The New Life: The spontaneous generosity of this loving couple pleased Baba

[Stay in Najibabad] Two hours later, the sweet, elderly couple arrived with the meal still hot, and they were immediately taken by Adi to the Elder Brother.

Baba looked radiant, His long hair flowing, when  Makhan Lal and his wife first saw Him. Makhan Lal immediately bowed at His feet, and Adi could see that Baba was unhappy with this devotional gesture. Adi quietly explained to Him in Gujarathi that he had not revealed Baba’s identity to the man, but that Makhan Lal’s response was purely spontaneous.

Baba was satisfied with the explanation and lovingly accepted the food the merchant and his wife had brought. Moreover He allowed them to come the next day with their whole family. From then on, the merchant and his wife provided delicious hot meals mice a day, and the wife entertained the women with amusing stories.

Baba ordered the morning and afternoon teas from the rail-way station.

One day while Makhan Lal ‘s wife was visiting with Baba and the women, she began regaling them with colorful tales and Hindi songs, and at the end of one of the songs, she stopped and turned her wrinkled face to Baba and said, “If I were a few years younger, Baba, I would have gotten up and danced! But now, Baba, aching, aching.”

She had used the word  ‘Baba’ only as a respectful term, still not knowing anything about His true identity.

Baba asked her through Mani, who interpreted His gestures “How do you feel physically’.

“My whole body is in pain!.

“Is the pain in your legs specifically?.

“Oh, they pain the most!” was her reply, but it turned out that her entire body caused her pain. Even her fingers ached.

Baba called for homeopathic medicine from Baidul, who returned and handed the pills to Baba.

Looking at the tiny pills, she laughed. “I have so much pain, How could those small things help me?”

Baba gave her a few to swallow from His own hand. The old woman was so touched to receive this special attention from Baba that after consuming the pills, she resumed singing, and at one point without realizing it, she got so carried away that she stood up and began dancing.

Everyone was amazed. The pills given by Baha were so effective that almost instantaneously all of the pain that she had experienced for years was gone!

On another occasion, in a private meeting, Makhan Lal began weeping uncontrollably before Baba with so much love, without even knowing His name.

The spontaneous generosity of this loving couple pleased Baba very much.

-“Meher Baba’s New Life”, Bhau Kalchuri, p293

The New Life: Extraordinary requests served without questions

On January 9th, during the companions’ stay in the mango orchard at Akbarabad, Baba sent Adi, Dr. Ghani and Babadas ahead to the city of Najibabad to find accommodations with three conditions. First, they were to find a place to stay for three days and, if possible, to arrange for hot baths for the whole party. Second, they should try to find someone who would provide three meals a day and afternoon tea in bhiksha for their stay. And third, they were to find someone who would be willing to pay for railway tickets for the entire party from Najibabad to Dehra Dun.

This was an extraordinary challenge for the three men to accomplish in one day in an unfamiliar city. To guide them, they took the lead from something Baba had told them earlier, “You will be inspired. Just go. You’ll know whom to approach. Just ask them, but don’t disclose my name or anything about me.”

The men left for the train station in Akbarabad with the money Baba had supplied them for railway tickets to Najibabad and for transportation while there. They were also given some food and were told that when they ran out, they were to beg. On the train ride, the men were so hungry that before they reached Najibabad they had finished off their day’s ration.

When they arrived, they immediately went in search of a dharamshala. After locating the rest house, Adi began to arrange for a room in bhiksha. With some reluctance, the attendant gave them a very small room with three cots wedged inside.

Ghani, who was suffering from a heart condition, was very weak and had to rest for the day and Babadas’ sciatic pain suddenly flared up, forcing him to also remain bedridden. As a consequence, the responsibility for making all the arrangements fell on Adi’s shoulders. To make matters worse, Baba and the other companions were to arrive the next morning.

Adi quickly hired a tonga and asked the driver to take him omen of well-to-do families in the city, where he hoped, where he hoped to find individuals who might be willing to fulfill Baba’s condition. They traveled from place to place, but no one was willing to help Adi.

Finally, the tonga driver asked him what he was trying to do. When Adi explained, the driver said, “Why didn’t you tell me about this in the beginning?” The tongawala immediately proceeded to take Adi to a cloth merchant named Makhan Lal, who was known for his generosity. Immediately upon meeting him Adi explained the three conditions.

