No. 1           Meherabode Gazette  December 2013
Special Issue:        A Tribute to Bhau Kalchuri

Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California

1214 S. Van Ness Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90019

In This Issue
A Message from the Kalchuri & Fenster Families
A Celebration
Farewell, Bhauji!
Manonash Calypso
Brother Bhau -- the Back-Story
Dearest Bhauji
My Memory of Being with Bhau
Bhauji -- Baba's "John"
A Tribute
From the AMBCSC Archives
Bhauji & His Young Friends
Hey Mamu!
A Ghazal for Bhauji
Jai Meher Baba!
and Welcome to the newly conceived, premiere issue of
Meherabode Gazette
A Meherabode Newsletter was initiated in 2012 by the Board of Directors of the Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California (AMBCSC, also called Meherabode) as an internet-based circular. That electronic publication saw six issues in 2012. Meherabode's Communications Committee, having lately refocused its effort, is hereby announcing, launching, and offering for your interest and enjoyment this Meherabode Gazette as the successor to last year's newsletter. 
In Issue No. 1, Meherabode Gazette contains and is comprised of a garland of loving Remembrances of Bhau Kalchuri (January 13, 1927 - October 23, 2013), who proved to be Avatar Meher Baba's last living Mandali (close resident disciple), and whose company, stories, voluminous writings, talks, chats, and shared devotion to Beloved Meher Baba positively impacted all of us. Bhauji's recent departure from our midst likewise has affected us all -- hence this special issue, in which we can share such memories with one another. We look forward to following up this premiere issue with sequel issues beginning early next year.

While regular programs held at Meherabode comprise a primary outlet for community sharing on a local level, this publication (having as it does a more global reach) offers an alternative medium for periodic sharing, both with our locally-based Meherbode Members and also with the wider, world-wide community of those for whom devotion to Beloved Meher Baba constitutes a central focus of our unfolding lives. 
David Raphael Israel &
Mahoo Ghorbani, Co-Editors


I tell you all, with my divine authority,

that you and I are not "we" but "One."    Meher Baba

Technical Note:

Because this Issue No. 1 of the Meherabode Gazette is especially lengthy, the full content might not be found in the email edition delivered via some email programs (such as gmail) -- which (if so) should give a link (at the BOTTOM of the emai) to a web-page version of the Gazette in which the entire content (including any truncated portion) can then be viewed.
Furthermore , at the TOP of the email version, you should see a line:
"Having trouble viewing this email? Click here"
That, too, will bring you to a webpage version of the entire Issue No. 1. 
A Message from the Kalchuri & Fenster Families
7 December 2013 
Avatar Meher Baba ki Jai!
Avatar Meher Baba with the Kalchuri Family (Bhauji standing, daughter Sheela,
son Mehernath, wife Rama)
Jai Baba!
The Kalchuri and Fenster families wish
to thank all dear ones around the world for their loving expressions of condolence and sympathy conveyed during Bhauji's illness and after he joined Beloved Baba on
23 October, 2013.

All appreciated the love and support from Baba's worldwide family, and were very happy to hear the many touching stories of the ways in which Bhauji has magnified Beloved Baba's presence in the
lives of His lovers.
Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai! 

With all love and
Jai Baba to you,
In His Love and Service,
Mehernath Kalchuri & Family
A Celebration of Bhauji's Life at Meherabode
I did not ask for Wine -- but by His kindness He gave it.
What grace!  This empty life became an offering at His feet.

Bhau Kalchuri slipped into the arms of his Lord and Master, Meher Baba, yet left many sweet memories behind. He touched many lives, went beyond limits to make Baba's lovers happy, and traveled to the West more than 40 times in the past three decades.
On November 3, 2013, Meherabode shone in Baba's Love once again. The LA community came together to celebrate Bhau's life, sharing memories, offering music, poetry, and more. In an atmosphere of joy mingled with sadness, with devotional songs and music, and amid sweetly arrayed flowers, the life of Beloved Baba's devoted servant, night-watchman, poet, author, and His "John" (devoted emissary) -- Bhau -- was celebrated by LA Baba-lovers. 
The meeting hall of this one-acre abode of beauty was well decorated by Nasrin Ajang and her helpers the previous day. They chose an Indian/Hindu theme to reflect on Bhau's sense of beauty. The stage backdrop was striking with Bhau's enlarged photo, Indian silk fabrics, great flower stands full of red and white roses, and other lovely flowers. People who attended this day-long program included families with their kids, individuals, many from far distances, and a few newcomers adding to the spirited love gathering. The whole gathering was uplifting and joyous, a beautiful time of basking in His love while sharing memories of Bhau and His Eternal Beloved, Meher Baba.

As Bhau was fond of reciting a range of prayers and artis in small gatherings, the program started with many prayers including the Persian Arti recited by Mahmoud Ajang. "Ocean of Love" was performed by the Still Yet More Chamber Players, Pris and Chris Haffenden. ♦ Deborah Ash sparked joy singing the kirtan "Satchitananda, Paramananda, Meher Baba Vidnyananda," a song that (back in the 1950s) Baba once asked Bhauji to go and lead a crowd of 

Tamara Mark recited a ghazal of Bhauji's

villager-devotees in Hamirpur District singing (which was Bhauji's first experience addressing a large audience, serving as a public emissary for Meher Baba). Bhau liked this song; and he often recalled, "Baba said 'Hamirpur is my heart'."  


