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Avatar Meher Baba Pune Centre Celebrating 50 years!
Beloved Baba's Birth Day Celebration at Pune Centre.
Because of His loving and sober nature and his attitude of helping others, he was always surrounded by many friends from all castes and religions without any distinction. He was their natural leader and well-wisher. They all loved him and followed his advice. In the later period, most of them became his ardent lovers and followers. He also started the Cosmopolitan club in the Camp area. At this time, his heart was filled with love and mind with the divine knowledge and He felt an urge to impart this knowledge to circle of friends. He started gathering his friends at the area called New Modi Khana, in the house of Munshi Abdul Rehman and started imparting them the spiritual knowledge that had naturally occurred to him.
Jal, Meher Baba’s younger brother, once mentioned to me that after that eventful kiss by Hazarat Babajan on Merwan’s forehead, when Merwan returned home that night, his whole personality had undergone a complete transformation that cannot be explained in words. Without talking to or even looking at anyone in the house, Merwan headed straight to his room. Later, this change was noticed by Merwan’s old as well as new friends when they used to meet at Munshi Abdul Rehman’s house in New Modhikana. It is interesting to note that though Munshi Abdul Rehman was an elderly person, he held Merwan in high regard.
We believe that this gathering was the first Centre that was started by Meher Baba himself. This activity of collecting people together, imparting them the knowledge of God, singing the glory of the Perfect Masters and kindling love for God in the hearts of people present, was further continued in an area called Kasba Peth.
In those days, when Merwan was mostly in a dazed state and was not particularly ‘doing anything’, Shirin was all the time worried about the future of her favourite son Merwan because of His abnormal behavior. To keep Him engaged, she asked Merwan’s friend Beheram Irani to secure liquor license. Beheram obtained the required license and started a Toddy shop (toddy is a mild intoxicating drink obtained from the fruits of Palm tree) in partnership with Merwan who had fully not recovered from the influence of God Intoxication. Merwan started doing all the manual work in the toddy shop but simultaneously, also began gathering people in a small room in the neighborhood on regular basis singing bhajans , qawwalis and giving discourses. The gathering of people soon got attracted towards Merwan’s magnetic personality and started following his advice and carrying out his instructions. This course of activity which started in and around 1918 continued till 1921. In 1921, Merwan went on to stay at Sakori with another of his Perfect Masters, Upasani Maharaj, whom he had been frequenting, for the last time and then returned to Pune after 6 months. Here, at Pune, he selected a place on Fergusson College road and he got a small Jhopdi built. While he started living in the hut even during night time, the place was also used for spiritual gatherings of his lovers and followers. During this period, his lovers started adoring Him with the name Meher Baba. The activities gathered momentum with the circle of His fellow-disciples expanding. In May 1922, Meher Baba decided to shift to Mumbai and along with 40 chosen friends, left for Mumbai making the journey on foot. He had completed this phase of his work in Pune. The work started in Modi Khana, spread to Kasba Peth and continued further at Fergusson college road Jhopdi. I feel this phase was for choosing apostles for His future work for which He had descended on earth as Avatar of the Age.
Thus the seed of collective activity for the cause of the God was sown in Pune by Meher Baba himself. We have a strong feeling that Meher Baba made a beginning of his mission at Pune and it is interesting to see how this seed of collective activity germinated, grew and fructified in the years that followed.