On September 11th, Baba and Baidul left to buy a good pair of hiking shoes for their upcoming walking journey to Jasgiran. Kaka Baria had also returned from Srinagar. Baba then left with Baidul and Kaka on the midnight passenger train, which was two hours late, for Haripur, via Taxila. Chanji remained behind in Lahore to look after the luggage.
Baba wished to contact a great mast in the small village of Jasgiran, which was about twenty miles from Haripur, 2,500 feet above sea level, but the only way to reach it was on mules, ponies or by foot along the stony track. The trip was one of the most hazardous and memorable of all the mast journeys Baba made.
On Sunday, September 12th, Baba, Kaka and Baidul walked over twenty miles, climbing up and down steep mountains of searing rock during the heat of the day, with no trace of a tree to provide shade for miles around. They crossed over dangerous and rugged steep pathways at the edges of mountains looking down deep valleys, and across strong river currents. They had no other food except chilies, onions and stale, hard bread. The ponies given them to ride during the initial stages were not used to this kind of rough track through the narrow passes. Riding them was abandoned anyway, as Baba’s thighs became sore and scratched, which made even ordinary walking that much more difficult.
Reaching the village of Jasgiran, Baba tried to contact the very high mast, later revealed by Baba to be between the sixth and seventh planes. This great mast was also named Nanga Baba the Naked One. This saint for twenty-five years had sat in a squatting position, utterly naked, on a hilltop virtually a living sacred idol or god. For twenty-five years the mast had sat naked, exposed to all of nature’s elementsin sun, rain and snow. The saint’s strange diet would have been beyond belief, had not Baba, Baidul and Kaka seen him eat it. He would eat dry bread with a paste made of wood soaked in water and powdered stones, which was then molded into a cake by his caretaker.
On one occasion, the saint pointed to Baba and told the small crowd, “He is my elder brother … He adjusts and protects the whole world!” Baba sat near the saint for three hours, but could not get the opportunity to contact him alone, since Nanga Baba was surrounded by devotees during the day, and at night his attendant slept by his side. Baba expressed that he was not happy with this manner of contact and so wished to be alone with the saint. Disappointed, Baba led the men on the trek back to Haripur and from there returned to Rawalpindi, arriving on September 13th.
Chanji met them in Rawalpindi the following night. They were up by 3 A.M. on September 15th, and left for Gujranwala where Baba contacted three masts. Mastan Rehmatullah was a very filthy mast whose abode was a garage, and Nanga Shah (naked king), was a good mast who lived in a hut near the train station.
Most significant was Sheikh Malang Baba, a very high mast in Rawalpindi, who lived in the Muslim shrine of Kudde Shah. Sheikh Malang was a mild-mannered jamali old mast who had once been a judge in a lower court before he had been overcome by God. He was a chain smoker of cigarettes, and because of his constant smoking and mild temperament, Baba compared this saintly man to Ali Shah of Ahmednagar.
From Gujranwala, Baba, Baidul and Kaka then traveled to Amritsar, and spent the night on the station platform. At 5:30 A.M. the next morning, Baba took a train back to Lahore, where he continued his mast work.
Baba began fasting on liquids, chiefly lemon water, on Sunday, September 19th, and continued it for seven days, breaking it on the 26th. During this fast, on Tuesday the 21st, eight masts were brought to Baba’s bungalow, where they were bathed, fed and clothed by him. One was a good mast, and Baba kept him with him for two or three days, sending the others back the same day. (1)
On September 28th, with Baidul and Chanji, Baba returned to the village of Kul Mokal to contact the revered mast Saiyid Ahmad Shah again.
On the morning of September 30th, Baba contacted Nawab Ali Shah in a suburb of Lahore called Baghbanpura. Baidul had found this mast a few days before, and at that time the mast had cryptically told him, “I want to go to Aligarh, but the road is closed for me … There is a world-famous doctor in Lahore; I will ask his permission. If he gives it, I will go.” Baidul asked what was the doctor’s name. The mast replied, “Mauni (the Silent One), and you have come from him. Therefore, I am very, very happy.” Baba must have been pleased with his contact with Nawab Ali Shah.
(1) One should not presume that because Meher Baba was the Avatar, his frequent fasts left him unaffected. To fast for six days on water affected him just as much as it would an ordinary man. Even while fasting, Baba would not slacken his pace or desist from his usual travels to contact masts. Baba’s stamina was truly astonishing. Only one who has actually fasted for any length of time can have some idea of just how difficult it is to be so energetic while not eating.
Lord Meher, 1st. ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 8, pp. 2916 – 2917.
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