Chapter 5: The Silence Begins
As soon as Baba returned to Meherabad, he announced his intention to enter the Jhopdi for a few days, with Padri on watch outside. He wrote to Ramjoo and Ghani:
Sorry I could not let you know earlier of Padri being unable to come to you; because I am entering the room tomorrow to remain locked there thru 1st February, God willing, and Padri will stay outside the room.
Don't lose heart in any matter but with a free mind and a brave heart go on with your work. I'll meet you chaps in February and talk over things, if I come out alive. — Merwan
After his return to Ahmednagar, Baba began to refer to Meherabad as his permanent headquarters, where he would now hold public darshan. Many people of all castes and creeds began to come regularly for his darshan not only from Arangaon and Ahmednagar, but distant places as well. All the men mandali returned to live at Meherabad, including Pendu. The Arangaon children were especially happy for they had missed Baba. With his presence there, they were now assured of his entertaining company, as well as having good treats to eat.
Once Baba asked the children, "Can you all come here tomorrow afternoon?"
One replied, "We cannot come because we have to graze the goats. If we don't, our parents will beat us."
Baba told them to tell their parents that he invited them to come if they permitted it. The next day, 30 children from Arangaon came to Meherabad and Baba bathed each one, dressed them in new clothes and gave them sweets. The poor villagers came to know of this and soon men, women and more children came and requested clothing. Baba told them to be patient. A short time passed, and one day he distributed clothes among all in the village and served a feast. After a while, as the number of children increased, it was proposed that a school be opened for them.
In February 1925, Baba sent Daulatmai, Mehera and Naja to Sakori for a few days. When they arrived, Upasni Maharaj asked Mehera where she was now staying. Mehera replied, "With Meher Baba."
One of Upasni Maharaj's main women disciples at the time, Durgabai Karmarkar, was very fond of Mehera and urged her to remain in Sakori. After some days passed, Baba sent Masaji to Sakori with a letter addressed to Mehera stating: "If you wish to stay in Sakori, you may.