Mahatma Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

 

 

Born : 2nd October 1869 - Porbandar, Gujarat,  India

Died : 30th January 1948 - New Dehi, India  - assassinated

Married : Kasturba Gandhi  m. 1883  - died : 1944

Children : Harilal, Devdas, Manilal, Ramdas

 

Peace Activist & Legal practitioner ( early life )

 

INDIAN

 

 Meher Baba had previously stated that Mahatma Gandhi had a greater destiny than leading India free from British rule, that he was destined to work for the whole world and would become a Perfect Master after three more lifetimes.)

 Lord Meher, Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 9, pp. 3235 – 3236.

 

This web page solely tries to detail the interactions between Meher Baba & Mahatma Gandhi. The full life details of Gandhi's life can be read in other publications such as Wikipedia, etc. See the web link below the following photo of Gandhi.

 

There are no known photos taken of Meher Baba & Mahatma Gandhi together at any time.

 

Mohandas Gandhi ; Date - 1893  - Attorney at law
Mohandas Gandhi ; Date - 1893 - Attorney at law
1931 Map A : The above map shows to journey from Bombay, India to London, England.
1931 Map A : The above map shows to journey from Bombay, India to London, England.

On Saturday, August 29th.,1931,  Meher Baba sailed from Bombay for Marseilles, France, on the SS Rajputana. This was his first trip to the West.  

Meher Baba first met Gandhi on the 8th September when Gandhi came to his cabin, as the ship was sailing between Port Said, Egypt and Messina, Italy.

The ship landed at Marseilles in the early hours of Friday, September 11th.

Meher Baba was accompanied by Agha Ali, Chanji and Rustom.

1931

 

At first, Baba's name was kept a closely guarded secret. He was listed on the passenger list as M. S. Irani and had signed on by his given name. From this time on, he continued signing important documents as M. S. Irani.

Chanji finally recovered from his seasickness and one morning when he went out on the deck, he noticed that Mahatma Gandhi was standing nearby. He then understood why Baba made him change their tickets and had chosen to travel to England on the S. S. Rajputana. Just a few days before, Gandhi had agreed to participate in a Round Table Conference in London ( see video clip further down this page ) concerning India's independence from the British, and for that purpose was proceeding there on the same ship – unknown to him – with Meher Baba. 

Staying aloof, Baba kept inside his cabin during the voyage and saw no one for some days. He would, however, take a stroll on the deck early every morning and late in the evening for almost an hour when no one was around. He ate in his cabin and maintained a strict vegetarian diet.

 

Lord Meher Volume 4, Page 1381 - 2 

SS Rajputana

 

 

Baba next recounted his meeting with Mahatma Gandhi on board the ship S. S. Rajputana in 1931, on his way to England:

 

When I was on my way to England for the first time, Gandhi was on the same boat. For three days, he came to my cabin regularly and stayed upwards of two hours at a time. I was using the alphabet board then. Mahadev Desai used to accompany him but would remain outside the cabin. Gandhi's heart was incomparable; it was pure gold. When he came I would make him sit beside me. He would go on asking questions and I would answer them. Why am I telling you all this? Because it has a connection with this stretching of your feet and feeling free in front of me.

 

Lord Meher Volume 13, Page 4718

NOTE : The image above is the still from the newsreel taken when the SS Rajputana docked in Marseilles, France. It's noted that the young man on the left is Meher Baba's travelling companion Agha Ali, who presumably out of curiosity found himself standing near Gandhi and hence was filmed. He is seen briefly 0.30 secs into the film.

Port of Marseilles, France
Port of Marseilles, France

THE S.S. RAJPUTANA landed at Marseilles ( France ) in the early hours of Friday, September 11th, 1931. Baba stepped onto the shores of Europe for the first time at eight that morning. Meredith Starr and Herbert Davy were waiting to receive him. Baba was dressed in a white sadra and a brown fur coat, wearing a pink scarf around his neck and head. Much correspondence had taken place with Meredith Starr since he had left India in December, 1928, thus establishing the Master's link with the West through him.

 

After leaving the ship, Baba, Rustom, Chanji and Agha Ali went to refresh themselves at the Hotel Geneva where Meredith had booked rooms for them. Baba left the liner in a hurry and no other meeting took place between him and Gandhi.

 

 Lord Meher Volume 4, Page 1404

 

https://www.meherbabatravels.com/location-gallery/france/geneva-hotel-marseilles-france/https://www.meherbabatravels.com/location-gallery/france/marseilles-france/

1931 : The above map shows the train journey from Marseilles to Paris in 'red' & the train journey to Boulonge in 'blue'.  The ferry crossing is shown as 'blue dots'.
1931 : The above map shows the train journey from Marseilles to Paris in 'red' & the train journey to Boulonge in 'blue'. The ferry crossing is shown as 'blue dots'.

