Sushila Deorukhkar (Vishnu’s cousin)

(Vishnu Master’s cousin)

Sushila Deorukhkar (Vishnu’s cousin) had been in Baba’s contact since her childhood and all the mandali knew her well. Sushila studied medicine at the Ayurvedic College in Satara.

In 1940, Vishnu’s cousins, Indu and Sushila, arrived in Karwar to help with the cooking. Indu’s husband Vishwanath Haldankar helped Chanji arrange accommodation for Baba and the mandali at Amboli and Belgaum. Every evening Baba would listen to Indu and Sushila sing and he praised them highly. This was their first opportunity to have the Master’s close contact.

On 28th October 1941, Baba left for Karwar, where He arrived at quarter past one in the afternoon. In Karwar, Vishnu’s cousins, Sushila and Indu, were again called to manage the kitchen. Indu’s husband Vishwanath Haldankar was also there with the men mandali, helping with arrangements. According to Vishnu, Baba found Karwar “rather unsuitable” at first; the weather was sultry and the house in which they were staying was too small. But the women assured him it was all right, so Baba agreed to stay

It was Khordad Sal (Zoroaster’s birthday), and Meherjee, Nariman, Ghani, his son-in-law, Vishnu and his cousin Sushila all met Baba at Bindra House. Baidul had taken Ali Shah back to Meherabad and joined them in Poona that day.

Baba was driven by Adi to Poona in the afternoon on 1st March 1948, accompanied by Eruch, and met Sushila and others Bindra House, and Baba then went to contact an advanced mast known as Shastri Kher. After this contact with Shastri Kher, Baba returned to Ahmednagar that same night.2627-1948

In 1948, at lower Meherabad, Pendu and Ramjoo fought that day and Baba warned them that he would disband the Meherabad mandali and ashram if they could not get along with each other. Eruch arrived from Poona with Naggu, Najoo Kotwal and Sushila.

1st August 1949, was a red-letter day in Meherazad. All the Meherabad mandali, as well as Meherabad residents, including Sushila and many others from Ahmednagar were to be present at Meherazad in the morning. No one was to eat breakfast or take tea before arriving. All the men and women had been observing silence for one month, and they were to break it in Baba’s presence when He stepped out of seclusion.

In 1949, Sushila Deorukhkar Vishnu’s cousin had also been a frequent visitor. She was studying at a school in Bombay. Baba advised her, “If you wish to marry, you may.” But she never did.

In 1955, Sushila was studying medicine at the Ayurvedic College in Satara. Sushila had been in Baba’s contact since her childhood. Nilu was fond of bhujias (a fried chickpea preparation) and asked Sushila to make some one evening.

On 12th March 1955, Eruch, Pendu, Vishnu and Nilu were about to proceed to Sushila’s house to enjoy after Bhau returned from the post office after dispatching the mail. They had already eaten dinner and told Bhau, “We are going out for a walk, come along.” Bhau accompanied them. Until a few days before, the mandali had been forbidden to leave Rosewood. Only Vishnu went to town for purchases in the market, and Savak Kotwal to the post office. But Baba then said they could go out for walks, and they began doing so in the evenings.

They reached Sushila’s place, where they ate some bhujias. Bhau had not eaten dinner, so at Vishnu’s insistence he ate his dinner there — which subsequently created a ruckus.

The next day, Bhau and Aloba went to Grafton to escort Baba to Rosewood. On the way, Baba casually asked Bhau, “What did you have for dinner last night?”

For a few moments, Bhau could not remember what he had eaten, and then he told Baba. Baba was highly displeased, “Why did you eat at Sushila’s? You have disobeyed Me.”

“There was no order about eating out,” Bhau protested.

Aloba intervened, saying, “Yes, there was! I never take food at anyone’s place.”

Baba castigated Bhau bitterly as they walked to Jal Villa.

Because of his duties, Bhau had not been able to have his tea in Satara before leaving, so Baba asked him to have it at Gadekar’s. Gadekar’s wife, Gunatai, served tea to all, after which Baba had a few words with Gadekar in a separate room. Gunatai had also prepared food which she offered to Bhau. Remembering Baba’s orders, Bhau declined, but Aloba willingly accepted and ate it. When he was doing so, Baba appeared and reacted angrily. He rebuked Aloba severely. “Do you never get the food that you are eating here? In Satara you claimed that you never took food at anyone’s place. You complained against Bhau for eating bhajiyas at Sushila’s. Now I know the real reason why you said it.

On the morning of 13th May 1962, Vishnu was sitting on the doorstep of the hall in Guruprasad. Baba saw him and remarked to Nariman, “Vishnu has one foot in this room and one foot in the grave.” At the time, none of the men understood what Baba meant. Vishnu was in a very pleasant mood that day; his cousin Sushila had come, and he was quite animated while talking with her. .

On demise of her brother Vishnu Sushila was greatly distraught and Adi took over an hour to console her and Baba sat next to Vishnu until then. He remarked, “The qawaali made Me so happy today, that in My happiness I merged Vishnu within Me!” He added, “Never before have I sat near the body of any of my mandali as I am doing today by Vishnu. He is indeed most fortunate!”

On 15th May 1962, another musical program was held in Guruprasad, featuring Ram Sindhi Qawaal. It lasted for two hours, and local Poona lovers were allowed to attend. Adi and Dhake came from Ahmednagar and they discussed with Baba what was to be done with the Belgaum land and Vishnu’s other property. The discussions continued the following day. Sushila came and met Baba briefly.


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