A few video excerpts of Bhau's talks at LA Sahavases of yesteryear were played, refreshing memories in many hearts. We all recalled those fun, full, and sometimes madcap memories of Bhau's intimacy, and how he shared Baba's love with us so generously, naturally, and beautifully. Tamara Mark, the beautiful actress, shared memories of Bhau and recited one of Bhau's ghazals in so lively a manner, it brought tears of joy to many an eye. Michael and Mia Campagna sang soulfully and rocked the house. 

Mia & Michael Campagna sang soulfully

Owrang Ajang (whom Bhau would playfully call a "sixth plane saint") shared some of his e-mail exchanges with Bhauji.  Jeff Maguire and Fred Stankus  together shared their many unique and humorous stories of Bhau spanning deacdes -- with Fred recollecting his initial impressions of Bhau in the early 1970s, along with some of his later experiences when Bhau started coming to the States; and with Jeff going on at great and hilarious lengths about the wide array and wonderful sequence of pranks, jokes, witticisms, and extraordinary fun-loving mayhem that Bhauji delighted in sharing
Jeff Maguire, Fred Stankus: madcap memories
with the "Lunatic Asylum" (L.A.) Baba-lovers over a span of many years. Joy and laughter filled the room. Reza Ebrahimzadeh offered a reflective and moving poetry recitation addressed to Bhau. Mary Kay Hage, who adores Bhau, shared excerpts from Bhauji's Awakenings. 
In early afternoon, a festive Persian lunch (with various dishes prepared and brought by many of the Persian women in our group) was enjoyed by all.Celebrants feasted, and enjoyed one another's company under a gorgeous blue sky in pleasantly warm weather. Many in attendance expressed
A Persian repast
appreciation for the loving atmosphere, resonant with Baba's and Bhau's presence. The rich day was concluded with an outdoor Dhuni fire: voices united in song for the Beloved, prayers offered. 
Our deepest gratitude flows out toward Meher Baba's youngest and, as it proved, his last living Mandali, his night watchman during the crucial period of completing his universal work in the 1960s, his co-author of literary works, and his exemplary devotee and our friend, dearest Bhau Kalchuri, for having lingered with us for so long -- through prolonged travails and suffering -- and for sharing his life with us so fully. We will always remember Beloved Baba and our dear Bhauji with all gratitude, devotion, humility, and love.

Mahoo and David 
Farewell, Bhauji!
He sat there like a teddy bear, as if nothing could go wrong in the Mischievous Chicken world. When I saw Bhauji in Meherana in 2009, I didn't know what to expect. But I found myself somehow seeing him as a perfect representative of Baba. I saw Bhauji as no less than a perfect instrument, a flawless extension of Baba's Will. Solid, yet with a mischievous smile, like a childhood friend.
I found myself approaching him as I should -- full of mischief. For fun, I decided to do whatever he told me to do, regardless of how ridiculous. So he did what any good minion of the Mischievous Chicken would do. He wrecked my mind by taking me down the rabbit hole of Divine Mischief.

When I awoke, I found myself in an entirely new world. It was a world where Baba is the only one responsible, with the whole world in his hands. It was a world where the best reason for loving God was for no reason at all. A world where Baba quotes like "It is infinitely easy, and thereby rendered infinitely difficult" captured my curiosity with the fervor of exploration that wouldn't let up. A world where your favorite Baba quote becomes "Truly speaking, you are not responsible" (Lord Meher, p.1258). It is a mischievous world where "Do not shirk your responsibilities" is quickly sublimated by "But He didn't say that you actually ARE responsible."


It's a world where you find yourself re-reading certain sections of Lord Meher, such as: "No," said Baba, "you are not responsible. Just like the film you see in the movie theater, so is this life like a film. It is predestined. Whatever is in the film will happen. It is already there. It had to happen this way" (LM 5612) It's a world where quotes like "Greater than love is obedience, greater than obedience is surrender," grab your attention and extinguish previously-held notions of free will. It's a world view where nothing can go wrong. A world where "the distance between you and God is none of your business" (Baba's translation of Hafiz, in God Speaks). A world where God doesn't need your help, never did, and never will. A world where "Nothing has happened, nothing is happening, and nothing will happen." A world where "God is all; God knows all; and God does all." A world where God is the only doer, even of that which is not happening.


As you can see, my world view, indeed my entire perspective on life and God was wrecked. Wrecked by one of the greatest minions of the Mischievous Chicken. What I got was far more than I could have imagined, stranger than I could have supposed. A kaleidoscope of bewildering paradoxes, interwoven into a fabric of coherence.
When Bhauji was in the emergency room in Mariposa [in 2010], Mother C and Christi Pearson allowed us to briefly visit with him. I gently held his hand, mindful not to disturb the tangle of IVs on his arm. Looking straight into my eyes he said, "I will always be with you." I said, "Okay, Bhauji." He said again, "I will always be with you." I nodded. He then said it again as if to rub it in hard and good, "I will always be with you." I often replay that scene over and over in my mind.


