Until then, remember, patience is required.”
At another time, He used the example of a fetus which has to live inside the mother’s womb — as if in captivity — for nine months: “If the child is not given the full cycle of time, he is born prematurely and is often unhealthy.” He then added: “I am also bound. I want to be free. And I also want to make you free.”
After Rustom’s wedding Baba remarked, “I am thinking of moving to some village for a while.”Gulmai then suggested, “Why don’t you come and visit our property near Arangaon, outside Ahmednagar?”
Baba coyly asked her, “Why do you say that?”
Gulmai replied, “Your visit has been foretold by a local saint, Gilori Shah.”
Baba, pretending not to follow, said that He did not understand what she meant.

Gulmai then narrated this story:
A few years ago, my husband Kaikhushru (Khansaheb) secured a contract to supply incandescent lights to the military barracks located near the village of Arangaon. It is six miles from the town of Ahmednagar, and he used to visit there occasionally on business.
At the end of World War I, a man bought the entire establishment from the military. Since the land was unsuitable for cultivation, it was, in turn, offered for sale; but no one was interested in buying such fallow land. As a result, the owner approached Kaikhushru, who consulted his business partners. But they, too, were uninterested in buying what they called “jungle land.” He asked my opinion, and I wondered what we would do with it, since we would never be able to move there because it was too far away from the city.

Nevertheless, he bought the land on his own, thinking it might prove useful in the future. The few buildings remained unattended for a long time and became dilapidated. Any useful material was stolen by the villagers. Occasionally, we used to visit the place because Kaikhushru had hired the headman of the village to sow millet there.
A Mohammedan saint called Hazrat Maula (Maulana) Gilori Shah lives in Ahmednagar. He occasionally comes to our house for a meal; but usually he prefers to keep aloof. He dislikes the presence of any crowd. When Masaji was working in Ahmednagar, he used to take bread and butter to the saint, and sometimes would bathe him.
Gilori Shah would often mention that he wanted to go to Arangaon and live his last days there. I thought that it was an unsuitable place for such a personage and would argue, “But Hazrat, who will bring your meals there? And who will look after you in the jungle?”
He would frown, saying, “All of these people are of no use to me, and I do not require their help.”
There were some wealthy butchers who used to pay him respect and who offered him some land. However, he preferred our place and would tell them that he would only settle at Arangaon.

He would request me, “Give me a small portion of your land and build a room for me. Take me there and also bring Upasni Maharaj and Meher Baba. Turn the place into a sadhu khanna (an ashram for wandering mendicants and pilgrims).” I would listen to him but tried to dissuade him, knowing it would cause uproar among our in-laws.
One night a year later, I dreamed that I was seated in the compound of a small old house. A child all wrapped in cloth was on my lap. A couple of persons were speaking to me as my eyes gazed downward. I saw the head of the child peeping out from under its covering. The child then sat up, and I saw that he had the face of the saint. I cried out, “This child is Hazrat Gilori Shah!”

