Correspondence had been exchanged between Gandhi and Baba while the Master was in America. Gandhi expressed his desire to see Baba as soon as he returned to India, and Baba had indicated that he also wanted to see Gandhi. The political and social situation in India had become intense; Gandhi was expected to be arrested by the British for political agitation. A meeting was quickly arranged.
Accompanied by Chanji, Baba went to Mahatma Gandhi’s residence, called Mani Bhawan, late at night at 11:45 on January 3rd (1932). Gandhi welcomed Baba with a loving embrace; both sat down and together discussed matters for about an hour:
“I am very happy to see you,” Gandhi said.
“I am also glad we could meet,” Baba replied. “I was quite busy the whole day, but I had to see you at least once.”
“Yes, Rustom had delivered your message here and I sent word that I must see you.”
“That is why I came.”
“If you had not come, it would have been my lifelong grievance against you,” Gandhi said.
“Perhaps if you are arrested, which I am afraid you will be in a day or two, this meeting would have been canceled. But since your arrest is definite, I came even though it is so late. I understand you could not come to me.”
“It is your kindness to have come here.”
“Now, what news?” Baba inquired.
“You know it all. These people around me are ready with their sleeves rolled up. We shall have to fight the British to the end.”
“It will be much better if you see the Viceroy once again. Then the excitement which is now so intense will calm down considerably and the situation will be easier to handle.”
“I do wish to see the Viceroy, but he lays down such conditions, such as this topic is not to be discussed, that is not allowed, and so forth. It is impossible for me to reach an agreement. Also, no talk about ordinances will be allowed, and that is the first and main point at issue. When they don’t wish to talk on that, it is no use meeting. It is like …”
Baba interrupted, “But in spite of all that, if you go and see the Viceroy once, you will be able to work in a quieter atmosphere. The present excited turmoil all over India will have settled down and be quieter; otherwise, the atmosphere will go to the other extreme of violence.
“Let me explain,” Baba continued. “Your dictum and doctrine of non-violence is widespread and is the best method. I, too, wish this non-violent attitude to be followed and acted on. But I know it is very, very difficult – rather impossible. And that is why I repeatedly ask you to see the Viceroy once in person in order to try to bring about a spirit of reconciliation between the rulers and the ruled. For, let me tell you once again, if this meeting does not come about, matters will turn from bad to worse. People will turn very violent and once violence is adopted, it will be destructive in every way.”
“This is quite probable,” Gandhi concurred. “We are also afraid of such violence. However, we have to fight for what is right, and we have been advocating and advising non-violence in our battle to persuade the British to leave. The result rests with the Almighty!”
Baba then explained to him, “Whatever may happen, one thing is certain: India still has much to suffer. I have already told you this before and I repeat it today. But even this suffering is a real blessing in disguise. The more India suffers materially, the better for it spiritually. And we Masters only look to the spiritual benefit. If India gains self-government without struggle, suffering and sacrifice, it invites the grave danger of becoming inclined toward materialism. And this material independence would be a hindrance on the path of spiritual advancement, which is undesirable.”
“You are right,” Gandhi said. “Spiritual strength must accompany spiritual power. That is real greatness.”
“And for that, one must suffer and sacrifice, but with a non-violent attitude. That is why I repeatedly advise you to go once again and see the Viceroy in person.”
The conversation then shifted to Baba’s recent visit to Europe and America:
“What do you think about the West from your experiences and tours?” Gandhi asked.
“In America, the spiritual hunger is intense. That is why I went and stayed there for a month. There is everything there materially. There is wealth; there are brains; there is heart. In other words, there is sufficient preparedness for spiritual growth and development.”
Chanji then narrated the details of Baba’s tours, his meetings with people from all denominations and walks of life, their sincere aspirations for Truth, and the formation of a group to spread Baba’s cause.
Gandhi asked, “Then there is an awakening and interest about spirituality in America?”
“Yes, there is much,” Baba answered. “But the Americans have not had sufficient light and genuine guidance by a Master in a spiritual direction. If they get these, they will respond wonderfully.”
“And what about England?”
“In England, there is also an interest and longing, but not as intense as in America. The response that Americans gave was so splendid that, even now, I am considering when to go there again. They would not let me leave and have made me promise that I return soon; only then did they let me leave. I came back to India, because there is much work to do here. I have left behind instructions with my followers in the West about what to do in my absence. I have to check all my affairs on this side of the world.”
“There is a greater need for you to be here in India, looking over all the situations,” Gandhi stated. “If I am arrested, you will have to take care of affairs here.”
“That will be done,” Baba promised. “I undertake to settle all this self-government struggle, but on one condition: after all this is settled, you are to come with me to America.”
His heart gladdened with these words, Gandhi immediately stretched his hand to Baba and said, “I promise.”
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 4, pp. 1513 – 1517.