My daughter Khayla and I joke about how she is one of my minions and her dog Puffy is one of her minions. She would say, "And you are one of Bhau's minions." Then I would say, "and Bhauji is one of Baba's minions." All of us, everyone and everything in the countless Universes are all minions of Baba, who is the Ultimate Slave to His Slaves. We talked about how the word "minion" is the perfect word to describe a fun-loving, curious, and mischievous being whose work has become his play, and whose play has become his work. We talk of how fun, loving, and exciting it must be to be a minion of God. And then we laugh out loud. I tell her that life is not serious; that life is but a mighty joke, a game perpetrated by the Mischievous Chicken Himself and then carried out by His minions. Today, we bid farewell to one of Baba's mightiest and most mischievous minions -- Bhauji. Thank you Bhauji for wrecking my mind!
Chai, Gatewalla

Editor's Note:

Mark Choi has been a Meherabode Member for many years, and in recent years he instituted the custom of organizing and hosting monthly Dhuni-barbeque dinner gatherings, which were held outdoors Saturday evenings at Meherabode. Bhauji used to call Mark Choi "Mark Chai"! After apprenticing as a goatherd, Mark, under Bhau's instruction, moved with his family to a farm to raise goats, christening the property Meher Haven. Meher Haven is located in Mariposa, California, near Meherana. At some point Bhauji told Mark, "You are no longer Goatwalla, but Gatewalla," the meaning of which remains yet to be understood.
Manonash Calypso 
I first met Bhau Kalchuri in the mid '70s at Meherabad.  He was a very private person then, dressed in simple T-shirt, cotton pants and chappals, and he'd sit on the floor at Meherabad during some afternoon program. He spoke broken English, and I really didn't realize he was one of Baba's close Mandali.  Unbeknowst to me, he was working on Lord Meher, the epic biography of Avatar Meher Baba [which Bhau wrote in Hindi, then translated into English, published in English as a 20-volume opus running to 6,742 pages]. 
I thought that Mehera, Mani, Goher, Katie, Meheru, Arnavaz, and Eruch, Aloba, Pendu, were the Mandali members, and I visited them at Meherazad.And at Meherabad, I would visit Mansari at the Samadhi, and at Lower Meherabad, Padri, Siddhi, Mohammed the Mast. And at the Trust office in Ahmednagar it was Adi K. Irani and Sarosh. So I did not realize who Bhau Kalchuri was, and the times I met him his "English" was very hard to understand. A few years later, Hermes Reiter pointed out to me that Bhau was Baba's Nightwatchman and said he, Hermes, was working with Bhau Kalchuri going around India with a "special" photo camera to visit Baba-lovers throughout India who had "rare" photo's of Beloved Avatar Meher Baba, that would be published in the epic work, Lord Meher.

Bhauji with Gigi of Sakori and Mind, Mind, Stupid Mind!
In 1985, when Bhau Kalchuri travelled to the West and was a guest at the LA Sahavas in 1985, I was astonished! Of all the Mandali members, Bhau was the least likely to become the "St. John" of Baba's Advent, spreading His Love and Message to the World! I thought, if anybody would be doing it, it would be Eruch or Mani... their overflowing personalities grabbing and touching the hearts of others. But to my surprise, Bhau was terrific, he would stand at his talks at Pilgrim Pines Retreat Center in the mountains near Los Angeles in 1985, and would talk and talk and talk...and you would become intoxicated -- sometimes not understanding, but being in his company allowed for the mind to reach a blissful place!


Bhauji would hear me sing "The Manonash Calypso" [written by Hank Mindlin] at the Dhuni at the Sahavas in 1985, and in his subsequent visits to the US through the later '80s and '90s and into the 2000s, Bhau would ask me to sing "Mind, Mind, Stupid Mind" [that being the song's refrain and its informal name] many times. ♦  My wife Gigi would greet Bhauji with "We Love you Bhauji, O yes we do / and when you're away from us, we're blue / O Bhauji, we love you!" Bhauji loved Gigi and advised her that the administrator at Upasani Maharaj's Ashram in Sakori was named Gigi, and so Gigi must go to Sakori and become the administrator, and he would always greet Gigi with "Gigi of Sakori!" and me as "Mind, Mind, Stupid Mind!" We are just two who were touched by Bhauji's love: his words are great lessons for us -- but in his company, his love was unequaled, and even shared via the internet in the "chat room." So many Baba-lovers have been touched by Bhauji. We were very fortunate.


Mind, Mind, Stupid Mind!

Editor's Note:

For a number of years, Fred Stankus (whose special "Bhau name" is noted and explained above) hosted a television program on public access TV in the LA area, focusing on Avatar Meher Baba. Among his TV guests was Bhau Kalchuri. 

Brother Bhau -- the Back-Story
On a chance visit to Bombay in 1919, Baba came across a young Persian lad named Khodadad Farhad Irani. He had strikingly handsome matinee-idol looks and a burning ambition to become a movie actor. Obsessed with the idea, he spent months making audition rounds from one movie studio to another. But casting directors never chose him for even one role. The young lad had become so disappointed and depressed that he'd never make it, he contemplated suicide. It was during Khodadad's deep inner turmoil that Baba was walking through the city and came across the dejected young man sitting by the side of the road. He stopped to gaze at him. "Who are you, m'friend, and why so sad? You look like you haven't a hope in the world!" Khodadad glared back, "What business is that of yours? Who are you, anyway?" "Oh," Baba smiled, "Actually, I own a film company in Poona."

