Mehera J. Irani
We girls, of course, did not accompany Baba on these mast trips, but often when Baba returned, He would share stories of their adventures.
On this journey as they were walking through one of the valleys that connect the foothills of the Himalayas, Baba noticed a scattering of goats and sheep grazing in the distance and a darting black mountain puppy. The puppy was immediately drawn to Baba and came scampering over.
Baba stopped for a minute to pet her and then turned toward the steep hill that He and the mandali were about to climb. The puppy continued to follow Baba. She would playfully frisk and jump at Baba's feet.
As they climbed higher and higher up the ridge of the mountain, the pup, undaunted, tagged along from behind. Now the path was getting dangerous, being barely wide enough for one or two people. On one side was a sheer drop and on the other side the wall of the mountain.
Suddenly, they heard a whimpering sound behind them. To their dismay, they saw that the puppy had slipped off the edge and was dangling from a rock below. The puppy was just managing to hold on to the ledge with its two front paws! Baba rushed to the puppy and lifted her to safety. He gestured to the mandali, "This puppy is really brave and strong to have held on to the rock until I could save her. I like her very much."
Baba and the men continued on, this time with one of the mandali carrying the puppy. When they reached the mast Baba met with him alone, while the mandali stood at a distance with their backs to Baba. As soon as Baba's work was completed to His satisfaction, they began the journey home. When they crossed that same valley where Baba had first seen the puppy, He had one of the men mandali enquire if the owner would part with the dog. The man agreed, and so Baba brought the puppy all the way back to Ahmednagar.
We girls were staying at Rusipop's house in Ahmednagar. The house at Meherazad was under construction. It was 1948, a year prior to the New Life, and Norina and Elizabeth were staying with us.
The mandali were a short distance away in a house called the Ice Factory. Baba could easily walk between the two residences. Kaka Baria was doing the cooking for the mandali and for Norina and Elizabeth who had to have special food.
During this period, Dr. Donkin had finished the printing of The Wayfarers. He had discovered that several maps showing the places where Baba had contacted the masts had spelling errors. Our task was to meticulously erase the incorrect letters and with black ink carefully write in the correct letters. It was painstaking work requiring our full concentration. So our time passed in correcting maps of the whereabouts of the masts, while Baba contacted the masts!
When Baba returned from His mast trip, He told us the story of the puppy's narrow escape from death, and how He had rescued her. Baba's gestures were so perfect in their expression that we all listened spellbound. In silence, how eloquently Baba spoke. He made the story come alive.
When we saw the puppy we fell in love with her. She was fluffy and plump and really lovely to look at. Baba told us He had brought the puppy for Kaka as she would make a good watchdog, being a pure Tibetan Mastiff. These dogs are known for their fearlessness and are very strong.
Baba named the puppy Gol-Gol (round-round) because she was just that. Kaka called her Gul (flower), and we girls called her Bhooty because she looked like she was wearing booties or slippers. Her paws were white, then to her ankles she was brown, and the rest of her was black. Above each eye was a yellow spot giving her the appearance of having four eyes! And, I'm not exaggerating, her coat was so thick that you couldn't part it.
When the construction of the big bungalow at Meherazad was finished, Baba brought us here to stay. Baba, knowing Bhooty's nature, hot-tempered and distrustful of strangers, wanted to make sure that we girls would be safe if Bhooty ever happened to be free. You see, Bhooty wouldn't let anyone except Baba and Kaka come near her. She would snap and growl and so was always kept on a short leash.
Baba wanted Bhooty to know that we girls belonged to the house. Baba one day told us all to stand on the verandah of the house, as He was going to bring Bhooty over to meet us. We were to speak to her in our own voices so that she could get used to us. Baba brought Bhooty over on a short leash. Bhooty walked like a Parisian lady wearing high heels each step measured daintily, not like an ordinary dog. She was a purebred and wanted us to know it.
We followed Baba and Bhooty into the house and out to the kitchen verandah. We'd say "Bhooty... Bhooty..." trying to make friends with her. But Bhooty looked at us coldly. Baba told us to bring a plate with an egg on it for Bhooty. Then Baba told me to give Bhooty the egg. She slowly and deliberately walked over to the plate. Even with the egg just waiting for her to eat it, she remained dignified and ladylike. She didn't rush and lap it up like some hungry and greedy dog. Oh, no, she ate her egg slowly and delicately. And when she had finished, she looked up and said with those yellow eyes, "Yes, I like eggs. It was good of you to give me an egg. Thank you."
After a few days, Bhooty did become warmer toward us, but her proud independent nature did not allow much more than that. She never played with us, she just showed a friendly tolerance.
In 1949, Baba announced His plans for the New Life. Mani, Meheru, Goher, and I were to accompany Baba. Kaka was also going to accompany Baba, so someone was found to stay with Bhooty. Later on, after the New Life was completed and Baba was going out on tour, He had Kaka remain at Meherazad to watch over the property. Bhooty was Kaka's only companion.
When Baba finally returned to Meherazad, Kaka told Baba how glad he was to have had Bhooty here with him.
Kaka felt safe at night only because of Bhooty's presence. I should mention here that Meherazad was not as you know it now it was quite a wild area. There were wolves and hyenas living in the surrounding hills and at night they would come out prowling for prey. Once Bhooty chased a jackal up a tree and kept watch over it until morning! Bhooty was such a good watchdog that she would keep alert throughout the night, surveying each corner of the property, listening for stray sounds, and watching out for intruders. She would continue her rounds till daybreak, so with Bhooty as Kaka's companion and guard, Kaka didn't feel afraid.
When Bhooty had puppies we were with Baba in Poona. Baba sent word to Kaka that he wanted to see the puppy that looked most like its mother. Adi Senior arranged to drive Kaka with the prized puppy held on Kaka's lap to Poona in his car. That puppy was Mastan, Baba's most beloved pet. But before I tell you that story, let me share with you one last incident about Bhooty, Mastan's mother.
We already had Peter, Mani's pet dog, with us, and after Mastan was born, Peter and Mastan would love to play together in the Meherazad garden. One day Bhooty started to play with her pup Mastan and Peter became very jealous.
He growled at Bhooty: "Why are you playing with my friend?"
Peter couldn't understand it. He would see Bhooty run and jump with Mastan, pushing him over and playfully holding on to Mastan's neck, teaching him how to catch prey.
Peter would growl at Bhooty, saying to her "Don't do that!" And it was so funny because if Bhooty had wanted to, she could have eaten Peter in one bite! Bhooty would patiently look at Peter and with disdain in those yellow eyes say, "But Mastan is my puppy. Don't you know better? I'm his mother!"
Eventually Bhooty and Peter became good friends, but Bhooty always maintained her dignity, even while playing with the other dogs. Her proud air part of her cool Himalayan nature always set her apart.
When Bhooty died, Baba was in seclusion. No outsiders were allowed to see Him and the mandali had strict instructions that He must not be disturbed.
Kaka loved Bhooty very much, but his obedience to Baba was unquestioning. Not wanting to disturb Baba with the news of the occurrence, Kaka quietly began preparations for Bhooty's burial.
When I heard that Bhooty had died, I felt Baba would want to know. I waited until Baba had come to our side and then I personally told Him.
For a few moments Baba was silent as He took in the news. Then He gestured to me, "Bhooty loved Me and served Me faithfully. In her next life she will take human form. Now I must go there." Immediately word was sent to the mandali that Baba was coming over.
Baba stood before Bhooty's grave and with His own hands showered flowers over her before the first earth covered her. What a fortunate end to a fortunate life!
BABA LOVED US TOO, pp. 85-93
1989 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust