A Railway Runs Through It

In the 1980s, Baba’s sister Mani, who had come to offer flowers at Meher Baba’s Samadhi, paused to listen to a train hooting by. She commented, “The sound of the train reminds me of my life at Meherabad, when I first joined Baba.”

A train is passing through Meherabad in the mid-1930s. The remains of the
Sai Darbar box cabin (left) and the Post Office building (right) are also seen.
(Photo courtesy of the MSI Collection)

Indeed, from the beginning, the train played a part in Meherabad life. The railway line, which runs north and south, separates Upper Meherabad—the Hill—from Lower Meherabad. Baba crossed the tracks each time he went up the Hill to do seclusion work or to visit the Prem Ashram boys in the 1920s, or later, in the 1930s and ’40s, to visit the women mandali.

Baba (in white) and a group of men approaching
the railroad tracks from the Hill, November 1955
(Photo courtesy of MN Publications)

In May of 1923, Baba walked north along these tracks from Meherabad to the Ahmednagar train station. During that same year, He walked the tracks from the other direction, going from the village of Akolner (southwest of Meherabad) to Meherabad.

In 1926, an interesting incident took place. Narayan Maharaj, one of Meher Baba’s Perfect Masters, was travelling in the area by train. Suddenly the train came to a halt outside of Ahmednagar. Narayan Maharaj told his disciples to go and check what was happening. When they opened the door and looked out, Meher Baba was standing under a tree with his hands folded in respect. Many of Baba’s mandali were also standing along the railway line with their hands folded.

As recorded in Lord Meher, “Narayan Maharaj was informed that Meher Baba was nearby, and he came out of his compartment and stood at the door of the train, silently looking at Baba. The mandali stepped forward to bow to Maharaj, and a few of Maharaj’s mandali got off the train and bowed to Baba. After a few minutes, Narayan signaled to Baba, ‘Should I go?’ And Baba waved back for him to leave. It was as if the whole incident was prearranged. As soon as Narayan settled in his compartment, the train started up again … and the conductors and engineer were wondering why the train had come to a sudden halt. Narayan only smiled.” [1]

Another of the Perfect Masters of that time, Hazrat Babajan, came by car to Meherabad on April 1, 1928. She stopped at the railway tracks, and Meher Baba came down from the Hill and stood on the opposite side of the tracks. Only their eyes met. Baba’s mandali took Babajan’s darshan as she remained seated in her car. After her departure, Baba stated, “Today is the most eventful and significant day of my life!” [2]

What was the significance of the Perfect Masters meeting Meher Baba along these tracks? As Bhau Kalchuri later wrote, “The true meaning … can be grasped only by those with divine consciousness.” [3]

Another important “railway track event” happened at the end of a sahavas program with Baba in 1958. A railway official, who was a follower of Meher Baba, had arranged for a special train to stop on the tracks at Meherabad to pick up the participants at the end of the gathering. After all had boarded the train, Baba came to wave “good-bye” to them. The footage of that event conveys better than words the intensity of the love exchange as this train pulled away.

These railway tracks seem to connect and unite more than they separate, to be a link more than a frontier. Now, forty trains run through Meherabad every day! Who knows what happens while they pass by!

Video clip of Baba and his lovers waving “good bye” as the
train departs from Meherabad at the end of the 1958 sahavas.
(Used by permission of AMBPPC Trust)

—Anne Moreigne for Avatar Meher Baba Trust, 9 June 2016

[1] Lord Meher, online edition, by Bhau Kalchuri, pp. 703-704

[2] Ibid, p. 920

[3] Ibid, p. 919