The New Life Begins

This year, on 16th October, Meherabad woke to a light drizzle of rain, one of the tail-end monsoon showers we hope to get in October. It was this time of year that Meher Baba and His companions set out on the New Life in 1949, also on a drizzly morning, leaving behind the old way of life to embark on the new life of renunciation. His ashrams were disbanded, meetings were held and instructions given, provisions made for those of Baba’s followers who were not joining Him on the New Life journeys. In August Baba had held a series of meetings at Meherabad announcing the conditions and arrangements for the New Life, in the Mandali Hall at lower Meherabad for the men and in the East Room on the hill for the women.

Sitting today in Mandali Hall, we can get a feeling for those days leading up to the first day of the New Life journeys. Imagine the activities here on 15th October, 1949, eve of the day the journeys began, as Baba and the men mandali gathered together for their last meal and made their final preparations. Those who were not going were also present. Dhake (one of Baba’s disciples) read out a speech, “Farewell to Baba and Companions.” Baba returned to Meherazad for the night.

When they departed the next morning, there was a light drizzle following a big rain during the night. Baba and the women, with Eruch driving, came by car from Meherazad and met the other men mandali at the railway line in Ahmednagar. Although there was heavier rain later in the morning, the weather had lightened up as Baba and His companions began the New Life, setting out on foot towards Supa on the Poona Road. We get a beautiful cameo image of the scene in this passage from Meher Baba’s New Life by Bhau Kalchuri:

“The journey on foot resumed with Baba and the four women walking in front, followed by the sixteen men 200 yards behind. Sarosh’s car moved along slowly behind them. Suddenly the rain let up, which allowed Baba to walk hand in hand with Mehera while everyone else followed. Mehera wore slacks, while the other women wore Punjabi outfits. Baba had a scarf tied around His head to hide His long hair.”

— Irene Holt for Avatar Meher Baba Trust
13 November, 2014

Dhake reading “Farewell to Baba and Companions”
Mandali Hall, Meherabad, 15 Oct. 1949 (photo courtesy MSI)