The New Life: The incident that turned a revolutionary into a staunch lover (Part-1 of 2)

Meher Baba at Mahabaleshwar, 16 October, 1950

[Baba left Dehra Dun on 17th June 1950 to move to Satara. From Satara Baba and the group moved to Mahabaleshwar on 1st October. Baba called for a meeting with Old Life men disciples at Mahabaleshwar on 16th October 1950. Baba steps into Old Life for four hours. The below incident happened during this meeting.]

After Baba greeted the entire group of nearly 200 men, He indicated for everyone to walk to the large nearby hall, which had formerly been the stable for racehorses belonging to the Aga Khan. The old stable, made of stone with a corrugated iron roof, formed the outside of the structure, roughly 40 by 80 feet, leaving a 15 by 40 foot space in the interior, which was an open-air courtyard. (Years earlier, this same structure had been used by Baba as a mast ashram.)

They entered the hall through a large, wide door made of weathered teak, which creaked on its hinges. A wooden chair was placed in one of the interior wings for Baba. He took this seat, and the New Life companions gathered around Him. Dr. Ghani was asked to sit on His right, and the rest of the group quietly spread out on the ground. Baba asked everyone to relax and to make themselves comfortable.

Just before beginning the meeting, Baba gestured for Vishnu to close the wide door of the stable. As he was shutting the door, Vishnu noticed Gustadji slowly making his way toward the door after having relieved himself. In consideration for his age and long connection with Baba, Vishnu paused to let him in, and in that slight delay, two uninvited men slipped in.

Baba’s presence filled the hall, and all eyes followed His every movement. Some men were in tears over this joyous reunion after one year of separation from their Beloved.

Suddenly, the two men who had slipped in came forward and bowed down at Baba’s feet. In response, Baba immediately bowed down to each of them. They were taken aback and again bowed down to Him. Clearly displeased, Baba again bowed to them until Eruch spoke up and told them about Baba’s instruction not to show Him any devotion. The men immediately understood their mistake and quietly left.

Baba then asked Vishnu how the men could have gotten in. Vishnu explained that he had waited for Gustadji. Baba abruptly replied, “Who is Gustadji against my word? Even if you had seen God approaching to enter, you should have closed the doors! How many times have I emphasized obedience, and yet you do not realize it!”

Vishnu stood quietly and admitted his mistake, but the mood of the meeting was now unexpectedly tense.

Then, suddenly, Baba asked those in the gathering whether it was proper for Him to lose His temper.

Before anyone could reply, He told one of the men from the gathering to come up and slap Him. The man was so nervous that He only gave Baba a light tap on the cheek. Baba was not impressed. “Is this the way you slap when you punish someone?” He asked.

He called Minoo Kharas, a long-time follower from Karachi, to show how it was done. An ex-policeman, Minoo came forward and gave Baba such a resounding slap that Baba’s face instantly turned bright red.

Baba beamed with pleasure, but the episode created quite a stir. Some said later that, ironically, Baba’s divinity shone through all the more after that.

-“Meher Baba’s New Life”, p482
Photo source: “Meher Baba’s New Life”


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