“Don’t depend on me for any residential arrangements,” the merchant replied. “As for the meals and tea…. I can manage it not only for three days but even for three weeks.”

Adi thanked him and said he would return later with directions to the place where the party would be staying.

The tonga driver then took Adi to a wholesale dealer who also possessed a generous nature. To this man, Adi quickly explained that he was traveling with a large party on its way to the Kumbha Mela near Hardwar and that they needed railway tickets from Najibabad to Dehra Dun. When asked how many, Adi said that they would need twenty third-class tickets.

Without even meeting the group or making further inquiries, the merchant called his clerk and asked him to calculate how much money would be needed, and when he had the figures, he ordered the clerk to hand Adi the money.

“But sir, we can’t accept money,” Adi said.

“How will you go? How will you buy your tickets?” the merchant asked.

“We will be camping at a certain spot on the outskirts of town. The head of the party has given us certain instructions. If you can follow them, He will be very pleased. The instructions are that we should not take any money that you might give us. On the contrary, you should instruct your own men to purchase the tickets to be delivered to us at the time we are to board the train,” Adi explained.

“What time is the train? What time have you fixed? “The train leaves three days from now at four o’clock in the morning,” Adi replied.

As extraordinary as this request was, the merchant agreed, and he immediately instructed his clerk to be at the railway station at 3:00 a.m. on the appointed day.

-“Meher Baba’s New Life”, Bhau Kalchuri, p288

The New Life: Eruch receives abundant food in bhiksha from an old man

No obligation on either side in begging:
“Baba’s name was not to be disclosed and begging was also to be done cheerfully and lovingly. The givers were not to be under the impression that they had conferred any obligation upon the companions, and the receiver was to accept the alms after carefully noting the spontaneity with which it was given.” (LM, p2862)

In another incident, when Baba sent him to beg in one of the villages, Eruch was heartened to see that it appeared quite prosperous. The companions were very hungry, and he hoped to obtain a large amount of rice and dal. As he moved hurriedly through one of the narrow lanes, he was stopped by an old man, who stepped forward, embraced Eruch and then kissed him on the cheek.

“Young man, where are you going in such haste?” he asked.

“I have to go and beg for food for my party.”

“Son, why do you want to leave the world and go out like this?”

“It’s the pleasure of my Elder Brother and my pleasure, too.”

“Do you know how fortunate you are to have such an inclination at this age? How blessed you are!”

“Well. I know this much, that I am really blessed to be with the company, I have right now.”

“Don’t be in a hurry,” the old man said as he led Eruch along the village lane to his house where he gave him enough oil, condiments, salt, sugar, rice and dal for a feast. Along with these items, he also provided Eruch with faggots of good firewood. Then the old man said, “But may I suggest one thing to you? After you have finished your pilgrimage or whatever work you have in mind, will you come back to me and live in my house as my son?” The old man again embraced Eruch.

Eruch, though very moved, politely explained that he could not make such a promise, but he thanked the old man profusely, and then carried the large quantity of food and wood to where Baba and the companions were waiting by the roadside. That food was enough for the whole day.

-“Meher Baba’s New Life”, Bhau Kalchuri, p288

The New Life: Ghani carries out Baba’s humiliating order with his characteristic humor

One day, Dr. Ghani, being a Muslim who relished meat dishes, complained in his usual humorous way of the tiresome “grassitarian” diet. He asked, “In this vacuum period, why can’t we enjoy non-vegetarian dishes?”

Baba answered, “Today I permit you to visit any good hotel you like. You can satisfy your palate to your heart’s content, with as many dishes of any non-vegetarian food as you want.” Ghani was overjoyed.

Baba asked Dr. Nilu to accompany Ghani and to eat the same dishes that Ghani ordered for himself. This was a difficult instruction, since Nilu, a high Brahmin, had been a strict vegetarian his entire life!

The pair went into town, located an expensive hotel, and Ghani took his time perusing the menu before ordering a lavish assortment of dishes. Likewise, when they were served, he savoured each one. Only Ghani had the audacity to take such liberties in the New Life. Meanwhile, poor Nilu forced himself to eat the meat dishes, which he greatly disliked. Only out of obedience to Baba did Nilu manage to get through this repast.

When the meal was finished, Ghani called for a cigar and smoked it leisurely as the crowning touch to a wonderful meal. He then paid the bill, leaving a very generous tip, which made quite an impression on the manager and the waiters.

The next day, Ghani, who was still delighted from his evening of extravagance, was called by Baba and asked how he had enjoyed the dinner in town.

With gusto, Ghani described every dish, and he made a special point of embellishing how much he enjoyed smoking a cigar at the end of the meal.

Greatly entertained, Baba got into the spirit of Ghani’s descriptions of mutton, chops, chicken, fish, and finally, the cigar. He gestured, “Fine!” after each item of the feast, and when Ghani was finished, He gave His approval again and then added, “l am happy you obeyed me. Today, here is another order from me for you. Put on your kafni and visit the same hotel and beg for food!”

Ghani, with his characteristic good humor, went back into town. When he came to the hotel, the manager and waiters were shocked to find their distinguished customer of the previous evening at their door with a begging bowl. Nonetheless, they gave him food.

This was how Ghani carried out Baba’s seemingly humiliating order, and as a bonus, he managed to entertain the other companions, who enjoyed the unfailing dynamic of humor between Ghani and Baba, even in the most difficult times. It made life more bearable for everyone.

-“Meher Baba’s New Life’, Bhau Kalchuri, p270

The New Life: The tonga breaks down

That same morning of January 6th, the party resumed the journey [leaving Ratangarh], and after traveling five miles, the tonga drawn by the white horse broke down when Baidul tried to pass the other tonga while crossing a damaged bridge.

With great difficulty, he managed to cover the remaining distance of about a mile to the mango grove where the party had halted. As soon as he jumped down, he could see that one of the tonga wheels was broken, which he reported to Baba.

Baba replied, that He did not want to he held up in this place. Instead, He insisted, that the party get an early start the next morning. Therefore, the wheel had to he repaired by evening.

Learning that there was a wheelwright in a nearby village, Adi, Donkin and Pendu left with the damaged wheel in another tonga that afternoon, thinking the repair would not take more than an hour. Because it was warm at that time of day, Donkin wore only a short-sleeved shirt, although the other brought their woolen coats.

The wheelwright began replacing some of the wooden spokes and repairing the iron plate that went around the wheel, but the work went much slower than the group had hoped. It was growing dark. Cold was setting in, so the wheelwright offered them hot tea, but the companions said they could only accept it if it were given in bhiksha. The wheelwright thought this request strange coming from such healthy looking men who obviously had money to pay for the repairs.

He told them he thought they must be joking, but the companions assured him they were serious. Still confused, but being hospitable, the wheelwright said, “Sirs, whatever it be, please accept tea at my house!”

It was now very cold, so the companions gratefully followed the wheelwright into his house, looking forward to a hot cup of tea, but when it was served, they were unpleasantly surprised. Aside from putting sugar in tea, it turned out that it was customary in that part of India to add salt to it as well. Only politeness obliged the companions to drink the briny concoction.

Meanwhile, the wheelwright continued the repair. The men watched as he put the wheel into a fire to attach the iron plate, and then secure the rubber tire. Finally, the wheel was fixed and a friend of the wheelwright guided the companions through the dark back roads onto the main road.

By the time they reached Baba and the others, it was after midnight and Dr. Donkin was chilled to the bone. Out of serious concern for his health, the others quickly made a roaring fire, heated several blankets and wrapped them around him. It was the perfect remedy.

The four companions then discovered that the bundle of their cloth sacks used for begging had been stolen while they were waiting outside for the repair.

To make things worse, they learned that earlier that evening a group of wild monkeys had sneaked into the camp and absconded with all the food that had been begged during the day, so the entire party had gone without their evening meal.

Sleepy and exhausted the four men still had to secure the wheel to the tonga before they could go to bed. Finally, Dr. Donkin fell asleep by the fire side, too tired even to open his bedding roll.

