Prof. ( Dr. ) Digambar Ramchandra Gadekar

 

February 2017 - Meher Center, Myrtle Beach, SC.  Photo taken by Anthony Zois
February 2017 - Meher Center, Myrtle Beach, SC. Photo taken by Anthony Zois

Married : Urmila

Children : Meherram, Dashan, Niranjan (sons),  & Mehera ( daughter )

Parents : Ramchandra ( father ) & Gunatai 

 

INDIAN

 

Academic & Musician

Post-nominal letters : M.Sc., Ph.D., F.G.S., F.M.A.S., F.I.G.C.

One of Meher Baba's Poona Bhajan Mandali

Founder Vice Chancellor : Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow, India

 

25th February 1958 - Interview Cabin, Lower Meherabad, India. Photo taken by Ned Foote
25th February 1958 - Interview Cabin, Lower Meherabad, India. Photo taken by Ned Foote
 February 2017 - Meher Center, Myrtle Beach, SC.  Photo taken by Anthony Zois
February 2017 - Meher Center, Myrtle Beach, SC. Photo taken by Anthony Zois

Digambar’s family connection with Meher Baba goes back to 1922. Digambar’s grandfather, Kanhoji was the cobbler who made Baba’s treasured sandals which Baba wore so much during the 1920s and which for many years were on display in the old water tank museum at Upper Meherabad. Gadekar’s father, Ramchandra Gadekar, a simple and innocent man, was one of Baba’s early mandali who came into Baba’s contact in 1924 when Baba was still speaking. He served as a teacher in the Hazrat Babajan School established by Beloved Baba. In 1930 he married Gunatai. Not only was their marriage approved by Baba, but Baba, along with the mandali, attended the wedding ceremony. Gunatai was a devout and outspoken Baba-lover.  Naturally their children Nalini and Digambar grew up in Baba’s ambiance, blessed indeed with great congenital felicity. In 1939, the Gadekar family was asked by Baba to attend the foundation laying ceremony of the Byramangala Centre, Bangalore. Digambar recollects how in his childhood Baba would play with him, playing marbles with him, sitting him on His lap and wrestling with Him. He sang before Baba for the first time in Solapur when he was hardly seven.  Beginning in 1943 Digambar attended Beloved Baba’s darshan and sahavas programs at Solapur, Nagpur, Saoner, Ahmednagar, Merherabad, Sakori, Poona (including Guruprasad), Pandharpur, Meherazad etc.  He was one of the members of Baba’s Poona Bhajan Mandali, led by Madhusudan, which entertained Beloved Baba on many occasions. He was also in the group when Baba led His lovers up to His Samadhi and Seclusion Hill during sahavas programs in the 1950s. As a member of the above Bhajan Mandali, he sang his father’s and Madhusudan’s bhajans before Baba several times. He attended the East-West Gathering in Poona in 1962 and the Great Darshan held at Guruprasad, Poona in 1969.

 

Digambar studied at the University of Poona and carried out research in petroleum geology at the University of California, Berkeley.  He followed Baba’s orders during his tenure in the U.S. as a graduate student – no smoking, no drinking and no touching of women with lustful feelings – and was also ordered to write to Baba every 15 days. He visited various Baba centers while overseas in Myrtle Beach, California, Washington D.C., New York and London.  After his return to India, Baba asked Digambar to visit various centers in Andhra and share His love with His lovers. He worked in the oil industry as a geologist for over six years before joining Baroda University as a Professor.  After 29 years at the University, he became the first Vice Chancellor of the B.B. Ambedkar University, Lucknow, building that institution from scratch.  He was a member of the Advisory Council, Directorate General of Hydrocarbons, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India; University Grants Commission etc.

 

In addition to many articles on Meher Baba, Digambar has written two books on Meher Baba and has translated Meher Baba’s biography Meher Baba, The Awakener of the Age by Don Stevens into Marathi.

