Remembering Bhau D.Y Nafde
Bhau Nafde was born to simple middle-class parents on 2nd October 1919. His was a huge joint family - father, mother, three brothers, three sisters, five cousin brothers and two cousin sisters. No body in his family was interested in spiritual matters and the family lived a simple life of a devout Hindu home. Rituals and religious festivals were dutifully observed and celebrated. In 1937, Bhau passed his matriculation examination. This was the time when his elder brother, who was living with a family in Chindwara, a small town in Central India, fell seriously sick and Bhau rushed from Jabalpur, to attend and help. The family with whom Bhau's elder brother was living was deeply devoted to Sadguru Tajuddin Baba, one of Meher Baba's five Perfect Masters. Bhau, who was attending to his sick brother, started living in Chindwara and was also drawn towards Tajuddin . Soon Bahu got a government job at Chindwara , which according to him , was e due to the blessings of Tajuddin Baba.
The family with whom Bahu and his brother were staying was related to Nana Kher, one of Baba's mandali, whose loving way of greeting `Welcome Home' at Meherabad has touched the hearts of Baba lovers all over the world. Nana used to visit his relations at Chindwara quite often and talked about Meher Baba day in and day out. He told Bhau that Baba is God-incarnate. He gave Bhau few books to read and Bhau was deeply moved by The Perfect Master by Charles Purdom and The Wayfarers by Dr. William Donkin. Bhau recalls that these books convinced him that Meher Baba is God-incarnate and he told Nana Kher that one day he will surely have Baba's darshan. Bhau got married in 1945 to Shakuntala and in 1948 was transferred to Jabalpur.
Nana could see the heart of Bhau being lighted by Beloved Baba's grace. He mentioned about Bhau to Baba and Baba invited Bhau to attend a special meeting at Meherabad between 7th-9th November 1952. This was a unique period of Baba's life. In February 1952, Baba had concluded the Manonash period of his New Life and from middle of November Baba was all set to give his first ever public Darshan in Hamirpur. On 8th November, Baba gave the Repentance Prayer at Meherabad and Bhau was a witness to this great event. Bhau was drowned in the infinite ocean of Beloved Baba's love and resolved that come what may, he and his family will never miss a Baba sahwas or darshan.
In 1955, Bhau Nafde participated in a Five-Day Baba Sahwas at Meherabad. In April 1957, they were asked to attend a one day darshan programme at Sakori, the sacred seat of Sadguru Upasani Maharaj, one of Meher Baba's five Perfect Masters. There were around 300 devotee -lovers. Baba gave a full coconut fruit only to Bhau Nafde and Hoshang Bharucha as prasad. Baba instructed them to keep the fruit with care and worship it in the way they like. This coconut fruit is Nafde family's most precious treasure.
In 1957 Nafdes were in Bombay and attended Baba's darshan programme at Sunderbai Hall. They also attended the day long qawali (Sufi singing) programme at Ashiana , the home of Nariman & Arnavaz Dadachanji. In 1958, Bhau Nafde attended Five-Day Baba -Sahwas programme (16-26 February), arranged exclusively for his eastern lovers at Meherabad. Later Bhau was called to attend a day meet at Meherabad on 10 July 1958. This was the day when Beloved Baba gave his Universal Message to the world and Bhau was fortunate to witness that. Baba gave copies of Universal Message to his lovers assembled over there and asked them to disseminate it far and wide.
Bhau kept in touch with the members of Baba's close mandali through regular correspondence. Eruch, one of Meher Baba's close mandali, in one of his letters expressed Meher Baba's wish that a Baba centre be started at Bhopal. Thus in September 1959, Bhau Nafde with Sri Shambhulingam, Sri Shirdhonkar, Sri Parkhe and others started Avatar Meher Baba Centre at Bhopal.
The decade of 60s was again a period of intense and exciting Baba activities for Nafdes. In 1961, they participated in darshan programme at "Guru Prasad" (name of the palace of Maharani of Baroda, a devotee lover of Meher Baba) in Poona. In 1962 (1-5 November), they attended the East-West gathering of Meher lovers at "Guru Prasad." In 1963, Baba permitted Bhau Nafde to stay for a month in Poona and attend his darshan programmes at "Guru Prasad". Every day Bhau would reach "Guru Prasad" in the morning and join again in the afternoon from 3 p.m. onwards. During this period Bhau was fortunate to participate in a game of cards with Baba, and to join him in one of the visits to the house of a lover.
The same year Nafdes attended Baba's darshan programme at "Guru Prasad " which lasted four days. This was their last live darshan of their divine Beloved Avatar Meher Baba. Beloved Baba dropped his physical body on 31st January 1969. His body was kept for darshan in his Samadhi or Tomb-Shrine from 31 January to 7 February 1969, the day when it was finally interred at 12.15 p.m. amidst loud cheers of " Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai." During this period, Bhau and his entire family assembled at Samadhi to have a last darshan of the divinely beautiful human form of Beloved Baba. They received the precious gift of a cloth-piece of Beloved Baba's sadra from Bhau Kalchuri after Baba's body was interred. Later, Tai Nafde received the gift of Baba's hair from Mani at Guru Prasad between April-June 1969.
Bhau devotedly engaged in the work of Bhopal centre and continued to spread Meher Baba's message of love leading the centre. He used to remain immersed in Baba all the time spreading Meher Baba's message of love through a life of love and humility at His feet. Bhau passed away on 23rd October 2005 with Baba's name on his lips. He was 85. Such people are rare, such love - extraordinary.
Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai !