According to the Irani calendar, August 6th, (1961) was the Prophet Zarathustra’s birthday. That day, for the first time since he returned from Poona a month ago, Baba left Meherazad and visited Meherabad to see the mandali and the resident families there.
On his return, Baba expressed his dissatisfaction with Padri and his management of Meherabad. Pendu and Padri were old friends, and Baba remarked, “No one is allowed to visit Meherabad, but Padri’s servants Nana and his wife Tani and her relatives go there. This is not good, and Padri should be informed about it.”
Addressing Pendu, Baba reprimanded, “Why haven’t you mentioned this to Padri? Are you afraid of him?”
“I am not afraid even of his father!” Pendu declared.
The next day, Padri was summoned to Meherazad and Baba asked Pendu to tell him, “There is a ban on any outsider entering Meherabad. Why do you allow Tani’s relatives to come there?”
Padri replied, “Tani stays in Meherabad all day long, and those in her household come to see her about work.”
Pendu said, “If anyone comes to meet you, he is made to stand near the dhuni platform and you go there to see him. Can’t Tani walk to the dhuni to meet with her relatives?”
Baba agreed, interjecting, “What Pendu says is true. This partiality is not good. If Tani wishes to see anyone, she herself should go to the dhuni.”
Padri said, “All right, from now on I will send her there.”
Pendu continued, “If Tani is in Meherabad throughout the day, where does she bathe?”
“In the mandali’s bathroom?”
“Look at this!” Pendu declared, “Is the bathroom meant for the mandali or for Tani?”
Baba commented, “Pendu is right. Tani should not bathe there. She has a house and can bathe before coming to work.” Padri acknowledged the validity of this point also.
Pendu continued the interrogation, “Tani and Nana are cultivators. Where is the thrashing yard for their grain?”
“In Meherabad,” Padri answered.
“This is too much!” Pendu declared, “Are Tani and Nana your servants, or are you theirs?”
Baba remarked, “I did not know of this. Padri, what are you doing? I don’t like it at all! It is good Pendu is bringing this out into the open. Reflecting on it, he has been unable to sleep at night because of it. This is why I have called you. Remove Nana’s thrashing apparatus from Meherabad!” Padri agreed to do so.
Continuing, Pendu probed, “Where are Nana’s oxen kept?”
“In Meherabad – but only when the grain is thrashed,” Padri answered.
Pendu remarked to Baba, “Padri has become the king of Meherabad! He does what he damn well likes there!”
Padri was known to have a bad temper and would curse. Upset, he retorted, “I will stop it all! If you want, I will also drive Nana and Tani away. To hell with it all!”
“It will be better if you do so,” shouted Pendu. “What a hell of a mess you have created!”
Baba was quite pleased with Pendu and instructed Padri, “Do not dismiss Nana and Tani, but stop everything else.”
This incident is an example of obeying the Master’s wish. Although close friends, Pendu put all his heart into scolding Padri as Baba wished. (1) Such incidents often occurred among the men mandali. Baba would purposely create the friction. The taunting was a game to please him and amuse him.
(1) Meher Baba once revealed to both Pendu and Padri that they both would become Perfect Masters in their next incarnation.
The men’s mental clashes flourished against a background of unity in an atmosphere to please Baba and lighten his burden. Baba’s taunting or teasing also touched the women mandali on various occasions. It is recorded in other accounts written by the close women disciples, especially the Western women. Margaret Craske related that “Baba was a terrible teaser. He loved to tease . . .”
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 17, pp. 5917 – 5919.