TOKA SANGUM

In June 1928, Meher Baba decided to relocate the entire Meherabad community including the buildings, staff, men and women mandali, the Prem Ashram students and their teachers from Meherabad to Toka, some 50 miles away.Toka, located at the confluence of the Godavari and Pravara rivers, has a long history of spiritual significance having been associated with Rama and Sita during their exile as recorded in the Ramayanna.It is also said that both Swami Ramdas and Sai Baba of Shirdi frequented the vicinity.Meher Baba selected Toka from several other sites because of its forests, rivers and peaceful atmosphere.  Temporary quarters of bamboo were built to house the nearly 500 people who moved from Meherabad with Baba.Even Baba’s table house was moved there and a dhuni was built next to it.Baba continued the intense training of the Prem Ashram boys by preparing a timetable for the school and laying down the usual rules for the mandali concerning every facet of their life.Meredith Starr and his wife and her sister arrived in Toka in late June and were given accommodations at the ashram and special orders, spiritual training and duties by Baba.This western contact established important links for Baba's subsequent trips to the west.
        
As He did at Meherabad, Baba continued His habit of occasional fasting and periodic seclusions.Occasionally, to alleviate the intensity of the spiritual training, swimming lessons were given, games of cricket were played and humourous skits and speeches were given in the dinning hall that Baba named the House of Nonsense.During this time at Toka Ramjoo Abdullah was instructed by Baba to record stories about the adventures and spiritual experiences of Agah Ali, one of the boys at the Prem Ashram, that were later compiled in the book called “Sobs and Throbs.”A new structure was erected for Baba and the Prem Ashram boys to live in and was named Meher Manzil by Baba.Each of the thirty-two boys was assigned his own room because, as Baba explained, He wanted to create individual “links” for His spiritual work.
        
However, from the very beginning all was not a bed of roses at Toka.  Problems with Agah Ali’s father wanting to remove his son from the ashram continued unabated, and some of the boys proved to be disobedient to Baba’s orders and were forced to leave the ashram.  Baba’s health also suffered due to the intense spiritual work he was doing with the boys as well as with the mandali.As a foreshadow of things to come, in early November Baba sent some of the boys back to the Meher Ashram at Meherabad and several of the men went back to their homes.Finally Baba decided to shift the entire Toka ashram back to Meherabad and sent all the remaining boys to their homes as preparations were made at Meherabad for their return.By November 29th, 1928 the entire Toka ashram had been dismantled and removed to Meherabad.The only evidence that remains of this colony today is a small brick structure with a plaque that reads Meher Manzil.As Eruch explained, “So one thing that runs throughout His ministry is trying to unhook any feeling of settlement, no attachment to things or places or beings.”

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ERUCH TELLS THE STORY (1:14)