Chapter 4: Journeying
On Friday, 25 May 1923, Meher Baba ordered everything from Meherabad to be transferred to Khushru Quarters. Only beddings and a few necessities were taken on the journey. That morning Baba walked alongside the path of the railway tracks from Meherabad, reaching the Ahmednagar railway station at 10:30 A.M. A few of his followers were at the station, and they reverently bid him farewell.
Baba and his fourteen mandali occupied a third class compartment. They were accompanied by Pilamai, her small son Vithal, Gulmai, Sarosh, Soonamasi and Khorshed. The train left at 12:30 in the afternoon and reached Manmad in the early evening. Food for all had been prepared by Gulmai and Pilamai, and at Manmad they cooked fresh food for Baba. As their connecting train was not to arrive until 8:00 P.M., they went for a stroll in the city.
At some stations along the way, Baba would call for milk, rice and dal. Invariably, as someone would get down to purchase these, the train would start and Baba would become displeased. At some stations telegraphic intimation was sent in advance to have their meals waiting for them when they arrived. Baba would serve the food to all. At times he would ask for potatoes, which Gulmai would cook in the moving train. If it wasn't ready in time, he would hurl whatever food was given him out the window. Utensils had to be cleaned in the wash basin.
Conversing on various topics during the journey, Baba kept the minds of all focused on what he said, not allowing their attention to wander. When the train reached Sanchi and passed the Great Stupa, dedicated to Lord Buddha, Baba told several revealing stories about Buddha, his life and times in India over 2,500 years ago.
Pilamai had brought a small chair for Baba to sit on in the train. However, he did not use it and asked her why she did not sit on it. Humbly, Pilamai replied, "How could I sit on it when you are sitting on a bench? I have nothing but respect for you!"
"When you don't respect my words, how can you respect me?" Baba pointed out. "Only if you sit in the chair according to my wish will I believe you truly revere me!"
"But this chair is meant for you," Pilamai countered. "It is not proper for me to occupy your seat."