Fit For the Path
[Sullu standing top right in black coat]
Sulloo Meshram was one of the pioneers of Baba activities at Jabalpur. He heard of Meher Baba for the first time through Newspapers in 1937 and later he met Eruch’s father at Nagpur. At his request, Eruch wrote to Baba that Sulloo would like to meet Him. Meher Baba called Sulloo to Panchgani in the month of April 1938. Jal Bhai (Meher Bqaba’s brother) came to receive Sulloo at Panchgani.
Next morning when he was taking his bath Baba called him through Gustadji, who was also observing Silence as per Baba’s orders. Gustad ji however gestured to Sulloo that Baba wanted him immediately. Sulloo rushed to Baba in what ever state he was while taking his bath. In the presence of all Sulloo appeared before Baba, drenched with water from head to foot and wearing just his underwear. Baba asked him what thoughts were passing in your mind and Sulloo replied that I was taking my bath and I was naked when you called me and I was thinking of immediately rushing to you in the naked state. Baba on hearing this from Sulloo immediately replied through the alphabet board, “FIT FOR THE PATH”. Baba sent Sulloo back to Nagpur after a visit of two days duration, telling him to keep writing to Him regularly.
During 1939 and 1940 Sulloo was in contact with Baba from Nagpur and later in the year 1941 he came to Jabalpur to join the Gun Carriage Factory at Jabalpur. Meher Baba called Sulloo in November 1944 to Nagpur where a darshan program was arranged at Dhantoli by Dr.C.D.Deshmukh. The Chief Justice Mr. M.B. Niyogi was also present at the Darshan program as was the famous Saint of Maharastra Sant Tukdoji Maharaj, who came for Baba’s darshan along with his followers. Baba embraced Tukdoji Maharaj on the stage. Tukdoji Maharaj sang bhajans before Baba one of which meant ” Is there any time left now to work for the Avatar” Avatarache kaam karaya walech ajuni urla ka.
Much later Tukdoji Maharaj also came to Jabalpur for a short stay and was hosted by Dr. Sarde in Napier Town. Sulloo met Maharaj at Jabalpur. Baba once instructed Sulloo to observe silence on every Sunday and also not to touch money. During 1945 Sulloo went to Baba at Meherabad. Since Sulloo had been keeping silence for more than a month, he had brought with him an interpreter, Shri Ramnath Sharma, a co-worker. Baba asked Sulloo to break his silence or Baba would send him to Himalayas. Baba asked Sulloo, “If I send money to your mother every month, will you stay with me?”
Sulloo explained to Baba that he was very eager and restless for self realization; he asked if Baba would give it to him in a fixed time. To this Baba replied that a baby can not be born before nine months and there is a fixed time for every thing, but Baba promised him self realization during this very life. Baba said, “you will do wonders.” Later during the conversation Baba added, “I am one with God and you have surrendered to me; how can I keep you in Maya?” With respect to his friend and interpreter Shri Ramnath Sharma, Baba explained that Sulloo and Sharma were linked through connections from a past life.
Sulloo went to see Baba in the year 1945 at Hyderabad for the Jubilee Hills darshan program. In February 1953, Beloved Baba’s darshan took place at Nagpur. During the last day of the darshan programme, Sulloo went to Nagpur to Barrister Verma’s residence with his son Vijay who was one year and ten months old. Baba touched Vijay and showered His love on Vijay. Vijay’s mother and others bowed down to Baba. Ramjoo Abdulla interpreted Baba’s gestures, telling them that Baba says He delayed His stay at Nagpur for Sulloo to attend the darshan program.
Lord Meher page 2769 mentions the following incident about Sulloo where Baba compared him with Sudama, a friend of Lord Krishna :
A week later, March 11th, a letter from Sullo Meshram of Nagpur was received and read out. Baba was in a good mood and remarked, “Such devotees and lovers should be worshipped”. Baba then joined His own hands together and closed His eyes as if praying — something the mandali had never seen Him do before. He had the letter read out again and observed:
“Sulloo is greater than me in the sense that he loves me with such deep devotion. He has seen me only once in Panchgani in 1938, and since then been kept far away. Lovers in that respect are truly great.
“Why did Krishna wash the Sudama’s feet and drink the water? Because of Sudama’s Love. He washed not the feet but the love of Sudama, and drank its water.
“God always is, was and ever will be. But the existence of God’s great and true lovers – like Sudama of Krishna, Sulloo and others now – reflects God’s true greatness. The greatness of their lovers is such that it creates faith in a Master, whom the poor, ignorant lover does not truly know at
all. But because of firm faith, the follower is ready to give up his very life for the Master. Isn’t that greater than God?
