The Early Days
The Early Days
In 1922 Merwan was 28. For about four months from January to May he stayed in a jhopdi (thatched hut) near Poona. Around him there were now a group of men who formed the nucleus of the mandali. They were his friends; they were also his disciples. Among them, one Sayyid Saheb started addressing Merwan as 'Meher Baba'. 'Baba' was an address of love, and of respect. The name would stay on all his life, and become for the world's millions, the most adorable four-letter word.
In these early days, the disciples around him had many strange experiences. It was the duty of one of the mandali members to keep watch outside the jhopdi when Baba retired at night. The vigil had to be sleepless. Once Behli Irani, one of the disciples, was on duty when he nodded off to sleep. When he woke up, he was shocked to find Baba’s bed vacant. Behli was about to open the door when he saw weird figures moving about. He withdrew and sat down to weep and before long went to sleep. When he woke up again he found Baba asleep in bed.
On yet another occasion, one of the mandali was on duty with orders to sit outside the jhopdi and not permit anyone to come near it. At about one o’clock, Baba called out to the guard, “Are you wide awake?” The guard replied that he was. Baba again said, “Whatever may happen, don’t be frightened.” With Baba’s warning ringing in his ears the guard was startled to see two men in white robes approach him. He called out to them and asked them who they were. Baba from inside the hut inquired what the matter was. The figures instantly vanished and Baba himself appeared.
It was during these months that Baba visited Kasbapeth every Thursday. His followers had grown in number and they gathered there to see him and hear him. There would also be arti (singing of devotional songs) in praise of Upasni Maharaj. Baba would join in with the others.