AUGUST 15, 1948 – MAST CONTACTS.
MEHER BABA would forbid his lovers and devotees to venture on their own to contact masts, saints or yogis, or anyone known to be a guru. The following encounter aptly describes one great soul’s terrible intensity and why the Master would forbid any ordinary persons to ever pursue such contacts on their own.
On Sunday, August 15th, 1948, Baba proceeded to the village of Avanashi by train and bus, where he contacted one of the most forbidding characters ever recorded, a great yogi known as Ilai Swami. Although reported to be at least eighty years old, Ilai physically appeared untouched by time. Despite appearing young and radiant, even at age eighty his nature was very wild, and it is said that he was a most disturbing figure to meet for his appearance was so intense, so noncomforming, that people often felt more disturbed than comforted after encountering him.
The yogi was as naked as nature made him, except for a small loin cloth around his ebony body. His toe and fingernails were two to three inches long. When he slept, he simply lay on the barren earth, without a blanket utterly naked under all weather conditions. He was never seen drinking water or even touching it for that matter. After eating, he would simply wipe his hands on his thick black hair.
Ilai never begged, and if anyone were to offer him money or even accidentally mention it in his presence, he became frightfully angry. But his outward condition mattered not to Baba, who confirmed that Ilai was a great yogi. Baba was so gladdened with the meeting, in fact, that after this contact he gave each of the men with him a coconut in Ilai Swami’s honor.
The same day, Baba and the mandali took a bus to Tiruppur, where Baba wished to contact Prasananand Swami Guru. When they arrived, they started looking for the Swami’s house and happened to ask an old Brahmin, who turned out to be somewhat crazy. He excitedly said that he would personally guide them and jumped into their already overcrowded tonga.
Prasananand was a good yogi, fifty years old, and had a wife and children. When they arrived, they were informed that Prasananand was fasting on water and had taken a vow of silence for forty days. He had rigged up a sort of cell in one of the rooms of his house where he was currently sitting, while one of his followers kept guard to see that he was not disturbed.
When the men began talking with one of Prasananand’s devotees about approaching him for contact, the madcap Brahmin slipped into the Swami’s room and began frantically scribbling notes on scraps of paper and pushing them into Prasananand’s cell. The notes read: “Please allow this stranger to contact you.”
As usual, whenever Baba would arrive in a village or small town, a crowd gathered to have a look at the strangers. As Eruch was busy talking with a devotee, a man with a palsied arm stood next to him and put his other arm lightly around Eruch’s shoulder in a gesture of friendship or so Eruch thought. Eruch was carrying a wad of ten-rupee notes in his upper pocket, and though he did not see the act, he heard a crisp sound, turned quickly and saw the man holding two notes in his hand. Because of the crowd, Eruch did not say anything, but he caught a firm hold of the man’s wrist and dragged him behind the house, determined to give him a few hard slaps for picking his pocket. He raised his arm to strike him when suddenly someone caught his arm from behind. Turning around, he saw it was Baba.
“What are you doing?” Baba gestured.
“This rascal pinched twenty rupees from my pocket!” Eruch responded.
Baba looked at the man. “Did you do that?” He caught hold of his earlobe, the usual punishment for children, and pinching it warned him, “Never, never do that again!”
Baba turned back to Eruch and motioned, “Give him back the money. It is meant for those who need it. Had he not needed it, why would he have stolen it?” Eruch hesitated, but Baba repeated, “Go on, give it to him!”
Prasananand then sent for Baba. The crazy Brahmin had succeeded in inducing the Swami to grant the contact while this confusion was going on outside. Baba went in and communed with him. It had been a satisfactory contact and Baba was in a good mood.
Lord Meher, 1st., ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 9, pp. 3296 – 3297.
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