(Oct. 1953) WHEN THE CIRCULAR about keeping awake and repeating God’s name was sent to all of Meher Baba’s lovers in Nagpur and other places, Deshmukh over-enthusiastically declared that this was the “Night of God-Realization!” and that some would attain that divine state. The men mandali came to know of it and planned a practical joke to fool Deshmukh when he was to visit Dehra Dun on October 30th. Deshmukh arrived that morning, and according to the men’s plan, Bhau approached him at the gate and drew him aside.
“Doctor Saheb,” he said. “Something has happened! All of the mandali have become like masts from the night of October 28th. Only I, unfortunately, have escaped that state. It is my bad luck nothing has happened to me.”
Listening with keen eagerness, his eyes widened, Deshmukh inquired, “What has happened?”
Pretending, Bhau replied very seriously, “All have turned into masts. But when Baba comes they become completely normal. No sooner he leaves, again they revert to that state. I am really unfortunate that no experience has been given to me.”
“Don’t worry, Bhau,” Deshmukh reassured him. “You are a member of the mandali and Baba will surely bestow his blessings on you one day.”
Bhau took Deshmukh inside their bungalow. Eruch, Nilu, Pendu, and Vishnu were in one of the rooms. Eruch was lying down and had covered himself from head to foot with a blanket. Pendu was smoking two cigarettes at once. Nilu was sitting before a heap of rubbish he had piled in front of himself. Vishnu was leaning his head on a bundle of cloth with a dazed expression. No one spoke to Deshmukh. He tried to remove Eruch’s blanket but Eruch,snatching it away, pretended he was asleep. Pendu was crawling on the ground. When Deshmukh tried to draw his attention, Pendu pounced on him, growling in anger. Deshmukh was frightened and left in a hurry. Coming out he encountered Donkin who had tied tree branches around his waist; strapped to both hips were two sickles for cutting grass! He was chewing an unlit beedie and Deshmukh was convinced he had become a mast.
When Deshmukh was being served refreshments, Pendu ran out to grab them away. Deshmukh escaped with his plate intact and told Bhau, “All are like jamali masts, but Pendu seems to be a jalali!”
“They have been like this for two days now,” said Bhau, “and I have to look after them.”
Baba came to the mandali’s bungalow and all sat before him as usual. No one had breathed a word of their joke to Baba. He asked Deshmukh, “Did the mandali talk with you?”
“No Baba,” Deshmukh started to say, “They …”
But Baba interrupted, gesturing, “Don’t think about it. They are not normal. I am speaking with you. What more do you want?”
The mandali were afraid that when Deshmukh told Baba, he would be displeased. But when Baba assured him they were not normal, they relaxed. Deshmukh took this to be Baba’s confirmation and now firmly believed that the men had turned into masts.
Baba began conversing with Deshmukh, who mentioned his wife, Indumati. Baba signaled to Bhau, “When he takes her name, stick him with a needle!”
Baba then asked Deshmukh, “What were you saying?”
“Nothing Baba,” he said. “Bhau has a needle in his hand; otherwise, I would have told you.”
“If you get pricked for Indu’s sake, what harm is there? Tell me what you were going to say.” Deshmukh began laughing. He was really Baba’s playmate and Baba would always tease and have a humorous time with him.
Later Baba told Bhau, “Shout loudly for Indupati (meaning, Indu’s husband) to come.” Bhau shouted and Deshmukh came running.
“What did Bhau call you?” Baba asked him.
“I am afraid of his needle,” Deshmukh said. “I cannot tell you.” This again made Baba laugh.
Lord Meher, Amerian ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 12, p. 4230 – 4231.