 

Throughout his active academic and professional career, he has shared Beloved Baba’s love with His lovers in Maharashtra, Andhra, Karnataka, U.P., Delhi, Madhya Pradesh in India and in the U.S. & U.K. While in Australia Digambar will be visiting the Baba families in Melbourne and Sydney to share his Baba stories and the story of his father Ramchandra Gadekar who dedicated his life to Baba, served Him at His pleasure and eventually became the epitome of love, obedience and surrender, as a result of which Beloved Baba bestowed on him the title of “Bhakta Shiromani” (crown jewel amongst the devotees).

 

Courtesy of  www.avatarsabode.com.au/documents/Digambar_Gadekar_23-April.doc

30th June 1957 - Lower Meherabad, India. (L-R) Sadashiv Patil, Digambar Gadekar, Adi K. Irani, Francis & Ola Goldney, Beatrice Vigo & Irene Conybeare. Photo taken by Meelan.
30th June 1957 - Lower Meherabad, India. (L-R) Sadashiv Patil, Digambar Gadekar, Adi K. Irani, Francis & Ola Goldney, Beatrice Vigo & Irene Conybeare. Photo taken by Meelan.

Wednesday, 26 February 1958

 

At 8:50 A.M., Baba's chair was carried up Meherabad Hill followed by the sahavas women and behind them the men. Pesi, Meherjee, Hoshang Bharucha, Adi Dubash, Krishna Nair, Digambar Gadekar and others shared turns holding up the chair. Kumar held Baba's umbrella over him from behind. After crossing the railway tracks, the chair was put down momentarily to allow Chhabra's car to go ahead in order to film the procession making its way to the top. While stopped, Baba covered his face with a thin blue cloth and appeared to be engrossed in his Universal work.

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 4334

 

Despite Baba's instructions, Gadekar sought a private interview with Baba, and Raosaheb did likewise.Baba was displeased with both men, but joked, "It is not Gadekar's fault because his screw is loose!"

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 4336

India ; Digambar with members of his family.
India ; Digambar with members of his family.

May 1958

 

Digambar Gadekar was studying for his M.Sc. (master's degree in science) exam in Poona at this time, and Baba permitted him to visit Guruprasad every day. He instructed Digambar to say his name before beginning each test. After the theory portion of the exam was over, Baba asked, "How did you do?"

Digambar said, "I answered all the questions as best I could."

"You must pass first-class [with highest honors]," Baba emphasized.

"Baba, you know for yourself what the result is going to be, but it is my duty to try as hard as I can."

When Digambar's practical (laboratory) exams were over, Baba asked the same question and Digambar replied in a similar fashion. Baba warned him, "If you do not pass first-class, our dosti [friendship] will come to an end, and you should not show your face to me!"

Digambar was frightened and said, "Baba, whatever is going to happen will happen according to your divine will."

Before the test result was announced, Baba remarked to him, "You have failed the examination!"

However, when the results were announced in June, Digambar had not only passed first-class but had scored first in his subject at the university. The news was conveyed to Baba, who sent the following message to Digambar: "Let us hope you pass at least third-class in obeying me!"

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 4349

Thursday, 10 July 1958

 

Regarding Gunatai Gadekar, Baba commented, "She is the mother of Digambar, who has recently passed his M.Sc. [master's degree in science] first class. I had told him that if he did not pass as I wished [first class], I would not see his face again. Really, he has done so brilliantly, and I am happy with him."

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30th June 1957 - Lower Meherabad, India. (L-R) Sadashiv Patil, Laxman Kamble (bowing), Adi K. Irani, Francis & Ola Goldney, Digambar Gadekar next to Baba & Irene Conybeare. Digambar's mother - Gunatai is seated facing Baba .  Photo taken by Meela
30th June 1957 - Lower Meherabad, India. (L-R) Sadashiv Patil, Laxman Kamble (bowing), Adi K. Irani, Francis & Ola Goldney, Digambar Gadekar next to Baba & Irene Conybeare. Digambar's mother - Gunatai is seated facing Baba . Photo taken by Meela

Saturday, 6 September 1958 was coincidentally the birthday of both Zoroaster and Krishna according to the Zoroastrian and Hindu calendars. On that day, the women mandali wished Baba a "double" happy birthday!

