(June 1942) Among the great saints of Rishikesh was Keshwanandji Maharaj. Meher
Baba did not actually physically contact Keshwanandji while in
Rishikesh but verified to Pleader that he was among the greatest
saints of India. Pleader (Baba’s disciple) had encountered
Keshwanandji Maharaj in April of 1934.
Keshwanandji was totally naked in all weather except for a loin-cloth,
and his impressive bronze-colored physical form was a familiar sight
in Rishikesh, for the saint would stand all day long, with a bamboo
staff in one hand, gazing up at the sun. Keshwanandji had built a
small wooden platform on the river bank, on which he stood. Every
winter, when snow blanketed the great mountain walls through which the
Ganges River cleaves its path, Keshwanandji would walk up to the high
valley and stand in the snow, gazing all day at the sun.
At Rishikesh, no one normally ever came close to Keshwanandji on his
river platform, except for one disciple, his caretaker. Pleader,
however, who was then on an order of silence given by Baba, after
first having been refused by the caretaker to see the saint and told
to go away, succeeded in persuading him to show a photograph of Meher
Baba to Keshwanandji. Seeing the photograph, Keshwanandji smiled and
then called Pleader to approach, and told him that he normally never
let any stranger come near him, but seeing this photograph, and
knowing the divinity of Meher Baba he had to call him near, because
Meher Baba was “the Master of the universe.”
Keshwanandji Maharaj told Pleader, “Meher Baba bears the burden of the
whole creation on his shoulders, so great a soul is he.” Keshwanandji
allowed Pleader to stay with him for some months and assisted his
caretaker in serving the saint.
Lord Meher, Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 8, pp. 2802 -2804.