Known today as NANJING
Known today as NANJING
June 1932 ; Meher Baba beside Xuanwu Lake, Nanjing, China.  ( cropped image by A. Zois )
June 1932 ; Meher Baba beside Xuanwu Lake, Nanjing, China. ( cropped image by A. Zois )
1930s Nanking University
1930s Nanking University

State flag of China since 1949       Old Nationalist flag in the 1930s

Lord Meher Baba
Lord Meher Baba
 June 1932 - Meher Baba in Nanjing, China. Image has been edited and cropped by Anthony Zois
June 1932 - Meher Baba in Nanjing, China. Image has been edited and cropped by Anthony Zois

From 1928 to 1949, Nanking ( Nanjing  ) was the capital of the then Chinese Republic. The railway line between Shanghai & Nanking was known as the "Jinghu railway", a name now reserved for the line between Beijing and Shanghai.

 

 

Early 20th Century rail map of China, with the Shanghai to Nanking route highlighted in red. Artwork by Anthony Zois
Early 20th Century rail map of China, with the Shanghai to Nanking route highlighted in red. Artwork by Anthony Zois

 

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     On the 22nd June 1932 at 3.00 pm, Meher Baba and his 4 men mandali arrived in Shanghai who were met by Herbert Davy and Baba's brother Jal Irani. After settling in their hotel rooms at the Palace Hotel, they toured parts of Shanghai by foot and trolley tram. The following night - 23rd they all took the Shanghai to Nanking train at 11 pm. They arrived at Nanking Railway Station the next morning - 24th and they all went to Herbert's house at  No.1. Pei Sze Ting.

     For the next 2 days Herbert showed Meher Baba and his companions the sights of Nanking, which is described in the Lord Meher book extracts. On the night of the 26th everyone except Herbert boarded the train back to Shanghai, Baba had given Herbert instructions to return to Europe the following week and to meet him when Baba's ship arrives in the French port of Marseilles on the 28th of July.

     Once Baba and his 7 companions arrived in Shanghai they made their way and boarded the ship SS Kaisar-i-Hind which was to take them back to India. The ship departed on the same day of the 28th June.

     Herbert left Nanking on the 4th July by train heading to Northern China, the U.S.S.R. ( Russian ) border, connecting onto the Trans-Siberian Railway at Chita all the way to Moscow, connecting to other rail services onto Warsaw, Berlin and Amsterdam. Here he took a ferry to London. Later in the month, he and his sister Kitty met Meher Baba wharf side in Marseilles on the 28th July as pre-arranged a month earlier.

 

 

The Shanghai to Nanking rail distance is about 299km (185 miles)

Shanghai to Nanking rail line
Shanghai to Nanking rail line

Thursday, 23 June 1932

 

Afterward, they went to the railway station ( Nth. Shanghai ) and boarded the 11:00 P.M. train for Nanking. Baba, Herbert and Kaka sat in first class, and Beheram, Jalbhai, Adi Jr. and Chanji were seated in second class.

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1445

 South Manchurian Railway
South Manchurian Railway

Friday, 24 June 1932

 

They reached Nanking the next morning at seven o'clock. Pendu and Gustadji were waiting on the platform to receive Baba. All went to stay at Herbert's house two miles from the station. As ordered, Pendu, Gustadji and Jalbhai had been waiting in China for three months, expecting Baba's call to join him in America. Prior to Baba's arrival in China, Vishnu and Raosaheb had been sent back to Nasik.

After refreshments, Herbert took Baba to see the Great Wall in Nanking. A lake was nearby and Baba walked along it a long distance. Nanking was a pleasant city and reminded Baba and the mandali of Poona. Baba was driven up the Purple Mountain in the afternoon to see the memorial to the revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen.  Though the roads were rough, Baba liked the surroundings.

In the evening the group sat around Baba in his room and listened to music. Thereafter, Baba dictated cables for Chanji to send to America, England and India about his change of plans.

Many Chinese students from the National Central University, where Herbert taught, and older men and women came to meet Baba in Nanking. At first, when showing Baba the sights, Herbert had taken Baba to more quiet areas of the city. But Baba said, "No, take me to where the crowds are." So in Nanking, too, Baba wandered about the dirty, downtrodden lanes of the poorer sections, where the Chinese peasants gazed at him in wonderment.

Herbert's teaching assignment was coming to an end. Wishing to serve Baba, he said, "If you want me to visit Dairen [Talien], Manchuria, Siberia, Moscow and Warsaw on my way to London, I will."

Baba replied, "All right. Then proceed to Marseilles via Manchuria and Russia, and meet me there on July 20." 

On Sunday, 26 June 1932, Baba saw a film at the National Cinema, drove through the swarming lanes of the city again and visited a temple of Confucius. Baba was to leave that day and Herbert presented him with a lacquered statue of Mile Fo ( Maitreya Buddha ) , which is the name used by the Chinese for the "Coming Buddha."

