Laxmikant Thade, another youth member of the group had recently migrated to Pune from Belgaum in search of a job. He got a Government job in the Social Welfare Department where he met Gadekar. LB Thade was also mesmerized by Baba’s love and has another group, mostly of his relatives and friends who had started developing interest in Meher Baba. Bundelly family, Sadashiv Rao Gaikwad, Ramchandra Rao Gaikawad, the lead singer, Madhusudan were members of this group, LB Thade became a link between the two groups and both these groups started meeting and interacting with each other, spreading Baba’s name.

During the time Meher Baba was in Pune in the early days, there were many families of all classes and communities, who loved and adored him. After Meher Baba left Pune on His Divine Mission and had substantially reduced his visits to Pune, there was a long period when no collective or group activity in Baba’s name was taking place here. Therefore, it was Ramchandra Gadekar who revived activities in Baba’s name at Pune. With his pioneering efforts, collective Baba activity in Pune was taking size and shape. This was the year 1947. As said earlier, at this time, Mr. Laxmikant Balwantrao Thade, a young boy in his 30’s, after securing B.Sc. degree, came to Pune from Belgaum in search of a job. He was the eldest amongst the siblings and had to support the large family. His younger brother, Krishnarao Thade was already studying agriculture sciences in Pune. His parents, Shri Balwantrao and Smt Laxmibai Thade were living in Belgaum bringing up other children, Narendra, Surendra were young boys and Kusum and Shobha were their sisters. It was the destiny of every member of this family to get linked with Meher Baba and later, love and serve him. Laxmikant Thade’s maternal grandparents, Mr Yellapa Bundellu and Laxmibai Bundellu, had settled in Pune. Yellapa and Laxmibai had seven children, 3 sons and 4 daughters. Among the sons, Venkant Swamy, Krishna Swamy and Narayan Swami were strongly drawn to Baba. Krishna and Narayan later became active workers of Poona Centre. Narayan also served the Trust post his retirement. Among sisters, Laxmibai Thade, LB Thade’s mother and Subhadra Bundellu who later married to Madhusudan, were ardent Baba Lovers. Here, I must give some more information about this remarkable lady called Laxmibai Thade. She was affectionately called Amma – meaning Mother - by all the young members of the group and she also shared the same love for us as she had for her own children. She had a caring nature and anyone who came in her contact, could feel and experience the unselfish love in abundance that flowed from her pure heart equally for all, without any pre-conditions or qualifications of the recipient. I have never heard her speaking ill of others or back-biting though she had a responsibility of running a large household with these extended family members with all kinds of friction and deprivation. She was large hearted and tolerant. Meher Baba who is the embodiment of love recognized her nature in His all-knowingness and always would show tenderness towards her. On some special occasions, she had the privilege of cooking special food items for Baba and mandali and Baba always relished the food prepared by her. Her sister, Subhadra had a melodious voice and on many occasions, would sing before Baba. Her marriage with Madhusudan happened with Baba playing a leading role and was sanctified in Baba’s presence. Her contribution in the formation and functioning of Poona Bhajan Mandali is notable and important. Subhadra’s melodious voice had a charming effect on the listeners. Whoever heard her singing, couldn’t suppress his or her desire to attend the gatherings where she would be singing. Mali Baba, a saintly figure of the locality, was very fond of her singing and later, she also used this talent for pleasing Meher Baba. She was the first amongst the newly formed Poona Bhajan Group to have Meher Baba’s Darshan and the occasion was the inauguration of the newly built Mandali Hall at Meherabad. This was also her first time when she sang for Baba. Her singing was obstructed for quite a long time as she was down with a serious disease and was virtually bed-ridden. In that serious condition, as she felt she was going to die, she ventured to go to Meherabad all alone for having last Darshan of Baba. Baba had then said ‘You will not die even if you are banged against a rock. You have to do much work for me’. After returning to Pune, she followed Baba’s advice for her health. Not only did she miraculously recover from her ailment, but true to Baba’s words, she also resumed her singing and truly worked for Baba for years thereafter.

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