On the morning of Sunday, May 13th, (1962) Vishnu was sitting on the doorstep
of the hall in Guruprasad. Baba saw him and remarked to Nariman,
“Vishnu has one foot in this room and one foot in the grave.” At the
time, none of the men understood what Baba meant.
That afternoon, Guruprasad was filled to overflowing during a program
of qawaali singing held from 4:00 to 6:30 P.M. Many from Bombay and
Poona were present, including the cricket players Nari Contractor, his
wife Dolly, Polly Umrigar and the Khilnanis. Siddiq Qawaal, from
Jaipur, was the singer that day and he put his heart and soul into his
music, making Baba very happy.
Francis Brabazon had hurt his foot and was sitting uncomfortably. A
funny incident occurred. He would often ask Bhau, “What is this tune
called?” and Bhau would reply, “I don’t know.” It irritated Francis,
so Bhau started making up titles. Francis was satisfied and then
started questioning Jim Mistry for translations of the songs. Jim,
too, began making up lines to appease Francis.
When the program ended, Baba went to his room. Bhau and Vishnu both
went for their evening milk, as Bhau would soon have to be on watch
near Baba. It was already a bit late due to the qawaali singing. While
having their drink, Bhau related about how Francis kept pestering him
to translate, and how he had fun misleading him. Vishnu laughed
After that, Bhau went to wash his face, and in the next minute,
Vishnu’s worldly journey came to an end. He had a heart attack. It was
just a month shy of his fifty-ninth birthday when he attained union
with the Divine. Vishnu had been suffering from coronary thrombosis
for some time. (It was observed that Vishnu was in a very pleasant
mood that day. His cousin Sushila had come, and he was quite animated
while talking with her.)
Baba was informed and came out of his room and sat near Vishnu, who
was laid on the sofa. Although his heart and pulse had stopped
completely and his eyes were half-closed, when Baba came and stood by
him, one of the men said, “Look, Vishnu, Baba has come; Baba is here.”
Vishnu’s eyes opened wide and gazed upon Baba, and they remained so
until they were gently shut.
Eruch, who used to go to Bindra House every evening and return to
Guruprasad in the morning, had already left. He was informed, and he,
in turn, told Sushila. Later, Eruch accompanied Sushila to Guruprasad
so she could be near Vishnu.
Adi, Sarosh, Rustom Kaka, Kaku, Manek and Waman were also in
Guruprasad that day and were about to return to Ahmednagar when Vishnu
died, so they stayed for a while.
Eruch took over an hour to console Sushila, and Baba sat next to
Vishnu until then. He remarked, “The qawaali made me so happy today,
that in my happiness I merged Vishnu within me!” He added, “Never
before have I sat near the body of any of my mandali as I am doing
today by Vishnu. He is indeed most fortunate!”
When Eruch and the others arrived, it was decided that Vishnu’s body
should be cremated in Poona, and the ashes sent to Meherabad. Vishnu’s
body was carried away and placed in the car, as Baba stood and watched
it until it was driven out of sight.
Vishnu came into Meher Baba’s contact as a teenage boy in 1918, and
from the days of Manzil-e-Meem in 1922, he was always with Baba. His
almost forty years of service, love and obedience to the God-Man were
as close to perfect as perfect can be described. His mother, Kakubai,
had died in Meherabad, and now Vishnu had laid aside his body at the
Beloved’s side. Vishnu was incomparable in forbearance, and Baba was
always pleased with him. Even under the most trying circumstances, he
would never utter a word of complaint, and he put up with every
hardship. Vishnu was called “One of the four pillars of Meherabad,”
along with Adi, Pendu and Padri. Among the men, he was sorely missed.
Pendu was brought back to Guruprasad from the hospital at the end of
May. He was particularly close to Vishnu and had not been told of his
demise until he returned.
(1) Vishnu Deorukhar was also called “Bazaar-Master,” because he did
the marketing for many years at Meherabad, Meherazad and other
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 17, pp. 5896 – 5898.