On December 24th, 1922, at 11 A.M., Meher Baba called fourteen of the men to his room and told them, “My seclusion is because of spiritual reasons. Maharaj has recently imprisoned himself in a bamboo cage at Sakori and is suffering for the good of his mandali. Now that my real spiritual work has started, many of the present mandali will leave me. You will see what I mean.” The fourteen men again solemnly promised Baba that, in every situation, they would stay with him for the stipulated period.
During this period, a rumor was circulating in Poona that Meher Baba and his followers were in Bombay for illegal purposes. People said he had gone there to deceive and rob the public. It was rumored that Manzil-e-Meem was a trap laid by the Irani saint, and that his companions meant to lure the unsuspecting and swindle them out of their possessions. These rumors did not disturb Baba.
Thus, from the outset of Meher Baba’s work, opposition had begun. Only later did the mandali realize that opposition was a definite part of his spiritual working. At times, Baba would encourage his enemies and critics to speak their minds, and he often remarked that opposition was beneficial to his work.
Lord Meher, Original ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 2, p. 460.