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Avatar Meher Baba Pune Centre Celebrating 50 years!
Beloved Baba's Birth Day Celebration at Pune Centre.
Activities of Poona Centre were going on well. KKR had started organizing the work methodically and dedicatedly, taking a lead and preparing himself to carry out any type of work without depending upon others. In this work, many Baba lovers were helping him. With the risk of inadvertently omitting some names, we would like to mention few names who were on the forefront in the Centre activity - Bhawsar, Shankarrao Doiphhode, Homai Malati, Narayanrao Vhavale, Ali Ramjoo, Sayaji More, Krishna Bandellu, KrishnaraoThade, Rashid Shaikh, Shri L Venkayya Subramanyam, P.K. Chavan ,Govind Raju and his two sons and several others. A group mainly comprising K.N. Soman, D.N. Irani, Madhavrao Kantak, and Subhash Pokhle was helping in publication work, in translations and in preparing talks.
KKR was a voracious reader. Collecting passages from various books and typing them and using them in his talks and compilations of small books was his major occupation. In his early days, once he had an opportunity to meet Baba at the Bindra house where Jessawala family was staying. Baba’s leg was in cast after the Satara car accident. Madhusudan and Digamber Gadekar introduced KKR to Baba. KKR was carrying few Baba books. Baba made some casual enquiries about him and felt happy. KKR asked Baba how and in what ways he could work for Baba and whether he was required to follow any spiritual practice. On this Baba reacted sharply and said, “What? Do you want to become a yogi? No, nothing doing”. Then Baba looked at the books that KKR was carrying, gave it a cursory look and then said, “You are already doing what you are required to do. And remember, eat, drink and be merry and do my work as a pleasant hobby.” In this short interaction, Baba confirmed the course of KKR’s entire remaining life.
During this time KKR was completely possessed by this thought that Poona Baba lovers should have a place for the Baba Centre of their own. He expressed this thought to several senior members of the Poona group. Some of the senior members were not in favor of this project. There was a tussle of personal egos coming in the way. Moreover, Poona lovers, who were mostly belonging to the lower middle class category, could not even imagine of an independent building for the Centre and the funding needed. But this thought was constantly alive in KKR’s mind, making him restless and not allowing him to even sleep peacefully. One day, he did what was the best way to deal with this issue. He placed this matter before Baba. He argued, “Baba, Poona is your birth place and there is a need for a Centre with a building of its own. Your lovers should be able to assemble there whenever they want, they should be able to sing your name and glory and share your love amongst themselves and with other people.” Baba was attentively and lovingly listening to this young man’s dream. Expressing his anxiety and probably to test this man’s resolve, he asked KKR tauntingly, “You talk of big things but where is the money? How are you going to fund this project?” On this KKR replied, “Baba, from my monthly salary, I have been saving money after spending on my needs and sending some amount to my parents as my duty towards them. So far, I have accumulated this much amount (KKR told some figure to Baba which was not adequate but sizeable) and I am prepared to put this entire saving and my future saving in this project. Whatever additional amount that is needed, I will collect from the lovers in Pune and from my acquaintances and raise the balance amount.” Appreciating KKR’s courage and enthusiasm, Baba said, “If that is so, then go ahead. I will help you.” Thereafter, Baba directed his brother Jal to go to Andhra for collecting funds for the Poona Centre’s project. Accordingly, Jal toured Andhra to raise money. The search for suitable land within Poona City area started and the land was located. The purchase deal was signed, architect and contractors were appointed, plans got approved, and the work was progressing. At every step, KKR was seeking Baba’s instructions and as a result, the mandali started feeling that KKR was bothering Baba too much. Besides this, there were conflicts and ego clashes between senior and younger Baba lovers in Poona, and Baba had to put his mind to these disputes also. The seniors felt that KKR was aggressively moving to the achievement of the goal that almost became his personal goal, and that they were either being sidelined or were being reduced to insignificant value. However, with His masterly tact, Baba was not allowing the equilibrium to get disturbed.