"I'm just here in Bombay auditioning actors," Baba continued. "You wouldn't happen to know anyone looking to work with a bright upcoming production company, would you?" Khodadad couldn't believe his ears. He stood up excitedly, "Yes, sir! I've been looking for that job myself these past three months!" Baba said, "Fine, you're hired. Can you come with me now to Poona?" Khodadad immediately agreed and was taken to Poona then and there.  But when they arrived, Baba said, "Well, first off, I want you to work in my toddy shop. Ah, but that's just temporary. My film company's in its final stages of formation, and as soon as it starts up you'll be working there full time." Khodadad happily agreed.  But being in the spiritually intoxicating atmosphere of Baba, the young man soon forgot all about his previous acting ambition and became totally dedicated to his new boss's activities. Khodadad would appear uneasy and nervous at the slightest mishap, and even more so in the Master's presence. Thus, Baba nicknamed him "Nervous."

[drawing from Lord Meher, p. 269]


Now one of his duties at Meherabad was to bring ell-water buckets with a pole on his shoulders. Outside of Gustadji, he was the only man allowed near the women's quarters. One day as he was pouring the water into a tub, he began speaking to Mehera. He asked if she knew who Baba really was -- of his great state as a Perfect Master and how fortunate she was to be called to serve him. He went on to tell her some wonderful incidents occurring around Baba. Little did she know they were being watched. The next day as Mehera was washing utensils, she saw Baba approach. Transfixed by his beauty, she stood watching for a few moments. "He came so fast, as if walking on air," she later recalled. Baba began chatting with her and casually mentioned observing her talking with Nervous the day before. "Yes," she said, "he was telling me about your life and how lucky I am to be near you." Baba said, "Yes, he loves me a lot and is so dear to me."

Shortly after this, Baba left Meherabad touring India with his men. They were in Quetta, Pakistan when Nervous came down with typhoid fever. Baba went to him several times a day, but despite the best care under two medical specialists, he died on July 16, 1924, becoming the first Mandali to pass away in Baba's service. After his burial, Baba sent the Mandali to enjoy a movie in honor of Nervous' dreams of becoming a great movie actor.

[drawing from Ramjoo's Diaries, pp.349-350; Mehera-Meher, Vol. 1, pp.16-17] 


Thirty years later, Baba indicated that Nervous had rejoined him yet once again to serve amongst the Mandali, having reincarnated as Bhau Kalchuri, whom Baba would claim as his most loved among all his men disciples -- his "St. John," and my good friend since 1981 for over 32 years now. In one of his weekly online Sunday chats, Bhau revealed that his time had come, and he will come back for just one more lifetime before Realization in Baba forever.


Ed Flanagan

Editor's Note:

During an earlier period of his life, Ed Flanagan was ordained as a Catholic priest. In recent years, Ed has labored over writing a book which expounds at length on the "second coming of Christ," as understood in Christian tradition, and as fulfilled for Ed in the advent of Meher Baba. We plan to present an excerpt from this work in a forthcoming issue.
Dearest Bhauji: 
You came through the doors of our Los Angeles home. . . You embraced me and I embraced you. I wept and wept, for my soul recognized yours and though I had never physically met you before, your beautiful love was felt deep in my heart.
Bhauji with Ajangs
(Nasrin, Bhauji, Mahmoud, & daughter Payam)
You showered our family with your love and helped us experience a glimpse of Meher Baba's boundless love. Your stories humored us, touched our hearts, and inspired us to love God.


Again and again you came to help us come closer to Him.


What you have given by your personal touch and written words will one day be glorified by the countless,


You are truly matchless in your sacrifice and service for our Beloved, and a mighty Lion indeed!



Editor's Note:

Payam Ajang, who belongs to an extended family of Persian Baba-lovers living in the Los Angeles area, was addressed by Bhauji as "Doctor-Sister". She is a neuropsychologist, practicing with children and adults in need. Bhauji maintained a special connection with Ajang family, customarily staying in their home when visiting Los Anageles.
My Memory of Being with Bhau
The idea of writing about Bhau is sweet, but how can words describe anything about him! It was impossible even to feel all the graciousness he would carry all the time with him, was impossible to get it all, but now how to describe something that we didn't even get!
Obviously he had so much to share naturally, that the glimpse of his beauty would touch us, warm us here and there; but I realized we never could truly see, understand, or appreciate the value of the treasure we had next to us! It's a pity and shame; yet hopefully it's forgivable, as our consciousness is on the level of a normal or semi-normal human being, well in this case I am talking about myself, I don't want to insult anyone's consciousness, but mine was poor (and still is) in realization of the Truth, yet I'm hoping one day we all reach the goal of life and realization!


I can simply say one or two things about him which was very obvious, which is that he truly served God or his Beloved, but after Baba dropped his body, there was no God in human form, and yet Bhau served Him and everyone would say that Bhau was in love and service of Baba! But in fact he was a servant of God-in-the-form-of-the-people-around-him. He was serving the God in each and all of us. He was teaching us that loving God is loving our normal fellow beings. That was a day-to-day, moment-by-moment service and suffering! Of course all the blame was to almighty God, Meher Baba, for Bhau's suffering, not thinking that poor Meher Baba is not in human form to torture him. But we could not see that it was our ignorance and egos and day-to-day desires, moment by moment which made him suffer and suffer.  


