The Mandali around Baba now realised that Baba had dropped His physical body. The reaction of the women Mandali was as womanly as it was heart-achingly understandable. They just could not bring themselves to believe that Baba had dropped His body. Mehera came into Baba’s room when He choked and had the severe spasm at 12:15 p.m. A hot water bag was brought by the women Mandali for Baba at about 12:20 p.m. The news of Baba dropping His body did not take long to spread to all the inmates at Meherazad…
The men Mandali left Baba’s room and gathered in Francis’ room. They first discussed the wording of the telegram to be sent to all Baba Centres in the world. Finally it was decided:
“Avatar Meher Baba dropped His physical body at 12:15 p.m. on 31st January 1969 at Meherazad to live eternally in the hearts of all His lovers. Beloved Baba’s body will be interred at Meherabad Arangaon on 1st February at 10:00 a.m. in the Tomb He had ordered to be built long ago.”
All minds seemed to have come to a standstill. Dr. Ginde composed the Mandali by saying that Baba is eternal. The women Mandali, particularly Mehera, were greatly shocked and grieved. Dr. Ginde asked the men Mandali not to be sentimental but to become practical. He wrote Baba’s death certificate.
Eruch, who had by now recovered, recalled that Baba had told him several times, “Wherever my body drops, bring me and put me in the crypt at Meherabad.” He had also asked the Mandali to play the record “Begin the Beguine” after He dropped His body. Eruch had once asked Baba, “Suppose the circumstances are such that we cannot bring Your body to the crypt, what shall we do?” Baba had said that in that case (after having tried best for 15 days) His body should be cremated and the ashes brought to Meherabad and put in the crypt.
Dr. Ginde suggested that Baba’s body should be removed to Meherabad within six hours. Mehera and the other women Mandali wanted to keep Baba’s body at Meherazad. Mani argued with Dr. Ginde, “Baba had once told me that if He goes into coma some day, He would revive after seven days.” Dr. Ginde explained that this was not coma, for a person in coma has his heart beating while his respiration and pulse have not stopped. He tried to explain that Baba was not in coma. Mani would not agree with Dr. Ginde’s argument. Someone suggested that Baba’s body be kept in the hall at lower Meherabad for three days. Dr. Ginde said that it would be very difficult to remove a decomposed body to the crypt after three days.
Only after Eruch explained that Baba’s body must be removed to the Meherabad Tomb as instructed by Baba Himself, all, including the women Mandali, agreed to remove Baba’s body to the crypt.
Mehera and Mani requested Dr. Ginde that Baba’s body be kept at Meherazad till 5:00 p.m. Dr. Ginde then suddenly asked, “Where is the crypt? What is the floor made of?” When he was told that the floor was of stone, he quickly said that the stones would have to be removed. Padri was asked to remove the stone floor in the crypt. Padri went to Meherabad and began the task of getting the stone slab in the crypt removed. The clanging noise of the digging made the Arangaon villagers prick up their ears and they felt something was amiss. They were still ignorant that Baba had dropped His body. The crypt floor was ready by 7:00 p.m.
Chhagan was urgently packed off to Ahmednagar to get a wooden board made on which Baba’s body would be kept and then lowered in the crypt. He was to get a cover made for the coffin which would be placed over Baba. Chhagan rushed off and gave urgent orders at Ahmednagar for the cover and the board to be made.
At Meherazad, after the initial shock had been overcome, Baba’s surgical bed was straightened out to a horizontal position. Baba’s sadra and underwear were changed. The Mandali quickly decided not to give Baba a bath as He had been averse to bathing and had had no bath for nearly two years! Yet, Baba’s body and skin were always fresh and fragrant. Baba’s body was wrapped up from His shoulders to His toes in two bed sheets that were on His bed. On the carpet, near Baba’s bed, a plastic sheet was placed and over it a quilt. Baba was gently lifted by the Mandali and placed on the quilt. He was again wrapped up in the quilt, plastic and the carpet. A chequered scarf was tied around His head going over His chin.
Samadhi then and now series.
Mansari, long time disciple and Chief caretaker of Baba’s Samadhi.