Symbols of the world's religions



Mehera J. Irani

One day in early 1933 Baba told us, "We're going to Bombay in two days to receive the Westerners, so pack your good saris and look your best."

For the very first time Baba's Western disciples were coming from England to India, and we wondered, "How can we look our best wearing these matha banus?" [A matha banu is a square piece of white muslin folded into a triangle; it was once used as a hair covering by traditional Zoroastrian women — ed.] We had been wearing them now for years but Baba said that for this meeting we could take them off.

We excitedly packed for Bombay. There were many of us women at that time at Nasik, and we travelled to Bombay by train. There we stayed on the upper floor of a very big and nice bungalow in Kandivali, a suburb of Bombay. The men mandali stayed downstairs.

Before the Westerners arrived Baba reminded us, "Be sure to wear your good saris and do your hair nicely." We did not know any hairstyles at all. At that time my hair was very long, and I just wore it in a bun tied under the matha banu. However, I knew that Baba wanted us to look smart, and to please Him I left my hair down and clipped it back. This was a new experience for me.

Instead of our usual cotton saris we put on our best silk ones, and obeying Baba to the letter we wore lipstick and powder, too, something we had only done before for plays. Baba was very pleased, and He was very naughty, too! When in England Baba had told the Westerners about us; that we had left everything to be with Him; that we lived very simple lives; and that we were very spiritually-minded. And here He was introducing them to fashionable-looking young women in silk saris! New we understand that He was testing the love of His Westerners for Him.

Baba sent my sister Freni to the pier to receive the Western women on His behalf while we got ready. "When they arrive," He told us, "tell them that I'm hiding, and that I'll only embrace the one who finds Me — no one else!"

So Baba did not greet the Westerners when they arrived. Instead, He hid Himself in the house, and His lovers had to seek Him! When everyone arrived they greeted us very lovingly, but quickly asked, "But where is Baba!" We explained that they had to find Him, and that only the one who found Him would receive His embrace.

Off they all rushed; some to the drawing room; some to the bedrooms, and so on. Small Khorshed, who knew very little English in those days, was standing in the drawing room when in ran Norina. "Do tell me where Baba is," Norina implored.

"Found Him, found Him," said Khorshed, muddling up her tenses.

"Oh, where was He?" asked Norina.

"Found Him, found him," Khorshed kept urging. It was so funny.

Then came some happy sounds and Baba's clap, and we saw Baba coming out of the bathing room holding Delia's hand. How happy she was to have found Baba first! He had been hiding in the corner of the bathroom between a cupboard and the wall, and only she had thought to look there. All the Westerners were so happy and excited to see Baba again. "Delia found Me," He told them, "so I'm going to embrace only her."

"Yes, Baba," they replied, and their happy expressions vanished. They now all looked sad and left out. Baba embraced Delia, but then He turned to the others and embraced them, too, one by one. And their sad faces again lit up with joy.

MEHERA, pp. 104-105
1989 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust


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