After staying for three days in Nanking, Baba entrained for Shanghai at 11:00 P.M. They arrived at eight in the morning and left at 4:00 P.M. for Bombay on the SS Kaiser-i-Hind on the 28th. Herbert Davy left for Dairen (China's northernmost seaport) six days later on his way to Russia.

NANKING CITY MAP & RAILWAY LINE TO SHANGHAI
NANKING CITY MAP & RAILWAY LINE TO SHANGHAI
Train travelling in China - Herbert is on the left-rear with unknown man.
Train travelling in China - Herbert is on the left-rear with unknown man.

General Maps

Herbert Davy in shorts, centre with Rustom Irani on the right and Jal Irani is second from left presumably in Nanking in May 1932.
Herbert Davy in shorts, centre with Rustom Irani on the right and Jal Irani is second from left presumably in Nanking in May 1932.

June 1932 shipping & train routes taken by Meher Baba & his group on the 1st World Tour.

   1932 ASIAN - PACIFIC SHIP ROUTES & SINO - RUSSIAN TRAIN ROUTES
1932 ASIAN - PACIFIC SHIP ROUTES & SINO - RUSSIAN TRAIN ROUTES
June 1932 : Meher Baba most likely in Nanjing, China .
June 1932 : Meher Baba most likely in Nanjing, China .

June 1932 : Final stage of Meher Baba's 1st World Tour - showing the various routes taken.

 Globe graphics created by Anthony Zois - the 3rd & last leg of Meher Baba's 1st World Tour. Asia-Pacific ship routes & Herbert Davy's epic train journey from Nanking ( China ) to Marseilles ( France ).
Globe graphics created by Anthony Zois - the 3rd & last leg of Meher Baba's 1st World Tour. Asia-Pacific ship routes & Herbert Davy's epic train journey from Nanking ( China ) to Marseilles ( France ).
Meher Baba beside Xuanwu Lake and the Purple Mountains , Nanjing, China.
Meher Baba beside Xuanwu Lake and the Purple Mountains , Nanjing, China.

Nanking Central Railway Station

 Nanking Railway Station 1920s - 1930s
Nanking Railway Station 1920s - 1930s

Mid 1932 Train routes for Meher Baba and his group

1945 - Courtesy of Library of Congress
1945 - Courtesy of Library of Congress

Further along this page is the detail account of Herbert Davy's travels through China .

June 1932 : Herbert Davy's 1st train route back to Europe. Route graphics by Anthony Zois
June 1932 : Herbert Davy's 1st train route back to Europe. Route graphics by Anthony Zois
June 1932 : Meher Baba probably with an assosiate of Herbert Davy in Nanking ( Nanjing ) China.
June 1932 : Meher Baba probably with an assosiate of Herbert Davy in Nanking ( Nanjing ) China.

Note : All letters & postcards on all these web pages posted to China is courtesy of the Meher Trust Archives in India.

 

Herbert Davy's letter to Meher Baba on 13th Jan. 1932 written from the Bridge House Hotel, Nanking.

Bridge House Hotel,Nanking ( Nanjing ).
Bridge House Hotel,Nanking ( Nanjing ).

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The above photo was taken in Nanking ( now Nanjing ). The group are standing outside the walled city. The Nanking City wall was built between 1366 and completed in 1393. This photo was taken about May 1932, prior to Rustom K. Irani ( 2nd left ) left to meet Meher Baba on the 9th June in Honolulu, Hawaii, when he sailed from the California.

Soon afterwards, Vishnu & Raosaheb were sent back to India.

I believe the 3 people posing for photos are not Parsis as stated. Baba did dine with Parsis in Hong Kong, this is where the confusion arose.

With thanks to Mike Hong & other members of the Chinese Meher Baba group for their assistance.

 

University of Nanking building in the 1930s
University of Nanking building in the 1930s

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On the 4th July, 1932, Herbert Davy departed Nanking by train to the port city of Dairen as agreed upon by Meher Baba, who had left China 6 days earlier - 28th June by the ship

S.S. Kaiser-i-Hind back to India.

Herbert proceeded by train through Northern China often controlled by the Japanese forces, along the Chinese Eastern Railway which connects with the Trans-Siberian Railway at Chita in Russia. From there onto Moscow, then Warsaw, Berlin and Amsterdam and  eventually reaching London, England.

After a brief stay with his family in London, he had arranged to meet Baba at the French port of Marseilles, which he did on the 28th July at noon along with his sister Kitty.

1935 : Meher Baba & His men in Nanking ( Nanjing ), China
1935 : Meher Baba & His men in Nanking ( Nanjing ), China

( L - R ) Gustadji, Beheram, Baba, Chanji, Adi Jr., Kaka, Pendu and Jal

Herbert Davy arrived in Portofino on the 4th August 1932 from his grueling train journey from China via Russia.

Herbert's return to China via the Trans Siberian Railway to the Chinese- Manchurian border and finally returning to Nanking after another long grueling journey through Northern China. See the next web page North China for a detailed account.

NANKING VIEWS

Temple of Confusius, Nanking

NANKING ( NANJING )  TODAY