11th Sept. 1931 - France

 

After a brief stay in Marseilles, Baba's party took the train to Lyon and arriving the next morning the 12th, in Paris and changing trains for French port of Boulogne, where they took ferry "Briarritz" to Folkestone, England.

The ferry ride took 3 hours one way.

The train & ferry journey from Paris to London took usually about 12 hours.

Meher Baba and his companions took the train from Folkestone Wharf to Victoria Station in London. He was then taken to the Davy's home at 32 Russell Road Kensington.

The following day ( 13th ) he was driven to East Challacombe in Devon on the English west coast.

 Perfect Master Babajan died ( dropped her body ) on the 21st.

Meher Baba returns to London on the 24th September, having spent 11 days at the retreat.

8 days later - 2nd Oct. Meher Baba visits Mahatma Gandhi's at his residence at Kingsley Hall.

On the very next day - 3rd , Meher Baba and his companions travel to Dover - Calais - Paris by ferry & trains, eventually arriving in Instanbul on the 6th October.

Later in the month- 27th, Baba would sail on the SS Roma from Geneo, Italy to New York City.

 

Gandhi returned to India on the 28th December 1931.

A week later 4th January 1932, Gandhi was arrested for sedition and held without a trial.

 

The Ferry " S.S.  BRIARRITZ "

Map of the Port of Folkestone. The photo below of Gandhi walking would have been taken along the R/H side near the Harbour Station. This is where Meher Baba took the train to Victoria Station in London.
Map of the Port of Folkestone. The photo below of Gandhi walking would have been taken along the R/H side near the Harbour Station. This is where Meher Baba took the train to Victoria Station in London.
Mahatma Gandhi disembarking from the ferry at Folkestone, UK., with a British Government official.
Mahatma Gandhi disembarking from the ferry at Folkestone, UK., with a British Government official.
1931 : Folkstone, England. Gandhi walking from the ferry to a waiting car to take him to London. WINTER !
1931 : Folkstone, England. Gandhi walking from the ferry to a waiting car to take him to London. WINTER !
Meher Baba stayed at the Davy's home - 32 Russell Road, Kensington, London,UK., whilst in London.
Meher Baba stayed at the Davy's home - 32 Russell Road, Kensington, London,UK., whilst in London.

Kingsley Hall Community Centre - London

 

 

On October 2nd 1931, Baba decided it was time to meet with Gandhi again.

 

Accompanied by Chanji, Baba went to meet Gandhi at 8:15 that night at Kingsley Hall Community Centre, Powis Road,London E2, 3HJ, in the East End.

 

When they arrived, they found Gandhi surrounded by many people. Seeing Baba enter, Gandhi stood up and received him with great reverence and then introduced him to all present. Their conversation proceeded as follows :

 

see Lord Meher ;  Bhau Kalchuri  - Vol.4 Page 1446 to 1451

Courtesy of Avatar Meher Baba Trust - Archives
Courtesy of Avatar Meher Baba Trust - Archives

Newsreel footage of Gandhi in England in 1931

 

Gandhi's secretary Mirabehn had mis-reported certain events between Meher Baba & Gandhi, which made their way into the press through individuals who had a vendetta against Meher Baba. Baba's secretary later when back in India wrote to Gandhi personally to make him aware of the false facts that were published.

 

After going through the distorted reports, Gandhi wrote back to Chanji:

 

September 20, 1941 - Segaon, Wardha, India

 

Dear Dadachanji,

 

With reference to the alleged interview with Mirabehn, and reported by Rom Landau, you may announce to the curious that it was not Meher Baba who sought me out on the S. S. Rajputana, but I who sought him out in his cabin, and it was I who used to go frequently to his cabin. And this I did for the love of Jamshed Mehta, who had cabled to me that Babaji was a fellow passenger with me, and that I should seek him out and try to understand him. And, as you were Baba's interpreter of the alphabetical plate through which he held converse with the world, you know the spiritual nature of our conversation.

 

I had further invited Baba to meet me in London during the time I was there.

There was no question of Masterhood and discipleship. I have never felt like being disciple to anybody in a spiritual way, though I am still, and have always been, in search of a Guru, as I hold every seeker of God should be.

 

Yours sincerely,

Mohandas Gandhi

 

 Lord Meher Volume 7, Page 2714  

Mahatma Gandhi in England

1948

 

Much correspondence had been exchanged between Mahatma Gandhi and Chanji, who, along with Dr. Deshmukh, had met Gandhi a number of times. Gandhi had seen Baba three times — once on the Rajputana in 1931, a second time in London and thereafter in Bombay. Baba would talk about him often, and loved, appreciated and praised his dedication to the nation.

