Symbols of the world's religions

               

BABA AND THE COMPANIONS SET OUT

Bhau Kalchuri

 
At last, after a torrential rain during the night, the morning of the long-awaited day arrived — Sunday, October 16th, 1949.

The men awoke in Meherabad at 2:00 a.m. to prepare for the journey. By now, it was cool outside with only a light drizzle. The men bathed and then had a cup of hot tea at 3:00 a.m. Due to the wet weather, the foot journey to the railway crossing in Ahmednagar was canceled. Instead, Baba told Sarosh to send a bus to Meherabad for the men.

Bidding a sad farewell to life at Meherabad, the men boarded the bus to the railway crossing, arriving a little after 4:00 a.m. It was drizzling when they got there.

Meanwhile, at Meherazad the women woke in the dark, and when the new electric generator was turned on, they used the light to wash themselves. Then they had breakfast and a hot cup of tea before finishing any last minute packing. As Mani said later, "It was always a mad dash around Baba." This time was no exception.

Eruch drove the Buick around to the front of the main house near Baba's room and loaded bedrolls and traveling gear into the car. Baba soon came out, dressed in a coat and sadra (a thin cotton robe), and climbed into the front seat beside Eruch and Kaka. Mani, Dr. Goher and Meheru stepped out onto the veranda, and for some time paced back and forth without making a move for the car.

Finally, one of the women came over to the car and whispered something in Baba's ear. He then conveyed to Eruch that after so many years living in seclusion, Mehera was shy about getting into a car that had no curtains.

Eruch quickly improvised a curtain and then Mehera, Mani and Meheru took their places in the back seat of the car. Goher was nowhere to be seen. After some time, Baba asked Eruch to honk the horn and immediately Goher ran out, saying she could not close the door to His room; dampness due to the recent monsoon rains had caused the wooden door to swell. Baba then sent Eruch to close the door, which he accomplished with a forceful push and kick.

A wave of nostalgia swept over the women as they drove off at 3:30 a.m., leaving behind their life of quiet intimacy in Meherazad and the colorful gardens in full bloom

Meanwhile, the rest of the men waited in the dark at the level railway crossing near the station. To protect themselves from the rain, they had put gunny sacks over their heads.

After some time, the headlights of Baba's car were seen in the distance. When the car pulled up, Baba and the four women stepped out while Eruch and Kaka went to join the men. Adi Sr. soon arrived by car from Ahmednagar with Sarosh, and Adi Jr. came in his car. Aside from them, Padri had brought a number of Meherabad lovers who secretly hope that their tears would prevent Baba for leaving, but Baba, upon seeing them, immediately said, "No tears," so they were forced to compose themselves as they waited for Baba to signal the beginning of the New Life.

As Baba was about to start walking with His companions, the rain suddenly picked up, so Sarosh asked Baba if he could follow them by car to the first stop in case the rain necessitated transport. Adi jr. also offered his car, and to their surprise, Baba consented for them both to follow. In that moment, the companions learned that there was nothing rigid about Baba's plans in this phase of His work. Later, they would find that change was an integral part of the New Life.

Long before the city had awakened, Baba and the companions walked a short distance beyond the level railway crossing and Baba gestured for them to stand behind Him and observe silence. He knelt down and solemnly touched the earth with His hands and then his forehead. The companions followed suit. While remaining kneeling, Baba took a silent oath, and after almost a minute, He raised His hands and signaled for the companions to recite the following prayer:

O God! Make this New Life for all of us a success and joy eternal!

The journey on foot resumed with Baba and the four women walking in front, followed by the sixteen men 200 yards behind them.

Suddenly, the rain let up, which allowed Baba to walk hand in hand with Mehera while everyone else followed. Mehera wore slacks, while the other women wore punjabi outfits. Baba had a scarf tied around His head to hide His long hair.

At one point, Baba stopped and asked, "Can anyone tell me what oath I took during the minute of silence?"

Several conjectures were offered, but none was correct.

Baba told them, "It is a secret and cannot be divulged."

The wind picked up and the heavy rain returned. In the absence of rain gear, the men again took out gunny sacks and put them over their heads.

Baba was happy with the rainy weather and gestured, "A good sign!" He said that it portended the success of the ultimate end of the New Life, satyanashi, the utter ruination that He had been speaking about for so long.

 

MEHER BABA'S NEW LIFE, pp. 113-117
2008 © Bhau Kalchuri

               

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