It was becoming obvious that Gadekar's health was deteriorating. His only son, Digambar, had been awarded a scholarship for advanced study in geology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Gadekar was worried about his going to live in America. Baba advised him to stop worrying and repeated to him the following rhyme of Sir Walter Scott, which he had learned as a schoolboy:

Come ye slow, or come ye fast;

It is but death that comes at last.

Gadekar, however, continued to brood and began having trouble sleeping at nights.

 

Baba had Goher give him seven sleeping pills for seven days. He was also suffering from asthma, so Benadryl syrup was given to him. Despite Goher's clear instructions to take only one tablet before sleeping, the next morning Gadekar swallowed all seven sleeping pills. When it was discovered, Baba called him and asked why he had made such a stupid error. Goher then gave him some apples, and Baba kept him seated beside him. This seemed to mitigate any adverse reaction, because the tablets apparently had no ill effect on him. Soon after, Gadekar's worries left him, his mood changed and he appeared happy.

One day, in the course of playing cards, Gadekar became depressed over some mistake he had made. Seeing him in that ill mood, Baba assured Gadekar, "Don't worry. Whatever happens in the world happens according to the will of God. Even sins are committed because of God's will!"

Baba had Aloba recite a couplet of Hafiz to the effect that:

Realizing that it is not in your hands to commit a sin, still,

Out of reverence for God, confess that you have done it!

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 4463-4

After returning to his home in Poona in November 1958, Gadekar was diagnosed as having Hodgkin's disease, with two cancerous tumors under his armpits. His son Digambar went to America at the end of January 1959 for further college studies, and his daughter Nalini Tai was studying at the Poona University Medical School.

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 4496

March, 1959

 

During Gadekar's final days, the Poona bhajan group had helped him through the long nights of pain by singing bhajans to him. Digambar, the couple's only son, had gone to America one and a half months before according to Baba's instructions. Baba sent a telegram for him to remain there and continue his studies. "Be happy that your father has come to me," Baba cabled.

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 4502

28 February 1960

 

Baba would likewise often arrange for different people's support. He might tell Sarosh or Nariman, "Pay so-and-so Rs.100 a month for the next six months," or he might arrange for someone's education as he had done for Goher, or for singing lessons as he did later for Lata Limaye. If someone were going abroad for further studies, he would write to lovers in that country with instructions to look after them (such as for Digambar Gadekar, Dadi Kerawala and Najoo Kotwal, who went to America). Besides this, Baba would always remember to send a birthday card or telegram to his close lovers whether they be nearby or far away (such as Dhake, Dhun Satha or the Kalchuris in Ahmednagar; Delia DeLeon in England or Kitty Davy in America, among many others). Thus, for the Beloved of all, there was hardly a moment's rest.

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  February 2017 - Meher Center, Myrtle Beach, SC.  Photo taken by Anthony Zois
February 2017 - Meher Center, Myrtle Beach, SC. Photo taken by Anthony Zois

While the meetings were occurring in Meherabad, Jagannath Keshav Rangole, Laxman and Kisan Thade, Madhusudan Yellapa Pund, Ramchandra Gadekar, Krishna Bundellu and one other man came to Ahmednagar from Poona. Adi Sr. informed Baba, but Baba did not permit darshan.

Rangole, age twenty-six, and Madhusudan, age sixteen, had found out about Baba through Gadekar and were coming for the first time. Rangole had recently undergone surgery and was forbidden by the doctor to walk. But he did not take rest and, out of his longing for Baba, came to Ahmednagar to kiss the Master's feet. Baba, however did not allow the men to see him. Although they had no heart to go against his wish, they longed to meet him, if only for a moment.

During the appointed meeting days, early in the morning Baba would be driven to Meherabad by Adi Sr. in the blue Chevrolet, and in the evening he returned to Meherazad. The Poona group thought that after coming all this way, it would not be wrong if they stood on the side of the road and waited to have a glimpse of Baba as he passed in the car.

On the evening of August 21st, [1949] at 7:15 P.M., while Baba was returning to Meherazad, he saw the group standing by the road. He asked Adi about them, and Adi told him who they were. Baba had Adi stop the car. He called the lucky group and they came running. In his joy, Rangole totally forgot the doctor's orders and stood up and pushed past the others toward Baba.

Madhusudan had had a vivid dream the night before. In it he saw a woman and asked her, "Do you know where God is?"

"Do you want to see God?" she asked.

"Yes, I want to see Him," he replied.

"Do you want to see God in human form?"

"Is it possible?"

"Yes, but there is one condition. Once you visit Him you will not be able to go back. So, go and take permission from your mother and father, and then come."

The dream continued, and he saw a form surrounded by a tremendous light. As soon as Baba's car drove up, Madhusudan saw the same beautiful light enveloping the exact form he had seen in his dream. He fainted. His friends brought him to Baba, who put his hand on Madhusudan's head and gestured, "I know you. I love you."

After expressing his pleasure at meeting all of them, within two minutes Baba left for Meherazad. Although it was a brief meeting, each returned to Poona completely satisfied.

Madhusudan, in that short time, gained a remarkable gift from Baba — the gift of music. He became a composer and singer of devotional songs in Baba's praise, though prior to his meeting with Baba he had been a skeptic.

 

LORD MEHER, 1st ed, Vol. 9 & 10, pp. 3400-3401
1996 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust

The following is an account by Pratap Ahir ;

http://meherpunecentre.org/about-centre/history-pune-centre/pune-bhajan-mandali?showall=1&limitstart=

In the year 1947 in the month of August, a gentlemen name Ramchandra Kanoji Gadekar came to Pune on his transfer from Sholapur. He was posted as a P.A. to the Director of Social Welfare Department in the Government of Maharashtra. Shri Gadekar was in Meher Baba’s contact since 1924 when he was a student. He was student in Pune and during long vacation he used to teach at Meherabad School. In 1928, after completing his graduation, he chose to stay in Meherabad assisting his master in the capacity of teacher in Meher Ashram School. At the end of 1928 he joined the government service. This service took him to various parts of Maharshtra (it was called Bombay Presidency then) and he stayed at places like Sangamner ,Dhule, Sholapur, Satara and Nashik before getting transferred to Pune. He had remarkable love for his Master, Meher Baba and had a deep faith in him. Out of this faith and love, it was just natural for him to talk about Baba and Baba’s greatness wherever he went and whoever he met with, without any inhibition.

We may be able to see Baba’s guiding hand in all events happening in Shri. Ramchandra Gadekar’s life. He was being made into a fine instrument in Baba’s service. Ramchandra Gadekar, as we have observed him, was a very simple man with a noble and kind heart. Baba’s love and personality has influenced him to such an extent that in his love for Baba, he used to become unconscious of his age, his social status, his post and position as a high ranking officer in the government service and would approach any Baba lover as a simple servant of his Master. During his tenure of service in Nasik and Solapur, he had run Centres for spreading Meher Baba’s name. While in Sholapur, he had made all arrangements for Baba’s visit to Solapur. That was a grand event in the history of the city of Solapur.

When he moved to Pune, he started holding gathering in his house in the area called Bhawani Peth near Pudumjee Gate. People, who were acquainted with him or who had developed some interest in Baba would assemble here on every Monday. They would sing bhajans and would listen to the talk by Gadekar on Meher Baba. Gadekar also had good voice and he had composed few touching Bhajans on Meher Baba. He also used to give regular talks at theosophical lodge in Pune at their usual gathering of intellectuals. Even during that period, he continued telling people that he met, about Meher Baba and a sizeable number of people, mostly from business communities owning footwear shops, came in his contact and through him, were drawn in Meher Baba’s orbit of love. Bapu Shaeb Shinde was one such person. He had a footwear shop in the city and was doing good business. After his contact with Gadekar, he was inspired to start weekly gatherings on Thursday evenings at his shop, Samarth leather works. L. R. Kamble was another person who was in the same business line. He also took active part in weekly programs. Mr. Balasaheb Dhawale also had a modest business. He also used to attend the weekly gathering regularly. The local Baba lovers used to refer to this trio of Shinde, Kamble and Dhawale as Brahma- Vishnu-Mahesh, due to their unflinching dedication to Baba. Through Bapusaheb Shinde and Kamble, many footwear shop-owners were drawn in Baba’s fold such as Pote, Pakhare, Gadre and many more.

 

 

Laxmikant Thade, another youth member of the group had recently migrated to Pune from Belgaum in search of a job. He got a Government job in the Social Welfare Department where he met Gadekar. LB Thade was also mesmerized by Baba’s love and has another group, mostly of his relatives and friends who had started developing interest in Meher Baba. Bundelly family, Sadashiv Rao Gaikwad, Ramchandra Rao Gaikawad, the lead singer, Madhusudan were members of this group, LB Thade became a link between the two groups and both these groups started meeting and interacting with each other, spreading Baba’s name.

During the time Meher Baba was in Pune in the early days, there were many families of all classes and communities, who loved and adored him. After Meher Baba left Pune on His Divine Mission and had substantially reduced his visits to Pune, there was a long period when no collective or group activity in Baba’s name was taking place here. Therefore, it was Ramchandra Gadekar who revived activities in Baba’s name at Pune. With his pioneering efforts, collective Baba activity in Pune was taking size and shape. This was the year 1947. As said earlier, at this time, Mr. Laxmikant Balwantrao Thade, a young boy in his 30’s, after securing B.Sc. degree, came to Pune from Belgaum in search of a job. He was the eldest amongst the siblings and had to support the large family. His younger brother, Krishnarao Thade was already studying agriculture sciences in Pune. His parents, Shri Balwantrao and Smt Laxmibai Thade were living in Belgaum bringing up other children, Narendra, Surendra were young boys and Kusum and Shobha were their sisters. It was the destiny of every member of this family to get linked with Meher Baba and later, love and serve him. Laxmikant Thade’s maternal grandparents, Mr Yellapa Bundellu and Laxmibai Bundellu, had settled in Pune. Yellapa and Laxmibai had seven children, 3 sons and 4 daughters. Among the sons, Venkant Swamy, Krishna Swamy and Narayan Swami were strongly drawn to Baba. Krishna and Narayan later became active workers of Poona Centre. Narayan also served the Trust post his retirement. Among sisters, Laxmibai Thade, LB Thade’s mother and Subhadra Bundellu who later married to Madhusudan, were ardent Baba Lovers. Here, I must give some more information about this remarkable lady called Laxmibai Thade. She was affectionately called Amma – meaning Mother - by all the young members of the group and she also shared the same love for us as she had for her own children. She had a caring nature and anyone who came in her contact, could feel and experience the unselfish love in abundance that flowed from her pure heart equally for all, without any pre-conditions or qualifications of the recipient. I have never heard her speaking ill of others or back-biting though she had a responsibility of running a large household with these extended family members with all kinds of friction and deprivation. She was large hearted and tolerant. Meher Baba who is the embodiment of love recognized her nature in His all-knowingness and always would show tenderness towards her. On some special occasions, she had the privilege of cooking special food items for Baba and mandali and Baba always relished the food prepared by her. Her sister, Subhadra had a melodious voice and on many occasions, would sing before Baba. Her marriage with Madhusudan happened with Baba playing a leading role and was sanctified in Baba’s presence. Her contribution in the formation and functioning of Poona Bhajan Mandali is notable and important. Subhadra’s melodious voice had a charming effect on the listeners. Whoever heard her singing, couldn’t suppress his or her desire to attend the gatherings where she would be singing. Mali Baba, a saintly figure of the locality, was very fond of her singing and later, she also used this talent for pleasing Meher Baba. She was the first amongst the newly formed Poona Bhajan Group to have Meher Baba’s Darshan and the occasion was the inauguration of the newly built Mandali Hall at Meherabad. This was also her first time when she sang for Baba. Her singing was obstructed for quite a long time as she was down with a serious disease and was virtually bed-ridden. In that serious condition, as she felt she was going to die, she ventured to go to Meherabad all alone for having last Darshan of Baba. Baba had then said ‘You will not die even if you are banged against a rock. You have to do much work for me’. After returning to Pune, she followed Baba’s advice for her health. Not only did she miraculously recover from her ailment, but true to Baba’s words, she also resumed her singing and truly worked for Baba for years thereafter.

