|On Sacred Ground|
|Mehera's Kitchen on Meherabad Hill|
It is quite likely you have never been in this room before. Mehera prepared Baba's food in the Main Kitchen until 1938 but when the Westerners and more Easterners came to stay at the Retreat on Meherabad Hill, Baba’s food was prepared separately by His beloved Mehera in her own smaller kitchen. Located across the courtyard from the Tin Shed, it is the room you are about to enter.
The first thing that might catch your eye when you step inside could be the brass water cistern. Or maybe the old metal bucket like the one Baba used, which is sitting on a low wooden stool? Even though the room is small, there are lots of things to take in: the antique kerosene burners, the old-fashioned food cupboard, a short piece of clothesline high up in the corner with a single clothespin on it.
But sooner or later, your eye will be drawn to the exquisite photo of Mehera grinding grain or spices using a grinding stone set very similar to the one you will see lying next to the cistern in the corner.
|Mehera using her grinding stone set, mid-1930s. (Photo courtesy MSI Collection)|
You will have an opportunity to bow down at one of Baba’s gaadis (a divan or backless sofa). This gaadi, which you may also be seeing for the first time, is smaller than Baba's gaadi under the Tin Shed. This is where Baba normally sat from 1938 to 1944 when Mehera served Him His meals.
|Baba's gaadi where Mehera served Him most of His meals. (Photo by Paul Liboiron)||
Originally, Mehera's Kitchen was probably a bathing room built for Baba, Mehera, and the women mandali living in the East Room. Years later, after the women's ashram was disbanded, only one woman, Mansari Desai, was told by Baba to remain on Meherabad Hill. So from 1949 onwards she lived alone in the building and Mehera's Kitchen became part of her living quarters. By Baba's order she lived there until her death in 1997. After she died, Goher and Meheru (two of Baba's closest women mandali) restored the kitchen to the way it had been in Baba's time.
This room is one of several that have been opened in the last two years for pilgrims to visit. With the exception of some basic electrical wiring added in the late seventies, it is very much like it was in Baba and Mehera's time. And today, for some, it is a sacred place suffused with the fragrance of a time long ago, a place where the sweetness of those days with Baba and His Mehera still lingers.
—Cindy Lowe for Avatar Meher Baba Trust, 12 March 2015
|The water cistern and grinding stone set similar to the one Mehera is
using in the first photo. (Photo by Cindy Lowe)
|Kerosene stove burners in Mehera's kitchen. (Photo by Paul Liboiron)|