Meher Baba 1956 car Accident place Udtara (Udtare) near Pune Pin Code 415513
ON 2ND DECEMBER 1956, at about 5:30 in the afternoon, while returning by car to Satara after a one-day excursion to Poona, Meher Baba met with a major automobile accident. Eruch had been driving, with Baba in the front seat and Vishnu, Pendu, and Nilu in back. At the town of Utdara, exactly opposite where Baba and twenty men mandali had played a game of cricket eighteen months earlier, the car suddenly veered out of control. Dr. Nilu was killed instantaneously. Pendu had his pelvis crushed and suffered brain damage; Eruch broke all of his ribs. Baba, for His part, sustained many injuries, most significantly, the fracturing of the rim of the cup in His right hip. Though He was subsequently able to walk again, despite medical predictions to the contrary, Baba never fully recovered from this injury; and from that time on, not a day passed for Him without physical pain.
On the morning after the accident, 3 December 1956, although in tremendous pain, Baba said:
The Hungarians suffered much in their recent struggle [against the Russians]. Many were lying wounded and helpless on the roads, away from their loved ones and from care or relief from pain. At least I am lying on a bed, with the care of good doctors and the love of all my lovers present and absent.
A few days before, Baba had remarked:
Nobody suffers in vain, for true freedom is spiritual freedom, and suffering is a ladder towards it. Man unknowingly suffers for God, and God knowingly suffers for man.
Vishnu (who was very close to Nilu) and Sadashiv Patil took Nilu’s body by car to Meherabad that day, where it was cremated. Nilu’s ashes were later buried at lower Meherabad, near the dhuni. Baba observed, “Nilu was particularly fortunate to have breathed his last in my physical proximity, and it is as he would have wanted it.”
Nilu used to joke that when it was his turn to die, he wanted it to be instantaneous and in Baba’s physical presence, and Baba would tease him about it. His death, therefore, did turn out as he wanted it. Baba had been particularly loving toward Nilu the previous week, sometimes even calling for sweets for him. And now the other mandali knew why.
At midnight on the 3rd, Don ( who had gone to Poona with Meherjee ) brought an osteopath from Poona named Dr. V. Bansod, who put Baba in a splint and had sandbag weights placed at the end of his leg. Baba was then able to sleep for three hours. Jalbhai, Meherjee and Savak shared nightwatch. Adi Sr. and Sarosh had arrived in Adi’s car, along with an ambulance, which Meherwan and Nusserwan had arranged for Eruch from Sassoon Hospital. Sarosh drove Dr. Bansod back to Poona in Meherjee’s car.
On the 4th the ambulance was sent back as it was decided not to remove Eruch to Poona. Ramjoo and Nusserwan saw Baba, along with Mani and Adi Sr. and points were reviewed for a Life Circular about the accident. ( the final draft is in the next paragraph ) Afterwards, Adi, Waman, Kaka Baria and Nusserwan returned to Ahmednagar.
The splint had been removed on the 4th because, with his legs propped up on pillows, it seemed to increase the pain. On 6 December, Baba’s pelvis and entire right leg were put in a plaster cast at the Civil Hospital, which helped, but he experienced recurrent muscle spasms and cramps which caused terrible pain.
On December 2, 1956, Baba had gone to Poona for a day. He was accompanied by Eruch, Pendu, Vishnu and Nilu, his mandali members. At around 4:45 p.m. of the same day, while returning to Satara, Baba and his party were involved in a severe accident which occurred about twelve miles outside Satara. The car was running normally and at moderate speed, when it seemed suddenly and inexplicably to go completely out of control and dashed against a stone culvert, landing eventually in a ditch on the other side of it. Baba and his men were badly injured and were immediately hospitalized, except Nilu who died without regaining consciousness. Dr. William Donkin, who attended to Baba, wrote in a report: “Minor abrasions and subcutaneous contusions on the forehead, nose and cheeks; a tear of the upper and lower surface of the tongue, sutured a few hours after the accident; and the upper rim of the acetabulum has been fractured, the broken chip of bone being slightly displaced. Surgical attention is now concentrated on the treatment of the hip injury.” Someone had asked Baba why, if he was the Avatar, was he the victim of so severe an accident and why he could not avert it. Baba replied, “What the Divine Will has decreed must and will happen, and if I am the Divine Personification you believe me to be then the last thing I would do is to avert or avoid it.”