Digambar and his wife Urmila
Digambar and his wife Urmila

Among those who had been instrumental in the formation of early group in Pune, two were from Hyderabad. The first one who came to Pune was Sadashivrao Gaikwad who was working in military engineering service. He was transferred to Pune. Following him came Mr. Ramchandra Gaikwad who had secured a job in military dairy farm. Both these Gaikwads were closely associated with each other and they both got living accommodation in same premises at 410, Rasta Peth. Sadashivrao had acquaintance with Bundellu family even before moving to Pune and so he started visiting Bundellu family in Pune. Ramchandrao was a singer and was very fond of participating in satsang programs. He along with Sadhashivrao started attending bhajan programs which were held at various places in Pune. Ramchandrarao used to sing bhajans of Kabir, Meera and Brahmanand. He had sonorous high pitch voice and any passerby would invariably stop for a while to hear him singing. He sang Hindi songs and was accompanied on dholak by one Mr. Sadhuramji More who was related to Sadashivrao. All these families of Thade, Bundelllu and Gaikwads used to visit saintly person by name Mali Baba. Mali Baba was a hefty person often found sitting on a small varandah in front of his house. It is said that he was fond of drinking liquor and would also have a spitting pot near him. He had his own following and would guide and help people in their difficulties and domestic problems. It seems he had spiritual connection with Meher Baba and had some role to play in Meher Baba’s Avataric mission. The reason for such an observation is that some of the early Baba lovers of Pune at some point of time, had come in Mali Baba’s contact. In that sense, Mali Baba had become a channel to connect many people with Meher Baba. It is also said that Mali Baba used to refer Baba lovers as “mothya gharchi mandali“, meaning people of elite families. Once, Ramchandra Gadekar fell down from a tonga and had his leg badly injured. LB Thade was staying nearby so Thade took Gadekar to his place for rest and first-aid. Co-incidentally, Mali Baba visited the place at the same time and looking at Ramchandra Gadekar’s swollen leg, made a remark, “Dukkha konache ani bhog kunala”, meaning “for someone’s sorrow, someone else suffers”. Saying this, he departed and swelling on Gadekar’s foot started subsiding. I remember one more incidence that DS Bhawsar, a staunch Baba lover and worker, had narrated to me. Once, at Guruprasad, Bhawsar was telling something to Baba and Baba was listening attentively. During the course of conversation, Malibaba’s name was mentioned by Bhawsar. Bhawsar remembered that on the reference of Malibaba’s name, Baba with a serious expression on his face, folded his hands in salutation, and touched his forehead and said in adoration, “Mali Babana majhe sashtang namskar“, meaning ‘my humble salutations to Mali Baba’. Mali Baba’s small room was central place where Subhadra Bundellu, Ramchandra Gaikwad and some others would sing devotional songs. On some occasions, even Madhusudan and Namdeorao Solapure, another member of the Pune Centre’s bhajan group, sang in a gathering before Mali Baba.

Let us reconnect with our story of Baba activity at Pune. Ramchandrarao and Sadashivrao after finishing dinner used to visit a nearby Paan shop. A young and handsome boy also used to come to this shop for having paan. This youth had a distinctive touch to his hair-style and his mannerism and style of talking was like a cinema hero. Although he was Brahmin, his Urdu speaking and pronunciation was fluent and correct. Ramchandrarao and Sadhashivrao both were from Hyderabad i.e. state of Nizam where Urdu was a colloquial language. These three enjoyed each other’s company as they shared many common interests. This young lad was no other but Madhusudhan who later was to make matchless contribution to the formation and functioning of Pune group. In his last days, Madhusudhan did mention to me that Ramchandrao had played a major role in influencing him to join Baba group in those early days of its formation. Madhusudan had a natural and inborn talent for music which he utilized in the functioning of the group.