“God is always greater in His infinity. But if lovers, in spite of their finiteness, rise to give up all, sacrifice their very lives just for love and faith in their Beloved, whose true being they do not at all know, it is indeed greater. That is why God, even in spite of His infinity, bows to the greatness in recognition of the spirit of selflessness that He beholds
in the love and faith of His true lovers. …”
(Lord Meher page 2769)
During the 1954 Sahavas with Baba in Meherabad a photograph of Baba with Sulloo Meshram, Murli Kale, Raja Sagar Kher, Y. L. Muniraj, and Subedar was taken. Click to see the Photograph. It was a one week stay and much information is available about this programme. The Jabalpur group requested Baba to come to Jabalpur to give public Darshan. Baba replied that He might not give public darshan, and would prefer going to the houses of the families devoted to Baba. Later many preparations were made by Jabalpur Baba lovers anticipating Baba’s visit and even the General Manager of the Gun Carriage Factory had been requested to provide for a bungalow for Baba’s stay. This was discussed with Baba but in 1957 Baba said that He would come one day for just one hour and later said that He would come only after 700 years.
In this connection I remember having been told Raja Sagar Kher pressed Baba hard for a darshan program at Jabalpur in 1957. Baba first responded that if Jabalpur will remain He would come. Afterwards, He explained that Jabalpur had been due to be submerged in water, but that He had postponed this tragedy for 40 years.
Exactly 40 years later, Jabalpur was hit by massive earthquake — on 22nd May 1997. There was a risk that the earthquake would rupture Bargi Dam and Hydroelectric Project. If this had happened, scientists calculated that Jabalpur would have been submerged under an eight-meter deep layer of water, but happily the dam held. All Baba lovers now confidently expect that Baba will keep His promise to come to Jabalpur after 700 years.
Baba often remembered Sulloo and wrote long letters and sent Telegrams to him. Once Baba sent Sulloo a single telegram consisting of two full pages. Even the postal department officials were surprised at such an unusual communication. Sulloo gave the telegram to Francis Brabazon and it was incorporated into
his book entitled “Tears of Joy.”
In 1959, Sulloo went for Baba’s darshan after the death of his second son and later in 1962 attended the East-West Gathering. During this Gathering the war between India and China was going on and one correspondent of the Press asked Baba which country would win the war. Baba replied through another question to the correspondent. Baba simply asked the correspondent to observe which of the two countries Baba had chosen to be His country. The answer was latent in the question.
Sulloo came for darshan again in 1963, and finally attended The Last Darshan in 1969 after Beloved Baba had dropped His body. Sulloo wrote several songs in praise of Meher Baba which were sung in Baba’s presence and from time to time wrote and published several small booklets containing his songs and describing his experiences. Sulloo joined Baba on 31st December 1999, much after his retirement from the Service at Jabalpur. Sulloo lived a isolated life and often confined himself in his room in deep meditation. Those who met him found him always deeply engrossed in Baba and felt that he was hardly aware of the surroundings. Sulloo spent most of his time in his attic room in meditation and in singing the songs of his Beloved, He will be always remembered by all for his simplicity and remarkable obedience.
Information compiled by TrustMeher, based on Lord Meher, personal interview with Sulloo Meshram and other resources.
Baba’s Nagpur Visit and Sulloo Meshram
(Reproduced from Glimpses of the God Man – By Bal Natu, with kind permission of the Sheriar Press.)
Each one in Baba’s family has his or her own story of the Beloved. I would like to interject here an episode from the early life of Sulloo Meshram, one of Baba’s dear lovers and the author of the song collection Meher Prakash Bhajanwali. Meshram first heard of Baba when he was just thirteen years old. He was living with his family in Nagpur, a city Baba visited for a few days in December 1937. Accompanied there by several of the mandali, including Princess Norina Matchabelli, Baba stayed at Mary Lodge, the home and estate of Papa Jessawala, Eruch’s father, in a locality known as Chhavni.
Because of various incidents that took place at the time, a certain amount of publicity attended Baba’s visit to the city, and reports about Him began to appear in the newspapers. Sulloo himself did not see Baba at this time. However, while reading the press reports about His visit, something touched his heart, and he felt impelled to find out more about this Man who had become the center of so much interest. Those around Baba have often noticed that, as the propitious moment of one’s coming into the orbit of the Avatar’s love draws near, a number of seeming “coincidences” occur. Sometimes gently, sometimes forcibly, these coincidences push one toward Him. In Sulloo’s case, it was simply a newspaper account that made the initial contact.
