Masts & Saintly Persons

 

ALI SHAH

 

The mast Ali Shah with Baba in Satara, India -  1947.  (Photo courtesy of the MSI Collection)
The mast Ali Shah with Baba in Satara, India - 1947. (Photo courtesy of the MSI Collection)

I WAS ONLY TESTING YOU
Eruch Jessawala

 

In 1956 Meher Baba sent me again to visit saints and masters with the following message. Meher Baba says you are His beloved child and He wants you to remember Him and love Him.

I went to many masters and each one accepted the message reverentially and with deep love, except one who claimed himself to be a Perfect Master. When I visited him in Bombay and gave him the message, he angrily retorted, "I am not His child. How dare you bring such a message!" and then continued to rave and rant against Baba for quite some time.

I heard him out patiently and listened to him abusing Baba, but despite being a short-tempered man, I kept my cool. At one point he said to me, "If Baba were to come to me, I will make Him stand on His head and let His legs dangle in the air, and He dares to call me His beloved child!"

In between his abuses I kept interjecting Baba's greatness and compassion. He then started to narrate incidents of how spiritual masters came to him and paid their respects and Baba, he said, had the temerity to call him 'His child!' He reeled out the names of a number of them whom I indicated I had come to know over a period of time and this volunteered statement of mine both surprised him and angered him considerably.

Soon it was time for me to leave, so I turned to him and said, "Do you see how big and strong I am. For nearly two hours you have been abusing Meher Baba, and if in retaliation I were to pounce on you and hold you by the neck, you would squeak like a chicken. But I don't see you as you are. I see my Baba speaking through you, and through you He is giving me a glimpse of His other facet, for He is Infinite and He is everything."

When he heard this, he looked astounded, then said, "Well done, my child. I was only testing you."

I thanked him and left.

 

THE ANCIENT ONE, pp. 91-92
1985 © Naosherwan Anzar

Meher Baba with Ali Shah. Photo courtesy of Dennis Schlaen
Meher Baba with Ali Shah. Photo courtesy of Dennis Schlaen

Chhota  Baba

(  aka Abdulla R. Avazi  )

 

Meher Baba with Chhota Baba at Toka, India 1928.
Meher Baba with Chhota Baba at Toka, India 1928.
Meher Baba in the Crypt Cabin at Meherabad with the Prem Ashram boys
Meher Baba in the Crypt Cabin at Meherabad with the Prem Ashram boys

Vishandas Maharaj

 

1st December 1955 - Meherabad, India. Photo taken by Panday
1st December 1955 - Meherabad, India. Photo taken by Panday

1st December 1955 ; Meher Baba ( left ) with the mast-saint Vishandas Maharaj from Indore, India

On the evening of December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, an African American, was arrested for disobeying an Alabama law requiring black passengers to relinquish seats to white passengers when the bus was full. Blacks also were required to sit at the back of the bus. Her arrest sparked a 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system and led to a 1956 Supreme Court decision banning segregation on public transportation.

" I did not get on the bus to get arrested; I got on the bus to go home" Rosa Parks

14th January 1952

 

Nilu's beard stayed intact, as Baidul returned with Pathan Baba in Meherjee's car. After working with him on the 14th, Baba sent him back the same evening. Slamson had brought the mast-saint Vishandas Maharaj from Indore that same day, and the saint was kept at Meherazad. Baba intended to work in seclusion with the Hindu saint for some weeks (as he had done with the Muslim mast Pathan Baba the month before) but Vishandas Maharaj knew who Baba was, and so the work with him proved too difficult.

He was therefore sent back to Indore after five days, on the 19th.

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 3027-8

 

6 November 1952

Slamson then read a letter to Baba from Vishandas Maharaj, the mast-saint who had been brought to Meherazad from Indore during Baba's Manonash phase of work in January 1952.

Vishandas Maharaj had written:

 

On October 23rd at 3:00 P.M., before a gathering of 500 persons, I have opened a spiritual center in your name [in Indore]. I have placed there your three large-sized photographs. I have lighted a flame which I want to remain lit forever. I also wish to open a new center at Kalyan. The completion of the work at Kalyan will be done by God's will.

The saint expressed his deep feelings toward Baba and wished that Baba's name and work gather momentum day by day. He also expressed his desire to have Baba's darshan, to which Baba stated, "After April." Baba directed Slamson (who was from Indore) to tell Vishandas Maharaj to continue the work he was doing for him.

 

He then quoted this Persian couplet:

 

Do what you like with God the Absolute,

But be very careful with walis and masts!

 

Baba explained: "Walis [saints], who borrow power from vidnyan-bhumi [seventh plane], do not hesitate to use it, sometimes wiping off the best sanskaras of those who play mischief with them. Walis are independent. They are not bound to do either good or evil. Thus their contact may give one a great spiritual push, or it may retard one's spiritual progress.

"The Sadguru is like an ocean. He does not give anything, but when he gives, he gives the Ocean and you become Realized."

