|On Sacred Ground|
|The Ghyara Cottage, Part 2|
From early 1946 through the middle of 1948, Meher Baba spent His nights in a stone cottage about 1/4 mile (0.4 km) from the Pimpalgaon Malvi ashram (it would not be named Meherazad until August of 1948). Earlier Baba had slept in several different rooms in the ashram, including a go-down (storage room), but, for His own reasons, wanted a place some distance away. Having made arrangements with the owner of the cottage, Ratanshah Ghyara, Baba would leave the ashram every evening after dinner (He would eat at about five), and stay alone in the cottage until five the next morning. Of course there was always a night watchman; usually this was a mandali member but sometimes the servant boys would also share in this duty.
Baba started sleeping in this cottage after His night watchman complained about a ghost.
It seems that when Krishna (one of Baba’s mandali) was performing night-watch duty for Baba at the ashram, a spirit would enter the room each night at midnight. By Krishna’s account, "He was wonderful and attractive to look at, so I wasn’t afraid. But whenever he appeared, I lost all my strength. I could not move."
When the spirit approached Baba's bed and seemed about to touch His feet, Baba would snap His fingers and the spirit would vanish. After some days Krishna complained to Baba that he was losing his strength—the spirit seemed to be sapping his energy. At this point Baba moved to the Ghyara cottage, on 9 February 1946.
The spirit did not follow Baba to the cottage; however, it continued to create some nuisance in the ashram.
|Krishna in 1954. (Photo courtesy of MN Publications)|
It was Kaka Baria's duty to relieve Krishna as night watchman at two every morning (Kaka was the manager of the ashram at the time). One morning Kaka heard a loud knocking on his door and Krishna shouting, "Kaka, wake up! Why haven’t you come yet?" Looking at his Big Ben alarm clock and seeing that it was already 2:00 a.m., he rushed to the Ghyara cottage, mortified at having failed to arrive on time. When he arrived, Krishna came out and asked, "Kaka, why have you come so early?"
Kaka was bewildered. He couldn’t understand how Krishna could be in two places at once. Later he determined that when he had looked at the clock (with groggy eyes and startled out of sleep), it was ten past midnight, not two in the morning—he had gotten the hour and the minute hands mixed up! But who was it that had banged on the door and imitated Krishna’s voice? When Baba heard about this the next day, He had a good laugh.
Kaka was similarly disturbed several nights in a row, and finally he saw the apparition. He then told Baba that he was unable to do his duty properly because the spirit kept tricking him.
|A recent photo of the Ghyara cottage from the back (looking toward the Approach Road). Seclusion Hill is seen just above the roof, between the trees. Baba slept in the room behind the window.|
Baba shifted back to the ashram the next night. At midnight He himself got up and met the ghost outside, before it came in. Baba came back fifteen minutes later, drenched in sweat. From that day the spirit never returned.
Some time later Baba explained that the spirit was an advanced and powerful soul, and for some reason had committed suicide. He had come to Baba seeking to be freed, but Baba avoided him until that night when He released him by giving him a new body.
When hearing this, Krishna expressed his frustration: "Baba, look at me! How weak I’ve become! Why didn’t you save him the very first day? Why did you let him cause so much trouble?"
Baba responded with a smile, "The time had not come. When the time came, I gave him the body."
—David McNeely for Avatar Meher Baba Trust, 13 August 2015
[Quoted material from Lord Meher, online edition, p. 2521-2.]