A Last Goodnight to Eruch

Eruch Jessawala, Meher Baba’s interpreter and friend, lived most of his life in Meherazad in a small room that was made up of the shells of two cabins. These cabins had been erected on nearby Seclusion Hill in 1947 and used by Baba during several periods of seclusion work, culminating with the Manonash Seclusion in 1951. Because it was too windy for Baba’s work up on the hill, the mandali brought both cabins down to Meherazad where Padri combined them into one cabin. Baba finished His seclusion here, then lit a Dhuni right behind the structure. The next day He told Eruch to use the cabin as his room, which he did until his death.

Eruch’s room is spartan. It has looked like this for as long as I can remember.

Eruch’s room, the east side.

Eruch’s room, the west side.

On 30 August 2001, the last full day of Eruch’s life, he insisted on going to the Trust Office, even though it was his off day, to greet Bhau Kalchuri, who had just returned from visiting the USA. He hadn’t been well, and in the afternoon he was feeling weak and drained after the exertions of the day. However, he wanted to come for afternoon tea, and even managed to eat a forbidden chocolate brownie, thanks to chef Alan Wagner and the absence of Eruch’s medical overseers.

That night he called me into his room. I sat beside him on his bed, and he asked me if I thought he’d live to be 85. I said I didn’t know exactly, but, since it was almost August end, probably he would (Eruch’s birthday was in October). He shook his head, “I don’t think so,” he said. “The fortune teller said I wouldn’t see my 85th birthday. I think he was right.” For the first and last time, Eruch asked me to send an email (to Craig Ruff who was in the USA), which I did. Once it was sent, he walked into his family’s rooms to wish them goodnight.

That “goodnight” was different. He thanked Manu and told Meherwan, “You are the best brother I could have wished for.” He thanked the family maid, Kesar, for her service in cleaning his potty all these years, and blessed her, saying she would be queen of Nepal in her next life. He thanked me for cooking him tasty cutlets. Then he hugged us all and went back to his room.

Eruch spent his last hours in his small room. He was prepared for the final journey of his present incarnation. Baba even ensured that he had a bowel movement shortly before he died, because Eruch was always so concerned that he might soil himself, an indignity he was really uneasy about. His was a long-awaited release, and his last words before he stopped speaking were, “Jai Baba, Katie.” Katie had just come into his room, and he greeted her, then he spoke no more. In the early morning of 31 August, he died as he had lived, simply and without a fuss.

He has left a void that no one will ever fill, at least not for the next 700 years. His room has been kept as it was during his life, and today many pilgrims go there to sit and absorb the atmosphere created by one who was Meher Baba’s “most fortunate slave” and His constant companion for so many years.

—Mehera Arjani for Avatar Meher Baba Trust, 26 March 2015

Painting of Eruch by Diana Le Page, incorporating Eruch’s
common closing and signature to his letters.

Detail from Eruch’s room.