(8 Sept. 1931) Along the voyage, Baba was eager to meet Gandhi and would often repeat, “It is always like this: when I don’t allow visitors, people complain and ask, ‘Why don’t you allow us to see you?’ And now when I want to see certain persons for my own reasons, they don’t show any inclination. Now we should forget about trying to contact Gandhi. It is too late now.”
Later, expressing his concern, Baba remarked, “Gandhi is a good man, but it will be better if he sees me. It would be to his great benefit. I love him dearly and I would like to meet with him for his own good.”
Meanwhile, Jamshed Mehta, who was an acquaintance of Gandhi, cabled Gandhi on board the ship, urging him to meet Meher Baba without fail. On the night of September 8th, at nine o’clock, Mahatma Gandhi came to Meher Baba’s cabin with his secretary Mahadev Desai. After Gandhi was introduced to Baba, he looked at Baba and then said, “I have read much about you and wanted to see you one day when God willed it; but I never expected it to be so soon.”
Baba expressed how happy he was meeting Gandhi and dictated from his alphabet board: “Do you have the time to stay?”
“Yes, I have come to sit and listen,” Gandhi replied.
Gandhi talked about meeting Upasni Maharaj at Sakori, and Baba explained to him in detail about Maharaj and Hazrat Babajan. Baba ended by dictating, “Upasni Maharaj is my Master and a Perfect Sadguru.”
According to Baba’s instructions in 1924, Rustom had sent Gandhi a copy of Upasni Maharaj’s biography in Gujarati – Protector of the Poor. After reading the book, Gandhi went to Sakori to see Maharaj. But Maharaj was not in a welcoming mood that day and abused Gandhi, shouting, “Who says you are a Mahatma? You are someone great, but what is that to me!” Upset by Maharaj’s abusive language, Gandhi left with a very disturbed impression of the heralded sage of Sakori.
The ways of the Masters are so mysterious to the world.
Gandhi’s connection was with Meher Baba, not Maharaj,
and that is why Maharaj scolded him – to keep him away.
Meher Baba narrated a summary of his own life and experiences to Gandhi – his attraction to Hazrat Babajan, Sai Baba’s pronouncement, his encounter with Maharaj at the Khandoba Temple, his many visits to Maharaj in Sakori, his intolerable suffering during his coming down, his mandali and life at Meherabad, his many fasts and seclusions, his silence for the last seven years, and of his writing a special book.
Their conversation then proceeded, combining English and Gujarati:
Gandhi asked, “Where is that book?”
Pointing to one trunk, Baba replied, “In there.” (Although he would not let anyone read it, Baba would often travel with his book. The manuscript pages had also been brought on this trip to the West according to Baba’s specific wish.)
“Can I read it?” Gandhi asked.
“Have you the time?” Baba dictated.
“Yes, I can find time to read it. I will definitely read it. Give it to me.”
Baba spelled out, “There is bliss everywhere and nothing else exists, but people do not know it. It is no use listening to lectures and learning does not come from books. Direct experience of God is needed. The Experience is spontaneous; it is not to be forcibly obtained.”
Concerning his activities, Gandhi remarked, “Whatever I do, I take upon myself the responsibility for it. Though in the end, internally I leave everything to God. I cannot shirk my responsibility. Except for God, it is my conviction that I cannot disavow my responsibility.”
“But that thought should not be there,” Baba explained to him. ” ‘I do … I think … I renounce … I suffer … I do everything for others.’ These thoughts should not be there. If, to the detriment of others, one tries to know and understand God, it creates terrible sanskaras.”
(Footnote: Through the means of service, karma yoga, Gandhi was trying to see and know God, which was commendable. But as a political leader, he forwarded ideas such as the use of the spinning wheel for preparing khadi and non cooperation activities, which his followers carried out and suffered by doing so; consequently, the burden of those sanskaras fell on Gandhi’s shoulders.)
Gandhi said, “Please, give me any advice you have.”
“After you are free from the Round Table Conference discussions, retire to a secluded spot and take rest, and think only of God. For the attainment of the Goal, this is the best for you; it is the easiest and the shortest path for you. After that period, come and stay with me for some days.”
Gandhi replied, “God Himself will bring that about; He will grant me understanding and create the circumstances. In all earnestness, I look forward to that day.” Then he said, “Meher Baba, I wish to see you speaking.”
Baba only nodded.
Concerning reading that book, Gandhi pointed to the trunk. Baba replied, “Unfortunately, the key has been left behind in India.”
“I will have it opened.”
Handing the metal box to Gandhi, Baba explained, “After opening it, bring the case back to me and I will give you some of the book to read with my own hands.”
“Certainly,” he answered. “It will be my pleasure to read it.”
Baba warned him, “Be careful. Up to now I have not allowed anyone to see it – not even my mandali. As the first person to read it, I am giving it to you alone. You may go through it, but allow no one else to read it.”
“Assuredly. I will go through it with great joy.”
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 4, pp. 1388 – 1392.