Meher Baba In The Great Seclusion, part 5 of 11
ON THE EVE OF THE GREAT SECLUSION
Ramjoo Abdulla and C. D. Deshmukh
Just as Meherabad is near the village of Arangaon, five miles
to the south of Ahmednagar; Meherazad is in the vicinity of
Pimpalgaon village, about 8 miles from Ahmednagar towards
the north. The two local centres of Baba's activities in the old
life are within sight of each other from the tops of the two
respective small hills adjoining the places. Baba had at one
time or the other in the past retired into seclusions on both
these hills known as the Meherabad Hill and the Meherazad
For the momentous seclusion, which we are now describing,
Baba selected a small open space surrounded on three sides
by walls of the adjoining Ashram buildings at lower
Meherazad. The fourth side was closed temporarily with
"tattas" (bamboo-matting). Inside this enclosure, under the
shade of a nearby "Neem" tree, a special cabin was
constructed of what was once known as Baba's "blue bus,"
the motor vehicle in which he had toured extensively years
ago. The bus-body was mounted on empty oil drums fixed in
brick and lime; and it was in this bus-body and enclosure that
he spent the greater period of this seclusion.
The daily routine for the 40 days for all concerned was
arranged to the minutest details a few days in advance.
Special timetables, duty-charts and various other instructions
including for emergencies, were all typed out, translated
where necessary and distributed to respective parties to
ensure complete order and harmony during the seclusion.
Barring a few exceptions, everyone was expected to observe
silence and fast including Kaka (Baria) who was to wait upon
Baba inside the cabin or the enclosure as and when required
to do so by ring of a call-bell.
On June 21st, Baba had invited all his local disciples and
devotees to be present at 7 o'clock sharp that morning to
participate in what he said was the "purification ceremony" to
keep the place free from maleficent spirits and evil influences.
It chiefly consisted of recitations from the Avastha, Gita, Bible
and the Quran that were read by Kaikobad, Kalemama,
Donkin and Khaak respectively. Baba freely intercepted all
the recitations in explaining to those present the import of the
different divine communications. The gist of his say on this
occasion is summarised thus: "These are all but different
approaches to the same one Truth i.e. God; and therefore the
real purport of each Book is just the same. These approaches
can be broadly divided into two kinds direct and indirect,
that is, Impersonal and Personal. In spite of such distinctions,
equally same results can be achieved and have been achieved
through either of the ways.... What can be understood in a
flash by spiritual experience takes ages to grasp intellectually....
As regards my seclusion, I have hundred per cent reasons
of my own to retire from tomorrow for 40 days. This should
not be looked upon as "chilla-kashi" or meditation and so
forth.... I am free in every way but I am going to get myself
bound voluntarily. I will also intensify my silence and will not
bring out even the least sound by mouth." These comments
from Baba were followed by a brief interval; and then there
was, by Baba's order, a Kirtan by C. D. Deshmukh (who
happens to be one of the writers of this account).
Thus on the eve of the great seclusion, the entire atmosphere
was charged with great spiritual reactions, as is evinced by the
writings of Princess Norina Matchabelli, one of the close
disciples of Baba: "The Truth ... has been previously revealed
by the Avatars and Prophets of the past. But in the centuries,
that rolled on, it got wrapt up in the phraseology of its learned
exponents. Used by many people and in many contexts, their
high sounding words have acquired the crust of careless usage.
These words then begin to conceal the Truth rather than reveal
it. They are worshipped rather than understood.... We meet
these words in the mouths of friends and foes. But they only
astound without enlightening.... Hence arises the need for ...
new language, which the world must understand ... with the
simplicity of children.... Once again the world is receiving the
Truth without garb. Drink deep at the fountain.... Entertain in
yourself the Go-back-to-God drive...."
MEHER BABA IN THE GREAT SECLUSION, pp. 8-10
1949 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust