STORY 1: GADEKAR.
Gadekar was one of Baba's earliest disciples and almost single-handedly brought all the early Pune lovers to Baba including the Thade family, Madhusudan, etc. He also was instrumental in setting up the Pune Centre.
This story is about a period shortly before he fell sick and died. Baba had asked Gadekar at a general gathering in Guruprasad whether he would come and stay with Him in Meherazad for a month, if Baba called him. There were several conditions - obeying Baba implicitly, no outside distractions, and no leaving under any circumstances before the month finished. Gadekar was very keen to go, but he was scared of what his wife Gunatai would say, so he came to Bindra House and asked Eruch's mum, "Gaimai, Baba has asked me to come and stay with Him at Meherazad for a month, what should I do. I am so frightened, what if I can't obey or something happens?" (Meherwan, of course, said all this in Marathi, which makes it so much sweeter!) Gaimai of course said emphatically that he shouldn't even think about it, just say yes. The condition was that no matter what, Gadekar would not go home during that month. So he went and told his wife and son and daughter that he was going to go spend a month with Baba at Meherazad, and went. The month was a time of close, intimate contact with Baba, Who showered His love and attention on Gadekar. Baba loved Gadekar very much. Meherwan says Gadekar was a very innocent man, totally unworldly. The only thing he really cared about was Baba. His wife was very ambitious, she even wanted to go into politics and become a leader, but though she stood for elections (against Baba's wishes), she didn't win. She lost so badly that she lost her deposit. Gadekar had no thought for any of these things, all he wanted was to be with Baba. And because he felt that his family would not understand, he was always coming and asking Gaimai what he should do about this or that, because he knew she loved Baba whole-heartedly too.
Anyway, the month ended, he went back to Pune and shortly afterwards he got Hodgkins Disease (HD). He became very ill. His body all swelled up, and he was in intense pain. Baba decided to go to Mumbai to celebrate Nariman's birthday (the last time Baba went to Mumbai), and He stopped in Pune at Gadekar's house, went to see him, sat with him and caressed his poor, swollen face and body with His own hands. The pain went. Gadekar didn't suffer any more, but he was dying. Yet his love and total focus on Baba didn't waver. Of course, this was just the excuse to go see Gadekar, according to Meherwan. Gustadji had just died, and Baba decided that they needed a change. When Baba returned home, Gadekar was allowed to visit Meherazad one last time. He came by taxi and spent the day with Baba. At the end of the day when he was departing, Baba sent all His Mandali out and told them that as Gadekar's taxi departed, they were to all shout repeatedly, "Bhakt Shiromani Shri Gadekar Maharaj ki Jai!" This means, "Victory to the Jewel in My crown of devotees, Shri Gadekar Maharaj." Shortly after this visit Gadekar passed away. This salute from his beloved Master to Gadekar's love for Baba is so special, I felt I needed to share it. I can't for a second imagine I will ever be a bhakt Shiromani, not in this lifetime anyway.
As an aside, ice cream was arranged for Nariman's birthday which Baba had thrown into the sea as a tribute to Gustadji.
STORY 2: RAMMU, BABA'S PET.
We were walking with Gabby (Gabriel), the three-legged dog that is the last pet Meheru admitted to Meherazad, and who was walking with us this morning. I asked Meherwan about Rammu, whose grave is next to Mastan's by the old dispensary. This is the story he told me.
Rammu was the last pet that Baba allowed into Meherazad while He was still in the body. When the men and Baba prayed in Mandali Hall in the mornings, the door would be closed by a kadi or hooked chain, so there was a gap between the two doors. One morning a tiny puppy slipped in through the gap and was waiting when the prayers were finished. Baba asked how did the pup get there, and some explanation was given. Upshot of all this was that He told the Mandali to send the pup inside for Mehera to give it some milk. After that there was no getting rid of the pup. He was a Meherazad dog! He was named Rammu, or 'Playful' and Mehera trained him to jump over a stick held before him, in return for a treat. Once he had learned this, Baba would let him perform, and the performance happened thus:
In the morning Goher would cycle over with Baba's breakfast of tea and rusks. Meherwan says she would cycle right into Mandali Hall after the prayers, and get off the bicycle and put Baba's breakfast before Him. Rammu would then be released, and run over to Mandali Hall. Baba would prop His legs up on a pouffe, clap to Rammu and he would run and take a flying leap over Baba's legs, much to Eruch's consternation. Eruch was always convinced that the dog would one day crash into Baba's legs, but he never did. Baba enjoyed the daily trick and would feed Rammu some of His rusks. Of course, after Baba dropped His body Rammu lived on in Meherazad and got awfully fat. He died in 1975. Meherwan says, "This is Baba's Leela, His game, and we all play it."
The pet graves in Meherazad (three of them) are behind the old dispensary building, and I often go visit. Mastan's stone is particularly touching. It says simply:
No spaces. Just as there were no spaces in Mastan's heart, it was all filled with love for Baba. God, I hated that dog!! I was so jealous of him that I once threw a tantrum and screamed and scratched Gaimai as we sat before Baba post-lunch, in His bedroom. That, however, is another story. And I think I may already have told it a while ago, in this blog. Love and Jai Meher Baba.