WE THOUGHT JUST OF BABA
Mehera J. Irani
In Bombay we stayed at small Khorshed's parents' house in Irani Mansions, Dadar, and my mother joined us there from Poona. In the evenings we went to Bharucha Building to be with Baba, and there we would see Gustadji combing Baba's golden-brown shining hair. How we admired His lovely hair, so soft and full. And how we stared at His beauty.
I remember one day Baba, with Gustadji, came to Irani Mansions, and He asked Khorshed to sing and play the harmonium for Him. Gustadji sang, too, and Baba enjoyed the singing, swaying His head to the rhythm of the music. Before Baba left we served Him tea.
Baba now left for Persia, and my mother, my sister, and I returned to our home on Todiwalla Road, Poona.
In the evenings we would sit with Babajan. Many of Her followers sat with Her then because they had to go to work in the mornings. We went in the evening for a different reason: it shocked the Zoroastrian community to see us sitting with Babajan whom they were all so against. Zoroastrians coming and going along the road where Babajan was seated recognised us in broad daylight, and they would say to each other, "What are they doing there? Why are they sitting with this old woman instead of going to the fire temple?"
My mother's reply was, "Never mind, let them say what they like. We don't care." She was not afraid, and she did go to Babajan in the mornings to take fruit and vegetables from the nearby markets. Freny Masi, who was close to Babajan, went with her.
Babajan was seated on a seat that Baba had had made for Her after He was God-realised and had come from Sakori. She was of a very advanced age now, and it was not good for Her to sit on the ground in all weather. As is the Indian custom, the men devotees sat on one side of Her, and the women on the other. Babajan always sat so that She was turned more towards the men.
People brought food for Her, and Babajan used to send someone to bring tea from a nearby tea stall. She often gave each one prasad, and sometimes hot tea, too. On many evenings qawali songs were sung. It was a very beautiful sight.
We never referred to Babajan as "She", but always as "Babajan". Inwardly Babajan was so strong; She was stronger than any man. She was like an emperor. She looked so beautiful with Her fair skin and bluish eyes.
Babajan hardly spoke, and when She did it was very softly. People would talk to Her, and She would sit and listen and nod Her head, sometimes turning to see who was sitting amongst the women. I remember one evening when Babajan turned to look at the women. She looked at each one, and then a little longer at me. I was so surprised that She would look at me, and I felt very shy. Babajan hardly ever smiled, but now as She looked at me She had a slight, very sweet smile on Her face, as if She knew me. Then Babajan turned away.
One evening after Baba returned from Persia, a car stopped near the gate of our house on Todiwalla Road. Someone came up the drive to our door and said, "Baba wants you to come to the car!"
My mother and I were so happy as we ran to Baba's car. It was almost dark, and we could see Baba's white sadra glowing as we drew near His car. Baba did not get out, but He allowed us to bow down to kiss His feet. He and my mother then spoke for perhaps five minutes. Baba was on His way somewhere, and He had stopped so we could greet Him. So Baba never came inside our house in Poona, but we had His darshan outside the gate.
My sister was now pregnant with her first child, and when she was near her time, she came to stay with us in Poona. It is our custom that a daughter returns to her mother for the birth of her first child so that she can be looked after properly and be taught how to take care of the baby. Freni gave birth to her first child in late April 1924, in the same ward, in the same hospital, Sassoon Hospital, that Baba had been born in thirty years earlier.
Within days of the birth a telegram came from Baba at Meherabad saying, "Come as soon as possible!" He also instructed us to bring only one trunk of clothes, which was to last a whole year, and our bedding. We were so happy! And also very busy. My mother quickly bought material and had the tailors make us new cotton clothes, and she bought new cotton saris for us, and so on.
There was much to do, but as Baba had said, "As soon as possible," when the baby was about ten days old we locked the front door of our house with a big padlock, and with only telling our servants that we were going to another place, left everything behind us to come to Baba for good. We thought just of Baba; nothing else is important when you are coming to Him.
On arriving in Ahmednagar, we received a big welcome from Rustom's family as we were bringing home a first-born son. We settled Freni and the baby at Khushru Quarters and went to Meherabad for Baba's darshan. In the middle of May, 1924, we went to stay in the Bathing Rooms at Meherabad.
Baba sent Rustom to Poona to settle our affairs. Rustom, after seeing the white horse, informed Baba that it would be a pity to sell such a beautiful horse, so Baba had Rustom bring him to Meherabad. Baba decided to name him Sufi. And I heard that when the horse arrived at Meherabad Baba blessed him, put vermillion on his forehead, and sat on his back for a minute or two.
Sufi stayed at Meherabad for a short time, and then Baba sent him to Ahmednagar to Khushru Quarters to be used as a carriage horse. When we were staying at Khushru Quarters later in 1924 we sometimes rode in a carriage drawn by Sufi, but he was not a very good carriage horse. He was much too spirited, and he liked to kick the bottom of the carriage as we rode along in it! So that is the story of Sufi, the white horse. How blessed he was to have had the "White Horse" Avatar sit on his back.
And Baba kept His promise to my mother to call us the very first women at Meherabad to stay with Him for good.
MEHERA, pp. 44-46
1989 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust