Pune, the City of God

     Visits to Pune are interwoven with my memories of Meher Baba's brother Jal, who led several of us around the city for two weeks or so on my first visit there in 1978. The holy places of Poona, especially Meher Baba's boyhood homes and Babajan's samahdi, are timeless and feel to me like "Birthing Grounds" where I sense someone who has lost hold of Baba might be able to catch on again.

Meher Baba's room in Pune
Outside "Baba's Room" where after receiving Babajan's Kiss, he banged his head on a stone, to try to "deal with" the Universal Suffering that he was eperiencing. As pilgrims know, the stone is still there for one to lay his/her head upon, in homage.

Meher Baba's Nephews, Rustom and Sohrab Irani, and a gentleman from the Pune Baba Center
Baba's nephews, Rustom and Sohrab, and Mr.Jehangir "Jangoo" Sukhadwalla , who is telling a story in the foyer of the house.
Holiday Decorations in Meher Baba's boyhood neighborhood, Pune, India
The neighborhood decorated
for "the Holidays". In Ahmednagar, we saw street vendors selling Santa hats and masks.

entering Pumpkin House, where Meher Baba also lived as a child.        
Entering "Pumpkin House" around the corner from 765 Dastur Meher Road, where Baba's Room is.The family also lived here for a time. It is so called because of the round stone that you can see. (Title of this photo: "Pumpkin and Hat.")
Meher Baba's boyhood mattress, upstairs, pumpkin house.
Baba's mattress, upstairs in Pumpkin House. The upstairs is accessible by climbing an extremely steep ladder-stair.

the woodwork grills on 2nd stories of the streets in Baba's old Poona neighborhood, very distinct, a little reminiscent of Swiss chalets, somehow.
The distinctive grillwork
on the 2nd stories of buildings in the neighborhood, reminiscent somehow of Swiss chalets.
laundry drying on line near Baba's house in Poona (color harmony)
Laundry drying down the lane from Baba's house.
I found the color harmonies soothing to look at.

walking the narrow, busy streets of Pune to Hazrat Babajan's Tomb
Enroute to Babajan's samadhi via the narrow, bustling streets of Poona, a city that has quadrupled in population in the past four
decades, and now stands at around five million !
top of Babajan's Samadhi (hard to get a photo of the whole thing, with all the traffic)
The upper half of the Samadhi, and the tops of the heads of some of our group of pilfrims. Traffic makes it difficult to get a shot of the entre edifice during business hours.

Ken Smith leaving Babajan's Samadhi after paying respects.
Fellow pilgrim Ken Smith leaving the samadhi after paying respects. Behind Ken is the tree that was Babajan's seat for many years, and under which she bestowed her Kiss on Merwan S. Irani in 1913, bringing the dawn of the world's new age.
Pune Meher Baba Center, exterior
The Pune Baba Center, where our group from Sufism Reoriented had a leisurely lunch and much affectionate comeraderie.
Guruprasad Hall Memorial
Guruprasad Memorial, all that is left of the great mansion where Baba lived and sometimes gave Darshan during summers from 1957 until 1967. I was struck to read this sentence in the plaque by Baba's poet Francis Brabazon, commemorating the memorial: "Those who come here to offer themselves, instead of to ask, will find their prayers answered."

Next page: Paying Respects to Upasni Maharaj in Sakori
back to The Meher Pilgrim Retreat and the Courtyard Tile Wall