It would not be wrong to suggest that Mahatma Gandhi was Meher Baba's medium for accomplishing his work in the political sphere; because of Gandhi's efforts India had won its independence from the British. This also must be the reason why, until the last, Gandhi had remained in politics, though he was a lover of God and had even promised Baba to join him after India was freed.

Lord Meher On-Line p.2615

India : Gandhi spinning cotton
India : Gandhi spinning cotton

Concluding, Baba praised Mahatma Gandhi, who was assassinated in 1948: "There is only one man who led a life of one hundred percent truthfulness and honesty, and that was Mahatma Gandhi. I took a promise from him when he met me on the steamer Rajputana that he should come to me after India attains independence. He kept his promise, and has come to me."

 

Lord Meher Volume 11, Page 4059

 

This is an excerpt from an article, written by Stephen Sakellarios, relating many interesting stories concerning Meher Baba, particularly concerning his visits to the West. The entire article can be found at:  http://www.ial.goldthread.com/Meher_Baba.html

 

First trip to the West

 

In August of 1931, Meher Baba made his first of nine trips to the West. Baba often changed plans rapidly, and just before this trip, he inexplicably instructed the disciple making the arrangements to change the reservations from a ship that had already been booked, to the SS Rajputana. At that time, Mahatma Gandhi was considering attending a "round table" discussion in London regarding the independence of India (the decision hinging on the easing of conflicts between Hindus and Muslims), and at the last minute decided in favor of going and also happened to book passage on the Rajputana. Meher Baba had recently been the guest of the mayor of Karachi, Jamshed Mehta, who cabled Gandhi that Baba was on-board, recommending to contact him.

Gandhi sent word through his secretary, and the two met on September 8th in Baba’s cabin. Baba’s secretary recorded their conversation, and the transcript was later endorsed by both sides. Meher Baba related the narrative of his spiritual awakening, whereupon Gandhi remarked, “The divine truths that you have enunciated and your experiences are a regular feast which I would like to enjoy for hours.”

They talked about matters of spiritual discipline like silence and fasting (Meher Baba having kept silence for six years at that point). Baba also allowed Gandhi to read some pages from a book he had written “explaining all the secrets of the (spiritual) Path”. Gandhi was the only person Baba ever showed this book to. Its whereabouts are not now known, except perhaps to whomever it was vouchsafed.

 

The conversation then turned to Gandhi’s political work, which Baba advised him on at length. The following exchange was recorded:

“India has suffered a great deal. Will she have to continue suffering?” asked Gandhi of Meher Baba.

 

Meher Baba replied, “The situation as I see it is that if the British refuse to give you what is wanted, full Dominion Status to India, you will have to return empty-handed and be forced to start civil disobedience in India again. Despite your insistence on a non-violent revolution, if the atmosphere does turn violent, it will be difficult to check the situation. You have in recent months evidenced incidents of violence all over India. If such violence continues the spiritual cause of India will suffer tremendously. As long as civil disobedience in India is non-violently carried out, matters will work out successfully, otherwise India will have to continue suffering. But India will gain by this suffering, not lose, because suffering will prepare India to be courageous. Remember all good results after suffering.

“India has always been a land of spirituality and if spiritual greatness is to be maintained, the energy of suffering must remain. In order for it to remain spiritually great, India must be prepared to suffer, but non-violently.”

These consultations continued for three consecutive nights. On the last night Gandhi expressed the desire to join Meher Baba, that he longed for God-Realization, and that “…if God ordained he should retire from politics, God would create such circumstance as to relieve him of all obligations and responsibilities for which he was committed.”

During their talks, Gandhi mentioned that he had earlier met Upasni Maharaj, and had gotten a shocking reception–that master had told him, “So, you are a great man–what is that to me?” lifting the sackcloth he wore and showing Gandhi his private parts!

Gandhi, naturally, was taken aback and expressed to Baba that he could not accept Upasni Maharaj’s spiritual authority, even though he could feel Baba’s. Baba assured him that Upasni, as the master who helped Baba function again in the gross world after his Realization, was spiritually Perfect.

 

Jamshed Mehta images

https://www.dawn.com/news/1113332

 

The 1st Round Table Conference in London
The 1st Round Table Conference in London

At a meeting in Bombay, Gandhi told Baba that he longed for Ishwar-Darshan ( God-realization ) and promised Baba that he would quit politics and come to live in Baba’s ashram at Meherabad. Later correspondence indicates that Gandhi was unable to quit politics, a pre-condition put by Baba before adapting to a spiritual life. Gandhi was assassinated in 1948.

Books about Mahatma Gandhi