He sweetly pleaded, “Ma, you are not giving me the land? Where will I rest?”
I instantly remembered the land at Arangaon and promised him, “Yes, Hazrat, I will give it to you.” The moment I finished speaking, I awakened.
I narrated the dream to my husband, telling him that the saint had been insisting on the land for some years, and Kaikhushru promised to fulfill his request.
The next day, Gilori Shah, accompanied by some of his devotees, went to Arangaon. There he selected a small plot of land, and told them, “Prepare my tomb here.”
This statement surprised them, and they pleaded: “But, Hazrat, who will come so far from the city to pay homage here? This is a desolate place and uninhabitable!
The saint then reprimanded them: “You are like children. You know nothing! In a short time, this place will turn into a garden of pilgrimage. A great one will come here, and this land will one day belong to the people of the world! Only then will you understand why I am buried here.”
One day I went with the saint to look at the site he had selected. A mason joined us and the plot was measured and changes were made as directed by him. Then the saint turned to me and said, “When I die, bring me here — escorted by a band.
Maharaj seemed pleased to have Baba’s disciples around him. When they were seated near his cage, he pointed to them and asked Gulmai, “Do you love these persons?”
She replied, “Yes, they are Baba’s, and as Baba is yours, I love him. These people are also yours, so I love them as my children.”
Maharaj said, “That is good. Keep that attitude. You are a real mother. Love all in the world as your children.”
Later he told her, “I am hungry. Prepare bhujias (fritters of chickpea flour and vegetables) today. I like the way you prepare them with neem leaves, mixed with neem-leaf chutney. Bring it to me, and I will share it with these children.”
Gulmai prepared the snack and took it to Maharaj in the evening at his hut. He ate a few and shared the rest with Baba’s followers. He then narrated the story of how he used to eat neem-leaf chutney and also give it to others to eat, but they never felt its bitter taste. He also told the story of how he had once asked a woman to prepare khichri (dal and rice cooked together) mixed with excrement, which she did to prove her love for him. Before leaving Sakori, Gulmai requested that Upasni Maharaj come to Ahmednagar for Rustom and Freiny’s wedding, but he did not favor the idea.
The mandali were surprised because, although they had heard about Arangaon and Baba’s intention of staying there, they did not know its location. Gulmai had only mentioned the name of the place and had planned to take Baba there after Rustom’s marriage. Baba sat down under a neem tree by an old well. He pointed out the recently constructed tomb of Gilori Shah, a few feet away, and then observed the neglected buildings, a small howd (cistern) and a flagstone platform.
The mandali had neither a change of clothes, food, nor drinking water with them. Baba sent Behramji and Slamson to Arangaon Village to fetch something to eat.
Baba and his fourteen mandali occupied a third class compartment. They were accompanied by Pilamai, her small son Vithal, Gulmai, Sarosh, Soonamasi and Khorshed. The train left in the afternoon and reached Manmad in the early evening. Food for all had been prepared by Gulmai and Pilamai, and at Manmad they cooked fresh food for Baba. As their connecting train was not to arrive until 8:00 P.M., they went for a stroll in the city.
At some stations along the way, Baba would call for milk, rice and dal. Invariably, as someone would get dow here had been exchanges of bitter words and criticism toward Meher Baba by certain Zoroastrians. Gulmai felt disheartened by Baba’s departure from her house due to the hostile and disrespectful attitude of her relatives. She felt disappointed because she had invited the Master to set up his headquarters on her husband’s property at Arangaon. Like Shireenmai, Gulmai was destined to play a certain role.

Khansaheb was moved by his wife’s devotion and hastened to the dharamshala to try to correct the situation and appease Baba’s feelings. He pleaded, “On behalf of my family, I beg your forgiveness, Baba, accept my prayer to remain in Arangaon. Gulmai is beside herself with grief over what has happened.”
Baba answered, “A Fakir has no home and at the same time he has everything. He only stays in one particular place for certain reasons. I do not wish to create differences or divide your family by staying in Arangaon.”

Khansaheb earnestly pleaded with Him to reconsider, and finally Baba agreed to return. So after a three-day stay in the dharamshala, the men, led by Baba, walked back to Arangaon on Sunday, 13th May, and stayed again in the deserted Post Office building.

In 1923, Gulmai’s sister Pilamai was staying In Ahmednagar and she also went to Arangaon for Baba’s darshan daily. On one occasion He told her, “Gulmai is My spiritual mother, but remember you are My spiritual sister, so you should stay in close contact with Me.”

Baba’s golden brown hair had grown quite long and curly. While staying at Pilamai’s, He asked Gulmai to comb His hair. It was the first time that the Master permitted one of the women mandali to comb His hair. Gulmai did so with a new comb and brush and, from that day on, she carefully preserved all the loose hair.
Baba and group moved from Calcutta to Ahmedabad. Baba suddenly called for two matchbox containers and began threading a string through them. He kept one end with Him and gave the other to Gulmai. He climbed the stairs to the next floor and told Gulmai to stay where she was. Through this “telephone,” Baba then told her, “Gulmai, as we communicate by means of this phone outwardly, we must be able to communicate inwardly, too. We shall start fakiri [leading a fakir’s life] from He then talked to Katie through it and said, “I am leaving, but you must continue to remember me. Will you do that?”

He then talked to Katie through it and said, “I am leaving, but you must continue to remember Me. Will you do that?”
And she replied, “How could I ever forget you, Baba?” Telephones were not yet in use in India. Recalling this trick from His childhood, Meher Baba was perhaps heralding the age of telephonic communication, as they were introduced later, after Baba stopped speaking.
Baba appeared excited about seeing Persia. Gulmai and other ladies, along with the mandali from Kasba Peth, also came to see them off. To console those who were not going with him, He lovingly embraced each one.

Gulmai used to come every day to Meherabad, bringing Baba’s food. Due to her financial help, as well as that of Adi and Rustom, the work in Meherabad was greatly facilitated. The stone flooring for the Jhopdi was expected to be completed within a week but was finished in two days.
On 30 April 1924, Gulmai returned to Ahmednagar and went immediately to see the Master. She presented Him with a sadra — a white robe made of thin muslin material — which became Meher Baba’s standard dress from that day on.

Gulmai would comb Baba’s hair, which had grown quite long. He would remark to Mehera how finely Gulmai combed his hair. Gulmai continued this duty as long as she was in Quetta. In her absence, Gustadji would attend to it. Later Mehera was given this special duty, which she continued until the end.
Baba stayed at Khansaheb and Gulmai’s property Khushru Quarters, not far from their Sarosh Manzil residence. Except for Gulmai’s family and her nephew Sarosh, no one else in the local Zoroastrian community respected Baba as a Spiritual Master.

Gulmai’s Irani in-laws, who stayed in the large compound of Khushru Quarters, constantly, ridiculed Gulmai’s devotion to Meher Baba. But Baba kept Gulmai and her family under the protective shelter of His nazar. He had revealed His divinity to them to such a profound extent that, despite severe opposition against Him, they would always remain at His feet — obedient to Him no matter what. Due to her relatives’ disbelief and opposition, Gulmai underwent terrible mental suffering; but she remained steadfast to Meher Baba’s divine love and did not argue with them. .

In 1926, Baba distributed prasad in honor of Gulmai and Narayan Maharaj’s birthday. A group from Andhra Pradesh in southern India came for the Master’s darshan and sang a song in Telugu to him.

Baba entered seclusion inside the Table Cabin on 22nd June 1928. He remained in the small cabin fasting on one meal a day, which Gulmai would bring from the women’s quarters. This sudden seclusion, without any prior intimation, caused the women mandali to wonder whether Baba was upset with them. (Gulmai even informed them that Baba had said He would remain in seclusion for several years!) All except Freiny decided to keep silence while Baba was in seclusion. Gulmai conveyed this to Baba and He sent them this message: “I am not displeased or offended with you in any way. I have to remain alone for My spiritual work. So start speaking and stop worrying.”
Gulmai’s birthday was celebrated that day and Baba distributed sweets and tea. In afternoon, Baba suddenly left the Table Cabin, complaining, “This place is not suitable for My work,” and proceeded toward the riverside in search of a better place for seclusion. He walked to many different spots but found none to His liking; finally He selected a corner near His gaadi where He could remain undisturbed.

In the morning of 20th September 1929, Kaka Baria drove Baba and the mandali to Victoria Docks. Several of the Master’s devotees had come from Poona, Ahmednagar, and Bombay to wish him farewell. Memo and Gulmai were the first to garland Baba. The group boarded the SS Varsova and sailed at eleven o’clock that evening. Cheering, all His devotees joined in a hearty bon voyage.

In 1933, when Baba returned to Nasik, He met individually with each of the mandali. Telegrams had been sent to Baba, informing Him that Gulmai’s daughter Dolly, who was staying in Ahmednagar, had been feeling depressed during His absence and acting strangely. Baba went to Ahmednagar to see Dolly on 15 th November 1933, and He spoke with her at length that afternoon.

In 1934, The Zoroastrian New Year was celebrated on 21st March. Gulmai visited that day.
In 1936, Maharaj then told Gulmai, “Bring me the tray and lamp. I wish to perform Merwan’s Arti today. Gulmai, tell Merwan that I came here on His birthday and I prayed in front of His picture and performed His arti.” Gulmai immediately brought the necessary items and Maharaj began doing Arti, chanting mantras as he waved the arti tray in his hand before Baba’s photograph. At the completion of the arti, Maharaj brought the tray to his forehead and then put it down.
The sight of Upasni Maharaj worshiping Meher Baba deeply touched Adi, Padri and Gulmai. Tears welled up in Gulmai’s eyes as she watched this. Maharaj had come especially from Sakori to Ahmednagar for this purpose.

Mandali in Mysore were informed of Upasni Maharaj’s visit and what he had said, they understood why Baba had forbidden any celebration on His birthday. “What the Sadguru does, He does for the whole universe. Through the body and mind of Upasni Maharaj the whole universe worshiped Meher Baba on His birthday! The Ocean expressed its love for the Embodiment of the Ocean. Were all the drops in the whole of creation to offer worship to the Ocean, it could not compare with this type of worship done with the love of a Perfect Master for the Avatar!”

Early the following morning, Baba left Bangalore by train for Ahmednagar and Nasik, accompanied only by Jalbhai. Baba met Gulmai in Ahmednagar.
Gulmai was staying at Upper Meherabad at this time and when Memo visited there would inevitably be strife between these two women — Shireenmai the material mother and Gulmai the spiritual mother. On one occasion (19 October 1938), Adi Sr. noted in his diary: “Shireenmai as usual becomes jealous of Gulmai, and Baba is so much troubled by the situation. He suffers.”

In 1939, Baba frequently visited Gulmai at Khushru Quarters and went to a movie at Sarosh Cinema. On 4th July, Gulmai wept before Baba and bitterly complained about having to live apart from Him (in Ahmednagar rather than on Meherabad Hill, as she had done before) because of Shireenmai. When Baba went to see her a week later, and informed her that she would not be accompanying the group when they shifted from Meherabad, Gulmai was even more disappointed and said she wanted to commit suicide. Baba consoled her, emphasizing her spiritual connection with Him, and commented, “Suffering is necessary when you are in this spiritual path.”
In 1945, Adi Sr.’s father Khansaheb Irani had been ill and bedridden for the past several months, and so Baba went to see him at Khushru Quarters. Khansaheb had always had great reverence for Baba, but no love. Now, much to his wife Gulmai’s delight, he felt genuinely drawn to Baba.
Baba asked him, “What do you wish for?”

“Good health for two months and, thereafter, liberation,” he said.
Baba promised: “Do as I say for two months, and I will definitely fulfill your wish.”
Baba directed Gulmai and others to go to Sakori to participate in the last rites of Upasani Maharaj, which they did on the 25th December 1945. Maharaj was buried at Sakori, and they returned soon after the ceremony was finished, arriving back at Meherabad at ten that night.
On the 26th December 1945, Baba called the mandali to the mast ashram on the hill and discussed the recent occurrence. Baba had instructed Gulmai to stay at Sakori during specific periods in December 1941, and also January and February of 1942, saying that at any time during these three months Maharaj would “pass off.” The first of these time spans was 19–24 December, and accordingly Gulmai had gone to stay at Sakori on the 19th. But on the 22nd of December she had returned to Ahmednagar, as Maharaj had told her, he was leaving for Satana (his birthplace), where he would be staying until the end of the month. However, Maharaj had returned the next day, complaining of chest pains, and subsequently expired the following day.
Gulmai felt very bad about not being in Sakori when Maharaj died, as Baba had wished, but Baba comforted her, “Don’t worry.
It had to happen that way.”

Baba then commented:
The breaking of My silence will also be as sudden and unexpected as the passing away of Upasni Maharaj. The difference will, however, be in the general “feeling,” which will be very strong when I speak. All will feel it.
It will shake the world like an earthquake. People will feel the shock in different degrees in different parts of the world. Thus they will experience it in different ways.

I feel unconcerned and even happy at this news of Maharaj’s death, since I know that he is now relieved of the burden of retaining his physical body after his work was over and the long-awaited meeting with Me had taken place at Dahigaon.

On 27th August 1948, the housewarming ceremony for Meher Baba’s new home at Pimpalgaon was held at nine o’clock in the morning. Close lovers from Bombay, Poona and Ahmednagar assembled came to Meherabad. The men and women mandali residing at Meherabad had been brought by buses, and the occasion was a truly joyous one.
Baba unlocked the door of the new building with a golden key, and Mehera and Gulmai performed His arti. Azad means free or relaxed, and Baba named the place Meherazad.
In 1949, to celebrate Mehera’s birthday, Baba took the women to the Gheun Deolali dak bungalow, not far from Meherazad. Adi Sr. brought Gulmai, Meheru Damania and Jibboo, along with the food (prepared by Chhagan). They had a delicious pulao for lunch (rice mixed with vegetables), and just when all were feeling drowsy and were about to lie down for a nap, Baba called everyone for games.

Gulmai was always with him. Sitting down at one place on the ground, Baba, in a pensive mood, stated, “I am everything and in everything. I am everywhere and know each and every thing of each and every one.”

