Early that same evening, Baba was sitting in the Makan in a very pleasant and expansive mood. From among those sitting around him, his eyes fell on Gopal Swamy. Baba asked him, ‘”Tell me what you most desire?”
Gopal said, “Nothing.”
Baba pressed him, “Go on, ask me. Ask for anything. Tell me your desires now and I will grant them!” Gopal kept quiet and only smiled at Baba.
“Speak out,” gestured Baba. “Empty your head and heart before me! Now is the time. I, of my own accord and will, am asking you to have your desires fulfilled. Now is the time when I am in that mood.”
The other mandali too began encouraging Gopal to speak up. Gopal finally let out one word: “Mukti!” – Liberation!
Baba smiled and gestured, “Granted. So be it!” Then Baba remarked to the mandali, “Gopal is a very good and sincere devotee. He is the only determined and staunch keeper of my orders. Out of the many (yogis, sadhus, fakirs and ascetics) who have come seeking spiritual advancement, he is the only one who has survived and not run away on one pretext or another. He obeys me without question and willingly accepts whatever food is offered to him.”
Gopal Swamy came to stay at Meherabad in January 1926 and agreed to follow Baba’s orders for one year. Under Baba’s direction he was observing silence for certain hours each day, and was also instructed to repeat God’s name while sitting under a tree by the road.
Baba continued, “I will fulfill your wish and in this birth.” Testing him, Baba asked, “But suppose I were to give you the form of a donkey, a leper or a cripple in the next?”
Gopal humbly replied, “As you wish, Baba, if it would be your pleasure.”
Baba then asked Shivnath Vibhuti Gademali, a bearded swami who was also staying at Meherabad and following similar instructions, to tell how he happened to come to Meherabad. He related that while he was visiting the tomb of a saint in Gangapur, he had a dream in which he heard a voice urging him, “Go to Dhond village and your work will be done.” The next morning as he started for Dhond and passed through Arangaon, he decided to have Meher Baba’s darshan. From that day on Vibhuti remained at Meherabad.
Gopal Swamy then related how he had first come to Meherabad. He had previously visited Upasni Maharaj at Sakori and Narayan Maharaj at Kedgaon. Once while he was in Dhond, someone told him that another Sadguru lived at Arangaon. He began walking there and along the way felt very thirsty. He saw an old villager drawing water from a well and approached him. The old man talked with him at length. When he found out that he was in search of a Master, he offered Gopal a cactus fruit, saying, “This is the food which Sadgurus eat. Gopal unhesitatingly ate the peculiar fruit, whereupon the man said, “Go to Arangaon and nowhere else. He is there. Go to him and your desire will be fulfilled. The Master who will guide you and give you what you want is in Arangaon.” Gopal followed the man’s advice and met Meher Baba the next day.
Hearing this story, Baba remarked, “Do you know who that old man was? It was me in disguise!”
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 3, pp. 835 – 837.