Chapter 37: East-West Gathering
On Tuesday, 23 October 1962, Baba, Mehera, Mani, Goher and Meheru left Meherazad for Poona in Meherjee's Chevrolet driven by Adi Sr. Naja, Rano and the men mandali came in two cars — the DeSota driven by Shaikh, and Adi's car driven by Waman. Khorshed, Arnavaz, Nariman and Jim Mistry arrived in Poona from Bombay, to stay with them in Guruprasad, and Bal Natu also arrived from Kurduwadi. Krishna Nair was another one of those allowed to stay in Guruprasad for a week. Preparations in Poona for the gathering had started a few months before. Meherjee, Sarosh, Jalbhai, Jehangu Sukhadwalla and Meherwan Jessawala were coordinating the Westerners' stay in different hotels. Ramakrishnan and other Poona workers were doing the same for the Easterners at various institutions, schools and dharamshalas.
Shinde supervised the construction of a huge pandal (tent) 300 feet by 90 feet in the dirt field behind Guruprasad with a seating capacity of more than 5,000. Baba came to inspect it on the 24th. At the south end of the pandal, a high, grand dais was built, on which an armchair for Baba was placed. At the front entrance to Guruprasad, a long tent was put up by the side of the road, under which people could wait if they came before the fixed time for darshan each day. Across from this tent was a smaller one that served as an improvised hospital. Three doctors were appointed to treat any medical problems: Dr. Kamla Bhandari for women, Dr. Hoshang Bharucha for Eastern men and Don for Western men.
Eruch and Pendu lent their expertise to the arrangements. Everything was done in the best possible manner. Baba was consulted on every detail and would direct the mandali, and survey the last-minute construction work. The splendor and beauty of Guruprasad Palace was profound, for the light emanating from it had its source in the brilliance of Divine Wine!
But marring the excitement and anticipation of these festive preparations was Baba's continued poor health. The muscle spasms continued unabated day and night, exhausting him. He was given muscle relaxants by one of the doctors, but the spasms did not stop. As in the past, Baba's health seemed to suffer just prior to (and immediately after) any mass darshan program. It was the outward manifestation of his inner work of removing sanskaric impressions, about which we can have no idea.
Another cause for worry was the rising tension in two parts of the world, almost simultaneously. Two serious crises were brewing — one in the West between America and Soviet Russia over Cuba, and the other in the East between India and China.