THE NEW LIFE PHASE BEGINS
The New Life march began at the railway crossing. After walking a short distance, Baba bade every companion to stand behind Him. Then He Himself and the companions reverentially touched the ground with their fingers. While bowing down to the ground, Baba silently took an oath, the contents of which He never disclosed.
After a minute, with upraised hands, Baba asked all to utter the following prayer, "O God, make this New Life for all of us a success and joy eternal."
The journey on foot continued for a few furlongs. The wind blew harder and brought more rain. In place of raincoats the companions, like the Indian farmers, put gunny bags on their heads. Baba seemed happy with this whim of the weather and gestured, "A good sign!" The rains continued unabated; therefore, Baba and the companions were taken in cars to Supa, a distance of about twenty four kms. from Ahmednagar. The first halt at Chas, as previously planned, was skipped. At Supa, Sarosh and the others bade farewell to all and returned.
Baba and the women occupied the rest house at Supa. The men accommodated themselves in small rooms near a kitchen and a garage, in the same compound. Baba, squatting on the stone flooring, in the midst of His companions, explained the "three periods" preceding the New Life. The first was of relaxation; the second was of training in hard labor, begging, etc. The third which He termed as a "vacuum period" was to be of ten days, at the fag end of 1949. He concluded the chat by stating, "From January 1 onwards, characterizing the New Life, there will be 100% hopelessness and helplessness which even the gods will envy!"(2)
Baba assured all of His help in attuning themselves to the New Life. The earnest response expected of each companion was a literal compliance with Baba's orders. He also conveyed, "All should try to be hundred per cent truthful and speak the truth and truth alone whatever be the circumstances and consequences."
A new way of living started from the very first day. At Supa, Baba ordered all to take a bath and for this everyone had to fetch water from a well a furlong away. To Ghani it was an ordeal. Seeing him panting heavily, while carrying the bucket of water, Baba lent Ghani His childhood friend a helping hand. As if to compensate for this life which the Yeswallas were not used to, Baba, with a cheering smile, distributed chocolates and dried fruits to all. This trait of teasing and pleasing the companions was reminiscent of life with Baba in Manzil-e-Meem (Dadar, Bombay) in 1922 when He used to mix freely with His disciples.
During the first halt on the second day, Baba, sitting with the companions in the unfurnished garage, explained, "We are all on equal footing, from now on, in the New Life.... Baba is to be looked upon and treated as a friend.... In one respect alone Baba will be a Master towards all and that is in respect of demanding implicit obedience. In all other respects ... perfect freedom of behaving towards Baba should be observed. Such a freedom of behaving should not smack of beyadabi [impudence]. Barring this, all are free to indulge in humor, joviality, jokes and laughter. Nothing will please me more."(3)
Perhaps such a relationship holds the seed of the New Life wherein one has to be simultaneously friend and slave of the God-Man; fully free to remain honest to oneself, yet bound outright to the Divine Will of the Beloved. One has to be in readiness to share the Supper and to shoulder the Cross too. Was that the secret of the New Life?
(1) Meher Baba's youngest brother BACK
(2) Ghani's unpublished, Diary of the New Life, p. 7 BACK
(3) Ibid., p. 12
GLIMPSES OF THE GOD-MAN, MEHER BABA, Vol. 2, pp. 109-111
1979 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust