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A History of Meherabad


1921


Khansaheb Kaikhushru and Gulmai Irani, disciples of Meher Baba, bought the property that was to become known as Meherabad. This property had served as a military post of the British Army.


1923


On the 4th of May, the property was visited for the first time by Meher Baba, the Avatar of the age. Baba walked from Khushru Quarters (now known as the Meher Nazar Trust Compound) in Ahmednagar and went about five kilometers along the Dhond-Manmad Road before stopping to sit by a neem tree near an old well. Baba and His mandali, or circle of closest disciples, began a short stay in the property's former post office building, and Baba soon named the property Meherabad, which means "compassion flourishing."


1924


In January, Gilori Shah, a saint who had been Queen Victoria's cook, dropped his body. By April his tomb was finished being built, as directed by him years earlier, very close to where Baba sat when first coming to the property.

Around the 24th of March, Baba and His mandali began a stay at Meherabad that lasted until the 26th of May. The men mandali worked to clear the land and restore the buildings. In April, construction began on the Jhopdi, a word that means "hut." The men mandali helped the mason by carrying earth and stone in ghamelas (rounded pans), so this time became known as the "Ghamela Yoga" period. The Jhopdi was the first building built at Meherabad, and Baba used it for His living quarters.

It was also during the "Ghamela Yoga" period that Baba would gather around His mandali every day from 3 to 4:30 p.m. to sing seven names of God ("Khuda, Paramatma, Allah, Ahuramazda, Ram, Yezdan, Hu") to a melody He had composed. Baba changed these names to "Hari, Paramatma, Allah, Ahuramazda, God, Yezdan, Hu" when He gave them to the Meher Ashram students to repeat every day in 1927.

1925

On the 25th of January, Baba and His mandali began a stay at Meherabad that lasted until the 25th of November 1926.

In February, Baba's women mandali began to live in the Post Office.

On the 21st of March, the Meher Charitable Dispensary and Hospital opened at the military camp's former mess quarters, which were later called the Old Bungalow or Dharmshala. It lasted for 19 months and cared for over 7,500 patients.

The Hazrat Babajan School opened on the 25th of March in a bamboo structure some distance from the Post Office, with almost 200 students of different castes receiving a free education. Regarding Meherabad's development, Baba later noted that He "took an active part in every phase, including the cleaning of latrines."

On the 10th of July, the Jhopdi became the place where Baba began His great silence that lasted for over forty-three years. Baba dictated about His silence, "When he [the God-man] speaks, Truth is more powerfully manifested than when He uses either sight or touch to convey it. For that reason Avatars usually observe a period of silence lasting for several years, breaking it to speak only when they wish to manifest the Divine Will, and world-wide transformation of consciousness then takes place."

Three days later, on the 13th of July, the Jhopdi also became the place where Baba started writing a book about which He conveyed, "In the future, this work will be the Universal Scripture for the world." The location of this book is not currently known.

On the 11th of October, Baba began to sleep in the Table House, a room by the Post Office that was 5 ½ feet wide, 7 ½ feet long, and a little over 3 feet high, and He also continued to write "The Book" in the Table House, among other places.

Baba lit the dhuni fire for the first time on 10th November after some farmers from the nearby village of Arangaon asked Him to make it rain during a severe drought. It rained heavily shortly after the dhuni was lit, as it also did when the dhuni was lit on the 1st and 2nd anniversaries of its first lighting. Baba once said about the dhuni, "The fire is symbolic of divine love and the wood represents the lower self which is to be burned in that fire."

Sometime during the year at Meherabad, Baba told His women mandali about Mehera Irani, His closest female disciple: "Mehera is my Radha. Her love is unique. She is most special to me."


1926

Baba and His mandali began a stay at Meherabad on the 25th of December that lasted until the 3rd of June 1928.

On the 11th of January, Baba wrote an arti or devotional song at Meherabad named "Bujawe Naar," which is also known as the "Gujarati Arti."

Baba gave darshan to approximately 50,000 people at Meherabad on the 18th of February at the meeting hall called Sai Darbar ("The Court of Sai"), named after Sai Baba of Shirdi, one of Baba's Masters. Baba once explained, "To have my Real Darshan is to find me."

On the 7th of October, Baba disclosed that Meherabad "is the most important. It is the best for those on the spiritual path. Despite visiting other places for work, it is best to return here."


1927

The 1st of May saw the opening ceremony of the Meher Ashram, a free boys school whose object was to impart a "spiritual education." It opened at the Family Quarters in Arangaon and was later shifted to Upper Meherabad.

In June, Baba had a small hut of bamboo, wood, and tin built where His Samadhi now stands. After the hut's walls were rebuilt with stone, Baba began to sleep in a pit that had been dug inside the structure, which came to be called the Crypt Room.

To accommodate the Meher Ashram students, in June Baba had doors added to the containers of the property's former water tank, which later became known as Meher Retreat.

While secluded in the pit that had been dug inside His Crypt Room, on the 10th of November Baba began a fast on coffee and milk that lasted for almost 5 ½ months.

Shortly after the 10th of December, some of the Meher Ashram students who had developed an intense longing to be with Baba were kept near Him in Upper Meherabad in a room to the west of His Crypt Room. This was the beginning of what would become known as the Prem Ashram, the Abode of Love Divine. "You will see how many of these boys will be saints!" predicted Baba.

1928

Hazrat Babajan, one of Baba's Masters, visited Him at Meherabad on the 1st of April, a day that Baba stated was "the most eventful and significant day of my life!"

1930

On the 15th of November, Baba began a seclusion in Panchvati Cave, which is located just to the east of Meher Retreat.

1933

Work started on a bathroom, kitchen, and tin shed behind Meher Retreat on the 15th of September, and in November the East Room of Meher Retreat became the residence of Baba's women mandali.

1935

On the 15th of July, Baba began a seclusion in the cabin recently constructed near His Crypt Room, and this cabin became His living quarters.

1937

The Rahuri Cabin, which had served as Baba's living quarters in 1936 at Rahuri when He had a mad and mast ashram there, was moved to Meherabad in May. Much of Baba's work involved contacting masts (pronounced "musts"), and Baba revealed, "Those who lose their bodily consciousness in divine love are called masts…My love for them is like that of a mother for her children" and "When I utter the Word, God's existence will be proved, and for that to be done the help of the masts, saints and walis is essential. I am taking their help." One of Baba's favorite masts was named Mohammed. Along with the other masts at Rahuri, he was brought to Meherabad to continue working with Baba in the mast ashram, and he spent most of the rest of his life at Meherabad.

1938

Baba's Crypt Room took on the form we see today at His Samadhi as stones from the demolished Post Office were used in the Crypt Room’s reconstruction. Naoroji Dadachanji designed the dome under Baba's guidance, and Swiss artist Helen Dahm painted the murals inside the structure. Baba later dictated that His tomb is of "immense spiritual importance."

Also during this year, the Hospital Building was built behind the Crypt Room. It served as a maternity hospital as well as the home of the Meher Baba Journal.

By the 25th of August, the upper story of Meher Retreat was constructed as a dormitory for Baba's Western women disciples who were coming to stay at Meherabad.

1940

In April, a compound made of bamboo was attached to the Hospital Building to make room for the mast ashram.

1942

The dhuni was lit on the 12th of January in remembrance of Upasani Maharaj, one of Baba's Masters, and Baba ordered that the it always be lit on the 12th of each month at Meherabad.

1944

On 23rd December, Baba laid the foundation stone for the Memorial Tower near Masaji's grave across the road from the dhuni pit. The tower is currently being constructed and will have on it an inscription with the names of Baba's departed disciples. "A visible memorial such as a tower, which symbolizes their life of unfailing loyalty and love, can itself become the medium for inspiring generations to come," reads part of Baba's message prepared for this ceremony.

1948

A new bungalow opened on the 23rd of June. This building included a large meeting hall that would become known as Mandali Hall, as well as living quarters for the men mandali, a kitchen, and bathing rooms.

1949

On the 26th of September, Baba sold the Meherabad Hill and Lower Meherabad properties to two of His disciples, keeping in His name only His future tomb and the land on which it stood. Baba gave up His worldly holdings to live the New Life of "hopelessness and helplessness," "complete renunciation," "one hundred percent cheerfulness," "perfect humility," and total reliance upon God. The New Life lasted for over two years and consisted of the four phases of "labor, begging, gypsy, and langoti." At times, it entailed Baba and His twenty companions engaging in manual labor, walking ten to fifteen miles daily, begging for their food, and eating one meal per day. Baba also bathed masts, mad persons, and the poor and gave clothing to them; fed the poor and had money distributed to them; bowed down to 10,000 sadhus and other spiritual seekers at the Kumbh Mela, a gathering of spiritual aspirants; and passed through a final stage of "intensive seeking of God as Truth through the achievement of Manonash," a word that means "annihilation of the mind." Baba stated that "The New Life was the voluntary suspension of the state of Perfect Master to become a common man and a Perfect Seeker…"

1954

From the 11th of September to the 30th of September, approximately 1,000 Indian men and 20 Western men were with Baba at Meherabad for a sahavas program that became known as "The Three Incredible Weeks." Baba once commented that sahavas "is the intimacy of give-and-take between lovers."

1955

Baba held four one-week sahavas programs at Meherabad from the 3rd of November to the 3rd of December with Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, and Telugu language groups totaling about 650 Indian men.

1958 

From the 14th of February to the 27th of February, almost 1,500 Indian disciples came to Meherabad for a sahavas program with Baba. This sahavas was "chiefly" for women, but the men who accompanied them also attended.

On the 10th of July, in Mandali Hall Baba gave out His Universal Message, which begins, "I have come not to teach but to awaken," and concludes, "I had to come, and I have come. I am the Ancient One." Baba told His disciples to "spread my last message far and wide…It is universal and for all."

1959

On the 6th of April, Baba established the Avatar Meher Baba Trust "[f]or the upkeep and maintenance of the 'Estate' in general and of the Settlor's Tomb in particular; and [f]or the development and further building up of 'the Estate' so as to provide, irrespective of caste, creed, race, religion, sex or nationality, all possible and practical facilities and amenities including living quarters, shelters, dispensaries, hospitals, schools, libraries etc. for the visitors to the Settlor's TOMB and for the those who would prefer to live near the Tomb from time to time," among other objects of the Trust.

1969

Avatar Meher Baba dropped His body on the 31st of January at 12:00 p.m. at Meherazad to live "in the hearts of all His lovers" until He comes again after 700 years. Several years earlier, Baba had dictated, "My body may drop at any time, but remember me constantly with love." Starting on the 1st of February, Baba's body was kept near blocks of ice in His Samadhi to give His lovers one last glimpse of His physical form before it was interred at 12:15 p.m. on the 7th of February.

Sources: Most of the facts were derived from “Historic Meherabad” and most of the quotations were taken from Lord Meher

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