-“Meher Baba’s New Life”, Bhau Kalchuri, p285

Photo courtesy:


The New Life: “Happy New Life”

Happy New Life:
On Sunday, January 1, 1950, Baba wished all his companions a “Happy New Life!” Everyone was given a piece of Christmas cake, and at two o’clock that afternoon they left Moradabad, walking in procession. The cavalcade now consisted of a caravan, two tongas and one bullock cart. Pendu drove the caravan, Donkin and Baidul the tongas, and Sadashiv the bullock cart. Baba and the companions trudged along, all the luggage piled into the caravan, tongas and cart. After covering four miles, the caravan halted in a garden for the night. While they were resting, Maya scorned them and the improvement in their lot, because of the bhiksha. Maya’s wrath came in the form of rain – heavy showers came thundering upon them.

The companions were lying in the open garden in the pitch dark. As the rain shower began, they hurriedly rolled up their bedding, and shouldering it ran in search of a place of shelter. There was no shelter.
They stowed their bedding rolls underneath the tongas and bullock cart in an effort to keep them dry, and themselves sat in the most miserable discomfort in the pouring rain. Their bedding got soaked in spite of their efforts. On the first day of the New Life of helplessness, “Indra’s rain” rendered them totally helpless. Baba was inside a small tent, but it had holes in it and leaked, so he also got drenched.

It was a sleepless, miserable night. They left the garden at eight o’clock on the morning of January 2. After walking five miles, Baba sent Eruch out to beg. He brought loaves of bread, a piece of which Baba distributed to each one. (LM, p2860)

Baba quenches his thirst:
On the way to Najibabad, Baba requested a glass of water. The women had neglected to fill Baba’s flask that day, for he had not asked for water before this incident. Baba sent Eruch to a man drawing water from a well not far off. Eruch brought the water, and after touching Eruch’s feet, Baba drank it and sent Eruch back with instructions to touch the feet of the man who had given it. In truth, Baba had stated he was thirsty only because of that man. He had to give him something inwardly, which he did through Eruch. No one can understand this work because it happens behind the veil. Only the Giver, the possessor of the treasure of Infinite Knowledge and Power, knows his work. (LM, p2863)

The New Life: The “vacuum” period

In a pleasant mood the next morning, Monday, 19 December 1949, Baba gave an explanation comparing the Old and the New Life:

We have left the Old Life, and there is no going back to it now. The Old Life is practically dead. I have heard it said that when a man dies, his spirit is still connected with the world for three to four days. Before the spirit enters a new, different sphere, there intervenes a wee bit of time which may be said to be a sort of vacuum between the old and the new life. Similarly, our Old Life has been dead since October 16. From that date up to the 21st of December, our New Life has had a kind of connection with the Old Life.

Now see how things adjust themselves automatically. I told you some time back in Belgaum, that before plunging completely into the New Life in right earnest — from January 1, 1950 — there would be a “vacuum” of ten days between the Old and New Life. Only this morning I remembered it, and you people, too, forgot to remind me about it. I have therefore decided that during the vacuum period of ten days — from December 22 to 31 — there will be a complete suspension of the four ordeals of the training period as follows:

There will be no begging.
No wearing of the kafni.
No physical labor of any sort; if necessary, hired labor will be engaged.
Complete relaxation, with good food, to be purchased with the money we have with us., p2855
19 December 1949; Jaunpur (Gypsy period)


“Old Life – Perfect Divinity, Divine Man.”
“New Life – Perfect Humility, Ordinary Man,”
(LM, p2943)

he New Life: Enjoyable suffering

Be unaffected by both honor and insult:
A twelve-mile walk that morning brought them to Rehata (also called Jalalgant) about two o’clock in the afternoon, where they halted in a mango orchard. Kaka prepared food. Local villagers gathered, and some of the village women declared that they had come for the darshan of the women going to Hardwar on foot. In Sarnath, Baba had remarked, “During the foot journey, we will be honored and insulted both, but we must remain unaffected in either case.” The former seemed to be coming true, for in Rehata the four women were the subject of great respect. (LM, p2847)

Decision to sell some of the troublesome animals:
Baba and the companions had walked 38 miles in four days in the freezing cold to reach Jaunpur. With no shelter, they had slept in the open in that weather, and the food, too, was not substantial. At every halting place they had to tend to the animals – to water them, bring fodder, feed them and tie them up at suitable places – attend to minor repairs to the carts, beg for food, cook, clean pots, fetch water, wash clothes – all these and other small things added to their exhaustion. And the intense cold did not allow them much rest.

It was therefore with a sigh of relief that the companions greeted these words from Baba on December 16th: “Let the camel, camel cart, two cows and calf be sold. Donkin, Eruch and Pendu should go to the railway station to make inquiries about sending the two donkeys, white horse and bullock cart by freight train to Hardwar.”
The donkeys were to be kept, as the women had discovered they would readily move forward when their backs were loaded. The white horse could not be sold as it was received in alms.

Enjoyable suffering:

… this New Life should not prove a torture to you all. Although suffering will certainly be there, it should be, and will be, enjoyable. (LM, p2851)

The third stage of actually living inside the building — after complete renunciation has been achieved — will consist of abnormal and extraordinary situations and circumstances. The ordinary and normal situations and circumstances will also be there. But it is the abnormal and extraordinary situations that will make you enjoy the sufferings. (LM, p2822)

The New Life: Baba creates a situation as a lesson for the women

One day, as Mehera, Mani, Meheru and Goher were preoccupied with picking up sticks and twigs as they walked, a bullock cart came alongside them. Awestruck at the scene before him, the cartman asked where they were going. They replied that they were proceeding to Hardwar. Respectfully, the driver invited them to sit in his cart, but Meheru solemnly answered, “We are on a pilgrimage to Hardwar, so we must go on foot. I’m sorry, but we cannot ride on the cart.”

Humbly, the cartman said, “But please, sit for a while, sister. The sacred purpose of your journey will not be affected by your occupying seats in my cart.”

Mani replied, “A pilgrimage should be undertaken on foot. What sort of pilgrimage would it be if it were made in comfort?”

So the cartman drove off, but after traveling some distance, he came to a halt. Meanwhile, Baba came back from the men, and directed the women to sit in the caravan. They took their seats, and Mani and Meheru pulled back the curtains to peer outside. After a little while, the caravan passed the cartman resting. When he saw the women sitting comfortably inside, he threw such a contemptuous look at Mani and Meheru that they could only slump down and hide their embarrassed faces. Only then did they realize why Baba had made them sit in the caravan! Baba returned and directed the women to resume their walk. It was a lesson for both women that, as usual, nothing was hidden from him., p2845
December, 1949; Shivapur to Babatpur (Gypsy period)

Photo source: “Meher Baba’s New Life”, Bhau Kalchuri

The New Life: The New Life: The fortunate poor woman

Meher Baba had spent twelve days in Sarnath. At seven o’clock on Monday morning 12 December 1949, Baba, leading the way, left Sarnath on foot with the four women and Eruch nearby. The whole caravan followed two hours later. The white horse — symbolizing purity and the sanctity of the Avatar’s advent — was in Don’s charge. Behind it, Pendu drove the caravan, pulled by the black English bull, Rajah, followed by the camel cart driven by Baidul.  In the rear came Sadashiv, driving the bullock cart, and behind it, the two cows, the calf and the two donkeys.

The gypsy life had begun. “As if to subdue lust, greed and anger,” Age declared, “the caravan of men, women and animals marched on. Hearing the tinkle of the camel’s bell, these deep-rooted weaknesses in Man began to tremble.” (LM, p2844-45)

The first day, they halted in the compound of a school at a place called Shivapur. Here Baba sent Babadas and Eruch out begging for their breakfast. The first hut Eruch went to was the home of an old woman.  Eruch called out to the old woman ‘Maa premsay bhiksha dijye’ (Mother, please give us food with love).

[In Eruch’s own words:] “The old woman said ‘Wait, wait my son, wait, I will give you something,’ and she started opening some boxes inside her hut. Not a single box had anything in it . She told me to wait at her hut and went out to beg for my sake! As she made the rounds of the homes in her street they gave her a good quantity of food, and then she brought it to me…She brought back freshly cooked bhakhri (the bread that farmers eat) and vegetables and some chutney, gave it to me and sent me on. She wouldn’t permit me to leave empty handed, you see. I still remember that old lady who went out to beg for the sake of the God-Man–who had sent me to beg for him.” (“Tales from New Life”, p31-32)

How fortunate was this poor woman! The God-Man had sent his companions to beg at her door, and she did not fail to give him something, even if she had nothing herself. (LM, 2845)

Photo courtesy: “Meher Baba’s New Life”, Bhau Kalchuri