Baba’s Kitchen in Upper Meherabad—The Early Years

Standing in one corner of our Museum on the Hill at Meherabad is an interesting antique—a hand-drawn rickshaw of the type which was used in many Asian countries in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This rickshaw was brought to Meherabad for Baba in September, 1927. Baba was asked to sit in it and He complied, asking Baily, His long-time disciple and school chum who had arrived at Meherabad the same day, to be the first to pull Him in it. Baily pulled Baba in the rickshaw swiftly down the hill to the railway line and back up again.

The water tank building in 1938, before the upper story was built. The entrance to the East Room, which
is white, is on the right with the tatta passageway leading to the kitchen, which can be seen behind.
(Photo courtesy of MN Publications)

Meher Baba standing beside the tatta passageway in 1934.
(Photo courtesy of the MSI Collection)

Often, in the early 1930s, Baba slept in a room next to the kitchen. He would get up at 4 or 5 in the morning and go to the kitchen, where He drank one cup of tea with the women, washed His face, and shaved. Mehera attended to Him by pouring water and handing Him soap, razor, and then a towel.

The kitchen building in 1938 with the tatta passageway on the left. The middle door leads to Baba’s kitchen.
The door on the right is to Mehera’s kitchen and the left door is where Baba often slept in the early 1930s.
(Photo courtesy of the MSI Collection)

Both Baba’s and the women’s food was prepared in this kitchen, but Baba’s food was cooked separately on a wood fire. Often Baba ate lunch in the kitchen with the women. Baba sat on the only piece of furniture in the room, a table covered with a piece of galvanized tin. To make Him more comfortable, the women placed a thin mattress with a handmade cover on top of the table. The women ate sitting on very low stools with their plates on their laps. After lunch, Baba would let Mehera pour water over His hands into a basin, while the other women held the soap and towel. He then relaxed with the women, sometimes even taking a short nap on the tin table.

Baba’s kitchen today with the tin table in the foreground. The mattress on the table is not the original.
In the background under the window, you can see the mori (bathing or washing stall) where Baba stood to shave.

One day in 1935, as He sat on the tin table, Baba told Mehera to braid His hair. Mehera said, “We liked the idea of braiding Baba’s hair, as it was flying all over.” From that day forward, Baba had His hair braided every day. “Every day, I brushed and braided Baba’s hair in the corner of the kitchen, while Baba was seated on the table. After doing the braid, Baba’s nape of the neck was so sweet… I did steal a kiss from there.” [Mehera-Meher: A Divine Romance, Vol. 1, p. 290]

Baba, with His hair braided, is in Upper Meherabad, with Mani, Gulmai and Rano, in late 1938 or early 1939.
(Photo courtesy of MN Publications)

Later, in 1938, when the Western women came to live at Meherabad, the kitchen became too crowded for Mehera to cook Baba’s food. So, she began preparing His meals in the small room next to the kitchen, the room now known as Mehera’s kitchen.

—Clea McNeely for Avatar Meher Baba Trust, 19 May 2016

The story of Baba’s kitchen continues next week with “Mansari in Baba’s Kitchen.”