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 3166-7

November 1955

 

The sahavas group dispersed and went for tea at 3:00 P.M. Afterwards, Baba sat on the front verandah to distribute prasad. Nana Kher's uncle, Raja "Mancher Shah" Kher, had brought a parcel of oranges from Nagpur. Baba made the group stand before him and threw one orange to each. While looking to the left, Baba would throw the oranges to the right and occasionally in front of him, so every man was alert to catch them.

If a fruit fell down, Baba would have it given back and again throw it. There was much laughter and amusement during the distribution, and all coveted the prasad.

The mast-saint from Indore, Vishandas Maharaj, failed to catch his share and the orange fell to the ground. Baba had it returned and again threw it to him. This time he caught it, much to Baba's pleasure.

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 3871-2

1st December 1955

 

Bhaiya Panday, the photographer from Ahmednagar, had been called, and he took over 20 shots of Baba with different small groups ( including the one above ). Baba then led the group to the Meher Retreat building. There under the tin shed, the Marathi sahavas group sat on a carpet, and Baba sat in a chair and narrated to them about the Prem Ashram, his seclusion in the Tomb and other activities of Meherabad in the early days. In conclusion, Baba observed, "It is your great fortune that I myself brought you to my last resting place. After 60 years, this place will be a world center of pilgrimage."

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 3891

 

 

Saint - Hazrat Maula (Maula Baba ) Gilori Shah

 

Early 1920s, Ahmednagar, India ( cropped image )
Early 1920s, Ahmednagar, India ( cropped image )

Born :

Died : 16th January 1924 - Meherabad, India

INDIAN SAINT - 6th plane

 

Gilori Shah was still alive when Meher Baba first visited Arangaon during May 1923. He was a resident of Ahmednagar but, as mentioned earlier, he had his tomb built outside the city. The tomb is now part of lower Meherabad.

https://www.ambppct.org/gilori.php

http://ambprasarkendra.com/2017/01/05/gilori-shah/

June, 1921

 

Gulmai Irani and her family were living in the Parsi dharamshala in Shani Gulli, Ahmednagar, and during 1921, her husband Khansaheb had completed construction of a new house nearby that he named Sarosh Manzil. Gulmai desired that Upasni Maharaj come and inaugurate the house before they moved in, but her orthodox relatives were averse to the idea of Maharaj (a Hindu) opening the house. Hence, the ceremony was performed according to the Zoroastrian religion. A local Mohammedan saint named Gilori Shah was also invited to the inauguration and the poor were fed. All of their furniture was shifted there, but Gulmai was adamant that she would not stay in the new house until Upasni Maharaj himself came and performed the housewarming ceremony.

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 237

1921 - Ahmednagar, India. Gilori Shah is sitting at the front on the left.
1921 - Ahmednagar, India. Gilori Shah is sitting at the front on the left.

Later Baba remarked, "After Rustom's wedding I am thinking of moving to some village for a while."

Gulmai then suggested, "Why don't you come and visit our property near Arangaon, outside Ahmednagar?"

Baba coyly asked her, "Why do you say that?"

Gulmai replied, "Your visit has been foretold by a local saint, Gilori Shah."

Baba, pretending not to follow, said that he did not understand what she meant.

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 390

2017 - Saint Gilori Shah's tomb - Lower Meherabad, India
2017 - Saint Gilori Shah's tomb - Lower Meherabad, India

Gulmai Irani narrated this story ; 20th February 1923

 

A Mohammedan saint called Hazrat Maula [Maulana] Gilori Shah lives in Ahmednagar. He occasionally comes to our house for a meal; but usually he prefers to keep aloof. He dislikes the presence of any crowd. When Masaji was working in Ahmednagar, he used to take bread and butter to the saint, and sometimes would bathe him.

Gilori Shah would often mention that he wanted to go to Arangaon and live his last days there. I thought that it was an unsuitable place for such a personage and would argue, "But Hazrat, who will bring your meals there? And who will look after you in the jungle?"

He would frown, saying, "All of these people are of no use to me, and I do not require their help."

There were some wealthy butchers who used to pay him respect and who offered him some land. However, he preferred our place and would tell them that he would only settle at Arangaon.

He would request me, "Give me a small portion of your land and build a room for me. Take me there and also bring Upasni Maharaj and Meher Baba. Turn the place into a sadhu khanna [an ashram for wandering mendicants and pilgrims]." I would listen to him but tried to dissuade him, knowing it would cause an uproar among our in-laws.

One night a year later, I dreamed that I was seated in the compound of a small old house. A child all wrapped in cloth was on my lap. A couple of persons were speaking to me as my eyes gazed downward. I saw the head of the child peeping out from under its covering. The child then sat up, and I saw that he had the face of the saint. I cried out, "This child is Hazrat Gilori Shah!"

He sweetly pleaded, "Ma, you are not giving me the land? Where will I rest?"

I instantly remembered the land at Arangaon and promised him, "Yes, Hazrat, I will give it to you." The moment I finished speaking, I awakened.

