In London, Baba had described the outstanding features of the Nasik ashram, warning the Westerners that they would have to adopt a simple life. But on their arrival, they discovered that Baba had provided for their comfort in every minute way. Rano Gayley recollected: “When we arrived in India, we were under the impression that we would be sleeping on the floor and living under austere conditions. So we had come prepared for this with our sleeping bags, et cetera. When Baba took us to see the Nasik building, we were quite surprised at the comforts Baba had provided.”
Some of the Westerners had imagined an ascetic life-style. On December 23rd, (1936) Baba addressed their misconceptions:
I want you to lead a simple life here in India. Then, when you return to the West you may resume your accustomed life there, yet you must be unaffected by either. In view of this you may wonder why I have arranged these comforts for you. If I required you to sleep on the floor, for example, the body would rebel and, in turn, react upon the mind. Such sudden, drastic changes would make it difficult for me to impart truths to you through the explanations I intend to give you, and your mind would not be able to grasp them. I will therefore gradually withdraw these comforts from you and later return them to you again.
The world is a slave to needs. The needs must become your slaves. You must learn to use modern conveniences – not be used by them. I do not want you to give up your needs, but I want you to be free of them. Therefore, at first, you may feel confused, tired, restless, or blank: but don’t worry. Soon I will begin guiding you and giving you duties and work, which will make you feel content. Once I start, nothing can stop me. So rest as much as you can until January 15th. On the 16th of January, work will commence in earnest. From the 16th, you will have to begin getting up at 6:30 A.M. and retiring at 9:30 P.M., and carry out the duties which will be given to each of you.
From time to time, I will take you to interesting places and beautiful caves in the hills near Nasik where rishis used to reside and meditate. But until my birthday, I do not want you to go out without my permission. You may feel confined, but it is for your own benefit. The visits to Meherabad and Rahuri start from the 5th of January.
On my birthday I will give grain and a piece of cloth to fifteen thousand people. All of you will have to contribute in the work of packaging the bundles.
The next day, Baba explained about his work:
Remember about keeping time. In the Beyond state, time and space are nil – nonexistent. In the sphere of duality, time, space, cause and effect exist. Therefore, when I work in the sphere of duality for the upliftment of humanity, I am bound superficially by time and space. Consequently, I may also appear limited at times, but in reality, I continually experience Oneness and the infinite state of the Beyond.
Lord Meher, Original Publication, Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 6, pp. 2057 – 2058.