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Avatar Meher Baba Pune Centre Celebrating 50 years!
Beloved Baba's Birth Day Celebration at Pune Centre.
One incident which needs to be mentioned here shows how Baba was concerned about the wellbeing of the Poona Centre.
Once Baba asked KKR, “Do you know Mr. X? Have you asked for and taken any money from him for the Poona Centre’s work? I know you are mad with your Centre project.”
KKR told Baba “Yes, I know him. He appears to be a big man now. He has gotten a job as the Bombay agent of an industrial and mercantile company and has been quite rich. He lives behind the railway station and goes everywhere by taxi. But, I have not asked him for a donation. His wife sends two rupees to the Centre every month. That’s all I receive from them.”
Baba warned KKR not to take any money from that man. It was alright to accept one or two rupees for the Centre work, he clarified, but no large sum of money, even if he gave it on his own, so beware, Baba warned.
Foundation laying ceremony was fixed on 25-2-1961 and Baba sent Joseph Harb, an American Baba lover of the Sufi group, to lay the foundation. During all the years of KKR’s struggle while carrying out Baba work, I have noticed that some sensible people were very supportive of him. I would like to mention few names such as Adi Ghaswala, Beheram Dadachanji, Jhangu Sukhadwalla’s father, (all the three from Mumbai), Venkayya from Hyderabad, Dr. Hoshang Bharucha from Navsari and his brother from Pune, Burjor Bode and also the members of the Sufi group of America that was led by Murshid James Mackie. Another name that comes to my mind is that of Kutumb Shastri. Whatever may be the controversy that surrounded his tenure as the Chairman of Meher Baba Trust, Ahmednagar, his readiness to help Poona Centre in whatever manner, was exemplary. When the land proposed for Poona Centre was shown to him during one of his visits to Poona he advised KKR to purchase the adjoining plot also. RKKR told him that Poona lovers would not be in a position to raise an additional amount of Rs.30000/- that was required for buying these adjoining plots. Hearing this, Kutumb Shastri asked KKR to give him only 8 days to arrange for the money. He went to Andhra, his native state, to collect that extra amount. Kutumb Shastri did go to Andhra and managed to collect the required sum of money but by the time he returned to Pune with the money, the local people who were in close contact with the owner of the land, late Sardar Raste, had already influenced him to buy the land from him, denying this opportunity to the Poona Centre. Perhaps it was not to be as we wished but it was to be as per Baba’s Divine Will.
So it can be seen that KKR was always found struggling with counteracting forces; but at the same time, he was getting necessary help from Beloved Baba’s unseen guiding hands.
I have personally witnessed the opposition and the torturous times that KKR had to face during the initial period. KKR was unable to fathom as to how the people who have been close to Baba for many years could tacitly oppose the creation of a Baba Centre in Poona. Out of sheer frustration, he was provoked to write to Baba that the circumstances had become unbearable for him and that he wished to leave Poona and go far away to live a life in silence remembrance of Baba. Baba then called KKR and said to him, “It is because of you that I have involved myself in the Centre’s affair. How can you even think of leaving everything and going away?” Thereafter, Baba called a meeting of all the workers and also the mandali and discussed the whole issue with them. He listened to various arguments. At this time Baba used His masterly tactics. KKR was sitting on Baba’s left very close to Baba’s feet. Baba’s one hand was on KKR’s shoulder and Baba was gesturing with the other hand explaining to all present. Baba said, “If KKR leaves Poona and goes away, I will not step into Poona.” Later on KKR told us that when Baba was saying this, his fingers of the hand that was resting on KKR’s shoulder were so moving that KKR could hear in his mind Baba’s words that let your ego not get fluffed by this. Baba’s caution to the Poona Baba lovers had such a profound impact that thereafter the workers started working in cooperation with each other.