HISTORIC MEHERABAD

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Baba’s Cabin. During another period of seclusion work in 1935, Baba asked Padri to build a cabin for Him on the hill. It had to be easily accessible to both the women’s ashram and the men mandali; the women’s ashram was strictly sequestered from the outside world. So Baba chose this site east of the crypt platform just outside the ashram compound gate. Baba wanted something that would stand up to the severe weather and be insect-proof, so He gave Padri permission to build a solid stone structure. However, Baba kept shortening the time for completion. As the foundation was being completed with stones salvaged from the Post Office, Baba said that the cabin was to be ready in one week. So Padri and others worked intensively and constructed the cabin using teak wood with sheet metal siding. On the evening of July 15th 1935, Baba went into seclusion in the cabin.

While Baba was in seclusion, one of the women mandali, Valu, would bring Baba food and tea that had been prepared by Mehera. It was strictly forbidden to look inside any place where Baba was doing His seclusion work. However, one day Valu brought Baba’s tray of food at the appointed time and found the cabin door closed. Believing that the wind had blown the door shut, Valu pushed it open and saw Baba inside, engrossed in His inner work. As Baba looked up, His powerful gaze overwhelmed Valu and her eyes became painfully bloodshot, and she was blinded for three days. This incident is an example of the power of Meher Baba’s seclusion work.

From the time it was completed, Baba’s Cabin became His personal quarters whenever He would stay on the hill. It was here that He last spent a night at Meherabad, on December 31st 1947, after celebrating Mehera’s 41st birthday.

Baba in front of Cabin

Rahuri Cabin. The Rahuri Cabin was originally constructed in 1936 in Rahuri, a town about 40 kilometers north of Meherabad. Baba had a free dispensary and His first ashram for mad persons and a few masts there. It served as His personal quarters for some months in Rahuri. But due to trouble with the landlord, Baba shifted the ashram to Lower Meherabad in May of 1937. The dispensary was set up where the Main Bungalow is now, and the mad ashram was established just west of where the Meher Pilgrim Center is located. Baba had Dr. Ghani dismantle the cabin and reconstruct it on this site using most of the original materials. Baba used the Rahuri Cabin for seclusion work and interviews during the late 1930s and 1940s. The masts, Lakhan Shah, Ali Shah, and Mohammed also stayed here at different times.

Baba’s Samadhi Constructed. In 1938, the remainder of the Post Office building was demolished; the stones were used in a major reconstruction of Upper Meherabad. The crypt was deconstructed and rebuilt into Baba’s Tomb-Shrine using many of those stones. Baba asked Naoroji Dadachanji to design the dome, and to include the symbols of four world religions: the Zoroastrian flame, the Hindu temple, the Christian cross, and the Moslem mosque. Later that year, Baba asked the Swiss artist Helen Dahm, who was staying in the ashram, to paint the murals on the interior surfaces. The platform to the east was rebuilt and five meditation cells were added to commemorate the Sadak ashram.

The bathing rooms for Baba and Mehera on the east end of the Kitchen were also added during this construction phase of 1938. From that time, Baba’s meals, which were prepared by Mehera, were served to Him in the small room east of the main kitchen.

Rahuri Cabin

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Baba’s Samadhi Constructed. In 1938, the remainder of the Post Office building was demolished; the stones were used in a major reconstruction of Upper Meherabad. The crypt was deconstructed and rebuilt into Baba’s Tomb-Shrine using many of those stones. Baba asked Naoroji Dadachanji to design the dome, and to include the symbols of four world religions: the Zoroastrian flame, the Hindu temple, the Christian cross, and the Moslem mosque. Later that year, Baba asked the Swiss artist Helen Dahm, who was staying in the ashram, to paint the murals on the interior surfaces. The platform to the east was rebuilt and five meditation cells were added to commemorate the Sadak ashram.

The bathing rooms for Baba and Mehera on the east end of the Kitchen were also added during this construction phase of 1938. From that time, Baba’s meals, which were prepared by Mehera, were served to Him in the small room east of the main kitchen.

Baba’s Tomb Under Construction

Meher Retreat. The upper story of Meher Retreat was also built then as extra living quarters, primarily for Baba’s western women disciples who were joining the ashram. Pendu and the crew worked rigorously for many weeks to finish the job by Baba’s deadline of August 25th, 1938. Baba was so pleased with their efforts to complete the construction on the Hill within this short period, that He garlanded and praised Pendu, Kalemama, and Naoroji. Pendu kept his garland for many years as a symbol of the one time when he felt he was able to please Baba.

The tower atop the building was added at that time as a distinctive feature that could be seen at a distance. The room in the tower was meant as a place for Baba to do seclusion work, but the location proved to be too windy, so He only used it for one day.

Baba’s eastern and western women disciples stayed in various groups arranged by Him in this building. Later, the upper story and the West Room were used during the 1954 Sahavas program for the Western men. The West Room is now a museum and the South Room has become a library. The upper story is now known as the Study Hall. Today the tower on Meher Retreat and Baba’s flag flying from its summit can be seen for miles around. A small structure outside the south gate of Meher Retreat compound was built in 1938 to replace a separate small watch cabin and water tank platform from 1933. For many years, Soonamasi kept watch during the day from inside these cabins. Since there were no trees on the path in those days, she could see Baba as He crossed over the railroad tracks from Lower Meherabad. She would then walk down to meet Him. It was her duty and pleasure to escort Baba up and down the Hill. At night, a watchman would be on duty here.

Meher Retreat seen from a distance

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