Baba next went to Upasni Maharaj’s hut, standing for a while outside the room. He again sat on the ground in the open, and the lovers and workers took this opportunity for His darshan. Baba remarked, “I have stopped the touching of My feet; but since Godavri has touched them, today I permit all of you to touch them.”
To explain about “the seventh shadow,” Baba asked Gulmai to try to speak through her closed mouth, and when she did it, the sound that came out resembled “Om.”

Baba said:
This sound of “Om” that has emanated from Gulmai’s mouth is the seventh shadow of the Original Sound. Were anyone to hear this Original Sound, he would really go mad and begin tearing his clothes. This Sound can be heard on the fifth plane.

Baba asked Gulmai to relate what Upasni Maharaj had told her about Him years before in Sakori. Gulmai said, “Maharaj once told me that Merwan would come here and sit in this place. You are sitting on the very spot pointed out by Maharaj. Maharaj also said that many persons would be present here before you and you would deliver a discourse. All this has been fulfilled today.

According to Baba’s wish, all of His lovers in the East and West, including those at Meherazad, kept silence from midnight of July 9th to midnight of July 10th, 1957, the 32nd anniversary of Baba’s silence.

They were also told to fast completely on that day, taking as much water as necessary, and tea or coffee once.
Gulmai kept silence until the morning of the 11th, when Adi drove her to Meherazad and she broke it and her fast in Baba’s presence. She was later given a 40-day period of special dietary instructions that included drinking water in which she had dipped Baba’s locket.
Gulmai’s condition worsened in August due to kidney disease. While at Meherabad on 6th August 1962, Baba informed Padri to be prepared for Gulmai’s burial on the hill, as she would be dying shortly.

On the evening of the 8th August 1962, Gulmai’s condition became serious, and Adi sent Sarosh to Meherazad to inform Baba. Baba instructed Sarosh that when Gulmai passed away, He should be informed and her body removed to Meherabad Hill, where her coffin would be lowered into the grave in His presence.
On the morning of 9th August 1962, Baba unexpectedly asked to be driven to Khushru Quarters to see Gulmai. Although she had ceased to recognize anyone and was almost in an unconscious state, she opened her eyes and her face brightened when she saw Baba. She caressed His face and managed to utter, “Ba … ba.” After kissing her on the forehead and embracing her, Baba returned to Meherazad. Eruch sent Adi this note: “Baba wants you to be happy and feel happy, for Gulmai is and will ever be HAPPY.”
The next day, taking a critical turn for the worse, Gulmai was unable to speak and suffered spells of unconsciousness. Even so, with great difficulty she was moving her lips and repeating Baba’s name. At midnight, she startled from a coma-like sleep and loudly called out Baba’s name. With all her strength, she continued this for a few minutes without pause. While uttering Baba’s name, Gulmai merged in Him forever at the age of 78. Waman Padale was sent to Meherazad to inform Baba of Gulmai’s passing.
Gulmai’s body was taken to Meherabad in the early hours on 11th August 1962. Her open coffin was placed in a room adjacent to the hall at lower Meherabad. In the morning, on the shoulders of some of the workers, the coffin was carried up the hill, where a grave had been dug. It was placed under the tin shed until Baba arrived. Baba came at ten o’clock, and Adi and Padri met Him at lower Meherabad. Baba went up the hill and sat under the Tin Shed near Gulmai’s body. He then instructed that the coffin be lowered into the grave, without the coffin lid in place.

After this was done, Baba came near and performed the last rites by placing flowers on Gulmai’s forehead and body while Kaikobad offered prayers. The coffin lid was then positioned and secured. Almost 200 persons from Arangaon and Ahmednagar were present. Thus Baba’s spiritual mother Gulmai came to rest in Meherabad, the place she herself had been so instrumental in laying at His feet.

Baba remarked to Adi, “She is very fortunate that I was present at her burial.” Gulmai was, in fact, the first person to be buried on Meherabad Hill. As if in an additional tribute to her greatness, this was the last time Meher Baba ever went to Meherabad.

Age bowed to Gulmai’s dedication, service and love for Meher Prabhu! She and her husband, Kaikhushru (Khansaheb), were the ones who gifted Baba the land in Arangaon which became

Memoirs of Gulmai K. Irani: Meher Baba’s Spiritual Mother: How I Came in Contact with Upasani Maharaj and Meher Baba Kindle Edition


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.

Links to Baba's Mandali pages

Links to Baba's Close Disciple's pages