Bhau continuously suffered or enjoyed in serving God in people around him, and the ones in touch with him, and maybe more, and he was loving God in the most realistic way. Instead of the idea of worshiping a God who is not in the physical form, he worshiped and served the God in each person. He surrendered himself to all of us, teaching us that the real lover of God loves everyone, because according to God's statements, we are all one and all God. He practically and sincerely loved God in the real meaning, and indeed it was our ignorance which made him to suffer tremendously!


My hope is that in his state of consciousness, the suffering and happiness was equal, and that's the only way I can forgive myself, otherwise it seems unforgivable to torture an amazing being or to see him to be tortured and remain quiet because of lack of awareness or fear. I hope our higher self or almighty God forgives us all for these repetitions of the ignorance which blinds us or blocks us from acting based on our higher self!


It amazes me that we did not realize and truly appreciate the love of a person whose very quantum of cells were screaming love continuously! The only thing which strongly makes my heart smile now is the remembrance of celebration of his loving cells, as if I was joining the love party as a cell myself anytime I had the blessing of having his hands in mine! 


Jai Meher Baba! 

Mother T

Editor's Note:

Toktam Aboozari, who had studied agriculture in Iran, was traveling all over India when she came across Meherabad in February of 2007. Recognizing a spiritual link, Bhauji invited the new visitor to reside at Meher Nazar (the Trust compound in Ahmednagar) where she became an integral member of Bhauji's circle of workers. An actress, Toktam was called Mother T by Bhauji. Married to Baba-filmmaker Bob Fredericks, Toktam now divides her time between Meherabad and Los Angeles.
Bhauji -- Baba's "John"
I will never forget the day I met Bhau Kalchuri. I had been told that one of Meher Baba's closest Mandali was going to be talking at a tea in Palos Verdes at a Baba-lover's home. I was relatively new to the LA Baba group, and although I had been reading about Meher Baba and His Mandali, I had no idea the impact this day would have on the rest of my life.
This was 1990, I believe. I arrived with a boyfriend I was with at the time as the talk Bhauji was giving was already in progress. It was such a lovely setting. The smell of the ocean, the cool breeze and this small Indian man standing and speaking under the tree as people were comfortably and casually sitting in chairs, cushions, drinking tea and listening intently. I remember thinking he was difficult to understand. His thick Indian accent forced me to tune in even more acutely, as I wanted to hear all that he said. As his beautiful, soft compassionate voice spoke so naturally about being with Baba, stories of the other Mandali and how Baba worked with them, and every detail of life with Baba, I found myself completely absorbed in his talk and so deeply drawn to his loving presence. As the talk progressed, I felt myself wanting to be closer and closer. By the end, I had to go and meet this beautiful, kind, amazing man. As I approached from a distance, Bhauji saw me, threw his arms wide open and started kissing the air, reaching for me, all I remember, as I drew nearer and was going to embrace him, I looked in his eyes and all the physical world fell away... All I saw was universes and galaxies, infinite space. I knew then that our Beloved Baba wanted me to know who Bhauji was and to hold on tightly to him as he was Baba's Mandali serving with Love 100%. That was a turning point.

After that fateful day, I felt my life went into a fast-forward state. I became more and more interested in everything Baba and couldn't read enough about the experience of being close to Him. Bhau's attention and care for each and every person whom he met, became the ultimate and divinely-guided example for me on how to live my life.I have been so deeply fortunate to have had such a deep and profound relationship with Bhauji. I believe all of the Mandali had that special gift of making each one feel special to them in their own way. Baba has said,"you will come to know Me through my Mandali."In this life of challenges, gifts, more obstacles than one can fathom, I know in my heart that I could never do all that I am doing and passing through without having had such help from Beloved Baba through His Closest Ones.

I have only been to India twice. First trip, in 1993, when Bhauji looked at me he said,"We are going on a Pilgrimage together." To have had the grace of sitting next to Bhauji and sharing in my first trip to India with Him as my guide, I know that 1,000 trips to India on my own would not measure that one. It was and is etched in my heart and mind forever. He took me to Babajan's Tree, Pumpkin House, the Rock where Baba hit his forehead over and over to bring himself back into gross consciousness. Even the lay-over in Taipei where the small group of us were in a room doing exercises with landing, arriving at the Trust, and having Eruch be the first to hug me and then Mani...all Baba's way of giving me so much more than I deserved. Bhauji took me to the Samadhi, all over Meherabad and upper Meherabad where he told me the plans of the future and it has all come to pass. I would attend Hindi meetings with him and Terry Lucas, and I would have lunch with his family and watch Hindi Soap operas.

