Symbols of the world's religions



Najoo Kotwal

Father did, by chance, come in contact with Gadge Maharaj, a well-known saint of Maharashtra. Meher Baba said that he was a spiritually advanced soul of very high caliber. Gadge Maharaj had a large following in Maharashtra, and his wealthy devotees helped him to establish several dharamshalas for the poor.

He also took money from his well-to-do followers for helping the poor in other ways, distributing clothing and inexpensive blankets, and he was known throughout the state for his social work. He himself wore simple clothing, a coat and dhoti which were patched all over, as was his turban. He was a tall, impressive man with a magnetic personality.

When he first met Gadge Maharaj on the road, Father asked if he could have the honor of feeding this saint. Gadge Maharaj refused food at that time, but he took down Father's name and address. He then boarded a local train and left. Later he began coming to our residence, Dhun Building in Lamington Road, for his lunch.

Mummy, knowing his spiritual status, would get up earlier than usual to have the lunch ready by 9:00 in the morning, when he arrived. I remember watching as she hurried to cook the dal and rice, the only food he ate, usually served on newspaper. Mummy asked Father to buy plates made from large leaves held together with very thin twigs. When Gadge Maharaj ate his lunch from these plates, he appreciated Mummy's thoughtfulness....

Then one day Father mentioned to Meher Baba that Gadge Maharaj came frequently to our home for lunch and that, whenever asked, he gave money to Maharaj for the poor. Hearing this, Baba said to Father, "From today you will not give any money to any saint or sadhu. If anyone asks for money, you must say, 'Meher Baba has given me orders not to give money to any saint or sadhu.'"

Baba gave this order to Father because he was a novice in spiritual life; if a saint gave an order contradictory to one Baba had given, a novice follower could become very confused as to whom he should listen to. Hence, to avoid confusion, Baba gave such orders, even though He recognized Gadge Maharaj to be a very advanced soul, a saint.

The following day Gadge Maharaj came to our home and asked Father for money for travel. Father felt as though a knife were being held to his throat, but he said, "Meher Baba has ordered me not to give money to any saint or sadhu." Hearing this, Gadge Maharaj very simply said, "All right, don't worry, I understand." And from that day Maharaj severed all contact with our family.


2006 © Meherwan Kotwal


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