Bhauji’s first meeting with Baba – Part 1

READERS may be interested to know who this fish was that the Master was to catch. It was none other than the author – Veer Singh (Bhau) Kalchuri. Born in 1926, Bhau was 26, simultaneously studying for his master’s degree in public administration and a law degree. He was also doing research in chemistry for a master of science degree. At that time, Bhau had no special interest in spirituality, and in truth, did not understand what spiritual consciousness was. Still, he was a devotional soul, and considering this and his studious tendencies, his colleagues and professors had nicknamed him “Punditji.” He was in the habit of offering spontaneous prayers with all his heart, but beyond that he knew nothing of what it meant to serve God or the Avatar.

However, two months before Baba’s arrival in Nagpur, Bhau became restless and lost interest in his college studies. He went to Segaon, Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram near Wardha, but was not happy there. Returning to Nagpur, he went to a Ramakrishna ashram, but there too he was disappointed. Thinking he would become a renunciant and live for the rest of his life in the Himalayas, Bhau wrote to a swami in Rishikesh, and the swami called him to Rishikesh on January 9, 1953. Bhau decided to inform his family, and relieve himself of all worldly burdens before leaving society permanently.

In the meantime, he had read in the newspapers that Meher Baba was to come to Nagpur. He had never heard the name so did not think it would be worthwhile to wait for him. So, on December 25th he left Nagpur to meet his family, who resided 80 miles away. Clearing up matters for his wife and daughter, Bhau returned to Nagpur on the 30th. There he learned, again from the newspapers, that Baba was to give darshan in Saoner on the 31st [Dec, 1952]. He was surprised, as he was under the impression that this Meher Baba had come and gone. He did not know that Baba’s programs had been postponed. So, because there was still some time left before he was to go to Rishikesh, he considered taking Baba’s darshan at Saoner. His sister Nira, whom he occasionally visited, lived in Saoner and was known to many people there. Bhau decided to go for darshan the next day, taking with him his wife, Rama, and their seven-month-old baby daughter, Sheela.

… While getting down at the Saoner railway station and entering the town that day, Bhau Kalchuri surveyed this wonderful scene. Instead of going to his sister’s house, he, Rama and their baby went straight to the darshan pavilion. Baba had just entered the tent. People were made to sit on the ground in long rows, forming a seated queue for darshan. Bhau sat down among them. His influential relatives and friends saw him, and hastened to tell him he could approach the dais directly. But Bhau just sat there, content to wait his turn in the dust and heat. From a distance he had seen Meher Baba’s smile and was lost in what he saw.

As in other places, Baba first bowed down and gave prasad to seven poor, and then his message about his bowing down to the crowd was read aloud. He then made his namaskars to the assembly. Waves of love swelled in the Ocean within Meher Baba, but they were of a strange fire, both hot and soothing.The people sitting in the queues had to go to Baba by scooting toward him on the ground. When they got to Baba they would stand, and Baba would smile at some, kiss some, rest his hand in blessing on the heads of others. But when Bhau’s turn came and he stood in front of him, Baba looked in another direction and put a banana in his hand as prasad, without turning his face to him. Bhau was hustled away immediately, as there was a long queue of people waiting. The crowds were so dense that no person could stand before Baba for more than a few seconds.… Baba, being infinitely mischievous, played havoc with Bhau’s feelings. His heart was totally restless and it longed to speak with Baba, but Baba had not even looked at him. Bhau ate the entire banana – including the skin! It was not a banana but a spark of divine fire, and on consuming it his whole being began to burn!

–, p4020


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