The Most Colorful Animal Buried on Meherabad Hill

Meher Baba kept many animals at Meherabad during the late 1930s and 1940s, including cats, dogs, birds, a monkey, a goat, pigs, a rabbit, a lamb and a gazelle. Mehera wrote, “Animals have always played a special role in our life with Baba, not only as His pets, receiving His personal touch and contact, but also, it seems, as a channel of His work, reaching out to all the animal world and the whole of creation. We have learned through Baba’s example that there is no creature too small or insignificant to be the recipient of His loving glance and attention.” (Baba Loved Us Too, p. xv).

Six of these lucky pets are buried next to Baba’s Samadhi on Meherabad Hill: five dogs and a peacock.

Pet cemetery near the Samadhi. Moti’s grave is on the upper right. (Photo by Clea McNeely)

Moti, the peacock, was a big, handsome, gorgeous bird. He was found in a bazaar in the late 1930s. Elizabeth Patterson, who loved animals, saw this full-grown dancing peacock and asked Baba for permission to get him. Baba approved. Despite his flashy exterior, Moti turned out to be mischievous beyond belief. Katie told many stories of his mischief making; here are three of her stories:

Moti the peacock and one of the peahens, ~1940 Upper Meherabad. (Photo courtesy MN Publications)

The women at the time were staying in the walled compound surrounding the Meher Retreat tower on Meherabad Hill. They had their dining room outside under the tin shed, with a table and small stools placed where they would eat. Katie would set the table and then ring the bell for the women to come for the meal. But before the women could arrive, Moti would jump up on the table, strut back and forth—his version of dancing—and knock off people’s plates. Katie would get so upset, but she did learn to delay putting the plates on the table until after the women came.

Another favorite game of Moti’s involved a bookcase. The bookcase was very tall with open shelves. Moti would fly up to the top of the bookcase, lean down, and, with his beak, pull off the books so they would fall on the floor. And then he would go down to the floor and reach up to the books that were just a few feet off the floor and pull off those books. Katie said she was always putting the books back, yelling at the peacock, telling him to behave.

Food was delivered from the bazaar a few times a week. It would arrive in a very big basket up the Hill. The person taking delivery of the basket would carry it directly to Baba’s kitchen and set it down. But Moti was faster than any person. He would run in and grab a head of cauliflower or a cabbage in his beak and take off out of the compound. Katie would run after him shouting, “You have your own food. This is our food. I need that cabbage!” hopelessly trying to retrieve the vegetables.

In her later years Katie would laugh at some of these stories, acknowledging that, although Moti was very mischievous, he was also very beautiful and lots of fun. And, fortunate for him, Baba had him buried near His own final resting place on the Hill.

—Clea McNeely for Avatar Meher Baba Trust, 2 April 2015

Katie Irani during the Blue Bus Tours, 1939. (Photo courtesy MN Publications)

Moti’s grave, Meherabad Hill. (Photo by Clea McNeely)