These priceless times and spending such "family like" time with Bhauji over the years was something that I never took for granted. The natural way Bhauji would express himself and want you to feel at ease made us all forget sometimes just who he really was. But in my heart I was shown who he was the day I met him. I have been given and continue to feel and receive such support from him. Bhauji once wrote me in an email that we will be together again with Baba, that I would be like Eruch and he would be like Mani but we wouldn't remember what we were to one another now.Having been given so much and such insights about my sons, Ian and Harry, I cherish and linger lovingly with every moment, thought, remembrance that Meher Baba has given me with His Beloved "John" -- Bhau Kalchuri. There are not enough ways to express my gratitude. The love I hold and carry for Bhauji is pure and honest. I know in my heart Baba bestowed upon me this gift of closeness to Bhauji so I would draw closer to Him. It brings unending gratitude and love for Beloved Meher Baba, that I was given so much from His matchless Bhau Kalchuri.

In His Infinite Ocean of Love and Grace,

Editor's Note:


Tamara Mark was given the name Jagruti by Bhau. Living in Pasadena, Tamara is a professional actress, dancer, singer and voice-over artist. She worked professionally for years on the Broadway Stage in New York City, in ballet companies, and with the New York City Opera. She educates police departments, school districts and the community about autism awareness. The Hindi/Sanskrit name Jagruti, which suggests a theatrical actor, also signifies "awakening."
A Tribute to Bhau Kalchuri's
Resignation to Meher Baba's Will 
This tribute takes the form of a music-video, set to Leonard Cohen's song "If It Be Your Will" (from Cohen's album Various Positions, 1984).
Photos by Paul Liberion and Toktam Aboozary.
Hazrat Ali Bob

Editor's Note:

American filmmaker Robert (Bob) Fredericks was nicknamed Hazrat Ali Bob by Bhauji. Having lived at Meherabad for the better part of a decade now, Bob has focused his creative talents on producing a series of films exploring various facets of Avatar Meher Baba, sometimes in documentary mode, sometimes as music-videos, and oftentimes combining these forms together. It was Bhauji who first gave Bob permission to use Meher Baba's footage in a music video in 2000 before Bhau even saw any of Bob's work. Bhauji then gave Bob a room at Meherabad for the production of many films over the last 10 years; and Bhauji agreed to be interviewed time and again for inclusion in many of those films. When Bhau first decided to do an internet chat from India, he asked Bob to join him and Bob, Freeman, and Bhau used to produce internet chats together (without camera or live audience or Skype, in that phase). Bob was the chief technical support person behind Bhau's chats for many years. Gradually, the text-chats evolved into the multi-platform, international gatherings which meant so much to many people in recent years.

From the AMBCSC Archives (YouTube videos & photos)
Bhauji / Adele Wolkin (at the Dome)
Bhau Kalchuri -- Ribbon-cutting at Meherabode
[29 min., largely unedited footage, cin�ma-v�rit�]
[5 min., a Charles Morton Film]
Bhau Kalchuri -- The Secret
(1999 Sahavas)
[10 min., a Charles Morton Film] -- Bhauji holding forth on the Universal Push
Bhau Kalchuri -- This Beautiful World
(1999 Sahavas)
"This Beautiful World, That Beautiful World: Death Dying Reincarnation"
[9 min., a Charles Morton Film]
[10 min., a Judy Stephens Film]
[10 min.] 




Top:  Bhauji and friends at the 1988 Sahavas in Southern California

Middle:  Bhauji with Adele Wolkin at Meherazad; and Bhauji (1982 Sahavas)

Bottom:  Bhauji with Esfandiar Vesali; and Bhauji montage (1985 Sahavas)

Editor's Note:

The above-linked early videos of Bhau Kalchuri were all uploaded to YouTube by AMBCSC Archives, which likewise provided the selected photographs.


The AMBCSC Oral History Archive Project works to preserve precious items from the Avataric Advent. The volunteer workers at AMBCSC Archives believe that as time passes, and as the light of Meher Baba's divinity illuminates the world, the memory of His humanity will need to be nurtured.


A blog is also maintained here:  AMBCSC ARCHIVES

Bhauji & His Young Friends 
Bhau had a sweet relationship with children and young adults. 
In the year 1968, Beloved Baba told Bhau that he should write a children's book and include certain stories He had given him. Some were told directly by Baba Himself. Bhau then wrote the book Nectar for the Children. Here are a few images of Bhauji with some of his young companions (spanning a few decades). 
Hey Mamu! 
One year, we watched a rollicking Bollywood comedy with Bhauji, about a gangster named Munna Bhai, whose life is redeemed through loving and serving others. Munna and his crew always greeted their cronies with "Hey mamu!" When I asked Bhau about this, he said that while "mamu" literally means uncle, in this case it was the equivalent of "Hey dude!", an irreverent and slightly disrespectful greeting used by criminal types. From that day on, I always addressed Bhauji with "Hey Mamu," in emails, phone calls and visits. Bhauji had, as everyone who met him knows, a wonderful and whacky sense of humor. After all, he's the one who said L.A. stands for Lunatic Asylum. He especially enjoyed jokes that made fun of him. He encouraged them, insisting he wasn't anything special when it came to spirituality. He was, he maintained to the very end, "just a po-ta-to." Some potato!
It was the late, great Mark Palmer who broke the satirical ground that Bobby Manonash in L.A., Swamiji Dennison in Myrtle Beach and others would mine to produce decades of laughter and fun in collaboration with Bhauji. Back in the eighties, Mark wrote a piece in the Chicago Baba newsletter, THE WORD, reporting that Bhau was quitting the Mandali and moving to the U.S. to become a tax attorney for the IRS. My favorite line was a purported quote from Bhau, "I still love Baba, I'm just tired of being a Mandali member," implying that working for the IRS would be a peaceful, relaxing change after all the headaches of running the Trust and being hounded by western pilgrims seeking help with their careers and love lives! At the time, I wondered if Mark's article wasn't a little too irreverent. But when I found out how much Bhau enjoyed it, the dam broke. Soon, Bobby Manonash, Ed McMaya and Bhauji were regularly entertaining audiences of more than two hundred people each year at the L.A. Sahavas. Mark Palmer was a guest on the show in 1990 or '91 and announced that each Mandali member had a hired westerner who wrote their talks. Adi K. Irani has Jack Small; Eruch had Gary Kleiner; and Bhau had Mark. Mark had not only written all of Bhau's talks, but had also coined all the familiar catch phrases, like "Dirty Stinking Garbage" and "The Universal Powerhouse". Although Mark had been sworn to secrecy, he felt compelled to become a whistle-blower because there of one particular phrase, a phrase Bhau had initially rejected. But Mark was so confident of the phrase's catchiness that he negotiated a deal for Bhau to pay him one dollar each time Bhau used it. The phrase? "Whether you want it, or you don't want it, you will have it." At the time Mark announced this, he reckoned that Bhau owed him over a million dollars, yet Mark had never seen a penny of it. When Mark called Bhau out in the audience and demanded that he verify the story, Bhauji barely stopped laughing long enough to admit that yes, it was all true.


In later years, Tony Griss came onstage and revealed that he was Bhau's therapist. Tony claimed Bhau was in dire need of help because "All those years with Baba were wonderful for Bhau spiritually, but they wreaked havoc on his self-esteem." As proof, he read out several of the last lines of Bhau's ghazals -- Things like, "Oh Bhau, you fool!" and "Oh Bhau, you have not the faintest whiff of the spiritual path!", or "Oh Bhau, why do you pretend to know anything..." Heartbreaking stuff. But Tony assured everyone that, thanks to extensive therapy, Bhau's self-esteem was rapidly improving, as evidenced by several ghazal lines Bhau had penned recently, like "Oh Bhau, you're not such a bad guy after all," and "Oh Bhau, you know a helluva lot more than most people about the spiritual path," or the biggest breakthrough: "Oh Bhau, you handsome devil." Oftentimes, the shows had Bhau putting his best foot forward, sometimes into the mouth of an opponent. One year, he strapped on boxing gloves and won a first round knockout over Ed McMaya, despite McMaya's huge size advantage. Bhauji was also victorious in a match (and several highly-publicized rematches) against the massive, terrifying Swamiji in Myrtle Beach, even beating the vicious false master while confined to a wheelchair one year. Not long after dropping McMaya, Bhauji donned a karate uniform and fought ten strapping men on the Sahavas stage. It all happened behind a curtain so the children in the audience would be spared the violence, but, curtain or no curtain, the awful shouts, cries and moans of the combat sent those with weak stomachs rushing for the exits. When the curtain was finally removed, Bhauji stood tall and triumphant, with his defeated foes strewn on the floor around him. The Yucaipa Hosital emergency room was full that night. In 2003, Billy Goodrum explained to the crowd that Bhau dressed in sunglasses, fedora and bolo tie because he was Nagpur's greatest blues master. Bhau proceeded to demonstrate his chops on the harmonica, accompanying Billy on "The Nightwatchman Blues".


The following year, Bhau debuted a hip-hop tune composed by Danny Maguire, backed onstage by Danny and Josh Lee, all three of them wearing bandanas on their heads and swaying with attitude while Bhau rapped, "I'm no saint and I'm no mast; just the Chairman of the Trust; I can walk and I can squawk; but I prefer to talk and talk, and talk and talk, and talk and talk..." Meherana raised money by roasting Bhau a couple of times in San Francisco. At the first roast, Vesta Clinton had fun with Bhau's early attempts at English pronunciation in the 1970's, mimicking him: "Operator, I am trying to dial one-pour-pour-pive-pive." Jacko Caraco took the "roast" literally when he and Bob Street had Bhau stand in front of the big crowd and garlanded him with onions, turnips and garlic, till he was ready to be placed in the preheated oven. At the next roast, Buck Busfield spoke at length, detailing Bhau's many praise-worthy qualities, but when he mentioned that Bhau had been a humble schoolteacher, we all realized something was terribly wrong. Finally, someone pointed out that Buck was extolling the virtues of Bal Natu, not Bhau. Embarrassed to have gotten the two confused, Buck apologized and said he really didn't know much about any of Bhau's good qualities and cut his tribute short.


Needless to say, Bhau enjoyed all of these occasions immensely. There were times, when I was scheduled to introduce him at Meherana, he would tell me beforehand to make the introduction "extra-spicy", meaning especially irreverent. He didn't want people to treat him as an advanced soul or a master. Bhau said the only one worthy of such devotion was Meher Baba, and Bhau wanted to make it clear that we don't need any sort of middlemen or third parties to connect with Baba. He told us stories of how Baba Himself didn't much like when people would be somber or "religious" in His presence; He much preferred lighthearted, and wholehearted, displays of love. My favorite laughs with Bhauji however, came when he was making fun of himself, all by himself. I never tired of hearing him tell of when he and Baba and several Mandali members were on a long train journey across India and one of the men got himself locked into the train's toilet for twenty minutes. When the man came back, Bhau laughed at him and, feeling smugly superior, thought to himself, "What kind of fool is this man, that he was trapped in the toilet for so long?" Then, later in the journey, Bhau went to use the toilet and found it had some new locking mechanism that he couldn't figure out -- He was stuck in the toilet for eight hours. Eight hours! Eventually, Baba sent Pendu to find him and Pendu had to climb outside the train, clinging to the train's windows, in order to look in and instruct Bhau on how to work the latch. When Bhau finally returned to his seat, Baba smiled at him mischievously and inquired: "Good clearance?" God, I love that story. There were dozens of other tales that Bhau told with delighted self-deprecation, like the time Baba told him to kill a cobra in the middle of the night but Bhau had never killed one before and pinned the deadly snake down with a stick in the middle of its long body, so that both ends of the snake were wriggling. Baba kept telling Bhau to kill it, but Bhau had no idea how. At last, Meheru was summoned and confidently dispatched the reptile in seconds.


Bhau also enjoyed telling about how, one night, Baba wanted to listen to the radio, but try as he might, Bhau couldn't figure out how to turn it on. This

Jeff & Lynn's late son Danny
("St. Danny") with Bhauji

time it was Goher who had to be called in to flip the simple switch. Then there's the now famous saga of Bhau's final exam to attain his degree in agriculture, when he drove a tractor into a shed.  When we asked him why he was driving a tractor for the very first time during his final exam, he laughed, "Good that my professor had already started the tractor, because I didn't know how to turn it on!"  But how did he manage to get his degree despite that debacle?, he was asked. "I did well in the theoretical part of the exam," he deadpanned. ♦ So many great stories. So much fun to hear Bhauji tell them.


A friend of mine once asked me what Meher Baba gives His lovers -- "Psychic powers? out-of-body experiences? the ability to read minds?

Jeff & Lynn Maguire with Bhauji

miraculous health cures? sure-fire methods to attain wealth and fame?" No, none of those things, I told him. ♦ "So what do you get?" ♦ "I don't know," I pondered, "I guess, love." My friend couldn't wrap his mind around that amorphous noun; he wanted something more concrete. What I should have told him was that we got to hang out with great souls, like Bhau Kalchuri, Mani Irani, Eruch Jessawala, and all the other extraordinary Mandali members whose radiant examples continue to inspire us to love and serve Beloved Baba.


We were privileged to spend time in Bhauji's company, and blessed beyond all measure to be able to call him our friend and companion on the Beloved's path. Thank you Baba.


Jeff Maguire

Editor's Note:

Jeff Maguire and his wife Lynn are longtime L.A. Baba Lovers who were blessed to host Bhauji on many of his L.A. visits. In the past decade or so, they made extensive plans with Bhauji to all meet up in the Dandak Vana, the great forest that was the site of Rama and Sita's exile. They look forward to their reunion.
A Ghazal for Bhauji 

Having lived very long   yet finally  you flew away!

having given your song divinely    you flew away!

the servant you are   of the Lord of all existence!

at a moment ordained & timely   you flew away


you declared yourself a potato   why potato?

now may naught but my mind remind me   you flew away


having broadcast the bloody joy   of constant bhakti 

how you curtained the pain till blimey!   you flew away


I essayed the shape of bhairavi    at Meh'rana

but before I could play sublimely    you flew away


you retracted your yad rakh yarn!   what a conundrum!

yet before that Word could unwind me   you flew away


Raphael hasn't puzzled out how    to bend love's bow

with love's target bullseyed    benignly you flew away 


Would-be Workingboxwalla
Editor's Note:
David Raphael Israel had the pleasure of serving as Bhauji's amanuensis (typist) for chat sessions conducted on Bhauji's visits to the Washington, DC / Northern Virginia area. After David moved to Bhopal to study Indian music, on one Meherabad pilgrimage-visit (circa 2008) he fetched up at Meher Nazar and (one last time) again served in that duty. He incoherently quipped to Bhauji that he was "Workingboxwalla" (intending to mean, "a [Baba] typist"). Bhau didn't visibly latch onto the idle remark. For ghazals, the poet employs his own middle name as takhallus (pen-name). Later Stateside, David paid a visit to Meherana when Bhau was recovering there from surgery. Bhau wasn't receiving visitors that day, but David sat on Bhau's porch and (within earshot) improvised on the plaintive Indian raag bhairavi on his sarangi. In David's estimation, the Yad Rakh enigma [a thorny Bhauji endgame conundrum] has yet to be unraveled; yet (dodging the grip of rationality) he feels that's okay.
A Heartfelt Acknowledgement 
Gratitude to all contributors.
This special-edition Meherabode Gazette No. 1 (assembled in some haste) shares a sampling of myriad tales of lives touched and inspired by Vir Singh (Bhau) Kalchuri over the past several decades, and heartfelt responses to Bhauji's open friendship with all devotees of Beloved Meher Baba. The full volume of such stories and responses could fill a proverbial ocean. These few pearl-like drops may serve to suggest that larger expanse.
Thank you!
The Editors
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