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Avatar Meher Baba Pune Centre Celebrating 50 years!
Beloved Baba's Birth Day Celebration at Pune Centre.
Meher Baba visited the construction site of Poona Centre on a couple of occasions. Once the construction of the main hall, the adjoining Baba’s room, the office room and a small kitchen was ready, KKR invited Baba for Centre’s inauguration. This was a ceremonial Pratishthapana of our Beloved Meher Baba in the hearts of each one of us in Poona. Baba graciously accepted the invitation. 1st May 1964 was chosen as the day for inauguration. Baba did not want this to be a public function and wanted this to be limited to some families close to Baba. KKR was instructed to send the invitations accordingly. On the inaugural day, by 7 am, the Centre complex and the surrounding area was packed with Baba families, eagerly awaiting fulfilment of the dream that they had carried in their hearts for many years. The doors of the hall were kept locked with a seven-coloured ribbon tied across for the ceremonial ribbon cutting function at Baba’s hands. Key and scissors were ready at hand. Exactly at 8 am, Baba arrived in a car accompanied by some mandali members and was received with the cheers that reverberated in the atmosphere in the morning calm, “AVATAR MEHER BABA KI JAI”. Baba cut the ribbon, opened the lock and put His first step inside the hall and went around looking at the photographs hung on the wall and then took His seat on the cushioned chair placed on the dais. The Poona bhajan mandali sang the bhajans for the first time in that hall. This was followed by a Darshan program. Baba gave his darshan and his loving touch to each one of us present on the occasion. He was taken to the room that was especially reserved for him and was aptly called ‘Baba Room’. There, Baba sat on the bed and had a glass of juice. Thereafter, he entered the office and sat on the chair for a while.
While leaving, Baba promised that he would return for a large Darshan program after one year since this was a closely held private affair. Even then, more than 100 lovers were present. Thus the baton of Baba work brought to Poona by Ramchandra Gadekar was taken over by Dr Ghani’s boys with continued mentorship from Gadekar; and then through the hands of these young boys and girls, the baton ultimately was passed on and was secured to Ramkrishnan’s hands who successfully completed the last lap which culminated in Poona lovers being rewarded with their own place at Poona, that was guided by Beloved himself, in the form of a beautiful building.
Baba kept His promise and gave His Darshan on the first anniversary of the Centre. Thousands of Baba lovers from all over India had gathered at the Centre on the occasion.
1st May 2014 is the Golden Jubilee Anniversary of the Centre’s building.
The first governing body of the Centre was formed in Baba’s presence and was approved by him. The following members were nominated by Baba:
1. Sadashiv Shelke Patil (President)
2. Meherjee Karkaria
3. KN Soman
4. Bapusaheb Shinde
5. DS Bhavsar
6. DN Irani
7. KK Ramakrishnan (life-long Secretary)
The draft memorandum was approved and Baba had remarked, “This will be a model for other centres to follow.”
This was the period when many Baba books were published in the USA or Australia. These books that were published abroad were not affordable to the Indian Baba lovers, thereby, it remained out of bound even to those who had interest in reading them. KKR felt that many Baba lovers were deprived of the easy access to reading Baba books, one, due to two barriers of language and cost.
KKR thought of a solution to this problem. He started compiling small books on different subjects that contained Baba’s explanations, discourses, and clarifications pertaining to that subject. He would publish these books through Poona Centre at affordable price. Remember, those were not the days of google search or word-processing software. So, for those compilations, KKR was reading, making his notes, typing pages after pages and put them in proper logical order; and this would go on for late hours in the night. And since he was absolutely particular about the quality and authenticity of the work, he would go over it again and again. We can imagine the efforts involved in this strenuous task. The first such compilation “Meher Baba on Love” - a book containing Baba’s explanation on love was presented to Baba. Baba put his signature on the copy and asked KKR to preserve it in the Centre. According to KKR, this was the stamp of Baba’s approval for the work that Poona Centre had started. With this endorsement, he brought out several books such as:
In addition, KKR also published, through Poona Centre, various Marathi translations of some of these books. Later Poona Centre compiled and published entire Baba work of Madhusudan and Baba’s biography in Marathi, written by KN Soman.