But before continuing with Meshram’s story, I cannot resist recounting a unique episode that took place during the course of Baba’s stay in Nagpur in December 1937. While it does not relate directly to Meshram, it does convey a sense of the atmosphere that prevailed around Baba at this period. After all, Baba is the Timeless One. So any story that provides occasion for loving remembrance of Him serves the purposes of this chronicle.
This striking anecdote was told to me by Gaimai Jessawala, Eruch’s mother, who was Baba’s hostess for His visit. Gaimai recollects the story as follows:
Beloved Baba’s stay at our house, Mary Lodge, in Nagpur, for three or four days in December 1937, was delightful and memorable for all of us. Some of the time was taken up with a public darshan program that was held on the estate for three consecutive days. On one occasion, soon after Baba arrived with Norina and a few of His men mandali, I noticed a woman entering. All of a sudden she began to shout loudly and repeatedly, “Kalanki Avatar has come!” Kalanki [Kalki] Avatar means the White Horse Avatar or the Expected One.
Trying to pacify her, I asked her where she had come from and what was the purpose of her visit. In a very agitated tone she told me her story. She said she was the wife of a judge in Baroda [Gujarat] and had a guru who had died some time back. She had a vision or a vivid dream in which the guru told her that she should go at once to Nagpur to a place called Chhavni [camp], where Sakshaat Parabrahma Paramatma [“God manifest in human form”] as the Kalanki Avatar was going to give darshan. Accordingly, she caught the first available train, and after arriving at Nagpur and getting directions, she came straight to our house. She brought her brother and sister-in-law with her for Baba’s darshan. Hearing her story, I offered her food and refreshments. But she refused, impressing upon me that our entire household should desist from eating while Sakshaut Parameshwar was in our home!
When the darshan program started, the woman worked herself into a frenzy, proclaiming repeatedly that the Kalanki Avatar had come and that all should hasten to take His darshan. She kept rushing back and forth in the great crowd of darshanites who kept filing past Baba. Eventually, Baba called for Norina and told her to instruct the woman to make her announcement to a group of women sitting in the far end of the hall and not to shout near Him. But Norina politely argued that, because of the language barrier between them, it would be difficult to make the woman understand what she was saying.
However, Baba gestured to her to speak to the woman anyway. So Norina threaded her way through the crowd and started to give Baba’s message in English, speaking slowly. But evidently the woman guessed from Norina’s beautiful features and continental manner where she was from and started conversing with her in broken Italian! Amazed, Norina then realized why Baba had insisted that it should be she, of all people, who should converse with the woman. Later on, when I was washing Baba’s laundry, this same woman approached me and asked to be allowed the great privilege of also washing some of His clothes. But as it was Baba’s order that I alone should perform this task, I had reluctantly to refuse her earnest request. But while Baba was out of His room, she managed somehow to get hold of a pair of His chappals [sandals] and, with great fervor, went around the house tapping the heads and faces of everyone with them!
Although the judge’s wife was a stranger to Gaimai and did not return to Mary Lodge thereafter, what was significant about her visit was that she gave to the people of our age an early intimation that the Avatar was again in our midst. This came long before Baba Himself was openly to assert His status as that same Ancient One. Apparently the time had not yet arrived for people to hail Baba publicly as the Avatar.
The woman’s sudden arrival and departure was like a streak of lightning flashing for a few moments across the sky, only to vanish as quickly as it had appeared. It seems that whatever little time she spent in Baba’s presence must have filled her heart to the brim with His divine love. Silently, Baba bestowed upon her the deep conviction of His being the Avatar. This awakening to Baba’s presence within her heart was so profound that she had no need to see Him again physically; nor did Baba inquire about her further. Incredible! In His all-encompassing divinity, Baba knows what one needs, how much, and when! Such was the divine charisma and magnetism of Baba’s personality that, in His presence, extraordinary incidents like this were not unusual.