One day Mr. Laxmikant Thade along with his brother Kisan Thade and maternal uncles, Narayan and Krishna Bundellu had gone to the Theosophical lodge in Poona camp. In a meeting on that day, Dr. Ghani was delivering talk on Meher Baba. The audience comprised retired judges, collectors, high ranking officers and intellectuals of the society. In his talk, Dr. Ghani unequivocally said that Meher Baba was the Avatar of the Age, the Incarnation of God. On listening to this talk, the young boys got inspired and started gathering more and more information on Baba and were always looking for interacting with people who could tell share more information on Meher Baba. To quench the genuine thirst of their hearts, Gadekar invited Dr. Ghani to address the weekly meetings, who in turn, brought his friends Khaksaheb and Behli Irani to interact with this group. From this time onwards, Dr. Ghani played a major role in satisfying the urge of the young boys and in carving Meher Baba’s name on their clean and impregnable minds. Dr. Ghani spared no efforts to strengthen the conviction of these young boys and girls and establish them firmly in their faith in Meher Baba. Except for the period that Dr. Ghani spent with Meher Baba in New Life, Ghani spent most of his time with this young group till he breathed his last.

From this sequence of events, we can infer that Gadekar played two major roles. On one hand, he brought two major Baba groups of Shinde, Dhawale, Kamble on one hand, and Thade, Bundellu and Gaekwad on the other hand, together. This gave a clear focus and strength to the Baba activity at Pune. He also introduced Dr. Ghani and Khak Saheb to this newly formed group that was bubbling with energy. Some of these early group members had the opportunity of seeing or meeting Meher Baba before Baba left for his New Life. On the first occasion, Dr Ghani had sought special permission from Baba for bringing some members of this group, including the Theosophical Society participants for this meeting. Baba had allowed personal interviews to these people. During this interaction, Laxmikant Thade had mentioned before Baba that he was studying for M.Sc. In response, Baba said to him ‘Do you M.Sc. or Ph.D. but remember one thing, be good to others and I am always with you’.

This first meeting with Baba brought tremendous energy and enthusiasm in those young boys and they demonstrated great hunger in gathering and absorbing every information about Baba whichever sources it came from. Dr. Ghani was largely involved in quenching this thirst. All these boys and girls and their family members would gather around Dr. Ghani to listen to his talks and stories that he recounted of Meher Baba. Most of these meetings were used to be held at L. B. Thade’s government quarters within the compound of backward boys’ hostel run by social welfare department. By this time, Mr. Thade was elevated as the Superintendent of the hostel. Some of the inmates of the hostel like Rangole, Bade, and P.K. Chavan, myself (Pratap Ahir) were also caught up in the web of Meher Baba’s Love. Meetings with Dr Ghani used to take place in the night after 9 pm and would continue till midnight and sometimes till well over mid-night till 1 or 2 AM. Dr. Ghani had been with Baba since the early days of Pune and had a lot to share. Looking at this group’s enthusiasm and sincerity, he opened out the treasure fully that he had accumulated over his time with Baba and probably had preserved for several years seeking for receivers. He not only narrated Baba stories and instances but also explained many spiritual concepts that he had learnt from Baba. To describe those moments I would say that Dr. Ghani had disclosed to us a wide array of Baba-related things and also the “inside’ stories related to life of Meher Baba and of mandali members. “I am placing a costliest diamond in your hands. Don’t lose it even at the cost of your life”, he would often warn us.

In July 1949, Baba had announced that he, along with some select members, was going on New Life and that it would be a life of no return. This announcement shocked the young boys as it meant that they wouldn’t be able to have Baba’s darshan during their lifetime. They virtually started weeping when an elderly person, Sule Kaka, provoked them to go to Adi’s office with a request for Baba’s darshan.

Adi was strict but had a malleable heart that responded to this group’s sincere request. Baba was so busy with thousands of things that asking for his time was out of question. Adi devised a compromise formula. He would be driving Baba to Mehrazad from Meherabad. At a particular place, he would slow down the car and the group members can have a glimpse of Baba who would be sitting at the window. God always listens and responds to heart’s cry and that small group of Pune Baba workers not only got Baba’s glimpse but got his Darshan as Baba asked Adi to stop the car on seeing this group standing by the roadside.

The Gadekar's at the Heartland Centre at Prague, Oklahoma

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