On Saturday, February 12th, 1949, Baba’s fifty-fifth birthday was observed by the Meherabad mandali. He warned Pendu and the other men mandali to be less extravagant, and sternly remarked: “There is an acute shortage of funds, and days of hardships are ahead. None knows what will happen tomorrow.
“Those willing to stay with me may stay; those wanting to go are free to leave. I am no longer responsible for anyone’s spiritual or material welfare, and no one should expect anything from me. Those ready to starve may stay with me, and those who cannot, may go!”
For an hour, Baba went on at length emphasizing the need to economize in day-to-day expenses. While he was doing so, a stranger from Nasik appeared. He also heard Baba’s warning, and then had a private meeting with Baba, whereupon he related a woeful tale. Calling Adi Sr., Baba ordered him to pay the man five hundred rupees, and told him not to mention it to any of the other mandali.
Taken aback, Adi thought: “Baba is so tight-fisted and demands an accounting of every cent; yet he pays this man five hundred rupees on the spot, without batting an eyelid, after hearing some cock-and-bull story.”
Observing his reaction, Baba slyly remarked to Adi, “You wouldn’t be able to understand it. It is my method.”
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 9, p. 3319.