To resume Sulloo Meshram’s story: in 1938, a year after Baba’s darshan program in Nagpur, while Sulloo was still in his early teens, he took to visiting the Jessawalas, and there he learned more about Baba. Procuring Baba’s address, he wrote Him a letter in which he expressed his desire to see Him in person. Baba, in response to Sulloo’s longing, lovingly granted this request. And so, in the first week of April 1938, overjoyed at receiving Baba’s invitation, this young boy of fourteen left Nagpur by train on a 700-mile journey to Panchgani (not far from Poona) where Baba was then residing. Some of the money for the trip had been provided by his school principal, who was interested in spirituality. At Kalyan, which is a junction, Sulloo had to change trains. But upon leaving the compartment he found to his dismay that his suitcase, containing clothes, some Baba photos, and all his money, had been stolen. He was literally penniless. Only two baskets of oranges, which the Jessawalas had entrusted to him to give to Baba, remained. What a predicament for a young boy venturing alone on such a long trip! Although he had lost even his ticket, somehow he managed to get onto another train, wondering all the while why such misfortunes should befall him when the journey he was engaged in was to meet the All-Compassionate One. Yet it is not uncommon for people to lose something tangible when they are traveling to meet the Avatar. Perhaps these tangible losses are an indication that one should be willing to part also with the intangible thoughts and feelings that stand in the way of seeing the God-Man as He ought to be seen.
When he arrived in Poona, Sulloo had no idea how he would travel on to Panchgani with no ticket and no money. But as luck would have it, he met a bus driver bound for Panchgani and told him of the theft of his suitcase. The driver not only believed his story, but as it turned out, had formerly been one of the servants who years earlier had carried water to Baba’s bungalow, and so had a special feeling for Him. This driver happily agreed to give Sulloo a free ride to Panchgani. Once again, Baba’s unseen guiding hand had silently taken care of the details of a lover’s journey to Him.
When he got off the bus in Panchgani, to the boy’s complete surprise, a stranger approached him and asked if he was Sulloo Meshram. This stranger turned out to be Baba’s brother Jal, who by Baba’s order had been waiting to receive him. As it happened, Papa Jessawala had sent a telegram from Nagpur to Panchgani, informing Baba about Meshram’s departure. Jal took Sulloo to the mandali’s residence. A short while later, Baba arrived and took His seat, His long hair flowing and a radiance glowing on His face.
Sulloo’s heart leapt within him, and he rushed to Baba, prostrating himself at His feet. Baba lovingly inquired about his journey, and He beamed a smile as He heard about the theft of the suitcase. For He had committed a far greater theft — He had stolen this young boy’s heart! In his enthusiasm Sulloo exclaimed that he wished to offer his life to Baba and to obey Him implicitly. Baba did not respond at that moment but asked him to go with Vishnu, one of the mandali, to rest in a nearby lodge.
Sulloo stayed on in Panchgani for three days. On the second day, while he was having a bath, another of Baba’s disciples, Gustadji, came into the room. Because he was observing silence, Gustadji conveyed through signs that Baba had summoned Sulloo to come to Him immediately. Sulloo had heard that whenever called, one was expected to go without delay. Although he had just started his bath and was wearing only his underwear, he left immediately without taking time to dress further.
He found Baba sitting with a few of His disciples. Half-naked,
Sulloo stood before Him. Baba asked, “Have you slept well? Did you have any special thoughts?”
Sulloo replied, “Baba, I spent several hours singing songs in Your praise.”
Baba looked happy and gestured, “Fit for the spiritual path.” As Sulloo had obeyed Baba immediately without question, Baba gave him some guidelines to follow. They were: he should never tell a lie to anyone; he should abstain from lustful actions, smoking, and alcohol; and he should not eat meat, fish, or eggs. Further, Baba instructed Sulloo to meditate for an hour every day and to write “Om Parabrahma Baba” for another hour daily.
On the last day of Sulloo’s visit, Baba ordered Vishnu to make arrangements for his return to Nagpur. Sulloo was taken by car to Poona on the first leg of this trip; and from there a train ticket to Nagpur was bought for him. In short, Baba paid for his entire return fare. What a royal send-off from the King to one of His teenage lovers! He had come to Baba penniless but was leaving with the coffers of his heart filled with real spiritual treasure. He arrived safely in Nagpur, where he gave a full account of his stay with Baba to the Jessawala family.
After this initial meeting, a rapport was established between Sulloo and Baba which continued to grow through the years. Baba sowed the seed of love divine in Sulloo’s heart, and in time this seed began to germinate and flourish as naturally and spontaneously as a bud opening its brightly colored petals to the sunlight. In early 1954 he was inspired to compose songs about Baba in both Hindi and Marathi. Compiled in Meher Prakash Bhajanwali, these songs were the fragrant flowering of Sulloo’s love for the eternal Beloved.
Compilation by TrustMeher
Excerpts from Lord Meher reproduced with kind permission of Bhau Kalchuri. Excerpts from Glimpses of the God Man – by Bal Natu, reproduced with kind permission of the Sheriar Press. All quotes of Avatar Meher Baba copyright of Avatar Meher Baba Trust, kings Road, Ahmednagar. No part of the published material be reproduced in any form without prior permission.