I narrated the dream to my husband, telling him that the saint had been insisting on the land for some years, and Kaikhushru promised to fulfill his request.

The next day, Gilori Shah, accompanied by some of his devotees, went to Arangaon. There he selected a small plot of land, and told them, "Prepare my tomb here."

This statement surprised them, and they pleaded: "But, Hazrat, who will come so far from the city to pay homage here? This is a desolate place and uninhabitable!

The saint then reprimanded them: "You are like children. You know nothing! In a short time, this place will turn into a garden of pilgrimage. A great one will come here, and this land will one day belong to the people of the world! Only then will you understand why I am buried here."

One day I went with the saint to look at the site he had selected. A mason joined us and the plot was measured and changes were made as directed by him. Then the saint turned to me and said, "When I die, bring me here — escorted by a band. Bury me at this place."

I pleaded, "Your Mohammedan followers will never permit the band!"

He replied, "Yes, I know that. So you will have to drive them away to do as I tell you. Tell them that I had no caste or creed!"

Then he concluded: "Meher Baba will soon come here, and before he does, you should have my tomb erected. All that will happen will be exactly as I am telling you." I promised him accordingly.

Baba was glad to hear this story and did not object to Gulmai carrying out the saint's wishes.

Gulmai then inquired when he would come to Arangaon. Baba grinned and replied, "I may or may not come!"

"You will have to come!" said Gulmai.

"We'll see. Meanwhile, construct Gilori Shah's tomb as he wishes," Baba instructed.

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 390-1-2

20th April 1923

 

One day the local Muslim saint Gilori Shah, whom Gulmai had told Baba about, appeared at the gate of Khushru Quarters. Adi saw him, but Baba told him to go inside and not approach the saint.

 

Adi related a bit more about the saint's background:

 

Before Baba came into our life, my mother, my brother Rustom and I used to go to this saint, and my father also knew him. The saint, when he was in the "practical life" had lived in England for a time, where he had been employed as a cook for Queen Victoria. He knew how to prepare English-style cooking, Indian cooking and also about wines, syrups, sherbet, and other things. He knew so many types of Indian medicines.

One day, when he was fairly aged, he asked me to accompany him to Arangaon Village to have a look at my father's property. At that time we had heard about Meher Baba but not much. Cars in those days were rare, but I hired a horse carriage and we went the six miles to Arangaon. The saint got down exactly at that well, and he said, "This place is going to be blessed by the presence of a really big man." He didn't mention Baba by name. The saint continued, "This is a very important place, and when I die you should tell your father that I should be buried here." He indicated the place where his tomb now stands.

 

Thereafter, the saint never expressed a desire to me to take Baba's darshan, though the saint knew that Baba had come into our lives. Baba did say that Gilori Shah was a real saint of the fifth plane of consciousness, who later progressed to the sixth plane. But Baba cautioned me not to go see the saint, though he had assured me that the saint's consciousness was that high.

 

One day the saint came to the gate of Khushru Quarters and stood there waiting for me to come to greet him. At this very time, Baba was staying at Khushru Quarters, with the entire mandali. The saint was looking at me from that distance, and I was very attracted to go to see him. Baba was standing right opposite to me, and he said, "No, you should not go, you must not go."

 

I obeyed and Baba said, "You go inside and he will go away."

The saint waited for a while and seeing no response from me he walked away.

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 409-10

 

Continuing, after trudging six miles along the Dhond Road, they saw some dilapidated buildings and a small village nearby. When they entered the property, they came across a watchman who informed them that the structures had formerly housed a British military post and were now owned by Khansaheb Kaikhushru Irani of Ahmednagar. The nearby village was Arangaon.

The mandali were surprised because, although they had heard about Arangaon and Baba's intention of staying there, they did not know its location. Gulmai had only mentioned the name of the place and had planned to take Baba there after Rustom's marriage. Baba sat down under a neem tree by an old well. He pointed out the recently constructed tomb of Gilori Shah, a few feet away, then observed the neglected buildings, a small howd (cistern) and a concrete platform.

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 414

When Baba had first arrived in Arangaon during May 1923, the Mohammedan saint Gilori Shah was still alive, although his tomb at Meherabad had been completed. By the time Baba returned to Meherabad in March 1924, Gilori Shah had dropped his body. According to the saint's wishes, his funeral procession on 16 January ended at Meherabad. When the saint was buried, there was a dispute among his followers as to which rites to perform — Hindu or Muslim. But someone at the funeral settled the dispute by quoting what Gilori Shah had once said, "For the fakir, there is no sect or religion."

 

Thus, the saint was buried without ceremony, as he had wished. Gilori Shah himself had kept his coffin ready, on which he had inscribed: "He who has died before his death is alive." 

 

Gulmai's husband Khansaheb paid the funeral expenses of Gilori Shah.

 

And after a year, a wooden canopy was built over the saint's marble tomb.

The private room for Baba's personal use was constructed within a week not far from Gilori Shah's tomb.

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 493-4

Chinna  Swami